Under the Union Jack, No. 32, Vol. 2, June 16th 1900

June 10,1900.'] UNDER THE UNION JACK. A TRIUMPH FOR EMPIRE. THE FALL OF PRETORIA. PRETORIA in our hands, victory crowning our colours, the enemy overthrown— this is the triumph at which the Empire exults—a triumph brought about by the great combinations of Lord Roberts, by the gallantry and spirit of our troops, by the extreme mobility they have attained, and by the wonderful qualities of endurance they have displayed. They have been infighting a country as big as half of Europe, and have covered enormous distances in their marches, and now we seethe Pretorian oligarchy overthrown, Krugerism in the dust, our flag flying at the capital, and the President himself flown with his Executive to safer regions, while his subjects are partly disgusted, partly exasperated, that he has carried off with him the gold from the Treasury, and that they are paid with paper money for the services t>'jy have rendered. In the extraordinary panic which occurred in Pretoria when Lord Roberts approached, and the rapid fluctuations of public opinion, it was extremely difficult to know exactly what took place. There was atone of great despondency, and Lord Roberts was expected immediately to march in and hoist the British flag. Then came the commandos which had escaped our pursuit, and a hasty resolution on the part of a number of burghers to continue the contest. Before these lines appear a great deal more will be known of the inner events that brought about the fall of Pretoria than they can tell. We shall now resume our recital of events. The Capture of J o h ann esb u r g.In the last issue of this publication we were able to recount events up to the moment when Lord Roberts was about to enter the gold reef city and to knock at the gate of the capital. In his passage of the Vaal and his approach to the Rand he had made a remarkable strategic re-distribution of his front by sending General Ian Hamilton’s Division, which had been on the right of the advance, over to the left, thus entirely out-manoeuvring the Boers. The main column, which Lord Roberts himself accompanied, was protected on the right by General Gordon’s brigade being thrown out, but practically, at the passage of the Vaal, it was the right wing of the general advance, and it kept that position by marching to Germiston, four or five miles east of Johannesburg. Colonel Henry’s Mounted Infantry, which had driven a mob •of Irish-Americans out of the village of Viljoen’s Drift, was sent ahead from Klip River on May 29th to seize at all costs the railway junction at Elandsfontein. The 3rd Cavalry Brigade was in support, with orders to make a wide covering detour east of Boksburg, while Pole-Carew and Tucker followed as fast as possible, and the mounted infantry arrived •at the railway junction justin time to fire into the last train conveying burghers from the Heidelberg commando to the north. Before the attack General Pole-Carew’s interpreter was captured, and the guard placed over him, confessing himself sick of the war, surrendered to his prisoner, who brought him to camp. Immediately afterwards we were in possession of the head of the line leading up from Natal by Volkrust, Standerton, and Heidelberg to Pretoria, and the mounted infantry then pushed forward to secure the com­munications with Pretoria itself, and at midday, reaching arise above Boksburg, the whole Rand lay before them. One great object before Lord Roberts was to prevent the destruction of the mines, and though, as it appears, orders had been issued from Pretoria to check such an outrage, there •is reason to believe that but for the appearance of our troops certain desparadoes, like Dr. Koch, would have attempted the dastardly work. While this was going forward, General Jan Hamilton and General French were pushing upon the western side of Johannesburg in order to take positions assigned to them. The brunt of the fighting on the 29th fell on lan Hamilton, who found his way blocked by the enemy posted on some kopjes and ridges three miles south of the Rand. He lost not an hour in attacking, the right being led by the Gordons, who captured the end of the ridge and worked along the height until after dark, clearing out the enemy, who fought very obstinately. On the other flank were the City Imperial Volunteers, who, in the words of Lord Roberts, “would not be denied.” The action was completely successful, and General Hamilton took a position at Florida, west of Johannesburg, while General French was a few miles north-east of the town, and Gordon’s cavalry with the Mounted Infantry and General Tucker’s Division were holding the heights on the north, Johannesburg thus being completely surrounded. On the morning of May 30th Lord Roberts sent from his camp at Germiston a flag of truce into the town, and Commandant Krause came out to see him. At this officer’s request he agreed to defer entering the place for twenty-four hours, as many armed burghers were yet inside. The Gold Reef City was occupied by our troops without any disturbance on May 31st. Dr. Krause met Lord Roberts at the entrance, and rode with him to the Government Offices, where the officials consented to carry on their duties until they could be relieved. The place seemed very empty, abut crowd collected in the main square to seethe British flag hoisted, the ceremony being accompanied by the firing of a Royal salute and three cheers for the Queen, after which the nth and 7th Divisions marched past, with the Naval Brigade, the heavy Artillery, and two brigade divisions of Royal Field Artillery. The operation of capturing the famous city had been wholly successful, and the place began at once to settle down, the burghers coming into give up their arms and ponies, and the local administration proceeding with great smoothness. The wilder spirits had gone anil carried the tale to Pretoria. Lord Roberts left WavelPs Brigade of Tucker’s Division in occupation, and proceeded with the main body of his forces to Orange Grove, a few miles out on the Pretoria road. He held in his grasp the centre of the railway communications of the Transvaal, and his position at the heart of that state rendered impossible any united action among the scattered commandos. The Panic in Pretoria .The intelligence carried by the flying burghers caused a great panic in Pretoria. President Kruger with Mr. Reitz and soma other officials left for Waterval Boven or the Lydenburg District on the night of May 29th, when men, women, and children were said to be in tears, though the President was, as usual, calm. Nearly all the gold in the treasury went with him, a circumstance which might account for his composure, and it is known that a special train, with huge cases of gold screwed down to the floors of the vans, was sent down to Lorenzo Marques, where the gold was trans­ported in a steam launch to a ship in the harbour under careful guard. Scenes of indescribable confusion followed the departure of the President. A Committee of Safety was assembled consisting of Judge Gregorowski, De Villiers, Vanderbyl, F. Eloff, F. Grobler and others, and Burgomaster De Souza was authorised to receive our troops. Intense excitement prevailed, and the fugitives were very many. Fearing possible trouble among the British prisoners at Waterval, Mr. Hay, the American Consul, insisted on twenty of our officers being liberated on parole, which was done, and they went to the men to find everything quiet. Tremendous activity was ‘NAVY AND ARMY” IS FIRST AND FOREMOST AMONGST SIMILAR PUBLICATIONS.
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