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Diary kept at Cheverly 4th Stationary Hospital in Natal, where Fisher served as a chaplain. Describes the rejoicing at the relief of Ladysmith and his posting to Cheveley, on the way to which he saw the armoured train connected with Churchill. There is much about conditions of the hospital, where there were more casualties from enteric and diarrhea than wounds. Describes the Boer entrenchments, destroyed railway bridge at Colenso and temporary trestle-bridge. There is chaos with troop movements in all directions. Colenso is in utter ruin. His work is concerned with parade services and with the distasteful task of conducting ever more funerals. The sick have arrived from Ladysmith, where they expect another attack.

Regrets that the British could not follow up their successes. On 18th March news reaches them of Roberts occupations of Bloemfontein; on 24 March he takes ill and is sent to Durban to recuperate. There he visits the hospital ship and sees the effects of the dysentery and enteric epidemic. Comments on how the Boers destroyed farmers.


  • ZA HPRA A781-A
  • Séries
  • 10 September 1899 - 4 June 1900
  • Parte de Louis De Souza

Correspondents include Presidents of the two Republics, Commandant General Joubert, Generals Botha, De la Rey, Grobler, Meyer, Prinsloo, Schoeman, and Snyman, Assistant General Burger, Commandant Wessels, Dr Mangold, Postmaster-General, Pretoria, Consul General Pott of Lourenco Marques, Colonial Secretary, Pietermaritzburg and the landdrosts of Lichtenberg and Rustenburg.

Subjects included reports of skirmishes and battles, numbers and sometimes names of casualties and prisoners, breaking of railway communications, details of enemy troop movements. Mainly concerned with the besieging of Kimberley, Mafeking and Ladysmith and the battles of Dundee, Elandslaagte and Nicholsons Nek on 20th, 21st and 30th respectively.

Other subjects commented on were:

ammunition on board the Kaiser off-loaded at Port Said to avoid seizure by Thetis; 23rd v 24th, 28th -31st frequent reports of sightings of balloons.

cannon working well and Mafeking reported in smoke; report of fight with Rhodesian English (under Plumer) at Crocodile River.

sympathy of Stellalanders for Boer cause.

24th General Meyer reproached for not being there to aid other Boer forces.

22nd suggestion that British prisoners work in Johannesburg mines.

26th complaints that prisoners walking the streets freely in Zeerust.

23rd impropriety of annoying Chief Montsioa by taking his cattle.

27th Mafeking not stormed because protected by mines.

28th Meyer summoned to come quickly to Dundee to aid Trichardt and Erasmus.

request for more horses and mules after Battle of Dundee.

1899 November 699.

Correspondents include State Presidents, State Secretary F.W. Reitz, Com. General Joubert, Generals Botha, Burger, Cronje, De la Rey, Erasmus, Meyer and Syman, Commandants Botha, De Beer, Engelbrecht, Hattingh, Rickert, Potgieter, Schutte, Steenkamp, Swarts, Captain Bleksley, Field Cornets Flygare, Visser and De Vries, Landdrosts Lichtenburg, Middelburg, Nylstroom, Pretoria, Utrecht and Wakkerstroom.

Also Consul-General Pott, S.P. Grobler (Comdt. of Police), Colonial Secretary Pietermaritzburg.

America and British consuls in Lourenco Marques, and American consul in Pretoria.

Subjects included much about the Battles of Belmont November 23, Enslin (Graspan) 25th and Modder River 28th. A telegram was sent by Percival, war correspondent of The Times to Gardner Williams, Manager of De Beers, asking how siege of Kimberley was going and about Rhodes health.

on 4th agreement made for armistice so that British wounded and non-combatants could be removed to a safer part of Ladysmith.

request for more cannon at Mafeking.

report that Gumpold had discovered something stronger than dynamite (no.356).

report from Weedon, Lourenco Marques to Beckett that Marias cargo seized in Durban.

and that exports of foodstuffs from L.M. to Transvaal would be stopped (357).

Boer wives want to know how their husbands fared in Battle of Dundee.

request for medical assistance to counter smallpox at Newcastle.

appeal by wives of burghers to Chief Shewas for food.

text of congratulatory telegram from President Steyn to General Prinsloo on his taking command of forces at Ladysmith (405).

Mrs Steyn is actively assisting by baking biscuits for burghers in the field.

Mrs Meer says her husband, Gen. Meyer, is too sick to travel (407).

wounded Boers grateful for kind treatment by British; new fort built by Field-Cornet Flygare near Mafeking.

coloureds encourage to desert from British to Boers.

Kimberley reputed to be short of food; sick wives of serving burghers to be looked after.

there is to be an all-out attack on Ladysmith; wives of burghers complain of lack of war news.

nothing to fear from Swazis; burghers wives complaining of lack of food.

Belgian Consul, Bloemfontein says British abused flag of truce at Ladysmith.

much about the incarceration of the prisoner Adrian Hofmeyr.

Buller reported at De Aar; capture of the armoured train and Winston Spencer Churchill (592, 610, 625, 632, 636).

complaints that blind and disabled being recruited for Boer army.

report that Buller will relieve Kimberley with reinforcements just arrived from Cape Town.

Cumpolds theories on explosives to be tested.

arrest of P Townshend, editor of Bechuanaland News for printing a proclamation that Griqualand West and Bechuanaland are not part of the Republics.

Buller said to be in Cape Town with 15000 men.

Johannesburgs mines being re-opened:

news from spies on Tugela.

17th new from Lager near Estcourt.

18th news about British troops at Hopetown and Kimberley.

19th Col. Sec. Pietermaritzburg asks State Sec. Pretoria for details of British wounded taken prisoner at Battle of Dundee.

19th Chamberlain in London says ban on import of food to Republics lifted.

19th armistice at Kimberley so women and children can leave.

Bond decides not to hold Congress until signs for peace hopeful.

Joubert says Churchill is dangerous to war-effort and due to him part of armored train escaped (720).

23rd Jacob Daly, storekeeper in Zeerust, found guilty of profiteering.

reports from near Queenstown.

requests from De Beers, Kimberley for dynamite to be sent as soon as line open.

24th news of Battle of Belmont.

25th warning from War Commandant, Elandslaagte that Dr. Shvet on the hospital train is unreliable and may give information to enemy.

telephonic conversation 25th between State Presidents - discuss news that burghers surrendered their position at Jacobsdal.

text of telegram to Joubert saying must fight on Steyn comforts Kruger, saying all will yet come right; not as expected at Stormberg.

Kekurch asks for exchange of dead and says Boer wounded being well treated in Kimberley.

news of casualties at Kimberley and request for medical assistance at Derdepoort.

Prinsloo says that he and De la Rey have lost the battle and there are many casualties.

27th General Du Toit asks if he can take advantage of Kekewichs offer to x-ray Boer wounded in Kimberley.

Dundee mine being examined.

Engelbrecht fined ?15 for being A.W.O.L.

28 - report of fighting at Derdepoort; weakness and despondency among Free Staters.

heavy fighting at Modder River.

report of Buller in Durban, preparing to relieve Ladysmith.

British claim victory at Belmont.

news of fighting between Portuguese and Kaffirs.

men are in position at Jacobsdal and enemy are repulsed.

request from Abram Malan to his wife for strong clothing.

Joubert says Churchill must not be released (918) and D Theron says same (921) as he is one of the most dangerous prisoners in our hands.

29th De la Rey tells of heavy fighting on 28th at Jacobsdal after his eldest son was killed.

all quiet at Ladysmith and Long Tom is on Lombardskop.

need for officers to replace those lost.

news from Woodford, Bloemfontein, that English driven back with heavy losses and Methuen wounded.

fear that Zulus may rise and warning that Stepstone dangerous and should be detained in Pretoria.

Joubert is sick and despondent; encouraging message from Pres. Steyn to generals, saying they must not retreat.

news of fighting at Modder River.

reported Doctors Ramsbottom, Krause, Mangold, Voortman and Bidwell are missing after battle of Modder River and Cape Town has been telegraphed for an explanation.

1900 January 750.

Correspondents include State Presidents, Commandant General Joubert, Generals Botha, Cronje, De la Rey, Erasmus, Grobler, Meyer, Prinsloo, Schoeman, Smuts and Janse van Rensburg, Assistant Generals Du Toit, Lemmer and Waterberg, Chief Commandant Ferreira, Commandants De Villiers, Greyling, Kelly, Nel, Van Dam, Van Niekerk and Visser, Captains Fichardt and Ortlepp; Field Cornets Eloff and Theron; Landdrosts of Pietersburg and Piet Retief. Also Consul-General Poct, Government Secretary Bloemfontein, American Consul Pretoria, General Cape Town and T.W. Beckett, Dr Koster and A.D.W. Wolmarans.


Mainly concerned with the sieges of Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking and with the fighting around Colesberg. Main battle in January was Spionkop on January 24th which was a victory for Boers.

1899 December 817.

Correspondents include State Presidents; State Secretary Pretoria; Commandant General Joubert; General Cape Town, Generals Botha, Du Toit, De la Rey, Malan, Snyman; Assistant Generals Botha, Burger, Erasmus, Ferreira, Grobler, Meyer, Prinsloo; Commandants Dahl, Du Plessis, Oosthuizen, Potgieter, Schutte; Stennekamp, Van Dam and Weilbach; Assistant Commandant du Plessis; Special Commandant Krogh; Veldcornets Bodenstein, Eloff, Thomas Joubert and P.D. Swart, Commandant of the Fort, Johannesburg, Landdrosts of Aliwal North, Christiana, Lydenburg, Nijlstroom, Piet Retief, Pietersburg, Rustenburg, Vrijheid and Zeerust. Also L.M. Forgan, M. Grobler, Hassall, Noel Llewellyn and J.R. Mare, Lord Baden Powell, George Lynch, Dr. Ramsbottom, Sir George White and Lady Sarah Wilson.

Mainly concerned with the British attempts to relieve Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking. These attempts were unsuccessful largely due to the Battles of Colenso, Stormberg and Magersfontein when Boers were victorious.

Colenso on December 15th was a Boer success largely due to British lack of artillery and as a result of this battle Buller had to postpone his attempt to relieve Ladysmith. The Battle of Stormberg on December 10th was a British defeat, largely due to their having taken the wrong road in a night march, which gave the Boers advance warning. On the same day, December 10th, the Battle of Magersfontein was fought, when the Highland Brigade was routed and demoralized.

In the telegrams much about Red Cross doctors who went missing after the Battle of Modder River on November 28th.

Subjects included:

rumour that Zulus will rise but Swazis said to be peaceful.

Shepstone thought to be dangerous; news of Boer attack on Mafeking.

information that Buller has 25, 00 men.

offer by British to hand over women captured by Bakatla in error, by flag of truce.

Lady Sarah Wilson asks to be allowed into Mafeking and on 7th agreed to exchange her for P.O.W.

news of fighting at Frere near Ladysmith.

intercepted letter from Mafeking says can hold out much longer and expect to be relieved soon.

accusations by British that Boers fired on an ambulance.

British casualties of Battle of Modder River given, news of Dordrecht and troops under Gatacre.

4th newspaperman Lynch, captured in Boer lines, said he was trying to exchange papers and that he admired Boers.

Italian and Dutch consuls protest at the capturing of women by a Kaffir commando.

Commandant General complains that the command at Trichardt too far from the scene of battle.

also C.G. asks that number of wagons be reduced so that man are more mobile.

details given of British wounded at Battle of Graspan.

Colonial troops have arrived at Cape Town.

new order says British officers to carry guns not swords.

Asquith says settlement must be based on friendship not force.

Boer War has shown the need to reorganize the British army.

Du Plessis has been chosen to command at Derdepoort.

inspiring message to the troops from the Commandant General.

fewer wagons but more tents needed.

8th reported that English have destroyed guns including Long Tom.

proposal by Andrew Murray that an armistice be observed on Christmas Day.

destruction of the cannon at Lombardskop, under the command of Major Erasmus, is a lesson to the Boers to be wary.

Sir George White says camp at Intombi for wounded is still necessary and not being abused.

armed Kaffirs seen near Dundee.

news of besieged in Ladysmith obtained from intercepted telegrams.

Dr Ramsbottom gives an account of his capture by the British.

report of fight at Stormberg Junction on 10th.

heavy bombardment at Modder River 11th.

another howitzer destroyed and guns moved back for protection as position is serious.

British have retreated at Modder River; heavy fighting Stormberg Junction - enemy using balloons.

General Cronje reports on battle of 10th, with details of casualties.

at Ladysmith things go badly due to destruction of cannon.

message of encouragement to troops at Modder River from Commandant General.

Lord Baden-Powell warns burgers of Z.A. Republic that their cause is hopeless and reinforcements have arrived to help in quelling the Boers.

fighting of Dordrecht; report from The Natal Mercury on the storming of the gun hill and destruction of Boer cannon.

Court of enquiry into the loss of guns cannot be held as position at Ladysmith dangerous.

fighting at Modder River 12th.

from Jacobsdal news of Battle of Magersfonteinon 10th when Black Watch said to be annihilated.

intercepted message from Kekewich to Methuen about position at Kimberley.

said that Red Cross officials from both camps should be allowed on to the field to help the wounded.

Scandinavian Corps was in action and Field Cornet Flygore dead; doctor says Volksrust more salubrious as a hospital for wounded.

ships cannon used at Colenso on 13th.

Schoeman was attached but no losses.

news from Stewart in Swaziland that Bunu is dead.

Boers demand back their ambulances from British.

Kimberley reported very short of food.

General White can hold out no more than 11 days at Ladysmith.

suspected that Marthinus Potgieter a spy.

report that Kuruman taken.

report from Lourenco Marques that English ministry has fallen and that there are 2000 English in Swaziland.

officers implicated in the loss of guns have been suspended.

reported great English force has left Durban to relieve Ladysmith.

General Botha reports brilliant victory at Colenso on 15th.

intercepted orders of Sir Francis Clery for the British plan at Colenso.

reply to the charge that Lt. Charles Pole was taken prisoner under a flag of truce.

intercepted message from Col. B. Hamilton, giving the formation of the baggage train, troops etc.

reported Churchill on board the Induna (No1677) and again (1674) that he has sailed for Durban, having escaped in a coal truck.

American Consul at Pretoria says George Lynch is an accredited war correspondent.

skirmish near Dordrecht.

British attack Molopo on 25th.

Africaner medical students from Edinburgh have arrived Lourenco Marques as an ambulance team.

rumour that Buller has been superceded by Roberts.

Baden-Powell thanks General Snijman for Boer help in carrying wounded and dead from field.

inquiry what to do with the property of Jews who chose to go to Mafeking instead of Z.A. Republic.

cheering message from Joubert to troops.

Correspondents include State Presidents, State Secretary Pretoria, Commandant General Joubert, Generals Botha, Cronje, De la Rey, Erasmus, Grobler, Meyer, Prinsloo, Schoeman, Smuts and Janse van Rensburg, Assistant Generals Du Toit, Lemmer and Waterberg, Chief Commandant Ferreira; Commandants De Villiers, Greyling, Kelly.

Nel, Van Dam, Van Niekerk and Visser, Captains Fichardt and Ortlepp; Field Cornets Eloff and Theron; Landdrosts of Pietersburg and Piet Retief. Also Consul General Pott, Government Secretary Bloemfontein, American Consul Pretoria, General Cape Town and T.W. Beckett, Dr Koster and A.D.W. Wolmarans.

In January the British made determined efforts to relieve Ladysmith but the Battle of Spionkop of 24th gave victory to the Boers and prevented the British from advancing. The Boers continued to bombard Kimberley and at Mafeking and there was sporadic fighting.

Telegrams include the following:

heavy fighting at Jamestown.

President Steyn sent message to Schoeman that enemy have come in strength and that ammunition must be conserved until enemy near.

fighting at Colesberg 1-4th where many bombs but few men lost.

rumour that Buller is going to relieve Kimberley.

Boer attack on provision train at Colesburg; reported English commando is at Gaberones.

goods from America, including flour, have been seized by British as contraband.

on 4th Boer reverse at Colesburg.

Gumpolds new powder should be used.

report of battle at Colesberg on 6th .

Prinsloo told not to rest until Ladysmith fallen.

7th-enemy being strengthened on Platrand.

7th Prinsloo says burghers must fall back.

General Cape Town asks list of prisoners for possible exchange.

8th Boers abandon positions at Ladysmith.

Dr Ramsbottom complains ambulances not returned.

9th more bombardment by British at Colenso.

10th movements of British troops at Colesburg, Belmont are Roolleagle given.

Ferreira voted to be Chief Commandant Western Boundary.

request for more doctors at Ladysmith.

enemy over little bridge at Tugela.

11th fighting continues.

12th situation still dangerous and enemy will probably attempt Spionkop.

still fighting at Colesburg.

reported enemy fired on Red Cross flag.

Dutch ambulance has arrived.

rumour that Kitchener is in East London.

14th intercepted letter from Buller to White that Boers will be attacked at all points.

Colesburg bridge being attacked by British.

15th positions on Spionkop inspected.

intercepted message from Baden Powell that he will attack.

15th enemy march with foot soldiers, cavalry and armoured train.

attack by Lancer.

rumour Buller wounded at Colenso.

intercepted letter from E. Regensback to Eckstein that food scarce in Kimberley.

19th Baden Powell refuses to allow natives into Mafeking.

thought British may attack from north by Lobatsi.

intercepted letter from Kekewich to Baden Powell with news of sieges.

20th General Burger requests help.

provisions for Mafeking have left Gaberones.

Smuts pleads with Meyer to send help but Meyer says impossible.

22nd on order that all burghers in Harrismith must join the armed forces.

impossible to reinforce both Colesburg and Ladysmith.

Meyer asked again to come to help of Botha.

Botha fears worst as some positions have been lost.

President very wrathful with police at Johannesburg who refuse their duties because of lack of sugar and coffee.

Colesburg pressing for help.

Russian ambulance has arrived Lourenco Marques.

report of battles all day 23rd but positions held.

24th- appeal for help from Burger as the Kop has been taken.

report of battle from Roos to Reuter; said English casualties heavy.

Boers are advancing on the hill again (2438).

25th Burger asks for ambulance.

reported Boers have captured British positions Gumpold is still experimenting with his explosives.

the 2461 Roos to Reuter, reports that Dr Jameson is wounded and than English have abandoned Spionkop.

26th attack expected at Norvalspont.

report from Colesburg that the enemy have been driven back.

2481 Spionkop is saddest sight yet witnessed in the present war quoting Roos to Reuter reports from Boer generals Burgher and Botha of their victory.

reassurance given that provisions will not enter Mafeking.

congratulatory telegrams go between generals and presidents, although Burger warns.

Meyer battle not yet over, intercepted field order from Buller about the advance to relieve Ladysmith.

27th position still dangerous.

28th enemy withdraw without even burying their dead.

typhus outbreak at Modder River.

28th-from Beyers, Colesburg to Standard, Johannesburg, an account of battle near Colesberg.

29th-arrangements to be made for giving the burghers leave.

Burger protests against Commandment Generals charge of irresolution.

30th-Wolmarans complains that English did not bury their dead on Spionkop.

State President said he will provide safe conduct for Hon. George Peels sister if she can be got out of Kimberley (No 2563).

1900 February 974.

Correspondents include State Presidents; under Secretary, Pretoria; Commandant General Joubert; Generals Botha, Bredenkamp, Breijtenbach, Burgers, Cronje, De la Rey, Du Toit, Prinsloo, Smuts; Assistant Generals Jan De Beer, Du Preez, Ferreira, Franeman, Grobler, Lemmer, Meyer, Snijman, Steyn, Wessels; Chief Commandant Ferreira; Commandants Beukes, De Beer, Jan du Plessis, Eloff, Engelbrecht, Fourie, Jacobs, Kriegler, Luckhoff, Muller, Schutte, Spruyt, P.D. Swart, Van Dam, Vermaas, Viljoen, Visser, Captains R.R. Achtertang and Jooste; Veldcornets Emmett, J.S. Kock; Commandant of Police, Nylstroom; Director of Telegraphs, Bloemfontein, landdrosts of Aliwal North, Barkly West, Christiana, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, Lichtenburg, Pietersburg, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Vrijheid, Wolmaranstad and Zeerust, Lords Roberts and Salisbury; Doctors P.E. Alessandri, J. Jorissen, Lawrence and A. Fisher, Advocate Keet, Captain Leon, Mrs Meyer, Piet Potgieter, Count de Villebois-Mareuil and A.D.W. Wolmarans. Also Standard, Johannesburg and Volkstem.

The main events of the month were the relief of Kimberley and of Ladysmith. Due to sickness and privation, it had become imperative for Ladysmith to be relieved and after an initial defeat at Vaalkrantz on February 5th the British forces pressed on and entered the town on February 28th, although the main Boer army escaped. On February 15th the advance of Frenchs army entered Kimberley, but British victory marred by the seizure of the provisions train by De Wet. General Cronje was forced to retreat from Magersfontein, surrounded at Padeberg and all attempts to help him failed. He was forced to surrender on February 27th. At Mafeking the British cut their lines S.E. to the brick fields and cattle, captured by the Baralong from the Boers.

Subjects in the telegrams include:

English bombard Zeerust.

from Sim to News, Pretoria comes news of Boer wounded and that Churchill has done all he can for them (No. 2572).

English request list of prisoners taken 19-27 January.

2nd-reinforcements needed at the Tugela.

reported enemy will attack Molendrift.

complaints that Boer prisoners treated badly on a warship in Simons Bay.

assurances from Snyman to Cronje that Mafeking tightly besieged.

Wolmarans has seen both generals on the Tugela and plans have been made.

accusation made that British destroy homes and farms and defenceless women and children (2623).

3rd enemy move in strength.

Buller says Battle of Colenso lost because of lack of artillery and that the value of scouting should be emphasized.

4th Tobias Smuts pleads for reinforcements.

trouble amongst the generals on Boer side.

Prinsloo asked to take supreme command.

5th complaints that Meyer not supporting Smuts against serious attack.

Meyer reproached also by Joubert for tardiness.

Meyer dislikes Prinsloos appointment.

position critical at Colesburg and Stormberg.

from London telegram received to effect that no citizens of the Republics will be charged with high treason but that if British P.O.Ws treated badly, the Presidents will be held personally responsible.

official report of Battle of Spionkop from Buller to the governor of Natal.

5th President Pretoria tells Cronje, Prinsloo, Burger and Meyer to go to the help of Smuts.

6th Joubert says Kop must be taken.

British deny charges of harming Boer civilian property.

7th fight continues.

Natal Advertiser says defects in the British military system shown up in South Africa; the Kop has been taken by the Boers.

De Wet fighting at Magersfontein.

heavy fighting at Koedoesberg with strong assault by the Lancers.

British give assurance that Boer P.O.W. treated well in Simons Bay.

situation critical at Koedoesberg.

reported Kimberley very short of food.

8th Botha asks reinforcements but later announces that battle is over and Boer losses not too great and the enemy have been driven back over the Tugela.

urgent that French cannon be repaired.

Meyer informs his wife that battle is successfully over.

Meyer still complains of Prinsloos appointment.

reported Ladysmith in dire straits.

Long Tom is working well as reported from De la Reys laager.

Father de Lacey ordered not to carry letters for military prisoners from Johannesburg.

Botha gives news of the battle to his wife.

9th enemy held at Koedoesberg and cannot get through to Kimberley.

De Wet at Magersfontein thinks he can hold the enemy at Koedoesberg and that they had the best of the fighting on 8th.

trouble in obtaining clearance at Lourenco Marques for ambulance.

Kimberley shelled again.

10th De la Rey asks help.

enemy retreat at Koedoesberg.

Leon says big gun must be withdrawn as enemy fire too heavy.

burgers complain about having to pay for their own transport.

De la Rey says he will hold on as long as he can but that enemy troops are on the march and have reached Kamfersdam.

Grobler says he has taken Bastards Nek.

11th-burgers hold on at Abramskraal; enemy approach Boshof.

De la Rey writes report of the fighting to his wife.

German government angry at seizure of Herzog, Bandesrath and General on charges of carrying contraband.

C.H. Perrin sent light bomb filled with sand to Baden Powell asking for whisky.

which he received and for this has been court-martialled.

Burger writes to his wife concerning his movements.

De la Rey says enemy suffered great loss.

12th General Janse van Rensburg defends his request for more guns at the Crocodile River.

French engineer Leon has been wounded in the head.

Botha says he had fought with the Lancers.

at Colenso enemy attack expected at Boschrand.

Grobler reports success at Colesberg.

13th Modder River cut off from various centres.

enemy in strength at Koffiefontein.

reported Kimberley desperate.

Boer guns do good work at Kimberley.

enemy attack at Ramoutsa successfully repelled with losses to them, not the Boers.

urgent that De Wet be strengthened.

President in Bloemfontein does not want to take men from Colesburg.

request for ammunition from Molopo, as Perrins bombs still not working well.

enemy at Fowlsdal with the intention of relieving Kimberley.

Captain Leon recovering after an operation.

President Bloemfontein says no time to get help to Cronje, who must just turn the enemy; Meyer says looks as if enemy go to Boschrand.

battle is on at Rensburg Siding.

Snyman at Molopo asks what is to be done with goods of British who fled to avoid serving with the Boers.

Russian and Dutch ambulances held up at Lourenco Marques.

Meyer says enemy too strong to hold.

15th report enemy 15, 000 strong.

enemy at Riet River, reported enemy are inside Kimberley.

16th news form Lourenco Marques that a batch of Jews (of drink and gold-buying syndicate) are on their way to Transvaal and include H.Cohen. They are to be stopped but Mrs Mendelsohn allowed through.

enemy march out of Kimberley in strength in the direction of Boshof.

Commandant Spruyt writes to his wife that enemy are being pushed back at Koffiefontein to near the Modder River.

all men and horses in certain districts are ordered to Warrenton.

heavy fighting at Olifantsfontein.

17th-news that Cronje has left Magersfontein and Scholtznek and the way to Kimberley now open to the enemy.

reinforcements have been sent to Fourteen Streams for Du Toit.

British promise to treat deserters well.

18th Botha asks for more men as situation is bad and cant rely on Freestaters.

Major Erasmus and Lt. Malan will be tried for allowing the guns to be captured.

Botha is very concerned about English might.

President Pretoria to President Bloemfontein that all is now in hands of the Lord.

things go badly on Tugela.

19th looks as if enemy will drive through to Bloemfontein.

Du Toit says position impossible.

Meyer complains that burghers are slipping away; horse positions at Kimberley serious for Boers.

20th position hopeless and Cronje is surrounded.

Vermaas suggests surrender.

complaints made to Lord Roberts that civilian property is being burned.

Dordrecht recaptured by enemy.

Commandant Vermaas says horses are weak and asks help from Burger and Meyer.

21st- De Wet forced to give up his position - what is Cronje to do?

situation critical at Fourteen Streams.

Meyer says enemy are across the river.

22nd- Botha and Meyer say they expect battle soon against strong enemy force.

President Bloemfontein says he is anxious about Cronje.

Burger writes to his wife about his movements.

enemy seen near Mafeking.

Froneman says he will try to relieve Cronje.

23rd De Wet says he will try to retake positions so as to help Cronje.

Meyer says fight at Colenso has gone well and enemy have been driven back.

Meyer asks new telescope as old one was shot.

State Mining Engineer in Johannesburg asks for military law to be proclaimed in mines so as to keep law and order.

Joubert asks where contain burgers are as situation dangerous.

enemy has made temporary bridge over Tugela to enable their armoured train to bring suppliers.

men at DuToits lager unwilling to fight on longer.

Meyer says heavy bombardment at Colenso.

Visser says he cannot help Cronje.

Joubert asks De la Rey to break the oil line at De Aar to prevent supplies reaching the English.

Botha says effort to help Cronje has failed and that Bloemfontein be put in a state of defence.

24th-Cronje asks where reinforcements are.

Meyer says he thinks enemy will come by train, at which he intends to shoot.

25th-enemy on Vryheid-Zulu border.

Sebele says if Boers cross the railway he will fight.

burgers badly in need of clothes, shoes etc.

Grobler at Colesberg says heavy fighting:

all predikants and their congregations are to be asked to pray nightly for relief of Cronje and all remaining burgers are being called upon.

Grobler has gone to intercept enemy at Zeekoeirivier.

26th-colonial burgers taken prisoner at Colesburg say they were forced to fight by the British.

Meyer thinks position more hopeful; rumour that English troops are at Vryheid.

Meyer says Long Tom is being set up to be in action in the morning; 27th Kaffirs restless at Taung.

Cronje surrounded.

heavy fighting Colenso.

Meyer asks more ammunition reinforcements.

28th panic at Norvalsport station where burghers and wagons await transport.

rumour that Cronje has surrendered.

March 1900 1017.

Correspondents include: State Presidents; State Secretary: Generals Breijtenbach, Celliers, Andries Cronje, De la Rey, Kolbe, Meyer, Prinsloo, Snyman; Assistant Generals Philip Botha, P.Cronje, Du Toit, Erasmus, Ferreira, Grobler, Pieterse, Smuts, Chief Commandants C. de Wet, Lemmer, Lombard, Oberholtser, Prinsloo, Schulte, Van Aswegen, Van Dam, Weber, Commandants Cruisrand, De Beer, Du Plessis, Du Preez, Eloff, Fick, Luckhoff, Oberholtzer, Potgieter, Spruyt, Steijn, Swart and Weilbach; Adjutant Commandant Abram Malan, Captains De Villiers and Danie Theron; Veldcornets P.Brink, Dercksen and Van Tonder; Landdrosts Aliwal North, Bethal, Bethulie, Burghersdorp, Christiana, Hoopstad, Lichtenburg, Middelburg, Potchefstroom, Vryheid, Winburg and Wolmaranstad; Begg (L.M.), DR. Dunlop, A. Fischer, Lynch (George) Ortlepp, P. Potgieter (Pretoria Burghermaster), D.S. Steijtler and Budget, Reuter (Cape Town), Standard and Volkstem.

Main events were the formal entry into Ladysmith by General Buller on March 3rd. In actual theories of war, Kitchener was sent to deal with Cape rebels at Prieska and French and Roberts marched on Bloemfontein, which they entered on 14th. In the Cape Jamestown was occupied March 11th, Bethulie Bridge on 15th and on the following day British force linked up with Roberts at Springfontein. On 17th March Norvalspont secured and bridge repairs started. From Bloemfontein an expedition set off to Thaba NChu but found the Boers still very active. At Kimberley Lord Methuen went on to occupy Boshof in early March. At Mafeking food was very scarce, particularly for the Kaffirs. Plumer was outside the town but not strong enough to relieve it.

Subjects in the telegrams:

1st No definite news as to whether Cronje surrendered.

Baden Powell says he will use armed natives if Boers dont stop using them.

Grobler says men at Glencoe ready for battle.

Cronje says General Cronje has surrendered.

2nd-Red Cross Society are tending Boer wounded at Jacobsdal.

Boers not strong enough to take Barkly West.

Joubert asked to occupy De Beers and Biggersnek Passes.

Cronje has surrendered.

27th February v is to go to Cape Town.

English have entered Ladysmith.

3rd-Theron appointed Captain reconnoitring corps to help Botha.

Snyman gives his reply to English charge that Boers use armed natives by saying English used them first.

query as to whether Boer women and cattle should be brought to safety.

letter from Louis Botha to his wife about his position.

Buller has entered Ladysmith with his whole might.

4th-Transvaal burghers go home for replenishment because Free Staters wont help them.

Colonel Plumer has sent a messenger to Commandant Du Plessis, Derdepoort, offering honourable terms if they surrender.

report on Boer position at Colesburg.

5th published text of correspondence between Lord Salisbury and Boer government re independence.

Commandant General at Glencoe asks Presidents to sue for peace.

Rustenburg district is in danger.

Commandant General has taken Biggersneck as his position.

police in Johannesburg asked to stop salaries of police deserters.

6th-refugees come from Modder River with no possessions.

Mining Engineer, Johannesburg, suggests blowing up coalmines at Dundee.

English at Lobatsi.

7th-missing ambulance is at Jacobsdal helping Boer wounded.

Theron reports capture of cattle and horses in a daring raid.

8th-reported that British occupy Barkly West and will push on.

English reported at Zeerust; Commandant, Marico, asks reinforcements.

burghers concerned about their families at Klipdam.

horses scarce so mules being used.

appeal for petrol to go to Rorkes Drift as enemy at Pomeroy.

9th-rumour English will attack Helpmekaar.

English at Gopanie, Commandant General complains about difficulties caused by foreign volunteers such as Irish, German, French etc.

enemy reported at Rensburg Siding and Bethulies Bridge and Tierhoek.

burgers at Dordrecht must retreat before very strong enemy force.

intercepted letter from British Consul Ross to Begg (spy of Ross and correspondent of The Friend, Bloemfontein) that English and Rhodesian forces have joined at Mafeking; skirmishing at Pomeroy.

position serious at Mafeking: Joubert to his wife that he is on his way to Volksrust.

fighting at Helpmekaar.

10th-Snyman is on way to meet English at Pitsani.

provisions badly needed at Derdepoort.

Responded Cronje will go to St. Helena.

De la Rey says his position cannot be held.

Meyer to his wife that position is static.

burghers deserting their commandos.

11th-De Wet tells of Boer defeat at Barberton.

details given of Boer wounded in Jacobsdal Red Cross Hospital.

Snyman at Ramathlabama because enemy at Pitsani.

position critical at Abrahams Kraal.

Steyn needs help urgently.

British complain about Boer misuse of flag and dumdum bullets.

Commandant General complains that burghers have been given leave.

12th-German corps sent help to.

Ferreira at Helpmekaar.

fighting at Bethulie Bridge.

enemy coming out of Kimberley in great numbers.

position dangerous at Bloemfontein.

report of battle at Abrahams Kraal when General Cilliers distinguished himself.

State President Bloemfontein refutes Roberts charge of abusing the white flag.

Long Tom gun + ammunition to go to Klerksdorp and then Pretoria.

13th-fight at Bethulie Bridge went well; attack on Bloemfontein expected hourly.

State President is at Kroonstad.

burghers who ran away should be punished and sent back.

14th-report form Mafeking that armed Kaffirs have taken cattle.

State Mining Engineer at Glencoe asks for more Kaffirs to take burghers positions.

Joubert to his wife that he goes to Sinaldeel from Kroonstad to see if he can meet President Steyn.

Du Toit is by the Vaal River in a better position.

President Steyn says Afrikaners must fight on.

burghers complain about censorship of private letters.

16th-families of Natal burghers must be protected.

enemy camp at Elandslaagte said to be strong.

fighting at Orsmondspont and Warrenton is in English hands.

English troops said to be on their way to relieve Mafeking via Kuruman.

17th-small fight at Fourteen streams, where enemy retreated.

great English might has come out of Ladysmith and is at Elandslaagte.

Irish corps assure Boers of their loyalty.

report that Warren and 6000 men have left Natal for Cape.

complaint that ammunition not yet sent to Prieska.

Roberts writes to President to say that Basutos were used as scouts and not as fighters.

attack on Boers at Rustenburg by Linchwes people is Boers own fault for devastating his land.

rumour denied that Rustenburg is in English hands.

artillery fight at Fourteen Streams.

18th-bombardment by enemy at Fourteen Streams.

Grobler and Lemmer near Dewetsdorp.

Chief Medical Officer O.F.S asks British to direct German ambulance to town north of British lines.

proclamation by President Steyn to Burghers of Orange Free State to be printed as fast as possible and 10, 000 copies to be made.

Eloff says situation better in North.

19th-B.L.Bantjies seeks advice what to do with Dunn, a traitor.

all civil servants to be called up and offices closed.

another proclamation by President Steyn to be printed, to the effect that O.V.S still stands.

Italian government offers to mediate.

20th-Cronje thinks enemy move towards Bloemhof: landdrosts told to beware of British proclamation.

reported that vanguard of Mafeking relief force has reached Warrenton.

Snyman denies false report of enemy at Ramathlabama.

Swazis quiet.

reported that Commandant Lubbe fought enemy between Springfontein and Jagersfontein and took 18 cannon, of which 12 were carried off.

enemy reported at Driefontein.

Commandant General on the way to Pretoria.

landdrost of Christiana asks where P.O.W.s to go as jail is full.

22nd-Du Toit asks for medical help.

news of enemy movements from Captain Therons spies.

Eloff has gone to Mafeking.

Buller complains some British P.O.W.s in Pretoria not being well treated and are in a common jail.

De Wet asks for speed in sending wagons if dont want repeat of Paadeberg.

reported Prieska occupied and that Rouxville and Thaba Nchu have surrendered.

France and Germany protest to Kruger about the possible blowing up of mines in Johannesburg.

reported that Baden-Powell cant hold out in Mafeking after mid-May.

reinforcements are on their way to help Du Toit at Fourteen Streams.

23rd-rumours that 10, 000 English are on way to Bloemhof are false.

Du Toit says he is sick; requests come in for more horses.

enemy reported at Smaldeel.

Snyman regrets he cannot spare men to help Steenekamp at Rustenburg; burghers are reluctant to return from leave.

24th-Botha says enemy are in strength at Sunday River, busy putting coalmines in order complaint that Boer property destroyed by British patrols.

Thaba Nchu in hand of the enemy.

small English force at Neuberg could be held by a small commando - no more big commandos!.

25th-De la Rey asked to move his men to Brandfort, where it is expected that the enemy will fight.

rumoured that enemy will go to Mafeking, then by road to Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Smuts says there is enough ammunition but not the means of transport.

Snyman asks patrol to be sent to Moratzani to deal with armed Kaffirs.

Joubert seriously ill.

26th-President in Pretoria chides Grobler for asking for leave when situation is so critical and that he must join De la Rey, enemy camp at Elandslaagte is very strong.

De la Rey sick in bed.

State President encourages all generals with story of David.

President Steyn asks Lord Roberts if it is true that Boer P.OW.s in St. Helena.

enemy have left Newberry in direction of Ladybrand.

merchants at Bethel complain that government does not pay full price for goods.

German Scouts ask permission to take Thaba Nchu and ask why Grobler didnt attack at Newberry.

Weilbach is asked why his men are in revolt.

Justice of the Peace, Vereeniging, asks how he is to stop burghers going on leave.

Ladybrand reports that there are no troops available to turn the English.

David, Irish M.P. expected Pretoria.

26th- De Villiers appointed head of the European Legion this news is to be made known to the European Corps.

27th-Buller asks what happened to Cullum, taken P.O.W at De Beers Pass, as it has been rumoured that he was shot; bombardment at Mafeking.

fighting at Molopo and Fourteen Streams.

Joubert very ill and no hope of recovery.

28th-Joubert dead.

Villebors-Mareuil asks if Warren is in enemy hands.

Botha is on his way to the funeral.

enemy bombing from Mafeking heavy.

29th-Potgieter, Fourteen Streams reports enemy fled after bombardment.

De la Rey better; fighting at Karee Siding with Botha and Smuts engaged.

30th- news of enemy at Tafeltop and Brandfort.

English trying to cut them off from grain district.

31st- Report from Grobler who is on his way to Thaba Nchu, giving news of English position and that Roberts is on his way to Mafeking.

burgers have been given leave to get fresh horses.

condolences from Roberts on Jouberts death.

(45) English cavalry approach Mafeking; report from Snyman that English fly, pursued by Boers.

Fighting 4 miles from Mafeking.


A number of these photographs originate from the scrapbooks, see section C, and were either removed of got detached from the scrapbook.

My Dossier' Autobiography of Noel Roberts

An account of Roberts' life including reminiscences of his childhood in Lydenburg and Potchefstroom, his teaching and other experiences during the Boer war, theological training in Canterbury, ministry in Pietersburg and Orchards in Johannesburg, service during the First Word War, ministry in Lichtenburg, Heidelberg and Nigel.

The account is illustrated with photographs and contains information on natural history and ethnology- subjects in which Roberts took an informed interest.

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