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COLONEL HOWARD IN NORTHERN…

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COLONEL HOWARD IN NORTHERN « TRANSVAAL. THE YEOMANRY iN ACTION. 1 THE DENBIGHSHIRE YEOMANRY AT WINBERC. In the course of a letter fom Warm Baths, 60 miles north of Pretoria, Colonel Henry Howard, of Wigfair, St Asaph, who wrote on September 1st, says We arived in Pretoria on the 15th, and marched past Lord Roberts, who expressed his approval of the stioag squadron (49th), &nd thence we proceeded to camp outside the city On the 17th we went through Wonderboon Nek. through which the railway runs, and then turned right handed, and scoured the pKin between the two ranges of Magaliesburg hills, which run east and west, to the north of Pretoria. The infantry cleared the top of the range-a nice walk they had —and I went on with the advanced troops till we got to a big kopje where I saw a number of Boers coining straight for it-abolit, 300 to 400. I sent back at once for Bobby Wynne's squadron, a pom-pom and two Colts, and I raced the Boers for the kopje, getting there first. We had a warm forty minutes with them, beating them off. My orders were not to pursue, but to return to camp at Derdepoort Nek. On the ISth we were ordered to seize Onderstepoort Nek with the Cavalry. I got there at 9-30 Infantry arrived at 11-30, and at 1-30 the Boers attacked us, and shelled us with their 401br and a lolbr till 4-30. Some of the 401br shells fell about 100 yards from me, and a tine mess they made when they exploded. The Boers were on a kopje next to ours, and they and the Infantry and some of our chaps were at it until dark. I lost some of our men who were observa- tion patrol to our front; one \ery nice Mont- gomeryshire man. Morris, was shot through the abdomen. He walked in, but died next day from peritonitis. Bobby buried him at Hamans Kraal next day. We also lost several men taken prisoners; they ventured too far into the village, which was full of Boers. These prisoners have all returned very hungry, for the Boers have nothing to eat but mealie bread. On the 19th we marched to Waterval-no fight- ing. This is the place where the British prisoners were interred. On the 20th we marched to Hamans Kraal. The country here is all bush veldt-liorrible country for cavalry to work in, being thick bush full of accacia thorns. The Boers began to hold us early with snipers, but we drove them back, though grandly their fire increased till I had to bring the pom-pom and Colts into action to assist our fighting line. It was here that Flower of the IVarwickg was killed, and Kirkby dangerously wounded-shot through the liver and spine. The doctors told me when I went to see him and wish him good-bye before marching on, that he could not possibly live, and if he did would be paralysed. I have, however, had a wire from Pretoria to siy he is progressing favourably, and the doctors do not think he will be paralysed. That is very satisfactory. If you remember, Colonel Long, R.A., was shot through the liver in November, and I saw him at Cape- town as well and as cheery as he could be. He told me he felt no ill effects from his wounds. I never saw a better plucked chap than Kirkby. All he remarked to me was that it would come to all of us sooner or later, and would I write to Willie Wynne—which I have done. We camped that night about three miles N.E. of Hamans Kraal. The Boers had prepared an ambush for us on the direct road, where the bush is very thick. Baden Powell cam up with 1,200 mounted men under Plurziri,er-i-ery fine looking chaps. They passed us and got into an ambush, losirg 17 men killed and wounded, including one Major Speckley, a great Rhodesian miner. We remained behind with Paget, as his cavalry. On the 21st we marched about to ten miles short of Pienaars River, camped that niihi, left on the morning of the 22ml, caught B.—P. up at Pienaars R iver, and marched on with him to Warm Baths, 32 miles, came up with the Boers about o p.m. and shelled them. But we could do no good, as the daylight was short. We had marched 32 miles, a very tine pertormance, as the last 17 of it was without water. ()') the 23rd we moved into the Nek through which the rail runs and were engaged directly, but at 6 p m. we were ordered to retire. We turned right handed and marched till 10 p.m., camped and started off again at 4 a.m., marching till midday on the 24th, when we camped on the line at Kraus Kop, about eight miles north of Nylstroom. This was a fine flank inarch of 22 miles. We rested on the 2oth, and next day took possession of Nylstroom, a village of about 400 inhabitants. On the 27th were ordered to return here (Warm Baths) much to our disgust, though perhaps we were rather in the oir," as the Boers hold a strong position in the hills between here and Nylstroom on the railway. However, we out- flanked them, a very fine performance of B.-P's. This is the Buxton of the Transvaal. There are 200 sulphur baths, temperature 160 degrees, straight from the earth. What between the sun above, sand under foot, and hot water below that, it is a pretty warm place There is an hotel here, but nothing to eat ir. it. I fancy the reason of our being here is to prevent the Boers from Lydenburg breaking this way and cutting Lord Roberts' communications. We have got the railway line reopened up to lure. The Boers have only destroyed one bridge at Pienaars River, and the Engineets luivc already made a deviation. This helps us nial et iall), to get up our supplies, and saves our transport animals. I like the looks of the farms here better than any I have seen. They are well supplied with water,and are surrounded by orange trees, plantains, and pine apples. I belicvethe latter never grow under a temuerature of SO degrees, but, as a gardener, I have never attempted to grow them. In Eagland they cost to grow about two guineas each, whereas Covent Garden will supply them at five or six shillings each. I see the big advance to Lydenberg is going on well. I hope it will do so, as we must get out of this country before the rains begin on October 20th, or we shall be driven out by fever. I fancy we shall eventually find our way to Pietersburg, about 80 miles off. Was it not real bad luck being at Winburg for nearly two months and never having a fight, yet the place was attacked about a fortnight after we ciine away What a number of mornings we stood to arms there from 4-30 to 5-30 or (j and all thrown away I have just heard that my other three companies are at Winbiirg so I hope they are in the fight. I came up to Pretoria with the 49th and they gave me the command of a provisional battalion of Yeomanry, consisting of the 49th, the 5th Wurwicks, the 63rd Wilts, and the 66th Yorks. So I am quite happy now I have something to do; rather too much to do sometimes. Grobelaar has just sent in to say that lie does not consider that we are acting according to the rules of civilised warfare in burning farms. This is rather amusing, coming from a man whose fellows break the Geneva Convention with a great many shots they fire. They shoot at us with expansive bullets, which make a peculiar sort of thud when they touch the ground. Not only have they hollow- nosed bullets, but they also cut the noses and gash the sides of the ordinary Mauser bullets. During the operations, we lost three officers and 19 men killed and wounded and missing, but ton of the missing have come in. We are tired of biscuit, on which we have been living for eighteen days, but otherwise we are all very fit. We are dirty, and our clothes anl boots are wearing out. I begin rather to doubt our seeing England by Clit-istit-iis. What will bring the whole thing to an end will be the capture of Kruger. Our men have done rematkabiy well, auel 1 am very pleased with them, but I shall always regret not having my own Denbighshire!* with tne. From what I can hear the Bo rs arc very short of food, especially coffee and "11ar."

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