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Date: December 13th 1899

Wednesday [December]13 1899

Belmont South Africa

Dear Mother

I received your letter from Quebec last night & am glad to hear that all are well. we are having fine weather a little hot in the day time but pretty chilly at night our troops are having it pretty sharp up at Spitzfontaine we have lost a lot of men. but it is a terrible slaughter on the enemy we have cut off their water supply and have them surrounded they have only one thing to do surrender or die they are no mean foe they are a very ignorant people and stubborn fighters there is but little mercy shown on either side. this is their last stand but Petroria & that is their capital and I hear if they loose this battle they will give in. I think again you get this the war will be over and you will see us home pretty soon there come an alarm that the Boers were going to attack us And we hurried out at 3 o'clock in the morning on the veldt and the mountains but the enemy took a sneak and if they had of come on they would have got a warm welcome for the boys were pretty mad about loosing their sleep things look serious for a while but the boys came back to camp a deal merrier than left I tell you it puts queer thoughts in your head when you are lying behind a bunch of weeds expecting every minute to see a risk over a hill or a bullet hit the ground beside you or hear a chum give a groan and roll over you loose all fear it is a terrible feeling but it is all for the best we expect some more fun before the week is out.

we are camped on a battle field now at belmont and there is once and a while you run across a boer & I tell you he smells bad some of the boys out on outpost duty says the smell on the hills is nasty the British are making it hot for the enemy Just now I am sorry I left without seeing wille & Joe but as for bringing anything with me I cannot hardly carry what I have now I am getting all the things I can and am going to bring them home I hope we will all come back to toronto but I can hardly be but we will try very hard to do our duty cost what it may I have come through so far and have bigh hope of coming through the rest of it of course there is danger all round us, I am getting some photos taken here & I will send them out to you they will be kind of a curiosity in that country I will get a dozen [?] all your friends them things that one was taken in toronto were no good Just cheap things and all he took was one for himself and one for me so I never took any they were not worth the bother I dont the canucks will see very hard fighting the Colonials are used for keeping open the lines of communications it is a pretty tough Job and a trying one but the soldier has to bear a little the ostrich is a common bird I had a piece of ostrich egg for breakfast down at [?] the water in this country is not very plentiful but very good as a rule we expect to be sent up to fight this week but cannot say for sure there is reports of all kinds afloat I have been over the country a lot but no place like home. Good bye and love to all hoping to see you all soon