Under the Union Jack, No. 14, Vol. 1, February 10th 1900

316 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [Feb. 10,1900. powder. There are persistent rumours that the Boers on that side are growing very discontented, and that their situation is becoming intolerable. Their laagers are in an insanitary condition, fever is spreading among them, and they are short of vegetable food, while, according to a camp rumour on our side, they are suffering from a disease called “fright,” which attacks them like ague and puzzles the doctors. All this maybe true, but it does not indicate any intention on the part of Cronje to retire, and the night and morning shelling of his position is perhaps not doing any great damage. The vigorous spirit still continues in Kimberley, where the whole wage-earning community of the De Beers Company have turned soldiers. These men number 6,ooo, and the white population of the town is 14,000. The bombardment of the place seems to do little damage, while anew 30-pounder, made by the De Beers Company, and known as “Long Cecil,” has been shooting very straight. Still further north we have“ .PB .”maintaining his gallant defence of Mafeking, awhile rumour is going about that Colonel Plumer, who is known to be marching south, has actually joined him. On January 17th, however, Colonel Plumer was at Gaberones, which is about go miles north of Mafeking, and was having skirmishes with the Boers on the railway. With Kelly -Kenny, taG a re,c and French .Lord Roberts appears to have determined to resume the original plan of operations and to advance upon Bloemfontein. This does not imply that he regards the campaign in Natal as hopeless, for, on the contrary, there are indications that the operations are to be energetically prosecuted there. General Kelly-Kenny, who is in command of the Sixth Division, has proceeded with a column to occupy Thebus, which is 011 the line between Rosmead and Stormberg. The move is one of great importance, because it marks a co-ordination of efi'ort, and that a considerable force, having Kelly-Kenny in the centre, Gatacre on the right wing, and French on the left, will shortly be moving on the Orange River, sweeping before them or capturing those Boers and disloyal colonists who have been opposing Generals Gatacre and French. When the Eighth Division has landed at CapeTown, there will be considerably over 50,000 men, with about 250 guns, available for the advance, and the many volunteers who are outgoing will relieve Lord Roberts from any anxiety as to the com­munications of his forces. In this region, at least, there should be no deadlock. Meanwhile, General French has been able to take no decisive action at Colesberg, though he is gradually drawing round the Boer position there and gaining strength, so that success may soon be expected. On January 25th the howitzers shelled Suffolk Hill and the kopjes north of Colesberg, while General French made a movement in force with cavalry, guns, and infantry from Coleskop towards the Colesberg Bridge, where he attacked the Boer position com­manding the bridge road, seven miles north of Colesberg. Jt was hoped to carry the position, but the Boers were reinforced, and the general cautiously withdrew. At the same time demonstrations were made from Potfontein and Slingers- fontein, and the Boer laager at Achtertang was shelled. General Gatacre is still holding his position at Sterkstroom and Bushman’s Hoek, and the situation is unchanged there, which is good news, since it shows that the enemy is in no position to take action, and undoubtedly when General Kelly-Kenny advances the position will beat once relieved. Volunteers from Home and the Colonies. There is no diminution of enthusiasm among the men who have joined the colours of the Volunteer troops which are out.going The third contingent of the C.I.V., consisting of 135 officers and men, and completing the infantry section of the regiment, left London for South Africa on January 27th. That section will be 1,400 strong, and the quick-firing guns and ammunition column, manned by 150 Volunteers, have since departed. A solid and practical result has thus issued from the patriotism of the City of London. The first section of the Imperial Yeomanry has also It ft for South Africa, embarking on January 27th and 28th at Liverpool. The enthusiasm was immense, and the officers and men received a great ovation. In all about 1,000 Yeomen embarked without a hitch. They are of the very best material for South African campaigning, and their physique leaves little to be desired. Tall, sturdy, intelligent, and active, they are mostly drawn from the healthy farming class, and, in their well-made khaki tunics, with cartridge bandoliers, their slouch hats and riding breeches, with tight-strapped riding leggings, they are the very type of seasoned soldiers, though doubtless they need experience to complete their efficiency. That section of the force known as the Duke of Cambridge’s Own is receiving many recruits, and will probably embark by the middle of February, while, as we overwrite, 200 excellent men have come forward to join that special corps of which Lord Loch has charge. Many of these have already served in the Cape Mounted Rifles, the Beclnianaland Border Police, the Chartered Company’s forces, orin other corps which have been employed in South African wars. Another very interesting force that is being raised is Lord Lovat’s, which will consist of gillies and others thoroughly practised in deer­stalking in the Highlands. The Strathcona Horse, now being organised in Canada from scouts and rough-riders, will bean admirable force under command of Colonel Sam Steele, who has been an officer in the North-West Police for twenty years, and possesses the highest qualities of a leader. A similar corps in someways will be that of the Bushmen, now being embodied at Sydney. Nearly 600 men have passed the efficiency tests, and enrol­ ments are being made everyday. Fifty well-drilled stockmen, with their horses, from the district of Forbes arrived on January 23rd, and the whole contingent will consist of about 1,100, of whom 525 will represent New South Wales. Like embodiment is ongoing also at Melbourne. Colonel Airey will be in command of the Bushmen’s Corps, and hard training is proceeding at Randwick Camp. India is not behind in the matter of help, and the native princes have shown the best inspirit their contributions. Mounted infantry, to the number of 350, left Rangoon on January 24th, and Lumsden’s Horse promises to abe vigorous force of excellent men, and is being rapidly organised at Calcutta. Such is the Imperial spirit that is to repair the catastrophe of Spion Kop. Many misfortunes have befallen us since hostilities began in South Africa, but nothing to equal in gravity the carnage of the hill, and the reverse that is implied by the retirement south of the Tugela. Lieutenant-Colonel Thorneycroft, of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who ordered the re­tirement from the Kop, has won the approbation of Sir Redvers Buller, who has declared that “his personal gallantry saved a difficult situation, and that under a loss of at least 40 percent, he directed the defence with conspicuous courage and ability throughout.” There certainly will be no indisposition this country nor anywhere throughout the Empire to relax effort when we think of the magnitude of the interests we have at stake, of the manner in which the campaign has been conducted by the enemy, of the frequent abuse of the white flag, and of the gross violation of international law which has been perpetrated in the commandeering of British subjects to fight in the Boer ranks, and the shooting, as a public male- fictor, of at least one brave Englishman who resolutely refused to bear arms against his countrymen. All honour to the memory of John McLachlan !The photographs used are owned by Messrs. Charleton, Cummings, Crockett. Elliott and Fry, W. Gregory and Co. (London), Herzoir and Higgins, Joye. Hepburn and Jeanes, Laws Canev. H. W. Nicliolls (Johannesburg), Stranack, Spradbrow, J .Thomson, and G. YV. WilsOil (Aberdec 11). “UNDER THE UNION JACK ”HAS BEEN REPRINTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
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