Battle of ElandslaagteLocation: South Africa » Kwazulu Natal » Battlefields » ElandslaagteWhen the Boers invaded Natal, a force under General Kock occupied the railway station at Elandslaagte on October 19, 1899, thus cutting the link between the main British force at Ladysmith and a detachment at Dundee. Learning that the telegraph had been cut, General Sir George White sent his cavalry commander, Major General John French to recapture the station.
Arriving shortly after dawn on October 21, French found the Boers present in strength, with two field guns. He telegraphed to Ladysmith for reinforcements, which shortly afterwards arrived by train.
While three batteries of British field guns bombarded the Boer position, an infantry battalion advanced frontally in open order, while two more battalions and the dismounted Imperial Light Horse moved around the Boers' left flank, commanded by Colonel Iam Hamilton. The sky had steadily been growing dark with thunderclouds, and as the British made their assault, the storm burst. In the poor visibility and pouring rain, the British infantry had to face a barbed wire farm fence, in which several men were entangled and shot. Nevertheless, they cut the wire or broke it down, and occupied the main part of the Boer position.
Some small parties of Boers were already showing white flags when General Kock led a counterattack, dressed in his top hat and Sunday best. He drove back the British infantry in confusion, but they rallied, inspired by Hamilton (and reportedly, a bugler of the Manchester Regiment and a Pipe-major of the Gordon Highlanders) and charged again. Kock and his companions were killed.
As the remaining Boers mounted their ponies and tried to retreat, two squadrons of British cavalry got among them with lances and sabres, cutting down many. This was almost the only time during the Boer war that a British cavalry charge made contact.
The way was now clear for the British detachment at Dundee to fall back. Unfortunately, Sir George White feared that yet more Boers were about to fall on Ladysmith, and ordered the force at Elandslaagte to fall back there. The British were tired and many officers had been killed. The retreat became a disorderly scramble. The detachment at Dundee was forced to make an exhausting detour before they could reach safety.
Accommodation in and around ElandslaagteMawelawela Lodge accommodation in Elandslaagte
In the heart of the Anglo Zulu and Boer war battlefields, this extensive Cattle and Game Farm is home to abundant plains game and bird life. Ideal stop over between the Kruger Park and the Drakensberg, Johannesburg and Durban, St Lucia and the Cape. ... More
Blanerne Farm accommodation in Elandslaagte
Blanerne is an extensive beef and game farm that has been owned by the Mitchell-Innes family since 1863. The present farmhouse was built in 1960 and offers spacious and comfortable accommodation and luxurious living. Ian & Pam welcome you to the... More
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