When Captain Robertson was recalled from Fort Edward, Captain Hunt, who was on special duty in Pretoria, and had formerly held a commission in the 10th Hussars, was sent to supersede him. Captain Hunt was accompanied by Lieutenants Morant and Hannam, an Australian; Lieutenant Picton, an Englishman, afterwards joined them. I was not personally acquainted with Captain Hunt, but evidently he had been held in high esteem by officers and men alike, and he was always referred to by them as a fine fellow and a thorough "white man."

Lieutenant Picton took with him a convoy, with regimental stores, among which was a quantity of rum for the use of the troops; on the way out some of the men looted this, and what they did not drink they hid away. After their arrival at Fort Edward they would periodically leave, and return to the fort in a state of intoxication. This led to Captain Hunt placing several of them under arrest for insubordination, and also for threatening to shoot Lieutenant Picton. At night these men broke their arrest and rode into Pietersburg. Captain Hunt sent in a report, and made charges of a serious nature against them to Major Lenehan, who caused them to be again placed under arrest, pending court-martial proceedings. Upon a preliminary inquiry being made as to their conduct, they made disclosures regarding what was going on at Spelonken. When the matter was brought before Colonel Hall, C.B., garrison commandant, it was decided in the interests of all concerned to discharge them from the regiment and let them go. To these men may be credited the monstrous and extravagant statements and lying reports about the Carbineers which appeared later in the English and colonial press.

After the preliminary courts of inquiry held some time after this into the charges against officers of the Carbineers, and before the courts-martial were held. Colonel Hall was suddenly recalled by the War Office, relieved of his command, and sent out of the country to India.

Captain Hunt found affairs in a very disorganised state at Fort Edward, and immediately set about to rectify them. He had the stock collected and handed over to the proper authorities, and the stills broken up. These reforms were carried out by Lieutenants Morant and Handcock, and this was one of the reasons why these two officers were disliked (or "detested," as a returned Carbineer put it) by certain members of the detachment.

It was decided at this time to send twenty additional men out to Captain Hunt, with Lieutenant Baudinet in command, but owing to an accident which that officer had met with while playing polo, he was unable to go, and I was selected in his place.

I left Pietersburg on 3rd August with Sergeant-Major Hammett and twenty men, and arrived at Fort Edward the following evening. Lieutenant Hannam met me some distance out from the fort, and accompanied me in. He introduced me to Lieutenants Morant and Handcock. This was the first time I had met these officers.

Lieutenant Picton was away at Chinde with a patrol, and Captain Hunt was away with another party in the Majajes district. He was killed on the night of 5th August, 1901, when making an attack upon Commandant Viljoen's farmhouse at Duival's Kloof, a spot about 80 miles east of Fort Edward. Captain Hunt had with him only a small party of his own men, seventeen in number, as he had been informed by natives that there were only twenty Boers in occupation of the farmhouse; he had with him also a number of armed natives.

It was stated at times during the war by those in authority that the natives were not permitted to take any part in the fighting, but such was not the case. During the time I was in the Spelonken district with the Carbineers the natives were twice raised, and it has been openly stated that, with the connivance of others, when Colonel Grenfell went through the district, he had thousands of these savages, who were fed and paid, attached to his column, and they committed the most hideous atrocities, which no one has yet been made to account for.

The natives would follow a patrol like a flock of vultures, armed with all kinds of weapons, from a cowhide shield and bundle of assegais to the latest pattern of rifle. They were worse than useless in action. They might fire one shot, but would then clear out and hide in the long grass until the fighting was over, appearing again on the scene to loot and plunder everything they could lay their hands on.

It was the intention of Captain Hunt to rush the farmhouse at night, and surprise the Boers, but the Boers surprised the patrol, and instead of only twenty, there were fully eighty in possession. On making the attack, they were met by a withering fire. At the first volley the natives turned and fled, and I was told by an eye witness that some of the uniforms of Hunt's attacking party could be seen beating a hasty retreat with them.

Captain Hunt and two sergeants reached the house, and commenced firing through the windows. They shot down several of the Boers, Commandant Viljoen being amongst them. Captain Hunt was himself then shot in the breast, and fell off the verandah to the ground, where he lay moaning. He was seen by one of his sergeants, who could not render him any assistance on account of the continuous firing from the house and from their own men behind. Sergeant Eland was also shot dead; he was the son of a local settler, whose farm adjoined Reuter's Mission Station. He had formerly been a member of the Natal Carbineers, and had seen much service on the Natal side at the outbreak of the war. He subsequently joined the Bushveldt Carbineers, and was killed within a few miles of his own home, where he was taken and buried.

Towards morning the Carbineers withdrew to Reuter's Mission Station, about five miles away, and from there despatched a message to Fort Edward, reporting the loss of Captain Hunt and Sergeant Eland, and asking to be reinforced without delay.

Early on Wednesday morning the news reached Fort Edward, and its effect upon Morant was terrible; instead of being the usual gay, light-hearted comrade whom I had known for three days, he became like a man demented. He ordered out every available man to patrol before Captain Taylor at his office at Sweetwaters Farm, about one mile from the fort.

Morant tried to address the troops, but broke down, and Captain Taylor then spoke a few words to them, urging them to avenge the death of their captain, and "give no quarter." Guides and intelligence agents were furnished by Taylor, and the patrol started off with Morant in command. We travelled across country', and took the most direct route to Reuter's Station. When we were about twenty miles out, we met Lieutenant Picton returning, with a number of prisoners, who were, by the order of Lieutenant Morant, handed over to a small escort, and sent on to Fort Edward. Picton and the remainder of his men were attached to the patrol. This was my first meeting with Lieutenant Picton.

We hurried on, and made a forced march, off-saddling every four hours or so to give the horses a rest, and then on again. At times the guide, who was a German, would lose his way, and a halt would be called. Morant, who was in no mood to be trifled with, and thought he was doing it on purpose, would rage and curse and upbraid and threaten him, until he became afraid of his life.

By nightfall we had covered more than 40 miles, and then put up at a native kraal to give the horses a feed and wait until the moon rose. Here one of the intelligence agents left us to gather up an army of natives. By the faint light of a new moon, we started at one o'clock in the morning, and had much difficulty in finding our way, our guide continually misleading us. Once, in crossing a swampy stream, he missed the ford, and horses and men were floundering about in a deep muddy bog, several of the latter getting a dirty morning dip.

By midday we reached the Letaba Valley, in the Majajes Mountains, inhabited by a powerful tribe of natives once ruled by a princess said to be the prototype of Rider Haggard's "She." One huge, brawny native recalled to me Allan Quartermain's doughty old warrior Umslopogaas.

Passing along the valley, through some of the most rugged landscape secnery in South Africa, we reached Reuter's Mission Station about four in the afternoon. Here we met the men of Captain Hunt's patrol; they had just one hour before buried their captain. After visiting his grave, we returned to Mr. Reuter's house, where Lieutenant Morant interrogated several men regarding Captain Hunt's death. They were all positive that he had met with foul play; they were sure his neck had been broken, as his head was rolling limply about in the cart when he was being brought in. His face had been stamped upon with hob-nailed boots, and his legs had been slashed with a knife; the body was stripped completely of clothes and lying in a gutter when found. Mr. Reuter and Captain Hunt's native servant, Aaron, who had washed and laid out his body for burial, corroborated these statements.

This convinced Morant that his brother officer and best friend had been brutally murdered; he vowed there and then that he would give no quarter and take no prisoners. He had ignored his orders to this effect in the past, but he would carry them out in the future. I was informed that Captain Hunt had paraded his officers and sergeants, and told them that he had direct orders from headquarters at Pretoria not to take prisoners. Morant repeated these orders to me as they were given to him by Captain Hunt.

We remained at the Mission Station waiting for runners to come in from the intelligence agents, who had been watching the movements of the Boers. At daybreak in the morning, news came that they had vacated the farmhouse at Duival's Kloof, and were trekking away towards the Waterberg. They had a clear day's start of us, but we went off with about forty-five men, leaving a few behind to guard the Mission Station, which the Boers had threatened to bum down over Mr. Reuter's head because our troops had been harboured there.

Morant rode at the head, gloomy and sullen, and eager to overtake the retreating enemy. I was in command of the rearguard. We rode hard all day, only resting once to give the horses a handful of mealies we had brought with us. Just at sunset the advance guard sighted the Boers, who had laagered for the night in a hollow at the foot of a chain of kopjes. Morant was excited and eager to make an attack. He sent Lieutenant Picton with a party of men on the right flank, but to Morant, in his excitement, the moments seemed hours. Before Picton could get his men into position, and just as I arrived at the foot of the kopje with the rearguard, Morant opened fire on the laager. I dismounted my men and hastened to the top. Looking down, I could see the camp fires and hear the Boers crying out, "Allamachta! Allamachta" ("God Almighty!"), and shouting to each other in great consternation. Ceasing fire, we moved on rapidly, and rushed the laager, only to find that the Boers had jumped on their horses and ridden away, leaving behind their waggons, blankets, and everything they possessed. Several dead and wounded horses were lying about, and underneath a waggon we found a Boer wounded in the heel. Lieutenant Morant insisted that he should be shot on the spot, but he was prevailed upon not to do this, as the firing might attract the Boers, who nearly doubled us in number, and it was necessary to withdraw to a safe position for the night. A Cape cart with mules inspanned was found in the laager; the prisoner, Visser by name, was put in it, and all drew back to a neighbouring kopje, where we bivouacked.

Although tired out, there was no possibility of any sleep, as it was necessary to keep on the qui-vive in case the Beers should pay us a surprise visit. Outposts had to be visited to see that the men were on the alert. The night was intensely, cold, and we had had nothing to eat since leaving the mission station. We had travelled with stripped saddles to make it as light as possible for the horses. On this march I found strong coffee very sustaining, and I have often travelled all day on an occasional cup of this beverage.

Early the following morning a native runner brought a message to Morant from Fort Edward requesting him to return with all speed. The fort, with only a few men in charge, was in danger of being attacked by a party of Boers who were in the neighbourhood. Our horses were about knocked up, so Morant decided to give up the pursuit of the Boers and return to the fort. Before setting out, he examined and questioned Visser, and found in his possession articles of clothing, a tunic called a "British Warm," and a pair of trousers which he identified as the property of the late Captain Hunt. He informed me and others that the first time we outspanned he would have Visser shot.

After burning the waggons and collecting the oxen, we started on our homeward journey, I, as before, following with the rearguard.

About 11 o'clock the patrol halted near Mameheila, on the Koodoo River. A beast was slaughtered here, and I broke my fast on a very tough piece of trek-ox steak. During the morning Lieutenants Morant and Handcock had discussed Visser's position, and had decided to shoot him as soon as we halted. Upon my arrival with the rearguard, Morant came to me and again informed me that it was his intention to have Visser shot. "This man," he said, "has been concerned in the murder of Captain Hunt; he has been captured wearing British uniform, and I have got orders direct from headquarters not to take prisoners, while only the other day Lord Kitchener sent out a proclamation to the effect that all Beers captured wearing khaki were to be summarily shot." I asked him to leave me out of it altogether, as I did not know anything about the orders, I had been such a short time there. Morant then walked away, and ordered Sergeant-Major Clarke to fall-in ten men for a firing party. Some of the men objected, and the sergeant-major came and asked me if I would speak to Morant on behalf of those men.

I went to Morant as requested, but found him obdurate. "You didn't know Captain Hunt," he said, "and he was my best friend; if the men make any fuss, I will shoot the prisoner myself." After a little delay, men volunteered—"to get a bit of our own back," one remarked. Lieutenant Picton was placed in command of the firing party, and Visser was shot.

I did not witness the execution or take any part whatever in it. To the best of my knowledge this was the first prisoner shot by the order of Lieutenant Morant, and the motive for the execution was purely that of retaliation for an outrage committed upon a British officer.

War is calculated to make men's natures both callous and vengeful, and when civilised rules and customs are departed from on one side, reprisals are sure to follow on the other, and the shocking side of warfare in the shape of guerilla tactics is then seen. At such a time it is not fair to judge the participants by the hard and fast rules of citizen life or the strict moral codes of peace. It is necessary to imagine one's self amidst the same surroundings-in an isolated place, with the passions of war aroused, men half-starved, dangers constantly threatening from all quarters, and responsibilities crowding one upon another—to enable a fair decision to be reached.

The intelligence agent, who had left us to raise the natives, now returned with several hundred savages, but as their services were not now required, they were fed, and, when they had held a war dance, were dispersed. Continuing our homeward journey, we arrived at Hay's store, 18 miles from Fort Edward, about midnight, and rested there until daylight.

Mr. Hays was a British trader, and with his wife and family kept a store in a wild part of the Spelonken. He was well-known for his hospitality to our troops. After our departure a party of marauding Boers, who knew of this, swooped down upon him, and looted him of everything he possessed, even dragging the wedding ring from his wife's finger.

There were numerous bands of these marauders in the district roving about, commandeering all they could lay their hands upon, wrecking trains, or doing any bushranging job that presented itself to them. When they were nearly starved, or sick, they would come in and surrender, and get fed up and looked after until well again, when they would take the first opportunity of breaking away and making a fresh start.

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