Friday, 21 January 2011

Zulus Sir - thousands of them!

"March slowly, attack at dawn and eat up the red soldiers."
 - Zulu King Cetshwayo's order to the 24,000 strong main Zulu impi

Painting of the Battle by Charles Fripp - I have a print of this in my Dining Room.

Today is the Anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana, in 1879.  This battle rocked Victorian Britain when the Zulus wiped out a substantial British force including the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot.

Lt. Colonel Pulleine was in command of 1774 British troops encamped on the eastern slope of Isandlwana. By 10am Pulleine had received a dispatch from Lt. Gen. Lord Chelmsford to break camp and move the entire contingent to Chelmsford’s location 13 miles southeast of Isandlwana mountain. Tents were being struck, oxen hitched to wagons.

At 12 o’clock the camp was attacked by 24-25 000 Zulu warriors, using the tactics of the horns of the buffalo. The Zulus totally surrounded the camp annihilating 1 329 British soldiers.   Lt. Melvill gallantly attempted to save the Queen’s colour and was helped by Lt. Coghill whilst trying to cross the Buffalo river. Lt's. Melvill and Coghill died in their attempt to save the colour and the honour of the regiment.


Thou great and mighty chief!
Thou who has an army
The red soldiers came:
We destroyed them.
The mounted soldiers came:
We destroyed them.
The mounted police came:
We destroyed them
When will they dare
To repeat their attack?

Zulu Victory Song, sung after the Battle of Isandlwana 


The Zulus then went on to surround and attack the British outpost at the small mission of Rourke's Drift, but that had a very different outcome...

(Don't tell her, but I remember my Mum's birthday because its the same day!)

No comments:

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!