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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 31, 1899, Image 1

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Shelling of Ladysmith Causes the
Combined British Forces Under
General White to Sally Forth
and Attack the Enemy.
Losses Are Heavy on Both Sides, and the British
Are Again Puzzled by the Tactical Skill of
Joubert's Men--Mules and Guns Fall Into
the Hands of Boers.
LONDON, Oct. 31. — There is considerable speculation in London as to the strength
of the opposing forces at Ladysmith. The British have 15,000 men. With regard to the Boer
force the estimates van*. The Morning Post says 30,000, the Standard 18,000 and the Daily
Mail 17.000.
The Standard summarizes the news as follows: "General White's official estimate of
the Boer loss at Glencoe is 500 killed and wounded. All doubt as to the guns captured at
Glencoe is set at rest by General White's statement that three Boer guns were dismounted or
disabled and left at the top of the hill. The Boers have succeeded in capturing 1500 mules,
which is a serious loss in a country where beasts of burden are difficult to obtain."
LONDON, Oct. 31. — The
Daily Telegraph has the
following account of the
Ladysmith engagement from its
special correspondent at the
front :
"An indecisive reconnoissance
rred to-day. General Sir
George Stewart White advanced
before daybreak with all the
available forces from Ladysmith,
moving toward Tintavon. Two I
brigades were under Colonels lan
Hamilton and Howard, and an
■•neral Archibald j
Hunter, went toward Buhnvan,
while two regiments, guided by
Major A dye, marched on our ex
-• left beyond the old camp.
"The Boers were found to be
in great force at all points. Al
though we have seven batteries of
artillery, their fire failed entirely
to crush that of the enemy until
our infantry, the Fifth Lancers.
pluckily rode across the enemy's
front and feigned a retreat. 1 his,
however, failed to entice the en
emy out, the Boers only replying
-with a shell fire.
"This flank attack so developed
that Colonel Hamilton had to re
rce our right with three bat
teries and the Gordon Highland
the Devonshire regiment
and- the Manchester regiment
Intervals. Our artillery then
changed front, and a severe artil
duel ensued, the guns gener
ously supporting the reinforcing
they advanced.
"Two batteries remained in ac
against the twelve-pounder,
and quick-firers of the naval con
tingent came into action. The
enetny had field pieces, machine
and a twelve-pounder. Gen
eral White in the afternoon with
drew his forces upon Ladysmith.
British Commander of the Troops at Ladysmith
Practically Admits That He Sustained
Heavy Losses
LONDON, Oct an.— Tb* War Office here has received a dispatch which says General White has foupht an engage
ment, presumaViiy with Genera] Joubert's forces, which wore pushed hack after several hours' fighting. The British lost
about 100 m»n and the Boer losses were much greater. The Boers were in grreater number and had better artillery.
General White's dispatch, which was dated 4:30 p. m. to-day, read:
"I .-mployed all the troops here except the obligatory garrison before the works. I sent a mountain
battery, the Royal Irish Fusileers and the Gloucesters to take up a position on the hills to clear my left
flank. The J orce moved at 11 o'clock yesterday evening, and during some night firing, the battery mules
6tampeded with some of the guns, which, however, I hope to recover. These two battalions have not yet re
turned, but they are expected this afternoon.
"I detailed two brigade divisions of field artillery and five battalions of infantry aided by cavalry un
der General French to attack a position upon which the enemy yesterday mounted guns. We found this position
evacuated, but our force was attacked with considerable vigor with what I believe were General Joubert's
troops. They had many guns and showed in great numbers. Our troops were all in action and we pushed the
enemy back several miles, but did not succeed in reaching his laager. Our losses are estimated at between 80
and 100, but those of the enemy must have been much greater, the fire of our guns appearing very effective.
"After being in action several hours I withdrew the troops, and they returned unmolested to their
cantonments. The enemy are in great number, and their guns range further than our fiejd guns.
"I now have some naval guns which have temporarily silenced and I hope will permanently dominate
the enemy's best juns, with which he has been "bombarding the town at a range of over 6000 yards.
The San Francisco Call.
The losses on the Boer side were
LADYSMITH, Oct. 30.— Fir
ing commenced at 5 o'clock this
morning, the Boers shelling
Ladysmith with forty-pounders.
An advance of the British
forces was made at dawn, with
the object of shelling the Boers
from the position where yester
day they had mounted a number
!of guns. On reaching the spot,
however, it was found that they
had evacuated the position.
The British continued to ad
vance, and the movement devel
oped into a reconnoissance in :
force. The enemy were posted
on a range of hills having a front
age of about sixteen miles. The
i British force -was disposed in the
following order: On the right,
three regiments of cavalry, iour
batteries of the Royal Field Ar
tillery and five battalions of infan
try; in the center, three batteries
' of the Royal Field Artillery, two
regiments of cavalry and four in
fantry battalions; on the left, the
Royal Irish Fusileers, the Glou
cestershire regiment and the
Tenth Mountain Battery. This
force had been detailed to guard
the English left flank at a late
hour last night. General White's
plan of operations was that as the
movement developed the force
constituting the center, which
was disposed under cover of a
kopje about three miles from the
town, should throw itself ujx>n
the enemy, while the left flank
was being held by the Fusileers
and the Gloucesters. The scheme
was well devised but failed in ex
ecution, owing to the fact that
the Boer position which formed
the British objective had been
The British artillery quickly
reduced the volume of the en
emy's fire, but the attack deliv
ered on the right flank was the
principal one, and the column
was compelled to charge. The
I Boer attack had been silenced for
a time, and the British infantry
advanced, covered by cavalry.
The enemy now began to develop
a heavy counter attack, and as
they were in great numerical su
periority General White gave or
ders for the infantry to be gradu
ally withdrawn. The movement
was carried out with great steadi
'; ness and deliberation, under cover
of the British guns, which made
excellent practice.
Some shells were thrown into
the town from the Boers forty
pounders at a range of over 6000
1 yards, but no damage was done.
The engagement lasted several ,
hours, and resulted, on the Brit
. ish side, in casualties estimated at
I from 80 to 100. The Boer losses
! must largely have exceeded this
The attack was admirably de
livered by the British right, and
; Boers were fairly driven out of
one of their strongholds near
I Lombardskop. It was not pos
| sible, however, to push the sue
; cess much further, as beyond that
I point lay a long, big ridge, afford
ing every kind of natural cover.
I Of this the enemy took the fullest.
' advantage. The British shells
: failed to dislodge the Boers, and
as the infantry moved forward in
extended order they came under
I a heavy and well directed rifle
I fire, the result of which was soon
General White, who was with
I the center, seeing that the troops
lon the right were somewhat
This pictorial map shows the positions of the Boer and British forces about Ladysmith, as told in the dispatches.
Garrison at Mafeking Made an
Unsuccessful Bayonet At
tack on Boers.
LOURENZO MARQUEZ, Delagoa Bay, Oct. 30.— A dispatch received here
to-day under date of October 28 pays General Cronje the Boer commander,
announced there that the British garrison at Mafeking made a bayonet
attack on Commandant Louw'g laager near Grandstand, but were repulsed,
leaving six dead on the field, and it was believed that many of the at
tacking party were wounded. The dispatch adds that Saturday morning
Colonel Baden-Powell asked for an armistice In order to bury the dead. Gen
eral Cronje consented to this, the Boers assisting In placing the dead in the
wacon going to Mafeking.
LONDON". Oct. 30.— The latest news from the western border has appar
ently assured the British authorities as to the ability of Mafeking and Kimber
ley to withstand assaults.
A dispatch from Fort Tuli, forwarded during the evening of October 24, an
nounced that Blackburn's force In the skirmish at Rhodes Drift killed twelve
A Kaffir spy reported that many Boers were lying In the Drift dying. Black
burn died of his wounds on returning to Fort Tuli. Scouts there report that the
Boers are concentrating strongly on the Rhodeslan border with Maxims.
A War Office dispatch from Cape Town, dated October 26. says an armored
train under Llewellyn got within 1900 yards of the Boer laager, three miles south
of Crocodile port. The Boers had driven in their horses on the approach of the
train. Three Maxim volleys were discharged into the Boers, who must have
had considerable loss. They returned ten shots with no effect. Colonel Plumers
outpost had several skirmishes on the Crocodile River.
From later advices it was learned that the Llewellyn train returned to Mo
chudi, 100 miles north of Mafeking. Llewelyn reports all quiet.
pressed, sent to their assistance
the whole center column with the
exception of the Devonshire regi
The battle had then lasted four
hours, during which the artillery
fire on both sides had been almost
incessant. The Naval Brigade,
which landed at Durban, had ar
rived on the scene toward the end
of the fight, and they immediately
brought their heavy guns into
play. Their practice was magnifi
cent. At the fourth shot the en
emy's forty-pounders had been
knocked out of action.
The town is now freed from
apprehension of bombardment.
Throughout the engagement the
Boers held their ground with
courage and tenacity, and, con
sidering the intensity of the Brit
ish artillery fire, they must have
suffered severely.
LONDON, Oct. 31.— Mr. Stevens, the war
correspondent of the Dally Mall, describ
ing the engagement at Ladysmlth, says:
"By 10 o'clock the British had driven
the Boers back several miles, when the
retirement was ordered, which Sir Arch
ibald Hunter conducted with great skill,
retiring battalion by battalion, cohering
the movement with the artillery of their
guns by alternate batteries. The Boer ar
tlllery—field, quick firing and slegre gun*—
Immediately opened a heavy flre all
around, showing their, knowledge of war
by aiming at the guns and wagons as
they retired. Little damage was done,
however, and our operations were quite
"At the end of the action a bearer com
pany advanced under a Red Cross flag
to Beck the wounded and was fired upon
by the Boers, apparently through a mis
apprehension or because of want of dis
cipline since the fire soon ceased. In the
meantime the native bearers continued
their advance, their cool bravery .being
most praiseworthy. All the troops retired
In safety and pickets were left on the
Except a vague reference in the Stand
ard, none of the special dispatches make
mention of the missing battalions, state
ments regarding them evidently having
been censored.
The correspondent of the Times at
Lady smith says:
"The action seemed to be proceeding
most satisfactorily when, at 7:15 a. m., the
enemy in largenumbers, with field guns,
Maxims and 37-millimeter guns, began to
develop a heavy attack on Colonel Grim
wood's infantry. The cavalry brigade
had moved #ip on our right, holding the
parallel ridge over against Colonel Grim
wood's position and practically acting as
infantry. In the meantime our batteries
kept down the siege gun fire upon Lady
smith with shrapnel. At 9 o'clock there
seemed to be a lull as our reserves moved
up, but suddenly the engagement re
opened as the enemy on our right brought
further artillery to bear. Colonel Grim
wood, who, with the three advance bat
talions, had held the ridge for five hours,
suddenly fell back across the open upon
our guns.
"The Fifty-third Battery pluckily
pushed forward* to cover this withdrawal.
Several casualties occurred at this phase.
The Fifty-third Battery held on against
a cross-fire of rifles and quick-firing guns
until the infantry was clear. The team<*
of the two guns were damaged and the
battery eventually retired, made-up teams
being sent to extricate the guns. The
.cavalry, remaining unsupported, wero
forced to fall back also.
State Department ■ Fails to
Receive Word of Any
Action by Powers.
30.— None of the American representatives stationed at European courts
has reported anything to the State Department indicating interference by
European powers in the Transvaal war. As a matter of fact, here the
officials indorse The Call-Herald's cablegram from Paris reporting that
the several powers likely to interfere are too busily engaged elsewhere to pay at
tenttoTi to South African affairs. Besides, the mobilization of British squadrons
is undoubtedly a warning by Great Britain of her preparedness to act, and is
accepted as su^h by the powers. Of course, it is to be expected that Russia,
France and Germany are watching the situation carefully, ready to take advan
tage of anything that may result beneficially to them; but none of them, so far
as the information of the State Department indicates, has made any move of a
hostile character to Great Britain, nor is it believed they are likely to take any
action which may precipitate a general war.
No matter if Great Britain should become involved in controversies with for
eign nations growing out of the South African situation, the United States will
undoubtedly maintain an attitude of strict neutrality, provided American inter
ests are not endangered. Such an attitude would undoubtedly be of great value
to Great Britain and more valuable to the powers opposing her.
BERLIN, Oct. 30.— Emperor William's farewell message to the British Royal
Dragoons, of which regiment he is honorary colonel, on their departure for
Africa, expressing his Majesty's hope that all might return "unscathed and well."
is taken as a proof of Germany's official neutrality. One of the evening papers,
referring to the dispatch, points out its high political significance and says it
is the best answer to "pan-Germanic leagues, Anglophobia and predictions of for
eign intervention, in which Germany is to play a leading part."
The Boersen Courier says: "The repeated foreign efforts to inveigle Germany
into interfering in a- question absolutely foreign to her national interests have
palpably the sole object of discrediting her policy. Germany declines the role
of acting manager in foreign interests detrimental to her own."
"Then began a general retirement on
Ladysmith. The guns which had been
covering the Devonshire Regiment stoutly
covered the final withdrawal. The enemy
did not press, but showed themselves in
their position in great numbers, only to
find that the Naval Brigade from the
Powerful had arrived. Two quick-firing
guns were at once placed in position, un
der cover of a redoubt, and in five rounds
they silenced the enemy's forty-pounder.
The troops were back in Ladysmith by 2
o'clock in the afternoon. The casualties
caused by the enemy's artillery were not
severe. The mountain battery on the left
reported it had suffered through a stam
pede of mules. Our artillery, cavalry, j
mounted infantry and volunteer cavalry |
behaved splendidly in difficult circum
stances. Dr. Jameson and Sir John Wil
loughby arrived to-day and were spec
tators of the action."
LONDON, Oct. 31.— The engagement
yesterday at Ladysmith, which, despite
the rather heavy losses, must be regarded
rather as an extended reconnoissance or
skirmish than a battle, seems to make
little change in the actual position. It is
disappointing to the British public, as
again revealing tactical skill of an un
expectedly high order on the side of ihc
Boers. In addition to the possession of a
number of heavy guns, the transport of
which causes wonderment here, they
have available marvelous ability. Unless
commanded by skillful European officers,
It is hardly considered probable that Boer
farmers would have assumed a feigned
position, as they evidently did. in front
of the right column, with the intention of
retreating from it to their real line of de
fense and of inducing the British to at
tack over a lire-swept zone.
The special dispatches describing the
engagement again fail to confirm General
White's official account that the Boers
were pushed back several miles. "When
It is considered that the censorship is
very severe, the only conclusion that can
be arrived at is that the action was l»x
--tremely inconclusive. The fighting began
with a frontal attack on the main Boat
position, which, however, was found
evacuated. The enemy having retired,
now made a change of front and de
veloped a heavy attack on Colonel Grim
wood's brigade.
To meet this, the British artillery,
which had been shelling the evacuated
position, also changed front.
Grimwood's brigade was promptly rein
forced, but soon was obliged to fall back
rapidly, with consequences which might
have been serious had not the Fifty-third
fieid battery pluckily covered the move
ment at considerable loss to itself.
It is quite certain that General White
failed to accomplish the object he in
tended, and the day's proceedings are an
instructive example of the difficulty of
operations when the enemy holds an ex
tended position by -which he is able to
make sudden and unexpected develop
ments and changes of front.
Sir Eedvers Buller cannot arrive at the
scene of the fighting until the end of this
week. In the meantime General White
will need all his resources to prever' 'he
Boers around Ladysmith linking their
The omission of all details likely to prive
a true idea of the position from General
White's dispatch may be due to his
reticence, but editing bj- war office offi
cials is likely to be again severely com
mented upon.
LONDON, Oct. 31.— A dispatch from
Cape Town announces the arrival at
Table Bay of the Dunottar Castle late
last evening with General Sir Redvers
Buller and his staff, who are expected to
land this morning. They will meet with
a tremendous ovation in Cape Town.
It is reported from Pretoria that 200 of
the British wounded from Dundee have
arrived there and have been furnished ac
commodation In the state school building.

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