1896 MATABELE REBELLION / THE FIRST CHIMURENGA
A look at the events in which Baden-Powell participated.
May The rebellion has now spread throughout Matabeleland. Laagers (fortified encampments) are established at the larger centres (including one where the Bulawayo city hall now stands). The rebels are in virtual control of the remainder of the Matabeteland. Re-inforcements for local troops arrive from England and South Africa.
One of our men came on a party of eight enemy. They shot his horse, but he was himself up in a moment, and, opening magazine fire on them, quickly killed or dispersed his assailants.
Action on the Umguza, 6 June 1896
Jun 6 A column of 200 men
rout 1 200 rebels at Umguza#, ten miles north of Bulawayo.
A column is then sent to Intaba-zi-ka-mambo, sixty miles north of Bulawayo where the rebels are again attacked and defeated.
The remaining rebels move towards the safety of the Matopos Hills - a rugged mountainous area about fifty miles long and twenty five miles deep, situated thirty miles south of Bulawayo.
Jul 13 Col H Plumer, who is commanding the M R F, sets up camp with 1 300 men at Fort Usher No. 1, about seven miles north of the actual hills themselves. He is joined by Lt Col R S S Baden-Powell of the 13th Hussars who is to act as his Chief Staff Officer.
Jul 17 Maj Gen Sir F Carrington arrives to take overall command. The base camp is moved south to Fort Usher No. 2 (also known as Malema Base Camp), just on the outskirts of the Hills, close to the beadwaters of the Maleme river.
Jul 19 A reconnaissance party of 35 men is harried by rebels in the upper Mtshelele valley, close to where the MOTH shrine now stands. There are no casualties, as the party beats a running withdrawal (also known as a retreat, but as they had no Maxim, who blames them...)
# refer cover illustration, sketched by Baden-Powell of this battle.