1899 - Kimberley siege day 43 (34%). Ladysmith siege day 25 (21%). Mafeking siege day 45 (20%). Boers occupy Stormberg Junction.
1901 - Commandant Joubert captured.
2 despatch riders arrived about 2.30 am and brought in news of the advance of the relief column, and that there had been a successful engagement in Belmont. They brought 2 Cape Town papers of 20th and 21st instant. These are the first newspapers we have seen since those of the 7th November, and we do not know what has happened between these dates.
A Kaffir came in to-day, and had 2 Orange Free State papers dated 14th and 21st instant, which give some interesting news and some amusing details of the siege of this place.
The enemy appears to-day to be using the Jacobsdal road more than usual – a number of carts have passed both ways during the day.
Major Fraser reports from Beaconsfield that a large number of the enemy (he estimates them at 1500) came to-day to Alexandersfontein. This may be on account of Sunday Church Service or for funerals of men killed yesterday.
About 200 of the enemy left the Intermediate pumping station during the day in the Carter’s farm direction, and a like number arrived at the Intermediate pumping station from Dronfield direction
A doctor from the enemy’s Laager West of Lazaretto, named Dunlop came in this afternoon under a red cross flag with a letter from the Boer General asking that he might be supplied with certain medicines and be allowed to see their wounded prisoners. I let him have the medicines but declined to allow him to see the wounded.
Another day of rest. I heard a comment made on the subject by one of the Devons washing down by the river. Its seriousness and the peculiar humour of the British soldier will excuse it. "Why don't they go on bombardin' of us to-day?" said one. "'Cos it's Sunday, and they're singin' 'ymns," said another. "Well," said the first, "if they do start bombardin' of us, there ain't only one 'ymn I'll sing, an' that's 'Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me 'ide myself in thee.'" It was spoken in the broadest Devon without a smile. The British soldier is a class apart. One of the privates in the Liverpools showed me a diary he is keeping of the war. It is a colourless record of getting up, going to bed, sleeping in the rain with one blanket (a grievance he always mentions, though without complaint), of fighting, cutting brushwood, and building what he calls "sangers and travises." From first to last he makes but one comment, and that is: "There is no peace for the wicked." The Boers were engaged in putting up a new 6 in. gun on the hills beyond Range Post, and the first number of the Ladysmith Lyre was published.
26th. Sunday. "We had our first game of polo, a concert, and a football match. Church in the evening.
The reference to the "colourless record" of the Siege of Ladysmith kept by a Private in the Liverpool Regiment reminded me of the entries in a diary in my possession that was kept by an Imperial Light Horse Corporal. The opening entry reads, "Wrote by T.W. Hope when in the saddle out grazing close to Waggon Hill one Wednesday morning." He recollects the Battle of Elandslaagte as follows:
There are a few lines about leaving Ladysmith for Elandslaagte at about 3am, an account of the artillery exchange between the Natal Field Artillery and the Boers, and the retirement to await reinforcements. He goes on:
"After dinner we attacked the position & drove them out of it capturing their big guns & only allowing them to retire through darkness coming on. Killed & wounded 52 men 1 officer in I.L.H. including our Colonel."
It is not something to base history on, but interesting nevertheless.
1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith
Another quiet Sunday. Wilfrid rather bad. Went for a ride with Mr. Varty this afternoon. Am getting rather tired of this limited space. Went to Church this evening, with Ada and Mr. Carson, heard a splendid sermon by Major Pennington. Church very full. Military and Volunteers, chairs brought in, choir full, and the doorway full of faces. Colonel Green left us today, well enough for duty.
1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross
Sunday, 26 November
Usual day of recreation and rest, thanks to the arrangement made by Cronje and the Colonel, it is a great boon to us. Programme for today: polo match amongst the officers, football match town versus P.R. and an excellent open air concert given by the Railway Division during the afternoon. B.P. and a lot of officers attended the latter, and a very pleasant day has been spent generally.
One of our native spies has come in from the Boer camp and reports that the enemy have instructions to retire to Pretoria. I am afraid this is too good to be true, but still we consider the Army Corps must be making headway somewhere.
A nasty rumour has got about somehow today that Plumer has made some mistake and has lost a lot of men, waggons and mules.