Battle of Rooihuiskraal
Rooihuiskraal Historical Site
The battle of Rooihuiskraal (Red House Kraal), which took place neat the Rooihuiskraal Historical site in 1881, is viewed as one of the most crucial battles of the First Anglo Boer War. In spite of this only one British soldier was killed and 15 wounded. One of the wounded was Lieutenant Colonel Gildea, or that “Damned Colonel” or “Blasted Colonel” as he was called by the Boers.
By the end of 1880 the Transvaal Boer Forces, has surrounded important towns, which had been occupied by the British, in order to prevent the soldiers in these towns joining General George Pomeroy Colley’s troops in Natal. The British Garrison in Pretoria were also surrounded in Pretoria and their efforts to escape were checked twice before they decided on a large exodus through Rooihuiskraal.
The Boers under the leadership of DJ Erasmus Jr, got wind of this and took up positions behind the stone wall of the farms massive kraal. When the British arrived in large numbers the Boers started to shoot, causing great consternation. Colonel Gildea who was the commanding officer of the Pretoria garrison stood upright in his stirrups to motivate his men and was hit in the buttocks. The Boer’s victory at Rooihuiskraal had a demoralizing effect on the British. They could not join the Natal troops of General George Pomeroy Colley in Natal and after these troops were conquered at Amajuba, the Transvaal regained its independence.
The old stone kraal (animal stockade) at Rooihuiskraal serves as a reminder of the historical victory and was declared a national monument.