Defence of Rorkes Drift, 22nd January 1879 by Alphonse de Neuville (PC)
By about 6pm the Zulu attacks had extended all around the front of the post, and fighting raged at hand-to-hand along the mealie-bag wall. Lieutenant Chard himself took up a position on the barricade, firing over the mealie-bags with a Martini-Henry, whilst Lieutenant Bromhead directed any spare men to plug the gaps in the line. The men in the yard and on the front wall were dangerously exposed to the fire of Zulu marksmen posted in the rocky terraces on Shiyane (Oskarsberg) hill behind the post. Several men were hit, including Acting Assistant Commissary Dalton, and Corporal Allen of the 14th. Surgeon Reynolds treated the wounded as best he could despite the fire. Once the veranda at the front of the hospital had been abandoned, the Zulus had mounted a determined attack on the building itself, setting fire to the thatched roof with spears tied with burning grass. The defenders were forced to evacuate the patients room by room, eventually passing them out through a small window into the open yard. Shortly after 6pm Chard decided that the Zulu pressure was too great, and ordered a withdrawal to a barricade of biscuit boxes which had been hastily erected across the yard, from the corner of the store-house to the front mealie-bag wall. In this small compound the garrison would fight for their lives throughout most of the coming night.
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