The Great Boer War By Arthur Conan Doyle












 - 
THE GREAT BOER WAR

BY

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER 1. THE BOER NATIONS.

CHAPTER 2. THE CAUSE OF QUARREL - Page 1
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THE GREAT BOER WAR

BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER 1. THE BOER NATIONS.

CHAPTER 2. THE CAUSE OF QUARREL.

CHAPTER 3. THE NEGOTIATIONS.

CHAPTER 4. THE EVE OF WAR.

CHAPTER 5. TALANA HILL.

CHAPTER 6. ELANDSLAAGTE AND RIETFONTEIN.

CHAPTER 7. THE BATTLE OF LADYSMITH.

CHAPTER 8. LORD METHUEN'S ADVANCE.

CHAPTER 9. BATTLE OF MAGERSFONTEIN.

CHAPTER 10. THE BATTLE OF STORMBERG.

CHAPTER 11. BATTLE OF COLENSO.

CHAPTER 12. THE DARK HOUR.

CHAPTER 13. THE SIEGE OF LADYSMITH.

CHAPTER 14. THE COLESBERG OPERATIONS.

CHAPTER 15. SPION KOP.

CHAPTER 16. VAALKRANZ.

CHAPTER 17. BULLER'S FINAL ADVANCE.

CHAPTER 18. THE SIEGE AND RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY.

CHAPTER 19. PAARDEBERG.

CHAPTER 20. ROBERTS'S ADVANCE ON BLOEMFONTEIN.

CHAPTER 21. STRATEGIC EFFECTS OF LORD ROBERTS'S MARCH.

CHAPTER 22. THE HALT AT BLOEMFONTEIN.

CHAPTER 23. THE CLEARING OF THE SOUTH-EAST.

CHAPTER 24. THE SIEGE OF MAFEKING.

CHAPTER 25. THE MARCH ON PRETORIA.

CHAPTER 26. DIAMOND HILL - RUNDLE'S OPERATIONS.

CHAPTER 27. THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION.

CHAPTER 28. THE HALT AT PRETORIA.

CHAPTER 29. THE ADVANCE TO KOMATIPOORT.

CHAPTER 30. THE CAMPAIGN OF DE WET.

CHAPTER 31. THE GUERILLA WARFARE IN THE TRANSVAAL: NOOITGEDACHT.

CHAPTER 32. THE SECOND INVASION OF CAPE COLONY.

CHAPTER 33. THE NORTHERN OPERATIONS FROM JANUARY TO APRIL, 1901.

CHAPTER 34. THE WINTER CAMPAIGN (APRIL TO SEPTEMBER, 1901).

CHAPTER 35. THE GUERILLA OPERATIONS IN CAPE COLONY.

CHAPTER 36. THE SPRING CAMPAIGN (SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER, 1901).

CHAPTER 37. THE CAMPAIGN OF JANUARY TO APRIL, 1902.

CHAPTER 38. DE LA REY'S CAMPAIGN OF 1902.

CHAPTER 39. THE END.

PREFACE TO THE FINAL EDITION.

During the course of the war some sixteen Editions of this work have appeared, each of which was, I hope, a little more full and accurate than that which preceded it. I may fairly claim, however, that the absolute mistakes made have been few in number, and that I have never had occasion to reverse, and seldom to modify, the judgments which I have formed. In this final edition the early text has been carefully revised and all fresh available knowledge has been added within the limits of a single volume narrative. Of the various episodes in the latter half of the war it is impossible to say that the material is available for a complete and final chronicle. By the aid, however, of the official dispatches, of the newspapers, and of many private letters, I have done my best to give an intelligible and accurate account of the matter. The treatment may occasionally seem too brief but some proportion must be observed between the battles of 1899-1900 and the skirmishes of 1901-1902.

My private informants are so numerous that it would be hardly possible, even if it were desirable, that I should quote their names. Of the correspondents upon whose work I have drawn for my materials, I would acknowledge my obligations to Messrs. Burleigh, Nevinson, Battersby, Stuart, Amery, Atkins, Baillie, Kinneir, Churchill, James, Ralph, Barnes, Maxwell, Pearce, Hamilton, and others. Especially I would mention the gentleman who represented the 'Standard' in the last year of the war, whose accounts of Vlakfontein, Von Donop's Convoy, and Tweebosch were the only reliable ones which reached the public.

Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw, Hindhead: September 1902.

CHAPTER 1.

THE BOER NATIONS.

Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer - the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles.

Look at the map of South Africa, and there, in the very centre of the British possessions, like the stone in a peach, lies the great stretch of the two republics, a mighty domain for so small a people. How came they there? Who are these Teutonic folk who have burrowed so deeply into Africa? It is a twice-told tale, and yet it must be told once again if this story is to have even the most superficial of introductions. No one can know or appreciate the Boer who does not know his past, for he is what his past has made him.

It was about the time when Oliver Cromwell was at his zenith - in 1652, to be pedantically accurate - that the Dutch made their first lodgment at the Cape of Good Hope. The Portuguese had been there before them, but, repelled by the evil weather, and lured forwards by rumours of gold, they had passed the true seat of empire and had voyaged further to settle along the eastern coast. Some gold there was, but not much, and the Portuguese settlements have never been sources of wealth to the mother country, and never will be until the day when Great Britain signs her huge cheque for Delagoa Bay. The coast upon which they settled reeked with malaria. A hundred miles of poisonous marsh separated it from the healthy inland plateau.

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