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The Defence of Duffer's Drift   By: (1868-1951)

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

VOL. I. April, 1905 No. 4.

JOURNAL OF THE UNITED STATES INFANTRY ASSOCIATION

PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY THE UNITED STATES INFANTRY ASSOCIATION 75 CENTS PER COPY; $3.00 PER YEAR

MAJOR WM. P. EVANS, A.A.G., Editor

1800 F STREET NORTHWEST, WASHINGTON, D.C.

Entered July 5, 1904, at the Post Office at Washington, D.C., as second class matter, under act of March 3, 1879. Copyright, 1904, by the U.S. Infantry Association. All rights reserved.

THE UNITED STATES INFANTRY ASSOCIATION

OFFICERS

President. Major General J.C. BATES, U.S. Army.

Vice President. Lieutenant Colonel JAS. S. PETTIT, U.S. Infantry. Assistant Adjutant General.

Secretary and Treasurer. Captain BENJAMIN ALVORD, General Staff.

Executive Council. Lieutenant Colonel JAMES S. PETTIT, U.S. Infantry, A.A.G. Major WM. P. EVANS, U.S. Infantry, A.A.G. Major JOHN S. MALLORY, 12th Infantry, G.S. Captain BENJAMIN ALVORD, 25th Infantry, G.S. Captain H.C. HALE, 15th Infantry, G.S. Captain C.H. MUIR, 2d Infantry, G.S. Captain FRANK MCINTYRE, 19th Infantry, G.S. Captain D.E. NOLAN, 30th Infantry, G.S.

THE DEFENCE OF DUFFER'S DRIFT.

BY CAPTAIN E.D. SWINTON, D.S.O., R.E. (BACKSIGHT FORETHOUGHT.)

BY PERMISSION.

PROLOGUE.

Upon an evening after a long and tiring trek, I arrived at Dreamdorp. The local atmosphere, combined with a heavy meal, are responsible for the following nightmare, consisting of a series of dreams. To make the sequence of the whole intelligible, it is necessary to explain that, though the scene of each vision was the same, yet by some curious mental process I had no recollection of the place whatsoever. In each dream the locality was totally new to me, and I had an entirely fresh detachment. Thus I had not the great advantage of working over familiar ground. One thing, and one only, was carried on from dream to dream, and that was the vivid recollection of the general lessons previously learnt. These finally produced success.

The whole series of dreams, however, remained in my memory as a connected whole when I awoke.

FIRST DREAM.

"Any fool can get into a hole." Old Chinese proverb.

"If left to you, for defence make spades." Bridge Maxim.

I felt lonely, and not a little sad, as I stood on the bank of the river near Duffer's Drift and watched the red dust haze, raised by the southward departing column in the distance, turn slowly into gold as it hung in the afternoon sunlight. It was just three o'clock, and here I was on the banks of the Silliaasvogel river, left behind by my column with a party of fifty N.C.O.'s and men to hold the drift. It was an important ford, because it was the only one across which wheeled traffic could pass for some miles up or down the river.

[Illustration: MAP OF DUFFER'S DRIFT.]

The river was a sluggish stream, not now in flood, crawling along at the very bottom of its bed between steep banks which were almost vertical, or at any rate too steep for wagons everywhere except at the drift itself. The banks from the river edge to their tops and some distance outwards were covered with dense thorn and other bushes, which formed a screen impenetrable to the sight... Continue reading book >>




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