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DateOriginal Topic
10th May 2005Gardner's message to Chelmsford
By Rob D
In TWOTS, Morris quotes Gardner's message to Chelmsford as: "Heavy firing to the left of camp. Shepstone has come in for reinforcements and reports that the Zulus are falling back. The whole force at camp turned out and fighting about one mile to left flank."

Jackson, in HOTS, quoites the message as saying that "the Basutos are falling back" and cites "W.O. 33/34, p.289" as the source.

Obviously, the two versons give different pictures of the situation. Is there any definitive evidence for what Gardner actually wrote?

10th May 2005Peter Ewart


Other publications have quoted it correctly, although Zulu Victory's printers have introduced an unfortunate apostrophe, which I'm sure Messrs Gardner, Lock or Quantrill would not have done!

But did Morris misread it or did his printers misprint it? Or - much, much worse - did he simply pick up a copy of Coupland and rely on that - never realising that Coupland (who quotes his PRO source) had already misread or misquoted the message himself?

Coupland's work was only 10 years old when Morris set to work and was the most recently published account of the battle. Did Morris, not a historian, rely on Coupland (a historian) having got it right and fail to check the primary source himself?

I haven't got Clements or French - presumably they quoted the message correctly? If so, Coupland is our "source" for the error.

10th May 2005Julian whybra
Basutos is correct.
Almost all historians have followed Coupland/Morris incl the latest version by Saul David.
David Jackson tried to correct this error back in 1965 but his work was not widely known.
10th May 2005Mike Snook
I concur. Basutos not Zulus. Zulus makes no sense whatsoever. As sources both Brickhill and Gardner himself cover Shepstone's arrival and report to Pulleine - words to the effect of you must send us all the help you can - the Zulus are fast driving our men this wa etc. There is no way that Gardner could have written a directly opposite interpretation in his own despatch within the ensuing 3-4 minutes.


12th May 2005Rob D
Thanks for replying. "Basutos" certainly makes more sense than "Zulus".

Julian, I'm assuming from your reply that David Jackson used the PRO sourceas the bais for trying to correct the error. Do you know if he also sighted Gardner's original message?