Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: April 17th 1902
Daniel DeCow
J.A. DeCow


Daniel DeCow, of Middlemiss, received a letter from his son, J.A. DeCow, who is located with troop 19 of Baden Powell's constabulary in the Hoopstadt District. The town if Hoopstadt, the headquarters of the troop, is about the size of Middlemiss, and with the exception of one Boer family, it was completely deserted. Throughout the district, Trooper DeCow says, the burghers have become very cautious, as many had been captured and killed during the few weeks preceding the date of writing. One Boer, who wounded a trooper while coming into the camp under a white flag, was given five minutes to say his prayers, after which he was riddled with bullets. The matter came to the attention of Erasmus, the Boer commandant in the district, and when he learned the facts he had no complaint to make. One day DeCow's troop came across a batch of forty Boers in houses, and after a chase got three and killed one. A night raid also resulted in the capture of only one man of eight who were chased for ten miles. All of the fighting in the country, however, was in the district about Heilbron and along the Vaal River.

Trooper DeCow also tells of a visit of inspection paid to the troop by Major-General Baden-Powell and lasting three days. The head of the constabulary expressed the opinion that troop 19 had the best horses in the division, and he congratulated the force on the good work being done in clearing the country. "He seems every inch a man and a soldier," says Trooper DeCow, in speaking of Baden-Powell; "dresses very plainly, goes about is his shirt sleeves, and would not be taken for an officer of his exalted rank."