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And here the dark chapter of this war closes. The British had to learn that soldiers of the line, who were once most useful, are not invincible under more modern conditions. Foot soldiers are almost useless against a mounted army like the Boers unless aided by strong bodies of cavalry and mounted infantry for flanking purposes. The British had also to learn that Aldershot methods are out of date and that the wearing of a handsome sword and a glittering uniform is not the only attribute of a clever officer. They had to learn that when an officer departs from Aldershot to fight battles he must leave his sword and again press his wits into service. He must learn to meet tactics with tactics, subterfuge with subterfuge, wile with wile, and that eternal vigilance is the price of victory. It required three and a

half months of constant reverse to teach the British these things, but in the name of our brave colonials we may thank heaven that the Aldershot men finally learned the lesson. WhenLord Roberts arrived at the Modder River on February 10th he inaugurated the new era of common-sense fighting. Behind him stood the iron-nerved hero of Omdurman who had never rested his hopes on anything but common



When Lord Roberts organized that famous three weeks' work, which included the relief of Kimberley, the capture of Cronje's 4,000 soldiers at Paardeburg, and the entry into Bloemfontein on March 15th, he had under him in South Africa somewhere about 230,000 men and 500 guns. Great Britain had sent against the Boer the mightiest army that had ever gone forth to fight under the Union Jack-an army worthy of the shrewd foes against whom it was sent. Fully 250,000 men were enrolled, and allowing for the killed, captured, wounded and disabled, Roberts had nearly 230,000 for his immediate purposes. About 130,000 of these were absent from his side-some with Buller in Natal, some with Gatacre in central Cape Colony, and

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must ever rank with his famous march to Kandahar. On that cruel ride, no less than 10,000 horses were done to death, and many a regiment of infantry went into Bloemfontein at not more than one half its strength. But what matter? Methuen had been defeated in the west at Maagersfontein, Gatacre had been repulsed in the centre and Buller had been fought to a standstill at Colenso. British military reputation was at stake. The world was weighing the Empire in the balance. "Little Bobs" threw his mighty weight on the British side of the balance and Cronje and Bloemfontein captured taught the world that the Briton can still fight, that the lion and his whelps are still invincible. What matter if it cost us innumerable horses and men? We had gone so far that we dare not turn back. We were forced to fight, so we fought; and-we won. Not only did Roberts win his way to Bloemfontein, but he forced the Federals to withdraw part of their forces from Natal so that the persistent Buller was able to force his way to the relief of Ladysmith.


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At Mr. Steyn's abandoned capital city Lord Roberts halted. He needed thousands of fresh horses and thousands of tons of ammunition and supplies before he attempted the march to Pretoria. His men required a period of

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rest after so wonderful an effort. Preparations for a move northward must be full and ample. These preparations were necessarily slow since Lord Roberts was 450 miles from Port Elizabeth, and 750 miles from Cape Town.

While Lord Roberts waited, the Boers showed fairly good strategy. This was unusual, too, for while their tactics on the battlefield had been excellent, their strategy had been lamentably weak. They had let Yule lead his troops back to safety; they had refrained from invading Cape Colony until it was too late and they had held Methuen in check when they might have bottled him up in Kimberley with Kekewich. Their new strategy led them to occupy the difficult hill-country to the east and south of Bloemfontein instead of concentrating at Kroonstadt to the north. Thus they held Roberts in fear of his long line of communications, kept some heart in the Free Staters and the disaffected Cape Colonists. Here was unexpected wisdom.

On March 30th, the 7th Division, under General Tucker, with some cavalry and guns, met 3,000 Boers at Karee, just north of Bloemfontein. The Boers were strongly entrenched in a

line of wooded hills, but they were outflanked and forced to retire with considerable loss.

Away to the south-east General Olivier was retiring from Colesburg with 4,000 men, eighteen guns and 800 waggons. He was in danger of being cut off by the advance of the British from Bloemfontein towards the Basutoland border. General French was sent east to intercept him, but the mighty commander of cavalry had only exhausted horses and he failed. Olivier reached Ladybrand and was joined by Grobler and Lemmer and the whole force passed under the command of General de Wet. That general is still in command of that force and that is over three months ago.

On the night of March 31st a British force under Colonel Broadwood encamped at the Bloemfontein waterworks, twenty-five miles east of the captured city. Two miles away was a deep gully known as Koorn Spruit. In the depth of the night, a daring Boer commander led a force past the British and took possession of the gully which lay in Broadwood's line of march. How the Boers knew this is a question to be settled in the future. In the morning the British moved carelessly into that gully. The mules and horses were shot down. Seven guns, eighty waggons and all the baggage fell into the hand of the Boers. The British lost 450 in killed, wounded and missing. The greater part of the force extricated itself, but Koorn Spruit was a disaster. One squadron of the 6th Dragoons fought so bravely that out of 140 who went into the fight only ten answered their names at roll call.

On April 4th General Gatacre made his last mistake, and he is now recruiting his health in England. Six hundred men of the Irish Rifles and the 9th Mounted Infantry were at Reddersberg, thirty-five miles from Roberts' headquarters. They had no artillery They had no artillery -fatal error-and when they were attacked by General de Wet and 5,000 Boers they surrendered after twentyone hours' hard fighting. Redders

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However, Lord Roberts had not waited in vain. All difficulties in the way of accumulating supplies and training fresh horses were surmounted, and he was ready to strike another blow. Dalgety was still besieged at Weppener, and the Boers were still in force in the southeast of the Orange Free State. It was necessary to clear that district. Rundle was sent by way of Reddersberg, Brabant came north from Rouxville, French and Ian Hamilton moved towards Ladybrand. The Boers were menaced by three converging columns, some 25,000 in strength. On April 25th Brabant cleared the Boers from before Weppener, Hamilton chased a commando at Israel's Poort, while French kept Botha and de Wet moving. Then there was a race for Ladybrand, and the swift Boer army won. But the southern part of the Free State was cleared and Roberts was ready to go north.

Then there was a two weeks' march another memorable feat-and Roberts had covered 120 miles from Bloemfontein and entered Kroonstadt. With Hutton's Colonial Brigade and French's cavalry he doubled up every Boer position and caused the allies to retreat hastily day after day. Having once put the pressure on at the Vet River, he never relaxed until he reached Kroonstadt on May 12th. He was at

Brandfort on May 3rd, crossed the Vet next day, seized Winberg the next, Smaldeel the next; on the roth he crossed the Zand River, and two days later he was at his destination. President Steyn retreated to Heilbron, and in a few days the Orange Free State became the Orange River Colony.

Lord Roberts had solved the problem of how to beat the Boers. Perhaps Kitchener taught him part of it on that long sea voyage from Gibraltar to Capetown with every day spent in perfecting plans. But that is not likely. Bobs found it out himself, and if he lives long enough he will tell us how. This is the method: make no frontal attack, but go round the other way. That requires mounted men, and Roberts supplied himself with them in abundance.

At the head of the mounted men were two great fighters, Hutton and French. Of the latter a writer says well and truly:

"And in every move General French has served splendidly as the eye of the army, and the long right arm sent ahead to feel the way and strike swift blows. He led the relief of Kimberley; he headed Cronje's men off like a herd of stampeding cattle at Paardeberg, and made his capture possible; he commanded at Dreifontein, and was first into Bloemfontein. He won Elandslaagte with his guns and cavalry, and out-Boered the Boers with his mounted infantry at Colesberg. He is the smartest cavalry leader of the day, as cavalry is now mostly used-not for charging purposes, but as the more swiftly-marching part of an army. He has been to Roberts what Stonewall Jackson was to Lee, or Skobeloff to the Russian army in 1877-78."

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faces, every sort of face except a weak one. Here and there a man smoking a pipe, here and there a man who smiled; but most have swarthy faces and lean a little forward with eyes steadfast and features impassive but resolute.

"Here is a clump of Highlanders with workmanlike aprons in front and keen faces burnt black with months on the veldt; and the honoured name they bear is on their shoulder-straps.

"Good old Gordons,' I cried, as they passed me. A sergeant glanced at dirty enthusiasm in an undershirt. What cheer, matey?' he cried, and the men squared their shoulders and put a touch of ginger into the stride.

"Here is a clump of Mounted Infantry, a grizzled fellow like a fierce old eagle at the head of them. Some are maned like lions, some have young, keen faces, but all leave an impression of familiarity upon me; yet I have not seen Irregular British Cavalry before.

"Why should it be so familiar to me, this loose-limbed, head-erect, swaggering type? Of course! I have seen it in an American cowboy over and over again. Strange that a few months on the veldt should have produced exactly the same man as springs from the Western prairie !

"But these men are warriors amid war. Their eyes are hard and quick. They have a gaunt, intent look, like men who live always under a show of danger.

"Here and there are other men again, taller and steadier than the infantry line, grim, solid men, straight as poplars. There is a maple-leaf, I think, upon their shoulderstraps, and the British Brigade are glad enough to have those maple leaves beside them, for the Canadians are the men of Paardeberg.

"And there, behind their comrades in glory, come the Shropshire Light Infantry, slinging along with much spirit after their grand sporting colonel."


Lord Roberts did not rest long at Kroonstadt. During the few days he was there, other things happened. When the Chief rode into Kroonstadt, Buller rode out of Ladysmith and began the advance for which he had been preparing. Three days later he was at Dundee, and in three days more Newcastle. Next day his advance guard saw the Boers disappear from Natal. Of course, he had fighting to do in the mountains, but he did it well -much better than when he was fighting a confident enemy at the Tugela. That was in the east. To the west of the main line of advance Methuen pressed forward from Boshof to the Vaal River via Christiana and Hoopstad. General Hunter left Four

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