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    Strong Boer attacks forced Maj-Gen R A P Clements to abandon his positions around Colesberg and retire to Rensburg on 13 February 1900. However, that area was not well suited for defence and on 14 February he withdrew further south to Arundel. In the process ‘D’ and ‘G’ Companies of the 2nd Wiltshires were not informed of a changed time of the withdrawal and the two Companies, under Major F. R. MacMullen, set off at daybreak, as originally instructed, and soon came under heavy fire.


    After a brisk skirmish they surrendered, losing 14 killed, including Major MacMullen, 45 wounded and altogether 130 officers and men made prisoners – luckily to be 
    released on the fall of Bloemfontein a few weeks later. 

    The following extract, taken from a special correspondent’s report published in the Cape Times, contains his views on the action and of subsequent events:
    “The Wilts, as will be remembered, were retreating to Arundel, and in the hurry 150 men, under Major Stock [sic!], were left behind. These men, marching from near Rensburg siding in the direction of Arundel, came in contact with the Boers; in fact, mistook the Boer camp for the British camp.


    For more than two hours these gallant men fought against overwhelming odds, and not until their ammunition was exhausted did they surrender. The Boers themselves admitted that the Wilts had beaten a manly retreat and had shown splendid fight. The Wiltshire prisoners, I regret to state, were badly treated by the Boer authorities.


    They were marched from beyond Rensburg in the broiling sun to town. Pausing through Church Street, several of the men dropped 
    down from fatigue and had a drink of water from the furrow passing down the main street.


    In the Town Hall, where they were confined prior to being marched on to Bloemfontein, two huge buckets of mealie-pap had been placed for their supper, and no cup was provided wherewith the contents could be bailed out. Suffice it to say, the buckets and contents were abandoned for the more palatable niceties sent them by some 
    Colesberg ladies.


    In connection with this supper I must there make special mention of the kindness of Mrs. Porter, of this town, who not only on that occasion but on frequent occasions subsequently, contributed most liberally to the wants of the soldiers. From the Court House, where we were imprisoned, we could just catch a glimpse of the Wiltshire men, about 100, more or less, who had the run of the back yard of the Town Hall.

    The following morning the Wilts were marched on to the Free State, via Norval’s Pont. The day was rather more pleasant than the previous one, it threatening rain all day. Before leaving the Town Hall the Wilts were presented with a copy of the Good Book by the Rev G. Scholtz, Dutch Reformed parson. Crowds of ladies and 
    gentlemen lined Church Street, in order to catch a last glimpse of the Wiltshires.


    The men all seemed in excellent spirits, owing probably not so much to the scanty food provided by the authorities as to the abundance of spiritual comfort they had received for the journey.”

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