Wash drawing by Ralph Geaver. An original wash drawing showing a military balloon during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). The siege of Ladysmith by the Boers lasted from 1 November, 1899 until 28 February, 1900. Some 20,000 soldiers and civilians were besieged in the town, a railway junction surrounded by hills. Shortages of food and fresh water, particularly after the Boers cut off the water supply to the town, caused some 60 % of the casualties suffered by the defenders during the siege. Ladysmith was finally relieved after 118 days by a force commanded by General Redvers Buller, after two previous attempts had resulted in defeats at Colenso and Spion Kop. Artwork commisioned by Illustrated London News for reproduction.
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