Boer War snippets Dec 16, 2012 14:32:40 GMT
Post by shred on Dec 16, 2012 14:32:40 GMT
Trooper Albert Oakes, D Squadron 6th Dragoon Guards, with General French, writes to his wife at the Windmill Hotel, Pendlebury, on January 24th as follows: After having been out two days and two nights, I was glad there was a missive for me. I was tired out, though anxious to read what the letter contained. I have had some near shaves of being shot since I wrote you last, but I am glad to say I have escaped so far. We have only lost one man since I sent my last letter. We go out every day from camp, and our regiment does some good work. We have been very lucky, for though our losses have been so few we have been under heavy firing as much as any regiment out here yet. Yesterday we went out early in the morning and came back to camp at night. All the day we were out we kept in touch with the enemy, our artillery doing good work killing many Boers. We made them glad to retire. All the time we were fighting we had only one wounded – one of the Life Guards. We could net tell exactly how many Boers were killed as one of our artillery shells killed seventeen of them. We could see the Boers galloping across the plains. It was all quiet the rest of the day, so then we came back to camp and had a good night’s rest. We are now at a place called Sprotsfontein, near Colesberg. We expect to take Colesberg in a few days. The day before yesterday we went out to find the enemy’s position with the Remington scouts. They are a fine lot of men to go out scouting with. We had a good day with them. Returning to a farm at night, where they had killed a dozen sheep and a bullock for us. It was dusk when we got to the farm and it was an agreeable sight to see those hanging up in the farm yard, and we did not enquire twice asking to help ourselves. First we made fires with some sticks and then got our knives out to cut them up. We had a good feed, the best we have had since we came out here. We shall be able to keep a lot better now as they would not allow us to loot in our own country. We can commandeer anything we like now we are getting into the enemy’s country. The only thing we are short of is a good drink of coffee or cocoa. We are glad to get water sometimes. We have not yet got the Queen’s chocolate. I have not yet seen Alec Whitworth (this is the name of a Swinton soldier in the Hussars) since Christmas Day when I had a few hours with him. He is not many miles from here, and was all right when I saw him. I could not finish this letter last night. It is our turn to have a day in camp. We can do with a bit of rest and ir is now 6am Wednesday 25th. We can hear our artillery guns shelling the enemy, and it may be that we shall have to turn out any minute. The Boers don’t like the cavalry. The artillery shell them out to the rocks, and we wait for them as they come out to give them cold steel in the open. They won’t come out to fight so we fetch them out somehow. This is the reason why our troops have lost so many lives at other places. Where we are now we have got the Boers surrounded. They are in the hills, and we have them hemmed in. We are trying to stop the wagons so that they cannot get any food. Then they will have to come out or starve. I think a month or so see the war at a close. We are only five miles from the Orange River, and when we get over we shall be in the Free States. They seem to think that the Free States will not fight. I hope not. Then the war will soon be over. It will give us a better chance to get on if we can only get into the Free States as it is nearly all flat country. The Boers are now making for Bloemfontein, where, I think, there will be a big battle.