Topic: BatzB - Diamond Hill
The Battle of Diamond Hill
South Africa, 11 - 12 June 1900
The Times Account, 14 June 1900
The account is transcribed below.
BOERS ATTACKED NEAR PRETORIA.
VICTORY BY LORD METHUEN.
The following telegram has been received at the War Office from Major-General Knox :
Kroonstad, June 12, 10 50 p.m.
June 12.- I have been requested to forward to you from Lord Roberts the following despatch from Pretoria Residency at 8 a.m. to-day:
Pretoria, June 12. Pretoria and Johannesburg perfectly quiet, and several of the inhabitants have expressed their gratitude at the peace and order which prevail.
After surrendering the city Botha retired to a place about 15 miles east, on the Middelburg road; he had a small force at first, but during the last few days the numbers increased, and his being so near the town kept up excitement in the country, prevented burghers from laying down their arms, and interfered with the collection of supplies.
It therefore became necessary to attack them. This I did yesterday.
He held a very strong position practically unassailable in front, which enabled him to place the main portion of his troops on his flanks, which he knew from former experience were his vulnerable parts.
I sent French, with Porter's and Dickson's Cavalry Brigades and Hutton's Mounted Infantry round by our left; Ian Hamilton, with Broadwood and Gordon's Cavalry Brigade, Ridley's Mounted Infantry, and Bruce Hamilton's Infantry Brigade, round by our right.
Both columns met with great opposition, but about 3 in the afternoon I saw two of Hamilton's Infantry Battalions advancing to what appeared to be the key of the enemy's defence on their left flank.
This was almost gained before dark, and I ordered the force to bivouac on the ground they had won.
Pole-Carew, with his division, occupied our centre. As I have explained, he could not attack, but he gradually advanced so as to support Ian Hamilton, and, when I left the field, was on the line held by the enemy's outposts in the morning.
I hurried back to get news of Methuen's movements. On hearing that the Free Staters had taken advantage of our crossing the Vaal to interrupt our line of communication, I sent Kitchener with such troops as could then be spared to Ver with orders to push south and communicate with Methuen, who, I knew, had a very compact force in the vicinity of Heilbron. I also despatched special messenger to Methuen to push on with all speed to the main line of railway.
These two officers met at Vredefort Road Station on the evening of the 10th. They marched yesterday to the Rhenoster River, where Methuen gained a complete victory over De Wet, took possession of his camp, and scattered his troops in all directions; he and Kitchener march to-day towards Kroonstad.
Her Majesty's Government need have no apprehension as to the security of the Army in South Africa ; the enemy gained a slight success, which is unfortunate, but this will be remedied very shortly, and it will not take long to repair the damage done to the railway, as the diversions are all in existence. I am now able to hold the line between this and the Rhenoster in strength, and Methuen will arrange to guard onwards as he advances.
Hunter should be at Potchefstroom to-day, and will thence move on Johannesburg.
I have communicated with Buller, who will, no doubt, soon make the presence of his force in the field felt.
Our losses yesterday were not, I trust, serious; but I deplore the death of that gallant soldier the Earl of Airlie. The only other casualties reported as yet are 17th Lancers, Major the Hon. L Fortescue and Lieutenant the Hon. C. Cavendish both killed. (Message ends)Kroonstad is quite safe.
Citation: The Battle of Diamond Hill, South Africa, 11 - 12 June 1900, The Times Account, 14 June 1900