Ladysmith, pop. 5568, ranks next in size.
North-east of Ladysmith are Dundee (2811) and Newcastle (2950).
By rail south of Ladysmith, was the headquarters of Sir Ndvers Buller at the battle of Colenso on the 15th of December 1899.
The main line starts from Durban, and passing through Pietermaritzburg (71 m.), Ladysmith (190 m.) and Newcastle (268 m.) pierces the Drakensberg at Laing's Nek by a tunnel 2213 ft.
From Ladysmith a branch line runs north-west into the Orange Free State, crossing the Drakensberg at Van Reenen's Pass.
North of Ladysmith on the direct line to Johannesburg, a branch railway goes N.E.
From Durban it has reached an altitude of 5152 ft., but on reaching Ladysmith, 191 m.
The Orange Free State line, after leaving Ladysmith, ascends by steep gradients the whole of its own course in Natal territory, and when it gains the summit at Van Reenen's Pass it is 5500 ft.
In 1889 the extension of the railway from Ladysmith through the coal area first made coalmining profitable.
The chief towns - Durban; Maritzburg, Ladysmith, Newcastle and Dundee - are governed by municipal corporations and minor towns by local boards.
Local papers are published weekly at Ladysmith, Dundee and Greytown.
In this year (1886) the railway reached Ladysmith, and in 18 9 1 it was completed to the Transvaal frontier at Charlestown, the section from Ladysmith northward opening up the Dundee and Newcastle coalfields.
He again attacked the Boer forces at Rietfontein on the 24th of October, and on the 26th General Yule reached Ladysmith in safety.
Ladysmith now became for a time the centre of military interest.
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 relief of Ladysmith soon led to the evacuation of Natal by the Boer forces, who trekked northwards.
The first comprises the Beer invasion, terminating with the relief of Ladysmith of ?
Against this force there advanced a Boer force under Lukas Meyer from the east, and, more slowly, the foremost portion of the main Boer army from the north, while at the same time other Transvaalers descended upon the railway between Glencoe and Ladysmith, and the Free Staters from the passes of the Drakensberg advanced towards Ladysmith, the British centre of - operations at which the reinforcements sent from India gathered.
Half the mounted men lost their way in attempting to pass the enemy's flank and were taken, and the brigade, threatened to its left rear by Joubert's advance and by the force that had seized the railway, only escaped being enveloped by retreating upon Ladysmith, where it arrived in an exhausted state on the 26th of October.
But on the 22nd the Free Staters' advance caused the victorious force to be recalled to Ladysmith, and the third action north of that town, Rietfontein (24th), was only a demonstration to cover the retirement of the Dundee force.
By the 29th of October all the British forces at the front and their reinforcements had fallen in on Ladysmith, which the Transvaalers on the north and east and the Free Staters on the west side began to invest.
The battle of Lombard's Kop, outside Ladysmith, in which the whole of the available British force was engaged.
The engagement was disastrous to the British, who had undertaken far too comprehensive an attack, and the Natal Field Force was obliged to fall back upon Ladysmith with the loss of 1500 men, including a large number of prisoners belonging to the left column under Lieut.-Colonel F.R.C. Carleton,who were cut off at Nicholson's Nek and forced to surrender by a mixed force of Transvaalers and Free Staters under Christian de Wet.
Buller was arranging for the relief of Ladysmith, which had already shown its spirit by two successful sorties against the besiegers' batteries.
Behind the Tugela at Colenso were Louis Botha's forces covering the siege of Ladysmith, and, imperfectly Buller's Failure.
He lost heart, and actually suggested to White the surrender of Ladysmith, believing this to be inevitable and desiring to cover White's responsibility in that event with his own authority; but White replied that he did not propose to surrender, and the cabinet at home, aware of Buller's despondency, appointed Field Marshal Lord Roberts to the supreme command, with MajorGeneral Lord Kitchener as his chief of staff.
Pending the arrival of Lord Roberts and reinforcements, the situation in South Africa remained at a deadlock: the three besieged towns - Mafeking, Kimberley and Ladysmith - still held their own, but no headway was made by the relief columns; all they could do was to stand on the defensive.
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.
Ladysmith was relieved on the 28th of February.
The surrender of Cronje and the relief of Ladysmith for the time being paralysed the Boer resistance.
Four days later he reduced a detachment at Reddersburg, and then went south and invested Colonel Dalgety and a mixed force at Wepener, which was relieved after ten days by General Hunter's Ladysmith division, brought round to Aliwal North from Natal.
On the 8th of June Sir Redvers Buller, who had made a long halt after the relief of Ladysmith and reorganized his army and its line of communication, forced his way over Alleman's Nek, and on the following day occupied Laing's Nek, the Natal gate to the Transvaal, while the field marshal fought a widespread battle against Botha, De la Rey and Kemp at Diamond Hill, 20 m.
By rail of Ladysmith, Natal, and 2 4 o m.
By rail from Ladysmith, Natal.
The second system is formed by a line leaving the Natal trunk railway at Ladysmith which crosses the Drakensberg at Van Reenen's Pass and is continued thence through Harrismith to Bethlehem.
These are mined at Nanaimo, Ladysmith and other points.