Under The Union Jack, No. 3, Vol. 1, November 25th 1899

UNDER THE UNION JACK. [Nov. 25,1899 cooking-pot is smashed by a shell, and they pickup the fragments and sell them at high prices by auction they carry on their civil business they conduct their social diversions and Mr. Rhodes finds time to plant an avenue. As for Mafeking, the defence there is magnificent, and will always live in history. Colonel Baden-Powell is the very man for the placs—alert, astute, watchful, courageous, and inspiriting, the very type of a good Englishman. He has made his garrison of tough colonials the splendid force it is. Seeing the hopelessness of reducing the place by bombard mentor threats—his summons to surrender being derided —Commandant Cronje determined to attempt to approach the place by successive parallels or diagonal trenches. Here Colonel B:iden-Powell saw a danger, and now at home we may reflect upon what it is for this little garrison to have to issue forth from its shelter and to attack the enemy in his intrenches order to win security. On October 27th a superbly heroic night attack was delivered by Captain Fitz- clarence’s squadron of the Protectorate Regiment, l'he men crept forward silently, without a word or a shot, in the dark until they got within striking distance, when the shrill whistle sounded the charge. Then, with a ringing cheer, they leapt into the enemy’s trenches with the bayonet, and there was a terrible struggle. Fearful havoc was wrought among the Boers, and then our men withdrew scattering as they came homeward. Six Englishmen were killed and nine wounded, among the latter being Captains Fitzclarence and Swinburne, both slightly, and Colonel Baden-Powell met the heroes as they returned, and warmly congratulated them 011 their success. After this brilliant affair the Boers confined themselves for some days to a heavy, but ineffective bombardment, but on October 31st Cronje made a great attack. The town guns were ordered out, and after live hours of artillery lighting the enemy were driven back, mainly by a withering Maxim fire, their own 12-pounder being putout of action. T h r eat sand Promises. The Boers, on their part, have promised many wonderful things. They will “stagger humanity” rivalling the wife of Archduke Albert, who swore, in 1601, that her linen should go unchanged until the fall of Ostend—which took place in 1604—some of them have sworn to remain unwashed until we are driven into the sea they have promised to make a breakfast of 50,000 Englishmen, or, failing this, to trek away into the mountains of Zoutpansberg, and there defy us until the last. But about 30,000 men of Sir Redvers Buller’s Army Corps have arrived at the Cape and in Natal. Before long we shall have nearly 80,000 men in the field, exclusive of Colonial troops and the Naval Brigades, and Sir Charles Warren’s division of 10,000 more will soon be putting to sea. It is therefore clear that the loud vapourings of the Boers will presently appear in their true light. Level-headed Englishmen are not discouraged by incidental mishaps or disasters, and they are the more confident now that fuller accounts of the earlier battles have been received, because these show what splendid material we have in the field, .ind what a gallant, headlong fighter is this same “absent-minded beggar,” whose wife and children we are protecting at home. One cannot help quoting what the limes correspondent says of the gallantry at Elandslaagte :“The critical moment had arrived. Out rang the bugle, such buglers as were unhurt took up the note Drum-M ajor Lawrence of the Gordon Highlanders rushed out into the open and headed the line, playing the fateful call. The sound of the Devonshire bugles came up from the valley bottom, and the persistent rhythm of their firing gave heart to the flank attack. Waves of glittering bayonets danccd forward in the twilight. Twenty determined men still held the final kopje. Again the bugles sounded ‘the advance,’ then the‘ ceasefire ’rang out. There was a lull in the firing men stopped and stood up clear of the cover. In a moment the Boers reopened and swept away a dozen brave men. But the dastardly ruse was a last and futile effort to save the day. Lieutenant Field at the head of his company of the Devonshire Regiment, was into the battery with the bayonet the men who had served the guns till the steel was 6ft. away from them were shot or bayoneted. Devons, Manchesters, H ghlanders, and Light Horsemen met and dashed for the laager in the dip below. It was a wild three minutes men were shouting‘ M a ju b a !’Then in honest cadence the ‘ceasefire ’sounded, the pipes of the Gordons skirled the regimental quickstep, and we saw a sight which thrilled us all, tlie white flag fluttering from a Mauser carbine held by a bearded Boer.” A11 indication or promise of the future is found in the action taken by the Boers. They have seized and destroyed several of the bridges on the lines 011 the Cape Colony Frontier, and they tell us they blew up the railway bridge over the Tugela at Colenso in Natal, on November 15th. In a word they were wrecking the lines in order to impede our advance. They have lost hope of advancing in force themselves. Their mobility may enable them to make raids and to move rapidly from point to point, but they are far more likely to end in Zoutpansberg than in CapeTown. Future O taper ions. From all indications that are available we infer that their case has now become desperate. They never relish the, making of attacks in force 011 well-defended positions, but they ventured atone Mafeking, and the assault 011 Ladysm ith on November qth had quite that character. They shelled the* place 011 all sides, and developed a general attack with considerable bold­ness. They even attempted to approach the place by regular siege works, and a wonderful account is given of their trenches. Of course, confirmation must be awaited of the amazing story. For some reason not easy to explain they left the principal intrench order to look after their horses, a movement which was at once observed and taken advantage of by the British. Our gallant fellows advanced unperceived, and occupied the very trench the enemy had made and presently, when the original occupants returned, they were met by a withering fire. Great slaughter resulted, while our loss was trifling. If this story be true in its details, it shows the ineptitude of the Boer methods, while it illustrates the desperate character of his game. We may see this also from the futile effort made last Saturday morning to rush Estcourt from the north-west. Again the Naval gunners seem to have done good service. A single shell from one of their guns, supplemented by long range volleys from the Dublin Fusiliers, caused the Boers to retire precipitately. They had probably dis­covered that we were in much greater strength than they supposed. Lieutenant-General Sir C.F. Clery is now in command in Natal, and his force, composed of 10,000 men at least, is growing*stronger. The probability is that the Boers will find it expedient to adopt a cautious policy and withdraw before they are caught in a trap, and they may count themselves lucky if they are able to carry “Long Tom ”and their other big guns with them. They do not, we maybe sure, overlook the fact that Lord Methuen, with the Guards’ Brigade and other troops, including a brigade from the fleet, and with cavalry and guns, is operating 011 the Western Frontier. At the Orange River Station he has an impregnable and well-supplied base, ever growing stronger, from which we may expect Bloemfontein to be approached. At any rate— and probably before these lines appear— the Boer attack upon Kimberley will have been rolled back. Evidently the new and satisfactory chapter of the war is beginning. The photographs are owned by Messrs. Bourne and Shepherd, Crockett, Ciumning, Cribb, Elliott and I'ry, Gregory, C. Knight, Kerry, Lynch, Lekegiau, Roberts, R . Thiele, and G. \V. Wilson, Aberdeen. THE NAVY AND ARMY ILLUSTRATED.
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