The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












 -  Altogether, it was a well-fought and useful action,
though it cost the British force some two hundred casualties, of - Page 830
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Altogether, It Was A Well-Fought And Useful Action, Though It Cost The British Force Some Two Hundred Casualties, Of Which Thirty-Five Were Fatal.

Cookson's force stood to arms all night until the arrival of Walter Kitchener's men in the morning.

General Ian Hamilton, who had acted for some time as Chief of the Staff to Lord Kitchener, had arrived on April 8th at Klerksdorp to take supreme command of the whole operations against De la Rey. Early in April the three main British columns had made a rapid cast round without success. To the very end the better intelligence and the higher mobility seem to have remained upon the side of the Boers, who could always force a fight when they wished and escape when they wished. Occasionally, however, they forced one at the wrong time, as in the instance which I am about to describe.

Hamilton had planned a drive to cover the southern portion of De la Rey's country, and for this purpose, with Hartebeestefontein for his centre, he was manoeuvring his columns so as to swing them into line and then sweep back towards Klerksdorp. Kekewich, Rawlinson, and Walter Kitchener were all manoeuvring for this purpose. The Boers, however, game to the last, although they were aware that their leaders had gone in to treat, and that peace was probably due within a few days, determined to have one last gallant fall with a British column. The forces of Kekewich were the farthest to the westward, and also, as the burghers thought, the most isolated, and it was upon them, accordingly, that the attack was made.

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