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The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.) 1896-1905, May 25, 1902, Image 16

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Michael Davitt Tells the Thrilling
Story of the Great Battle
in South Africa
Their Bravery Marked in Every Conflict, From
the Capture of Dundee to the Date
of the Peace Negotiations.
Cy Michael Davitt.
I \ synopsis of the history of the
African war by the famous Irish
Nationalist, to be published this month.
ndon and Now York by Funk &
company. Copyright, 1902. by
the author.]
A AFTER resigning membership
of the IJiitish house of com
mons in October, 1899, as a
personal and political pro
igainst a war which I believe to
be the greatest infamy of the nineteenth
century. I proceeded, a short time after
wards, to the Transvaal to see and learn
nine about the little nation against
rty and land this crime had
been planned and executed.
On the 11th of October, 1899, the British
representative in Pretoria, Mr. Conyng
bam Greene, delivered the answer of his
runent to President Kruger'a ulti
m: "The conditions demanded by
the government of the South African re
publlc are such as her majesty's govern
jn< in deems it Impossible to discuss.
There was a moment's deep silence in
the room, alter which the courteous me
tiium of England's haughty message was
told in respectful terms that the note just
red would be considered as a decla
j:ition of war. Mr. Greene bowed his
and withdrew, after having request
lat his passport should be prepared
>ut delay. After England's repre
itive had left the council chamber,
president inclined his head for
moments in silent prayer, and then
. his signature tc the document
i a to give Mr. Greene safe pas
through the territory of the Trans
vaal republic.
Within an hour after this memorable
interview and scene, a word was Hashed
o\or th.; wires of the two republics from
Pretoria—a single word—to every Land
in every district, and to each oilicer
mmand of burghers along the Natal
and the western borderlands. The word
was "'War," and from that time forth
Boers of the two little nations loaded
their Mausers and stood at bay.
l!riti.«li and llm-r Patriotism.
While the burghers of the Rand, with
numbers of non-British Uitlanders,
mustering for the front in the early
of October, the trains for Natal and
DeJagoa bay were being crowded event
with refugees of the "Reforming"
camp, mainly British and colonial. They
1 off in a needless panic weeks be
wur broke out. They were neither
lined nor molested by the police or
officials of Johannesburg. No immediate
menaced their persons or liberties,
yet iso eager were these very men who
were declared to have invited Jameson in
to come to lead them to an attack
on the republic, to get away from the
impending light, that they rushed into
cattle trucks in their hurry to be off;
1\ ught for places in every kind of con
'K-e—some of them, in their mad de
scape, actually pulling British
women out of the carriages in order to
obtain their places.
ih«- other hand, scenes of enthusi
asm were witnessed as each train for
J left Johannesburg with its pas
id of burghers. Women and
ETlrls accompanied the commandoes on
march to the Bramfontein railway
>n, many of the fair sex insisting
■ •rying the Mausers of their brothers
weethearts on the way. The most
I opular body leaving Johannesburg was
the police corps. Finer specimens of
combatants could not" be seen anywhere.
Their mounts wore of the best, while
d bearing, the soldierly appear
of the men, who had kept down the
rowdy ckments of the gold-reefed city,
II nd had preserved its peace as the law
and order of no other great mining cen
t( r had ever been upheld, evoked general
They were cheered again and
again by the populace as they neared
aiii which was to take them to meet
nemy. "We have warrants to arrest
Sir Redvers Buller," cried the
■v.arps," while the Boer girls shouted
"Don't return without Rhodes,
and Miinor," indicating the
ivhtoh was uppermost in the
3 of the women towards the men
whom they believed to be most response
1 ar which was to desolate
rrany a burgher home.
The First Victory of the W:;r.
first victory of the war was the
re by Gen. De la Rey of a British
>d train at Kraaipan, south of Ma
The genera] is a mar. over the medium
height. Binewy in build, and remarkable
for his quiet, dignified manner. He has
I dark eyes, a prominent Roman
n. se, and a large dark brown beard, giv
ing to his face a strong, handsome and
patrician expression.
Like Gen. Cronje, he carries no weapons
in the field. His field glass, wooden
pipe, and last, but not least, his Bible,
are his inseparable companions. Ha
is a universal favorite with the burghers
Mi republics, and inspires great
confidence in his men by his almost un
-5 military judgment, splendid s*ener
roic courage, an indomitable
Ity of purpose and an all-round re
sourceful in all emergencies.
He is remarkably self-contained in his
actions, never getting excited, even in the
thickets of the fight, but always remain
ing- cool, cautions and alert.
The Battle of Tnlana Hill.
Owing to the failure of Gen. Erasmus
to support Gen. Meyer, the first conflict
in the Boc-r invasion of Natal was not
the overwhelming victory which it should
nave be*n. However, the battle of Ta
lana hill resulted in the death of the Brit
ish general Perm Symons, and the retreat
of the British army from their position,
Dundee, within thirty hours after the
fight, leaving the dead unburied their
wounded general, end 240 wounded offl
oad men—24o prisoners—with the en
tiro camp, and immense stores of pro
visions in the hands of the Boers.
The fierceness of the Boer attack upon
the British army and the deadly hail of
Infantry fire by which it was sustained
were a revelation to the English general
and his officers. They had not reckoned
on any such development of Boer fight
in? qualities from a republic which Dr
Jameson and a handful of raiders be-
J'evod five years ago could be overturned
In a dash upon Johannesburg or Preto-
rta. The dead and the wounded on the
side of Talana hill, the Maxim fire which
had never before rained its showers of
lead upon British troops, were a rude
awakening to those who planned Dundee
as a garrison fiom which North Natal
could be defended against the Transvaal
until overwhelming numbers should ar
rive and clear a way to Pretoria. "And
this was not all which battle of Talana
hill made clear to English officers. It
taught the British a more alarming les
sen still; namely, the great inferiority
of the drilled Englis-h soldiers as com
pared, ma l for man, with the undisciplin
ed burghers. They found on the morrow
of the encounter on Talana that Tommy
Atkins, Kiplingized into an invincible
warrior for his explots against savage
foes, armed with spears, was no match
for the first white foeman he has met in
combat 'n this generation. They saw
him retr?ating frcm a field on which 6,000
of England's best men had been attacked
by a force of 2,500 untrained fanners,
leaving his dead unburied, his wounded
to the mercies of his foe, his provisions
and ammunition to the adverse fortune of
a pronounced defeat. It was a disastrous
experience for British arms, that refusal
to fight again on the day after the al
leged "brilliant victory" at Dundee—that
three days and three nights' contin
uous flight through the passes of the Big
garsberg, in drenching rain and benumb
ing cold in preference to holding a se
lected British battle fit-Id against the
Mausers and Maxims of the despised
Incidents of the Cnptnre of Dnndeo.
Erasmus took possession of Dundee on
Monday, Oct. 23. Enormous military
stores were found, and among them
huge quantities of Mark IV., or dum
dum, ammunition—the ammunition which
it was declared in parliament in July and
October, was not to be used by British
soldiers in the event of war breaking
out in South Arrica.
Two incidents connected with the cap
ture of Dundee were related to me while
standinpr, a few months subsequently, in
the little graveyard in the town where
Gen. Ponn Symons sleeps oblivious of
further battles and bloodshed.
A Dublin fusileer and a young burgher
were lying side by side in one of the
extemporized hospitals awaiting the arri
val of the doctors to dress ther wounds.
Said the Boer:
"Tell me, my friend, do you know
why you have been sent out to fight
against the people of the Transvaal?"
Dublin Fusileer—Well, 111 be hanged
if I do.
Boer—Then I will tell you. It is be
cause Mr. Chamberlain wanted our gov
ernment to give the franchise to the
Englishmen on the Rand after five years'
residence in the country instead of seven,
as President Kruger proposed.
Dublin Fusileer—Do you tell me so!
Why, we have been fighting for a full
franchise in Ireland for 700 years, and
we haven't got it yet!
A nephew of Gen. Joubert's. who had
reached Dundee with the advanced por
tion of Erasmus' force, entered a shod
from whence sounds of pain came from
a party of British. On pushing open a
door which gave admission to the place
he heard one of the wounded say in tones
of fear: "May God have mercy upon us;
here they come! They will cut
throats!" "Oh, no, we won't," instantly
responded Mr. Joubert. "We are Chris
tians, like yourselves, and you will be
treated just as kindly as our own
'•Good Lord, Mike," exclaimed the
agreeably astonished Fusileer, "the
Boers speak better English than we do
at Dublin."
Battle of Elnndslaagte.
While these events were happening
around Dundee, tile Boers received their
fir-rt actual reverse at Elandslaagte, in
which battle their general, Kook, was
mortally wounded, and the Holland reg
iment decimated.
The killing of wounded Boers by ■fan
ciers and others in this fight, excited
indignation throughout tho civilized
world. On the very same day when
an English general and two or three hun
dred rounded at Dundee had falllen in
to Boer hands, and were humanely treat
ed, on their own acknowledgment, the
English victors at Elandslaagte were
boasting- of their "pig-sticking," and of
the number of Boers to whom they had
denied Quarter.
Some of the worst reports penned by
these brutal-minded Tommies were pos
sibly exaggerated in the savagery of
their boasting. . The writers described
themselves in the language of bravos as
bigger ruffians in print than they prob
ably were in act. Still, their shameless
self-laudation for the number of Boers
they had killed when asking for mercy
or quarter found a ready publication in
all the English papers, with few, if any
editorial i>rptests against the inhumanity
which was made the subject of salt
praise by the writers. One searches in
vain through any record of Boer fighting
to find any moral or soldierly parallel
to this disgusting spirit of 'British civ
ilised savagery.
Battle of Moddersprnit.
On the 30th of October. 1599, Gen. Jou
bert fought with Gen. White at Modder
spruit, before Ladysmith.
Gen. Joubert's victory was signal and
complete. He repelled the attack upon
him at all points, and compelled his an
tagonists, despite their superior force of
men and guns, to retreat-disorganized on
Ladysmith, leavin? over l,ouO prisoners
in the hands of the victors. There was,
however, here, as at Dundee, the same
woeful neglect of opportunity in allowing
the enemy to retreat without a prompt
and effective pursuit. Col. Blake, of the
Irish brigade, told me that both he and
other officers had urgently pressed the
commandant-general to follow up the
beaten British forces while suffering
under the effects of the day's severe pun
ishment, and to deal them a crushing
blow before they could recover their
shattered morale. Joubert w&uld not
listen to such appeals. He engaged in a
prayer meeting after learning of White's
retreat and of the surrender of Carleton's
column, and remonstrated with thoso
who pressed upon him what was the
obvious and imperative military obliga
tion of the day's successful operations,
his reply being, "It would be barbarous
to pursue and slaughter a beaten Chris
tian foe!"
Nicholson's Nek, Dewet's First Vic
At night, during the battle of Modder
siruit, the British occupied a hill called
Nicholson's kop. Christion Dewet had
been stationed by "Joubert on the kopje
east of this, and to him fell the task of
answering the move.
When the morning's light showed
Carleton's true location on the mountain,
Dewet led his men down from his posi
tion and across the valley as secretly and
silently as the enemy had marched in the
dark, and the Kroonstad burghers began
the climb of the kop on its northwestern
side. Not a sentinel or scout was found
on that end of the hill! While these
movements were in progress, Andries
Cronje and his Winburgers engaged in a
long-range rifle contest with the fusiliers
who were on the declivity of the kop
near the Nek. The English were at
tacked from three sides, but very little
injury was done during the greater part
of the morning. Dewet's men were in
the meantime slowly ciimbing the hill
from behind.
Finally tae burghers reached the top of
the hill, and the Gloucesters soon began
to feel the effect of their fire. Shortly
after the appearance of tne burghers op
posite the position of the Gioucesters, the
Heilbron men topped the kop to the left
of the enemy, and the British ware now
exposed to a converging fire before whicto
they soon retreated down upon the posi
tions held by the Fusiliers at the Nek.
The Briti: h had suffered from the bet
ter shooti. of the Boers, and already
the wounded and dying on the hilltop
were calling for water which was not to
be had. The si:n was pouring dowir Us
scorching rays upon the mountain, ad
ding the suffering of thirst to the pun
ishment which the Boer fire was steadily
and continuously inflicting upon the doom
ed column. It was about 1 o'clock, and
the Boer fire was growing more deadly
in its effect, when the British uplifted
the white flag and brought the light of
the morning to a close. Colonel Carleton,
thirty-seven officers and over 900 men
laid down their arms. Dewet and his
250 men by his admirable tactics and their
splendid shooting had decided the fate
of the two crack regiments of the British
army on the top of Nicholson Kop.
Investment of Kimuerley.
The federal governments attached an
importance to ±vimberley, both politically
and strategically, which Mafeking did not
possess. The Diamond City stood for
Rhodes & Co.. and Rhodes & Co. were
the primary authors of the war, in hav
ing been the plotters and organizers of
the Jameson raid, of which the conflict
that commenced on the 11th of October,
1899, was a direct sefluence and result.
Kimberley, therefore, was a factor in the
situation which appealed more strongly
to Dutch feeling ...an did either Lady
smith or Mafeking. it was near the point
of junction between the British and Frea
State territories, and would be a menac
ing quantity on the right flank of such
federal force as would have to contest
the way of the enemy's advance on Blom
fontein. Cecil Rhodes, too, when hostil
ities were declared, had rushed to where
his immense interests were centered and
imperiled, and, 'cairn and passionless as
the Boers have shown themselves to be
in every emergency throughout the whole
campaign, there was no disguising their
bitter feeling against their arch-enemy in
the early days of the war, and the eager
ness of their wish to lay hands c-n him.
Notwithstanding these urgent reasons
for the capture of Kimber^ey, the opera
tions directed to that end were of a for
Battle of Belmont.
Lord Methuen advanced from the
Orange liver to the relief of Kimberley.
On November 23, 1899, he met the Boer
forces near Belmont on the line of the
railway to Kimberley. Prinsloo, the com
manding general, held the center behind
the village to the right, with the Faure
smith commando, one Krupp and one
Maxim-Nordenfelut. Do la Rjy and "*s
Transvaalers were further behi: 1. on a
hill between Belmont and Ramdam, w M
a single Krupp. Commandant Lubbe.
with the Jacobsdal men, was west of De
la Roy with a Mnxim-Xordenfeldt. Van
der Me-rwe occupied Kaiir Kopje, on the
extreme west of the line, with the Mid
denvelder and Groot River burghers.
The British began ihe battle sh!Jrt;y alt
er daylight with a furious cannonade of
all the Boer positions. They had twelve
or fii'teen guns, some of them throwing
lyddite shells. With the support of these
batteries, Mtthuen at'.tmpted to storm th*
enter and light of the Boer positions
simultaneously, and to turn the left by a
body of Lancers and mounted infantry,
which was to swing round on Prinsloo's
rear and capture hts camp and baggage.
The battle lasted from 4 in the morning
until 2 in the afternoon, with the ad
vantage decidedly on the side of the
Boers until their general, in a moment, of
weakness, gave up the fight and retired
from the field. Commandant Lubbe and
Gen. De la Rey succeeded in holding
back those of the en?my who pursued
Prinsloo, and De la Rey's men then easily
shot their way through the Lancers who
had attempted to get north of the kopje
which the Transvaal burghers had suc
cessfully held all the morning. The Boer
forces fell Lack with their guns and equip
ments, in perfect order, towards Graspan
and Ramdam, and Methuen was left in
possession of the field. He made no at
tempt at a pursuit. He was satisfied with
the name of a victory which he had not
really won.
After the defeat at Belmont, the Boer
forces fell back eight miles along the
Kimberley railway to Rooilaagte. Here
De la Rey assumed control of the al
lied burghers. The enemy advanced early
on Saturday morning (Nov. 25, 1899), and
.vjj^H Hii {f* 'Ifji/i 11)1 RH
"We have two plain glasses of even
size. Their rims, if put on top of one
another, apparently close hermetically.
When we pour any fluid, preferably wa
ter, slowly over the top of the two
glasses (as show in figure) we expect to
began the battle by g uns f rO m an armor
ed tram, and by batteries which deluged
the kopje in Possession* of the Trans
vaalers with shrapnel a »d lyddite. The
burghers, however, had rtade good use of
their time during Friday! and were well
protected behind their sfiong stone san
gars from the shells which English war
correspondents were laboriously endowing
with a killing or 1 wouSiding power of
seme twenty Boera per shell. The rate
was not too liberal if the Boers had only
carelessly lent themselves as targets for
the purposes of the calculation. They
chose not to do so. howe\er, and "I am
only statins what hfcs been the universal
testimony of Boer .officers who fought
Methuen's forces from Eelmont to Mag
ersfonteln, that not fifty 0 £ the Federals
who were killed and wounded in the
four battles which ended in the crushing
defeat of the advancing British, owed
their disablement to the work of the Eng
lish artillery.
The chief encounter of the day took
pladc at the position held by De la Key
and his Transvaalers. The work of car
rying this position was given by Methuen
to the Natal brigade. These seamen were
most stupidly led. They were actually
sent, forward in more or less close forma
tion to charge an unknown number of
men entrenched on a hill! There can
be no denyirig the bravery shown by
these marines in thus attempting to storm
the kopje. They were, however, received
with a withering volley from the Trans
vaal men. who had reserved their fire
until the advancing marines almost reach
ed the foot of the hill. Over 100 of them
were shot down, and the assault was ar
In the meantime the reinforcements
which De la Rey had expected from
Jacobsdal had not arrived, and, as Me
thuen war ordering up his reserves to
support the attack on the hill, the Boer
general fell back, taking his few guns
with him, being allowed to retire by the
enemy without any attempt at pursuit.
As at Talana Hill, the force which had
been shot back in its attempt to take the
Transvaalers' position found no Boers on
the kopje after having paid 'so dear a
price for the fruitless glory of its cap
111-Treatment of Prisoner*.
Twenty of Prinsloo's wounded and
about as many prisoners fell into the
hands of the British at Belmont, and
were forwarded to Cape Town along with
wounded guardsmen. They traveled in
the same train, but while the English had
the protection of covered carriages dur
in the journey, under a burning Karoo
sun by day and the peculiar cold of the
early South African summer by night,
the Boer prisoners, including the wound
ed, were placed in open trucks and with
out covering of any kind. At all tiics
railway stations, including Cape Town,
the Cape Kaffirs and the no less un
manly British crowded to the trucks
containing the Boer wounded and pris
oners and jeered and hooted as only
people dead to every sense of chivalry
could behave. Probably no lower spe
cies of civilized lumanity could be found
in the wide domain of the British em
pire than in Cape Town during the war,
the refugees from Johannesburg being
added to the ordinary seam of the city,
and the task of insulting the men whom
they dare not meet in.the open fitld was
appropriately performed by this cow
ardly canaille. It is a testimony to the
honor of the Boers at Pretoria, willingly
borne by British prisoners, that neither
by act nor word was any insult of a.ry
kind given to the thousands of English
prisoners who were forwarded to the
Transvaal capital from October to May.
The conduct of President Kruger in
standing bareheaded vvirile Britisn pris
oners were being marc*hed to their loca
tion past his residence was typical of
the spirit a«d the manner in which the
Boer Deoule treated their captured foes.
Arrival o! Cronje.
Ori that Saturday afternoon, when Da
la Rey retired slowly and sullenly from
Rooilaagte towards* the Modder dyer, a
cloud of dust was seen on the horizon
to the northeast, in the direction of Ja
cobsdal, and news soon spread through
the British lines that Gen. Cron'je had
joined hands with the forces which had
made so gallant a stand for nine hours
that day against greai odds in men and
guns. It w&a the advance patrol of his
JSttie coluntfi t©nly, but the old Lion of
Potchef troom '/was close behind? and
though lie %-as too late for Belmont and
Enslin, he would be in good time fur
Modder river and Magersfontein.
A man five liQ eight in height, vigor
ously built, dressed in a dark brown .suit
and hard bowler hat—such as a skilled
mechanic misrht wear—with a dark
bronzed face of stern character, having
a slight beard and full mustasche, gray
ish with years, under a fine nose and
dark, penetrating eyes. A slight stoou
in the rounded, brawny shoulders, and
the head thrown forward, at the age of
sixty-three, with a virile figure which
might pass for a man of fifty years—a
strong, fiercely earnest, stubborn man,
With absolute confidence in himself and
a relentless tenacity of purpose stamp
ed upon every line of form and feature —
this was the-gffeeral who, covered with
dust and riding with 500 burghers, reach
ed the north bank of the Modder river
the Monday following the battle of
Enslin and placed himself at the head
of the Boer forces which had fallen back
before Methuen's army after two san
guinary fights.
Battle of Magersfontein.
It was 3:30 in the morning of Monday.
Dec. 11, when Gen. Cronje, on making
his rounds, noted the silent approach of
the enemy. The space in front ol the
see the water run over the sides of both
glasses to tlTe table. However, this will
not he tho case. The water expands on
the too of the upper glass, drips down
| its sides, and collects in the Inside of
i the lower giass. Both glasses must b6
rubbed dry before the performance.
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J7 X X OIKCUI* Upstairs
trenches was open southward to the riv
er, with nothing but the level veldt be
tween the Boers and their foes except
here and there a vaal-bush or a damn of
rrimosa shrubs. The falling rain ob
scured the struggling efforts of the
dawn to spread Itself over the landscape
with the light that heralds the moMiing,
and the forms of the marching soiJiera
were not discernible in the gloom; but
the heavy tramp of 4,00*) men couid be
heard coming nearer and nearer, until
the mass of troops loming out of the
mist like a wall of moving matter, ap
proached within 100 yards of the en
trenchments. Then a hurricane of r elt
ing leaden hail leaped out of the cark
ness, sweeping from right to left, and
the black, animated wall fell down, and
groans and cries from wounded men
rent the air. Out-from under the ridges
and from the trenches to the right came
a ceaseless and merciless torrent of
lead, the hushes concealing the flashes
from the Mausers, but the mtss'les
plowing their way through the now fall
ing and wildly rushing ranks of the doom
ed brigade. In haif a minute after the
signal to fire had been given by Cronje,
over YOO of the Highlanders were strewn
like swaths of grass before the mowers
on the plain, among the being the ill
fated Wauchope, who was shot dead in
tho first volley. The fiction woven
around a dying message was absurd on
the face of it. Three bullets' had passed
through his body, and no sound ever
escaped his lips that could be heard
amidst the detonating storm of the
burgher fire.
N.o man born of woman could stand
against such a. fusillade from out of the
unknown positions beyond, and, with the
whole first and second lines of their col
umn struck down as by an earthquake,
the Highland brigade broke and fled
from the fitld. Many had thrown them
selves prostrate on the veldt after the
first shock, and escaped the fate of their
comrade^ for a time but as the moving
hours began to lift the mist from the
plain, these Tommies became visible ob
jects to the fierce eyes behind tho <-aal
bushes, and death continued to toil the
bead-roll of his British victims that early
morning. Pity it was that Celtic blood
should have paid so dear a penalty for so
■ignoble a cause, and that men f'om
■Highland glens and isles, sons of once
liberty-loving clans, should be the fallen
foemen of a brave little Protestant na
tion, fighting for life and liberty against
the hereditary enemy of "the Celtic
The troops in the rear of the Black
Watch rushed back in the disorder of a
panic from the scene of so terriblo r» re
ception. Attempts were made to rally
them again, but it could be seen from
the trenches that these efforts were in
vain. The lesson of that awful minute
or two had one Its work. The battle of
Magersfontein had already been r'ought
and won.
Battle of Colenso.
The scene, as viewed from the threat
ened kopjes behind the river, was one of
unparalleled attraction, as the sun j eep
ed over the eastern hills and sent its
rays down upon the embattled Brit's.'i le
gions proudly marching on their wav to
the combat. There would be death to
many, possibly defeat to all, in that
| huge disproportionate array of England's
1 might and military pride, now sweeping
on in majestic motion, like a resistless
flood, over the resounding veldt. It was
war in all its spectacular glory, us seen
from where the little force of .varrior
farmers and beardless boys behind the
Tugela gazed with fascinated but fear
less eyes upon the wondrous living pic
ture of 20,000 marching men. and war
with all its horrors to the fathers and
sons of families who looked upon theso
thouand of their country's foes ■•vhom
they must in a few moments meet in
the shock of deadly strife.
Suddenly there came from the Boer po
sitions a deep volume of thrilling sound,
rolling, as it were, like peals of muffled
thunder down from the hills, on towards
the river, along which it swept as if in
echoing response tp some chant of giants
from the mountain-tops behind, and then
died away, leaving a more deathlike still
ness in the morning air. It was the morn
ing hymn of the Beer camp; the invoca
tion of Divina help for the cause of "Land
un Yolk," sung by the older burgherg as,
rifle in hand, and hearts and minds set on
victory, they stood ready to do cr die for
Transvaal freedom.
"General, the enemy is about to attack!
Where are the men?" The speaker was
Col. Villebois-Mareuil. who had ridden
from his tent behind the- laager to where
Louis Botha was standing, midway be
tween the two bridges, glass to eyes, in
tently looking at the movements" of the
British troops as they were beginning to
separate into independent columns.
"All right, colonel," smilingly replied
tne Beer general. "Buller will find my
men in their places, at the right time,
have no fear:"
It was to be Louis Botha's day; a Say
forever memorable in the annuls of true
military renown, and no general ever look
ed mere confident of victory than did the
handsome young farmer as he stood there
in the early morning facing his foes with
men into whom he had infused his own
dauntless spirit and cool determination.
The first contact came from Langwani.
The enemy's horsemen, in advance of the
infantry, trotted across the veldt as if en
gaged in a riding parade over Sallsbury
Plain. On they came, halted; a few shots
from Pome Armstrongs at the hill ahead,
with no reply* then another move for
ward, in careless, almost close., formation.
Then, when at about 200 yards distance
from the base of Langwani, a murderous
hail of lead belched forth, suden fts light
ning, and swept the first line of riders out
of their saddles. Again and again the
shots rang out fmm somewhere in front—
from exactly where could not be seen—and
the, entire column was hurled upon its
rear and knocked into utter confusion.
The enemy raced back behind his gun 3
leaving over 150 of his men weltering on
the veldt.
Buller's center had in the meantime
Joined in the fray, which now extended
along the whole line from Langwahi to
the drift. Hildyard, with a force esti
mated from the Boer positions at 8,0 r0
men, advanced in front of his batteries of
naval guns and field artillery, and opened
fire upon Botha's positions between the
Encouraged by the silence across the
river, both artillery and infantry contin
ued to advance until about 1,500 yards only
separated their front lines from the river
bank. Then the men in the trenches let
themselves go, and out from the lines be
tween Fort Wylie and the wagon bridge
leaped sheets of horizontal fire from 1 500
rifles, with their fifteen shots per minute,
into the ranks of the stricken British In
front Pretorius added the fury of his
pom-pom to this storm of bullets and in
a few minutes no living object, 'man or
horse, remained standing round Hlld
yard's batteries behind the village The
troops forming the brigade advancing to
the right cf the railway were held back
as by a resistless hurricane, and they f,.ij
on the veldt and lay there at th'- mercy
of the invincible marksmen across the
Tugela. No force could face the lead n
storm, and, as in the eas-e of Hart's and
Barton's broken columns. Hiklyard's divi
sion of Devans, Surreys and Yorkshires
and the rest, had to yield before the piti
less hail of bullets whi^h swept through
their ranks from the Boer lines.
% The day had been won for the Vierk
ipur Upon witnessing the complete fail
ure cf Hildyard's attempts to get
the wagon bridge. Gen. Buller resolved
upon a ietieat from the field on which he
had been so con.plet!'ly and so easily
Battle of £p! 011 Koj».
No other battie-field of the war had
yielded the harvest of horrors winch
Spion Koj) presented to the ambul
bearers and others the morning after the
raurdc-rous combat of the 84th. Ovr
1.5C0 men lay dead and wounded within
the confined ana of the mountain-tog
I hey were almost all on the side of the
lull which had been occupied by the
British, and where the Krupp and' pom
pom shells had burst with their rain
of missiles. Heads were found a i
yards from their ghrstly trunks; I
and legs were scatteted over the rocky
surface; torn and mangled bodies were
lying in all directions with sco:
upturned with staring eyes in the
sun as if upbraiding high heaven for
permitting such murderous work amoiv
men belonging to God-fearing nations'
A gruesome, sickening, hidecus picture
which the bru.-;h of a Verestchagin, witn
all Its powers of realistic portraiture
could not match in painted horrors I'm••!
the limitless domain of artistic creations
I wished," said Gen. Tobias Smuts,
in giving me his impressions of the aw
ful scene which met his view after the
battle had ended, "that I had had the
power of transporting a dozen of these
poor, brave, mangled fellows lyJng
with headless brdies and shattered <lmbs,
to a certain bedroom in Birmingham or
in Government house, tape Town, so
that the two chief authors if this unnat
vral war should see some of the results
of their policy on wak'ng from sleep
In their safe and luxurous Iromes. It
might induce them to bring this dreadful
conflict to a close."
Siege of f.ad > sini th Abandoned.
The tide of Boer victory was destined
however, to ebb soon after the brilliant
action of the Rand men at Vaa! Kraiitz.
The unequal fight, so lcng and so suc
cessfully waged between forces morS
unequal in men and guns than ever con
tended In civilized- warfare, could not
long continue, without the side having
the huge legions making headway 'by
sheer force of numbers. England had
poured her rr.en into South Africa from
almost all parts of her we rid-wide em
pire. I recollect Gen. Bctha handing me
a telegram at Glencoe in May which had
just reached him from Gen. De la Rob
erta's advance over the veldt from the
hills above the Modder river. The mes
sage paid, in pathetic eloquence' 'They
are swarming over like locusts' I cannot
shoot them back!" And so it was with
Botha and his little army of 5,000 burgh
ers in Natal. Their ranks had been thin
ned in every fight, and no recruits came
to fill the gaps. The Republics had put
their last fighting men in the field, whil;
the British levies were rrliing on over
the seas in endless precessions of trans
port ships, leaving a trail of smoke on
1 ths horizon almost from London to Capo
Town, as an army of stoktra raced the
fleets and steamers along with their
crowded cargoes of men and munitions
On Tuesday, the 27th of February.
1900, Gen. Cronje surrencered to Lord
Roberts at Paadeberg with nis arms- >f
I,<joo burghers
On the following day Lord Dundonal.i
o' r,a i,cavalry fore« rode north from
Gen. Buller's lines below Nelthorpe swept
past Gen. Botha's left, and raised the
siege of Ladysmith.
Exploit of Blake 1* Irish Brigade
It was on the night of the Ist of B
that a few weary, drenched men
along in the rain on horses scarcel
»l<> Larry their riders, with the evil
ed town to their left, the siege
had been the ill-starred enterprise
whole federal campaign. Wagons,
m. n, guns had gone before, in ti;
of Joubert's retreat on Gleneoe.
few horsemen were Gens. Both
Meyer, with their adjutants, bringii
the last men of the force. They
rounding a hill east „f Ladysmil
their way to Modderspruit, when -
of puisuing cavalry were heard froi
direction of the town. Suddenly,
ever, a small body of men wac
emerge from beneath the shadow of
bard's Kop, to spread them, el
right and left of the road over whi
rear of the retreating column had p
and open rire upon the advancing
llsh. They were hut seventy men wh >
had thus thrown themselves across
can well be imagined to have been the
vengful resolve of some of Gen. W
garrison, sallying forth to make r
for their long and humiliating
in the fever-stricken town. The
force, thus foiled, wheeled round
retfrned to Lady.smith. Botha, w ;
beer: a witness of the little light, ay
the arrival of the officer in commai
the body which had thus given him
timely support, and bailed him
drew m ar: "Hello. Blake, Is thai
That was well "dune; i am thankl
your men for their actions." i •
of Blake's brigade had I
guard of "Long Tom" during n
siege, and had secured his removal
L< mbard's Kop on
when chance also grave them I
tunity of serving, and perhaps
ing. the one m.vi In Whom thi
Boer nationality were most
his brilliant exploits in t!
The Second Irish Brigade.
Another "Irish brigade" rend< i
We :•■ pvice ii thi.-: crisis, to tin
c; i,sr, fighting- in the rear-guard action
of the. retreat from Ladysmith •■> <',',■
This unique organization was command
ed by Col. Arthur Lynch (who ha
turned to Europo and been electi
parliament from Galway). Thi
contained representatives of everj
lopean county, with one or two Amer
icans, completing the most thor
cosmopolitan body which was evei
rranded by an Irish or any other •
There was Ireland, America, Aust
the Transvaal, Free Stale, «'ap<: r
Frarce, Germany, Holland, Italy. A
Russia, Greece and Bulgaria repr.- ■
in this second "Irish"' corps, which, to
complete its unprecedented reprc
tivetiess, embraced a solitary E:..
man, who fought for right ami |
against his own country's lor.
ited Col. Lyneh's laager while in [
early in May, 1960, an. l can bear ;>• i
testimony to the true soldierly '■<
in which his well equipped camp \s
ganized. and to his popularity us an offi
cer among his continental and uni\
I returned from South Africa
end o/ May, 1900, and nai tl
from communication with th* .
and Free State leaders in the •■
from other means of obtalnin ■
Boer Information.
Indeed, the later portion of tb
t'.ry baa been mainly compiled
formation gleaned through ami
sources. ret no British
silence, and no stereotyped EngHsii
ation of its own prowess can
from the public every where, tli ■ !i
j edge of the continued, dauntless fight
of this little nation of heroes foi
country's independence. For full'
years and five months the Boei still in
the field have fought fegat&st the
ist odds which ever enabled a |
of naked wrong to triumph by thi
weight of brute forre over a ri-;:
heroically upheld. With
mandoea decimated, homes desti
wives and children in prison camps, ba
bies dying of "military measures,"
and food looted, crops uprooted and de
■tion carried systematically by
land's quarter of a million of mci
almost every corner of the Trai
and Free State, still the men who be
lieve in Cod and freedom gave way enly
to death or to overwhelming o]
of artillery, supplies, of almu
erything except faith and courage
them at Vlakfontein, Itala
Tweefontc In, Tweebosh and in a
ether victories gallantly achiei
■ n when armed wll
tillery, how easily this war coi I
settled forever the question of
should rule in the Transvaal, If n •
and not numbers had to determioe
Lord Kelvin Im a Poor Teacher.
Tt is said that in one >:■ partmi
his Lord Kelvin, the eminent Ei
scientist, who was recently h
did not materially shine. Thl
professorial work at Glasgow.
■sr men have frequently proved
poor teachers—that Is. teachers of the
elements of the science whereof
were masters. On one occasion
Kelvin, then Prof. Thomson, left I
gow to receive the honor of knighth.»»i
A substitute professor named Day to >k
duty for Sir William. He ampli
fied the students. When Sir William re
turned as the new knight, some wag hn 1
written on the board: "Work yo whil.
it is called the Day, for the Knight eom
eth, when no man can work'"— o
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mothX t!?L l*u c. h Hazel So *P ' *»°» 'very
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