The Boer Army inflicted thousands of casualties on advancing British regiments, and beat back many attempts to take high ground. The Boers of course were fighting in their own backyard and knew the terrain intimately. In many ways the Boer War was just a long controlled retreat of a smaller force from an Empire;and it was a force that grew smaller by the week. That said, the Boer’s conducted it brilliantly. At Spion Kop Boers held the high ground until it was untenable and then retreated to other pre-excavated redoubts on high cliffs with clear fields of fire. Even egressing the battlefields the Boers inflicted grave casualties. But in the end, a quarter of a million British soldiers under arms are hard to ignore. The British came in force and with a large groups of people often also comes, horrible unsanitary conditions. Of the 20,000 British who died in the Boer war, 10,000 of them died from typhoid.
Before the end of the war, Kruger fled to Mozambique and then sailed to Europe and never returned to the African continent. Buller out maneuvered and outflanked Botha day after day and with a confidence and efficiency Buller drew hundreds of casualties while the Boers were getting eviscerated. The Boers then evaporated into the countryside and began an insurgency.
Few words have been bandied about regarding the Boer insurgency but it was one of the most determined and effective in history. By the last half of 1900, the Boers ran rampant over the Veldt. Roberts and Buller responded by destroying local homesteads, purloining cattle and livestock, and creating an Afrikaan underclass that were housed in concentration camps near rail lines in and out of the region of Natal. Again, typhoid struck with a vengeance, but this time the targets were children. Mortality soared and now the suffering of the Boer citizenry now became a cause celebre and a thorn in the side of the Crown. Twenty eight thousand Boers died in the camps and would forever be a black eye on the British.
As the war dragged on, more and more Boer prisoners were taken. By August 1901, 30,000 Boer prisoners were under the purview of the British in war camps on St. Helena and in Ceylon. The war was costing Kitchener, the British commander £2 million a week. Kitchener couldn’t afford it.
By now it was becoming obvious to Kitchener that this insurgency would not die anytime soon. The bitter-enders who seemed to evanesce into the veldt and the mountains were a bellwether for new type of war that the British would have to endure: A deeply embedded and widely popular rebellion. The Boers from time to time scored victorious raids. Ins some they took British prisoners and stripped them naked and sent them back to their camps. But the overwhelming attrition ate in the guerilla war favored the British.
During the long occupation, even the Zulus chafed at the Boers. The intercine rivalries never abated. In 1902, a Zulu Impi attacked and destroyed a Boer outpost. They killed most of the Boers.
At the end of 1902, the Boers sat down and tried to hammer terms of peace. Then again, there were Boers that wouldn’t cotton to surrendering anything. Peace terms were agreed to and papers were signed in Kitchener’s home. The war had cost the British £ 200 million. Boer commandos started returning to towns and gave up their weapons. They were deeply bitter and gave in only because they could not endure poverty. Some Boers joined the British Army, and this very act would imprecate them in the eyes of their fellow Dutch Calvinists forever.
Sources: BBC, Wikipedia, History Channel, http://angloboerwarmuseum.com