1900 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross
Monday, 19 February
This has been one of the quietest days of the siege: only one Big Ben and one 9-pounder, and up to about 9 p.m. only about a dozen snipers’ shots. It is conjectured the enemy have received news that has quietened them. At any rate it has been a pleasant break in the monotony of the siege.
Wessels, the temporarily deposed native chief, one of whose wives was killed by a piece of shell two or three days ago, has sent up a message stating that he is very angry with the Boers, and requests permission to send out his men to attack them. This has not been allowed, as possibly they will be more useful later on.
The Colonel has had one of our Maxims removed from the east, and placed on the north front in one of the armoured trucks. I imagine the enemy must think we have no end of Maxims, etc., as we have continually fired them from all points, here, there, and everywhere, no wonder they are chary of attacking.
Am sorry to have to write that fevers and all other ills are beginning to manifest themselves. Four or five cases of typhoid already in the hospital, and diphtheria, or a sort of severe, white, sore throat and bad eyes prevalent amongst the children. If we are going to be unfortunate in the matter of health, it will be ten times worse than all the harm the enemy can do us. So far, we have luckily been able to keep the town fairly wholesome and clean from a sanitary point of view, and the mortality under the circumstances has been extremely low.
Owing to one or two noticeable causes of “drunk”, the Colonel commanding has ordered the closing of all bars, for a week, from tomorrow.