In 1833 the reserves were instituted, and three years later reserve commandants were appointed in six principal provinces.
After the occupation of Pretoria in June 1900 by Lord Roberts the Boer forces had been reduced to guerilla warfare, and Lord Kitchener, learning that the Transvaal commandants were despondent, invited General Botha to enter into negotiations, on the basis of the recognition of British sovereignty.
Ruffo indignantly declared that once the treaty was signed, not only by himself but by the Russian and Turkish commandants and by the British captain Foote, it must be respected, and on Nelson's refusal he said that he would not help him to capture the castles.
The heads of the great military centres of the empire and the commandants of the royal fortresses are outside his jurisdiction: yet the satraps are entitled to a body of troops of their own, a privilege which they used to the full, especially in later periods.
For some time they held the extreme south-east point of the island at Fort Dauphin; but several of their commandants were so incapable and tyrannical that they were frequently involved in war with the people, and more than once their stations were destroyed and the French were massacred.