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    On 6 April, Kitchener put Colonel Ian Hamilton in command of another drive to try to trap De La Rey’s fighters. The plan was to ‘squeeze’ the Boers against the British mobile columns and a line of blockhouses and entrenchments at Klerksdorp.


    Colonel Robert Kekewich, who was in command of one of Kitchener’s columns, dug in on the hillside at Rooiwal on 10 April with about 3000 mounted infantry, supported by 6 field guns and 2 pom poms. The Boers had scouted the Rooiwal position earlier and found it weakly defended. 

    Ignorant of the subsequent British deployment, one of their commandos, under Commandant Potgieter of Wolmaransstad and General Kemp, therefore decided to overrun the British position early on the morning of 11 April, thereby escaping Hamilton’s ‘drive’. Potgieter had around 1,700 men, all mounted riflemen.


    At about 7:15 am on 11 April they charged the British position on horseback, firing from the saddle. A British picket of 40 mounted infantry was overrun, suffering 20 casualties. 


    Kekewich’s position was a strong one, but the sight of the charging Boers panicked some of the inexperienced British troops and a number of Yeoman units fled the scene of the battle and were not stopped until they were a mile away from the fighting.


    A certain Lieutenant Carlos Hickie managed to stop the stampede with a mixture of pleas and threats. In addition, a number of regular British officers on the scene were very critical of the ‘wild’ shooting of their men.


    In spite of this, the Boer charge was stopped some 30 metres from the British line by artillery and rifle fire. 


    Among the dead, sprawled in the grass, was Commandant Potgieter, wearing a distinctive blue shirt. He and 50 of his men were killed in the charge. The surviving Boers made good their retreat. Boer fire, delivered from the saddle, had produced about 50 casualties in the British line. 

    Ian Hamilton and Rawlinson arrived on the scene just as the fighting was ending. However, Hamilton delayed the pursuit of the Boers as he feared that the retreat was a ruse and that his men would fall into Boer ambushes.


    At about 9:45, or 90 minutes after the Boer charge had been repulsed, Hamilton sent his mounted troops in pursuit of the enemy. 

    They captured a further 50 Boers and re-captured the artillery lost at Tweebosch.


    Kitchener had issued orders that Boers captured wearing British uniforms were to be shot. However, although a number of wounded Boers were indeed wearing khaki, Hamilton ordered that they be spared.

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