[Footnote 159: See maps Nos. 9 and 11.]
[Sidenote: Boers gather at Graspan. Nov. 23rd/99.]
Eleven miles north of Belmont station the road and railway leading to Kimberley enter a network of kopjes, which dominate the line until the plain through which the Modder river flows is reached. These rough outcrops of rock and boulders from the plains of the open veld have been arranged by nature in clusters of small hills, the most southern group being so shaped as to form a natural redoubt astride of the railway, midway between Graspan and Enslin, thus barring any advance from the south along the line. The larger portion of the Boer force, defeated at Belmont, had fallen back under Prinsloo, on the 23rd of November, across the Free State border to Ramdam, about 13 miles east of Enslin station. De la Rey, however, whose commando had taken but little part in that action, halted his men at Graspan, and occupied the excellent position which this redoubt offered for a further stand. That same evening the Transvaal General sent an urgent despatch to his Free State colleague, imploring him to return to the railway line, and in compliance with this request Prinsloo on the following day left Commandant T. van der Merwe with 800 men at Ramdam, and moved to Graspan with the rest of his men. On the arrival of the Free State commandos at Graspan, a Krijgsraad assembled, and decided to remain on the defensive for the next twenty-four hours, after which period, if no forward move were made by the British troops, the two republican leaders would themselves assume the offensive.
[Sidenote: Character of position.]
The natural redoubt, which the Boer leaders had thus determined to hold, rises abruptly from the level, and commands the approaches across the veld on the south, east and west; the even surface of the plain, the sandy soil of which was barely concealed by dry tufts of coarse grass, presented not an inch of cover, save for a few ant-mounds dotted about here and there: their hard sun-baked walls afford good protection from bullets for a skirmisher lying close behind them. The kopjes are so grouped as to facilitate the reinforcement of either the front face or the flanks from a centrally placed body. They overlook, moreover, the only water available in the vicinity, a few muddy pans and wells within the hills to the rear. The southern face of the stronghold, tracing it from west to east, has a length of about a mile. The flanks of this face are very definitely marked by two razor-backed kopjes, the one on the east and the other on the west, rising some 150 feet above the surrounding ground; both these kopjes run approximately from the south to the north. In the centre of the southern face lies a third kopje, oval in shape, 200 yards in length and 30 feet higher than the flank hillocks with which it is connected by re-entrant ridges.
[Sidenote: Its one weakness.]
The left flank mentioned above consists mainly of that eastern razor-backed kopje already referred to, which runs northward for a distance of some 1,200 yards, its crest line broken by a series of small knolls. Further north on this flank are one or two smaller kopjes, then a mile of valley, on the far side of which, nestling under another cluster of hills, lie the Rooilaagte homestead and a Kaffir kraal. On the right flank in like manner the western razor-back is similarly continued in a northerly direction by two other small kopjes, the more northern of which is situated on the west side of the railway. A Nek of land connects this kopje with the apex of a triangular patch of broken ground, stretching several miles northward, with its eastern side at right angles to the railway. Yet further north, beyond the base or northern side of this third cluster of hills, a valley some two miles broad runs from the railway on the east to the open veld on the west, and thus completely separates the quadrilateral redoubt, the Rooilaagte, and the triangular clusters of hills already described, from a fourth group termed Honey Nest Kloof Kopjes, which stretch northward to the Modder valley. Strong, therefore, although this whole position, or rather series of positions, was on the front and flanks, it will be understood that if the valley in rear could be seized by a sufficient mounted force, while the front and flanks were threatened by infantry and guns, the defenders would be cut off from their line of retreat, and their safety seriously imperilled.
[Footnote 160: Only the southern groups of kopjes are shown on map No. 11.]
[Sidenote: 23rd & 24th Nov. Preparation for advance.]
On the afternoon and night of 23rd of November Lord Methuen's division rested at Belmont. The forenoon of the 24th of November was spent in preparing for another march, supplies of ammunition being replenished by railway from Orange River station. Meanwhile an armoured train, escorted by the mounted company of the Loyal North Lancashire, had been despatched up the line to reconnoitre, and came under artillery fire from the Boers on Graspan. Its escort pushed on, the foremost scouts riding up to within fifty yards of the kopjes, and ascertaining, although with the loss of an officer (Lieutenant Owen-Lewis, I.S.C.) and two men, that these hills were held by a Boer force of about 400 to 500 men, with two guns. The mounted infantry, together with the train, then returned to Belmont.
[Sidenote: Forward to Swinkpan. Nov. 24th.]
On receipt of their report at 2.30 p.m. the General Officer commanding the division ordered the 9th Lancers and the whole of the mounted infantry to move forward, covering the front for three miles on each side of the railway, and further reconnoitring the enemy's position. Under cover of this reconnaissance, the rest of the division were directed to march at once to Swinkpan, so that they might be within easy striking distance of Graspan on the following morning. Intelligence, however, having reached the British commander that a party of Boers, stated to be 500 strong, were on his right flank, the Scots Guards and the two companies of Royal Munster Fusiliers, together with the Naval guns, remained at Belmont to protect the railway and the rear of the column, but were ordered to march to Enslin the next day.
[Sidenote: Swinkpan lacks water.]
[Sidenote: Methuen's intentions.]
This information as to the enemy and an unfounded rumour of a Boer movement to the westward somewhat delayed the start of the whole division; the troops, therefore, did not reach Swinkpan until after dark. On arrival barely sufficient water was found in the pan for the men, and none could be spared for the battery horses, a hardship which told against them severely in the fight of the morrow. The cavalry reconnaissance, which Lord Methuen personally accompanied, tended to confirm the original report that the strength of the Boer force holding the position did not exceed five hundred men. He considered, therefore, that on the following day he would be able to shell the enemy out of the kopjes, and hoped that by despatching his cavalry and mounted infantry well forward on both flanks he might have the good fortune to capture the entire detachment.
[Sidenote: Advance on Graspan. Nov. 25/99, 3.30 a.m.]
With this design the mounted troops, the Field artillery, and the 9th brigade under command of Lieut.-Col. Money, marched from Swinkpan bivouac on Graspan at 3.30 a.m. on the 25th of November, the Guards' brigade, under Major-General Sir H. Colvile, following in rear with the baggage train at an interval of more than an hour. The Naval guns at Belmont, mounted on goods trucks, simultaneously moved forward up the line with the armoured train, followed by the Railway Troops, viz., the 8th, 11th and 31st companies of the Royal engineers. The 1st Scots Guards and two companies Munster Fusiliers went by road as rearguard.
To the 9th brigade had been attached this day a small Naval battalion, commanded by Captain Prothero, R.N., consisting of a company of bluejackets, one company of Royal Marine artillery, and two companies of Royal Marine Light Infantry, the total strength of the battalion being about 240 men. Besides this unit the brigade comprised the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, 2nd Northamptonshire regiment, 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and a half-battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire.
[Sidenote: Metheun tries to intercept Boer retreat.]
[Sidenote: 6.15 a.m. 18th and 75th batteries open fire.]
In conformity with his plan of action Lord Methuen directed Colonel B. Gough to pass beyond the enemy's position on the east with two squadrons of the 9th Lancers, one company of mounted infantry, and Rimington's Guides; to pass beyond it on the west he likewise sent Major Milton with the third squadron of the 9th Lancers, the mounted company of the Northumberland Fusiliers, the mounted half company of the Yorkshire Light Infantry, and a detachment (thirty strong) of the New South Wales Lancers. The batteries (18th and 75th) moved at first with the main body of the 9th brigade, the Northumberland Fusiliers furnishing the advance guard, but, when the sun rose at 5 a.m. and the Boer position was approached, the guns were ordered forward and came into action about 6.15 a.m. against the kopjes held by the enemy east of the railway. The 75th on the left engaged in a duel with the Boer guns, but owing to the careful concealment of the latter was unable to produce much effect; the 18th on the right, at a range of 2,200 yards, searched carefully with shrapnel the sangars on the kopjes. The four companies of the Loyal North Lancashire were detailed as an escort to this battery, two of them lying down close to the guns, the other two being in support some distance in rear. The 75th battery at first lacked an escort, but later on a half-battalion of the Northamptonshire was sent to it, and remained near the railway until the end of the day.
[Sidenote: Naval guns and field batteries shell the hills to drive out Boers.]
Meanwhile the remainder of the 9th brigade halted out of the enemy's range midway between the two batteries, with a half-battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers extended in front. The armoured train and the Naval guns, four 12-prs., commanded by Lieut. F. W. Dean, R.N., arrived in sight of the Boer position a little before 6 a.m., accompanied by the Royal engineer companies, who were in a repair train in rear. The leading train halted at Graspan station, from whence by means of field-glasses a large number of Boers could be seen standing on the crests of the kopjes commanding the line. Almost immediately a puff of smoke appeared on the ridge a little to the east of the railway, and a shell whistled over the train, bursting some 200 yards beyond. Lieutenant Dean at once detrained two guns (the strength of his party being insufficient to man-handle more than two in the soft ground), and with them ranged on the crest line, finding the distance to be about 5,000 yards. The trains were then sent back about half a mile, leaving, however, a trolly with ammunition. The Naval guns, in conjunction with the field batteries, which had now come up, continued to shell the Boer guns, and by 6.30 a.m. these for a time ceased fire.
[Sidenote: Boers, reinforced, are stronger than expected.]
The estimate of the enemy's strength made by the reconnaissance of the 24th was not inaccurate, but the fact was that the situation had been entirely changed by the arrival of Prinsloo with large reinforcements later on that afternoon. The exact numbers of the Boers engaged in this fight are, as in other cases, difficult to state with any precision, but they were probably not less than about 2,300 men, with three Krupp guns and two pom-poms. This force was disposed as follows:--General De la Rey's commando of Transvaalers, consisting of 700 men and two Krupp guns, held the northern end of the kopjes on the western flank, and was therefore on the north-western side of the railway. Next on the western central kopje to the south-east of the railway came the Winburg commando, about 250 with a Krupp gun, under Commandant Jourdaan. These three Krupp guns were, however, controlled by Major Albrecht, the officer commanding the Free State artillery. The long kopje, at the southern end of which the western meets the southern face, was held by the Bloemfontein commando, 500 strong, under General J. Prinsloo. East of him, in the centre of the front face, was placed the Jacobsdal commando, 300 strong, under Commandant Lubbe. The eastern razor-backed kopje, which formed the left flank and part of the frontal defence, was assigned to detachments of the Bloemfontein, Hoopstad, and Fauresmith commandos under Commandants P. Fourie and H. van der Venter. Two pom-poms were mounted on this side of the defences. It will be seen from map 11 that the Graspan ground differed in a marked way from the majority of the positions selected by the Boers, being salient instead of re-entrant. It did not, therefore, lend itself readily to the adoption of those enveloping tactics which their forefathers learnt originally from the Zulus. Prinsloo sought to remedy this defect by ordering up from Ramdam a detachment to menace the eastern flank of the British advance.
[Sidenote: Boer strength involves attack instead of mere shelling.]
It was now seen that the enemy available for the defence of the main position was too strong to be driven out there from by a brief artillery bombardment, and it soon became clear to the British Commander that an attack in due form had become necessary. Lord Methuen determined, therefore, to direct the 9th brigade to go forward and carry the kopjes. The artillery was to prepare the way for attack at closer range, while the Guards' brigade was ordered to come up in support and to hold the right flank, the presence of the Ramdam detachment to the south-east having already been discovered by the mounted troops.
[Sidenote: 7.15 a.m. 18th battery prepares for infantry attack on south-east. One section (two guns) against eastern face.]
[Sidenote: 2 companies L.N.L., halted before eastern kopje, await 9th brigade.]
These orders were issued at about 7 a.m. The 18th battery started off eastward, and a quarter of an hour later came into action under infantry fire at a range of 1,425 yards against the southern end of the long eastern kopje. Lord Methuen had already chosen that kopje as the main object of the infantry attack. A section of the battery was a little later moved round yet further east to search with shrapnel the eastern face. Although all the guns of the 18th battery were thus for a considerable period in action within long-range rifle fire of the enemy, it did not suffer a single casualty during the whole engagement. Two companies of the Loyal North Lancashire regiment followed the battery, and continued to act as escort; the other two companies of that half-battalion under Major Churchward were ordered personally by Lord Methuen to move forward, the right company against the eastern kopje, and the left against the central kopje of the southern face. But, soon after they had started to do this, they were instructed by a subsequent order to halt and await the arrival of the rest of the brigade.
[Sidenote: Northumberland Fusiliers leads 9th brigade.]
Five companies of the Northumberland Fusiliers, which was still leading the 9th brigade, were ordered to protect the left of the attack and remained lying down 2,000 yards from the enemy, where the half-battalion as advance guard had been originally halted. Two of the remaining companies were directed to reinforce the escort of the guns (Naval and 75th battery) on the left flank, and the other one moved to the right to support the 18th battery.
[Footnote 161: See p. 233, 2nd par.]
[Sidenote: 75th battery and Naval guns join in.]
The 75th battery advanced at the same time parallel to the line. It was accompanied by the two Naval 12-prs., and took up two successive positions 4,000 and 2,300 yards from the enemy's guns, which now re-opened fire. The Naval guns during these movements were dragged forward by the seamen, assisted by sappers lent from the Royal engineer companies. The fire of the enemy at the British as they came into action at the nearer range was accurate. The Naval guns, nevertheless, remained in action until the conclusion of the day. When, a little later, the 75th battery was moved to the eastward, Lieut. Dean held his ground. By making his men lie down as each flash at the enemy's battery was seen, he was able to save them from any heavy casualties. The effect of the British on the Boer artillery was also very slight, the enemy's casualties being limited to one gunner wounded and three horses killed.
[Sidenote: Advance of Guards.]
The Guards' brigade, in its march from Swinkpan, had been drawn to the north-west by the sound of the guns and had moved in extended lines in that direction, until the left company of its leading battalion, the 3rd Grenadier Guards, crossed the railway close to the spot where the Naval guns were stationed; but at this moment Lord Methuen's order to march to the south-east to protect the right rear of the main attack reached the Brigadier by heliograph. In compliance with this instruction Sir H. Colvile turned about the 3rd Grenadier Guards and 2nd Coldstream Guards, and moved them to the other flank; throughout this movement from left to right behind the 9th brigade, the two battalions were in extended order and beyond the range of the enemy. The 1st Coldstream Guards were still protecting the transport column; the 1st Scots Guards, which came up from Belmont, were also held back on the left, under the immediate orders of the Lieut.-General, and acted as a divisional reserve. Lord Methuen's preliminary dispositions, therefore, of the troops not actually employed in the assault, included the use of six field guns, two Naval guns, seven companies Northumberland Fusiliers, four companies Northamptonshire, and three companies Royal engineers, in facing the enemy's right and centre; two battalions of the Guards watched the right flank, in support of the main attack, and the other two battalions were available as a final reserve.
[Sidenote: 9th Brigade prepare to attack eastern kopje.]
Meanwhile the units of the 9th brigade, intended to deliver the assault, had extended in front of the centre of the position. The Brigadier was, however, then instructed by Lord Methuen that he was to act against the eastern kopje, and a little later was further informed that the attack should also overlap its eastern face. Lieut.-Colonel Money accordingly moved his brigade to the right in extended order, and thus brought it to a point from whence a direct stroke could be made at the assigned object. There the brigade halted for a moment; the Naval battalion was immediately facing the eastern kopje and now slightly in advance of the other units. The latter had somewhat intermingled during the movement to the flank, with the result that two companies of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and one company of the Northampton were on the left of the Naval contingent, the remaining six companies of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and three of the Northampton being on its right. These preparations for the attack occupied nearly two hours, and were not completed until 9 a.m. The situation at this hour is shown on map No. 11. Meanwhile, an hour earlier, the 75th battery had by Lord Methuen's order been brought over from the western flank and co-operated with the 18th in shelling the eastern kopje. All being now ready for the attempt, the order to move was given by the Lieut.-General in person, and the Naval battalion pushed on to a level with the two companies of the Loyal North Lancashire regiment extended in their front. Accompanied by these on the left flank, and supported by the three Yorkshire Light Infantry and Northamptonshire companies on that side, the Naval contingent steadily and rapidly pressed on against the eastern kopje. The sailors and marines had originally been extended to four paces, but had somewhat closed in during the manoeuvring which preceded the attack. The enemy remained silent until the assailants approached to within 1,000 yards, but then began to pour in a rapid and effective fire from the kopje attacked, and the ridge to the westward. At 600 yards the British line halted to return this, and then from that point onward advanced by rushes of from 50 to 100 yards at a time, the left company of the Loyal North Lancashire, supported by the companies of King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, moving on the centre kopje, and the Naval brigade with the other North Lancashire company, under the command of Lt. A. J. Carter, still leading towards the eastern kopje with the Northamptonshire company in support. The enemy's fire meanwhile increased in intensity, and both officers and men were falling fast on the British side. The last 200 yards to the foot of the hill were therefore traversed in a single rush. At the base of the kopjes a certain amount of dead ground allowed of a short breathing space, during which a consultation between the company officers left in command took place. They determined to scale the hill and ordered the men to fix bayonets.
[Footnote 162: See p. 235, par. 2. The brigade, to the front of which the Naval battalion had passed during the flank movement, was now advancing to support these two companies in the attack.]
[Sidenote: Losses of attackers on south front.]
The Naval contingent had already suffered heavily. Captain R. C. Prothero, R.N., was wounded; Commander A. P. Ethelston, R.N., Major J. H. Plumbe, R.M.L.I., and Captain Guy Senior, R.M.A., had been killed; the command of the battalion thus devolving on Captain A. E. Marchant, R.M.L.I. The two companies of the North Lancashire, more fortunate, owing to their wide extension and their use of such cover as the ant-hills afforded, reached the base of the kopjes with considerably less loss than the Naval battalion.
[Footnote 163: The officers of the Naval brigade wore the same headgear as their men, and, except Captain Prothero and Midshipman Wardle, all carried rifles.]
[Sidenote: Preparations for attack on east front.]
While this advance against the southern face of the kopje was being executed, the six companies of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and the three remaining companies of the Northamptonshire regiment, had gradually worked round the enemy's left flank. The two pom-poms posted on this side proved troublesome, although endeavours were made to reach them by the two guns of the 18th battery and by long-range rifle-fire. The Yorkshire Light Infantry were being carefully manoeuvred in successive lines extended at ten paces interval, and having pivoted on the left flank, succeeded, notwithstanding the pom-poms and a heavy rifle-fire, in crossing the open plain to the foot of the eastern face of the kopje with only moderate losses. The Northampton supported this attack on the right, the two companies of the Loyal North Lancashire, which formed the original escort of the 18th battery, joining in on the left.
[Footnote 164: See p. 235, par. 2.]
[Footnote 165: The K.O.Y.L.I. throughout the day lost only 7 men killed, 3 officers and 34 men wounded, and 4 men missing.]
[Sidenote: The assault, 9.30 a.m. Nov. 25th, carries the eastern kopje.]
The moment had now come for the assault. Under cover of a final artillery preparation the bluejackets, marines, and North Lancashire men began to climb the boulders which covered the front face of the kopjes. A third of the way up a momentary halt again became necessary, as the British shells were bursting just in front of the assaulting line. Then the Royal artillery ceased fire and the assailants, having been joined by their Brigadier, Lieut.-Col. Money, and the supporting Northamptonshire and Yorkshire companies, eagerly dashed on up to the crest. The eastern face of the position was carried at the same time. The enemy had no desire to await this final onslaught and had already retired to the broken ground further to the north. If the times were correctly recorded, the advance and capture of this kopje did not take more than half an hour, the final assault having been delivered at 9.30 a.m.
[Sidenote: The Boers retreat.]
The commando on the Boer right had had but little share in this fight, being held in check by the force on the British left detailed expressly for that purpose. The loss of the razor-backed kopje rendered the whole position untenable; De la Rey and Prinsloo therefore fell back with their men northwards, pursued by long-range volleys from the British infantry. As soon as he was informed that the infantry had made good the crest line, Lieut.-Col. Hall, commanding the Royal artillery, pushed on with both the field batteries to the ridge between the central and eastern kopjes, but the enemy had by this time retreated too far for the fire of the British guns to be effective. The batteries then were taken to water, of which the animals were in dire need.
[Sidenote: The attempt to cut off the fugitives.]
Meantime the two bodies of mounted troops, which, according to Lord Methuen's scheme, were to seize ground in the path of the now retreating Boers, had set out on their mission.
[Sidenote: The western march.]
Major Milton, in the early morning, had led his small force of one squadron and one and a half companies of mounted infantry by a circuitous march well to the westward of the railway and thence northward until he reached that previously described valley which separates the three southern clusters of hills from Honey Nest Kloof Kopjes. On a sugar loaf hill at its entrance he left an observation piquet and, extending the Northumberland Fusiliers company very widely, with instructions to hold its southern side, he pushed up the valley eastward with the remainder (amounting now to less than two hundred men) and reached Honey Nest Kloof station. This small detachment had thus ridden completely across the Boer line of retreat, and was now six miles in rear of their captured position. Moving further to the east, Milton observed, in the plains beyond the distant end of the valley, the two squadrons under Colonel Gough, but failed in an attempt to attract their attention by heliograph. There were already signs of Boers coming to him, and, hoping to intercept fugitives, Milton moved back on the Fusilier company extended on the southern side. But the Boers swarmed out of the kopjes on this very side in greatly superior numbers, and opened a heavy fire upon the weak line of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The audacity of their position in the open with their horses some 1,000 yards in rear was apparent to the enemy. About 400 Boers, moreover, detached themselves from the main body and approached Milton's men. The situation thus became very critical, and the cavalry squadron fell back to the western entrance, covered by the mounted infantry, who succeeded in seizing a kopje on the northern side. The Boers continued their advance against the defending party to within three hundred yards of this kopje, but then swerved off to the east, thus enabling Major Milton to withdraw the whole of his detachment in safety. Any further attempt at pursuit would have ended in disaster, because of the great strength of the enemy, and the unbroken front they still presented.
[Sidenote: Lt.-Col. Gough on the east.]
Lieut.-Col. B. Gough's force on the east had similarly found itself to be insufficient in strength to reap the fruits of victory. During the earlier part of the fight it had done good service in holding back the Ramdam detachment of Boers which occupied a kopje about two and a quarter miles to the south-east of the battlefield. This detachment was reported at first to be about 500, but Major Rimington, who reconnoitred close up to it, saw other Boers advancing westwards to support it, and it is not improbable that the whole of van der Merwe's commando may have ridden out from Ramdam in the course of the morning. Fortunately, however, the Boers were not at this period of the war disposed to attack mounted troops in the open plain; the demonstration, therefore, of Rimington's Guides and the Lancers' squadrons sufficed to chain them to the kopje.
[Sidenote: Gough fails to stop Boers.]
As soon as the main attack had succeeded, Gough moved northward and sighted the Boer laager, which had been observed at Enslin the previous night, now retiring north-east along the road to Jacobsdal. The escort appeared, however, to be too strong to be charged. Urgent requests for guns were therefore sent back to Headquarters and ultimately the 18th battery, which had reached the bivouac at Enslin, was sent out to join Gough, but the horses were too exhausted for rapid movement and the guns only arrived in time to fire a dozen rounds at the last Boer wagons, which were now 5,000 yards away.
[Footnote 166: This battery fired in all 482 rounds during the action.]
[Sidenote: Want of cavalry and horse artillery make Belmont and Graspan indecisive.]
Yet at Graspan, as at Belmont, the open plains across which the enemy was compelled to retire after his defeat were singularly favourable to cavalry action and, had a satisfactory mounted brigade with a horse artillery battery been available, the Boers could not have effected their escape without suffering very heavy losses. Not only were the mounted troops at Lord Methuen's disposal insufficient numerically, but their horses were already worn out by the heavy reconnaissance duty, which had of necessity been carried out by them day after day without relief, under the adverse conditions of a sandy soil, great heat, and a scarcity of water. The results of this deficiency in mounted men were far-reaching. Not only did the enemy avoid paying the material penalties of successive failures on the battlefield, but his moral was stiffened by these demonstrations of the immunity from disaster conferred by his superior mobility.
[Sidenote: Losses at Graspan, Nov. 25th.]
The casualties suffered by the 1st division on this day amounted to 3 officers and 15 men killed, 6 officers and 137 men wounded, and 7 missing.
[Sidenote: Heavy Naval losses.]
The proportion of these losses which fell on the Naval brigade was very high, their returns showing 3 officers and 6 men killed and 3 officers and 89 men wounded. The Marines, who took part in the actual attack, lost 47 per cent. of their strength. It is remarkable that the North Lancashire, two of whose companies shared in that assault, had only 1 man killed, 6 wounded, and 2 missing. The Guards' brigade did not suffer and did not fire a shot all day.
[Sidenote: Boer losses.]
The enemy's losses are not accurately known; the bodies of 23 Boers were found by the British troops, and buried after the fight; the total republican casualties probably, therefore, amounted to about 80 or 90. Forty prisoners and a few ponies were captured.
[Sidenote: After the action. Night of Nov. 25th.]
Lord Methuen's division bivouacked the night of the 25th November at or near Enslin station; the scarcity of water again caused much discomfort to men and animals. Under the supervision of Colonel E. Townsend, principal medical officer of the division, the wounded were collected and entrained during the afternoon, the less severe cases being sent off to Orange River, and the graver to Cape Town.