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Lt. Col. Sam Steele - Report to Lord Strathcona - May 22nd 1900 10 years 6 days ago #3395

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22nd. May 1900.

Dear Lord Strathcona,

After weeks of inaction we are now under orders to start. We leave by sea for Natal as far as we know at present. We will not go at the same time. "A" and "C" Squadrons will leave on Thursday the 24th. by two ships. Major Belcher will be with "C" Squadron; Major Snider with "A". One Vickers Maxim (a Pom-Pom) and three other Maxims will go with those squadrons. When they land Major Belcher will take command and march up country. His force, consisting of 320 men 21 ten-mule wagons, 200 pack mules with packs, and 126 mules with guns - 536 mules in all, and 360 horses. Later on say, about the 28th. I will leave with "B" Squadron which is for the purpose made up of 200 Officers, N.C.O. an men, with the same number of horses, 200 pack mules and 100 pack ponies. No wagons or Maxims we will land and be joined by the others. Major Belcher's Command should be at its destination in 15 days after landing, and my Command meet his about the same date. I hope we shall do good work. We have been ready for a long time but have been held for this. We should on my humble opinion been sent before instead of being kept. There is no better corps in South Africa at the present time admitted by all of the people. Two Squadrons were ready as soon as the test for glanders was over.

I suppose I must not complain as it appears that we have been kept for special work.

There are about 16 men sick - one of them, dangerously ill, (dysentery). I am looking well after them, the Officers visiting every day permitted. One of these may die as he does not appear to bear up against it. Although we go on the 25th. I have to furnish men and squadrons for all parades and duties. We are well treated, but the "red tape" makes prompt work difficult. I had to purchase a complete lot of wire cutters, as ours were lost through falling overboard on being handed out by the Kaffirs. I have also got a supply of lassos as I find that the country through which we will go is of such a character that we may have to picket the horses our way and the men will need lessons. The horses too have broken away very often and had to be captured that way. In fact, I am sending men out all the time to catch mules and horses for the others; consequently I bought a supply for the regiment. I have has to get 200 pairs of La Crosse shoes for my party, for we have to move without noise if possible. They were 2/9 per pair and very suitable.

We are all anxious to do something, and give you cause for pleasure. In this cause you will, I hope, be gratified at the way we will do our work. The task will be the most difficult laid out for a party of scouts for a long time past.

Hoping that I will be able to give you good news, I am,

Yours respectfully,

(Signed) S. B. STEELE, Lt. Col.
Life Member
Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591

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Re: Lt. Col. Sam Steele - Report to Lord Strathcona - May 22nd 1900 10 years 6 days ago #3400

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Another enjoyable read, again highlighting the difficult logistics concerning the animals.
Thank you for posting.

"From a billow of the rolling veldt we looked back, and black columns were coming up behind us."

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