IAN HAMILTON'S MARCH
WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL
WITH PORTRAIT, MAPS AND PLANS
TORONTO, THE COPP, CLARK COMPANY, LIMITED
COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL
All rights reserved
THIS COLLECTION OF LETTERS
IS INSCRIBED TO
LIEUT-GENERAL IAN HAMILTON, C.B., D.S.O.
WITH WHOSE MILITARY ACHIEVEMENTS
IT IS LARGELY CONCERNED
This book is a continuation of those letters to the Morning Post newspaper on the South African war, which have been lately published under the title 'London to Ladysmith via Pretoria.' Although the letters had been read to some extent in their serial form, their reproduction in a book has been indulgently regarded by the public; and I am encouraged to repeat the experiment.
The principal event with which the second series deals is the march of Lieutenant-General Ian Hamilton's column on the flank of Lord Roberts's main army from Bloemfontein to Pretoria. This force, which encountered and overcame the brunt of the Boer resistance, which, far from the railway, marched more than 400 miles through the most fertile parts of the enemy's country, which fought ten general actions and fourteen smaller affairs, and captured five towns, was, owing to the difficulties of telegraphing, scarcely attended by a single newspaper correspondent, and accompanied continuously by none. Little has therefore been heard of its fortunes, nor do I know of anyone who is likely to write an account.
The letters now submitted to the public find in these facts their chief claim to be reprinted. While written in the style of personal narrative I have hitherto found it convenient to follow, they form a complete record of the operations of the flank column from the day when Ian Hamilton left Bloemfontein to attack the Waterworks position, until he returned to Pretoria after the successful engagement of Diamond Hill.
Although in an account written mainly in the field, and immediately after the actual events, there must be mistakes, no care has been spared in the work. The whole book has been diligently revised. Four letters, which our long marches did not allow me to finish while with the troops, have been added and are now published for the first time. The rest have been lengthened or corrected by the light of after-knowledge and reflection, and although the epistolary form remains, I hope the narrative will be found to be fairly consecutive.
I do not want the reader to think that the personal incidents and adventures described in this book are extraordinary, and beyond the common lot of those who move unrestricted about the field of war. They are included in the narrative, not on account of any peculiar or historic interest, but because this method is the easiest, and, so far as my wit serves me, the best way of telling the story with due regard at once to detail and proportion.
In conclusion I must express my obligations to the proprietors of the Morning Post newspaper for the assistance they have given my publishers in allowing them to set up the copy as each letter arrived from the war; to the DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH, to whom I am indebted for the details of the strength and composition of the force which will be found in the Appendix, and for much assistance in the attempt to attain accuracy; and thirdly, to MR. FRANKLAND, whose manly record of the heavy days he passed as a prisoner in Pretoria may help to make this book acceptable to the public.
WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL.
September 10, 1900.