Under the Union Jack, No. 17, Vol. 1, March 3rd 1900

388 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [March 3,1900. ‘Or more parties, for General French left Kimberley in order to pursue a body of them more to the north, and though, •as we write, the facts are not fully known, the exigencies of illustrative journalism will not allow these pages to-day to tell the full tale of the victory, but next week the sequence shall betaken up. The country has heard with great regret that the names of gallant General Hector MacDonald and of General Knox appear in the list of wounded. The wounds of the former seem to be severe. These operations will necessarily have an immediate effect in the other theatres of the war, and it is extremely probable that rapid developments will take place, giving our troops new opportunities of employing their splendid qualities in the service of the Empire. The long-tried garrison of Mafeking will undoubtedly be relieved, and that, perhaps, automatically. The latest accounts from the beleaguered town show no falling off in the fine spirit that has inspired the military and civilian population. But there is intense exasperation at the barbarity of the Boers in bombarding the convent, which is used as a convalescent hospital, and the women’s laager, and it is earnestly to be hoped that the heart­less wretches who perpetrate such savagery will meet with the proper reward. On the Southern F ron tier. Changes are occurring as we write in the neighbourhood ¦of the Orange River, for the pressure has already been reduced upon the position held by General Clements. It has, indeed, been asserted that 10,000 Boers have been withdrawn from the neighbourhood of Colesberg— to which they had been drawn by the threatened advance Non orval’s Pont— in order to succour the retreating force of Cronje. There was severe fighting on February 12th and 13th near Colesberg, where our forces were outnumbered at least five to one. It is said that 4,000 or 5,000 Boers were in the field on the early morning of the 12th, when an attack was opened upon the position occupied by the Worcester Regiment, near Slingersfontein. Considerable loss was inflicted upon the assailants as they came up in overwhelming force, but Colonel Coningham of the Worcesters was mortally wounded, and the regiment lost its Maxim gun. The brave sergeant who stayed behind to destroy it by hurling heavy stones upon it, was shot dead, and many others fell. An •orderly retirement was made to Rensburg. On the left wing also the Boers delivered a tremendous attack after shelling us at long range with a big gun. They came up, with Vickers-M axim s,in great numbers against a troop of the Inniskillings and the Victoria Mounted Rifles. The Innis- killings were cutoff, but they declined to surrender, and cut their throughway a great body of the enemy, their front rank using the lance and the rear rank the sword. Three officers were wounded, and the Victoria Mounted Rifles had three out o f four officers and over twenty men killed. Twenty of them were caught in a trap, but, rather than surrender, they died like men, and were found with their bayonets stained with iblood. It had been a sanguinary business, and in view of the overpowering force of the Boers, General Clements decided to retire to Arundel, where the Boers have since been active, and the general has kept them on the alert. The time will soon come for him to advance. General Brabant, the gallant commander of the colonials, promised them a feast of fighting, and he has kept his word. In command of amounted division of his forces, about 2,000 strong, he left Penhoek on February 15th early in the morning, and marched with his slow-moving ox-train over the open veldt and through a mountainous and difficult •country, bivouacking at night in the heart of the rebels’ region. On the next morning he pushed forward and began fighting, which lasted all day. The brave colonials cleared •out the enemy from successive positions under a terrific rifle Are, and at midnight rushed forward with the utmost gallantry and drove them out at the point of the bayonet from their last position, which was an important one overlooking Dordrecht. The result of the operation was that the Boers, having lost heavily, fell back to the north of that place, which has since been occupied. There were many instances of conspicuous gallantry in that long day’s fighting ending with a bayonet charge. General Bull e r’s Advance. It began to be noticed by the long-suffering garrison of Ladysm ith that something unusual was happening in the Boer lines to the north of the place on February 1 6th, which was the very day upon which General Kelly-Kenny was dealing so severely with Cronje. Intelligence of the invasion of the Orange Free State had evidently reached the laagers of the Free Staters outside Ladysm ith, and there is reason to believe that a number of them left the scene of their inactivity order to look after important matters nearer home. On the next day intelligence of General French’s victory, and of the relief of Kimberley, reached the garrison, who received the news with delight. One correspondent heliographed that the Boers had been very active, and were evidently making a move somewhere. Sir Redvers Buller, therefore, took steps to expedite their progress. H e had occupied Hussar Hill, and two days later attacked a wooded hill named Cingolo, an addition, let it be noted, to our knowledge of the topography of that region, being part of a high range running east of Hlangwane towards the Tugela. The attack was delivered on February 16th, when the infantry by a flank movement on the right captured the hill without much resistance. During the next day the guns were active, and on the 1 8th the Queen’s, who had bivouacked on the northern slope, crossed the nek, and, supported by the rest of Hildyard’s Brigade, assaulted and captured the southern end of Monte Cristo—another new name in the map— while the 4th Brigade advanced on the western side, and the 6th Brigade— the Royal Welsh Fusiliers leading— assaulted the eastern flank, and the cavalry swept round on the same side. This combined operation so disconcerted the Boers that they made very slight resistance, and abandoning their strong position were driven across the Tugela, several laagers and large quantities of ammunition and stores falling into our hands. Many of the regiments distinguished themselves, and the accurate fire of the naval guns from Chieveley was of great assistance. The advantage gained was very great, and General Buller lost no time in making use of it. On the 19th his guns opened fire from the captured heights and swept the enemy’s trenches at Colenso. Our artillery fire has been tremendous during this fighting, and the position of the Boers at Colenso has since become untenable. On the day when we captured Monte Cristo the naval gun knocked out the “Long Tom ”on Hlangwane Hill at the first shot, and General Buller greatly complimented the gunners. But wherever we look our troops and their seamen comrades are winning fresh laurels and maintaining the glorious traditions of their Services. General Buller has since captured Hlangwane and occupied Colenso, thus taking with little loss a place that cost us 1,100 casualties on December 15th. Part of his force, as we write, has crossed the Tugela, and although forecasts may not be wise, it seems safe to conclude that the relief of Ladysm ith will presently be announced. The country has long been anxious, but at last the turn of the tide has come, though we have still many difficulties before us. Some of the photographs used here are owned by Messrs. Bettison, Ferguson and I-Iarrison, Hughes and Mullins, Harvey, Miell and Ridley, Roche, and Russell. By special arrangement with the pro­prietors of the King we. are also able to reproduce in this number five of their photographs. “UNDER THE UNION JACK” HAS BEEN REPRINTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN,
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