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    Posted (edited)

    Not withstanding these severe defeats Colley was still filled with much misguided bravado and determined to avenge his ignominious defeats.


    With Sir Evelyn Wood now appointed as his second-in-command, he once again formed a second column at Newcastle. His troops were now joined by a significant number of additional troops including the 92nd Gordon Highlanders fresh from their successful campaign in Afghanistan.


    For some reason, perhaps only ever known to General Colley himself, he assembled a composite force of some 550 men and giving them barely three hours warning he set out under cover of darkness intent on surprising the Boers by occupying Majuba Mountain which overlooked the Nek and the Boer position. 

    These forces reached the Majuba summit without too much difficulty but clearly his occupying force did not take effective precautions to counter a possible Boer attack. 

    As soon as Joubert became aware of what had happened he determined that a move should be made to eject the British force from the summit.


    He entrusted this task to Commandant N.J. Smit and, taking full advantage of the cover afforded by the sparse scrub and dead ground, the Boers carried out a very methodical attack.


    The disastrous outcome of this battle is well known. General Colley was killed in the early afternoon, evidently having been shot by a single bullet in his head.


    Once again the British casualties were severe. Duxbury quotes: 92 being killed, 134 wounded and a further 59 taken prisoner. The Boers suffering just one killed and five wounded. 

    A week later, in a cottage close by, Sir Evelyn Wood met General Joubert to discuss provisional peace terms. Less than two decades later Boer forces, this time better equipped and in much greater numbers, crossed over the Transvaal border.


    The concurrent sieges of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley had begun. 

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    Edited by archie777
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