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Rogers had served with distinction in the North-West Rebellion.
In the fighting, the British forces sustained more than 1,400 casualties, of which 348 men died.
Thirty-one Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the battle, including two Ottawa men. Boer losses amounted 350 killed or wounded and 4,019 captured.
The Ottawa Evening Journal said “Britain, a democratic monarchy, is at war with a despotic republic, and seeks to give equality to the people of the Transvaal.” Pressured by English Canada, the Liberal government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier agreed to send 1,000 volunteers to support the British cause over the opposition of many French Canadians including fellow Liberal party member Henri Bourassa, who resigned his federal seat in protest. This was the first time Canada had committed troops to an overseas war.
In 1884, Canadian volunteers, many from the Ottawa area, had agreed to serve as non-combatants in the relief of “Chinese” Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan.
Thrown into the mix was the discovery of gold in Boer territories, an influx of foreign, mostly British prospectors and miners (called uitlanders) who were denied political rights by Boer governments who feared being swamped by the incomers, rival British and Boer economic interests, British fears of German interference in southern Africa, and the ambitions of Cecil Rhodes, the premier of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896.