28 August 1879

Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, is captured by the British.

Cetshwayo kaMpande

Cetshwayo kaMpande
King of the Zulu Kingdom
Cetshwayo kaMpande the king
Photograph of Cetshwayo by Alexander Bassano in Old Bond Street, London
PredecessorMpande
SuccessorDinuzulu kaCetshwayo
Bornc. 1826
Eshowe, Zulu Kingdom
Died8 February 1884 (aged 57–58)
Eshowe, Zulu Kingdom

Cetshwayo kaMpande (/kɛˈw./; Zulu pronunciation: [ǀétʃwajo kámpande]; c. 1826 – 8 February 1884) was the king[a] of the Zulu Kingdom from 1873 to 1879 and its leader during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. His name has been transliterated as Cetawayo, Cetewayo, Cetywajo and Ketchwayo. He famously led the Zulu nation to victory against the British in the Battle of Isandlwana.

Early life

Cetshwayo was a son of Zulu king Mpande[1] and Queen Ngqumbazi, half-nephew of Zulu king Shaka and grandson of Senzangakhona kaJama. In 1856 he defeated and killed in battle his younger brother Mbuyazi, Mpande's favourite, at the Battle of Ndondakusuka. Almost all Mbuyazi's followers were massacred in the aftermath of the battle, including five of Cetshwayo's own brothers.[2] Following this he became the effective ruler of the Zulu people. He did not ascend to the throne, however, as his father was still alive. Stories from that time regarding his huge size vary, saying he stood at least between 6 ft 6 in (198 cm) and 6 ft 8 in (203 cm) tall and weighed close to 25 stone (350 lb; 160 kg).

His other brother, Umthonga, was still a potential rival. Cetshwayo also kept an eye on his father's new wives and children for potential rivals, ordering the death of his favourite wife Nomantshali and her children in 1861. Though two sons escaped, the youngest was murdered in front of the king.[3] After these events Umtonga fled to the Boers' side of the border and Cetshwayo had to make deals with the Boers to get him back. In 1865, Umthonga did the same thing, apparently making Cetshwayo believe that Umtonga would organize help from the Boers against him, the same way his father had overthrown his predecessor, Dingaan.

Reign

Mpande died in 1872. His death was concealed at first, to ensure a smooth transition; Cetshwayo was installed as king on 1 September 1873. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who annexed the Transvaal for Britain,[4] crowned Cetshwayo in a shoddy, wet affair that was more of a farce than anything else, but turned on the Zulus as he felt he was undermined by Cetshwayo's skilful negotiating for land area compromised by encroaching Boers and the fact that the Boundary Commission established to examine the ownership of the land in question actually ruled in favour of the Zulus.[4] The report was subsequently buried. As was customary, he established a new capital for the nation and called it Ulundi (the high place). He expanded his army and readopted many methods of Shaka. He also equipped his impis with muskets, though evidence of their use is limited. He banished European missionaries from his land. He might have incited other native African peoples to rebel against Boers in Transvaal.

Cetshwayo (called Cettiwayo in the caption of the photo above), in Cape Town shortly after his capture in the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. He led several victories against the British army early in the war.

Anglo-Zulu War

Cetshwayo in 1878

In 1878, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, British High Commissioner for South Africa, sought to confederate South Africa the same way Canada had been, and felt that this could not be done while there was a powerful and independent Zulu state. So he began to demand reparations for border infractions and forced his subordinates to send carping messages complaining about Cetshwayo's rule, seeking to provoke the Zulu King. They succeeded, but Cetshwayo kept his calm, considering the British to be his friends and being aware of the power of the British army. He did, however, state that he and Frere were equals and since he did not complain about how Frere ruled, the same courtesy should be observed by Frere in regards to Zululand. Eventually, Frere issued an ultimatum that demanded that he should effectively disband his army. His refusal led to the Zulu War in 1879, though he continually sought to make peace after the first battle at Isandhlwana. After an initial crushing but costly Zulu victory over the British at the Battle of Isandlwana, and the failure of the other two columns of the three pronged British attack to make headway - indeed, one was bogged down in the Siege of Eshowe - the British retreated, other columns suffering two further defeats to Zulu armies in the field at the Battle of Intombe and the Battle of Hlobane. However, the British follow-up victories at the famous Battle of Rorke's Drift and the Battle of Kambula restored some British pride. While this retreat presented an opportunity for a Zulu counter-attack deep into Natal, Cetshwayo refused to mount such an attack, his intention being to repulse the British without provoking further reprisals.

Cetshwayo visited England in 1882 when this portrait was painted by Karl Rudolf Sohn.

However, the British then returned to Zululand with a far larger and better armed force, finally capturing the Zulu capital at the Battle of Ulundi, in which the British, having learned their lesson from their defeat at Isandlwana, set up a hollow square on the open plain, armed with cannons and Gatling Guns. The battle lasted approximately 45 minutes before the British unleashed their cavalry to rout the Zulus. After Ulundi was taken and torched on 4 July, Cetshwayo was deposed and exiled, first to Cape Town, and then to London, returning to Zululand only in 1883.

From 1881, his cause had been taken up by, among others, Lady Florence Dixie, correspondent of the London Morning Post, who wrote articles and books in his support. This, along with his gentle and dignified manner, gave rise to public sympathy and the sentiment that he had been ill-used and shoddily treated by Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford.

Method of warfare

Note that this passage talks about the methods used by Shaka, the Zulu king that established the Zulu as a regional power and Cetshwayo's great uncle:

As he conquered a tribe, he enrolled its remnants in his army, so that they might in their turn help to conquer others. He armed his regiments with the short stabbing assegai, instead of the throwing assegai which they had been accustomed to use, and kept them subject to an iron discipline. If a man was observed to show the slightest hesitation about coming to close quarters with the enemy, he was executed as soon as the fight was over. If a regiment had the misfortune to be defeated, whether by its own fault or not, it would on its return to headquarters find that a goodly proportion of the wives and children belonging to it had been beaten to death by Chaka's orders, and that he was waiting their arrival to complete his vengeance by dashing out their brains. The result was, that though Chaka's armies were occasionally annihilated, they were rarely defeated, and they never ran away.[2]

Cartoon by E. C. Mountford of 1882, depicting Cetshwayo being lectured by the anti-imperialist MP for Birmingham, John Bright

Later life

Cetshwayo Blue Plaque in Kensington, London

By 1882 differences between two Zulu factions—pro-Cetshwayo uSuthus and three rival chiefs UZibhebhu—had erupted into a blood feud and civil war. In 1883, the British tried to restore Cetshwayo to rule at least part of his previous territory but the attempt failed. With the aid of Boer mercenaries, Chief UZibhebhu started a war contesting the succession and on 22 July 1883 he attacked Cetshwayo's new kraal in Ulundi. Cetshwayo was wounded but escaped to the forest at Nkandla. After pleas from the Resident Commissioner, Sir Melmoth Osborne, Cetshwayo moved to Eshowe, where he died a few months later on 8 February 1884, aged 57–60, presumably from a heart attack, although there are some theories that he may have been poisoned.[5] His body was buried in a field within sight of the forest, to the south near Nkunzane River. The remains of the wagon which carried his corpse to the site were placed on the grave, and may be seen at Ondini Museum, near Ulundi.

Cetshwayo is remembered by historians as being the last king of an independent Zulu nation. His son Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, as heir to the throne, was proclaimed king on 20 May 1884, supported by (other) Boer mercenaries. A blue plaque commemorates Cetshwayo at 18 Melbury Road, Kensington.[6]

In popular culture

Cetshwayo figures in three adventure novels by H. Rider Haggard: The Witch's Head (1885), Black Heart and White Heart (1900) and Finished (1917), and in his non-fiction book Cetywayo and His White Neighbours (1882). He is mentioned in John Buchan's novel Prester John.

A character in the opera Leo, the Royal Cadet by Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann and George Frederick Cameron was named in his honour in 1889.

In the 1964 film Zulu, he was played by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, his own maternal great-grandson and the future leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

In the 1979 film Zulu Dawn, he was played by .

In the 1986 miniseries Shaka Zulu, he was played by .

Legacy

In 2016, the King Cetshwayo District Municipality was named after him.

References

  1. ^ The title iSilo samaBandla was used for the king by the Zulu people.
  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cetywayo" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 776–777.
  2. ^ a b Rider Haggard, Henry (1882). Cetywayo and His White Neighbours: Or, Remarks on Recent Events in Zululand, Natal, and the Transvaal. AMS Press.
  3. ^ Morris, Donald R. (1994). The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation Under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879. Pimlico. pp. 190–199. ISBN 978-0-7126-6105-8.
  4. ^ a b Meredith, Martin (2007). Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. PublicAffairs. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-58648-473-6.
  5. ^ "Biography of Cetshwayo kaMpande, the last king of an independent Zulu nation". Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  6. ^ "CETSHWAYO, KA MPANDE, KING OF THE ZULUS (C.1832–1884)". English Heritage. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mpande
King of the Zulu Nation
1872–1879
1883–1884
Succeeded by
Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo

5 April 1879

Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru, starting the War of the Pacific.

War of the Pacific, Spanish Guerra del Pacífico, 1879–83, conflict involving Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, which resulted in Chilean annexation of valuable disputed territory on the Pacific coast. It grew out of a dispute between Chile and Bolivia over control of a part of the Atacama Desert that lies between the 23rd and 26th parallels on the Pacific coast of South America. The territory contained valuable mineral resources, particularly sodium nitrate.

National borders in the region had never been definitively established; the two countries negotiated a treaty that recognized the 24th parallel as their boundary and that gave Chile the right to share the export taxes on the mineral resources of Bolivia’s territory between the 23rd and 24th parallels. But Bolivia subsequently became dissatisfied at having to share its taxes with Chile and feared Chilean seizure of its coastal region where Chilean interests already controlled the mining industry.

Peru’s interest in the conflict stemmed from its traditional rivalry with Chile for hegemony on the Pacific coast. In 1873 Peru agreed secretly with Bolivia to a mutual guarantee of their territories and independence. In 1874 Chilean-Bolivian relations were ameliorated by a revised treaty under which Chile relinquished its share of export taxes on minerals shipped from Bolivia, and Bolivia agreed not to raise taxes on Chilean enterprises in Bolivia for 25 years. Amity was broken in 1878 when Bolivia tried to increase the taxes of the Chilean Antofagasta Nitrate Company over the protests of the Chilean government. When Bolivia threatened to confiscate the company’s property, Chilean armed forces occupied the port city of Antofagasta on Feb. 14, 1879. Bolivia then declared war on Chile and called upon Peru for help. Chile declared war on both Peru and Bolivia April 5, 1879.

Chile easily occupied the Bolivian coastal region and then took the offensive against more powerful Peru. Naval victories at Iquique and Angamos enabled Chile to control the sea approaches to Peru. A Chilean army then invaded Peru. An attempt at mediation by the United States failed in October 1880, and Chilean forces occupied the Peruvian capital of Lima the following January. Peruvian resistance continued for three more years, with U.S. encouragement. Finally, on Oct. 20, 1883, Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Ancón, by which Tarapacá province was ceded to the latter.

Chile was also to occupy the provinces of Tacna and Arica for 10 years, after which a plebiscite was to be held to determine their nationality. But the two countries failed for decades to agree on what terms the plebiscite was to be conducted. This diplomatic dispute over Tacna and Arica was known as the Question of the Pacific. Finally, in 1929, through the mediation of the United States, an accord was reached by which Chile kept Arica; Peru reacquired Tacna and received $6 million indemnity and other concessions.

During the war Peru suffered the loss of thousands of people and much property, and, at the war’s end, a seven-month civil war ensued; the nation foundered economically for decades thereafter. In 1884 a truce between Bolivia and Chile gave the latter control of the entire Bolivian coast, with its nitrate, copper, and other mineral industries; a treaty in 1904 made this arrangement permanent. In return Chile agreed to build a railroad connecting the Bolivian capital of La Paz with the port of Arica and guaranteed freedom of transit for Bolivian commerce through Chilean ports and territory. But Bolivia continued its attempt to break out of its landlocked situation through the Paraná-Paraguay river system to the Atlantic coast, an effort that led ultimately to the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay. See also Chaco War.

8 February 1879

The England cricket team is attacked during a riot during a match in Sydney.

February 8, 1879. Riots broke out at the Sydney Association Ground over a decision against the home team during a match between New South Wales and the visiting Englishmen. Arunabha Sengupta recalls the sensational events that led to the cancellation of the Test match that was scheduled to follow.

George Robert Canning, the fourth Lord Harris, captain of the England cricket team to Australia In 1878-79, later Governor of Bombay and perhaps the most influential person in English cricket for half a century.

During the unfortunate tour Down Under at the helm of a very ordinary England side, this very same Lord Harris found himself plunged into the centre of tumultuous controversies. He was struck with a stick, surrounded by a rioting mob and finally became instrumental behind the cancellation of the second scheduled Test match. It has gone down in the pages of history as the first Test match to be cancelled because of problems with bookmakers. And we must remember that had it been played, it would have been only the fourth ever Test match. The history of the noble game is actually as murky as it gets.

Gathering clouds

After being humiliated in the Test match at Melbourne, the England team played a few easy tour matches, the only tough game coming against New South Wales in which they triumphed by five wickets. On February 7, they returned to Sydney to play their return match against strong New South Wales outfit led by Dave Gregory, the captain of Australia. The setting was the Association Ground, soon to be renamed and renowned as the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The match was besieged by controversy even before it started. Gregory was physically and mentally exhausted after travelling around four countries and playing cricket non-stop for over fifteen months. He had been dropped from the side during the first match against England after missing practice and failing to supply an adequate reason. When he returned, he was both tired and bitter. Additionally, after his many rather ugly confrontations with umpires around the world, he now had to face the dubious decision making of George Coulthard. This staff bowler from MCG had been travelling around Australia as an umpire engaged by England.

Harris himself was shocked when he saw the ground. He later recalled: “The turf was so rotten that special arrangements were made to avoid playing on the same wicket all through a match. A parallelogram was marked and within that each Captain would choose a new wicket.”

The match got off to an inauspicious start. First Harris was given not out by Coulthard after an obvious snick was taken behind the wicket. Even the sober papers of the day reported it as ‘admittedly a mistake.’ When Harris was finally bowled for 41, he did not really endear himself to the crowd by throwing his bat across the length of the pavilion. It does seem incredible now that this very same Lord Harris later became a leading snake oil salesman peddling the curious make-believe myths surrounding the supposed glorious spirit of the game.

England scored a respectable 267 against Fred Spofforth and Edwin Evans, thanks mainly to the start given by AN ‘Monkey’ Hornby and Bunny Lucas. Billy Murdoch responded by carrying his bat scoring 82 not out, but the home team could manage just 177 as Tom Emmett, the Yorkshire professional, bagged eight wickets. The partisan crowd sat dismayed and rather disgruntled. Much of their chagrin stemmed from the large amounts they had staked on their own cricketers. Betting was carried out openly inside the pavilion, although according to the emphatic signs planted around the ground, such practices were strictly prohibited.

The riots

According to the rules of the day the New South Welshmen had to follow on since they trailed by more than 80 runs. In the second innings, Murdoch and Charles Bannerman started solidly enough. But at 19, Murdoch, who looked like the only batsman capable of putting up a fight, was run out. The fateful finger was once again raised by Coulthard.

Emmett later recalled, “Murdoch walked away like a man.” However, the decision sparked off an unprecedented saga of incidents. The gamblers had staked heavily on Murdoch and now they demanded their pound of flesh. Coulthard the umpire was the centre of their ire. Firstly, he had given Harris not out, next he had given Murdoch out and, most importantly, he was a Victorian.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “there was a large betting element and it was from that quarter that the first shouts of ‘not out’ proceeded… the player, who had quietly accepted the obnoxious decision, was greeted with shouts of ‘go back’.” The version of George Ulyett however says that Murdoch was run out by a good two yards.

As Murdoch made his way to the dressing room, a furious Gregory came out and stood at the door, blocking his way. “Go back, you are not out,” he said, much to the consternation of the batsman.

The English players meanwhile waited in the field with the other batsman Charles Bannerman, and the two umpires. Along with Coulthard, the other umpire for the match was Edmund Barton. Twenty-two years down the line, even as Victor Trumper would spread runs and magic around the cricket world, Burton would become Australia’s first Prime Minister.

Now, as Murdoch waited in confusion and no new batsman emerged, Harris walked purposefully to the fence and asked Gregory if he was going to send out a new man. The New South Wales captain’s answer was short and negative.

On being asked the grounds for his displeasure, Gregory cited incompetence of the umpiring in no uncertain terms. Harris later said, “I implored Gregory as a friend, and for the sake of the New South Wales Cricket Association

And suddenly confusion and chaos cascaded around the field. Hundreds jumped over the picket fence and advanced towards the players. Harris ran towards Coulthard, the man most likely to be attacked. And now some larrikin struck the peer from behind his back with a stick. Ulyett, the second Yorkshire professional in the team, rushed to his aid and implored, “Let me have a go at him my lord,” but Harris responded, “No no, George, we are going to do nothing wrong.

However, AN ‘Monkey’ Hornby, standing close at hand, sought no such permission. He grabbed the lout and carried him to the pavilion. But an associate of the man struck Hornby on the face, and some others nearly tore the shirt off his back. Hornby, however, was made of sterner stuff. He carried the assailant to the pavilion and put him in custody of the committee members.

The version of Ulyett’s fellow Yorkshire professional, however, adds an interesting facet to the scene. According to him, after being struck on the head, “I saw his Lordship let go with his fist.”

For a long time Harris and his men remained surrounded by the mob. Some of them barracked the players, asking them to go back to the pavilion. Even some well-wishers in the crowd advised the same. But, Harris and his men stood firm on the ground. The crowd on the field swelled, but the Englishmen did not budge. Harris later said, “I was determined to obey the laws of cricket.”

The English captain did not think that Gregory would forfeit the match. Negotiations continued between the skippers, not all of it carried out with the spirit that Harris would bestow on the era later in his life. Within the next hour and a half, the police had cleared the ground of invaders — most of them rowdy young locals. At the same time, there were also some members identified among the throng of troublemakers. The youth who had struck Harris with his stick had been locked up in the committee room.

The Englishmen even discussed whether they should reinstate Murdoch at the wicket. Not many were willing, though. Emmett was particularly vehement, “Not likely. We ought to go straight home if we did and never play another match.”

Harris informed Gregory about his team’s unanimous decision. And Gregory responded exclaiming, “The game is at an end.”

Barton now stepped in, honing his diplomatic skills, informing Gregory with polite firmness that they stood the risk of forfeiting the match. It worked. Gregory’s competitive instincts were piqued. He sent out Nat Thompson. But, just as the game was about to resume, the crowd came rushing into the field once again. The batsmen rushed to the shelter of the pavilion.

After waiting for aeons after the crowd had been cleared for the second time, Harris now asked Barton if they could claim a victory. The future Prime Minister replied, “I’ll give it to you in two minutes if [the batsmen] don’t return.”

By this time, Gregory and Harris were no longer on speaking terms. They started using Barton as the messenger for communication. Barton ran to Gregory saying Harris had asked what he intended to do. Then he rushed back with the message that the Australian captain had said that the batsmen would resume. As Bannerman and Thompson walked out again, the crowd rushed in for the third time. Harris and his men remained surrounded till the stumps were drawn.

What followed?

A fuming Harris wrote his report to Lord’s during Sunday’s rest that followed, informing the headquarters about the atrocious incident. According to his account, the riot was started by the bookmakers and accelerated by Gregory. The attitude of New South Wales Cricket Association was dismissed as ‘uncricketlike’.

Rain poured through Sunday night — perhaps heaven’s way of dealing with the red-hot situation. New South Wales had to resume their innings on an atrocious sticky on Monday morning. Nat Thomson fell without another run being added. The side was bundled out, losing the last 6 wickets with the score unwaveringly fixed on 49. Five batsmen fell for ducks.

Emmett was vocal about the divine justice. According to him, the riot had saved England from likely defeat. If New South Wales had batted through the last part of Saturday and set England a target of 80 or so, “… eleven Graces could not have got them on that wicket … it was another instance of an unruly mob doing harm to the side they desire should succeed.” Ulyett and Emmett, the two professional bowlers in the side, had significantly more reasons to be happy. They had put £20 at 2-1 on an England win, placing their bet with the very same bookmakers in the pavilion so vehemently criticised by Harris.

However, another incident followed after the match was over. A couple of hundred miscreants stormed in to ambush Coulthard. The umpire asked the Englishmen to stand behind him as he prepared to fight the best man in the crowd. An old fashioned bare knuckle duel was about to commence. It was at this juncture that the Sydney Commodore’s men, placed in the crowd in groups of twenties as a precautionary measure, poured out in a coordinated wave and fell upon the hoodlums. The trouble-makers were beaten out of the ground with fists that carried the weight of relish and authority. There was no further trouble for the umpire or the players.

The Sydney Morning Herald called the incident on Saturday ‘a national humiliation.’ The front pages of the papers were full of condemnation of the rioters. The Herald continued to say that a large majority of the public were deeply humiliated by what had happened, especially because it had originated among the members.

Steps were taken against the bookmakers. Betting was banned at the ground. Two men, one of them a bookie from Victoria, were charged and banned from the venue. What made the situation particularly murky was the allegation that Gregory had egged the rioters on because of some association with the bookmakers himself. According to a Sydney Mail reporter: “I believed Gregory was coerced by certain persons in the pavilion not to send another man in when Murdoch was given out.” The same was alleged by Charles Abolsom, the Kent and England all-rounder.

NSWCA were in a placating mood. Referring repeatedly to the kindly hospitality showered on the Australian cricketers in England, they expressed deep regret that Lord Harris and his team should have suffered such a traumatic experience. An NSWCA delegation was sent to apologise to Harris, but the captain refused to be mollified. He was adamant that England would not play the scheduled second Test. The match was cancelled — the first ever Test to fall victim to perennial problems surrounding bookmakers. Through the remaining tour, Harris remained petulant, refusing to play after 6 PM against Victoria, citing bad light as the rather flimsy reason.

Later many Australians did venture opinions that Harris had overreacted. The target of the mob had always been the umpire and never the English players. They had cried, “Let an Englishman stand umpire … we won’t have a Victorian.”

Fred ‘Demon’ Spofforth, who later became a close friend of Harris, observed that he doubted, “if Englishmen would ever understand the spirit of rivalry that runs high between the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. The spirit is not limited to the field, it extends to politics, to society, to every side of life, indeed, in which the two are brought into contact with one another.”

However, Emmett was one Englishman who seemed to comprehend the curious dynamics between the two colonies. “If it were a game of marbles they would fight over it almost to the death,” he said.

There were also allegations that the crowd had been provoked by offensive remarks from some members of the English eleven. The taunts had predictably run: “sons of b**** convicts.”The report sent by Harris, which was later published and made available, had branded the NSWCA authorities as irresponsible. This was not appreciated by the committee members who had taken every step to smooth things over with the English peer.

The refusal to play a second Test match was seen as unsporting and rather unnecessary. The report of Harris was widely adjudged to be a document that could prevent the resumption of international matches for a long time.

Fortunately, Harris played the Australians when they toured in 1880, and with this gesture Test cricket managed to overcome this early stumble.

23 January 1879

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War ends.

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, also known as the Defence of Rorke’s Drift, was a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War. The defence of the mission station of Rorke’s Drift, under the command of Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, immediately followed the British Army’s defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, and continued into the following day, 23 January.

Just over 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an intense assault by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. The massive but piecemeal Zulu attacks on Rorke’s Drift came very close to defeating the tiny garrison but were ultimately repelled. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, along with a number of other decorations and honors.The majority of the attacking Zulu force swept around to attack the north wall, while a few took cover and were either pinned down by continuing British fire or retreated to the terraces of Oscarberg. There they began a harassing fire of their own. As this occurred, another Zulu force swept on to the hospital and northwestern wall.

Those British on the barricades including Dalton and Bromhead were soon engaged in fierce hand-to-hand fighting. The British wall was too high for the Zulus to scale, so they resorted to crouching under the wall, trying to get hold of the defenders’ Martini-Henry rifles, slashing at British soldiers with assegais or firing their weapons through the wall. At places, they clambered over each other’s bodies to drive the British off the walls but were driven back.
Zulu fire, both from those under the wall and around the Oscarberg, inflicted a few casualties, and five of the seventeen defenders who were killed or mortally wounded in the action were struck while at the north wall.