Observations on the War in South
Royal United Services Institution Journal
A STILL more startling proof is afforded by tlie battle of Colenso, whicli took place six days later. Gencral Botha, in command of the Transvaal troops, and General Cronje in command of the Free Staters, held thc lower and upper Tugela respectivcly, their object being to dispute tlie passage of the river by the English columns advancing to tlic relief of Ladysmith. The English general based his plan of attack on most imperfect infoiination concerning his opponent. It was firmly believed in the
... ly believed in the English camp that the Boers were afraid to occupy positions on the IevcI, and therefore that only tlie kopjcs near the railway bridge, and the heights which stretched in a wide curve north of tlie lower Tugela were occupied. It was assumed that Bridle Drift, which lies about 54 miles above Colenso, was unguarded. General Buller's plan was to send a brigade (Hart's Brigade) across this drift, and to attack with this brigade the Boer right wing north of Colenso, whilc Hildyard's Brigade should make a simultaneous attack on i t in front. On Hlangwana Hill, wliicli terminated the Boer position to the east, but which was separated from tlic main position by the Tugela, which bends to the north, about 1,000 cavalry under Lord Dundonald were to make an attack. Two brigades were to follow the right and left wings as rescrves. We have already stated that General Bullcr acted hzrc on erroneous information. Thc rcsults vcry soon made themselves apparent. It is strange that in tlie plan of action so little attention was given to Illangwana Hill, wliicli, from its situation, might be called the kcy of the Boer positions, as later events indeed proved. Tlic main attack took place in the centre and on the left wing, though in both Downloaded by [ECU Libraries] at 17:03 23 April 2015 ODSERVATIOSS 0s TlIE \ ; . . \ T I IS SOCTlI AFRICA.