Humours of the War, Boers Trying their Newly Captured Mounts, by William Ralston. 5 x 7¼ inches. Wood-engraving by an unidentified engraver. The Graphic(16 November 1901): 638.[Click on image to enlarge it. A prime example of patriotic mockery in which the artist highlights the Boers’ alleged stupidity.

The joke turns out to be on Ralston and the British army. When the Boers purchased small artillery pieces that the British army had rejected as too puny, they devised strategies very different from what the British artillery took as gospel. Rather than line all the cannons in a row as on an eighteenth-century battlefield, the Boers dispersed them, usually hiding them behind vegetation, with the result British troops suffered terrible casualties when they found themselves in ambushes or in the midst of open terrain with no place to hide. Eventually, the army changed its tactics and adopted those of the Boers. — George P. Landow

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Scanned image by Simon Cooke. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


The Graphic. London: Graphic Office, 1901.

Created 12 October 2016