General – Hendrik Jacobus Schoeman.

General Hendrik Jacobus Schoeman.
Born 11 July 1840 in Pietermaritsburg Schoeman was the Boer general in charge at the beginning of the war facing General John French in 1899 at Norvalspont.
He operated in a very cautious manner and never took hold of the opportunity to give the foreign forces a decisive punch when the opportunities were presented
to him, in fact his approach had a negative  influence on his men. In addition to this Schoeman became disolutioned and angry when General H.R. Lemmer was
appointed as Head Commandant, taking the  place of General De la Rey. Schoeman’s own men were placed under the command of General Lemmer and Schoeman was asked to assist A.D. Wolmarans in Bloemfontein to round up deserters and enlist them on commando duty. The reluctant Schoeman did not want this, and started a campaign of undermining Lemmer and De la Rey. He was able to persuade some of his commandants (Preller and Havemann) to continue the agitation and undermining. Schoeman hereby went to Pretoria to complain to President Paul Kruger about the whole matter. As he had hoped for, Kruger appeared to be very lenient towards him. In June 1900 Schoeman surrendered to the English. He was then accused of treason by the Boers, since on 7 October 1900 he accompanied Captain WP Anderson of the South African Constabulary to enter talks of surrender and peace with General De la Rey. On 13 December 1900 he was taken in custody at Pietersburg, but he was set free on parole.He was seen as a ‘hands-upper’. He died after throwing a match in an old lyddite bomb which he was using as an ashtray. The unexpected explosion that followed led to his equal unexpected death. The Boers believed that this was the wrath of God upon him, since he laid down his arms against the enemy. He died on 26 May 1901.

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