Topic: BatzB - Driefontein
South Africa, 10 March 1900
The Times, 20 March 1900, Item 2
The Times, 20 March 1900, p. 5.
The account is transcribed below.
(FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)
DRIEFONTEIN, March 11.
The army left Poplar Grove yesterday.
At 10 o'clock the cavalry unexpectedly found the kopjes at Driefontein, eight miles south of Abraham's Drift, strongly occupied, and immediately attempted to outflank the enemy under a heavy shell and Vickers-Maxim fire.
Leaving a thin containing line, the 2nd Brigade pushed south, finding the Boer position of great length in that direction.
At 1.30 the 6th Division arrived, and the 13th Brigade, led by the Buffs, and the 18th Brigade, led by the Welsh Regiment, proceeded to clear the kopjes under a hot and bewildering fire, the Boers succeeding in doubly enfilading the troops from kopjes to the east and south-west near the main ridge. The artillery made magnificent practice, though outranged by two Elswick 12-pounders.
The 9th Division and the Guards arrived at 4 o'clock, too late to join in the fight.
The Boers have a strong position in the kopjes, but probably will be unable to prevent our advance. Many of them fled north. It is reported that they lost a Vickers-Maxim gun.
The engagement was signalized by many acts of bravery, especially in connexion with the supply of ammunition, which ran short because the men, having to march 13 miles, had been relieved of 50 rounds.
The storming of Alexander Kopje by the Welsh Regiment was an extremely fine piece of work. The troops showed skill in securing cover while their advance was being supported by a heavy artillery fire. They were almost invisible, except when actually moving.
Finally, bayonets were fixed and the top was cleared, the Boers barely escaping under a heavy fire, losing many horses and leaving several Wounded and two dead.
The incident was small as regards numbers, but was most creditable, and Lord Roberts expressed great satisfaction.
The mobility of the Boers in moving their guns was more remarkable than ever.
The New South Wales Mounted Infantry made a gallant, but unsuccessful, attempt to capture a gun.Later reports state that the Boers have entirely disappeared, but in spite of this an engagement to-day is not unlikely.
Citation: Driefontein, South Africa, The Times, 20 March 1900, Item 2