South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 1 (of 6) - From the Foundation of Cape Colony to the Boer Ultimatum - of 9th Oct. 1899
by Louis Creswicke
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In 1867 occurred two events which served to change the whole political and financial outlook of the Transvaal. Diamonds were discovered in the district of Kimberley. Gold was unearthed in Lydenburg. From that hour a procession of European miners began slowly to march north from the Cape. A highway was opened up between the two promising districts, and diggers of every race, pioneers bent on the propagation of modern ideas, teachers, missionaries, and traders of all kinds, attracted by the promise of wealth, flocked to the scene and settled themselves among the trekkers.


After this period, when, as stated before, small but promising quantities of gold had been unearthed, it was no longer possible to prevent parties of miners and speculators from trickling into the Transvaal, to the annoyance of its inhabitants. Outside, too, there were troubles, disputes, and skirmishes with the Zulus, and further north was waged a fierce fight between the Boers and the chief of the Bapedi, one Sekukuni, whose father had signed away his independence to the Boers, and who refused in his turn to abide by the conditions of the compact. In this fight Sekukuni was successful, and the Boers, worsted and discontented, and believing that the Almighty was displeased with them and with their President, Mr. Burgers, retired from the campaign. At the same time, in the south, Cetchwayo was itching to be on the warpath, and the general state of affairs suggested a possible annihilation of the Transvaal by an uncontrollable horde of natives. Things went from bad to worse, and in October 1876 Lord Carnarvon remonstrated with the President of the South African Republic regarding the unprovoked barbarity of the Sekukuni war, which had again been renewed. The reason for the interference of Lord Carnarvon is to be found in the following despatch, forwarded by Sir Henry Barkly, the then Governor of the Cape:—

"As Von Schlickman has since fallen fighting bravely, it is not without reluctance that I join in affixing this dark stain on his memory, but truth compels me to add the following extract from a letter which I have since received from one whose name (which I communicate to your lordship privately) forbids disbelief:—

"'There is no longer the slightest doubt as to the murder of the two women and the child at Steelpoort by the direct order of Schlickman, and in the attack on the kraal near which these women were captured (or some attack about that period) he ordered his men to cut the throats of all the wounded! This is no mere report; it is positively true." And in a subsequent letter the same writer informs me that the statements are based on the evidence, not alone of Kaffirs, but of whites who were present.

"'As regards the even more serious accusations brought against Abel Erasmus' (the Kruger's Post field-cornet), 'as specially alluded to in my letter to President Burgers, on the 28th ult.' (viz. of treacherously killing forty or fifty friendly natives, men and women, and carrying off the children), I beg to invite your lordship's attention to an account derived, I am assured, from a respectable Boer who accompanied the expedition, and protested against the slaughter and robbery of friendly Kaffirs, committed by order of the above-named field-cornet.

"'Should I not shortly receive such a reply from the President to my letters of last month, as to convince me that his Honour has taken effectual steps to check such outrages and punish the perpetrators, I will enter another protest, if only for form's sake.

"'Seeing, however, that Aylward, who is said to boast, whether truly or not, that he took part with his brother Fenians in the murder of the police constable at Manchester, as well as in the attempt to blow up the Clerkenwell prison, had succeeded Schlickman in the command of the Steelpoort Volunteers, I question whether the Government of the South African Republic has the power, even supposing it to have the will, to put a stop to further atrocities on the part of this band of "Filibusters," as they are commonly styled in the newspapers.

"'In my opinion it will be requisite to call in the aid of British troops before this can be done, and I am not without hope that one of the results of the mission on which Sir T. Shepstone is about to start, will be a petition from persons of education and property throughout the country for such an intervention on the part of her Majesty's Government as will terminate this wanton and useless bloodshed, and prevent the recurrence of the scenes of injustice, cruelty, and rapine, which abundant evidence is every day forthcoming to prove, have rarely ceased to disgrace the Republics beyond the Vaal ever since they first sprang into existence.'"

Von Schlickman was an ex-Russian officer, commanding a force of filibusters which had been engaged by the Transvaal Government, and his men being unpaid, were allowed to reimburse themselves by cattle or land seized from the natives.

As a natural consequence, the war assumed a character of unrestrained ferocity. On receiving this information Lord Carnarvon wrote that his Government "could not view passively, and with indifference, the engagement of the Republic in foreign military operations the object or the necessity of which had not been made apparent."

The quarrel with the chief had originated, as stated, in a Boer claim to his land, and the Boer President in replying urged the natural right of the Boers to all the land of the Transvaal. The chief magistrate at that time was President Burgers, a man who, if report may be believed, was far superior to those with whom he associated. This man, a Cape Dutchman, and sometime minister of the Reformed Church, had been called to the onerous post of President of the South African Republic in 1872. He was bent on the advancement of his nation, and his intelligence was remarkable. He was a man of sterling character, fanciful, enthusiastic, an idealist even, with a horror of slaveholding, and a hankering for the pure life of the humanist. In a measure he was too much in advance of the people with whom he was connected. To them he was something of a Freethinker, a man too ready to judge for himself while the Gospel was at hand to judge for him. Such liberal views were not in accord with peasant limitations. His desire to raise his country to the level of other nations, to bring commerce and railways within touch of his people, savoured of heresy. The appreciation for civilisation was so strong within him that he is even said to have carried it to extremes, to have favoured the prompt and regular payment of taxes, and to have executed an elaborate design for an international coat-of-arms! Now this reformer, like most reformers, was not appreciated among his own people. He had no police to support him, no means of putting pressure on those who should have served his cause. The Conservative party, with Mr. Kruger at their head, did their best to circumvent every innovation and to save themselves and the country from what they believed to be the dangerous inorthodoxy of their President. Mr. Burgers in his posthumous "Vindication" outlines some strange hints regarding the character of his compatriots, which outlines may now be readily filled in by personal experience. He therein asserts that had he chosen to publish to the world a faithful description of the Transvaal Boers, they would have forfeited the appreciation gained from the Liberal party in Europe. Mr. Burgers' reserve is much to be regretted, as a few sidelights thrown on the Boer character at that period might have helped to educate the Liberal party of whom he spoke, and thereby saved much of the vacillation of policy for which the country now has to suffer.


Before going further, we must examine the situation between the Governor of the Cape, the President of the South African Republic, and the Home Government.

When we look back at Boer history, we find the details of annexation and restoration repeating themselves with the consistency of the chorus of a nursery rhyme. What the Government of the Cape accomplished the Government at home proceeded promptly to undo, till the problems connected with Boer liberty and British rights became so tangled and so intricate that they could only be solved by the sword.

It may be remembered that in 1854 Sir George Grey, the then Governor of the Cape, applied himself to the puzzle. He started with the best hopes. He saw before him a vista of labour, of argument, of contradiction, but the tangles, he believed, could eventually be smoothed out. In the anxiety to avoid trouble and responsibility, and possibly in an amiable desire to conciliate the parties at home, the Imperial Government had conceded territories and alienated subjects without having made an effort to discover the wishes of the people, or to try a free form of government suited to South Africa. He was in favour of a Federal Union wherein the separate Colonies and States, each with its local government and legislature, should be combined under one general representative legislature, led by a responsible Ministry, specially charged with the duty of providing for common defence. This plan of Federal Union seemed to appeal to the Burghers of the Orange Free State, for the Volksraad decided that "a union of alliance with the Cape Colony, either on the plan of federation or otherwise, is desirable." Sir George Grey was not permitted to pursue his policy, for the British Government decided against the resumption of British sovereignty over the Orange Free State. The same forward and backward movement, the same sort of political chase et croise, was again carried on from 1876 and 1877 to 1881. It was decided that a Federal Union should be created between such African Colonies as were willing to join. To further this scheme Sir Bartle Frere, after a long and arduous career in India, was appointed Governor and High Commissioner by Lord Carnarvon, the then Colonial Secretary. But Sir Bartle was too late. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who had been sent out to the Transvaal on Special Commission to confer with the President on the question of Confederation, had already annexed the Transvaal. The reasons for the annexation were many and excellent. Firstly, the Transvaal Republic, vulgarly speaking, was out at elbows. It was bankrupt, helpless, languishing. The sorry sum of 12s. 6d. represented the entire wealth of the Treasury. The Zulu chief Cetchwayo was waiting to "eat up" the Boers, and the Boers were unceasing in their efforts to encroach on Zulu territory. But the deplorable state of affairs is better described by quoting Sir T. Shepstone's letter on the subject.

"It was patent to every observer," writes Sir T. Shepstone, "that the Government (of the Transvaal) was powerless to control either its white citizens or its native subjects; that it was incapable of enforcing its laws or of collecting its taxes; that the Treasury was empty; that the salaries of officials had been and are months in arrear; that sums payable for the ordinary and necessary expenditure of government cannot be had, and that such services as postal contracts were long and hopelessly overdue; that the white inhabitants had become split into factions; that the large native populations within the boundaries of the State ignore its authority and laws; and that the powerful Zulu king, Cetchwayo, is anxious to seize upon the first opportunity of attacking a country the conduct of whose warriors has convinced him that it can be easily conquered by his clamouring regiments." He again writes: "I think it necessary to explain, more at length than I was able to do in my last despatch, the circumstances which seem to me to forbid all hope that the Transvaal Republic is capable of maintaining the show even of independent existence any longer, which induced me to consider it my duty to assume this position in my communications with the President and Executive Council, and which have convinced me that, if I were to leave the country in its present condition, I should but expose the inhabitants to anarchy among themselves, and to attack from the natives, that would prove not only fatal to the Republic, but in the highest degree dangerous to her Majesty's possessions and subjects in South Africa."

The proclamation of the annexation of the Transvaal was issued on the 12th of April 1876, and on the previous day Sir T. Shepstone wrote: "There will be a protest against my act of annexation issued by the Government, but they will at the same time call upon the people to submit quietly, pending the issue. You need not be disquieted by such action, because it is taken merely to save appearances, and the members of the Government from the violence of a faction that seems for years to have held Pretoria in terror when any act of the Government displeased it. You will better understand this when I tell you privately that the President has from the first fully acquiesced in the necessity for the change, and that most of the members of the Government have expressed themselves anxious for it—but none of them have had the courage openly to express their opinions, so I have had to act apparently against them, and this I felt bound to do, knowing the state and danger of the country, and that three-fourths of the people will be thankful for the change when once it is made."

As a matter of fact the annexation was received with rejoicing all over the country. "God save the Queen" was sung, and special thanksgiving services were held in many of the churches. The Union Jack was run up, the Republican flag hauled down without a dissentient voice. The arrival of British troops—the first battalion of the 13th Regiment—was hailed with curiosity and pleasure, the Boers with their women and children turning out to meet it and hear the band play. The financial effects of the new departure were magical. Credit and commerce were at once restored. Valueless railway bonds rose to par, and the price of landed property was nearly doubled. On the Queen's birthday, the first after the annexation, the 24th of May 1877, the native chiefs were invited to attend, and the Union Jack was formally hoisted to the strains of the National Anthem. This same flag was within a few years ignobly hauled down during the signing of the Convention at Pretoria, and formally buried by a party of Englishmen and loyal natives. But for the time being all seemed pleased with the new state of affairs. As Mr. Haggard says, it is difficult to reconcile the enthusiasm of a great number of the inhabitants of the Transvaal for English rule and the quiet acquiescence of the remainder at this time, with the decidedly antagonistic attitude subsequently assumed. His description of the situation in "The Last Boer War" seems to be more near the truth than any forthcoming: "The Transvaal, when we annexed it, was in the position of a man with a knife at his throat, who is suddenly rescued by some one stronger than he, on certain conditions which at the time he gladly accepts, but afterwards, when the danger is passed, wishes to repudiate. In the same way the inhabitants of the South African Republic were in the time of need very thankful for our aid, but after a while, when the recollection of their difficulties had grown faint, when their debts had been paid and their enemies had been defeated, they began to think that they would like to get rid of us again, and start fresh on their own account with a clean sheet."

In the management of affairs it appears that Mr. Burgers began to set an example of the policy which Mr. Kruger has since followed: the policy of trying to sit on either side of the fence. Mr. Kruger has struggled more and more violently to accomplish this feat as the years advance and he advances in years. He has tried to grab the advantages attendant upon the possession of gold mines and schemed to acquire a great financial status, and yet at the same time to keep up his affectation of piety and to maintain his pristine condition of bucolic irresponsibility. Brought face to face with Sir T. Shepstone's scheme for annexation, Mr. Burger privately encouraged the proposed action of the Government—he and his colleagues even stipulating for pension and office—while publicly he lifted up his protest against the innovation.

The Boer, with his usual craft, had decided that the British Government should set him financially on his feet, which feet he meant promptly to use for running away from his responsibilities. Some declare that the policy of Sir T. Shepstone was premature, that he should have waited until the Boer had soaked further in the slough of insolvency into which he was fast sinking. But Sekukuni was threatening, and on the south-eastern frontier Cetchwayo, with a force some thirty thousand strong, was waiting his opportunity. The promise of the future was a general holocaust, in which Boer men, women, and children, farms and flocks would be annihilated. Sir T. Shepstone, had he been other than a Briton, might have stayed his hand and waited till the Boers were effectually swept away, but being a Briton he acted as such, doubtless arguing that,

"As we under Heaven are supreme head, So, under him, that great supremacy, Where we do reign, we will alone uphold."


It must be remembered that between the Zulus and the Boers no boundary line had ever been fixed, and that for over a dozen years the Zulu chiefs had repeatedly implored the British Governor in Natal for advice and help in their dealings with these aggressors. It had been part of the Dutch policy—if policy it may be called—to force the Zulu gradually to edge further and further from the rich pasture lands sloping eastward of the Drakensberg Mountains, and spreading to right and left into the north and west of Zululand. Little notice had been taken of their petitions, and the Zulus had determined to take the law into their own hands. Cetchwayo, therefore, when the news of our annexation of the Transvaal reached him, was like a wild beast baulked of its prey. He was anxious for an occasion for his young warriors "to wash their spears" in the gore of his enemies, and was naturally disappointed to find them under the protection of the white man. The Natal Government attempted to soothe him—to promote peace. He remained sullen and simmered. He vented his spleen by putting several young women to death for having refused to marry his soldiers. On being remonstrated with by the Natal Government, he expressed himself with engaging candour. His own words, without comment, describe the character with which we had to deal.

"Did I ever tell Mr. Shepstone," his Majesty cried, "that I would not kill? Did Mr. Shepstone tell the white people I made such an arrangement? Because if he did he deceived them. I do kill; but I do not consider that I have done anything yet in the way of killing. Why do the white people start at nothing? I have not yet begun. I have yet to kill. It is the custom of our nation, and I will not depart from it. Why does the Governor of Natal speak to me about my laws? I shall not agree to any laws or rules from Natal, and by so doing throw the large kraal which I govern into the water. My people will not listen unless they are killed, and while wishing to be friends with the English I do not agree to give my people over to be governed by laws sent to me by them. Have I not asked the English to allow me to wash my spears since the death of my father, Upandi, and they have kept playing with me all the time, treating me as a child?" ... A good deal more followed in this strain. Since his accession the gallant Cetchwayo had decided to "wash his spears" in the blood of his neighbours, and whatever the British might have to say in the matter, wash them he would. It was obvious, therefore, that a ruffian of this kind, backed by a bloodthirsty following, was a permanent danger to our Colony of Natal and to its white inhabitants. Something must be done to remove the disquiet caused by the utterances of the savage. Sir Henry Bulwer (the Governor of Natal)—to conciliate the king and to allay his fears lest his territory, like that of the Boers, should be annexed—proposed that a commission should investigate the rival claims of Boers and Zulus on border questions, and settle them by arbitration. But what Sir H. Bulwer proposed Sir Bartle Frere, High Commissioner in South Africa, disapproved. He felt that Cetchwayo and his host would be a standing menace to the borders of Natal. Nevertheless he agreed to a discussion of the vexed boundary question between Boer and Zulu, in which the commissioners declared unanimously against the claims of the former. Certain land only to west of the Blood River, held by the Boers and unchallenged by the Zulus, was confirmed to the Dutch settlers in their occupation of the same. But to this decision Sir Bartle Frere considered it expedient to add some saving clauses. These demanded, first, that Cetchwayo should adhere to the guarantees he had given and not permit indiscriminate shedding of blood; second, that he should institute from his existing military system the form of tribal quotas; third, that he should accept the presence of a British Resident; fourth, that he should protect the missionaries and their converts; and lastly, that he should surrender certain criminals and pay certain fines. His Zulu Majesty was given thirty days to consider the subject. Instead of considering he flouted it. The result was war.


According to the opinion of Sir Bartle Frere there was, and for a long time had been, a growing desire on the part of the great chiefs to make this war into a simultaneous rising of Kaffirdom against white civilisation. A spirit of mutiny had been in the air since the terrible events in India in 1857, and there was a general conviction among the native tribes that the authority of Great Britain would eventually be overthrown. Now the most powerful of all the native tribes in South Africa were the Zulus, whose military organisation had long been celebrated, and who had earned a great reputation since the days of Gaika, and more especially in the time that followed when Chaka, who was a born warrior, brought the gigantic army into a state of marvellous efficiency.

A few words regarding the career of this great chieftain may be found interesting, for to him is accorded the credit of the indubitably warlike and brave disposition of his countrymen. This man, who has been at times called the Attila and the Napoleon of South Africa, was born in 1783. He became chief officer to Dingiswayo, a man of remarkable ability, who studied European military systems and modelled on their principle a highly efficient army. Chaka, heir to a chieftainship of the Amazulu tribe (the Zulus proper), took the fancy of Dingiswayo, who elevated him first to a post of high command, and eventually to the vacant Zulu chieftainship. On the death in battle of Dingiswayo, Chaka assumed the command of both tribes, to which he gave his name. The already excellent army he proceeded to improve till it became one of the most efficient military organisations ever originated in an uncivilised country. The whole kingdom was ordered on a military footing, and expanded so wondrously that the original two tribes at first commanded by Chaka became an hundred, each tribe having been defeated in warfare and incorporated in the Zulu nationality. His policy, unlike that of Cetchwayo later on, was not to destroy but to subdue, and thus he soon ruled with undisputed sway over a complete empire covering the desolated regions of Natal, Zululand, and the modern Boer States. His methods of military training were entirely Spartan; his discipline was a discipline of iron. Disobedience was met with the penalty of death. To tread out a roaring bush-fire, or capture alive a wild beast, were some of the tasks imposed as daily training for his would-be warriors. An order was an order, and this, however dangerous or seemingly impossible, had to be obeyed by individual or regiment on pain of the most horrible forms of death. It may easily be imagined that this stern regime was calculated to create a military following of the most brave and adventurous order. Naturally enough, all the other Kaffir tribes looked to the Zulus as their leaders and champions in the contest. Captain Hamilton Parr tells a tale of an old Galeka warrior who said to a native magistrate, "Yes, you have beaten us—you have beaten us well; but there," pointing eastward, "there are the Amazulu warriors. Can you beat them? They say not. Go and try. Don't trouble any more about us, but go and beat them and we shall be quiet enough." This anecdote serves to describe the general sentiment of disdain for British authority which Sir Bartle Frere detected almost immediately after his arrival among the natives, and to account in a measure for what has been declared to be his high-handed policy. He was convinced that we could never expect peace among the chiefs until we had satisfied them who was master. A lesson was necessary to show that the British Government could govern and meant to govern, and that lesson he felt must be taught sooner or later. For a long time Cetchwayo had been instigating rebellion and preparing for war. As may be seen from Lord Carnarvon's letter of the 24th of January 1878 to Sir Bartle Frere, the Government was fully conscious of the existing necessity to protect the Transvaal and to maintain British prestige in South Africa. The despatch runs: "It seems certain that the Zulu king has derived from his messengers the unfortunate idea that the Kaffirs are able to cope with the Colony on more than equal terms, and this belief has, as was inevitable, produced a very threatening change in his language and conduct towards the Transvaal Government. It is only too probable that a savage chief such as Cetchwayo, supported by a powerful army already excited by the recent successes of a neighbouring tribe over the late Government of the Transvaal, may now become fired with the idea of victory over her Majesty's forces, and that a deliberate attempt upon her Majesty's territories may ensue. Should this unfortunately happen, you must understand that at whatever sacrifice it is imperatively necessary that her Majesty's forces in Natal and the Transvaal must be reinforced by the immediate despatch of the military and naval contingents now operating in the Cape, or such portion of them as may be required. This is necessary not only for the safety of the Transvaal, for the defence of which her Majesty's Government are immediately concerned, but also in the interest of the Cape, since a defeat of the Zulu king would act more powerfully than any other means in disheartening the native races of South Africa."

On this subject Sir H. Bulwer wrote: "There has been for the last eight or nine months a danger of collision with the Zulus at any moment." And in November 1878 he said: "The system of government in the Zulu country is so bad that any improvement seems hopeless. We should, if necessary, be justified in deposing Cetchwayo."

Consequently, Sir Bartle Frere was not surprised when all efforts to reduce Cetchwayo to yield to British demand failed. As time went by it became clear that enforcement of these demands must be placed in the hands of Lord Chelmsford and the military authorities, and accordingly, on the 10th of January 1879, the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of South Africa crossed the frontier.

As the frontier extended for some two hundred miles, to assume a purely defensive attitude would have been impossible. Our forces so placed would not have been sufficiently strong to resist an attack made at their own time and place by a horde of some ten to twenty thousand Zulus. Lord Chelmsford had no alternative, therefore, but to invade Zululand.


The force under Lord Chelmsford's command was divided into four columns. These were composed partly of British soldiers, partly of Colonists, and partly of blacks. The first column, under Colonel Pearson, crossed the Lower Tugela; the second, under Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford, R.E., consisting of native troops and Natal Volunteers, was to act in concert with column three; the third, under Colonel Glyn—but directed by the General, who assumed all responsibility—crossed the Buffalo River; and the fourth, under Colonel Evelyn Wood, entered Zululand from near Newcastle on the north-west. The plan was for the four columns to converge upon Ulundi, in the neighbourhood of the king's kraal, where fighting might be expected to begin.

The crossing of the Buffalo River was effected without difficulty or resistance, and ten days after the central column formed a camp at the foot of the hill Isandlwana (the Little Hand). On the morning of the 22nd the Commander-in-Chief advanced at daybreak, for the purpose of attacking a kraal some miles distant. The camp at Isandlwana was left in charge of a force of some eight hundred mixed troops—regulars, volunteers, and natives. Strict orders to defend and not to leave the camp were given, but in spite of these orders portions of the force became detached. Suddenly, unobserved by them, there appeared a dense impi of some twenty thousand Zulus. The savage horde rushed shouting upon the small British detachments, rushed with the swiftness of cavalry, attacked them before they could unite, and swooping down with tremendous velocity, seized the camp and separated the British troops from their reserves of ammunition. In face of this warrior multitude our troops were defenceless. A few moments of wild despairing energy, a hand-to-hand struggle for life between the white man and the bloodthirsty savage, groans of wounded and yells of victory, and all was over. Of the six companies of the 24th, consisting of more than half the infantry engaged, but six souls escaped. The rest died where they fell, with no kindly hand to give them succour, no British voice to breathe a burial prayer. But some before they dropped managed to cut their way through the ring of Zulu spears. Two gallant fellows, Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill, almost succeeded in saving the colours of the first battalion of the 24th Regiment. They made a bold rush, but merely reached the Natal bank of the Buffalo to be struck down. The colours, wrapped round Melvill's body, were discovered in the river some days afterwards.

The Zulu plan of fighting, in this case so successful, is curious. The formation of their attacks represents the figure of a beast with horns, chest, and loins. While making a feint with one horn, the other, unperceived in long grass or bush, swoops round and closes in on the enemy. The chest then advances to attack. The loins are kept at a distance, and simply join in pursuit.

The news of the disaster spread fast. Sir Bartle Frere, on the morning of the 24th, was awakened by the arrival of two almost distraught and wholly unintelligible messengers. Their report, when it could be at last comprehended, seemed too horrible for belief. That they had escaped some terrible ordeal was evident; that they were members of the company of naval volunteers that formed part of the General's army, their uniform proclaimed. But of the General they could say nothing—he might be dead, he might be missing—all they knew was of their own miraculous escape from a scene of slaughter. Colonel Pulleine they declared was dead, but further news had to be awaited with anxious hearts.

Meanwhile Lord Chelmsford had heard the horrible news. The camp had been seen in the possession of the Zulus. Worn and weary with heavy marching in a baking sun, he and his troops began to retreat. At nightfall, thoroughly jaded, they returned to a grim scene. All around lay the still silent dead—the corpses of the comrades they had parted with but a few hours before. There, amid the pathetic wreckage, were they forced to lay them down to rest!

Fortunately the Zulus, having plundered the camp, had made off, and the British force was able the next day to proceed to the relief of Rorke's Drift. At Rorke's Drift the now world-celebrated defence of Lieutenant Bromhead, of the 24th, and Lieutenant Chard, R.E., took place. These young officers had been left with one hundred and four soldiers to take charge of a small depot of provisions and an hospital, and to keep open the communication with Natal. Some hours after the disaster of Isandlwana their post was attacked by Dabulamanzi (brother of Cetchwayo) and over three thousand of his finest warriors. The little garrison had made for themselves a laager of sacks of maize and biscuit-boxes, and behind these they defended themselves so stubbornly and so heroically throughout the night of the 23rd, that the Zulu chieftain, discomfited and harassed, eventually retired. For their magnificent pluck the two young officers received the Victoria Cross. Their action had saved Natal from invasion by the enemy. Of the little garrison seventeen fell and ten were wounded. The loss of the Zulus was about three hundred.

Colonel Pearson's column, as we said, crossed the Lower Tugela near the sea, with the intention of joining the other columns at Ulundi. On the way thither he was attacked by a Zulu force at Inyesani. This force, though it more than doubled the strength of his own, he drove back with heavy loss, and marched to the Norwegian Mission station, Eshowe. On his arrival there on the 23rd of January, he learnt the awful news of the disaster, and instantly sent his cavalry back to Natal, fortified his station, and waited there the arrival of reinforcements.

The third column, commanded by Colonel Evelyn Wood (consisting of 1700 British soldiers, 50 farmers under Commandant Pieter Uys, and some 300 blacks), reached Kambula in safety, and fortified a post there. Colonel Wood harassed the enemy by frequent sallies, however, and on one occasion the attack on the Zlobane Mountain lost about ninety-six of his men. Among these were Colonel Weatherley, his young son, and Commandant Uys. The following day the British laager was attacked by a horde of Zulus, who were routed. In this engagement Colonel Wood, Colonel Buller, and Captain Woodgate especially distinguished themselves.

Lord Chelmsford, with a force of soldiers and sailors, marched in April from Natal to the relief of Colonel Pearson at Eshowe. He arrived there in safety, after having encountered and beaten back the Zulus at Ginginlova: yet it was not until the 4th of July that the troops eventually reached Ulundi, where the final battle and victory took place. But of this later.


Two days after the arrival of the news of the disaster at Isandlwana, Parliament met. The reverse in Zululand naturally engrossed all thoughts. Questions innumerable were addressed to Government, as to the strength of reinforcements to be sent out—as to the further necessity for war at all—as to the so-called high-handed action of Sir Bartle Frere, and the so-called blunders of Lord Chelmsford. Scapegoats were wanted, and, as a natural consequence, the two most energetic and hard-worked of the Queen's servants were attacked.

A political pitched battle was imminent. The Ministers declined to withdraw their confidence from the Lord High Commissioner, though they passed on him censure for his hasty and independent proceedings. That the members of Government had a high appreciation of his great experience, ability, and energy was apparent, for they declared they had "no desire to withdraw in the present crisis of affairs the confidence hitherto reposed in him, the continuance of which was now more than ever needed to conduct our difficulties in South Africa to a successful termination." On the 19th of March 1879 the Secretary of the Colonies wrote to Sir Bartle Frere, to the effect that Ministers were unable to find, on the documents placed before them, "that evidence of urgent necessity for immediate action which alone would justify him in taking, without their full knowledge and sanction, a course almost certain to result in a war."

The day for discussion of South African affairs in the Upper House arrived.

Lord Lansdowne moved, on the 11th of March, "That this House, while willing to support her Majesty's Government in all necessary measures for defending the possessions of her Majesty in South Africa, regrets that the ultimatum, which was calculated to produce immediate war, should have been presented to the Zulu king without authority from the responsible advisers of the Crown, and that an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity or adequate preparation; and the House regrets that, after the censure passed upon the High Commissioner by her Majesty's Government, in the despatch of March 19, 1879, the conduct of affairs in South Africa should be retained in his hands."

A keen debate ensued. The Opposition clamoured for the recall of Sir Bartle Frere, as the example of independent action set by him might be followed by other and more distant representatives of the Crown. The war was ascribed to Lord Carnarvon's impatience for South African confederation and his "incurable greed" for extending the limits of the Colonies, and the annexation of the Transvaal was declared to be a mistake, unless the Government was prepared to send out a large military force to South Africa.

The Government combated these arguments. They denied they had censured Sir Bartle Frere, and stated that they had passed no opinion on his policy, but merely asserted as a principle that "Her Majesty's advisers, and they only, must decide the grave issues of peace and war."

It was argued that war with Cetchwayo was inevitable sooner or later, and that the Lord High Commissioner had thought it advisable to be prompt in the matter. His conduct, it was true, had not the entire approval of the Ministry, but every one knew it was unwise to change horses in crossing a stream, and his action had not been such as to outweigh the many considerations which required the continuance of his service in South Africa.

Lord Beaconsfield, addressing the House, defended Sir Bartle Frere, and expressed opinions on the policy of confederation as opposed to that of annexation, opinions which afford so much instruction in regard to our relations with the Transvaal that they are best repeated in their entirety.

"I generally find," he said, "there is one advantage at the end of a debate, besides the relief which is afforded by its termination, and that is that both sides of the House seem pretty well agreed as to the particular point that really is at issue; but the rich humour of the noble duke (Duke of Somerset) has again diverted us from the consideration of the motion really before the House. If the noble duke and his friends were desirous of knowing what was the policy which her Majesty's Government were prepared generally to pursue in South Africa, if they were prepared to challenge the policy of Sir Bartle Frere in all its details, I should have thought they would have produced a very different motion from that which is now lying on your lordships' table; for that is a motion of a most limited character, and, according to the strict rules of parliamentary discussion, precludes you from most of the subjects which have lately been introduced to our consideration, and which principally have emanated from noble lords opposite. We have not been summoned here to-day to consider the policy of the acquisition of the Transvaal. These are subjects on which I am sure the Government would be prepared to address your lordships, if their conduct were clearly and fairly impugned. And with regard to the annexation of the province, which has certainly very much filled the mouths of men of late, I can easily conceive that that would have been a subject for fair discussion in this House, and we should have heard, as we have heard to-night, though in a manner somewhat unexpected, from the nature of the resolution before us, from the noble lord who was recently the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the principal reasons which induced the Government to sanction that policy—a policy which I believe can be defended, but which has not been impugned to-night in any formal manner.

"What has been impugned to-night is the conduct of the Government in sanctioning, not the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, but his taking a most important step without consulting them, which on such subjects is the usual practice with all Governments. But the noble lord opposite who introduced the subject does not even impugn the policy of the Lord High Commissioner; and it was left to the noble duke who has just addressed us, and who ought to have brought forward this question if his views are so strongly entertained by him on the matter, not in supporting a resolution such as now lies on your lordships' table, but one which would have involved a discussion of the policy of the Government and that of the high officer who is particularly interested in it.

"My noble friend, the noble marquis (Lord Salisbury), who very recently addressed the House, touched the real question which is before us, and it is a very important question, although it is not of the expansive character of the one which would have been justified by the comments of the noble lords opposite. What we have to decide to-night is this—whether her Majesty's Government shall have the power of recommending to the sovereign the employment of a high officer to fulfil duties of the utmost importance, or whether that exercise of the prerogative, on their advice, shall be successfully impugned, and that appointment superseded by noble lords opposite. That course is perfectly constitutional, if they are prepared to take the consequences. But let it be understood what the issue is. It is this—that a censure upon the Government is called for, because they have selected the individual who, on the whole, they think is the best qualified successfully to fulfil the duties of High Commissioner. The noble lords opposite made that proposition, and if they succeed they will succeed in that which has hitherto been considered one of the most difficult tasks of the executive Government; that is to say, they will supersede the individual whom the sovereign, in the exercise of her prerogative, under the advice of her Ministers, has selected for an important post. I cannot agree in the general remark made by the noble duke, that because an individual has committed an error, and even a considerable error, for that reason, without any reference either to his past services or his present qualifications, immediately a change should be recommended, and he should be recalled from the scene of his duties.

"I remember myself a case not altogether different from the present one," continued Lord Beaconsfield, alluding to Sir James Hudson, who, when Minister at Turin, had been charged with having expressed himself unguardedly upon the subject of Italian nationality. "It happened some years ago, when I was in the other House. Then a very high official—a diplomatist of great eminence, a member of the Liberal party—had committed what was deemed a great indiscretion by several members of his own party; and the Government were asked in a formal manner, by a Liberal member, whether that distinguished diplomatist had been in consequence recalled. But the person who was then responsible for the conduct of public affairs in that House—the humble individual who is now addressing your lordships, made this answer, with the full concurrence of his colleagues—denied that that distinguished diplomatist was recalled, and said that great services are not cancelled by one act or one single error however it may be regretted at the moment. That is what I said then, with regard to Sir James Hudson, and what I say now with regard to Sir Bartle Frere. But I do not wish to rest on that. I confess that, so keen is my sense of responsibility, and that of my colleagues, and I am sure also that of noble lords opposite, that we would not allow our decisions in such matters to be unduly influenced by personal considerations of any kind. What we had to determine is this, Was it wise that such an act on the part of Sir Bartle Frere as, in fact, commencing war without consulting the Government at home, and without their sanction, should be passed unnoticed? Ought it not to be noticed in a manner which should convey to that eminent person a clear conviction of the feelings of her Majesty's Government; and at the same time was it not their duty to consider, were he superseded, whether they could place in his position an individual equally qualified to fulfil the great duties and responsibilities resting on him? That is what we had to consider. We considered it entirely with reference to the public interest, and the public interest alone; and we arrived at the conviction that on the whole the retention of Sir Bartle Frere in that position was our duty, notwithstanding the inconvenient observations and criticisms to which we were, of course, conscious it might subject us. And, that being our conviction, we have acted upon it. It is a very easy thing for a Government to make a scapegoat; but that is conduct which I hope no gentleman on this side, and I believe no gentleman sitting opposite, would easily adopt. If Sir Bartle Frere had been recalled—if he had been recalled in deference to the panic, the thoughtless panic of the hour, in deference to those who have no responsibility in the matter, and who have not weighed well and deeply investigated all the circumstances and all the arguments which can be brought forward, and which must be appealed to to influence our opinions on such questions—no doubt a certain degree of odium might have been diverted from the heads of her Majesty's Ministers, and the world would have been delighted, as it always is, to find a victim. That was not the course which we pursued, and it is one which I trust no British Government ever will pursue. We had but one object in view, and that was to take care that at this most critical period the affairs of her Majesty in South Africa should be directed by one not only qualified to direct them, but who was superior to any other individual whom we could have selected for that purpose. The sole question that we really have to decide to-night is, Was it the duty of her Majesty's Government to recall Sir Bartle Frere in consequence of his having declared war without our consent? We did not think it our duty to take that course, and we do not think it our duty to take that course now. Whether we are right in the determination at which we have arrived is the sole question which the House has to determine upon the motion before it.

"The noble duke opposite (the Duke of Somerset) has told us that he should not be contented without being made acquainted with the whole policy which her Majesty's Government are prepared to pursue in South Africa. If the noble duke will introduce that subject we shall be happy to discuss it with him. No one could introduce it in a more interesting, and, indeed, in a more entertaining manner than the noble duke, who possesses that sarcastic faculty that so well qualifies him to express his opinion on such a matter. I think, however, that we ought to have had rather longer notice before we were called upon to discuss so large a theme, which has now been brought suddenly before us. If the noble marquis who introduced this subject had given us notice of a motion of this character, we should not have hesitated for a moment to meet it. I have, however, no desire to avoid discussing the subject of our future policy in South Africa, even on so general a notice as we have in reference to it from the noble duke. Sir Bartle Frere was selected by the noble lord (Lord Carnarvon), who formerly occupied the position of Secretary to the Colonies, chiefly to secure one great end—namely, to carry out that policy of confederation in South Africa which the noble lord had successfully carried out on a previous occasion with regard to the North American Colonies.

"If there is any policy which, in my mind, is opposed to the policy of annexation, it is that of confederation. By pursuing the policy of confederation we bind States together, we consolidate their resources, and we enable them to establish a strong frontier; and where we have a strong frontier, that is the best security against annexation. I myself regard a policy of annexation with great distrust. I believe that the reasons of State which induced us to annex the Transvaal were not, on the whole, perfectly sound. But what were the circumstances under which that annexation was effected? The Transvaal was a territory which was no longer defended by its occupiers. The noble lord opposite (Lord Kimberley), who formerly had the Colonies under his management, spoke of the conduct of Sir Theophilus Shepstone as though he had not taken due precautions to effect the annexation of that province, and said that he was not justified in concealing that he had not successfully consummated his object. The noble lord said he had not assembled troops enough in the province to carry out properly the policy of annexation. But Sir Theophilus Shepstone particularly refers to the very fact to show, that so unanimous and so united was the sentiment in the province in favour of annexation, that it was unnecessary to send any large force there to bring it about. The annexation of that province was a necessity—a geographical necessity."


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. On the 30th 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-commissioned officers, whom we found exceedingly useful, two of them being at once selected as butchers, whilst two were 'promoted' to the rank of 'bakers to the troops.' Others attended to the sanitary arrangements of the garrison, and altogether they were found to be also exceedingly useful. As a portion of the column, the company of Pioneers under the command of Captain Beddoes did a great deal of very important work. This company was composed of ninety-eight natives, one captain, and three lieutenants, and their proceedings in connection with the making of the new road were watched with much interest. They worked with the Naval Brigade, about three companies of soldiers, and several men of the Royal Artillery. This road was found useless, in consequence of the numerous swampy places at the foot of each of the numerous hills which occurred along the route. Very thick bush had to be cut through, and at first but slow progress was made. The road, as is generally known, took a direction towards the Inyezane. Whilst out on one occasion, the road party saw a torpedo explosion which took place about three miles from where the party was working. It had been accidentally fired by Kaffirs, who were unaware of the clangers connected with the implement, and it is believed that several of them were killed. The road was altogether a bad one. The relief column used it on their way up, but only the Pioneers and the mounted men went by that route on the way back. In fact, it would have been useless to have attempted to use it for the passage of waggons. Whenever the road party went out they were fired on by Kaffirs, but of course shots were returned, and many a Zulu warrior was knocked over whilst the work was being proceeded with. Everything in camp was conducted in a most orderly manner. We were roused at half-past five sharp, and at eight o'clock, sharp, lights were out. For one month we existed very comfortably on full rations, but at the end of that time we were put on short rations, made up as follows:—One pound and a quarter of trek-oxen beef, six ounces of meal, one ounce and a quarter of sugar, third of an ounce of coffee, one sixth of an ounce of tea, one ninth of an ounce of pepper, and a quarter of an ounce of salt.

"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 L7, 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 side. 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.

Serious differences of opinion soon arose between Lord Chelmsford 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 gallantry 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-General's department at General Newdigate's camp. He set out with a reconnoitring party consisting of Lieutenant Carey of the 98th Regiment, six men of Bellington's Horse, and a Kaffir. The place they intended to reach was situated between the camps of Lord Chelmsford and General Wood. Having gained a picturesque spot near a brook which forms a tributary to the Tlyotyozi River, the Prince decided to sketch. He was a clever draughtsman, and had some ability in recognising the capabilities of positions. The party afterwards moved on, examining various empty kraals by the way. At one of these they halted, and the Prince gave orders to "off-saddle" for an hour. The place seemed deserted; there were remains of a recent cooking fire, and a stray dog or two sniffed suspiciously at the strangers. Round this spot near the river tambookie grass about six feet in height formed a screen. The officers made coffee, turned out their horses to graze, and lay for a short rest in the peaceful security of a complete, or seemingly complete, desolation.

But unknown to them, fifty Zulus, tiger-like, had crawled from ambush and were preparing to spring. It was from the cover of the river vegetation that they eventually burst forth. A hurried order to remount, and the crash of rifles at a distance of twenty yards followed. The tragic scene is well described by Mr. A. Wilmot in his "History of the Zulu War":—

"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, 'Depechez-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 his stirrup-leather with his left hand and the saddle with his right. With the help of the holster he made one desperate effort, but the holster partially gave way, and it must have been then that the horse trod upon him and galloped off, leaving his master prostrate on the ground. The Prince then regained his feet and ran after his friends, who were far in advance. Twelve or thirteen Zulus were at this time only a few feet behind him. The Prince then turned round, and, sword in hand, faced his pursuers. From the first he had never called for help, and now died bravely with his face to the foes, fighting courageously to the last.

"It is thought that the Zulus hurled their assegais at him, and that he quickly fell dead, pierced through the eye by a mortal wound."

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 the 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 Harrison. 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 the selection of the kraal, where a halt was made and the horses off-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 after 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.—Signed by General MARSHALL; Colonel MALTHUS, 94th Regiment; Major LE GRICE, R.A."

On this report a court-martial was summoned by Lord Chelmsford for the trial of Lieutenant Carey for having misbehaved before the enemy on the 1st June 1879, when in command of an escort in attendance on the Prince, who was making reconnaissances in Zululand; in having, when the Prince and escort were attacked by the enemy, galloped away, and in not having attempted to rally them or otherwise defend the Prince. The Court, under the presidency of Colonel Glyn, consisted of Colonels Whitehead, Courtney, Harness, Major Bouverie, and Major Anstruther.

Judge-Advocate Brander prosecuted, and Captain Crookenden, R.A., was for the defence.

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. He 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.

Examined 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 Prince's medical attendant) was then called, and stated that the Prince was killed by eighteen assegai wounds, any five 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 pre-judged, and that he had been punished before his trial.

The following is 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-ground for the 2nd June. I suggested at once that I should be allowed to go with him, as I knew the road and wanted to go over it again for the purpose of verifying certain points. To this Colonel Harrison consented, reminding me that the Prince was going at his own request to do 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-an-hour on a high hill overlooking the Ityotyozi for the Prince to sketch. From here the country was visible for miles, and no sign of the enemy could be discovered. We then descended into the valley, and, entering a kraal, off saddled, knee-haltering our horses. We had seen the deserted appearance of the country, and, though the kraal was to the right, surrounded by mealies, we thought there was no danger in encamping. If any blame is attributable to any one for this, it is to me, as I agreed with the Prince that we were perfectly safe. I had been over this ground twice before and seen no one, and the brigade-major of the cavalry brigade had ridden over it with only two or three men, and laughed at me for taking so large an escort. We had with us a friendly Zulu, who, in answer to my inquiries, said no Zulus were about. I trusted him, but still kept a sharp look-out, telescope in hand. In about an hour—that is, 3.40 P.M.—the Prince ordered us to saddle up. We went into the mealies to catch our horses, but took at least ten minutes saddling. While doing so, the Zulu guide informed us he had seen a Zulu in the distance, but as he did not appear concerned, I saw no danger. The Prince was saddled up first, and, seeing him ready, I mounted, the men not being quite ready. The Prince then asked if they were all ready; they answered in the affirmative, and he gave the word, 'Prepare to mount.' At this moment I turned round, and saw the Prince with his foot in the stirrup, looking at the men. Presently I heard him say, 'Mount,' and turning to the men saw them vault into their saddles. At this moment my eyes fell on about twenty black faces in the mealies, twenty to thirty yards off, and I saw puffs of smoke and heard a rattling volley, followed by a rush, with shouts of 'Usutu!' There was at once a stampede. Two men rushed past me, and as every one appeared to be mounted, I dug the spurs into my horse, which had already started of his own accord. I felt sure no one was wounded by the volley, as I heard no cry, and I shouted out, 'Keep to the left, and cross the donga, and rally behind it!' At the same time I saw more Zulus in the mealies on our left flank, cutting off our retreat. I crossed the donga behind two or three men, but could only get beyond one man, the others having ridden off. Riding a few hundred yards on to the rise, I stopped and looked round. I could see the Zulus after us, and saw that the men were escaping to the right, and that no one appeared on the other side of the donga. The man beside me then drew my attention to the Prince's horse, which was galloping away on the other side of the donga, saying, 'I fear the Prince is killed, sir!' I immediately said, 'Do you think it is any use going back?' The trooper pointed to the mealies on our left, which appeared full of Kaffirs, and said, 'He is dead long ago, sir; they assegai wounded men at once.' I considered he had fallen near the kraal, as his horse was going from that direction, and it was useless to sacrifice more lives. I had but one man near me, the others being some 200 yards down the valley. I accordingly shouted to them to close to the left, and rode on to gain a drift over the Tombokala River, saying to the man at my side, 'We will keep back towards General Wood's camp, not returning the same way we came, and then come back with some dragoons to get the bodies.' We reached camp about 6.30 P.M. When we were attacked our carbines were unloaded, and, to the best of my belief, no shots were fired. I did not see the Prince after I saw him mounting, but he was mounted on a swift horse, and I thought he was close to me. Besides the Prince, we lost two troopers, as well as the friendly Zulu. Two troopers have been found between the donga and the kraal, covered with assegai wounds. They must have fallen in the retreat and been assegaied at once, as I saw no fighting when I looked round."

The court-martial condemned Lieutenant Carey, and he was sent home under arrest. But eventually, owing to the intervention of the bereaved Empress, and many sympathetic friends, the unfortunate officer was released. The news of the calamity was received with profound grief throughout the country. Some mourned the death of a Prince, some sighed over the extinction of Napoleonic hopes, officers regretted the loss of a promising comrade, and mothers spent tears of sympathy for the great lady, Empress and mother, who had thus been bereft of her only child.


To return to the progress of the war. On the 26th of June the long-expected junction of the columns was on the eve of being effected. Cetchwayo was pretending to make overtures for peace, though at the same time his people were endeavouring to enter into alliance with rebellious Boers. He even sent the sword of the Prince Imperial as a peace-offering. On the envelope, however, his amanuensis, one Cornelius Vjin (a Dutchman), pencilled the fact that the king had 20,000 men with him. The reply of Lord Chelmsford was as follows:——

"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 or to-night, and that the Zulus should withdraw from the neighbourhood of the river to Ulundi. I cannot stop the general in command of the coast army until these conditions are complied with."

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—where once the Zulus had vanquished the Boers—there to prepare for battle. The Zulus, some 20,000 strong, after many war dances and cries, were marshalled forth by their king to an open plain between the Nodwengu and Ulundi kraals. Our troops were formed up in a hollow parallelogram, in the centre being the native contingent with ammunition waggons. The four sides of this parallelogram were formed of eight companies of the 13th Regiment, five of the 80th Regiment, the 90th, 58th, and 34th Regiments, together with the 17th Lancers and the mounted irregulars. At the corners and centre artillery was placed.

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—their one chance slipped! A few warriors rushed onwards, many wavered, and gradually the powerful horns were broken and disorganised. Then our Lancers with a gallant charge dashed into the fray, plunging into the black swarm that still met fury with fury. Captain Edgell was killed, and many other officers had miraculous escapes. Once the enemy strove to rally, but the effort was hopeless, and the magnificent Zulu warriors were forced at last to turn and flee. Their defeat was signal. Though the enemy numbered 20,000 to 5000 of our troops, the Lancers with the Irregular Horse did splendid work, and ere all was over 1000 Zulus bit the dust.

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 114 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 Major-General Newdigate, numbering 1870 Europeans, 530 natives, and eight guns, and the flying columns under Brigadier-General Wood, numbering 2192 Europeans, 573 natives, four guns, and two Gatlings, crossed the Umvolosi River at 6.15, and marching in a hollow square, with the ammunition and entrenching tool carts and bearer company in its centre, reached an excellent position between Nodwengu and Ulundi, about half-past 8 A.M. This had been observed by Colonel Buller the day before.

"Our fortified camp on the right bank of the Umvolosi River was left with a garrison of about 900 Europeans, 250 natives, and one Gatling gun, under Colonel Bellairs. Soon after half-past seven the Zulu army was seen leaving its bivouacs and advancing on every side."

"The engagement was shortly afterwards commenced by the mounted men. By nine o'clock the attack was fully developed. At half-past nine the enemy wavered; the 17th Lancers, followed by the remainder of the mounted men, attacked them, and a general rout ensued.

"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-Lieutenant-Colonel Redvers H. Buller, C.B., 60th Rifles, for his gallant conduct at the retreat at Zlobane on the 28th of March 1879, in having assisted, while hotly pursued, by Zulus, in rescuing Captain C. D'Arcy, of the Frontier Light Horse, who was retiring on foot, and carrying him on his horse until he overtook the rear-guard; also for having on the same date and under the same circumstances conveyed Lieutenant C. Everitt of the Frontier Light Horse, whose horse had been killed under him, to a place of safety. Later on Colonel Buller, in the same manner, saved a trooper of the Frontier Light Horse, whose horse was completely exhausted, and who otherwise would have been killed by the Zulus, who were within eighty yards of him.

"Major William K. Leet, first battalion 13th Regiment, for his gallant conduct on the 28th of March 1879, in rescuing from the Zulus 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 been 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.

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