Under the Union Jack, No. 29, Vol. 2, May 26th 1900

676 UNDER THE UNION JACK. [May 26,1900. without drawing rein, were spent, but Hunter-Weston with Burnham the Scout and eight mounted sappers went forward in irregular order through the enemy’s pickets and amid their retreating men, who almost overrode themas they lay concealed. Many times they were challenged, and twice they attacked and disarmed parties of Boers. When they had accomplished their work they escaped under a heavy fire. The operations gave the Boers two opportunities of treacherously abusing the white flag. The first incident was in the fighting on the 10th, when a party of our men approached a kraal on which a white flag was hoisted, and were thereupon suddenly attacked by a large number of the enemy, Captain Elworthy, the commanding officer, being killed, while two officers were wounded and several taken prisoners, and a number of men were unaccounted for. The second instance of the dastardly practice was on May 14th, when a party of Prince Alfred’s Guards was fired upon from a farm near Kroonstad, where the white flag was flying, two being killed and several wounded. The opposition in the Free State appears to have com­pletely collapsed, though no doubt a certain amount of guerilla fighting may follow, and the annexation of the overState which Mr. Steyn has ruled with so little judgment and conscience will be accepted by the Empire as the accomplish­ment of a great'work. We had no quarrel with the Orange State, but Mr. Steyn plunged his burghers into the quarrel, and they have now to pay the penalty of folly that would be hard to parallel. General Run d le’s Success. General Brabant’s Colonial Division reached Thaba Nchu on May 7th, and was a considerable accession to General Rundle’s forces. The Boers retired to their head­quarters from Ladybrand to Clocolan, but on May 10th were detected moving to the south again, and a party of them were engaged by Captain Grenfell of Brabant’s Horse near Thaba Patchoa, a little to the south-east of Thaba Nchu. At that time General Rundle’s division was encamped on the Little Leeuw River, about midway between Thaba Nchu and Ladybrand, and his movement disconcerted the enemy, who were driven from point after point by Generals Brabant, Campbell, and Boyes, and thrown into a great state of alarm as to the safety of their communications. It was discovered 011 the nth that the Boers, who were reported to have taken up a strong position at Koranna Berg, were retiring, and that a general retreat had begun. Over fifty prisoners were taken at the time, including Mr. Steyn’s brother, and enormous stocks of grain were captured. Sir Leslie Rundle was in touch with them for a length of thirty miles, and was well informed as to their position. As we write, he is advancing in strong force into the Ladybrand district— a rich district from which the Boers have drawn large supplies— and Ladybrand is in his power. Here, again, we see that a movement of the Boers, which promised to be important, has completely collapsed. They had not recognised their impotence in face of the great combination which Lord Roberts had effected, and they were led away by the delusion that a demonstration against Thaba Nchu would paralyse his movements. It was a flank position, but it was not held insufficient force, and a flank position weakly occupied and not within striking distance is— as events have proved—altogether valueless. It was quite different when Cronje was able to occupy the ridge of Magersfontein on the im­mediate flank of Lord Methuen’s advance towards Kimberley. General Hunt e rand the Relief of M a fe king .The fate of Mafeking has hung in the balance for sometime, and the eyes of all Englishmen have been turned anxiously to that little place and its gallant garrison. The passage of the Vaal by Sir Archibald Hunter, with the defeat of the Boers at Rooidam on May 5th, and the occupation of Fourteen Streams, seen. tod presage that relief which had long been hoped Therefor. was urgent need for a movement to help Colonel Baden-Powell, for his food stocks were almost exhausted, and the Boers were making a last attempt to reduce the place, which they attacked afresh on May 13th. They reported that the native quarter was destroyed. Apparently they established themselves there, and were driven outwith considerable loss by the defenders. Meanwhile, a relief column numbering about 3,000 had been formed, which, according to reports, advanced by forced marches almost night and today relieve the place. The details of the movement were kept secret, but the column appears to have been at least in one sense independent of the operations cf General Hunter. The name of the commander of the force was not divulged, and nothing was known as to its exact composition. It was stated to have marched north from Winsorton, where the Vaal w r as crossed, through Phokwani and Taungs, where the Boers attempted to harass its passage, and to have reached Vryburg on May 9th. Of its operations, however, it is impossible, as these lines togo press, to say anything definite. That it was making satisfactory progress can scarcely be doubted, for otherwise the Boers would have been sure to report its failure. The distance from Winsorton to Taungs is about 55 miles, thence to Vryburg 43 miles, and from Vryburg to Mafeking about 96 miles. The distances to be covered were therefore not beyond the power of troops in good condition, even under the exacting conditions that attend forced marches, and with such an object before themas the relief of Mafeking, our troops could not but march well. With the relief of Mafeking the aggressive action of the Boers will have entirely ceased. In the beginning of the war we were obliged, through inadequate force, and perhaps through unsound generalship, to wait upon the movements of the enemy, and to be content with situations which they dictated to us. There was little power of initiative until Lord Roberts made his great march from the Modder River, but since that time the initiative has not been lost, and the Boers have been compelled—except in the case of Mafeking— to conform themselves to situations dictated by us. The time has now come for inactivity other spheres of the war, and we may soon expect to find Sir Frederick Carrington active on the side of Rhodesia. In Natal Sir Red vers Buller has at length achieved a success. The Second Division, Lord Dundonald’s cavalry, and some artillery moved out 011 the Helpmakaar road and, after marching for four days eastward from Ladysmith to the foot of the Helpmakaar Ridges forming the front and left of the Boer position in the Biggars- berg, Dundonald attacked the Boers in the centre on May 13th, while Betlnme's mounted infantry operated on the flank as far east as Pomeroy. The enemy evacuated Help­ makaar at night, and the cavalry, covering nearly forty miles 011 the 14th, pursued them to Beskop’s Laagte. It was avery fine performance, and enabled Sir Redvers Buller to occupy Dundee on the 15th, the enemy retreating precipitately from the Biggarsberg, apparently towards Laing’s Nek. The same night the troops marched into Glencoe, and the retreat of the enemy with their guns was confirmed. It is not known, in England at least, in what force the Boers are in Van Reenen’s and the Tintwa Passes of the Drakensburg, but for a direct share in Lord Roberts’s advance, a movement through one of these would bethe best for Sir Redvers Buller, and would certainly upset any purpose which Mr. Steyn may have of establishing himself in the Lindley or Bethlehem District. On the other hand, an invasion of the Transvaal would present many advantages, and might more closely affect the progress of the campaign. Some of the photograps used here are owned by Messrs. Bennett, Bradley, Holland, Housemann, Lank ester, Maun, Munro, and Withers. We are indebted to the courtesy of the Graphic, Sphere, Illustrated London News, aud Navy and Army Illustrated for some of the illustrations in this number. ‘NAVY AN ARMY” IS FIRST AND FOREMOST AMONGST SIMILAR PUBLICATIONS.
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