Under The Union Jack, No. 4, Vol. 1, December 2nd 1899

7 G UNDER THE UNION JACK. [Dec. 2,1899. camp at Queenstown, directly on the Orange River. The Boers had crossed the river at several points, and were stirring up disaffection in the region of Colesberg, Burghersdorp, and Aliwal North, and securing the adhesion to their cause of Dutch farmers, theological students, and even of members of the Cape Legislature. The loyalists were outnumbered, but not inactive. The Free Staters occupied Colesberg on November 15th, overtook the keys of office, and attempted to hoist the flag. aBut loyal knife had partly cut the halyard, and as the flag went up it broke, and a knot left it flying—an evil omen—at half-mast. At Lady Grey the plucky postmistress refused to give up her keys, tore down the insolent Boer proclamation which announced the “annexa­tion” of the district, putin its place the loyal denunciation of the same, and, giving her unwelcome visitors a good rating with her tongue, sent them about their business. We had been compelled, before the arrival of reinforce­ments, to retire from Stormberg Junction and Naauwpoort, but the latter was occupied, about November 21st, by General Gatacre, while General French—who was in command of the troops at Elandslaagte, and escaped from Ladysmith just as the Boers closed round—was at Hanover, between De Aar and Naauwpoort, with 3,000 men, including cavalry. The position of the Free State Boers was thus dan­gerous, for awhile strong force was advancing to meet them on the south and west, Lord Methuen, at the Orange River, was in a position, while relieving Kimberley, to undertake a movement which might threaten to develop a serious menace on their rear. In the light of later events it may appear that the Free Staters on the Orange River have been sacrificed by General Joubert to his ambitious schemes in Natal. His strategy, “made in Germany,” is of such a nature that it may well tempt him to that vaulting ambition that o’erleaps itself. At any rate, the combinations of Sir Redvers Buller, which embrace the operations of three distinct columns, are destined to open the eyes of himself and his advisers. Lord M e thu en’s Victories. Lord Methuen’s advance northward from the Orange River has given him two brilliant victories. With about 7,000 men under his command, after a night march, he attacked the Boers in position at daybreak on November 23rd. The fighting centred about a place called Kaffir’s Kop, perhaps a dozen miles east of Belmont. Three ridges were carried in succession inmost gallant style, the last being prepared by Shrapnel. The Scots and Grenadier Guards advanced within fifty yards of the enemy's base, and, after meeting a galling fire, carried the kopje at the point of the bayonet with rousing cheers, while the 9th Brigade moved forward in extended order. The advance continued, and the Guards’ Brigade, the Northumberlands, and North- amptons stormed the second position in the teeth of a terrible fire. The Boers then (led to a further range of kopjes, but the Naval Brigade coming into action, they were driven off, and their laager and stores captured. The Lancers pursued for five miles, and if the cavalry had been stronger the rout would have been complete. Admirable pluck and tenacity characterised this action on our part, and every report is full of admiration for the splendid conduct of the Guards and their comrades. Our loss was severe, and was increased by the dastardly conduct of the enemy in treacherously using the white flag, a savage violation of the laws of war, against which Lord Methuen protested to the Boer commandant. The Times correspondent says that Lieutenant Willoughby was thus treacherously shot at by an ambush which had raised the white flag, and that Lieutenant Blundell was shot by a wounded Boer whom he was tending. Such dastardly conduct must meet its reward. Great numbers of Boers seem to have been killed, sixty-four waggons were burnt, and 50,000 rounds of ammunition and 750 shells destroyed. This victory was followed by another on Saturday, November 25th, at Graspan, the next station north of Belmont. The enemy was in a strong position, and at 5 a.m. was subjected to a hail of Shrapnel. He appeared to have retired, but, when the assault was made, there was furious resistance, and the fighting continued for hours. At last the place was carried and the Boers fled, the 9th Lancers operating in their rear. It was a glorious victory, of which full particulars have not been received at the moment of writing, but it was dearly bought by the loss of many valuable lives. The Naval Brigade, the Royal Marines, the 2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry, and the 1st Loyal North Lancashires covered themselves with honour. But the country has heard with keen regret of the death of that gallant officer, Commander Ethelston, of the “Powerful,” with whom fell Major Plumbe and Captain Senior of the Royal Marines. Certainly the price of victory is great when such men as these are killed. These battles were certainly fought fora larger purpose than the mere relief of Kimberley, which, besides, was not in immediate danger. Kimberley and M a fe king. There was hard fighting at Kimberley on Novembsr 16th. Colonel Scott-Turner made a brilliant sortie, and attacked the Boers in their trenches. They took exceeding care to conceal themselves, but our fellows opened a vigorous fire, while the Maxims poured a heavy fusillade upon the entrenched position, and the guns shelled the main position of the enemy on the hills beyond, firing Shrapnel at 1,500 yards. The trench party thereupon evacuated its position, afraid of the bayonet, and fell back on the main body, the Shrapnel doing good service. It was discovered, however, that the enemy was in stronger force than had been anticipated. Kimberley, how­ever, has shown itself well able to hold its own, and is almost rivalling the achievements of Colonel Baden-Powell at Mafeking, from whom the intelligence is very scanty. The Boers collected inconsiderable force between Belmont and Kimberley, with their headquarters, apparently, at Jacobsdal. That Kimberley will be relieved there can now be no manner of doubt—this may have happened even before these lines appear—but it does not follow that Lord Methuen will use his strong body of troops for the operation of direct relief. There are abundant possibilities of his operating to the east­ward in the direction of Fauresmith, whereby he would at once relieve the pressure upon Kimberley while he menaced the rear of the Boers on the Orange River, already confronted by General Gatacre, and at the same time he would be well on the way to Bloemfontein. The eagle does not catch flies, said the ancients, and we maybe sure that Lord Methuen will not use his splended force for a small operation. At the same time he has the care of Mafeking, now hard pressed, to consider. Happening sin Nat al. The victories of Lord Methuen have left but little space for the later events in Natal, which indeed, as we con­clude, are obscure. General Ilildyard made a brilliant sortie from Estcourt on November 23rd, in which he took the enemy by surprise. The East and West Surrey Regiments, the West Yorkshires, a Naval contingent, Bethune’s Horse, the Natal Police and Carbineers, and a battery of Artillery were inaction. The position was gallantly carried by the bayonet, and it was only when the enemy appeared in great force, and the object had been secured, that General Hildyard retired. A veil has fallen over Sir George White’s reported activity at Ladysmith, but we hope next w reek to be able to give an account of successful operations on his part, and of a thorough discomfiture of the Boers in Natal. The photographs used in this number are owned by Messrs. H. W. Armstrong, P. Charleton and Son, C. Cozens, S. Cribb, C. Cumming, R. Elds, F. G.O.S. Gregory, B. Harvey, Hepburn and Jeanes, Herzog and Higgins, C. Knight, Law (Umballa), Laws Caney, Miell and Ridley, Nicholls, C.R. Ryan, C. Sinclair, C.H. Temple, R. Thiele, and G. W. Wilson, Aberdeen. THE NAVY AND ARMY ILLUSTRATED
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