A wave of military enthusiasm arose throughout the empire, and as the formation of a seventh division practically drained the mother-country of trained men, a scheme for the employment of amateur soldiers was formulated, resulting in the despatch of Imperial Yeomanry and Volunteer contingents, which proved one of the most striking features of the South African campaign.
By the end of the year the blockhouse system was complete, but this phase of the war was destined to close badly as De Wet on Christmas Eve captured a large force of Yeomanry at Tweefontein, west of Harrismith.
The Admirable Crichton of his day, he was keen alike on field sports and the arts, the friend and admirer equally of Cecil Rhodes and of Rodin, a railway director and a yeomanry colonel.
This increase of villenage morally depressed the peasantry, and widened still further the breach between the yeomanry and the gentry.
When the yeomanry were called out to suppress riots after the Peace, his sympathies were with the people rather than with the authorities.
Indeed, even prior to the definite establishment of the caste-system, the mingling of the lower race with the upper classes, especially with the aristocratic landowners and still more so with the yeomanry, had probably been going on to such an extent as to have resulted in two fairly well-defined intermediate types of colour between the priestly order and the servile race and to have facilitated the ultimate division into four" colours "(varna).
The principles upon which the reorganization of1905-1908was based are: (a) that in peace the army at home must be maintained at such an effective standard that all necessary drafts for the army abroad shall be forthcoming, without undue depletion of the army at home; (b) the home army on mobilization for service should be brought up to war strength by the recall of reservists in sufficient, but not too great, numbers; (c) the wastage of a campaign shall be made good by drafts partly from the remaining army reserve, but above all from the militia, now converted into the special reserve; and (d) the volunteers and yeomanry, reorganized into the territorial force, shall be responsible, with little regular help, for the defence of the home country, thus freeing the regular army at home for general service.
The special reserve, converted from the militia, consists of infantry, field and garrison artillery, the Irish Horse (late Yeomanry), engineers, and a few A.S.C. and R.A.M.C. Its object is to make good on mobilization deficiencies (so far as they may exist of ter the calling in of the army reserve) in the expeditionary or regular forces, and to repair the losses of a campaign.
The higher organization - which the volunteers (q.v.) and yeomanry (q.v.) never possessed - varies only slightly from that in vogue in the regular army.
The army troops, divisions and mounted brigades consist of 56 regiments of yeomanry; 14 batteries and 14 ammunition columns R.H.A., 151 batteries and 55 ammunition columns R.F.A., 3 mountain batteries and ammunition column, and 14 heavy batteries and ammunition columns R.G.A.; 28 field companies, 29 telegraph companies, railway battalion, &c., R.E.; 204 battalions infantry (including to of cyclists, the Honourable Artillery Company, and certain corps of the Officers' Training Corps training as territorials); 60 units A.S.C.; 56 field ambulances, 23 general hospitals and 2 sanitary companies R.A.M.C. Told off to the defended seaports are 16 groups of garrison artillery companies and 58 fortress and electric light companies R.E.
Nevertheless the struggle turned gradually to the advantage of the laborer, and ended in the creation of the sturdy and prosperous farming yeomanry who were the strength of the realm for several centuries to come.
They were now for the most part letting out the soil to tenant-farmers at a moderate rent, and the large class of yeomanry created by this movement seem to have been prosperous.