General – Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo

General Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo
Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo was born at Mirabou, Kroonstad, Orange Free State on 10 May 1861 to Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo and his wife,
Christina Johanna Dreyer. At the age of seventeen he trekked with his parents to the Lydenburg area in the Transvaal Republic.Three years
after the family’s move to Lydenburg he fought under Field Cornet Louis Nel in the First Anglo-Boer War (1880-81) and distinguished
himself at Bokgat in the Mapog War that followed (1882-83) by risking his life to bring a wounded burgher to safety.
On 23 December 1896 he became field cornet of Ward I of the Carolina commando under Boer Commandant DJ Joubert and in this capacity took part in the war against Mphephu (1897-98). He succeeded Joubert as commandant on 29 June 1899 and on 4 October he and his commando, numbering about 500 men, left for Oshoek on the Swaziland border. He was recalled to Natal in December, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), to make preparations to withstand Sir Redvers Buller’s expected attack on the Tugela line. Under the command of Boer General Schalk Burger, Prinsloo and his men pitched camp near the Tweelingkoppies (Twin Peaks) on 20 January1900. During the night of 23-24 January approximately 1 700 British troops attacked Spioenkop which was near by. Prinsloo was ordered to take the hill by storm. In the hours before daybreak he gave orders for a section of burghers to be deployed to Alwynkoppie. He rode post-haste to General Louis Botha for final instructions. Prinsloo personally supervised the preparation of two guns for the battle. At 06:00 he joined eighty Carolina burghers to begin fighting. His preparations played a decisive part in that day’s battle. After a few encouraging words to his men he and a handful of them advanced on the hill which was shrouded in mist. For two hours Prinsloo and his men held out against the British under Major-General ERP Woodgate before Boer reinforcements arrived. With the aid of heliographic messages the Prinsloo’s well-placed guns wrought havoc among the Lancashire Fusiliers and Brigadier-General AW Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry and the rifle-fire of the burghers on Alwynkoppie claimed many British lives in the trenches. Some of the Carolina burghers, who had had to charge the enemy without cover of any kind, had taken to flight early in the morning, but Prinsloo’s timely intervention and tactical skill transformed their flight into a renewed attack.
Because he was ill Prinsloo left for home immediately after the battle.On 16 April 1900 he was back on commando to give an inspiring
message from the Boer women to the burghers.When the war came to an end in Natal, Prinsloo joined General JC Fourie who led the campaign against the British in the Middelburg-Komati area.
He died in the Battle of Leliefontein (also known as the Battle of Witkloof) 0n 7 November 1900 (Age 39).