Topic: BW - NSW - NSWMR_A
A Sqn NSWMR
"A" Squadron, NSW Mounted Rifles
Antill Letter, 12 March 1900
The following transcript is of a letter written by Captain John Macquarie Antill, Officer Commanding the New South Wales Mounted Rifles contingent to South Africa to the New South Wales Chief Staff Officer and Assistant Adjutant General Colonel Henry Douglas Mackenzie.
No orders to place himself under Colonel Knight's command. Captain Antill.
Chief Staff Officer received 19 April 1900.
The Assistant Adjutant General
New South Wales Forces
12 March 1900
My last advice was from Ramah, which we left on the 10th ultimo joining Colonel Hannay's Brigade en route to Modder River. There has been continuous marching and fighting since and as we seldom have seen our baggage, no opportunity for writing. The hours have been very long generally - 16 hours per day - the Squadron watered in the advanced guard right up to the present. I have taken part in almost every action. The men have been conspicuously steady under fire, and have been fortunate to earn warm praise from Colonel Hannay (Killed at Paardeberg) on the 18th inst and from his successor Colonel Riley being present at the affair at Ramah, Jacobsdal as Advanced Guard action with Cronje at Modder River and Klip Kraal, The Battle at Paardeberg, and the two last attacks on the force which advanced from Bloemfontein to relieve Cronje and which is now retiring on that place.
Within the last week we have been brigaded with Robert’s Horse, Kitchener’s Horse, CIV’s [City of London Imperial Volunteers], 2 Companies Mounted Infantry (NSW Mounted Infantry under Colonel Knight) under Lieutenant Colonel Le Gallais and attached to Army Headquarters. Our casualties to date are:Private Flint, 16 February 1900, wounded chest (seriously)Private Ball, T, 17 February 1900, wounded legPrivate Tweedy, 17 February 1900, wounded thighCorporal Owens, 19 February 1900, wounded kneePrivate Cheshire, 19 February 1900, wounded handPrivate Bond, 22 February 1900, wounded footPrivate Abrahams, 10 March 1900, Killed, shot through heartThe latter was from Bega and an excellent, steady and first rate young soldier. No entry in the default sheet.
Rations and forage owing to the loss of 2 convoys and the reduced stat of transport mules have been very scarce and from the last month reduced to ½ issue and horses 4lbs grain. This has restricted mobility in the latter becoming very weak and a good deal of it from starvation, the grazing being very bad up to this, when we are meeting better country. Have lost several horses under fire but have made up by commandeered ponies from the enemy.
Lieutenant Colonel Knight has not yet handed over my draft of men. I have received no order from you to place myself under his command nor is he possessed of any document to this effect, yet he claims my unit as "A" Company of his Regiment. On the other hand I having been placed by the General officer in Command of the Mounted Rifles Unit which is altogether in no way connected with the Mounted Infantry which was not in evidence at the times of my departure, have asked for the matter to be referred. I will again write if possible from Bloemfontein.
I have the honour to be
Your obedient servant
JM Antill, Captain
Commander, NSW Mounted Rifles
Previous: Antill Letter, 8 February 1900
War Diaries and Letters
All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:
Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: "A" Squadron, NSW Mounted Rifles, Antill Letter, 12 March 1900