Orders were sent to Colonel Durnford to bring his column up to reinforce the camp. In total, some 1,300 men and two guns were left to defend the camp. Winner of the Battle of Isandlwana: The British force was wiped out by the Zulu Army. On the right, Durnford's men began to run low on ammunition and withdrew to the camp leaving the British flank vulnerable. The regulars' retreat was performed with order and discipline and the men of the 24th conducted a fighting withdrawal into the camp. [15] The British and colonial troops were armed with the state-of-the-art[16] Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle and two 7 pounder artillery pieces as well as a rocket battery. Colonel Evelyn Wood VC, of the 90th Light Infantry, commanded the column that crossed the Buffalo River into the North of Zululand. In the distance, the British could see Rorke’s Drift mission station burning. A Company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, remained at Rorke’s Drift, the advanced base for the column. The fighting had been hand-to-hand combat and no quarter given to the British regulars. It is said that a major problem for the British was lack of ammunition and failings in the system of re-supply. This is a composite roll with the basic layout of the despatch published LG15/3/79 amended with reference to the medal roll. The regular British infantry were equipped with the breach loading single shot Martini-Henry rifle and bayonet. [50], While Chelmsford was in the field seeking them, the entire Zulu army had outmanoeuvred him, moving behind his force with the intention of attacking the British Army on the 23rd. Under the command of Ntshigwayo kaMahole the Zulu army had reached its position in easy stages. Chelmsford’s nightmare was that the Zulus would invade Natal. Melville was the adjutant of the 1st Battalion, the 24th Foot. Even though the indunas would lose control over the advance, the training instilled in the warriors allowed the Zulu troops to form their standard attack formation on the run, their battle line deployed in reverse of its intended order. The names of 6 men of the 90th, and another 9 attached to the personal Staff of the Lieutenant-General as servants, all killed at Isandhlwana & published in a separate despatch, are reproduced at the bottom of the page. The Zulu Army was commanded by Chiefs Ntshingwayo kaMahole and Mavumengwana kaMdlela Ntuli. Only five Imperial officers survived. Deaths of Lieutenants Melville and Coghill at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879 in the Zulu War. The Zulus however had disappeared. "[40], On the 18th, some 4,000 warriors were detached from the main body to attack Pearson's column near Eshowe. Finally, when the location of the main Zulu Impi was discovered by British scouts, the Zulus, without hesitation, immediately advanced and attacked, achieving tactical surprise. Chelmsford required the original Number Two Column under Colonel Durnford, a Royal Engineers officer with considerable experience in commanding irregular South African troops, to act in conjunction with Glynn’s Centre Column. 52 British officers and 806 non-commissioned ranks were killed. Elsewhere, the left and right flanks of the invading forces were now isolated and without support. A Zulu regiment rushed between the withdrawing British centre and the camp and the ‘horns’ broke in on each flank. Attached to the Mounted Infantry, Wassall escaped on his horse from the battle and crossed the Buffalo River. [88] He quickly gathered his scattered forces and marched the column back to Isandlwana but arrived at sundown long after the battle ended and the Zulu army had marched off. Chelmsford did not see the need for the laager, stating, "It would take a week to make. All told, the battle cost the British 858 killed as well as 471 of their African troops for a total of 1,329 dead. In addition, the Zulus were able to infiltrate between the companies of British foot and the irregulars commanded by Durnford. Chelmsford believed that a force of over 4,000, including 1,000 British infantry armed with Martini-Henry rifles, as well as artillery, had more than sufficient firepower to overwhelm any attack by Zulus armed only with spears, cowhide shields and a few firearms such as Brown Bess muskets. [94] All the towns of Natal 'laagered' up and fortified and provisions and stores laid in. A surviving officer, Rupert Lonsdale, rode up and described the camp's fall to which Chelmsford replied, "But I left over 1,000 men to guard the camp". The time of the solar eclipse on that day is calculated as 2:29pm. Battle of Monongahela 1755 – Braddock’s Defeat, Battle of Kabul and the retreat to Gandamak, Gallipoli Part I : Naval Attack on the Dardanelles, Gallipoli Part II: Land attack on Gallipoli Peninsular, Gallipoli Part III: ANZAC landing on 25th April 1915, Gallipoli Part IV: First landings at Cape Helles and Y Beach on 25th April 1915, Battle of Jutland Part I: Opposing fleets, Battle of Jutland Part II: Opening Battle Cruiser action on 31st May 1916, Battle of Jutland Part III: Clash between British and German Battle Fleets during the evening 31st May 1916, Battle of Jutland Part IV: Night Action 31st May to 1st June 1916, Battle of Jutland Part V: Casualties and Aftermath, General Braddock’s Defeat on the Monongahela in 1755 I, Gallipoli Part I: Naval Attack on the Dardanelles, Gallipoli Part II: Genesis of the land attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Warned of the Zulus' approach by Durnford, Pulleine began forming his men for battle. This had the consequence of slowing the British advance to a crawl. Nevertheless, he commanded a strong force, particularly the six veteran regular infantry companies, which were experienced at colonial warfare. The mounted vedettes, cavalry scouts, patrolling some 11 km (6.8 mi) from camp reported at 7:00am that groups of Zulus, numbering around 4,000 men, could be seen. [62], The British fought back-to-back[63] with bayonet and rifle butt when their ammunition had finally been expended. The Zulu chiefs took this opportunity to encourage the warriors of the ‘chest’, until now pinned down by the 24th’s fire, to renew their attack. Uniforms, arms and equipment at the Battle of Isandlwana: The Zulu warriors were formed in regiments by age, their standard equipment the shield and stabbing spear. They skirmished with elements of a Zulu force which Chelmsford believed to be the vanguard of the main enemy army. With the decisive defeat of Chelmsford's central column, the entire invasion of Zululand collapsed and would have to be restaged. Chelmsford’s column returned to the scene of horror at Isandlwana and camped near the battlefield. A group of some sixty soldiers of the 24th Foot under Lieutenant Anstey, were cornered on the banks of a tributary of the Buffalo and wiped out. Lieutenants Melville and Coghill rescue the colour of the 24th Regiment at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879 in the Zulu War: picture by Alphonse de Neuville. Melville arrived at the river, in flood from the rains and plunged in. Hilltops had to be picketed and the country scouted carefully for Zulus in ambush. Not only were there heavy manpower casualties to the Main Column, but most of the supplies, ammunition and draught animals were lost. Numerous messages, some quite early in the day, had been sent to Chelmsford informing him, initially, of the presence of the Zulu near the camp and, subsequently, of the attack on the camp, with increasingly urgent pleas for help. Coghill, also of the 24th Foot, crossed the river soon after and went to Melville’s assistance. [68] The Natal Native Contingent lost some 400 men, and there were 240 lost from the group of 249 amaChunu African auxiliaries. Number Three (Centre) Column on the march in Zululand: Battle of Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879 in the Zulu War: picture by Melton Pryor. Durnford's men, upon meeting elements of the Zulu centre, had retreated to a donga, a dried-out watercourse, on the British right flank where they formed a defensive line. Rather than any fear that the camp might be attacked, his main concern was managing the huge number of wagons and oxen required to support his forward advance. [5] Unknown to the inhabitants of Natal, Cetshwayo, still hoping to avoid a total war, had prohibited any crossing of the border in retaliation and was incensed over the violation of the border by the attack on Rorke's Drift. Many arguments focus on possible local tactical occurrences, as opposed to the strategic lapses and failings in grand tactics on the part of high command under Bartle Frere and Chelmsford. [92][93], Following Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, the British and Colonials were in complete panic over the possibility of a counter invasion of Natal by the Zulus. 240 NCOs and men, N/5th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery – 2 officers, 70 NCOs and men, 5th Field Company, Royal Engineers – 3 men, 1st/24th Regiment of Foot (5 companies and band) – 14 officers, 402 NCOs and men, 2nd/24th Regiment of Foot (1 company and details) – 5 officers, 170 NCOs and men, Imperial Mounted Infantry (1 squadron) – 28 NCOs and men, 1st/3rd Natal Native Contingent (2 companies) – 11 officers, ca. Lock, p.225, "That an awesome defeat had taken place was clear...". From Pulleine's vantage point in the camp, at first only the right horn and then the chest (centre) of the attack seemed to be developing. On the Zulu side, casualties were approximately 3,000 killed and 3,000 wounded. For a few hours[55] until noon, the disciplined British volleys pinned down the Zulu centre, inflicting some casualties and causing the advance to stall. The main Zulu frontal assault now appeared over the ridge and Mostyn’s and Cavaye’s companies hastily withdrew to the camp, pausing to fire as they went. Pulleine also had around 500 men of the Natal Native Contingent and approximately 200 local mounted irregulars. Colonel Pulleine was left in camp with the 1st Battalion of the 24th Foot. The British line quickly collapsed. Led by Lord Chelmsford, British forces advanced in three columns with one moving along the coast, another from the north and west, and the Centre Column advancing through Rourke's Drift towards Cetshwayo's base at Ulundi. As the line broke up, groups formed and fought the Zulus, until their ammunition gave out and they were overwhelmed. The clash between British Troops and Zulu Warriors led to a brutal battle that has been retold numerous times, however much of the tale has proven to have more basis in fiction than facts: 1. In the longer term, the British Government determined to avenge the defeat and overwhelming reinforcements were dispatched to Natal. It is thought that natives living in Natal came down to the river and, on the urgings of the Zulus, killed British soldiers attempting to escape.

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