We approached the line between Balmoral and Brugspruit, coming as close to it as was possible with regard to safety, and we stopped in a "dunk" (hollow place) intending to remain there until dusk before attempting to cross. The blockhouses were only 1,000 yards distant from each other, and in order to take our waggons across there was but one thing to be done, namely, to storm two blockhouses, overpower their garrisons, and take our convoy across between these two. Fortunately there were no obstacles here in the shape of embankments or excavations, the line being level with the veldt. We moved on in the evening (the 27th of June), the moon shining brightly, which was very unfortunate for us, as the enemy would see us and hear us long before we came within range. I had arranged that Commandant Groenwald was to storm the blockhouse on the right, and Commandant W. Viljoen that to the left, each with 75 men. We halted about 1,000 paces from the line, and here the sections left their horses behind and marched in scattered order towards the blockhouses. The enemy had been warned by telephone that morning of our vicinity, and all the pickets and outposts along the line were on the "qui vive." When 150 yards from the blockhouses the garrison opened fire on our men, and a hail of Lee-Metford bullets spread over a distance of about four miles, the British soldiers firing from within the blockhouses and from behind mounds of earth. The blockhouse attacked by Commandant Viljoen offered the most determined resistance for about twenty minutes, but our men thrust their rifles through the loopholes of the blockhouses and fired within, calling out "hands-up" all the time, whilst the "Tommies" within retorted, "You haven't V.M.R.'s to deal with this time!" However, we soon made it too hot for them and their boasting was exchanged into cries of mercy, but not before three of our men had been killed and several wounded. The "Tommies" now shouted: "We surrender, Sir; for God's sake stop firing." My brave field-cornet, G. Mybergh, who was closest to the blockhouses, answered: "All right then, come out." The "Tommies" answered: "Right, we are coming," and we ceased firing.
Field-Cornet Mybergh now stepped up to the entrance of the fort, but when he reached it a shot was fired from the inside and he fell mortally wounded in the stomach. At the same time the soldiers ran out holding up their hands. Our burghers were enraged beyond measure at this act of treachery, but the sergeant and the men swore by all that was sacred that it had been an accident, and that a gun had gone off spontaneously whilst being thrown down. The soldier who admitted firing the fatal shot was crying like a baby and kissing the hands of his victim. We held a short consultation amongst the officers and decided to accept his explanation of the affair. I was much upset, however, by this loss of one of the bravest officers I have ever known.
Meanwhile the fight at the other blockhouse continued. Commandant Groenwald afterwards informed me that he had approached the blockhouse and found it built of rock; it was, in fact, a fortified ganger's house built by the Netherlands South Africa Railway Company. He did not see any way of taking the place; many of his men had fallen, and an armoured train with a search-light was approaching from Brugspruit. On the other side of the blockhouse we found a ditch about three feet deep and two feet wide. Hastily filling this up we let the carts go over. As the fifth one had got across and the sixth was standing on the lines, the armoured train came dashing at full speed in our midst. We had had no dynamite to blow up the line, and although we fired on the train, it steamed right up to where we were crossing, smashing a team of mules and splitting us up into two sections. Turning the search-light on us, the enemy opened fire on us with rifles, Maxims and guns firing grape-shot. Commandant Groenwald had to retire along the unconquered blockhouse, and managed somehow to get through. The majority of the burghers had already crossed and fled, whilst the remainder hurried back with a pom-pom and the other carts. I did not expect that the train would come so close to us, and was seated on my horse close to the surrendered blockhouse when it pulled up abruptly not four paces from me. The search-light made the surroundings as light as day, and revealed the strange spectacle of the burghers, on foot and on horseback, fleeing in all directions and accompanied by cattle and waggons, whilst many dead lay on the veldt. However, we saved everything with the exception of a waggon and two carts, one of which unfortunately was my own. Thus for the fourth time in the war I lost all my worldly belongings, my clothes, my rugs, my food, my money.
My two commandants were now south of the line with half the men, whilst I was north of it with the other half. We buried our dead next morning and that evening I sent a message to the remainder of the commandos, telling them to cross the line at Uitkijk Station, south-west of Middelburg, whilst Captain Hindon was to lay a mine under the line near the station to blow up any armoured train coming down. Here we managed to get the rest of our laager over without much trouble. The "Tommies" fired furiously from the blockhouses and our friend the armoured train was seen approaching from Middelburg, whistling a friendly warning to us. It came full speed as before, but only got to the spot where the mine had been laid for it. There was a loud explosion; something went up in the air and then the shrill whistle stopped and all was silent.
The next morning we were all once more camped together at Rooihoogte.