A Glance At The Map
Will Show That A Force Moving From This Point In Conjunction With
Another From Lydenburg Might Form The Two Crooked Claws Of A Crab
To Enclose A Great Space Of Country, In Which Smaller Columns Might
Collect Whatever Was To Be Found.
Without an instant of unnecessary
delay the dispositions were made, and no fewer than eight columns
slipped upon the chase.
It will be best to continue to follow the
movements of Plumer's force, and then to give some account of the
little armies which were operating from the south, with the results
of their enterprise.
It was known that Viljoen and a number of Boers were within the
district which lies north of the line in the Middelburg district.
An impenetrable bush-veld had offered them a shelter from which
they made their constant sallies to wreck a train or to attack a
post. This area was now to be systematically cleared up. The first
thing was to stop the northern line of retreat. The Oliphant River
forms a loop in that direction, and as it is a considerable stream,
it would, if securely held, prevent any escape upon that side. With
this object Plumer, on April 14th, the sixth day after his
occupation of Pietersburg, struck east from that town and trekked
over the veld, through the formidable Chunies Pass, and so to the
north bank of the Oliphant, picking up thirty or forty Boer
prisoners upon the way. His route lay through a fertile country
dotted with native kraals.
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