The letter begins with an account of the arrival of a Boer Commando at the author's property at Elandslaagte, their seizure of a train and his brief imprisonment, followed by a 'pretty little battle', which he was able to witness from about a mile away, and the subsequent arrival of British troops and Boer prisoners. The account continues with the withdrawal to Ladysmith, and the arrival of the heavy naval guns in the nick of time before the destruction of the railway.
There is also an entertaining account of life in the early part of the siege and of shelling by Boer Artillery, which appears to have been remarkably ineffective, largely due to faulty ammunitiion. On the 22 January the author states, 'as I write this, I can hear the roar of General Buller's guns - I wish he would hurry up and relieve us', and the letter thereafter takes the form of a diary, being updated every week or so. On the 28 January he says 'our bread has run out today, nothing but biscuits now and very poor beef', another Boer assault was expected and civilians were being issued with rifles and ammunition - the one commodity of which there seemed to be no shortage. The news of Roberts' success at Paardeberg is mentioned, and finally on 1 March 'General Buller arrived with his staff in town today about 12 o'clock, only stopped about 3 hours and then back to his army'. Thereafter the letter gives a vivid picture of the slow return to normality, the gradual re-appearance of foodstuffs and rampant military bureaucracy, '... You cannot move unless you have a Pass: one to stay in Town, another to leave and also one to come back... ' The author also describes the harrowing death of his nephew from disease, and the ravaged state of his property when he was eventually able to ride out and visit it, after occupation by the Boers. The letter finally ends on the 22 March.