From Lieutenant Curling to Officer Commanding No. 8. Helpmakaar, January 26, 1879.
Extract from COE
"In about a quarter of an hour, Major Smith took away one gun to the right, as the enemy were appearing in large numbers in the direction of the Drift, in the stream in front of the camp. The enemy advanced slowly, without halting; when they were 400 yards off, the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment advanced about 30 yards. We remained in the same position. Major Smith, returned at this time with his gun, and came into action beside mine. The enemy advancing still, we began firing case, but almost immediately the infantry were ordered to retire. Before we could get away, the enemy were by the guns; and I saw one gunner stabbed as he was mounting on to an axle-tree box. The limber gunners did not mount, but ran after the guns. We went straight through the camp but found the enemy in possession. The gunners were all stabbed going through the camp with the exception of one or two. One of the two sergeants was also killed at this time."
Can't see having rifles would have done any good anyway.