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Hlobane orders
Andrew Bush


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 66
Location: Melbourne Australia
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A further question the attack took place for the west, the Ntendeka Plateau (Russell) and from the east of Hloblane (Buller). I am not sure but I understand these are the only main accesses to the top of the plateau the rest of the plateau is surrounded by sheer cliffs.

Russell and Buller assumed that devils pass was passible to accend or descend, as was the plan. We all know both were wrong. Yes I know Buller got down in the turmoil of the rout

When Buller saw the Zulu impi approaching the order he sent to Barton commanding the FLH A troop and Bakers troop covering the eastern escape route, “Retreat at once to the Kambula camp by the right side of the mountain”.

How could he have retreated northward over the plateau and which route would he have taken down the mountain if it were surrounded with sheer cliffs.

Secondly I would of thought he would of asked for confirmation bearing in mind he had not seen the impi approaching instead he turned to the left down the eastern escape route met Weatherly and ran smack bang into the 20,000 Zulu impi and was annihilated

Did he interpret the order “descend and then turn to the right and retreat to Kambula”?

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Andrew
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raiengland


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 17
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Hi Andrew, lots of confusion on this one, it does seem the message was misinterpreted by Barton, but also Buller must be at fault for not being specific in the order.
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Keith Smith


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
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Andrew/Rai

Buller did blame himself for the error which led to Barton's death. He said: 'I saw that we had not a chance of getting back the way we came, so I at once sent 2 men after Barton telling him to return by the right of the mt. Alas! for the use of careless words. By right, I meant the N. side. Poor Barton, going down the mt with his back to it, understood that he was to turn to his right and so went by the left or S. side on which was the Zulu impi.' (WO132/1)

In his official report of the battle, Buller also accepted the blame for this but the paragraph was excluded by Wood: '[This paragraph crossed through, and parentheses added, with marginal note: "Omit this from Gazette."]
By the right I meant the north side of the mountain but Captain Barton must have understood me to mean the south side, and to my careless expression must I fear be attributed the greater part of our heavy loss on this day.' (WO 32/7726)
KIS
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Andrew Bush


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 66
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Keith,

Do you know if there is a route going down the north side , I assumed it sheer cliffs,

Any idea as to why there are no colonial graves or what happened to the dead

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Keith Smith


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
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Andrew

As far as I am aware, there are no proper tracks down the north side although there might be one or two cattle tracks about which the abaQulusi would have known, and perhaps taken advantage of. The eastern end of the north face is not so precipitous as that further west, but is generally inaccessible for all that.
KIS
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Keith Smith


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
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Andrew

Sorry, I omitted a response to your second question. There is evidence that at least some of the dead were buried on the 29th March but except for those of Campbell, Lloyd and Piet Uys, there are none that can be recognised as such. Most of the dead were left where they fell.
KIS
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Burials on the 29th
John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 980
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Keith,

There were British & Colonial burials conducted on the 29th March, but not at Hlobane, which had been fought on Friday 28th March, 1879.

There is evidence that other burials were considered on the 28th. Captain Robert Barton, Coldstream Guards, commanding the Frontier Light Horse, ...In the the attack on the Zlobane, immediately after the summit of the mountain was carried, he was detached with thirty men to bury the body of an officer killed in the assault.

Whether Barton completed the task is another matter.

John Y.
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Keith Smith


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
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John Y

You're right, of course - I should have said the 28th! I know other burials were arranged but I know of no evidence as to where, or even whether, they were carried out.
KIS
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Andrew Bush


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 66
Location: Melbourne Australia
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I am most disappointed that the only related items that get debated on this forum are RD and Isandhlwana. When it comes to anything outside these 2 events we go quiet . I am only an amateur born in York now living in Aus but I am amazed of the lack of interest in my last 2 posts. Especially when I know the quality of the members of this forum.

I visited Zululand for the 1st time in September 05 with my Father who is 79 . My father took me to see Zulu in 64 when I was 6 I am not asking for a medal but can we widen the debate?.

If I am expecting too much I apologise


Andrew

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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 980
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Andrew,

You'll be glad to hear that I've agreed to present my next series of lectures at the Royal Engineers Museum on Hlobane & Khambula. Rather than trot out my trusty old favourite of Rorke's Drift.

The actions of Wood's command are of particular interest to me, as he died in a house, about 1/2 a mile away from my own.

I'm happy to throw in my two pence worth.

John Y.
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Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
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Andrew
Please check out the old forum for previous questions raised by myself (and others) regarding Hlobane. They also met with limited (although interesting) response and whilst the forum does tend to concentrate on Isandlwana and RD, then if that is where the main interest is, then that is where the main interest is!

OK, in order to stoke up more interest then, if I win the lottery, I pledge to take all forum members on an all expenses paid trip to Hlobane. Wink

BTW, I have previously mentioned the website "Google Earth". (No response) If your PC has broadband and a monitor with good resolution then you should be able (once you have found the knack) to get some good views of Hlobane clearly showing the terrain, pathways and even Campbell and Lloyd's grave.

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Dawn


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 610
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Andrew
Don't be so disappointed with the lack of interest in Hlobane. It just does not have the attraction of the engagements at Isandlwana or Rorke's Drift, being just another battle in a series of battles before the Zulu defeat at Ulundi.

In depth information on this battle and most of the others is hard to find. I am halfway through Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill's book, 'Zulu Vanquished' and they devote a lot of pages to Hlobane which has helped me understand it so much better. If you don't already have this book, I recommend it.

I think a more serious debate could be started on Wood's culpabilty in the rout and his attempt to cover up which could be on a par with Chelmsford's after Isandlwana.

Mel,
Hurry up and win the lottery, I could do with an all expenses paid trip to anywhere! Laughing

Dawn
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Julian whybra


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 436
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Andrew
Since those few men that escaped from Barton and Weatherley's massacre escaped over the nek to the north side there must be a path/paths by which horsemen can descend, though whether this was mapped or even known about at the time of Hlobane I seriously doubt.
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Hlobane orders
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