London, South Kensington
30 October 1992
THE BOER WAR -- A collection of approximately 100 a.l.s. by Private Lewis Jarvis of the Cape Mounted Rifles, dated Cape Colony, Orange Free State and elsewhere, 1897-1902, to his mother, covering the entire course of the war, and giving a long and vivid account of the fighting around Bloemfontein in the summer of 1900, especially of the defence of Wepener: 'For seventeen days we spent the most awful time that anyone could wish for ... our whole position was completely surrounded by about eight thousand Boers. We found that they had guns planted on all sides of us which commenced an awful cross fire ... The pom-pom forced its unwelcome acquaintance upon us with murderous effect ...the captain of my company was badly hit when sitting near me ... That night we were treated to a very desperate night attack ... at about 8:30 they rushed up to close quarters and fired volleys into us from all sides ... the scene of the night attack was quite melodramatic with the flashes of the rifles gleaming on our fixed bayonets & the sparks from the enemys explosive bullets all round us. I have never seen bullets so thick." He gives an account of the battles at Klip River Drift, Dorsdecht and Labuschang's Nek: 'We could not show a finger without being peppered at. Meanwhile our men below engaged and fighting became somewhat thick & from our position we could see the whole thing in panorama below us' it was a fearful sight to see our men trying to take positions and being shot down in the endeavour'. He also reports on the arduous campaign against Boer guerillas in the later stages of the war, besides describing the experience of policing Cape Colony; all with original envelopes (some stamps removed).
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A remarkably detailed and sustained commentary on the war; potentially a book.
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