June 21, 1900
I suppose you will be wondering what has happened to me as I have not written for such a long time. The last time I wrote we were at Kroonstadt. Since then we have marched right up past Pretoria but it is of no use my telling you about the war. You know more about the war at home than we do who are out here. We had some very hard fighting getting into Johannesburgh, in which I was wounded in the leg with a piece of a shell –nothing much of a wound but enough to put me out of action for a while. We were under fire before Johannesburgh for three days – a terrible shell fire. General Hutton’s brigade, that is the one we are in, had to keep the enemy engaged while [?] got around to their flank or rear. It was on the third day of the fighting that I was hit, about 11 a.m. There were a great many wounded and quite a few killed and a great many horses. I had to ride my horse about two miles before I could get to the nearest ambulance. They are never at the front where they are wanted. I was very fully faint when I got in but managed to stick it out. There was not a doctor or a Red Cross man within two miles of the fighting line and lots of good [?] fellows that could not get off the field themselves had to lie there and bleed to death. It was a shame and the Red Cross Society will be shown up in its true colors when we all get back. They are a pack of cowards.
Well, as soon as I got off the field I was thrown into a bullock waggon along with a lot more wounded and we started back over the longest roads I have ever went over, to Klip Burnd Station [?] about 12 miles away, but it seemed as 100. I wonder we did not all bleed to death before we got there. It was a terrible ride. We got to the station about 10 o’clock at night and had to lie out in the wagons all night without blankets or anything to eat. We were nearly all froze to death for it is the middle of winter here now and it freezes hard every night. The next day we were put into an empty house and some sheds. There were about 80 waggon loads of us altogether – some terribly wounded. We stopped there three days and then we were brought down here in coal trucks and have been here ever since. It was on the 29th of May when I was hit.
The Boers got around to our lea and blew up the railroad between Kroonstadt and here and so cut us off from the base of supplies. We have all been on ¼ rations since then but the Boers have been driven back and the line was reported clear yesterday so everything will soon be all right again. Indeed, by the time you get this we may be on our way home as I think the war is pretty nearly over, although there are a lot of small parties here and there causing a lot of trouble. However, we will be sent home as soon as any of them.
I have not received a letter from you or anyone else since we left Victoria Road. The last I got from you was dated the 17th of March. But as the Boers have captured all our mail bags and burnt them I know where they are gone. They burnt 1500 mail bags. They had been holding all this mail at Blomfountain till we got through to Pretoria and the Engineers got the line open and then when they did send it up, the Boers captured the lot. They must have been quite a budget [?]for me, but never linked [?]
We have seen nothing of the Strathcona horse – in fact, we have heard nothing from the outside world for the last two months, but now that the line is open again, I think they will send us wounded chaps down to Blomfountain or perhaps right to Cape Town. My leg will be all right again in a few days. I hope and think I can get back to my troop again. It is a pretty small troop now –only 12 left out of 40. What with sick and wounded, there are a great many dying of fever. I think there has been more die of sickness in this campaign than there has been killed in action. I hope you will get this letter all right and hope that it will find you all well, as I am. Give my love to Sarah when you write and also the girls in Toronto, as this is all the paper I have (as I had quite a time getting this). I must close.
With love to all, I remain your loving son, Geo L. Dore