15400. But it was an advance through the Orange Free State?
Quite so, but then you must remember that directly after he had sent this telegram he received my telegram in which I proposed to the Government, and asked to have referred to him, the plan of campaign which he afterwards adopted, which was an advance to the Modder and thence to Bloemfontein. Now in acknowledging that he did not accept it; he queried it on a minor point, and followed that by a telegram from Madeira in which he said he thought the status quo the proper thing, which I took to be a quiet way of telling me that he did not agree with my plan, although that plan was the one which he afterwards adopted.

15401. But you did not have any instructions from the Government regarding your line of advance, did you?
It was well understood between Lord Lansdowne, Lord Wolseley, and myself, that the intentions with which I left fling (? ?) I and were to land the three Divisions, one Division at East London, one Division at Port Elizabeth, and one Division at Cape Town, and to concentrate them upon the two bridges at Norval’s Pont and Bethulie with a view to advance through the Orange Tree State. That was the original plan of campaign.

15402. My impression was that Lord Wolseley said that there were no instructions given to you ; that you went out with a free hand?
There were no instructions, and I went out with a free hand on the understanding that I was going to do a definite thing. I kept my hand as free as possible, but during the fortnight before I embarked, I was pressed very much by both Lord Wolseley and Lord Lansdowne to give the ports of debarkation for the different Divisions of the Army Corps, and I declined to do so until the day I left England. On the 14th of October I went in the morning to the War Office and proposed that Gatacre’s Division should be landed at East London, Clery’s at Port Elizabeth, and Methuen’s at Cape Town; but I distinctly qualified that by saying that every ship was to call at Cape Town for orders, because I did not know what the condition of affairs might be when I arrived at the Cape.

15403. The point for which you particularly wished to mention that telegram from Lord Roberts was with regard to the transport?
Yes, with regard to the general arrangements that I made for his arrival. I thought it my duty to do the best I could, and we were working at cross j>purposes on account of the instructions he had given me, which were not in accordance with the policy he afterwards adopted. I make no complaint.

15404. You are not referring to the difference between regimental transport and the transport afterwards adopted? You are more referring to the position in which you placed the transport?
Yes, to the distribution of the transport.

15405. A certain amount of transport was placed at a certain point to facilitate the advance?
So far as possible, the transport was placed along all the three lines of advance to the bridges at Norval’s Pont and Bethulie; and when Lord Roberts arrived it had to be brought in large quantities westward to be concentrated on the western line. That could all have been done before his arrival if we had known it. I am not raising this point to make any complaint or to say anything for myself; but certain officers who were carrying out my orders rather want it to be pointed out that they were doing the best they could according to their lights.

15406. The question of regimental transport or the other system you are going to raise later on?
If you wish me to do so?

15407. (Sir George Taubman-Goldie.) Before leaving that telegram, I think it is only fair to point out to you that a little lower down in
it Lord Roberts appears to have taken something of the same view as you did, at any rate, as to the unimportance of holding Ladysmith in case you and Sir George White succeeded in joining hands?
Yes, as he said in that telegram.

15408. He thought it was advisable that you should evacuate the place, and hold the line of the Tugela, which is very much the line of policy that you mentioned to us just now, in case you and Sir George White could have joined hands and given the Boers a doing?
Yes, in all those things I find Lord Roberts in accord with my views practically, and in the same way he also approved of what had been also my original idea, that Kimberley, if made safe, could be left alone.

15409. (Chairman.) That is the only point you wish to amplify in that section?
That is all.

15410 (Sir Frederick Darley.) Had not the state of affairs altered very much after you left London and before Lord Roberts arrived, I mean with respect to the invasion of the Cape Colony by the Boers?
No, I .think at the moment that Lord Roberts arrived—accompanying that statement with the fact that he arrived and brought reinforcements at the same moment—we had practically got back almost to the position in which we rather hoped to have found matters at the time when I originally arrived. When I arrived, I was short of troops, and Kimberley was attacked and Ladysmith was attacked and Cape Colony was invaded; and at the time Lord Roberts arrived the relieving force was close enough to Kimberley to support it, and the relieving force was close enough to Ladysmith to support it, and in both cases the forces were able to prevent any further Boer advance by those roads, and in Cape Colony itself the invasion was decidedly checked and was being, to some extent, forced backwards.

15411. At that time the bridges on the central line were out by the Boers. Would Lord Roberts not have found the same difficulty in advancing by the central line, from the nature of the country, as you found advancing on Ladysmith?
I think he was perfectly right in what he did, and it was the very same policy, I may say, that I myself had suggested, without any communication with him, that he should adopt. But I did not understand that you were raising that question. I entirely agree. My only point in raising the question was that I did not know it was his intention to advance in the way I proposed, and that I understood from his telegram that, with the facts telegraphically before him, his intention was to advance by the original route.

15412. That was your point, I understand. As Lord Roberts says to you, “ To carry out the original plan of campaign and advance through the Orange Free State in force appears to me to be the best way of co-operating with you ”?

15413. When he arrived in South Africa, of course, he found it would not be the best way of co-operating with you?
I quite agree, but the only reason why I raised the question was thus : —I understood from the portion of the evidence he gave before the Commission that has been sent to me, that the fact that he told me that he anticipated advancing by the central route had been forgotten by him, and that he left the Commission under the impression that he sailed from England with the intention of advancing by the other route. I was ignorant of that intention.

15414. And you agree with him that the advance he made was, under the circumstances existing when he arrived, the proper course to pursue?
I do entirely, subject to the fact that personally had I been directing it I should certainly have made a railway.

15415. {Chairman.) The next heading is the “ Movement to Spring- field.” Have you anything to say with regard to that?
No, nothing at all, I think.

15416. Then the next is, “Events of 17th to 27th January, 1900”?
I have only to say with regard to that that I had considerable doubt whether I should put anything in about that at all; but I was advised by the one man I consulted that he did not think I ought to leave out a reference to Spion Kop; and, further, that should it be the intention of the Commission to examine Sir Charles Warren, I should like him to see what I have said. That is all. It is with same diffidence that I put anything in, but I was advised by one I trusted that I ought to do so, and I have done so.

15417. This you put in as your statement of those events?

15418. I see you say that you were not altogether dissatisfied with the results of Spion Kop?
I was not. I believe at this moment that those six days’ operations at Spion Kop really relieved Ladysmith. They were really the actual cause of the relief of Ladysmith. Without them I should never have got in by Hlangwane.

15419. Because of the effect on. the enemy?
Yes; we did inflict very great loss upon the enemy; we knocked the heart out of them there—there and at Vaal Krantz.

15420. We wish you to understand that we desire to give you every opportunity of making any statement that you may think it advisable to make with regard to any of the events connected with Spion Kop?
If I thought there was anything that the public could gain by a discussion of the events of Spion Kop, even though it would drag me through the deepest mud, I should be the first man to wish to be examined on the subject. I am ready here to answer any questions that I may be asked, in the fullest possible manner. But I do not myself think that there is anything I wish to volunteer beyond the bald statement that I have already placed in my narrative.

15421. And you do not think it is in the public interest necessary to go beyond that statement.
I do not believe it would be to the public interest to say more than that. As I am on this subject I should like to add that I have always considered the first publication of the Spion Kop despatches as a piece of stupidity but not a malignant one. It was a question upon which it was my duty, as an officer partly concerned, to present the Government with the facts of the case in the fullest possible detail, and I therefore sent home every document of any importance bearing upon the case; but it never occurred to me that any of them would be published, and I was fortified in that belief by a knowledge of the attitude that was taken before the House of Commons by Lord Hartington and Mr. W. H. Smith in the matter of McNeill’s zareba, where this very question was very fully discussed in the House. That is my opinion, and I am very much obliged to you for giving me the opportunity of putting it down.

15422. We are very much obliged to you for making it. Then the next heading is, “ Movement to Vaal Krantz.” Is there anything in that section to which you wish to refer?
Nothing. This section and the following one bring out a question which has been a good deal discussed in the Press. That is all. I have rather gone into diffuseness with regard to this section and the next one, “Events of 6th to 8th February,” because they bring out a question which has been a good deal commented upon in the Press. I have nothing to add to what I have stated there.

15423. Which particular question do you refer to?
Well, the question as to whether or not I was afraid to fight.

15424. (Viscount Esher.) I do not think anyone has ever suggested that?
It has been suggested.

15425. (Sir Henry Norman.) Was it not rather a suggestion that you advocated surrender?
It was after that. This is the question of a telegram of which Lord Roberts published a part in his despatch, and I think it would have been fairer to me if he had published the whole of it. It raised a point that I have personally a little resented, and which was not met officially, as I think it ought to have been. However, it was not. I have given the full particulars. I refer to the telegram of Lord Roberts in which he told me to appeal to the patriotism of my troops.

15426. That the honour of the Empire was in their hands?

15427. Do you think that implies a want of courage on your part?
It has been so interpreted.

15428. Because people often have appeals to the honour of their troops, and so forth?
I am not speaking of the honour of the troops at all, but of the way in which Lord Roberts in his despatch, I think of the 7th of February, quoted that telegram of mine. That has been interpreted very adversely to me, and as I think I have shown here, my correspondence with Lord Roberts does not bear out that interpretation.

15429. Lord Roberts could never have intended it?
I do not say that he did. I am only saying what happened.

15430. (Viscount Esher.) It shows how easily telegrams can be misinterpreted and how unfortunate it is?
Well, the tail end was left out, and it is a pity.

15431. (Chairman.) What was left out?
The sentence at the end of the telegram, “The question is how would such a loss affect your plans, and do you think the chance of the relief of Ladysmith worth the risk,” is left out in Lord Roberts’ despatch. The part he published of my telegram made it appear as if I was only deterred from fighting by the chance of losing 2,000 men. It is in his covering despatch, I think of the 7th of February. I would show you the point in a moment if you have the Blue Book, Volume I. 0. 457, 1901, of Despatches. (The Book was handed to the witness.)

15431. (Viscount Esher.) Here you say, “ At this time Lord Roberts telegraphed on behalf of the War Office asking whether there was any position in Natal that could be made virtually impregnable by a force of 10,000 men, and suggesting that the line of the Tugela might be such a position.” What were they driving at then; what does that mean; how would you answer that question?
I should read the telegram as involving a proposal from the War Office that I should let Ladysmith go. There were two propositions at that moment made to me. I had better quote them both. One was that Sir George White should abandon his hospitals and break out, and the other was, could I occupy an impregnable position in Natal.

15432. That meant “ Could you occupy an impregnable position in Natal if you only manned it with a force of 10,000 men ”?

15433. (Sir Henry Norman.) Have you identified that telegram in the Blue Book?

15434. What was the point?
The point that I raised was this. Lord Roberts in his despatch said: “ On the 6th February I received a telegram from Sir Redvers Buller reporting that he had pierced the enemy’s line and could hold the hill which divided their position, but that to drive back the enemy on either flank and thus give his own artillery access to the Ladysmith plain, ten miles from Sir George White’s position, would cost him from 2,000 to 3,000 men, and success was doubtful. General Buller enquired if I thought that the chance of relieving Ladysmith was worth such a risk.” That was not my enquiry. My enquiry was whether in the face of the instructions he knew he had given me,—that I was not to attack unless I was confident—how would such a loss affect his plans. I had no idea at the time what he was doing; he had not informed me how he was going into the Free State, or anything.

15435. What were the exact words that Lord Roberts used?
The words that Lord Roberts quoted, do you mean?

15436. Yes.
The exact words he left out were these, “ I am not confident, though hopeful I can do it. The question is how would such a loss affect your plans, and do you think the chance of relief of Ladysmith worth the risk.” He left out the point of my being hopeful that I could do it, and left out the whole of my question which was based upon the condition that I had his plans to consider. I do not impute the slightest desire to mislead, but as a matter of fact that telegram has been quoted very adversely to my interests.

15437. (Chairman.) Then your next heading is “Necessity for continuing active operations. Correspondence with Lord Roberts.” That also we may take as expressing your views?
I think that explains the situation unless you wish to ask me anything.

[Necessity for continuing active operations. Movement to Hussar Hill - Events of 14th to 28th February. Correspondence with Lord Roberts as to future policy.]

15438. The next heading is “Movement to Hussar Hill. Events of 14th to 28th February.” That gives your account of the series of actions?

15439. (Chairman.) We have now got to the point of the correspondence with Lord Roberts as to future policy?
Yes. I may summarise that correspondence very shortly by saying that in it I think it is clear that periodically Lord Roberts rather wished to get me off the railway, and at other times he wished something done to lift me on the railway, and that personally my own view was that until I got out of Natal I ought not to go very much off the railway.

15440. You wished to adhere to the railway during your progress through Natal?
I wished to get the railway through Natal repaired almost before anything else.

15441. There was a considerable interval during which I suppose Lord Roberts and you were agreed that you should not move?
I was never agreed; I wished to move within a week after arriving in Ladysmith, and I proposed to do so in my first telegram.

15442. Which telegram do you refer to?
I sent the telegram on the 3rd March, and it is printed on pages 39 and 40 of my summary of evidence: “ My own view would be that we should send three brigades to occupy Northern Natal.” I thought I ought to have gone on at once then, and if I had got to Laing’s Nek, as I hoped to have done before the end of the month of March, I thought it would have been of enormous assistance to Lord Roberts and a great impediment to the enemy.

15443. But as a matter of fact you did not move until when?
I did not move until the 7th of May.

15444. (Sir George Taubman-Goldie.) Was that in consequence of Lord Roberts discouraging you?
From my point of view entirely. I have quoted the telegrams at some length because they are a little confusing, but I think if you will read them through you will see that Lord Roberts’ policy changed, and while at one time he would not let me attack the Drakensberg, because he expected to clear the passes by operations of his own, at another time I was to attack the Drakensberg Pass at any cost.

15445. (Chairman.) He of course was unable to move on from Bloemfontein for a considerable time?
He did not arrive at Bloemfontein until 14 days after I relieved Ladysmith, and when he got to Bloemfontein he was in such a position that he was unable to advance; but I did not know at the time, and I did not in the least anticipate that he would be unable to clear his flanks and his communications.

15446. But as a matter of fact he was not able to do that, or to advance for a considerable time?
He practically did not move for two months, and during those two months he practically kept me doing nothing too.

15447. Until he did advance he could not very well co-operate with you through the passes, could he?
No, I did not myself think he could ever have helped me at the passes within any reasonable time.

15448. Or drawn off the enemy from you by any operations?
No, he could not have done so. But I could have drawn the enemy off him.

15449. And the time he did ask you to co-operate was at the time when he was making his advance on Johannesburg?
As soon as he was ready to advance he told me to occupy the enemy, and I at once moved to Newcastle and thence to Laing’s Nek.

15450. I think I ought to say that in Lord Roberts’ examination, when he came again on the 10th of February, we had from him his statement of the communications between himself and you, and the objects for which he made the propositions he did?
The propositions he made on what date?

15461. From the 2nd of May?
That comes later; practically that was the time he told me to move. I thought you were referring to the former period.

15452. No; as soon as he began to move he did enter into communication with you with regard to operations which had the object of your moving into the Free State?
He proposed to me a series of operations then, and they were a series of differing operations; at one time I was to go to the Free State, and at another time I was to go somewhere else. At one time he proposed I should go to Belfast.

15453. (Sir George Taubman-Goldie.) There is an earlier period on the 5th April?
But I thought we had disposed of that.

16464. On the 5th of April it appears that Lord Roberts had directed you to send him a Division of Infantry?
Yes, he had. May I make myself clear? I understood from the chairman that he had passed that period and was then coming to the period after the 4th May, and my .last answer only related to that.

15455. There is a period between the relief of Ladysmith and 2nd of May which has to be accounted for?
There is; I have endeavoured to deal with it in this memorandum, but of course if you wish to ask any questions, I will answer them.

15456. I rather gather from the telegram of Lord Roberts that he would have wished you to operate through Van Reenen’s Pass, but you hesitated?
I did; that was early in April.

15457. Yes, 5th April. He says this: “ I might have hesitated to order this had he been preparing to operate towards Van Reenen’s Pass. The presence of a portion of his force in this direction would assuredly have had the effect of drawing off some of the enemy from this part of the country. Buller was most pressing that the Biggarsberg should be his first object.” I raise this point because a question has been frequently raised in this country as to why there was no movement between the relief of Ladysmith and the beginning of May?
With regard to that period I should like to take you back as far as Lord Roberts’ telegram to me, No. 613, of the 23rd March, which I have referred to on page 42 of my Statement. He sent me that telegram, and he said, “ I shall be delayed here for some time yet, we have run short of supplies, large numbers of remounts are required for Cavalry, and Artillery drafts have to be sent up and men must be given either tents or blankets; many of them have only greatcoats.” Then he went on, and he said, “ I shall be surprised if Passes are not practically cleared as we near Kroonstad.” But the point I had to answer was when he said, “I shall be delayed here for some time yet,” and I answered that at once on the following day in my No. 226 of the 24th March, referring to his telegram 613, and I said, “ Do you think I could be of any use to help you with supply? I think that within five days from the start I might possibly get up Oliver’s Hoek Pass, now held only by the Harrismith Town Guard, all Englishmen, who will not fight unless there is a large force of Boers to make them. By four days later I shall have turned Van Reenen’s and if my information with regard to the railway is correct in eight days more it should be open to Harrismith say 17 days or perhaps three weeks from the start. When the line is opened I should be able to put up each day 400 tons, say two days’ supply for 70,000 men and 10,000 horses. Of course, I cannot promise this would come off, but I can try.” That was a proposal of mine intended to deal with his not being able to move because he was short of supplies. In his telegram he gave me no hint of any intention of coming down towards me, and I rather wanted to draw him towards me, because I thought, although I did not like to say so in so many words, that it would be better for him to clear all that difficult country about Ladybrand before he left Bloemfontein rather than to leave that behind him. In that telegram the only idea he gave me was an advance on Kroonstad which was due north of him. He apparently did not receive my No. 226 before on the same day he had sent me a telegram crossing mine, and not based upon mine, in which he said, “No.642, 24th March. Secret. Will you have sufficient transport to enable two divisions of Infantry with proportion of Artillery and 1,000 Cavalry to move into the Orange Free State in about three weeks time should it be necessary for me to call upon you for assistance to that extent, and supposing that the enemy’s hold on Passes is so far weakened as to admit of your forcing your way through them.” As he had previously told me that I was not to attempt the Passes until he had weakened them, I gathered from that telegram that he had given up his idea of going on to Kroonstad and that he intended to move towards me, and I replied at once by my No. 227 of the 25th March, quoting his telegram No. 642, and said, “To enable me to reply as to sufficient transport will you tell me how many days’ supply I should have to take with me, the direction in which I should have to operate and whether I should have to continue to supply myself from Natal or could I, when in the Free State, draw on some advanced post there.” I was 45 miles from the top of Van Reenen’s Pass and from Van Reenen’s Pass to Kroonstad would have been about 120 miles. I could not have supplied myself from Ladysmith unless I was given time to reopen the railway to Harrismith, and then I should have had to have a new base, and I should have required a certain force to protect my railway to Harrismith. That telegram again crossed a telegram from Lord Roberts in reply to my No. 226, which I first read, in which I offered to put supplies into Harrismith, and he said, “ 0654, 25th March. Yours 226 of yesterday. If information about Drakensberg Passes is correct you could not do better than act as you suggest.” (That was merely to occupy Harrismith.) “The presence of one or two divisions of your force at Harrismith three weeks hence, especially if provided with equipment for onward movement, would be of material assistance to me. It would be a great advantage also to be helped with supplies from Natal.”

15458. That is the point I wanted to elicit?
I never undertook to put two divisions into Harrismith and to open the railway and keep it open; I offered to supply Harrismith, and he had asked me if I could send divisions to Kroonstad, a totally different operation.

15459. You had about the equivalent of four divisions?
Yes, and I was holding about 95 miles of front, and I had repaired the railway up to the face of the Boers.

15460. What did you take to be the total of the enemy?
At that time there were about 14,000 men in the Biggarsberg.

15461. What was the next step after that?
I answered Lord Roberts at once, on the 26th, and I answered his last one about the two divisions, and I said, “ No. 229, 26th March, your No. 654, I will try what I can do. I shall not be able to assist for a week, as Warren, who will have to hold Ladysmith, thinks he ought to have 2,000 mounted men left with him. I cannot say that demand is excessive, as he would only have six good battalions and the shaky eight battalions of the old garrison, and there is a strong force of the enemy in front, but I must wait for remounts to enable me to give them.” At that time I should say I had allowed, after the relief of Ladysmith, the whole of the Natal Volunteers, who had been shut up in Ladysmith, and the whole of the Imperial Light Horse, who were the best irregulars of Natal people we had, to go back to their homes in South Natal to get new horses and refit after the siege, and I was awaiting their return; they were like Volunteers, not quite up to date, and they ought to have been back. They had promised to come back in three weeks, but they did not come back so quickly. My telegram went on, “ The latest information is that Kruger has told the Transvaalers that they have done so much harm in Natal that the English will never forgive them and that they must fight now not for their independence but for their lives. I do not know if this is true, but it is certain that they have done immense wilful damage, and also certain that for the last few days Kaffir rumour points not to a retirement but rather that they will advance if we do not. I will, however, do the best I can to carry out your wishes.” Then the next telegram

16462. The only question I want to get at clearly is, could not you have spared two divisions and yet have left yourself with 14,000 or 15,000 men in hand?
If Lord Roberts had asked me to spare two divisions, yes, I could.

15463. Did he not ask you that?
No, I was just going to read a telegram on the point; he answered my 227 by his number 669 on the 26th March, and he said, “ Any force coming from Natal will have to make its own arrangements about supplies as far as Kroonstad should it go west, or the Vaal River if it has to go north. After that has been reached it will have to be reconsidered, but it seems probable that we shall have to depend upon Natal for a portion of our supplies while we are in the Transvaal ”; then he goes on, “ As the feeding of a large force presents such great difficulty you will better arrange for only one division being despatched to operate with me in the first instance, and that I should wish to be Hunter’s. If a second division can be sent later on it should be Lyttelton’s, but I doubt if you will be able to spare more than one division as Natal must be occupied and the line of railway leading direct to the Transvaal will have to be repaired and guarded.” So that he then threw upon me the sending of one division, which I was to keep supplied the whole way to the Vaal River, and which I was to be responsible for, though it was to co-operate with him, but was not to be under his supervision at all; and besides that I was to clear Natal and to open and complete the line to Laing’s Nek. I could not do it, at least I did not think I ought to be asked to do it. That is the real point.

15464. (Chairman.) The question I was asking was on the subsequent point, the correspondence in which began on the 2nd of May with regard to the passing through the passes and going up to Vrede and Standerton. That was Lord Roberts’ plan at that time?
Lord Roberts appeared to think at that time that I could get up the Drakensberg anywhere, but there were really only two practical passes up which any column could have gone up the Drakensberg, one Van Reenen’s Pass from Ladysmith, and the other Botha’s Pass, about half-way between Newcastle and Laing’s Nek; and if you went up through Botha’s Pass it was infinitely easier and simpler to keep on the high ground above the gorge of which Laing’s Nek is a portion, clear Laing’s Nek and bring the railway through, than it would have been to have gone loose into ono of the most difficult parts of the Free State. That Vrede country is not steep, but it is a very contorted, difficult country; the sources of the Klip River are very boggy, it is extremely difficult for soldiering, and there are also some rather difficult hills. I could see no possible reason for going to Vrede. I should not have been in touch with Lord Roberts; I should have been 40 or 50 miles from any of the troops he advanced with, whereas if I got to Standerton by the railway, which was very much the easier operation, I covered Vrede entirely, and cut any of the communications the Boers would have had for supporting it. Therefore it was in my opinion very much better for me to clear Laing’s Nek and to make the railroad through it instead of moving up a most difficult hill and then trying to supply the column at Vrede by that hill with the enemy all the time on my flank and rear.

15465. I only mentioned it in connection with Lord Roberts’ evidence to say that he had given us the correspondence which passed between you and him with regard to those propositions. You have alluded to it also in your statement; so that I presume we have the full situation before us?
The correspondence really began on the 15th May, I think.

16466. The correspondence with regard to that particular point?
Yes, the principal correspondence began on the 15th May.

15467. Have you anything else to say with regard to the advance that you did make in the passage through the Drakensberg and the advance on Standerton?
Nothing, I think, except with regard to my conversation with Botha. I knew I had a good deal of influence in the Wakkerstroom district with the resident Boers. All the principal Boers or their fathers had served under me 20 years before. I knew a great many of them personally, and I was of opinion that if I could have been allowed to do what I suggested to Lord Roberts, that is to say, to allow them to keep their arms to protect themselves, the whole of that district would have surrendered at once. It did entirely surrender to me as a going concern; the Landrost handed over the place, every official remained at his post, and the whole district surrendered to me, but I could not accept their surrender unless I offered them protection, and the only means I had of protecting them was by letting them keep their rifles to protect themselves. When they surrendered the Landrost (was?) handed over to me for punishment and I tried him by Court-martial, a principal Boer who had shot in cold blood a messenger who was carrying proposals for peace. That shows how much they did surrender, but Lord Roberts told me that the only terms he could give were unconditional surrender, which was to be accompanied by disarmament. Chris. Botha was there at the time with the whole of the Swaziland Police, which was one of the mercenary regiments of the Boers, and the moment I withdrew General Hildyard from Wakkerstroom those police arrested the Landrost and the whole of the lot who had surrendered, took them away, and the district went back to a state of antagonism again.

15468. (Sir George Taubman-Goldie.) There has been a great deal of discussion in the last three years, not only in official circles but elsewhere, as to what “ unconditional surrender ” means. Is any surrender otherwise than conditional?
I never before heard of unconditional surrender, and personally I should never think of offering it to anybody, because if you put a man’s back against the wall and give him no means of escape, he is generally a very awkward customer.

15469. Surrenders are generally conditional?
Yes, but I had always from the very earliest inception of the War conceived that the real way to end it would be by netting, if possible, some portion of the Boers to revolt from the tyranny of the others, and as I knew I had a very considerable personal influence in that district I thought this was a good opportunity, and therefore I had the conversation with Botha that has been recorded in the papers. I wish to deny that there is the slightest truth in the assertion that he took advantage of it to remove any guns ; he did not move anything.

15470. That concludes the statement you have submitted?
That concludes everything, except that I think it fair that I should say with regard to the correspondence you have mentioned, and which Lord Roberts alluded to in his evidence, that I do not know what deduction he drew from it. But I would like to call attention to this—that the moment I had got through Laing’s Nek the very first telegram I got from him was that he wanted supplies from Natal, and that I was to come on to Standerton at once, which, if I had been at Vrede at that time, I could not have done.

15471. (Sir John Hopkins.) I should like to ask from your experience of the range and power of your guns in the field, whether you consider that the field artillery was equal to what the Boers brought against you as field artillery?
No, the field artillery was not equal to some of the guns the Boers brought into the field as field artillery; but it must be recollected that our field artillery was very much more mobile than those guns the Boers brought, and that we were able to get our field artillery into places and to use it within periods of time which would. I think, have been impossible with the Boers; and we must also recollect that the young Boers are past-masters in the art of driving oxen; their guns wore mostly drawn by oxen, and they were able to do things with teams of oxen that we had nobody in our Army capable of doing; and no other beasts than oxen would have done what they did. Therefore I think you have to discount the general question a good deal by those considerations.

15472. It was rather with a view to leading up to another question. Were you satisfied with the naval guns, which, of course, had a greater range as field guns?
I was exceedingly well satisfied with the naval guns, and especially with the naval gunners. I thought the naval gunning, their system of gunnery, very far in advance of our artillery system; but I was not satisfied with our cordite. I think the foreign system of intercepting the recoil which was adopted by the Boers was far superior to ours, that is to say a big Boer gun would fire at its extreme range (I saw it happen myself) a shell, and that shell fell and made a great hole in the ground; a native got into the hole to see how deep it was, and the next shell that came went into the same hole and killed him. I do not think we had a gun that would put two shells running into the same hole.

15473. With regard to the cordite, are you alluding now to the changes of range in the individual charges of the cordite, or to the erosion of the gun through it?
I am not alluding to erosion; I did not find that the erosion was very serious. Captain Jones would give you better information about that than I can; but I think we had a new tube put in one of the guns in the field without any trouble. I allude to the cordite itself; our cordite was not smokeless, and it was not in my opinion so certain, so even (that is the word), as it ought to have been.

15474. I think that comes out in some of the Naval evidence. With regard to the shooting of the Naval guns, were you satisfied with them?
Yes. I was; I thought the fire discipline of the Naval gunners, the independence of their different guns’ crews, and the rapidity with which the different captains changed their targets as occasion offered was very much superior to our Artillery system.

15476. And as far as the shooting went, do you think it was as good as you could expect?
I thought quite as good; some of it was admirable. As to the two 12-pounder quick-firing guns of the “ Terrible,” that were under the charge of Mr. Ogilvy, as he was then, I do not think we should ever have got into Ladysmith if we had not had those guns. They were firing on a Boer sangar, and I was looking through mv telescope, about 2,800 yards off, and the last two shells went into the sangar, I do not think three feet in front of the leading men who wore taking it.

15476. You had no experience of the 4.7 guns with your force, had you?
Yes, I had four.

15477. That was afterwards, in your advance?
All the time, we horsed them and took them on.

15478. Had that gun practised at the enemy while it was with you?
Yes, an immense deal of practice.

16479. Did you see anything to remark on in the accuracy of fire of the 4.7? Was it as good as it should be?
I thought it was; occasionally they fired extremely well. Towards the end, when perhaps there was rather more demand for very accurate firing, one of the guns had got rather eroded, and Captain Scott, under a certain amount of pressure, I am afraid from me, had departed from his original design of carriage and made a lighter one, and undoubtedly the lighter one was less successful, and the gun did not shoot quite so well. With the old carriages, the first ones he made, the shooting was better.

15480. Taking the 4.7 as one of the heavy guns accompanying you in the field, do you consider that on the whole the shooting was as satisfactory as you would expect it to be, taking carriages and everything else into account?
I thought it very good indeed; I considered it was excellent.

15481. {Chairman.) You are also prepared to answer questions on any points in the Memorandum which was sent to you? I do not know that it is necessary to go into the first point about the adequacy in point of strength of the force in the field at different dates, and what they had to do. I presume that has come out in the summary of your evidence which we have dealt with?
I think so.

15482. Then with regard to the quality of the men?
I think with regard to the quality of the men that we were all of us very favourably impressed; there were some officers who had doubts as to whether some of the Reservists would prove of equal value with the men who had remained in the ranks, but I think those doubts were removed, and that the quality of the men was quite as good as we hoped for. They certainly shot, on the whole, extremely well; the fault in their shooting was that it was difficult to keep them attentive. An old Boer whom I knew well once expressed it to me in this way, “ For two hours your men would hit our little finger, but after that they go to sleep and then we sometimes shoot them.”

15483. How do you think their shooting compared with the Boers’?
On the whole it was better. I think our gun was better than the Mauser, and that on the whole as long as our men were really shooting they shot rather better than the Boers when they were in a place where they knew their range, but the conditions of light and atmosphere in South Africa are so very different from the conditions in England that it took the men a good long time before they could easily, quickly and accurately pick up the range.

15484. Are you speaking now of the Regulars?

15485. Do you make the same remarks about the Irregulars?
The Colonials who shot well, shot well, but the Colonials who did not shoot well shot remarkably badly.

15486. They most of them shot well?
A proportion of them.

15487. Had you many Colonials with you?
I had at first about 3,000 from Natal of regiments I raised at the Cape, mostly composed of men who came from Johannesburg.

15488. All South Africans?
Well, they were all sorts; as good men as any in the lot were a small detachment of five men of the Kent Yeomanry who came out for a lark. These were right good men to shoot and everything else.

15489. You had not to do with corps raised in the oversea Colonies?
No, except with Strathcona’s Horse; they were with me, and they were excellent.

15490. {Sir Henry ’Norman.) At what time did they join you?
They joined me the day I started for Standerton; I think they joined me on the 18th June. They were originally intended for an expedition that Lord Roberts devised, but it did not come off, and I caught them at Durban and told Lord Roberts I would bring them in the shortest way to meet him, and they stayed with me until I left the country, and were a most excellent regiment. They shot very well, rode well, and fought well, and were under a most admirable commander; they were much more like a disciplined corps than most of the other Irregular Corps I saw.

15491. (Chairman.) Had you the Yeomanry also?

15492. Had you any Militia?
None; I had a certain number of Volunteer Companies who came out to join their regiments, and they did very well indeed.

15493. As to marching, were you satisfied with the marching of the troops?
Yes. the men after I once got them into condition never gave us the least trouble, and they marched very well.

15494. And horsemanship or horsemastership?
The horsemastership was bad and the horsemanship was not too good on the part of the Cavalry, and not nearly good enough on the part of the Mounted Infantry.

15495. Were you satisfied with the troops—the Regulars, in general physique, morale, and intelligence?
Yes, I thought they were quite up to the standard of any English soldier I have seen during my service, and better in fact than any I have had during the 45 years I have been in the Army. I think there has been general improvement in the soldier as a soldier, and I think these men were quite up to the best standard.

15496. The conditions of modern warfare call for more intelligence from the individual soldier, do they not?
I did not consider that my men were soldiers until they came down from Spion Kop; they went up recruits, I think, and they came down soldiers; they learned a great deal in those four days at Spion Kop; they got into the habit of fighting, and got to understand what they had to do themselves, and were quite different men when they came down.

15497. You could rely upon their intelligence better after that?
Yes, they had begun to learn fighting.

15498. Is there any way in which you think the training of the men ought to be modified in future in order to make a better fighting machine under modern conditions?
I think that as regards drill we went into the war very fairly equipped; I saw nothing to make me think that our drill book was wrong. We have learned some lessons, of course, from this War, because our drill book was written for a rifle and for artillery of a shorter range than those we met and used, and therefore there are certain small changes of detail necessary in the drill book, but I thought, as a whole, our drill was very good. I found in war exactly the same fault that I found at Aldershot on every field day, I always made the same remark—that the men knew how to do it, but they did not know what to do. That is the real gist of the criticism I should like to make. There is nothing you tell them to do that they do not know how to do if they are fairly well taught, but they do not know what to do when the moment comes because they are never allowed to have an opportunity—either officers or men—of exercising the slightest amount of independent judgment before they get on the field of battle.

15499. And in that respect you would wish to see the training altered?
Very much.