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First Anglo-Boer War As part of the First Boer War, the battle for Rooihuiskraal (Afrikaans for “Red House Kraal”) took place in 1881 here. A Boer commando under the leadership of D.J. Erasmus Jr defeated Colonel Gildea, or “The Blasted Colonel” as they called him, the British Officer Commanding of the Pretoria Garrison. After the cornered British garrison tried to escape to Natal to join General George Pomeroy Colley, the Boers entrenched themselves behind a stone wall surrounding the animal stockade, and wounded the colonel in the backside, who was standing upright in his stirrups. They galloped away to the south under cover of’dead” ground and circled round to the east where they were joined by reinforcements coming from the DoornkloofLaager situated a few kilometres to the east (where Irene now is).The enlarged Boer force then moved northwards and westwards and, trom the cover of some thorn trees, attacked the already mauled Carbineers on their left flan~ and in the rear. This counter-attack led by Veldkornet Erasmus, comIng from such an unexpected quarter, caused the Carbineers to give way in their centre thus enabling the Boers to come within four hundred metres of th~ gUl~s and the m~in column: Lieut. Colonel Gildea attempted to restore the sItuation by sendIng the Engmeers, led by Lieut. Commeline, to the assistance of the Carbineers.

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