“The leaders of the Boer forces were not generals in the popular sense of the word. Almost without exception, they were men who had no technical knowledge of warfare; men who were utterly without training of any nature, and who would have been unable to pass an examination for the rank of corporal in an European Army.
Every one of the Boer generals was a farmer who, before the war, paid more attention to his crops and cattle than he did to evolving ideas for application in a campaign, and the majority of them, in fact, never dreamed that they would be called upon to be military leaders until they were nominated for the positions a short time before hostilities commenced.
The men who became the Boer generals gained their military knowledge in the wilds and on the veld of South Africa where they were able to develop their natural genius in the hunting of lions and the tracking of game. The Boer principle of hunting was precisely the same as their method of warfare and consequently the man who, in times of peace, was a successful leader of shooting expeditions was none the less adept afterward as the leader of commandos.
The Boer generals and officers, almost without exception, were admirable men, personally. Some of them were rough, hardy men, who would have felt ill at ease in a drawing-room, but they had much of the milk of human kindness in then, and there was none who loved to see or partake of bloodshed”
Howard C. Hillegas, from his book “With the Boer Forces” (1900) written during his time as correspondent for the New York World newspaper, covering the Second Anglo-Boer War.