With The Flag To Pretoria

64 With the Flag to Pretoria. Feb. 161900. a laager at Dronfield with one gun several waggons and a great quantity of stores. In the British division neither men nor horses had food or water from early in the morning till late at night and the suffering of all was terrible. The horses in particular already sorely tired by their 150 miles ride from Modder River Camp to Kimberley began to drop right and left in the most alarming manner. Those that still staggered on were mere bundles of skin and bone in the most urgent need of a weeks rest and food which however was not to be theirs. Already a messenger had income from the south-east to say that Cronjes force was moving swiftly along the Modder had destroyed the field telegraph and was engaged with the British infantry at K lip Drift. But no confirmation of the intelligence and no order from the British headquarters as yet reached General French nor did he hear the sound of guns. He concluded therefore that the report was Orders to head Cronje. THE BOER GUN CAPTURED AT DRONFIELD. erroneous or at least premature moreover, the state of his horses rendered another long ride back to Klip Drift all but impossible of I V jiv ¦\immediate execution. r f iKe A .Art i s /.wm H e gave his staff leave riili- .{to sleep late into the^ 1 V f morning 5 k G B A ^our days° f continu- ' jP %\'H L 011s hard work and ^him self retired to sleep RECEPTION IN CAPETOWN OF THE NEWS OF THE RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY .ge C p Q.f tie just when an order of the highest importance from Lord Kitchener arrived. It stated that Cronje was in full retreat from Magersfontein with all his waggons baggage and four guns along the line of the Modder to Bloemfontein that Lord Kitchener had already engaged him and if General French with every available horse and man could head him and prevent his crossing the river at the Paardeberg Drifts the infantry from Klip Drift would follow with all speed overtake him and surround him. Such a message admitted of no excuses or delays— not that General French was the man for either— and orders were at once issued for the only brigade available and three batteries to start with the dawn. But it is now time to- turn from General French and his doings to the tale which the people of Kimberley had to tell him. END OF VOLUME I .+For revised figures of losses and some corrections see Preface.S
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