THE BOERS IN BATTLE
 THE battle of Sannaspost on March 31st was one of the few engagements in the campaign in which the forces of the
Boers and the British were almost numerically equal. There were two or three small battles in which the Boers
had more men engaged than the British, but in the majority of instances the Boers were vastly outnumbered both
in men and guns. At Elandslaagte the Boers had exactly seven hundred and fifty burghers pitted against the
five or six thousand British; Spion Kop was won from three thousand British by three hundred and fifty Boers;
at the Tugela Botha with not more than twenty-six hundred men fought for more than a week against ten times
that number of soldiers under General Buller; while the greatest disparity between the
 opposing forces was at Paardeberg, where Cronje spent a week in trying to lead his four thousand men through
the encircling wall of forty or fifty thousand British soldiers.
PLAN OF BATTLEFIELD OF SANNASPOST.
Sannaspost was not a decisive battle of the war, since no point of great strategical importance was at stake,
but it was more in the nature of a demonstration of what the Boers were able to do when they were opposed to a
force of equal strength. It was a test which was equally fair to both contestants, and neither of them could
reasonably claim to have possessed an advantage over the other a day before the battle was fought. The British
commander, Colonel Broadwood, had seventeen hundred men in his column, and General De Wet was at the head of
about two hundred and fifty less than that number, but the strength of the forces was equalised by the Boer
general's intimate knowledge of the country. Colonel Broadwood was experienced in Indian, Egyptian, and South
African warfare, and the majority of his soldiers were seasoned in many battles. De Wet and his men were fresh
from Poplar Grove, Abraham's Kraal, and the fighting around Kimberley, but they were not better nor worse than
 of the Boer burghers. The British commander was hampered by a large transport train, but he possessed the
advantage of more heavy guns than his adversary. All in all, the two forces were equally matched when they
reached the battlefield.
The day before the battle General De Wet and his men were in laager several miles east of Brandfort, whither
they had fled after the fall of Bloemfontein. His scouts brought to him the information that a small British
column was stationed in the village of Thaba N'Chu, forty miles to the east, and he determined to march
thither and attack it. He gave the order, "Opzaal!" and in less than eight minutes every one of his burghers
was on his horse, armed, provided with two days' rations of biltong, biscuit, coffee, and sugar, and ready to
proceed. De Wet himself leaped into a light, ramshackle four-wheeler, and led the advance over the dusty veld.
Without attempting to proceed with any semblance of military order, the burghers followed in the course of
their leader, some riding rapidly, others walking beside their horses, and a few skirmishing far away on the
veld for buck. The mule-teams
 dragging the artillery and the ammunition waggons were not permitted by their hullabalooing Basuto drivers to
lag far behind the general, and the dust which was raised by this long cavalcade was not unlike the clouds of
locusts which were frequently mistaken for the signs of a trekking commando. Mile after mile was rapidly
traversed, until darkness came on, when a halt was made so that the burghers might prepare a meal, and that
the general might hear from the scouts, who were far in advance of the body. After the men and horses had
eaten, and the moon rose over the dark peak of Thaba N'Chu mountain, the burghers lighted their pipes and sang
psalms and hymns until the peaceful valley resounded with their voices.
VILLAGE AND MOUNTAIN OF THABA N'CHU.
Panting horses brought to the little stone farmhouse, where General De Wet was drinking milk, the long-awaited
scouts who carried the information that the British force had evacuated Thaba N'Chu late in the afternoon, and
that it was moving hurriedly toward Bloemfontein. Again the order: "Opzaal," and the mule train came into
motion and the burghers mounted their horses. A chill night air arose, and shivering burghers wrapped blankets
around their shoulders. The humming of
 hymns and the whistling ceased, and there was nothing but the clatter of horses' hoofs, the shouts of the
Basutos, and the noises of the guns and waggons rumbling over the stones and gullies to mark the nocturnal
passage of the army. Lights appeared at farmhouse windows, and at their gates were women and children with
bread and bowls of milk and prayers for the burghers. Small walls enclosing family burial plots where
newly-dug ground told its own story of the war seemed grim in the moonlight; native huts with their
inhabitants standing like spectres before the doors appeared like monstrous ant-heaps—all these were
passed, but the drooping eyes of the burghers saw nothing.
At midnight another halt was made, horses were off-saddled and men lay down on the veld to sleep. The generals
and officers met in Krijgsraad, and other scouts arriving told of the enemy's evident intention of spending
the remainder of the night at an old-time off-saddling station known as Sannaspost. The news was highly
important, and the heads of the generals came closer together. Maps were produced, pencil marks were made,
plans were formed, and then the sleeping burghers were aroused. The trek was resumed, and shortly
 afterward the column was divided into two parts; the one consisting of nine hundred men under General Peter De
Wet, proceeding by a circuitous route to the hills south of Sannaspost, and the other of five hundred men
commanded by General Christian De Wet moving through a maze of kopjes to a position west of the trekking
The burghers were not informed of the imminence of a battle; but they required no such announcement from their
generals. The atmosphere seemed to be surcharged with premonitions of an engagement, and men rubbed sleep out
of their eyes and sat erect upon their horses. The blacks even ceased to crack their whips so sharply, and
urged the mules forward in whispers instead of shrieks. Burghers took their rifles from their backs, tested
the workings of the mechanism and filled the magazine with cartridges. Artillerymen leaped from their horses
and led them while they sat on the cannon and poured oil into the bearings. Young men speculated on the number
of prisoners they would take; old men wrote their names on their hats by the light of the moon. The lights of
Bloemfontein appeared in the distance, and grey-beards looked longingly at them and sighed. But
 the cavalcade passed on, grimly, silently, and defiantly, into the haunts of the enemy.
After four hours of trekking over veld, kopje, sluit, and donga, the two columns halted, the burghers
dismounted, and, weary from the long journey and the lack of sleep, lay down on the earth beside their horses.
Commandants, field-cornets and corporals, bustling about among the burghers, horses and waggons, gave orders
in undertones; generals summoned their scouts and asked for detailed information concerning the whereabouts of
the enemy; patrols were scurrying hither and thither to secure accurate ideas of the topography of the
territory in front of them; all who were in authority were busy, while the burghers, who carried the strength
of battle in their bodies, lay sleeping and resting.
The first dim rays of the day came over the tops of the eastern hills when the burghers were aroused and asked
to proceed to the positions chosen by their leaders. The men under Peter De Wet, the younger brother of the
Commandant-General, were led to an elevation about a mile and a half south of Sannaspost, where they placed
their cannon into position and waited for the break of day.
 Christian De Wet and his five hundred burghers advanced noiselessly and occupied the dry bed of Koorn Spruit,
a stream which crossed the main road running from Thaba N'Chu to Bloemfontein at right angles about a mile
from the station where the British forces had begun their bivouac for the night, two hours before. No signs of
the enemy could be seen; there were no pickets, no outposts, and none of the usual safeguards of an army, and
for some time the Boers were led to believe that the British force had been allowed to escape unharmed.
The burghers under the leadership of Christian De Wet were completely concealed in the spruit. The high banks
might have been held by the forces of their enemy, but unless they crept to the edge and looked down into the
stream they would not have been able to discover the presence of the Boers. Where the road crossed the stream
deep approaches had been dug into the banks in order to facilitate the passage of conveyances—a "drift"
it is called in South Africa—and on either side for a distance of a mile, up and down the stream, the
burghers stood by their horses and waited for the coming of the day. The concealment was
 perfect; no specially constructed trenches could have served the purposes of the Boers more advantageously.
Dawn lighted the flat-topped kopjes that lay in a huge semicircle in the distance, and men clambered up the
sides of the spruit to ascertain the camp of the enemy. The white smoke-stack of the Bloemfontein waterworks
appeared against the black background of the hills in the east, but it was still too dark to distinguish
objects on the ground beneath it. A group of burghers in the spruit, absent-mindedly, began to sing a
deep-toned psalm, but the stern order of a commandant quickly ended their matutinal song. A donkey in an
ammunition waggon brayed vociferously, and a dozen men, fearful lest the enemy should hear the noise, sprang
upon him with clubs and whips, and even attempted to close his mouth by force of hands. It was the fateful
moment before the battle, and men acted strangely. Some walked nervously up and down, others dropped on their
knees and prayed, a few lighted their pipes, many sat on the ground and looked vacantly into space, while some
of the younger burghers joked and laughed.
 At the drift stood the generals, scanning the hills and undulations with their glasses. Small fires appeared
in the east near the tall white stack. "They are preparing their breakfast," some one suggested. "I see a few
tents," another one reported excitedly. All eyes were turned in the direction indicated. Some estimated the
intervening distance at a mile, others were positive it was not more than a thousand yards—it was not
light enough to distinguish accurately. "Tell the burghers that I will fire the first shot," said General De
Wet to one of his staff. Immediately the order was spread to the men in the spruit. "I see men leading oxen to
the waggons; they are preparing to trek," remarked a commandant. "They are coming down this way," announced
another, slapping his thigh joyfully.
A few minutes afterwards clouds of dust arose, and at intervals the waggons in the van could be seen coming
down the slope toward the drift. The few tents fell, and men in brown uniforms moved hither and thither near
the waterworks building. Waggon after waggon joined in the procession; drivers were shrieking and wielding
their whips over the heads of the oxen, and farther behind
 were cavalrymen mounting their horses. It was daylight then, although the sun was still below the horizon, and
the movements of the enemy could be plainly discerned. The ox-teams came slowly down the road—there
seemed to be no limit to their number—and the generals retreated down the drift to the bottom of the
spruit, so that their presence should not be discerned by the enemy, and to await the arrival of the waggons.
The shrieking natives drew nearer, the rumbling of the waggons became more distinct, and soon the first
vehicle descended the drift. A few burghers were sent forward to intercept it. As soon as it reached the
bottom of the spruit the men grasped the bridles of the horses, and instantly there were shrieks from the
occupants of the vehicle. It was filled with women and children, all pale with fright on account of the
unexpected appearance of the Boers. The passengers were quickly and gently taken from the waggon and sent to
places of safety in the spruit, while a burgher jumped into the vehicle and drove the horses up the other
drift and out upon the open veld. The operation of substituting drivers was done so quickly and quietly that
none of those approaching the drift
 from the other side noticed anything extraordinary, and proceeded into the spruit. Other burghers stood
prepared to receive them as they descended the drift with their heavily laden ammunition and provision
waggons, and there was little trouble in seizing the British drivers and placing the whips into the hands of
Boers. Waggon after waggon was relieved of its drivers and sent up to the other bank without creating a
suspicion in the minds of the others who were coming down the slope from the waterworks.
After fifty or more waggons had crossed the drift a solitary cavalry officer with the rank of captain, riding
leisurely along, followed one of them. His coat had a rent in it and he was holding the torn parts together,
as if he were planning the mending of it when he reached Bloemfontein. A young Boer sprang toward him, called
"Hands up!" and projected the barrel of his carbine toward him. The officer started out of his reverie,
involuntarily reached for his sword, but repented almost instantly, and obeyed the order. General De Wet
approached the captain, touched his hat in salute, and said, "Good morning, sir." The officer returned the
 and offered his sword to the Boer. De Wet declined to receive the weapon and told the officer to return to his
men and ask them to surrender. "We have a large force of men surrounding you," the general explained, "and you
cannot escape. In order to save many lives I ask you to surrender your men without fighting." The officer
remained silent for a moment, then looked squarely into the eyes of the Boer general and said, "I will return
to my men and will order them to surrender." De Wet nodded his head in assent, and the captain mounted his
horse. "I will rely upon your promise," the general added, "if you break it I will shoot you."
General De Wet and several of his commandants followed the cavalry officer up the drift and stood on the bank
while the horseman galloped slowly toward the troops which were following the waggons down the slope. The
general raised his carbine and held it in his arms. His eyes were fixed on the officer, and he stood as firm
as a statue until the cavalryman reached his men. There was a momentary pause while the captain stood before
his troops, then the horses were wheeled about and their hoofs sent showers of
 dust into the air as they carried their riders in retreat. General De Wet stepped forward several paces,
raised his carbine to his shoulder, aimed steadily for a second, then fired. The bullet whistled menacingly
over the heads of oxen and drivers—it struck the officer, and he fell.
THE AUTHOR, AND A BASUTO PONY WHICH ASSISTED IN THE FIGHT AT SANNASPOST.
All along the banks of the spruit, for a mile on either side of the ravine, and over on the hills where Peter
De Wet and his burghers lay, men had been waiting patiently and expectantly for that signal gun of Christian
De Wet. They had been watching the enemy toiling down the slope under the very muzzles of their guns for
almost an age, it seemed, yet they dared not fire lest the plans of the generals should be thwarted. Men had
lain flat on the ground with their rifles pointing minute after minute at individuals in the advancing column,
but the words of their general, "I will fire the first shot," restrained them. The flight of the bullet
 which entered the body of the cavalry officer marked the ending of the long period of nervous tension, and the
burghers were free to use their guns.
Until the officer advised his men to retreat and he himself fell from his horse the main body of the British
troops was ignorant of the presence of the Boers, but the report of the rifle was a summons to battle and
instantly the field was filled with myriads of stirring scenes. The lazy transport-train suddenly became a
thing of rapid motion; the huge body of troops was quickly broken into many parts; horses that had been idling
along the road plunged forward as if projected by catapults. Officers with swords flashing in the sunlight
appeared leading their men into different positions, cannon were hurriedly drawn upon commanding elevations,
and Red Cross waggons scattered to places of safety. The peaceful transport-train had suddenly been
transformed into a formidable engine of war by the report of a rifle, and the contest for a sentiment and a
bit of ground was opened by shrieking cannon-shell and the piercing cry of rifle-ball.
Down at the foot of the slope, where the drift
 crossed the spruit, Boers were dragging cannon into position, and in among the waggons which had become
congested in the road, burghers and soldiers were engaging in fierce hand-to-hand encounters. A stocky Briton
wrestled with a youthful Boer, and in the struggle both fell to the ground; near by a cavalryman was firing
his revolver at a Boer armed with a rifle, and a hundred paces away a burgher was fighting with a British
officer for the possession of a sword. Over from the hills in the south came the dull roar of Boer cannon,
followed by the reports of the shells exploding in the east near the waterworks. British cannon opened fire
from a position near the white smoke-stack and scores of bursting projectiles fell among the waggons at the
spruit. Oxen and horses were rent limb from limb, waggons tumbled over on their sides; boxes of provisions
were thrown in all directions, and out of the cloud of dust and smoke stumbled men with blood-stained faces
and lacerated bodies. Terrified and bellowing oxen twisted and tugged at their yokes; horses broke from their
fastenings in the waggons and dashed hither and thither, and weakling donkeys strove in vain to free
themselves from waggons
 set on fire by the shells. Explosion followed explosion, and with every one the mass became more entangled.
Dead horses fell upon living oxen; wheels and axles were thrown on the backs of donkeys, and plunging mules
dragged heavy waggons over great piles of débris.
The cannon on the southern hills became more active and their shells caused the landscape surrounding the
waterworks to be filled with geysers of dust. Troops which were stationed near the white smoke-stack suddenly
spurred their horses forward and dashed northward to seek safety behind a long undulation in the ground. The
artillerymen in the hills followed their movements with shells, and the dust-fountains sprang up at the very
heels of the troops. The cannon at the drift joined in the attack on the horsemen scattered over the slope,
and the big guns at the waterworks continued to reply vigorously. The men in the spruit were watching the
artillery duel intently as they sped up and down the bottom of the water-less stream, searching for points of
vantage. A large number of them moved rapidly down the spruit towards its confluence with the Modder River in
order to check the advance of the troops
 driven forward by the shell-fire, and another party rushed eastward to secure positions in the rear of the
British cannon at the waterworks. The banks of the stream still concealed them, but they dared not fire lest
the enemy should disturb their plans. On and on they dashed, over rocks and chasms, until they were within a
few hundred yards of a part of the British force. Slowly they crept up the sides of the spruit, cautiously
peered out over the edge of the bank and then opened fire on the men at the cannon and the troops passing down
the slope. Little jets of dust arose where their bullets struck the ground, men fell around the cannon, and
cavalrymen quickly turned and charged toward the spruit. The shells of the cannon at the drift and on the
southern hills fell thicker and thicker among the troops and the air above them was heavy with the light blue
smoke of bursting shrapnel. The patter of the Boer rifles at the spruit increased in intensity and the jets of
brown dust became more numerous. The cavalrymen leaped from their horses and ran ahead to find protection
behind a line of rocks. The intermittent, irregular firing of the Boers was punctuated by the regular, steady
reports of British volleys. The
 brown dust-geysers increased among the rocks where the British lay, and soon the soldiers turned and ran for
their horses. Burghers crept from rock to rock in pursuit of them, and their bullets urged the fleeing
horsemen on. The British cannon spoke less frequently, and shells and bullets fell so thickly around them that
bravery in such a situation seemed suicidal, and the last artilleryman fled. Boers ran up and turned the
loaded guns upon the backs of those who had operated them a few moments before.
Down in the north-western part of the field a large force of troops was dashing over the veld toward the banks
of the spruit. Officers, waving swords above their heads and shouting commands to their subordinates, led the
way. A few shells exploding in the ranks scattered the force temporarily and caused horses to rear and plunge,
but the gaps quickly disappeared, and the men moved on down the slope. Boers rode rapidly down the spruit and
out upon the veld behind a low range of kopjes which lay in front of the British force. Horses were left in
charge of native servants, and the burghers crept forward on hands and knees to the summit of the range. They
 themselves behind rocks and bushes and waited for the enemy to approach more closely. The cavalrymen spread
out in skirmishing order as they proceeded, and, ignorant of the proximity of the Boers, drew their horses
into a walk. The burghers in the kopje fired a few shots, and the troops turned quickly to the left and again
broke into a gallop. The firing from the kopje increased in volume, the cannon from the hills again broke
forth, the little dust-clouds rose out of the earth on all sides of the troopers, and shrapnel bursting in the
air sent its bolts and balls of iron and steel; into the midst of the brown men and earth. Horses and riders
fell, officers leaped to the ground and shouted encouragement to their soldiers, men sprang behind rocks and
discharged their rifles. Minutes of agony passed. Officers gathered their men and attempted to lead them
forward, but they had not progressed far when the Boers in the spruit in front of them swept the ground with
the bullets of their rifles. Burghers crept around the edge of the kopjes and emptied their carbines into the
backs of the cavalrymen, cannons poured shell upon them from three different directions, and these men on the
 plain could not see even a brace of Boers to fire upon. Men and horses continued to fall, the wounded lay
moaning in the grass, while shells and bullets sang their song of death more loudly every second to those who
braved the storm. A tiny white cloth was raised, the firing ceased instantly, and the brave band threw down
its arms to the burghers who sprang out from the spruit and rocky kopje.
In the east the low hills were dotted with men in brown. To the right and left of them, a thousand yards
apart, were Boer horsemen circling around kopjes and seeking positions for attacking the already vanquished
but stubborn enemy. Rifle fire had ceased and cannon sounded only at intervals of a few minutes. Women at the
doors of the two farmhouses in the centre of the battlefield, and a man drawing water at a well near by, were
not inharmonious with the quietness and calmness of the moment, but the epoch of peace was of short duration.
The Boer horsemen stemmed the retreat of the men in brown, and compelled them to retrace their steps. Another
body of burghers made a wide détour north-eastward from the spruit, and, jumping from their
 horses, crept along under the cover of an undulation in the ground for almost a half-mile to a point which
overlooked the route of the British retreat.
The enemy was slow in coming, and a few of the Boers lay down to sleep. Others filled their pipes and lighted
them, and one abstracted a pebble from his shoe. As the cavalrymen drew nearer to them the burghers crept
forward several paces and sought the protection of rocks or piled stones together in the form of miniature
forts. "Shall we fire now?" inquired a beardless Free State youth. "Wait until they come nearer," replied an
older burgher close by. Silence was maintained for several minutes, when the youth again became uneasy. "I can
hit the first one of those Lancers," he begged, as he pointed with his carbine to a cavalryman known to the
Boers as a "Lancer," whether he carried a lance or not. The cannon in the south urged the cavalrymen forward
with a few shells delivered a short distance behind them, and then the old burgher called to the youth, "See
if you can hit him now."
The boy missed the rider but killed the horse, and the British force quickly dismounted and sought shelter in
a small ravine. The reports of volley
 firing followed, and bullets cut the grass beside the burghers and flattened themselves against the rocks.
Another volley, and a third, in rapid succession, and the burghers pressed more closely to the ground. An
interval of a minute, and they glanced over their tiny stockades to find a British soldier. "They are coming
up the kopje!" shouted a burgher, and their rifles swept the hillside with bullets. More volleys came from
below and, while the leaden tongues sang above and around them, the burghers turned and lay on their backs to
refill the magazines of their rifles. Another interval, and the attack was renewed. "They are running!"
screamed a youth exultingly, and burghers rose and fired at the men in brown at the foot of the kopje.
Marksmen had their opportunity then, and long aim was taken before a shot was fired. Men knelt on the one knee
and rested an elbow on the other, while they held their rifles to their shoulders. Reports of carbines became
less frequent as the troops progressed farther in an opposite direction, but increased again when the
cavalrymen returned for a second attack upon the kopje. "Lend me a handful of cartridges, Jan," asked one man
of his neighbour, as they watched the oncoming force.
 "They must want this kopje," remarked another burgher jocularly, as he filled his pipe with tobacco and
The British cannon in the east again became active, and the dust raised by their shells was blown over the
heads of the burghers on the kopje. The reports of the big guns of the Boers reverberated among the hills,
while the regular volleys of the British rifles seemed to be beating time to the minor notes and irregular
reports of the Boer carbines. At a distance the troops moving over the brown field of battle resembled huge
ants more than human beings; and the use of smokeless powder, causing the panorama to remain perfectly clear
and distinct, allowed every movement to be closely followed by the observer. Cannon poured forth their tons of
shells, but there was nothing except the sound of the explosion to denote where the guns were situated. Rifles
cut down lines of men, but there was no smoke to indicate where they were being operated, and unless the
burghers or soldiers displayed themselves to their enemy there was nothing to indicate their positions.
Shrapnel bursting in the air, the reports of rifles and heavy guns and the
 little puffs of dust where shells and bullets struck the ground were the only evidences of the battle's
progress. The hand-to-hand conflicts, the duels with bayonets and swords and the clouds of smoke were probably
heroic and picturesque before the age of rapid-fire guns, modern rifles, and smokeless ammunition, but here
the field of battle resembled a country fox-chase with an exaggerated number of hunters, more than a
representation of a battle of twenty-five years ago.
On the summit of the kopje the burghers were firing leisurely but accurately. One man aimed steadily at a
soldier for fully twenty seconds, then pressed the trigger, lowered his rifle and watched for the effect of
the shot. Bullets were flying high over him, and the shrapnel of the enemy's guns exploded far behind him.
There seemed to be no great danger, and he fired again. "I missed that time," he remarked to a burgher who lay
behind another rock several yards distant. His neighbour then fired at the same soldier, and both cried
simultaneously: "He is hit!" The enemy again disappeared in the little ravine, and the burghers ceased firing.
Shells continued to tear through the air, but none exploded in the vicinity
 of the men, and they took advantage of the lull in the battle to light their pipes. A swarm of yellow locusts
passed overhead, and exploding shrapnel tore them into myriads of pieces, their wings and limbs falling near
the burghers. "I am glad I am not a locust," remarked a burgher farther to the left of the others, as he
dropped a handful of torn fragments of the insects. Shells and bullets suddenly splashed everywhere around the
burghers, and they crouched more closely behind the rocks. The enemy's guns had secured an accurate range, and
the air was filled with the projectiles of iron and lead. Exploding shells splintered rocks into atoms and
sent them tearing through the grass. Puffs of smoke and dirt were springing up from every square yard of
ground, and a few men rose from their retreats and ran to the rear where the Basuto servants were holding
their horses. More followed several minutes afterwards, and when those who remained on the summit of the kopje
saw that ten times their number of soldiers were ascending the hill under cover of cannon fire they also fled
to their horses.
An open plain half a mile wide lay between the point where the burghers mounted their horses,
 and another kopje in the north-east. The men lay closely on their horses' backs, plunged their spurs in the
animals' sides, and dashed forward. The cavalrymen, who had gained the summit of the kopje meanwhile, opened
fire on the fleeing Boers, and their bullets cut open the horses' sides and ploughed holes into the burgher's
clothing. One horse, a magnificent grey who had been leading the others, fell dead as he was leaping over a
small gully, and his rider was thrown headlong to the ground. Another horseman turned in his course, assisted
the horseless rider to his own brown steed, and the two were borne rapidly through the storm of bullets
towards the kopje. Another horse was killed when he had carried his rider almost to the goal of safety, and
the Boer was compelled to traverse the remainder of the distance on foot. Apparently all the burghers had
escaped across the plain, and their field-cornet was preparing to lead them to another position when a
solitary horseman, a mere speck of black against a background of brown, lifeless grass, issued from a rocky
ravine below the kopje occupied by the enemy, and plunged into the open space. Lee-Metfords cracked and cut
open the ground around
 him, but the rider bent forward and seemed to become a part of his horse. Every rod of progress seemed to
multiply the fountains of dust near him; every leap of his horse seemed necessarily his last. On, on he
dashed, now using his stirrups, now beating his horse with his hands. It seemed as if he were making no
progress, yet his horse's legs were moving so swiftly. "They will get him," sighed the field-cornet, looking
through his glasses. "He has a chance," replied a burgher. Seconds dragged wearily, the firing increased in
volume, and the dust of the horse's heels mingled with that raised by the bullets. The sound of the hoofs
beating down on the solid earth came louder and louder over the veld, the firing slackened and then ceased,
and a foaming, panting horse brought his burden to where the burghers stood. The exhausted rider sank to the
ground, and men patted the neck and forehead of the quivering beast.
Down in the valley, near the spruit, the foreign military attachés in uniforms quite distinct were watching
the effect of the British artillery on the saddle belonging to one of their number. "They will never hit it,"
volunteered one, as a shell exploded ten yards distant from the leathern mark.
 "They must think it is a crowd of Boers," suggested another, when a dozen shells had fallen without injuring
the saddle. Fifteen, twenty tongues of dust arose, but the leather remained unmarred by scratch or rent, and
the attachés became the target of the heavy guns. "I am hit," groaned Lieutenant Nix, of the
Netherlands-Indian army, and his companions caught him in their arms. Blood gushed from a wound in the
shoulder, but the soldier spirit did not desert him. "Here, Demange!" he called to the French attaché, "Hold
my head. And you, Thompson and Allen, see if you cannot bind this shoulder." The Norwegian and Hollander bound
the wound as well as they were able. "Reichman!" the injured man whispered, "I am going to die in a few
minutes, and I wish you would write a letter to my wife." The American attaché hastily procured paper and
pencil, and while shells and shrapnel were bursting over and around them the wounded man dictated a letter to
 his wife in Holland. Blood flowed copiously from the wound and stained the grass upon which he lay. He was
pale as the clouds above him, and the pain was agonising, but the dying man's letter was filled with nothing
but expressions of love and tenderness.
In the south-eastern part of the field a large party of cavalrymen was speeding in the direction of Thaba
N'Chu. On two sides of them, a thousand yards behind, small groups of horsemen were giving chase. At a
distance, the riders appeared like ants slowly climbing the hillside. Now and then a Boer rider suddenly
stopped his horse, leaped to the ground, and fired at the fleeing cavalrymen. A second afterwards he was on
his horse again, bending to the chase. Shot followed shot, but the distance between the forces grew greater,
and one by one the burghers turned their animals' heads and slowly retraced their steps. A startled buck
bounded over the veld, two rifles were turned upon it, and its flight was ended.
CALLING FOR VOLUNTEERS TO MAN CAPTURED CANNON AFTER SANNASPOST.
The sound of firing had ceased, and the battle was concluded. Waggons with Red Cross flags fluttering from the
tall staffs above them, issued from the mountains and rumbled through the valleys. Burghers dashed over the
field in search of the wounded and dying. Men who a few moments before were straining every nerve to kill
their fellow-beings became equally energetic to
 preserve lives. Wounded soldiers and burghers were lifted out of the grass and carried tenderly to the
ambulance waggons. The dead were placed side by side, and the same cloth covered the bodies of Boer and
Briton. Men with spades upturned the earth, and stood grimly by while a man in black prayed over the bodies of
those who died for their country.
Boer officers, with pencils and paper in their hands, sped over the battlefield from a group of prisoners to a
line of passing waggons, and made calculations concerning the result of the day's battle. Three Boers killed
and nine wounded was one side of the account. On the credit sheet were marked four hundred and eight British
soldiers, seven cannon, one hundred and fifty waggons, five hundred and fifty rifles, two thousand horses and
cattle, and vast stores of ammunition and provisions captured during the day.
In among the north-eastern hills, where a farmer's daub-and-wattle cottage stood, were the prisoners of war,
chatting and joking with their captors. The officers walked slowly back and forth, never raising their eyes
from the ground. Dejection was written on their faces. Near them
 were the captured waggons, with groups of noisy soldiers climbing over them in search of their luggage. On the
ground others were playing cards and matching coins. Young Boers walked amongst them and engaged them in
conversation. Near the farmhouse stood a tall Cape Colony Boer talking with his former neighbour, who was a
prisoner. Several Americans among the captured disputed the merits of the war with a Yankee burgher, who had
readily distinguished his countrymen among the throng. Some one began to whistle a popular tune, others
joined, and soon almost every one was participating. An officer gave the order for the prisoners to fall in
line, and shortly afterward the men in brown tramped forward, while the burghers stepped aside and lined the
path. A soldier commenced to sing another popular song, British and Boer caught the refrain, and the noise of
tramping feet was drowned by the melody of the united voices of friend and foe singing—
"It's the soldiers of the Queen, my lads,
Who've been, my lads—who've seen, my lads,
We'll proudly point to every one
Of England's soldiers of the Queen."
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