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    Knox took his own troops towards Hout Kraal, where an armoured train and a small column composed of a company of the 3rd Grenadier Guards, two guns and 150 mounted troops under Colonel E. Crabbe had already arrived, expecting to be joined by another under Henniker, which was on the march from Philipstown.


    These bodies had been hastily formed at De Aar by Sir H. Settle for the express purpose of clinging to De Wet until the regular columns should arrive. At 4.30am on the 15th, before either Knox or Henniker appeared on the scene, Crabbe discovered the Boers in the act of crossing the railway four miles north of Hout Kraal.


    De Wet had destroyed the track on either side of the crossing, and the armoured train, which promptly steamed towards the spot, could only shell the rear portion of the convoy, whilst Crabbe was too weak to do more than follow in observation.


    About noon he was joined by Plumer, whose march in pursuit of the commandos would have been rendered intolerable by the morasses had not these exhausting obstacles held so many derelict Boer wagons as to cheer his men with evidence that the enemy’s case was worse than their own. 

    More than twenty wagons, for the most part laden with flour and ammunition, lay embedded in the mud, to be joined soon by as many of Plumer’s. The night’s scurry from Wolve Kuil and Plumer had indeed reduced the Boers to an abject plight. It confirmed the suspicion which had already arisen in the minds of the majority of the burghers that their trusted leader’s sole triumph in Cape Colony was to be that over the floods of the Orange River, a victory which that uncertain stream might yet avenge. 

    They were now without reserve ammunition or the certainty of supply; horses and men were failing as rapidly as their adversaries were increasing around them. 
    “Official History”, Vol IV, p80-1.

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