HOW SPION KOP WAS TAKEN. On Tuesday night General Warren's infantry made a sudden attack upon the Boer position on Spion Kop. Mounting the precipitous sides of the hill they charged the Boer entrenchments. The enemy fled before our advance, evidently being taken by surprise, and had not had time to make -preparations for a stout resistance. Two Boers were killed, and the remainder of the force which held the summit was dispersed. The attack had been immediately preceded by an admirable and effective shell fire upon the Boer position. On Wednesday morning very heavy fighting (em- ffl( noed, and proceeded almost all day without the Blightest cessation. The fighting was of the most desperate nature. TUenemy, undoubtedly irritated at the easy manner in wnich our forces had carried the important :positions of the summit of Spion Kop, poured a terrific shell fire on the captured positions from their big guns, while their Maxims and Nordenfelts were also brought into play. The lighter artillery of the enemy was very destructive to our troops, who gallantly maintained their positions and made as effective a reply as was possible under the circumstances. Attempts were mad i by our artillery to locate the smal:«r but more destructive guns of the Boers in order th-1 ou" fire might be concentrated upon them and t'.eirdepdiy effectiveness destroyed. The attempts to locate the enemy's lighter artillery were, how- ever not very successful. At nine o clock our infantry 'gallantly stxrmed and carried another trench occupied by the enemy, and the troops held this advanced position until their ammunition gave out. The Boers were not slow to notice that some- thing was amiss, and encouraged by the silence of our men's rifles, a strong force of the enemy crept slowly forward and actually came right up to the front. Here they had a taste of the bayo- nets of the British infantry. The conflict was short but bloody, and the Boers gave way before the fixed bayonets and sullenly retired, not, how- ever, without having secured a few ot our men as prisoners. Reinforcements were poured into the positions we bad captured, and those positions were splendidly maintained under a murderous fire from the Boer positions until darkness put a stop to the fray. The conduct of our infantry all day was magnif- icent. Nothing could have exceeded their obsti- nate bravery during the truly desperate fighting which lasted absolutely the whole day without a minute's cessation. Our naval guns gave able assistance to our troops, shelling the enemy inces- santly from Mount Alice.
TOWYN MEN AT THE FRONT. Besides those who have just departed, there are already several men connected with Towyn at the front. Mr Wm Evans, brother to Mrs Maethlon James, was at the battle of Colenso. He described in a letter recently received, the bullets of the Boers like a "shower of hail." Another young man who quite lately left Towyn, Mr John Evans, son of Mr Richard Evans, driver, is in General Gatacre's brigade, and was present at the battle of Strom- berg. Lieut Peter Winser, grandson of the late Sir Rupert Kettle, Glanydon, Towyn, is in the trans- port City of Rome," on his way to the front. P.O. Maybury Morgan, until lately stationed at Towyn, a reservist of the Grenadier Guards, visited some friends at Towyn last week, before going out to South Africa with the 8th Division. He had a very hearty send-off by many friends from this town.
CAPTURE OF SPION KOP. SPEARMAN'S CAMP, January 23. On Thursday last, the 18th, ohe Mounted Brigade, under the command of Lord Dundonald, swept round in the direction of Acton Homes, where they surprised and routed a small Boer commando. On the same day Sir Charles Warren marched his division five miles to the east of Venter Spruit. At daybreak on the 19th he formed his camp, and was joined by ihe Cavalry. In the-afternoon the column resumed its march, heading, to all appearances, for the comparatively open country east of Acton Homes, well under the Drakensbergs, but at three o'clock the following morning the Infantry were suddenly ordered to leave the bivouac, and were marched up to the range immediately on their right, on a level with Spion Kop. The occupation was at once effected of Three Tree Hill, which is directly opposite the western face of the Boer entrenchments. Other troops fol- lowed rapidly, and, occupying the kopje to the right front, lined a ridge on the right, facing the extreme northern slope of Spion Kop. The movement was supported by a battery of Field Artillery. Shortly after daybreak the Infantry were given a rendezvous at Fair View Farm, on the flat below, and climbed the spur on the left of Three Tree Hill, where they took up their position. Sir Francis Clery, who was in charge of the attack, was at Three Tree Hill itself. By eleven o'clock the troops bad already come under a heavy rifle fire, directed at them from all sides. They suffered, however, little or no loss, and began to advance under cover of a tremendous cannonade by the Field Artillery. The battle soon became general. The enemy— who had been heavily reinforced on the 19th, and had been feverishly busy digging trenches, leaking schanzes, and mounting guns-opened a terrific fire as the advance slowly developed. One of the Irish Battalions was exposed to the full effect of the fusillade. Every inch of ground was disputed, and our lines were raked by bullets every time the men moved forward. The enemy's Krupp and Hotchkiss guns swept the hillsides of the range, which goes by the name of Acton Homes Hills, where the battle had opened, and was still raging. The range is a series of jutting headlands and rocky spurs, running up steeply from Fair View to a height of 3,000 feet. At two o'clock the Boers raised the white flag upon the summit of a high bill, but firing was con- tinued on both sides. Lord Dundonald's Cavalry Brigade was in action on the 20th. The South African Horse, under the command of Major Childe, took two kopjes. By this time Lord Dundonald had reinforced the South African Horse. As soon as the Boers commenced shelling Major Childe was killed and four men wounded. Major Childe had had a peculiarly strong presentiment that he was going to be killed, and had asked his brother officers before the engagement to put the following words over his grave: "It is well with the child, it is well." This has already been done. Lord Dundonald read the funeral service. Lord Dundonald reported that the Colt auto- matic guns are very effective, and says that the Boers will not face their fire. He also says that the honours of tha engagement at Acton Homes lie with the Imperial Light Horse, the Natal Car- bineers, and the 60th Mounted Rifles. GENERAL BULLER'S REPORT. The following despatch was issued by the War Office on Thursday morning:- From General Sir Redvers Buller to the Secretary of State for War. SPEARMAN'S Camp, January 25. Warren's troops last night occupied Spiou Kop, surprising the small garrison, who fled. It has been held by us all the day, though we were heavily attacked, and especially by a very annoying shell fire. I fear that our casualties are considerable, and have to inform you with reeret that General Woodgate is dangerously wounded. Warren is of opinion that he has rendered the enemy's position untenable. The men are splendid.
SPION KOP ABANDONED. The following en posted at the War 0^rom General Sir Redvers Bailer to the Secre- tary of State for War (received January 26th, 6 a.m.):- SPEARMAN'S CAMP, January 25th 12.[; p.m.- Warren's garrison, I am sorry to say I find this morning had in the night abandoned Spion Kop.
THE TUGELA RECROSSED. BOER ACCOUNT OF THE LOSS OF SPION KOP. The following telegram was issued from the War Office Monday afternoon From General Sir Redvers Buller to Secretary of State of War. (Received January 28.) SPEARMAN'S CAMP, SATURDAY. On January 20th, Sir Charles Warren, as I have reported, drove back the enemy and obtained poss- ession of the southern crests of the high tableland which extends from the line Acton Homes-Hongers Poort to the western Ladysmith hills. From then to the 25th, he remained close in con. tact with the enemy, who held a strong position in a range of small kopjes stretching from north-west to south-east across the plateau from Acton Homes through Spion Kop to the left bank of the Tugela. The actual position held was perfectly tenable but did not lend itself to advance, as the southern slopes were so steep that Sir C. Warren could not get an effective artillery position and the supply of the troops with water was a difficulty. On the 23rd, (I) assented to his attacking Spion Kop, a large hill-indeed a mountain,-which was evidently the key of the position but was far more accessible from the north than from the south. On the night of the 23rd, he seized Spion Kop, but found it very difficult to hold, as its perimeter was too large and water, which he had been led to believe existed, in this extraordinarily dry season was found very deficient. The crests were held all that day against severe attacks and heavy shell fire. Our men fought with great gallantry, and I would especially mention the conduct of the 2nd Cameron,-ans and 3rd King's Royal Rifle Corps, who supported the attack on the mountain from the steepest side and in each case fought their way to the top, and the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and the 2nd Middlesex, who magnificently maintained the best traditions of the British army throughout the trying day of the 24th and Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, who fought throughout a day equally well alongside of them. Major General Woodgate, who was in command at the summit, being wounded, the officer who succeeded him decided on the uigbt of the24th-25th to abandon the position, and did so before daylight on the 25th. I reached Sir C. Warren's camp at 5 a.m. on the 25th, and decided that a second attack on Spion Kop would be useless, and that the enemy's right was too strong to allow me to force it. According I decided to withdraw the force to the south of the Tugela. At 6 a.m. we commenced withdrawing the train and by 8 a.m., the 27th, Sir C. Warren's force was concentrated south of the Tugela without the loss of a man or a pound of stores. The fact that the force could withdraw from actual touch—in cases the lines were less than 1,000 yards apart—with the enemy in the perfect manner it did is, I think, sufficient evidence of the moral of the troops, and that we were permitted to withdraw our cumbrous ox and mule transport across a river 85 yards broad, with 20 feet banks and a very swift stream, unmolested is, I think, proof that the enemy has been taught to respect our soldiers' fighting powers.
GENERAL KELLY-KENNY ON THE MOVE. News which may prove of considerble importance reached us on Wednesday from the northern dis- tricts of Cape Coleny. General Kelly. Kenny, com- manding the Sixth Division of about 9,000 men, whose headquarters are at Rosmead Junction, has taken possession of Thebus, a station on the line between Rosmead Junction and Stormberg Junction. It was hoped that General Kelly Kenny would soon be in touch with General Galacre. This movement may foreshadow an attempt to drive the Boers from their position at Stormberg, by a joint attack from south and west, which, if successful, will no doubt be followed by an advance iutu Free State territory. Thebus is about the same distance to the west of Stlemberg as Sterkstroom is to the south. General Kelly-Kenny's Division includes the 2nd Bedford- shire, the 1st Royal Irish, the 2nd Worcester, the 2nd Wiltshire, the 2nd Buffs, the 2nd Gloucester, the 1st West Riding, and the 1st Oxford Light Infantry. There is no mention of cavalry and artillery. General Gatacre has about 5,000 men, made up of the 1st Royal Scots, the 1st Derbyshire Regiment, the remnants of the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles and the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers, four companies of the 1st Berkshire, three batteries of field artillery, some mounted infantry, and detachments of Colonial troops.
BULLER'S DESPATCHES. HONOURABLE MENTION OF LIEUT. H M PRYCE-JONES. The first despatch from General Buller since his arrival as Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, was published in Friday night's London Gazette. He forwards despatches from Sir George White at Ladysmith, General Hildyard at Estcourt, and four despatches from Lord Metbuen, describing the battles of Belmont, Graspan, and Modder River. Wi.h reference to the Colenso reverse General Bailer explains that he gave orders to Colonel Long, R.A., to come into action covered by the 6th Brigade, which brigade was not, as he knew, in- tended to advance on Colenso. Instead of this, he advanced with his batteries so fast that he left both his infantry escort and his oxen-drawn naval guns behind, and came into action under Fort Wylie, a commanding, trebly-entrenched hill, at a range of 1,200 yards, and, General Buller believed, within 300 yards of the rifle pits. The men fought their guns like heroes, and silenced Fort Wylie, but the issue could never have been in doubt, and gradually they were all shot down. Colonel Long, at the time the despatch was sent, was so ill that he was unable to obtain his explanation. Sir Redvers Buller recommends Captain Congreve, Lieut F Roberts, Corporal Nurse, and Captain H L Reed for the Victoria Cross, and acknowledges the excellent service done by Lieut Ogilvy of II.M.S. Tartan." General Buller, in his despatch, recommends six drivers for distinguished service medals for saving guns at Colenso. They all belonged to the 65th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, and included among them was a Carnarvon man named John Williams, 23 years of age. In his despatch describing the battle of Belmont, Lord Methuen notes with pleasure the courage displayed by Lieut Bulkeley, Scots Guards; and Lieuts the Hon C Douglas-Pennaut and Pryoe- Jones, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, are amongst the officers who "merit praise for coolness and good company leading." In his despatch describing the battle of Modder River, Lord Methuen mentions the coolness shown by Major Count Gleichen, C.M.G., throughout the engage- ment, especially in attending to the wounded under a heavy fire.
DUNDONALD'S BRIGADE SAFE. A news agency learns that Lord Dundonald's Brigade returned to the southern bank of the Tugela on Saturday. General Buller's last despatch referr- ed to the troops under Sir C Warren. Some fears were expressed that Lord Dundonald's flying column, the last news of which waa that it had fought a small successful action near Acton Homes, about ten days ago, had been cut off b y the Boers.
GENERAL FRENCH'S FORCE. RENSBURG, Jan. 23. General French is proceeding with the utmost del iberation, and with the greatest caution, to draw his lines more closely round the Boer position. Every successive day sees the net made tighter, greatly to the alarm and uneasiness of the enemy, who have made several attacks of late on our out- posts-in the hope, apparently, of breaking the oordon. In these engagements the Boer tactics have been a repetition of those employed by them with signal success at Majuba Hill. But this time they have not been crowned with victory the attacks have on every occasion been most pluckily repulsed. The movements of General French may appear very slow, but they are undoubtedly sure. It is already evident that the Boers have been out- generalled—at least, in this particular region. Members of the enemy's force frequently effect their escape into our lines. The latesL arrivals state that the Boers number about 7,000 men, that their supplies are running short, and that many Englishmen, formerly Burghers in the Free State, been commandeered, and forced to serve against their countrymen. They, of course, would welcome a cessation of hostilities. Three weeks ago, we are told, the commando received reinforcements of 1,000 men from before Ladysmith, and 600 from Magersfoutein. The centre of the Boer position appears to be Colesberg Junction, which is surrounded on all sides by low ridges and kopjes. These are all held by the enemy's outposts, while there are several main laagers pitched on sites capable of being speedily defended from the base of the Junction. Their lines of communication are still strongly protected as far back as Norval's Pont, while they still hold command of the road to Colesberg Wagon Bridge. The position occupied by the troops under General French forms a great semi-circle round that held by the Boers. It lies along a wide encircling range of kopjes, and at various points are spurs which approach the Boer kopjes. The latter are smaller and lower than our own, and are, therefore, commanded by our guns. On our left is a hill directly opposite to, and about 500 yards distant from the Colesberg kopje occupied by the Boers. There the cpposing forces spend whole days in "sniping" each other across the intervening valley. There is no doubt that General French could take Colesberg, which lies two miles away, at any time he pleased, but he has refrained, so far, from bombarding the town because of the presence in it of non-combatants, including women and children.
PRETORIA UNDEFENDED. Central News Agency, Durban, Wednesday, states refugees who ;have arrived here from the Transvaal declare that Pretoria is entirely unde- fended, the artillery having been sent to the front. President Steyn is removing his household effects from Bloemfontein'to Pretoria.
THE MANSION HOUSE FUND. The Mansion House Transvaal War Fund amounts to £634,500, of which sum £62,000 has been sent in aslthe result of the collections taken in the churches and chapels cf England and Wales in obedience to the Queen's mandate.
REMARKABLE LETTER FROM A WELSHMAN IN RHODESIA. The following letter has been received by Mr Hy Evane, Whitehall Hotel, Towyn, from his son, Mr N G Evans, in Rhodesia :— Gatling Hill Mines, Belingwe, Rhodesia. I am now going to write more regularly to you again. I know you will be anxious about how I am doing during this war. Of course you know that I am not fighting but I must say I should very much like to chuck up everything and go in for it. If there was any chance of shutting down I certainly would do it, but I think provided the war does not drag out to a weary length that we will continue working right through the business. Everything is very quiet iu this part of the world and we are all wait- ing for news. The last news we got from the fronc is November 27th, and of course in that interval many things may have happened. The feeling in South Africa is very bitter against the War Office for the very slack way that this war has been carried on so far. Everybody was in hopes that by this time the British troops would have been marching on Blomfontein and Pretoria, but as far as we can see the British are still on the defensive. I am a great supporter of the Conservative party, but undoubtedly the Government would have saved a large sum of money and many hundreds of lives han they kept about 10,000 men both at St Helena and Mauritius so that directly hostilities com- menced this army of 20,000 men could have been landed at Cape Town in a couple of weeks' time and sent straight throught to Kimberley and from there have attacked the Free State while most of their burghers were on the Natal border. It is the old old story of English dilatoriness and red tapism at the start of a campaign. I sec: that the Secretary foi War stated in London on the 3rd November that diplomacy had been too quick for the War Authorities. That J deliberately stigmatise as a lie because since the failure of the Blomfontein conference up to the outbreak of hostilities should have been ample time to prepare the War Office for what was coming. Are the people in charge of our War Office such utter fools that they cannot read the signs of the times better than they do ? Oh, my God it is one of the most galling things possible to see such criminal negligence while thousands of people are losing their all in the British colonies and the enemy actively preparing in broad daylight in drilling men, building forts, y I buying rifles and ammunition, and in every possible way working to oust us from the country. I only wish I were a man of some eloquence so that I could go home and raise the people in a body to chastise those who I say deliberately and emphatic- ally are responsible for our reverses. Mind were this the first time it would be more of less under- standable but unfortunately it seems to me to be the usual thing in British warfare. Give the enemy every help you can to lick you at the start, then after a few reverses have been suffered start in earnest to recover lost ground.
SIR FREDERICK CARRINGTON. Says The Major" in To-Day Considerable mystery exists as to the destination of General Sir Frederick Carrington. I hear it stated that he will ultimately take over Methuen's command. Sir Frederick should have been sent out long since keeping him at home so long is one of the greatest mistakes that the War Office has made. Carrington is a born leader of irregular mounted troops, and has yet never failed to win the entire confidence of troops under him. He is a strong advocate of mounted men for South African warfare, and when he readies the scene of action he may make con- siderable alterations in any command he takes over. Carrington, like Baden-Powell, is a great believer in the most systematic system of scouting and the use of native spies. He is one of the very few of our generals wno knows the country well right up the Matabelo Northern Border. In appearance Carring- ton is a splendid figure-built on a large scale with strong, bold, and well chiselled features, and a heavy moustache—the kind of moustache that "Ouida" used in her early style" to assign to her heavy dragoons. There is not another like it in the British army-or indeed out of Italy. It has been the envy of all his comrades, and it wax a source of unfailing admiration and awe to the natives, who gave the owner the nickname of the Man with the Lion-face. It is now turning to grey, and Sir Frederick is just on fifty-six, but age has not staled the infinite geniality of his nature and his smile. Carrington is a great smoker. He resembles Mr. Chamberlain in the fact that he is generally to be seen smoking a big cigar of choice kind, and he should be the despair of all the an ti-cigar or cigarette societies of Cohoes or elsewhere, for in the spite of all he is as hard as nails and as tough as Kitchener.
WELSHPOOL MAN WOUNDED AT LADYSMITH. Amongst those wounded at Ladysmith on Jan- uary 6 was Col-Sergt W J D Pryce, a native of Welshpool, who enlisted in the Gordon High- landers at Perth in 1887.
THE FASHIONABLE COLOUR. This season it is announced, says Madame," that khaki is to be the fashionable colour, and the regulation serge, and later on holland will be patronised by everybody as a delicate compliment to the gentleman in khaki ordered South." Un. fortunately it is not universally becoming to blondes, though the brnnettes can hardly find any. thing more calculated to set off their charms,' especially if combined with a touch of bright colour. Just now the wholesale cloth merchants are almost in despair, for the orders for serge for the Yeomanry and Volunteers have almost cleared out their stock, and the renewal of this takes some little time. One young lady was seen the other day wearing a costume of khaki serge, with an exact copy of the New South Wales Lancers' headgear, which one of the big West End drapers is selling in great quantities just now. The plumed "bravo" is very becoming to any face sufficiently young and piquant to carry it off, but like other fashions, it will probably be done to death before we see the last of it. fiuted and Published by Samuel Salter and David Rowlands, at their Offices, 21, Berriew Street, Welshpool, in the County of Montgomery, and Rock View, Towyn, in the County of Merioneth. -Thursday, February 1, 19CO.