Situation: Supply columns had been attacked by Zulu raiding parties based in hilly terrain overlooking the track to Ulundi. A force was organized from the garrison of Fort Newdigate and ordered to clear the hills of Zulu. This force consisted of three platoons of infantry, one platoon of Naval Brigade rifles, a detachment of the 17th Lancers and one Gatling gun.
The Zulu force consisted of six units (mixed rifle and spear) hidden in rough terrain. Other Zulu units would arrive when firing could be heard from the battle.