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Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

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Imberbe
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Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Imberbe » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:19 pm

Steinaecker’s Horse was a military unit who fought on the side of the British during the Anglo-Boer-War (1899 – 1902). The unit consisted of local inhabitants from the Lowveld-region, including the indigenous people who worked as soldiers, servants and chefs. The unit’s most important task was to ensure that the Boers did not make contact with Portuguese supporters in Mozambique, in order to arrange for food and war supplies.

Follow the link and read more about an archeological dig to study the history of this unit.


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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:05 am

I am reading Wolhuter's, "Memories of a Game Ranger". He was attached to the regiment of "a lot of Pluddy ruffians". It is another way to find out more about this very interesting part of our history.

The books, "Mpumalanga, History and Heritage", edited by Peter Delius and "Mpumalanga, an illustrated history", by Michelle Hay and Peter Delius, tell a little of the story of Steinaeker's horse. There is a lovely photgraph in the boks of the regiment and their families.
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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Tony Park » Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:12 am

I've fouind an interesting book, Steinacker's Horsemen, by an Aussie, Bill Woolmore. It's a history of a unit with biographies of many of the members. They were a fascinating bunch and several aussies (and from memory some canadians) were also in the unit.

I'm thinking it might be a good basis for a novel.

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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:37 am

Tony, I am sure that it would be fascinating. Steineacker sounds like a character of note.
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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:37 pm

From Harry Wolhuter's "Memories of a Game Ranger".

"Colonel Steinaecker himself deserves a few words. He is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable figures in Lowveld history, and to the best of my knowledge there is no existing photograph of him, which is a great pity.

He was a pompous little cock-sparrow of a man; standing some five foot three inches in his boots;spare and wiry looking in figure and of possibly 120 lbs. fighting weight. The most striking feature of his lean cadaverous face, from which, under bushy brows, gleamed two truculent black eyes, was a vast and remarkable mustache, which, well waxed and turned up at its ends, extended nine inches on either side of an aggresive jowl, but failed to conceal a mouth from which the front teeth, all but a ew yellow and broken fangs, had vanished.

He took immense pride in his various self invented uniforms. His feet and legs were usually encased in smart, soft brown leather Wellington boots, the tight fitting overalls severely drawn down by strapps fastening under the insteps. The heels of his boots were decorated with huge silver box
spurs, which flashed as he walked. When in full regalia, his tasselled sword trailing from his hip, wearing his heavily laced cap; corseted and clad in a long wasp waisted semi naval frock coat with enormous heavily ringed epaulletes, he remnded one, as he strutted about, spruce and stiffly upright, of a peacock showing off his fullplumage! He was no doubt a true pattern of a traditional swashbuckler."
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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Elzet » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:01 pm

Tx Imberbe and MM :thumbs_up:

Such a pity not more info is available on this issue. I also visited the link you have posted a while ago to find an answer to the Camp quiz (if I recall correctly). I would love to know more about this topic.
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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Timepilot » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:43 am

There is a great museum at the Mkhadzi picnic site (I'm pretty sure that is the one - near Letaba on the road to the border crossing) which has got the artifacts and some really good history. Lunch went from a quick stop 30 minutes to 1.5 hours :D

I seem to recall that Beverly Harper in her book "Footprints of Lion" actually had a small bit part for Steinaeckers Horse :hmz:
“ Every year elephants were becoming scarcer and wilder south of the Zambezi, so that it had become impossible to make a living by hunting at all. ” FC Selous 1881

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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby o-dog » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:06 am

A good bit of info thanx everyone...

Probably the best book I have read on South African history talking about everything from the early hunters and explorers to the Boer War to how Kruger Park cam into being is called 'Spoor of Blood' by Alan Catrick (not sure of surname spelling). Its Fascinating if the subject of South African history and wildlife interest you and the last chapter has in depth information on Steinacker's Horse and the control of Southern Kruger as well and great info on the Selati Railway etc

I found some further info on the net very easily to give a bit of insight into life of Steinacker:

Colonel Steinaker, a German of diminutive size (he was 5' 1'' in his boots), was probably the British army's most irregular commanding officer, but he managed somehow to persuade the Brits to give him command of a force of 300 men to patrol the Lubombo region of the Eastern Lowveld. Steinaker saw himself as the ''Napoleon'' of the lowveld, which role he certainly acted out to the full. Steinaker had many' detractors but let no man feel disgraced for serving in Steinakers Horse for, through Steinaker gathered around him a contingent of mounted hunters, chanters, adventurers and fortune seekers, among them were some of the most accomplished and finest shots in Africa, with scouting and bush skills not easily matched anywhere in the world.

Of Steinaker a story is told where he swaggered into the pub at Komatijoort and drawing both his pistols he fired six shots from each of them into the ceiling. Only two holes were visible in the ceiling above and the crowd gave way in awe at this remarkable marksmanship. Only Colonel Steinaker knew that his six-guns each had one loaded bullet - the remaining five cartridge chambers in each gun were loaded with blanks!

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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Elzet » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:48 pm

:clap: :dance: :lol:

Twee buffels met een skoot dood geskiet Fontein.... (Sorry, all will be lost in translation)...

I'm going to try and get hold of one of the suggested sources. Thank you. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby bishop3006 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:08 pm

o-dog wrote:A good bit of info thanx everyone...

Probably the best book I have read on South African history talking about everything from the early hunters and explorers to the Boer War to how Kruger Park cam into being is called 'Spoor of Blood' by Alan Catrick (not sure of surname spelling). Its Fascinating if the subject of South African history and wildlife interest you and the last chapter has in depth information on Steinacker's Horse and the control of Southern Kruger as well and great info on the Selati Railway etc...


I have that book! First edition it seems, paperback - November 1959! Bought second-hand some time ago. Will have to make an effort to read it then - as have to do with many wonderful books here on the shelves. :tongue:

Chapter 1 starts off with Kai, the Hunter:

The year is A.D. 1200... King John has just succeeded Richard on the throne of Britain. The barons of Normandy and Brittany are about to rise in revolt against him. The Holy Roman Empire rules Europe. The Saracens hold the Middle East and the northern shores of Africa.

Six thousand miles to the south a little yellow man is climbing a hill that stands on the great central plateau of Southern Africa. It is a hill that is later to be the scene of a sharp skirmish in the South African war but at the moment Kai, the Bushman, has it to himself. His family, aunts, uncles, cousins and children and hangers-on, are camped near a spring at the foot of the hill. Their homes are primitive huts of grass, reeds and sticks built together rather like a duck gunner's hide. Piles of bones and the skulls of animals are scattered round the escarpment. Strips of flesh hang from the thorn bushes nearby. There is an all-pervading smell of putrefying meat, mingled with wood smoke and the acrid odour of human sweat.


He ends the last chapter, talking about Stevenson-Hamilton's death, with the following paragraph:

But to most South Africans his death meant nothing. He was the man with the double-barrelled name who "had something to do with the Game Reserve". They did not know what he had done for them. They still do not know.


Then there's an epilogue which he calls Envoi, which ends with this:

There are pressing problems, for the world has begun to beat a path to our door and the lions of Sabie and Shingwidzi are now "big business".

As I study the figures - 117,00 visitors, 30,000 cars, gross revenue of (can't remember how to make the pound sign here) 600,00 - I seem to hear the voice of Stevenson-Hamilton saying: "A game reserve is a sanctuary for wild animals, not for men. In whatever plans are made the animals must have first place. The Spirit of The Wild must be preserved. We must guard our heritage."

They are words to be remembered... We must guard our heritage as he did.


Alan Cattrick
Spoor of Blood
Howards Timmins Publishers
Cape Town
First Edition - November 1959

I finished the book I was reading this afternoon. I shall now read this. Thanks o-dog for putting this on my radar. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Archeological dig: Steinaecker’s Horse

Unread postby Elzet » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:00 pm

Hiya, thanks for great information coming through. A book on this topic is on my shopping list for December.

bishop3006 wrote:I seem to hear the voice of Stevenson-Hamilton saying: "A game reserve is a sanctuary for wild animals, not for men. In whatever plans are made the animals must have first place. The Spirit of The Wild must be preserved. We must guard our heritage."


Never a truer word spoken... :thumbs_up:
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