I am trying to pinpoint the location where Captain Edward Henry Brass, commanding 1st (East Yorks) Coy, 14th Bn Mounted Infantry, was drowned crossing the Wilge River. His death is extensively covered in the diary of Bertie Moeller (see AngloBoerWar Books section) in
Several place names are mentioned but I am having difficulty in finding many of them. All dates Nov 1901 and I mention a few people and units in case it helps. The diary is very detailed but I paraphrase:
Goesdendeg, one mile west of Commando Spruit. Column of 13th and 14th MI under Major Bridgford DSO
Spens is 10 miles on our right at Gemsbokberg (a high kopje)
Our wagons went by the road via Hope Royal, Beginsel, Cork to Wagen Pad.
We (14th MI) reconnoitered high ground on the left through Tipperary, Haartebeeste-vlakten to Zuurpoort.
Wagen Pad. Marched due west. Uneventful march of 8 miles.
Camped southeast of Bothaberg. De Lisle's column is at Vrede.
To our right - or east - are nine columns: De Lisle, Rimington, Wilson, Briggs and others
Paardeplaats, near Bothaberg. Column (14th MI and 74th Bty, Black Watch) marched due west. We proceeded west of Bothaberg.
Then the column proceeded west-south-west through a nek.
I rejoined Brass ... into Camp at Hartebeeste-fontein. Column had done 10 miles.
Column got into communication with Rimington at Tafelkop.
Nov 10 (date of Brass's death: "the saddest day I have spent out here, one of the saddest in my life")
Hartebeestelaager. Mounted column (13th and 14th MI) under Col. Jenner went out to help Gough's MI on our left and Lowe's Column on our right round up de Kok, de Wet and Steyn who were stuck at the Wilge River.
We marched through flat, open country due west towards Wilge River
We marched from Hartebeestelaager to four miles south of Bomboes Spruit Drift, Wilge River.
Poor Brass met his death 2,000 yards south of Bomboes Spruit.
Poor Brass died at 10.40 a.m. on November 10, in the Wilge River, one and a half miles south of Bomboes Spruit Drift
Rooikraals. The column moved west towards Wilge River.
On a stony kop we placed a cross with the inscription: 'Captain E. H. Brass, 2nd East Yorks Regiment, 14th Mounted Infantry. Drowned on active service in this river, November 10, 1901.'
The places I really want to identify are
***Bomboes Spruit Drift*** - amazingly this does not appear to be
which I can see clearly on Google maps running south from the Orange River at GPS -30.50651, 27.26404 a good 300Km away from the Wilge River.
(The Wilge River, by the way, is known as Wilgerivier and can be picked up on Google maps at Frankfort. It is roughly shaped as a backwards J running south from Frankfort and then east from Harrismith towards Talana Hill, though it doesn't quite get there).
*** Hartebeestelaager *** - possibly Hartebees near Pretoria, but that seems a long way off.
***Rookirails **** - which cannot be that far away from the spot.
If anyone can provide me with the location of Captain Brass's death I would be eternally grateful. Old maps, GPS co-ordinates most welcome.
Bamboesspruit is a tributary of the Wilge, as shown on this map from 1902.
Holspruit and Kalkspruit still exist as the current names for rivers joining the Wilge, and these lie south and north relative to Bamboesspruit.
Coordinates for the modern named Grootspruit appear to be position of the old Bamboesspruit confluence at - 27.563261, 28.745284
The National Army Museum has a photograph album with 37 photos taken by Capt Ernest Henry Brass dated 1900-1901.