45th, and two of the 91st regiments, with two squadrons of Cape mounted rifles, to march from Graham's Town to Colesberg; he himself met them near the Orange river on 21 Aug. 1848, and on the 29th of that month he arrived with the column at Boom Plaatz, where he found the Boers, one thousand strong, holding a formidable position and well covered by dry stone walls hastily thrown up. He attacked in the middle of the day and stormed the position. The Boers, who were better mounted and whose guns were heavier than Smith's, were completely beaten, and broke and fled. Many of the farmers crossed the Vaal with Pretorius and founded the Transvaal state (recognised in 1852); the remainder returned to their farms and waited the course of events. Smith continued his pursuit the following day towards Bloemfontein, where he arrived on 2 Sept. and reinstated the British resident. Families from the Cape moved into the Orange river country, and occupied the lands of those who had crossed the Vaal, and the territory eventually became (1854) the Orange Free State.
During 1848 and 1849 there was considerable excitement at Capetown, caused by the proposal of the home government to form a penal settlement there. After a very strong representation had been made by Smith as governor to Earl Grey on the subject, pointing out the ill feeling and opposition that had been raised, and intimating that he would resign if the proposal were forced upon the colony rather than carry it out, Earl Grey decided that the convicts who had already sailed in the Neptune, which was detained at Pernambuco, should be landed at the Cape, but that no more should be sent. On the arrival of the Neptune on 20 Sept. 1849, the tolling of bells and the sounding of the fire-alarm gong announced the unwelcome news. Shops were closed and business suspended. A committee was formed to prevent the landing of the convicts, and was supported by the community. It was resolved not to furnish the Neptune, nor indeed any one connected with government, with supplies. Smith acted with great forbearance. He frankly told the people that neither he nor the troops would go hungry so long as they had arms in their hands, but he did his best to induce the home government to send away the Neptune, and in the meantime he would not allow the convicts to be landed. His representations resulted in the arrival of orders in February 1850 to send the convicts in the Neptune to Tasmania.
On 31 May 1850 Smith inspected the 1st battalion of the rifle brigade prior to its departure for England, and issued a very complimentary and characteristic general order. During this year there were warnings of a Kaffir rising. Smith summoned a meeting of chiefs, and went to King William's Town. The head chief, Sandili, refused to attend, and was deposed on 30 Oct., when Smith returned to Capetown. Sandili's deposition had no effect, and Smith had scarcely reached Capetown when he received accounts which made him hasten back to the frontier with all available troops. On 24 Dec. a column of troops, moving to arrest the deposed chief, was attacked with some success near Keiskamma Hoek, and on Christmas day a horrible massacre of the Europeans of the villages of Juanasburg, Woburn, and Auckland in the Chumie valley took place. At the same time Smith was besieged at Fort Cox by nearly the whole force of the Kaffirs. On 29 Dec. Colonel Somerset failed in an attempt to relieve Smith, and on the 31st Smith sallied out with all his troops, and, making a dash through the enemy, succeeded in reaching King William's Town. A large body of Hottentots of the Kat river joining in the rebellion made it the more serious, particularly as they acted in small bodies, raiding the country in which the farms and villages were scattered at considerable distances. Smith could do little without reinforcements, but while awaiting them he called all the loyal inhabitants, both European and native, to arms, concentrating the women and children where they could be protected. He took the field in person on 18 March, and went to the relief of Fort Hare, which he accomplished by a clever movement, and then, with a rapidity which astonished the Kaffirs, marched on Forts Cox and White, defeating the enemy in a spirited engagement. Reinforcements began to arrive in May, and Smith organised columns to scour the country and attack some of the strongholds of the enemy in the mountains; but on 7 April 1852 Smith was superseded by Lieutenant-general the Hon. George Cathcart, the home government being dissatisfied with the slow progress made in crushing the rising. This action of the secretary of state for the colonies did not add to his popularity.
On 18 Nov. Smith was a standard-bearer at the funeral of the Duke of Wellington at St. Paul's. On 21 Jan. 1853 he was appointed to the command of the western military district, and made lieutenant-governor of Plymouth. He was promoted to be lieutenant-general on 20 June 1854, and on 29 Sept. of the same year was transferred to the command of the northern military district, with headquarters at Manchester, which