Engagement - Moordenaarspoort Dortrecht 1901
7 September 2017
On 11 September, Smuts himself had had a narrow escape at Moordenaar's Poort, near Dordrecht, when he and two companions had been ambushed while scouting the way ahead. British columns had practically surrounded them on the Stormberg, but, guided by a friendly bywoner, the crippled Hans Kleynhans, they had managed a miraculous escape at Boshoff's Kraal by slithering down the mountainside on a grassy slope, the only way down and a near-vertical incline (Reitz, 1929, p 219). Also, the recent weather had been diabolical, even for that area which almost annually experiences a particularly severe spell at this time of the year.
The commando had then crossed the branch railway line near Halseton and the main line from East London at Puffer's Kraal and headed along the Klaas Smits River, travelling south and west. Making for the farm Rhenosterhoek, they had come across the column commanded by Lt-Col G F Gorringe who was heading for the same farm. Smuts and his men spent the night 'adrift on the open veld', in Reitz's words, as neither side wanted a clash in the awful weather then prevailing (Reitz, 1929, p223).