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Family Notices

=:--..:-.r7" I NOTES BY "OBSERVER."…


=: .r 7" NOTES BY "OBSERVER." [We do not necessarily endorse all our correspondent writes.-ED. 'C.O-I Haymaking is in full swing in the district. In consequence of the great demand for, and high wages paid to, labourers in the industrial parts of the County at the present time, men for agricultural work cannot be had for love nor mouey. The proposition of the Newport Chamber of Commerce to alter the designation, the Mem- ber for the Monmouth Boroughs," to "the Member for Newport," should certainly be unitedly and strenuously opposed by Monmouth and Usk so long as they are contributory boroughs for the return of an M.P. Next, I suppose, we shall hear of an agitation to change the name of the river which gives the jealous ones their importance to that of Newport," and to move bodily, American fashion, Usk Castle, Jones's Schools, &c., to within the pre- cincts of the "boss" borough. Newport may consider itself Monmouthshire, but it is not quite so yet. To be, or not to be that is the question which has agitated the minds of the Usk A.A. Sports Committee with reference to a meeting this year, and it has been decided in favour of keeping up its continuity as an annual event. The question of finance led to the query whether it would not be wise to drop it this year, for in these times there are heavy calls upon the pub- lic purse, and it is necessary to ask for pecuniary aid if the sports are held as they do not of themselves pay. The preliminary leap having been taken, it is to be hoped the Committee will land safely (monetarily) at the finish. I wish them every success. Tentatively the date has been fixed-Thursday, Aug. 23rd. A ruthless firebrand," is the designation applied by the "Methodist Times" to Mr. Kruger, who, it is stated, has done his utmost to appeal to race hatreds and to stir up the two greatest of all military evils-a European war and a war between England and America. He enjoys the valuable patronage of many teetotal- ers, but is himself a liquor seller, the owner of a large brewery. Though the Socialists denounce capitalists, they applaud Kruger to the echo, yet the Boer President is himself a capitalist—one of the richest of millionaires and, moreover, he has made his millions by political corruption and public peculation on a gigantic scale. Though praised by Dissenters, there is no man living who has done so much as he in direct antagonism to the principles of civil and religious freedom and the rights of conscience. It is reported that Lord and Lady Llangattock leave England early in July, for a short cruise. # Recently the Shireuewton-Llanvair postman found that a swarm of bees had taken possession of the letter-box at the Coombe Mill. # Corporal W. Haggett, B Squadron, 10th Hussars, writing from Bloemfontein, under date April 13th, informs his sister that he had been out on a wood-cutting expedition, with about 80 of different regiments. They were out two days, and cut 37 waggon loads. He continues We got two cigars a man served out to us— presents from the natives in India. Two more men died yesterday of fever theie are a lot of soldiers dying from different diseases. I wrote to Frank this week. He told me he got a Boer out of the river, and he had X-ii on him, so we had a good 'cop.' There is some talk of peace, but I don't know what they will do. We make a move the end of this month I don't know which way yet. I have not seen Ben Taylor lately, but his regiment is not far from here. There is a tremendous lot of troops up here now they are arriving every day. We expect to get our Queen's chocolate to-day, and if I do I will send the box home." Writing from Krooustad on the 13th May, he says The day after I wrote we took Vryburg, a small town on the railway. Then we went on and had a big fight at Zand River. On Satur- day night we arrived in Krooustad. I went over to see the S. W. Borderers, and saw Tom Baylis, Charlie Thomas, Dai Lewis, and poor old Bill Sweet, who was fairly doie up—his feet were all blisters from marching, he said. You are all right on a horse. In the afternoon I found Bill Creese, and took him over. There was also another chap who used to drive for I Mr. Herbert, Twyn Shop, so that made six Usk boys together. We had a good long chat about the old town. We are moving to-morrow for the Vaal River, and by the time you get this I hope to be in Pretoria." X. Writing to his wife from Dundee, Natal, May fth, Private John Haggett, of Bethune's ounted Infantry, says :—" We have lost a lot our men lately, one squadron being completely cut up. It happened at Vryheid, in the Transvaal. We were the first to enter that country from Natal, and were soon driven back. I daresay you have read the account in the papers at home before now. We have had a lot of riding lately-about 250 miles. One day we were twenty hours in the saddle. I can tell you I was getting sore from riding so much. Going into more detail, in a letter dated May 27th, he says: We left Greytown to attack the Boers at Pomeroy, where they were in great force. Our column consisted of the B. R.I., I.L.I. (Frank's regiment), two guns of the Natal Field Artillery, two naval guns (15-ponuders), two Hotchkiss guns, and 70 of the Umvoti Mounted Riflles. Ou arriving at Pomeroy, we found the Boers in strong force in the hills behind it. My squadron was sent out on the right flank, and we thought we might get some hard fighting there, as it was expected the Boers would retire that way. Another squadron was sent on the left flauk, and the I.L.I., and U.M.R. attacked in the centre. Our big gulls opened on the Boer positions about 7 a.m., while our men attacked in the centre. Well, before our men got half way up the hill we could see the Boers retiring for all they were worth towards tielpmakaar. When we were at the top of the hill a message came for mv squadron to advance. Just as the message came we could see a very large number of horsemen galloping along the ridge of the hills. We thought they were Boers, and wondered because they rode in such military style—something unusual for them. It was not long before we discovered, to our delight, that they were not Boers at all, but General Buller's Flying Column, pursuing the enemy from the Lady- smith side. We were not long in joining the main column again, after being separated for a long time. The Boers made a little stand at Help- makaar, but our big guns soon shifted them. It was then just getting dark, so we camped for the night. I might tell you that the Boers had burnt Pomeroy to the ground. Well, as soon as it was light the next morning, we made another start to follow up the Boers, and passed miles of wagons, infantry, and artillerv. that had started before us. It was a sight worth seeing. On reaching Helpmakaar we found that the Boers had burnt that to the ground also, and had set lire to the grass on the veldt for about twenty miles of the march to hide their retreat. The grass being very dry the fire would spread for miles. We had also to put up with the dust, which fairly blinded us. We visited a good many farms on the road, which were furnished grandly, and pianos, harmoniums, &c., which the Boers had commandeered from loyal farmers. The occupants had all cleared with the Boers, and in such a hurry that they had left their partly prepared dinners. We ultimately camped close by a farm named Kemp's, and having pulled saddles off and given the horses a feed, a friend and I went to the house, and found sandwiches, &c., cut on the table, apparently ready for the erstwhile occupants to take with them. They had had to clear in such a hurry, however, that they had left the food behind for us, and it went down very well I can tell you, as we were very hungry. We commandeered some feed for our horses, had a tune 011 the piano, and took a piece of cheese, some coffee, and tea, which we thought would be very use- ful on the march, and then left for camp to rest till morning. 3 Next day we were off again as soon as day- light broke, and arrived in Dundee about 3 o'clock. The Boers had no time to do much damage there. They had to go for all they were worth I can tell you. The few white families that had remained in Dundee through- out the war were pleased to see us also the natives. We camped a mile out of Dundee for a couple of days, and took a great number of Boer prisoners. They are giviug themselves up fast now. Then we were ordered to make a big patrol to a place called Nqutu in Zululand, about 30 miles ride, where we stopped two days and replaced the magistrate, &c. After we left there came the memorable ride and fight of the war for us-five squadrons of Bethune's Mounted Infantry. We left Nqutu about 9 o'clock in the morning for a 32 miles ride. My squadron (B) was to scout the country in advance of the main column. We did the work for about 25 miles till we came to the boundary of the Transvaal and Zululand called Blood River. Here we off saddled for half-an-hour to rest and feed our horses, some of them being done up, as scouting is hard work for them. E squadron, under Captain Goff, then took up the scouting, and things went all right till about 4 o'clock, when we got the order to gallop off as quickly as possible as our scouts had spotted the Boers. Just as we arrived on the battlefield we got the news that E squadron were cut off, and the Maxim gun men of D squadron were all killed. Our men fired a few shots, but the Boers were too many for us. They were trying to cut us off on the right flank. We retired to the back of three hills, waiting for the Boers to come around on our right flank, but they soon retired to their own position when our two Hotchkiss guns opened on them at about 5,000 yards. My squadron had to cover the whole of the regiment's retreat, but we came away with a lot less than we started with. We had 30 killed, 30 wounded, and 12 taken prisoners, the majority being of E squadron, with their Captain and two lieutenants killed. We went back to Nqutu, and arrived there at 4 30 the next morning, after being in the saddle for 19 hours. The worst of it was that when we got there we had nothing to eat. The next day our Colonel bought a bullock, and I had to kill it, so we had to eat meat alone. The next morning we started hack to Dundee-a two days' ride—with only meat to eat. I tell you we had a tough time of it till we got. there, and since we have arrived here I have been very busy killing 25 and 30 sheep a week." He con- cludes by giving camp rumours as to the progress of the war in other parts of the field. Mrs. Tyrrell has just received two letters from her sou, Sergt. A. J. Tyrrell, of the 2nd Devons. The first is dated 16th May, from Dundee. It runs We arrived here yester- day, after beiuif nine days on the march. We have been in touch with the Boers these last six days, their strength being estimated at 3,000 strong, and 14 guns. They have, however, fought in a very disheartened manner, having f o Li! left some splendid positions as soon as our Artillery have got into action. They would fire a parting shot and trek. They have nothing near the pluck they had three months ago. We are staying here to-day to give the oxen a rest. They arrived very late last night with the trausport, having had to travel 15 miles over very rough ground. We have no canvas with us, only two blaukets per man, and we find the nights very cold. We are up at 3 a.m., and on our way by 4 a.m. We shall go on to- morrow, and probably reach Newcastle on Saturday. We shall then probably go into the Transvaal, VIA Majuba aud Laings Nek, so we may reach Pretoria in time for some extra fun after all. I don't think we shall see any more of the Boers this side of the Transvaal." In conclusion, he reports that he is in good health, and asks for the "Observer" to be sent on regularly, as he receives it all right. Writing from Newcastle on the 22nd May, he says We arrived here last Friday, after having done a forced march of 22 miles. We had only two men in our Regiment fall out, and we were praised by General Cleary for our splendid marching. We shall probably remain here until the railway is repaired, and communication has been restored. Our scouts report that Laings Nek and Majuba Hill are clear, and the people here in Newcastle are certain that the Boers have retired right back to Pretoria. A large number of Boers have come in and given themselves up, since we have been here. They say they are heartily sick of it, and wish it was all over. We have ¡ not heard any news of Lord Roberts for some time, so we do not know how things are progressing in the Transvaal. We all hope, however, to be in England by August Bauk Holiday," All sincerely trust that peace, at any rate, will have been declared before that, but it is hardly probable we shall be able to welcome I our gallant boys at home at so early a date. Since the receipt of a letter from Pretoria, of which extracts were published in this column, uo news has been received from Bert Billiugham, so that his relatives at Usk do not know whether he was amongst the number liberated by the British entry into Pretoria, or amongst those previously moved north by the Boers. It may be, if he were amongst the former, that he was again associated with Colouel Bullock in withstanding a. portion of De Wet's commando between Kroonstad and Honing Spruit on the 23rd inst. The gallant Colonel refused to surrender when once more surrounded, and was, after a heavy shell and rifle fire, relieved by the arrival of reinforcements despatched by General Knox.






I Imperial Federation.