James Stuart.

A history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation online

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operate in that locality, to continue to use up the enemy's
supplies as much as possible, and to see that he (the enemy)
did not emerge at night from the forest to draw on such
supphes as might still be available. At this particular
juncture, the enemy's scouts were observable on all the
prominent heights. Reliable information, moreover, was
received that Bambata had gone to the Qudeni forests with
some 300 to 400 followers.

McKenzie moved to Nomangci on the 23rd, part of the
column marching via Gcongco, and part via Sangofe and
London's Kop. The steepness of the ascent at Gcongco
may be roughly estimated from the fact that, during the
climb, no less than four horses fell at different times ; they
rolled down the incline, and were quite dead on reaching
the bottom. Fourteen other horses had also to be aban-
doned. McKenzie himself went the same evening with a
small escort to the magistracy, with the object of accept-
ing Sigananda's surrender there as agreed.

A troop of Royston's Horse, in command of Lieut. Percy
Male, which had been sent from the grave to Fort YoUand

Rifles, Royston's Horse, Natal Field Artillery (two 15-pounders and
two pompoms), Durban Light Infantry (two companies). Voider
ManseVs command — Natal Naval Corps, Transvaal Moiinted Rifles,
Natal Police (Field Force), Natal Field Artillery (two 15-pounders),
Nongqai (Zululand Native Police).

^ Particularly was this the case at Ezigqileni, the principal kraal of
the caretaker of Cetshwayo's grave. This small kraal (close to the
Nkunzana river), a few hundred yards from the grave, contained no
fewer than nineteen large grain pits, that is, about five times as many as
the average for a kraal of that size.



248 THE ZULU REBELLION

on the 22nd to escort an ambulance waggon, returned on
the 23rd, several hours after McKenzie's column had left,
and just as Mansel's was moving off in the direction of
Fort Yolland. After off-saddHng close to the grave, the
troop proceeded on its journey to overtake McKenzie.
" The party had not gone more than a mile," says Male,
" when about sixty Natives came out of a small bush and
attacked us in the rear without the sHghtest provocation
on our part. The time then was about 12.30 p.m. They
did not come any closer than 200 yards. I asked Capt.
Sharpe to take our seven spare horses on to Denga spur,
about three miles from where we were attacked and about
a mile from the mouth of the Mome valley. I remained
behind with Sergt. Hepworth and three men to protect
the rear. We fought a small rear-guard action, which
lasted until we got on to the hill where the horses were
waiting for us. When starting to go up the hill, the enemy
closed in on our rear, right and left flanks. There were
about 100 to 150 of them, but I could not see well. They
kept up a desultory fire from the cover of the bush on both
sides of the ridge I was going up. This firing continued
until we had gained the top, about 4.30 p.m. On reaching
the top, the men and horses being very ' blown,' we found
the Natives trjdng to cut us off from the column. I
posted two men on a kopje (one of them Tpr. T. Malone,
subsequently killed at Tate). These kept up a pretty
hot fire until we had mounted and advanced. After this,
it was a case of galloping to get free. They hung on to our
rear for about three or four miles, i.e. until we had sighted
the rear-guard of the column (Z.M.R.)."

"A few shots," says McKenzie, ^ " were fired by the
Z.M.R. at the enemy when the top of the hill was reached.
It has been, I understand, suggested that the fact of the
Z.M.R. , having fired these few shots, upset the enemy's
idea of surrender, but this is manifestly incorrect, having
in view the fact that the troop of Royston's Horse was
fired at from almost the time when they passed the site
of my old camp at Cetshwayo's grave, which was some

1 Report. September, 1906.



OPERATIONS, NKANDHLA DISTRICT 249

considerable time before the shots were fired by the Z.M.R.
Personally, I was satisfied that the incident did not in any
way affect the non-surrender.^ At the time, large bodies
of rebels could be seen moving about on the hiUs singing
what was reported to be their war-songs. This view was
confirmed later on by Ndabaningi, who, when he eventually
surrendered, was asked by me why they had not surren-
dered on the first occasion. He stated the tribe had agreed
that they had not had enough fighting, and did not con-
sider themselves beaten . . . they therefore resolved to
continue the RebeUion."

Although McKenzie had withdrawn to Nomangci, there
were no indications of Sigananda surrendering. The
negotiations, which had been going on since the 19th,
thereupon fell through.

To enable the troops to grapple more satisfactorily with
the situation at Nkandhla, the Government decided, on
the 10th May, to form an irregular infantry corps, 800
strong, subsequently known as the " Natal Rangers."
On apphcation being made to recruit half the battalion
in the Transvaal, with the assistance of the permanent
Volunteer staff of that Colony, the Transvaal Government,
in acceding to the request, generously offered four com-
panies of volunteers with Maxim, Signalling and Medical
detachments under their own officers, fully armed and
equipped, provided that Natal took over the arms and
equipment, and paid and rationed the men. The offer was
gratefully accepted. The Right Half of the battalion was
accordingly formed in Johannesburg, and the Left in
Durban. Lieut. -Col. J. Dick, D.L.I., was placed in com-
mand. ^ The Right and Left Halves, having received
orders to proceed at once to Nkandhla, united at Nqutu
on the 30th May, and reached Nomangci on the 4th June.

^ It will presently be seen that Sigananda did not come in, at any
rate, not on the day he had said he would do so.

2 Among the other officers were : Major A. B. Boyd- Wilson, second in
command ; Lieut.-Col. J. J. Furze, T.L.I, (temporarily assuming the rank
of Major), commanding Right Half; and Captain O. Schuller, T.L.I. ,
Adjutant.



250 THE ZULU REBELLION

On the 24th May, Major Murray-Smith arrived at
Empandhleni (L30 p.m.) with his column, escorting a
convoy of fifty-one waggons. This column, which had
left Dundee on the 19th and travelled via Vant's drift,
Nqutu and Nondweni, was made up as follows : N.M.R.,
160 ; N.C., 100 ; N.R.R., 100, and details. At Nqutu, it
was ascertained that Mehlokazulu had armed and joined
Bambata. The inteUigence was confirmed at Nondweni.
Murray-Smith was ordered to return with all speed with
the empty waggons to Dundee, and from thence, via
Tugela Ferry, to join the Umvoti Field Force at Greytown.
Squadron A, N.C., under Capt. G. R. Richards, was
detached ; it became bodyguard to the O.C. Troops.

Murray-Smith left Empandhleni on the 26th, travelling
by the route taken on the forward journey. On arrival at
8 p.m. on the 28th at Nqutu magistracy, it was reported
that Mehlokazulu intended to attack the village and con-
voy the same night. It is difficult to understand how such
scare arose, for the Chief was known to have proceeded to
Qudeni, whilst a strong column under Mackay was by then
at Isandhlwana, within striking distance of his ward. The
convoy reached Dundee on the 30th.

Leaving the N.R.R. at Dundee, and details at Help-
makaar, the N.M.R., instead of joining Leuchars via
Tugela Ferry, proceeded by rail to Greytown, reaching
that place on the 2nd June, and the Umvoti Field Force
on the 3rd at Spitzkop.

To return to Nkandhla. When he received intelligence
to the effect that a number of rebels were in hiding in a
small, though dense, forest at Ensingabantu, near Qudeni,
at which place there was a small store, McKenzie planned
a night march, on the 24th, with the object of surrounding
the forest before dayhght the following morning. Guided
by Sergt. E. Titlestad, Z.M.R., the force ^ left at dusk.
It proceeded by a narrow footpath along the extra-
ordinarily steep sides of the Devil's Gorge, where a false

^ Consisting of 100 N.C. (this squadron — under Capt. G. R. Richards —
is the one that arrived with Miuray- Smith on the 24th), 100 Z.M.R.,
300 R.H., 120 N.D.M.R., 20 T.M.R., 25 M.I., D.L.I., and 300 Natives.



OPERATIONS, NKANDHLA DISTRICT 251

step might easily have resulted in man or animal being
precipitated forthwith into the Insuze, 1,000 feet below.
A pack-horse, indeed, carrying ammunition did miss its
footing, when it instantly roUed headlong into the vast,
yawning gulf below. Merely to cross the drift at the
bottom took three hours on that cold, dark and memorable
night. Ntingwe was reached at 2 a.m. "Although a misty
morning," says McKenzie, " the movement of surrounding
the position was most accurately carried out, and when
day broke, and the mist had hfted, the bush in which the
rebels had been reported to be located was completely
surrounded by a cordon of troops. Unfortunately, how-
ever, the enemy were not there, and although the bush and
adjacent country were thoroughly searched, none of them
could be found, although there was every trace of recent
occupation of the ground." ^

The same day. Inspector Dimmick, with 105 N.P., made
a reconnaissance in the direction of Komo and Fort
YoUand.

Returning to Nomangci on the 27th by the waggon road
via Calverley's store, McKenzie, as a prehminary to
attacking the rebels known to be concealed in the Nkandhla
forests, moved the following day a few miles to the high
and comparatively flat country at Dhlabe.

Although the campaign was being conducted without
the direct assistance of the Imperial Government, the
mother-country did not permit the proceedings to go on
without taking a special interest therein. Major-General
T. E. Stephenson, C.B., Commanding the Transvaal Dis-
trict, was deputed to witness some, at any rate, of the
operations. He arrived at Nomangci, with his staff officer
and aide-de-camp, on the 27th, when, as Colonel McKenzie's
guest, several opportunities occurred, during the three
weeks he was in the district, of observing what took place.

Early on the 29th May, there being ground for supposing
a body of rebels lay concealed in the Tate valley , McKenzie
took his force out to drive such valley. Some idea has
already been given of the Nkandhla forests which, it was

^ Report. September, 1906.



252 THE ZULU REBELLION

shown, are more or less connected and distributed over
extremely rough and precipitous country. Although there
are two forests in the Tate valley, they are generally
regarded as not covered by the name Nkandhla, even
though barely two miles from the nearest ones at the
Mome. The gorge is even more remarkable in some respects
than the Mome ; it is narrower, and its sides, especially
the eastern, are steeper ; they are, moreover, studded with
enormous boulders, and where the forests do not extend,
they are covered with dense shrubs and undergrowth.
The fastness does not continue beyond one and a quarter
miles from where the Tate stream enters the Insuze, but
throughout that distance, when artillery is wanting, can
be defended with the greatest ease. On the day in
question, notwithstanding that the natural difficulties
appeared insurmountable, it was found that stockades
had been erected, whilst the caves, too, had been blocked
and loop-holed by the rebels in a surprisingly cunning and
effective manner.

The Z.M.R., under Vanderplank, with Native levies,
under London, moved down the western side of the valley ;
the rest of the column, i.e. a portion of R.H., with the
squadron N.C., lined and drove down the eastern slopes
to the stream at the bottom of the gorge. Two guns and
pompoms were placed on Gun Hill to cover transport and
the D.L.L, who formed the rear-guard. Mansel had been
directed to co-operate by moving to block the mouth of
the valley. These orders, however, were misunderstood ;
for he went to the Mome two miles away and proceeded to
drive up that gorge for the rest of the day.

Colonel McKenzie, in order to conduct the operations
better, took up a position on a large rock overhanging the
eastern side of the gorge. It was from this place that he
and Colonel Royston soon shot two rebels who, appearing
below, were about to throw their assegais at them.

After the troops had begun to descend, about 600 cattle
were seen being driven on the left slopes of the valley as if
to escape. London, Hopkins, Walsh and Sergt. Waugh,
all of Royston's Horse, who were with the levies, leaving



OPERATIONS, NKANDHLA DISTRICT 253

the Z.M.R. on higher ground, pushed on to do work at the
bottom that had been intended for Mansel. Lieut. H. T.
James moved with eight Z.M.R. to a spot about three-
quarters of the way down.

On London and the others getting to the river, a ringed
Native, who had hurled an assegai at one of the levies,
was immediately shot. Some fifty temporary war-huts
were found in an open glade, also five rebels. The huts
were burnt, though later on. After the party had worked
about ten yards up the river with some sixty levies, eight
rebels sprang from behind a large boulder and ran off.
It had evidently been their intention to way-lay the
invaders, but, realizing that discretion was the better part
of valour, made off up the stream, when three were shot.
On the boulder referred to being reached, a number of
rebels charged the party, shouting " Usutu ! Usutu ! "
Just at that point the Tate makes a peculiar bend, the
right bank being precipitous. Round this the enemy,
about seventy, rushed forward, and threw their assegais.
These were badly aimed, no doubt owing to the demoraliz-
ing effect caused by London's firing " loopers " from a
shot-gun at a distance of fifteen to twenty yards. The
attack did not last more than a minute, after which the
rebels disappeared behind the bend. A few feeble attempts
at attack were next made by fifteen to twenty at a time.
It was noticed " Usutu ! Usutu ! " was shouted a few
seconds before actually charging, thereby giving the impres-
sion that the enemy wanted to stir up courage, forgetting
that shouting gave warning of their intention. In the
meantime, Lieuts. Shepstone and Richardson, also with
levies, were engaged in the rear. Rebels who had evaded
the foremost party were prevented by them from escaping
towards the Insuze.

InteUigence was at this stage received of the presence
of a large impi further up the ravine. London, feeUng he
was not strong enough, sent to Vanderplank for reinforce-
ments and awaited a reply. Word came back at 2 p.m.
to the effect that those engaged below were to withdraw
and return to camp. An unsuccessful appeal for help was



254 THE ZULU REBELLION

also made to nine or ten Z.M.R. who happened to be within
reach. Efforts to make the main body of R.H. hear were
futile, owing to these men being too high up, consequently
the party had the mortification of having to withdraw
with the enemy in its immediate front.

Tpr. T. Malone, R.H., was shot about 2 p.m. through
the neck by a rebel who was below him. The rebel was
killed and the Martini-Henry rifle he had was recovered.

During the day, over forty of the enemy were killed,
and over 400 cattle, besides many goats, seized. Had
Mansel's column combined in the operations, they must
have proved much more successful. The moral effect of
these operations was, nevertheless, very great, for, as
subsequently remarked by the enemy, they reahzed they
had no stronghold or retreat that could be regarded as
secure when attacked by McKenzie's men.

The troops camped that night close to and east of
London's Kop. During the evening, news was brought
that the waggon of a Mr. Davis, who had been authorized
to keep a dry canteen, had been looted by rebels in the
main Nkandhla forest. It seems the vehicle had been
unable to keep up with the transport belonging to the
column. It followed as best it could, but being late, and
the column out of sight, the owner decided to leave it to
its fate. The waggon, in charge of its Native driver,
continued along the road through a portion of the forest.
It was captured shortly after and driven into the forest,
the driver and voorlooper being taken prisoners. The
Z.M.R. investigated the matter on the following morning.
Responsibihty for the loss fell wholly on the owner, who
had been duly warned of the risks he was running.

Early on the 30th, accompanied by the guns and pom-
poms, McKenzie made a further reconnaissance of the
Mome valley from the heights on the immediate west.
At noon, the whole of the Tate valley was thoroughly
driven. R.H. and D.L.I. (under Lieut.-Col. Royston)
took part in the drive, the former being, of course, dis-
mounted. The N.C. proceeded to the west side of the
gorge to prevent rebels escaping in that direction towards



OPERATIONS, NKANDHLA DISTRICT 255

Macala. The Native levies (under London) also took part.
They drove up the valley from its mouth as far as the other
troops, which had entered higher up and worked down the
stream. Twenty-one rebels were killed ; the operations,
which were of a very arduous nature, much of the climbing
having to be done up and down exceedingly steep and
rocky places, lasted the whole day. Notwithstanding
the difficulties, as great as any that could have been
encountered in the Mome valley, every man performed
the work required of him in an eminently satisfactory
manner.

The bodies of eighteen of those killed the day before
were found in one cave, and twelve in another, dragged
thither by their relatives. Two instruments of strange
workmanship and evidently regarded as ' firearms ' were
also found. They were made of wood and cartridge cases,
the latter telescoped sHghtly into one another, with bands
of metal ingeniously bound round where the joins occurred.
One of these curios — they were nothing more — had two
barrels, the other one.

By this time, the Government, having realized the
necessity of appointing an officer in supreme command of
all the forces in Zululand and Natal, with the object of
ensuring effective combination over the large areas
occupied and traversed by the enemy, decided to appoint
McKenzie to the position. The appointment took effect
on the 30th May. Nor was it too soon that the step was
taken. Although Leuchars had done his best to co-operate,
notably on the day of the general converging movement
on the grave (17th), his efforts, through his not having
received earlier notice, were not as effective as they might
have been. There were instances of lack of combination
in other directions. As regards Mackay, the Commandant
of MiHtia had intended he should remain at Helpmakaar,
to keep in check the large tribes of that part known to be
disaffected. Owing to misunderstanding, however, arising
out of communicating through the telephone over a long
distance, Mackay had moved to operate down the left



256 THE ZULU REBELLION

bank of the Buffalo in Zululand,^ that being the side on
which, from his recent experience, he considered his efforts
would prove most useful — not so much to engage the
enemy, as to force him to concentrate at Nkandhla.
Whether this view was right or not, the fact of Mackay's
leaving the position assigned him, revealed weakness in
the arrangements, which, it was considered, would be
best remedied by investing an officer in the field with
power to immediately control the actions of every column.
Having already begun to deal with the problem at
Nkandhla, McKenzie decided to remain where he was and
personally direct the operations at that place. Leuchars,
who had hitherto so ably conducted them in Natal, was
accordingly requested to continue as he had been doing,
until McKenzie, having accomphshed what was necessary
at Nkandhla, was free to undertake immediate supervision
elsewhere.



^ His column then consisted of the whole of N.C., Right and Left
Wings (excepting D squadron) ; a section, N.F.A. ; and the Estcourt,
Ladysmith, Dundee, and Newcastle Reserves.

Mackay, of course, knew that Helpmakaar was an important strategi-
cal post, but, with the recent removal of Kula, the still more recent
smashing up of Mtele's and Nondubela's factions by Murray- Smith, and
his own operations round about Mahlaba (see p. 267), he decided to
recommend his moving to Nqutu district in order to drive on to McKenzie
the local and other rebels known to be there. Believing the reconmienda-
tion had been approved by the Commandant, which, however, was
certainly not the case, he took with him the troops referred to. This
meant that Helpmakaar became practically evacuated, for the N.M.R.,
until recently posted at Helpmakaar, got orders from the Commandant
on the 25th, when at Nkandhla, to join the U.F.F. at Greytown as
speedily as possible. Had Mackay known that his action involved the
almost total evacuation of Helpmakaar, he probably would not have
taken with him as many troops as he did.



XII.



OPERATIONS BY (a) UMVOTI FIELD FORCE, (6)
MACKAY'S COLUMN.— BATTLE OF MPUKUNYONI.

Before proceeding to describe McKenzie's further opera-
tions at Nkandhla, it is necessary to turn to the Natal
side of the Tugela, and see what account was being given
of itself by the Umvoti Field Force. Except for his
co-operating with McKenzie, Barker, and Mansel on the
17th May, in the converging movement on Cetshwayo's
grave, the last we saw of Leuchars was when his force,
having failed to get in touch with Bambata at Mpanza,
withdrew to Grey town on April the 11th.

Although Bambata had escaped, there was still work
to be done in the ex-Chief's ward. A composite squadron
(100), under Major S. Carter, accordingly proceeded
thither on Thursday the 12th to destroy rebels' kraals
and capture stock, as well as escort members of the Natal
Telegraph Corps on their way to repair the line recently
cut in a couple of places. This force remained in the
thorns until Saturday night, when all the stock that had
been captured was brought back, including four prisoners.
The troops had been accompanied by Funizwe, Bambata's
own younger brother. This man pointed out the kraals
of rebels and generally assisted the troops in other ways.

A squadron (62) under Capt. W. J. Gallwey, was sent
on Sunday the 15th to Krantzkop (Hopetown), where
there was much unrest. The Reserves of that part had,
in consequence, mobiHzed and gone with the other
European residents into lager. ^ Those of the ordinary

1 By this time. Van Rooyen and his men had got back from Zululand.

R



258 THE ZULU REBELLION

Native Police employed at the magistracy, who were
members of more or less disaffected tribes in the immediate
vicinity, and therefore suspected of being disloyal, were
replaced by others from Estcourt division.

By this time, Magwababa, who, it will be recollected,
had been carried off some distance by Bambata, had
returned from Pietermaritzburg. He, Funizwe and others
were interviewed by Leuchars at Greytown in regard
to the future management of the tribe. A few loyalists,
whose kraals had been burnt and their stock seized by
mistake, were told that compensation, assessed b}^ a
Board, would be paid by the Government.

Between the 13th and 19th, the country round about
Greytown was thoroughly patrolled. On the latter day,
a sale of loot stock, captured in Bambata's ward, was
held, realizing nearly £2,000.

Capt. J. Stuart, N.F.A., was, on the 21st, sent with
Funizwe and four other Natives to Empandhleni. These
Natives were required by the Commissioner in Zululand
for identifying rebels of Bambata's tribe whenever
necessary. The party, travelling by Ngubevu drift and
Qudeni, reached their destination on the 23rd.

Much disquieting information was received about this
time at Krantzkop, chiefly from members of tribes
adjacent to Nkandhla district. One of the Chiefs,
Hlangabeza, assembled his tribe although his appUcation
to do so had been refused by the Magistrate. The
Intelligence Officer at this important post was Capt. M.
Landsberg, U.M.R., whose information from the date
of his assumption of duty to the conclusion of the Rebellion
was remarkably full and accurate.

Leuchars visited Krantzkop on the 22nd, finding the
defences highly satisfactory.

A company of the Natal Royal Rifles was dispatched
on the 26th April to Krantzkop to take up the garrison
duties being performed by the U.M.R. squadron. Capt.
J. Eraser and forty men, N.R.R., came to Greytown
to replace those sent to Krantzkop. At this time, it
was ascertained that many loyalists were crossing from



OPERATIONS BY UMVOTI FIELD FORCE 259

Zululand into Natal. ^ The Chiefs were accordingly
warned to report all refugees and cattle entering their



Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 23 of 52)