Under the Union Jack, No. 22, Vol. 2, April 7th 1900

A pil 7, ivuu.j UNDER THE UNION JACK. BATTLING FOR EMPIRE. EVENTS IN THE ORANGE STATE. W E remarked last week that the opposition in the Orange State— no longer “Free ”in the Govern ­mental sense— had collapsed, and subsequent events have shown that further resistance, at least south of theM odder, is scarcely to be expected. Such deplorable episodes as that which indicted such a serious loss upon the Brigade of Guards maybe expected if small detachments of our troops are rash or incautious. Sniping parties of Boers, like that of those Johannesburg Mounted Police who seriously wounded Lieutenant-C olonels Crabbe and Codrington, of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guard s,and killed Lieutenant Lygo n ,wounding also another officer of the Grenadiers, will doubtless still be found on the borders of the conquered country, and Lord Roberts is alive to the danger. It is, indeed, remarkable with what rapidity the southern half of the Orange State has settled down. The burghers have long been dissatisfied with the mad policy into which they were led by their “Brother Boers ”of the Tran sva a l,and Lord Roberts has promised those who desist from hostility, and are content to stay at home, that they will not suffer in their persons or property. The loyal colonists who have been spending their lives and substance in our cause are not altogether content that the men who have inflicted such losses upon them should not suffer if only they are wise in time. B u tit has to be remembered that time heals many breaches, and that our work is to bring about a settlement of the conquered Republic as soon as possible, with, of course, the understanding that neither it nor the Transvaal shall continue independent nor free, but shall be embodied in Her M ajesty’s dominions. Mr. Steyn declares that he fears the effect of Lord Rob erts’s proclamation more than the advance of our troops, and he has threatened those who temporise with us with the dire penalties of martial law. The Boer commandos which blocked our advance to the Orange River have mostly been broken up, and as we write are either disintegrated orin full flight. The victorious columns of Generals Clements, G atacre, Band rabant are sweeping all before them in a general advance to Bloemfontein and the line of theM odder Riv er, and Lord Robe rts'h a s taken steps to cutoff or disperse the fugitives. General French was promptly despatched toT h a baN chu, forty miles east of Bloemfontein, to threaten or impede the retreat of Commandant Olivier. H eliographic communication was opened with stations in the B asu to Mountains, and full intelli­gence was received as to the course taken by the fugitives. O livier’s force was the largest formed body of Boers in the south of the Orange State. H e retreated before the advance of General B raban tat A liw al North, and appears to have been joined by parties of burghers flying from B ethulie and N orval’s Pont before Generals G atacre and Clements. General B rabant occupied R o u xville on March 19th, and found that the Boer commandant had already escaped from the place. Tran svaalers to the number of 4,000 were reported south of D eWe t’s D orp trekking to the north-east, in the direction of Sand River and Lad yb rand ,and Generals G atacre Band rab ant despatched parties in pursuit, while the Basutos gathered on their hills to watch the course of events with a good deal of excitement, for it does not often happen that white men cut one another’s throats to make a B asuto holiday. The object of the Boers was to escape along the B asu to border­land to Lad yb rand and F ick sb u rg ,with the purpose of threatening Lord Rob erts’s flank in his advance from Bloem­fontein, or of joining the forces concentrating at Kroonstad to resist his direct attack. Olivier was accompanied by a great convoy of w aggons, and on March 24th was reported with 15, guns to have already passed north of Lad yb rand .The course of the operations in that quarter will be fully known before these pages appear, but it may possibly happen that General, French ’s cavalry may have proved inadequate to cut him off, though there is the best reason to hope that his force can only escape in a greatly reduced condition, probably with the loss of a large part o fits supplies. Here it is only possible to say that Colonel Pilcher entered Lady brandon March 26th with a small force, and that the same evening the Boers occupied it in great strength Having two days before got to the north of the town, it is rum oured that they have been checked, and that Lord Roberts, has been able to throw a strong force in O livier’s path, and. that he has retired to occupy the laP tb erg Heights which encircle Lad yb rand .It was instated Pretoria on the 22nd that the fugitives had got too far north to be interfered with by our forces. Meanwhile the three main columns are advancing through the country from the Orange River. On the east is General B rab ant, whose forces moved through R o u xville, occupied Zastron, and continued their march in pursuit of Olivier along the Basutoland border. General G atacre, having advanced to Springfontein, despatched a force eastward to Sm ithfield, in communication with General Bra ban t’s forces, and in touch also with thfe Scots Guards, whom General P o le-C arew had placed at Eden burg on the railway, and at Reddersburg, between that place and D eWe t’s D orp. On the west, General Clements marches in three columns through the country between the railway and the western frontier of the Orange State. The advance of his principal force is through Philip- polis and Fau resm ith ,and he has occupied both places. H e explained to the burghers the military and political situation, read Lord Rob erts’s proclamation, and received the surrender of many of them .The combined march of the forces under Generals Clements, G atacre, Band rab an twill bring them into line with Lord Roberts at Bloemfontein. K roonstad and t heB o erR e sis tan ce. Everything tends to show that the Boers intend to oppose Lord R o berts’s advance at K roonstad, where they are con­centrating their forces, making entrenchments, and mounting guns. General Jou bert visited the place, apparently then in command. K roonstad lies upon the railway just halfway between Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. It is upon the River V alsch, a tributary of the V a a l,and appears to be in a region well adapted for the defensive tactics adopted by the Boers. President K ru ger, Mr. Steyn ,and others have been haranguing the burghers there, and enforcing the necessity of unity and courage, and the former appears to have stimu­lated their flagging spirits by wild stories of British reverses and even of a Russian occupation of London. There is, however, no doubt that the position taken up at Kroonstad will be untenable against turning movements, which will threaten communications on the north. The Boers will, therefore, either retreat or find anew Sedan. It would be foolish, however, to cherish any illusions as to the Tran svaalers laying down their arms. Their history shows th.it they are likely to resist until the end. They won their country by conquest, have wrung from the soil all they possess, and have had to depend upon their individual prowess and upon their skill in handling the rilie to defend themselves and their wives and children from savages more terrible than the wild beasts they have loved so well to hunt. They have grownup with an affection for the free life of the “UNDER THE UNION JACK ”HAS BEEN REPRINTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
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