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likewise serve as a general specimen of other "commandos and patroles,” I beg to refer to the following letter, written immediately after the occurrence of what it attempts to describe.*

· Camp, Block Drift, December 1, 1846. “ At two o'clock in the morning, by the light of a bright moon, the patrole moved off in the most perfect silence; the right column, under Colonel Johnstone of the 27th, was to sweep eight or ten miles to the right of the camp, in a south-easterly direction. Colonel Erskine, with the 45th went easterly towards Fort Cox, from which place a party under Colonel Campbell, of the 91st, was also to move out, whilst our column, commanded by Colonel Slade in person, proceeded to the north, along the right bank of the Chumie.

“ As our object was to levy black mail' rather than to destroy · blackmen,' you can easily understand the reason of our extending thus ; and the general, no doubt, actuated by humanity, and wishing to spare the enemy as much as possible, gave out the order that the latter were only to be shot if actually resisting, or making off with arms and cattle.

“We followed the banks of the Chumie for about six miles, and when arrived near the spot where we were to cross, halted to give breath to the troops, and to await the first dawn of day. We could from hence distinctly see the fires of the enemy's kraals in the dark kloofs and on the wooded heights crowning the opposite side of the stream, and, as you may imagine, longed to be stirring them up; meanwhile, advantage was taken of this short delay to make some preliminary arrangements for the approaching onset.

“ The cavalry, divided into five squads, was directed, on crossing the river, to spread out right and left like a fan; the irregulars of foot: Totties and Fingoes, I told off likewise into five separate companies, each to follow, as closely as possible, a party of the cavalry, from whom they were to receive the captured herds, to be again by them handed back to the 90th regiment, who were to be posted on a high ridge, marked as the general rendezvous, whither the cattle were to be driven when taken from the enemy, and on which point the skirmishers might fall back, if overmatched by the Kaffirs.

“ All these preliminaries being duly settled, and as day began to dawn apace, the column again advanced, but had not gone 200 yards, when on this side of the Chumie, contrary to our expectations, we suddenly came on a large kraal, teeming with cattle.

“Every attempt at further concealment was now useless ; like hounds striking on a fresh scent, the irregulars were soon amongst the herd, and blazing away with all their might ; for the Kaffirs, as usual, showed fight in defence of their cattle. A few lives were consequently lost, and, strange to


first discharge knocked over two rather eminent Kaffirs, one named Yokah, the chief councillor of Sandilla, and his bro

• The account of an occurrence of this description by one personally engaged in it, must of course be very imperfect ; the narrator, generally speaking, being able merely to witness what takes place within the narrow orb of which he necessarily becomes the centre, and (as in the relation of all personal adventures) he thereby unavoidably lays himself open to the serious charge of egotism. Thé author trusts to the above extenuating circumstances, for the reader's indulgence during the ensuing narrative.

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ther ; the former being shot by my lately appointed commandant of irregular horse.

During this first ómelée,' a ridiculous incident occurred, which at the time caused much merriment. A Kaffir, rushing out of his hut half asleep, with a bundle of assegaïs under his arm, ran violently against Colonel Slade, when the latter, forgetting the savage could not understand him, with a polite expletive, asked him what he meant ? and ordered him to drop his arms, which Mr. Kaffir instantly did, and as quickly vanished into the bush.

“A large batch of cattle was thus easily secured, but we expected to find much greater numbers on the other side of the river, in following up which no time was to be lost, as the firing must have already alarmed the whole neighbourhood, and unless we were now very quick in our movements, every bullock would most assuredly be driven to the hills or into the bush, where it were vain to attempt to follow them. Wherefore hastily collecting the Cape corps and irregular horse, I led them on at a gallop to a neighbouring ford ; we dashed into the river, and foundering over large rocks and stones, which threw several of the horses, succeeded at last in reaching the opposite bank, where we found, as I had anticipated, lots to do. We were luckily yet in time to arrive at several kraals before the cattle had been driven out; these were speedily captured amidst a great deal of noise and smoke, the whizzing of a few assegaïs, and whistling of bullets; the Hottentots and Fingoes, however, being close at our heels, took possession of the prizes, and we pushed on as hard as we could gallop after such as had already escaped, to the lively tune of pop-popping all around us, for Hottentots will on such occasions expend powder and ball, whether they see an enemy or not.

“The scene became now most exciting; in fact, a regular . Kaffir' as well as cattle' hunt. According to previous arrangement, the horsemen spread out in small parties, and at the head of a dozen of the Cape mounted rifles, tallyho'd' a flying herd; the little “ Totty' riflemen rode like steeple-chasers, each striving to be foremost, but not one of the party could keep pace with my raw-boned charger, Nagpoor,' who carried me splendidly, clearing water-courses, and scrambling up and down ravines in such first-rate style, that. I soon parted company with my escort, and came up, unattended, with a large Aock of cattle just entering the bush, and driven by three mounted Kaffirs.

My confounded horse had become so excited during the chase, that he no longer obeyed the bit ; it was impossible either to stop or turn him. The Kaffirs seemed half disposed to show a front, and though in a horrid funk, I was, like Johnny Gilpin, ‘nolens volens,' borne along by my fiery steed; I was now within tifty yards of these ugly looking customers, and there was nothing left for it, but to charge the rascals; therefore, putting the best face on the matter, and getting my hog-spear in rest, with a view halloo' I rode, in spite of myself

, slap at them ; they, however, at this juncture, to my inexpressible satisfaction, turned tail, and skulked into the bush.

“After at last succeeding in pulling up my horse, I managed to head the drove of cattle, which was then taken charge of by some of the Cape corps, who had just arrived. It was now broad daylight, and a precisely similar scene to what I had a few days before witnessed, when on patrol with Colonel Somerset's division, here again recurred. Far as the eye could


reach, when uninterrupted by hill or bush, might be seen herds of cattle fying before the shrill whistle of the Kaffirs, and hotly pursued by our widely-scattered horsemen ; whilst the Hottentots and Fingoes on foot, were hurrying in their wake, blazing away at every thing as they advanced, firing Kaffir huts, and slaying the owners when they stood to offer resistance. Meanwhile, the 90th, as if disdaining to participate in such ignoble warfare, had quietly marched to the brow of a commanding eminence, from whence, as passive spectators, they looked down on all this inglorious cattle-stealing.'

“ I was now joined by my young commandant of irregular horse, who, after having settled Mr. Yokah's account, and spread his sable horsemen o'er the plain, being himself better mounted, had pushed on to see the fun, and to have the chance of another shot with the rifle which had lately done such good service. With a few of the Cape corps we now dashed down a deep ravine and up the opposite bank, having marked a second flock of oxen which had actually entered the bush ; it was, however, luckily, not very thick, and we succeeded in bringing out this fresh lot, which was in like manner handed back to the rear.

“Collecting as many stragglers as possible, we next galloped towards the smoke issuing from some kraals a couple of miles off, across an open country, but found we were too late, capturing, however, on our way a few horses. Returning from this unsuccessful cast,' we struck on the spoor'* of a large flock, whose track was distinctly marked on the dewy grass, and which appeared to have been driven towards the Chumie Hills. This spoor we rapidly followed up for several miles, till entering an entangled, wooded, and hilly country; we were here joined by a couple of officers and some of the 7th Dragoons, who reported that forty or fifty Kaffirs were in a wooded valley close by, and had defied them to come into the bush and fight, which invitation the small party of course politely declined.

“Whilst we were consulting what was now best to be done, I saw a fine ox close to the edge of the cover about 200 yards off, with a Kaffic on horseback driving it slowly along. This was evidently intended as a decoy ; the Kaffirs being close at hand in the thicket, meant no doubt to have given us a taste of their assegaïs had we pounced directly on the bait. Determined, however, to out-manæuvre them, we extended our line ; a little firing took place at such of the enemy as showed themselves on the outskirts of the bush, one Kaffir was shot through the body, another was knocked over by the • Lieutenant-Colonel' of the irregular horse, but scrambled away into the jungle.

“ Meanwhile, I kept a steady look-out on the gentleman with the ox. He had now ventured some distance from the covert, when screened by a swell in the ground I gradually approached unseen, and seizing a favourable opportunity, suddenly put my horse at speed, cut off his retreat, and then 'yehoik’d' him across a fine open piece of grass land in full sight of each party. We both rattled along at a pace which could not possibly last, but in which the training and hard condition of my horse soon told, for after a sharp run in view,' the Kaffir began to show symptoms of distress, whilst my steed was still fresh and well in hand ; there was,

• A colonial term, meaning the traces left on the ground by the footsteps of men or animals.

however, no time to be lost in further jockeyship, as a thick belt of bush now rose immediately in our front, on the brink of a rapid descent ; I therefore gave “Nagpoor' his head with a slight taste of the spur, to which he gallantly responded ; bounding under the metallic pressure, be closed in a second on the flying foe, and brought the glittering point of my hog-spear close to his bended form.

“Not apparently relishing such 'pointed' attention, the Kaffir, glancing over his left shoulder, silently but fiercely brandished an assegai.

“ Had he thrown himself off and hurled his weapon as I shot past, far different might have been the result ;-however, there was not, with either party, much time for reflection or thought, but to divert his intended aim, whilst making a horrible face at the rascal, I bellowed with all my might, and urging my horse to his utmost speed, drove the spearhead through the leathern folds of the kaross, right between the shoulderblades, into his brawny back. The savage, without uttering a sound, but still grasping his assegar, pitched forward off his horse, bestowing on me as he fell a vengeful look of mingled hatred and pain which I shall not readily forget; it was that demoniac expression which, in his grand picture of the · Last Judgment,' Michael Angelo portrays as they are hurled from aloft, on the distorted countenances of the accursed.

“At this critical moment, whilst endeavouring to pull up (for the bushes precluded the possibility in true · Deccanee style of turning off after delivering the spear) the curb-chain snapped, and my fiery brute of a horse became quite unmanageable ; maddened by the excitement of the chase he still wildly followed the now riderless Kaffir steed, dashed down the face of the steep, thickly-wooded declivity in our front, carrying me through dense prickly mimosa shrubs, and nearly uphorsing me half-a-dozen times amidst their abrading thorns. Considering there were at the time lots of Kaffirs in the bush, my position in this Mazeppa-like course was not the most enviable in the world, nor did I succeed in pulling up until reaching the bottoin of the hill, when I vowed never again to trust myself during a patrole on the back of such a runaway beast !

“By the time I had retraced my steps to the spot where the Kaffir had fallen, the bird was flown-had vanished into the bush ; and no one who has not actually witnessed it would credit the quantity of killing' these fellows take, or the almost miraculous manver in which, after being even mortally wounded, they contrive to evade their pursuers and effect their escape. *

“The stoical fortitude with which these savages endure pain is likewise most remarkable, and as an instance in point, I may mention that during the course of this day we came upon a Kaffir rolled up in his kaross, and seated under a mimosa bush ; he had been shot through the body, evidently mortally, and thus silently awaited his fate, having first endeavoured to staunch the blood by cramming a handful of grass into the wound!

“After this little scrinimage, we again followed up the cattle spoor above alluded to, but on crowning a height, with our glasses we could distinctly see an immense herd of cattle three or four miles a-head, in the act of

When Hintza, the father of Kreli, and paramount chief of the Amakosæ, attempted during the war of 1835 to make his escape from Sir Harry Smith, he nearly succeeded in so doing, after having been hurled off his horse by the latter, and shot through the back and in the leg.

ascending the Chumie Hills. As it was therefore useless to pursue them further, we turned, with the intention of going back to the general rendezvous. However, on our way thither, the Cape Corps Hottentots— who have the eyes of a hawk-espied about three miles off a number of oxen, and extending one half of my troop to the left, to cut off their retreat, I immediately galloped on with the rest ; but you may imagine our surprise and disappointment, on coming up with the herd, to find that they were cattle already secured by Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, of the 91st, who had come out from Fort Cox to co-operate with our patrole. But I reached him just in the nick of time, for he was then partaking with his officers some cold meat and brandy-and-water, of which I opportunely came in for a share.

“After a hearty .pic-nic' breakfast, shifting the saddles from our more jaded horses to the backs of those captured from the Kaffirs, I took leave of my hospitable entertainers, and with the original party, consisting of an English serjeant and a few Hottentots of the Cape Corps Rifles, now started for the camp, to which our last sweep had brought us within ten or twelve miles.

“On our way thither we sighted a Kaffir kraal on the opposite side of a wide ravine, near which was grazing a fine herd of cattle, with a number of armed Kaffirs, evidently on the qui vive.

«• 'Tis a pity, sir, to go back empty-handed to camp,' observed the serjeant, with those fine oxen so close at hand.'

“Can we manage to get another gallop out of our horses ?' said I.

“The serjeant seemed to think this within the bounds of possibility; 'let's try, then,' was the word, and in an instant the little Hottentots and their horses were roused to their mettle, and we were rattling down the side of the ravine and up the opposite ascent, with as much speed as if our nags had not already carried us over some forty or fifty good miles of hill and dale.

“The Kaffirs did not await our approach, and although they attempted to drive off the herd into the bush, we were too quick for them; the latter was headed and captured without firing a shot, and we next ransacked the huts of the kraai in quest of muskets and assegaïs.

“The Hottentots wished to fire the whole • boutique,' but this, out of compassion to the women, I would not allow. These poor creatures displayed the very fortitude of Spartan matrons ; whilst witnessing the loss of all their worldly goods, and the death of husbands and brothers, they never uttered a cry or shed a tear, but would sit silently and passively at the doors of their huts, until, in some other instances, actually driven away by the flames. The Kaffirs themselves are certainly 'game to the back bone,' never, as I have before observed, crying out, however badly wounded, or even demanding quarter ; but merely pronouncing the name of their chief ere they give up the ghost; thus much must in justice be said in their favour; but I suspect this to be their only redeeming quality, for a more "irreclaimable’ set of savages—as Sir B. d’Urban most justly designated them-cannot possibly exist.

“On reaching the camp about mid-day, I found a large party assembled in the mess-tent of the 90th, where we discussed a hearty breakfast or rather tiffin, together with the morning's 'sport,' amounting to 1500 head of captured cattle, and a few Kaffirs expended,' without any loss on our

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