Louis Napoleon, exiled heir to the Bonaparte throne graduated from the Royal Military College, and with the outbreak of the Anglo Zulu War in 1879, he requested that he be permitted to travel to South Africa to gain military experience.
He arrived in Durban in March 1879 and after a short while joined the British forces at Dundee. He requested permission to scout ahead of the column in the area near Fort Newdigate. Permission was granted and on the morning of June 1, accompanied by Lt. J. B. Carey and an incomplete escort they set off with the intention of gathering the balance of the escort party from passing patrols.
They never encountered any patrols and by noon had reached the hill known as Mabulawayo. They moved on to a deserted homestead about 250 metres from the Jojosi River for coffee.
A Zulu guide reported that a Zulu warrior had been seen in the vicinity. As the party remounted they were shot at by a group of warriors hiding in nearby a maize field.
The Prince’s horse bolted and he retreated to a nearby donga where he was overrun by the Zulus and died from 17 stab wounds. His body and those of Troopers Able and Rogers were recovered the following day and a funeral service was held.
Louis Napoleon’s body was embalmed and sent to Simon’s Town en route to Britain where it arrived early in July 1879.
Queen Victoria ordered a memorial cross be erected at the site and on the anniversary of the incident, the Prince’s mother Empress Eugenie visited the site.
A wall was built around the site which includes several trees that were planted in the early 1900’s.