London weeklies contain some interesting facts and expressions of opinion appropriate of the Zulu war. The Spectator says):— Original Text posted
"By far the most diaerious news yet to be reived from Natal is the universal testimony to the headlong daring of the Zulus. Their leaders, when once resolved on attack, do not care how many men they lose, but carry their regiments forward, whatever the, destruction caused by the breech-loader. In the splendid defence of the post at Rorke's Drift, on January 22nd, lieutenants Bromhead and Chard, with less than one hundred men, had six times to drive out the enemy with the bayonet ; and it is especially recorded in the bulletins that "the Zulus fought with infuriated zeal, even coming to the loopholes and seizing the muzzles of the rifles." These are formidable enemies, though it should be observed that under certain circumstances Zulus do fly, and that they seem as unable to capture even a weak entrenched position asßed Indians have always proved them selves to be. They did not carry even Rorke's Drift, and seem unable to attack Ekowe effectu ally, though they face the defenders' fire like the beat Europeans. On all hands the want of cavalry is lamented, and it is asserted that the Boers, defeated the Zulus mainly because they were mounted, and could therefore pursue. A British soldier can no more come up with a flying Zulu than a man can come up with a cat. No further explanation of the disaster at Isandala has been published in this country. The colonial belief is that the camp was wrongly pitched, in a place where it could be commanded from all sides, and that precautions had not been taken to post the great waggons so as to form a defence.
This theory, however, is at variance with Lord Chelmsford's distinct statement that the British were enticed 1£ mile out of camp ; and another Btory is at least more probable. This is, that the officer in command pursued the small body of Zulus who at first showed themselves ; that the remaining troops, seeing him surrounded, advanced to his aid ; and that when the Zulus finally charged, the men, who had exhausted their ammunition, found it impossible to reach the reserve ammunition which was in the waggons. The most extraordinary feature in the stoiy, the way in which the Zulus removed the waggons without an attack from Lord Chelms ford, remains, as before, inexplicable. The waggons cannot by possibility have been two miles away when he returned. " Atlas," in the World says :— Although Lord Beaconsfield deprecated any thing like conjecture as to how the Zulu busi ness occurred, military critics who know some thing of the Cape and its people cannot refrain from discussing the sad affair. The most gener ally received opinion is that the draft oxen, of whom there were many thousands, had, as usual, strayed some distance from camp in search of pasture, and that when once in the bush they were surrounded and captured by the Zulus. Upon thiß the first impulse of the troops in camp would be to recover their oxen. The same thing haa occurred again and Bgain in previous wars, and it is easy to couceive that the whole battalion was carried away by excitement. Offi cers in Buch a case, when the men have not out of hand, chu do little to atom tuo torrent. The men will go thier own way. It was bo probably upon this unfortunate occasion, and the way led them straight into the jaws of death. Encircled by the Zulu method of attack, having fired away all their ammunition, they would have fallen an easy prey to the atssegai-charge of the enemy. This is a very plausible explanation of the dis aster. Lord Chelmsford states that a court of enquiry is collecting evidence, but it is to be feared that the only witnesses are dead men. We shall require, however, to hear something from the general in his own defence.
As Colonel Thesiger, Lord Chelmsford wiis highly thought of when adjutant-general of the Indian army; he did well also as colonel of the 95th, and as Lord Napier's chief of the staff in the Abyssinian expedition. Certainly he has had no Cape expe rience but that gained within the last twelve months, and at the time of his appointment to the command its wisdom was questioned by some few. The points which must be explained are his plan of campaign, with its four widely sepa rated lines of advance, and the collection of so large a quantity of stores, material, and cattle, within the enemy's country, and before he had made good his position. Ho doubt he intended this camp as an advanced magazine and base of operations. If so, it will be important to hear whether the camp was intrenched. It must have been the earthworks which enabled the detachment under the two young Engineer officers, Bromhead and Chard, to hold out so heroically at Rorke's Drift; and if Lord Chelms ford has neglected to strengthen the head quarter camp in the same way, he will be cen sured by many who are already quite disposed to take him severely to task. It is Baid that the Cabinet was at first strongly inclined to throw him over altogether, and make him bear the whole brunt of the blame. The manifest injus tice of this, at least until further details come to hand, was, however, obvious, and for the pre sent he is exposed only to inuendo and indirect attack. The excitement at the military clubs has been of course intense all the week, men standing about in groups, eager to hear the last news and retail it in their turn. The appointment of the three Major-Generals has been much discussed. Those who find fault, of whom there are always plenty, rather pooh-pooh the selection as that of courtiers and men about town. But "Fred" Marshall, although a lifeguardsman who has never seen any active service, is a real good soldier, of great physical energy and with sound practical views.
His stalwart proportions would strike terror into any enemy; but he may have tome difficulty in finding homes to carry him at the Cape. General Newdigate was an excellent staff-officer, who always has done his work well at Aldershot, where he was Adjutant-General, aad elsewhere. General Grealock everybody knows as a man of great versatility and " go. Although he has never commanded more than a company of men, he has very wide and varied experience.
He has been on everybody's staff, everywhere. He was first taken to Crimean head-quarters, it is said, to enliven them with his admirable drawings and caricatures; but having gained his start he has kept himself well to the front ever since. His brother, better known as " young" Crealock, has been out at the Cape as Lord Chelmsford's military secretary from the first. All staff-officers belonging to regiments under orders for the Cape have with commendable promptitude placed their resignations in the hands of the authorities, and are prepared to embark with the rest of their comrades. Among these is Lord Gifford, whose regiment, the 57th, is to go from Ceylon to the Cape; and Major Orr, who is garrison instructor at Aldershot, and who belongs to the 94th. Curiously enough, besides Lord Gifford, V.C., there is but one other Victoria Cross man in the regiments under orders for the Cape—Quarter master John Berryman of the 17th Lancers. He won his distinction when a troop sergeant major in the Crimea by capturing three Russians at Mackenzie's farm, and carrying a wounded officer (Captain Webb) out of range of the enemy's guns at Balaclava. Far-seeing people at the Cape have long been convinced that Cetywayo was at the bottom of all the recent troubles there.
They are positive that it was he who instigated Kreli to oppose us, and who stirred up Seccoceni into hostility. The Zulus have long aimed, it is said, at making them selves the masters of South Africa. They are cordially detested by all other natives, but as thoroughly feared, because their strength and ruth less ferocity are so well known. Although much exaggerated, no doubt the stories of Cetywayo's bloodthirsty disposition are by no means pleasant to hear at a moment like this, when the colony of Natal may be in danger of an inroad by bis victorious hordes. He slaughters his own people wholesale, it is said, when the humor takes him. Whenever a person of any import once dies, or there ia a long drought in the land, it is his custom to consult the witch-doctors, who invariably lay the blame upon someone who is well to do, with herds of cattle and many wives ; and he and all his relatives are at once put to death. No wonder that thousands of the Zulus have fled the country and established themselves at NataL It is their presence in that colony just now, and the doubt whether their loyalty to us or fear of the vengeance of their old king who has just won a great bucccbb will carry the day, which adds considerably to the universal anxiety. Captain or Lieutenant Melville, who was killed at the Cape, had only been married two days. The brave but luckless 24th was known as Howard's Greens, to distinguish it from the 3rd, which was commanded also by a Howard, and called Howard's Buffs, and the 19tb, which was called the Green Howards. Howard has always been a great name in the service. There are seventeen Howards on the Army List at preeent. The Ist battalion 24th Regiment was mainly composed of men of upwards of nine years' ser vice. The battalion embarked for the Mediter ranean in 1866, and remained there until 1874, when it was moved to the Cape. This battalion was engaged throughout the Kaffir campaign of 1877 and 1878 under General Sir A. Cunyng hame. The 2nd battalion 24th Regiment em barked for the Cape in February, 1878 ; and all drafts which have beeu sent out since that date have joiued it, consequently the Ist battalion 21th Kegimunt ha/i no very young soldiers.
The officer mentioned in Lord Chelmaford's despatch as commanding eighty men of the 24th Regiment, in the gallant defence of Rorke's Drift, is not the Majoc Bromhead of the 24th who distinguished himaelf in.Ashantee, but his brother, Lieutenant Oonville Bromhead, of the same regiment, youngest son of the late Sir Edmund de Gonville Bromhead, Baronet, of Thurlby Hall, Lincolnshire. Major East, the newly-appointed assistant quartermaster-general at the Intelligence Depart ment, was among those who volunteered for active service in Zululand, the 57th Regiment, in which he is a supernumerary major, being one of those under orders to join Lord Chelmaford. It was, however, thought he would be more use fully employed in the important post he now fills, in succession to poor Colonel Home. It is feared by some that, so far as Generals F. Marshall and Crealock are concerned, pluck has outweighed prudence, and laudable ambition prompted steps which due reflection would have negatived. Neither of these gallant officers is, I understand, in the state of health which should warrant him in undertaking such an arduous campaign. Captain Wyndham Murray, brigade major to the first division at Aldershot, and who has just returned from Bulgaria, accompanies General Crealock to Natal as his aide-de-camp. It is an instructive commentary on our boasted fitness for war that volunteers have had to be asked from the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th Dragoon Guards to bring the K. D. G. to its strength previous to embarkation for field service. The 17th Lancers is in the same case. The officer commanding the sth Lancers at Brighton—the gallant "Redan Massey"—was requested on Thursday last to furnish it with fifty-five men and horses. Nearly every foot regiment on home service has been requisitioned to bring the six infantry battalions to their war effective. Sir George Womb well visited his old regiment, the 17 th Lanoers, on the occasion of its inspec tion by the Commander-in-Chief, on Saturday last Sir George and Quartermaster Berryman, V.C., were the only two men who had been in the regiment in the celebrated Balaclava charge. It seems a pity that none of our splendid West India regiments have been sent to the Cape. That color does not influence them is shown t>y many a raid they have made upon their black cousins in the islands they garrison. For soldierly look and air we have nothing finer in our service. I am surprised that amongst, the various schemes put forward for the establishment of telegraphic communication with Natal there should be no mention of perhaps the simplest and the safest of all—a cable between Ceylon and South Africa, through Mauritius and Mada. Ecar. There is, between Point de Galleand uritius, an almost continuous chain of islands which might be easfly transformed into stations, thus divesting the undertaking of much of its difficulties. On amount of her interests in those parts, it is aot improbable that Fraaee might be frilling to contribute a portion of Ota cost; and finally, it is hardly possible that such cost should be anything like the five or eight hundred thou sand pounds declared necessary for the. oonstouoFix this text tion of a land telegraph, which, in addition, would never be secure".