Sunday, 11 January 2009

A birthday anniversary

The site where Number 3 Column's crossed the Buffalo at Rorke's Drift on January 11th 1879

Today (January 11th) is my birthday and also the 130th anniversary of the beginning of the Zulu War in 1879. Lord Chelmsford's 5,000 word ultimatum had been delivered by John Shepstone, acting Natal Secretary for Native Affairs, to the Zulus on 11th December 1878 giving Cetshwayo 30 days to comply. January 10th arrived and went and no compliance was seen (or expected).

Col Richard Glynn of 1st Battalion 24th foot. Photographed in 1878

At dawn on January 11th Colonel Richard Glynn's number 3 column crossed the Buffalo River at Rorke's Drift. The column consisted of the first battalion 24th foot, seven companies of the 2/24th, a battery of Royal artillery, two battalions of the natal Native Contingent, some European Mounted Police and Volunteers, 2,000 oxen, 67 mules, 220 wagons and 82 carts. In just over a week's time the force would make camp close to a mountain called Isandlwana...

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