The following article is by Sergeant Stephens, of the Indian Commissariat and Transport Department, attached to Lumsden’s Horse: The Government of India at the last moment not sanctioning native drivers for the corps, fifty Europeans had to be enlisted under the same terms as those of trackers, receiving kit, equipment, &c. As there was no time to pick and choose, the men were taken, if physically fit, more by personal appearances than recommendations. With the exception of a few, they worked remarkably well and never complained of the hardships they had to endure while we were in South Africa. When each member joined the corps he was handed over a pair of ponies or mules, also harness for same, with cart complete. The majority of them had never driven or ridden a horse in their lives, so that the breaking-in of horses and men was not an easy task. Of fifty pairs of animals received for draught purposes not a pair was broken to harness, and when the heavy breechen was placed on their backs they did their best to kick it off, but the girths supplied by Government were strong enough to keep that in place. Our next difficulty was to put them together in carts. Immediately the curricle bar or iron support rested on their backs they wanted to be off for their lives, and in some instances got away and did a lot of mischief before they came to grief, cart and all. Privates Hyde and Braine once trying to stop a pair got severely hurt; Hyde putting his shoulder out, while Braine got his head badly cut. Both were sent to the General Hospital for treatment, but recovered in time to join B Company. The Transport men were very willing, took a delight in their duty, and worked hard from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. daily, and at that rate we were able to have the worst of the animals broken to harness before we left Calcutta. At the same time, the men were improving daily in the care and treatment of animals, and when the General Officer Commanding held his inspection, every one of them was able to drive, or seemed to think he could, so we had A Company’s Transport out for inspection. After inspecting carts, animals, and drivers, the General expressed himself pleased with the very ready way in which they had been got in order, and stated that he thought we should get on well in Africa. The men had not the slightest idea of what a muleteer was until they got on board ship. Then the work started, and dirty work it was for about two hours every morning. Even then there were no complaints. The officer commanding the corps and the captain of the ship gave great praise to the Transport men every day for having the cleanest deck. The captain afterwards said that with Regular troops he had never seen it better kept. They had to perform the same duties as the troopers, the only difference being that they had extra work daily from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M. dubbing and cleaning harness. While on board ship the Transport of A Company was divided into four sections, consequently four non-commissioned officers had to be made. This was the first promotion in the Transport, and was given to those who seemed to take most interest in their work. The names of men promoted were Power, Palmer, Cullen, and Estabrooke. Power afterwards worked up to sergeant, was a very good non-commissioned officer throughout, and quite deserved the rank he held. Work on board ship was the same daily, nothing fresh occurring till we landed at Cape Town. That night carts had to be got ready, and the following morning we had to take our own baggage to Maitland Camp. That was about the worst day we had while in Africa. It was impossible to look to our front—animals would not face the sand-storms—it was not sand, but small stones beating against our faces, and our eyes were sore for weeks after our first day at the Cape. It was very hard to harness the Transport animals in carts; but after being about twenty-six days on board ship, they had not much mind for bolting that first day. The camp, when we got there, was knee-deep in sand. Maitland at that time was a dirty hole, and we were pleased when we got our orders to shift. But a few things happened during our stay there which we cannot forget. The Government came on us, thinking we had too many carts, and they had to be reduced by ten. So we handed our ten carts and ten pairs of ponies to the Transport Officer, Cape Town, and, instead of them, got thirty-eight pairs of mules, with leader harness complete, to act as leaders for our remaining carts. That meant instead of two ponies to a cart, as we left India, we had to put four ponies or mules. This complicated matters a long time, for some of the drivers could never manage four-in-hand, so had to be left with a pair only. They said that two ‘donkeys’ (which they would insist upon calling their chargers) were quite enough for them to look after. In the end, everything turned out very well. We kept those animals spare, and whenever any in the teams showed signs of fatigue, got lame, or otherwise unfit, we had others to take their places. The Transport Officer at the Cape did not think much of his bargain. He could not get the Cape boys to make head or tail of our Indian carts and harness. It was harder for them to put a pair of our ponies in their cart than their own span of ten, which they could use as they liked. After receiving orders for the front with a light heart, every man thought the minutes too long until he got an opportunity of distinguishing himself. We were ordered to Bloemfontein, and everybody was on the war-path at once. We railed to that station, which did not do the animals any good, and on arrival there were ordered to join a brigade at Deel’s Farm, about three miles beyond the town. Having to draw our stores from Bloemfontein station prepared our transport and drivers for the work which lay before them, and during our stay there they got in excellent order. The first day our Transport carts went out with spare ammunition for the corps, nothing unusual occurred, and, in fact, all returned disappointed, but this showed the ammunition drivers what they must expect when going out again. All in charge of these carts were picked men, being the best drivers with the best animals. They had to canter and trot over rough country with eight boxes of ammunition, to keep in touch with their corps, over hills or otherwise, and be always where they were wanted; our carts were very handy, and could go where others failed. Next day was the well-remembered Ospruit fight, and the carts had a narrow escape then. The enemy got their range, and the pom-poms played round them for some time, a few of the shells landing between the carts; but the drivers were just as easy as ever, and when ordered to retire did it in excellent style, smoking and passing jokes as the shells followed them up. Private Lowther, who was on stretcher-bearer’s duty that day, will not forget what he called a cool order. When the drivers were getting out of range one of their hats was blown off, and Lowther, being on foot, was ordered to pick it up. He looked twice, but went back and got it. Shells were a bit thick, but he remembered he was a soldier. The day after the fight we had to send a cart out to bring in Major Showers. Corporal Cullen and Private Arthurton went with it on duty, Cullen corporal in charge, Arthurton the driver. After finding the Major’s body, they were joined by some Boers, who assisted to put the Major in the cart, had a friendly chat with them, passed cigarettes and tobacco round, and Cullen said when he came back to camp that there were very few Boers among them, nearly all English-speaking and of a very respectable class. They had very little to say regarding the fight the previous day, but said they were sorry our Colonel was killed. They had found some papers in the pockets of young Lumsden, whom they took to be the Colonel. We had most trouble with our carts and animals when night marching. The ponies were excellent for draught purposes; the Cape mules did not last nearly as well. If properly fed the ponies would have worked throughout our stay in Africa; but they were often days without anything but what they could pick when we got an hour’s halt. On one occasion which I remember well they were thirty-six hours under harness without food of any kind, and only watered once. People might say, Why not oftener? Water was not procurable. Another thing that came against us was the cunning Kaffir. He could walk around at night, take the best of our animals, and have them disfigured in such a way that nobody could recognise them the following morning. We put up with this for a long time, until our stock of spare mules ran short, and then we had to carry out the same tricks as the remainder by doing unto others as they had done to us. We were able to take to Pretoria every one of the carts with which we left Bloemfontein. When we got there, everything, of course, was the worse for wear, but complete in every other respect. If anything ever frightened our Transport drivers it was the word ‘drift.’ You should have seen their worried looks when they heard that there was a drift ahead; but they braved everything, thinking that Pretoria would finish all. But to our surprise when we got there we found out that the show was only then starting. We had a little rest after the surrender, being sent to a station ten miles off called Irene. While there the Transport kept the horses of the corps well fed on oat-hay, which we brought from all the farms within ten miles of the place. We remained at Irene until August 1, and then got attached to a brigade going after De Wet in the Rustenburg direction. We were on this march for twenty-eight days without rest, which was the cause of killing all our Indian ponies except twelve. The whole of that month’s march was a dead pull for the Transport—some days it was up to the ankle in sand, while next it was just the same in black sticky earth. We were not the only lot that suffered; every unit experienced just the same. It took us all our time to get our carts back to Pretoria. At the end of August we were only a day in Pretoria before being ordered off again on the march to Barberton. Things had to be got ready as quickly as possible, and off we went on September 1 for another long trek. When starting on this march we had to leave twelve of our carts in Pretoria, and as many men of the corps had come down we reduced our Transport. During the whole of this period we had very little time for carrying out repairs to carts and harness. The saddles began to give out in the leather, as they had not been repaired since we left Calcutta except a stitch here and there. During our stay in Africa we never had an animal suffer from sore back. This, we think, was due to the excellent way in which the saddles were stuffed before leaving Calcutta. Although newly received from the Ordnance Department, they did not satisfy the Commissariat and Transport Sergeant-Major, who had them stuffed to his own liking. On the march to Barberton and back we had very bad weather, which completely destroyed our gear, and, arriving at Pretoria for the third time, we thought of getting it thoroughly repaired. We had done our best, and, in fact, had all the saddles restuffed and lined in a very short time, when orders were received for the corps to be disbanded. The number of animals with which we left India was—Ponies, 100; mules, 5; total, 105. The five mules lasted throughout, but only eight ponies lived to see the finish. Two of these, driven by Private Arthurton, seemed to be in better condition at the finish than when they left Calcutta. He took great care of his animals. Two others were in charge of Driver Estabrooke. As he intended remaining in South Africa, the Colonel presented him with his pair. The whole of the carts and gear were handed over to the Ordnance, Pretoria, before our departure, with three hearty cheers from Lumsden’s muleteers.