1899 - Kimberley siege day 46 (37%). Ladysmith siege day 28 (23%). Mafeking siege day 48 (22%). First Canadian contingent arrives at Cape Town.
1900 - Lord Kitchener succeeds Lord Roberts as Commander-in-Chief. Action of Rhenoster Kop.
1901 - De Wet attacks Rimington's convoy near Spytfontein.
At about 3 am this morning the firing of cannon (probably by the relief column) was heard in the direction of Modder River.
Nothing particular to-day except that all are most sad about poor Turner, who was most popular, and has done so much for the defence of the place.
The funeral and that of the others killed took place at 6 pm.
Just before dark there was a considerable movement of the enemy from Scholtz’s neck and Modder River. It was impossible to calculate how far off it was. The messages received were difficult to understand, but appeared to be to the effect:
(1) That our Despatch of 22d had been received.
(2) That the despatch left without Lord Metheun’s knowledge. H eprobably refers to the despatch riders after action at Belmont.
(3) That Boers kept relief column engaged from Thursday to and including Saturday last.
(4) That the column had 18 casualties.
Unluckily a storm came on at about 9.15 pm and we could not get into communication again.
I have to-day appointed Major Peakman KLH with the local rank of Lt Col to command the Kimberley Light Horse, and the mounted troops, vice Lt Scott Turner. There are doubtless objections to this appointment, but on the whole I think he is the best, and most suitable officer for this important work, and I trust all will loyally support him.
A few more Kaffirs came through from Estcourt, but brought no later news. Their report of the fighting on the Mooi River was: "The English burnt the Dutch like paraffin. The Dutch have their ears down." Did I not say that Zulu was the future language of opera? Riding past the unfinished hospital I saw a private of the 18th Hussars cut down by a shell splinter—the only casualty to-day resulting from several hundred pounds' worth of ammunition. The two greatest events were, first, the attempt of our two old howitzers on Waggon Hill to silence the 6 in. gun on Middle Hill beyond them. They fired pretty steadily from 4 to 5 p.m., sending out clouds of white smoke. For their big shells (6.3 in.) are just thirty years old, and the guns themselves have reached the years of discretion. They fired by signal over the end of Waggon Hill in front of them, and it was difficult to judge their effect. The other great event was the kindling of a great veldt fire at the foot of Pepworth Hill, in such a quarter that the smoke completely hid "Long Tom" for two or three hours of the morning. Captain Lambton at once detected the trick, and sent two shells from "Lady Anne" to check it. But it was none the less successful. There could be little doubt "Long Tom" was on the move, "doing a guy," the soldiers said. We hoped he was packing up for Pretoria.
In the evening Colonel Stoneman held the first of his Shakespeare reading parties, and again we found how keenly a month of shell-fire intensifies the literary sense.
The long-range volleys have undoubtedly had good effect. The big gun cocked up her nose and fired two rounds wildly this morning. On the eastern front was a crowd with telescopes and field glasses, laughing at the gunners, who could plainly be seen dodging about, and making many futile efforts to get off their piece safely somehow. Ellis's corner, Fitzclarence's squadron, the Cape Boys in the river bed and in the trench, volleyed him directly old Creaky's muzzle was elevated. The enemy could not find out where the fire came from, and fired their smaller guns and one-pound Maxim, on chance, all about the place, but did no harm. Creaky only got off three rounds to-day. When the Boers in the trench tried to join in, the Maxim at Ellis's corner was turned on to them; while the Maxim from De Kock's fort paid a similar attention to the race-course trenches. The Boers in the north-west also shelled today. Lord Charles Bentinck relieved Fitzclarence after dark.
1899 - From the letters writer by Lt Col Park in Ladysmith
Hooray! The beginning of the end of this siege has really come! Last night we got authentic news that General Cilery's force had met and defeated a force of Boers and driven them back across the Tugela River, and we were ordered to hand over all our posts to the Liverpool Regiment, and concentrate the battalion in readiness to go out at a moment’s notice on movable column; so we have once more got our transport loaded and light kits packed, and are ready to go off and co-operate wherever we are wanted. I can’t realise yet that I have no longer got any posts to look after and no responsibilities, beyond sitting tight waiting for orders and being ready for anything. I expect we shall all be very soft and weak about the feet and legs after a month of squatting in trenches with no marching whatever. I hope the first march will not be a long or very hot one, or lots of the men will break down. I hope the 2nd battalion got in and did well at the fight down south. It will be a great score for Bullock if they see some fighting. I expect within the next three days we shall either be out ourselves, or shall have the line open and lots of news daily of all that goes on, and perhaps some letters.