Preface
 

It will be a long time before the story of the late war can be written fully and impartially. Even among the narratives of those who witnessed the engagements there are many differences and discrepancies, as is necessarily the case when the men who write are in different parts of the field. Until, then, the very meagre military despatches are supplemented by much fuller details, anything like an accurate history of the war would be impossible. I have, however, endeavoured to reconcile the various narratives of the fighting in Natal, and to make the account of the military occurrences as clear as possible. Fortunately this is not a history, but a story, to which the war forms the background, and, as is necessary in such a case, it is the heroes of my tale, the little band of lads from Johannesburg, rather than the leaders of the British troops, who are the most conspicuous characters in the narrative. As these, although possessed of many admirable qualities, had not the faculty of being at two places at once, I was obliged to confine the action of the story to Natal. With the doings of the main army I hope to deal next year.

G. A. HENTY