With the Naval Brigade
At Modder River
"The Brigade have been trying for seven days to get the Boers out of the hills near Modder River. No doubt you have heard of our Brigade charging the hills at Graspan, and taking them with 175 casualties out of 400. A Boer prisoner told us that there were about 8000 Boers on the top of the hills so you see our charge came out well.
We had a lively time here at Modder River. We started at about 6 am and knocked off at about 8.0 pm. We are going to stop here for Christmas I believe, and from what I can hear we are going to have a lively time of it.
You can see the news in the papers at home. I stopped one of the Boer bullets, it hit me just above the heart ( I did not know that I had one before that). It did me no harm, only making a dent in the strap. Then I thought it was time to shift. I had only been gone a few minutes when one of the lads that was lying close to me got shot in the head. We lay down about an hour, then we advanced again. There was not a shot fired by the enemy all this time.
We thought it was going to be a walk-over for us, and go right into Ladysmith, but we were stopped. When the enemy saw we were coming near, they started up and the shot and shell fell thick and fast. It stopped us for a few minutes, but when we got around they started again. The firing lasted about eight hours.
The dead, wounded and missing are 114 in our regiment. Our Colonel has been taken prisoner with half a company."