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´╗┐Title: A West Pointer with the Boers
Author: Blake, John Young Filmore
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A West Pointer with the Boers" ***

[Illustration: J.Y.F. BLAKE

Colonel Boer-Irish Brigade at time of general surrender in June, 1902.]


 Personal Narrative of
 of the

 Angel Guardian Press, Boston

 Copyright, 1903
 Colonel J.Y.F. Blake




Friends have advised me to say a little something about myself, by way
of a beginning, and to please them, I will commence with the statement
that I was born in the State of Missouri, in 1856, and waked up on
a horse and cattle ranch on the plains of Denton County, Texas. At
least, here it was that I first saw light, as far as I can remember.
As I grew up I learned to ride the Texas pony, and became fairly well
acquainted with the character and habits of horses and cattle, by
having, year after year, to look after them, and see that none strayed
away. Happy were those days of loneliness and ignorance spent on those
far-stretching plains, where roamed hundreds of thousands of horses,
cattle and buffalo!

In 1871, my father started me to school at the Arkansas State
University, at Fayetteville. In 1876, while still at the University,
I received the cadet appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West
Point, through the kindness of Hon. Thomas M. Gunter, M.C., an old
friend of my father. I entered the Academy in September, of the same
year, and graduated in June, 1880. I was assigned as 2nd Lieutenant of
the 6th U.S. Cavalry stationed in Arizona. I passed through the Apache
wars, serving first under General Wilcox, then under General Crook, and
lastly under Gen. Nelson A. Miles.

General Crook put me in command of the Apache Indian scouts, and with
them I roamed about the mountains till 1885, when my troop was ordered
to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. I passed through the Infantry and Cavalry
school, and, on being promoted to the rank of 1st. Lieutenant in 1887,
was ordered to Fort Wingate, New Mexico. Now General Miles put me in
command of the Navajo Indian scouts.

The Indians remained quiet and peaceful on their reservations. Post
life became monotonous, and I resigned in 1889.

I went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to try my hand in business, but soon
found that the "tricks of the trade" were too deep for me, so I made
up my mind to go to South Africa, where the gold mining prospects were
attracting adventurous men from every part of the world.


I wish the following pages to be considered as a simple narrative of
some of the important events of the Anglo-Boer War and a very terse and
unpolished narrative at that. I have endeavored to tell the truth in as
brief a way as possible and, to speak the truth again, I believe I have
been too brief in many instances.

Ordinary readers sicken of long military details of battles and I have
purposely refrained from giving them. During the first nine months of
the war, many American correspondents were present and I think they can
give a pretty correct account of what happened during their time, and
I don't believe my account will in any way conflict with any they may
give. Among many whom I know, are Rev. Peter MacQueen, Richard Harding
Davis, Mr. Unger, Mr. Hillegas, Allen Sangree and E.E. Easton, and
such men as these will not lie because the English are happy to call
themselves our "Cousins across the Sea."

Some criticism has been made of Captain Patrick O'Connor, Lieutenants
John Quinn and Mike Enright, who were in charge of the Chicago
Ambulance Corps, sent by Colonel John F. Finerty and Patrick J. Judge
to South Africa to assist the Boers, for laying aside the Red Crosses
and taking up the mauser. These were all good and true men and had
the Boers asked them to do Red Cross duty, they would have willingly
consented. But they were not needed in this line, so they were equipped
for fighting.

At Spion Kop, General Buller had many of the ambulance men remove their
Red Crosses and take the rifle during the battle. We captured several
of these and they told the whole story. After the battle was over, all
those not captured were required to pin on the Red Cross again and look
after the numerous dead and wounded. If the English ambulance men could
remove their Red Crosses and take up rifles at the pleasure of the
British commander, I can't understand why the Boer ambulance men could
not do the same.

I have not said as much about the English commanders of the war as I
might have said; and now a word about them may not be taken amiss.

The Boers generally acknowledge General Buller as by far the ablest
commander the English had in the field. True it is, he made mistakes
on the Tugela, but it should be remembered that he had but 35,000 or
40,000 men to dislodge some 6,000 Boers intrenched for a distance of
thirty miles along the river. Had Buller been in supreme command, I
firmly believe the war would have been brought to an end within six
months after the relief of Ladysmith.

Lords Roberts and Kitchener had treble the number of men, an open
country and only about 4,000 Boers in front of them; yet Buller
relieved Ladysmith by the time they could relieve Kimberly.

In fighting negroes armed with sticks both Roberts and Kitchener were
enabled to add a list of letters to their names almost equal to the
number in the alphabet; but when confronted with an armed Boer, both
found themselves practically helpless.

Roberts for his proclamations received from the British Government
$500,000, and an earldom. Kitchener received $150,000 for wiping out
of existence 22,000 women and children. It must be added, however,
that he was simply carrying out Lord Roberts' instructions, to his
great pleasure. Though degenerate and incompetent, yet the English
soldier knows a little something. The 29th of September, 1902, was the
King's Procession Day. I was present and witnessed the circus. Between
Trafalgar Square and St. Paul's Cathedral, Lord Roberts was violently
hissed and the people called for General Buller, who had done all the
fighting and reaped disgrace as his reward. Roberts bit his lip but
that is all the satisfaction he got.

There is no doubt about it, the English lords and generals in command
of the British army are degenerate and incompetent and that, too, far
more so than the English soldier. In hundreds of instances, I am quite
sure had an English sergeant been in command, we would have been badly
beaten where we gained successes. The English commanders had large
numbers, but small brains.

The quiet, modest little de la Bey, with his dancing, hazel eyes, was
unquestionably the ablest of the Boer generals and the greatest man of
the war.

The stalwart, restless, commanding General De Wet was the great
strategist and Stonewall Jackson of the war. The handsome, refined and
polished General Louis Botha proved a most brilliant commander and
fighter, and another war will mark him as one of the brightest military
stars of modern times. He is young and cool-headed and has in him all
the necessary material to make a great military leader. May the time
soon come for him to make use of his material.

Although the Boers had three such able leaders, yet the two little
Republics lost their liberty and independence because the 25,000
patriots under their command thought it better to surrender and save
their women and children and therefore their race from extinction.
Horses, mules and men from the United States of America destroyed the
two little republics.

We can always point with pride to our great liberty lovers, Washington,
Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Jackson, Monroe, and Lincoln, but since
the days of these great patriots and Americans our leader-ship has
degenerated; trade and greed have taken the place of lofty ideals
which made the country the hope and model of every people aspiring to
freedom; vulgar ambition for territorial extension has put us on the
low level of all the conquering nations of old; the late war with Spain
developed all the latent greed of an ambitious upstart among nations;
neither the plausible protestations of one president nor the open
boldness of another justified our un-American policy in the far East.

When it came to the question of acting towards the republics of South
Africa as our forefathers had acted towards the republic of Texas,
neither the oily McKinley nor the vociferous Roosevelt showed the honor
and courage of a pure-blooded American. I do not mean they were bought
by England. Our State Department is not the kind of a courtesan whose
favors have to be paid for in anything but smiles and flattery. England
smiled and flattered and America smiled back as she strangled the
liberties of a brave people. The Philistines captured Samson, thanks to
the American Delilah.



 Introduction                                                      i

 Preface                                                           v


    I. Lobengula and the Chartered Company                        13

   II. A Carnival of Murder--Preceding Jameson's
         Raid and Chamberlain's Conspiracy                        24

  III. Boer Commissary--"Mealie Pap" as a
         Ration--I Take Command of the Irish
         Brigade--War Declared                                    44

   IV. The Boer Ultimatum--The Brigade at the
         Front--Butchery of Prisoners by English
         Lancers                                                  52

    V. Besieging Ladysmith                                        93

   VI. British Treachery at Colenso                              100

  VII. Spion Kop                                                 109

 VIII. White's Incapacity                                        122

   IX. The Fighting in the Free State                            134

    X. Magersfontein and Paardeberg                              141

   XI. De Wet Looms Up                                           154

  XII. Paying an Instalment on the Irish Debt                    164

 XIII. Lord Roberts Breaks his Pledge Made in
         Proclamation--Boers in Great Disorder
         on Leaving Pretoria--Make Grand Stand
         at Donkerhoek--General Buller Arrives in
         Transvaal--Battle of Dalmanutha                         185

  XIV. Dark Period of the War--President Kruger
         Forced to Leave for Holland                             194

   XV. War Declared at an End by Roberts--Lady
         Roberts Captured--De Wet Cornered--General
         Clement's Camp taken by General
         De la Rey--De Wet's Strategy                            206

  XVI. Boers Become Aggressive--American Government
         Comes to England's Assistance
         and Furnishes Horses, Mules and Men                     215

 XVII. Kitchener Alarmed and Asks for More
         Troops--French Tries to Corner Botha--Failing,
         Makes War on Boer Women--Botha
         Attacks English at Lake Chrissi--
         De Wet Alarms the English--Defeats
         Them, Goes to the Colony and Returns                    227

 XVIII. Horses, Mules and Men Arrive from America--The
           Author and Major Pretorius
           Make a Long Ride with Despatches--An
           Exciting Trip                                         237

 XIX. De Wet Cornered Again--De la Rey Cornered
           too--General Kemp Fights a Good
           Fight--The Way by Which the Boers so
           Successfully Outwitted the English                    268

 XX. An Irish Boy's Strategy--His Sad Death--Cavalry
           Far Superior to Infantry                              280

 XXI. Kitchener Tries to Frighten the Boers--Failing,
           Takes Revenge on Women and
           Children--Capture of Fort Pison--English
           Surprise the Boers and are Routed                     288

 XXII. Artillery Boys Surprised--A Great Race--Murder
           of Two Young Boers under the
           Impression they were Members of the
           Irish Brigade--The only Naval Battle of
           the War                                               296

  XXIII. General Louis Botha's Brilliant Charge--Our
           French Gun Captured--Major Pretorius
           Captured--A Close Call but all Ends
           Well--General De Wet's Daring Work                    305

   XXIV. Destruction of Women and Children--The
           Only Way to End the War--Scots Greys
           Routed--English Troops and Armed Kaffirs
           Fight Side by Side--General De Wet
           Completely Cornered                                   315

    XXV. Peace Terms--Procedure to be Adopted in
           Selecting Prisoners of War for Return to
           South Africa                                          331

   XXVI. Brutality of British Officers--Suffering in
           the Concentration Camp--Poisoning of
           Boer Prisoners at St. Helena                          351

  XXVII. A Perfect Spy System--Captain Naude and
           His Female Spies of Great Service--The
           Attitude of American Consuls                          363

 XXVIII. The English Arm Kaffirs--The Hague Conference
           and Civilization--Hands-Uppers
           and Their Position                                    375

 Conclusion                                                      400

A West Pointer With the Boers.



On the fifth day of December, 1894, I sailed on the _City of Berlin_
from New York.

We started in a storm, continued in a storm, and landed in a mud bank
off the Isle of Wight, just below the Needles. This caused quite a
commotion among the passengers, and all seemed inclined to make the
last stand at those points of the deck nearest to the life-boats. By
reversing the screws, the old death-trap, after a few hours' hard work,
succeeded in releasing itself, and we were again on the high sea.

On the 14th, we landed, and I saw a foreign land for the first time.
I spent a week in London trying to see something, but the fog was so
thick that I could scarcely see myself, so I decided to move on toward
South Africa.

I left Southampton December 22d, 1894, on board the _Lismore Castle_
for Cape Town where I arrived January 12th, 1895. On the voyage I
could hear nothing talked but C.J. Rhodes and Dr. Jameson. We had them
for breakfast, dinner and supper, and at all intervening hours.

Connected with these names was a country known as Rhodesia, lying
north of the Transvaal, and it was always Golden Rhodesia, a land
overladen with diamonds and gold. I made up my mind on that voyage to
look up this C.J. Rhodes and his "pal," Dr. Jameson. One thing was
certain in my mind, and that was that either these two men were really
great men or monstrous rascals, and that Golden Rhodesia was either a
marvellous land or a smartly advertised fraud. I said to myself: "I
will investigate both the men and the new country before I am in South
Africa many months." On arriving at Cape Town, a city that expired many
years ago, I immediately went to Johannesburg, the Golden City of the

January 16th I beheld this lively, wonderful city that rested then
and rests now on the greatest gold bed known in the world. Money was
so plentiful that there were no poor men in the city and I was simply
appalled by the very prosperity of the place. I had never seen anything
like it before and shall probably never see anything like it again. Yet
in this phenomenally prosperous city, I heard from the lips of everyone
with whom I conversed, of that far more wonderful country lying far
to the north, the land of Golden Rhodesia. Strange to say, however,
I could not find anyone who had visited this country so heavily laden
with gold.

First I will tell how Rhodesia received the name and became the
property of the notorious Chartered Company.

In 1889, C.D. Rudd, R. Maguire and F.R. Thompson, aided by a missionary
who knew a few Kaffir words, induced Chief Lobengula, of Matabeleland
and Mashonaland, to sign a paper which was first interpreted to
Lobengula and his Indunas, (sub chiefs) by the missionary. This
fellow told them that the three white men had said in the paper that
they would give the chief $500 per month, 1,000 rifles and 100,000
cartridges, for the right to put up a mill on a certain piece of gold
bearing ground. Lobengula told them to bring the money, rifles, etc.,
and then he would show them the ground and they could mine it. The
white men also agreed to give Lobengula a steamboat, to run up the
Zambesi River. This missionary convinced Lobengula that there was
nothing more in the paper, and he signed. By the document, he had given
Rudd, Maguire and Thompson, all the mining rights of his whole domain;
but, of course, he did not know it, as it had not occurred to him that
possibly the missionary had lied. In a short time, Lobengula learned
the truth and at once assembled his Indunas and called the white men to
attend. He could get no satisfaction, so in April, 1889, he wrote the
following letter to Queen Victoria:

 _To Her Majesty, Queen Victoria_:--

  Some time ago, a party of men came into my country, the principal one
  appearing to be a man named Rudd. They asked me for a place to dig
  for gold and said they would give me certain things for the right
  to do so. I told them to bring what they would give me and I would
  show them what I would give. A document was written and presented
  to me for signature. I asked what it contained and was told, that
  in it were my words and the words of those men. I put my hand on
  it. About three months afterwards, I heard from other sources that
  I had given by that document, the rights to all the minerals in my
  country. I called a meeting of my Indunas and also of the white men,
  and demanded a copy of the document. It was proved to me that I had
  signed away the mineral rights of my whole country to Rudd and his
  friends. I have since had a meeting of my Indunas and they will not
  recognize the paper, as it contains neither my words nor the words
  of those who got it. After the meeting, I demanded that the original
  document be returned to me. It has not come yet, although it is two
  months since and they promised to bring it back soon. The men of the
  party who were in my country at the time were told to remain till
  the document was brought back. One of them, Maguire, has now left,
  without my knowledge and against my orders. I write to you, that you
  may know the truth about this thing and may not be deceived. With
  renewed and cordial greetings, I am your friend,


Rudd, Maguire, Thompson and C.J. Rhodes were all in the same Company,
and working to the same end. They were determined to rob Lobengula of
his country. The Queen took no notice of Lobengula's letter, but Rudd
and his men knew that they could not swindle Lobengula without a fight.
He was honest, and in earnest, and did not know that he was dealing
with unscrupulous people. In the past, Lobengula and his father,
Umsiligaas, had befriended Dr. Livingston and other white men who
had ventured into their far away land, and had always in return been
treated honorably; so they were not prepared for sharpers. The English
boast of fair play and justice, but they give neither, unless forced to

Now I will tell how just the Queen was to Lobengula and how humane
her subjects were to his people. Whether Lobengula told the truth or
lied, in his letter to the Queen, made no difference, for the British
Government on October 15th, 1889, granted a charter to C.J. Rhodes,
Alfred Beit, George Cawston, A.H.G. Grey, Duke of Abercorn and Duke of
Fife, as petitioners, under the corporate name of the British South
Africa Co., commonly known as the Chartered Company.

The Charter having been granted under the impression that Lobengula
had voluntarily given his country away, the Chartered Company must
continue to keep the English people in the dark. C.J. Rhodes now
employed and armed about seven hundred men, with the permission and
approval of the High Commissioner. That everything might appear well on
paper, he sent Jameson to Lobengula to get permission for this armed,
christianizing force to enter Mashonaland. Of course Jameson soon
returned and reported that Lobengula was delighted with this idea of
such an armed force entering his country.

Now everything being made satisfactory to the outside world, by
deliberate lying, the march began and was continued for four or five
months, when the band of humanity lovers reached Mount Hampden, without
the loss of a single life; and, having established Fort Salisbury
in honor of their Lord, declared the Chartered Company Monarch of
Mashonaland. The Company then hoisted its flag, bearing its motto
of "Justice, Commerce and Freedom," and all set to work to spread
civilization and Christianity. Sir John Willoughby, in the ecstacy
of joy, now wrote for the benefit of the general public that the
"Government in granting the Royal Charter, had secured 'Fairest Africa'
to England and spread blessings of hope, peace and security, among all
the nations of the land."


High Commissioner of South Africa, who fell into Rhodes' hands because
of his money.]

It required about two and a half years to completely relieve the
Mashonas of all they possessed, spread terror among their women,
and rob the innocent public of about half a million pounds sterling,
by floating as gold mines a large number of sand hills. Now that their
real object in Mashonaland had been gained, and that it was evident
the Company would soon be forced again into hard straits, unless a new
field was opened up, all set to work to prepare the public mind for the
invasion of Matabeleland.

They sent out reports to the effect that Lobengula was making raids on
his own people, the Mashonas, killing many of them, and taking their
cattle, and that every effort was being made to convince him that such
conduct was highly condemned by his loving friends in England. Such
reports were sent out daily, for some time, that the public might be
thoroughly aroused as to the awful state of affairs, and finally,
it was made known that Dr. Jameson, Rhodes' most willing tool, had
determined to invade Matabeleland, in order to instil into Lobengula
and his people the principles of love and humanity, and, by example,
make known to them the good effects of civilization and Christianity.

So in July, 1893, he mustered together his band of 600 full fledged
angels, and Major Wilson and Colonel Forbes, of the English Army, and
proceeded to old Buluwayo, the Royal Kraal; where he arrived without
scarcely seeing a Kaffir, till the end of his journey. Here he found a
fellow Scotchman and another white man, and expressed himself as much
astonished to see them safe and sound among a people so bent on war.
Strange to say, they knew nothing about a war till Jameson arrived. He
learned from them, that Lobengula was not in old Buluwayo, so having
nothing to fear, he proceeded to slaughter about 800 old men, women and

Now they hoisted the British flag on top of a tree, to wave in peace
and love over the many hundred women and children whom they had
murdered, in the name of humanity. Then the band set out to kill
Lobengula, and having found him and his soldiers, on the banks of the
Shangani, they turned loose upon him and his men, as so many engines of
wholesale slaughter, but they soon found out that they had something
else to contend with besides women and children; for in a short time,
Major Wilson and his whole command, excepting two men, were completely
destroyed, and then Colonel Forbes' command made a rapid retreat to old

The two men who escaped were Americans, one being known as "Burnham the
Scout," and the other as "Ingram the honest man." As this man Burnham
often ran to America to boast and deceive, I will say half a dozen
words about him. He first claimed that he was a scout in America, but
all soon learned that there was no truth in his claim. At the time of
the Matabele War in 1896, he showed himself in his true light. He was
of no earthly use at Buluwayo, for all knew him, so he went to Mangwe,
a few miles to the south. Here he shot an innocent, unarmed Kaffir, if
he shot one at all, and reported that he had shot and killed M'Limo,
the Kaffir war-god. He was told that he was really a wonderful man and
undoubtedly the greatest shot in the world. So ignorant is he, that
Burnham did not know that M'Limo was a myth, a great Spirit, to whom
the Matabele would pray and look to as their guide.

But Burnham, the scout, managed to shoot and kill the great Spirit,
and, on receiving a report of this wonderful achievement, the London
_Graphic_ brought out his picture and his long story of how he killed
M'Limo, the war-god, and the terror of the Rhodesians. The Americans
in Rhodesia made it so warm for him, that Burnham left for the United
States to give a course of lectures. He now wears Khaki and is in the
British service, and his native land feels thankful.

Lobengula now sent in word that there was no cause for war with his
white brothers, and that he could not understand why they had suddenly
appeared in such a state of frenzy. Captain Blank, the famous scout,
and another man,--or beast,--were now employed, and sent out to
negotiate with Lobengula, and after a few days absence, returned to
report that he had died suddenly on the Zambesi River, which, you know,
is about three hundred miles distant. They were sure he was dead,
_Because Poison Seldom Lies_.

The Matabeles had no desire to fight, and did not know that the whites
contemplated attacking them, till it was too late, otherwise it might
have been a very different thing. Lobengula, who had ever been a warm
friend of his white brother, who had fed him, protected him and granted
him his every wish, within reason, had now, in return for his many
kindnesses, been foully murdered, because he was chief, and controlled
thousands of cattle which the Chartered Company must have, in order to
postpone, for a few years, its inevitable downfall. The truth is, that
Jameson sent word to Lobengula, that some of his people had come in and
killed some of the Mashonas, and that he must arrest and punish them.
Lobengula immediately sent a party to arrest the murderers, and Jameson
at once, on their approach, made it an excuse to invade Matabeleland.
The men who composed the police force tell the truth when they say
it was a put up job, and the Chartered Company and its officials
maliciously lie, when they say the war was provoked and prosecuted for
the cause of humanity. Matabeleland and Mashonaland together were now
christened Rhodesia. There was nothing more to fear, now that Lobengula
was dead, and the great Rhodesian swindle prospered for several years,
or until the Jameson raid.



Having remained in Johannesburg for just thirty days, I secured four
pack donkeys, and in company with three friends, started for this
fabulously rich country, Golden Rhodesia. It was the rainy season, and
it was rain, rain, rain, day and night, but we were determined not to
be balked by anything; we would see Buluwayo, the gold center, 600
miles away, or go down in the attempt. We had before us eight swollen
rivers, wicked rivers at this season, but almost dry beds at any other
time of the year. We had to swim all of them, and what a struggle it
was for us! I can't understand now just how we succeeded, and do not
know how we escaped the crocodiles, yet we landed safely in Victoria,
Mashonaland, on Easter Sunday, in the early part of April.

[Illustration: CECIL J. RHODES

Notorious for his greed and inhumanity.]

Here I found about 600 people sleeping in the graveyard, and about
300 lying on cots and on the counters in the stores and various other
places, all down with the fever. I did not like the situation at all.
To buy anything one had to help himself and then hand the money to the
sick man on the counter. I found that Salisbury, Gwelo and Buluwayo
were all practically in the same condition. It was fever, fever,
nothing but fever everywhere, and all this talk of gold, gold, gold,
was entirely misleading. It did not take us but about one minute to
discover that Golden Rhodesia was a golden fraud, and so it was then,
and so it is now, and will forever be. However, I was not satisfied,
so I traversed the whole land, penetrated into the jungles of the
Zambesi, roamed about in company with the elephant, rhinoceros, the
hippopotamus, the savage buffalo, giraffe, zebra, the lion, leopard,
hyena, wild dog, jackal and all the many and various kinds of antelope
that swarm in that far-a-way, God-forsaken, fever-stricken country,
where Livingstone breathed his last, and where the natives, in
thousands, naked as nature made them, swarm about you, and look at you
and treat you royally in their simple way. Here was wild nature, in
all its glory, and here I was supremely happy. Thousands of baboons
and monkeys made music during the day, and at night-fall the lions,
hyenas and jackals took up the strain and kept a curious, nature-loving
white man, with his rifle on his knee, delightfully entertained. After
several months of exploring, I returned to Buluwayo, on March 21st,
1896; and on March 23rd, the Matabeles broke out in rebellion against
the great C.J. Rhodes, and his great fraud, the Chartered Company.

The Matabeles surrounded this miserable, drunken, fever-stricken town,
and, of course, I was one of the victims. These Kaffirs, 15,000 or
20,000 strong, would dance on the ridges about us, make sport of us,
and have a good time generally during the day, and when night came,
all women and children were shut up in the market building, while the
men were in the laager surrounding it. During the night every house
in town was abandoned. False alarm after false alarm was the order
of the night; and how often have I seen loving mothers, with their
arms around the necks of their two, three or four children, moaning,
shrieking, praying, appealing to God and kissing their little ones the
last farewell! Those awful scenes still haunt me, and will till the day
of my death. During the day the men would go out and fight for a while,
and then fly back with the Matabeles after them, and proceed to get on
a big drunk, and then have a riot meeting.

[Illustration: Innocent Matabele Kaffirs hung on the lone tree on Fife
Street in Buluwayo, in 1896, by order of C.J. Rhodes and his Chartered
Co., in order to amuse his fellow British subjects.]

During the siege, many small parties of Kaffirs would come into
Buluwayo for safety, as they would not take any part in the war.
Chartered officials made use of these small parties, as a means to
amuse the people with interesting street scenes. On reaching the town,
the party of two, or three, or four, or possibly ten Kaffirs, would
be arrested and ordered shot. The poor devils would be marched up the
street, lined up, and in the presence of a large crowd, shot down.
After several hours, when all had feasted their eyes and satisfied
their curiosity, the innocent whites, among the Company's convicts,
were made to carry these mangled bodies in their arms to the veldt, and
bury them. These convicts were not allowed to make use of wagons or
carts. In order to have a change of scene, the guards would sometimes
make these refugees climb the big tree on Fife Street, and having
attached ropes to their necks and a limb of the tree, would make them
jump for their lives.

Then again the guards would sometimes take others to the same tree,
and, having tied the ropes to their necks and passing it over the limb
of the tree, would draw them up till their toes would just touch the
ground, that the people might see them struggle and slowly strangle to
death. Again, they would be marched into the street, and many guards
being placed behind and near them, they would be commanded to run
for their lives. Of course, all would be shot down, and the wounded
sometimes shot five or six times before they died. These were horrible
murder scenes, but Rhodesians seemed to enjoy them. Having seen all
this, I do not hesitate to tell the public, that all may know just what
a civilized people the English are.

In June we were relieved, by troops coming from the south, and I said
farewell to the miserable hole, Buluwayo, and returned to Johannesburg
in August, 1896.

I will tell in a few words the causes of that war, because I know
them. The Matabeles had not forgotten that white men had poisoned
their chief, Lobengula. The Chartered Company sent its police and
forcibly took all the cattle from the Kaffirs. This caused the death
of thousands of their little ones, who lived almost exclusively on
the milk of the cows. The Company allowed its police and its people
generally to go to the Kaffir Kraals, and, with their rifles, force
young girls to go to their huts, where they could use them at their
pleasure. This struck the Kaffirs to the very heart, because they
are an extremely moral people, and immorality with them is punished
by death. The Company allowed its Police Commissioners to force the
Kaffirs to work in the mines. The Commissioners received from the
Mining Company $2.50 for each Kaffir, and, in return, guaranteed the
Kaffir to work for three months.

Just before the expiration of the three months, the mine captain would
take his cowhide whip and so slash them that they would run away. He
would then call upon the Commissioners to make good their contract and
bring back the Kaffirs. The Commissioner would then send his police
to arrest the runaways, and, having got them in his possession, would
himself give them twenty lashes and return them to work. Finally the
Kaffir, after running away, would hide in the hills. Then it was that
the Commissioner would arrest the fugitive's wife and children and
hold them as hostages, till he came and gave himself up to receive the
twenty lashes. If the Kaffir left before his three months expired, the
mine captain did not have to pay him any wages. To get his $2.50, the
Commissioner had to make the Kaffir work three months, or put another
one in his place, so that the poor Kaffir must be cut and slashed to
pieces whether he worked or not. So universal was this cutting and
slashing, that life to the Kaffir became worse than hell itself, and
thereupon they rebelled, and killed every white man they could lay
hands on. I said, "Well done." They would have taken the country, but
Rhodes paid them $2,500,000, in kind, and bought peace; and to-day
there is no whipping, no cutting Kaffirs to pieces, and they are as
independent as kings, in Rhodesia, because they are the masters.

While I was enjoying myself in the jungles of the Zambesi, Rhodes
completed all his arrangements for a raid into the Transvaal, but
I must tell why it became necessary for Rhodes to make a raid into
the Transvaal. He had painted Rhodesia yellow, and through flaming
advertisements had led the world to believe that it was the richest
gold bearing country on earth.

He knew there was no gold of any account in the country, and he
knew, too, that the English public had been swindled out of more
than $120,000,000. He knew also that the Chartered Company could not
exist, would fall flat, and prove worse than the South Sea bubble, if
something were not done, and that quickly, too. Now if he could only
manage to seize the world-known, rich gold fields of the Rand, at
Johannesburg, and annex them to Rhodesia, why then he and the Chartered
Company would be safe, and could easily fill their chest with many more

If the Rand gold-fields were once annexed, then he could advertise
the marvellous gold output of Rhodesia, and would find no trouble in
floating all the sand banks of that desert land, as veritable gold
mines, and thus save and enrich himself and the Chartered Company.

I will say a few words about the Raid.

In December, 1895, Rhodes put about 600 of the Rhodesian police, with
Dr. Jameson in command, on the western border of the Transvaal, near
Mafeking. Of course, Rhodes had every thing arranged in Downing Street,
London, so that at the proper time the English Government could step
in, with its troops, to protect its citizens and thus take the rich
Rand gold-fields from the Boers. Rhodes had a telegram sent to the
London _Times_ that the Boers were about to murder the English women
and children in Johannesburg. Many of Jameson's men refused to cross
the border, but when they were called into line and told they must
go and help protect the English women and children from the savage
Boers, they consented. The raiding column made a rapid march, reached
Doornkop, about twenty miles from Johannesburg and were there captured
by 180 Boers, who had come to meet them on hearing of the raid. There
were some prominent Americans in the Johannesburg Reform Committee of
seventy, who with Rhodes were implicated in this most outrageous piece
of piracy, and when President Kruger refused to put Dr. Jameson and his
staff, together with his seventy members of the Reform Committee, in a
line and shoot them down, (and what a blessing it would have been for
humanity,) he made the fatal mistake of his life and in the end lost
his country, at least, temporarily. It was by wilful lying that Rhodes,
Jameson and the Reform Committee induced those 600 police to make that
raid, and on the tombstones of the twenty-five or thirty men killed at
Doornkop, there should be engraved the words, "Murdered by C.J. Rhodes
and his followers." All the miscreants who were connected with that
infamous raid were soon set free, and they began at once in another way
to create trouble for the Boers, and, as a result of their labor, one
of the greatest wars in the history of man was fought by a handful of
patriotic Boers, against the so-called mightiest empire of the world.

As a result of the raid, the names of something like a hundred low,
greed-loving conspirators were made know to the world, and the
Transvaal still held possession of its precious gold fields.

Rhodes had now failed, and in order to avert the catastrophe, he put
up money himself, and pulled in his faithful allies, Alfred Beit,
Lionel Phillips and several others, and succeeded in preventing a great
financial calamity.

Immediately after Jameson and his 600 men were captured, Rhodes swore
he knew nothing about the raid, and that it was a surprise to him. Of
course Joe Chamberlain knew nothing about it because he _said_ so.
With Jameson, was captured a lot of cipher telegrams, as well as the
keys. These gave Rhodes away, and proved conclusively that he was the
organizer of the raid, and that Chamberlain was implicated with him. I
will give one or two letters, just to show how much faith can be placed
on an English official's word.

 30 Mincing Lane, E.C.,
 London, February 20th, 1897.

 My Dear Grey:

  Thanks for your letter of the 9th ult., which I read with great
  interest. You will, of course, have heard that the committee was
  reappointed and has got to work. I send you official prints of the
  evidence already taken. Rhodes has done well, and I think will come
  out on top. He was nervous on the first day, though his evidence
  was good even then. Yesterday he was simply splendid. I do not think
  that we are by any means out of the woods, but there does not seem
  an off-chance of the plea of public interest being recognized, and
  the cables of the last of the year 1895, or rather the negotiations
  of that period, not being disclosed, though I am bound to say that
  personally I think the balance of probability is that they will have
  to come out. If they do, Mr. Chamberlain will have no one but himself
  to thank. I am very sorry I have been such a bad correspondent, but
  really the work and anxiety of the last fifteen months, or nearly two
  years, that is, since Harris came to England on the subject of the
  Protectorate, in July, 1895, have been most trying, and I sometimes
  fear that even my constitution will not stand it much longer, though,
  happily, I am still very well. I will try and write you more fully
  next week.

 Believe me,

 Very truly yours,

 Bouchier F. Hawkesley.

  P.S.--Rhodes has received your letter and cable about Lawley.

  The Right Hon. Earl Grey.

The following came out in the Select Committee of the House of Commons
that was appointed to investigate the Jameson Raid. The suppressed
cables mentioned were never produced, because Mr. Chamberlain must be
protected. The above letter, however, is pretty strong evidence and
it made Mr. Chamberlain shake in his boots. Mr. Hawkesley is Rhodes'
solicitor, and with him Chamberlain and the London _Times_ were deeply
implicated in the raid.


 39 Cadogan Square, London, S.W.
 (_No Date_)

 Dear Mr. Hawkesley:

  So many thanks for yours. I knew you would feel as I do, that we owe
  Allingham a great deal, and must give the brother any (or every) help
  we could. I will tell him to make an appointment to come and see
  you one morning. He sails in the beginning of next month. I quite
  agree with you that very little good, if any, can be done with J.C.
  He knows what he has to expect, and will have had plenty of time to
  think it over, by the time C.J.R. arrives. As long as you make it
  impossible for C.J.R. to give away Jameson, he will be loyal to him;
  but I am sure from what I've said (heard), that at one time Rhodes
  contemplated sacrificing the Dr. The Dr. must never know this, and if
  any one can keep Rhodes up to mark, you can. I want to talk to you
  one day about the Dr.'s future--to see what you think of my plan,
  which he has already taken kindly to.

  You do not know how grateful I am to you for all you have done for
  him, but I think you can perhaps partly understand how much it means
  to me to feel he has got a friend like you.

  Can I come and see you one morning about 11.30?

 Yours sincerely,

 R.L. Chamberlain.


Colonial Secretary, who with Rhodes and Milner is directly responsible
for the death of thousands of innocent people.]

The above shows that C.J. Rhodes was ready to prove traitor to his most
faithful tool, who had done all his dirty work. The initials J.C. stand
for Joe Chamberlain and all want to know what he had to expect. The
initials C.J.R. stand for C.J. Rhodes.

On the arrival of Mr. Tatton Egerton in London after the circulation
of a report that Mr. Chamberlain was cognizant of the plans connected
with the Jameson Raid, this gentleman was confronted by the Colonial
Secretary, and asked who had told him that Mr. Chamberlain was in the
raid. The reply was, "Mr. Rhodes himself." The Colonial Secretary's
answer to this blunt statement of the case was, "The Traitor!"

As neither Mr. Egerton nor Mr. Chamberlain has ever denied the above
report, one can draw his own conclusion. If Rhodes "peached" on
Chamberlain to Mr. Egerton, then I think that he was guilty of treason
to one of his most trustworthy fellow-conspirators.

Rhodes and his crew did not remain idle for a moment, they started more
newspapers in Johannesburg, got possession of all the newspapers in
South Africa, except three or four, and then began a paper war against
the Government, President Kruger, all Boer officials, Hollanders, and
in fact all who were in any way in sympathy with the Boers. There was
nothing too low, too mean, too maliciously false for them to say about
the Netherlands Railroad Company, the Dynamite Factory, the price
of coal or the treatment of some Cape niggers caught in a drunken
brawl. There were many other grievances, among them was the five per
cent tax levied on the gold output, by the Government. Then again,
the capitalists wished to establish the "compound" system, and thus
make slaves of all Kaffirs employed at the mines. This the Government
refused to grant.

In addition to this came the cry for the franchise. It was claimed that
the Uitlanders furnished the money that carried on the Government, that
they were in a majority, and that therefore they were entitled to vote
and hold office. They claimed the franchise by the fact of residence in
the Transvaal. Under no circumstances, were they to forswear allegiance
to their Queen and thus forfeit their British citizenship. They claimed
the right to vote and hold office, as long as they saw fit to reside in
the Transvaal, and at the same time to remain British subjects.

The Government changed the law from fourteen to seven years' residence
necessary for the franchise, with an oath requiring the applicant to
renounce all allegiance to the State of which he was last a citizen.
The press cried this down as an act of impertinence and injustice on
the part of the Government, because no British subject could for one
moment think of giving up his citizenship and Queen for the sake of
becoming a citizen in a country run by an ignorant Boer.

Remember, reader, that all this was purely the work of the press of
South Africa, whose object was to give Joe Chamberlain a chance to put
his mouth into the business. The Uitlanders of the Transvaal, including
Englishmen, Americans, Germans, Frenchmen, in fact, representatives
of all nationalities, took little or no interest in the reports which
the press was spreading, because all knew that they were manufactured
and utterly false; and besides all were freer, happier and making more
money than ever before in any other country. All were making from $5 to
$25 per day of eight hours' work, depending on each one's individual
skill and smartness. I was there, knew them, heard them talk, and I
say, there was not one in a hundred who wanted the franchise, who would
have made use of it if given to him, or who ever discussed the subject.
Each was trying to make his little fortune, that he might leave that
far away land and return to his old home.

The horrible condition of affairs in the Transvaal existed only in the
press and was the work of Rhodes, his crew and his ally in Downing
Street, London. The press continued its dirty work day after day and
month after month, without variation, except in a few instances where
the imagination, under heavy strain, was able to squeeze out a little
more venom. The English pursue the same tactics in their fighting,
they bombard day after day, increasing the number of guns from time
to time, and at last when they have concluded that the Boers are all
killed or so demoralized that they could offer no resistance, they
advance the line for the general attack. Just so the press continued to
spit out its venom and spread it over the civilized world, month after
month, until it was deemed that the time was ripe for making the final
crushing blow that must rob the Boers of their gold fields and their
country. This brings me to that notorious petition of 21,000 names that
was deliberately manufactured in Johannesburg. Excluding women and
children, I think it is safe to say that there were not 2,000 genuine
signatures on that petition.

A hired bar-room specimen would go from house to house and have the
mother put her name down and the names of all her children, first
telling her it was the wish of Rhodes and the so-called big men of
Johannesburg. Cape niggers would give their names, and the bar-room
specimen would write them down, for the niggers could not write their
names. There were men in Johannesburg who made it a profession to get
up petitions, charging so much for every hundred names. The Rhodes
crew employed these fellows at $25 per hundred names. These fellows
would then go to their rooms, write down a few hundred names, as they
came to their minds, and would then turn in the list, receive their
money, and proceed to their rooms to repeat the process. That is the
way that petition was gotten up, and it recited enough grievances
to stagger the world. I used to talk with the people, and many of
them, too, every day, and it was a rare exception when I found one
who ever saw the petition. When completed, it was forwarded to Sir
Alfred Milner, Cape Town. He looked at it, pronounced it correct, and
forwarded it to Downing Street. When Sir Alfred Milner reported that he
had investigated the names on that petition, and found them correct,
he knows, I know, and the people of Johannesburg know, that he was
guilty of a deliberate falsehood. Milner was sent to South Africa for a
purpose. His predecessor would have thrown that petition into the waste
basket. He could not be handled by Rhodes; so it became necessary to
get rid of him, and out he went. Milner was just the man for the place,
for he was an educated man, suave and gentlemanly, and, best of all, he
was easily led by such a moneyed man as Rhodes.

Now you have what I call a trinity, three in one, but apparently three
distinct individuals, Chamberlain, Milner, Rhodes, three names that
will in time appear on the first page of the history of the decline
and fall of the British Empire, as the cause of the beginning of the
end. With Chamberlain in Downing Street, Rhodes and all his money in
South Africa, and weak Mr. Milner in the middle and ready at hand, it
was inevitable that the great struggle must come, in which thousands of
innocent people must fall, and the plains of South Africa be reddened
with their blood.

As a result of this petition, the conference in Bloemfontein between
Presidents Kruger and Stein and Sir Alfred Milner was held. This
conference was simply a farce, as the world knows, for Milner had his
orders and all the concessions made by Presidents Kruger and Stein
were simply declined. Had President Kruger told Milner that he was
willing to cut off the Rand Gold-Fields, and allow them to be annexed
to Rhodesia, why, that would have prevented the war, and war could not
have been avoided in any other way, for Milner positively refused to
let any of their differences go to arbitration. He came there to bring
on war; he succeeded, and what a pity it is that he, Chamberlain and
Rhodes thought it prudent to remain so far removed from the immediate
scenes of action! But that is the way in this wicked world--those
who are responsible for suffering and loss of life in a cruel and
uncalled-for war, are the very ones who escape unharmed, and receive
the congratulations of the civilized world for the masterly way they
have carried out their designs.

[Illustration: KRUGER]

From now on telegrams fly thick and fast, the pot is boiling, and
ready to flow over at any moment. President Kruger is praying for
arbitration and peace, while Chamberlain, as chief of the Trinity,
is clamoring for gold and war. He had lyddite, too much lyddite, and
it must be exploded; and on the mountains of Natal, and the plains
of the Transvaal and the Free State, the explosion must take place.
Every shell exploded means so many dollars to Chamberlain and Co., and
thousands upon thousands were exploded before the bloody struggle came
to an end. I am glad to add, however, that but few Boers owe their
death to lyddite.

If you read the London _Times_ from June to October, 1899, you will
find that the British Government had no intention of going to war
with the Boers. But during this time about 15,000 English Troops were
assembled at Dundee and Ladysmith, on the Transvaal border, and about
the same number on the border of the Free State in Cape Colony.

A goodly number were also sent to Mafeking on the western border. About
$2,000,000 worth of ammunition and war supplies were put into Dundee,
and about $10,000,000 worth into Ladysmith. In Kimberly and Mafeking,
the same provisions were made as regards ammunition and war supplies.
At the same time there were something like 20,000 troops on the water,
bound for South Africa. There can be no question about it, the British
Government had no idea of making war on the Transvaal, for Chamberlain
said so in Parliament, Milner said so in Cape Town, and Rhodes backed
up both of them with his money.

These great bases of war supplies were established, and thousands
of troops landed in South Africa, simply to keep the Commissary and
Quartermaster's Department in good training, and allow the troops to
enjoy some holiday exercises in a far-away land. Long before the war,
many English officers, disguised in civilian clothes, had labored hard
in making military maps of the Transvaal and Free State, showing every
road, path, farm, sluit, hill, etc., and yet the British Government had
no idea of forcing war upon the Transvaal; and this must be true, too,
for the London _Times_ said so, Chamberlain said so, Milner said so,
and all were backed by Rhodes and his millions. We captured so many of
these military maps that I can make the above statement without fear of


Years ago, the Orange Free State had been robbed of the Kimberly
Diamond Fields by the English, and thereafter the English Government
never complained of any grievances in that Republic. The South African
Republic and the Orange Free State formed an offensive and defensive
alliance because it was a certainty that if the English took one of
them, it would be but a question of time when an excuse would be
manufactured to take the other; so they wisely concluded to stand
shoulder to shoulder and live as Republics, or fall together and exist
as dependencies.

_They did stand together, they fought together and although they were
brought to their knees, they are not down yet, and the price the
English have so far paid, if the English graves in South Africa are to
be taken as an index, is certainly enough to stagger humanity. How many
graves are yet to be dug on the very same battle-fields, of those two
little countries, in order to keep the Boer on his knees, or to put him
quite down, is the question for the future to answer._

Now I come to the point where the two little Republics are brought
face to face with the military forces of war-prepared England; when
war is inevitable, when the immortal gods could not prevent a clash of
arms; when the first shot is fired in a struggle destined to stir the
world, humiliate the English officer and lord, and destroy the name and
prestige of the great degenerate British Empire.



Before we begin to fight I must say something about the fighters, and
will commence with the Boer and his readiness for war. The Boer is a
simple, unpretentious farmer, with a long beard, rather long hair,
a powerful physical frame, a man inured to all kinds of hardships,
who daily looks after his horses, cattle and sheep. He has a lot of
Kaffir families on his farm, to whom he gives all the land they wish
for cultivation, on the condition that they put in his little patch
of mealies (corn), and oats. To the Kaffir boys who stay at the farm
house, and make themselves useful at all kinds of odd jobs, he gives
each a cow at the end of the year. This means a great deal to the
Kaffir boy, for when he has as many as eight head of cattle, he has the
price he must pay for a wife; and to have a wife is every Kaffir boy's

Every night and every morning the Boer has religious services in his
house, and all the family attend. A visitor may attend or not as he

The Boer cares not what your religion is, nor of what your church may
be, and it does not concern him whether you have any religion or not.
He looks after his own soul, and grants you the privilege of looking
after yours. He will never impose his beliefs upon you, nor will he
ask you your religion. He simply takes it for granted that you are
a Christian, a God-fearing individual. He is a domestic man whose
greatest happiness is in his home, with his wife and children--and
he generally has plenty of children. When he visits his neighbors on
Sunday, the whole family visits with him. They all go to church on
Sunday, and after the services are over, they all remind me of a happy
reunion of a family that has long been separated. In his way, he is as
simple as a child, hospitable and generous to a fault, ready to extend
the helping hand to friend or stranger, modest and retiring; but when
once you try to deprive him of his liberty, you will find that he will
fight to the bitter end, regardless of the odds against him.

For months previous to the war, the English Press was busy trying to
let the world know what a savage the Boer really was, and especially
how intolerant he was, as regards the Catholics. There was an object
in spreading broadcast all these outrageous lies; because England
wished the world to believe, that in waging war against the Boer, she
was really doing a service toward God and humanity. The Irish people
were Catholics; so the press told how bitter the Boer is against the
Catholic, how he tramples him down, and tries to drive him out of the
country. All this infamous lying was for the sole purpose of inducing
the Irish to enlist in the British army, and I regret to say that the
Irish fell into the trap. Thousands of them joined the British army,
and to-day thousands of them are buried in South Africa. Few English
are buried in South Africa, but the graves of the Irish and Scotch can
be counted by the thousand.

Leaving aside the religious aspect of the man, the Boer reminds me very
forcibly of our South-westerners, in appearance; and especially in his
riding and shooting ability. I have given a lengthy, but an honest and
faithful portrait of the Boer, because the subsidized press of England
spent itself in trying to disgrace him in the eyes of the world, for
no other reason than to cover up the English Government's infamy in
forcing a most unholy and damnable war on the God fearing Boer race of
South Africa.

During the time of intense excitement in the towns of South Africa,
and in London, the unmindful Boer was quietly and religiously pursuing
his daily routine work on his remote farm. It never occurred to him
that his quiet was liable to be disturbed at any moment by an exploding
bomb that might force him to leave his wife and little ones for two
years and eight months, and possibly forever. Occasionally he heard the
distant rumble of impending war, but he gave it no heed, for his ear
had become accustomed to such sounds during the last twenty years. He
could see no reason for war and therefore dismissed the subject from
his mind. The Transvaal Government and the Free State Government had,
all told, a standing army of about 900 artillerymen who manned their
forty cannon and sixty maxims. The artillerists were farmer boys,
smooth-faced, and from sixteen to eighteen years old. They were trained
by Boer officers principally. I think there were as officers, also,
two young Hollanders, and two Germans, who had long resided in the

These young Boer officers and smooth-faced farmer boys proved
themselves the most remarkable artillerists in the world. The Free
State and Transvaal were exactly on the same footing as to readiness
for war, and neither was, therefore, in any sense of the word, prepared
for a struggle with the mightiest Empire of the world.

The total population of the Free State and Transvaal combined did not
exceed 250,000 men, women and children; while that of Great Britain
and her colonies runs up to something like 350,000,000. The Transvaal
and the Free State are two inland countries several hundred miles from
the coast; so England had no reason to fear trouble in landing her
troops at any of her many coast towns. The Transvaal and the Free
State are divided into districts, and each district is divided into
veldtcornetcies. In each veldtcornetcy there is a veldtcornet, elected
by his constituents, who is a civil officer in time of peace and the
military leader of the men in his veldtcornetcy, in time of war.

A commandant is appointed, and given command of one, two, or more
veldtcornetcies, depending upon circumstances. Each veldtcornet
divides up his men into corporalships of twenty-five men, and over
each corporalship he appoints a corporal. The commandant general
(commander-in-chief), who is elected by the whole people, appoints
a vecht-general (fighting general), who commands one, two or
more commandancies, also depending upon circumstances. Assistant
commandant-generals are appointed by the chief, to assist him
in various districts; these, of course, hold command over the
vecht-generals. In time of peace there is but one general, and that is
the commandant-general, who is also a member of the President's staff,
called the Executive Council. In time of war all the other generals are
appointed as they are required.

At the beginning of the war, there existed what you might call a
Commissary and Quartermaster Department. These Departments load the
trains with rations and clothing, and ship them to the front for the
supply of the burghers. Each veldtcornet, on their arrival, sends his
wagons, and gets all they can haul without requisition. The corporal in
charge simply signs a receipt for what he gets. On the wagons arriving
at the camp, the burghers go and help themselves to what they want.
This never causes any trouble, for the burghers are always ready to
divide up with each other whatever food or clothing they may have. I
mention these two departments, because it is the first time in Boer
history that they ever existed. They continued to exist for about ten
months and then disappeared, and it is my opinion that all were better
off; for then we had to come down to straight mealie pap (corn meal
mush), and fresh beef. Commissary Departments kill more soldiers than
are killed by bullets. When living on nothing but "mealie pap" and
fresh meat, all are healthy, strong, energetic and full of fight. The
Boer war has proved this; for during the last two years of the war we
had nothing else to eat, and we lost but one man from sickness; and did
the hardest work and best fighting, and in the end, when the general
surrender came, the world had never seen 24,000 stronger, healthier and
more dashing patriots than those who laid down their faithful rifles to
save their women and children from extinction.

I now arrive at the point when the rapidity with which telegrams were
passing back and forth on the telegraph lines was such, that the iron
poles were fairly melting to the ground, and when President Kruger was
finally convinced that war could not by any possibility be averted,
and that the so-called great Christian nation, his foe, was bent on
spilling the blood of thousands of innocent people, in order to satiate
its thirst for gold.

The feeble old man, the time-battered old soldier, the fervent old
patriot, the bulwark of the Boer nation, now prayed God to direct him
and his people and give them strength to preserve and enjoy their
liberty and independence. Commandant-General Piet Joubert, being
authorized to proceed to the defence of the land, sent messengers to
all the veldtcornets, with directions to call the burghers to arms, and
proceed to Laing's Nek, on the Natal border, to meet the invasion of
the British Army. The same orders were given in the Free State, for the
burghers to go to the Cape Colony border, and resist the British Army
assembled there. A small body of burghers was sent toward Mafeking to
protect the western border. These orders were issued during the last
days of September, 1899.

On October 1st, there were more than 10,000 burghers on the Natal
border, and at the same time the Free State burghers had assembled on
the border of the Colony.


It was at this time that the Irish and the Irish-Americans of
Johannesburg and Pretoria, about 300 strong, had assembled, and
asked me to take command of them to help the Boers in their battle for
freedom. I accepted the command on the condition that not one of them
would _expect_ or _accept_ one cent of money for his services, and that
all would fight purely for their love of liberty, and for down-trodden
Ireland. This condition having been unanimously accepted, horses, arms,
ammunition, etc., were at once procured, and off we went for the Natal
border, where we joined the Boers on October 6th. It was quick work,
but it is so easy to do things quickly, with a command of true and
patriotic Irishmen, overjoyed and brimming full of enthusiasm at the
prospect of giving a blow to Ireland's life-long enemy and oppressor.

Laing's Nek and Majuba Hill are on the border, between Natal and the
Transvaal. We were on one side of the Nek, and the English on the
other, both parties awaiting further developments. Finally, on October
9th, General Joubert sent a demand to the British Government for the
recall of the English troops from the Transvaal border. The British
declined, all communications were broken off, and war was declared on
the following day, October 11th.



"The Government of the South African Republic feels itself compelled
to refer the Government of Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain
and Ireland, once more to the Convention of London, 1884, concluded
between this Republic and the United Kingdom, and which in its XIVth
Article secures certain rights to the whole population of the Republic;
namely, that 'All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves
to the laws of the South African Republic, (a) will have full liberty,
with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the
South African Republic; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess
houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops and premises; (c) they may
carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they
may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of
their persons or property, or in respect of their commerce or industry,
to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or
may be imposed upon citizens of the said Republic.' This Government
wishes further to observe, that the above are only rights which
Her Majesty's Government have reserved in the above Convention with
regard to the Uitlander population of this Republic, and that the
violation only of those rights could give that Government a right
to diplomatic representations or intervention while, moreover, the
regulation of all such questions affecting the position or the rights
of the Uitlander population under the above-mentioned Convention, is
handed over to the Government and the representatives of the people of
the South African Republic. Amongst the questions, the regulation of
which falls exclusively within the competence of the Government and
the Volksraad, are included those of the franchise and representation
of the people of this Republic, and, although thus the exclusive right
of this Government, and of the Volksraad, for the regulation of that
franchise and representation is indisputable, yet this Government
has found occasion to discuss, in a friendly fashion, the franchise
and the representation of the people, with Her Majesty's Government,
without, however, recognizing any right thereto on the part of Her
Majesty's Government. This Government has also, by the formulation
of the now existing Franchise Law, and the Resolution with regard to
representation, constantly held these friendly discussions before its
eyes. On the part of Her Majesty's Government, however, the friendly
nature of these discussions has assumed a more threatening tone, and
the minds of the people in this Republic and in the whole of South
Africa have been excited, and a condition of extreme tension has been
created, while Her Majesty's Government could no longer agree to
the legislation respecting franchise and the Resolution respecting
representation in this Republic, and finally, by your note of the
twenty-fifth of September, 1899, broke off all friendly correspondence
on the subject, and intimated that they must now proceed to formulate
their own proposals for a final settlement, and this Government can
only see in the above intimation from Her Majesty's Government, a new
violation of the Convention of London, 1884, which does not reserve
to Her Majesty's Government the right to a unilateral settlement of a
question which is exclusively a domestic one for this Government, and
has already been regulated by it.

"On account of the strained situation and the consequent serious loss
in, and interruption of, trade in general, which the correspondence
respecting the franchise and representation in this Republic carried in
its train, Her Majesty's Government have recently pressed for an early
settlement, and finally pressed, by your intervention, for an answer
within forty-eight hours (subsequently somewhat modified), to your note
of the twelfth of September, replied to by the note of this Government
of the fifteenth of September, and your note of the twenty-fifth of
September, 1899, and thereafter further friendly negotiations broke
off, and this Government received the intimation that the proposal for
a final settlement would shortly be made, but although this promise was
once more repeated, no proposal has up to now reached this Government.
Even while friendly correspondence was still going on, an increase of
troops on a large scale was introduced by Her Majesty's Government and
stationed in the neighborhood of the borders of this Republic. Having
regard to occurrences in the history of this Republic, which it is
unnecessary here to recall to mind, this Government felt obliged to
regard this military force in the neighborhood of its borders as a
threat against the independence of the South African Republic, since
it was aware of no circumstances which could justify the presence of
such a military force in South Africa, and in the neighborhood of its
borders. In answer to an enquiry with respect thereto, addressed to
His Excellency the High Commissioner, this Government received, to its
great astonishment, in reply, a veiled insinuation that from the side
of the Republic (van Republikeinsche zyde) an attack was being made on
Her Majesty's Colonies, and at the same time a mysterious reference
to possibilities; whereby it was strengthened in its suspicion
that the independence of this Republic was being threatened. As a
defensive measure, it was therefore obliged to send a portion of the
burghers of this Republic, in order to offer the requisite resistance
to similar possibilities. Her Majesty's unlawful intervention in the
internal affairs of this Republic, in conflict with the Convention of
London, 1884, caused by the extraordinary strengthening of troops in
the neighborhood of the borders of this Republic, has thus caused an
intolerable condition of things to arise, whereto this Government feels
itself obliged, in the interest not only of this Republic but also of
South Africa, to make an end as soon as possible, and feels itself
called upon, and obliged to press earnestly and with emphasis for an
immediate termination of this state of things, and to request Her
Majesty's Government to give it the assurance.

  (_a_) That all points of mutual difference shall be regulated by the
  friendly course of arbitration, or by whatever amicable way may be
  agreed upon by this Government with Her Majesty's Government.

  (_b_) That the troops on the borders of this Republic shall be
  instantly withdrawn.

  (_c_) That all reinforcements of troops which have arrived in South
  Africa since the first of June, 1899, shall be removed from South
  Africa, within a reasonable time, to be agreed upon with this
  Government, and with a mutual assurance and guarantee on the part
  of this Government, that no attack upon or hostilities against any
  portion of the possessions of the British Government shall be made
  by the Republic, during further negotiations within a period of time
  to be subsequently agreed upon between the Governments, and this
  Government will, on compliance therewith, be prepared to withdraw the
  armed burghers of this Republic from the borders.

  (_d_) That Her Majesty's troops which are now on the high seas shall
  not be landed in any part of South Africa.

  "This Government must press for an immediate and affirmative answer
  to these four questions, and earnestly requests Her Majesty's
  Government to return such an answer before or upon Wednesday the
  eleventh of October, 1899, not later than 5 p.m., and it desires
  further to add, that in the event of unexpectedly no satisfactory
  answer being received by it within that interval (it) will with great
  regret be compelled to regard the action of Her Majesty's Government
  as a formal declaration of war, and will not hold itself responsible
  for the consequences thereof, and that in the event of any further
  movement of troops taking place within the above mentioned time
  in the nearer direction of our borders, this Government will be
  compelled to regard that also as a formal declaration of war."

The reply was as follows:

 "H.M.'s Agency, Pretoria,

 "October 11th, 1899.

  "Sir,--I am instructed by the High Commissioner to state to you
  that Her Majesty's Government have received with great regret the
  peremptory demands of the Government of the South African Republic,
  conveyed to me in your note on the 9th inst., and I am to inform
  you in reply that the conditions demanded by the Government of the
  South African Republic are such as Her Majesty's Government deem it
  impossible to discuss.

 "I have the honour to be, Sir,

 "Your obedient servant,

 "W. Conyngham Green, C.B."

[Illustration: MRS. JOUBERT

Widow of Commandant General Piet Joubert]

Those assembled on the Natal border, October 11th, will never forget
that day, not only because it was the first day of the war which was
to be recorded as one of the greatest in the annals of history, but
because it was so bitterly cold and stormy. A strong wind was blowing,
heavy and murderous looking clouds were rolling and tumbling about our
heads. Snow was falling on the mountains, and while the heavens and
the earth were thus warring with each other, the Boers filed across
Laing's Nek, to defend their homes and country against aggressive and
greedy England. Among the Boers there are no discipline, no drilling,
no inspections, no roll calls, every man feeling himself a general with
full authority to do as he pleases. So they began the war, so they
prosecuted the war, and so they finished the war. The severe cold and
apparent confusion and disorder among the Boers, as they cantered off
like so many Apache Indians toward Laing's Nek, did not seem to make
the slightest impression on the boys of the Irish Brigade. They had
something else to think about, and they were doing a lot of thinking.
Of all the horses for them, there were not over twenty broken to the
saddle, and among the boys themselves, there were not over a half a
dozen who had ever tried to ride a horse. Now, one can easily see why
the Irish boys were doing so much thinking. They did not wish to be
left behind, yet each one felt that there was a great uncertainty as to
how friendly the relations between himself and the horse might be.

The time came when the order was given to saddle up. Every one, with
the enthusiasm of a true soldier hastened to make good the order.
After a good two hours' struggle, every horse was ready for his rider.
The men were told to mount, each in his own way, and to make every
effort to hold the saddle after once he found it. As they were told
to lay aside their rifles until they had become on friendly terms
with their horses, they were not hampered with any impediment except
their inexperience. Having mounted, I scarcely know what happened
during the next five minutes, but I saw men in camp, on the veldt, in
fact, all about me, picking themselves up, shaking the sand off them,
and chasing here and there and everywhere a lot of horses from which
they had just separated. Having caught their horses they were told to
try again and keep trying again, until they and their horses became
thoroughly acquainted with each other. For hours I sat and witnessed
and enjoyed the best show I had ever seen or ever expect to see. But
the men were Irish, and were not to be defeated as long as there was
life in them. I kept no account of how many times each mounted his
horse, and immediately thereafter turned a somersault, but, when, at
the conclusion of the performance, each rode up and said he was ready
for his rifle, I felt proud of them, for they showed the real Irish
pluck and grit that are destined some day to free Ireland. Within one
week from that day I could call each one of those Irish boys a truly
good cavalryman. They learned to ride much sooner than they learned to
know their horses.

A few of them, to be sure, would tie a piece of ribbon in the mane or
tail, and would always hunt for their ribbons instead of their horses.
This gave rise, months after, to some trouble in which Father Van
Hecke, the Brigade Chaplain, was implicated. Father Van Hecke always
tied a green rag into his horse's mane so that he could find him
quickly. He rode a bay pony, and a good pony he was, that Father Van
Hecke thoroughly appreciated.

One day one of the mischievous boys thought he would play a trick on
the good Father. He went out, caught the Father's pony, removed the
green rag and tied it into the mane of a sorrel pony, not half so good
as the Father's. When the order was given to saddle-up, out went the
Father, and the boys and Boers, each for his own horse. Father Van
Hecke found the green rag, caught the sorrel pony and started to camp
with him. At this moment up came the Boer who owned the pony, claimed
him and accused the Father of trying to steal his horse. Father Van
Hecke informed the Boer that he thought he had ridden that horse long
enough to know him, and that the green rag was his mark. The Boer used
rather strong language, but the Father would not surrender his pony to
any one. Finally I was sent for to settle the matter.

About twenty feet from the two equally certain owners of that sorrel
pony, stood the Father's pony. I pointed him out to the Father and
told him I thought that some of the boys had played a trick on him by
removing the green rag from his pony and transferring it to the Boer's.
The Father smiled and gave the Boer his horse, but I think to-day that
that Boer is convinced that Father Van Hecke was trying to steal his
horse. Father Van Hecke is a noble, good man with a warm, sympathetic
heart, and as such he will always be remembered by the boys of the
Irish Brigade.

Already the last of the Boers had disappeared over Laing's Nek, when
the boys reported that they were ready for their rifles, so each
secured his piece, and off we started without further delay. All were
worrying for fear the Boers would have a fight with the English before
we arrived. After travelling about twenty minutes we began to feel the
biting cold and I was asked to give them a gallop.

I told them the idea was a good one, but I had grave fears about the
consequences. "Oh, that's all right. We are all right, Colonel, we have
shown these horses what we can do." I started off on a slow gallop, and
within two minutes at least one-third of the boys were deposited on the
veldt, and it took the other two-thirds about half an hour to round
up the loose horses and put matters into marching order again. After
that I had no further delay, but I never repeated the gallop until near
Dundee, where every man sat his horse in true cavalryman style. Late
that night we overtook the Boers at Newcastle, the boys being very
tired and stiff, but none complained, for they had, so far, not missed
the first fight.

What an enthusiastic and patriotic body of men those Irish boys were!
They seemed to feel that if they could give England one good blow,
their happiness would be an assured fact. The very fact that the
Irish, where ever you find them, so utterly despise the English, and
so earnestly long to blow the whole English race into eternity, is in
itself sufficient proof that the English rule in Ireland is cruel and

All had now passed over Laing's Nek and down the mountains into the
valley. Here it was warm, but as disagreeable as ever, in fact more
so, for it was rain, rain, rain, day and night, and the thick clouds
of mist were actually rolling along the ground. At times we could not
see twenty paces ahead of us, so it was necessary to move cautiously,
because we knew that the English were falling back toward Dundee just
ahead of us. Thoroughly soaked to the very skin, all plowed through the
mud, felt their way through the mist and clouds, passed Danhausser,
and camped about seven miles from Dundee. On the following day, the
clouds were motionless, but resting heavily on the adjacent mountains
and foothills, while the valleys were quite clear. It was apparent to
all now, that a battle must take place, and that, too, in a very short
time. Just as all horses were saddled and the artillery inspanned, and
ready to move out, about two miles to our left and front we discovered
a column of English emerging from a cloud on the foothills across the
valley. Every Boer that happened to see them put spurs to his horse,
and after them he went. Of course a lot of the Irish boys followed
suit in great haste. The English whirled about and took refuge in a
great stone cattle kraal. In five minutes the rifles began to speak on
both sides--in another five minutes a French cannon was sent out, and
fired a couple of shells, and five minutes later the white flag was
waving above the heads of the English, and all was quiet again. Colonel
Moller with his 196 well trained Eighteenth Hussars, had surrendered
to forty untrained farmers. We now learned that Lucas Meyer, who had
taken a road much to the east of us, had attacked Dundee, and been
forced back because General Daniel Erasmus, who was to co-operate with
him, had failed to show up. Colonel Moller had been sent out to follow
up the Boers, and according to his own statement had lost himself, and
hadn't the slightest idea where he was, although Dundee was only six
miles away. Of the 196 Irishmen captured, eighty-five begged to join
the Irish Brigade and fight with the Boers. I wanted to take them on
the spot, but the Boer officers did not consider it right, because,
they said, if any of them were afterwards captured, the English would
surely shoot them. When first captured, all were half scared to death
and the first thing they wished to know was whether the Boers would
shoot them or not. When told that they would be sent to Pretoria, where
they would probably spend most of their time in playing cricket and
football, they were, one and all, positively delighted that they had
surrendered. They said that their officers had told them in Natal, that
the Boers were savages, worse than the Zulus, and that so sure as any
of them were captured, just so sure they would be killed.

While the men scarcely believed all their officers had told them, yet
they were uncertain, because they had never seen a Boer and didn't know
just what kind of a ruffian he was. The men of the Eighteenth Hussars
had now learned what a liar and a hypocrite the English officer is.

These are harsh words, but it requires just such words to bring out the
naked truth about the English officer. There were very few officers who
were not branded as liars by their men, after it was learned how the
savage Boer treated the Eighteenth Hussars.

Within the next few months we had captured several thousand prisoners,
and they all told the same story and it was just as related above.
That is enough about the English officer at this stage of the war, but
I assure him that I will give him plenty of attention before this
narrative is finished. To continue, we now heard that the English were
moving out of Dundee to take possession of the hills lying between us
and the town. The Irish Brigade were ordered to move at a gallop and
reach the hills first, and we succeeded. The English were to be seen
at different places in the little circular valley in which Dundee is
situated. This valley is about six miles in diameter and surrounded by
hills and mountains. Several deep ravines run through it, and in them a
whole army could easily be concealed. Dundee was near the hills on the
east side, and Glencoe near the hills on the west side of the valley.
Had the English troops taken possession of the hills and mountains
around Dundee, I do not believe we could have taken the place. General
Penn-Symons had about 6,000 men there and eighteen cannon, and for
defence his position was most excellent. Fortunately for the Boers, he
did not take advantage of his position, and the result was that 1,000
Boers were chasing the Lancers armed with cold British steel, about
that little valley nearly a whole day. The English seemed afraid to
move eastward of Dundee, yet there were no Boers there, as Lucas Meyer
had fallen back some fifteen miles. The Boers in bands of 100 or 200
placed themselves about the north and west sides of the valley, and
here it was that the Lancers, in bands of 400 strong, would try to find
an outlet. At every point the Boers would meet them with a few shots,
and off went the cold British steel in search of another outlet. The
mountains were rugged and steep on the southeast side, and there was
but one pass through to the valley, and that leads to Ladysmith. At
times it would rain, and then again the heavy clouds would roll over
the valley and totally obscure the whole scene of action.

The whole day, however, was to the Boer something like a day of sports,
for they had enjoyed themselves chasing the Lancers about the valley
as so many springboks. When night came, it was terribly dark, and now
it was that Colonel Yule and his 6,000 men, armed with cold British
steel, took advantage of the only outlet to the south and made their
escape to Ladysmith, some thirty miles away. During the battle with
Lucas Meyer, General Penn-Symons was killed, and Colonel Yule succeeded
him. For this masterly escape of Colonel Yule and 6,000 men from about
1,000 Boers at Dundee, the English proclaimed to the world their great
victory, and promoted Yule to the rank of Major-General. In any other
army he would have been put aside in disgrace. I am not sure whether
he received a Victoria Cross or not, but if he didn't he certainly
deserved one. On the following day Dundee surrendered, with about 250
officers and wounded men, and almost an equal number of prisoners.
Enough food and ammunition fell into our hands to provide our command
for many months. The English, as usual, after one of their great
victories, had forgotten to bury the dead who had fallen at Talana Hill
two days before, in the fight with Lucas Meyer; they had dug a shallow
pit and thrown in some of them.

But when we arrived, their hands and feet and stomachs were protruding
above its surface and presented a most revolting scene. Thirty-nine
dead bodies were left unburied, and the savage Boer gave them decent
interment. It was near this very spot that, two days beforehand, the
English, on getting possession of Dr. Van Der Merwe and his ambulance,
tied ropes about his neck, and the necks of his Red Cross assistants,
and then, having fastened the ropes to their wagons, dragged them off
as prisoners of war.

Mr. Englishman can't deny this, but he may lie about it. Something else
fell into our hands here, something that has caused Mr. Chamberlain to
tell many a falsehood to the world. We captured thousands of dum-dum
bullets and split bullets, and gave plenty of them to the different
foreign consuls. I had the pleasure of supplying the whole Irish
Brigade with these dum-dum bullets and split bullets, and the English
Lee-Metford rifles captured at Dundee. The Boers thought it a pity
to waste them also, so they too supplied themselves. We gave the
English back their own medicine in big doses at Ladysmith, and many and
numerous graves in and about that town mark the results.

The prisoners captured at Kraaipan were all carrying dum-dum bullets,
and all the cartridges fired at Rietfontein near Elandslaagte were
dum-dum bullets; and, Mr. Englishman, we would never have known what
dum-dum bullets were, had you not brought them to South Africa and
given them to us. Bring some more, next time. If asked why we didn't
capture Colonel Yule and his 6,000 men, as well as all they possessed,
I answer that we had no generals--we had only Lucas Meyer and Daniel
Erasmus, and the fighting brains of the two together, would not suffice
to make an efficient corporal; much as we deplored their determination
not to fight, yet we found a little satisfaction in the fact that
we saw that awfully, awful death-dealing "cold British steel" in an
awfully, awful, terrible tremble. How is that, Mr. Englishman?

We now passed on towards Ladysmith where we hoped to have a shake
not only with Colonel Yule, but also with General Sir George White,
Generals French, Hunter and other terrors of the English army. Lucas
Meyer fought General Penn-Symons on October 20th, and on October 21st
was fought the Battle of Elandslaagte. That good, unfortunate old
soldier, General J.H.M. Koch, was in command of a mixed commando of
Boers, Germans and Hollanders, numbering something like 600 or 700
men, all told. He should have closed up the only pass through which
Colonel Yule could escape, but he didn't. He was persuaded by his under
officers to go towards Ladysmith, and at Elandslaagte, fifteen miles
from Ladysmith, his men unfortunately captured a supply train on its
way to Dundee. On that train was plenty of whiskey and wines, and all
the men thought it best to dispose of such beverages by drinking them;
the result was that many were not in very good fighting trim. General
French was sent out with his thousands of trained soldiers, bristling
with cold, British steel, to meet General Koch and his little band of
600. They met, and a bloody battle was fought, in which the Boers were
defeated, General Koch mortally wounded, and many other distinguished
men lost their lives, among them being that brave and patriotic
Hollander and States Prosecutor, Dr. Hermanus Coster. General Koch had
no position at all, for it was open to cavalry movements on all sides,
and offered no protection in any sense of the word. He should have
retreated at once, but he didn't, so it simply remains for me to tell
what happened.

We lost forty-five men killed, about 100 wounded, and something like
190 taken prisoners. Not over 300 escaped, so it proved a bad day's
work for us, and allowed the British to boast of the prowess of cold
British steel throughout the civilized world. The British officer, and
the soldier, too, are both justified in their boasting, for they used
their cold British steel as it had, I hope, never been used before.
They went about the battle field driving their lances through the
bodies of both the dead and wounded, that each might carry his bloody
lance back into Ladysmith, display it, and boast to the men, women and
children of the town, of the bravery of him who carried it. I will here
insert a letter or two, to convict the boasters in their own words.
These letters have often been published before, but they cannot be
published too often, for the people of the world should know all about
cold British steel, and how it is invariably used. Many an unarmed
negro has fallen victim to cold British steel, so it is well for all to
read the following letters, and, having read them, apply to the British
army for lessons in chivalry, and on the best methods of carrying on
civilized warfare in the twentieth century.

  "After the enemy were driven out, one of our squadrons pursued,
  and got right in among them in the twilight, and most excellent
  pig-sticking ensued, for about ten minutes, the bag being about
  sixty. One of our men stuck his lance through two, killing them both
  at once. Had it not been getting dark we should have killed more."

The above is a published extract from a British officer's letter and
speaks for itself.

The Lancers wrote many letters, boasting of their savagery and many
acts of murder, as the following published extracts will show.

  "We charged them, and they went on their knees begging of us to shoot
  them, rather than stab them with our lances, but in vain. The time
  had come for us to do our work and we did it."

Another Lancer boasts as follows:--

  "I got hold of one Boer,"--he had taken an enemy prisoner,--"he did
  not know what I intended doing, so I made motions to him to run for
  his life. So he went, and I galloped after him with the sergeant's
  sword, and cut his head right off his body."

Another Lancer writes:--

  "We just gave them a good dig as they lay. Next day most of the
  lances were bloody."

Now read this extract from a happy Lancer, and I will pass the rest:--

  "Many of our soldiers are quite rich with the loot that has fallen
  to them. The infantry regiments profited to the largest extent. One
  Tommy secured a pocket-book containing 270 pounds in Transvaal money.
  Our boys are parading about now with gold watches, chains, and other

He might have added with truth, that he and his comrades cut off many
fingers in order to remove the rings, and that they are to-day wearing
those rings on their fingers as souvenirs of their savage and bloody

May the day be not far distant when a humane and God-fearing people
can erect a monument on that bloody battle field to perpetuate, from
generation to generation, the memory of those loathsome deeds of pelf
and murder committed by self-convicted British officers and soldiers on
the plains of Elandslaagte!

We now mentally resolved to deal with every British soldier caught
with a lance in his hand as the interest of humanity might demand,
and marched on towards Ladysmith, the last resting place of many of
Elandslaagte's cowardly murderers, and the grave of cold British steel.
We came in sight of Ladysmith on October 27th.

We halted to discuss and make plans. It was very necessary, too, for
there was a much larger force in Ladysmith than we had, and the chances
were that we would get a good thrashing. I was asked if I would go to
the Tugela River and blow up the railway bridge, which was fifteen
miles south of Ladysmith, that no guns and re-enforcements might come
from Maritzburg. I said I would if they would provide me with a guide.
The guide having been presented, I called upon my men for volunteers,
and explained to them that it was a dangerous piece of work, but that I
thought we were equal to it. Fifteen promptly responded, and that was
all I wanted. The entire Boer force then moved on, and the fifteen men
and myself remained where we were.

As we had no dynamite, I sent little Mike Halley and two other men
back to a coal mine, about six miles distant, for about 100 pounds of
it. A coolie was in charge of the mine, and he swore that there was no
dynamite there. Mike made him get a candle and show him into the mine,
that he might see for himself. On reaching a dark shaft, the candle
was lighted, and at once there was an explosion. McCormick was badly
burned about the face, Dick McDonough's hands suffered, and Mike looked
as if his head had been submerged in a pot of boiling water. However,
they did not give up their search, and at last found some dynamite,
fuse and detonators. Just as they returned, General Joubert came upon
us from another direction, and asked me what I was doing, and why I had
not gone on with the main force. I told him what I had been requested
to do, and that the boys had just arrived with the dynamite. He said
he could not think of allowing us to do it, that it was too dangerous,
that all of us would be killed, etc. I told him that in war people
had to take chances, and that I thought we could do the work and come
out all right. But he would not allow us to go, and directed that we
should go with him to the main force near Ladysmith. He afterwards
acknowledged that he had made a mistake, for had the bridge been blown
up, neither marines nor naval guns could have reached Ladysmith. It was
this force and these guns that enabled the English to stand the siege
and save Ladysmith from being captured.

This town is situated in a little valley on the banks of Klip River,
and is almost completely surrounded by mountains, high and precipitous.
Modderspruit runs from the east through a narrow valley between
Lombard's Kop and Pepworth Hill, and empties into Klip River near
the town. The distance from the tops of the mountains and from the
crest of Pepworth Hill was, on an average, about 6,000 yards. General
Sir George White, with his 13,000 trained soldiers and fifty cannon,
held and occupied all the mountains, but ignored Pepworth Hill, lying
to the north-east at a distance of about 6,000 yards from the town.
Nickolson's Nek on the north did not command the town, so that, too,
was not occupied by the British. Some low hills to the north-west
were also unoccupied, so it was plain what we had to do in the first

The Free Staters came in through Van Reenen's Pass and occupied the low
hills to the north-west and a part of Nickolson's Nek. The Transvaalers
were on the hills on the north, Pepworth Hill, and along the ridge
near Modderspruit, and in an easterly direction from the town.

Ladysmith with its surrounding mountains is certainly a most excellent
position both for offensive and defensive operations; and had a good
commander been in Sir George White's place, he could have easily
defeated and routed the Boers on their first appearing.

It was White's stupidity and inability that locked him up in Ladysmith,
and kept him there, just as it was someone's great love of humanity
that prevented us from taking the town on October 30th. The Irish
Brigade and Ermelo Commando were placed in the centre, on Pepworth
Hill, as a guard to Long Tom, two French field guns and two pom-pom
maxims. Christian De Wet with some Free Staters, and Erasmus with
some Transvaalers, together with the Johannesburg police, were in and
about Nickolson's Nek on the right, Lucas Meyer and Schalk Burger, and
Captain Pretorius with his cannons on our left, occupied a long ridge
and some small hills near the eastern part of Lombard's Kop. The total
Boer forces did not exceed 8,000 men with ten cannon.


Saturday, the 28th, passed without a shot being fired. Sunday came,
and some of the Irish boys grew restless and complained that they were
hungry. I am sure they were, too, for I know I was. We had precious
little to eat for about two weeks, for it had been raining steadily
for that time and we had been constantly on the move. Three of the boys
urged so earnestly their request to go to a farm house near the town
for a pig, that I finally gave them permission. When within about 500
yards of the house they discovered and shot a fat, half-grown pig. Much
to their surprise, within the wall around the house were some English
soldiers, who at once opened fire upon them. Hot times then ensued, but
in the end the boys came out all right and brought the pig to camp.
These were the first shots exchanged between the English and our men at

The Irish camp was about 300 yards in the rear of the guns, and our
guards were posted in front of them and on the crest of the hill.
About two o'clock on Monday morning one came down, woke me and told
me that a balloon was moving along the valley not far from the hill,
and he evidently felt excited about it, for he asked me if I didn't
think "they were after dropping dynamite on us." When I told him that
the object of the men in the balloon was to find out our strength and
position, he felt perfectly satisfied and returned to his post.

During the night, Tom Haney was on guard and Mick Ryan was to relieve
him. When the hour arrived, Mick picked up his rifle and went to take
his post. On approaching, Tom said "Halt! Who comes there?" "It is
Mick," was the reply, and he approached. Tom said, "See here, Mick, you
must not answer 'Mick' when you are challenged, but 'friend.'" Mick's
reply was, "Now, Tom, how can I answer, 'friend,' when I haven't a
friend in the world?"

From the balloon incident I knew there would be trouble in the early
morning. At the first sign of dawn I got up and went to the hill crest.
I had not sat there long before it became light enough for me to use
my glasses. Within about two minutes, I discovered twenty-four cannon
about 2,500 yards distant, and pointed right toward Pepworth Hill.
Near them was a long line of Lancers and some cavalry. Beyond them and
nearer to Lombard's Kop, I saw a lot more cavalry. To our right and
front, I saw ten companies of infantry marching towards us. They were
halted and concealed behind some rocks, at about 1,500 yards from us. I
had seen enough to be convinced that there was going to be a fight, and
that no time was to be lost. I sent one of the guards to tell the boys
to come quickly, for there was going to be a hot fight. He found them
making coffee and preparing pig for breakfast. They forgot their coffee
and pig and every thing else, except their rifles and ammunition, and
came running up that hill like a band of wild Apaches. As fast as they
arrived they would call out, "Where are the English?" After all had
taken a good look at the cannon and cavalry in front of them, I simply
told them to remember that they were Irishmen, and then put them in a
position on the right of the guns. Commandant Trichardt had discovered
the English batteries at the same time that I did, and after the Ermelo
Commando had taken its position at the left of the guns, he prepared
for immediate action. It was just 5.45 a.m. Sunday when a long column
of curling blue smoke rising from Long Tom told us that a six-inch
shell was on its way, to extend to the English an early welcome.

Within ten seconds the British batteries responded with twenty-four
fifteen pound shells, and the Battle of Modderspruit was begun. The
shells continued to come so thick and fast that by seven o'clock,
Pepworth Hill was so enveloped with smoke that it was with difficulty
at times to see the enemy.

Shells were bursting over our heads, on the ground, among us, and great
chunks of iron were whizzing about from stone to stone. At times the
uproar was so great that we could scarcely hear each other speak, yet
the Irish boys, who had not the least protection, never once showed any
inclination to waver. They were there to protect their guns, and to
fight the English, and though they could be killed, they were not to be
driven away. It was about this time, seven o'clock, that the Ermelo
Commando could not stand it any longer, and nearly all of them fell
back about one mile, and there awaited further developments.

Afterwards this same commando proved to be one of the best, bravest,
and most reckless in the field.

It was about this time, too, that six of those artillery boys were
killed and several wounded. This so weakened the artillery force at
Long Tom that he could not be supplied with shells, and so had to stop
fighting. Shells continued to rain upon us, and the English undoubtedly
thought that Long Tom was disabled, as he had ceased to respond.

As no Boers could be found who would carry ammunition to Long Tom
during such a shell storm, Commandant Grobler came to me about seven
o'clock and asked for four volunteers from the Irish Brigade, to serve
Long Tom, and I called upon the boys. In an instant every one clamored
to go, and I sent seven instead of four, as being necessary. In another
three minutes Long Tom roared again and it was plainly to be seen by
the commotion it raised in the valley, that the English were utterly
amazed. Of the seven men who volunteered and served Long Tom, two
were shot. Now Long Tom and the two French field guns made it so very
uncomfortable for the English that the number of shells that had been
raining upon us for the past hour and a half was reduced at least
fifty per cent.

[Illustration: MAJOR J.L. PRETORIUS The acknowledged greatest
artillerist of the world by those who know him and his deeds.]

Between seven and eight o'clock the commandos under Lucas Meyer and
Schalk Burger came into contact with French's cavalry on the extreme
English right. We could plainly see warm rifle firing, and soon it grew
to be terribly hot, and then we knew that the English would be so hard
pushed that they would have to abandon any hope of breaking through our
centre and capturing Long Tom and the French field guns. After a time
that brave, keen-eyed artillerist and dashing officer, Captain J.L.
Pretorius appeared on the scene with his pom-pom maxims, and so deadly
was his fire that French's cavalry had to fall back.

Major Wolmorans brought his French guns into play on the English right
also, and this forced some of the English guns to drop Pepworth Hill,
and try their luck with Wolmorans. Wolmorans was too much for them, and
we could see that the whole English line was beginning to tremble, yet
the battle continued to rage and the bullets and shells were flying to
and fro so thick and fast that it would seem impossible for any one to
come out alive.

It was about this time, eight o'clock, that a shell caught me, smashed
both the bones of my arm near the elbow, cut the tendon, nerve and
artery and completely paralysed my whole arm. I went to my horse,
about 300 yards away, and was fortunate to find him alive, because most
of them near him had been killed. A young Boer boy helped me to mount
and I managed to reach a hospital tent about a mile away, but it was
a close call, for I had grown very weak from loss of so much blood.
As I passed my camp, I could not help smiling, for it was completely
destroyed, and I knew that when the Irish boys saw it again, there
would be plenty of Irish wit in the air.

Finally about two p.m. the Boer fire became so warm and deadly that
the Lancers with their cold British steel, and the whole British army,
bolted, and a pell-mell retreat followed, in which everyone seemed
bent on getting into Ladysmith as quickly as possible, regardless of
consequences. Such was their anxiety to escape, that they crowded
together like a flock of sheep, and it may be taken as a fact that
Captain Pretorius did not fail to try his pom-pom guns on such a
magnificent target.

The Lancers threw away their cold British steel, helmets, guns,
ammunition, and everything of weight that might impede fast running;
and so ended the Battle of Modderspruit.

On our right at Nickolson's Nek, something happened that we on Pepworth
Hill knew nothing about, till the battle was over, although the Nek
was in plain view. During the previous night, General White sent two
regiments under Colonel Carleton to take possession of Nickolson's
Nek and the adjoining big hill. Before they reached the Nek, some Boer
guards saw them and fired upon them. Colonel Carleton, who was in
command, had with him a lot of pack mules carrying several mountain
guns. It seems these mules did not like fighting, so they deserted
with their cannon and joined the Boers. However, Colonel Carleton got
the Nek and the big hill much to his regret. The wily Christian De
Wet (afterwards General De Wet) happened to be near at hand. In the
early morning some Pretoria town boys, Johannesburg police, and a few
Free Staters discovered the unwise Colonel and his men on the Nek and
hill. Having placed themselves in a sluit about 1,000 yards away, they
gave the Colonel a warm rifle salute. Carleton and his men of course
responded. Cunning De Wet took about 200 Free Staters, slipped around
the hill, crept up it and fired into Colonel Carleton's rear. No man
likes to be shot in the rear, so Colonel Carleton hoisted his white
flag, and with about 900 of his men went to Pretoria to see Oom Paul.
Of course General White thinks that if the mules with the cannon had
not stampeded, Colonel Carleton would have been all right and would
have given the Boers particular--well, I will put it mildly and say

Now a word about those mountain guns. The Boers would take a good look
at them, give a sarcastic smile and walk away. Those guns are about as
much use in war as so many popguns would be, and it is a question with
me whether I would rather fire one of them or stand 100 feet in front
of it, and let some one fire at me. They might prove useful in scaring
unarmed niggers, who had never heard a loud noise. The Boers are not
niggers, notwithstanding the fact that the whole British press labored
hard during the year preceding the war to make the world believe they
were niggers, and savage ones, too. The Boer has heard too many lions
roar to be frightened to death by a popgun; but an incompetent British
general must have some kind of an excuse to explain away his blunders,
so General White attributes his defeat to the unfaithfulness of a mule,
and receives the congratulations of his Queen. At the conclusion of
the battle Commandant General Piet Joubert called up the Irish boys,
thanked them, congratulated them, and told them that the brave stand
they had made and their serving of Long Tom had prevented a grave
disaster and enabled the Boers to gain a great victory over the enemy.

Young Tommie Oates, who carried the green flag, and young Cox, another
brave boy, were both shot dead, and buried on Pepworth Hill, facing the
enemies' position. Hugh Carbury was shot through the head, the bullet
striking the very centre of his forehead. How he lived for even an
instant no one could understand. Dr. Max Mehliss and Dr. Lilpop took
him, operated upon him and within three days he was walking about the
temporary hospital. Finally orders were received for all the wounded,
eighty-five in number, to be sent to Pretoria. I would not go, because
I knew that I must stay near the Irish Brigade. Hugh Carbury went to
Pretoria and so far recovered that he was walking around the town.
In about three months he had a stroke of paralysis and died, and the
Irish Brigade lost one of its best and bravest boys. Andy Higgins,
Olsen, Kepner, Tinen, Barnes and Gaynor were also wounded, but all
recovered. Many others had holes shot through their clothing but
escaped uninjured. For months after this battle, the Irish boys and the
Boers amused themselves playing a game known as "mumble peg" with the
cold British steel that the Lancers on their hurried retreat thought
unnecessary to carry with them into Ladysmith. The Lancers were now
armed with rifles and converted into mounted infantry, and I don't
think that a lance was ever after seen on any battle field during the
rest of the war. When we captured the Eighteenth Hussars, we asked them
for their flag and we were informed that they didn't carry any. Now
Christian De Wet had captured two regiments, the Dublin Fusiliers and
the Gloucesters, and when asked for their flags they answered that all
regiments had received orders to leave all colors and flags behind,
locked up in the vaults at Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town. Of
course every regiment was provided with the necessary white flag, and
everyone found that flag a most useful and life-saving piece of cloth.
Not a battalion and not a regiment carried either its own colors or
its country's flag into the battle field, throughout the whole war.
This alone should be sufficient proof of the cowardice and degeneracy
of the British army, and at the same time explain the pig-sticking
at Elandslaagte and the use of the dum-dum and split bullets by the

There can be neither pride nor honor among either officers or soldiers
of any army when they hide away their country's flag for safe keeping,
on the eve of battle. I have an idea that every regiment considered
the carrying of its colors and flag into battle from a business point
of view, for if their flag were not carried into battle it would not
be necessary to make requisition for a new supply after the battle.
However, I will guarantee that any one visiting the various regimental
headquarters throughout England, will find in every one of them a
tattered and torn flag bearing the names of many great battles in South
Africa in which it floated; and in which its brave defenders performed
wonderful deeds and added another glorious victory to the British army
in the face of overwhelming odds.

Every one asks "why didn't the Boers follow up this pell-mell retreat
of the English into Ladysmith?" The fact is that the Boer is too
pious, too religious and, therefore, too humane to battle with such an
unscrupulous people as the English. Commandant General Piet Joubert was
a grand man, grown old and mellow in the service of his country, a most
religious and humane man, who looked upon the English as a Christian
people, and he felt that it would be unchristian-like to follow up and
shoot down his retreating enemy.

When the English were well out of range, and the commandos returned to
their laagers, they held their services, and then began to make their
coffee and prepare their food, as if nothing had happened. Every pot,
kettle, blanket and tent, etc., in the Irish camp was simply riddled by
shells, so that they had to be supplied with a completely new outfit.
This resulted because our camp was about 300 yards in the rear of the
guns, and the English guns were so located that every shell that passed
over our heads must fall in or near it. Judging by appearances one
could easily be made believe that about all the shells fired by the
British landed in the camp, for it was certainly a total wreck.

Now that the battle was over, the dead and wounded must be cared for,
and our ambulances were very busy the whole afternoon, because they had
to pick up a dead or wounded man here and there along a line six miles
in extent.

General White sent out his white flags requesting truce after truce,
for one or two days or more, that he might be permitted to care
properly for his dead or wounded. His ambulance men certainly were
busy; at the same time his men were very busy in another way. All were
occupied day and night in building forts, digging holes and throwing
up earth works of various kinds. General Joubert, being very humane,
granted White all the time he wished, to take care of his dead, but, of
course, never once suspected that advantage would be taken of the truce
to prepare defenses. The humanity of the Boer in time of war is his
greatest weakness, while the unscrupulousness of the Englishman is his
greatest strength in time of peace or war.

As a result of the English retreat, the Boers took possession of all
the hills and mountains around Ladysmith, with the exception of one,
and that one was of the greatest importance of them all. It was the
Platrand, lying just south of Ladysmith. As the Boers did not occupy
Platrand, the English after a time took possession of it. Had the Boers
seized this Platrand, as well as the other positions, General White
could not have held Ladysmith three days. About one-half the Boer
forces were used to invest Ladysmith, the other half went to the Tugela
River, and took position along the hills in front of Colenso, a little
town about fifteen miles south of Ladysmith. Within a week from the
investment of Ladysmith, we had our maximum force in Natal, numbering
nearly 12,500 men. They were distributed about Ladysmith, along Tugela
River and at Helpmakaar, about fifty miles eastward of Ladysmith. The
Irish Brigade took its position in the Modderspruit valley, about one
mile to the east of Pepworth, and about 1000 yards from the hospital,
where I could see it plainly. The Platrand and Ladysmith were in plain
view, and about once a week the Irish brigade and camp was shelled. No
damage was ever done, however. Although not yet recovered, I returned
to duty on December 12, for I was needed. The Long Tom and howitzer
on Pepworth Hill, were our especial care, and fifty of the boys slept
with the guns every night during that long siege of four months. The
hill is low and of very easy ascent on all sides, yet not once did
the English ever try to interfere with the guns by any night attack.
Commandant General Joubert's headquarters were to our left and rear
about one mile, as we faced Ladysmith, and every white flag bearer from
General White had to pass us to reach General Joubert. We would stop
the bearer, forward the report, and have a chat with the gentleman from
the city. They were always anxious to know just where the Irish camp
was, and were always told just where it was, and had it pointed out to
them besides; yet the English never once attacked that camp except with
cannon, either day or night during the siege. The English seemed to
want us badly, but never could make up their minds to come and get us,
although we offered them every inducement. In my opinion, it was a good
thing for us that they didn't come, for we had no defences and were
very few in number; still they would have had to pay a heavy price for
anything they might get in that camp, for the Irish boys were fighters,
and not to be frightened at the appearance of a large force of English.
One Long Tom was placed on Lombard's Kop, another at Bulwana Kop, and
still another on the low hills west of the town. Early in December, a
strong force came out, ascended Lombard's Kop, blew up the Long Tom and
a howitzer, and returned to town very jubilant, and they had reason to
be, too, for it was a plucky piece of work.

[Illustration: Col. Blake, his two sons, Aldrich and Ledyard, in
America, and Lieut. Wynand Malan who was so undeservedly held partially
responsible for the destruction of Long Tom on Lombard's Kop.]

There were twelve artillery boys with these guns, and no more. They
managed to kill one, and wound four or five Tommies before they left
their guns. Long Tom was sent to Pretoria, and in about two weeks,
began to tell the English that he was well and hearty once more. Major
Erasmus and Lieutenant Wynand Malan were highly censured by the Boer
Government for neglect of duty, etc., in allowing these guns to be
blown up, but they were truly innocent. They had tried by letter and
every other way to get General Daniel Erasmus and Schalk Burger to give
them a guard for the night, but no guard was ever given. If any one or
two should be censured or shot, that one or two was General Erasmus
and Schalk Burger. Lieutenant Malan proved himself to be a patriotic,
efficient and brave soldier to the very end of the war. About ten days
later the English made another night excursion to a high hill near
Nickolson's Nek, and succeeded in blowing up a howitzer. They were
about 700 strong, and to defend the howitzer, there were about 150
Pretoria town boys, and no better boys or soldiers ever shouldered
the rifle. They were fighters, and met the English in a hand-to-hand
combat. After the howitzer was blown up, a contest took place between
the mauser and cold British steel. The mauser won easily, cold British
steel was buried, and we have never heard from it from that day to
this. The Boer's loss in the contest was three killed and four wounded.
The British officially reported fifty-four killed and wounded, but I
don't know how much truth there is in this report, because no faith
can be put in any British report. The British officer always gives his
report as so many killed and wounded and so many missing. The missing
seldom show up, but this gives them the opportunity of fooling the
British public, and creates an impression among the people that they
have gained a victory and not suffered a defeat. Of course people are
always convinced that the missing will turn up either during the day or
the night.



Not a day passed without a set-to taking place between one or more of
the commandos and the English. If the latter did not come out, the
Boers would go in, and, in many instances, some very hot skirmishes
resulted. Such sports lasted usually about half an hour, when the
English, almost invariably turned tail and ran back into their places
of safety.

All burghers not directly engaged in these skirmishes, would secure
good seats among the rocks and light their pipes and enjoy themselves
watching these shooting matches, as much as they would Barnum's circus.
One day about fifty of the Irish boys were induced to go on a visit
to a big fort, right at the town, and they went; but just how they
got out of the circle of fire within which they found themselves is
a mystery to them and to me to this day, but all came back safe and
sound, bringing with them a few good horses and mules, and reported one
captain and three Tommies killed. They went without my knowledge, and
certainly I would never have given my consent, for it was an idiotic
act on their part. The boys themselves, however, were not to blame.
They were induced to believe that the Boers were going too, and that
they would be strongly re-enforced by them. The Boers had no idea of
going, for they had too much sense, and had the boys known this, they
would never have gone; so they told me on their return. I was still
in the hospital, and that is the reason I knew nothing about it. They
complained to me that "they" were making fools of them and wanted me to
return to camp and stop that kind of business. Nothing could possibly
be gained by the venture, and the chances were a hundred to one that
much loss of life would result. When the Boers saw them actually at
the town they thought the Irish had gone crazy or had deserted to the
English. For several days afterwards, some of the boys would slip
around the ravines, get near the town, jump some horses and mules, and,
at full speed, under cannon and maxim fire, return to camp. The English
always kept some coolies on guard over their horses and mules, but just
one shot was enough to put each coolie to flight. The English finally
put up a trap to catch the boys and some of them came nearly falling
into it. They concealed a hand maxim and two men in a pit near the
horses, and with a small, but strong rope, tied each horse to a stake.
The coolie had orders, of course, to run as soon as the Irish boys came
in sight. It was supposed that the boys would make a rush to start the
horses off on a run, and, on finding the horses tied, would stop to
loosen them. But the boys discovered the ropes, surmised that a trap
was laid, and made a hasty retreat, though not before this concealed
maxim and two men popped up above the ground and began to pepper them.
Sergeant Major O'Reilly was particularly smart at this business, and he
took no less than thirty horses and mules. He is Africander born, but
an Irishman to the backbone, and has all the pluck and daring of his
race. They were not permitted to go again after horses, because it was
thought too risky.

The English were constantly trying to break through the Free Stater's
line on the west side, for, having broken through them, they could
cross the Tugela River near Spion Kop, go around the Boers at Colenso,
and proceed to Maritzburg, so here it was that most of the heavy
fighting took place during the siege. Yet with all their cannon and
men, they could never break through that weak little line. The Free
State men were bold, and would often rush through the English lines and
bring out thousands of cattle, horses and mules. Almost every night
there was an alarm, and, with two or three exceptions, it proved to be
always a false one, but all had to turn out just the same, because it
would not do to take any chances. The result was that everybody, at
night, would roll up in his blanket with boots and clothes on, that
he might be ready in an instant to use his rifle. These alarms would
generally occur between one and two o'clock in the morning, and when
we heard the rifles popping away in many directions, out we would run,
take our fighting positions and there sit and watch till daylight. I
never rolled out of blanket but twice without feeling that the alarm
was false, and on the first occasion I told the boys that we were in
for a red hot fight. It was on this occasion that about 200 of the
Lydenburg Commando were posted on guard to our left and front, that
is, just in front of General Joubert's headquarters. It was about two
o'clock in the morning when we were aroused by a rifle fire so terrific
that one could easily have believed that all the forces about Ladysmith
were engaged in a hot fight. Those Lydenburgers were so close that we
felt we were actually in the fighting line, yet were not engaged. You
may be sure that we did not lose a second in getting into our positions.

As the fighting continued, we could easily see the sparks of fire from
the rifles, yet we could not see any English, nor could we discover
any return fire. In this state of doubt and anxiety we sat and
watched for half an hour, when the firing ceased. It ceased because
the Lydenburgers, feeling that they could not hold their position
any longer, retreated and took up another post at General Joubert's
headquarters. For a circuit of three miles all the commandos were in a
terrible state of excitement because they believed that the English had
made a strong attack on Joubert's headquarters. All the men felt that
the English would have to clean up the Irish boys before the General's
camp would be taken, but they didn't know but that the Irish boys had
been finished. General Joubert was not in the least excited, but was
very angry at the Lydenburgers for leaving their position, for he knew
there were no English on the ground, otherwise they would have followed
up. He sent a couple of good men to investigate. They found that a poor
old mule had escaped from Ladysmith and had come out our way in search
of something to eat and that poor old mule was quietly eating his grass
as if nothing had happened, although at least 10,000 shots had been
fired close to his ears. The Lydenburgers were then ordered back to
their post and all was serene once more.

Now I shall tell about another alarm when I was sure we had a fight on
hand. It was about two or three o'clock in the morning when hot firing
was heard right by our camp, not to the left and front as before, but
to our left and rear this time. I felt terribly frightened and hustled
the men out as they were never hustled before. I felt sure that the
English were actually firing into General Joubert's headquarters. The
firing did not last more than three minutes; then all was quiet again.
One of the Irish boys went out to investigate. He moved carefully, and
after awaiting about twenty minutes, returned and reported, "Oh it is
those damned Lydenburgers again." Some Lydenburgers were guarding an
English Kaffir spy that some of the Boer boys had captured, and, the
night being dark, the Kaffir made a break for liberty. Not only the
guard, but all the Lydenburgers, 1,000 strong, jumped out and began to
fire, on the supposition that there must be some English somewhere in

That Lydenburg Commando could stir up more false alarms than all the
other commandos around Ladysmith put together, yet during the whole
war, I don't believe they were ever in a fight. David Schoeman was
commandant and Piet Swartz was the chief veldtcornet, and wherever you
found them, you might be sure you would find no English, and that you
could lie down to sleep without any fear of being disturbed, except by
a false alarm.

Every morning when it was sufficiently light to see moving objects in
and about Ladysmith, all the Long Toms and howitzers would open up and
drive every one into the hole provided for safety. After that, silence
would reign until about ten a.m., when an artillery duel of ten or
fifteen minutes' duration would be fought, just to vary the monotony.
Then all would be quiet again until about four p.m. when some English
cavalry would come out to see if there were any gates open in the
Free Stater's line. A lively skirmish would ensue, the English would
fly back to their holes, and the day's work was done. As the English
were kept in their holes all day, of course they had to get out and
do their necessary work at night. The Boers thought they would hamper
them somewhat in their work, so at sundown, they would load and aim
all their cannon and at the hour of midnight would all fire at once.
This caused the English so much annoyance that they in turn tried the
same game on us, but never did us any harm. I have now given the usual
program both for the day and night during the siege of Ladysmith, and
while I could write page after page describing incident after incident
that occurred during the long siege, yet I do not care to do it,
because it would mean more work for me and prove tiresome to the reader.

In a nut-shell, the Boers had a delightful time, lived in luxury, had
their sports, smoked their pipes, drank their coffee, entertained
visiting friends and when there was a fight they were always ready for



Now I pass on to Colenso, where, in a short time some lively work was
to be done, and, in passing, I must try to put the reader in a position
to see the situation as it really was. Do not be frightened, however,
for I am not going to give you long descriptions of positions or
battles in the future, but will confine myself to relating just what I
think will prove most interesting and nothing more. If my life depended
upon it, I could not write even an approximately correct history of the
war; and I am sure that no one else could do it, because the military
operations were spread over such a large extent of country. Of course
the London _Times_ has published a correct history of the war, and so
has Conan Doyle written and published a correct history of the war; the
only time that a great newspaper and a popular novelist ever competed
in the art of fiction. Both won.

During the Battle of Modderspruit, General Lucas Meyer fell sick and
went home. No one wished him to die, but no one was sorry that he had
to go home. He was as hopelessly incompetent to command as either
General Erasmus or General Schalk Burger, and that is saying a great
deal. The gods were with us now, sure enough, for Louis Botha, a
private, was made a general in Meyer's place. Botha was young,--about
thirty-five,--energetic, brave, a quick and able soldier, and he at
once put himself to work. He made the Boers dig trenches in the hills
and along the river bank in front of Colenso, and built stone walls
for protection, for he knew that Buller would come with a strong force
and many cannon. Certain it was that a big battle was to be fought at
Colenso, because Ladysmith must be relieved. The Tugela wound along
at the base of the hills, and beyond it was an open plain over which
Buller must come. Botha was now ready for any army that might show
itself. The railway bridge and the wagon road-crossing were just in
front of his line of trenches, and there the heavy fighting must take

Buller with about 35,000 men and ninety-six cannon finally came into
view, camped at the little towns of Chieveley and Frere, about six or
seven miles away, and from there sent out his reconnoitring parties.

The Boers "laid low and said nothing," not a rifle or cannon was fired,
and all was as silent as the grave.

On December 15th, General Buller made up his mind to relieve Ladysmith,
as, apparently, there was no obstacle in his way. He moved out his
forces in beautiful battle-array, brought his cannon into position and
opened fire upon all the hills. If there were really any Boers in those
hills his heavy lyddite shells would soon make them shift and abandon
those parts. Soon the earth seemed to be in a tremble, gravel and
stones were whizzing through the air, and the roaring of the bursting
shells on the hills and mountains in the rear was simply terrific and
deafening, yet the Boers "laid low and said nothing." Soon the English
became convinced that there was no enemy in the hills or along the
river banks, so all the cannon ceased firing and a deadly silence
reigned as the English-Irish regiments with steady step advanced toward
the river. When within easy range, the silent Boers along the river
banks raised their mausers, made them sing in unerring tones, and, at
the same time, Captain Pretorius roared from the hills his pom-pom
and cannon to make complete the scene of death and destruction. Soon
the plain of Colenso was strewn with dead and wounded Irish Tommies,
and at the very time when the battle was raging at its highest pitch,
ambulances in great numbers rushed into the field, apparently to assist
the unfortunate, but, in fact, to stop the Boers in their deadly work.


Screened by these ambulances, twelve Armstrong cannon came into the
field, but the quick eye of Captain Pretorius detected them, and
at once he sent some shells that landed among them. These then
scattered and fled for safety and exposed the twelve cannon to the
Boer and his mauser. Artillery men and artillery horses were quickly
shot down and the guns rendered useless. Rescuing parties made bold
attempts to save the guns, but the Boer and his mauser mowed them down.
Here it was that Lieutenant Roberts, a son of Lord Roberts, an English
politician and financier, bravely met his death.

Now the British began to fall back, and about 200 Boers and Irish boys
rushed across the river, seized ten of the guns (two had been rescued),
Colonel Bullock and a good bunch of prisoners, and recrossed the river,
landing in safety within their own lines. Strange to say, all this was
accomplished right under the eyes of the whole British force, without
any resistance being offered. They all evidently felt sick, had had
enough and wanted to go home, and they did, without delay or ceremony
return to their homes in Chieveley and Frere.

General Louis Botha had now fought his first battle, won an easy
victory and destroyed British prestige, and that, too, with a loss
of but six men killed and a small number wounded. I don't know what
the English loss was, and I don't believe the English know either,
for it was only last September or October that Mr. Chamberlain, in
answer to a question on the subject made by a Scotch member, stated
that the list of the dead in South Africa was not yet completed. It is
barely possible that Mr. Chamberlain is still waiting for his missing
thousands to show up. Sure it is, St. Peter has completed the list,
and when Chamberlain and Milner follow up Rhodes, no doubt each will
be supplied with certified rolls of the names of their thousands of
victims in South Africa. I can see a very warm future ahead for the
South African Trinity.

After all was over, the British sent a wail to the remotest part of the
civilized world, to the effect that the Boers had deliberately fired
upon the red cross ambulance, in utter disregard of the rules of the
Geneva Convention. Those ambulances were rushed into the immediate
line of fire in order to stop the Boers from shooting down the English
soldiers, and, at the same time, to serve as a screen for the two
batteries in reaching their coveted position. The infamous game was
detected, a shell scattered and put to flight the ambulances, the
Tommies continued to fall, and ten guns of the two batteries being now
completely exposed and within easy mauser range, were quickly captured.
Yes, Mr. Englishman, as you cannot fight honorably and win, you must
resort to infamous methods and manufacture excuses for failure out of
deliberate falsehoods. Had your little game succeeded, the batteries
reached their coveted position and proved disastrous to the Boer
forces, it would never have occurred to you to mention this ambulance

General Botha having granted General Buller all the time he wished for
to care for his thousands of dead and wounded, the Boers returned to
their pipes and coffee, their usual daily services and their peaceful
way of camp life, without its once occurring to them that their deeds,
on that day, had made them known, respected and honored throughout the
civilized world.

Of course this does not include the British Government in London,
Silly Billy of Germany or the English Government in Washington, D.C.
The fifty Irish boys who went down for the day and were in the very
hottest of the fight, and who particularly distinguished themselves by
being among the very first to seize the English cannon, now returned
to camp at Modderspruit; but they were so restless and jubilant that
it was plain that something must be done to pacify them, so it was
suggested that we arrange for some sports, as Christmas was very near
at hand. This suggestion hit just the right place with all of them,
and it was decided to have horse races, athletic sports and some kind
of a banquet too. Christmas day was to be the day, and the boys went
to the different commandos, invited all who had fast horses to come
and try their luck, and all who felt that they could run, jump, throw
heavy weights, etc. Nor did they fail to tell every one that all would
have an opportunity to take a smack at Irish cooking. Every thing went
beautifully, a half-mile track was prepared, plenty of food was cooked,
and all was in readiness when Christmas day came.

Boers with fast horses from all the commandos were there. Athletes
representing all commandos; generals, commandants and veldtcornets were
there; young ladies and old ones, too, from Pretoria, Johannesburg,
Dundee and other towns, were entertained by the Irish boys. All gazed
in admiration at the colors that waved to and fro with the breeze, for
they saw the Vierkleur, the Green Flag with the Harp, the Star and
Stripes, the Tricolor of France, and the German and Holland flags that
floated over the Irish camp.

It was a day of jubilee without a queen, a day for brave and patriotic
hearts to assemble, a day for a liberty-loving and God-fearing people
to rejoice and be merry. It was not a day for a titled figurehead,
not a day for dissolute lords, not a day for an unscrupulous Colonial
Secretary, a weak, High Commissioner of South Africa, or the moneyed
rascals of Kimberley. For them the day must smell of rottenness, and
therefore be celebrated in London. With one horse the Irish boys
easily won in all the races, while the Boers captured nearly all the
prizes in athletics. The Irish, however, played an English trick in
the races on the unsuspecting Boers. By the art of commandeering, they
had possessed themselves of a good race horse in Pretoria, and it was
this horse that so easily took all the prizes. The sports having come
to an end, all went to camp and enjoyed the Irish boys' meats, cakes,
pies, etc., but it was a painfully dry banquet. Several cases of liquid
refreshments had been ordered and they had arrived at Modderspruit,
but some thirsty party had appropriated and removed all of them before
the Irish boys arrived at the station, so we had to use coffee as a

Now, coffee is all right, and it is wet, but that little something is
missing in it that puts such a delightful tingle into the blood. I
felt sorely disappointed because it was Christmas day, the boys had
distinguished themselves only a few days before, and I fondly hoped
to give them a drink or two, their guests a drink or two, and besides
I wanted a drink or two myself. Having feasted, all joined and sang
first, God save Ireland, then the Volkslied of the Transvaal and that
of the Orange Free State, and then, after giving three cheers for
the Irish boys and Ireland, all, happy and satisfied, dispersed and
returned to their respective camps to attend evening services. During
that whole afternoon, I confess that I felt nervous, for there was a
large crowd of men, women and children assembled in the camp, and I
was afraid every moment that I should hear a big lyddite shell come
whizzing over from Ladysmith. I was happily disappointed, however, and
felt much relieved after the people had dispersed.




From the middle of November to the end of December, some one would come
around every week to ask for volunteers to rush Ladysmith. The Irish
boys responded to a man every time, but for some reason the rush was
never made. Personally I considered the scheme idiotic, because every
foot of ground in and around Ladysmith was strongly fortified, and our
investing force was very small as compared to General White's army of
12,000 men.

At the conclusion of the Battle of Modderspruit, I strongly urged the
Boers to storm the town, and I continued to urge them every day for
the ten following days, but Generals Erasmus and Schalk Burger thought
that all such talk was nonsense. The English as yet had practically no
defences that we could not overcome. As soon as White got everything in
apple-pie order and had finished all his defences and well surrounded
them with barbed wire, then it was that Generals Erasmus and Schalk
Burger and their kind were most anxious to rush and take Ladysmith.
They really thought that the burghers would then refuse, but they
didn't. So it happened that on January 5th a fellow came to the Irish
camp, as they had often done before, for volunteers, and received the
same answer, "We'll be with you." General Erasmus sent around the
necessary orders--and may have sent one to White, too, as far as I
know,--and all the men were to be in positions agreed upon by 3 a.m.
the following morning, January 6th. During the night General Erasmus
sent a countermanding order to some of the Transvaal Commandos, but
forgot to let the Free Staters know that he had done so. Much to my
surprise, we were ordered to go with four field guns and take position
on a small hill near the Pretoria Town laager, and just in front of the
English guns and forts on the Rooirand, north of Ladysmith. We were
in our position at the proper time, and there sat for hours awaiting
further orders and developments.

Just at the first break of dawn we heard the mausers of the Free
Staters singing in the distance. There was no pause; it was continuous,
and I knew that the brave Free Staters were carrying out their part of
the program faithfully and well, because they had brave and dashing
commandants and veldtcornets. Pretty soon we heard the mausers begin
to sing right in front of us, and then we knew that the brave Pretoria
Town boys were right at the English forts, yet it was not light enough
for us to see them. Before we could see distinctly, the firing in
front of us ceased, but with the Free Staters it continued as lively as

Just before the sun peeped above the horizon, Long Tom on Bulwana, the
guns on Lombard Kop, on Pepworth Hill and all the guns about Ladysmith
sent shells whistling through the air. Every one fired his gun when he
pleased and where he pleased, although the night before it was ordered
that the guns should be concentrated on some one point in due time to
be named. The artillery boys were not to blame in the least, because
they had not received any instructions. Now we saw about 150 of the
Pretoria Town boys in a sluit about 100 yards from the English forts.
They had tried to scale a high stone wall, and, failing, left four of
their number dead at the foot of it and taken refuge in a sluit where
we could now see them. Only daring and fearless men would rush that
fort and try to scale that twelve-foot wall. Our guns were now trained
and turned loose on the forts just above the Pretoria boys. The English
with five or six guns made a quick response, and for hours shells
were flying back and forth with such rapidity that we were strongly
reminded of our experience on Pepworth Hill. The Pretoria boys were
in no danger, as long as we were firing, for the English had to keep
themselves well protected. There was a Pretoria District Commando,
about 700 strong, not more than 1,000 yards to our left. I mounted
my horse and went to see them, for help was necessary. I found them
lying under shade trees smoking their pipes and drinking coffee, as
peacefully and unconcernedly as if there was no firing about Ladysmith.
I told them of the position of the Pretoria Town boys, and tried to
convince them that if they would turn out we would take the forts on
the Rooirand. They simply answered that General Erasmus had told them
that they would not be needed, and I rode back feeling disgusted.

General Erasmus had promised to support the Free Staters and the
Pretoria Town boys, but instead of sending them any assistance, he
went back about a mile out of danger, and left all to their fate. Some
Transvaal Commandos had come up from the Tugela and partly taken the
east side of the Platrand. They fought hard and bravely on the east,
while the Free Staters who had captured some of the forts on the west
side were still in possession, and almost engaged in a hand to hand
fight with the English. They were constantly expecting re-enforcements
promised by Erasmus, but none ever came. On our side we had simply an
artillery duel, while on the east and west side of the Platrand the
burghers continued hotly engaged in rifle fire at very close range for
the whole day. About four o'clock in the afternoon a terrific rain and
hail storm fell upon us. We were ordered to pull down the guns and
return to camp, regardless of the fact that the Pretoria Town boys were
still held in the sluit by the English. The storm did not effect those
on the Platrand, for the firing continued as heavy as ever. During this
storm the Pretoria boys made a run for life and liberty, and although
the English gave them a hot fire, all came out safely. It was not
till late at night that the Free Staters and Transvaalers gave up all
hope on the Platrand and returned to their camps. Every one spent the
next day in damning Erasmus, yet he was not dismissed, nor laid aside
for reflection, because he was very wealthy, and belonged to one of
the best families in the Transvaal. We had a heavy loss on that day,
fifty being killed and 135 wounded. Of course the Free Staters were
heavy losers. The English made a poor defence, and I feel sure that
if Erasmus had sent his promised re-enforcements, the Platrand would
have been taken, and of course that would have caused the immediate
surrender of Ladysmith.

General White reported that he sent back eighty dead to the Boer lines.
Another officer wrote that he counted 135 dead on the field. By just
such official lying as this the British forces succeeded in killing
off the entire Boer forces more than four times during the war, yet
almost the entire Boer force was still alive at the end of the war. The
military colleges of England must be special schools for turning out
trained liars to command in the British army, otherwise the conduct of
the British officer in his report of the battles, etc., of the Boer
war is beyond my understanding. I have spoken very harshly of Erasmus,
Meyer and Burger, but they eminently deserve all I have said. The
bravest and the most daring of the Boer commanders will always find the
rank and file ready to follow him, but not to lead him. This statement
will apply and prove equally true in all armies except the British,
and it will not apply there, for the reason that there is such a wide
chasm between the British officer and soldier, that the latter has
neither respect for the former as an officer, nor confidence in him as
such; consequently the British officer must drive the soldier into the
fighting line. When once the British soldier has respect and confidence
in his officer, he will follow him, without a murmur, into the very
jaws of death. But I must here state one condition, and that is, that
the British soldier who is ever ready to follow his respected officer
must be either an Irishman or a Scotchman, for the Johnny proper, being
degenerate, and no longer a warrior, does not believe in risking life
for the off-chance of taking life.

Now I return to Buller and his army, and I see them making grand
preparations to do something. I thought to myself that he had at last
discovered the key, Langwani Hill, that alone would open the gates of
the Boer lines, and lead him to Ladysmith, where many thousand starving
people were praying for his coming. I was mistaken, for soon he and his
whole army were seen coming around the bend of the Tugela towards Spion
Kop. It was now evident to all that a big fight must take place to the
west of Ladysmith, and in plain view of both besieger and besieged.

He pitched his camp behind what is known to the Boers as the
Bosch-rand, a high, wooded mountain ridge that commanded all the hills
on our side of the river. This river ran up to the very foot of the
Bosch-rand, and then making a pretty sharp curve, wound its way back to
the foot of the hills on our side. The river valley was perfectly flat
and about 4,000 yards wide, and as the river wound its way through it,
first touching the hills on one side and then on the other, it made a
succession of U's. This was an ugly river, with steep, muddy banks,
and as I looked at it and its beautiful valley, bounded by high hills,
it reminded me of a great amphitheatre in which a few scattered Boers
were to occupy the top seats, and a big English army the ring. Both the
English and Boers were to be actors, and the gods above were alone to
witness and judge one of the greatest, most exciting and destructive
contests-at-arms of modern times, in which the Boers were destined to
wear the crown of victory.

Buller's first attempt was to turn Botha's right, but after five days
hard fighting he withdrew and fixed his attention on Spion Kop. General
Botha had left only a guard of fifteen men on this kop, and in the very
early morning of January 24th, a large force of Buller's men surprised
them and drove them off. General Buller now had possession of the kop,
and there was no valid reason why he and his big army should not march
into Ladysmith with but little trouble or delay. But they didn't, and I
will tell why they didn't.

General Buller had failed to get permission of a small band of Boer
patriots who were near at hand. About ninety men of the Carolina
Commando crawled up the kop, and, having reached the crest, immediately
opened fire on the British force. Thus began the great battle, the
bloody and disastrous Battle of Spion Kop. The ninety Boers were soon
re-enforced by small detachments following each other up the kop until
the total number reached about 250 men. The English held the kop,
occupied the defences, and besides had at least fifteen men to every


Counting the Boers on the right and left sides of the kop who also took
part in the fight, the total number of them engaged was about 600,
but the actual number on the kop, who alone fought the big English
force, was about 250 men. The Boers and the English were within easy
point-blank range of each other, and at some points no more than
fifty yards separated them. Here was the time, the place and the
opportunity for the British to display that bold courage, that dash
and fighting quality of which they have been boasting for centuries,
for, with their overwhelming numbers, they would have easily swept
that little handful of Boers off the kop. But they positively declined
to take advantage of such conditions to display British pluck and
courage, and, in the end, were themselves swept off. In their wars with
the blacks, it had been their rule to hoist the Union Jack, boldly
advance as at Khartoum, and when they discovered a horde of unarmed
and defenceless negroes, make a mad rush, fall upon them and shoot
them down; then apply the cold steel, and when they have murdered the
last one and see him lying at their feet, with blood gurgling from his
mouth, give three cheers for the Union Jack, and everyone at once apply
for a Victoria Cross.

But on Spion Kop it was different, for no Union Jack was hoisted, no
Union Jack brought to the battlefield, no rush was made, because a Boer
was there, with a mauser in his hand--and that was a horse of another
color.--So the British halted and trembled, and then threw up the
sponge and retreated as fast as their legs would take them, each hoping
that he might escape the fatal bullet and receive his well deserved
Victoria Cross. I may here add that when you find any one so decorated
with the Victoria Cross, you may generally put him down as a worthless
son of a lord, or as a puny specimen of a puny, dissolute, diseased
nobility, or the son of some moneyed, unscrupulous politician to whom
the English Government must bow in obeisance. One in a thousand who has
been decorated may deserve it, but I even have my doubts about that.
Nearly all the officers and men of the British army who have been given
the Victoria Cross you will find in an English company's cigarette
packages, and that is just where they belong.

I shall not try to tell all that happened about Spion Kop, because
every reader would cry out, "the same old story." I must tell this,
however; Buller's fifty or more cannon fairly tore the top off all
our hills on both sides of Spion Kop, ploughed them up, pulverized
them, and put them in perfect condition for sowing oats and planting
mealies, but up to January 24th had killed only two Boers, an old man
and his son, although more than 3000 lyddite shells had been fired. Joe
Chamberlain and his pals made plenty of money that week, for tons of
lyddite were consumed. The whole atmosphere was fairly laden with the
yellow, sulphurous-looking lyddite fumes, and the Boers who finally
emerged from their trenches looked like so many Chinamen. They were
yellow about the eyes, nose, mouth and neck, and their clothes were
yellow too; but when they washed their faces they were Boers again,
and very lively ones at that. The effect, and the only affect of Mr.
Joe Chamberlain's lyddite fumes was to give the Carolina boys strength
and courage enough to paralyze the Tommies as fast as they could show
themselves on Spion Kop. This was a great blow to Mr. Chamberlain,
because it meant a great future loss to him financially, for it
disclosed the fact that lyddite in itself was very harmless; indeed,
if any of Mr. Chamberlain's lyddite should, by accident, strike a Boer
squarely in the chest, it is my honest opinion that that Boer would be
put out of action; but, as is usually the case, if Mr. Chamberlain's
lyddite shell should happen to miss the Boer by an inch or two, why,
that Boer would be liable to drop more Tommies before that fight was

Louis Botha showed himself in great form, for he so placed his cannon
and maxims that they could sweep the side hills and the Tugela Valley
below Spion Kop, and, like a new broom, they made a clean sweep of
everything. How that fight did rage during that whole day! It was
heartrending to stand and watch the little band of heroic Boers
face fifteen bullets for every one they could send; but bravely and
unflinchingly they held their ground and won the admiration of the
world. Spion Kop and the adjacent hills were in a shiver, convulsion
after convulsion followed, as lyddite shell after lyddite shell
penetrated and tore up the earth.

I must here mention that at one time during the struggle on the kop,
the English felt that it was too hot for them, and naturally they
hoisted three or four white flags. The Boers stopped firing at once,
and four or five of them advanced to accept the surrender. Before
reaching the defences, Colonel Thornycroft with re-enforcements arrived
on the scene, hauled down the white flags and ordered the firing to
recommence. The four or five Boers would have been shot down, had
not the twenty-three English, who had already laid down their arms,
accompanied them as they ran back to their lines. Fighting was now
resumed and continued as if nothing had happened, until it grew too hot
for the English again, and once more the white flags were hoisted. The
Boers continued in their good work, regardless of the flags, and, as
a result, the English are howling to this day about the Boers firing
upon the white flags. If they hadn't fired upon them every one would
have deserved being shot himself. Time and time again during the war,
the English would hoist the white flag for no other reason than to get
the Boers to cease firing until they could get their own men in proper
position, when they would declare that no one was authorized to hoist
the white flag, and that the fighting must continue. The result was
that after a time the Boer would not recognize the white flag, for
he could no longer trust the English, and to surrender, the latter had
to throw down their rifles, hold up their hands and advance towards the
Boers. Although the English denounced this way of having to surrender
as low, suspicious and cowardly, yet thousands upon thousands of them
went through the formula before the war came to an end. It never
occurred to them that the Boers were forced to adopt that precaution as
a safeguard against treachery!


During the six days' fighting the Boers lost fifty killed and about 120
wounded. I don't know the British loss, but I hope that at some time
during the twentieth century, the truth will leak out, and the number
of the British killed and wounded become known. The top of the kop was
covered with them; the sides of the kop and the Tugela Valley were also
strewn with the dead and wounded, and the Boers were not curious enough
to take the trouble to count them. The Boers requested the English to
come and bury their dead, and the English, in reply, asked the Boers
to bury them, and send them the bill. The gods might be able to make
a comment to fit that bill, but earthly mortals would do well to hold
their tongues. So I will pass on to General White and his inactivity.



Our investment circle was thirty-six miles in length, and at the time
the Battle of Colenso was fought, was held by not more than 4,000 men.
From Ladysmith to Colenso is about fifteen miles by the main road. By
Colenso was General Buller with his army 35,000 strong. In Ladysmith
was General White with his army 12,000 strong. Between these two armies
was General Botha with his army less than 6,000 strong, including the
investment forces south of Ladysmith. General Botha had, all told, ten
guns. The two British forces had 150 guns. If, when Buller attacked
at Colenso, December 15th, White had moved out with his whole forces
to the south and attacked at the same time, the Boers would have been
swamped in a few hours, and most of them would have been captured, for
there was no way out of it except by Ladysmith, and, besides, they
would have lost all their guns. On January 24th, the same conditions
prevailed, except that there were no mountains between Ladysmith and
Spion Kop, and the intervening distance was about eighteen miles.
Spion Kop is plainly visible from all parts around Ladysmith. The Boer
force on the west side of Ladysmith was less than 1,000 strong. Had
General White moved out with his entire force and fifty guns, he could
have marched to Spion Kop almost without interruption. What did he do
on both occasions when he should have been up and doing, if he wished
to join Buller, see Ladysmith relieved, and the Boer forces captured
and destroyed? Why, he and his 12,000 men simply lay in their holes
and silently prayed for Buller's success. When all the conditions are
considered, it must be plain to the most simple minded that General
White deserved to be forever buried in utter disgrace, but, instead, he
was congratulated, promoted and dined by his queen for his gallantry
and success in nearly starving to death some 15,000 soldiers, women and
children in Ladysmith. On both of these memorable days the Boers around
Ladysmith were all on needles and pins, for they fully expected White
and his army to move out, and they knew that if he did it would be
impossible for them to prevent a union with Buller, and the consequent
destruction of the Boer forces in Natal.

While General Botha was fighting the Battles of Colenso and Spion Kop,
Commandant-General Joubert remained at his headquarters by Ladysmith,
and on the first of these occasions I remember hearing him say: "No,
General White will not make any attempt to unite with General Buller,
because he has been defeated so often, that both he and his men are
thoroughly cowed and will be satisfied to remain concealed, and
fervently hope for Buller's success." As it turned out, he proved to be
perfectly correct in his surmises.

About ten days after Spion Kop, February 5th, another attempt was
made to break through our lines at Vaal Krantz, by about 3,500 men
and several batteries. To oppose these was General Viljoen with less
than 100 men. An exciting, hot fight ensued, and, wonderful to say,
the English forces retired, recrossed the river, and made no further
attempt to accomplish anything in the vicinity of Spion Kop. During the
fight General Viljoen with two or three men took a desperate chance to
save a pom-pom from capture. Under a terrific rifle fire, they hauled
the pom-pom across a long flat, and then turned it on the English with
great effect. Neither he, nor his men, nor any of the horses were
touched, yet all passed through a perfect shower of bullets. In this
fight at Vaal Krantz, the Irish Brigade lost three of its bravest,
noblest and most patriotic men: Pat Fahey, Mat Brennen and Jim Lasso.
They fell as the most advanced men, and they will ever be remembered
most affectionately by the Irish boys.


Now I come to the final struggle at Ladysmith, when that awful
hole was relieved, and the Boer forces retreated to the Biggarsberg
Mountains, eighteen miles back on the road to Dundee.

To meet Buller, General Botha withdrew all his forces from Spion Kop
and vicinity, and put them in their old positions in front of Colenso.
As to whether General Buller really discovered that Langwani Hill was
the key to our positions, or tumbled on to it by accident, I do not
know, but, certain it was, that he was intent on getting possession
of this hill, by making a flank attack on our extreme left. Langwani
Hill was on Buller's side of the river, and once our left was turned,
we could no longer hold it. It was not till February 18th that General
Buller brought fifteen or sixteen batteries to play upon the Boer
positions. It would prove tedious to describe the ten days of terrible
fighting that preceded the relief of Ladysmith; so I will simply speak
of it in a general way.

Buller finally succeeded in turning the Boers' left, and so Langwani
Hill was abandoned, but not until the English had suffered severely.
At Pieters Hill, Groblers Kloof, and the neighboring hills where the
Boers were well placed by General Botha, the hardest fighting took
place. In the struggle to force the Boers from their positions, the
English were driven back repeatedly to the river, although their
numbers were about twenty-five to one against ours. Their dead and
wounded ran well into the hundreds at each attempt, and on two or
three occasions were allowed to remain as they had fallen on the open
veld, during the whole night, to suffer and die. The English have
little or no regard for their dead and wounded, as I will in time to
come show. In all these advances the English shells were constantly
bursting among their own men and were directly responsible for many of
their own dead and wounded. Three Irish regiments were always placed in
front, and these were supported by English regiments who kept safely
in the background. As on previous occasions, some Irish regiments had
surrendered after making a slight resistance. I believe, and hundreds
of others believe, that the English deliberately and intentionally made
the "mistake" of firing their shells into the Irish regiments, to drive
them on and force them to take the entrenched positions from the Boers.
This was not the first time, nor was it the last time that they made
a mistake of this kind, and in every case it was the Irish who were
chosen to suffer. Twice during these first five days of fighting, the
good General Botha had granted an armistice to Buller to be used in
caring for his dead and wounded, but these were wofully neglected and
advantage taken to make better dispositions of his troops.

It is just as much of a latter-day Englishman's nature to be
treacherous as it is for an American Indian to be suspicious. Every
repulse was followed on the next day by another advance. The heavy
lyddite shells kept continually pounding the hills, tearing off their
very tops and filling the air with smoke and stones; yet the brave
Boers remained unmoved in their positions, and kept up their deadly
fire on the advancing Irish regiments. Each day's work was practically
a repetition of the preceding one, until the 27th of February, when
there was a great change. The Boers had now lain in the mud and water
that half filled their trenches and, without relief and without
food, fought incessantly for ten days till, being weary and worn and
completely exhausted, they reluctantly left their positions and began
their retreat.

The famous Krugersdorp Commando under Kemp held Pieter's Hill to the
very last moment, and no one about Ladysmith, be he Boer or English,
will ever forget the wonderful stand made by those 400 patriots against
Buller's whole army and 100 guns. It is perfectly certain that every
man of them accounted for at least one Tommie before the final retreat.

On the 28th, Ladysmith was relieved, and the Boers went back to the
Biggarsberg Mountains. General White in Ladysmith could plainly see
a line of wagons fifteen miles long, yet he made no move to delay or
capture them. Worn out and exhausted as the Boers really were, I do not
believe that Buller would have been successful in relieving Ladysmith
had they not received the report of General Cronje's surrender at
Paardeberg on the 27th. This news was deeply felt, and it so thoroughly
discouraged the Boers that they lost heart and left positions without
orders, which they could have easily continued to hold. To relieve
General White and his 12,000 skeletons, General Buller had exploded
hundreds of tons of Mr. Chamberlain's lyddite and lost as many men
as he succeeded in relieving. Mr. Chamberlain was a big winner, the
English heavy losers, and the Tugela Valley is now renowned as an Irish
graveyard. A few more wars like the South African would settle all of
Ireland's many troubles, because the Irish would all be laid under the
sod. How strange it is that a people who have fought against England's
tyranny for centuries to secure their freedom, and are still fighting
for the same end, will voluntarily join with their old and detested
oppressor to deprive another people of their liberty, knowing, too, as
they must, that in every instance they weaken themselves and strengthen
their old enemy.

Yet, this is exactly what the Irish have done, and I have no sympathy
for those who are to-day sleeping in the Tugela Valley as a result of
their own voluntary acts.

During a terrific rain storm on the night of the 27th, and in the very
eyes of Buller's army on one side and White's on the other, our Irish
boys were the chief instruments in pulling down Long Tom from the top
of Bulwana Kop. It was fearful and exasperating work, and it was not
until two o'clock in the morning that our large gun safely landed at
the foot of the kop and started on its way to Elandslaagte. General
Botha was near at hand with some 300 or 400 men, but he could have
offered little or no resistance had an attempt been made to capture the

Our hundreds of wagons, with all our cannon and maxims, were hauled
through heavy mud and across an open flat for twenty miles, and safely
landed in the Biggarsberg Mountains, and that, too, in the very
presence and before the eyes of an English army of 45,000 trained
officers and men, who never moved an inch in our direction.

Quite a cavalry force came out of Ladysmith, but when a few of the
Irish boys opened fire on them, they all turned and fled back to town.
The English should have captured all our wagons and cannon, and would
have done it, too, had they known anything about their business.
Buller and White together could have easily trained 150 cannon on us
and forced us to abandon everything, but they seemed satisfied to stop
just where they were, and, no doubt, congratulated themselves that the
Boers had escaped without doing them further damage. Some time before
the relief of Ladysmith, the Free State Commandos had left and gone to
meet Lord Roberts, who was advancing towards Bloemfontein; so it was
only the Transvaal Commandos who took up positions in the Biggarsberg
Mountain passes. As the English had a big force on the Tugela River,
about eighteen miles in front of Helpmakaar, the Irish Brigade was
ordered to go to Helpmakaar and hold them back. Should the English get
hold of this place, our positions in the Biggarsberg would no longer be
tenable, for the line of retreat to Laing's Nek would then be seriously
threatened. We found the Piet Retief Commando there, but about four
miles behind the position it should have occupied. We learned, on
questioning the officers, that it was too dangerous a place for Piet
Retief men, and they would not risk a stand there. We then went and had
a look for ourselves, and we decided that 200 men in the position could
easily prove a match for any 5000 Englishmen who might come, so we were
satisfied to try our luck. It was the strongest position for defence
that I had yet seen, for it was impossible to flank it; and to take it,
the attacking force had to come along one road, and the distance from
the foot of this steep mountain to the top was at least two miles. The
English knew that position and that mountain, and never made any effort
to take it during our month's residence there.

In the month of April, I received word from Pretoria that about 1,000
Irish and Irish-Americans had arrived at Delagoa Bay, on their way to
join my brigade. I was in great glee on receiving this long expected
news, and lost no time in going to Pretoria, not only to meet them,
but to prepare for them a red hot time with the English. I arranged
with the President and Executive Council, to recall the brigade from
Helpmakaar, bring it to Elandsfontein, where I would join it with
something like a thousand Irish-Americans, and all proceed to Fourteen
Streams, where I knew there would be some interesting fighting. Having
done this, I at once took the train to Middleburg where I would meet
the good boys from free America. I was thoroughly convinced that the
Irish and Irish-Americans were intent on doing something good for
down-trodden Ireland by proving that England's difficulty was Ireland's
opportunity. My hopes were high, and all sort of plans and schemes were
passing through my mind when the steam whistle announced that I was in
Middleburg. Here I found that the long expected boys would arrive on
the following morning. The whole town learned of their coming, and all
turned out to greet them. Finally came what I at first supposed to be
the advance guard, the American Ambulance Corps of fifty-eight men from
Chicago and Massachusetts. They were warmly received with the shouts
and hurrahs of the assembled multitude. When I found time to breathe
I asked when the fighters would arrive. The answer was "We are the
fighters! No more coming that we know off." Now I felt so thoroughly
disappointed that I made up my mind to drop dead on the spot, but was
saved from such a terrible ordeal by the idea suddenly occurring to me
that possibly others would soon follow. I long lived in hope, but only
to be disappointed in the end, for no more ever came.

Later on I will give the reasons, for I have since learned just what
the trouble was. I was genuinely glad to see the Irish boys, and from
them learned that it was through the efforts of my trusted old Arizona
friend, Colonel John F. Finerty, of Chicago, and my new and most highly
esteemed friend, Patrick J. Judge, of Holyoke, Mass., that sufficient
money was raised by private subscriptions to equip thoroughly the
Ambulance Corps of fifty-eight men and land them in the Transvaal.

It was not the fault of those two patriotic Irishmen that 100,000
Irish and Irish-Americans were not sent to South Africa to assist that
little handful of Boer patriots in their struggle with the mighty
British Empire for liberty and independence. In due time I will put
the fault just where it belongs. The Boers had enough ambulance corps,
so the Chicago and Massachusetts boys removed their red cross chevrons
and, after being well equipped, as fighting men, we all went to
Johannesburg to join the boys of the old brigade who had just arrived
from Helpmakaar. Having met, what a rollicking, joyful good time all
these jolly Irish boys had!



Our orders for Fourteen Streams were countermanded and we were
instructed to proceed to Brandfort in the Free State. We took the train
without delay and went on our way rejoicing. On reaching Smaldeel, a
small station thirty miles from Brandfort, we were ordered to stop and
wait for instructions; so we pitched our camp and put everything in
readiness for a hot time, for we learned that Lord Roberts and his army
of 90,000 men were advancing from Bloemfontein. Before our new arrivals
receive their baptismal fire I will relate what had taken place in the
Free State while we were engaged at Ladysmith.

[Illustration: GENERAL LORD ROBERTS, F.M. Notorious for destroying
women and children and for helplessness when confronted with an armed

During the month of November while we were in daily skirmishes with
the English, who were trying to find a way of escape, there was heavy
fighting south of Kimberley. Unfortunately we had there one thoroughly
incompetent commander, General Prinsloo, of the Free State. General
Prinsloo had most excellent commandants and veldcornets, any one of
whom would have made every fight a victory in those parts. General de
la Rey was with Prinsloo, but the latter had higher rank, much to
our regret. General de la Rey is a remarkable man and the Napoleon of
the South African War. In due time I will give a short account of this
great and good man and the deeds he accomplished.

Generals Prinsloo and de la Rey, with their combined force of some
2,000 men and, I think, two guns and two maxim Nordenfelts, were
attacked on November 23rd by Lord Methuen with a force of 10,000 to
12,000 men and two or three batteries, together with several maxims. Of
course Lord Methuen had an overwhelming force as compared to that of
the Boers, yet, had Prinsloo acted with General de la Rey, the British
would have suffered a severe defeat.

Prinsloo left his position just at the moment of victory, and, by so
doing, came near getting General de la Rey and his men captured. They
had actually to fight their way out. The republican forces fell back
to Rooilaagte in the direction of Kimberley. Here the burghers to some
extent fortified themselves, and awaited the arrival of Methuen. He,
with his re-enforced army appeared and opened up their batteries on
the Boer positions in the early morn of November 25th. A very hard and
bloody battle was fought here, and it was Prinsloo again who gave way
at the wrong moment and allowed Methuen to credit himself with another
victory. Prinsloo was always bent on giving way just at the wrong
time, much to the disappointment and disgust of General de la Rey,
and this, too, in the face of the fact that General de la Rey always
took the brunt and did the hardest fighting. The world now has read
Methuen's reports of these fights and the Boer reports too, so it is
only necessary for me to say that the former's losses were exceedingly
heavy, while those of the latter were exceedingly small. Judging by
the losses, Methuen was badly defeated in both instances, but an
English officer does not care how many men are shot dead so long as
he does not lose a gun or have to retreat. To show the true character
of this lordly Methuen, I will say that every low and beastly epithet
his vulgar imagination could invent, he applied to the enemy, that he
might excuse himself for shooting some twenty or thirty Boers, some of
them wounded, whom he had captured. Of course he must add another lie,
English-like, by claiming the abuse of the white flag.

Now the time was ripe for the Boers to begin to shoot in retaliation
the British officers and soldiers at Pretoria, who were spending their
time playing football, etc. But the Boer is strictly governed by
his religion, and the whole world could not induce him to resort to
retaliation under any circumstances. I longed to be in chief command
just for a few hours, but, fortunately for many British, I was not.
The Boers were convinced that Lord Methuen would receive his punishment
on the Day of Judgment, and I was just as thoroughly convinced that I
did not believe in such long postponements in dealing with Englishmen.

The Boers fell back from Rooilaagte to Modder River, not many miles
from Kimberley. Here Generals Prinsloo and de la Rey were re-enforced
by the long expected General Piet Cronje, with about 500 men. He had
come all the way from Mafeking on the western border of the Transvaal,
but, tired as he and his men were, they were all ready and game for
fight. Before Cronje's arrival, General de la Rey had practically
assumed command over General Prinsloo, and placed the Boer forces in
position on the Modder River to give Methuen and his army another
fight. On his arrival, General Cronje, being known to be the best
fighter in the land, was given command over all the Boer forces. He
looked over the ground and having thoroughly approved in every detail
the dispositions of the men that General de la Rey had made, he calmly
awaited the arrival of Methuen. Lord Methuen will never forget the
battle of Modder River, and hundreds of his men will never remember it.
The English were then and are now as afraid of General Cronje, as a
baboon is of a snake, and I might say here, that if you bring a baboon
in contact with a snake, dead or alive, and prevent him from running
away, he will actually have a spasm. Methuen did not find out, however,
until it was too late, that Cronje was there, for otherwise he would
have asked for something like 20,000 men additional. Finally the 28th
of November came, and there was Methuen and his army.

After carrying out his usual program of bombarding for several hours,
Methuen advanced his lines, and the rifle firing began. After hours of
terrific fighting, during which Cronje and de la Rey had unmercifully
slaughtered, and in the end driven back the English, and during which
time the Free Staters, too, had covered themselves with glory, and just
at the moment when a great victory was really won, General Prinsloo
suddenly withdrew his men and allowed the English to turn his flank. He
seemed to be afraid to win a victory, and it is a marvel that General
Cronje or General de la Rey did not shoot him or drive him to his home
and put one of his thoroughly competent commandants in his place. The
result of this sudden withdrawal was that the Boer forces had to fall
back, and now we find them at Magersfontein.

_As Methuen had made but slow progress in killing Boers in honorable
fight on the battlefield, he now gave way to his savage inclination and
had some twenty or thirty wounded Boers whom he found in a farmhouse
near the battlefield, deliberately shot in cold blood._ Of course
Methuen had seen his men fall by the hundred, and no doubt he was
highly enraged at the sight, but it requires a brute to deliberately
take the lives of helpless, wounded men, and, in my experience with
the brute creation, which is considerable, I am sure that there are
exceedingly few brutes that would do such a thing. Even the sneaking
hyena would refrain unless he were dying of hunger. Now Lord Methuen
had learned that Cronje was on deck, and in the best of health, so he
called for all the re-enforcements at hand and brought up his decimated
force to something like 15,000 men and six batteries. Cronje was lucky
too, and increased his force to something more than 4,000, but not much
more. Methuen's were all trained and tried men, and, as the English
would put it, invincible; Cronje had his ordinary farmers who knew
nothing whatever about military training. No doubt Methuen did lots of
thinking, but I do not believe he called any council of war, because
he is too conceited and arrogant to do such a thing. He who deigns to
make a suggestion to a lord is very liable to be sent away and told to
attend to his own business. Although he is supremely arrogant, I think
he did some shaking in his boots because he knew that Cronje was in
front. For several days after his terrible smashup on Modder River,
Methuen spent his time in recuperating and awaiting re-enforcements.
Cronje and de la Rey spent their time in preparing for a fight at
Magersfontein. In front of the ridge on which they concealed their
small guns and maxims they put the Boers to work digging a trench.
The trench being finished, it was so well concealed that the English
could not see it. They knew that this scheme would work, because
Methuen would not think of sending out any reconnoitring parties to
find out just how the Boers were to make their fight. He would tell
you that it was unnecessary because he had a balloon, and from that
balloon he could see the Boers far behind their actual, but unknown to
him position. The Boers were not in the trenches by day, but were far
behind them. At night you could find everyone of them there, and in
perfect readiness for battle.



At last the day came. It was Dec. 10th when Methuen and his big army
came up and without delay began with their usual introduction, by
turning six batteries upon the supposed position of the Boer force.
For two days this formidable array of field and lyddite guns continued
to roar and keep the very heavens filled with heavy steel shells that
tore up the earth generally. No reply was sent back from any part of
Cronje's lines, so Lord Methuen alone can lay claim to making all that
deafening noise that so frightened birds and beasts during the 10th
and 11th; but when you say noise, you have the sum total of the work
accomplished by his vigorous display of fireworks. It was in the very
early morning of the 12th, that Lord Methuen decided that the fearful
Cronje and his "dirty" Boers were either demolished or so terribly
demoralized that they had fled for safety miles to their rear, because
he had not heard a murmur from them for two days. Any man with a little
grain of sense would, at least at this early hour in the morning, have
sent in advance a well extended line of skirmishers to find out if the
enemy were near at hand or had actually fled. No; this way of doing
business would never meet with the approval of an English lord who had,
by the accident of birth, inherited the brains of all past generations
in his family line; so he moved his lines forward in close order.

When Methuen's lines arrived within about seventy-five yards of
Cronje's trenches, the demolished or absconded "dirty" Boers sent a
greeting in the form of a long, dazzling line of fire, which instantly
died away, and with it General Wauchope and almost his entire Black
Watch, the crack regiment of the English army. Never in all history
was such a bloody and disastrous battle fought and won in such a short
time. Methuen's men, one and all, regardless of orders or order, fled
as fast as their legs could carry them, and the Boers did not fail to
apply the whip and spur at every stride they made. Although the battle
was now virtually over, yet some hard fighting took place during the
day. Methuen could not reconcile himself to his most disastrous and
disgraceful defeat at the hands of such a small force of Boers, so
spent the greater part of the day in losing more before he finely
concluded that he would have to return to his old camp on Modder River.

It is not my purpose to give long descriptions of battles in this
narrative, for I know they are tiresome, but, painful to me as it may
be, I must say something of that little band of Scandinavians who were
with Cronje in that great victory. I knew personally almost every one
of that band of sixty men. The Scandinavian is quiet, gentlemanly,
and the most tractable soldier in camp, but the most daring, reckless
and fearless soldier I have ever seen, when it comes to fighting. Not
satisfied with the early morning's work, this little body moved out, on
its own account, after the sun was well up, and deliberately attacked
Methuen's army. They actually engaged a force of at least fifteen to
one against them, and fought till they were practically exterminated as
a body. Sure it is that each one of that reckless little band accounted
for at least one Englishman before he forfeited his own life. Having
practically wiped them out, the English set to work to rob and strip
them, and punch their bodies full of holes. General Cronje captured
a small bunch of prisoners during the day, but sent them to Pretoria
to play football. Early in the afternoon, Methuen, having satisfied
himself that he had murdered enough of his own men, decided to retreat,
and did so, but at a much more rapid pace than he had expected, for
now Cronje's guns were turned upon him, and induced him to move more
rapidly, and quickly vanish in the distance. Here was a fearful
slaughter of English, the greatest so far during the war, but only
because this great battle was fought just three days before that of
Colenso, near Ladysmith, where General Louis Botha so terribly defeated
General Buller and his fine army.

After Lord Methuen reached his old camp on Modder River, I have an idea
that he did some really hard thinking, for he must make a report, and
in that report he must show that his defeat was a victory, because a
lord cannot be defeated. Unfortunately, I have never seen his report,
but it is safe to conclude that he saw the Boers in overwhelming
numbers and that some Colonial had proved traitor to him and led him
into an ambush. I merely mention this as a guess, because it is the
usual method adopted by the British officer to hide his incapacity.
Methuen's soldiers are not through to this day damning him for his
conduct in this battle, but we all know that soldiers' words are but
naught in England when a lord speaks. It is an awful shame, but very

Methuen returned to his old camp fully convinced that he had had
enough. He had no desire to try his luck again against Cronje and he
never did. Cronje stopped just where he was for several weeks, looking
for another advance of Methuen, or some other English army. He did not
care how many came, for he was there to fight. I must say this about
General Cronje that he may be thoroughly understood. He is stubbornness
itself, will take advice from no one, is absolutely fearless, and
constantly craves a fight with the English. I do not believe the
world's history can show his equal as a commandant, but as a general he
is an absolute failure. He must have some one over him, and under no
circumstances must he be allowed to command. Order him to take a kopje,
and he is sure to take it. Order him to hold a position, and he is sure
to hold it. Order him to retreat, and he will do it. But put him in
supreme command, and the combined influence of the immortal gods could
not induce him to retreat, it matters not what the odds against him,
or what the circumstances might be. Every drop of blood that courses
through his body literally burns with patriotism, and of the whole
Africander race I believe that General Piet Cronje would be the first
to step forward and lay down his life for the freedom and independence
of his people.

But I must say of General Cronje that he is a man wrapped up in his own
conceit. He considered himself the only great fighter in South Africa,
and, when captured, he is the very man to say that the Boers should
surrender because the great Cronje can no longer lead them. In this
respect he is a fool, but fools often become wise men by experience. If
I should hear that General Cronje was condemning his fellow countrymen
for prolonging the war after his capture, I should not be surprised,
because he is so eaten up with his own importance.

Such is the man, General Piet Cronje, and may he live long, and have,
as a commandant, one more crack at the British, and then I think all
will be well for South Africa!

After the Battle of Magersfontein, General de la Rey was sent to
Colesberg to take command of the forces against General French. General
Piet De Wet and General Schoeman had been fighting French daily, and
had been gradually driven back to their strong defensive position at
Colesberg. The Boer forces were about 2,500 strong, but were divided
into small commands in order to guard a wide extent of country. General
French had only 15,000 men and thirty guns, so he made but small
progress in his advance on Colesberg. The Boers hotly contested every
inch of ground, and almost every one of the little commands did some
daring work. Early in January, General de la Rey arrived and at once
assumed command. Hot skirmishes were now the general order of the day
all along the lines, and on January 25th, west of Colesberg, General
de la Rey had made it so warm for him, that, instead of continuing
to advance, General French changed his mind and retreated. De la Rey
followed him, but never came in touch with him again because he had
left for Cape Town. It seems that after the Battle of Magersfontein,
Lord Roberts became much frightened at the presence of Cronje and
called for help.

French was ordered to report to him at once, and left early in January
to help Roberts out of his troubles. General Clements took French's
place, but could do no better than his predecessor against de la Rey.
On February 11th, the Battle of Slingersfontein was fought. It lasted
for many hours and was stubbornly contested by both sides, but in the
end de la Rey proved too much for him, and General Clements fled to
Arundel, forgetting to take his camp with him. The burghers were hungry
and thirsty and this camp amply satisfied all their wants. General de
la Rey was now directed to return to the Modder River and co-operate
with General Cronje against General Roberts and his mighty army. During
his short period of operating about Colesberg he had captured some 500
prisoners, driven French's army back and made good his record of never
having been defeated.

In a few weeks after Magersfontein, General Cronje saw that the
British were appearing in thousands in all directions, and he finally
made up his mind to move his little command to Paardeberg. His very
stubbornness prevented his moving earlier, but he was satisfied. He
saw that he was being gradually but surely surrounded by an enormous
army, yet he never quailed. He was begged by such patriots and great
and competent generals as Christian De Wet, de la Rey, Phillip Botha
and even Com.-Gen. Joubert, of the Transvaal, to get out of the ring
nearly completed about him while he had an opportunity. He utterly
ignored all of them, practically told them to go to Hades, and silenced
them, for he was there to fight, and was going to fight. He did fight,
and can history show anything to compare with it?

[Illustration: GENERAL LORD KITCHENER. One who believes that the only
way to establish permanent peace in South Africa is to destroy the Boer
women and children.]

I am not going into the details of this nine days' fight, but will give
the main features and the result. Here was a common, ordinary farmer,
without any military training or education, in command of a little
more than 4,000 equally untrained farmers, and four or five old Krupp
guns. With him were a great number of refugee Boer women and children,
who had come to him for protection against the insults and outrages of
the British soldiery. Sad to relate, this is the actual truth, yet we
still hear Anglo-Americans speaking of the civilized English. Opposed
to him was the very flower of the English Empire. There were Lord
Roberts, Lord Kitchener, General Kelly-Kenny, that able commander,
Hector MacDonald, General French and many other stars of the British
army. Altogether they had some 50,000 men around General Cronje. These
men were all tried military men, trained and educated. Besides, Lord
Roberts had 120 cannon, field guns and lyddite guns. The British may
tell you that there were mountains there higher than Mount Everest, but
believe me, there are no mountains there whatever. General Cronje and
his little band of patriots were on the banks of the Modder River,
where infantry, cavalry and artillery could manoeuvre without any
difficulty. It was, I think, on the 18th of February that Roberts began
with all his guns to bombard Cronje. Almost continually for nine days,
120 cannon were busy trying to destroy that little band of patriots.
Once Lord Kitchener thought he would play a Khartoum act. He recalled
the time when he charged upon and murdered some 10,000 to 15,000
unarmed negroes at Khartoum, and saw no reason why he could not do the
same thing with 4,000 Boers. He forgot that the negroes were armed
only with sticks, while the Boers had mausers. He advanced boldly, had
hundreds and hundreds of his men slaughtered, and then fled as rapidly
as he could. After the battle had been raging for two or three days,
General Cronje asked for an armistice to bury his dead. Lord Roberts
positively refused. During the whole war the Boers never once denied
the English an armistice for that purpose, although they knew that
the English, in every instance, took advantage of it to strengthen
their position. There is a wide difference between a Boer savage and
a civilized Englishman. Give me the former, but deliver me from the

As Roberts had captured Cronje's ambulance wagons and would not
allow any doctor to go and attend to his wounded, and as he was not
permitted to bury his dead, of course, the condition of the camp
became such that the women and children could not endure it; and the
Boers too were suffering on account of it, so Cronje's commandants
and veldcornets forced him to hoist the white flag on February 27th.
The battle was over and Lord Roberts had Cronje and his 4,000 men
as prisoners of war. No doubt General Cronje would have been shot
had there not been about 750 British officers and 4,000 soldiers as
prisoners of war in Pretoria. This alone saved the old patriot's life,
and we all know it.

On receiving the first news of the capture of the great Cronje and his
army by the wonderful Lord Roberts, Commander-in-Chief, A.B.C.D.E.,
etc., all London took a holiday, went crazy mad, and the papers put
out their posters showing that Cronje with 15,000 or 20,000 or 30,000
"dirty" Boers had been captured. When they finally learned that Cronje
had only 4,000 men against Lord Robert's big army, all slunk their
heads and retired to their homes. What Lord Roberts considered his
greatest victory the world at large considered his greatest defeat.

What the English losses were we do not know, and I know that the
English people do not know either, for Mr. Chamberlain says that the
death lists are not yet completed. If the complete returns are ever
made known, I think we shall see that Roberts had as many men put out
of action as Cronje had in his command. General Cronje had about
seventy men killed and about three times that number wounded.

I will now go to Stormberg and Aliwal North, the two really most
important points on the Free State border, for here was the easy and
natural way for the English to reach Bloemfontein.

At the beginning of the war the English occupied and well fortified
Stormberg, and this was the only sensible thing they did. After a
few weeks occupation, they, for some reason unknown to me, abandoned
this position and fell back to Molteno. Of course the Boers lost no
time in taking possession of the good work the English had done and
abandoned. Generals Olivier and Grobler were there, and old General
Hendrik Schoeman was near at hand. Schoeman was a fraud and afterwards
joined the English to be blown up by a supposed empty lyddite shell in
his home in Pretoria while engaged in a plot with others against his
people. That empty shell had a little lyddite caked in the bottom, and
Schoeman, having struck a match and lighted his pipe, threw the still
burning match into the empty shell. An explosion followed, tearing out
the side of the building, killing Schoeman, another traitor by the name
of Van Der Merwe, and Schoeman's daughter, and seriously wounding old
man Viljoen. This proves that it is a good thing for traitors to make
useful souvenirs of empty lyddite shells. It was a source of regret to
all, however, that Miss Schoeman should have entered the room just as
the explosion took place, and lost her life.

Both Grobler and Olivier were good officers and did good work. The
total Boer force was less than a thousand with which they had to oppose
General Gatacre and 3,000 men. Besides, Gatacre had six or eight
cannon, as well as several maxims. Few shots were fired by either
side until the 10th of December, when General Gatacre attacked. The
fighting was very hot while it lasted, but it did not continue long
before Gatacre saw his little army cut into pieces, and in a rapid and
disorderly retreat to Molteno. In addition to his severe loss in dead
and wounded, two cannon and over 600 of his men were taken. Before this
battle all the English and Colonial papers were full of the wonderful
deeds and the great capacity of this distinguished soldier, General
Gatacre, and it was certain that he would make a skip to Stormberg and
then a jump and land in Bloemfontein, leaving nothing but dead Boers
behind him. The British officer is a wonderful genius on paper, but a
very weak sister on the battlefield. General Gatacre did a great deal
in this district towards the ultimate independence of South Africa; for
the number of men he arrested, charged as spies and then shot, is very
great, and all their names are dearly cherished in the hearts of the
Africanders. This battle finished the great Gatacre; at any rate, we
never heard of him again during the war.



Now we will go to the western border of the Transvaal and see what has
been done at Mafeking. No one ever displayed any interest in Mafeking,
yet some skirmishing and letter writing was going on daily. General
Snyman commanded the Boers and Baden-Powell the English. Mafeking is
situated in an open flat dotted with a few small hills here and there.
Baden-Powell dug holes and put his men and some women in them. They
lived like prairie dogs. He had three or four years' supply of good
ammunition, and there was no reason why he should not have been happy
and contented. He laid big mines, but they never caught any one. He
loaded cars with dynamite and tried to explode them among the Boers,
but he always failed. He would make bold attacks, lose a lot of men,
then run back, crawl into his hole, and write a long letter complaining
of ill-treatment. So it went on from day to day until the place was
relieved. Captain Eloff had the place taken once, but old Snyman failed
to come up with his 300 men, so the brave Eloff was left alone and
captured. Snyman had given his solemn word to Eloff that he would not
fail him.

[Illustration: GENERAL DE WET]

Of all of the many utterly worthless generals the Boers had at the
beginning of the war, I am sure that Snyman was the worst, and I am not
certain that he would be a success at herding sheep. After Baden-Powell
was released from Mafeking, we heard but little more about him as a
fighting man. Judging by the volume of insane letters that he wrote
while imprisoned, it is easy to conclude that he had at least two
screws loose in his head. Many of the constabulary police we captured
told us that although Baden-Powell was nominally in command, yet he
never exercised any authority over them.

"Every little while," they said, "he would have to go home for private
treatment because there was something wrong about his head." I fully
believe this, for the papers would announce his departure for London
on account of sickness, and, after a three or four months' absence we
would see him in some of the London illustrated papers togged up in
great style, with a huge Texas sombrero on his head, the loose flowing
cowboy shirt, trousers to match, and a very tall pair of top boots.
Then it was that he intended to return. To be shot--with a camera--is
his greatest delight, and to write foolish letters is his hobby.

After all, General Baden-Powell, there were worse specimens than you
in the English army during the war, and there are still many worse
specimens in that same army to-day, many of whom hold higher rank
than you. When I say that you have two screws loose in your head,
I may be doing you a good service in the eyes of humanity, for you
know that you armed several hundred Kaffirs and had them with you in
Mafeking, and that several hundred of the British-armed Kaffirs outside
of Mafeking murdered many old Boer men, women and children in their
homes, who took no part in the war. No sane man, no honorable man, no
true soldier would resort to such beastly methods to outdo his ten-fold
weaker foe. In fact nobody but a Britisher would be guilty of such
infamous conduct. Colonel Plumer with his mixed command of regulars
and volunteers north of Mafeking and on the northern boundary of the
Transvaal came so near doing nothing, that I will pass him by and give
some of the reasons why the Boers laid siege to Ladysmith, Kimberley
and Mafeking. I admit that I cannot give a good one, for I don't
believe there is one. However, the Boer officers generally thought
it the best thing to do. Commandant-General Joubert told me that he
thought that by holding Ladysmith closely invested, General White would
soon consent to a surrender, and thereby save much bloodshed. The idea
of killing people was repulsive to him, and, furthermore, he could see
no reason for it. We could easily have gone to Maritzburg and then
to Durban before Buller arrived, and at the same time held General
White's line of communication. This would actually have put General
White in a worse predicament than he was in at Ladysmith. He could have
done nothing, for all bridges and the railway behind would be destroyed
and our total force was as large as his by the fifth of November. Once
the Boers had seized Maritzburg, General White could have done nothing.
It was all in our hands, and besides we would have received several
thousand recruits from the Natal Boers. For no other reason except to
save life was Ladysmith besieged.

Kimberley could have easily been taken, but here another factor came
in. To take the place, all the Boers had to do was to destroy De Aar
Junction, the supply depot there, and the branch line to Kimberley.
Having done this, the next step was to proceed on the Cape Railway
line and destroy it. The English could have done nothing without these
lines, and Kimberley would have fallen without one shot being fired.
But President Steyn prevented this because it put the Dutch Cape
Ministry in a bad dilemma. This Ministry was friendly to the Boers and
no doubt wished them every success, but had the Boers proceeded as I
have suggested, the British Government would have charged the Ministry
with treasonable conduct. So De Aar Junction and all the railway lines
were allowed to remain in good order for the use of Lord Roberts and
his army. The Boers in their every act were always swayed by their
love of justice and humanity, and were always ready to sacrifice
themselves in order to do good to others. It was a vital mistake they
made, and I repeatedly told them so, because they knew, and I knew,
that the liberty and independence of their land were at stake. I used
to beg General Joubert to throw the whole force of the Boers in the
Free State into Cape Colony and destroy all bridges and railway lines,
for I knew, if this was done, we would get 15,000 or 20,000 recruits in
Cape Colony, and the English could never then push their way across the
Orange River. But the good, humane General Joubert would never consent
to do anything that might cause trouble for his friends in Cape Town. I
respected him for the stand he took; in fact, I admired and loved him
for it; but it was not business in dealing with such an unscrupulous
enemy as Great Britain.

Ladysmith and Kimberley were practically relieved on the same day,
February 27th, and a few days afterwards followed the relief of
Mafeking. To lay siege to Mafeking was positively foolish, and had
the Boers allowed General Baden-Powell to come out, why, they would
have had him and all his men in Pretoria for their Christmas dinner at
President Kruger's expense. Mafeking was of little or no importance to
either party in the war, so long as the English were not permitted to
cross the Orange River, and they never could have crossed or reached
the Orange River if all the bridges and railways in Cape Colony had
been destroyed. The Karoo, a wide desert, must first be crossed, and no
large army would dare make the venture of crossing.

The way the English managed their transportation, and the food they
furnished to the soldier, would have sufficed to kill half the army.
Had the Boers of the Free State combined and entered Cape Colony,
General Buller would have given up all hope of relieving Ladysmith,
and General White would have been a prisoner of war. What a fatal,
fatal mistake it was to give so much consideration to the personal
feelings of others, when the very life of the land was at stake! There
were so many ways by which the Boers could have beaten the English
and maintained the independence of the two little Republics, that it
is positively painful for me to think or write about the incidents
and outcome of the war. I hope with all my heart that the Boers in
the future will remember and never forget that it is absolutely
impossible for religion and humanity to contend successfully against
unscrupulousness and treachery in this civilized age of the twentieth
century. If they will only remember this, and act accordingly, the day
is not far distant when they will drive the British from South Africa's
shores, and the Africander race will, for the first time in 250 years,
breathe the air of permanent peace and be recognized by all the
nations of the earth as a free and independent people, in a land over
which will wave the Africander flag to the end of time.

In the last days of March General De Wet scored another victory against
a far superior force under the command of General Broadwood. It was
at Sanna's Post that General De Wet placed his 300 men in the bed of
Koorn Spruit on both sides of the road crossing, and gave orders that
not a shot was to be fired until he gave the command. The previous
day he had directed Generals P. Cronje, J.B. Wessels, C.L. Froneman
and Piet De Wet with some 1,100 burghers and four guns, to proceed to
the east side of the Modder River, and bombard Sanna's Post as soon
as it was light on the following morning. This would drive General
Broadwood, his 2,000 men and nine guns, by him and his men concealed
in the Koorn Spruit, for this was directly on their line of retreat to
Bloemfontein. When General De Wet gave these orders, General Broadwood
was at Thaba'Nchu but, to his surprise, he, General Broadwood, after it
became dark moved his force to the Bloemfontein Water Works in the very
presence of General De Wet and his men concealed in the Koorn Spruit.
At daylight General De Wet discovered this overwhelming force at close
quarters, but he was not frightened for he felt that in his position
he was equal to it. General Broadwood was breaking camp, and some of
his teams and men were just starting on their way to Bloemfontein. The
Boers by strict orders, lay low and said nothing until the carts and
wagons reached them, when, as fast as they arrived, they were made
prisoners and concealed in the bed of the spruit, that is, a deep
ravine. After nearly all the wagons and carts and some 200 Tommies
had been made prisoners, General Broadwood discovered that there was
something wrong about that spruit, and as he had five cannon very near
to it he concluded to withdraw them and put them in a safer place. He
was sorely disappointed for General De Wet had his eye on those five
guns and besides the other generals with their 1,100 men opened fire
on Broadwood's camp at the same time. Now was the time for confusion,
and General Broadwood and his 2,000 men were so terribly confused that
they lost no time in running for their lives, but they had sense enough
to dodge the ford where General De Wet and his 300 men were concealed.
On both sides of General De Wet, General Broadwood's brave 2,000
Britishers passed within easy rifle range and as fast as they could run.

As the 2,000 panic-stricken brave Britishers passed in review, General
De Wet and his 300 patriots did not fail to make their mausers sing
in unerring tones and give them a good send off. General Broadwood
and two-thirds of his men escaped. He left behind 350 men killed and
wounded, 480 prisoners, seven cannon and 117 wagons to the tender
mercies of General De Wet. The total Boer loss was three killed and
five wounded. The British Government and all London rejoiced over
General Broadwood's escape. I must confess that he deserved a great
deal of credit and merited the gratulations of his Queen, for some
other British general might have fared worse.

In the first days of April, after his great success at Sanna's Post,
General De Wet collected more men and went to Reddersberg where he knew
there were some English troops. On his arrival he found the English,
but they did not make much resistance. They abused the white flag,
and by so doing, killed one of his veldcornets and killed six of his
men. The English having hoisted their white flag and all firing having
ceased, General De Wet and his men advanced to receive their arms,
ammunition, etc. On arriving within close range the English suddenly
began firing again although their white flag was still flying. General
De Wet's men followed their example, and within five minutes several
more white flags were flying, but so furious were the burghers at the
English treachery that General De Wet was unable to restrain them till
100 English had been killed and wounded. Now the remaining 470 gladly
and promptly laid down their arms. That one act of treachery caused
the death of that brave and good veldtcornet, Du Plessis, and General
De Wet failed to appreciate the cause of humanity when he did not shoot
down every officer among his 470 prisoners.



I will now return to the Irish boys whom I left at Smaldeel station,
thirty miles north of Brandfort in the Free State. During the few days
we spent here, every preparation was made for hot, lively work, for
we knew that it was near the time when orders would come to advance
and meet Lord Roberts and his great army of 90,000 men, with cannon in
proportion. On the afternoon of May 1st, 1900, we received instructions
to proceed to Brandfort and join with General de la Rey, so, having
packed all tents, baggage, etc., in a freight car--which we scarcely
ever expected to see again,--we started on our way, and never a happier
or more delighted lot of boys went to a holiday picnic than those that
went to face English bullets and shells.

It was a long, cold ride, and late in the afternoon of the following
day we were camped in the bush on the bank of the little creek at
Brandfort. Rumors were soon going the rounds that the British were near
at hand, but it was so dark that we could not have seen them had they
been only twenty feet away. So we decided to go to sleep and get up
before daylight in the morning, that we might be ready to meet trouble.

In the early morning we learned that the English had slept in the bush
on the same creek, a few miles below us, and as soon as the sun came
up we saw them. There before us was Roberts with his 90,000 men, by
far the largest army that any of us had ever seen, and, as far as we
knew, there was to oppose him a mouthful of Irishmen at Brandfort. The
Russian attache, Colonel Gourko, the French attache, Captain Demange,
and the American attache, Captain Carl Reichmann, were there too. I
think everyone of them came near being captured, for they were a plucky
lot of fellows and were determined to see how the English would act
in the face of a handful of Irishmen. I don't know how the spectacle
struck the attaches, but the English reminded me of a lot of ants whose
routine of action had been disturbed by some mischievous boy, for they
seemed to be moving aimlessly in all directions. I really believe that
Roberts and his 90,000 men were afraid that a few hundred Boers might
lay an ambush for them at Brandfort. This idea is preposterous, but I
tell you that Englishmen are terribly afraid of Boers, and when they
see one, that one will appear as many as at least ten to them.

South of Brandfort about three miles, there is a line of kopjes running
east and west. Several columns of cavalry were moving south of them and
parallel to them. It was plain that they intended to attack that line
of kopjes. There were no Boers in them at the time, but the English
imagined they were full of them. Early in the morning the Heidelburg
Commando, about 600 strong, joined with us at the tall hill by
Brandfort. All then went at full speed to reach the kopjes before the
English. We barely succeeded, for no sooner had we dismounted than the
English began with both cannon and rifle to make it warm for us.

The new boys from Chicago and Massachusetts, although it was their
first time under fire, were in great glee, and with the old men of the
brigade began to fire. Although huge shells tore up the earth about
them, and thousands of bullets were chipping stones and singing in the
air, yet not one of them seemed to realize that he was in any danger
whatever. They were all too intent on their own work to realize their
danger. Between the Irish boys and the Heidelburg Commando there was a
large and very high kopje, so that neither party could see the other.
The Irish boys succeeded in driving the English right back and were
much pleased with their work. About two p.m., a courier came near me
and yelled out, "General Spruit says get your men away as quickly as
possible." In loud tones I asked, "What is the trouble?" But he was
in too much of a hurry to give answer, and he was soon far on his way
across the flat in our rear. I called to the boys and told them to
come quickly, as there was imminent danger somewhere. Irish-like, they
wanted to argue the case, for they saw no danger and besides they were
having a really good time. I quickly told them to come, as there was no
time for argument. I knew General Spruit well, and when he says "get
out quickly," I know it is time to get out. We raced down the kopje,
mounted our horses and started across the flat towards Brandfort. Much
to our surprise, we saw all the hills about Brandfort literally covered
with English cavalry. I looked for the Heidelburg Commando and found
that it must have retreated hours before, for not a man of it could be
seen in any direction. We were certainly in a serious position, for our
line of retreat was cut off by thousands of English, and there were
thousands in front of us. To get out at all, we had to march across an
open flat and pass within 2,500 yards of the English, for there was
only one pass through the mountains in our rear. We crossed the flat
and, having reached the base of the mountains, I called the men and
told them that it looked like a hopeless case for us. There really was
not the slightest show for us because all the English had to do was to
ride down 1,000 or 1,500 yards, and we were completely hemmed in.

I always swore that I would never be captured alive, and told the boys
so. I also told them that I was going to make a run for the road that
leads through the pass, and asked them what they wished to do. They
said they would make the run with me. We started at once in single
file along a path that wound its way through the bush. This led us to
the left and front of the English. Every man had his eye pinned on
the English, and a dead silence reigned. I was terribly worried and
frightened too, for I fully expected to see the English move at every
moment and interpose themselves between us and the road. On we rode
until we were right in front of them and about 2000 yards distant.
I felt a little better, for the English had not yet moved. I was
constantly watching the hills on my left, in the hope that I might
see a chance of climbing them. Fortune favored me, for I discovered
a good path running up the hills, and I concluded that, as it was an
emergency, we could go where the goats had gone, and so turned to
the left on to this tiny little path. It was a hard climb, but we
reached safe ground on top just as the British made up their minds to
take us in. They were too late, as usual, and only advanced a small
distance, when they turned about and went back. It was a very cold
day, but the terrible strain the men and I had passed through, warmed
all of us into a heavy perspiration. It was General Hutton who kindly
allowed us to escape. He said in his report that he thought we had
some English prisoners with us, and therefore did not dare to fire on
us. The Chicago and Massachusetts boys had on khaki uniforms, and that
is why Hutton was deceived. His excuse was a poor one, just the same,
for he could easily have blocked our way without firing a shot, and
besides any ordinary field glass at his distance would have shown him
that every man carried a rifle. We owed our escape entirely to British

As no Boers could be seen from the hills, we made up our minds that
we were very far behind everybody. As it was now nearly sundown, we
started out to put a few miles between us and the British. We had not
gone far when we found ourselves in the camp lately occupied by the
Heidelburg Commando. Here we found coffee, sugar, bread and meat, and
as we had had nothing to eat all day, we stopped and had a good feast.
Then our poor, tired horses enjoyed their feast too, and it gave me
more pleasure to see them at their mealies than to eat myself.

It was dark before we saddled up and started on our way in search of
the Boers. Finally we reached the main road and near by was a stack of
oats at a farm house. I told the boys to help themselves, and every man
piled on his horse all the oats he could well manage. We then went on
our way until we reached a little farm in the open flat that I knew was
about nine miles from Brandfort, so here we concluded to camp for the
night. It was about ten o'clock when a courier rode into camp looking
for me. He pointed out the direction of General de la Rey's camp and
told me that the General wished to see me early in the morning. I was
anxious to see the General too, for I did not like the idea of being
alone in front of Lord Robert's army. Early on the following morning I
took two men and started in search of General de la Rey. My directions
carried me obliquely towards Brandfort and I concluded that the General
must have camped very near the English. We had gone about a mile when I
saw seven men dressed as the Boers usually are, riding alongside a hill
between us and Brandfort. The two Africander scouts with me declared
they were Boers, and I declared they were English in Boer clothes. The
way they held their legs and their position in the saddle had formed
my opinion. An Englishman on a horse always reminds me of a wooden
clothespin. We decided to go ahead, for our direction would not lead us
into trouble, yet I did a lot of thinking about those seven men, for
there was a very deep kloof near them, and the whole English army
could be easily concealed in it. We had gone about another mile when
we came upon one of General de la Rey's men on the look out. I knew
him and asked him if he had seen the seven men. He said no, and then
pointed out to me just where General de la Rey was encamped. I galloped
all the way, because I thought there was danger in that kloof. I was
so certain that I told Commandant Trichardt, of the artillery, that
the English were near at hand, and that he would do well to inspan and
prepare for business.


I did not get to see General de la Rey because he had gone to see his
brother who had been seriously wounded the previous day. I must say
that before reaching General de la Rey's camp I sent one of the men
with me, Hendrik Slegkamp, after giving him my wire-cutters, back to
the Irish camp with instructions to saddle up as quickly as possible
and fall back to some kopjes about two miles in the rear. All the farms
in that country are entirely surrounded by wire fences and one can't
get through without wire-cutters. The last I saw of Hendrik, he was
going at a full gallop. After chatting with Colonel Trichardt for about
fifteen minutes, he ordered all mules and horses to be spanned in and
saddled up, and then we started back towards my own camp. Knowing the
exact direction, we took a short cut and, having reached the top of a
ridge about one mile from General de la Rey's camp and about two miles
from my own, we were fired upon from a mealie field. Across the flat I
saw the Irish boys under fire and flying to the kopjes in the rear. We
could not get through the wire fences because I had let Hendrik have my
cutters, and the English at long range were making it very warm for us.
There was a little cottage about 400 yards away, and we put spurs to
our horses and reached it as quickly as possible. A little Dutch woman
showed us a sheep path which would lead us to the small gates that
opened from one farm to the other. That was about the hottest path that
we ever travelled, for the English had found our range and were making
use of it. My boy's horse was slightly wounded; otherwise we were all
right. I saw that the Irish were safe on the kopje, but we could not
get to them on account of the wire fences. Just as General de la Rey's
men had saddled up and all were ready to move, the English opened fire
on him, but he managed to get his guns, wagons and everything out
safely. The whole country seemed to be alive with English, and they
all came out of that deep kloof where I had seen the seven men. I felt
it in my very bones that the English were in that kloof, and acted
accordingly. It was a lucky thing for all of us that I did.

During the evening I reached the Irish boys, and we crossed the Vet
River and went into camp. Early next morning we met General de la Rey
and his men, and there was general rejoicing. The general said he was
going to give fight on the river, and put Roberts to a little trouble.
With the Irish, he had about 2,500 men to fight Roberts and his 90,000.

The position was a good one, but of course the general knew that
he could do no more than make the English do a lot of work, and
possibly knock a few of them down before he had to retreat. Roberts
finally showed up, and the deployment of that great body of men into
fighting formation, with absolute mathematical precision, was really
beautiful. I was so interested that I could scarcely take my eyes
from such beautiful military figures. That awful man, that brave man,
that gallant man, Major J.L. Pretorius, seemed to have no idea of the
beautiful at all, for just before the military figure was completed
in all its beauty, he fired a shell that fell right among them. That
shell simply played the deuce and ruined a most artistic picture.
Instead of order, precision and beauty, we now had to witness disorder
and pandemonium generally, for the English soldiers broke away,
some running one way and some another, not one seeming in the least
inclined to take a chance on the next shell that might follow. It was
marvellous what havoc one tiny shell could raise in a military-trained
and thoroughly disciplined army. Major Pretorius was nothing but a
youngster, but then there was nothing in the British army that was
anywhere near his equal. For a change, and as the Irish boys were the
latest arrivals, General de la Rey said he would hold us as reserves.
Major Pretorius started the fight with that shell, and soon 30,000
English with cannon and shell were trying to lay low General de la Rey
and 2,500 patriots. When the fighting became really hot and close, the
reserve, the Irish boys, were sent for and told to come as quickly as
possible to the road crossing the river. We went, but to go into the
firing line we had to pass through the belt especially shelled by the
English guns. The boys did not murmur; they went out. Strange to say,
not one of them received a bullet. Now, they had a close range, and
didn't they send the bullets to the right place? I think they did, and
I know they did. There were a lot of British to our right and front in
a kopje about 1,000 yards distant. I think they were Irish, for the
English turned their maxims on them, killed many of them and kept them
from firing on us. We did not fire on them because the English were
doing the work for us.

That was really a pretty fight in which the Boers did not suffer, and
about sundown General de la Rey ordered us to fall back. The Irish
boys kept firing away until it was fairly dark, and I became frightened
for fear they might be captured. The Boers had all left, and had those
fool Englishmen known anything, they might have given us a run for our
lives. We remained in order to see out of danger a few young Boers who
were in an arroya very close to the English. When we did finally go
back, mount our horses and start towards Smaldeel, we ran into the very
boys that we had assisted to get out of the arroya, and by a mere piece
of luck they didn't fire on us. I was calling to the men to hurry up
and my voice was recognized, otherwise we would have received a volley.
I had a very excellent pair of field glasses given to me by a Russian
Count and I made good use of them when the English were arriving to
engage us. In Natal, the Transvaal and the Free State, from the day
the war first began, I had tried to convince the Boers of the great
importance of destroying the enemy's line of communication. I never
succeeded in making any headway, however, for they could not be made
to believe in the destruction of property. Here at Vet River I handed
General de la Rey my glasses and told him to witness the trains on the
opposite ridge from which thousands of infantry were tumbling to give
us battle. The general realized now for the first time the strength of
my argument, and was thereafter bent on destroying the railway lines.
He succeeded in partially convincing General Louis Botha that the
destruction of the lines was of the first importance. Volunteers for
the purpose were called for, and it was the Irish Brigade that promptly
responded. In fact, I believe that the men of the Irish Brigade were
the only ones that did, and I believe that they were the only ones
among the Boers that understood the business. It having been decided
by the Council of War that the bridges and railway lines were to be
destroyed, I selected the men that I knew would do the work well.
There were little Mike Halley, the ever to be remembered Joe Wade, Jim
O'Keefe, Dick Barry, Tom Herlihy, Tom Tierney, and several others whom
I selected for this most important work.

In blowing up the long and high bridge at Sand River, the Irish boys
were exposed both to cannon and rifle fire, but not one flinched and
their work was well done. It was while some Anglo-American engineers
were trying to repair this bridge, that Majors Seymour and Clements,
(both Americans) were killed by General De Wet and his men. I am sure
that neither I nor the Irish boys would have shed a tear had the whole
lot been killed. All were mercenaries in the strict sense of the word,
and this class of men are not fit to live in any country.

Here I must mention a little incident in which Mike Halley was the
principal actor. At the time that the bridges and railways had been
blown up in good form and we had crossed Sand River and arrived at Riet
Spruit very near the Sand River, General Botha had sent for Sergeant
Joe Wade, Mike Halley and Dick Barry to give them further instructions.
Strange to say, General Botha always waited until the last moment, in
fact, to the moment when it was too late to do good work. The boys
were always on the alert and sometimes acted without orders, blew up
the bridges according to my instructions and felt much satisfaction.
Now, when they were called up, General de la Rey happened to meet Mike
Halley and bounced on him for too much enthusiasm. Mike did not know
the general, and thinking he was an ordinary Boer, said "What in hell
do you know about it, anyhow?" This settled the general and he replied,
"Go ahead. You know your business, my boy."

When Mike was informed that he was addressing General de la Rey, he
promptly went to him to offer his apology.

The boys were now given full swing and rails, ties and bridges were
constantly flying in the air till we reached the Vaal River, the
Transvaal border, where orders were received from General Louis Botha
to destroy nothing more. What a puerile display of military knowledge!
Lord Roberts moved along this long line across the flats of the Free
State. He had three columns, each 30,000 strong. One followed the
road along the railway line and the other two were on the right and
left flanks. There were not over 2,500 Boers and three or four cannon
to oppose him on these wide open flats, yet it took him twenty-three
days to drive that little band of patriots a distance of 110 miles, and
every foot of the distance was hotly contested.

When we reached Kroonstad all were very tired, but the Irish boys
wished to do some more work before they left the town. The English, of
course, were at our heels, but that did not concern them in the least.
We rigged up a spring wagon with six mules, loaded it with provisions
and ammunition and were ready to move out just after blowing up the
bridge and thoroughly alarming the town, when it suddenly occurred to
Mick Ryan to destroy the provision depot. It was an immense building
filled with sufficient supplies to support an ordinary army for many
days. I told Mick to go ahead and do his work well. He built a good
fire against the building, and some Englishmen came up with water and
put it out. Mick then warned them not to try to do it again. He kindled
another fire, and when it blazed up, one of the same Englishmen dashed
up with a bucket of water and put it out. Mick struck him on the head
with his rifle, knocked him senseless and then warned the others that
if any attempt was made to put out his fire again he would give them
some bullets. He made up his fire again, and this time no one disturbed
it. When the building was well on fire, some one yelled out that there
were several cases of dynamite near the burning part of the building.
Everybody fled for their lives, and Mick saw that immense supply depot
burn to the ground. It was about eleven o'clock at night, and the great
light was plainly visible to Lord Roberts and his army who were about
three miles distant. The English are not yet through damning the Irish
Brigade for their good piece of work.

The main part of the brigade went forward with the cannon, and it was
just thirty of us that remained behind to finish up the good work.

After the supply depot was burned we left town and camped about three
miles out on the Heilbron road. We had learned that the English had
put themselves between us and the Boer forces, so we had to take this
route. Early next morning we were just ready to move out when we saw
about 400 cavalry coming for us. We hastened off and kept ourselves
in safety although the English pursued us as rapidly as they dared.
They did not give up the chase until we were near the little town of

Here we met President Steyn, and Judge Hertzog, and I can remember
that the only subject discussed was the importance of playing on Lord
Roberts' line of communication. I finally convinced them that it was
the only way they could successfully fight such an immense army, and
President Steyn telegraphed President Kruger for permission for the
Irish Brigade to remain in the Free State. President Kruger wanted
us in the Transvaal, so we said good-bye, and left for Rhenoster
River at the railway crossing, where we learned that the Boers had
taken up positions. General De Wet, however, went to work on Roberts'
communications, and soon established for himself the greatest name
of all the Boer officers in the field. Had we done in the Transvaal
what De Wet did in the Free State, Roberts would have been driven
into famine, and utterly disgraced himself in the eyes of the world;
but this is not the place to explain, so we will wait until we reach
Pretoria. We left Heilbron early in the morning, and at night we were
with General Botha and the Boer forces. We now learned that General
Botha had officially reported us as captured in Kroonstad and he was
very much surprised when I reported to him. Having told him what we
had done in Kroonstad, and assured him that we had not been in any
real danger, he instructed me to take position at the road crossing,
on the river. These road crossings of rivers are always the warmest
places when it comes to a fight, and as the English were then near at
hand, I fully expected on the following day to have a most interesting
time. On reaching our position, and having taken a good look at it,
I was then convinced that the English would not attack, but would go
around our flanks. I told General Botha that he would find that I was
right, because this Rhenoster River is the best defensive position I
had seen in the country. The banks were very deep and steep, and the
river bed was caked sand, over which flowed a skim of water. We could
gallop our horses for miles in that river without being seen or in any
way exposed to artillery fire. To attack the position, the English
would have to advance over a grassy plain, gently sloping to the river,
and 2,500 Boers in the river could easily have killed as many English
without taking any risk whatever. I was certain that the English knew
all about the strength of this river position and would therefore
dodge it. It was about three o'clock on the following morning when we
received orders to retreat, as the English had crossed the river on our
left and right flanks. As it was very dark, we concluded to wait until
daylight before retreating. Just as it was good light we moved away,
and an English battery on a ridge some 2,500 yards distant, sent three
shells at us, to move us along more lively. There was no more fighting
of any consequence until we reached Klip River, near Johannesburg. The
little band of patriots were always in touch with the big English
army, and occasionally, some shots would be exchanged near the bridges
which the Irish boys were charging with dynamite, but no damage was
done. I didn't understand then, nor do I understand now, why that great
British army did not at least make an effort to capture that small band
of Boers and all their cannon, while crossing the great open plain
between Brandford and the Vaal River. For the operations of cavalry
and artillery, there is no country in the world more favorable than
those immense Free State prairies, and had Roberts made any use of his
thousands of cavalry, he could have taken the Boer guns at any time,
and the 2,500 Boers with them. He seemed frightened, and I believe he
was, for he had not yet forgotten the slaughter at Magersfontein. We
could never understand, either, why he followed the small Boer force,
and left behind that daring man, General Christian De Wet, with 10,000
men. But more about this after we reach Pretoria. To the south of
Johannesburg, General Botha had some short but lively fighting, and
forced the English to move around to the west, where General de la Rey
warmed them up in good form.

The English also came in on the east, where there was a little
skirmishing that did not amount to anything. We passed through
Johannesburg, and went to within six miles of Pretoria. The Boers and
British were actually camped side by side just north of Johannesburg,
but the Boers were the first to find this out at daylight and so
managed to escape being captured. General Botha is a pretty reckless
man, and he did not get out any too quickly.

I urged the council of war at Vaal River to allow me to blow up certain
mines in Johannesburg, but it was no use talking, not one of them would
agree to it. They did not believe in the destruction of property.
It was the mines of the very men who, with Chamberlain, Milner and
Rhodes, had labored so hard to bring on the war, that I was so anxious
to blow up, and I regret to this day that we did not destroy them.
All the immense stores of provisions in Johannesburg and Pretoria I
wished so badly to destroy, that I fairly begged for permission to do
it, but all in vain. With De Wet and 10,000 men behind Roberts, and
on his line of communications, and all provisions in Johannesburg and
Pretoria destroyed, Lord Roberts would have been a defeated man, for
the reason that he had no food for his army. As it was, his men came
nearly starving to death on half rations. I can never forgive the Boer
generals for leaving such quantities of good supplies for the British.
The railway and telegraph lines between the Vaal River and Pretoria
should have been completely destroyed, yet General Botha gave me
strict orders not to disturb either. We were simply playing into the
hands of the English, and doing more for them than they could possibly
do for themselves. On the fifth of June we had to leave Pretoria, and,
strange to say, we left the Pietersburg and Delagoa railway lines, all
in good order with plenty of engines and cars for immediate use by the
English. Why General Botha insisted on leaving all these lines intact,
and well equipped for the English, I cannot understand. There was not
a burgher in the field, that did not realize that the destruction of
all railway facilities was a matter of grave importance. Much as I
admire General Botha, not only as a brave man, but as a first-class
fighter and an able general, I must condemn him for his opposition to
the destruction of the enemy's communications, and for his failure to
destroy the enemy's supply stores. General De Wet had done his work so
well that General Roberts was cut off from all communications with the
Colony, and there was no food to be had in the country, except in the
Boer supply stores.




After the occupation of Pretoria, Lord Roberts issued his usual
proclamation, to induce the burghers to lay down their arms. They were
not to be sent away, their property was not to be molested, and they
were to be allowed to peacefully occupy their farms. Thousands of
the burghers, really believing that the war was over, took advantage
of this proclamation and surrendered their rifles. Almost the entire
Rustenburg district surrendered, and hundreds of men of the other
districts did likewise.

As in the Free State, so in the Transvaal, as soon as Lord Roberts
had the men and the guns in his possession, he at once violated his
pledge, sent the men away, and afterwards destroyed all their property.
The reason that the Boers did not make a stand at Pretoria, was that
every shell the English might fire would land in the town, and kill
women and children. Of course, this would please the English immensely,
but the Boers never gave them the chance. As it was, they fired a few
shells on the outskirts of the town, and wounded three Boer women. The
English are bent on killing women, because they know that, so long as
they are in the land, the Union Jack trembles with fear as it floats
above them.

The Boers were in the greatest disorder when leaving Pretoria. There
seemed to be no head, and burghers were going in all directions, north,
east, south and west. General Botha ordered as many as he could reach,
to proceed on the Delagoa railway line toward Middleburg. The English
now made up their minds that there was no more fight in the Boers, and
that the time was ripe to make a gallant display of dash and bravery
on the fast retreating Boers. All titled persons of noble blood, were
anxious to fill the London press with long accounts of their brave
exploits, and Lord Roberts himself was not behind them in his desire
for praise. The result was, that a large force was started in pursuit
of the Boers, with Lord Roberts in command. The fleeing Boers, on
reaching Donkerhoek, about fifteen miles from Pretoria, were assembled
by General Botha and General de la Rey, and all agreed not to run any
further. There were about 7,000 of them, and they took up a position
on a line about twenty miles long. It was on the 12th of June, that
the British army, and the lords, dukes, earls and so forth, appeared
on the scene, and proceeded at once to wipe out what was left of the
Boer forces. A very hot fight was the result, and the Boers wiped up
the English, and gave them such a shock that they did not recover their
nerve for months. Go to the graveyard in Pretoria, read some of the
inscriptions on the head-boards, and you will find some missing earls,
dukes and soforth, accounted for. Lord Roberts turned tail also and
went back to Pretoria, to get out some more proclamations. He is a
wonderful general, on paper, but on the battle field he is a pitiful

After this fight, General de la Rey, with 1,500 men, went to the
Rustenburg district west of Pretoria, where all the burghers had
laid down their arms. Lord Roberts had not had time yet to violate
his pledge, so the men were still on their farms. General Botha now
made Commandant Ben Viljoen a fighting general, and he proved a most
excellent man. The Boers regained hope, and were as full of fight as
ever. From Donkerhoek to Machadadorp is about 110 miles, a long stretch
of beautiful, rolling prairie, well watered, dotted here and there
with beautiful farms, and in all respects suited for cavalry, infantry
and artillery to display great skill and excellent work. General Botha
is a nervy man, and he determined to contest every inch of ground to
Machadadorp, and make it cost the English much time and many men to
cross the fair prairie. Every day General Botha and his small force
fought the English army, and in all the engagements he was generally
successful, as is shown by the fact that it required sixty days to
drive him back to Dalmanutha, nine miles from Machadadorp. Here he took
up a position to make a firm stand. He had to scatter his men along a
line about twenty-four miles long, in order to prevent the English from
turning his flanks. I think the position at Machadadorp was much better
and stronger, but he did not think so. I believe now, however, if he
had the opportunity again, he would try his luck at Machadadorp, for
his line would not be over ten miles long, his flanks would be safe,
and in case of defeat, he could retreat in good order.

I left General Buller and his army at Ladysmith on February 28th. Now
he appears on the scene again. He had a most difficult task to fight
his way through the mountains of Natal and cross into the Transvaal,
but at last he had succeeded, and was on his way to join the army
opposed to General Botha. It was about the middle of August that
General Buller arrived. The entire British force now to attack the
Boer forces was about 65,000 strong, while General Botha had less than
7,000 men. He did not have hills and mountains, as in Natal, but,
instead, open, rolling prairies. It looked as if the English would ride
right over us and kill or capture our whole force, but they didn't.
Lord Roberts sent about 600 women and children in open coal trucks to
Belfast when it was midwinter and so cold that no one could keep warm.
He did this, thinking that the Boers, rather than see their women and
children suffer, and probably die, would come in and surrender. He was
fooled, however, for General Botha put them all on the train and sent
them to Barberton, where it was warm and where all had friends. Lord
Roberts likes to fight women and children and takes as much pleasure in
seeing them suffer as does Lord Kitchener. After General Buller arrived
and took command, there was fighting daily on some part of the line
for nine days before the final effort was made on the 27th of August.
In the centre of our line were seventy-two of the Johannesburg police,
who were on the ridge between Belfast and Dalmanutha. They had built
for themselves stone breastworks about two feet high, but a shell would
easily destroy any of them.

On the night of the 26th, General Buller changed his plans and
concentrated his force on the centre, instead of on our left flank,
and at six o'clock of the morning of the 27th he began with thirty-six
guns to bombard the seventy-two Johannesburg police. As the railway
line had been left in good order by General Botha's instructions,
two huge siege guns came up on some flat cars. When they were fired,
the whole earth seemed to tremble and the explosion of the shell was
fairly deafening, yet they did no damage. I could see every one of
the seventy-two police plainly, for I was with a Long Tom on a high
point to their left. For seven hours without intermission, heavy
lyddite shells were bursting on the ground about them and a dozen or
so shrapnel were bursting over their heads at the same time. When at
about two o'clock in the afternoon I saw a long line of cavalry put in
readiness to charge their position, I felt sure that there was not one
of them alive, for it did not seem possible for them with their little
protection to escape.

Suddenly all the cannon ceased to roar and a dead stillness reigned
for a moment, but only for a moment, for here comes the long line of
cavalry at full gallop. It rapidly approaches and when within about 100
yards of the police there was a ring of musketry heard that positively
filled me with an ecstacy of joy. The police were still alive, and with
such rapidity did they use their rifles, and to such good effect, that
saddles were emptied fast, and loose horses were running frantically
across the veldt, some dragging wounded men whose feet were caught in
the stirrups. They could not stand such a deadly fire, and turned and
fled back, the police continuing to mow them down. They form line, are
re-enforced, and again they charge, only to be driven back as before
after a heavy loss. Four charges were made, and four times the charges
were driven back, and no doubt a fifth charge would have followed had
General Botha not ordered the police to retire. These brave men retired
as coolly as they had passed through the seven hours' shell storm, and
four times driven back that long line of cavalry.

Of the seventy-two men, nineteen were killed and wounded, among the
killed being three officers.

Lord Roberts, who arrived at twenty minutes to one o'clock, according
to his own report, pronounced this the severest bombardment of the war,
and could not understand why the whole Boer force was not annihilated.
Of course, Lord Roberts came up just as the battle was over, to save
General Buller the trouble of making his report announcing a victory.
There is no getting round the fact that Roberts is cute and smart and
knows how to use the pen and steal the credit that belongs to others.
He certainly deserves the title of Lord, or Earl, or any big-sounding
name like that, with at least double the number of letters in the
alphabet following it as a tail, for he has the gall to keep his title
up to the high-water mark. General Botha having ordered a retreat,
of course Lord Roberts hastened back to Pretoria to issue another
proclamation. He didn't say very much this time, for he was very tired
sending cablegrams telling of his great victory, but he still had
strength enough to proclaim the war at an end, annex the Transvaal to
the British Empire, entreat the burghers to come in like good boys and
lay down their arms, and forget his many dastardly deeds.

It was during this battle that that wonderful artillerist, Major J.L.
Pretorius put Long Tom to the test that I had so strongly advocated at
Ladysmith and other places. The Boer officers were all convinced that
it would be dangerous to fire Long Tom except when fastened down to a
heavy wooden platform. To build these platforms to stand the work a
great deal of labor, at least twenty-four hours of time, and a great
deal of strong material were required. My contention was that Long
Tom could be used as an ordinary field gun, and would do good work
without a platform as well as with one. To have so used this big gun at
Ladysmith would have kept the British guessing, and the results would
have been very different. At Dalmanutha, Major Pretorius did not have
time to finish the platform, so he took the chances of firing Long
Tom as he stood without one, and the result was excellent. He found
his shooting was just as accurate, and that the recoil was never more
than two or three yards. Thereafter Long Tom was always used as an
ordinary field gun, and Major Pretorius took him over the mountains by
Lydenburg. With the exception of about twenty men, the Irish boys were
all dismounted, having lost their horses near Pretoria. They were in
position under Commandant Kruger, and when the English broke through
our centre it looked as though they would be captured. They had to make
about ten miles to reach Machadadorp, where they could take the train,
and they barely made connection before the English arrived. The Boers
scattered in all directions, some going towards Lydenburg, some to Neil
Spruit, some to Devil's Kantoor, and others southward towards Ermelo
and Carolina. President Kruger and the Government were at Neil Spruit.



We now arrive at what I call the dark period of the war. For the first
time I really felt that our situation was serious. The Boers were
discouraged in spirit and much scattered, and several hundred of them
deliberately rode into the English lines and surrendered. At one time
it looked as if there would be a general surrender, but President
Kruger was firm and said the war must go on.


A Typical Boer Girl]

President Steyn had arrived from the Free State. He, together with all
the Transvaal officers and officials, concentrated their influence
on President Kruger to persuade him to go to Holland, as he was very
feeble and it required so many men to guard his safety. He positively
refused to go, saying that he could not leave his people and that he
would look after himself. His idea was to go to Pilgrims' Rest, but
that little town was far away and it required many days of hard
travel through the fever stricken bush-veldt to reach it. In the end
President Kruger was practically forced to take the train for Delagoa
Bay en route to Holland, and as the train moved off the staunch old
patriot's eyes filled with tears and he sank down broken hearted. He
handed to General Botha 40,000 sovereigns, ($200,000) for the use
of the burghers. This was his own money. He had no government money
in his possession and the few thousand dollars that he carried to
Holland belonged to him. All the burghers felt very sad at the good old
man's departure and such was their love for him that they one and all
resolved to fight harder than ever and bring back their great friend
and patriot.

On hearing of the old hero's departure, Lord Roberts found a good
opportunity to use his pen again. In effect he cabled the news that
Ex-President Kruger had deserted his wife, his people and land, and
gone to Holland, taking with him a very large amount of gold belonging
to the people. He also had some abusive opinions to express about the
good old man.

_When Lord Roberts wrote and sent those cablegrams, he knew that he
wilfully, maliciously and deliberately lied and I would be exceedingly
happy to tell him so to his face._

Of course, Robert's idea in sending such a slanderous statement was
to deceive the Boers throughout the land, and lead them to believe
that President Kruger was really guilty of such infamous conduct; but
the Boers had known the good old man too many years to be so deceived,
and Lord Roberts only succeeded in making them love him still more.
Roberts and Kitchener each issued many proclamations, all teeming with
treachery and unscrupulousness, and if either had a grain of honor,
and were forced to read his own proclamations to a public audience in
any civilized country, I am sure that each would be stricken with a
vomiting fit. I will have more on the subject of proclamations before I

Now Lord Roberts had a most excellent opportunity to make an attack on
the Boer women and children, who were helpless and in his hands, and
one may be assured that he did not fail to take advantage of it. He
notified General Botha that he would send all the women and children
to him and that he must take care of them. General Botha replied that
he would be pleased to receive all of them, as he wished to send them
to Holland to remain during the continuance of the war, but that he
must not rush them out all at one time, as it was very cold weather, in
which all would suffer and many die. He wanted no more than a ship load
sent at one time, so that he could properly care for them and send them
at once to Holland.

This floored Roberts and he never answered. He could not stand the
idea of the Boer women and children being sent to Holland, for in that
case he could not fight them, nor could they be killed off in his
concentration camps.

Before the President departed I discussed the position of the Irish
Boys with him, and it was his opinion that all those who were
dismounted should go at once to Koomati Poort and then, if hard
pressed, go to Delagoa Bay and thence to America. All Boers who were
dismounted were sent to the Poort, so the Irish boys went also. Shortly
after they reached Koomati Poort I telegraphed Captain O'Connor that I
thought it best for them to go to America at once. I did this because I
did not wish any of them to be captured. Should any be so unfortunate,
I knew that it would go very hard for them, and probably cause them to
suffer a slow death in some prison. Major McBride thought it best for
them to go too, and he went.

General Botha soon put things in order now at Hector Spruit, and we
started on our long, perilous journey through the bush veldt, our
destination being, for some Pietersburg, for others Pilgrims' Rest and
that vicinity. We left enough coffee, sugar, flour and soforth unharmed
to last the whole British army for at least a month. How I did long
apply the torch and destroy those great stacks of stores! There were
about thirty Irish boys mounted, and determined as ever, with us, but
distributed in small bunches with the different commandos.

I had joined with Major Pretorius of the artillery near Bronkhorst
Spruit in July, but was now separated from him because the English cut
in between us at Dalmanutha when he was with one Long Tom and I was
with the other. My aim was to find Pretorius, and when near Pilgrims'
Rest his brother-in-law, Gustav Preller, and myself set out to find
him. Just before we reached the town of Pilgrims' Rest, we saw the
English, about 15,000 strong, at the drift on the Sabi River, but we
moved rapidly, reached the little town and heard that Major Pretorius
with his guns, was about twenty miles ahead, near Aurichstad. We spent
but little time at Pilgrims' Rest, because the English were very near
us. Three days later we caught up with Major Pretorius near the Devil's
Pulpit on the Olifant River. We had been separated from August 26th at
Dalmanutha till this day, October 1st, so that we had plenty to talk
about. He had saved all his guns and had fought the English at close
range for more than three weeks. We had a hard time getting the guns
down the mountain to the river bank. He had six guns, including one
Long Tom, and twenty-four artillery men with him. So steep and long
was the open way to the river bank that we had to dismount the guns,
put them on slides and turn them loose. Some would roll over, some
would glide nicely, and then some would skip off into the rocks on the
side. It meant a great deal of work, but every gun was landed safely
without any damage whatever. We had a lookout, of course, and on the
last day he reported several thousand English about six miles from us.
They could certainly see the trail of the guns, and why they did not
come over and take us we do not know, unless it was that they were
afraid of an ambush. We now pushed on to Leydsdorp and finally reached
Pietersburg on October 7th. Here we met President Steyn and his escort
under command of a good soldier, Koos Boshof. In two or three days two
or three thousand burghers had assembled. General Botha cut through
by Kruger's Post near Lydenburg and finally reached Botha's-berg
near Middleburg. He had with him quite a good command. South of the
railway the Ermelo, Carolina, Bethel, Wakkerstroom and in fact all the
commandos on the high veldt had gotten themselves into fighting trim.

General de la Rey had assembled 6,000 men in the Western Transvaal who
had surrendered their guns, armed them again, and put them in excellent
fighting condition. General De Wet had put the whole Free State in
perfect order, so that when we finished counting noses we found that we
had about 30,000 fighting men in the field, while the English did not
have over 250,000 men. Our chances were excellent, and the two little
republics would have won their independence if the devil and all his
angels had not been against them.

By the 15th of October General Botha had all his forces in the Eastern
Transvaal along the railway line from Pretoria to Dalmanutha and on
the Natal line from Heidleburg to Laing's Nek. General de la Rey was
close to Johannesburg and Pretoria on the west. General Byers, a most
excellent man and soldier, was north of Pretoria, and General De Wet
was general traffic-manager for the railway line through the Free
State. In fact, we were stronger and in better condition than we had
ever been before, because we were concentrated. Of course, at one
time during the war the Boer force was 35,000 strong, but it was too
scattered and too much used for siege work to be of practical use.

During our six weeks' absence the English had busied themselves
in building all sorts of forts along the railway lines. On a high
commanding mountain a few miles north of Machadadorp they built
eight forts at Helvetia and armed them with cannon, one being a 4.7
naval gun, bearing in large letters the name "Lady Roberts." English
commands were moving about freely, believing that the Boer men were so
scattered and demoralized that they would not dare to make a stand and
fight. They were soon to be sorely disappointed for that able and most
successful fighting general, Ben Viljoen, had gone to Rhinoster Kop,
about fifteen miles north of Balmoral Station, to find out what the
English were doing near Pretoria. Soon General Paget with 3,000 men,
advanced, and attacked General Ben Viljoen and his 600 brave fighters
of the Johannesburg Commando. Captain McCallum, Sergeant Joe Wade, Joe
Kennedy, Mike Hannifin, Mike Halley, John McGlew and Jerry O'Leary, of
the Irish Brigade were there too. General Viljoen took positions near
the Kop, and on the 29th of November General Paget boldly attacked. For
hours his cannon roared, and thundered, and tore up the earth and rocks
generally, but the Johannesburg boys were there and they were there to

Having fired enough shells to have killed each man at least five times,
then General Paget advanced his lines and the rifles came into play.
Time and again these lines were driven back, and the last time they
advanced to within fifty yards of the Irish boys. Didn't they keep the
air filled with steel and didn't they do good work? Well, I guess they
did. The English were driven back once more all along the line and did
not try again. General Viljoen's men had used up almost all their
ammunition and could not have repelled another advance. At night he
retired a few miles back, in the hope of meeting his ammunition wagons,
which were already due to arrive. General Paget was satisfied. He had
had enough and made no further attempt to molest General Viljoen and
the Johannesburg boys. A board over one pit accounts for seventeen
officers. The other pits bear no mark, so it is not yet known how many
men were killed. However, the slaughter was so terrible, and General
Paget so terribly thrashed, that he was relieved and sent home. Had he
simply made a feint on General Viljoen's right flank the latter would
have been forced to retreat without fighting, but it never occurred
to General Paget for he was so sure that his frontal attack would be
successful. General Viljoen lost three men killed and two wounded, and
taught the English that the demoralized Boers were still able to defeat
the disciplined English army.


 Dr. Nethling      GENERAL BEN VILJOEN      Docks Young.

And some of his Commandants and Veldtcornets.]

It was about this time that Lord Kitchener's proclamations and orders
for the burning and destruction of Boer farms was given. The English
visited, and destroyed in the end every farm, both in the Transvaal
and in the Free State. All fences, crops, agricultural implements
and soforth were destroyed. Even the towns of Dulstroom, Carolina,
Ermelo, Bethel, Piet Retief, and many others were razed to the ground.
Churches were torn down and the corner stones robbed of old church
papers. Some of these papers were afterwards advertised for sale at
fabulous prices. It was not until November, 1901, that this burning
and destruction of property was completed, and the whole country left
as a desert waste. On searching a farm house the officer in command
would give the family ten minutes to get out what they could, but would
at once spread the oil around and then apply the torch. All fowls,
pigs, sheep and cows would either be shot down or driven off, and then
without a mouthful of food, without shelter or clothing, the women and
children would be left to starve to death on the veldt.

_I do not believe that in the history of the world, one could find more
acts of barbarity and brutality committed by any people in any land
than by the English in the two little republics of the Transvaal and
the Free State._

There were about fifteen of us near Dulstroom watching the movements
of the English in November, 1901. A column of about 500 strong rode up
to a farm house occupied by a widow and eleven girls, her daughters.
Soon we saw the girls pushing the organ out of the door and the smoke
began to fill the windows and roof. Of course, one of the girls brought
out the family bible too, for that is one of the most precious things
in the household to them. The organ was pushed about forty yards away
and placed by a stone cattle kraal. The mother sat down and began to
play and her girls collected about her. The house was now enveloped
in flames, the soldiers were killing fowl, etc., while the officers
were cracking jokes at the poor mother and her children. Of course,
we thought that the old lady and her children were singing a hymn or
psalm, because these are nearest to the Boer heart. The English, having
completed their pleasant duty, rode off in search of other farms. We
then went to the scene of destruction, because we knew that immediate
help was necessary, as the sun would soon go down. On meeting them
we asked the old lady how she could play and sing hymns while her
home behind her back was burning and all her possessions were being
destroyed? She replied, "We were not singing hymns or psalms, but our
'Boer War Song.'"

Here you have a fair sample of the Boer women. They are ready and
willing to suffer from lack of food, to suffer from lack of clothing
and bedding, to endure the cold of winter and the heat and fearful
rainstorms of summer without any shelter over their heads, and, yes,
they are ready and willing to face death itself, if the men will only
stand and fight for the liberty of the people and the land. Yes, they
are noble women, brave and patriotic women, the very women whom the
English strove so hard to exterminate and whom they did murder by
thousands in those prison camps.

So long as the Boer woman lives so long will there be a race of
liberty-loving people in South Africa, so long will there be great Boer
generals and fighting patriots daily born, and sure it is that such
fighting blood will assert its independence. No one is more certain of
this than Roberts, Kitchener, Joe Chamberlain, Alfred Milner and the
thousands of other women-fighters in England.



But little was done by General Botha in the Eastern Transvaal; but
General Chris. Botha, one of the best generals in the war, gave General
French a great deal of trouble in the Ermelo district. French with
his 11,000 men could make no headway and had to content himself with
burning farms. In the Free State, during this month, General De Wet was
having a very warm time. About 50,000 men were trying constantly to
surround him, but he was too smart for them. He continued to capture
and turn loose many men, and kept the English in a constant tremble.
During the same month, the English left General de la Rey severely
alone in order to concentrate their whole attention on General De Wet,
who was fairly disgracing the English army and driving Roberts and
Kitchener crazy.

Lord Roberts had declared the war at an end, and here was General De
Wet daily tearing his army to pieces. He hates De Wet yet. During
December--although the war was at an end,--there was some very warm
and interesting fighting, Generals De Wet and de la Rey being the
principal actors. In fact, there was so much fighting, and the Boers
were so successful, that Lord Roberts pulled up stakes, fled for London
and left Kitchener to continue his dirty work. I assure him that he
could not have left a man more capable for such work than Kitchener,
and he must have known his man pretty well. During this month General
Louis Botha was inactive. General Ben Viljoen played havoc, however,
with the English at Helvetia on top of the fortified mountain just
north of Machadadorp. With 150 men General Viljoen made a night march
and attack on Helvetia forts, took several of them, over a hundred
prisoners and the 4.7 gun marked in big letters, "Lady Roberts." Many
of the officers and men were killed or wounded and his night venture
was a great success.

He did not lose any men killed or wounded, although on the following
day the English in force pursued them. He brought "Lady Roberts"
to his laager where she was greeted with shouts of joy, thoroughly
inspected and admired by about 600 demoralized Boers. He kept her for
a while then blew her up with dynamite. What a savage brutal act this
was! It was just like the cowardly Boers! When all the ammunition was
exhausted, we blew up our Long Toms, and Lord Kitchener, having found
the remains of one of them, collected the pieces and shipped the whole
to London to show what the English army was doing in South Africa.
We would have given him Lady Roberts' remains too, had he shown any
desire to have them, but he didn't and they are wasting away on top
of the Totausberg Mountain. The same Irish boys with one other, Dick
Hunt, were in the attack on the Helvetia forts. Dick and Mike Halley
were both barefooted and were looking for boots, yet they didn't have
the heart to fit themselves out with the dead Tommies' boots. Shortly
afterwards, however, they threw aside modesty and were always well
supplied. On the return from Helvetia Mike Halley's horse gave out,
so he stopped, unsaddled, and put him out to feed and rest while he
himself lay down to take a nap. In a little while Veldtcornet Ceroni
came along, found Mike and asked him why he did not go ahead, as the
English were following up. Mike told him that his horse was played out
and that he had stopped to give him some rest and grass. "Yes," replied
the veldtcornet, "he will take plenty of rest now, for there he lies
stone dead." Sure enough he was dead, and Mike's bare feet must now
beat a long road. The veldtcornet took his saddle and soforth, and
brave little Mike smiled and went on his way, and when he reached camp
the veldtcornet gave him a present of a good horse.

I have forgotten the name of the captain who was in charge of "Lady
Roberts" and who was captured with her, but remember that he was
brokenhearted, felt disgraced and was disgusted generally because such
a small force had attacked and taken those forts, the guns and so many
prisoners. He was a terrible Englishman, and the sight of the Irish
boys made him wild. He could not understand why an Irishman would fight
against the Queen and her forces. Had he asked any of those Irish boys
he would have had their reasons in a very few sharp words.

In the Vryheid district near the Natal border, General Chris. Botha, a
most lovable man, was firing away at the English, and putting them into
shivers and doing good execution as well, yet Lord Roberts had declared
that the war was over. In the Free State General De Wet was again in
great trouble, for he was completely surrounded and it was impossible
for him to escape, for Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener had said so.

All England was ablaze with joy. The people of London were literally
wild, so rejoiced were they, but when next day they learned that the
wily De Wet had departed and taken their two guns with him, and several
prisoners, a heavy gloom seemed to settle over that city. I will, for a
change, go into the details, to a small extent, to show the difference
between the British and the Boer officers. De Wet had his laager among
some small kopjes where he put up a dozen or so tents. The English
could just see the tops of the tents and knew that the dangerous De
Wet was in one of them. They completely surrounded those tents and at
daylight the following morning they were to make a determined attack
and take not only those tents but all their occupants. General De Wet
saw the English and determined they might have the tents, but that
they would not get the occupants. When night came, he left his tents
standing, made a sly march and passed between the English commands.
When daylight came he was in their rear, patiently watching for them to
attack his abandoned tents.

He was not disappointed, for they opened up all their cannon on those
poor, unoffending tents, and kept up a merciless fire for hours before
they resolved to go and accept General De Wet's surrender. When the
cannon ceased to roar, all the English lines advanced and when they
were well away General De Wet made a rear attack on the cannon. The
English were at once convinced that General De Wet was in front of
them and that some strong Boer commando was in the rear of them, and
possibly that terrible man, General George Brand, was in command of
them. They became utterly demoralized, hustled to escape and did
escape, but De Wet captured two of their guns and rode off, satisfied
with losing a few old empty tents.

With all their thousands the English were always outwitted by General
De Wet who generally enjoyed a signal success. In anticipation, the
English people would become overjoyed by the glowing reports of
the English generals describing the little pen into which they had
driven and confined General De Wet and his men and from which it was
impossible for him to escape. But when the following day they learned
that General De Wet had not only escaped but taken some prisoners with
him, they would sneak home, remain quiet and anxiously await more
glowing reports from the English generals. Isn't this a sure sign of
degeneracy? Well I think so.

Now I will leave the Free State and stop in Cape Colony for a moment.
Of course, all was peaceful there and the people were loyal British
subjects, for the London _Times_ said so. But Lord Kitchener felt that
a strong British force in those parts might induce the people to be
more loyal, and accordingly he kept one there. General Kritzinger with
500 or 600 men showed himself on the Boer side and at once made it very
uncomfortable for the English in loyal Cape Colony. The war was over,
because Lord Roberts had said so, yet here was hard fighting in Cape
Colony as well as in the Free State and the Transvaal.

Now I will go into the Rustenburg district and see to what a mass of
pulp the English have crushed General de la Rey and his patriots. The
English had a strong force in the town of Rustenburg, and of course
they must be fed, and to feed them long convoys heavily guarded were
necessary. General de la Rey never denied food to the hungry in his
life, but on this occasion, when a long convoy surrounded with numerous
Tommies was slowly moving towards Rustenburg to feed the hungry, he
could not resist the temptation of making an attack, for his own men
might be hungry in a week or so. The result was that the convoy was
taken, many Tommies buried on the roadside, and several of them taken
prisoners, only to be disarmed and set free again. In the middle of the
month General Clements, in conjunction with other generals and their
commands, planned to surround and take in this old farmer, de la Rey.
They planned well and their intentions were good enough, but the old
farmer did not exactly like the idea and acted accordingly.

At the base of the Magaliesburg Mountains but a few miles from Hekpoort
there are a long line of kopjes excellently situated for defensive
work. The place is known by the Boers as Nooitgedacht, "never thought
of," but I am sure that the Boers will never forget, and that General
Clements will ever remember it.

General de la Rey realized that it was a very strong position and
concluded to take it for his own use. He had an exceedingly strong
and capable brother officer with him, in young General Beyers, who
commanded the Waterburg commando. I do not believe that there was a
better fighting general in the field than this brave and patriotic
Beyers, and like those great generals, Celliers and Kemp, he was always
ready for daring work. The English had planned to surround and take
General de la Rey, but this Commandant-General of Western Transvaal
resolved to take in the English. So he told General Beyers to charge
them from one side and he would charge them from the other. Of course,
General Clements' force was much stronger than the combined forces of
General de la Rey and General Beyers, but that made no difference so
far as either de la Rey or Beyers was concerned.

About the middle of December, in the early morning, General Beyers,
with his 350 men, charged over a half mile of open ground and came
into close fighting quarters with Clements' force. Kopje after kopje
was taken, and at times the Boers and English were within two yards
of each other, yet the former continued to kill and drive till they
completely routed the whole force and killed and captured nearly 800
men. The Boers did not know where Clements' cannon were, or they
would have captured them, too. General Beyers' attack was a little
previous, because General de la Rey had not had time enough to reach
the charging point before Beyers had finished his work. Clements and
his whole command, together with his cannon, would have been captured
without doubt, had General Beyers delayed his charge for twenty
minutes. But it was dark and very difficult for two forces to work
in perfect unison. At any rate General de la Rey had the position he
wished, and General Clements was in rapid retreat.

All this took place in the middle of December, yet the war was over,
for Lord Roberts, the Mighty, the High, the Great Financier and
Politician, had so declared nearly four months previously, and Conan
Doyle had countersigned his declaration.

Before the end of December and the end of the year 1900, many Free
Staters with General George Brand and General Hertzog, both able and
determined officers, had crossed into the Colony, and other forces had
entered Griqualand West, where some convoys were taken. So there was
daily fighting in Cape Colony, the Free State and the Transvaal, and
the Boers were successful in all the main engagements, this, too, in
the face of the fact that the war was declared at an end both by Lord
Roberts and Conan Doyle.




The year 1901 began well, and the month of January was a very lively
one, as there was hot fighting in every direction throughout the land
and as far south as Cape Town. The English were alarmed; affairs in
South Africa looked dubious and dark. The Boers were becoming more
aggressive, Johannesburg was in a constant state of excitement,
expecting every moment to be attacked and captured; the people were
calling for protection, Kitchener was clamoring for re-enforcements
from England, and England was calling for help from Ireland, Scotland,
Wales, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia. At the same time Lord
Roberts was pulling the ropes for his earldom, and $500,000 for his
proclamations annexing the Free State and the Transvaal, and declaring
the war at an end. The English were short on horses and mules and these
she must have at any cost, otherwise they were swamped.

There was but one country in the world from which she could hope to get
them, and that was the last country in the world that should supply

_The Government of the United States of America disgraced itself by
violating the law and allowing British officers to establish recruiting
camps for horses, mules and men on its sacred soil, thereby assisting
the great monarchy of the British Empire to destroy two little
republics in South Africa struggling so hard for their liberty and
independence. One of these camps was in New Orleans, at Chalmette, a
spot of ground sacred in the eyes and hearts of all true Americans._

The governor of the state protested against this camp. The mayor of the
city protested against this camp, and the people of America protested
against this camp, yet it was allowed to remain. The Government in
Washington City sent two officers clothed in the army uniform to visit
and report on this camp. The two officers went there, shook hands with
the British officers, had some wine, returned to Washington, reported
that all was well, and the Government established a police force to
protect those British officers and that camp while recruiting horses,
mules and men for the British Army in South Africa.

_During the war of 1812 the English tried to lay waste our land,
employed the Indian savages to murder our women and children, burnt
our capitol, and the war closed, with one of its greatest battles,
in 1815, at Chalmette, in New Orleans. So our English Government
in Washington waited some eighty-five years for the opportunity to
apologize to the British Government for the terrible thrashing that the
famous Andrew Jackson gave General Pakenham and his English army at
Chalmette, New Orleans._

It seems to me that this is enough to bring the blush of shame to the
cheeks of every true American. If the people of the United States of
America cannot find enough true Americans to fill the highest office
in their gift, then the time has arrived when they should change their
name and cease to call themselves Americans. Suffice it to say that
just as the struggling Boers had all England alarmed and the English
army pushed to hard straits, ship load after ship load of horses, mules
and men from America began to arrive in Cape Town and Durban, and with
them Lord Kitchener was soon able to put into the field ninety-one
mobile columns. Many of these Americans were captured, and some of
them said that the English forced them to enlist and fight, after they
reached South Africa, while others declared that they were duly hired
by the British in New Orleans to go with the horses and mules to South
Africa and on arrival there take up arms against the Boers.

Little good it would do them, but all those who claim they were forced
by the British to take up arms against the Boers, should at least
vindicate themselves to the extent of laying their complaints with the
proper officials in Washington City. Those who confess that they were
duly hired by the English to take up arms against the Boers should be
made to feel the stigma of their disgrace by being disfranchised and
deprived of the rights of American citizenship.

I certainly feel that any republican who voluntarily assists a king or
queen, or both, to kill or enslave other republicans, is not fit to
live among republicans, for such a man in time of war is sure to commit
treason if he gets an opportunity.

Strange as it may seem, it is yet true, the English never once attacked
the Boers in the month of January. They were forced to fight on the
defensive and the Boers made them do plenty of fighting. Without horses
and mules what could the English do but spend their time in throwing
up earthworks to defend themselves against Boer attacks, and I tell
you the English were kept pretty busy from morn till night. The Boers
were having a first class picnic with them, and had not the English
Government in Washington, D.C., lent a helping hand, the British army
in South Africa would have been hopelessly lost in the struggle. Now
the reader can understand what I meant when I said some time back that
the two little Republics would have won their independence had not
the devil and his angels been against them. It is significant, and it
means something when 35,000 Boers put an English army 250,000 strong
strictly on the defensive, and the Government of the United States did
not fail to come promptly to the British Army's rescue. But I must go
ahead and tell what happened in the various and widely separated parts
of South Africa during the month of January, 1901. It may not interest
the reader, but it was a month of great worry and excitement both to
the British army and the British Government.

Early in the month General Botha planned to attack Machadadorp,
Dalmanutha, Belfast, Wonderfontein and Balmoral, all fortified stations
of the Delagoa railway line. All the forts were well equipped both with
men and guns, and the forts at each station were so placed that each
could protect the other.

It was during the dark and rainy night of January 8th, that a
simultaneous attack on all the stations on the line was to be made. For
a distance of seventy-five miles the midnight hour was made hideous
by the singing of rifle bullets, whizzing grape shot, and the roar of

The frightful noise could be heard for miles, and the Boers and English
were face to face at the forts, some shooting and others using their
rifles as clubs. The English lost heavily, but the attack was only
partially successful. The Boers had tried to outdo ten to one against
them in well fortified positions. The English at night always removed
their guns at Belfast from the forts for safety and it was fortunate
for them that they did, for General Viljoen with the Johannesburg boys
took the big fort on Monument Hill with its maxims and men. He lost
his bravest and best veldtcornet in the attack, Ceroni, who fell at
the wall of the fort. Plucky Dick Hunt, of the Irish Brigade, was by
his side, and he received three wounds, one in the lungs being a very
severe one, from which he is suffering to this very day. He, however,
with his three wounds, was among the very first to scale the walls
and capture the fort. The fort at the coal mine was attacked by Major
Wolmorans and about twenty-five artillery boys, including Sergeant
Joe Wade, Sergeant Mike Halley, Joe Kennedy, John McGlew, Jim French,
Captain McCallum and Jerry O'Leary, of the Irish Brigade. Here the
Boers and the English were within two feet of each other, each trying
to take the other's head off. Some of the Irish boys actually pulled
the rifles out of the Tommies' hands. Finally the Tommies weakened and
the boys jumped over the wall and took the fort. Lieutenant Cotzee
showed remarkable bravery, was severely wounded and afterwards murdered
by some Kaffirs that had been armed by the British. The Boers held the
two forts a few hours, helped to care for the dead and wounded English,
and then with all their booty returned to camp. At all the other
stations the Boers had to fall back because the English were too strong
for them.

This affair put all the English to work next day along the line,
strengthening existing forts, building others, digging trenches and so
forth, to make their positions as strong for defence as possible. They
were not only frightened, but astonishingly alarmed by the boldness
and the aggressiveness of the Boers. We were camped about seven miles
from Belfast, about 150 strong, could see everyone in the town, and
the English, about 3,000 strong, could see us, yet they never dared
to attack us. We had no defences whatever and were camped on the open
prairie. "We were as safe as the people in Piccadilly."

General Chris. Botha near Blauwkop and not far from Standerton,
attacked the English and had a good warm fight, and at the end the
English thought it wise to pull themselves nearer Standerton. Shortly
afterwards General Chris. Botha found the English between Ermelo and
Carolina and again attacked and made it warm for them. In fact, he made
the English commands that had sufficient horses hustle away lively, and
they kept close to the railway lines for protection. General De Wet
in the Free State was at all times next to the English, who now were
not striving to corner him, but to keep shy of him. Near Lindley he
attacked and had a fight with a column much stronger in men and guns
than himself, but he was eminently successful, and before all could
escape he made several prisoners. In Cape Colony, south of Kimberly
and as far down as Cape Town, there was good fighting in many places.
It required an English army 30,000 strong to protect the various
towns, and yet the Boers had no trouble in accomplishing their ends.
Judge Hertzog and General Brand were in one section, Commandant Fouche
and General Kritsinger in another, while Commandant Wynand Malan and
Commandant Scheepers were near to Cape Town. All these generals and
commandants were playing havoc with the English, and Commandant Malan,
one of the most successful and daring young officers of the war, was
within twenty miles of Cape Town when he captured a convoy. While he
was here great excitement prevailed in Cape Town and the people were
daily expecting the Boers to attack. Near Kimberly the other generals
and commandants were attacking and driving the English, and once again
Kimberly was in a great state of worry. So alarming were the conditions
in Cape Colony that it became necessary to proclaim martial law in many
districts, and re-enforcements were called for in order to try and
suppress the invaders.


Colonel Blake, John Muller, Commandant Malan, Lieutenant Malan,
Commandant Conroy, Commandant Lategan, Commandant Piet Moll.]

Now we will see what General de la Rey is doing in the Western
Transvaal. The English are numerous everywhere and protected by forts
in all parts. At Zeerust a large command is tied up by General de la
Rey's men, not one of them shows his head above the wall. They cry for
food and relief, but in vain. Only a small number of General de la
Rey's men are there, but the number seems quite sufficient. The English
are hard pushed and much worried, yet they do not dare to leave their
walls and face the Boers.

For many miles along the Magaliesburg Mountains southwest of Pretoria,
de la Rey is attacking and driving the English, and before the end of
the month had cleared them all from the mountains and taken possession
himself. Every advantage, both in men, guns and fortified positions
were in the hands of the English, yet so fierce was General de la Rey's
attack that they had to give way and abandon that mountain range. Near
Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg some of de la Rey's commandos attacked
the intrenched and fortified English, and at Lichtenburg, where the
general was in person, half the defences were taken and many English
killed and wounded. Fighting continued here for several days, and had
not re-enforcements arrived, General de la Rey would have captured or
killed all the English commands.

In the Western Transvaal one of de la Rey's commandos attacked a
convoy and its escort near Modderfontein, and a hard fight for several
days, was the result. In the end, 250 men surrendered with two maxims,
plenty of ammunition, loaded wagon train, and so forth. Having disarmed
them and taken possession of the booty, the Boers sent the escort back
to the English lines. It was during this month that General Beyers
passed from the high veldt on the east to the Western Transvaal,
crossing the railway line between Johannesburg and Pretoria. He did not
forget to take a railway station as he passed. Some of his men made a
raid to Johannesburg, upset the nerves of the whole population, took
about two thousand cattle, a good number of goats and sheep and then
returned to camp, satisfied with their day's work. Many other small
fights occurred during the month, but not of sufficient importance to
deserve mention. I think that I have given enough to show that Lord
Roberts' war was at an end, and that he fully deserved his $500,000 and
earldom for his proclamations. I have not heard yet what Conan Doyle
received, but he is certain to have reaped a reward of some kind.

It was during the months of December and January that Lord Kitchener
did some of his dirtiest paper work in the form of circulars praying
the burghers to come in and surrender, and offering them all sorts of
inducements to commit treason. He made use of the burghers who had
long since surrendered and whom he had not shipped out of the country
because they were so loyal, to carry out these circulars and distribute
them among the Boer commandos.

When they began to arrive they were at once sent back and told to warn
all persons who should in the future appear in the Boer camps with such
treasonable papers that they would be shot. Lord Kitchener prevailed
upon them, however, and out they came again. Generals De Wet, de la
Rey, Louis Botha, Chris. Botha and Viljoen all had some of them shot.
Lord Kitchener protested against the shooting of his loyal subjects,
but he was very careful not to send any more out. These Anglo-Africans
who did this work correspond to what is known in the United States as
Anglo-Americans or Anglo-Saxons, and just as much confidence can be
put in the one in time of war as in the other. For it is this class
of people who, in time of war, will be sure to ally themselves with
that power which they believe most likely will be victorious in the
end, regardless of their citizenship. Any English lord or general, or
any general who, to gain his end, puts a premium upon treason, will
himself, under proper conditions commit treason, just as sure as he who
offers a bribe is equally sure to accept one. An Anglo-African is a
born or naturalized burgher of the Free State or the Transvaal who has
an English heart, just as an Anglo-American is a born or naturalized
citizen of the United States who has an English heart.



Now I come to the month of February, 1901, and will give the reader
a little idea of how the Boers conducted themselves during the
twenty-eight days. The British Government had now granted Lord
Kitchener's request, and started to South Africa 30,000 more men.
England was so hard pressed for recruits that she had to send any and
everything in the shape of a man, and most of her recruits were taken
from barrooms, I imagine, for, of the 30,000 who came, Lord Kitchener
had to send back some 10,000 as being utterly worthless for any use
whatever. The remaining 20,000 were put in military training for six
months, and in the end were unable to ride or fight, but he needed men
so badly that he kept them to make a good display if for nothing else.

During the month before us General Louis Botha and his brother,
General Chris. Botha, had a very lively time. They were in the vicinity
of Ermelo on the high veldt, in the Eastern Transvaal. They had made
so much trouble that Lord Kitchener resolved to make a determined
effort to corner and capture them. He collected all his available
cavalry and having supplied them with plenty of maxims and guns he
started them in six columns to bring in the two Bothas. General French
was put in command of the English and was considered the best cavalry
officer in the British service, so then there was no doubt but that he
would present to Lord Kitchener the two ordinary farmer generals that
had been causing so much trouble and alarm. The Bothas had with them
about 1,000 men, and French was to corner and capture them with 15,000
men. General French so placed his columns that when they all advanced
they would enclose the Bothas within a circle from which it would be
impossible to escape. The Bothas discovered French's object and before
the columns could advance they attacked and put to flight one column
and then moved off in the direction of Piet Retief. This was a surprise
to General French, but he did not despair of capturing the farmer
generals. He put all his columns in pursuit, and when the proper time
came to cage them, the two farmers easily broke through the cordon and
returned to the vicinity of Ermelo.

[Illustration: GENERAL JAN KEMP]

French was discouraged. He made no further attempt to capture the
farmers, but was determined to do something before he returned, so
he made war on the women and children and spread great distress and
suffering among them. Some of these women were raped, others dragged
out of their homes at night and made witness all their possessions
consumed in flames. Many were driven on foot to concentration camps and
kicked and cuffed about as so many beasts.

Having made the women suffer as much as possible, he gathered in
several thousand cattle and sheep and returned to report what a
successful expedition he had completed. At Lake Chrissi, between Ermelo
and Carolina, General Botha had the nerve to attack an English camp
2,000 strong. It was a foggy morning, and the noise of the battle
stampeded a band of wild horses and they ran into the Krugersdorpers'
horses, stampeding them too.

This spoiled the whole affair, for General Botha had the English camp
all but taken, but when the burghers saw their saddled horses running
away they at once started in pursuit of them. Fortunately they had
already captured several hundred horses from the English, for many
of their own horses evaded them. Commandant Kemp, one of the most
enthusiastic, one of the most energetic, pluckiest and best commandants
in the Boer army, was more than disgusted with his men for being so
concerned about their horses, but he forgot for the moment that an
infantryman is but of little practical use in war. The English, when
the Boers retired, lost no time in fleeing to places of safety, and
never again showed themselves on the high veldt until the horses,
mules and men from America were put into fighting trim, and that was
many weeks to come. The two Bothas had proved themselves equal to that
almost, if not quite, unequalled De Wet, and such was the impression
they made on Lord Kitchener that he requested General Louis Botha to
meet and discuss with him some peace terms.

Before going elsewhere, I will tell what happened when last General
Botha and Lord Kitchener met in Middleburg at the end of February. For
the price of peace, Lord Kitchener told General Botha that after a time
he would give the Boers civil government and give this, and that, and
one million pounds to build up ten millions' worth of destroyed farms,
and so forth. But Lord, or monacle-eyed Joe Chamberlain stepped in,
and said "We will do nothing of the kind, and the Boers must make an
unconditional surrender." Of course, General Botha smiled at both, and
on his return to Ermelo told what had taken place at the conference,
exhorted them to fight to the bitter end, and assured them that he
would be with them heart, soul and body.

Now I will jump into the Free State and see what the wily De Wet is
doing. De Wet, the Stonewall Jackson of South Africa, had all the
English of the Free State on the run and, at the end of January, it
looked as if he would sweep them from the country. Lord Kitchener
resolved to corner and capture him, it mattered not what it might cost,
for Lord Roberts and Conan Doyle had declared the war at an end, and if
the English people should hear that De Wet was practically in control
of the Free State, why, they would be inclined to think that both
Roberts and Doyle were liars.

As a side remark, that might be expressing it mildly, but anyhow,
Kitchener organized eight or ten columns, all he could get, because
the English Government in Washington City had not yet succeeded in
landing enough horses or mules for his needs, and sent them to surround
and take in the troublesome De Wet. Now General De Wet was on the
open veldt near Brandfort, where the English could see him from all
directions, and all they had to do was to surround him and take or kill
him. As De Wet had about 1500 men, of course it would be a very easy
thing for 25,000 trained military men to gobble him in, in quick time.
The several columns surrounded him, and despatch men were flying at
full speed from column to column bearing instructions that would insure
perfect unity of action. General De Wet, when he concluded that the
several columns were in good readiness to bury him, saddled up, moved
out and attacked the nearest column. He riddled it, put it to flight,
and another column which came up quickly was also torn to pieces and
scattered in all directions. He took two of their guns, a maxim and a
portion of their convoy, a few prisoners whom he released, and went on
his way to Cape Colony without consulting with or asking permission of
the other columns. I do not know what the officer in command reported
on his return, but I suppose he made the usual one, that some one had
betrayed him or that his horses and men were so fatigued that he could
not make a successful pursuit of De Wet and his fresh horses and men.
General De Wet did not stop to hear what kind of a report the English
commander did make, because he was anxious to reach Cape Colony, find
out what was being done there and replenish his command with horses,
and so forth. He had to pass many English commands on the way, but
he succeeded in sweeping them aside and reaching the Orange River,
where the English had made every preparation not only to prevent his
crossing, but also to capture him. Again he outwitted the English,
crossed the river, entered Cape Colony, saw Judge Hertzog and other
commanders, supplied himself with plenty of horses, had a tough fight
with the English, abandoned some of his wagons, and then started back
on his way to the Orange River where the English were sure to catch
him this time.

[Illustration: MRS. ABRAHAM MALAN

daughter of Commandant General Joubert and her young family.]

On arriving near the river he found the crossings in possession of
the English commands, but he must cross, for he was anxious to go far
to the north in the Free State, where he felt that his presence was
necessary. He sent a detachment to a certain point up the river with
instructions to show themselves, and in case the English advanced they
were to retire, put spurs to their horses and overtake the command
while crossing the river. The scheme worked beautifully, for as soon
as the English saw the detachment they concluded that it was De Wet's
advance guard and they prepared to attack him. The detachment played
its part well, by going through the form of signalling to the rear.

The English made all possible haste to advance and attack De Wet and if
possible hold him engaged until their other commands should come. As
all were on the lookout for him, of course the different commands would
lose no time in reaching the scene of action. The English completely
abandoned the crossing in front of De Wet and made a hurried advance
on the detachment. When 1200 yards away the detachment opened fire on
the English and a short skirmish took place. At this moment De Wet
rushed to the river, crossed it and put his men in fighting order to
protect the detachment which he expected every moment. After firing a
few shots, the detachment dropped behind the hill from which they had
been firing, mounted their horses, put in the spurs and soon joined the
wily De Wet across the river. Again the English were easily outwitted
and De Wet was once more in the Free State. He had to fight his way
all through the Free State, but the English were afraid of him, and he
reached his destination at Heilbron without loss of time.

He had now made a round trip of about a thousand miles, had had many
skirmishes, successfully fought two battles and landed home with but
little loss. His trip had a great moral effect on the English army, the
people of Cape Colony and Cape Town. The news of his invasion of Cape
Colony had spread all over South Africa and had reached London. The
English element in Cape Town and throughout the colony were crazy with
fright, for all men were sure that De Wet would lay waste the country
as the English had the Transvaal and Free State. The English forces in
the Colony were concentrated that they might make a successful defense
when De Wet should attack.

Lord Kitchener and his numerous force of cricketers felt the cold chill
running down their backs and were at their wit's end to make out a
report that would so mislead the English papers that they would not
express any regret at having presented Lord Roberts with $500,000 and
an earldom for his proclamations, and for declaring that the war was
at an end. All were so undone and such nervous wrecks that they did not
remember that Conan Doyle had also declared that the war was over.

I think General De Wet made a great mistake in returning to the Free
State so soon. With his energy, his ability, his prestige and men he
should have gone to the De Aar Junction, destroyed that most important
railway point and then followed the railway towards Cape Town,
destroying it and all the bridges on his way. Such were the conditions
in Cape Town at the time that had he gone ahead and penetrated as far
as the Paarl, it is safe to conclude that he would have received at
least 15,000 recruits, and these Colonial Boers cannot be surpassed
for fighting qualities. Having done this, before retracing his steps
he would have had an army 20,000 strong before he reached the Orange
River. I always felt that the war should have been carried into Cape
Colony and there finished, for the people were ripe for rebellion, and
had Generals Botha, De Wet and de la Rey gone there with their commands
it is certain that they would have risen, as one, and all joined the
Boers. This would have meant the defeat and downfall of the English
army and the independence of the Africander race throughout South
Africa. But they didn't go there, and the Africander race has yet to
free itself.

During this month of February neither General de la Rey nor the English
did anything worth recording. The English remained close in their
forts, and General de la Rey was satisfied to rest his men and give his
horses a chance to recuperate and fatten up.



Now I come to the month of March, during which but little was done
except in Cape Colony and de la Rey's district of the Western
Transvaal. General Louis Botha was at Ermelo and the various commands
were in their respective districts on the high veldt. The English did
not come out because enough mules and horses had not yet arrived from

We all had a quiet but good time lying in laager, smoking our pipes
and growing fat on mealie pap (ordinary corn meal mush) and fresh
beef. In the Free State General De Wet had a few little skirmishes and
a few of his commandos had a brush with the enemy, but little or no
damage was done. It seemed that the peace confab between Lord Kitchener
and General Botha in the latter part of February had a soothing and
quieting effect on everybody. In Cape Colony, General Kritsinger,
Commandants Malan, Fouche, Hertzog and George Brand were going at a
lively pace in many of the districts. They seemed to continue to have
their own way and keep the English on the constant jump, and captured
many prisoners. All of them supplied themselves and men with at least
two horses each, and the English were kind enough to give them plenty
of ammunition. So the Boers in Cape Colony had no reason to complain.
In the western division of the Transvaal, General de la Rey's commandos
had some pretty hard fights. The general attacked Lichtenburg and
gave the English a good pounding. Had not reinforcements arrived
just in time, he would have had the town and the English garrison.
But as it was, he was forced to retire. One of his commandos near
Klerksdorp attacked the English and forced them to retire. Near Kaffir
Kraal General de la Rey had another fight, and although the English
suffered severely, they were too many for him and captured his guns.
The lieutenant in charge of the artillery was not to blame, however,
for he was deceived by one of those Anglo-Africans who came to him and
told him that General de la Rey wished the guns. Having obeyed he found
himself and guns in the hands of the English. As this Anglo-African was
evidently a burgher, the lieutenant thought nothing about it further
than to obey instructions. Damn all Anglos, whether Americans, Boers,
German, French or whatever their nationality.

Along the line of the Magaliesburg Mountains a few shots were daily
exchanged between the English and the Boers, the English in the forts
and the Boers in the foothills, but no actual fighting took place.
General Beyers in the north was inactive, too, after he and General
Plumer had had some hot fights, when the latter came to occupy the
little town of Pietersburg, 180 miles north of Pretoria.

General Beyers had but a small command, but he kept General Plumer's
force busy throwing up earthworks and preparing all sorts of defences.
General Beyers placed his headquarters between Pietersburg and Pretoria
and not far from the railway line, that he might continue to trouble
the big force at Pietersburg.

Now I come to the month of April, when sufficient horses, mules and men
had arrived from the United States of America for Lord Kitchener to
put sixty-three mobile columns in the field, so the reader may be sure
that the Boers had to make use of all of their natural wits to outwit
the English. They did well, covered themselves with glory and again
put the great English army to shame. The reader must remember at this
time the actual fighting Boers numbered very nearly 30,000 men and no
more. There were also on the farms several thousand women and old men,
non-combatants, and children. I hope this will be remembered, for now
comes the most interesting and marvelous part of the war.

During the next twelve months, the wonderful fighting qualities of
the real fighting Boer came out and astonished the world, while the
English army by its pitiful stupidity and unworthiness, becomes
immortalized in the history of a fast declining and degenerated Empire.
General Ben Viljoen and "Fighting Bill," General Muller, learned that
a large convoy was leaving Machadadorp on the Delagoa railway line
for Lydenburg, where there was a large English command. They resolved
to try to take it, and with nearly 500 fine soldiers and determined
men they left their laager, marched about thirty miles and concealed
themselves near the main road to Lydenburg. At last, after waiting a
day and a night, the convoy with six or seven hundred escort came in
sight, and all the boys gazed at it with eager eyes. Nearer and nearer
it came, till it came too near and the boys could not wait any longer.
Off they went for it, fired a few shots, the escort fled, and the boys
brought back about 100 loaded wagons with them. I tell you, the Tommies
don't like the looks of the Boers when they come fast, and they put
themselves out of danger as quickly as their horses can take them. Once
again the English have supplied the Johannesburg commando with food,
clothing and ammunition.

General Chris. Botha in the Vryheid district, like General Viljoen and
General Muller, helps himself to a convoy that plentifully supplies him
with all that is necessary in the way of food, clothing and ammunition,
but the escort were all fortunate enough to escape.

Commandant Grobler ran against a large column of English five times
his number, gave them a good short fight and then retreated as rapidly
as he could. General Louis Botha and General Chris. Botha attacked
a column 3,000 strong at Spitz Kop near Ermelo and kept these 3,000
Tommies moving lively all day. I really believe the English cavalry
would do well if so many of them did not fall off when at a swift pace,
and if they would not stampede and every man run for his life because
a shell exploded near them. Here I saw over 600 cavalry put to flight
by one shell from a French gun so directed by Major Pretorius that it
struck and exploded in their midst. Major Pretorius had about twenty
men with him, but the 600 Tommies had not lost any Boer guns and were
not looking for any. As this body of 600 cavalry fled, several troopers
fell off their horses and followed their fast flying comrades on foot.
If the cavalry of other European countries is as bad as the English
cavalry, my advice to them is to fight shy of the American cavalry--if
it comes to a fight. This column intended to camp near Ermelo, but
concluded that it was too warm for them and went several miles towards
Carolina before going into camp.

Now there was a rest in this part of the world for about two weeks,
and then, like a swarm of bees, the English columns fairly covered the
whole high veldt, fifteen columns having shown up at one time. This was
on the 29th of the month, so I will wait until the next month, May, to
tell all that happened.

On this very day Major Pretorius, Gustave Preller and myself started
on a round trip of 480 miles to the Western Transvaal with despatches
for General de la Rey. We saw something, and before I forget it I must
tell our experience. It was a perilous journey, but we felt confident
that we would deliver the despatches and return to General Louis
Botha with the replies. With a cart and four mules driven by a Pondo
Kaffir, Kleinveld by name, two pack horses, and three riding horses,
we started. On arriving at Olifantsfontein, about twenty miles from
the Johannesburg-Pretoria railway line, we learned that it would be
impossible to keep the cart with us because the English had every
crossing so well guarded.

We decided to leave it, its Kaffir driver and the young burgher, Van
Rensberg, and go ahead with the two pack horses. Young Van Rensberg, a
brave and noble boy, was instructed to await our return, but if the
English should show up before we did, he was to use his own judgment
and save himself, cart and mules. Off we went, and on reaching a ridge
about nine miles from the railway line we stopped, brought out our
field glasses and found that the English were numerous all along the
line. But we must pass through, and that was all there was to it; so
we decided to pass the line very near to Olifantsfontein, because the
English wouldn't think for a moment that any Boers would dare to take
such desperate chances. We waited till the sun was down. It was the
3rd of May and the full moon came up in all her glory just as the sun
dropped below the horizon. It seemed to us that it was as light as
day, but go we must, and we did go. At about eight o'clock p.m. Major
Pretorius said, "There is a line," and there it was. Cautiously we
approached it, then crossed it and smiled a heavenly smile as we looked
at the Tommies 600 yards away at the station, smoking, telling jokes
and laughing by their camp fires. They had no guards out, and we passed
by them without interruption, not seeing any trouble ahead. We rode on
for a mile, stopped and rested our horses for fifteen minutes and then
went on our way to the six-mile-spruit near Pretoria. We rode till one
o'clock a.m. and we knew that we were near the Pretoria-Rustenberg main
road, so we decided to stop, sleep until daylight and then hasten to
Schurweburg, a farm settlement just twelve miles west of Pretoria. We
hobbled our horses and went to sleep on the dry grass.

Just at daylight Major Pretorius stirred us up, and we caught, saddled
and packed our horses and travelled at a gallop, because we were very
near the English forts on the hill between us and Pretoria. Just as the
sun rose we were crossing an arroya (a spruit), and Preller discovered
a long canvas bag, well filled, by the roadside. It bore the name of
one of Kitchener's scouts and had evidently fallen from a wagon during
the night. The numerous horse and wagon tracks convinced us that we
were very near an English command and therefore we must proceed very

About one and a half miles to our right was the little farm settlement
behind a ridge, and from the great column of black smoke that was
rising in the air we concluded that the English must be there, engaged
in a fight against the women and children and burning their homes. We
turned to our right and went down the arroya and when at a distance
of 400 yards, Major Pretorius, who was in front, leaped from his
horse. Preller and I followed suit. About 500 yards to his left Major
Pretorius discovered fifteen mounted English on a small ridge facing
him. Near the arroya was a small clump of bush and in it we concealed
our five horses as best we could. The Major and Preller crawled up a
hill about sixty yards away to try and find out where the camp was,
while I was to stay with the horses and keep an eye on the smoke. In a
few moments I discovered between us and the smoking farm settlement, at
a distance of about 800 yards, some 400 cavalrymen, all dismounted. The
major had also discovered them and traveled back to tell me.

We now realized that we were in a bad box, and that it looked as if
there was no hope to escape, for should we try to go back towards
Pretoria we would be discovered and driven into that town and captured.
In a few minutes the 400 cavalry mounted their horses and came up the
arroya towards us, crossed it about 300 yards below us, passed about
the same distance to our left and finally dismounted in the road
just where a few minutes before we had picked up the bag. They were
now about 400 yards from us and in plain view. Suddenly they mounted
their horses, formed a semi-circle around us, in line of skirmishers,
and began to fire, but in an opposite direction to us. Another 100
cavalry came up the arroya from the burning houses, driving some sheep,
and passed behind us no more than seventy-five yards away. We heard
distinctly all they said about burning and plundering the farmhouses.
The firing became general all about us. Then we knew that some Boers
had attacked the English, yet there was no possible chance for us to
escape as far as we could see.

We all shook hands, and swore that we would not surrender, and having
concealed the few valuables we had, we waited for the English to
discover us. Should they kill us they would get nothing but our horses,
and as a last resort we were going to mount our horses and run for
our lives. The fight lasted till 10.30 a.m., about three and one half
hours, and then the English formed columns, took their wagons and
cannon and started for Pretoria. They had gone about 800 yards when
they halted and dismounted. We did not like this, so we mounted our
horses, rode down the arroya about 300 yards till we came to the wagon
road that led to the farm settlement, and then put spurs and were away
at full gallop. The English stood with their necks stretched like a
flock of geese and gazed intently at us, but never fired a shot. We
passed near five Boers in a kopje who were about firing on us, but
seeing our pack horses they refrained. They could not understand how we
could be Boers and come from the English lines, yet they knew that none
but Boers had pack horses.

On reaching the farm settlement we found the houses were not burnt,
but the barns and all food supplies were destroyed and hundreds of
women and children left to starve. The object of this was to force the
women and children to go to Pretoria and ask for supplies of food. Lord
Kitchener would then send them to one of his prison camps for women
and children, and cable to London that some 200 women and children from
Schurweburg had come to him as refugees, seeking his protection, as
all were in a starving condition. The Boers who had been fighting the
English soon came in and reported their morning's work. We knew every
one of them personally and were glad to see them again. When the fight
began only six of the 110 men had horses, but when it ended they had
nineteen more and six mules and one wagon loaded with supplies which
they had captured from the English. With the mules they could now mount
thirty-one of the 110 men.

During the fight a little fifteen-year-old boy by the name of Pretorius
had walked about three miles to a point from which he could see if
there were any more English coming from any quarter. He remained too
long, and when he saw the English columns returning to Pretoria, it
was too late for him to run and save himself. He had no idea that the
English engaged in the fight intended to return to Pretoria so soon.

He followed the Boer instinct to save himself, and he crawled into an
ant-bear hole about forty yards from the road and pulled his rifle with
him. The whole column passed him by and when he could no longer hear
the horses' feet beating the road, he ventured to peep out and see his
position. He saw one man coming at a gallop about a half a mile away
and he knew this man belonged to the column that had passed by, so he
lay low and watched the lone trooper. When the trooper was about forty
yards away little Pretorius jumped out of the hole, threw his rifle
into position and called out, "Hands up!" The trooper was an English
sergeant and thought at first that the little boy was joking, but soon
saw that he was in earnest, and at once surrendered. Little Pretorius
made him lay down his rifle, ammunition, and so forth, and then started
him on his way on foot. After the trooper had gone about 100 yards the
little boy with two rifles, plenty of ammunition and a fine horse,
bridle and saddle, went cantering away to the farm settlements. On his
arrival he was the hero of the hour, and every one, men, women and
children, congratulated him on his pluck and good soldier sense. Now
thirty-two of the 110 men were mounted.


S.W. Joubert and Family.]

We stopped here for three days to rest ourselves and horses and to
have new shoes put on the horses, for we had to pass through a very
rocky country. We learned that the English forts were very numerous
between us and General de la Rey, and that it would be difficult to
pass them by without being captured, but we must take the chance. Here
we first met the famous Boer Spy, Captain Naude, a young man about
twenty-three years old. In due time I will tell all about him and his
marvelous spy system in Pretoria and Johannesburg. While in this farm
settlement he and a few boys went into Pretoria every night and brought
out a good bunch of the officers' horses, bridles and saddles, so that
by the time we said good-bye to all and started on our long journey,
seventy of the 110 men were mounted. We arrived at this farm settlement
on May 4th and left on the 7th, passed near Krugersdorp, saw the
English camps about there and went down through Hekpoort.

We were now about three miles from Nooitgedacht where General de la
Rey and General Beyers had taken General Clement's camp and killed,
wounded and taken prisoners 800 of his men. Ahead of us we could see a
long line of English forts, so we knew that there must be Boers in the
Magaliesburg just opposite to them. We moved cautiously and kept our
eyes on the forts. When nearly opposite to them and about 5,000 yards
distant, we found some Boers, and I tell you we felt much relieved. The
English had spent the previous day trying to shell them out, but had
signally failed. We could not learn just where General de la Rey was,
but they knew he was somewhere near Mafeking on the western border. We
remained here for the night and learned that the English had forts
everywhere in front, and that we must be very careful.

In the early morning we started to run the gauntlet and pass the forts.
Each rode about two hundred yards behind the other for about an hour
and a half and then we found ourselves out of danger. Not a shot was
fired at us, yet we were directly under them and not 3,000 yards away.
We crossed a small mountain and were then in a great, wide rolling
prairie, with Ventersdorp about five hours' ride to the left.

The many English graves we daily passed showed that heavy fighting had
taken place along the whole line of the Magaliesburg. On reaching a
tall ridge we could see immense forts on all high prominences in our
front, and we were much puzzled as to how we could safely pass them.
We would stop and use our glasses frequently, because we were on risky
ground. There was one large fort that was directly in our way, and
we could not see how we could possibly pass it without going at full
speed, and our horses were too tired to do this. We slowly approached
till within a thousand yards of this place, when we dismounted, sat
down to rest and made the best possible use of our glasses. We had
excellent glasses, and for one hour there was not a second passed
without at least one of us having the glasses nailed on that fort.
It was about noon time, and to save us we could not see the slightest
sign of life about the fort. We concluded there was no one in it and we
decided to take our chances and ride by it. We guessed right, and at a
kraal near by the Kaffirs told us that the English had left the fort
the day before.

This fort would accommodate about 1,000 men, so we knew that many
English were prowling about somewhere and that we must keep a sharp
lookout. We moved on rapidly, passed many of the forts, but were not
delayed by any of them. Our horses were very tired and so were we, when
we reached one of General de la Rey's commandos on May 10th. We felt
relieved, for now we were sure that the despatches would be delivered
and we could take a long rest. We were told that General de la Rey
was at Mafeking, but would return in two or three days. In due time
we learned that he had returned and that he was with his laager about
six miles away. We went to see him, and there we found with him one
of his bravest and most dashing fighters, General Kemp. We delivered
the despatches, he wrote his replies, and in one hour was gone to
see one of his commandos twenty-five miles away, to get matters in
readiness for a fight. He had one horse, worth about twenty dollars, a
mackintosh, a revolver and a pair of glasses. With him was his son and
Secretary Ferrera. He eats with his burghers, shares their blankets
and carries practically no staff. He makes every man fight.

Within an hour after his departure a most important despatch arrived
from General De Wet telling him that he must come at once and see him
in the Free State, for it was on a serious matter that they must act.
The despatch was forwarded to the general in haste. We remained here
a few days with General Kemp to give our horses a good rest for the
return journey. We had bread to eat and it was the first we had tasted
for many months. At night, General de la Rey had the ground plowed,
the corn planted, and the wheat sowed, so that he always had plenty
of everything to eat in the way of bread, mealie pap, pumpkins, sweet
potatoes, Irish, etc.

On the 22nd of May we started back on the same route by which we had
come. Two days after leaving General Kemp we heard heavy cannonading,
as if some one had attacked somebody else. We were sure that General
Kemp had a hand in it, because he was always looking for a fight and he
was in that direction. We passed back through the English lines without
any trouble whatever, and arrived at the farm settlements we had left
on the 7th of May, on June 2nd. Seventy of the 110 men were mounted
when we left and on our return the entire number was mounted and they
had some forty horses to spare.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN J.J. NAUDE

The Great Boer Spy.]

Veldtcornet Pretorius and Veldtcornet Jones were in command and both
were brave, energetic and daring commanders. We remained here till
June 7th to rest ourselves and horses and try to find out what had
happened on the high veldt since we left. All we could learn was that
it was covered with English camps and that Bapsfontein, just across
the railway line, was still free of English. This was good news to
us, for we left our cart and mules at Olifantsfontein, just six miles
further on than Bapsfontein. Captain Naude, the famous spy, and six
other men joined us to go to the high veldt. They had helped to rid all
the stables at Pretoria of the English officers' horses, bridles, and
saddles and now they are seeking new fields for adventure.

We started about three o'clock in the afternoon of June 7th, in order
that we might be near the railway line before sundown. There was no
moon now, and as it was cloudy, heavy weather, the night was sure to
be very dark. Veldtcornet Jones went with us a part of the way to be
sure that we would strike the line at the safest place to cross. Night
came and we made for the line. It was so dark we had to keep in touch
almost, or otherwise we would be separated and lose each other. To make
bad matters worse, a slow rain set in and we could not tell whether we
were going north, south, east or west.

I remember one laughable incident which I must tell about, for it will
require only half a dozen words. We had been wading through cornfields,
reeds, muddy spruits and so forth for some time, but were getting along
all right when we suddenly heard a most terrible splash. Oom Koos
Bosch, horse and all, had suddenly disappeared in a deep pool of water
that the rest of us had by mere luck escaped. We dragged him out, and
after half an hour's hard work managed to get his horse out too. The
banks were very steep and quite high. When La Blanche, his son-in-law,
heard Oom Koos' voice, he rushed back to his assistance and in he went
too, so we had to drag him out. It was a laughable affair, but both
were so mad that one would have to take his life in his hand if he
dared to give an audible smile.

We went on and rambled for hours trying to find the railway line.
About nine o'clock all the large flash lights at various stations
began to work. It was a sudden change from pitch darkness to almost
broad daylight. We at once saw that we were very near the line and
had the English opened their eyes they would have at once seen that
we were near it. We had to hurry now, for the flash lights were
playing all about us and we could see the entire line from Pretoria to
Johannesburg. Soon we reached the line near Kalfontein station, and cut
some thirty or forty barbed wires, the field telegraph and main wires,
then crossed some deep ditches, then the railway track, then some more
deep ditches, and then cut thirty or forty more barbed wires and were
free to go our way, and be assured that we lost no time in going, for
we were within five hundred yards of a big camp at the station. Soon we
were as "safe as the people in Piccadilly," but having passed over a
ridge, we were enveloped in pitch darkness again and the rain was still
falling. We stopped and rested ourselves and horses for an hour, at one
o'clock in the morning. Then we started again, but had no light except
that reflected on the clouds behind or by the numerous flash lights, so
we rambled and rambled in search of Bapsfontein, where we would strike
a big road that would lead us straight and right. Just at early dawn
in the morning we saw several specks of fire and some one cried out,
"Look out! there is something in front. Don't you see the fire in their
pipes?" Some laughed at the remark and some of us didn't, and when we
had ridden twenty yards further out rang the cry "Who comes there?" and
it was "Who comes there?" along a very long line. It was no laughing
matter now, and like a lightning flash we whirled about, put the spurs
in and away we went at a full gallop regardless of the awful darkness.
We remained together, made a wide circuit, and having galloped for
about a mile, we stopped on top of a ridge to await until there was
more light. We did not know where we were, and we must find out. Sure
we were that an English camp was near us, but where are we? When there
was a little more light we saw a farm house about a half mile away, and
two of the Boer boys rode to find out just where we were.

This was a "Hands-uppers" farm, and he was at home. He told them
that we had just passed Bapsfontein, where there were camped about
2,000 English, and advised us to move rapidly for the reason that a
detachment might be on the ridge in a few minutes. Fools we were, but
we never thought about the fellow being a "Hands-upper," otherwise we
would have taken him and his two good horses that were feeding near by
us. At Bapsfontein we had actually passed between the main camp and the
guards, and that is why they did not fire at us.

We now went on for three miles, for we knew now just where we were, and
on reaching Kaffir Kraal, where there were plenty of mealies (corn) we
stopped, unsaddled and bought a good feed for all our horses. While
here we saw the English scouts on the ridge behind us and they saw us
too, but made no move to disturb us. After an hour's rest, we saddled
up and rode towards Olifantsfontein where we had left our cart and
mules. When within a mile of this place we took up a gallop and when
within a thousand yards we saw a lot of fellows preparing to fight.
We came down to a walk, and the burghers who had prepared to fight saw
that we were burghers too. We found here General Piet Viljoen, but not
our cart and mules. Many and great changes had taken place along the
scene since we had left it on May 3rd. No one had the slightest idea
where General Botha or our cart and mules were, but all could tell us
that the whole high veldt was fairly alive with English camps.

We remained here for the night and most of the following day, for our
horses had been under the saddle for nineteen hours and necessarily
they were exceedingly tired as well as ourselves. In the afternoon
of the following day we boldly struck out on the high veldt to see
what there was to be seen. On the 11th of June we came on some of
the boys of the Bethel commando who told us that "Fighting Bill,"
General Muller, with 150 of the Johannesburg boys had just taken in
an Australian camp about five miles away and captured over 300 men,
two pom-poms, with 4,000 shells and some 400 horses. This was good
news, and it was correct, too, and the Australians have not done much
bragging since. They had not the slightest idea where General Botha
was, but told us to look out, for the Englishmen were here, there, and
so forth, pointing out to us the different directions of the English

We went ahead towards Tritchardtfontein, which was near Bethel, and at
night we came suddenly upon Commandant Mears and his men. Here was a
spunky little commandant who had wrecked many trains and done his part
towards worrying the English. He did not know where General Botha was,
nor had he seen or heard of our cart and mules.

We camped with Mears for the night, and early next morning started
out towards Bethel, but on seeing a lot of sheep that had just been
killed, we changed our direction for Blauwkop, because the slaughtered
sheep showed us that the English were in front. We reached the vicinity
of Blauwkop just before sundown, and to our great surprise a Boer
commando, too. A greater surprise was still in store for us, for on
reaching the camp there was General Britz, another brave and capable
officer, with his commando, President Steyn, General De Wet and General
Hertzog, of the Free State, and our good old friend whom we had left
some three weeks back, General de la Rey. It is unnecessary to say that
we were delighted, yes, overjoyed, at our good luck, and as we all knew
one another well, the reader may be assured that we spent a few hours
most pleasantly.

I must here mention that General de la Rey and I each really first made
out what the other was. During our short conversation three weeks back
I had told him that certain conditions prevailed in another section and
that to me matters looked serious. I went on and explained everything
to him, but he could not but feel that I must be mistaken. Now we met
again, and the first thing he said to me was "You were right, and we
are here to correct and put things right." I had always distrusted
the Acting President, Schalk Burger, and I had told General de la Rey
so and given my reasons. I might as well finish up with this meeting
before I take up the thread of happenings in April.

On the following day, June 19th, the Free State and Transvaal
Governments were to meet at Waterfall, about twenty miles from
Standerton and about six miles from a large English camp. Now we would
see General Louis Botha, whom we had been seeking, and all the big bugs
at one and the same time. It was just after sundown that all saddled up
and started for Waterfall, where we arrived late at night and soundly

About ten o'clock the next day we saw a long string of carts in the
distance, and that was the approaching Transvaal Government. Soon they
arrived and there was a general handshaking all around. Major Pretorius
gave General de la Rey's replies to General Botha, although General
de la Rey was there himself. In addition to these there were present,
Acting President Schalk Burger, Secretary of State Reitz, General Ben
Viljoen, General Smuts, President Steyn, General De Wet, General
Hertzog, Commandant Ben Bouwers, a fine young officer, Major Pretorius
and myself, and about 200 burghers. The burghers knew that something
had gone wrong, otherwise President Steyn would not have taken the
desperate chance of passing through so many English lines and crossing
a well guarded railway line. In crossing this line the English poured
a heavy fire into them and exploded a dynamite mine that had been
carefully laid, but fortunately President Steyn and his men were clear
of it by about thirty yards when the explosion took place.

Soon the council of war assembled and the secret leaked out. Acting
President Schalk Burger and General Botha had written a state letter
to President Steyn praying for a general surrender. That is the gist
of the whole long letter. The council of war smashed that proposal
into smithereens, and deprived all generals and acting presidents of
the power to discuss peace terms with the English without the consent
and presence of President Steyn, General De Wet and General de la Rey.
I feel to this day that Acting President Schalk Burger was directly
responsible for that state letter to President Steyn, yet I cannot
understand General Botha giving his sanction to it by allowing his
name to be coupled with that of Schalk Burger. Secretary Reitz in his
official position had to sign it, but he was the most disgusted man
I ever saw. Like President Steyn, General De Wet and General de la Rey,
Secretary Reitz was as staunch a patriot as ever breathed, and one that
would never say die, no matter what the conditions might be. He was
game during the war, and as game as ever when the war came to an end.

[Illustration: GENERAL SMUTZ

State Attorney General of the Transvaal.]

Here were the two Governments with no more than 200 men, in the very
midst of thousands of English, holding a confab on the open prairie
within six miles of a large English camp, and not one present in
the least concerned, except Schalk Burger, who, I think, was pretty
nervous. The English are wonderful soldiers, for they knew that the two
Governments were near them and they never made the slightest effort to
take them in.

All business having been finished and matters corrected and put right,
President Steyn, General De Wet and General de la Rey started back to
run the gauntlet and join their respective commands. Major Pretorius
and I, on learning that General Smuts and Commandant Ben Bouwers were
going with a good commando into Cape Colony, tried for permission to go
with them, but were not allowed, much to our disappointment.

I will now return to my story of the April events in all parts. I have
made quite a long side trip which may not prove to be of interest to
the reader, but I assure him that had he been with us at the end of
April he would have been equally interested with ourselves. As it was
at the very end of April that the fifteen English columns suddenly
invaded the high veldt, I will leave them till the first of May and
go into the Free State. But little was done of any account, a little
skirmishing here and a little there and not much more, for the English
were making preparations for cornering and taking in the slippery De
Wet once more.

In the Colony things were more than lively. General George Brand had
captured a column and frightened two or three others half to death.
General Kritsinger by his dash had made the English believe that there
must be no less than 50,000 Boers in Cape Colony. Commandants Fouche,
Scheepers, Malan and others were daily fighting in the different
districts and captured several convoys. In fact, Cape Colony was truly
in a state of war, and the Boers were in possession of the country.
Lord Roberts was in possession of his $500,000 and his earldom, so he
was not worrying, but General French was walking the floor day and
night, for he realized that affairs in Cape Colony were very dark,
and the position of the English in great jeopardy. Not a day passed
without fighting during the month, and it was certain that fighting
would continue for many months to come, for the Boer officers were
superior to the English commanders and could lead them a song-and-dance
wherever they pleased. In the Western Transvaal the English had made
several attempts to corner General de la Rey, but he was not to be
cornered. Near Klerksdorp there was some fighting when a large force of
English pounced on General Smuts and deprived him of one cannon.

The English reported this as a great victory, and I will tell you why.
They think far more of losing one cannon than they do of losing 10,000
Tommies, for they consider Tommies as cheaply made in England as the
Germans could manufacture them, while cannon are expensive in all

Throughout the month troops were constantly shifting about in the
Western Transvaal, but nothing really occurred worthy of note, as
no change had taken place at Zeerust, where the English were still
penned in. Far away in the north General Plumer at Pietersburg, and
the English force in the East at Komati Poort by a combined action
tried to clear the whole country between them of Boers. Their task was
easy, because there were no Boers in those parts, except some women and
children. Their homes and their possessions were burnt and destroyed
and they themselves were sent to concentration camps.

The English spent considerable time in arming the Kaffirs and giving
them the necessary instructions for their murderous work. Chief
Secockuni and his strong force, the worst Kaffirs in the country, had
already been armed by the English and were near Lydenburg on the one
side and Rosenekal on the other. These very Kaffirs murdered many men,
women, and children with those English guns and ammunition, but further
on I will go into the details of this dirtiest and most barbarous work
of the English army.

Now we come to the month of May, and a very lively one, too. General
Ben Viljoen and General Muller crossed the railway line near Balmoral
Station, and left the six pursuing columns all to themselves north of
the railway line. They had simply left one large army to run up against
another stronger still, for there were fifteen columns on the high
veldt bent on capturing the Government, General Botha and all the high
veldt burghers. All these columns practically distinguished themselves
by their puerile tactics. Not only did all the burghers easily evade
them, but two or three trek wagons with women and children escaped
being captured. Of course all the old men and women who remained in the
few farm houses still standing were captured and taken away. Then off
to London would go a flaming report of so many burghers, horses and
cattle being captured.


And his assistant commandants and veldtcornets near Lydenburg, just
before the general surrender.]

The English would enter all the good farm houses, tear up the floors,
and dig, dig, dig in search of money and jewelry that might be buried
under the floor. Having satisfied themselves, they would then burn
and destroy everything. At the end of this month there was not a farm
house standing on the high veldt.

We had the great pleasure of seeing about 600 cavalry charge a farm
house. We had never before seen such a daring, reckless charge, and
there was not a man among that 600 that did not eminently win the V.C.
We had read of the charge of the 600 at Balaclava, and in imagination
had often tried to draw the picture so glowingly painted by one of
England's poet laureates; but this would sink into insignificance and
pass into oblivion if only the charge of the 600 on the farm house
filled with women and children could have been witnessed and depicted
by some such realistic and blood-curdling poet as Alfred Austin
or Rudyard Kipling. The one would never again have to describe in
patriotic rhyme Jameson's raid, nor would the other have to live in
"Barroom" ballads, for so delightfully red would the words that each
could have drawn from his imagination have been, that they could have
painted in thrilling phrases a picture so bloody and hair raising as
to immortalize them. I cannot describe this charge. It was too much
for me, but we seemed to hear the command, "Charge!" and on they came,
every horse with distended nostrils and wild, glaring eyes doing his
best, not one man dropping from the pace, not one faltering, all
surely determined to do or die. And in another moment the farm house
is taken together with its occupants, women and children, who filled
the doors and windows. In another minute all were driven from the
house, the floors torn up, search for money and jewelry made, then the
oil spread and the house consumed in flames.

But, you ask me where the blood is to come from? I will tell you. Those
brave men set to work and killed over one hundred chickens, ducks and
geese, several pigs, some calves and 2,000 sheep which they drove into
the sheep kraal and killed with the bayonet. They were two and three
deep, and that great mass of butchered sheep were rising and falling in
different parts for many days, for many were still alive buried under
others and slowly dying.

I had seen much of the bloody work of the Apache Indians far away in
Arizona, but I had never seen anything that could possibly compare in
down right cruelty to this piece of savagery on the part of the English
soldiers. The prisoners of war in the way of women and children were
now marched off and driven to the murderous concentration camps, and
a stirring report of the daring charge made to London, the bloody end
being omitted. This famous column now joined with the fourteen others
and all began to chase the several Boer commandos who were scattered
about the veldt. Remember that the high veldt is a high plateau
without rocks or mountains, and it is practically impossible for any
command to conceal itself from the English. General Louis Botha and the
Government were many times surrounded and cornered, but at picking up
time, they were not present.

The various columns continued to follow them from place to place during
the month, but no fighting men were lost. Quite a number of women
and children were captured and sent to the concentration camps and
invariably reported as so many burghers.

I now leave the English and Boers moving to and fro in all directions
till the end of the month, and when all the high veldt is reported as
swept clean of Boer commandos. Just before the end of the month General
Ben Viljoen with Commandant Mears attacked General Plumer near Bethel
and were prevented from taking in his column by the captured women
and children being so placed that the Boers could not fire without
killing some of them. This was a most cowardly piece of business, but
it enabled General Plumer to rescue his men, with the exception of some
thirty who were taken prisoners. These could not succeed in getting
themselves behind the women and children without taking serious risk of
being shot. General Plumer was satisfied to leave also a few horses
and several thousand sheep which he had hoped to take with him to
Standerton. No doubt some of those brave and chivalrous men who fought
behind those Boer women and children were recommended for the V.C. and
received it, such is the inclination of the British officer to report
imaginary daring deeds in all engagements in which he may participate.



In many parts of the Free State several skirmishes took place, but
the English columns generally were occupied in trying to corner De
Wet. A mighty army was brought to bear on him, for the English were
convinced that, once he was cornered and captured, the war would come
to a sudden end; but they did not reckon on the fact that a mighty army
without a trace of military sense to guide its movements was a very
harmless thing in the presence of such an able strategist as General De
Wet. The Free State, with its broad, grassy, level plains, is a most
beautiful country for cavalry and artillery operations, and although
the English had thousands of cavalry, and guns without number, yet
they seemed to be able to effect but little with either, or the two
combined. They were so numerous that they fell over each other, and
in the scramble General De Wet managed to pick up some of them. In
Cape Colony matters were daily growing worse for the British, and the
Boers, ever increasing in numbers, were very active and aggressive in
many districts. General Kritsinger captured a convoy, some prisoners
and one or two fortified towns. General Brand had helped himself to one
of the English supply trains, and Commandant Malan in the far south was
fighting and accumulating war supplies. Commandants Fouche, Wessels,
Latigan and other officers were doing good work in their respective

In fact, there was daily fighting throughout the Cape, and the English
were so upset and worried that they scarcely knew how to defend
themselves. In the Western Transvaal General de la Rey's commandos had
done some damage, and all were progressing nicely. Lord Methuen was
active enough, but his columns were misguided and made suffer severely.
Near the Mafeking railway line General de la Rey was much interested
in several columns that were trying to corner and capture him. He had
several skirmishes with them, took some prisoners, among them being
three burghers who had deserted and taken up arms with the British.
These were afterwards shot, and the English were convinced that General
de la Rey had committed a great crime. A pity it is that all the other
Boer generals did not commit many such great crimes in the beginning of
the war.

When these numerous columns were about to make it very warm for him,
General de la Rey doubled back between two of them and left for other
parts. It was a week before Lord Methuen discovered that his bird had
flown and was creating trouble elsewhere. It was on his return from
his Mafeking expedition that Major Pretorius and myself met him and
delivered our despatches.

Some time ago I mentioned something about booming cannon in our rear
a few days after leaving General Kemp, with whom we had spent a most
pleasant week. It was this very General Kemp, who was always seeking a
fight, that caused all that noise which so puzzled us. Shortly after
we left, General Kemp's scouts reported an English column moving about
from farm to farm and destroying all of them. He had his men saddle
their horses, and off they went in search of this column. They found
it at Vlakfontein, where Major Pretorius and I had slept the day after
leaving General Kemp. He set the grass on fire to conceal his men in
smoke, advanced to within short range, surprised General Dixon and
his 1,500 men, and in a short time put them to flight. General Kemp
killed and wounded over 200, captured more than 100 men and horses, and
took two cannon, which they turned on the fleeing column. This was a
good piece of work accomplished by General Kemp and his 400 burghers.
General Dixon and his men never stopped running till far away from
all danger, for they supposed that Kemp must have had two or three
thousand men. No better men ever lived than those Krugersdorp men, and,
taking the war from start to finish, I believe they did more and harder
fighting than any other commando in the field. Like the Johannesburg
boys they were brave, reckless, dashing patriots who defeated the
English in many battle-fields. General Beyers in the north troubled
Pietersburg a great deal, but no fighting of any consequence took
place. He had with him a most capable man, in the person of Captain
Henry Dutoit, who commanded his scouts. Captain Dutoit was an artillery
officer and was nearly torn to pieces at the battle of Modderspruit on
October 30, 1899. He was patched up by such able and competent surgeons
as Dr. Max Mehliss, Dr. Lillepop, and Dr. Wepner, and in some way
managed to survive.

A year afterwards some of his numerous wounds were still open, yet he
was one of the most active and energetic officers in the field. He
spurned all danger and fought like a very tiger to the end of the war.

Now I come to the month of June, a cold bleak month with piercing
winds. We had but one blanket each, no overcoats, no tents, no shelter
of any description, and how well I remember how near all came to
freezing stiff every night. Still we had to keep on the alert, for the
English were on all sides of us. They had burnt the entire high veldt,
and but a little patch of grass could be found here and there. All
houses were burned, all property was burned, all the grass was burned,
and the scene was a most dreary, desolate one.

Before relating the events of this month I will try to tell in as few
words as possible how we lived and managed so successfully to outwit
the thousands of English about us and with whom we practically lived,
because we were never out of each other's sight. The Boers were divided
up into small bands 100, 200 or 300 strong, and each little band went
as it pleased, and when it pleased, but generally confined itself to
its own little district. These small commands were always in close
touch with each other and could quickly come together if there was a
chance of taking in some single English column that might be passing
by. During the day, when not fighting, we would camp near some old
ruins where we would find a little patch of grass that had escaped the
fire. The English would generally see us and we were sure to see them
at all times. After sunset and darkness had set in, we would saddle up,
dodge behind the English, find another little patch of grass, and then
unsaddle, hobble our horses and try to get a little sleep. So cold it
was that precious little any of us had during the night. We would put
out no guards, but at four o'clock in the morning all would get their
horses, saddle up and prepare for fight. We would then send out a man
here and there, say about 1000 yards distance, to wait for daylight
and to locate the English if possible. If none were to be seen at hand
after the sun came up, we would unsaddle, hobble our horses again
and try to get in some sleep under the warm sunshine. If the English
were found near, we would probably have a short skirmish with them,
knock a few from their horses, and then fly away to some other part of
our district where we would be safe to get something to eat. We were
surrounded many times at daylight, but I will tell something about that
later on.

As everything was destroyed on the high veldt, the reader will
naturally ask how we got anything to eat, as we had no carts or wagons
to carry food. I will tell him just how we managed to live and grow fat
and strong on nothing. Before the rainy season set in, about October,
the burghers would pull out their hidden plows, put the fields in good
shape and then plant their mealies, (Indian corn). All this had to be
done under the cover of darkness, and it meant a great deal of hard,
tiresome work. In the following March and April we would have plenty
of green mealies, and, later on, dry mealies. The English could not
destroy these crops, though they tried and failed. If they turned their
horses out to eat and trample it down, the green corn would kill
them. When the corn ripened and became dry they tried to burn it, but
failed because there was little or no grass in the fields. The result
was that we had mealies on the stalk in all the districts. Many would
be gathered, hidden in the high reeds along the small rivers, or buried
in nice, dry pits. The English have often ridden over these without
discovering them. Now, the reader may understand how we had mealies to
eat ourselves, and some besides for our horses.


Commanding Boer Scouts.]

The English took all the Kaffirs away and burnt their kraals. In these
kraals there were large Kaffir baskets, some that would hold fifty bags
of mealies or Kaffir corn. The English would set these on fire, but
they would not burn. Then they would destroy the baskets and scatter
the corn. In a pinch we would take this corn, wash and dry it and find
it as good as ever with the exception of a little sand or gravel that
might be in it. But a hungry soldier has little regard for sand and
gravel under the circumstances. Now, we always had cattle near by, and
generally two or three good fat bullocks with us. These we would drive
along with us, until they were wanted. In every mess of two or three
men, there was one ordinary coffee mill, but of course we had neither
coffee nor sugar. We used these mills, however, to grind the corn into
a rather coarse meal. It was hard, tedious work, but do it we must, if
we were to have anything with our fresh meat. Having ground sufficient
meal for breakfast, a small tin pot filled with water would be brought
to the boiling point, the meal carefully stirred in and constantly
stirred for about forty minutes, when it would be cooked. Of course
we had no salt; so our fresh meat would be thrown into the ashes,
broiled to suit each one's taste, and then breakfast was ready. There
is ammonia or some other kind of salts in the ashes, that help the meat
out. For coffee, we had in each little mess another small tin bucket,
which would be filled with water and boiled. Some meal would be burnt
in a small pan, till black, and then put into the boiling water; this
makes a very good drink, but I don't believe, reader, that you would
like it.

When near the bush veldt, we often used acorns for the same purpose,
and the coffee was very good. At times, during peach season, we dried
some peaches, charred them and had a really delicious drink. Sweet
potatoes prepared in the same way make a nice beverage, too. So you see
that, after all, we lived very well. Live on mush and fresh meat, as we
did, and you will never be sick.

We lived in this way for two long years, fighting all the time or
trying to evade the English, and we lost but one man from sickness;
this, too, in the face of the fact that we had nothing to protect us
against the cold of winter, or the severe rain storms of summer.

Of course many English convoys were taken, and many railway trains,
too, but the Boers have good sense, and will not eat any canned stuff.
They would destroy all such, and only take what they could comfortably
carry on their horses. To every man's saddle you would see tied either
a small tin bucket, or a coffee mill, and these constituted our
complete cooking outfit. On this high veldt there is practically no
wood. So for fuel we would go about the veldt and collect dry cow dung,
just as they did in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in the early days.

Now, reader, you are sure to tell me that the English captured all
our cattle, because you read it in the paper. Well, I confess they
did; and let me tell you about it. When the war began, the number of
cattle in the Transvaal and Free State together, was nearly 300,000.
The English captured all these cattle, time and time again, and if
you will take the trouble to look up their official reports, you
will find that during the war they captured some 2,000,000 head from
us, although we had less than 300,000 to begin with. Here is the
explanation: the English would capture our cattle to-day, and make
their report. Tomorrow, we would take the cattle back, but the English
would make no report of it. They always reported the capture, but not
the re-capture, and that is how they captured some 2,000,000 head of
cattle. The cattle were captured and re-captured so often that they
grew to know the khaki's uniform as well as the Boer's rags; so when
they saw a man or two coming, if he or they wore khaki uniforms, they
would at once start toward the railway line. If the men were recognized
by their rags as Boers, they would all start for the high veldt, where
the Boers always took them.

The poor, patient and willing cattle had hard lives, and many and many
miles they travelled during the war. At the end of it, the Boers still
had nearly one-fifth the original number, and all were fat and in good
eating condition.

Now, I will drop this subject for the present, and tell what was done
during June. All the columns made another drive at General Louis Botha,
east of Ermelo, and they had him cornered this time sure; "there was
no possible chance for his escape," and all that remained to be done
was to go through the formal ceremony of surrender of the Commandant
General of the Boer forces. True it is they gave him a lively dance, in
double quick time, too, but when they closed they found that General
Botha and his men were missing, and had left them nothing but the
corner. This was too bad, for the English felt much disappointed at
the idea of having to correct all previous reports. To add to their
misery, General Chris. Botha slipped up behind them, fired a volley
into their rear, and nearly shattered the nervous system of the whole
English force. It was simply a joke on the part of General Chris.
Botha, and having played it, he and his men rode away to some warm spot
where they could rest and eat their mealie pap and fresh meat. One of
these English "drives" is a wonderful tactical success when the number
of telegrams, and the quantity of paper required in the execution, are
considered. However, as long as there were any women and children on
the veldt they managed to get some of them, and these they could kill
in the concentration camps, if they couldn't kill their men on the
battle field.



In another part of the high veldt, about 300 Australians ventured out
on a little side trip from the column. I think a Colonel Beaston was
in command of them, though I am not sure about it; but it makes no
difference, for the Australians were there, and ready for business.

"Fighting Bill," General Muller, was near by also. He took 150 of the
Johannesburg boys, among them being Sergeant Mike Halley, Jim French,
Sergeant Joe Wade, Mike Hanafin, Joe Kennedy, John McGlew, Dick Hunt,
Jerry O'Leary and Captain McCallum, of the Irish Brigade. With these he
made a night ride, slipped up to the Australians as they were sitting
and telling stories about their camp fires, and took them all in before
they could realize what had happened. With them he took two pom-poms
also, and some 300 horses, saddles, bridles, and as many rifles and
plenty of ammunition. The last I saw of the Australians they were still
trying to explain just how it happened. General Muller was very kind
to them, and having taken possession of all they had, turned them loose
and advised them to go home to their mothers.

A little incident happened just at the right moment to save many lives,
and good little Mike Hanafin was the hero. The Boers having charged
into the midst of the Australians, of course all were pretty well
mixed. Mike Hanafin, it so happened, ran upon the Australian bugler,
and an idea struck him at once which when brought into play made him a
little hero. He threw his rifle into the bugler's face, and told him
to sound "Cease Firing," or he would blow his head off. The bugler
promptly obeyed, and, of course, all the Australians ceased firing at
once. The major in command ran up to the bugler, swore at him, and
ordered him to sound, at once, the "Commence Firing," not knowing that
Mike Hanafin had relieved the bugler of his bugle as soon as the "Cease
Firing" had been sounded. While the major was swearing at the bugler,
Joe Wade or Mike Halley, I have forgotten which, rammed the muzzle of
his rifle against the major's stomach, and told him that he could have
all the fight he wished. The major, in an awful tremble, threw up his
hands and said "No, no, no, I don't want to fight any more."

General Ben Viljoen on joining General Muller and the Johannesburg
Commando, decided to recross the railway line near Balmoral, and
operate north of Middleburg. He approached the line in the evening, and
decided to capture some blockhouses in order that he might be able to
take over his cannon and wagons. He took the two blockhouses, and about
half his commando crossed, but the wagons and cannon were stopped by
re-enforcements arriving from Balmoral. It was within ten feet of one
of these blockhouses that the brave and reckless little Mike Hanafin
lost his life. From a hole in the ground under the blockhouse a Tommie
fired and killed Mike, who fell within four feet of the muzzle of the
Tommie's rifle. Plucky Dick Hunt, on seeing Mike on the ground, went
to his assistance, believing that he had been wounded. On reaching
Mike he spoke to him but received no answer, so he knew that little
Mike was dead. Hunt stooped down to pick him up, and as he did so, the
Tommie fired up from the hole and the flash caught Dick in the face.
The bullet grazed his forehead and pierced his hat. Joe Wade and Joe
Kennedy, who were near by, came to Dick's relief, and the three carried
Mike's body a few yards away, and then returned to the blockhouse. They
now knew about these holes, and they crept up to one of them, slipped
the muzzle of their rifles just over the edge of the hole, without the
Tommie knowing it; they fired and the Tommie fell dead. This frightened
the other Tommies who were watching at other holes, and the
blockhouse was surrendered. The brave little Mike was dead, however,
and those Irish boys to-day mourn his death. Mike, after the war had
begun, walked from Beira, over 500 miles distance, to Delagoa Bay, and
then worked his way into the Transvaal, and joined the Irish Brigade.
He was very modest and quiet, but a reckless little enthusiast when it
came to a fight with the English. A tenor drum that he had captured
months previously, and the bugle, are in the hands of the Irish boys,
but they have not yet decided what they will do with them. Hallowed
is the little plot of ground where he lies buried, for there lies the
remains of a true Irish patriot and lover of liberty.


the famous train-wrecker]

A week after this first attempt to cross, another was made, but this
time General Viljoen called Captain Jack Hindon, the great train
wrecker, to his assistance. Jack laid his mines along the railway line,
and when all was ready the commando, guns and wagons advanced. On
nearing the line they were discovered from the blockhouses, and firing
began. This brought the armored train down upon them. This on reaching
Jack Hindon's dynamite mines, was blown sky high and completely
destroyed. General Viljoen, his guns and commando now easily crossed,
and Captain Jack returned to his little commando near Middleburg.
General Spruit, that good man who was afterwards killed, and who saved
the Irish Brigade at Brandfort, tried to have a fight with an English
column near Heidleburg, but his horses proved to be too slow, and the
English, after a hot race, succeeded in escaping and reaching the
protection of that well fortified little town.

Many other early morning skirmishes took place, but we always hurried
away as soon as we emptied a few of the English saddles. Our force was
so small, as compared to the English, that we had to run; but we always
put in some effective bullets before we put in our spurs.

Right here, before I forget it, I must answer the charge that the
English constantly made against us, that Boers would never stand, but
fire a few shots and run away. General De Wet answered, and to the
point, "Yes," he says, "we shoot and run away, and that is the reason
why so many English are killed, and so few Boers." The fact is, that
if ten Englishmen happen to fall upon one poor Boer, such is their
courage, that they will never let up till they have beaten him almost
to death; whereas, if three Boers fall upon ten Englishmen, and take
them in, (as they invariably will) the Englishmen will say, "You acted
basely in attacking us in overwhelming numbers."

This just about explains the difference between an Englishman and a
Boer in an open fight, and this great difference is just what is going
to free South Africa of English rule in the near future. When I think
of this and Chamberlain's visit to South Africa, I often wonder if he
does not sleep with that eyeglass well fastened in his eye, that he may
see what is going on about him in hours of danger. He is scared, all

In the Free State, General De Wet has been in trouble again, but he
was not worrying about it. Near Reitz, a little town not far from the
Vaal River, a huge column fell upon him, and a fight was the result.
He was punched about considerably but he can well say, "You should see
the other fellow." The huge column was knocked out, put to flight, its
wagons, thousands of sheep and cattle captured, and, besides, General
De Wet had the pleasure of disarming a lot of prisoners and telling
them to go home and learn how to play soldier. There was also some
fighting south of Bloemfontein, with little damage to either side, but
in Cape Colony all was ablaze. General Kritsinger captured two towns,
some wagons, prisoners and a large quantity of ammunition. Commandant
Malan had been equally as energetic on the southern part, while
Commandants Lotter, Latigan, Fouche, Wessels and others were creating
much trouble and excitement in their districts.

There was more actual fighting in Cape Colony than in any other place.
Had the commandant generals of the Transvaal and Free State been there
with their commandos, it is almost certain that the whole Cape would
have rebelled.

In the Western Transvaal, General de la Rey took advantage of the cold
weather to recuperate his horses. In the north General Beyers likewise
remained quiet. During the winter season, the Boers in the Free State
and Transvaal must keep passive if possible, otherwise they would lose
all their horses and thereby be unable to carry on the war. Infantry is
of little or no use in war, when opposed to cavalry. All other things
being equal, that army which is strongest in cavalry should carry off
all the honors of battle. Modern guns and arms make it imperative that
an army be able to move quickly and change position with such rapidity
as to cover a mile in five minutes. Infantry can't do this. Even in a
mountainous country, cavalry will, man for man, easily defeat infantry.
No one realizes this more than the Boers, and that is the reason why
they always look after their horses first and then themselves.

During July, the Boers remained inactive, and were but little annoyed
by the English. It was frightfully cold at night, and of course one
had to be on the move every night, but the English, who were all about
us, seemed to dread the cold as much as ourselves. General Smuts and
Commandant Ben Bouwers had now entered Cape Colony and joined with
General Kritsinger and his excellent staff of commandants. General
Kritsinger took in a few trains and captured some provisions, while his
commandants amused themselves in daily skirmishes with the English.



It was during the month of August that Lord Kitchener issued his
proclamation warning all commandants, veldtcornets, etc., that if they
did not come in and surrender by September 15th, they would all be
permanently banished from the country. I wished at the time that Lord
Kitchener could see the Boers as they read his proclamation. They threw
their hats in the air, and gave three cheers for "Kitch, the woman
butcher," three cheers for "Kitchener, the wind-bag," three cheers for
"Kitchener, the scared butcher." I witnessed all this, and felt proud
of the Boers for so pouring out their hearts.

That proclamation created new life, and the Boers were determined to
show Lord Kitchener what they thought of it and him, by September
15th, although they were so hemmed in that they could scarcely move.
Lord Kitchener heard that the Boers made much sport of him and his
proclamation, and evened up with them by slaughtering thousands more
of their women and children in the concentration camps. In this line
of business, I don't believe that Lord Kitchener has an equal in the
history of the whole world. He is a good one.

General Louis Botha at once made up his mind to go into Natal and find
out what was going on in the enemy's land, and called for a few men
from each command. He assembled 1,500 men, and with him went General
Chris. Botha and Commandant Opperman, two of the best officers in the
field. However, this command did not go until September, so I leave it
for the time being.

Far away in the bush veldt, east of Lydenburg, was a strong fort manned
by Steinaker's Horse, and a lot of his allied armed Kaffirs. General
Ben Viljoen made up his mind to take them in, and with that fighting
commandant, Piet Moll, the brave Captain Malan, and the gallant
Veldtcornet Schoeman and 100 men, he set out at sunset to accomplish
his object. The fort, Pisana, was reached in the very early morning,
and Commandant Moll and Veldtcornet Schoeman at once rushed upon it.
The defenders poured in volley after volley on them, but they went
ahead, scaled the high wall and captured the whole affair. Six men were
killed, and good Piet Moll was severely wounded, but I am happy to say
that he recovered and is ready to do battle again. Captain Francis, who
commanded the fort, and one white man was killed, besides a number of
armed Kaffirs in khaki uniform. The Kaffirs fought bravely, but the
white men hid themselves in holes.

General Viljoen thought these white men, about thirty, were all
freebooters, who had employed some seventy Kaffirs to fight with
them. Lord Kitchener, who had always sworn that the British had not
armed any of the 30,000 or 40,000 Kaffirs now fighting the Boers, had
to acknowledge that both the whites and Kaffirs were a part of his
military force. He saved the whites, but not the Kaffirs. I will have
much to say about this Kaffir business, before I am through, but not
just now.

The fort had scarcely been taken before Chief Pisana with about 500
of his armed Kaffirs came to Captain Francis' rescue, but General Ben
Viljoen and his men soon put him to flight. The fort had been taken so
quickly that Chief Pisana could not reach his friends in time. It was a
shame that every white man in that fort was not shot down, for not one
of them was fit to live. Each one had two or three Kaffir girls with
him, whom they called their wives, and all were living, not as human
beings, but as the lowest of beasts. The vile Steinaker and his brutes
never again showed up in those parts.

[Illustration: YOUNG WOHLITER

who would not have his hair cut during the war.]

On the high veldt near Olifantsfontein, and just at sunrise, the
English opened a hot fire on about 100 of us at a distance of no more
than 300 yards. Major Wolmorans, of the artillery, was in command.
He had put no guards out and we were caught, most of us, sound asleep.
The rapid firing aroused us quickly, and when Major Pretorius and I
(we always bunked together) jumped up, we saw twelve Tommies trying to
drop us. All the horses stampeded, with the exception of six, and it
certainly looked as if we were at last captured. Commandant Prinsloo,
a most level-headed and dashing young officer, with about 100 men, was
about a quarter of a mile from us, and he was attacked at the same time.

I had a fine horse that Major Pretorius had given me, but he was the
craziest animal under fire I ever saw. He was one of the six horses
that were tied and couldn't run away. The other five were quiet, and
easily saddled, but no dozen men could put a saddle on mine, because
he was standing on his hind feet and fighting with his forefeet. As
the English had the small sum of $25,000 on my head, I was determined
not to be taken in, if I could help it, so I jumped on him, he leaped
into the air, went over a stone wall and seemed to be trying to break
his neck. Having gone about 800 yards, I got control of him, hauled
him in and turned about to see what was going on. I could see no more
than thirty or forty English, so went back at once. I could see our
stampeded horses about three miles away, and half of the artillery boys
in hot pursuit.

The English broke and fled, and Major Pretorius with four mounted men,
went after them in hot haste. It looked foolish, but it turned out
otherwise. Those five men chased those forty scouts and Captain Wood
and Captain Morley for nine miles, killing four and wounding seven, and
capturing some horses. Captain Morley was severely wounded by Major
Pretorius, who charged upon him with his mauser revolver. We missed
being captured by the main column passing about one mile from us. Had
all of them been present, I think that not one of us would have escaped
being killed or captured. A few days afterwards, we read Captain Wood's
report, and in it he said that he and forty of his scouts were ambushed
by about 700 Boers in the early morning, a fight ensued in which he
counted twenty-three Boers killed, but did not know the number of
wounded. We all exclaimed, "What a liar!" We had just one man slightly
wounded, and Captain Wood's scouts, who were prisoners in our camp,
will tell him so, too. Speaking of his own loss, Captain Wood said that
Captain Morley was severely wounded in the stomach, four men killed,
seven wounded and fourteen missing. We knew nothing about the fourteen
missing, for we only saw the four killed, and the seven wounded.

Every day for the rest of the month we were attacked by the English,
and a short hot skirmish would ensue. In the end, of course, we had to
fly, for the English were always fifteen or twenty to one against us.
It was very trying work, and the nights were still severely cold, yet
the boys were always in good spirits, and ready for business.

In the Free State some blockhouses were blown up, some taken, and one
or two trains fell into General De Wet's hands, but otherwise there was
little done. In Cape Colony, both General Smuts and General Kritsinger
were very lively. More towns had been taken, several convoys and many
prisoners had been captured, and, on the whole, the English had been
badly worsted throughout the Colony.

September is the month in which Kitchener's proclamation of banishment
is to take effect, and the Boers came in to surrender in this way.
General Louis Botha was near the Natal Border and found English and
fortified camps plentiful. Forts Prospect and Itala, both fortified
places, were attacked and after very severe fighting for many hours,
General Botha's men proved too much for the English behind the walls,
and gained two victories. He had one more short fight, and when ready
to start back to the high veldt he found that he had taken three guns,
over 300 prisoners and 130 heavily loaded wagons; this, too, on the
very day that he and his officers were to be banished if they did not
come in and surrender.

Matters were quiet in the Free State, so we pass on to Cape Colony. On
September 15th, the day of banishment, General Kritsinger attacked and
put to flight one column, while General Smuts smashed another and took
two extra guns with him. This day was celebrated all over Cape Colony
by the commandants, but I regret to say that two of the very best of
them were very unfortunate. Commandant Lotter and over a hundred men
were surrounded and captured after a most desperate fight. Because he
made such a brave showing and because he wrought so much havoc with
English columns, he was promptly hanged. Young Scheepers, who was so
ill with fever that he could not ride, was also captured, tied in a
chair and shot, as well as his two lieutenants, Wolvarts and Schoeman.
These brave men had fought many successful battles and laid low many
English officers and men, therefore, they must die. After a while I
will have something more to say about these good men, young Louw and
other martyrs.

In the Western Transvaal, General de la Rey also celebrated the 15th
of September by taking 200 men and attacking Colonel Kekewich and 1200
at Selons River. Colonel Kekewich lost all his horses, his wagons,
had a narrow escape, and he with his men fled as fast as their legs
could take them, while General de la Rey continued to harass them. Had
General de la Rey had a few more men, he would have taken the whole
column, but he had to content himself with all the horses.

All this went to show Lord Kitchener how much the Boers thought of his
threats and proclamation. If there were 10,000 Boers in the field,
and no more than 50,000 English, and the Boers should issue such a
proclamation, why, the English would fairly break their necks, such
would be their haste to lay down their guns. But the Boers are soldiers
who love liberty and their Country, and therefore are not men to run
and lay down their guns because some high butcher at the head of
300,000 men threatens to banish them forever from their country if they
do not.



In October, Major Wolmorans, Major Pretorius, myself, Lieutenant
Johannes Malan, sixty-three artillery boys and one Irish boy,
Mike Ryan, started for the Pietersburg railway line to take in a
train. To get there we had to pass through the blockhouses on the
Pretoria-Delagoa railway line. We camped about six miles from this
line, and when it was dark we saddled up and went on our way. The
blockhouses were so numerous that we would have to pass close by them,
but as they were not dangerous institutions, we thought little about
them. The armored trains by Balmoral Station were our great danger, for
they were equipped with men, cannon, maxims, and large search-lights.

At a point about 1000 yards from the line, we halted and Major
Pretorius rode ahead to investigate. We were just about one and
one-half miles from Balmoral, and great caution was necessary. Major
Pretorius, when nearly 100 yards from the line, discovered the armored
train, all in darkness, just where we were to cross. He quietly
slipped back to report and all had to turn back to the camp we had
left. The moon was nearly full, and this bothered us, for we wished
to cross early in the evening, and as the moon came so soon, we were
liable to be discovered. We remained in our old camp that night, and
went to another burnt farm house, about a mile distant, where we stayed
during the following night. It was well that we did so, for on the
morning afterwards, our old camp was surrounded, and the English maxims
cut down nearly all the trees about the ruins. On hearing the maxims,
we mounted our horses and rode to the top of a ridge to find out the
trouble. The English, on seeing us, fled in haste to Balmoral Station,
whence they had come.

We waited about for two more nights, and then decided to move out and
cross the line right by the station. We started very early, in order to
be ahead of the moon. We reached the line and just as we were crossing
it, the moon begun to peep above the horizon. We could plainly see
the Tommies sitting by their fires, smoking their pipes and enjoying
themselves. We were not out of danger, by any means, for should we be
discovered, the armored train would run up and easily sweep us off with
the maxims.

Half a mile in front of us was a bad creek to cross, and there we
expected trouble. On reaching it, we found it well protected with
barbed wire, but this was soon cut, and we were safe on the north side
of the line. We did not go far before we unsaddled, slept a few hours,
and then rode on towards Rhinoster Kop. On the night of the second day,
we camped in the bush about twenty miles north-east of Pretoria, and
not far from the Pietersburg railway line. On reconnoitring, the line
was found so well guarded with armed Kaffirs that it was thought unwise
to try to take in a train.

Major Wolmorans then turned his attention to some cattle near the
Hatherly Distillery, which is on the Pretoria-Delagoa railway line. He
went in with about thirty men, spent the night in rain, and received
a sweeping fire from an armored train which was near at hand. No one
knows how any one escaped, but not one was touched. On their return
next morning, they presented a very sorry looking appearance. We went
back a few miles and camped at Zusters Hoek.

This little escapade stirred up the English and three columns promptly
showed up. Commandant Groenewald with 200 men, and Jack Hindon with
sixty men joined with us and drove one of the columns back close to
Pretoria. They then returned to their camps near Rhinoster Kop and we
were again alone and camped at Zusters Hoek. The other two English
columns were still near Balmoral.

On the following day, we could see the English scouts on a hill about
five miles away, between us and Pretoria. Major Pretorius and I were
sure that an attack was intended that night, and we tried to get Major
Wolmorans to move away. But he wouldn't. We told him that we were going
to a good kopje a short distance off, in the early morning, because we
did not care to be surrounded and captured. He said all right; so at
daylight we went to the kopje, but the English did not come. They were
still on that same hill.

We remained where we were during the day, and Major Wolmorans remained
where he was. Night came and the men went to Major Wolmorans and asked
him to move to the kopje where Major Pretorius and I were. He told them
that there was no danger, and that he would stay where he was.

At daylight the following morning we were aroused by the singing of
maxims in the direction of Major Wolmoran's camp. About 700 cavalry
had him three-quarters surrounded, all firing, as well as four maxims
which clattered continually. The artillery boys ran for their horses,
some saddled, others had no time, and some couldn't get their horses at
all. Here they came towards us in the wildest disorder, Major Wolmorans
with them. The English, whooping and yelling, followed in hot pursuit,
and a race under whip and spur for four miles followed. The English
lost, and all the artillery boys escaped except twenty-six, who were
captured in the camp. This long race caused the remaining thirty-seven
men to scatter so that it was a week before they all got together. Half
of them were without blankets, saddles and cooking utensils, and be
assured they were a dilapidated, disgusted looking lot of men. Major
Wolmorans, too, had lost all he had, and Major Pretorius and I had lost

We now set out to return to the high veldt, where we arrived early in
November, because we had no trouble whatever passing blockhouses and
railway lines. Among our captured was Mick Ryan and a little Frenchman
by the name of Regal, and I felt sure they would be shot. Strange to
say, two men, supposed to be Ryan and Regal, were shot on October 29th,
three days after the capture. The two unfortunates were young burghers
who talked English. I must here state that towards the end of the war,
all those who spoke English and were captured were almost sure to be

The Australians and Canadians murdered many men after they had
surrendered, and I have heard them boast about it in Pretoria after
peace was made. They were the most thorough bred ruffians that ever
put their feet on South African soil, and had the Boers known during
the war what they learned after the war, about the many innocent men
murdered in cold blood, I am sure that at least half of the Canadian
and Australian contingents would have been shot, for at least that
many had been captured. The Boers always treated them as soldiers and
gentlemen, and on releasing them would always wish them better luck
next time.

Near Pietersburg lived some Boers, two or three, and they were supposed
to have money. Of course, they were "Hands-uppers," having voluntarily
gone in and surrendered their guns. With them was a German missionary
and one English soldier, a visitor. Major Morand and Lieutenant
Hancock, two Australian officers, went to this farm with the intent of
robbing the Boers, not knowing that there was an English soldier there.
On making their demand, the Boers protested and were at once shot down.
The German missionary showed himself, and of course Major Morand had
to shoot him, too. In the house was also this English soldier, and to
close his mouth they shot him, too. A Kaffir was at the place, and told
the officers at Pietersburg. Major Morand and Lieutenant Hancock knew
nothing about the Kaffir, for they had not seen him, so they proceeded
to rob the house and their dead victims. On returning to Pietersburg,
both were arrested and charged with murder. They were tried and shot
"for murdering Boers," nothing being said about a German missionary
and English soldier. The fact is, they were both shot for murdering
the English soldier, and for no other reason. Had not the proper
authorities shot them, the soldiers would have taken the law in their
hands and done the work. It does seem that the English can do nothing
without resorting to deception or lying, and in this they easily excel
the whole civilized world. Any British officer or soldier who could
prove that he had murdered more Boers than any other man in the army,
would be certain to receive the Victoria Cross.

In the Free State everything was very quiet, so I will pass into
the Colony. October is a particularly conspicuous month, because it
witnessed the only naval battle of the war. This took place at Saldanha
Bay, a few miles above Cape Town, on the east coast. The Boers had
passed through Cape Colony and landed at this beautiful bay, where
they took seven English officers prisoners. Not far out in the bay an
English boat was anchored, and the Boers thought they would seize it.
They collected all the row-boats about the place, took their rifles
and in one long line advanced to make the capture. When near enough,
they demanded its surrender. The captain refused, and the Boers opened
fire. The captain became frightened, and put up the white flag. Just
as the victorious Boer _sailors_ were about to take possession, they
discovered an English gun-boat coming to the rescue, so they had to
paddle for all they were worth to reach the shore again before this
gun-boat could get within range. They succeeded and were safe, but
the gun-boat stopped short of rifle range, so the battle was over.
The Boers remained here for a day, then released the seven officers,
and went prowling about the Colony as they pleased. The inhabitants
supplied them with food, horses, clothing and everything they could
possibly wish.

[Illustration: Acting Treasurer with the Boer Forces]

When the news of the naval battle reached Cape Town, of course the
English went crazy with excitement, for they fully expected to see the
Boers in their midst every moment. Lord Kitchener became alarmed, too,
and proclaimed all Cape Colony under martial law. That naval battle
caused much trouble, for now martial law was supreme throughout the
Colony, and young men and women were everywhere arrested and imprisoned
from one to six months for assisting the Boers, while the inhabitants
of the Colony had to submit to having their horses forcibly taken from
them, or to witness their being shot by the English troops. All their
food stuffs, sheep, cattle, etc., were taken from them, and they were
all left high and dry with seven days' food in the house. All their
forage and grain was carried away or burnt, and had it been possible,
their crops would have been destroyed, too.

Yes, that naval battle put things in an awful mess in Cape Colony, and
had Generals Botha, De Wet and de la Rey been there with their forces,
75,000 rebels would have joined them and their two little Republics,
and Cape Colony would to-day be free and independent. Generals Smuts
and Kritsinger and all their commandants were daily fighting in some
of the districts, and the very fact that martial law was now made to
cover the entire Colony, showed conclusively that Lord Kitchener and
the British Government were both much alarmed, and looked upon the
situation as so critical as to demand every attention.

In the Western Transvaal, General de la Rey found Colonel Van Donlop
and his column in his way, so he attacked them, put them to rout, took
fifteen of their wagons heavily loaded, and went on his way to the
Magielesberg, where several columns had lately tried to corner the cute
General Kemp. This Colonel Van Donlop was not out to fight men, but to
maltreat women and children. He was burning their homes, and all their
possessions, and leaving them to starve to death on the veldt because
they would not make their men come in and surrender.



In the month of November, although on the high veldt there was daily
skirmishing with the English, there was but one really good fight,
and that was one of the most brilliant and dashing of the war. In the
eastern part of the high veldt, many of the English columns were at
their same old game, trying to corner General Louis Botha. For the
tenth time, he had outwitted them and escaped from their clutches.
He at once left those parts, and came to our section in the west. At
Brakenlaagte, not far from the little town of Bethel, he discovered an
English column. He collected some of the small commandos near and found
he had 470 men. This he considered sufficient for his work.

Brakenlaagte is a beautiful grassy plain, very tempting for a cavalry
charge. About a mile behind the main column, the English commander,
Colonel Benson, left a strong rear guard and two guns. General Botha
decided to charge first the rear guard and then the main column, which
was about 1,500 strong. He gave the word, and off the Boers went at
high speed, whooping and yelling and crying, "Look out, Khakies, we are
coming." The rear guard mounted and fled, leaving two guns behind them,
but the most of the burghers passed the guns and continued the chase.
So demoralized were the English, that many of them threw away helmets,
rifles, belts, etc., and ran in all directions in hope of escaping. A
part of the column, however, stood its ground well and poured in a hot
fire on the Boers near the two captured guns. Finally the whole column,
with its four remaining guns, fled, leaving wagons, carts, etc., in the
hands of the Boers. General Botha with 470 had, by a dashing charge,
won a most brilliant victory. Over 300 English were killed and wounded,
and nearly 400 taken prisoners. These men were released. This column
never again took part in the war, and was for months laid up for
repairs. Its brave commander, Colonel Benson, was mortally wounded and
soon died.

Among the first captured was one Tommie, with whom a young burgher had
exchanged clothes, and by accident General Botha saw this Tommie and,
taking him for one of his burghers who was lagging behind, struck him
with his whip and ordered him into the fight.



The Treasury Department in the Field. Wm. Barter, chief of the Money
Printing Division, on the left.]

The poor fellow was scared half to death, but found words enough to
murmur, "I am an English prisoner." General Botha then saw what had
happened to the young fellow, and he immediately apologized. The young
fellow said in reply "That he was proud that he could say that he had
been struck with a whip by such a brave man, and the commandant general
of the Boer Army."

Among Colonel Benson's letters was one written that day to his wife,
and in it he stated that he had been searching for the Boers all day
and had been much disappointed in not finding them, for he was longing
for a fight. The letter was returned to be forwarded. Colonel Benson
had a great reputation as an artillerist, and was undoubtedly one of
the bravest and most dashing officers in the English Army.

General De Wet and some of his commandants had a few small fights in
the Free State, but none of any importance. General Smuts was creating
considerable excitement in Cape Colony, and some of the commandants
were doing likewise. One of Smuts' commandos captured about 200 men
in one fight. The English press claim that these men deliberately
refused to fight, and laid down their arms on a preconcerted agreement.
I do not know how much truth there is in this, but I do know that
the Tommies were getting tired of being shot down. Many hundreds of
prisoners taken on the high veldt would fairly beg not to be released,
and said they would be glad to live on mush and meat. They were
so utterly disgusted with the war that many, after being released,
would follow up the Boer commandos, and then beg not to be sent away.
Sometimes they had to be sent in with an escort. We could have put many
in the bush veldt where there was food, but had any of them died of
sickness, the English would have sent the news broadcast that they had
been murdered. Evidently they preferred to be so murdered by the Boers
rather than be actually murdered by their incompetent English officers.

With few exceptions, certain it is that the British soldier had but
little respect for the British officer. Many times Lord Kitchener sent
his cablegrams charging the Boers with maltreating or murdering some of
the English prisoners, and after peace was made some British officers
took pleasure in throwing this libellous charge into my face. In every
instance I replied "Yes, you make this charge against the Boers; but
call up some of the men who were taken prisoners at the same time, and
let me hear what they have to say about it." Not one of them would
think of doing this, because they said that an English officer's word
was as good as his bond. No English officer would dare to submit the
case to such a test, because he knows that the first man questioned
would prove him a liar.

I came near getting into trouble with some of them on this subject,
for at times my retorts were very warm and to the point, considering
that I had just surrendered my rifle, and was being closely watched
by a lot of hounds. The very fact that every one took particular
pains to bring up this subject was proof in itself that they were
lying, and trying to find some one who might say that possibly he had
seen one man unfairly shot. I have seen and talked with hundreds of
English prisoners, but never heard one make any such a charge. In fact,
everyone will tell you that the Boers treated him as a soldier and a
man, wounded or not wounded. In other parts of the land, there was no
fighting of any consequence.

In December, although we had the usual daily attacks on the high veldt,
there is but one that I will mention, because I read General Bruce
Hamilton's report of it. At Wilkrans, a high ridge about nine miles
from Ermelo, there were about 300 of us camped, with General Piet
Viljoen in command. From this position, our scouts reported that there
were twenty-eight English camps in striking distance and well around
us. Our chances for escape were none too good. Yet General Piet Viljoen
did not consider that we were in any danger.

Without going into details, I will simply say that at daylight the
following morning, we were surrounded by 4,000 cavalry, and it was a
case of run for your life or surrender. All escaped but sixty-nine
men, and our one cannon. Not a man was killed on our side, that is
certain, and if any were wounded, they were taken prisoners. We
escaped under a hot fire, and this was kept up on us for about three
miles. In his report, General Bruce Hamilton had sixteen killed, many
wounded, whom he left at the farm ruins, and one gun taken, as well
as sixty-nine prisoners. How an English general can report such a
monstrous lie is beyond me, for he knows that his men know, and that we
know that no one was killed on the Boer side. Within half an hour after
the English left, some of the boys rode back to look over the place.
There was but one man killed in that fight, and he was a Scotchman whom
the English half buried before they left. Bruce Hamilton is generally
known as "Brute" Hamilton, and while this name fits him as far as it
goes, yet "Brute Hamilton the liar" would fit him still better.

It was during this month, too, that I suffered the loss of my old
friend and companion, Major J.I. Pretorius. During my absence he and
thirty-three artillery boys were surrounded by about 300 cavalry near
Balmoral Station, and captured. Be it said to his credit that he and
his men never surrendered. Every cartridge they had they fired, and
when they had no more, the English simply came and took them. I was
sure he would never hoist the white flag, and I was sure, too, that
he would never surrender as long as he had a cartridge left. He was a
dashing fellow, thirty years old, and did not know what fear was. He is
one of the great Pretorius family of South Africa, and he made the name
good. Had he not been so reckless, I think he would have been appointed
a general, and I am sure he would have proved himself a most brilliant

To show what a reckless devil he was, I will tell you that one day I
was about 1,500 yards from him and another reckless fellow, Lieutenant
Roos, of the artillery. They wished to attract my attention and have me
come where they were. To do this he and Roos loaded their rifles, took
deliberate aim, and fired at us. The bullets went just over our heads,
and struck not twenty feet from us. We concluded they were English, and
prepared to return the fire, when off they galloped. We went after them
and found them at a house that had only been partially destroyed. We
recognized their horses tied to a tree, and rode up to them. I gave him
blazes, but he simply smiled, and said, "Can't you take a joke?"

Now that he had been captured, I felt very lonely, and took but
little pleasure in every-day life. The English were continually after
us, however, and surrounded about eighty of us at daylight in the
morning. Firing seemed to come from all directions but one, and in that
direction we looked for safety. We went at full speed and had gone but
a few hundred yards when we saw some cavalry just coming up in front of
us. We thought we were gone, and this cavalry thought we were charging
them, so off they went at the top of their speed. We were brave now and
went right after them, scattered them and chased them three miles, when
we stopped, having captured in the race sixty-three of them with as
many fine horses. That is what we considered great luck.

Now I will go into the Free State, and say a few words about one of
General De Wet's most daring deeds.

It was at Groenkop, a high hill on the farm Tweefontein, near the
little town of Bethlehem. It was Christmas eve and all wanted a
Christmas pie. This was a high hill with three very steep, abrupt
sides, while the other was a gentle slope leading to the plain below.
On the top of this hill were about 380 men well protected in about
twelve forts. General De Wet, when it was dark, took 500 men and
approached the steep side opposite the one of easy ascent, because he
knew that the English would all prepare for attack from the easiest
way. He and his men crawled up that hill, and when first challenged by
the English sentry they rushed forward, and after a hot face to face
fight, captured all the force, forts and stores. According to General
De Wet's own report, he lost fourteen killed and thirty wounded, while
the English lost 116 dead and wounded, and 240 prisoners. He took one
cannon, one pom-pom, twenty wagons, a great quantity of ammunition and
rifles, 500 horses and mules, and a load of whiskey, so he and his men
were well supplied for a fine Christmas dinner.


Strange to say, the Boers nearly always took from the English their
Christmas dinners. The first Christmas they took nearly all the Queen's
chocolates, the second Christmas, all the plum puddings, and now
General De Wet, a third Christmas, has taken the poor devils' Christmas
dinner from them again. I heard some prisoners once say that they
wished their friends at home would secretly send them Christmas dinners
three months ahead, so that they could get them and eat them before the
Boers found it out.

Generals Smuts and Kritsinger continued to make things merry in Cape
Colony, and their commandants helped themselves to several convoys,
much to the regret of the English, but with great pleasure to
themselves. Before the month closed, however, General Kritsinger was
severely wounded while trying to rescue one of his wounded men near
a blockhouse, and was in consequence captured. In this was a severe
loss, for he was a dashing and persistent fighter.

Many other small fights took place, and the Boer commandants were
generally successful in taking a few prisoners and wagons.



The year 1901 came to an end and the Boers were still in excellent
spirits, and good fighting trim. Our little command was twenty-five
miles from Pretoria, and in addition to our dinner of mealie pap and
fresh meat, we received through our famous spy, Captain Naude, our
weekly mail from Pretoria. Letters informed us that Lord Kitchener
wanted reinforcements to bring the war to a speedy end, and that the
application of martial law in Cape Colony was making trouble among the
British subjects. With all this the burghers were highly pleased, but
the further news, that their women and children were daily dying by the
hundreds in the prison camps, cast a gloom over all, and they spent
most of the afternoon and evening in prayer.

Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, Joe Chamberlain and Milner, all fully
realized that the only way to bring the war to a speedy end was to
destroy the Boer women and children as quickly as possible. They all
worked to the same diabolical end, and within eighteen months their
death lists contained the names of 22,000 defenceless Boer women and

The new year begins well, for the burghers are determined to fight.
They did not generally know, however, that their women and children
were being murdered by wholesale, otherwise I am sure they would have
stopped the war at once. The English columns made a desperate effort
on the high veldt during January, and it was fighting here and there
and everywhere every day. There was no rest for any one, and I think
that General Botha was cornered every day, but he was never found in
the corner. I was with Commandant Joacham Prinsloo and 120 men early
in this month of January, and we camped by the Klip-Kopjes about six
miles from Bronkhorst Spruit, a station on the Delagoa railway line.
It was very warm and we were trying to shelter ourselves from the sun
by hanging blankets on our rifles, when suddenly, about ten a.m., the
English began to fire on us from some Kaffir kraals about 800 yards
distant. Our horses were out grazing, but within five minutes all had
caught their horses, saddled them, and were striking for the English.
The English scouts left the kraals when they saw the Boers coming in
a gallop. On reaching the kraals and kopjes near by, we discovered
about 700 advancing. They tried at first to surround us, but grew
frightened, because they saw the Boers were too determined, and all
began to retreat. The Boers charged and the English fled with the Boers
hot after them. This regiment of 700 men was the Scots Greys, and all
were panic stricken. They were scattered in every direction, and making
for the forts on the railway line. Before they found safety, however,
the Boers had killed seven, wounded eighteen, captured twenty-three men
and nearly sixty horses, bridles and saddles. The enemy really put up
no fight at all, and when asked the reason, they said, "Our time is up
in March, and we are not going to fight any more, for we are tired of
it, and the English always manage to keep out of the fight."

I merely mention this to show the feelings of some of the so-called
Scotch regiments at this stage of the war.

In the Free State they were constantly cornering General De Wet, and,
although he was many times cornered, yet he was never captured. In Cape
Colony the Boer commandants kept all the districts in great turmoil,
and General French and his big army seemed helpless to do anything.
Besides, the blockhouses were giving the English trouble too, for
Commandant Alex Boshof was slipping up nightly and blowing them up with
dynamite. This perfect little dare devil, with his equal, Captain John
Shea, blew up fifty or sixty of them, and so terrorized the Tommies
that they would not take chances in them at night. Now, the commandos
could cross the lines easily, for the Tommies would lie in trenches and
not shoot if the Boers let them alone.

In the Western Transvaal, some of General de la Rey's commandos were
sent after cattle to the Mafeking border. They were successful and
returned with some 20,000 head. Little else was done in this part of
the world. In the North, General Beyers attacked Pietersburg and after
a very hot fight, released 160 Boers whom the English had in a camp
near the town. Fortunately, he was able to take them out all mounted
and well armed.

Now I come to February, when there is not nearly as much rain as in
January. During the month of January, heavy rains fall daily, and as
the Boers were without shelter or overcoats and constantly wet, they
were not inclined to be active. In February, they are dry at least half
the time, so one may expect them to do something.

I forgot to say that late in January, in company with Walter Trichardt,
a young Colonial, and four young Boers, I decided to cross the railway
line, and visit Commandant Trichardt and Captain Jack Hindon, both
old friends of mine. We foresaw much trouble, so we concluded to make
a careful survey of the situation before trying our luck. Walter and
myself rode directly towards Balmoral Station, on the main road, and
when within about two miles of the numerous forts and blockhouses,
we halted and used our glasses. We could see no one about the forts
or blockhouses, so we rode on till within 600 yards of one of the
largest forts. Now we were close to Balmoral, could see the poor women
and children cramped up in the beastly concentration camp, and about
200 Tommies. In the forts and blockhouses we could discover no life
whatever, so we knew that all available men were out trying to corner
General Botha.

We came back, joined the four young Boers, returned to the line within
a mile of Balmoral, cut twelve barbed wires, and went on our way. The
English had put up dummy soldiers at the blockhouses, and dummy cannon
on high points near them, but we were not frightened by them in the
least. I mention this, because we soon had trouble, and I witnessed
something that will give Joe Chamberlain, Lord Kitchener and Lord
Milner the direct lie. We are now in February, and about twenty-five
miles north of Middleburg. We are with Commandant Trichardt, of the
Artillery, Captain Jack Hindon and Captain Karl Trichardt. The entire
command is 213 strong. It is rolling prairie where we are camped, and
on the Middleburg side are several thousand cavalry, and on the north
side about five miles distant, some 4,000 Kaffirs who had been armed by
the English. We kept a good look out both ways. Yet before the month
came to an end, we were surrounded at daylight and suffered severely.
Colonel Park with about 4,000 cavalry and 600 armed Kaffirs, made a
night march and attacked us just at sunrise. They were on three sides
of us, and the 4,000 armed Kaffirs were on the fourth side. They began
to fire on us at a range of six or seven hundred yards, and as our
horses were not saddled, but out grazing, one can well imagine that we
were in a hot corner. Every man ran for his horse and pack horse, and
under heavy fire saddled and packed. Then it was time that every man
should make a dash for liberty. We put in the spurs and all made the
dash, but unfortunately only thirty-nine of us succeeded in escaping.
My pack mule always followed me, and although she fell far behind and
the English hurled a storm of bullets at her, yet she came through all
right, and joined me. These 600 armed Kaffirs were on the English left
flank and fought in line with the Tommies; yet Chamberlain, Kitchener,
Roberts, and Milner all swore that they had no armed Kaffirs with them
in the war. Now, when any man tells me that such Englishmen as these
are capable of telling the truth, I know at once that man is either an
Englishman himself or an Anglo-American.

On the high veldt the English columns were still very numerous, and
there was daily fighting, but the Boers held their own and suffered but
little. Commandant Alberts and Veldtcornet Tromp attacked the Scots
Greys, who had shown up again, and utterly routed them near Springs,
killing and capturing a few, and several horses. These Scots evidently
meant it when they told us in January that they would not fight any
more. In the Free State there was an army 60,000 strong in the field,
bent on cornering and capturing General De Wet. They had him and
his burghers with 500 cattle in a triangle, two sides of which were
lines of blockhouses and networks of barbed wire. On both sides the
blockhouses were very near to each other, and all well manned. It would
seem almost impossible for any Boer force less than a thousand strong
to pass through.

On the third side were about 40,000 English, and their plan was
to drive General De Wet into the angle formed by the blockhouse
lines. They were advancing rapidly, and General De Wet knew that he
must decide and act quickly, so he made up his mind to cross the
Lindley-Kroonstad line of blockhouses. It was a very dark night and he
had lost sight of his cattle, but there was no time to lose in trying
to recover them. On reaching the line, he cut out a passage in the
net-work of barbed wire within a hundred yards of the blockhouses on
either side, and passed through without a shot being fired. He went on
for a few miles and unsaddled for the night. He had not been in camp
very long before he heard shouting in the darkness, and much to his
surprise here came four young burghers with the 500 cattle which he had
given up as lost. These youngsters had cut away the wires and driven
all these cattle between the blockhouses without the English firing a
shot. The blockhouse system may be a great invention, but it is of no
earthly use when fighting such an enemy as the Boers. I am sure that we
crossed the blockhouse lines on the high veldt at least fifty times,
yet I never heard a shot from one of them.

I remember one occasion when 300 Boers, about 100 trek wagons loaded
with women and children, and nearly 10,000 head of cattle, passed
through a line of blockhouses, and not one shot was fired. We were
well surrounded, and on the following morning, the English spent hours
hunting us within the circle, while we were at least ten miles away.
The English officer is certainly a brilliant soldier.

It was only a few days after this that the English suddenly came upon
these wagons, women and children, and, of course, captured them. About
an hour afterwards, a small Boer commando with a French gun discovered
the wagons moving along with an escort of about fifty Tommies. The
Boers could not attack, on account of the women and children, but one
of the artillery boys thought he would see what effect a shell would
have on the escort. He sighted the gun so that the shell would be sure
to fall well to one side. The shell struck and exploded, about 200
yards from the escort, and every man fled as fast as his horse could
take him. Then the women turned their wagons about and returned to the
Boers. To each wagon was yoked from twelve to sixteen bullocks, and the
women had to drive them. It was a sad sight to see those young and old
ladies, and even children, working like slaves to escape capture by the
English. They preferred to take the chance of being shot or of dying in
open field, to sure death in the English prison camp.

The bird having escaped for the hundredth time, the English columns
went back to their respective stations, and then General De Wet, too,
returned to his old corner.

After a week's rest, out came the English, more numerous than ever,
and the general could see columns of them in every direction. It was
plain to him that they did not intend to make use of the blockhouse
lines, but to form a continuous circle around him. They succeeded, and
General De Wet was again rounded up. When night came, he started out
for freedom or death, and as soon as his scouts came in contact with
the English, lively firing began. He ordered his men to charge, and
they broke through, but lost eleven men killed. Some of his commandants
became confused, and did not get through, but on the following night,
all broke the same circle, with the exception of two that were
captured. Although there were 60,000 men in that circle, yet they dug
trenches, so fearful they were of General De Wet and his men. Maxims
and rifles were concentrated on the band of patriots, but it faced the
storm of bullets, charged over the English trenches, and De Wet was
free for the one hundredth and first time; and that is why you will
still hear the real Englishmen talking about the cowardly De Wet and
his burghers. Every word that falls from your lips, Mr. Englishman, is
an unmistakable sign of your degeneracy.

In Cape Colony, General Smuts and his numerous commandants were so
active that an alarming state of affairs continued to prevail, and the
English shot down, without trial, many suspected rebels in the various
districts. In the Western Transvaal, General de la Rey had been busy
in many parts, but especially at Yzerspruit, where he again fell upon
Colonel Van Donop, captured 600 prisoners, killed and wounded 200, took
three cannon, a convoy of 150 wagons and 1500 mules. This was a good
afternoon's work, and General de la Rey ascribes its great success to
the personal bravery and daring of General Celliers, one of the very
best fighting generals in the war. General Celliers, with less than 500
burghers, proved too much for Colonel Von Donop and his 1000 English;
yet the Colonel came out all right, for he reported that he had been
attacked by an overwhelming number of Boers; this, too, in the face of
the fact that Lord Methuen had just swept all the Boers out of this
part of the country.

[Illustration: COMMANDANT PIET MOLL (Second from the right)

His trek wagon and staff.]

To read a British commander's glowing report, describing how thoroughly
he has swept the Boers from a certain district, one is not apt to be
much amused, but following on his heels is another British commander,
and to read his report, relating how thoroughly he has been wiped up by
an overwhelming force of Boers, one feels very much inclined to laugh.
Not a week passes but that some of the English commanders are guilty of
just such amusing contradictions. The English officers, with very few
exceptions, excuse all these blunders and acts of stupidity by that one
phrase, "Attacked by an overwhelming force of Boers," notwithstanding
the fact that the officer who has just preceded him reported the
same ground as swept clean of the Boers. Lord Kitchener cables these
contradictory reports regularly to London, and the people, with their
eyes bulging out of their heads, read every word of them, but not one
ever sees the joke.

During the month of March, there were plenty of small fights on the
high veldt in the Free State and in Cape Colony, but none of them were
of much importance. In the Colony, General Smuts captured a few towns,
some prisoners and drove some of the English commands to the sea, but
no heavy fighting took place. In the Western Transvaal was fought the
most brilliant battle of the war, at Klipdrift (Tweebosch) on the
seventh day of March. For more than two years, Lord Methuen with an
army ten times as strong in numbers as that which General de la Rey
had, struggled in vain to capture or destroy this Boer leader and his
little army of patriots. They had fought over thirty battles, yet Lord
Methuen could not lay claim to one real victory over General de la Rey.
On this seventh of March, 1902, Lord Methuen with four cannon, 1,600
men and 134 wagons, arrived at Klipdrift, a beautiful place for a fight
or a good horse race. General de la Rey, with 740 men, made up his mind
to take in Methuen and show his burghers a real earthly Lord. He could
see that Lord Methuen was well prepared to fight, and that if he were
to win he must win quickly. He went to each of his 740 men, and told
them that at the command, "Charge," all must use their spurs and lose
no time in taking in the cavalry rear guard.

All being in readiness, the old war-horse gave his signal, and his 740
patriots responded. Away they went, with the old war horse in the lead.
It was a charge, a real cavalry charge, and with such force did those
740 patriots go over that broad beautiful plain, that the 500 English
cavalry rear guard fled at the very sight of them. A few followed the
fleeing cavalry, and the main body went for the infantry. So frightened
were they that most of the infantry threw their rifles down and their
hands up, while the rest took quarter in a kraal with Lord Methuen.
The cavalry was still running and the burghers still pursuing, but the
latter's horses were not fast enough, and they finally had to abandon
the chase. Lord Methuen made a short stand in the kraal and then
hoisted his white flag.

All was over. Lord Methuen and 900 of his men were prisoners, nearly
200 of his men were killed, and 163 wounded. In addition to Lord
Methuen and his men, General de la Rey also captured four cannon, 134
loaded wagons, 500 horses, and nearly 1,000 mules. At best, little de
la Rey, the farmer, the Boer general, had taken in Lord Methuen, the
second in command in South Africa, a trained soldier with a trained
force more than double that of the untrained farmer. Lord Methuen was
shot in the thigh, and the bone was broken, therefore he was severely
wounded and must receive every care and attention.

Some five months before this fight, Lord Methuen was fortunate enough
to capture Mrs. de la Rey and her children, during the general's
absence. Her wagons, her food, clothing and every bit of bedding were
set aflame, and burnt up, and she and her children were left on the
bare veldt to starve or die, because General de la Rey had so often
defeated Lord Methuen in honorable battle. Mrs. de la Rey took refuge
in an old hut, after walking several miles in search of some Boers who
might be near by. She had to suffer the pangs of hunger, expose herself
to beating rains, and with sore feet cross the barren veldt in search
of some of her people. When almost exhausted from hunger, fatigue and
pain, she and her little ones were found by the Boers and immediately
cared for.

Now I return to Tweebosch, where Lord Methuen lies prostrate and
suffering great pain. It was Mrs. de la Rey that came to help comfort
him, to prepare his food, and pray for his recovery. I have often
wondered if Lord Methuen, as he lay on his sick bed, ever recalled the
good time he had, when with fire and dynamite he destroyed General de
la Rey's beautiful home and all his property. I think not. General de
la Rey showed his savage instinct by sending Lord Methuen and all his
wounded men and prisoners back to their own people, where they could
receive more comfort and better surgical treatment.

Some time after Lord Methuen's return, General de la Rey was summoned
to the Peace Conference, and as his path led him near by, he stopped to
see how Lord Methuen was progressing. After a short conversation, so it
is related, Lord Methuen said: "You know, general, that that was not
my own column you captured." "Yes, that is true," replied the general,
"I remember that I took in your own column some months ago."

Before the month closed, General de la Rey found an opportunity to
test the Kitchener blood, and took advantage of it. It was on March
31st that General de la Rey attacked General Walter Kitchener and his
convoy. Although he failed to capture the convoy, which only narrowly
escaped, so disastrous was this fight in the loss of men killed and
wounded, that it was generally believed that General Kitchener would
be sent home in disgrace. But being a brother of Lord Kitchener, he
was probably decorated with the V.C. for his rapid flight and escape
from General de la Rey. When the English run up against three such old
farmers as Oom Koos de la Rey, Chris de Wet and Louis Botha, many are
liable to find a grave, while he who reaps honors must have shown his
running ability to be most excellent. With their numerous maxims and
guns and their great preponderance in men, all thoroughly trained,
the English should have easily won all the important fights of the
war, but, thanks to British stupidity and incompetency, the Boers were
almost invariably the victors.

The last fight of the war was fought in the first part of April, near
Heidelburg. Commandant Joacham Prinsloo, a young and energetic Boer,
a most gracious and lovable man, one of the best officers I ever saw,
here made his last charge. Preceding the charge, a very hot fight took
place, and Commandant Prinsloo received two bad wounds, but he nerved
himself up, ordered and led his last charge, saw the last battle of the
war a victory, and the last shot fired in that last battle gave the
commandant a third wound, a fatal one, and he rolled from his horse and
died a contented patriot.

The brave Veldtcornet Vander Walt, badly wounded himself, felt sorely
grieved as he gazed upon the lifeless remains of his beloved commander,
but consoled himself in the knowledge that Commandant Prinsloo had
lived to see his enemy utterly routed.




It was about the beginning of April, that Acting President Burger
received from Lord Kitchener a copy of the correspondence that had
passed between the British and Netherlands Governments. As this related
to peace in South Africa, Schalk Burger, so he said, took this act of
Lord Kitchener as an invitation to discuss terms and the termination of
the war. All knew that Schalk Burger, Lucas Meyer and J.B. Krogh were
always anxious to surrender or make peace at any price, and for this
reason every one of them should have been removed, and patriotic men
put in their places.

It was just a year ago that Schalk Burger sent that letter to President
Steyn begging him to surrender, as the people were starving and it was
impossible to fight any longer. Yet the burghers had fought another
year, had been more successful than at any other time during the war,
and all were still fat, saucy and in high spirits. However, he managed
again to get a meeting of the two governments, which was authorized,
by Lord Kitchener. As Lord Kitchener, Lord Roberts, Joe Chamberlain
and Milner were continually telling the English public that it was the
officers, and not the burghers, who were carrying on the war, it was
decided to have a conference of delegates, duly elected and instructed
by the burghers themselves. For this purpose, all military operations
were suspended and the different commandos in their respective
districts came together to make known their feelings and elect a

I was then with the Johannesburg Commando, on the Sabi River, near
Lydenburg. Lucas Meyer and J.B. Krogh arrived with the necessary
instructions, and explained everything to the burghers. They tried in
every way to deceive the burghers into voting for surrender and peace,
but utterly failed. Every man in the commando declared for independence
or war, and the men of the Lydenburg Commando did the same.


Commandant W.J. Viljoen was elected as delegate by his men, the
Johannesburg Commando, and Commandant David Schoeman was elected as
delegate by his men, the Lydenburg Commando. I heard both of these
commandants pledge their words to do as their burghers wished, and
stand for independence or war. Both of these commandants at the
Conference stood for discontinuing the war and accepting the British
proposals. With the exception of two or three small districts,
all the burghers of the land were unanimous in declaring for war or
independence. I must here state, however, that the burghers did not
know at the time that 22,000 of their women and children had been
murdered in the English prison camps, and that probably in another year
all the rest would meet the same fate.

The delegates all being elected, they met, sixty in number, on May
15th, at Vereeninging, on the Vaal River. On the 31st of May, they
agreed to accept the English proposals, as follows:


General Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, Commander-in-Chief, and His
Excellency Lord Milner, High Commissioner, on behalf of the British

Messrs. S.W. Burger, F.W. Reitz, Louis Botha, J.H. de la Rey, L.J.
Meijers, and J.B. Krogh, on behalf of the Government of the South
African Republic and its burghers;

Messrs. M.T. Steyn, W.J.C. Brebner, C.R. de Wet, J.B.M. Hertzog, and
C.H. Olivier, on behalf of the Government of the Orange Free State and
its burghers, being anxious to put an end to the existing hostilities,
agree on the following points:

Firstly: The burgher forces now in the veldt shall at once lay down
their arms, and surrender all the guns, small arms, and war stores in
their actual possession, or of which they have cognizance, and shall
abstain from any further opposition to the authority of His Majesty,
King Edward VII., whom they acknowledge as their lawful sovereign.
The manner and details of this surrender shall be arranged by Lord
Kitchener, Commandant-General Botha, Assistant-Commandant General J.H.
de la Rey, and Commander-in-Chief De Wet.

Secondly: Burghers in the veldt beyond the frontiers of the Transvaal
and of the Orange River Colony, and all prisoners of war who are out
of South Africa, who are burghers, shall, on their declaration that
they accept the status of subjects of His Majesty King Edward VII.,
be brought back to their homes, as soon as transport and means of
subsistence can be assured.

Thirdly: The burghers who thus surrender, or who thus return, shall
lose neither their personal freedom nor their property.

Fourthly: No judicial proceedings, civil or criminal, shall be taken
against any of the burghers who thus return, for any action in
connection with the carrying on of the war. The benefit of this clause,
shall, however, not extend to certain deeds antagonistic to the usages
of warfare, which have been communicated by the Commander-in-Chief to
the Boer Generals, and which shall be heard before a court-martial
immediately after the cessation of hostilities.

Fifthly: The Dutch language shall be taught in the public schools
of the Transvaal and of the Orange River Colony when the parents
of children demand it; and shall be admitted in the Courts of
Justice, whenever this is required for the better and more effective
administration of justice.

Sixthly: The possession of rifles shall, on taking out a license in
accordance with the law, be permitted in the Transvaal and the Orange
River Colony to persons who require them for their protection.

Seventhly: Military administration in the Transvaal and in the Orange
River Colony shall, as soon as it is possible, be followed by civil
government; and as soon as circumstances permit it a representative
system tending towards autonomy shall be introduced.

Eighthly: The question of granting a franchise to the native shall not
be decided until a representative constitution has been granted.

Ninthly: No special tax shall be laid on landed property in the
Transvaal and the Orange River Colony, to meet the expenses of the war.

Tenthly: As soon as circumstances permit, there shall be appointed
in each district in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony a
Commission, in which the inhabitants of that district shall be
represented, under the chairmanship of a magistrate or other official,
with the view to assist in the bringing back of the people to their
farms, and in procuring for those who, on account of losses in the
war, are unable to provide for themselves, food, shelter, and such
quantities of seed, cattle, implements, etc., as are necessary for the
resuming of their previous callings.

His Majesty's Government shall place at the disposal of these
Commissions the sum of \xA33,000,000 for the above mentioned purposes, and
shall allow that all notes issued in conformity with Law No. 1, 1900,
of the Government of the South African Republic, and all receipts given
by the officers in the veldt of the late Republics, or by their order,
may be presented to a judicial Commission by the Government, and in
case such notes and receipts when found by this Commission to have been
duly issued for consideration in value, then they shall be accepted by
the said Commission as proof of war losses, suffered by the persons to
whom they had originally been given. In addition to the above-named
free gift of \xA33,000,000, His Majesty's Government will be prepared
to grant advances, in the shape of loans, for the same ends, free of
interest for two years, and afterwards payable over a period of years
with three per cent. interest. No foreigner or rebel shall be entitled
to benefit by this clause.

The war was now over and temporary peace once more reigned over the
land. The burghers on hearing the news that peace was declared were
wild with delight, and great was their rejoicing, for they were sure
that independence had been granted. But when they heard, two days
afterwards, that it was practically an unconditional surrender,
they were frantic with rage, and some even threatened to kill their
delegates. When they again heard that 22,000 of their women and
children had been murdered in the English camps, and that to continue
the war for another year would probably mean the extinction of their
race, all were silent, and are silent yet, but doing much thinking.

Some families became totally extinct during the war, and there is not
one in the land to-day that is not in mourning for the loss of one or
more relatives. Any one of the so-called great civilized nations of
the world may send an overwhelming army to a distant land and murder
and enslave a humane, God-fearing and noble race of people, and not
one murmur of disapproval will be heard from the others. But let some
interfering missionary go to China, stick his nose in other people's
religious affairs, and render himself so obnoxious as to lose his head,
then all the civilized nations will rise as one, denounce the act and
demand the immediate execution of the party who had probably done a
good service for his state and mankind. Yes, all civilized nations
might be sublimely humane if they were not so beastly savage.

Peace and Result.--Coronation

The Peace Terms being duly signed, all the commandos went to certain
specified places in their respective districts and surrendered their
arms. Of course, no one had any ammunition, but each one turned in a
gun of some kind, and some of the most antiquated guns I ever saw were
tendered, but they had a hole in them, and at some distant time in the
past had been fired; so no complaint was made by the receiving officer.

In General de la Rey's districts there were many who would not give
their guns in person to the English, but piled them up on the veldt and
told General de la Rey to do with them as he pleased. The receiving
officers, on arrival, asked where the burghers were, and on being
informed that they had gone, seemed very much put out because they were
most anxious to get every man's full name, his district, etc. Then
again, there are several who never surrendered any rifle at all, but
the English do not know who they are, and probably never will. Together
with the Johannesburg Commando, I surrendered my rifle at Potlood
Spruit, a short distance from Lydenburg.

After all was over, the English intended to put the boys of the Irish
Brigade over the border. I told the boys to tell them that they would
have to put a rifle at each one's back, to get him to obey. They did as
directed, and the English officers thought it best to drop the matter.

It was fifty miles to Machadadorp, the nearest railway station, and
having received our permits, Commandant Pinaar, Veldtcornet Young,
Captain Blignault, Lieutenant Malan and myself mounted our horses and
started for Pretoria. We camped at Klip River where there was a small
number of men in a fort commanded by a major.

The Tommies were very civil to us, and many of them, together with
a young 2nd lieutenant gathered about us. In the course of the
conversation, a sergeant said, to us, "Why did you surrender?" We
answered that we supposed we had to, and asked him if he were not
pleased. "Yes," he replied; but he said: "Do you see that major
standing under that willow tree by the forts?" "Yes," we answered, "we
see him." "Well," he continued, "we just wanted one more fight, so that
we could knock him over, too." We were naturally very much surprised
that an English sergeant should make such a remark in the presence of
an English officer, but the latter seemed to take no exception to it.

More than 2500 English officers were killed during the war, and the
English press explain it by charging that the Boers deliberately
picked them out and shot them. The fact is that at a distance of 200
yards, no one could distinguish between an English officer and an
English soldier, because in appearance they were identically the same.
When in our presence, we could distinguish the difference, because the
officer's uniform was of a much finer quality of goods. The English
prisoners used to tell us that they had evened up with this officer,
and that one, and that many more were doomed before the war came to an

It is almost certain that the English killed more than half the number
of officers who fell, because they so utterly despised them. Being
so neglected, and treated worse than dogs, the English soldiers take
advantage of the first favorable opportunity for their revenge. Those
English officers who look after their men and treat them as human
beings will never fail to find the English soldier respectful, obedient
and faithful.

It was about June 20th when we reached Pretoria, and here we found
hundreds of the burghers who had already surrendered near by Pretoria.
Without exception I found every one disgusted with the Peace
Conference, and as they explained why they thought peace was made, I
wondered if Schalk Burger, Lucas Meyer, and J.B. Krogh did not each
feel as if his ears were on fire.


Of Pretoria.]

Although we had not seen Pretoria for two years, yet we could observe
no change except in the new faces we met on the streets. Once we
knew every face, but now we scarcely saw one that we had known before.
The Boer element of the town remained away from the frequented streets,
because they did not wish to mingle with the English. When the Peace
Terms were signed, it was distinctly agreed between Lord Kitchener
and Lord Milner, and the two Governments, that no burgher was to be
required to take the oath of allegiance to the King, and the burghers
in the field before the surrender were so informed.

Now, to show what dependence can be put upon an English officer's word,
I will tell you just what happened. Married men were most anxious to
remove from the concentration camps what was left of their families.
They purchased food, supplies, bedding, clothing, etc., put all
together with their families in open car trucks to be carried to the
railway station nearest their farms, and there deposited. Others loaded
their provisions, etc., and their families in bullock wagons. No one
could go any where without a permit, and now that these farmers were
ready with their families to go to their burnt farms, they applied for
their permits. All were informed that permits would be granted as soon
as they took the oath of allegiance to the King, and not before. With
one or two exceptions, all refused to take the oath, and I saw one
burgher remove every thing from his car truck, and go into camp on the
hill side. This created plenty of trouble, and the burghers were highly
incensed. The Boer generals told Lord Milner that if he did not make
his word good in regard to his agreement about the oath of allegiance,
they would not be responsible for the result. Lord Milner then granted
the permits, and the burghers went to their farms.

Now another scheme was tried, and a few of the burghers were caught in
the trap. Of course all the Boer families were much scattered, some
being in Natal, others in Cape Colony, others in the Free State and
others still in the Transvaal. Suppose my farm and home were in the
Transvaal and my family were in the Free State or Cape Colony, and I
should ask for a permit to go and bring it. The permit would be granted
at once, and I would take the train for the Free State or Colony, as
the case might be. I meet my family, make all arrangements to return
and then apply for my permit for myself and family to return to our
home in the Transvaal. We are promptly informed that the permit will
be granted as soon as I take the oath of allegiance to the King. I was
surprised that the women and children were not called upon to take the
oath too. I must now either stay in the Free State or Colony, or take
the oath, as there is no way by which I can communicate with the Boer


threatened with imprisonment for his free speech.]

Every letter was opened and censored and forwarded or not, as the
English officer might decide. Secret instructions had been sent to
all officials in South Africa, that no return permits must be given
unless the applicants first took the oath of allegiance. About a dozen
burghers were caught in this trap before it was exposed. Again there
was much trouble, but the burghers could get no satisfaction, so they
would write to their families to come to them, and the English could
not refuse them permits, because they were not required to take the

The Peace Terms required that all burghers should lay down their
guns and acknowledge King Edward VII. as their lawful sovereign, and
no more. This applied to prisoners of war in the same way as to the
burghers in the field. Here I insert a private document giving private
instructions, and it shows plainly what an unscrupulous thing an
English official or officer is.



  The selection of prisoners of war for return to South Africa should
  be made in the following order:

  1. Those who have volunteered for active service, and are considered
  likely to become loyal subjects and useful settlers; and those who
  appear willing to accept the new order of things cheerfully.

  2. Those who have shown no particular bias.

  3. Irreconcilables, and men who have given trouble in the camps.

  Lists of all prisoners of war have been prepared by the D.M.I., S.A.,
  in conjunction with the local authorities of each district, divided
  into three categories, and it is desirable that this order should be
  maintained, as far as possible, and the lists made out by commandants
  of oversea camps, combined with the lists forwarded from South
  Africa, the corresponding classes being merged together.

  It is to be understood that the lists supplied from South Africa are
  merely a general guide, and commandants of camps are invited to use
  their discretion in modifying the order, where their experience of
  the individual convinces them that an alteration is necessary.

  No shipload of prisoners of war should include more than 100 men
  belonging to any one district.



  No prisoner of war should be embarked without taking the Oath
  of Allegiance, or the approved equivalent declaration. The oath or
  declaration must be signed in triplicate, and it is of the greatest
  importance that the prisoner should retain one copy of the form, for
  purposes of identification, and that one copy should be forwarded to
  the Colonial Secretary of the prisoner's Colony for record.


  To facilitate the work of repatriation in South Africa, a nominal
  roll of all prisoners should be posted to the Military Secretary to
  the High Commissioner, at least a fortnight before embarkation.

  This nominal roll should give the prisoner-of-war's number, and the
  farm, district and colony to which he belongs.


  Special lists will be forwarded from time to time, of men whose early
  release is approved by the High Commissioner, and these men should
  have precedence of all others; similarly, names may be sent of men
  whose early return is not considered advisable, and such men should
  in each case remain till the last.


  Prisoners of war who take the Oath of Allegiance, and who belong to
  Class I., may be permitted to proceed forthwith--

  (a) To South Africa, (provided they have the means of supporting
  themselves on arrival.)

  (b) Elsewhere. In each case at their own expense.

  The names of prisoners released under this clause, and the ships by
  which they sail, should be communicated to the Military Secretary to
  the High Commissioner, by telegraph, in the case of persons returning
  to South Africa, and by post in other cases.


  It will be advisable in compiling the lists mentioned in par. I.,
  to include only a small percentage of unmarried men without farms
  or means of livelihood, and to push forward as much as possible,
  men having families who need their support, and farms to which they
  can go immediately on arrival in South Africa, as it is this class
  who provide the work for the bijwoner class, whose return for this
  reason, it is necessary to retard.


  Foreigners will not be allowed to return to South Africa.


  On arrival of prisoners in South Africa, the S.O. Prisoners of
  War at the port of disembarkation will take over the prisoners of
  war, classify them according to districts, and arrange with the
  Repatriation Board in the two colonies for their distribution. The
  Repatriation Board will then make all necessary arrangements at the
  district concentration camp for the accommodation of the burghers,
  and for returning them to their homes as soon as transport is

  In the case of prisoners of war released in accordance with par.
  V. of these instructions, the S.O. Prisoners of War at port of
  disembarkation will arrange to meet them and take the particulars
  necessary for keeping all complete records.

 W. Lambton, Lieut.-Colonel,
 Military Secretary,
 South Africa.

 Pretoria, Fourth of July, 1902.

By the Peace Terms all prisoners of war were to be returned as
promptly as possible, yet there are still prisoners of war on some of
the Islands to-day, ten months after the Peace was made. The above
document shows plainly how determined an Englishman is to violate his
sacred pledge. When I say that no Boer now would believe on oath either
Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, Lord Milner, Joe Chamberlain, or any
other English official, I mean just what I say, and I am sure the Boers
are justified. On the day that the Coronation services were to be held,
all Dutch churches were to sing "God Save the King" at the conclusion
of the services. In Cape Colony armed men were actually present in
some instances. In not one Dutch church in the land was the order
obeyed, and English bayonets could not have made the people sing it, so
repulsive is it to them. Even inscriptions on corner stones of public
buildings were chiseled off, that something in English might be put in
their places.

The English had shown so much meanness and treachery, that on the
day for the Coronation services to be held, all of the 800 or 1,000
burghers in town pinned on their coats the Transvaal colors, and
decorated all the Boer children with them. I didn't like to be behind,
so I pinned mine on, too. As the English had no love for me and were
actually thirsting for my blood, I stayed with my friends, the Boers.
Six times that morning I was ordered to remove my colors, and six times
refused, telling them that it was impossible for me to do so, and that
they would have to do it. In every instance they took a look at my
associates, and walked away. When the hour arrived for the services to
begin, there were less than 200 white people, exclusive of soldiers,
assembled in front of the Government building. Next to these were about
200 Kaffir women, mistresses of the English officers, and men. Next to
these men, about 300 Kaffir boys who had fought side by side with the
English against the Boers. Next to these was an open space of ground
about eighty yards wide. Next to this open space were about 800 of the
Boers who had so lately surrendered. The band played, then there was a
prayer, followed by some talk, and the services were over. Again the
band began to play, and when the first notes reached the Boers, they
discovered that it was "God Save the King," so all turned their backs
and walked down Church Street.

Both Boer and Englishman will admit that I have given a very short
but accurate description of the Coronation services and the people
assembled to witness them. But to read the English press on the
following day, one could easily believe that all the Boers in the land
were present to show their great love of their new Sovereign King
Edward VII.

In the afternoon it was rumored about town that in the evening during
the parade and displaying of fireworks, all Boer houses not lighted
up and displaying the English flag would have the windows and doors
smashed. The Boers prepared themselves, every one being armed with a
good stick, and when night came every one was ready for business. All
Boer houses were in total darkness. No flags were flying, but not one
was interfered with. The English had met these Boer boys before and
they had no desire to meet them again. Had the doors and windows of
one house been smashed, I firmly believe the Boers would have taken
the town. The Boers had surrendered, but they were determined that no
Englishman would spit upon them with impunity. Through the English
soldier, and through the officers' reports, and by witnessing many
barbarous acts in the field, I learned a great deal about the English
officer, but in Pretoria I learned enough more to sicken even the most
rabid Anglo-American, and now I am going to recall to him a little that
he has done to make him well known.



In some of the towns occupied by the English, and therefore not burnt
down, the English commanders sent away such women as they felt sure
the English officer could not make bend to his wishes, it mattered not
what kind of a threat was made. All doubtful women were allowed to
remain, and the great majority of the doubtful ones proved as loyal
to themselves and people as those sent away. But in every town, so
occupied, naturally there were many weak women who, under threat of
being sent to some abominable camp where they would surely die, would
consent to submit, if allowed to remain.

Even officers with the rank of general were in this damnable business,
and I can prove it to their full satisfaction. In Rustenburg, for
instance, Mr. English General, officers would appear at the back door
late at night, rap hard and alarm the young women. Of course no men
were near, for all were in the field. On being asked what was wanted,
they were told to open the door and let them in. On being refused,
these English ruffians in officers' uniform would make all kinds of
threats, such as "we will break in the door," "withdraw food," "we
will load you on a wagon and send you far away where the suffering is
terrible, and the people are dying fast," etc., etc. In a few cases
these ruffians carried their point, be it said to their eternal shame
and disgrace. Hundreds of just such acts of infamy on the part of the
English officers, can be proved in every town occupied by the English
troops. In many instances even the English soldiers following the
example, would try the same tactics, but they were easily frightened
away. On meeting a young Boer woman, the first idea that enters the
English officer's head, is to seduce her by flattery and promises,
but, failing in this way, he resorts to threats to frighten her into

In Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein or any of the Boer towns, any
woman seen walking or riding with an English officer, was marked at
once as a mistress or common prostitute. The married officer who had
his wife with him, would suffer from this, unless the people knew that
the woman was really his lawful wife. In Pretoria, on Skinner Street,
several of us were amused late one Sunday afternoon, on seeing an
English officer with the rank of captain walking with two Hottentot
Kaffir girls, one on each side, and both dressed in white linen and
wearing pink stockings and high heeled slippers. These Kaffir girls
were about sixteen years old, and he looked supremely happy as he
braced his shoulders and passed us by.

Just on the border of the Pretoria township was a very neat Kaffir
hut, and one day when we were near it, two of the artillery boys
ventured that far, but before reaching the hut, they saw a man in khaki
uniform mount a horse and fly. The boys went to the hut, found two
Kaffir girls, and the rendezvous of an English officer. They took all
his clothing, his top boots, some fine blankets, a revolver and some
trifles, and returned to camp. The uniform disclosed that the keeper
of the hut and women was a 1st lieutenant. The Kaffir girls told the
boys that their master would get the soldiers and come after them, if
they did not leave his clothes, etc. Sure enough, next day there came
a column, and after a short skirmish it wheeled about and returned to

When the columns were raiding and burning farms in the bush veldt,
in many instances they would drag the Boer girls, from sixteen to
twenty-three years old, out of the houses, put them on wagons and cart
them away, leaving the mother and little children to watch their home
burn down and grieve over the fate of the girls. I can prove this to
the very hilt, and without any trouble, too. The intention of the
officers was to seduce these girls if they could, and if they couldn't,
why then to use them anyhow, and I firmly believe that many of those
innocent girls were forcibly violated. Where there were no young women,
the little boys from seven to ten years old would be dragged from their
homes and put in the camps. Many little boys of this age have walked
and run miles to get with a commando, to escape being dragged away from
their mothers, and many of them, too, have been shot down while trying
to fly from English barbarity.

Along the railway lines, wherever you find an English camp, there,
too, will you find a Kaffir camp. These Kaffirs were forcibly taken
from their kraals on the Boer farms and put near the English camp. The
reason given was that they wanted the men to work in the mines, and
prevent them from giving information to the Boers. This was merely
rot, for the Boers needed no information, as the English were always
in plain sight. The truth is that they wanted the Kaffir women for
the use of the English soldiers and officers, and to-day you can see
half-caste kids by the score about those Kaffir camps. The Kaffirs are
a very chaste people, immorality with them being punished by death, and
now the Kaffir men who were forcibly taken from their kraals, and have
seen their women debauched, hate the English with a bitterness that
no pen can adequately describe. Yes, the English officer in the eyes
of civilization is a typical gentleman, but as known and believed by
the savage Kaffir, he is a brute. English officers, sick in hospital,
and those not in hospital, plied their art with the English Red Cross
nurses, and over eighty of these had to be sent back to England.

So notorious were the relations between these nurses and the English
officers, that the former were known among the enlisted men and the
people generally, by a name borrowed from the Veterinary Department,
and too utterly vile to be printed.

In reading a little book some time ago, I came upon a passage that
reminded me so forcibly both of the English and the ships' officers,
that I here quote it. "Oh! if hell has a pit hotter and more
intolerable than all the rest, a just God must surely reserve it for
the lurking foe, the English officer, the seducer damned." Of course
the words, "the English officer," are my insertion, and the space they
occupy is most appropriate for them.

So much has been said and written about the English concentration
camps, that I will not dwell upon this subject to a great extent, yet
I must say something, because I fear that all are not acquainted with
these diabolical institutions.

In the first place, I must tell what a concentration camp is. It is a
lot of tents, 100 or 200, or possibly 600, all pitched close together
on a piece of exposed veldt on the railway line, and surrounded by
a net-work of barbed wire. On each of the four sides of the camp is
a gate, and at each gate there are two armed men to see that no one
escapes. In every tent there is a family. That is, a mother and her
children. It matters not what the number of the family may be, that
family must live, or rather try to exist, in that one tent. All are
closely confined within that net-work of barbed wire, and there they
must remain, and subsist on such food as the English officers wish to
serve them. To each family is given about one-fourth as much fuel as is
necessary, so at least four must club together and cook together, if
they do not wish to eat their food in the raw state. Every family is
limited in the amount of water to be used, and must take what is given.


A Boer child in the first stage of death from starvation or poison
in an English prison-camp. Taken by a young Boer spy in the English
prison-camp at Irene, near Pretoria.]

Now the reader has a typical concentration camp, in which the women
and children are packed like sardines, the very women and children that
the English once told the world were refugees, but now acknowledge as
their prisoners. Once one of these camps was established and filled
with women and children, but a few days passed before they began to
die, and such was the death rate, that special details of men were
employed daily to dig graves for the burial of the dead. When one
considers, that within a period of six months, more than 12,000 of
these women and children died, he must begin to think that something is
wrong. In the camp at Irene, near Pretoria, I know of one mother and
six children, all healthy and strong, who were all dead within seven
days after being confined there. The children were not sick, but would
refuse food, their feet would swell, their stomachs bloat, and in a few
days they would pass away. This looks very much like poison of some
kind; and the Boer women who were not in the camp, assured me that
poison was discovered in their food. I believe this, because I have
heard the English say that they could never hope to hold the country as
long as there were Boer women and children. The Boer women in Pretoria,
begged for permission to take food which they had cooked themselves, to
the sick women and children in the camp, and in every instance they
were refused, and told that the authorities would furnish the food.

As surely as I live this moment, I firmly believe that the English made
use of poison in the food to destroy those women and children, and many
Englishmen are as convinced as I am, only they have not the nerve to
say so.

I know the Apache Indians, and particularly one of their great war
chiefs, the notorious old Geronimo. He was an Apache General, without
education, without training, utterly unacquainted with all ideas of
civilization, but shrewd and cunning, and, when on the war-path,
would murder every man, woman and child he could lay hands on. I have
travelled with him hundreds of miles, and followed the path along which
lay his many victims, and therefore am acquainted with his method of
doing away with his enemy in time of war. I know of Lord Roberts and
Lord Kitchener, and their orders and proclamations. I know that both
are highly educated, trained soldiers who are thoroughly acquainted
with all the teachings of civilization and humanity, both in peace and
in war. I have fought against them in South Africa, and I therefore am
thoroughly acquainted with their method of fighting their enemy, and of
doing away with men, women and children.


A Boer child dying either of starvation or of poison in one of the
English prison-camps. Taken by a young Boer spy in the English
prison-camp at Irene near Pretoria.]

Those who were unfortunate enough to fall into Geronimo's hands,
were killed outright, and without any ceremony or excuse, and his
victims are numbered by the hundreds. Those unfortunate Boer women and
children, who fell into the hands of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener,
were doomed to slow death by torture, and the victims are numbered by
the thousands.

The old savage chief showed far more humanity in his way of waging war
than was shown by the two civilized lords. The one was open in his
every act, while the others strove to keep all in the dark, by false
reports and deliberate misrepresentations.

Had the war lasted another twelve months, I firmly believe that every
Boer woman and child confined in the English prison camps of the
Transvaal and Free State, would have died a slow death, and the Boers
so believed when they consented to surrender. Three or four hundred
Jews are deliberately murdered in Russia, and the civilized world is
struck with horror. The Government of the United States sends in a
petition of protests and is snubbed.

Thousands of women and children are murdered in South Africa, and the
civilized world is undisturbed. The Government of the United States
refuses to send in a huge petition of protests, and receives English
thanks. I don't know who is Secretary of State for the United States,
but I am sure it is either John Hay or Joe Chamberlain, or possibly

I will now drop the subject of the suffering Boer women and children,
and take the reader to other parts, that he may see how the prisoners
of war were treated on some of the English Islands.

_I can prove that ground glass was used on the Island of St. Helena to
kill the prisoners--and I would like the opportunity of doing it._ The
English will fight shy, for they know that I know what I am talking
about. Here were confined officers as well as men, and when they saw
that some of their people were beginning to run down, and continued to
run down until they were put in the grave, they began to think, and
recall the fact that the English were supplying the food. Vegetables
they suspected, but they did not come often and plentifully. Finally
they decided when they did come they would not eat them, but put them
to the test, and find out if there were any contamination. Nearly every
one found ground and broken glass in the vegetables, but not at every
inspection. Sometimes several vegetable days would pass by without any
glass being found, but then a day would come when all or nearly all
were rewarded.


A Boer child that has just died from starvation or poison in an English
prison-camp. Taken by a young Boer spy in the English prison-camp at
Irene, near Pretoria.]

This is a terrible charge to make, and I would not dare make it, did
I not know that it can be proven to the complete satisfaction of any
judge and jury. Many of the prisoners kept what they found as a
souvenir, and every time they think of it they congratulate themselves
for having sense enough to mistrust the English and the food they

To return to the concentration camps, the tents were sometimes 16 \xD7 16
square, and in that tent there might be a family of four, or six, or a
dozen. If there was a Kaffir girl servant, she must sleep in the tent,
too, but was not allowed to draw rations. No visitors were allowed,
because they might tell tales out of school. After peace was made, the
mother of any family wishing to be released to return home, had to sign
a declaration to the effect that she had at least $500 in cash, that
she would not apply to the Government for help in any form, and that
she would relinquish all claims for damages to her home and property.
In addition to this she had to take an oath that she did not know of
any arms or ammunition being concealed about her place, or in any other
place. Those who could not or would not sign the above declaration, and
take the oath, were held as prisoners of war in the camp.

After all the farms had been burnt, all property destroyed and there
was no food to be had, and after more than 15,000 women and children
had been buried, Lord Kitchener made a very generous and English-like
offer to General Louis Botha. He said that he would return all the Boer
women and children to their farms and give them three months' rations
if Botha wished to have them. General Botha replied that he would be
pleased to receive them, but six months' ration must be furnished so
that they would have time to grow a crop, as he had no food for them.
Lord Kitchener declined to accept General Botha's amendment, for it
plainly meant that the women and children would not starve to death and
that the Boers would not have to surrender to save them.



During the last two years of the war, the Boers had a perfect system
of communication with Pretoria and Johannesburg. Captain J.J. Naude,
a young Boer about twenty-three years old, was chief spy, and it was
he who organized the force that did the work. In Pretoria he had seven
Boer ladies, all smart and daring, and all prominent in Pretoria
society. Their duty was to collect all information, official and
otherwise, about what the English were doing in Pretoria, and what
their intentions might be, have it typewritten and ready for delivery
every Wednesday evening. Every Monday, dressed in an English officer's
uniform, Captain Naude would work his way through wire fences, forts,
blockhouses and three lines of guards, into the town and stop at the
home of a Mrs. Van W----. Sometimes he would stop with one of his other
spies, at the home of a Mrs. M----. Another one of his spies, a Mrs.
H----, often drove with him in a carriage through the streets during
the day, and visited certain important places. The English soldiers
invariably saluted Captain Naude as he passed by them. In the evening,
at the house where he was staying, Miss M----, known as "Little Megs,"
Mrs. A----, possibly Mrs. J----, Mrs. M----, and Mrs. H----, would
assemble to talk over the situation, put everything in proper form for
Captain Naude, and then quietly return to their homes. These ladies
would in person deliver all letters brought in by Captain Naude from
the burghers in the field, and he would take back the answers. He
conducted his affairs in Johannesburg in the same way, but here his
assistants brought out a typewritten paper every week, telling the
people what had happened in the field, which the English tried to keep
concealed. These typewritten papers would be posted up early in the
morning, and before the English authorities could find and tear them
down, hundreds of people had read them.

Little Megs, who since the surrender has changed her name to Mrs.
Jan--, took desperate chances on many occasions, and actually supplied
the Boers near Pretoria with ammunition, clothing, boots, etc. Her
father's farm was a few miles out of town, and she would get a permit
to go there and back and bring in vegetables. She always drove out with
four horses to her cart, and came back with two, leaving the others
with the commando. Sometimes, English officers would accompany her,
and often she felt much alarmed, but her coolness and nerve always
brought her out all right. Several times she was under heavy fire,
being caught between the Boer and English lines. Many shot and shell
passed over her head and many came near catching her, but never did
she waver. When all was over, she would pursue her way and deliver
her contraband goods. She was in constant communication with a young
lady, a cousin of hers, in far away Cape Colony. This cousin was a Miss
Maggie Joubert, about twenty-three years old, and one of the pluckiest
and most daring young ladies in the world. Her people are wealthy,
but are Africanders to the backbone, and took the desperate chance
of losing their property in order to help the cause of freedom. Most
of our information as to what was going on in Cape Colony came from
letters written by Miss Maggie Joubert to her little cousin Megs in
Pretoria. Little Megs would give this information to Captain Naude,
and he, in turn, would bring it out to the commandos, so our lines of
communication were complete and our information genuine. Miss Joubert
would write on one side of the paper an ordinary family letter, and
leave the opposite side blank. On the blank side she would write with
lemon juice for her ink, and tell all about the English, where they
were, what they were doing, the location of forts, etc. She would
also tell all about the Boer forces, where they were and what they
were doing. She also sent these letters to prisoners in the far away
Islands, and kept them well informed. She knew at least one in every
place who knew her method.

For two years she kept this up, but about six months before peace was
made, the English began to suspect her, because she wrote so many
letters. To one of her letters to little Meg in Pretoria they applied
the hot iron, and out came the lemon juice as black as ink. This
exposed her, for the English now read all about the movements of their
troops in the Colony, their location, etc. Two police were sent to
arrest her at once. She was carried away to Wellington, and locked up
in a cell. After remaining there for a week, she was taken to the Paarl
and imprisoned. Neither her people or any one else was allowed to see

After a few weeks she was tried by a military court. This court tried
to find out from her whether she had given any information to the
enemy outside their lines. She always answered: "You have my letters,
and must find out for yourselves." Little Megs was inside the English
lines, and she was never in any way suspected of being a spy. The court
found Miss Joubert guilty of treason, and sentenced her to five years
hard labor. She told the court that she could stand just as much as
they could give her. She was returned to her cell and very closely


The beautiful Boer Spy who was imprisoned in an English cell for six

Lord Kitchener commuted the sentence to six months' imprisonment
without hard labor. The matron of the prison secured her some silks
and she spent her time making fancy articles. In the evening she would
sing the Volkslied (National Anthem) and then say the Boer prisoner's
prayer, one verse of which is as follows:

 "When shall I be, shall I be returning
   To my dear old plaats, to my good old home
   Where the duiker, spring-bok, and Koedoe roam
 And the hot fire of freedom is burning?"

Miss Joubert's daily rations consisted of one bottle of milk, one
pound of bread, and one pound of meat. This food without change for
six months, proved too much for her. She fell very ill, and how she
lived to the end of the time, she cannot explain. She was considered
a dangerous character, and a close damp cell must be her home, and in
that home she was doomed to live or die on food that would probably
kill a Kaffir.

Major Benson of the Intelligence Department, by way of consolation,
told her that after enjoying the blessings of English liberty for two
years, she had acted like a cur, and therefore deserved to suffer. She
replied that she was proud of all her acts, and she was ready to suffer
for them.

Several other ladies are lying in prison cells to-day charged with
giving the Boers information, and probably will remain there until
death comes to their rescue and frees them. Miss Joubert and her
comrades who have been locked within prison cells all know what it is
to be grossly insulted by the English officer, and all have suffered.
Little Megs and her associates in Pretoria, and Miss Joubert and her
companions in Cape Colony are all noble and grand women. The flame of
patriotism glowed in their hearts. All were ready to be sacrificed to
save the Africander people from being shackled with the chains of the
slave. All spurned danger and faced death itself. They are patriots,
and their names will endure.

Captain Naude, the commander of the lady spies in Pretoria, was well
known in the town, and his young wife and his people resided there.
The English knew him, too, and they were aware of the fact that he was
coming in and going out. They had a standing reward of $10,000 for
him, dead or alive. Every few days every house in Pretoria would be
carefully searched, and the three lines of guards put on the lookout
for him.

Nothing was left undone to catch or kill him, yet he went in every
Monday evening and came out every Wednesday evening. He is the coolest,
most determined and daring young man I ever saw, and I believe he
is the most wonderful spy known, when all the circumstances are
considered. He wore a slight mustache, an English officer's uniform,
could talk but little English and would drive in an open carriage
through the principal streets of the town in open daylight; yet he was
never caught, though hundreds of detectives were watching for him. Many
letters has he taken in for me, and he never failed to bring me back
the answer. In my eyes he is a marvel, and the Africander people are
heavily indebted to him for the services he rendered to them and their
country. Long may he live.

I must say a few words about the American Consuls in South Africa.
I was in that country eight years, and during this time I naturally
became acquainted with some of them. In the first place, I must say
that their pay is so small that it is almost impossible for them to
make both ends meet, it matters not how economically they live. Good
men and smart men will naturally refuse such an appointment, unless
they have spare money of their own to spend. The first consul who was
sent to Pretoria was C.E. Macrum, and he was a good and smart man, and
an excellent one for the place, as well as a genuine American. He was
perfectly conversant with all the causes that led up to the war, and
he knew that the English forced the Boers into it for no other reason
than to take the Johannesburg gold fields; therefore, a few months
after the war began, he was recalled. Young Adelbert Hay, son of John
Hay, Secretary of State, was appointed in his place. When he arrived
in Pretoria it was plain that he was an Englishman, both in heart and
soul. I have an idea that he was so educated before he left Washington
City, judging him by his conversation. He had not been there more than
two months before he changed, and became pro-Boer both in heart and
soul, and so remained till death. He was thrown in close contact with
the English in Pretoria, soon learned what an Englishman really was,
why he was fighting the Boer, his methods of fighting, etc., and he
became thoroughly convinced that all he had been taught to believe
about the English, and the war, was utterly false. He learned of their
barbarity in war, their treachery and unscrupulousness, and he saw
their treatment of the Boer women and children in the prison camps,
which he declared to be sickening. I don't know but if the whole truth
were known, I think it would be found that the powers that be in
America came to the conclusion that young Mr. Hay was not the proper
man for his position in Pretoria, and he therefore resigned. When the
news of his sudden death reached South Africa, the Africander people
felt deeply grieved, and at several of their evening services his name
was affectionately mentioned in their prayers.

W.D. Gordon, the Consular Agent in Johannesburg, is unquestionably the
ablest and strongest representative that the United States has ever
had in South Africa. He is a genuine American, a successful business
man, and as Consular Agent he carefully guards American interests and
American citizens, while by his honesty, uprightness and openness,
he commands the respect of the whole people. The English respect him
because they are afraid of him, and know that they can neither deceive
him nor win him by flattery. He receives no salary as Consular Agent,
yet the position costs him much time and trouble. No act of his will
ever bring discredit to the American people or his Country.

It was but a few weeks before war was declared that I met Consul
General Stowe of Cape Town, and although I was convinced that he was
American, yet I could not make out whether he was an Anglo-American
or a genuine Englishman. In a conversation with him in Johannesburg,
he told me that on hostilities breaking out, he intended to come to
Johannesburg and hoist the Stars and Stripes over Heath's Hotel as his
headquarters. Now, Heath's Hotel was the chief rendezvous of the most
rabid Englishmen, and it was very much feared that when war once began,
the Boers would destroy the building. Consul Stowe was determined to
prevent this, if possible, by placing his august person in the door,
and waving the Stars and Stripes above his head. Of course, the Boers
never had any idea of destroying this hotel, or any other property, but
the English press tried to make the world believe otherwise. By way of
retort, I told Consul Stowe that if he hoisted the American flag over
that hot bed of rebellion, we would set fire to the other and adjoining
buildings, and that if he were unfortunate enough to be caught in the
general conflagration, he would have no one to blame but himself. He
changed his mind then, and said that, after all, he thought he could
be of more service in Cape Town than in Johannesburg. During the war,
Consul Stowe was very prominent in English circles, and no doubt he
served them well. On one occasion, on the 4th of July, an American
lady intended to give a dinner to some Americans, and she thought of
inviting some English also. As some of the latter were sure to come,
she thought it would show courtesy if she put up a British flag as well
as the American flag. She spoke to Consul Stowe on the subject, and
he told her that most certainly she must hoist the British flag. He
further told her, that she must float the British flag on top of the
pole, and the American flag below it on the same pole. This will give
the American people a slight insight into the character of the American
Consul-General at Cape Town.

On another occasion, he concluded to visit Pretoria for reasons best
known to himself. Above the finest carriage in the long train, he
hoisted the American flag, and then he, etc., etc., were ready to move
out. All was smooth sailing until far into the Free State. Suddenly
the train stopped, firing was heard, and the Boers were all around the
unfortunates. Soon the white flag was hoisted and the train captured.
Captain Daanie Theron, the famous Boer scout, the little man so dearly
loved by the whole Africander race, with his hundred daring patriots
had committed the terrible offence of firing upon a train floating the
Stars and Stripes, and capturing the American Consul-General of Cape
Town, the great Colonel Stowe. He captured something else, too, for
there were on that train about seventy-five English soldiers, and they
fell into his hands, together with their rifles and ammunition. In
Colonel Stowe's carriage there were some lordly looking individuals,
too, but as all were Colonel Stowe's private secretaries, Captain
Theron did not disturb them. He allowed the carriage floating the Stars
and Stripes to proceed on its journey to Pretoria. I never heard, but
it is safe to say, that he landed his secretaries in Pretoria, and that
at a swell banquet many stirring and patriotic speeches were made.

Of course, the English press was full of glowing accounts of the way in
which the savage Boers had insulted the American flag, but not one of
them thought to mention anything about English prisoners and private
secretaries. No doubt Colonel Stowe was a great credit to the American
Government, but I would not like to add "and also to the American
people," because I am not seeking trouble.



Now I wish to say, and will say, a few words about English war
correspondents. I never met but two personally, and they were prisoners
of war in Pretoria, having a few days previously been captured by the
Irish Brigade at Elandsfontein near Johannesburg, at the time of the
British occupation of this city. The two gentlemen were Lord Cecil
Manners and Lord Roslyn. They were given comfortable quarters in the
Grand Hotel, and both seemed contented, although they were anxious to
be released, that they might see what the English and Boers were doing
just outside of Pretoria. They were not prejudiced and thick-headed,
as you generally find Englishmen of their class, and both impressed
me as being honest, reasonable and desirous of the whole truth. Lord
Roslyn showed one of his reports to me, made while Buller was trying to
relieve Ladysmith, and Lord Cecil Manners gave me his views, too. Both
of course were Englishmen, and very handsome and fine looking ones,
too. Naturally they viewed matters from an English stand point, still I
was surprised at their fairness, and I do not believe that either would
intentionally twist a fact in order to conceal British blunders. Now
this brings me to one that I did not meet, but one I wanted to meet.
His name is Bennet Burleigh, and he was war correspondent of the London
_Daily Telegraph_.

In Johannesburg there is a house known as the American Hotel, and the
proprietor of that house was Dave Norris, an American, and one of the
worthiest of the race in South Africa. He despised the English, loved
liberty and longed to see the Boers free and independent. All the Irish
boys knew him, and all loved him, and he in his turn was as warmly
devoted to them, so, naturally, when any of them were in Johannesburg,
they were always to be found with good Dave Norris in the American
Hotel; and wherever the Irish boys were, there I, too, would be.

Now I will return to Mr. Bennet Burleigh. As soon as the English
occupied Johannesburg, they heard that I was still in the city. All
wanted me and they wanted me badly, because it meant quite a neat sum
of money to the fortunate man. Bennet Burleigh was not a combatant; he
was a war correspondent, and was not supposed to take any active part.


a Boer belle of Johannesburg]

Late one night, Dave Norris was aroused and, on opening the door, in
walked Bennet Burleigh with a revolver in his hand. In the adjoining
room there was a man named Wilson, and to Wilson's ear he placed his
revolver, and said, "I have you at last, Blake, and you are good meat."
"Butch" Wilson replied: "Fooled again, old man! Colonel Blake is not
here." "Butch" having proven his identity, was released. After a few
nights, Bennet Burleigh was again in the American Hotel, but this
time put his revolver in old John Langtry's ear, and said: "I know I
am right this time, come on here, sir, and be quick about it." Old
John asked him what he wanted him for. "I know Blake by his photo,
and you are the man, so get out." Again Mr. Bennet Burleigh, the war
correspondent, _the non-combatant_, was sorely disappointed. Had this
thing, Bennet Burleigh, been captured by the Boers, he would have
whined and cried and begged to be released, because he had nothing to
do with fighting and only acted as a correspondent.

After the general surrender, one of the English majors whom I knew
quite well, told me that Mr. Bennet Burleigh was very anxious to meet
me, and would like an appointment. I was highly pleased and told the
major that I would be glad to meet Mr. Burleigh at the Grand, in
the evening, and that if he presented him to me I would make him a
beautiful present, or give any one $25.00 who would bring the man face
to face with me. Mr. Burleigh never showed up, and I inquired after
him, but he had gone to Johannesburg. He soon left for England, so I
never had the opportunity I so longed for.

Bennet Burleigh is a cowardly thing, and such a thing cannot possibly
make a truthful report. Take all his writings during the war, and I
very much doubt whether one grain of truth could be found in any one
of his reports. We read many of his detailed descriptions, and they
were so ridiculously false that we could not help laughing. Mr. Bennet
Burleigh, you are a thorough-bred Englishman, typical of a degenerate
race, and I now drop you as I picked you up, a dirty thing.

Now I come to the subject of armed Kaffirs. On the English side of the
western border of the Transvaal, the English armed several thousand
Kaffirs, and instructed them to make raids on the Boer farms across
the border, and take all cattle, sheep, horses, etc., they could find.
The Kaffirs were delighted and lost no time in carrying out their
instructions. They crossed, and on the first raid murdered more than
fifty old men, women and children, and destroyed their property. They
came again, and nearly all the Boers were withdrawn from Mafeking
in order to fight them, and drive them out. They slaughtered the
Kaffirs by the hundreds and drove them back to their English allies for

While the troops were absent, Baden-Powell did not leave his
prairie-dog-holes and come out, because he was afraid the Boers might
catch him out, and that would be the end of Baden-Powell and his letter
writing. A Boer commando had to be formed and kept near the border to
protect the women and children from these savages armed by the English.
All of the many thousands of Kaffirs in the Rustenburg district were
so armed, and at times General de la Rey would have to abandon all
operations against the English and go and fight them, to drive them
far from the women and children. All the thousands of Kaffirs between
Pretoria and Pietersburg and those to the north of Pietersburg were
also armed by the English, and General Beyers had to fight them much
more than he did the latter, in order to save the women and children
from being outraged and murdered.

Armed Kaffirs were stationed all along the Pretoria-Pietersburg railway
line and did all the work that Joe Chamberlain told the British
Parliament the English soldiers were doing.

Northeast of Pretoria, north of Middleburg and all about Lydenburg and
Pilgrims' Rest, were thousands of England's savage allies who murdered
hundreds of men, women and children. In the east, about Komati Poort
and along the Swazie-land border, the same conditions prevailed and the
outrages committed are too sickening to put in print. Nearly sixty men
were attacked, murdered and cut into pieces at one place.

All the blockhouses along the eastern border were manned with armed
Kaffirs. About thirty women and children who had their homes burnt
on the Piet-Retief border by the English and were left to starve to
death, started out on foot to find some Boer commando, and get food
and relief. They had to pass through this line of blockhouses manned
by the armed Kaffirs. The savages seized and outraged all of them, and
then drove them into the high veldt, where they were abandoned. They
were found by the Boers, and a more sickening sight or characteristic
picture of English brutality and savage outrage could not be imagined.
In the face of all this, Lord Kitchener, Lord Milner and Joe
Chamberlain swore to the world that no armed Kaffirs were employed by
the English troops!

There were between 30,000 and 40,000 Kaffirs armed by the English,
and instructed to kill off the Boers. The Kaffirs had always been
friendly to the Boers but the English went to them, and told them that
if they did not take up arms against the Boers, they would destroy all
their food and not allow them to grow any more as long as the war
lasted. The Kaffirs in the mountains near Lydenburg were not to be so
threatened because the English knew them and were afraid of them. In
order to get them to fight the Boers, the English promised to give them
all the Boer farms in their section at the end of the war. Many of my
good friends were murdered in cold blood by these same Kaffirs.

At the town of Lydenburg, the English had more than 1000 armed Kaffirs
side by side with them. At Middleburg they had about 600. In all the
blockhouses and forts along the railway lines there were armed Kaffirs,
with the English soldiers, and the Kaffirs were generally in the

After the war came to an end, the English sent wagons and carts out to
bring in the rifles, but the Kaffirs refused to give them up until the
English had made good their agreement. The Kaffirs fairly drove out
the English, who then came to the Boers and asked them to join with
them and help them disarm the Kaffirs. The Boers refused to a man, and
told them since they had armed the blacks, they must now disarm them.
The Kaffirs took possession of the Boer farms which the English had
promised to give them, and would not let the Boers return.

At this time, I do not know how the affairs were settled, but I think
all Kaffir claims were paid for, but the rifles were not given up.

Now that the war is over and hundreds of men, women and children have
been murdered by these savages, Lord Kitchener, Lord Milner and Joe
Chamberlain are ready to admit that they armed thousands of Kaffirs and
used them against the Boers. They now admit it because they have to,
for if there was any possible way to lie out of it, it is certain they
would take advantage of it.

The English officers, English soldiers and Kaffirs all tell you now
that they were armed by the English, to fight the Boers, and the
savages do not hesitate to tell why they turned against the Boers. It
is hard for Joe Chamberlain, and Milner and Kitchener to lie out of it.
They can't do it, and they are too smart to try it.

For eighteen months we had the Kaffirs on one side and the English on
the other, and the narrow belt between was not more than twenty-five
to thirty-five miles wide, and here it was that we must live and fight
and try to protect ourselves. Sometimes we were fighting the English,
and sometimes the Kaffirs, and sometimes both at once. How we managed
to hold our own and escape what the English call sure death, I can not
explain, but I do know that nearly all escaped.

I have heard much about Geneva Conventions, Hague Conferences, and have
had to know something about International Law, and I am forced to come
to the conclusion that all these peace and humanity posters are only
intended for times of peace. Great men meet at Geneva; great men meet
at the Hague; great men meet to discuss questions of International
Law; all are lovers of peace, all love humanity, all are determined to
reduce the sufferings of mankind to a minimum in times of war, _but
lay at their feet the lifeless form of a child mutilated by an English
shell, or a savage armed with an English rifle, and all will throw up
their hands in horror, and cry out "what a pity! But the English are a
civilized people, and we must support them."_

When I hear learned and humane men discussing the sufferings of man,
Geneva Conventions, Hague Conferences and International Law, I feel
like crying out "Rot, rot, rot! and three times Rot, rot, rot!" because
that is all there is in the whole business. The savage fights to kill;
he asks no quarter, and he gives none in times of war; he has no Geneva
Conventions to conceal him while murdering the wounded; he has no
Hague Conferences, no International Law; but he is not a hypocrite,
because he proclaims just what he is, and will not appeal to long-faced
humanity to make screens to hide his acts.

I know the savages, because I have lived with them. I know the
civilized, because I have lived with him! and when it comes to decide
on questions of honor, humanity and justice, give me the savage every
time. The great savage nations are better governed, are infinitely
more moral, more humane and just, than any of the so-called civilized

The Great Indian tribes, before they were corrupted and polluted by the
presence of white men, were proud, high-spirited, well governed, happy
and contented, but now they are low, degenerate, immoral and miserable.
The great Kaffir nations of South Africa, the Zulus, the Basutos, and
the Swazies, probably the finest races of people in the world, are far
more free and independent, better governed, more moral and contented
than the people of the so-called civilized nations on the globe. Both
men and women are pictures of physical perfection; they are proud, but
not boastful; they are honorable and truthful to each other; immorality
with them is punished by death; and they live at peace with each other,
and with the world, so long as greedy, immoral white man does not

Now I will pass on to what is in the world known as "hands-uppers,"
that is, those burghers who for various reasons voluntarily went into
the English lines and surrendered their rifles. On the occupation of
Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria, thousands of this name really
thought the war was over, and acted accordingly. All Boer officers
totally condemn them, and declare there was no excuse for them. Here
I differ with the Boer officers, and say that they themselves were
entirely responsible for nearly every one who voluntarily surrendered
his rifle. Thousands upon thousands surrendered on the occupation of
Johannesburg and Pretoria, believing that the war was at an end. Under
Lord Robert's proclamation, setting forth that the war was practically
over, and assuring all burghers who came in and surrendered their
rifles, that neither they nor their property would be in any way
molested, thousands of others surrendered. Not a Boer officer in the
field opened his mouth and told the burghers anything. When they did
assemble the burghers, and talked to them, their theme was Christ and
His teachings, and that all must follow the narrow path, because the
broad one led to hell. Not in a single instance did any Boer officer
tell the burghers what their duty to their country was; not a word
about patriotism was ever mentioned, not a hint given that the war
would proceed more vigorously than ever after the fall and occupation
of Pretoria. No, the burghers were absolutely ignored, and while I
deplored the fact that so many thousands of them surrendered, yet I
felt that the Boer officers deserved infinitely more censure than the
burghers themselves.

For instance, General de la Rey, the noble and patriotic defender
of his Country, called upon the burghers in the Rustenburg district
to take up arms again and fight for their Country. All responded,
and General de la Rey had to send hundreds of miles for rifles and
ammunition with which to equip them. I, at least, do not censure this
class of "hands-uppers," but I do censure the Boer officers, all of
whom were guilty and strictly responsible for their conduct. Had there
been no surrenders, the Boers would have beaten the English.

In Ermelo, in 1901, I heard General Louis Botha make a speech to the
burghers. I did not like what he said, and thereupon did not agree with
him. He told them they could go and surrender if they pleased, but
if they did go, it would be without his permission. This was really
an inducement for them to go and surrender. Idleness always creates
discontent, and from this all the burghers were suffering. They could
see no reason why they should lie in laager and do nothing, and if that
was what General Botha wished them to do, why, they said, it is better
to go and surrender, and be through with the business.

I certainly blame General Botha for the surrender of hundreds of
men, and while I like him and know that he is a great fighter when
pushed to it, yet I must be honest and tell him the great mistake he
made, in not keeping the burghers in hand, and giving them plenty of
fighting, for they were always ready to fight when there was anything
to be accomplished. I used to wish to say to him: "General Botha,
you know what the Governor of North Carolina said to the Governor of
South Carolina, "It is a long time," not "between drinks," but between

The English columns had not then swarmed over the high veldt, and both
the Delagoa and Natal railway lines were easy to destroy, and many
trains could have been taken, yet he would not allow the burghers to
molest them. I did not understand him then, and I don't understand him
now. Captain Jack Hindon and that most reckless officer, Lieutenant
Hendrik Slegkamp, were destroying armored trains and freight trains,
near Balmoral, and they captured enough supplies and ammunition to
support the whole Boer army, yet the burghers were not there to help
themselves and make provision for the future.

Captain Hindon and Lieutenant Slegkamp had only about 100 men, yet
they were in every way successful. Captain Karl Trichardt, a son of
the patriotic Commandant Trichardt, of the State Artillery, joined
with Captain Hindon and Lieutenant Slegkamp _and together they took in
more than 100 trains in two months_. The burghers were most anxious to
have a hand in this business; but General Botha discouraged them, and
in every instance, when they requested him, they were refused. I do
not like to criticise General Botha, because he is a most excellent
fighter, but I feel that in telling him his weaknesses, he may, at some
time in the future, remember what I say, and benefit by it. I know that
he is loyal and true, but he must feel the prick of the spur in order
to develop the high speed that is really in him.

I say all this with the best intentions, General Botha, for you are a
young man, and in the future possibly your services will be needed. To
your tact, courage and generalship, add energy and foresight, and I
assure you that you will prove yourself a star of the first magnitude
in the eyes of the military world; but remember that you can not ignore
and allow to remain undestroyed the enemy's line of communications,
when all is in your own hands. Make your plans to win, but also prepare
for disaster, and your name will go down in history as a great general.
Of General de lay Rey and De Wet, I have but one criticism to make, and
that is they must tell their burghers less of religion and more of the
duties they owe to their Country.

The burghers know their bibles as well as the officers, can pray as
well and preach as well; then why should their officers keep trying to
drive more bible into the burghers? When the officers tell them that
God has ordained that all men shall be free, and that all burghers who
submit to live as slaves to an English Sovereign can never hope to
pass St. Peter and enter the gates of heaven, they have said enough
on the bible question. In contending with such an unscrupulous and
God-banished government as the British, they must remember that their
rifles and artillery must take first place. The Boers are by nature
intensely humane and religious, and command the respect and admiration
of all who know them, but they must remember that when at war with
the English, they are fighting a lot of savages, and that by way of
retaliation they must play the savage, too. The civilized christian
preaches of humane war, but has any one ever taken part in or witnessed
a humane war, or can any one mention a humane war since the world was
created? When two civilized nations go to war, each strains every
nerve to mow the other down, to cut his throat, to mutilate and kill
him,--by fair means or foul,--and when the battle is lost and won,
they commiserate and sympathize with them, and grieve to see so many
hundreds of their fellowmen writhing in agony on the battlefield. This
is what they call humane war in modern times. If the greedy, ambitious
and unscrupulous politicians who draw the people into war were forced
to shoulder the rifle and take position in the front line of battle,
then we would have a truly humane war, because they would then find a
way to settle all differences without resorting to force of arms.

Had the English law required Joe Chamberlain, Alfred Milner and
C.J. Rhodes, to go into the front line of battle as proof of their
earnestness and sincerity and of their love for their country, it is
certain that the pages of history would never have been stained by the
account of the bloody war in South Africa.

Now a few words on the Anglo-Boer, a class of men in my opinion far
more contemptible than such men as Roberts, Kitchener, Milner and
Chamberlain who had burned down the Boer homes and left the Boer women
to starve to death, because they did not make their men come in and
surrender. The Anglo-Boers deserted their people, took up arms with
the British and materially helped them to destroy their own people's
farms and make the women and children suffer death, if possible. These
Anglo-Boers were organized into a military force and christened by
Lord Kitchener as National Scouts. To show their great loyalty to the
British Crown they endeavored to prove themselves more cruel to the
Boer women and children than the English ever were, and they made
thousands of them suffer. The Boers were fortunate enough to capture
a few of them and they were promptly shot. All of them would have
been shot had they been captured. After the general surrender any one
of those National Scouts who dared to go back to his own farm would
promptly meet his just doom. The English would bury him and ask no
questions. Within the first two months after the surrender, twenty-two
of them were buried, and I learn that occasionally one or two of them
are buried now. They have to live under the protection of the British
troops to avoid being killed. It is hoped that in time the entire 3000
will have died unnatural deaths. In hundreds of instances their own
wives and children deserted them and would not allow them to come near
them. Many of them wanted to go to Somaliland and help the English
fight the Mad Mullah and his negroes, but the English Government felt
that they could not be trusted. They are now ignored and despised both
by the English and the Boers, and the most commendable act they could
do would be for each to cut his own throat and thus earn the thanks and
approval of present and coming generations.

The traitor is the most despicable of all the animal creation, and
of the National Scouts I say with Tom Moore "May the blood that
courses through their dastardly veins and recoils at the very sound of
Freedom's call, stagnate in chains!"

I will now sum up the reasons why the Boers lost their independence
and country, and then throw in a few scraps which are worth recording.
In the first place, the Boers lost because they made the fatal mistake
of laying siege to Ladysmith, Kimberly and Mafeking. Had they driven
ahead and take possession of the capitals of Natal and Cape Colony,
all three of these depots of supplies and ammunition would have fallen
into their hands without a shot being fired; and besides they would
have received at least 75,000 recruits from the Colonies. Mafeking
was absolutely of no importance to them. Of course, Baden-Powell was
there and thousands of dum-dum bullets, and three or four years' supply
of food, but all this in the beginning was not wanted. Baden-Powell
would never have ventured a day's march from his prairie-dog-holes
had there been Boers present, because he did not wish to take any
chances of being captured. In the second place, the Boers lost because
so many thousands of them surrendered voluntarily on the occupation
of Bloemfontein and Pretoria. The Boer generals I hold entirely
responsible for this. Had they met and talked to them and explained
Roberts' proclamations, they would have prevented at least 35,000 men
from surrendering.


Mike Halley, Sidney Blake, Jerry O'Leary, Dr. Worthington, Jack McGlew,
Dick Hunt, Jim French, John Langtry, Pete O'Hare, Joe Kennedy, George
Waldeck, Dave Norris, Colonel Blake, Lieutenant Malan, Joe Wade.]

In the third place even after the voluntary surrender of so many
thousands of men, had the three generals, Chris De Wet, de la Rey
and Louis Botha, concentrated their forces and carried the war into
Cape Colony, they would have won, because they would have received as
many thousand recruits as they had lost in men who had voluntarily
surrendered, and more, too. They could have taken complete possession
of the English lines of communication, and this would have forced
the English to abandon both the Free State and the Transvaal. But with
a hammer and a spike one could not drive into a Boer general's head the
real importance of his enemy's line of communication and the necessity
of its destruction.

In the fourth place, the Boers lost because the English Government in
Washington, D.C., allied itself with the English Government in London,
England, and allowed British officers to establish a military camp
at Chalmette, New Orleans, for recruiting horses, mules and men for
the British army in South Africa. This was a most damnable piece of
business. More than 200,000 horses and mules were sent, and I don't
know how many thousand men.

So anxious was the English Government in Washington, D.C., to supply
the British army in South Africa with horses and mules that to-day,
May, 1903, there is a deficiency of them in the United States and our
own cavalry regiments can not be mounted.

On reading all this in the newspapers, the Boers would come to me and
ask me to explain the conduct of the Government. I recalled to them the
fact that Mr. Hay, Secretary of State, had been ambassador for a month
or so in London, and that the English had so stuffed him with flattery
that he had forgotten that he was a republican and a citizen of a
republic, and that they must expect him to be English in his every act.

Strange to say, practically all American ambassadors to England return
to America as Englishmen. They cannot stand against English flattery.
Read the papers and you will see that at every private dinner or
reception of the King the American ambassador is the only foreign
representative honored with an invitation. He accepts, the King lets
him sit for five minutes in his own chair, allows him to recline on the
couch where Queen Victoria once took a nap after returning from her
drive in Hyde Park, and that settles him, he is denationalized. Kings,
queens, earls, lords and so forth, are trained flatterers, and there is
certainly much power in these titles, too, for let a dissolute, caddish
earl who thinks nothing of his mother, but is devoted to his mistress,
come to America, there are many rich girls who are ready at once to
vend their souls and bodies and give their fortunes for the title of
princess. All learn what there is in such a title when it is too late.
I lived in London fifteen months and I saw a great deal. The nobility
or upper set, and the lower class of Englishmen, are dissolute and
immoral to an extreme, while the middle class is perfection. In this
class one will find the moral, refined, upright, and honest Englishmen,
and no where in the world can be found a better class of men and women
than in this middle class. Unfortunately they are but few, as compared
to the whole, and being sandwiched in between the mighty upper and
lower classes, or immoral and dissolute classes, it is inevitable that
in the end they will be squeezed to death. And then it is that the
remains of a once glorious and proud old England will be laid away in
the same vault with those of Rome and Spain.

There is not an Englishman living that does not at heart despise
every American, yet he must look to the American for his food. All
talk of their cousins across the sea, for all now know that their
very existence as a nation depends upon the good will of America. I
have talked with many business men in London, and all, in speaking of
American merchants, say, "He is smart, but not a good business man."
They mean by this that all Americans are rascals, and so they believe.

In 1895 I was amused one morning when I read in one of the Cape Town
newspapers that "It was strange to see on Adelaide Street, this
morning, the American Consul in a sober condition." I was also amused
in London during the Spanish War to witness such men as Dewey, Schley
and Sampson hissed in the theatres on the very mention of their names.
One picture of the battle-ship _Maine_ leaving New York, was hissed by
the whole house. Another of its destruction was applauded, yet there
are thousands of Anglo-Americans to be seen walking the streets every
day. For more than a hundred years the British Government has labored
to disunite our Union or in some way to destroy our Republic, yet we
still have Anglo-Americans, and, be it said to our shame, an English
Government in Washington, D.C. Let a crown prince or some great lord
come to the United States, and then something is sure to happen. Such
personages come to flatter and arrange matters in Washington for a slap
at the United States. The Venezuelan disgrace was the outcome of Prince
Henry's visit. Lord Charles Beresford comes to tell us how much England
loves us and the Monroe Doctrine, and we are then ready to give up
our rights to Alaska. It is time for the American people to see to it
that no one but true Americans shall hold the highest offices in their
gift. Plain it is that we are drifting towards imperialism, that is,
corruption and crime. The records of our action towards the Philippines
and of the conduct of our army towards the Filipinos will mark the
darkest pages in our history and prove loathsome to posterity. The
Filipinos long to be free, and our motto seems to be to kill or enslave
them. It is unnecessary to give reasons, for the daily papers fairly
teem with accounts of barbarous and murderous acts on the part of
several army officers towards the people, black and white, of those far
away and sorely afflicted islands. Strange to say, our Secretary of War
brings down heavily the stamp of his approval on all these outrages
and endeavors to keep the people in the dark as far as it is within his
power. The very people who declared for liberty for all, and fought to
free the blacks of the Southern States, are now fighting to enslave
the blacks and whites of the far-away Phillipines. I admire nerve, but
despise hypocrisy.

Now I must say a word about the Irish and Irish-Americans on their
conduct in America during the South African War. There are many
millions of Irish in America and there is one organization, the
Clan-na-Gael, known as the Physical Force Element. For nearly half a
century this organization has been crying and preaching that "England's
difficulty was Ireland's opportunity." They have blown up a few barns
and woodsheds in the rear of some lord's residence, managed to get some
good patriotic Irishmen behind the bars of English prisons for life,
and tried to turn the course of the Gulf Stream in order to frighten
or freeze England. But when an English military camp was established
in New Orleans to recruit horses, mules and men, they did nothing but
prohibit every member of the society from doing anything towards its
destruction. Every man of the rank and file wanted to destroy that
camp, and stop the shipment of the horses, mules and men to the British
army in South Africa, and were ready to volunteer for the service. They
saw England's difficulty and wished to take advantage of it. But their
leaders said NO, and not one man was allowed to open his mouth or do

Lord Salisbury and Chamberlain must have known all about the stand
the leaders of the Clan-na-Gael had taken and the reasons for it, for
both said in Parliament, "there was nothing to fear from the Irish in
America." Clansmen should look out, for there is something wrong about
their leaders. Had the Irish destroyed that camp, it would have told
England, in unmistakable terms, that so long as there are Irish in
America, so long will it be impossible for her to recruit horses, mules
and men on our soil. England would then learn that it would be for her
best interests to allow the people of Ireland to govern themselves.

Irish enmity will live in all its bitterness till the people are free,
and England will find this out when it is too late. She is now going to
give them a land bill by which the tenants can, to a certain extent,
buy the land of which they were forcibly robbed in years gone by; and
I confess this will prove a great boon to them. I believe, however,
that the concession is intended as a bribe, for England is frightened
because the Irish have at last come to their senses and cease to enlist
in the army. Without the Irish, the British army would be helpless in
a war with any country, for they are its very backbone and sinew of
strength. The Scotch will think twice about enlisting, too, when they
learn the Irish have cleared out, for they know that when it comes to a
fight the Englishmen are not there, and if there are no Irish to call
upon, why they, the Scotchmen, would have to stand the whole brunt. By
the concession which England now makes, she hopes the Irish will feel
grateful, to the extent of enlisting again in the army; but I hope they
will have sense enough to do no such thing, as England grants nothing
except when forced to it.


Now my narrative is virtually at an end, but to be in fashion I must
say another word to be called the "Conclusion."

Queen Victoria had a peaceful reign of some sixty-three years. Of this
long period, only thirty-seven years were devoted to war against her
own people in her own possessions. It was against the blacks, her own
subjects, that her huge armies were principally employed. Her armies
could easily account for 5,000 dead blacks annually, so that during the
thirty-seven years of her long and peaceful reign of sixty-three years,
there could be recorded in the annals of English History the names of
some 185,000 of her black subjects who, innocent, helpless and unarmed,
were deliberately shot down because they were native and rightful
owners of lands that might be rich in gold and other precious minerals.

The venerable Queen died in the year 1901 during her war in South
Africa against an innocent, humane and Christian people who happened
to have the richest gold fields known. She was succeeded by her son
who followed in her footsteps till the Boers finally consented to
surrender in order to save all that remained of their women and
children and therefore their race from extinction.

At last, England longs for peace. She has all the gold fields with the
exception of those in Alaska and she knows that by sending a titled
person to the English Government in Washington, D.C., she can get all
the gold she wishes in that land by the mere asking.

She is through with war and such is her condition financially that if
any Power offers her an insult she must swallow it. The South African
war absorbed all her money and to-day she acknowledges the huge debt of
$4,000,000,000. To pay the interest on that debt alone her population
of 40,000,000 people must be taxed at the rate of three dollars per
head annually for every man, woman and child. Even bread, the sole
food of her thousands of starving poor, must be taxed in order that
she may meet the interest of her heavy debt. She prays for peace not
only because she is pressed to earth by the weight of her debt but also
because the South African War demonstrated the extreme weakness of her

The Mad Mullah in line with the Boers, has also developed the fighting
incapacity of her army. I wonder why they call him "Mad?" Is it because
he has wiped out some English commands? It may be so, because General
Cronje was called the "Butcher" when he wiped out some English commands.

The English army having shown itself so pitifully weak in the presence
of an armed though far inferior enemy, in numbers, the question arises,
"Is her navy as weak as her army?" I don't know, but should her navy
by accident run against either the American or French navy, I have an
idea that it would follow the same course and meet the same fate as the
Spanish navy during the American-Spanish War.

That the English navy is huge in its number on paper I do not doubt,
but that there is any effective strength in its numbers, I seriously
doubt, because so many of her principal ships are armed with old
smooth-bore, muzzle-loading guns, so many of the boilers are burnt out
and so many of the old hulks are rotten with age.

At any rate England is praying for continued peace and will not go to
war unless actually driven to it. For 700 years she has tried to crush
out the very life of the Irish people by thrusting them in prison, by
starvation and by actually murdering them, yet, in the end she found
them invincible and not to be destroyed. Now her King and Queen go to
Ireland and fairly kiss the Irish people's feet and tell them what
a good, noble people they are and how dearly they love them. To be
sincere, they should have added, "Now won't you enlist in for army, for
we can't possibly fight without your help?"

The English, of all people, are the least sincere officially and know
best the value of flattery. It is for this reason, I think, that
the British Empire has so long held together, but now the people of
the Colonies are beginning to reflect, to think and reason, and the
connecting links are growing weaker and weaker every day and some of
them may, at any moment, snap.

As soon as peace was made in South Africa, the English with long faces
and pleading tones, appealed to the Boers to forgive and forget, as
there were no longer any reasons why they should live on unfriendly
terms. Having robbed the Boers of their gold fields, destroyed more
than 22,000 of their women and children, all their homes and property,
and then endeavored to starve to death the whole population, she humbly
begs them to forgive and forget. Yes, the Boers are sure to forgive and
forget, but when?

The Eighty Years' War showed that the Dutch were the most determined
fighters and the greatest lovers of liberty the world had ever known.
Shortly after the conclusion of this war many of them went to South
Africa and settled in Cape Colony. It was fight, fight and fight all
the time for years, but, though they lost many of their women and
children, yet they were determined and held their ground. Near the
close of the 17th century many of the Huguenots driven from France also
sought refuge in Cape Colony. The Boers of to-day are the descendants
of those two races of people. This explains why they are such a
determined race and such great lovers of liberty. The Dutch and French
Huguenots, both being intensely religious, united, fought side by side
during those fearful times and in the end became so intermixed that
to-day there is not one individual Dutch or Huguenot family among the

After years of fighting the natives, wild beasts and starvation,
they succeeded in establishing themselves in comfortable homes and
converting a wilderness into a habitable, productive country.

Now the time was ripe for England to act and she fell upon them with
her army and navy and deprived them of all their rights and liberties.
They withstood English domineering for a few years, when many of them,
driven to it, openly rebelled. The terrible murder scene at Slagter's
Nek was the result. Here five men were hung in the presence of hundreds
of men, women and children who had been driven to the scene at the
point of English bayonets. When the five patriots were dropped, the
scaffold broke and down all came, some half dead from choking, and all
writhing in agony. The scaffold was partially repaired and all drawn
up, so that they could die as horrible a death as possible. The Boers
have never forgotten that awful day and that heartrending scene, and
they never will.

During the recent war men, women and children were again forced to
witness many such revolting scenes, and yet the English beg them to
forgive and forget.

Back in the thirties, the English became so oppressive that life to
the Boers was unendurable, so thousands of them banded together, left
their dear old homes and all their property and started on the "Great
Trek" to the unsettled country of Natal. Here again they had to contend
with the savages, wild beasts and starvation. Hundreds of them were
murdered, yet, in the end, they again established themselves in homes
and made the wilderness bloom. No sooner were they comfortable, happy
and in a flourishing condition than the English fell upon them again
and drove them from the land. They now crossed the mountains and sought
homes in the great deserts now known as the Transvaal and Free State.
At last the English said they would no longer hound them and would
allow them to live or die in the desert.

Again the Boers had to contend with the savages, wild beasts and
starvation. Here they suffered terribly, hundreds of them died and
hundreds of women and children were murdered by the savages. Yet they
persevered and converted the desert into two of the richest and most
flourishing little republics in the world. All this is as fresh as ever
in the Boer memory, yet, after the late South African War, the English
beg the Boers to forgive and forget.

Unfortunately for the Free State, as soon as she began to really
flourish, the great diamond fields at Kimberly were discovered. Now
England falls upon her, kills a lot of her people and, in the end,
robs her of her diamond fields and establishes a little despotism in
Kimberly. The diamond fields were alone cut off and annexed to Cape
Colony, for there was nothing else in the Free State worth having as
far as the English knew.

It is at Kimberly that the great "Compound System" was established and
is still running in all its glory. Rhodes, Beit, Phillips and Barnato
were the prime movers.

A large compound was built around the mines and all the employees
locked within it. No employee can buy anything except from the Company
and within that compound. On leaving the compound, the employees have
to go through an ordeal that is simply beastly, because the Company
fears that some of them may have swallowed a diamond. It requires a
week to pass the last door and every one must swallow such purging
drugs as the Company may command. The Compound is simply a little hell
established by the civilized English.

They made a law in the Colony by which any one caught with a rough
diamond in his possession is sent to penal servitude for a term of
years, the period ranging from five to seven years. This law was
especially enacted for the Diamond Company, now known as De Beers

Any one in Kimberly who might say anything about the Compound System
would incur the displeasure of the Diamond Company. That means that one
of the Company's detectives would watch his chance and drop a rough
diamond in the offender's pocket. In another five minutes the detective
would arrest the offender and charge him with having a rough diamond
in his possession. The offender would plead innocence, but the search
brings out the diamond, the offender is hauled before the Company's
judge and sentenced to five or seven years' penal servitude. I
remember, in one instance, where the judge held a rough diamond in his
hand and remarked to those in the court room that that one diamond had
sent eleven men to penal servitude. Sure it is that under an English
administration, there is no doubt that justice will be given.

This frightful state of affairs exists because Rhodes, Barnato, Beit,
Philips, etc. must be pleased. Rhodes and Bernato are now dead, the
one having been fatally shot by John Barleycorn, and the other having
jumped overboard at sea that it might be recorded of him that he had at
least done one good thing.

Having sliced off the diamond fields and annexed them to Cape Colony,
the English now allowed the Free Staters to live in peace. The people
of the Transvaal had long since established their Government, but
they were struggling hard to keep starvation from the door. There was
no money in the treasury, the people had no money and every official
gave his time and services free. There was no complaint, however, for
all could be happy in their religion even if they had no money and
starvation was staring them in the face.

While still struggling to live, a great misfortune fell upon them
in the year 1887 by the discovery of the great Rand gold fields at
Johannesburg. People from all parts of the world poured into the
country and the Boers suddenly jumped from poverty into affluence.
These fields became world known, all was flourishing in the Transvaal,
and Boers and foreigners alike were all happy and prosperous. England,
through the subsidized press soon manufactured an excuse to make war
upon the Boers and rob them of their gold fields.

With the material assistance rendered by the English Government in
Washington, D.C., she managed to succeed in her highway robbery and at
the same time deprive two little republics of their independence.

Judging by what I read and hear, I am led to believe that President
Roosevelt claims to be of Irish and Dutch extraction, but judging him
by his conduct and the English proclivities of some of those who are
his chief advisers, I should say that real English blood predominates
over all others he may claim. Whatever the composition of his blood may
be, certain it is that he helped England destroy two little republics
in South Africa. The American people will wake up by and by and see
to it that none but true Americans will hold office under the United
States Government.

Having driven the Boers from pillar to post, hounded them, preyed upon
them and robbed and murdered them for 250 years, and then deprived them
of their liberty and independence, England now expects them to forgive
and forget because there is no longer any reason for ill-feelings.

Will the Boers ever forget the sufferings and torture heaped upon their
forefathers in Cape Colony? Will they ever forget what their fathers
and mothers had to endure in Natal? Will they ever forget what they
themselves have had to suffer in the Transvaal and Free State? Will
they ever forget the 3,723 patriots who were killed or died of wounds
during the late South African War? Will they ever forget the 22,000
women and children who were murdered in the English prison camps? Will
they ever forget the many martyrs who were tied hand and foot, and
deliberately shot in cold blood?

Go to the lone tent standing by the charred walls of the destroyed home
and with the children listen to what is taught them by the mother, and
you will hear the answer.

Such noble women as that grand matron, Mrs. Joubert, widow of the late
Commandant-General Piet Joubert, would redeem any land or people. She
is one of thousands of Africander mothers whose sons may forgive much,
because they are Christians but will forget nothing because they are
men. They will not have any of the amiable sentimentality of the Irish
whose soft hearts and heads prompt them too often to let bygones be
bygones. Nor will they have any of the vulgar admiration of success
which makes the American parvenu cringe to the Englishman of rank or
station, until the Yankee to-day is more despised in Great Britain than
his independent father was ever hated there--which is saying a good

The bible-loving Africanders may enjoy the following poem, with its
Hebraic language of fierce denunciation. It is by an Irish-American
without any Anglo "virus" in his system, James Jeffrey Roche, editor of
the _Pilot_.

With it I conclude this story trusting and believing that it is
anything but the concluding chapter to the Boer fight for freedom, the
bravest and noblest ever fought since God taught men to love liberty.

 Her robes are of purple and scarlet,
   And the kings have bent their knees
 To the gemmed and jewelled harlot
   Who sitteth on many seas.

 They have drunk the abominations
   Of her golden cup of shame;
 She has drugged and debauched the nations
   With the mystery of her name.

 Her merchants have gathered riches
   By the power of her wantonness,
 And her usurers are as leeches
   On the World's supreme distress.

 She has scoured the seas as a spoiler;
   Her mart is a robber's den,
 With the wrested toll of the toiler,
   And the mortgaged souls of men.

 Her crimson flag is flying,
   Where the East and the West are one;
 Her drums while the day is dying
   Salute the rising sun.

 She has scourged the weak and the lowly
   And the just with an iron rod;
 She is drunk with the blood of the holy,--
   She shall drink of the wrath of God!

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A West Pointer with the Boers" ***