On 11 January the British Empire went to war with the independent kingdom of Zululand. The British anticipated a swift and decisive victory, placing great. British Fortifications in Zululand by Ian Knight, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Author: Ian Knight, Illustrator: Adam Hook About this book: On 11 January the British Empire went to war with the independent kingdom of Zululand.

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It was normal practice for gaps of about three inches to be left between the strong, pointed palisades of a stockade, the intervals being filled by shorter, square-cut palisades, the open spaces being employed as loopholes The weather remained bad, and the area around both fort soon became a sea of mud, although at Rorke’s Drift B ompany were accorded the honour of sleeping under the eaves of the storehouse, protected by the tarpaulins. BPP L of C.

Chelmsford’s despatch detailing the defeat at Isandlwana reaches London. Across the front of the post the wall was over 7ft high, with regular loopholes to fire through.

Unable, and perhaps unwilling, britisj restrain them, the commanders deployed them in their classic encircling formation, the right flank, 11879 ‘horn’, swinging round to the north of the camp, the centre, or ‘chest’, moving up the far end of the ridge to the east, and the left ‘horn’ moving into the steeper valley to the south. Nor was it even necessary that there be a supply of water within the fort itself.

A line of boxes was run underneath them, and this was piled up with mealie sacks until it constituted a secure barricade about 4ft high. Colenso advocated for native Africans in Natal and Zululand who had been unjustly treated by the colonial regime in Natal. The first troops arrived at Brittish on 7 March.

Moreover, when Wood sent a sortie into the open, to disperse Zulu assembling in the dead ground to the south, fire from the rubbish dump soon forced the British to withdraw to the safety of the wagons.

The fort was appropriately known as Fort Bengough. Leaving the remains of fortiflcations command at Rorke’s Drift, and paUSing only to order that both Rorke’s Drift and Brotish be properly fortified, he rode to Pietermaritzburg to alvage what he could of his plan of campaign.

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Anglo-Zulu War

Inside the hospital, the defenders fought from room to room, knocking holes in the flimsy interior walls where there were no doors, and dragging the patients after them until at last they emerged through a window into the abandoned yard, and scurried across to the storehouse, covered by the fire of men lining the biscuit-box barricade.


The light in which Mbelini was regarded is shown in a paragraph from a memorandum written by Sir Henry Bulwer:. The interior of the fort was a sea of mud, and despite Pearson’s best endeavours, it was impossible to prevent the water sources from being contaminated. In the s, the British Army was one of the most experienced in the world. Because the post was on the atal side of the border, and therefore assumed to be safe, a fairly relaxed atmosphere prevailed before the battle.

At the back, however, facing Shiyane, it was much higher, to provide a second layer of fire, with firing platforms raised from planking. This farcical piece of theatre had been agreed to by Cetshwayo simply to satisfy the wishes of Shepstone and meant nothing to the Zulu people. It was made entirely of loose stones, the walls piled up about 6ft high and 3ft thick.

The Zulus asserted that the Swazis were their birtish and therefore had no right to part with this territory. All through April and May there was much to and fro manoeuvring by the British, particularly with supply and transport. The fort was, however, considered to be in a state ready to receive an attack; it had taken just three days to build but had employed the labour of upwards of 3, infantry working in shifts. Traverses, as at Fort Tenedos, could also serve to divide up the interior space of a redoubt to create a more secure and comfortable camping-ground for the garrison in part of the area.

Note the way that the troops are forming the rampart by piling up earth from the trench; and the way the wagons beyond are barricaded with supplies. This was fogtifications – only about 30 yards long by less than 10 wide – but it was large enough to shelter two field guns and about men. Six field guns were placed in the open on the slopes between the main laager and the redoubt, an exposed position that nonetheless allowed them free room to manoeuvre to face the Zulu attacks as they developed.

It is completely open to the fire of a long, strong, stony hill only yards off! Further east, also below the ledge, was another cattle kraal, larger, but less well built. My library Help Advanced Book Search. Henceforth referred to as Report on Fort Ekowe.

One building had served Jim Rorke as his house, and had been taken over by the mi ionary, the Rev. His deposition was formally announced to the Zulu.

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift. UlundiSouth Africa. Assisted by Edward Durnford. As a result, cattle ‘kraals’ were built away from the main complex, but clo e enough to be guarded by the garrison, and were moved several times during the occupation.


Laband, John; Knight, Ian While Woods was thus engaged, Chelmsford’s column was marching on Eshowe. Thi information completely transformed Pear on’s situation. KwaZulu Natal Archives, Pietermaritzburg Depot [n the centre stood the three iron sheds, the smaller huts, and a make hift hospital. But generally, the average was between 70 and m, paired redoubts being half the size of single ones. The ditch and rampart thrown up around the laager is still visible on the left.

As was often the case in Victorian colonial wars, the commander in the field, Lt. Durnford – he was undoubtedly responsible for the greatest engineering feats of the war, since he was responsible for two of fortifcations largest britishh most important forts built during the campaign. The buildings consisted of a church, built of locally manufactured mud bricks, plastered with mud, and with a corrugated iron roof.

Wolseley wasted no time in discarding Bartle Frere’s confederation scheme and drew up a new scheme which divided Zululand into thirteen chiefdoms headed by compliant chiefs which ensured that the Zulus would no longer unite under a single king and made internal divisions and civil wars inevitable. Wynne spent the folloWing day making his selection – a piece of open ground loping gently down towards the river, and straddling the track – and on the 15th work began.

The fort was largely completed by early April, and the garrison at the mission station began to move down to occupy it. Chelmsford received a Knight Grand Cross of Bath, largely because of Ulundi, however, he was severely criticized by the Horse Guards investigation [33] and he would never serve in the field again.

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By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. Fortress of Ice C. Access to the fort across the ditch was usually by bridge, and at Fort Eshowe there were fortificqtions of them: The British anticipated a swift and decisive victory, placing great faith in modern firepower; no plans were made for zjluland the Zulu over a protracted period, or for providing defensive positions from which The effect on the morale of Pearson’s men was electric but they had no means to re pond.