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Four Months Besieged The Story of Ladysmith   By: (1844-1905)

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First Page:

[Illustration: SIR GEORGE STEWART WHITE, V.C., G.C.S.I.

From a Photograph by Window & Grove ]

Four Months Besieged

THE STORY OF LADYSMITH

BEING UNPUBLISHED LETTERS

FROM

H.H.S. PEARSE THE 'DAILY NEWS' SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS FROM SKETCHES AND PHOTOGRAPHS MADE BY THE AUTHOR

London MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1900 All rights reserved

PREFACE

The siege of Ladysmith will long remain in the memories of the age. The annals of war furnish the record of many fierce struggles, in which men and women have undergone sufferings more terrible and possibly shown a devotion rising to sublimer heights. But the Boer War of 1899 1900 will mark an epoch, and throughout its opening stage of four months the minds of men, and the hopes and fears of the whole British race, centred upon the little town in mid Natal where Sir George White with his army maintained a valiant resistance against a strenuous and determined foe without, and disease and hunger and death within, until, to use his own words, that slow moving giant John Bull should pass from his slumber and bestir himself to take back his own. For that reason alone the story of Ladysmith will remain memorable. But it is a story which is brilliant in brave deeds, which tells of danger boldly faced, of noble self sacrifice to duty, in calm endurance of many and growing evils a story worth the telling. Yet so far it has been told only in the necessarily disjointed telegrams and letters of the press correspondents in the town. Native runners who were captured and otherwise went astray, and the ruthless pencil of the censor, were accountable for many gaps. Two or three of the letters contained in the following pages escaped these perils, and were published in the columns of the Daily News . The rest of the book now appears for the first time.

The volume consists of pages from the letters and diaries of Mr. Henry H.S. Pearse, the Special Correspondent of the Daily News . Mr. Pearse was in Natal when the war broke out, and he was in Ladysmith during the whole of the siege. He was fortunate enough to enjoy good health throughout, and though he had some narrow escapes he was never hit. His letters contain a complete story of the siege.

April 1900.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I PAGE

INTRODUCTORY

The declaration of war Sir George White and the defence of Natal The force at Glencoe Battle of Talana Hill General Yule's retirement Battle of Elandslaagte Useless victories The enemy's continued advance 1

CHAPTER II

LOMBARD'S KOP AND NICHOLSON'S NEK

General White forced to fight The order of battle Leviathan The Boers reinforced A retrograde movement How Marsden met his death Naval guns in action A night of disaster Who showed the white flag? A truce declared A humiliating position 5

CHAPTER III

LADYSMITH INVESTED

The exodus of the townsfolk Communications threatened Slim Piet Joubert Espionage in the town Neglected precautions A truce that paid British positions described Big guns face to face Boers hold the railways French's reconnaissance The General's flitting A gauntlet of fire An interrupted telegram Death of Lieutenant Egerton "My cricketing days are over" Under the enemy's guns "A shell in my room" Colonials in action The sacrifice of valuable lives 15

CHAPTER IV

EARLY DAYS OF THE SIEGE

Moral effects of shell fire General White appeals to Joubert The neutral camp Attitude of civilians Meeting at the Town Hall A veteran's protest Faith in the Union Jack An impressive scene Removal of sick and wounded Through the Boer lines How the posts were manned Enemy mounting big guns More about the spies Boer war ethics In an English garden Throwing up defences A gentlemanly monster The Troglodytes Humorous and pathetic "Long Tom" and "Lady Anne" Links in the chain of fire A round game of ordnance 30

CHAPTER V

THE FIRST BOER ASSAULT

Joubert's boast The preliminaries of attack Shells in the town A simultaneous advance Observation Hill threatened A wary enemy A prompt repulse Attack on Tunnel Hill The colour sergeant's last words Manchesters under fire Prone behind boulders A Royal salute The Prince of Wales's birthday Stretching the Geneva Convention The redoubtable Miss Maggie The Boer Foreign Legion Renegade Irishmen A signal failure 58

CHAPTER VI

A MONTH UNDER SHELL FIRE

The first siege baby An Irish American deserter A soldierly grumble Boer cunning and Staff College strategy An ammunition difficulty The tireless cavalry A white flag incident What the Boer Commandant understood The Natal summer Mere sound and fury Boer Sabbatarianism Naval guns at work "Puffing Billy" of Bulwaan Intrepid Boer gunners The barking of "Pom Poms" Another reconnaissance "Like scattered bands of Red Indians" A futile endeavour A night alarm Recommended for the V... Continue reading book >>




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