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

5°8 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [April 7,1900 veldt, and the whole country is marked by the names of old Voortrekkers or of animals of the chase— the lion, elephant, eland, koodoo, and other game in which the African continent has been so very rich. W e have, therefore, to look forward to carrying our flag to Pretoria, where it must float over the dome of the great R aadzaal, the most imposing and costly edifice in South Africa, an outward sign of the wealth wrung from the U itlanders, offering a sharp contrast to the old thatch-roofed R aadzaal of a few years ago. The Boers have always shown a disposition when they were defeated to trek away to the north, but the time has now come when they can only do this by invading Rhodesia. This possibility has led to the formation of the Rhodesian Field Horse, which is to consist of at least 5,000 mounted men, under that experienced South African soldier, Sir Frederick Carrington, who has played such a large part in our wars with the natives, and who did such excellent service in the suppression of theM atabele Rebellion. His command will consist almost wholly of colonial troopers, not, it is understood, to be recruited in Rhodesia, or to be drawn from the Chartered Com pany’s Police, but to be formed largeiy out of Australian contingents, including 2,500 bushmen. The Situation in Nat al. When everything is ready for Lord Rob erts’s move Sir Red vers B u lle r’s force maybe expected to take a large part. In addition to holding the passes of the D rakensberg, where they have mounted guns to prevent any attempt to invade the Orange State on that side, the Boers placed a large force in the Big g a rsb erg Mountains across the road from Dundee to Newcastle and Lain g ’sN ek. Although as we write some uncertainty surrounds the situation, it appears 'that the enemy are likely to remain in force in the northern angle of Natal until such time as their retirement is enforced. Lately it was reported that they had two lines of entrench­ments commanding the Newcastle Road, with 12,000 men and sixteen guns. In this position they would offer resistance to a direct advance upon Lain g ’sN ek (which is not likely to be attempted), and would threaten any movement upon the Buffalo made with the object of turning the position by advancing on Utrecht Wand akkerstroom .Sir Redvers B u lle r has received some reinforcements, including the 1st Cameron Highlanders he retains Sir Charles Warren’s Division (the Fifth ),General L yttelto n commands the Fourth ¦Division, and General C lery the Second. Here, therefore, is avery large and important force now restored to fitness^ and we maybe sure it will take a large and active part in the operations which will soon be in progress in this theatre of war.M a f eking and the Western F ron tier. The rebellion in the P riesk a District has collapsed under 'General Kitchen er’s well-conceived operations, and in looking round the various theatres of war we find a great deal to encourage us. There can be no real satisfaction, however, until M afeking is relieved. Quite apart from its military value, the eyes of the Empire have been fixed upon that outpost of our dominion by the long and sturdy defence which has been made b y Colonel Baden -P ow ell in face of almost every disadvantage that could be conceived. The defence of M afeking will belong famous, and is likely to assume a legendary place in the annals of the Empire. The most trusted and the most truculent of Boer generals, the redoubtable Cronje, soon to be safely deported to St. Helena, went against the place with a picked body and with heavy guns, and found a successor in Snym an, who has not hesitated to shell the wom en’s laager and to commit other acts in defiance of the laws of civilised war and common humanity. Food grew scarce, and fever and other diseases were rife, and yet the little garrison never lost a point and never showed any signs "of a failing heart. All was well on March 16th ,the enem y’s cordon was relaxed, and the garrison were active and had captured tw enty-six head of Boer cattle. Colonel Baden wo-P ell has kept his watch and ward most faithfully. H e has seemed ever bracing himself, said one correspondent, to be on guard against a moment in which he should be swept away by some unnatural and spontaneous enthusiasm in which, by a word or a movement, he should betray the rigours of the self-control under which he lives.“ H e seems to close every argument with a snap, as though the steel manacles of his ambition had checkmated the emotions of the man in the instincts of the officer.” H e gave M afeking complete and magnificent security, and brought to bear most practical knowledge of the conditions of warfare with the Boers, and of the strategic value of his surroundings, and when other men were asleep he would steal out across the veldt to observe for himself the preparations which the enemy had made. Such a man and such a garrison, each worthy of the other, naturally riveted the gaze of theE m p ire at large, and it was with keen interest that the advance southward of that experienced soldier Colonel Plum er was watched. Step by step he cam eon with his construction trains, preparing the way for relief, until on March 14th his outposts were in touch with theM afeking Boers at Pitsan i. It was then hoped that the relief of the place was only a question of a few days at most. Colonel Bod le commanded the advance guard, and found the Boers in occupation of Pitsan i, six miles south of Plum er’s cam pat Lob atsi. A retirement became necessary, for the enemy was in force, and Lieutenant Chapman, whose horse fell with him, was captured, while certain boxes of ammunition got into the enem y’s hands. On the 16th the Boers attacked in force, and after a sharp artillery duel, in which their fire Avas silenced, Colonel Plum founder it necessary to withdraw ,and fell back undercover of darkness to his old position at Crocodile Pools, his base hospital being brought back toG aberones. Thus were the hopes of the defenders of M afeking once more disappointed, and the immediate relief of the place seemed no longer likely. Movements are also being made from Kimberley. Lord M ethuen despatched a force toW arrenton, on the south side of the V a a l Riv er, preventing the destruction of a necessary bridge, but the Boers were in strength at Fourteen Stream son the other Aside. recon­naissance was made on March 2 1s t by the 20th Battery Royal Artillery and the Kimberley Light* Horse, and it was dis­covered that the Boers had four guns in position. Trains were running within eight miles of W 'arrenton, and operations are in progress to drive out the Boers and make a further advance. The camp was moved out of range of the Boer fire on March 24th when active preparations were being made for the further advance. On the 27th the arm oured train, with another company of Royal Engineers, neared W arrenton, and fighting, as these pages togo press, seems to be imminent there. Meanwhile movements are being made to secure the country to the west.On March 23rd a column left Kimberley for G riquatow n, and it is reported that the purpose is the relief of M afeking, but the distance from Griquatown to that place is something like 300 miles, while from W arrenton it is not much more than 170 ,and, if a direct movement is to be made for the relief of the place from the south, it will in all probability be by the line of rajlw ay. In any case, we may sincerely hope that the gallant defenders of M afeking maybe relieved, and may take their part in the final advance to Pretoria. Some of the photographs used here are owned by Messrs. Arlidge, Burke, Cribb, Gregory (London), I„ekegian (Cairo), and Withers. We are indebted to the courtesy of the Graphic, Daily Graphic, Sphere, Navy and Army Illustrated, and Spear for some of the illustrations in this number. THE BACK NUMBERS OF “UNDER THE UNION JACK” CAN BE HAD OF GEORGE NEWNES, LTD.
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