Umtata, 13th October, 1897.

The Secretary for Defence.

Sir,—At various dates during the last six months I have had the honour to submit for the information of Government, reports, confidential and otherwise, dealing both with the general situation and with particular incidents in the rebellion amongst the Batlaros and Batlapins in the Langberg, and I now have the honour to lay before you, for the information of Government, a final report on tho campaign generally.

1. Although I had no official knowledge of the events which had taken place in Bechuaualand prior to the 23rd February, resulting in the inception of the field force, whose command I assumed at Kimberley on that date, the position as far as I could gather from reports which had appeared in the public press, and from all the available information which I could collect from semi-official and private sources were as follows:—

2. No signs of unrest had appeared amongst the three principal tribes inhabiting Bechuanaland, viz :—the Batlapins, Barolongs and Batlaros, until about the middle of December last, when the Batlapins in the Taungs and Pokwanie Reserves began to grow uneasy in consequence of the rinderpest regulations, culminating on the 24th of that month by a minor Batlapin chief named Galishwe, the Headman of the Pokwanie Reserve, firing on a small party of Cape Police, and conniving at the murder of some European traders residing in that reserve.

Prompt measures were taken, and in a few days a force of nearly 600 Cape Police and Volunteers were collected at Pokwanie, and immediately dispersed the rebels, Galishwe unfortunately escaping.

3. Nine days later (January 5th) the store of a trader named Robinson was looted, and the proprietor murdered, in the Madebing Reserve, by the Batlaros of Gert Mahura (Bogosene). Inspector Fuller, of the Cape Police, was despatched immediately to the Mashowing River with about 160 Cape Police and Vryburg Volunteers, and found that the natives had taken up a position at Kaboga, which he at once attacked, defeating the rebels with loss. Gert Mahura succeeded, however, in escaping to the West.

4. To strengthen the Police Force, and to assist in tho capture of Galishwe, Gert Mahura, and the murderers of Blum and Robinson, E. Squadron of the C.M.R., was ordered to Bechuanaland on the 8th January, arrived at Vryburg on the 14th of that month, and at once proceeded to Kuruman, where it arrived on the 24th January.

5. Here, at the request of the Resident Magistrate of the District, Mr. Bam; the Batlaros Chief, Toto, and Luka Jautje, the chief of the Langberg Batlapins, came into Kuruman, and, at a meeting held on the 30th January, 1897, professed their ignorance as to the whereabouts of Galishwe, and protested their loyalty.

6. On the 11th February, having received reliable information that Galishwe had reached the Langberg, Captain Woon marched to Gamagara, and on the evening of the 13th reached Luka Jantje’s stadt, at Gamasep, where he was visited by the Chief Toto, who came over from Puduhusche, and informed Captain Woon that Galishwe was in Gamaluse Kloof, with only seven followers.

7. Consequently, at noon on the 15th, Captain Woon despatched Lieutenant Curtis, with 39 other ranks, to Gamaluse, for the purpose of effecting the arrest of Galishwe, but was met at the mouth of the kloof by a heavy fire from the natives, who, to the estimated number of 600, had taken up strong positions, which resulted in the loss of Lieutenant Hopkins and Private Venn.

8. Captain Woon, therefore, being of opinion that the force at his disposal was quite inadequate for the work to be performed, retired on Kuruman, and reported the position, recommending, I understand, that a force consisting of at least 600 mounted men would be necessary to effect the capture of Galishwe and punish all the Batlapins who were supporting him.

9. On the 18th February I received a telegram from you ordering me to proceed to Kimberley with the utmost despatch, and in consequence I left Umtata by post cart on the following morning, reaching Kimberley on the 23rd.

10. On my arrival there, I received your letter of the 19th of February, giving details of the force which was being concentrated at Kimberley, and which, under my command, was to proceed with all possible despatch to drive out the rebels collected in the Langberg.

11. These details arrived at Kimberley between the 24th and 27th February, but owing to the difficulty in procuring transport, horses, and equipment, it was found impossible to move forward until the 2nd March, and the move was then only made to relieve Colonel Lanning, Commissary of Ordnance, of the strain imposed on his department by the presence of the force in Kimberley, and also on account of the strong representations from Government as to the urgency of the departure of the force for Kuruman.

12. I may here remark that I was never consulted as to the composition of the force under my command, either as to the total numbers required, or as to the relative proportion of mounted and dismounted men, and I may add, that from the knowledge I have subsequently gained, it would have been far better, besides more economical, if the relative proportions of the mounted and dismounted men had been reversed.

13. Shortly before my arrival in Kimberley instructions had been received by Captain Fuller, Cape Police, with reference to the raising of a Mounted Volunteer Corps amongst the residents in Vryburg and Geluk Districts, and owing to urgent representations made by the Special Commissioner Mr. C. G. H. Bell, at Kuruman, a portion of this Corps, consisting of 107 all ranks under Commandant Wessels, moved on February 28th from Vryburg, with stripped saddles, timed to reach Kuruman in three days, the remainder of the Corps leaving Vryburg on March 2nd.

14. Acting, I presume, under instructions from Government, a Mounted Corps was raised by tho Resident Magistrate, Upington, 150 strong, under Inspector Coombs, C.P. II. Some considerable delay took place in the arming and equipping of this Corps, the majority of whom joined the B.F.F. at Khartu on the 2nd April, the remainder reporting their arrival at the camp at Oliphant’s Kloof on May 6th.

15. The 400 men composing the Yryburg, Geluk and Gordonia Volunteer Corps have been generally referred to as Burghers. This is a mistake, for they were in no sense Burghers in the meaning of Act 7 of 1878: they were neither called out for service nor ballotted for, but voluntarily enrolled for service in temporary Corps raised in accordance with Section 17 C.F. Act, at about double the rates of pay granted to Regular Volunteers.

16. They were only Burghers in the sense that they were representatives of the class of men who would be raised in the Districts in question were the Burgher Act enforced.

17. On the evening of 13th March I received an urgent despatch from the Special Commissioner at Kuruman reporting that Rebels in the Kuruman Valley at Gamapedi were harassing the so-called loyals in the vicinity and raiding their cattle, and requesting that a patrol should at once be sent down to the place in question to attack and destroy the kraals of these rebels.

18. I accordingly sent in to Kuruman Captains Johnson and Fuller at daylight on the following morning with instructions to the latter to take a patrol from the Vryburg and Geluk Volunteers (then camped at Kuruman) that night to Gamapedi with a view to surprising the Rebels on the following morning. These instructions were carried out by Captain Fuller, who, taking 100 of the Corps named, marched 35 miles through the night and attacked the Rebels at dawn on the following morning, killing about 30 of the enemy, including the Chief Mongali, his casualties being one man killed and one wounded.

19. I may add that Captain Fuller carried out his instructions admirably, the results being that the Upper Kuruman Valley was not re-occupied by the Rebels during the remainder of the Rebellion, nor did the Natives immediately below Gamapedi exhibit any open signs of unrest.

20. On my arrival at Kuruman, I found that there were not sufficient Commissariat Stores to permit of an immediate forward movement, but on the 28th March, being able to issue 10 days’ rations, I moved to Khartu, leaving at Kuruman a garrison of 89 all ranks drawn from various Corps.

21. On this date (28th March) the strength of the B. Field Force was as follows:— 

BechFF strength 28 March 1897

Grand Total, all ranks, 1,016, with 722 horses.

22. From the 930 combatants must be deducted the P.A.V. Guard (79 strong) stationed at Taungs and Yryburg, and the 89 men and 17 horses of various corps left to form the garrison at Kuruman; thus the combatant strength with which I marched from Kuruman on the 28th March was 702 all ranks, increased to 879 by the arrival of 117 Gordonia Volunteers at Khartu on 2nd April. During the first week in May, my strength was increased by 101 all ranks, making a gross total of 980, by the arrival of the Mount Temple Horse, a temporary Corps raised by Mr. Lanham, the Field-cornet of the district, No. XIII (Papkuil) Mounted Rifle Club, and the remaining 32 of the Gordonia Volunteers.

From this gross total must be deducted 10 for signallers, men on staff duty, farriers, issuers, saddlers, clerks, and sick, also 150 to garrison Ryan’s and Khartu; thus, before the arrival of reinforcements in July the greatest number of men I could take into action was at the outside 732. On the attack on Puduhusche on May 9th I had every available man in action and the total (including Medical Staff and other non-combatants) was only 730.

23. Whilst on the subject of the available combatant strength of the original B.F. Force (980) it must not be forgotten that nearly half this number (474) consisted of locally raised, temporary, mounted corps. These corps were formed of men who doubtless would have done excellent service in any other class of native warfare than the one in which we were engaged, a system of warfare that not only necessitated all operations being carried out on foot, but compelled the unavoidable advance across absolutely open country, exposed as a rule to a severe fire from a carefully schanzed, invisible, and practically invulnerable enemy, demanding consequently a steadiness and high state of efficiency, training, and discipline, that could not fairly be looked for in temporary and untrained corps such as I have alluded to.

24. Having, as far as possible, reconnoitred the position, I decided to attack Gamasep [See Section 3 of the Schedule] for the following reasons:
(a) It was the nearest rebel position to Ryan’s Camp.
(b) I was informed that Gamasep Kloof contained the strongest water in the Langberg.
(c) Galishwe was reported to be with Luka Jantje at Gamasep, or in the adjoining kloof of Gamaluse, whither Luka’s men had hastened to assist Galishwe against Captain Woon on 15th February.

5. The general idea which governed my plans for that attack on Gamasep was that two Columns, Northern and Southern, making a forced march from Ryan’s during the night, should, under cover of darkness, ascend the mountain; the former to the north of Derapedi Kloof and the latter to the south of Gamasep Kloof, and working round to the heads of these kloofs, detaching parties at intervals to keep down the fire from the schanzen below, cover the advance of the main Column, which consisted of three weak companies of Infantry, two Maxims, three 12-pounders and one 7-pounder.

26. The Vryburg Volunteers I sent round to the north-west side of the mountain to cut off the escape of the rebels in that direction.
In arranging the composition of the Southern Mountain Column under Captain Johnson, a certain number of the Geluk Volunteers, after consultation with the Commandant and other officers of the Corps, were included, but a few hours before the time fixed for the advance towards Gamasep, a deputation of the Corps in question interviewed me, and informed me that they were “too old and too fat” to perform dismounted duties at the mountain.
27. I requested Commandant Meintjes to let me know the number of men who were considered to be unfit for this duty, and in about half-an-hour received his reply, that practically the whole of the men detailed were considered to be unequal to the task. I thereupon sent 25 men of the Geiuk Volunteers to relieve the Garrison at Khartu, and informed Commandant Meintjes that the remainder of his Corps would be used for escorting convoys, &c.

28. On the evening of the 5th April, I moved forward and attacked Gamasep. Full details of the fighting that took place on the 6th and 7th, resulting in having to fall back on Ryan’s for water on 8th, will be found in my report [See Section 3 of the Schedule], dated 10th April.

29. This first attack on Gamasep undoubtedly failed, for, although we destroyed three large villages, I was unable to take the head of Gamasep Kloof, and was consequently compelled to retire for water.

I attribute the failure :

(1) To the rebels being much better armed and in an infinitely stronger position than I, or I think, any one else had anticipated.
(2) To the failure of the Northern Column to take up its position during the night on the heights above Derapedi Ivloof.
(3) To the inability of Captain Johnson (owing to the man carrying his heliograph becoming exhausted and dropping behind during the ascent of the mountain), to communicate the whereabouts of his Column to me until nearly sundown.

30. Had I known earlier in the day, say by noon, that Captain Johnson’s Column had practically lined the heights commanding the southern side of Gamasep Kloof, I should at once have endeavoured, notwithstanding the absence of the covering Column on the northern heights, to have worked into the Kloof hugging the southern side, and then to have seized the northern heights (the spur now known as the Fighting Kopje) from the rear.

31. It was close upon 5 p.m., when I heard from Captain Johnson, and I did not then attempt to take the Kloof for the following reasons:—

(1) The Infantry having marched through heavy sand all night and fought in intense heat all day, were too done up to attempt to march two miles to the mouth of the Kloof, and fight up it at least one and a half miles before rushing the northern heights, at least 1,400 feet high.
(2) There was not sufficient daylight left in which to carry out the operation, and to have forced my way up the narrow kloof and remained there for the night, without thoroughly holding the heights on both sides, simply meant disaster.
(3) I had already despatched the transport animals back to Ryan’s for water, and so, being unable to move the wagons, water- carts, guns and ambulances, should have had to leave such a strong force to hold the laager during the night, that the men at my disposal would have been inadequate to attempt such an operation.
(4) I knew that any serious reverse would in all probability have disastrous effects on the other tribes in Bechuanaland.

32. Had the light lasted, I should have ordered the southern column to hang on to their positions during the night, as I intended entering the kloof at daylight when the transport animals would have returned, but I was unfortunately not able to communicate this order.

33. At dusk Captain Johnson was seriously attacked, and seeing the rebels were surrounding him, and not knowing of my intention to force the rebel laager in the kloof below him in the morning, he had no alternative but to retire under cover of darkness to the highest point of the mountain above Puduhusche, from which position he was able to cover the collecting of his detached posts next morning.

34. At sunrise on the 7th, I got heliographic communication with Captain Johnson, and learning the condition to which his men were reduced from want of water and fatigue, I was compelled to abandon all idea of a further attack and to assist in covering the withdrawal of the southern column from the mountain. When this was completed at 2 p.m. on 7th, the troops forming it had had no sleep since the night of the 4th, and the majority had had no water, although continuously climbing for 38 hours.

35. Before retiring to Ryan’s on the 8th April, I left the infantry with a few mounted men, one 12 pounder, one 7 pounder and one Maxim at the detached kopje, about 1,200 yards east of Gamaluse.

36. I intended this post to be not only one of observation, but as a point from which the enemy might be much harassed, but although I continued to hold this kopje till the conclusion of the campaign, the want of water (procured partly from shallow pits in the bed of a donga and partly by water carts from Ryan’s) prevented the maintenance of a sufficient number of mounted men to be able to inflict much damage on the rebels.
37. I may add that every effort was made by deepening the existing pits and boring to improve the water supply (which apparently was surface water only), but without success.

38. Mr. Saunders, an expert of the Agricultural Department, was sent up by Government to report on the water supply, and he pointed out the two spots he considered most likely and where he thought we might possibly strike water at about 60 feet. A well was sunk at one of these spots to a depth of 80 feet, the formation at this point being drier, if possible, than at the surface.

39. Our camp at Gamasep Kopje was attacked in force on only two occasions, viz: during the night of April 10th and at dawn on June 3rd.

40. Returning to Ryan’s on April 8th I found that the cattle and horses had suffered so severely from want of food and water that I considered it advisable to give them a complete rest for five days before moving with all available mounted men to reconnoitre the rebel positions to the south.
I may here observe that one of the greatest difficulties with which I had to contend was the absolute impossibility of obtaining any reliable information as to the rebel positions, waters, &c., both in the Langberg and Korannaberg.

41. We had no “loyal” friendlies, and the few white residents who had previously traded in the country, whilst giving all assistance in their power, were unable to supply any reliable information from a military point of view. I had no detailed map of the mountain, consequently information as to the strength of various positions, whereabouts and quantity of waters had all to be obtained by personal investigation, which involved the careful reconnoitring of a rugged mountain 4S miles in length by about eight miles wide with an average height of some 2,000 feet.

42. After the attack on Gamasep I realised that in view of the number and composition of the troops at my disposal the result of a further direct frontal attack would be problematical. The rebels had taken advantage of the lessons taught them on the 6th and had strongly fortified the weak point in their position at which the Southern Column had succeeded in scaling the mountain, so rather than risk a serious reverse, I decided to thoroughly reconnoitre other portions of the mountain, in the hopes of finding some position in the Langberg with sufficient water which, once taken, could be held by a small number of men and serve as a base in the mountains from which columns could work north with a view of taking Gamasep from the rear.

43. I left Ryan’s on the evening of the 14th April with a patrol strength 571 all ranks, consisting of mounted men and Artillery only, and at dawn next morning drew up about 1,000 yards from the Batlaros village of Puduhusche, which we totally destroyed by fire.

The village was deserted, all the men being in the schanzen just behind the huts. The opposition offered was slight, the rebels evidently adopting the same tactics as on May 9th and reserving their fire until their schanzen were attacked. I found Puduhusche a naturally much stronger position than Gamasep, its flanks being completely protected by heavily schanzed spurs from the mountain. It was practically impregnable against any frontal attack which the force at my disposal oould deliver, and could only be taken with the assistance of a column on the mountain in its rear.
44. Full details of the burning of Puduhusche, together with the further actions of the patrol during the two following days, resulting in the destruction of Lokeng and all villages southward to Oliphant’s Kloof, will be found in my report dated 17th April [See Schedule 4].

45. I returned to Ryan’s on the 16th, having found that near the mouth of Oliphant’s Kloof there were some small water holes in the bed of a sand spruit—the Mashowing—which I hoped could be so enlarged as to yield sufficient water for the whole force.

46. On the following day I sent the diamond drill to the Kopje we were holding at Gamasep in the hope that a large enough supply of water might be struck to allow me to move my base camp from Ryan’s dose to the mountain.

47. On the 19th, having given the horses a much needed rest of two days, I sent a strong patrol down the Sisheuing Valley to bum the kraals and destroy the crops around the Bataplin village of Deben, which was found to be deserted.

48. I now determined to move to Oliphant’s Kloof with all available men with a view to find some point at which a column could be got into the mountain [See Schedule 5] and round to the back of either Lokeng or Puduhusohe, so, having relieved the D.E.O.V.R. who were garrisoning Gamasep Kopje by a portion of the Vryburg Volunteers, I moved south on the 22nd with 839 all ranks and laagered about one mile north of the entrance to Oliphant’s Kloof on the 24th.

49. During the 25th, 26th, and 27th, large fatigue parties were working continuously, digging a number of largo holes in the sand bed of the spruit, and at last obtained a barely sufficient supply of indifferent water to permit of the transport animals and horses being watered once each day.

50. On the night of the 27th I made a reconnaissance in force up Oliphant’s and Lepesing Kloofs in the hope of being able to find a strong position with sufficient water, but in this I was disappointed, as streams, which were running strong at the time of Sir Charles Warren’s expedition in 1877, we found to be absolutely dry.

51. Returning to camp on the 28th, having been engaged with the rebels at the back of Lokeng, I first reported [See Schedule 6] to you my doubts as to being able, under all the circumstances, to successfully accomplish (with the numbers at my disposal) the objects for which the force had been sent to the Langberg.
52. [See Schedule 5] At 9 p.m. this evening we were attacked by the rebels in force who came up within 50 yards of the laager. After 15 minutes heavy firing they were repulsed, our loss being 2 killed and 4 wounded, 1 of whom died subsequently.

53. On the 30th April, seeing that in any attack I might make on this part of the mountain, Infantry were as much needed as they had been at Gamasep, I sent a Mounted Corps to relieve the Cape Town Highlanders, who were forming part of the garrison at the “Kopje.”

54. The Highlanders arrived on the 4th May, the intervening days being occupied in reconnoitring Lokeng and Puduhusche, with the result that I determined to attack Puduhusche as soon as possible.

55. As mounted men would be useless for the work before us, I sent all the horses to Ryan’s so as to have every available man for. the attack. On the 5th May, No. XIII Rifle Club arrived, and on the following day the balance of the Gordonia Volunteers arrived from Upington, having been detained on the Orange River awaiting the arrival of arms from Kimberley.

56. On the same day I destroyed all crops of both loyals and rebels in the vicinity, with a view of preventing the latter from obtaining food supplies after our departure north.

57. On the 7th. the last of the Gordonia Volunteers and No. XIII. Rifle Club horses were sent into Ryan’s, and at about midnight 3 wagons belonging to Mr. H. Abt, a trader who was travelling without an escort, were “forelaid” and captured by some 200 rebels on the road from Ryan’s opposite to Puduhusche. Although as soon as the report was received, patrols were instantly despatched from both camps, Ryan’s and Oliphant’s Kloof, the rebels succeeded in getting the wagons into Puduhusche before the patrols could overtake them.

58. On the following evening, May 8th, I moved in two columns with every available man, 730 all ranks, to Puduhusche, which, alter severe fighting, was taken by 4 p.m. on the 9th, but, for reasons given in my report of May 11th [[See Schedule 7], in which full details of this action will be found, was abandoned on the 10th, when I was again compelled to retire to Ryan’s.

59. In my report of the 2nd May [See Schedule 6], I pointed out that even if Puduhusche were taken it could only be held at the cost of abandoning further operations against other positions, for, to securely hold Puduhusche or Gamasep would have required more than one-half the total force at my command, and the balance would have been utterly inadequate for any further attacks elsewhere.

Convinced of this it may be argued that I was not justified in attacking Puduhusche at all, but apart from the urgent and repeated requests from Government that I should at once attack, and conclude the war, I had hopes that, by taking and hanging on to Puduhusche, such a severe blow would be struck to the rebels that they would surrender.

60. The impossibility of remaining in occupation of Puduhusche after the heavy loss we sustained in taking it was a matter of bitter regret to me, and, had it been possible to have utilized the little spring of water high up the Kloof, or had I had sufficient water-carts (16 was the number at my disposal), to have supplied the troops from Ryan’s, I would certainly have risked the heavy loss of life from typhoid and other fevers predicted by the P.M.O.

61. Unfortunately no mere words can ever give any idea of the awful and sickening state of things in Puduhusche Kloof. It had to be seen and smelt to be realised. After the Batlaros surrendered on the 1st August, the kloof was carefully examined and the remains of between 3,000 and 4,000 dead cattle were found to be rotting in the very bed of the little stream.

62. Being now thoroughly convinced, after just 34 days practical experience at the mountain, of the impossibility of being able to take and occupy even the chief rebel positions in the Langberg with the force at my disposal, on the 11th May [See Schedule 8], the day following my return to Ryan’s from Puduhusche I addressed to you a confidential report on the situation, in which I pointed out that to drive the rebels from the mountain a force of at least 1,500 trained European troops and a large Native contingent would be required, and at the same time I pointed out the immense difficulties as regards transport and water supply which would have to be faced should these reinforcements be sent up.

63. At the same time I felt it my duty to point out to the Government, as an alternative, if they were not prepared to sanction the expenditure involved in sending up the reinforcements, that, in my opinion a blockade on the east and south of the mountain by the Cape Police and C.M.R. would rapidly force the rebels to surrender through starvation.

64. Although I am personally glad to say the alternative was not adopted by Government, I might here mention that had the Government decided to carry it out I firmly believe the result would have been the same, as there is no doubt that the rebels when the mountain was taken were on the verge of starvation, a fact I think which may be fairly taken as proved by, amongst other things, a letter which was written by “Dokwe Malite” to the Rev. T. Brown two days before the final attack on the 30th July, in which he begged that gentleman to use his influence to obtain terms of peace.

65. It will be convenient if I here draw attention to the unrest and discontent amongst some of the temporary Volunteer Corps, erroneously called Burghers, which from the middle of May until their disbandment was authorized by your wire No. 2 of June 2nd [See Section 1, page 1], caused me grave anxiety and completely put a stop to any further attack I might have made pending the arrival of reinforcements.

66. The first sign of trouble occurred on April 17th, just seven weeks after enrolment; C. Troop, Vryburg Volunteers applying through their Commanding Officer to be allowed to go home, and from the first week in May, applications were received daily for discharge from a large number of men in these Corps, particularly amongst the Vryburg and Geluk Volunteers.

67. In my despatch of the 11th May [See Schedule 8] I drew your attention to the discontent amongst these Corps, but matters did not become serious until May 22nd, when repeated applications for discharge, having naturally been refused, the O.C., the detachment of Vryburg Mounted Volunteers stationed at Gamasep Kopje, formally intimated the intention of his detachment to leave on the 24th May with or without leave.

67. [See Section 1, pahe 4] I immediately reported this to you, and on the following day urged the prompt disbandment of the Vryburg and Geluk Volunteers, who were costing in pay, rations and forage alone some £250 per diem, giving as my reasons that they were quite unsuited to the class of warfare in which we were engaged, were very dissatisfied, most expensive, and a constant source of anxiety. I added as an additional reason for disbandment that, if the Government ordered me to take and hold all the rebel positions in the mountain, it would be absolutely necessary to replace these temporary Mounted Corps with trained Infantry, and that, if on the other hand, Government decided to institute a blockade with the C.M.R. and Cape Police, these Corps would not be required.

68. On the 25th May the Gordonia Volunteers, who, thanks to the tact and strength of character of their Commanding Officer, Inspector Coombs, C.P. II., had done excellent work and shown no marked discontent, suddenly packed their saddles and stated their intention of riding out of camp, but were prevailed upon by Inspector Coombs to send me a letter and await its answer.

69. Accordingly on the following day I received a communication signed by the majority of the Corps, demanding their immediate discharge. I addressed the Corps on parade and induced them quietly to await a reply to my wire to you urging disbandment.

70. At 5.30 on May 30th I received your wire [See Section 1, page 5] (No. 1 of the previous day) directing me to convey to the Corps in question the Premier’s personal request that they would remain at their posts until Government arrived at a decision regarding future action. This request I at once conveyed to the O.C. the Corps, but it had, I fear, little effect, for next morning a deputation from the Geluk Volunteers informed me that the men had decided to leave at once, but, after much discussion and addressing the men on parade, I succeeded in inducing them to consent to stay till 6 a.m. on June 7th, beyond which hour nothing would induce them to remain.

71. The effect of this state of affairs was soon apparent, for on the 2nd June, the Native Contingent, hitherto a contented and well disciplined body of men, announced their intention of leaving on the following day, and accordingly on the 3rd, about three quarters of the Corps (50) rode out of camp, and, under the circumstances. I did not think it policy to compel them to remain.

72. No stronger testimony could be produced as to the discipline which prevailed amongst the regular Volunteers than the fact that, whilst nearly one half of the force with which they were camped were in a state scarcely distinguishable from open mutiny, they remained in a high state of discipline, quiet and cheerful, notwithstanding that a large number of them were losing their civil employment and sacrificing their private interests on account of the unexpected duration of the campaign.

73. In consequence of the urgent wires I was receiving from Government, on June 1st I decided to attack Gamaluse Kloof at once with the force at my disposal, although I had little hope of doing more than taking the position, and then have to fall back again to Ryan’s for water; for I knew from prisoners that the rebels there were obtaining their water during the night from Gamasep.

74. I sent for the Officers Commanding the Vryburg, Geluk and Gordonia Volunteer Corps, and asked them if their men would consent to stay and take part in the attack, and after consultation with their men the Officers Commanding the two first-named informed me that nothing would induce their men to stay any longer, whilst the Gordonia men would only take part in the attack provided I promised to disband them the following day, a condition I was of course unable to become a party to, consequently I was compelled to abandon any idea of attacking until these Corps could be replaced by Infantry.

75. At 10 p.m. on 3rd June I received your wire of previous day [See Section 1, page 4], authorizing the disbandment of these three corps—the Gordonia Volunteers proceeding to Upington on June 5th, the Vryburg and Geluk Corps remaining over Sunday in camp, and starting for Vryburg on the 7th.

76. It is with pleasure that I record the willing assistance I at all times received from the officers commanding these corps—Commandants Weasels, Meintjes, and Inspector Coombs, C. P. II. These officers would have made any sacrifices to have been able to induce their men to remain, and in my opinion nothing but their hearty co-operation prevented these corps from deserting in a body.

77. Whilst I feel it my duty to have thus clearly and in detail pointed out the disadvantage under which the originally constituted B. F. Force laboured in having nearly 50 per cent, of its fighting strength made up of these temporary untrained corps, which were quite unsuited to the class of warfare we were engaged in, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I have much sympathy with these men in the criticism which has in many instances, I think, unjustly been directed against them.

78. These corps, commonly known as the “Burghers,” were recruited from a class of men accustomed from infancy to ride, and these men would be the very last to lay claim to the title of being infantry in any sense of the word, and yet it was infantry of the highest possible training that was required to successfully assault such positions as the rebels held in the Langberg.

79. At Garaapedi, on the Kuruman River, where the country permitted them to use their horses, the Vryburg and Geluk Volunteers did excellent work, driving the rebels from a position of some strength with plenty of dash, while Captain Johnson, under whose immediate command they were serving, speaks most highly of the steadiness and powers of endurance and shooting shown by the detachments of the Gordonia Volunteers, who, on three occasions, volunteered with their Commanding Officer to form part of the Mountain Columns.

80. I also fully sympathise with their desire to return to their homes. They were nearly all small farmers, who had to struggle for existence against drought, rinderpest, and other plagues, and who came patriotically forward when called upon by Government, but unfortunately under the mistaken idea that the rebellion would be crushed in from 10 to 14 days.

81. To have remained in the field longer than they did would certainly have entailed severe loss on many, and the only faults that can be alleged against them are lack of training, and an ignorance of military discipline— faults over which they have no control, and are clearly not personally responsible for.

82. In my wire of the 23rd May [See Section 1, page 1], I referred to these temporary corps as expensive. I based this opinion on my estimate that the 400 of all ranks composing the Vryburg, Geluk, and Gordonia Mounted Volunteers cost Government daily in pay, rations, and forage at least £336 16s., exclusive of course of compensation for loss of horses, whereas, under the present mobilization rates of pay, the same number of infantry volunteers, divided into six companies, and with a complete battalion staff, could have been similarly maintained at a daily cost of £182 8s.

83. From the 12th to the 18th May 1 was awaiting a reply from Government to my despatch of the 11th of that month, the interval being occupied in despatching patrols iu all possible directions.

84. On May 12th, Commandant Meintjes was sent with a patrol of Geluk Volunteers to destroy certain rebel gardens to the S.W. of Gamagara, and it was during this patrol that the extremely regrettable incident reported in my wire of May 13th took place, resulting in the shooting of two members of our Native Contingent and of several loyal men, women and children.

85. I at once assembled a Court of Enquiry, whose proceedings were duly transmitted to you for the information of Government, and, as the matter is now the subject of a civil and criminal prosecution, it is unnecessary for me to refer here further to the matter.

86. On May 14th patrols were despatched to Gamasep and Lymputs, and on the following day a strong patrol was despatched with the intention of following the Sisheuing valley down to its junction with the Kuruman River at Lower Digkatlong, but, owing to the complete absence- of water below Machawalachooke, was unable to get through. Government’s reply to my despatch of May 11th was dated 16th and reached me at Ryan’s on the night of the 18th, ordering me to meet Commissioner Robinson, C.P. II, and Special Commissioner Bell and other Civil authorities and consult as to future action in Langberg. At the same time I received your No. 1 of May 17th [See Section 1, page 4] urging that whilst the consultation referred to was taking place “I should harass and threaten the natives in every possible way, attacking wherever I could.”

87. The only means of harassing a native enemy that I am aware of is to burn his kraals, destroy his crops, and, by constant forelays, prevent his moving about in safety. At this time practically every hut (some 800) had been burnt between Oliphant’s Kloof and Gamaluse, what little remained of their crops, destroyed as far as possible, and, as the rebels never (in any numbers) left their schanzen and moved about, it was impossible to seriously harass them by forelays. The only other way to harass them was to attack Puduhusche or Gamasep again with every available man, and this I offered to do (6 a.m. 19th) if Government wished it, although I pointed out that, with present numbers and water carts at my disposal it was certain to result in retiring to Ryan’s. Besides, I could not attend a conference at Kuruman and conduct a general attack on the mountain at the same time.

88. On May 20th, having arranged a series of patrols to all known waters outside the mountain, I left for Kuruman, where Commissioner Robinson arrived on the evening of the 21st. On the following morning, with my Staff and Intelligence Officers, I met Commissioner Robinson, Special Commissioner Bell and Mr. St. Quentin, and discussed fully the alternative proposal to blockade the mountain contained in my despatch of the 11th May, and more particularly the effect of such a policy on the other native tribes in Bechuanaland, and the number of men that would be necessary to successfully carry out such a blockade.

89. To allow the Civil representatives an opportunity of personally seeing the mountain, and so to better enable them to estimate the probable numbers required for the purposes of a blockade, it was decided to adjourn until they had visited the Langberg, and their wagon being sent forward the following day, we caught it up and arrived at Ryan’s (41 miles) on the evening of the 24th, the date when the troubles with the temporary mounted corps previously referred to were reaching a climax.

90. Resting their horses on the 25th, we visited Gamasep on the following day, and the same evening discussed the situation at length, with the result that we unanimously agreed to advise our immediately proceeding to Cape Town and personally laying the situation before Government.

91. My own position in the matter was as follows:—I knew for a certainty that the Vryburg, Geluk, and Gordonia Volunteers, nearly half my whole force, would either have to be disbanded or allowed to desert within the next few days, and therefore any further attack pending arrival of reinforcements would be out of the question, the balance of the force being barely sufficient to hold our own at Ryan’s, Mount Temple, Gamasep Kopje, besides garrisoning Kuruman, keeping open the lines of communication and patrolling between stations, in proof of which I may mention that in June, so weak had our garrisons become owing to the necessity of sending out large patrols to check the activity of the rebels, it became necessary to arm the Medical 8taff Corps and Transport Drivers. Consequently I felt that my presence at the front was not actually necessary for the ten following days, and that I could best be employed in assisting to explain the position to Government, as well as obtaining an opportunity of personally ascertaining v some information which was essential if I was to advise the Government as to which course of action to adopt. .

92. I realized that the weightiest objection to the blockade system was, that it would take some months to secure its object, and that meanwhile it might have a detrimental effect on the other tribes in Bechuanaland.

93. On the other hand, I knew full well that reinforcements would be useless without a very large number of water carts and quantity of transport, and I had grave doubts as to whether the acquisition of the former would not cause such a delay as to bring about the very spread of the rebellion feared if the blockade system was adopted.

94. I was also certain that if Government decided to send up the reinforcements innumerable details would arise, in the settlement of which much valuable time would be saved if I were in personal communication with yourself and the Commissary of Ordnance.

95. Hence my joining in Commissioner Robinson’s and Special Commissioner Bell’s recommendation on 27th May of a flying visit to Cape Town, to which I received your *reply at 5*30 p.m. on the 30th, informing me that the Premier saw no reasons for the proposed interview with Government, expressing his surprise at such a suggestion being made by me, and desiring me to telegraph fully my views on the situation with the least possible delay.

96. Forty-five minutes later I despatched my reply by special riders, in which I adhered to the opinions expressed in my letter of May 11th, and pointed out that the greatest difficulty was the question of the water supply, that if reinforcements were sent I should require a large number of additional water carts, and also added that, the question of the Vryburg, Geluk, and Gordonia Corps required serious and immediate attention.
97. In reply to this report I received on the evening of the 2nd June your telegram (No. 1 of 1st June) informing me that Government wished to know whether, if the reinforcements asked for were sent up, I was prepared to attack at once and finish the war, adding to my surprise that “the 1,500 Europeans, of course include all at present in the field, that is, C.M.R., Volunteers, Burghers (i.e., the temporary mounted corps), and others now with you.” This wire concluded by stating that the Prime Minister expected me to bring this rebellion to a satisfactory conclusion without delay by fighting daily.

98. I replied at once, 7 p.m., June 2nd, that if I had a fighting force of 1,500 Europeans and 500 natives asked for, I was prepared immediately to
attach, take, and permanently hold the Langberg, provided that the reinforcements consisted of volunteers and that the necessary water carts were supplied. I had to point out that the idea of including the Burghers in the total of 1,500 Europeans was evidently a mistake, and that I could only conclude all my previous wires on the subject had either never been received or completely misunderstood.

99. I mentioned that as, excluding the Vryburg, Geluk, and Gordonia Corps, my total fighting strength was 725, including sick and wounded in hospital, and as at least 500 men were required to garrison Kuruman, Khartu, Ryan’s, Mount Temple, Gamasep Kopje, take charge of horses, provide escorts to convoys, water carts, &c. (vide Return A), I presumed the concluding paragraph of your wire had reference to the period subsequent to the arrival of reinforcements, for the balance of 225 of all ranks, including Artillery, would scarcely be expected to successfully attack the Langberg daily. I concluded my wire by asking that “as Government seem to overlook the fact that Burghers (meaning Vryburg, Geluk and Gordonia Corps,) insist on leaving, please clearly instruct me what action I am to take when they move out of Camp.”

100. On the following day, as previously mentioned, I received your authority to disband these Corps, but heard nothing further with reference to reinforcements until 6 30 a.m. on 6th June, when I received your telegram of previous day asking me to proceed to Kuruman to talk with you on the newly erected telegraph wire.

101. An hour and a half later I left Ryan’s, arriving at Kuruman the same night. On the two following days I had long semi-official conversations on the wire with the Acting Prime Minister and yourself, and, early on the 10th of June received your wire of previous day intimating that Government had decided to send up the reinforcements asked for as soon as possible.

102. I sent you a long wire giving many suggestions as to details in the equipment, &c., of the reinforcements, and returned to Ryan’s on June 11th.

103. I have thought it advisable to thus detail at length the correspondence, &c., which took place during the 30 days which elapsed between the despatch of my confidential report of May 11th, pointing out the impossibility of bringing the rebellion to a satisfactory conclusion, and the 10th June, when I received the decision of Government to reinforce me to the numbers asked for.

104. Between the 12th May and 10th June, the most important patrol undertaken was that to the Korannaberg (by Captain Johnson), with a view of ascertaining whether there was sufficient water in any suitable position where a strong detachment could be stationed to cut off the retreat of the rebels to Kuis when the mountain was finally captured.

105. The utmost difficulty was experienced in getting any information whatever about the Korrannaberg, but eventually the services of three Europeans, who had been to some portion of it on hunting and trading trips, together with two members of the Cape Police who had once patrolled to its Southern end, were obtained. These experts all agreed that the finding of water there was very problematical, but if anywhere, it would be found at Magateneng, whither they accordingly led the patrol, only to find the village deserted, and the water holes absolutely dry. compelling Captain Johnson, in order to save his horses, to push back at once to Deben for water. Some weeks later, July 19th, a Bushman, in revenge for Galishwe having stolen his goats, offered to guide a patrol to Magklatsanen, within ten miles of Magataneng, where the patrol which was sent actually found no less than five fairly strong waters, all evidently unknown to the other experts. This is a typical instance of the difficulties which I had to contend against owing to the absolute impossibility of getting full and reliable information regarding the country.

106. Early in June, there is no doubt that the rebels, whose cattle were practically destroyed by rinderpest and starvation, began to feel keenly the eggects of famine caused by the virtual blockade that I had maintained, as far as possible, since the middle of May, and to make the blockade more complete, and at the same time to check the rebels in their efforts to obtain assistance from the so-called loyals in Gatlosi’s reserve and elsewhere to the south-east of the mountain, on the 13th of June, I stationed a detachment of the Mounted Company of D.E.O.V.R. at Gamagara, and the following day sent Captain Pringle with No. 13 Mounted Rifle Club to occupy Mokanen, with instructions to co-operate in every way with the Cape Police at Lymputs.

107. On the 12th June, the telegraph line, being opened into Kuruman, I ordered the disbandment of the despatch riders who, since March, had kept up an excellent service between Vryburg and Kuruman.

108. At one p.m. on the 14th, I learnt by heliograph from the Special Commissioner at Kuruman, of the engagement which Inspector Berrange, C.P. II, had had on the previous day with a large number of rebels under Galishwe near Tsenin, and two hours later a patrol of 100 C.M.R. and Mounted Company D.E.O.V.R. left for Kuruman, where they arrived early next morning en route for Tsenin.

109. In view of the weakness of the Kuruman garrison, on the 15th I ordered the camp to be moved across the river to the Mission Station, where the Base Hospital was situated.

110. On the 17th June I sent the Mount Temple Volunteers under Captain Lanham on a patrol to the Mount Temple district, with instructions to the Commanding Officer to select the most suitable position in the district as his head-quarters from which to constantly patrol the south-eastern side of the mountain. At midnight on the 18th while camped in Groenkloof (some 9 miles south of Oliphants Kloof), a small patrol under Lieut. Lanham was attacked by a large force of rebels under the Chief Toto, who captured most of the horses of the patrol and severely wounded Lieut. Lanham.

111. On the following day, Captain Lanham unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the enemy from capturing some 250 head of his private cattle. Reports of these skirmishes reached me late on June 23rd. At daylight next day I sent orders to No. XIII Mounted Rifle Club—then stationed at Gamagara—to reinforce Captain Lanham immediately. At 2.15 p.m. on the 24th I received a heliographic message from the Special Commissioner to the effect that Lanham was surrounded by rebels, and at 3.30 p.m. every available mounted man at Ryan’s, consisting of 60 C.M.R. and Mounted Company D.E.O.V.R., had left for Mount Temple under Captain Macgregor, C.P. II.

112. I should here mention that on June 23rd, when ordered to saddle up to proceed to the assistance of the Mount Temple Volunteers, 23 noncommissioned officers and men of the No. XIII. (Papkuil) Mounted Rifle Club refused duty. They were at once disarmed and sent in to head-quarters at Ryan’s. Under ordinary circumstances I should have at once committed them for trial by a Court of officers, but, on going carefully in to the regulations for Mounted Rifle Clubs, I found that their members were not attested, the acceptance of a Government rifle and bandolier apparently being intended to constitute membership for an indefinite period.

113. Doubting whether, under such regulations, a Court could convict in a case where a prisoner denied being amenable to the Colonial Forces Act, I telegraphed the position to you and asked for a legal opinion on the subject, and you will doubtless remember that the Law Department gave it as their opinion, that, in the absence of attestation, the members of the Mounted Rifle Clubs could not be proceeded against under the Colonial Forces Act. Under the circumstances I had no alternative but to simply turn the men out of camp, a course I was also compelled to pursue in the case of a sergeant of the same club arrested in the Hay district on a clear charge of desertion.

114. If the legal opinion referred to is held to be sound, I need scarcely point out that the 800 members of rifle clubs who form a large, portion of the Colonial forces, and for whose maintenance a considerable annual expenditure is incurred, are absolutely useless, for there would seem to be no means under the existing Act, either of compelling them to take the field when called out, nor of punishing them for desertion or any other of the 25 military crimes detailed in the 2nd Schedule of Act 32 of 1892.

115. From the 5th June, when Captain MacAndrew, P.A.G., took over the command of Gamasep Kopje, he had utilized the few mounted men of the Dukes Mounted and Native contingent (forming part of his garrison) to keep up a vigorous series of patrols along the side of the mountain between Puduhusche and Gamasimenyanie. These patrols resulted in constant skirmishes, and a good many prisoners, with a few goats and horses, were captured at various times. On the 20th June, Capt. MacAndrew recovered tho remains of the 3 men of the C.M.R., who had been buried near Puduhusche and reinterred them under Gamasep Kopje, while, on the 25th of the same month, a patrol from the Kopje succeeded in entering Loboong Kloof and burning the village there, before the rebels had time to man the schanzen. On their return, however, the patrol on attempting to do the same thing in Gamaluse were heavily fired upon and forced to retire.

116. On the 25th June Mr. Saunders, an expert of the Agricultural Department, arrived at Ryan’s to report on the water supply, and at once telegraphed for a powerful steam pump, a pump which I had on June 12th, strongly, but in vain, urged should be sent up at once. This pump and engine were eventually sent through from Cape Town with such rapidity as to cause no delay to the final advance, but I may here add that, but for this pump, our difficulties in supplying the troops at the mountain, besides the very large number of horses and transport animals at Ryan’s with water, would have been well nigh insurmountable.

117. The rapidity with which the reinforcements were concentrated at Kimberley from nearly every town in the Colony, equipped, clothed, and forwarded to Vryburg, whence they marched to Kuruman, was I think remarkable, and reflects the greatest credit on the Commissary of Ordnance, Col. Lanning.

118. The reinforcements were made up as follows:—

BechFF reinforcement June 1897

119. On the 10th June, Government decided to send up these reinforcements, and 4 days later some of the volunteers commenced their journey from the coast towns. On June 18th, the 1st column, consisting of Cape Town and Kimberley corps, left Vryburg, and 48 hours later the balance of the Infantry volunteers were on the march to Kuruman, where they all arrived between the 25th and 30th of that month, and moved at once to Khartu, at which place I ordered them to camp in preference to Ryan’s, owing to the “brak” nature and scarcity of the water at the latter place.

120. Some little delay took place in. the equipping and despatch of the Cape Police from Kimberley, the first detachment getting away on the 22nd June, the last only leaving on the 7th July, and arriving at Ryan’s on the 20th of that month, just 20 days later than the Volunteers.

121. On the 9th July, the Mount Temple Volunteers and No. XIII Mounted Rifle Club who were stationed at Lymputs were transferred from the B.F.F. to the control of the Commissioner C.P., D. II. At Lymputs a number of special Police were stationed, and the placing of these two Corps under the Police did away with all possibility of the dangers arising from dual control, and relieved me of the command of men stationed beyond the actual sphere of active hostilities.

122. On the 7th I strongly urged that a small force should be at once sent to Kuis on the Molopo, with a view to cut off the escape of the rebels in that direction. On the 19th July Captain Dennison with some 200 Special Police was despatched from Vryburg by the Commissioner of Police, a move which finally resulted in the capture of Galishwe.

123. Whilst waiting for the arrival of the Transkei Native Contingent and some stores—large water bottles, water bags, spare haversacks, &c.—that were essential for the successful attack on the mountain, I received a report on the 18th instant that Galishwe was in the Korannaberg, and on the following morning I despatched a patrol of 100 Cape Police under Inspector Marsh, with the Bushman guide previously referred to.

124. On 20th (the next day), and before Inspector Marsh could have reached Korannaberg, I received a report from the Police at Tsenin to the effect that a large number of rebels, believed to be reinforcements making for the Langberg, had been seen between the Upper and Lower Digkatlong in the direction of the Korannaberg. I at once decided to reinforce Inspector Marsh with a further 100 men of the Cape Police and Duke’s Mounted, together with a Maxim, and sent orders to this officer to the effect, if he could find a water capable of supplying at least 150 men and horses, he was to take up a position near it with that number of men and send the balance of his patrol with all water carts back to Ryan’s as soon as possible.

125. Inspector Marsh, after a slight skirmish, occupied the water at Magklutsanen, and on the 24th I received a despatch informing me that the water was sufficient for 150 men and horses, and that much rebel spoor was visible in the Korannaberg, so I decided to send him a convoy with three weeks’ rations before moving forward for the final attack. This convoy left on the 24th July—the day the last of the reinforcements (Transkei Natives) arrived at Ryan’s—and, as its escort had to form the Garrison at Ryan’s, I had to await its return on the 27th.

126. In view of all the reports received between 18th and 24th July, I considered the stationing of a strong detachment at the Korannaberg of such importance as to justify a delay of 48 hours in the final attack.

My despatch of the 5th August [See Section 12 of the Schedule] deals in detail with every event from the advance from Ryan’s on 28th July to the taking of Gamasep and death of Luka on 30th, the surrender of Toto and the Batlaros on August 2nd, to the scouring of the mountain in search of Galishwe up to the date of the despatch mentioned.

128. Presuming therefore that no general publication of this report will be made without the despatch of August 5th, as well as others herein referred to being attached to it, I refrain from saying anything further about those events which resulted in the absolute suppression of the rebellion, and the death or imprisonment of all its instigators.

129. Attached to my despatch of the 5th August [See Section 12 of the Schedule] will be found a state showing the distribution of the B.F.F. on the 30th July when the final attack on Gamasep was delivered. From this state it will be seen that although the grand total of the Force under my command was 2,326 all ranks, only 2,246 were combatants, and of this number only 1,681 could be mustered at Gamasep, from which must be deducted ten per cent, of all Corps left to garrison Gamasep Kopje and the laager beneath it, leaving a total of 1,520 (including Artillery) available for the actual assault.

130. In the face of articles and correspondence (usually anonymous) which have appeared in the public press, not to mention the tone of some of your telegrams (more particularly some of those received during May), I cannot be blind to the fact that a good deal of adverse criticism has been directed against the conduct of the campaign, chiefly, I gather, against the length of time it occupied.

131. I do not wish to draw any comparisons between the time occupied in, and final results of, previous campaigns which have been conducted by the Colony, but simply submit that a careful perusal of this report will convince the reader that no delay occurred for which I can be held responsible.

132. I attach (marked B) a summary showing the various engagements, patrols and other incidents of the B.F. Force, and to assist you in realising at a glance how the time was occupied, I here submit a brief table showing the periods into which the 182 days which the campaign occupied may be divided:—

BechFF engagements Feb to Aug 1897

133. The military critic who has neither seen the Langberg nor commanded local and temporarily raised mounted corps in this Colony, and the critic who has seen both, but is absolutely ignorant of any military knowledge, may perhaps hold that with the force at my disposal I should have crushed the rebellion in, say, a month. In reply, I can only point out that the original attack on Gamasep failed, and that, with every available man engaged, we only just managed to capture the positions at Puduhusche, on May 9th, without, however, inflicting any very serious loss on the enemy, who had many equally strong positions to fall back upon, whereas, when the reinforcements asked for arrived, and the force at my disposal consisted of the permanent forces and regular volunteer corps, I had no difficulty in carrying Gamasep, and bringing the rebellion to a complete close within four days.

134. As to the actual number of rebels in the mountain, it is difficult to form an accurate estimate, but, judging from information supplied by the Collector of Hut Tax, the Field-cornet, and the local Police, I consider that in placing Toto’s, Luka’s, and Andries Gasibone’s fighting men (including petty chiefs formerly residing in western kloofs) at 1,000,I am underestimating them. At a low calculation, 300 men went into the mountain from the Korannaberg and the Gamapedi, Mashowing, Khartu, Gamagara, Deben, and Gatlosi’s native reserves, in addition to the 80 or 100 men that followed Galishwe from Pokwanie, thus I estimate the fighting strength of the rebels at between 1,250 and 1,500, who, besides being well armed and supplied with ammunition, knew how to husband the latter, and occupied positions which were proof against artillery fire, and which, in the possession of any white men, would I believe have proved practically impregnable.

I attach a return, marked “C,” received from the Principal Medical Officer, Surgeon Lieut.-Colonel Hartley, V.C., giving particulars of all casualties during the expedition, from which it will be seen that they number 58 in all, made up as follows:—

Killed in action: 11
Died of wounds: 5
Died of sickness: 10
Drowned: 2
Wounded in action: 30

136. I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the excellent work performed by the members of the Volunteer Medical Staff who for the first time were utilized on Active Service. Whether carrying the wounded out of action under fire, or in untiringly nursing them in the Base Hospital, the Medical Staff Corps showed admirable discipline and training, the result being that the wounded suffered less than in any other Colonial war which I have witnessed.

137. Numerous letters (naturally anonymous) have, from time to time, appeared in the Colonial press containing complaints as to the feeding of the Force, and I can only say that in no previous campaign have I ever seen or heard of troops being better fed. During the entire campaign I do not think they had in all 10 days rations of tinned meat and biscuit, and on no occasion that I can remember was any corps without its full rations.

138. Reduced rations, a matter of constant occurrence in most South African wars, were unknown during the recent campaign, notwithstanding the great difficulties with which the Transport Department had to contend on account of the ravages of rinderpest. When fresh vegetables were not obtainable, an ample ration of either rice, preserved vegetables, dried beans, or peas was invariably issued. The only article in the scale of rations which I think should be slightly increased is sugar, the present allowance of 2 oz. per diem being barely sufficient.

139. As regards the clothing, and particularly boots, the supply was very far from being sufficient, and on many occasions numbers of men not only suffered inconvenience, but actual hardship from the dilapidated state of their clothing and boots.

140. In drawing attention to this defect it must be clearly understood that I do not wish to impute any blame to the Ordnance Store Department, who I believe did their best, but failed simply through the absolute impossibility of being able to procure a sufficient quantity of suitable clothing and boots anywhere in South Africa.

141. It is some 16 years since I was last on active service with volunteers, and I find that during that period they have made great strides
in their training and efficiency. The discipline maintained amongst them, not only in action, but during the more trying time while waiting for reinforcements in a most uncomfortable camp, was beyond praise.

142. Speaking generally, the large majority of the volunteer officers were energetic and zealous, looking after their men in camp, and in action leading their men well, but I feel sure they will not take it amiss when I point to the necessity of ensuring that they should receive some further military training than is possible on a parade ground.

143. In drawing attention to the excellent work done by the signalling staff under Captain Lukin, establishing I believe a heliographic record for South Africa, whilst working daily between the Langberg and Kuruman Hills, a distance of nearly 50 miles, I cannot refrain from regretting that the only two volunteer corps in the force under my command that contained trained signallers were the D.E.O.V. Rifles and the Cape Town Highlanders. The extreme utility of signallers, especially in South Africa, is so obvious that I think no corps can be said to be fit to take the field without having a certain number of trained signallers in its ranks.

144. In July, a very generous and much appreciated gift of luxuries in the shape of jams, potted meats, cigars, &c., was received from the Directors of the De Beers Consolidated Mines Co., Ltd., and duly distributed amongst the force.

145. From telegraphic correspondence that took place between us, it appears that no regulations have ever been promulgated under section 104 of the Colonial Forces Act, 1892, and, although no loss, delay, or serious inconvenience was, in consequence, experienced during the campaign, I need hardly point out the value to the Government of the powers that might be conferred on a commanding officer under the section in question.

146. In previous despatches I have had the honour of bringing to the notice of the Government for their favourable consideration the conduct of certain of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Bechuanaland Field Force.

147. I cannot conclude this report without drawing the attention of the Government to the debt of gratitude which the force owes to the London Missionary Society for so kindly placing its principal building in Kuruman at the disposal of the Principal Medical Officer for use as a Base Hospital, and to the Revds. Roger Price and T. Brown the sick and wounded are indebted for constant acts of kindness and generous gifts of all fruits and vegetables produced in their garden.

I have, &c.,

Lieut.-Col. C.M.R.,
Commanding Bechuanaland Field Force.