s Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 1 of The War in South Africa of The War in South Africa 1899-1902 General Editor: L. It is a period, viewed broadly, of almost continuous success. E., for those of Houtnek, of the De Wet Hunt and of the Jammersberg Bridge Position ; to Captain M. Eichards, of the 2nd Wiltshii-e Eegiment, for the sketches of Eetief's and Slabbert's Neks ; and to an E. officer, who is unwilling to have his name mentioned, for the maps of the Brandwater Basin and of the Operations round Johannesburg. Pilcher, on arrival at the waterworks, placed a few sentries within 200 yards of the bivouac, but neither he nor Broadwood sent any outposts further afield. Q(,(.^pjg(j Thaba 'Nchu late that night without further opposi- tion. The present volume covers the rest of the operations conducted under the chief command of Lord Eoberts. Although Broadwood had informed Lord Roberts of his retreat, no message had been received from headquarters.
Yet that success is from time to time marred by regrettable minor incidents, and, as the event proved, it lacked the quality of completeness. William Corner I am grateful for useful information on Chapter VII. is almost exactly as it came from the hands of Lord Lucas, known to readers of former volumes as Mr. With regard to the maps, I am indebted to Lieutenant P. It was, therefore, very naturally assumed by Broadwood that all due precautions had already been taken. Colonel Otter, the commander of the Eoyal Canadians, being among the wounded.
The essential object of all war, the imposition of the will of one people upon another by breaking its spirit of resistance, was not attained. ; and to two officers, who prefer to remain anonymous, for the original drafts of Chapters IV., VIII., XL, and XIII. Thus, while the Boers were watching and waiting * "Q" and "U" Batteries R. Boers and Thaba 'Nchu was now again the centre of interest in the Eughsh col- •State operations.
Crushing and conclusive victory in the field alone could have achieved that result. Was it excluded from the fii'st by the inherent characteristics of the campaign, by the mobility of the Boers, by their disinclination to make any determined stand ? De Wet with his brother, OUvier, lectocl round ■'^ ' ' Thaba 'Nchu.
Or must we infer that, in the compara- tively easy and successful accomplishment of what after all are only secondary means of attaining the great object of war — the capture of positions, the occupation of capitals. PKEFACE My chief duty in this preface is to offer my thanks to the collaborators who have made my task possible. and XVI., on the sieges of Ladysmith and Kimberley, which, but for considerations of space, would have appeared in Volume III., Mr. James I am also indebted for the original draft of the account of the Sannah's Post incident ; to Mr. Grobler, Lenuner, and Fourie, had retired to a laager at Alexandria, six miles to the east of Thaba 'Nchu and pro- tected by the hills which rise above the town ; he had called up Philip Botha, who had been holding the triangle of country between Thaba 'Nchu, Bloemfontein, and Brandfort ; so that altogether he could muster 4,000 men.
Mac Alister, I am grateful for much good counsel, and to Mr. I have been most fortunate in the courtesy and willingness to give advice and information shown by almost all the officers and others chiefly concerned in the events described, as well as in suggestions from several of those who were at the time fighting against us. Amery himself, who before I began had planned the volume and collected the bulk of the material for it, and who has always been ready with information and with help, the work would have been impossible. CONTENTS CHAPTER I THK HALT AT BLOEMFONTEIN PAGK I. Nevertheless, de Wet, trusting to his admirable position and to Broadwood's sense of security, determined to stay where he was and to attempt an even greater stroke than he had anticipated by ambushing the whole of Broad- wood's force.
Tallboy for most careful and ungrudging work in the preparation of maps and plans, and in revision. At the first glance it seemed to de Wet that he might be caught in the very trap which he had prepared for his adversaries ; for Broadwood had enough troops to send a sufficient number to take him in rear, while engaging him in front with his main force. Instead of merely a small body of mounted men and an unprotected convoy, a large force of cavalry could be seen bivouacking on the west of the Modder. 6-11 Delay necessary to enable the railway to be repaired, and supplies and reinforcements to be brought up . The sight which appeared to de Wet as he peered across towards the waterworks, as soon as the approach of dawn gave sufficient light, fully confirmed their story.VI GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE the control of communications and material resources — means, moreover, whose ef&cacy must vary greatly according to the adversary's military, economic, and political organisa- tion — the only primary and certain means, the destruction of the enemy's forces, was too much left out of sight or only half-heartedly essayed ? Amery is entirely responsible ; both chapters in their original form were the work of Mr. His com- munications were kept open with Kroonstad by a telegraph post at Menschvretersberg, north of Alexandria, The rest of TEE EEVIVAL IN TEE FREE STATE 75 the Boers who had been besieging Wepener were concentrated under De Villiers at Thaba Pachoa to oppose an expected movement of Brabant's division towards Ladybrand.It is for the reader to judge for himself : this volume will supply him with ample material for his judgment. Williams, and he is responsible alike for the accuracy of the detailed facts recorded and for the judgments and criticisms expressed. The cavalry arrived at Thaba 'Nchu on the 27th, and French ' foimd that Hamilton had already made himself master of the g^^^m^*" side of Thaba 'Nchu Mountain nearest to. On Boer laager the 28th French ordered operations, the object of which was '^^ "^^'^ ^ to close in on the Boer laager behind the mountain and cut them off.The composition of the present volume differs from that of its predecessors to the extent that, whereas in the former volumes the actual narrative as it appeared, though based on the contributions of various collaborators, was mainly written by myself, I have in the present case confined myself strictly to the purely editorial task of criticism and suggestion. This delegation of a difficult, laborious, and responsible task has made it possible to publish, within a year of its predecessor, a volume which it has taken fully two years of continuous effort to write. Gordon's Cavalry Brigade was to go round the south of Thaba 'Nchu Mountain, Dickson's round the north, and the two were to meet behind the mountain and take the Boers between them.