Since writing you this a.m. I have at last received definite orders to join Sir R. Buller who has still got fighting to do, and has been so anxious to get us. I have to send the wagons and mules to Tugela there to take the train to Newcastle, while I march with the Regiment to Durban by road, and entrain there for the same place. The pack transport to go with us. The distance is about 90 miles and we make Tugela our first day. The horses have been grazing to-day for the first time since they left Canada and enjoyed it very much. The march here, even if a mistake, has done us all good, and the one to Durban will do us no harm.
My letters to you must be confusing to you for we have been moved in so many directions. So many things have happened and so many have been ordered and not taken place that I fear you may have been wearied. I have impressed upon Major Belcher that in the event of anything happening to me, he will be in command and must keep you well informed of the movements of the regiment which I feel so honoured in commanding.
The sick in Durban and Cape Town, most of them through falls from their horses, some of which ere very fresh indeed, have careful attention.
I hope that the draft coming out to join us at once so that we make as strong a front as possible. We are 513 strong at present, which is as we are all mounted, more than any regiment of cavalry as they have so many dismounted men.
Lieut. Ketchen is acting Paymaster, and has all of the accounts of funds sent by you to Cape Town. Part of it is in the Standard Bank in Durban, and the rest in Cape Town. All accounts are correct.
I will not weary you any longer, further than to say that I hope we shall do honour to your corps.
(Signed) S. B. STEELE
S T R A T H C O N A ' S H O R S E
12th. June 1900.
Dear Lord Strathcona,
I made this place in two good marches in half a day less than expected. The regiment in excellent condition. The country is very like the foot hills of the Rockies, but higher with deep ravines, and lots of Zulu kraals on all sides. All the natives cheered us.
When I got here I was much disgusted to find that a telegram had followed me ordering the suspension of the operation until further orders. [and I am waiting to see what other thing they will do with us while shop boys and inferior horsemen are sent to the front].
The men are in fine spirits. and it will be a shame not to let them go on. It is all military jealousy. Lord Roberts wants it done, but others throw obstacles in the way. Sir R. Buller wants us with him. but between them we will go nowhere at all. I have worked hard to bring the Regiment into a good state of discipline, and am sure I have succeeded. Harmony exists to the most extent.
I will not weary you with any more, and will cable if anything new.
Hoping that you are well, I am,
(Signed) S. B. STEELE
Military Historical Society