North of Vryheid, 12th March 1879
During the evening a supply column under Captain Moriarty was stopped from crossing the Ntombe River by atrocious weather and the very high river level. Although warned that Zulus had been seen, the men went to sleep.
When the Zulus attacked, many British were killed. The survivors tried to escape across the river. As Captain Moriarty was dead, Lieutenant Harwood left Sergeant Booth in command and set off on the only horse to get help from Major Tucker at the nearby camp at Luneburg.
Harwood’s action had two results. Sergeant Booth was awarded a Victoria Cross for holding the troops and Harwood was dishonoured for leaving his men.
- 1 officer, 1 surgeon (Cubbin), 64 soldiers, 15 blacks, 20 presumed drowned
- 25 Zulu bodies found at the river
* Note: Casualty numbers from David Rattray’s Guidebook to the Anglo-Zulu War Battlefields