They Could Not Break Away, For How Can Men On Foot
Break Away From Horsemen?
Hence those repeated humiliations, which
did little or nothing to impede the course of the war, and which
were really to be accepted as one of the inevitable prices which we
had to pay for the conditions under which the war was fought.
Numbers, discipline, and resources were with us.
distances, nature of the country, insecurity of supplies, were with
them. We need not take it to heart therefore if it happened, with
all these forces acting against them, that our soldiers found
themselves sometimes in a position whence neither wisdom nor valour
could rescue them. To travel through that country, fashioned above
all others for defensive warfare, with trench and fort of
superhuman size and strength, barring every path, one marvels how
it was that such incidents were not more frequent and more serious.
It is deplorable that the white flag should ever have waved over a
company of British troops, but the man who is censorious upon the
subject has never travelled in South Africa.
In the disaster at Reddersberg three of the companies were of the
Irish Rifles, and two of the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers - the same
unfortunate regiments which had already been cut up at Stormberg.
They had been detached from Gatacre's 3rd Division, the
headquarters of which was at Springfontein. On the abandonment of
Thabanchu and the disaster of Sanna's Post, it was obvious that we
should draw in our detached parties to the east; so the five
companies were ordered to leave Dewetsdorp, which they were
garrisoning, and to get back to the railway line.
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