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THE BATTLE OF KARREE


Karree Station  is situated some seventy miles north of Bloemfontein, and here the Dutchmen were distributed on kopjes commanding the railway west and north. As they promised to be an impediment to further progress, Lord Roberts decided that they  must be removed. Generals Tucker, Wavell, and Chermside, with infantry and artillery, were already in the vicinity. To join them General French started from Bloemfontein with reinforcements on the 28th of March. These consisted of  a Cavalry Brigade composed of 12th Lancers, the Carabineers, the Greys, the Australian Horse, a Mounted Infantry Brigade, Kitchener's Horse, and three Vickers-Maxim guns under Colonel Le Gallais.

The artillery planted their  shells with admirable exactness on the kopjes west of Karree where the enemy had ensconed himself. Meanwhile, in a wonderful and most invisible manner, an enveloping movement was organised, Colonel Le Gallais, the Mounted Infantry,  and Kitchener's Horse operating on the right wing, while General French with 1st and 3rd Cavalry Brigades were on the left. General Chermside's Brigade was on the right centre, and General Wavell's on the left centre. About midday  the enemy was discovered near a farmhouse some two miles east of Karree. The Dutchmen then began to fire from some small kopjes, on the infantry. From this point they were routed by the smart action of the Norfolks, but they  continually reappeared, there being some five thousand of them, under Grobler, occupying four different positions, with a frontage some three miles long. Both ends of the position were strengthened by trenches and guns. The right  flank consisted of a thickly wooded hill connected with the main position by a ridge also covered with scrub. The left was protected by an incrustation of minor kopjes, and' round these fastnesses the Boers clung tenaciously.

The  finest performance of the day was that of the East Lancashires, who, with comparatively small loss, eventually succeeded in moving the enemy from his main stronghold. The City Imperial Volunteers also distinguished themselves, the  men advancing the first time under fire with the utmost coolness.
   While the enemy were retreating from the assault of the Lancashires General French's guns opened on them, and with such good result that the fight was practically  at an end, for the Boers having begun to beat a retreat were forced finally to scuttle off as fast as legs would carry them. Till sunset the, artillery contjnued to direct deadly attentions to the various kopjes, thus deciding the  Dutchmen that their efforts to run and return would be of no avail. Dusk was setting in, and consequently the cavalry failed to pursue them, and they succeeded once more in getting away clear. Owing to the rapidity with which the  night came on,' most of the troops, who had experienced some very trying hours of fighting, bivouacked where they were.
The battery on the right centre was unable to come into action owing to the nature of the ground', which was  sliced with ravines and blotched with irregularities, but nevertheless the upshot of the day's work was satisfactory, as the country as far as the little town of Brandfort-important to us in our future' operations-was swept clear  of the enemy, and henceforth the British outposts covered the ground gained and preserved it from further incursions of the nimble Dutchmen.

The casualties were numerous:
King's Own' Scottish Borderers.-Killed.-Capt. A. C.  Going. Wounded. Lieut. E. M. Young, dangerously (since dead); Second Lieut. B. J. Coulson; Capt. W. D. Sellar. Norfolk Regiment.-Capt. E. Peebles; Capt. A. 'H. Luard. Lincoinshire Regiment.-Capt. L. Edwards. South Wales Borderers.
 -Lieut. W. C. Curgenven. Hampshire Regiment.-Lieut'. C. N. French. 1st Dragoon Guards.-Capt. W. M. Marter (Brigade Major).