Boers Become Aggressive - American Government Comes To England's Assistance and furnishes horses, mules and men.
The year 1901 began well, and the month of January was a very lively one, as there was hot fighting in every direction throughout the land and as far south as Cape Town. The English were alarmed; affairs in South Africa looked dubious and dark. The Boers were becoming more aggressive, Johannesburg was in a constant state of excitement, expecting every moment to be attacked and captured; the people were calling for protection, Kitchener was clamoring for re-enforcements from England, and England was calling for help from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia. At the same tune Lord Roberts was pulling the ropes for his earldom, and $500,000 for his proclamations annexing the Free State and the Transvaal, and declaring the war at an end. The English were short on horses and mules and these she must have at any cost, otherwise they were swamped.
There was but one country in the world from which she could hope to get them, and that was the last country in the world that should supply them.
The Government of the United States of America disgraced itself by violating the law and allowing British officers to establish recruiting camps for horses, mules and men on its sacred soil, thereby assisting the great monarchy of the British Empire to destroy two little republics in South Africa struggling so hard for their liberty and independence. One of these camps was in New Orleans, at Chalmette, a spot of ground sacred in the eyes and hearts of all true Americans.
The governor of the state protested against this camp. The mayor of the city protested against this camp, and the people of America protested against this camp, yet it was allowed to remain. The Government in Washington City sent two officers clothed in the army uniform to visit and report on this camp. The two officers went there, shook hands with the British officers, had some wine, returned to Washington, reported that all was well, and the Government established a police force to protect those British officers and that camp while recruiting horses, mules and men for the British Army in South Africa.
During the war of 1812 the English tried to lay waste our land, employed the Indian savages to murder our women and children, burnt our capitol, and the war closed with one of its greatest battles, in 1815, at Chalmette, in New Orleans. So our English Government in Washington waited some eighty-five years for the opportunity to apologize to the British Government for the terrible thrashing that the famous Andrew Jackson gave General Pakenham and his English army at Chalmette, New Orleans.
It seems to me that this is enough to bring the blush of shame to the cheeks of every true American. If the people of the United States of America cannot find enough true Americans to fill the highest office in their gift, then the tune has arrived when they should change their name and cease to call themselves Americans. Suffice it to say that just as the struggling Boers had all England alarmed and the English army pushed to hard straits, ship load after ship load of horses, mules and men from America began to arrive in Cape Town and Durban, and with them Lord Kitchener was soon able to put into the field ninety one mobile columns. Many of these Americans were captured, and some of them said that the English forced them to enlist and fight, after they reached South Africa, while others declared that they were duly hired by the British in New Orleans to go with the horses and mules to South Africa and on arrival there take up arms against the Boers.
Little good it would do them, but all those who claim they were forced by the British to take up arms against the Boers, should at least vindicate themselves to the extent of laying their complaints with the proper officials in Washington City. Those who confess that they were duly hired by the English to take up arms against the Boers should be made to feel the stigma of their disgrace by being disfranchised and deprived of the rights of American citizenship.
I certainly feel that any republican who voluntarily assists a king or queen, or both, to kill or enslave other republicans, is not fit to live among republicans, for such a man in time of war is sure to commit treason if he gets an opportunity.
Strange as it may seem, it is yet true, the English never once attacked the Boers in the month of January. They were forced to fight on the defensive and the Boers made them do plenty of fighting. Without horses and mules what could the English do but spend their time in throwing up earthworks to defend themselves against Boer attacks, and I tell you the English were kept pretty busy from morn till night. The Boers were having a first class picnic with them, and had not the English Government in Washington, D. C., lent a helping hand, the British army in South Africa would have been hopelessly lost in the struggle. Now the reader can understand what I meant when I said some time back that the two little Republics would have won their independence had not the devil and his angels been against them. It is significant, and it means something when 35,000 Boers put an English army 250,000 strong strictly on the defensive, and the Government of the United States did not fail to come promptly to the British Army's rescue. But I must go ahead and tell what happened in the various and widely separated parts of South Africa during the month of January, 1901. It may not interest the reader, but it was a month of great worry and excitement both to the British army and the British Government.
Early in the month General Botha planned to attack Machadadorp, Dalmanutha, Belfast, Wonderfontein and Balmoral, all fortified stations of the Delagoa railway line. All the forts were well equipped both with men and guns, and the forts at each station were so placed that each could protect the other.
It was during the dark and rainy night of January 8th, that a simultaneous attack on all the stations on the line was to be made. For a distance of seventy-five miles the midnight hour was made hideous by the singing of rifle bullets, whizzing grape shot, and the roar of cannon.
The frightful noise could be heard for miles, and the Boers and English were face to face at the forts, some shooting and others using their rifles as clubs. The English lost heavily, but the attack was only partially successful. The Boers had tried to outdo ten te [sic] one against them in well fortified positions. The English at night always removed their guns at Belfast from the forts for safety and it was fortunate for them that they did, for General Viljoen with the Johannesburg boys took the big fort on Monument Hill with its maxims and men. He lost his bravest and best veldtcornet in the attack, Ceroni, who fell at the wall of the fort. Plucky Dick Hunt, of the Irish Brigade, was by his side, and he received three wounds, one in the lungs being a very severe one, from which he is suffering to this very day. He, however, with his three wounds, was among the very first to scale the walls and capture the fort. The fort at the coal mine was attacked by Major Wolmorans and about twenty-five artillery boys, including Sergeant Joe Wade, Sergeant Mike Halley, Joe Kennedy, John McGlew, Jim French, Captain McCallum and Jerry O'Leary, of the Irish Brigade. Here the Boers and the English were within two feet of each other, each trying to take the other's head off. Some of the Irish boys actually pulled the rifles out of the Tommies' hands. Finally the Tommies weakened and the boys jumped over the wall and took the fort. Lieutenant Cotzee showed remarkable bravery, was severely wounded and afterwards murdered by some Kaffirs that had been armed by the British. The Boers held the two forts a few hours, helped to care for the dead and wounded English, and then with all their booty returned to camp. At all the other stations the Boers had to fall back because the English were too strong for them.
This affair put all the English to work next day along the line, strengthening existing forts, building others, digging trenches and so forth, to make their positions as strong for defence as possible. They were not only frightened, but astonishingly alarmed by the boldness and the aggressiveness of the Boers. We were camped about seven miles from Belfast, about 150 strong, could see everyone in the town, and the English, about 3,000 strong, could see us, yet they never dared to attack us. We had no defences whatever and were camped on the open prairie. " We were as safe as the people hi Piccadilly. "
General Chris. Botha near Blauwkop and not far from Standerton, attacked the English and had a good warm fight, and at the end the English thought it wise to pull themselves nearer Standerton. Shortly afterwards General Chris. Botha found the English between Ermelo and Carolina and again attacked and made it warm for them. In fact, he made the English commands that had sufficient horses hustle away lively, and they kept close to the railway lines for protection. General De Wet in the Free State was at all times next to the English, who now were not striving to corner him, but to keep shy of him. Near Lindley he attacked and had a fight with a column much stronger in men and guns than himself, but he was eminently successful, and before all could escape he made several prisoners. In Cape Colony, south of Kimberly and as far down as Cape Town, there was good fighting in many places. It required an English army 30,000 strong to protect the various towns, and yet the Boers had no trouble in accomplishing their ends. Judge Hertzog and General Brand were in one section, Commandant Fouche and General Kritsinger in another, while Commandant Wynand Malan and Commandant Scheepers were near to Cape Town. All these generals and commandants were playing havoc with the English, and Commandant Malan, one of the most successful and daring young officers of the war, was within twenty miles of Cape Town when he captured a convoy. While he was here great excitement prevailed in Cape Town and the people were daily expecting the Boers to attack. Near Kimberly the other generals and commandants were attacking and driving the English, and once again Kimberly was in a great state of worry. So alarming were the conditions in Cape Colony that it became necessary to proclaim martial law in many districts, and re-enforcements were called for in order to try and suppress the invaders.
Now we will see what General de la Rey is doing in the Western Transvaal. The English are numerous everywhere and protected by forts in all parts. At Zeerust a large command is tied up by General de la Key's men, not one of them shows his head above the wall. They cry for food and relief, but in vain. Only a small number of General de la Key's men are there, but the number seems quite sufficient. The English are hard pushed and much worried, yet they do not dare to leave their walls and face the Boers.
For many miles along the Magaliesburg Mountains southwest of Pretoria, de la Rey is attacking and driving the English, and before the end of the month had cleared them all from the mountains and taken possession himself. Every advantage, both in men, guns and fortified positions were in the hands of the English, yet so fierce was General de la Key's attack that they had to give way and abandon that mountain range. Near Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg some of de la Key's commandos attacked the intrenched and fortified English, and at Lichtenburg, where the general was in person, half the defences were taken and many English killed and wounded. Fighting continued here for several days, and had not re-enforcements arrived, General de la Rey would have captured or killed all the English commands.
In the Western Transvaal one of de la Rey's commandos attacked a convoy and its escort near Modderfontein, and a hard fight for several days, was the result. In the end, 250 men surrendered with two maxims, plenty of ammunition, loaded wagon train, and so forth. Having disarmed them and taken possession of the booty, the Boers sent the escort back to the English lines. It was during this month that General Beyers passed from the high veldt on the east to the Western Transvaal, crossing the railway line between Johannesburg and Pretoria. He did not forget to take a railway station as he passed. Some of his men made a raid to Johannesburg, upset the nerves of the whole population, took about two thousand cattle, a good number of goats and sheep and then returned to camp, satisfied with their day's work. Many other small fights occurred during the month, but not of sufficient importance to deserve mention. I think that I have given enough to show that Lord Roberts' war was at an end, and that he fully deserved his $500,000 and earldom for his proclamations. I have not heard yet what Conan Doyle received, but he is certain to have reaped a reward of some kind.
It was during the months of December and January that Lord Kitchener did some of his dirtiest paper work in the form of circulars praying the burghers to come in and surrender, and offering them all sorts of inducements to commit treason. He made use of the burghers who had long since surrendered and whom he had not shipped out of the country because they were so loyal, to carry out these circulars and distribute them among the Boer commandos.
When they began to arrive they were at once sent back and told to warn all persons who should in the future appear in the Boer camps with such treasonable papers that they would be shot. Lord Kitchener prevailed upon them, however, and out they came again. Generals De Wet, de la Rey, Louis Botha, Chris. Botha and Viljoen all had some of them shot. Lord Kitchener protested against the shooting of his loyal subjects, but he was very careful not to send any more out. These AngloAfricans who did this work correspond to what is known in the United States as Anglo-Americans or Anglo-Saxons, and just as much confidence can be put in the one in time of war as in the other. For it is this class of people who, in time of war, will be sure to ally themselves with that power which they believe most likely will be victorious in the end, regardless of their citizenship. Any English lord or general, or any general who, to gain his end, puts a premium upon treason, will himself, under proper conditions commit treason, just as sure as he who offers a bribe is equally sure to accept one. An AngloAfrican is a born or naturalized burgher of the Free State or the Transvaal who has an English heart, just as an Anglo-American is a born or naturalized citizen of the United States who has an English heart.