Kimberley, as has been said, is by no means a picturesque place. On first acquaintance it appears to be surrounded by redoubts or forts, being dotted with mounds of greyish slag, technically called "tailings," which represent the refuse soil from which the diamondiferous ore has been extracted. The buildings are somewhat formal and unpleasing, being for the most part of corrugated iron, and conveying the impression that they are constructed with a view to being carried off at any moment. There are a few private residences, which the orthodox house-
When the Boer Ultimatum was pronounced, all eyes turned naturally in the direction of the Diamond City, and as naturally the Diamond City, under the direction of Colonel Kekewich, prepared to defend itself. The population to be protected numbered some 30,000of whom 19,000 were blacks. Among these latter were 4000 women. At that time it was doubtful if the Zulus, Matabele's, and Basutos were to be trusted, and consequently the position of the Colonel in supreme command was one of great responsibility. Fortunately the place was stocked with arms and ammunition, though the number of the regulars was absolutely inadequate to the requirements of so large an area.
The Imperial garrison sent to Kimberley for the defence only consisted of the 23rd
Company Royal Garrison Artillery, with six 7-
The whole garrison was reviewed, and a town-
Skirmisbing took place on Friday, the 14th of October, and on the following day there were more encounters. One squadron in an armoured train was held up by the Boers, and their attack was supported by a second force. The second squadron of the Protectorate regiment grandly repelled the attack. The train, in which were several Imperial officers, was uninjured. The Boer artillery gave way at last, and the forces withdrew, but not before having sustained heavy loss.
On the 15th a proclamation was made establishing martial law in Griqualand West and Bechuanaland. Persons not members of the defending forces were ordered to register their firearms, and no one was allowed to leave their houses between nine at night and six in the morning. The canteens without permits were opened only for a few hours during the day. Death was to be the punishment for acts contrary to civilised warfare. Fourteen Streams and Vryburg were now evacuated, the police detachments retiring from them on Kimberley.
In order to maintain internal order, Colonel Kekewich divided the town into four
On the 21st of October, an armoured train that went out to reconnoitre discovered the enemy in the neighbourhood of Spyfontein. A proclamation having been issued by the Boers at Vryburg annexing Bechuanaland, most probably for the purpose of impressing the disloyal Dutch, Colonel Kekewich forthwith issued another, threatening that British subjects found assisting the Queen's enemies would be summarily dealt with as base rebels. He also declared that, in spite of the hoisting of the Vierkleur in Vryburg, the status of British subjects in Griqualand and Bechuanaland would remain unaltered. An armoured train was again engaged on this date, but only one man was killed. Two trucks of dynamite, however, which had been safely removed, were blown up by the Boers. The town was now completely isolated, the railway line being cut north and south.
On the 24th inst. the garrison, supported by two armoured trains, had a fresh and
an exceedingly animated encounter with the enemy. Colonel Scott Turner and 270 mounted
volunteers marched north to Macfarlane's Farm. There they off-
The Boers advanced on Colonel Murray and tried to cut off the party, and in endeavouring to frustrate their efforts Colonel Turner found himself in the thick of a furious fire which burst from a dam wall 500 yards on his left.
The British guns promptly began to blaze on the enemy, who very briskly responded.
In the end, however, they were compelled to fall back. At this juncture the Lancashires,
whose pluck and dexterity were magnificent throughout, hastily occupied the position,
fixed bayonets, and gallantly drove off the enemy whenever he turned to make a stand.
The fight, which was in every way a brilliant success, lasted four long hours. The
British loss was three killed and twenty-
"In case your Honour should determine not to comply with this demand, I hereby request your Honour to allow all women and children to leave Kimberley, so that they may be placed out of danger, and for this purpose your Honour is granted time from noon on Saturday, November 4, 1899, to 6 A.M. on Monday, November 6, 1899. I further give notice that during that time I shall be ready to receive all Afrikander families who wish to remove from Kimberley, and also to offer liberty to depart to all women and children of other nations desirous of leaving.
The Boers soon began to receive the reinforcements which have been mentioned. These
came from the direction of Mafeking, that place having proved too much a "spitfire"
for their liking. As a last resource, they directed their attention to Kimberley,
and by way of exercise blew up some £3000 worth of dynamite which was stored in some
huts belonging to the De Beers Company. While these exciting events were taking
place, and with the roar of intermittent explosions in his ears, Mr. Rhodes pursued
a placid way. His labours were eminently horticultural-
News from the Orange River, which came in by fits and starts, hinted that after the evacuation of Colesberg would come the abandonment of Stormberg. Stormberg was intended to be the dep’t where stores, tents, ammunition, and all the commissariat details of the Third Division under General Gatacre would be accumulated. These stores, owing to the Boer advance from Bethulie and Aliwal North, were now being removed to Queenstown, some sixty miles down the line.
|The Growth of the Transvaal|
|The Web Thickens|
|The Zulu War|
|Isandlwana, an hour by hour account|
|Affairs at Home|
|The First Anglo Boer War|
|Between the Wars|
|The Fate of SGT Elliot|
|The Siege of Pretoria|
|The Reform Movement|
|The Critical Moment|
|The Fate of the Raiders|