I HAVE the honour of forwarding certain documents which I was unable to attach to my letter of yesterday’s date, sent by the ” Anglian,’ viz:-1. Copies of statement of Lieutenant-Colonel Crealock, Assistant Military Secretary.
4B. Precis of instructions contained in Lord Chelmsford’s letters to Colonel Pearson.
Yours of 1st received. Trust that the news that you are to be attacked and also Glyn may be true. Having been attacked, and the enemy repulsed a decision as to your future movements absolutely necessary. If you can reduce your garrison to one-half, it, will give you a strong moveable column at Lower Tugela.
Should wish to see Naval Brigade garrisoning forts at Lower Tugela. Yourself and staff ought, to be there also. After a successful action, would be your best chance of withdrawing a portion of your garrison, otherwise a risk.
Endeavour to arrange for the holding an entrenchment requiring a lesser garrison.
Your best field officers should remain in command. Bring back only what baggage, &c., is absolutely essential. The sick and wounded should come in empty wagons.
I trust that any attack made on our posts may be simultaneous. We are ready for it.
400 men 88th Regiment, expected to-day; 200 remain here, 200 go to Stanger, thus releasingninety-nine companies for Lower Tugela.
My belief is, your garrison should be at once reduced to the minimum which you consider is necessary for its defence; this will give us more time for throwing in supplies.
There will not be a force at Lower Tugela for six weeks at least, sufficient to ensure a convoy to Ekowe, and unwise to attempt it, but if you withdraw surplus garrison, you will have troops enough for a very efficient flying column at that place.
Add 100 or 200 to the 400 you suggest for garrison, but cut down your defences to meet reduced garrison.
Your own presence is absolutely essential at Lower Tugela. Mine is required all over Natal.
A Head Commander required to look after every post of your command.
Latest news, Zulus will not knock their heads against our posts, but will raid into Natal. All more necessary for a moveable force at Lower Tugela. Other columns are too weak for me to decrease them to increase yours, and each must hold on as best they can until reinforcements arrive, thus you must read my instructions.
Details I leave to you, only let us know when you propose to fall back.
A large force stated to be near Zuguin. ” It will not do to face too great odds, but you might, perhaps, manage to reach Umanidusi” (where be every available man from Lower Tugela should sent), without your move being discovered. Each man should carry 100 rounds, two days’ food.
Bring no wheeled carriage. Line of march to be most compact, and no delay on the march if a few shots are fired at you. The garrison left at Ekowe must be on the alert, as it will be imagined you have deserted the post altogether.
JOHN M. CREALOCK,
Lieut.-Col., Asst. Mil. Sec.
The Bagalusini Kraal has been till now a rallying point for the most determined opponents of the British Government, and its destruction will have a good effect on all friendly or neutral natives, while the Zulus will see the spirit of the High Commissioner’s message is fully carried out, for though this, a barrack, is destroyed, no dwelling places of the inhabitants have been wilfully damaged by the Troops of No. 4 Column.
We have 1,365 Europeans here all told, and about 100 Natives, including pioneers, but exclusive of leaders and drivers, the number of whom I don’t quite know. We have in round numbers 1,200 rifles and 332 rounds of ammunition for that number, also 127,000 rounds Gatling, 37 Naval Rockets, 24-pounders (shot; not shell rockets), 46 Rockets, (shell) for 7-pounders, also for 7-pounders 200 Shrapnel, 254 common shell, 20 double shell, and 33 case. It in almost impossible to get an accurate return of food, but I think we must have over three weeks’ supply, the cattle, however, may be swept away at any moment, as of course they have to be kept in the wagon laager outside. I am keeping a small reserve in the ditches, where we stable the horses also, although commanded, the ground is perfectly open round here, except one or two small patches of wood, which would give cover, but which are being cut down as fast as we can do it. The brushwood, however, is all destroyed, the road to Ekowe from the Tugela is a mere beaten track, and. at this season of the year very bad in places, especially this side of the Inyazane, which is often very steep, narrow, and sloping towards the valley (where cut on the side of a hill) thus rendering a wagon liable to upset. The latter defect we remedied en route, but as there is no stone in the country I am afraid it will never be possible to do more than for each convoy to repair the road for itself. There is nothing to repair it with except logs and brushwood, which of course won’t stand the traffic of a large number of wagons. I know of no place between this and the Lower Drift where a depot could be advantageously formed, nor even fortified posts. The camping ground on the left bank of the Umsindusi is, however, nice and open, but it is commanded at one point toward the Amatikulu. Our camping ground at the Inyoni was on a knoll, but it is only nine miles from the Tugela. You ask if a Zulu can climb over our parapets here without assistance ? I fear he can in some places, but we are working hard at deepening the ditches. We want medicines, and I have written to Tarrant about them, as I have told you what food and ammunition we have got, you will be able to judge of what we can do. I find it quite impossible to get information. Cur Kafirs won’t do spy. They are afraid of being taken.
Thanks for your good wishes. Has there been any raid made on Natal?
We are better off for food than I thought we were, and, if our cattle are left to us, we shall be able to get along for over three weeks from this day, and, with many essentials for some time longer. Heygate has sent a pretty accurate return to the Commissary General, which he must have received, as it went with my letter which you have acknowledged.
Our resources in the way of ammunition you also know. As regards dividing our entrenchments, so as to defend our stores efficiently in the event of the garrison being reduced, I am afraid it could not well be done without very, materially altering everything. Every building is now within the fort, and was preserved in the belief that all your columns were to have been fed from. this line, and that, consequently, stores on a large scale would be required, also a fair sized garrison. I mean some three hundred or four hundred men, for, of course, it was not then contemplated that the garrison would have to deal with any large bodies of Zulus.
As it is, it is highly probable, I suppose, that Cetywayo may make a supreme effort to drive us out and bring the bulk of his army this way. I trust he may do so and he will find it a very hard nut to crack indeed. We have got all the distances measured and this afternoon a table of ranges will be issued to the troops. If we have time the distances will all be cut on the hills which slope our way, and the cuttings filled in with white clay, which we get out of the ditches, so as to make the figures visible.
As regards our immediate future, I am of opinion, and I trust you will forgive me giving it frankly that, a convoy of wagons not exceeding 20 in number and all with good spans of 20 oxen, and none with larger loads than 4000 lbs. should be sent us, as soon as you can get an escort together, equal to a battalion of 600 or 700.
The wagons to contain nothing but food for men and a little more ammunition, especially for guns and rockets, which we want and would not be much good to the Zulus if it fell into their hands. The escort would not require tents, and could carry two days’ provisions on their persons, which would gave something. I would ask to have the two Companies Buffs, now at the Lower Drift, sent up, and with the return wagons I would send back the three companies and Head quarters 99th, half the company Royal Engineers, the Native Pioneers, the odds and ends of Volunteers, Native Contingent, and drivers and leaders still here. In fact the latter have signified their intention to bolt, the first opportunity. If the escort reported the road pretty clear, I would also suggest sending back the sick and wounded, who are fit to travel, and some of the trek oxen which I should be very glad to get rid of. The drivers and leaders could take charge of them. I most respectfully hope you will remember that I am only giving my opinion. I am ready to reduce the garrison to any limits you may choose to order, and to take my chance with the remainder, but having pretty well studied our position, I hope from every point of view, I do not think (unless we see no chance of being attacked by a very large body of the enemy) that it would be prudent just yet to reduce the garrison beyond the limits I have suggested.
In making the above suggestions, I have studied to reduce the number of mouths, and to retain, at the same time, all the fighting men I could. It will be better too, to keep units, i.e., battalions together. The Natal Pioneers will be useful in repairing roads between this and the Tugela and the half company Royal Engineers will be necessary, should any intermediate station be fixed upon as a fortified post. I know of no place as I have already told you. The Inyone dries up in winter generally, and what water remains is brackish. Perhaps our camping ground on the left bank of the Umsindusi might do. The water is beautiful, but it is commanded, as I think I also told you, from the high ground towards the Amatakula, only in that direction, however, so perhaps the Engineers might manage to defilade it. The locality as regards the distance between Ekowe and the Tugela would be a very convenient one, I am speaking of places on the road, but I remember none adjacent to it. A few hundred men could cut down the bush along the road for several hundred yards on either side between the Inyone and Umsindusi, but I do not know whether it would not be too big a job to attempt to do so about the Amatakula and Inyazuue. It would be a grand thing if it could be done. I think any escort coming up will have to look about them very carefully nearly every where between the Umsindusi and the high ground on this side of the Inyazune. On some places the bush is pretty thick ; a few mounted scouts with the convoy would be of great use.
As regards the composition of a column, I have come to the conclusion that, although mounted men, if the horses could be fed in this country, would be of immense value, yet, considering that all their forage has to be carried, their utility is much lessened by the fact of the column being materially increased in length by the additional transport.
The Native Contingent, too are of little or no use, unless all the men have firearms; when, perhaps, they would be as dangerous to friends as foes ; and the officers and non – commissioned officers can speak Kaffir.
In the 2nd Regiment, scarcely one could do so, and I could never get anything done I wanted. The men were always grumbling at doing fatigue work, notwithstanding that they saw the soldiers working alongside them, and said they were enlisted to fight, and not to work. Yet, when they had the chance, they did not do over well.
We should be very glad of a newspaper or two giving an account of No. 3 Column. About what number of Zulus did poor Durnford’s party kill before they were overpowered and slaughtered ? Did the two guns fall into the hands of the Zulus ? Did the plucky company of the 2nd Battalion 24th at Rorke’s Drift (I suppose it was guarding the Depot) beat off the 2,500 Zulus whom they fought for twelve hours ? How very foolish of poor Durnford’s detachment to scatter about so far from the camps. Has any raid been made on Natal ? The men here are very savage at the thoughts of so many of their wounded comrades being butchered, for, of course, as all were found dead, the wounded must have been murdered.
We are all still in very good health, and the work will not be so hard now I hope, as all the heavy work of the entrenchments is completed. 37 on the sick report to-day, two of the Buffs rather bad with the diarrhoea, one of them, Oakley, the married man whose name I sent the other day, is not so well, he had only fever then. Wounded doing very well. We had some rain last night and the night before a very heavy thunderstorm. To-day it has been exceedingly hot. I am going to send this letter off to-night. The messengers say the road is thoroughly watched, but I cannot hear of any large force of Zulus being between us and the Tugela.
I HAVE the honour to forward herewith the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry held to take evidence regarding the disastrous affair of Isandlwana.
The copy of proceedings forwarded was made by a confidential clerk of the Royal Engineers.
The Court has refrained from giving an opinion, as instructions on this point were not given to it.
F. C. HASSARD, C.B.,
Colonel Royal Engineers, President.
Proceedings of a Court of Enquiry, assembled at Helpmakaar, Natal, on the 27th January, 1879, by order of His Excellency the Lieutenant-General Commanding the troops in South, Africa, dated 24th January, 1879.
Colonel F. C. Hassard, C.B., Royal Engineers.
Lieutenant-Colonel Law, Royal Artillery.
Lieutenant-Colonel Harness, Royal Artillery.
The Court having assembled pursuant to order, proceeded to take the following evidence:—
1st Witness.— Major Clery states: ” I am […] ”
2nd Evidence.—Colonel Glyn, C.B., states: ” From the time […] ”
3rd Evidence.—Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars, states: ” I accompanied […] ”
4th Evidence.—Captain Essex, 75th Regiment, states: ” I hand in a written statement of what occurred, I have nothing to add to that statement. This statement is marked A. ”
5th Evidence.—Lieutenant Cochrane, 32nd Regiment, states: ” I am […] ”
6th Evidence.—Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien, 95th Regiment, states : ” I am […] ”
7th Evidence.—Captain Nourse, Natal Native Contingent, states : ” I was […] ”
8th Evidence.—Lieutenant Curling, R.A., states: ” I was left in camp with two guns, when the remaining four guns of the battery went out with the main body of the column, on 22nd January, 1879. Major Stuart Smith joined and took command of the guns about twelve noon. I hand in a written statement (marked B). I
have nothing to add to that statement. ”
F. C. HASSARD, Colonel, Royal Engineers, President.
F. T. A. LAW, Lieutenant-Colonel, R.A.
A. HARNESS, Major R.A. and Lieutenant-Colonel.
Attached Statement A.
January 24, 1879.
Captain Essex’s Evidence.
” Sir, I HAVE the honour […] ”
Attached Statement B.
January 26, 1879.
From Lieutenant Curling to Officer Commanding No. 8. Helpmakaar
” Sir, I HAVE the honour […] “