Sanna’s Post (aka Korn Spruit) was an engagement fought during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) between the British Empire and the Boers of the two independent republics of Orange Free State and South African Republic at .
On 30 March 1900 a 2000-man Boer force led by Christiaan De Wet advanced in the direction of Bloemfontein. Reconnaissance indicated the presence of a small garrison of British troops at Sanna’s Post, 23 miles east of Bloemfontein, which held Bloemfontein's water works. A British mounted force under Brigadier General Broadwood which had earlier attacked other Boer positions at Thaba n'Chu, was withdrawing there. Broadwood's force consisted of Q and U Batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery, a composite regiment of the Household Cavalry, the 10th Hussars, the New Zealand and Burma Mounted Infantry, and Roberts's Horse and Rimington's Guides (which were light horse units raised from English-speaking South Africans). De Wet sent 1600 of his men under his brother Piet to attack Broadwood from the north, while he himself occupied Sanna's Post to intercept their retreat.
An alert British officer noticed what was happening and ordered Q Battery to gallop away. De Wet's men then opened fire. The British fell back on a railway station which offered substantial cover, while Q Battery under Major Phipps-Hornby (joined by one gun from U Battery whose team managed to break away from de Wet) deployed in the open and opened fire.
This fire, combined with accurate rifle fire from the railway station, pinned down Christiaan de Wet's men, but Piet de Wet's forces were increasing their pressure. Broadwood's ammunition was running out, and he decided to retire to the south. His guns had first to be recovered. Five were hooked up and towed away, but two had to be abandoned. Many British soldiers were killed crossing the 1300 yards of open ground to retrieve the guns, but unit integrity was maintained.
Eventually, Broadwood managed to break contact. Approximately three hours later the 9th Infantry Division commanded by Major General Sir Henry Colville arrived to relieve the mounted brigade, but de Wet’s men had withdrawn to highly defensible positions across the Modder River and both sides retired from the field. This nevertheless left Bloemfontein's water works in Boer hands.
In all, the British suffered 155 men killed or wounded. 428 men, seven field artillery pieces and 117 wagons were captured. The Boer force suffered three killed and five wounded. But even more serious than the losses in the action was the loss of Bloemfontein's water supplies. This greatly aggravated an epidemic of enteric fever among the occupying British army, which eventually caused 2000 deaths.
Field Marshal Lord Roberts also awarded the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Francis Maxwell who voluntarily made five incursions into open terrain under heavy rifle fire to recover two guns and three limbers, one of which was dragged back by hand by himself, another officer and some gunners. Lieutenant Maxwell also attempted to save a third gun from capture, remaining with it until the proximity of the enemy made further efforts impossible.