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8 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Letter from the War.


Letter from the War. Mr. Jenkins, Cerrigcyranau has just received the following letter from his brother who is now in South Africa with the A. Squadron, B.M.I., Natal, writing on February 26th he says :—I have been expecting a letter from you lately, the last I received I think was dated about the end of November. I wrote last from Zwaarkopjes (Spion Kop). I hope you received it as I gave a fairly detailed account of my doings up to that time. I suppose you read the account of the two great battles that were fought at Spion Kop and Krantzkloof, the former lasting 8 days and the latter 4 days. We (B.M.I.) did not take part in the last as only the Artillery and Infantry were engaged. But we were engaged in the battle of Spion Kop one day on the right. We formed part of General Lyttleton's brigade. I obtained a magnificent view of the two actions, more especi- ally Krantzkloof as the hottest portion .was in front of the hill (Zwart Kop), which the BM.I. occupied and took a few weeks previously. There were about 15 guns on that particular hill. With the aid of glasses we could get an excellent view of the movements of the infantry. There were a lot of Boers in a mealie field, and when they were spotted our shrapnel played havoc with them. The Boers must have suffered tremendously, anyhow, we certainly got the best of the actual fighting and you can therefore imagine our disappointment at having to retire, for on the last day we suddenly received our orders to march back to Frere, it was time, for the Boer shells were coming to our camp. We evidently failed to silence that Long Tom of the Boers. The enemy must have possessed a fine lot cf big guns. When the parliamentary enquiry into the conduct of the war takes place, the Intelligence Department will come in for it heavily, I should imagine for not acquainting themselves of the calibre of the enemy's guns, and in being so inferior in the arm that we have always prided ourselves in. Anyhow while we were enjoying our afternoon tea, these shells began to drop, and needless to say after finishing our meal as peace- fully as circumstances permitted, we left that evening and 'reached Springfield about 11. o'clock. As I remarked in my previous letter the whole time we were at Zwaarkopjes (about a month), we were without our tents, and we, therefore, lived under the canopy of Heaven, and I never felt better in my life in spite of having to sleep occasionally in a soaking rain, but that only added variety to our open air life. There were plenty of trees there under which we sheltered ourselves from the head of the sun, and it was with regret that we left these trees which had been our temporary habitation. In the morning we started off from Springfield to Chieveley, and as we had to scout the country for the others riding along the flanks, &c., it took us 11 hours as we were the first to get into Ohieveley Camp from the front we were accorded a splendid reception by the soldiers. The King's Royal Rifles preparing a feast for us, plain but acceptable, viz.— bread, butter, cheese, soup, meat, tea, a cask of beer, .kc. You must remember that the whole time we were at the front, we never tasted bread nor butter We thought we were going to remain some time in Chieveley, as it was the position in front of Colenso, and we were rather surprised when we were marched on to r rere, wnere we ana our norses were entrained, reaching New Hanover about 10 at night. We heard we were off to Zululand. We remained here two days. and then made a march of 21 hours to a place called Kranzkop, We remained here 6 days, to prevent the Boers coming in through Zululand. From Kranzkop we came here (Grey- town), were we are now. We have been here a week, and it is certainly a pleasant change to get dnto civilization again. I may mention that during our marches, especially in Zwaarkopjes, and where we have come from, we have passed through mag- nificient scenery, hard to beat anywhere. In some places the country would be as wild as the Snow- donian range; in others, as fertile as the Vale of Clwyd. Three days ago we made another march towards the Tugela; starting here at 7 in the evening, we reached our destination at 2 in the morning; up again at 5, crossing the Tugela river. It was broad at this place-about 150 yards—and in some places deep, and full of big rough stones, and gave the horses plenty of work to keep their legs and us our seats. The country about there is very mountainous and barren. We returned yes- terday, and travelled 32 miles-quite enough when the country is rough, up hill, and down dale, and full of thorns and bushes. We may have to repeat this expedition in a few days. If Ladysmith is relieved, we will probably make straight for Dundee. We heard a couple of days ago the best news of the whole campaign, viz. that Cronje is surrounded, and his whole commando captured. I hope it is true, for it is time the iniquitous old blackguard was laid by the heels. By the tinw j this reaches you it will be stale news, but we hear that 800 of his men were killed, 2,000 wounded, and the remainder taken prisoners. Although this will be a feather in General Roberts' cap, you must remember that his work has been made much easier for him by previous work, and also he has had a chance of profiting by the blunders of the others. General Buller has had a much harder task, as he has positions of the most difficult description. I hear that the reason why we re- turned from Zwaarkopje was that further on than where we bad already won were positions that could only be taken by a great sacrifice of life, and events have proved that he was wise, as since he has taken Colenso, and it is rumoured this morning that he is in Ladysmith. Anyhow, of late his efforts have been more successful than previously. I suppose a good portion of the enemy had retired to oppose Roberts in the Free State. I wish you would send me the" Weekly Times" if you can, and the Faner occasionally; we are very hard up for reading matter, as we can't carry many books with us, but the post is delivered as a rule. Lately the Standard Bank have received circulars from the London Directors to the effect that they heard with pleasure that a goad number of the staff had gone to the front, and as soon as the War was over they were to be taken back, See. Give love to mother. I hope she is keeping well. Kind regards to all. I am, your affectionate brother, JOHN W. JENKINS.


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