Under the Union Jack, No. 13, Vol. 1, February 3rd 1900

292 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [Feb. 3,1900. Ladysm ith appear to have been honeycombed with trenches, so that the Boers were apparently in a position to contest our advance at every step. It could scarcely be expected, after the privations of the garrison of Ladysm ith and the hard fighting which has taken place there, that Sir George White would be in a position to render much aid until the Boers have been driven nearer to his stronghold. Between the range of which Spion Kop is the key and Caesar’s Camp, near Ladysm ith, there are many detached hills, which, if held in strength, would be upon the flank of our forward movement, and would probably have to be carried by direct attack. A s we write there is a decided success to announce. In a brilliant night attack, which we shall describe next week, the Boers on Spion Kop were surprised and routed. Our men behaved splendidly, and the hill was defended against a heavy fire all the next day, though with loss, and General W oodgate was wounded. The Western F ron tier. The position upon the Modder River is practically unchanged, but the camp is growing stronger, and the troops are in readiness for further operations. General Hector MacDonald has succeeded General Wauchope in command of the Highland Brigade, and confidence has been restored. The mounted troops,.as we have explained, have shown great mobility, and much maybe expected of them, whether the advance be towards Kimberley or Bloemfontein. On January 16th Lord Methuen made a demonstration in force, avery large number of troops being engaged the purpose was to ascertain the strength and the position of the enemy’s troops, and also to draw them away from Kimberley, where they have lately been displaying much activity. The object was attained, and it was found that the Boers were in great strength, and were being reinforced from the direction of Jacobsdal. The attack was mainly upon the enemy’s left flank, and was largely of the nature of an artillery duel, though the enemy did not waste much ammunition. Further reconnaissances were made on the following day and on January 23rd. At Mafeking there is still great activity among the assailants, who have received one or more new guns. They are apparently using some kind of incendiary shell, but the gallant garrison does not flinch, although the enemy has been firing at the women’s laager and hospital with brutal atrocity, several women and children having been mutilated. On January 3rd it was reported by a correspondent that the scenes of terror and consternation among the womenfolk were pitiable in tha extreme. These occurrences are naturally fanning a spirit of revenge in the breasts of the townspeople. There can be no doubt, moreover, that the Boers are using explosive bullets. For such barbarity it is certainly to be hoped that, collectively, and in the persons of individuals, they will be made to suffer. Colonel Plum eris advancing from his northern outpost to relieve or strengthen the garrison. He is now at Gaberones, while the enemy is showing considerable activity at Crocodile Pools, and fighting is very likely to occur. Unfortunately the force advancing south is bound to the railway, which the Boers are doing their best to wreck, while they have exactly ascertained the range from certain positions, and have been able to shell one or more of our armoured trains with great accuracy. The story of the operations, both at Mafeking and Tuli, will form a most interesting chapter in the history of the war. With Generals G a ta rec and French .Since we last wrote, very little progress has been made in the central theatre of war. General Gatacre is -not yet inadequate strength for any advance in force, and he is compelled to confine himself to minor movements in order to keep the enemy on the alert and, if possible, to disconcert their plans. The position, therefore, at Sterkstroom and Bushm an’s Hoek is practically unchanged. The colonial forces with General Gatacre are doing very good work, and it is, perhaps, owing mostly to fear of them that the Boers hesitate to make an inroad on the railway at Indwe, where it is of the greatest importance to prevent them from descending in force into the lower country from the Storm berg range of hills. No event of great importance has occurred at Colesberg, about which place General French has made excellent dispositions to cutoff the Boers from the Orange River. H e has not yet sufficient strength to enable him to attack them, but so soon as Lord Roberts can reinforce him we may expect vigorous inaction that region. Lyddite shells were used for the first time by General French’s artillery on January 20th, and the precision of the firing was most remarkable. The latest intelligence as we write is that the general has extended his line to the east, still further threatening the enemy’s communications. Otherwise there is no change in the situation. Additional Troops. While, at home, the Eighth Division is being mobilised, fresh troops are leaving our shores, and preparations are being made to despatch the Imperial Yeomanry, including two or more special corps of great efficiency, the colonies continue to show admirable enthusiasm. As one critic has remarked, no man since Pitt has done so much to strengthen this country by evoking national sentiment as President K rug e rand indeed it is not too much to say that the war has wrought great things for the Empire, having already effected a great deal towards welding it together still more strongly. Lord Roberts, who fully recognises the value of colonial troops, has made an excellent move in authorising the formation of a special division under Colonel Brabant, with the rank of brigadier-general. The Division will include Brabant’s, Nesbitt’s, and Bay ’sly Horse, the Cape Mounted Rifles, the Frontier Mounted Rifles, amounted section of the Kaffrarian Rifles, mounted Volunteers from the CapeTown High­landers, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Own at CapeTown, Prince Alfred’s Guards at Port Elizabeth, and the First City Volunteers at Grahamstown, with an irregular force of 1,500 men now to be raised. The 2nd and 3rd Regiments of the South African Light Horse have happily been christened Roberts’s and Kitchener’s Horse. At Sydney extraordinary enthusiasm attended the departure of the second portion of the second Australian contingent. The value of these troops lies in the fact that many of the men are accustomed to bush life, are good marksmen, and are perfectly at home in the saddle, and a Mr. Lyne, the New South Wales Premier, remarked, Great Britain is now finding her colonies a valuable nursery ground, while they on their part are prepared to supply to her a force which is rapidly becoming a powerful adjunct to the British arms. The total of the first and second Australasian contingents amounts to over 3,200 men. The formation of a special Bushmon’s Corps has been authorised, and 1,100 men, mostly stockmen and others of that class, will proceed to South Africa. In Canada the same spirit is manifested, and no better evidence could be found of the strength of Imperial sentiment in the Dependency than was .witnessed on January 19th, when practically the whole population of Ottawa turned out to greet the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Mounted Rifles on their way to the Cape. This is a splendid corps drawn from the North-West Territories, and composed of men of fine physique accustomed to the rough life of the prairies, and, as Lord Minto said, well suited to do good work against irregular troops, for the Canadian Riflemen have experience of rough life, the quick eye of the sportsman, and knowledge of wild country, and they are led by well-tried ofiicers. The photographs used are owned by Messrs. Chancellor, Ellis, Ford, Green, Gregory (London), Kuight, Mann, Rodwell, Stone, Swaine, Taylors, and Withers. The “STRAND” War Map has been reprinted oyer and over again.
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