The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












 -  Working over
the blackened veld he swung round in the Barberton direction, and
afterwards made a westerly drive in conjunction - Page 710
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Working Over The Blackened Veld He Swung Round In The Barberton Direction, And Afterwards Made A Westerly Drive In Conjunction With Small Columns Commanded By Walter Kitchener, Douglas, And Campbell Of The Rifles, While Colville, Garnett, And Bullock Co-Operated From The Natal Line.

Again the results were disappointing when compared with the power of the instrument employed.

On July 5th he reached Springs, near Johannesburg, with a considerable amount of stock, but with no great number of prisoners. The elusive Botha had slipped away to the south and was reported upon the Zululand border, while Viljoen had succeeded in crossing the Delagoa line and winning back to his old lair in the district north of Middelburg, from which he had been evicted in April. The commandos were like those pertinacious flies which buzz upwards when a hand approaches them, but only to settle again in the same place. One could but try to make the place less attractive than before.

Before Viljoen's force made its way over the line it had its revenge for the long harrying it had undergone by a well-managed night attack, in which it surprised and defeated a portion of Colonel Beatson's column at a place called Wilmansrust, due south of Middelburg, and between that town and Bethel. Beatson had divided his force, and this section consisted of 850 of the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles, with thirty gunners and two pom-poms, the whole under the command of Major Morris. Viljoen's force trekking north towards the line came upon this detachment upon June 12th. The British were aware of the presence of the enemy, but do not appear to have posted any extra outposts or taken any special precautions.

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