The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












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On March 5th General Gatacre found that the Boers were retreating
in front of him - in response, no doubt, to - Page 410
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On March 5th General Gatacre Found That The Boers Were Retreating In Front Of Him - In Response, No Doubt, To Messages Similar To Those Which Had Already Been Received At Colesberg.

Moving forward he occupied the position which had confronted him so long.

Thence, having spent some days in drawing in his scattered detachments and in mending the railway, he pushed forward on March 12th to Burghersdorp, and thence on the 13th to Olive Siding, to the south of the Bethulie Bridge.

There are two bridges which span the broad muddy Orange River, thick with the washings of the Basutoland mountains. One of these is the magnificent high railway bridge, already blown to ruins by the retreating Boers. Dead men or shattered horses do not give a more vivid impression of the unrelenting brutality of war than the sight of a structure, so graceful and so essential, blown into a huge heap of twisted girders and broken piers. Half a mile to the west is the road bridge, broad and old-fashioned. The only hope of preserving some mode of crossing the difficult river lay in the chance that the troops might anticipate the Boers who were about to destroy this bridge.

In this they were singularly favoured by fortune. On the arrival of a small party of scouts and of the Cape Police under Major Nolan-Neylan at the end of the bridge it was found that all was ready to blow it up, the mine sunk, the detonator fixed, and the wire laid.

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