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Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:47 pm
This maybe a stupid question. But why did none of the men that escape from Isandlwana stay at Rorkes Drift. Surely there main aim when they left Isandlwana was to get to Rorkes Drift. So why pass by it.
Posts : 1095 Join date : 2009-01-14 Location : East London
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:58 pm
Extract from Captain Essex court of enquiry. Some were just to far away, and it was near impossible to get there.
I heard officers calling to their men to be steady; but the retreat became in a few seconds general, and in a direction towards the road to Rorke's Drift. Before, however, we gained the neck near the Isandlwana Hill the enemy had arrived on that portion of the field also, and the large circle he had now formed closed in on us. The only space which appeared opened was down a deep gully running to the south of the road into which we plunged in great confusion. The enemy followed us closely and kept, up with us at first on both flanks, then on our right only, firing occasionally, but chiefly making use of the assegais. It was now about 1.30 P.M. ; about this period two guns with which Major Smith and Lieutenant Curling, R.A., were returning with great difficulty, owing to the nature of the ground, and I understood were just a few seconds late. Further on the ground passed over on our retreat would at any other time be looked upon as impracticable for horsemen to descend, and many losses occurred, owing to horses falling and the enemy coming up with the riders; about half a mile from the neck the retreat had to be carried on in nearly single file, and in this manner the Buffalo River was gained at a point about five miles below Rorke's Drift. In crossing this river many men and horses were carried away by the stream and lost their lives ; after crossing the fire of the enemy was discontinued, pursuit, however, was still kept up, but with little effect, and apparently with the view of cutting us off from Rorke's Drift, The number of white men who crossed the river at this point was, as far as Icould see, about 40. In addition to these, there were a great number of natives on foot and on horseback. White men of about 25 or 30 arrived at Helpmakaar between five and six P.M., when, with the assistance of other men joined there, a laager was formed with wagons round the stores. I estimate the strength of the enemy to have been about 15,000. Their losses must have been considerable towards the end of the engagement.
I have, &c., (Signed) E. ESSEX, • Captain, 75th Regiment, Sub-Director of Transports.
Posts : 747 Join date : 2009-10-18
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:03 pm
Old H you beat me to it.
This is what Curling had to say with regards to geeting to Rorkes Drift.
"When we got on to the road to Rorke's Drift it was completely blocked up by Zulus."
Source: Chelmsford own court of enquiry.
Posts : 2580 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:25 pm
Lieutenant Adendorff stayed.
Posts : 1857 Join date : 2009-03-25
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:40 pm
Extracts from Chard's report to Queen Victoria
Several fugitives from the camp arrived, and tried to impress upon us the madness of an attempt to defend the place. Who they were I do not know, but it is scarcely necessary for me to say that there were no officers of HM Army among them.
We arrived at the commissariat store about 3.30 p.m. Shortly afterwards an officer of Durnford's Horse reported his arrival from Isandhlwana, and I requested him to observe the movements, and check the advance, of the enemy as much as possible until forced to fall back.
About 4.20 p.m. the sound of firing was heard behind the Oscarberg. The officer of Durnford's returned, reporting the enemy close upon us, and that his men would not obey his orders but were going off to Helpmakaar, and I saw them, about 100 in number, going off in that direction.
About the same time Captain Stephenson's detachment of Natal Native Contingent left us - probably most fortunately for us. I am sorry to say that their officer, who had been doing good service in getting his men to work, also deserted us. We seemed very few now all these people had gone, and I saw that our line of defence was too extended.
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:51 pm
Would anyone really have expected them to stay, after what they saw at Isandlwana? They had been to hell and back. I don’t blame them for not jumping into the fire again.
Funny how none of HM Soldiers made it to Rorkes Drift. ??
As Admiral Nelson said. England expects every man to do is duty, if they are there.
Posts : 1604 Join date : 2009-09-21
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:18 pm
I have never been to S/A,so I rely on those that have been there, to help me when needed. (Nearly all the time) Did those that escaped have to pass Rorkes Drift to get to Helpmakaar? Or is it the opposite direction.
It’s just that I noticed Dorrien Smith states he done twenty miles on foot. And I’m sure Rorkes Drift was not that far away.
From Memories of Forty-Eight Years Service
"No sooner had I achieved this than I saw that a lot of Zulus had crossed higher up and were running to cut me off. This drove me off to my left, but twenty of them still pursued for about three miles, and I managed to keep them off with my revolver. I got into Helpmakaar at sundown, having done twenty miles on foot from the river, for I almost went to Sandspruit. At Helpmakaar I found Huntley of the 10th, who had been left there with a small garrison, and also Essex, Cochrane, Curling, and Gardner, from the field of Isandhlwana, all busy placing the post in a state of defence. We could see that night the watchfires of the Zulus some six miles off, and expected them to come on and attack, but we knew later they had turned off to attack Rorke's Drift."
Posts : 7828 Join date : 2009-09-21 Age : 74 Location : Cape Town South Africa
Subject: Re: Why not stay at Rorkes Drift. Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:09 am
To get a realy good idea of the topography go to Google earth.