On the 26th of June the long-
"If the Induna, Mundula, brings with him the 1000 rifles taken at Isandlwana, I will
not insist on 1000 men coming in to lay down their arms, if the Zulus are afraid
to come. He must bring the two guns and the remainder of the cattle. I will then
be willing to negotiate. As he has caused me to advance by the great delay he has
made, I must now go to the Umvolosi to enable my men to drink. I will consent, pending
negotiations, to halt on the further bank of the river, and will not burn any kraals
until the 3rd of July, provided no opposition is made to my advance to the position
on the Umvolosi, by which day, the 3rd of July, at noon, the conditions must be
complied with. If my force is fired on, I shall consider negotiations are at an end,
and to avoid any chance of this, it is best that Mundula come to my camp at daybreak
Of course nothing was seen of Mundula, and preparations were made for the reception of the enemy. Newdigate and Wood laagered their waggons and prepared for the arrival of an impi of some 20,000 Zulus advancing from Ulundi. On the following day a large force under Colonel Buller advanced to Nodwengu kraal, and some stragglers were killed. One of these was struck by Lord William Beresford, who, in the sporting manner characteristic of him, cried, "First spear, by Jove!"
On the morning of the memorable 4th of July the army, crossing Umvolosi River, marched
to a higher plateau-
The Zulus advanced steadily, in horn fashion, with their characteristic coolness
and courage. The deadly fusillade from our guns had no perceptible effect. On and
on they came, surging in a dense brown crescent, till within twenty yards of the
British lines, when, with the hail and storm of bullets crashing and blinding them,
they hesitated! That moment's hesitation was fatal-
Then came the final march to Ulundi. This place, wholly deserted, was fired, and while the sky glowed with red and gold reflections of the conflagration, the victorious forces, worn out yet triumphant, returned to the laagered camp they had left at daybreak.
The first news of the victory was carried to the Colony by Mr. Archibald Forbes, the war correspondent of the Daily News, who was himself wounded in the struggle. Starting instantly after the decisive battle, in fourteen hours he rode a distance of 110 miles to the nearest telegraph station at Landman's Drift, on the Buffalo River. In thus exposing his life in the interests not only of his journal but his country, he for ever associated himself with one of the most interesting and thrilling campaigns of the century.
Lord Chelmsford's despatch gives a concise description of the day's work
"Cetchwayo, not having complied with my demands by noon yesterday, July 3, and having fired heavily on the troops at the water, I returned the 1 14 cattle he had sent in and ordered a reconnaissance to be made by the mounted force under Colonel Buller. This was effectually made, and caused the Zulu army to advance and show fight.
"This morning a force under my command, consisting of the second division, under
"Our fortified camp on the right bank of the Umvolosi River was left with a garrison
of about coo Europeans, 250 natives, and one Gatling gun, under Colonel Beilairs.
Soon after half-
"The engagement was shortly afterwards commenced by the mounted men. By nine o'clock
the attack was fully developed. At half-
"The prisoners state that Cetchwayo was personally commanding and had made all the arrangements himself, and that he witnessed the fight from Gikarzi kraal, and that twelve regiments took part in it. If so, 20,000 men attacked us.
It is impossible to estimate with any correctness the loss of the enemy, owing to the extent of country over which they attacked and retreated, but it could not have been less, I consider, than 1000 killed. By noon Ulundi was in flames, and during the day all military kraals of the Zulu army and in the valley of the Umvolosi were destroyed. At 2 P.M. the return march to the camp of the column commenced. The behaviour of the troops under my command was extremely satisfactory; their steadiness under a complete belt of fire was remarkable. The dash and enterprise of the mounted branches was all that could be wished, and the fire of the artillery very good. A portion of the Zulu force approached our fortified camp, and at one time threatened to attack it. The native contingent, forming a part of the garrison, were sent out after the action, and assisted in the pursuit.
"As I have fully accomplished the object for which I advanced, I consider I shall now be best carrying out Sir Garnet Wolseley's instructions by moving at once to Entonganini, and thence to Kmamagaza. I shall send back a portion of this force with empty waggons for supplies, which are now ready at Fort Marshall."
All were rejoiced that Lord Chelmsford should have been able to gain this victory before the arrival on the scene of Sir Garnet Wolseley, and there were many among his friends who regretted when he resigned.
The following quotation from the London Gazette explains the most conspicuous of the brave deeds that were done during this campaign, though there Were many more which came near to rivalling them, so many, indeed, that it would have been impossible to have given honours to all who deserved them
"WAR OFFICE, June 17.
"The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officers and soldier of her Majesty's army, whose claims have been submitted for her Majesty's approval for their gallant conduct during the recent operations in South Africa, as recorded against their names, viz.
"Captain and Brevet-
"Major William K. Leet, first battalion 13th Regiment, for his gallantconduct on the 28th of March 1879, in rescuing from the Zulu's Lieutenant A. M. Smith of the Frontier Light Horse, during the retreat from Zlobane. Lieutenant Smith while on foot, his horse having been shot, was closely pursued by the Zulus, and would have killed had not Major Leet taken him upon his horse and rode with him, under the fire of the enemy, to a place of safety.
"Lieutenant Edward S. Browne, first battalion 24th Regiment, for his gallant conduct on the 29th March 1879, when the Mounted Infantry were being driven in by the enemy at Zlobane, in galloping back and twice assisting on his horse, under heavy fire and within a few yards of the enemy, one of the mounted men, who must otherwise have fallen into the enemy's hands.
"Private Wassell, 80th Regiment, for his gallant conduct in having, at the imminent risk of his own life, saved that of Private Westwood of the same regiment. On the 22nd of January 1879, when the camp at Isandlwana was taken by the enemy, Private Wassell retreated towards the Buffalo River, in which he saw a comrade struggling and apparently drowning. He rode to the bank, dismounted, leaving his horse on the Zulu side, rescued the man from the stream, and again mounted his horse, dragging Private Westwood across the river, under a heavy shower of bullets."
|The Growth of the Transvaal|
|The Web Thickens|
|The Zulu War|
|Isandlwana, an hour by hour account|
|Affairs at Home|
|The First Anglo Boer War|
|Between the Wars|
|The Fate of SGT Elliot|
|The Siege of Pretoria|
|The Reform Movement|
|The Critical Moment|
|The Fate of the Raiders|