RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)

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Lot 61
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT
"Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", autograph draft manuscript for the account presented by John Chard V.C. to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]

Sold for £ 175,250 (US$ 212,365) inc. premium
JOHN CHARD V.C., R.E., "HERO OF RORKE'S DRIFT"

Sold on behalf of his descendants
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT
"Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, 40 pages, mostly written in brown ink with the corrections and annotations (in the text and margins) in blue and brown ink, one ink sketch of a mountain range (besides a description of a scene viewed through field glasses, "... and could see the enemy moving in the distant hills & apparently in large force - Large numbers of them moving to my left until Lion Hill of Isandlwana..."), and a similar pencil sketch on final page, the sheets (all bifolia) loose in contemporary paper wrappers, titled in red and black ink on upper cover (light soiling, 2 tears in blank area of upper cover), the first 16 pages 8vo, the remainder folio, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)

Footnotes

  • 'AS DARKNESS CAME ON WE WERE COMPLETELY SURROUNDED...' - JOHN CHARD'S 40-PAGE EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF RORKE'S DRIFT ON 22 JANUARY 1879. An extensively annotated and corrected full draft of the account that Chard presented to Queen Victoria, together with an accompanying sketch of the battlefield.

    John Chard (1847-1897) was sent to serve in the Anglo-Zulu War with the 5th company, Royal Engineers, arriving at Durban on 4 January 1879. The company moved to Rorke's Drift, a post consisting of a kraal, a commissariat store, and a small hospital building close to a crossing on the Buffalo River. On the afternoon of 22 January, the very day on which Chard was left in charge of the station, whilst his superiors left to hurry forward a company of the 24th regiment, news arrived of the massacre of British troops at Isandlwana the day before. In consultation with Lieutenant G. Bromhead and other officers, Chard "counselled against retreat in favour of defence... and defensive positions were prepared. The store and hospital buildings were loopholed and barricaded, and connected by walls constructed with mealie bags and a couple of wagons" (ODNB), the garrison consisting of eight officers and 131 non-commissioned officers and men (of whom thirty-five were sick in the hospital). Attacked by a force of some 3000 Zulus, the garrison survived a dramatic night, the unfolding events vividly recounted in Chard's manuscript account. By the time of the enemy retreat, more than 370 Zulus were dead, and the British force had lost fifteen men with twelve wounded.

    Immediately recognised as an event of enormous personal bravery and political importance for the British Empire's standing (coming so soon after the heavy losses at Isandlwana), the action resulted in the presentation of a record eleven Victoria Cross medals. Chard, forever afterwards known as one of "The Heroes of Rorke's Drift" (along with Bromhead), was presented with his medal by Sir Garnet Wolseley on 16 July. Immortalised in the film Zulu, starring Stanley Baker as Chard and Michael Caine as Lieutenant Bromhead, Rorke's Drift has remained one of the most famous single battles in the course of British military history.

    Arriving back in England on 2 October Chard, already the recipient of the Order of the Victoria Cross, was met with a summons to visit the Queen at Balmoral Castle on 13 October. She was enormously impressed with Chard the man (she sent a laurel wreath to his funeral in 1897), and his description of the events in which he played such a crucial role, so much so that she requested that he put down on paper his account of the battle. This Chard did, signing and dating the neatly written-up final version in January 1880. This was presented to her on Chard's behalf by Captain Fleetwood Isham Edwards, the Queen's Groom-in-Waiting, at Windsor Castle on 21 February 1880. In an accompanying note Edwards described the account as "a simple soldier like account of very gallant deeds, & a thrilling record of a terrible night's work", continuing "Major Chard much regrets the unavoidable delay which has occurred in its preparation, but, as perhaps your Majesty may remember, he lost most of his notes".

    Provenance: John Chard V.C, R.E.; by descent to the present owner.
Contacts
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
RORKE'S DRIFT - JOHN CHARD'S MANUSCRIPT ACCOUNT "Rorke's Drift. 22-23 Jany. 1879", Chard's autograph draft of the account of Rorke's Drift which he wrote and presented to Queen Victoria, WITH EXTENSIVE ANNOTATIONS, ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS, [c.1879-1880]; together with a manuscript sketch by Chard of Rorke's Drift, on tracing paper, black ink with foliage and trees in green, major sites (numbered 1-15) identified in red ink, with key beneath image, frayed with short tears at edges, 210 x 320mm., [c.1879-1880] (2)
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