It may be remembered that Lord Chelmsford's original idea had been for Colonel Pearson's :column to march from Eshowe to the chief's kraal at Ulundi. In consequence of the disaster, however, Colonel Pearson decided to remain where he was. He constructed a fort for the protection of the garrison against an army of some 20,000 Zulus lying in wait between Eshowe and Tugela. Qn the 3oth of January all the troops came within this embryo fort, and as tents were forbidden, officers and men had to make the best of what shelter the waggons afforded. The troops spent the time in completing the fort and cutting roads, and early in February excellent defences were completed. Though in hourly expectation of attack they seem to have kept up their spirits, for an officer in Eshowe wrote
"The troops inside consisted of three companies of the 99th Regiment, five companies
of the second battalion of the 3rd Buffs, one company of Royal Engineers, one company
of the Pioneers, the Naval Brigade, a body of Artillery, and nineteen of the Native
Contingent, amongst them being several non-
"Life of course was very monotonous. The bands of the two regiments played on alternate afternoons, and every morning they were to be heard practising outside the entrenchment. The most pleasant part of the day was just after six o'clock, when we used to be enlivened in the cool of the evening by the fife and drum band playing the 'Retreat The water with which we were supplied was indeed excellent, and the bathing places, I need not say, were very extensively patronised. The grazing was not nearly sufficient for the cattle, and from the first they must have suffered very much from want of nourishment. You will have heard of the fate of the eleven hundred head of oxen and the span of donkeys which we sent away from the camp in expectation of their reaching the Lower Tugela. They left us in charge of nineteen Kaffirs, but at the Inyezane they were attacked by a large body of Kaffirs. The natives in charge of the cattle decamped and reached the fort in safety, and the enemy got possession of the whole of the cattle, which they drove off. The donkeys were all killed with the exception of one, and this sagacious animal surprised everybody in camp by returning soon after the Kaffirs had come back"
The prices of food at this time were scarcely in keeping with those of the London market. A bottle of pickles fetched 25s., and a ham £7, 10s. ! Milk was purchasable for 23s. a tin, and sardines for 12s.
As may be imagined, the arrival of Lord Chelmsford at Eshowe was a matter for general thanksgiving. One who was present records in Blackwood's Magazine the joy on the arrival of the first outsiders: "On the afternoon of the 3rd of April, the column detailed on the 31st of March (about 500 whites and 50 blacks, and the mounted infantry, with one gun) left the fort under General Pearson, to meet the relief column. . . . A solitary horseman was seen towards 5 P.M. galloping up the new road to the fort. He had an officer's coat on, and we could see a sword dangling from his Who is he? . . He proved to be the correspondent of the Standard. 'First in Eshowe,' he said, 'proud to shake hands with an Eshowian.' A second horseman appeared approaching
The fort his horse apparently much blown, Who is he? . . . The correspondent of the Argus (Cape Town). They had a race who would be first at Eshowe, the Standard winning by five minutes!" Thus ended happily the crushing anxiety under which Colonel Pearson and his party had lived, and the foretaste of the future triumph seemed' already to remove the memory of many weeks of bitterness.
Serous differences of opinion soon arose between Lord Chelmsfor d and Sir Henry Bulwer, the Governor of Natal, but on the intricacies of these it is unnecessary to dwell; suffice it to say, that they were in a measure the cause of Sir Garnet Wolseley's arrival on the scene somewhat later, as Sir Garnet united in his own person both supreme civil and supreme military power.
A complete account of the movements of the various columns during
the dreary months that elapsed before the final victory at Ulundi on the 4th of July cannot be attempted here. The history of skirmishes and raids, of daring sorties, of captures of cattle, and of troops, of hopes and disappointments, of successes and scares, of hardships and horrors, would fill many pages that must be otherwise occupied.
Yet one tragic and memorable event of the war cannot be passed over, for we lost
a gallant volunteer whose young life was full of promise and distinction. At the
beginning of June the Prince Imperial of France, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, having
studied at the Military College at Woolwich, and desiring to see war in all its reality,
was attached to the Quartermaster-
But unknown to them, fifty Zulus, tiger-
"At this time the party were standing in a line close to their horses, with their
backs to the kraal and their faces turned eastward, the Prince being in front and
nearest to the Zulus. Then with a tremendous cry 'Usutu' and 'Lo, the English cowards!'
the savages rushed on. The horses immediately swerved, and some broke away. An undoubted
panic seized the party; every one who could spring on his horse mounted and galloped
for his life. There was no thought, no idea of standing fast and resisting this sudden
attack. The Prince was unwounded, but unable to mount his charger, which was sixteen
hands high and always difficult to mount. On this occasion the horse became so frightened
by the firing and sudden stampeding as to rear and prance in such a manner as to
make it impossible for the Prince to gain the saddle. Many of the others saw the
difficulty, but none waited or tried to give the least assistance. One by one they
rushed their horses past, Private le Tocq exclaiming as he went by, lying across
his saddle, ~DerpeAchez vous, s'il vous plait, monsieur!' The Prince, making no
reply, strained every nerve, but, alas! in vain, to gain the back of his horse, holding
There is a certain sad satisfaction in remembering that this noble youth, the hope of France, the worthy descendant of a great name, should have died as a soldier and without more than a moment's suffering.
The rest of the party had galloped off at full speed, thinking each was engaged in the business of getting away. Lieutenant Carey who has been blamed for not having stood by the Prince in his perilous position, shouted orders and imagined they were followed and in his hasty retreat had not time to do more than believe whole party thus surprised were galloping away together.
Arguments regarding this deplorable affair have been so many
That it is best to quote the evidence taken at the court martial and the statement of Lieutenant Carey
"The Court is of opinion that Lieutenant Carey did not understand the position in which he stood towards the Prince, and, as a consequence, failed to estimate aright the responsibility which fell to his lot. Colonel Harrison states that the senior combatant officer, Lieutenant Carey, D.A.Q.M.G., was, as a matter of course, in charge of the party, whilst, on the other hand, Carey says, when alluding to the escort, 'I did not consider I had any authority over it after the precise and careful instructions of Lord Chelmsford as to the position the Prince held.' As to his being invariably accompanied by an escort in charge of an officer, the Court considers that the possibility of such a difference of opinion should not have existed between two officers of the same department. The Court is of opinion that Carey is much to blame for having proceeded on the duty in question with a portion only of the escort detailed by Colonel
The Court cannot admit the irresponsibility for this on the part of Carey, inasmuch
as he took steps to obtain the escort and failed in so doing. Moreover, the fact
that Harrison was present upon the Itelezi range gave him the opportunity of consulting
him on the matter, of which he failed to avail himself. The Court, having examined
the ground, is of opinion that tile selection of the kraal, where a halt was made
and the horses saddled, surrounded as it was by cover for the enemy, and adjacent
to difficult ground, showed a lamentable want of military prudence. The Court deeply
regrets that no effort was made the attack to rally the escort, and to show a front
to the enemy, whereby the possibility of aiding those who had failed to make good
their retreat might have been ascertained.-
On this report a court-
When the Court opened the plan of the ground was proved.
Corporal Grubb said the Prince gave the order "Off saddle" at the kraal, and "Prepare to mount." The Prince mounted. After the volley he saw Carey putting spurs to his horse, and he did the same. He saw Abel fall, and Rogers trying to get a shot at the Zulus. Le Tocq passed him and said, "Put spurs to your horse, boy; the Prince is down!" He looked round and saw the Prince under his horse. A short time after the Prince's horse came up, and he (Grubb) caught it. No orders were given to rally.
Le Tocq was called and said: The Prince told the natives to search the kraals, and finding no one there they off saddled. At the volley he mounted, but, dropping his carbine, stopped to pick it up. In remounting he could not get his leg over the saddle. He passed the Prince, and said in French, "Hasten to mount your horse." The Prince did not answer. He saw the Prince's horse treading on his leg. The Prince was in command of the party. He believed Carey and the Prince would have passed on different sides of a hut in fast flight, and it was possible that Carey might have failed to see that the Prince was in difficulties. It was 250 yards from where he saw the Prince down to the spot where he died.
Trooper Cochrane was called and said: The Prince was not in the saddle at the time of mounting. He saw about fifty yards off the Prince running down the donga with fourteen Zulus in close pursuit. Nothing was done to help him. He heard no orders given, and did not tell Carey what he had seen until some time after Re was an old soldier. He did not think any rally could have been made.
The Court then adjourned to the next day. On reassembling, the first witness called was
Sergeant Willis, who stated that he had seen Trooper Rogers lying on the ground by the side of his horse, close to the kraal, as he left the spot. He thought he saw the Prince wounded at the same time that Trooper Abel threw up his arms. He thought the Prince might have been dragged to the place where he was found after death, and that a rally might have been made twenty yards beyond the donga.
Colonel Harrison being called, stated that Carey was senior combatant officer, and must therefore have been in command of the party. Carey volunteered to go on the reconnaissance to verify certain points of his sketch. The Prince was ordered to go to report more fully on the ground. He had given the Prince into Carey's charge exaimined 'by the Court, Colonel Harrison stated that when the Prince was attached to his department he was not told to treat him as a royal personage in the matter of escort, but as any other officer, taking due precaution against any possible danger. Dr Scott (the Princes medical attendant) was then called, and stated that the Prince was killed by eighteen assegai wounds, any of which would have been fatal. There were no bullet wounds.
The Prince died where the body was found. This closed the case for the prosecution.
The defence called again Colonel Harrison, who testified to Carey's abilities as a staff officer, and said he had every confidence in him.
Colonel Bellairs was also called, and stated that it was in consequence of the occurrence of the 1st June that Carey had been deposed from his staff appointment the day previous to his trial.
Lieutenant Carey here submitted that. his case had been prejudged, and that he had been punished before his trial.
The following wis Lieutenant Carey's statement
"On the 31st May I was informed by Colonel Harrison,. A.Q.M.G., that the Prince Imperial
was to start on the 1st June to ride over the road selected by me for the advance
of the column, for the purpose of selecting a camping-
this work, and that I was not to interfere with him in any way. For our escort, six
Europeans of Bettington's Horse and six Basutos were ordered. Bettington's men were
paraded at 9 A.M.,but owing to some misunderstanding the Basutos did not turn up,
and, the Prince being desirous of proceeding at once, we went without them. On arriving
at the ridge between Itelezi and Incenci, I suggested waiting for them, but the
Prince replied, 'Oh no; we are quite strong enough,' or words to that effect. We
proceeded on our reconnaissance from there, halting about half-
|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|