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 BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW

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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyMon Feb 27, 2023 2:25 pm

Following an ‘angry’ post on a recent thread, I decided to withdraw from the discussion. It was about the evidence put forward in two articles (in Studies in the Zulu War vols IV & V) regarding the deaths of the Boys at Isandhlwana by Frederic Bomy and myself.
Shortly afterwards (22.2.23 10:17 a.m.) a detailed post was made on the same thread attempting to discredit our researches. This cannot pass unchallenged because the information contained in the post was self-evidently illogical.

Our would-be detractor totted up the battle’s survivors, those in Chelmsford’s returning column and in the May burial party and set the total against the number of eye-witnesses to the Boys’ deaths thus:

“1/ Survivors of the battle approximately 250-450
Number who witnessed acts of torture 3
2/ Lord Chelmsford’s Column 2473
Number of witnesses 20
3/ Burial Parties 200
Number of witnesses 9”

She then wrote:

“So, to sum up
Total numbers involved during or after the battle: 3155 [200 of which in the burial party our critic would prefer to discount]
Number of claimed reliable survivors/witnesses: 32 [9 of which our critic would like to discount]
That’s 1% of those involved who claimed to have witnessed something above and beyond the normal battlefield casualties. This is a pitifully small amount when we consider the sort of horrendous acts that are supposed to have taken place.”

This was intended to weaken our historical argument.

However the central premise on which the argument is based in FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED.
She was incorrect in that premise.
1% of those involved did NOT so claim.
I would have been more accurate to have written: '1% of those involved recorded in published letters such a claim.'
However, even this remark is FLAWED.

Let’s break it down using precise figures where known.

Of the 254 known survivors, 92 were European (55 left accounts/letters) and 158 were African (32 left accounts).
3 OUT OF A POSSIBLE 254 WERE EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ DEATHS.
Not so. The surviving African infantry left the field early, the mounted Africans left before the right horn had completely cut off the exit from the camp, i.e. before any slaughter began there. The same is true for several of the Europeans. Nevertheless it is only among the Europeans that we might expect to find eye-witnesses to the Boys’ deaths.
Their deaths were one event at one point in time at one particular location on the field. Only a handful of fugitives would have passed by there at that moment. How many of the 92 might that have involved? 5%? 10%? Let’s be generous and say 25% saw the Boys’ deaths.
THAT MIGHT BE 24 MEN.

Next of the 2,714 men in Chelmsford’s returning column, 974 were European and 1,740 were African.
20 OUT OF A POSSIBLE 2,714 WERE EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ CORPSES.
Not so. The column’s troops arrived after dark and saw nothing. They camped on the nek and on its western slope in the pitch black. Perhaps 50 men sloped off to view the camp with lanterns during the night before Chelmsford put a stop to it.
In the early dawn the column formed up west of the nek – no-one on that side saw anything of the field. Only the rearguard of three coys (300 men) and an NMP troop on the eastern side of the nek saw the field and might have seen the Boys.
Again, let’s overestimate.
THAT MIGHT TOTAL 400 MEN.

Lastly 200 Europeans were in the May burial party.
9 OUT OF A POSSIBLE 200 WERE EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ CORPSES.
Not so. How many visited that particular part of the field and saw the spectacle for themselves. Let’s be generous and say a quarter.
THAT MIGHT TOTAL 50 MEN.

THAT’S 3 + 20 + 9 = 32 MEN OUT OF 24 + 400 + 50 = 474 MIGHT HAVE BEEN EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ DEMISE.
Not so. Next it must be asked how many of the 474 could read and write. In 1871 80% of men could do so (it was higher in Welsh). Nevertheless for the purpose of this exercise we’ll assume that the illiterate were able to get others to write home on their behalf and potentially all 474 could manage a letter home.
But how many declined to mention the horrific Boys’ deaths in their letters for fear of upsetting and worrying mothers and wives?
I suspect most. But let’s overestimate and say half did mention the Boys’ grisly deaths (237).
And how many recipients of the letters would want to, or bother to, send such a letter to the newspapers for publication?
I suspect not many. But let’s say be generous and half again (118).
And how many editors would deem such a letter suitable for publication?
I suspect not many. But, yet again, let’s say half again (59).

WE NOW HAVE A MORE REALISTIC SET OF FIGURES. THAT’S 32 MEN OUT OF 59 LETTER-WRITERS MIGHT HAVE BEEN EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ DEMISE i.e. 54.2%

IF OUR DETRACTOR STILL INSISTS ON EXCLUDING THE BURIAL PARTY THEN ITS 23 OUT OF 53 i.e. 43.3%

THAT’S EITHER 43% OR 54% OF THOSE WHO MIGHT HAVE BEEN EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ DEATHS RECORDED SUCH A CLAIM IN PUBLISHED LETTERS.
This is a considerable percentage.

Not just the central premise of our critic’s argument is flawed but consequently everything dependent upon it falls apart too.
Our critic’s argument was intended to weaken our case. Instead it has had the opposite effect.
It has strengthened it.

[In all the above estimates I have deliberately overestimated to give our critic a fair hearing. But whichever way you arrange the figures, her argument still won’t wash.]
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyTue Feb 28, 2023 11:28 am

A perfectly calm response from THE DETRACTOR (sounds like an American super hero)

Let’s deal with your points above:-
Quote "However the central premise on which the argument is based in FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED.
She was incorrect in that premise.
1% of those involved did NOT so claim.
I would have been more accurate to have written: '1% of those involved recorded in published letters such a claim.'
However, even this remark is FLAWED.


Splitting hairs there Julian I think so lets move onto the facts and figure:-

1/  Quote "254 known survivors" the key word here is known. We don't rightly know how many survived. It is probably more.

2/ "Nevertheless it is only among the Europeans that we might expect to find eye-witnesses to the Boys’ deaths."  
Why just Europeans? Africans/NC left accounts of the battle (32 you claim) as well and quite late on. Jabiz Molife for instance though cut off from Durnford was there as the camp was surrounded. No mention from him of drummer boys being “thrown up and caught on the assagais’ and there certainly was fierce fighting going on at the time.

3/ Quote "Their deaths were one event at one point in time at one particular location on the field. Only a handful of fugitives would have passed by there at that moment. How many of the 92 might that have involved? 5%? 10%? Let’s be generous and say 25% saw the Boys’ deaths. THAT MIGHT BE 24 MEN."

Ooh lots of ifs and might’s there Julian. We need to look at the facts that we have.
Only 3 that we know of made a record of it. FACT .As I've said before with something so horrific and out of the ordinary one would have thought it would have been more?

4/Chelmsford's column and the explantion of the rear-guard
Quote “THAT MIGHT TOTAL 400 MEN.”                     'Might' being the optimum word here.

I have explained my reasoning about the three companies of 24th who claimed to be the rear-guard in the other thread.
They weren’t there.
You claim they were there.
Now there are confused witness accounts of the line of march so we have to apply military details and common sense to the equation.
There is solid witness evidence that lays out the line of march with the NMP as rear guard followed by the NC then the infantry.
William Drummond -"It was felt that little or no dependance could be placed on the Native Contingent during a reterat after so dire a reverse, and the column of route was as follows:- The Mounted Infantry, the Carbineers, the Buffalo Border Guard, and the Newcastle Rifles led the way, throwing out the necessary advanced guards and scouts. Then came the guns followed closely by the infantry, while the long line of our native allies came behind them, the Mounted Rifles (NMP) forming the rearguard"
Lieut. Harford "At last the day dawned and the troops began to move off. The Contingent formed the rearguard and were the last to quit the ground, in broad daylight and it was my business to see the last man away"

In light of this confusion this line of march makes perfect sense. (as I stated in my previous post in the other thread) Why would Lord Chelmsford knowing how jittery and unreliable the NNC were (think Dartnell and the night of the 21st) split up his firepower by putting 1600 nervous contingent in the middle of his red coat companies? Thus effectively cutting his potential firepower in half and leaving his 4 guns even more vulnerable.

And even if those three companies were there you have no idea which companies were in the rear-guard with the exception of perhaps H company. On top of this we all know the companies were not up to full strength. An estimate would be 80 in each at the best. That makes 240 not 300. And with perhaps 50 NMP leaves a total of 290 not 400.
Strangely  we only have one NMP witness who saw such atrocities.
Why were there not more bearing in mind they would have had the most effective light levels to view the camp and are the only force we know for definite was in the rearguard.

So with this number now discredited this has a detrimental effect on the whole rest of your argument leaving its end result fundamentally flawed.

And even if I do agree with you (and I don’t) and it is 400 men that is 17 ( not 20 three would have been the other side of the nek) witnesses out of 400.
Lets just say that again 14 out of 400 and that is giving you the benefit of the doubt Julian.  
Once again if 300 men from red coat companies saw these atrocities to their own bandmembers you would expect more than 14 witnesses. (discounting 3 for not being Imperial Infantry or being IMI on the other side of the Nek)


Now just imagine that morning of the 23rd if they were three 24th companies in the rearguard. Those few witnesses who wrote accounts would not have been standing there all alone. They were standing in line of fours with their mates.
If there were such barbaric atrocities plainly visible to these red coat companies as they stood waiting for the off, a lot more would have seen them and written about them.
It just makes sense.

And also look at the way those private soldier witnesses are dispersed through the company lists in my post in the other thread.
Virtually every company has a witness or two. They can’t all have been in the rear-guard!

5/ In relation to the burial parties if you go back and read my thread you will see the number 200 is a rough estimate of ALL the burial parties who visited the field over the subsequent months. I didn’t mention the May burial party at all. As I’ve said several times before and this is not just an opinion but fact, this evidence is worthless so is not even worth including.

6/  Your above facts and numbers Julian are based on an awful lot of 'ifs' 'might’s' and 'maybes.'

Quote “WE NOW HAVE A MORE REALISTIC SET OF FIGURES. THAT’S 32 MEN OUT OF 59 LETTER-WRITERS MIGHT HAVE BEEN EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ DEMISE i.e. 54.2%”
You claim in 1871 80% men could read and write. 1871 that’s eight years earlier. Do you mean to say their was no improvement in literacy in the army in 8 years?
Using purely your figures, 80% of men would have been literate, so out of 400 that means 320 could have written  home. This percentage was probably higher in 1879 and yet we have only 15 witness accounts from privates.

However the real fact here is that we have NO witness accounts from any red coat company officers that mention the atrocities and they most certainly would have been literate and would have had a real axe to grind, bearing in mind the defeat  in showing how brutal and savage the Zulus were.
But not one.
Even Captain Gardner who was the last surviving Imperial officer to leave the field (the evidence for this can be found in Rifle and Spear with the Zulu) who was fighting hard around the nek fails to mention it.

When you open this sentence with the word ‘We’ this means ‘you’ as these figures are based on your own way of working out the facts and figures rather than the overall numbers which I have included in the other thread.
You are making a huge assumption that more people COULD have seen it but couldn’t write and and those who could and did MIGHT not have had their letters published.

I see you make no mention of the bodies being mistaken for camp food nor why all the bandsmen were in the kitchen area in the first place. Was it a gallant last stand or were they carried there?
The statistics and numbers  I put forward in the other thread are known quantities and therefore can not be disputed. If other evidence or more witnesses come to light in the future then I will re visit my ideas but this is the information we have at the moment and what we must work with. No 'ifs' 'might' and 'maybe'

Reading through your post (and I’m perfectly calm as I write this) I'm afraid your equations just do not add up with one error compounding and confusing the next to ultimatly leave an incorrect conclusion.
Kate
ps
If you thought I was angry Julian in the previous thread  it was only a reaction to the way you treated me in a previous post. I have nothing against you personally but I do disagree with your theory and have given creditable evidence to show its flaws.
for those who would like the full story see here:-
https://www.1879zuluwar.com/t12425-no-torture-of-little-drummer-boys-or-anyone-else-at-isandlwana#105783


Last edited by gardner1879 on Wed Mar 08, 2023 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyTue Feb 28, 2023 12:15 pm

Kate
I shall reply in detail but we have just taken a covid test and am positive. Back to bed.
By the by, when I write 'we' I do NOT mean 'I'. I was referring to Fred and myself.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyTue Feb 28, 2023 12:24 pm

Oh cripes sorry to here that Julian.
You both take care and get well soon.
Kate
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Julian Whybra




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Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW Empty
PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyTue Mar 07, 2023 3:56 pm

(US) Started to feel less woolly-headed on Monday though am still unwell.  Nevertheless we have put together a response as below.  These lengthy tit-for-tat posts become unwieldy.  We’re not how well this line of procedure will hold up over time...unfortunately the replies-to-the-replies are necessary.  Your words we’ve begun with (KATE). We’ve indented the first line of our response and begun it with an (US) to make it easier for the reader.

(KATE) A perfectly calm response from THE DETRACTOR (sounds like an American super hero)

(US)    Yes.  I thought you’d appreciate that.  It sounds suitably policial.  The calmness is welcome.

(KATE) Let’s deal with your points above:-

(US)    Us?  Is there more than one of you?

(KATE) Quote "However the central premise on which the argument is based in FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED.
She was incorrect in that premise.
1% of those involved did NOT so claim.
I would have been more accurate to have written: '1% of those involved recorded in published letters such a claim.'
However, even this remark is FLAWED.
Splitting hairs there Julian I think so lets move onto the facts and figure:-

(US)    On the contrary it’s NOT splitting hairs.  It’s the main reason we responded.  You wrote that “1% of those involved who claimed to have witnessed something above and beyond the normal battlefield casualties. This is a pitifully small amount when we consider the sort of horrendous acts that are supposed to have taken place.”  
It was the MAIN PREMISE behind all your arguments which followed.  Yet, it is INACCURATE, MEANINGLESS, AHISTORICAL, and WRONG.  
And you offer no answer but dismiss it with “Splitting hairs there Julian I think so lets move onto the facts and figure”!
That remark does not get you off the hook.  You cannot just dodge our main criticism – how do you expect anyone to take you seriously otherwise?  So we shall not “move on”.

Your premise is INACCURATE because most of those “involved” could not possibly have seen the Boys’ bodies.  Thus to talk about only 1% of that number having witnessed something will only lead to gross inaccuracy. You cannot expect your “1%” remark to be taken seriously when it is a blatant falsehood.  Most people in the Column and most of the fugitives would have seen nothing of the Boys’ demise.  Of those that did there are limitations which restrict their recording the fact.  Those limitations we outlined.  To say the opposite lacks historicity.

Your premise is MEANINGLESS because the two halves of the sentence do not relate to one another.  It’s like writing that ‘only 1% of the population of Natal claimed to have witnessed something’.  The population of Natal wasn’t there.  And neither were most of the people you include in your tally.  Yet on that basis you question the likelihood of its having happened.

Your premise is AHISTORICAL because it does not follow due historical process. Less than 1% of those who escaped witnessed the deaths of Melvill and Coghill – yet it’s accepted that it happened.  Less than 1% of those who escaped witnessed Gardner take the mounted men out to the perimeter – yet it’s accepted that it happened.  And 1% of those who did escape witnessed the Boys’ deaths or 54% of those who saw the camp in daylight and had letters published witnessed the Boys’ hanging there – yet you don’t accept that it happened.
Why?  Because it suits you to believe so.  Ignoring the historical evidence is ahistorical.  Only the wilfully ignorant disregard proof.

Your premise is WRONG because it is flawed.
In any critical peer review you would be slated for doing so.

(KATE) 1/  Quote "254 known survivors" the key word here is known. We don't rightly know how many survived. It is probably more.

(US)    Of course there were more (almost all entirely natives).  But that would make no difference to the percentages.  If they were unknown then they didn’t record anything.  The figures and percentages don’t change.

(KATE) 2/ "Nevertheless it is only among the Europeans that we might expect to find eye-witnesses to the Boys’ deaths."  
Why just Europeans? Africans/NC left accounts of the battle (32 you claim) as well and quite late on. Jabiz Molife for instance though cut off from Durnford was there as the camp was surrounded. No mention from him of drummer boys being “thrown up and caught on the assagais’ and there certainly was fierce fighting going on at the time.

(US)    The answer is obvious.  As we wrote, “The surviving African infantry left the field early, the mounted Africans left before the right horn had completely cut off the exit from the camp, i.e. before any slaughter began there.”  There might be a few mounted men who lingered in the camp but the fact remains that no surviving African recorded witnessing the Boys’ demise.    

Re-read Molife.  He was not there as you suggest.  Durnford had sent Lieut. Vause’s NNH troop back over the saddle to accompany his waggons into camp.  From Molife’s description and map it would seem that these waggons were placed on the outskirts of the camp, to the south of the track, to the rear of the tents (and very probably to the rear of the waggon park as well).  If the Edendale and Basuto troops were thus separated from the main body of the troops and the camp, it might serve to explain why Molife says that the Zulus encircled the camp “shutting us out”, why it was that so many from these two troops escaped, and why it might have been possible for them to “escape by the road”.

(KATE) 3/ Quote "Their deaths were one event at one point in time at one particular location on the field. Only a handful of fugitives would have passed by there at that moment. How many of the 92 might that have involved? 5%? 10%? Let’s be generous and say 25% saw the Boys’ deaths. THAT MIGHT BE 24 MEN."

(US)    I think we were being exceedingly generous in saying that 25% of the survivors saw the Boys’ demise.  This helped weigh the percentages game (which YOU began, remember) in your favour

(KATE) Only 3 that we know of made a record of it. FACT .As I've said before with something so horrific and out of the ordinary one would have thought it would have been more?

(US)    “One would have thought it would have been more.”  Really?  Would one?  The fact that it was only 3 is an indicator of the small number who DID actually witness the event, wrote about it afterwards, had relatives who sent the letter to the papers, and editors who decided to use it.  

Why on earth would you assume that witnesses would have been keen to describe such events to their loved ones?  Post-WWI & II. those who returned, rarely ever spoke about horrific experiences (thinking here of Jap POW camps, D-Day, and going over the top in particular).  I don’t put myself in their category but I (JW) couldn’t bring myself to speak of being in a bomb blast for something like 35 years and I still find it painful.

(KATE) 4/Chelmsford's column and the explantion of the rear-guard
Quote “THAT MIGHT TOTAL 400 MEN.”                    
'Might' being the optimum word here.

(US)    Yet again, so that the percentages would work in your favour, to be fair to you, I made the total higher than I believe it truly was.

(KATE) I have explained my reasoning about the three companies of 24th who claimed to be the rear-guard in the other thread.
They weren’t there.
You claim they were there.

(US)    Not “claim”.  Know.  Proved (as per evidence in The Wrecked Camp).  They were there.  You may wish the opposite but you cannot prove it.  ‘Prisoner at the dock, you stand accused of confirmation bias.  I call to the witness box the officers of E, F, H coys’ who will affirm BOTH their coys’ presence in the rearguard AND what they saw of the field that morning:

H coy
Lieut. George S. Banister, H coy 2/24th, Letter to his father, Rorke’s Drift, 27th January 1879, Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh [RMRW], acc. no. 1985-67:
“...at the break of day we prepared to move off.  Our three Companies were told off for the rear guard...[‘Our three companies’ refers to those of the left wing of the regiment.]…it was pretty light by the time all the rest has moved off, and then we suddenly began to realise the ghastly work that had gone on.  In every direction were to be seen our poor fellows.  I certainly never before believed that we could have suffered so much, and did not even then realise that hardly one man had escaped.  I don’t dwell on this part of the story it was too horrible.  And not a thing we could do for any one of them, but just had to leave them as they were.  With heavy hearts, but blood burning we went on our way every now and then recognising some poor fellow’s horse shot down, or a favourite dog, for nothing was allowed to escape their savage lust for blood.”

F coy
Lieut. Henry Germain Mainwaring, F coy 2/24th, ‘An account by Major (Later Brigadier General) H.G. Mainwaring, 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, written on 22 January 1895, Cairo’, RMRW, acc. no. BRCRM:1992.123, in Holme, Norman, The Noble 24th, (London, 1999), pp.197-201,
“At the first break of day on the 23rd, the force commenced its march back to Rorke’s Drift. My Company was left to do rearguard, and consequently we were halted for a considerable time at the foot of the kopje…We never saw very far round on account of the dense fog.  As we were moving down the hill, a man in the ranks seized my arm, and pointing to a body which we were passing.  I recognised it as one of our Corporals; at the spot where we halted, in the midst of our Company, was the body of my unfortunate servant, private Waterhouse; and here also we saw many an ugly sight.  On the road we came across pieces of camp equipment, etc., a fact which led us to hope that some of the troops had managed to escape from Isandhlwana and back to Natal.”133

E coy
Lieut. Q. McK. Logan, E coy 2/24th, Letter, Rorke’s Drift, 1st February 1879, ‘An O.C. in South Africa’, The Cheltonian, April 1879, pp. 54-7:
“…I, who commanded the rear company of the rear guard…”

Lieut. William Weallens, E coy 2/24th, Letter, Rorke’s Drift, 2nd February 1879, Uppingham School Magazine, Vol. XVII, February-December 1879 (copy in RMRW, acc. no. 2004.60.ii):
“Next morning we were up of course at day break, after passing a very anxious night, as signal fires were visible on the hills round us.  The scene was indeed a dismal one, as our camp had been sacked, the wagons burnt, and the tents destroyed; but our horror was not awakened until we saw the dead bodies of our men strewed about on every side, and horribly mutilated....We unfortunately also had our band with us, and all the bandsmen are missing, some of the boys being recognized on the morning of our departure.”

Captain Henry Hallam Parr, 1/13th (att. to the Staff, No. 3 Column but assigned to the left wing 24th coys), A Sketch of the Kafir and Zulu Wars, (London, 1880), p. 233:
“Dawn in South Africa breaks quickly, and before the rear-guard, with which my duties lay, left the ridge, there was light enough to show the state of the camp and what had been concealed by the darkness.  It was a sight not easily forgotten.”

Let’s not forget that under normal circumstances G coy would be part of the left wing coys.  But G coy were all dead except for Col.-Sergt. Ross and three men who were out with LC.  Like the good soldier he was, Ross fell in his three men alongside the other left wing coys.

G coy
2-24/430 Col.-Sergt. Alexander Ross, G Coy, 2/24th Letter to his wife, Rorke’s Drift, 3rd February 1879, The Essex Herald, 1st April 1879:
“When we got up next morning, we saw such a scene as I think very few see in a life time – the whole of the camp in such a state of confusion – tents burnt, wagons burnt, 17 officers and over 500 men of the 1st Battalion, all my company that were left in camp, and others numbering five officers and 180 men, about 60 men of the artillery and one officer, 60 mounted volunteers, altogether between ten and eleven hundred white men, lying dead on the ground, cut and gashed about most dreadfully, also about 200 of our natives.  Tears came into my eyes to look at it.  I could stand the sight of it very well, but to see all my company gone except four of us was more than I could stand.  They were all lying about the same place, poor Llewellyn with a lump cut out of his cheek, Lopper Greenhill with an ear cut off, in fact there was hardly a body lying there that was not mutilated.”
Proof:
2-24/1174 Sergt. William Morley, H Coy 2/24th, Letter Rorke’s Drift, 1st February 1879, Brecon County Times, 29th March 1879:
“G Company was on out-post duty, left in camp and all were killed except Colour-Sergeant Ross, Privates Jones, Baker, and Ethridge [sic for Etheridge] who were out with us.”

After LC’s specific order, no officer would risk putting in any official report that he had visited the field.  It is only in private letters that they admit it.  No officer in writing to wives and mothers would be so specific to have mentioned the Boys.  Interestingly, Weallens alluded to the fact that some of his men had recognized the Boys among the fallen – they were evidently conspicuous.

Above there is at least one officer from each of the three coys and the staff officer assigned to the left wing.  We could also quote from 8 E F H coy ORs who describe what they saw of the camp as the rearguard.  These all appear in our two essays so you should have seen them.  So let’s have no more nonsense about there not being three companies present.  

(KATE) Now there are confused witness accounts of the line of march so we have to apply military details and common sense to the equation.

(US)  We?   Or do you mean “I”?  On what basis do you claim there is confusion?

(KATE) There is solid witness evidence that lays out the line of march with the NMP as rear guard followed by the NC then the infantry.

(US)    I know of no such witness evidence.  

(KATE) In light of this confusion this line of march makes perfect sense. (as I stated in my previous post in the other thread) Why would Lord Chelmsford knowing how jittery and unreliable the NNC were (think Dartnell and the night of the 21st) split up his firepower by putting 1600 nervous contingent in the middle of his red coat companies? Thus effectively cutting his potential firepower in half and leaving his 4 guns even more vulnerable.

(US)    The order of march is perfectly clear.  We refer the reader to The Wrecked Camp pp. 61-68.
The Natal Carbineers – the rest of the mounted men less a detachment of N.M.P. – Artillery – right wing coys 2/24th – NNC – left wing cpys 2/24th – NMP detachment.
Having the N.N.C. sandwiched on the march between the two wings of British regulars makes more sense militarily.

(KATE) And even if those three companies were there you have no idea which companies were in the rear-guard with the exception of perhaps H company.
   
(US)    Yes we do.  As above: E, F, H.  Q.E.D.
Note:
E coy
Lieut. Q. McK. Logan, E coy 2/24th, Letter, Rorke’s Drift, 1st February 1879, ‘An O.C. in South Africa’, The Cheltonian, April 1879, pp. 54-7:
“As our column approached the fort [Rorke’s Drift], I, who commanded the rear company of the rear guard, saw the smoke of the burning hospital...”

(KATE) On top of this we all know the companies were not up to full strength. An estimate would be 80 in each at the best. That makes 240 not 300.

(US)    No need to estimate.
2nd Battalion 24th Regiment o/c Lieut.-Col. H. G. Degacher, C.B.
[A, C, D, E, F, H coys and the band] Majs. W. M. Dunbar, W. Black; Capts. J. M. G. Tongue (A), H. B. Church (F), W. P. Symons (D), J. J. Harvey (H); Lieuts. H. M. Williams (C), G. S. Banister (H), H. G. Mainwaring (F), Q. McK. Logan (E), C. V. Trower; Second-Lieuts. R. W. Franklin (D), W. Weallens (E), L. G. L. Dobree (H), A. B. Phipps, C. E. Curll (H); 551 men. [G coy] 4 men.
In addition Capt. H.H. Parr Staff officer was attached to the rearguard coys
That’s 9 officers and 92 ORs (551 ÷ 6) x 3 coys + G coy’s 4 ORs + Parr = 10 officers and 280 ORs.
So, NOT 240 as you suggest but 290.  Our estimate is closer.

(KATE) And with perhaps 50 NMP leaves a total of 290 not 400.

(US)    The NMP rearguard consisted of Mansel, Sergt. Mason and 24 men (259 Trooper Archer J. Secretan, Natal Mounted Police, Letter to his father, 3rd February 1879, London Evening Standard, 25th March 1879).
I suggested 50 men might have slipped down to see the camp by lantern during the night before LC prevented it.  
That makes 290 (24th rearguard), 26 (NMP rearguard) and 50 from the column.  A total of  356.  I rounded this up to 400 to work the percentages in your favour as much as possible so as not to be accused of bias and because more men might have visited the camp during the night.  400 is more than generous.

(KATE) Strangely  we only have one NMP witness who saw such atrocities.
Why were there not more bearing in mind they would have had the most effective light levels to view the camp and are the only force we know for definite was in the rearguard.

(US)   We found a total of 7 NMP from the rearguard who saw “atrocities” one of whom mentions the Boys.  I’m sure you might have read the following but for others who haven’t, I quote from the following letters to give a sense of the experience:

259 Trooper Archer J. Secretan, Natal Mounted Police, Letter to his father, 3rd February 1879, London Evening Standard, 25th March 1879:
“Morning at length came to our weary bodies, and we saw the scene of the battle.  All the white men, with their entrails, noses, ears, and other parts of their body cut off and thrust in their poor dead mouths: sides slit up, and arms thrust in; horses and oxen all lying about, stabbed and ripped up.  We saw the British soldiers all lying formed up in a square, where they had held their ground till all were slain where they stood...Well, after the officers had gone round the sad scene we left about 5 a.m., twenty-five of the Natal Mounted Police forming a rear guard, of which I was one….”

Inspector George Mansel, N.M.P., Letter to Lieut.-Col. Edwd. Durnford, 23rd November 1879, CC, Wood Papers, file 32, KCM89/9/32/10, quoted in Smith, Keith I., Select Documents: A Zulu War Sourcebook, (Doncaster, 2006):
“When it got daylight the full horrors of that scene were revealed.  The mangled bodies of our people lay about in hundreds, all disemboweled [sic], and partially stripped of their clothing. I saw one soldier lying on his back, with his legs tied, and a bayonet stuck through his mouth, and pinning his head to the ground.”

1 Trpr George Babington, N.M.P., Letter to his mother, Helpmakaar, 3rd February 1879, The Londonderry Sentinel, 8th April 1879:
“…and what a sight that place was.  The whole ground was strewed with corpses, battered out of all shape and recognition, and stabbed and ripped all over....The Zulus mutilate most horribly. I do not think any one could give a description of the scene on the side of the hill that night”

236 Trpr. W. N. Cuming, N.M.P., Letter, Helpmakaar, 5th February 1879, The Borough of Hackney Express and Shoreditch Observer, 12th April 1879:
“The bodies were frightfully mutilated; all their stomachs were cut open and
turned inside out. Some of the bodies had holes cut in their sides as well, and their hands put in as though they were pockets”
“The little drummer boys, averaging from about ten to twelve years, were crying under a waggon; the devils had got hold of them and with their assegais twisted them round and then hung them up in the butcher's shop on hooks through their lower jaws.  All these tortures were done while the men were alive, and the cries were I believe, something awful.”  

111 Trpr. E. Wall, Natal Mounted Police, Letter to his sister, Helpmekaar February 1879, The Alcester Chronicle, 3rd May 1879:
“…we found our comrades stripped of all their clothing and mutilated in a most frightful manner.  It was a most frightful sight – some of them with their hearts cut out and their hands put in place of it”;

249 Trpr. William James Clarke, N.M.P., War Diary, entry for 23rd January, unpublished, Barry Clarke Collection.
“…the surroundings at dawn this morning were horrible.  About 800 white men lying dead & nearly all cut open, trousers & boots shipped off & some quite naked.  It was especially sad to see our own comrades had been treated in this manner…we were the last to move off the ground & therefore had a better view of the battlefield….”

In a sketch by 272 Trpr. W. Nelson, N.M.P., depicting the departure of LC’s troops from Isandhlwana in the direction of Rorke's Drift in the early hours of 23rd January 1879, there are several corpses lying on their backs, unclothed, disembowelled, mutilated, pinned to the ground with arma akimbo by their hands or shoulders with what appear to be assegais or bayonets.  This begs the question why Nelson would have drawn such a thing if he had not witnessed it himself and implies that this abuse was practised on men while they were still alive.  Nelson’s sketch, cleansed of its most sordid details, was published in The Graphic, 29th March 1879 under the title ‘The Zulu war – Lord Chelmsford’s retreat from Isandlwhana the morning after the battle’.  The original is preserved in the NAM but currently untraceable.  It is reproduced in Bomy, Frédéric and Whybra, Julian, ‘The Wrecked Camp at Isandhlwana: What the Rearguard Saw’, in Whybra, Julian, Studies in the Zulu War: IV, (Writtle, 2017), p. 67.
Nelson portrays two 24th coys, dismounted N.M.P. and an N.N.C. coy.  To sketch this, Nelson must have positioned himself on the track at the former camp entrance.  I presume (and it is only presumption) that the third 24th coy might have been just beyond him watching the east.

The survivor Trpr. Dorehill N.M.P. of course wrote that he saw the Boys’ deaths as he was escaping.

(KATE) So with this number now discredited this has a detrimental effect on the whole rest of your argument leaving its end result fundamentally flawed.

(US)    It is not discredited.  There is no detrimental effect. You offer no evidence to support such a remark.  If you really think that 290 rather than 400 will have a beneficial effect on your argument then you need to re-take Maths O-level.  It has absolutely no bearing on your “1%...” statement which has no basis in fact.  The fundamental flaw in your reasoning is still well and truly in place.

(KATE) And even if I do agree with you (and I don’t) and it is 400 men that is 17 ( not 20 three would have been the other side of the nek) witnesses out of 400.
Lets just say that again 14 out of 400 and that is giving you the benefit of the doubt Julian.

(US)    We stated in 2017 that 20 men from LC’s Reconnaissance wrote that they witnessed the Boys’ bodies in situ in the camp.  The 20 were members either of the Rearguard or had been into the camp with lanterns or lights during the night / early morning.
Here are the 20 by coy / corps and whether they were Rearguard members or not.

Rearguard 2/24
E coy    Lieut Weallens (inferred)      Pte Bray
F coy    Pte Meredith                          L-Corp Williams
H coy   Pte James

3 NNC Lieut Hillier (lingered on the battlefield)    Commdt. Lonsdale

2/24
C coy    Ptes Kelly        McNally           Leon         Drmr Sweeney
D coy    Ptes Stainsby   Sullivan
?            Pte Bridgeman
Band     Pte Wilson

90th
Pte Keeling

IMI
Ptes Whitehouse    Berry

BBG
Anon.

NMR
Trpr Jones

Nowhere did we write that ALL 400 would have seen the boys’ bodies (that is obviously the case).  400 is the maximum number who might have seen them.  We stuck to this number to give your “1%” argument the best chance.  

There is also a 21st.  Capt. Symons who in his Report received by the Queen (p. 49) wrote:
“Many of the bodies were afterwards found tied hand and foot with strips of rawhide…Most of the bodies were more or less stripped, one little band boy of the 2/24th, a mere child, was hung by the heels to the tail of an ox wagon, & his throat cut…Further details would be too sickening”.

And we mustn’t forget Muziwento kaZibana (Umsweanto), Account in Swinny, G. H., A Zulu Boy’s Recollections of the Zulu War and of Cetshwayo’s Return, (London, 1884), p. 35 (re-printed and edited in Webb, C. de B., ‘A Zulu Boy’s Recollections of the Zulu War’, in Natalia, [8th December 1978], pp. 10-13, 16): “At daylight we came back again, we saw some boys who had died in a tree, underneath it.  They were dressed in black clothes…”  You remember Umsweanto – he was the one whose hearsay evidence re George Shepstone’s death you quote on p.173 of Rifle and Spear.

(KATE) Once again if 300 men from red coat companies saw these atrocities to their own bandmembers you would expect more than 14 witnesses. (discounting 3 for not being Imperial Infantry or being IMI on the other side of the Nek)

(US)    Why are you discounting anyone?  Being on the other side of the nek in the morning for departure did not prevent them from visiting the field during the night / early dawn.  So not 14 but 21 please.  
And, to remind you, these were the ones whose letters were passed on to the press and accepted for publication by the editor.   You’re right.  There were undoubtedly many more which never made it that far.  You are now arguing against yourself?

(KATE) Now just imagine that morning of the 23rd if they were three 24th companies in the rearguard. Those few witnesses who wrote accounts would not have been standing there all alone. They were standing in line of fours with their mates.

(US)    Line of fours?  Look at Nelson’s sketch was.  No line of fours I’m afraid.

(KATE) If there were such barbaric atrocities plainly visible to these red coat companies as they stood waiting for the off, a lot more would have seen them and written about them.
It just makes sense.

(US)    You’re right.  It makes sense.  No doubt there were many more which were never passed to the press by relatives and never accepted for publication by editors.  You now seem to be repeatedly arguing in favour of our position on this matter.                                                                                                                                                                      In truth you seem unable to grasp the fact that we ONLY have letters that appeared in the newspapers, gratis editors, gratis relatives.

(KATE) And also look at the way those private soldier witnesses are dispersed through the company lists in my post in the other thread.
Virtually every company has a witness or two. They can’t all have been in the rear-guard!

(US)    OF COURSE they weren’t all in the rearguard.  We never wrote that they were.  We only ever wrote that they came from night/ early dawn visits OR from the rearguard.  
You are clutching at straws.

(KATE) 5/ In relation to the burial parties if you go back and read my thread you will see the number 200 is a rough estimate of ALL the burial parties who visited the field over the subsequent months. I didn’t mention the May burial party at all. As I’ve said several times before and this is not just an opinion but fact, this evidence is worthless so is not even worth including.

(US)   All bar one relate to the May expedition.

(KATE) 6/  Your above facts and numbers Julian are based on an awful lot of 'ifs' 'might’s' and 'maybes.'

(US)   Unfortunately for you, all the facts and numbers are borne out of primary sources.

(KATE) Quote “WE NOW HAVE A MORE REALISTIC SET OF FIGURES. THAT’S 32 MEN OUT OF 59 LETTER-WRITERS MIGHT HAVE BEEN EYE-WITNESSES TO THE BOYS’ DEMISE i.e. 54.2%”
You claim in 1871 80% men could read and write. 1871 that’s eight years earlier. Do you mean to say their was no improvement in literacy in the army in 8 years?

(US)     Kate.  I’m a professional historian and have worked as a history lecturer on and off since 1974.  I might make the occasional typo but I don’t make illogical mistakes through misplaced reasoning nor do I ignore the balance of evidence, nor make half-baked remarks such as you suggest.  So please don’t put them in my mouth.  
I CLAIM nothing.   I only EVER work with primary sources.  Two national assessments of literacy among adults were taken (from  the 1871 & 1891 Censuses) in order to assess the impact of Forster’s Education Act 1870:  
“According to figures from the Registrar General, between 1871 and 1891 the national literacy rate for men rose from 80 to 94 per cent; that for women from 73 to 93 per cent. By 1900 the literacy rate for both men and women had reached around 97 per cent: illiteracy had been almost completely eliminated.”  Lawson, J. and Silver, H., A Social History of Education in England, (London, 1973), p. 324.
The earlier 1871 figure of 80% was the best to work with and gives you a fair chance, since it would work best in your favour.  The fact it doesn’t merely weakens your argument.

(KATE) Using purely your figures, 80% of men would have been literate, so out of 400 that means 320 could have written  home. This percentage was probably higher in 1879 and yet we have only 15 witness accounts from privates.

(US)    You’re right.  It was higher in 1879.  Think of all those literate redcoats whose letters were never passed to the papers and all those editors who had to choose just a handful for publication.  You seem determined to prove our case for us.

(KATE) However the real fact here is that we have NO witness accounts from any red coat company officers that mention the atrocities and they most certainly would have been literate and would have had a real axe to grind, bearing in mind the defeat  in showing how brutal and savage the Zulus were.
But not one.

(US)    We note that you’ve switched tactics here and are no longer writing about Boys’ deaths but about “atrocities” which is suitably vague.  There are of course plenty of officers who wrote about what were in their opinion battlefield ‘atrocities’ but that would allow you to respond that these were merely Zulu ritual practices.  
So.  We are not going there.
Instead we’ll give you a literacy redcoat company officer:
Capt. William Penn Symons D coy 2/24th:
“Many of the bodies were afterwards found tied hand and foot with strips of rawhide…Most of the bodies were more or less stripped, one little band boy of the 2/24th, a mere child, was hung by the heels to the tail of an ox wagon, & his throat cut…Further details would be too sickening”.
Report received by the Queen (p. 49).
Wrong again, Kate.
Did you notice the bit about bodies “tied hand and foot”?  I expect he mistook them for animal carcasses.

(KATE) Even Captain Gardner who was the last surviving Imperial officer to leave the field (the evidence for this can be found in Rifle and Spear with the Zulu) who was fighting hard around the nek fails to mention it.

(US)     Whether or not Gardner was the last Imperial officer to leave the field is not a matter for this thread.  However, since you mention Gardner, it is worth noting that it was IMPOSSIBLE for him to have seen the Boys’ deaths.  Trpr. Granger, who, DID witness them, caught Gardner up and therefore left the camp AFTER him (See your own book p. 157).  Similarly Pte. Evans and Trpr. Dorehill ALSO witnessed them and caught Gardner up having left the camp AFTER him.
Gardner wrote that he was helped on the Trail when his horse got stuck by some NNH troopers. They had left BEFORE the perimeter line east of the 1st Bn tents retreated.  Dorehill, Evans and Granger were had been part of that perimeter line.  Gardner could not have seen what they saw.

(KATE) When you open this sentence with the word ‘We’ this means ‘you’ as these figures are based on your own way of working out the facts and figures rather than the overall numbers which I have included in the other thread.

(US)    We means Fred and I.  The overall numbers which you supplied, as already stated, have no bearing on the exercise.

(KATE) You are making a huge assumption that more people COULD have seen it but couldn’t write and and those who could and did MIGHT not have had their letters published.

(US)    No.  The assumption is true because no other letters WERE published (s far we can determine)!

(KATE) I see you make no mention of the bodies being mistaken for camp food nor why all the bandsmen were in the kitchen area in the first place. Was it a gallant last stand or were they carried there?

(US)    Frankly, in any academic critical peer review the bodies-camp food argument would be laughed out of court.  Actually, no it wouldn’t.  Its author would be savaged for making such a ridiculous suggestion.
Re the location no-one can know the answer to this but if pressured I would offer a suggestion.  The 1st Bn ammunition waggon was behind (i.e. west of) the 1st Bn tents.  The Boys’ station in a battle would be there to assist the QM in handing out ammunition.  The 1st Bn kitchens were in the same area.  The cattle herd was south of the 1st Bn tents.  Where they were slaughtered would be closer to the camp and therefore in the proximity of where the Boys were stationed.  
That is the best I can suggest as to why the Boys were seen where they were.

(KATE) The statistics and numbers I put forward in the other thread are known quantities and therefore can not be disputed. If other evidence or more witnesses come to light in the future then I will re visit my ideas but this is the information we have at the moment and what we must work with. No 'ifs' 'might' and 'maybe'

(US)    I find it hard to believe you persist in writing this.  Can you not see that these numbers (‘1%’ and ‘those involved’ are not analogous?
Imagine an international boxing match in France attended by 3,500 people at which as an assault takes place at noon in one of the exits when the thing finishes.  32 letters appear in British papers the following week from attendees’ relatives who’d witnessed the event.  3 people witness the assault, 20 see the bloody-nosed victim after the attack, and 9 see the blood at the scene of the crime a bit later.  First the police try to find how many people actually saw the assault take place.  By a process of elimination they work out how many people used that particular exit and at that particular moment.  Then they find out how many relatives had received letters from attendees, then how many of them sent letters to papers and how many editors decided to print them.  
I have never been a policeman by profession and I would never presume to advise anyone on police matters but one thing I do know is that no P.C. Plod would EVER say of that situation that less than 1% (32) of those involved (3,500) witnessed the assault and therefore it never happened.  Simply because the two figures are not analogous.

(KATE) Reading through your post (and I’m perfectly calm as I write this) I'm afraid your equations just do not add up with one error compounding and confusing the next to ultimatly leave an incorrect conclusion.

(US)    You’re missing the point that your basic premise is erroneous and will deliberately skew the figures.

(KATE) I have nothing against you personally but I do disagree with your theory and have given creditable evidence to show its flaws.

(US)    Not theory.  Proof.  
You say your evidence is all entirely CREDITABLE.  I think you must mean CREDIBLE.  Either way, in re-reading all your above text we cannot find that you have supplied a single piece of evidence to back up your theories, let alone any which might reveal flaws in our proof.    You may believe you have, but, as Oliver Cromwell once said, “Merely because one wishes to believe in a thing, it does not follow that it is true.”


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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyTue Mar 07, 2023 7:24 pm

Dear Julian
If you would kindly remove all of the arrogant, pedantic, condescending and patronising remarks from your post then I will be happy to respond and point out the historical inaccuracies.
Kate
(and there is no need to be so paranoid, it is just me. I am not working with anybody else; no one is influencing me, nor am I acting on behalf of anyone else.)
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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyWed Mar 08, 2023 7:20 am

I have no wish to convince or persuade you of anything. There is no point in debating it with you.  I just wanted to ensure that the occasional interested visitors to this forum can see ALL the evidence, all the facts, all the primary sources clearly stated, and can make up their own minds.


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Coldsteel




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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyWed Mar 08, 2023 11:13 am

This has been a fascinating, albeit obviously frustrating at times for the participants, discussion to watch.

I think it's quite clear that something more than post battle mutilation occurred at Isandlwana even if we can all agree that it wasn't something most Zulus indulged in as a matter of course.

One point I have to make is that the idea of soldiers mistaking lamb or beef carcasses for dead boys/comrades/apprentice bandsmen is quite possibly the weakest element of this whole debate. I know that a few historians have said this in published works but it's really not a compelling suggestion. I understand that these arguments come from a well intentioned and progressive place but they seem to fly in the face of facts.

Anyway, thank you all for the in depth and interesting analysis.
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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyWed Mar 08, 2023 11:25 am

cold steel
Thank you. I'm glad someone has benefited from it. There is a lot more that could be posted - the evidence from the 24th ORs in the rearguard for example. Space and maintaining interest levels are paramount but if you'd like to see it, you can pm me and I'll direct you to the sources.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyWed Mar 08, 2023 12:19 pm

coldsteel
I'm glad you have enjoyed reading the two linked threads about whether the Zulu army tortured the British soldiers at iSandlwana (which was the theme of the initial thread.)
Just a couple of final points

What is crucial when attempting to understand the intracacies of the battle of iSandlwana is actually visiting the battlefield. The topographical nature of the landscape is deceptive and cannot be accurately examined from the comfort of an armchair by simply studying photographs and accounts.
I have been fortunate enough to have been there numerous times and have experienced it at different times of the year and in different weather conditions and light levels. Attempting to write accurate historical narratives about the battle, especially where topography is such a crucial part of the story, is impossible without having visited the battlefield.
I know Julian has never been, and I'm not sure if you have, coldsteel, but if not I would recommend to anyone who has not visited the sites to go as soon as possible as the political climate is changing and the number of places where accommodation is available is declining.

And can I just bring to your attention to this extract from a letter written by Private Thomas Jackson G Company 1-24th and published in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on the 8th April 1879:-

".....  the Zulu women came out in great force  - they were almost without number - and assagaied over again all or soldiers who were already killed. They did this because they feared our soldiers would get up again to fight, for they say that the English buglers can call the English dead soldier to life again. When they get hold of our buglers they tear them to pieces and burn them, so as to be sure they can never again blow their bugles to raise the dead soldier to life again"

The important piece here is the first sentence. The appearance of third party non combatants after the battle has finished and the treatment inflicted on the corpses of the soldiers, if true, means that all of the evidence  supplied by those in Lord Chelmsford's column who arrived in the evening is worthless as they had no way of proving what was done by the Zulu army during the battle when the men were still alive and what happened to the bodies afterwards.

If you don't have a copy of 'Anatomy of the Zulu Army' by Ian Knight , I can send you the relevant pages that relate to the  body parts that were used by the inyanga as intelezi (medicine). Its a bit grim to put on the forum but will help when reading the acounts where soldiers mutilated corpses are described.
Anyway thanks once again.
Kate
(note Private Jackson was G  company 1-24th who were at Helpmakaar with A company so would not have visited the battlefield. There is however the possibility that he would have spoken to survivors afterwards)
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PostSubject: Re: BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW   BOYS’ DEATHS AT ISANDHLWANA – A FUNDAMENTAL FLAW EmptyWed Mar 08, 2023 2:33 pm

Thanks for posting the Jackson letter. The question has to be asked how would any survivors that Jackson might have spoken to have known anything about what happened on the battlefield after they had left it? It's impossible.
The same is true with regard to anyone he spoke to from Chelmsford's Reconnaissance - no-one in the reaguard mentioned women on the field post-battle; no-one in the rearguard would have allowed such a thing to happen. It's ludicrous.
I have no doubt that women did come out on to the field but not until well after Chelmsford's men had moved away and certainly unbeknown to Pte. Jackson.
And one doesn't need to traipse over the field of battle to realize it.
Today happens to be the 50th anniversary of my first visit to Brecon Museum to read and copy the hand-written accounts there and to see Pulleine's message. It's a pity that so much has gone missing in that time.
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