He Had Not
That Great Preponderance Of Numbers Which Came To Him Later, And
Which Enabled Him To Attempt A Wide Turning Movement.
he had, the possession of a more powerful artillery, but his
heaviest guns were naturally his least mobile, and the more direct
his advance the more effective would his guns be.
For these or
other reasons he determined upon a frontal attack on the formidable
Boer position, and he moved out of Chieveley Camp for that purpose
at daybreak on Friday, December 15th.
The force which General Buller led into action was the finest which
any British general had handled since the battle of the Alma. Of
infantry he had four strong brigades: the 2nd (Hildyard's)
consisting of the 2nd Devons, the 2nd Queen's or West Surrey, the
2nd West Yorkshire, and the 2nd East Surrey; the 4th Brigade
(Lyttelton's) comprising the 2nd Cameronians, the 3rd Rifles, the
1st Durhams, and the 1st Rifle Brigade; the 5th Brigade (Hart's)
with the 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers, the 1st Connaught Rangers, 2nd
Dublin Fusiliers, and the Border Regiment, this last taking the
place of the 2nd Irish Rifles, who were with Gatacre. There
remained the 6th Brigade (Barton's), which included the 2nd Royal
Fusiliers, the 2nd Scots Fusiliers, the 1st Welsh Fusiliers, and
the 2nd Irish Fusiliers - in all about 16,000 infantry. The mounted
men, who were commanded by Lord Dundonald, included the 13th
Hussars, the 1st Royals, Bethune's Mounted Infantry, Thorneycroft's
Mounted Infantry, three squadrons of South African Horse, with a
composite regiment formed from the mounted infantry of the Rifles
and of the Dublin Fusiliers with squadrons of the Natal Carabineers
and the Imperial Light Horse.
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