Phill some more information just out of interest...
The Second Korana War, 1878—1879
"Ten years later, it seemed as if peace had never been.
The year 1877 was marked by severe drought and the Korana were destitute. Once again they resorted to stock raiding and stealing whatever they could until open confrontation with the colonial settlers was inevitable. The intrinsic cause of this war, however, was much more complex and serious than the previous one’s and the war itself involved not only the Korana, but also Griqua Basters, Blacks and, ultimately, Nama.
In 1878 trouble brewed between the Griqua of Griqualand West and the Colonial government over land claims. John Adams, a Griqua Korana who often served as interpreter when Lukas dealt with officials, had gone to Griqualand West early in the year and come back in April when, he had told Lukas, war had broken out. It seems as if he influenced Lukas to accept that the Korana should join the Griqua in their fight. As the Korana themselves held deep-seated grievances against the government this was not too hard a task. Lukas and the other chiefs retired to the virtually impregnable islands and from there conducted a reign of terror in the backveld south of the Orange.
And yet, despite the murderous sorties of the Gariep clans, Major Nesbitt and his troops were called from Kenhardt to the border of the eastern Cape to help the British army fight the Xhosa people. Hare, Nesbitt’s young clerk, was sworn in as Acting Special Magistrate, and proved hopelessly inadequate at correctly assessing the dangerous situation.
Reports of the unrest on the border and in Griqualand West at last reached Cape Town and Nesbitt and his Frontier Armed and Mounted Police were ordered back to Kenhardt. Instead of going to Olijvenhouts Drift, however, he crossed into Griqualand West to assist Colonels Lanyon and Warren of the local forces there, leaving the river bank bordering Korana Land to smoulder.
Twice in early June Nesbitt, Warren and Lanyon attacked the strongholds of the Griqua rebels. Donker Malgas, one of the leaders, was ousted from the Langeberge after severe fighting and, suffering heavy losses, the insurgents were chased towards the east.
Colonel Lanyon, thinking the rebellion crushed, returned to Kimberley, leaving it to Warren to pursue and capture the fugitives. Neither Malgas nor Pienaar, another leader, were taken, however, and the soldiers only succeeded in driving the Griqua and disgruntled Blacks into Korana Land. They joined Lukas on the islands and there became the backbone of his fighting army.
Once again the troops whiled away the time at Kenhardt without seeing action. Conditions were, by all accounts, appalling, with no fresh supplies, no feed for the horses and above all, no payroll.
When Nesbitt, wounded during the Griqualand West campaign, was sent on sick leave, opinion among the ranks as to who would replace him was summed up by the trooper who said, who cares, as long as he pays us. As it turned out, however, he did care. In fact, they all cared, because by general agreement Colonel Zachariah Bayly was a singularly pompous ass.
Shortly after his arrival he sent for a burgher officer to discuss a strategy for getting the rebels off the islands, and was calmly informed that the volunteers had no intention of crossing the river until they had received all the back pay they were entitled to. Bayly was furious and sent a report to Cape Town informing the authorities that the local civil volunteers were highly unreliable, and demanded they be replaced with Cape Town Volunteers. The government refused and after only a few weeks Bayly resigned in a huff.
Nesbitt returned, feeling much better after his rest and even more so when shortly afterwards, on the 19th October, he received the cannon he had long requested.
At last it seemed as if the troops would see action. The residents of the mission at Olijvenhouts Drift had been evacuated after several attacks and Nesbitt wanted to occupy the ford and cut off the islands from the north bank and Korana Land.
Two days after their arrival at the Drift they found a group of Blacks and Griqua a few miles north of the mission trying to reach Lukas on the islands. They fled before a shot could be fired, but the next day, reinforced by Korana, they attacked Nesbitt’s force and crossed the river to the islands. Furious, Nesbitt ordered his cannon and the soldiers who were still at Kaboes to the Drift.
They had taken a few prisoners and from them Nesbitt learned that there were over a thousand men in the rebel army. After the interrogation Nesbitt ordered the prisoners back to Kenhardt, from where they would be taken to Kimberley.
Nesbitt’s nerve didn’t extend to attacking such an army of heavily armed rebels. To the disappointment of his men he returned to Kenhardt, leaving the protection of the border to two detachments of a hundred men each — one at the police camp of Rietfontein under Captain Jones and one of Orange River Rangers at Schanskop Island.
Back at base he sent a message to Lukas to surrender unconditionally and sat back to wait for the reply, which of course never came.
A few weeks later a band of Griqua, Blacks and Korana raided the Rietfontein camp and over a hundred head of cattle and some horses were stolen. Shortly afterwards Lieutenant Frier’s camp at Schanskop came under attack of about four hundred rebels led by Lukas, Pienaar and Malgas and after a six hour long battle all their cattle and horses were taken. The colonial forces along the Gariep were once again immobilised.
Nesbitt had to make a plan. He scraped together three hundred mounted men — a miscellany of Cape Mounted Riflemen (mainly Blacks), conscripted Hottentot from Clanwilliam, a small detachment of Cape Volunteer Artillery, and even some white and Baster volunteers. These, together with his two cannon, Nesbitt assembled at Rietfontein and prepared for an attack on the rebels’ own ground. Unfortunately for him, however, the Gariep was in flood and only a ferryboat would have gotten them to the other side.
Taken seriously ill, Major Nesbitt left his men to Captain Jones and returned to Kenhardt, where, on the advice of his doctor, he wrote out his letter of resignation. This was in December of 1878, leaving the Korana the undisputed victors for the time being.
Once again Major M.J. Jackson was put in charge of the northern border. According to his reports he found Kenhardt in chaos and the whole of the defence organisation in a state of complete collapse. The volunteer system was in shambles as Act 7 of 1878 was invalid and burghers could not be forced to do military duty. Most had gone home.
Jackson spent three months rallying forces and building a boat. He intended crossing the river and driving the enemy before him towards Griqualand West, where they would run into seventy men and a gun sent by Major C.B. Marshall, Civil Commissioner of Griqualand West.
Klaas Pofadder, who had succeeded his brother Cupido as chief, had meanwhile come across the river into the Colony to distance himself from the rebels. The terms of the treaty of 1870 were still being met and although a number of Pofadder’s men had joined Lukas on the islands, in January of 1879 Jackson gave Pofadder 20 lbs lead, 5 lbs gunpowder and 4 guns. Unfortunately for Jackson, two days after this Pofadder also absconded to the rebel side.
Meanwhile, the war was costing the government about £10 000 a month and in March 1879 Thomas Upington, Attorney General, accompanied by J.H. Scott, came to the northern border to take charge of the forces and put an end to the hostilities.
Jackson was planning to cross the river that same month and was waiting for Captain McTaggart and his Southey’s Rangers who were coming from Cape Town to reinforce his troops. Early in April most of the troops had crossed the river, but Upington was not satisfied with the progress Jackson had made. His outspoken views that Jackson could have ended the war much earlier already, as well as the contempt with which he treated him, made the situation unbearable for Jackson and he resigned on the 5th of April. Upington accused Jackson of cowardice and subversive actions against the government and when Jackson demanded a commission of enquiry to clear his name, it was refused. Jackson was appointed Acting Civil Commissioner to Fraserburg and replaced with McTaggart.
McTaggart finished what Jackson had begun and by 6th April was secure on the northern bank of the river. From there he attacked the islands and scored several victories, capturing large numbers of the rebels. On the 10th April the historical battles of Dyasonsklip and Kanon Island were fought. At Dyasonsklip three rebels were killed as well as Field Adjutant W. Dyason of the Northern Border Horse. Shortly afterwards the attack on Kanon Island started, resulting in several of the enemy being killed, among them Rooi Thys, chief adviser to Donker Malgas, Pieter Lynx and Atief, two of the rebel leaders.
After a fight at Melkstroom the rebels disbanded, with Lukas staying on Keveis Island. On the 27th and 28th April Lukas was again attacked and twenty eight of his followers killed. By the end of April McTaggart had taken over four hundred prisoners and driven the leaders from their strongholds. Upington was satisfied that the enemy’s back was broken, but in fact none of the leaders had been captured and the war continued unabated.
By this time two new groups had entered the fray, viz. the Afrikaners and the Bondelswarts, Nama clans from Greater Namaqua Land. Their chiefs, Jacobus and Willem Christiaan respectively, had hitherto been loyal to the government, but their followers were increasingly siding with the Korana. In fact, in March already a group of Afrikaners had crossed into the Colony on a cattle raid and so openly joined in the rebellion. Since the land occupied by the Afrikaners belonged to the Bondelswarts, the onus of punishing the raiders was put on Willem Christiaan. However, he explained to the resident Magistrate of Namaqua Land that he could do little about it as he had no authority over the Afrikaners and furthermore lacked ammunition. J.H. Scott, recently appointed Special Magistrate, promised him the assistance of Captain Green of the Lillyfontein Volunteers as well as food and ammunition and on the 21st May Christiaan sent a hundred and fifty men to the Afrikaners, who by this time had been joined by Pofadder and his men. Unfortunately all attempts at bringing them to heel failed.
Meanwhile McTaggart was informed that Malgas and some Korana were still on Keveis Island and he consigned half his men to Captain Maclean while he commanded the others. Throughout the last days of May, McTaggart, Maclean and Green who had joined them, bombarded the islands with cannon fire, without any visible results. Since they had no boats, they could only try to contain the enemy by patrolling the banks and a large number of rebels still evaded the colonial troops. Lukas and his men had joined Pofadder, while Malgas had been instructed to hold the islands for as long as he could and then join them at the Afrikaners’ camp in the mountains below the waterfalls. By June McTaggart decided to clear out the Afrikaner stronghold and on the 22nd surrounded the camp. The rebels surrendered without a fight and three hundred Afrikaners and one hundred and fourteen of Pofadder’s followers were taken prisoner. Pofadder himself and seven of his men escaped.
Large numbers of the rebels had been killed or taken captive, but Malgas, Pofadder and Lukas were still at large. They and a number of their men had escaped to the Kalahari, confident that the troops would not follow them into the desert. However, on the 24th June McTaggart handed over command of the forces to Captain Maclean with orders to pursue the rebels.
After a gruelling search, at dawn of the 2nd July Pofadder and seventy one Korana were taken by surprise and captured without any resistance. Several others were caught shortly afterwards.
Maclean received information that Lukas and Malgas were holed up at a small watering place in the desert about sixty five miles from Kakamas. On July 19th Maclean left Kakamas with one hundred and nineteen men, attacking the camp at dawn. Malgas and eleven others were killed and one hundred and seventy five prisoners taken.
Lukas escaped but was later taken captive by a Baster, Gert Louw.
It was all over for the once great Korana tribe".