Sivut kuvina

under Lategan, was also forced on 12th of August into the Orange River Colony to the west of Norval's Pont, being attacked, as already mentioned, after crossing the river by both Lieut.-Colonel Byng and Brigadier-General Plumer. The commandos, however, under Lotter and Botha, which had been driven north from the Rhenosterberg (south-west of Middelburg) between 11th and 14th of August, were successful in breaking back through our columns and regaining the hills about Spitzkop, 30 miles south of Middelburg, whilst Commandant Smit's party, also dislodged from the Rhenosterberg, retired in a north-westerly direction across the railway to Platkuil, 12 miles west of Deelfontein.

After breaking back Lotter and Botha returned to the Cradock district, a party under Theron moved south by Aberdeen towards Willowmore, and Šmit from Deelfontein made his way into the country between Carnarvon and Fraserburg road.

General French was able to report at the conclusion of this drive to the north that 19 Boers had been killed, 43 wounded, and 17 captured.

On reaching the line of the Orange River he made the following dispositions with & view to watching for the possible return of those who had been driven out of Cape Colony, and taking up the pursuit of the different parties which had escaped once more to the south. Lieutenant-Colonel Wyndham was directed to follow Smit to the west; Colonel Crabbe, Lieut.-Colonel Hunter-Weston, and Captain Lund remained to the west of Colesberg to close Zand Drift and prevent the return of Lategan; Colonel Gorringe's column and the 17th Lancers were ordered to continue in observation of the Orange River between Norval's Pont and Bethulie; and Lieutenant-Colonels Doran, Scobell, and Kavanagh were sent south to regain touch with Lotter, Botha, and Theron. A few days later Colonel Crabbe's column was railed to Matjesfontein in consequence of a report that Smit had moved south-east from Fraserburg with the object, if possible, of joining Scheepers near Laingsburg. Colonel Crabbe arrived at Matjesfontein on 3rd September.

On 5th September Lieutenant-Colonel Scobell was able to achieve & brilliant success near Petersburg (40 miles west of Cradock), where he surrounded and captured the whole of Lotter's commando and a party of Boers under Breedt. Fourteen of the enemy were killed and 105 captured (46 of whom were wounded). The prisoners included Commandant Lotter and Field-Cornets J. Kruger, W. Kruger, and Schoeman, and amongst the dead were two notorious rebels named Voster. Two hundred horses, 29,000 rounds of ammunition, and all the vehicles and supplies of the enemy fell into our hands.

Colonel Scobell, who deserves the greatest credit in connection with this

affair, has brought to my notice the exceptional gallantry displayed during the engagement by Captain Lord Douglas Compton, Second Lieutenants Wynn and Neilson, all of the 9th Lancers, and Captain Purcell and Lieutenant Bowers, Cape Mounted Rifles. Our casualties were 10 men killed and 8 wounded, the latter including Lieutenant Burgess, Cape Mounted Rifles. It must also be mentioned that three days previously Lotter's commando had been checked by a party of Midland Mounted Rifles who killed 7 and wounded 6 of their number, and prevented the Boers from escaping by a pass which the patrol was then holding.

Other operations have been continued in different parts of Cape Colony. In the north-eastern area the Boers who re. mained after the departure of Fouché for the Orange River Colony have been acting under the command of Myburg in the triangle Ladygrey, Dordrecht, and Burghersdorp. These men have been constantly kept on the move by Colonel Monro, who had a successful engagement with Myburg on the 29th August at Wol. vekloofpoort, 20 miles north-east of Dordrecht, and drove a number of his commando over the Drakensberg into Transkei territory. Since this engage. ment Colonel Monro, with the aid of the local troops, has been blocking the defiles and holding the passes to prevent their return.

In the south the pursuit of Scheepers has been maintained by Brigadier General Beatson, whose services were placed at the disposal of General French for this purpose. Scheepers has moved rapidly about from place to place. On the 13th August he was at Wanhoop, 15 miles south of Willowmore. He then passed by Aventour (8 miles south of Uniondale), to a point near George, where on the 24th he turned west to Klip Drift, south-east of Oudtshoorn. From Klip Drift he moved south of Oudtshoorn and Ladysmith, being engaged by local troops, to Barrydale, which he reached on the 31st of August. He then marched to Montague, where he was anticipated by a detachment of the Berkshire Regiment, and he has since made several ineffectual attempts to cross the western line of railway near Matjesfontein, probably with the object of effecting a junction with Smit. Throughout these wanderings he has been closely pursued by our mounted troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander, who had 4 men killed, and 2 officers and 10 men wounded in some sharp skirmishes about the 20th August to the south of Uniondale.

In the south-western portion of Cape Colony, Lieutenant-Colonel Capper has controlled operations against a commando under Maritz, whose scattered followers aimlessly roam about the remote and thinly populated regions to the north of the Roggeveld Mountains.

Two attacks have been made on our troops in the Kimberley district. The first on the 12th August upon Griquatown was repulsed by the little garrison of 100 men, who drove back a hostile force which was said to be under De Villiers and Conroy. The second attempt at Rooikopje, on the 24th of the month, was an effort to capture a convoy which was making its way towards Griquatown. Upon this occasion the escort, which con. sisted of the 74th (Irish) Squadron Imperial Yeomanry, under Captain Humby, behaved with great gallantry and determination. Though outnumbered by 400 Boers, who surrounded the convoy and pressed to close quarters, our men held their ground and offered such a stubborn resistance that at nightfall the enemy abandoned the attack and with. drew. On the following day Captain Humby, who did not lose a single wagon, took his convoy safely into Griquatown, but his losses were extremely heavy. Nine men of the escort were killed, and 2 officers and 21 men were wounded.

17. During the month of August the losses inflicted on the enemy and captures made from him were as follows: 186 killed, 75 wounded, 1,384 prisoners, 529 voluntary surrenders, 930 rifles, 90,958 rounds of ammunition, 1,332 waggons and carts, 13,570 horses, 65,879 cattle. (The number of killed and wounded include only those that actually fell into our hands.) Taking into con. sideration the great reduction already effected in the numbers and resources of the enemy, it is very satisfactory to see that there is no falling off in the results which the columns have to show for their hard work. So long as this rate of progress can be maintained, there can be very little doubt as to its ultimate effect, even on an enemy to whom no other form of argument seems to appeal.

The further Despatch from Lord Kitchener is dated Pretoria, 8th October, 1901 :

Sir, in continuation of my despatch, dated 8th September, 1901, I have the honour to report that during the past month there has been a general recrudescence of activity on the part of the enemy, which has made itself felt more particularly in the extreme south-east portions of the Transvaal. The immediate cause of this was, undoubtedly, the necessity felt by the Boer leaders to tide over the 15th September, the date fixed by the Proclamation of 7th August as the limit of time within which by voluntarily surrendering, the leaders might avoid certain penalties threatened by that Proclamation. In this they have succeeded. There has been no general surrender, but the device to which the Commandant-General resorted for turning the thoughts of his burghers in

another direction has probably cost him and his cause more heavily than a simple pursuance of the usual evasive tactics would have entailed.

Operations on the Natal Frontier.I alluded in my last despatch to the indications of a concentration in the Ermelo district, and to rumours of designs on Natal, and to the preliminary steps taken to meet this contingency. On the 4th September, Lieutenant-General the Hon. N. G. Lyttelton assumed com. mand in Natal, in succession to Lieutenant-General Sir H. Hildyard, who proceeded home on leave of absence. General Hildyard arrived from England at the commencement of the war in command of the 2nd Brigade, and has since then continued, without interruption, to exercise command in various positions of great responsibility. Much as I regret the loss of his valuable services, I am glad that he should now be able to enjoy & well - earned rest. General Lyttelton having assumed command, at once found it necessary to turn his attention to the enemy in the Vryheid district. The commandoes which had assembled in the Ermelo district early in the month, gradually worked south by Piet Retief and Paul Pietersburg, whilst others joined them en route, but it was not until the 18th September that Major Gough's reconnaissance made the situation quite clear. For some days previous to this, mist and rain had concealed the enemy's movements from our patrols sent out from Utrecht and Vryheid, and the natives, fearing the penalty the Boers now so ruthlessly exact from them for any assistance given us, had kept to their kraals. On the 15th September Major Gough's Mounted Infantry moved out from Dundee, with Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart in command of the Johannes burg Mounted Rifles, to De Jager's Drift. Colonel Pulteney's troops were at Volksrust, and Lieutenant-Colonel Garratt with his column, having passed through Wakkerstroom, was moving on Utrecht. On the 17th September, LieutenantColonel Stewart and Major Gough decided to push on towards the Bloed River to gain touch with the enemy, reported to be in the vicinity of Scheeper's Nek. Major Gough marched about an hour in advance of Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, and as he neared the river sent back word asking Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart to remain for the present near Rooi Kop in readiness to support him should he hear his guns in action. Half-an-hour later Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart observed Major Gough's force galloping in the direction of Bloed River Poort, and he immediately pressed forward in support with his mounted men. While thus ad. ran Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart was met by a messenger, who informed him that Major Gough had met with a serious reverse in front, and feeling it imperative to afford protection to his own guns at Rooi Kop, as well as to Major Gough's baggage, which was following behind, he decided, after verifying the report, to fall back at once to De Jager's Drift, thus covering Dundee.

Major Gough had galloped into a well. arranged ambush. Believing that he was in presence of only 300 Boers he had pressed forward boldly to seize a ridge which appeared to command their posi. tion. The enemy, however, numbered fully 1,000, and, whilst checking Major Gough in front, they rapidly overwhelmed his right flank and assailed his guns from the rear. There was a short sharp fight at close quarters, in which our men displayed much gallantry, and then, completely outnumbered and surrounded, the whole of Major Gough's small force, 2 guns, 69th Batt. Royal Field Artillery; 3 Companies Mounted Infantry, was captured. It is due to Major Gough to state that he has commanded in the field for the past two years under every condition, and with unvarying success, and I should be sorry to mark a solitary error of judgment in any way that might militate against the future utility of this gallant officer.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart in falling back when he did showed great judgment and a sound appreciation of the situation in a position of considerable difficulty. Commandant - General Louis Botha, General C. Botha, and Commandants Opperman, Britz, and Henderson were all reported to have been present in the engagement, and it was quite evident that Dundee was momentarily menaced by a commando of considerable strength. The troops placed at General Lyttelton's disposal were now apidly concentrated on the threatened point. On the 18th of September Colonel Allenby's column reached Dundee, and by the 25th of the month General Lyttelton, who already held the line of the Buffalo in strength, had assembled two mobile forces at Dundee under command of MajorGenerals Clements and Bruce Hamilton respectively. A third force under MajorGeneral Walter Kitchener moved out to Utrecht. It consisted of the column underLieutenant-Colonel Garratt, which had followed the enemy into that district from Wakkerstroom, and the troops under Major-General W. Kitchener and Colonel Campbell, who had arrived at Volksrust on the 23rd September at the conclusion of their operations in the vicinity of Ermelo.

In the meantime the Boers, who had halted for some days at Bloed River Poort after their success against Major Gough, were reported to be moving into the salient angle of the Vryheid district which projects southwards into Zululand between Nqutu and Ndwande. Hostile patrols were seen to the east of Vant's and Rorke's Drifts, and it became appa

rent that our occupation of the line of the Buffalo had compelled the enemy to seek access to Natal by a wider detour to the south. This led him towards our fortified posts of Itala and Fort Prospect on the Zululand border, a few miles to the north-west of Melmoth, and to meet this General Lyttelton pushed out the force under Major-General Bruce Hamilton from Vant's and Rorke's Drifts in a south. easterly direction. The garrison of Itala consisted of 2 guns of the 69th Battery Royal Field Artillery, and 300 men of the 5th Division Mounted Infantry, all under the command of Captain (local Major) A. J. Chapman, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The attack on this post, which was conducted by Commandant-General Louis Botha and other leaders, at the head of some 1,500 men, was a most determined one. Commencing at 3 A.M. on the 26th September, it was pressed almost without intermission for 19 hours, when the enemy, repulsed on all - sides, withdrew under cover of dusk in an easterly and northeasterly direction. That on Fort Prospect was made by a detached Boer force about 500 strong. This post was held by 35 men of the 5th Division

Mounted Infantry and 51 men of the Durham Artillery Militia, all under the command of Captain C. A. Rowley, 2nd Batt. Dorsetshire Regiment, and the attack on it was easily repulsed. The successful defence of these two places reflects the greatest credit on Major Chapman and Captain Rowley, and on all ranks of the small garrisons under their respective commands.

On the 27th September, the Boer commandoes, being fully occupied in burying their dead and collecting and tending their wounded, showed no signs of aggression, and early on the 28th the columns under Major-General Bruce Hamilton, which had been directed on Itala, as soon as the southward movement of the enemy was confirmed, arrived at that place. They were at once interposed between the enemy, who had fallen back on their approach towards Babanango and Retief's Rust, and the Tugela, and communi. cation with Melmoth was opened up. General Lyttelton's plans for clearing the country of the Boers, and, if possible, intercepting them, had in the meantime been developed. On hearing that they had committed themselves to a southward movement towards Zululand, he arranged that while Major-General Bruce Hamilton headed them off in the direction of Itala and Melmoth, General Clements should take them in flank through Nqutu, and Major-General Walter Kitchener should move from Utrecht by the Schurveberg and Vryheid upon their rear and endeavour to block the possible avenue of escape to the north.

On the 29th September, General Kitchener reached Vryheid, and on the 30th General Clements was reported to be at Vant's Drift on the Buffalo River. On the 2nd October, General Kitchener arrived at Geluk (234), whence he pushed on a portion of his advanced troops to Toovernaar's Rust (518); Major-General Bruce Hamilton was then in touch with the enemy in the neighbourhood of Retief's Rust, and General Clements moving on from Vant's Drift in the direction of Nqutu. On the same day Major-General Kitchener was engaged with 300 of the enemy near Pondwana Mountain. On the 4th October General Bruce Hamilton advanced north by Entonjaneni, on Inhlazatye, in communication on his left with General Clements, whose columns were directed from Nqutu upon Kromellenbog (289). The enemy's main body on this date was reported to be close to Ntaban. kulu with General Kitchener still to the north of it in the vicinity of Uitzicht (176). As our columns pushed on the Boers continued their retreat north to Boschoek (156), Kromellenbog (303), and Leeuwnek (15), where they were held for a time by Major-General W. Kitchener, but on the night of the 5th October the Boers were successful in breaking through to the north. Abandoning their baggage and waggons they moved rapidly

round General Kitchener's left flank from Boschoek (156), to Smaldeel (575), retreating thence with all speed over the Pivaan River, past Paul Pietersburg, in the direction of Piet Retief and the Slangapies Berg. General Kitchener followed at once in close pursuit by Waterval (310), to Nooitgedacht (246), and Bellevue (600), where he engaged à rearguard, which in a strong position covered the flight of the main body. Our columns continue their movement to the north in support of General Kitchener, but the unfinished state of a line of blockhouses from Wakkerstroom to Piet Retief, which was commenced on the 1st October by the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards and 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, under Brigadier-General Bullock, renders it unlikely now that any large bodies of the enemy can be cut off before they escape into the Ermelo district.

It is disappointing that we are unable to gain the full advantage which this futile effort of the Boer leaders might have afforded us of striking them when concentrated, but the country in which these operations took place, at all times difficult, was rendered almost impassable by the heavy rains which continued, with one short interval of four or five days, throughout their progress; this finally forced the enemy to abandon his waggons in order to effect his escape.

Operations in the Eastern Transvaal. -Upon the departure of Lieut.-General Sir Bindon Blood for India, BrigadierGeneral Reeves assumed temporary command in the Eastern Transvaal, where the columns under Colonels Park and Benson have continued their operations north and south of the railway.

Colonel Benson, who had reached Wit

bank Station on 6th September, marched thence along the railway line to Middel. burg. He again left Middelburg on the 10th, in a south-easterly direction, having located a party of Boers at Pullen's Hope (213), and, after a long march, on an ex. tremely dark night, was successful in surprising and capturing 33 prisoners, with 73 horses, 515 cattle, 4 waggons, 4 carts, and a quantity of ammunition. Colonel Benson then joined his convoy and baggage, from Middelburg, at Eikeboom (218), and the following day marched to Blesbokspruit (219), from which point he passed through the valley of the Klein Olifant to Weltevreden (151). Here, on the 14th, he was informed that a band of the enemy had spent the previous night at Tweefontein (496). He accordingly started on a night march, taking with him two squadrons of the 2nd Scottish Horse, and the 19th Battalion Mounted Infantry, and, early on the 15th, took 10 Boers and 250 head of cattle, the remainder of the enemy making good their escape.

On the 16th September Colonel Benson moved on to Carolina, and the following day again left that place, having heard of a gathering of Boers at Busby (206), on the Umpilusi River, some distance to the south-east. After a 40-mile march he reached his objective, and, just as the early morning mist was lifting, charged down upon two laagers at Middeldrift (191) and Busby (206), in which he secured 54 prisoners, 48 vehicles, 1,700 head of cattle, and 242 horses. Amongst the pri. soners, most of whom belong to the Carolina commando, were P. M. Botha, late Landdrost of Pretoria, and Commandant Nieuwhoudt.

Colonel Benson then returned, by Lake Chrissie, to Carolina, and, on the 28th September, moved on westward into the Bethal district, capturing 12 prisoners on the following day in the vicinity of Mon. son's Store, to the west of the Klein Olifant. On the 1st October, when at Kranspoort (264) he received intelligence which pointed to the presence of 100 Boers at Weltevreden (179), on the Olifant's River. He started the same evening to try to overtake this band, but found, on arrival at his destination, that they had already trekked away on the previous afternoon. Their tracks were, however, carefully followed by Colonel Benson's men, who came up with the enemy at Driefontein (235), and captured 7 prisoners, 30 horses, 12 mules, and some cattle. The remainder of the Boers fled north, hotly pursued by our troops, who covered over 50 miles in 19 hours in the course of the chase.

The westward movement was then continued, Kaallaagte (326) being reached on the 4th September, since which date. Colonel Benson has operated near Bethal.

There is no doubt that the Boers in this part of the country have been so constantly alarmed and harassed by the

frequent night raids made by our troops that they have for the time become thoroughly demoralised. They seldom spend two nights in one place, shift camp daily, and saddle up regularly at 3 A.M. in readiness for flight. This is highly creditable to our men, but it naturally adds to the difficulty experienced in making any substantial captures.

Colonel Park, who had arrived near Bankfontein (234), north-east of Middelburg, on the 8th September, marched into the latter town on the 11th to refit his column. ...

The railway traffic to the east has been little interrupted during the last few weeks, but on 16th September an attack was made upon Belfast by a Boer commando, 100 strong, under Commandant Grobelaar, with the evident intention of obtaining supplies. The attack was easily repulsed, one man only of the garrison being wounded, but many Boer bullets fell in the refugee camp, where one woman was killed, and two children wounded.

A general advance has been made in the Eastern Transvaal of the Constabulary posts which ran from Eerste Fabriken, through Springs and Heidelberg, to the Vaal River. This line has now been gradually pushed forward during the month by Colonel Pilkington, South African Constabulary, to the line Wilge River StationGreylingstad, and the junction of Kalk Spruit with the Vaal, an alteration of position which has enabled us to enclose and clear a much larger area of country. The work of the Constabulary, as they moved the blockhouses to the new line, has been covered and secured by the simultaneous advance of the troops under Lieutenant-Colonels Hacket Thompson, Bewicke Copley, and Sir H. Rawlinson, who operated respectively from Bronkhorst Spruit, Springs, and Heidelberg.

As the majority of the Boers in this district had accompanied General Botha towards the Natal frontier, few of them were seen by the northern and central columns, but Sir Henry Rawlinson, to whom was assigned the task of clearing the front of the Constabulary between the Standerton line and the Vaal River, came in contact with several parties of the enemy

which he chased westwards towards Barnard's Kop, and southwards over the Vaal into Orange River Colony.

On the 3rd October, Sir H. Rawlinson marched into Greylingstad, whence he organised a night patrol to Barnard's Kop, which resulted in the capture of three armed burghers. On the evening of the 4th, he again left Greylingstad for Watervalshoek (204), where the laagers of Field-Cornets Hans Botha and Pretorius were reported to be. The former of these was successfully surprised at daybreak on the 5th near Kaffir Spruit (199), 7 prisoners, 20 horses, 12 waggons, 12 Cape carts, and 650 cattle being captured. The other laager had already moved east before the

advance of the Constabulary posts, and though Sir Henry Rawlinson followed it for some distance, he was unable to add to his captures.

Operations on the Pietersburg Line. -No events of importance have occurred in the Northern Transvaal during the past few weeks. Since the train-wrecking incident of the 31st of August, the Pietersburg line has been undisturbed, and General Beyers' wandering bands have kept to the hills to the west of the railway, avoiding as usual all contact with our troops.

Operations in the South-Western Transvaal.-At the date of my last despatch, the situation in the SouthWestern Transvaal was briefly as follows : General Fetherstonhaugh and Colonel Kekewich completing their search for the dismounted stragglers of Kemp's force, to the south-west of Olifant's Nek. Colonel Allenby from Rustenburg, and Brigadier-General Gilbert Hamilton on their march to Pretoria and Klerksdorp respectively, and Lord Methuen's troops approaching Zeerust from the Marico Valley.

On the 11th September, BrigadierGeneral Hamilton reported from Cyferkuil (47), as he approached Klerksdorp, that he had captured near Geduld (158) a Boerconvoy, with 25 prisoners, 140 horses, 7 waggons, and 520 cattle.

General Fetherstonhaugh continued to search the kloofs round Leeuwfontein (339) for some days, and then on the 12th of September moved by Tafel Kop, on Ventersdorp, to replenish his supplies. At Tafel Kop he learnt that Kemp, who had escaped from our cordon in a northeasterly direction, was already working his way back to the south again, as our troops withdrew.

Colonel Kekewich, after assisting General Fetherstonhaugh in his operations to the south-west of Olifant's Nek, returned to Naauwpoort (214) with the prisoners taken. He again left Naauwpoort on the 13th September, and passing through Olifant's Nek turned east to operate on the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg. On the 15th he reached Oorzaak (568), from which place he operated in conjunction with Colonel Mackenzie (1st Battalion Suffolk Regi. ment), who was then employed in constructing blockhouses to the south of the range between Naauwpoort (214) and Olifant's Nek. A careful search of the slopes and summits of the hills resulted in the capture of Field-Cornet Klopper and 36 other prisoners of war. Colonel Kekewich then moved to Roodekoppies (171), whence he returned to Magato's Nek to co-operate once more with General Fetherstonbaugh against Kemp's commando, now reported to be reassembling in that neighbourhood. On the 24th Colonel Kekewich was at Rietfontein (299). Here he organised a night expedi

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