The scene was grim for Smuts’ exhausted, cold and hungry commando. They had ridden from the Transvaal, through the Orange River Colony and into the Cape to conduct military operations in order to alleviate pressure on the two former Boer Republics. Having only just started their Cape Colony campaign they were almost at breaking point and the cause seemed lost, when on a Tuesday morning an opportunity presented itself, an opportunity to survive. Close by a squadron of the 17th Lancers was located in camp, well equipped, well fed and well horsed. In a do-or-die situation, Smuts seized the opportunity and attacked the Lancers camp with all the fit men whose horses were capable of galloping into action. In under an hour, they had defeated the Lancers in a desperate fight, losing just one man killed.
With the commando now replenished with ammunition, clothing, food and fresh horses, his men were re-invigorated and able to fight-on until the war concluded on 31 May 1902. For the 17th Lancers, although a military defeat, they fought until they could fight no more and in the years that followed, Smuts, now a Lieutenant General in the British Army was to write: How gallantly those boys fought against us, many being killed because they knew not how to surrender.