Cetywayo returned no answer, and in January 1879 a British force under General Thesiger (Lord Chelmsford) invaded Zululand.
Lord Chelmsford had under him a force of 650o Europeans and 8200 natives; 3000 of the latter were employed in guarding the frontier of Natal; another force of 1400 Europeans and 400 natives were stationed in the Utrecht district.
On the 22nd of January the centre column (1600 Europeans, 2500 natives), which had advanced from Rorke's Drift, was encamped near Isandhlwana; on the morning of Isandhl- that day Lord Chelmsford moved out with a small wane force to support a reconnoitring party.
Lord Chelmsford and the reconnoitring party returned to find the camp deserted; next day they retreated to Rorke's Drift, which had been the scene of an heroic and successful defence.
The Zulu, however, made no attempt to enter Natal, while Lord Chelmsford awaited reinforcements before resuming his advance.
On the 29th a column, under Lord Chelmsford, consisting of 3400 Europeans and 2300 natives, marched to the relief of Eshowe, entrenched camps being formed each night.
By the middle of April nearly all the reinforcements had reached Natal, and Lord Chelmsford reorganized his forces.
Meantime Sir Garnet (afterwards Lord) Wolseley had been sent out to super sede Lord Chelmsford, and on the 7th of July he Ulundi.
The 2nd division (with which was Lord Chelmsford) and Wood's column crossed the White Umfolosi on the 4th of July - the force numbering 4200 Europeans and 1000 natives.
The new Secretary of State visited India in the following winter for the second time, and held prolonged conferences with the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, the leading members of the Indian civil service, ruling princes, and native politicians, and along with the Viceroy received deputations and memoranda from all classes.
From Chelmsford; served by the Colne Valley railway from Chappel Junction on the Great Eastern railway.
In the war which ensued, the British troops who invaded Zulu territory met with a severe reverse; and, though the disaster1was ultimately retrieved by Lord Chelmsford, the war involved heavy expenditure and brought little credit to the British army, while one unfortunate incident, the death of Prince Napoleon, who had obtained leave to serve with the British troops, and was surprised by the Zulus while reconnoitring, created a deep and unfortunate impression.
The opportunity for developing water-power by the purchase of the canal around Pawtucket Falls (chartered for navigation in 1792) led them to choose the adjacent village of East Chelmsford as the site of their projected cotton mills; they bought the Pawtucket canal, and incorporated in 1822 the Merrimack Manufacturing Company; in 1823 the first cloth was actually made, and in 1826 a separate township was formed from part of Chelmsford and was named in honour of Francis Cabot Lowell, who with Jackson had improved Cartwright's power loom, and had planned the mills at Waltham.
Cetywayo, who had found a defender in Bishop Colenso, vouchsafed no reply, and Lord Chelmsford entered Zululand, at the head of 13,000 troops, on the 11th of January 1879 to enforce the British demands.