I was not at all pleased about this, but, as we had not a single round of Krupp ammunition left, the gun would only have hampered us. That evening we reached the Orange River, at a point some three miles to the north of Odendaalsstroom, but, alas! what a sight met our eyes!
The following day I ordered a patrol to ride up and down the river; and I caused a report to be spread to the effect that I considered it too dangerous to cross the Orange River below its junction with the Caledon, owing to the river being already very full and quite unfordable if there was any rain at all; and that I had for this reason decided to recall General Froneman, and to take Odendaalsstroom by force, or else to attack the enemy at the Aliwal-north Bridge.
I ordered General Froneman to proceed from the source of the Kaffir River in the direction of Jagersfontein Road Station, to the west of Dewetsdorp: General Fourie I despatched in the direction of Odendaalsstroom, on the Orange River, to the farm of Klein Kinderfontein, to the west of Smithfield. I then sent scouts to the neighbourhood of Odendaalsdrift.
I left General Fourie behind me with a horse-commando, with orders to remain there for two days, and to carry on manoeuvres in the direction of Odendaalsstroom. I crossed the railway line that evening without any mishap to my force, but to my great sorrow the valiant Lieutenant Banie Enslin, one of the best of my scouts, was severely wounded the same night, and fell into the hands of the English.