B. F. F.
Camp Ryan’s,

The Secretary for Defence, Cape Town.

24th June, 1897.

Sir,—I have the honour, by direction, to enclose herewith a report, with enclosure, dated 21st inst., from the O.C., Mount Temple Volunteers, relating to the engagements which took place between that Corps and the rebels, to the south of Oliphant’s Kloof, during the night of 17th and morning of 20th inst.

As reported by wire, the No. XIII Mounted Rifle Club, 45 strong, left Gamagara to-day for Mount Temple, taking rations to 17th July.
I have, &c.,
(Sgd.) F. JOHNSON, Captain, S. 0.


Mount Temple,
21st June, 1897.

Sir,—I have the honour to report as follows:—Upon my return to the camp at Groen Kloof, on the morning of the 18th inst., I found that it had been attacked by the rebels during the previous night. Lieutenant Lanham was badly wounded during the engagement, having been struck by one of the rebel bullets in the foot. He only had two men with him, having sent four men out to waylay any rebels that might be coming to raid stock from the direction of Lupanen. I examined the “ spoor ” of the raiding party, and am quite sure that there were fully 200. When the tight commenced, the horses used in my troop took fright, and stampeded, breaking the picquet line. With this they rushed off about 60 yards out of camp, and the rebels then made a rush for them, and cut the halter reims. Fortunately eight of the horses escaped from them and galloped round to Mount Temple, where they were recovered the next morning. They got ofE with 10 horses though, but through having cut the halter reims short they could not ride them (excepting three that still had reims). However, I recovered seven of the 10 hoTses about 10 miles from the Groen Kloof camp the next morning, as I was on my way back to camp from the Main Column, the only three horses they escaped with being those they were riding. Lieutenant Lanham (my brother) being badly wounded, and there being fears of his bleeding to death, he wrote a note to the District Surgeon, Dr. Cooper, who is stationed at Postmasburg, and he came and attended to the wound, which I am glad to say is progressing as favourably as possible under the circumstances. Some of the bones of the foot are smashed. I took my brother to the house on Mount Temple. Herewith I enclose my brother’s report on the attack, &c. I may state that they must have fought very determinedly and bravely (the Mount Temple Volunteers) to have beaten off the large opposing force they had. From the blood tracks I saw I judge that quite 10 rebels were killed and wounded. One was found dead, with two bullet wounds, one through the head and the other through the hand. There were blood tracks though all over the ground on which the fight took place, and I am quite sure that they suffered much more in the attack than our men did. The Government tent which my brother and I have the use of was fairly riddled by the enemy’s bullets.

I further have to report that on Sunday night or on Monday morning the 20th inst., the men that were in charge of one of tho Mount Temple camps came running at about, 3 a.m., into the Camp at Groen Kloof with a report to the effect that a great body of rebels had attacked them, and that they, the rebels, had driven off all the stock, consisting of nearly 200 head of cattle, about 20 horses, and a lot of goats. (I am not sure of the number of the latter). I ordered 20 of my men to saddle up, and with them I started in the direction of the rebels, or rather I made for a stony ridge, past which I felt pretty sure that the party of raiders would pass on their return with the stock. I was correct in thinking so. Just at daylight their mounted scouts came into view. One of their scouts was shot and I captured the horses, one being a troop horse that was raided during the night of the 18th when the fight took place at Groen Kloof. The commando of raiders was 500 yards in the rear of the advance party. I formed up my men and opened fire on them which they returned (there were between three and four hundred of the rebels). They drove the troop of cattle, horses and goats into rugged mountains lying between Lupanen and Groen Kloof. I kept my men between them and Toto’s stad, so as to cut off their retreat, and I started off one of my N.C.O.s immediately I saw what a very large body of rebels 1 had to contend against, to Mount Temple, and from theuoe on to “Lymputs,” where there are 79 special constables stationed, for assistance, and to send word on to Captain Pringle at Kukaniug to come to
my assistance. Inspector Shutte, who is in charge of the special constables, replied that according to his instructions from Government he could not send a man to my assistance, and from Captain Pringle I received a letter stating that he regretted very much not being able to send me reinforcements, but that he had just received instructions from you to proceed with his men to Kosi’s at once. I kept the rebels from shifting for close on seven hours, a heavy fire going on the whole time at from one to five hundred yards. I was struck on the head by one of the rebel’s bullets, fortunately it was almost spent and did me no serious injury. At a little past twelve, I decided that it was useless my trying to beat the rebels with the handful of men I had, and there was no chance of my being reinforced, so I retired. Fortunately none of my men or horses were injured, many of the rebels were shot as they were very daring, and many of them tried tov run across the open from the ridge that they were occupying to the one on which I had my men. I took besides the two horses before mentioned, another horse from them, three in all. I shall, until I receive instructions from you, make Mount Temple my base and shall continue to patrol in the direction of Oliphant’s Kloof, but owing to the smallness of my force I shall not venture to attack the enemy in the mountain again, as the engagements I had the other day led me to believe, that if attacked, the enemy had means of rapidly communicating with the rebels further up the mountain and could be quickly reinforced. I think it right that I should mention this to you.
I fear very much that the rebels will rather organise another attack and raid on this place within another week’s time. Could you not send a few men to strengthen me? There are still about 1,000 small stock, 100 head of cattle, 100 horses and the team of Government oxen here.

Some of the rebels shouted out, as we were retreating the other day after the fight, that they had not finished with us yet, but that they had taken one lot of stock, that they were going to have a good “feed,” and then would come back and sweep the place (meaning Mount Temple of course), and unless you can send us assistance I am afraid that they will succeed in their object. I only have 28 men tit for duty, Lieutenant Lanham being too dangerously wounded to be moved even, and one of my troopers has a very bad attack of sore eyes and is practically useless, so that if a report comes to me that any stock has been raided I can only take out about fourteen men, as the spare ammunition and sick men require a guard also.

Could you not send one of your Medical Staff assistants to attend to my brother? lie suffers great agony from the wound, as some of the bones of the foot are smashed.

I may mention to you that a few nights ago all the cattle and horses were raided from “Lymputs” by the rebels, and unless there are more men stationed along here to keep back the rebels they will occupy the water, or the Kloofs with waters rather, at Lupanen, Donker Kloof, Groenkloof and Mount Temple, and from these positions they will have easy access into Hay. All the places I have mentioned above are natural strongholds, and if the rebels take them up it will cost many lives and much money to dislodge them. One neighbour (Lusher), a few miles from here, has 800 cattle. These alone would feed the rebels for several months. If you saw these places I am quite sure that you would have the rebels kept back from them at any cost. I have, &c.,

O.C., Mount Temple Horse.

The O.C., Bechuanaland Force, Ryan’s Farm.

N.B.—Some Rinderpest Specials are stationed here, but these men cannot be depended upon in the least; last night, for instance, we were expecting an attack, as it was reported that the rebels were burning the huts on Moses Moloaloe’s farm adjoining this, and these Rinderpest Specials commenced saddling their horses, and it was with great difficulty that I got them to stay here. They said they had not enrolled to fight the Bechuanas, that they were Rinderpest men. I am quite positive that if this place is attacked that every one of them will “clear” and leave mo to manage as best I can.


Mount Temple,
June 20th, 1897.

Sir,—I have the honour to report that after you left the temporary camp at Groen Kloof for the Main Column, I carried out your instruction as to the keeping up of daily patrols. On the 17th, I, as usual, sent out a patrol to “ cut spoor.” Upon its return it reported that no indications of the enemy were to be found. On the evening of the 17th the horses were fed, blanketed and tied to the piquet line, horse guards being placed as usual. About 12*30 a.m. on the 18th I was aroused by heavy firing round the camp and by bullets flying through the tent. I sprang out of the tent with my rifle and called to the men in the shooting holes to return the fire. At this moment the horses broke the piquet line and stampeded in a body, carrying the piquet line with them, to the foot of the ridge 100 yards from the camp. Here they remained until subsequently taken by the rebels. The rebels had evidently surrounded the camp as volleys were being poured in from all sides, the heaviest firing occurring from the ridges in the rear and front of the camp. The firing lasted over three hours, the rebels at times crossing up to within 60 yards of our shooting holes. At about 3 o’clock I heard a body of the enemy moving on to the horses. I thought it my duty to make one effort to rescue these. I called for volunteers and three men volunteered to follow me. One of them turned back, when we had advanced about 80 yards: when we were within 20 yards of the horses, a murderous fire was opened upon us from all sides excepting from the camp side. A large body of natives were amongst the horses, apparently cutting the horses loose from the piquet line (a strong rope of plaited hide). Before we could either retreat or advance I fell with a bullet through my foot. Then the men who were with me retreated to their shooting holes, firing as they retired. As my foot was smashed, and as I was left alone amongst the rebels, I think that no blame will attach to me for abandoning the horses, these were driven off. Two or three natives were shot down at close quarters when 1 was wounded, I myself fired five or six shots at them, as 1 was dragging myself back to the shooting holes, at a range of from 5 to 15 yards. Eight horses broke loose and were found at Mount Temple in the morning, 10 were taken from the piquet line by the rebels. I am glad to report that not one of the men were hit. These behaved on the whole splendidly. It became necessary to open the ammunition box, as some of the men had shot away the 50 rounds contained in their bandoliers. I had this (the ammunition box) carried to the shooting holes and the men were allowed to refill their bandoliers when necessary. I estimate that about 750 to 800 rounds were fired away during the attack. I regret to state that the Government tent was badly damaged, being riddled with bullets. It is difficult to estimate the number of rebels, but from the extent of “ frontage ” they occupied and from the tracks left, I estimate their number to have been between 200 and 300. The scouting party I sent out next morning to examine, reported that from the spoors they were sure that there were not less than 300 rebels. I am sure that three natives were either shot dead or mortally wounded. These were carried off from where they were shot down. Judging from the blood spoors I estimate that about eight others must have been wounded. 

I beg further to report that in consequence of no Surgeon being within reasonable reach of this place, I sent for the District Surgeon of Hay, who arrived here the day after I sent for him. This gentleman dressed my wound; he pronounced it to be a dangerous one, the bullet having travelled through the small bones of the foot entering below (in a part of) the right ankle and passing out on the opposite side. The horse guard states he heard nothing of the rebels until they opened fire.

I have, &c.,
Lieutenant, Mount Temple Horse.

Captain Lanham,
Mount Temple Horse, Mount Temple.