At Vrijheid, for instance, there was a Kaffir commando which had already made several attacks upon the burghers. This attitude of the Kaffir population was producing a very dispiriting effect upon the burghers. The women were in a most pitiable state, now that the lines of blockhouses had been extended in all directions over the country.
In the districts of Vrijheid and Utrecht, he stated, the store of maize was so small that it could not last for more than a short time; but there was still a great number of slaughter-cattle. In the districts of Wakkerstroom there was hardly sufficient grain for one month's consumption.
Eighteen minutes later Duncan in the Venerable closed similarly to leeward of the Staten Generaal, and afterward the Vrijheid, in the Dutch van. The two leaders were soon supported though there was straggling on both sides; and the battle that ensued was the bloodiest and fiercest of this period of the war.
An instance of this happened not long ago in the district of Vrijheid, where fifty-six burghers on one occasion were murdered and mutilated in a fearful manner. "Fourthly, that by the proclamations of the enemy the burghers still fighting are threatened with the loss of all their movable and landed property and thus with utter ruin which proclamations have already been enforced.
At Vrijheid we have been harassed by large forces of the enemy for six or eight months, and the district is now completely devastated. The presence of women and children causes great difficulty, for of late the English have refused to receive the families which, compelled by absolute famine, wished to take refuge with them.