“Lord Chelmsford is not a bad man. He is industrious and conscientious so far as his lights guide him. But nature has refused to him the qualities of a great captain. He has suffered much and is entitled to certain commiseration.” – Thomas Gibson Bowles, Vanity Fair
General Lord Chelmsford’s military career took him around the world; he served in the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny and the Abyssinian Expedition, before commanding the British invasion of the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa.
In January 1879, disaster struck when Chelmsford divided his forces at Isandlwana in the face of the enemy and the Zulu overwhelmed his camp, killing more than 1,300 of its defenders. Such a defeat was almost unprecedented in a Victorian colonial campaign. Despite Chelmsford's later victories at Gingindlovu and Ulundi, he was humiliatingly relieved of his command. His responsibility for Isandlwana dogged him for the rest of his days, and he would forever be associated with this historic defeat.
In this comprehensive new biography, Anglo-Zulu War specialist John Laband, explores the personal character and military career of Lord Chelmsford, providing a well-rounded, well-balanced and well-informed picture of this complex military figure.