Black and White Budget, No. 24, Vol. II, March 24th 1900

March 24,1900 BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET 3 DRIVING IT HOME VICTORY, smiles at last on our forces in South Africa. The relief of Kimberley and Ladysmith and the capture of Cronje have proved the turn­ing point of the war, and now Lord Roberts is engaged in steadily pressing our advantage, and we may believe that there will be no relaxation of effort till the Boers are surrounded within their troublesome Transvaal. Continuous British success is the tale to be told this week may it bethe tale to be told to the end !The battle at Osfontein, or Poplar Grove, was the most important, as it was the first of the series which Lord Roberts has fought on his way to Bloemfontein. It was on a Wednesday that this battle was fought, and by the end of the day the enemy thought they were in the middle of next week. The fighting centred round the Modder River, where the Boers had entrenched themselves on kopjes extending for several miles on both sides of the river. They saw Colvile’s Division on the north of the river and Tucker’s and Kelly- Kenny’s on the south so they made up their minds that the Rooineks were going to walk straight onto their barbed wire. But they forgot French, who was still further south and before they had quite finished breakfast there he was, swinging round them with guns that hit too hard and fast for the simple burghers’ taste. It was almost a bloodless victory for us, and the Boers lost fewer than the experts expected, simply because the experts did not know how fast a Boer could run. The next big fight was at Driefontein, and here we had a tougher job. Poplar Grove is apiece of land that belongs to two loyal Britishers, Mr. and Mrs. T .Webb, who welcomed Bobs with all their heart Driefontein is ten miles south-west of this. Here the Boers determined to make another stand. They talked very little about Osfontein, so that the reinforcements from Colesberg did not know the exact situation. K elly-K enny’s Division was the one that hit them, for we were walking broad and could have swallowed three such armies as opposed him. Broadwood with his cavalry was feeling his way in front, and held the enemy till the infantry came up. The 1st Welsh and the 1st Essex then had an afternoon of fairly hot fighting, and, much to their joy, ingot with the bayonet while Broadwood worked round on his right and got behind the Boer position. The enemy had three field guns and two quick-firers, which did a little damage. H e also played more of his dirty tricks with the white flag, else we might have got some of these. Anyhow we pocketed aLong Tom on the Wednesday, and we obtained such quantities of forage and provisions that Tommy and Tom my’s horses had abetter feed than they remembered since Christmas Day. W e did not make our way to Driefontein without casual and irregular fighting, and we did not get past Aasvogel K op and up the Kaal Spruit to Bloemfontein without a few pot-shots. However, the enemy had expected us to stick to the Modder, and as a result the Orange Free State capital lay at Lord Roberts’s mercy. French, always at the fore,went on ahead. Before the Boers realised the situation, he was outside the railway running from Bloem­fontein to the south. They were still rubbing their eyes when he had seized the station with the rolling stock, fought his way to two com­manding kopjes, and had Bloemfontein under his thumb, waiting for Lord Roberts to come up. This sparkling little tale was followed by British readers with avidity, and they had almost begun to get tired of victories when the over­tures for peace were published. “Blood and tears ”was the beginning of the two Presidents’ dispatch very poetic, it is true, abut little undiplomatic. A few lines further on, however, we came upon the old, old Kruger. “This war,” said the dispatch of March 5th, “is only continued in order to secure and safeguard the incontestable independence of both Republics as sovereign international States [only !]and to obtain the assurance that those of her M ajesty’s subjects who have taken part with us in this war shall suffer no harm whatsoever in person or property [only!!] ”Mr. Kruger wants this “assurance’’ from us. Judging from this dis­patch he has already assurance enough to suffice for a dozen South African Republics. Lord Salisbury is, however, too practised a hand for even Messrs. Kruger and Steyn. So, too, is Lord Roberts, who has hoisted the British Flag over Bloemfontein and overtaken the Govern­ment offices. So far, very good. H e was wel­comed heartily by the inhabitants, who were thoroughly sick of the war. The portraits in this Budget are by as follows:— Lord Kitchener, Drke of Connaught, Colonel Dorrien, Bassano Duchess of Heath: Captain Pachman, Barnett Lieutenant Lamb, Ball Colonel Hickson, Lieutenant Vaughan, knight Second-Licut. Long, Croolce. Tbe picture! are by Our Special Correspondents, A- Nicbolls, MJddlebrook, Russell and Sons, Lawrencc, Dublin,
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