Fair use notice.
This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner.
We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website.
If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Posts : 7077 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 52 Location : Down South.
Subject: Doubt’s and delays Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:32 pm
At what time did Chelmsford actually believe the camp had been taken.? He received various reports thought out the morning that the camp was being attacked but seemed to have ignored them. Once he had grasped the fact that is was true why did he take so long getting back to Isandlwana. If he had gone back in quick time, when the first reports came it that the Zulu were advancing in force, would it have made a difference to the out come at Isandlwana,? or would the British body count have higher.?
Pulleine dispatched a message to Chelmsford warning him that the Zulus were threatening the camp.
Pulleine then received a message from Chelmsford ordering him to break camp and move up to join the rest of the column. Lets not forget Pulleine was ordered to defend the camp at all costs, so why was it, when Pulleine tells Chelmsford about the threat from the Zulu, Chelmsford tells him to strike camp and join up with the him, although it would have been far easier and quicker for Chelmsford to join up with Pulleine.
Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars, states “I sent a message directed to the Staff Officer 3rd Column, saying that our left was attacked by about 10,000 of the enemy; a message was also sent by Colonel Pulleine.”
Deep down he probably knew it was true, and lets be honest there was not a lot he could do, apart from acting dumb. Only when he knew it was safe to return did he made his move.
Chelmsford refused to believe that Isandlwana had been taken. Chelmsford, on hearing that the camp had been overrun, is reported to have said,
"I can't understand it, and I left a thousand men there."
When really there was 1300 British (800 Imperial troops and 500 irregulars)
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: Doubt’s and delays Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:19 am
Chelmsford led 2,500 men including half of the British infantry and 4 guns out from Isandlwana to find the Zulu army. The patrol, under Dartnell, had stumble upon between 1,500-2,000 Zulus some 12 miles from camp of Isandlwana, who withdrew after an encounter. Dartnell decided to dig in as it was getting dark and asked for support. Chelmsford moved to support Dartnell.
Around about 8am a soldier galloped down from the spur to report a great force of Zulus was approaching from the northeast across the Nqutu plateau.
Pulleine sent off a messenger to Chelmsford, and recalled the work party, and the 24th piquets, but he left the NNC companies in place. He sounded the 'fall in'. All was calm until 10am.
Hamilton-Browne who was returning to Isandhlwana was still some 9 miles out had captured two Zulus, who informed Hamilton-Browne that the impi was close to the camp and was going to attack. Browne sent a message back to Chelmsford but the message did not reach the General until 2pm.
Col Durnford saw the Zulu Left horn, and sent messengers to advise Pulleine. At about 12.15 the messengers reached the camp and Pulleine sounded the Alarm and scrawled a note to Chelmsford about the approaching enemy force.
Hamilton-Browne was about 5 miles from camp He move toward the camp but his company was of an indecisive caliber and so he, retired.
Chelmsford was convinced of the tragedy at 3.30pm. Chelmsford instantaneously decided to retake the camp after a rider reported that the camp was full of triumphant Zulus. Glyn's column marched as quickly as possible to meet up with Chelmsford and arrived just after 6pm. Chelmsford ordered the move forward placing the 2/24th in the centre supported by the Mounted Infantry and Volunteers. When they arrived at Isandhlwana it was dark. 1,200 men in the camp and nearly 500 of Durnfords men had been killed.
Lord Chelmsford says, that " in point of fact, he only received one message from the camp in the course of that day, which was that mentioned in his despatch, which had been sent to him at eight o'clock in the morning, and which was received by him at 9.30, which merely gave the information that a body of the enemy had been noticed in a north-westerly direction. From half-past nine until he reached the camp on his return, not a single message, if any were despatched, had reached him.
I think returning to Isandlwana in two & Half Hours after receiving the convincing message with 2,500 men and 4 guns was very good going. And don't forget Chelmsford also had a duty of care to his own men. (Remember those wise words)" WHERE FOOLS RUSH IN"
OK Chelmsford is saying that he only received one message. So is it not possible that messengers didn’t actually take the messages but made off instead. Are the names of the messengers recorded anywhere, did they return to Isandlwana after delivering the messages. Chelmsford was quick enough to support Dartnell on hearing that he had encounter Zulus So I can see no reason why Chelmsford would not have gone to Isandlwana if he had received messages.
24th At approximately 8am, mounted vendettas reported a large force of Zulus on the high ground left of the camp. Pulleine, in command at Isandlwana, hasten quick note to Chelmsford, which read: 'Report just come in that the Zulus are advancing in force from left front of Camp.' Chelmsford read it shortly after 9.30am, and he returned it to his staff officer, Major Clery, without saying a word, and did not deflected from his original plan.
Harness ordered his force of artillery and infantry to return to Isandlwana. Harness had only advanced for half a mile when a staff officer rode up with orders from Chelmsford to recommence his original march because the message was a false alarm.
Extract from a Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.
Major Clery at this time received a half sheet of foolscap with a message from Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine informing him (I think it ran) that a Zulu force had appeared on the hills on his left front. Our own attention was chiefly bent on he enemy's force retiring from the hills in our front, and a party being pursued by Lieutenant Colonel Russell three miles off. This letter was not addressed to me, and I did not note on it the time of receipt, but one I received from Colonel Russell soon after is noted by me (I think, for it is at Pietermaritzburg) as received at 10.20.
Messages where getting through to Chelmsford but he believed them to be false alarms.
Posts : 10314 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 65 Location : Melbourne, Australia
Subject: doubts and delays Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:01 am
One thing we need to remember is that CHELMSFORD"S force was well and truly spread all over the place trying to locate the zulus that DARTNELL had found late in the previous evening, his gut feeling seemed to be that he was on the right track and more than likely thought the zulus at ISANDLWANA were no more than a feint, we must remember, for CHELMSFORD to get back in time , he would have needed his forces close by and not spread miles in differant directions. This was the master stroke of the zulu command. Which further forced the british to split their forces, as much as ISANDLWANA was a disaster for CHELMSFORD there wasnt much he could have done, even if he had wanted to. And remember his famous words " I LEFT A THOUSAND MEN HERE !! ". So he thought the situation was well under control.
Posts : 1095 Join date : 2009-01-14 Location : East London
Subject: Re: Doubt’s and delays Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:37 am
“Chelmsford, was about 11km away had two indications that the camp was being attacked, but due to the hilly terrain had a poor view of the theatre of action. Unable to see anything amiss he apparently discounted both reports. One of the standard orders for the British, when attacked in camp, was to loosen the guy ropes on the tents so that soldiers would not get tangled up in them. This was not done and the upright tents were visible in the field glasses of the young officers with Chelmsford. Chelmsford took this to be an indication that the camp was not under attack and that the shots, which could be heard in the distance, were firing practice.”
This is feasible; we must also remember that there were parties of Zulus,no doubt keeping Chelmsford under observation, if Chelmsford had tried to return to Isandlwana his column would have been harassed, even a mock attacked by the Zulus would have caused long delays, each attack causing Chelmsford column to prepared for action.
Like 90th Say's
This was the master stroke of the zulu command.
Posts : 629 Join date : 2009-01-20 Age : 43
Subject: Re: Doubt’s and delays Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:56 pm
Hi all. Chelmsford should have sent a recognisant party to Isandlwana to established that the message he received was genuine.
Chelmsford could have made it back to Isandlwana just after midday..
It took him and his column approximately two and half hours to return to Isandlwana with his entire force,after the battle had ended
He would have had enough time in which to regroup and form a defective position near to Isandlwana. Near enough to sent over some artillery shells, to draw the attention of the Zulu to him, giving those in the camp time to regroup nearer the ammunition wagons. And draw in their firing line.