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Peter Quantrill
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Mel,
My understanding of Ron's view on 'Decoy' is as follows:

Once Chelmsford had reached the Mangeni Falls area, Chelmsford had contact with Matyana's men. The recognised and more normal method of communication between Zulus included communication by passing on relevant information via shouting form hilltop to hilltop. Witness the time for Cetshwayo to receive the news of the Isandlwana victory.
Once Chelmsford was engaged in skirmishes in the area, I would deem it very probable that all that happened was passed (via hilltop shouting) to the Zulu regiments established or still remaining camped at Isipezi.


Can I go back to the intent to do battle on the 22nd. The primary point that I raised, (not including Adams,) was the issue of the 'Assembly Area.' (AE)
It is a known and accepted fact the Zulu regiments all arrived from Isipezi into the deep Ngwebeni Valley. Subject to correction, I have not seen source material or read anything to the contrary. The AE provided a secure and relatively hidden terrain to remain undetected. It follows that if the attack was designed for any day other than the 22nd Ntshingwayo would have safely remained in his AE. He did not. We now know that the right horn was deployed out of the AE and reportedly some members of the Nodwengu had a conversation with the NNC picquet on Magaga Knoll. We also know that the Nokenke, Umcityu, Umbonambi, and Ngobamakosi regiments had all left the AE and were positioned at first light or thereabouts as depicted by Wood on CC map 2. It makes little sense to leave the relatively safe terrain of the AE other to position the regiments for an attack that day. The Start Line was clear. How long does one suppose that the that the regiments would have remained in these positions without attacking, having left the safety of their of the AE?
As ever,
Peter
Mike McCabe


Joined: 05 Sep 2013
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PQ,

Apropos of not much, you quoted (above)
“Next morning I conducted Sir Redvers [Buller] over the battlefield of Isandwhlwana(sic) which he had never seen, and we had the story told by combatants who took part in the fights: Englishmen of the Natal Police, by Basutos, by friendly Zulus fighting on our side, and by two or three mounted officers of Cetewayo’s (sic) army, which overwhelmed our forces. Their respective accounts tallied exactly; indeed it seems as if uneducated men who cannot write are more accurate in their description of events than are the Western nations.”

Mention of "Sir Redvers" would place this reference in 1886, or later, 1886 being the year in which Buller was made KCB.

Mike
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Peter Quantrill
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Mike McC,

A good point. It would seem that you are indeed correct. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Wood's 'Midshipman to Field Marshal.' I know that Ron has a copy but he is away at the moment.
The date and his quote needs checking! Will revert in due course unless someone can refer back to the book?
Peter
Mike McCabe


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Peter,

Obviously, the reference is retrospective and refers to much earlier events.

Mike
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Mike/Peter

I don't have a copy of Wood's memoirs either but I think it will transpire on inspection that he was referring to the November 1881 visit. Wood was in Zululand in 1879, 1880 and 1881 (with intervals in England between each trip of course). Although he referred to Buller as "Sir Redvers" in his memoirs I think he would do this despite referring to events which preceded the knighthood.

Buller left Maritzburg on 26th November 1881 & was in tents at R/Drift with Wood & Major Fraser the following day. Here they procured guides through the missionary, Jenkinson, for Wood to take Buller etc to Isandlwana and the Prince Imperial's monument. Jenkinson's son-on-law, Charles Johnson, also met Wood & Buller on this occasion - they were working at the St Vincent’s church-school (not yet properly built) & St Augustine's at the time. Hlubi, whose people would provide the guides, was already used to guiding visitors over the battlefield by this time.

Wood's 1880 visit to Isandlwana took place over the 4th-7th June and Wood & Bigge "rode down the line of retreat." (IK - WhFttF, p273). Two Zulu veterans, one ex-NNC, told their version of the battle. Wood’s opinion (during his visit with Buller?) that their respective accounts tallied exactly had already been noted with surprise by Bigge during the 1880 visit: “the two accounts did not materially differ.” (IK, p273, quoting from Bigge’s letter to QV from Isandlwana d/d 7 June 1879). If this reference by Wood was from the 1880 visit then perhaps it was even from Bigge himself, and not Wood.

With regard to Mike S’s little aside suggesting any surviving example of Hamer’s handwriting possibly repaying a search, I have often wondered if Bigge’s correspondence to QV throughout the 1880 visit, widely used by IK in his P/Imp biography, might also be raided for this and other reasons with regard to the TMFH debate. No doubt Lord Stamfordham’s papers are also held somewhere too.

The most detailed published accounts of Wood’s Isandlwana visits of 1880 and 1881 that I know of are found in AW Lee’s Charles Johnson of Zululand (1930) and Canon Jenkinson’s Amazulu (1882). Ian also covers the visit in his biography of Louis but I haven’t consulted Bigge’s letters myself.

Peter
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Peter Quantrill
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Peter,
Thank you for your comments and references.
With regards to any re-examination of handwriting, this exercise would entail further liaison with CC and the commissioning of another independent qualified expert.
We have already done the exercise and have accepted the findings, as reflected in TMGH This came at a fair cost which we accepted in view of the historical importance of establishing the writer of the annotations.
Anyone wishing to 're-do' the exercise will have our support, in so far as we can refer him/them to those who were involved at the CC. We will not contribute financially because, as already expressed, the original findings have been accepted, 'beyond reasonable doubt' by us. And the professional we employed, was not known to us prior to his handwriting examination and opinion. In this part of the world he is, in his field, a fully qualified individual of standing and reputation.

Peter Q
mike snook 2


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Quote PQ 'We also know [my emphasis] that the Nokenke, Umcityu, Umbonambi, and Ngobamakosi regiments had all left the AE and were positioned at first light or thereabouts as depicted by Wood on CC map 2.'


Peter (and then more generally)

We don't know that. You assert that but many of us do not accept that. It is not a given.

As I have said, even if the dispositions were precise, you do not know at what time they were occupied: it might have been 0630 or it might have been 1130. Also we have no evidence that all the deployments occurred simultaneously. Some regiments might have moved there earlier than others. I have always advanced that the right horn cannot have been in the Ngwebeni (for time and space reasons related to the sequencing and course of the later battle), and that there is great resonance in the fact that three columns were sighted from Mkwene and that there were three regiments brigaded in the uNodwengu 'Corps', tasked as the right horn. My proposition, that the sighting reflects movement by the right horn, would tend to be supported by the fact that there was evidently no direct advance on Mkwene at this time, which of course lay to the left flank of the right horn's intended axis.

Zulu participant accounts reflect a preponderance of assertions to the effect that the 22nd was not our day. Something occurred to change that. Some Z accounts go on to add but the fight started when we were attacked. Hallam Parr's account says that the umCityu (umCijo) were changing position when engaged, which is interesting but not necessarily authoritative. The umCijo, (as I personally prefer to call them, for no good reason in particular I suppose), are sourced as going off at half-cock and being recalled. An organization which is like a coiled spring and goes off by accident is unlikely to manoeuvre about the landscape in three columns and then neatly disappear again. This led me to advance that whatever happened to set the umCijo off was relayed (by sighting) to the uNodwengu corps whose izinduna responded to an apparent change of plan by advancing in conformity, but naturally in accordance with their pre-planned role in right flank envelopment.

My journey along the northern bank of the Ngwebeni, at the foot of the escarpment, (that separating what I call the lower Nqutu plateau from the upper one), was genuinely illuminating, revealing as it did large quantities of dead ground and terrain which it is possible to infiltrate into from the lower (main) Ngwebeni Valley without being seen from Mkwene. Whether it would have remained dead from Itusi Hill, however, would be more uncertain and is an experiment I have yet to undertake. I will aim to do so on my next field trip. I am also firmly convinced that Itusi would have been occupied by a vedette pair. I suspect that this might have been Whitelaw's position. I think there has been a certain amount of muddying of the water about what Barker saw from Qwabe. I don't believe he saw a major manoeuvre. This came from Whitelaw at 0715-0730 ish and not Barker at 0600-0630-ish in my view. It would make more sense that: a. Qwabe was driven in by some element hurrying across from Mangeni after flank guarding against Dartnell the previous evening; b. that the major manoeuvre sighted by Barker was infiltration from the lower to the upper Ngwebeni. This would tend to place him on Itusi and leave some portion of the impi deployed in hide positions close enough to Wood's map as not to have to argue about. Very well then. But then what. If the movement described occurs because the attack is underway, we immediately falter. Why then did it not develop before 12-00-ish, at least 3.5 hours distant? Why do the Zulu accounts say the 22nd was not our day?

It is reasonable to assume that the Itusi vedette (2 men on a vast landscape) was not known to Ntshingwayo and that he believed he could get his right horn into position for an H-Hour early on the morrow, or possibly later in the day, by infiltration along the axis described above, without it being detected. Thus it would be in a new 'bivouac' position (as per the annotations) and would, from the army commander's point of view, have remained concealed without compromising the impi's position. I say later in the day because of the source coverage of intent to negotiate before fighting and the related gatherings of the command team to discuss how this should be managed - which took place the previous evening and ended inconclusively, with an agreement to resume the discussion in the morning. It is not too far fetched to suggest that the majority of the Zulu commanders did not expect this to succeed, indeed that they did not want this to succeed, because this was set to be the big fight of their generation. The reason there was no agreement might be that they rowed about whether negotiations should take place at all, as this would serve as a de facto compromise of the advantage they had gained by occupying a concealed position within striking distance of the British.

Now let us move on a bit. Let us (and this is wildly improbable I know) imagine for a moment that you come back with 'OK Snooky old boy, I get the immutable logic of the missing time frame and accept your point that the intent to attack came later than I have so far allowed'. Where would such a breakthrough leave us? Well we would have the right horn bivouaced and still hidden (at least as far as Ntshingwayo is concerned, but not the British, who do nothing about it beyond standing to in response to some ill-defined movement of Zulu mass reported by the vedette chain), in the upper Ngwebeni Valley in approximate conformity with some of the annotations on the map. The regiments of the chest would be covered off behind Mabaso. They don't necessarily have to be all the way down around the stream, but somewhere on the reverse slop of Mabaso, covered off along the start lines they will utilise on the morrow. It would not have been possible to do this in the dark but it would have made eminent sense for it to have been done once the light was up....Right you induna-chaps of the chest and left horn, get your regiments onto the positions I am about to indicate to you along the crest, keeping out of sight on the reverse slope obviously, and shake them out into line. This will be where I want your men to spend the rest of today and tonight, so that everything is set for tomorrow morning when we attack. Don't let your lads wander about and remember the vital importance of remaining concealed on this reverse slope. Your royal highness (Dabulamanzi) and you other Undi izinduna, I will show you where I want you to go in a moment, but remember that it is vital that you as the reserve remain amenable to my control, so make sure you hang back and don't go racing off after all the others when we attack in the morning. You left horn izinduna, well your exit route from this hide is over there obviously, so cover off ready to make a sharp start as you will have a long way to go....bla bla bla. Thus all is as ready as it can be....but without breaking cover. The umCijo are not at the position where they are fired on by the (not the) Basutos but are behind the north end of the Mabaso crest, ready to make a sharp start along the line of the Ngwebeni when the moment comes. But they are dead excited. Then 0930-ish comes and there is shooting (carried on the wind and reverberating around the hills from Mangeni). The flighty umCijo break cover because the game is obviously afoot. They leave Mabaso and move along the line of the upper Ngwebeni in accordance with the plan to reach the start line at which they will left wheel to begin the attack on the escarpment. The Nodwengu regiments see them coming and (under control) begin to execute their part in the attack. They are seen by the NNC picket on Mkwene. But there are a lot of izinduna running along at the back and shouting the Zulu equivalent of 'stop, stop, stop!' Eventually the whole enterprise is called off. The umCijo even more highly strung than formerly are difficult to control and not paying much attention to concealment. Their leading elements may have come an awfully long way forward before realizing that a cock up is afoot. It is a long time before they make their way back to the line of the Ngwebeni stream. The regiment is disorganized. Some go all the way back to Mabaso. Some don't but instead stay in the dead ground astride the upper Ngwebeni. Enter Colonel Durnford and everything which follows. Let now the (not the) Basutos come across the plateau. They are not riding in column of route but are scattered by small parties across a broad front axis of advance. The sources say it is actually Roberts who is tasked to clear along the valley beyond the escarpment edge, which is to say the valley along which the right horn regiments will shortly advance and be engaged by Cavaye from the spur, and then its continuation, the narrow valley at the foot of the escarpment, in the bottom of which is the upper Ngwebeni stream. Raw on the other hand is tasked to clear the general line of the escarpment to Robert's right. As I have remarked before, the precise longitude and latitude of x is not important because in this scenario, unimagined by Nstingwayo, contact is bound to occur. The contact when it comes, is certainly not in the nature of Charlie Raw peering down into the Ngwebeni from Mabaso a la Morris. Nor is it with the whole of the main impi. It is with the right horn. and those elements of the excitable umCijo which, having seen the British horsemen coming, have begun manoeuvring/responding in some fashion not precisely known to us, but as reflected by Hamer, Nyanda. I earlier postulated that if the annotations shown on the map reflected the position of the entire chest there would be insufficient time for the British to respond in the way in which we know they did. See my earlier stab - 56 mins et al. I advanced that regiments so positioned would have only to cross the width of the plateau, rather than its length, and thus be on top of Mkwene too quickly for time and space to add up. Now then, if the greater part of the chest is not there, and the contact is with the right horn and moving elements of the umCijo only, then we are in a different scenario vis a vis time and space. The right horn is not going to attack Mkwene or advance to the escarpment edge; that's not its job. it's going to turn to its right and start making its way towards the Manzimyama Valley in column of regiments. Thus no immediate attack on Mkwene. The umCijo, which is destined to attack the hill, is now disorganized and dispersed, operating in a number of smaller but still numerically substantial sub-groupings which have have evolved by chance/accident/circumstance. The greater part of the chest is still responding to the compromise from its positions behind Mabaso... thus much further back than the leading companies of the umCijo (and quite possibly the larger part of that regiment itself). Thus we now have the potential for there to be lighter fighting around Mkwene, including apparently a counterattack by Shepstone and Vause's troop, before the rest of the chest comes up to put the issue beyond doubt and to drive the British off the high ground altogether. We also generate the potential for the rocket battery to be attacked a small portion of the umCijo, some way ahead of the arrival of the rest of the chest.

Did anybody look into Ngwebeni from Mabaso at broadly the same time as the (not the) Basutos made contact? It can't be discounted and I remain convinced that Scott was on the plateau somewhere, in order for there to be a third troop of whites, withdrawing ahead of the impi a la Mahlokazulu, and for the warning carbineers (sent by Scott) to arrive with Durnford in the manner in which they did. Likewise the guiding carbineer who reported to Russell with the result that he diverted for the notch. Irritatingly I can't now find that bit of Barker (some bits but not all) in which he talks about seeing the Zulu army 'sitting down' or some such words.

Where was Durnford in order for this to add up? I would suggest not as far as DH or the Babanango Rd of today, (which is at the extreme end of the spectrum in terms of time and space), but somewhat further back in the valley - at a point which I can best define as some unknown distance not too far in front of the deep sunk donga, with the concrete bottom, 'half-way' (loose term) up the Qwabe valley.

So, plenty of food for thought, and the potential for the annotated map to have some considerable pertinence, if only we can get past the stubbornness on the deliberate attack beginning at dawn hypothesis. That is plainly not what happened. The battle started by a collision in time and space by British and Zulu forces, on the upper plateau. That does not distract in any way from what was by any account a great 'Zulu Victory' (rings a bell) won by stealth of operational manoeuvre, rapidity of tactical manoeuvre and sheer bloody courage. The outstanding quality of Zulu 'soldiering' was not matched by the British commanders. The only thing thing the two sides had in common as far as I can see was the sheer bloody courage bit. As I have remarked before Zulu Victory/British Defeat is as six of one and half a dozen of the other. It is a sterile debate because in any military disaster it takes two to tango, as they say.

Hey ho.

Regards

Mike
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Peter Quantrill
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Mike,
Just a quick initial observation.
The Zulu regiments mentioned in your post, is not my assertion. It is the assertion of Wood; a big difference. (Map 2.)
And 'many of us do not accept that,' in turn would seemingly mean that the 'us' does not accept Wood's version, Map 2.
I would suggest that Wood's observations of the period, are correct, looking again at the variety of primary sources who showed him over the battlefield. For the 'us' to be correct, primary source evidence that contradicts Wood, has to be shown. If it is 'not a given,' show the evidence to disprove Wood.

As ever,
Peter
mike snook 2


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P.S. Now busy with other stuff for a few days/week, so I can't promise anything other than fleeting contributions over that time frame. M
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mike snook 2


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OK, I will. Look at Map 2. The only regiments/corps marked are Nodwengu, Undi and Uve. The uNokhenke, Umbonambi and Ingogamakhosi are all conspicuous by their absence.

M
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Peter Quantrill
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Mike,

They are all on my CC Map 2.

Peter
mike snook 2


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Peter

They are not on the map at your Appendix B, which I take to be the original (i.e. Wood) but do appear on your Appendix C, which is a version superimposed with modern annotations. The title proclaims 'superimposed with modern roads and topography', but should evidently say 'oh and names of regiments too'. You are not claiming those are original (Wood) surely? I refer to a printed and bound version of your paper acquired at Isandlwana Lodge at the scandalous price, I note in passing, of R135! (I might in former times have put a smilley face here, but I have settled on a more recent doctrine of 'smiley faces are naff'!!)

M
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Peter Quantrill
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Mike,
With regard to the R135, that is neither Ron nor I, but Isandlwana Lodge!
We did not benefit from any sale proceeds. We were also not shown a proof copy prior to publication.
However, I did, in due course, received a copy from Rob. My copy has all regiments shown in Wood's hand in Appendix C.
I scanned the original Map 2 that was in the Campbell Collection, (with their permission.) It now hangs in my study.
I can assure you that the regiments are all in position as annotated by Wood, in his hand, as shown in my posting.
We merely added the red to highlight the road. That is the only addition.

I could take my copy out of its frame, e-mail it to Alan and ask him if he would consider posting it, or I could then send it to you? I can re-assure you all regiments are positioned in the hand of Wood.
What would be the purpose of us inventing and adding? Certainly not to produce so-called primary source to support an early attack. In such an event that would constitute 'conduct unbecoming' followed by a definite Court Marshal!
Perhaps Mike M can help here? He is very familiar with all the maps, both C.C. and the RE Museum.
Can you, when time allows, give your view on why Ntshingwayo moved out of the secure AE on 20/21 Jan?
For what purpose? To lie up in Start Lines for a couple or so days? Unlikely.

As ever,
Peter
mike snook 2


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Peter

Are you sure you don't mean that Wood's hand (designating regiments) appears on Map 3 at Appendix B? (A different map entirely, a closer-in view, from a different piece of time and space, to that which appears at Map 2 at your Appendix A).

M

P.S. You certainly don't stand accused of such underhand tactics! No CM imminent I fancy.

P.P.S. Assuming you mean 21/22 January (AE?... in your day maybe but not mine...AA!) the reasons why one would move the right horn out, as a function of real estate management, designed to facilitate rapid shock action, at the appropriate point, have been well covered in HCMDB. It is about the scale and rapidity of the attack which Ntshingwayo knew he had to manage. Right horn cannot occupy overnight 21/22 because they arrive too late, in the pitch Zululand dark. Yet right horn has to be in position for the first streaks of dawn on the 23rd. So they have to move at some time in daylight on the 22nd and before the onset of darkness on the evening 22/23. You defeat your own argument because the Nodwengu bivouac (underlined, bold, exclamation mark) is marked on Wood's map and specifically annotated as such, an annotation which to my eye does extend to imply that the other regiments or corps were bivouaced where they are shown. Similarly in order to attack at dawn the other regiments have to be organized and covered off against their concealed start lines behind Mabaso (NB. still concealed) in daylight on the 22nd. Once it gets dark that afternoon it's too late. Aim is to move forward with the first streaks of daylight in order to maximise surprise and shock effect...but then the eagle eyed Trooper Whitelaw, the 0930ish distant shooting and the arrival of the (not the) Basutos bollox it all up. Pardon me. In other words the only assets moved about in daylight on the 22nd were a. scouts b. the right horn regiments. Neither the umCijo or the Nodwengu were meant to go fannying about in the open in broad daylight on the 22nd. That is where the fortunes of war, which today we would call 'friction', come into play.
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Peter Quantrill
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Mike,
Methinks we can only move forward if you have sight of the CC Map 2.
Here I have asked Mike Mc to help. If needs be I will have mine photographed and e-mailed to you, but I think that Mike may be able to help. There is no question that on my map the entire Zulu regiments are clearly designated in the same hand, namely Wood.
And on my map, the Nodwengu bivouac is not underlined nor has it an exclamation mark!
How many maps are there?! There is only one map marked number 2 from the Wood's Papers at the Campbell Collection, but I think additional maps at the RE Museum?
Conundrum?
Apologies, of course AA.

As ever,
Peter
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