Map of Eshowe

The fort was constructed to enclose the mission, 200 yards long and 50 yds wide. The 6 foot high walls were loop-holed and surrounded by a broad, deep ditch which had sharpened spikes embedded in the base. Beyond the ditch they cleared the land of bushes and anything that could be used as cover, and planted stakes with wire stretched between them. On the north wall can be seen the word 'caponier' which refers to a protected passage from the wall to the other side of the ditch. This may have had small windows that could have been used to fire at the enemy struggling in the ditch. The wagons were laagered inside the fort as a second line of defence. Six companies of the Buffs were responsible for the defence of the north wall and 3 companies of the 99th held the south. Sailors and sappers held the east wall. The oxen and cattle laagers were outside the walls, protected by an abattis of thorned branches.

Zulu War

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by Stephen Luscombe