Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page

* I*'''1 WAH IN SOUTH AFtflCA.

News
Cite
Share

I* WAH IN SOUTH AFtflCA. BULLER'S FORCE SAVED BY A BALLOONIST. ALMOST ENTRAPPED. LORD ROBERTS AT MODDER RIVES. MACDONALD'S RECONNAISSANCE. FIGHTING AT RENSBURG. ROBERTS AND THE PRESIDENTS. THE LOOTING PROTESTS. KIMBERLEY EATING HORSEFLESH. OFFICIAL DESPATCHES. The following telegrams from the General at Cape Town have been received at the War Office CAPE TOWN, February 11, 8.30 a.m. Kekewich reports February 8 that a native statei he accompanied the Boers who have left Mafeking and come down to Kimberley, bringing with them a a 6in. gun and quick-firing field guns. A 6ih. gun opened fire on Kimberley February 7, otherwise situation unchanged. 12.2 p.m. Clements reports from Rensburg that or February 9 the Boers tried to turn right Hani but they were beaten off and position was maintained. Casualties were small. Kimberley reports thai fighting force has apparently increased and that Oil February 7 the Boers commenced construction ol trenches to the east and nearly parallel to (?) glacit 4000 yards from Premier Mine. GENERAL MACDONALD'S RECONNAISSANCE The retirement from our position on the Moddei was carried out (says the special correspon- dent) on the 8th and 9th inst. after a desultory skirmish in perfect order, and after the intention of the reconnaissance had been effected. Nine bodies of Boers were found on the kopje, and it it estimated that considerable loss was also caused among the Boers who were driven from Painter'a Drift, The need is emphasised of mules for <arrying water tip kopjes, water-carts needing too large a proportion of fighting men to be detached. Intentionally, the whole expedition north and east of the drift was carried out by cavalry and horse artillery. The Boers have evacuated the neigh- bourhood but hold a piece of narrow rising ground, stretching north-east of Camels Hoek. They can easily be reinforced from Megersfontein. Our with- drawal was effected in a workmanlike manner. General Macdonald especially praised the recon- noitring work of the 9th Lancers round Koodoes- berg; the information they obtained was sound and extensive. LORD ROBERTS AT MODDER RIVER. Lord Roberts arrived at Modder River on the 9th inst., and was enthusiastically cheered by the men. Early on the morning of the 10th he visited the camp of the Highland Brigade, which returned here last night, and congratulated General MacDonald and the brigade upon their steady conduct during the operations at Koodoesberg Drift. It may safely be said that the Boer losses in the fighting at Koodoesbenr outnumber ours considerably. Twelve dead were found whom the enemy had left in the hurry of their retreat, and it is known that other* were buried. Early on the morning of the 10th inst. our naval gUllS shelied the enemj's position. It appears that the Boers brought all their heavy guns from Mafeking for the purpose of Bhelling Kimberley. The strange silence of the Boer guns at Magersfontein Ridge leads to the supposition that they had retired their guns altogether, and the fact that they havo most thoroughly blewn up the railway permanent, way beyond Merton siding is re- garded as evidence that the enemy prefer to destroy rather than to defend the line. Although the Boeri still man the trenches at Magersfontein, they are apparently present there in reduced numbers, the bulk of their force having either gone to Kimberley mr towards the flank. THE SIEGE OF KIMBERLEY. The Boers at intervals have latterly fired shells into various parts of the town of Kimberley. One exploded inside the water tank at a house at Kenil- worth, and the inmates had a narrow escape. The jnemy's shells have been falling rapidly about the itreets. Our gun Long Cecil" has been firing in reply. The women and children are bearing their hardships very bravely. Horseflesh is being eaten. OPERATIONS NEAR RENSBURG. Lieutenant Smith's section of the 37th Field Howitzer Battery at Rensburg (according to the Times correspondent) on the 9th inst. silenced the Boer quick-firer intrenched at the north end of Horseshoe Kopje. The range from Porter's Hill was 4000 yaras. The Boer parapet waa breached and one shell is believed to have burst right inside their works. The garrison were probably protected by casemates. The effects of the lyddite were tre- mendous among the rocks a large boulder was lifted 60ft. and thrown over 100 yards. Gunner Walton, who laid the howitzer, is the same man who laid the first successful shot at the Mahdi's tomb at Omdur- man. The fact is (says Reuter) that we have in no sense lurronnded the enemy at Colesberg, but simply hold them in check by means of a series of camps forming a half-circle round the south from east. to west. The enemy hold the whole of the northern half of the circle from east to west and are in full possession of their lines of communication with the Free State. They have strongly protected these lines, and also bold strong positions around Colsberg and along a front extending from 20 to 30 miles. Meanwhile, their patrols are exceedingly active and go far afield. The enemy appeared in force threatening our right flank on the 8th inst. They shot one of Rimington's Guides. So aggressive were they that it was deemed advisable to stop our waggon traffic until the line had been oleared. About 50 Australians and Tasmanians, who started on a reconnaissance on the 9th inst., had a warm day's work and were obliged to retire before the overwhelming nambers of the enemy. The force consisted of an advance party under Captain Cameron, of the Tasmanian Contingent, supported by a detachment under Captain Stevenson-Hamilton, of the Inniskilling Dragoons, with whom was Captain Salmon, of the Victorian Mounted Rifles. The advance party halted on a farm belonging to Coetze, where the guide was shot on the preceding day, and examined the kopjeø in the vicinity. The remainder of the force moved to the right and were soon engaged with the enemy, who opened fire from several kopies at the Australians as they advanced across the plain. The Australians sought shelter from the rain of bullets en other kopjes and returned the fire. Meanwhile, Captain Cameron, continuing his ad- vance, came upon the flank of the Boers who were riding towards the kopjes, and his men poured in a few volleys. The Boers quickly dismounted and replied, and Captain Cameron sought cover on high rocky kopje, which he held for quite an hour and a-half, but the enemy, who were in considerable numbers, worked round to his rear and fired On his horses. The Colonials rushed down, secured their horses, and got away under a hail of bullets. They took up a second position and again held the enemy in check for some time until the-Boers again got round to the rear. Our next retirement was across an open plain, and was olosely followed up by the enemy, who maintained a furious though somewhat wild fire. They pursued us over the open country to within two miles of outposts at Jasfontein. None of the advanced party were hit. The sup- porting party, after similar experiences, arrived in camp. One Tasmanian, named Peers, was wounded diehtly in the neck and several horses were hit during the day. Mr. Walea and Mr. Lambie, both Australian news- paper correspondents, are missing. On several acca- sions some of the enemy were seen to fall from their horses before our volleys. The wounded man claims to have accounted for three. Though obliged to retreat, our men showed true grit throughout the engagement. The men who visited the kopjes on which the enemy was shelled by J Battery report that about a dozen bodies of dead Boers were lying there. The enemy on the 9th inst. (according to a Reuter's message) also outflanked us on the west and occupied Bastard's Nek. They placed a gun there this morn- ing, then came southward to Hobkirk's Farm and fired on the guard, killing one man. The Hobkirk family left in haste under fire. The guard then retired, and the enemy occupied the farm, driving off Mr. Hohkirk's cattle and taking, possession of 1000 sheep. All this occurred within five mile" of our outposts. Our picket near Hobkirk's Farm stuck to their post. They had good cover and gave the Boers a hot time whenever they approached within range. i Beyond Coles Kop the loyal residents along the Zekoe River are much alarmed. Captain Cameron, who commanded the Tae- manian contingent, was conspicuous in the recent fighting for his coolness and conmge, always leadmg the advance and coming in last from the retreat. Captain Salmon, of the Victorian Mounted Rifles, who was in his first action, showed exceptional skill in the handling of his men and won much com- mendation. Corporal Whiteley; of the Tasmqniana, pluekily rescued a dismounted comrade under a. neavy fire and brought him safely out of danger. We took two prisoners, and afterwards two more i burghers, belonging to the Johannesburg contingent, ) came in and surrendered. While the reconnaissance from Rensburg was pro- ceeding, another reconnaissance was made from Slingersfontein by the Inniskilling Dragoons and 20 Australians under Captain Moor. They discovered the enemy in considerable force attempting to get a gun into position in order to shell our camp from the south-east. The Australians came into closest contact and sought cover on an extensive hill about 9000 yards from camp. The Boers took up a position preventing the retirement of the Australians. Some of the burghers got within 200 yards of them and called out to them to surrender. They replied with a show of fixed bayonets and shouts of defiance. Sergeant Edwards with two men — Troopers Hutchinson and White—made a dash, galloping past a number of hills held by the enemy under a hot fire, and took intelligence to the commanding officer that their comrades were safe and confident of being able to keep the enemy at bay so as to get out after dark. This they eventually did. The Inniskillings meanwhile took up positions in which they were able to prevent the enemy from getting their guns into position. The Australians lost one man killed. He was shot through the head while binding up the wound of a comrade. Three others were wounded. Some of the enemy were at very close quarters with our men during the day. and one Boer waa shot at a distance of only nine yards. The conduct of the Australians is specially praised by the officer commanding. A reconnaissance was made on the 10th inst. from Rensburg under Lieutenant-Colonel Page- Henderson. The force employed consisted of one section of the Royal Horse Artillery, one troop of the Inniskilling Dragoons, and 50 men of the New South Wales Mounted Infantry, the latter being under Lieutenants Holmes and Logan. They followed the waggon track, scouting widely, until they met the enemy in the hills near Slingers- fontein. The small force shelled the Boers out of their position and cleared the road, enabling a large convoy to get through. There were no casualties ob our side. THE BOERS IN ZULULAND The Boers have taken the Inkandhla Magistracy in Zululand. The magistrate, Mr. Knight, had pre- viously blown up the magazine and escaped with his staff and police to Eshowe. LORD ROBERTS AND THE BOER PRESIDENTS. The following letter has been addressed by Lord Roberts to Presidents Kruger and Steyn: In continuation of my telegram of February 5, I call your Honours' attention to the wanton destruc- tion of property by the Boer forces in Natal. They have not only helped themselves freely to the cattle and property of the farmers without payment, but also have utterly wrecked the contents of many farm- houses. As an instance I would specify Wood's Farm, near Springfield. I would point out how very different has been the conduct of the British troops. It. is reported to me from Modder River that farms within the actual area of the British camp have never been entered nor have their occupants been molested. The houses and gardens have been left absolutely untouched." GENERAL BULLER'S FORCE. THE VAAL KRANTZ POSITION. Our position at Vaal Krantz was not, perhaps (says a Times correspondent in a message dated Frere Camp, Feb. 8), so strategically advantageous as was at first supposed. It projects too far south- ward, and too far in front of Brakfontein to outflank it, with the result that it could be raked on the western face from Brakfontein, also from a large donga running from Brakfontein to the river. On the eastern face it was under heavy fire from another line of kopjes, and beyond there was also much broken ground giving cover to sharpshooters. The Boers were also able to mount guns in the gullies of Doom Kloof and Spion Kop, commanding Vaal Krantz, while they were themselves completely invisible to our artillery. By Tuesday morning the Boers had several guns in position on Doom Kloof, which defied all our attempts to silence them. Notably, a 6in. Creuzot on the very summit was easily distinguished by the cloud of black-powder smoke, but it was impossible to damage it, owing, probably, to its being mounted on a disappearing carriage. There is reason to believe that we exploded an ammunition waggon, but the gun continued firing all day. There was also a Maxim-Nordenfelt, whose shells dropped on the crest of Vaal Krantz and raked the western side. Lyttelton's Brigade held about half a mile of the ridge under fire all day, but suffered little damage. About fcur o'clock the enemy, after shelling us heavily, made a vigorous attempt to recapture the position, advancing across a bare kopje, joining Brakfontein and Vaal Krantz. The grass on this kopje had been set alight by shells in the morning, and was still smoking. The enemy poured a heavy fire into the advanced line of the Durham Light Infantry and the Fusiliers, causing them to retire temperorily, but reinforcemeuts of the King's Royal Rifles and Scottish Rifles quickly arrived, and the Durhams retook with the bayonet the schansje previously occupied, taking several prisoners. The whole affair only lasted half an hour. In the afternoon the engineers were shelled while making another pontoon bridge close under Vaal Krantz. In the evening Lyttleton's Brigade was re- lieved, too, by Hildyard's Brigade, which was shelled by the Boers during the night. Our position was less favourable on Tuesday than on Monday night. A further advance was impossible without attacking Brakfontein at a point where a network of large dongas and small kopjes gave a great advantage to the Boers. The position was cramped there was no room for the guns, and little shelter against the cross fire, which was continual, though only occasionally heavy. The enmey were evidently developing their already naturally strong position on Doom Kloof. The situation on Wednesday morning of last week (according to the correspondent of the Times at General Buller's headquarters) was unchanged, except that the Boers had mounted another gun on Doom Kloof. Our force at Vaal Krantz intrenched itself as well as it could, but nevertheless it continued losing men. No advance was made, but the artillery fire was in- cessant, especially from the 100-pounder on Doom Kloof, all attempts to silence which were fruitless. As the day went OQ, it became increasingly ap- parent that although the infantry might by a very determined assault force their way through the centre of the Boer position it would become impos- sible during the subsequent operations to maintain the security of our lines of communication. There- fore, it was decided to evacuate Vaal Krantz. The retirement commenced at nine o'clock on Wednesday night, the pontoon being taken up after General Hildyard's force bad crossed the river. In the morning the whole force retired beyond the range of the Boer guns, which continued shelling them. DEADLY BOER TRAP. IMPORTANT DISCOVERY BY A BALLOONIST. The fighting on Wednesday of last week (said the Central News special message from Springfield Bridge, in a message sent off on Friday afternoon) was for the most part confined to the opposing artillery, but this was very hot indeed. The Boers had got a 100-pound gun in an excellent position on the south-east ridge of Vaal Krans, and if we were to advance further with any degree of comfort or safety it was imperative to silence that weapon. Its range was tremendous, and its power would have been most destructive had the gunners serving it been allowed to work in their own leisurely way. Upon this Long Tom our guns large and small concentrated a terrible fire of lyddite and shrapnel ahelLthroughout the day. Our fire must have sorely tried the nerves of the Boer gunners, but beyond that it did not appear to have any appreciable results, for Long Tom continued to fire at fairly regular intervals. Other guns also bombarded Vaal Krans, but not a few of their shells fell upon the flat ground beyond. In the course of Wednesday afternoon a startling discovery was made from the military balloon. It was pretty well known that the Boers had mounted guns on the lofty sides and crest of Doornkloof on our right, and this had been taken fully into General Bullers's calculations, and adequately provided for. But the balloonist reported that the Boers had deve- loped extraordinary artillery strength on that posi- tion, having managed to drag up at least a dozen heavy guns, some of them fitted with disappearing mountings. All these powerful weapons had been most cunningly masked, and they would never have been discovered in time but for the glasses of the balloonist. This discovery was of the very first moment. The Boers had laid a deadly trap for us, and we were saved from falling into it. The great guns on Doornkloof commanded the road which we should have had to take to get to Ladysmith. They rendered our actual positions untenable, and they rendered a further advance impossible except at most terrible and useless loss of life. General Buller decided that it was extremely un- likely that his artillery would be able to overpower these guns of position, and in any case our gunners .1 ™«ld have had to advance from cover before they could get into position to shell the enemy on Doom- kloof. It was therefore decided to retire across the Tugela once more, pending another attempt under more favourable conditions. Vaal Krans was therefore evacuated during the I night, and on Thursday the whole force moved back upon the river. Ine -Boer guns maintained a heavy fire upon us from all their positions, including shell from "a heavy Creusot gun on Spion Kop, but little damage was done, although the bombardment was continued the whole length of the road to Potgieters Drift. The retirement was carried out in perfect order, reflecting the greatest credit upon all concerned. Our casualty list is surprisingly light. General Buller's third attempt to relieve Lady- smith, which opened with such promise, has re- ( ce;ved a serious check, but no one here imagines the effort has been abandoned. The best critics believe that, in view of the developments of the situation, the General adopted the wisest course. The entire force, with guns and materal, has now safely crossed to the southern bank of the Tugela. Some Drisoners were taken in the fighting. ANOTHER CORRESPONDENT MISSING. Mr. Hales, one of the Daily News correspondents at Bensburg, was reported missing after the fighting on Thursday of last week. RELEASE OF COLONEL EAGAR. Lieutenant Nickerson, Royal Army Medical Corps, left Sterksstroorn for Stormberg in an armoured train on Saturday to bring back Colonel Eagar, of the Royal Irish Rifles, who was wounded and taken prisoner in the earlier fighting. Colonel Eagar has since had his leg amputated. The Boers offered his release voluntarily, doubtless in return for our release of Commandant Pretorius, of the Boe. forces, who was similarly incapacitated. THE ALLEGED TREACHERY AMONGST RIMINGTON'S GUIDES. A correspondent says, in a letter home, dated Jan. 13, Major Rimington states There has been tOe unpleasant thing. Reports were set going about 11Y men having amongst them traitors. This was one in Methuen's camp after Magersfontein. They aid the guides led them into a trap. None of my men did guide them that day. There is absolutely no truth in the report." REPORTED SORTIE FROM LADYSMITH. A despatch from the Boer Head Laager near Lady- smith says: It is reported from the Upper Tugela that whilst driving the British across the river, with heavy loss to them, we had four men killed and eight wounded. On the kopje held by the British being retaken, ii was found that about 22 of our men had been killed. At about midnight on Thursday of last week the alarm was given that the Ladysmith garrison were trying to force a passage in the direc- tion of the Free State laager. Heavy firing was heard. VILJOEN'S SPLENDID FEAT OF ARMS. The Morning Post correspondent states that in the fighting on Vaal Krantz a Maxim-Vickers gun was abandoned by the enemy in a donga, and it was about to fall into our hands when the notorious ruffian, the fearless Viljoen himself, brought back a team of horses and escaped with the gun, threading his way between the red flashes and black clouds of the lyddite shells which the British artillery had concentrated. It was a splendid feat of arms. KAFFIRS FIGHTING FOR THE BOERS. Mr. Winstoe Churchill, in a despatch to the Morning Post, refers as follows to the fact that Kaffirs were found fighting for the Boers at Vaal Krantz: Seven armed Kaffirs were found fighting in the Boer ranks, one killing an officer of the Durhams. This is an absolutely authenticated fact, .and it re- I veals the Boer protestations regarding Khama in a. new light. PRINCE CHRISTIAN VICTOR'S NARROW ESCAPE. Prince Christian Victor, aide-de-camp to General Hildyard (states the Morning Post correspondent) was knocked down by the concussion of a 100-pound shell bursting on a rock by which he was sitting. The Prince behaved throughout with extreme composure. FAMOUS GOLFER KILLED. Lieut. F. G. Tait, of the 2nd Black Watch, the well-known amateur golf champion is numbered among the victims of the war. A Mortiing Post telegram from Modder River states that while de- fending a kopje in the engagement on February 9 at Koodoosberg Drift he was shot through the body and died of his wounds while oa the way to the camp. When he was struck Lieut. Tait said, They have got me at last." He had been previously wounded at the battle of Magersfontein, but had quite re- covered. Freddy Tait, as he tfras called in the golfing world, was the leading amateur of the day. In addi- tion to the victories which made him the amateur champion of the game, he won the silver cross, club gold, and George Glennie medals of the Royal and Ancient" for 1897, the club gold medal of the same club for 1898, the Leconfield medal for 1897, the Hope medal for 1898, and the St. George's Grand Challenge Cup (open) at Sandwich in 1898. WHY BULLER RETIRED. Lord Roberts has received and forwarded to the War Office a telegram from General Buller in which he states that it was necessary, after seizing Vaal Krantz, to intrench it as the pivot of further opera- tions, but it was found, after fciying for two days, that owing to the nature of the ground this was not practicable; it was also exposed to the fire of heavy guns from positions by which our artillery was domi- nated. It is essential to troops advancing on Lady- smith by Harding or Monger's Drift to hold Vaal Krantz securely, and as this cannot be done General Buller says he is not pressing his advantage by those roads. LORD ROBERTS AND THE HIGHLANDERS. Lord RoberL addressed the Highland Brigade at Modder River on Saturday, congratulating them on their conduct during the Koodoesberg reconnais- sance, and referring to his own long experience of the admirable qualities of the Highland troops in India and Afghanistan. He fully relied on their assistance in the serious work that awaited him. He referred to his past associations with their regiments in India, where, he aid, they helped to make him. He had never campaigned without Highlanders, and he would not like to be without them now. He was glad General Macdonald had reported well of them. He recalled how the 8eaforths once made a long and arduous march with him. They would have a shorter one now, he said, but it would not be a walk over." Nevertheless he did not doubt that it would be a successful one. The brigade gave three cheers for the Commander- in-Chief and another for Lady Roberts. Lord Roberts acknowledging the compliment said that Lady Roberts was doing for them at home what was perhaps better work than his, by helping the welfare of their wives and families BISKY WORK AROUND THE RENSBURG LINES. A picket of five Victorian Rifles after holding a post for some hours on Saturday was compelled to retire. The Boers got on to an adjacent hill and fired down on them. Three of the party were slightly wounded, one man is missing, and the fifth escaped unscathed. The missing man displayed con- spicuous bravery, helping his companions on to their horses before mounting himself. Of a patrol from Jasfontein under Captain Hamilton, consisting of eight Tasmanians and eight of French's scouts, only two Tasmanians and three scouts have returned to camp. The rest were cap- tured. Of the latter Bawtree and Bosanquet were slightly wounded. Dawson was wounded, while Canning and Reid did not receive a scratch. All of them belonged to French's scouts. Goslett, from Slingersfontein, went out with a party to obtain supplies. They knocked at a farrar house, and, getting no answer, opened the door. The house was found to be full of Boers. All the party escaped in safety. Bainbie (?Lambie), 0116 of the missing Australian correspondents, was killed. The other, Hales, was slightly wounded and was taken prisoner. Mr. William Lambie, who was killed in the fight at Rensbotg on Thursday, was representing the Mel- bourne Age, to which paper be had been attached for about 15 years. Mr. Lambie was one of the best- informed writers on military subjects in Australia, and he was at the time of his death serving in his eecond campaign. In 1885 he accompanied the Australian contingent to the Soudan as correspondent of the Sydney Morn- ing Herald, and at the close of the expedition he returned to Sydney with the distinction of being the only wounded man of the party. He leaves in Melbourne a young wife, two children, and a host of s rrowing friends. Mr. S. Hales (familiarly known as "Smiler" Hales), who is reported as wounded in the same engagement, is a particularly well-known Australian journalist, who graduated in the racy Press of the Eastern cities, and finally drifted with other journal- ists to Coolgardie. His book, The Wanderings of a Simple Child," earned for him the sobriquet of The Australian Kipling." THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE'S OWN. The Duke of Cambridge presided on Monday night at a dinner given to the Special Corps" of the Imperial Yeomanry. He said that whilst de- ploring that our troops had not got on better in South Africa, we must remember that they were en- gaged in serious and difficult operations. The spirit of the nation, he believed, would carry it through successfully, though it might be some time before it was accomplished. ACCIDENT TO GENERAL CLERY. On Monday Mr. John W. Clery, of Westboro, Cork. -recaiyed fnm his hrother. General Si r Franci. Clery, the foltowing telegram, in reply to an inquiry as to the ac-ei dent reported a fev days ago Mooi River, 9.55 a.m. Received 12.32 p.m. Clery, WestborbV Cbtk, Ireland. Slight injury leg, possibly tedious, but nothing." DUKE OF ROXBURGHE'S GALLANTRY. A hitherto unpublished story of the gallantry of the Duke of Roxburgbe in an engagement at Rensburg is contained in a letter from a private in the Blues tc his sister at Farnham. He says General French ordered one squadron of the Blues to go out on reconnaissance to find the enemv. Well, after some time we did find them, but they were in too strong a position, and we only numbered 80. The bullets began to whistle round and the shells to drop, and, our position becoming dangerous, we bad th< order to retire, which took a little time, as we were all dismounted on top of a big hill, and the horses Were a little way off. By the time we had reached the bottom of the hill someone had galloped off with my horse, so I was left without a mount. The firing was getting rather thick, and I thought my last day had come, for I had no chance of getting away alone. But the Duke of Roxburghe came back forme, and I got up on his horse behind him, and he carried me in safety away from fire. So I owe my life to him."

7 MILITARY PROGRAMME.

——————————I THE FAMINE IN…

LED BY THE WHISTLE.

[No title]

IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT.

A CHAPLAINJS LETTER.

A WARM CORNER.

[No title]

CURRENT SPORT.-

[No title]