Scouts To The North Of Kroonstad Reported Horsemen Riding South And
East, Sometimes Alone, Sometimes In Small Parties.
recruits going to swell the forces of De Wet.
On January 23rd five
hundred men crossed the line, journeying in the same direction.
Before the end of the month, having gathered together about 2500
men with fresh horses at the Doornberg, twenty miles north of
Winburg, the Boer leader was ready for one of his lightning treks
once more. On January 28th he broke south through the British net,
which appears to have had more meshes than cord. Passing the
Bloemfontein-Ladybrand line at Israel Poort he swept southwards,
with British columns still wearily trailing behind him, like honest
bulldogs panting after a greyhound.
Before following him upon this new venture it is necessary to say a
few words about that peace movement in the Boer States to which
some allusion has already been made. On December 20th Lord
Kitchener had issued a proclamation which was intended to have the
effect of affording protection to those burghers who desired to
cease fighting, but who were unable to do so without incurring the
enmity of their irreconcilable brethren. 'It is hereby notified,'
said the document, 'to all burghers that if after this date they
voluntarily surrender they will be allowed to live with their
families in Government laagers until such time as the guerilla
warfare now being carried on will admit of their returning safely
to their homes. All stock and property brought in at the time of
the surrender of such burghers will be respected and paid for if
requisitioned.' This wise and liberal offer was sedulously
concealed from their men by the leaders of the fighting commandos,
but was largely taken advantage of by those Boers to whom it was
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