The Operation Was A Very Thorough One, For The
Towns And Districts Occupied Were Denuded Of Their Inhabitants, Who
Were Sent Into The Refugee Camps While The Country Was Laid Waste
To Prevent Its Furnishing The Commandos With Supplies In The
Still moving south-east, General French's columns made
their way to Piet Retief upon the Swazi frontier, pushing a
disorganised array which he computed at 5000 in front of them.
party of the enemy, including the Carolina commando, had broken
back in the middle of February and Louis Botha had got away at the
same time, but so successful were his main operations that French
was able to report his total results at the end of the month as
being 292 Boers killed or wounded, 500 surrendered, 3 guns and one
maxim taken, with 600 rifles, 4000 horses, 4500 trek oxen, 1300
wagons and carts, 24,000 cattle, and 165,000 sheep. The whole vast
expanse of the eastern veld was dotted with the broken and charred
wagons of the enemy.
Tremendous rains were falling and the country was one huge
quagmire, which crippled although it did not entirely prevent the
further operations. All the columns continued to report captures.
On March 3rd Dartnell got a maxim and 50 prisoners, while French
reported 50 more, and Smith-Dorrien 80. On March 6th French
captured two more guns, and on the 14th he reported 46 more Boer
casualties and 146 surrenders, with 500 more wagons, and another
great haul of sheep and oxen.
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