I am employed as transport officer with No 2 Column, then under Colonel Durnford, R.E., on the 22nd January, 1879, the column marched on that morning from Rorke’s Drift to Isandlwana in consequence of an order received from the Lieutenant General.
I do not know the particulars of the order received.
I entered the Isandlwana camp with Colonel Durnford about 10 A.M., and remained with him as Acting Staff Officer. On arrival he took over command from Colonel Pulleine, 24th Regiment. Colonel Pulleine gave over to Colonel Durnford a verbal state of the troops in camp at the time, and stated the orders he had received, viz., to defend the camp, these words were repeated two or three times in the conversation.
Several messages were delivered, the last one to the effect that the Zulus were retiring in all directions—the bearer of this was not dressed in any uniform. On this message Colonel Durnford sent two troops Mounted Natives to the top of the hills to the left, and took with him two troops of Rocket Battery, with escort of one company Native Contingent, on to the front of the camp about four or five miles off.
Before leaving, he asked Colonel Pulleine to give him two companies 24th Regiment. Colonel Pulleine said that with the orders he had received he could not do it, but agreed with Colonel Durnford to send him help if he got into difficulties.
Colonel Durnford, with two troops, went on ahead and met the enemy some four or five miles off in great force, and, as they showed also on our left, we retired in good order to the Drift, about a quarter of a mile in front of the camp, where the mounted men reinforced us, about two miles from the camp.
On our retreat we came upon the remains of the Rocket Battery which had been destroyed.