The investment of Ladysmith continued till the 28th of February 1900, when, after various attempts to relieve the beleaguered garrison, Sir Redvers Buller's forces at last entered the town.
The castle was garrisoned by Baldwin de Redvers for the empress Maud in 1136, but was captured by Stephen.
Thus Sir Redvers Buller had no choice but to disintegrate the army corps.
On the 3rd of February he ordered a demonstration against the right of the Boer position at Spytfontein-Magersfontein to cover the withdrawal of General French and the cavalry from before Colesberg, and the concentration of his army at Modder River, disregarding another set-back in Natal to Sir Redvers Buller, who had against his advice made a third attempt to relieve Ladysmith on the 5th of February, and failed to make good the purchase which he secured across the Tugela.
General Sir Redvers Buller, who had been appointed to the supreme command in South Africa as soon as it was perceived that war was imminent - his force being one army Lord Methuen, Sir W.
In the meantime, however, blood feuds had been engendered between the chiefs Usibepu 1 For his action on this occasion Colonel (afterwards General Sir) Redvers Buller, who was Wood's principal assistant, received the V.C. Piet Uys was among the slain.
In the meantime, Sir Redvers Buller, who had been reinforced by Sir Charles Warren and the 5th division, essayed a second attempt to cross the Tugela, by turning the Boer left.
The borough was founded before 1217 by William de Vernon, earl of Devon, whose ancestor Richard de Redvers had received the manor from Henry I.
No charter has been found, but a judgment given under a writ of quo warranto in 1578 confirms to the burgesses freedom from toll, passage and pontage, the tolls and stallage of the quay and the right to hold two fairs - privileges which they claimed under charters of Baldwin de Redvers and Isabel de Fortibus, countess of Albemarle, in the 13th century, and Edward Courtenay, earl of Devon, in 1405.
Sir George White was nominated to the chief command of the forces in Natal, and sailed on the 16th of September, while active preparations were set on foot in England to prepare against the necessity of despatching an army corps to Cape Town, in which case the chief command was to be vested in Sir Redvers Buller.