In investigating the reading practices of Boer combatants during the South African War, diaries, letters, and reminiscences were consulted. The state of literacy reveals a picture of a small number of highly literate men, a larger group of adequately literate men, a still larger group of semi-literates, and the illiterate. Reading matter included the Bible, newspapers, and books. Issues raised are: Did literacy (or illiteracy) influence military decision-making or troop morale? Were certain works making some impact on the battlefield? Was the practical experience the Boers had gained before the war more successful in planning strategy and tactics than literacy?