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The Boer War and Turn-of-the-Century Firearms: A Bibliography of Printed and Online Resources

This is an annotated bibliography of the Boer War (1899-1902), also called the Anglo-Boer War or the South African War. The bibliography also covers turn-of-the-century firearms, both military and civilian.

This site serves as a bibliography for Life Prison, a historical speculative fiction series set in late nineteenth-century prisons. For related bibliographies, please see the main index of the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs Bibliographies.

Updated May 2012.

1. Military Instruction Manuals and Shooting Handbooks

* General Manuals
* Hunting Manuals
* Military Manuals

2. The Boer War (The South African War)

* Major resources
* Accounts of the war
——Period accounts
——Later accounts
* Other resources
* Weapons
——Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield Rifles
——Mauser Rifle

Military Instruction Manuals and Shooting Handbooks

General Manuals


McKee, Thomas Heron. The Gun Book for Boys and Men (1918). American. Traces the history of firearms with simple descriptions.

Hunting Manuals


Payne-Gallwey, Ralph. Letters to Young Shooters: On the Choice and Use of a Gun (1892). English.

Military Manuals


Technical Training Handbook of the Browning Automatic Rifle, Model of 1918 (1918). American.

The Boer War (The South African War)

The Boer War was a military struggle between Britain and the Boers (Dutch settlers) that took place in South Africa between 1899 and 1902. Although the British army greatly outnumbered the Boer army, the Boers managed to hold back British forces for three years, mainly through guerilla warfare.

Major resources


Anglo Boer War website. Packed with period texts and resources.

The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum. Primarily promoting a documentary about Canadian troops in the war, this site is filled with many period illustrations, photographs of artifacts, and music.


Google Books: South African War, 1899-1902.

Internet Archive Texts: South African War, 1899-1902.

The Online Books Page: South African War, 1899-1902. See also the pages for narrower terms related to the South African War.

Orans, Lewis P. (editor). Perspectives: The South African War.

Project Gutenberg: Boer War (Bookshelf).

Van Hartesveldt, Fred R. The Boer War: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography (2000).


Military History Journal (South African Military History Society, 1967-present). Includes many articles and contemporary photographs about the Boer War.

Accounts of the war


Some of these texts are also available in other formats at the following e-text archives: Google Books, Internet Archive, and Project Gutenberg.

Amery, L[eopold] S[tennett] (editor). The Times History of the War in South Africa (7 volumes; 1899-1909). A very detailed account by a number of authors. [Anglo Boer War]

Anonymous. A Handbook of the Boer War (1910). "The author has endeavoured in this Handbook to compile, for the use of students and others, a general account of the various phases of the Boer War of 1899-1902, in which he served for twenty-six months." [Anglo Boer War]

Atkins, John Black. The Relief of Ladysmith (1900). Written by the war correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. [Google Books]

Baynes, Arthur Hamilton. My Diocese During the War (1900). Written by the Anglican Bishop of Natal. [Anglo Boer War]

Brandt, Johanna. The Petticoat Commando, or Boer Women in Secret Service (1913). An account of female and male Boer spies in occupied Pretoria, as drawn from the diary of Hansie van Warmelo. See also the memoir of her brother, Dielof van Warmelo. [Anglo Boer War]

Burleigh, Bennet. The Natal Campaign (Second Edition, 1900). "The following chapters sent home by Mr. Bennet Burleigh, the Special War Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, are published with only the smallest possible change from the form in which they appeared in the daily newspaper. Soon after the failure of General Buller at Vaal Krantz, Mr. Burleigh left the seat of war in Northern Natal, and transferred himself to the western sphere of campaign with Lord Roberts. A very short epilogue, not from his pen, narrates the conclusion of the Natal Campaign. In an appendix will be found an account written by Mr. McHugh, a correspondent of the Daily Telegraph who was imprisoned in Ladysmith, of the great attack made by the Boers on January 6th, which was so valiantly repulsed by General White's garrison." [Anglo Boer War]

Burne, [Charles Richard Newdigate]: With the Naval Brigade in Natal (1902). "Journal of Active Service. Kept during the relief of Ladysmith and subsequent operations in northern Natal and the Transvaal, under General Sir Redvers Buller VC GCB." [Anglo Boer War]

Churchill, Winston. London to Ladysmith via Pretoria (1900). The future prime minister of Britain served as a war correspondent and soldier. [Anglo Boer War]

Conan Doyle, Arthur. The Great Boer War ([]). Conan Doyle served as a doctor in the war. [Anglo Boer War]

Crowe, George. The Commission of H. M. S. Terrible (1903). By the Master-at-Arms of the Terrible, which served in the Boer War. [Anglo Boer War]

Davitt, Michael. Boer Fight for Freedom (1902). By an Irish activist who had resigned his seat in Parliament in protest of the British war against the Boers. [Anglo Boer War]

[Grant, Maurice Harold] "Linesman". Words by an Eyewitness: The Struggle in Natal (1902). Narratives by a British captain, originally published in Blackwood's Magazine. [Google Books]

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Accounts and Papers, Vol. LXIX. Various documents related to the South African War. Includes The Spion Kop Despatches. [Google Books]

Jeans, T. T. (editor): Naval Brigades in the South African War 1899-1900 (1901). "Written by officers attached to the various brigades." [Anglo Boer War]

Knox, Ernest Blake. Buller's Campaign with the Natal Field Force of 1900 (1902). Penned by a British army surgeon. [Google Books]

Mahan, A[lfred] T[hayer]. Story of the War in South Africa 1899-1900 (1900). An assessment by an American military writer. [Anglo Boer War]

Maurice, Frederick, et al. History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 (4 volumes; 1906-1910). "Compiled by direction of His Majesty's Government." Very detailed, but with some whitewashing. [Anglo Boer War]

Putland, Walter. "The Personal Diary of 'Private Walter Putland'" (written 1900-1902; published 2000). "It was my grandfather Private Walter Putland who between the years 1899-1902 took on active service with the Middlesex regiment and served in action in South Africa during The Boer War. During this time he kept a form of diary, making a note of all the days events the whole time that he was away . . . [It] is the only known record that was written by a non-commissioned officer . . ." [South African Military History Society]

Reitz, Deneys. Commando (written in 1903; published in 1929). Also available here. At age seventeen, Deneys Reitz, whose father was a Boer secretary of state, joined the Boer army in order to fight the British. In this very readable account of his adventures, Reitz tracks the fates of himself, his family members (three of his brothers also joined the army), and various soldiers he met along the way. [Anglo Boer War]

Repington, Charles à Court. Vestigia: Reminiscences of Peace and War (1919). Memoir of a war correspondent who had served as a staff officer during the South African War. [Google Books]

Treves, Frederick. The Tale of a Field Hospital (1900). Also at the Internet Archive. Narrative by a doctor, later famous for befriending the "Elephant Man," Joseph Merrick. [Google Books]

Viljoen, Ben. My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War (1902). By the Assistant Commandant-General of the Transvaal Burgher forces. [Anglo Boer War]


Spence, Iaian G. "'To Shoot and Ride': Mobility and Firepower in Mounted Warfare."

Other resources


Masters, Clifford. The Boer War Period at St. Helena. A video showing turn-of-the-century postcards of Boer prisoners at St. Helena, as well as envelopes addressed to the prisoners.




Craig, Dylan. The Weapons and Battles of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).

Small Arms of the Boer War.

Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield Rifles


JollyGreenSlug. Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield. A series of videos by a gun collector, showing the difference between the Lee-Metford and the Lee-Enfield, and between the various models of the Lee-Enfield.

Mauser Rifle


A Mafeking Siege: Boer Mauser Model 95/96/97.

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