During the Boer War, Maraisburg was a small town in the Eastern Cape, 67 miles (by road) east of Middelburg and 40 miles north east of Cradock, in the shadow of the Bamboes Mountain range. It is approximately half way between Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
Its modern name (since 1911) is Hofmeyr, after Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr (1845 - 1909), a prominent Cape politician and newspaper editor. The town was renamed to avoid confusion with the Gauteng area of Maraisburg. It has a current total population of less than 4,000.
It used to be the centre of a sheep-farming district and was linked to the salt pans, 7 miles to the west.
The Handbook of the Boer War notes how in 1901 'Kritzinger after fifteen weeks' activity in the Cape Colony had returned to Zastron a few days before Smuts' arrival. His incursion into the Colony in May occurred at an opportune moment, for the local rebels were being severely worried. He made at first for the Zuurberg, but being soon expelled from it and from the adjacent mountainous district north of Sterkstroom, circled back to the Orange and snapped up Jamestown. He now flung his grenades on all sides. One rebel leader reached the Transkei districts; others prowled between Graaff Reinet and the Capetown Railway. Kritzinger himself captured a small British detachment near Maraisburg.'
Conan-Doyle in Chapter 35 (Guerilla operations in Cape Colony) states: 'To continue the survey of the operations in the Cape, the first point scored was by the invaders, for Malan's commando succeeded upon May 13th in overwhelming a strong patrol of the Midland Mounted Rifles, the local colonial corps, to the south of Maraisburg. Six killed, eleven wounded, and forty-one prisoners were the fruits of his little victory, which furnished him also with a fresh supply of rifles and ammunition. On May 21st Crabbe's column was in touch with Lotter and with Lategan, but no very positive result came from the skirmish.'
Reitz's Commando (Chapter 22) notes 'Next morning we rode out of the mountain country into the open plains of the Karroo. In the face of great odds we had broken across the successive barriers placed in our way, and although we had still many troubles to meet, the English had failed to turn us back. We now slowly marauded southwards. At the village of Maraisburg, a large number of troops was waiting for us, but General Smuts skilfully led the commando through at night without firing a shot, and we continued unmolested.
The casualty rolls lists injuries sustained there (but it could also be the other Maraisburg). These were to the Scottish Horse (May 1901), Captain Noel Nesbitt of Nesbitt's Horse (9 August 1901) and Kaffrarian Rifles (February 1901). 4 others died of disease there. Private Ettridge, Royal Fusiliers was accidentally wounded in Maraisburg in January 1902.
Stirling comments on the Frontier Light Horse saying they 'were in numerous little engagements and many pursuits, and frequently suffered casualties, as in the Maraisburg district in August and September 1901.' In the Bethune Mounted Infantry entry he says the men 'were in numerous little engagements and many pursuits, and frequently suffered casualties, as in the Maraisburg district in August and September 1901'.