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Lord Chelmsford Said .Buller is ‘one of the finest soldiers of the century’, so modest and reticent –that it was difficult to say for what individual deed he had got the Victoria Cross as he had been doing acts worthy of it all along the line
 
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 16th January

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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7488
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 73
Location : Cape Town South Africa

16th January Empty
PostSubject: 16th January   16th January EmptyThu Jan 16, 2014 6:09 am

The deteriorating weather was causing problems for the soldiers camping still on the banks of the Mzinyathi, 5 days now and the column was still only on the fringe of Zulu land Chelmsford in a letter to Frere opinined that: 'the country is in such terrible state I do not know how we shall manage to get our wagons across the valley near Sihayos kraal.
The long supply chain from Greytown to Helpmekaar and down the pass to Rorkes Drift was long arduous and slow. Stockpiling enough supplies to move the column forward was taking its time and causing frustration: 'I do not see a chance of moving forward in under a week, our supplies are not yet sufficient to warrant a forward movement and we have not yet put our road in order.'
The Bashe valley was the main obstacle for the columns wagons, some several kilometres from the support of the main camp it was a far flung and dangerously exposed area. Major William Dunbar had been sent forward with companies of the 2/24th to guard the crossing and the work parties.
Chelmsford rode forward to inspect the work on the 16th accompanied by his staff officers.
Major Dunbar was concerned at the position of his camp, on the far side of the stream, the visibility was limited and left him open to a surprise attack. On Lord Chelmsfords arrival Dunbar requested permission to move the camp onto the near bank. At this point the unpopular John North Crealock muttered a comment casting  doubt onto Major Dunbars character. This lead to the Major resigning his commission on the spot, it took Chelmsfords personal involvement and persuasive powers to get him to retract the resignation. The bad feelings between Chelmsfords staff and the 24th can not have been helped by the exchange.
Colonel Russell had in the meantime been penetrating deeply into Zulu land, up to iSiphezi mountain some 35 kilometres away and had seen no sign of any Zulu only empty kraals and unattended fields.
Chelmsfords advance plan was becoming clearer: 'Our first move must therefore be to the Isanblana hill where there is wood and water...................................
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