Under the Union Jack, No. 12, Vol. 1, January 27th 1900

268 UNDER THE UNION JACK. {Jan. 27, igoc have had but one casualty, but in the H arrism ith commando fifteen were killed, including three Field -Cornets— L yo Ven,D illiers, and D e Ja ger— and the H eilbronn and Kroonstad commandos also suffered considerably. This does not, of course, tell the whole story, and there can be no doubt that Sir George White inflicted terrible losses upon his opponents, and chiefly upon the Free Staters, who were sent by the Boer general to the most difficult points. Ont iie Western F ron tier. The situation at theM odder River has, as we write, been almost unchanged, except by the excellent work done by the reconnaissances which have been made. Lord Methuen himself appears to be ill, and there is some probability of a change of command. The greatest dissatisfaction exists among the troops in regard to the attack Mat agersfontein, and private letters are full of complaints. N o shadow of biam e rests upon the unfortunate General W auchope. It is more pleasant to turn from this subject to the splendid work done by General B.abington, Colonel Pilcher, and some other energetic officers. Although Colonel Plum er from T u li penetrated along distance into the Transvaal, it fell to General B abington to make the first advance in great force into the enem y’s territory. On January 8th, with the 9th and 12th Lancers and a battery of Horse Artillery, he marched out to H oneynestkloof, where the Victorian Mounted Rifles joined him under Captain M cL eish ,and the force then proceeded to Ram den, where a commando had been reported, but no enemy was seen. The Victorians went forward fully twenty miles into the reF eState, and the country was thoroughly searched. Meanwhile Colonel Pilcher, with a composite force, advanced in the direction of Jacobsd al, and Major B yrn e ,who was with him, arrived within four miles of that place. The two regiments of Lancers did splendid service, and the colonial troopers could not be bettered. In the course of the raid the Q ueenslanders surprised a family of FreeS taters, who had just prepared an excellent dinner for twelve. The alarmed farmer and his family fled, and the Australians sat down and enjoyed the meal. The significance of the work of the mounted troops is considerable. It shows that w e are learning the methods of the Boers, and are gaining mobility, and the enemy is clearly disquieted by this new development. A t M afeking, Colonel Baden wo-P ell still holds his own, but information concerning the place is very scanty. All was well on January 4th, but paper had out,run and the garrison paper could not be published. The Boers claim to have demolished a British fort on January 12th . A force is marching southward to join Colonel Bad en-Pow ell, and Captain Llewellyn reached a point four miles south of Gaberones. Unfortunately, the Boers had there found means to burn the bridge which our men had lately rebuilt. The Southern F ron tier. General French has not yet found it possible to capture Colesberg, though he has partially outflanked the Boers, and almost surrounds them, so that their retreat maybe difficult. It is greatly to be regretted that the general is not in stronger force. On January 10th and nth he made a reconnaissance round the enem y’s left flank, but was unable to complete the movement with full success. On January 15th the enemy was emboldened to attempt to carry one of our positions near Slingersfontein, but was brilliantly repulsed by the Yorkshire Regiment and the New Zealanders at the point of the bayonet, with the loss of 2 1 killed and about 50 wounded. The New Zealanders were specially complimented by the general. Our scouts are thoroughly investigating the country, and there have been several slighter brushes with the enemy, which have had no practical result. The strongest position of the Boers is between C olesberg and Slingersfontein, which is about ten miles to the south-east, and General French purpose’s is to close round them and completely cut them off from the Orange River. The Household Cavalry, unde Colonel N eeld, are with the troops, and have been doing goo< work, though Captain Ricardo and four troopers were cut ol and captured on January 7th. It is quite evident tha the serious mishap which befel the Suffolk Regiment on th previous day, when over 100 prisoners were taken and man killed and wounded, is now seen to have resulted from th efficient work of Boer spies and from a well-planned trick o their part. News from General G atacre has been very scanty, an he is anxiously awaiting reinforcements, without which forward movement is impossible. Very fortunately for uf the Boers seem to be in no great force, and there does nc seem to be much heart in their attack, though with mor energy and larger means they might very seriously hampe us in that quarter. Fortunately, Lord Roberts will soon b able to make a move. H e appears to have at his disposa the 13th Brigade of the Sixth Division, consisting of th< 2nd B edfordshire, the 1s t Royal Irish, the 2nd Worcestershire and the 2nd W iltshire, and the 14th Brigade will very soo be landed at the Cape. Meanwhile the Seventh Division i following, and some battalions of it will have arrived befor these lines appear. Rein for cements from Home and the Colonies. The daily papers are full of the enthusiasm which mark the departure of our auxiliary forces. The setting out of th first batch, comprising 500 officers and men of the City c London Imperial Volunteers— the “Lord Mayor’s Own was avery remarkable scene, and took many b y surprise It certainly deserved to be remarkable, because this wa the first occasion upon which Volunteers from hom have been embodied for active service abroad agains an enemy. The detachment included many members 0 the H onourable Artillery Company. Other embarkation will rapidly follow. The corps will be supplied with a four gun battery of V ickers-M axim quick-firers. These guns ar< capable of firing up to sixteen rounds per minute, ,wand itl the use of shrapnel, over 22,000 bullets can be discharged ii a single minute. Meanwhile the formation of the Imperia Yeomanry is going forward, with what success is not actuall known, for it appears that many candidates have been fount unsuitable, and it is uncertain whether the full number o 10,000 can be raised. It is much better that a comparativel small force of sound, well-trained men should outgo to Soutl Africa than a larger body composed of indifferent material In any case, a magnificent example has been set, and th formation of the special corps of Imperial Yeomanry is goinj on apace. Its members are men of independent mean? nearly all of them inexperienced hunting or big gam shooting, and each member will provide his own kit, mount and cost of transport to South Africa. The embodiment 0 colonial contingents goes forward, and wherever we look wi find the greatest enthusiasm prevailing throughout the Empire It would have been pleasant, indeed, to record the variou evidences of loyal support which are found in all our colonie and dependencies. Lord Strathcona has made a magnificen offer, which Lord L an sdo w n e has accepted. Quite apar from the Canadian contingents, he will provide a force of a least 400 mounted men and officers, raised in Manitoba, thi North -West, and British Columbia, and consisting of exper m arksm en, at home in the saddle, and thoroughly efficient a: rough-riders and scouts, and will equip and convey then to South Africa at his own charge. I f the misfortune we have suffered in that country have been grievous, the have rendered excellent service b y showing how strong am deep is the loyalty and devotion of our brothers beyon< the sea. The photographs used are owned by Messrs. Bassano, Chancellor Cummings, Elliott and Fry, Gregory and Co. (London), C. Knight Laws Caney, H. W. N icholls (Johannesburg), Pierson, and Temple. “UNDER THB UNION JACK” hag been reprinted OYer and over again.
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