Black and White Budget, Transvaal Special, No. 15, Vol. 41, January 20th 1900

Jan. 20,1900 BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET 3 WELL DONE, T iie chief event to be recorded this week is the heroic repulse of the determined Boer attack on Ladysmith. Saturday, January 6th, is a red- letter day in the annals of the war, and General White and the pluck)' garrison are to be con­gratulated on having saved what seemed almost a desperate situation in Natal. The Boer attack seems to have been under-taKen on the direct advice of President Kruger, who sent word to the Boer headquarters asking why Ladysm ith had not been attacked. The reply was: “We should lose too many men.” The crafty Oom Paul, however, had a sugges­tion to make in answer to this, which will pro­bably do as much as a crushing defeat to damage the Boers and their cause. This was, that the Free Staters should be putin the forefront of the attack. If this be true, further friction, if not open disagreement, is likely to occur between the Free State and the Transvaal, which even before did not seem to be on the best of terms. The attack was delivered before dawn, the enemy, undercover of the darkness, creeping up to Caesar's Camp and Wagon Hill. It was on the last position that the assault was most desperate. The defence was in the hands of Colonel Hamilton,Ian and he had with him the Manchester Regiment and a detachment of Imperial Light Horse. The gallant Colonel, says General White, “rendered valuable services,” and every account of the battle seems to show that this praise is none too high, even in an official document. Atone place the Boers got a foothold in the British position and kept it during the day. A t dusk, however, during the heavy rainstorm, which seems to follow every battle, they were turned out at the point of the bayonet by Colonel Park and the brave men of the Devons. There were three separate attacks of the Boers, and when the last was repulsed (or, rather, next day, for the sun had gone down, thus cutting off communication and leaving us breathless with more than the excitement which endb an instalment of fiction “to be continued LADYSMITH! >«>—<-------------in our next ”)General White was able to report that the enemy had had enough of it. The Boer account of losses— more false than usual, seemingly —is four killed and fifteen wounded. If this approximates to the truth, the losses of the Orange Free State must be enormous, for our losses were heavy, and General White sends word that they were nothing like so severe as the enem y’s. If only General Bullet* can advance soon, and take advantage of the shaken confidence of the enemy, much anxiety will be relieved, and the change of our fortunes in South Africa will have begun in earnest. It is certainly Sir Redver’s move, and the news that Indian bearers are pro­ceeding in large numbers from Durban to the front probably means that we shall not have to wait long for it. If the enemy are once well beaten half the war is won, for success gives them wings which enable them to fight better than their numbers or resources would seem to allow. Defeat on the top of their present exhaustion— which must be considerable— would mean a great deal. Here’s luck to General Buller !Meanwhile, news less satisfactory, but not too discomposing, comes from Colesberg. General French still holds his own but an attack by the Suffolks has been repulsed, with the loss of the Colonel and the capture o f 140 men. The ground had been carefully surveyed, the attack seemed justified, and General French gave his consent. It began badly. Colonel Watson was killed while addressing his officers. However, the men dashed up the slopes, and might have won the position, when a mysterious command of “Com­pany Retire ”came from no one knows where —certainly not from the officers who remained to suffer death or capture. It was an unfortunate business, but one which we can trust General French—who has been reinforced from the Mod- weanticipated last week— to revenge. Generals Methuen and Gatacre are where they were, and generally there is the hush of anticipa­tion which precedes great events. One man has been knocked down by the bursting of a shell on the Modder River but that is all. Lord Roberts has arrived!
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