Cape Town in danger—Johannesburg race-course raided—Kitchener decides upon blockhouses—He narrowly escapes capture—De Wet again fights his way out of a drive—Reported defeat of Botha—Protest by Steyn and De Wet against violations of rules of war by British—Piet de Wet surrenders—Peace rumors—Correspondence between Kitchener and Botha—Boer generals all reject offered terms—commandant Scheepers appears in Cape Colony—General Philip Botha killed—Character sketch—Boer Government driven from Pietersburg—British orders relating to use of white flag—Various encounters in Cape Colony—British garrisons besieged—Dutch editors imprisoned—Summary of the enemy's losses—Wife of English general appeals to America for belief of Boer women and children imprisoned in camps—English military view of the situation—Battle of Vlakfontein—The English show themselves to be "poor losers."

January 1-7.—The Boers began the new year so aggressively that the London " Standard " was constrained to confess there were fears for the safety of Cape Town, owing to the progress southward of the spirit of revolt which had been enkindled nearer the Orange River border. Guards had to be placed to protect the waterworks supplying the city, as a force of Boers were reported to be making south for Worcester, 150 miles distant. Martial law was proclaimed in all the districts immediately north of the city. At the same time Boer forces were operating in the Craddock, Maraisburg, Carnarvon, Somerset West, Steynsburg, and Middelburg districts of Cape Colony. The Commandants with these columns included Hertzog, Wessels, Fouche, George Brand, Kritzinger, Malan, Scheepers, Pretorius, and Nieuwenhaut. The Dutch population in these regions were credited with welcoming the invaders, and with supplying their wants in food and horses.

Coincidently with this extensive invasion of British territory by Boer forces, necessitating preparations for the defense of Cape Town, Lord Roberts was being rewarded in England with an Earldom and a Garter, for having " ended " the war, in December.

De Wet was reported as active in the Bethlehem, Free State, district, and De la Rey as being near the Vaal River, south of Potchefstroom.

A despatch from Bloemfontein says Lord Kitchener has approved of a movement "to send Boer agents out to burghers on commando, to make known to them the terms of his proclamation." This means that Boer renegades, acting as English agents, would be sent to the laagers to induce the burghers to give up the fight. If Boer generals sent Boer agents on a similar mission to British columns, they would be shot as spies or as advocates of desertion.

A German volunteer who has just returned from the front tells a Berlin paper how the Boers are so well able to continue to fight. He says:

" What the Boer needs he obtains in abundance from the English. His absolute necessities consist of dried meat and maize flour. With the flour he makes his cakes. To this is added on most days some of the delicious English conserves, wagonloads of which fall into our hands from time to time.

" Our supply of ammunition never fails. Many of the Boers' Mausers have been buried, but most of our men are now armed with Martini-Henrys and Lee-Metfords, which have been taken from the British. Every attack on a British outpost renews our supply of ammunition for these rifles. The Boers are very careful, and 100 cartridges last a man a long time, for he never fires except when he is sure of hitting.

" Our supply of horses is also supplemented from the English stock, and it is surprising how the horses which have become worn-out under the English soon become fat and sturdy with the Boers. This comes, of course, from the fact that the Englishmen have no heart for their horses, or they do not know how to treat them."

One of the objects of the Boer invasion of Cape Colony was to recover some of the horses and cattle sent there from the Free State by the enemy.

On the 7th inst. it was reported that three British columns were in pursuit of De Wet, east of the Senekal district of the Free State, and that General Louis Botha was moving in the Ermelo region of the (eastern) Transvaal.

January 8-15.—A section of one of the three columns ventured too close to De Wet at Lindley (where he had captured the Irish Loyalists last June) on the 7th, with the result that fifteen were killed and over twenty wounded. These troops were a detachment of Lord Kitchener's body-guard, and formed part of General Charles Knox's column. Some thirty-five of the enemy are accounted for in the above report, but nothing is said of the balance of Knox's men. They were possibly captured, disarmed, and released, as usually happens in such surrenders.

Later reports of this victory of the Commandant-General add nearly 100 hundred more British casualties to the previous list of > their losses at that fight.

On the same date De la Rey with Commandant Steenekamp is said to have been defeated by General Babington's column, northwest of Pretoria. It is claimed that the Boers were forced to retire, after losing twenty men in killed and wounded. The British loss is not stated.

A skirmish is reported to have taken place in Cape Colony, a hundred miles north of Cape Town, while trenches have been dug on that city's race-course; farms within seven miles of Kimberley have been raided by Boers; cattle have been carried off by Boers within four miles of Pretoria, and an invading column has moved west in Cape Colony, towards Clanwilliam, as if making for Lamberts, or St. Helena Bay.

Lord Kitchener reports five simultaneous attacks upon as many British positions; the Boers taking advantage of darkness in each case. Louis Botha's men made an assault upon Belfast (where Lord Roberts "annexed" the Transvaal), and were beaten off; the British acknowledge losing twenty killed and over fifty wounded. Boer dead said to be twenty-four. Later reports of this affair relate that Ben Viljoen led the attack and captured the Royal Irish who garrisoned the town. His son was killed in the encounter. Viljoen held the town for two hours and then retired, releasing his prisoners.

De la Rey had three encounters recently with columns of the enemy in the Magaliesberg regions, west of Pretoria. The English claimed to have beaten off each assault.

Lord Kitchener reports that De Wet shot one of the " peace " envoys, and flogged two more, who had gone to his commando to ask burghers to stop fighting.

January 16-23.—A British convoy going from Dundee to Vryheid was attacked at the Blood River by some of Christian Botha's men.

Aberdeen and Sutherland, two towns near the center of Cape Colony, have been entered by Boer forces who helped themselves to the hospitality denied by the British residents. They retired without injuring any of the citizens.

On the 17th Colvile's column was attacked near Standerton, on the Pretoria-Natal railway, by a force of Christian Botha's men. Reported repulse of Boers, "with heavy losses." On the same date an attack was made on a Boer force at Ventersburg, Free State, which was successful.

Zeerust, in the western Transvaal, so often held, alternately, by Boers and British during the past twelve months, is reported again besieged by some of De la Rey's men. Two other garrisons, in the south of the Free State, have been evacuated by the British, who took the inhabitants over the Orange River; the British being unable to hold the places, Smithfield and Rouxville, against the opposing Boer forces.

A body of Commandant Beyers' men raided the race-course, near Johannesburg, where the cattle of the British garrison were grazing, on January 17. They took 1,700 head with them, but lost 500 of these in the darkness. The day following a mounted British force went in pursuit, and retook the 500 straying cattle. The report of this achievement in the English press recorded the taking of 500 cattle " from the Boers," but nothing about the original capture by Beyers' men on the race-course.

Reports in the London papers of this date made reference to the " relief of the Hoopstad garrison" in the northwest of the Free State. No intimation had previously been given to the public that any British force had been besieged in that town.

Queen Victoria died on January 22.

January 24-31.—A British patrol was captured at Maraisburg, Cape Colony, on the 24th.

De la Rey attacked General Cunningham near Ventersdorp, Transvaal, on the 26th, and was making things warm for the enemy when General Babington arrived with reenforcements, compelling the Boers to retire. Cunningham had over forty casualties. Another section of De la Bay's commando captured a small body of Yeomen near Lichtenburg, De la Rey's birthplace.

South of Kimberley a British post was taken and a train held up. Boer force not mentioned, but this being General Kolbe's ground, where the genial old Free Stater fought in the earlier days of the war, he is probably still hovering near the Diamond City.

Christian Botha and Tobias Smuts attacked General Smith-Dorrien in the Carolina district, eastern Transvaal, the fight lasting five hours. The Boers retired, but were not pursued. No casualties are given in the cabled reports of the fight.

About this time De Wet is stated to be in three places, hundreds of miles apart.

Olive Schreiner, the gifted authoress, is forbidden by martial-law officers to leave the district in which she resides.

Damage to the extent of £200,000 was done to one of the Band mines recently by some of Beyers' commando.

Lord Kitchener, while traveling towards Middelburg, east of Pretoria, had a narrow escape from being killed or captured. The train was derailed and fired upon by a body of Boers. They were doubtless ignorant of the presence of the important passenger on the train thus attacked, or a more determined assault might have been delivered. The Boers were beaten off.

News from Bloemfontein that another of the "peace" envoys, a man named Wessels, has been shot by orders of General De Wet.

It is circulated from Lourenzo Marquez that Colonel Blake, at the head of "2,000 Boers," was in Portuguese territory, east of Komatipoort, with the object of releasing the surrendered burghers and volunteers in the hands of the Portuguese authorities. He has doubtless a more practical purpose in view with, probably, 100 men of the alleged 2,000.

Near the end of the month a British post at Modderfontein, on the Gatsrand Hills, some 70 miles southwest of Johannesburg, was attacked by a force of De la Rey's men. The British, who were about 250 strong and had a gun, fought well for two days. Re-enforcements of near 1,000 men and four guns were sent from Krugersdorp by the English in that garrison to relieve the Modderfontein post. News of this movement was conveyed to Commandant Smuts (Attorney-General of the Transvaal), who was with De la Rey's commandoes at the time. He flung 800 men with a pom-pom into the hills, across the path of General Cunningham and of the relieving British column. These were hotly attacked by Smuts, and so badly mauled that their progress was successfully arrested until the Modderfontein garrison were compelled to surrender; 220 men, a pom-pom, a convoy, and large quantities of ammunition falling into Boer hands. In the final assault upon the plucky garrison, the Boers used bayonets which they had previously captured from their enemies. Cunningham was driven back to Krugersdorp.

Commandant Smuts is a young man, aged about 35, of medium height, slender in build, with a strong, intellectual head and face. He was Attorney-General of the South African Republic in 1899. He finished his education in Cambridge University, England. He was one of the most brilliant young men in the Transvaal, cultured, courteous, and gentlemanly; a man who would be a credit and an ornament to any government in existence. My last evening in Pretoria was spent in his house. Roberts was then advancing on the Vaal River, and it had been decided, on that very day, by the Transvaal Executive, that Pretoria was not to be defended; Mr. and Mrs. Smuts, therefore, knew they would soon be without a home, but there was neither anger nor lamentation in the conversation which took place. "We will ultimately be defeated of course," said Mr. Smuts, " and will have to put up with the consequences, no matter how serious these may be; but you can rest assured that England will have to pay the highest price she has ever yet paid for victory, before she turns the Transvaal into a South African Ireland." "And then?"

" Well," replied Mr. Smuts, smiling, " the fight for Nationhood, under the new conditions, will not continue quite as long as that

which your country has made. We are, fortunately, further away from England."

I have learned since returning from the Transvaal that the little girl, eighteen months old, who was the prattling center of attraction on that evening, died of hardship and exposure after the British occupation of Pretoria. Mr. Smuts joined De la Rey, following the battle of Dalmanutha, as assistant general, and has since distinguished himself as one of the most capable and daring commandants in the field. The death of that wee
girlie has probably cost hundreds of British households pangs of sorrow as keen as those which the brutality of the Jingo war inflicted upon as happy a home as it has ever been my privilege to enter.

February.—While on his way south, after the defeat of the British detachment near Lindley, De Wet fell in with a force of the enemy under Major Pilcher, northeast of Bloemfontein. He engaged these troops on the southeastern side of the Brandfort hills, not far from Sannas Post, forcing them to retire towards the Free State capital. During the engagement the artillery fire attracted the attention of Major Crewe, who was patrolling the same district with a composite force. This second English column advanced to the hill, to meet De Wet's men, after the retreat of Pilcher. Crewe and his force were immediately attacked, and were forced to retire in the direction of General Knox's main column. They were ambushed, however, by a section of De Wet's men who had moved in their rear for that purpose, and, after a four hours' fight, Crewe was compelled to retreat, leaving his convoy, a pom-pom, and a number of prisoners in the hands of De Wet.

The extraordinary circumstance surrounding this engagement was the fact that Pilcher and Crewe, with their respective forces, were two out of six columns specially organized for, and actually engaged in, the old task of capturing De Wet and his single commando. Generals Knox, Hamilton, Maxwell, and Colonel White, each at the head of a column, were the other commanders who for weeks had been so employed. The same task had been already undertaken a dozen times, by probably a dozen English generals and columns. On this occasion De Wet had succeeded by one of his old stratagems in sending the four stronger columns of the enemy northeast from his actual objective, on a wild-goose chase, while he doubled southwest, found Pilcher and Crewe, engaged them in detail, as related, beat them both, and went on his way serenely while the six British officers were doubtless settling among themselves the question, which of them was most to blame for the brilliant manner in which they had all contributed to the defeat of the united purpose of the columns.

After defeating Crewe and Pilcher and once more shaking himself free of " surrounding " columns, De Wet crossed the Bloemfontein-Pretoria line, a little north of Brandfort, and made for the Orange River, by wheeling south and fording the Modder between the Free State capital and Paardeberg. He met with no serious opposition while traversing the country up which he had dashed just a year previously in his efforts to gain possession of the drifts east of Cronje's then position, and to forestall the English. He now swept southward past Jagersfontein and Fauresmith, which were held by small garrisons of the enemy who made no attempt to stop his well-equipped commando. He crossed Orange River at a drift west of Norvals Pont, and directed his course towards De Aar, the important junction and garrison on the Cape Town-Kimberley line.

Meanwhile from all available points the enemy's forces were being moved by horse and rail to cope with this new danger in British territory. The shouting Jingoes of Cape Town apprehended nothing less than a march on their delectable city by the redoubtable Boer general. It was fortunate for them that his available force would not permit of any such big enterprise. His objects in joining in the invasion which Steyn had planned in November were political, in addition to having more immediate relations to the plan of campaign which he had commenced after the occupation of Bloemfontein. President Steyn's chief purpose was to strengthen Mr. Kruger's hands in Europe, by showing the

Powers and the public how an army of 250,000 British soldiers were not alone unable to defeat the Federal forces still in the field in two Republics, but also incapable of preventing the Chief Commandant of the Free State from carrying a commando and its baggage a distance of 300 miles, between lines of British posts and in defiance of " surrounding " columns, in the execution of a plan to invade the enemy's own territory.

This political purpose carried out, De Wet's military objects were to recruit the commandoes in men and in horses, and to divert the attention of the British forces from Hertzog, Kritzinger, Malan, Scheepers, and others who were operating in the west, center, and east of the Colony.

De Wet was attacked in crossing the Kimberley railway north of De Aar and, as he had no less than 200 carts and wagons with him at the time, his movements were considerably impeded. His rear-guard fought the usual containing action with the enemy's advanced lines, and enabled the commando to take most of its baggage out of danger. In carrying out this plan, some wagons, ammunition, and horses had to be left behind, and these, together with fifty men it is claimed, were captured by the English. De Wet divided his commando into several sections, in his old manner, and then proceeded northwest where he expected to join Hertzog and George Brand.

These Commandants, with a small force of about 700 well-mounted men, had crossed into Cape Colony in December. They marched almost due south, through the center of the Colony, until reaching Murraysburg, meeting with little opposition. They then directed their course northwest, into the wide regions of Calvinia and Clanwilliam.

Having carried out whatever scheme had taken the astute Judge-Commandant to the sea at the mouth of the Olifants River, he turned northeast, this time followed by a force of Cape Towu volunteers, "Kitchener's Fighting Scouts," who always prudently succeeded in keeping within a day's march of the small commando. Near the end of February, President Steyn and De Wet met Hertzog and Brand between Philipstown and Petrusville, and the movements which followed were the result of the conference thus held.

Judge Hertzog is in the Free State councils and forces a counterpart to Attorney-General Smuts in the Transvaal. He is a lawyer and soldier, and has shown himself to be as able at the head of a commando as he was at the bar of the Republic. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Kroonstad in 1900. He is about 45 years old, of medium height, and of a Spanish type of face; with a keen and subtle intellect that would suggest a German metaphysician rather than a Dutch lawyer. His wife, a charming and cultured lady, was subjected to the indignities and suffering of a concentration camp after the capture of the two capitals—thanks to Lord Roberts' British chivalry in making war upon the wives and children of his foes, in order to bring them under English rule, and to a proper appreciation of all its blessings.

Having obtained a large supply of fresh horses from Hertzog and Brand, De Wet and President Steyn prepared to retrace their course back again to the northeast of the Free State. The commando was split up under Froneman, Nel, and others, and, with the cooperation of Brand and Hertzog, it became an easy task to mislead the enemy as to the particular drift over the Orange River which would be utilized by De Wet. Each section acted as a decoy to the blundering British, and, while half-a-dozen generals and colonels were wiring daily that they were on the point of capturing President Steyn and his Chief Commandant, these men crossed the river on the 28th of February, between Norvals Pont and Zand Drift, with convoy and spare horses, and revealed to their pursuers where they really were when casualties in a fight near Philippolis, in the Free State, a few days afterward, had to be attended to by: a British ambulance.

The expedition from near Heilbron, in the north of the Free State, to De Aar, in Cape Colony, and back—a total distance of fully 700 miles—took about seven weeks in its execution. De Wet's flying column did not exceed 2,000 men on starting, and with this body he fought and defeated forces of the Lindley garrison; in passing beat Pilcher and Crewe, in detail, east of Brandfort, and took a gun and convoy; faced south, with Bloemfontein on his left, and half-a-dozen English posts on his right, and swept by them with soldierly contempt for their impotent knowledge of his movements; crossed the Orange River, after Kitchener and his generals had had a fortnight's notice 6f his intention to invade Cape Colony; entered British territory and remained there a fortnight; fought several skirmishes during that time with the enemy's forces who had, as usual, " surrounded" him; formed a junction with Hertzog; obtained fresh horses and some recruits, and then faced backward to recross the river, guarded at a dozen points by as many British forces; regained the north bank; brushed aside whatever opposition lay in his path north to Fauresmith, and arrived in the east of the Free State again with a loss of less than 150 of the men who rode with him during the whole of that splendid performance.

It was one more added to the many brilliant achievements of the great leader, and a corresponding exhibition of the hopeless ineptitude of his military opponents. But what generals and colonels and columns galore had failed to do with their " flying " detachments and brigades, the London press, resolved, for a time at least, to accomplish.

By the end of February the news agencies ended the war, in the most satisfactory manner possible, to themselves: President Steyn was believed to have surrendered; De Wet was, at last, hopelessly beaten, and on the point of being captured; Christian Botha was negotiating for terms with the English general in front of him, while Commandant-General Louis Botha had, according to one report, " surrendered to Lord Kitchener, at Middelburg, before nine o'clock on yesterday"—the 28th of February. And in this way another month of the war was ended.

While still in Cape Colony, a proclamation signed by President Steyn and General De Wet was issued charging the British with a systematic violation of all the rules of civilized warfare accepted by the Powers at The Hague Conference. The proclamation alleged, " that rape, robbery, house-burning, and other crimes were committed by the enemy in insolent defiance of all regard for sex, age, or property." The document ended in the declaration:

" The Republics are not conquered. The war is not finished. The burgher forces of the two States are still led by responsible officers, as from the commencement of the war, under the supervision of the Governments of both Republics."

Early in February the following announcement was made by the British War Office:

" In view of recent Boer activity in various directions, his Majesty's Government have decided, in addition to the large forces recently equipped locally in South Africa, to reenforce Lord Kitchener by 30,000 mounted troops beyond those already landed in Cape Colony."

This was two months after Lord Roberts had received an Earldom for having finished the war.

During De Wet's movement south into Cape Colony, Lord Kitchener organized another " sweeping " expedition for the southeastern districts of the Transvaal, where Louis Botha was reported to be at the head of " 7,000 Boers."

Kitchener's columns were to move as follows against the Commandant-General, and to keep in touch with each other: General Smith-Dorrien's from Wonderfontein, General Campbell's from Middelburg, General Alderson's from Eerste Fabrieken, General Knox's from Kaalfontein, Major Allenby's from Zuurfontein, General Dartnell's from Springs, and General Colvile's from Grey-lingstad.

These columns, being fully equipped "for so big an enterprise, set out on what was confidently hoped to be a movement as successful as Lord Roberts' march upon the Modder, just a year previously, and the capture of Cronje which followed. French and Smith-Dorrien, both of whom had played conspicuous parts in that, the most important English victory of the war, were the leading officers in this second great enterprise for the cornering and capture of Botha. It was also to be General French's second attempt in the same region to accomplish Botha's downfall.

The Commandant-General was in the East Transvaal at this time, in touch with his brother Christian Botha, and Tobias Smuts of Ermelo, with a combined force of some 4,000 men. They had also a large number of non-combatants, and women and children with them, and much stock of cattle and sheep; the Carolina, Ermelo, and Bethel districts being the richest pasture districts of the Transvaal. Lord Kitchener, learning of all this, laid his plans, had his seven columns organized, and, everything being prepared for a culminating swoop, confided the execution of the work to General French.

Botha was at Bothwell, near Carolina, when French set forth to find him, while his scattered forces and non-combatant following were in laagers southward toward Lake Chrissie, Ermelo, and Amsterdam. French's plan was to move a force under Smith-Dorrien east and north of Bothwell, so as to bar a Boer retreat towards Lydenburg, while French himself was to lead his own right wing, in a corresponding movement, to the south, or left, of Botha; the remaining columns to operate in between; the grand object begin to pin the Boer commandoes in against the Swaziland border, and force them to fight, in a corner against overwhelming forces, to a finish.

Smith-Dorrien's column reached the locality of Bothwell in a four days' march—covering thirty miles—and was suddenly and fiercely attacked on the 6th of February by Botha. The Commandant-General had easily divined the purpose of the movement against him, and had resorted to the favorite Boer tactics of fighting a determined rear-guard action against the enemy, so as to retard his advance and enable the impedimenta of the laagers to obtain a safe start upon an agreed direction of retreat. Botha's main plan was, to hold Smith-Dorrien in check until the Boer column would be in line with Ermelo, on its retreat to the hills of Piet Retief, and then to wheel round, face and harass French who was moving direct south on Ermelo, and contain him until the burghers, their women, children, and cattle had passed on to the Randbergen hills south of Amsterdam. In the carrying out of these rival plans Botha showed himself the successful opponent of the ablest cavalry general in the enemy's service.

He attacked Smith-Dorrien as related, beat him to a standstill for two days, inflicting a loss of upward a hundred men, and then moved off in the rear of his own retiring column. General Tobias Smuts held his own town of Ermelo until French appeared from the north, when he fell back and joined the two Bothas, who now with united forces delayed and worried French and his seven columns until it was no longer possible for them to remain where their lines of communication were imperiled every day, after the great coup had failed. Instead of enclosing Botha between himself and Smith-Dorrien, French found all his columns faced by a thin line of sharpshooters twenty miles in extent, by which he was prevented from making more than seven miles progress per day, even with his cavalry.

The English made the best show possible in their reports, as against the second palpable failure of French to carry out the plan for which his latest and largest command had been organized and equipped.

They published the following list of achievements:

" Two hundred and eighty-two Boers ' known to have been killed and wounded in action'; 56 prisoners of war; 183 surrendered; one 15-pounder gun; 462 rifles; 160,000 rounds small ammunition; 3,500 horses; 74 mules; 3,530 trek oxen; 18,700 cattle; 155,400 sheep; 1,070 wagons and carts.

" British casualties: Five officers and 41 men killed; 4 officers and 108 men wounded."

The following additional captures were reported later :

" One 19-pounder Krupp gun, one howitzer, one Maxim complete, 20,000 rounds small ammunition, 153 rifles, 388 horses, 52 mules, 834 trek oxen, 5,600 cattle, 9,800 sheep, 287 wagons and carts.

" Boers' casualties, 4 killed, 5 wounded, 300 surrendered."

The guns here reported as having been captured had all been buried months previously, and rendered useless, by the Boers. Fully seventy per cent, of the Boers mentioned as taken and surrendered were non-combatants, women, and children. Botha's actual losses, in killed and wounded, did not reach 150, during the four weeks in which it took the seven British columns to march through the southeastern Transvaal against the relatively small opposing forces. The cattle, sheep, and wagons were the stocks and belongings of the rich farms which the English picked up as they passed along, and it was in the seizure of these where French's main triumph lay. It turned out afterwards that a large quantity of this stock was retaken by the Boers.

It was during the progress of this loudly heralded movement for the ending of the war in the Transvaal that De Wet and Steyn had made their dash south to Cape Colony and back again, and it was this achievement, and not French's capture of women and sheep, which evoked the admiration of the on-looking world.

French reached Heidelberg, on the Natal-Pretoria railway, by the 27th of February, followed by a responsive flourish of London journalistic trumpets over his magnified triumphs. The victory-making editors did not know at the time that Lord Kitchener had already invited Botha to a conference, for the 28th, to discuss a possible ending of the war; induced thereto, doubtless, by the raid of De Wet into British territory, and all which that might mean in the way of stimulating further revolt within Cape Colony.

On the 6th of March—seven days following the London rejoicings at French's capture of Ermelo, Carolina, etc.,—Louis Botha was penning a manifesto to the Boers, from this same Ermelo, encouraging them to fight to the death for Transvaal independence.

The minor events in February were dwarfed by the two rival movements briefly summarized, and do not call for specific mention.

March 1-7.—On the 1st, Lord Kitchener reported the capture of eighty of Kitchener's Fighting Scouts. He forgot to add that these surrendered to a body of 200 of Hertzog's commando, almost without a fight. This very much fighting body, at least in name, was a Cape Town volunteer force, and resembled in their martial prowess and triumphs the incomparable " Bushmen" who have been described in earlier chapters, from accounts of their characters and doings supplied to the press by their chaplain. The Cape Town heroes were a body of notorious braggarts and looters, and it was in consequence of their doings, and those of Brabant's Horse, a kindred Colonial farm-pillaging force, that General De Wet and Mr. Steyn issued the proclamation referred to on page 484.

On the 5th, De la Rey, with a force not particularized, attacked the British garrison in his native town, Lichtenburg, which is some fifty miles nearer Johannesburg than Mafeking. The garrison numbered 500 men and had two guns. The attack continued during the whole day and was going badly for the defenders on the day following, when reenforcements arrived from the nearest posts of the enemy, compelling De la Rey to abandon the siege. The

British losses were reported at fifty-sis killed and wounded. The Boer casualties are unknown. Lichtenburg district has been " swept" repeatedly by columns under Lord Methuen, General Babington, and other British officers.

Maraisburg, north of Craddock, Cape Colony, was taken and occupied by a Boer column on the 7th of March.

March 8-31.—Piet De Wet, brother of the famous general, surrendered to the British during this month. He stated his motive to be a desire to bring a hopeless war, which was working the ruin of the two Republics, to a finish. Motives other than this were attributed to him by the Boers in the field. He had been an admirable fighter from the beginning of the war, and had shown himself a most capable officer when in command of men. In the campaign around Colesberg, in December and January (1899-1900), he exhibited some of the very best qualities of Boer generalship. After laying down his arms he addressed a long letter to his brother begging him to give up the struggle against the British.

A correspondence between General Louis Botha and Lord Kitchener was published at this period which gave rise to a general expectation that peace might soon eventuate. It was alleged, on the English side, that Botha was seeking an excuse to surrender, and, on the pro-Boer side, that Kitchener was more desirous of peace than his Government. The alarming manner in which the second invasion of Cape Colony was proceeding had much to do with the total abandonment of Lord Roberts' " unconditional surrender " terms, and with bringing about a conference between Lord Kitchener and General Louis Botha. It transpired, afterward, that it was not the Boer leader who first expressed a desire for the meeting.

The conference took place at Middelburg, east of Pretoria. Kitchener offered terms which would virtually amount to Canadian Home Rule, " as soon as practicable," after the war ended. Botha agreed to communicate these terms to the other Boer generals. Kitchener, in his report of the conference, said that Botha " had showed good feeling."

Mr. Chamberlain did not approve of all that Kitchener had proposed, and amended his terms. On the final submission of these to Botha, the latter replied to Kitchener, saying, " After the mutual exchange of views at our interview at Middelburg on the 28th of February, it will not surprise your Excellency to know that I do not feel disposed to recommend that the terms of your letter shall have the consideration of my Government."

A Boer commandant appeared with a body of men at Aberdeen, in Cape Colony, on March 10. He raided the town, released the prisoners from the jail, and retired in the direction of another invading column further west.

Commandant Kritzinger with a force of 700 mounted men has raided the Bedford district of Cape Colony of its horses. He was pursued by Colonels De Lisle and Gorringe, and fought several running engagements with their forces from the 12th to the 18th inst., when he was reported as having been worsted on the last date, and forced to retire north into the Craddock region.

At the very time when the British press was informing the public of General Botha's anxiety to surrender, he was circulating the following proclamation among the Boers of the two Republics:

" Dear Brothers,—The tendency of Lord Kitchener's letter tells you very plainly that the British Government aims at nothing else but the total destruction of our African people, and that it is absolutely impossible for us to accept the terms offered therein. In fact, little else does the letter contain, and even much less than the British Government would be obliged to do if we should one day have to give up the struggle. Beware! It will give us a Legislative Council to consist of its own officials and members appointed by itself. The wishes of the people are not considered at all. It also proposes, as a great favor, this, that only one million pounds are to be made available to cover our national debts, whereas, according to legal advice, should at an unwished-for time matters turn out unfavorably, the British Government must hold itself responsible for all the national debts, and cannot simply take away our State profits. Our burghers have done some hard fighting, but how could this be avoided when the existence of our nationality is unjustly threatened? It was hard for them to have to spill so much blood and shed so many tears in this war, but it would be much harder if we should have to give up our country.

" I sincerely sympathize with the burghers whose families have been removed. Let not one despair on account of this, for he who despairs and gives in is not only unjust towards his own people, but also puts aside his own faith.

" The more severely we are grieved by the enemy the more courageously we must defend our ground and our just claims.

" Let us, like Daniel in the lions' den, put our trust in the Lord, for in His time and in His way he is sure to deliver us.

" (w.s.) Louis Botha, " Commandant-General.

" Ermelo, 15th of March, 1901."

General Philip Botha was killed in an action on the 21st, the particulars of which I have not seen published anywhere. The reports said he was killed on Doornberg, in the northeast of the Free State. Philip Botha was General De Wet's most capable lieutenant in all his movements after the surrender of Cronje. He operated, generally, in the northeast section of the Free State, near where his splendid farm was located (and burned by the British), and in the southeast of the Transvaal. He was the oldest of the Botha family, and of five brothers, all fighting in the war. He was one of the handsomest men in the Federal armies: tall and dark, and as courteous as a cultivated Spaniard. I spent some time with him, east of Brandfort, in April, 1900, and he impressed me greatly by his all-round capacity, gentlemanly bearing, and genial disposition. His commando were devotedly attached to him, and would follow him anywhere. He had three sons in his column at the time, and two of these are reported as being wounded in the fight in which the general was killed. A combat occurred at Vrede, near General Philip Botha's home, on the day on which his death was announced in the press, and this was probably the occasion of the fatal encounter for him. Should this surmise be correct, a brave man's death, near his own homestead, fighting the ruthless enemy of his race and of nationhood, lent a dramatic interest to the general's last stand which would be in keeping with his soldierly patriotism throughout the war.

I have done this volume the honor of dedicating it to his memory.

The reported result of the fighting round Vrede was the retreat of the British after a stubborn resistance by the Boer force.

On the 22nd, Commandant Smuts fought an engagement with a force of Yeomen near Klerksdorp, southwest of Johannesburg. The British appear to have got the worst of the encounter, tho the ultimate results of the fight involved De la Rey in the biggest disaster experienced by him in the war.

The brush with the Yeomanry on the 22nd led to a surprise attack the following day upon De la Rey's laager between Klerksdorp and Lichtenburg. General Babington, with two large columns came to the assistance of the Yeomanry, and followed Smuts, who retired north in the direction of De la Rey's laager and convoy. The entire force with De la Rey at Kaffir Kraal at this time was about 1,000 men. These fought a resolute rearguard action under the command of De la Rey, but the British mounted forces were so strong that the Boers had to abandon all their guns and the entire convoy. Most of the artillery taken by the English had been captured from them previously. De la Rey lost fifty killed and wounded and over 100 prisoners in the two days' fighting. With the exception of Abram's Kraal, where he fought Lord Roberts for a whole day with 300 Band Police, this was his first defeat in a stand-up fight.

April 1-15.—A dozen small engagements at widely separated places, from Lydenburg in the northeast Transvaal to Aberdeen in Cape Colony, were reported during the past week. The Boers captured a large supply train near the Natal border; the British beat Commandants Malan and Fouche in a five hours' fight at Blaaukrantz, in Cape Colony; Scheepers was also engaged and forced north; while Commandant Fourie, in the southeast of the Free State, had a running fight of twenty miles with General Bruce Hamilton's column.

The most important movement at present reported from the seat of the war is, however, the progress of a British force, under the command of Colonel Plumer, in an advance north from Pretoria, by the Pietersburg line, towards Nylstroom. No effective resistance was offered by opposing Boer forces, and the towns and districts in that region were occupied by the enemy with very little opposition. Pietersburg had been the seat of Transvaal Government for several months, and the purpose of the Plumer column was to attack the place. This was successfully done; General Schalk Burger and the acting members of the Transvaal Executive retiring from the town further east into the Zoutpansberg regions, whither they were not pursued. Anticipating this movement on the part of the enemy, the Boer supplies of cattle, food, and ammunition in Nylstroom and Pietersburg had been transferred to secure locations long before the arrival of the English forces.

During the past fortnight the press agencies which had " captured " De Wet in attempting to recross the Orange River at the end of February, told the public that the general was known to be in the Senekal district, a little south of where he started from in his dash on Cape Colony in January. It appears, however, according to better informed sources, that he has been on the Natal border where he has held a conference with Commandant-General Botha.

A dozen attacks upon supply trains are reported from as many localities; most of them occurring in Cape Colony.

General French's columns are said to be devasting the entire Carolina, Ermelo, Bethel, and Piet Retief districts in the Transvaal.

A troop of 5th Lancers and Imperial Yeomanry were attacked early in the month and captured north of Aberdeen, Cape Colony, by Boer forces under Kritzinger after several hours' fighting.

Owing to the increasing number of surrenders made by British officers to Boer forces, an order was issued in this month by the War Office, warning all whom it might concern that officers who should raise the white flag in presence of the enemy would be tried by court-martial.

Commandants Kritzinger, Scheepers, Fouche, and Van Reenan are reported " as active " in the Cape Colony districts of Aberdeen, Murraysburg, and Middelburg, respectively.

A force of Yeomanry under Major De Burg was surrounded in a district of Cape Colony, not mentioned, by a body of Boers led by Commandant George Brand, a son of ex-President Brand of the Free State. To Brand's demand that the enemy should lay down their arms, De Burg replied, " No surrender." The Boer officer then addressed a courteous note to his opponent, saying enough of blood had been already shed, and that he gave him five minutes to decide whether more of his men were to be sacrificed. De Burg then surrendered.

About the same period, a body of Brabant's Horse were attacked and taken by Commandant Malan.

Commandant Groblaar sustained a defeat by General Dartnell's column in the Vryheid district of the Transvaal. Two hundred Boers are said to have surrendered. Probably most of them are non-combatants, as it would be otherwise reported had they been armed fighters.

A train of provisions was captured near Molteno, Cape Colony, at this date.

Reports likewise spoke of a " continued siege of Zeerust by the Boers." This place is in the Marico district of the West Transvaal, northeast from Mafeking, in the region where lieutenants of De la Rey's have operated against the enemy's columns since the fall of Pretoria.

The news agencies have again disposed of De Wet. Last week he was located, in the course of three days, in places three hundred miles apart. This week the correspondents who are " surrounding " him in this way announce that he is reported to be insane. 1 In the meantime Lord Kitchener has decided upon the building of chains of blockhouses, bullet-proof in construction, along the lines of his communications, for the better protection of the railways, and as impediments to De Wet's and other Boer mobility.

April 16-23.—Clearly Kitchener is tiring of the office of messenger of evil tidings.

News relating to the siege of Hoopstad says that 1,500 British troops were shut up there and isolated for over ninety days. There was not a word of any such siege sent by Lord Kitchener (for publication) to London, until the place had been relieved.

On the 16th Commandant Smuts was attacked and defeated near Klerksdorp by Colonel Rawlinson and a greatly superior force. Smuts lost a gun, 6 killed, and 30 prisoners.

At a meeting of representative Free State Boers, held at Boshof (supposed to be in the possession of the English), near Kimberley, I southwest of Hoopstad, on the 16th of April, Mr. Steyn was reelected President of the Orange Free State; his first term of five years having expired. At this time, and virtually since Hertzog and Brand led the invasion into Cape Colony in December, all the western and southwestern districts of the Free State have been in Boer hands. Hence the Presidential election at Boshof.

A messenger from General Louis Botha to President Kruger arrived in Holland on the 20th of April. He reported that State Secretary Reitz commissioned him to say that the Boers could maintain the struggle against England "comfortably, for two or three years more."

Three editors of Dutch papers in Cape Colony were tried by juries for "seditious language" and sent to prison. One of these, Mr. Cartwright, is of English nationality.

The, British column sent north towards Pietersburg to clear the country of Boers and cattle, was reported as being entirely Successful; large numbers of men and cattle were captured, and sent south to Pretoria. Information from Boer sources, however, states that the men thus taken were chiefly non-combatants, and that the " large numbers " were mainly composed of women and children. Behind Plumer's column a party of Boers swooped down upon and captured a patrol of Hussars near Nylstroom. While Plumer's column was operating northeast, in the manner previously related, Generals W. Kitchener and Douglas were cooperating with it, in a northwestern direction, from the Delagoa Bay railway; Doth movements having for object the clearing of the Lydenburg and Pieters-burg regions of cattle and of non-combatants.

Twenty-five men of the Prince of Wales' Light Horse were ambushed near Kroonstad, presumably by some of De Wet's burghers, about this time.

A patrol of the 9th Lancers were attacked and captured, but the locality of the mishap (in Cape Colony) was not reported.

The latest fighting in the Dordrecht district of the same Colony resulted in the Boers being compelled to retire.

General French, who had been despatched by Lord Kitchener on another " sweeping " expedition to the southeast of the Transvaal, was not heard from for weeks. Rumor said he had been, captured by General Botha, but the report was not true. He was engaged in forcing the Boers in that region to fall back eastward, again, towards Swaziland, and his efforts were credited with having "cleared the country of all its people and stock." This would be the fourth clearance of the series, counting General Buller's march eastward last June.

A train containing food and forage was held up by a Boer force at Molteno, south of Stormberg, in Cape Colony.

The Boxburg commando of 106 men is reported to have surrendered, voluntarily, at Middelburg, Transvaal.

April 24-30.—English reports from South Africa claim that there are 18,000 Boers now in the hands of the British, as prisoners. Fully 7,000 of these must be non-combatants and young boys.

On the 24th it was reported by the War Office that a British escort under Major Twyford, on its way from Belfast to Lydenburg, was ambushed. The escort probably protected a convoy, and both were captured; probably by some of Ben Viljoen's men, as this is the district he has recently had under his protection. The major was killed, and his men surrendered.

The month ends with more captures of Boers, including two commandants who are not, however, known to fame.

Despite the sweepings of cattle, sheep, women, and children made by the French, Dartnell, Plumer, and other officers, and heralded in the war press as important achievements, it is clear that the Boers have retaliated in attacks on trains, convoys, and escorts in Cape Colony, Natal, the Free State, and the Transvaal, in a very effective manner against the enemy during April.

In the " National Review " for May, 1901, an English military expert epitomized the progress made by the British armies in the conquest of the Orange Free State, up to the end of April, as follows:

"At present the Boers are in almost indisputable possession of all the Colony except the railway and the places on it. We have just abandoned Hoopstad, which we held since last June. Dewetsdorp has been for months a Boer center of supplies ; Philippolis, Fauresmith, Petrusburg, Luckoff, and probably Smithfield, Wepener, and Rouxville, are governed by Boer Landrosts."

This survey of the situation extended to the Transvaal and Cape Colony reveals a state of things equally discouraging for the British. During the month of April Lord Kitchener organized three great " sweeping " movements in the Transvaal; one, led by General French, to operate through the eastern districts; one, under Colonel Plumer, to clear the country northeast from Nylstroom and beyond Pietersburg where the Transvaal Executive, with stores and ammunition, were located; and another, cooperating with Plumer, working north by west from the Delagoa Bay line. These forces were the best at Kitchener's disposal, and were led by the ablest of his officers. Their marches, encounters, successful rushes, captures of men, ammunition, and cattle, etc., were trumpeted from day to day in the British press with the assurances of the news agencies that the Boers were dispirited by these exhibitions of Kitchener's strength and resources, and were on the point of giving up the fight.

By the end of the month the three columns were back again from where they had started, laden with large quantities of cattle and loot, and with numbers of Boer women and children, and other non-combatants. But, no sooner had the English columns left the localities into which they had marched, than the fighting Boers were found in or near the places they had occupied before the approach of the enemy, reduced comparatively few in number. The commandoes had held off from the superior strength of the columns, and avoided direct encounters, but harassed them on their way, hung on their rear and flanks, and then resumed their various districts again after the enemy were compelled to return to where the railways gave them the only hold they have upon the country.

The fact that the Eastern Transvaal is now to be raided again, this time by six columns, is the strongest proof of the failure of the previous " sweepings " by French and Smith-Dorrien, and of the movements anterior to these in which other generals figured. Botha was already, once again, at Ermelo, at the end of April.

In Cape Colony operations have taken a somewhat similar course. The various commandoes have held more or less to the districts in or near to which they penetrated three months ago. They have refused decisive engagements by breaking into small sections, when superior forces came near, and joined again in a neighboring locality when the enemy went back to the railway. Kritzinger has been the most active of the invading Commandants during the past month, and has scored in frequent skirmishes with patrols and escorts. Hertzog still remains in the northwestern regions, where he has a country almost as large as France to roam over, and from whence he can supply fresh horses to De Wet and J his men in the Free States.

May 1-7.—The month of May opens for Cape Colony with the item of news that " fighting is almost of daily occurrence."

It would appear from the latest accounts regarding the doings of General Babington's column round Klerksdorp, southwest of Johannesburg, that his victory over De la Rey on the 24th of April, at Kaffir Kraal, was greatly exaggerated in the press. On the 28th of the same month, "large Boer forces" were reported to be laagered at Haartebeestfontein, in the same locality, while on the 4th of May it was cabled that Babington had been " heavily engaged " with De la Rey. Language like this, in news from Pretoria to the English press, is frequently found, in the light of later accounts, to relate to occurrences which the Boers would not admit to be defeats for their side.

General Viljoen is reported to be at Ermelo with Botha, while the news agencies are again distributing De Wet over widely separated areas. His latest place of activity is said to be Harrismith, near the Natal border, where he is credited with having 4,000 men at his disposal.

May 8-31.—A new invading column, 800 strong, has entered Cape Colony, from the Free State, under Latigan, a native of Colesberg. They are believed to be reenforcements for Malan and Fouche, whose men are operating in the center districts of the Colony.

On the 10th of May, Commandant-General Botha addressed a letter to Lord Kitchener expressive of his desire to see the war brought to an end, and requesting to know whether the British Commander-in-Chief would facilitate the passage through the English lines of two messengers or deputies from Botha who would proceed to Europe to consult with President Kruger. Lord Kitchener replied in a few days, declining to do anything that would seem a recognition on his part of Mr. Kruger's status; saying he could only negotiate through Boer leaders in the field. He, however, intimated that he would ask the English Government to allow any message Botha might desire to send to Mr. Kruger to be forwarded direct. A message was sent in this manner, the terms of which have not been made public.

In due course, the following reply reached General Botha and Mr. Schalk Burger from Presidents Kruger and Steyn, and was circulated among the laagers in the two Republics:

" The Governments of the South African Republic and Orange Free State, with the advice of the said chief officers, and taking into consideration the satisfactory report of his Honor State President Kruger, and the deputation in the foreign country, and considering the good progress of our cause in the Colonies, where our brothers oppose the cruel injustice done to the Republics more and more in depriving them of their independence, considering further the invaluable personal and material sacrifices they have made for our cause, which would all be worthless and vain with a peace whereby the independence of the Republics is given up, and further considering the certainty that the losing of our independence after the destruction already done and losses suffered will drag with it the national and material annihilation [?] of the entire people, and especially considering the spirit of unbending persistence with which the great majority of our men, women, and children are still possessed, and in which we see with thankful acknowledgment the hand of the Almighty Protector, resolve, that no peace will be made and no peace conditions accepted by which our independence and national existence, or the interests of our Colonial brothers, shall be the price paid, and that the war will be vigorously prosecuted by taking all measures necessary for maintenance of independence and interests."

General De "Wet had issued a manifesto to the burghers in the Free State, in April, which anticipated the decision of the Federal Governments. The following is an extract:

" Brothers, do not let our belief and trust in the Lord be shaken. Many precious lives have already been sacrificed for the sake of our great cause; those lives call on us to go on. Let us not be depressed, but, like men, endure the worst, faithfully observe our duties to our country and nation, and humbly wait on the God of our fathers, who is still our God. He, at His good time, will give a joyful issue.

" Finally, I wish to observe that if I and our Government were so foolish as to accept the proposals of Lord Kitchener, I am convinced that the great majority of our people, if not all, who are now fighting, would not agree; for to accept those proposals means nothing less than the complete subjection of the Afrikander people, and the subjection of a people is more bitter than to think of the death of every single burgher."

On the 23rd, General Christian Botha was reported to be in the rear of one of the six new columns engaged in again clearing the Eastern Transvaal. He was following Colonel Stewart, who was moving towards General Blood's main body, east of Standerton. Commandant Swartz, of Colenso fame, with a number of Botha's men, seems to have gone ahead of Stewart, and to have been ambushed by superior forces advancing from Blood's position to meet Stewart. He was one of the best of the secondary Boer commanders in the field, and notably distinguished himself during the Tugela campaign. It was he and Commandant Joshua Joubert who held Langwani Hill against Buller's right wing, on the 15th of December, 1899. His loss is a serious one to Botha's commandoes.

Down in the Ventersdorp district, so often visited by General Babington, Commandant Liebenberg attacked and captured a British convoy, and killed and wounded over thirty of its escort on the 23rd.

On the 25th, Kritzinger's commando attacked and captured a British post near Maraisburg, Cape Colony. Forty men surrendered.

Zeerust, in the Marico region of the Western Transvaal, is once again reported to be "besieged by the Boers."

During this month the public have learned some interesting facts about sieges of places like Zeerust, which Lord Kitchener's huge forces are believed in England to be holding with ease against the Boers. The following letter appeared in the Shield's " Daily News " of the 12th inst. It refers to Hoopstad, a place mentioned several times already in this diary. It is in the northwest of the * Free State, close to. the Vaal River, and about seventy miles east of the Kimberley-Mafeking railway line.

" Corporal G. Donkin, of the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers, at present at the front, in a letter to his uncle, Detective-sergeant Cowe, South Shields, gives an interesting description of the siege of Hoopstad.

"We have been having a very hot time of it in Hoopstad," he writes. "We have been hemmed in by the Boers on all sides, and fighting every day. We couldn't get any communication with any place, as the wires were all cut between Brandfort and Bloemfontein. We tried to get native runners through, but every one we tried was captured.

" Lord Methuen was coming to relieve us, but when he got to the Vaal River it was flooded, and he couldn't cross at any of the drifts, so he had to make for Fourteen Streams, and come round to us, so that made a difference of another month to us, and, to make things worse, we were on half rations, with no tobacco.

" All the men were smoking hay and bits of sacking steeped in nicotine. Our horses had no food whatever, only what they could pick up on the veldt. Every man was in rags. Some had sacks on for trousers. We looked a fine mob when the column arrived on the 1st of April, with Lord Erroll in command, who gave the order that Hoopstad had to be evacuated. It was welcome news in one way to us, and not in another.

" We were glad to get away to get a bit of food and to be newly fitted out, but still it was hard after holding it so long, and fighting so hard, and also taking into account the men we had lost, to leave it with no troops in it. It was like giving the Boers the best of it."

For several months this garrison had held out, with never a word from Lord Kitchener about the plight to which it was reduced by Boers who were represented in the English press as being hunted, dispirited, and broken from one end of the Free State to the other. If Hoopstad only had a defender with the journalistic instincts of a Baden-Powell, the world would have heard something of its garrison during these two hundred and forty days. I have been unable to discover who the Boer officer was who commanded during this long siege. Dr. Baumann was Landrost of Hoopstad in April, 1900. He traveled with me from Kroonstad to a place midway between the two towns when I visited Colonel Villebois-Mareuil, at the end of March. He was not, however, at that time, a fighting Boer. Several of the leading burghers of Hoopstad, who were attached to General Cronje's command, surrendered at Paardeberg. Probably Generals Kolbe and Du Toit, who took part in the investment of Kimberley up to the raising of the siege of that place, will be found to be the men who gave the British in Hoopstad the lively time alluded to in the above letter.

A Parliamentary return relating to the farm-burning operations of the British army was issued during this month which, even on the admission of English authority, revealed the extent to which the British had deliberately violated the code of civilized warfare signed and agreed to by England at The Hague Conferences. Houses were burned, " because the owners were on commando," and for other reasons which should have secured their inviolability. The districts in which the Boers fought most stubbornly were those in which the " sweeping " columns that passed over them burned most homes. To the eternal disgrace of the officers concerned in the shameless vandalism of the act, the home of Christian De Wet was razed to the ground, as had been already the homes or farms of Generals Philip and Louis Botha, and of scores of other Boer Commandants. No officers of any civilized nation would have treated in this manner the homes of brave Christian foemen. Despicable in every light tho the action is, it is only in accord with the traditions of the British army, whether fighting in America, Ireland, or India. No consideration of honor or of chivalry can ever be credited to the soldiery of England when the foe they are in the field against is one too weak or unwilling to resort to retaliation.

A total of 630 farms are admitted to have been thus burned, but this is obviously a number far below the extent of the actual destruction carried out. The British will be found to have devastated all the districts in the Transvaal and Free State through which their forces have passed. Soldiers, in their private letters to England, have boasted of this, and many correspondents have borne testimony, so early as August of last year, to the burning of farms and villages which was being carried out by the English troops on their lines of march at that time.

So thoroughly did the British perform their house-burning work, and so ruthlessly did they compel Boer women and children to enter the concentration camps, that Mrs. Maxwell (an American), wife of General Maxwell, the English Military Governor of Johannesburg, wrote a public appeal during this month to the friends of the Boers in the United States, in behalf of 22,000 Boer women and children, who were taken from their homes by the English and imprisoned in these enclosures. She described the women as being in " a wretched condition," both as to dress, food, and sleeping accommodation.

Just three years ago similar barbarous deeds were about to cause a war. Their perpetration elicited the following historic indictment:

" The efforts of Spain to suppress the insurrection have been increased by the addition to the horrors of the strife of a new and inhuman phase, happily unprecedented in the modern history of a civilized people. The peasantry, including all dwelling in the open agricultural interior, were driven into the garrison towns or isolated places held by the troops. The raising and movement of provisions were interdicted, fields were laid waste, dwellings unroofed and fired, and mills destroyed. . . . The agricultural population . . . was herded within the towns and their immediate vicinage, deprived of means of support, rendered destitute of shelter, left poorly clad, and exposed to most insanitary conditions. . . . From month to month the death rate increased to an alarming ratio. . . . The reconcentration, adopted avowedly as a war measure to cut off the resources of the insurgents, worked its predestined result. It was extermination. The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave. ... A long trial has proved that the object for which Spain has waged the war cannot be attained. The fire of insurrection may flame or may smolder with varying seasons, but it has been and it is plain that it cannot be extinguished by the present methods. ... In the name of humanity, in the name of civilization . . . the war in Cuba must stop."—President McKinley's Message to Congress, April, 1898.

There was one horror, however, which General Weyler did not resort to in the methods of warfare which brought upon Spain the retribution that deprived her of Cuba and the Philippines. The Spanish general did not arm savages against the Cubans, or employ them in his plan of campaign as auxiliaries, as Lords Roberts and Kitchener have done.

On the 18th of May, the following despatch was published in the London press:

" Durban, May 17, 1901.

" Mr. Brunner, member of the Natal Legislative Assembly for the Eshowo District, writes as follows to the Natal ' Mercury':

"' Steps have been taken, with the cognizance of the highest military authorities in the country, to let loose the natives upon their already demoralized enemy, permission being given to them to loot and plunder.

" ' The natives of Zululand have been instructed by the military officers to arm and invade the Vryheid districts. Thousands of head of Boer cattle were brought in and handed over to Colonel Bottomley, and the Zulus were allowed 10 per cent, of all the plunder.

"' As a result of this action the Dinizulu and Zsibepu tribes are again on the war-path.'

" Mr. Brunner also publishes a telegram of protest sent to the Premier of Natal, and what is stated to be the latter's reply, to the effect that he had sent protest after protest to the military authorities, but that he believed that Colonel Bottomley had greatly exceeded the instructions given in the original order.— Reuter."

As repeatedly shown in this volume, facts accumulate in the progress of the war proving that the employment of savages has been continuous and systematic by the British from the commencement; as armed scouts, for the defense of garrisons, for cattle raiding, and for other military purposes. And this, too, in face of the solemn undertaking, given in the House of Commons by Mr. Balfour on the eve of the war, that no colored auxiliaries—not even Indian native troops—would be employed by the British during hostilities. And, when these armed Kaffirs are caught looting and acting as armed scouts and spies, and shot in consequence by the Boers, the English who have so armed these savages accuse the Boers of " murdering natives "!

A battle was fought at Vlakfontein between General Kemp of De la Rey's commandoes, and the enemy's troops under General Dixon on the 29th of May, and is reported on the 1st of June. Vlakfontein is in the Lichtenburg country, south of De la Rey's birthplace. De la Rey, according to the reports of the enemy, had suffered a severe defeat at the hands of General Babington in the latter end of March, when he lost the whole of his artillery. His chief lieutenant's attack on Dixon's troops was therefore a double surprise. Dixon's force consisted of 1,500 men, with seven guns. The British were returning to camp after burning burgher farms, when Kemp and his men rushed the rear-guard of the English column, and captured two guns. The Derbyshire Regiment and some Yeomanry were in charge of these guns. They gave way before the rush of the Boers; that is, the Yeomen did. The remainder of Dixon's force wheeled back and engaged their assailants when, according to Lord Kitchener, these were driven off. The official British losses are given as 6 officers and 51 men killed; 6 officers and 115 men wounded; and 1 officer and 7 men missing. Four more men died later of their wounds. Kemp's reputed loss, according to Kitchener, was 41 Boers killed. Lord Kitchener estimates Kemp's attacking force at 1,200. No English report ever reduces the numbers engaged on the Boer side. The tendency always is to exaggerate those which attack.

The usual calumnies against the Boers when they succeed in inflicting a " mishap " on their enemies, were repeated by the Jingo press on the authority of Lord Kitchener's " rumors" that some of the British wounded had been killed by their victors at Vlakfontein. One sensational story alleged that surrendered gunners were shot for refusing to "instruct" their Boer captors how to use the guns which Kemp's men had taken. The patent absurdity of this story was its best refutation. It was found, however, that when Brigadier-General Dixon's official report of the disaster was published by the War Office there was no reference whatever to the alleged ill-usage of wounded by the burghers.

It would appear that the temporarily captured guns had been in the charge of some Yeomen in Dixon's command, and that these troops had not, to put it mildly, exhibited a fight-to-a-finish disposition in the encounter. The libels upon the Boers naturally emanated from those who had been whipped by them.

The following unbiased testimony disposes of these calumnies once again, and does honor to those other English soldiers who can manfully do justice to their foes:

The London " Standard," July 12,1901, published a letter dated July 11, signed " Without Prejudice," in which the writer said:

" On' reading the terrible accounts of the ill-treatment of the wounded at Vlakfontein, I feel impelled to send you some extracts from a letter written by my son, a Yeoman, who was wounded \n that engagement."

Not a word in the wounded Yeoman's account of the battle related to outrages by Boers. On the contrary he declared that " The Dutchmen were very decent in their behavior."

On the 12th of July, 1901, the Belper " News" published a letter from Private Victor Booth, 1st Devonshire Regiment, from Naauwpoort Nek, in which he told the story of the Vlakfontein fight. He charged the Yeomen " with not fighting like men.' They ran away from the guns." His only references to the wounded being injured were in these words:

" A good many of the wounded were awful burnt, as the enemy set fire to the veldt. We had to get away the best we could in the night, and had to march twenty miles, as the enemy were too strong for us."

The veldt was fired by the Boers for the purposes of their attack during the battle.

Another account of the same engagement was given in a letter written by Private S. Davey, 1st Battalion Sherwood Fusiliers, also written from Naauwpoort Nek, and published in the Rushcliffe Advertiser " on the 12th of July, 1901. He, too, relates how the Yeomen " retired," leaving two guns within 500 yards of the Boers. He gives a spirited account of the gallant efforts made to retake the guns, and how dozens of men were shot down in the attempt; eighty-nine of his regiment being killed and wounded before the cannon were recovered. He made no allusion whatever to any ill-treatment of the wounded by the Boers.

Writing to the " Daily News," Mr. Patrick McCue, Poor Law Guardian, Sunderland, quoted a letter from his son, a private in the Derbyshire Regiment, in which he said (referring to Vlakfontein):

" The Boers behaved like men, never shooting when they could take prisoners, and even apologized because they had to take our rifles and ammunition."

Private McCue added the illuminating comment upon the foul charges made by the "retiring" Yeomen against their foes, that " we captured thirty of the enemy. One had explosive ammunition and was accordingly shot."

June 1-8.—It was reported that three engagements between small bodies of combatants had occurred in Cape Colony. Near Dordrecht, close to the Orange River, a detachment of Yeomanry was captured and subsequently released.

General Ben Viljoen attacked a convoy escorted by 1,000 troops and two guns, and fought a running combat for two days with them, pursuing them close to Standerton, on the Pretoria-Natal line. The English reports speak of the determined character of the Boer attack; Viljoen's men riding to within fifty yards of the guns in attempts to capture them. This, it may be added, took place in the district over which six columns set out, early last month, " to sweep " off human beings and food, for the fifth time.

News of the relief of Zeerust was published at this time. Lord Methuen's forces had forced the Boers to raise the siege, which had continued " for months." No information about the plight of the garrison had been given to the public before the announcement of Methuen's arrival before the town.

Lord Kitchener reported that Jamestown, Cape Colony, had surrendered to Kritzinger's commando on the morning of the 2nd of June, after four hours' fighting. The garrison were subsequently released.

Tidings of a " dashing British victory " was published the same time in the London press. Four hundred Boers, under Commandant Beyers, were attacked by 240 British, under Colonel Wilson at Warmbaths, in the Transvaal. The report related details as follows:

" Colonel Wilson, commanding the 2nd Kitchener's Scouts, hearing that Commandant Beyers had sent an advance commando north in charge of all his supplies preparatory to his retirement with his main force, made a wide turning movement, and came within sight of the Boers thirty-four miles west of Warmbaths. The Boers were outspanning and were unconscious of the vicinity of the British troops. Colonel Wilson attacked at daybreak. We captured 8,000 cattle, and 18 wagons. All the supplies which could not be taken away were burned.

" After the Boers fled, the main commando was sighted, and the British retired, getting away with all their captures, in spite of attempts to retake them. The prisoners taken numbered, including a few native followers, one hundred. The Boers abandoned their ambulance in their flight. As the result of this engagement, Commandant Beyers has been left practically without transport and supplies.—Reuter."

Cabled to by the Secretary for War for a confirmation of this brilliant performance, Lord Kitchener replied as follows:

" Lord Kitchener, in reply to a telegram from the Secretary of State for War respecting the alleged surprise of General Beyers' commando, states that the report is without foundation."

On the 6th, De Wet was reported as being attacked while with a large convoy, near Reitz, in the northeast of the Free State. General Elliot, in command of one of General Bundle's "sweeping" columns, came up with the Chief Commandant and engaged him. The fight was a stubborn one, and resulted, according to the enemy's reports, in the capture of the convoy, and in the killing of seventeen, and the wounding of three Boers—an incongruous list of casualties; the English acknowledging a loss of 20 killed and of 24 wounded.

A few days later, a report came from Berlin that the encounter was, in reality, a victory for De Wet. The account being as follows:

" De Wet made a successful attack on the morning of the 6th of June on Elliot's Brigade between Lindley and Reitz, and forced Elliot back to Lindley. The English losses were 4 officers and 26 men killed; 5 officers and 53 men wounded, some prisoners, transport wagons, and a large number of cattle."

Fighting near Jacobsdal, west of the Free State, and several other minor engagements are reported between the 3rd and the 7th inst.

One report locates Judge Hertzog and George Brand at Petrusburg, where they are said to have been " peacefully occupied for two months." Petrusburg is midway on the road from Bloemfontein to Kimberley, and too near the large British garrisons of these two cities to lend credence to the truth of this report. Petrusville, in the northwest of Cape Colony, is probably the resting-place of the two Commandants and their forces.

I have learned from a German source an account of a remarkable encounter which occurred near Heilbron, in De Wet's country, on the 7th inst. A son of General Philip Botha's, probably Charles, in company with eleven other Boers were patrolling with a pompom, which was in charge of Lieutenant Strydum. They came in sight of a British column—one of four engaged under General

Bundle in sweeping the northeast of the Free State at the time. It was estimated to be 3,000 strong, and had six light guns. Botha and Strydum took up position on a ridge, and began an attack on the column, at 5,000 yards' range; Strydum running his pom-pom from one position to another, under cover of the ridge, and creating thereby the impression that the Boers had the service of two guns. The dozen burghers held the British column for four hours, killed some of the enemy, and then wheeled off with men and gun unscathed.

June 8-15.—Reuter's correspondent at Johannesburg has cabled an apology to the press on the 10th for having published the report which charged the Boers of General Kemp's commando with shooting British wounded at the battle of Vlakfontein.

The British surprised two Boer laagers in Cape Colony, and captured 42 prisoners, and 15,000 rounds of ammunition. Localities not specified in the reports.

Lord Kitchener cabled on June 15 as follows:

" Near Welmansrust, twenty miles south of Middelburg (ninety miles east of Pretoria), 250 Mounted Victorian Eifles, of General Beaston's column, were surprised in camp by a superior force of Boers at 7.30 p.m. on the 12th of June. The enemy crept up to within a short range and poured a deadly fire into the camp, killing 2 officers and 16 men, and wounding 4 officers and 38 men. Only 2 officers and 50 men escaped to General Beatson's camp. The remainder were taken prisoner and released. Two pom-poms were captured by the enemy."

These Boers would be Viljoen men.

Murraysburg, in the very center of Cape Colony, was captured and occupied by a force of Kritzinger's commando on the 13th.

June 16-30.—A body of Colonial Mounted Rifles were out in the Craddock region of Cape Colony in search of Commandant Malan. Kritzinger was in search of the pursuers, came up with them while they were off-saddled, attacked them, and made the survivors prisoners, after a two hours' fight. Fourteen British were killed and wounded; 66 being captured and then released.

A fight which lasted for twelve hours has taken place at Richmond in Cape Colony. The town was held by a force of the North Staffordshire Militia, under Captain Hawkshaw, and was attacked by Commandant Malan. After a prolonged combat the Boers withdrew, on learning of the approach of British reenforcements.

It has been reported that fully 6,000 young Dutchmen of Cape Colony, farmers' sons, had joined the invading Boer forces since Hertzog, Malan, Kritzinger, Scheepers, Brand, and other Commandants had carried the war again across the Orange River.

Near the end of the month news agencies represented General Botha as falling back before the (fifth) " sweeping " movement of the British, in the southeastern Transvaal; adding that " his surrender is hourly expected."