Discussion in 'Prewar' started by dbf, Mar 31, 2008.
Is it too far back to be of interest on this site?
No go on post away.
I put some photos of a Boer War era Bible on here.
but ... its pages and pages of stuff, all transcribed articles, includes Roberts, Kitchener, Roberts, etc etc 1899-1900. Not just a few things.
All criticisms very familiar even now though.
Maybe other members could show their interest or non-interest on this thread before you go to the trouble of posting them.
I for one would love to see these items....post away in mho
Reason for my interest
Robert Scott V.C. 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment.
From The Times:
SGT. ROBERT SCOTT, V.C.
Sergeant Robert Scott, who won a Victoria Cross in the South African War, died in hospital on Tuesday at Downpatrick, Co. Down. He was 86. Scott was born at Haslingden, Lancashire, in June, 1874, and joined The Manchester Regiment in 1895. He won his V.C. during the great attack on Ladysmith (he went through the whole siege without once being absent from duty) on January 6, 1900. While the attack on Caesar's Camp was in progress Scott - then a private - and Private Pitts (who also won a V.C.) occupied a sangar, on the left of which all the British had become casualties and their positions occupied by Boers, and held their post for 15 hours under extremely heavy fire. During this action Scott was wounded.
From A Victoria Cross anomaly? The Manchesters at Caesar’s Camp by David Humphry
In the action at Caesar’s Camp the Manchesters lost 33 men killed, one died of wounds and 40 officers and men wounded out of a British total of around 170 killed and 250 wounded for the combined actions of Caesar’s Camp and Wagon Hill. This was the largest number of casualties of any British unit.
Surrounded by the bodies of their 14 dead comrades Privates Pitts and Scott held out in their sangar without food for 15 hours. Some contemporary accounts also state that they have no water during this time but in a subsequent interview Pitts said that they had plenty - no doubt from the water bottles of their dead comrades. Both men fought on gallantly against seemingly impossible odds and Scott recorded that they expected to be killed or captured at any moment.
Both men were awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, July 26, 1901). Their combined citation reads, “On January 6 1900 during an attack on Caesar‘s Camp, Natal, South Africa, 16 men of “D” Company were defending one of the slopes of the hill. The defenders were under heavy fire all day, the majority being killed and their positions occupied by the enemy. At last only Private Pitts and Private Scott remained. They held their post for 15 hours without food and water, all the time exchanging deadly fire with the enemy, until relief troops had retaken the lost ground and pushed the enemy off the hill.”
Private James Pitts died in Blackburn just short of his 78th birthday on Feb 18, 1955. His medals are in the Museum of the Manchesters in Ashton-under-Lyne. These are Victoria Cross, Queen’s South Africa Medal clasps Elandslaagte, Defence of Ladysmith and Belfast, King’s South Africa Medal clasps South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1937 Coronation Medal (GV) and Meritorious Service Medal. It is surprising that his group does not include the 1953 Coronation Medal as coronation medals are customarily awarded to living VC recipients. By 1953 Pitt’s second wife had died and he was in failing health so it is possible that he was awarded the medal but that it became separated from (or was never included with) the rest of his group.
Although a Lancashire man, Private Robert Scott died in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland on February 22, 1961 aged 86. His medals, also in the Museum of the Manchesters, are Victoria Cross, Queen’s South Africa Medal clasps, Elandslaagte, Defence of Ladysmith and Belfast, King’s South Africa clasps South Africa 1902 and 1902, 1939-45 War Medal, 1937 Coronation Medal, 1953 Coronation Medal, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (GV) and Meritorious Service Medal (GV). The surprise here is that Scott earned a 1939-45 War Medal but no World War I medals. Despite being 62 on the outbreak of World War II he volunteered and was accepted for service in the Royal Air Force where he worked for some time in the security capacity.
From Devotion to Duty by James W Bancroft (Excerpt)
The Manchester Regiment
Five of the Manchester Regiment’s fourteen Victoria Cross recipients were never domiciled in the Manchester region, outside their duties at the Barracks. Two were:
JAMES PITTS and ROBERT SCOTT
During the siege of Ladysmith, on 6 January 1900, Boer commandos made an attack on an outpost at Caesar’s Camp. Privates Pitts and Scott, 1st Battalion, occupied a sangar, on the left of which all our men had been shot down and their positions occupied by Boers, and held their post for fifteen hours without food or water, all the time under and extremely heavy fire, keeping up their fire and a smart lookout, though the Boers occupied some sangars on their immediate left rear. Private Scott was wounded. The award was gazetted on 26 July 1901.
James Pitts was a Blackburn man, born on 26 February 1877. He returned to Blackburn after his military service, where he died on 18 February 1955. For further information about him see The Blackburn VC’s by R Walsh and H Kirby.
Robert Scott was born in Haslingden, Lancashire, on 4 June 1874, where he worked in a cotton mill from the age of ten until he enlisted in 1894. He recovered from his wound and was Orderly Room Sergeant at Ashton Barracks during the Great War. He left the service in 1923 and went to live in County Down, Ireland, where he joined the police force. He served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was employed with the civil service until his retirement. He died at Downpatrick, County Down, on 22 February 1961 and is buried in Kilkeel.
Transcribed from New York Times articles:
TO COMMAND FORCES IN NATAL.
Sir George White to Leave London Saturday - To Have 15,000 Men.
LONDON, September 12, 1899. - It is said that Sir George Stewart White, V.C., former Quartermaster General, has been selected
to command the British forces in Natal.
Sir George is to leave for Natal Saturday next. His division, it is expected, will number 15,000 men.
Published NY TIMES, September 13, 1899.
FIRST ARRIVAL OF BRITISH TROOPS.
A Battalion Marches Through Cape Town and Proceeds to Natal.
LONDON, Sept. 15, 1899. - It is reported from Cape Town that the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment arrived there to-day, disembarked, and marched through the streets. The soldiers were cheered.
After they had been reviewed by Lieut. Gen. Sir Frederick Walker, commander of the British troops in South Africa, the battalion re-embarked and proceeded to Natal.
These troops, forming the first instalment of the reinforcements, were sent from Gibraltar to Cape Town.
TO-MORROW MAY SEE WAR IN AFRICA
Boers Arrange Campaign with Orange Free State.
BRITISH STILL PREPARE
Press Complains that No Progress Has Been Made.
An Outlander Writes if It Comes to a Fight, It Is Believed "the Boers Will Make a Massacre of It."
LONDON, October 3, 1899. - A special dispatch from Pretoria say that Gen. Jan Kock will command the Boer forces on the Natal border, Commandant Cronje on the south-western, and Gen. Schalk Burger on the eastern frontier, while Gen. Malan will be in command at Rustenburg. Altogether there will be nine Generals in command of columns.
A completed plan of campaign has been arranged with the Orange Free State.
Fighting is expected by Wednesday.
A rigorous censorship is maintained over all press telegrams.
President Krueger addressed the troops which started for the Natal border on Saturday, appealing to their patriotism and wishing them Godspeed.
The rumour that fighting had already commenced seems to have originated at the Woolwich Arsenal.
Matters are at a standstill, and practically no dispatches from South Africa have been received this morning.
The Morning Post again complains editorially that, although the Government put its hands to the plough in July, October has arrived without visible progress having been made; and the paper asks what it is waiting for, and expresses the opinion that "the expectant attitude maintained is hardly consonant with the high-sounding words that have been used."
It is understood that the Colonial Office received and important dispatch from Sir Alfred Milner, British High Commissioner for South Africa, yesterday, the contents of which, however, have not been made public.
The Daily Chronicle says it has reason to believe that the formation of a naval brigade is contemplated.
The Chronicle, which had lately been advocating the policy of sending an imperial Commissioner - suggesting for the post the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava - to meet President Krueger and try to arrange matters, to-day argues that the Ministers now see the mischief which Mr. Chamberlain has brought upon the country.
The paper goes on the comment upon the speech made by the Duke of Devonshire on Saturday last, which it characterizes as a remarkable appeal to the peace party, and asks why Lord Salisbury and the Duke of Devonshire did not interfere before. It then suggests that the Duke of Devonshire be sent as High Plenipotentiary to negotiate with President Krueger.
A letter from an Outlander received in Birmingham was published to-day. If it reflects the general feeling of the British residents in Johannesburg they must be in an awful funk. The writer says:
"If it comes to a fight, I believe the Boers will make a massacre of it, blow Johannesburg to bits, and shoot us on sight. In fact, I have been told so by one in office."
Reports from various arsenal and garrisons in Great Britain testify to the active continuance of military preparation. The reserves have received preliminary notice to be prepared and several regiments have been notified to hold themselves in readiness for active service.
No confirmation is obtainable from any source of the report contained in a dispatch to the Exchange Telegraph Company, that the Boers have captured Dundee.
Published NY TIMES 3rd October, 1899
WAR SEEMS UNAVOIDABLE.
Consensus of Opinion in England that Great Britain Must Fight - A Minister's Opinion.
LONDON, October 11, 1899. - It cannot be doubted that Great Britain will flatly reject President Krueger's demands and that at 3:15 o'clock this afternoon, English time, and actual state of war will exist.
Friday's Cabinet Council will have to deal with the military situation, and Parliament will have little else to do than to sanction the necessary credits.
The Daily Chronicle this morning editorially says it is compelled to admit that the Boer ultimatum, unhappily worded as it is, makes war unavoidable.
Editorial articles in other papers generally express pity for President Krueger's precipitancy, which places the Transvaal technically in the wrong. The Standard says:
"The Transvaal's worst enemies could hardly have supposed that its arrogance would lead it to such extravagance. The note is written in a style which would be offensive if it came from a first-rate power, and is inconceivably ridiculous as emanating from a trumpery little State which exists only by Great Britain's forbearance."
The Daily Mail says: "The Boers have doffed the mask and declared war, which their deluded supporters in England considered so impossible. Doubtless, at first we may suffer, but we suffered before, and in the end the Boers and their supporters will receive the punishment which their insane attempt to perpetuate on an almost barbaric system their Government in the nineteenth century most thoroughly deserves."
The Daily News, admitting that, if determined on war, Krueger is justified in striking while he has a chance of some isolated successes, says: "The Boers' best friends will deplore that they have put themselves in the wrong."
The Daily Telegraph says: "President Krueger has slammed the door in the face of Great Britain with all the violence of infuriated folly. He appears to have celebrated his birthday in a manner which will bring his republic clattering down upon his head."
The first Minister to speak publicly regarding the ultimatum was Lord James of Hereford, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who, speaking at Aberdeen to-night, said:
"The Government has done everything in its power to preserve peace. Apparently, however, diplomacy is ended and the hopes of peace are virtually destroyed, and that not by the action of the Queen's Government, but by the Transvaal Government.
"President Krueger has sent an ultimatum. If we were to withdraw our troops at his bidding we should suffer the greatest humiliation, and the Government would deserve to be hunted from office as craven cowards."
Lord James said he had intended, before receiving the news of the ultimatum, to take a different view of the position, but now "nothing remains but to commend our cause to the God of battle and arms and to implore His blessing upon the engagement about to be entered upon."
Lord James, whose remarks were greeted with loud and prolonged cheers, concluded by expressing the hope that the war would be short and humanely conducted, and that when it was terminated counsels of moderation would prevail as to the way in which the enemy should be dealt with.
The ultimatum was received in Sir Alfred Milner's English translation at 7 o'clock Tuesday morning. Sir Alfred had already sent a copy to Sir George White, so no time was lost in taking the necessary steps. As the British troops continue landing in South Africa and advancing to the front, it is quite possible, according to the terms of the Boer ultimatum, that hostilities have already commenced, as Krueger has everything to gain by an instant advance. Until the arrival of the army corps, it is probable that the British will everywhere remain on the defensive.
Looking at the complicated nature of matters, it is almost useless to speculate at the present stage, but sharp fighting is likely to occur at Mafeking, where Col. Baden-Powell is holding his exposed position. As the Generals have decided not to attempt to hold the country north of Dundee, the Boers will doubtless occupy Laing's Nek and advance along the railway toward Glencoe and Dundee. These place, however, are considered safe against Boer attack.
The Times says editorially: "The news that the Transvaal has taken such and infatuated step will be received with profound regret by a majority of the British people. To the last we clung to the hope that bloodshed would be avoided, but that hope had been deliberately quenched by the wanton action of the Pretoria Government.
"In tone and substance alike the ultimatum is a document of studied, insolent defiance. It is the Transvaal, not we, who snap the last frail thread of negotiations. They have declared war upon the British Empire, and they must feel her arm and pay the penalty of their aggression."
The article concludes: "With Swinburne - in a vigorous and characteristic sonnet which he send us to-day - the sons of Cromwell and of Blake will cry, 'Strike, England, and strike home!'; it is in the old cause."
Published NY TIMES, October 11, 1899.
Newcastle and Umvoti in Natal are both Boer centres and it had long been expected by the British Colonial Office that these places would be the objective points of the Transvaal and Orange Free State troops respectively. Along the line, west and east of Charlestown, is Sir George White with some 12,000 troops, while menacing the Transvaal from the southwest is Sir Redvers Buller, with from 30,000 to 35,000 men, whose line of advance is connected with two railroads. It has been reported that no attempt will be made by the British to force entrance into the Transvaal along the line from Newcastle to Volksrust, including Majuba Hill and Laing's Nek - the theatre of operations in 1881 - but that the attack will be made south of this line, along the route from Border Siding to Klerksdorp, below Potchefslroom, at which point it is the intention to seize the Pretoria-Klerksdorp Railway. At the same time a descent may be made from Tuli, which is in Rhodesia, on the right bank of the Limpopo. These are the two obvious lines of British attack, but there is another - from the east, with its base at Lorenzo Marques, the chief town of Delagoa, from which a line of railway runs directly to Pretoria, the Transvaal capital, a distance of 370 miles. The distance by rail of Pretoria from the other South African ports, which will form the British bases of supplies is as follows: Durban, 484 miles; East London, 665 miles; Port Elizabeth, 414 miles; and Cape Town, 1013 miles.
Thus it will be seen that three distinct columns supplied by five lines of railway may move on Pretoria. It is expected that eventually the Boers will be obliged to fall back on their capital, where they will make their last stand. The capital is surrounded by mountain ranges, and access is only to be obtained through the "poorts" or defiles. Each poort is guarded by a fort placed in a commanding position.
It is said that the line of advance from Border Siding to Klerksdorp has been adopted rather than the "Jamieson route" to Kruegersdorp, because while te latter is hilly and well defended in anticipation of just such and invasion, the former route passes through an entirely flat grass land practically free from such obstacles as rivers and hills.
In the last Transvaal war in 1881, even while the battle of Majuba Hill was being fought, British reinforcements were on the way to South Africa, and a most elaborate campaign was being prepared by the Colonial Office. It all came to nothing, however, when Mr. Gladstone caused an armistice to be declared. Military critics have declared that if ""Gladstone had not stopped the war" the Transvaal would have been completely subjugated within three months after the Majuba Hill affair.
The battle of Majuba Hill was not conducted on a very large scale. The engagement was precipitated by the British commander, who desired to whip the Boers and end the war before the arrival of the troops that had been sent to reinforce him. On the night of February 26, 1881, 600 British infantry set out for the summit of Majuba Hill. Four hundred men finally reached the summit, and were disposed in various positions about the rim of the mountain. The first shots were fired at 6 o'clock on the following morning, and the contest raged for several hours. In the final stages the main party of Boers crept up to within forty yards. The fighting ceased at 10 o'clock by the flight of the British, who left on the field, in killed and wounded, 280. The Boer loss was one killed and four wounded. The Boers have asserted that their force consisted of 400 riflemen; British reports place the number at 1,000.
Published NY TIMES, October 12, 1899.
DURBAN Oct. 13, 1899. - The First and Second Battalions of the Manchester Regiment, under Lieut. Cols. Curran and Ridley, have arrived at Ladysmith.
Published NY TIMES, October 14, 1899.
TRANSVAAL WAR BEGINS IN EARNEST
A Great Battle in Natal Reported.
FIGHTING EAST AND WEST
Burghers Are Said to be Attacking Mafeking.
BOERS DESTROY TRAIN
Poured In Artillery Fire for a Half Hour - Fifteen British Soldiers Reported Killed, Cannon on the Train Captured.
LONDON, October 14, 1899. - If to-day's reports are correct, fighting has now begun in earnest on both the Natal and the western frontier. The first vague reports have been received of what may prove to be an important engagement between the British forces under Gen. White and the Boer troops. The destruction of an armoured train en route to Mafeking with two cannon is confirmed by official dispatches. The war therefore may be said to be well on.
An Edinburgh paper, The Scotsman, this morning asserts that a battle has been fought between Gen. Sir George Stewart White, commanding the forces in Natal, and the Boers, who entered Natal by way of Van Reenan's Pass. Gen. White, The Scotsman says, is very sanguine of the success of the British movement.
The foregoing report is considered to be correct, as late last night the War Office had news of a British advance from Ladysmith, and was hourly expecting further intelligence.
A dispatch to The Daily Telegraph from its correspondent at Ladysmith, dated at noon on Friday, says~:
"A strong mobile column under Gen. Sir George Stewart White, accompanied by Gen. Sir Archibald Hunter, proceeded before daybreak this morning toward Acton Homes for the purpose of reconnoitring. Gen. White's object was to observe what was going on, and also to test the mobility and efficiency of his forces. All the men are well, and the weather is now fine."
According to the dispatches from Ladysmith to The Standard and The Daily Telegraph, dated Thursday, heavy storms have begun and forage is scarce on the veldt. Therefore nothing is expected to happen for a few days unless the Boers, who were reported to be advancing, should threaten the British line of defence drawn from Glencoe Junction to Ladysmith. In this case, according to the dispatches, no apprehension is felt as to the result. Gen. White has twelve guns and the Boers eleven.
The Ladysmith correspondent of The Daily News telegraphy his paper, under date of Thursday, that it is anticipated the enemy will attack simultaneously Dundee, Glencoe, and Ladysmith. The defending force, he says, includes the Natal Mounted Infantry and carabineers, all remarkably smart and workmanlike. The main Boer force of 11,000 men is at Sandspruit. The correspondent adds:
"Much discontent exists here owing to the presence of suspected Boer sympathizers. The troops are kept under arms, and the volunteers are ordered to sleep booted and spurred ready for instant call."
The Daily Mail's Cape Town correspondent, telegraphing Friday evening, says:
"I learn on good authority that the Boers are attacking Mafeking. They are reported to have already suffered several repulses. It is generally admitted that Vryburg cannot stand a strong Boer attack."
The Daily Mail's correspondent at Dundee, Natal, says:
"Reports are circulated here that the Boers have reached Newcastle, but no confirmation of either this or of the reports of fighting at Mafeking and Ladysmith are yet arriving."
The Ladysmith correspondent of The Times, telegraphing on Thursday, says:
"A subsequent reconnaissance shows that the invading force from the Free State numbers approximately 12,000 men."
The Times explains this dispatch as evidently referring to a previous telegram which has not yet reached them. In discussing the situation, The Times says;
"It is idle to ignore the fact that if the Boers make a determined advance on a large scale into Natal, as appears to be the case, a sustained condition of masterly inactivity might become hopelessly out of the question. We have no means of estimating exactly the number of troops at Ladysmith, Glencoe, and Dundee, and if we had it would not be expedient to discuss the point. But if 12,000 Free State troops are to be reckoned in addition to Commandant General Joubert's contingent, the situation is undoubtedly graver than it seemed yesterday, and further details will be awaited with anxiety.
"A point in favour of the defence is that the Free State and Transvaal Boers are not accustomed to working in unison and that any
attempt on their part to apply the principle of converging columns to an attack on Ladysmith would not be likely to meet with complete success.
"The armoured train incident is regrettable, but is scarcely disastrous, except that it tends to cut Mafeking off from touch with Plumber's force in Rhodesia."
The Kimberley correspondent of The Daily Telegraph says:
"A flying column is being organized for the protection of the railway between the Orange River and Kimberley. Trustworthy information shows that the Orange Free State has half it available force, viz., 10,000 men, scattered along the extensive western border between the Baal and Orange Rivers. The strategy displayed in their present disposition is crude."
Published, NY TIMES, October 14, 1899.
THE WAR IN THE TRANSVAAL.
The British Prime Minister's Statements of His Government's Position.
From The London Times, October 18, 1899.
The Marquis of Salisbury, who was received with cheering, said: "The first half of the speech of the noble earl opposite (the Earl of Kimberley) filled me with despair, because I found that on every subject he exactly what I would have wished to say. It was quite a relief when he came to deal with modern diplomacy, because I felt that there at least there was something on which I might join issue with him. I need not reiterate the observation that the Boer Government have been pleased to dispense with any explanation on our part of the cause or justification of the war. They have done that which no provocation on our part could have justified. They have done that which the strongest nation has never in its strength done to any opponent whom it challenged. They
have issued a defiance so audacious that I can hardly depict it adequately without using stronger words than are suited to this assembly, and they have, by so doing, liberated us from the necessity of explaining to the people of England why we are at war. Whether if that defiance had not been issued we should now have been at war I cannot say. They were subjects of the gravest difference between us - subjects on which we were bound and pledged to arrive at an issue consistent with the duty which her Majesty owes to her subjects, consistent with the desire we have always entertained of supporting equal rights among all her subjects.
They were very grave questions indeed, but up to this time the modes we had suggested of settling them had not been successful. The spirit in which we had been met had not been encouraging. We had little hope that the future would reserve for us a better fate, but yet hope was not entirely abandoned. Now all question of possible peace, all question of justifying the attitude that we have assumed, or of pointing out to our countrymen the errors and the grave oppressions of which the Transvaal Government have been guilty - all these questions have been wiped away in this one great insult, which leaves to us no other course to pursue than that which we have to pursue. (Cheers.) It is not necessary for me to insist upon that which both we and the noble earl opposite agree. I will only say that it is one of the most satisfactory parts of our policy in these later days that when a question arises in which vital interests and the evident honour of this country are concerned there are no distinctions of a party, (cheers) and that no individual ambition, no opportunity of diminishing the influence of an adversary, will tempt English politicians on either side to make use of the difficulties of their country to promote their party ends. (Cheers.) We may congratulate ourselves, at all events, that, so far as this is concerned the present representatives of the Liberal Party are more than creditable representatives of Charles James Fox. (Hear, hear.) Now as to the modern diplomacy. In the principles other noble earl opposite lays down to everybody, of course, must agree. No negotiation is conducted under favourable terms, every negotiation runs a great chance of being wrecked, if the opinions on either side are exposed during its progress to the exaggerated influence of popular excitement.
We do not always get what we desire. We get what we have to take, and the constitutional conditions under which we live, enormous as is the strength which they give us in certain circumstances, greatly as they magnify the power of England in any real danger, undoubtedly furnish us with conditions which make the conduct of negotiations very much more difficult than formerly. But there are occasions on which you cannot observe absolute secrecy without sacrificing a great source of power. What is this controversy which we have had to adjust, or at least to deal with, in South Africa? It is a controversy, no doubt, between two races nearly balanced in power, one of which races is naturally devoted to this country, and the other is divided - many of them being by conviction, by observation, and by experience firm and devoted adherents and subjects of the Queen, many of them still having visions of some future return of Dutch supremacy. Well, when you interfere in such a conflict as that, when you have to struggle for Queen, you have to look around you and see what forces you have at your back. An English Minister is not an organ of despotic power, who has merely to give the word of command, and the policy which he selects will be unflinchingly carried out.
He has to look, almost at every moment, for the amount hat he can command of that popular support which is the breath of life to all political movements in this age; and the British Minister who has to consider the state of affairs at the Cape, and to sustain the cause of British supremacy, has to conciliate, to retain, to encourage, to push forward as much of that loyalty to her Majesty as he can command; and he cannot afford by secrecy, by neglecting the feelings of those to whom he has to look for support - he cannot afford to leave their attention uncalled, their feeling un-appealed to; he is bound to seek in their feelings, and by placing before them a full exposition of the case on behalf of which he invokes their aid, he is bout to give them such information as will place at his disposal and range behind him all the power, all the physical force of those who are devoted to his cause. If that is necessary, if he could not afford to allow British interests in the Cape by apathy or by ignorance to fall away from the Crown, how is it possible that he could proceed with the carefully secret methods of the older diplomacy? I am not doubting the merits of the older system, but if you have to appeal for popular support the older system will not do. (Hear, hear!) That seems to me to sum up the essence of the policy which has been undoubtedly pursued. We always have to consider the loyal population wherever we are dealing with a country in which the loyal population is separated from those that are not loyal. But the noble lord dwelt very much upon the virtue of silence. I entirely agree with him. I should have been very glad to have cultivated it, even on the present occasion. (Laughter.)
I do not doubt that the system, which I think Lord Granville used to pursue, of absolutely refusing to make any speeches while negotiations were going on, had, on the side of diplomacy, very considerable advantages; but, after all, you can only conduct a policy, or the measures to which diplomacy must give rise, with the help and approval of Parliament and the cordial support of the electors, and, again, to obtain their help you must inform their minds, you must lay before them the real facts of the case; and if you wrap yourself up in your own virtues, and will not appeal to the sentiments and the loyalty which are ready to your hands, the result is that, instead of support and enthusiasm, you get nothing but apathy and neglect. I do not understand that the Minister responsible for conducting great negotiations can afford either to ignore the feelings of British parties or to keep them in ignorance, and therefore deprive of the opportunity of assisting him those who are willing to sustain the policy of this country. Those two necessities are the drawbacks to the constitutional system, which is a splendid system with all drawbacks, and, until the noble lord can get rid of the heritage of 1688, of which these necessities are the necessary result, unless he goes back to a state of government which I am sure is very alien to his sympathies and desires, he will never escape the necessity of consulting, to a certain extent, the opinion of those on whose support he depends for carrying out any policy he has in hand. That is my view in respect of the question which the noble lord raised. I am bound to say that I think a great deal too much has been made of the supposed provocation contained in the language of the dispatch referred to by the noble lord. The may have been certain details in that dispatch which may have been misunderstood. I will not dwell upon that, as I have not got the dispatch before me, but my impression is that upon the whole of that class of argument the most exaggerated value has been place. The theory appears to be that President Krueger is an amiable, but very sensitive, old man (laughter) - sensitive to every word that may excite suspicion or may suggest any future political constitution for his country other than that which he desires, and, so far as these feelings are concerned, he sustains them and expresses them with a fervour and a restlessness more becoming a hysterical young lady than the President of a republic. I am always surprised by this view of President Krueger's character.
My impression is, or was, certainly that he was a sort of man who would say that hard words would break no bones, and, if he got the kind of policy he wanted, he would not be trouble by the English phraseology in which it was wrapped up. But I take an entirely different view, and I hope, not an uncharitable one. My belief is that the desire to get rid of that word "suzerainty," and the reality which it expresses, has been the dream of Mr. Krueger's life. Long before the treaty of 1881 was negotiated, it was his main desire. It was for that he set up the negotiations of 1884, and in order to get that hateful word out of his convention he made considerable territorial and other sacrifices. The noble Marquis (the Marquis of Ripon) will remember certain memoranda in connection with Mr. Krueger in which great prominence was given to that intense desire to get rid of that word "suzerainty," and now my belief as to the real secret of his policy during these last years has been that he has seen in the Uitlander population beneath him somebody whom he can oppress, somebody in whose sufferings we are interested; and he has used the oppression of the Uitlander population as a screen by which to obtain some concession on the subject of the suzerainty from us. I can point out phrases from recent negotiations which would amply sustain that idea. It may be that the word suzerainty has no meaning. That view, as suggested by the noble Earl to whom we owe the word, is deserving of consideration. (Laughter.)
But my impression is not that it does not mean absolutely nothing, but it means a number of things, of which you can take your choice. I entirely agree with the noble lord that it is a word wholly unnecessary for our present purpose. Situated as Great Britain is in South Africa toward the Transvaal and the Uitlander population, who are our subjects in the Transvaal, we have a paramount power and duty which has nothing whatever to do with any conventional suzerainty. (Hear, hear!") I do not think that is the opinion of Mr. Krueger. (Laughter.) He would do anything in order to get rid of it, and, though it may be perfectly true - I maintained that opinion at the time - that the word in itself has no distinct or sufficient meaning, it is still true that, having been put into the treaty, it has obtained an artificial value and meaning which prevents us from entirely abandoning it. We cannot drop it and restore things to the condition in which they were before the word suzerainty was adopted. If we were to drop it we should be intimating that the ideas which have come to be associated with it are ideas which we repudiate and abandon altogether. Of course that is a position we cannot adopt. I believe it is largely due to Mr. Krueger - I do not say it ot blame it - it is largely due to his peculiar character, and to the idea which he has pursued, that the moment has arrived for deciding whether the future of South Africa is to be a growing and increasing Dutch supremacy, or a safe, perfectly established supremacy of the English people. (Cheers.)
To the state of things established by the convention of 1881 or 1884, whatever it may have been, we can never return. (Cheers.) We can never consent, while we have the strength to resist it, to be put into the same position which we have held in South Africa
for the last seventeen or eighteen years. (Cheers.) With regard to the future, there must be no doubt that the sovereign power of England is paramount; there must be no doubt that the white races will be put upon an equality and that due precaution will be taken for the philanthropic and kindly and improving treatment of those countless indigenous races of whose destiny I fear, we have been too forgetful. (Hear, hear.) Those things must be insisted upon in the future. By what means they will be obtained I do not know; I hope they may be consistent with a very large autonomy on the part of that race which values its individual share in the Government so much as the Dutch people do. But with that question we have no concern at present. We have only to make it clear that the great objects which are essential to the power of England in Africa, to the good government of the country, and to the rights of all races are the objects which the British Government, with the full support of the nation without distinction of party, is now pursuing, and which they will thoroughly pursue and preserve to the end. (Loud cheers.)
Published, NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
LONDON, October 19, 1899. - A considerable engagement is expected in the vicinity of Ladysmith to-day. The combined advance of Boers and Free State troops in this direction has been executed with not inconsiderable skill and shows a clear appreciation of the British position. Gen. Sir George Stewart White has 12,000 men and 46 guns available, besides a considerable force of volunteers, to hold Ladysmith, and no anxiety is felt on his account, for the Natal country where the engagement is expected is fairly open, and, although the work of moving them will be difficult, the guns are likely to do good work.
The havoc the Boers are making with the railway and telegraph lines will seriously impede the movements of Gen. Sir Redvers Buller's army corps. There are conflicting reports as to whether the Boers have or have not occupied Helpmakaar. According to the best accounts the rumour that they have done so is untrue; but if the Boers have succeeded in this manoeuvre they are completely around the right of Gen. Sir George Stewart White's position and will be able either to attack him at an advantage or to move down into Natal behind him.
The Daily News points this out and seems to think that if the Boers work their way through Zulu territory or Basutoland, the natives ought to be permitted to exact respect for their own territory.
The country is not favourable for the Boer tactics, and it will be very difficult for them to avoid the exposure of their flanks to attack by a vigorous and mobile enemy already occupying useful positions; that is, supposing they really mean to fight and not merely to attempt to draw Gen. White further out with a view of surrounding him.
Gen. White has a large body of excellent cavalry which will be put to good use.
The Daily Telegraph's correspondent at Ladysmith says no newspaper representatives are allowed to proceed from there either to Bester's Station or Acton Homes, and adds that Gen. Joubert's forces are moving against Glencoe and Bester's Station on the Harrismith-Lynch line.
According to the same authority, some volunteers who had just come into Ladysmith from Bester's Station and Acton Homes before
the dispatch was sent, reported that 300 Boers tried ineffectually to cut off small parties of British troops, but the Natal men were too wary to be caught and retired firing. The enemy as usual hid themselves behind hills and rocks and in gullies, but were unable to advance. They used cannon against the British riflemen, who, nevertheless, maintained a stout resistance.
The firing was very heavy. The country about Acton Homes being more open, the British mounted volunteers there are retiring upon Dewdrop. Two thousand Boers were engaged at Acton Homes and rather fewer at Bester's Station. It is reported that the enemy there is hemmed in and suffering severely.
The Daily Telegraph commenting upon the foregoing dispatch from its correspondent, says it is difficult to understand the references to Glencoe and Bester's Station, except upon the theory that Commandant Gen. Joubert is dividing his forces.
The War Office yesterday issued the following statement:
"News has been received from Gen. Sir George Stewart White, the General commanding in Natal, that the anticipated movement of Boer forces across the Drakensberg, already reported from several quarters, was likely to be continued on October 17, in which case some of them might be expected to arrive at Boaan Bank that night and probably to come into contact with our cavalry between Ladysmith and the passes of the Drakensberg.
"On the north the Boer forces from Ingagane are advancing, accompanied by a few batteries of artillery.
"On the Buffalo River the Boers from Vryheid are moving toward Vant's and Rorke's Drifts.
"Our cavalry remain in observation and report movements in the Orange Free State. The Basutos are said to manifest an attitude hostile to the Boers, and they may neutralize a certain number of the Boer forces."
A dispatch from Ladysmith says that a letter was brought to the British pickets by Boer cyclists bearing a white flag, signed by the Newcastle Magistrate and sent by Commandant Gen. Joubert, stating that the Britishers who remain in Newcastle are all well.
Published NY TIMES, October 19, 1899.
ADVANCE ON LADYSMITH.
Boers Cut In Between It and Dundee and Capture a Train at Elandslaagte - Situation Very Serous.
LONDON, October 20, 1899. - The Ladysmith correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, under date of October 19, says:
"The Boers captured a train which left Ladysmith at 12:30 near Elandslaagte. It contained several officers and a few men, besides civilians, all going to Glencoe or Dundee. The 10:30 up train, which contained one of your correspondents, got through. The enemy cut the wires, severing communication with Glencoe.
"The news was first received from the stationmaster at Elandslaagte, who wired: 'I see Boers near the line. What shall I do?' Ladysmith answered: 'Let the train run ahead full speed.' It did so, making for the north of Elandslaagte.
"The official said: 'The Boers are mustering and firing to stop the train. They have stopped it. What shall I do? Must I go?'
"'Yes, go,' was the reply. Thereupon the messages ceased, and since then the line has been blocked. Probably the stationmaster escaped."
The Ladysmith correspondent of The Times, under date of Wednesday evening, says:
"The situation on the eastern border is developing a more serious aspect. The Vryheid and Utrecht commandos, after looting on the Zululand border, are reported to be in the Umsinga District, threatening communication between here and Dundee. The situation at the front is reported to be growing more acute."
As no correspondents are allowed at the front, it is impossible to gain definite information, but it is known that Gen. Sir George Stewart White has been making some extensive movements of the troops in that neighbourhood, and developments are hourly expected.
It is rumoured that Commandant Gen. Joubert's northern column, with twelve guns, is now at Dannhauser.
Although the Boers have shown considerable activity in Natal, there is nothing to indicate that they are yet prepared for a serious combined attack, and the general belief here is that unless something unexpected happens Gen. Sir George Stewart White will maintain the defensive.
Some military critics think it not impossible that Gen. White may be about to withdraw his forces from Glencoe and concentrate them at Ladysmith, there to await developments.
The Daily Mail's correspondent at Glencoe Camp, telegraphing under date of October 17, says:
"The Boers opposite the camp are having their number strengthened, and the belief prevails that when strong enough they will seek to reach Dundee from the southeast.
"A clergyman living at Dannhauser, who has arrived at the camp, states that the saw a strong commando approaching Dannhauser
at 3 o'clock this afternoon."
The Boers, according to the latest information at hand do not appear to have been driven back. Perhaps, however, their movements are only part of a general plan to isolate both Ladysmith and Glencoe from the south.
The simultaneous Boer movements from Acton Homes, from the west and from Rorke's Drift and Helpmakaar, from the east, may indicated a projected attack upon the railway below Colenso. The movement from the east also suggests an attack upon the railway at Waschbank, between Ladysmith and Glencoe.
Published NY TIMES, October 20, 1899.
BRITISH ARMY PLANS.
Gen. Buller Said to Have a Project of an Advance on Three Lines at One Time - Forbade an Attack.
Copyright, 1899, The Associated Press.
LONDON, October 21, 1899. - Glencoe and Ladysmith irresistibly rivet national attention, and when the average Britisher tires of lauding the pluck that won Friday's battle and still kee[s the flag flying over Mafeking, he reverts to the universal query, "What will White do next?" Sir Redvers Buller, last week's ideal, has almost passed out of the popular mind, although that General, despite the fact that he is in mid-ocean and unaware of what befell the Boers at Glencoe, appears to be the main factor in the situation. It is reported that his last act before leaving was to cable Sir George Stewart White, forbidding any British advance pending the arrival of the army corps.
It is understood in army circles that Gen. White believed himself quite strong enough to advance through Laing's Nek. Sir Redvers Buller's prohibition, if carried out, resolves all prognostication into the simple statement that upon the extent of Boer aggressiveness depends the number and nature of the engagements that are to mark the next month's fighting.
Probably the Boer movement will be curbed by the defeat at Glencoe, but it seems reasonable to believe, judging from the determination and fanaticism of the Boer forces, that they will sooner or later - anyway before Buller's corps takes the field - return to the fray with redoubled aggressiveness in a desperate attempt to break the backbone of Gen. White's force, having previously endeavoured to weaken it by feint and flank movements. Such a supposition regarding the Boer plans is based upon the belief that Commandant General Joubert's main objective is to break up or rout Gen. White's command before the British reinforcements arrive. But it is possible the wily BOer General has carefully concealed strategy which he intends to carry out in an unexpected direction, and that the attack upon Gen. White on Friday was merely intended to deceive the British as to the main objective. Reliable news from te Boer side is so impossible to predict with any degree of certainty what the next few weeks are likely to bring forth.
It is learned that the plans of Sir Redvers Buller, subject to finding on his arrival that the complexion of the campaign is not entirely changed, are to have four divisions, each a little army in itself and each capable of meeting the full strength of the Boers. As his forces will exceed 80,000 men, this is regarded as feasible. With three armies he intends to invade the Transvaal from different points, personally leading the principal force through the Free State, sending the other to hold Natal.
Expert military opinion is inclined to favour a single line of operations, unless the invader has a tremendous preponderance of strength. Although few are willing to criticise Gen. Buller's admitted military genius without knowledge of the information upon which he has based his estimate of the Boer forces, there is a growing feeling that the war will eventually resolve itself into a guerrilla campaign, and many references are made in this connection to the progress of the American forces in the Philippines. Several Englishmen who have lived among the Boers, but are now in London, assert that the Boers will never stick to their artillery, and there is a unanimous feeling among those who know the Transvaal and its inhabitants that the Boer artillery will cut a small figure only after the first month.
The explanation of this is twofold. In the first place most of the Boers are unaccustomed to fight according to the methods required in conjunction with heavy artillery; and, secondly, most of them are armed with the rifle only. Comparatively few have bayonets, revolvers, or swords, and it is a military impossibility for men to stand up against a cavalry charge unless they possess some arm in addition to the rifle. Hence, the only alternative when cold steel threatens is to desert the guns.
It is not believed that the Boers will suffer so much by the loss of artillery as might at first be thought. Unencumbered by guns, they regain that mobility, which, in the previous war, proved such a thorn in the side of our organized troops.
A splendid instance of the spontaneous co-operation of army and navy is given in the action of Capt. Lambton, commanding the British first-class protected cruiser Powerful, while on the way to the Cape. Calling at Mauritius, he found a line regiment that had been ordered to Duran, unable to leave for want of a transport. Without awaiting instructions, he embarked the whole regiment on board the Powerful and landed them at Cape Town, making an extra quick passage for their benefit.
Published NY TIMES, October 22, 1899.
THE OFFICIAL REPORT.
LONDON, Oct. 22, 1899. - The War Office this afternoon published the following dispatch to the Secretary of State for War, the
Marquis of Landsdowne, from the General Commanding in Natal, Sir George Stewart White, regarding the engagement yesterday at Elandslaagte, between Glencoe and Ladysmith, when the British under Gen. French routed the Transvaal forces under Gen. Jan H. M. Kock, second in command in the Transvaal Army, who was himself wounded and captured and has since died:
"White, commander in Natal, to the Secretary of State for War. Filed Ladysmith, Oct. 22 1899, 10:30 A.M. In the action at Elandslaagte yesterday the troops engaged were the following: Cavalry - Fifth Lancers, a squadron of the Fifth Dragoon Guards, the Imperial Light Horse, and two squadrons of Natal Carbineers; Artillery - Twenty-first Field Battery, Forty-second Field Battery, and the Natal Field Battery; Infantry - The Devonshire Regiment, half a battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, and the Manchester Regiment. The whole force was under Gen. French, with Col. Ian Hamilton commanding the infantry.
GENERAL WHITE PRESENT
I was present in person from 3:30 P.M. to 6:40 P.M., but did not assume direction of the fight, which was left in the hands of Gen. French. Although desultory fighting took place earlier in the day, while reinforcements, sent out later, on ascertaining the enemy's strength, were arriving from Ladysmith, the real action did not begin until 3:30 P.M. At that hour the Boers held a position of very
exceptional strength, consisting of a rock hill about a mile and a half southeast of Elandslaagte Station.
"At 3:30 P.M. our guns took a position on a ridge 4,100 yards from the Boers, whose guns at once opened fire. This fire was generally well directed, but somewhat high. Contrary to previous experiences, their shells burst well.
"The Imperial Light Horse moved toward the left of the enemy's position, and two squadrons fo the Fifth Lancers toward the right. During the artillery duel mounted Boers pushed out from their left and engaged the Imperial Light Horse. In a few minutes the enemy's guns ceased firing and our artillery was turned on the mounted Boers who opposed the Imperial Light Horse, who at once fell back. After the artillery preparations our infantry advance to the attack, supported by our guns in the second position. The Devonshires held the enemy in front, while the Manchester Regiment and the Gordon Highlanders turned his left flank.
"The Boer guns, although often temporarily silenced, invariably opened fire again on the slightest opportunity, and were served with great courage.
CHARGE THROUGH THE BOERS.
"After severe firing our infantry carried the position. At 6:30 P.M. this was accomplished, the enemy standing his ground to the last with courage and tenacity. The Fifth Lancers and a squadron of the Fifth Dragoon Guards charged thrice through the retreating Boers in the dark, doing considerable execution.
"We captured the Boer camp, with tents, wagons, horses, and also two guns. The Boer losses were very considerable, including
a number of wounded and unwounded prisoners. Among the former are Gen. Jan Kock and Piet Joubert, nephew of Commandant General Joubert.
"One goods train, with supplies for Glencoe Camp, and nine English prisoners were recovered. Our loss, I regret to say, was heavy. It is roughly computed at 150 killed and wounded.
"The collection of the wounded over a large area in the dark and the arrangements for sending them in have thus far occupied our time and attention. A full list will go to you later.
"Our wounded and those of the enemy are now arriving by trains. Besides Boers, we have may Hollanders, Germans, and prisoners of mixed nationalities. The behaviour of our troops and of the colonial forces was admirable."
BOERS REPORT THEIR LOSSES.
At Battle of Elandslaagte 100 Killed or Wounded, 200 Missing.
PRETORIA, October 22, 1899. - The Johannesburg Burghers Hollander Corps has had a heavy engagement at Elandslaagte. The battle lasted twelve hours against heavy odds. Two hundred are missing, and about 100 burghers are dead or wounded.
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
British Make Great Demonstration Against Railway Station North of Ladysmith Taken by Boers
LONDON, Oct. 22, 1899. - At 2 o'clock this (Sunday) morning the War Office posted the following from Gen. Sir Archibald Hunter.
"Ladysmith, Oct. 21 - 8:45 P.M. - Gen. White rode toward Elandslaagte at 2:30 P.M. The force under Gen. French left here at 4 A.M. by road and rail to Modders Bridge. By 2 P.M. it had been greatly strengthened to the following in total: Fifth Lancers, a squadron of the Fifth Dragoon Guards, two field batteries, the Natal Field Battery, the Devonshire Regiment, half the Manchester Regiment, half the Gordon Highlanders, the Imperial Light Horse, and two squadrons of the Natal Volunteers.
I remain here in defence of Ladysmith with the Gloucester Regiment, half of the Manchester, half the Gordon Highlanders, a
mountain battery, and 500 Natal volunteers."
"I learn by telephone from an armoured train a mile this side of Elandslaagte that at 5 P.M. the enemy's three guns were silenced and that our infantry were about to charge. The enemy's number this morning was estimated at 1,000 and another 1,000 is expected to arrive during the afternoon.
Gen. White's intention was to reopen the railway to Dundee and return here with his troops to-night.
"At 7:45 a report was received by telephone saying we had carried the enemy's position, capturing their camp, equipment, horses, and wagons. The cavalry are in pursuit.
"The operators on the instruments say we have some wounded, but have no details yet.
"I expect Gen. White will be late, so I'll wire for him."
LONDON, Oct. 23 1899. - An amended list of the British casualties at the battle of Elandslaagte places the number of officers killed at 6 and wounded at 30, and the number of non-commissioned officer and men killed at 37 and wounded 175, the total number of casualties being 248. Ten men are missing.
The following is an official list of casualties among British officers:
FIRST MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Wounded - Col. Curran, Capt. Melville, Capt. Newdigging, Capt. Paton, Lieut. Banks.
FIRST MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Eleven non-commissioned officers and men killed and twenty-six wounded.
BRITISH AND BOER PLANS.
The Former Express Admiration for the Bravery of the Latter.
LONDON, October 23, 1899. - The second British victory, that at Elandslaagte, in which the British losses, though heavy, were not out of proportion to its importance, may be regarded as having completely demoralized the well-laid but ineffectively executed, plans of the Boers. In the opinion of military critics, it will tend to bring the war to a speedy conclusion.
Gen. White, it is hoped, may have been able by this time to relieve Major Yule, at Glencoe, thus enabling him to deal with Commandant Gen. Joubert's column, as Gen. Symons and Gen. French have already gone with the others.
There is still to be guarded against a possible raid from the Drakensburg Range by Free State troops from Vryheid, through Zululand. The British plan will, therefore, to a great extent, be still to remain on the defensive, as Sir George White has an extended front, threatened at many points, to protect.
There is no longer, however, any apprehension of even the expected initial success of the Boers. The two victories already gained by the British must have completely disillusioned them of the idea they had gained through the Majuba affair, and, looking to the statements already circulated that President Krueger himself was opposed to sending the ultimatum, there is speculation in some quarters that the Boers may now sue for peace.
At least it is considered that all fears of a Dutch rising in the British Colonies may be set aside.
Much admiration is extorted by the bravery shown by the Boers. The Times says:
"They are honourable foes and well worth our mettle. Their sterling qualities ought to do much to facilitate the ultimate pacification of South Africa. That is now the real end of the war. We have to settle once for all the question of British supremacy and to banish forever the phantom of an Afrikander nation."
The Daily News, on the contrary, says:
"It is not at all likely that the two victories portend a speedy end of the war. The Boers will fight on; and our army of occupation must be hurried forward. The appalling loss of officers and men we have sustained shows clearly that we have stiff work before us. The Army Corps will have ample work to do."
Published NY TIMES, October 23, 1899.
ANOTHER ROUT OF BOERS REPORTED
Cronje Said to Be a Prisoner at Mafeking.
GLENCOE IS IN DANGER
Fears that War Office is Withholding Reports.
RHODES ASKS FOR AID
Talk of Surrender by Transvaal Not Credited - More Details of the Battle of Elandslaagte - The British Charge.
LONDON, October 24, 1899. - The correspondent of The Daily Mail at Durban, Natal, says:
"An official of the Bonanza Mine, who has just arrive from Pretoria, declares that while there he heard that Col. Baden-Powell, the British commander at Mafeking, had captured Gen. Cronje and 30 other Boers and had killed 500.
The Daily Telegraph has received the following from Ladysmith, dated Sunday, 2:10 P.M.:
"The Boers, reported to be 9,000 strong and under the command of Commmandant Gen. Joubert and President Krueger in person, are to-day again attacking Glencoe.
"Gen. Yule, commanding our troops, has moved his camp back into a better defensive position."
The Daily News publishes the following dispatch from Ladysmith, dated Sunday night:
"A large force under Commandant General Joubert and Commandant Vegan, opened fire on Dundee yesterday. The firing was continued to-day. The result is not known here."
A dispatch from Ladysmith, Natal dated 4:15 Sunday afternoon, was received earlier. It was a literal repetition of Cape Town's Glencoe advices of yesterday.
The Parliamentary Secretary of the War Office, George Wyndham, made a statement in the House of Commons to-day, saying:
"Lord Wolseley sums up the position in Natal early this morning as follows:
"'In the battle of Elandslaagte, October 21, two guns were captured from the Boers, who lost heavily.
"'A large column of the enemy appeared advancing from the north and west on Gen. Yule, who, consequently, had fallen back from Dundee, and was concentrating at Glencoe Junction. In this operation we gather in the wounded and medical attendants left at Dundee.
"'Gen. White was in position at Ladysmith, and is being reinforced from Pietermaritzburg.
"'The enemy appears to be in large numerical superiority.'"
A.J. Balfour, the Government leader in the House of Commons and First Lord of the Treasury, said that the War Office had no news of any serious engagement at Glencoe since Friday.
THE SITUATION OF GLENCOE.
It appears certain that the brilliant victory at Elandslaagte as productive of no effect for the relief of Glencoe; and the very reticence and brevity of Lord Wolseley's communication are only too ominous. It seems to be worded to prepare the public for bad news; and it is only too likely that Gen. Yule has been compelled to abandon the wounded and the prisoners at Dundee because his force is too weak to hold the four and a half miles separating Dundee from Glencoe.
Probably Gen. Yule believes he can protect Dundee from an enemy advancing from the northwest by concentrating al his available strength at Glencoe, where there are now 3,500 men and three batteries. In the meantime efforts will be made to reopen the railway and to get reinforcements from Ladysmith.
It is expected that Commandant Erasmus has by this time joined Commandant General Joubert, and that their combined column amounts to some 10,000 or 11,000 men, while the Free State Boers, now threatening Ladysmith from the east, and a column reported to be coming through Zululand toward Meloth must also be reckoned with.
In short, Gen. Sir George Stewart White has been unable to follow up his successes, and is obliged to remain at Ladysmith, without being able to restore railway communication, which is probably broken at other points besides Elandslaagte.
Thus the enemy, although their original plan, which is supposed to have been Col. Schiel's failed, may fairly be credited with having isolated Gen. Yule's brigade and divided the British forces in Natal. Gen. Yule may find himself in a tight place, needing all his experience in Indian and Burmese fighting to extricate himself.
It is considered quite evident that the War Office reports have been withheld from the public, and if the situation as here sketched is confirmed, Boer divisions may be expected at other points.
THE PRICE OF SUZERAINTY.
Up to midnight the War Office was besieged with enquiries, the heavy lists of British losses causing much heartburning. "If this,"
said a workingman who was reading the list, "is the price of suzerainty, good God! we are paying in full."
It is regarded as not impossible that Gen. White may yet be compelled to concentrate all the Natal forces at Ladysmith and await
the arrival of the army corps.
The best opinions do not credit the reports that the Boers are suing for peace, or that they are likely to yield at present, through it is thought the Boers may possibly retreat to their line of defence in the mountain passes of Laing's Nek and Drakensberg. They have blocked the passes with great boulders and masses of rock blown up on either side, and, if they desire, they will be able to hold out there until the advance of Major General Sir Redvers Buller through the Orange Free State will compel them to leave the Natal side to meet the invasion from the South.
Published NY TIMES, October 24, 1899.
BRITISH RETREAT BEFOR THE BOERS
Dundee and Glencoe Abandoned to Them.
YULE OFF FOR LADYSMITH
Makes a Wide Detour to the East to Reach That Place.
WHITE TO MEET HIM
Wounded in Hospital at Dundee Reported Abandoned.
Main Boer Forces May Effect a Junction To-day with Those from Van Reenan's Pass, and a Great Battle Is Expected.
A dispatch from Gen. White to the Secretary of State for War clears up the situation in Northern Natal. There is now no doubt that Gen. Yule has abandoned the Glencoe camp and is making all speed to Ladysmith, to connect with the forces directly under en. White.
This leaves the whole of Northern Natal, down to Ladysmith, in possession of the Boers, who appear to be carrying out their original plan of campaign, and are gradually converging upon Ladysmith, unchecked by their reverses in the battles of Friday and Saturday near Dundee and Elandslaagte.
The British victories at these places, obtained with a loss of nearly 400 men, are apparently fruitless, as the positions they won are abandoned.
There is a large force of burghers a few miles west of Ladysmith, between that town and Van Reeman's Pass.
Aside from some minor cavalry skirmishes this Boer force has not been disturbed by the British.
A smaller force is reported to be moving westward from the eastern border.
In the south, near Aliwal North, President Steyn appears to have assumed command in person.
The situation at Kimberley and Mafeking, in the west, is unchanged.
Published NY TIMES, October 25, 1899.
LORD WOLSELEY'S REPORT
LONDON, October, 24, 1899. The Parliamentary Secretary of the War Office, George Wyndham in the House of Commons to-day announced that Field Marshal Lord Wolseley, the Commander in Chief of the forces, sums up the situation in Natal to-day as follows:
"Gen. Yule has fallen back to effect a junction with Sir George Steward White. He camped yesterday evening about sixteen miles south of Dundee, without seeing anything of the enemy during the march, and it has since been reported that 'All's well on the Waschbank River.'
"Gen. White fought a successful action with and Orange Free State force today, on the road between Ladysmith and Newcastle, and should join hands with Gen. Yule this evening.
"Gen. Yule reports that his wounded are doing well.
"The Boers wounded on our hands are treated just as our own, and I have every reason to believe the Boers will treat any of our wounded in their hands in a similarly humane manner."
Mr Wyndham added: "I may remind the House that the Transvaal is a party to the Geneva convention."
"Lord Wolseley further says: 'I have also received from Gen. Walker, at Cape Town, the following: "The last message from Kimberley - October 22, 2 P.M. - reports all well."'"
The afternoon newspapers here sharply criticise Lord Wolseley's summary of the Natal situation. They say it has a distinct resemblance to the statements of the Spanish Ministry when preparing their countrymen for news of the disaster at Santiago. This however, is probably an overstrained view. There is no denying, however, the great suspense and anxiety existing, which has been increased by the report in circulation, purporting to emanate from official quarters, to the effect that the Boers have
secured the services of 13,000 natives.
The vague and varied estimates of the Boer losses and the absence of anything official on the subject are also arousing misgivings as to whether the beaten enemy suffered proportionately to the disastrous losses of the victors.
One of the most disquieting stories comes from Ladysmith. It is to the effect that an Englishman, who arrived there from Dundee on Sunday evening, after escaping through the Boer lines on the previous night, reported that the enemy was then shelling the camp and town with heavy guns, while the shells of the British were unable to reach the enemy's batteries. Consequently, the man
is said to have added, the camp was shifted a mile or so, in order to be out of reach of the Boers, who were firing on the magazine in the town.
Published NY TIMES, October 25, 1899.
THE RETREAT FROM DUNDEE.
Boers Occupy an Exceedingly Strong Position on Main Road to Ladysmith and the British Leave.
LONDON, October 25, 1899. - The following dispatch from Gen. Sir George Stewart White to the Marquis of Landsdowne, Secretary of State for War, received last evening at 11 o'clock, was posted at the War Office soon after midnight:
"Ladysmith, October 24, 9 P.M. - Information received yesterday showed that the Boers had established themselves in considerable numbers in an exceedingly strong position west of the main road leading from Ladysmith to Dundee.
"I also had information that the Dundee force, formerly commanded by Gen. Symons, and, since his wound, commanded by Gen. Yule, was falling back on Ladysmith by way of the Helpmakaar Road, Beith, and the valleys of the Waschbank and Sunday Rivers, and was expected to reach Sunday River Valley to-day.
"I therefore moved out with a strong force to cover the movement of Yule's column. The enemy was discovered about seven miles out of Ladysmith, in a position of exceptional natural strength, west of the road. When he saw that preparations were being made against him, he opened fire with one gun with great accuracy.
"Our artillery soon got into position, and the gun was silenced. Our troops were ordered to occupy a strong ridge, parallel to the enemy's position, but nearer the road.
"I confined my efforts to occupying him and hitting him hard enough to prevent his taking action against Yule's column. Numbers of the enemy fled to the west, and the firing had practically ceased at 2 o'clock."
The War Office dispatch seems to realise the worst fears. Gen. Yule has abandoned not only Dundee, but Glencoe also, and, so far as present news would indicate, he has neither joined Gen. White nor reached Ladysmith. Gen. White's "successful action," announced in Parliament by Mr. Wyndham, seems to resolve itself into a mere engaging of the attention of the Free State troops, while Gen. Yule is slipping southward.
When the War Office dispatch was issued just after midnight, the officials announced that nothing more would be communicated until Wednesday forenoon. Gen. Yule had a heavy march Monday over the Stratford Slopes and the Zurfontein Table, both over 5,000 feet high, and arrived after dusk at Beith, which is half way between Rorke's Drift and Waschbank. He had still a heavy march, and was hardly expected to join Gen. White at Ladysmith until to-day.
His movements were actuated by sound judgement, since he soon would have been surrounded and in a desperate position. The combined forces at Ladysmith, now amounting to some 12,000 men, will be amply sufficient to act on the defensive. A few more victories like Glencoe and Elandslaagte would leave the British troops without officers.
While the Boers have failed to take advantage of their strategic position, owing to the incompetence or haste of their leaders, the British have no cause for congratulation over the results of the Natal operations. They have suffered heavy losses in men, and their victories have practically gone for nothing, the whole of Northern Natal being now abandoned to the Boers.
It would have been better to have concentrated on Ladysmith in the first instance; but Gen. White and Gen. Symons had to yield to political exigencies and to the local reluctance to abandon an inch of territory more than was necessary.
It is not expected that the wounded left at Dundee will suffer inconveniences, except in being prisoners of war.
It is evident from the official dispatches that both Commandant General Joubert's column on the north and the Orange Free State troops on the west now occupy strong positions, and that nothing hinders the Boers from following up Gen. Yule's retirement and
getting around Ladysmith from the southeast. Until reinforcements arrive it seems that Gen. White is obliged to concentrate on Ladysmith.
It is believed that the Government has other dispatches that have not yet been published.
The Secretary of State for War left Mr. Choate's residence immediately at the end of a banquet to Gen. Harrison and proceeded to the War Office, where, even after midnight, there was considerable activity, many visitors calling to enquire for information, among them as sister of Gen. Sir Archibald Hunter.
The news of unrest in Basutoland causes much anxiety.
The correspondents who were taken prisoners in the train at Elandslaagte have since escaped. They report that they were well treated by the Boers, and that, in the collecting and assisting the wounded, Boers and British seem to have been mutually helpful.
Published NY TIMES, October 25, 1899.
SECOND ELANDSLAAGTE FIGHT.
Boer Commander Reports Loss of Fourteen Men on Tuesday.
PRETORIA, October 25, 1899. - Gen. Joubert reports that Gen. Cronje, commanding the Free State and Winburg forces, had and engagement yesterday with the British at Elandslaagte. It started at 9 o'clock, and lasted seven hours.
Nine burghers were wounded and six were killed.
All the British retired to Ladysmith.
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
BOERS SHELL MAFEKING.
Cordon Around Kimberley Being Drawn Closer - Boers Occupy Windsorton Without Oppostion.
PRETORIA, October 25, 1899. - (Via Lorenzo Marques.) - The shelling of Mafeking was resumed at daybreak this morning.
Several houses in the town are in flames.
The bombardment by Gen. Cronje's commando began yesterday.
Ample time was given the women and children to leave the town.
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
BOER PRISONERS AT LADYSMITH.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - The Daily Mail has the following from Pietermaritzburg, Natal, dated October 23:
"The proclamation of martial law throughout Natal has given great satisfaction. Among the Boer prisoners at Ladysmith are De Witt Hamer, member of the Raad for Barberton, and Dr. Van Leggele Public Prosecutor at Heidelberg. Among the killed was Mr. De Jong, Secretary of the Transvaal Education Department.
"It is now expected that Gen. Jan Kock, the Boer commander, will recover. Gen. White gave him the option of being taken to Pretoria or remaining at Ladysmith, and he chose the latter."
Published NY TIMES, October 26, 1899.
REINFORCEMENTS AT LADYSMITH.
Boers Reported to be Massing Near Elandslaagte and Bester's Station.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - It is announced to-day that strong reinforcements of infantry and artillery have arrived there from Pietermaritzburg.
It is also reported that the Boers were again massing near Elandslaagte, and that a Free State force, several thousand strong, was occupying Bester's Station.
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
BOER REPORT ON FIRST BATTLE
Ten Truckloads of British Prisoners, Including Nine Officers, Safely Delivered at Pretoria.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - Several delayed dispatches from Pretoria arrived here this morning via Lorenzo Marques. Among them are the following:
PRETORIA, October 21, 1899. - Friday's fight at Dundee started at 5 in the morning and lasted until 2 in the afternoon. The burghers, under Gen. Meyer, took up a strong position, but were compelled to retire to their laager after capturing a Maxim. The fighting was resumed at 10 this morning in the neighbourhood of Glencoe and Dundee. Several Boer forces were engaged. The fighting was distinctly heard at Dannhauser.
PRETORIA, October 21, 1899. Newcastle is under martial law. The town is quiet. The farmers within a radius of three miles have been called upon to give an inventory of their stock in case it is required, and the citizens have been ordered to give up their arms. About three hundred complied. Guards are protecting property.
PRETORIA, October 22, 1899. The British prisoners captured Friday near Dundee were entrained at Dannhauser. They filled ten trucks. The officers travelled first-class, and a separate van was provided for two wounded officers. An enormous crowd assembled at the station here to witness their arrival, but there was no demonstration. When they alighted the prisoners were received with funeral silence upon the part of the crowd. The greatest order and decorum prevailed while they were traversing the streets.
The wounded were taken to the hospital, while the other officers and men were marched to the race course, escorted by mounted burghers, and were encamped on the spot where Jameson's troopers were confined. The officers, Lieut. Col. Moller, Major Greville, and Capt. Pollock of the Eighteenth Hussars, and Capt. Londsdale, Lieut. Le Meseurier, Lieut. Jarvice, Lieut. Sohre of the Dublin Fusiliers looked in good health. They are quartered in a building apart from the men. On giving their parole they will be allowed the freedom of the whole enclosure.
The men appear indifferent and spend most of their time smoking. They sleep in the grand stand.
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
GEN. YULE'S COLUMN SAFE.
It Reached Ladysmith at Noon Yesterday Unmolested - Wounded were Left at Dundee.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - The War Office to-day received the following telegrams from Gen. White.
"LADYSMITH, October 25, 1899. - Brig. Gen. Yule's force has left Dundee with the view of concentration at Ladysmith. To avoid the risk of life which a long march would have entailed the wounded were left at Dundee, under medical supervision."
"LADYSMITH, October 26, 1899. - 12:40 P.M. - Gen. Yule's column has just marched in here after a very hard march during a night of exceptionally heavy rain. The men, though done up, are in good spirits and only want a rest. The enemy did not molest them."
A special dispatch from Glencoe Camp, dated October 23, says:
"After the victory on Friday, the British imagined they were free from further molestation for some days, but they soon found that
the earlier reports of a sweeping success were exaggerated. The reported capture of all the Boer guns was incorrect, the burghers succeeding in removing some of them before the British carried the hill, leaving only the riflemen behind to cover their retreat.
"On Saturday news was received of the approach of Gen. Joubert's main column, threatening Dundee. Gen. Yule quickly recognized the impossibility of defending both Dundee and Glencoe against such superiority of numbers, sent word to Ladysmith of his dangerous situation, and ordered the evacuation of Dundee. Most of the inhabitants went southward on Saturday.
"The British camp was also removed in anticipation of an attack on Dundee, which commenced with long-range firing by the big guns at daybreak Sunday. The Boers made excellent practice, and the shells from a forty-pounder occupying the Impati Mountains dropped in and around the town.
"In the meanwhile the British had reached Glencoe in safety. There orders reached Gen. Yule on Monday to fall back on Ladysmith. At the same time he was at Elandslaagte to assist his retirement. Glencoe Camp accordingly was quietly evacuated.
"The precarious position of the British was not known to the Boers."
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
MISSING HUSSARS APPEAR.
Thirty of the Men Sent to Intercept Retreat of Boers Arrive at Ladysmith - Three Men Are Missing.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - The War Office last evening made public the following dispatch sent by Gen. White from Ladysmith at 3:50 that afternoon:
"The advance guard of the force sent out by me this morning to get in touch with and help Gen. Yule's column was within three miles of that column, which had temporarily halted at Sunday River about noon. I have occupied all the strong positions on the road to Ladysmith, and I have no further anxiety about them. I have received from Lieut. Kenrick, Signalling Officer of the Queen's Regiment, who has ridden in, and also from Col. Dartnell of the Natal police, who accompanied the column, the best account of the spirits and efficiency of the troops, who are very anxious to meet the enemy again."
The War Office also issued the following:
"There is nothing to add to Gen. White's description of to-day's engagement, as given in his dispatch. We learn from unofficial sources that the following officers, whose absence had not previously been notified to us, are prisoners in the enemy's hands:
"Eighteenth Hussars - Lieut. Col. Moller, Major Greville, and Capt. Pollock. Dublin Fusiliers - Capt. Lonsdale, Lieut. Le Meseurier, Lieut. Garvice, Lieut. Grimshaw, Lieut. Majendie, and Lieut. Shore.
"It is presumed that the whole squadron of the Eighteenth Hussars, under the command of the officers named, were taken prisoners."
A squadron of Hussars usually consists of three troops of twenty-eight men each, so about eighty officers and men of the Eighteenth Hussars are missing, according to the War Office account.
However, a dispatch to The Daily Telegraph from Ladysmith, dated Monday, says:
"Thirty of the Eighteenth Hussars, who were sent from Glencoe to intercept the retreat of the Boers from Elandslaagte, were cut off by the enemy. Under Serg. Baldrey they brilliantly fought their way across the Biggarsberg, the enemy pursuing and firing at them at a range of 300 yards along the passes.
"They arrived here at 10 o'clock this morning. Three of the troop are missing owing to the breakdown of their horses. The Boers
used a Maxim.
"A Lieutenant of the Hussars, with a party, was driven back to Glencoe. The Hussars were fired at as far down as Modder Spruit."
Published NY TIMES, October 26, 1899.
THE BATTLE OF RIETFONTEIN.
Boers Were Driven from Ridge to Ridge by the British Troops and Finally Retreated.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - Details of the fighting at Rietfontein are coming in slowly. A special dispatch from Ladysmith, dated October 24, filed after the fight, says:
"On discovery that the Boers were massed to the westward of the main road to Dundee an attempt was made by a train to recover
the body of Col. Scott-Chisholme, killed at Elandslaagte. The train was fired upon and obliged to retire and Gen. White moved out to attack the Boers, believed to be Free Staters, who should have joined the Transvaalers at Elandslaagte. Gen. White commanded personally.
"The Fifth Lancers were placed on either flank. They first came in touch with the Boers below Modderspruit, where 1,500 burghers occupied a strong ridge, whence they opened fire at 1,200 yards, hitting several of the British. In the meanwhile, the Hussars and Natal Carbineers advanced unscathed through an opening in the ridge under the fire of a Boer gun, while the Imperial Light Horse took part of the crest of the ridge, the Boers retiring.
"At about 9, however, a Boer gun stationed on the crest of Matawanaskop opened fire with great accuracy on the main force, which, in the meantime, had come up, but the shells failed to explode, and the British artillery silence the opposition. The whole British force then advanced, and the action became general.
BRITISH CROSS THE FIRE ZONE.
"A large body of Boers occupied strong positions at Matawanaskop and the precipitous ridges surrounding it. The British guns shelled the positions, and the infantry advanced under cover of the fire. The Gloucesters and Devons crossed a fearful fire zone beneath Tuitanyoni Hill, whence the Boers poured a withering fire with such effect that thirty of the attackers dropped within a distance of 200 yards. Seeing the peril of the Devons and Gloucesters, Gen. White dispatched the Carbineers and Liverpools to take the enemy in the rear.
"A fierce rifle and artillery duel was maintained for some time. The British Maxims rattled, but the Boers, under cover of the rocks, remained cool and replied with an incessant rifle fire. The British artillery swept the face of the hill, and at length the shells became so destructive that the Boers retreated to another ridge, whence they were dislodged by the Volunteers in the face of a galling fire. The Boers soon reformed and took up a position on another ridge, but the Volunteers dashed across the intervening plateau, again rushed the Boer position, and drove them back to the main force, occupying Matawanaskop. The British then shelled the latter until clusters of Boers were seen leaving and retreating westward, when the engagement closed."
THE OFFICIAL ACCOUNT.
The official report from Ladysmith, dated October 25, was issued by the War Office to-day. It is as follows:
"Yesterday Sir George White, having ascertained by a previous reconnaissance that the Free State forces had moved eastward from Bester's Station, and were attempting to gain the road from Ladysmith to the north, moved out in the direction of Elandslaagte, with the Fifth Lancers, Nineteenth Hussars, Imperial Light Horse, Natal Mounted Volunteers, two field batteries, one mountain battery, and a brigade of infantry.
"The enemy posted a battery two miles south of Modderspruit and opened with infantry fire at long range on the British advance guard, consisting of the Nineteenth Hussars. This was followed by artillery fire directed with considerable accuracy against the British guns.
"An action lasting six hours ensued at Rietfontein Farm, and the enemy were driven from the hills commanding the roads. Gen. White's object being accomplished, the column returned to Ladysmith.
"The enemy is believed to have suffered. Several Boers own officially that they lost over 100 killed at Elandslaagte. Three hundred prisoners, wounded and unwounded, are in the hands of the British, including several of high position. The Transvaal force defeated at Elandslaagte was teh Johannesburg Corps.
"In the action at Elandslaagte, October 21, the Johannesburg force, with a detachment of the German Corps, was completely broken up."
Other accounts dwell on the severity of the rifle fire at Rietfontein. They say that when the Boers finally retreated the Lancers cut them off from their horses and inflicted severe loss on them. The retreat, it is added, ended in a general rout.
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
BOER DEAD AND WOUNDED
Alleged That the Former Were Buried and Latter Carried Off at Once.
LONDON, October 26, 1899. - A belated dispatch sent from Glencoe camp on the night of the battle in that vicinity admits that
few Boer dead and wounded were found on the field and attempts to explain this by saying:
"Throughout the night the Boers, in accordance with their custom, buried their dead and carried off their wounded immediately after they fell, those left representing only the casualties during the last moments of the fighting. Even their disabled cannon had been removed, although broken pieces of them could be seen lying about."
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
JOUBERT INCREASING HIS FORCE.
LONDON, October 27, 1899. - The Daily Mail prints the following dispatch from Pietermaritzburg, Natal:
"One of the Dundee people just arrived er says that all day Saturday trains were arriving at Commandant General Joubert's headquarters at Dannhauser from the Transvaal border, bringing Boers, and that there must have been 10,000 in the hills around Dundee.
"The natives report that the Boers took sixteen wagons laden with their dead from the field of the first battle at Glencoe. Among the killed were several Natal Dutch.
"A sad feature of the engagement was that three Englishmen, who were impressed at Kruegersdorp, fought with the enemy, one of them being killed. The others greatly affected, said they were compelled to fight."
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
GEN. WHITE MAY ATTACK THE BOERS
Reported that Strong Reinforcements Are Being Sent Him.
MAFEKING WAS SHELLED TWICE
Ample Time Given the Women and Children to Leave.
Boers Occupy Windsorton, North of Kimberley - Gen. Yule's Column Arrives at Ladysmith Unmolested - Dundee Refugees in Sad Plight.
LONDON, October 27, 1899. - Gen. Sir George Stewart White, according to a dispatch from Cape Town to The Daily Mail, will attack the Orange Free State forces in Natal as soon as Gen. Yule's men have rested. Strong British reinforcements are being sent up from the Cape.
The official announcement of the joining of Gen. White and Gen. Yule has come a a great relief, and all the more so in view of the fact that later dispatches have shown that only the incapacity of the Intelligence Department of the Boers saved Gen. Yule's column from a greater disaster.
It seems that on Friday night Dundee was full of alarms. Heavy firing was heard at 1 o'clock, and again at 4. A severe thunderstorm soon after stopped the Boer cannonade.
Saturday passed in the same anxious manner, in momentary expectation of an attack. The British finally evacuated, taking all that
they could, but leaving plenty behind for the Boers to loot.
The appointments of the Boer hospital at Dundee are described as vey inadequate and primitive. The Boers themselves, in the absence of nursing staff, get only scant attention.
It is reported that Sir William Penn Symons died on Wednesday, not yesterday, and was buried at Dundee yesterday.
Gen. Yule's column had a very exhausting march, chiefly, it is believed, by night. The reason for a night march is not given, but it is probably a fear of Boer surprises. The heavy rains and mist hampered the march, but were perhaps the means of saving Gen. Yule from molestation. It took the column twenty-four hours to cover the last sixteen miles.
The only news this morning consists of more detailed accounts of the battles already reported. A correspondent who visited the hospital at Ladysmith, where the Boers wounded at Elandslaagte who were captured are being tended, reports that Gen. Jan Kock, who was badly wounded in the thigh and shoulder, said that the advance of the patrol under Commandant Pienar without guns was simply with the object of cutting the railway, and that this body was subsequently reinforced without Gen. Joubert's orders, Gen. Viljoen accompanying them. The latter was killed early in the fight.
According to another correspondent, the Boers say that Gen. Mock, during the battle, read his Bible and prayed for victory. His brother, two sons, and a nephew were all wounded and taken prisoners. Col. Schiel of the German Corps, and Commandant Pretorius were both severely wounded. Many prominent Boers are not yet accounted for.
Philip Kock says the Boers suffered most from "soldiers in little clothes, half men and half women," meaning the Gordon Highlanders, and in the charge of the Fifth Lancers. They say also that the quick-firing guns captured by the Devonshire Regiment are those that were taken from the Jameson raiders.
Col. Schiel assured a correspondent that nothing could stand against the accuracy of the British field guns, which repeatedly drove the Transvaal gunners from their embrasures. The British infantry frie was also, he said, a complete surprise to the Boers, who were confident of their ability to master any infantry attack.
One Elandslaagte correspondent expresses the belief that the British killed fewer Boers than might have been expected, considering the heavy fire of the British artillery.
The bullet of the Boer Mauser, it appears, makes a clean healthy wound where it passes out. No operations for extraction have been necessary at the Ladysmith hospital.
With regard to the western frontier, it is reported that President Steyn recently visited a force of 2,000 Boers encamped ten miles south of Kimberley.
The war is having its natural effect in Cape Colony. Everything is at famine prices, and horseflesh is at a tremendous premium.
A Dutch circular is being secretly circulated in the Burghersdorp district, appealing to the Dutch to stand shoulder to shoulder against "the tyrant who never keeps faith."
Published NY TIMES, October 27, 1899.
CAPE TOWN SUSPECTS DR. HOFFMAN.
Fears that an Ambulance Party Will Give Information to Boers.
CAPE TOWN, October 27, 1899. - Great indignation has been caused by the announcement that Dr. Hoffman, a member of the Cape House of Assembly, with a party of assistants, is going to the Transvaal to do ambulance work. It is suspected that he will give information to the enemy.
Published NY TIMES, October 28, 1899.
MAIL FOR TRANSVAAL REFUGEES.
British Government Will Try to Deliver It if Sent "Via England."
WASHINGTON, October 27, 1899. - The British Government has notified the United States that large numbers of people from the
South African Republic and the Orange Free State have flocked into Cape Colony and Natal for temporary residence during the war, and that every effort will be made to deliver their mails.
The British authorities suggest that if this country puts into the British mails letters and packages addressed to persons in the Transvaal or the Orange Republic, the Cape Colony office will try to deliver them to such as are found there or in Natal. It is assumed from this that the British have a list of refugees from the Boer country. Mail sought to be delivered by means must be endorsed by the senders "via England."
Published NY TIMES, October 28, 1899.
FIGHTING NEAR KIMBERLEY.
Boer Party of 700 Routed by the British with a Loss of Three Killed and Twenty-one Wounded.
LONDON, October 27, 1899. - A special dispatch from Cape Town to-day gives details of the defeat of 700 Boers by the British north of Kimberley, in which the enemy was completely routed with heavy loss, the British loss being three men killed and twenty-one men, including two officers, wounded. The Boer losses are described as very heavy. The British force consisted of the local volunteers, who, with the Lancashires, completed the rout of the burghers after the artillery had driven them out of their entrenchments. Botha commanded the Beshof force. The fight lasted four hours.
The fight appears to have the result of a sortie with the view of breaking the cordon surrounding Kimberley. The British, apparently 500 strong, met 700 Boers and, according to the official and other accounts, routed them after severe fighting, in which the armoured trains appear to have done valuable service. The Boers were entrenched strongly seven miles northward, and the British brilliantly carried the enemy's position without serious loss. It is said that the Boers twice unfairly used a white flag.
Botha, who was among the killed, was a member of the Volksraad and a famous Dutch fighter. He distinguished himself as a marksman at Brenkhorst-Spruit, when the Ninety-fourth British Regiment was mowed down. He afterward defended a farmhouse against the British.
When he surrendered the farmhouse he was found with five wounds, bathed in blood.
Before the sortie Kimberley was apparently in high spirits, as a dispatch from there at that time, and that a wedding was celebrated there that day. The dispatch adds:
"Great enthusiasm has been aroused here by the news of the British successes in Natal. Several farmers in the neighbourhood of Kimberley have been noticed in the ranks of the Boers. A letter form Father Rorke said 800 Boers, with 100 wagons, were laagered at Taungs. All the whites have left except the women, who sought refuge in the convent. The Boer commandant has promised to protect them."
Published NY TIMES, October 28, 1899.
988 BOER PRISONERS ARRIVE.
Reach Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday - Five Captains Among Them.
LONDON, October 27, 1899. - A special dispatch from Pietermaritzburg, Natal, dated October 24 says:
"Nine hundred and eighty-eight Boer prisoners arrived here this morning. They include Capts. De Witt, Hamer, Fighlus, Dorey, Vanlegger, and Dottner."
Published NY TIMES, October 28, 1899.
BOERS WOULD NOT FIGHT
Strong Force Sent by Gen. White Failed to Draw Them.
BATTLE AT LADYSMITH NEAR
May Already Have Been Fought - Burghers Accused of Killing Several Non-Combatants
CAPE TOWN, Oct 28 1899 - Evening. - The Gordon Highlanders, the Devonshire Regiment, the Manchester, the Liverpools, the Dublin Fusiliers, the Liverpool Mounted Infantry, the Lancers, the Dragoons, the Seventeenth Hussars, the Natal Volunteers, the Tenth Mountain Battery, and the Fifteenth, Twenty-first, Forty-second, and Fifty-third Batteries proceeded to Lombard's Kop.
A squadron of the Hussars located the enemy, who opened fire with shells and rifles. Two horses were shot and a trooper was wounded. The enemy occupied a strong position at De Waal's Farm, and the mounted infantry tried, without success, to draw them out.
As nothing was to be gained by and afternoon attack, the column bivouacked, and at daylight the enemy retired to Rietfontein.
Published NY TIMES, Oct 29 1899
JUNCTION OF BOER TROOPS REPORTED
Gen. Joubert's and Free State Forces Meet.
BRITISH SITUATION BAD
Gen. White May Have to Retire from Ladysmith.
17,000 BOERS THERE
Large Guns Have Been Mounted and Attack Is Expected.
British Observe the Boers Movements from a Small War Balloon
3,000 Feet Above the Ground - Civilians Ordered Away.
LONDON, Oct. 30, 1899. - According to the latest reports from Cape Town, Gen. Joubert has joined hands with the Free State forces, and there had been some outpost fighting. President Krueger has arrived at Glencoe.
The Standard voices the general anxiety regarding Sir George Stewart White's position by remarking the adaptability and able strategy of the Boers, for which they had hitherto not been given credit. It goes on to say:
"Their strategy is so well planned that it is impossible to doubt that it is the product of some officer trained in the best European school of war."
Then speculating upon the probable intention of the Boers and the possibility that they have been able to bring up reserve batteries from the Transvaal without the knowledge of the British spies, The Standard says:
"It is not impossible that we may hear of Sir George White retiring southward, where he could fight at greater advantage."
The Daily Mail publishes the following dispatch from Pietermaritzburg, dated Sunday:
"Patrols from Ladysmith report that there are four large Boer camps within a radius of ten miles, extending in a semicircle northeast of the town. Evidently the enemy is concentrating all his forces. Commandant General Joubert is in supreme command. One Boer laager has a Red Cross tent carefully posted in a conspicuous position.
"The British had several skirmishes with the enemy to-day. Railway communication with Ladysmith is still intact. At Colenso a couple of Basutos were detected putting boulders on the railway. They confessed that they had done this by order of the Transvaal authorities.
"A war balloon, very small and so light that two men can hold and haul it down easily with a wire strand, and which can ascend 3,000 feet, is now in use, and the full position of the Boer guns has been ascertained.
"The heavy and incessant rains have flooded Tugela River, which will prove an effectual barrier to any Boers proceeding southward. The remaining bridges are strongly guarded."
The position at Ladysmith, without being alarming, is sufficiently dangerous to excite anxiety. Evidently the Boers are trying to repeat their Dundee tactics. Roughly estimated, they have 17,000 men, as against 12,000 British.
Gen. Sir George Stewart White has the better artillery, but his is of lesser range. The delay in the Boer attack is reported to be due to the non-arrival of Commandant Gen. Joubert's column. This has given the British a much-needed respite after their recent exertions.
Everything, it is now considered, hinges upon Gen. White's resource and judgement. Nothing is known regarding the progress of defensive works for the protection of Ladysmith.
The censorship is more active than ever. According to The Daily Chronicle's correspondent, "the new regulations limit the number of words allowed for press messages to one-fourth the number allowable before."
Farmers in the neighbourhood of Ladysmith have left their farms and stock at the mercy of the Boers and are congregated in the town. The two guns the Boers have mounted are powerful weapons. They are the ones used in shelling Dundee, and it is a matter of considerable surprise how they managed to transport such heavy pieces.
Again it is reported that President Krueger accompanied Gen. Joubert to the front in a splendidly fitted travelling wagon.
The Standard's correspondent at Ladysmith, telegraphing Saturday, sends a statement that the Boers have captured 1,500 mules, a loss that must seriously inconvenience British transport.
The attempt of the Boers to cut the railway at Pieter's was frustrated by British cavalry.
The wife of Gen. Jan Kock has arrived at Ladysmith under a flag of truce to nurse her wounded husband. All the unwounded Boer prisoners have been sent to Durban to prevent any attempt at rescue.
The explanation of the alleged Boer massacre at Dundee appears to be that a portion of the Town Guard, although fairly warned by Gen. Yule before his retirement, continued to carry arms, and thirty of them were shot before the Boers discovered who they were.
Published NY TIMES, October 30, 1899.
SEVERE FIGHTING NEAR LADYSMITH
British Attack Leads to a Stubborn Engagement.
THE BOERS GUNS ARE SILENCED
After a Four Hour Battle the British Forces Retire.
Latter's Losses Placed Between 90 and 100, While That of the Burghers is Estimated to be Much Heavier.
LADYSMITH, Oct 30 1899 - 6 P.M. - An advance was made by the British at dawn, with the object of shelling the Boers from the position where yesterday they had mounted a number of guns. On reaching the spot, however it was found that they had evacuated the position.
The British continued to advance, and the movement developed into a reconnaissance in force. The enemy were posted on a range of hills having a frontage of about sixteen miles.
The British force was disposed in the following order: On the right, three regiments of cavalry, four batteries of the Royal Field
Artillery, and five battalions of infantry; in the centre, three batteries of the Royal Field Artillery, two regiments of cavalry, and four infantry battalions, and on the left, the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the Gloucestershire Regiment, and the Tenth Mountain Battery.
This force had been detailed to guard the left flank at a late hour last night. Gen. White's plan of operations was that, as the
movement developed, the force constituting the British centre, which was disposed under cover of the kopje about three miles
from the town, should throw itself upon the enemy, while the left flank was being held by the Fusiliers and the Gloucestershires.
The scheme was well devised, but failed in execution owing to the fact that the Boer position which formed the objective was evacuated.
The British artillery quickly reduced the volume of the enemy's fire, but the attack delivered on the right flank was the principal one, and the column was compelled to change. The Boer attack had been silence for a time, and the infantry advanced, covered by cavalry.
BOERS MAKE COUNTER ATTACK
The Boers now began to develop a heavy counter attack, and, as they were in great numerical superiority, Gen. White gave orders for the infantry to be gradually withdrawn. The movement was carried out with great steadiness and deliberation, under cover of the artillery, which made excellent practice.
Some shells were thrown into the town from the enemy's forty-pounders at a range of over 6,000 yards, but no damage was done. The engagement lasted several hours and resulted, on the British side, in casualties estimated at from 90 to 100. The Boer losses must have largely exceed this total.
The attack was admirably delivered by Gen. White's right; and the Boers were fairly driven out of one of their strongholds near Lombard's Kop. It was not possible, however to push the success much further, as beyond that point lay a long broken ridge, affording every kind of natural cover. Of this the enemy took the fullest advantage.
British shells failed to dislodge the Boers. As the former's infantry moved forward in extended order, they came under a heavy and well-directed rifle fire, the effect of which was soon apparent. Gen. White, who was with the centre, seeing that the troops on the right were somewhat pressed, sent to their assistance the whole centre column, with the exception of the Devonshire regiment.
The battle had then lasted four hours, during which the artillery fire on both sides had been almost incessant. The naval brigade, which landed at Durban, had arrived on the scene toward the end of the fight, and immediately brought their heavy guns into play. Their practice was magnificent. At the fourth shot the enemy's forty-pounders had been knocked out of action.
The town is now, therefore, freed from apprehension of bombardment. Throughout the engagement the Boers held their ground with courage and tenacity, and, considering the intensity of the artillery fire, they must have suffered severely.
RAPID-FIRE GUNS IN ACTION
The correspondent of The Times telegraphed the following to his paper:
"The action seemed to be proceeding most satisfactorily, when, at 7:15 A.M., the enemy in large numbers, with field guns, Maxims, and 37- millimetre guns, began to develop a heavy attack on Col. Grimwood's infantry. The cavalry brigade had moved up on our right, holding the parallel ridge over against Col. Grimwood's position, and practically acting as infantry. In the meantime our batteries kept down the siege gun fire upon Ladysmith with shrapnel.
"At 9 o'clock there seemed to be a lull, as our reserves moved up; but suddenly the engagement reopened, as the enemy on our right brought further artillery to bear. Col. Grimwood, who, with the three advance battalions, had held the ridge for five hours, suddenly fell back across the open upon our guns. The Fifty-third Battery pluckily pushed forward to cover this withdrawal. Severe casualties occurred at this phase. The Fifty-third Battery held on against a cross fire of rifles and quick-firing guns until the infantry were clear. The teams of the two guns were damaged, and the battery eventually retired, made-up teams being sent to extricate the two guns. The cavalry, remaining unsupported, were forced to fall back also.
"Then began a general retirement on Ladysmith. The guns, which had been covering the Devonshire Regiment, stoutly covered the final withdrawal. The enemy did not press, but showed themselves on their positions in great numbers, on to find that the naval brigade from the British cruiser Powerful had arrived. Two quick-firing guns were at once placed in position, under cover of a redoubt, and in five rounds they silenced the enemy's forty-pounder.
"They troops were back in Ladysmith by 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The casualties caused by the enemy's artillery were not severe. The mountain battery on the left reported that it had suffered through a stampede of mules.
"Our artillery, cavalry, mounted infantry, and volunteer cavalry behaved splendidly in difficult circumstances. Dr Jameson and Sir John Willoughby arrived to-day and were spectators of the action."
RESULT IS INDECISIVE.
The Daily Telegraph special correspondent has cable his paper the following account
of the engagement:
"An indecisive reconnaissance occurred to-day. Gen. Sir George Stewart White advanced before daybreak (Monday) with all the available forces from Ladysmith, moving toward Tinto Inyoni. Two brigades were under Cols. Ian Hamilton and Howard, and another, with Gen. Sir Archibald Hunter, went toward Bulwan, while two regiments, guided by Major Adye, marched on our extreme left beyond to old camp."
"The Boers were found to be in great force at all points. Although we had seven batteries of artillery, their fire failed entirely to crush that of the enemy, until our infantry, the Fifth Lancers, pluckily rode across the enemy's front and feigned a retreat. This, however, failed to entice the enemy out, the Boers only replying with a shell fire.
"This flank attack so developed that Col. Hamilton had to reinforce our right with three batteries and the Gordon Highlanders, the Devonshire Regiment, and the Manchester Regiment at intervals. Our artillery then changed front, and a severe artillery duel the ensued, the guns generously supporting the reinforcing infantry, as they advanced.
"Two batteries remained in action against the twelve-pounder, and the quick firers of the naval contingent came into action. The
enemy had field pieces, machine guns, and a one-hundred-pounder,
"Gen. White in the afternoon withdrew his forces upon Ladysmith. The losses on the Boer side were considerable."
BOERS FIRE THE FIRST SHOT.
The war correspondent of The Standard, telegraphing as to to-day's engagement, says:
"During the opening stages of the fight I attached myself to the centre column. We marched out before dawn, and, after covering
three miles, halted under a kopje to await developments. In the attack on the right the first shot was fired at 5:20 A.M. It came from Lombard's Kop, a lofty eminence rising some five miles to the east of Ladysmith.
"Battery after battery went into action, and gradually the enemy's fire slackened. For nearly two hours not a shot of ours was returned save when 'Long Tom,' the name our soldiers had given to the Boer forty-pounder, hurled a shell, which we followed with anxious eyes, toward the town of Ladysmith. Presently the enemy's horsemen were seen streaming on a hill to our left. Sheltered by rising ground, they occupied a ridge on our left flank; and there, hidden by the scrub and trees, they could watch the turn of events in safety and await their chance. The Devonshires now advanced toward Kafie Kraal, under a hillock, and there they remained with orders not to fire a shot until they were called upon.
"Only when volleys were heard on their rear and flank did they show the least sign of restlessness. The sound of this firing, feeble though it seemed, satisfied them that the Gloucesters and Irish Fusiliers were at work, and that there was no truth in the story of a disaster to these battalions after the stamped of the mountain battery mules.
RIGHT WING HARD PRESSED.
"Sir George White, Sir Archibald Hunter, and the staff officers watched the development of the artillery attack, which gave the first promise of a realization of Gen. White's plans. Soon after 9 o'clock messengers began to arrive with news that the right column needed support. The first battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, then the Manchester Regiment, and then the Rifle Brigade, who had left the train for the battlefield, were sent to its assistance, until on the Devonshire Regiment, a squadron of mounted infantry, and the field hospital were left with the centre column.
"Perceiving that a change in the operations was in progress, I went with the Manchester regiment toward the right. Our artillery, under Lombard's Kop, was engaged in repelling the enemy's attempt to turn our flank. The Manchesters were sent forward to support the cavalry, while the Dublin Fusiliers, two battalions of the Sixtieth Rifles, the Liverpool regiment, and the Leicestershires were beginning to feel the effects of the enemy's searching rifle fire.
"The enemy rarely showed themselves, although along the ridges that lay beyond the range of our guns they, from time to time,
gave us an opportunity to judge of their numbers.
"At the height of the engagement the noise was almost deafening. Above the rattle of the musketry could be heard the thud of the Maxims and the banging of the quick-firing guns, which considerably added to the difficulties our men had to encounter. The purpose of the reconnaissance, however, had been gallantly achieved, and our infantry began to fall back.
"This movement was covered by cavalry. Some of the troops had to cross over open ground toward the centre, and while so doing they were raked with a heavy fire. The retirement was, however, effected without disorder or serious loss. Our batteries were got into position to secure the withdrawal of other arms from Mole station, but the fortunate destruction of the enemy's 'long Tom' rendered such services unnecessary."
interesting reading there....thanks for posting
Is Scott VC a relative?
Owen, in short yes, Robert Scott VC is a relative of my husband's.
One of those vague stories - handed to me by his mother's brother, no name, in fact no details at all. No-one really believed it. Took me a year to find him and check it out. Confirmed also by another relation in England.
R Scott VC's was the first military history I completed for family research. Many more since then, many more to go....
CONSTERNATION IN ENGLAND.
Crowds Besiege the War Office, Anxiously Inquiring for Further Information - Stocks Fall.
LONDON, October 31, 1900. - There was a continuous stream of callers at the War Office until a late hour, everybody anxiously inquiring regarding yesterday's casualties, but the War Office declared that nothing had been received since Sir George White's dispatch communicating the news of the capture of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the Gloucestershire Regiment.
This delay in getting further intelligence is attributed in part to the breakdown of the East Coast cable, but it is believed that the War Office much be possessed of further news, which it is probably not thought advisable should be published.
Late this evening the Prince of Wales and the Marquis of Salisbury sent their respective secretaries to the War Office to make inquiries, but the reply given was that no further new had been received. Large crowds still waited in the vicinity shortly before midnight.
The tidings of disaster will have the effect of giving a strong impulse to the popular movement aiming to raise funds for the benefit of the wives and children of men at the front. The War Office, under the signatures of the Marquis of Landsdowne, the Secretary of State for War, and Gen. Lord Wolseley, Commander in Chief, has issued a long statement indicating the best methods of distributing the money thus raised.
The disaster has caused a feeling akin to consternation, and in Gloucestershire and the North of Ireland, where the captured regiments were recruited, the blackest gloom prevails, families awaiting with beating hearts the names of the slain and wounded, which are fully expected to reach a high figure. Man homes are already in mourning in consequence of losses sustained by these regiments in previous engagements.
Anxious people practically fought their way to the notice board. Most affecting scenes were witnessed. Many women were heard to gasp, "Thank God, he's alive, at any rate!" as they found the name of some beloved one on the list of prisoners. The sidewalks were packed with solid masses awaiting their turn t enter.
Throughout the length and breadth of Great Britain the news travelled fast that about 2,000 men had been killed or captured, for such is the estimated of the best authorities, based on Gen. White's dispatch.
At Gloucester, the home of many of those engaged, the wildest excitement prevailed. The special editions of the local newspapers
were speedily exhausted, and the same thing occurred at Bristol and other towns in that county. The fighting at Rietfontein had made many a Gloucestershire wife a widow, and this second overwhelming loss, coming so soon after the previous engagement, where
the Gloucestershires suffered so heavily, brought dire dismay to the little county.
The disaster had an immediate effect on the Stock Exchange here, where consols fell 1/2 and South African securities dropped heavily, Rand Mines falling 2 points. Rio Tintos fell 3/4.
The afternoon newspapers made only brief editorial comments on the news from Ladysmith, but their headlines voiced the feeling of general dismay. The tone of the editorials can be summed up in the following statement of the St. James's Gazette:
"It is evident that the patriotism and fortitude of the nation are to be tested in real earnest against odds. Gen. White had a difficult task set him, and we must take the disaster with the dogged coolness which Britons know how to display. We shall await the final result without apprehension."
The Globe calls upon the British Empire to receive this "bitter and unpalatable dispatch with the spirit of a great nation that relies on its invincible reserves of strength."
"Awful British disaster!" yelled newsboys to-day, and all London stayed its hurrying course and read the urchins' proffered wares. It was the hour when shoppers crowded Regent and Oxford Streets and Piccadilly. Women stopped their carriages in mid-street and hailed the hoarse-voiced boys. Out of fashionable stores rushed women, young and gray-haired, and joined the throng of rich and poor, many of whose hearts and happiness were bound up in those fighting at Ladysmith. Spellbound, they stood stock still in the crowded streets scanning the pages of the extras. Some of the most pitiful scenes were witnessed. Having read of the reverse, such as does not exist in the memory of living British subjects, the men set their teeth and walked on with hardened, troubled faces, while women wept and several who feared themselves to be personally bereaved by the disaster fell hopeless and helpless into the arms of friends.
At the Government offices no effort was mad to conceal the feeling of dismay prevailing. One official said:
"It is inexplicable, and I am sorry to say that its moral effect is inestimable. We have lost heavily in many wars, and have had regiments almost wiped out, by the have regiments captured, and by the Boers! It is terrible!"
The manliness of Gen. White's avowal that it was his fault has awakened the deepest sympathy.
An official of the War Office said:
"It is more likely due to the craze of our younger officers to distinguish themselves, obtain mention in the dispatches, and earn the Victoria Cross than to the fault of that splendid Indian veteran Gen. White, in spite of his pitiful avowal."
Published NY TIMES, November 1, 1899.
CRITICISM OF GEN. WHITE.
Battle Said to be a Repetition of Majuba Hill - Rumour that He Is to be Superseded Discredited.
LONDON, October 31, 1899. - Public anxiety was increased by a special dispatch from Ladysmith, published in the late editions of the London afternoon papers, to the effect that before darkness yesterday to Boers reoccupied the old position held by their heavy artillery, which Gen. White had reported silenced by the guns of the naval brigade from the Powerful, and had opened fire again.
The dispatch further says: "The enemy are again closing in, and the situation is one of grave anxiety. Beyond doubt the Boer retirement yesterday (Monday) was a ruse to draw Gen. White into the hilly country and away from the British camp."
This last sentence is significant, and confirms the opinion of military experts here, that Gen. White is allowing himself to be
out-generaled y Commandant General Joubert.
From the scanty advices received, it seems tolerably certain tha tht disaster was as simple repetition of the battle of Majuba Hill, though on a larger scale. The two regiments were allowed to march into a trap set by the Boers. It is simply a case of the Boer spider and the guileless British fly. In fact, the whole engagement of Monday seems to have been brought on by Commandant General Joubert, who skilfully conceived a gigantic trap, out of which, as the official dispatch shows, Sir George White only escaped with difficulty.
Gen. White conceived the idea of driving the Boers from Tintwainyoni Hill, seven miles out, which Gen. Joubert made an ostentatious show of fortifying on Sunday. The Boer commander left a force sufficient to draw Gen. White on, while the mass of the Boers he moved stealthily round the British right, to deliver a flank attack and to endeavour to cut off Gen. White from Ladysmith. The British commander succeeded in beating off the attack, but only with great difficulty, and during the turning movement his troops suffered from a flanking fire.
Harsh things are said in military circles of the British tactics, which have made possible the ambush of the Eighteenth Hussars at Glencoe, and now the loss of two fine regiments. It is feared that Sir George White is no match for the Boers in that cunning by which Boer tactics are conceived, and it is pointed out that if the British commanders continue to lead their men into obvious traps, further disasters must be looked for.
An interview is published with a British officer, whose name is withheld, but who is described as "a well-known General with a distinguished record during the Indian mutiny," in the course of which he passes severe criticism upon the conduct of the campaign.
"Yesterday's disaster," says the officer in question, "is only another proof of serious blundering. Although Sir George White is a good regimental commander, he does not seem to excel in strategy or the management of a big division. I regard the Glencoe business as another example of blundering."
Proceeding to discuss the engagement at Glencoe, the officer observes:
"Some of the enemy's officers were allowed to occupy and plant guns on Talana Hill. Nothing was done to stop this until the Boers began to shell Glencoe on the following morning. As for yesterday's casualty, it seems inexcusable that the two regiments should have been allowed to separate themselves from the main body, especially with a considerable swarm of the enemy against them. I know I am expressing the opinion of many military officers.
"We are disgusted with the War Office for having prematurely allowed the issuance of glowing reports of victories without equal
frankness and promptitude in disclosing the circumstances discounting these reports."
Sir George White's honest admission of full responsibility and the terms of his dispatch are regarded in some circles as virtually placing his case in the hands of the Home authorities, and it is even rumoured late this evening that the War Office has already decided to supersede him. The report, however, is discredited in well-informed quarters.
While minor reverses were not wholly unexpected, no Englishman ever dreamed that anything like the staggering blow Gen. Joubert delivered yesterday threatened the British arms in South Africa, and, apparently, the full extent of the disaster is not yet acknowledged.
The loss in effective men must be appalling to a General who is practically surrounded. Two of the finest British regiments and a mule battery deducted from the Ladysmith garrison weakens it about a fifth of its total strength, and alters the whole situation very materially in favour of the Boers, who, once again, have shown themselves stern fighters and military strategists of superior order.
The disaster cost the British, besides the men lost, six seven-pounder screw guns, and as the Boer artillery is already stronger than imagined, the capture of these guns will be a great help to the Boers.
GEN. WHITE'S MILITARY CARER.
Gen. Sir George Stewart White is a holder of the Victoria Cross, a Grand Commander of the Indian Empire, a Grand Commander of the Bath, and a Grand Commander of the Star of India. He has been Quartermaster General to the British Army since 1898. His career from the time when he entered the army until he started for South Africa had been a most distinguished one. An Irishman by birth, having been born in County Antrim in 1835, he was educated at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and entered the army as a subaltern in 1853. He saw active service almost at once. He served during the Indian mutiny with his regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, obtaining a medal and clasp for gallantry. Appointed a Captain in 1863 and a Major ten years later, he went through the Afghan war with the Gordon Highlanders, and was present at the battle of Charasia, the occupation of Kabul, the expedition to Maidan, the capture of Takti Shah, and on the march from Kabul to Kandahar.
Afterward Sir George was appointed Military Secretary to the Viceroy of India, and in 1881 became Lieutenant-Colonel of the famous Gordon Highlanders. Four years later he was Colonel of that regiment. He was sent with the regiment to Egypt, where he and his men distinguished themselves, and in the Burmese war of 1885 he commanded a brigade. For his services in that campaign he was promoted to be a Major General, and received the special thanks of the Government of India. Afterward he conducted the successful expedition into Zhob and from 1893 until last year was Commander in Chief of the British forces in India.
Published NY TIMES, November 1, 1899.
WAITING FOR NEWS FROM LADYSMITH
Only Remaining Cable Given Up to Government Messages.
CONTENTS NOT MADE PULIC
No Information Furnished as to the Natal Situation.
Continued Criticism of Gen. White - Details of Disaster to His Forces - Cabinet Defence Committee Has a Conference.
LONDON, November 2, 1899. - The breakdown of the Delagoa Bay cable route, combined with the monopolization of the available telegraph lines by the Government and British staff officers, is responsible for the fact that nothing further has reached the public from South Africa. The Government has received dispatches rectifying the casualty lists. These will be published to-day.
The War Office officials are working under great strain. Capt. Perriott, Staff Captain to the Military Secretary, has just died his end being hastened by anxiety and overwork.
It was announced yesterday in a special dispatch from Ladysmith that the Boers again closed around that place on Monday night, sending shells into the British camp. The two guns landed from the British cruiser Powerful opened fire on the Boers at dawn, Tuesday. The Boers brought up more guns, but some of them were silenced. It is added that the Boers' loss must have been heavy. The garrison at Ladysmith is described as being in good spirits and confident, and the troops are said to be full of fight. The artillery duel was still in progress Tuesday night.
An unconfirmed statement is published that Gen. Sir Redvers Buller has left Cape Town for Ladysmith.
A belated dispatch from Ladysmith, describing Monday's fight, says:
"A couple of squadrons of Hussars had a narrow escape from disaster early in the day. They found themselves suddenly confronted, within easy range, by and overwhelming force of Boers, who seemed to spring from the bowels of the earth. The Hussars were splendidly handled and were extricated with only one man wounded.
The Queen is credited with expressing sincere pity for Sir George Stewart White, and the officials are in no wise inclined to judge him harshly. So far as the public is concerned, however, while gratification is felt at the manner in which the isolated battalions surrendered, there is still severe criticism for Gen. White and Lieut. Col. Carleton the explanation is hazarded that he believed it was imperative to the success of Gen. White's operations that he should hold the position at Nicholson's Nek.
The Morning Post comments severely upon the British contempt for the enemy as shown by the belief that the large Boer force at
Acton Homes could be held in check by Carleton's small column. It points out that even if the British there had been supplied with ammunition, they could only have held out a few hours longer, in as much as they were in the most complete sense detached, and because nobody apparently at Ladysmith had any idea of their distress or took any measures to rescue them.
"The column was sacrificed," says The Morning Post, "because it was sent into action gagged and blindfolded. It had neither scout nor patrol. Twelve hundred men were thrown away for lack of cavalry, which would not have been missed from another part of the field."
The Standard, which comments in similar terms upon "the fact that Gen. White made no effort to extricate the column from the impossible situation into which he had thrust it," draws a sad picture of the men "hoping for relief, and then realizing with bitterness of heart that some one had blundered, that they had been forgotten by their General and his staff, and that nothing was left but surrender and imprisonment at Pretoria until the end of the war."
The Daily Chronicle says: "It is evident that somebody blundered, but more details are required before the blame can be apportioned."
The Times says: "The dangers of Sir George White's plans are patent even to civilians; but it is not impossible that the Cape 'boys' in charge of the mountain battery, who quite recently were suspected of disaffection, may have been tampered with the Boers. Otherwise such a large and comprehensive stampede is a very extraordinary occurrence from such a slight cause.
"Gen. White's whole movement, so far as it can be understood from present information, is open to criticism, especially in the complete absence of communication with the main body."
A special dispatch from Pietermaritzburg, Natal, dated Tuesday morning, says:
"Stragglers from the Gloucestershire Regiment are arriving at Ladysmith. A number of mules, with a portion of the mountain battery, are also coming in."
Published NY TIMES, November 2, 1899.
Gen. Kock's Body Taken to Pretoria.
CAPE TOWN, November 2, 1899. - According to an updated dispatch received her from Ladysmith, the body of Gen. Kock, the Boer commander who was wounded at the battle of Glencoe, captured and taken to Ladysmith, where he died recently, has been taken to Pretoria.
Published NY TIMES, November 5, 1899
WHITE ISOLATED AT LADYSMITH
Communication Interrupted at 2:30 P.M. Yesterday.
BOERS WERE SHELLING THEN
Report of Complete Investment of the Town Denied in London.
It Is Rumoured Also that Colenso, South of Ladysmith, Was Captured and that Gen. White Was Wounded and His Retreat Cut Off.
LONDON, November 3, 1899. - The War Office has received a dispatch from the Governor of Natal, Sir Walter Francis Hely-Hutchinson, announcing that communication with Ladysmith has been interrupted since 2:30 P.M. Thursday.
This is not regarded by the War Office, however, as in any wise confirming the report of a complete investment of Ladysmith or of the capture of Colenso, sent out by the Havas Agency from Paris.
The Secretary of the War Office, who was shown the Cape Town dispatch of the Havas Agency, said the statements made were utterly baseless. Brussels, where the Havas dispatch originated, is the headquarters of Dr. Leyds, the diplomatic agent of the Transvaal, and it is thought the Cape Town dispatch may be an exaggerated Boer version of the recent fighting.
The Times, commenting editorially upon the fact that news appears to arrive in Belgium from South Africa through some channel uncontrolled by British censorship, reminds the Government that information valuable to the enemy can similarly leak from Europe to the Transvaal. It suggests that the Government should fully exercise its right under existing conventions, if any such channel has been for special reasons left open, and it appears to think there may be some truth in yesterday's Berlin and Paris stories.
The Daily News suggests that those rumours are more likely intended for propagation at the Cape and to influence the Afrikanders.
The War Office has received a telegram, dispatched from Ladysmith at 9:25 A.M. Thursday, saying that Gen. White was well and holding his position.
The brevity of the news received from Ladysmith since Tuesday night has not relieved the anxiety prevailing regarding the position of the British Army at Ladysmith. The War Office has no information of Major Gen. Buller, the British commander in South Africa, having left Cape Town.
Colenso, in the rear of Gen. White's force, is believe to be well defended by a composite naval and military corps, and it is understood that the two naval twelve-pounders mounted near the bridge over the Tugela, on of the most vulnerable points along the railroad from Ladysmith to Pietermaritzburg, ought to be able to defend it and prevent its destruction. If the Boers succeeded in destroying this bridge it would mean the interruption of railroad communication with Ladysmith for an indefinite period.
While the Boer attempts in this direction are not confirmed, it is claimed that they may be expected momentarily, and the reported steady shelling of Ladysmith, it is added, points to the intention of the Boer commanders to keep Gen. White occupied while their plan is carried out.
The War Office yesterday afternoon issued the following dispatch:
"Chief of Staff, Ladysmith, to War Secretary:
"Ladysmith, November 2. - Lieut. Egerton, H.M.S. Powerful, dangerously wounded this morning by a shell, left knee and right foot. Life not in danger at present.”
Special dispatches from Ladysmith, dated Tuesday, give further details regarding the renewal of the bombardment. The Boers, having reoccupied their old positions, remounted big guns. Their firing was accurate, but almost harmless. Some of the troops were slightly injured by splinters.
Lieut. F.G. Egerton, before he was wounded, and his men from the Powerful, did splendid work and quickly silenced the Boer guns.
The Boers acknowledge having suffered heavy losses in men and horses in the previous battle.
Again it is asserted at Aldershot the mobilisation of a second army corps will begin on November 10, and that the whole reserve of the transport branch of the Army Service Corps will be called out.
A composite detachment of Royal Marines will be formed at Portsmouth, consisting of experienced men, for inland service in South Africa.
Apparently extensive preparations are in progress at De Aar, Cape Colony, for the concentration of Lieut. Gen Buller's army. Thousands of mules are corralled in that neighbourhood, and transport material is being hurried up from the south.
According to another dispatch, the naval brigade at Ladysmith has mounted four more guns from Durban.
A report that a Boer force with guns from Koomati Poort is making his way through Zululand is held to indicate and intention to seize the railway between Colenso and Pietermaritzburg, if it has not already been seized. This, however, will soon be known, as armoured trains are patrolling the line.
The real question now for the British public is, can Gen. White hold out another ten days or two weeks, until the army corps arrives? Less anxiety would be felt on his account were it not that every day seems to bring a fresh list of casualties, proving that much has been concealed as to the real state of affairs. At the best, the coming week much prove a critical and anxious time.
The magnitude of Monday's fight is more than ever evident. Virtually three actions were raging simultaneously; but it is obvious that the intention to roll back the Orange Free State troops was not achieved.
Lord Frederick Roberts of Kandahar, commander of the forces in Ireland, while reviewing the troops at Kilkenny, said:
"It is useless to disguise the fact that we are engaged in a very serious war, a war which will put our resources and courage to a severe test."
Published NY TIMES, November 3, 1899.
LONDON ANXIOUS BUT UNDAUNTED
Faith that Sir Redvers Buller Will Retrieve Recent Losses.
THE EMPIRE LEFT UNGUARDED.
Germany's Professions of Friendship Distrusted.
But No Sign as Yet of Foreign Intervention - The Liberal Party Succumbs to the Spirit of Imperialism.
Special to The New York Times.
LONDON, November 4, 1899. - Although outwardly calm, the suppressed anxiety of the country over this South African war is intense. Last Monday night, when the news reached the War Office of the disaster to the brigade at Ladysmith, a perfect panic seized the military clubs of the West End, and all sorts of further disasters were predicted.
Abuse of Gen. Sir George White also became the fashion from that moment, and it is echoed from India, where he lately occupied the position of Commander in Chief. It is said that he was ambitious to deal a great blow before Sir Redvers Buller got out to South Africa, and therefore place himself in a false position by occupying advanced posts like Glencoe and Dundee without sufficient forces. Then he is also declared to be a weak tactician.
There is small foundation except hearsay for these accusations. Gen. White may not be a great commander, but he has proved himself tenacious, and, on the whole, cautious; one also actuated by the highest spirit of chivalry, as is shown by his generous conduct toward those under him. Where success was attained he gave his subordinates the credit; where failure, he took the blame all to himself.
HOPES CENTRED ON BULLER.
British hopes are now all centred upon Sir Redvers Buller, whose arrival at Cape Town was hailed with an outburst of delight. Yet thus General has had less experience in commanding armies than even Sir George White, who at least successfully conducted a considerable campaign in Burma. Sir Redvers Buller is known as a dashing soldier in former South African wars against the blacks and in Ashanti, as well as being familiar to Londoners through his position as Adjutant General to the Duke of Cambridge in the latter years of that Prince's tenure of the Commander in Chiefship. Sir Redvers Buller is credited with all the qualities of a Wellington and a Wolseley combined. His first experience of war was had with Wolseley in the Red River expedition, and he is known in army and society circles as a Wolseley man. From all one can hear he is a stern disciplinarian, of vigorous understanding and an indomitable resolution, but it is yet to be proved whether he has the patience, the tenacity, and te insight to cope with the terrible problem now before the British Government in South Africa.
SWIFT ACTION NECESSARY.
This problem, unfortunately, is one that must be swiftly solved, because it is in the highest degree dangerous to allow the country to be denuded of troops as it now is. As all the world knows, the British Army at best is a small one. Including the reserves, the total strength of the regulars, as they are called, is little more than 300,000 officers and men, and usually there is only an average of 225,000 men with the colours. Of this number, from 122,000 to 125,000 are permanently located abroad, 70,000 of them in India; and in India lone from invaliding and death among the entire forces there, the mere filling up of the gap thus caused demands an annual draft of nearly 3,500 men. The British Government has reduced its garrison in India by at least 5,000 troops, and the Governor of Ceylon is now offering one infantry regiment stationed there as an additional contribution to the British African host. Then there is Egypt to garrison, together with Gibraltar, Malta, and Hong Kong, and a sprinkling of troops and officers must be stationed both in the British West and East African possessions to stiffen the backs of the local levies. It follows therefore that the normal home army of about 100,000 men is required to be continually drawing fresh recruits from the population in order merely to make good the waste goig on at various points of the empire through disease and death.
By sending all the home army, except about 10,000 I believe, to South Africa, the British Government has at once deprived the War Office of the means to fill any gaps created by disaster, whether in India or elsewhere, and is wholly without troops to send to any point of the empire where danger may arise or to fill the Indian Army's ranks. Part of the garrison in Ireland has gone with the rest, and all over the United Kingdom are empty depots that are now to be filled with militia, some forty battalions of which are called up to the colours by the 29th of this month.
Great Britain may be safe in this condition of defencelessness for a few months, but plainly it cannot be prolonged, and if the waste of troops proceeds in South Africa during the next three months at the same speed as it has done in October the next step must be to call out the volunteers, a very inefficient force of about 230,000.
No wonder then that people, in spite of the superficial calm, are impatient, and that in military circles a nervous anxiety gnaws the heart. What the real feeling are, such incidents as the rejoicing now manifested over the report that Gen. Joubert has objected to lyddite shells prove better than any open assertion or opinion. It is remarked that Joubert, finding his farmers disinclined to face the music any longer, is afraid that they will go home. So Boer opposition is likely to be soon over.
I regret to say that I am unable to share this opinion, and I quote it merely to indicate the feeling underneath the surface.
SLIGHT DANGER OF FOREIGN INTERVENTION.
As yet no foreign power has given the Government cause for alarm, and such indications as come to the surface point to at least a peaceable agreement between Great Britain and Germany, which should prevent any demonstration of hostility on the part of her sworn enemies, Russia and France. But the English do not quite trust Germany for all that, and in military circles the successful tactics of the Boers are credited to the presence of German officers in their camp. Gen. Joubert, it is remarked, could have never devised the plan of campaign alone, and German professions of friendship are consequently received with a considerable amount of distrust.
As for Russia, the campaign against Great Britain carried on in her press may be thought to point to an early move on the part of the Czar's government toward some spot where it thinks it could do Great Britain some harm; but up till now nothing is known of any step of this kind. London hears, indeed, that the railway from the Caspian to the Persian Gulf at Tchakbar is under survey, and will be pushed forward immediately, its advocates urging that now is the opportunity to obtain a second Port Arthur, this one on the Indian Ocean, so as to have a striking place on both sides of the British Indian dominion. But it is one thing to survey and quite another to carry out a railway, and just now Russian finances are strained to the very utmost by the works going on in Manchuria and on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Therefore there is not much ground for alarm, and the more determined attitude assumed by the United States in Peking, as reported here this morning, points to a checkmate of any Muscovite designs in that quarter.
One the sea, of course, nobody can touch Great Britain. The Germans are goin to increase their navy, but it will be seventeen or eighteen years before their programme as now laid down brings it up to the full strength, and Englishmen do not anticipate that it will be mobilized against them in war now or later. Nor are the British afraid of the French and Russian navies. Were they to unite they could do nothing effective. All that is to be feared is their effort to make mischief in Cairo and Constantinople or in Southern Europe, as I have already stated.
But news comes to hand this week that the Austrian Army is becoming the theatre for language agitation similar to that which has destroyed the Parliamentary institutions at Vienna. The Magyars are taking up the question, and a howl has been raised against the use of German as a lingua Franca on the heterogeneous imperial hosts, where some nine languages and dialects are said to be represented. If this agitation proceeds lyddite shells could not do more to rend the Austrian military strength asunder than it can do.
PASSING OF THE LIBERAL PARTY.
British home politics have been curiously affected by the African struggle, and I may say that for the time being the Liberal Party to all practical purposes is dead. Fragments of it remain under volunteer leaders like Courtney and Labouchere, and the majority of the Irish representatives are naturally in the enemy's camp, but the great Liberal Party is at present without leaders, and altogether disorganized. A strong minority of it, headed by Lord Rosebery, Sir William Fowler, Mr. Asquith, and others, have gone over to the imperialist camp bag and baggage. So has that old Radical newspaper, The Daily News, which was put in control of the Rhodes interests soon after the Jameson raid. The Liberal Party is therefore totally ineffective for opposition, and may be said to grumble in secret.
What the real feeling of the thinking portion of the country is I am not altogether able to judge, but undoubtedly a very powerful minority is still against this conflict. It is hopeless, however, as a political force, and the nation as a whole is not only imperialist but warlike, confident of victory, and determined to make the whole of South Africa a British province.
As yet the consequences of the war have not come home to the English except through the lists of killed and wounded - sad enough, but only sad to individuals, and their sorrow has not yet told upon the public sentiment. The truth to tell is, however, that the Liberal Party has been falling into confusion ever since Mr. Gladstone resigned the Premiership. A powerful minority then resented the way in which Lord Rosebery was jockeyed, as they called it, into the aged statesman's place, and he has never been persona grata to the Stalwarts. His connection with the turf and Stock Exchange has also militated against him with the Nonconformists, and the earnest religious professors of all denominations. Then, too, he never got on with Sir William V. Harcourt, a misfortune not altogether, perhaps, but a good deal his own fault. Therefore what Englishmen now see is a final going to pieces of a fabric undermined and tottering.
LADYSMITH NOT CUT OFF.
As I write, the news arrives that the women and children are being safely removed from Ladysmith to Maritzburg, and that a railway of 31/2 feet gauge, single line, is still open throughout. An attempt by Joubert's forces to seize the line is said to have been repulsed, and hopes are entertained that Gen. White may be able, by acting on the defensive and avoiding further traps, to hold out until relief arrives.
Possibly the success of the Boers at the end of last week and at the beginning of this may make them rash and hasten the end of the conflict.
While the war is raging in South Africa gloomy news reaches London from time to time from India as to the state of destitution there. Some twenty millions of people are now more or less hungry in that dependency, and it is feared that the shortness of bread is still spreading by reason of the rise in the price of grain.
From East Africa also melancholy accounts of destitution occasionally arrive, but all British thoughts are given to this South Africa war, and all British charity will be for the families of the men fighting there. It is feared there will be no great subscription to the India famine relief fund this Winter.
Published NY TIMES, November 5, 1899.
BRITISH FORCES ABANDON COLENSO
News Arouses Fears of a Second Defeat of Gen. White.
NO LINE OF RETREAT REMAINS
Troops Hemmed in at Ladysmith Must Wait Weeks for Relief.
London War Office Confident that the Forces Can Hold Out, but Their Situation Is Considered One of Grave Danger.
LONDON, November 4, 1899. - The War Office to-day issued the following announcement:
"The Colonial Office has received information to the effect that the British troops have withdrawn from Colenso and have concentrated further south. But we have no news of any engagement in that neighbourhood."
The news that Colenso had been evacuated was another bitter pill for the British public, arousing fears that the Continental statements of a second serious defeat of Gen. White might prove true. A significant fact is that the War Office does not say when Colenso was evacuated, so the statement which emanated on Thursday from Dr. Leyds, the diplomatic representative of the Transvaal, who is located at Brussels, that the Boers had occupied Colenso, was possibly true. There is much apprehension that the War Office is suppressing bad news.
The War Office, at noon to-day, announced that nothing had been received there in any way modifying or altering the statement issued yesterday afternoon, saying that belated dispatches from Ladysmith were coming through. Nothing had been received, it was declared, to corroborate the reiterated reports from Berlin of the capitulation of Gen. White.
Later in the day another official announcement was made by the War Office as follows:
"No news has been received from Ladysmith up to 2 o'clock this afternoon. We therefore presume that the wire is still interrupted."
The latest dispatches from Ladysmith are dated November 1 and 2. A dispatch under the former date says:
"This afternoon everything is quiet, the enemy showing no disposition to come to close quarters. The British guns occupy strong positions around Ladysmith, and further developments are awaited with confidence. The British troops are full of fight, and the Boers will meet with a warm reception if they attack the town, as the garrison is quite ready for them. Four naval long-range guns have been mounted here."
BOMBARDMENT IN PROGRESS.
The very latest news from the beleaguered city, contained in a dispatch dated November 2, 10 A.M., is as follows:
"During the night the Boers moved closer to the British positions and mounted guns in fresh places. Meanwhile the naval guns have been moved to more favourable positions near the town and commanding some of the Boer batteries.
"At 6 o'clock this morning Gen. White ordered the bombardment of the enemy, and the bluejackets opened the ball. The Boers replied vigorously. They fired straight and some of the British were hit.
"A terrible artillery duel has been proceeding for over three hours. So far the naval guns are the only ones that have engaged
the enemy. The British guns are firing three shots to the Boers' one.
"Firing has been heard in the direction of Colenso."
In spite of the prolonged silence, the officials of the War Office declare that they do not credit the various rumours as to the position of the garrison, and that no grave anxiety is felt at present regarding the ability of Gen. White to hold his own.
The fact that the War Office has received no news of the situation at Ladysmith, it is urged, seems effectually to dispose of yesterday's Continental rumours of Gen. White's capitulation and kindred stories, as, if the General had sustained a severe reverse, there is no reason to believe but that Gen. Joubert would be only too glad to forward Gen. White's official announcement of the fact to the nearest telegraph station, while, it is added, had news of such a serious character reached a foreign Government in cipher, it would undoubtedly have been promptly conveyed to the British Government.
As the Mozambique cable is still broken it is impossible for any uncensored messages to reach Europe, with the exception of the dispatches of foreign Governments, and, it is further pointed out, in view of the fact that an important victory would be of the greatest moral assistance to the Boers, it seems obvious that the Boer sympathisers would make such an event known as quickly and as widely as possible.
SAY DURBAN IS SAFE.
The War Office is making every endeavour to communicate with Ladysmith. In the meanwhile the opinion is expressed that if Gen. White keeps strictly on the defensive he will be able to hold his own. The British experts smile at the Boer plan of campaign, which contemplates seizing Durban in order to prevent the landing of the British troops there. They say it has one fatal defect, namely, that it ignores the British fleet, under whose guns, it is claimed, the seizure of Durban will be impossible.
Dispatches from Ladysmith, thought three days old, are regarded by the officials as indicating that the Boers are not disposed to come to close quarters. On the other hand, some people assert it is more probable that the Boers are recuperating prior to a fresh onslaught on Ladysmith, as, according to the latest news, after the artillery duel and ineffective skirmish of Tuesday, the Boers took up good positions of Signal Hill and Umbulwani Mountain.
The two commanders continue to exchange courtesies, Gen. White in response to Gen. Joubert's request on Tuesday, loaned the Boers an ambulance to assist in the conveyance of the Boer wounded.
It is declared that the feeling of security at Ladysmith has been greatly increased since all the naval guns have been mounted there, in spite of the knowledge of the garrison of the Boers' strenuous efforts to cut the railroad south.
The only redeeming feature of the week's operations. In fact, is the work of the Naval Brigade. The difficulties which must have been encountered in getting the guns over the country, and, even when at Ladysmith, in getting them properly mounted, can well be imagined, while the resources employed can be gauged by the fact that the carriages were constructed at a wheelwrights yard at Durban by naval artificers. These guns, from the British cruiser Powerful, have 2,200 feet initial velocity, while that of the army pieces at Ladysmith is only 1,500 and of nearly two miles less range. The dramatic and opportune arrival of these guns has caused the navy's praises to be loudly sung, though these are coupled with admiration for Gen. White's generous acknowledgement of the help from the other arm.
Despite the optimistic talk of the officials, the evacuation of Colenso is undoubtedly a most serious matter for the British in Natal, as it not only testifies to the complete investment of Ladysmith by the Boers, but makes the relief of Gen. White an extremely difficult operation.
Colenso is the point where the railway from Ladysmith crosses the Tugela River, which is now in flood. The town itself is of small importance. It is dominated by the hills on the north side of the river, and so was untenable if the Boers have advanced, as they seem to have done. Moreover, only as small naval and colonial force was stationed at Colenso.
JOUBERT CAN DELAY RELIEF.
The seriousness of the evacuation, however, lies in the fact that Commandant General Joubert, while completely investing Gen. White at Ladysmith, can seize Tugela bridge, and, if he was sufficient troops, can detach a force and send it southward on Pietermaritzburg; and, in any case, by destroying the bridge and railway, can prevent any relief expedition reaching Gen. White for some time.
Military men optimistically predict that Gen. Joubert will withdraw from Natal immediately Gen. Sir Redvers Buller's force enters the Orange Free State, but the latter cannot be far on his way for at least three or four weeks, and even then Gen. Joubert may not decide to intercept the British on the Free State's open veldt which would suit the British admirably, but he may wait until the last moment and then proceed by train back to Pretoria and take up strong defensive positions on the range of hills lying in front of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Thus Gen. Joubert might remain in Natal several weeks longer, endeavouring to force Gen. White into capitulation, the destruction of the Tugela River bridge helping him by cutting off British relief.
Moreover, another Boer force is reported to have marched through Zululand in the direction of Durban and already to have reached the Natal frontier. Thus, it will be seen, the position in Natal, taking into consideration a possible uprising of the disaffected Dutch, is most disquieting, and, in fact, may be described as critical. British reinforcements in any number cannot reach Durban before the end of next week.
Mr. J.B. Robinson, the South African millionaire, writes that Gen. White will be perfectly to be induced by the usual Boer tactics into being drawn out with the view of inflicting a defeat on the Boers. This is the expression of universal hope, but previous experience of Gen. White's tactics leaves room for much uneasiness during the coming week.
ANXIETY AT CAPE TOWN.
Advices from Cape Town show that the people there are beginning to realise the seriousness of the situation in Natal. The merchants are apprehensive of the Boers overrunning the entire country, and it is reported that many of them have instructed their representatives to leave Pietermaritzburg. In spite of the optimism of the military men, there is a feeling of general anxiety at Cape Town. The Orange River is reported to be so swollen that the drifts are impassable, and the Boers hold the wagon bridge at Philippolis, which is the only means of crossing.
An additional cause of anxiety is contributed by a dispatch to the Exchange Telegraph Company, which announces that the Boers have entered Cape Colony at Norvalspruit, destroying several bridges. These forces are not overwhelming, but the Dutch in the neighbourhood of Colesburg and Burghersdorp are exceptionally pro-Boer, and their support is evidently expected. The objective of this force of Boers will probably be Naauw Poort, one of the most important strategic railroad points in South Africa and which will probably be, it is said here, the first advance depot of the Second Division of the Army Corps. Naauw Poort is understood to be well garrisoned and able to take care of itself.
The Boers invading Cape Colony crossed Bethulie Bridge on Wednesday. A dispatch from Cape Town, dated November 2 says they occupied Colesburg, Cape Colony, the same day, meeting with no resistance from the local police, who yielded to superior force.
The British Army Corps will not commence arriving at Cape Town until November 8, and will scarcely be able to take the field until the middle of December, though it is likely that units will be busily engaged before then. It is reported that Gen. Hildyard's brigade will be moved on Natal without delay - probably by the end of this week.
The War Office is still ignorant as to which column Gen. Buller will lead in person. The development at Mafeking and Kimberley, it is believed, will have much weight in prompting his decision. It is now thought that both these places are able to hold out, though the War Office thinks that, after the relief of Gen. White, it is next most important to relieve Kimberley.
Published NY TIMES, November 5, 1899.
SAY BOERS CRIED FOR MERCY.
Kafirs Claim the Burghers Showed White Feather at Ladysmith.
DURBAN, November 5, 1899. - Other information confirms the statement of native eye-witnesses respecting the severity of the fighting on both Friday and Saturday at Ladysmith. The natives assert that the Boers were so cut up that they howled for mercy on the field and covered their bodies. Ladysmith is crowded with Boer prisoners and wounded, the latter presenting horrible evidence of the swordsmanship of the cavalry. The Gordon Highlanders suffered severely in the fighting.
NURSES TO GO TO AFRICA.
Mrs. Whitelaw Reid yesterday received a cablegram from her friend, Lady Randolph Churchill, asking her to secure the services of several American trained nurses. The nurses will be expected to sail for South Africa within a week. Lady Randolph Churchill will pay all the expenses. Immediately upon receipt of the request Mrs. Reid drove to the Bellevue Training School for male nurses and conferred with Mrs. Ada Willard, the Superintendent.
Mrs. Willard furnished a list of eligible nurses, and the following accepted the offer to go to the Transvaal: A. Herbert Chapman, John J. Reilly, George I. Cole, John F. McClintock, William C. Kuder, Archibald Gillies, William B. Ruth, Leon M. Howard, James M. Irwin, Stephen Crick, and Charles Nash.
Two apothecaries will be selected later. All the nurses selected are graduates of the Training School and are at the present time actively engaged in the practice of their profession.
The nurses will be sent to the front immediately upon their arrival in South Africa. They will work for the British sick and wounded in the field. It is believed the nurses will sail on Saturday.
Mrs. Reid is making all the necessary arrangements on behalf of Lady Churchill for the departure of the nurses.
PUBLISHED NY TIMES 9 November, 1899
LONDON FEARS FOR WHITE.
Apprehension that He May Be Forced to Cut His Way Out of the Town of Ladysmith.
LONDON, November 7, 1899. - The War Office announced at midnight that no dispatches had been received beyond those already made public and that nothing further would be issued before noon to-day. Thus not a solitary official item of news has been posted for nearly twenty-four hours. This has given rise to a crop of rumours that Ladysmith's ammunition is exhausted, that Sir George Stewart White is mortally wounded, that both facts are being concealed, and that other unlucky happenings have taken place. For all of these reports there is absolutely no foundation. At the same time the Britisher has had little to stimulate him within the last twenty-four hours except the news of the confident attitude of the Ladysmith garrison and its slight successes last Thursday and Friday.
Advices from other parts of South Africa are distinctly unpalatable, and everything points to a critical situation in Natal and the northern portions of Cape Colony, likely to grow more acute until Gen. White is either relieved or decisively defeated. Nobody dares to think of capitulation. Rather than that, he is expected, in last resort, if Ladysmith becomes untenable, to make a desperate effort to cut his way through the Boers back into Lower Natal, and to join hands with the garrison there, which is now almost certain to be reinforced by the first arrivals of the army corps from England and to be pressed forward to renew touch with him.
HOPE BASED ON NAVAL GUNS.
It is generally hoped, however, that Gen. White, with the aid of the naval guns, will be able to cope with any bombardment, and the idea that the Boers could take Ladysmith by assault is scouted as absurd. The defence thus depends upon the uninterrupted working of the naval guns. Right her arises the important question - upon which the dispatches have thrown no light - whether the naval guns, which themselves only arrived at the last moment, have with them sufficient ammunition to reply to a bombardment lasting possibly several weeks. If not, it is hardly likely that works exist in a small town like Ladysmith for casting the special shell needed for the 4.7" gun; moreover, there is no mention of stores of lyddite at Ladysmith for recharging these shells.
Meanwhile vague remarks in the dispatches point to the impending arrival of further big Boer guns from Johannesburg, to be mounted among the hills within range of Ladysmith. Such considerations explain the anxiety felt regarding Gen. White's movements and position not only by the public, but in official circles.
The British retirement to Estcourt has given the impression that it is intended to make a stand there. Estcourt is the last important town between the Boers and the capital of Natal, and, if the Boers sweep past Estcourt, nothing can stop them from laying siege to Pietermaritzburg, which cannot be expected to make a protracted defence, while its fall would be a tremendous blow to British prestige throughout South Africa.
BID FOR HELP IN NATAL.
Already the British retirement south of Colenso has given the Boers an opportunity to make a bid for the active support of the disaffected Dutch in Natal, by proclaiming the annexation of the Upper Tugela section. Thus far the Dutch colonists seem to have confined their sympathy with the invading Boers to a platonic emotion. Except for surreptitious assistance, there is no evidence that they have yet joined the Boers openly in any appreciable numbers.
The reported British retirement from Stormberg Junction, however, will be followed doubtless by a similar Boer proclamation annexing the portions of Cape Colony lying directly south of the Orange Free State. These proclamations, as in the case of Bechuanaland, have been, and will be, immediately followed by British counter-proclamations, but to the eyes of the Dutch farmers the presence of one Boer commando is probably more impressive than the expectation of the arrival of the whole British Army in the more or less distant future.
The British newspapers publish a list of the transports due to arrive at Cape Town from to-day. According to this, some 20,000 men should reach the Cape by the end of next week; but the Admiralty issued a chilling warning last evening to the effect that no disappointment must be felt by the public if the transports should not arrive at the dates mentioned, dates which the War Office says are "based in many cases upon too sanguine expectations."
The French press has been cheerfully announcing the issue of letters of marque by Transvaal Government and predicts the havoc which privateers may work among British merchantmen and even transports. In this, Paris journalism finds in part an explanation for the mobilization of the British special service squadron. The view taken by the German press of the same matter, is interesting. Berlin journalism treats the suggestion of privateering with scepticism. The Vossische Zeitung says:
"Privateering is no longer recognized by international law, and the Transvaal is not in a position to issue letters of marque, as it possesses neither ports nor harbours. Attempts at privateering must, consequently, be regarded not only by Great Britain, but by neutral powers, as unlawful warfare, to be treated as common piracy."
HOSPITAL FUND INCREASING.
The American hospital fund is increasing steadily, more that £11,000 ($55,000) is now in hand, including £1,000 from Mrs. Samuel Newhouse and £100 each from Mrs. Eugene Kelly and Mrs. C.P. Huntington. The Executive Committee has decided that the whole personnel of the ship - doctors, nurses, and crew - shall come from the United States, the only Englishman being the chief medical officer.
An allied fund will be opened in Paris. Mr. Harges of Drexel, Harges & Co. has issued a call for a meeting to form a committee. Lady Randolph Churchill has sent him the following telegram: "The Executive Committee thanks you for your co-operation, and hopes you may work as effectively as we are working here."
Last evening her Majesty wired in reply to a telegram from the Crimean Veterans' banquet at Portsmouth:
"The Queen vividly recalls your campaign and feels sure that the Crimean Veterans must feel proud of their younger comrades now fighting in South Africa."
The irruption of Boers in Cape Colony is beginning to awaken British fear that they have greatly underestimated the forces they will have to meet, and that even Gen. Buller's task may not be so easy as anticipated. It is becoming apparent that all the British calculations, based on population, are hopelessly at sea, or there has been a very serious leakage of Dutch sympathizers from Natal and Cape Colony. Otherwise there is no accounting for the large forces of burghers reported from all directions. The War Office, consequently, is being urged to have more troops in readiness for all possible demands.
The evacuation of Colenso and the reported withdrawal of the British force from Stormberg are still unexplained. The former may be due to either the Boer artillery rendering the place untenable, or that pressure elsewhere, possibly at Pietermaritzburg, has necessitated the concentration, at a threatened point, of all available troops. It is said that if the objective of the Boers traversing Zululand was Pietermaritzburg, they ought shortly to be heard from. That the position is regarded as serious, is apparent from the fact that British cruisers are hurrying to the Cape station.
With regard to Stormberg, it is claimed that, if it turns out ot be true, that the place has been evacuated, it may either be due to the impossibility at present of providing an adequate garrison to defend such important supplies against the Boer raids, or to a change in Gen. Buller's plans, whereby Gen. Methuen's division will be landed at Durban to relieve Gen. White. If the latter plan is decided on, the nearest available stores are those at Stormberg, and the quickest method of making the necessary provision for an advance will be to railroad those stores to East London, whence they would reach Durban before the first troopship.
A dispatch from Portland says that the Special Service Squadron has been instructed to forthwith prepare for a voyage, and that no one connected with the squadron is permitted to sleep outside the port.
The announcement of the Admiralty, that the public must not be disappointed should the British transports not reach their destination on the dates indicated in the published lists, may point to some change of plan necessitated by the bad position of affairs in Natal. It was expected that the army corps would land near Cape Town for an invasion of the Transvaal through the Orange Free State, but the landing may now be diverted to Durban. Natal, whither it is fully expected Lieut. Gen. Sir Redvers Buller will go will go within a week or two, to investigate the situation for himself.
There is also a possibility of a movement through Delagoa Bay; and the Admiralty notice regarding the transports simply means, in all likelihood, that news of their movements is to be suppressed.
Stormberg was understood to be the depot where stores, tents, guns, ammunition, and all the commissariat details of the Third Division - that under Sir William Gatacre - were in the process of accumulation. The stores have been removed to Queenstown, and an obvious explanation of their removal arises out of the Boers advance from Bethulie and Aliwal North.
In view of the near approach of British Reinforcements, a Boer invasion of Cape Colony could hardly be regarded very seriously. There may, therefore, be another reason for the withdrawal, and the stores destined by repute for Queenstown may be intended for East London or Durban. It may be Gen. Buller's intention to send on Col. Lord Paul Methuen's division, composed of guards and British brigades, to the immediate assistance of Natal. For the use of some of the stores of the Third Division, which are in the handiest position to be forwarded.
Reports that Rosmead and Naauw Poort are also to be evacuated, seem to corroborate the idea that Gen. Buller's first business will be to relieve Sir George Stewart White, if possible.
A dispatch from Pietermaritzburg, date Friday, reports that railway communication with Ladysmith is severed, the Boers having effected a lodgement at Nelthorpe, south of Ladysmith about seven miles. Among those invested at Ladysmith are Col. Rhodes, brother of Cecil Rhodes; Sir John Willoughby, and, it is believed, Dr. Jameson, as well as most of the press correspondents, and probably the Earl of Ava, son of the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava.
All the Cape railways are now in the hands of the military authorities. Five hundred tons of food stuffs were seized on board the steamship Maria, at Durban, consigned to Delagoa Bay for the Transvaal. Twenty missionaries have arrived at Durban from Swaziland, after many narrow escapes.
It is reported from Boer sources that the big gun with which Gen. Cronje had hoped to demolish Mafeking, is not a success. It is believed to be a Schneider-Canet gun, weighing with the carriage, about ten tons. The recoil is so tremendous, as to throw the gun out of gear every time it is fired. After using the weapon two days the Boers gave it up.
It is said that 11,000 men are concentrated against Kimberley and on the Free State southern frontier. Opposed to them are only 7,000 British troops. The towns which lie open to their attack are Alival North, Burghersdorp, Steynberg, Barkly, and Molteno.
Published NY TIMES, November 7, 1899.
MORE FIGHTING NEAR LADYSMITH
Rumoured at Cape Town that 2,000 Boers Have Been Captured.
FRIDAY'S BATTLE WAS SEVERE
Cavalry Charged Burghers and Annihilated Whole Command.
Belief Is Still Prevalent in London that
the Strength of the Transvaal
Has Been Underestimated.
LONDON, 8 November 1899. - Evidently detailed reports of Gen. White's doings at Ladysmith must be received before the public will be able to form a clear idea of what has happened. Reports from various sources show that another important reconnaissance or engagement occurred on Saturday to the south of Ladysmith, and a Cape Town newspaper reports that 2,000 Boers were captured there.
The suggestion of Sir Redvers Buller, in his dispatch to the War Office on Sunday, that the name of Gen. French had been given by mistake for that of Col. Brocklehust in advices to him by pigeon post from Durban, is now explained by a dispatch from Pietermaritzburg, which says that Gen. French has left Durban for Cape Colony.
Evidently Gen. Buller was aware of this.
WELCOME NEWS IN LONDON.
To-night's welcome dispatches from the front have dissipated the gloom that enveloped Ladysmith, and shows the British garrison not merely standing on the dogged defensive, but executing a series of brilliant sorties. Accounts from different sources agree that the laconic official description of Thursday's engagement as "an effective shelling of the Boer laager" was unduly modest.
It appears that Gen. Sir George Stewart White sent a strong force of cavalry and infantry to attack the Boers at Tatham's farm, about ten miles to the northwest, near Bester's, and apparently achieved a surprise, the Boers being caught on the open veldt and cut to pieces and their camp captured. Encouraged by this success, Gen. White decided to risk an even more important engagement on the following day, which was again justified by success.
Ladysmith had been isolated and a Boer force had intercepted the railway between Ladysmith and Colenso. This force on Friday had descended upon Colenso and, as shown by the dispatches from Estcourt, had compelled a hurried abandonment of Colenso and a retirement of the British to Estcourt.
Gen. White has ascertained that the Boers were attacking Colenso, bu the was not aware of the British retirement. He had determined therefore to attack the Boers in the rear, thus hoping to achieve the double object of drawing off an attack upon the weak garrison of Colenso and possibly of reopening communication southward.
The Boers had advanced southward until they had occupied the hills north of Tugela River and dominating Colenso on the other side of the stream. The hills slope to a plain that
reaches to the banks of the Tugela.
BOERS CAUGHT IN REAR.
Gen. White's division caught the Boers in the rear, and, after the hills had been shelled, the British infantry stormed the position. Meanwhile the British cavalry swept around the hills, and as the retreating enemy descended into the plains, with British bayonets behind them and the river in front of them, they were charged by the cavalry and seem to have perished almost to a man. The British then returned to Ladysmith without coming in touch with the Colenso garrison, which had retired to Estcourt.
Sunday's dispatch from Estcourt, however, showed that an armoured train had been sent back to Colenso to repair the line, and the next news may possibly be of the restoration of communication with Ladysmith.
While the British troops were thus engaged in successful endeavours to wiped out the Nicholson's Nek disaster, the situation dispatch from the General at Estcourt, was most satisfactory, encouraging a hope that Sir George White may yet completely retrieve his shaken reputation and that his force may emerge triumphant from the ordeal through which it is now passing.
While the anxiety in regard to Ladysmith is alleviated, there is a widespread recrudescence of the fear that the authorities are badly blundering, and may find too late that the main expedition will prove too weak to complete its task with safety and dispatch, as the Natal force has already admittedly failed to perform what was expected of it. The confession yesterday evening of Gen. Lord Wolseley, the Commander in Chief, that the Boers were more powerful and more numerous that had been anticipated, sufficiently explains the present happenings, and the War Office will hereafter have awkward questions to answer in regard to its apparent colossal ignorance of the Boer strength, which, both in numbers of men ad excellence of artillery, is apparently, a completed surprise to the British military authorities. Mail news from South Africa shows how inaccurate have been the estimates of the Intelligence Department and the Governmental experts.
It is gleaned therefrom that a fair estimate of the Boer forces is as follows: Around Ladysmith, 25,000; traversing Zululand, 4,000; advancing on Burghersdorp, 5,000; Colesburg, 3,000; Kimberley, 7,000; Mafeking, 4,500, and on the northern Transvaal border, 2,000. Exact information about the Boer artillery is lacking, but it is known that Gen. Joubert's detachment, before it was re-enforced, consisted of sixteen Krupp field pieces of the latest pattern and two heavy Creuzot siege guns, which, but for the opportune arrival of the British Naval Brigade, would have rendered Ladysmith untenable.
WORK OF THE NAVAL GUNS.
In connection with the naval guns a most interesting and important experiment has been successfully carried out at Cape Town with a 4.7 inch gun, so serviceable at Ladysmith. One of the British cruiser Terrible's guns, mounted on as Scott travelling carriage, was fired in the same way as a field gun, with entire success. The Terrible, with a number of guns thus mounted, is on her way to Durban, and though the guns cannot now reach Ladysmith they may be of the greatest value in the defence of Pietermaritzburg, which, it seems, will probably have to stand a siege. The arrival of the Terrible with the relief crews for China and other available men, must have place in teh neighbourhood of 3,000 more men at the service of the military authorities.
Interesting news comes from the Channel Squadron at Gibraltar, showing precautions against all eventualities almost unknown in European waters in peace time. On the way to Gibraltar the fleet spread out four miles apart, and a sharp outlook was kept for suspicious craft. At Gibraltar extra sentries are posted at night at different parts of the ships, with ten rounds of ball cartridges each, the small guns on the upper deck and in the fighting tops are kept ready for immediate use, the ammunition being on deck; a few men sleep at the guns, the searchlights are kept working, and all boats are hailed and not allowed to approach without the permission of the officer of the watch.
Gen. Lord Wolseley, the Commander in Chief, has written to Lady Randolph Churchill, thanking her for the efforts of the American women in England, in fitting out a hospital ship for South African waters.
He says: "I am only too anxious to help you in this matter, in order to show you how thoroughly our army and, indeed, the nation appreciated this evidence of the interest American women take in our sick and wounded."
The Maine will sail for the Cape on November 25, with Lady Randolph Churchill on board.
Published NY TIMES, 8 November, 1899
White Remembers Prince of Wales.
DURBAN, November 9, 1899. - It is understood that a message was received here to-day from Gen. White, at Ladysmith, by pigeon, containing birthday congratulations for the Prince of Wales, and was forwarded to London.
Published NY TIMES, November 14, 1899.
TOPICS OF THE TIMES.
A correspondent of The St. Louis Globe Democrat, speaking, he says, from knowledge acquired in the course of twenty years' service in India as an army Chaplain - which is not, perhaps, the very best possible training for a military critic - asserts that it was a "grievous mistake" to give Gen. Sir George White an important command in South Africa, and that the disaster which has followed might easily have been prophesied. The General, according to this authority, is a brave soldier, a thorough gentleman, and chivalrous to the highest degree, but he is not a born leader of armies. His lack of strategical ability is said to have had convincing display several times in India, and at the outbreak of the Afridi war Gen. White was set aside and absolute command of the frontier force was entrusted to Gen. Lockhart. In the ex-Chaplain's opinion the man to meet the Boers was Roberts or Kitchener, preferable the former, but Gen. Wolseley is insanely jealous of them both, and sent instead an officer of the type of Colley and Chelmsford. "Roberts," the correspondent continues, "is not an old man as Generals go, being only sixty-six. He is in full health and vigour, and, having been trained in the Quartermaster General's Department, he would not have been found napping regarding ammunition and supplies. His experience in the Indian mutiny, in the Looshal expeditionary force, in the two Afghan wars, and in Burma, would have fitted him for this work in South Africa. For we must understand that the Boers in their methods of warfare resemble the warlike races of India, rather than European soldiers, and it is in this that Gen. White, who has always served with British soldiers, finds himself in a quandary."
Published NY TIMES, November 10, 1899.
MURMURS AGAINST BRITISH OFFICIALS
Reports of Mismanagement of the South African War.
Great Britain Anxious to Acquire Delagoa Bay
LONDON, November 11, 1899. Our South African war is not going on well. That is the impression one gathers in official circles, and it is strengthened by the determined silence of the commanders in South Africa. Not only have they imposed the most
rigorous censorship on the war correspondents, so that it is doubtful if even their sealed letters would be allowed to go through un-doctored, but the Commander in Chief confines his messages, which are rare, to the baldest details and trivialities.
We do not expect to be told where each regiment is located, how many trains are running between certain stations conveying divisions to the front, or in what state the commissariat is; but some light is wanted upon the arrangements made by the War Office for provisioning the immense host we have in South Africa, and we also want to know what the feeling and attitude of the Cape Colony Dutch is toward us. Whispers go round that their young men in large numbers have quietly joined the Orange Free State farmers, and it may be because we know nothing that apprehensions are expressed lest the lines of communication be cut by disaffected provincials after the army of invasion has been assembled, say at De Aar Junction.
Already hints are being dropped from the newspaper offices that their correspondents on the spot are preparing formidable indictments against the War Office over its ignorance of the confusion prevailing in Durban and Cape Town, and the general lack
of foresight shown in the preparations made for this great campaign.
WAR ADVOCATES' MISTAKE.
I do not wish to lay too much stress on these fleeting exhibitions of discontent, nor on the sinister rumours about the health of the troops, which may spring to some extent from the attitude of mind which was dominant when we began this war. Throughout the country, from the Commander in Chief downward, no advocate of the war believed the Boers would resist except for form's sake. They looked forward to a promenade from Durban or rallying points on the frontier of the Orange Free State to Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. Something like consternation, therefore, spread throughout the ranks of these warmongers when they
found that the Boers not only could fight, but could stand up to an enemy as we have never been confronted since the Crimean war.
It is in a double sense a bitter disappointment to the war party that the Ladysmith episode should have occurred, and we can measure its alarm in the continual hurrying forward of fresh troops. On Thursday night at the Mansion House the Marquis of Salisbury announced that still another 10,000 men are going to be hurried to the seat of war immediately. It will be about our last levy, unless we fall back upon militiamen and volunteers. The War Office talks about calling up further reserves, but there are few men to call who are fit for active service in a hot climate, and the critics of the Government's policy are by no means satisfied that any good will be done by pouring our last battalion of soldiers into these colonies. Commissariat difficulties will multiply at a disproportionate ratio with each additional thousand men sent to the front. But this is essentially a gamblers' war, in its origin and in the spirit with which it has been undertaken, and those responsible must hurry it to a conclusion by every means available, in order to stifle the murmurings already beginning to be heard from the large section of the community that undoubtedly looks on this conflict with the utmost distaste if not with positive loathing.
ALARM ABOUT LADYSMITH.
In War Office circles meanwhile there is the dread lest the Ladysmith defenders be compelled to lay down their arms before relief can reach them. For the past week extremely little information has come through from Sir George White, but it is plain that the Boers have bottled him up, that they are in possession of the railway line at more than one point between him and the base, and that they are more or less keeping him amused with bombardments until they have so effectually broken his line of communication with the coast as to make speedy relief difficult. There has evidently been little fighting, although every day the evening papers have poured out tales of Boer slaughter of the most blood-curdling description, stooping many of them to collect yarns from stray Kafirs in order to horrify people.
All this is rapidly producing a reaction that must assume formidable proportions if great success is not scored soon. While waiting for it the "yellow" press of London has taken up the congenial pursuit of scapegoat hunting. At first it tried to run down Sir George White, as I have already told, but that scent soon gave out. This chivalrous soldier, whatever error he may have made at the commencement, has shown too determined staying power to be a fit mark for abuse by the rabid journalist. So now official society and foaming newspapers are turning against the Secretary of State for War, Lord Lansdowne. He is to blame, they shout, because he opposed Lord Wolseley and the War Office in their efforts to get ready in time to pounce upon Krueger the moment he shouldered his gun. I believe this to be absolute nonsense, but it is the fashion here always when the army gets into a mess to fasten the blame upon Parliamentary heads of departments.
LORD LANSDOWNE'S ATTITUDE.
The Marquis of Lansdowne is a mild gentleman of benevolent disposition and considerable abilities, who undoubtedly was a member of the peace party in the Cabinet, and since the war commenced has gone so far as to call it a kind of civil war. He is, therefore, on several grounds obnoxious to the extreme war party, but that he did anything whatever to hinder the preparations of the military heads of departments in their offices I do not for a moment believe. It is within my knowledge that the Woolwich Arsenal has been working day and night for something like six months past in order to get ready for this conflict. Originally, however, the military chiefs did not contemplate sending any thing like so large a force as they now declare necessary, and the failure of the department to have everything in readiness was due to the fact that preparations were commenced on too small a scale. It may in consequence be months before the whole army being tumbled into South Africa is in a position to advance in a body into the enemy's country.
Altogether we are going to have a pretty hot bed of trouble over this conflict, and it need surprise nobody should more high personages than Lord Lansdowne be sacrificed to judiciously diverted popular indignation in order to screen the real culprits. We may be quite sure the permanent War Office officials will take perfectly good care of themselves. They have never failed to do so yet by throwing over parliamentary Jonahs one after the other as the instinct of self-preservation demanded.
VALUE OF DELAGOA BAY.
Our wish for years back has been to get possession of that portion of the Portuguese Colony on the east coast of Africa which embraces the most splendid harbour in all the continent. We want that place now, all our jingoes are shouting, in order to send the army round there and take the whole Transvaal in the rear, coming down upon Pretoria from the northeast in a manner that would put an end to the war in four weeks. When, therefore, no hint was given that Delagoa Bary agreement with Germany had been arrived at, the public ceased to take any more interest in Samoa and its affairs.
Why we should be so anxious to settle the Delagoa Bay ownership with Germany is something difficult to understand, because it apparently should be with Portugal that an agreement must be made. But the German East African territory requires and outlet on the coast, and it has always been a dread of ours that the Germans might buy Portugal out before we could get in the game. Also it has been again and again reported that President Krueger meant to annex that splendid harbour, so as to be able to have an outlet for the Transvaal Republic without passing through British territory. Whether that was so is perhaps doubtful. but the more we are in senseless terror about the fate of our troops at Ladysmith, the greater our desire to get hold of this anchorage, and imperialist enthusiasts have been declaring this week that we shall take it temporarily whether Portugal likes or not, should the exigencies of the campaign demand the seizure. That is mere windy nonsense, for we ar anxious to be friends with Germany just now.
Published NY TIMES, November 12, 1899.
REPORT OF A BOER DEFEAT.
Word Reaches Estcourt that an Attack on Ladysmith Was Repulsed with Great Loss.
ESTCOURT, Natal, November 16, 1899. - A missionary, a native, but a reliable man, who arrived here yesterday from Ladysmith, reports that a big fight took place there on Friday, November 10. He says the volunteers went out in the early morning and drew the enemy from their positions on to a flat, where the regular troops, under Sir George White, outmanoeuvred them by outflanking the Boers, administering a crushing defeat and inflicting great loss.
More than 200 Kafirs, the missionary says, were employed by the Boers to bury their dead, and two trains, each drawn by two engines, carried away the wounded.
A dispatch from Durban dated Monday, November 13, says that a member of the Natal field force, who has succeeded in traversing the Boer lines with Ladysmith dispatches, has arrived at Pietermaritzburg and reports that a determined attack was made by the Boers on the British garrison, which was quite prepared and met the advance with such a heavy and well-directed fire that the Boers were driven off, leaving many dead.
This runner stated that Ladysmith was bombarded on Thursday, November 9, by six forty-pounders, one shot from which struck Illing's store. The British big naval guns were still silent when he left. Little damage was done y the Boer bombardment, and there were few casualties. The runner further said that the Boers intend to visit Colenso to-morrow.
It is reported that Ladysmith was subjected to a very heavy bombardment all day Tuesday, and that at midnight all the cannon on the hills surrounding the town opened fire simultaneously, pouring shells from all points of the compass. Several buildings afire, the newspaper asserts, could be distinctly seen from Bulwana Hill.
The reports that the Boers have penetrated southward from Colenso to Chievely, where they are said to have cut the railroad, shows, it is claimed, that they are adopting a proper strategical plan to impede the advance of the British relieving force. Perhaps this may turn out to be Gen. Schalk Burger's force, which, when last heard from, was raiding Zululand. This force, it is asserted, may next be heard from south of Estcourt, which they will, in all likelihood, attempt to isolate before further reinforcements arrive. Indeed, it is already reported that a Boer force has been seen in the neighbourhood of the line north of the Mooi River.
The Boers have renamed Dundee "Meyersdorp," after Gen. Symons there.
It is said this morning that 200 wounded of Gen. Meyer's force arrived at Pretoria the next day.
There are signs that a forward movement for the relief of Kimberley may be expected shortly. There is great activity at De Aar, situated on the railroad, about 150 miles south of Kimberley, whence the advance appears likely to be made. There is, it is claimed, no urgent reason for this unless food at Kimberley is getting low, but, it is added, the moral effect would be good for the British.
Published NY TIMES, November 17, 1899.
CAMPAIGNS OF THE BOERS
Incidents of Sieges at Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking.
CONQUEST OF NATAL AIMED AT
Burghers Considered the Task One That Would Cause Them No Great Trouble.
Foreign Correspondence NEW YORK TIMES.
CAPE TOWN. November 16, 1899. - The position of affairs at Ladysmith continues to excite much anxiety, while the progress of the campaign on the western borders of Cape Colony is being regarded with great interest. Sir George White's little garrison at
Ladysmith continues to be invested by the great bulk of the Boer forces. Next to that of Mafeking, the siege of Ladysmith promises to be the most picturesque incident in the earlier stages of the campaign. The British force took up its position there, determined to make a stand and accept battle on the enemy's terms. The women and children and non-combatants generally were removed from the town to a neutral zone a few miles away, and the two Generals set to fight an artillery duel which is bound to exercise an enormous influence on the first part of the struggle.
The county round about not being of a nature to justify military excursion except in such strength as the number of British troops
at present at Ladysmith renders impossible the garrison must remain in the town to be shot at, and, although, of course, the garrison can shoot in turn, it is obvious that the advantage lies with the Boers, who have the option of selecting the points of attack. The result of the siege so far, however, is scarcely flattering to the Boer artillery. In addition to the artillery of the Boers rarely making good play, their ammunition is very defective. Many of their shells do not explode, on account, it is said, of the ammunition having been kept in stock too long.
M. Louis de Rougement has just returned to the Caped from Ladysmith, where, he says, he witnessed the recent engagement from a hill. Speaking of the situation and the battle, he said: "I consider the place the finest possible to find for defence. Every 100 yards is a fortress, and I consider Ladysmith impregnable. Hide's farm was the seat of the right, and he drove the cattle into town. Soon after hostilities began I say a pretty sight. While the big shells were passing over, some women who were washing linen kept at it, and never stopped even to see what damage was done. I should like to have asked their nationality."
THE SIEGE OF KIMBERLEY.
It now seems that Cape Colony is to occupy the serious attention of the Boers. Kimberley, being close to the Orange Free State border, naturally claims their first attention. The diamond centre has for some time been in a state of siege, which from every point of view, however, it is regarded as being well able to withstand. The Boers are now shelling the town. With the object of hitting the electric light, they fired at the Premier Mine, but their shells fell harmlessly. They then moved their guns forward, and were seen to throw up entrenchments near Alexandersfontein, with the object evidently of attacking Beaconsfield, a suburb of Kimberley. They also opened on the Kimberley reservoir, but their shells, falling 1,500 yards short, the Royal Artillery in Kimberley disdained to reply.
The attempt of the Boers to bombard Newton was a dismal failure. They apparently fired from an old siege gun at an extreme range - over 6,000 yards - none of the shells taking effect. The children ran about picking up the shells after each explosion, many of these being almost intact. Later there was a brisk artillery duel between the Premier Mine, and two parties of Boers. The natives were kept down the mine for safety. One of the Boer shells struck the embankment in front of the fort, another entered the compound and struck the cooking pot, but none did any damage. The Royal Artillery plunged a shell right among the Boers, knocking over the gunners and disabled the gun. There was a brisk market for fragments of the injured cooking pot, choice specimen as mementoes readily fetching £1 apiece. New barricades have been formed and additional sentries posted. Mr. Rhodes, who is in Kimberley, was recently stopped and refused permission to pass without a permit. There have been three weddings in the town since the commencement of the siege.
A Kimberley cab driver, captured by the Boers and taken to their camp at Spytfontein, has since been permitted to return. He says the Free Staters talked boastfully of their intention to take Kimberley, but admitted that they had not the least idea how it was to be carried out. They confessed that their artillery had not come up to expectations.
Head Commandant Wessels has written to Col. Kekewich at Kimberley, stating that he would receive in his camp at Olifantstein any Afrikander desirous of leaving Kimberley. Col. Kekewich thereupon intimated that any such persons who might wish to accept the invitation would be permitted to leave, but upon the distinct understanding that they would not be allowed to re-enter the town during the siege. Some Kafirs who left Kimberley under the impression that they were genuine Afrikanders were turned back by the Boers.
LIVELY TIMES AT MAFEKING.
Matters have been pretty lively, also, at Mafeking. Col. Baden-Powell has been keeping the Boers on the move day and night, and has taken every precaution, not only to prevent the town being rushed by the Boers, but also to render as small as possible any damage resulting from the Boer bombardment. The night attacks of the British appear to have worried the Boers considerably. Although the latter have shelled the town day by day, but little damage has resulted, the British casualties having been but few. Commandant Cronje has brought all his guns to bear on the town, and hailed shells in its direction for hours. His pieces, however, appear to have been light fields guns, and have proved singularly ineffective. The humour of it is that Commandant Cronje, at a loss what next to do, wrote to Col. Baden-Powell requesting him to surrender Mafeking to "save further bloodshed." In reply, Baden-Powell asked when the bloodshed was to commence, and Cronje, greatly annoyed, sent to Pretoria in haste for heavy field guns, keeping up a light bombardment in the meantime just to show that he was in the neighbourhood.
Immediately on its arrival, a 94-pounder Krupp cannon commenced throwing shells into the town, causing a few casualties and damaging some of the buildings. Col. Baden-Powell has completed the subterranean shelters, affording shelter for both troops and civilians during the heavy bombardment of the town from the danger of the bursting shells. Under cover of the bombardment the Boers attempted to get within rifle range. Being discovered, they were beaten off after a sharp engagement. In the sortie both soldiers and civilians behaved gallantly, and the Boers had their first opportunity of judging the mettle of the Protectorate Regiment at close quarters. So warm was their attempting to rush the town, except in greatly overwhelming numbers.
However, Col. Baden-Powell, observing that the enemy was coming to too close quarters, determined on a night attack, an enterprise of great daring. It was nevertheless accomplished in magnificent style. A squadron under Capt. Fitzclarence, in the dead of night, left the camp in Mafeking, where the few who knew of the undertaking awaited the result in great anxiety, and crept stealthily toward the Boer trenches. The Boers were taken completely by surprise. The British squadron left the camp with fixed bayonets, and as soon as they had reached their destination, the Captain's whistle was sounded, and was followed by a ringing cheer as the men dashed forward to the Boer trenches. For a time the night air rang out with the shouts and yells of the contending forces. The Boer forces in the rear rushed forward and discharged their rifles. Capt. Fitzclarence's whistle sounded again, and at this signal the Britishers sprang out of the trenches and scattered themselves silently in all directions, just as the Boers in the trenches were reinforced by their comrades from the rear. Under a shower of rifle shot the British ran back to their lines. Besides a loss of six killed, the British had ten wounded, including Capt. Fitzclarence, and also one man taken prisoner by the Boers. This bayonet attack has had the effect of stopping the Boers from making trenches within range of the town. It is estimated that the loss of the Boers was very heavy. When the British ambulance went out to fetch in the dead, it was met a quarter of a mile distant from the town by Commandant Botha, who expressed his admiration for Fitzclarence's attack.
HEAVY ARTILLERY ENGAGEMENT.
On the hottest day of the siege, Commandant Cronje commenced his big gun attack at four o'clock in the morning, concentrating upon Cannon Kopje, which he evidently recognized as the only way into Mafeking. At six o'clock the Boers opened a tremendous fire into the kopje from both sides. The British replied with a withering fire, and put the enemy's 12-pounder temporarily out of action. Under the cover of their artillery fire the Boers crept up close to the kopje, fully aware that rushing tactics only, could avail them, but the Protectorate Maxim, together with the police volleys, wore them down, and after five hours' hard fighting they were repulsed. The opinion prevails that the Boers were beaten for all time so far as Mafeking is concerned. The Boers must have lost very heavily; for several hours two wagons were engaged along their position picking up the dead and wounded. The British casualties were three killed and five wounded. After the fight the kopje resembled a shambles. The look-out tower was shot to pieces.
Commandant Cronje is a heavy, thick-set man of stolid countenance, with bushy eye-brows, stern, set mouth, grizzled mustache, and dark thick beard, streaked with gray. He is a typical Boer, with the strongest racial prejudices. Stories of his daring deeds in the early days as a pioneer among the hordes of hostile savages are recounted with almost reverential awe, by unsophisticated burghers at the present day for the emulation of youthful warriors. In guerrilla warfare he is credited with being the ables tactician in the whole of the Boer forces.
TRANSVAAL SHORT OF FUNDS.
The Transvaal Government is evidently running short of funds. The pay of the police is much overdue. The normally busy mining centre of Barberton is deserted; there are not over fifty males there. Pretoria is unable to obtain any news of the campaign, official or otherwise. The Government has taken over the mines in the neighbourhood of Johannesburg, and a careful examination of the workings is being made. It is believed the authorities are on the eve of sensational discoveries. While carelessly tapping the walls of Hosken's Buildings the Detective Department noticed that they gave forth a hollow sound. The walls were demolished, and what was believed to be a thick buttress crumbled into dust, revealing a cavity packed with a valuable assortment of goods. Further investigations proved the floors to be false, and it is believed the cellars are overflowing with merchandise. The search is proceeding.
Col. J.G. Stowe, the Consul General of the United States at Cape Town, has communicated by telegraph with the Transvaal Government, informing it of the names and condition of the Transvaal prisoners at Simon's Bay. This act of official courtesy, it is hoped, will be appreciated by the Transvaal State Secretary, and cause him to facilitate the inquiries whic are being instituted by the United States Consul at Pretoria as to the status and condition of the British prisoners. Rumours are being circulated by the Dutch inhabitants in the neighbourhood of Cape Town that the prisoners of war at Simon's Bay are being badly treated. The facts,
however, are as follows: The prisoners are victualed exactly the same as the British troops when on board ship. More can scarcely be expected by prisoners captured as troops.
The prisoners are allowed to smoke at all hours upon the upper deck - a privilege which the British officers and seamen do not enjoy. Bedding is provided for them, but not clothing. They are required to perform such cleaning work as is absolutely necessary to keep the portion of the ship allotted to them clean; this is always required of seamen and troops. They are not, however, required to do any other work. Any luxuries, except liquor, which they care to purchase, or which they may receive from friends, are allowed to them. They are allowed to interview friends from noon to 4 P.M. daily, and are allowed to correspond freely by letter, except in regard to politics and the disposition of troops, so that their letters are under censorship. They are treated with every consideration and under the most liberal interpretation of the international duties toward prisoners of war, laid down by the accepted writers.
SCENES ON THE PRISON SHIP.
The friends of the prisoners at the Cape take full advantage of the permission accorded them, and there is quite a crowd of visitors each day to the Penelope. At the stern of the vessel floats the white ensign, and on the fore and aft bridges a couple of bluejackets are on sentry with loaded rifles. The deck presents a motley scene. The prisoners and their friends stand about in groups, absorbed in conversation. Those who have no friends lounge about the decks smoking. Some are playing quoits, while others are busy making purchases from the Indian hawkers, who drive a thriving trade. The prisoners are dressed in a variety of costumes; many of them are smartly attired in well-cut tweed suits, while others, with their clumsy garments, ungainly "veldschoen," and broad slouch hats, present the appearance of hailing from the backveldt, although, as a matter of fact, nearly all of them come from the Rand or its immediate vicinity. Between themselves and their friends conversation is carried on in Dutch, but, on accosting them in English, one is astonished to find how large a proportion of them not only speak English, but speak it fluently and with a less pronounced accent than is to be heard among Afrikanders in Cape Colony, and even in Cape Town itself. Generally speaking, the prisoners by no means convey the idea of the backveldt Transvaal, although here and there are to be seen men who have evidently come straight from the country.
A striking figure among the prisoners is Capt. Schiel, who was shot through the leg at Elandslaagte, but is now sufficiently recovered to be able to get about with the aid of a crutch. Capt. Schiel is a middle-aged, well-set-up man, with iron-gray hair and a determined mien. He speaks English fluently and in conversation gives one the idea of being socially a genial and good-natured soldier of fortune. He denies that he is the man for whom the British Government offered £1,000 in connection with the Zulu war of 1879, and, moreover, declares that he has never done anything of which and officer need be ashamed. As to the war and its issue, he is not to be drawn into hazarding a prophecy. He pays a high tribute to the British infantry in general and the Gordon Highlanders in particular, whose charge up the hill at Elandslaagte he describes as as magnificent piece of work. Capt. Schiel has applied to Gen. Buller to be released on bail, but has been refused.
THE PRISONERS SANGUINE.
The majority of the prisoners are very sanguine as to the result of the war, and it is evident that they do not for a moment, entertain the idea of the Boers being beaten, and consider it quite impossible that the British flag will ever again fly at Pretoria. Nothing will convince them that at Elandslaagte the British force was not greater than their own, and the opinion is common among them that had there been better generalship on their own side, they would never have been prisoners of war at Simonstown. Many members of the captured force point out that leaders who become so excited as to take places with their rifles in the firing line, while neglecting the actual direction of operations, cannot possibly attend to their legitimate duties.
With regard to the Boer plan of campaign, it is evident that the conquest of Natal was not considered as a task that would cause any very serious trouble. Once in possession of the military depot at Ladysmith, they considered there would be little difficulty in seizing Pietermaritzburg and Durban, and thus place themselves in possession of the whole colony. Ladysmith, they admit, is a strong colony. Ladysmith, they admit, is a strong position, but they deemed a strong commando capable of readily capturing it. The Boer idea appears to have been that when they conquered Natal and garrisoned it with a powerful force, the British Government would be ready to make terms. Col. Stowe had visited the Boer prisoners on board the Penelope. More Boer prisoners are en route to the Cape.
Among the killed at Elandslaagte was Gen. Kock, member of the Executive Council. Gen. Kock had no military rank in time of peace, but, with eight others, was appointed to command the various divisions into which the Transvaal was divided for the purposes of the present war. The command held by Gen. Kock was that of a portion of the forces which entered Natal from the Transvaal, and under him were German and Hollander Corps. Gen. Kock's column appears from all accounts to have detached itself from the main body and taken the division of Ladysmith, while the latter went around to Dundee. It is stated that Lieut. Col. Schiel led the forces to Elandslaagte, although Gen. Kock was nominally in command. It is highly probable that this was the case. Being entirely unaccustomed to artillery, it can be readily imagined that the General would have been only too willing to relinquish to a more masterful spirit than himself the conduct of operations requiring the employment of special tactics. Whether the result would have been different had Gen. Kock retained command can only be a matter of speculation. It is safe to assume, however, that the rout would have been complete, for a Boer General would never have kept the field in face of a galling fire, while, on the other hand, a dashing officer like Schiel, with a body of his fellow-countrymen, well accustomed to discipline, under him, would hold the position to the last, but the presence of a considerable element of the rabble, or "poor white" class of Boers, made the position untenable.
BOER LEADERS AFFLICTED.
Up to the present every member of the Transvaal Executive has lost a member of his family. The Kocks and Wolmarans have suffered most. Frickkie Wolmarans, Mining Commissioner at Hocksoord, was among the killed at Elandslaagte. Also J. du Preez, one of the wealthiest landowners at Krugersdorp, as well as Messrs. Hayber and "Tom" Hinds, well-known throughout the Transvaal as manufacturers of tobacco. It is also said that Commandant Ben Viljoen was killed at Elandslaagte, but this has not been officially confirmed. All that can be ascertained for certain is that he is missing. It was at first generally supposed among the Boers that he had been taken prisoner at Elandslaagte, but as this has proved not to be the case and he has not yet turned up, the Boers have probably concluded that he was killed. The Boer prisoners say that when Viljoen found himself and party surrounded by the British and the centre of the Hussar charge, he exclaimed: "I wish the man who told us the English can't fight was here now."
Five Britishers remained at Krugersdorp, Transvaal, on the strength of their permits, but have now been sent to the front, strongly
protesting. The last Britisher to leave the place has now arrived at Durban. She is the wife of a tradesman, and had resolutely
resolved to see it out, but the threats of her Dutch neighbours at last became unbearable. The woman says that the district is
in mourning, the number of West Rand burghers reported killed being very large.
There has been arrested on a charge of high treason at Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Natal, a man named Vandam, who joined the Rifle Association of the city and took the oath of allegiance. As, however, he subsequently admitted being a cousin of Commandant Vandam of Johannesburg, and also of Dr. Leyds, he was requested to resign. He, notwithstanding this, continued to attend meetings of the association. He thus aroused suspicion. His case has been remanded.
It is still possible to leave the Transvaal by the Delagoa line, and some of the firms in Cape Town have received purely business communications, dated nearly three weeks ago. Further advices, however, are not expected, as it is understood that the last commandos have now been called to the front. A refugee, who has recently come via Delagoa, gives a remarkable - and bearing in mind the well-authenticated facts of 1881 - and almost incredible account of the lenient treatment of spies in Johannesburg. He says that two Englishmen were apprehended with dynamite and fuse on their persons, without permits, at 11 P.M. in the public streets.
Although it was the general opinion that the sentence would be death, they were after trial by court-martial, only lashed the next morning and put over the frontier. Four natives, however, were tried by court-martial one afternoon, sent to Pretoria, and hanged the next morning.
On the evening in which he left the refugee noticed the Government police, although it was Sunday, and the Boers are generally rigid Sabbatarians opening grocers' stores by means of chisels and choppers. From conversation he overheard, it would appear that a portion at least of Johannesburg is doomed. The officials declare that they must make the capitalists suffer, and have decided, whether they win or lose the day, to destroy the Exchange House, Goldfields Consolidated, the Robinson and Barnato Buildings, and other property.
The telegram from Transvaal Secretary Reitz, threatening to shoot six British officers from anong the prisoners of war at Pretoria, in the event of the death sentence being passed upon a man named Marks, arrested at Durban on the charge of being a Transvaal spy, is loudly condemned as an instance of Boer ferocity. Secretary Reitz states that Marks is no spy of the Boer army, but a secret detective for criminal cases, and as such was sent to Natal long before war was declared, all of which the Transvaal Secretary states can be proved by the Magistrate of Pietermaritzburg. The Transvaal Government therefore requests that the prisoner be allowed to proceed to the republic without molestation, as in case of his execution the Government will shoot six British officers in his place. The telegram was sent to Sir George White, in command at Natal, and communicated by him to Gen. Buller in Cape Town, who suggested that the answer be: "The Transvaal Government, when it declared war, should have withdrawn its detectives. If a Transvaal detective has been found within our lines during war, we are justified in holding him until the reason for his presence can be properly explained. Will make the inquiries suggested by your telegram."
THE SURRENDER OF VRYBURG.
There has just arrived in Cape Town a number of refugees from Vryburg, which is shown on the maps of South Africa as a town in British Bechuanaland, but which, on the declaration of war by the Transvaal, was promptly annexed by the Boers. Among the refugees are several members of the Volunteer Corps, which, before what is termed the fall of Vryburg, was disbanded, owing, it was generally supposed, to several of its members being suspected of doubtful loyalty. It now appears that the disbandment was simply resolved on when the townspeople, in public meeting assembled, determined to yield to the demands of Gen. De lay Rey to surrender in order to avoid bloodshed. With a force of 100 police and 60 volunteers, and with one Maxim, the town was helpless against the Boers, who were 1,100 strong, and had three guns. The part played by Major Scott in the surrender was heroic and pathetic. When the meeting had resolved to surrender and sent a deputation to request him to retire, the Major first called the officers of the volunteers and police together, and explained the position - namely, that his orders from Col. Kekewich were to hold the place, and that he was determined to do so. He was, however, overruled by numbers, and most reluctantly he retired with the police to the veldt. Although there was only twenty-four hours' supply of either food or water in the town, Major Scott made one more desperate effort. He called for men who would fight to the last. Six responded to his appeal. On this he went out, but with a broken heart. The men camped out on the veldt for the night, but without any camp equipments, and Major Scott lay down to rest beside Sub-Inspector Rush. In the course of the night he complained of the cold, rose up and left the Sub-Inspector's side. Two minutes afterward Rush heard a shot, and, thinking it was the Boers upon them, he raised an alarm, only to find Major Scott shot through the head, quite dead. The police buried the Major next day at Geluk, where the spot is now fenced in.
At the time of the surrender many farmers were gathered in town for Nachtmaal, a periodical form of religious service, in which the farmers of a Dutch district in South Africa travel many miles to town in order to take part. Both farmers and townspeople were seized with panic and fled in all directions. Gen. De la Rey, in a short speech, declared the town to be annexed to the Transvaal, at the same time hoisting the Vierkleur. The Civil Commissioner and his officials, who had remained at their posts, were then summoned by the General, who ordered them to leave the town. They were, however, treated with every courtesy, and passes to convey them through the Boer lines were given them.
The officials with their wives and families, in the course of their journey to Cape Colony, had to pass several commandos both of the Transvaal and Free State burghers. Their treatment by the Free Staters was much better than by the Transvaalers, who jeered at them, but offered no violence. In every way, and especially in smartness and equipment, the Free Stater commandos, the refugees say, compare favourably with those of the Transvaal. The camps of the latter were guarded in the most slovenly manner. Many of the stores on the road had been looted, and the burghers were wearing clothing that had thus been commandeered. The railway station at Taungs was utterly looted, the papers being scattered over the veldt, while miles of telegraph tape had been unwound as if in sport. In fact, the Boers had behaved like children at mischief. The railway bridge at Hartz River had been broken and a good deal of damage done at points along the line. Nevertheless, the refugees met with considerable kindness at the hands of some Free State officials, who went to much trouble to lighten the hardships fo the little party. The power of the Kimberley searchlight may be judged from the fact that its reflection was seen seventy miles distant from Kimberley. This light is an awe-inspiring as well as inexplicable phenomenon to the Boers, who try in vain to escape its rays as it plays upon their laagers and upon themselves when on the march. It literally searches them out and throws them into a light as clear as day.
Since the surrender of Vryburg the Civil Commissioner has been the object of much adverse criticism throughout the Colony, which apparently was unmerited. It is claimed that but for the line of action he adopted there would have been great and useless bloodshed. After the Mayor bolted, he has to assume the responsibility of governing the town. When the evacuation had been decided on, a number of residents visited the Boer laager and urged them to take possession.
Published NY TIMES, December 17, 1899
BOERS IN AMBUSH DEFEAT BRITISH
Derail an Armoured Train and Capture Many Soldiers.
LIEUTENANT CHURCHILL A CAPTIVE
Latest Advices Indicated that 100 to 150 are Missing.
London Believes the Imperial Troops Were Led Into a Trap - Discredited Rumour of Gen. Joubert's Death.
ESTCOURT, November 16, 1899. - An armoured train, engaged in reconnoitring the Boer position, was derailed yesterday by a force of the enemy who were in ambush, and it is estimated the British loss was 100 to 150 in killed, wounded, and missing. Among the latter are Capt. Haldane and Lieut. Winston Churchill, son of Lady Randolph Churchill. Both, it is believed, are prisoners.
The British seem to have walked into a deliberate trap. It is believed that few escaped. Many of the wounded were brought back on the locomotive and tender of the armoured train. Capt. Haldane of the Gordon Highlanders was attached to the Fusiliers, and other officers were with them.
The list of casualties is awaited with great anxiety.
The train, having on board a half company of the Durban Volunteers and a half company of the Dublin Fusiliers, steamed to Chieveley yesterday morning. On its return it was shelled by the artillery of the Boers, place in four positions. Two trucks in front of the engine left the rails, toppling over. While the train was thus helpless, the Durbans and Dublins faced Boers in skirmishing order, and the Boers poured shot and shell into the crippled train. The derailed wagons were with great difficulty removed and the line was cleared, when the engine and tender steamed back.
During this juncture Lieutenant Winston Churchill formerly of the Fourth Hussars, newspaper correspondent of The London Morning Post and grandson of the Late Leonard Jerome of New York, displayed much courage, as also did the driver and fireman.
SHATTERED BY BOER ARTILLERY.
The naval seven-pounder, which was in front of the truck, had fired three shots, when it was shattered by the Boer artillery. The armoured engine has many bullet marks, and its dome cover is smashed, as, also, is its automatic exhaust pipe and twenty-five-ton screwjack. The tender is also pitted with bullet marks.
Later details show that a heavy rain and mist compelled a cessation of firing. Lieutenant Churchill bravely carried the wounded to the tender under fire. While the Boers were destroying the train their scouts pushed in and exchanged shots with the British pickets a few miles from Estcourt. It appears that the Boers were in ambush. As soon as the train had passed up, they emerged from cover and dislodged the sleeper bolts.
This evening a Red Cross train which had been sent to the scene returned. Dr. Briscoe reported that, on meeting the Boer patrol, he was halted and asked what he wanted. He replied that he had come with the train to remove the killed and wounded. The Boer told him to make his request in writing, and Dr. Briscoe complied.
After waiting for two hours, another Boer came and informed Dr. Briscoe that, as Gen. Joubert was very far away, no answer to the request could be furnished until to-morrow morning. The Boer said that if Dr. Briscoe would then return with a white flag he could count upon a reply from Gen. Joubert. Dr. Briscoe inquired whether there were many wounded. The Boer replied that he had heard there were seven. He declined to give any information regarding Lieutenant Winston Churchill.
DESTRUCTIVE FIRE OF BOERS.
The correspondent of The Natal Mercury, describing the engagement in a dispatch to his paper, says:
"The enemy apparently opened fire with a Maxim and two nine-pounders, getting the range accurately. The fire was so severe that telegraph wires and poles were destroyed. Their guns were posted on a kopje covered with brushwood, and their sharpshooters were hidden behind boulders. The Dublins and Volunteers, fighting an unequal battle, thrice drove the enemy back, but the fierceness of the rifle and big gun fire was too much for the brave little party, which was weakened at the outset by the overturning of the trucks, hurting several.
"Lieutenant Churchill's bravery and coolness were magnificent. Encouraged by him, all worked like heroes in clearing the line to enable the engine and tender to pass."
On November 12 another reconnaissance was made by train with a company of the Border Regiment on board,
but nothing noteworthy occured. Two days previously the train returned from another trip, on which Colenso was reached. No Boers were seen. On its way back the train pick up a native runner at Frere, carrying a number of letters, who had been searched by the Boers, but had in some manner managed to keep his documents from falling into the hands of the searchers.
BLOWING UP THE RAILROAD.
The train, on its return the following day, reported that the Boers had blown up the line between Colenso and Chieveley. Not much damage had been done, but the rails were bent and a small culvert had been destroyed. On seeing the British patrols, the Boers retired.
Kafirs report that a force of 400 to 500 Boers, with wagons, was seen three days ago in the direction of Colenso. This is believed to be the foraging party previously sighted. The Kafirs also report that Gen. White's cavalry has had an engagement with the Boers at Bester's Station. The result is not known.
A message from Ladysmith gives a few details of the occurrences of Wednesday, November 8, when the Boers' shell-fire was increased during the afternoon. It is asserted that they appeared to deliberately aim at the convent on the hill in the centre of the town, where there were only the sisters and wounded. The building was twice hit, in spite of the Geneva flag flying. The Boers attempted a demonstration against the western defences, but it was never serious. The groups appearing at long range were actually scattered by the fire from a machine gun.
The total British casualties during the briskest bombardment were three men, though some damage was done to cattle and property. The fire of the Boer position gun has been erratic, but probably a trifle wearying, through its continued use. The Boer positions, it is claimed, are six to seven and eight thousand yards distant.
A Kafir from the Free State laager reports that Gen. Wessels, who commanded when the British forces surrendered at Nicholson's Nek, was hit during a recent reconnaissance. The British garrison cheered the news.
The West Yorkshire Regiment arrived here on the 13th November.
The bombardment of Ladysmith was resumed on that date. Heavy firing was heard early that morning.
Published NY TIMES, November 17, 1899
Mr. Winston Churchill's Capture.
From the book "London to Ladysmith via Pretoria." By Winston Churchill.
I turned and ran between the rails of the track, and the only thought I achieved was this: "Boer marksmanship." Two bullets passed, both within a foot on either side. I flung myself against the banks of the cutting. But they gave no cover. Another glance at the figures; one was now kneeling to aim. Again I darted forward. Movement seemed the only chance. Again two soft kisses sucked in the air, but nothing struck me. This could not endure. I must get out of the cutting - that damnable corridor. I scramble up the bank. The earth sprang up beside me, and something touched my hand, but outside the cutting was a tiny depression. I crouched in this, struggling to get my wind. On the other side of the railway a horseman galloped up, shouting to me and waving his hand. He was scarcely forty yards off. With a rifle I could have killed him easily. I knew nothing of white flags, and the bullets had made me savage. I reached down for my Mauser pistol.
"This one, at least," I said, and, indeed it was a certainty; but, alas! I had left the weapon in the cab of the engine, in order to be free to work at the wreckage. What then? There was a wire fence between me and the horseman. Should I continue to fly? The idea of another shot at such a short range decided me. Death stood before me, grim, sullen Death, without his light-hearted companion, Chance. So I held up my hand, and, like Mr. Jorrock's foxes, cried: 'Capivy.' Then I was herded with the other prisoners in a miserable group, and about the same time I noticed that my hand was bleeding, and it began to pour with rain. Two days before I had written t an officer in high command at home, whose friendship I have the honour to enjoy: 'There has been a great deal too much surrendering in this war, and I hope people who do so will not be encouraged.' Fate had intervened; yet, though her tone was full of irony, she seemed to say, as I think Ruskin once said, 'It matters very little whether your judgements of people are true or untrue, and very much whether they are kind or unkind,' and, repeating that, I will make an end."
Published NY TIMES, June 3, 1900
SKIRMISHING AROUND LADYSMITH
Details of the Fighting Near the Town on Thursday, Nov. 9.
DURBAN, Natal. Nov. 18, 1899. - The Times of Natal publishes the following, dated
Wednesday, Nov. 15, from its special correspondent at Ladysmith:
"The enemy made a determined attack on Thursday, Nov. 9. Apparently all the Boer forces participated. Their artillery opened at 4 A.M., pouring in shell thick and fast upon the British positions, although with no great effect. They adopted the unusual tactics of advancing under cover of their guns to positions on the ridges and kopjes adjacent to those occupied by the British troops on the left of our camp.
"Continuing their advance, the Boers crept up using every available bit of cover. Our infantry opened with a steady, warm, and accurate fire, which beat back the enemy, notwithstanding a display of tenacity of purpose equal to their desperate stands on previous occasions. The Boer attack was most elaborate on all sides of the town.
"The main attack, however, was made between the Free State and Newcastle Railway lines by a column composed chiefly of Johannesburg volunteers. A brigade of the King's Royal Rifle Corps made a splendid defence. The Boers were repulsed, but soon rallied and returned to the attack. Again the British fire, which was very hot, force them to retire. They had made a deep trench in front of the British lines, and while withdrawing for their horses they left this unguarded, whereupon the King's Rifles, advancing at double-quick, occupied the trench.
"This smart movement was not seen by the enemy, who soon returned with their horses. Carefully reserving their fire, the King's Rifles allowed the Boers to advance almost to the edge of the trench, and then poured volley after volley into the astounded Boers. who turned and fled from an awful hail of bullets, bolting across the open, where the artillery of the British poured in a terrible and effective shell fire. The enemy lost heavily.
"Meanwhile another section of the Boers had brought a mortar into action, firing heavy shells. Our guns, concentrating upon it, soon silenced this weapon, the enemy's artillerymen fleeing headlong. The Boers then advanced in force, with a view of repairing the mortar, but our artillery shelled and scattered them right and left. The fighting was all over at 11 o'clock.
"Promptly at noon Gen. White ordered a salute of twenty-one guns, in honour of the birthday of the Prince of Wales. As the cannon boomed, cheer after cheer rang out from the troops, and a scene of enthusiasm followed.
"At Caesar's Camp, which protects the town on the southwest, the Manchester regiment held position. Descending under cover of the British guns for some distance on the further side of the hill, they detected several hundred Boers hiding in the ditch out of the way of the British shells. They poured volley after volley into the enemy, scattering them widely and inflicting heavy loss.
"The Boer were driven back at every point, with a loss estimated at 800 men. Nothing important occurred until Tuesday, Nov. 14, when a strong force, chiefly cavalry and artillery, reconnoitring, came upon the enemy near the Colenso Road, and drove them back to their main positions. Our shell fire was most effective, and is believed to have inflicted considerable damage. Our own loss was one man.
That same day a Boer shell killed a trooper of the Natal Mounted Rifles, who was sleeping in his tent. All our men are fit, well, and in good spirits. It is reported that the lyddite is terrifying the Boers, who have to be driven to their gun positions by revolvers pointed at their heads.
Ladysmith is able to hold out for months. On the other hand, it is reported that dysentery is making havoc in the enemy camp."
BOERS READY FOR BRITISH ADVANCE
Their Forces Stationed to Cut Off Relief for Ladysmith.
TUGELA RIVER BRIDGE GONE
Its Destruction Will Retard the Progress of Gen. Buller's Army.
Final Attack on Gen. White Believed to be Imminent - Troops for the Relief
of Kimberley Are Almost Prepared to Start.
LONDON, November 18, 1899. - The latest news from the seat of war in South Africa is , from point of view, favourable to the British, showing that Kimberley is able to hold its own easily against the Boer bombardment, and that Estcourt is also in a position to beat back an attack by the Boer force now facing it. But, on the other hand, the advices pay testimony to the ceaseless activity of the burghers on the Free State frontier and their determination to cut off relief for Ladysmith, and, if possible to isolate or capture Estcourt, which is the nearest town to Ladysmith still held by the British.
At 10 o'clock this morning the Boers attempted to rush Estcourt, but one shot from the British naval gun and several long-range volleys fired by the Dublin Fusiliers sent them back precipitately. The Boers had several guns posted on surrounding hills, but the naval men apparently astonished them, and their guns were withdrawn.
Numerous small Boer detachments from the east and west are converging on Estcourt and the railroad just south of that place. They already aggregate at least 20,000 men, with a few guns, which they evidently, from the entrenchments they are throwing up, mean to mount on hills dominating any advance north from Estcourt, where Gen. Hilyard is still commanding.
A dispatch from Lorenzo Marques, dated yesterday, says that the official Volkstem reports that the great bridge over the Tugela River, near Colenso, was completely destroyed November 15. The Boers, the dispatch says, are looking forward with great interest to the impending encounter, between Colenso and Estcourt, with the advancing British. About 600 burghers, with cannon, are guarding the Helpmakaar Pass, eighteen miles from Dundee, to baffle any strategic attempt to re-occupy Dundee by the Pietermaritzburg-Greytown route.
ARRIVAL OF MORE TRANSPORTS.
It is announced that the following British transports arrived at Cape Town to-day: The Mongolian, with the Second Seaforth Highlanders and a field hospital; the American, with a battery of horse artillery, part of a cavalry brigade, and an ammunition column; the Povonia, with the Second Royal Fusiliers and the Second Royal Scots Fusiliers; the Jamaican, with a squadron of the Sixth Dragoons; the Cephalonia, with the Fourth Brigade staff, the First Durham Mounted Infantry, and detachments of the Medical Corps, and the Prah. This adds roughly, 4,000 men to the British force in South Africa, making a total of about 27,000 men of Gen. Buller's army corps that have arrived. The Admiralty announces that the British transport Goorkha has sailed from Cape Town with the Royal Engineers, the Second Scottish Rifles, and other details, for Durban, and with two companies of mounted infantry for East London.
With the Colenso bridge destroyed it is believed that Gen. Buller will have a most difficult transport problem to solve. Even with the strong relief column now hurrying up from Durban, the British will have a tough job to pierce the Boer forces thrown across the roads to Ladysmith, while crossing the Tugela River on pontoon bridges in the face of the Boer artillery and rifle fires from the northern ridges commanding the rivers, will probably prove one of the stiffest enterprises of the war.
Much criticism has been expended on the apparent lack of proper reconnaissance by cavalry in connection with the armoured train disaster near Estcourt. This fact, it is claimed, goes to prove that the reinforcements, especially of cavalry, although landed at Durban, have not yet arrived at Estcourt. No official or reliable accounts have been received in London of the troops' movements from Durban, and therefore it is believed the transport difficulties may be greater than generally imagined, in which case the relief of Ladysmith may be delayed. The censorship in such matters is very strict.
It has been reported that Gen. Buller has "gone up country," but the latest official dispatches seem to show he has not left Cape Town. The changes necessitated in his plans are further shown by the fact that Major Gen. Sir Cornelius Clery, who was originally designated to command the division to operate on the Orange River, with its base at Port Elizabeth, is now sent to Estcourt to take over from Gen. Hilyard the command of the relieving force. This, perhaps, is because Gen. Clery is senior to Gen. Hilyard, who is the junior Major General. Clery has no great military reputation, and when he arrives at Ladysmith he will be junior to Gen. White.
LADYSMITH STILL HOLDING OUT.
So far as can be learned from the meagre reports from the scene of action, the Boers have not yet attempted a determined attack on Ladysmith, which, it seems certain, they all along intended to be the climax of their deliberate strategy. That they have put off such an attack until the last moment seems only probable, for, if they are driven to assault Ladysmith, they would, doubtless, desire to attempt it when the British ammunition is at the lowest ebb.
The diversion of Boer units from Ladysmith toward Estcourt cannot, it is claimed, be taken as any indication that the Boers have given up hope of capturing Ladysmith, for their plan of campaign appears to be far too skilfully mapped out and tenaciously adhered to, to admit the supposition that they have suddenly and without sufficient cause renounced their main objective. The present lack of developments is believed to be the lull which proceeds the storm. Reports from Cape Colony, however, indicate that the Boer sympathizers are greatly surprised at the inability of Gen. Joubert to capture Ladysmith.
A runner arrived at Estcourt from Ladysmith yesterday bearing dispatches from Gen. White dated November 15, reporting all well there and that the Boer shells have no effect. The town is healthy, and though the bombardment is continued almost daily with big guns, the only recent loss on the British side was the killing of a volunteer in a tent. The Boers endeavoured on Tuesday, November 14, to make a closer investment, but were repulsed. Gen. White following this up with a sortie which drove the Boers from all their positions, with the loss of five men killed and two wounded. The Boers are reported to be seriously short of provisions. The sortie referred to is probably the same as is reported in dispatches from Gen. Joubert's camp, mentioning heavy fighting between the Free Staters and British.
It is pointed out that while the position at Ladysmith may momentarily be less unsatisfactory, there will be no lack of cause for anxiety before the place is relieved. Ominous statements are coming by mail that they British retreat from Dundee was largely due o the shortness of ammunition, and as this, it is thought, is probably the plight at Ladysmith and elsewhere, it seems to furnish ground for anxiety for the safety of various isolated garrisons.
REPORTS FROM BOER SOURCES.
Belated dispatches from a correspondent with the Boers near Ladysmith, up to Tuesday, November 14, are arriving at Lorenzo Marques after being strictly censored at Pretoria. They thrown some light on the fighting above reported from British sources. They say that on Friday, November 10, eight lyddite shells were fired into the Transvaal central artillery position, without doing any harm. The wooden platform of the second big gun on Bulwana Hill was damaged, but has since been repaired.
Commandant Weilbach captured a man who reported that Gen. White was wounded and had gone to Pietermaritzburg, leaving Gen. French in command. This, however, does not tally with the Transvaal's information. The prisoner also reported that the British forces were hiding in underground chambers, in order to avoid the shell, and said there were about 1,000 wounded in the hospitals. Gen. Joubert, it further appears, had been indisposed, but was better.
On Monday, November 13, the British forts on the north side of Ladysmith opened on the nearest Boer battery and the shells fell so thickly that the Boers were compelled to lie flat and sheltered. Later they opened fire on the British batteries, which ceased firing. Heavy fighting occured between the Orange Free State troops and the British, south of Ladysmith, during the morning of Tuesday, November 14. The result is not given in the dispatches to Lorenzo Marques.
The full story of the armoured train disaster has brought into relief a number of cases of individual gallantry. Among them is that of a crack rifle shot named Caegenhead, who furnished the range at three different points for the crew of the train, and kept firing until his trigger finger was shot away. An old Black Watch veteran named Crow, was conspicuous for bravery in helping to clear the derailed trucks. Winston Churchill, amid a hail of bullets, turned to him and shook his hand, calling him a brave old man. Another case was that of a volunteer named Wright, who, during the firing, knelt in the regulation position, remaining cool and collected, and cracking a joke with every shot, thus keeping his comrades from becoming flurried, while all the time he was suffering from a wound, his right ear having been shot away. Corporal Dickie, though wounded and lying on his back, encouraged the men by shouting: "Give 'em beans, boys!"
NO NEWS OF YOUNG CHURCHILL.
Dr. Briscoe, who was in charge of the Red Cross train sent to fetch the killed and succor the wounded of the armoured train disaster, has returned to Estcourt with and account of as second interview which he had with the Boer commandant, who met him as soon as he left the train, carrying a white flag. The commandant replied to the doctor's request for permission to remove the dead and wounded by saying that there was not need to hand over the dead, who had already buried, and that so far as the wounded were concerned, they were being well cared for by the Boer Hospital Corps.
The Boer Commandant and Dr. Briscoe, it is added, interchanged compliments on the pluckiness exhibited on both sides. The Commandant spoke English fluently, was of highly polished manners, expressed admiration for the British soldiers, and promised to do his best to get the names of the killed. When questioned concerning the whereabouts of Winston Churchill, the Commandant replied, "I do not know." Dr. Briscoe say the public and relatives of the wounded may be assured that they will be well cared for, as a Scotch surgeon, Dr. Maxwell, was pressed into the Boer service at Ermelo to take charge of the Boer Hospital.
Details are arriving at Cape Town from the Orange River relating to the fighting at Belmont, showing that when Col. Keith-Falconer was shot through the breast he was just going to the assistance of a wounded Lieutenant Bevan. Lieutenant Brooke of the Lancers had a marvellous escape. While sketching the Boer position his horse was shot under him. He was some distance ahead of his troopers and had dismounted to sketch, when thirty Boers opened fire. The first bullet passed under his leg as he mounted, the second riddle his helmet, and the third killed his horse. Lieutenant Brooke thereupon started to run, hotly pursued by the Boers, who were mounted, and would certainly have captured or killed him but for an intervening wire fence. The bullets fell thick around the Lieutenant as he climbed this fence, but the Boers stopped pursuing him and, though they peppered away at him, Brooke escaped unscathed.
From the Free State frontier comes news that reinforcements are rapidly arriving at the Orange River camp, where Lord Methuen is hurriedly preparing to push a relief force on to Kimberley. The Scots Guards arrived from Cape Town on Thursday, and the force at Kimberley ought now to be almost strong enough to tackle the Boers besieging the town. Lord Methuen has decided that
the Kimberley relief column is to march in as light order as possible.
BOMBARDMENT OF KIMBERLEY.
The latest dispatch form Kimberley, brought to-day by a runner to the Orange River, says, under date of November 11:
"The Boers bombarded Kimberley again at 5:15 o'clock this morning, shelling the town briskly until 6:15 A.M. from three positions. Subsequently they maintained a desultory fire until 7:15 o'clock. One shell killed a poor old Kafir woman in the street and another fell on the roof of a bar, partially wrecking the building, but not injuring any of the inmates. Six shells were fired against the waterworks, but fell in the reservoir. Several artillerymen in the fort there had close shaves.
"Our guns replied at long range, and two shells at least are believed to have found their mark, as fire of the Boers in that direction was effectually silenced. Several of the enemy's shells fell in the native compound, and the inmates immediately rushed to dig them up. Several others landed upon the mined floors, but did not damage.
"The heavy bombardment was renewed at 3:40 o'clock this afternoon from two positions. Our guns are now replying. The enemy's shells are falling harmlessly, though the artillerymen have found the range. The Boers have fired quite 300 shells to-day. The cases were dated from 1891 to 1896. The enemy have at least eight guns.
"The prisoners they recently captured and conveyed to Bloemfontein had their arms pinned behind them, and were tied to the trek-chain of an ox wagon, remaining thus throughout the entire night, until their removal the next day.
"The Boers are again busy blowing up railroad culverts. The weather is fine and warm."
An official dispatch from Pretoria, dated Friday, November 10, confirms the statements to the effect that the Boer big guns have had little effect at Mafeking. It apparently has been decided that Mafeking must take its chances, and Colonel Baden-Powell probably will have several more chances to write facetious dispatches.
Small bands of Boers are roaming in Griqualand West, annexing towns without opposition. They have already taken possession of Barkly West and Douglas. A few police were captured at both places, and the Boers appointed Landdrosts in each town.
THE CROSSING OF THE TUGELA.
British Have Pontoons to Take the Place of the Destroyed Bridge.
The news that the bridge over the Tugela River at Colenso has been destroyed by the Boers is only what was expected. It was not considered possible that they would neglect to make use of such a potent means in their power to prevent the speedy advance of the British relief expedition tot Ladysmith. It will now be necessary for the British to cross the Tugela by means on pontoons. This eventually was not neglected by the War Office in London, and the earliest of the transports which carried portions of Gen. Buller's army corps took a large number of pontoons and Berthon collapsible boats to South Africa with other materials for use in fording rivers. Owing, however, to the fact that the Tugela is greatly swollen at this season of the year, the work of constructing a system of pontoons sufficiently strong to carry the heavy artillery will greatly retard the advance to Ladysmith.
The Berthon boat is usually only used for infantry in single file. It can be slung on to a pole and carried by two men, while the superstructure, over which the troops march, is also carried by two men. For heavier work, the pontoon designed by Col. Blood of the Royal Engineers is used, and many of these also have been sent to South Africa. This is regarded as the most perfect form of pontoon yet invented. The weight of the load it carries simply has the effect of making the tops of the water, but even the heaviest artillery never submerges it. These pontoons are, of course, heavier than the Berthon boats, one of them, with the superstructure, constituting a load for one wagon, with a total weight behind the horses or mules of about 4,500 pounds.
The Victoria Bridge at Colenso was one of the most elaborate engineering works of its most elaborate engineering works of its kind in South Africa. It was of heavy masonry and iron, and took an immense time to construct.
Published NY TIMES, November 19, 1899.
CHURCHILL A PRISONER.
One of a Lot of Fifty-six Who Arrived at Pretoria on Saturday - Was Slightly Wounded.
PRETORIA, November 18, 1899. - (By way of Lorenzo Marques, November 19.) - At noon to-day fifty-six British prisoners, including men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and several blue jackets, arrived here. There were large crowds at the railway station, but no demonstration was made.
Winston Churchill, who is wounded in the hand, was taken to the Model School, while the rank and file are being sent to the race course.
One spy was lodged in jail. The wounded had been treated at Colenso.
The British prisoners already here have received new outfits from the Government.
It is reported that the bombardment of Kimberley was resumed this morning.
Three female prisoners, captured near Mafeking, were brought this evening to Pretoria. The male prisoners, captured near Pretoria. The male prisoners will follow.
The Rev. Adrian Hofmeyer, brother of the Hon. J.H. Hofmeyer, the Afrikander leader, who was captured at Loastsi, but subsequently released, will come to Pretoria as soon as he is in better health.
Bateman, a British private captured outside of Ladysmith and brought to Pretoria, has since become insane.
The Boer version of the conflict in which these prisoners were taken says that two British were killed and ten wounded.
The Mining Department has discovered beneath the manager's house at the Ferreira Mine a passage leading to a suite of apartments forty feet below ground, with gas and water laid on. This is supposed to have been intended to serve as a rendezvous for the employees of the Ferreira Mine in the even of a bombardment of Johannesburg.
Published NY TIMES, November 20, 1899
Lady White at Windsor Castle.
LONDON, November 19, 1899. - Lady White, wife of Sir George Stewart White, British commander at Ladysmith, was received in audience
by the Queen at Windsor Castle this afternoon.
MISS HARRADEN ON THE WAR.
Believes Great Britain Justified in the Transvaal Conflict - Kipling's Aid to Imperialistic Ideas.
Miss Beatrice Harraden, the English author, who arrived in this city some days ago and has been staying with friends at 121 West
Seventy-seventh Street, starts for California this morning. She will remain there during the Winter for the benefit of her health. Miss Harraden was seen yesterday by a reporter for The New York Times, and gave her views on the Transvaal question, in which for a long time she has taken great interest.
In the opinion of Miss Harraden, the British are perfectly justified in going to war with the Boers. "I took a long time," she said, "to make up my mind about the South African question, and it was mainly through what Arnold White taught me that I was enabled to gain a clear idea of the situation. I consider him one of the greatest authorities on the British colonies, and the whole subject of expansion or imperialism, living.
"The fact of the matter is that Great Britain had to go to war after diplomacy failed, in order to retain her position among the nations of Europe. To have failed to do so would have been a confession of weakness, which the Continental powers would have lost no time in turning to account. A back down in South Africa would have been also noted by Australia, Canada, and the other colonies, and they would have asked themselves what was the good of giving allegiance to a nation which was not strong enough to protect them.
"I do not believe that a war, at any rate within the last century has ever caused such excitement in Great Britain as the campaign against the Boers. Of course the hysterics which I see described in cabled reports to the American newspapers are exaggerated. The British do not grow hysterical about anything. But the real meaning of the contest for supremacy in South Africa is fully realized by the masses and the great body of the people are ready to make any sacrifice for the imperialistic idea. One can see this
everywhere - in the theatres, the music halls, and the streets.
"Many causes have operated to bring about this wave of enthusiasm. Among them the most potent were perhaps the last jubilee celebration - when representatives of all the colonies went to London to show their allegiance to the Queen - and the writings of Rudyard Kipling. I do not believe that Kipling can be described, as some have described him, as the originator of the imperial idea. The idea was there before, but he was clever enough to turn it into words.
"It is only a small minority which believes that Mr. Chamberlain and Cecil Rhodes are responsible for the war. There is a peace party in Great Britain, but its numbers decreased greatly after President Krueger brought on the conflict by his ultimatum. Britain had been very patient - too patient, in fact, as the un-preparedness in South Africa showed."
Miss Harraden believes that educated Americans sympathize with Great Britain in the conflict, but thinks that there is still the old anti-British feeling among a great part of the masses. "I must say," she remarked, "that when I was in the West I found nothing but ill-feeling for England almost everywhere."
The author does not care to say much about her own work, but remarked that she was writing a play, which might possibly be produced by Miss Ellen Terry. "It is a light comedy with a background of intellectuality," Miss Harraden added. "I have had several talks with Miss Terry about it, but nothing is decided. The play will be printed, at any rate, even if it be not produced on stage. It is to be in three acts, and will not be finished for some time. I don't believe in hurried work, and I don't believe in producing too much either. I am writing another book, but that will not be finished for two, or perhaps three, years."
The success of "The Fowler," Miss Harraden's last book, has been very gratifying to her. It is now in its seventeenth thousand, and has been translated into Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch. Arrangements have also been made, Miss Harraden said, to
translated it into French and German, and it will probably be issued in Russian and Finnish.
Published NY TIMES, November 20, 1899.
PRETORIA, November 21, 1899. - The following dispatch has been received from Boer headquarters
"The Field Cornets of the Pretoria Commando reported that British gun carriages and some horsemen had been heard moving last night in Ladysmith. Our outposts observed the British endeavouring to sortie toward Lombard's Kop and Bulwana Hill, where our Maxims opened fire. The range was too great, and therefore our artillery began shelling, which drove the British back. About day-break, the British batteries fired upon our positions. Two burghers were wounded.
"It is supposed that the object of the sorties was to relieve the Estcourt force, who had sent an urgent message to Ladysmith requesting aid. The burghers captured the messenger, but finally allowed him to proceed."
It is reported that the Natal police have captured a number of Transvaal dispatch riders.
In his latest report Gen. Joubert says: "I am cutting off the retreat of the Estcourt troops to Pietermaritzburg and driving them back on the Tugela River."
It is also reported that the Boer commander, with the forces near Ladysmith, has "comprehensively surveyed the different points from which the fall of Ladysmith can be insured."
Published NY TIMES, November 23 1899
WAR WILL BE A BLOODY ONE.
Lieutenant Winston Churchill, Now a Prisoner at Pretoria, Gives His Opinion of the Struggle.
PRETORIA, November 24, 1899. - Through the courtesy of the Transvaal authorities, a visit was paid to Lieut. Winston Churchill to-day at the Model School, where he is confined with the captured British officers. Beyond a slight bullet wound in the right hand, he seemed well and looked hearty, although naturally chafing under enforced idleness. In the course of the interview Mr. Churchill said:
"The Boers have treated us with much kindness. This was the case from the outset. They praised our defence of the armoured train and expressed surprise that the locomotive was saved from becoming a hopeless wreck, as they had expected, from their artillery fire. We were then marched through a pouring rain to Colenso, proceeding the next morning to the Boer camp near Ladysmith, and then going by rail to Modder Spruit, finally arriving her on November 18.
"On the journey great numbers of burghers crowded to see us, but there was only one who made insulting remarks, the others courteously offering us cigarettes or showing such marks of attention."
Mr. Churchill said the confinement in the Model School was close and severe, but, under all conditions, he had no grounds to complain. When asked regarding his general impressions, he said he had had many discussions with the Boers as to the rights of the war, and had been much impressed by the number who could speak English. He had found that most of them regretted the conflict, asserting that it had arisen as the result of misrepresentations. So far as he could learn, however, the spirit of the burghers in the field, despite their privations, was most determined, and there was no chance of an early peace.
"I fear," said Mr. Churchill, "that the struggle will be bloody and protracted."
It is believed that the Government will shortly release Winston Churchill as a non-combatant. The prisoners from Mafeking and Lobatsi are mostly railroad men. After they had taken the oath not to fight against the Transvaal, they were sent to Delagoa Bay.
Published NY TIMES, November 25, 1899
LONDON STILL TALKS MAINLY OF THE WAR
Britain Determined to Win, Whatever Be the Cost.
MR. CHAMBERLAIN CENSURED
His Attack on France Regarded as Unjustified.
Resignation of Daily Chronicle's Editor Indicates Intolerance of Public Opinion - Another Quarrel Over Turkey Possible.
Special to The New York Times.
LONDON, December 2, 1899. - The South African war is still our one preoccupation. Foreign politics, imperial visits, confabulations of statesmen and politicians may be said to interest the public only in relation to this great struggle now darkening South Africa.
And the worst of it is that we are getting scarcely any news from the seat of war. Since Gen. Buller went to Natal, indeed, he has closed the sources of information altogether, and it cannot be said that the advance from Cape Colony to the relief of Kimberley is much better reported. Lord Methuen described the battle as one of the fiercest struggles in the annals of the British Army, and the conditions under which it was fought by our troops, who were for ten hours without food or water, appeared to point to a desperate situation instead of a victory.
What was actually accomplished by the battle, whether it is the Modder River which has been crossed, or only its tributary, the Riet; what bridging materials the General commands, how his food supplies are coming forward - on these and many other points the nation is absolutely ignorant, and proportionately anxious. Nobody losses heart or has any fear of the ultimate result, but it is gradually dawning upon the nation, that this conflict is the most tremendous we have engaged in since the Indian mutiny. In some respects it is being waged under conditions similar to those that prolonged the struggle against our revolted sepoys and their allies of the native States.
But whatever the sacrifice, there will be no turning back now. The war must be a determined one, carried out to the bitter end. That other division of troops about which I told you is to be hurried off at once, and every man in it will be needed.
THE MILITARY PROBLEM.
People sometimes ask why we require such a tremendous army to put down the resistance of perhaps 50,000 burghers, all told. Such queries betray a complete ignorance of the military problem, which is to organize the striking forces in sufficient strength to
quell opposition, and at the same time maintain communications over, by one route, more than 1,000 miles, by another more than
250, amid a population growing more and more hostile.
The utmost resources of our military organization will be taxed to accomplish this purpose. In fact, we have already been compelled to depend, in a manner to suggest uncomfortable thoughts, upon our navy, and there is justice in the criticism made that if we are forced to use our sailors to fight our battles on land, how are we going to man the fleet should it be required? The naval brigades at the front have borne the brunt of the artillery fighting, and have suffered in proportion to their numbers more severely than any other branch of the service.
Why was it necessary to send so many sailors up country with their guns? The answer is, I fear, because our field artillery is outclassed by that of the Boers, and this again raises unpleasant reflections. Most of the Boer artillery has been purchased from Continental manufacturers, principally Krupp, but some from the French Hotchkiss Company, and some, it is said in the United States. Evidently the guns supplied by foreign manufacturers are of excellent quality, and of a range superior to ours, so much so that, had it not been for the opportune arrival of two naval guns, with sailors to work them at Ladysmith, the probability is that Sir George White would have been overwhelmed there.
I must not weary your readers with these details fo military criticism, but it is very difficult to get away from them in the present condition of public feeling. We are all hoping for the best, but want very much to be sure of it.
Published NY TIMES, December 3, 1899.
BOER LOSSES ARE UNDERSTATED.
Gen. Buller Charges Them with Distorting the Figures.
LONDON, December 6, 1899. - The War Office has received the following from Gen. Buller:
"PIETERMARITZBURG, December 5. - It is very difficult to make any statement in regard to the enemy's loss. For instance, at Belmont eighty-one of their dead were accounted for. The enemy gave fifteen as the number killed. There is every reason to believe that the enemy's loss in the fight at Ladysmith November 9 was over 800 killed and wounded. Information from a trust-worthy Boer source shows that at Hildyard's fight November 23 the enemy lost 30 killed and 100 wounded. It is impossible to say how far these numbers are correct, but it is evident the enemy does not admit a tenth of the losses suffered. Intercepted dispatches to Joubert from a commander show that even the official dispatches contain decidedly inaccurate information in this respect."
Published NY TIMES, December 7, 1899.
HARD FIGHT AT KIMBERLEY
Major Scott-Turner Killed Leading a Fierce Sortie.
TRENCHES RUSHED UNDER FIRE
Armoured Train and Machine Guns Hold in Check the Boers Forces, of Whom Twenty-eight Are Captured.
LONDON, December 7, 1900.- The sortie from Kimberley on November 25 appears to have been much more serious than had been supposed. Details are now arriving of a reconnaissance in force by mounted troops under Major Scott-Turner, at dawn, in the direction of a ridge near Carter's Farm, where the Boers were strongly entrenched. Finding the Boer pickets asleep. Major Scott-Turner proceeded along the Boer redoubts at 5:25 o'clock in the face of a hail of bullets.
The Boers hoisted a white flag and fired at the British under its protection before surrendering. Owing possibly to the exhaustion of their ammunition, the British were unable to follow up the attack and to seize a large Boer laager about 300 yards ahead, especially as Boer reinforcements were seen approaching and the enemy was keeping up a heavy fire from the shelter of the thick bush.
During the sortie and armoured train reconnoitred north and south, while a considerable force of British, with field guns and Maxims, advanced toward Spytfontein, holding the Boers in check in that direction.
Then guns were engaged simultaneously, and, viewed from the conning tower, an artillery duel seemed proceeding in every direction, except toward Kenilworth, the fusillade being terrible. At 8 o'clock, having no force sufficient to hold the position he had stormed. Major Scott-Turner began gradually retiring his men. He had a horse shot under him and a bullet went through the fleshy part of his shoulder. Several men had terrible wounds.
It is alleged that the Boers used Martinis and explosive bullets, and that they frequently fired at the British ambulance wagons. The British captured twenty-eight of the enemy.
There appears to be some doubt as to whether this was the reconnaissance in which, according to the announcement of the War Office, Major Scott-Turner was killed, or whether that officer met his fate in a subsequent sortie.
The War Office, however, has received a list of casualties, said to have been suffered by the British at Kimberley on November 28, as follows: Killed - Major Scott-Turner of the Black Watch, Lieut. C. Wright of the Kimberley Light Horse, and twenty non-commissioned officers and men.
Wounded - Capt. Walleck, Lieuts. Clifford and Watson, and twenty-eight non-commissioned officers and men.
This seems to indicate clearly that the death of Major Scott-Turner occured in the sortie of November 28.
Dispatches from Ladysmith, dated December 2, say: "The hottest bombardment of the siege took place last Thursday. The Boers got a new big gun in position on Lombard's Kop, completely commanding the town, and shelled our camp that day and yesterday, planting shell with great accuracy in the camp of the Gordon Highlanders and the Manchester Regiment, where there were many narrow escapes.
"To-day the enemy resumed the bombardment, doing some very effective shooting. Several of our guns have been shattered by Boer big guns."
Modder River dispatches say that the Boer are encamped amid the hills half way to Kimberley; but it is also asserted that a large body of the enemy has gone in the direction of Jacobsdal. It is possible, therefore, that Lord Methuen may endeavour to clear his right flank as far as Jacobsdal before continuing his advance. He is still waiting at Modder River for stores, guns, and ammunition.
From Queenstown, Cape Colony, comes word that the Boers have become very active in the country around Stormberg Junction, to which Gen. Gatacre will make his next move. The telegraph lines have been cut in various places, and communication with Steynsburg, Dordrecht, and Marisburg has been severed.
It is believed here that the Boers have occupied Steynsburg. Firing has been heard in the direction of Stormberg, probably between Gen. Gatacre's vanguard and the Boer commando.
It is said here that the beleaguered garrison at Ladysmith is suffering from confinement, restricted diet, and the increasing volume of the Boer artillery fire, especially that of the additional heavy-calibre gun placed in position 5,000 yards from the western defences. The dispatches relate that the Boers had discovered the most vulnerable points of the garrison and that the shelling was becoming disagreeably effective. The rations had been reduced and there was a great deal of sickness.
Nevertheless, the troops of the garrison were in every way preparing to meet the assault which it was anticipated the Boers would carry out in a final effort to reduce the city. The belief was current in Ladysmith that the Boers were preparing for an retrograde movement after another attack. Several bodies of burghers were reported to have been seen November 28 moving in the direction of the Darakensburg range, while, November 29, detachments were observed journeying northward with wagons. Discord between Transvaalers and Free Staters was also reported. There was no indication, however, that the Boers were preparing to dismantle their gun positions. But the idea was prevalent in some quarters of Ladysmith that the continued shelling of the place was intended to cover the retirement of other Boer forces toward the Transvaal frontiers.
A dispatch from Frere dated Sunday, December 3, reports that in Colonel Lord Dundonald's reconnaissance near Colenso, fifteen Boers were killed and many more were wounded. The road bridge across the Tugela River is intact.
The same message reports that President Krueger is anxious that the burghers leave Ladysmith in order to oppose the British marching in the direction of Pretoria from the west.
Advices from Putter's Kraal, the headquarters of Gen. Gatacre's division, dated Saturday, December 2, say the Boers entered Dordrecht that morning. This, it is added, is probably Gen. Grobler's force of 1,500 men from Stormberg.
There is a possibility, if Gen. Buller asks for further reinforcements, that a brigade of militia will be sent to South Africa, with the view of conciliating the militiamen, who think that branch of the service has been slighted in favour of reservists.
In compliance with a requisition signed by Messrs. W. Redmond, John Clancy, and others, the Lord Mayor of Dublin's locum tentens has called a meeting of the Corporation for December 11 to dispose of a motion in which the Corporation will deplore the "infliction on the South African Republics of this lamentable, cruel and unnecessary war" and protest against a policy "involving loss of life and enormous expenditure."
Published NY TIMES, December 7, 1899.
CRITICISM OF THE BRITISH GENERALS
The Public Impatient at the Slow Progress Made.
Special to The New York Times.
LONDON, December 9, 1899 - A week of gnawing anxiety has drawn to its close without bringing relief in the shape of decisive war news. We are getting heartily sick of the daily has of victories, Boer bayonetings, treacheries, surprises, lootings, and so forth, and the mind of the public is centred on two remaining events, the relief of Ladysmith and Kimberley.
Why has Lord Methuen been kept for nearly a fortnight apparently within striking distance of the Diamond City? What delays the chariot wheels of the commander in chief in Natal? We are beginning to distrust our Generals. Methuen is called a bragging fellow and has come in for a considerable amount of sly mockery over his telegram about the Modder River fight being "one of the hardest battles in the annals of the British Empire." The sarcastic correspondent of one of the newspapers dryly pointed out that Methuen lost little more than 7 percent of his force, against between 27 and nearly 50 per cent killed and wounded in some of the great battles of the Peninsular War.
We have begun, therefore, to cry out for a new General in Chief, but this is only unreasoning impatience. The difficulties, as I have told you more than once, in the way of a rapid advance are greater than people here have the slightest conception of, and I am disposed rather to credit both the Generals in command of the forces now in touch with the enemy with unusual prudence in delaying their forward movements until they can hope to undertake them with the minimum danger of defeat. Lord Methuen's rashness consisted in rushing so far north of the Orange River with insufficient provision for supporting troops to protect his base. The danger arising from his impetuosity should by this time have been remedied.
THE DEFENSE OF MAFEKING.
While great events are waited for, the public appetite for sensational news has been in some small measure gratified by the stories of the heroic defence of Mafeking and the brilliant work of the army marching through Rhodesia to its relief. All are nice and showy for a variety theatre, but there has been no incident in this unfortunate strife really less deserving of commendation from any point of view than the said heroic defence of Mafeking. Colonel Baden-Powell does no good there to anybody. The Boers never had any serious intention of striking northward into Rhodesia, and all we can say about the business is that the gallant Colonel in command is a member of a family celebrated for its ingenuity and perseverance in advertising its own talents. They are clever men and capital trumpeters.
BRITAIN AND DELAGOA BAY.
German critics are again discussing the possibility of an invasion of the Transvaal by way of Delagoa Bay, and some of them insist that this is the only route to follow if we expect to end the war soon. Whether there is malice behind this suggestion or not, I cannot dogmatically assert, but it is probable that were we to be tempted to break down the neutrality of Portugal and change our base to Lourenco Marques, we should set Europe by the ears, and presently find ourselves attacked at some weak point by one or other of our many enemies.
Surely we shall presently have sufficient troops in South Africa to be able to overcome those sturdy farmers without taking any step calculated to upset the frail structure of European peace. With the troops now on the way added to those already landed, the Under Secretary for War informed an admiring audience the other night, we shall have about 106,000 men in the field, without counting the 1,500 or 2,000 already captured by the burghers. This calculation, I believe, does not include the seventh division, now being scrambled together from all the odds and ends of the reservists, cavalry regiments, militia and yeoman, the War Office can lay its hands upon. We have denuded this country of troops, and ought to have more that 120,000 men in the field a few weeks hence, including the drafts from the Indian, Australian, Canadian, Cape and Natal volunteers. If that force be not sufficient to accomplish the purpose, woe betide us, for we are at the end of our resources in men, and not even the most complacent jingo would contemplate with equanimity the importation of native Indian troops into the strife.
Published NY TIMES 10 December, 1899.
THE MILITARY SITUATION.
The situation in South Africa is that, having "felt off" the Boers in three different places on the line of their advance, the British have discovered that they themselves are not strong enough to force the fighting. One of the British reverses, that of Gen. Gatacre, was an accident. He was misled by his guides, and put at the mercy of any inferior force of Boers in a superior position, from which they were thus enabled to deliver upon him a deadly and irresistible fire, before which he was compelled to retire with great loss. If he had been as well informed as they were and had made his advance accordingly, the testimony of the Boer commanders is that it is they who would have been compelled to fall back.
But Gen. Gatacre's column was at most operating a diversion, and the importance of its repulse is almost exclusively moral. It is hard to see what its objective was, or even its ultimate object, except to draw away as many of the enemy as possible from the real theatres of operations. On the other hand, the operations of the columns under Lord Methuen and Sir Redvers Buller had very distinct and important objects. The object of the former was the relief of Kimberley; that of the latter the relief of Ladysmith. The two operations were necessarily distinct and separable. The towns are some three hundred miles apart, being separated by the entire breadth of the Orange Free State. The line of communication, supply, and retreat is formed, in one case, by the railroad that runs northward from Cape Town through Ladysmith, and ultimately to Johannesburg. Between these two is the less important but more direct road which traverses the Orange Free State and along which the advance of Gen. Gatacre was made.
Each of the advances has been repulsed and for the present neutralized, Gen. Gatacre's by a misadventure, but the other two after pitched battles that showed they were not equal to the task they had undertaken. Now all three have fallen back, and are entrenched, having for the time abandoned offensive operations, and relying on the reinforcements that are to be forwarded from England. It will take at least six weeks to make these reinforcements available, nobody at the British War Office having apparently had any notion that they would be necessary, or that the force already in South Africa would not be ample to complete the work of subjugating the two republics and rendering them powerless to resist the British terms of peace, whatever these might be. Now the question is, What use will the Boers make of the respite of six weeks that is granted to them before the invaders will be in a condition to reassume the offensive?
They will, of course, attempt in this interval the capture of Kimberley and of Ladysmith. We do not know very much about the condition of either garrison. That of Kimberley, a place which Mr. Cecil Rhodes declared, when he betook himself to it, to be "as safe as Piccadilly," seems much the more desperate. It was announced some ten days ago that the garrison had already been put on short rations. And indeed Lord Methuen's advance seems to have been premature, so far as his own operations were concerned, and to have been determined by the urgent danger of the place. The urgency of the danger at Kimberley and the unlikelihood that the place can hold out, now that the relieving force has been defeated, are doubtless the considerations upon which the military critic of The London Morning Post, whose comments upon the campaign have given him so authoritative a position among his own countrymen, urges that Gen. Methuen, as well as Gen. Gatacre, shall "act strictly on the defensive," and that the first division of reinforcements shall be sent to Natal. Undoubtedly the fall of Ladysmith would involve more serious consequences than the loss of Kimberley, seeing that it would involve the loss of a greater body of British troops than has been surrendered before, since the surrender at Yorktown, a century and more ago. But the advice none the less indicates a belief that Kimberley is doomed.
How much military enterprise have the Boers? That is a question which has by no means been satisfactorily answered, and yet it is the question upon the answer to which a great deal depends. Thus far they have been attacked in their own chosen positions, and they have defended themselves against any enemy outnumbering them upon the whole, though not at the points of collision, at least two to one, with the same stubborn courage with which their ancestors resisted the Spanish viceroys. But it does not follow that they will appear to equally good advantage in offensive operations. They now have six weeks, at least, to show what they can do in that way. If during this interval they can secure the capture of Kimberley, they will have scored the most impressive of their successes in the war. But if they can also secure Ladysmith and the 11,000 men under the command of Gen. Sir George White, they will have inflicted upon the British Empire such a blow as it can be scarcely said to have received in modern history.
Published NY TIMES, December 19, 1899.
GRIM REALITIES OF WAR
Heroic and Pathetic Incidents of the Transvaal Struggle.
DISASTER AT NICHOLSON'S NEK.
Brave Stand of the Boers - Gallantry of Winston Churchill Described - Treatment of Prisoners.
LONDON, December 13, 1899. - Letters from British officers and soldiers fighting in the Transvaal and lengthy descriptions from war correspondents that filter into print through the mails, teem with thrilling and pathetic incidents. Writing to his mother, a young officer of the Manchesters, wounded in one of the first engagements, relates that while he lay on the hillside, expecting to die through the night, which had already fallen, bleeding from a bad wound in his thigh and shivering with cold, there stumbled over him a "Tommy of my company named Rogers."
This "Tommy" quickly whipped off his own overcoat, placed it around the boy officer, and, lying down, put his arms around him, and for the rest of that long, cold night kept him "beautifully warm." And there are now being told many such incidents of tenderness and bravery that wipe away differences in rank.
The Times correspondent gives a graphic account and explanation of the British disaster at Nicholson's Nek, where Carleton's column, consisting of six companies of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, four and a half companies of the Gloucestershire Regiment, and No. 10 Mountain Battery surrendered.
"Two hours before daybreak," says this correspondent, "while the column was in enclosed country, either a shot was fired or a boulder rolled into the battery in column of route. The mules stampeded and easily broke away from their half-asleep driver. They came back upon the Gloucestershire Regiment, the advance party of whom fired into the mass, believing in the darkness that it was an attack. This added to the chaos; the ranks were broken by the frenzied animals, and they dashed through the ranks of the rear-guard, carrying the first and second reserve ammunition animals with them. It became a hopeless panic, the animals, wild with the shouting and the turmoil, tore down the nullah into the darkness, and the last that was heard of them was the sound of the ammunition boxes and panniers as they were splintered against the boulders. The hubbub of those few minutes was sufficient to have alarmed the enemy.
SURROUNDED BY THE BOERS.
"By a strenuous effort the officers succeeded in getting the men again under control, and when daylight came they seized the first
position which presented itself, and which was about two miles short of the original goal. They were forced to take advantage of
the first kopje, as Boer scouts were all around them, and the day was ushered in with desultory firing. It was a sorry position which they had chosen, and the men were in a sorrier plight. All their reserve ammunition was gone, and, though they had saved pieces of the screw-guns, they were not able with these pieces to patch up a single mounting.
"From earliest daybreak Boer scouts were reconnoitring, and about 8 o'clock mounted Boers could be seen galloping in small groups to the cover at the reverse of the hill on the west. Later, two strong parties of mounted men took position on the far side of the two hills commanding the kopje from the west. About 9 o'clock these two parties had crowned the hills and opened a heavy fire at short ranges down upon the plateau. Our men made a plucky attempt to return this fire, but it was impossible; they were under a cross fire from two directions, flank and rear.
"The two companies of Gloucesters holding the self-contained ridge were driven from their shelter, and as they crossed the open on the low plateau were terribly mauled, the men falling in groups. The Boers on the west had not yet declared themselves, but about 200 marksmen climbed to the position which the two companies of the Gloucesters had just vacated. These men absolutely raked the plateau, and it was then that the men were ordered to take cover on the steep reverse of the kopje. As soon as the enemy realized this move, the men on the western hill teemed on to the summit and opened upon our men as they lay on the slope. They were absolutely hemmed in, and what had commenced as a skirmish, seemed about to become a butchery. The grim order was passed around, 'Faugh-a-ballaghs - fix your bayonets, and die like men.' There was the clatter of steel, the moment of suspense, and then the 'Cease fire' sounded. Again and again it sounded, but the Irish Fusiliers were loath to accept the call, and continued firing for many minutes. Then it was unconditional surrender, and the men laid down their arms."
THE HORRORS OF WAR.
The correspondent at Ladysmith of the same paper, describing the battlefield of Elandslaagte, realistically details the horrors of war. He Writes:
"The battlefield, as it stood on the Sunday, conveyed sufficient proof of the severity of the fire. The wounded had been removed by daylight, but the burial parties had not arrived to perform the last duties to the dead. The men lay there as they had fallen, a sad, pathetic tribute to the courage of the British soldier. We followed this tragic trail - Highlanders, Manchesters, and mounted volunteers lay indiscriminately grouped. Then solitary figures under the stones showed how little the cover had availed them. There were places where wire fences had impeded the advance; here the carnage had been great, and one brave fellow stooped in death, cut off as he strove to wrench a post from its foundations.
"On the skyline of the tableland the dead lay thickest, this being the main spot where the attack had been checked, but the white flag was already there, and strings of coolies were digging the trench which too often is the soldier's resting place.
"We rode back to the Boer position - the little kopje upon which Schiel and his twenty-three men had made their last stand. The bodies of the fifteen that had fallen of this little band were grouped as death had taken them. Some lay with heads sunken upon their rifle stocks, fighting to the end; another had place his hat upon a prominent stone five yards away, and had died with his fingers pressing a charge into his magazine. What remained of the laager was the litter of shell fire. Tents were torn and burned, wagons splintered and overturned, foodstuffs, dead horses, and explosives lay in wrecked profusion. There remained no doubt that our shell-fire had played upon the position with full effect, and one could only marvel that the Boers had stood to their guns so long. But, as one of the wounded prisoners told me later in the day, there was no room to retreat, the extended files of the Manchester Regiment overlapping the reverse of the kopje, sweeping the northern footpath, while the rain of shrapnel destroyed every living thing on the western slope. And the scene at the farmhouse nestling at the foot of the ridge, on the far side, bore out this statement. It was here that the Boers had brought their lead horses for cover, and carcasses lay piled on every side. The slaughter among the hoses must almost have been as heavy as that of the men."
WRECK OF AN ARMOURED TRAIN.
Bennett Burleigh, The Daily Telegraph's war correspondent, supplies a full account of the annihilation of the armoured train contingent at Chieveley, when Winston Churchill was captured. "The train, it appears, and two trucks, was badly wrecked by the removal of fishplates, and the seventy-two men of the Dublin Fusiliers and forty-five men of the Durban Light Infantry, to say nothing of five bluejackets from the Tartar, were thrown out. Capt. Haldane of the Gordon Highlanders, who commanded the party, rallied his bruised and shaken men, and, amid a hail of bullets from the Boers, began to clear the line, while others were pouring deadly volleys into the almost unseen Boers hidden behind the rocks about 1,000 yards off. The bluejackets, bravely commanded by their petty officer - who was the incarnation of coolness - got their seven-pounder into action. They sent in two, if not three, well aimed shells at the Boers, several hundred of whom lined the hills. But, just then, a shot from the enemy's three-pounder or field gun, knocked the gun and carriage on to the veldt, and wounded several of the seamen. But, the men were not a whit beaten.
"The character of the Dublins, Private Kavanagh - that day one of the stretcher bearers - chaffed and encouraged his comrades, telling them the Boer shells could hit nothing. He it was, who at Dundee, after the long day's battle, being asked if he wwas hungry and did not wish for something to eat, said: 'No. How can I, with my mouth full?'
"'Full!' said his officer, 'what do you mean?'
"'Why, my heart's been in it all day, Sir,' replied Kavanagh, with a grin. And so the 'hard case' of his battalion shouted and joked,
walked about amid a tempest of bullets, and stirred the gallant, glorious Dublins to shoot well and true."
WINSTON CHURCHILL'S BRAVERY.
The Pall Mall Gazette's correspondent describes Winston Churchill's conduct on this occasion as follows:
"A party of volunteers, consisting entirely of platelayers, &c., led by Winston Churchill, who behaved throughout with most heroic courage, succeeded in replacing the rails. Mr. Churchill had previously assisted in carrying in no less than twenty men under a terrific fire. Some idea of the accuracy of the enemy's fire and of Mr. Churchill's courage may be obtained by narrating the fact that a Boer shell burst in front of Mr. Churchill's face, killing two men on each side of him. Our wounded were now dotting the veldt on each side, the continued rifle fire, and the weird sound of the quick firers adding to the horrors of the situation. At last the line was clear, and the engine, with one carriage of the armoured train, was enabled to return to Frere, leaving Capt. Haldane's party fiercely engaged. The Boers gave it a passing salvo of shells, hitting the tender and nearly derailing the train a second time. At Frere, Mr. Churchill, despite entreaties of the people with him, insisted on returning to Capt. Haldane, who was an old comrade of his in the Tirah expedition, and, seizing a rifle from one of the wounded men, was last seen making his way across the veldt. The officer in command of the rear truck reports that Winston Churchill was hit twice, in the hand and in the shoulder.
"All of the wounded who were fit to give any account of the engagement, describe Churchill's conduct in the most glowing terms. It must have been heroic beyond all ordinary heroism. He is described as walking up and down under the terrible fire, giving confidence to the wavering volunteers, carrying the wounded, and, at another moment, collecting a party of good shots to assist Capt. Haldane. True to his character, he insisted on wearing the medals he had earned as a soldier. I begged him not to wear them, and pointed out that if he were taken there would be but little chance for him. The one hope - and it is a view that several of us who know him well hold - is that he is such an extraordinary man that he is quite capable of convincing the Boer leaders that it would be the best thing for them to release him."
WITH THE BOER PRISONERS.
The Daily Graphic's correspondent, describing a visit to the hulk Penelope, at Solomon's Bay, where the Boer prisoners are confined, undertaken in the company of Col. Stowe, the United States Consul General, writes:
"The majority of the prisoners are sleek, contented, and indifferent. They told me that they thought the war would be a picnic, that they would rush Natal before the imperial troops arrived, that Great Britain would be involved in foreign complications, and that they would be able to dictate terms from Pietermaritzburg and Durban. They thought to view the Cape peninsula as conquerors, not from a prison ship.
"'Hullo, there!' shouts Consul General Stowe, whose geniality is quite irresistible. 'Good day to you, Col. Schiel. Come down out of that and tell me how are things.'
"The notorious Schiel - the man who was Governor of Prisons when the Reformers were in jail, and who created the Transvaal Staats Artillery - steps down with some difficulty. His wound in the thigh is nearly healed, but he still requires to use a stick - and ebony, carved staff, which looks as though it might have a history attached to it. But the man interests one more than the stick. He looks as though he had a history, and he has. Schiel is a typical soldier of fortune. Grizzly gray hair, cropped close, aggressive military moustachios, shrewd gray-blue eyes, a thick neck, a figure still un-mistakenly active, but tending to stoutness - such is Col. Schiel in the flesh. As to bearing, he is a genial man of the world. He introduced us to some of his brother officers, including Capt. van Leggelo, a benevolent, good-looking cosmopolitan, of kindly expression and modest mien, who told us that he was born in Holland, educated in Germany, and had a sister in St. Louis.
"The Consul General speaks as one having authority, seeing that he was in the American civil war, and to this day bears the mark of a bullet wound. The discussion is interrupted by Capt. Bruce.
"'Sorry to intrude,' says the Captain, 'but the launch is waiting.'
"We stroll down the deck, accompanied by a little group of Boer officers, who warmly thanked the Consul General for his kindness in forwarding their letters to the Transvaal.
"Good-byes are said, while the surrounding Boer prisoners glance up with lazy, curious eyes, and a minute later we are skimming across the bay to H.M.S Doris, the flagship, which lies white and beautiful, contrasting with the long, black hull of the Powerful - coaling near by. Ten minutes on the breezy deck with Commander Grant, and we are again under way, while the Doris' guns boom out a salute in honour of the visit of the representative of the United States."
Published NY TIMES, December 22, 1899
"From London to Ladysmith via Pretoria." Winston Churchill
“Now for the first time since my capture I hated the enemy. The simple, valiant burghers at the front, fighting bravely as they had been told "for their farms," claimed respect, if not sympathy. But here in Pretoria, all was petty and contemptible. Slimy, sleek officials of all nationalities - the red-faced, snub-nosed Hollander, the oily Portuguese half-caste - thrust or wormed their way through the crowd to look. I seemed to smell corruption in the air. Here were the creatures who had fattened on the spoils. There in the field were the heroes who won them. Tammany Hall was defended by the Ironsides.”
Published NY TIMES, July 1, 1900
WINSTON CHURCHILL'S ESCAPE
British Correspondent Tells How He Got Out of Pretoria and Eluded the Boer Watchers.
LONDON, December 27, 1899. - Winston Churchill has cabled, and the Morning Post publishes to-day an account of his escape from captivity with the Boers, after having been taken prisoner in the reconnaissance of an armoured train at Estcourt.
The dispatch, which is dated Lorenzo Marques, December 21, says:
"On the afternoon of December 12 the Transvaal's Secretary of War informed me that there was little chance of my release. I therefore resolved to escape, and the same night I left the State School's prison, in Pretoria, by climbing the wall when the sentries' backs were turned momentarily. I walked through the streets of the town without disguise, meeting many burghers, but was not challenged in the crowd. I got through the pickets of the town guard and struck the Delagoa Bay Railroad. I walked along it, evading the watchers at the bridges and culverts, and waited for a train beyond the first station. The 11:10 goods train from Pretoria had arrived before I reached the place, and was moving at full speed. I boarded it with great difficulty and hid under coal sacks.
"I jumped from the train before dawn, and was sheltered during the day in a small wood, in company with a huge vulture, who displayed a lively interest in me.
"I walked on at dusk. There were no more trains that night. The danger of meeting the guards of the line continued, but I was obliged to follow it, as I had no compass or map. I had to make wide detours to avoid bridges, stations, and huts, and so my progress was very slow. Chocolate is not a satisfying food. The outlook was gloomy, but I persevered, with God's help. For five days my food supply was very precarious. I was lying up by daylight and walking by night.
"Meanwhile my escape had been discovered, and my description telegraphed everywhere. All trains were searched and everyone was on the watch for me. Four times the wrong people were arrested.
"The sixth day I managed to board a train beyond Middleburg, whence there was a direct service to Delagoa.
"In the evening I concealed myself in a railway truck under a great pile of sacks. I had a small store of good water. I remained hidden so, chancing discovery. The Boers searched the train at Komati Poort, but did not search deep enough. After sixty hours of misery I came safely here. I am very weak, but am free. I have lost many pounds in weight, but am light in heart. I shall avail myself of every opportunity henceforth to urge earnestly the unflinching and uncompromising prosecution of the war."
Published NY TIMES, December 28, 1899
Mr. Churchill's Escape.
From the book, "London to Ladysmith via Pretoria." By W Spencer Churchill.
My sole companion was a gigantic vulture, who manifested an extravagant interest in my condition, and made hideous and ominous gurglings from time to time. From my lofty position I commanded a view of the whole valley. A little tin-roofed town lay three miles to the westward. Scattered farmsteads, each with a clump of trees, relieved the monotony of the undulating ground. At the foot of the hill stood a Kafir kraal, and the figures of its inhabitants dotted the patches of cultivation or surrounded the droves of goats and cows which fed on the pasture. The railway ran through the middle of the valley, and I could watch the passage of the various trains. I counted four passing each way, and from this I drew the conclusion that the same number would run by night. I marked a steep gradient up which the climbed slowly, and determined at nightfall to make another attempt to board one of these. During the day I ate one slab of chocolate, which, with the heat, produced a violent thirst. The pool was hardly half a mile away, but I dared not leave the shelter of the little wood, for I could see the figures of white men riding or walking occasionally across the valley, and once a Boer came and fired two shots at birds close to my hiding place. But no one discovered me.
Published NY TIMES, July 15 1900
BULLER MAY ATTACK AGAIN
Impression Grows that He Is Preparing to Strike.
WILL REMOBILIZE HIS ARMY
Boers Fortify the Hills About Ladysmith, and It Is Feared Gen. White's Position Is Critical.
LONDON, December 28, 1899. - Winston Churchill's new arrival at Chievely Camp is perhaps responsible for some over-colouring of the gravity of the situation, but all to-day's news conveys the impression that Gen. Buller may be intending another attack upon the Boer position.
Certainly the Boers are not inactive. At both Modder River and the Tugela they are said to be strengthening their forces and extending defence works, which, in both cases, are seemingly almost impregnable.
As showing the difficulty of obtaining accurate information, a correspondent of The Daily News at Cape Town, under date of December 21, announces that "Gen. Buller is coming to Cape Town to meet Sir Charles Warren, and then both will go to Modder River."
As five battalions of Gen. Warren's Fifth Division are said to have gone to Natal, his arrival at Pietermaritzburg seemed natural.
Dispatches from Chieveley indicate that Gen. Buller's forces will remobilize at Frere before attempting another advance. Doubtless he would be glad to retrieve the Colenso reverse before the arrival of Lord Roberts; yet he is hardly likely to attempt another frontal attack. It is more likely that he is preparing to strike, should the Boers make any offensive movement.
Mr. Churchill's reference to Ladysmith may imply that the situation of the garrison is more desperate than had been supposed.
The Boers continue fortifying the hills commanding the town. Gen. White, however, heliographs that all was well in Ladysmith on December 26.
Competent military critics in London regard the campaign as at a complete deadlock for the present, owing to the dispersal of the British forces and the lack of adequate transport. They believe it will be many weeks before Lord Roberts is able to reorganise
and to make an effective move.
The Imperial Government, according to a dispatch from Calcutta to The Times, has accepted an offer of two batteries made by the Indian Government.
The Boer trench work is so good that it enables the enemy to hold a long line with very few men, and to travel great distances under perfect cover, so as rapidly to reinforce any point attacked.
The Times, which comments editorially upon the severed strain, says:
"It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that our troubles are due to the unreality of the presumably practical lessons given in the manoeuvres at Aldershot."
The Morning Post has received the following from Winston Churchill, under date of December 26,telegraphed from Chieveley Camp, where he has arrived:
"All ranks have complete confidence in Sir Redvers Buller, and there is a stern determination to succeed next time at all costs. A painful impression was caused by the announcement of the change of Commander in Chief, and the soldiers here are resolved to vindicate their trusted leader.
"The situation, nevertheless, is difficult, the Boer position being one of extraordinary strength, with high hills lined tier on tier with trenches and galleries, rising from and almost unfordable river, and with a smooth plain in front.
"The enemy have all the ranges marked, and may powerful guns dominate the various points of the river, while the drifts are commanded by converging musketry fire from probably 12,000 Boers. There are sixteen miles of wild broken country before reaching Ladysmith, which demands early relief."
Published NY TIMES 28 December, 1899
LORENZO MARQUES NEEDS FOOD.
Prices Advance 50 Per Cent. and Stocks Are Short.
LONDON, December 31, 1899. - The Lorenzo Marques correspondent of The Daily Mail sends the following:
"The Transvaal agents here have bought up all the available milk, sugar, and coffee. They have managed to get large orders sent for shipment here by French and German steamers. Prices hae advanced fifty per cent. in consequence, and the stocks are very short. Something like a famine is threatened, as the British Government is stopping all goods consigned here from coast ports.
"Several members of the Volksraad meet every steamer, doubtless to give further orders. Portugal is doing her best to maintain neutrality; but foreign opinion in Lorenzo Marques is generally in favour of actively assisting the Boers to produce food supplies.
"Herr Pott, the Transvaal Consul General here, is losing Lloyds Agency and the agencies for the Castle, Union and Bucknall Steamship lines in consequence of the position he holds."
Published NY TIMES, January 1, 1900
SPIES AMONG BRITISH TROOPS.
Boer Emissaries Discovered in Different Regiments.
LONDON, January 1, 1900. - Alleged Boer spies, it has been discovered, have enlisted in the Yeomanry. A representative of Lord Chesham, who is in command of the Yeomanry forces, says that the officials of this arm of the service are being pestered by agents of Dr. Leyds, the European Plenipotentiary of the South African Government. He adds that two of them were actually accepted, but that they were afterward discovered. He declares that the same thing occurred in Thorneycroft's Horse, seven spies being discovered in that body. Continuing he says:
"We have given word to all our commissioned officers to keep a sharp lookout for traitors."
No steps have been taken thus far to punish the alleged spies.
Published NY TIMES, January 2, 1900.
BOERS DENY A BRITISH VICTORY.
Assert that Gen. French Was Forced to Retreat.
PRETORIA, January 1, 1900. - Last night (Sunday) the British in great force attacked Commandant Schoeman's commando in the Colesberg District and tried to storm the position. They repeated the attack this morning, but were forced to retreat, the Boers holding the position.
The loss of the British is not known, but it is reported to have been heavy.
Published NY TIMES, January 3, 1900.
BOERS SIGNAL "RATS" TO BULLER.
Exchange of Sarcastic Messages at Tugela River.
FRERE CAMP, January 1, 1900. - The Boers enquired by heliography to-day: "Why is Roberts coming? What has Buller done?"
The British replied: "How did you like our lyddite in the late battle?"
The Boers signalled in response: "Rats."
Published NY TIMES, January 3, 1900.
PICKET FIGHTING AT LADYSMITH.
Boers Report Night Skirmishes with Gen. White's Men.
HOOFD LAAGER, Ladysmith, January 1, 1900. - The garrison of Ladysmith, during the night, threw out feelers on all sides, exchanging shots with the Boer pickets. At midnight a couple of shells fell in the Boer camp killing a burgher.
Gen. Joubert preached in camp Sunday.
The Rev. Mr. Moiring, who has just arrived here from America, addressed the burghers this afternoon, dwelling on the expiring century witnessing the life struggle of a people.
This morning shell filled with confectionery and containing season's greetings were sent into Ladysmith.
Federal shells are selling in Ladysmith at from thirty shillings to five pounds sterling.
Six horsemen made as dash from Ladysmith a few nights ago and, though pursued, they escaped. It is believed the party included Col. Rhodes, brother of Cecil Rhodes, and Dr. Jameson.
It is doubtful if the dispatch from Pretoria is accurate, as, so far as is known, neither Dr. Jameson nor Cecil Rhodes's brother, to whom the report probably refers, have been in Ladysmith recently.
Dr. Jameson, the leader of the famous raid and friend of Mr. Rhodes, was reported to be in Ladysmith October 30, but a dispatch from Cape Town on November 10 said that he had sailed for England. Later on it was reported that he had been seen in London.
Lieut. Col. Rhodes, Cecil Rhodes's brother, was, according to the last reports about him, with Gen. Lord Methuen's column.
Published NY TIMES, January 5 1900.
GEN. BULLER FACES HEAVY ODDS.
Tremendous Difficulties Now Bar the Way to Ladysmith.
LONDON, January 2, 1900. - The Standard's correspondent at Frere Camp, telegraphing on January 1, says:
"Sir Charles Warren's division is now nearly complete. Its headquarters will be at Estcourt. It is rumoured here that the guns which were captured from Gen. Buller at Colenso have been mounted in the hills commanding the drift over the Tugela River at Springfield. The Boers, it appears, captured 620 rounds of shrapnel when they took the guns.
"Gen. Buller's difficulties have been immeasurably increased by the enforced delay since the last engagement. He now has before him a series of walled and fortified hills, running sixteen miles along the line of the Tugela. These are swarming with the enemy, posted in positions of great strength, and bristling with guns; while the river in front is in full flood. The coming battle will certainly be the stiffest and probably the most momentous of the entire campaign."
The Boers appear to be modifying somewhat their line of defence. Gen. Buller's scouts have discovered a Boer camp established in the vicinity of Springfield, southwest of Colenso, by a Free State commando. A similar movement has been made at Modder River. A large force of Boers, it is reported, has formed a new laager about fifteen miles down the stream at Kameelhoek.
Heliography reports from Ladysmith show that all was well on December 31. The bombardment was being continued, but its intensity relaxed. An official dispatch from Ladysmith confirms the report, cabled yesterday, that several officers from the Devonshire Regiment were severely wounded by the explosion of a Boer shell in the mess tent.
A new armoured train has reached Gen. Buller from Durban.
Published NY TIMES, January 2, 1900.
THE BRITISH VICTORY.
Gen. French's engagement with the Boers was evidently not what is technically known as a battle, but only an "affair." In the numbers engaged it would have been ranked as a battle in our own Revolution, but not in modern warfare. And in the number of casualties on the British side it would have been no more than a skirmish in any real war. It is true that the British believe that the Boers lost much more heavily than themselves. That is likely enough, but it is not likely that the Boer losses were very important.
Strategically, the results of the engagement may be much more serious. It is true that the advance of Gens. Gatacre and French toward the Orange Free State has been the least important part of the British combined movements. It has sometimes seemed more like a feint, meant to draw off as many Boers as possible, than an attack meant to be vigorously followed up. The main theatres of action have all along been on the Natal border, where Gen. Buller is endeavouring to relieve Ladysmith, and the western border, where Lord Methuen has been brought to a standstill in the advance for the relief of Kimberley. Nevertheless Gen. French's action has put the Boers on the defence, and has apparently much relieved the pressure upon the British centre, if that may be called so which is entirely out of relieving or supporting distance from the right or the left.
The most important result of all, however, is the sentimental. This is the first gleam of success which has fallen upon the British arms since Elandslaagte. As fast as it becomes known it will tend to dispel British belief in the invincibility of the Boers and to encourage the British forces throughout South Africa. In that aspect it is worth many times the few lives it has cost.
Published NY TIMES, January 3, 1900.
GEN. BULLER READY TO ATTACK
Intimated in a Dispatch that Preparations Are Complete for An Advance.
LONDON, January 3, 1900. - The Daily Telegraph has received the following, dated January 2, 1900 from Frere Camp:
"The weather is fine. The Tugela River is now fordable. Gen. Buller's army is in fine form, ready, and confident for the work before it."
Gen. White reported, under date of December 31, 1899, that the number of cases of dysentery and fever is increasing.
Published NY TIMES, January 3, 1900.
FRENCH REPULSES AN ATTACK.
RENSBURG, Cape Colony, January 4, 1900. - Colesberg has not yet been occupied. The Boers unexpectedly attacked the British left at daybreak this morning, but were repulsed. They occupied hills to the north of the town, but were eventually driven out of their positions, after an hour's shelling by the British guns. They still hold, however, the hills immediately surrounding the town, preventing the British from advancing along the railway.
The British loss in to-day's engagement was light, while the Boers are reported to have lost 100, including 20 prisoners, who were taken by the Mounted Infantry about midday.
The Boer attackers numbered 1,000 men. The Enniskillen Dragoons cut their way through the Boers, who were forced to retreat by a heavy artillery and musketry fire.
Major Harvey of the Tenth Hussars was killed and Major Alexander was wounded while the Hussars were pursuing the retreating Boers.
Lieut. Gibson of the Enniskillens was also among the wounded.
At Gen. French's special request, the Household Cavalry, a battery of field artillery, and the First Battalion of the Essex Regiment have been dispatched from Cape Town to reinforce him temporarily.
Published NY TIMES, January 6, 1900.
BULLER'S MEN ENGAGE BOERS.
FRERE CAMP, Natal, January 5, 1900. - There was a reconnaissance in force from Chieveley this afternoon with 2,000 horse and two guns, the object being to locate the enemy on a hill south of Hiagwano Hill. Several shells were fired, supplemented by the naval gun. The enemy replied at long range, but did not touch the British.
Lord Dundonald, perceiving a strong mounted force issuing beyond the range of British guns, with the evident intention of working
around our flank, directed the force to retire to Chieveley.
The Boers' helio can be seen working from a ridge north of Colenso to the Boer camp at Umbulwane.
Published NY TIMES, January 6, 1900.
LONDON WAITS NEWS OF A BIG BATTLE
Report of Another Attempt to Relieve Ladysmith Expected.
CORRUPTION IN WAR OFFICE.
An Attempt May be Made to Oust Mr. Chamberlain.
Special to The New York Times.
LONDON, January 6, 1900. - We begin the year in considerable soberness of mind. All the week the newspapers have been providing us with highly coloured description of marches, stormings, and surprises, followed, unfortunately, by retreats too often; but that sort of thing has begun to pall, and people's minds have all along been concentrated upon the coming struggle for the relief of Ladysmith. Everything else sinks into insignificance compared with that. And such slight news as is permitted to leak out about the condition of the garrison there proves it to be in the greatest straits and in urgent need of deliverance.
Therefore almost any hour now may bring the news of a forward movement of Gen. Buller's forces, preliminary to a sanguinary battle, but the country will not again be caught by Stock Exchange reports of victories. So different is the feeling that we have almost gone to the other extreme, and two days ago, when a report went floating around that Buller had been beaten worse that before, it had enough influence on men's minds to actually depress the stock markets. We all recognise that if the army on the uplands of Natal is to win this time it will be at a cost the magnitude of which the mind refuses to dwell upon.
As for the confused struggles proceeding in the northern parts of Cape Colony, they mean little, so far as I can see, except the manufacture of rebels out of hitherto peaceable and more or less loyal Afrikanders. And we may be sure that if the policy announced by the Australian officer who marched westward to the little township of Douglas in Bechuanaland, and then marched back again, is followed, and those Cape farmers who are taken, with arms in their hands are shot as rebels, we shall soon have the whole of South Africa united to fight us.
Events are still following precisely the course they did in your War of Independence, and the warning given by Benjamin Franklin to the British Government when it told him its intention to send out troops to quell your rebellion might fitly be given to our statesmen now in regard to their handling of this terrible South African strife. "You will not find rebels there," Franklin said, "but your soldiers will create them."
SEVERITY OF THE CENSORSHIP.
It is the easiest thing possible to get any number of telegrams, couched in the most extravagant language of praise for this victory or that commander, transmitted by cable as being wired from any part of the country where our troops may come in contact with the enemy or even see him through a good spyglass; but facts about the condition of the troops, about the nature of the country, the state of transportation, the feeling of the inhabitants, or even the localities where corps and regiments are placed, are not allowed to come at all. Even The Times has taken up the cudgels against such a censorship of vanity, but the military authorities are strong enough still to defy public opinion.
An indescribable tornado of accusation and counter accusation has broken out among politicians and clubites over the conduct of this war, and as usual the permanent officials, who really are to blame, and who, I fear, are often incompetent and sometimes very corrupt, contrive to turn public indignation away from themselves and on some functionary who probably has no more real influence upon the conduct of War Office business that your Ambassador, who, by the way, is making excellent successor to Mr. Hay.
THE FIGUREHEADS ARE BLAMED.
What are our politicians at bottom except haranguing figureheads, who obtain office either by virtue of their birth or by their power to make effective attacks in Parliament or on platforms upon the other side? A gentleman who knows a great deal about fox hunting, and perhaps about the breeding of horses or the art of ancient Greece, is, when the party reshuffle comes, chucked into the War Office or the Admiralty, and while there, does what the permanent officials tell him to do. Should he try to make himself, as they put it, "disagreeable" by asking questions he is voted a "bore," and muzzled.
But such a man is an excellent screen, and whenever anything goes wrong, as is now alleged to be the case with our field articles, the political figurehead becomes the permanent service Jonah, and the question being agitated now is whether Lord Lansdowne ought to be forced to resign or Lord Wolseley be turned out. The latter, although Commander in Chief, is really not much better placed to control the permanent staff than the politician. He is not permitted to mix with the inner ring of permanent civilians, some of whom are secret partners of gun manufacturers and in other ways interested in maintaining their monopoly.
STORM BREWING FOR CHAMBERLAIN.
The flame will not burst out until Parliament meets, and then it would not surprise me were the whole indignation of the public to be concentrated upon Mr. Chamberlain. He has all along been bitterly hated by our downright old Tories, and I have been hearing lately mutterings of a design to attack him and put him off his perch.
This morning some of the papers published fragments of the correspondence which passed between certain people, who were interested in the Chartered Company and mixed up in the Jameson raid, at about the time of the committee's investigation into that wretched business. There is not much in the letters except that they indicated a knowledge of the conspiracy of Cecil Rhodes and his associates on the part of Colonial Office officials, and point to Mr. Chamberlain as also having son acquaintance with what was going on. The letters were originally published in Brussels, where they were purloined, and how the Boer Government managed to get them published in Brussels after failing in London is a mystery we cannot now clear up, but the letters will undoubtedly be made use of to attack the Colonial Secretary, and if possible force him out. He alone is blamed for bringing this terrible war upon the country, and all other hatreds and quarrels over bad guns, bad food, mismanaged transports, and everything of that kind are likely to be laid aside until this biggest row of all gets settled.
THE SEIZURES OF VESSELS.
A sort of side squabble is going on over the seizures of foreign ships, but we remain almost completely ignorant of the grounds upon which the captures have been made, and can only hope they were good grounds. It will be a bad thing for us in any event, so far as the excitement of ill-feeling against us abroad goes, but should it be established beyond doubt that genuine contraband of war was being surreptitiously conveyed to the Boers by these vessels it will be impossible for any power to make public disturbance against us. From what I see in the German papers, it is extremely probable that those Hamburg ships were carrying ammunition and perhaps guns to be conveyed to Pretoria, and I fancy that fact is not unknown to the German Government.
The seizures of grain and flour, however, are on a different footing, and grounds for taking such a grave step have not been hinted by any South African authority.
Published NY TIMES, January 7, 1900.
BOERS BEATEN AT LADYSMITH.
LONDON, January 6, 1900. - The War Office this evening issued the following:
"From Buller, Frere Camp, January 6, the following telegram was received from Gen. White January 6, 9 A.M.:
"'The enemy attacked Caesar's Camp at 2:45 A.M. in considerable force. The enemy was everywhere repulsed, but the fighting still continues.'"
Gen. Buller's telegram caused many late calls at the War Office in expectation of the receipt of additional news. The officials stated at midnight, however, that nothing further would be issued during the night.
No news has been received from other sources, though the day's dispatches indicate that important events at the front are imminent, if not actually progressing at this time.
Published, NY TIMES, January 7, 1900.
GEN. WHITE IS HARD PRESSED
Boers Make a Determined Assault on Ladysmith.
GEN. BULLER CANNOT GIVE AID
Extreme Gravity of the Situation Seen in London.
White Reports One Assault by His Besiegers Repulsed - Disaster to Gen. French's Troops in the West.
LONDON, January 8, 1900. - The British public is face to face with a critical moment in the campaign. It may safely be said that
at no previous time have there been such anxious hours of suspense as will be passed through until the arrival of further news regarding the fate of Ladysmith.
The week opens with only fresh additions to the disasters that have befallen British arms, and there is no longer any sustaining confidence to buoy up public opinion.
The editorials in the leading newspapers this morning fully reflect the extreme gravity of the situation, with a painful undercurrent of ominous foreboding, mainly caused by the fact that, while the Boers have now changed their tactics and assumed the offensive, Gen. Buller is apparently unable to do more to assist Gen. White than in making a demonstration. The Morning Post says: "He might as well have order a display of fireworks."
As the heliograph ceased working yesterday, (Sunday,) it is presumed that Gen. White's last message was sent by a pigeon or runner.
The Times publishes a dispatch from Ladysmith, dated January 1, recording two night movements on the part of the Boers to assault the town. These had to be abandoned when the British defences were reached; but the correspondent says it was apparent that the great attack would not be long delayed. He adds:
"Loyally supported by the civilians, the garrison can hold out for a considerable period. We are not yet reduced to half rations. The greatest difficulty is proper accommodation for the wounded and sick."
Little doubt remains as to the meaning of the Boer attack. A dispatch from the Boer camp at Colenso, dated Thursday last, and sent by way of Lorenzo Marques, mentions that a thunderstorm had turned the dry ravines into torrents and flooded the Tugela. Doubtless Gen. Joubert felt sure he had secured a couple of days in which he could attack Ladysmith without fear of interference from Gen. Buller, who, even if he decided to attempt to relieve the town, would probably occupy three days in reaching it by even a victorious advance.
Apparently on Saturday, Gen. Buller was not ready to attack. Possibly Gen. Joubert anticipated that Gen. Buller would shortly deliver an attack, and, in that case, he may have actually opened the battle yesterday.
Great Britain has to fact the terrible possibility that the next news will be the fall of Ladysmith. The disquieting feature is that the Boers seem to have had sufficient forces to deter Gen. Buller from attacking, while carrying on their own operations.
The attack by the Boers on Saturday, which Gen. White reports that he repulsed, is regarded as probably the beginning of a determined effort to reduce the town.
Published NY TIMES, January 8, 1900.
BRITISH WAR OFFICE UPHELD.
LONDON, January 8, 1900. - Arthur J. Balfour, First Lord of the Treasury, delivered his annual address to his Manchester constituents this evening. An immense audience gave him an enthusiastic reception.
Mr. Balfour contrasted the conditions of last year, when the Fashoda incident had been honourably closed, and the Peach Conference had begun at The Hague, with those of to-day, when, as he said, England had become involved in the "greatest war of the generation."
"It is true," he continued, "that the Government knew the situation contained elements of peril, but it is not true that they regarded the war as anything like inevitable. If it be asked why the Government, knowing the Transvaal was increasing its armaments, did not protest, the melancholy reason rests in the Jameson raid, which gave the Transvaal a chance to say it was arming, not for aggression, but for self-protection. Thus we are criticised for doing too little by those who a year ago attacked us for doing too much."
The speaker said he believed the events which prevented mobilization last August had done more good in uniting parties and all parts of the empire than if Great Britain, and not the Transvaal, had issued the ultimatum.
"Even the tactical misfortune at Ladysmith or the extent of the Boer invasion of British territory," said Mr. Balfour, "is not such as need by itself frighten even the most timid."
In defending the artillery equipment, he observed:
"Do not believe that your soldiers are sent to the field with a worse gun than France or Germany would use in similar circumstances. The guns supplied to Sir George White were intended for a mobile force, not for the defence of a beleaguered fortress. The course of the war has revealed the necessity for guns less mobile but of greater range, and these are being sent out abundantly."
After extolling the sea transport and the ready response of the reserves, he declared that the Government had given the Generals and absolutely free hand; that the war was "one in defence of our African empire," and that, through good and evil fortune, they would pursue it unswervingly to the end, so that no such war should ever be waged in South Africa again.
In conclusion, Mr. Balfour ridiculed the foreign prophesies that the dissolution of the British Empire was about to begin.
Lord Dunraven in The Times this morning returns to his arraignment of the War Department for the inferiority of British artillery. He says:
"It is useless for the Government to contend that our artillery is equal to that of foreign nations, since the Boers have longer range mobile guns."
Published NY TIMES, January 9, 1900.
GEN. WHITE REPORTS A GREAT VICTORY
Repulses a Boer Attack, Inflicting Heavy Losses.
BAYONET CHARGE IN A STORM
One Position Was Taken and Retaken Three Times.
Transvaal Forces Said to Have Been in Great Strength and to Have Fought with Desperate Courage.
LONDON, January 8, 1900. - The following dispatch was received to-day from Gen. Buller:
"Frere Camp, Natal, December 8, 1900
"The following is from White, dated 2 P.M. yesterday:
"'An attack was commenced on my position, but was chiefly against Caesar's Camp and Wagon Hill.
"'The enemy was in great strength and pushed the attack with the greatest courage and energy.
"'Some of our entrenchments on Wagon Hill were three times taken by the enemy and retaken by us. The attack continued until 7:30 P.M.
"'One point in our position was occupied by the enemy the whole day.
"'But at dusk, in a very heavy rainstorm, they were turned out of this position at the point of the bayonet, in a most gallant manner, by the Devons, led by Col. Park. Col. Ian Hamilton commanded on Wagon Hill and rendered valuable services.
"'The troops have had a very trying time and have behaved excellently. They are elated at the service they have rendered the Queen.
"'The enemy were repulsed everywhere with very heavy loss, greatly exceeding that on my side, which will be reported as soon as the lists are completed.'"
It is understood that the War Office has received some figures on the casualties, but not the list itself. These have not yet been made public.
Not since the day of Gen. Buller's reverse has such a crowd of inquirers visited the War Office. As the afternoon progressed a rumour obtained currency that Ladysmith had surrendered and the depression in the lobbies had become extreme, when an official appeared and, in a loud voice, shouted: "Good news," and posted the dispatch chronicling the victory at Ladysmith. Even the brief official announcement sent by Gen. White seems to entitle his success to the adjective "brilliant," so often misused during the present war.
Reading between the lines of Gen. White's dispatch, it is evident that there was a desperate fight, the British entrenchments being thrice taken and retaken, and, at dusk, the Devonshire Regiment, at the point of the bayonet, drove out the Boers from another position, which they had occupied all day long. The news spread with astonishing rapidity all over London and caused an instantaneous change in the aspect of the metropolis. Smiling faces were seen everywhere, and even at the sedate Foreign Office and other departments of the Government great elation was shown.
The newspapers were all jubilant. The conservative Standard in big headlines announced a "Glorious Victory at Ladysmith."
The Stock Exchange received the news with rousing cheers, and prices immediately ascended in all departments.
So far as known, Gen. Buller's demonstration against Colenso had little effect. In spite of the heavy artillery fire, the Boers did not reply, and the only effect of the shrapnel shell reported was that it caused a hundred Boers and their horses to stampede from the camp between Colenso and Grobler's Kloof.
In spite of the news of the victory and the fact that England has taken heart, the situation is not improved. The beleaguered force must have expended a large amount of ammunition, which cannot be replenished, and must have lost a number of officers and men, which is counterbalanced, so far as the garrison is concerned, by the greater loss of the Boers.
Gen. White still needs relief, and the difficulties confronting Gen. Buller are as great as before.
The former's unadorned sentences, as read and re-read, suggest eloquently the peril in which the town was for fourteen hours, and how barely able his 9,000 men were to keep from being overcome.
The chief concern for Gen. White is in respect of ammunition. Sixty-eight days ago, at the beginning of the siege, his small-arm ammunition was vaguely described as "plenty." His artillery then had 300 rounds per gun. Some of the batteries have been in action frequently since then, and all were probably engaged last Saturday. His stock of shells, consequently, must be low, and this will make it difficult for Gen. White to co-operate in a movement by Gen. Buller.
The entrenchments at Ladysmith, as described in a message that left a day or two before the fight, and has just come through, are fortified hills, covered with rifle pits and trenches, down which the infantry move in single file to the various posts in absolute safety. Full rations are still served.
Spenser Wilkinson in The Morning Post, points out that there is one division only at Chieveley, another at Frere, and a third at Estcourt. As Chieveley is seven miles from Colenso, the Second Division would have had to march twelve miles to get into action and the Third Division twenty-two miles. Gen. Buller's 30,000 men and seventy guns were therefore almost inactive on Saturday, and when Gen. White heliographed Gen. Buller could really make no move but an ineffective demonstration.
England is preparing fresh armaments, and twenty-two transports will be on the way to South Africa during the present month. According to the programme, 25,000 additional troops and 72 guns will soon be afloat. The Government has ordered Vicker's Sons & Maxim, Limited to manufacture as many 4.7 inch and ? inch quick-firers as can be turned out until otherwise notified.
Published NY TIMES, January 9, 1900
THE MILITARY SITUATION
The crop of rumours which arise spontaneously in London about the situation in South Africa, and which are promptly forwarded to New York seem unmistakably to denote two things. One is that there is no real news. The other is that public feeling is in a state
of extreme tension. Darkness and heat constitute the most favourable environment for the development of rumours.
For what is going on in South Africa we have to trust to a general judgement of the situation, assuming that both the British and the Boer commanders are taking intelligent views of their own interests. It seems to be clear that the Boers are now beginning to increase the pressure upon the garrison at Ladysmith. Whether the advance which has been so brilliantly repulsed by Sir George White can properly be called a serious attack on the place is not so certain. What seems to be certain is that the artillery fire which the Boers have been keeping up for weeks, and which the British have found progressively annoying, has now been supplemented by advances of the infantry, which may have the character of serious attacks or merely of reconnaissances in force. In the latter case, the main purpose they are meant to serve may be to keep the garrison continually on the alert, and to give them no chance for
rest. Doubtless the point of exhaustion will be hastened by these means.
Immediately after Gen. Buller's disastrous repulse, it was very commonly expected that the Boers would take the occasion of their victory to attack Ladysmith at once. We gave then some of the considerations which to us made this seem unlikely. The repulse made it evident that Gen. Buller could do nothing toward the relief of the beleaguered town before the arrival of heavy reinforcements. Meanwhile, the Boers, by strengthening their entrenchments, were enabling themselves to withstand, by means of a smaller force than had been necessary before, any attack that Buller could make upon them. Now it seems that they have been assisted by a rise in the Tugela, which increases the difficulty of fording it. That being so, they could afford to wait. Time was with them and against the British. The longer they delayed their attack upon Ladysmith before the British reinforcements had actually arrived and become available, the less effective resistance they would be apt to encounter. Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener are expected to be in Cape Town to-day, but there are no troops with them. Instead of wondering why the Boers have delayed their attack so long, it seems that we should rather wonder why they should have made it so soon, if indeed this is the serious and definitive attack which is now reported to have been repulsed. Gen. White had already reported that he was "very hard pressed." The longer the pressure is kept up, the harder it will be, and the less the loss of the assailants may be expected to be. The most favourable time for an assault would thus seem to be the latest moment before the British reinforcements became available.
It is rather curious that the British interest and apprehension seem to have been concentrated entirely upon Ladysmith, to the neglect of Kimberley. It is true that the garrison of Ladysmith is much the larger, comprising, apparently, some ten or twelve thousand men. But the Boers would doubtless forego the capture of half of their number to insure the seizure of Cecil Rhodes. No arrival at Pretoria could bring anything like so much joy to the inhabitants and to the Government as that of this eminent promoter and empire-maker. And there seems to be every reason for supposing that British affairs on the Cape Colony side are in quite as desperate as case as on the side of Natal. Neither Gen. Buller's force nor Lord Methuen's is where it would be but for the beleaguering of these towns. The British force would probably have gone in by way of Durban and Port Elizabeth. Lord Methuen's force is as distinctly as Gen. Buller's a "relief expedition," and one has failed as decisively as the other. Indeed, Kimberley seems to be much more at the mercy of the besiegers by reason of its smaller garrison. The capture of either of these places would be the greatest blow the British Empire has received for more than a century, or since the surrender of Cornwallis. The capture of
both would be a heavy blow to civilization.
Published NY TIMES, January 9, 1900.
QUIET AGAIN AT LADYSMITH.
LONDON, January 10, 1900. - A dispatch to The Daily Chronicle, date at Frere Camp Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock, says:
"There has been no bombardment of Ladysmith today, nor any shelling at Chieveley by the British guns."
The Queen has telegraphed her congratulations and thanks to Gen. White and the troops of Ladysmith.
An official dispatch from Frere Camp late Sunday night said all was quiet there, thus dispelling the widespread hopes that Gen. Buller had followed up his demonstration before Colenso with an effective move elsewhere.
From the Boer headquarters it is reported that Gen. Buller is constructing a subsidiary railroad, from the main line to Colenso, westwardly, in the direction of Potgieter's Drift.
Published NY TIMES, January 10, 1900.
MOVEMENTS OF VOLUNTEERS.
LONDON, Jan. 16, 1900. - The Dudge? of Marlborough, who volunteered for service in South Africa, will sail for Cape Town Saturday next.
The yeomanry recruiters are disturbed by the fact that they are able to get only one and one-half companies out of upward of 1,000 applicants in the Metropolitan District. All the other applicants fall short of the requirements. One thousand would be regarded as a very small number, even were all accepted.
The provinces are doing better, although to raise 10,000 appears far from the easy matter it did a fortnight ago.
Among the minor perplexities of the War Office is a strike among the military tailors, which causes delay in uniforming the recruits.
Major Gen. Sir Frederick Carrington, the well-known South African officer, until now commander of the Belfast District, has been ordered to South Africa.
Published NY TIMES, 16 January, 1900.
BRITISH TROOPS CROSS THE TUGELA?
Rumoured that Gen. Warren Is Approaching Ladysmith.
WHITE'S RELIEF IS EXPECTED
London Believes a Forward Movement is Progressing.
Many of the Boers, Demoralised by Their Recent Repulse, Are Said to be Returning Northward.
LONODN, January 16, 1900. - The Standard gives prominence to the following dispatch, dated Saturday, January 13, from Durban:
"A man who has just arrived here from Springfield says that a British column, proceeding to the relief of Ladysmith, has crossed the Little Tugela. When he left it was facing the Boer position on the Big Tugela and a howitzer was shelling the Boer trenches.
"He also said that 270 wagons, laden with commissary stores for Ladysmith, had left Frere, and it was expected that the column would join hands with Gen. White Monday evening.
"The traction engines have been doing excellent work in hauling heavy wagons out of holes and swamps. This they accomplish with the greatest ease.
"British patrols have discovered parties of Boers in the direction of Ennersdale, between Frere and Estcourt."
A special dispatch from Cape Town, dated Friday, January 12, states that it is announced there that Gen. Warren has crossed the Tugela River, but that the report is not credited in official circles.
A later dispatch from the same source says there is good reason to believe that the statement that Sir Charles Warren, with 11,000 men, has gone toward Weenen is correct; and we may expect important news shortly.
Reports have been received here that dysentery is very rife in Ladysmith.
While these reports of the crossing of the Tugela River are still but rumours, the whole tenor of the news from South Africa during the last forty-eight hours indicates that a combined forward movement of a comprehensive character is proceeding. It is not necessary to believe the unconfirmed stories of the Boers being in full retreat from Colenso, because it has been learned that a column is proceeding via Weenen to Helpmakaar to cut off their retreat. But, at the same time, credible information from many different sources indisputably points to momentous charges in the disposition of the Republican forces. Advices from Pietermaritzburg, dated Saturday, January 13, say that since their defeat, January 6, the Boers have been removing their guns from the positions south of Ladysmith. The same dispatch confirms the report that the Thirteenth Hussars reached Groblerskloof without
meeting the Boers. As the trenches at Groblerskloof were, perhaps, the strongest position held by the burghers, their vacation has considerably astonished the British.
Merchants of Pietermaritzburg have received messages from Ladysmith saying "Bring up jam, &c.," indicating that their Ladysmith agents anticipated an immediate opening of communications, while Ladysmith also heliographed the belief prevalent there January 13 that the Boers were moving and concentrating their forces elsewhere. As corroborative of the British activity in the direction of the relief of Ladysmith, it may be said that a dispatch has been received in London from Gen. Buller to the effect that he expected that all the dispositions for a synchronous movement of the various columns against the besiegers would be completed this morning. Under these circumstances it is considered quite probable that the advance on the beleaguered town had commenced and that fighting is progressing. Optimists go so far as to say it is expected Ladysmith will be relieved to-night if all goes well. The military men are divided in opinion as to whether Gen. Buller is at Springfield or personally directing the flank movement from Weenen. The officials are inclined to credit the report that the British have crossed the Tugela River in that direction, although there is no official confirmation of the report, and altogether there is a more hopeful feeling in official circles.
The correspondent of The Daily Telegraph at Pietermaritzburg, telegraphing Thursday, January 11, says:
"The gallantry of the Ladysmith garrison last Saturday appears to have depressed, if not actually demoralised, the Boers generally.
It is believed that they lost at least two, if not three killed as against our one.
"Many Boers are believed to be trekking northward. The Magistrate at Nqutu, Zululand, telegraphs that scouts report having seen many Boer families, with wagons, proceeding north, via Zululand, while a European who formerly resided at Dundee declares that after the repulse at Ladysmith a number of Boer wagons, loaded with dead and wounded, passed through that mining township, and that the Boers burned some of the public buildings. Five days have passed since then."
Striving to think out the unknown, London is confused by surmise and rumour, and disquieted by suspense. Mr. Spenser Wilkinson, the lucid military expert of The Morning Post, asserts that the Boer force in Northern Natal is larger than Gen. Buller's and Sir George White's together, so that the Boers are able to leave a force around Ladysmith larger than that within the town, and yet to oppose Gen. Buller with a force superior to his own.
Reports from the Boer camps affirm that the circle of investment has been drawn closer by the occupation of some hills nearer the town, thus liberating reinforcements to oppose Gen. Buller.
The Daily News suggests that at multitude of the rumours that originate in South Africa and London are given currency by the English military authorities in order ot mislead the Boers.
A telegram from Newport, Wales, saying Mr. Rutherford Harris, formerly resident Director in South Africa of the British South Africa Company, had received a cablegram to the effect that Gen. Buller had suffered another reverse, was denied to-day by Mr. Harris himself.
Published NY TIMES, January 16, 1900.
STORY OF GEN. WHITE'S FIGHT.
First Description Is Sent by and Eye Witness of the Recent Battle at Ladysmith.
LONDON, January 18, 1900. - The Standard publishes the following dispatch from Ladysmith, dated January 6, by way of Frere Camp, January 17:
"The enemy to-day made a determined effort to capture two positions, Caesar's Camp and Wagon Hill. The latter is a lofty eminence to the southwest, possession of which would have brought them within rifle range of the town. Caesar's Camp was held by the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
"The position was separated from that of the Boers by a rocky ravine. In the early hours of the morning, under cover of darkness, the Heidelberg commando succeeded in evading our pickets, making their way through the thorn bush and reaching the foot of the slope at 2:30. The alarm was raised by our sentries, but before the full extent of the danger could be realised the outlying sangars had been rushed and their defenders slain.
"On hearing the firing two companies of the Gordon Highlanders went to the assistance of the Manchesters. At first it was thought that the Boers were concentrating on the southern slope, where they had already secured a footing on the plateau. Here, however, their advance was checked by the steady volleys of our infantry, and the deadly fire of an automatic gun.
"Lieut. Hunt-Grubbe went out to see if any aid were needed by the troops stationed on the ridge near the town. He was not aware that the enemy had already captured the breastworks, and called out to the Sergeant. He received the reply, 'Here I am, Sir,' and then he suddenly disappeared from sight. Capt. Carnegie, suspecting a ruse, ordered the Gordons to fire a volley and to charge. The enemy thereupon fell back precipitately, leaving behind them the officer whom they had captured with so much presence of mind. The Lieutenant was quite unhurt.
"It was now evident that the camp was being assailed on the left flank and on the front. By daybreak reinforcements of Gordon Highlanders and of the Rifle Brigade had been hurried up to the fighting line. Lieut. Col. Dick-Cunyngham, who was leading the Gordons out of camp, fell mortally wounded, being hit by a stray bullet while still close to the town. The Fifty-third Battery of Field Artillery, under Major Abdy, crossed the Klip River and shelled the ridge and reverse slope of the front position, where the enemy were lying among the thorn bushes.
"The shrapnel, which flew over our heads, did terrible execution. It effectually held the Boers in check and rendered it impossible for them to send reinforcements to their men through the ravine.
"The enemy fought throughout with the most stubborn courage, being evidently determined to take the camp or die in the attempt. Their six-inch gun on Umbulwana Mountain and its smaller satellites threw more than a hundred shells at Abdy's battery and at troops on the hill. Our troops, however, were not less gallant and resolved: and the enemy was pressed back step by step until at length those who were left broke and fled in utter disorder.
"A terrible storm of rain and hail. accompanied by peals of thunder, had burst over the camp during the fighting. This served to swell the streams into raging torrents. In their efforts to escape numbers of the enemy flung themselves into the current and were swept away. The struggle in this part of the field was now ended, and the finale was a terrible fusillade all along the line, the crash of which almost drowned the incessant thunder above.
"Meanwhile a more exciting contest was in progress in the direction of Wagon Hill. At 2 o'clock a storming party, furnished by the Harrismith commando, crept slowly and cautiously along a donga in the valley which divides our posts from their camp. A few well-aimed rifle shots killed our pickets.
"Taking the advantage of every inch of cover, the Boers then gradually reached the crest of the heights. Here a body of light horse was posted, but they were forced to retire before the advance of the Free Staters, there being no breastworks for the defence on the western shoulder of the hill. With little to impede their progress the enemy soon came to an emplacement, where they surprised working parties of the Gordon Highlanders and the Sixteenth Rifles.
"Lieut. Digby Jones of the Royal Engineers, collecting a handful of men, made a gallant effort to hold the position but the numbers were against him, and, after a stubborn resistance, he was driven back, and the enemy got possession of the summit. Even then, however, the Free Staters were afraid to venture far or to face the heavy fire from the sangar. Here it was that Lieut. Macnaughten and thirty of the Gordons were captured, although not until every man among them was wounded.
"At 5 o'clock Col. Edwards, with two squadrons of Light Horse, arrived upon the scene, and the Twenty-first Battery of the Royal Field Artillery, under Major Hewitt, came into action, preventing the storming party being reinforced from the Boer camp.
"At the same time the Eighteenth Hussars and the Fifth Lancers checked the movement from the spruit on our right flank. Nevertheless our position at this point had become critical. Our men had retired for cover behind the northern slope, while the enemy had made their way into the pass dividing them from the hill. Major Bowen rallied a few of the Rifles, but fell while leading them to the charge. His example was at once followed by Lieut. Todd, but the latter met the same fate.
"The enemy were making good the footing they had already secured in the emplacement when Major Miller Walnutt, calling the scattered Gordons together, charged in and drove them back. Having thus cleared the ground he joined Lieut. Digby Jones in a newly prepared emplacement on the western shoulder.
"A pause ensued for a time, but the Boers were not yet finally beaten. Taking advantage of the storm now raging, they essayed to capture the position by another rush. Three of their leaders reached the parapet, but were shot down by Lieut. Digby Jones and Lieut. Walnutt, the latter of whom also fell.
"The renewed check effectually discouraged the assailants, and the deadly duel was now practically at an end. Nevertheless small parties of the braver spirits kept up a murderous fire on our men from behind the rocks."
"The moment had evidently arrived to strike the final blow, and Col. Park quickly issued the necessary orders. Three companies of Devonshires, led by Capt. Lafone, Lieut. Field, and Lieut. Masterson, made a brilliant charge across the open under a terrific fire, and fairly hurled the enemy down the hill at the point of the bayonet. In the course of the struggle Capt. Lafone and Lieut. Field were killed and Lieut. Masterson received no fewer than ten wounds.
"This was a fitting close to a struggle that had lasted sixteen hours, during which every rifle and gun had been brought to bear. Our position was now secure. The attacks on the north and east had also been repulsed, and the grand assault had failed all along the line.
"The Boers lost heavily. They admit that the engagement was teh most severe blow their arms had sustained since the opening of the campaign. They were confident of their ability to capture the town and had called upon reinforcements from Colenso to assist at the expected victory. Our losses also were considerable.
"Early in the morning the Earl of Ava was mortally wounded while accompanying Col. Ian Hamilton to the scene of action.
"The garrison awaits the coming of relief with renewed confidence."
Published NY TIMES, January 18, 1900.
BULLER AND LADYSMITH.
The exploit of Gen. Warren in capturing and then abandoning Spion Kop recalls the tactics of that King of France who "marched up a hill and then marched down again." Gen. Buller is "sorry to say" that Warren has abandoned the position, as he may well be. Because Gen. Buller had already given Gen. Warren's authority for believing that the capture of the hill had rendered the Boer position untenable
Not only must this flattering unction be removed from the British mind, but it is proved that the position thus boasted of is untenable for the British. Why this should not have been ascertained before taking it, instead of afterward, is and addition to the puzzles of the war. So far as the reports go it does not seem that the British have been beaten out of it. The list of casualties forwarded by Gen. Buller does not seem to refer to those suffered either in taking or holding the hill, but to those of the previous engagement. What seems to have happened is that the British General, after he had taken the hill with a surprisingly and suspiciously slight resistance, found that he had altogether overestimated the strategical value of it, that he could not effectively use his own artillery from it, while the Boers could effectively use theirs against it. In that case, after undergoing one day's shelling, to which he could not reply, undoubtedly he acted judiciously in withdrawing from it, as he had taken it, under cover of darkness. But the wording of Gen. Buller's dispatch may be taken to indicated that he does not agree with the judgement of Gen. Warren nor approve his action.
It is quite certain that, if the abandonment of the position was not a blunder, the capture of it was, and vice versa. Why should the British commanders keep on making such blunders? Their best excuse must be that they are ignorant of the country they are operating in, and can obtain no trustworthy information. There is probably a good deal in that. The farmers of Natal seem to be in as complete sympathy with the Boers as the farmers of the northern part of Cape Colony and as willing to mislead them, so far as they can do so without risking their own necks. This is one of the disadvantages against which the British have had all along to contend, and will still have to contend.
The relation of this latest failure to the fate of Ladysmith is what gives it its chief importance. For the present Gen. Buller is baffled and disabled from doing anything for the relief of the place. On the other hand Dr. Leyds, the very capable agent of the Transvaal in Europe, expressed the belief a fortnight ago that the Boers did not want Ladysmith, that the garrison, if captured, would be an elephant on their hands, since they would have to subsist it, and that to "immobilise" Gen. White's force was much better business than to capture it. There is force in this suggestion, although it was taken in England to be a NY cry of "sour grapes." There is still more force in it if we assume that Gen. Buller has been taken out of his way by the necessity of trying to relieve Ladysmith, and that he is moving along a line of greater resistance than he would meet if his problem were simply the invasion of the Transvaal. But, however it may be on purely military grounds, the capture of Ladysmith and its garrison would be by far the heaviest blow at British prestige which has dealt so many. The effect on Europe of the surrender of Sir George White would be comparable, if not equal, to the effect of the surrender of Burgoyne.
Published NY TIMES, January 27, 1900.
BOERS FIRE ON A HOSPITAL?
KIMBERLEY, January 26, 1900. - The wholesale bombardment which lasted all day long yesterday was resumed this morning. The Boers sent 380 shells into all parts of Kimberley. There were several casualties, including a woman and child.
The favourite target appears to have been the hospital. A shrapnel shell exploded close to a hearse which was proceeding to the cemetery, and a shell burst in the cemetery during the funeral.
Published NY TIMES, January 31, 1900.
GEN. FRENCH HAS A SKIRMISH.
RENSBURG, Cape Colony, January 26, 1900. - Gen. French reconnoitred yesterday beyond Bastard's Nek with a force of Hussars, Inniskillings, four guns of the Royal Artillery, mounted infantry, the Yorkshire, Wiltshire, and a portion of the Essex regiments.
Turning to the northeast, he approached the Boer position at Rietfontein, nine miles beyond Colesburg, on the wagon bridge road, which the enemy have been fortifying with a view of falling back when they evacuate Colesburg.
Cautiously approaching, Gen, French shelled the enemy, who replied with artillery and infantry fire.
The British, who were well protected, suffered but little. An officer and nine men were wounded, one of the latter of whom has since died, and three men are missing.
As the Boers were found in great force, confirming the reported reinforcement, and in a strong position, Gen. French discontinued the attack and returned to camp.
Published NY TIMES, January 31, 1900.
BRITISH CAMPAIGN AN ENTIRE FAILURE
London Times Looks Forward to a Terrible Disaster.
FALL OF LADYSMITH CERTAIN
No Relief Could Reach Gen. White for a Month at Least.
HE CANNOT HOLD OUT.
Said to Have Expended His Rations Freely in His Confidence of Early Succor by Buller's Army.
LONDON, January 29, 1900. - The week has opened with the utmost gloom for the British public, and the reaction is all the stronger because of the high hopes that were reposed in Gen. Buller's turning movement and of his announcement that there would be "no turning back."
The Times says: "The most carefully planned and executed movement of the whole campaign has entirely failed, and it can hardly be necessary to dwell upon the extreme possibility that we shall learn, a little sooner of a little later, of a catastrophe almost without precedent in our military history, a catastrophe, indeed, without a parallel except in the surrender at Yorktown.
"We are checked at every point in the campaign. In fact, the campaign is still to begin. We wish we had clearer proofs that even now the Government has any adequate comprehension of the situation. The utterances of responsible Minister have done nothing to
reassure the country on this point:
MORE TROOPS NECESSARY.
"Heavy or light, the thing has to be done, and the Government ought to prepare for the immediate dispatch of 50,000 men and to take steps to send yet another 50,000, if those should be needed. The hopeless attempts to carry on the campaign with four widely separated columns, each unequal to its task, must be abandoned for a concentration of force and of purpose."
All the editorials this morning breathe the spirit of calm determination. Not one will allow that any reverse could deter the country from the object it has set itself to attain, whatever the sacrifices which may be involved.
CRITICISM OF THE GOVERNMENT.
Very frank criticism of the Government, however, is beginning to be heard even in quarters that have hitherto refrained. The Daily Mail boldly throws all the blame upon Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Lord Lansdowne, and Lord Wolseley. It points to President Lincoln's dismissal of Simon Cameron from the post of Secretary of War as a precedent for "getting rid of incompetent Ministers."
The Morning Post dwells upon the danger of further rebellion at the cape, and of possible European complications. It urges that the navy be prepared for "any emergency."
The Standard and other papers reflect the anxiety of the public to learn how much truth there is in the Boer accounts of the fighting at Spion Kop, Gen. Buller's obscurity in his dispatches is bitterly criticised as well as the evident fact that the censor is not only delaying but is removing all important matters from the newspaper dispatches. To judge with any accuracy of the extent of the disaster is virtually impossible.
THE FORCE ENGAGED.
It appears that Gen. Buller had altogether five brigades wholly or partly engaged, Gen. Coke's, Gen. Hildyard's, Gen. Hart's, Gen. Woodgate's, and Gen. Lyttleton's, and the 270 casualties already announced in Lyttleton's brigade are thus explained.
Much mystery still surrounds the retreat. It is possible that Gen. Buller has withdrawn his whole forces; but it is generally assumed that Lyttleton's brigade and Lord Dundonald's cavalry and other troops are still on the north side of the Tugela.
Gen. Buller's confidence that the Boers did not molest his retreat because they had been taught to respect the fighting powers of the British soldier, is not shared in London. It is thought rather that the Boers had some other plan in store, or did not wish
to waste their men.
CRITICISM OF BULLER.
At the service clubs the situation as revealed by Gen. Buller was considered very unpleasant. His excuses or explanations were characterised as very weak. The absence of water, which Sir Charles Warren was "led to believe" existed, and the facts that Spion Kop was "indeed a mountain," and that its "perimeter was too large," are alll matters which even Gen. Buller warmest admirers hold should have been ascertained before he attacked.
The comforting feature of the situation, however, is the fact that Gen. Buller's retirement across the Tugela was accomplished without loss, which puts an end to the unpleasant rumours that there were in circulation here and on the Continent.
To Ladysmith the disappointment must be very bitter. A dispatch from the Boer laager near the town, dated January 24, describes the garrison as "very evidently preparing a desperate coup in order to effect a junction with Gen. Buller's advancing army."
GEN. WHITE'S CONDITION.
It may be regarded as a certainty that, in the confident hope of early relief, Sir George White has lately been issuing extra rations, and this fact has given rise to an exaggerated idea as to the length of time the provisions would last.
Even should it be decided to send Gen. Buller reinforcements and to attempt to reach Ladysmith by a movement through the still more difficult country east of Colenso, it is extremely doubtful whether the garrison could hold out long enough, as such a movement would occupy at least a month.
MAY ABANDON LADYSMITH.
Open talk is heard of the absolute necessity of abandoning Ladysmith to its fate, while Lord Roberts reverts to the original plan of an advance over the Orange River upon Bloemfontein.
It is reported from Boer headquarters near Ladysmith that Gen. Buller had been down with fever, but had recovered.
Large arrivals of troops are due at Cape Town during the week.
The has been great activity in military quarters in all parts of England since Saturday morning.
The War Office, anticipating a great crush at the opening of Parliament, has placed new restrictions upon visitors during the session.
The situation at other points is unchanged, but indications that Lord Roberts is preparing plans for an advance across the Orange River come in a dispatch to The Daily Chronicle from Storkstroom, dated January 25, which says that Thebits, and important position near Steynsburg, on the Stormberg-Rosmead line, is now occupied by the British, who are repairing the railway and bridges.
The correspondent observes that this will facilitate communication between Gen. Gatacre and Gen. Kelly-Kenny.
Published NY TIMES, January 29, 1900.
BULLER'S LOSSES PLACED AT 2,000
Forty Percent of the Men Engaged at Spion Kop Fell.
ATTACK IS TO BE CONTINUED.
Drifts of the Tugela River Are Still Held by the British.
Belief Grows in London that Another Desperate Effort Will Be Made to Relieve Ladysmith.
LONDON, January 31, 1900. - Gen. Buller's additional casualty lists of the battle of Spion Kop, January 24, and of the engagements at Venter's Spruit, January 17 and January 20, shows 139 men killed, 391 wounded, and 63 missing, a total of 593.
The supplemental lists fill two columns in nonpareil reported thus far for Gen. Buller's operations north of the Tugela. The Daily Chronicle estimates that the total exceeds 2,000.
Gen. Buller telegraphs from Spearman's Camp, under to-day's date, that Col. Thorneycroft was the officer who ordered the retirement at Spion Kop. Gen. Buller adds:
"It is due to him to say that I believe his personal gallantry saved a difficult situation early January 24, and that under a loss of at least 40 per cent he directed the defence with conspicuous courage and ability throughout the day. No blame whatever for the withdrawal is, in my opinion, attributable to him, and I think his conduct throughout was admirable."
The 40 per cent. loss at Spion Kop is greater than any British force ever suffered except possibly at Albuera.
Winston Churchill in a dispatch to The Morning Post, which describes the re-crossing of the Tugela, says:
"The army is exasperated, not defeated. Gen. Buller will persevere, and all will come right in the end."
It is stated in another dispatch that Gen. Buller still holds the Tugela drifts, and will possibly renew his attempt to force his way through the Boer defences before long. In any case, Ladysmith is capable of holding out for a considerable time.
Spenser Wilkinson, in The Morning Post to-day, discussing the military situation, takes it for granted that Gen. Buller intends to make another attempt to relieve Ladysmith.
He seizes the occasion to express the greatest admiration of the dauntless spirit of the British Army and a regret that the main thing is lacking, namely, proper leadership. He says:
"The whole manhood of the nation is moved by the same spirit as stirs the troops on the Tugela. Cannot the Government pluck up heart to lead like men a nation of men, to drop the past and to plan on a proper scale, arming the empire for whatever struggle may be in store?"
To-day's dispatches from Ladysmith and Cape Town give a strong impression that there is something more than rumour in all the reports of an intention on Gen. Buller's part to try again. While all definite opinion must await further news, it does not seem at all unlikely that another desperate effort will be made to succor Gen. White.
The latest advices from Ladysmith, showing the existence of better conditions there than is generally believed to be the case, have been received with intense satisfaction, though there is no unreasoning overconfidence, as may be judged from The Pall Mall Gazette's remark:
"Let us, while preparing for the worst, hope for the best."
The possibility of Gen. Buller making another dash appears to depend greatly on the exact position of Gen. Lyttleton's brigade. Beyond the understanding that it is on the north side of the Tugela River, everything is a matter of supposition. It will easily be seen that if Gen. Lyttleton still holds the drifts on the north side, Gen. Buller retains the openings, and might attempt another advance by way of Potgieter's or some neighbouring drift. But the vagueness regarding the position of Gen. Lyttleton resolves all this into the purest surmise.
From the other columns there is not much news of any kind, and it would require something of overwhelming importance to distract from the absorbing interest in Ladysmith's dilemma. Presumably, there will come during the day some stereotyped message from Lord Roberts saying there is no change in the situation.
However, there are interesting cable dispatches telling the story of Spion Kop. Winston Churchill says that Col. Thorneycroft, who replaced the wounded Gen. Woodgate, is the hitherto unnamed officer who gave the order to retire, and fully justifies him in
so doing. Churchill says the Boer losses were greater than those of the British.
A dispatch from Spearman's Farm, dated Thursday, January 25, describing the fight and retirement from Spion Kop, says:
"We filed down sadly, but in perfect order. The King's Royal Rifles' Colonel was struck down at the moment a heliograph message ordering the retirement was handed to him.
"The enemy is holding thanksgiving services to-night.
"The surgeons who ascended the hill were allowed to remove our wounded. The scene at the top was a fearful and terrible witness to the destructiveness of the artillery. All day our stretcher bearers were busy carrying down men."
"Col. Thorneycroft was not aware of this when he ordered the retirement, and he actually met the artillery coming up. Gen. Woodgate was wounded about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Even then he protested that he was all right, and had to be held down on the stretcher.
"A curious incident is related of the fighting on January 24. One of the Lancasters, while firing from the prone position, had his head taken clean off by a shell. To the amazement of his comrades, the headless trunk quietly rose, stood upright a few seconds, and then fell."
Published NY TIMES, February 1, 1900.
GEN. BULLER NOT DISCOURAGED
LONDON, January 31, 1900. - The Cape Town correspondent of The Daily Mail, telegraphing yesterday, says:
"Gen. Buller yesterday (Monday) read the following message from the Queen to Sir Charles Warren's force:
"I must express my admiration of the troops during the past trying week, especially of those regiments you specify, and of the accomplishment of your arduous march.'
"Gen. Buller then told the men that they ought not to think, because they had retired from their position, that all their work was of no avail. On the contrary, in his opinion, they had gained the key of the road to Ladysmith, in which he hoped to be within a week.
"Gen. Buller then called for cheers for the Queen, which were heard for miles around."
A dispatch to The Times from Frere Camp, dated January 26, and describing the capture of Spion Kop, says:
"It is impossible to exaggerate the strategic importance of the hill. It was held by the Boers in weakly fashion only because Gen. Warren's attack during the last three days had been one on the extreme left, two miles away."
The dispatch adds but little to what has already been cabled.
Published NY TIMES, January 31, 1900.
ROBERTS'S PLAN OF CAMPAIGN.
LONDON, January 31, 1900. - Spenser Wilkinson, the war expert, reviewing the military situation in The Morning Post, says:
"There is again a remarkable scarcity of information about what is taking place in the theatre of war. There must be more that one hundred war correspondents at the front; but they are kept silent.
"The column under Gen. Kelly-Kenny has occupied Thebus, about ninety miles by railway from Colesburg, where Gen. French is operating, and about forty-five miles from Stormberg Junction, where the Boers opposed to Gen. Gatacre are believed to be. The strength of Gen. Kelly-Kenny's column is not told, but as far as that officer commands the Sixth Division the whole of which has reached Cape Town, and as there is no word of any part of it having gone to Natal, the probability is that the column is identical with the division.
"At any rate, it is to be hoped that this is the case and that the last has been heard of breaking up divisions into fragments. The dispatch of this column, if, as must be presumed, it is strong enough for independent operations, portends a great deal.
"In the first place, it means that the campaign in Natal is to be left to take care of itself. For, if the Sixth Division is at Thebus, there is no other force at Cape Town capable of turning the balance in Natal. Ladysmith, then, is not to be relieved. Its garrison must hold out as long as possible or make a desperate attempt to fight its way out, unless, indeed Gen. Buller with such forces as he has, tries a third time to drive back the Boer Army.
"This decision implies that the war will be prolonged, and that the Boers are to be given time to push their advantage in Natal. They will try to overcome Sir George White's force, and to take the offensive against Gen. Buller, whose army they would in that case, perhaps, be able to hold by putting several parts of their own more mobile force in positions on his front, flanks, and rear. Gen. Buller would keep them occupied as long as his supplies and ammunition lasted.
"During these operations the British forces in Cape Colony and the reinforcements on the way would be collected into an army to march through the Free State. If that march could be rapid enough to produce an effect on the mind of the Boer Commander in Chief, while Gen. Buller's force is still occupying him, the plan might lead to a decisive result, but there can hardly be a start for another month, and a march through the Free State must take a month at least. It is not easy to-day to foresee what can happen in Natal by the end of March.
"Meanwhile the mission of Gen. Kelly-Kenny does not altogether explain itself. It seems a little strange that a new column should not first have been sent to the assistance of Gen. French, who has hemmed in a force of Boers, but finds them reinforced from the north. Anything like a division added to Gen. French's force ought to enable him to destroy the Boer forces with which he is dealing, by completing his circle around them and then gradually closing it in upon them.
"The formation of a fresh column while this kind of concentration was possible looks like a continuation of the old policy of dispersion instead of concentration. Gen. Kelly-Kenny will have to mend the railway bridge at Steynsburg as he moves eastward, and as his advance continues he will enter a hilly and perhaps difficult country."
Published NY TIMES, January 31, 1900.
ANOTHER BATTLE IS BEING FOUGHT?
Rumoured that Gen. Buller Has Made a Third Attack.
TUGELA RIVER CROSSED AGAIN
Difficulty of His Position is Clearly Understood.
It Is Intimated that He May Have Been Heavily Reinforced Since the Defeat at Spion Kop.
LONDON, Feb. 1 1900. - While no official confirmation has been received of the report printed in The St. James's Gazette, on what is said to be good authority, that Gen. Buller has crossed the Tugela River at three places and that fighting has been proceeding all day long, there is a disposition to credit it here in trustworthy quarters.
Various independent correspondents confirm the report that Gen. Buller told his troops on Jan. 28 that he hoped to relieve Ladysmith within a week.
The St. James's Gazette says it has no reason to doubt the correctness of its information, although it has not yet learned the exact positions Gen. Buller seized.
Spenser Wilkinson, in the Morning Post to-day, in discussing the situation, says:
"The enemy will act with common sense. They will place outposts on the hills and keep back their main body until they see the direction of Gen. Buller's movement. Then they will quickly bring up the main body and extemporize what defensive works they can, in addition to such as they have profusely prepared in anticipation of various possible advances.
"That is what every one would expect them to do, and that their main body can ride faster than Gen. Buller's main body can walk was also pretty generally understood. The consequence is that the Boer army cannot be turned. Wherever it is attacked it can present an entrenched front.
"According to Winston Churchill, there are 7,000 Boers watching Ladysmith, the same number held ready to resist Gen. Buller, and 5,000 kept in reserve to reinforce either body at need. Thus Gen. Buller has to attack 12,000 men entrenched on favourable ground. For that purpose Mr. Churchill thinks he ought to have 36,000 men instead of 25,000. In other words, Gen. Buller ought to have another division.
"This opinion coincides with the view we have all along expressed - that the centre of gravity of the war lies in Natal and that a British victory there would be decisive, while a complete British defeat in Natal would have disastrous consequences not easily to be estimated.
"It seems difficult, in view of the strategy accepted at the War Office, as well as at Cape Town, to believe that Gen. Buller is to be allowed once more to attack a position with less than the numerical superiority of three to one which tacticians commonly think necessary for such a task. It is hardly intelligible that he should attack again without being reinforced.
"Apparently, however, a third attempt will be made without loss of time. Indeed it seems probable that the movement is now in progress. We must hope that the splendid bravery of our men will be rewarded by success. When Mr. Churchill says that 'the public must nerve themselves,' he probably means 'Prepare our countrymen at home for heavy losses in the coming battle.'"
A letter appears to-day from a Hanoverian officer, formerly of the Twenty-second German Infantry but now among the military advisers of the Boers, which says that nearly 10,000 trained European soldiers, including quite 300 officers, are among the Boers. Referring to the military situation at Ladysmith, the officer says:
"Owing to the strength of our position, on a circle of heights, like Sedan, we cannot be brushed aside except by a relief column outnumbering us two to one."
Published NY TIMES, 2 February 1900
GEN. BULLER'S NEW CAMPAIGN.
Gen. Buller has hardly received from his countrymen the indulgence to which a soldier in his position was fairly entitled. When he was appointed to the command in South Africa he was entitled to every presumption. He had "served up" to such a command. He belongs, it is true, to the landed gentry which has been for so many generations the ruling class in Great Britain and which has remained after all political reforms the ruling class in the army and the Church. But nobody could say that the owed his promotion and his conspicuousness to favour. He owed it to merit. He was not a "sprig of nobility." He was the soldier who was most available on his record. Barring Lord Wolseley and Lord Roberts, who seemed to be exempted from active campaigning by seniority, and barring Lord Kitchener, who was occupied elsewhere, Sir Redvers Buller was the man who probably would have been chosen, on his record, by British military opinion as well as by British public opinion, as the proper soldier to finish off such a "little war" as the war with the Transvaal was expected to be. It has turned out to be far otherwise. But that has been no fault of his. He did not make it. He had no hand in making it. Cecil Rhodes and Joseph Chamberlain made it. And the first thing he had to do was to attempt the relief of the garrison of Ladysmith. Again, through no fault of his, this was already a desperate adventure, requiring him to take desperate chances to avoid a frightful disaster to the British arms and a frightful blow at British prestige. And now it has been made a ground of reproach against him that he took the chances he was forced to take. If, says one of his British critics, the position at Spion Kop was impregnable, it never should have been attacked. And this platitude the critic produces with the air of a syllogism, ignoring that it cannot be certainly known whether a position is impregnable until it has been attempted, ignoring that it was absolutely essential to the British General to attempt something for the relief of Ladysmith. Such criticism is ungenerous, unpatriotic, and mean - as mean as to impute to Gen. Buller the defects which war has revealed in the British staff in general and in the British Intelligence Department in particular. Gen. Buller mad his desperate attempt. He made it gallantly and was gallantly supported. And it failed. To make the failure an occasion for disparagement of the commander is what the British may find American precedent for, but it is a shabby thing to do.
It takes a remarkable man to devise and to begin to put into execution a new plan for attaining the object of his campaign within a very few days after his first plan has decisively and confessedly failed. This is what Gen. Buller has done. Nobody has the right to say of him that he talks nonsense or tells lies. When, at the close of his withdrawal from the line he had first taken up and the Boers had rendered untenable, he issued and order to his troops saying that he thought he had found "the key of the road to Ladysmith," the strong presumption is that he meant what he said, that he really thought he had found "a more excellent way" than that along which he had met with disastrous repulses and which was marked by the bones of his defeated troops.
This high confidence is very fine, and Gen. Buller's countrymen ought to appreciate it. Not, of course, that it furnishes any guarantee of success. If it was necessary, a fortnight ago, that desperate chances should be taken for the relief of Sir George White's beleaguered garrison, all the more must it be necessary now. It is weeks since their commander signalled that they were "very hard pressed." Now they must be still more hardly pressed, not only by reason of the exhaustion of their supplies, and the increase of the diseases which that exhaustion involves, but also because the Boers, with good military judgement, have increased the pressure upon them by increasing the severity of the bombardment, just when their hopes of rescue had been snatched away. Gen. Buller acted upon what seemed to him the most promising plan when he was still at liberty to chose, and the plan miscarried. It is not reasonable to expect that the plan which he has taken up as an afterthought is really a better plan. As he must do something, and cannot do the best thing, he has fallen back upon the second best thing. That is the natural inference from the announcement that he has re-crossed the Tugela and is preparing again to attack the Boers. There is, of course, a chance of victory. There is a greater chance of as still bloodier and more disastrous defeat. But in either case there is no necessarily just ground for criticism of a commander who has been assigned to a task desperate, if not impossible. If he should perform it he would be entitled to the heartiest thanks of his countrymen.
But if he should fail, and Ladysmith should fall? There would then be a chance to appeal at once to the selfish and to the humane feelings of the British people to entertain overtures for bringing to a close a war "which can have no triumphs," which has already cost so much in British blood, in British treasure, and in British prestige. The task would be easier if the British Government had not quite unnecessarily committed itself in the Queen's speech to a proposition which it is so very far from having been able to justify, the proposition of "British supremacy in South Africa." But there ought to be intelligence and humanity and patriotism enough in Great Britain, if Ladysmith is once lost, to make peace upon terms which involve nothing worse that the abandonment of
a pretension without foundation in public law or common practice before something far more important even than Ladysmith is lost.
Published NY TIMES, February 2, 1900.
GEN. BULLER MUST FIGHT.
LONDON, February 4, 1900. - Spenser Wilkinson writes the following review of the situation in South Africa at midnight:
"It is morally impossible for Buller's army, so long as there is any fight left in it, to sit still while Sir George White is invested at Ladysmith. Better than that would be to lose 10,000 men in an attempt at relief. Accordingly, it is probable that Gen. Buller will try again, and, indeed, that he is now on the move or fighting.
"As he has kept Gen. Lyttleton's brigade north of the river, the probability is that his next move will be and advance on Lyttleton's right. He would hardly go to Lyttleton's right. He would hardly go tot Lyttleton's left, because that would only lead to a fresh attack of Spion Kop and the range of which it is a part. He would not got to the east of Colenso, except with his whole force, less Barton's brigade. The retention of Lyttleton's brigade at Potgieter's Drift may, therefore, be taken as proof that the new
move will not be to the east of Colenso.
"East of Potgieter's there are several drifts, one or two of which Gen. Buller's guns command, and he can, therefore, cross the river, but the Boers have had ample time to prepare position beyond the river.
"A frontal attack would, as usual, be costly, but unless the General is prepared for a heavy loss, he has little chance of breaking through the Boer defences.
"The right plan would be that adopted by Gen. Sherman when he pushed back Johnston from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Sherman first entrenched along Johnston's front and then extended his line to one of the flanks. By the time Sherman was ready to move a force around behind his entrenched line to attack Johnston in the flank and threaten his retreat, the Confederate General usually withdrew. Such tactics are practicable only with a force numerically superior. We do not know the strength of the Boers in Natal, Winston Churchill estimates them at only 19,000, of whom 7,000 are observing Ladysmith. This would give Buller 25,000 against 12,000, and should render possible something like Sherman's manoeuvre. But there is reason to believe that Buller's own estimate of the Boer force is much higher.
"Lord Roberts will certainly not hurry his movement from the Cape. He will first complete the assembling of his forces, which will not all have arrived for another three weeks. Then he will have his transport properly organized and in working order before he will stir. After that he will probably make a rapid move, but no outcry will induce him to start until he considers all is ready.
"Last week's report that Mafeking had been relieved seems to have arisen from Col. Plumer's skirmish near Crocodile Pools. The report came from Boer sources, and this origin of it seems to show that the Boers are not sanguine of success in the Northwest. They have probably reduced their forces in that region in order to strengthen themselves against Gen. Methuen and Gen. Buller."
Published NY TIMES 4 February, 1900
"The Fighting Race."
To the Editor of The New York Times:
The number of Irishmen prominent in the South African war is extraordinary.
The Marquis of Lansdowne, the present War Minister, is a native of the Green Isle, and comes from an old Irish family. Mr. Wyndham, the Under Secretary, who has created such a favourable impression in that office, is a grandson of the Irish rebel patriot, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, to whom he bears quite a remarkable resemblance. Field Marshall Lord Wolseley was born in Dublin. Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Waterford and Kandahar was born in India of a Waterford father and a Tipperary mother. Lord Kitchener was born in Kerry. Gen. Sir George White is from Antrim, Sir Francis Clery is from Cork, and Gen. French saw the light of day in Roscommon. Gen. Kelly-Kenny is also, as his name indicates, an Irishman. Lord Methuen, who was defeated at the battle of Belmont, is the descendant of John Methuen, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1701, and who was afterward very prominent in the diplomatic affairs of the times.
With the Transvaal forces we have Col. Blake, and Irish-American graduate of West Point, who commands the Irish-American brigade. The latest estimate of the strength of that force is said to be 2,500 men.
T. ST. JOHN GAFFNEY, New York, February 5, 1900.
Published NY TIMES, February 8, 1900.
BULLER CROSSES THE TUGELA AGAIN
Reported to Have Begun a March on Ladysmith.
NO OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION
He May Reach the Besieged Town To-day.
Boers Said to be Massing Again Near the Place - They Attack and Capture Ngutu in Zululand.
LONDON, February 5, 1900. A dispatch from Durban, dated Sunday, says:
"Gen. Buller crossed the Tugela River Friday night and is marching on Ladysmith. No definite news will be permitted to go out until Ladysmith is relieved."
Another dispatch from the same place, referring to Gen. Buller's re-crossing the Tugela in the advance upon Ladysmith, says:
"It is probable that Gen. Buller crossed at a place above Trichard's Drift, and that, leaving the enemy to the right, he is marching to Acton Homes, whence the road to Ladysmith runs almost due east, through a fairly open country.
"It is expected here that he will reach Ladysmith to-morrow (Monday) night."
A dispatch from Ladysmith, February 4, sent by heliograph from Signal Hill, says:
FIRING HEARD AT LADYSMITH.
"The garrison were very much cheered by hearing Gen. Buller's guns yesterday. The result of the engagement is not known. The Boers are again massing near Ladysmith, also moving another gun toward Surprise Hill. We are quite ready for them if they contemplate another attack."
Another report from Ladysmith, dated the previous day, says:
"Gen. Buller's guns have been heard again. Otherwise it is very quiet. We are awaiting further news of his progress.
"There have been no further developments here. Very few Boers remain north-east of the camp. The majority are concentrated south and west.
"The health of the garrison is improved."
From the head Boer laager a despatch has been received, dated February 2, stating that "with the exception of desultory shots from Long Tom everything is quiet.
"Boers with artillery from the Vryheid district attacked the Ngutu magistracy, Zululand, January 31, and captured the Magistrate and eleven white and thirty-four coloured police, their horses, 340 rifles, and much ammunition. The prisoners were sent to Pretoria.
The Pietermaritzburg correspondent of The Daily Mail, telegraphing yesterday, says:
BULLER SECURES THE ROAD.
"Gen. Buller has undoubtedly secured the road to Ladysmith, and should reach his objective this week. It is believed here that the object of the Boers in occupying Ngutu, Zululand, is to secure the road from Dundee to Vryheid in case of retreat.
"I learn from a reliable source that Gen. Joubert was seriously injured by a shell in the fight at Willow Grange, and that he will never be able to command again on horseback. My informant says that he has, in fact, retired from the field."
"The Boers admit that the attack on Ladysmith was a serious blunder, and would not have occurred if Gen. Joubert had been in command. Gen. Lucas Meyer played the coward at Talana and sheltered himself in a Red Cross wagon, shamming sickness. He has been unable to face the Boers since, and they threaten to shoot him.
"The Boers say Great Britain made a mistake in not sending Gen. Sir Evelyn Wood. I understand that they still have thousands of bags of flour stored in reserved at Delagoa Bay."
The Daily Telegraph has the following dispatch from Spearman's Camp, dated Sunday evening:
"Messages are now freely exchanged between the camps of Gen. Buller and Gen. White - by night with calcium lamp, by day with heliograph. The men here are enthusiastic at the prospect of a speedy advance under Gen. Buller's instructions. A very large convoy with stores for the besieged garrison will accompany the relieving force. The Boers have repaired the road bridge over the Tugela at Colenso sufficiently for the passage of cavalry."
Winston Churchill, in a dispatch from Spearman's Camp, dated February 3, says:
"The belief is general that all will be staked on the issue of the coming battle. It is probable that no press telegrams will be permitted to leave pending the operations.
"The fighting power, moral and material, of the army was never higher than it is now."
Another dispatch from the same place, dated Saturday night, says:
"The Boers fired from the hills on several squadrons of Bethune's Mounted Infantry, who were reconnoitring.
"They continue to set fire to the grass on the left of Mount Alice in order to destroy the cover of the British troops and to enable the Boers to see the advance."
WAR OFFICE HAS DISPATCHES.
Although there is no actual confirmation of the report that Gen. Buller has re-crossed the Tugela on a third desperate attempt to relieve Ladysmith, it is known that the War Office has received several South African dispatches which have not yet been published, and if the advance is an actual fact, the secret is being well kept.
There are newspaper dispatches in plenty from Spearman's Camp up to Sunday, but there is no hint that an advance had been begun, and it is assumed in some quarters here that Lord Dundonald's reconnaissance in the district of Honger's Poort may be the only foundation for the statement that Gen. Buller has started.
On the other hand, dispatches from Ladysmith rather indicated that the advance is in operation by reporting heavy firing, on Friday and Saturday, from the directions of Potgieter's Drift and Colenso.
A dispatch to The Daily Chronicle from Ladysmith, dated yesterday, says:
"A report has reached us that one brigade has crossed the Tugela."
The reports that the Boers are re-concentrating around Ladysmith are also and indication that preparations are being made to resist Gen. Buller, or for an attempt at re-attack upon the garrison in anticipation of his advance. The fact, however, that no firing has been reported, under yesterday's date, either from Ladysmith or Spearman's Camp, might be interpreted to mean either that the attempt had failed or that Gen. Buller had merely made a demonstration on Friday or Saturday.
Various rumours are current. One says that Gen. Buller is again attacking Spion Kop from the side of Gen. Lyttleton's camp. Another is that he received information from the owner of Spion Kop farm and crossed by fords further west than Trichard's Drift. The military authorities in London think it more likely that the crossing would be made east of Zwart's Kop.
Published NY TIMES, February 5, 1900
THREE MISTAKES OF THE WAR.
LONDON, February 5, 1900. - Spenser Wilkinson, in The Morning Post to-day, predicts that the war will end rightly in spite of all bungling. He says:
"When Lord Roberts is ready for the advance, a new complexion will be put on the campaign. There will be a strategical idea, and as this idea gradually reveals itself, what seemed an inextricable tangle of difficulties will in time present itself as a comparatively simple problem."
The at great length Mr. Wilkinson proceeds to criticise "the three great blunders of policy, strategy, and tactics, to which all the disasters are directly attributable."
"The first mistake consisted in not making the war preparations adequate to the policy to be pursued, and in sending Sir George White to Ladysmith with an army too small to hold Natal. The second was the mistake in dispersing instead of concentrating Gen. Buller's forces. The third consisted of the attempts to force prepared positions like Colenso.
"Something, also, is due to the imperfect peace training, which has allowed army manoeuvres in which crowds of men have fired at
similar crowds with blank cartridges in the open at 300 yards' distance.
"These mistakes, instead of being repeated, will be valuable lessons for the future."
Published NY TIMES, February 5, 1900.
WHERE BULLER IS STILL A MYSTERY
He May Be Making a Wide Detour to the West and North.
WAR OFFICE HAS NO NEWS.
Large Operations in the West Evidently About to Begin.
Fifteen More Transports, with 13,000 Troops, Are to be Dispatched to South Africa Between Now and Next Monday.
LONDON, 6, February, 1900. - Military opinion in London continues to assume, from very slender materials, that Gen Buller is again throwing his army against the Boer works.
A retired General, Sir William Henry Green, whose distinguished career gives weight to his opinion, thinks that Gen. Buller, with 25,000 men, is making a wide detour to the west and north in order to avoid the roughest parts of the country. As Gen. Buller must have some thousands of wagons, Sir William points out that the advance would necessarily be slow.
No authentic word is at hand, save that the War Office claimed orally to newspaper inquirers at a late hour that it could not confirm the reported advance. There the Natal situation rests.
Regarding the dispatches from Ladysmith saying that Buller's guns have been heard there, it is stated that some practice may have been going on with the new batteries which have just reached the front.
Whatever may be the actual situation, there seems no doubt that Gen. Buller's preparations for a fresh attempt to relieve Ladysmith were completed on Thursday or Friday, and though the start was possibly deferred from the date first selected, it will not be long before it is definitely known that Buller's forces are again fighting their way toward Ladysmith. Those, however, who expect him to reach the beleaguered town to-night seem to have forgotten the presence of the Boers, The best-informed people, while sanguine, fully realize that a British victory can only be achieved at heavy cost.
It is from the western field that more definite statements come. Large operations are apparently about to begin. Gen. French who has now returned to Rensburg fro his conference with Lord Roberts, has sent what is described as a overwhelming force of infantry to seize Norval's Pont.
This is where the railway, before it was destroyed, crossed the Orange River and connected with the Free State trunk line to Bloemfontein.
Norval's Pont is nineteen miles north of Colesberg and twenty-five miles from Gen. French's headquarters at Rensburg. The Boers at Colesberg have been in danger of being surrounded by the largely reinforced and extending lines of the British. An occupation of Norval's Pont in force would presumably render Colesberg untenable.
The Boers are showing great activity in the Naauwpoort and Colesberg districts. Many of the guns hitherto facing Lord Methuen are believed to have gone to Norval's Pont. The British, therefore, may find formidable bodies of Boers there.
The War Office announces that fifteen transports will be dispatched between to-day and Monday, with 13,000 troops, including the Fourth Cavalry Brigade, militia battalions, and 3,000 yeomanry, with 258 horses and six guns. These 13,000 are not included in the 180,000 due to be in South Africa on Feb. 15.
The Eighth Division of 10,000 men is still available for dispatch to the front.
Sir Alfred Milner, in a letter written three weeks ago to the former Lord Mayor of Belfast, said the war would last three or four months longer. Sir Alfred has sent most hopeful and encouraging reports to the Government regarding the prospects of the campaign, and it is understood that his views are shared by Lord Roberts.
The censorship seems to have completely shut down the correspondents at Spearman's Camp. No dispatch from that point appears in this morning's papers, and nothing has been allowed to issue since Sunday evening.
A dispatch to The Times from Queenstown, Cape Colony, dated Monday, says:
"Gen. Brabant, while addressing one of the regiments of the Colonial Division on parade yesterday, said they were leaving the next morning for the front, no to return, he hoped until the task entrusted to him by Lord Roberts had been successfully accomplished. He could not disclose the plan of operations; but if his intentions were carried out the greatest glutton of fighting among them would have his fill."
Published NY TIMES, 6, February 1900
THE BRITISH BLUNDERS.
Mr. Spenser Wilkinson has become very well known in England within the last three or four months as the military critic of The London Morning Post. He is even unique as the only Briton who has made a reputation out of this war. There are a few who made reputations as prophets by denouncing it before it began, but since it began we can recall no other who has made or increased his fame by what he has said or done in regard to it. Wherefore it was no doubt a good idea for the editor of The Anglo-Saxon Review to get an article from him. The article, entitled, "On the Art of Going to War," appears in the current number. A very sensible and suggestive article it is. But what will mainly strike many readers of it is that it is only what a great number of professional students of the military art would have told the British Government, if their advice had been asked, and what such of them as were not restrained by discipline would and could have told the British public. It is true that not many men of military training could have told it with so much point and power of compelling attention.
The fact that Mr. Wilkinson entirely sympathises with the British position in respect to the Transvaal must make his criticisms not less but more offensive. The critic is entirely in sympathy with the purposes of the objects of his criticism, and these are the wounds of a friend that he is inflicting. The trouble with the conduct of the South African war, according to him, is one of the "cankers of a calm world and a long peace." When the war broke out everybody took the view which Mr. Chamberlain so openly and offensively took. This was that the resources of the British Empire were so tremendous in excess of the resources of the South African Republics that they could make no serious resistance to the terms he imposed, whatever they might be or how insolently soever they might be formulated. Even those Englishmen who were most horrified by his conduct of the negotiations were concerned, not for the success but only for the honour of their country. They agreed that the behaviour of the British representative, as the British lawyer said of the British Judge, "would have been unbecoming from God Almighty to a black beetle." But it did not occur to them that there could be any doubt about the issue. They simply compared the resources of the two contesting parties, just as, a few years ago, many persons compared the resources of China with those of Japan, and just as, two years ago, many persons compared the resources of the United States with those of Spain. The fact was that if our navy and our army had not been immensely superior to those of Spain in fighting qualities our superior resources would not have saved us from the bitter and humiliating defeats which China, in spite of her resources, underwent from Japan, and which, thus far, the British Empire has been forced to take at the hands of two little republics.
All this, Mr. Wilkinson's essential criticism is, has happened because the present generation of British statesmen have grown up and gained and administered office without any serious thought at all of what it was to make war. He points out that last May it was evident that the positions of Lord Salisbury's Government and of Paul Krueger's were absolutely irreconcilable. It was then evident that the Transvaal meant to fight rather than come to the British terms. Then, according to him, was the time for Great Britain to plan her campaign, and to bring the Government and the chiefs of the army into agreement about what was to be done. Because Great Britain made no military preparations, even while Mr. Chamberlain was "making war inevitable," British garrisons were caught on both sides of the Orange Free State. What would have been the logical line of advance of the invaders of the Transvaal was diverted on account of the necessity of succouring these garrisons, which ought to have been put in safety before the campaign had been opened at all.
Mr. Wilkinson quotes again the saying of Moltke, which has been quoted several times before since this war began, that "mistakes made in the original assembling of armies can scarcely be made good in the subsequent course of the campaign." Having pointed out the mistakes made in "the original assembling" of the British armies in South Africa, mistakes for which he blames the want of co-operation between the British Government and the British Army, and consequently the British Government, he concludes: "The fate of the whole enterprise, in its present form, and so far as the resources hitherto devoted to its prosecution are concerned, depends upon the success or the failure of the attempt of Sir Redvers Buller to join hands with Sir George White." The words were evidently written before the costly and discouraging, if not entirely decisive, failure of that attempt, and that failure gives them and ominous meaning.
It must be owned that the "parliamentary statesman" who does well enough in peace times does not appear to advantage in the presence of such a crisis as now confronts the British Empire. Bismarck bullying the Reichstag, or Cromwell the Long Parliament, presents a much more impressive figure. And this because Bismarck, or even Continental statesmen of much smaller calibre, must needs be aware that it is vitally necessary for them not to cherish any illusions about the military preparedness of their respective nations. But a British statesman may have cherished such illusions ever since he came into public life without having them once shown to be illusions until now. Nobody in the present Ministry cuts a good figure in the face of a situation of which none of them had any foresight; not Sir Michael Hicksbeach, not Lord Lansdowne, not Mr. Balfour, not Lord Salisbury himself. But undoubtedly that one who cuts the poorest of all is the author of the war, Mr. Chamberlain. He occupies the position of a gamester who had endeavoured to "bluff" his opponent, without having formed the smallest notion
what he should do in case his bluff was to be "called."
Published NY TIMES, February 6, 1900.
GEN. BULLER STILL HOLDS HIS POSITION
Believed that He Will Be Able to Pierce Boer Centre.
HIS HARDEST TASK AHEAD
Must Hold One Boer Wing While He Crushes the Other.
WHITE COULD AID HIM
Such Movement Would Be Very Costly in Men and Heavy Guns, but Ladysmith Could Then Be Abandoned.
LONDON, February 9, 1900. - The only news received up to midnight is contained in a cable dispatch received in this city from
Spearman's Camp, under yesterday's date, which says:
"Buller holds his position. Relief is certain."
That dispatch presumably refers to the relief of Ladysmith. It must, however, be accepted with reserve, as the sender may have been over sanguine.
Spenser Wilkinson, discussing Gen. Buller's latest movement, in The Morning Post to-day, says:
"The advantage of this line of action is that it offers the shortest road to Ladysmith. The disadvantage is that, with modern weapons, the operation of piercing the enemy's fornt is one of the utmost difficulty. At the beginning, each side can concentrate on one point of the enemy's line the fire of the long portion of its own front, of all the riflemen along a front of a mile and a half, and of all the guns along a front of three or four miles.
"As the assailant chooses his point of attack, he can at the outset gain a superiority of fire against that point; but, as he advances and pushes back part of the enemy's line, the enemy can pour on his troops the converging fire of a great semicircle, while the assailant's fire from his convex front is divergent rather than convergent.
"If, however, the assailant can find cover for his leading party, he has a converging fire against the two ends of the defending semicircle, and he may, therefore, hope to drive his opponent back, to widen the gap he has made, and then, as he pushes fresh troops into it and holds the enemy along the rest of his front, to roll up either wing of the defence.
"This task, hard in any case, is rendered harder when a river must first be crossed; for a river between two armies prevents the assailant from engaging the defender along his whole front, except with artillery; and, therefore, a defender, as soon as he recognizes the real point of attack, can hurry troops from both wings to his centre.
BULLER'S HEAVY TASK.
"A river also limits the number of troops that an assailant can bring to bear, for they must all cross a bridge or bridges by defile.
"Gen. Buller has made a good start. In order to be able to advance he will probably have to drive the Boers from Doorn Kloof, to separate the two Boer wings, and then, while holding one of them, to attack and crush the other.
"That cannot be an easy matter, for they can move troops faster than we, end will probably pour a converging fire from the north and west, if not from the northwest and east, on Vaal Krantz.
"We hear from Ladysmith that Boer heavy baggage has gone toward the passage. The Boers are well aware that defeat means for them the raising of the siege of Ladysmith and their retreat from the district. It is to be hoped that Gen. Buller will press the attack
and will not tire, even if the engagement lasts several days.
"The case resembles that of Gen. Grant's battle at Fort Donelson, when he first realized that it was a question as to which of the two armies, both tired of fighting, could first renew the attack: but Gen. Buller cannot relieve Ladysmith except by defeating and driving away the Boer army, and thus raising the siege. He cannot cut his way through the Boers and march on Ladysmith, leaving the Boers un-destroyed on his flank. That would only lead to the loss of his army.
GEN. WHITE'S POSSIBLE AID.
"Short of breaking the Boer resistance he might, however, by a sufficiently vigorous and prolonged attack, compel them to call up reinforcements from the investing lines and thus make it possible for Sir George White to break through these lines and to march on to Skiot's Drift.
"That movement would be costly. It would begin with the sacrifice of the heavy guns and with a heavy loss in the sortie. There would then be great pressure on the rear guard, heavy loss in the ten-mile march, and further loss in the attack on the rear of the Boers at Brakfontein or Doorn Kloof; but it would be an honourable way out of what has been called the Ladysmith entanglement."
A DIFFICULT PROBLEM.
The Times, in an editorial dealing with Gen. Buller's task, says:
"The problem before him is unquestionably most difficult. We cannot be surprised or disheartened should he be unable to solve it with success. His task is not merely to force a way through the Boer lines to Ladysmith.
"That operation would be formidable enough. But it would be easy compared with the feat he must perform if large strategical results are to follow his efforts. He must inflict a crushing defeat upon the Boer Army. Unless he can drive into the Drakensberg or otherwise destroy that army, the relief of Ladysmith can hardly be accomplished with safety. We await the issue of the operation with great anxiety."
Elsewhere The Times takes heart from the fact that Buller is "playing his part in the general scheme which is being co-ordinated by Lord Roberts." It says on this point:
"The British public is still kept in ignorance of the whereabouts of some 25,000 troops, and great developments may be expected. It is difficult to believe that the Boers are equally ignorant of the disposition of the British forces. The great game of war will, however, shortly be begun, and we may confidently hope that the period of reverses is drawing to an end."
All the messages from the observers with Gen. Buller throw in a phrase or two about the "strength of the Boer positions" and the "difficulties of Gen. Buller's work," but they do not carry events beyond Tuesday evening.
Their last slender narratives leave the British advance on Vaal Krantz, in the centre of a semi-circle, where the troops are exposed to the Boer artillery on both sides and in the centre.
The fighting continued until 9 o'clock Tuesday evening and, almost without doubt, continued Wednesday, as the Boers would certainly not leave this wedge into their lines unmolested.
The heaviest fighting appears to have been on Tuesday. Gen. Buller's 233 casualties are mentioned as having occurred before Tuesday noon. Large lists are consequently expected for the rest of the day. The casualties already reported bring the total British losses to 10,244 killed, wounded, and captured.
The disposition here is rather to minimize the importance of the fighting in Natal and to suggest that this is only an incident anyway, placing hope upon expected decisive engagements in Northern Cape Colony and upon the invasion of the Free State by Lord Roberts. At all events, this is the official view.
Published, NY TIMES, February 9, 1900.
LORD ROBERT'S REPORTS.
Buller Said to Relieve Ladysmith Was impracticable, but Was Told He Must Do it - Kitchener Praised.
LONDON, Feb. 9 1901 - Earl Roberts's detailed mail dispatches, ranging from Feb. 6 to Nov. 15, 1900, were gazetted last evening. They fill 157 quarto pages, and make up the official history of the war.
Hundreds of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are favourably mentioned, including Lord Kitchener, who is referred
to in warm terms. Sir Redvers Buller comes in for criticism.
The first dispatch undertakes to "give a concise account of the state of affairs in this country [South Africa] on my arrival, Jan. 10." It describes the forces as much scattered. Lord Roberts decided to leave Gen. Buller with a free hand in Natal, but otherwise to remain on the defensive until reinforced and until transport had been organized. He found no transport corps existing. The colonial forces had not been sufficiently used. Cape Colony was restless.
Writing from Jacobsdal, Feb. 16, Lord Roberts says: "Gen. Buller, on Feb. 6, wired that he had pierced the enemy's lines, but that to give his artillery access to the Ladysmith plain would cost from 2,000 to 3,000 men. I replied that he must relieve Ladysmith even at that cost. Buller telegraphed, Feb. 9, that he was not strong enough to relieve Ladysmith without reinforcements, and regarded the operation in which he was engaged as impracticable. I replied that my instructions must hold."
In the course of a sketch of the capture of Gen. Cronje, the occupation of Bloemfontein, and the long wait there, Lord Roberts wrote: "The enemy knew exactly how we were situated and had accurate information as to the condition of our supplies, transport, artillery, and cavalry horses, and they regained courage."
The marches to Johannesburg and Pretoria were uneventful as described by Lord Roberts, his chief concern being to provision the army. "We were practically living from hand to mouth," he wrote, "and at times had not even one day's rations to the good."
The Field Marshal finds that no specific blame can attach to Col. Broadword in the Sanna's Post affair, as "the disaster was mainly due to the failure of the patrol at Boesman's Kop to warn their comrades that an ambush was prepared."
The officer who was place in command of the patrol is not mentioned.
Writing from Johannesburg Nov. 15 Lord Roberts said:
"With the occupation of Komati Poort and the dispersal of Louis Botha's army, the organised resistance of the two republics may be said to have ceased"; but, he added, "there still remains much for the army in South Africa to do to meet the conditions of guerrilla warfare with forces broken up into small columns and operating over an area larger than France, Germany, and Austria combined."
Looking at all the circumstances, Lord Roberts says the campaign is "unique in the annals of war," and he pays the highest tribute to the gallantry and worth of the troops, declaring that "no finer force ever took the field under the British flag."
Lord Roberts asserts deliberately that the permanent tranquillity of the republics "depends upon the completed disarmament of their inhabitants, a task difficult, I admit, but attainable with time and patience."
Lord Roberts's dispatches are not regarded as giving any further elucidation of the conduct of the war, but they are interesting as proving that throughout the campaign he never had sufficient men, horses, or supplies to cover such a vast field of operations.
There is a general idea that the dispatches have suffered considerable excision at the hands of the War Office. They do not throw any further light on the summary retirement of Gen. Colville or many other matters regarding which the public is anxious to hear.
Incorporated with the dispatches are reports from subordinate commanders, including the narrative of Gen. Baden-Powell, who says the newspaper correspondents gave him much trouble, as the enemy "derived a great deal of information as to our circumstances in Mafeking from the newspapers." Sir George White gives an account of the siege of Ladysmith and of the struggle of the population and the garrison against starvation and enteric fever. Gen. Buller mentions favourably Col. Steel, Major Jarvis, Major Belcher, Capt. Mackie, and Lieut. Magee of Strathcona's Horse.
Commenting upon the dispatches, The Times says:
"The most vivid impression produced is that on its fighting side the British Army need not fear comparison with any troops in the world. A second, and less agreeable, impression is that the army is less strong on its business than on its fighting side. Its splendid qualities have been largely neutralized by want of foresight, initiative, organizing ability, common intelligence, and common sense on the part of those whose business it was to utilize the fighting qualities to the utmost."
LONDON, February 10, 1900. - A special dispatch from Spearman's Camp, dated yesterday (Friday) noon says that owing to the Boer crossfire and the impossibility of entrenching Vaal Krantz, Gen. Buller's force withdrew.
The Financial News, which publishes this dispatch, suggests that Gen. Buller has not yet actually re-crossed the Tugela.
Mr. Balfour, the Government leader, replying to a question in the House of Commons last evening as to whether any information had been received from the seat of war, said:
"Our information points to the fact that Gen. Buller is not pressing an advance from the position he has occupied. We do not consider it right to press him for details of the operations which are in progress, nor, if he gives such information, do we deem it proper to make this public until such operations are completed.
"The Government has no information as to whether Gen. MacDonald has retired."
THE EFFECT IN LADYSMITH.
Heliograms from Ladysmith, dated Monday, describe the effect Gen. Buller's cannonade had on the worn garrison. Hope ran high that the long period of inactivity and tedium was drawing to a close.
The crash of guns was almost continuous for ten hours, and at times it seemed as if as many as twenty shells burst in a minute. The Boers, preparing always for the possibility of defeat, were driving herds and sending long wagon trains toward the Drakensberg passes.
Intense darkness and silence followed, broken only by frogs croaking and the occasional blaze of star shells, surrounding the town with a circle of light to prevent the unobserved approach of the enemy.
A series of British mines, laid for the Boers, exploded accidentally, shaking and alarming the city and camp.
LONDON ACCEPTS REPORT.
London accepts as true the Boer statement that Gen. Buller has failed again. These statements were passed by the British censor at Aden, and are read in the light of Mr. Balfour's announcement in the Commons that Gen. Buller is not pressing his advance.
Winston Churchill cables that Vaal Krantz was impracticable for the guns which were needed to support a further advance. His dispatch leaves Gen. Buller on Tuesday night sending a fresh brigade to relive the tired holders of Vaal Krantz.
The descriptive writers with Gen. Buller were allowed rather free hand again in explaining the ugly position which the British held and the natural obstacles which had to be overcome.
It is said on reliable authority that Gen. Buller's dispatch announcing Monday and Tuesday's movements was particularly hopeful. He described the position gained as effective, so the news of another retirement is exceedingly bitter to the British.
The news spread rapidly and natural disappointment was visible on all sides, although the long silence from the Upper Tugela had already aroused apprehensions that Gen. Buller might have found it impossible to go forward, in which case he would have no option but to re-cross the river.
BULLER'S BAD POSITION.
A dispatch dated Frere Camp, Thursday, February 8, but probably written with the advanced lines, Wednesday, February 7, and sent to Frere by runner, says:
"The forces of the enemy are on both our flanks and continue to render our position extremely difficult to maintain."
Beyond the fact that Gen. Buller devoted Wednesday to bringing more artillery and troops across the Tugela, nothing is known of his movements, but that he badly needed reinforcements is evident from the foregoing from Frere. It is still more patent that it was impossible for him to advance until the artillery had been enabled to take up forward positions for the purpose of subduing the Boer guns on both flanks.
Another Frere Camp dispatch says a Boer prisoner asserts that the burghers expected Gen. Buller to cross at Skiots Drift, and that thousands of Boers were being posted at Dorn Kloof to oppose such a passage, while on the captured hill were only a few hundred Johannesburgers.
LORD ROBERTS TO BEGIN?
In the Morning Post to-day Spenser Wilkinson, reviewing the military situation, says:
"Lord Roberts is evidently about to begin his campaign, and there are signs that Gen. Methuen's force will make the first important move. It is probable that the Seventh Division will soon be heard of as co-operating with Methuen.
"The latest news regarding Gen. Buller's operation is puzzling. It looks now as if he never seriously contemplated an attempt to relieve Ladysmith, but only a demonstration to prevent the Boers from diverting reinforcements to Magersfontein.
"Looking to the distance from Ladysmith to Kimberley, a journey in which the Boers would bet little railway help for the transport of their forces, Lord Roberts has a clear week for the first blow, which will put a new face upon the situation.
"This hypothesis would account for the present state of things in both the theatres of war, and the peculiarities of the attacks of Monday and Tuesday would become intelligible, for, if they had been intended as a serious movement, Gen. Buller would have been largely reinforced, and would have pushed the attack with greater energy."
THE TIMES ON THE SITUATION.
The Times, dealing with the military situation, says:
"If Gen. Buller has failed, it seems unlikely that another attempt will be made. The terrible initial strategic mistake of abandoning the principal objective for a subsidiary operation still overweighs the campaign, but the time approaches when its baneful influence will cease to fetter our action. The great issues of the war will not be decided in Natal."
Gen. Macdonald's retirement The Times considers "inexplicable."
That movement puzzles the military commentators also. The theory that finds acceptance is that the retirement was ordered by Lord Roberts, and that both Gen. Buller's and Gen. Macdonald's operations were made by the direction of the Commander in Chief, in order to occupy the Boers at widely separated points, so they would be unable to transfer any portion of their forces to oppose the projected central advance.
Charles Williams, a military writer who is understood to be in confidential relations with Lord Wolseley, says that beyond doubt the most authoritative opinion in London regards it as probable that an endeavour will be made to force the line of the Orange River before Wednesday next, possibly by Monday.
Published NY TIMES, 10 February 1900
A BOER FLANK MOVEMENT?
Reported that Joubert is Executing One Against British - Buller to Try Again.
LONDON, February 11, 1900. - It is reported from Durban that Gen. Joubert is marching with a column of 6,000 men to outflank Gen. Buller.
A dispatch from Frere Camp dated to-day says:
"All is quiet here to-day. The British troops are resting and the Boers are inactive."
The Pietermaritzburg correspondent of The Daily Mall, telegraphing yesterday, says:
"The Boers have occupied Bloy's Farm, south of the Tugela, which is under an hour's ride from Chieveley, and have turned the homestead into a hospital.
"On the farm are hill commanding both bridges over the Tugela, as well as Forts Wylie and Molyneux, and from which a view of Bulwana and Ladysmith is obtainable.
"There is much apprehension here regarding the Boers' movements and the authorities are on the alert."
Winston Churchill sends from Frere Camp to The Morning Post a long review of the situation. He says:
"Gen. Buller always thought it impossible to hold the triangle of Natal north of the Tugela, but the initial mistake was made owing to the miscalculation of the Boer strength and the fact that millions' worth of stores had been collected at Ladysmith. From the first he regarded the relief of Ladysmith as a forlorn hope. He did not feel justified in ordering a subordinate to perform such a doubtful task.
"The absence of good maps has cost much blood. An attempt to thrust the enemy back from Brakfontein or Doorn Kloof would have cost 3,000 men; and, since at least two brigades must keep the door open behind us, too few would have remained to force the way to Ladysmith. Moreover, Gen. Buller remembers that his army is the only army for the defence of the rest of Natal. Therefore, he decided to withdraw and to try elsewhere.
"Another fierce attempt will be made to force the Tugela. Great Britain must realize the ugly fact that the relief of Ladysmith would strain an army of 50,000, and 100,000 men would not be too many. The country, therefore, must be prepared for a heavy loss and perhaps disappointment.
"Remembering that considerations of honour more than policy demand, ceaseless efforts to relieve Ladysmith, the whole army, despite disappointments and retreat regards Gen. Buller with sympathy and trust such as are seldom seen even in fortunate circumstances.
"The security of Southern Natal is our important consideration. The necessity of obtaining control of Delagoa Bay is very apparent. The ingress of foreigners and war material is ceaseless. Surely a settlement with Portugal would be only a question of money."
Spenser Wilkinson, in The Morning Post, to-day dwells upon the evidence of the unexpected activity and probably numbers of the Boers near Colesberg, where they are not enclosed, but only half surrounded on the south. He points out that the Boer positions cover a front of twenty miles, and infers that there must be several thousands of the enemy on the ground.
He expresses the hope that the rumour from Durban, that a Boer force is advancing in the hope of outflanking Gen. Buller, is correct, for he considers that Gen. Joubert would expose himself to just the sort of blow it is difficult to deliver against the fortified positions north of the Tugela.
The latest dispatches from the front, showing the real reasons for Gen. Buller's retirement and his intention to try again, quite
destroy the comforting and ingenious theory that the movement was an elaborate feint to facilitate the main advance of Lord Roberts, a theory which obtained acceptance largely because of Mr. Balfour's misleading statement to Parliament.
No word has yet been issued from the War Office regarding Gen. Buller's latest attempt, although the correspondents are allowed to telegraph with a fair amount of freedom, and thus far only a partial list of casualties has been published. The dating of messages from Frere Camp may indicate that Gen. Buller has withdrawn all his forces there.
The London newspapers, having become accustomed to checks, maintain a hopeful tone, but the situation is much more threatening than it seemed to be a week ago. Proofs of the terrible strength and mobility of the Boer artillery, together with the rumour that Gen. Joubert is taking the initiative with the object of cutting Gen. Buller's communications, are in no way reassuring.
Even the most sanguine persons begin to see that it is quite hopeless to expect the relief of Ladysmith; while it is clear that if it be
impossible for Buller to reach Ladysmith, it is equally impossible for the garrison, exhausted by sickness and privations, to cut a way out.
Reports of the Boer advance through Zululand are disquieting. If they should be able to strike at Greytown, Gen. Buller would be compelled to turn his attention to the eastern side of Natal.
There is no confirmation of the report of a sortie from Ladysmith. The latest dispatch from there, dated Wednesday last, reports that all was quiet then, and that instructions had been issued to beware of the possible approach of Boers in the guise of a British relief force.
To-day sees the beginning of the fifth month of the war. Charles Williams, the military expert, says:
"After all this interval our fine, big army, instead of being free to manoeuvre in the field, is tied by the left leg to Kimberley in order to please Cecil Rhodes, and by the right leg to Ladysmith in order to please Joseph Chamberlain. Yet neither town has the very smallest military value."
Although the British will soon have 200,000 men in South Africa, The Daily Mail and other papers are still asking for more troops.
Published NY TIMES, February 12, 1900
THE MILITARY SITUATION.
The appearance of Lord Roberts on the Modder indicates that the theatre of war is suddenly to be shifted from the extreme east to the extreme west. It confesses and emphasizes the failure of the campaign in Natal, and it seems to denote the abandonment of Ladysmith. Doubtless this was a hard decision for a General to come to. But three serious efforts to relieve the town and the garrison have decisively failed. No intelligent commander could allow his whole plan of action to be paralysed for the sake of 10,000 beleaguered troops. Doubtless the surrender of Sir George White would be a hard blow to British pride. But it is no harder than the blows already administered to it by the repulse of the efforts to relieve him.
Of the two courses open to Lord Roberts, apart from that he has evidently rejected of choosing the battle ground selected by the enemy, and hurling his whole available force against the line of the Tugela, he seems to have chosen that on his left flank rather than forward from the centre. But it is to be borne in mind that the distance from what we have called "the centre" to the position on the Modder is not more than a third of that to the Tugela, and that he has left himself free thus far to advance either along the western border of the Orange Free State or into its heart. The forces now opposite Speitfontein can easily be transported to the main line leading to Kimberley, and the forces on the left could equally be made available in a movement forward from the positions of Gatacre and French.
In either case, if the advance is pressed with the energy which the British commander has shown in the past, the Boers in Natal will not be able to obstruct it. They are, for days if not for weeks to come, "out of combat," and as powerless to affect the issue as if they were in another continent. The British have definitely lost one campaign. They are about to begin another. That seems to be the plain statement of the case.
Published, NY TIMES, February 13, 1900.
BOERS REPORT A SKIRMISH.
BOER LAAGER, NEAR LADYSMITH, February 13, 1900. - Yesterday Gen. Botha, with a small force, crossed the Tugela to a deserted British camp, where he encountered fifty Lancers, of whom thirteen were killed, five wounded, and nine taken prisoners. One of the prisoners was sent to tell the British to fetch their wounded.
The English, with their cannon, have moved toward Chieveley. They found the Boer position unassailable on the Upper Tugela.
BRITISH AND BOER STRENGTH.
The latest figures on the number of men and guns engaged in the war in South Africa give the Boers 60,000 men and 110 guns, and the British 103,400 men and 410 guns. By the end of this month the British will have 180,000 men, including 26,000 local South African troops, but not including the Eighth Division.
The British Intelligence Department estimates the number of Boers liable for service in the Transvaal at 31,579; in the Orange Free State, 22,314; disloyal Cape Dutch, 4,000, and foreigners enlisted, 4,000, making a total of 61,893, from which 1,893 men are deducted for the police.
The Boers, it is said, have 18 old guns of all kinds, 19 captured from the British, and 73 new guns, classified as follows: Creusot 15c. guns, 16; 3.7-inch, 21; 7.5-inch, 32 and 4.7 Howitzers, 4. Against these the British have sent out mountain guns, 12; 5-inch Howitzers, 36; naval guns, mostly 4.7, 38; heavy siege train guns, 36.
The British forces prior to the war consisted of 9,600 men, 7,600 un-mounted and 2,000 mounted. On the date of the ultimatum, October 9, they had increased to 12,600 un-mounted and 3,400 mounted, a total of 16,000 men. On January 7 they were 83,600 un-mounted and 19,800 mounted. On February 28 they will consist of 37,800 mounted men and 142,800 un-mounted.
Published NY TIMES, February 16, 1900
BOER ARMY ORGANIZATION
Ability of Louis Botha, the Youngest Boer General.
AT COLENSO AND SPION'S KOP
The Tactics Which Defeated the British Repeatedly - Comment on Webster Davis's Visit.
Foreign Correspondence NEW YORK TIMES.
LORENZO MARQUES, February 15 1900. - In my last advices a brief description was given of the manner of life led during the present campaign by the British soldier when not actually engaged in battle. By way of contrast, a few details as to the Boer Army are now given. At the call to arms they trooped out with horses, oxen, and mules, with which they equipped themselves at their own cost. The Government supplied only the Mausers and the ammunition. In this way an army of 35,000 men was formed, and an army corps in which every soldier was his own officer, void of discipline, void of rank, where orders and knowledge of modern warfare were alike unknown. A European General not knowing these men would shake with laughter at such an army. Nevertheless, the Boer Army is a wonderful thing. It is a national army, composed of soldiers who develop in times of peace all the attributes necessary to constitute a warrior. From his youth up he knows how to work with horses, and, although his skill with the gun, at any rate with regard to the rising generation, is greatly overrated, there are still among the older men a large number of able shots. Hardened to thirst and hunger as well as to the sun's heat, he sleeps when the day sets. And in these regions the Boer is more fit than anybody else for war. Life in the trenches is by no means enviable. Throughout the entire day the men are exposed to the fiercest heat, but the delight of living has not yet left the fighting Boer. When plenty is procurable, it would be hardly correct to term the average Boer and abstemious man with regard to diet. But in the present circumstances, he appears to be well satisfied with little water and less meat. Coffee is his only luxury. Among the elder Boers, at any rate, rowdyism is extremely rare; they are given neither to alcoholic liquors nor to quarrelling among themselves.
O the younger men Louis Botha of Vryheid, the youngest Boer General and the victor of Colenso and Spion's Kop, is an exceptionally fine specimen of his race. It would hardly be imagined from his appearance that he had accomplished such a feat as driving Gen. Buller back and placing a severe check on the advance of the British battalions at the Tugela front. There is little of the typical Boer in his appearance or of the man who has done great things in his manner. Among the Boers he is extremely popular and they place implicit trust in him. Born at Greytown, Natal, he is but thirty-six years of age and has all his life followed the occupation of a farmer. It is claimed that as a soldier he bears a strong resemblance to Lucas Meyer in his methods. The two were associated in the establishment of the new republic, and Louis Botha's services to Lucas Meyer as his junior officer through the arduous campaign against the Kafirs brought him not only into prominence with the public, but established him in the favour and regard of his General. It was perhaps therefore in no way surprising that on the outbreak of present hostilities Louis Botha was singled out for one of the Volksraad for the Vryheid district he added considerably to his reputation.
After four months' continual struggling with the enemy, Gen. Botha is now having a short respite, and with his wife has paid a visit to Johannesburg. Gen. Botha does not claim to be a military strategist, in the ordinary sense of the word. He has never studied warfare, but has spent nearly all his life on his farms, engaged in the breeding of cattle and the general pursuit of agriculture. Naturally he is compared to Cincinnatus, and it is expected of him that he will do his country such service as that rendered by the ancient Roman to his. It will perhaps not be out of place to give a succinct description of the system of tactics which stood the young Boer General in such good stead at Colenso and Spion's Kop.
GEN. BOTHA'S TACTICS.
With regard to Colenso, Gen. Botha, four or five days before the battle, observed that the British were massing in great numbers at Chieveley and its neighbourhood, and his first idea was that the position he believed about to be assailed should be strengthened in such a manner as to be unknown to the enemy. He conceived there would be three points assailed, and at these three points he and his burghers commenced to thoroughly prepare themselves, taking the precaution that nothing should be seen by the other side of these defensive arrangements. His conjecture as to the enemy's lines of ordnance proved to be absolutely correct, and he had no need to modify it as the fight proceeded. In fact, so complete was the surprise that at the first point of conflict the Imperial Light Horse and the British regulars came with their rifles slung over their shoulders, in careless order, to within sixty yards of the Boers and their guns, before the burghers opened fire. Then, as may be imagined, the slaughter was terrific, and the discomfort of the British complete. That was the British right wing. The second point of action was at the Bridle Drift, made by the British left wing, and distant about six miles higher up the river. There, with some of their best officers, the British marched in strong force, the Boers allowing them to come within 200 yards, when they opened fire. The British did their best to get through, and Gen. Botha admits that he never saw anything more magnificent than their charge at this point which was the main objective, being the easiest of attack. But all to no purpose. They were driven back time and again, and though one or two stragglers got through to the river, they were taken prisoners, and the main body repulsed. They were repulsed no fewer than five times.
The third point of attack selected by the British was in the centre, which was near the railway line. They attempted to get through
the wagon road and over the wagon bridge. They first of all moved their guns to the right of the line, and, after unlimbering, fired
on the Boer near positions for some time. Getting no response - Gen. Botha having issued strict orders on this point - they limbered up and came nearer, about 700 yards from the railway bridge. At this point they were under two Boer commandos, who reserved their fire, but, when it did open, the effect was terrific. The main body of infantry was proceeding toward the river on the left side of the railway line. There Gen. Botha had stationed a detachment. The British infantry were subjected at this point to the most merciless fusillade, and when the plight of the guns was seen they made the most desperate attempts to get across the line to their succor. Five times they tried, but it was against human possibility to get through the hail of lead. As soon as one lot was shot down, another rushed forward, but all to no purpose. It has been affirmed that the infantry were fired on by their own rear ranks to urge them forward, but Gen. Botha states that he does not believe this statement, although toward the end the officers were to be seen riding up and down in their futile endeavours to make the men charge again. It was, however, more than human flesh and blood could stand, and eventually they gave way. The gunners of the Armstrong batteries having been shot away, Gen. Botha sent a detachment to prevent any attempt to retake the guns, in which, as is known, they were successful.
Gen. Botha's artillery was composed of four guns and one Maxim, under Capt. Pretorius, to whom Gen. Botha gives the highest need of praise, saying that he courage he displayed is almost past belief. He rod in the most fearless fashion up and down the Boer lines, from one gun to another, exposed every minute to death, and the inspiriting effect he had on his men was something to remember. The battle raged from daybreak until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when the British retired and left the Boers in the field. Gen. Botha was made aware that the attack was going to be made by one of his scouts coming in at 1 o'clock on the morning of the battle, and saying that the whole British camp was alight. When day broke they were to be seen deploying into the three different lines of attack, in three divisions, their front extending over six miles. Gen. Botha calculates that the main division of the British numbered 8,000 men.
COLENSO AND SPION'S KOP.
Gen. Botha states, with regard to the battle of Colenso, that he never wishes to see any one better prepared for the duty before him than were the burghers; they were resolute and determined and fully imbued with the seriousness of the task before them. They were
animated with the highest degree of courage, and, under the heaviest of fire, they implicitly carried out the General's instructions. Such were their hope and trust that they actually sent the whole of their horses to the rear, some four miles distant, so as to exclude the possibility of retreat, even should their position be taken. They meant to stay where they were and fight it out to the bitter end.
Gen. Botha gives not less praise to the British, whose bravery, he says, was astounding. Sometimes they advanced in a walk in regular order, and when they were dropped in the grass and waited until the next lot came up. Gen. Botha granted the request of the British for a twenty-four hours' armistice in which to bury the dead, but states that they did not perform the task in a proper manner. In many cases, he asserts, the dead were buried so hastily and so imperfectly that a few days afterward the battlefield presented a woefully pitiable sight - there were arms and legs, and even bodies sticking out of the ground.
Those who have been closely watching the progress of the war will have noticed that, after Colenso, the British kept quiet for some time. Then they commenced shifting portions of their camp up toward the Klein Tugela. Eventually they made a big movement from the Frere Camp - first to Pont's Drift, and afterward to Trichardt's Drift. They relinquished whatever intention they might have had of crossing at Pont's Drift on the discovery that the Boers were strongly entrenched there. During this forward movement they doubtless offered many opportunities to the Boers for attack, but, owing to the swollen state of the river, the latter were prevented from crossing, except by running such risks of isolation as they admit they could not undertake.
The British, after their ineffectual bombardment of Pont's Drift, moved further westward to Trichardt's Drift, where they erected a pontoon. There they crossed the river and went on in a north-westerly direction to Acton Homes farm, where they struck the main road which runs into Ladysmith over the open veldt. It was at his time that Gen. Botha preparing to leave the front for Pretoria for a few days' holiday, received the President's instructions to go at once west toward the Upper Tugela, and there take charge of the forces. After having immediately dispatched the necessary reinforcements, he rode over to the camp of Gen. Burgher, with whom, in conjunction with Gen. Cronje of the Orange Free State, he arranged to take some of the commandants and drive over and review the menaced Boer positions. It was then discovered that, from the position the British had taken up adjacent to the main road, there was nothing to be done to prepare for immediate battle. The next day the Boers worked carefully into the British positions through the most vulnerable points, and the fighting, which lasted five days altogether, waged fast and furious. The battle took place all over a large plateau to the right of Spion's Kop. Gen. Botha took up different points, but never any one for long, but kept moving his men about, strengthening here and reducing there. All the time the British force was trying to force its way through, and Gen. Botha had a warm time of it.
The British suddenly retired on the evening of the fifth day of the battle in the direction of Trichardt's Drift; but, instead of re-crossing the river, they occupied Spion's Kop, on the Boer side. Gens. Botha and Burgher then agreed that an attempt should be made to retake the kop (which was of considerable strategic value) in the morning - the attack to be made from two sides, one to be taken by each General. They selected their men during the night from different points, took up their positions, and in the gray dawn commenced the perilous, arduous ascent. They had only 350 men engaged, the others being in different positions to support if need be. One of the commandants with his burghers went in front and bore the brunt of the attack. They were the first to gain the summit, and they lost pretty well half their men in doing so, killed and wounded. This detachment was supported by drafts from various other commandos, and it was by their united bravery that the victory of Spion's Kop was won. Some idea of the sanguinary nature of the affair may be gained when it is stated that when the mist that hung over the mountain during the ascent lifted, the burghers found themselves close on the British schanzes, and many of them seized the soldier's rifles as they were preparing to fire on the alarm being sounded. So close were the combatants that the smoke from their rifles intermingled, and for some time there was great confusion in consequence.
THE VISIT OF WEESTER DAVIS.
The visit of Assistant Secretary Davis of the United States to the Transvaal at the present time, and especially his journey to the front in company with the Boer notables, is strongly condemned by the British in South Africa. He has just returned from Ladysmith. Colenso, and Spion's Kop, where he visited the various battlefields, and for a time was under the fire of the British guns at the Tugela River. He describes the war scenes as something awful. He speaks highly of the kind treatment he received at the hands of the officials of the South African Republic, and of the people generally. The private carriage of President Krueger and the Directors of the railway were placed at his disposal, and everything was done to make his visit a pleasant one. President Krueger is regarded by Secretary Davis as one of the greatest men of the century. He expressed the belief that the Boers would never be conquered, as God intended that such a brave people should be forever free.
President Steyn of the Orange Free State invited Secretary Davis to be his guest, an invitation which Mr. Davis could not accept, as he is leaving at once for home.
Owing, it is generally understood, to the letters which J.B. Robinson, the South African millionaire, has written to the English newspapers, explaining how, in his opinion, the war should be conducted against the Boers, the Robinson Bank at Johannesburg has been closed by order of the Government, which has taken possession of the moneys of that institution. It is said that officials are busy making an inventory of the bank's belongings, and that the closing of the Robinson Bank does not argue interference in the operations of any of the other banking institutions. Rumours are in circulation to the effect that there is to be a general closing down, but these are stated by the official press to have no foundation, and the general public who have their accounts in other local institutions are assured that they need have not the least anxiety. It is further asserted that arrangements are being made by which all persons having deposits with the Robinson Bank will be accommodated by the Nationale Bank, to which their accounts are meanwhile to be transferred. Many, however, express grave doubts of this.
FALSE STORIES FROM DELAGOA.
At its best Lorenzo Marques is a hotbed of fever and intrigue, but just now both malaria and mystery are exceptionally widespread.
For this reason it is necessary for residents and visitors to be particularly cautious of both their health and their reputation. Extreme abstemiousness as to diet may to some extent serve as a safeguard to the one, and extreme caution in one's actions may help to preserve the other. But nothing is absolutely certain. The man who boasts of his robust health and laughs at the mere idea of fever may be a corpse in less than a week, and he who has always prided himself on his strict integrity may find himself at any moment suspected, and even condemned, of baseness and treachery.
Firms having establishments in both British and Dutch South Africa, as well, perhaps, as in London, find the greatest difficulty in steering clear of the quick sands that surround their present position. For instance, the Vice Chairman of the National Bank of Pretoria has frequent occasion to visit Lorenzo Marques on matters of business. Besides his position on the directorate of the bank, he is partner in a large mercantile firm having establishments in Cape Colony and in London. Recently he came down from the Transvaal to Delagoa in company with another director of the bank. The London newspaper which is usually regarded as the most influential and reliable, has lately sent out a correspondent to gather information at Lorenzo Marques, a gentleman doubtless f considerable ability, but evidently with but little knowledge of the country. There had been other notables from Pretoria, who had come down with the alleged intention of acting as a deputation on behalf of the Transvaal Government, and the scribe, presumably without stopping to make inquiry, at once jumped to the conclusion that the Vice Chairman of the bank must necessarily be engaged in a similar mission. Certainly the errand on which he had come was of rather a delicate nature. Accompanied by his colleague he proceeded to the bank, and told the manager that, acting under instructions from the board, they had brought down another manager to take his place, which he was required at once to vacate. The local manager firmly, but politely, declined to recognize the authority of Pretoria, and said that he was acting under the London board, and would not give up his duties until told to do so by them. The two gentlemen went away, but returned later in the day, accompanied by the Transvaal Consul and the manager elected to act by the Pretoria board, and endeavoured to install the latter in the position to which he had been appointed. A wordy warfare was carried on but the manager in possession refused to vacate his position. Subsequently the matter was taken into court, and decided in favour of the local manager. An appeal, however, will be made to Mozambique and doubtless thence to Lisbon.
The correspondent from London, absolutely ignorant at the time of the real position, but putting "two and two together," as he no doubt thought, at once cabled to London that the Vice Chairman of the bank was engaged on a mission as emissary to the Transvaal Government. The appearance of the cable must have considerably perturbed the principals of the London establishment of the mercantile house at Pretoria, of which the Vice Chairman is a partner, for they immediately cabled out to the branch in Cape Colony, instructing them to find means of getting the Vice Chairman either to confirm or deny, for their own satisfaction, the truth of the allegation made in the cable, and were doubtless greatly relieved to receive the assurance from the Vice Chairman that there was absolutely no foundation whatever in fact for the cable, and that his visit to Lorenzo Marques had been connected with the kidnapping of a Rand mine manager.
A notice was recently issued by the British Consul at Delagoa, and posted up in many of the business houses, prohibiting, under various pains and penalties, British subjects "and others" from trading with the enemy. The phrase "and others" caused much comment and amusement among foreigners, which must have reached the ears of the representative of her Britannic Majesty, as the following day he sent a man round the town to have the two words removed.
Published NY TIMES, April 1, 1900
THE BATTLE OF SPION KOP
Details of the Famous Attack and Retreat of the British.
Scenes on the Hill After the Terrible Fire of the Boers - An Odd Duel.
LONDON, February 20, 1900. - "Strengthen us to quit ourselves like men." That is an extract from a prayer written by the Archbishop of Armagh, which Lord Roberts has ordered distributed to his soldiers in the field. Judging from the full accounts of Buller's second attempt to relieve Ladysmith, and of the bloody fight at Spion Kop, the prayer was answered.
For the last few days the London dailies have published four and five columns each of mail matter from their correspondents at the front. These show that the operations which began on January 11 and ended with Buller once more going back across the Tugela on January 25, were far more dramatic than could be imagined from the cabled dispatches.
Starting from Chieveley on January 11, Gen. Buller brought his forces slowly to the south bank of the Tugela. Only a favoured few knew what his intentions were, but when within striking distance of the Tugela there developed, to quote Winston Churchill in The Morning Post, this plan of action:
"Seven battalions, 22 guns, and 300 horse under Lyttleton to mask the Potgieter position: 12 battalions, 36 guns, and 1,000 horse
to cross five miles to the westward, and making a turning movement against the enemy's right. The Boer covering army was to be
swept back on Ladysmith by a powerful left arm, the pivoting shoulder of which was at Potgieter's, the elbow at Triegard's Drift,
and the enveloping hand - the cavalry under Lord Dundonald - stretching out toward Acton Homes."
Every step was made as planned. The Tugela was crossed with practically no resistance on January 20.
"The first position we took," writes The Daily Mail's correspondent, "was a sugar loaf hill on the left flank, the honour of the achievement being won by F Squadron of the South African Light Horse. Their determination so impressed the defending party that they fled, and when the squadron reached the summit the hill was deserted. Corp. Tobin especially distinguished himself in the ascent, being foremost throughout, and, aided by the summit some paces before his comrades, to whom he shouted, 'Come on,
there is no one here!' Tobin is an American."
BOER RESISTANCE DEVELOPS.
The following day the Boer resistance developed in earnest. "What the enemy suffered from shell or rifle fire," says The Standard
correspondent, "is so far unknown, but they must have sustained serious loss. Our men would not be denied. They were not expected to hurry, or to expose themselves unduly. What they had to do was get forward at all cost, but with all possible caution. They moved slowly, yet irresistibly. With grim disregard of the hail of lead to which they wer exposed, they doubled from boulder to boulder, from hillock to hillock, ever upward toward the trenches that were splitting death in their open ranks.
"The advance into the jaws of death had its amusing as well as its sad incidents. During the ascent, while bullets were flitting by, and a man went down now and again, and had to be carried to the rear, two full privates were very busy, one munching an army biscuit, the other flicking small pebbles at him. Suddenly what appeared to the man with the biscuit as a particularly sharp stone, hit him on the neck; and he turned around indignantly and demanded, 'Say, Bill, did you chuck that stone at me?' Bill denied the charge, and rejoined, 'Why, mate, you're wounded.' And he was. While chewing at his biscuit an intrusive bullet had passed through the right side of his neck, then into the fleshy part of his shoulder, and ended its career by lodging underneath the skin of the upper part of his arm. An officer dug out the bullet with his penknife, and Bill, his comrade, passed him to the ambulance down-hill, plaintively reiterating that he had 'chucked' no stone."
They fought from kopje to kopje, and then, as The Times correspondent writes, "we were in deadlock. There had been four days'
fighting. The fist had been decidedly successful; we had forced the enemy back from all his advanced positions: the infantry had fought splendidly, and our losses, considering the strength of the position we were attacking, had not been great. Now, however, we had come to his main line of defence. Three days' fighting had not improved our position. His was probably stronger, for he had brought up more guns and improved his entrenchments. It was obvious, therefore, that we could not hope for success in that direction, and so the attack on Spion Kop was ordered."
According to another account, the attack on Spion Kop, which was believed to dominate the Boer positions, was not decided until after a council of war, in which Gen. Buller, while personally favouring an immediate retreat across the Tugela, allowed himself to be governed by the entreaties of his subordinates.
ATTACK ON SPION KOP.
Of the ascent of Spion Kop, The Standard correspondent writes: "The night was intensely dark. The troops were led by the guides over the rocky ridges and through dongas, the men being warned to make as little noise as possible, so as not to attract the attention of the Boers posted on the mountain that towered above. To the west the fitful crack of rifle fire showed that the enemy there was sniping at our infantry on the left front.
"Led by Gen. Woodgate and Col. Bloomfield, the fusiliers began the arduous ascent. Slowly but steadily pressing on in single file, the fusiliers leading, the long line of silent figures crept up the height. Ledge after ledge was passed in silence, the orders being that no shots were to be fired. The work before them was to be done with the bayonet. Col. Thorneycroft now pressed to the front and led the way. The crest of the mountain, fully 2,000 feet above its base, was reached about 3:30 in the morning of Wednesday, January 24. Far below could be seen the lights of the field hospitals, dotted on the plain. The night signals on Three Tree Hill hung like an arc of light in the near distance, and told that all was well.
"The crest having been gained, the leading files of Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry and Fusiliers advanced along the plateau. Bayonets were now fixed, and the men peered intently through the blackness ahead. Suddenly, at 4 o'clock in the morning, when a third of the entire length of the plateau had been cautiously traversed, a Kafir was heard singing out the alarm in Dutch. A sentry challenged, and the Fusiliers, levelling bayonets, charged with a cheer. An officer bayoneted the sentry. The Boers thereupon clutched their weapons, fired a wild volley, and bolted into the darkness beyond.
"The first trench had been won without the loss of a man on our side, and the column sent up a ringing cheer that pealed like a
bell through the misty morning.
"About 5 A.M. the second trench was taken. Here the troops silently awaited the grim work before them.
BOERS' CONCENTRATED FIRE.
"About 8 o'clock, when the misty cloud cap over Spion Kop melted away sufficiently to enable the Boers, who were now crowding in thousands on the ridge, and in hundreds behind the rocks and in the trenches across the northern extremity, as well as nearly up to the centre of the mountain crest, to open a concentrated fire on our devoted battalions. The hail-like rattle of the Boer rifle was vigorously replied to. Gen. Woodgate, who was detailed by Gen. Warren to effect the capture of the position, walked to and fro, amid the never-ceasing whistle of flying bullets, to direct his men. No one seems to know precisely when the gallant officer was hit, there being no breathing space allowed to look at watches; but early in the engagement the General was shot over the left eye as he was coolly watching the effect of our fire. He was carried to the rear, suffering acute pain, but exclaiming, "Let me alone! Let me alone!"
Of the fierce fighting that followed all that day on Spion Kop, there are many brilliant accounts, but none more so than that of Winston Churchill. "The troops," he writes, "were driven almost entirely off the main plateau and the Boers succeeded in reoccupying some of their trenches. A frightful disaster was narrowly averted. About twenty men in one of the captured trenches abandoned their resistance, threw up their hands, and called out that they would surrender. Col. Thorneycroft, whose great stature made him everywhere conspicuous, and who was from dawn till dusk in the first firing line, rushed to the spot. The Boers advancing to take the prisoners - as at Nicholson Nek - were scarcely thirty yards away. Thorneycroft shouted to the Boer leader, 'I am on this hill, and allow no surrender. Go on with your firing.' Which later they did, with terrible effect, killing many.
"The survivors, with the rest of the firing line, fled 200 yards, were rallied by their indomitable commander, and, being reinforced by two brave companies of the Middlesex Regiment, charged back, recovering all lost ground, and the position was maintained until nightfall. No words in these days of extravagant expression, can do justice to the glorious endurance which the English regiments - for they were all English - displayed throughout the long, dragging hours of hell fire.
"A village of ambulance wagons grew up at the foot of the mountain. The dead and injured, smashed and broken by shells, littered the summit till it was a bloody, reeking shambles. Thirst tormented the soldiers, for, though water was at hand, the fight was too close and furious to give even a moment's breathing space. But nothing could weaken the stubborn vigour of the defence.
"The artillery, unable to find or reach the enemy's guns could only tear up the ground in impotent fury. Night closed in with the British still in possession of the hill."
SCENES ON THE HILL.
Describing his endeavour to get up the hill, Mr. Churchill says:
"Streams of wounded met us and obstructed the path. Corpses lay here and there. Many of the wounds were of a horrible nature. The splinters and fragments of the shells had torn and mutilated in the most ghastly manner. I passed about 200 while I was climbing up. There was, moreover, a small but steady leakage of unwounded men of all corps. Some of these cursed and swore. Others were utterly exhausted and fell on the hillside in stupor. Others again seemed drunk, though they had no liquor. Scores were sleeping heavily. Fighting was still proceeding, and stray bullets struck all over the ground, while the Maxim guns scourged the flanks of the hill and the sheltering infantry at regular intervals of a minute."
Later that night an informal council of war was called, and Sir Charles Warren, from below the hill, sent Mr. Churchill to ascertain Col. Thorneycroft's views. When the correspondent reached the crest he found "only one solid battalion remained - the Dorsets. All others were intermingled.
"Amid this disorganized but determined force." Mr. Churchill writes, "I found Col. Thorneycroft at the top of the mountain. Every one seemed to know, even in the confusion, where he was. He was sitting on the ground surrounded by the remnants of the regiment he had raised, who had fought for him like lions and followed him like dogs. I explained the situation as I had been told and as I thought. Naval guns were prepared to try, sappers and working parties were already on the road with thousands of sandbags. What did he think? But the decision had already been taken. He had never received any messages from the General, had not had time to write any. Messages had been sent him, he had to send others himself. The fight had been too hot, too close, too interlaced for him to attend to anything but to support his company, clear those rocks, or line that trench. So, having heard nothing and expecting no guns, he had decided to retire. As he put it tersely, 'Better six good battalions safely down the hill than a mop up in the morning'"
THE BRITISH RETREAT.
The Standard's correspondent takes up the story at this point as follows:
"The retrograde movement was effective in a masterly manner, without loss. Gen. Buller conducted this movement in person. I met the General at Trichardt's Drift at daybreak on the Thursday. He was then as stern of countenance as usual, but when, three days later, or, to be exact, on Saturday morning, he rode in again to headquarters and got off his horse, he looked tired, and not the same man. The change was doubtless as much due to his having been almost incessantly in the saddle for over two days and nights. Only a man of iron nerves like his could rise superior to such an unfortunate miscarriage of his plans. The General promises, in a statement issued for publication, that he will try another route. Officers and men ask for nothing more."
Bennet Burleigh, in The Daily Telegraph, relates this curious incident of the preliminary fighting on Spion Kop:
"Sergt. Mason of Thorneycroft's force, and ex-Glasgow man and Durban hansom cab-driver, while potting Boers at 1,500 yards range, chanced to turn and saw three creeping up the mountainside upon his left rear. Dropping his sights, he bowled one over, the man falling across a rock and never stirring, for he was shot through the heart. An instant later he fatally wounded the second,
who tumbled headlong downhill. The third caught sight of his helmet and dodged behind a boulder.
"The a duel ensued between the twain, Sergeant Mason and the Boer. Every time Mason tried to peep the Boer banged at him. The Sergeant returned the compliment. Five Mauser bullets were put through Mason's helmet, cutting his hair once or twice, but leaving him uninjured. Others came perilously near his throat, arm, and hands. Finally the Boer drilled a hole through Mason's shoulder. Wounded, he changed the rifle to his left, resting it upon the rock. A lucky shot of the Sergeant's touched the Boer, who fell forward with his head between the rocks. Then Mason made siccar, put a shot or two into the head, which never budged. Weak from loss of blood, Mason arose, retired, had his wound dressed, and then walked out of the action."
CANADIANS "PLAY POSSUM."
A correspondent of The Daily Mail writes from Modder River as follows: "The Australians and Canadians have lately taken to a game which, I believe, Americans call 'playing possum.' To the uninitiated I may remark this means pretending to be dead. A short time ago four scouts were out patrolling, and seeing a Boer, tried to stalk him. But do what they could, they could not get to him. At last they separated and surrounded him on a kopje, where the Boer could shoot without being seen.
"They approached to within 500 yards, and the, after a short council, turned to ride away. Immediately a shot rang out and one scout fell of his horse in a heap. The other three wheeled round, there was another shot, and another scout lay on the ground. The remaining two immediately started galloping in opposite directions. Two more shots, and the remaining two were lying on the ground.
"The Boer, greatly elated at his marvellous shooting, came out from behind his rock and commenced dancing a wild, 'fandango.' Four shots rang out simultaneously, and before the Boer had had time to even learn the rules of the game, he was incapacitated from taking any further part in it. The four scouts mounted their horses and, pondering deeply over the fragility of human life, returned to camp.
"I rode down to Belmont a couple of days ago and had a look at the Canadians and Queenslanders who are quartered there. They are all in excellent health and spirits, and seem to be just about hungry for a fight."
Published NY TIMES, March 3, 1900
BOERS GATHERING TO FIGHT ROBERTS
Buller Seizes Colenso With Little Opposition.
HE MAY TAKE LADYSMITH
Apparently the Boers There Are Going to Cronje's Aid.
ROBERTS NEEDS MEN
Likely to Encounter an Army Equal to His Own.
Cronje's Force in Retreat, Fighting Stubbornly All the Way - The Queen Asks Old Soldiers to Aid in the Home Defence.
LONDON, February 21, 1900. - The Boers are leaving all the positions held by them on British territory and are concentrating for the defence of their own. Sir Redvers Buller thinks they are about to raise the siege of Ladysmith. This is the principal news of the day.
Gen. Clements reports that the force confronting him has been greatly diminished. Ten thousand men are estimated to have gone the Colesberg District alone. The Boers are also retracing their steps from Zululand. Thus they are relaxing their hold on all sides in order to assemble to oppose Lord Roberts. He is pressing on steadily toward Bloemfontein.
This is shown by his inconsequential telegram from Paardeberg, fifty or sixty miles away. Doubtless he is many miles behind the column that is pursuing the Boers, and the next important news may be the occupation of Bloemfontein.
Nothing had been heard from the chase of Cronje for two days. Although the last words of the War Office to-night were that there was no news for publication, there is a strong disposition to believe that favourable information has been received, but it being withheld until the operations culminate in something more conclusive. There is an equally strong disposition to think that Gen. Cronje has escaped.
Owing to the lack of transport, the British are not likely to invade Boer territory, except where Lord Roberts is operating. Gen. Buller will have to stop at the Drakensberg Mountains. Probably a part of his 40,000 men will ultimately join the legions of Lord Roberts.
If, as Gen. Buller avers, the Boers are retreating from him, then the news on every side is favourable to the British.
Nevertheless, troops continue to go up. The War Office thinks that the call to veterans to rejoin the colours, together with the bounty, will bring 45,000 men to the home defence. The urgency with which home defence is pressed excites some wonder.
With the casualties just reported the British losses in killed, wounded, and captured now aggregate 11,102.
Spenser Wilkinson, reviewing the military situation in The Morning Post to-day, says:
"The meaning of the position in Natal is that the Boers have sent the bulk of their forces to resist Lord Roberts. Gen. Buller's aim is to join Sir George White and then either to push on to Laing's Nek or to send back two divisions to reinforce Lord Roberts, retaining two in Natal to complete the recovery of the Northern Triangle."
"It is to be hoped that Lord Roberts will overcome Gen. Cronje before the latter is reinforced. Otherwise the British commander may find himself facing a Boer army equal in strength to his own, as all the Boers appear to be hurrying toward Cronje. The British commanders ought soon to be able to free both Natal and Cape Colony from the enemy.
"The actions now in progress are the decisive battles of the war; and every effort must be made to reinforce Lord Roberts."
Published NY TIMES, February 21, 1900.
BULLER'S ADVANCE DIFFICULT.
LONDON, February 27, 1900. - Winston Churchill, in a dispatch to The Morning Post from Frere
Camp, dated Sunday, says:
"The idea that the Boers are raising the siege of Ladysmith is premature. The advance is being pursued in the face of the most stubborn opposition and of heavy loss.
"President Krueger's grandson is among the Boers killed."
A Pietermaritzburg dispatch of yesterday's date says Gen. Buller is still engaged in severe fighting. In Groblers Kloof he seems to have discovered a hornet's nest.
A dispatch from Cape Town says that Lord Rosslyn, who has obtained a commission in Thorneycroft's Horse, has gone to join Gen. Buller.
Mr. Churchill then proceeds to describe heavy fighting last Friday, in which the Inniskillings approached within 500 yards of the summit of a rocky Boer position, and then gallantly charged in the face of a hail of bullets. He says:
"After repeated attempts, however, and having lost heavily, they recognized that they were unable to prevail. Nevertheless, they refused to retreat, but lay down on the slope, behind a shelter of walls. The Connaughts and the Dublin Fusiliers were sent to their support, but the light faded and the night closed in before the main attack had developed."
Spenser Wilkinson's article in The Morning Post to-day is almost wholly devoted to criticism of Gen. Buller's apparently mistaken tactics in sending small forces to take positions, and then reinforcing these by details, as revealed in the dispatch from Mr. Churchill. Mr. Wilkinson admits, however, that Mr. Churchill's advices are too incomplete to enable a correct idea to be formed, since his dispatch breaks off in the middle, leaving the battle unfinished.
The Times had the following from Pietermaritzburg, dated last Friday:
"The Dublin Fusiliers have again distinguished themselves by volunteering to take Grobler's Kloof, which they did. This gallant battalion, which began the campaign 850 strong, can to-day be said to muster on parade only between 100 and 200 of its original members."
Published NY TIMES, 27 February, 1900
DETAILS OF THE FIGHTING.
LONDON, March 1, 1900. - A dispatch to The Daily Telegraph from Colenso, dated Monday, describing the famous advance of the Inniskillings on Friday, says:
"I saw the first company waver and then break before a sheet of well-directed leaden hail, and within a minute not a man was left standing. It seemed to me that the brave company of Fusiliers was annihilated.
"Shortly afterward, however, I could see some of them move, then rise, and finally walk quietly to the rear, taking cover. The supporting company was also cut up, but not quite so severely.
"The Boers are placed on high, unassailable kopjes command the railway from Colenso to Ladysmith, and a real right flank attack is rendered impossible, owing to a high, precipitous ravine, which opens upon the Tugela, while the left is too open and void of cover and cannot be seriously considered as a means of assault.
"The Boers and British fraternized during yesterday's armistice. It is reported that 4,000 Boers have left the vicinity of Ladysmith for Dundee."
Winston Churchill, in a dispatch from Colenso, says:
"The condition of the wounded who were untended on the hillside Sunday was so painful that Gen. Buller sent a flag of truce to the enemy, and it was arranged that throughout Sunday military movements should continue on both sides, but there should be no shooting.
"This truce terminated at dusk. The Boers then resumed a furious musketry attack on the British left. The attack was repulsed. Fighting continues vigorously. We shall see who can stand 'bucketing' best, the Briton or the Boer."
Mr. Churchill goes on the say that there is abundant proof of the Boers using a large proportion of illegal bullets, no fewer than five different kinds of exploding or expanding bullets have been found. He also asserts that the Boers are employing armed Kafirs, and he adds:
"I have always tried to be fair toward the Boers, but, after making every allowance, it must be said that they show, when in stress, a very dark, cruel, and vengeful underside of character."
Gen. Buller's successful attack came after the hard fighting of Friday, and it was improvised and its execution begun during the armistice of Sunday. He was within his privileges in immediately beginning to transfer his troops.
A dispatch to The Times from Colenso says:
"Before Sunday's armistice many of the British wounded had been left out for thirty-six hours.
The Boers gave them water."
Published NY TIMES, March 1, 1900
LADYSMITH IN VERY BAD PLIGHT
Gen. White's Force Almost at Its Last Gasp.
KLIP RIVER WATER PUTRID
Only Supplied Poisoned by Sewage from Boer Camps.
BULLER WINS A FIGHT
Carries Pieter's Hill by Storm After Crossing Tugela Twice.
His Losses to Date About 4,000 Men - Five Officers of the Inniskillings Left Out of Twenty-four - Next Battle to be Decisive.
LONDON, March 1, 1900. - Gen. Buller has reported to the War Office that on Tuesday his troops assaulted and carried the top of Pieter's Hill, thereby turning the Boers' left to a certain extent.
Gen. Buller's tidings come weighted with his long list of casualties. His losses, in the four attempts to get Gen. White out, aggregate 4,000 men.
Ladysmith is in desperate straits. Charles Williams, the military expert, says he learns on very high authority - presumably that of Lord Wolseley - that "Gen. White's force is almost at its last gasp."
"This is not so much," says Mr. Williams, "on account of any lack of provisions or of ammunition, neither of which is yet exhausted, as because of the poisonous waters of the Klip River and the evil effects of the heat on the terrain in which the garrison must reside.
"Even those who have escaped fever, dysentery, and diarrhoea are in a state of low vitality. They can still man trenches and would probably hold their own against a last, desperate assault, but they can initiate nothing.
"Gen. Buller now knows that, as units, the regiments will be of no use to him for months.
"The water of the Klip River is no available for drinking and to boil it is impossible because of the scarcity of fuel. It is thick with putrid animal matter. Tea made of it has a suspended fibre, something like beef tea. It is caused by the sewage from the Boer camps."
Mr. Williams adds that when news like this passes under the thumb of the censor it more than offsets whatever jolly news may
be heliographed from Ladysmith.
NEXT ATTACK DECISIVE.
Spenser Wilkinson, commenting on Gen. Buller's operations, says:
"It hardly seems as though Tuesday's attack had covered more than an advanced position, covering the Boer main lines of investment, or that the Boers have abandoned any part of those lines. Otherwise Gen. Buller and Sir George White would have met the same night.
"The next attack ought, one way or the other, to be decisive. Apparently Lord Roberts cannot for some time influence the course of events in Natal, and Gen. Buller's force has now been subjected to a very considerable and prolonged strain. The moment seems opportune to point the necessity of sending Gen. Buller reinforcements."
The military critic of The Times, dwelling upon the difficulties facing Buller, says:
"Although his progress has not been so great as earlier reports had led us to expect, the sacrifices his force has made already have been very great. The country is exactly adapted to the tactics of a tenacious rearguard, and if the Boers continue their resistance with the skill and stubbornness hitherto shown, many difficulties remain to be surmounted."
Buller's distinct success brings the rescue of Ladysmith near, but the War Office intimated late last evening that an immediate announcement of relief need not be expected. The goings to and fro at midnight of officials and messengers suggested that important news had been received. If this were the case, Lord Lansdowne obviously desired to sleep on it, before taking the public into his confidence.
Published NY TIMES, March 1, 1900
LADYSMITH, March 1, 1900. - Gen. Buller, accompanied by his staff, arrived here at 11:40 A.M. to-day. He entered the town unnoticed, as more cavalry was coming in during the morning. The news of his arrival soon spread, however, and Gen. White and his staff at once went to receive him. The two Generals met amid scenes of tremendous enthusiasm, and Gen. Buller had an immense reception.
It is understood that the Boers are in full flight toward the Free State, and a flying column of Ladysmith troops, are pursuing them. The Boers left many wagons and guns, and quantities of provisions and ammunition behind them.
Surrounded by cheering soldiers, townspeople and coolies, celebrating the relief of the town, Sir George White, at the Post Office, addressed the throng. He said:
"People of Ladysmith: I thank you for the heroic and patient manner in which you assisted me during the siege. It hurt me terribly to cut down the rations, but, thank God, we kept the flag flying."
Then, profoundly moved, Gen. White led the assembly in singing "God Save the Queen."
Published NY TIMES, March 3, 1900.
AFTER CRONJE'S SURRENDER.
LONDON, March 1, 1900. - With such determined enemies, says a special correspondent telegraphing from Paardeberg under date of February 27, one would suppose that the Boers would have destroyed their guns, small arms, and ammunition before surrendering. The only thing injured, however, was a Vickers-Maxim piece which had been hit by a British shell.
A British officer and nine British soldiers, who were prisoners, had been provided with deep holes by the Boers and kindly treated.
The Boers enquired anxiously whether Bloemfontein was in possession of the British.
When the order came for the Boer prisoners to cross the river to the British camp they took all that they carry of such things as pots, pans, and blankets, throwing their rifles in two heaps that gradually increased to huge proportions. As the ford had been swollen by a heavy rain, the Boers took off their trousers and waded across.
The scene looked like play rather than war. The men laughed and splashed each other in the water, but among them were some grim faces, which looked with disfavour upon such sportiveness.
THE SIEGE OF LADYSMITH.
Ladysmith was not completely isolated until November 2, three weeks after the war began. Its investment was unexpected by the British, as it was the base of supplies for the campaign in Natal, and it was supposed that the army, under Gen. Sir George Stewart White, the commander of the British forces in that colony, was amply sufficient to withstand any attack.
The Boers, however, began to mass in the neighbourhood of Ladysmith on October 13, two days after the time limit fixed by President Krueger for compliance with his ultimatum. Marching from the Orange Free State, the burghers threatened at the same time Gen. White's army and the army under Gen. Symons at Dundee, which is about forty miles northeast of Ladysmith. On October 18, Gen. White's patrols found that the main Boer army was massed at Acton Homes, only thirty miles west of Ladysmith. Two days later the battle of Dundee was fought. Gen. Symons was mortally wounded, and the command devolved upon Gen. Yule.
The latter decided that it was imperatively necessary to join White's main army at Ladysmith, and on the night of October 22, a hurried march was begun to that city via Beith.
In the meanwhile the Boer army in the vicinity of Ladysmith had been reinforced by large numbers of troops from the South African Republic, and Gen. Joubert took charge of the operations, Gen. Yule was able, however, on October 26 to form a junction with Gen. White's army. Two days afterward the Boers were reported to be closing in around Ladysmith. On October 30 there was a general sortie, and the naval guns silenced the Boer siege artillery, but on November 2 Ladysmith was completely isolated, and bombarded by other guns, which the BOers had succeeded in dragging up steep kopjes commanding the city. Two days before then Gen. Sir Redvers Buller arrived at Cape Town, and at once set about the task of gathering an army to relieve White.
On November 6 a sortie by cavalry was made from Ladysmith, and a hotly contested fight took place near Dewdrop, and on November 9 a general attack on the besieged city by the Boers was repulsed, the attacking force losing many men. The advance guard of the force to relieve Ladysmith had been hurried forward via Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and on November 15 an armoured train was sent on as far as Chieveley. It was wrecked at that place by the Boers, and over 100 British troops were captured. The army of relief continued to be reinforced, and on November 18 Gen. Sir C. F. Clery assumed command.
On December 2 Clery pushed forward as far as Frere, about twenty miles south of Ladysmith. The same day the Boers bombarded the besieged city more heavily than at any time previously, and White sent out the information that the situation had become very grave. The wounded were removed from the hospital, which had been fired upon. On December 7 it was announced that the total casualties since the siege began were 5 officers and 26 men killed, 15 officers and 130 men wounded, and 3 men missing. On December 8 a successful sortie was made under Sir A. Hunter. With the Natal Volunteers and the Imperial Light Horse he destroyed two big guns and a Maxim which had been mounted on what was known as Gun Hill. Another sortie was made on December 10, when the Second Rifle Brigade under Lieut. Col. Metcalfe destroyed a howitzer on Surprise Hill. The force had to fight its way back to Ladysmith by using bayonets, and lost 12 killed and 41 wounded.
The following day the cavalry from Frere Camp reconnoitred as far as Colenso, coming in touch with the burghers. In the relief army, and on December 15 he sustained the first of his severe defeats. He advanced from Chieveley Camp against the Boer positions near Colenso, and at the Tugela River the Boers succeeded in completely checking his advance, the British having to retire after losing 1,100 in killed, wounded, and missing.
On the receipt of this news in London a Seventh Army Division was ordered mobilised and Field Marshal Lord Roberts was appointed Commander in Chief of the British armies in South Africa, with Lord Kitchener as his Chief of Staff. Preparations to organise various volunteer forces were also hastily begun. At about this time Gen. White announced that he could hold out for a considerable time longer, having provisions of good quality sufficient for at least two months. The weather was, however, very trying to the garrison, and deaths from enteric fever were frequent.
On January 6 the Boers made repeated vigorous attacks on White's main position at Caesar's Camp but were repulsed after severe fighting. White sent a message that he was very hard pressed, but also managed to repulse Boer attacks on the following day. At this time it looked as though the fall of Ladysmith was only a question of a few days, and many military experts recommended that White be ordered to capitulate.
The British again attempted to force the passage of the Tugela on January 15, and on the 16th the army succeeded in crossing. On January 19 the cavalry defeated the Boers near Acton Homes, and held the road to Ladysmith, but on the 23rd the British advance was again checked. On January 25 there was brief elation in London over the news that Spion Kop had been captured by Gen. Warren, but on the following day the news came that the position had been abandoned, and the gloom caused by this intelligence was intensified on January 27 when Buller sent word that he had been obliged to again retreat to the south of the Tugela.
From that time until February 8 nothing of importance occurred. On that day Buller again crossed the Tugela and seized Kraantz Kloof. Two days later news of is third defeat was received, and again his third defeat was received, and again he was forced to go back across the Tugela. About this time the wags in London bestowed the sobriquet of "The Ferryman" on Sir Redvers.
The activity by Lord Roberts's army made it possible on February 16 for Buller to make a fourth attempt. Two days later it was reported that a large proportion of the Boer army was withdrawing from around Ladysmith in order to reinforce Cronje, and Buller crossed the Tugela in the direction of Colenso. On the 18th he seized Vaal Kraantz; on the 19th he moved forward along the nek northeast of Chieveley under heavy fire, and on the 20th he captured the supposed key of the whole position. Hlangwana Hill, together with all the other hills east of Colenso.
Buller's advance was, however, still contested. A message came from the besieged city that many of the Boers were retiring, and the relieving army succeeded in capturing several kopjes. On February 23 the Boers bombarded Ladysmith more heavily than ever before, but this seems to have been their last effort to take the place. On February 24 Pieter's Station was taken by the British after a sharp engagement, and the rest of the march northward was almost unopposed.
Published NY TIMES, March 2, 1900.
NO BOERS NEAR LADYSMITH.
LONDON, March 3, 1900. - The War Office has received the following dispatch from Gen. Buller:
"Ladysmith, March 2, 1900, 6:30 P.M. - I find the defeat of the Boers more complete that I had dared to anticipate. This whole district is completely clear of them; and, except at the top of Van Reenen's Pass, where several wagons are visible, I can find no trace of them.
"Their last train left Modder Spruit Station about 1 o'clock yesterday, adn they then blew up the bridge. They packed their wagons six days ago, moving them to the north of Ladysmith, so that we had no chance of intercepting them, but they have left vast quantities of ammunition of all sorts, herds, grass, camp, and individual necessaries. They have got away with all their guns except two."
In an earlier dispatch Gen. Buller announced that seventy-three wagonloads of supplies were then entering Ladysmith, the first eleven wagons containing hospital comforts.
Gen. Buller's casualties among his officers during the fighting of February 27 were: Killed - Col. O'Leary of the Lancashires; Major Lewis, Capt. Sykes and Lieut. Simpson of the Scots Fusiliers; Lieut. Mourilyan of the Warwickshires, and Lieut. Daly of the Irish Fusiliers. Wounded - Gen. Barton, Col. Carr of the Scots Fusiliers, and twenty-three others.
The following is the text of her Majesty's dispatch Thursday to Gen. Buller:
"I thank God for the news you have telegraphed me: and I congratulate you and all under you with all my heart."
The dispatch to Sir George White read thus:
"I thank God that you and all those with you are safe after your long, trying siege, borne with such heroism. I congratulate you and all under you from the bottom of my heart. I trust you are all not very much exhausted."
Sir George White sent the following reply:
"Your Majesty's most gracious message has been received by me with the deepest gratitude and with enthusiasm by the troops. Any hardships and privations are a hundred times compensated for by the sympathy and appreciation of our Queen, and your Majesty's message will do more to restore both officers and men than anything else."
Published NY TIMES, March 3, 1900.
THE ENTRY INTO LADYSMITH.
LONDON, 3 March 1900. - Winston Churchill, who accompanied the Ladysmith relief column, telegraphing his experiences, says:
"During the afternoon of February 28 the cavalry brigades pressed forward, under Col. Burn-Murdoch, toward Bulwana Hill, and under Lord Dundonald in the direction of Ladysmith. The Boers fired on both with artillery from Bulwana.
"About 4 o'clock Major Gough's regiment, which was in the advance, found the ridges surrounding and concealing Ladysmith apparently unoccupied. He reported the fact to Lord Dundonald, who determined to ride through the gap with the Light Horse and Carabineers.
"The rest of the brigade was sent back to Gen. Buller's picket line. It was evening when we started. About an hour of daylight remained. We galloped on swiftly, in spite of the rough ground, up and down hill, through scrub and rocks and dongas until we could see the British guns flashing from Wagon Hill; but on we went faster, until suddenly there came a challenge from the scrub, 'Who goes there?' 'The Ladysmith relieving army,' we replied; and then the tattered and almost bootless men crowded around, cheering very feebly. Even in the gloom we could see how thin and pale they looked; but how glad they were!"
AMMUNITION ALMOST GONE.
The Standard publishes the following dispatch from Ladysmith, dated Thursday March 1:
"The once dashing cavalry brigade has practically ceased to exist. At the beginning of the year we had 5,500 horses and 4,500 mules. Before the end of January we could only feed 1,100 horses - the others had either been converted into joints, soups, and
sausages or had been left to forage for themselves. These poor, emaciated animals - mere phantoms of horses - were among the most painful sights of the siege.
"Had we possessed an unlimited amount of heavy guns and ammunition, we might have made the position more bearable. Although not a shot was fired, except in dire necessity, there were on February 1 only forty founds left for each naval gun, while the supply for the field artillery would have been exhausted in a couple of minor engagements. Fortunately, the Boers were ignorant of the true state of affairs. Had they known of our real weakness, they might have displayed greater daring with results which - now that we are safe - we can venture to contemplate. We were victorious solely because of masterly inactivity.
"The bombardment was heavy, but on the whole ineffective. It is estimated that during the investment about 12,000 shells were thrown into the town, an average of three tons of explosives daily. Yet we had only 25 men killed and 188 wounded. Our largest losses were from disease."
Colonel Rhodes, the brother of Cecil Rhodes, describing in The Times the entry into Ladysmith of Lord Dundonald and 300 men of the Imperial Light Horse and Natal Carabineers February 28, says:
"It is impossible to depict the enthusiasm of the beleaguered garrison. Cheer upon cheer ran from post to post, and staff officers, civilian, and soldiers flocked to greet them. At the ford of the Klip River women with children in their arms tearfully pressed forward to grasp the hands of the gallant band. Sisters and brothers, friends and relatives met again.
"It was the most moving scene I have ever witnessed. The contrast between the robust troopers of a dozen battles and the pale, emaciated defenders of Ladysmith was great. The hour for which we had so patiently waited had come at last.
"Gen. White and his staff met the troops in the centre of the town. He was cheered with heartfelt enthusiasm. He addressed the civilians and thanked them and the garrison for their magnificent support through trials which we alone can realize. We could possibly have hung on for six weeks longer, bu the privations would have been great and sickness and the paucity of our ammunition would have limited the number of assaults we would have been able to resist.
"We originally started the siege with 12,000 troops, 2,000 civilians, and 4,000 natives. Between casualties and sickness 8,000 soldiers passed through the hospital. It is impossible to overemphasize the privations of the sick. Since the middle of January, a man once down was practically lost. The reduced rations of the soldiers just sufficed for their subsistence. Daily thirty old horses and mules were slaughtered and converted into soup and sausages.
"From January 15 to now there have been over 200 deaths from disease alone. The last fortnight saw the majority of the field batteries unhorsed and the guns permanently posted in our defences. The cavalry and drivers were converted into infantry and sent into the trenches. A line of defences had been constructed with the view of a possible final contingency, if the water works should be carried by the investment.
"Since the investment the total casualties were: Killed or died of wounds, 24 officers and 235 men; died of disease, 6 officers and 340 men; wounded, 70 officers and 520 men, exclusive of white civilians and natives."
Published NY TIMES, 3 March 1900
ROBERTS FACES A BIG BOER ARMY
Finds 6,000 Burghers About 8 Miles from Paardeberg.
JOUBERT IS FURTHER ON
He is Said to be Concentrating a Force.
NONE NEAR LADYSMITH
Buller Reports They Took Away All Their Guns and Wagons.
Gen. Cronje Arrives at Cape Town and Is Placed on Board a Cruiser - Boer Women Were Found in the Trenches at Paardeberg.
LONDON, March 3, 1900. - Lord Roberts, at Osfontein, six or eight miles east of Paardeberg, faces the re-formed Boer army, from 5,000 to 6,000 strong. This may be merely a corps of observation, ready to retire on prepared positions. Doubtless it is receiving accretions from the late besiegers of Ladysmith and from other points.
The Boer Army is about four miles from the British front, with its left resting on a high kopje and its right on the river.
Whatever the force may be, Lord Roberts has ample troops to cope with it.
As a heavy rain is falling on the veldt, and the grass is improving, this will be a good thing temporarily for the Boers.
Lord Roberts has surprised observers by the excellence of his transport during the first advance, and he is likely to do so again, although military men here think he must wait for some days before going much further.
The Boers, presumably, will use this delay for all it is worth, pulling their resources together. Dr. Leyds gives out the opinion that the British entry of Bloemfontein is daily expected, as Commandants De Wet and De La Rey had been instructed to retard the advance of Lord Roberts only until the concentration under Gen. Joubert had been accomplished.
No adequate explanation is yet made of the 50,000 reinforcements that are preparing for Lord Roberts. Such explanations as are advanced tentatively suggest either that the Cape Dutch have become more restive or that the Imperial Government has a hint of foreign suggestions as to the future status of the allied republics.
NEW PHASE OF THE WAR.
Spenser Wilkinson in The Morning Post to-day says:
"The war now enters a new phase - that of a British attack on the Boer power for the purpose of destroying it and of bringing about the acquiescence of their populations in that submission.
"The invading army, intending to fight the enemy wherever and whenever he can be met, has only to march by the most convenient route toward the centre of the enemy's resources. The defending army must either come to meet the invader, replying to attack by attack, or must seek a defensive position in which to prevent the advance of the invaders."
Mr. Wilkinson thinks the simplest line of advance is to Bloemfontein, and thence along the railroad to Pretoria. He says:
"The Boers are abandoning all minor enterprises in order to concentrate. It is doubtful whether Gen. Buller's force will be able to do much toward entering the enemy's territory from Natal. Hence we may infer that a considerable portion of his force will be transferred to the western theatre of war. Lord Roberts can, if he thinks it necessary, have before April 1 an army at his disposal nearly twice as strong as that with which he set out from Modder River."
The Admiralty Board has telegraphed to the Cape Commander an expression of admiration and thanks on the part of the Lords of the Admiralty to the marines and bluejackets engaged in the war for the "splendid manner in which they have upheld the traditions of the service, and have added to its reputation for resourcefulness, courage, and devotion."
A DISPATCH FROM ROBERTS.
Lord Roberts wires to the War Office from Osfontein, under date of March 2, 1900, as follows:
"I have just returned from paying Kimberley a hurried visit. I was much gratified at finding the enthusiasm among the Kimberley people regarding the care of the sick and wounded. All the public buildings had been converted into hospitals, and all the men had been made most comfortable.
"I was struck with the friendly manner in which the wounded Boers and our men chatted together upon the experiences of the campaign.
"It delighted me to see our soldiers sharing their rations and biscuits with the Boer prisoners before they commenced their march for Modder River. Some of the poor fellows were very hungry, after having been half starved in the laager."
During Lord Roberts's visit to Kimberley, when he was the guest of Cecil Rhodes, he paid a high tribute to Gen. Buller and Sir George White, and confessed that at one time he feared it would be impossible to relieve Ladysmith. Mr. Rhodes expressed his intention to induce the De Beers Company to buy artillery for the defence of Kimberley.
Published NY TIMES, March 3, 1900.
============================================================================================CHURCHILL PRAISES BULLER.
LONDON, March 6, 1900. - Winston Churchill, describing the relief of Ladysmith in a dispatch published by The Morning Post, says:
"It has been effected at a cost of upward of 5,000 officers and men in an army only 25,000 strong."
He goes on to pay a high tribute to Sir Redvers Buller, emphasizing the confidence his men had in him, "without which the enterprise could hardly have succeeded." Of Gen. Buller's attack on February 27, Mr. Churchill says:
"Considered in itself, it was a masterpiece, soundly conceived, boldly launched, and skilfully executed." He adds that "much also was due to the greatly improved Intelligence Department."
Mr. Churchill points out that the Boers now hold Van Rennen's Pass, but that a majority of the Free Staters have accompanied the Transvaalers northward.
Published NY TIMES March 6, 1900
Gun Pit - Caesar's Camp
Defenders during siege
British trench after battle at Spion Kop
Thanks for posting that up, I can't read it all at once but will get there.
I was always interested in the boer war, A South African myself, so hence the interest. I actually have a medal that was given to my Gran my a gent she cared for, medal is from the zulu war, any ideas on how I can find out about it??
Has the following on the side, troop R.G. King, border horse
Dated 1879 and is a campaing medal.
Well I Just found this link, I better read it, South African Military History Society - Journal - Zulu War Medals
Found the subject fascinating myself, especially given more modern parallels today, but it is a lot of info to take in at once.
E books including one written by Arthur Conan Doyle can be found on the Guttenberg Project. [Also a good resource for some WWI books, eg Kipling's, but also more 'obscure' ones.] Another ebook with great pics, is written from the Boer perspective and contains a rather unflattering description of the captured son of a Brtish Peer. Not to overlook this aspect of the war, many narratives can also be found about experiences of Boer women and children in concentration camps.
If you wish, you can email me and I will send you these articles above as attachments.
A great research resource for the Second Anglo-Boer War can be found here.
Welcome to Casus Belli (military books and medals)
Excellent posts Diane!! Well Done.
Well,this forum is proving to be the best eater up of my spare time
(incidently,erring on going OT but,I find the most moving/hair on back of neck moment ever in a "war" movie is the final scene in Breaker Morant.)
Thanks Diane excellent stuff there. I have read quite a lot about the Sudan campaign and the Zulu wars. But I have neglected the Boer. Thanks for giving me a few pointers as to where to start.
Separate names with a comma.