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    The failure of Lord Methuen’s attempt to relieve Kimberley, culminating in the British defeat at the Battle of Magersfontein on 11 December 1899, and taken together with the other failures of the so-called “Black Week”, led to the replacement of Sir Redvers Buller as Commander-in-Chief by General Lord Roberts.


    Roberts arrived at Modder River Station in the second week of February 1900 with substantial reinforcements. In order to 
    distract the Boers from his true intentions (to move to the east) he sent the Highland Brigade, now under General Hector MacDonald, along the Riet River westwards to Koedoesberg Drift, near the Kimberley/Douglas road. Vecht-generaal Piet Cronjé sent Christiaan De Wet with only 350 men to counter the move.


    An inconclusive fight to contest occupation of the nearby hill went on for three days before both sides withdrew.

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