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Fourth Xhosa War

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Date: 1811 to 1812
Location: Cape of Good Hope Colonymap
Surname/tag: Fourth Xhosa War
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60th Reg. of Foot 1st Bat. 1810-1819 Fourth Xhosa War Category: Fourth Xhosa War


Fourth Xhosa War


Following the re-establishment of British authority at the Cape in 1806, the British found themselves increasingly drawn into the conflict between the indigenous peoples and the Boers. By 1810, the major confrontation was with the Xhosa on the Eastern Frontier.[1]

During the first three months of 1811 some 1 205 cattle and several horses were stolen by Xhosa trespassers in the two eastern frontier districts. Two white farmers and six Khoekhoen labourers were also killed by the marauders. Several desperate frontier farmers evacuated their loan farms and moved either westwards or northwards with their remaining stock. By the end of July it was reported to Graham that Bruintjes Hoogte was completely occupied by Xhosa and that they had never previously penetrated so far and on such a scale into the Colony. General Grey did not feel justified in commencing operations that might end in war.[2]

When the new Govener, Sir John Craddock, reached the Cape Colony, 6th September 1811 he found reports awaiting him from the Landrost of Uitenhage in which he was informed that only one farm was still occupied east of the Drosdy. About 20 000 marauders had crossed the Fish River boundary and occupied the Zuurveld and beyond.[2] Luiitenant-Colonel Graham of the Cape Regiment was appointed commander-general of the force as well as special commissioner for the eastern districts. He was to employ burgher forces and the Cape regiment, 594 strong, also 49 artillerymen, 166 of the 21st light dragoons, 221 men of the 83rd and 3 men of the 93rd regiment. On the 8th October 1811 Sir John Craddock issued orders to the Landrosts of Swellendam, George, Uitenhage and Graaff Reinet to call out the Burghers for the purpose of driving the marauders over the Fish river.[2]

By 18 Oct 1811 the forces were[2]

Royal Artillery 98
21st Light Dragoons 165
Cape Regiment 594
83rd Regiment 221
93rd Regiment 3

In October, 1811, the new Governor, John Cradock, resolved to clear the Zuurveld of the Xhosa, and to drive them back to east of the Fish River. He appointed Colonel John Graham to this task. By December, Graham had raised three forces. The southernmost was near the mouth of the Sundays River, while a second was in the area of Coerney near Addo. The third was a Commando from Graaff-Reinet, led by the Landdrost, Anders Stockenström. They were stationed north of the Zuurberg (somewhere in the area south of Ann's Villa), to protect Bruintjeshoogte and Graaff-Reinet against Xhosa intrusions from the south and east.[1]

Massacre at Zuurberg

28 Dec 1811[1]

After events around Christmas Day, Graham concluded the major Xhosa force was concentrated near his central unit at Addo. He summoned Stockenström to bring his force across the Zuurberg. Stockenström responded with about forty of his men, who left their camp at sunrise on December 28, 1811 to travel south over the Zuurberg.[1]

Near the peak of the Zuurberg, Stockenström's party encountered a group of Xhosa. A palaver began and continued for a time, but it ended with a surprise attack on the Landdrost and his men. Stockenström and about a dozen others of his force were killed. This was in the first few days of the Fourth Frontier War (1811-12).[1]

Start of Reinforcements

A reinforcement of two hundred men of the first battalion of the 60th regiment, which had arrived in the colony in September 1811, having been sent to Colonel Graham's aid on 8 January 1812.[2]

End of the War

By the beginning of March (1812) the fourth Kaffir war was over, and it had ended-as neither the second nor the third had - favourably for the Europeans. At its close there were in the field eight hundred burghers and twelve hundred and fifty two soldiers , including the Hottentot regiment. The Xosas driven over the Fish river numbered in all about twenty thousand souls.[2] Most of the European troops who had taken part in the war were recalled to Cape Town, but others were sent to the front, and at the close of the year the line of defence was occupied, in addition to the burghers, by 59 dragoons, 427 men of the 60th, and the Hottentot regiment.[2]

List of names for Zuurberg

Has been compiled from various sources by Keith Meintjes,information last updated 10 March 2011[1]

  1. BOTHA, Philip
    1. Nota: (killed)
  2. BOTHA, Piet
    1. Nota: (killed)
  3. BUYS, Philip De_Buys-50
    1. Nota: (killed) - Possibly a son of b3 c1 d4 Coenraad de Buys, see [DSAB 2, p. 163]. In the Dutch original of CO 2580 he is "een Bastaard", and in the English version he is "a Baster Hottentot". See also [SAG 1, pp.523-4].
  4. DU PLESSIS, Jacobus
    1. Nota: (killed)
  5. DU PLESSIS Paul Du_Plessis-945
    1. Nota: (escaped) - Daniel Jacobs has provided an article [Jacobs 1, pp. 140-143] in which Paul Jacobus Erasmus Erasmus-2999 says, "Myn grootvader Paul du Plessis had op vele kommando's gegaan en by Doornek is hy die enigste man die uitgekom is toen Landdros Stockenström met dertien vermoor is …". His parents were Carel Stephanus Erasmus and Sara Johanna du Plessis [Jacobs 2, p. 120], leading immediately to:
    2. Nota: b1 c5 d5 e3 Paulus Jacobus du Plessis = Tulbagh 19.9.1779, son of Johannes Petrus du Plessis and Susanna Johanna de Wet [SAG 8, p. 135].
  6. ERASMUS, Cornelis
    1. Nota: (wounded)
    2. Nota: Possible Cornelis Johannes Erasmus (bef. 1783) also in Opgaafrol Graaf Reinet 1811
  7. GREYLING, Johan Christiaan Greijling-2
    1. Nota: (killed)
    2. Nota: b11 c2 Jan Christoffel, = 5.9.1779, son of Abraham Carel Greyling and Geertruy Botma. He married Magdalena Johanna de Wet. In 1814 she remarried Piet Retief, the Voortrekker leader. [SAG 2, p.543; Visagie, p. 195]
  8. HATTINGH, Michiel
    1. Nota: (killed)
  9. KRUGEL, Andries
    1. Nota: (wounded)
    2. Nota: Possible Andries Hendrik Krugel (bef. 1749) also in Opgaafrol Graaf Reinet 1811
  10. LYSTER, T.
    1. Nota: (informant) –
    2. Nota: Probably Thomas Lyster. In 1810 he was a Major in the Cape Corps. [Stockenström, p. 53].
    3. Nota: Thomas LYSTER Regimental Service: Major in 50th Foot 28 September 1804; exchanged to Cape Regiment 6 November 1806; brevet Lieutenant- Colonel 4 June 1811. Service 1793-1815: Served at Cape of Good Hope 1806-1815. Later Service: Inspector of Coasts and Volunteers on St Helena.
  11. MARÉ, P
    1. Nota: (official)
    2. Nota: Possible Paulus (Maree) Maré (1769 - abt. 1838) also in Opgaafrol Graaf Reinet 1811
  12. MEINTJES, H. A. Meintjes-82
    1. Nota: (official) –
    2. Nota: Probably a1b4c1d3 Hendrik Adriaan Meintjes = 11.10.1772. [SAG 5, p.513].
  13. POTGIETER, Jacobus Potgieter-70
    1. Nota: (killed)
    2. Nota: b7 c8 d6 Jacobus Christoffel Potgieter, = 6.4.1765, son of Jacobus Potgieter and Clara Isabella du Preez [SAG 8, p.276], and uncle of (d7 e2) Andries Potgieter, the Voortrekker leader. [SAG 8, p.284; Visagie, p. 168].
  14. PRETORIUS, W. S.
    1. Nota: (official)
    2. Nota: Possible Willem Sterrenberg Pretorius (bef. 1762 - 1837) also in Opgaafrol Graaf Reinet 1811
  15. PRETORIUS, Willem
    1. Nota: (killed)
  16. RABIE, J. B.
    1. Nota: (official)
  17. ROBBERTS, Christiaan
    1. Nota: (escaped) -
    2. Nota: Probably b1 c7 d10 Christiaan Stephanus Robberts, = 17.9.1789, son of Jan Hendrik Robberts and Geertruy Jacoba van der Linde [deV/P, p. 783].
  18. STOCKENSTRÖM, Anders Stockenström-7
    1. Nota: (killed) –
    2. Nota: Anders Stockenström, * Sweden 6.1.17 - 57, son of Anders Anderssen Stockenström and Catharina Margareta Eckman, married 1.6.1786 Maria Broeders [DSAB 1, p. 773]. At the time of his death, Anders was Landdrost of Graaff-Reinet and his son, Andries, was serving as his aide-de-camp. Andries was to become Lieutenant Governor of the Eastern Cape and, later, Sir Andries, baronet. He died in London and is buried there [DSAB 1, p.774]. See also [SAG 12, p. 270].
  19. VAN HEERDEN, Isaac
    1. Nota: (killed)
    2. Nota: Possible Izaak Lodewicus van Heerden (bef. 1791) also possible Opgaafrol Graaf Reinet 1811


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 eggsa Keith Meintjes 2005
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Perspective on John Graham and the fourth Cape Eastern frontier war Johan de Villiers Research Fellow, Department of History University of Zululand Records of the Cape Colony Copied for the Cape Government Vol10 p427 George McCall Theal 1902

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