Black and White Budget, No. 23, Vol. II, March 17th 1900

THE“ MEN WERE SPLENDID!” March 17,1900 BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET 3 Again that memorable phrase rises to our lips. In our last issue we commented briefly on the great news o f the relief o f Ladysm With. e did not receive until some days afterwards full accounts o f the gallant style in which our men fought their way to the rescue o f their be­leaguered brethren. But when the thrilling reports came through —ah! then we knew our men still to be made o f the great stuff whereof heroes are fashioned, still chips o f the old block. W e read o f General B uller’s last, and, as it turned out, successful attempt to break the Boer lines. On February 20th he had passed three brigades over the river, three days’ hard fighting followed, and resulted in a check. Would it be final? Desperate were the attempts o f the Inniskillings, the Connaught Rangers and the Dublin Fusiliers to dislodge the enemy from their entrenched position. On the 23rd and 24th it was all they could do to hold their own. But they held it while General B uller found a passage across the Langevvachte Spru it and developed anew attack, which finally resulted in the capture o f Pieter’s Mill. The 27th was the day on which this great action took place. Pieter’s Hill was approached by a precipitous ascent o f 500 feet, but up this General Barton led the gallant Dublin Fusiliers and two battalions o f the Sixth Brigade. B y this means the enem y’s left was turned, and an attack by the Fourth and Eleventh Brigades* under the general command of General Warren, was made on the en em y’s main position. A evenings fell, the South Lancashire Regiment, by a magnificent charge, carried the position. Splendid men, all o f them !Next day Lord D undonald, with the Natal Carbineers and a composite regiment, entered Ladysm ith. The delight o f the garrison may well be imagined, but can hardly be described. Men wept with joy. A moment before they had expected a Boer attack. Guns had been trained on the approaching horsemen. When they found out their mistake, the garrison flocked out to welcome their relievers— among them a band o f children, to whom General White agave kindly promise o f “sweets and no ,rem siege rations.” Never were men so welcomed before even the horses received unusual attention from welcoming hands. A evenings fell, Sir George White made apathetic speech to those who had passed through the terrible months o f anxiety under his leadership. W cane quite believe that, in the words o f a correspondent, “it was a scene never to be forgotten.” Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that it was due to Lord Rob erts’s outm anoeuvring of Cronje that the relief o f Lad ysm ith was able to come when it did. If men had not been drawn I away from the trenches round Pieter’s Hill the task might have remained as impossible as Lord Roberts seems to have considered Tit. h isis not to undervalue the brave infighters Natal It must be always remembered that the)- kept their .confidence, even while attempting the impossible, and that when their chance came they did not waste it. Soldiers could not have done better. It means, however, that the interest of the war now shifts from Natal to the neighbour­ hood o f Osfontein, where General Jou bert is preparing to oppose our Comm ander-in-Chief. General B rabant has driven the Boers from Dordrecht, the district round R ensburg has been evacuated, Natal is free o f Boer troops. The last act o f the war— as we hope and trust it maybe— is begun. W e settle in our seats to watch the Arm aged don— the pitting o f the united Boei force under General Jou bert against them agnifi­ cent army (at least three divisions) which is with Lord Roberts in the Orange Free State. W e cannot feel uneasy about the result. Our men will be— as always— splendid !“THE MEN WERE SPLENDID!”
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