Under the Union Jack, No. 26, Vol. 2, May 5th 1900

604 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [May 5,1900. therefore, was the consternation when Commandant Snyman informed Colonel Baden-Powell that he would permit him to secure Colonel Plumer’s dead and wounded whose bodies strewed the veldt. The Boers had greatly exaggerated the loss, and when ambulances and waggons were despatched declined to surrender the wounded. Some of Colonel Plumer’s unfortunate people were, however, brought in, and placed in a hospital laager to the east of the town. Lieutenant Smitheman, a famous scout of the Rhodesian Regiment, succeeded, after a perilous journey, in getting through the Boer lines and bringing important despatches from Colonel Plumer to Colonel Baden-Powell. He after­ wards returned carrying communications in reply. In does not appear that Lord Methuen yetis in any position to advance to the assistance of the garrison. Dis­affection has been quelled in some of the western districts, but it still exists, and the enemy is also in the region of Kimberley in scattered parties. Lord Methuen’s field force, which had advanced from Boshof to Swartkopjesfontein, was retiring to the former place on April 20th when it was fiercely attacked. The convoy extended for over six miles, and a portion of the Kimberley Mounted Corps and some Yorkshire Hussars were told off to protect the column in its retirement. The covering force took up a position on a kopje threesome miles distant only justin the nick of time, as the Boers, to the number of 2,000, with two guns and one Vickers-Maxim, almost immediately opened a heavy fire. The enemy were held in check until the column had passed the dangerous kopjes, when our men retired in good order, though not without several casualties. Several shots were fired at the main column, but our battery got into action, and the Boers devoted their attention to enfilading the mounted men. Evidently, therefore, Lord Methuen will be sufficiently occupied in the Kimberley district for sometime to come. Sir Frederick C arrin gto n’s Advance. Much is hoped from the advance of General Carrington’s splendid force of Australian Bushmen and other hardy colonials byway of Beira. The transports Atlantian, Maple- more, and Euryalus arrived therewith the Bushmen, under Lieutenant-Colonel Airey, in the middle of April. There were on board 1,100 men with their mounts, about 1,200 mules, and innumerable transport vehicles, both men and horses in splendid condition. The loss of horses since the transports sailed had been less than a dozen. The railway arrangements are quite adequate to meet the emergency. The Palatina and Buluwayo, with railway material, also arrived, and the men entrained direct from the ship. During the present month twenty-two transports are expected, besides large shipments of South American cattle for the troops. The first base camp is at Marandellas, twenty-four miles from Salisbury, and a rapid advance will be made from that place. The Business of Supply. It is sometimes overlooked how vast is the business of supply in the case of a great army in the field like that of Lord Roberts’s, and it has been accomplished by the Reserve Depot of the Army Service Corps to a marvel. Except for such fresh provisions as maybe purchased on the spot, the army, man and horse alike, is fed from Woolwich. At the Supply Reserve Depot there all stores of food, drink, and “medical comforts” supplied to the troops are arranged therefor the bulk of them are received, inspected, and packed and thence they are despatched. Some particulars of the work accomplished at the Supply Reserve Dep&t maybe interesting. There is now in South Africa a four months’ supply for 220,000 men and 90,000 animals, and it is main­tained by the regular weekly despatch of about one and a-half million rations. Rations include meat, vegetables, groceries, biscuit, rum, lime-juice, and forage. The daily quantity allowed per head is as follows: Meat, 1 lb. biscuit, ilb .tea, -|oz. coffee, Xoz. jam, -jib. sugar, 30Z. salt, -ioz. pepper, 1-360Z. vegetable, ioz. lime-juice, ioz. rum, ipint forage— oats, i2lb. hay, i2lb. compressed forage, 2olb. Meat is, of course, avery important item. The ordinary reserve stock is 2,ooo,ooolb. It is all preserved meat in tins, but it takes many forms, and comes from many corners of the earth. In addition to the plain meat, which is chiefly obtained from the United States and Australia, there are various “meat and vegetable rations.” Each tin holds ilb. of beef and a large quantity of vegetables, jelly, etc., which is remarkably savoury and appetising. It is interesting to know that the tinned meat from Australia and New Zealand is superior to that from the United States. Canada is just entering the market. Then there is bacon, roast fowl, ovo (a preparation of egg powder), and pea-soup. All these things are in tins, areas the biscuits, jam, and marmalade, and will keep good for years. The tins are packed in cases of convenient size and weight, made of pine and strengthened with elm battens. The system of inspection is most efficient and thoroughgoing, so that the possibility of despatching defective food-stuffs is reduced to a minimum. The “emergency ration,” which everyman carries, is a condensed larder in itself, and is ample to sustain him for thirty-six hours. “Medical comforts ”are also a matter of urgent moment at Woolwich, and never have we entered upon a campaign so well supplied. Forage, again, compressed and delivered in bales, is a huge item. 1 he department has also had the forwarding by rail and water of all supplies, stores, and munitions of wars, except such as have accompanied troops direct from camps or regi­mental depots. The amount of material despatched since the beginning of the war approximates closely to the astonishing total of 500,000 tons. In addition to large quantities of stores and ammunition shipped by most or all of the transports carrying troops, two freight ships a week, carrying something like 10,000 tons, have been sailing regularly from Millwall Docks with nothing but military stores. Much of the work has been done at very short notice and under great pressure. For instance, forage for, say, 500 horses for 60 days has been required at Southampton or Tilbury within a few hours, oran ammunition column that was togo to the Albert Docks has been diverted to Liverpool at equally short notice. To arrange for emergency work of this kind requires prompt action and much negotiation with railway companies. That it has all been carried through without check or breakdown and in addition to the regular and very extensive transport service between Woolwich and the various military centres, reflects great credit on the department, and has truly been a great business. Undoubtedly close observation will be kept on the movements and intentions of the Boers respecting Swaziland. An alternative plan of operations following on defeat at Pretoria includes the employment of Swaziland for the retirement of one-half of the Boer forces, while the other half falls back to the Zoutpansberg District, in the north of the Transvaal. Swaziland forms a natural fastness. It is rich in cattle and cereals, and is easily defensible against attack on every side but the north. Boer emissaries are already in the country endeavouring to purchase secret information concerning caverns which are known only to the natives, with the object of accumulating provisions and ammunition. But the Amaswazi do not love the Boers. SOME of the photographs used here are owned by Messrs. Bradley, Kapp and Co., Mowlam, and Withers. We are indebted to tlie courtesy of the Graphic, Illustrated London News, Sphere, and Nav% and Army Illustrated for some of the illustrations in this number. '“UNDER THE UNION JACK” HAS BEEN REPRINTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
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