Siege of Ladysmith

Siege Of Ladysmith

Military Conflict
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Siege of Ladysmith

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Description:
The Siege of Ladysmith was a protracted engagement in the Second Boer War, taking place between 30 October 1899 and 28 February 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal.

Background

As war with the Boer republics appeared likely in June 1899, the War Office in Britain dispatched a total of 15,000 troops to Natal, expecting that if war broke out they would be capable of defending the colony until reinforcements could be mobilised and sent to South Africa by steamship. Some of these troops were diverted while returning to Britain from India, others were sent from garrisons in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Lieutenant General Sir George White was appointed to command this enlarged force. White was 64 years old, and suffered from a leg injury incurred in a riding accident. Having served mainly in India, he had little previous experience of South Africa.

Outbreak of war



Contrary to the advice of several British officials such as Sir Alfred Milner, the High Commissioner for Southern Africa, the Boer governments were not over-awed by the despatch of British troops to Natal. Instead, they regarded it as evidence of Britain's determination to seize control of the Boer republics. The Transvaal government under President Paul Kruger considered launching an attack in September, but President Steyn of the Orange Free State, who would later become the spiritual heart of the Boer resistance, dissuaded them for several weeks while he tried to act as intermediary. With the complete breakdown in...
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