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 The 91 st Foot in Zululand.

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PostSubject: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptyFri Jan 13, 2012 11:43 am

The 91 st Foot in Zululand.

On the llth of February news was received in England of the great disaster in Zululand at
Isandlhwana, where the camp of part of the troops under command of Lord Chelmsford was surprised by the Zulus, and the force nearly annihilated.

This intelligence caused the Grovernment to decide on sending out reinforcements at once, and
among the battalions of infantry selected was the 91st, who were ordered to prepare for embarkation in the s.s. Pretoria, one of the steamers belonging to the Union Company, on the 19th of the month.

In order to bring the 91st up to the required strength, volunteers were received from the
following regiments viz. 2/5th, l/8th, l/10th, 2/19th, 2/20th, 32nd, 36th, 41st, 55th, 84th, and
108th, the total number required being 374 men.

The last party of volunteers to arrive only joined on the 17th. On the morning of the 18th, H.RH.
the Duke of Cambridge inspected the regiment in field-service order, after which they marched past in fours the volunteers from other regiments,being dressed in their own uniform, gave the
battalion a mixed appearance. After the men were dismissed, the Commander-in-Chief addressed the officers, congratulating them on the compliment which had been paid to the regiment, in its having been selected for this service, and expressing confidence that they and all ranks would sustain the reputation the regiment had always borne.

The battalion was on this occasion under command of Major A. C. Bruce, Lieutenant-Colonel
Kirk having been compelled to put himself on the sick list, from a cancerous tumour in the right
foot, from which he had been suffering for some months previously, and which resulted shortly
afterwards in amputation of the leg above the knee. He was thus obliged with deep reluctance
to relinquish, when almost within his grasp, this opportunity to proceed in command of his
regiment on active service. In this heavy blow to his prospects as a soldier, Colonel Kirk met with
the deepest and most sincere sympathy from all his brother officers and comrades in the 91st.


On the morning of the 19th, the 91st, consisting of thirty officers and 906 men, left A.ldershot by
special trains for Southampton, being played down to the station from the Permanent Barracks
by the 41st Eegiment. The trains arrived at the docks at about 11.30 a.m. and the men were
paraded on the quay facing the transport.

The s.s. Pretoria, Captain George Larmer, which was the newest of the Union Company's Cape fleet, had only arrived home eight days previously, and in that short space of time had discharged her homeward-bound cargo, been docked and fitted with a new propeller, and had all the necessary alterations made to convert her into a transport ship. The main deck aft, with the sleeping berths, remained in its usual state for the use of the officers and transport officials. The fore main deck, usually occupied with cabin and state room for second-class passengers, was entirely stripped of its fittings, and with the orlop deck, fore and aft, ordinarily used for goods, was appropriated and fitted up. for troops.

The embarkation commenced at twenty minutes to twelve, and was completed by twenty-five
minutes to one, the whole regiment having been safely housed on board in five minutes less than
an hour. At five minutes past one, the last gangway was hauled ashore, and the Pretoria
steamed slowly off, amid the cheers of an enormous crowd who had forced their way into the docks to bid the regiment God-speed. The transport anchored in Southampton Water, off Netley, and, after a final inspection, sailed in the evening about seven o'clock for her destination.

The names of the officers who sailed with the regiment were as follows : Major A. C.
Bruce (in command), Major W. P. Gurney ; Captains G. Stevenson, J. Rogers, W. S. Mills,
G. O'Sullivan, J. Boulderson, W. Prevost ; Lieu- tenants H. Fallowfie'ld, W. R. Craufurd, D.
MacDonald, A. Tottenham, F. Cookson, G. Robbins, D. Fowler, G. Goff, G. Collings, H. Johnston; Second- Lieutenants T. Fraser, C. Richardson ; Lieutenant and Adjutant J. St. Clair; Quarter- Master J. Gillies, and Paymaster W. Caudwell.

The voyage to the Cape was uneventful. Madeira was reached on the 24th, where the ship
remained about six hours to coal ; from there on,there was a fair-weather passage to Cape Town,
which was sighted mid-day on the 12th of March. The Pretoria only stopped for twenty-four hours
to coal and provision, and arrived outside Durban on Sunday the 16th. The officer commanding,
with the adjutant, went ashore to report arrival and receive orders, which latter were, that the
regiment should disembark the next day.

The disembarkation began early the next morning, but owing to the heavy swell, and the consequent difficulty in getting the tugs which were to convey the men over the bar alongside, there were still two companies left on board in the evening. However, the next day everybody had arrived in the camp, which was situated close to the centre of the town, on some waste ground. During the voyage the men who had joined from other regiments as volunteers had been dressed in 91st clothes, and the kits of the whole battalion had been thoroughly inspected and weeded in order that each man should go into the field with^i kit in thoroughly serviceable condition, consisting of one serge coat, two pairs of trews, two pairs of boots, three pairs of socks, two towels, and one hold-all. The remaining articles were packed in waterproof bags to be left at Durban.

With the exception of the 57th Eegiment, which had arrived from Ceylon two days previously to
the 91st, the regiment was the first of the reinforcements to reach Natal.

The day after arrival, the Scotchmen of Durban formed a deputation to present an address to the
regiment, which was presented by Mr. Jameson, a merchant of that town, and was as follows :

"To Major Bruce, commanding 91st Highlanders.
" Sir, The undersigned Scotchmen, residents of Durban, beg to tender you and your officers,
non-commissioned officers, and men, a very hearty welcome to the colony. It affords us the utmost gratification to see among us, for the first time in our history as a colony, the tartans of our Highland soldiers, and to hear the familiar accents of our countrymen once more, reviving as they do associations of our native land, which we cherish as our most precious heritage. Our little colony yields to none of her Majesty's dependencies in loyalty to our Queen, and we welcome therefore at all times her uniform ; but on this auspicious occasion we feel justified in doing more in extending to our countrymen of your regiment a particularly hearty greeting, which we beg you will convey in our name to all ranks. We are confident that if your services are brought into requisition in the field, the traditions of the 91st will be gallantly sustained by the officers and men under your command, and that in Zululand, another laurel will be added to your colours."

Attached were the signatures of over seventy of the leading Scotchmen of Durban.

Major Bruce, in a few words, thanked the deputation for their address and the compliment they hadpaid to the regiment.

The weather during the two days which the 91st spent at Durban was wretched, and gave them an idea of how it could pour in Natal. Before leaving for the front, the band was broken up and the men told off to act as hospital-bearers and orderlies, under the orders of Surgeon-Major Edge, who had accompanied the regiment in the Pretoria, and was placed in medical charge on arrival in Natal.

The boys, seventeen in number, were left in camp under Bandmaster Kelly, with a sufficiency of
musical instruments for their instruction. Nine pipers and a small corps of drums and fifes
accompanied the regiment into the field.

The 91st left Durban on the 19th for the front to form part of a column with which Lord
Chelmsford determined to start as soon as possible, for the purpose of relieving the force
under Colonel Pearson, then shut up in Ekowe, whose provisions were nearly exhausted, and who was surrounded by a body of Zulus variously estimated at from 12,000 to 20,000 strong. The
departure of the regiment, which mustered twenty three officers and 832 non-commissioned officers and men, was witnessed by a large number of townspeople at the railway station at Durban, where three special trains were provided, to convey them to Saccharine, which at that time was as far as the railway was laid. The last detachment arrived at Saccharine by 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and a little after 4 o'clock the 91st started to march to the front. A halt for the
night was made on the north bank of the Verulam River.

The Naval Brigade of H.M.S. Boadicea, numbering about 250 men, under command of Lieutenant Carr, R.N., accompanied the regiment on its march to the Tugela from this place. The following night a place called Victoria was reached, and owing to the heat an early start was made the next morning.

The night of the 21st was spent on the banks of the Umtati River, when heavy rains fell, causing
a halt next day to get things cleaned up. The march was resumed on Sunday, the 23rd, and the TugelaRiver was reached on the 25th, and was crossed in a pont, the regiment encamping near the 57th Regiment, which had arrived the previous day. Two companies of the 3rd Buffs and five companies of the 99th Regiment, formed into one battalion, were also encamped on the enemy's side of the river.

On tbe 26th Lord Chelmsford inspected the regiment, and made a speech to the men.

Tbe force collected at this place to move up to tbe relief of Ekowe was divided into two
divisions. The first division, under Colonel Law, R.A., was composed of the 91st, and of the
battalion made up of the Buffs and 99th, the Naval Brigades of tbe Shah and Tenedos, who had
with them two 9 -pounders, two 24-pounder rocket- tubes, and a gatling gun, the mounted infantry under Major Barrow, and one battalion of Natal native contingent.

The second division, under Colonel Pemberton of the 3/60th Rifles, was composed of the 57th
Regiment, 3/60th Rifles, Naval Brigade of the Boadicea, and a portion of the marines of the
Shah and Boddicea, with one gatling gun and two 24-pounder rocket-tubes, and one battalion Natal native contingent ; the whole force being under the immediate command of Lord Chelmsford.

The orders were to proceed without tents, and in the lightest possible marching order, men to carry seventy rounds of ammunition, and thirty rounds per man to be carried on pack-mules, two of which mules followed in rear of each company, with 1500 rounds in canvas waterproof bags.

Camp was struck on the 28th, and spare baggage and camp equipment were stacked in some tents protected by Forts Pearson and Tenedos, while twenty weakly men were ordered to be left behind to form a guard.

The troops had a very bad time of it during the following night, as it rained like it knows
how to do in Zululand, and having no tents, and in fact nothing but a waterproof sheet per man
to cover them, the ingenuity of each man was exercised as to how he should keep himself
comparatively dry ; as a matter of fact, it was impossible to manage this last detail, and in
consequence a most miserable night was spent.

The following morning, at 6 a.m., the 91st started as advanced-guard to the force.

Progress was very slow, continued halts having to be made 1879. to allow the great number of
waggons to keep together, which was no easy matter to arrange, in consequence of the heavy state of the track after the recent rains. The waggons numbered 122, and occupied nearly two miles in length when on the move.

In the afternoon an entrenched laager was formed on the banks of the Inyoni Eiver.

A South African laager consists of an enclosure formed by waggons placed closely together; at
some distance outside them the shelter trench is dug ; the defenders occupy the space between the trench and the waggons, and the area enclosed by the waggons contains the cattle.

The next morning the troops stood to their arms an hour before daybreak. This plan was
adopted throughout the campaign, as the idea was that the hour just before daybreak was the
one at which the Zulus generally attacked. The march was resumed in the same order as the
previous day, and by the afternoon the banks of the Amatikulu River were reached, and another
entrenched laager was formed.

On Monday, the 31st, the river was crossed; this was a very long and wet operation, as the river
was high, reaching over the men's waists, necessitating their carrying their ammunition on their
shoulders. It took all day to get the waggons over, so that the laager formed in the evening was
only a mile and a half from the one used the previous night.

Major Bruce here received a telegram addressed to Captain Chater, from HJl.H. the Princess Louise, which ran as follows :

" Convey to the 91st my regrets at not seeing them before their departure, also the interest
I take in their welfare, wishing them every success r with God-speed and a safe return."

The following day the 91st formed the rearguard, and the enemy was seen for the first time.
The laager in the evening was formed at Ginginhlovo. The day had been oppressively hot, and
after the trenches had been dug, a heavy thunderstorm came on, which nearly filled them. A most miserable night was passed by every one, as there was not a dry spot to lie down on, and all the ground had got into such a fearfully dirty state, that even walking was difficult.

"When morning broke it was found that the country was too heavy to move the waggons ;
the Zulus also were observed to be advancing in considerable numbers from the direction of a hill
beyond the Inyezane. The camp, which was 1879. square in shape, having* sides about 130 yards long, had its waggons in the centre ; the 60th were in line on the front face r the 57th on the right, and the 91st on rear face, except two companies of the latter, which together with the
Buffs and 99th detachment held the left face ; two gatlings and two nine-pounders were distributed at the corners, in charge of the Naval Brigade. Behind the 91st was a battalion of the Natal native contingent.

A little before six o'clock native scouts which had as usual gone out to scour the country at
daybreak, were seen to be falling back, firing while doing so, and directly after, large columns
of the enemy were observed coming down the Inyezane hills,, and also from the Amatikulu bush.

When they had come within range, the gatling and nine-pounders opened fire, as also did the
rockets, the first attack being made on the front of the laager, which was met by a heavy fire from
the 60th. The Zulus then continued their usual mode of attack, which is to advance in the shape
of a pair of horns, so as to envelope their opponents, and then finally rush them in rear.

The shining of bayonets in the rear face appears to have led them to believe that the native
contingent was there, and that the weakest point in the camp would probably be found in that
direction ; and a most determined attack was accordingly made there on the 91st, which lasted
about twenty minutes, when the Zulus wavered and then fled, leaving many of their number within
a few spaces of the trenches. When it was noticed that they were breaking, the mounted troops,
under Major Barrow, together with the native contingent, were sent in pursuit, and terrible
execution they did. By half-past seven the engagement was over.

The 91st's loss was one man killed, Private Marshall ; while eight were wounded, namely,
Sergeant D. Mclntyre, dangerously, in the left eye (he died at Stanger, on the 15th) ; Private
Stantidge, flesh wound in the thigh; Private Richards, penetrating wound in the leg;
Privates O'Brien and Mallie, wound in their heads ; Private Hanlon, wound in abdomen ;
Private Sutton, wound in left arm ; Private Gillespie, slight wound on side of head. The
adjutant, Lieutenant St. Glair, had a narrow escape, a bullet having gone through his helmet,
within an inch of his head.

The total casualty of the force was, one officer and four men killed,while five officers and thirty -nine men were wounded. The strength of the regiment present at this action was twenty-two officers and 801 non-commissioned officers and men. The colours were in charge of Second-Lieutenants Fraser and C. F. Richardson.

The enemy's loss on this occasion has been variously estimated, but it must have been considerable,as nearly 500 bodies were counted within a radius of 400 yards of the laager, and the route taken by the flying enemy was strewn with corpses cut down by the mounted infantry and native contingent.

The remainder of the day was employed in burying the dead and altering the laager to suit
the reduced garrison which was to be left while a flying column made for Ekowe. The evening
passed off quietly without any signs of an enemy.

The morning after the action, a flying column, composed of six companies of the 57th, 60th, and
91st, with about 100 of the Naval Brigade, John Dunn's scouts, and some mounted men, started
early, with the object of reaching Ekowe in one day's march, the 91st forming the rear-guard.

Colonel Pearson, who was in command at Ekowe, and had been regularly communicated with by means of the heliograph, received orders to hold his force in readiness to evacuate his fort the day after the arrival of the relieving force. The garrison at Ekowe had been a witness of the action of the 2nd of April, as the fort stands on hills which overlook the plain over which Lord
Chelmsford's column had marched, and the battlefield was at the foot of the hill. The march of
the relieving column commenced at daybreak, and at half-past six the rear-guard had moved off.

When the sun had got up, the day became exces- sively hot, and the march, especially for the rearguard, was most tedious, numerous halts having to be made to allow the waggons to be got
through the marshy places on the road. To show how the column straggled, the advance-guard,
which was formed by the 60th, arrived at Ekowe at half-past six, while the rear-guard did not
arrive until midnight. The 91st only got their dinners at 1 o'clock in the morning. The men
on this occasion marched splendidly, when it is taken into consideration that they had been
seventeen hours and a half on the move, yet when they passed the fort, headed by their pipers,
there was not one man out of the ranks.

Ekowe had before the war been a Norwegian 1879. mission station, under charge of the Rev. Oftebro, and consisted of a church ; a long building containing several rooms, one of which was used as a school ; and a third building, which was the residence of the missionary. The two latter were thatched with reeds, while the church was roofed with corrugated iron. The station stood on an extensive plateau, about 2000 feet above the sea, and was commanded on every side except the south by low hills distant about a quarter of a mile. The surrounding hills were destitute of
trees, but were covered by long rank grass and overgrown vegetation.

If it had not been for the hurry in which the fort was made, owing to the disastrous news of
Isandhlwana, a better position would have been taken up, but there was no time to do anything,
and as the buildings, etc., were on the spot, the best was made of the position. A big parapet
was made with various traverses, the ditch outside being ten feet deep and fifteen feet wide at the top, with stakes running along the bottom.

The garrison was composed of nearly 1400 white and 450 native men.

The next day, the 4th of April, it was decided to rest the relieving force, while those relieved
marched out on their way to the Tugela, which they reached eventually without seeing any signs
of the enemy.

The flying column left Ekowe on the 5th, and only marched about six miles, the road taken
being different to that which they had come up by. The following morning an unfortunate
accident happened, which was caused by a picquet of the 91st, under command of Captain Prevost, who, thinking they saw Zulus creeping in the bushes in front of them, fired, which raised an alarm in the camp and made the scouts and picquets run in. They were fired on by the 60th
trench party, who mistook them for the enemy in the darkness.

Fifteen were wounded in this unfortunate business.

The march was resumed at 9 o'clock, and the laager at Ginginhlovo was reached in the afternoon ; but it was found to have become very unpleasant, owing to the frightful smell from the number of dead buried in its vicinity. So a new laager was formed about two miles from the old camp, on a piece of rising ground. The camp was again moved the following day, to a place which was considered to answer the purpose better.

The Buffs and the 99th detachments proceeded to the Tugela to join their regiments, and the force in the new camp consisted of the 57th, 60th, 91st, and a portion of the Naval Brigade, with a regiment of native contingent and some mounted men, the whole under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Clarke of the 57th Regiment, who received the local rank of brigadier-general .

The entrenchments round the new camp were made of larger dimensions than those of the
laagers on the march up country, the position being further strengthened with abattis. The
daily routine was as follows : Trenches manned at 4 a.m. until daylight, men standing with fixed
bayonets in perfect silence. At daylight, leave trenches ; wood and water parties sent out ; after
breakfast, company inspections ; during the forenoon one or two companies marched to adjacent
stream to bathe ; after dinner brigade or regimental drill, or bivouac outside the camp, in order
that the ground should be thoroughly cleaned ; at 7.30 p.m. man trenches, first post sounded ; lie
down at 7.45, each company in rear of its own alarm post; lights out at 8. One company of
each regiment was on trench duty every night, and stood in the trenches all night, one company
on picquet covering the front.

On the 18th a convoy arrived from Tugela, bringing up men's kits and officers' light baggage.
The kit of the latter, since they had left the Tugela, had been limited to ten pounds weight.
Tents, however, were not provided, and owing to the heavy rains and general unhealthiness of
the plains on the coast, sickness became prevalent.

On the 23rd Second-Lieutenants Dickson, Wyllie, and Lane-Fox joined the regiment on appoint-
ment, bringing with them two sergeants, one corporal, and four privates from the hospital on
the Lower Tugela.

After being seventeen days in the Ginginhlovo camp, it was decided to evacuate it and advance
to a new position about four miles off on the Inyezane River, where a fort was commenced
(afterwards called Fort Chelmsford). The construction of another fort was also commenced in
the beginning of May, on the Amatikulu River, on the line of communication about half-way to

This was named Fort Crealock.The troops at this time were employed on convoy duty, each convoy being escorted by one British regiment, a battalion of natives, two guns R.A., and a few mounted scouts. The three regiments, under command of Brigadier-General Clarke, took it in turns to furnish the escort.

Sickness was now rapidly increasing. On the 5th of May the empty convoy on its return to the
Lower Tugela took 150 sick from various corps, including Captain Mills and Lieutenants Tottenham and Goff of the 91st. The nature of the sickness was generally fever and dysentery.

On the 10th of May the regiment was moved to Fort Crealock to garrison it, and also complete
the earthworks. The troops then, which were under command of Major Bruce, were composed
of the regiment, half a company of Royal Engineers, two guns E.A., sixteen mounted
men, and a battalion of native contingent. The regiment remained here a month, during which
the officers in their spare time made expeditions in the vicinity to shoot what game they could
find. There was, however, very little to shoot, except an occasional bustard or duck. This was
probably owing to the number of Kaffir dogs which were to be found prowling about the deserted kraals, which must have found it very hard to get a living now that their owners had left their habitations.

In June, Lieutenant Cookson was attached to the Mounted Infantry under Major Barrow, and
served with them during the rest of the war. On the 15th of June the 91st moved forward
with the force tinder command of General Crealock. No enemy was met with, but every
precaution was taken against surprise. On the 27th the Umlatazi River was crossed, and the
next day Port Durnford was reached. Here it had been arranged a fresh landing-place should be
opened, as the naval authorities had ascertained that it could be effected, and accordingly the
general in command proposed to make the place a fresh base of operations where a depot would be formed for supplies.

During this month Major Bruce was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, vice Lieutenant-
Colonel Kirk, who was placed on half-pay, and appointed to the Intelligence Department.

During the first week in June the Prince Imperial Louis Napoleon lost his life, which sad
event cast a gloom over the whole of the troops in Zululand. His remains were at once sent
down to Durban to be embarked on board H.M.S. Boadicea, for conveyance to England. The band used at Durban on this occasion was one which had been collected and trained by Mr. Kelly, bandmaster of the 91st, and was principally composed of boys of the regiment left behind at Durban.

On the 2nd of July Sir G-arnet Wolseley arrived in H.M.S. Shah, at Port Durnford, but owing to
the bad weather he could hold no communication with the shore. The next day, accompanied by
his staff, he tried to land in a lighter ; the surf was running rapidly, and although a good effort
was made, the tow-line breaking, he failed to make the land, and had to return to the Shah,
which immediately started on its return to Durban, where Sir Garnet landed, and proceeded by road to the front, arriving at Port Durnford on the 7th.

On the 24th the 91st changed its quarters to a post on the Umhlatoosi River, which was estab-
lished to assist in maintaining the line of communication between Port Durnford, St. Paul's, and
Ulundi ; 200 of Nettleton's native contingent, and some mounted volunteers, forming part of the

On the 27th Captain Mills's company proceeded to Fort Napoleon, which lay between Fort
Chelmsford and Port Durnford, with the object of holding a post to maintain communication.

Shortly after Captain Craufurd's company made a small fort with the same object, afterwards
known as Fort Inverary, as a half-way post to St. Paul's. At the same time Captain Stevenson's
and 0' Sullivan's companies were sent down to garrison the fort at Port Durnford, which was
the head-quarters of Lieutenant-Colonel Hale, R.E., who had been appointed assistant-adjutant
and quarter-master-general on the lines of communication and base, Lieutenant G-off being
appointed his staff officer.

On the 17th of August a party of mounted men was ordered to proceed, under command of
Captain Yeatman Biggs, R.A., in the direction of St. Lucia Bay, in pursuit of Cetywayo, the Zulu
king, who was supposed to be in hiding in that part of the country. Captain O'Sullivan and
Lieutenants MacDonald and Groff accompanied this party, which was composed of some ten officers andfifty mounted men, together with about 100 native contingent, under Commandant Nettleton.

This party were out about a fortnight, traversing a large extent of wild country seldom
before visited by white men. The road taken was along the coast to St. Lucia Bay. Nothing
being heard of the fugitive, Captain Yeatman Biggs decided to make for the junction of the
Black and the White Umvoloosi Eiver, and if no news was heard on the way, to go direct to
Ulundi, which was eventually done. During the ride it was noticed that there was no game
to be seen except a few guinea-fowl, and one or two antelope ; this was accounted for by the
fact that the Zulus had shot or driven away all the larger sorts of animals since they had got
guns. At Ulundi news arrived at the same time as the expedition that Cetywayo had been cap-
tured by Major Marter, of the King's Dragoon Guards, and he was brought in the following day.

Captain O'Sullivan and the officers of the 91st only remained at Ulundi a few hours, when they
proceeded to Port Durnford. Another officer of the 91st (Lieutenant Cookson), who was attached
to the Mounted Infantry, was also out for several days in pursuit of the king. Cetywayo and the
women who were with him were sent, directly after their arrival at Ulundi, to Port Durnford,
at which place they arrived under a strong escort on the 5th of September, and were at once taken down to the sea-shore to be embarked on the s.s. Natal for Cape Town.

The guard on the beach was composed of Captain Stevenson's company of the 91st, and an escort was sent with Cetywayo on board, of a sergeant (Keene) and six men of the regiment, who afterwards gave a graphic account of the abject state of the deposed monarch when he first felt the effects of the very choppy sea which he encountered in the surf boat taking him out to the steamer.

He was accompanied by three female attendants, who seemed to feel more comfortable than he did, and who were apparently vastly amused at the discomfiture of their royal master. The story is that his escort, who were all men picked on account of their being good sailors, were themselves nearly as unhappy as their prisoners.

The capture of the king was the termination of the war, and on the 13th of September orders
were received for the regiment to proceed to Durban; the head -quarters left the next day,
followed by the other detached companies. Nothing of importance happened on the return
march, and Yerulam, the terminus of the railway from Durban, was reached on the 22nd of the
month. There they remained until the 28th.

Orders had in the meantime arrived that a detachment of three companies should go to Mauritius
and one to St. Helena, while head- quarters were to proceed to Cape Town. The Mauritius detachment was composed of F, G, and 1879. H companies, under command of Major Grurney, and the company selected for St. Helena was that of Captain Mills.

The head-quarters and remaining companies, on arrival at Durban, were embarked on the 30th on
the s.s. City of Venice, and were composed of sixteen officers and 588 non-commissioned officers and men. The transport sailed the next day, and anchored in Table Bay, after a rough passage, on Sunday, the 5th of October. The following day the regiment was disembarked, and went into the main barracks at Cape Town, with the exception of the B and D companies, who were sent on to Wynberg to be encamped, there being no room for^hem in Cape Town, as part pf the barracks was occupied by a detachment of the 88th Eegiment.

In November, 1879, Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce was appointed a " Companion of the Bath."

The detachment of three companies who were detailed for Mauritius, embarked at Durban on
board H.M.S. Crocodile, on the 8th of October, and arrived at Port Louis on the 15th. The
transport also had on board the 88th Eegiment, and 17th Lancers for India.

The names of the officers who landed with the detachment at Mauritius were as follows :
Major W. Gurney (in command), Lieutenants MacDonald, Robbins, Fraser, and Wilson ; and with
them were 250 non-commissioned officers and men.

On the 27th of January Major W. P. Gurney died of fever, contracted in the field during the Zulu
campaign. He was buried with full military honours at Bease Bassin. A tablet to his memory was
erected in Stirling Church by his brother officers, as a token of their esteem and respect.

The population of Mauritius, in 1880, numbered about 370,000, composed principally of coloured
people of mixed race, of which the imported Indian coolies brought over to work the sugar
plantations were the most numerous. The influx of these people, who imported their diseases,
spread fever over the island, and in 1867, when the great outbreak of fever occurred, the number
of deaths was enormous, the troops themselves losing a great number.

This fever, which is called " Mauritius fever," attacks every one living on the low land, and as
the barracks are situated in the unhealthy part, the 91st suffered considerably, which necessitatedfrequent drafts being sent up to the Cureppe in the hills for change of air.

On the 22nd of April, 1881, the Zulu War medals were presented to those of this detachment
who had served in Zululand. Nothing of any public interest happened to these companies during the remainder of their stay on the island ; they simply spent their time in passing through hospital and sanatorium, so that when they arrived at Cape Town, under command of Major Robley, to rejoin head-quarters, on the 26th of May, 1881, they presented a most sickly appearance, and the non-commissioned officers and men had to be kept off duty for a month after their arrival.

The detachment which had gone to St. Helena isso. under command of Captain Mills in January,
1880, remained at that out-of-the-way spot twenty-two months, when they were relieved by
another company from the regiment. During their stay there the island was visited by the
ex-Empress Eugene, who landed to pay a visit to the place where Napoleon I.'s body had so
long lain. She was then on her way out to visit the spot where the Prince Imperial had met his
death. On landing she was received by a guard of honour, composed of the detachment of the 91st.

In March, 1881, Sir Frederick Roberts, G.C.B., touched at St. Helena on his way out to the
Transvaal, to take command of the troops in succession to General Colley, so the opportunity
was taken to get him to present the officers and men with the South African war medal, which
had just arrived to be distributed to those who had taken part in the Zulu War.

At the end of 1880 the Transvaal War broke out. The regiment itself was not engaged in it,
but Captain Cameron, who had joined the 91st from the 71st Light Infantry, was employed at
Maritzburg on the staff until the termination of the war. On the 29th of December Captain
Craufurd and Lieutenant Goff were ordered to proceed to Natal with 100 picked men of the 91st,
in H.M.S. Boadicea, as convoy to the- guns she was to land to proceed to the front. This move,
however, was countermanded the day they were to embark. Lieutenant Goff was ordered, in
February, to Natal, in charge of 300 horses and mules, which were sent to the front. He was
employed at Durban and Maritzburg for some time, returning to Cape Town in April.

The medals for the Zulu War were presented to the head-quarters of the battalion in March,
by Lieutenant-General the Hon. Leicester Smyth, C.B., on which occasion the lieutenant-general
addressed the battalion a& follows :

" I am grateful to- Colonel Bruce for the pleasure he has given me in asking me to present these
medals honourable emblems of hardships undergone, valour displayed, and victory won ; and I
wish the recipients one and all many happy years to wear them. I am the more pleased at being
here to-day, for a long time ago, how long I hardly like to say, I had the honour of campaign-
ing in this country with the 91st Regiment, and then had many opportunities of witnessing and
appreciating their gallant deeds; and as the 91st fought in those days of old, and as those to
whom I have now given their medals fought in more recent times, so, I feel sure, will the 91st
Highlanders of the present day, should they be called upon, in stubbornly upholding the great
tradition of their regiment, and do their duty to their Queen and country."

Soon after the regiment got settled down in its new quarters in Cape Town, it was decided
to start a pack of fox-hounds, to hunt jackals in the country near the town. There had been
hounds before this, during the stay of the 24th Regiment, but all remnants of the pack had dis-
appeared, so drafts were sent for from England, and after a short time, mainly owing to the
energy of Captain Cookson, a very fair lot of hounds were got together, and hunting com-
menced in the spring months. The jackal was to be found within a short distance of Rondebosch
and Wynberg, and the flats, as the waste ground is called there, were at this time left quite un-
disturbed, and only had a few very thin sheep grazing on them ; sport therefore was fairly good.

Expeditions were also made by officers to shoot antelopes, but the sport within easy distance of
Cape Town was indifferent.

On the 1st of June a general order of that date directed that " South Africa " should hence-
forth be borne on the regimental colours.

The 1st of July brought in the new scheme, in which the regiment lost its number, and, being
incorporated with the gallant 93rd, became known as the " Princess Louise's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders," becoming the 1st battalion of this new amalgamation.


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The 91 st Foot in Zululand. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptySat Jan 14, 2012 7:50 am

Hi all

If there are more who knows on the 91 st in this war, it would be nice to add it to the rest of this article, thank you Wink


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PostSubject: Re: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptyFri Jan 20, 2012 6:59 am

Then it inreresse you :study: that ?
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The 91 st Foot in Zululand. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptySat Jan 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Hi all

If a reader of this forum has other information on this wonderful regiment in the zulu war, be nice to share it with others on this forum, thank you in advance ...


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Posts : 420
Join date : 2011-05-14

The 91 st Foot in Zululand. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptySat Jan 28, 2012 6:24 pm


As per my reply with regard to the 21st, also see MacKinnon & Shadbolt's work.

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The 91 st Foot in Zululand. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptySun Jan 29, 2012 7:41 am


Thank you, I knew someone would eventually have a solution ...

This is what a forum should be used ..


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The 91 st Foot in Zululand. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The 91 st Foot in Zululand.   The 91 st Foot in Zululand. EmptyThu Feb 02, 2012 2:04 pm

You do not like Scottish or what? Sad
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