Black and White Budget, Transvaal Special, No. 8

4 BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET The position of affairs now is this: On the West, Lord Methuen and his troops, supposed to be advancing to the relief of Kimberley (though such a relief would be merely incidental to his main object), have crossed the Orange River, and are now at Witteputs, the next station to Belmont, where the Boers seem to be in force. Keep your eye on Belmont! Things may happen there !Further East, General Gatacre is moving up from Queenstown. His direction is towards Aliwal North, which is on the South-East point of the Orange Free State. He has with him 5,010 men and the Boers there,by the highest computation, have only half that number, though at present they occupy the points of strategic importance. If General Gatacre is to be stopped, the Boers must draw off men from the West, and leave the road clear for Lord Methuen. If Lord Methuen is to be stopped, the forces opposed to General Gatacre must be removed. The Boers and Free Staters are thus on the horns of a dilemma. A steady advance, such as Sir Redvers Buller has planned, will probably make things very nasty for them. It is on Natal, however, that all eyes are now fixed. The Boers are leaving every­thing to depend on their success there, and are playing a bold game. Leaving a small force to watch Ladysmith, they have advanced South, even beyond Estcourt. 1 hey are determined to force an engagement with, and to hamper, General Clery’s column as it advances echeloned along the line from Durban to Estcourt. Already on the Mooi River a slight skirmish has taken place, and a battle of great importance maybe expected any moment, if, indeed, General Joubert’s forces are not now too scattered for anything but guerilla warfare, for we hear of them far to the West of Estcourt, and along the road to Greytown on the East. Whatever happens, we have, at the most moderate computation, 25,000 men in Natal to meet 17,000, or probably less, of the enemy. They have sacrificed their mobility too long for it to win the day now. Their guns still hold them tight. It seems we have them in a corner. The probable duration of the war will depend on the news of to-morrow— or perhaps of the day after !------------------------------NOTES O’ WAR The appeal for salt for the soldiers has been met by a present of 4,800 tins. Antic i pat ion is half success. Lord Methuen’s personal baggage has arrived at De Aar, addressed “Lord Methuen, Pretoria, via CapeTown.” “Give ’em beans, boys,” was the encouraging cry of Corporal Dickie, after he had been wounded in the train light near Estcourt. And they gave ’em beans. Wonderful indeed is the spread of education.“ Conspuez Kruger !”cried the Gordons, as they charged at Elandslaagte. At least, so says the P e tit J o urn al! Six hundred Kaffirs, many of whom served in the Matabele War, have offered themselves as mule drivers. Let us hope the)’ will be able to prevent these stubborn beasts from joining their friends the enemy. Colonel HamiltonIan told his troop son the morning o f Elands l a a g tet h a the hoped they would “shift the Boers out o f the hills before sunset .Inf a c t,”he added confidently ,“1 know you will .”He was not m i s taken .The Premier’s speech saying: “We seek no goldfields we seek no territory,” caused at first some disquietude at the Cape. The full version of the speech has revived the hopes of definite British ascendancy in South Africa. Lieu ten ant -General taG a c readdressed a stirring speech to the troops he is leading from Queens­ town. He adjured all to do their best, and ended:“ I will never ask you to do anything which 1 am not willing to do myself.” The history of the Free State flag at Colesberg was an amusing fiasco. Some loyalists had secretly cut half through the fiag-rope which snapped when the llag had been hauled half-way up. It remained at half-mast— a prophetic signal of mourning. Colonel d e Ville b o is -Mare u il ,the French officer who is to abe colleague of the two Germans in the Transvaal army, is to bethe chief of General Joubert’s stall. There is 110 truth in the rumour that Prince Louis Napoleon is thinking of following the Colonel’s example. I n this age of labour-saving machines, it would be surprising if the needs of warfare were forgotten. The sappers and miners will have their work considerably lightened by the new steam plough which is being experimented with at Aldershot. It digs a trench four feet deep, which forms an excellent cover for infantry following immediately behind it.
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