After capturing the coastal capital of German East Africa, Dar es Salaam in September 1916, General Jan Smuts ordered his army's advance to halt due to a malaria pandemic that had devastated the soldiers. Shortly after the new year, the 25th Frontiersmen Battalion, led by famous hunter and explorer, Captain Frederick Selous advanced into the interior of the colony, up the Rufiji River. On January 3 British scouts ahead of the battalion reported a column of German soldiers moving down the road. A skirmish ensued. A German marksman reportedly killed Captain Frederick Selous during the battle. It is said that because of his fame Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of the German forces in German East Africa at the time sent a letter of condolence to the British after his death.