General Buller’s fourth attempt was successful. It began on 14 February and during the next few days Hlangwane Hill, a strong position of the Boers was taken, Colenso was occupied, and the Boers were driven across the river. An attack on Grobler’s Kloof failed, but the battle of Pieters Hill on the 27th obliged the Boers to withdraw and the way was clear to Ladysmith.
Lord Dundonald, with a cavalry force headed by the Natal Carbineers, pushed on and entered the town on the 28th. There is no doubt that Lord Robert’s successful invasion of the Free State greatly helped General Buller in his final attempt to reach Ladysmith.
General Buller resumed active operations against the Boer commandos in Natal. Beginning his movement on 11 May 1900, he successively dislodged the Boers from Biggarsberg, Helpmekaar, Dundee, Glencoe, Dannhauser and Newcastle. The Boers made a stand at Laing’s Nek and mounted heavy guns on lnkwelo and Van Wyk Hill. Genl Hildyard succeeded in crossing the Berg and gaining a position, which made Laing’s Nek untenable. The Boers evacuated the Nek and Majuba on the night of 11 June and Natal was free from occupation by the Boers.
Several attempts were made to bring about Boer surrender. At last, after protracted negotiations, a meeting of Boer representatives consented to the terms embodied in the Peace of Vereeniging, which was signed on 31 May 1902 by Lord Kitchener and Lord Milner for the Imperial Government and by ten of the chief Boer leaders. In the great Boer War the total number of British troops engaged, in”cluding 48 000 Colonial forces, was 458 000, but at no time did the combatants in the field exceed 160 000. The Boer force numbers were given as 80 000 fighting men.