postheadericon Reitz – Commando

One of the most thrilling, yet stirring, works about the Boer War is the first-hand account of Deneys Reitz – Commando. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Towards sunset one evening we came in sight of the village of Jamestown, and saw a strong English column to our right, so General Smuts moved us on. It grew pitch-dark, and a driving rain smote straight in our faces. The night was so black that it was impossible to see even the man immediately before one, and the cold so bitter that we became stiff and numbed, and it was only with difficulty that we could drag our horses along, for we were ordered to go on foot to husband their strength. When I was crossing a spruit, my sandals stuck in the heavy pot-clay and came to pieces when I tried to withdraw them, and it was only by cutting corners from my blanket and wrapping one about each foot that I was able to go on at all. Our guide, a young man from a local farm, had lost his bearings, so we had to grope our way through icy rain for five hours, until we could continue no longer, and stood huddled together ankle-deep in mud and water, praying for sunrise.

When it grew light, over thirty horses lay dead from exposure, besides others abandoned overnight, and our spirits, low before, were at zero now. …”

Here is more information regarding Reitz’ Commando:

postheadericon Commando

CommandoBy Deneys Reitz

A Boer Journal of the Boer War

(Revised in May 2009). Deneys Reitz was 17 when the Boer War broke out in 1899. Reitz describes that he had no hatred of the British people, but “as a South African, one had to fight for one’s country.” Reitz had learned to ride, shoot and swim almost as soon as he could walk, and the skills and endurance he had acquired during those years were to be made full use of during the war.

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