Siege of Marabastad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Siege of Marabastad
Part of the First Boer War
Date 11 January 1881–2 April 1881[1][2]
Location Marabastad Fort, British-occupied Transvaal
Result Boer victory; Marabastad is captured
Belligerents
 United Kingdom  South African Republic
Commanders and leaders

United Kingdom Captain E.S. Brook[3][4][5][6]
United Kingdom Lieutenant F.G.W. Jones[6]
United Kingdom Captain Thompson[7][8]

South African Republic Commandant Barend Vorster[10][1][11]
Strength
50–60 men of the 94th Regiment[4][6][3]
30 European volunteers[7][8][12]
43–50 men from the Transvaal Mounted Police[7][8][9]
Total: 123–140 men
100 men[13]
Casualties and losses
5 killed, 8 injured[14] Unknown[15]

The Siege of Marabastad was a siege on Fort Marabastad, present day South Africa, carried out by the Boer Republic of Transvaal, starting on 11 January 1881, and ending with British surrender on 2 April 1881.[2] It took place during the First Boer War, in which Boers besieged several British garrisons across the country.

Background[edit]

In early 1880, British forces in Transvaal decided to build a fort in the city, due to its remoteness from other British South African forts, with it being 165 miles (266 km) from Pretoria. Marabastad and the Zoutpansberg district had a population of 300,000–400,000 natives, along with an additional 175,000 in Waterberg. A fort was needed to control the large native population.[16] In February 1880, two detachments of the 94th Regiment, under Captain Campbell, reached Marabastad, the first British forces to reach this part of South Africa.[17] Within three months, the fort had been built.[18]

On 29 November 1880, Captain Campbell was ordered to march to Pretoria. He, along with a company of 60 men, left for the city, leaving behind a company of 60 men in Marabastad.[19] Campbell left Captain E.S. Brooks in command, along with Lieutenant F.G.W. Jones and Surgeon Harding, A.M.D..[20]

Preparations for the siege[edit]

Following the Bronkhorstspruit Disaster on 20 December, Lieutenant Jones received commands to prepare for siege. Captain Brooks immediately begun preparations. He expanded his army, recruiting 30 English volunteers. They were joined by 50 South African Natives from the Transvaal Mounted Police, commanded by Captain Thompson and Lieutenant Gleniston, which had marched forty miles south from Wood-Bush.

In December, a trench of 25 square yards was dug around the fort. Supplies of food and ammunition were stored and corn seized from the natives.

Siege[edit]

In January, the Boers approached Marabastad. They were divided into two laagers - one at Sand Spruit and one and Botha's Farm. On 11 January, Commandant Barend Vorster of the Boers requested Captain Brook to stop taking corn from the city, effectively beginning the siege. On 19 January, a British patrol of 15 Transvaal Mounted Police under Thompson and ten volunteers were sent to scout the Boers at Sand Spruit. They were unexpectedly attacked and defeated by a larger force, leaving one policeman dead and two wounded, along with two volunteers wounded. The Boers also suffered several men injured. They quickly retreated to the fort, with the two policemen being captured prisoner. Following this engagement, Vorster requested Captain Brook to surrender, but also told Brook that he would not attack the British as long as no more scouts took place. Despite this reassurance, Boers slowly patrolled closer to the British fort.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lady Bellairs. The Transvaal War, 1880-81. p. 291. Retrieved 14 January 2014. On the llth January the Boer Commandant, Barend Vorster, sent a letter to Captain Brook to the effect that, unless he ceased from further seizures of corn, the property of the Burghers, steps would be taken to stop, what he termed, such unnecessary acts. 
  2. ^ a b M. Gough Palmer. "The Besieged Towns of the First Boer War, 1880-1881". Retrieved 18 December 2013. On 2 April, after an unusually hard fight, a large party of Boers under a white flag was seen approaching. It was established that peace had been arranged, Captain Sampson having arrived with despatches from Pretoria to that effect. 
  3. ^ a b John Laband. The Transvaal Rebellion: The First Boer War, 1880-1881. p. 90. Retrieved 13 January 2014. The one company was ordered to Pretoria, leaving B Company of about 50 men under the command of Captain E.S. Brook. 
  4. ^ a b M. Gough Palmer. "The Besieged Towns of the First Boer War, 1880-1881". Retrieved 18 December 2013. The garrison of some 60 men, under the command of Captain E.S. Brook, remained at the Fort. 
  5. ^ John Laband. The Transvaal Rebellion: The First Boer War, 1880-1881. p. 115. Retrieved 6 January 2014. Word of Bronkhorstspruit reached Marabastad on 29 December and the garrison prepared for an attack. Captain Brook declared martial law and called upon loyal civilians to come into the fort. 
  6. ^ a b c Lady Bellairs. The Transvaal war, 1880-81. pp. 287, 288. Retrieved 11 January 2014. The garrison now left consisted of only about 60 men, under the command of Captain E.S. Brook, with two other officers-Lieutenant F.G.W. Jones, and Surgeon Harding, A.M.D. 
  7. ^ a b c M. Gough Palmer. "The Besieged Towns of the First Boer War, 1880-1881". Retrieved 18 December 2013. The garrison was augmented by some 30 European volunteers and a detachment of Transvaal Mounted Police (natives), about 50 in number, under the command of Captain Thompson. 
  8. ^ a b c John Laband. The Transvaal Rebellion: The First Boer War, 1880-1881. p. 115. Retrieved 6 January 2014. The garrison of regulars was augmented by about 30 volunteers and a detachment of 43 black Transvaal Mounted Police under Captain Thompson. 
  9. ^ a b Lady Bellairs. The Transvaal war, 1880-81. p. 290. Retrieved 11 January 2014. Lieutenant Gleniston of the Police and Mr Stewart were despatched respectively to Captain Thompson, commanding the detachment of the Trans- vaal Mounted Police about fifty Bastards then stationed at Wood-Bush, forty miles further north... 
  10. ^ M. Gough Palmer. "The Besieged Towns of the First Boer War, 1880-1881". Retrieved 6 January 2014. On 11 January, 1881 a threatening letter was received from the Boer Commandant Barend Vorster. 
  11. ^ John Laband. The Transvaal Rebellion: The First Boer War, 1880-1881. p. 115. On 11 January Commandant Barend J. (Swart Barned) Vorster advised Brook that unless he desisted from further seizures of corn and other farm produce to victual the fort, he would take active steps. 
  12. ^ Lady Bellairs. The Transvaal war, 1880-81. p. 290. Retrieved 11 January 2014. The races had fortunately brought together a good many Englishmen, and all who could manage to join came in-about thirty. 
  13. ^ John Laband. The Transvaal Rebellion: The First Boer War, 1880-1881. p. 116. Retrieved 13 January 2014. The 100 or so Boers investing Marabastad were quartered in four laagers 7 or 8 miles distant from the fort. 
  14. ^ Lady Bellairs. The Transvaal war, 1880-81. p. 298. Retrieved 11 January 2014. The casualties on our side during the siege amounted to thirteen five killed and eight wounded. 
  15. ^ Lady Bellairs. The Transvaal war, 1880-81. Retrieved 11 January 2014. The Boer losses were not ascertained. 
  16. ^ Lady Bellairs (1885). The Transvaal War, 1880-81. p. 285. Retrieved 6 April 2014. In the early part of 1880 it was decided to create a military station in this far-away region - 165 miles from Pretoria - for the purpose of asserting the supremacy of the Government, and overswing the surrounding large native population, - estimated at between 300,000 and 400,000 in the Zoutpansberg, and about half that number in the Waterberg district. 
  17. ^ Lady Bellairs (1885). The Transvaal War, 1880-81. p. 285. Retrieved 6 April 2014. Captain Campbell, with two companies of the 94th Regiment - the first British troops which had been through that part of the province - reached the place in February. 
  18. ^ Lady Bellairs (1885). The Transvaal War, 1880-81. p. 285. Retrieved 6 April 2014. The station was inspected about three months later by Major-General Hon. H. H. Clifford, but no alteration was apparently deemed necessary;... 
  19. ^ Lady Bellairs (1885). The Transvaal War, 1880-81. p. 285. Retrieved 6 April 2014. On the afternoon of the 29th November, a special messenger arrived from Pretoria, with orders fo one company, under Captain Campbell, to march at once, as light as possible, to be stationed, as a temporary measure. at Pretoria. Within a few hours Captain Campbell was on the road, with about 60 men and a mule-waggon;... 
  20. ^ Lady Bellairs (1885). The Transvaal War, 1880-81. p. 285. Retrieved 6 April 2014. The garrison now left consisted of only about 60 men, under the command of Captain E.S. Brook, with two other officers - Lieutenant F.G.W. Jones, and Surgeon Harding, A.M.D.