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 Siege of Eshowe

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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyFri Mar 13, 2009 8:41 pm

No.1 Column of the British invasion force, under Colonel Charles Pearson, had been ordered to establish an advanced base at Eshowe before continuing the advance upon Ulundi. The force crossed the Tugela River from Natal into Zululand on 12 January 1879. The advance was smooth and steady until 22 January, when a Zulu force attempted to bar their way. The British were camped about 4 miles south of the Inyezane River, which they had crossed the previous day, beneath a steep ridge with three spurs leading down towards the river, and surrounded by scrub. A prominent knoll sat about halfway, and a small kraal near the left of the crest.

Shortly after 08:00 a small number of Zulus appeared near the knoll on the ridge, and a company of the Natal Native Contingent (NNC), under Lieutenant Hart, were sent up the spur after them. While this company gave chase a mass of Zulus appeared over the crest of the ridge and began pouring downwards. These men were the left "horn" of a 6,000 strong force, dispatched at the same time as the army that engaged the British at Isandlwana, who were preparing just over the crest, to attack the British camp. This left horn had been prompted into a premature attack by the advance of Lieutenant Hart's company, and in the face of this advance the NNC fled, leaving their European officers and NCOs to make a fruitless stand before being swept aside. As soon as Hart and his men began firing, the camp prepared for defence, forming a hasty firing line. A naval company and two companies of Buffs with a Gatling gun and 7-pounders moved up to the knoll, opening up across the advancing Zulu column. Thus, when the Zulus emerged from scrub and began their assault on the camp, they were taking heavy fire on both their flank and front of their force. The Zulus wavered and then withdrew the way they had come.

While the left horn was being repulsed, the rest of the Zulu impi appeared over the crest. The kraal was taken, and switching their guns to focus on it, the force previously attacking the left horn's flank advanced up the slope and captured the kraal. This position allowed the British to move the Gatling gun onto the crest where its rapid fire soon drove the Zulus off the centre and left end of the ridge, as the British mounted troops came up the right-hand spur to complete the action. The successful counter-attack resulted in 10 British killed and 16 wounded. The Zulu impi withdrew with 350 killed.

Pearson continued his march unhindered and the following day reached the mission fort near Eshowe at 28°54′28.7″S 31°27′41″E / 28.907972°S 31.46139°E / -28.907972; 31.46139 (Fort Nongqwayi), 2,000 feet above sea level. Eshowe consisted of a deserted church, school and the house of a Norwegian missionary. Low hills surrounded it about a quarter of a mile away to the north, east and west, but to the south the Indian Ocean could be seen. Pearson sent a group of empty wagons, with escorts, to collect fresh supplies from the Lower Drift while the rest of his force began entrenching themselves. The next day, 24 January, bore a disturbing message for Pearson—Col.Durnford's No. 2 column had been wiped out in the Middle Drift, leaving the Lower Drift behind Eshowe in grave danger. If the Zulus took the lower drift, Eshowe would be cut off and there would be nothing between the Zulu Army and Natal.

Two days later, Lord Chelmsford contacted Pearson. Without giving any details of the disaster at Isandlwana he informed him that all previous orders were cancelled, and that he was to take such as action as he thought fit to preserve his column, including withdrawal from Eshowe if necessary. If he withdrew, he was to hold the bridgehead at the Lower Drift, but he might be attacked by the whole Zulu Army. Pearson had no precise information on the whereabouts of the enemy, and although his defences around the mission would soon be complete, it was not an ideal position to defend. His force was good for ammunition, but other supplies were insufficient and the general consensus of his subordinates was to pull back to the Lower Drift. The decision to stay was settled on when news arrived of the return of the supply wagons, with five further companies as reinforcement from the Lower Drift.

The fort enclosing the mission was roughly rectangular, 200 yards long and 50 yards wide, with loopholed walls 6 feet high, and was surrounded by a broad ditch in which sharpened sticks were embedded. A second line of defence, should the outer rampart fall, was formed by laagering the wagons inside the walls. A horse and cattle kraal was constructed, as was an abattis, and a field of fire was cleared all round out to 800 yards. The garrison numbered 1,300 soldiers and sailors, plus 400 wagoners.

The appearance of large bodies of Zulu on the surrounding hills on 2 February, although they retreated under shelling from the 7-pounders, compelled Pearson to request reinforcements. A week later, he learned for the first time the full extent of the centre column's defeat at Isandlwana and was told that no reinforcements could be made. Pearson was on his own, but could still withdraw. Pearson considered withdrawing part of his garrison, if Chelmsford agreed, but receiving no response and no further runners, it became clear that Eshowe was now completely cut off.

February passed with no Zulu attack, save for sniping attacks and skirmishes between patrols. The beginning of March led Pearson to attack a kraal 7 miles away, to keep the soldiers from idling. The next day a heliograph was spotted signalling from Fort Pearson and a makeshift apparatus allowed Eshowe to reply. The garrison learnt that a relief force would depart the Lower Drift on 13 March and that they were to advance to the Inyezane to meet it. This was cheering news for the garrison, with rations running low and sickness having killed 20 men. A few days later another message delayed the relief column until 1 April.
Lord Chelmsford led this column, comprising of 3,390 Europeans and 2,280 Africans to relieve the forces at Eshowe. The force had a range of artillery, including two 9-pounders, four 24-pounder rocket tubes and two Gatling guns. The progress was slow, as in addition to taking a roundabout route to avoid ambush, the rivers they had to traverse were swollen by heavy rains. By the evening of 1 April, Pearson's observers at Eshowe could see the relief column laagering on the south bank of the Inyezane. The laager was sited on a 300-foot ridge running roughly west-east. West of the ridge, the ground dipped, only to rise again to the 470-foot Umisi Hill. The ground sloped away in all directions, allowing a good field of fire. A trench surrounded a waist high wall of earth, which itself encompassed 120 wagons formed a square with sides of 130 yards in length. Here the relief column fought the Battle of Gingindlovu, a British victory, before continuing on to Eshowe

On 3 April, the relief column entered Eshowe, led by the pipers of the 91st Highlanders. The two-month siege had been lifted. Chelmsford concluded that Eshowe did not need to be retained, and the laboriously constructed defences were demolished. Bivouacking on the first night after their departure from it on 6 April, Pearson's men could see that the Zulus had set Eshowe alight
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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyMon May 25, 2009 3:03 pm

Plans for the Fort Ekowe: From the London Illustrated News

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptySun Nov 21, 2010 1:39 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptySun Mar 13, 2011 2:06 am

The soldier on the far left is holding a Mk IV heliograph. The heliograph is an instrument that uses the suns rays for signalling. Heliographs were first used by the British Army in India in the 1870s. The first use of the heliograph in war seems to be in the Zulu war of 1877 to 1879.
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At Tugela, Lieutenant Haynes RE, in spite of the pessimistic discouragement of his seniors, spent a week heliographing in the direction of Fort Ekowe before he received an answer.
At the other end, Major Wynne RE had noticed the signal almost immediately, but found that shaving mirrors would not serve. He spent the week constructing a large screen which pivoted from the horizontal to the vertical, the space of time of the vertical appearances producing the elements of the morse code. Traffic passed, but Major Wynne was exhausted and became fatally ill that same day.

As a result of the Telegraph Troop's persistence, communications with the beleaguered force were established and a relief operation mounted which saved the garrison.
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90th

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PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptySun Mar 13, 2011 12:22 pm

Hi all.
The following from ' Fearful Hard Times - The siege and Relief of Eshowe , 1879 ' by Ian Castle & Ian Knight .

'' Monday 3 rd March , broke wet and misty . This was a bitter disappointment to the garrison , who were eagerly awaiting
the renewal of the signals from the Thukela. The garrison's own signalling equipment was non - existent ; although the British
Army had adopted the Heliograph by that time , a relatively sophisticated apparatus which reflected sunlight and flashed messages
by morse code that could be read at considerable distance , there were none with Pearson's column , Nor , indeed , were there any
at the Lower Drift , since Chelmsford's army seems to have embarked on the zulu campaign without any thought to signalling procedure . This may have been a consequence of the lack of home government support , but it condemned his troops in the field
to test their ingenuity improvising signalling equipment without any appropriate materials '' .
cheers 90th Idea .
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90th

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PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptySun Mar 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Hi All.
Forgot to add the PROPER Heliographs were only shipped to Sth Africa with the reinforcements after Isandlwana , and were
only used during the 2nd Invasion.
cheers 90th Idea
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyTue Apr 26, 2011 3:03 pm

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90th

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PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyFri Apr 29, 2011 4:18 am

Hi all.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Zulu-War-Relief-Ekowe-breaking-up-Laager-1879-print-/330542083262?pt=UK_art_prints_GL&hash=item4cf5d7ecbe

cheers 90th.
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyTue May 31, 2011 6:37 pm

Hi All

I first saw this New view on another forum site.

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From Google earth

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J.J.Meyer



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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyThu Jun 02, 2011 7:24 am

War graves can be seen in Google Earth a short distance away from the position above.

Go to: 28Deg 53'41.03"S, 31Deg 29'46.45"E
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyThu Jun 02, 2011 3:56 pm

That’s is excellent. Still the same shape. Unbelievable!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyMon Jun 06, 2011 5:32 am

I was there last fall and unfortunately, the fort is extremely overgrown and not being taken care of. When we were there, we talked to a caretaker for the mission graveyard there (lower left on the Googlearrth picture). When we mentioned the Fort and what bad shape it was in, he said "what fort?" - very sad.

DSL
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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyFri Jun 17, 2011 8:23 pm

HANSARD April 1879 → 22 April 1879 → Commons Sitting → QUESTIONS.
SOUTH AFRICA—THE ZULU WAR—DESPATCHES.—QUESTIONS.

HC Deb 22 April 1879 vol 245 cc833-5 833
§MR. W. E. FORSTER I hope, Sir, I may be allowed to anticipate the usual order of the Questions, and ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he can satisfy the anxiety of the House by giving us the actual official information received by the Government to-day from the Cape?

§SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH The telegram has already been published in the Press this afternoon by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Secretary of State for War; but probably the House will desire me to read it. I have also a telegram addressed to myself from Government House, Capo Town, giving information on other points. I will read it first, as it is the shorter one. It is dated Cape Town, April 7th, 1879— No news from High Commissioner's camp since last mail. Postmaster at Pietermaritzburg telegraphed to Under Colonial Secretary, Cape Town, 4th April: High Commissioner and Staff 30 miles beyond Newcastle, on road to Standerton, 31st March; all well. Lord Chelmsford has successfully relieved Ekowe, and brought away garrison safely. Relieving force under Lord Chelmsford left Fort Tenedos 29th March. Attacked by enemy, about 12,000 strong, at Gingihlovo, 2nd April; completely defeated them. General continued march to Ekowe with part of column; reached it 3rd April. I understand particulars of engagement have been telegraphed by Sir Henry Bulwer. That telegram I will read shortly— Colonel Hopton, Fort Tenedos, telegraphs to me, 6th April—General and Staff all well. Pearson and Ekowe garrison now encamped 15 miles hence, and will come here to-morrow. Transport Clyde wrecked off Dyer's Island and sunk; all on board safe and unhurt; troops taken on board Her Majesty's ship Tamar; proceed to Durban to-day; all other Infantry re-inforcements landed at Durban; also 17th Lancers by England. Loss of Puller's men at Hlobane less than newspapers reported. Telegram from Maritzburg, 3 p.m. to-day, states: General, Commodore, and Staff arrived at Fort Pearson noon to-day. Then there is a telegram from the Colonial Secretary, Cape Town, to myself, dated 7th April 1879— The Lieutenant Governor of Natal, Sir Henry Bulwer, desires me to communicate the following message, which he has received from Colonel Hopton, at Fort Pearson, Tugela River:—'I am directed by Lord Chelmsford to send the following communication:—The re- 834 lieving column under Lord Chelmsford formed laager near Gingihlovo on the afternoon of the 1st April. Very heavy rain throughout evening and night. At 6 a.m. on the 2nd, Zulus attacked laager, on each side in succession—two distinct forces employed. Enemy advanced in most courageous manner, but never got within 20 yards of shelter trench. At 7.30 a.m. the attack was repulsed, and the enemy retired precipitately, followed for some miles by mounted Infantry and Natives under Barrow and Barton, and Nettleton's regiment of Natal contingent. Sabres of the mounted Infantry did great execution. The fight was witnessed from Ekowe, and Colonel Pearson, flashing signals, congratulated General on success. Casualties—Lieutenant Johnson, Privates J. Smith and Lawrence, 99th, Private R. Marshall, 91st, and Private J. J. Pratt, 60th Rifles, killed. Colonel Northey, 60th Rifles, and Dr. Longfield, of Her Majesty's ship Tenedos, dangerously wounded. Major Barrow, of the 19th Hussars, and Captain Hinxman, 57th, slightly wounded. Twenty soldiers and sailors wounded; one Native killed, and 10 wounded. There were 471 bodies of Zulus counted within 1,000 yards of the laager. The long grass and bushes helped their approach and assisted their retreat. Total loss must have been double. Portions of 11 regiments are known to have taken part—viz., Ngoxamonosi, Uvemmsityu, Unambonambu, Zulwana, Nokenka, Nodwena, and others. Prisoners state that 195 companies were engaged, which, at 60 men each, would give 11,000. Dabulmanzu, mounted, led the final attack. Somapo was in chief command. Lord Chelmsford intends to abandon Ekowe, both roads being very difficult of approach. He will establish a permanent post on the coast road. Gingihlovo laager will be reduced to permit its being held by a garrison. The General goes to Ekowe to-morrow with three regiments and carts. Prisoners state that messengers arrived yesterday with news of Colonel Wood's victory on the 29th. Since the foregoing message was received, further intelligence has arrived from the Natal Government that Lord Chelmsford has relieved Colonel Pearson at Ekowe, and has returned with the whole garrison to his camp.
§MR. W. E. FORSTER May I ask, in regard to the news which has appeared in the different newspapers as to the battle at Luneberg with Colonel Wood's division, and which leaves some doubt, as to whether it is a new attack, or whether it is a more detailed account of the attack of which we have already heard?
§COLONEL STANLEY I have not compared the telegram in the newspapers with the official account; but I am inclined to think, and I have reason to believe, that it refers to the attack of which we have already heard.
§ Afterwards,

§COLONEL STANLEY said: With the permission of the House, I would wish 835 to supplement the statement of my right hon. Friend (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). I was under the impression that the telegram I received was the same as that sent to the Colonial Office; but I find this is not so. I have received this morning from Colonel Bellairs, the Deputy Adjutant General at Durban, the following telegram:— Intelligence of important victories gained by Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Wood having reached me, have taken it upon myself to arrange for mail to leave Cape Town one day earlier, and to call specially at St. Vincent, enabling you to receive the news earlier than viâ Madeira. Colonel Wood's despatches state that on the 29th Inhlobani successfully attacked. Some thousand cattle taken by mounted Corps and Natives; but Zulus, 20,000 strong, coming up, we suffered considerable losses, and cattle were re-taken. Weatherley's corps cut up and all killed, with the exception of Captain Denison and a few men; also three fives Frontier Horse, under Captain Barton, Coldstream Guards, only seven escaping. Eleven officers and 80 men are returned killed, including Captains Campbell and Barton, Coldstream Guards; Lieutenant Williams, 58th; Colonel Weatherley, Captain Rice Hamilton, Lieutenants Von Steiten, Cronlys, Pool, and Weatherley; and Messrs. Piet Uys and Lloyd, of Colonial Corps. Colonel Wood's horse killed under him on 29th. The Zulu Army, the regiment of which had come from Ulundi, attacked Kambulama camp. Action commenced 1.30 p.m.; lasted four hours; enemy driven off, and pursued by mounted troops seven miles. Their loss very heavy, 500 bodies lying close into camp; 300 fire-arms, including several Martini-Henry rifles, picked up. Enemy advanced close up, some even penetrating into cattle laager. Our casualties, 80 killed, two wounded. Lieutenants Nicolson, R.A., and Bright, 90th, killed; Major Hackett and Lieutenant Smith, 90th, dangerously wounded; Captains Gardner, 14th Hussars, Cox and Persse, 13th Foot, slightly wounded. Natives nearly all deserted. Unymana, King's Minister, and chief commander, did not come under fire. The remainder of the telegram is what my right hon. Friend has read.
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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyWed Aug 17, 2011 10:23 am

An interesting and lengthy report by Lt. W.N. Lloyd.
Apologies if this had been posted previously.


Link
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ciscokid



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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyWed Aug 17, 2011 9:25 pm

Window Making War - this is a really good book that details what was going on at Eshowe,
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90th

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Location : Melbourne, Australia

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PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyFri Aug 19, 2011 4:59 am

Hi Ciscokid.
Widow Making War is a good insight into the Eshowe part of the Invasion but for much more detail you cant go past
'' Fearful Hard Times ' by Ian Knight and Ian Castle . This can be picked up fairly cheaply on - line or ebay . I will post a link afterwards .
cheers 90th . Idea


Last edited by 90th on Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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90th

90th

Posts : 10158
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 64
Location : Melbourne, Australia

Siege of Eshowe Empty
PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyFri Aug 19, 2011 5:08 am

For those who may be interested.

http://www.amazon.com/Fearful-Hard-Times-Relief-Eshowe/dp/1853671800/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313726479&sr=1-1

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?bt.x=35&bt.y=14&sts=t&tn=fearful+hard+times

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=fearful+hard+times&x=36&y=11

Some inexpensive copies here .
cheers 90th . Idea
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ciscokid



Posts : 187
Join date : 2010-02-04

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe EmptyFri Aug 19, 2011 11:12 am

90th wrote:
Hi Ciscokid.
Widow Making War is a good insight into the Eshowe part of the Invasion but for much more detail you cant go past
'' Fearful Hard Times ' by Ian Knight and Ian Castle . This can be picked up fairly cheaply on - line or ebay . I will post a link afterwards .
cheers 90th . Idea

Cheers mate - I'll look to add it to my collection.

many thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe   Siege of Eshowe Empty

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