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 Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter

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Isandula

Isandula

Posts : 270
Join date : 2010-08-13

Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter Empty
PostSubject: Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter   Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter EmptySat Jun 07, 2014 4:45 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
(Isandula Collection)
Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter                                        Rorke's Drift Fort
                                                                                                 Natal S.A.
                                                                                                    22 April 79
My dear little coz,
    How good of you to write me such a nice sympathetic letter on my escape from falling
into the hands of the wily Zulu it was indeed God’s mercy that saved us all.  By all I mean
those in the General’s column who had been out fighting 25 miles into Zululand, and
returned only too late alas to save our dear brother officers and soldiers who died so nobly
in the defence of the camp.  If the enemy had only known how strong he was that dreadful
never to be forgotten night when we bivouacked on the [page 2] battle field among our
dead and mutilated soldiers he would have attacked and our defence could only have
lasted as long as a man lived to fire his rifle, and we were so few, and our ammunition
nearly all gone, and as hungry & thirsty, and weary from our long march of 30 miles, but
he didn’t, and we live  please God to fight him another day and avenge our gallant
officers & men.  Look out in the Standard  towards the end of his month and you will see
a full and almost accurate account of the doings of 21st, 22nd & 23 Jany.-- we have got it together therefore dare not say all we think and know--[page 3] during which days our
column was continually fighting.  You will then be able to take your fill of the defence of
Rorke Drift by our B. Company under Bromhead; from the very meagre nature of the
defences and the distinguished bravery of the enemy through that long anxious night it
remains a feat unparalleled in history.  You should just see some of the boy(s) who did
this gallant act.  They are not over 18 or 19 years of age lots of them.  About ten days ago
a party of 24’ officers and men marched to where poor Melville and Coghill fell
defending the [page 4] Queen’s Color.  The bodies were exhumed, placed in one coffin
and buried and a cross set into a rock just over the grave the gift of Sir Bartle Frere: the
inscription was as follows: “In memory of Lieuts. Teignmouth Melville & Coghill 1/24’
Regt. who lost their lives on the 22 Jany 1879 endeavoring to save the Queen’s Color of
their Regt.” On the back of the cross these beautiful words--For Queen and Country/ Jesu
mercy.  There will be a picture of the grave in the Illustrated in about a month.  There
was a very good sketch of Rorke’s Drift  the morning we relieved it in the Illustrated of 8
March, the meallie [page 5] sacks are however too high, and the hospital was connected
to remainder of defences by a low breastwork of meallie sacks two high, there is also a
very good picture of our advance to retake the camp at Isandhlwana on the night of 22
Jany.  I want you to drop a line to my Mum, and ask her to buy it, and keep it for me.  I
want those two pictures preserved [.] I am not writing to her this mail.  We are still in this
horrid place but hope soon to be emancipated from our misery shortly as our column is in
process of being reformed at Dundee under Genl [page 6] Newdigate’s command [.]  We
shall I fancy have 2/21st 2/24th 94 & 58 and 17th Lancers besides natives and mounted
Europeans and no doubt shall advance into Zululand in less than a fortnight  the sooner
the better and then the sooner it will be all over.  We’ve been warming them up
everywhere lately [.] Genl. Wood killed over 3000 the other day, they fired at him with a
lot of our rifles taken at Isandhlwana [.] Major Black 24th and party of volunteers found
the Queen’s Color 1/24th in the bed of the Buffalo river where poor Melville had it
washed out of his hands by the current [.] Our colors which [page 7] were left in our
Guard Tent, and not carried at all the day of the Battle of Isandhlwana I regret to say are
still missing and I don’t think we shall get them back until we have taken the King’s
Kraal.  They are almost sure to be there.  And now I must shut up as I find it rather cold.
I am writing in the open air which is frightfully cold at night--3 blankets necessary [.]  I
can tell you all my clothes  boots and everything for we never undress having lots of
Zulus within five miles of us [.]  Tell my mother when you write that I am now almost
quite recovered from the fever [.] I am only wanting in a very little more strength to be
myself again.  I do all my duties and can do them [page 8] well.  Give my love to Aunt
and tell her I hear she has been having High Ginks at 4 Wyvell road, hope you had some
good partners, was the little Parson there?  and  dear Ada I must not forget that you have
been ill.  I am so grieved to hear it, and trust most sincerely you are quite strong again by
this.  With best love to you and the Children Jaessy & Fred.
                                                                            Believe me
                                                                            affectly
                                                                       J.M. Gurnell Tongue
Buy me a song dedicated to 24th & send it out
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John

John

Posts : 2558
Join date : 2009-04-06
Age : 58
Location : UK

Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter Empty
PostSubject: Re: Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter   Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter EmptySat Jun 07, 2014 5:33 pm

Enforces the issue, ie, lack of ammuntion.

This is not the first time we have seen, some thought Bromhead was in-command at RD during the Battle, still I guess he was when the colum crossed into Zululand.

Isandula, thanks for posting, and thanks for copying the text, to one we can read.  agree 
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7787
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 74
Location : Cape Town South Africa

Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter Empty
PostSubject: Re: Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter   Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter EmptyMon Jun 09, 2014 10:21 am

Interesting thing is there was another 'Tongue' at RD, 1315 Robert Tongue B Company. He also served with the South Wales Borderers. As did quite a few of the defenders, including his fellow residents of Ruddington, Caleb Wood and James Marshall. Three men from the same small village, quite unique.
Marshall was tried for fraudulent enlistment, I would be interested in any other details on that.

Cheers
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impi

impi

Posts : 2308
Join date : 2010-07-02
Age : 41

Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter Empty
PostSubject: Re: Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter   Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter EmptyMon Jun 09, 2014 10:39 am

Kris Wheatley book covers all three defenders.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

Posts : 7787
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 74
Location : Cape Town South Africa

Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter Empty
PostSubject: Re: Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter   Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter EmptyMon Jun 09, 2014 10:45 am

Hi Impi
Also Kris is a relative of Caleb Wood.

Cheers
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John

John

Posts : 2558
Join date : 2009-04-06
Age : 58
Location : UK

Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter Empty
PostSubject: Re: Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter   Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter EmptyMon Jun 09, 2014 6:39 pm

Is there going to be another volume in the legacy series ?
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Captain JMG Tongue 1/24th Rorke's Drift Letter
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