Kommandant Abraham Gert Willem Louw, D.T.D., was the Kommandant of his own, Louw's, Commando in the north-west Cape Colony and served under the overall command of Generals Smuts, Maritz and Hertzog. His application forms for the D.T.D. and A.B.O. are signed by Smuts, who awarded him the D.T.D. 'For faithful service during Boer War in north-west portion of Cape Colony' and list his major actions as Tontelboschkolk, Middelpoort, Windhoek, Ookiep and Springbok.
Kommandant Louw's band was chased in the drives of 1902 by British Columns, including those of Lieutenant-Colonel's Atherton and Follett. Louw himself was never captured but, had he been, he would probably have been executed as a rebel. He was not highly thought of by the Field Intelligence Department who wrote of him:
'Louw, Abraham. Commandant, Maritz Commando. A Calvinia rebel, formerly residing at Roodefontein in the Calvinia District. In command of 50-60 rebels. 5 feet 8 inches in height, of stout build, blue eyes with fair hair and dark beard. Age 45 years. Joined the Free State forces in January 1901. Formerly a Field Cornet under the Colonial Government and has property in the Calvinia District. Fairly well educated and intelligent but unscrupulous and does not speak English. Is generally known as a coward and a fool. Is not smart and will not attempt to capture anyone stronger than himself' (The Boer Forces Army List refers).
Louw was involved in one of the most notorious incidents in Cape Colony during the Guerilla War, the murder of the coloured spy, Abraham Esau. This incident is well described in Brian Kieran's O'okiep:
'Calvinia was occupied by the Boers in January 1901 and Esau roamed the countryside upon a large black horse brandishing a sabre and inciting the coloured community to support the imperial cause. He brought together a band of 'faithful children' who provided the information for British Intelligence from November, upon his return from Clanwilliam. He created a secret society which caused the Boers to fear the support from the British that might be forthcomiing, although Esau's understandings were misguided and exaggerated. However, the Commandos were reported to see him as 'the most poisonous Hottentot from Calvinia'. It was on the evening of 6 January 1901 that 50 Orange Free State burgers led by Veldkornet Scholtz, took Calvinia. Reinforcements of 100 horsemen arrived an hour later under Commandant Pretorius and ripped down the Union Jack from the top of Dreyer's house. Resistance crumbled and the new order of rule by the sjambok was introduced with speed, martial law declared and expropriation commenced with the authority of Commandant Charles Nieuwoudt.
The commando rounded up 14 men of whom 9 were 'loyal coloured men', including Abraham Esau. Esau did not give away any secrets of his cell, asserted his innocence when asked about the rumoured arms cache and scornfully resisted attempts to make him renounce British citizenship. He was, however, sentenced by Veldkornet van der Merwe on 15 January 1901 to 25 lashes but fainted after 17 and was untied. He was struck by an Abraham Louw, and kicked by others. It was not until 5 February 1901 that on van der Merwe's orders, Stephanus Strydom had Esau clapped in irons, strung betwen two horses and bumped at a quick canter 5 miles from Calvinia; after a beating he was then shot dead by Strydom. His body was retrieved in the evening by three of his associates and brought back to Calvinia. Calvinia paid homage to Esau, but the crowd was dispersed by Nieuwodt. It was ironic that the following day the occupation suddenly ended with the arrival of a British column under Lt. Col. Herbert de Lisle. Esau was buried to the volley of 12 British soldiers, although the mourners were scattered by a thunderstorm.
The death of Esau created widespread ripples and Milner declared:
'Nothing more disgraceful has happened in modern war than the treatment of the coloured man Esau at Calvinia. What I do know is that they flogged him till he fainted, for the offence of being loyal to the British Crown, he being born and bred a British subject.'