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Orig.boer War Letters From Field Marshal Lord Roberts' Adc.important Content.n/r For Sale
An archive of hand written letters from Seymour John Fortescue,Naval Aide de Camp of Field Marshal Lord Roberts.They were sent to Lady Edith Wolverton and the content is really quite startling - of considerable historical importance I believe.Seymour Fortescue was born 10th.February 1856,the second son of the 3rd.Earl Fortescue.He entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1869 aged just thirteen,swiftly rising through the ranks and distinguishing himself in the Egyptian and Sudan campaigns.Appointed Equerry in Waiting to HRH The Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) in 1893,he also captained Queen Victoria's Royal Yacht Osborne and was Commander of HMS Monarch.Mentioned in despatches and awarded the CMG for his services during the Boer War,he was much more than a military bureaucrat,a real hands on soldier. The recipient of the letters,nee Lady Edith Amelia Ward,was daughter of William Ward,1st Earl of Dudley,who married Lord Wolverton in 1895.A stunning social butterfly in the Victorian aristocratic milieu,rumours abounded of her connections with "Bertie" (the future Edward VII.)The second last photograph shows some images of this lady. All the letters are dated within the year 1900 - I will try to give a flavour of some of the extraordinary content but cannot cover all the incidents contained therein,they really do deserve in depth research. Four sided letter dated 17/3/1900.Chateau Steyn. "Already the Orange Free State has practically collapsed and I believe that one decent hammering and the Transvaalers will follow suit......The Kaffir boys at once began to prove their loyalty to us by looting the Boer Barracks and were bitterly disappointed when Eddy Stanley and I (Edward Stanley was Lord Derby's son) assisted by various Lancers rode into them and by dint of bad language and blows made them drop their loot.Altogether they are rather troublesome and I expect a few will have to be hanged......""There is dreadful thirst for man and animals on the march.It is a thirst that passes all belief - it is not a question of a tumbler full of something but you see people simply pouring anything from ditchwater upwards down their throats by the bucketful and nothing seems to satisfy them....." "All of US of course are mounted but the poor infantry really suffer.The way they have marched and fought is perfectly magnificent....." "I happened to see a good deal of the fight at Dreifontein.I saw them go in at the Boers with the bayonet.It was a fine sight to see Brother Boer jump on his pony and off it....."A large twelve sided letter dated Cape Town. 21/1/1900 contains a diatribe against the top brass which he implores Lady Wolverton to "keep this very indiscreet letter to yourself...don't quote me or show it to your friends." Sir Evelyn Wood is described as "the worst kind of scoundrel..... he selects staff officers on the recommendation of Lady Jeune and Miss Keyser."He criticises the nepotism shown by Wolseley and comments that "Buller is no flyer." He voices his huge disapproval in several areas in which the war is being waged.Only Roberts is spared......"we have a real man in charge." He describes a visit to Boer Prisoners Of War on a prisonship containing 440 detainees.He is accosted by a Boer POW about...."the cramped and monstrous conditions unbearable by a man accustomed to the Veldt." The complaint is dismissed out of hand by Fortescue saying no conditions worse than he had experienced in his naval career. Describes his ADC duties to Lord Roberts as just..."coding and decoding telegrams and looking after the maps" but "Thank God we have a decent cook."Mentions visit to Simon's Bay to look after some 4.7 guns.Lady Wolverton had enquired about how her brother Freddy was going on concerned that he had volunteered for dangerous duties.Fortescue assures her "the little man is doing awfully well" and "if he is unlucky enough to be killed or lose a limb - which is about a 1000-1 chance - so shouldn't be funked about."Mentions hospital visit seeing "wounded warriors drilled thru' with holes yet come out smiling in about three weeks looking as fit as a fiddle" but "Billy Lambert was hit by a shell burst and was 32 hours before he was picked up."He concludes with the information that he "has dined at Rhodes' place with Lady Edward Cecil and Lady Charles Bentinck." Another letter dated Pretoria 9/6/1900 writes..."Brother Boer will not fight but simply means to harrass our lines of communication.The railway has been cut up for the last three days so we get no news from the outside world.The capture of Pretoria has not meant as much as we hoped but we freed 900 of our men taken prisoner,poor devils.Some of them had been locked up for nearly nine months.Just think of that appalling boredom.It is the one fate I have always funked.I'm sure I don't mind being shot at more than my neighbour but I have a terror of being copped...." Another four sides of letter dated 7/2/1900 and headed "On The Train",this written on what looks like paper from a field notebook. "I am writing this in a very comfortable carriage with our friend Eddy Stanley (again Lord Derby's son) sitting opposite me looking fat and prosperous.......interminable desert through the window.....I don't think that the Free Staters will be out another month butif Buller fails again the Transvaalers may stir a good deal more trouble.....Jack & Charlie sent to Ladysmith." Another three sided letter 4/3/1900.Capture of a Boer horseman.Bullers diversion by sea to Port Elizabeth. "Another two months ought to see us in the Transvaal.....it was a really good moment to see the 4000 prisoners march off on Wednesday preceded by that old brute Kronje in a light wagon...."This is an important lot of original letters which I'm sure would handsomely repay further research.They give an extraordinary and largely unrecognised insight into the Boer War. Offered at and just 99p opening offer. On 19-Mar-13 at 11:35:03 GMT, seller added the following information:
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Orig.boer War Letters From Field Marshal Lord Roberts' Adc.important Content.n/r: $300