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    Chapter 35

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    Chapter 36
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    THE GUERILLA OPERATIONS IN CAPE COLONY

    In the account which has been given in a preceding chapter of the
    invasion of Cape Colony by the Boer forces, it was shown that the
    Western bands were almost entirely expelled, or at least that they
    withdrew, at the time when De Wet was driven across the Orange
    River. This was at the beginning of March 1901. It was also mentioned
    that though the Boers evacuated the barren and unprofitable desert of
    the Karoo, the Eastern bands which had come with Kritzinger did not
    follow the same course, but continued to infest the mountainous
    districts of the Central Colony, whence they struck again and again at
    the railway ljiies, the small towns, British patrols, or any other
    quarry which was within their reach and strength. From the
    surrounding country they gathered a fair number of recruits, and they
    were able through the sympathy and help of the Dutch farmers to keep
    themselves well mounted and supplied. In small wandering bands they
    spread themselves over a vast extent of country, and there were few
    isolated farmhouses from the Orange River to the Oudtshoorn Mountains,
    and from the Cape Town railroad in the west to the Fish River in the
    east, which were not visited by their active and enterprising scouts.
    The object of the whole movement was, no doubt, to stimulate a general
    revolt in the Colony; and it must be acknowledged that if the powder
    did not all explode it was not for want of the match being thoroughly
    applied.

    It might at first sight seem the simplest of military operations to
    hunt down these scattered and insignificant bands; but as a matter of
    fact nothing could be more difficult. Operating in a country which
    was both vast and difficult, with excellent horses, the best of
    information and supplies ready for them everywhere, it was impossible
    for the slow-moving British columns with their guns and their wagons
    to overtake them. Formidable even in flight, the Boers were always
    ready to turn upon any force which exposed itself too rashly to
    retaliation, and so amid the mountain passes the British chiefs had to
    use an amount of caution which was incompatible with extreme speed.
    Only when a commando was exactly localised so that two or three
    converging British forces could be brought to bear upon it, was there
    a reasonable chance of forcing a fight. Still, with all these heavy
    odds against them, the various little columns continued month after
    month to play hide-and-seek with the commandos, and the game was by no
    means always on the one side. The varied fortunes of this scrambling
    campaign can only be briefly indicated in these pages.

    It has already been shown that Kritzinger's original force broke into
    many bands, which were recruited partly from the Cape rebels and
    partly from fresh bodies which passed over from the Orange River
    Colony. The more severe the pressure in the north, the greater reason
    was there for a trek to this land of plenty. The total number of
    Boers who were wandering over the eastern and midland districts may
    have been about two thousand, who were divided into bands which varied
    from .fifty to three hundred. The chief leaders of separate commandos
    were Kritzinger, Scheepers, Malan, Myburgh, Fouché, Lotter, Smuts, Van
    Reenen, Lategan, Maritz, and Conroy, the two latter operating on the
    western side of the country. To hunt down these numerous and active
    bodies the British were compelled to put many similar detachments into
    the field, known as the columns of Gorringe, Crabbe, Henniker,
    Scobell, Doran, Kavanagh, Alexander, and others. These two sets of
    miniature armies performed an intricate devil's dance over the Colony,
    the main lines of which are indicated by the red lines upon the map.
    The Zuurberg mountains to the north of Steynsburg, the Sneeuwberg
    range to the south of Middelburg, the Oudtshoorn Mountains in the
    south, the Cradock district, the Murraysburg district, and the
    Graaf-Reinet district-these were the chief centres of Boer activity.

    In April Kritzinger made his way north to the Orange River Colony, for
    the purpose of consulting with De Wet, but he returned with a
    following of 200 men about the end of May. Continual brushes
    occurred during this month between the various columns, and much hard
    marching was done upon either side, but there was nothing which could
    be claimed as a positive success.

    Early in May two passengers sailed for Europe, the journey of each
    being in its way historical. The first was the weary and overworked
    Pro-Consul who had the foresight to distinguish the danger and the
    courage to meet it. Milner's worn face and prematurely grizzled hair
    told of the crushing weight which had rested upon him during three
    eventful years. A gentle scholar, he might have seemed more fitted for
    a life of academic calm than for the stormy part which the discernment
    of Mr. Chamberlain had assigned to him. The fine flower of an English
    university, low-voiced and urbane, it was difficult to imagine what
    impression he would produce upon those rugged types of which
    South. Africa is so peculiarly prolific. But behind the reserve of a
    gentleman there lay within him a lofty sense of duty, a singular
    clearness of vision, and a moral courage which would brace him to
    follow whither his reason pointed. His visit to England for three
    months' rest was the occasion for a striking manifestation of loyalty
    and regard from his fellow-countrymen. He returned in August as Lord
    Milner to the scene of his labours, with the construction of a united
    and loyal commonwealth of South Africa as the task of his life.

    The second traveller who sailed within a few days of the Governor was
    Mrs. Botha, the wife of the Boer General, who visited Europe for
    private as well as political reasons. She bore to Kruger an exact
    account of the state of the country and of the desperate condition of
    the burghers. Her mission had no immediate or visible effect, and the
    weary war, exhausting for the British but fatal for the Boers, went
    steadily on.

    To continue the survey of the operations in the Cape, the first point
    scored was by the invaders, for Malan's commando succeeded upon May
    13th in overwhelming a strong patrol of the Midland Mounted Rifles,
    the local colonial corps, to the south of Maraisburg. Six killed,
    eleven wounded, and forty~one prisoners were the fruits of his little
    victory, which furnished him also with a fresh supply of rifles and
    ammunition. On May 21st Crabbe's column was in touch with Lotter and
    with Lategan, but no very positive result came from the skirmish.

    The end of May showed considerable Boer activity in the Cape Colony,
    that date corresponding with the return of Kritzinger from the
    north. Haig had for the moment driven Scheepers back from the extreme
    southerly point which he had reached, and he was now in the
    Graaf-Reinet district; but on the other side of the colony Conroy had
    appeared near Kenhart, and upon May 23rd he fought a sharp skirmish
    with a party of Border Scouts. The main Boer force under Kritzinger
    was in the midlands, however, and had concentrated to such an extent
    in the Cradock district that it was clear that some larger enterprise
    was on foot. This soon took shape, for on June 2nd, after a long and
    rapid march, the Boer leader threw himself upon Jamestown, overwhelmed
    the sixty townsmen who formed the guard, and looted the town, from
    which he drew some welcome supplies and 100 horses. British columns
    were full cry upon his heels, however, and the Boers after a few hours
    left the gutted town and vanished into the hills once more. On June
    6th the British had a little luck at last, for on that date Scobell
    and Lukin in the Barkly East district surprised a laager and took
    twenty prisoners, 166 horses, and much of the Jamestown loot. On the
    same day Windham treated Van Reenen in a similar rough fashion near
    Steynsburg, and took twenty-two prisoners.

    On June 8th the supreme command of the operations in Cape Colony was
    undertaken by General French, who from this time forward manoeuvred
    his numerous columns upon a connected plan with the main idea of
    pushing the enemy northwards. It was some time, however, before his
    disposition bore fruit, for the commandos were still better mounted
    and lighter than their pursuers. On Tune 13th the youthful and
    dashing Scheepers, who commanded his own little force at an age when
    he would have been a junior lieutenant of the British army, raided
    Murraysburg and captured a patrol. On Tune 17th Monro with Lovat's
    Scouts and Bethune's Mounted Infantry had some slight success near
    Tarkastad, but three days later the ill-fated Midland Mounted Rifles
    were surprised in the early morning by Kritzinger at Waterkloof, which
    is thirty miles west of Cradock, and were badly mauled by him. They
    lost ten killed, eleven wounded, and sixty-six prisoners in this
    unfort unate affair. Again the myth that colonial alertness is
    greater than that of regular troops seems to have been exposed.

    At the end of Tune, Fouché, one of the most enterprising of the
    guerilla chiefs, made a dash from Barkly East into the native reserves
    of the Transkei in order to obtain horses and supplies. It was a
    desperate measure, as it was vain to suppose that the warlike Kaffirs
    would permit their property to be looted without resistance, and if
    once the assegais were reddened no man could say how far the mischief
    might go. With great loyalty the British Government, even in the
    darkest days, had held back those martial races -- Zulus, Swazis, and
    Basutos -- who all had old grudges against the Amaboon. Fouché's raid
    was stopped, however, before it led to serious trouble. A handful of
    Griqualand Mounted Rifles held it in front, while Dalgety and his
    colonial veterans moving very swiftly drove him back northwards.

    Though baulked, Fouché was still formidable, and on July 14th he made
    a strong attack in the neighbourhood of Jamestown upon a column of
    Connaught Rangers who were escorting a convoy. Major Moore offered a
    determined resistance, and eventually after some hours of fighting
    drove the enemy away and captured their laager. Seven killed and
    seventeen wounded were the British losses in this spirited engagement.

    On July 10th General French, surveying from a lofty mountain peak the
    vast expanse of the field of operations, with his heliograph calling
    up responsive twinkles over one hundred miles of country, gave the
    order for the convergence of four columns upon the valley in which he
    knew Scheepers to be lurking. We have it from one of his own letters
    that his commando at the time consisted of 240 men, of whom forty were
    Free Staters and the rest colonial rebels. Crewe, Windham, Doran, and
    Scobell each answered to the call, but the young leader was a man of
    resource, and a long kloof up the precipitous side of the hill gave
    him a road to safety. Yet the operations showed a new mobility in the
    British columns, which shed their guns and their baggage in order to
    travel faster. The main commando escaped, but twenty-five laggards
    were taken. The action took place among the hills thirty miles to the
    west of Graaf-Reinet.

    On July 21st Crabbe and Kritzinger had a skirmish in the mountains
    near Cradock, in which the Boers were strong enough to hold their own;
    but on the same date near Murraysburg, Lukin, the gallant colonial
    gunner, with ninety men rode into 150 of Lategan's band and captured
    ten of them, with a hundred horses. On July 27th a small party of
    twenty-one Imperial Yeomanry was captured, after a gallant resistance,
    by a large force of Boers at the Doorn River on the other side of the
    Colony. The Kaffir scouts of the British were shot dead in cold blood
    by their captors after the action. There seems to be no possible
    excuse for the repeated murders of coloured men by the Boers, as they
    had themselves from the beginning of the war used their Kaffirs for
    every purpose short of actually fighting. The war had lost much of
    the good humour which marked its outset. A fiercer feeling had been
    engendered on both sides by the long strain, but the execution of
    rebels by the British, though much to be deplored, is still recognised
    as one of the rights of a belligerent. When one remembers the
    condonation upon the part of the British of the use of their own
    uniforms by the Boers, of the wholesale breaking of paroles, of the
    continual use of expansive bullets, of the abuse of the pass system
    and of the red cross, it is impossible to blame them for showing some
    severity in the stamping out of armed rebellion within their own
    Colony. If stern measures were eventually adopted it was only after
    extreme leniency had been tried and failed. The loss of five years'
    franchise as a penalty for firing upon their own flag is surely the
    most gentle correction which an Empire ever laid upon a rebellious
    people.

    At the beginning of August the connected systematic work of French's
    columns began to tell. In a huge semicircle the British were pushing
    north, driving the guerillas in front of them. Scheepers in his usual
    wayward fashion had broken away to the south, but the others had been
    unable to penetrate the cordon and were herded over the
    Stormberg-Naauwport line. The main body of the Boers was hustled
    swiftly along from August 7th to August 10th, from Graaf-Reinet to
    Thebus, and thrust over the railway line at that point with some loss
    of men and a great shedding of horses. It was hoped that the
    blockhouses on the railroad would have held the enemy, but they
    slipped across by night and got into the Steynsburg district, where
    Gorringe's colonials took up the running. On August 18th he followed
    the commandos from Steynsburg to Venterstad, killing twenty of them
    and taking several prisoners. On the 15th, Kritzinger with the main
    body of the invaders passed the Orange River near Bethulie, and made
    his way to the Wepener district of the Orange River Colony.
    Scheepers, Lotter, Lategan, and a few small wandering bands were the
    only Boers left in the Colony, and to these the British columns now
    turned their attention, with the result that Lategan, towards the end
    of the month, was also driven over the river. For the time, at least,
    the situation seemed to have very much improved, but there was a drift
    of Boers over the north-western frontier, and the long-continued
    warfare at their own doors was undoubtedly having a dangerous effect
    upon the Dutch farmers. Small successes from time to time, such as
    the taking of sixty of French's Scouts by Theron's commando on August
    10th, served to keep them from despair. Of the guerilla bands which
    remained, the most important was that of Scheepers, which now numbered
    300 men, well mounted and supplied. He had broken back through the
    cordon, and made for his old haunts in the south-west. Theron, with a
    smaller band, was also in the Uniondale and Willowmore district,
    approaching close to the sea in the Mossel Bay direction, but being
    headed off by Kavanagh. Scheepers turned in the direction of Cape
    Town, but swerved aside at Montagu, and moved northwards towards Touws
    River.

    So far the British had succeeded in driving and injuring, but never in
    destroying, the Boer bands. It was a new departure therefore when,
    upon September 4th, the commando of Lotter was entirely destroyed by
    the column of Scobell. This column consisted of some of the Cape
    Mounted Rifles and of the indefatigable 9th Lancers. It marked the
    enemy down in a valley to the west of Cradock and attacked them in the
    morning, after having secured all the approaches, The result was a
    complete success. The Boers threw themselves into a building and held
    out valiantly, but their position was impossible, aud after enduring
    considerable punishment they were forced to hoist the white
    flag. Eleven had been killed, forty-six wounded, and fifty-six
    surrendered -- figures which are in themselves a proof of the tenacity
    of their defence. Lotter was among the prisoners, 260 horses were
    taken, and a good supply of ammunition, with some dynamite. A few
    days later, on September 10th, a similar blow, less final in its
    character, was dealt by Colonel Crabbe to the commando of Van der
    Merve, which was an offshoot of that of Scheepers. The action was
    fought near Laingsburg, which is on the main line, just north of
    Matjesfontein, and it ended in the scattering of the Boer band, the
    death of their boy leader (he was only eighteen years of age), and the
    capture of thirty-seven prisoners. Seventy of the Beers escaped by a
    hidden road. To Colonials and Yeomanry belongs the honour of the
    action, which cost the British force seven casualties. Colonel Crabbe
    pushed on after the success, and on September 14th he was in touch
    with Scheepers's commando near Ladismith (not to he confused with the
    historical town of Natal), and endured and inflicted some losses. On
    the 17th a patrol of Grenadier Guards was captured in the north of the
    Colony, Rebow, the young lieutenant in charge of them, meeting with a
    soldier's death.

    On the same day a more serious engagement occurred near Tarkastad, a
    place ~hich lies to the east of Cradock, a notorious centre of
    disaffection in the midland &~stnct. Smuts's commando, some hundreds
    strong, was marked down in this part, and several forces converged
    upon it. One of the outlets, Elands River Poort, was guarded by a
    single squadron of the 17th Lancers. Upon this the Boers made a
    sudden and very fierce attack, their approach being facilitated partly
    by the mist and partly by the use of khaki, a trick which seems never
    to have grown too stale for successful use. The result was that they
    were able to ride up to the British camp before any preparations had
    been made for resistance, and to shoot down a number of the Lancers
    before they could reach their horses. So terrible was the fire that
    the single squadron lost thirty-four killed and thirty-six wounded.
    But the regiment may console itself for the disaster by the fact that
    the sorely stricken detachment remained true to the spirited motto of
    the corps, and that no prisoners appear to have been lost.

    After this one sharp engagement there ensued several weeks during
    which the absence of historical events, or the presence of the
    military censor, caused a singular lull in the account of the
    operations. With so many small commandos and so many pursuing columns
    it is extraordinary that there should not have been a constant
    succession of actions. That there was not must indicate a
    sluggishness upon the part of the pursuers, and this sluggishness can
    only be explained by the condition of their horses. Every train of
    thought brings the critic back always to the great horse question, and
    encourages the conclusion that there, at all seasons of the war and in
    all scenes of it, is to be found the most damning indictment against
    British foresight, common-sense, and power of organisation. That the
    third year of the war should dawn without the British forces having
    yet got the legs of the Boers, after having penetrated every portion
    of their country and having the horses of the world on which to draw,
    is the most amazingly inexplicable point in the whole of this strange
    campaign. From the telegram 'Infantry preferred' addressed to a nation
    of rough-riders, down to the failure to secure the excellent horses on
    the spot, while importing them unfit for use from the ends of the
    earth, there has been nothing but one long series of blunders in this,
    the most vital question of all. Even up to the end, in the Colony the
    obvious lesson had not yet been learnt that it is better to give 1,000
    men two horses each, and EO let them reach the enemy, than give 2,000
    men one horse each, with which they can never attain their object. The
    chase during two years of the man with two horses by the man with one
    horse, has been a sight painful to ourselves and ludicrous to others.

    In connection with this account of operations within the Colony, there
    is one episode which occurred in the extreme north-west which will not
    fit in with this connected narrative, but which will justify the
    distraction of the reader's intelligence, for few finer deeds of arms
    are recorded in the war. This was the heroic defence of a convoy by
    the 14th Company of Irish Imperial Yeomanry. The convoy was taking
    food to Griquatown, on the Kimberley side of the seat of war. The town
    had been long invested by Conroy, and the inhabitants were in such
    straits that it was highly necessary to relieve them. To this end a
    convoy, two miles long, was despatched under Major Humby of the Irish
    Yeomanry. The escort consisted of seventy-five Northumberland
    Fusiliers, twenty-four local troops, and 100 of the 74th Irish
    Yeomanry. Fifteen miles from Griquatown, at a place called Rooikopjes,
    the convoy was attacked by the enemy several hundred in number. Two
    companies of the Irishmen seized the ridge, however, which commanded
    the wagons, and held it until they were almost exterminated. The
    position was covered with bush, and the two parties came to the
    closest of quarters, the Yeomen refusing to take a backward step,
    though it was clear that they were vastly outnumbered. Encouraged by
    the example of Madan and Ford, their gallant young leaders, they
    deliberately sacrificed their lives in order to give time for the guns
    to come up and for the convoy to pass. Oliffe, Bonynge, and Maclean,
    who had been children together, were shot side by side on the ridge,
    and afterwards buried in one grave. Of forty-three men in action,
    fourteen were killed and twenty severely wounded. Their sacrifice was
    not in vain, however. The Boers were beaten back, and the convoy, as
    well as Griquatown, was saved. Some thirty or forty Boers were killed
    or wounded in the skirmish, and Conroy, their leader, declared that it
    was the stiffest fight of his life.

    In the autumn and winter of 1901 General French had steadily pursued
    the system of clearing certain districts, one at a time, and
    endeavouring by his blockhouses and by the arrangement of his forces
    to hold in strict quarantine those sections of the country which were
    still infested by the commandos. In this manner he succeeded by the
    November of this year in confining the active forces of the enemy to
    the extreme northeast and to the south-west of the peninsula. It is
    doubtful if the whole Boer force, three-quarters of whom were colonial
    rebels, amounted to more than fifteen hundred men. When we learn that
    at this period of the war they were indifferently armed, and that many
    of them were mounted upon donkeys, it is impossible, after making
    every allowance for the passive assistance of the farmers, and the
    difficulties of the country, to believe that the pursuit was always
    pushed with the spirit and vigour which was needful.

    In the north-east, Myburgh, Wessels, and the truculent Fouché were
    allowed almost a free hand for some months, while the roving bands
    were rounded up in the' midlands and driven along until they were west
    of the main railroad. Here, in the Calvinia district, several
    commandos united in October 1901 under Maritz, Louw, Smit, and Theron.
    Their united bands rode down into the rich grain-growing country round
    Piquetberg and Malmesbury, pushing south until it seemed as if their
    academic supporters at Paarl were actually to have a sight of the
    rebellion which they had fanned to a flame. At one period their
    patrols were within forty miles of Cape Town. The movement was
    checked, however, by a small force of Lancers and district troops, and
    towards the end of October, Maritz, who was chief in this quarter,
    turned northwards, and on the 29th captured a small British convoy
    which crossed his line of march. Early in November he doubled back and
    attacked Piquetberg, but was beaten off with some loss. From that
    time a steady pressure from the south and east drove these bands
    farther and farther into the great barren lands of the west, until, in
    the following April, they had got as far as Namaqualand, many hundred
    miles away.

    Upon October 9th, the second anniversary of the Ultimatum, the hands
    of the military were strengthened by the proclamation of Cape Town and
    all the seaport towns as being in a state of martial law. By this
    means a possible source of supplies and recruits for the enemy was
    effectually blocked. That it had not been done two years before is a
    proof of how far local political considerations can be allowed to
    over-ride the essentials of Imperial policy. Meanwhile treason courts
    were sitting, and sentences, increasing rapidly from the most trivial
    to the most tragic, were teaching the rebel that his danger did not
    end upon the field of battle. The execution of Lotter and his
    lieutenants was a sign that the patience of a long-suffering Empire
    had at last reached an end.

    The young Boer leader, Scheepers, had long been a thorn in the side of
    the British. He had infested the southern districts for some months,
    and he had distinguished himself both by the activity of his movements
    and by the ruthless vigour of some of his actions. Early in October a
    serious illness and consequent confinement to his bed brought him at
    last within the range of British mobility. On his recovery he was
    tried for repeated breaches of the laws of war, including the murder
    of several natives. He was condemned to death, and was executed in
    December. Much sympathy was excited by his gallantry and his youth --
    he was only twenty-three. On the other hand, our word was pledged to
    protect the natives, and if he whose hand had been so heavy upon them
    escaped, all confidence would have been lost in our promises and our
    justice. That British vengeance was not indiscriminate was shown soon
    afterwards in the case of a more irnportant commander, Kritzinger, who
    was the chief leader of the Boers within Cape Colony. Kritzinger was
    wounded and captured while endeavouring to cross the line near Hanover
    Road upon December 15th. He was put upon his trial, and his fate
    turned upon how far he was responsible for the misdeeds of some of his
    subordinates. It was clearly shown that he had endeavoured to hold
    them within the bounds of civilised warfare, and with congratulations
    and handshakings he was acquitted by the military court.

    In the last two months of the year 1901, a new system was introduced
    into the Cape Colony campaign by placing the Colonial and district
    troops immediately under the command of Colonial officers and of the
    Colonial Government. It had long been felt that some devolution was
    necessary, and the change was justified by the result. Without any
    dramatic incident, an inexorable process of attrition, caused by
    continual pursuit and hardship, wore out the commandos. Large bands
    had become small ones, and small ones had vanished. Only by the union
    of several bodies could any enterprise higher than the looting of a
    farmhouse be successfully attempted.

    Such a union occurred, however, in the early days of February 1902,
    when Smuts, Malan, and several other Boer leaders showed great
    activity in the country round Calvinia. Their commandos seem to have
    included a proportion of veteran Republicans from the north, who were
    more formidable fighting material than the raw Colonial rebels. It
    happened that several dangerously weak British columns were operating
    within reach at that time, and it was only owing to the really
    admirable conduct of the troops that a serious disaster was averted.
    Two separate actions, each of them severe, were fought on the same
    date, and in each case the Boers were able to bring very superior
    numbers into the field.

    The first of these was the fight in which Colonel Doran's column
    extricated itself with severe loss from a most perilous plight. The
    whole force under Doran consisted of 350 men with two guns, and this
    handful was divided by an expedition which he, with 150 men, undertook
    in order to search a distant farm. The remaining two hundred men,
    under Captain Saunders, were left upon February 5th with the guns and
    the convoy at a place called Middlepost, which lies about fifty miles
    south-west of Calvinia. These men were of the 11th, 23rd, and 24th
    Imperial Yeomanry, with a troop of Cape Police. The Boer Intelligence
    was excellent, as might be expected in a country which is dotted with
    farms. The weakened force at Middlepost was instantly attacked by
    Smuts's commando. Saunders evacuated the camp and abandoned the
    convoy, which was the only thing he could do, but he concentrated all
    his efforts upon preserving his guns. The night was illuminated by
    the blazing wagons, and made hideous by the whoops of the drunken
    rebels who caroused among the captured stores. With the first light
    of dawn the small British force was fiercely assailed on all sides,
    but held its own in a manner which would have done credit to any
    troops. The much criticised Yeomen fought like veterans. A
    considerable position had to be covered, and only a handful of men
    were available at the most important points. One ridge, from which
    the guns would be enfiladed, was committed to the charge of
    Lieutenants Tabor and Chichester with eleven men of the 11th Imperial
    Yeomanry, their instructions being 'to hold it to the death.' The
    order was obeyed with the utmost heroism. After a desperate defence
    the ridge was only taken by the Boers when both officers had been
    killed and nine out of eleven men were on the ground. In spite of the
    loss of this position the fight was still sustained until shortly
    after midday, when Doran with the patrol returned. The position was
    still most dangerous, the losses had been severe, and the Boers were
    increasing in strength. An immediate retreat was ordered, and the
    small column, af~er ten days of hardship and anxiety, reached the
    railway line in safety. The wounded were left to the care of Smuts,
    who behaved with chivalry and humanity.

    At about the same date a convoy proceeding from Beaufort West to
    Fraserburg was attacked by Malan's commando. The escort, which
    consisted of sixty Colonial Mounted Rifles and 100 of the West
    Yorkshire militia, was overwhelmed after a good defence, in which
    Major Crofton, their commander, was killed. The wagons were destroyed,
    but the Boers were driven off by the arrival of Crabbe's column,
    followed by those of Capper and Lund. The total losses of the British
    in these two actions amounted to twenty-three killed and sixty-five
    wounded.

    The re-establishment of settled law and order was becoming more marked
    every week in those southwestern districts, which had long been most
    disturbed. Colonel Crewe in this region, and Colonel Lukin upon the
    other side of the line, acting entirely with Colonial troops, were
    pushing back the rebels, and holding, by a well-devised system of
    district defence, all that they had gained. By the end of February
    there were none of the enemy south of the Beaufort West and
    Clanwilliam line. These results were not obtained without much hard
    marching and a little hard fighting. Small columns under Crabbe,
    Capper, Wyndham, Nickall, and Lund, were continually on the move, with
    little to show for it save an ever-widening area of settled country in
    their rear. In a skirmish on February 20th ludge Hugo, a well-known
    Boer leader, was killed, and Vanheerden, a notorious rebel, was
    captured. At the end of this month Fouché's tranquil occupation of the
    north-east was at last disturbed, and he was driven out of it into the
    midlands, where he took refuge with the remains of his commando in the
    Camdeboo Mountains. Malan's men had already sought shelter in the same
    natural fortresB. Malan was wounded and taken in a skirmish near
    Somerset East a few days before the general Boer surrender. Fouché
    gave himself up at Cradock on June 2nd.

    The last incident of this scattered, scrambling, unsatisfactory
    campaign in the Cape peninsula was the raid made by Smuts, the
    Transvaal leader, into the Port Nolloth district of Namaqualand, best
    known for its copper mines. A small railroad has been constructed from
    the coast at this point, the terminus being the township of Ookiep.
    The length of the line is about seventy miles. It is difficult to
    imagine what the Boers expected to gain in this remote corner of the
    seat of war, unless they had conceived the idea that they might
    actually obtain possession of Port Nolloth itself, and so restore the
    communications with their sympathisers and allies. At the end of
    March the Boer horsemen appeared suddenly out of the desert, drove in
    the British outposts, and summoned Ookiep to surrender. Colonel
    Shelton, who commanded the small garrison, sent an uncompromising
    reply, but he was unable to protect the railway in his rear, which was
    wrecked, together with some of the blockhouses which had been erected
    to guard it. The loyal population of the surrounding country had
    flocked into Ookiep, and the Commandant found himself burdened with
    the care of six thousand people. The enemy had succeeded in taking
    the small post of Springbok, and Concordia, the mining centre, was
    surrendered into their hands without resistance, giving them welcome
    suplies of arms, ammunition, and dynamite. The latter was used by the
    Boers in the shape of hand-bombs, and proved to be a very efficient
    weapon when employed against blockhouses. Several of the British
    defences were wrecked by them, with considerable loss to the garrison;
    but in the course of a month's siege, in spite of several attacks, the
    Boers were never able to carry the frail works which guarded the town.
    Once more, at the end of the war as at the beginning of it, there was
    shown the impotence of the Dutch riflemen against a British defence.
    A relief column, under Colonel Cooper, was quickly organised at Port
    Nolloth, and advanced along the railway line, forcing Smuts to raise
    the siege in the first week of May. Immediately afterwards came the
    news of the negotiations for peace, and the Boer general presented
    himself at Port Nolloth, whence he was conveyed by ship to Cape Town,
    and so north again to take part in the deliberations of his
    fellow-countrymen. Throughout the war he had played a manly and
    honourable part. It may be hoped that with youth and remarkable
    experience, both of diplomacy and of war, he may now find a long and
    briliant career awaiting him in a wider arena than that for which he
    strove.
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