Under the Union Jack, No. 24, Vol. 2, April 21st 1900

556 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [April 21,1900. Notwithstanding their boldness, the Boers can scarcely be insufficient force in the Orange State to cope with the great number of troops we have in the field, but they may assume the work of guerillas with success, and may seriously hamper Lord Roberts’s operations by their action. They are themselves, however, in a situation of danger, and we only need mobility to enable us to cutoff their parties adven­turing south and to capture or disperse them. They are in some force in the Wepener district, on the borders of Basutoland, where General Brabant maybe expected to deal with them severely, and evidently also between that region and the railway. At Springfontein General Gatacre has his headquarters, and he moved up thence to endeavour to rescue the lost infantrymen. General Clements, having made his splendid march through Philippolis and Fauresmith, which we have described, has joined Lord Roberts at Bloemfontein, and has advanced some distance beyond. W e have, therefore, large bodies of troops to offer great resistance to the Boers, and to threaten their communications with the north. Lord Roberts, of course, is preparing a blow for them which, we may hope, will have fallen before these pages appear, though, with their accustomed dexterity, we can scarcely be surprised if they succeed in making a safe retreat. They do not, perhaps, expect any real or durable success, except in the way of disturbing our plans, retarding our movements, and inflicting losses upon Mus. a fek gin and the West .The gallant defence of Mafeking still continues, though the place is now asking for some consideration. Lord Roberts has certainly not forgotten it, and though his plans have not been revealed, we may hope that they are in process of execu­tion. Meanwhile, Colonel Baden-Powell has been active, and Colonel Plumer, coming to his relief, has been very energetic. The latter officer withdrew very dexterously from Lobatsi, as we have related, and left the Boers to shell a position which had been evacuated. No sooner had the Boers returned to Mafeking than, on March 25th, he outset on a gallant raid into the Transvaal, making a two days’ march towards Zeerust, and then, returning by a different route, crossed the railway south of Lobatsi. The purpose was, of course, to impress the Boers with the idea that their communications were not altogether secure. What has happened since we do not precisely know, but, according to the Boers, on March 31st Colonel Plumer attacked them at Ramathlabama, while Colonel Baden-Powell made a sortie. Commandant Snyman declares that he repulsed both attacks, but his reports are not trustworthy, and we shall expect to hear better news from Colonel Baden-Powell himself. It is now fortunately evident that no immediate anxiety need be felt as to the ability of Mafeking to holdout for sometime longer, and a garrison which is incapable, such a place, of constructing a gun, making ammunition, and fashioning a search-light, maybe trusted, under the leadership of Colonel Baden-Powell, to take care of itself. None the less, anxiety will be felt until the gallant garrison is relieved. Nothing of great moment has as yet happened at War- renton, on the Vaal, whither Lord Methuen sent a force under Colonel Money, which engaged in a game of long bowls with the Boers at Fourteen Streams, on the other side of the river. No great harm seems to have been done either to the enemy or ourselves, but the railway has been repaired as far as the river, and it should soon be possible to exert greater force and drive off the enemy. Lord Methuen’s attention has been a good deal absorbed by the rebellious symptoms in the Barkly district, west of Kimberley, and part of his force was employed in that direction. But he was recalled by Lord Roberts to Kimberley, and has been operating in the Transvaal. On April 5th, at Boshof, thirty miles north-east of Kimberley, he succeeded in surrounding a body of Boers, his forces being mostly Imperial Yeomen. Fifty-four prisoners were taken, and eight Boers were wounded and eight killed. Among the latter was Colonel de Villebois-Mareuil, the French aristo­cratic enthusiast and adventurer who threw in his lot with the Boers and was appointed chief of Joubert’s staff. The Imperial Yeomen behaved with the greatest gallantry. Fortunately, the rebellion generally in Cape Colony appears to be collapsing. General Settle commands the various forces between De Aar, Prieska, Kenhardt, and Upington, and Sir Charles Parsons was lately at Kenhardt. Heavy rain and hot weather have impeded the movements of the columns, but inmost places the rebellion is disappearing, and when it has altogether been subjected we may expect greater activity on the western side.Lines of communication must always abe source of anxiety, and while they are in danger, either by rebellious risings or hostile attempts, the operations of military forces must necessarily be retarded. A Coming Blow for the Boers. Important operations are pending on the northern frontier of the Transvaal, which are likely soon to occupy a good deal of attention at Pretoria. Sir Frederick Carrington, the officer who suppressed the Matabele Rebellion, and who has had long experience of fighting with natives and Boers, is landing with a force of about 6,000 colonial horse at Beira. Roughly speaking, Beira is 500 miles north of Lorenzo Marques, and like it is in Portuguese territory. Under an exist: .g treaty we have secured the right of despatching troops and stores from that place into Rhodesia. A railway line runs from Beira a distance of 200 miles through Portuguese territory to Umtali, and at the frontier connects with the Mashonaland Railway to Salisbury. Between Salisbury and Bulawayo there is as yet no railway communication, but aline is being built, and is partly completed towards Gwelo, about halfway between the two places, so that an advance by the railway should soon be possible, and then indeed Commandant Snyman at Mafeking may find himself in avery dangerous position, unless he should prudently withdraw. Sir Frederick Carrington will have a splendid force under his command, including the Australian Bushmen, and this strong and rapidly moving body of men will soon change the aspect of affairs on the north and west of the Transvaal. Primarily, General Carrington’s force was intended to prevent any trekking of Boers into Rhodesia, but it will also be able to act aggressively, and we may expect finally to see it at Pretoria. Therefore, though the enemy is showing surprising and successful inactivity the neighbourhood of Bloemfontein, there is no reason to doubt that, save for such mishaps as we have inexperienced the destruction of the Bloemfontein waterworks, the loss of the U Battery, and the capture of our infantrymen, things are progressing favourably for our cause. President Kruger and ex-President Steyn are putting on avery bold front, and will continue to do so until their case is absolutely hopeless. Meanwhile, it is encouraging to know that Lord Roberts is in great strength. The Eighth Division has disembarked at CapeTown, and when it reaches Bloemfontein the Commander-in-Chief should have six infantry divisions at his disposal— the Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and the Guards’ and Highland Brigades, besides four cavalry brigades, and a great colonial force. In Natal, Sir Redvers Buller is evidently ready for a move, but the Boers are in force in the Drakensberg, in positions difficult to attack, and which threaten the flank and rear of a march into the Transvaal byway of one of the drifts on the Buffalo River. Intelligence as to Sir Redvers Buller’s plans has been very carefully concealed. Some of the photographs used here are owned by Messrs. Cummings, Ellis (Malta), Gauvin and Gentzel, Herbst, Higgins, Jones, Miell and Ridley. We are indebted to the courtesy of the Graphic, Sphere, and Navy and A t my Illustrated for some of the illustrations in this number. “UNDER THE UNION JACK ’’—FIRST AND FOREMOST AMONGST SIMILAR PUBLICATIONS.
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