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Magersfontein, battle of

Magersfontein, battle of, 1899. As Lord Methuen, commanding a British division, advanced to relieve the Boer siege of Kimberley, he crossed the Modder river and approached the Magersfontein heights. A Boer force of 9,000 men under General Cronje lay in wait, and when Methuen's Highland Brigade tried to turn the enemy flank at night on 11 December, the Boers inflicted heavy punishment. Unable to advance further, the British withdrew, having suffered over 1,000 casualties. Simultaneous British disasters at Stormberg and Colenso led to the period being dubbed ‘Black Week’ by the press.

John Pimlott

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