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THE TRANSVAAL WAR FROM DAY…

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THE TRANSVAAL WAR FROM DAY to DAY. The war news up to a late hour last night was disappointing. The only -L'iiLiifcii.'AV. "Ow f>r>in Nalal is contained in a telegram from Spearman's Camp recording fighting by Sir Charles Warren's force on Monday and Tuesday. Successful skirmishing work has been done by both Lord Methuen's and General French's forces, but there is practically no intelligence from General Gatacre. Some interesting messages from Ivimberley have come through, showing renewed determination in the Boer attack on that town. A motion was introduced into the American Senate yesterday by Mr. Pettigrew declaring that the United States would not recognise the right of any nation to declare foodstuffs contraband and seize them on that ground, and that any such seizure would be regarded as an unfriendly act by the United States. At midnight on Wednesday General Buller sent news of Sir Charles War- .FRIDAY. ren's enterprise at Spion Kop. It shows that, in accordance with the announce- ment in his message sent on Tuesday night, Sir Charles Warren surprised the Boers on Spion Kop on that night. The small Boer garrison Red berore our troops. Next day, however, Sir Charles Warren was heavily attacked, especially by a very annoying shell fire." He held the posi- tion all day, but General Buller hears that his casualties were considerable. General Woodgate, among others, was dangerously wounded. Sir Charles Warren is of opinion that he has rendered the Boer position untenable. General Buller con- cludes: "The men are splendid." This is un- doubtedly a success, but only, as yet, a partial one. The military situation is discussed in some detail elsewhere, but two points may be noticed on which some misapprehension seems to have arisen. In the first place, the considerable losses mentioned by General Buller occurred not during our attack on Spion Kop, but during the Boer attack on that position. The Boer garrison on the bill was small, and it fled, apparently without making resistance. Spion Kop was not a stronghold, but only a strategic position held-for reasons not yet made clear-but weakly by the Boers. That of course makes a considerable difference in our view of operations. The second difficulty is the sentence in the official message which says Warren is of opinion that he has rendered the enemy's position untenable." What is meant is, not that the position of the Boers is already rendered untenable—the Boer attack on Wednesday disproves that—but simply that in Sir Charles Warren's opinion the Boer positions arc strategically untenable. They will be actually untenable, no doubt, when our guns are in position and able to sweep the country commanded by Spion Kop. Spion Kop was seized with ease on Tuesday night, defended with diffi- SATURDAY. culty all Wednesday, and abandoned -how we do not know on Wednesday night. General Buller does not say why the hill was abandoned but we may guess why. Spion Kop was abandoned by us for much the same reasons as led the Boers to abandon it so easily the night before. It was clearly an im- portant strategic position. Rising steeply from the Tugela river, it bisected the Boer positions, over- looking on the east the plain opposite Potgieter's, nd on the other side the long plateau running parallel with Venter's Spruit from Trichardt's Drift to Acton Homes. Unfortunately, a strategic position is not always one that lends itself readily to defence, and a strategic position that cannot be defended is worse than useless to its possessor. Spion Kop was a position of this kind. To-day's news is the worst we have had since the war began. The mean- MONDAY. ing of General Buller's telegram is. we take it, that he has abandonnd the flanking movement by Spring- field. By last Sunday Sir Charles Warren had secured a foothold on the southern and south- western slopes of the ridges dividing Ladysmith from the Tugela on the Acton Homes side. He remained in this position until Tuesday, unable to get his artillery up the steep slopes of the last ridge he had won, short of water, and exposed to fire from the ridges held by the Boers in front of him. At his right, towering above these ridges, lay Spion Kop, apparently dominating the Boer Positions in front both of his own division and of General Lyttelton at Potgieter's Drift. He obtained General Buller's consent to seize Spion Kop, an operation which was successfully carried out on Tuesday night. There was a strong resemblance between Sir Charles Warren's plans against Spion Kop and General Colley's plans at Majuba, but the "Very fact of General Colley's failure was in a Measure a guarantee against a similar failure future. One would at any rate hope so. ^hese hopes were not fulfilled. All Wednesday Spion Kop was fiercely assailed by the Boers, and it was evident from the description that it was a bad position to defend. The garrison lost heavily, and General Woodgate was wounded. His successor therefore decided to abandon Spion Kop, which he did on Wednesday night. The Sequel, however, is worse than was feared. At five "Welock on Thursday morning General Buller visited Sir Charles Warren, and it was decided, first, that it was no use renewing the attack on Spion Kop, and, secondly, that it was no use renew- Ilig the attack on the ridges. An hour later the retirement across the Tugela began, and by Saturday morning it was completed. In his concluding sentences, which would have read better in a different form, General Buller expresses his pleasure that the retirement across the Tugela ""as conducted without mishap. He ascribes the 8^ccess of the retirement to the respect in which Boers hold our fighting qualities. Whether this be the true explanation or not, it seems quite 'pertain that we have cause to be grateful to the Boers. With the exception of some meagre details of the struggle on the summit TUESDAY, of Spion Kop there is at the time of writing practically nothing new to record in connection with the move- ments of our troops in Natal or Cape Colony. The fresh particulars with is"erence to the fighting on Wednesday last show that the position to which oUr men were taken win dominated practically on 1l sides hy the fire of the Boers, who were concealed in the rifle-pits they bad prepared, and that it was absolutely untenable from the very first. t THE WELSH REGIMENT. On Saturday order* were received at Pembroke for the 3rd Welsh Regiment, under Colonel A. T. Perkins, to be held in readiness to embark for South Africa in about twevle days.

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