Every Day General French Rode Out And Made A Close
Personal Examination Of The Enemy's Position, While His Scouts And
Outposts Were Instructed To Maintain The Closest Possible Touch.
On December 30th the enemy abandoned Rensburg, which had been their
advanced post, and concentrated at Colesberg, upon which French
moved his force up and seized Rensburg.
The very next day, December
31st, he began a vigorous and long-continued series of operations.
At five o'clock on Sunday evening he moved out of Rensburg camp,
with R and half of O batteries R.H.A., the 10th Hussars, the
Inniskillings, and the Berkshires, to take up a position on the
west of Colesberg. At the same time Colonel Porter, with the
half-battery of O, his own regiment (the Carabineers), and the New
Zealand Mounted Rifles, left camp at two on the Monday morning and
took a position on the enemy's left flank. The Berkshires under
Major McCracken seized the hill, driving a Boer picket off it, and
the Horse enfiladed the enemy's right flank, and after a risky
artillery duel succeeded in silencing his guns. Next morning,
however (January 2nd, 1900), it was found that the Boers, strongly
reinforced, were back near their old positions, and French had to
be content to hold them and to wait for more troops.
These were not long in coming, for the Suffolk Regiment had
arrived, followed by the Composite Regiment (chosen from the
Household Cavalry) and the 4th Battery R.F.A. The Boers, however,
had also been reinforced, and showed great energy in their effort
to break the cordon which was being drawn round them.
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