'I tried Colenso yesterday, but failed; the enemy is too strong for
my force except with siege operations, and these will take one full
month to prepare. Can you last so long?
'How many days can you hold out? I suggest you firing away as much
ammunition as you can, and making best terms you can. I can remain
here if you have alternative suggestion, but unaided I cannot break
in. I find my infantry cannot fight more than ten miles from camp,
and then only if water can be got, and it is scarce here. Whatever
happens, recollect to burn your cipher, decipher, and code books,
and all deciphered messages.'
From Sir G. White to Sir R. Buller. December 16th, 1899.
'Yours of today received and understood. My suggestion is that you
take up strongest available position that will enable you to keep
touch of the enemy and harass him constantly with artillery fire,
and in other ways as much as possible. I can make food last for
much longer than a month, and will not think of making terms till I
am forced to. You may have hit enemy harder than you think. All our
native spies report that your artillery fire made considerable
impression on enemy. Have your losses been very heavy? If you lose
touch of enemy, it will immensely increase his opportunities of
crushing me, and have worst effect elsewhere.