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    On the evening of 5 February Maj-Gen Smith – Dorrien’s column camped on the farm Bothwell on the northern edge of Lake Chrissie. Cmdt-Gen Louis Botha’s main aim at the time was to cripple the advance of Smith-Dorrien into the Eastern Transvaal and he decided on a night attack to achieve this and, at the same time, carry off welcome supplies of food, weapons and ammunition.

    The British camp was well situated but surprise reigned when some 2000 Boers attacked in pitch darkness just before 03h00 on 6 February. A tremendous fusillade broke out, followed by a rush of galloping hooves through the crowded camp.


    The horses of the 5th Lancers and ILH had stampeded, throwing the camp into turmoil. The burghers achieved initial success in the wake of the stampeding horses and cut up some of the West Yorks pickets but could not gain a foothold on the slopes and were not able to open direct fire on the main camp situated on a plateau.


    At 04h30, under cover of the thick morning mist, Botha ordered them to retreat. The Boer commando suffered about eighty casualties, including Field Cornet Spruyt of the Heidelberg Commando, and the British seventy-five.


    About 300 horses of the British force were killed or stampeded: this definitely delayed the British advance and gave the Boer commandos time to re-group.

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