|The 13th Hussars in
the South African War (Boer War)
IT will be remembered that on May 7, 1900, three troops of the B Squadron of the 13th Hussars marched from the regimental camp at Ladysmith to Modder Spruit, to act as divisional cavalry to General Clery. Here the fourth troop, which had been with Clery's division for a month, joined them. The B Squadron was thus again complete.
The officers were Captain Wiggin in command, and with him Captain Battye, and Lieutenants Symons, Pepys, and Twist. The strength of the squadron was 106 non-commissioned officers and men, and 113 horses.
On the following day all tents and heavy baggage were sent back to Ladysmith.
May 9th found the force advancing with Sir Redvers Buller in an attempt to turn the Biggarsberg. The country through which this march was made was for four days rough and bushy, but beyond a few shots exchanged between the scouts of the enemy and the British advance-guards nothing of note occurred.
On May 12th the force camped at Vermaaks kraal.
Early next morning, when just breaking camp, the Boer gun on Helpmaakar Heights began to drop shells into the baggage. The two 4.7 guns with the force replied at once, and the third shot put the Boer gun out of action. The Helpmaakar Heights were captured with little loss during the day by Dundonald's brigade and the 2nd Infantry Brigade under General Hamilton. The appearance of Bethune's column from the east, which had worked round through Greytown and the Umvote country, materially contributed to the discomfiture of the enemy, who offered at the best but a feeble resistance.
During these operations the squadron was detailed to escort the supply column, and in consequence could not take part in the pursuit of the enemy by the Colonials along the Dundee Road.
Next day the force moved to Beith, awaiting there the arrival of the supply park from Waschbank.
At 2 A.M. on the 15th they arrived at Dundee, after a march of six hours.
As the Boers had evacuated the town, the force was bivouacking on the 16th about one mile north of the place. Here there was a day's halt for rest, and the force then advanced, reaching Newcastle, a distance of 38 miles, without opposition, in about 48 hours.
On May 19th the Boers were found in position at the historic Laing's Nek by the 4th Brigade (Cooper's) and Dundonald's brigade, this force having pushed on to Mount Prospect and Ingogo. The squadron meanwhile halted at Newcastle with the 2nd Brigade until the 29th, when it moved on to Ingogo Hill. The squadron during these ten days made several reconnaissances towards the Buffalo, and by crossing the river at Wool's, a small patrol under Lieutenant Symons were the first party of the Natal army to enter the Transvaal. Lieutenant Pepys, who had been sent to Dundee in charge of Boer prisoners, rejoined the squadron before it left Newcastle.
Outpost duty at Ingogo occupied the squadron from May 29th to June 16th. The Long Tom mounted by the enemy on Pongwana, which could effectively use shrapnel at a range of 11,000 yards, while able to annoy the 4th Brigade at Mount Prospect, was luckily powerless to reach the camp of B Squadron.
While at Ingogo Lieutenant Symons carried a letter, under a flag of truce, to General Botha from General Sir Redvers Buller. The small party were allowed to approach within a mile of the Nek before being stopped.
General Buller was now making his flank march through Botha's Pass and Alleman's Nek, the squadron on this occasion acting as escort to the heavy guns.
On June 16th Laing's Nek, which had been evacuated by the enemy on the 14th, was occupied.
Three days later General Buller advanced with his whole force, arriving at Standerton on June 24. The enemy was not met with, but the weather was excessively rough. On June 20, Lieutenant Pepys was sent down to Durban suffering from jaundice.
At Standerton they remained for a week's rest, and then pushed on again; the only events being that the Boers ambushed a party of Strathcona's Horse and captured ten men. The rear-guard also had a slight brush with the enemy near Groot Spruit, losing one horse.
On July 5, the armies of Buller and Lord Roberts joined hands at Vlakfontein: General Hart, who had gone round on the other side after the relief of Ladysmith, riding over from Zuicherbosch to meet Buller. Trekking with Clery's column between Bethel and Greylingstad for the next three weeks, with a considerable number of Boers under Pretorius and Buys hanging on the flanks and rear daily, the squadron acting as the permanent rear-guard was perpetually being sniped. The only casualties were a few horses. On July 16th Lieutenant Pepys rejoined.
Three days later, under cover of a grass fire, the enemy charged the squadron near Leeuw (Standerton). Two companies of the 60th came to its assistance, and the attack was soon beaten off. One man of the 60th was, however, killed.
Nothing occurred of note until August 14, when the strength of the squadron was raised to 6 officers, 142 non-commissioned officers and men, and 140 horses, by the arrival of Lieutenant Gubbins with a draft from Newcastle. For the whole of this month the force remained at Greylingstad and Vlakfontein, nothing occurring, after which it returned to Standerton. The squadron then left the column and formed part of the garrison, being employed on outpost duty, cattle guards, and clearing farms.
Private Brodrick, while on outpost duty at Rademeyers Farm on August 20, was badly wounded in the leg by a Boer sniper.
On the same day the troop under Lieutenant Twist, which had been patrolling to Leeuw Spruit, was somewhat severely pressed by the enemy when returning, two horses being killed.
Riding back under a heavy fire, and catching a horse which had broken loose, Private Pritchard distinguished himself on this occasion. Private Pritchard brought the horse back to the troop, and for his conduct earned a mention in despatches.
On October 28th Lieutenant Symons and half of the squadron was sent to assist the garrison at Platrand in reconnaissance duties, returning on the evening of November 2. During this expedition the half squadron came in contact with the Britz Commando, and in the skirmish which ensued Private Lewis was wounded and three horses hit.
The month of November was uneventful.
At 4 A.M. on December 2, Captain Wiggin with the squadron, 150 mounted infantry, 150 infantry, and two guns, moved out to clear a farm some ten miles to the east. The removal of the mealies there was opposed by a strong force of Boers, who nearly succeeded in cutting off a party of the T.M.I. The enemy had possession of a kraal from which they were firing heavily. Under cover of the guns Captain Wiggin with some mounted infantry advanced on foot and turned them out. Eventually the enemy were driven off and the force returned to Standerton, escorting four waggon-loads of mealies, &c. During the fight Private Ware was slightly wounded in the face, and Sergeant Mahon, who had taken on his horse an officer of the T.M.I., who had been dismounted, had a heavy fall over wire, and was unfortunately incapacitated for three months from the effects.
Two days later the squadron with 7o mounted infantry, 200 infantry, and 2 guns, under Major Coghill, Royal Artillery, while clearing a farm in the same neighbourhood, had another sharp brush with the enemy. Two gunners were wounded, but the rest of the force suffered no casualties.
On December 13th the holding up of the train near Vlakfontein, already mentioned, took place. About 6 A.M. on December 21, Private Pearson galloped in from Rademeyer's picquet with the news that it had been heavily attacked. Private Pearson, who was alone in the right sangar at the time, emptied his magazine before retiring on Standerton, and a dead Boer horse was afterwards found thirty yards in front of his post.
The affair happened thus. It was very foggy, and the Boers crept up under cover of the mist. Appearing suddenly, they captured Corporal Willman and two men who were patrolling in front of their post. They, however, released their prisoners after taking their arms and horses. Then the enemy attacked the post, but Privates Pike and Laggett, who were inside, held on and wounded two of them. When Private Pearson reached Standerton the squadron saddled up and sped to Rademeyer's farm, only to see on arrival the Boers trekking away in the distance. The 4.7 gun on the kop sent a shell after the retiring enemy, but did not quite reach them.
On that evening the squadron received the rifles in lieu of carbines, as has been already stated.
On January 2, 1901 the squadron, with two companies of infantry and two guns, under Captain Wiggin, reconnoitred towards De Lange's Drift, but owing to heavy rain and mist were obliged to return after a ten mile journey.
Five days later, about 2 P.M., news arrived that the Boers had driven off some cattle from grazing south of Standerton Kop. Half the squadron galloped out in pursuit and engaged the rear-guard of the enemy across the Vaal river near Eloff's Farm, some ten miles away.
The Boers were too strong, however, for the forty men of the half squadron to attempt to force a crossing of the river.
On January 13, at 1 A.M., the squadron, with the 2nd Divisional Mounted Infantry, started for Boschof's Farm, hoping to find the enemy there, but failed to do so, and a heavy fog compelled a return to camp. Next day the squadron marched at 2 P.M. to join Colville's Column at Reitvlei, a spot fifteen miles north-east of Standerton. The column, of which the strength was about 1200 men, consisted of 1 squadron 13th Hussars, 1 squadron Mounted Infantry, 50 Standerton Police, the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade, 4 guns, 64th Battery Royal Field Artillery, and 1 pom-pom.
On January 15th and 16th the column moved towards Bethel, where a considerable force of the enemy was found in the front. From 6 A.M. to 5 P.M. the mounted units were engaged, and during the afternoon it became necessary to charge a ridge which was strongly held and whence a hot fire was coming. The hussars, mounted infantry, and police then dismounted, and with great steadiness rapidly drove the Boers back to Boschmanskop. Two men, Privates Brewer and Mitchell, were wounded, and seven horses were hit.
During the day Private Cleaver behaved with commendable coolness in catching the horse of Private Jennings, while Private Snelling took his dismounted comrade on to his horse and conveyed him back to the squadron.
That evening the column camped at Van Staden's Dam. During the night a lamp message was received, ordering Colonel Colville to march back to the line at once and to entrain half the battalion of the Rifle brigade at Vlaklaagte for Heidelberg. Accordingly on the following morning at 7 A.M. the column marched in this formation the Standerton Police formed the advance-guard, then came the main body, the baggage with half of the Rifle Brigade battalion followed it, while the rear-guard marched in the following order: artillery, the other half of the Rifle Brigade battalion. The squadron and mounted infantry with a pom-pom formed the rear party. Lieutenant Pepys with half the squadron formed the right rear. Lieutenant Twist with the other half the left rear. The mounted infantry with the pom-pom were in the centre, somewhat closer to the column than the cavalry. Very shortly after starting the Boers began to press on the left rear, in consequence of which the mounted infantry and the pom-pom moved to support Lieutenant Twist. While this was going on, the enemy began to move round the right, crowning the ridges strongly on that flank. Suddenly as the rear half battalion and guns were crossing a vlei near Bosmanskranz, the Boers made a sudden and simultaneous attack on the right rear and left rear. For some little time the half squadron with Lieutenant Pepys on the right held on in a pan, but were so hard pressed that they had to fall back to a small knoll where they took up a position between the infantry of the baggage guard and that of the rear-guard. Lance-Corporal Harding, who belonged to the half squadron with Lieutenant Pepys, was out with a patrol of two men on the extreme right and behaved with great gallantry. They held on to a ridge till the leading Boers were but 200 yards distant, when they mounted and galloped back to the half squadron. The effect of this was to cause some of the enemy to dismount and open fire, thus delaying their advance. By this means time was given for the rear-guard infantry, who formed to their right at the double, to just reach the top of the ridge as the Boers were riding up the other side. The enemy made a gallant effort to get to close quarters, standing up in the open and replying to the fire of the Rifle Brigade. The latter then fixed bayonets and began to advance, upon which the Boers gave in and fled with precipitation.
Meanwhile the baggage guard and the little party under Lieutenant Pepys on the knoll, which practically formed the connecting link between the two half battalions of the Rifle Brigade, were heavily engaged. Their steadiness, however, prevailed, and the Boers eventually remounted and galloped off. On the left rear and protecting both the left of the baggage and the rear of the infantry who had formed to the right, Captain Wiggin with the half squadron of Lieutenant Twist and the company of mounted infantry had occupied a round hill where the firing was also heavy. But owing to the length of the grass but little damage was done on either side, and after an attempt on the part of the enemy to take the hill, which failed, the Boers in about half an hour drew off. There was, however, an expectation, and a reasonable one, that another attack would be developed on the original front, which might involve the baggage. Here, with the exception of a few police, the position was unprotected. Colonel Colville therefore gave the order to draw in on the guns. No attack by the enemy, however, was made, and they had evidently had enough for one day. The force was, however, annoyed by sniping.
It was ascertained afterwards, from Boers who had been engaged, that their casualties amounted to about 50 killed and wounded, and that their force, which was composed of men from the Heidelberg-Bethel, Standerton, Ermelo, and Wakkerstroom Commandos, numbering 1500, was commanded by Christian Botha and Vecht General Spruit. The British casualties were these-Guide Alison killed, twelve Rifle Brigade and two privates of the 13th Hussars wounded (Privates Sutton and Pollock), and one private of the mounted infantry. In addition, Private Ware of the 13th Hussars received a slight wound in the hand, Lieutenant Pepys had a narrow escape, a bullet passing through his helmet, and seven horses were hit, among them being the charger of Captain Wiggin.
In his report on the engagement Colonel Colville wrote: "I ascribe my success to the good handling of the baggage guard by Captain Talbot, Rifle Brigade, of the mounted troops by Captain Wiggin, of the guns by Major Coghill.” In a later despatch he also especially mentioned Lieutenant Pepys and Lance-Corporal Harding of the 13th Hussars.
Later in the afternoon the column moved on towards the line, and went into camp about four miles from Vlaklaagte, and next morning at about 4 A.M. they marched into that station.
For a few hours a halt was called, and the squadron with the Standerton Police then left the column and marched to Standerton. The next operation of importance took place on January 28, when 70 men of the B Squadron and 40 Standerton Police, under Captain Wiggin, paraded at g P.M., and with Mr Alison, the resident magistrate, as a guide, made an eighteen-mile night march to a farm near Roberts' Drift on the Vaal river. The night was both very dark and very wet, but the force keeping steadily-on reached the river about 1 A.M. This had to be crossed, and the crossing was by no means an easy one, as the banks were very steep and slippery. Descending the bank, one man and horse rolled down about thirty feet into the water, but luckily escaped injury. After some little delay the force succeeded in effecting a safe crossing, except one troop under Lieutenant Gubbins which was left to hold the drift and cover the retirement.
About a mile beyond the river the natives informed Captain Wiggin that the farm was quite close, and the force dismounted. Creeping through a big mealie-patch there, the house was surrounded. A dash at the door, which was speedily burst open, disclosed seven of the enemy in bed. No resistance was offered, and the Boers at once surrendered. Two natives who tried to escape were slightly wounded. The force then retired, taking with them their prisoners and a dozen ponies found in a kraal, together with about fifty head of cattle. Some little difficulty was experienced in finding the horses again, as the night was so dark, and in consequence, when the river was reached, Captain Wiggin determined not to attempt a passage until dawn. With daybreak a crossing was effected about 3.30 A.M., and three and a half hours later the force marched into Standerton after its successful foray. Nor considering the difficulties of the expedition and the darkness was it a bad performance, as 35 miles, with a nasty river passage each way, was covered in ten hours.
On February 4th the B Squadron paraded at 4.30 A.M. and proceeded about ten miles eastward in order to bring in a convoy from Dartnell's column. On approaching the column the squadron was mistaken for the enemy, and received the polite attention of a pompom. Luckily, however, no harm was done. Bringing in the convoy, the force returned to camp at noon. On the following day the empty waggons had to be escorted back again to the column, and this was done.
At 6.30 A.M. on February 6, the squadron marched to Waterval, and at the same time on the following day proceeded to Greylingstad. The circumstances, which were concerned with the blowing up of line and the culverts, and holding up trains by the enemy, which called for the junction of the A and B Squadrons on this occasion, have already been narrated; as has also the return of the B Squadron to Waterval on February 10. Captain Wiggin, however, had had the misfortune to experience a severe fall, and was compelled to return to Standerton by train.
On February 11th the squadron marched at 3.45 A.M. and met a party of mounted infantry and two guns from Standerton, the whole being under the command of Major Kayes of the 60th Rifles.
The force reconnoitred as far as Joubert's Kop. While returning, the enemy to the number of about 200 attacked the rear-guard, but were driven off, thanks mainly to the excellent practice made by the Royal Artillery. One of the mounted infantry was wounded, and a horse was hit, but there were no other casualties.
On February 13th half the squadron under Lieutenant Pepys went out to Welgedacht to take over a convoy of Boer families that had been collected by Colonel Colville's column, and which had to be escorted to Standerton. On the road there was a little sniping on the left flank. This habit of sniping was very annoying, but at times the enemy did not have things all their own way in the game. On February 21st the picquet at Grobelars' Farm was thus persecuted. The picquet, however, replied, and wounded a Boer, who was carried off by his comrades to a safe distance.
Two days later an order was received to send a patrol of one non-commissioned officer and six men to Boschman's Kop, about six miles distant. When nearing the top of the hill the party was fired on, and Private Heaps of the 13th Hussars, who was the advanced scout, was severely wounded and fell from his horse. The picquet at Rademeyers Farm, hearing the firing, galloped out in support and occupied the Kop. Their appearance was sufficient to cause the withdrawal of the enemy. An ambulance was sent out from Standerton to bring in Private Heaps, but the poor fellow died of his wound the same evening.
For the next few days affairs were quiet.
On March 3rd orders were received for the squadron to start for Vrede on the following day, as forming part of the column under General Barr Campbell. This column consisted of the 3rd Grenadier Guards, the 4th Imperial Yeomanry, 4 guns and 1 pom-pom. Marching at 5.30 A.M. on the 4th, De Lange's Drift was reached without any of the enemy being seen.
Proceeding at 5.30 A.M. on the morrow, the column reached its destination, Vrede, about 5 P.M.
During the march the B Squadron furnished the rear-guard. For the last eight miles the road ran through rough, hilly country, and the flanks and rear-guard were incessantly worried by some 200 of the enemy. The half squadron under Lieutenant Pepys was pretty constantly engaged, and fired on an average about 150 rounds of ammunition per man. Several Boers were killed and wounded, and the only British casualty was one man of the Imperial Yeomanry wounded. Incessant rain delayed the column at Vrede from the 6th till the 9th of March. On the 10th the force marched at 6 A.M., and were accompanied by a reinforcement consisting of the and Leinster Regiment and two more guns. The squadron was not engaged, but there was a slight rear-guard skirmish in which the Leinsters had two men wounded.
That night the force camped at Mooi Bank.
Next day the rain came on again with redoubled violence, and the drift over the spruit, known as Zonderdrift, became impassable. Throughout the day the Royal Engineers and the infantry were busily employed endeavouring to repair it.
The spruit having been rendered passable, on the morrow at 6 A.M. the squadron with the Stafford and Leinster Squadrons Imperial Yeomanry left the camp, and crossing the spruit occupied the high ground on the far side. From this elevation some large parties of Boers could be discerned in the distance hovering about just out of rifle-shot. A few who were nearer and unseen indulged in sniping, but beyond this the enemy did not venture on an attack.
At about 6 P.M. the squadron of the 13th was relieved by the infantry, and at the same time the first waggon crossed the drift. It was a terribly tedious business getting the convoy across, as break-downs were frequent, and each necessitated a delay for repairs.
At length, after thirty hours-a period which included the whole night and the next day-the last waggon was safely on the other side.
On March 14th the squadron left camp at 6 A.M.. A half squadron under Captain Wiggin formed the advance-guard, and the other half squadron under Lieutenant Twist forming the right rear-guard. In order to protect the convoy it was needful for Lieutenant Twist to occupy a ledge of rock. To do this there were only a very few men available, and the party had a great difficulty in holding it. For nearly an hour they were under a very hot fire. Then Sergeant W. Mahon was shot through the head and died the next day. Sergeant Mahon was one of the most gallant soldiers of the regiment, and his loss was greatly deplored by all ranks. The enemy who were opposing this half squadron numbered between two and three hundred. It became necessary for the half squadron to retire, and this was carried out under cover of the guns which had been sent to their assistance. Lieutenant Twist then occupied a grassy slope where there was practically no cover. Here the enemy gave them a very warm time, but there was luckily only one casualty, Private M'Sweeney being wounded in the arm. It now became needful to send Sergeant Maguire and ten men from the half squadron to hold a hill that ought to have been held by the Gloucester Yeomanry. Just as he was getting into position, three volleys were heard from a flank-guard post of the Gloucester Yeomanry, and Private Parr fell with a bad wound in his thigh. On investigation it was found to be due to the negligence of a sergeant in charge of the flank-guard, whose men were in a very excited state and were firing at anything. Meanwhile Captain Wiggin, with his half squadron which formed the advance-guard, had received orders to cross the blip river at De Lange's Drift and to occupy the high ground on the northern side. Beyond a few snipers whom he drove away they reached the river unmolested, only to find it in flood and the drift impassable. The column could not, therefore, attempt to cross, but camped on the southern side that night.
Here the force was practically fixed from the 15th to the 22nd of March, as the river fell so slowly. But the convoy had to be got across somehow, and in consequence all the waggons-nearly three hundred in number-were floated across, while the baggage was ferried over on a raft. The horses and cattle were swum over. Eventually the column marched into Standerton on March 22. Two days later the squadron paraded at 10 P.M., and together with two companies of infantry, two guns and a porn - porn, the whole under the command of Colonel Colville, made a night march to Palmietkuil, a place sixteen miles to the north, where at a farm near it had been reported that some of the enemy were wont to sleep. The farm was surrounded and rushed at daybreak; nothing was found in the place. At the deserted farm the force rested the next day.
On March 26th the squadron with a pom-pom were sent out to reconnoitre. After being out for about two hours, thirty Boers were discovered holding a ridge. They were immediately attacked with vigour, and were speedily driven off with a loss of two wounded. Their small laager was taken with all their blankets, and dinners ready for cooking. These Boers belonged to a small commando under Corporal Charlie Parsons. As the squadron and the pom-pom returned to camp, Parsons followed up the rear-guard, and was rather troublesome.
The force was also somewhat severely sniped by a party under Hans Nagle, which had come up from New Denmark. The only casualty, however, was that Private Letts of the 13th was wounded in the wrist.
About 10.30 that night heavy firing was heard at the outposts, and the whole force turned out and lay down around the camp. It was, however, a false alarm, and proved to be the outposts firing at the Kaffir scouts, whom they mistook for the enemy. By luck nobody was hit.
The next morning the camp awoke to a thick mist. About 8.30 A.M. firing was heard, and bullets began to drop into the camp, one gunner being wounded. A hail of lead was sent into the fog, and the sniping ceased. When the mist cleared off about 10 A.M., the force marched over the railway crossing near Waterval. Here a large quantity of forage was destroyed and some horses were captured. The force encamped that night at Vlaklaagte.
On March 28, as information had come in that de Wet was about to attempt to cross the line to the south, the force was ordered to take up a line of outposts from Waterval river on the left to the Greylingstad mine on the right, while a column under Colonel Borroughs, Royal Artillery, came out from Standerton to hold the line from the Waterval river as far as Poortje on the Vaal river. The orders to Colonel Colville were to the effect that the B Squadron, who were reinforced by Lieutenant Church's troop of the A Squadron from Waterval, should form the advanced outpost line, watching the drift over the Waterval and those over the Groot Spruit. The infantry and guns were to bivouac in rear of the centre at Vogelstruisfontein. Just before nightfall the B Squadron took up its position, and remained watching that line until the morning of March 30. These were two most unpleasant nights, as the front being more than six miles practically every man was necessarily utilised as vedettes. No Boers were seen, but the whole force was attacked by swarms of mosquitoes of a specially ferocious breed.
How Corporal Gavin was wounded by an infantry outpost on the night of the 28th has been already mentioned. It would, however, appear that he was challenged by the sentry and replied, but that his reply was presumably not heard. When the post fired into him, he was not only wounded, but his horse was killed.
Shortly after daybreak on March 30th the outpost line was drawn in and the column was concentrated. At 5.30 A.M. the whole force marched and crossed the Waterval. On the way parties of Boers belonging to Buys' Commando continually sniped them. A halt for breakfast was called at Vaalbank, and here seventy of the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles and one hundred mounted infantry under Captain Ionides joined. While at breakfast some Kaffirs came in and reported that a commando of Boers with waggons lay just on the other side of the Vaal at Roberts Drift. The mounted men got into the saddle immediately, and made a dash for the kopjes overlooking the drift. Apparently the Boers had had intelligence of the proximity of the force, for they were visible streaming away to the south-west at a distance of about two and a half miles. Colonel Colville under the circumstances did not consider it worth while to pursue. A few shells were, however, fired after the retiring enemy, and the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles crossed the river and captured some cattle. The Boers had, however, left a few of their number behind, and these, as usual, began sniping, wounding one man.
That night the force camped under the kopje near the drift.
On the following morning the baggage came up, escorted by another squadron of the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles, which had picked it up at Vaalbank after the rest of the force had left. At 2 P.M. the squadron of the 13th received orders to march at once to Waterval, and arrived there at 6 P.M. An attack on the road from a party of Boers at Plat Kop had been expected. It, however, did not come off, though a few of the enemy hung on one flank, but contented themselves merely with sniping.
On April 1st the squadron marched at 8.30 A.M., and reached Standerton at 2.30 P.M., with the exception of Lieutenant Church and his troop, who returned to Greylingstad. At Standerton the large draft from England already mentioned was found awaiting the return of the B Squadron.
On April 3rd Captain Wiggin was ordered with his squadron to Katbosch, where he was reinforced by one company of the East Surrey Regiment and a 15-pounder gun. With this force he was to be employed in watching De Lange's Drift and the other passages across the Klip river, and also to cover the construction of blockhouses at Erdzak and Darling.
Next day this force moved to Katdoorn kraal and took up a position enabling it to watch all the approaches from the Klip river, from Wildebeest kraal, and Kromdzai station. On April 5th half the B Squadron reconnoitred to the north of the railway towards Diepspruit, and on the two following days reconnaissances were also made, but few Boers indeed were seen.
On April 8th the force marched at 8.30 A.M. and returned to Standerton.
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Lewis P. Orans, 2002