PLUCKY little Mafeking continued to hold its own, and not merely to hold its own, but to make itself dauntlessly aggressive. Continual sorties took place, and indeed formed part of the routine of daily life. Commandant Cronje now sent in a communication disputing the right of the British to use dynamite in any way in the operations for the defence of the town; but Colonel Baden-
For some time after Colonel Walford's gallant defence of Cannon Kopje on the 31st October, nothing much occurred. The losses from this attack were more than at first supposed. Captain the Hon. H. Marsham, as we know, was killed, and Captain Pechell, who was hit in the abdomen by a piece of shell, succumbed to his injuries.
SW' Sergeant Lloyd, who did splendid service with the Red Cross company, was struck
while attending to the wounded, and died. Trooper Nicholas, whose arm was shattered,
succumbed owing to shock to the system. A trooper who was hit by a bullet in the
Among the marvellous escapes recorded, and these were not a few, was one of a negro who was shot through the brain by a bullet. The projectile passed through one temple and lodged in the other yet the man still survived, and showed a decided intention to recover, There is an old story of a Jamaica negro who fell from a tree without injury, and when asked how he escaped, he explained his good fortune by saying, Tank God, me fall on me head
The Invulnerability of the nigger cranium in that case, as in this, had its advantages,
and it would be interesting if some of our specialists-
On the 1st of November a lamentable incident occurred. Parslow, the correspondent of the Daily Chronicle, was shot by a member of the garrison. 'I'he miowing is an extract from a letter relating to the sad affair, which was in the possession of the Editor of the Daily Chronicle
"MAEKING, November 10.-
The young journalist was exceedingly popular and deeply regretted. He was buried with military honours on the evening of the 2nd. bus coffin was covered with the Union Jack, and carried to the grave by Major Baillie of the Morning Post, Mn Angus Hanijiton of the Times, Mr. Hellawell of the Dai~ A!ai4 Mr. Reilly of the I'atI Malt Gaze/te, and the correspondent of the Press Association. The funeral was attended by many members of the Staff, who were desirous of showing their esteem for the promising and aallant writen.
The enemy now engaged in hostilities under the command of the son of Cronje, who was said to have had, in the interval, a pasasage d'armes with his father, the General, the younger man having taunted the elder for not having succeeded in reducing Mafeking to submission. Whereupon Cronje fils undertook to do the great deed himself, and in setting about it managed to get killed. The Boers again stormed the place, and were driven back in confusion by the magnificent energy of the British South African Police, leaving strewn on the field of action an enormous number of dead and wounded. Their removal occupied two hours. Captain Goodyear, commanding a squad of Cape "boys," made a dashing sortie, and received a wound in the leg, but he nevertheless captured the brickfields, and held them against the enemy, thus Preventing him from utilising them for sniping operations.
Sunday the 5th of November was, as usual, observed as a day of truce. The enemy
made an effort to defy the rules of Sabbath etiquette, and were informed, under a
flag of truce, that if they should continue to erect works commanding the brickfields,
the guns would open fire on them. This warning had the desired effect. The memory
of Guy Fawkes, together with the news of our victories in Natal, was honoured by
an exhibition of fireworks-
'The air of Mafeking is said to be equal to champagne, and perhaps to its stimulating
influence the garrison owed its sprightliness and activity. The little township
" ran" a journal of its own, and though not so effervescent as The Lyre of Ladysmith,
it had its humorous side. The Mafeking Mail as it was called, was issued daily-
Mafeking stands. From what we have experienced we do not consider ourselves too optimistic
in anticipating a successful ending to the contest. For the first time in the history
of Boer warfare have the Boers been defeated at every turn by a force far inferior
in point of numbers. Since the first attack on Saturday, October 14th, they fly directly
our guns are heard. Safely out of range they fire into the town, but they do not
appear to be pining for another attempt at storming Mafeking. In the 'general orders'
issued last Sunday the following occurs :-
"There is no doubt that there was landed in South Africa by Sunday last a body of
57,000 men, including probably twelve or fourteen regiments of cavalry, twenty or
"When the big gun with which the enemy hoped to pulverise us, and which has sent
more shells in the neighbourhood of the hospital and women's laager than in any other
parts of the town, is taken by our troops, we think it only fair to Mafeking that
it should be brought here. It will make a good memorial and be an object lesson to
succeeding generations, who, reading the history of our bombardment, and seeing the
weapon employed against our women and children, will be able to judge of the nineteenth-
"Major Lord E. Cecil, C.S.O., last evening issued the following under the heading of 'General Orders':
[Here was recorded Colonel Baden-
The perusal of the opening paragraphs of the 'Mafeking Mail serves to enlighten us
as to the degrees of hope deferred through which the plucky inhabitants bad to pass.
The pathos of the expression. "So by this day week we may begin to wish them a pleasant
journey back to the Transvaal," can only be understood by comparing the date to which
it referred with that of the relief of the noble garrison-
On the 7th of November, the force under Major Godley and Captain Vernon made a successful
sortie, the excellent management of which was recognised in an order issued by Colonel
was smartly and successfully executed at dawn this morning by a force under the direction
of Major Godley. Captain Vernon S squadron of the Protectorate Regiment carried
this operation out with conspicuous coolness and steadiness. The gunners, under Major
Panzera, fought and worked their guns well under a very trying fire from the enemy.
The Bechuanaland Rifles are to be congratulated on the efficient services rendered
by them under Captain Cowan in this their first engagement in the field. The enemy
appeared to have suffered severely, while our casualties were luckily very light.
This is largely due to the fact that Major Godley delivered his blow suddenly and
quickly, and with-
At this time the town was surrounded by some 2000 Boers, and a heavy shell-
As before said, continual sorties took place, and Colonel Baden Powell succeeded
in capturing mules and horses from the enemy and generally harassing him. Great expectations
sustained the gallant little party that Colonel Plumer's force would shortly make
its way from the north and join hands with Colonel Baden-
Police, and B.S.A. Company's Mounted Police, 6o
Volunteers, six machine-
1000 TransvaaI Boers under Commandant Cronje, and 509
Boers at Maritzani 1500
But later, some of the Boers were drawn off for service in the south.
Poor Mafeking! The inevitable hung like a ghost over everything-
Still the word surrender was unspelt. None dared breathe it aloud. A battery of seven
Towards the middle of the month the garrison was much cheered by the arrival on the scene of a plucky American journalist, who had ridden. from the Cape straight through the Boer lines, and who came with all the buoyancy of the outer world to delight the ears of the British with tales of Lord Methuen's advance. Other news now and then filtered in, and this the Colonel, either viva voce or by means of his typewriter, promptly shared with the whole interested community.
To make it evident that Mafeking was determined to keep lively and aggressive in
spite of intermittent bombardment, several more gallant sorties were made, and on
each occasion the little place came off with flying colours. Commander Cronje, disgusted,
finally took -
Ruses, which are as the breath of his nostrils to the Boer in warfare, continued
to be tried on Colonel Baden-
Meanwhile the inhabitants were pushing out advanced works with good effect, and began
to feel more and more confident that their pluck and patience would ultimately receive
their reward. Their bomb-
On the 25th of November another gallant sortie was made, and the Chartered Company's Police, with magnificent pluck and determination, attacked Eloffsfort and kept the Boers from further encroachment.
For some days nothing unusual took place. The Boers continued to annoy with their
On this subject the correspondent of the Times, who was cooped in Mafeking, said:
"The significance of the dynamite mines which surround our position cannot be under-
Of the Commandant another of the beleaguered band wrote:
"Commanding us we have a man than whom we could have none better. The Colonel is
always smiling, and is a host in himself To see 'B. P.,' as he is affectionately
termed, whistling down the street, deep in thought, pleasing of countenance, cheerful
and confident, is cheering and heartening-
That our good old friend Punch should, in his old age, cause almost intoxicating
delight is a fact worthy of note. A copy brought by Reuter's cyclist-
The pluck of Colonel Baden-
the workers outside, who joined heartily in the chorus. On the 28th of November
grand preparations were made for an evening attack, and these were quietly inspected
by Colonel Baden-
During the night the Colonel ordered Captain Fitzclarence, with D squadron and a
Hotchkiss gun, to relieve Lord C. Bentinck and to support the "snipers " in the river-
News from Colonel Plumer arid his force was scarce, but all were aware that their days and nights were spent in hard work, discomfort and in perpetual and gallant efforts to come to of tile besieged town. It must be remembered that the Regiment originally had for its object the protection of border of the Transvaal and a portion of the western
Mareking made, as it were, the outer gate, and this gate it necessary to defend in order to preserve the communications with the north arid with Buluwayo. No sooner, therefore, was it locked by a state of siege. than the entire responsibility of keeping the Boers at bay in the northern fringe of the Transvaal devolved on Colonel Plumer, who, on arrival at Tuli, set to work to guard the Drifts and keep an eye on all quarters along the Crocodile where the Boers might try to effect a crossing. At Rhodes Drift, twenty six¥?miles south of the Tuli, he posted Major Pilsen with
250 mounted infantry, while Captain Maclaren, with fifty men of Regiment and twenty
of the Rhodesia Regiment and twenty of the Bechuanaland Border Police, was sent
to garrison Macloutsie, some thirty miles north o the Limpopo, where it was said
the Boers hoped to put in an appearance. Major Pilsen, as we know, was forced to
retire on Tuli, after which the position vacated by him was occupied by Colonel
Spreckley (Southern Rhodesia Volunteers), who in his turn was obliged to make a night
march back to Tuli, with the loss o all his horses. Soon after this, strong Boer
patrols approached daily towards Tuli, and the garrison had an anxious and energetic
time. Minor skirmishes took place with certain success, but leaving behind them their
melancholy roll of killed and wounded. Soon, however, a British victory south, and
Colonel Plumer's exertions round about, combined to alter the Boer plans, and at
length their retirement in the direction of Mafeking was reported. Whereupon this
enterprising officer prepared to enter the Transvaal, whither he was driven by the
enemy, but by drought. On the 1st of December he started from Tuli with a force of
mounted men, and, after hair-
The Boers, learning that necessity is the mother of invention, and finding they could
not get into Mafeking, were obliged to communicate with the Baden-
On the 10th of December the Dutchman Viljoen, who was a prisoner, was exchanged for Lady Sarah Wilson. The story of this enterprising lady is one of remarkable interest. In the beginning of the siege she left Mafeking and rode to Setlagoli Hotel, where she arrived on the same night. No sooner was she asleep than the rattle and roar of musketry commenced. This was afterwards discovered to be the gallant fight of Lieutenant Nesbitt on the armoured train, which has been described in the opening story of the siege. Poor Nesbitt, it may be remembered, was taken prisoner Lady Sarah, a day or two after the fight, rode to the scene of the engagement and photographed the wreck. Later on, this intrepid lady moved from Mosuti to the care of a colonial farmer, and with great difficulty and much expenditure of energy and coin, she managed to induce the natives to provide her with information. All this time she and her friends were subject to the insults of the Boers. At one period she was declared to be the sole survivor of Mafeking, in hiding in the disguise of a woman. At another, she was believed to be the wife or one of the British generals. Others declared that the extraordinary lady was a member of the Royal Family, who was acting as spy on the doings of the Boers in the Colony. After moving to Vryburg, life for her became more exciting still. A young Boer passed her off as his sister, and some loyalists in the town gave her shelter, arid helped her to obtain official despatches and news. But her state was far from comfortable, for most of her excursions had to be made under the shadow of night, and her days were spent enclosed in a room at the hotel. When Lady Sarah desired to leave the town, her exit was not so easy. The magistrates had issued orders that no one was to leave, and but for the kindness of her "brother Boer," she might not have been able to depart. Their Journey was commenced at four in the morning, while it was still dark, and before leaving the town they had to submit to a search of their car lest it should contain any contraband of war.
At last, however, it was discovered that Lady Sarah Wilson's energy was connected
pending negotiations with Colonel Baden-
Boer Lady prisoner, but the enemy refused to part with their prize till Viljoen,
who was incarcerated in Mafeking, was first given up. Colonel Baden-
The artillery fire of the enemy was now beginning to prove
More efficient than formerly. In spite of this, however, Colonel Baden Powell, in the kindness of his heart, issued a warning to the Burghers advising them to make terms and go home. This very characteristic epistle is here reproduced, as it shows the amazing blend of serpent and dove in the spirit of the man who was at that moment facing the choice of death or surrender.
To the Burghers under arms round Mafeking
"I may tell you that Mafeking cannot he taken by sitting down and looking at it, for we have ample supplies for several months. The Staats artillery has done very little damage, and we are now protected both by troops and mines. Your presence here and elsewhere under arms cannot stop the British advancing through your country. Your leaders and newspapers are also trying to make you believe that some foreign combination or Power is likely to intervene in your behalf against England. It is not in keeping with their pretence that your side is going to be victorious, nor in accordance with facts. The Republics having declared war and taken the offensive, cannot claim intervention on their behalf. The German Emperor is at present in England, and fully sympathises with us. The American Government has warned others of its intention to side with England should any Power intervene. France has large interests in the goldfields, identical with those of England. Italy is entirely in accord with us. Russia has no cause to interfere. The war is of one Government against another, and not of a people against another people. The duty assigned to my troops is to sit still here until the proper time arrives, and then to fight and kill until you give in. You, on the other hand, have other interests to think of, your families, farms, and their safety. Your leaders have caused the destruction of farms, and have fired on women and children. Our men are becoming hard to restrain in consequence. They have also caused the invasion of Kaffir territory, looting their cattle, and have thus induced them to rise and invade your country and kill your Burghers. As one white man to another, I warned General Cronje on November 14 that this would occur. Yesterday I heard that more Kaffirs were rising. I have warned General Snyman accordingly. Great bloodshed and destruction of farms threaten you on all sides.
"I wish to offer you a chance of avoiding it. My advice to you is to return to your homes without delay and remain peaceful till the war is over. Those who do this before the 13th will, as far as possible, be protected, as regards yourselves, your families, and property, from confiscation, looting, and other penalties, to which those remaining under arms will be subjected when the invasion takes place. Secret agents will communicate to me the names of those who do. Those who do not avail themselves of the terms now offered may be sure that their property will be confiscated when the troops arrive. Each man must be prepared to hand over a rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition. The above terms do not apply to officers and members of the 5taats artillery, who may surrender as prisoners of war at any time, nor to re>els on British territory.
"It is probable that my force will shortly take the offensive. To those
who after this warning defer their submission till too late, I can offer no
I promise. They will have only themselves to blame for injury td and loss of
property they and their families may afterwards suffer"-
If this warning did nothing else, it certainly had the effect of touching General Snyman in a soft spot, for he at once wrote to his l3urghers in fiery language, expressing his disapproval that such a communication should have been addressed direct to them. The
idea that "sitting and looking at a place is not the way to take it"seems to have gone home to him, for he promptly challenged the besieged to come out and drive him away.
On the same day as his address to the Burghers the Colonel wrote home to a relative in England, and sent the missive folded in a quill, which was in its turn rammed into the pipe of a Kaffir
"MAFEKING, Dec.12, 1899.
"All going well with me. To-
"This is our sixtieth day of the siege and I do believe we re beginning to get a little tired of it ; but I suppose, like other things, it will come to an end some day. I have got such an interesting collection of mementoes of it to bring home. I wonder if Baden 1is in the country? What fun if he should come up to relieve me!
"I don't know if this letter will get through the Boer outposts, but if it does, I hope it will find you very well and flourishing.
|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|