Under the Union Jack, No. 11, Vol. 1, January 20th 1900

244 UNDER THE UNION JACK. {Jan. 20,1900. troops— except the Royal Dragoons and Beth u n e’s Horse— made a reconnaissance towards Colenso at two o’clock in the day. General H ildyard, with the guns, being on the left, and General Barton on the right, and the mounted troops covering the Hanks. The kopjes behind C olenso— where it appears likely there were very few Boers— Hand langw an e Hill were heavily shelled, and the infantry halted at 3,000yds. from Colenso at six o’clock, and half-an-hour later the whole force retired. O n tub Western F ron tier .The difficulties of Lord M ethuen’s advance have been undoubtedly great, and it is doubtful if any expedition has ever before attempted to conduct operations at a distance of 1,000 miles from its base. This fact, and the enormous difficulty of feeding and supplying a great body of men, may account for the inactivity on theM odder River. Concerning the situation at the camp there is really nothing, as we write, to report. A t the New Year the soldiers were able to devote themselves to the diversions of the gymkhana, and seem to have had a good time, which will encourage them for the work they have to undertake. The enemy are instill force Mat agersfontein, and contrive to occupy an immense frontage, their line of works being crescent shape and almost enclosing our flanks. A t Kimberley itself all is well,and the place is in nightly communication with the camp on the Modder. It is now seen that Colonel P ilch er’s operation at Sunny- sids and Douglas was purely a raid, and a most successful one, reflecting the utmost credit upon everyone concerned. Thi? affair was a complete success the best dispositions were de,n«. and the Boers were beaten at their own game. The men from Toronto stood a galling fire with admirable patience, and never wasted a shot, and Captain Bell, in charge of their Mi! :im, and Captain B elham ,¦with the Q ueenslander’s machine gur), did very good work. Major Bay ly ,of the Queensland contingent, and Lieutenant Ryan, with the Mounted Infantry, rendered admirable service. On the first day of the raid the toroti marched 21 miles, on the second 20 miles, and had its fight with tbe Boers, on the third 15 miles, with the refugees in company, and on the fourth 24 miles. Horses and men lived on tbe country, paying the loyalists for food and forage, and commandeering whatever they wanted from the disloyalists. A t M afeking, Colonel Baden -P ow ellis still holding his own. His gallant sortie on December 26th upon the stru:g position at Game Tree, two miles fromM afeking, appears to have been deprived of its effect through the con­veying of information by spies. Our officers and men charged against tbe enem y's fort through a terrible zone of fire, some of them even into the very ditch, where two officers thrust their revolvers through the enem y’s loopholes, only to be shot themselves tbe next moment. The wounds inflicted upon our troops were of a terrible character, and thete could be nc- doubt that explosive ballets were used. A protest was ma te,and a field-cornet did cot deny that such bullets had been in the hands of the Boers, though he believed they had all been expended. The fall of K urum an— a small place between V ry burg and M afeking— on January and was unfortunate, but has little n rlita ry significance. With Generals G atacre and French. The Boers are in much strength in the neighborhood of Storm berg, where a serious reverse to General G atacre would abe great misfortune. Happily, their energy has been diverted to other quarters, and they have probably no force adequate to attack Sterkstroom ,while they have shown no fighting inability their operations about M olteno. Their purpose appears to be to g:iin possession of the Storm berg range of bills. W e were unable to hold Dordrecht, and fell back upon the branch line of railway from Sterkstroom to Indwe, and if they should be able to descend on that side tbrough Pen H o ek into the lower country in any force they would be in the rear of our troops Bat ushm an’s Hoek. A t the latter place the railway to Storm berg climbs by a number of sinuous curves, with many culverts, cuttings, and em bankm ents, and, if the enemy should cause us to fallback from the Pass, they might so damage it that months would be required for the work of repair. The attack which the Boers delivered on the Cape Mounted Police between Cyphergat and M olteno on January 3rd was a half-hearted business, and when General G atacre brought up forces from Sterkstroom the assailants fell back. Colonel Jeffries made a successful reconnaissance in force toM olteno on January 8th. A t Colesberg events have not developed so rapidly as we hoped, and, up to the time of writing, General French has not been able to possess himself of the place. H e has received reinforcements, including the Composite Regiment of Household Cavalry, and holds a strong position commanding the road to the passages across the Orange, but the position Cat olesberg itself is practically unchanged. The Boers attacked our left flank on January 4th, but were completely repulsed. Unfortunately, the situation has been darkened by a serious mishap to the Suffolk Regiment. Four companies advanced by night against a low hill occupied by the enemy, and at dawn on January 6th Lieutenant-Colonel Watson, who was at once mortally wounded, gave the order to charge. What happened is scarcely known was e write, but the “Retire ”was sounded, as is believed b they enemy, and while three-quarters of the force fell back, the rest remained in position until they were completely overpowered. The losses in killed, wounded, and prisoners are 161. Four officers were among the dead. Reinforcements from Home and the Colonies. The country has made a splendid response to the call that has been made upon it. The organisation of the Imperial Yeomanry, under Lord Chesham ,with the Prince of Wales as colonel-in-chief, proceeds apace, and there is not the slightest doubt that a larger number than is intended could be secured. The stream of applicants has been con­tinuous, and young men of exactly the right type, hardy, athletic, and fresh from country life, have presented them­selves, with others not less capable from offices in the City. An integral part of the corps will consist of gentlem enacting as mounted infantry, selected for their particular fitness derived from travelling in uncivilised countries, camping out, and tracking big game. But there is not space to describe the vigorous enthusiasm which is displayed in the creation either of the Imperial Yeomanry or of those Volunteer companies which are to be attached to the battalions of the Line. Many scenes of military enthusiasm have been witnessed in London at the swearing-in of the men who are to serve in the City of London Imperial Volunteers under the command of Colonel M ackinnon. This force is likely to be one of great efficiency, and the spirit which has been displayed in the organising of it is excellent testimony both to the patriotism and to the military spirit of the people. Meanwhile, the old constitutional force at home, the Militia, is taking its part. Seven battalions, five of them English, one Scottish, and one Irish, are proceeding for service in South Africa, and are expected to give an addition of 6,000 bayonets to the force at Lord R oberts’s disposal. When we contemplate such things w cane feel no doubt as to the future of South Africa or the larger prosperity of the British Empire. The colonial troops share with those from home in their loyal service. The second Canadian contingent left amid scenes of the greatest enthusiasm ,and the various additional forces from Australia and New Zealand will soon beat the front. T hK photographs used are owned by Messrs. Bassano, Bennett, Bullingham, Evelyn, Ford, Gregory (London), Laws Cancv, London Stereoscopic Company, Nicholls, and Temple. '•UNDER THE UNION JACK” HAS BEEN REPRINTED OYER AND OYER AGAIN.
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