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Film Zulu quote: Reverend Otto Witt: One thousand British soldiers have been massacred. While I stood here talking peace, a war has started.
 
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 How did he know he was dead.

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littlehand

littlehand

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How did he know he was dead. Empty
PostSubject: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyWed Jan 20, 2010 10:19 pm

Extract From Lieutenant Curling to Officer Commanding No. 8. Helpmakaar, January 26, 1879. Court of Inquiry

“Shortly after this. I again saw Lieutenant Coghill, who told me Colonel Pulleine had been killed.

How did Coghill know Pulleine was dead? He was one of the first to leave the field.
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old historian2

old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyWed Jan 20, 2010 10:43 pm

This is the second statement posted by Curling, The first being the cease-fire and now this. And again no one else mentions it. I have read the book letters from Curling, and it is apparent that he was suffering from Posttraumatic stress syndrome. Even though it wasn’t recognised in 1879.

If you look at all the statements made at the court of enquiry, curling statement is very short compared to the rest, could he have been suffering memory lost, trying to blank out the memories of that awful day. I think he was just saying what they wanted to here and that being the mistakes made during the battle. (Like Cease Firing) Like springbok9 says (Why)
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Dave

Dave

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyWed Jan 20, 2010 11:06 pm

Actually his evidence was dismissed as irrelevant to the court of inquiry and he never again spoke about his Zulu War experiences. He died on New Year’s Day 1910. Once again (Why)

Dave.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyWed Jan 20, 2010 11:37 pm

I have never read this book. Is it just letters that he sent about everyday life in SA.
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptyThu Jan 21, 2010 4:15 am

hi littlehand.
THE CURLING LETTERS OF THE ZULU WAR - '" There was awful slaughter "
edited by A. Greaves and B. Best.
Starts off with his first posting in 1869 to Gibraltar.
Finishes in SA 1880. It is basically his letters home to family , with periods of writings by
Greaves and Best. I have it and thought it an interesting read.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyThu Jan 21, 2010 5:33 am

PMT could well be an explanation for some of the statements from Curling, on the otherhand it could be a ruse to discard some very important evidence. Curling made statements that put Goghill in the wrong place at the wrong time, the cease fire, and probably more importantly the position that the gun caririges ended up. History has proved him correct on the guns, why not the rest?
His letters provide a small portion of the time line that links the front line and the right horn.

regards
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 1:45 am

hi all.
This from a zulu war historian.

" Coghill was NOT one of the first to leave , someone - Glynn"s groom I think says that Coghill advised him to leave when
the zulus were in the camp , as everything was collapsing around them . Coghill must have gone about the same time. In fact
the Imperial officers seem to be about the last to leave. Coghill left before Melvill . Melvill one of the last to leave .
Had Coghill seen Pulliene killed by that stage ?, who knows . We dont know when Pulleine was killed , the most likely
scenario is he was killed with some of the stands on the Nek. Someone claims to have seen his body there . If so it is
concievable that , if he were taking part , he was killed early among these groups . Coghill may have seen it of course ,
Coghill may have seemed very short -hand - There wasnt time under the circumstances to expand the details . And he
also may have meant that he saw Pulleine go off with the men on foot - He wont be coming out . Or its possible Coghill
was excusing his own presence among the survivors by saying that Pulleine was already dead , and implying there was
no point in himself remaining "

I have listed this before , the chap who said he saw Pulleine"s body was " Capt Offy Shepstone , searching over the ground
where he remembered having noticed some bodies lying on the night that C"fords column bivouacked on the night of 22nd
Jan, at the mouth of the Nek in the rear of the camp, stumbled on the corpses of Col"s Durnford and Pulleine, and also that
of Lt. Durrant- Scott of the N.C. The bodies of these 3 officers were surronded by corpses of Carbineers , NMP a few Royal
Artillerymen and other Imperial and Colonial Vltr Units. This from THE TRAGEDY AND GLAMOUR OF THE ZULU WAR
by W. H CLEMENTS.
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 4:50 am

90th
Beg to differ about Coghill. He was spotted 'a half mile ahead' by Smith Dorean and Brickhill. At that point Mellvill had been spotted by them. Therefore Coghill had left sifficiently earlier so he could have put 1/2 mile gap, over really bad terrain, thats quite a time frame. Coghill had earlier commmented that Pullein was dead and yet Mellvill, way behind, had been entrusted by the self same Pullein with the colors.
Now go back to consider the number of officers that SD and B spotted on the trail, we know from other issues that Curling left much later, so take into consideration the people he also spotted on the trail. All indicates really that there was a hang of a lot of people behind Coghill.
That rings bells for me.
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 9:22 am

hi sprinbok9
I agree with you , Coghill left before Melvill but I dont think he left as early as some say , S.D"s comments you
must remember were made 50 odd years after the event , he never spoke of the zulu war as far as I"m aware
untill he wrote his book. Glynne"s groom or one of the survivors says Coghill told him to leave or he will be killed.
The zulus were already in the camp according to his evidence , makes sense that Coghill left about the same time .
Also Coghill had crossed the river and managed to see Melvill was in trouble and decided to re - enter the river to help.
So I dont know about the half mile start !. Or possibly Melvill managed to proceed quicker and catch up to Coghill. We
dont have any foolproof evidence that Pulleine told Melvill to save the colours , he could have decided himself that
the situation was untenable and left. This is what we like healthy discusson . :lol!:
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 10:22 am

90th
I agree would be nice to be at Isandlawana today. About Coghill. Fair comment about SD,s age when his memoirs were published, we will never know when they were written though. Consider that he was an amazing man throughout his career I would back his recall of major events. Especially when he was with Mellville at the time he spotted Coghill "half a mile ahead", at the time they were going through a Marshy patch so I would assume it was on Mpethe.
We do know that Coghills horse was stabbed during his flight and so was probably not as sprightly as SD's and Mellvills'.
We also know that approx 5 miles along the trail he was overtaken by Curling and Major Smith, it was suggested by Curling they gather the troops and make a fight of it.
They all met up on the descent to the gorge, Coghill telling SD to 'get on with it" and being rebuked by Smith.
Id therefore take the risk of assuming that Coghill on a slow injured horse left a considerable time before the rest.

Regards
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ADMIN

ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 10:14 pm

I believe Higginson made the first mention of Coghill being with Melvill when he and Melvill were swept off coffin rock and Coghill returned to help.
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Mr Greaves

Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:06 pm

Admin, But there are quite a few eyewitness accounts that Melville and Coghill were seen on the trail. So I don't understand your post.

G
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:10 pm

I echo your comments Mr Greaves, there were statements regarding them being seen on the trail. Curling being one of them. sorry Admin.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:15 pm

I’m with Mr G. And CTSG on this one. In-fact I’m a bit lost. I have seen the statements.

Extract From Lieutenant Curling to Officer Commanding No. 8. Helpmakaar, January 26, 1879. Court of Inquiry

“Shortly after this. I again saw Lieutenant Coghill, who told me Colonel Pulleine had been killed.”

Dave.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:25 pm

Dave. Don’t worry I’m confused to. I have also read the eyewitness accounts. And most of them say they saw Melvill and Coghill. I’m not to sure as to weather or not they left together, but in the film Zulu Dawn they were depicted as leaving at the same time. (Just wonder where the producers got their material from, must have been from the Zulu History books) Events based on facts.
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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:36 pm

Gentleman. I never said they weren’t seen on the trail. I'm saying Higginson was the first one to mention seeing Coghill and Melville together.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:41 pm

I will have to spend some time going back through the accounts.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 22, 2010 11:48 pm

'R.Glyn Colonel' Report Sir, I have the honor to report that on the 22nd January last, when the camp of Isandlwanha was attacked by the enemy, the Queen’s Color of 1st Battalion 24th Regiment was in the camp - the Headquarters and five companies of the regiment being there also.

From all the information I have been since able to obtain, it would appear that when the enemy had got into the camp, and when there was no longer any hope left of saving it, the Adjutant of the 1/24th Regiment, Lt. Teignmouth Melville, departed from the camp on horseback carrying the Color with him in hope of being able to save it.

The only road to Rorke’s Drift being already in possession of the enemy, Lt. Melville and the few others who still remained alive, struck across country for the Buffalo river, which it was necessary to cross to reach a point of safety. In taking this line, the only one possible ground had to be gone over, which, from its ruggedness and precipitous nature, would, under ordinary circumstances, it is reported, be deemed almost utterly impassable for mounted men. During a distance of about six (6) miles, Lt. Melville and his companions were closely pursued or more properly speaking, accompanied, by a large number of the enemy, who, from their well-known agility in getting over rough ground, were able to keep up with our people though the latter were mounted. So that the enemy kept up a constant fire on them, and sometimes even got close enough to assegai the men and horses.

Lt. Melville reached the bank of the Buffalo and at once plunged in, horse and all. But being encumbered with the Color, which is an awkward thing to carry even on foot, and the river being full and running rapidly, he appears to have got separated from his horse, when he was about half way across. He still however held on resolutely to the Color, and was being carried down stream when he was washed against a large rock in the middle of the river. Lt. Higginson of the Natal Native Contingent, who had also lost his horse in the river, was clinging to this rock, and Lt. Melville called to him to lay hold of the Color.

This Lt. Higginson did, but the current was so strong that both officers, with the Color, were again washed away into still water.

In the meantime Lt.Coghill 1/24th Regiment, my Orderly Officer who had been left in camp that morning when the main body of the force moved out, on account of a severe injury to his knee which rendered him unable to move without assistance, had also succeeded in gaining the river's bank in company with Lt. Melville. He too had plunged at once into the river, his horse had carried him safely across but on looking round for Lt. Melville and seeing him struggling to save the Color in the river, he at once turned his horse and rode back into the stream again to Lt. Melville’s assistance. It would appear that now the enemy had assembled in considerable force along their own bank, and had opened a heavy fire on our people directing it more especially on Lt. Melville who wore a red patrol jacket, so that when Lt. Coghill got into the river again his horse was almost immediately killed by a bullet.

Lt. Coghill was thus cast loose in the stream also, and notwithstanding the exertions of both these gallant officers, the Color was carried off from them, and they themselves gained the bank in a state of extreme exhaustion. It would appear that they now attempted to move up the hill from the river bank towards Helpmakaar, but must have been too much exhausted to go on, as they were seen to sit down to rest again.

This, I sorely regret to say, was the last time these two most gallant officers were seen alive. It was not for some days after the 22nd that I could gather any information as to the probable fate of these officers. But immediately I discovered in what direction those who had escaped from Isandlwanha had crossed the Buffalo I sent, under Major Black 2/24 Regt. a mounted party who volunteered for this service, to search for any trace that could be found of them. This search was successful and both bodies were found where they were last seen, as above illustrated. Several dead bodies of the enemy were found about there, so that they must have sold their lives dearly at the last.

As it was considered that the dead weight of the Color would cause it to sink in the river, it was hoped that a diligent search in the locality where the bodies of these officers were found might lead to its recovery. So Major Black again proceeded on the 4th inst. to prosecute this search. His energetic efforts were, I am glad to say, crowned with success, and the Color with the ornaments, case & (sic) belonging to it, were found, though in a different place, in the river bed. I cannot conclude this report without drawing the attention of H.E., the Lt. General Commanding, in the most impressive manner which words can command, to the noble and heroic conduct of Lt. Adjutant Melville, who did not hesitate to encumber himself with the Color of the Regiment, in his resolve to save it, at a time when the camp was in the hands of the enemy, and its gallant defenders rallied to the last man in its defence, and when there appeared but little prospect that any exertions Lt. Melville would make would enable him to save even his own life.

Also later on to the noble perseverance with which when struggling between life and death in the river, his chief thoughts to the last were bent on the saving of the Color. Similarly would I draw His Excellency’s attention to the equally noble and gallant conduct of Lt. Coghill, who did not hesitate for an instant to return, unsolicited, and ride again into the river, under a heavy fire of the enemy, to the assistance of his friend; though at the time he was wholly incapacitated from walking and but too well aware that any accident that might separate him from his horse must be fatal to him. In conclusion, I would add that both these officers gave up their lives in the truly noble task of endeavouring to save from the enemy’s hands the Queen’s Color of their Regiment, and greatly though their sad end is to be deplored, their deaths could not have been more noble or more full of honor.

I have the honor to be Sir Your obedient Servant signed 'R.Glyn Colonel' Commanding 3 Column
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 23, 2010 5:17 am

The first eye witness to place M and C in the same area was Major Smith descending the gorge, in fact just before he was killed, Smith Dorean Memoirs. M & C enterered the drift at different points, Mellvill crashed into the rock and lost the colors, Coghill crossed higher up in safety. The first mention in any of the accounts is of the two of them meeting when Goghill went back into the water to get Mellville and Higginson.
The main area of contention remains: Coghill saying Pulleine was dead, and theoretically, Pulleine telling Mellville to save the colors from the grave.
At least one of M &C have acted with a certain amount of disshonor, my hard eared cash is on Coghill
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90th

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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 23, 2010 6:57 am

hi springbok9.
Your comments concerning Coghill I think are a bit harsh , if he did in your eyes act in a dishonourable way , I think
he more than atoned by going back into the river to help Melvill and Higginson , when he could have quite easily
took off and left them to look after themselves . Dont forget he couldnt have left to early as he told Glynn"s groom
to get away before he was killed and the groom says " The zulus were already in the camp ", these zulus no doubt
were the right horn that had come from around the back of Isandlwana , and had already cut down Shepstone and
his NNC who were overwhelmed in a last stand on the western slope of the hill.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 23, 2010 12:59 pm

Curling was with Smith.
"I was with Maj. Smith at this time, he told me he had been wounded in the arm. We saw Lt. Coghill, the A.D.C., and asked him if we could not rally some men and make a stand, he said he did not think it could be done.

Spingbok9 It would be appricated if you could post the source to
Quote :
The first eye witness to place M and C in the same area was Major Smith

MEMORIES OF FORTY-EIGHT YEARS SERVICE
GENERAL HORACE SMITH-DORRIEN
Again I rode through unheeded, and shortly after was passed by Lieutenant Coghill (24th), wearing a blue patrol and cord breeches and riding a red roan horse. We had just exchanged remarks about the terrible disaster, and he passed on towards Fugitives' Drift. A little farther on I caught up Lieutenant Curling, R.A., and spoke to him, pointing out to him that the Zulus were all round and urging him to push on, which he did. My own broken-kneed transport pony was done to a turn and incapable of rapid progress.
The ground was terribly bad going, all rocks and boulders, and it was about three or four miles from camp to Fugitives' Drift. When approaching this Drift, and at least half a mile behind Coghill, Lieutenant Melvill (24th), in a red coat and with a cased Colour across the front of his saddle, passed me going to the Drift.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 23, 2010 2:38 pm

Hi Pete

Sorry getting terribly confused, The first account of M & C being close was at the drift (Higginson)

90th

I mean no disrespect and apologise if my comments are harsh but shurely the whole concept of this site is to exchange viewpoints theories and thoughts.
In regards to the Coghill, groom exchange. I have no doubt this took place but we do not know how it fits into the time frame.
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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 23, 2010 7:35 pm

hi springbok9.
No apology is required , this is what forums are all about , healthy , lively debate. As we can see , there
have been a lot of responses with many diving into witness accounts . " Bring it on". :lol!:
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 23, 2010 10:44 pm

Springbok9 There in no need to use this word (apologise) on this forum if you got something to say, say it. I think your posts and topics show you have a serious interest in this subject and you have no intention of being disrespectful. Like all the members on this forum, you are a valuable asset, which will help to keep the interest in the Zulu War alive.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 12:37 am

Thats what's good about this forum. Keep up the good work Springbok9.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 12:56 am

Its appears that Coghill had crossed the river, and would have been on his way, if he had not seen Melville and Higginson clinging to the rock, He saw Melville was in trouble and went back into the river to save him, This is probably the first time Coghill had seen Melville after he left Isandlwana.

What we have to remember is why they were awarded the VC.

Posthumously awarded to Melvill in 1907 for attempting to save the colours.
Posthumously awarded to Coghill in 1907 for attempting to save Melvill.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 1:00 am

Quote :
This is probably the first time Coghill had seen Melville after he left Isandlwana.
scratch

Littlehand you have lost me on this one. I thought they were together before they went into the river. Coghill made it to the otherside Melvill didn't he ended up on the rock with Higginson.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 2:06 pm

Bringing it on
The sprinbok theory.
A lot of the 'history' of the Fugitives trail and M & C in particular stems from the official history written by Captain Penn Symons, based 100% on heresay, and a statement Mr a Mr Young of the NNC.
Mr young fled Isandlawana with his NNc natives vey early on in the battle. (His statement) His statement was publish in the Illustrated London News. He said, " I saw Lt Coghill LEAVING the battle field and ASSUME he was dispatched by Col Pulleine for to summon help".
Hence a rumour starts.
Importantly he says he saw Coghill leave. That puts Coghill in for an early departure, we also know he didnt leave on his own horse. And that the horse he was riding was stabbed.
Its practically impossible to time line the departures but there are a few pointers.
The guns left the front line as it started to collapse, they drove across the camp front and over the saddle for a further distance of 400 yards ( Curling and Smith Dorrien ) they hit a gully and were abandoned, Curling is placed there as is Major Smith and also by his own statement Essex. Essex puts this time at 1.30. At this time Coghill was ahead of them. My proof for this is that Smith Dorrien arrived on the scene shortly after the guns went down and told Curling to " get on the Zulus are around". Smith Dorrien was therefore amongst the last to leave.
Mellville and Smith Dorrien met up ' negotiating a marshy area' with a clear view of at least 1/2 mile. We know this because they saw Coghill at this distance ahead of them. The only area this could alude to is the top of Mpethe ( my own observations having spent a long time on the trail ). This is 5miles from the battle field. After the crown of Mpethe there is the descent into the Mzinyathi. On this descent there sre a few commentaries. Smith Dorrien, walking his horse, Major Smith slowing to allow him to proceed and holding back Coghill. ( So Coghill has now been overtaken ) Curling witnesses the exchange ( his letters) and speaks to Coghill, hes told the Pulleine is dead.
Curling also mentions that he saw Mellville at this point.
The zulu attacked this group close to this area, Smith Dorrien was giving assistance to a wounded man, Smith chastised him. All witnessed by Curling. Major Smith was killed, Smith Dorrien lost his horse and plunged down the cliff into the water. This area is now called the Smith Dorrien Pool. Coghill and Mellvill were if not part of the group were very close to it.
They aproached the river at different places, ( Higginsons statement ) Coghill further upstream, probably at or close to the sand bank . Mellville would have been in the water when Coghill was on the Natal Bank.
The rest is in Higginsons statement................if he can be believed.
Ive spent many hours wandering the trail and the drift area , this is as close as i have managed to come to getting a time line established. And why I believe Lt Coghill was not the paragon of virtue history shows him as.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 2:21 pm

An interesting aside to this discussion is the real hero of the drift, Private Sam Wassall.
He lived at 18 Essex Street, Barrow in Furness, Next door to my Grandfather. My farther would offten tell stories of sitting on the floor in front of the fire listening to tails of the heathen savages. A great great pity my dad never got around to writing the tales down.
That was my introduction to the Zulu wars and a life long interest. Probably the only one that wasnt started by watching Michael Cain and Stanley Baker.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 4:09 pm

Springbok Good theory.

Quote :
Coghill had already reached the safety of the Natal shore but, seeing Melvill and Higginson helpless in the river and attracting Zulu fire, turned back to help them.

Do you think he would have gone back if Melvill or Higginson had been on their own. Or would there have been concern regarding witnesses on Coghills part. ie leaving brother officers.

Dave.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 4:51 pm

A Lieut. Walter Higginson, of 1/3rd Natal Native Contingent, has left an account of what followed. He had also been precipitated into the flood-waters,

Quote :
And states that as Melvill drifted down towards him he called out to him to catch hold of the colour-pike, which he -- Higginson -- did, but the force of the current dragged him off his feet and off the rock to which he tenuously clung, but fortunately into calmer water. To continue in his own words, "Coghill, who had got his horse over alright came riding back down the bank to help Melvill, and as he put his mount in close to us, some Zulus who were about twenty-five yards distant on the other bank commenced firing at us in the water. Almost the first shot killed Coghill's horse, and on his getting clear we started for the Natal bank and managed to get out alright, but when we had covered about a hundred yards up the steep bank we noticed two Zulus following us. When they got within thirty' yards of us, Melvill and Coghill fired at them with their revolvers and killed them both. I myself was without arms of any kind, having lost my rifle in the river and did not possess a revolver. When we had gone a few yards further, Melvill said he could go no further and Coghill said the same. When they stopped I pushed on, and on reaching the top of the hill I found four Basutos in whose company I finally escaped by holding on to a horse's tail."



Barker. ( Not sure about Higginson at all) Is this also the same Higginson who deserted from Rorkes Drift as well. ?)


"Barker found his still-saddled horse, his fresh horse was writhing in its death throes, and joined a couple of comrades in riding to where they thought there would be a rallying point on the Nek. Here they were met by an overwhelming force of Zulus. Turning back into the camp, Barker and a companion followed the direction that they had seen an artillery carriage go. This was the only point that the Zulus had not yet closed and led to what later became known at the Fugitive’s Trail.

Chased for six miles over extremely rugged terrain, the mounted survivors, for those on foot were soon overtaken and killed, reached the Buffalo River. This fast moving river was in full spate and many who had survived the dangers of the trail, perished beneath the swirling waters.

Barker managed to cross safely and began to climb the steep slopes on the Natal bank. Here he joined Lieutenant Charlie Raw’s Mounted Basutos, who were giving covering fire. The group then moved out of range of the Zulus on the far bank. The danger, however, was not passed, for discontented relatives of the Zulus, who lived in the vicinity, attacked the survivors as they reached the Natal bank.

Looking back, Barton saw a distant figure scrambling on foot towards them. Thinking it was a friend; Barker left his companions and rode back down the hill. The struggling figure was not his friend but Lieutenant W.C.R.Higginson, the Adjutant of 2/3rd Natal Native Contingent. He had just left Lieutenants Melvil and Coghill on the shore with a promise that he would return with horses. With the hostile natives closing, Barker insisted the officer took his exhausted horse, as it was incapable of carrying them both up the steep slope. He obtained Higginson’s promise that he would wait for him at the top of the hill. Higginson dug in his spurs and rode off to safety, while Barker struggled up the slope pursued by the same natives who had just killed Melvil and Coghill.

Meanwhile, Higginson had reached Charlie Raw and his group, who recognised Barker’s horse. Certain that Barker was now dead, Higginson told them that he had found the horse down by the river. The horse was relinquished in exchange for a spare Basuto pony and Higginson rode off to the safety of Helpmakaar, where he made his report.

Raw and his companions rode back towards the river to check for any survivors and came upon Trooper Barker still running for his life. He had been pursues for about three miles, managing to fire the occasional round to keep natives at a distance.
Within a few days the truth of Higginson’s escape and his supposedly humane gesture in searching for horses for Melvil and Coghill became well known. To avoid the shame and ignominy of his action, Higginson left Helmakaar, complete with a black eye, and quietly disappeared into obscurity."
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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 24, 2010 10:36 pm

hi pete.
I'm with you on Higginson , Not sure about him at all !. As far as I"m aware he was never at R.D.
I"m surprised he stopped at Helpmakaar and not Cape Town :lol!:
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2010 5:50 am

Im with both of you, Higginson is the original denizen in the woodpile. So much of what went on at the Drift is dependant on believing him. Problems I have with his testimony is that he says he helped them A FEW YARDS up the hill, whence M & C said they could go no further.
Its a long haul up that hill. After walking the trail, walking mind you, climbing that hill really is an effort requiring a couple of stops. And thats with the benefit of a dirt road.
I dont believe Mellville could have carried Coghill on his own that amount of distance.
David Rattray allways maintained there was another grave closer to the drift than M & C.
We tend to think about M & C in isolation, bear in mind there was a hang of a lot of people coming through that drift at that time, including Curling Smith Dorrien et al.
Hows this for a theory, Coghills unseated and floats down stream, Mellville crosses safely
sees Coghill in trouble ( damaged leg and all), dumps the colors and goes back in for Coghill. Higginson hauls himself out of the water and takes Mellvilles horse. He rides of but the horse gets shot half way up the hill. Thats when the Barker incident takes place.
Wild theory I know but it fits higginsons character more than his own version.

Kick that one around guys.

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2010 5:56 am

An additional thought, Higginson talks about m & c firing theie revolvers, Mellvills cylinder had fallen out earlier so he couldnt have fired it.............. to many inconsistences with Lt Higginson Im afraid.

Dave
Thats also a possibility.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2010 8:11 am

I think someone as all ready mentioned this on another topic, but do any members think Higginson had anything un-toward to do with the deaths of Coghill and Melvill. After all he was the last person to see them alive.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2010 8:16 am

Mr G
I wouldnt go that far. However I wouldnt trust Lt Higginson very far, his record speaks for itself. If he could blatantly leave poor Barker to his fate, what would stop him from deserting an invalid ( Coghill).
All speculation of course.

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyMon Jan 25, 2010 9:54 pm

Where would Higginson have been during the early stages of the Battle?
Would he have been with Durnford? What time do you think Higginson left the battlefield, because no one else mentions seeing him on the trail? So he must have been one, if not the first to arrive at the Buffalo.

And that’s a good point made by Springbok “ Melville’s cylinder had fallen out earlier so he couldn’t have fired”
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyThu Jan 28, 2010 9:02 pm

Was this Higginson the same person with Coghill and Melvill.

"He witnessed the aftermath of both the destruction of Isandlwana and the Zulu attack at Rorke’s Drift where, just days later, he supervised the disbandment of the Natal Native Contingent. At the same time Harford’s senior officer, Commandant Lonsdale, gave him custody of two officer deserters, Lieutenants Higginson and Stephenson; both officers had abandoned their men in action against the Zulus and the situation caused Harford some perplexing moments. "
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptyThu Jan 28, 2010 9:50 pm

The loss was over 1000, and scarce 50 of those engaged effected their escape. Among the dead were Colonel Durnford and Lieutenant Macdonald, Royal Engineers; Captain Russell and Captain Stewart Smith, Royal Artillery; Colonel Pulleine, Major White, Captains Degacher, Warden, Mostyn, and Younghusband; Lieutenants Hobson, Caveye, Atkinson, Davey, Anstie, Dyson, Porteous, Melville, Coghill; and Quartermaster Pullen of the 1st battalion 24th Regiment; and Lieutenants Pope, Austin, Dyer, Griffith, and Quartermaster Bloomfield, together with Surgeon—Major Shepheard, of the 2nd battalion 24th Regiment. A large number of British officers commanding the native contingents were also killed.


Would it be fair to say the Melville, Coghill died at the Battle of Isandlwana. (Or would it be right to say they died near the Buffalo River on the day of the battle of Isandlwana.)
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PostSubject: how did he know he was dead   How did he know he was dead. EmptyFri Jan 29, 2010 12:30 am

hi ctsg.
I think its fair to say , Melvill and Coghill died at the Battle of Isandlwana , as that is where they had come from.
In your post concerning the deceased officers , you will find that the R.E officer is Macdowell .F.H. attached
to C"ford "s staff, as opposed to Macdonald. :) .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySat Jan 30, 2010 6:13 pm

Is there ant written account as to when Higginson left Isandlwana. We have discussed the NNC fleeing the Battlefield would Higginson have been among those making for the trail. Am I right in assuming Higginson was already clinging to the rock before Melvill arrived on the scene.
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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 31, 2010 4:47 am

Hi Dave

The only written accounts I recall about Higginson are those by him of the Drift. Other accounts paraphrase his rumblings.
I dont recall any mentions of him on the trail by any other fugitive. And yes according to his own testimony he was clinging to the rock when Mellvill shouted at him to 'lay hold of the colors'. How long he had been there is at this stage any ones guess.
Considering the amount of traffic going through the drift its strange that no other mentions are made.

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PostSubject: Re: How did he know he was dead.   How did he know he was dead. EmptySun Jan 31, 2010 9:09 pm

Don't think anyone as replied to this.

Quote :
Commandant Lonsdale, gave him custody of two officer deserters, Lieutenants Higginson and Stephenson; both officers had abandoned their men in action against the Zulus

Doe's anyone know.
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