Lieut-Colonel Redvers Buller VC KCB

Buller was a major at the beginning of the Anglo-Zulu War and, although he was an officer in the 60th Rifles, was now, as a lieut-colonel, in command of the Frontier Light Horse which was part of Evelyn Wood's no.4 Column. He had served with Chelmsford in the 9th Cape Frontier War where he had proved that he was ideal to command the independently minded colonials. He was well respected for his personal courage, strength and powers of leadership. Wood used his skills to lead the mounted colonial and Boer irregulars on frequent recce patrols. Buller was also successful in bringing Uhumu's tribe of 700 defecting Zulus safely to Kambula. He led Wood's main attacking force in the battle of Hlobane but the Zulus were too numerous and a retreat was ordered. The descent through Devil's Pass was a dangerous undertaking and there were many acts of bravery. When most of them, under Buller's leadership, had reached the camp, after dark, it was discovered that some men of Captain Barton's troop had been left behind. Buller returned immediately to look for them and rescued 3 men. For this action he won the VC. His mounted troops also fought with great bravery at the battle of Kambula. In the second invasion of Zululand Buller was again in command of all the mounted infantry and irregular colonial cavalry in Evelyn Wood's Flying Column. A caricature of Buller by Lieut-Col J N Crealock gives us some idea of how he looked on campaign.

A fuller biographer of his career can be read here

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by Stephen Luscombe