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 Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.

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littlehand
90th
impi
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impi

impi

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PostSubject: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySat Aug 28, 2010 11:32 pm

Siege of Eshowe

The siege lasted for 71 days, how long could they have lasted if Chelmsford had not arrived with the Relief Column. I don’t know how much food and water they had but 71 days is a long time to feed and water, 1,700 soldiers and sailors. Quite a few men died of decease so were it a case of the Relief column arrived just in time.

I’m also assuming the Zulu had set up a camp nearby in order to keep the British under siege. But cannot find any Refrence to that.

Zulu’s were seen on the surrounding hills on 2 February, but retreated under shelling from the 7-pounders, But for the rest of February there were no Zulu attacks, except for the odd sniping attacks and skirmishes between patrols.

Was there ever a full-scale attack by the Zulu’s against the fort?

Or were the Zulu’s really keeping them under siege by playing a skilful game deceit?

Would be very interested in any accounts written by those that were there.. Idea
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: eshowe   Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySun Aug 29, 2010 7:55 am

hi impi.
Without going into detail , the eshowe force was basically on its last legs there wasnt much food left at all .
The best book on eshowe is the following , many diary entries from those who were there .

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

If you want to know the full story , buy a copy , it is a very good book. A must Have in my opinion .
Another good book is ' A Widow Making War - The Life And Death of A British Officer In Zululand 1879 Edited by Howard Whitehouse . The Story of Major Warren Wynne R.E . He was responsible for the fortifications of Eshowe .

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

cheers 90th
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: siege of Eshowe.   Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySun Aug 29, 2010 8:06 am

hi Impi.
Forgot to add , there wasnt an attack on the fort . The Zulu's had Kraal's nearby so they didnt actually have to set up camp.
The British Garrison actually made a couple of sorties against the Kraals and burnt them . But there wasnt any pitched
battles during the occupation . There were sporadic attacks on the outlying piquets resulting in the death of a British
Pvt . Others including the Colonial Forces were wounded .
cheers 90th.
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littlehand

littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySun Aug 29, 2010 11:51 am

"On the morning of the 25th January, two companies of 'the Buffs' and the 99th Regt escorted 48 wagons out of the fort to collect additional supplies from Fort Pearson. Shortly after they had left, Pearson learnt of the massacre which had taken place at Isandlwana and the death of Durnford who, when Pearson had last heard, was at Middle Drift. This gave Pearson the impression that the Second Column at Jamieson's Drift (some 90 km upstream from Fort Pearson) had been attacked with disastrous consequences, and the realisation that a reportedly massive Zulu force lay between him and Kranskop, together with the thought that there was nothing to stop this impi from invading Natal, suddenly dawned on him. It was only on the 28th that a message was received from Lord Chelmsford in Pietermaritzburg giving details of the disaster that had befallen the Central Column, and advising Pearson to prepare himself for an attack by the entire Zulu army, to strike his tents, and to use the wagons for shelter, if, indeed, he decided to stay at Eshowe at all. In the light of this development, Pearson called a council-of-war and the officers elected to withdraw. However, even while the meeting was in progress, Pearson received a message to the effect that wagon-loads of supplies were close by and that he would then have sufficient stores and ammunition to withstand a major attack or a prolonged siege."
Source: samilitaryhistory.

So he remained there based on information received. And what might have happen Jamieson's Drift.

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Umbiki

Umbiki

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySun Aug 29, 2010 12:22 pm

Hi Impi

Have to agree with 90th - Fearful Hard Times - is a must if you want to learn more about the siege of Eshowe.

Some pics of the Eshowe site in case of interest [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

U

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littlehand

littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyMon Aug 30, 2010 8:19 pm

Provision for two months only.

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90th

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PostSubject: siege of Eshowe.   Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyTue Aug 31, 2010 6:24 am

hi all.
Here is a less expensive copy than the one I posted the other day , for those who may be interested .

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

cheers 90th.
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: siege of Eshowe.   Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyTue Aug 31, 2010 6:46 am

hi all.
As the paper states ' Provisions for 2 months when they settled into at Eshowe on the 24 th January '
Pearson had the foresight to cut the rations before
it became obvious they may fall short . While I'm here the first casualty of the zulu war was a Pvt. Martin drowned
or taken by a croc in the Tugela river on the 9 /1 / 79 . The first man to die of Fever at Eshowe was Pvt . Kingston
2 /3rd Regt 1 / 2 / 79. On further investigation it seems Pearson had kept 3 full days of Rations aside in case they
had to cut their way through to British Territory , the newspaper reporters thought the meal they had at Eshowe
after arriving there was the best meal they had had in a long time .
This is from ' Fearful Hard Times ' by Ian. Knight . A detailed account of Pearsons column going to and arriving and
staying at eshowe , also covers their withdrawl many sources from unpublished diaries and papers . A must have for
that theatre of the war .
cheers 90th.
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impi

impi

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySun Sep 05, 2010 1:29 pm

I was just flicking through the pages of the Washing of the Spears By Donald. R. Morris and came across this.

" Two Zulus appeared on the skyline under a white flag on the twenty-third of March. The Reverend Robertson road out to question them with several officers, and envoys were blindfolded and brought into the fort. One had been send by Cetshwayo to Bishop Schreuder to inquire why the Zulu nation was being attacked; he had returned the answer, "to carry out the terms of the ultimatum," and the king had sent him to Eshowe to offer the garrison a safe conduct to the Tugela, providing they would not destroy meaile fields on the march. Dabulamanzi sent the second man to accompany the frist, to confirm that the impis would stayed if the safe conduct were excepted.
Pearson regarded the offer as a trick and ignored it, keeping the envoys in irons in the fort."



1) Would the Zulu's have understood the meaning of a white flag? (Truce) Where would they have obtained the knowledge of this?

2) Was Pearson right to regard the offer of safe conduct as a trick? (Or would it have been to shameful to been seen being escorted back to the Tugela under escort of the enemy. Not sure his military career would have remained in tact if he had excepted the offer. (But if he had accepted the offer could this not have been a step in the right dircetion to ensue for peace)

3) And was it sensible to keep the envoys in irons after they had come under a white flag.
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptySun Sep 05, 2010 9:00 pm

Quote :
Was Pearson right to regard the offer of safe conduct as a trick?
After Isandlwana, I don't think anyone trusted the Zulus. Pay back time was coming, not a time to talk peace.
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: siege of Eshowe.   Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyMon Sep 06, 2010 1:53 am

hi impi.
The zulus had known the British people for a while their knowledge of the white flag may have come with Shaka meeting
Farewell and his party many years earlier , I think it was Francis Fynn who became a good friend of shaka who would have
taught him some of the ways of the Europeans .That knowledge was no doubt passed down to the other chiefs in time . In regard to the envoys being clappped in irons , I'm sure they were realeased
at a later date . If I remember correctly they entered Eshowe blindfolded . Dont think Pearson would have lost his career if
he had taken the zulu offer and was escorted back to the Tugela . As Saul David has mentioned after Isandlwana there wasnt
any possibility of a peaceable conclusion . British pride needed to be restored and the zulu needed to be subdued , so there was
no doubt that the best side was going to win and therefore no future threat from the zulu nation . Also in regard to the zulu offer
to escort Pearson and his force back to the tugela , impossible to say if it was a trick or not , but it may have been , we will never
know . There hasnt as far as I'm aware been a claim by Dabulamanzi or any other zulu chief that it was indeed a trick to get the
british in the open . Hope this helps.
cheers 90th.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyMon Sep 06, 2010 7:51 pm

The white flag had another meaning to the Zulu's

Courtship and Marriage

The process of courtship and marriage was conducted according to strict rules and protocol. As each clan was regarded as one family, members of the same clan were not allowed to marry, regardless of how far back the original family link stretched. Adolescent girls become members of a succession of peer groups until they reached a marriageable age. A young man was only allowed to woo a girl if she was considered to be mature enough and if her peer group considered him to be a good proposition.

The man was then allowed to make a series of indirect approaches, often through his sisters. After an initial period of playing “hard to get”, the girl was allowed to indicate her acceptance by sending the man a gift of betrothal beads. Once her family had indicated their acceptance and approval, the young man set up a white flag outside his hut, indicating his plan to marry soon.
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Dave

Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyMon Sep 06, 2010 8:02 pm

"One surviving Zulu 'white flag' proves to have been nothing more than a white handkerchief skewered onto the corner with a stick. In any case the garrison was clearly suspicious and the Zulu messengers were blindfolded and taken before Colonel Pearson to whom they explained that they were envoys sent by King Cetshwayo. They had an interesting offer to make; if the British retired to the Thukela without destroying any of the mealie fields along the way they would not be molested. They also assured Pearson that the local Zulu commanders, including Prince Dabulamanzi, supported this offer. The general opinion within the garrison was that this was a trick and that the men spies and they were promptly imprisoned.In fact, the offer was probably genuine, for as March drew on, King Cetshwayo had realised that a new bout of fighting was imminent. Chelmsford had refused all peace offerings and substantial reinforcements were flooding into Durban on a daily basis, and the King was anxious to make a last diplomatic effort to head off the horrors of a new invigorated invasion.

These envoys, so roughly treated were not the first ones. On 1st March two messengers had been sent to the Norwegian Bishop Schreuder's mission station at Ntumeni. They asked that the British troops withdraw from Zululand and that talks on a peace settlement would be initiated. They were told that the British would only accept Cetshwayo's unconditional surrender to the terms of the ultimatum, i.e. the British were determined to punish and weaken the Zulu army and King. Acceptance ofthe terms ofthe ultimatum by Cetshwayo would have implied treachery towards his subjects, undermine his authority, destroy the strength ofhis army and thus make him King in name only"

Castle & Knight: The Siege ofeShowe
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.    Siege of Eshowe. How long could they have lasted.  EmptyMon Sep 06, 2010 8:56 pm

Dave. I hope your not suggesting. The Zulu was proposing! to Pearson. No wonder he slapped him in irons. Idea
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