Lieutenant Amyatt-Burney, attached to the Dragoons, described how an unexpected tip-off from a war-weary Zulu, led to his capture;
"As we were about to move off again, a Zulu appeared coming towards us. Major Marter entered into conversation with him through an interpreter, and just as he was going away the Zulu said to the interpreter, ‘Which way is the inkos going?’ Major Marter said, ‘I am going over that hill in front’. The native said, ‘I think you had better go round that way(pointing to the right), as the wind blows from there to-day. I have had my say.’ He then turned round and walked off. The hint was promptly taken, and everyone became very keen, as Major Marter told the officers that he thought there was a very good chance of their capturing the King. We then worked due east around the hill, and after a steep climb came to a kraal three miles on. We halted a little distance off, and the Major with the interpreter rode up to the kraal, which by the way belonged to Umnyamane, who had surrendered some days before. Major Marter asked for two guides, and two young men got up immediately, and led the way to another kraal about two miles off, situated on the top of a plateau looking down into the valley of the Ngome Forest.
The aspect of the country had now changed altogether. Hitherto it had been very monotonous, nothing but a succession of undulating hills covered with rough grass, a good deal of which had been burnt; now the country was green and dotted here and there with clumps of trees, the Ngome Forest forming the back ground. On our approaching this kraal, the guides signed to Major Marter to halt his men close under the edge of the forest, and they then beckoned to him to follow them, and leading the way through a strip of wood, they pointed to a thick bush overhanging the valley about fifty yards on, signing for the Major to go on to it. This he did and perceived a kraal of twelve huts surrounded by a wattle fence, in the valley below. On his return he ordered all the men to draw their swords and leave their scabbards behind with the led horses and mules. This was to prevent the clanking of the swords giving any warning. He also told our natives to strip, so as to appear as much as possible like Zulus, and he left a Sergeant and eight men in charge of everything. This done he told the men ‘that from all he could gather the king was in the kraal below in the valley, and that his capture depended on their obeying silently and quickly any order they might receive; that they would have to lead their horses down the side of the mountain, through the forest; and that when they arrived at the edge of the bush they would have to ride about a quarter of a mile. The right troop under Lieutenant Alexander was to extend on the right side; the left troop under command of Captain Godson to extend to the left, and come up on the left of the kraal – the squadron being under the command of Captain Gibbings.
The natives were sent round by a circuitous route to the left, to cut off all chance of escape down the valley. When these preparations were completed, Major Marter told the guides to show the way, which proved a very rough one, being simply a Kaffir path. We all dismounted and advanced by single files, leading our horses down a very steep incline, strewn with rocks and stones; here and there a huge trunk of a tree barred the path; at another place there was a drop of some feet off a rock with a nasty landing; in fact to men in cold blood it would have appeared almost impossible to have got horses down at all. Eventually all reached the bottom of the hill in safety, and, though several horses slipped up, none were much damaged. The forest extended to within four hundred yards of the kraal, and there was a most convenient knoll between it and us, so that the inhabitants were unable to see anyone approaching from our side until we were quite close. Directly everyone was clear of the forest, Major Marter gave the word to mount, and he then waited for the guides, who had crawled through the long grass to see if all was right. On their return they appeared greatly excited, signing the Major to go on; and he accordingly gave the order to advance at a walk as long as we were hidden by the knoll. On arriving at the top he gave the word to gallop,and led the way himself. The ground between the forest and the kraal was rough and stony.One man came to grief through his horse putting his foot in a hole and rolling over him.
As the cavalry appeared in sight of the kraal, our natives showed themselves in the very nick of time on the other side. One shot was fired, but it is uncertain from which side. Carrying out Major Marter’s instructions we rapidly and completely surrounded the kraal. The inhabitants, who numbered twenty-three, were standing at the very narrow entrance to the enclosure and armed, some with assegais, some rifles. Major Marter dismounted and went inside the enclosure with the interpreter. Umkoosana, an induna of the Unodwengo regiment, who had stuck to Cetewayo throughout his flight from Ulundi, was told by the interpreter to show Major Marter in which hut the king was. This he did (it was the third hut to the right of the entrance) and was then told to request his majesty to step outside and show himself. The king at first refused to do so, saying he was afraid that directly he put his head out of the hut he would immediately be shot. When assured that his life was safe, he coolly asked ‘What rank does the officer hold to whom I am to surrender?’ Major Marter replied that he was the representative of the Commander-in-Chief. Mr Oftebro, the interpreter, and son of the Missionary at Ekowe, who had known Cetywayo since he was a boy, then spoke to him.
Cetywayo immediately recognised his voice, and called out to him by name, asking if it was safe for him to come out. On being assured in the affirmative he appeared crawling out of the hut in the usual Kaffir fashion, on his hands and knees. He wore a moncha made of otter-skins, and had a ringkop on his head. The upper part of his body was covered with a large red tablecloth, embroidered with green flowers, fastened from the neck in front, and hanging over his shoulders. Directly he stood up, all doubts as to his being the king were set at rest, as at a glance we could see his superiority both in appearance and carriage to all other Zulus. He looked round on everyone with the greatest scorn and stalked majestically into the middle of the kraal. Six Dragoons were immediately dismounted and told off as his guard, with loaded carbines. Cetywayo was informed that if he attempted to escape he would be immediately shot, and he was then marched outside the enclosure, while the huts were searched. Amongst the articles found were several Martini-Henry Rifles, nearly all of which belonged to the 1st 24th, a battered bugle, and a private’s glengarry cap, a few very fine assegais, including two barbed ones which belonged to the king himself, and which were found in his hut, and a double-barrelled central fire gun, which Major Marter eventually appropriated to himself, to the very great disgust of the officer who found it The Dragoons took Cetshwayo under close escort to Wolseley’s camp at oNdini; on one occasion, several of the King’s attendants suddenly tried to take advantage of the falling dusk to run away, but the Dragoons fired after them hitting two men. The king was led into camp in triumph on the last day of August 1879. For Wolseley, the king’s capture marked the real end of the war. In the fortnight he had waited at oNdini, accepting Zulu surrenders, he had decided the
settlement of Zululand. Ironically, at home the Disraeli government had fallen, to be replaced by Gladstone’s Liberals, and there was no stomach now for the expense and protracted commitment of annexation. Wolseley’s instructions were to impose a settlement, which would prevent the Zulu
kingdom posing a threat to its white neighbours, and then to withdraw. His solution was to exile King Cetshwayo, and to divide Zululand up among the regional chiefs. In selecting the chiefs to be favoured, he paid lip service to the idea, popular in Natal, that Zululand could be broken down
into the constituent parts that had been independent in the days before Shaka.
More important, however, Wolseley’s choice was coloured by the need to choose proxies who either had a vested interest in supporting the British, or who were opposed to the Royal House. Wolseley’s plan was a classic case of divide and rule, and in due course it would produce a crop of bitterness and bloodshed more destructive to the Zulus than even the British invasion. For Cetshwayo there was only exile. He was taken across country to the beach at Port Durnford – along the way he pointed out to his captors the bush where his uncle, King Shaka, used to sit when judging cowards in his army – and on 4 September boarded the steamer Natal, destined for the Cape. A fortnight later, he and his faithful retainers were securely lodged in quarters at the old Dutch castle in Cape Town. Most of the lingering resistance in Zululand collapsed when news of the king’s capture circulated. Only in the north, in the troubled areas around Luneburg, did the survivors of the raiding bands of the chiefs Mbilini and Manyanyoba hold out, until at last the British lost all patience with them. According to Anstruther, whose regiment, the 94th, had at last marched out of Zululand towards the Transvaal: The day before yesterday we hustled the tribe (Chief Manyobo) who did the mischief. They are outcasts, not proper Zulus or Swazies, and live in caves in the surrounding hills which they won’t come out of so they were told to send their women and children away and give themselves up. They did the former but not the latter. The women and children came in good quantities to our fort in Luneburg, five miles off where four companies of the 4th are so the day before yesterday some of us and the 4th from the Fort went up the hills and set to work to blow up the caves with gun cotton. There were a great many tremendous explosions but, I am afraid, very little damage was done. We got 2 prisoners and blew in the entrance of a lot of caves and the 4th unfortunately lost 2 men, their sergeant major and a corporal who went into one of the caves and were shot immediately. It was very stupid. We got all their goats and cattle and I fancy they will give one of the prisoners to Mayobo’s head man and the other to his son. They are a very small insignificant tribe but have been doing a lot of mischief. An expedition has gone out against them today and they will be harried til they give in."
Source: anglozuluwar.com AFTER ULUNDIThe British withdrawal from Zululand – scorched earth and retribution. By Ian Knight