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the entire force, the cavalry crossing some miles farther down, to threaten the Boer right. The mounted infantry crossed on the east, meeting with a continuous resistance; the infantry and guns at the railway drift. The Boers occupied a position twenty miles in length, necessitating a longer line to envelop it, which entailed some hard marching.

At 9 A.M. the passage had been forced, in face of an accurate shell-fire from the Boer

right, which soon collapsed when our artillery opened, and the position was taken. The Boers on the left still held on, sheltered by two rocky kopjes on which they had placed three guns. The advance across a plain was made by the 1st Sussex, supported by the C.I.V. and two batteries, till the former was within 500 yards, when the men fixed bayonets and charged, driving the Boers headlong before them. They were now in full retreat all along the line, alternately running and fighting for the rest of the day,— taking up positions in which to remount their guns and shell our advancing infantry, then limbering up and repeating the action in true rear-guard fashion, till the mounted infantry turned their left, sending them back a few miles, to extend again just as night fell. That night Lord Roberts bivouacked at Reitspruit, after, as he wired, "a most successful day." On the 11th he marched twenty miles to Geneva siding, the cavalry in touch with the retreating Boers, who were holding an entrenched position at Boschrand, which they evacu

ated the next day on the appearance of Lord Roberts. The cavalry seized a drift on the Valsch river just in time to prevent the enemy holding it, allowing Lord Roberts and his army to cross and enter Kroonstad unopposed at midday on the 12th May, completing the march of 120 miles from Bloemfontein, across a country admirably suited to Boer tactics, in ten days, with insignificant loss.

The feature of the success was the rapidity with which blow succeeded blow. No sooner were the Boers turned out of a position than the advance continued without a check, and a second blow was delivered before they had breathing - time to recover. It has been remarked before how this principle has been neglected in all previous actions. A success has been gained and the enemy in full retreat, but the victors sat down to refresh themselves, too much exhausted to pursue, forgetting that the beaten foe would be a good deal more exhausted; while, morally, as the spirits of the victors rise, so do those of the vanquished fall. Once get the enemy on the run, and it is sound tactics, certainly common-sense, to keep him going, and to allow him no rest till you have run him to ground. The effect on the Boers of this deliberate, unchecked advance was to paralyse their actionto take all the heart out of them. They waited for us in chosen positions, but we did not come on as they expected. It was not fair! They played the game quite correctly, and instead of the slow-going British

doing the same and flinging themselves against the kopjes, all of a sudden when they turned about there was that interfering cavalry riding up behind them, and it was all they could do to reach their own ponies and get safe away. No, it was not fair!

We ask, why was it left to Lord Roberts to play this game, so much against the Boers' cherished tactics? Every one in South Africa, many men in England, whoever had done a day's soldiering on the veldt, knew that their weak point was their ponies. Go for the ponies and the Boers would be out of their ironstone crannies and will gallop for it; but no one seemed to think of it, and so every kopje that the Boers' held is marked by a circle of graves, the evidence of those grand frontal attacks which we, at home, were called upon to applaud.

At Kroonstad, Lord Roberts found a convenient base for his further advance to the Vaal, eighty miles north, where the Boers might be expected to stand, in which case a rapid march and an unexpected appearance would again be expedient. To march rapidly through an enemy's country the flanks must be secure, and a sufficiency of supplies accumulated at the nearest base. So

a halt was called, as much for the urgent rest required for men and horses as to give time for stores to come up, hitherto delayed by the persistent destruction of the railway. Cavalry was pushed out right and left, riding north as far as Rhenoster spruit, where the

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Ever since the investment of Mafeking by Cronje on the 15th October 1899 the more stirring events in the theatre of war, coupled with the scrappy news received, have overshadowed the doings of the brave little garrison confined in a village of mostly tin huts, scattered on the open veldt, in а corner of no strategical importance. To defend this were only about 500 irregulars, 300 police and volunteers, with two 7-pounders and six machine-guns,-a few hundreds of the townspeople and some natives joining later on, when an old ship's gun, christened "Nelson," was dug up and made use of. The whole was under command of Colonel Baden-Powell, an English cavalry officer who had been for some time on special service in South Africa. Early in the year news leaked through telling of the indomitable pluck and resources of men and leader. Excavations were made to shelter from the shells, a bell ringing to tell that one was

on its way. One day 80 men attacked, at night, Game Tree Fort, two miles outside, some of the officers fighting up to the sandbags and firing their revolvers through the loopholes; but it was found to be almost impregnable, roofed in with timber and galvanised iron, the loopholes too small to admit a man; so they had to retire, having lost half their number. Another time a trench was dug to within 900 yards of a big gun that had caused them annoyance, and was occupied for several nights, the men going out at dusk carrying food and water, till dusk again; their business to keep up an accurate fire on the gun and so make the gunners unable to load or train it.

So the days passed: continual fighting, continual hunger, but never disheartened; till news came of Colonel Plumer's advance from Gaberones, about ninety miles north, and that he was already in touch with the Boers. A movement in the enemy's laagers seemed to portend a trek-a hope which was rudely dispelled a few days afterwards. Colonel BadenPowell from the top of his house was watching for the arrival of the relieving force, whose guns were distinctly heard. But next morning Commandant Snyman forwarded a message that they might send out for the dead of Colonel Plumer's force who were lying on the battlefield-which, they heard afterwards, had been defeated fifteen miles north. In April the food question, always pressing, was met by a Scotsman, who contrived to

make oat-husks into an eatable porridge. Natives trying to rush cattle in were mercilessly shot down; and native women hoping to slip through the lines during daylight were stripped naked, flogged, and turned back; if by night, were shot down like dogs. Fever set in, and rations were reduced to 1 lb. of porridge and 1 lb. of horse-flesh, yet on the 200th day of the siege Colonel BadenPowell sent a message to Lord Roberts, "The patience of everybody in Mafeking in making the best of things, under the long strain of anxiety, hardship, and privation, is beyond all praise. The citizens are preparing to celebrate the 200th day of the siege by horse dinners.

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Lord Roberts, at Modder river, had in a speech to the Highlanders promised that the relief of Mafeking was always present in his mind, later on fixing the 18th of May as the earliest date. Rumours of a flying column from Kimberley were rife, to be confirmed about the first week in May when General Hunter crossed the Vaal at Windsorton and defeated the Boers round Warrenton soon after. Then on the 10th of May a despatch from Pretoria brought news that a relief column of 3000 men was pushing rapidly along the railway, and was already at Vryburg, ninety-seven miles south of Mafeking. Half-way there, the report said, the Boers had defeated the advance-guard, but their general being killed, they were forced to retreat. The garrison was now reduced to eating brawn made from ox and horse hides,

being "very cheerful, very dry, very hungry"! But the end was near. Reports came, again from Pretoria, of the approach of a relief column, of a clever manœuvre of the garrison, when a hundred prisoners were taken, among them Kruger's grandson, and many killed; and excitement began to run high.


A hush of strained excitement was over England: every one was asking, "Is Mafeking relieved? we can't hear till Sunday." Flags were chased, guns got ready, cessions arranged - all waited. And when the morning of the 19th came, men woke to see the town flying with bunting, and a telegram in the morning paper that the siege had been abandoned, and that the relief column, with supplies, had entered Mafeking. Then burst out the long-pent-up enthusiasm the flags flew, the church bells pealed, guns boomed, processions marched out, and sober England took holiday. Spontaneously every house was decorated, every one wore the colours, children carried toy flags, carts sported more, ships sailing up channel had heard the news from the pilot and were dressed from "truck to taffrail," the City was invaded, and the Lord Mayor, from the steps of the Mansion House, made a speech to the crowds that yelled themselves hoarse in hearty joy and ecstasy for the victory of British pluck and valour.

The story of the relief is soon told. About the time that Lord Roberts began his march through the Free State a com

site column of 2300 men,


mostly mounted Colonial troops, under Colonel Mahon, 8th Hussars, was formed at Kimberley with great secrecy of purpose and direction. It was accompanied by four Royal Horse Artillery guns, Maxims, and the lightest possible transport, its appearance so timed as to synchronise with Lord Roberts' march, which would attract the enemy's attention elsewhere; and moved by forced marches on the west of the railway.

No opposition was met till Vryburg was passed, when a detour had to be made round Koodoosrand to avoid a Boer laager, from which the Boers attacked from an ambush in the dense bush, seven miles farther on, and a fierce struggle ensued ; but the Light Horse, assisted by the guns, after five hours' hard fighting dislodged the enemy, who fled in confusion, leaving about thirty dead on the field. On the 17th May, when the column was nine miles from Mafeking, it was again attacked by 1500 Boers; but Colonel Plumer having joined hands two days previously, together with a detachment of Canadian artillery, which had regained its place by forced marches on foot, they were again beaten off with heavy loss, to leave the way clear for Colonel Mahon to enter the town on the 18th May, having marched 120 miles in about five days. In the meantime General Hunter was moving by the railway with the muchneeded supplies.

So the relief of Mafeking was accomplished by Colonial men, after it had held out for

seven months by the pluck and resolute will of other Colonial men-many of them sons of the soil, whose birthright is South Africa-led to victory by an English soldier whose name to-day is on every tongue, -a man England is proud of, always with a smile to encourage or a word to inspire confidence; and we recognise that England need never fear for herself or her empire as long as out of those dim battalions of untried men that linger in the far beyond such men as Baden-Powell and those with him who held Mafeking can step out to guard and hold them.

The presence of a British army on the move, northwards, through the heart of the Free State, was soon known across the Drakensberg, and the uneasiness of the Boers in their snug trenches on the Biggarsberg was sufficient to pierce the screen they had drawn between themselves and General Buller on Sunday's river, where he had been resting and recovering for the last two months. The result of the march on the Vaal, if persevered in, would be to place Lord Roberts between the Boers in Natal and their base at Pretoria, when General Buller might be tempted to close in on their rear and push them before him into his hands. So, again, there was nothing for it but to relinquish those thirty miles of excellent trenchwork they had netted across the mountains in face of the Natal column, buoyed up with the pleasant certainty that the

old game of attack across the open against Mausers behind boulders would continue. But General Buller had bought his experience in that three months' hard fighting round Ladysmith, and had learned to see through tactics somewhat transparent. The Boers now found themselves in the same funnel into which they had forced us on the outbreak of the war; the passes over the Drakensberg on the west, Zululand on the east, were closed, leaving the only way out over Laing's Nek, which they must hurry up to secure before that troublesome "Bobs," as the signalman on Bulwana had sarcastically called him in the days when fighting the "rooineks" was only a series of picnics.

Acting in conjunction with Lord Roberts, General Buller, two days before the capture of Kroonstad, moved out in




easterly direction with 2nd infantry division, cavalry going round by Pomeroy to the foot of the ridge on which Helpmakaar stands, where they came in contact with some 2000 Boers intrenched on the summit, holding them there till the infantry came up to turn them out after a short resistance. Helpmakaar is but an uneven, boulder-strewn ridge, overlooking the Buffalo river, across which stands the historic rock of Isandhlwana, Rorke's Drift in the hollow between; and, if the Boers had had any heart left, was excellently suited to their tactics. Yet they fled in confusion, leaving behind a rearguard 1000 strong, and setting fire to the grass, here tall and

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