Topic: BatzB - Sunnyside
South African (Second Boer) War
The Battle of Sunnyside, South Africa, 1 January 1900
Times Account, 3 January 1900
The Times, 3 January 1900, p. 3
COLONEL PILCHER'S OPERATIONS.
MODDER RIVER, JAN. 2.
Lieutenant-Colonel Pilcher's capture of the Sunnyside laager, north-west of Belmont, will produce excellent results in the Herbert district. The commando, which has been totally defeated, was composed of colonial Dutch, and the prisoners should not be treated as prisoners of war, but as British subjects in open rebellion.
The conduct of the colonial troops is exciting great admiration; all are delighted that they have struck the first blow on this frontier since Magersfontein. It is sincerely to be hoped that an example will be made of the prisoners, which would increase the moral effect of the success, now rapidly spreading throughout Griqualand.
Cavalry from this camp, under General Babington, moved yesterday in the Koodoosberg direction, operating north of Lieutenant-Colonel Pilcher's advance and preventing the arrival of Boer reinforcements. The reoccupation of Griqualand and the relief of Kuruman are only a matter of a short time.
The following is the conclusion of Reuter's despatch from Dover Farm regarding the capture of the Boer laager at Sunnyside, the first portion of which appeared in The Tunes of yesterday:
DOVER FARM, Jan. 1.
While B Company of the Queenslanders kept moving along the left among kopjes strewn with big stones, carefully using every bit of cover, A Company advanced along the ridges. The Boers kept up a sustained fire all the time, but, as they could see none of their assailants, no harm was done.
By about 2 o'clock in the afternoon B Company had completely worked round the left kopje and A had reached the backbone of the ridge. The latter were steadily advancing, when the fire of the enemy suddenly ceased and a party of 35 Boers hoisted a white flag and immediately surrendered to A Company.
The position was now taken. A portion of the Torontos moved across in front of the guns and entered the Boer laager. The bulk of the enemy's force had fled. Fourteen tents, three wagons, and a great store of rifles and ammunition, as well as saddles, forage, and camp equipment, fell into our hands. We also found numerous incriminating papers. Many of the envelopes were stamped with the words “On her Majesty's Service," and had evidently been used by the newly appointed Landdrost of Douglas in the absence of an official Free State superscription.
The loss of the Boers besides prisoners was six killed and about 12 wounded.
The affair was altogether a success. The best dispositions were made, and the Boers were beaten at their own game. The Torontos stood a galling fire with admirable patience and spent never a shot unnecessarily. Captain Bell, in charge of their Maxim, and Captain Belham, directing the Queenslanders' machine gun, did good work. Major Bayly, of the Queensland contingent, also rendered good service, and every one was full of praise of Lieutenant Ryan's
handling of the mounted infantry.
DOUGLAS, Jan. 2, 7 20 p.m.
The British flag is again flying over Douglas, and the arrival of Colonel Pilcher's column has restored confidence among the inhabitants. Yesterday's engagement resulted in the entire dispersal of the rebels, who for the past six weeks have been governing the country. Their leaps: was occupied mostly by British subjects, who, or the arrival of a Free State commando, which was probably invited, threw in their lot with the enemy, terrorizing the loyalists, who are now jubilant that the day of freedom has arrived.
Last night we encamped on Dover Farm, the proprietor of which fled. The Toronto company remained in the enemy's laager and joined the main body in the morning, bringing the whole of the Boer tents and wagon loot. Shortly afterwards the Cornwalls, under Major Ashby, marched into camp, having performed a splendid march across the veldt. At 10 o'clock the force started for Douglas, leaving the Cornwalls to garrison the farm. The Queenslanders furnished scouts and formed the advance guard. They were followed by the guns, which were escorted by mounted infantry. The Toronto company brought up the rear, riding in wagons.
At 12 o'clock natives reported that Douglas was unoccupied. Colonel Pilcher had sent a letter last night to Mr. Warner, the Landdrost, announcing his intention of marching on Douglas, and threatening all rebels bearing arms with just punishment. Those surrendering, he added, would be handed over to the civil authorities.
At 1 o'clock the force watered six miles from Douglas and, after s brief halt, continued its march. Various reports were received, chiefly from natives, that the enemy would attempt to make a stand. Consequently, Colonel Pilcher on approaching Douglas extended the Queenslanders, who gradually worked their way to the outskirts of the town, which is situated y in a hollow. Colonel Ricardo sent forward a small advance patrol, which was greeted with loud cheers on entering the place.
An extraordinary scene ensued. The inhabitants were in a frenzy of delight. They crowded round the soldiers, shaking hands with them, and their enthusiasm was increased when they learned that their deliverers were Australians and Canadians as well as Imperial troops.
All the troops were received with deafening cheers. The enthusiasm reached a climax when Colonel Pilcher appeared. Such a welcome has seldom been seen.
The inhabitants stated that the Landdrost left is at 10 o'clock last night with the whole of the mounted rebels. The unmounted men, who are described as having been in a state of extreme terror, are reported to have intrenched themselves in the vicinity.
Colonel Pilcher's column succeeded completely in its object, the rebels in this district having it been dispersed once and for all. The loyalists have now a feeling of security, while the hasty departure of all the Dutch, even the women and children, shows how great was the effect of the march.
The Union Jack was hoisted by a band of loyal natives and the State flag was pulled down immediately on the arrival of the column. A quantity of ammunition and a large number of letters showing the entire organization of the district were captured. As I write the ammunition is being burned.
A telegram has been received at the War Office from the General at Cape Town, dated January 2, which says:-
January 2.-Methuen's Cavalry Brigade in support of and in communication with Pilcher's a reconnaissance to Douglas watching Koodoos Drift.
Citation: The Battle of Sunnyside, South Africa, 1 January 1900, Times Account, 3 January 1900