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November 24th 10 years 1 week ago #1514

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1899 - Kimberley siege day 41 (33%). Ladysmith siege day 23 (19%). Mafeking siege day 43 (19%).
2004 - AngloBoerWar website launched

In Kimberley:

Capt MacInnes RE and Lt McClintock with a small mounted escort made a reconnaissance this morning in the direction of Kampersdam, only about 30 of the enemy were seen, and it was ascertained the enemy has probably not got a gun in position there.

Made a very satisfactory reconnaissance to the North this afternoon with the armoured train and a few mounted men. It drew about 400 Boers and a gun (cordite) either from the Intermediate pumping station, or the Boer Laager just beyond it.

I have not been able to locate this gun for the last 10 days. Our guns opened on them from the crusher redoubt at very long range, and the enemy retired rapidly.

It is very important we should know the strength of the enemy by Carter’s farm direction and in rear of Lazaretto ridge. I have therefore arranged for a strong reconnaissance to start at about 3 am to-morrow, with this view.

In Ladysmith:

Though there was no night attack a peculiar manoeuvre was tried, but without success. On the sixty miles of line between here and Harrismith the Boers have only one engine, and it struck some one how fine it would be to send an empty engine into it at full speed from our side. Accordingly, when the Free State train was seen to arrive at the Boer rail-head some eight miles off, out snorted one of our spare locomotives. Off jumped the driver and stoker, and the new kind of projectile sped away into the dark. It ran for about two miles with success, and then dashed off the rails in going round a curve. And there it remains, the Boers showing their curiosity by prodding it with rifles. Unless it is hopelessly smashed up, the Free State has secured a second engine for the conveyance of its wives and daughters.

It is a military order that all cattle going out to graze on the flats close to the town should be tended by armed and mounted drivers, but no one has taken the trouble to see the order carried out. The Empire in this country means any dodge for making money without work. All work is left to Kaffirs, coolies, or Boers. Two hundred cattle went out this morning beyond the old camp, accompanied only by Kaffir boys, who, like all herdsmen, love to sleep in the shade, or make the woods re-echo Amarylli's. Suddenly the Boers were among them, edging between them and the town, and driving the beasts further and further from defence. The Kaffirs continued to sleep, or were driven with the cattle. Then the Leicester Mounted Infantry came galloping out, and, under heavy rifle fire, gained the point of Star Hill, hoping to head the cattle back. At once all the guns commanding that bit of grassy plain opened on them—"Faith," "Hope," and "Charity"—from Telegraph Hill, the guns on Surprise Hill, and Thornhill Kopje, and the two guns now on Bluebank Ridge. Two horses were killed, and the party, not being numerous enough for their task, came galloping back singly. Meantime the Boers, with their usual resource, had invented a new method of calling the cattle home by planting shells just behind them. The whole enterprise was admirably planned and carried out. We only succeeded in saving thirty or forty out of the drove. The lowest estimate of loss is £3,000, chiefly in transport cattle.

But who knows whether by Christmas we shall not be glad even of a bit of old trek-ox? Probably the Dutch hope to starve us out. At intervals all morning they shelled the cattle near the racecourse, just for the sake of slaughter. To-day also they tried their old game of sending gangs of refugee coolies into the town to devour the rations. Happily, Sir George White turned at that, and sent out a polite note reminding the commandants that we live in a polite age. So in the afternoon the Boers adopted more modern methods. I had been sitting with Colonel Mellor and the other officers of the Liverpools, who live among the rocks close to my cottage, and they had been congratulating themselves on only losing two men by shell and one by enteric since Black Monday, when they helped to cover the retirement with such gallantry and composure. I had scarcely mounted to ride back, when "Puffing Billy" and other guns threw shells right into the midst of the men and rocks and horses. One private fell dead on the spot. Three were mortally wounded. One rolled over and over down the rocks. Several others were badly hurt, and the bombardment became general all over our end of the town.


In Mafeking:

Shelling and sniping; the B. S. A. P. fort came in for most of it; two men wounded.
Dr David Biggins

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Re: November 24th 9 years 1 week ago #6808

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This day must have been a worrying one in Natal in 1899:

Dr David Biggins
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Re: November 24th 5 years 1 week ago #50087

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1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith

The Boers are still playing the same game sending gentle reminders into the town, but so far I have heard of no damage done except to the Liverpool Camp at the top of the town near the Cemetery. Two men have been killed and nine wounded.

About midday today the Boer Scouts took 250 of our transport oxen. Mr. Gill, one of the Artillery officers told me this morning that a paper was to be published here shortly edited by Mr. Stephens and illustrated by the great Melton Prior. We are looking forward to it immensely, and I am sure it will be most interesting.
Dr David Biggins

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November 24th 5 years 1 week ago #50088

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1899 - From the diary of Trooper A J Crosby, Natal Carbineers

Paraded at 3 a.m. Usual trot around with horses for an hour and then orders to have breakfast by 6 ready to turn out, but not called upon. Very sultry on guard at 7 - thunder storm and rain.
Dr David Biggins

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November 24th 3 years 9 months ago #57438

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1899 - From the diary of Major George Tatham, Natal Carbineers

Shelling at western side of town from Free State guns, also from Grobblars Kop side, in and about Caesar's Camp. 270 head of Govt, cattle taken by Boers from Mounted Infantry Guards. After this Volunteer Guards were sent out with stock, also men from Imperial Light Horse. Stormy night, heavy rain and wind.
Dr David Biggins

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November 24th 1 week 6 days ago #79894

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1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross

Friday, 24 November

The only shelling we have had today was four 94-pounders in the early morning, two about midday, and one about 7.30 p.m. One of these made a mess of the shop of Cohen the fishmonger and nearly knocked him to pieces, he was unconscious for some considerable time.

The Boers this morning sent in a message with the white flag, notifying the Colonel of the death of Lady Salisbury. Lord Cecil, B.P.’s Chief Staff Officer, is one of Lord Salisbury’s sons, and of course this news will cut him up considerably.

A native spy, one of the enemy’s, managed to pass our outposts last night and crept through our lines. One of our Cape Boys who was on guard spotted him and after duly challenging fired two or three shots at him, but missed owing to the darkness.

Today the Cape Boys at Currie’s post, the brickfields, have had a very warm time with the enemy’s outposts. Five boys were wounded, one mortally. I confidently recommend it as the hottest place at the present moment on the top of the earth.
Dr David Biggins

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