The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












 -  White's problem was to hold tight to the town and at the same
time to strike hard at any northern - Page 120
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White's Problem Was To Hold Tight To The Town And At The Same Time To Strike Hard At Any Northern Force So As To Prevent Them From Interfering With Yule's Retreat.

It was in the furtherance of this scheme that he fought upon October 24th the action of Rietfontein, an engagement slight in itself, but important on account of the clear road which was secured for the weary forces retiring from Dundee.

The army from the Free State, of which the commando vanquished at Elandslaagte was the vanguard, had been slowly and steadily debouching from the passes, and working south and eastwards to cut the line between Dundee and Ladysmith. It was White's intention to prevent them from crossing the Newcastle Road, and for this purpose he sallied out of Ladysmith on Tuesday the 24th, having with him two regiments of cavalry, the 5th Lancers and the 19th Hussars, the 42nd and 53rd field batteries with the 10th mountain battery, four infantry regiments, the Devons, Liverpools, Gloucesters, and 2nd King's Royal Rifles, the Imperial Light Horse, and the Natal Volunteers - some four thousand men in all.

The enemy were found to be in possession of a line of hills within seven miles of Ladysmith, the most conspicuous of which is called Tinta Inyoni. It was no part of General White's plan to attempt to drive him from this position - it is not wise generalship to fight always upon ground of the enemy's choosing - but it was important to hold him where he was, and to engage his attention during this last day of the march of the retreating column.

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