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Title: Forty-one years in India - From Subaltern To Commander-In-Chief
Author: Roberts, Frederick Sleigh
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Forty-one years in India - From Subaltern To Commander-In-Chief" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

_First Edition (before publication),
    two volumes, demy octavo_, 36s.            _January_ 2, 1897.

_Second Edition (before publication),
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_United States Edition,
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_A Braille type edition for the blind_          (_Nearly ready_.)

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_Twenty-ninth Edition,
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[Illustration: Frontispiece.]

       *       *       *       *       *



Subaltern to Commander-in-Chief


V.C., K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E.

[Illustration: Seal]



Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen
[_All rights reserved_]









       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

I would never have ventured to intrude upon the public with my
personal reminiscences had I not been urged to do so by friends who,
being interested themselves in what I was able to tell them of India
as my father knew it, and as I found it and left it, persuaded me that
my experiences of the many and various aspects under which I have
known the wonderful land of my adoption and its interesting peoples
would be useful to my countrymen. It was thought that I might thus
contribute towards a more intimate knowledge of the glorious heritage
our forefathers have bequeathed to us, than the greater number of them
possess, and towards helping them to understand the characteristics
and requirements of the numerous and widely different races by whom
India is inhabited.

It is difficult for people who know nothing of Natives to understand
and appreciate the value they set on cherished customs, peculiar
idiosyncrasies, and fixed prejudices, all of which must be carefully
studied by those who are placed in the position of their Rulers, if
the suzerain Power is to keep their respect and gain their gratitude
and affection.

The Natives of India are particularly observant of character, and
intelligent in gauging the capabilities of those who govern them; and
it is because the English Government is trusted that a mere handful
of Englishmen are able to direct the administration of a country with
nearly three hundred millions of inhabitants, differing in race,
religion, and manners of life. Throughout all the changes which India
has undergone, political and social, during the present century, this
feeling has been maintained, and it will last so long as the services
are filled by honourable men who sympathize with the Natives, respect
their prejudices, and do not interfere unnecessarily with their habits
and customs.

My father and I spent between us nearly ninety years in India. The
most wonderful of the many changes that took place during that time
may be said to date from the Mutiny. I have endeavoured in the
following pages to explain the causes which, I believe, brought
about that terrible event--an event which for a while produced a
much-to-be-regretted feeling of racial antagonism. Happily, this
feeling did not last long; even when things looked blackest for us, it
was softened by acts of kindness shown to Europeans in distress, and
by the knowledge that, but for the assistance afforded by the Natives
themselves, the restoration of order, and the suppression of a fierce
military insurrection, would have been a far more arduous task. Delhi
could not have been taken without Sikhs and Gurkhas; Lucknow could
not have been defended without the Hindustani soldiers who so nobly
responded to Sir Henry Lawrence's call; and nothing that Sir John
Lawrence might have done could have prevented our losing, for a time,
the whole of the country north of Calcutta, had not the men of the
Punjab and the Derajat[*] remained true to our cause.

[Note *: Tracts beyond the Indus.]

It has been suggested that all outward signs of the Mutiny should
be obliterated, that the monument on the Ridge at Delhi should be
levelled, and the picturesque Residency at Lucknow allowed to fall
into decay. This view does not commend itself to me. These relics of
that tremendous struggle are memorials of heroic services performed
by Her Majesty's soldiers, Native as well as British; and by the
civilians who shared the duties and dangers of the army. They are
valuable as reminders that we must never again allow ourselves to be
lulled into fancied security; and above all, they stand as warnings
that we should never do anything that can possibly be interpreted by
the Natives into disregard for their various forms of religion.

The Mutiny was not an unmitigated evil, for to it we owe the
consolidation of our power in India, as it hastened on the
construction of the roads, railways, and telegraphs, so wisely and
thoughtfully planned by the Marquis of Dalhousie, and which have
done more than anything to increase the prosperity of the people and
preserve order throughout the country. It was the Mutiny which brought
Lord Canning into closer communication with the Princes of India, and
paved the way for Lord Lytton's brilliant conception of the Imperial
Assemblage--a great political success which laid the foundation of
that feeling of confidence which now, happily, exists between the
Ruling Chiefs and the Queen-Empress. And it was the Mutiny which
compelled us to reorganize our Indian Army and make it the admirable
fighting machine it now is.

In the account I have given of our relations with Afghanistan and
the border tribes, I have endeavoured to bring before my readers
the change of our position in India that has been the inevitable
consequence of the propinquity upon our North-West Frontier of a
first-class European Power. The change has come about so gradually,
and has been so repeatedly pronounced to be chimerical by authorities
in whom the people of Great Britain had every reason to feel
confidence, that until recently it had attracted little public
attention, and even now a great majority of my countrymen may scarcely
have realized the probability of England and Russia ever being near
enough to each other in Asia to come into actual conflict. I impute no
blame to the Russians for their advance towards India. The force of
circumstances--the inevitable result of the contact of civilization
with barbarism--impelled them to cross the Jaxartes and extend their
territories to the Khanates of Turkestan and the banks of the Oxus,
just as the same uncontrollable force carried us across the Sutlej and
extended our territories to the valley of the Indus. The object I have
at heart is to make my fellow-subjects recognize that, under these
altered conditions, Great Britain now occupies in Asia the position of
a Continental Power, and that her interests in that part of the globe
must be protected by Continental means of defence.

The few who have carefully and steadily watched the course of events,
entertained no doubt from the first as to the soundness of these
views; and their aim has always been, as mine is now, not to sound an
alarm, but to give a warning, and to show the danger of shutting our
eyes to plain facts and their probable consequences.

Whatever may be the future course of events, I have no fear of the
result if we are only true to ourselves and to India. Thinking Natives
thoroughly understand the situation; they believe that the time must
come when the territories of Great Britain and Russia in their part of
Asia will be separated only by a common boundary line, and they would
consider that we were wanting in the most essential attributes of
Rulers if we did not take all possible precautions, and make every
possible preparation to meet such an eventuality.

I send out this book in the earnest hope that the friendly
anticipations of those who advised me to write it may not be seriously
disappointed; and that those who care to read a plain, unvarnished
tale of Indian life and adventure, will bear in mind that the writer
is a soldier, not a man of letters, and will therefore forgive all
faults of style or language.


_30th September_, 1896.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: KASHMIR GATE AT DELHI.]



Voyage to India--Life in Calcutta--A destructive


Bengal Horse Artillery--Incidents of the journey--New


With my father at Peshawar--Peshawar in 1852--Excitements
  of a frontier station--A flogging parade--Mackeson's
  assassination--The Jowaki expedition--A strange dream--A
  typical frontier fight


A trip to Khagan--The Vale of Kashmir--With the Horse
  Artillery--My first visit to Simla--Life at Peshawar--A
  staff appointment--The bump of locality


Lord Dalhousie's Afghan policy
  --Treaty with Dost Mahomed--War with Persia
  --The advantage of the Amir's friendship
  --John Nicholson
  --'A pillar of strength on the frontier'


First tidings of the mutiny
  --Prompt action at Peshawar--A bold policy
  --The Movable Column--An annoying occurrence
  --I leave Peshawar


First symptoms of disaffection
  --Outbreak at Berhampur--Mangal Pandy
  --Court-Martial at Meerut--Mutiny at Meerut
  --The work of destruction--Want of energy
  --Hugh Gough's experiences
  --Nothing could arrest the mutiny


General Anson--The news reaches Simla
  --Anson loses no time--A long list of troubles
  --John Lawrence--The Phulkian family
  --Death of General Anson


John Lawrence's wise measures
  --Disarmament at Peshawar
  --Salutary effect in the valley


Neville Chamberlain's presence of mind
  --The command of the Column--Robert Montgomery
  --Disarmament at Mian Mir
  --A Drum-Head Court-Martial--Swift retribution


Ferozepore--Crawford Chamberlain at Multan
  --Chamberlain's masterly conduct
  --Nicholson succeeds Neville Chamberlain
  --Irresolution at Jullundur--General Mehtab Sing
  --Nicholson's soldierly instincts
  --More disarmaments


George Ricketts at Ludhiana--Pushing on to Delhi
  --In the camp before Delhi


The first victory--Enthusiasm amongst the troops
  --Barnard's success at Badli-ki-Serai
  --The Flagstaff Tower--Position on the Ridge
  --Quintin Battye--The gallant little Gurkhas
  --Proposed assault--The besiegers besieged
  --Hard fighting--The centenary of Plassy


A new appointment


Reinforcements begin to arrive
  --An assault again proposed--The attack on Alipur
  --Death of General Barnard
  --General Reed assumes command
  --Two V.C.'s--Treachery in camp
  --Fighting close up to the city walls
  --Sufferings of the sick and wounded
  --General Reed's health fails


Archdale Wilson assumes command
  --Enemy baffled in the Sabzi Mandi
  --Efforts to exterminate the Feringhis
  --A letter from General Havelock
  --News of Henry Lawrence's death
  --Arrival of the Movable Column
  --The 61st Foot at Najafgarh


Wilson's difficulties--Nicholson's resolve
  --Arrangements for the assault
  --Construction of breaching batteries
  --Nicholson expresses his satisfaction
  --Orders for the assault issued
  --Composition of the attacking columns


Delhi stormed--The scene at the Kashmir Gate
  --Bold front by Artillery and Cavalry
  --Nicholson wounded--The last I saw of Nicholson
  --Wilson wavers--Holding on to the walls of Delhi


Capture of the Burn bastion
  --The 60th Rifles storm the palace
  --Hodson captures the King of Delhi
  --Nicholson's death--Gallantry of the troops
  --Praise from Lord Canning


Necessity for further action--Departure from Delhi
  --Action at Bulandshahr--Lieutenant Home's death
  --Knights-errant--Fight at Aligarh
  --Appeals from Agra--Collapse of the administration
  --Taken by surprise--The fight at Agra
  --An exciting chase--The Taj Mahal


Infatuation of the authorities at Agra
  --A series of Mishaps
  --Result of indecision and incapacity


Advantage of being a good horseman--News from Lucknow
  --Cawnpore--Heart-rending scenes--Start for Lucknow
  --An exciting Adventure
  --Arrival of Sir Colin Campbell
  --Plans for the advance


Sir Colin's preparations--The Alambagh
  --The Dilkusha and Martinière--Mayne's death
  --A tall-talk story--Ammunition required
  --A night march--The advance on Lucknow
  --Sir Colin wounded--The attack on the Sikandarbagh
  --Heroic deeds--The 4th Punjab Infantry


Henry Norman--The Shah Najaf--The mess-house
  --Planting the flag--A memorable meeting
  --The Residency


Sir Colin's wise decision--Robert Napier
  --Impressions on visiting the Residency
  --Henry Lawrence--Lawrence as Statesman and Ruler
  --Lawrence's friendliness for Natives
  --A hazardous duty


Death of General Havelock--Appeals from Cawnpore
  --General Windham--The passage of the Ganges


The fight at Cawnpore--Unexpected visitors
  --A long chase--Unjur Tiwari--Bithur
  --Windham at Cawnpore


The Fight at Khudaganj--A mêlée--Oudh or Rohilkand?


Mianganj--Curious effect of a mirage
  --The Dilkusha revisited--Passage of the Gumti
  --Capture of the Chakar Kothi
  --Capture of the iron bridge--Hodson mortally wounded
  --Outram's soldierly instinct--A lost opportunity
  --Sam Browne--Start for England
  --Death of Sir William Peel


What brought about the Mutiny?
  --Religious fears of the people--The land question
  --The annexation of Oudh
  --Fulfilment of Malcolm's prophecy
  --The Delhi royal family--The Nana Sahib
  --The Native army--Greased cartridges
  --Limited number of British troops
  --Objection to foreign service
  --Excessive age of the British officers


Discontent of the Natives--Successful administrators
  --Paternal despotism--Money-lenders and the Press
  --Faddists--Cardinal points


Home again--Back in India--Allahabad and Cawnpore
  --The Viceroy's camp--State entry into Lucknow
  --The Talukdars of Oudh--Loyalty of the Talukdars
  --Cawnpore and Fatehgarh--The Agra Durbar


Delhi under a different aspect--Lord Clyde
  --Umritsar and Lahore--The Lahore Durbar
  --Simla--Life at Simla


The Staff Corps--With the Viceroy's camp again
  --The marble rocks--Lady Canning's death
  --Pig-sticking at Jamu--Lord Canning
  --Another cold-weather march--Gwalior and Jhansi
  --Departmental promotion


The Umbeyla expedition--The Akhund of Swat
  --The 'Eagle's Nest' and 'Crag piquet'
  --The death of Lord Elgin
  --Loyalty of our Pathan soldiers
  --Bunerwals show signs of submission
  --The conical hill--Umbeyla in flames
  --Bunerwals agree to our terms--Malka destroyed


A voyage round the Cape--Cholera camps
  --The Abyssinian expedition--Landed at Zula


Sir Robert Napier to command--Defective transport
  --King Theodore commits suicide--First A.Q.M.G.


Afzal Khan ousts Sher Ali
  --Sher Ali regains the Amirship
  --Foresight of Sir Henry Rawlinson
  --The Umballa Durbar


The Lushais--The Lushai expedition
  --Defective transport again
  --Practice _versus_ theory--A severe march
  --Lushais foiled by Gurkhas
  --A successful turning movement--Murder of Lord Mayo


Lord Napier's care for the soldier
  --Negotiations with Sher Ali renewed
  --Sher Ali's demands


A trip in the Himalayas--The famine in Behar
  --The Prince of Wales in India
  --Farewell to Lord Napier


Lord Lytton becomes Viceroy
  --Difficulties with Sher Ali
  --Imperial assemblage at Delhi
  --Reception of the Ruling Chiefs
  --Queen proclaimed Empress of India
  --Political importance of the assemblage
  --Sher Ali proclaims a 'Jahad'
  --A journey under difficulties


Object of the first Afghan war
  --Excitement caused by Russia's advances


Effect of the Berlin Treaty at Kabul
  --Sher Ali decides against England
  --A meeting of portentous moment
  --Preparations for war--Letter from Sher Ali


Shortcomings of my column
  --Attitude of the Border tribes


The Kuram valley--Conflicting news of the enemy
  --An apparently impregnable position
  --Spingawi route decided on--Disposition of the force
  --A night attack--Advantages of a night attack
  --Devotion of my orderlies
  --Threatening the enemy's rear--The Peiwar Kotal


Alikhel--Treachery of the tribesmen
  --Transport difficulties
  --Sher Ali looks to Russia for aid
  --Khost--An attack on our camp
  --An unsuccessful experiment
  --An unpleasant incident--Punjab Chiefs' Contingent


Sher Ali's death--Premature negotiations
  --The treaty of Gandamak
  --Making friends with the tribesmen
  --Gloomy forebodings--Good-bye to Cavagnari


Massacre of the Embassy--The Kabul Field Force
  --Lord Lytton's foresightedness--Start for Kabul
  --Letter to the Amir
  --Proclamation to the people of Kabul
  --Yakub Khan's agents
  --Reasons for remaining at Alikhel


Hector Macdonald and Sher Mahomed--Yakub Khan
  --A Proclamation and an Order
  --The _maliks_ of Logar--Attack on the Shutargardan
  --Reconnoitring roads leading to Kabul


The Afghan position--The fight at Charasia
  --Highlanders, Gurkhas, and Punjabis
  --Defeat of the Afghans--Kabul in sight
  --Deh-i-Mazang gorge--The enemy give us the slip


Guiding instructions--Visit to the Bala Hissar
  --Yakub Khan abdicates--The Proclamation
  --Administrative measures
  --Explosions in the Bala Hissar


Afghans afraid to befriend us--Kabul Russianized
  --Yakub Khan's abdication accepted
  --State treasury taken over


The amnesty Proclamation
  --Strength of the Kabul Field Force
  --Yakub Khan despatched to India


Political situation at Kabul
  --Serious trouble ahead
  --Macpherson attacks the Kohistanis
  --Combined movements--The uncertainty of war
  --The fight in the Chardeh valley--Forced to retire
  --Padre Adams earns the V.C.
  --Macpherson's column arrives
  --The captured guns recovered--Melancholy reflections


Attack on the Takht-i-Shah
  --City people join the tribesmen
  --Increasing numbers of the enemy
  --Loss of the conical hill
  --Captain Vousden's gallantry
  --The retirement to Sherpur


Sherpur--Defence of Sherpur--Arrest of Daud Shah
  --Rumours of an assault--Attack and counter-attack
  --Communication with India re-opened
  --Sherpur made safe


Two important questions--A Ruler required
  --News of Abdur Rahman Khan
  --Abdur Rahman in Afghan-Turkestan
  --Overtures made to Abdur Rahman


Jenkins attacked near Charasia
  --Sir Donald Stewart reaches Kabul
  --Difficulties with Abdur Rahman
  --Abdur Rahman proclaimed Amir


Affairs at Kandahar--The Maiwand disaster
  --Relief from Kabul suggested
  --A force ordered from Kabul
  --Preparations for the march
  --The Kabul-Kandahar Field Force
  --Commissariat and Transport


The order of marching--Ghazni and Kelat-i-Ghilzai
  --Food required daily for the force
  --A letter from General Phayre--Kandahar
  --Reconnoitring the enemy's position
  --A turning movement


Commencement of the fight
  --72nd Highlanders and 2nd Sikhs
  --92nd Highlanders and 2nd Gurkhas
  --Ayub Khan's camp--Difficulties about supplies
  --Parting with the troops--A pleasing memory


Reception in England--A fruitless journey
  --Andaman Isles and Burma--The Madras Army
  --Measures for improving the Madras Army
  --Memories of Madras--An allegory


Disturbing action of Russia--Abdur Rahman Khan
  --The Rawal Pindi Durbar
  --Unmistakable loyalty of the Natives


The Burma expedition--The Camp of Exercise at Delhi
  --Defence of the North-West Frontier
  --Quetta and Peshawar
  --Communications _versus_ fortifications
  --Sir George Chesney


Nursing for the soldier
  --Pacification of Burma considered
  --Measures recommended
  --The Buddhist priesthood
  --The Regimental Institute
  --The Army Temperance Association


Defence and Mobilization Committees
  --The Transport Department
  --Utilization of Native States' armies
  --Marquis of Lansdowne becomes Viceroy
  --Rajputana and Kashmir
  --Musketry instruction
  --Artillery and Cavalry training


Extension of command
  --Efficiency of the Native Army
  --Concessions to the Native Army
  --Officering of the Native Army
  --The Hunza-Naga campaign
  --Visit to Nepal--A Nepalese entertainment
  --Proposed mission to the Amir
  --A last tour--Farewell entertainments
  --Last days in India



[Illustration: PEIWAR KOTAL.]


    (_From a Photograph by Bourne and Shepherd,
    Simla, engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)     _Frontispiece_

II. THE KASHMIR GATE AT DELHI                _Over List of Contents_

III. THE PEIWAR KOTAL                   _Over List of Illustrations_

    (_From a Photograph,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Painting by J.R. Dicksee
    in possession of the Rev. Canon Seymour,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Grillet and Co.,
    engraved upon wood by Swain_)

    V.C., G.C.B.
    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Bourne and Shepherd,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    BART., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., C.I.E.
    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Elliott and Fry,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    (_From a Plan made by Lieutenant Geneste, by permission of
    Messrs. Wm. Blackwood and Sons_)

    IN 1857

    (_From a Photograph taken in India,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    (_From a Painting by Thomas Brigstocke, R.A.,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    K.C.B. (_From a Photograph taken at Lucknow,
    engraved upon wood by Swain_)

    IN 1857



    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Elliott and Fry,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    IN 1858

    (_From a Sketch by Carpenter,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Mayall,
    engraved upon wood by Swain_)

    (_From a Sketch by General Sir John Adye, G.C.B., R.A.,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    G.C.B., G.C.S.I.
    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Maull and Fox,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Maull and Fox,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    (_From a Painting by Vereker Hamilton,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    (_From a Water-colour Sketch
    by Colonel Woodthorpe, C.B., R.E.,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Water-colour Sketch
    by Colonel Woodthorpe, C.B., R.E.,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Water-colour Sketch
    by Colonel Woodthorpe, C.B., R.E.,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Water-colour Sketch
    by Colonel Woodthorpe, C.B., R.E.,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)

    (_From a Photograph,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)



    (_From a Painting by the Chevalier Desanges,
    engraved upon wood by W. Cheshire_)



    (_From a Photograph,
    engraved upon wood by Swain_)

    DUFFERIN AND AVA, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.M.S.I.,
    (_From an engraving by the Fine Art Society of a portrait
    by the late Frank Holl, R.A., re-engraved
    upon wood by George Pearson_)

    (_From a Photograph,
    engraved upon wood by Swain_)


    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Johnson and Hoffmann,
    engraved upon wood by George Pearson_)

    K.G., G.C.M.G., G.M.S.I., G.M.I.E., VICEROY
    (_From a Photograph by Messrs. Cowell, Simla,
    engraved upon wood by Swain_)

    (_From an Oil-painting by Charles Furse,
    made from an Instantaneous Photograph, and
    engraved upon wood by E. Whymper_)

       *       *       *       *       *



  Voyage to India--Life in Calcutta--A destructive cyclone

Forty years ago the departure of a cadet for India was a much more
serious affair than it is at present. Under the regulations then in
force, leave, except on medical certificate, could only be obtained
once during the whole of an officer's service, and ten years had to be
spent in India before that leave could be taken. Small wonder, then,
that I felt as if I were bidding England farewell for ever when, on
the 20th February, 1852, I set sail from Southampton with Calcutta for
my destination. Steamers in those days ran to and from India but once
a month, and the fleet employed was only capable of transporting some
2,400 passengers in the course of a year. This does not include the
Cape route; but even taking that into consideration, I should doubt
whether there were then as many travellers to India in a year as there
are now in a fortnight at the busy season.

My ship was the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamer _Ripon_,
commanded by Captain Moresby, an ex-officer of the Indian Navy, in
which he had earned distinction by his survey of the Red Sea. A few
Addiscombe friends were on board, leaving England under the same
depressing circumstances as myself, and what with wind and weather,
and the thought that at the best we were bidding farewell to home and
relations for ten long years, we were anything but a cheerful party
for the first few days of the voyage. Youth and high spirits had,
however, re-asserted themselves long before Alexandria, which place
we reached without incident beyond the customary halts for coaling at
Gibraltar and Malta. At Alexandria we bade adieu to Captain Moresby,
who had been most kind and attentive, and whose graphic accounts
of the difficulties he had had to overcome whilst mastering the
navigation of the Red Sea served to while away many a tedious hour.

On landing at Alexandria, we were hurried on board a large mast-less
canal boat, shaped like a Nile dahabeah. In this we were towed up the
Mahmoudieh canal for ten hours, until we arrived at Atfieh, on the
Nile; thence we proceeded by steamer, reaching Cairo in about sixteen
hours. Here we put up at Shepherd's Hotel for a couple of days, which
were most enjoyable, especially to those of the party who, like
myself, saw an eastern city and its picturesque and curious bazaars
for the first time. From Cairo the route lay across the desert for
ninety miles, the road being merely a cutting in the sand, quite
undistinguishable at night. The journey was performed in a conveyance
closely resembling a bathing-machine, which accommodated six people,
and was drawn by four mules. My five fellow-travellers were all
cadets, only one of whom (Colonel John Stewart, of Ardvorlich,
Perthshire) is now alive. The transit took some eighteen hours, with
an occasional halt for refreshments. Our baggage was carried on
camels, as were the mails, cargo, and even the coal for the Red Sea

On arrival at Suez we found awaiting us the _Oriental_, commanded by
Captain Powell. A number of people met us there who had left England
a month before we did; but their steamer having broken down, they had
now to be accommodated on board ours. We were thus very inconveniently
crowded until we arrived at Aden, where several of the passengers left
us for Bombay. We were not, however, much inclined to complain, as
some of our new associates proved themselves decided acquisitions.
Amongst them was Mr. (afterwards Sir Barnes) Peacock, an immense
favourite with all on board, and more particularly with us lads. He
was full of fun, and although then forty-seven years old, and on his
way to Calcutta to join the Governor-General's Council, he took part
in our amusements as if he were of the same age as ourselves. His
career in India was brilliant, and on the expiration of his term of
office as member of Council he was made Chief Justice of Bengal.
Another of the passengers was Colonel (afterwards Sir John Bloomfield)
Gough, who died not long ago in Ireland, and was then on his way to
take up his appointment as Quartermaster-General of Queen's troops. He
had served in the 3rd Light Dragoons and on the staff of his cousin,
Lord Gough, during the Sutlej and Punjab campaigns, and was naturally
an object of the deepest veneration to all the youngsters on board.

At Madras we stopped to land passengers, and I took this opportunity
of going on shore to see some old Addiscombe friends, most of whom
were greatly excited at the prospect of a war in Burma. The transports
were then actually lying in the Madras roads, and a few days later
this portion of the expedition started for Rangoon.

At last, on the 1st April, we reached Calcutta, and I had to say
good-bye to the friends I had made during the six weeks' voyage, most
of whom I was never to meet again.

On landing, I received a letter from my father, who commanded the
Lahore division, informing me that the proprietor of Spence's Hotel
had been instructed to receive me, and that I had better put up there
until I reported myself at the Head-Quarters of the Bengal Artillery
at Dum-Dum. This was chilling news, for I was the only one of our
party who had to go to a hotel on landing. The Infantry cadets had
either been taken charge of by the Town Major, who provided them with
quarters in Fort William, or had gone to stay with friends, and the
only other Artilleryman (Stewart) went direct to Dum-Dum, where he
had a brother, also a gunner, who, poor follow, was murdered with his
young wife five years later by the mutineers at Gwalior. I was still
more depressed later on by finding myself at dinner _tête-à-tête_
with a first-class specimen of the results of an Indian climate.
He belonged to my own regiment, and was going home on medical
certificate, but did not look as if he could ever reach England. He
gave me the not too pleasing news that by staying in that dreary
hotel, instead of proceeding direct to Dum-Dum, I had lost a day's
service and pay, so I took care to join early the following morning.

A few years before, Dum-Dum had been a large military station, but
the annexation of the Punjab, and the necessity for maintaining
a considerable force in northern India, had greatly reduced the
garrison. Even the small force that remained had embarked for Burma
before my arrival, so that, instead of a large, cheery mess party, to
which I had been looking forward, I sat down to dinner with only one
other subaltern.

No time was lost in appointing me to a Native Field Battery, and I
was put through the usual laboratory course as a commencement to my
duties. The life was dull in the extreme, the only variety being an
occasional week in Fort William, where my sole duty was to superintend
the firing of salutes. Nor was there much in my surroundings to
compensate for the prosaic nature of my work. Fort William was not
then what it has since become--one of the healthiest stations
in India. Quite the contrary. The men were crowded into small
badly-ventilated buildings, and the sanitary arrangements were as
deplorable as the state of the water supply. The only efficient
scavengers were the huge birds of prey called adjutants, and so
great was the dependence placed upon the exertions of these unclean
creatures, that the young cadets were warned that any injury done to
them would be treated as gross misconduct. The inevitable result of
this state of affairs was endemic sickness, and a death-rate of over
ten per cent. per annum.[1]

Calcutta outside the Fort was but a dreary place to fall back upon. It
was wretchedly lighted by smoky oil-lamps set at very rare intervals.
The slow and cumbrous palankin was the ordinary means of conveyance,
and, as far as I was concerned, the vaunted hospitality of the
Anglo-Indian was conspicuous by its absence.

I must confess I was disappointed at being left so completely to
myself, especially by the senior military officers, many of whom were
personally known to my father, who had, I was aware, written to some
of them on my behalf. Under these circumstances, I think it is hardly
to be wondered at that I became terribly home-sick, and convinced
that I could never be happy in India. Worst of all, the prospects of
promotion seemed absolutely hopeless; I was a supernumerary Second
Lieutenant, and nearly every officer in the list of the Bengal
Artillery had served over fifteen years as a subaltern. This
stagnation extended to every branch of the Indian Army.

There were singularly few incidents to enliven this unpromising stage
of my career. I do, however, remember one rather notable experience
which came to me at that time, in the form of a bad cyclone. I was
dining out on the night in question. Gradually the wind grew higher
and higher, and it became evident that we were in for a storm of no
ordinary kind. Consequently, I left my friend's house early. A Native
servant, carrying a lantern, accompanied me to light me on my way. At
an angle of the road a sudden gust of wind extinguished the light. The
servant, who, like most Natives, was quite at home in the dark, walked
on, believing that I was following in his wake. I shouted to him as
loudly as I could, but the uproar was so terrific that he could not
hear a word, and there was nothing for it but to try and make my own
way home. The darkness was profound. As I was walking carefully along,
I suddenly came in contact with an object, which a timely flash of
lightning showed me was a column, standing in exactly the opposite
direction from my own house. I could now locate myself correctly, and
the lightning becoming every moment more vivid, I was enabled to grope
my way by slow degrees to the mess, where I expected to find someone
to show me my way home, but the servants, who knew from experience the
probable effects of a cyclone, had already closed the outside Venetian
shutters and barred all the doors. I could just see them through the
cracks engaged in making everything fast. In vain I banged at the door
and called at the top of my voice--they heard nothing. Reluctantly I
became convinced that there was no alternative but to leave my shelter
and face the rapidly increasing storm once more. My bungalow was not
more than half a mile away, but it took me an age to accomplish this
short distance, as I was only able to move a few steps at a time
whenever the lightning showed me the way. It was necessary to be
careful, as the road was raised, with a deep ditch on either side;
several trees had already been blown down, and lay across it, and huge
branches were being driven through the air like thistle-down. I found
extreme difficulty in keeping my feet, especially at the cross-roads,
where I was more than once all but blown over. At last I reached my
house, but even then my struggles were not quite at an end. It was a
very long time before I could gain admittance. The servant who had
been carrying the lantern had arrived, and, missing me, imagined that
I must have returned to the house at which I had dined. The men with
whom I chummed, thinking it unlikely that I should make a second
attempt to return home, had carefully fastened all the doors,
momentarily expecting the roof of the house to be blown off. I had to
continue hammering and shouting for a long time before they heard and
admitted me, thankful to be comparatively safe inside a house.

By morning the worst of the storm was over, but not before great
damage had been done. The Native bazaar was completely wrecked,
looking as if it had suffered a furious bombardment, and great havoc
had been made amongst the European houses, not a single verandah or
outside shutter being left in the station. As I walked to the mess, I
found the road almost impassable from fallen trees; and dead birds,
chiefly crows and kites, were so numerous that they had to be carried
off in cartloads. How I had made my way to my bungalow without
accident the night before was difficult to imagine. Even the column
against which I had stumbled was levelled by the fury of the blast.
This column had been raised a few years before to the memory of
the officers and men of the 1st Troop, 1st Brigade, Bengal Horse
Artillery, who were killed in the disastrous retreat from Kabul in
1841. It was afterwards rebuilt.

Dum-Dum in ruins was even more dreary than before the cyclone, and I
felt as if I could not possibly continue to live there much longer.
Accordingly I wrote to my father, begging him to try and get me sent
to Burma; but he replied that he hoped soon to get command of the
Peshawar division, and that he would then like me to join him. Thus,
though my desire to quit Dum-Dum was not to be immediately gratified,
I was buoyed up by the hope that a definite limit had now been placed
to my service in that, to me, uninteresting part of India, and my
restlessness and discontent disappeared as if by magic.

In time of peace, as in war, or during a cholera epidemic, a soldier's
moral condition is infinitely more important than his physical
surroundings, and it is in this respect, I think, that the subaltern
of the present day has an advantage over the youngster of forty years
ago. The life of a young officer during his first few months of exile,
before he has fallen into the ways of his new life and made friends
for himself, can never be very happy; but in these days he is
encouraged by the feeling that, however distasteful, it need not
necessarily last very long; and he can look forward to a rapid and
easy return to England and friends at no very distant period. At the
time I am writing of he could not but feel completely cut off from all
that had hitherto formed his chief interests in life--his family
and his friends--for ten years is an eternity to the young, and the
feeling of loneliness and home-sickness was apt to become almost

The climate added its depressing influence; there was no going to the
hills then, and as the weary months dragged on, the young stranger
became more and more dispirited and hopeless. Such was my case. I had
only been four months in India, but it seemed like four years. My joy,
therefore, was unbounded when at last my marching orders arrived.
Indeed, the idea that I was about to proceed to that grand field of
soldierly activity, the North-West Frontier, and there join my father,
almost reconciled me to the disappointment of losing my chance of
field service in Burma. My arrangements were soon made, and early in
August I bade a glad good-bye to Dum-Dum.

[Footnote 1: In the fifty-seven years preceding the Mutiny the annual
rate of mortality amongst the European troops in India was sixty-nine
per thousand, and in some stations it was even more appalling. The
Royal Commission appointed in 1864 to inquire into the sanitary
condition of the army in India expressed the hope that, by taking
proper precautions, the mortality might be reduced to the rate of
twenty per thousand per annum. I am glad to say that this hope has
been more than realized, the annual death-rate since 1882 having never
risen to seventeen per thousand.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Bengal Horse Artillery--Incidents of the journey--New Friends

When I went to India the mode of travelling was almost as primitive
as it had been a hundred, and probably five hundred, years before.
Private individuals for the most part used palankins, while officers,
regiments, and drafts were usually sent up country by the river route
as far as Cawnpore. It was necessarily a slow mode of progression--how
slow may be imagined from the fact that it took me nearly three months
to get from Dum-Dum to Peshawar, a distance now traversed with the
greatest ease and comfort in as many days. As far as Benares I
travelled in a barge towed by a steamer--a performance which took the
best part of a month to accomplish. From Benares to Allahabad it was a
pleasant change to get upon wheels, a horse-dâk having been recently
established between these two places. At Allahabad I was most kindly
received by Mr. Lowther, the Commissioner, an old friend of my
father's, in whose house I experienced for the first time that profuse
hospitality for which Anglo-Indians are proverbial. I was much
surprised and amused by the circumstance of my host smoking a _hookah_
even at meals, for he was one of the few Englishmen who still indulged
in that luxury, as it was then considered. The sole duty of one
servant, called the _hookah-bardar_, was to prepare the pipe for his
master, and to have it ready at all times.

My next resting-place was Cawnpore, my birthplace, where I remained
a few days. The Cawnpore division was at that time commanded by an
officer of the name of Palmer, who had only recently attained the
rank of Brigadier-General, though he could not have been less than
sixty-eight years of age, being of the same standing as my father.

From Cawnpore I went to Meerut, and there came across, for the first
time, the far-famed Bengal Horse Artillery, and made the acquaintance
of a set of officers who more than realized my expectations regarding
the wearers of the much-coveted jacket, association with whom created
in me a fixed resolve to leave no stone unturned in the endeavour to
become a horse gunner. Like the Cavalry and Infantry of the East India
Company's service, the Artillery suffered somewhat from the employment
of many of its best officers on the staff and in civil appointments;
the officers selected were not seconded or replaced in their
regiments. This was the case in a less degree, no doubt, in the Horse
Artillery than in the other branches, for its _esprit_ was great, and
officers were proud to belong to this _corps d'élite_. It certainly
was a splendid service; the men were the pick of those recruited by
the East India Company, they were of magnificent physique, and their
uniform was singularly handsome. The jacket was much the same as that
now worn by the Royal Horse Artillery, but instead of the busby they
had a brass helmet covered in front with leopard skin, surmounted by
a long red plume which drooped over the back like that of a French
Cuirassier. This, with white buckskin breeches and long boots,
completed a uniform which was one of the most picturesque and
effective I have ever seen on a parade-ground.

The metalled highway ended at Meerut, and I had to perform the
remainder of my journey to Peshawar, a distance of 600 miles, in a
palankin, or doolie.

This manner of travelling was tedious in the extreme. Starting after
dinner, the victim was carried throughout the night by eight men,
divided into reliefs of four. The whole of the eight were changed at
stages averaging from ten to twelve miles apart. The baggage was
also conveyed by coolies, who kept up an incessant chatter, and the
procession was lighted on its way by a torch-bearer, whose torch
consisted of bits of rag tied round the end of a stick, upon which
he continually poured the most malodorous of oils. If the
palankin-bearers were very good, they shuffled along at the rate of
about three miles an hour, and if there were no delays, forty or
forty-five miles could be accomplished before it became necessary to
seek shelter from the sun in one of the dâk-bungalows, or rest-houses,
erected by Government at convenient intervals along all the principal
routes. In these bungalows a bath could be obtained, and sorely it was
needed after a journey of thirteen or fourteen hours at a level of
only a few inches above an exceedingly dusty road. As to food, the
_khansamah_, like 'mine host' in the old country, declared himself
at the outset prepared to provide everything the heart of man could
desire; when, however, the traveller was safely cornered for the rest
of the day, the _menu_ invariably dwindled down to the elementary
and universal 'sudden death,' which meant a wretchedly thin chicken,
caught, decapitated, grilled, and served up within twenty minutes of
the meal being ordered. At dinner a variety was made by the chicken
being curried, accompanied by an unlimited supply of rice and chutney.

I was glad to be able to break the monotony of this long journey by
a visit to a half-sister of mine, who was then living at the
hill-station of Mussoorie. The change to the delightful freshness of a
Himalayan climate after the Turkish-bath-like atmosphere of the plains
in September was most grateful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the few days
I spent in the midst of the lovely mountain scenery.

My next station was Umballa. There I fell in with two other troops of
Horse Artillery, and became more than ever enamoured with the idea of
belonging to so splendid a service. From Umballa it was a two nights'
journey to Ludhiana, where I rested for the day, and there met a
cousin in the Survey Department, who had been suddenly ordered to
Lahore, so we agreed to travel together.

The next halting-place was Jullundur. To make a change, we hired a
buggy at this place, in which to drive the first stage, sending our
palankins on ahead; when we overtook them, we found, to our surprise,
that their number had increased to six. We were preparing for a start,
when it struck us that we ought to make some inquiries about the
additional four, which, from the luggage lying about, we assumed to
be occupied, but which appeared to be stranded for want of bearers to
carry them on. The doors were carefully closed, and it was some time
before we could get an answer to our offers of assistance. Eventually
a lady looked out, and told us that she and a friend, each accompanied
by two children and an _ayah_,[1] were on their way to Lahore; that
the bearers who had brought them so far had run away, and that they
were absolutely in despair as to how they were to proceed. It turned
out that the bearers, who had been engaged to carry the ladies on
the second stage towards Lahore, found it more amusing to attend the
ceremony of the installation of the Raja of Kaparthala, then going on,
than to fulfil their engagement. After discussing the situation, the
ladies were persuaded to get out of their palankins and into our
buggy. We divided the baggage and six doolies between our sixteen
bearers, and started off, my cousin, the _ayahs_, and I on foot. It
was then 10 p.m. We hoped relays of bearers for the whole party
would be forthcoming at the next stage, but we were doomed to
disappointment. Our reliefs were present, but none for the ladies.
We succeeded, however, in inducing our original bearers to come on a
further stage, thus arranging for the carriage of the _ayahs_, while
we two men trudged on beside the buggy for another ten or twelve
miles. It was a heavy, sandy road, and three stages were about as much
as the horse could manage.

Soon after daybreak next morning we reached the Bias river. Crossing
by a bridge of boats, we found on the other side a small one-roomed
house with a verandah running round it, built for the use of the
European overseer in charge of the road. On matters being explained,
this man agreed to turn out. The ladies and children were put inside,
and my cousin and I spent the day in the verandah; in the evening,
with the assistance of the overseer, we were able to get a sufficient
number of bearers to carry us all on to Mian Mir without further
adventure. In the course of conversation we found that one of the
ladies was the wife of Lieutenant Donald Stewart,[2] of the 9th Bengal
Infantry, and that she and her friend were returning to join their
respective husbands after spending the summer months at Simla. This
meeting was the beginning of a close friendship with Sir Donald and
Lady Stewart, which has lasted to the present day.

At Mian Mir (the military cantonment of Lahore) I stayed a few days
with another half-sister, and from there, as the weather was beginning
to get cooler, I travelled day and night. One evening about eight
o'clock I was disappointed at not having come across the usual
rest-house; lights could be seen, however, at no great distance, and
I proceeded towards them; they turned out to be the camp fires of a
Cavalry regiment which was halting there for the night. Being half
famished, and fearing that my craving for food was not likely to be
gratified unless someone in the camp would take pity upon my forlorn
condition, I boldly presented myself at the first tent I came across.
The occupant came out, and, on hearing the strait I was in, he with
kindly courtesy invited me to enter the tent, saying, 'You are just
in time to share our dinner.' My host turned out to be Major Crawford
Chamberlain,[3] commanding the 1st Irregular Cavalry, the famous
Skinner's Horse, then on its way to Peshawar. A lady was sitting at
the table--Mrs. Chamberlain--to whom I was introduced; I spent a very
pleasant evening, and in this way commenced another equally agreeable
and lasting friendship.

[Footnote 1: A Native woman-servant.]

[Footnote 2: Now Field Marshal Sir Donald Stewart, Bart., G.C.B.,

[Footnote 3: Now General Crawford Chamberlain, C.S.I., a brother of
General Sir Neville Chamberlain.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  With my father at Peshawar--Peshawar in 1852--Excitements of a
  frontier station--A flogging parade--Mackeson's assassination
  --The Jowaki expedition--A strange dream--A typical frontier fight

Even the longest journey must come to an end at last, and early
in November I reached Peshawar. My father, who was then in his
sixty-ninth year, had just been appointed to command the division
with the temporary rank of Major-General. Old as this may appear at
a period when Colonels are superannuated at fifty-seven, and
Major-Generals must retire at sixty-two, my father did not consider
himself particularly unlucky. As for the authorities, they evidently
thought they were to be congratulated on having so young and active an
officer to place in a position of responsibility upon the North-West
Frontier, for amongst my father's papers I found letters from
the Adjutant-General and Quartermaster-General expressing high
satisfaction at his appointment to this difficult command.

It was a great advantage as well as a great pleasure to me to be with
my father at this time. I had left India an infant, and I had no
recollection of him until I was twelve years old, at which time he
came home on leave. Even then I saw very little of him, as I was at
school during the greater part of his sojourn in England, thus we met
at Peshawar almost as strangers. We did not, however, long remain so;
his affectionate greeting soon put an end to any feeling of shyness on
my part, and the genial and kindly spirit which enabled him to enter
into and sympathize with the feelings and aspirations of men younger
than himself, rendered the year I spent with him at Peshawar one
of the brightest and happiest of my early life. In one respect
particularly I benefited by the intercourse and confidence of the
year in question. My father spoke to me freely of his experiences in
Afghanistan, where he commanded during the Afghan war first a brigade,
and then Shah Shuja's contingent. The information I in this way
gathered regarding the characteristics of that peculiar country, and
the best means of dealing with its still more peculiar people, was
invaluable to me when I, in my turn, twenty-five years later, found
myself in command of an army in Afghanistan.

Eleven years only had elapsed since the first Afghan war, when my
father went to Peshawar and found himself again associated with
several Afghan friends; some had altogether settled in the Peshawar
district, for nearly all of those who had assisted us, or shown any
friendly feeling towards us, had been forced by Dost Mahomed Khan, on
his return as Amir to Kabul, to seek refuge in India. One of the chief
of these unfortunate refugees was Mahomed Usman Khan, Shah Shuja's
Wazir, or Prime Minister. He had been very intimate with my father, so
it was pleasant for them to meet again and talk over events in which
they had both played such prominent parts. Usman Khan died some years
ago; but visitors to India who travel as far as Peshawar may still
meet his sons, one of whom is the Commandant of the Khyber Rifles,
Lieutenant-Colonel Aslam Khan, C.I.E., a fine specimen of a Native
soldier and gentleman, who has proved his loyalty and done excellent
service to the State on many trying occasions.


_From a photograph_.]

My father had also been on terms of intimacy with Dost Mahomed
himself and many other men of influence in Kabul, from whom, while at
Peshawar, he received most interesting letters, in which anxiety was
often expressed as to whether the English were amicably disposed
towards the Amir. To these communications my father was always careful
to send courteous and conciliatory replies. The correspondence which
took place confirmed him in his frequently expressed opinion that it
would be greatly to the advantage of the Government, and obviate
the necessity for keeping such large garrisons on the frontier, if
friendly relations could be established with the Amir, and with the
neighbouring tribes, who more or less looked to the Ruler of Kabul
as their Chief. My father accordingly addressed the Secretary to the
Government of India, and pointed out how successfully some of the most
experienced Anglo-Indian officials had managed barbarous tribes by
kindness and conciliation.

My father was prevented by ill-health from remaining long enough at
Peshawar to see the result of his proposals, but it was a source of
great satisfaction to him to learn before he left India[1] that they
were approved by Lord Dalhousie (the Governor-General), and that they
were already bearing fruit. That the Amir was himself ready to respond
to any overtures made to him was evident from a letter written by a
brother of the Dost's, which was discovered amongst the papers of
Colonel Mackeson (the Commissioner of Peshawar) after his death. It
was still more gratifying to my father to find that the views of
Mackeson's successor, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Edwardes, on this
subject entirely coincided with his own. This distinguished officer
and brilliant administrator zealously maintained this policy, and
succeeded in establishing such a good understanding with the Ruler
of Kabul that, when the Mutiny broke out, Afghanistan stood aloof,
instead of, as might have been the case, turning the scale against us.

The Peshawar division in 1852 was not only the most important, but
the largest, in India. It included besides Attock, Rawal Pindi, and
Jhelum, the hill-station of Murree, which had only been recently
occupied. The cantonment of Peshawar had been laid out by Sir Colin
Campbell (afterwards Lord Clyde), who commanded there when we first
occupied that place in 1849. He crowded the troops, European and
Native, into as small a space as possible in order that the station
might be the more easily protected from the raids of the Afridis
and other robber tribes, who had their homes in the neighbouring
mountains, and constantly descended into the valley for the sake of
plunder. To resist these marauders it was necessary to place guards
all round the cantonment. The smaller the enclosure, the fewer guards
would be required. From this point of view alone was Sir Colin's
action excusable; but the result of this overcrowding was what it
always is, especially in a tropical climate like that of India, and
for long years Peshawar was a name of terror to the English soldier
from its proverbial unhealthiness. The water-supply for the first
five-and-twenty years of our occupation was extremely bad, and
sanitary arrangements, particularly as regards Natives, were
apparently considered unnecessary.

In addition to the cordon of sentries round the cantonment, strong
piquets were posted on all the principal roads leading towards the
hills; and every house had to be guarded by a _chokidar_, or watchman,
belonging to one of the robber tribes. The maintaining this watchman
was a sort of blackmail, without consenting to which no one's horses
or other property were safe. The watchmen were armed with all sorts of
quaint old firearms, which, on an alarm being given, they discharged
in the most reckless manner, making it quite a work of danger to pass
along a Peshawar road after dark. No one was allowed to venture beyond
the line of sentries when the sun had set, and even in broad daylight
it was not safe to go any distance from the station.

In the autumn of 1851 an officer--Captain Frank Grantham, of the 98th
Foot--was riding with a young lady on the Michni road, not far from
the Artillery quarter-guard, when he was attacked by five hill-men.
Grantham was wounded so severely that he died in a few days, the
horses were carried off, but the girl was allowed to escape. She ran
as fast as she could to the nearest guard, and told her story; the
alarm was given, and the wounded man was brought in. The young lady
was called upon shortly afterwards to identify one of the supposed
murderers, but she could not recognize the man as being of the party
who made the attack; nevertheless, the murderer's friends were afraid
of what she might remember, and made an attempt one night to carry her
off. Fortunately, it was frustrated, but from that time, until she
left Peshawar, it was considered necessary to keep a guard over the
house in which she lived.

From all this my readers may probably think that Peshawar, as I first
knew it, was not a desirable place of residence; but I was very happy
there. There was a good deal of excitement and adventure; I made many
friends; and, above all, I had, to me, the novel pleasure of being
with my father.

It was the custom in those days for the General commanding one of the
larger divisions to have under him, and in charge of the Head-Quarter
station, a senior officer styled Brigadier. Soon after I went to
Peshawar, Sydney Cotton[2] held this appointment, and remained in
it for many years, making a great reputation for himself during the
Mutiny, and being eventually appointed to the command of the division.
The two senior officers on my father's staff were Lieutenant Norman[3]
and Lieutenant Lumsden,[4] the former Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General
and the latter Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster-General. The high opinion
of them which my father had formed was subsequently justified by their
distinguished careers. Norman, with sixteen years' service, and at the
age of thirty-four, became Adjutant-General of the Army in India, and
a year or two later Secretary to Government in the Military Department.
He finished his Indian service as Military Member of Council. Lumsden
became Quartermaster-General, and afterwards Adjutant-General, the two
highest positions on the Indian staff.

There was a separate mess for all the staff officers, and I remember
a curious circumstance in connexion with that mess which, unless the
exception proves the rule, is strong evidence against the superstition
that thirteen is an unlucky number to sit down to dinner. On the 1st
January, 1853, thirteen of us dined together; eleven years after we
were all alive, nearly the whole of the party having taken part in the
suppression of the Mutiny, and five or six having been wounded.

From the time of my arrival until the autumn of 1853, nothing of
much importance occurred. I lived with my father, and acted as his
Aide-de-camp, while, at the same time, I did duty with the Artillery.
The 2nd Company, 2nd Battalion, to which I belonged, was composed of a
fine body of men, who had a grand reputation in the field, but, being
somewhat troublesome in quarters, had acquired the nickname of 'The
Devil's Own.' Because of the unusually good physique of the men, this
company was selected for conversion into a Mountain Battery, which it
was thought advisable to raise at that time. I was the only subaltern
with this battery for several months, and though my commanding officer
had no objection to my acting as A.D.C. to my father, he took good
care that I did my regimental duty strictly and regularly.

One very painful circumstance stamped itself on my memory. I was
obliged to be present at a flogging parade--the only one, I am glad to
say, I have ever had to attend, although the barbarous and degrading
custom of flogging in the army was not done away with until nearly
thirty years later.[5] A few years before I joined the service, the
number of lashes which might be given was limited to fifty, but even
under this restriction the sight was a horrible one to witness. The
parade to which I refer was ordered for the punishment of two men who
had been sentenced to fifty lashes each for selling their kits, and to
a certain term of imprisonment in addition. They were fine, handsome
young Horse Artillerymen, and it was hateful to see them thus treated.
Besides, one felt it was productive of harm rather than good, for it
tended to destroy the men's self-respect, and to make them completely
reckless. In this instance, no sooner had the two men been released
from prison than they committed the same offence again. They were a
second time tried by Court-Martial, and sentenced as before. How I
longed to have the power to remit the fifty lashes, for I felt that
selling their kits on this occasion was their way of showing their
resentment at the ignominious treatment they had been subjected to,
and of proving that flogging was powerless to prevent their repeating
the offence. A parade was ordered, as on the previous occasion. One
man was stripped to the waist, and tied to the wheel of a gun. The
finding and sentence of the Court-Martial were read out--a trumpeter
standing ready the while to inflict the punishment--when the
commanding officer, Major Robert Waller, instead of ordering him to
begin, to the intense relief of, I believe, every officer present,
addressed the prisoners, telling them of his distress at finding two
soldiers belonging to his troop brought up for corporal punishment
twice in a little more than six weeks, and adding that, however little
they deserved such leniency, if they would promise not to commit the
same offence again, and to behave better for the future, he would
remit the flogging part of the sentence. If the prisoners were not
happy, I was; but the clemency was evidently appreciated by them, for
they promised, and kept their words. I did not lose sight of these
two men for some years, and was always gratified to learn that their
conduct was uniformly satisfactory, and that they had become good,
steady soldiers.

The Commissioner, or chief civil authority, when I arrived at
Peshawar, was Colonel Mackeson, a well-known frontier officer who had
greatly distinguished himself during the first Afghan war by his work
among the Afridis and other border tribes, by whom he was liked and
respected as much as he was feared. During Shah Shuja's brief reign
at Kabul, Mackeson was continually employed on political duty in the
Khyber Pass and at Peshawar. On the breaking out of the insurrection
at Kabul, he was indefatigable in forwarding supplies and money to
Sir Robert Sale at Jalalabad, hastening up the reinforcements, and
maintaining British influence in the Khyber, a task of no small
magnitude when we remember that a religious war had been proclaimed,
and all true believers had been called upon to exterminate the
Feringhis. While at Peshawar, as Commissioner, his duties were arduous
and his responsibilities heavy--the more so as at that time the Afghan
inhabitants of the city were in a dangerous and excited state.

On the 10th September, 1853, we were horrified to learn that Mackeson
had been murdered by a religious fanatic. He was sitting in the
verandah of his house listening to appeals from the decisions of his
subordinates, when, towards evening, a man--who had been remarked
by many during the day earnestly engaged in his devotions, his
prayer-carpet being spread within sight of the house--came up and,
making a low salaam to Mackeson, presented him with a paper. The
Commissioner, supposing it to be a petition, stretched out his hand to
take it, when the man instantly plunged a dagger into his breast. The
noise consequent on the struggle attracted the attention of some of
the domestic servants and one of the Native officials. The latter
threw himself between Mackeson and the fanatic, and was himself
slightly wounded in his efforts to rescue his Chief.

Mackeson lingered until the 14th September. His death caused
considerable excitement in the city and along the border, increasing
to an alarming extent when it became known that the murderer had been
hanged and his body burnt. This mode of disposing of one of their dead
is considered by Mahomedans as the greatest insult that can be offered
to their religion, for in thus treating the corpse, as if it were that
of (by them) a hated and despised Hindu, the dead man is supposed to
be deprived of every chance of paradise. It was not without careful
and deliberate consideration that this course was decided upon, and it
was only adopted on account of the deterrent effect it would have upon
fanatical Mahomedans, who count it all gain to sacrifice their lives
by the murder of a heretic, and thereby secure, as they firmly
believe, eternal happiness, but loathe the idea of being burned, which
effectually prevents the murderer being raised to the dignity of a
martyr, and revered as a saint ever after.

It being rumoured that the Pathans intended to retaliate by
desecrating the late Commissioner's grave, it was arranged that he
should be buried within cantonment limits. A monument was raised to
his memory by public subscription, and his epitaph[6] was written by
the Governor-General himself.

Shortly before Mackeson's murder my father had found it necessary to
go to the hill-station of Murree; the hot weather had tried him very
much, and he required a change. He had scarcely arrived there, when
he was startled by the news of the tragedy which had occurred, and at
once determined to return, notwithstanding its being the most sickly
season of the year at Peshawar, for he felt that at a time of such
dangerous excitement it was his duty to be present. As a precautionary
measure, he ordered the 22nd Foot from Rawal Pindi to Peshawar. This
and other steps which he deemed prudent to take soon put an end to the

No sooner had matters quieted down at Peshawar than the Jowaki
Afridis, who inhabit the country immediately to the east of the Kohat
Pass, began to give trouble, and we went out into camp to select a
site for a post which would serve to cover the northern entrance to
the pass and keep the tribesmen under surveillance. The great change
of temperature, from the intense heat he had undergone in the summer
to the bitter cold of November nights in tents, was too severe a trial
for my father. He was then close on seventy, and though apparently
active as ever, he was far from well, consequently the doctors
strongly urged him not to risk another hot weather in India. It was
accordingly settled that he should return to England without delay.

Shortly before his departure, an incident occurred which I will relate
for the benefit of psychological students; they may, perhaps, be able
to explain it, I never could. My father had some time before issued
invitations for a dance which was to take place in two days' time--on
Monday, the 17th October, 1853. On the Saturday morning he appeared
disturbed and unhappy, and during breakfast he was silent and
despondent--very different from his usual bright and cheery self.
On my questioning him as to the cause, he told me he had had an
unpleasant dream--one which he had dreamt several times before, and
which had always been followed by the death of a near relation. As the
day advanced, in spite of my efforts to cheer him, he became more and
more depressed, and even said he should like to put off the dance. I
dissuaded him from taking this step for the time being; but that night
he had the same dream again, and the next morning he insisted on
the dance being postponed. It seemed to me rather absurd to have to
disappoint our friends because of a dream; there was, however, nothing
for it but to carry out my father's wishes, and intimation was
accordingly sent to the invited guests. The following morning the post
brought news of the sudden death of the half-sister at Lahore with
whom I had stayed on my way to Peshawar.

As my father was really very unwell, it was not thought advisable for
him to travel alone, so it was arranged that I should accompany him to
Rawal Pindi. We started from Peshawar on the 27th November, and drove
as far as Nowshera. The next day we went on to Attock. I found the
invalid had benefited so much by the change that it was quite safe for
him to continue the journey alone, and I consented the more readily to
leave him, as I was anxious to get back to my battery, which had been
ordered on service, and was then with the force assembled at Bazidkhel
for an expedition against the Bori villages of the Jowaki Afridis.

Having said farewell to my father, I started for Bazidkhel early on
the 29th November. At that time there was no direct road to that place
from Nowshera, nor was it considered safe to travel alone along the
slopes of the lower Afridi hills. I had, therefore, to go all the way
back to Peshawar to get to my destination. I rode as fast as relays of
horses could carry me, in the hope that I should reach Bazidkhel in
time for the fun; but soon after passing Nowshera I heard guns in the
direction of the Kohat Pass, and realized that I should be too late.
I was very disappointed at missing this, my first chance of active
service, and not accompanying the newly raised Mountain Train (as it
was then called) on the first occasion of its being employed in the

The object of this expedition was to punish the Jowaki section of the
Afridis for their many delinquencies during the three previous years.
Numerous murders and raids on the Kohat and Peshawar districts,
the plunder of boats on the Indus, and the murder of a European
apothecary, were all traced to this tribe. They had been blockaded,
and their resort to the salt-mines near Bahadurkhel and to the markets
of Kohat and Peshawar had been interdicted, but these measures
produced no effect on the recalcitrant tribesmen. John (afterwards
Lord) Lawrence, who had come to Peshawar for the purpose of taking (sic)
over frontier affairs with Edwardes, the new Commissioner, held a
conference with the _maliks_[7] of the villages connected with the
Jowaki Pass, and being anxious to avoid hostilities, offered to
condone all past offences if the tribes would agree to certain
conditions, which, briefly, were that no further crimes should be
committed in British territory; that such criminals as had taken
refuge in their villages should be given up; and that for the future
criminals and outlaws flying from justice should not be afforded
an asylum in Jowaki lands. To the second condition the whole tribe
absolutely refused to agree. They stated, with truth, that from time
immemorial it was their custom to afford an asylum to anyone demanding
it, and that to surrender a man who had sought and found shelter with
them would be a disgrace which they could not endure.

Afridis have curious ideas as to the laws of hospitality; it is no
uncommon thing for them to murder their guests in cold blood, but it
is contrary to their code of honour to surrender a fugitive who has
claimed an asylum with them.

The sections of the tribe living nearest our territory agreed to the
first and third of our conditions, no doubt because they felt they
were in our power, and had suffered considerably from the blockade.
But the Bori Afridis would make no atonement for the past and give
no security for the future, although they admitted having robbed and
murdered our subjects. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to
send a force against them. This force consisted of rather more than
1,500 men, British and Native. The Afridis made no stand until we
reached their main position, when they offered a stout resistance,
which, however, proved of no avail against the gallantry of the Guides
and 66th (now 1st) Gurkhas. The Bori villages were then destroyed,
with a loss to us of eight men killed and thirty-one wounded.

Sufficient punishment having been inflicted, our force retired. The
rear-guard was hotly pressed, and it was late in the evening before
the troops got clear of the hills.

The tribesmen with whom we had just made friends sat in hundreds on
the ridges watching the progress of the fight. It was no doubt a great
temptation to them to attack the 'infidels' while they were at their
mercy, and considerable anxiety was felt by Lawrence and Edwardes
as to the part which our new allies would play; their relief was
proportionate when it was found they intended to maintain a neutral

I shall not further describe the events of that day, more especially
as I was not fortunate enough to be in time to take part in the
proceedings. I have only referred to this expedition as being typical
of many little frontier fights, and because I remember being much
impressed at the time with the danger of trusting our communications
in a difficult mountainous country to people closely allied to those
against whom we were fighting. This over-confidence in the good faith
of our frontier neighbours caused us serious embarrassments a few
years later during the Umbeyla campaign.

The force remained in camp for some time for the protection of the men
employed in building the post, which was called Fort Mackeson, after
the murdered Commissioner. When it was completed we returned to

[Footnote 1: Shortly before my father left Peshawar he received
the following letter from Colonel Outram, dated Calcutta, the 23rd
October, 1853: 'As I know that your views as to the policy that should
be pursued towards Dost Mahomed must be in accordance with those of
the Governor-General, I accordingly showed your letter to Grant,
Courtney, and Colonel Low, all of whom were glad to learn that you
entertained such sound views, opposed though they be with the general
clamour for war with the Kabulese which appears to be the cry of the
army. This, together with the wise forethought you displayed before
the Kabul insurrection (which, though at the time it found no favour
at Head-Quarters, was subsequently so mournfully established by the
Kabul massacre, which would have been prevented had your warnings
been attended to), shows how well you would combine the military and
political control of the country beyond the Indus.']

[Footnote 2: The late General Sir Sydney Cotton, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 3: Now General Sir Henry Norman, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., lately
Governor of Queensland.]

[Footnote 4: Now General Sir Peter Lumsden, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 5: 1881.]

[Footnote 6:





He was the beau-ideal of a soldier--cool to conceive, brave to dare,
and strong to do. The Indian Army was proud of his noble presence in
its ranks--not without cause. On the dark page of the Afghan war the
name of "Mackeson" shines brightly out; the frontier was his post, and
the future his field. The defiles of the Khyber and the peaks of the
Black Mountain alike witness his exploits. Death still found him in
front. Unconquered enemies felt safer when he fell. His own Government
thus mourn the fall.

'The reputation of Lieutenant-Colonel Mackeson as a soldier is known
to and honoured by all. His value as a political servant of the State
is known to none better than to the Governor-General himself, who in a
difficult and eventful time had cause to mark his great ability, and
the admirable prudence, discretion, and temper, which added tenfold
value to the high soldierly qualities of his public character.

'The loss of Colonel Mackeson's life would have dimmed a victory; to
lose him thus, by the hand of a foul assassin, is a misfortune of
the heaviest gloom for the Government, which counted him amongst its
bravest and best.

'General orders of the Marquis Dalhousie, Governor-General of India,
3rd October, 1853.

'This monument was erected by his friends.']

[Footnote 7: Head men.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  A trip to Khagan--The Vale of Kashmir--With the Horse Artillery
  --My first visit to Simla--Life at Peshawar--A staff appointment
  --The bump of locality

I had had a great deal of fever during my eighteen months' residence
at Peshawar, and in April, 1854, I obtained six months' leave to
Kashmir. I travelled _viâ_ Murree to Abbottabad, along the route now
well known as the 'Gullies.' Here I was joined by Lieutenant George
Rodney Brown,[1] a subaltern of Horse Artillery, with whom I chummed
at Peshawar.

Abbottabad was a very small place in those days. It was named after
its first Deputy-Commissioner, James Abbott,[2] famous for his journey
_viâ_ Bokhara and Khiva to Russia in 1839, undertaken for the release
of Russian prisoners who were kept as slaves by the Turkomans. He had
just left, and had been succeeded as Deputy-Commissioner by a Captain
Becher, who, fortunately for us, was away in the district. I say
fortunately, because we were bent on visiting Khagan, and had obtained
permission from the Commissioner of Peshawar to do so. He had told
us to apply to Becher for assistance, but from what we heard of that
officer, it did not seem likely he would help us. Khagan was beyond
our border, and the inhabitants were said to be even more fanatical
than the rest of the frontier tribes. The Commissioner, however, had
given us leave, and as his Deputy appeared to be the kind of man
to create obstacles, we made up our minds to slip away before he

We started on the 21st May, and marched to Habibula-Ki-Ghari. Here the
road bifurcates, one branch leading to Kashmir, the other to Khagan.
We took the latter, and proceeded to Balakot, twelve miles further
on, which was then our frontier post. There we found a small guard of
Frontier Police, two of whom we induced to accompany us on our onward
journey for the purpose of assisting to look after the baggage and
collecting coolies. Three days' more marching brought us to Khagan.
The road almost the whole way from Balakot ran along a precipice
overhanging the Nainsukh river, at that time of year a rushing
torrent, owing to the melting of the snows on the higher ranges. The
track was rough, steep, and in some places very narrow. We crossed and
recrossed the river several times by means of snow-bridges, which,
spanning the limpid, jade-coloured water, had a very pretty effect. At
one point our _shikarris_[3] stopped, and proudly told us that on that
very spot their tribe had destroyed a Sikh army sent against them in
the time of Runjit Sing. It certainly was a place well chosen for a
stand, not more than fifty yards wide, with a perpendicular cliff on
one side and a roaring torrent on the other.

The people apparently did not object to our being in their country,
and treated us with much civility throughout our journey. We were
enjoying ourselves immensely, so when an official cover reached us
with the signature of the dreaded Deputy-Commissioner in the corner,
we agreed that it would be unwise to open it just then.

Khagan was almost buried in snow. The scenery was magnificent, and
became every moment more wonderful as we slowly climbed the steep
ascent in front of us; range after range of snow-capped mountains
disclosed themselves to our view, rising higher and higher into the
air, until at last, towering above all, Nanga Parbat[4] in all her
spotless beauty was revealed to our astonished and delighted gaze.

We could not get beyond Khagan. Our coolies refused to go further,
alleging as their reason the danger to be dreaded from avalanches
in that month; but I suspect that fear of hostility from the tribes
further north had more to do with their reluctance to proceed than
dread of falling avalanches. We remained at Khagan for two or
three days in the hope of being able to shoot an ibex, but we were
disappointed; we never even saw one.

We retraced our steps with considerable regret, and reached
Habibula-Ki-Ghari on the 31st May. Here we received a second official
document from Abbottabad. It contained, like the previous letter,
which we now looked at for the first time, orders for our immediate
return, and warnings that we were on no account to go to Khagan. Since
then Khagan has been more than once visited by British officers, and
now a road is in course of construction along the route we travelled,
as being a more direct line of communication with Gilghit than that
_viâ_ Kashmir.

We made no delay at Habibula-Ki-Ghari, but started at once for the
lovely Vale of Kashmir, where we spent the summer, amusing ourselves
by making excursions to all the places of interest and beauty we had
so often heard of, and occasionally shooting a bear. The place which
impressed me most was Martund,[5] where stand the picturesque ruins of
a once renowned Hindu temple. These noble ruins are the most striking
in size and position of all the existing remains of the past glories
of Kashmir.

From Martund we made our way to Vernag, the celebrated spring which
is supposed to be the source of the Jhelum river. The Moghul Emperor
Akbar built there a summer palace, and the arches, on which it is
said rested the private apartments of the lovely Nur Jehan, are still

We wandered over the beautiful and fertile Lolab valley, and pitched
our little camp in the midst of groves of chunar, walnut, apple,
cherry, and peach trees; and we marched up the Sind valley, and
crossed the Zojji La Pass leading into Thibet. The scenery all along
this route is extremely grand. On either side are lofty mountains,
their peaks wrapped in snow, their sides clothed with pine, and their
feet covered with forests, in which is to be found almost every kind
of deciduous tree. From time to time we returned for a few days to
Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, to enjoy the pleasures of more
civilized society. Srinagar is so well known nowadays, and has been
so often described in poetry and prose, that it is needless for me to
dwell at length upon its delights, which, I am inclined to think, are
greater in imagination than in reality. It has been called the Venice
of the East, and in some respects it certainly does remind one of the
'Bride of the Sea,' both in its picturesqueness and (when one gets
into the small and tortuous canals) its unsavouriness. Even at the
time of which I am writing it was dilapidated, and the houses looked
exactly like those made by children out of a pack of cards, which a
puff of wind might be expected to destroy. Of late years the greater
part of the city has been injured by earthquakes, and Srinagar looks
more than ever like a card city. The great beauty of the place in
those days was the wooden bridges covered with creepers, and gay with
booths and shops of all descriptions, which spanned the Jhelum at
intervals for the three miles the river runs through the town--now,
alas! for the artistic traveller, no more. Booths and shops have been
swept away, and the creepers have disappeared--decidedly an advantage
from a sanitary point of view, but destructive of the quaint
picturesqueness of the town.

The floating gardens are a unique and very pretty characteristic of
Srinagar. The lake is nowhere deeper than ten or twelve feet, and in
some places much less. These gardens are made by driving stakes into
the bed of the lake, long enough to project three or four feet above
the surface of the water. These stakes are placed at intervals in an
oblong form, and are bound together by reeds and rushes twined in and
out and across, until a kind of stationary raft is made, on which
earth and turf are piled. In this soil seeds are sown, and the crops
of melons and other fruits raised in these fertile beds are extremely
fine and abundant.

The magnificent chunar-trees are another very beautiful feature of the
country. They grow to a great height and girth, and so luxuriant and
dense is their foliage that I have sat reading and writing for hours
during heavy rain under one of these trees and kept perfectly dry.

The immediate vicinity of Srinagar is very pretty, and the whole
valley of Kashmir is lovely beyond description: surrounded by
beautifully-wooded mountains, intersected with streams and lakes, and
gay with flowers of every description, for in Kashmir many of the
gorgeous eastern plants and the more simple but sweeter ones of
England meet on common ground. To it may appropriately be applied the
Persian couplet:

  'Agar fardos baru-i zamin ast, hamin ast, hamin ast'
  (If there be an Elysium on earth, it is this, it is this).

The soil is extremely productive; anything will grow in it. Put a
stick into the ground, and in an extraordinary short space of time it
becomes a tree and bears fruit. What were we about, to sell such a
country for three quarters of a million sterling? It would have made
the most perfect sanatorium for our troops, and furnished an admirable
field for British enterprise and colonization, its climate being as
near perfection as anything can be.

How sad it is that, in a country 'where every prospect pleases,
only man' should be 'vile'! And man, as he existed in Kashmir, was
vile--vile, because so miserable. The Mahomedan inhabitants were being
ground down by Hindu rulers, who seized all their earnings, leaving
them barely sufficient to keep body and soul together. What interest
could such people have in cultivating their land, or doing any work
beyond what was necessary to mere existence? However hard they might
labour, their efforts would benefit neither themselves nor their
children, and so their only thought was to get through life with
as little exertion as possible--in the summer sitting in the sun
absolutely idle the greater part of the day, and in the winter wrapped
up in their blankets, under which were concealed curious little
vessels called _kangris_, holding two or three bits of live charcoal.
Every Kashmiri still carries one of these _kangris_, as the most
economical way of keeping himself warm.

Early in September we said good-bye to the happy valley and returned
to Peshawar, where I rejoined the Mountain Battery.

In November, to my great delight, I was given my jacket. At first my
happiness was somewhat damped by the fact that the troop to which I
was posted was stationed at Umballa. I did not want to leave Peshawar,
and in the end I had not to do so, as a vacancy most opportunely
occurred in one of the troops of Horse Artillery at that station,
which was given to me.

Life on the frontier in those days had a great charm for most young
men; there was always something of interest going on; military
expeditions were constantly taking place, or being speculated upon,
and one lived in hope of being amongst those chosen for active
service. Peshawar, too, notwithstanding its unhealthiness, was a
favourite station with officers. To me it was particularly pleasant,
for it had the largest force of Artillery of any station in India
except Meerut; the mess was a good one, and was composed of as nice
a set of fellows as were to be found in the army. In addition to the
officers of the regiment, there were a certain number of honorary
members; all the staff and civilians belonged to the Artillery mess,
and on guest-nights we sat down as many as sixty to dinner. Another
attraction was the 'coffee shop,' an institution which has now almost
ceased to exist, at which we all congregated after morning parade and
freely discussed the home and local news.

The troop to which I was posted was composed of a magnificent body of
men, nearly all Irishmen, most of whom could have lifted me up
with one hand. They were fine riders, and needed to be so, for the
stud-horses used for Artillery purposes at that time were not the
quiet, well-broken animals of the present day. I used to try my
hand at riding them all in turn, and thus learnt to understand and
appreciate the amount of nerve, patience, and skill necessary to
the making of a good Horse Artillery 'driver,' with the additional
advantage that I was brought into constant contact with the men. It
also qualified me to ride in the officers' team for the regimental
brake. The brake, it must be understood, was drawn by six horses, each
ridden postilion fashion by an officer.

My troop was commanded by Captain Barr, a dear old fellow who had seen
a good deal of service and was much liked by officers and men, but
hardly the figure for a Horse Artilleryman, as he weighed about
seventeen stone. On a troop parade Barr took up his position well
in advance and made his own pace, but on brigade parades he had to
conform to the movements of the other arms, and on these occasions he
used to tell one of the subalterns as he galloped past him to come
'left about' at the right time without waiting for his order. This, of
course, we were always careful to do, and by the time we had come into
action Barr had caught us up and was at his post.

During the winter of 1854-55 I had several returns of Peshawar fever,
and by the beginning of the spring I was so reduced that I was given
eight months' leave on medical certificate, with orders to report
myself at Mian Mir at its expiration, in view to my going through the
riding course, there being no Riding-Master at Peshawar.

I decided to return to Kashmir in the first instance, and thence to
march across the Himalayas to Simla.

On my way into Kashmir I was fortunate enough to fall in with a very
agreeable travelling companion--Lieutenant John Watson.[6] He was then
Adjutant of the 1st Punjab Cavalry, and was looked upon as one of
the most promising officers of the Frontier Force. We spent a very
enjoyable time in Kashmir, and early in August I started for Simla
with two brother officers named Light and Mercer, whose acquaintance
I had only recently made, but who turned out to be very pleasant

We marched _viâ_ Kishtwar, Chamba, and Dharmsala, a distance of about
400 miles, through most beautiful scenery. At the last-named place I
parted from my companions, who travelled onwards to Simla by the Kulu
valley, while I took the shorter route _viâ_ Bilaspur.

The Simla of those days was not the busy and important place it
has since become. The Governor-General seldom visited it, and the
Commander-in-Chief only spent a summer there occasionally. When I
arrived, Sir William Gomm, the Commander-in-Chief of that day, who had
been spending the hot weather months there, was about to give up his
command, and Colonel Grant,[7] who had been his Adjutant-General, had
left not long before.

The only thing of interest to myself which occurred during the month I
remained at Simla was that I lunched with Colonel Arthur Becher, the
Quartermaster-General. I think I hear my reader say, 'Not a very
remarkable event to chronicle.' But that lunch was a memorable one to
me; indeed, it was the turning-point in my career, for my host was
good enough to say he should like to have me in his department some
day, and this meant a great deal to me. Joining a department at that
time generally resulted in remaining in it for the greater part
of one's service. There was then no limit to the tenure of staff
appointments, and the object of every ambitious young officer was to
get into one department or another--political, civil, or the army
staff. My father had always impressed upon me that the political
department was _the_ one to aspire to, and failing that, the
Quartermaster-General's, as in the latter there was the best chance of
seeing service. I had cherished a sort of vague hope that I might some
day be lucky enough to become a Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster-General,
for although I fully recognized the advantages of a political career,
I preferred being more closely associated with the army, and I had seen
enough of staff work to satisfy myself that it would suit me; so the
few words spoken to me by Colonel Becher made me supremely happy.

It never entered into my head that I should get an early appointment;
the fact of the Quartermaster-General thinking of me as a possible
recruit was quite enough for me. I was in no hurry to leave the Horse
Artillery, to which I was proud of belonging, and in which I hoped to
see service while still on the frontier. I left Simla very pleased
with the result of my visit, and very grateful to Colonel Becher, who
proved a good friend to me ever after, and I made my way to Mian Mir,
where I went through the riding-school course, and then returned to

(1856) The winter of 1855-56 passed much as the cold weather generally
does in the north of India. Our amusements consisted of an occasional
race-meeting or cricket match. Polo was unknown in those days, and
hunting the jackal, a sport which has been a source of so much
recreation to the Peshawar garrison for thirty odd years, had not then
been thought of. It was a pleasant change to visit the outposts, and
whenever I got the chance I rode over to Mardan, where the Corps
of Guides were stationed, commanded by that gallant soldier, Harry
Lumsden,[8] who had raised the corps in 1846 under the auspices of
Henry Lawrence. Many were the good gallops I enjoyed with his hawks,
hunting the _aubara_.[9] Of work there was plenty at Peshawar, for the
Brigadier, Sydney Cotton,[10] kept us alive with field days, carefully
instilling into us his idea that parade-grounds were simply useful for
drill and preliminary instruction, and that as soon as the rudiments
of a soldier's education had been learnt, the troops should leave
their nursery, and try as far as possible to practise in peace what
they would have to do in war. Sydney Cotton was never tired of
explaining that the machinery of war, like all other machinery, should
be kept, so to speak, oiled and ready for use.

My dream of a staff appointment was realized more quickly than I had
expected. In the early part of 1856 the Surveyor-General applied for
the services of two or three experienced officers to assist in the
survey of Kashmir. Lumsden, the D.A.Q.M.G., was one of those selected
for the duty, and I was appointed to officiate for him. So delighted
was I to get my foot on the lowest rung of the staff ladder, that I
cheerfully agreed to the condition my Captain insisted upon, that I
should perform my regimental duties in addition to the staff work.
Things went merrily with me for a short time, when most unexpectedly
my hopes of some day becoming Quartermaster-General of the Army in
India were dashed to the ground by the Governor-General refusing
to confirm my appointment, because I had not passed the prescribed
examination in Hindustani. A rule existed requiring a language test,
but it had seldom been enforced, certainly not in the case of 'acting
appointments,' so that this refusal came as a great blow to me. It
had, however, excellent results, for it made me determined to pass in
Hindustani. It was then May, and in July the half-yearly examination
was to be held. I forthwith engaged the best _munshi_[11] at Peshawar,
shut myself up, and studied Indian literature from morning till night,
until I felt pretty confident of success.

Just before the examination took place, the officer who had stepped
into my shoes when I was turned out (Lieutenant Mordaunt Fitz-Gerald,
of my own regiment) was offered an appointment in the Punjab Frontier
Force. He consulted me as to the advisability of accepting it, and
I told him I thought he ought not to do so. I considered this most
disinterested advice, for I had good reason to believe that I should
be re-appointed to the staff, should the appointment again become
vacant. Fortunately for me, Fitz-Gerald followed the usual procedure
of those who delight in consulting their friends. He listened to my
advice, and then decided not to follow it. Accordingly, he joined the
Punjab Frontier Force, whilst I, having passed the examination, went
back to the coveted appointment, and continued in the department, with
the exception of one or two short intervals, until 1878, when I left
it as Quartermaster-General.

The autumn of 1856 was a very sickly one at Peshawar; fever was rife
amongst the troops, and in the hope of shaking it off Brigadier Cotton
got permission to take a certain number into camp. It was September,
and the sun was still very hot, so that it was necessary to begin the
daily march long before dawn in order to reach the new camping ground
while it was still tolerably cool. We crossed the Kabul river at
Nowshera, which place was then being made into a station for troops,
and marched about the Yusafzai plain for three weeks. The chief
difficulty was the absence of water, and I had to prospect the country
every afternoon for a sufficient supply, and to determine, with regard
to this _sine quâ non_, where the camp should be pitched the next day.
On one occasion the best place I could discover was between two and
three miles off the main road. There was no difficulty in reaching it
by day, but I was afraid of some mistake being made when we had to
leave it in the small hours of the morning, few things being more
bewildering than to find one's way in the dark from a camp pitched in
the open country when once the tents have been struck. It was my duty
to lead the column and see that it marched off in the right direction;
knowing how anxious the Brigadier was that the new ground should be
reached while it was cool, and the men be thus saved from exposure to
the sun, I was careful to note my position with regard to the stars,
and to explain to the officer who was in orders to command the advance
guard the direction he must take. When the time came to start, and the
Brigadier was about to order the bugler to sound the march, I saw that
the advance guard was drawn up at right angles to the way in which we
had to proceed. The officer commanding it was positive he was right,
and in this he was supported by Brigadier Cotton and some of the other
officers; I was equally positive that he was wrong, and that if we
marched as he proposed, we should find ourselves several miles out
of our course. The Brigadier settled the question by saying I was
responsible for the troops going in the right direction, and ordering
me to show the way. The country was perfectly bare, there was not
a tree or object of any kind to guide me, and the distance seemed
interminable. I heard opinions freely expressed that I was on the
wrong road, and at last, when the Brigadier himself came up to me and
said he thought I must have lost the way, I really began to waver in
my conviction that I was right. At that moment my horse stumbled into
a ditch, which proved to be the boundary of the main road. I was
immensely relieved, the Brigadier was delighted, and from that moment
I think he was satisfied that I had, what is so essential to a
Quartermaster-General in the field, the bump of locality.

In October the Artillery moved into the practice camp at Chamkanie,
about five miles from Peshawar. It was intended that we should remain
there for a couple of months, but before the end of that time I had
to join the General at Rawal Pindi, where he had gone on a tour of
inspection. Being anxious not to shirk my regimental duty, I did not
leave Chamkanie until the last moment, and had but one day in which
to reach Rawal Pindi, a distance of one hundred miles, which I
accomplished on horseback between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., only stopping at
Attock a short time for refreshment.

This tour with General Reed ended my staff duties for a time, as
the survey in Kashmir had come to an end and Lumsden rejoined his
appointment before Christmas.

[Footnote 1: Now a retired Major-General.]

[Footnote 2: Now General Sir James Abbott, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 3: Men who carry the guns, and point out the most likely
places for game, etc.]

[Footnote 4: 26,000 feet above the sea-level.]

[Footnote 5: Three miles east of Islamabad.]

[Footnote 6: Now General Sir John Watson, V.C., K.C.B.]

[Footnote 7: The late Field-Marshal Sir Patrick Grant, G.C.B.,

[Footnote 8: The late General Sir Harry Lumsden, K.C.S.I., C.B.]

[Footnote 9: Bastard florican.]

[Footnote 10: This officer arrived in India as a Cornet in the 24th
Light Dragoons in the year 1810, and although, when he reached
Peshawar with his regiment--the 22nd Foot--in 1853, he had been
forty-three years in the army, and was sixty-one years of age, he had
not even succeeded to the command of a battalion. He was an officer
of unusual energy and activity, a fine rider, a pattern drill, and a
thorough soldier all round. He was not fortunate enough to see much
active service, but it must have been a source of consolation to him
to feel, when ending his days as Governor of the Royal Hospital at
Chelsea, that it was in a great measure owing to his foresight and
decision that there was no serious disturbance at Peshawar during the
eventful summer of 1857.]

[Footnote 11: Instructor in Oriental languages.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Lord Dalhousie's Afghan policy--Treaty with Dost Mahomed
  --War with Persia--The advantage of the Amir's friendship
  --John Nicholson--'A pillar of strength on the frontier'

Towards the close of the year 1856, a rumour reached us that the Amir,
Dost Mahomed Khan, was shortly expected to arrive at Peshawar to meet
the Chief Commissioner, Sir John Lawrence, who had recently been made
a K.C.B.

Before describing the Amir's visit and its results, it seems desirable
that I should briefly explain how and why the visit was brought about,
and then endeavour to show what an important bearing its results had
on the great crisis which occurred so unexpectedly a few months later.

It will be remembered that the murdered Mackeson was succeeded
as Commissioner of Peshawar by Herbert Edwardes, one of the most
remarkable men that the Indian army has ever produced, and who, as I
have already mentioned, entirely concurred in my father's expressed
opinion as to the great advantage it would be for the Government of
India to enter into more friendly relations with the Ruler of Kabul.
They both held that the constant troubles all along our frontier were
in a great measure due to the Amir's hostility, and that such troubles
would increase rather than diminish unless we could succeed in
establishing an _entente cordiale_ with Dost Mahomed.

In 1854 Edwardes had a correspondence with the Governor-General on the
subject, and on one occasion expressed himself as follows: 'My own
feeling is, that we have much injured Dost Mahomed, and may very well
afford to let by-gones be by-gones. It would contribute much to
the security of this frontier if open relations of goodwill were
established at Kabul. There is a sullenness in our present relations,
as if both parties were brooding over the past, and expecting an
opportunity in the future. This keeps up excitement and unrest, and
prevents our influence and institutions taking root. I should be very
glad to see a new account opened on the basis of an open treaty of
friendship and alliance.'

Lord Dalhousie was quite in accord with Edwardes. He thought it very
desirable to be on better terms with Kabul, but believed this to be
a result difficult to attain. 'I give you,' he said in a letter to
Edwardes, _carte blanche_, and if you can only bring about such a
result as you propose, it will be a new feather in your cap.'

Lord Dalhousie was supported by the British Government in his opinion
as to the desirability of coming to a better understanding with the
Amir. War with Russia was then imminent, and the strained condition of
European politics made it expedient that we should be on more amicable
terms with Afghanistan.

The Governor-General thus wrote to Edwardes:

'Prospects of a war between Russia and Turkey are watched with
interest by all.... In England they are fidgety regarding this border
beyond all reason, and most anxious for that declared amity and that
formal renewal of friendly relations which you advocate in your

The balance of Indian opinion, however, was against our making
overtures to Dost Mahomed. John Lawrence, at that time the great power
in the Punjab, was altogether opposed to Edwardes's policy in this
matter. He admitted that it might be wise to renew intercourse
with the Kabul ruler if he first expressed his regret for previous
misunderstandings; but later he wrote to Edwardes:

    'I dare say you are right; still, I cannot divest myself of the
    idea that it is _a mistake_, and will end in mixing us up in
    Afghan politics and affairs more than is desirable. The strength
    which a treaty can give us seems to be a delusion. It will be like
    the reed on which, if a man lean, it will break and pierce his

John Nicholson, Outram, and James Abbott agreed with Lawrence.
They urged that any advance on our part would be looked upon as an
indication of conscious weakness; and the probability was that an
arrogant, irritated Mussulman ruler would regard an overture as a
proof of our necessity, and would make our necessity his opportunity.
But Lord Dalhousie, while anxious to avoid any communication being
made which could be liable to misconstruction, saw neither objection
nor risk in opening the door to reconciliation, provided no undue
anxiety was displayed on our part. The Governor-General practically
left the matter in the hands of Edwardes, who lost no time in trying
to attain the desired object. The greatest forbearance and diplomatic
skill were necessary to bring the negotiations to a satisfactory
termination, but they were concluded at last, most successfully, and
to Edwardes alone is due the credit. It is instructive to read the
full record[1] of this tedious and difficult piece of diplomacy,
for it serves as an interesting example of Oriental subtlety and
circumlocution, contrasted with the straightforward dealing of a
high-minded Englishman.

The Amir wrote a letter to the Governor-General couched in most
satisfactory terms, which he forwarded to Peshawar by the hand of his
confidential secretary, and which received, as it deserved, a very
friendly reply. This resulted in Dost Mahomed sending his son and
heir-apparent, Sardar Ghulam Haidar Khan, to Peshawar, and deputing
him to act as his Plenipotentiary in the negotiations. Ghulam Haidar
Khan reached Peshawar in March, 1855, where he was met by the Chief
Commissioner, and on the 30th of that month the treaty was concluded.
'It guaranteed that we should respect the Amir's possessions in
Afghanistan, and never interfere with them; while the Amir engaged
similarly to respect British territory, and to be the friend of our
friends and the enemy of our enemies.'

The Governor-General had at first resolved to entrust to Edwardes the
duty of meeting the expected Envoy from Kabul, and orders to that
effect were issued. But Edwardes, more anxious for the success of
the negotiations than for his own honour and glory, wrote to
Lord Dalhousie suggesting that the Government of India should be
represented by the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab, and promising to
afford Sir John Lawrence all the assistance in his power. Edwardes
believed that the importance of the treaty would be enhanced in the
eyes of the Afghans by the presence of the higher official; and in
this opinion the Governor-General concurred. On the conclusion of the
treaty, Lord Dalhousie wrote to Edwardes: 'I congratulate you and
myself and all else concerned on this successful issue of the
negotiations, which have now lasted just a year.'

This treaty of March, 1855, was only preliminary to that for the
ratification of which the Amir came in person to Peshawar the
following year.

Towards the end of 1855 Dost Mahomed found himaelf in considerable
difficulties, and appealed to us for assistance. A revolt had occurred
at Herat, and a Persian army was preparing to besiege that fortress;
the chiefs and people of Kandahar were disaffected; and the province
of Balkh was threatened with invasion both by the King of Bokhara and
by Turkoman hordes. The Amir looked upon Herat as an integral part of
the Afghan dominions, and was very desirous of re-establishing his
authority over that place and preventing its falling into the hands of
the Persians; but he felt himself too weak to have any hope of success
without help from us in men and money. It was, therefore, Dost
Mahomed's interest to convince the British Government that the Shah
had infringed the conditions of an engagement entered into with us in
1853, under which Persia abandoned all claim to Herat. The Amir thus
hoped to establish a quarrel between England and Persia for his own
benefit, and to secure our assistance against the latter power. To
further this design, Dost Mahomed offered to come to Peshawar and
consult with the British authorities. Edwardes was in favour of the
proposed visit. John Lawrence was opposed to it, saying he did not
think much good would result from such a meeting, because it could
hardly be anticipated that the views of the Amir and the British
Government would coincide, and if Dost Mahomed should fail to obtain
what he wanted, his dissatisfaction would be a positive evil. The
Governor-General admitted the force of these objections, but in the
end considered that they should be set aside if the Amir was in
earnest in desiring a consultation. 'A refusal or an evasion to comply
with his wish,' Lord Dalhousie thought, 'might be misunderstood, and
although a meeting might lead to disappointment and disagreement, it
would, at any rate, put the relations of the British Government with
the Amir, as regards Herat, upon a clear footing.'

While this discussion was going on, the advance of a Persian army for
the purpose of besieging Herat, coupled with the insults offered to
the British flag at Teheran, led to the declaration of war between
England and Persia. The Chief Commissioner was therefore directed to
tell the Amir that he would be paid a periodical subsidy to aid him
in carrying on hostile operations against Persia, subject to certain
conditions. On receiving these instructions, the Chief Commissioner
directed Edwardes to invite the Amir to an interview. Dost Mahomed
accepted the invitation, but before the auspicious meeting could take
place Lord Dalhousie had left India, and Lord Canning reigned in his
stead. Lord Dalhousie resigned on the 29th February, 1856, after
having filled the arduous and responsible position of Governor-General
for no less than eight years, adding year by year fresh lustre to his
splendid reputation.

The first day of 1857 witnessed the meeting between the Amir of Kabul
and the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab. The Amir's camp was pitched
at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, and that of the Chief Commissioner on
the plain near Jamrud. Barr's troop of Horse Artillery formed part of
the escort, so I was in the midst of it all. On the occasion of the
Amir's first visit to the English camp, there was a force present
of upwards of 7,000 soldiers, including three regiments of British
Infantry; the troops lined the road for more than a mile, and it was
evident that their strength and soldierly appearance inspired the
Amir and his followers with a very salutary feeling of awe and

The result of the conferences between these two great personages was
an agreement confirming the treaty of the year before. In addition,
the Amir bound himself to keep up a certain number of regular troops
for the defence of Afghanistan, so long as the war with Persia
continued, in consideration of a monthly subsidy of Rs. 100,000 and
a gift of 4,000 muskets. He also engaged to communicate to the
Government of India any overtures he might receive from Persia, and
he consented to allow British officers to visit certain parts of his
dominions, either for the purpose of assisting his subjects against
Persia, or to ascertain that the subsidy was properly applied.

I have dwelt at some length on this treaty with Afghanistan, first,
because the policy of which this was the outcome was, as I have
already shown, initiated by my father; and, secondly, because I do not
think it is generally understood how important to us were its results.
Not only did it heal the wounds left open from the first Afghan war,
but it relieved England of a great anxiety at a time when throughout
the length and breadth of India there was distress, revolt, bloodshed,
and bitter distrust of our Native troops. Dost Mahomed loyally held
to his engagements during the troublous days of the Mutiny which so
quickly followed this alliance, when, had he turned against us, we
should assuredly have lost the Punjab; Delhi could never have been
taken; in fact, I do not see how any part of the country north of
Bengal could have been saved. Dost Mahomed's own people could not
understand his attitude. They frequently came to him during the
Mutiny, throwing their turbans at his feet, and praying him as a
Mahomedan to seize that opportunity for destroying the 'infidels.'
'Hear the news from Delhi,' they urged; 'see the difficulties the
Feringhis are in. Why don't you lead us on to take advantage of their
weakness, and win back Peshawar?'[3]

But I am anticipating, and must return to my narrative.

The clause of the treaty which interested me personally was that
relating to British officers being allowed to visit Afghanistan,
to give effect to which a Mission was despatched to Kandahar. It
consisted of three officers, the brothers Harry and Peter Lumsden, and
Dr. Bellew, together with two of Edwardes's trusted Native Chiefs. The
selection of Peter Lumsden as a member of this Mission again left the
Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster-Generalship vacant, and I was a second
time appointed to officiate in his absence.

Shortly afterwards the General of the division (General Reed) started
on his tour of inspection, taking me with him as his staff officer.
Jhelum was the first place we visited. Whether the sepoys had then
any knowledge of what was so soon to happen is doubtful. If they had,
there was no evidence that such was the case. Nothing could have
been more proper or respectful than their behaviour; no crimes were
reported, no complaints were made. The British officers, certainly,
had not the slightest idea of the storm that was brewing, for they
spoke in the warmest terms of their men.

From Jhelum we went to Rawal Pindi. John Lawrence happened to be in
camp there at the time, and looked on at the General's inspection.
At the conclusion of the parade he sent his secretary to ask me if
I would like to be appointed to the Public Works Department. I
respectfully declined the offer, though very grateful for its having
been made. Some of my friends doubted the wisdom of my refusing
a permanent civil appointment; but it meant having to give up
soldiering, which I could not make up my mind to do, and though only
officiating, I was already in the department to which of all others I
wished to belong.

Nowshera was the last station we visited. It was the beginning of
April, and getting rather hot for parading troops. I there met for the
first time the present Commander-in-Chief in India, General Sir George
White, who was then a subaltern in the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment.

I recollect the commanding officer of the 55th, the Native Infantry
corps at this station, who had served all his life with clean-looking,
closely-shaven Hindustanis, pointing with a look of contempt, not to
say disgust, to some Sikhs (a certain proportion of whom had been
under recent orders enlisted in regiments of Native Infantry), and
expressing his regret that he could not get them to shave their beards
and cut their hair. 'They quite spoil the look of my regiment,' he
said. In less than two months' time the Hindustanis, of whom the
Colonel was so proud, had broken into open mutiny; the despised Sikhs
were the only men of the regiment who remained faithful; and the
commanding officer, a devoted soldier who lived for his regiment, and
who implored that his men might not have their arms taken away, as he
had 'implicit confidence' in them, and would 'stake his life on their
fidelity,' had blown his brains out because he found that confidence

Towards the end of April I was ordered to report on the capabilities
of Cherat (now well known to all who have been stationed at Peshawar)
as a sanatorium for European soldiers. I spent two or three days
surveying the hill and searching for water in the neighbourhood. It
was not safe to remain on the top at night, so I used to return each
evening to the plain below, where my tent was pitched. On one occasion
I was surprised to find a camp had risen up during my absence quite
close to my tent. I discovered that it belonged to Lieutenant-Colonel
John Nicholson, the Deputy-Commissioner, who was on his tour of
inspection, and very soon I received an invitation to dine with him,
at which I was greatly pleased. John Nicholson was a name to conjure
with in the Punjab. I had heard it mentioned with an amount of
respect--indeed, awe--which no other name could excite, and I was all
curiosity to see the man whose influence on the frontier was so great
that his word was law to the refractory tribes amongst whom he lived.
He had only lately arrived in Peshawar, having been transferred from
Bannu, a difficult and troublesome district ruled by him as it had
never been ruled before, and where he made such a reputation for
himself that, while he was styled 'a pillar of strength on the
frontier' by Lord Dalhousie, he was looked up to as a god by the
Natives, who loved as much as they feared him. By some of them he was
actually worshipped as a saint; they formed themselves into a sect,
and called themselves 'Nicholseyns.' Nicholson impressed me more
profoundly than any man I had ever met before, or have ever met since.
I have never seen anyone like him. He was the beau-ideal of a soldier
and a gentleman. His appearance was distinguished and commanding, with
a sense of power about him which to my mind was the result of his
having passed so much of his life amongst the wild and lawless
tribesmen, with whom his authority was supreme. Intercourse with
this man amongst men made me more eager than ever to remain on the
frontier, and I was seized with ambition to follow in his footsteps.
Had I never seen Nicholson again, I might have thought that the
feelings with which he inspired me were to some extent the result of
my imagination, excited by the astonishing stories I had heard of his
power and influence; my admiration, however, for him was immeasurably
strengthened when, a few weeks later, I served as his staff officer,
and had opportunities of observing more closely his splendid soldierly
qualities and the workings of his grand, simple mind.


_From a painting by J.R. Dicksee, in the possession of the Reverend
Canon Seymour._]

It was the end of April when I returned to Peshawar from Cherat, and
rapidly getting hot. On the strength of being a D.A.Q.M.G., I had
moved into a better house than I had hitherto been able to afford,
which I shared with Lieutenant Hovenden of the Engineers. We were
just settling down and making ourselves comfortable for the long hot
weather, when all our plans were upset by the breaking out of the

[Footnote 1: See 'Memorials of the Life and Letters of Major-General
Sir Herbert Edwardes.']

[Footnote 2: 'Memorials of Major-General Sir Herbert Edwardes.']

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._]


  First tidings of the mutiny--Prompt action at Peshawar
  --A bold policy--The Movable Column--An annoying occurrence
  --I leave Peshawar

The first threatenings of coming trouble were heard in the early part
of 1857. During the months of February, March, and April, rumours
reached us at Peshawar of mysterious _chupattis_ (unleavened cakes)
being sent about the country with the object, it was alleged, of
preparing the Natives for some forthcoming event. There was also an
evident feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction in the minds of the
sepoys. We heard that the 19th Native Infantry at Berhampur, a
military station about 100 miles from Calcutta, had broken open the
bells-of-arms,[1] and forcibly taken possession of their muskets and
ammunition; that a sepoy named Mangal Pandy,[2] belonging to the 34th
Native Infantry at Barrackpore, had attacked and severely wounded
the Adjutant and Sergeant-Major of his regiment; that it was found
necessary to disband the 19th on the 30th March, and the 34th on the
6th May; that bungalows had been burnt in several stations; and
that the sepoys at the Schools of Musketry had objected to use the
cartridges served out with the new rifles, because, it was asserted,
they were greased with a mixture of cow's fat and lard, the one being
as obnoxious to the prejudices of the Hindu as the other is to those
of the Mussulman.

It seems strange on looking back that these many warnings should have
passed almost unheeded, and that there should have been no suspicion
amongst the officers serving with Native regiments that discontent was
universal amongst the sepoys, and that a mutiny of the whole Bengal
Army was imminent. But at that time the reliance on the fidelity of
the Native troops was unbounded, and officers believed implicitly in
the contentment and loyalty of their men. Their faith in them was
extraordinary. Even after half the Native army had mutinied and many
officers had been murdered, those belonging to the remaining regiments
could not believe that their own particular men could be guilty of

At Peshawar there was not the slightest suspicion of the extent to
which the evil had spread, and we were quite thunderstruck when, on
the evening of the 11th May, as we were sitting at mess, the telegraph
signaller rushed in breathless with excitement, a telegram in his
hand, which proved to be a message from Delhi 'to all stations in the
Punjab,' conveying the startling intelligence that a very serious
outbreak had occurred at Meerut the previous evening, that some of
the troopers from there had already reached Delhi, that the Native
soldiers at the latter place had joined the mutineers, and that many
officers and residents at both stations had been killed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Davidson, commanding the 16th Irregular Cavalry,
who happened to be dining at mess that evening, was the first to
recover from the state of consternation into which we were thrown
by the reading of this telegram. He told us it was of the utmost
importance that the Commissioner and the General should at once be put
in possession of this astounding news, and at the same time impressed
upon us the imperative necessity for keeping it secret.

Davidson then hurried off to the Commissioner, who with his deputy,
Nicholson, lived within a stone's-throw of the mess. Edwardes drove at
once to the General's house, while Nicholson came to our mess. He too
pointed out to us the importance of preventing the news from getting
about and of keeping it as long as possible from the Native soldiers.

We had at Peshawar three regiments of Native Cavalry and five of
Native Infantry, not less than 5,000 men, while the strength of the
two British regiments and the Artillery did not exceed 2,000. This
European force was more than sufficient to cope with the eight Native
corps, but in the event of any general disturbance amongst the Native
troops, we had to calculate on the probability of their being joined
by the 50,000 inhabitants of the city, and, indeed, by the entire
population of the Peshawar valley; not to speak of the tribes all
along the border, who were sure to rise.

It was an occasion for the gravest anxiety, and the delay of even a
few hours in the sepoys becoming aware of the disastrous occurrences
at Meerut and Delhi meant a great deal to us.

Fortunately for India, there were good men and true at Peshawar in
those days, when hesitation and irresolution would have been
fatal, and it is worthy of note that they were comparatively young
men--Edwardes was thirty-seven, Nicholson thirty-five; Neville
Chamberlain, the distinguished Commandant of the Punjab Frontier Force
(who was hastily summoned from Kohat, where he happened to be on his
tour of inspection), was thirty-seven; and the Brigadier, Sydney
Cotton, though much older, being sixty-five, was not only
exceptionally young for his years and full of energy and intelligence,
but actually much younger than the average of General officers
commanding stations in India.

At once, on hearing of the Mutiny, Edwardes, acting in unison with
Nicholson, sent to the post-office and laid hands on all Native
correspondence; the letters they thus secured showed but too plainly
how necessary was this precaution. The number of seditious papers
seized was alarmingly great; they were for the most part couched in
figurative and enigmatical language, but it was quite sufficiently
clear from them that every Native regiment in the garrison was more or
less implicated and prepared to join the rebel movement.

A strong interest attaches to these letters, for they brought to light
the true feeling of the Natives towards us at the time, and it was
evident from them that the sepoys had really been made to believe that
we intended to destroy their caste by various unholy devices, of
which the issue of contaminating cartridges was one. The seeds of
disaffection had been sown by agitators, who thought they saw an
opportunity for realizing their hope of overthrowing our rule,
maintained as it was by a mere handful of Europeans in the midst of a
vast population of Asiatics. This feeling of antagonism, only guessed
at before, was plainly revealed in these letters, never intended to
meet the European eye. Some corps did not appear to be quite so guilty
as others, but there could now be no doubt that all were tainted with
disloyalty, and that none of the Hindustani troops could any longer be

In the afternoon of Tuesday, the 12th May, I received a note from the
General commanding the division directing me to present myself at his
house the following morning, which I accordingly did. Besides General
Reed I found there the Brigadier, Sydney Cotton; the Commissioner,
Herbert Edwardes; the Deputy Commissioner, John Nicholson;
Brigadier Neville Chamberlain, and Captain Wright, Deputy
Assistant-Adjutant-General, who, like myself, had been summoned to
record the decisions that might be arrived at.

This meeting was a most momentous one, and I remember being greatly
impressed with the calm and comprehensive view of the situation taken
by Edwardes and Nicholson. They had already been in communication with
the Chief Commissioner, and had, previous to the meeting, received a
telegram from him approving generally of the several proposals they
contemplated. John Lawrence also informed them that the authorities
at Lahore had decided on disarming the Native troops at Mian Mir that
very morning.

The problem to be solved was how the Punjab could best be made secure
with the small force of British troops available--all told not more
than 15,000, with 84 guns--against upwards of 65,000 Natives (of whom
42,000 were Hindustanis), with 62 guns.[3] In all stations Native
troops preponderated, and in some there were no European soldiers at

Edwardes and Nicholson gave it as their opinion that the only chance
of keeping the Punjab and the frontier quiet lay in trusting the
Chiefs and people, and in endeavouring to induce them to side with us
against the Hindustanis. They undertook to communicate, regarding
the raising of levies and fresh troops, with their friends and
acquaintances along the border, who had proved such staunch allies in
1848-49, when we were fighting with the Sikhs. How nobly these loyal
men responded to the demand made upon them, and how splendidly the
frontier and Punjab soldiers whom they brought to our assistance
behaved, will be seen hereafter.

Amongst other matters of importance, it was proposed by those two able
soldier-civilians, Edwardes and Nicholson, that General Reed, as the
senior officer in the Punjab, should join the Chief Commissioner at
Rawal Pindi, leaving Brigadier Cotton in command at Peshawar; that a
Movable Column, composed of reliable troops, should be organized
at some convenient place in the Punjab,[4] prepared to move in any
direction where its services might be required; that the Hindustani
regiments should be scattered as much as possible, in order to prevent
dangerous combinations; that a detachment of Punjab Infantry from
Kohat should replace the Hindustani sepoys in the fort of Attock,
which was a very important position, as it contained a magazine, and
covered the passage of the Indus; and that a small guard of Pathan
levies, under a tried and trusty frontier Native officer, should be
placed in charge of the Attock ferry.

All these proposals were cordially and unanimously agreed to by the
military authorities present.

The question of the command of the Movable Column was then discussed.
It was considered essential that the officer selected should, in
addition to other necessary qualifications, have considerable
experience of the country, and an intimate knowledge of Native
soldiers. It was no ordinary command. On the action of the Movable
Column would depend, to a great extent, the maintenance of peace and
order throughout the Punjab, and it was felt that, at such a crisis,
the best man must be selected, irrespective of seniority. It was a
position for which Cotton and Nicholson would have given much, and for
which they were well qualified, but there was important work for them
to do at Peshawar. Neville Chamberlain was available, and there was
a general consensus of opinion that he should be appointed. It was
necessary, however, to refer the matter to the Chief Commissioner,
with a request that he would submit it for the orders of the
Commander-in-Chief. This course was adopted, and in a few hours a
reply was received from General Anson nominating Chamberlain to the
command. My anxiety as to the Commander-in-Chief's decision was very
considerable; for Brigadier Chamberlain, to my infinite delight and
astonishment, had offered, in the event of his being appointed, to
take me with him as his staff officer--the most wonderful piece of
good fortune that could have come to me; my readers must imagine
my feelings, for it is impossible for me to describe them. My most
sanguine hopes seemed about to be more than realized; for though the
serious aspect of affairs seemed to promise the chance of active
service, I little thought that I should be lucky enough to be employed
as the staff officer of such a distinguished soldier as Neville

When the meeting was over I was ordered to take the several messages,
which Wright and I had written out, to the telegraph office, and see
them despatched myself; as they disclosed more or less the measures
that had been decided upon, it was necessary to avoid any chance of
their falling into the hands of Native clerks. One of the messages[5]
contained a summary of the proceedings of the council, and was
addressed to the commanding officers of all stations in the Punjab,
with the view of imparting confidence, and letting them know what
steps were being taken for the protection of the British residents
throughout the province. This duty having been carried out, I returned
home in a not unpleasant frame of mind, for though the crisis was a
grave one, the outlook gloomy, and the end doubtful, the excitement
was great. There were stirring times in store for us, when every man's
powers would be tested, and the hopefulness of youth inclined me to
look only on the bright side of the situation.

My equanimity was somewhat disturbed later in the day by an occurrence
which caused me a good deal of annoyance at the time, though it
soon passed away. Nicholson came to my house and told me that the
proceedings at the meeting that morning had in some unaccountable
manner become known; and he added, much to my disgust, that it was
thought I might perhaps have been guilty of the indiscretion of
divulging them. I was very angry, for I had appreciated as much as
anyone the immense importance of keeping the decisions arrived at
perfectly secret; and I could not help showing something of the
indignation I felt at its having been thought possible that I could
betray the confidence reposed in me. I denied most positively having
done so; upon which Nicholson suggested that we should proceed
together to the telegraph office and see whether the information
could have leaked out from there. The signaller was a mere boy, and
Nicholson's imposing presence and austere manner were quite too much
for him; he was completely cowed, and, after a few hesitating denials,
he admitted having satisfied the curiosity of a friend who had
inquired of him how the authorities intended to deal with the
crisis. This was enough, and I was cleared. The result to me of this
unpleasant incident was a delightful increase of intimacy with the
man for whom above all others I had the greatest admiration and most
profound respect. As if to make up for his momentary injustice,
Nicholson was kinder to me than ever, and I felt I had gained in him a
firm and constant friend. So ended that eventful day.

At that time it was the custom for a staff officer, who had charge of
any Government property, to have a guard of Native soldiers in charge
of his house. That night it happened that my guard was furnished
by the 64th Native Infantry, a regiment with a particularly bad
reputation, and which had, in order to give effect to the measures
proposed at the morning's meeting, been ordered to leave Peshawar and
proceed to the outposts. The intercepted letters showed that this
regiment was on the point of mutinying, and I could not help feeling,
as I lay down on my bed, which, as usual in the hot weather, was
placed in the verandah for the sake of coolness, how completely I was
at the mercy of the sentry who walked up and down within a few feet of
me. Fortunately, he was not aware that his regiment was suspected, and
could not know the reason for the sudden order to march, or my career
might have been ended then and there.

Within a week from that time I had started for Rawal Pindi to be ready
to join the Movable Column, which was to be formed at Wazirabad as
soon as the troops could be got together. I took with me only just
enough kit for a hot-weather march, and left everything standing in my
house just as it was, little thinking that I should never return to it
or be quartered in Peshawar again.

[Footnote 1: Place where the arms and accoutrements of Native
regiments were kept.]

[Footnote 2: This name was the origin of the sepoys generally being
called Pandies.]

[Footnote 3: At Meerut, Delhi, and Rurki, and in the Punjab there

                 _British Troops._

                                     MEN.    GUNS.
 2 Regiments of Cavalry             1,410
12 Regiments of Infantry           12,624
 9 Troops of Horse Artillery        1,017     54
 5 Light Field Batteries              415     30
10 Companies of Foot Artillerymen     837
                                   ------     --
                       Total       16,303     84

                 _Native Troops._

                                           MEN.   GUNS.
 7 Regiments of Light Cavalry             3,514
14 Regiments of Irregular Cavalry and
      Guides Cavalry                      8,519
31 Regiments of Regular Infantry       }
15 Regiments of Irregular Infantry and } 50,188
      Guides Infantry                  }
 3 Troops of Horse Artillery                411    18
 6 Light Field Batteries                    930    30 (3 batteries had
                                                      only 4 guns each)
 2 Mountain Batteries                       192    14 (1 battery had 8,
                                                      the other 6 guns)
 3 Companies of Foot Artillery              330
Head-Quarters and 12 Companies of
      Sappers and Miners                  1,394
                                         ------    --
                    Total                65,478    62

The above figures show the troops at full strength. There were
probably not more than 15,000 British soldiers in the Punjab available
for duty in May, 1857.]

[Footnote 4: The original proposal was that the Movable Column should
be formed at Jhelum, and composed of the 24th Foot from Rawal Pindi,
the 27th Foot from Nowshera, a troop of Horse Artillery from Peshawar,
a Native Field Battery from Jhelum, the Guides from Murdan, the 16th
Irregular Cavalry from Rawal Pindi, the Kumaon battalion from Murree,
the 1st Punjab Infantry from Bannu, and a wing of the 2nd Punjab
Cavalry from Kohat. But events developed so rapidly that before the
column was formed every one of these troops was otherwise employed. It
was thought unwise to unduly weaken the Peshawar valley; the troop of
Horse Artillery, therefore, stood fast, the 27th Foot was halted at
Attock, and the 24th Foot and Kumaon battalion were kept at their
stations ready to move towards the frontier. The Guides, 2nd Punjab
Cavalry, and 1st Punjab Infantry were ordered to Delhi, and the 16th
Irregular Cavalry and the Native Field Battery were not considered
sufficiently loyal to be employed on such a duty. Eventually, the
column was formed of one troop of Horse Artillery, one Field Battery,
and one Infantry regiment, all British and all from Sialkot.]

[Footnote 5: The full text of the message was as follows:

    'To Sir John Lawrence, Rawal Pindi, the Commander-in-Chief, Simla,
    and officers commanding all stations in the Punjab respectively;
    to be forwarded by the assistant in charge of the telegraph
    office, or post, as the case may be.

    'The senior military officer in the Punjab, Major-General Reed,
    having this morning received news of the disarming of the troops
    at Mian Mir, a council of war was held, consisting of General
    Reed, Brigadier Cotton, Brigadier Neville Chamberlain, Colonel
    Edwardes, and Colonel Nicholson, and the following measures were
    decided on, subject to the confirmation of the Commander-in-Chief.
    General Reed assumes the chief military command in the Punjab;
    his Head-Quarters will be the Head-Quarters of the Punjab Civil
    Government, and a Movable Column will be formed at Jhelum at once,
    consisting of [the troops were here detailed]. The necessary
    orders for this column have been issued. The column will move on
    every point in the Punjab where open mutiny requires to be put
    down by force, and officers commanding at all stations in the
    Punjab will co-operate with the column.']

       *       *       *       *       *


  First symptoms of disaffection--Outbreak at Berhampur
  --Mangal Pandy--Court-Martial at Meerut--Mutiny at Meerut
  --The work of destruction--Want of energy
  --Hugh Gough's experiences--Nothing could arrest the mutiny

Before proceeding with the account of my experiences with the Movable
Column, and the subsequent operations for the suppression of the
rebellion, in which I was fortunate enough to take part, it will,
I think, be advisable, for the better understanding of the whole
situation, to devote a little time to the consideration of the
progress of events from the first appearance of symptoms of
disaffection in Lower Bengal, to the crisis I have just been
describing, when Peshawar became involved in the general disturbance.

The substitution of a new rifle for the old musket with which the
sepoys had hitherto been armed entailed a different kind of drill;
and in order that this drill should be speedily learned by the
whole Native army, depots were formed at convenient places for the
instruction of selected men from every corps, who, on becoming
proficient, were to return and instruct their own regiments. One of
these depots was at Dum-Dum, and as early as the 24th January General
Hearsay, commanding the Presidency division, reported to Head-Quarters
that he perceived an 'unpleasant feeling' amongst the Native soldiers
learning the new drill, caused by a belief instilled into them 'by
designing persons, most likely Brahmins,' that they were to be forced
to embrace Christianity, and that for the furtherance of this object
the new ball-cartridges received from the arsenal at Fort William were
greased with the fat of pigs and cows, with the intention of violating
the religious prejudices and destroying the caste of those who would
have to bite them.

A little later various acts of incendiarism took place at other
stations in the command, and Hearsay became more than ever convinced
that there was grave dissatisfaction amongst the troops. He therefore
ordered a Court of Inquiry to be held to enable him to ascertain the
real cause of the ill-feeling which so evidently existed.

In the General's opinion, the statements recorded in the proceedings
of this Court clearly established the fact, that the Native officers
and sepoys were undoubtedly imbued with the belief that an unholy
mixture of cow's fat and lard had been used in the manufacture of the
new cartridge, and he recommended that the rifle ammunition should in
future be made up with the same description of paper that had always
been used for the musket-cartridge, which, he conceived, would put an
end to their suspicions and uneasiness.

The General, however, was told in reply that it was impossible to use
the old paper for the new cartridge, as the bore of the rifle being
much smaller than that of the musket, thinner paper was indispensable;
and he was directed to inform the sepoys that the new paper, though
tougher and less bulky, was made of exactly the same material as the
old. With respect to the lubricating mixture, he was to announce that
the Government had authorized the preparation of a grease, composed of
wax and oil, which was to be made up and applied to the cartridges
by the men themselves. These orders were carefully explained to the
Native troops, but without any good result. Their religious objection
to the new cartridge was not removed, and they frankly acknowledged
their fears.

On the 6th February an officer of the 34th Native Infantry at
Barrackpore was informed by a sepoy of his company that the four
Native regiments at that station, fearing that they would be forced
to destroy their caste and become Christians, had determined to rise
against their officers, and when they had plundered and burned their
bungalows, to proceed to Calcutta and try to seize Fort William,
or, if that proved beyond their powers, to take possession of the

This circumstance was reported to Government by General Hearsay on the
11th February. In the same letter he said, 'We have at Barrackpore
been living upon a mine ready for explosion,' and he reported a story
which had reached him from Dum-Dum of a sepoy, on his way to cook
his food with his _lota_[1] full of water, meeting a low-caste man
belonging to the arsenal where the Enfield cartridges were being
manufactured. This man, it was said, asked the sepoy to allow him to
drink from his _lota_. The sepoy, a Brahmin, refused, saying: 'I have
scoured my _lota_; you will defile it by your touch.' The low-caste
man replied: 'You think much of your caste, but wait a little: the
_Sahib-logue_[2] will make you bite cartridges soaked in cow's fat,
and then where will your caste be?' The sepoy no doubt believed the
man, and told his comrades what was about to happen, and the report
rapidly spread to other stations.

Early in March several of the Hindu sepoys belonging to the Dum-Dum
School of Musketry expressed their unwillingness to bite the new
cartridge, and the Commandant proposed that the drill should be
altered so as to admit of the cartridge being torn instead of bitten.
Hearsay supported the proposal, remarking that the new mode of loading
need not be made to appear as a concession to agitation, but as part
of the drill for the new weapon. Events, however, moved so quickly
that, before sanction could be received to this suggestion, the troops
at Berhampur had broken into open mutiny. They refused to receive
their ammunition, on the ground of its being polluted, even after
it was explained to them that they were not being given the new
cartridges, but those which had been made up in the regiment a year
before. That night they broke open the bells-of-arms, and carried off
their muskets.

The Government then became aware that prompt action was necessary.
They decided that such open mutiny could not be excused on the grounds
of religious scruples, and ordered the regiment to be disbanded. As
Berhampur was somewhat isolated, and some distance from European
troops, it was arranged that the disbandment should take place at the
Head-Quarters of the Presidency division, and the 19th Native Infantry
was accordingly ordered to march to Barrackpore.

The revolt of this regiment brought forcibly before Lord Canning and
his advisers the perilous position of Lower Bengal, owing to the
paucity of European troops. Well may the authorities have been
startled, for between Calcutta and Meerut, a distance of 900 miles,
there were only four regiments of British infantry and a few scattered
Artillerymen, numbering in all less than 5,000, while the Native
troops amounted to upwards of 55,000. One of the four Infantry
regiments was at Fort William; but as only a portion of it could
be spared for the disbandment of the 19th, a special steamer was
despatched to Rangoon to bring over the 84th Foot. This regiment
reached Calcutta on the 20th March, and on the 31st the disbandment of
the mutinous Native Infantry regiment was carried out. The men were
paid up and escorted across the river Hughly, whence they were allowed
to proceed to their homes. They behaved in the most orderly manner on
the march from Berhampur and throughout the proceedings, and as they
left the parade-ground they cheered General Hearsay, and wished him a
long life, apparently well pleased at being let off so easily.

At Barrackpore itself an outbreak had occurred two days before in the
34th Native Infantry. As I have already related, the sepoy, Mangal
Pandy, shot at the sergeant-major.[3] The Adjutant, on hearing
what had happened, galloped to the parade-ground. As he neared the
quarter-guard he was fired at, and his horse shot by the mutineer, who
then badly wounded him with a sword as he was trying to disentangle
himself from the fallen animal. The General now appeared on the scene,
and, instantly grasping the position of affairs, rode straight at
Mangal Pandy, who stood at bay with his musket loaded, ready to
receive him. There was a shot, the whistle of a bullet, and a man fell
to the ground--but not the General; it was the fanatic sepoy himself,
who at the last moment had discharged the contents of his musket into
his own breast! The wretched man had been worked up to a pitch of
madness by the sepoys of his regiment, who stood by while he attacked
the Adjutant, and would have allowed him to kill their Commander, but
they were too great cowards to back him up openly. Mangal Pandy was
not dead. He was taken to the hospital, and eventually was tried by
a Court-Martial composed of Native officers, sentenced to death, and
hanged in the presence of all the troops at Barrackpore. The Native
officer in command of the quarter-guard met the same fate, and the
regiment was then disbanded.

The orders for the disbandment of the 19th and 34th Native Infantry
were directed to be read to every Native corps in the service, and
it was hoped that the quick retribution which had overtaken these
regiments would check the spirit of mutiny throughout the army. For
a time this hope appeared to be justified. Satisfactory reports were
received from different parts of Bengal, and anything like a serious
or general outbreak was certainly not contemplated by the authorities.
General Hearsay reported to Government that he had directed the
European troops, temporarily located at Barrackpore, to return to
their respective cantonments, as he did not think it probable that
he would require their presence again. About the same time Sir John
Lawrence, after visiting the Musketry School at Sialkot, wrote
hopefully to the Governor-General of the aspect of affairs in the
Punjab. Lord Canning and his advisers, owing to these favourable
reports, were on the point of sending the 84th Foot back to Burma,
when news reached them from Upper India of the calamitous occurrences
at Meerut and Delhi.

The Meerut division was commanded by Major-General Hewitt, an officer
of fifty years' service, and the station of Meerut by Brigadier
Archdale Wilson, Commandant of the Bengal Artillery. The garrison
consisted of the 6th Dragoon Guards, a troop of Horse Artillery, a
battery of Field Artillery, a company of Foot Artillery, the 1st
Battalion 60th Rifles, and three Native corps--the 3rd Light Cavalry,
and the 11th and 20th Native Infantry.

Towards the end of April incendiary fires began to take place, and
the Native soldiers evinced more or less disrespect in their manner
towards their officers. These signs of disaffection were followed
by the refusal of some of the troopers of the 3rd Light Cavalry to
receive their cartridges, although the commanding officer carefully
explained to them that they were not the new cartridges, but the very
same they had always used, and that according to the new drill they
were not required to bite them when loading their carbines.

A Court of Inquiry was held to investigate the matter, composed
entirely of Native officers, three of whom belonged to the offending
regiment. The verdict of the Court was that no adequate cause could be
assigned for the disobedience of orders in refusing to receive and use
the cartridges that were served out. 'The only conclusion the Court
can arrive at in regard to this point is that a report seems to have
got abroad which in some vague form attaches suspicion of impurity
to the materials used for making these cartridges, but the Court are
unanimously of opinion that there is nothing whatever objectionable in
the cartridges of the 3rd Regiment Light Cavalry, and that they may be
freely received and used as heretofore without in the slightest degree
affecting any religious scruple of either a Hindu or Mussulman, and if
any pretence contrary to that is urged, that it must be false.' This
opinion, it must be remembered, was the opinion of Natives, not
Europeans, and was given only sixteen days before the outbreak
occurred at Meerut.

After carefully reviewing the evidence brought before the Court, and
considering the opinion expressed by the Native officers who composed
it, the Commander-in-Chief decided to try the eighty-five men who had
refused to receive the cartridges by a General Court-Martial composed
entirely of their own countrymen. The Court was formed of six
Mahomedans and nine Hindus, six Native officers being brought over
from Delhi for the purpose.

The prisoners were tried on the 8th May, found guilty, and sentenced
to imprisonment with hard labour for ten years.

The following morning there was a parade of the whole of the Meerut
garrison, and the finding and sentence of the Court were read to the
men. The eighty-five troopers were then stripped of their uniform and
fetters were fastened on their ankles. As each culprit was marched
forward, he called on his comrades to rescue him, but no response came
from the ranks; and when the ceremony was finished the prisoners were
marched down the line and escorted to the gaol. In his report of the
parade to Army Head-Quarters, General Hewitt stated that 'the majority
of the prisoners seemed to feel acutely the degradation to which their
folly and insubordination had brought them. The remainder of the
troops are behaving steady and soldier-like.'

The action of the Meerut authorities in putting the prisoners in irons
on the parade-ground, in the presence of their regiment, before
being made over to the civil power, met with the disapproval of the
Commander-in-Chief and the Governor-General. The former expressed his
regret at the unusual procedure. The latter was more pronounced, and
thus expressed himself: 'The riveting of the men's fetters on parade,
occupying, as it did, several hours, in the presence of many who were
already ill-disposed and many who believed in the cartridge fable,
must have stung the brigade to the quick. The consigning the
eighty-five prisoners after such a ceremony to gaol with no other than
a Native guard over them was folly that is inconceivable.'

The procedure was no doubt unusual, and it certainly was most
imprudent, under the circumstances, to trust the gaol to a Native
guard. I think also, considering the number of the prisoners, and the
length of time necessary for riveting the fetters, that it was not
judicious to subject the troops to such a severe and protracted
trial of their nerves and patience; but, before acquiescing in Lord
Canning's sweeping condemnation, it should be considered that the
object of the punishment was to produce a deterrent effect on those
who were likely to follow the bad example that had been set them,
and as the offence of the troopers had been public and ostentatious,
General Hewitt no doubt thought it right to make the punishment as
marked and public as possible.

The next day was Sunday, and outwardly the cantonment of Meerut
had assumed its usual appearance of Sabbath calm; but there was an
undercurrent of unrest--there was considerable commotion in the Native
bazaars, which were unusually crowded, and had not the European
officers been blinded by over-confidence in their men, signs might
have been perceived amongst the Native soldiers of preparation for
some untoward event.

It was late in the day before the storm burst. The Chaplain of Meerut
tells us that he was about to start with his wife for evening service,
when the Native nurse warned them of coming danger, beseeching her
mistress to remain indoors, and, on being asked to explain, saying
there would be a fight with the sepoys. The idea seemed incredible,
and the Chaplain would have paid no attention to the warning had not
his wife been greatly alarmed. At her earnest request he took his two
children with them in the carriage, instead of leaving them in the
house with the _ayah_, as had been intended. It was soon apparent that
the _ayah_ had not spoken without reason, for before the church was
reached sounds of musketry were heard and columns of smoke were
seen rising above the quarter occupied by the Native troops. As the
Chaplain arrived at the church enclosure, the buglers of the 60th
Rifles, who were drawn up ready to enter the church, sounded the
'alarm' and the 'assembly.' The parade was dismissed, and as the
British soldiers rushed to the barracks for their arms and ammunition,
the congregation rapidly dispersed, some to their homes, others to
seek safety in the nearest quarter-guard.

It was the custom before the Mutiny for our soldiers to attend Divine
Service unarmed, save with their side-arms. The Native soldiers were
aware of this, and they no doubt calculated on the 60th Rifles being
safe and almost defenceless inside the church as soon as the bells
ceased tolling. What they were not aware of was the fact that, owing
to the lengthening days and the increasing heat, the evening church
parade had been ordered half an hour later than on the previous
Sunday. The mutineers therefore showed their hand half an hour too
soon, and as they galloped down the 60th Rifles lines they came upon
the men fully armed and rapidly falling in. Being thus disappointed in
their hope of surprising the white soldiers, the 3rd Cavalry proceeded
without a moment's delay to the gaol, broke into the cells, and
released their eighty-five comrades and all the other prisoners, about
1,200 in number.

While this was going on, the two Native Infantry regiments assembled
on their respective parade-grounds in wild excitement, discharging
their muskets at random, and setting fire to their own huts. The
British officers, hearing the tumult, hastened to their lines and did
their best to restore order, but in vain. The sepoys had gone too
far, and were absolutely deaf to threats and entreaties. They did not
attack their own officers, but warned them to get away, telling them
the Company's '_raj_'[4] was at an end. Their clemency, however, did
not extend to officers of other regiments.

Colonel Finnis, who had served forty years with the sepoys, and firmly
believed in their loyalty, was the first victim; he fell riddled with
bullets from a volley fired by the 20th, while exhorting the men of
his own regiment (the 11th) to be true to their salt. The work of
destruction then began in earnest, in which the population from the
bazaars and the neighbouring villages eagerly joined, for (as the
Commissioner reported) they were armed and ready for the onslaught
before the sepoys commenced the attack, plainly showing how perfectly
they were aware of what was about to happen. They poured forth in
thousands from every direction, and in a surprisingly short time
almost every bungalow belonging to a British officer serving with
Native troops was gutted and burnt. Besides Colonel Finnis, seven
officers, three officers' wives, two children, and every stray
European man, woman and child in the outskirts of the cantonments were

It was now time for the sepoys to think of themselves. They had thrown
off all allegiance to the _Sarkar_;[5] they had been guilty of murder,
robbery, and incendiarism, and they knew that retribution must
speedily overtake them if they remained at Meerut; they therefore
lost no time in making their escape towards Delhi. They had had ample
opportunity for consultation with the Native officers from that
station, who had come to Meerut as members of the Court-Martial on the
men of the 3rd Light Cavalry, and they knew perfectly well that the
troops at Delhi were prepared to help them to seize the magazine and
resuscitate the old Moghul dynasty. 'To Delhi! To Delhi!' was their
cry, and off they went, leaving naught behind them in their lines
but the smouldering fires of their officers' houses and the lifeless
bodies of their English victims.

But it will be asked, Where were the British troops? Where indeed?
On the alarm being given, the British troops got under arms 'in an
incredibly short time,' but there was unaccountable delay in marching
them to the spot where their help was so greatly needed. The
Carabineers occupied barracks within a few hundred yards of the Native
Infantry lines, the 60th Rifles were only about a mile and a half
away, and the Artillery lay just beyond the 60th. The Brigadier
(Wilson) despatched one company of the Rifles to guard the treasury,
another he left to protect the barracks, and with the remainder,
accompanied by the Carabineers and Artillery, he leisurely proceeded
towards the Native Infantry lines. It was almost dark when he arrived,
but there was light enough to discern, from the ruined houses and the
dead bodies of the murdered officers lying about, in what a merciless
spirit the revolt had been perpetrated. A few shots were fired from
behind the burning huts, but not a single living being was visible,
except two or three Native troopers who were dimly perceptible in the
distance coming from the direction of the gaol, and it was evident
that the sepoys as a body had vanished. But whither? A lengthened
discussion took place as to what was the best course to pursue, which
only resulted in the troops being marched back to their own end of the
cantonment and bivouacking on the mall for the night. The General
and Brigadier, misled by the tumult in the city, which they could
distinctly hear, came to the conclusion that the sepoys had
congregated within its walls and might shortly be expected to attack
that part of the station where the European residents chiefly lived.
It was not discovered till the next morning that all three Native
regiments had made for Delhi.

It is easy to be wise after the event, but one cannot but feel that
there was unaccountable, if not culpable, want of energy displayed by
the Meerut authorities on this disastrous occasion. The officer
in command was afterwards severely censured for not acting with
sufficient promptitude on first hearing of the outbreak; for not
trying to find out where the mutineers had gone; and for not
endeavouring to overtake them before they reached Delhi. The
Government of India finally signified their disapproval by removing
General Hewitt from his command.

Wilson, the Brigadier, like everyone else at Meerut, appears to have
been completely taken by surprise. But why this should have been the
case, after the warning that had been given by the mutinous conduct
of the 3rd Cavalry, and why no steps should have been taken after the
exasperating parade on the 9th to guard against a possible, if not
probable, outbreak, is difficult to understand; and can only be
accounted for by that blind faith in the Native soldier, and disbelief
in his intention or ability to revolt, which led to such unfortunate
results all over India.

The following story will exemplify how completely the authorities at
Meerut were blinded by this misplaced confidence. On the afternoon of
the 9th the British officers of the 3rd Light Cavalry went to the gaol
to pay up the prisoners belonging to their regiment. When Lieutenant
Hugh Gough,[6] who was one of these officers, returned to his house,
a Hindu Native officer, belonging to the troop Gough was temporarily
commanding, told him that the men had determined to rescue their
comrades, and that the Native guard over the gaol had promised to help
them. Gough went at once to his commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel
Carmichael Smyth, and reported what he had heard, but the Colonel
pooh-poohed the idea as ridiculous, and told Gough he must not give
credence to anything so monstrous.

Later in the day Gough met Brigadier Wilson and told him of the
warning which had been given to him, without, however, producing any
impression; the information was received with the same contemptuous
disbelief displayed by Colonel Carmichael Smyth.

The following day (Sunday), late in the afternoon, the same Native
officer, attended by two troopers, galloped to Gough's house, shouting
to him that the _hala_[7] had begun, and that the Native Infantry were
firing on their officers. Gough mounted his horse, and, accompanied by
the three Cavalry soldiers, proceeded as quickly as possible to the
Infantry parade-ground, where he arrived just as the wild scene of
excitement and confusion I have before described was at its height.
The sepoys, some in uniform, some in their own Native clothes, were
rushing about in the maddest disorder, yelling, shouting, and dancing
as if possessed, while the flames from the burning huts shed a lurid
light on the demoniacal proceedings.

When Gough's party appeared in sight, the sepoys called to the three
troopers to get out of the way, as they wanted to shoot the _sahib_.
No notice being taken of this warning, they fired straight at the
whole party, but without hitting anyone. Gough, seeing things had gone
too far for him to do any good, rode off with his little escort to
his own lines, where he found the men busy saddling their horses, and
helping themselves to ammunition from the regimental magazine, which
they had broken open. He endeavoured in vain to allay the excitement;
one or two shots were fired at him by recruits, but no determined
attempt was made to take his life, and at last the Native officers
combined to force him away, saying they could no longer answer for his

It was then all but dark. Gough rode off towards the European lines,
still accompanied by his trusty Native escort, and on his way came
upon an enormous crowd of people from the bazaar, armed with swords,
sticks, and anything they could get hold of, who tried to stop him.
Through these he charged, closely followed by the Native officer and
two troopers, who did not leave him until he was within sight of
the Artillery mess. Then they pulled up, and said they could go no
further. Gough did all he could to persuade them to remain with
him, but to no purpose. They told him it was impossible for them to
separate themselves from their friends and relations, and making the
officer they had so carefully protected a respectful salaam, they rode
off to join their mutinous comrades. Gough never heard of them again,
though he tried hard to trace what had become of the men who proved
themselves such 'friends in need.'

However much the authorities at Meerut deserved to be censured for
their dilatoriness in dealing with the revolt in the first instance,
and their lack of energy in not trying to discover in what direction
the mutineers had gone, I doubt whether anything would have been
gained by following them up, or whether it would have been possible
to overtake them before they reached Delhi. Only a very few European
Cavalry were available for pursuit, for the Carabineers, having lately
arrived in India, were composed mainly of recruits still in the
riding-school, and their horses for the most part were quite unbroken.
These few, with the six Horse Artillery guns, might have been
despatched; but the mutineers had a considerable start, the Cavalry
could not have been overtaken, and as soon as the Infantry became
aware that they were being followed, they would have scattered
themselves over the country, the features of which were familiar to
them, and, favoured by the darkness, could have defied pursuit. Delhi
is forty miles from Meerut, and it would not have been possible for
the 60th Rifles, marching in the terrible heat of the month of May, to
have reached that place before the next evening (the 11th), and, as
was afterwards ascertained, the work of murder and devastation there
began on the morning of that day. The three Native Infantry regiments
and the battery of Artillery stationed at Delhi were prepared to
join the insurgent troopers from Meerut directly they arrived. The
magazine, with its vast stores of war material, was in the hands of
the King, and the 150,000 inhabitants of the city were ready to assist
in the massacre of the white men and women, and the destruction of
their property.

After careful consideration of all the circumstances of the revolt at
Meerut, I have come to the conclusion that it would have been futile
to have sent the small body of mounted troops available in pursuit of
the mutineers on the night of the 10th May, and that, considering
the state of feeling throughout the Native Army, no action, however
prompt, on the part of the Meerut authorities could have arrested the
Mutiny. The sepoys had determined to throw off their allegiance to the
British Government, and the when and the how were merely questions of
time and opportunity.

[Footnote 1: A metal drinking vessel, which the Hindu religiously
guards against defilement, and to which he clings as a cherished
possession when he has nothing else belonging to him in the world.]

[Footnote 2: European officers.]

[Footnote 3: Each Hindustani regiment had a European sergeant-major
and quartermaster-sergeant.]

[Footnote 4: Rule.]

[Footnote 5: British Government.]

[Footnote 6: Now Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough, V.C., G.C.B.]

[Footnote 7: Tumult.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  General Anson--The news reaches Simla--Anson loses no time
  --A long list of troubles--John Lawrence--The Phulkian family
  --Death of General Anson

While the events I have recounted were taking place, the
Commander-in-Chief and the Head-Quarters staff were on their way up
country inspecting the troops at the various stations _en route_ to
Simla, at which place it had been arranged that the summer of 1857 was
to be spent. The Commander-in-Chief in India at that time was General
the Hon. George Anson, an officer of forty-three years' service, but
without much Indian experience, having been only four years in the
country. He was an able, intelligent man, an excellent judge of
character, a great authority on whist and on horses, and he was well
known in London society, which was somewhat surprised when he accepted
an appointment in India--the command of the Meerut division. He did
not, however, remain long in that position, for he was soon given
the command of the Madras Army, and a year and a half later became
Commander-in-Chief in India. General Anson was present at Waterloo as
an Ensign, but had seen no service afterwards, and until he arrived in
India had held no high appointment.

When the Commander-in-Chief left Calcutta the previous autumn, all was
apparently quiet in the Native army. He visited the principal military
stations, amongst others Meerut and Delhi, and although reports of an
uneasy feeling amongst the Native troops in the Presidency division
had reached him from time to time, it was not until he arrived at
Umballa, about the middle of March, that these reports were confirmed
by personal communication with the sepoys attending the School of
Musketry which had been formed at that station.

On the occasion of the Commander-in-Chief's inspection of the School,
he learnt from the men of the various regiments under instruction how
strongly opposed they were to using a cartridge which they believed
to be injurious to their caste. Anson listened attentively to all the
sepoys had to say, and then explained to them in a manly, sensible
speech, that the old cartridge was not suited to the rifle about to be
introduced. A new cartridge had, therefore, to be made; but they must
not listen to any foolish rumour as to its being designed to destroy
their caste. He assured them, 'on the honour of a soldier like
themselves,' that it had never been, and never could be, the policy of
the British Government to coerce the religious feeling of either the
military or the civil population of India, or to interfere in any way
with their caste or customs. He told the Native officers to do all in
their power to allay the men's unfounded fears, and called upon them
to prove themselves worthy of the high character they had hitherto
maintained; he concluded by warning all ranks that the Government were
determined not to yield to insubordination, which would be visited
with the severest punishment.

The demeanour of the sepoys was most respectful, and when the parade
was over they expressed their high sense of the Commander-in-Chief's
goodness. They declared that he had removed their own objections,
but that the story was universally believed by their countrymen and
relations, and if they were to use the cartridge they must become
social outcasts.

General Anson, feeling that the doubts and anxieties of the men with
regard to the use of the new cartridges were by no means imaginary,
suspended their issue until a special report had been prepared as to
the composition of the paper in which they were wrapped.[1]

Having thus done all that he could at the time to allay any feeling of
uneasiness, and hoping that the news of the disbandment of the 19th
Native Infantry would check the spirit of insubordination, General
Anson continued his journey to Simla, that beautiful place in the
Himalayas, 7,000 feet above the sea, which has since become the seat
of the Government of India and Army Head-Quarters during the hot
weather months.

The Commander-in-Chief had been at Simla rather more than a month,
when, on the afternoon of Tuesday, the 12th May, an Aide-de-camp
galloped in from Umballa (the Head-Quarters station of the Sirhind
division), distant eighty miles, bringing with him a copy of the
telegraphic message which had been despatched from Delhi the previous
day to 'all stations in the Punjab,' and which had caused such
consternation at Peshawar on the evening of the 11th May.

Sir Henry Barnard, commanding the Sirhind division, desired the
Aide-de-camp (his own son) to inform the Commander-in-Chief that
the temper of the three Native regiments at Umballa was more than
doubtful, and that it seemed advisable that the three regiments of
British Infantry stationed in the hills near Simla should be ordered
at once to Umballa. So urgent did this seem to Barnard, that, in
anticipation of sanction from the Commander-in-Chief, he told his son
to warn the 75th Foot as he passed through Kasauli to be prepared for
an immediate move.

General Anson at once saw the necessity for taking prompt action. That
same afternoon he despatched an Aide-de-camp to Kasauli to order the
75th to proceed without delay to Umballa, and the 1st Bengal Fusiliers
at Dagshai to follow the 75th as soon as carriage could be collected;
also to warn the 2nd Bengal Fusiliers at Subathu to be ready to move.
Expresses were sent at the same [time] to Ferozepore and Jullundur
directing that a European guard should be placed in charge of the
magazine at the former place, and a detachment of European Infantry
thrown into the fort of Philour from the latter. The confidence
reposed in the Native army before the Mutiny was so great that these
two important magazines, like almost all the arsenals and magazines in
India, were guarded by Native soldiers, and subsequent events proved
that, but for General Anson's timely precautions, the mutineers
must have obtained possession of the magazines at Ferozepore and

Anson had not long to wait before he received confirmation of the
alarming news brought by General Barnard's son. The very next
afternoon a letter arrived from Meerut giving an account of the
outbreak on the 10th, and a few particulars of what had occurred at
Delhi. The Commander-in-Chief immediately decided on proceeding to
Umballa, to superintend personally the organization of the force
which, as he rightly judged, would have to be sent to Delhi. There
was no hesitation on General Anson's part, or delay in issuing the
necessary orders.[3] The 2nd Bengal Fusiliers were directed to march
to Umballa, and an Artillery officer was sent express to Philour with
instructions for a third-class siege-train to be got ready, and for
reserve Artillery and Infantry ammunition to be despatched to Umballa.
Orders were also issued for the Nasiri battalion, stationed at Jutog,
near Simla, and for the company of Native Artillery at Kangra and
Nurpur[4] to march with all expedition to Philour, for the purpose of
accompanying the siege-train; and for the Sirmur battalion of Gurkhas
at Dehra Dun, and the Sappers and Miners at Rurki, to proceed to

Having thus pressed forward the measures for the suppression of the
revolt which to him seemed most urgent, General Anson left Simla early
on the 14th May, within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the first
news of the outbreak, and reached Umballa the following morning. His
last act at Simla was to draft a circular which he hoped would have
the effect of allaying excitement in the Native army.

The report which Sir Henry Barnard had to make to the Chief on his
arrival at Umballa was not reassuring. The troops at that station
consisted of Her Majesty's 9th Lancers, two troops of Horse Artillery,
the 4th Bengal Light Cavalry, and two regiments of Native Infantry.
The 75th Foot and 1st Bengal Fusiliers had just marched in with only
thirty and seventy rounds of ammunition per man, respectively, and
(from want of carriage) without tents or baggage. The Commissariat and
Medical Departments were totally unprepared to meet the requirements
of a force suddenly ordered to take the field; there were no doolies
for the sick; supplies were difficult to collect, for the bazaars
were partially deserted; there was a scarcity of contractors, and no
ammunition was available nearer than Philour, eighty miles off.

At Delhi all the Europeans who had not escaped had been massacred, and
the city had been taken possession of by the Native garrison and the
mutinous troops from Meerut in the name of the old King.

At Meerut the European troops were entrenching themselves; the
surrounding district was in the most complete disorder, and the civil
courts powerless.

At Umballa and Jullundur, although the presence of European troops had
hitherto kept the Native regiments from open mutiny, it was evident
that they were not in the least to be depended upon.

At Ferozepore an aggravated revolt had occurred, and at Lahore it had
been found necessary to disarm all the Native troops.

From below Meerut there was no intelligence whatever, but it seemed
more than probable that the spirit of rebellion had broken out in many
stations, and later this was known to be the case.

To add to the Commander-in-Chief's anxieties, it was reported that the
Nasiri battalion at Jutog had got out of hand for a time and refused
to march to Philour, while a detachment of the same corps at Kasauli
plundered the treasury, rendering it necessary to send back 100 men
of the 75th Foot to reinforce the depot at that place, where a large
number of European soldiers' families were collected.

The behaviour of the Gurkhas gave rise to a panic at Simla,
which, however, did not last long. Lord William Hay,[5] who was
Deputy-Commissioner at the time, induced most of the ladies,
with their children, to seek a temporary asylum with the Raja of
Kiunthal.[6] Hay himself managed to keep Simla quiet, and the men
of the Nasiri battalion coming to their senses, order was restored
throughout the hills. The money taken from the Kasauli treasury was
nearly all voluntarily given up, and before the year was out the
battalion did us good service.

It was a long list of troubles that was placed before the
Commander-in-Chief. Disturbing as they all were, each requiring prompt
and special action, there was one amongst them which stood out in bold
relief--the situation at Delhi; and to wrest that stronghold from the
hands of the mutineers was, General Anson conceived, his most pressing
obligation. But could it be done with the means at his disposal?
He thought not; and in this opinion he was supported by the senior
officers at Umballa, with whom the question was anxiously discussed at
a conference held at Sir Henry Barnard's house on the 16th May.[7] It
was nevertheless determined to push on to Delhi, and General Hewitt
was asked what force he could spare from Meerut to co-operate with the
Umballa column. He was warned that time was an object, and that the
23rd May was the date on which his troops would probably be required
to start. All details were carefully considered. The first difficulty
to be overcome was the want of carriage. No organized system of
transport--one of the most essential requirements of an efficient
army--existed, and, owing to the restlessness and uncertainty which
prevailed throughout the country, the civil authorities were unable to
collect carts and camels with the usual rapidity.[8]

That afternoon General Anson received a letter from Sir John Lawrence
urging the importance of an immediate advance on Delhi, and giving an
outline of the measures he proposed to adopt in the Punjab. He asked
the Commander-in-Chief to give a general sanction to the arrangements,
and concluded with these words: "I consider this to be the greatest
crisis which has ever occurred in India. Our European force is so
small that, unless effectively handled in the outset, and brought to
bear, it will prove unequal to the emergency. But with vigour and
promptitude, under the blessing of God, it will prove irresistible."

Anson naturally hesitated to advance with an inefficient and only
partially equipped force against a strongly-fortified city with
an immense armed population, defended by many thousand desperate
mutineers, and in his reply (dated the 17th May) he put the case
plainly before Sir John Lawrence. He pointed out that the Europeans
were without tents; that there were no guns at Umballa or Meerut
heavier than six or nine pounders with which to batter down the walls
of Delhi; that the required amount of carriage could not be provided
in less than sixteen or twenty days; and that the three Native corps
at Umballa could not be depended upon. He asked Sir John whether he
considered 'it would be prudent to risk the small European force we
have here in an enterprise against Delhi,' and he wrote: 'My own view
of the state of things now is, by carefully collecting our resources,
having got rid of the bad materials which we cannot trust, and having
supplied their places with others of a better sort, it would not be
very long before we could proceed, without a chance of failure, in
whatever direction we might please.' Adding, 'this is now the opinion
of all here whom I have consulted--the Major-General and Brigadier,
the Adjutant-General, Quartermaster-General and Commissary-General.'
Anson concluded his letter with the following words: 'It would give me
great satisfaction to have your views upon the present crisis, for I
would trust to them more than to my experience.'

John Lawrence, who was straining every nerve to check the Mutiny and
prevent a general rising of the population, was impatient at the idea
of delay, and lost no time in giving Anson his opinion. He telegraphed
it briefly on the 20th, and the following day he wrote to the effect
that he knew Delhi well, having been stationed there for nearly
thirteen years, and it seemed incredible to him that mutineers could
hold and defend it; his belief was 'that, with good management on the
part of the civil officers, it would open its gates on the approach of
our troops.' He admitted that 'on military principles, in the present
state of affairs, it may not be expedient to advance on Delhi until
the Meerut force is prepared to act.' But he protested against
European soldiers being 'cooped up in their cantonments, tamely
awaiting the progress of events.' He went on to say: 'Pray only
reflect on the whole history of India. Where have we failed when
we acted vigorously? Where have we succeeded when guided by timid
counsels? Clive with 1,200 men fought at Plassy, in opposition to
the advice of his leading officers, beat 40,000 men, and conquered

That Sir John Lawrence greatly under-estimated the difficulties which
Anson had to overcome we now know. Delhi did not open its gates on our
approach, but for more than three months defied all our efforts to
capture it. And in his eagerness to get the Commander-in-Chief
to think as he did, the resolute Chief Commissioner forgot that
Clive--not with 1,200 men, but with 3,000 disciplined troops--had to
deal in the open field with an enemy little better than a rabble;
whereas Anson had to attack a strong fortress, amply supplied with
stores and ammunition, possessing a powerful armament, and held
by soldiers who were not only well trained and equipped, but were
fighting for their lives, and animated by religious fanaticism.

Still, there can be no doubt that John Lawrence's views as to the
necessity for Delhi being taken at all hazards were correct. The
Governor-General held the same opinion, and strongly urged it upon
Anson, who loyally responded, and during the short time he remained at
Umballa strenuously exerted himself to equip the troops destined for
the arduous task.

While preparing for his advance on the Moghul capital, Anson did not
neglect to provide, as far as lay in his power, for the safety of
Umballa. The soldiers' wives and children were sent to Kasauli; a
place of refuge was made for the non-combatants at the church, round
which an entrenchment was thrown; a garrison, about 500 strong, was
formed of the sick and weakly men of the several European regiments,
assisted by some of the Patiala troops; and as an additional security
half the Native corps were sent into the district, and the other half
with the column to Delhi.

John Lawrence had strongly advocated the policy of trusting the
Maharaja of Patiala and the Rajas of Jhind and Nabha. The attitude of
these Chiefs was of extreme importance, for if they had not been well
disposed towards us, our communication with the Punjab would have been
imperilled. There was therefore much anxiety at Umballa as to the
course Patiala, Jhind, and Nabha (the three principal members of
the great Phulkian family) would elect to take. Douglas Forsyth,[9]
Deputy-Commissioner of Umballa, who was a personal friend of the
Maharaja of Patiala, at once sought an interview with him. He
was beginning to explain to the Maharaja the difficulties of the
situation, when he was interrupted by His Highness, who said he was
aware of all that had happened; on which Forsyth asked if it was
true that emissaries from the King of Delhi had come to Patiala. The
Maharaja pointed to some men seated at a little distance, saying,
'There they are.' Forsyth then asked for a word in private. As soon as
they were alone, he addressed the Maharaja thus: 'Maharaja _sahib_,
answer me one question: Are you for us, or against us?' The Maharaja's
reply was very hearty: 'As long as I live I am yours, but you know
I have enemies in my own country; some of my relations are against
me--my brother for one. What do you want done?' Forsyth then asked the
Maharaja to send some of his troops towards Kurnal to keep open the
Grand Trunk Road. The Maharaja agreed on the understanding that
Europeans should soon be sent to support them--a very necessary
condition, for he knew that his men could only be trusted so long as
there was no doubt of our ultimate success.

Patiala was true to his word, and throughout the Mutiny the Phulkian
Chiefs remained perfectly loyal, and performed the important service
of keeping open communication between Delhi and the Punjab.[10]

On the 19th May General Anson was cheered by hearing from John
Lawrence that the Corps of Guides and four trusty Punjab regiments
were proceeding by forced marches to join him. On the 21st he received
a message from the Governor-General informing him that European troops
were coming from Madras, Bombay, and Ceylon. He also heard of the
arrival of the siege-train at Umballa, and he had the satisfaction of
telegraphing to the Chief Commissioner that the first detachment of
the column destined for Delhi had started.

On the 23rd the Commander-in-Chief communicated his plan of operations
to General Hewitt. It was as follows: Two brigades were to advance
from Umballa, commanded by Brigadier Hallifax of the 75th Foot, and
Colonel Jones of the 60th Rifles; and one brigade from Meerut, under
the command of Brigadier Archdale Wilson. The two former were to be
concentrated at Kurnal by the 30th May, and were then to advance,
under General Anson, so as to arrive opposite Baghput on the 5th June,
at which place they were to be joined by the Meerut brigade, and the
united force was then to proceed to Delhi.

All his arrangements being now completed, Anson left Umballa on the
24th May, and reached Kurnal the following morning. On the 26th he was
struck down by cholera, and in a few hours succumbed to that fatal
disease. His last words expressed a hope that his country would do him
justice, and it is grievous to feel that, in estimating his work and
the difficulties he had to encounter, full justice has not been done
him. Anson has been undeservedly blamed for vacillation and want of
promptitude. He was told to 'make short work of Delhi,' but before
Delhi could be taken more men had perished than his whole force at
that time amounted to. The advice to march upon Delhi was sound, but
had it been rashly followed disaster would have been the inevitable
result. Had the Commander-in-Chief been goaded into advancing without
spare ammunition and siege Artillery, or with an insufficient force,
he must have been annihilated by the overwhelming masses of the
mutineers--those mutineers, who, we shall see later, stoutly opposed
Barnard's greatly augmented force at Badli-ki-Serai, would almost
certainly have repulsed, if not destroyed, a smaller body of troops.

On the death of General Anson the command of the Field Force devolved
on Major-General Sir Henry Barnard.

[Footnote 1: 'I am not so much surprised,' wrote General Anson to Lord
Canning on the 23rd March, 'at their objections to the cartridges,
having seen them. I had no idea they contained, or, rather, are
smeared with, such a quantity of grease, which looks exactly like fat.
After ramming down the ball, the muzzle of the musket is covered
with it. This, however, will, I imagine, not be the case with those
prepared according to the late instructions. But there are now
misgivings about the paper, and I think it so desirable that they
should be assured that no animal grease is used in its manufacture,
that I have ordered a special report to be made to me on that head
from Meerut, and until I receive an answer, and am satisfied that no
objectionable material is used, no firing at the depots by the sepoys
will take place. It would be easy to dismiss the detachments to their
regiments without any practice, on the ground that the hot weather is
so advanced, and that very little progress could be made, but I do not
think that would be admissible. The question, having been raised, must
be settled. It would only be deferred till another year, and I trust
that the measures taken by the Government when the objection was first
made, and the example of the punishment of the 19th Native Infantry
and of the other delinquents of the 70th, now being tried by a General
Court-Martial, will have the effect we desire.'--KAYE, vol. i., p.

[Footnote 2: Surely those whom God has a mind to destroy, He first
deprives of their senses; for not only were the magazines at Delhi and
Cawnpore allowed to fall into the enemy's hands, but the great arsenal
at Allahabad narrowly escaped the same fate. Up till May, 1857, this
fort was garrisoned only by Native soldiers. Early in that month sixty
worn-out European pensioners were brought to Allahabad from Chunar,
with whose assistance, and that of a few hastily raised Volunteers,
Lieutenants Russell and Tod Brown, of the Bengal Artillery, were able
to overawe and disarm the Native guard on the very night on which the
regiments to which they belonged mutinied in the adjoining cantonment.
These two gallant officers had taken the precaution to fill the
cellars below the armoury (which contained some 50,000 or 60,000
stands of arms) with barrels of powder, their intention being to blow
up the whole place in the event of the sepoys getting the upper hand.
This determination was known to all in the fort, and no doubt had
something to say to the guard submitting to be disarmed.]

[Footnote 3: He has been accused of dilatoriness and want of decision
after hearing the news.]

[Footnote 4: Places at the foot of the Himalayas.]

[Footnote 5: Now the Marquis of Tweeddale.]

[Footnote 6: A small hill state near Simla.]

[Footnote 7: It is a remarkable fact that the five senior officers at
this conference were all dead in less than seven weeks. General Anson,
Brigadier Hallifax, commanding the Umballa station, and Colonel
Mowatt, commanding the Artillery, died within ten days; Colonel
Chester, Adjutant-General of the Army, was killed at Badli-ki-Serai on
the 8th June, and Sir Henry Barnard died at Delhi on the 5th July.]

[Footnote 8: See Kaye's 'History of the Indian Mutiny,' vol. ii., p.

[Footnote 9: The late Sir Douglas Forsyth, K.C.S.I.]

[Footnote 10: See 'The Life of Sir Douglas Forsyth.']

       *       *       *       *       *


  John Lawrence's wise measures--Disarmament at Peshawar
  --Salutary effect in the valley

I will now continue my story from the time I left Peshawar to join the
Movable Column.

On the 18th May Brigadier Chamberlain and I arrived at Rawal Pindi,
where we joined the Chief Commissioner, who had got thus far on his
way to his summer residence in the Murree Hills when tidings of the
disaster reached him. One of Sir John Lawrence's first acts after
talking over matters with Chamberlain was to summon Edwardes from
Peshawar, for he wished to consult with him personally about the
question of raising levies and enlisting more frontier men, the only
one of Edwardes's and Nicholson's proposals regarding which the Chief
Commissioner had any doubt; it appeared to him a somewhat risky step
to take, and he desired to give the matter very careful consideration
before coming to any decision. I remember being greatly struck with
the weight given by Lawrence to Edwardes's opinion. He called him his
Councillor, he eagerly sought his advice, and he evidently placed the
utmost reliance on his judgment.

During the six days that we remained at Rawal Pindi waiting for the
Movable Column to be assembled, I spent the greater part of my time
in the Chief Commissioner's office, drafting or copying confidential
letters and telegrams. I thus learned everything that was happening in
the Punjab, and became aware of the magnitude of the crisis through
which we were passing. This enabled me to appreciate the tremendous
efforts required to cope with the danger, and to understand that the
fate of Delhi and the lives of our countrymen and countrywomen in
Upper India depended upon the action taken by the authorities in the
Punjab. I realized that Sir John Lawrence thought of every detail, and
how correct was his judgment as to which of his subordinates could, or
could not, be trusted. The many European women and children scattered
over the province caused him the greatest anxiety, and he wisely
determined to collect them as much as possible at hill stations and
the larger centres, where they would be under the protection of
British troops; for this reason he ordered the families of the
European soldiers at Sialkot (who were being withdrawn to join the
Movable Column) to be sent to Lahore. But, notwithstanding all that
had occurred, and was daily occurring, to demonstrate how universal
was the spirit of disaffection throughout the Native Army, Brigadier
Frederick Brind, who commanded at Sialkot, could not be brought to
believe that the regiments serving under his command would ever prove
disloyal, and he strongly objected to carry out an order which he
denounced as 'showing a want of confidence in the sepoys.' John
Lawrence, however, stood firm. Brind was ordered to despatch the
soldiers' families without delay, and advised to urge the civilians
and military officers to send away their families at the same time. A
few of the ladies and children were sent off, but some were allowed to
remain until the troops mutinied, when the Brigadier was one of the
first to pay the penalty of his misplaced confidence, being shot down
by one of his own orderlies.

We had not been long at Rawal Pindi before we heard that the
uneasiness at Peshawar was hourly increasing, and that the detachment
of the 55th Native Infantry[1] at Nowshera had mutinied and broken
open the magazine. The military force in the Peshawar valley had been
considerably weakened by the withdrawal of the 27th Foot and Corps of
Guides; it was evident that disaffection was rapidly spreading, and
what was still more alarming was the ominously restless feelings
amongst the principal tribes on the frontier. Nicholson encountered
considerable difficulty in raising local levies, and there was a
general unwillingness to enlist. Our disasters in Kabul in 1841-42
had not been forgotten; our cause was considered desperate, and even
Nicholson could not persuade men to join it. It was clear that this
state of affairs must not be allowed to continue, and that some
decisive measures must quickly be taken, or there would be a general
rising along the frontier.

Matters seemed to be drawing to a head, when it was wisely determined
to disarm the Native regiments at Peshawar without delay. This
conclusion was come to at midnight on the 21st May, when the news of
the unfortunate occurrences at Nowshera reached Edwardes, who had
returned that morning from Rawal Pindi. He and Nicholson felt that
no time was to be lost, for if the sepoys heard that the regiment at
Nowshera had mutinied, it would be too late to attempt to disarm them.
Going forthwith to the Brigadier's house, they communicated their
views to Sydney Cotton, who thoroughly appreciated the urgency of the
case, and, acting with the most praiseworthy decision, summoned the
commanding officers of all the Native regiments to be at his house at

When they were assembled, the Brigadier carefully explained to
the officers how matters stood. He pointed out to them that their
regiments were known to be on the verge of mutiny, and that they must
be disarmed forthwith, ending by expressing his great regret at having
to take so serious a step.

The officers were quite aghast. They were persistent and almost
insubordinate in expressing their conviction that the measure was
wholly uncalled-for, that the sepoys were thoroughly loyal, and that,
notwithstanding what had occurred in other places, they had perfect
confidence in their men.

The Brigadier, who knew the officers well, felt that every allowance
should be made for them, called upon as they were to disarm the men
with whom they had been so long associated, and in whom they
still implicitly believed. But although he regarded the officers'
remonstrances as natural and excusable, Cotton never wavered in his
decision, for he was experienced enough to see that the evil was
widespread and deep-seated, and that any display of confidence or
attempt at conciliation in dealing with the disaffected regiments
would be worse than useless.

The parade, which was ordered for 7 a.m., was conducted with great
judgment. The European troops were skilfully disposed so as to render
resistance useless, and four out of the five regular Native regiments
were called upon to lay down their arms. The fifth regiment--the 21st
Native Infantry[2]--was exempted from this indignity, partly because
it had shown no active symptoms of disaffection, was well commanded
and had good officers, and partly because it would have been extremely
difficult to carry on the military duties of the station without some
Native Infantry.

The two regiments of Irregular Cavalry were also spared the disgrace
of being disarmed. It was hoped that the stake the Native officers
and men had in the service (their horses and arms being their own
property) would prevent them from taking an active part in the Mutiny,
and it was believed that the British officers who served with them,
and who for the most part were carefully selected, had sufficient
influence over their men to keep them straight. This hope proved to be
not altogether without foundation, for of the eighteen regiments of
Irregular Cavalry which existed in May, 1857, eight are still borne on
the strength of the Bengal Army; while of the ten regiments of Regular
Cavalry and seventy-four of Infantry, none of the former, and only
eleven of the latter, now remain.

How immediate and salutary were the effects of the disarmament on
the inhabitants of the Peshawar valley will be seen by the following
account which Edwardes gave of it. 'As we rode down to the disarming a
very few Chiefs and yeomen of the country attended us; and I remember
judging from their faces that they came to see which way the tide
would turn. As we rode back friends were as thick as summer flies, and
levies began from that moment to come in.'

The Subadar-Major of the 51st--one of the four regiments disarmed--had
a few days before written to the men of the 64th, who were divided
amongst the outposts, calling upon them to return to Peshawar in time
to join in the revolt fixed for the 22nd May. The letter ran; 'In
whatever way you can manage it, come into Peshawar on the 21st
instant. Thoroughly understand that point! In fact, eat there and
drink here.' The rapidity with which the disarmament had been carried
through spoilt the Subadar-Major's little game; he had, however, gone
too far to draw back, and on the night of the 22nd he deserted, taking
with him 250 men of the regiment. His hopes were a second time doomed
to disappointment. However welcome 250 muskets might have been to the
Afridis, 250 unarmed sepoys were no prize; and as our neighbours in
the hills had evidently come to the conclusion that our _raj_ was not
in such a desperate state as they had imagined, and that their best
policy was to side with us, they caught the deserters, with the
assistance of the district police, and made them over to the
authorities. The men were all tried by Court-Martial, and the
Subadar-Major was hanged in the presence of the whole garrison.

On the 23rd May, the day after the disarmament, news was received at
Peshawar that the 55th Native Infantry had mutinied at Mardan, and
that the 10th Irregular Cavalry, which was divided between Nowshera
and Mardan, had turned against us. A force was at once despatched to
restore order, and Nicholson accompanied it as political officer. No
sooner did the mutineers, on the morning of the 25th, catch sight
of the approaching column than they broke out of the fort and fled
towards the Swat hills. Nicholson pursued with his levies and mounted
police, and before night 120 fugitives were killed and as many more
made prisoners. The remainder found no welcome among the hill tribes,
and eventually became wanderers over the country until they died or
were killed. Poor Spottiswoode, the Colonel, committed suicide shortly
before the Peshawar troops reached Mardan.

[Footnote 1: The Head-Quarters of this regiment had been sent to
Mardan in place of the Guides.]

[Footnote 2: Now the 1st Bengal Infantry.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Neville Chamberlain's presence of mind
  --The command of the Column--Robert Montgomery
  --Disarmament at Mian Mir
  --A Drum-Head Court-Martial--Swift retribution

While I was employed in the Chief Commissioner's office at Rawal Pindi
it became known that the Mutineers intended to make their stand at
Delhi, and immediately urgent demands came from the Head-Quarters of
the army for troops to be sent from the Punjab. Sir John Lawrence
exerted himself to the uttermost, even to the extent of denuding his
own province to a somewhat dangerous degree, and the Guides and 1st
Punjab Infantry, which had been told off for the Movable Column, were
ordered instead to proceed to Delhi.

The Guides, a corps second to none in Her Majesty's Indian Army, was
commanded by Captain Daly,[1] and consisted of three troops of Cavalry
and six companies of Infantry. The regiment had got as far as Attock,
when it received the order to proceed to Delhi, and pushed on at once
by double marches. The 4th Sikhs, under Captain Rothney, and the 1st
Punjab Infantry, under Major Coke,[2] followed in quick succession,
and later on the following troops belonging to the Punjab Frontier
Force were despatched towards Delhi: a squadron of the 1st Punjab
Cavalry, under Lieutenant John Watson (my companion in Kashmir);
a squadron of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry, under Lieutenant Charles
Nicholson[3] (John Nicholson's brother); a squadron of the 5th Punjab
Cavalry, under Lieutenant Younghusband; and the 2nd and 4th Punjab
Infantry, commanded respectively by Captains G. Green[4] and A.

We (Brigadier Chamberlain and I) remained at Rawal Pindi until the
24th May to give our servants and horses time to reach Wazirabad, and
then started on a mail-cart for the latter place, which we reached
on the 27th. Lieutenant James Walker,[6] of the Bombay Engineers,
accompanied us as the Brigadier's orderly officer.

The Grand Trunk Road, which runs in a direct line from Calcutta to
Peshawar, was then in course of construction through the Punjab, and
in places was in rather an elementary condition. The drivers of the
mail-carts sent along their half-wild and entirely unbroken ponies at
racing speed, regardless alike of obstacles and consequences. With an
enterprising coachman the usual pace was about twelve miles an
hour, including stoppages. As we were recklessly flying along, the
Brigadier, who was sitting in front, perceived that one of the reins
had become unbuckled, and warned Walker and me to look out for an
upset. Had the coachman not discovered the state of his tackle all
might have been well, for the ponies needed no guiding along the
well-known road. Unfortunately, however, he became aware of what had
happened, lost his head, and pulled the reins; the animals dashed off
the road, there was a crash, and we found ourselves on the ground,
scattered in different directions. No great damage was done, and in a
few minutes we had righted the cart, re-harnessed the ponies, and were
rushing along as before.

In order that the authorities at Rawal Pindi might be able to
communicate with the Movable Column while on the march and away
from telegraph stations, which were few and far between in 1857, a
signaller accompanied us, and travelled with his instruments on a
second mail-cart, and wherever we halted for the day he attached his
wire to the main line. He had just completed the attachment on our
arrival at Wazirabad, when I observed that the instrument was working,
and on drawing the signaller's attention to it, he read off a message
which was at that moment being transmitted to the Chief Commissioner,
informing him of the death of the Commander-in-Chief at Kurnal the
previous day. This sad news did not directly affect the Movable
Column, as it had been organized by, and was under the orders of, the
Punjab Government, which for the time being had become responsible for
the military, as well as the civil, administration in the north of

The column had marched into Wazirabad the day before we arrived.
It consisted of Major Dawes' troop of European Horse Artillery,
a European battery of Field Artillery, commanded by Captain
Bourchier,[7] and Her Majesty's 52nd Light Infantry, commanded by
Colonel George Campbell. In addition, and with a view to reducing the
Native garrison of Sialkot, a wing of the 9th Bengal Light Cavalry and
the 35th Native Infantry were attached to the column.

My first duty at Wazirabad was to call upon the senior officer,
Colonel Campbell, and inform him that Brigadier Chamberlain had come
to take over command of the Movable Column. I found the Colonel lying
on his bed trying to make himself as comfortable as it was possible
with the thermometer at 117° Fahrenheit. We had not met before, and he
certainly received me in a very off-hand manner. He never moved from
his recumbent position, and on my delivering my message, he told me he
was not aware that the title of Brigadier carried military rank
with it; that he understood Brigadier Chamberlain was only a
Lieutenant-Colonel, whereas he held the rank of Colonel in Her
Majesty's army; and that, under these circumstances, he must decline
to acknowledge Brigadier Chamberlain as his senior officer. I replied
that I would give his message to the Brigadier, and took my leave.

When Chamberlain heard what had occurred, he desired me to return to
Campbell and explain that he had no wish to dispute the question of
relative seniority, and that in assuming command of the column he
was only carrying out the orders of the Commander-in-Chief in India.
Campbell, who technically speaking had the right on his side, was
not to be appeased, and requested me to inform the Brigadier of his
determination not to serve under an officer whom he considered to be
his junior.

This was not a pleasant beginning to our duties with the column, and
Chamberlain thought that we had better take our departure and leave
Campbell in command until the question could be settled by superior
authority. Campbell was accordingly asked to march the troops to
Lahore, to which place we continued our journey by mail-cart.

At the same time a reference was made to Sir John Lawrence and
General Reed, which resulted in the decision that, under the peculiar
circumstances of the case, it was essential that an officer of Indian
experience should be in command of the column, and that Campbell,
having only been a very short time in the country, did not fulfil this
condition; but Campbell was told that, if he objected to serve under
Chamberlain, he could remain at Lahore with the Head-Quarters of his
regiment. Campbell, who at heart was really a very nice fellow and an
excellent officer, would not be separated from the 52nd, and agreed
to serve under the Brigadier, reserving to himself the right of
protesting when the new Commander-in-Chief should arrive in India.

There was probably another reason for Campbell not wishing to serve
under Chamberlain besides that of being senior to him in the army, in
the fact that the Brigadier was a servant of 'John Company,' while
Campbell belonged to the 'Queen's Service.' From the time of the
establishment of a local army there had existed an absurd and
unfortunate jealousy between the officers of the Queen's and Company's
services, and one of the best results of the Mutiny was its gradual
disappearance. This ill-feeling influenced not only fellow-countrymen,
but relations, even brothers, if they belonged to the different
services, and was distinctly prejudicial to the interests of the
Government. It is difficult to understand how so puerile a sentiment
could have been so long indulged in by officers who no doubt
considered themselves sensible Englishmen.[8]

On the 31st May we arrived at Lahore, where we found everyone in a
state of considerable excitement. Lahore was and is the great centre
of the Punjab, and to it non-combatants and English ladies with their
children were hurrying from all the outlying districts. In the city
itself there was a mixed population of nearly 100,000, chiefly Sikhs
and Mahomedans, many of the former old soldiers who had served in the
Khalsa Army. The fort, which was within the walls of the city, was
garrisoned by half a regiment of sepoys, one company of European
Infantry, and a few European Artillerymen. Mian Mir, five miles
off, was the Head-Quarters of the Lahore division; it was a long,
straggling cantonment, laid out for a much larger force than it has
ever been found necessary to place there, with the European Infantry
at one end and the European Artillery at the other, separated by
Native troops. This arrangement (which existed in almost every station
in India) is another proof of the implicit confidence placed in the
Native army--a confidence in mercenary soldiers of alien races which
seems all the more surprising when we call to mind the warnings
that for nearly a hundred years had been repeatedly given of the
possibility of disaffection existing amongst Native troops.

There were four Native regiments at Mian Mir, one of Cavalry and three
of Infantry, while the European portion of the garrison consisted of
one weak Infantry regiment, two troops of Horse Artillery, and four
companies of Foot Artillery. This force was commanded by Brigadier
Corbett, of the Bengal Army; he had been nearly forty years in the
service, was mentally and physically vigorous, and had no fear of
responsibility. Robert Montgomery[9] was then chief civil officer at
Lahore. He was of a most gentle and benevolent nature, with a rubicund
countenance and a short, somewhat portly figure, which characteristics
led to his being irreverently called 'Pickwick,' and probably if he
had lived in less momentous times he would never have been credited
with the great qualities which the crisis in the Punjab proved him to

On receipt of the telegraphic news of the outbreaks at Meerut and
Delhi, Montgomery felt that immediate action was necessary. He at once
set to work to discover the temper of the Native troops at Mian Mir,
and soon ascertained that they were disaffected to the core, and were
only waiting to hear from their friends in the south to break into
open mutiny. He thoroughly understood the Native character, and
realized the danger to the whole province of there being anything in
the shape of a serious disturbance at its capital; so after consulting
his various officials, Montgomery decided to suggest to the Brigadier
the advisability of disarming the sepoys, or, if that were considered
too strong a measure, of taking their ammunition from them. Corbett
met him quite half-way; he also saw that the danger was imminent, and
that prompt action was necessary, but he not unnaturally shrank from
taking the extreme step of disarming men whose loyalty had never until
then been doubted--a step, moreover, which he knew would be keenly
resented by all the regimental officers--he therefore at first only
agreed to deprive the sepoys of their ammunition; later in the day,
however, after thinking the matter over, he came to the conclusion
that it would be better to adopt Montgomery's bolder proposal, and he
informed him accordingly that he would 'go the whole hog.'

I do not think that Corbett's action on this occasion has been
sufficiently appreciated. That he decided rightly there can be no
doubt, but very few officers holding commands in India at that time
would have accepted such responsibility. His knowledge as to what had
happened at Meerut and Delhi was based on one or two meagre telegrams,
and the information Montgomery gave him as to the treacherous
intentions of the sepoys at Mian Mir had been obtained by means of
a spy, who, it was quite possible, might have been actuated by
interested motives.

Having made up his mind what should be done, Corbett had the good
sense to understand that success depended on its being done quickly,
and on the Native troops being kept absolutely in the dark as to what
was about to take place. A general parade was ordered for the next
morning, the 13th May, and it was wisely determined not to put off a
ball which was being given that evening to the officers of the 81st
Foot. The secret was confided to very few, and the great majority of
those who were taking part in the entertainment were ignorant of the
reason for a parade having been ordered the following morning--an
unusual proceeding which caused a certain amount of grumbling.

When the sepoys were drawn up, it was explained to them in their own
language that they were about to be deprived of their arms, in order
to put temptation out of their reach, and save them from the disgrace
of being led away by the evil example of other corps. Whilst they were
being thus addressed, the Horse Artillery and 81st Foot took up a
second line immediately in rear of the Native regiments, the guns
being quietly loaded with grape during the manoeuvre. The regiments
were then directed to change front to the rear, when they found
themselves face to face with the British troops. The order was given
to the sepoys to 'pile arms'; one of the regiments hesitated, but only
for a moment; resistance was hopeless, and the word of command was
sullenly obeyed.

The same morning the fort of Lahore was secured. Three companies of
the 81st marched into it at daylight, relieved the sepoys of their
guards, and ordered them to lay down their arms. Another company
of the same regiment travelled through the night in carriages to
Umritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs, and occupied the fortress
of Govindgarh. Montgomery had been very anxious about these two
strongholds, and it was a great satisfaction to him to know that they
were at length safely guarded by British bayonets.

Although, as I have said, we found Lahore in a state of considerable
excitement, it was satisfactory to see how fully the situation had
been grasped, and how everything that was possible had been done
to maintain order, and show the people of the Punjab that we were
prepared to hold our own. Montgomery's foresight and decision, and
Corbett's hearty and willing co-operation, checked, if not altogether
stopped, what, under less energetic management, would assuredly have
resulted in very grievous trouble. Excitement was inevitable. There
was a general stir throughout the province. Lahore was crowded with
the families of European soldiers, and with ladies who had come there
from various parts of the Punjab, all in terrible anxiety as to what
might be the ultimate fate of their husbands and relatives; some of
whom were with Native regiments, whose loyalty was more than doubtful;
some with the Movable Column, the destination of which was uncertain;
while others were already on their way to join the army hurrying to

The difficulty with Campbell having been settled, Chamberlain assumed
the command of the Movable Column, the advent of which on the 2nd June
was hailed with delight by all the Europeans at Lahore. A regiment of
British Infantry and two batteries of Artillery afforded a much needed
support to the handful of British soldiers keeping guard over the
great capital of the Punjab, and gave confidence to the Sikhs and
others disposed to be loyal, but who were doubtful as to the wisdom of
siding with us.

The disturbing element was the Native troops which accompanied the
column. They had not shown openly that they contemplated mutiny, but
we knew that they were not to be trusted, and were only watching for
an opportunity to break out and escape to Delhi with their arms.

I was living with the Brigadier in a house only a few minutes' walk
from the garden where the Native regiments were encamped, and the
spies we were employing to watch them had orders to come to me
whenever anything suspicious should occur. During the night of the
8th June one of these men awoke me with the news that the 35th Native
Infantry intended to revolt at daybreak, and that some of them had
already loaded their muskets. I awoke the Brigadier, who directed me
to go at once to the British officers of the regiment, tell them what
we had heard, and that he would be with them shortly. As soon as the
Brigadier arrived the men were ordered to fall in, and on their arms
being examined two of them were found to have been loaded. The sepoys
to whom the muskets belonged were made prisoners, and I was ordered to
see them lodged in the police-station.

Chamberlain determined to lose no time in dealing with the case, and
although Drum-Head Courts-Martial were then supposed to be obsolete,
he decided to revive, for this occasion, that very useful means of
disposing, in time of war, of grave cases of crime.

The Brigadier thought it desirable that the Court-Martial should be
composed of Native, rather than British, officers, as being likely to
be looked upon by the prisoners as a more impartial tribunal, under
the peculiar circumstances in which we were placed. This was made
possible by the arrival of the 1st Punjab Infantry--Coke's Rifles--a
grand regiment under a grand Commander. Raised in 1849, composed
chiefly of Sikhs and Pathans, and possessing Native officers of
undoubted loyalty, the 1st Punjab Infantry had taken part in almost
every frontier expedition during the previous eight years. Its history
was a glorious record of faithful and devoted service, such as can
only be rendered by brave men led by officers in whom they believe and
trust.[10] The Subadar-Major of the corps was a man called Mir Jaffir,
a most gallant Afghan soldier, who entered the British service during
the first Afghan war, and distinguished himself greatly in all the
subsequent frontier fights. This Native officer was made president
of the Court-Martial. The prisoners were found guilty of mutiny, and
sentenced to death. Chamberlain decided that they should be blown away
from guns, in the presence of their own comrades, as being the most
awe-inspiring means of carrying the sentence into effect.[11] A parade
was at once ordered. The troops were drawn up so as to form three
sides of a square; on the fourth side were two guns. As the prisoners
were being brought to the parade, one of them asked me if they were
going to be blown from guns. I said, 'Yes.' He made no further remark,
and they both walked steadily on until they reached the guns, to which
they were bound, when one of them requested that some rupees he had on
his person might be saved for his relations. The Brigadier answered:
'It is too late!' The word of command was given; the guns went off
simultaneously, and the two mutineers were launched into eternity.

It was a terrible sight, and one likely to haunt the beholder for many
a long day; but that was what was intended. I carefully watched
the sepoys' faces to see how it affected them. They were evidently
startled at the swift retribution which had overtaken their guilty
comrades, but looked more crest-fallen than shocked or horrified, and
we soon learnt that their determination to mutiny, and make the best
of their way to Delhi, was in nowise changed by the scene they had

[Footnote 1: The late General Sir Henry Daly, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 2: Now General Sir John Coke, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 3: Afterwards commanded by Lieutenant, now General, Sir
Dighton Probyn, V.C., G.C.V.O., K.C.B.]

[Footnote 4: The late Major-General Sir George Green, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 5: The late Lieutenant-General Sir Alfred Wilde, K.C.B.,

[Footnote 6: The late General James Walker, C.B., sometime
Surveyor-General in India.]

[Footnote 7: Now General Sir George Bourchier, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 8: Now, except for one short interval, every officer who has
joined the Indian Army since 1861 must, in the first instance, have
belonged or been attached to one of Her Majesty's British regiments:
the great majority have been educated at Sandhurst or Woolwich, and
all feel that they are members of the same army.]

[Footnote 9: The late Sir Robert Montgomery, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 10: During the operations in the Kohat Pass in February,
1850, within twelve months of the corps being raised, several of the
men were killed and wounded. Among the latter was a Pathan named
Mahomed Gul. He was shot through the body in two places, and as Coke
sat by him while he was dying, he said, with a smile on his face:
'_Sahib_, I am happy; but promise me one thing--don't let my old
mother want. I leave her to your care.']

[Footnote 11: Awe-inspiring certainly, but probably the most humane,
as being a sure and instantaneous mode of execution.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Ferozepore--Crawford Chamberlain at Multan
  --Chamberlain's masterly conduct
  --Nicholson succeeds Neville Chamberlain--Irresolution at Jullundur
  --General Mehtab Sing--Nicholson's soldierly instincts
  --More disarmaments

For a few days after our arrival at Lahore nothing could be settled as
to the further movements of the column. It was wanted in all parts of
the Punjab: Ferozeporo, Multan, Jhelum, Sialkot, Umritsar, Jullundur,
Philour, Ludhiana--all these places were more or less disturbed, and
all were clamorous for help.

At Ferozepore the Native regiments[1] broke out on the 13th May, when
they made a daring, but unsuccessful effort to seize the arsenal,
situated inside the fort and the largest in Upper India. Had that
fallen into the hands of the rebels, Delhi could not have been
captured without very considerable delay, for the besieging force
depended mainly upon Ferozepore for the supply of munitions of war.
The fort had been allowed to fall into bad repair, and the mutineers
had no difficulty in forcing their way inside; there, fortunately,
they were checked by the wall which surrounded the arsenal, and this
obstacle, insignificant as it was, enabled the guard to hold its own.
Originally this guard consisted entirely of Native soldiers, but, as
I have already recorded, after the outbreak at Meerut, Europeans
had been told off for the charge of this important post; so strong,
however, here as elsewhere, was the belief in the loyalty of the
sepoys, and so great was the reluctance to do anything which might
hurt their feelings, that the Native guard was not withdrawn. This
same guard, when the attack took place, did its best to assist the
assailants, and even prepared scaling-ladders to enable the latter to
gain access to the magazine enclosure. The Europeans, however,
were equal to the emergency; they overpowered and disarmed their
treacherous companions, and then succeeded in beating off and
dispersing the attacking party.

Being foiled in this attempt, the mutineers returned to the
cantonment, set fire to the church and other buildings, and then
started for Delhi. Ferozepore had a large European garrison, a
regiment of Infantry, a battery of Field Artillery, and a company of
Foot Artillery, and was supposed to be able to look after itself,
although affairs had been greatly mismanaged.

Multan had next to be considered. Matters at that station were very
unsettled, and indeed were causing the authorities grave anxiety, but
Multan was more fortunate than many places, in being in the hands of
an unusually able, experienced officer, Major Crawford Chamberlain.
Consequently, the Commander-in-Chief and Chief Commissioner agreed,
while fully appreciating the great value of Multan, that the presence
of British troops was less urgently needed there than elsewhere,
and it was decided they could not be spared from the Punjab for its

The garrison at Multan consisted of a troop of Native Horse Artillery,
two regiments of Native Infantry, and the 1st Irregular Cavalry,
composed entirely of Hindustanis from the neighbourhood of Delhi;
while in the old Sikh fort there were about fifty European
Artillerymen, in charge of a small magazine. The station was nominally
commanded by an officer who had been thirty-four years in the army,
and had great experience amongst Natives; but he had fallen into such
a bad state of health, that he was quite unfit to deal with the
crisis which had now arrived. The command, therefore, was practically
exercised by Chamberlain. Next to Delhi and Lahore, Multan was the
most important place in Upper India, as our communication with the sea
and southern India depended on its preservation.

To Chamberlain's own personality and extraordinary influence over the
men of the 1st Irregular Cavalry must be attributed his success. His
relations with them were of a patriarchal nature, and perfect mutual
confidence existed. He knew his hold over them was strong, and
he determined to trust them. But in doing so he had really no
alternative--had they not remained faithful, Multan must have been
lost to us. One of his first acts was to call a meeting at his house
of the Native officers of the Artillery, Infantry, and his own
regiment, to discuss the situation. Taking for granted the absolute
loyalty of these officers, he suggested that a written bond should
be given, in which the seniors of each corps should guarantee the
fidelity of their men. The officers of his regiment rose _en
masse_, and placing their signet-rings on the table, said: '_Kabúl
sir-o-chasm'_ ('Agreed to on our lives'). The Artillery Subadar
declared that his men had no scruples, and would fire in whichever
direction they were required; while the Infantry Native officers
pleaded that they had no power over their men, and could give no
guarantee. Thus, Chamberlain ascertained that the Cavalry were loyal,
the Artillery doubtful, and the Infantry were only biding their time
to mutiny.

Night after night sepoys, disguised beyond all recognition, attempted
to tamper with the Irregular Cavalry. The Wurdi-Major,[2] a
particularly fine, handsome _Ranagar_,[3] begged Chamberlain to
hide himself in his house, that he might hear for himself the open
proposals to mutiny, massacre, and rebellion that were made to him;
and the promises that, if they succeeded in their designs, he (the
Wurdi-Major) should be placed upon the _gaddi_[4] of Multan for his
reward. Chamberlain declined to put himself in such a position,
fearing he might not be able to restrain himself.

Matters now came to a climax. A Mahomedan Subadar of one of the Native
Infantry regiments laid a plot to murder Chamberlain and his family.
The plot was discovered and frustrated by Chamberlain's own men, but
it became apparent that the only remedy for the fast increasing evil
was to disarm the two Native Infantry regiments. How was this to be
accomplished with no Europeans save a few gunners anywhere near? Sir
John Lawrence was most pressing that the step should be taken at
once; he knew the danger of delay; at the same time, he thoroughly
appreciated the difficulty of the task which he was urging Chamberlain
to undertake, and he readily responded to the latter's request for a
regiment of Punjab Infantry to be sent to him. The 2nd Punjab Infantry
was, therefore, despatched from Dera Ghazi Khan, and at the same time
the 1st Punjab Cavalry arrived from Asni,[5] under Major Hughes,[6]
who, hearing of Chamberlain's troubles, had marched to Multan without
waiting for orders from superior authority. The evening of the day on
which these troops reached Multan, the British officers of the several
regiments were directed to assemble at the Deputy-Commissioner's
house, when Chamberlain told them of the communication he had received
from Sir John Lawrence, adding that, having reliable information that
the Native Infantry were about to mutiny, he had settled to disarm
them the next morning.

It was midnight before the meeting broke up. At 4 a.m. the Horse
Artillery troop and the two Native Infantry regiments were ordered to
march as if to an ordinary parade. When they had gone about a quarter
of a mile they were halted, and the Punjab troops moved quietly
between them and their lines, thus cutting them off from their spare
ammunition; at the same time the European Artillerymen took their
places with the guns of the Horse Artillery troop, and a carefully
selected body of Sikhs belonging to the 1st Punjab Cavalry, under
Lieutenant John Watson, was told off to advance on the troop and cut
down the gunners if they refused to assist the Europeans to work the

Chamberlain then rode up to the Native Infantry regiments, and after
explaining to them the reason for their being disarmed, he gave the
word of command, 'Pile arms!' Thereupon a sepoy of the 62nd shouted:
'Don't give up your arms; fight for them!' Lieutenant Thomson, the
Adjutant of the regiment, instantly seized him by the throat and threw
him to the ground. The order was repeated, and, wonderful to relate,
obeyed. The Native Infantry regiments were then marched back to their
lines, while the Punjab troops and Chamberlain's Irregulars remained
on the ground until the arms had been carted off to the fort.

It was a most critical time, and enough credit has never been given to
Chamberlain. Considering the honours which were bestowed on others
who took more or less conspicuous parts in the Mutiny, he was very
insufficiently rewarded for this timely act of heroism. Had he not
shown such undaunted courage and coolness, or had there been the
smallest hesitation, Multan would certainly have gone. Chamberlain
managed an extremely difficult business in a most masterly manner.
His personal influence insured his own regiment continuing loyal
throughout the Mutiny, and it has now the honour of being the 1st
Regiment of Bengal Cavalry, and the distinction of wearing a different
uniform from every other regiment in the service, being allowed to
retain the bright yellow which the troopers wore when they were first
raised by Colonel James Skinner, and in which they performed such
loyal service.[7]

At Jhelum and Sialkot it was decided that, as the Native troops had
been considerably reduced in numbers, the danger was not so great as
to require the presence of the Movable Column.

Umritsar had been made safe for the time, but it was a place the
importance of which could not be over-estimated, and it was thought
that keeping a strong column in its vicinity for a few days would
materially strengthen our position there. Moreover, Umritsar lay in
the direct route to Jullundur, where the military authorities had
proved themselves quite unfitted to deal with the emergency. It was
decided, therefore, that Umritsar should be our objective in the
first instance. We marched from Lahore on the 10th June, and reached
Umritsar the following morning.

News of a severe fight at Badli-ki-Serai had been received, which
increased our anxiety to push on to Delhi, for we feared the place
might be taken before we could get there. But to our mortification it
was decided that the column could not be spared just then even for
Delhi, as there was still work for it in the Punjab. To add to our
disappointment, we had to give up our trusted Commander; for a few
hours after our arrival at Umritsar a telegram came to Neville
Chamberlain offering him the Adjutant-Generalship of the Army in
succession to Colonel Chester, who had been killed at Badli-ki-Serai.
He accepted the offer, and I made certain I should go with him. My
chagrin, therefore, can easily be understood when he told me that I
must remain with the column, as it would be unfair to his successor to
take away the staff officer. We were now all anxiety to learn who
that successor should be, and it was a satisfaction to hear that John
Nicholson was the man.

Chamberlain left for Delhi on the 13th; but Nicholson could not join
for a few days, and as troops were much needed at Jullundur, it was
arranged that the column should move on to that place, under the
temporary command of Campbell, and there await the arrival of the new

On my going to Campbell for orders, he informed me that he was no
longer the senior officer with the column, as a Colonel Denniss,
junior to him regimentally, but his senior in army rank, had just
rejoined the 52nd. Accordingly I reported myself to Denniss, who,
though an officer of many years' service, had never before held a
command, not even that of a regiment; and, poor man! was considerably
taken aback when he heard that he must be in charge of the column for
some days. He practically left everything to me--a somewhat trying
position for almost the youngest officer in the force. It was under
these circumstances I found what an able man Colonel Campbell really
was. He correctly gauged Denniss's fitness, or rather unfitness, for
the command, and appreciating the awkwardness of my position, advised
me so wisely that I had no difficulty in carrying on the work.

We reached Jullundur on the 20th, Nicholson taking over command the
same day. He had been given the rank of Brigadier-General, which
removed all grounds for objection on the part of Campbell, and the two
soon learnt to appreciate each other, and became fast friends.

Jullundur was in a state of the greatest confusion. The Native troops,
consisting of a regiment of Light Cavalry and two regiments of Native
Infantry, began to show signs of disaffection soon after the outbreak
at Meerut, and from that time until the 7th June, when they broke into
open mutiny, incendiary fires were almost of daily occurrence. The
want of resolution displayed in dealing with the crisis at Jullundur
was one of the regrettable episodes of the Mutiny. The European
garrison consisted of Her Majesty's 8th Foot and a troop of Horse
Artillery. The military authorities had almost a whole month's warning
of the mutinous intentions of the Native troops, but though they had
before them the example of the prompt and successful measures adopted
at Lahore and Peshawar, they failed to take any steps to prevent the

The Brigadier (Johnstone) was on leave at the commencement of the
Mutiny, and during his absence the treasure was placed in charge of
a European guard, in accordance with instructions from Sir John
Lawrence. This measure was reversed as soon as the Brigadier rejoined,
for fear of showing distrust of the sepoys, and another wise order
of the watchful Chief Commissioner--to disarm the Native troops--was
never carried out. The Commissioner, Major Edward Lake, one of Henry
Lawrence's most capable assistants, had also repeatedly urged upon
Johnstone the advisability of depriving the sepoys of their arms, but
his advice remained unheeded. When the inevitable revolt took place
European soldiers were allowed to be passive spectators while property
was being destroyed, and sepoys to disappear in the darkness of the
night carrying with them their muskets and all the treasure and
plunder they could lay their hands on.

A futile attempt at pursuit was made the following morning, but, as
will be seen, this was carried out in so half-hearted a manner, that
the mutineers were able to get safely across the Sutlej with their
loot, notwithstanding that the passage of this broad river had to be
made by means of a ferry, where only very few boats were available.
Having reached Philour, the British troops were ordered to push on to
Delhi, and as Jullundur was thus left without protection, Lake gladly
accepted the offer of the Raja of Kapurthala to garrison it with his
own troops.

There was no doubt as to the loyalty of the Raja himself, and his
sincere desire to help us; but the mismanagement of affairs at
Jullundur had done much to lower our prestige in the eyes of his
people, and there was no mistaking the offensive demeanour of his
troops. They evidently thought that British soldiers had gone never
to return, and they swaggered about in swash-buckler fashion, as only
Natives who think they have the upper hand can swagger.

It was clearly Lake's policy to keep on good terms with the Kapurthala
people. His position was much strengthened by the arrival of our
column; but we were birds of passage, and might be off at any moment,
so in order to pay a compliment to the officers and principal men with
the Kapurthala troops, Lake asked Nicholson to meet them at his house.
Nicholson consented, and a durbar was arranged. I was present on the
occasion, and was witness of rather a curious scene, illustrative
alike of Nicholson and Native character.

At the close of the ceremony Mehtab Sing, a general officer in the
Kapurthala Army, took his leave, and, as the senior in rank at the
durbar, was walking out of the room first, when I observed Nicholson
stalk to the door, put himself in front of Mehtab Sing and, waving him
back with an authoritative air, prevent him from leaving the room. The
rest of the company then passed out, and when they had gone, Nicholson
said to Lake: 'Do you see that General Mehtab Sing has his shoes
on?'[8] Lake replied that he had noticed the fact, but tried to excuse
it. Nicholson, however, speaking in Hindustani, said: 'There is no
possible excuse for such an act of gross impertinence. Mehtab Sing
knows perfectly well that he would not venture to step on his own
father's carpet save barefooted, and he has only committed this breach
of etiquette to-day because he thinks we are not in a position to
resent the insult, and that he can treat us as he would not have
dared to do a month ago.' Mehtab Sing looked extremely foolish, and
stammered some kind of apology; but Nicholson was not to be appeased,
and continued: 'If I were the last Englishman left in Jullundur, you'
(addressing Mehtab Sing) 'should not come into my room with your
shoes on;' then, politely turning to Lake, he added, 'I hope the
Commissioner will now allow me to order you to take your shoes off and
carry them out in your own hands, so that your followers may witness
your discomfiture.' Mehtab Sing, completely cowed, meekly did as he
was told.

Although in the kindness of his heart Lake had at first endeavoured to
smooth matters over, he knew Natives well, and he readily admitted
the wisdom of Nicholson's action. Indeed, Nicholson's uncompromising
bearing on this occasion proved a great help to Lake, for it had the
best possible effect upon the Kapurthala people; their manner at once
changed, all disrespect vanished, and there was no more swaggering
about as if they considered themselves masters of the situation.

Five or six years after this occurrence I was one of a pig-sticking
party at Kapurthala, given by the Raja in honour of the
Commander-in-Chief, Sir Hugh Rose.[9] When riding home in the evening
I found myself close to the elephant on which our host and the Chief
were sitting. The conversation happening to turn on the events of the
Mutiny, I asked what had become of General Mehtab Sing. The Raja,
pointing to an elephant a little distance off on which two Native
gentlemen were riding, said, 'There he is.' I recognized the General,
and making him a salaam, which he politely returned, I said to him, 'I
have not had the pleasure of meeting you since those hot days in June,
1857, when I was at Jullundur.' The Raja then asked me if I knew
Nicholson. On my telling him I had been his staff officer, and with
him at the durbar at Lake _Sahib's_ house, the Raja laughed heartily,
and said, 'Oh! then you saw Mehtab Sing made to walk out of the room
with his shoes in his hand? We often chaff him about that little
affair, and tell him that he richly deserved the treatment he received
from the great Nicholson _Sahib_.'

Sir Hugh Rose was greatly interested in the story, which he made me
repeat to him as soon as we got back to camp, and he was as much
struck as I was with this spontaneous testimony of a leading Native to
the wisdom of Nicholson's procedure.

On taking over command, Nicholson's first care was to establish an
effective system of intelligence, by means of which he was kept
informed of what was going on in the neighbouring districts; and,
fully recognizing the necessity for rapid movement in the event of any
sudden emergency, he organized a part of his force into a small
flying column, the infantry portion of which was to be carried in
_ekkas_.[10] I was greatly impressed by Nicholson's knowledge of
military affairs. He seemed always to know exactly what to do and the
best way to do it. This was the more remarkable because, though
a soldier by profession, his training had been chiefly that of a
civilian--a civilian of the frontier, however, where his soldierly
instincts had been fostered in his dealing with a lawless and unruly
people, and where he had received a training which was now to stand
him in good stead. Nicholson was a born Commander, and this was felt
by every officer and man with the column before he had been amongst
them many days.

The Native troops with the column had given no trouble since we left
Lahore. We were travelling in the direction they desired to go, which
accounted for their remaining quiet; but Nicholson, realizing the
danger of having them in our midst, and the probability of their
refusing to turn away from Delhi in the event of our having to retrace
our steps, resolved to disarm the 35th. The civil authorities in the
district urged that the same course should be adopted with the 33rd, a
Native Infantry regiment at Hoshiarpur, about twenty-seven miles from
Jullundur, which it had been decided should join the column. The
Native soldiers with the column already exceeded the Europeans in
number, and as the addition of another regiment would make the odds
against us very serious, it was arranged to disarm the 35th before the
33rd joined us.

We left Jullundur on the 24th June, and that afternoon, accompanied by
the Deputy-Commissioner of the district, I rode to Philour to choose a
place for the disarming parade. The next morning we started early, the
Europeans heading the column, and when they reached the ground we had
selected they took up a position on the right of the road, the two
batteries in the centre and the 52nd in wings on either flank. The
guns were unlimbered and prepared for action. On the left of the road
was a serai,[11] behind which the officer commanding the 35th was told
to take his regiment, and, as he cleared it, to wheel to the right,
thus bringing his men in column of companies facing the line of
Europeans. This manoeuvre being accomplished, I was ordered to tell
the commanding officer that the regiment was to be disarmed, and that
the men were to pile arms and take off their belts. The sepoys and
their British officers were equally taken aback; the latter had
received no information of what was going to happen, while the former
had cherished the hope that they would be able to cross the Sutlej,
and thence slip off with their arms to Delhi.

I thought I could discover relief in the British officers' faces,
certainly in that of Major Younghusband, the Commandant, and when I
gave him the General's order, he murmured, 'Thank God!' He had been
with the 35th for thirty-three years; he had served with it at the
siege of Bhurtpore, throughout the first Afghan war, and in Sale's
defence of Jalalabad; he had been proud of his old corps, but knowing
probably that his men could no longer be trusted, he rejoiced to feel
that they were not to be given the opportunity for further disgracing
themselves.[12] The sepoys obeyed the command without a word, and in a
few minutes their muskets and belts were all packed in carts and taken
off to the fort.

As the ceremony was completed, the 33rd arrived and was dealt with in
a similar manner; but the British officers of this regiment did not
take things so quietly--they still believed in their men, and the
Colonel, Sandeman, trusted them to any extent. He had been with the
regiment for more than two-and-thirty years, and had commanded it
throughout the Sutlej campaign. On hearing the General's order, he
exclaimed: 'What! disarm my regiment? I will answer with my life for
the loyalty of every man!' On my repeating the order the poor old
fellow burst into tears. His son, the late Sir Robert Sandeman, who
was an Ensign in the regiment at the time, told me afterwards how
terribly his father felt the disgrace inflicted upon the regiment of
which he was so proud.

It was known that the wing of the 9th Light Cavalry was in
communication with the mutineers at Delhi, and that the men were only
waiting their opportunity; so they would also certainly have been
disarmed at this time, but for the idea that such a measure might have
a bad effect on the other wing, which still remained at Sialkot. The
turn of this regiment, however, came a few days later.

Up till this time we all hoped that Delhi was our destination, but,
greatly to our surprise and disappointment, orders came that morning
directing the column to return to Umritsar; the state of the Punjab
was causing considerable anxiety, as there were several stations at
which Native corps still remained in possession of their arms.

The same afternoon I was in the Philour fort with Nicholson, when
the telegraph-signaller gave him a copy of a message from Sir Henry
Barnard to the authorities in the Punjab, begging that all Artillery
officers not doing regimental duty might be sent to Delhi, where their
services were urgently required. I at once felt that this message
applied to me. I had been longing to find myself at Delhi, and lived
in perpetual dread of its being captured before I could get there; now
at last my hopes seemed about to be realized in a legitimate
manner, but, on the other hand, I did not like the idea of leaving
Nicholson--the more closely I was associated with him the more I was
attracted by him--and I am always proud to remember that he did not
wish to part with me. He agreed, however, that my first duty was to my
regiment, and only stipulated that before leaving him I should find
someone to take my place, as he did not know a single officer with the
column. This I was able to arrange, and that evening Nicholson and I
dined _tête-à-tête_. At dawn the next morning I left by mail-cart for
Delhi, my only kit being a small bundle of bedding, saddle and bridle,
my servants having orders to follow with my horses, tents, and other

[Footnote 1: One Cavalry and two Infantry.]

[Footnote 2: Native Adjutant.]

[Footnote 3: A name applied by the Hindus to any Rajput who has, or
whose ancestors have, been converted to Islam. There were several
_Rangars_ in the 1st Irregulars. One day in June, Shaidad Khan, a
Resaidar of this class, came to Chamberlain, and said: 'There was a
rumour that he (Chamberlain) had not as much confidence in _Rangars_
as in other classes of the regiment, and he came to be comforted'!
Chamberlain asked him to sit down, and sent to the banker of the
regiment for a very valuable sword which he had given him for safe
custody. It had belonged to one of the Amirs of Sindh, was taken in
battle, and given to Chamberlain by Major Fitzgerald, of the Sindh
Horse. On the sword being brought, Chamberlain handed it over to
Shaidad Khan and his sect for safety, to be returned when the Mutiny
was over. The tears rose to the Native officer's eyes, he touched
Chamberlain's knees, and swore that death alone would sever the bond
of fidelity of which the sword was the token. He took his leave,
thoroughly satisfied.]

[Footnote 4: Throne.]

[Footnote 5: A station since abandoned for Rajanpur.]

[Footnote 6: Now General Sir W. T. Hughes, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 7: The two disarmed regiments remained quietly at Multan for
more than a year, when, with unaccountable inconsistency, a sudden
spirit of revolt seized them, and in August, 1858, they broke out,
tried to get possession of the guns, murdered the Adjutant of the
Bombay Fusiliers, and then fled from the station. But order by that
time had been quite restored, our position in the Punjab was secure,
and nearly all the sepoys were killed or captured by the country

[Footnote 8: No Native, in Native dress, keeps his shoes on when he
enters a room, unless he intends disrespect.]

[Footnote 9: The late Field Marshal Lord Strathnairn, G.C.B.,

[Footnote 10: A kind of light cart.]

[Footnote 11: A four-walled enclosure for the accommodation of

[Footnote 12: It will be remembered that this was the regiment in
which two men had been found with loaded muskets, and blown away from
guns at Lahore.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  George Ricketts at Ludhiana--Pushing on to Delhi
  --In the camp before Delhi

The mail-cart rattled across the bridge of boats, and in less than an
hour I found myself at Ludhiana, at the house of George Ricketts,[1]
the Deputy Commissioner. Ricketts's bungalow was a resting-place for
everyone passing through _en route_ to Delhi. In one room I found
Lieutenant Williams of the 4th Sikhs, who had been dangerously wounded
three weeks before, while assisting Ricketts to prevent the Jullundur
mutineers from crossing the Sutlej.

While I was eating my breakfast, Ricketts sat down by my side and
recounted a stirring tale of all that had happened at Philour
and Ludhiana consequent on the rising of the Native regiments at
Jullundur. The mutineers had made, in the first instance, for Philour,
a small cantonment, but important from the fact of its containing a
fair-sized magazine, and from its situation, commanding the passage
of the Sutlej. It was garrisoned by the 3rd Native Infantry, which
furnished the sole guard over the magazine--a danger which, as I have
mentioned, had fortunately been recognized by the Commander-in-Chief
when he first heard of the outbreak at Meerut. The men of the 3rd
remained quiet, and even did good service in helping to drag the guns
of the siege-train across the river, and in guarding the treasury,
until the mutineers from Jullundur arrived on the 8th June. They then
gave their British officers warning to leave them, saying they did not
mean to injure them or their property, but they had determined they
would no longer serve the _Sirkar_. Twelve British officers (there
could not have been more), confronted by 3,000 sepoys, felt themselves
powerless, and retired to the fort.

Ricketts had with him at that time an assistant named Thornton,[2] who
had gone to Philour to lodge some money in the treasury. This officer
had started to ride back to Ludhiana, when he suddenly became aware of
what had happened, and how perilous was the position. Had he consulted
his own safety, he would have returned and taken refuge in the
fort, instead of which he galloped on, having to pass close by the
mutineers, until he reached the bridge of boats, which, with admirable
coolness and presence of mind, he cut behind him, then, hurrying on,
he informed Ricketts of what had taken place; and that the rebels
might shortly be expected to attempt the passage of the river.
Fortunately the 4th Sikhs from Abbottabad had that very morning
marched into Ludhiana, and Ricketts hoped, with their assistance, to
hold the sepoys in check until the arrival of the British troops,
which he believed must have been despatched from Jullundur in pursuit
of the mutineers.

The garrison of Ludhiana consisted of a detachment of the 3rd Native
Infantry, guarding the fort, in which was stored a large amount of
powder. The detachment was commanded by Lieutenant Yorke, who, on
hearing Thornton's story, went at once to the fort. He was much liked
by his men, who received him quite civilly, but told him they knew
that their regiment had joined the rebels from Jullundur, and that
they themselves could no longer obey his orders. Ricketts then
understood that he had but the 4th Sikhs and a small party of troops
belonging to the Raja of Nabha to depend upon. There were only
two officers with the 4th Sikhs--Captain Rothney, in command, and
Lieutenant Williams, the Adjutant. Taking three companies of the
regiment under Williams, and two guns of the Nabha Artillery, one
dragged by camels, the other by horses, Ricketts started off towards
the bridge of boats. Galloping on alone, he found that the gap in the
bridge made by Thornton had not been repaired, which proved that the
rebels had not crossed by that passage, at all events. He widened the
gap by cutting adrift some more boats, and then had himself ferried
across the river, in order to ascertain the exact state of affairs at
Philour. He learnt that no tidings had been received of any British
troops having been sent from Jullundur in pursuit of the mutineers,
who, having failed to get across the bridge, owing to Thornton's
timely action, had gone to a ferry reported to be three miles up the

Ricketts recrossed the river as quickly as he could, and joined
Williams. It was then getting dark, but, hoping they might still be
in time to check the rebels, they pushed on in the direction of the
ferry, which proved to be nearer six than three miles away. The ground
was rough and broken, as is always the case on the banks of Indian
rivers, swollen as they often are by torrents from the hills, which
leave behind boulders and debris of all kinds. They made but little
way; one of the gun-camels fell lame, the guides disappeared, and they
began to despair of reaching the ferry in time, when suddenly there
was a challenge and they know they were too late. The sepoys had
succeeded in crossing the river and were bivouacking immediately in
front of them.

It was not a pleasant position, but it had to be made the best of; and
both the civilian and the soldier agreed that their only chance was
to fight. Williams opened fire with his Infantry, and Ricketts took
command of the guns. At the first discharge the horses bolted with the
limber, and never appeared again; almost at the same moment Williams
fell, shot through the body. Ricketts continued the fight until his
ammunition was completely expended, when he was reluctantly obliged to
retire to a village in the neighbourhood, but not until he had killed,
as he afterwards discovered, about fifty of the enemy.

Ricketts returned to Ludhiana early the next morning, and later in
the day the mutineers passed through the city. They released some 500
prisoners who were in the gaol, and helped themselves to what food
they wanted, but they did not enter the cantonment or the fort. The
gallant little attempt to close the passage of the Sutlej was entirely
frustrated, owing to the inconceivable want of energy displayed by the
so-called 'pursuing force'; had it pushed on, the rebels must have
been caught in the act of crossing the river, when Ricketts's small
party might have afforded considerable help. The Europeans from
Jullundur reached Philour before dark on the 8th; they heard the
firing of Ricketts's guns, but no attempt was made by the officer in
command to ascertain the cause, and they came leisurely on to Ludhiana
the following day.

Having listened with the greatest interest to Ricketts's story, and
refreshed the inner man, I resumed my journey, and reached Umballa
late in the afternoon of the 27th, not sorry to get under shelter, for
the monsoon, which had been threatening for some days past, burst with
great fury as I was leaving Ludhiana.

On driving to the dâk-bungalow I found it crowded with officers, some
of whom had been waiting there for days for an opportunity to go on to
Delhi; they laughed at me when I expressed my intention of proceeding
at once, and told me that the seats on the mail-carts had to be
engaged several days in advance, and that I might make up my mind to
stay where I was for some time to come. I was not at all prepared for
this, and I determined to get on by hook or by crook; as a preliminary
measure, I made friends with the postmaster, from whose office the
mail-carts started. From him I learnt that my only chance was to
call upon the Deputy-Commissioner, by whose orders the seats were
distributed. I took the postmaster's advice, and thus became
acquainted with Douglas Forsyth, who in later years made a name for
himself by his energetic attempts to establish commercial relations
with Yarkand and Kashgar. Forsyth confirmed what I had already heard,
but told me that an extra cart was to be despatched that night, laden
with small-arm ammunition, on which I could, if I liked, get a seat,
adding: 'Your kit must be of the smallest, as there will be no room
for anything inside the cart.'

I returned to the dâk-bungalow, overjoyed at my success, to find
myself quite an important personage, with everyone my friend, like the
boy at school who is the lucky recipient of a hamper from home. 'Take
me with you!' was the cry on all sides. Only two others besides the
driver and myself could possibly go, and then only by carrying our
kits in our laps. It was finally arranged that Captain Law and
Lieutenant Packe should be my companions. Packe was lamed for life
by a shot through his ankle before we had been forty-eight hours
at Delhi, and Law was killed on the 23rd July, having greatly
distinguished himself by his gallantry and coolness under fire during
the short time he served with the force.

We got to Kurnal soon after daybreak on the 28th. It was occupied by a
few of the Raja of Jhind's troops, a Commissariat officer, and one or
two civilians, who were trying to keep the country quiet and collect
supplies. Before noon we passed through Panipat, where there was a
strong force of Patiala and Jhind troops, and early in the afternoon
we reached Alipur. Here our driver pulled up, declaring he would go no
further. A few days before there had been a sharp fight on the road
between Alipur and Delhi, not far from Badli-ki-Serai, where the
battle of the 8th June had taken place, and as the enemy were
constantly on the road threatening the rear of the besieging force,
the driver did not consider it safe to go on. We could not, however,
stop at Alipur, so after some consultation we settled to take the
mail-cart ponies and ride on to camp. We could hear the boom of guns
at intervals, and as we neared Delhi we came across several dead
bodies of the enemy. It is a curious fact that most of these bodies
were exactly like mummies; there was nothing disagreeable about them.

Why this should have been the case I cannot say, but I often wished
during the remainder of the campaign that the atmospheric influences,
which, I presume, had produced this effect, could assert themselves
more frequently.

We stopped for a short time to look at the position occupied by the
enemy at Badli-ki-Serai; but none of us were in the mood to enjoy
sight-seeing. We had never been to Delhi before, and had but the
vaguest notion where the Ridge (the position our force was holding)
was, or how the city was situated with regard to our camp. The sound
of heavy firing became louder and louder, and we knew that fighting
must be going on. The driver had solemnly warned us of the risk we
were running in continuing our journey, and when we came to the point
where the Grand Trunk Road bifurcates, one branch going direct to the
city and the other through the cantonment, we halted for a few minutes
to discuss which we should take. Fortunately for us, we settled to
follow that which led to the cantonment, and, as it was then getting
dark, we pushed on as fast as our tired ponies could go. The relief
to us when we found ourselves safe inside our own piquets may be
imagined. My father's old staff-officer, Henry Norman, who was then
Assistant-Adjutant-General at Head-Quarters, kindly asked me to share
his tent until I could make other arrangements. He had no bed to offer
me, but I required none, as I was thoroughly tired out, and all I
wanted was a spot on which to throw myself down. A good night's rest
quite set me up. I awoke early, scarcely able to believe in my good
fortune. I was actually at Delhi, and the city was still in the
possession of the mutineers.

[Footnote 1: George Ricketts, Esq., C.B., afterwards a member of the
Board of Revenue of the North-West Provinces.]

[Footnote 2: Thomas Thornton, Esq., C.S.I., afterwards Secretary to
the Government of India in the Foreign Department.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  The first victory--Enthusiasm amongst the troops
  --Barnard's success at Badli-ki-Serai--The Flagstaff Tower
  --Position on the Ridge--Quintin Battye--The gallant little Gurkhas
  --Proposed assault--The besiegers besieged--Hard fighting
  --The centenary of Plassy

Before entering on the narrative of what came under my own observation
during the three months I was at Delhi, I will relate what took place
after Sir Henry Barnard succeeded General Anson in command on the 26th
May, and how the little British force maintained itself against almost
overwhelming odds during the first three weeks of that memorable

Barnard had served as Chief of the Staff in the Crimea, and had held
various staff appointments in England; but he was an utter stranger to
India, having only arrived in the country a few weeks before. He
fully realized the difficulties of the position to which he had so
unexpectedly succeeded, for he was aware how unjustly Anson was being
judged by those who, knowing nothing of war, imagined he could have
started to attack Delhi with scarcely more preparation than would have
been necessary for a morning's parade. The officers of the column were
complete strangers to him, and he to them, and he was ignorant of the
characteristics and capabilities of the Native portion of his troops.
It must, therefore, have been with an anxious heart that he took over
the command.

One of Barnard's first acts was to get rid of the unreliable element
which Anson had brought away from Umballa. The Infantry he sent to
Rohtuk, where it shortly afterwards mutinied, and the Cavalry to
Meerut. That these troops should have been allowed to retain their
weapons is one of the mysteries of the Mutiny. For more than two
months their insubordination had been apparent, incendiarism had
occurred which had been clearly traced to them, and they had even gone
so far as to fire at their officers; both John Lawrence and Robert
Montgomery had pressed upon the Commander-in-Chief the advisability
of disarming them; but General Anson, influenced by the regimental
officers, who could not believe in the disaffection of their men, had
not grasped the necessity for this precautionary measure. The European
soldiers with the column, however, did not conceal their mistrust of
these sepoys, and Barnard acted wisely in sending them away; but it
was extraordinary that they should have been allowed to keep their

On the 5th June Barnard reached Alipur, within ten miles of Delhi,
where he decided to await the arrival of the siege-train and the
troops from Meerut.

The Meerut brigade, under Brigadier Wilson, had started on the 27th
May. It consisted of two squadrons of the Carabineers, Tombs's[1]
troop of Horse Artillery, Scott's Field Battery and two 18-pounder
guns, a wing of the 1st Battalion 60th Rifles, a few Native Sappers
and Miners, and a detachment of Irregular Horse.

Early on the 30th the village of Ghazi-u-din-nagar (now known as
Ghaziabad) close to the Hindun river, and about eleven miles from
Delhi, was reached. Thence it was intended to make a reconnaissance
towards Delhi, but about four o'clock in the afternoon a vedette
reported that the enemy were approaching in strength. A very careless
look-out had been kept, for almost simultaneously with the report a
round shot came tumbling into camp. The troops fell in as quickly as
possible, and the Artillery came into action. The Rifles crossed the
Hindun suspension bridge, and, under cover of our guns, attacked the
enemy, who were strongly posted in a village. From this position they
were speedily dislodged, and the victory was complete. Seven hundred
British soldiers defeated seven times their number, capturing five
guns and a large quantity of ammunition and stores. Our loss was one
officer and ten men killed, and one officer and eighteen men wounded.

The following day (Sunday) the enemy reappeared about noon, but
after two hours' fighting they were again routed, and on our troops
occupying their position, they could be seen in full retreat towards
Delhi. The rebels succeeded in taking their guns with them, for our
men, prostrated by the intense heat and parched with thirst, were
quite unable to pursue. We had one officer and eleven men killed, and
two officers and ten men wounded. Among the latter was an ensign of
the 60th Rifles, a boy named Napier, a most gallant young fellow, full
of life and spirit, who had won the love as well as the admiration of
his men. He was hit in the leg, and the moment he was brought into
camp it had to be amputated. When the operation was over, Napier was
heard to murmur, 'I shall never lead the Rifles again! I shall never
lead the Rifles again!' His wound he thought little of. What grieved
him was the idea of having to give up his career as a soldier, and to
leave the regiment he was so proud of. Napier was taken to Meerut,
where he died a few days afterwards.[2]

On the 1st June Wilson's force was strengthened by the Sirmur
battalion of Gurkhas,[3] a regiment which later covered itself with
glory, and gained an undying name by its gallantry during the siege of

On the 7th June Wilson's brigade crossed the Jumna at Baghput, and
at Alipur it joined Barnard's force, the men of which loudly cheered
their Meerut comrades as they marched into camp with the captured
guns. The siege-train had arrived the previous day, and Barnard was
now ready for an advance. His force consisted of about 600 Cavalry and
2,400 Infantry, with 22 field-guns. There were besides 150 European
Artillerymen, chiefly recruits, with the siege-train, which comprised
eight 18-pounders, four 8-inch and twelve 5-1/2-inch mortars. The
guns, if not exactly obsolete, were quite unsuited for the work that
had to be done, but they were the best procurable. George Campbell, in
his 'Memoirs of my Indian Career,' thus describes the siege-train as
he saw it passing through Kurnal: 'I could not help thinking that it
looked a very trumpery affair with which to bombard and take a great
fortified city;' and he expressed his 'strong belief that Delhi would
never be taken by that battery.'

Barnard heard that the enemy intended to oppose his march to Delhi,
and in order to ascertain their exact position he sent Lieutenant
Hodson (who had previously done good service for the Commander-in-Chief
by opening communication with Meerut) to reconnoitre the road. Hodson
reported that the rebels were in force at Badli-ki-Serai a little more
than halfway between Alipur and Delhi. Orders were accordingly issued
for an advance at midnight on the 7th June.

When it became known that a battle was imminent, there was great
enthusiasm amongst the troops, who were burning to avenge the
massacres of Meerut and Delhi. The sick in hospital declared they
would remain there no longer, and many, quite unfit to walk, insisted
on accompanying the attacking column, imploring their comrades not to
mention that they were ill, for fear they should not be allowed to
take part in the fight.[4]


_From a photograph by Messrs. Grillet and Co._]

The mutineers had selected an admirable position on both sides of the
main road. To their right was a serai and a walled village capable
of holding large numbers of Infantry, and protected by an impassable
swamp. To their left, on some rising ground, a sand-bag battery for
four heavy guns and an 8-inch mortar had been constructed. On both
sides the ground was swampy and intersected by water-cuts, and about
a mile to the enemy's left, and nearly parallel to the road, ran the
Western Jumna Canal.

At the hour named, Brigadier Hope Grant,[5] commanding the Cavalry,
started with ten Horse Artillery guns, three squadrons of the 9th
Lancers, and fifty Jhind horsemen under Lieutenant Hodson, with the
object of turning the enemy's left flank. Shortly afterwards the main
body marched along the road until the lights in the enemy's camp
became visible. Colonel Showers, who had succeeded Hallifax in the
command of the 1st Brigade,[6] moved off to the right of the road, and
Colonel Graves, who had taken Jones's place with the 2nd Brigade,[7]
to the left. The heavy guns remained on the road with a battery of
Field Artillery on either flank. Just as day broke our guns advanced,
but before they were in position the fight began by a cannonade from
the rebel Artillery, which caused us severe loss. To this destructive
fire no adequate reply could be made; our guns were too few and of too
small calibre. To add to our difficulties, the Native bullock-drivers
of our heavy guns went off with their cattle, and one of the waggons
blew up. At this critical moment Barnard ordered Showers to charge the
enemy's guns, a service which was performed with heroic gallantry by
Her Majesty's 75th Foot, who carried the position at the point of the
bayonet, with a loss of 19 officers and men killed and 43 wounded.
Then, supported by the 1st Fusiliers, the same regiment dashed across
the road and burst open the gates of the serai. A desperate fight
ensued, but the sepoys were no match for British bayonets, and
they now learnt that their misdeeds were not to be allowed to go
unpunished. Graves's brigade, having passed round the _jhil_,[8]
appeared on the enemy's right rear, while Grant with his Cavalry and
Horse Artillery threatened their left. The defeat was complete, and
the rebels retreated hastily towards Delhi, leaving their guns on the

Although the men were much exhausted, Barnard determined to push on,
for he feared that if he delayed the rebels might rally, and occupy
another strong position.

From the cross-roads just beyond Badli-ki-Serai could be seen the
Ridge on which the British force was to hold its own for more than
three months during the heat of an Indian summer, and under the rain
of an Indian monsoon. At this point two columns were formed, Barnard
taking command of the one, which proceeded to the left towards the
cantonment, and Wilson of the other, which moved along the city road.
Wilson's column fought its way through gardens and enclosures until it
reached the western extremity of the Ridge. Barnard, as he came under
the fire of the enemy's guns, made a flank movement to the left, and
then, wheeling to his right, swept along the Ridge from the Flagstaff
Tower to Hindu Rao's house, where the two columns united, the rebels
flying before them.

Barnard had achieved a great success and with comparatively small
loss, considering the formidable position occupied by the enemy, their
great strength in Artillery, and their superiority in numbers.

Our casualties were 51 killed and 131 wounded. Among the former was
Colonel Chester, the Adjutant-General of the Army. Of the troops
opposed to us it was reckoned that 1,000 never returned to Delhi;
thirteen guns were captured, two of them being 24-pounders.

I have frequently wandered over the Ridge since 1857, and thought how
wonderfully we were aided by finding a ready-made position--not only a
coign of vantage for attack, but a rampart of defence, as Forrest[9]
describes it. This Ridge, rising sixty feet above the city, covered
the main line of communication to the Punjab, upon the retention of
which our very existence as a force depended. Its left rested on the
Jumna, unfordable from the time the snow on the higher ranges begins
to melt until the rainy season is over, and of sufficient width to
prevent our being enfiladed by field-guns; although, on the immediate
right, bazaars, buildings, and garden-walls afforded cover to the
enemy, the enclosed nature of the ground was so far advantageous that
it embarrassed and impeded them in their attempts to organize an
attack in force upon our flank or rear; and a further protection was
afforded by the Najafgarh _jhil_, which during the rains submerges a
vast area of land.

The distance of the Ridge from the city walls varied considerably. On
our right, where the memorial monument now stands, it was about 1,200
yards, at the Flagstaff Tower about a mile and a half, and at the end
near the river nearly two miles and a half. This rendered our left
comparatively safe, and it was behind the Ridge in this direction that
the main part of our camp was pitched. The Flagstaff Tower in the
centre was the general rendezvous for the non-combatants, and for
those of the sick and wounded who were able to move about, as they
could assemble there and hear the news from the front without much
risk of injury from the enemy's fire.

The Flagstaff Tower is interesting from the fact that it was here the
residents from the cantonment of Delhi assembled to make a stand,
on hearing that the rebels from Meerut were murdering the British
officers on duty within the city, that the three Native regiments and
battery of Field Artillery had joined the mutineers, and that at any
moment they themselves might expect to be attacked. The tower was 150
feet high, with a low parapet running round the top, approached by a
narrow winding staircase. Here the men of the party proposed to await
the attack. The ladies, who behaved with the utmost coolness and
presence of mind, were, with the wives and children of the few
European non-commissioned officers, placed for their greater safety on
the stairs, where they were all but suffocated by the stifling heat in
such a confined space. The little party on the roof consisted of some
twenty British officers, the same number of half-caste buglers and
drummers, and half a dozen European soldiers. Not a drop of water, not
a particle of food, was to be had. No help appeared to be coming from
Meerut, in the direction of which place many a longing and expectant
glance had been cast during the anxious hours of that miserable 11th
May. Constant and heavy firing was heard from the city and suburbs,
and the Cavalry were reported to be advancing on the cantonment.

Before evening the weary watchers realized that their position was
untenable, and that their only possible chance of escaping the fate
which had befallen the officers within the city (whose dead bodies had
been inhumanly sent in a cart to the Tower) lay in flight. Shortly
before dark the move was made, the women and children were crowded
into the few vehicles available, and accompanied by the men, some on
foot and some on horseback, they got away by the road leading towards
Umballa. They were only just in time, for before the last of the party
were out of sight of the cantonment, crowds of Natives poured into it,
burning, plundering, and destroying everything they could find.

Amongst the fugitives from Delhi was Captain Tytler, of the 38th
Native Infantry, who, after a variety of vicissitudes, reached Umballa
safely with his wife and children. When Anson's force was being formed
for the advance on Delhi, Tytler was placed in charge of the military
treasure chest, and through some unaccountable negligence Mrs. Tytler
was allowed to accompany him. I believe that, when Mrs. Tytler's
presence became known to the authorities, she would have been sent
out of camp to some safe place, but at that time she was not in a fit
state to travel, and on the 21st June, a few days after the force took
up its position under a heavy cannonade, she gave birth to a son
in the waggon in which she was accommodated. The infant, who was
christened Stanley Delhi Force, seems to have been looked upon by the
soldiery with quite a superstitious feeling, for the father tells us
that soon after its birth he overheard a soldier say; 'Now we shall
get our reinforcements; this camp was formed to avenge the blood
of innocents, and the first reinforcement sent to us is a new-born
infant.' Reinforcements did actually arrive the next day.

It was on the afternoon of the 8th June that the British force was
placed in position on the Ridge. The main piquet was established at
Hindu Rao's house, a large stone building, in former days the country
residence of some Mahratta Chief. About one hundred and eighty yards
further to the left was the observatory, near which our heavy gun
battery was erected. Beyond the observatory was an old Pathan mosque,
in which was placed an Infantry piquet with two field-guns. Still
further to the left came the Flagstaff Tower, held by a party of
Infantry with two more field-guns. At the extreme right of the Ridge,
overlooking the trunk road, there was a strong piquet with a heavy

This was the weak point of our defence. To the right, and somewhat
to the rear, was the suburb of Sabzi Mandi (vegetable market), a
succession of houses and walled gardens, from which the rebels
constantly threatened our flank. To protect this part of the position
as much as possible, a battery of three 18-pounders and an Infantry
piquet was placed on what was known as the General's Mound, with a
Cavalry piquet and two Horse Artillery guns immediately below.
In front of the Ridge the ground was covered with old buildings,
enclosures, and clumps of trees, which afforded only too perfect
shelter to the enemy when making their sorties.

As described by the Commanding Engineer, 'the eastern face of Delhi
rests on the Jumna, and at the season of the year during which our
operations were carried on, the stream may be described as washing the
face of the walls. The river front was therefore inaccessible to
the besieging force, while at the same time the mutineers and the
inhabitants of the city could communicate freely across the river by
means of the bridge of boats and ferries. This rendered it impossible
for us to invest Delhi, even if there had been a sufficient number
of troops for the purpose. We were only able, indeed, to direct our
attack against a small portion of the city wall, while throughout the
siege the enemy could freely communicate with, and procure supplies
from, the surrounding country.

'On the river front the defences consisted of an irregular wall with
occasional bastions and towers, and about one half of the length of
this face was occupied by the palace of the King of Delhi and its
outwork, the old Moghul fort of Selimgarh.

'The remaining defences consisted of a succession of bastioned fronts,
the connecting curtains being very long, and the outworks limited
to one crown-work at the Ajmir gate, and Martello towers mounting a
single gun, at the points where additional flanking fire to that given
by the bastions themselves was required.'[10]

The above description will give some idea of the strength of the great
city which the British force had come to capture. For more than two
months, however, our energies were devoted not to capturing the city,
but to defending ourselves, having to be ever on the watch to guard
our communication with the Punjab, and to repel the enemy's almost
daily sorties.

The defences of Delhi, which remain almost unaltered up to the present
day, were modernized forms of the ancient works that existed when
the city fell before Lord Lake's army in 1803. These works had been
strengthened and improved some years before the Mutiny by Lieutenant
Robert Napier.[11] How thoroughly and effectually that talented and
distinguished Engineer performed the duty entrusted to him, we who had
to attack Delhi could testify to our cost.

Barnard was not left long in doubt as to the intentions of the rebels,
who, the very afternoon on which he occupied the Ridge, attacked Hindu
Rao's house, where the Sirmur battalion, two companies of the 60th
Rifles, and two of Scott's guns had been placed. The enemy were driven
off before dark. The following day they began to cannonade from the
city walls, and in the afternoon repeated their attack.

That same morning a welcome reinforcement reached camp, the famous
Corps of Guides having arrived as fresh as if they had returned from
an ordinary field day, instead of having come off a march of nearly
600 miles, accomplished in the incredibly short time of twenty-two
days, at the most trying season of the year. The General, having
inspected them, said a few words of encouragement to the men, who
begged their gallant Commandant to say how proud they were to belong
to the Delhi Force. Their usefulness was proved that same afternoon,
when, in support of the piquets, they engaged the enemy in a
hand-to-hand contest, and drove them back to the city.

It was close up to the walls that Quintin Battye, the dashing
Commander of the Guides Cavalry, received his mortal wound. He was the
brightest and cheeriest of companions, and although only a subaltern
of eight years' service, he was a great loss. I spent a few hours with
him on my way to Delhi, and I remember how his handsome face glowed
when he talked of the opportunities for distinguishing themselves in
store for the Guides. Proud of his regiment, and beloved by his men,
who, grand fellows themselves, were captivated by his many soldierly
qualities, he had every prospect before him of a splendid career, but
he was destined to fall in his first fight. He was curiously fond of
quotations, and the last words he uttered were '_Dulce et decorum est
pro patriâ mori_.'

While our Infantry and Field Artillery were busily engaged with the
enemy, the few heavy guns we had were put in position on the Ridge.
Great things were hoped from them, but it was soon found that they
were not powerful enough to silence the enemy's fire, and that our
small supply of ammunition was being rapidly expended.[12] The rebels'
guns were superior in number and some in calibre to ours, and were
well served by the Native Artillerymen whom we had been at such pains
to teach. Barnard discovered, too, that his deficiencies in men and
_matériel_ prevented regular approaches being made. There were only
150 Native Sappers and Miners with our force, and Infantry could not
be spared for working parties.

On the 10th June another determined attack was made on Hindu Rao's
house, which was repulsed by the Sirmur battalion of Gurkhas under its
distinguished Commandant, Major Reid.[13] The mutineers quite hoped
that the Gurkhas would join them, and as they were advancing they
called out: 'We are not firing; we want to speak to you; we want you
to join us.' The little Gurkhas replied, 'Oh yes; we are coming,' on
which they advanced to within twenty paces of the rebels, and, firing
a well-directed volley, killed nearly thirty of them.

The next day the insurgents made a third attack, and were again
repulsed with considerable loss. They knew that Hindu Rao's house was
the key of our position, and throughout the siege they made the most
desperate attempts to capture it. But Barnard had entrusted this
post of danger to the Gurkhas, and all efforts to dislodge them were
unavailing. At first Reid had at his command only his own battalion
and two companies of the 60th Rifles; but on the arrival of the Guides
their Infantry were also placed at his disposal, and whenever he
sounded the alarm he was reinforced by two more companies of the 60th.
Hindu Rao's house was within easy range of nearly all the enemy's
heavy guns, and was riddled through and through with shot and shell.
Reid never quitted the Ridge save to attack the enemy, and never once
visited the camp until carried into it severely wounded on the day of
the final assault. Hindu Rao's house was the little Gurkhas' hospital
as well as their barrack, for their sick and wounded begged to be left
with their comrades instead of being taken to camp.[14]

Failing in their attempts on the centre of the position, the mutineers
soon after daylight on the 12th, having concealed themselves in the
ravines adjoining Metcalfe House, attacked the Flagstaff Tower, the
piquet of which was composed of two Horse Artillery guns and two
companies of the 75th Foot, under the command of Captains Dunbar and
Knox. A heavy fog and thick mist rolling up from the low ground near
the Jumna completely enveloped the Ridge and the left front of our
position, hiding everything in the immediate vicinity. The piquet
was on the point of being relieved by a detachment of the 2nd
Bengal Fusiliers, when a large body of the enemy, who had crept up
unobserved, made a rush at the Flagstaff Tower, and as nearly as
possible captured the guns. The piquet was hardly pressed, Knox
and several men were killed, and but for the timely arrival of two
companies of the 60th, the rebels would have gained the day.

This engagement was scarcely over, when masses of insurgents advanced
from the Sabzi Mandi upon Hindu Rao's house, and into the gardens on
the right flank of the camp, threatening the Mound piquet. Reserves
were called up, these attacks, in their turn, were repulsed and the
rebels were pursued for some distance. It was most fortunate that
both attacks did not take place simultaneously, as was the obvious
intention of the enemy, for our strength would not have been
sufficient to repel them both at the same moment.

In order to prevent the mutineers from coming to such close quarters
again, a piquet was placed in Metcalfe's House, and the Mound to the
rear of the ridge facing the Sabzi Mandi was strengthened. These
precautions ought to, and would, have been taken before, but for the
want of men. Our soldiers were scarcely ever off duty, and this fresh
demand made it impossible at times to provide a daily relief for the
several piquets.

Our resources in siege guns and ammunition were so limited, daily
sorties, disease, and heat were making such ravages amongst our
small force, there was so little hope of receiving any considerable
reinforcements, and it appeared to be of such paramount importance to
capture Delhi without further delay, that Barnard agreed to a proposal
for taking it by a _coup de main_.

The particular details of the project and disposition of the troops
were worked out by three young officers of Engineers, under the direct
orders of the General, and were kept a profound secret; even the
Commanding Engineer was not made acquainted with them. Secrecy was, of
course, of vital importance, but that the officers who ought to have
been chiefly concerned were kept in ignorance of the scheme, shows
there was little of that confidence so essential to success existing
between the Commander and those who were in the position of his
principal advisers. Practically the whole force was to be engaged,
divided into three columns--one to enter by the Kashmir gate, the
second by the Lahore gate, and the third was to attempt an escalade.
The three columns, if they succeeded in effecting an entrance, were to
work their way to the centre of the city, and there unite.

It was intended that these columns should move off from camp so as to
arrive at the walls just before daybreak; accordingly, at one o'clock
on the morning of the 13th June the troops were suddenly paraded and
ammunition served out, and then for the first time the Commanders
of the three columns and the staff were made acquainted with the
General's intentions. It so happened that the 75th Foot, which had
followed the enemy into the grounds of Metcalfe House after the
repulse on the Flagstaff Tower the previous morning, had through some
oversight never been recalled; their absence was only discovered when
the order was given for the regiment to turn out, and a considerable
time was wasted in sending for it and bringing it back to camp. Day
was breaking when this regiment received its ammunition, and all hope
of an unperceived advance to the walls had to be given up. The
troops were therefore dismissed, and allowed to turn in, having been
uselessly disturbed from their much-needed rest.

The failure to give effect to the young Engineer officers' plan may be
looked upon as a merciful dispensation of Providence, which saved us
from what would almost certainly have been an irreparable disaster.
When we think of the hard fighting encountered when the assault did
take place under much more favourable circumstances, and how the
columns at the end of that day were only just able to get inside the
city, those who had practical knowledge of the siege can judge what
chance there would have been of these smaller columns accomplishing
their object, even if they had been able to take the enemy by

The 13th and 14th passed in comparative quiet; but early on the 15th
a strong force advanced from Delhi against the Metcalfe House piquet,
with the object of turning our left flank, but it was driven back with
considerable loss.

On the 17th we were attacked from almost every direction--a manoeuvre
intended to prevent our observing a battery which was being
constructed close to an Idgah,[15] situated on a hill to our right,
from which to enfilade our position on the Ridge. As it was very
important to prevent the completion of this battery, Barnard ordered
it to be attacked by two small columns, one commanded by Tombs, of the
Bengal Horse Artillery, the other by Reid. Tombs, with 400 of the 60th
Rifles and 1st Bengal Fusiliers, 30 of the Guides Cavalry, 20 Sappers
and Miners, and his own troop of Horse Artillery, moved towards the
enemy's left, while Reid, with four companies of the 60th and some
of his own Gurkhas, advanced through Kishenganj against their right.
Tombs drove the rebels through a succession of gardens till they
reached the Idgah, where they made an obstinate but unavailing
resistance. The gates of the mosque were blown open, and thirty-nine
of its defenders were killed. Tombs himself was slightly wounded, and
had two horses killed, making five which had been shot under this
gallant soldier since the commencement of the campaign. Reid's attack
was equally successful. He completely destroyed the battery, and
inflicted heavy loss on the enemy.

The next day but one the rebels issued from the city in great force,
and threatened nearly every part of our position. The fighting was
severe throughout the afternoon, the piquets having again and again
to be reinforced. Towards evening, while nearly all the Infantry were
thus engaged, a large party of the insurgents, passing unperceived
through the suburbs and gardens on our right, reappeared about a mile
and a half to our rear. Very few troops were left in camp, and all
Hope Grant, who was in command at the time, could collect was four or
five squadrons of Cavalry and twelve guns. He found the enemy in a
strong position, against which his light guns could make but little
impression, while their Artillery and well-placed Infantry did us
considerable damage. Tombs's troop especially suffered, and at one
time his guns were in imminent danger of being captured. Just at
this moment some of the Guides Cavalry rode up. 'Daly, if you do not
charge,' called out Tombs, 'my guns are taken.' Daly spurred into the
bushes, followed by about a dozen of his gallant Guides. He returned
with a bullet through his shoulder, but the momentary diversion saved
the guns.[16]

As long as it was light the steady fire of the Artillery and the
dashing charges of the Cavalry kept the rebels in check; but in the
dusk of the evening their superior numbers told: they very nearly
succeeded in turning our flank, and for some time the guns were again
in great jeopardy; the 9th Lancers and Guides, bent on saving them at
all hazards, charged the enemy; but, with a ditch and houses on each
side, their action was paralyzed, and their loss severe. All was now
in confusion, the disorder increasing as night advanced, when a small
body of Infantry (about 300 of the 60th Rifles) came up, dashed
forward, and, cutting a lane through the rebels, rescued the guns.[17]

Our loss in this affair amounted to 3 officers and 17 men killed, and
7 officers and 70 men wounded. Among the latter was Hope Grant,
who had his horse shot under him in a charge, and was saved by the
devotion of two men of his own regiment (the 9th Lancers) and a
Mahomedan sowar of the 4th Irregular Cavalry.

It was nearly midnight before the troops returned to camp. The enemy
had been frustrated in their attempt to force our rear, but they had
not been driven back; we had, indeed, been only just able to hold our
own. The result of the day added considerably to the anxiety of the
Commander. He saw that the rebels had discovered our weak point,
and that if they managed to establish themselves in our rear, our
communication with the Punjab would be cut off, our small force would
be invested, and without supplies and reinforcements it would be
impossible to maintain our position against the daily increasing
strength of the insurgents. Great was the despondency in camp when
the result of the day's fighting was known; but the fine spirit which
animated the force throughout the siege soon asserted itself, and our
men cheerfully looked forward to the next encounter with the enemy.

At daybreak Grant was again upon the ground, but found it abandoned.
Many dead men and horses were lying about, and a 9-pounder gun, left
by the enemy, was brought into camp.

The troops had scarcely got back, hoping for a little rest, when the
enemy again resumed their attack on the rear, and opened fire at so
short a distance that their shot came right through the camp. But on
this occasion they made no stand, and retreated as soon as our troops
showed themselves.

In order to strengthen our position in rear a battery of two
18-pounders was constructed, supported by Cavalry and Infantry
piquets, and most of the bridges over the drain from the Najafgarh
_jhil_ were destroyed.

For two days after the events I have just described the hard-worked
little body of troops had comparative rest, but our spies informed us
that the enemy were being largely reinforced, and that we might expect
to be hotly attacked on the 23rd.

For some time an idea had been prevalent amongst the Natives that the
English _raj_ was not destined to survive its hundredth year, and that
the centenary of Clive's victory on the field of Plassy on the 23rd
June, 1757, would see its downfall. This idea was strengthened in
the Native mind by the fact that the 23rd June, 1857, was a date
propitious alike for Hindus and Mahomedans; the Jattsa, a Hindu
religious festival, was to take place on that day, and there was also
to be a new moon, which the Mahomedans looked upon as a lucky omen;
the astrologers, therefore, declared that the stars in their courses
would fight for the mutineers. If, however, prophecies and omens alike
appeared to favour the rebels, fortune was not altogether unkind to
us, for on the 22nd a reinforcement reached Rhai, twenty-two miles
from Delhi, consisting of six Horse Artillery guns, a small party
of British Infantry, a squadron of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry, and the
Head-Quarters of the 4th Sikhs, numbering in all about 850 men.

A staff officer was sent at once to Rhai to hurry on the force and
tell them how urgently their assistance was required in camp; this
appeal was responded to with the utmost alacrity, and early the next
evening the welcome reinforcement made its appearance.

It had scarcely arrived before the Artillery on the city walls opened
fire, while guns, which had been brought into the suburbs, enfiladed
our right and concentrated a heavy fire on Hindu Rao's house which the
few guns we had in position were quite unable to silence. The rebel
Infantry occupied Kishenganj and Sabzi Mandi in force, and threatened
to advance on the Mound battery, while a constant musketry fire was
maintained upon the Ridge. Reid reported that the mutineers made a
desperate attack at about twelve o'clock, and that no men could have
fought better; they charged the Rifles, the Guides, and the Gurkhas
again and again. The cannonade raged fast and furious, and at one
time it seemed as though the day must be lost. Thousands were brought
against a mere handful of men; but Reid knew the importance of
his position, and was determined at all hazards to hold it until
reinforcements arrived.[18]

The mutineers were checked, but not driven off. The first attempt from
the Mound battery failed to repulse them, and Colonel Welchman, who
was in command, was dangerously wounded. Every available man in camp
had been engaged, and as a last resource the 2nd Fusiliers and the 4th
Sikhs, who had just arrived from Rhai, were sent to the front. Showers
was placed in command, and shortly before the day closed he succeeded
in forcing the enemy to retire. So the anniversary of Plassy saw us,
though hardly pressed, undefeated, and the enemy's hopes unfulfilled.
They lost over 1,000 men. Our casualties were 1 officer and 38 men
killed, and 3 officers and 118 men wounded. The heat all the while was
terrific, and several of our men were knocked over by the sun.

The lesson taught us by this severe fighting was the importance
of occupying the Sabzi Mandi, and thus preventing the enemy from
approaching too close to the camp and enfilading the Ridge. This
entailed more constant duty upon our already overworked soldiers, but
Barnard felt that it would not do to run the risk of another such

A piquet of 180 Europeans was accordingly placed in the Sabzi Mandi,
part in a serai on one side of the Grand Trunk Road, and the rest in
a Hindu temple on the opposite side. These posts were connected by a
line of breastworks with the Hindu Rao piquets, and added considerably
to the strength of our position.

After the 23rd there were real or threatened attacks daily; but we
were left fairly undisturbed until the 27th June, when the Metcalfe
and Sabzi Mandi piquets were assaulted, and also the batteries on the
Ridge. These attempts were defeated without any very great loss, only
13 of our men being killed, and 1 officer and 48 men wounded.

[Footnote 1: The late Major-General Sir Harry Tombs, V.C., K.C.B.]

[Footnote 2: The Chaplain's Narrative of the siege of Delhi.]

[Footnote 3: Now the 1st Battalion, 2nd Gurkhas.]

[Footnote 4: 'Siege of Delhi; by an Officer who served there.']

[Footnote 5: The late General Sir Hope Grant, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 6: 75th and 1st Bengal Fusiliers.]

[Footnote 7: 1st Battalion 60th Rifles, 2nd Bengal Fusiliers, and
Sirmur battalion.]

[Footnote 8: Swampy ground.]

[Footnote 9: 'The Indian Mutiny,' by George W. Forrest.]

[Footnote 10: The bastions were small, each mounting from ten to
fourteen pieces of Artillery; they were provided with masonry parapets
about 12 feet in thickness, and were about 16 feet high. The curtain
consisted of a simple masonry wall or rampart 16 feet in height, 11
feet thick at top, and 14 or 15 feet at bottom. This main wall carried
a parapet loopholed for musketry 8 feet in height and 3 feet in
thickness. The whole of the land front was covered by a faussebraye of
varying thickness, ranging from 16 to 30 feet, and having a vertical
scarp wall 8 feet high; exterior to this was a dry ditch about 25
feet in width. The counterscarp was simply an earthen slope, easy to
descend. The glacis was very narrow, extending only 50 or 60 yards
from the counterscarp, and covering barely one-half of the walls
from the besiegers' view. These walls were about seven miles in
circumference, and included an area of about three square miles (see
Colonel Baird-Smith's report, dated September 17, 1857).]

[Footnote 11: The late Field Marshal Lord Napier of Magdala, G.C.B.,

[Footnote 12: So badly off were we for ammunition for the heavy guns
at this time, that it was found necessary to use the shot fired at
us by the enemy, and a reward was offered for every 24-pounder shot
brought into the Artillery Park.]

[Footnote 13: Now General Sir Charles Reid, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 14: Forrest's 'Indian Mutiny' and Norman's 'Narrative of the
Siege of Delhi,' two interesting accounts from which I shall often

[Footnote 15: A Mahomedan place of worship and sacrifice.]

[Footnote 16: 'Siege of Delhi; by an Officer who served there.']

[Footnote 17: Forrest's 'The Indian Mutiny.']

[Footnote 18: Reid's own report.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  A new appointment

I will now continue my story from the 29th June, the morning after my
arrival in camp, when I awoke full of excitement, and so eager to hear
all my old friend Norman could tell me, that I am afraid he must have
been considerably bored with my questions.

It is impossible for me to describe my pleasure at finding myself a
member of a force which had already gained imperishable fame. I longed
to meet and know the men whose names were in everyone's mouth. The
hero of the day was Harry Tombs, of the Bengal Horse Artillery, an
unusually handsome man and a thorough soldier. His gallantry in the
attack on the Idgah, and wherever he had been engaged, was the general
talk of the camp. I had always heard of Tombs as one of the best
officers in the regiment, and it was with feelings of respectful
admiration that I made his acquaintance a few days later.

Jemmy Hills,[1] one of the subalterns in Tombs's troop, was an old
Addiscombe friend of mine; he delighted in talking of his Commander,
in dilating on his merits as a soldier and his skill in handling
each arm of the service. As a cool, bold leader of men Tombs was
unsurpassed: no fire, however hot, and no crisis, however unexpected,
could take him by surprise; he grasped the situation in a moment,
and issued his orders without hesitation, inspiring all ranks with
confidence in his power and capacity. He was somewhat of a martinet,
and was more feared than liked by his men until they realized what a
grand leader he was, when they gave him their entire confidence, and
were ready to follow him anywhere and everywhere.

Another very distinguished officer of my regiment, whom I now met for
the first time, and for whom I ever afterwards entertained the warmest
regard, was Edwin Johnson,[2] Assistant-Adjutant-General of the Bengal
Artillery, in which capacity he had accompanied Brigadier Wilson from
Meerut. He had a peculiarly bright intellect--somewhat caustic,
but always clever and amusing. He was a delightful companion, and
invariably gained the confidence of those with whom he worked.

_from a photograph by Messrs. Bourne and Shepherd._]

Johnson was the first person on whom I called to report my arrival and
to find out with which troop or battery I was to do duty. He told me
that the Quartermaster-General wished to keep me in his department.
So, after visiting General Chamberlain,[3] who I knew would be anxious
to hear all that had been going on in the Movable Column since his
departure, I made my way to Colonel Becher, whom I found suffering
from the severe wound he had received a few days before, and asked him
what was to be my fate. He replied that the question had been raised
of appointing an officer to help the Assistant-Adjutant-General of
the Delhi Field Force, who found it impossible to carry on the daily
increasing work single-handed, and that Chamberlain had thought of me
for this post. Had Chamberlain's wish been carried out my career might
have been quite changed, but while he was discussing the question with
Sir Henry Barnard, Donald Stewart unexpectedly arrived in camp.

I was waiting outside Sir Henry Barnard's tent, anxious to hear what
decision had been come to, when two men rode up, both looking greatly
fatigued and half starved; one of them being Stewart. He told me
they had had a most adventurous ride; but before waiting to hear his
story,[4] I asked Norman to suggest Stewart for the new appointment--a
case of one word for Stewart and two for myself, I am afraid, for
I had set my heart on returning to the Quartermaster-General's
department. And so it was settled, to our mutual satisfaction, Stewart
becoming the D.A.A.G. of the Delhi Field Force, and I the D.A.Q.M.G.
with the Artillery.

[Footnote 1: Now Lieutenant-General Sir James Hills-Johnes, V.C.,

[Footnote 2: The late General Sir Edwin Johnson, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 3: Chamberlain had been given the rank of Brigadier-General
on his arrival at Delhi.]

[Footnote 4: The account of this adventurous ride is given in the
Appendix.  (Appendix I.)]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Reinforcements begin to arrive--An assault again proposed
  --The attack on Alipur--Death of General Barnard
  --General Reed assumes command--Two V.C.'s--Treachery in camp
  --Fighting close up to the city walls
  --Sufferings of the sick and wounded--General Reed's health fails

That my readers may better understand our position at the time I
joined the Delhi Field Force, I might, I think, quote with advantage
from a letter[1] written the very day of my arrival by General Barnard
to Sir John Lawrence, in which he describes the difficulties of the
situation, hitherto met by the troops with the most determined courage
and endurance, but to which no end could be seen. When he took over
the command, he wrote, he was expected to be able to silence at once
the fire from the Mori and Kashmir bastions, and then to bring his
heavy guns into play on the walls and open a way into the city,
after which, it was supposed, all would be plain sailing. But this
programme, so plausible in theory, was absolutely impossible to put
into practice. In spite of every effort on our part, not a single one
of the enemy's guns was silenced; they had four to our one, while the
distance from the Ridge to the city walls was too great to allow of
our comparatively light guns making any impression on them. Under
these circumstances the only thing to be done was to construct
batteries nearer to the city, but before these could be begun,
entrenching tools, sandbags, and other necessary materials, of which
the Engineers were almost entirely destitute, had to be collected. The
troops were being worn out by constant sanguinary combats, and the
attacks to which they were exposed required every soul in camp to
repel them. It was never certain where the enemy intended to strike,
and it was only by the most constant vigilance that their intentions
could be ascertained, and the men were being incessantly withdrawn
during the scorching heat of the day from one place to another.
General Barnard concluded as follows: 'You may ask why we engage in
these constant combats. The reason simply is that when attacked we
must defend ourselves, and that to secure our camp, our hospitals, our
stores, etc., every living being has to be employed. The whole thing
is too gigantic for the force brought against it.'

Soon after Barnard wrote these lines reinforcements began to arrive,
and our position was gradually improved. By the 3rd July the following
troops had reached Delhi: four Horse Artillery guns (two British
and two Native), a detachment of European Foot Artillery, the
Head-Quarters of Her Majesty's 8th and 61st Foot, one squadron of the
5th Punjab Cavalry, the 1st Punjab Infantry, and some newly-raised
Sikh Sappers and Artillery. The strength of the force was thus
increased to nearly 6,600 men of all arms. The enemy's reinforcements,
however, were out of all proportion to ours--mutineers from Jullundur,
Nasirabad, Nimach, Kotah, Gwalior, Jhansi, and Rohilkand arrived about
this time. Those from Rohilkand crossed by the bridge of boats and
entered the city by the Calcutta gate; we could distinctly see them
from the Ridge, marching in perfect formation, with their bands
playing and colours flying. Indeed, throughout the siege the enemy's
numbers were constantly being increased, while they had a practically
unlimited number of guns, and the well-stocked magazine furnished them
with an inexhaustible supply of ammunition.

I found myself under fire for the first time on the 30th June, when an
attack was made on the Sabzi Mandi piquet and Hindu Rao's house. Eight
of our men were killed and thirty wounded; amongst the latter were
Yorke and Packe, both attached to the 4th Sikhs. It appeared certain
that these two officers were wounded by the Hindustanis of their own
regiment; Packe, who was shot through the ankle, being so close up to
the breastwork that it was scarcely possible for the bullet which hit
him to have come from the front. Consequently all the Hindustanis
in the 4th Sikhs were disarmed and turned out of camp, as it was
manifestly undesirable to have any but the most loyal soldiers in our

G.C.S.I., C.I.E.
_From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott and Fry._]

In the afternoon of the same day I was ordered to accompany a column
under Brigadier Showers, sent on reconnoitring duty towards the Idgah,
where we heard that the enemy were again constructing a battery. It
had not been commenced, but the intention to build one was evident,
for we found a number of entrenching tools, and a quantity of

The question of attempting to take the city by a _coup de main_ was
now again discussed. It was urged that our numbers, already small,
were being daily reduced by casualties and sickness; that the want of
proper equipment rendered it impossible to undertake regular siege
operations; and that a rising in the Punjab was imminent. The chances
of success were certainly more favourable than they were on the 13th
June. The force to be employed was stronger; all concerned--the staff,
commanders, and troops--were fully apprised of what was intended, and
of the part they would have to play; above all, the details of the
scheme, which was drawn up on much the same lines as the former one,
were carefully worked out by Lieutenant Alex. Taylor,[2] who had
recently come into camp, and was acting temporarily as Commanding

Of the supreme importance of regaining possession of Delhi there can
be no doubt whatever. But nevertheless the undertaking would, at that
time, have been a most desperate one, and only to be justified by
the critical position in which we were placed. In spite of the late
reinforcements, we were a mere handful compared with the thousands
within the walls. Success, therefore, depended on the completeness
of the surprise; and, as we could make no movement without its being
perceived by the enemy, surprise was impossible. Another strong reason
against assaulting at that time was the doubtful attitude of some
of the Hindustani Cavalry still with us; the whole of the effective
troops, too, would have to be employed, and the sick and wounded--a
large number--left to the mercy of the Native followers.

General Barnard carefully weighed all the arguments for and against
the proposal, and at last reluctantly consented to the attack being
made, but the discovery of a conspiracy amongst the Natives in camp
caused it to be countermanded--a great disappointment to many, and
there was much cavilling and discontent on the part of some, who could
not have sufficiently appreciated the difficulties and risks of the
undertaking, or the disastrous consequences of a repulse.

On the morning of the day on which it had been arranged that the
assault should be made, the staff at Delhi received a most valuable
addition in the person of Lieutenant-Colonel Baird-Smith, of the
Bengal Engineers. Summoned from Rurki to take the place of the Chief
Engineer, whose health had broken down, Baird-Smith was within sixty
miles of Delhi on the 2nd July, when news of the intended movement
reached him. He started at once, and arrived in camp early on the 3rd,
but only to find that the assault had been postponed.

On the afternoon of the 3rd July the enemy came out in force (5,000
or 6,000 strong with several guns), and occupied the suburbs to our
right. The troops were turned out, but instead of attacking us and
returning to the city as usual when it became dark, the rebels moved
off in the direction of Alipur, where we had an outpost, which was
held by Younghusband's squadron of the 5th Punjab Cavalry. They
reached Alipur about midnight, and had they attacked the serai at once
with Infantry, Younghusband and his men could hardly have escaped, but
fortunately they opened upon it with Artillery. This gave the sowars
time to mount and fall back on Rhai, the next post, ten miles to the
rear, which was garrisoned by the friendly troops of the Jhind Raja.
The sound of the guns being heard in camp, a column under the command
of Major Coke was got ready to pursue should the insurgents push up
the Trunk Road, or to cut them off should they try to make their way
back to the city. Besides his own corps (the 1st Punjab Infantry),
Coke was given a wing of the 61st Foot, six Horse and six Field
Artillery guns, one squadron of the Carabineers, one squadron of the
9th Lancers, and the Guides Cavalry; in all about 800 Infantry, 300
Cavalry, and 12 guns, and I was sent with him as staff officer.

It was generally believed that the enemy were on the look-out for
treasure coming from the Punjab, which was known to be under the
charge of a Native guard, and we quite expected to have a long chase
after them; we were, therefore, surprised to see them, as day broke,
crossing our front on their way back to Delhi.

The rebels were moving on fairly high ground, but between us and
them was a swamp rendered almost impassable by recent heavy rain. It
extended a considerable distance on either side, and as there was
no other way of getting at the rapidly retreating foe, it had to be
crossed. Our Artillery opened fire, and Coke advanced with the Cavalry
and Infantry. The swamp proved to be very difficult; in it men and
horses floundered hopelessly, and before we were clear the enemy had
got away with their guns; they were obliged, however, to leave behind
all the plunder taken from Alipur, and a considerable quantity
of ammunition. My share of the loot was a nice-looking, white,
country-bred pony, which I found tied to a tree. I promptly annexed
it, glad to save my own horse, and I congratulated myself on having
made a most useful addition to my small stud. It did not, however,
remain long in my possession, for a few days afterwards it was claimed
by its rightful owner, Lieutenant Younghusband.

The heat was great, and as the soldiers were much distressed, having
been under arms for ten hours, Coke halted the Infantry portion on the
banks of the Western Jumna Canal instead of returning direct to
camp. While we were enjoying a much-needed rest we were unexpectedly
attacked by some fresh troops (including about 800 Cavalry) which had
hurried out from the city. I was startled from a sound sleep by heavy
firing, and saw the enemy advancing within a few hundred yards of our
halting-place. Coke formed his Infantry along the bank of the canal,
and sent a mounted officer to recall the Cavalry and Artillery.
The enemy came on very boldly at first, but the steady fire of our
Infantry kept them at bay, and when the guns arrived we had no
difficulty in driving them off. They left 80 dead on the field; we had
on our side 3 killed and 23 wounded, besides losing several British
soldiers from sunstroke.

Major Coke was much grieved by the loss in this engagement of a Native
friend of his, a Chief of the Kohat border, by name Mir Mubarak Shah.
He was a grand specimen of a frontier Khan,[3] and on hearing that the
1st Punjab Infantry was ordered to Delhi expressed his determination
to accompany it. He got together a troop of eighty of his own
followers, and leaving Kohat on the 1st June, overtook Coke at Kurnal
on the 27th, a distance of nearly 600 miles. A day or two afterwards
Coke's men were approached by the Hindustanis of the 2nd Punjab
Cavalry, and some Native officers of the 9th Irregulars, who tried to
induce them to join in the rebellion. Advances were made in the first
instance to Mir Mubarak Shah and Mir Jaffir, the Subadar-Major of the
1st Punjab Infantry, who at once informed Coke of what was going on.
As soon as the regiment reached Delhi the matter was investigated, and
the Native officers who had endeavoured to tamper with the men were
identified, tried, and executed.

About noon on the 5th July we heard the woeful tidings that General
Barnard was seized with cholera. The army had never been free from
that terrible scourge since the Commander-in-Chief fell a victim to
it on the 26th May, and now it had attacked his successor, who was
carried off after a few hours' illness. The feeling of sadness amongst
the troops at the loss of their General was universal. Throughout the
six trying weeks he had been in command of the force he had never
spared himself. At work from morning till night in and about the
trenches, he personally attended to every detail, and had won the
respect and regard of all in camp.

Few Commanders were ever placed in a more difficult position than
Barnard. He arrived at Umballa when the Native troops, to whose
characteristics and peculiarities (as I have already remarked) he was
a complete stranger, were thoroughly disaffected, and within a week of
his taking over the command of the Sirhind division the Mutiny broke
out. Without any previous knowledge of Indian warfare, he found
himself in front of Delhi with a force altogether too weak to effect
the object for which it was intended and without any of the appliances
to ensure success; while those who did not realize the extreme risk
involved never ceased clamouring at a delay which was unavoidable, and
urging the General to undertake a task which was impossible.

Barnard has been blamed, and not unjustly, for mistrusting his own
judgment and for depending upon others for advice about matters on
which an experienced Commander ought to have been the best able to
decide. But every allowance must be made for the position he was
so unexpectedly called upon to fill and the peculiar nature of his
surroundings. Failing health, too, probably weakened the self-reliance
which a man who had satisfactorily performed the duties of Chief of
the Staff in the Crimea must at one time have possessed.

On the death of Sir Henry Barnard, General Reed assumed command. He
had joined the force on the morning of the action of Badli-ki-Serai,
but though senior to Barnard, he was too much knocked up by the
intense heat of the long journey from Peshawar to take part in the
action, and he had allowed Barnard to continue in command.

For the next few days we had a comparatively quiet time, of which
advantage was taken to render our position more secure towards the
rear. The secrecy and rapidity with which the enemy had made their way
to Alipur warned the authorities how easily our communication with the
Punjab might be cut off. Baird-Smith saw the necessity for remedying
this, and, acting on his advice, Reed had all the bridges over the
Western Jumna Canal destroyed for several miles, except one required
for our own use. The Phulchudder aqueduct, which carried the canal
water into the city, and along which horsemen could pass to the rear
of our camp, was blown up, as was also the Bussye bridge over the
drain from the Najafgarh _jhil_, about eight miles from camp.

We were not left long in peace, for on the morning of the 9th July the
enemy moved out of the city in great force, and for several hours kept
up an incessant cannonade on our front and right flank.

The piquet below the General's Mound happened to be held this day by
two guns of Tombs's troop, commanded by Second Lieutenant James Hills,
and by thirty men of the Carabineers under Lieutenant Stillman. A
little beyond, and to the right of this piquet, a Native officer's
party of the 9th Irregular Cavalry had been placed to watch the Trunk
Road. These men were still supposed to be loyal; the regiment to which
they belonged had a good reputation, and as Christie's Horse had
done excellent service in Afghanistan, where Neville and Crawford
Chamberlain had served with it as subalterns. It was, therefore,
believed at the Mound piquet that ample warning would be given of
any enemy coming from the direction of the Trunk Road, so that the
approach of some horsemen dressed like the men of the 9th Irregulars
attracted little notice.

Stillman and Hills were breakfasting together, when a sowar from the
Native officers' party rode up and reported that a body of the enemy's
Cavalry were in sight. Hills told the man to gallop to Head-Quarters
with the report, and to warn Tombs as he passed his tent. Hills and
Stillman then mounted their men, neither of them having the remotest
idea that the news of the enemy's advance had been purposely delayed
until there was not time to turn out the troops. They imagined that
the sowar was acting in good faith and had given them sufficient
notice, and while Hills moved his guns towards the position from which
he could command the Trunk Road, Stillman proceeded to the top of the
Mound in order to get a better view of the ground over which the enemy
were said to be advancing. The troop of the Carabineers was thus left
by itself to receive the first rush of the rebel Cavalry; it was
composed of young soldiers, some of them quite untrained, who turned
and broke.

The moment Hills saw the enemy he shouted, 'Action front!' and, in
the hope of giving his men time to load and fire a round of grape, he
gallantly charged the head of the column single-handed, cut down the
leading man, struck the second, and then was then ridden down himself.
It had been raining heavily, so Hills wore his cloak; which probably
saved his life, for it was cut through in many places, as were his
jacket and even his shirt.

As soon as the body of the enemy had passed on, Hills, extricating
himself from his horse, got up and searched for his sword, which he
had lost in the mêlée. He had just found it when he was attacked by
three men, two of whom were mounted; he fired at and wounded the first
man; then caught the lance of the second in his left hand, and ran him
through the body with his sword. The first assailant coming on again,
Hills cut him down, upon which he was attacked by the third man on
foot, who succeeded in wrenching his sword from him. Hills fell in
the struggle, and must have been killed, if Tombs, who had been duly
warned by the sowar, and had hurried out to the piquet, had not come
to the rescue and saved his plucky subaltern's life.[4]

Notwithstanding Hills's gallant attempt to stop the sowars, his men
had not time to fire a single round before they were upon them. Their
object, however, was not to capture these two guns, but to induce the
Native Horse Artillery to join them, and galloping past the piquet,
they made straight for the troop, and called upon the men to bring
away their guns. The Native Artillerymen behaved admirably: they not
only refused to respond to the call, but they begged the men of the
European troop, which was unlimbered close by, to fire through them on
the mutineers.

Knowing nothing of what was happening, I was standing by my tent,
watching my horses, which had just arrived from Philour, as they
crossed the bridge over the canal cut which ran at the rear of our
camp, when the enemy's Cavalry galloped over the bridge, and for a few
moments my animals seemed in considerable danger; the sowars, however,
having lost more than one-third of their number, and having failed in
their attempt to get hold of the Native Horse Artillery guns, were
bent upon securing their retreat rather than upon plunder. My
servants gave a wonderful account of the many perils they had
encountered--somewhat exaggerated, I dare say--but they had done me a
real good service, having marched 200 miles through a very disturbed
country, and arriving with animals and baggage in good order. Indeed,
throughout the Mutiny my servants behaved admirably. The _khidmatgar_
(table attendant) never failed to bring me my food under the hottest
fire, and the _saices_ (grooms) were always present with the horses
whenever they were required, apparently quite indifferent to the risks
they often ran. Moreover, they became imbued with such a warlike
spirit that, when I was invalided in April, 1858, four of them
enlisted in a regiment of Bengal Cavalry. The _khidmatgar_ died soon
after the Mutiny, but two of his brothers were afterwards in my
service; one, who was with me during the Lushai expedition and the
whole of the Afghan war, never left me for more than twenty years, and
we parted with mutual regret at Bombay on board the P. and O. steamer
in which I took my final departure from India in April, 1893.

Mine was not a solitary instance; not only the officers' servants,
but the followers belonging to European regiments, such as cook-boys,
_saices_ and _bhisties_ (water-carriers), as a rule, behaved in the
most praiseworthy manner, faithful and brave to a degree. So much was
this the case, that when the troopers of the 9th Lancers were called
upon to name the man they considered most worthy of the Victoria
Cross, an honour which Sir Colin Campbell purposed to confer upon the
regiment to mark his appreciation of the gallantry displayed by all
ranks during the campaign, they unanimously chose the head _bhistie_!
Considering the peculiar position we were in at the time, it is
somewhat remarkable that the conduct of the Native servants should
have been so generally satisfactory. It speaks as well, I think, for
the masters as the servants, and proves (what I have sometimes heard
denied) that Native servants are, as a rule, kindly and considerately
treated by their European masters.

To return to my story. The cannonade from within and without the city
continued unceasing, and the enemy had again to be driven out of the
near suburbs. This duty was entrusted to General Chamberlain, whom
I accompanied as one of his staff officers. His column consisted of
about 800 Infantry and six guns, a few more men joining us as we
passed the Ridge. This was the first occasion on which I had witnessed
fighting in gardens and walled enclosures, and I realized how
difficult it was to dislodge men who knew how to take advantage of the
cover thus afforded. Our soldiers, as usual, fought well against very
heavy odds, and before we were able to force the enemy back into the
city we had lost 1 officer and 40 men killed, and 8 officers and 163
men wounded, besides 11 poor fellows missing: every one of whom
must have been murdered. The enemy had nearly 500 men killed, and
considerably more than that number wounded.

The result of the day's experience was so far satisfactory that it
determined General Reed to get rid of all the Hindustani soldiers
still remaining in camp. It was clear that the Native officers' party
near the Mound piquet had been treacherous; none of them were ever
seen again, and it was generally believed that they had joined the
enemy in their dash through the camp. The other Native soldiers did
not hesitate to denounce their Hindustani comrades as traitors; the
latter were consequently all sent away, except a few men of the 4th
Irregular Cavalry who were deprived of their horses and employed
solely as orderlies. It was also thought advisable to take the guns
from the Native troop of Horse Artillery. A few of the younger men
belonging to it deserted, but the older soldiers continued faithful,
and did good work in the breaching batteries.

There was a short lull after our fight on the 9th--a sure sign that
the enemy's loss was heavier than they had calculated upon. When the
mutineers received reinforcements we were certain to be attacked
within a few hours, but if no fresh troops arrived on the scene we
could generally depend upon a day or two's respite.

Our next fight was on the 14th July. The rebels came out on that
morning in great numbers, attacking Hindu Rao's house and the Sabzi
Mandi piquets, and supported by a continuous fire of Artillery from
the walls. For some hours we remained on the defensive, but as the
enemy's numbers increased, and we were greatly harassed by their
fire, a column was formed to dislodge them. It was of about the usual
strength, viz., 800 Infantry and six Horse Artillery guns, with the
addition of a few of the Guides Cavalry and of Hodson's newly-raised
Horse. The command was given to Brigadier Showers, and I was sent as
his staff officer; Reid joined in at the foot of the Ridge with all
the men that could be spared, and Brigadier-General Chamberlain also
accompanied the column.

We moved on under a very heavy fire until we reached an enclosure the
wall of which was lined with the enemy. The troops stopped short, when
Chamberlain, seeing that they hesitated, called upon them to follow
him, and gave them a splendid example by jumping his horse over the
wall. The men did follow him, and Chamberlain got a ball in his

We had great difficulty in driving the enemy back; they contested
every inch of the ground, the many serais and walled gardens affording
them admirable cover; but our troops were not to be withstood;
position after position was carried until we found ourselves in sight
of the Lahore gate and close up to the walls of the city. In our
eagerness to drive the enemy back we had, however, come too far. It
was impossible to remain where we were. Musketry from the walls and
grape from the heavy guns mounted on the Mori and other bastions
committed terrible havoc. Men were falling on all sides, but the
getting back was hazardous to the last degree. Numerous as the enemy
were, they had not the courage to stand against us as long as we
advanced, but the first sign of retreat was the signal for them to
leave their shelter and press us the whole way to camp.

When the retirement commenced I was with the two advanced guns in
action on the Grand Trunk Road. The subaltern in charge was severely
wounded, and almost at the same moment one of his sergeants, a smart,
handsome fellow, fell, shot through the leg. Seeing some men carrying
him into a hut at the side of the road, I shouted: 'Don't put him
there; he will be left behind; get a doolie for him, or put him on the
limber.' But what with the incessant fire from the enemy's guns, the
bursting of shells, the crashing of shot through the branches of the
trees, and all the din and hubbub of battle, I could not have been
heard, for the poor fellow with another wounded man was left in the
hut, and both were murdered by the mutineers. So many of the men with
the two guns were _hors de combat_, and the horses were so unsteady
(several of them being wounded), that there was great difficulty in
limbering up, and I was helping the drivers to keep the horses quiet,
when I suddenly felt a tremendous blow on my back which made me faint
and sick, and I was afraid I should not be able to remain on my horse.
The powerless feeling, however, passed off, and I managed to stick
on until I got back to camp. I had been hit close to the spine by a
bullet, and the wound would probably have been fatal but for the fact
that a leather pouch for caps, which I usually wore in front near
my pistol, had somehow slipped round to the back; the bullet passed
through this before entering my body, and was thus prevented from
penetrating very deep.

The enemy followed us closely right up to our piquets, and but for the
steadiness of the retirement our casualties must have been even more
numerous than they were. As it was, they amounted to 15 men killed, 16
officers and 177 men wounded, and 2 men missing.

The enemy's loss was estimated at 1,000. For hours they were seen
carrying the dead in carts back to the city.

My wound, though comparatively slight, kept me on the sick-list for a
fortnight, and for more than a month I could not mount a horse or put
on a sword-belt. I was lucky in that my tent was pitched close to that
of John Campbell Brown, one of the medical officers attached to the
Artillery. He had served during the first Afghan war, with Sale's
force, at Jalalabad, and throughout both the campaigns in the Punjab,
and had made a great reputation for himself as an army surgeon. He
looked after me while I was laid up, and I could not have been in
better hands.

The Delhi Force was fortunate in its medical officers. Some of the
best in the army were attached to it, and all that was possible to be
done for the sick and wounded under the circumstances was done. But
the poor fellows had a bad time of it. A few of the worst cases were
accommodated in the two or three houses in the cantonment that had
escaped destruction, but the great majority had to put up with such
shelter from the burning heat and drenching rain as an ordinary
soldiers' tent could provide. Those who could bear the journey and
were not likely to be fit for duty for some time were sent away to
Meerut and Umballa; but even with the relief thus afforded, the
hospitals throughout the siege were terribly overcrowded. Anæsthetics
were freely used, but antiseptics were practically unknown,
consequently many of the severely wounded died, and few amputation
cases survived.

A great aggravation to the misery and discomfort in hospital was the
plague of flies. Delhi is at all times noted for having more than its
share of these drawbacks to life in the East, but during the siege
they were a perfect pest, and for the short time I was laid up I fully
realized the suffering which our sick and wounded soldiers had to
endure. At night the inside of my tent was black with flies. At the
first ray of light or the smallest shake to the ropes, they were all
astir, and for the rest of the day there was no peace; it was even
difficult to eat without swallowing one or more of the loathsome
insects. I had to brush them away with one hand while I put the food
into my mouth with the other, and more than once I had to rush from
the table, a fly having eluded all my efforts to prevent his going
down my throat.

As soon as I could get about a little, but before I was able to
perform my legitimate work, I was employed in helping to look after
the conservancy of the camp and its surroundings--an extremely
disagreeable but most important duty, for an Indian army must always
have a large following, for which sanitary arrangements are a
difficulty. Then, large convoys of camels and bullock-carts arrived
daily with supplies and stores, and a considerable number of transport
animals had to be kept in readiness to follow up the enemy with a
suitably sized force, whenever we could drive them out of the city.
Without any shelter, and often with insufficient food, deaths amongst
the animals were of constant occurrence, and, unless their carcases
could at once be removed, the stench became intolerable. Every
expedient was resorted to to get rid of this nuisance. Some of the
carcases were dragged to a distance from camp, some were buried, and
some were burnt, but, notwithstanding all our efforts, many remained
to be gradually devoured by the jackals which prowled about the camp,
and by the innumerable birds of prey which instinct had brought to
Delhi from the remotest parts of India.[5]

At a time when the powers of each individual were taxed to the
uttermost, the strain on the Commander of the force was terribly
severe. Mind and body were incessantly at work. Twice in the short
space of six weeks had the officer holding this responsible position
succumbed, and now a third was on the point of breaking down.
Major-General Reed's health, never very strong, completely failed, and
on the 17th July, only twelve days after succeeding Sir Henry Barnard,
he had to give up the command and leave the camp on sick certificate.

[Footnote 1: See Kaye's 'History of the Indian Mutiny.']

[Footnote 2: Now General Sir Alexander Taylor, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 3: Mahomedans of good family are so styled in northern

[Footnote 4: Tombs and Hills both received the Victoria Cross for
their gallantry.]

[Footnote 5: 'Adjutants,' never seen in ordinary times further north
than Bengal, appeared in hundreds, and were really useful scavengers.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Archdale Wilson assumes command--Enemy baffled in the Sabzi Mandi
  --Efforts to exterminate the Feringhis
  --A letter from General Havelock--News of Henry Lawrence's death
  --Arrival of the Movable Column--The 61st Foot at Najafgarh

General Reed was succeeded by Brigadier Archdale Wilson, the officer
who commanded the Meerut column at the beginning of the campaign, and
who was so successful in the fights on the Hindun. Though a soldier of
moderate capacity, Wilson was quite the best of the senior officers
present, three of whom were superseded by his selection. Two of these,
Congreve, Acting-Adjutant-General of Queen's troops, and Graves, who
had been Brigadier at Delhi when the Mutiny broke out, left the camp
on being passed over; the third, Longfield, took Wilson's place as

Wilson's succession to the command gave great relief to the troops on
account of the systematic manner in which he arranged for the various
duties, and the order and method he introduced. The comparative rest
to the troops, as well as the sanitary improvements he effected, did a
good deal for the health of the force. Wilson also took advantage of
the reinforcements we had received to strengthen our position. As far
as possible he put a stop to the practice of following up the enemy
close to the city walls when they were driven off after an attack (a
practice which had cost us many valuable lives), contenting himself
with preventing the rebels from remaining in the immediate vicinity of
our advanced posts.

The day after Reed's departure another sharp and prolonged attack was
made upon the Ridge batteries and Sabzi Mandi piquets, and in the
afternoon a column was sent to drive the enemy away. It consisted
of four Horse Artillery guns, 750 Infantry, and the Guides Cavalry.
Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of the 60th Rifles, commanded the column,
and, having gained experience from the lesson we had received on the
14th, he took care not to approach too near to the city walls, but
cleared the Sabzi Mandi, and took up a good position, where he
remained for some little time. This unusual procedure seemed to
disconcert the enemy, most of whom returned to the city, while those
who remained to fight did not come to such close quarters as on
previous occasions. Nevertheless, we had 1 officer and 12 men killed,
3 officers and 66 men wounded, and 2 men were missing.

The four following days passed without any serious attack being made,
but an unfortunate accident occurred about this time to a cousin of
mine, Captain Greensill, of the 24th Foot. He was attached to the
Engineer department, and was ordered to undertake some reconnoitring
duty after dark. On nearing the enemy's position he halted his escort,
in order not to attract attention, and proceeded alone to examine the
ground. The signal which he had arranged to give on his return was
apparently misunderstood, for as he approached the escort fired; he
was mortally wounded, and died in great agony the next morning.

The last severe contest took place in the Sabzi Mandi on the 18th,
for by this time the Engineers' incessant labour had resulted in the
clearing away of the old serais and walled gardens for some distance
round the posts held by our piquets in that suburb. The 'Sammy
House' piquet, to the right front of Hindu Rao's house, was greatly
strengthened, and cover was provided for the men occupying it--a very
necessary measure, exposed as the piquet was to the guns on the Burn
and Mori bastions, and within grape range of the latter, while the
enemy's Infantry were enabled to creep close up to it unperceived.

The improvements we had made in this part of our position were, no
doubt, carefully watched and noted by the rebels, who, finding
that all attempts to dislodge us on the right ended in their own
discomfiture, determined to try whether our left was not more
vulnerable than they had found it in the earlier days of the siege.
Accordingly early on the 23rd they sallied forth from the Kashmir
gate, and, occupying Ludlow Castle and its neighbourhood, shelled
Metcalfe House, the stable piquet, and the mosque piquet on the Ridge.
As all attempts to silence the enemy's guns with our Artillery proved
unavailing, and it was feared that if not dislodged they would
establish a battery at Ludlow Castle, a small column under Brigadier
Showers moved out by a cutting through the Ridge on our left, its
object being (in conjunction with the Metcalfe House piquets) to turn
the enemy's right and capture their guns.

The troops detailed for this duty consisted of six Horse Artillery
guns, 400 British Infantry, 360 of the 1st Punjab Infantry, and a
party of the Guides Cavalry, in addition to 250 men detached from the
Metcalfe House piquets. The advance of the column up the road leading
towards the Kashmir gate appeared to be unnoticed until it arrived
close to the enemy, who then opened with grape. Our troops pressed
on, and in their eagerness to capture the guns, which were being
withdrawn, got too near the city walls. Here Showers was wounded, and
the command devolved on Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of the 60th, who
skilfully conducted the retirement. Our loss was 1 officer and 11 men
killed, 5 officers and 34 men wounded. Captain Law, one of my two
companions on the mail-cart from Umballa, was the officer killed.

The enemy were fairly quiet between the 23rd and 31st July, on which
date they moved out of the city in considerable strength, with the
intention of making a temporary bridge across the cut in the swampy
ground I have before described, and so threatening our rear. A column
under Coke was sent to the other side of the cut to intercept the
enemy should they succeed in getting across; this column was joined
at Alipur by the Kumaon battalion (composed of Gurkhas and hill-men),
about 400 strong, which had just arrived from the Punjab as escort
to a large store of ammunition. The services of these troops were,
however, not required, for the rain, which had been coming down in
torrents for some hours, had caused such a rush of water that the
bridge was carried away before it was completed. The enemy then
retired towards the city. On reaching the suburbs they were reinforced
by a large body of Infantry, and a most determined attack was made on
the right of our position. This occurred about sunset, and all night
the roar of musketry and artillery was kept up without a moment's

The next day was the anniversary of a great Mahomedan festival, when
it was the custom for the King to pray and make sacrifice at the
Idgah, in commemoration of Abraham's intended offering up of
Ishmail.[1] On this particular occasion, however, the sacrifices were
to be dispensed with in deference to Hindu prejudices,[2] and in
their stead a tremendous united effort was to be made by Hindus and
Mussulmans to exterminate the Feringhis. All the morning of the
1st August mosques and Hindu temples were crowded with worshippers
offering up prayers for the success of the great attempt, and in the
afternoon the rebels, mad with excitement and fanaticism, issued
in countless numbers from the city gates, and, shouting the Moslem
battle-cry, advanced and threw themselves on our defences. They were
driven back by our deadly volleys, but only for a moment; they quickly
reformed and made a fresh attack, to be stopped again by our steady,
uncompromising fire. Time after time they rallied and hurled
themselves against our breastworks. All that night and well on into
the next day the fight continued, and it was past noon before the
devoted fanatics became convinced that their gods had deserted them,
that victory was not for them, and that no effort, however heroic on
their part, could drive us from the Ridge. The enemy's loss was heavy,
ours trifling, for our men were admirably steady, well protected by
breastworks, and never allowed to show themselves except when the
assailants came close up. We had only 1 officer and 9 men killed and
36 men wounded.

The officer was Lieutenant Eaton Travers, of the 1st Punjab Infantry.
He had been seven years with the regiment, and had been present
with it in nearly all the many frontier fights in which it had been
engaged. He was a bright, happy fellow, and a great friend of mine. As
Major Coke, his commanding officer, published in regimental orders:
'This gallant soldier and true-hearted gentleman was beloved and
respected by the officers and men of the regiment. His loss is an
irreparable one.'

The enemy were much depressed by the failure of the Bakhra Id attack,
from which they had expected great things. They began to despair of
being able to drive us from our position on the Ridge, which for seven
weeks had been so hotly contested. They heard that Nicholson with his
Movable Column was hastening to our assistance, and they felt that,
unless they could gain some signal victory before reinforcements
reached us, we should take our place as the besiegers, instead of
being, as hitherto, the besieged. Disaffection within the city walls
was on the increase; only the semblance of authority remained to the
old and well-nigh impotent King, while some of his sons, recognizing
their perilous position, endeavoured to open negotiations with us.
Many of the sepoys were reported to be going off to their homes, sick
and weary of a struggle the hopelessness of which they had begun to

Our work, however, was far from being finished. Notwithstanding losses
from death and desertion, the enemy still outnumbered us by about
eight or nine to one.

All this time our communication with the Punjab was maintained, and we
regularly received letters and newspapers from England by the northern
route; but for several weeks we had had no news from the south.
Rumours of disasters occasionally reached us, but it was not until the
second week in July that we heard of the fight at Agra, the retirement
of our troops, and the flight of all the residents into the fort.

These scraps of intelligence, for they were mere scraps, written often
in Greek character, some screwed into a quill, some sewn between the
double soles of a man's shoe, and some twisted up in the messenger's
hair, were eagerly looked for, and as eagerly deciphered when they
came. It was cheering to learn that Allahabad was safe, that Lucknow
was still holding out, that troops from Madras, Ceylon, and the
Mauritius had reached Calcutta, and that Lord Elgin, taking a
statesmanlike view of the situation, had diverted to India[3] the
force intended for the China expedition, and we fondly hoped that some
of the six British regiments reported by one messenger to have arrived
at Cawnpore would be sent to the assistance of the Delhi Force.

Strangely enough, we knew nothing of the death of Sir Henry Lawrence
or General Wheeler, and had not even heard for certain that Cawnpore
had fallen and that Lucknow was besieged, while there were constant
reports that Wheeler was marching up the Trunk Road. Being most
anxious to get some authentic intelligence, Norman[4] on the 15th July
wrote a letter in French addressed to General Wheeler at Cawnpore, or
whoever might be in command between that place and Delhi, giving an
account of our position at Delhi, and expressing a hope that troops
would soon march to our assistance. The letter was entrusted to two
sepoys of the Guides, who carried out their difficult task most
faithfully, and on the 3rd August returned with the following reply
from General Havelock, addressed to Major-General Reed:

    'Cawnpore, left bank of the Ganges,
    '_25th July, 1857._


    'Yesterday I saw Captain Norman's letter of the 15th instant from
    Delhi, addressed to Sir Hugh Wheeler. That gallant officer and the
    whole of his force were destroyed on the 27th June by a base act
    of treachery. Sir Henry Somerset is Commander-in-Chief in India
    and Sir Patrick Grant in Bengal. Under the orders of the supreme
    Government I have been sent to retrieve affairs here. I have
    specific instructions from which I cannot depart. I have sent a
    duplicate of your letter to Sir P. Grant. In truth, though most
    anxious to march on Delhi, I have peremptory orders to relieve
    Lucknow. I have, thank God, been very successful. I defeated the
    enemy at Futtehpore on the 12th, and Pandu Naddi on the 15th, and
    this place, which I recaptured on the 16th. On each occasion I
    took all the guns. Immense reinforcements are coming from England
    and China. Sir Patrick Grant will soon be in the field himself.
    Lucknow holds out. Agra is free for the present. I am sorry to
    hear you are not quite well. I beg that you will let me hear from
    you continually.'

Two days afterwards another letter was received; this time from
Lieutenant-Colonel Fraser-Tytler, A.Q.M.G., with Havelock's force. It
was addressed to Captain Earle, A.Q.M.G., Meerut, and ran as follows:

    'Cawnpore, _July 27th_.

    'General Havelock has crossed the river to relieve Lucknow, which
    will be effected four days hence. He has a strong force with him,
    and he has already thrashed the Nana and completely dispersed his
    force. We shall probably march to Delhi with four or five thousand
    Europeans and a heavy Artillery, in number, not in weight. The
    China force is in Calcutta, 5,000 men. More troops expected
    immediately. We shall soon be with you.'

These sanguine expectations were never fulfilled! Instead of Lucknow
being relieved in four days, it was nearly four months before that
result was achieved, and instead of troops from Cawnpore coming to
help us at Delhi, the troops from Delhi formed the chief part of the
force which relieved Lucknow.

While we were rejoicing at the prospect of being reinforced by a large
number of British soldiers, a gloom was cast over the whole camp by
the rumour that Sir Henry Lawrence was dead. As the first British
Ruler of the Punjab, Henry Lawrence was known by reputation to, and
respected by, every man belonging to the Delhi Force, and all realized
what a serious loss his death would be to the beleaguered garrison of
Lucknow. Much time, however, was not given us for lamentation, for at
the end of the first week in August another attempt was made to drive
us from the Metcalfe House piquets. Guns were again brought out
through the Kashmir gate, and posted at Ludlow Castle and the
Kudsiabagh; at the same time a number of Infantry skirmishers kept up
an almost constant fire from the jungle in front of our position. The
losses at the piquets themselves were not heavy, good cover having
been provided; but the communications between the piquets and our main
position were much exposed and extremely hazardous for the reliefs. It
was felt that the enemy could not be allowed to remain in such close
proximity to our outposts, and Showers (who had recovered from his
slight wound) was again ordered to drive them off, for which purpose
he was given a strong body of Infantry, composed of Europeans, Sikhs,
and Gurkhas, a troop of Horse Artillery, a squadron of the 9th
Lancers, and the Guides Cavalry. The result was a very brilliant
little affair. The orders on this occasion were to 'move up silently
and take the guns at Ludlow Castle.' The small column proceeded in the
deepest silence, and the first sound heard at dawn on the 12th August
was the challenge of the enemy's sentry, '_Ho come dar?_' (Who comes
there?). A bullet in his body was the reply. A volley of musketry
followed, and effectually awoke the sleeping foe, who succeeded in
letting off two of their guns as our men rushed on the battery.
An Irish soldier, named Reegan, springing forward, prevented the
discharge of the third gun. He bayoneted the gunner in the act of
applying the port-fire, and was himself severely wounded. The rebel
Artillerymen stood to their guns splendidly, and fought till they were
all killed. The enemy's loss was severe; some 250 men were killed, and
four guns were captured. On our side 1 officer and 19 men were killed,
7 officers and 85 men wounded, and 5 men missing. Amongst the wounded
was the gallant Commander of the column, and that fine soldier, Major
John Coke, the Commandant of the 1st Punjab Infantry. The return to
camp was a stirring sight: the captured guns were brought home in
triumph, pushed along by the soldiers, all madly cheering, and the
horses ridden by men carrying their muskets with bayonets fixed.

The following morning the Punjab Movable Column arrived. Nicholson had
preceded it by a few days, and from him I heard all about his fight
with the Sialkot mutineers at Trimmu Ghat and the various marches and
counter-marches which he had made since I left him at Philour.

The column was a most welcome addition to our force. It now consisted
of the 52nd Light Infantry, a wing of the 61st Foot, a Field Battery,
a wing of the 1st Baluch Regiment, and the 2nd Punjab Infantry, beside
200 newly-raised Multani Cavalry and 400 military police. This brought
up our effective force to about 8,000 rank and file of all arms.[5] A
more powerful siege-train than we had hitherto possessed was on its
way from Ferozepore, and three companies of the 8th Foot, detachments
of Artillery and the 60th Rifles, the 4th Punjab Infantry, and about
100 recruits for the 4th Sikhs were also marching towards Delhi. In
addition, a small contingent from Kashmir and a few of the Jhind
Raja's troops were shortly expected, after the arrival of which
nothing in the shape of reinforcements could be looked for from the

Nor could we hope for any help from the south, for no definite news
had been received from Havelock since his letter of the 25th of July,
and rumours had reached us that, finding it impossible to force his
way to Lucknow, he had been obliged to retire upon Cawnpore. It was
felt, therefore, that if Delhi were to be taken at all, it must be
taken quickly, before our augmented numbers should be again diminished
by sickness and casualties.

The enemy knew our position as well as we did, and appreciating the
great value the siege-train would be to us, they decided on making a
supreme effort to intercept it. A few days before they had been foiled
by Hodson in an attempt to cut off our communication with the Punjab,
and were determined to ensure success on this occasion by employing a
really formidable force. This force left Delhi on the 24th August, and
proceeded in the direction of the Najafgarh _jhil_.

At daybreak the following morning Nicholson started with sixteen Horse
Artillery guns, 1,600 Infantry and 450 Cavalry, his orders being to
overtake the enemy and bring them to action. I hoped to have been of
the party, but Nicholson's request to have me as his staff officer
was refused, as I had not been taken off the sick-list, though I
considered my wound was practically healed.

It proved a most difficult march. The rain fell in torrents, and the
roads were mere quagmires. In the first nine miles two swamps had to
be got through, on crossing which Nicholson heard that the insurgents
were at Najafgarh, twelve miles further off. He determined to push on,
and at 4 p.m. he found them occupying a strong position about a mile
and three-quarters in length. In front was an old serai which was held
in force with four guns, and on either side and in rear of the serai
was a village equally strongly held; while running round the enemy's
right and rear was a huge drainage cut, swollen by the heavy rain.
This cut, or nulla, was crossed by a bridge immediately behind the
rebels' position. Nicholson advanced from a side-road, which brought
him on their right with the nulla flowing between him and them. Even
at the ford the water was breast-high, and it was with much difficulty
and not without a good deal of delay that our troops crossed under a
heavy fire from the serai. It was getting late, and Nicholson had only
time to make a hasty reconnaissance. He decided to attack the serai,
drive out the mutineers, and then, changing front to the left, to
sweep down their line and get possession of the bridge.

As the Infantry were about to advance, Nicholson thus addressed
them: 'Men of the 61st, remember what Sir Colin Campbell said at
Chilianwala, and you have heard that he said the same to his gallant
Highland Brigade at the Alma. I have the same request to make of you
and the men of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers. Hold your fire until within
twenty or thirty yards, then fire and charge, and the serai is yours.'
Our brave soldiers followed these directions to the letter, and, under
cover of Artillery fire, carried the serai. Front was then changed to
the left as had been arranged, and the line swept along the enemy's
defences, the rebels flying before them over the bridge. They
confessed to a loss of more than 800 men, and they left in our hands
thirteen field-pieces and a large quantity of ammunition, besides all
their camp equipage, stores, camels, and horses. Our casualties were 2
officers and 23 men killed, and 3 officers and 68 men wounded--two of
the officers mortally, the third dangerously.

The enemy in the city, imagining from the size of the force sent with
Nicholson that we could not have many troops left in camp, attacked us
in great strength on the following morning (26th), but were beaten off
with a loss on our side of only 8 killed and 13 wounded.

[Footnote 1: According to the religion of Islam, Ishmail, not Isaac,
was to have been offered up by Abraham.]

[Footnote 2: Forrest's 'The Indian Mutiny.']

[Footnote 3: Since writing the above it has been brought to my notice
that the promptitude with which the troops were diverted to India
was due in a great measure to the foresight of Sir George Grey, the
Governor of the Cape, who, on hearing of the serious state of affairs
in India, immediately ordered all transports which touched at the Cape
on their way to take part in the China Expeditionary Force, to proceed
directly to Calcutta instead of to Singapore. He also despatched as
many of the Cape garrison as he could spare, with stores, etc., to
India. It is right, therefore, that he should share with Lord Elgin
the credit of having so quickly grasped the magnitude of the crisis
through which India was passing.]

[Footnote 4: Owing to Brigadier-General Chamberlain having been placed
_hors de combat_ by the severe wound he received the previous day,
Norman was carrying on the duties of Adjutant-General.]

[Footnote 5: There were besides in camp at this time 1,535 sick and
wounded, notwithstanding that several hundred men had been sent away.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Wilson's difficulties--Nicholson's resolve
  --Arrangements for the assault--Construction of breaching batteries
  --Nicholson expresses his satisfaction--Orders for the assault issued
  --Composition of the attacking columns

By the 6th September all the reinforcements that could be expected,
including the siege train (consisting of thirty-two pieces of ordnance
with ample ammunition) had arrived in camp, and the time had now come
when it was necessary for Wilson to determine whether Delhi was to be
assaulted, or whether the attempt must be given up. Long exposure to
sun and rain began to tell terribly on the troops; sickness increased
to an alarming extent, and on the 31st August there were 2,368 men in
hospital--a number which, six days later, had risen to 2,977.

Norman, on whose figures implicit reliance can be placed, states that
on this date the total number of effective rank and file of all arms,
Artillery, Engineers, Cavalry, and Infantry, including gun-Lascars,
Native drivers, newly-raised Sikh Pioneers, and recruits for the
Punjab regiments, was 8,748.

The strength of the British troops was 3,217, composed of 580
Artillery, 443 Cavalry, and 2,294 Infantry. The Infantry corps were
mere skeletons, the strongest being only 409 effective rank and file.
The 52nd, which had arrived three weeks before with 600 healthy men,
had already dwindled to 242 fit for duty.

The above numbers are exclusive of the Kashmir Contingent of 2,200
men and four guns, which had by this time reached Delhi; and several
hundred men of the Jhind troops (previously most usefully employed
in keeping open our communication with Kurnal) were, at the Raja's
particular request, brought in to share in the glory of the capture of
Delhi, the Raja himself accompanying them.

No one was more alive than the Commander of the Delhi Field Force to
the fact that no further aid could be expected, and no one realized
more keenly than he did that the strength of the little army at
his disposal was diminishing day by day. But Wilson had never been
sanguine as to the possibility of capturing Delhi without aid from the
south. In a letter to Baird-Smith dated the 20th August, he discussed
at length his reasons for not being in a position to 'hold out any
hope of being able to take the place until supported by the force from
below.' He now was aware that no troops could be expected from the
south, and Sir John Lawrence plainly told him that he had sent him the
last man he could spare from the Punjab. On the 29th August Lawrence
wrote to Wilson: 'There seem to be very strong reasons for assaulting
as soon as practicable. Every day's delay is fraught with danger.
Every day disaffection and mutiny spread. Every day adds to the danger
of the Native Princes taking part against us.' But Wilson did not find
it easy to make up his mind to assault. He was ill. Responsibility and
anxiety had told upon him. He had grown nervous and hesitating, and
the longer it was delayed the more difficult the task appeared to him.

AUGUST, 1857.]

Fortunately for the continuance of our rule in India, Wilson had about
him men who understood, as he was unable to do, the impossibility of
our remaining any longer as we were. They knew that Delhi must
either be taken or the army before it withdrawn. The man to whom
the Commander first looked for counsel under these conditions--
Baird-Smith, of the Bengal Engineers--proved himself worthy of the
high and responsible position in which he was placed. He too was ill.
Naturally of a delicate constitution, the climate and exposure had
told upon him severely, and the diseases from which he was suffering
were aggravated by a wound he had received soon after his arrival in
camp. He fully appreciated the tremendous risks which an assault
involved, but, in his opinion, they were less than were those of
delay. Whether convinced or not by his Chief Engineer's arguments,
Wilson accepted his advice and directed him to prepare a plan of

Baird-Smith was strongly supported by Nicholson, Chamberlain, Daly,
Norman, and Alex. Taylor. They were one and all in communication with
the authorities in the Punjab, and they knew that if 'Delhi were not
taken, and that speedily, there would be a struggle not only for
European dominion, but even for European existence within the Punjab

Our position in that province was, indeed, most critical. An
attempted conspiracy of Mahomedan tribes in the Murree Hills, and an
insurrection in the Gogaira district, had occurred. Both these affairs
were simply attempts to throw off the British yoke, made in the belief
that our last hour was come. The feeling that prompted them was not
confined to the Mahomedans; amongst all classes and races in the
Punjab a spirit of restlessness was on the increase; even the most
loyally disposed were speculating on the chances of our being able to
hold our own, and doubting the advisability of adhering to our cause.
On the part of the Sikhs of the Manjha[2] there was an unwillingness
to enlist, and no good recruits of this class could be obtained until
after Delhi had fallen.

It was under these critical circumstances that a council of war was
convened to decide definitely whether the assault should take place or

Nicholson was not a man of many intimacies, but as his staff officer
I had been fortunate enough to gain his friendship. I was constantly
with him, and on this occasion I was sitting in his tent before he set
out to attend the council. He had been talking to me in confidential
terms of personal matters, and ended by telling me of his intention
to take a very unusual step should the council fail to arrive at any
fixed determination regarding the assault. 'Delhi must be taken,' he
said, 'and it is absolutely essential that this should be done at
once; and if Wilson hesitates longer, I intend to propose at to-day's
meeting that he should be superseded.' I was greatly startled, and
ventured to remark that, as Chamberlain was _hors de combat_ from his
wound, Wilson's removal would leave him, Nicholson, senior officer
with the force. He smiled as he answered: 'I have not overlooked that
fact. I shall make it perfectly clear that, under the circumstances, I
could not possibly accept the command myself, and I shall propose that
it be given to Campbell, of the 52nd; I am prepared to serve under him
for the time being, so no one can ever accuse me of being influenced
by personal motives.'

Happily, Nicholson was not called upon to take so unusual a step. I
walked with him to the Head-Quarters camp, waited in great excitement
until the council of war was over, and, when Nicholson issued from the
General's tent, learnt, to my intense relief, that Wilson had agreed
to the assault.

That Nicholson would have carried out his intention if the council had
come to a different conclusion I have not the slightest doubt, and
I quite believe that his masterful spirit would have effected its
purpose and borne down all opposition. Whether his action would have
been right or wrong is another question, and one on which there is
always sure to be great difference of opinion. At the time it seemed
to me that he was right. The circumstances were so exceptional--Wilson
would have proved himself so manifestly unfit to cope with them had
he decided on further delay--and the consequences of such delay would
have been so calamitous and far-reaching, that even now, after many
years have passed, and after having often thought over Nicholson's
intended action and discussed the subject with other men, I have not
changed my opinion.

In anticipation of an attack on Delhi, preparations had been commenced
early in September, one of the first of these being to form a trench
to the left of the 'Sammy House,' at the end of which a battery was
constructed for four 9-pounders and two 24-pounder howitzers. The
object of this battery was to prevent sorties from the Lahore or Kabul
gates passing round the city wall to annoy our breaching batteries,
and also to assist in keeping down the fire from the Mori bastion.[3]
This battery, moreover, led the enemy to believe that we should attack
them from our right, whereas it had been resolved to push the main
attack from our left, where we could approach nearer to the walls
under cover, and where our flank was completely protected by the
river. The Engineers had also employed themselves in getting ready
10,000 fascines, as many gabions, and 100,000 sand-bags, besides
field-magazines, scaling-ladders, and spare platforms.

On the 7th September Wilson issued an order informing the force that
arrangements for the assault would be commenced at once. He dwelt upon
the hardships and fatigue which had been cheerfully borne by officers
and men, and expressed his hope that they would be rewarded for their
past labours, 'and for a cheerful endurance of still greater fatigue
and exposure.' He reminded the troops of the reasons for the deadly
struggle in which they were engaged, and he called upon all ranks to
co-operate heart and soul in the arduous work now before them.

Ground was broken that evening. Unfortunately Baird-Smith was not able
to personally superintend the construction of the breaching batteries,
but he had in his second-in-command, Alex. Taylor, a thoroughly
practical Engineer, who not only knew how to work himself, but how to
get work out of others. Ever alert and cheerful, he was trusted and
looked up to by all his subordinates, and was of all others the very
man to be placed in charge of such a difficult and dangerous duty.

The first battery, known as No. 1, was traced out in two parts, about
700 yards from the Mori bastion, which the right half, with its five
18-pounders and one 8-inch howitzer, was intended to silence; while
the left half, with its four 24-pounders, was to hold the Kashmir
bastion in check.

All night the Engineers worked at the battery, but although before day
broke it was nearly finished and armed, it was not ready to open fire
until close on sunrise. The enemy did not fail to take advantage of
this chance. They poured in round after round of shot and grape,
causing many casualties. Their fire slackened as our guns were
gradually able to make themselves felt, and by the afternoon it was
silenced. Nothing remained of the Mori bastion but a heap of ruins.
No. 1 battery was commanded by Major James Brind,[4] the bravest of
the brave. It was said of him that he 'never slept'; and Reid (of
'Hindu Rao' fame) wrote of him: 'On all occasions the exertions of
this noble officer were indefatigable. He was always to be found where
his presence was most required; and the example he set to officers and
men was beyond all praise.'

No. 2 battery was next taken in hand. This was erected in front of
Ludlow Castle, and about 500 yards from the Kashmir gate. Like No. 1,
it was formed in two parts, the right half being intended for
seven heavy howitzers and two 18-pounders, and the left for nine
24-pounders, commanded respectively by Majors Kaye and Campbell. All
these guns were intended to breach the Kashmir bastion, where the main
assault was to be made.

Up till this time the enemy had imagined that the attack would be
delivered from our right, and they were quite taken by surprise when,
on the evening of the 8th September, we occupied Ludlow Castle.

Baird-Smith showed his grasp of the situation in attacking from
our left, notwithstanding the greater distance of this part of our
position from the city wall. No counter-attack could be made on that
flank, and the comparatively open ground between the Kashmir and Mori
bastions would assist us in protecting the assaulting columns.

As soon as the enemy discovered their mistake, they did their utmost
to prevent our batteries being constructed; but the Engineers were
not to be deterred. By the morning of the 11th No. 2 battery was
completed, armed, and unmasked, and No. 3 and No. 4 batteries were
marked out in the Kudsiabagh. No. 3, commanded by Major Scott, was
constructed for six 18-pounders, and twelve 5-1/2-inch mortars under
Captain Blunt. Norman in his narrative says: 'The establishment of
Major Scott's battery within 180 yards of the wall, to arm which
heavy guns had to be dragged from the rear under a constant fire of
musketry, was an operation that could rarely have been equalled in
war.' During the first night of its construction 89 men were killed
and wounded; but with rare courage the workmen continued their task.
They were merely unarmed pioneers; and with that passive bravery so
characteristic of Natives, as man after man was knocked over, they
would stop a moment, weep a little over a fallen friend, place his
body in a row along with the rest, and then work on as before.[5]

No. 4 battery, armed with ten heavy mortars, and commanded by Major
Tombs, was placed under the shelter of an old building, about half-way
between No. 2 and No. 3 batteries.[6]

I was posted to the left half of No. 2 battery, and had charge of the
two right guns. At eight o'clock on the morning of the 11th September
we opened fire on the Kashmir bastion and the adjoining curtain, and
as the shots told and the stones flew into the air and rattled down,
a loud cheer burst from the Artillerymen and some of the men of
the Carabineers and 9th Lancers who had volunteered to work in the
batteries. The enemy had got our range with wonderful accuracy, and
immediately on the screen in front of the right gun being removed, a
round shot came through the embrasure, knocking two or three of us
over. On regaining my feet, I found that the young Horse Artilleryman
who was serving the vent while I was laying the gun had had his right
arm taken off.

In the evening of the same day, when, wearied with hard work and
exhausted by the great heat, we were taking a short rest, trusting to
the shelter of the battery for protection, a shower of grape came into
us, severely wounding our commander, Campbell, whose place was taken
by Edwin Johnson. We never left the battery until the day of the
assault--the 14th--except to go by turns into Ludlow Castle for our
meals. Night and day the overwhelming fire was continued, and the
incessant boom and roar of guns and mortars, with the ceaseless
rain of shot and shell on the city, warned the mutineers that their
punishment was at hand. We were not, however, allowed to have it all
our own way. Unable to fire a gun from any of the three bastions we
were breaching, the enemy brought guns into the open and enfiladed
our batteries. They sent rockets from their martello towers, and they
maintained a perfect storm of musketry from their advanced trench and
from the city walls. No part of the attack was left unsearched by
their fire, and though three months' incessant practice had made our
men skilful in using any cover they had, our losses were numerous, 327
officers and men being killed and wounded between the 7th and 14th

On the evening of the 13th September Nicholson came to see whether we
gunners had done our work thoroughly enough to warrant the assault
being made the next morning. He was evidently satisfied, for when he
entered our battery he said: 'I must shake hands with you fellows; you
have done your best to make my work easy to-morrow.'

Nicholson was accompanied by Taylor, who had to make certain that
the breaches were practicable, and for this purpose he detailed four
subaltern officers of Engineers to go to the walls as soon as it was
dark, and report upon the condition they were in. Greathed and Home
were told off for the Water bastion breach, and Medley and Lang[7] for
that of the Kashmir bastion. Lang asked to be allowed to go while it
was yet daylight; Taylor agreed, and with an escort of four men of the
60th Rifles he crept to the edge of the cover in the Kudsiabagh, and
then, running up the glacis, sat on top of the counterscarp for a few
seconds studying the ditch and the two breaches. On his return Lang
reported the breaches to be practicable; as, however, it was desirable
to ascertain whether ladders would be necessary, he was sent again
after dark, in company with Medley. They took a ladder and a
measuring-rod with them, and were escorted by an officer and
twenty-four riflemen, of whom all but six were left under cover in the
Kudsiabagh. Lang slipped into the ditch, which he found to be sixteen
feet deep. Medley handed him the ladder and rod, and followed him with
two riflemen, the other four remaining on the crest of the glacis to
cover their retreat. With the help of the ladder they ascended the
berm and measured the height of the wall. Two minutes more, and they
would have reached the top of the breach, but, quiet as they had been,
their movements had attracted attention, and several of the enemy
were heard running towards the breach. The whole party reascended as
rapidly as possible, and, throwing themselves on the grass, waited in
breathless silence, hoping the sepoys would go away, and that they
might be able to make another attempt to reach the top of the breach.
The rebels, however, gave no signs of retiring, and as all needful
information had been obtained, they determined to run for it. A volley
was fired at the party as they dashed across the open, but no one was

Greathed and Home had been equally successful, and by midnight
Baird-Smith was able to report to General Wilson that both breaches
were practicable.

Baird-Smith urged the importance of attacking without delay. He
pointed out the impossibility of continuing the high pressure at which
nearly every man[8] in the force had been working during the past few
days; that the tension was becoming too severe to last; and that every
hour that passed without assaulting was a loss to us and a gain to the

Before Wilson and Baird-Smith separated, orders had been issued for
the attack to be made at daybreak the next morning, the 14th.

It was arranged that there were to be four assaulting columns and one
reserve column.

The first, second and third columns, which were to operate on our
left, were under the command of Brigadier-General Nicholson, who
personally led No. 1 column. It consisted of:

  Her Majesty's 75th Foot                       300
  1st Bengal Fusiliers                          250
  2nd Punjab Infantry                           450
  Total                                       1,000

and was meant to storm the breach near the Kashmir bastion.

[Note: I am indebted to the kindness of Mrs. Barter, the widow of my
gallant friend and comrade. General Richard Barter, C.B., who served
throughout the Mutiny with the 75th Foot, first as Adjutant and
afterwards as Captain, for the above 'Daily State' and for the
following extract from that officer's diary:

'In the evening the order was published for the storming of Delhi a
little before daybreak the next morning, September 14, and we each
of us looked carefully to the reloading of our pistols, filling of
flasks, and getting as good protection as possible for our heads,
which would be exposed so much going up the ladders. I wound two
puggris or turbans round my old forage cap, with the last letter from
the hills [Mrs. Barter was then at Kasauli, in the Himalayas] in the
top, and committed myself to the care of Providence. There was not
much sleep that night in our camp. I dropped off now and then, but
never for long, and whenever I woke I could see that there was a light
in more than one of the officers' tents, and talking was going on in
a low tone amongst the men, the snapping of a lock or springing of a
ramrod sounding far in the still air, telling of preparation for
the coming strife. A little after midnight we fell in as quietly as
possible, and by the light of a lantern the orders for the assault
were then read to the men. They were to the following purport: Any
officer or man who might be wounded was to be left where he fell; no
one was to step from the ranks to help him, as there were no men to
spare. If the assault were successful he would be taken away in the
doolies, or litters, and carried to the rear, or wherever he could
best receive medical assistance. If we failed, wounded and sound
should be prepared to bear the worst. There was to be no plundering,
but all prize taken was to be put into a common stock for fair
division after all was over. No prisoners were to be made, as we
had no one to guard them, and care was to be taken that no women or
children were injured. To this the men answered at once, by "No fear,
sir." The officers now pledged their honours on their swords to abide
by these orders, and the men then promised to follow their example.
At this moment, just as the regiment was about to march off, Father
Bertrand came up in his vestments, and, addressing the Colonel, begged
for permission to bless the regiment, saying: "We may differ some
of us in matters of religion, but the blessing of an old man and a
clergyman can do nothing but good." The Colonel at once assented, and
Father Bertrand, lifting his hands to Heaven, blessed the regiment in
a most impressive manner, offering up at the same time a prayer for
our success and for mercy on the souls of those soon to die.']

No. 2 column, under Brigadier Jones, of Her Majesty's 61st Foot,
consisted of:

  Her Majesty's 8th Foot              250
  2nd Bengal Fusiliers                250
  4th Sikhs                           350
  Total                               850

and was intended for the storming of the breach near the Water

No. 3 column, under Colonel Campbell, of Her Majesty's 52nd Light
Infantry, consisted of:

  Her Majesty's 52nd Light Infantry         200
  Kumaon Battalion                          250
  1st Punjab Infantry                       500
  Total                                     950

and was told off to enter the Kashmir gate after it had been blown in.

No. 4 column was to operate on our right. It was commanded by Major
Reid, of the Sirmur battalion, and was composed of that regiment, the
Guides Infantry, and such men from the piquets (European and Native)
as could be spared. Its strength was 860 men, besides 1,200 of the
Kashmir Contingent, and its orders were to attack the suburbs of
Kisenganj and Paharipur, and support the main attack by effecting an
entrance at the Kabul gate.

The Reserve column, under Brigadier Longfield, Her Majesty's 8th Foot,
was told to await the result of the attack, and afford assistance
wherever required. It consisted of:

  Her Majesty's 61st Foot                    250
  4th Punjab Infantry                        450
  Wing Baluch battalion                      300
  Total                                    1,000

with 300 of the Jhind Contingent.

There were besides 200 of the 60th Rifles, who were to cover the
advance of Nicholson's columns, and join the reserve as soon as the
assaults had been carried out.

In order to provide these five columns, in all hardly 5,000 strong,
the services of every man who could bear arms had to be put into
requisition. Piquets were weakened to a dangerous extent, and many of
the sick and wounded who ought to have been in hospital were utilized
for the protection of the camp.

[Footnote 1: Punjab Administration Report, 1857-58.]

[Footnote 2: The tract of country between the Sutlej and Ravi rivers.]

[Footnote 3: Norman's narrative.]

[Footnote 4: The late General Sir James Brind, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 5: 'The Indian Mutiny,' by Forrest.]

[Footnote 6: When his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was coming to
India in 1875, I obtained permission from Lord Napier of Magdala, who
was then Commander-in-Chief, to erect miniature embrasures to mark
the gun of direction of each of the breaching batteries; and on these
embrasures are recorded the number, armament, and object of the

[Footnote 7: Colonel Arthur Lang is the only one of the four now

[Footnote 8: Nearly every man was on duty. The daily state of the
several corps must have been very similar to the following one of the
75th Foot.


  Camp Delhi, 13th September, 1857.

|                    |   Sergeants. |  Drummers. | Rank and File. |
| Fit to turn out    |       1      |     5      |       37       |
| On duty            |      29      |     6      |      361       |

  75th Regt.

  True copy,
  (Sd.) R. BARTER, Lieut.-Adj.,
  75th Regiment.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Delhi stormed--The scene at the Kashmir Gate
  --Bold front by Artillery and Cavalry--Nicholson wounded
  --The last I saw of Nicholson--Wilson wavers--
  Holding on to the walls of Delhi

It was intended, as I have before said, that the assault should be
delivered at break of day, but many of the men belonging to the
regiments of the storming force had been on piquet all night, and it
took some time for them to rejoin their respective corps. A further
delay was caused by our having to destroy the partial repairs to the
breaches which the enemy had succeeded in effecting during the night,
notwithstanding the steady fire we had kept up.

While we were thus engaged, the Infantry were ordered to lie down
under cover. Standing on the crenellated wall which separated Ludlow
Castle from the road, I saw Nicholson at the head of his column, and
wondered what was passing through his mind. Was he thinking of the
future, or of the wonderful part he had played during the past four
months? At Peshawar he had been Edwardes's right hand. At the head
of the Movable Column he had been mainly instrumental in keeping the
Punjab quiet, and at Delhi everyone felt that during the short time
he had been with us he was our guiding star, and that but for his
presence in the camp the assault which he was about to lead would
probably never have come off. He was truly 'a tower of strength.' Any
feeling of reluctance to serve under a Captain of the Company's army,
which had at first been felt by some, had been completely overcome by
his wonderful personality. Each man in the force, from the General in
command to the last-joined private soldier, recognized that the man
whom the wild people on the frontier had deified--the man of whom a
little time before Edwardes had said to Lord Canning, 'You may rely
upon this, that if ever there is a desperate deed to be done in India,
John Nicholson is the man to do it'--was one who had proved himself
beyond all doubt capable of grappling with the crisis through which we
were passing--one to follow to the death. Faith in the Commander who
had claimed and been given the post of honour was unbounded, and every
man was prepared 'to do or die' for him.

The sun had risen high in the heavens, when the breaching guns
suddenly ceased, and each soldier felt he had but a brief moment in
which to brace himself for the coming conflict. Nicholson gave the
signal. The 60th Rifles with a loud cheer dashed to the front in
skirmishing order, while at the same moment the heads of the first and
second columns appeared from the Kudsiabagh and moved steadily towards
the breaches.

No sooner were the front ranks seen by the rebels than a storm of
bullets met them from every side, and officers and men fell thick on
the crest of the glacis. Then, for a few seconds, amidst a blaze of
musketry, the soldiers stood at the edge of the ditch, for only one or
two of the ladders had come up, the rest having been dropped by their
killed or wounded carriers. Dark figures crowded on the breach,
hurling stones upon our men and daring them to come on. More ladders
were brought up, they were thrown into the ditch, and our men, leaping
into it, raised them against the escarp on the other side. Nicholson,
at the head of a part of his column, was the first to ascend the
breach in the curtain. The remainder of his troops diverged a little
to the right to escalade the breach in the Kashmir bastion. Here
Lieutenants Barter and Fitzgerald, of the 75th Foot, were the first to
mount, and here the latter fell mortally wounded. The breaches were
quickly filled with dead and dying, but the rebels were hurled back,
and the ramparts which had so long resisted us were our own.

The breach at the Water bastion was carried by No. 2 column. No sooner
was its head seen emerging from the cover of the old Custom-house than
it was met by a terrible discharge of musketry. Both the Engineer
officers (Greathed and Hovenden) who were leading it fell severely
wounded, and of the thirty-nine men who carried the ladders
twenty-nine were killed or wounded in as many seconds. The ladders
were immediately seized by their comrades, who, after one or two vain
attempts, succeeded in placing them against the escarp. Then, amidst
a shower of stones and bullets, the soldiers ascended, rushed the
breach, and, slaying all before them, drove the rebels from the walls.

No. 3 column had in the meanwhile advanced towards the Kashmir gate
and halted. Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, with eight Sappers and
Miners and a bugler of the 52nd Foot, went forward to blow the gate
open. The enemy were apparently so astounded at the audacity of
this proceeding that for a minute or two they offered but slight
resistance. They soon, however, discovered how small the party was and
the object for which it had come, and forthwith opened a deadly fire
upon the gallant little band from the top of the gateway, from the
city wall, and through the open wicket.

The bridge over the ditch in front of the gateway had been destroyed,
and it was with some difficulty that the single beam which remained
could be crossed. Home with the men carrying the powder-bags got
over first. As the bags were being attached to the gate, Sergeant
Carmichael was killed and Havildar Madhoo wounded; the rest then
slipped into the ditch to allow the firing party which had come up
under Salkeld to carry out its share of the duty.

While endeavouring to fire the charge, Salkeld, being shot through
the leg and arm, handed the slow-match to Corporal Burgess, who fell
mortally wounded, but not until he had successfully performed his

As soon as the explosion had taken place, Bugler Hawthorne sounded
the regimental call of the 52nd. Meeting with no response, he sounded
twice again. The noise of firing and shouting was so great that
neither the sound of the bugle nor that of the explosion reached the
column, but Campbell, after allowing the firing party what he thought
was sufficient time, gave the order to advance. Captain Crosse, of the
52nd, was the first to reach the gate, followed closely by Corporal
Taylor of his own company, and Captain Synge of the same regiment, who
was Campbell's Brigade-Major. In single file along the narrow plank
they crossed the ditch in which lay the shattered remnant of the
gallant little band; they crept through the wicket, which was the only
part blown in, and found the interior of the gateway blocked by an
18-pounder gun, under which were lying the scorched bodies of two or
three sepoys, who had evidently been killed by the explosion. The rest
of the column followed as rapidly as the precarious crossing would
admit, and when Campbell got inside he found himself face to face with
both Nicholson's and Jones's columns, which, after mounting the three
breaches, poured in a mingled crowd into the open space between the
Kashmir gate and the church.

No. 4 column advanced from the Sabzi Mandi towards Kisenganj and
Paharipur. Reid, the commander, was unfortunately wounded early in the
day. Several other officers were either killed or wounded, and for
a little time a certain amount of confusion existed owing to some
misconception as to whether the command of the column should be
exercised by the senior officer with the regular troops, or by the
political officer with the Kashmir Contingent. The fighting was very
severe. The enemy were in great numbers, and strongly posted on
the banks of the canal--indeed, at one time there appeared to be a
likelihood of their breaking into our weakly-guarded camp or turning
the flank of our storming parties. The guns at Hindu Rao's house,
however, prevented such a catastrophe by pouring shrapnel into the
ranks of the rebels; and just at the critical moment Hope Grant
brought up the Cavalry brigade, which had been covering the assaulting
columns. The Horse Artillery dashed to the front and opened fire upon
the enemy. From the gardens and houses of Kisenganj, only two or three
hundred yards off, the mutineers poured a deadly fire of musketry on
our men, and from the bastion near the Lahore gate showers of grape
caused serious losses amongst them. Owing to the nature of the ground
the Cavalry could not charge. Had they retired the guns would have
been captured, and had the guns been withdrawn the position would have
been lost. For two hours the troopers drawn up in battle array sat
motionless, while their ranks were being cruelly raked. Not a man
wavered. Hope Grant and four of his staff had their horses killed
under them; two of them were wounded, and Hope Grant himself was hit
by a spent shot. In Tombs's troop of Horse Artillery alone, 25 men out
of 50 were wounded, and 17 horses either killed or wounded. The
9th Lancers had 38 casualties amongst the men, and lost 71 horses.
'Nothing daunted,' wrote Hope Grant, 'those gallant soldiers held
their trying position with patient endurance; and on my praising them
for their good behaviour, they declared their readiness to stand the
fire as long as I chose. The behaviour of the Native Cavalry,' he
added, 'was also admirable. Nothing could be steadier; nothing could
be more soldierlike than their bearing.'

The bold front shown by the Horse Artillery and Cavalry enabled No. 4
column to retire in an orderly manner behind Hindu Rao's house, and
also assisted the Kashmir Contingent in its retreat from the Idgah,
where it was defeated with the loss of four guns. The repulse of this
column added considerably to our difficulties by freeing many hundreds
to take part in the fight which was being fiercely carried on within
the city.

Meanwhile the three assaulting columns had made good their lodgment on
the walls. The guns in the Kashmir and Water bastions had been turned
so as to allow of their being used against the foe, and preparations
were made for the next move.

Nicholson's orders were to push his way to the Ajmir gate, by the road
running inside the city wall, and to clear the ramparts and bastions
as he went. Jones was to make for the Kabul gate, and Campbell for the
Jama Masjid.

These three columns reformed inside the Kashmir gate, from which
point the first and second practically became one. Nicholson, being
accidentally separated from his own column for a short time, pushed on
with Campbell's past the church, in the direction of the Jama Masjid,
while the amalgamated column under Jones's leadership took the rampart
route past the Kabul gate (on the top of which Jones had planted a
British flag), capturing as they advanced all the guns they found
on the ramparts, and receiving no check until the Burn bastion was
reached by some of the more adventurous spirits. Here the enemy,
taking heart at seeing but a small number of opponents, made a stand.
They brought up a gun, and, occupying all the buildings on the south
side of the rampart with Infantry, they poured forth such a heavy fire
that a retirement to the Kabul gate had to be effected.

It was at this point that Nicholson rejoined his own column. His
haughty spirit could not brook the idea of a retirement; however
slight the check might be, he knew that it would restore to the rebels
the confidence of which our hitherto successful advance had deprived
them, and, believing that there was nothing that brave men could not
achieve, he determined to make a fresh attempt to seize the Burn

The lane which was again to be traversed was about 200 yards long,
with the city wall and rampart on the right, and on the left
flat-roofed houses with parapets, affording convenient shelter for the
enemy's sharp-shooters.

As the troops advanced up this lane the mutineers opened upon them a
heavy and destructive fire. Again and again they were checked, and
again and again they reformed and advanced. It was in this lane that
Major Jacob, the gallant Commander of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers, fell,
mortally wounded. His men wanted to carry him to the rear, but he
would not allow them to remain behind for him, and refused their help,
urging them to press forward against the foe. The officers, leading
far ahead of their men, were shot down one after the other, and the
men, seeing them fall, began to waver. Nicholson, on this, sprang
forward, and called upon the soldiers to follow him. He was instantly
shot through the chest.

A second retirement to the Kabul gate was now inevitable, and there
all that was left of the first and second columns remained for the

Campbell's column, guided by Sir Theophilus Metcalfe, who from his
intimate acquaintance with the city as Magistrate and Collector of
Delhi was able to conduct it by the route least exposed to the enemy's
fire, forced its way to the vicinity of the Jama Masjid, where it
remained for half an hour, hoping that the other columns would come to
its assistance. They, however, as has been shown, had more than enough
to do elsewhere, and Campbell (who was wounded), seeing no chance of
being reinforced, and having no Artillery or powder-bags with which to
blow in the gates of the Jama Masjid, fell back leisurely and in order
on the church, where he touched what was left of the Reserve column,
which had gradually been broken up to meet the demands of the
assaulting force, until the 4th Punjab Infantry alone remained to
represent it.

While what I have just described was taking place, I myself was with
General Wilson. Edwin Johnson and I, being no longer required with the
breaching batteries, had been ordered to return to our staff duties,
and we accordingly joined the General at Ludlow Castle, where he
arrived shortly before the assaulting columns moved from the cover of
the Kudsiabagh.

Wilson watched the assault from the top of the house, and when he was
satisfied that it had proved successful, he rode through the Kashmir
gate to the church, where he remained for the rest of the day.

He was ill and tired out, and as the day wore on and he received
discouraging reports, he became more and more anxious and depressed.
He heard of Reid's failure, and of Reid himself having been severely
wounded; then came the disastrous news that Nicholson had fallen, and
a report (happily false) that Hope Grant and Tombs were both killed.
All this greatly agitated and distressed the General, until at last he
began seriously to consider the advisability of leaving the city and
falling back on the Ridge.

I was ordered to go and find out the truth of these reports, and to
ascertain exactly what had happened to No. 4 column and the Cavalry on
our right.

Just after starting on my errand, while riding through the Kashmir
gate, I observed by the side of the road a doolie, without bearers,
and with evidently a wounded man inside. I dismounted to see if I
could be of any use to the occupant, when I found, to my grief and
consternation, that it was John Nicholson, with death written on his
face. He told me that the bearers had put the doolie down and gone off
to plunder; that he was in great pain, and wished to be taken to the
hospital. He was lying on his back, no wound was visible, and but for
the pallor of his face, always colourless, there was no sign of the
agony he must have been enduring. On my expressing a hope that he was
not seriously wounded, he said: 'I am dying; there is no chance for
me.' The sight of that great man lying helpless and on the point of
death was almost more than I could bear. Other men had daily died
around me, friends and comrades had been killed beside me, but I never
felt as I felt then--to lose Nicholson seemed to me at that moment to
lose everything.

I searched about for the doolie-bearers, who, with other
camp-followers, were busy ransacking the houses and shops in the
neighbourhood, and carrying off everything of the slightest value they
could lay their hands on. Having with difficulty collected four men,
I put them in charge of a sergeant of the 61st Foot. Taking down his
name, I told him who the wounded officer was, and ordered him to go
direct to the field hospital.

That was the last I saw of Nicholson. I found time to ride several
times to the hospital to inquire after him, but I was never allowed to
see him again.

Continuing my ride, I soon came up with Hope Grant's brigade. It had
shortly before been relieved from its perilous and unpleasant position
as a target for the enemy by the timely arrival of the Guides Infantry
and a detachment of the Baluch battalion. I was rejoiced to find Tombs
alive and unhurt, and from him and other officers of my regiment I
learnt the tremendous peppering they had undergone. Hodson was also
there with his newly-raised regiment, some officers of the 9th
Lancers, and Dighton Probyn, Watson, and Younghusband, of the Punjab
Cavalry. Probyn was in great spirits, having fallen temporarily
into the command of his squadron, owing to Charles Nicholson (John
Nicholson's younger brother) having been selected to take Coke's place
with the 1st Punjab Infantry. Probyn retained his command throughout
the campaign, for Charles Nicholson was wounded that very morning
while gallantly leading his regiment. His right arm was being
amputated when his heroic brother was carried mortally wounded into
the same hospital, and laid on the bed next to him.

It seemed so important to acquaint the General without delay that Hope
Grant and Tombs were both alive, that the Cavalry had been relieved
from their exposed position, and that there was no need for further
anxiety about Reid's column, that I galloped back to the church as
quickly as possible.

The news I was able to give for the moment somewhat cheered the
General, but did not altogether dispel his gloomy forebodings; and the
failure of Campbell's column (which just at that juncture returned to
the church), the hopelessness of Nicholson's condition, and, above
all, the heavy list of casualties he received later, appeared to crush
all spirit and energy out of him. His dejection increased, and he
became more than ever convinced that his wisest course was to withdraw
from the city. He would, I think, have carried out this fatal measure,
notwithstanding that every officer on his staff was utterly opposed
to any retrograde movement, had it not been his good fortune to have
beside him a man sufficiently bold and resolute to stimulate his
flagging energies. Baird-Smith's indomitable courage and determined
perseverance were never more conspicuous than at that critical moment,
when, though suffering intense pain from his wound, and weakened by
a wasting disease, he refused to be put upon the sick-list; and on
Wilson appealing to him for advice as to whether he should or should
not hold on to the position we had gained, the short but decisive
answer, 'We _must_ hold on,' was given in such a determined and
uncompromising tone that it put an end to all discussion.

Neville Chamberlain gave similar advice. Although still suffering from
his wound, and only able to move about with difficulty, he had taken
up his position at Hindu Rao's house, from which he exercised, as
far as his physical condition would allow, a general supervision and
control over the events that took place on the right of the Ridge. He
was accompanied by Daly and a very distinguished Native officer of the
Guides, named Khan Sing Rosa, both of whom, like Chamberlain, were
incapacitated by wounds from active duty. From the top of Hindu Rao's
house Chamberlain observed the first successes of the columns, and
their subsequent checks and retirements, and it was while he was there
that he received two notes from General Wilson. In the first, written
after the failure of the attacks on the Jama Masjid and the Lahore
gate, the General asked for the return of the Baluch battalion, which,
at Chamberlain's request, had been sent to reinforce Reid's column,
and in it he expressed the hope that 'we shall be able to hold what
we have got.' In the second note, written at four o'clock in the
afternoon, the General asked whether Chamberlain 'could do anything
from Hindu Rao's house to assist,' adding, 'our numbers are
frightfully reduced, and we have lost so many senior officers that the
men are not under proper control; indeed, I doubt if they could be got
to do anything dashing. I want your advice. If the Hindu Rao's piquet
cannot be moved, I do not think we shall be strong enough to take the
city.' Chamberlain understood General Wilson's second note to imply
that he contemplated withdrawing the troops from the city, and he
framed his reply accordingly. In it he urged the necessity for holding
on to the last; he pointed out the advantages already gained, and the
demoralization thereby inflicted upon the enemy. The dying Nicholson
advocated the same course with almost his latest breath. So angry and
excited was he when he was told of the General's suggestion to retire,
that he exclaimed, 'Thank God I have strength yet to shoot him, if
necessary.' There was no resisting such a consensus of responsible and
reliable opinion, and Wilson gave up all idea of retreating.

During the afternoon of the 14th, Norman, Johnson, and I, at the
General's desire and for his information, visited every position
occupied by our troops within the city walls. In some places there
was great confusion--men without their officers, and officers without
their men--all without instructions, and not knowing what was going on
in their immediate neighbourhood, the inevitable result of the rapid
advance. We did what we could to remedy matters, and were able to
report to Wilson that our troops were holding the wall from the Water
bastion to the Kabul gate in sufficient strength. But this was all the
comfort we could give him. The fact is, too much had been attempted
on that eventful morning. We should have been satisfied with gaining
possession of the Kashmir and Water bastions, and getting a lodgment
within the city walls. This was as much as three such weak columns
should have tried, or been asked to accomplish. No one who was
present on that occasion, and experienced the difficulty, indeed
impossibility, of keeping soldiers in hand while engaged in fighting
along narrow streets and tortuous lanes, would ever again attempt what
was expected of the assaulting columns.

While engaged in this duty we (Norman, Johnson and I) were attacked by
a party of the enemy who had been hiding in considerable numbers in a
side-lane watching for a chance. A fight ensued; we had only a small
guard with us, but, fortunately, the firing was heard by the men of a
near piquet, some of whom came to our help. With their assistance we
drove off the sepoys, but in the scrimmage my poor mare was shot. She
was a very useful animal, and her death was a great loss to me at the

At sunset on the 14th of September only a very small portion of the
walls of Delhi was in our possession. The densely-populated city
remained to be conquered. The magazine, the palace, and the Fort of
Selimgarh, all strongly fortified, were still in the hands of the
enemy. The narrow strip of ground we had gained had been won at severe
loss. Three out of the four officers who commanded the assaulting
columns had been disabled, and 66 officers and 1,104 men had been
killed and wounded.

The night of the 14th was spent by the General and staff in 'Skinner's
house,'[1] close to the church. Rest was badly needed, for almost
everyone in the force, officers and men alike, had been hard at work,
night and day, for a week. That night, luckily, we were allowed to be
at peace, for whether it was that the rebels were as tired as we were,
or that they were busy making preparations for further resistance,
they did not disturb us; and when day broke we were all refreshed and
ready to continue the struggle. At one time, indeed, early in the
evening, the enemy appeared from their movements to be preparing to
attack us, but just at that moment the band of the 4th Punjab Infantry
struck up 'Cheer, Boys, Cheer!' upon which the men of the regiment did
cheer, most lustily, and other regiments caught up and continued the
inspiriting hurrahs, which apparently had the effect of disconcerting
the mutineers and keeping them quiet.

[Footnote 1: The house belonged to the Skinner family, and was
originally built by James Skinner, a Eurasian, who served the Moghul
Emperor with great distinction towards the end of the last century.
When Lord Lake broke up that Mahomedan Prince's power, Skinner entered
the service of the East India Company and rose to the rank of Major.
He was also a C.B. He raised the famous Skinner's Horse, now the 1st
Bengal Cavalry. His father was an officer in one of His Majesty's
regiments of Foot, and after one of Lord Clive's battles married a
Rajput lady of good family, who with her father and mother had been
taken prisoners. Skinner himself married a Mahomedan, so that he had
an interest in the three religions, Christian, Hindu, and Mahomedan,
and on one occasion, when left on the ground severely wounded, he made
a vow that if his life were spared he would build three places of
worship--a church, a temple, and a mosque. He fulfilled his vow, and
a few years later he built the church at Delhi, and the temple and
mosque which are in close proximity to it.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Capture of the Burn bastion--The 60th Rifles storm the palace
  --Hodson captures the King of Delhi--Nicholson's death
  --Gallantry of the troops--Praise from Lord Canning

On the morning of the 15th the situation was reviewed, and
preparations made for the conquest of the city. Order was restored
amongst the troops, who, as I have shown, had become somewhat
demoralized by the street fighting. Regiments and brigades were got
together; raids were made on all the store shops within reach, and
every bottle of beer and spirits was broken.[1] Some of the liquor
would doubtless have been of great use in the hospitals, but there was
no means of removing it, and the General wisely determined that it was
best to put temptation out of the men's way. Guns and mortars were
placed into position for shelling the city and palace, and a few
houses near, where the enemy's sharpshooters had established
themselves, were seized and occupied. We soon, however, gave up
attacking such positions, for we found that street fighting could not
be continued without the loss of more men than we had to spare, and
that the wisest plan would be to keep the soldiers under cover as much
as possible while we sapped from house to house. A battery commanding
Selimgarh and part of the palace was constructed in the college
gardens, and a breach was made in the wall of the magazine, which was
captured the next morning with but slight loss.

On the 16th, and again on the 18th, Chamberlain took command of the
troops inside the city while the General rested for a few hours. He
was, as he expressed himself in a note to Chamberlain, 'completely

The enemy now began to draw in their line. The suburbs were evacuated,
and riding through the Sabzi Mandi, Kisenganj and Paharipur, we gazed
with wonder at the size and strength of the works raised against us by
the mutineers, in attacking which we had experienced such heavy loss
during the early days of the siege, and from which No. 4 column had
been obliged to retire on the day of the assault.

The smaller the position that had to be defended, the greater became
the numbers concentrated in our immediate front, and every inch of our
way through the city was stoutly disputed; but the advance, though
slow, was steady, and considering the numbers of the insurgents, and
the use they made at close quarters of their Field Artillery, our
casualties were fewer than could have been expected.

I had been placed under the orders of Taylor, Baird-Smith's
indefatigable Lieutenant, who directed the advance towards the Lahore
gate. We worked through houses, courtyards, and lanes, until on the
afternoon of the 19th we found ourselves in rear of the Burn bastion,
the attempt to take which on the 14th had cost the life of the gallant
Nicholson and so many other brave men. We had with us fifty European
and fifty Native soldiers, the senior officer of the party being
Captain Gordon, of the 75th Foot. A single door separated us from the
lane which led to the Burn bastion. Lang, of the Engineers, burst this
door open, and out dashed the party. Rushing across the lane and up
the ramp, the guard was completely surprised, and the bastion was
seized without our losing a man.

Early the next day we were still sapping our way towards the Lahore
gate, when we suddenly found ourselves in a courtyard in which were
huddled together some forty or fifty _banias_,[2] who were evidently
as much in terror of the sepoys as they were of us. The men of our
party nearly made an end of these unfortunates before their officers
could interfere, for to the troops (Native and European alike) every
man inside the walls of Delhi was looked upon as a rebel, worthy of
death. These people, however, were unarmed, and it did not require
a very practised eye to see that they were inoffensive. We thought,
however, that a good fright would do them no harm, and might possibly
help us, so for a time we allowed them to believe that they were
looked upon as traitors, but eventually told them their lives would
be spared if they would take us in safety to some place from which
we might observe how the Lahore gate was guarded. After considerable
hesitation and consultation amongst themselves they agreed to two of
their party guiding Lang and me, while the rest remained as hostages,
with the understanding that, if we did not return within a given time,
they would be shot.

Our trembling guides conducted us through houses, across courtyards,
and along secluded alleys, without our meeting a living creature,
until we found ourselves in an upper room of a house looking out on
the Chandni Chauk,[3] and within fifty yards of the Lahore gate.

From the window of this room we could see beneath us the sepoys
lounging about, engaged in cleaning their muskets and other
occupations, while some, in a lazy sort of fashion, were acting as
sentries over the gateway and two guns, one of which pointed in the
direction of the Sabzi Mandi, the other down the lane behind the
ramparts leading to the Burn bastion and Kabul gate. I could see from
the number on their caps that these sepoys belonged to the 5th Native

Having satisfied ourselves of the feasibility of taking the Lahore
gate in rear, we retraced our steps.

The two _banias_ behaved well throughout, but were in such a terrible
fright of anything happening to us that they would not allow us to
leave the shelter of one house until they had carefully reconnoitred
the way to the next, and made sure that it was clear of the enemy.
This occasioned so much delay that our friends had almost given us up,
and were on the point of requiring the hostages to pay the penalty for
the supposed treachery of our guides, when we reappeared on the scene.

We then discussed our next move, and it was decided to repeat the
manoeuvre which had been so successful at the Burn bastion. The troops
were brought by the route we had just traversed, and drawn up behind a
gateway next to the house in which we had been concealed. The gate was
burst open, and rushing into the street, we captured the guns, and
killed or put to flight the sepoys whom we had watched from our upper
chamber a short time before, without losing a man ourselves.

This was a great achievement, for we were now in possession of the
main entrance to Delhi, and the street of the city leading direct from
the Lahore gate to the palace and Jama Masjid. We proceeded up this
street, at first cautiously, but on finding it absolutely empty, and
the houses on either side abandoned, we pushed on until we reached
the Delhi Bank. Here there was firing going on, and round shot flying
about from a couple of guns placed just outside the palace. But this
was evidently an expiring effort. The great Mahomedan mosque had just
been occupied by a column under the command of Major James Brind;
while Ensign McQueen,[4] of the 4th Punjab Infantry, with one of his
own men had pluckily reconnoitred up to the chief gateway of the
palace, and reported that there were but few men left in the Moghul

The honour of storming this last stronghold was appropriately reserved
for the 60th Rifles, the regiment which had been the first to engage
the enemy on the banks of the Hindun, nearly four months before, and
which throughout the siege had so greatly distinguished itself.

Home, of the Engineers, the hero of the Kashmir gate exploit, first
advanced with some Sappers and blew in the outer gate. At this, the
last struggle for the capture of Delhi, I wished to be present, so
attached myself for the occasion to a party of the 60th Rifles, under
the command of Ensign Alfred Heathcote. As soon as the smoke of
the explosion cleared away, the 60th, supported by the 4th Punjab
Infantry, sprang through the gateway; but we did not get far, for
there was a second door beyond, chained and barred, which was with
difficulty forced open, when the whole party rushed in. The recesses
in the long passage which led to the palace buildings were crowded
with wounded men, but there was very little opposition, for only a
few fanatics still held out. One of these--a Mahomedan sepoy in the
uniform of a Grenadier of the 37th Native Infantry--stood quietly
about thirty yards up the passage with his musket on his hip. As we
approached he slowly raised his weapon and fired, sending the bullet
through McQueen's helmet. The brave fellow then advanced at the
charge, and was, of course, shot down. So ended the 20th September, a
day I am never likely to forget.

At sunrise on the 21st a royal salute proclaimed that we were again
masters in Delhi, and that for the second time in the century the
great city had been captured by a British force.

Later in the day General Wilson established his Head-Quarters in the
Dewan-i-khas (the King's private hall of audience), and, as was in
accordance with the fitness of things, the 60th Rifles and the Sirmur
battalion of Gurkhas[5] were the first troops of Her Majesty's army
to garrison the palace of the Moghuls, in which the traitorous and
treacherous massacre of English men, women and children had been

The importance of securing the principal members of the Royal Family
was pressed upon the General by Chamberlain and Hodson, who both
urged that the victory would be incomplete if the King and his male
relatives were allowed to remain at large. Wilson would not consent
to any force being sent after them, and it was with considerable
reluctance that he agreed to Hodson going on this hazardous duty with
some of his own men only. The last of the Moghul Emperors had taken
refuge in Humayun's tomb, about seven miles from Delhi, where, on the
afternoon of the 21st, he surrendered to Hodson on receiving a promise
from that officer that his own life and the lives of his favourite
wife and her son should be spared. Hodson brought them all into Delhi
and placed them under a European guard in a house in the Chandni
Chauk, thus adding one more to the many valuable services he had
rendered throughout the siege.

I went with many others the next day to see the King; the old man
looked most wretched, and as he evidently disliked intensely being
stared at by Europeans, I quickly took my departure. On my way back I
was rather startled to see the three lifeless bodies of the King's two
sons and grandson lying exposed on the stone platform in front of the
_Kotwali_. On enquiry I learnt that Hodson had gone a second time
to Humayun's tomb that morning with the object of capturing these
Princes, and on the way back to Delhi had shot them with his own
hand--an act which, whether necessary or not, has undoubtedly cast a
blot on his reputation. His own explanation of the circumstance was
that he feared they would be rescued by the mob, who could easily have
overpowered his small escort of 100 sowars, and it certainly would
have been a misfortune had these men escaped. At the time a thirst for
revenge on account of the atrocities committed within the walls of
Delhi was so great that the shooting of the Princes seemed to the
excited feelings of the army but an act of justice; and there were
some men, whose opinions were entitled to the greatest respect, who
considered the safety of the British force would have been endangered
by the escape of the representatives of the house of Taimur, and that
for this reason Hodson's act was justified.

My own feeling on the subject is one of sorrow that such a brilliant
soldier should have laid himself open to so much adverse criticism.
Moreover, I do not think that, under any circumstances, he should
have done the deed himself, or ordered it to be done in that summary
manner, unless there had been evident signs of an attempt at a rescue.

But it must be understood that there was no breach of faith on
Hodson's part, for he steadily refused to give any promise to
the Princes that their lives should be spared; he did, however,
undoubtedly by this act give colour to the accusations of
blood-thirstiness which his detractors were not slow to make.

The news that we had occupied the palace, and were in complete
possession of the city of Delhi, consoled Nicholson on his deathbed.
From the first there was little hope that this valuable life could
be saved. He was taken into hospital in a fainting condition from
internal hemorrhage, and he endured excruciating agony; but, wrote
General Chamberlain, 'throughout those nine days of suffering he bore
himself nobly; not a lament or sigh ever passed his lips.' His every
thought was given to his country, and to the last he materially aided
the military authorities by his clear-sighted, sound, and reliable
advice. His intellect remained unclouded to the end. With his latest
breath he sent messages of tender farewell to his mother, hoping she
would be patient under his loss, and to his oldest and dearest friend,
Herbert Edwardes. After his death some frontier Chiefs and Native
officers of the Multani Horse were permitted to see him, and I was
told that it was touching beyond expression to see these strong men
shed tears as they looked on all that was left of the leader they so
loved and honoured.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus ended the great siege of Delhi, and to no one could the tidings
of its fall have brought more intense relief and satisfaction than to
the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab. Although in the first instance
Sir John Lawrence certainly under-estimated the strength of the Delhi
defences and the difficulties with which General Anson had to contend,
he fully realized them later, and even at the risk of imperilling the
safety of his own province by denuding it of troops, he provided the
means for the capture of the rebel stronghold, and consequently the
army of Delhi felt they owed him a deep debt of gratitude.

Like Norman when writing his narrative of the siege, I feel I cannot
conclude my brief account of it without paying my small tribute of
praise and admiration to the troops who bore themselves so nobly from
the beginning to the end. Their behaviour throughout was beyond
all praise, their constancy was unwearied, their gallantry most
conspicuous; in thirty-two different fights they were victorious over
long odds, being often exposed to an enemy ten times their number,
who, moreover, had the advantage of ground and superior Artillery;
they fought and worked as if each one felt that on his individual
exertions alone depended the issue of the day; they willingly, nay,
cheerfully, endured such trials as few armies have ever been exposed
to for so long a time. For three months, day after day, and for the
greater part of the day, every man had to be constantly under arms,
exposed to a scorching Indian sun, which was almost as destructive as,
and much harder to bear than, the enemy's never-ceasing fire. They saw
their comrades struck down by cholera, sunstroke, and dysentery, more
dispiriting a thousand times than the daily casualties in action.
They beheld their enemies reinforced while their own numbers rapidly
decreased. Yet they never lost heart, and at last, when it became
evident that no hope of further reinforcements could be entertained,
and that if Delhi were to be taken at all it must be taken at once,
they advanced to the assault with as high a courage and as complete a
confidence in the result, as if they were attacking in the first flush
and exultation of troops at the commencement of a campaign, instead
of being the remnant of a force worn out, by twelve long weeks of
privation and suffering, by hope deferred (which truly 'maketh the
heart sick'), and by weary waiting for the help which never came.
Batteries were thrown up within easy range of the walls, than which
a more heroic piece of work was never performed; and finally, these
gallant few, of whom England should in very truth be everlastingly
proud, stormed in the face of day a strong fortress defended by 30,000
desperate men, provided with everything necessary to defy assault.

The list of killed and wounded bears witness to the gallantry of all
arms of the service. The effective force at Delhi never amounted
to 10,000 men. Of these 992 were killed and 2,845 wounded, besides
hundreds who died of disease and exposure. Where all behaved nobly, it
is difficult to particularize; but it will not, I hope, be considered
invidious if I specially draw my readers' attention to the four corps
most constantly engaged: the 60th Rifles, the Sirmur battalion of
Gurkhas, the Guides, and the 1st Punjab Infantry. Placed in the very
front of the position, they were incessantly under fire, and their
losses in action testify to the nature of the service they performed.
The 60th Rifles left Meerut with 440 of all ranks; a few days before
the assault they received a reinforcement of nearly 200, making a
total of 640; their casualties were 389. The Sirmur battalion began
with 450 men, and were joined by a draft of 90, making a total of 540;
their loss in killed and wounded amounted to 319. The strength of
the Guides when they joined was 550 Cavalry and Infantry, and their
casualties were 303. The 1st Punjab Infantry arrived in Delhi with
3 British officers and 664 Natives of all ranks. Two of the British
officers were killed, and the third severely wounded, and of the
Natives, 8 officers[6] and 200 men were killed and wounded; while out
of the British officers attached to the regiment during the siege 1
was killed and 4 wounded. Further, it is a great pleasure to me to
dwell on the splendid service done by the Artillery and Engineers. The
former, out of their small number, had 365 killed or disabled, and the
latter two-thirds of their officers and 293 of their men. I cannot
more appropriately conclude this chapter than by quoting the words of
Lord Canning, who, as Governor-General of India, wrote as follows in
giving publication to the Delhi despatches: 'In the name of outraged
humanity, in memory of innocent blood ruthlessly shed, and in
acknowledgment of the first signal vengeance inflicted on the foulest
treason, the Governor-General in Council records his gratitude to
Major-General Wilson and the brave army of Delhi. He does so in the
sure conviction that a like tribute awaits them, not in England only,
but wherever within the limits of civilization the news of their
well-earned triumph shall reach.'

[Footnote 1: A report was circulated that a large number of our men
had fallen into the trap laid for them by the Native shopkeepers, and
were disgracefully drunk. I heard that a few men, overcome by heat and
hard work, had given way to temptation, but I did not see a single
drunken man throughout the day of the assault, although, as I have
related, I visited every position held by our troops within the walls
of the city.]

[Footnote 2: Sellers of grain and lenders of money.]

[Footnote 3: 'Silver Bazaar,' the main street of Delhi, in which
were, and still are, situated all the principal jewellers' and
cloth-Merchants' shops.]

[Footnote 4: Now Lieutenant-General Sir John McQueen, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 5: The Gurkhas became such friends with the men of the 1st
Battalion 60th Rifles during the siege--the admiration of brave men
for brave men--that they made a special request to be allowed to wear
the same uniform as their 'brothers' in the Rifles. This was acceded
to, and the 2nd Gurkhas are very proud of the little red line on their

[Footnote 6: Amongst the Native officers killed was Subadar Ruttun
Sing, who fell mortally wounded in the glacis. He was a Patiala Sikh,
and had been invalided from the service. As the 1st Punjab Infantry
neared Delhi, Major Coke saw the old man standing in the road with two
swords on. He begged to be taken back into the service, and when Coke
demurred he said: 'What! my old corps going to fight at Delhi without
me! I hope you will let me lead my old Sikh company into action again.
I will break these two swords in your cause.' Coke acceded to the old
man's wish, and throughout the siege of Delhi he displayed the most
splendid courage. At the great attack on the 'Sammy House' on the 1st
and 2nd August, when Lieutenant Travers of his regiment was killed,
Ruttun Sing, amidst a shower of bullets, jumped on to the parapet and
shouted to the enemy, who were storming the piquet: 'If any man wants
to fight, let him come here, and not stand firing like a coward! I
am Ruttun Sing, of Patiala.' He then sprang down among the enemy,
followed by the men of his company, and drove them off with heavy

On the morning of the assault the regiment had marched down to the
rendezvous at Ludlow Castle, 'left in front.' While waiting for the
Artillery to fire a few final rounds at the breaches, the men sat
down, and, falling in again, were doing so 'right in front.' Ruttun
Sing came up to Lieutenant Charles Nicholson, who was commanding the
regiment, and said: 'We ought to fall in "left in front," thereby
making his own company the leading one in the assault. In a few
minutes more Ruttun Sing was mortally wounded, and Dal Sing, the
Jemadar of his company, a man of as great courage as Ruttun Sing, but
not of the same excitable nature, was killed outright.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Necessity for further action--Departure from Delhi
  --Action at Bulandshahr--Lieutenant Home's death--Knights-errant
  --Fight at Aligarh--Appeals from Agra
  --Collapse of the administration--Taken by surprise
  --The fight at Agra--An exciting chase--The Taj Mahal

The fall of Delhi was loudly proclaimed, and the glad tidings spread
like wildfire throughout the length and breadth of India, bringing
intense relief to Europeans everywhere, but more especially to those
in the Punjab, who felt that far too great a strain was being put upon
the loyalty of the people, and that failure at Delhi would probably
mean a rising of the Sikhs and Punjabis. Salutes were fired in
honour of the victory at all the principal stations, but the Native
population of the Punjab could not at first be made to believe that
the Moghul capital, with its hordes of defenders, could have been
captured by the small English army they saw marching through their
province a few months before. Even at that time it seemed all too
small for the task before it, and since then they knew it had dwindled
down to less than half its numbers. It was not, indeed, until they had
ocular demonstration of our success, in the shape of the loot which
some of the Native followers belonging to the besieging force took
back to their homes, that they became convinced of the reality of our


Sir John Lawrence being painfully alive to the weakness of our
position in the Punjab, as compared to the great strength of the
Sikhs, on hearing the news of the capture of Delhi, begged General
Wilson to send back at once a British regiment as a practical proof
that our triumph was complete, and that he no longer needed so many
troops. But though the city was in our possession, a great deal
remained to be done before a single soldier could be spared. Above all
things, it was necessary to open up communication with Cawnpore and
Lucknow, in order to ascertain exactly the state of affairs in that
part of the country. We had heard of the failure of Havelock's
attempts to reach Lucknow, and of his having been obliged in the end
to retire to Cawnpore and wait for reinforcements, but we had not been
able to learn whether such reinforcements had reached him, or how long
the beleaguered garrison of Lucknow was likely to hold out.

No time was wasted at Delhi. On the 21st September, the very day
after the palace was occupied, it was decided to despatch a column
to Cawnpore; but, on account of the weakened condition of the whole
force, there was considerable difficulty in detailing the troops
for its composition. The total strength of the corps[1] eventually
selected amounted to 750 British and 1,900 Native soldiers, with
sixteen field-guns.

No officer of note or high rank being available, the command of the
column should have been given to the senior regimental officer serving
with it, viz., Colonel Hope Grant, of the 9th Lancers; but for some
unexplained motive Lieutenant-Colonel Greathed, of the 8th Foot, was
chosen by General Wilson. Captain Bannatyne, of the same regiment, was
appointed his Brigade-Major, and I was sent with the column as Deputy
Assistant-Quartermaster-General. On the fall of Delhi the whole of
the Head-Quarters staff returned to Simla, except Henry Norman, whose
soldierly instincts made him prefer accompanying the column, in order
that he might be ready to join Sir Colin Campbell, the newly-appointed
Commander-in-Chief, who had shortly before arrived in India.

Nicholson's funeral was taking place as we marched out of Delhi, at
daybreak on the morning of the 24th September. It was a matter of
regret to me that I was unable to pay a last tribute of respect to my
loved and honoured friend and Commander by following his body to the
grave, but I could not leave the column. That march through Delhi in
the early morning light was a gruesome proceeding. Our way from the
Lahore gate by the Chandni Chauk led through a veritable city of
the dead; not a sound was to be heard but the falling of our own
footsteps; not a living creature was to be seen. Dead bodies
were strewn about in all directions, in every attitude that the
death-struggle had caused them to assume, and in every stage of
decomposition. We marched in silence, or involuntarily spoke in
whispers, as though fearing to disturb those ghastly remains of
humanity. The sights we encountered were horrible and sickening to the
last degree. Here a dog gnawed at an uncovered limb; there a vulture,
disturbed by our approach from its loathsome meal, but too completely
gorged to fly, fluttered away to a safer distance. In many instances
the positions of the bodies were appallingly life-like. Some lay with
their arms uplifted as if beckoning, and, indeed, the whole scene was
weird and terrible beyond description. Our horses seemed to feel the
horror of it as much as we did, for they shook and snorted in evident
terror. The atmosphere was unimaginably disgusting, laden as it was
with the most noxious and sickening odours.

It is impossible to describe the joy of breathing the pure air of the
open country after such a horrible experience; but we had not escaped
untainted. That night we had several cases of cholera, one of the
victims being Captain Wilde, the Commandant of the 4th Punjab
Infantry. He was sent back to Delhi in a hopeless condition, it was
thought, but he recovered, and did excellent work at the head of his
fine regiment during the latter part of the campaign.

After a march of eleven miles we reached Ghazi-uddin nagar, to find
the place deserted. We halted the next day. The baggage animals were
out of condition after their long rest at Delhi; and it was necessary
to overhaul their loads and get rid of the superfluous kit and plunder
which the followers had brought away with them. We were accompanied
on our march by a few enterprising civilians, who had found their way
into Delhi the day after we took possession of the palace. Amongst
them was Alfred Lyall,[2] a schoolfellow of mine at Eton. He was
on his way to take up the appointment of Assistant-Magistrate at
Bulandshahr, where he was located when the Mutiny broke out. As
we rode along he gave me a most interesting little history of his
personal experiences during the early days of May, from the time when
the first symptoms of the coming storm were felt, until that when the
surrounding country rose _en masse_, and he and those with him had
to seek shelter at Meerut. I should like to repeat his story for the
benefit of my readers, but I refrain, as it would lose so much by my
telling; and I hope that some day Sir Alfred Lyall may be induced to
tell his own story in the picturesque and attractive language which is
so well known and so much appreciated by the reading public.

Early on the morning of the 28th, Norman, Lyall, and I, marching with
Watson's Cavalry, two or three miles in advance of the column, arrived
at cross-roads, one leading to Bulandshahr, the other to Malagarh, a
fort belonging to a Mahomedan of the name of Walidad Khan, who, when
the British rule was in abeyance, assumed authority over the district
in the name of the Emperor of Delhi. We halted, and, having put out
our piquets, lay down and waited for the dawn. From information
obtained by the civil officers with the column, we suspected that
large numbers of mutineers were collected in the neighbourhood.

We were not left long in doubt as to the correctness of our
surmisings, for we were soon rudely awakened by the rattle of shots
exchanged between our vedettes and those of the enemy. Information was
sent back at once to the advance guard and to our Commander, while we
set to work to ascertain the enemy's exact position; this proved to be
at Bulandshahr, and we were within a couple of miles of the main body.

As we advanced the rebel Cavalry fell back, and when we got under fire
of their guns, our Horse Artillery came into action; our Infantry
coming up, found the enemy occupying an extremely strong position, in
the gaol and a walled serai at the entrance to the town, their left
being covered by the enclosed gardens and ruined houses of the
deserted civil station, within which they were collected in
considerable force. From these points they were driven by the 75th
Foot, who, in a most dashing manner, captured two 9-pounder guns,
while a third was taken by the Cavalry. The rebels then began to
retreat, and were followed up by a small body of Cavalry, under
Drysdale,[3] of the 9th Lancers, with whom were Sarel, of the same
regiment, Augustus Anson of the 84th Foot, and myself. We soon became
entangled in narrow streets, but at last found ourselves in a gateway
leading out of the town, which was crowded with bullock-carts, flying
townspeople, and a number of the enemy, some on horseback, some on
foot. There we had hard fighting; Sarel was wounded in the act of
running a sepoy through the body, the forefinger of his right hand
being taken off by a bullet, which then passed through his left arm;
Anson was surrounded by mutineers, and performed prodigies of valour,
for which he was rewarded with the Victoria Cross. I was riding a
Waziri horse, which had belonged to John Nicholson, and as it had been
a great favourite of his, I had commissioned a friend to buy him for
me at the sale of Nicholson's effects. He was naturally impetuous,
and, being now greatly excited by the firing and confusion, plunged
about a good deal. He certainly was not a comfortable mount on that
day, but all the same he saved my life. In the midst of the mêlée I
observed a sepoy taking deliberate aim at me, and tried to get at him,
but the crowd between him and me prevented my reaching him. He fired;
my frightened animal reared, and received in his head the bullet which
was intended for me.[4]

The work fell chiefly on the Cavalry and Horse Artillery. Major Ouvry,
who commanded them, must have been a proud man that day, for they
behaved splendidly. Two of Blunt's guns also, under an old Addiscombe
friend of mine named Cracklow, did excellent service. The 9th Lancers,
under Drysdale, performed wonders; and the three squadrons of Punjab
Cavalry, under their gallant young leaders, Probyn, Watson, and
Younghusband, and the squadron of Hodson's Horse, under Hugh Gough,
showed of what good stuff they were made. Our casualties were 6 men
killed, 6 officers and 35 men wounded. The enemy's loss was 300.
A large quantity of ammunition and baggage fell into our hands,
including many articles plundered from European men and women.

After the fight was over, the column passed through the town, and our
camp was pitched about a mile beyond, on the banks of the Kali Naddi.
The same afternoon Malagarh was reconnoitred, but was found to be
deserted, a satisfactory result of the morning's action, for the fort,
if defended, would have given us some trouble to take. Walidad Khan
evidently hoped to become a power in the district, for he had begun to
make gun-carriages, and we found roughly-cast guns on the lathes ready
for boring out. It was decided that Malagarh Fort, which was full of
articles of every description taken from the English residents, should
be destroyed. Its demolition, however, took some time to effect, and
as we could not move till transport came from Meerut to convey our
wounded officers and men back to that place, the column halted at
Bulandshahr for four days.

On the afternoon of the 1st October the fort was blown up, and most
unfortunately, while superintending the operation, Lieutenant Home was
killed.[5] The mine had been laid and the slow-match lighted, but the
explosion not following as quickly as was expected, Home thought the
match must have gone out, and went forward again to relight it. At
that moment the mine blew up. His death was greatly felt in camp,
happening as it did when all the excitement of battle was over.

We left Bulandshahr, and said good-bye to Lyall on the 3rd October,
feeling that he was being placed in a position of considerable risk,
thrown as he was on his own resources, with general instructions to
re-establish the authority of the British Government. He was not,
however, molested, and after two or three days he was joined by a
small body of troops from Meerut. During the months that followed
he and his escort had several alarms and some smart skirmishes; for
Rohilkand, a large tract of country to the east of Bulandshahr, was
held by the rebels until the following spring, and Lyall's district
was constantly traversed by bodies of mutinous sepoys.

On the afternoon of the same day we reached Khurja, a fair-sized
Mahomedan town, from which some of our Cavalry soldiers were
recruited. The first thing that met our eyes on arrival at this place
was a skeleton, ostentatiously placed against the side of a bridge
leading to the encamping-ground; it was headless, and the bones were
hacked and broken. It was pronounced by more than one doctor to be the
skeleton of a European woman. This sight maddened the soldiery, who
demanded vengeance, and at one time it seemed that the town of Khurja
would have to pay the penalty for the supposed crime. The whole force
was greatly excited. At length calmer counsels prevailed. The people
of the town protested their innocence, and expressed their anxiety to
be our humble servants; they were, as a whole, given the benefit of
the doubt, but some soldiers found in the town, belonging to regiments
which had mutinied, were tried, and hanged or acquitted according to
the evidence given.

Some excitement was caused on reaching camp by the appearance of a
fakir seated under a tree close to where our tents were pitched. The
man was evidently under a vow of silence, which Hindu devotees often
make as a penance for sin, or to earn a title to more than a fair
share of happiness in a future life. On our addressing him, the fakir
pointed to a small wooden platter, making signs for us to examine it.
The platter had been quite recently used for mixing food in, and
at first there seemed to be nothing unusual about it. On closer
inspection, however, we discovered that a detachable square of wood
had been let in at the bottom, on removing which a hollow became
visible, and in it lay a small folded paper, that proved to be a note
from General Havelock, written in the Greek character, containing
the information that he was on his way to the relief of the Lucknow
garrison, and begging any Commander into whose hands the communication
might fall to push on as fast as possible to his assistance, as he
sorely needed reinforcements, having few men and no carriage to speak
of. This decided Greathed to proceed with as little delay as might be
to Cawnpore.

Just before we left Bulandshahr, a spy reported to me that an English
lady was a prisoner in a village some twenty miles off, and that she
was anxious to be rescued. As on cross-examination, however, the story
did not appear to me to be very reliable, I told the man he must bring
me some proof of the presence of the lady in the village. Accordingly,
on the arrival of the column at Khurja, he appeared with a piece of
paper on which was written 'Miss Martindale.' This necessitated the
matter being inquired into, and I obtained the Brigadier's permission
to make a detour to the village in question. I started off,
accompanied by Watson and Probyn, with their two squadrons of Cavalry.
We timed our march so as to reach our destination just before dawn;
the Cavalry surrounded the village, and with a small escort we three
proceeded up the little street to the house where the guide told us
the lady was confined. Not only was the house empty, but, with the
exception of a few sick and bedridden old people, there was not a
soul in the village. There had evidently been a hasty retreat, which
puzzled me greatly, as I had taken every precaution to ensure secrecy,
for I feared that if our intention to rescue the lady became known she
would be carried off. As day broke we searched the surrounding crops,
and found the villagers and some soldiers hidden amongst them. They
one and all denied that there was the slightest truth in the story,
and as it appeared a waste of time to further prosecute the fruitless
search, we were on the point of starting to rejoin our camp, when
there was a cry from our troopers of '_Mem sahib hai!_' (Here is the
lady), and presently an excessively dusky girl about sixteen years of
age appeared, clad in Native dress. We had some difficulty in getting
the young woman to tell us what had happened; but on assuring her that
no harm should be done to those with whom she was living, she told us
that she was the daughter of a clerk in the Commissioner's office at
Sitapur; that all her family had been killed when the rising took
place at that station, and that she had been carried off by a sowar to
his home. We asked her if she wished to come away with us. After some
hesitation she declined, saying the sowar had married her (after the
Mahomedan fashion), and was kind to her, and she had no friends and
relations to go to. On asking her why she had sent to let us know she
was there, she replied that she thought she would like to join the
British force, which she heard was in the neighbourhood, but on
further reflection she had come to the conclusion it was best for
her to remain where she was. After talking to her for some time, and
making quite sure she was not likely to change her mind, we rode
away, leaving her to her sowar, with whom she was apparently quite
content.[6] I need hardly say we got unmercifully chaffed on our
return to camp, when the result of our expedition leaked out.

At Somna, where we halted for the night, we heard that the Mahomedan
insurgents, the prisoners released from gaol, and the rebel Rajputs of
the neighbourhood, were prepared to resist our advance on Aligarh, and
that they expected to be aided by a large number of mutineers from
Delhi. We came in sight of Aligarh shortly before daybreak on the 5th
October. Our advance was stopped by a motley crowd drawn up before
the walls, shouting, blowing horns, beating drums, and abusing the
Feringhis in the choicest Hindustani; but, so far as we could see,
there were no sepoys amongst them. The Horse Artillery coming up,
these valiant defenders quickly fled inside the city and closed the
gates, leaving two guns in our possession. Thinking we should be sure
to attack and take the place, they rushed through it to the other
side, and made for the open country. But we had had enough of street
fighting at Delhi. Our Cavalry and Artillery were divided into two
parties, which moved round the walls, one to the right and the other
to the left, and united in pursuit of the fugitives at the further
side. We followed them for several miles. Some had concealed
themselves in the high crops, and were discovered by the Cavalry on
their return march to camp. Ouvry formed a long line, and one by one
the rebels, starting up as the troopers rode through the fields, were
killed, while our loss was trifling.

The inhabitants of Aligarh had apparently had a bad time of it under
the rebel rule, for they expressed much joy at the result of the
morning's work, and were eager in their proffers to bring in supplies
for our troops and to otherwise help us.

Ill as we could afford to weaken our column, it was so necessary
to keep the main line of communication open, and put a stop to the
disorder into which the country had fallen, that it was decided to
leave two companies of Punjabis at Aligarh, as a guard to the young
civilian who was placed in charge of the district.

Fourteen miles from Aligarh on the road to Cawnpore there lived two
Rajputs, twin brothers, who had taken such a prominent part in the
rebellion that a price had been put on their heads, and for the future
peace of the district it was considered necessary to capture them. In
order to surprise them the more completely, it was given out that the
column was to march towards Agra, from which place disquieting news
had been received, while secret orders were issued to proceed towards
Cawnpore. The Cavalry went on in advance, and while it was still dark,
succeeded in surrounding the village of Akrabad, where dwelt the
brothers. In attempting to escape they were both killed, and three
small guns were found in their house loaded and primed, but we had
arrived too suddenly to admit of their being used against us. We
discovered besides a quantity of articles which must have belonged
to European ladies--dresses, books, photographs, and knick-knacks
of every description--which made us feel that the twins had richly
deserved their fate.

We halted on the 7th, and on the 8th marched across country to
Bryjgarh (a prettily situated village under a fortified hill), our
object being to get nearer to Agra, the reports from which place had
been causing us anxiety, and likewise to put ourselves in a position
to intercept the Rohilkand mutineers, who we were told were on their
way to Lucknow.

No sooner had we got to Bryjgarh than we received information that the
detachment we had left behind at Aligarh was not likely to be left
undisturbed, and at the same time an urgent call for assistance came
from Agra, where a combined attack by insurgents from Gwalior, Mhow,
and Delhi was imminent. Fifty of Hodson's Horse, under a European
officer, and a sufficient number of Infantry to make the detachment we
had left there up to 200, were at once despatched to Aligarh. It was
clear, too, that the appeal from Agra must be responded to, for it
was an important place, the capital of the North-West Provinces; the
troops and residents had been shut up in the fort for more than
three months, and the letters, which followed each other in quick
succession, showed that the authorities were considerably alarmed. It
was felt, therefore, that it was imperative upon us to turn our steps
towards Agra, but it entailed our marching forty-eight miles out
of our way, and having to give up for the time any idea of aiding
Havelock in the relief of Lucknow.

The column marched at midnight on the 8th October, the Horse Artillery
and Cavalry, which I accompanied, pushing on as fast as possible. We
had done thirty-six miles, when we were advised from Agra that there
was no need for so much haste, as the enemy, having heard of our
approach, were retiring; we accordingly halted, nothing loath, till
the Infantry came up.

Early the next morning, the 10th October, we reached Agra. Crossing
the Jumna by a bridge of boats, we passed under the walls of the
picturesque old fort built by the Emperor Akbar nearly 300 years

The European residents who had been prisoners within the walls of the
fort for so long streamed out to meet and welcome us, overjoyed at
being free at last. We presented, I am afraid, but a sorry appearance,
as compared to the neatly-dressed ladies and the spick-and-span troops
who greeted us, for one of the fair sex was overheard to remark, 'Was
ever such a dirty-looking lot seen?' Our clothes were, indeed, worn
and soiled, and our faces so bronzed that the white soldiers were
hardly to be distinguished from their Native comrades.

Our questions as to what had become of the enemy, who we had been
informed had disappeared with such unaccountable celerity on hearing
of the advance of the column, were answered by assurances that there
was no need to concern ourselves about them, as they had fled across
the Kari Naddi, a river thirteen miles away, and were in full retreat
towards Gwalior. It was a little difficult to believe in the complete
dispersion of the formidable rebel army, the mere rumoured approach
of which had created such consternation in the minds of the Agra
authorities, and had caused the many urgent messages imploring us to
push on.

Our doubts, however, were met with the smile of superior knowledge.
We were informed that the rebels had found it impossible to get
their guns across to the Agra side of the stream, and that, feeling
themselves powerless without them to resist our column, they had taken
themselves off with the least possible delay. We were asked with
some indignation, 'Had not the whole country round been scoured
by thoroughly trustworthy men without a trace of the enemy being
discovered?' And we were assured that we might take our much-needed
rest in perfect confidence that we were not likely to be disturbed.
We were further told by those who were responsible for the local
Intelligence Department, and who were repeatedly questioned, that they
had no doubt whatever their information was correct, and that there
was no need to follow up the enemy until our troops were rested and

We were then not aware of what soon became painfully apparent, that
neither the information nor the opinions of the heads of the civil
and military administration at Agra were to be relied upon. That
administration had, indeed, completely collapsed; there was no
controlling authority; the crisis had produced no one in any
responsible position who understood the nature of the convulsion
through which we were passing; and endless discussion had resulted (as
must always be the case) in fatal indecision and timidity.

We could hardly have been expected to know that the government of so
great a province was in the hands of men who were utterly unfit to
cope with the difficulties of an emergency such as had now arisen,
although in quieter times they had filled their positions with credit
to themselves and advantage to the State.

That this was the case can be proved beyond a doubt, but I do not give
it as an excuse for our being caught napping by the enemy, which
we certainly were. We ought, of course, to have reconnoitred the
surrounding country for ourselves, and posted our piquets as usual;
and we ought not to have been induced to neglect these essential
military precautions by the confident assertion of the Agra
authorities that the enemy were nowhere in our neighbourhood.

The Brigadier gave orders for our camp to be pitched as soon as the
tents should arrive, but he saw no necessity for posting piquets
until the evening. Accordingly, I marked out the camp on the brigade
parade-ground, which had been selected as best suited for the
purpose--a grassy, level, open spot, a mile and a half from the fort.
On the left and rear were the ruined lines of the two Native Infantry
regiments which had been disarmed and sent to their homes, and the
charred remains of the British officers' houses. To the right and
front there was cultivation, and the high crops, almost ready to be
reaped, shut out the view of the country beyond.

As the tents and baggage could not arrive for some time, I got leave
to go with Norman, Watson, and a few others to breakfast in the fort.
We had scarcely sat down, bent on enjoying such an unusual event as a
meal in ladies' society, when we were startled by the report of a gun,
then another and another. Springing to our feet, there was a general
exclamation of, 'What can it mean? Not the enemy, surely!' But the
enemy it was, as we were soon convinced by our host, who, having gone
to a point from which he could get a view of the surrounding country,
came back in hot haste, to tell us that an action was taking place.

We who belonged to the column hurried down the stairs, jumped on
our horses, and galloped out of the fort and along the road in the
direction of the firing. We had got but half-way to camp, when we were
met and almost borne down by an enormous crowd, consisting of men,
women, and children of every shade of colour, animals and baggage all
mixed up in inextricable confusion. On they rushed, struggling and
yelling as if pursued by demons.

The refugees from the fort, tired of their long imprisonment, had
taken advantage of the security which they thought was assured by the
arrival of the column to visit their deserted homes. Two-thirds of the
150,000 inhabitants of the city had also flocked out to see the troops
who had taken part in the capture of Delhi (the report of which
achievement was still universally disbelieved), to watch our camp
being pitched, and to see what was going on generally. All this varied
crowd, in terror at the first sound of firing, made for the fort and
city, and were met in their flight by the heavy baggage of the
column on its way to camp. Instantly, elephants, camels, led horses,
doolie-bearers carrying the sick and wounded, bullocks yoked to
heavily-laden carts, all becoming panic-stricken, turned round and
joined in the stampede. Elephants, as terrified as their _mahouts_[7],
shuffled along, screaming and trumpeting; drivers twisted the tails
of their long-suffering bullocks with more than usual energy and
heartlessness, in the vain hope of goading them into a gallop; and
camels had their nostrils rent asunder by the men in charge of them,
in their unsuccessful endeavours to urge their phlegmatic animals into
something faster than their ordinary stately pace.

Into this surging multitude we rushed, but for a time our progress was
completely checked. Eventually, however, by dint of blows, threats,
and shouts, we managed to force our way through the motley crowd and
reach the scene of action. What a sight was that we came upon! I seem
to see it now as distinctly as I did then. Independent fights were
going on all over the parade-ground. Here, a couple of Cavalry
soldiers were charging each other. There, the game of bayonet _versus_
sword was being carried on in real earnest. Further on, a party of
the enemy's Cavalry were attacking one of Blunt's guns (which they
succeeded in carrying off a short distance). Just in front, the 75th
Foot (many of the men in their shirt-sleeves) were forming square to
receive a body of the rebel horse. A little to the left of the 75th,
Remmington's troop of Horse Artillery and Bourchier's battery
had opened fire from the park without waiting to put on their
accoutrements, while the horses were being hastily harnessed by the
Native drivers and _saices_. Still further to the left, the 9th
Lancers and Gough's squadron of Hodson's Horse were rapidly saddling
and falling in. On the right the 8th Foot and the 2nd and 4th Punjab
Infantry were busy getting under arms, while beyond, the three
squadrons of Punjab Cavalry, under Probyn and Younghusband, were
hurrying to get on the enemy's flank.

Watson galloped off to take command of the Punjab Cavalry, and Norman
and I rode in different directions to search for the Brigadier. While
thus employed, I was stopped by a dismounted _sowar_, who danced about
in front of me, waving his _pagri_[8] before the eyes of my horse with
one hand, and brandishing his sword with the other. I could not get
the frightened animal near enough to use my sword, and my pistol (a
Deane and Adams revolver), with which I tried to shoot my opponent,
refused to go off, so I felt myself pretty well at his mercy, when, to
my relief, I saw him fall, having been run through the body by a man
of the 9th Lancers who had come to my rescue.

Being unable to find the Brigadier, I attached myself to the next
senior officer, Major Frank Turner, who commanded the Artillery.
Gradually the enemy were beaten off, and the troops formed themselves
up ready for pursuit, or whatever they might be called upon to do. At
this juncture Greathed appeared on the ground.

With less experienced troops the surprise--and a thorough surprise it
was--would in all probability have had serious results. Most of the
men were asleep under the few tents which had already arrived, or such
shelter as could be obtained near at hand, when first one round shot,
then another, came right into their midst from a battery concealed
in the high crops to our right front. At the same time half a dozen
rebels, one of them playing the _nagàra_,[9] rode quietly up to the
Quarter-Guard of the 9th Lancers and cut down the sentry. Being
dressed, like Probyn's men, in red, they were mistaken for them, and
were thus enabled to get close to the guard. This act was quickly
followed by a general rush of the enemy's Cavalry, which brought about
the series of fights that were going on when we appeared on the scene.
The Commander was not to be found; no one knew who was the senior
officer present; consequently each regiment and battery had to act
according to its own discretion. The troops got ready with incredible
rapidity, and set to work to drive the enemy off the ground. The
Artillery replied to the insurgents' guns; the Infantry did what they
could, but were hampered by the fear of doing more injury to their
friends than their foes, and thus the brunt of the work fell upon the
Cavalry. The 9th Lancers made a succession of brilliant charges. One
troop especially distinguished itself by recovering Blunt's captured
gun; the Captain (French) was killed, and the subaltern (Jones),
covered with wounds, was left on the ground for dead. Watson, Probyn,
and Younghusband, with their three squadrons, cleared our right flank,
capturing two guns and some standards; and Hugh Gough, with his
squadron, performed a similar duty on the left.

Probyn greatly distinguished himself on this occasion. In one of the
charges he got separated from his men, and was for a time surrounded
by the enemy, two of whom he slew. In another charge he captured a
standard. For these and numerous acts of gallantry during the Mutiny,
he was, to the great delight of his many friends in the column,
awarded the Victoria Cross.

When Greathed arrived, the order for a general advance was given,
and we were just moving off in pursuit of the rebels, when the
3rd European Regiment and a battery of Field Artillery under
Lieutenant-Colonel Cotton arrived from the fort. This officer, being
senior to our Brigadier, took command of the force, and untimely
delay was caused while he learnt the details of our position. Having
satisfied himself that the enemy must be followed up, he endorsed
Greathed's order, and off we again started.

We soon overtook the retreating foe, who every now and then turned and
made an ineffectual stand. At the end of about four miles we came upon
their camp; it covered a considerable space, and must have taken
a long time to transport and pitch--a circumstance which made the
ignorance on the part of the Agra authorities as to the close
proximity of the enemy appear even more unaccountable than before.

Our Infantry were now pretty well done up; they had been on the move,
with one or two short intervals, for nearly sixty hours, and the 3rd
Europeans were not in trim for a long and hot day's work after such a
lengthened period of inactivity in the fort, and clad, as they were,
in thick scarlet uniform. The enemy, however, could not be allowed to
carry off their guns; so, leaving the Infantry to amuse themselves by
making hay in the rebels' camp, we pushed forward with the Cavalry and
Artillery. It was a most exciting chase. Property of all sorts and
descriptions fell into our hands, and before we reached the Kari Naddi
we had captured thirteen guns, some of them of large calibre, and a
great quantity of ammunition. The enemy's loss on this occasion was
not very great, owing to the extraordinary facility with which Native
troops can break up and disappear, particularly when crops are on the

While watching a few of the rebel Cavalry making their escape along
the opposite bank of the Kari Naddi, I noticed about a dozen men
belonging to the 2nd and 4th Punjab Infantry quenching their thirst in
the stream. Carried away by excitement, they had managed to keep up
with the pursuit, never thinking of the inevitable trudge back to
Agra, which meant that, by the time they arrived there, they would
have accomplished a march of not less than 70 miles without a halt,
besides having had a severe fight with an enemy greatly superior in

Our casualties were slight: 12 officers and men were killed, 54
wounded, and 2 missing, besides some 20 camp-followers killed and

There is no doubt that the enemy were almost as much taken by surprise
as we were. They knew that we were on our way from Aligarh, and had
arranged (as we afterwards heard) with the people of the city to
destroy the bridge of boats in time to prevent our crossing. But our
movements were sufficiently rapid to prevent their carrying their
intention into effect; and although the insurgents were informed that
we had actually crossed the river they refused to believe the report,
and, it was said, hanged the man who brought it. Their incredulity was
strengthened by the small dimensions of the ground taken up for our
camp, and the few tents which were pitched, and they made up their
minds that these were only being prepared for the troops belonging
to the Agra garrison, and so anticipated an easy victory. Their
astonishment first became known when they were repulsed by the 75th
Foot, and were heard to say to one another, '_Arrah bhai! ye Diliwhale
hain!_' (I say, brother! these are the fellows from Delhi!).

We halted at Agra on the 11th, 12th, and 13th October, partly to
rest the men and transport animals, but chiefly on account of the
difficulty we had in getting out of the clutches of the North-West
Provinces Government, the local authorities not caring to be left to
their own resources. Our wounded were taken to the fort, and lodged in
the Moti Masjid,[10] which exquisite little building had been turned
into a hospital. The men were well taken care of by the ladies, who
seemed to think they could never do enough for the Delhi column.

I now for the first time saw the lovely Taj Mahal--that beautiful,
world-famed memorial of a man's devotion to a woman, a husband's
undying love for a dead wife. I will not attempt to describe the
indescribable. Neither words nor pencil could give to the most
imaginative reader the slightest idea of the all-satisfying beauty and
purity of this glorious conception. To those who have not already
seen it, I would say: 'Go to India. The Taj alone is well worth the

[Footnote 1: Two troops of Horse Artillery, with four guns and one
howitzer each, commanded respectively by Captains Remmington and
Blunt. One Field Battery, with six guns, commanded by Captain
Bourchier. One British Cavalry regiment, the 9th Lancers, reduced to
300 men, commanded by Major Ouvry. Two British Infantry regiments (the
8th and 75th Foot), commanded respectively by Major Hinde and Captain
Gordon, which could only number between them 450 men. Detachments of
three Punjab Cavalry regiments, the 1st, 2nd and 5th, commanded by
Lieutenants John Watson, Dighton Probyn and George Younghusband,
numbering in all 320 men. A detachment of Hodson's Horse, commanded by
Lieutenant Hugh Gough, and consisting of 180 men. Two Punjab Infantry
regiments, commanded by Captains Green and Wilde, each about 600 men;
and 200 Sappers and Miners, with whom were Lieutenants Home and Lang.]

[Footnote 2: Afterwards Sir Alfred Lyall, G.C.I.E., K.C.B.,
Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces, and now a member of
the Indian Council.]

[Footnote 3: Now General Sir William Drysdale, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 4: The horse, although badly hurt, was not killed, and
eventually did me good service.]

[Footnote 5: This was the Engineer officer who had such a miraculous
escape when he blew in the Kashmir gate at Delhi, for which act of
gallantry he had been promised the Victoria Cross.]

[Footnote 6: A few years afterwards she communicated with the civil
authorities of the district, and made out such a pitiful story of
ill-treatment by her Mahomedan husband, that she was sent to Calcutta,
where some ladies were good enough to look after her.]

[Footnote 7: Men in charge of the elephants.]

[Footnote 8: Turban.]

[Footnote 9: Native kettle-drum.]

[Footnote 10: Pearl Mosque.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Infatuation of the authorities at Agra--A series of Mishaps
  --Result of indecision and incapacity

During our three days' halt at Agra we were told the story of all that
had happened before we came, and a sad story it was of incapacity and
neglected opportunity. The Lieutenant-Governor, an able, intelligent
man under ordinary circumstances, had, unfortunately, no firmness of
character, no self-reliance. Instead of acting on his own convictions,
he allowed himself to be entirely led by men about him, who had not
sufficient knowledge of Natives to enable them to grasp how completely
the latter's attitude towards us had been changed by the loss of our
military hold over the country.[1]

Deaf to warnings from those who did understand the magnitude of the
danger, the Lieutenant-Governor refused to listen to the Maharaja
Scindia, who, influenced by the wise counsels of his astute and
enlightened minister, Dinkar Rao, told him that the whole Native army
was disloyal, and that the men of his own (the Gwalior) Contingent[2]
were as bad as the rest. The authorities refused to allow the ladies
and children at Gwalior to be sent into Agra for safety; they objected
to arrangements being made for accommodating the non-combatants inside
the walls of the fort, because, forsooth, such precautions would show
a want of confidence in the Natives! and the sanction for supplies
being stored in the fort was tardily and hesitatingly accorded. It was
not, indeed, until the mutinous sepoys from Nimach and Nasirabad were
within sixty miles of Agra that orders were given to put the fort in
a state of defence and provision it, and it was not until they had
reached Futtehpore Sikri, twenty-three miles from Agra, that the women
and children were permitted to seek safety within the stronghold.[3]

Fortunately, however, notwithstanding the intermittent manner in which
instructions were issued, there was no scarcity of supplies, for,
owing to the foresight and energy of Lieutenant Henry Chalmers,
the executive Commissariat officer, assisted by that prince of
contractors, Lalla Joti Persâd, and ably supported by Mr. Reade, the
civilian next in rank to the Lieutenant-Governor, food was stored in
sufficient quantities, not only for the garrison, but for all the
refugees from the surrounding districts.[4]

Mr. Drummond, the magistrate of the district, who had from the first
been the chief opponent of precautionary measures for the security of
the residents, had the audacity to set the Lieutenant-Governor's order
for victualling the fort at defiance. He forbad grain or provisions
being sold to the Commissariat contractor, whose duty it was to
collect supplies, and positively imprisoned one man for responding to
the contractor's demands. It was at this official's instigation that
the Native police force was largely increased, instead of being done
away with altogether, as would have been the sensible course; and
as there was an insufficiency of weapons wherewith to arm the
augmentation, a volunteer corps of Christians, lately raised, was
disbanded, and their arms distributed amongst the Mahomedan police. So
far was this infatuated belief in the loyalty of the Natives carried
that it was proposed to disarm the entire Christian population, on the
pretext that their carrying weapons gave offence to the Mahomedans! It
was only on the urgent remonstrance of some of the military officers
that this preposterous scheme was abandoned.[5] The two Native
regiments stationed at Agra were not disarmed until one of the British
officers with them had been killed and another wounded. The gaol,
containing 5,000 prisoners, was left in charge of a Native guard,
although the superintendent, having reliable information that the
sepoys intended to mutiny, begged that it might be replaced by
European soldiers. The Lieutenant-Governor gave his consent to this
wise precaution, but afterwards not only allowed himself to be
persuaded to let the Native guard remain, but authorized the
removal of the European superintendent, on the plea of his being an

On the 4th July Mr. Colvin, the Lieutenant-Governor, whose health had
been very indifferent for some time, was induced, much against his
will, to retire to the fort, and for the time being the management of
affairs passed into the hands of Brigadier Polwhele. There was little
improvement--indecision reigned supreme. Notwithstanding that the
gradual approach of the mutineers from Gwalior and Nasirabad was well
known, no preparations were made, no plan of action decided upon.
Polwhele, who was a brave old soldier, and had seen a great deal of
service, had, indeed, wisely come to the conclusion that the rebels
would never venture to attack a fort like Agra, and that, if left
alone, they would in all probability continue their march towards
Delhi. The available troops numbered less than 1,000 effective men,
and Polwhele felt that, by going out to attack the enemy, there would
be a grave risk of the seat of government falling into the hands of
the disaffected police and city people.

Unfortunately, however, the Brigadier allowed himself to be overruled,
and when the mutineers were reported to have arrived at Shahganj, four
miles from Agra, he gave way to the cry to 'Go out and do something!'
and issued orders for the troops to fall in.

A series of mishaps then occurred. It was one o'clock in the afternoon
of the 5th July before the column[7] was ready to start; the men in
their thick red uniform suffered greatly from the heat and thirst; the
enemy, 9,000 strong, with twelve guns, instead of being at Shahganj,
were found to be strongly entrenched at Sarsia, some distance farther
off. A protracted engagement then took place, and our troops, having
expended all their ammunition, were obliged to retreat, leaving many
dead and a gun on the field.

Meanwhile the city and cantonment were in a state of uproar. The first
gun was the signal for the guard at the gaol to release the 5,000
prisoners, who, as they appeared in the streets, still wearing their
fetters, caused a perfect panic amongst the respectable inhabitants;
while the evil-disposed made for the cantonment, to plunder, burn, and
murder. Some of the residents who had not sought shelter in the fort,
confident that our troops would gain an easy victory, on hearing of
their defeat hurried with all speed to that place of refuge, and for
the most part succeeded in reaching it; but a few were overtaken and
killed by the mob, aided by the trusted police, who had early in the
day broken into open mutiny.[8]

With one or two exceptions the officials, military and civil alike,
were utterly demoralized by all these disastrous occurrences, the
result of their own imbecility. For two days no one was allowed
to leave the fort or approach from the outside. Within was dire
confusion; without, the mob had it all their own way.

Early in August a despatch was received from the Governor-General
acknowledging the receipt of the report on the fight of the 5th July,
and directing that Brigadier Polwhele should be removed from the
command of his brigade. On the 9th September Mr. Colvin died; he
never recovered the shock of the Mutiny. As a Lieutenant-Governor
in peace-time he was considered to have shown great ability in the
management of his province, and he was highly respected for his
uprightness of character. One cannot but feel that it was in a great
measure due to his failing health that, when the time of trial came,
he was unable to accept the responsibility of directing affairs
himself, or to act with the promptitude and decision which were
demanded from all those occupying prominent positions in 1857.

Mr. Reade, the next senior civilian, assumed charge of the government
on Mr. Colvin's death, until orders were received from the Government
of India vesting the supreme authority in a military officer, and
appointing Colonel Hugh Fraser, of the Bengal Engineers, to be Mr.
Colvin's successor with the rank and position of a Chief Commissioner.
Lord Canning was doubtless induced to make this selection in
consequence of the courage and ability Colonel Fraser had displayed
during the Burmese War, and also on account of the sound advice he
had given to the Lieutenant-Governor in the early days of the
outbreak--advice which unfortunately was ignored. Mr. Reade, who had
proved himself worthy of his high position, gave Colonel Fraser
his cordial and unqualified support, but that officer, like his
predecessor, was in bad health, and found it difficult to exercise the
much-needed control. A constant state of panic continued to exist, and
no reliable information could be obtained of what was going on even in
the immediate neighbourhood. The relief afforded by the news of the
fall of Delhi was great, but short-lived, for it was quickly followed
by a report that the whole rebel army had fled from Delhi and was
hastening towards Agra, and that the mutineers from Gwalior and
Central India were advancing to attack the fort. Again all was
confusion. Reports as to the movements of the enemy were never the
same for two days together; at last what appeared to be authentic
intelligence was received: the Gwalior troops were said to be close
at hand, and those urgent appeals for assistance which were sent to
Greathed caused us to turn our steps towards Agra.

Our object having been attained, we were all anxious to depart. The
Chief Commissioner, however, was quite as anxious that we should
remain; firmly believing that the Gwalior troops would reappear, he
suggested that we should follow them up at least as far as Dholpur;
but this proposal Greathed firmly refused to accede to. The orders he
had received were to open up the country[9] between the Jumna and
the Ganges, and he had not forgotten the little note from Havelock
discovered in the fakir's platter.

At last the column was allowed to leave. The evening before our
departure Norman and I called on the Chief Commissioner to say
good-bye. We found Colonel Fraser greatly depressed, and inclined
to take a most gloomy view of the situation, evidently thinking the
restoration of our rule extremely doubtful. His last words to us were,
'We shall never meet again.'[10] He looked extremely ill, and his
state of health probably accounted for his gloomy forebodings. We, on
the contrary, were full of health and hope. Having assisted at the
capture of Delhi, the dispersion of the enemy who had attempted to
oppose us on our way through the Doab, and the troops we were serving
with having recently achieved a decisive victory at Agra over a foe
four times their number, we never doubted that success would attend
us in the future as in the past, and we were now only anxious to
join hands with Havelock, and assist in the relief of the sufferers
besieged in Lucknow.

[Footnote 1: 'They regarded the Mutiny as a military revolt; the rural
disturbances as the work of the mobs. The mass of the people they
considered as thoroughly loyal, attached to our rule as well from
gratitude as from self-interest, being thoroughly conscious of the
benefits it had conferred upon them. Holding these opinions, they did
not comprehend either the nature or the magnitude of the crisis. To
their inability to do so, many lives and much treasure were needlessly
sacrificed.'--'The Indian Mutiny,' Thornhill.]

[Footnote 2: The Gwalior Contingent was raised in 1844, after the
battles of Punniar and Maharajpore, to replace the troops of Maharaja
Scindia ordered to be reduced. It consisted of five batteries of
Artillery, two regiments of Cavalry, and seven regiments of Infantry,
officered by British officers belonging to the Indian Army, and
paid for out of the revenues of districts transferred to British

[Footnote 3: 'The Indian Mutiny,' Thornhill.]

[Footnote 4: Throughout the campaign the Commissariat Department never
failed: the troops were invariably well supplied, and, even during the
longest marches, fresh bread was issued almost daily.]

[Footnote 5: 'The Indian Mutiny,' Thornhill.]

[Footnote 6: 'The Indian Mutiny,' Thornhill.]

[Footnote 7: It consisted of the 3rd European Regiment, 568 strong,
a battery of Field Artillery, with Native drivers and a few European
Artillerymen, and about 100 mounted Militia and Volunteers, composed
of officers, civilians and others who had taken refuge in Agra.]

[Footnote 8: The police were suspected of having invited the
insurgents who defeated Polwhele to Agra.]

[Footnote 9: Known as the Doab.]

[Footnote 10: Colonel Fraser died within nine months of our leaving

       *       *       *       *       *


  Advantage of being a good horseman--News from Lucknow
  --Cawnpore--Heart-rending scenes--Start for Lucknow
  --An exciting Adventure--Arrival of Sir Colin Campbell
  --Plans for the advance

On the 14th October we moved camp to the left bank of the Jumna, where
we were joined by a small party of Artillerymen with two 18-pounder
guns, and some convalescents belonging to the regiments with us, who
had been left behind at Delhi--300 in all. Our camp was pitched in a
pretty garden called the Rambagh, only a short distance from Agra,
where we gave a picnic to the ladies who had been so kind to our
wounded men--a rough sort of entertainment, as may be imagined, but
much enjoyed by the easily-pleased people who had been prisoners for
so long, to whom the mere getting away from the fort for a few hours
was a relief.

On the morning of the 15th we commenced our march towards Mainpuri, a
small station seventy miles from Agra, which we reached on the 18th.
While on our way there, Hope Grant, Colonel of the 9th Lancers,
arrived in camp to take over the command of the column. He had
remained at Delhi when superseded by Greathed, and being naturally
indignant at the treatment he had received, he protested against it,
and succeeded in getting the order appointing Greathed to the command

Had an officer been specially selected on account of his possessing
a more intimate acquaintance with Native soldiers and a longer
experience of India, Hope Grant would no doubt have accepted the
inevitable. But Greathed did not know as much of the country and
Native troops as Hope Grant did; he had seen no service before he
came to Delhi, and while there had no opportunity of showing that he
possessed any particular qualification for command; he certainly did
not exhibit any while in charge of the column, and everyone in the
force was pleased to welcome Hope Grant as its leader.

The Raja of Mainpuri, who had openly joined the rebels, fled the day
before we marched in, leaving behind him several guns and a quantity
of powder. We halted on the 20th, blew up his fort and destroyed the
powder. The European part of the station was in ruins, but a relation
of the Raja had been able to prevent the Government treasury from
being plundered, and he made over to us two and a half lakhs of

The civilians of the Mainpuri district were amongst the refugees at
Agra, and took advantage of our escort to return to their station.
We had also been joined by some officers whom the mutiny of their
regiments had left without employment; they were a welcome addition
to our Punjab regiments, as the limited number of British officers
attached to these corps had been considerably reduced by the
constantly recurring casualties. One of these officers was a Captain
Carey, whose story, as he told it to me, of his escape from the
massacre at Cawnpore and his subsequent experiences is, I think, worth

In the month of May Carey went into Wheeler's entrenchment with the
rest of the garrison; a few days before the investment, however, Sir
Henry Lawrence sent his Military Secretary, Captain Fletcher Hayes, to
Cawnpore, to report on what course events were taking at that place,
and, if possible, to communicate with Delhi. His escort was the 2nd
Oudh Irregular Cavalry. Hayes had already made Carey's acquaintance,
and, on finding him at Cawnpore, asked him to accompany him to Delhi,
which invitation Carey gladly accepted. When they got close to Bewar,
where the road to Mainpuri branched off, Hayes, wishing to gain
information from the civil authorities as to the state of the country
through which their route to Delhi lay, rode off to the latter place
with Carey, having first ordered the escort to proceed towards Delhi,
and having arranged with the British officers to catch them up at the
end of the next day's march. The following day, as the two friends
approached the encamping ground where they were to overtake the
escort, they beheld the regiment marching steadily along the road
in regular formation; there was nothing to warn them that it had
revolted, for as there were only three British officers with the
corps, whose dress was almost the same as the men's, their absence was
not noticed.

Suddenly, when they had got within two or three hundred yards of the
regiment, the troopers with one accord broke into shouts and yells,
and, brandishing their swords, galloped towards Hayes and Carey,
who, turning their horses, made with all possible speed back towards
Mainpuri. Hayes, who was an indifferent rider, was soon overtaken and
cut to pieces, while Carey, one of the best horsemen in the army,
and beautifully mounted, escaped; the _sowars_ followed him for some
distance, but a wide irrigation cut, which he alone was able to clear,
put an end to the pursuit. Carey reached his destination in safety,
and, with the other Europeans from Mainpuri, sought refuge in the Agra
fort, where he spent the following five months. It was afterwards
ascertained that the three British officers with the escort had been
murdered by the _sowars_ shortly before Hayes and Carey came in sight.

On the 21st October we reached Bewar, the junction of the roads from
Meerut, Agra, Fatehgarh, and Cawnpore, at which point the Brigadier
received a communication from Sir James Outram, written in Greek
character, from the Lucknow Residency, begging that aid might be sent
as soon as possible, as provisions were running short.[1] The note was
rolled up inside a quill, which the Native messenger had cunningly
concealed in the heart of his thick walking-stick. Outram's urgent
summons determined the Brigadier to push on. So the next day we made
a march of twenty-eight miles to Goorsahaigunj, and on the 23rd we
reached Miran-ki-Serai, close to the ruined Hindu city of Kanoj.

The same day I went on as usual with a small escort to reconnoitre,
and had passed through the town, when I was fired upon by a party of
the rebels, consisting of some 300 Cavalry, 500 Infantry, and four
guns, who, having heard of the approach of the column, were trying to
get away before it arrived. Their Cavalry and Infantry were on the
opposite bank of a fairly wide stream, called the Kali Naddi, through
which were being dragged some heavy pieces of cannon. I retired
a short distance, and sent back word to the advance guard, which
hastened to my assistance. A few rounds from our Artillery caused the
enemy to abandon their guns, the Infantry dispersed and disappeared,
the Cavalry fled, and we, crossing the stream, had a smart gallop
after them for about four miles over a fine grassy plain. On we flew,
Probyn's and Watson's squadrons leading the way in parallel lines,
about a mile apart. I was with the latter, and we had a running fight
till we reached the Ganges, into which plunged those of the _sowars_
whom we had not been able to overtake; we reined up, and saw the
unlucky fugitives struggling in the water, men and horses rolling over
each other; they were gradually carried down by the swiftly running
stream, and but a very few reached the opposite bank.

Our casualties were trifling, only some half-dozen men wounded, while
my horse got a gash on his quarter from a sabre. Watson had the
forefinger of his right hand badly cut in an encounter with a young
_sowar_; I chaffed him at allowing himself to be nearly cut down by a
mere boy, upon which he laughingly retorted: 'Well, boy or not, he was
bigger than you.'

It was on this occasion that I first recognized the advantage of
having the carbine slung on the trooper's back while in action,
instead of being carried in the bucket, as is the custom with our
British Cavalry. Several of the enemy's loose horses were going about
with carbines on their saddles, while their dismounted riders were at
an enormous disadvantage in trying to defend themselves from their
mounted adversaries with only their swords. I saw, too, one of
Watson's men saved from a fierce cut across the spine by having his
carbine on his back. More recent experience has quite satisfied me
that this is the only way this weapon should be carried when actual
fighting is going on.

Three more marches brought us to Cawnpore, where we arrived on the
26th October.

We now for the first time heard the miserable 'story of Cawnpore.' We
were told how, owing to Sir Hugh Wheeler's misplaced belief in the
loyalty of the sepoys, with whom he had served for upwards of half a
century, and to the confiding old soldier's trust in the friendship of
the miscreant Nana, and in the latter's ability to defend him until
succour should arrive, he had neglected to take precautionary measures
for laying in supplies or for fortifying the two exposed barracks
which, for some unaccountable reason, had been chosen as a place of
refuge, instead of the easily defensible and well-stored magazine. Our
visit to this scene of suffering and disaster was more harrowing than
it is in the power of words to express; the sights which met our eyes,
and the reflections they gave rise to, were quite maddening, and could
not but increase tenfold the feelings of animosity and desire for
vengeance which the disloyalty and barbarity of the mutineers in other
places had aroused in the hearts of our British soldiers. Tresses of
hair, pieces of ladies' dresses, books crumpled and torn, bits of work
and scraps of music, just as they had been left by the wretched owners
on the fatal morning of the 27th June, when they started for that
terrible walk to the boats provided by the Nana as the bait to induce
them to capitulate.[2] One could not but picture to one's self the
awful suffering those thousand Christian souls of both sexes and
of all ages must have endured during twenty-one days of misery and
anxiety, their numbers hourly diminished by disease, privation, the
terrific rays of a June sun, and the storm of shot, shell, and bullets
which never ceased to be poured into them. When one looked on the
ruined, roofless barracks, with their hastily constructed parapet and
ditch (a mere apology for a defence), one marvelled how 465 men, not
more than half of them soldiers by profession, could have held out
for three long weeks against the thousands of disciplined troops and
hordes of armed retainers whom the Nana was able to bring to the

It is impossible to describe the feelings with which we looked on the
Sati-Choura Ghat, where was perpetrated the basest of all the Nana's
base acts of perfidy;[3] or the intense sadness and indignation which
overpowered us as we followed the road along which 121 women and
children (many of them well born and delicately nurtured) wended
their weary way, amidst jeers and insults, to meet the terrible fate
awaiting them. After their husbands and protectors had been slain, the
wretched company of widows and orphans were first taken to the Savada
house, and then to the little Native hut, where they were doomed to
live through two more weeks of intensest misery, until at length the
end came, and the last scene in that long drama of foulest treachery
and unequalled brutality was enacted. Our unfortunate countrywomen,
with their little children, as my readers will remember, were murdered
as the sound of Havelock's avenging guns was heard.

We found at Cawnpore some men who had fought their way from Allahabad
with Havelock's force, from whom we heard of the difficulties they had
encountered on their way, and the subsequent hardships the gallant
little force had to endure in its attempts to reach Lucknow. They also
told us that Havelock and Outram, with only 3,179 men of all arms, and
14 guns, had succeeded in forcing their way through that great city
with a loss of 700, but only to be themselves immediately surrounded
by the vast multitude of the enemy, who for three whole months had
vainly endeavoured to overpower the heroic defenders of the Residency.

At Cawnpore there were very few troops. The Head-Quarters of the 64th
Foot, under Colonel Wilson, and some recovered invalids belonging
to regiments which had gone to Lucknow, had held it for more than a
month, within an entrenchment thrown up on the river bank to protect
the bridge of boats. Just before we arrived four companies of the
93rd Highlanders had marched in. It was the first time I had seen a
Highland regiment, and I was duly impressed by their fine physique,
and not a little also by their fine dress. They certainly looked
splendid in their bonnets and kilts--a striking contrast to my
war-worn, travel-stained comrades of the Movable Column. An _avant
courier_ of the Naval Brigade had also come in, sent on by Captain
William Peel, of H.M.S. _Shannon_, to arrange for the rest of the
blue-jackets who were about to arrive--the first naval officer, I
imagine, who had ever been sent on duty so far up the country as

Other troops were rapidly being pushed up, and officers who had been
on leave to England were daily arriving, having hurried out to join
their different regiments in various parts of India. Amongst these was
an old friend and brother subaltern of mine, Augustus Otway Mayne,
whom, greatly to my satisfaction, Hope Grant appointed D.A.Q.M.G. to
help me, for there was now more work to be done than I could well get

The day after our arrival at Cawnpore we heard that the new
Commander-in-Chief, Sir Colin Campbell, was to leave Calcutta that
evening to take command of the force with which he hoped to effect the
relief of the Lucknow garrison, and with this news came an order to
Hope Grant from Sir Colin to get into communication with the Alambagh,
a small garden-house not quite two miles from the city of Lucknow,
built by one of the Begums of the ex-King of Oudh, in which the sick
and wounded, tents and spare stores, had been left in charge of a
small detachment, when Outram and Havelock advanced towards the
Residency on the 25th September.

On the 30th October we left Cawnpore, and crossed the Ganges into
Oudh, taking with us the four companies of the 93rd Highlanders, and
the men belonging to Havelock's force, whom I have mentioned as having
been left behind on account of sickness.

On the 31st we were at Bani bridge, more than half-way to the
Alambagh, when a telegram reached the Brigadier directing him to halt
until Sir Colin Campbell (who had got as far as Cawnpore) should

Hope Grant did not think the ground we were on well adapted for a
prolonged halt; that afternoon, therefore, I went off with Mayne to
reconnoitre the country for a more suitable place. We fixed upon
an open plain at the village of Bhantira, about three miles nearer
Lucknow. We met with no opposition that day, but the country people
in the neighbourhood had shown marked hostility by killing one or two
soldiers and every camp-follower who had strayed from the main road;
so we were careful to examine Bhantira and all the neighbouring
villages, but were unable to discover the slightest sign of an enemy.

As the next day's march was such a very short one, we did not start
until 7 a.m., instead of before daybreak as usual. Mayne and I rode on
ahead with a couple of _sowars_, and reached the site we had chosen
for the camp without meeting a single suspicious-looking individual.
We then sent back the escort to bring up the camp colour-men, and
while waiting for them, we entered into conversation with some passing
pilgrims, who told us they were on their way to Benares to procure
holy water from the Ganges. Suddenly a bullet whizzed over our heads,
fired from the direction from which we had just come. Looking back,
to our amazement we saw a crowd of armed men at a distance of between
three and four hundred yards, completely cutting us off from the
column. The whole plain was alive with them. When they saw they were
observed, they advanced towards us, shouting and firing. Fortunately
for us, we had made ourselves perfectly acquainted with the country
the previous day, and instantly realized that escape by our right (as
we faced Lucknow) was impossible, because of a huge impassable _jhil_.
There was another _jhil_ to our left front, but at some little
distance off, and our only chance seemed to be in riding hard enough
to get round the enemy's flank before they could get close enough to
this _jhil_ to stop us.

Accordingly, we put spurs to our horses and galloped as fast as they
could carry us to our left; the enemy turned in the same direction,
and made for a village we must pass, and which we could see was
already occupied. The firing got hotter and more uncomfortable as
we neared this village, the walls of which we skirted at our best
possible pace. We cleared the village, and hoped we had distanced the
rebels, when suddenly we came upon a deep _nulla_. Mayne got safely to
the other side, but my horse stumbled and rolled over with me into the
water at the bottom. In the fall my hand was slightly cut by my sword,
which I had drawn, thinking we might have to fight for our lives; the
blood flowed freely, and made the reins so slippery when I tried to
remount, that it was with considerable difficulty I got into the
saddle. The enemy were already at the edge of the _nulla_, and
preparing to fire, so there was no time to be lost. I struggled
through the water and up the opposite bank, and ducking my head to
avoid the shots, now coming thick and fast, galloped straight into
some high cultivation in which Mayne had already sought shelter.
Finally we succeeded in making our way to the main body of the force,
where we found Hope Grant in great anxiety about us, as he had heard
the firing and knew we were ahead. The dear old fellow evinced his
satisfaction at our safe return by shaking each of us heartily by the
hand, repeating over and over again in his quick, quaint way, 'Well,
my boys, well, my boys, very glad to have you back! never thought
to see you again.' The column now moved on, and we found ourselves
opposed to a vast body of men, not soldiers, but country people,
who in those days were all armed warriors, and who spent their time
chiefly in fighting with each other. As we approached the crowd
turned, opened out, and fled in every direction, spreading over the
plain and concealing themselves in the long grass. We gave chase and
killed many, but a large proportion escaped. Favoured by the high
crops, they disappeared with that marvellous celerity with which
Natives can almost instantly become invisible, leaving in our
possession a 9-pounder brass gun. On this occasion we had thirty
killed and wounded.

We could not at the time understand where the men had sprung from
who so suddenly attacked us; but it afterwards transpired that some
powerful _zemindars_[4] in the neighbourhood had collected all the
forces they could get together, and established them after dark in the
very villages we had so carefully examined the previous afternoon and
had found completely deserted, with the intention of falling upon the
column as it passed in the early morning. The unusually late hour at
which the march was made, however, disconcerted their little plan,
and giving up all hope of the force coming that day, they consoled
themselves by trying to get hold of Mayne and myself.

We halted on the 3rd and 4th November. On the 5th, Hope Grant sent
a force to the Alambagh for the purpose of escorting a long line of
carts and camels laden with provisions and ammunition, which the
Commander-in-Chief was desirous of having near at hand, in case the
relief of the Lucknow garrison should prove a more prolonged operation
than he hoped or anticipated it was likely to be.

As we neared the Alambagh the enemy's guns opened on us from our
right, while their Cavalry threatened us on both flanks. They were
easily disposed of, and we deposited the stores, receiving in exchange
a number of sick and wounded who were to be sent back to Cawnpore.

A curious incident happened at the Alambagh. I was employed inside the
enclosure, when all at once I heard a noise and commotion some little
distance off. Getting on to the roof, I looked over the plain, and saw
our troops flying in every direction; there was no firing, no enemy in
sight, but evidently something was wrong; so I mounted my horse and
rode to the scene of confusion, where I found that the ignominious
flight of our troops was caused by infuriated bees which had been
disturbed by an officer of the 9th Lancers thoughtlessly thrusting a
lance into their nest. There were no serious consequences, but the
Highlanders were heard to remark on the unsuitability of their dress
for an encounter with an enemy of that description.

On the 9th November Sir Colin Campbell joined the column, accompanied
by his Chief of the Staff, Brigadier-General Mansfield.[5]

_From a photograph taken in India._]

The following morning we were surprised to hear that a European from
the Lucknow garrison had arrived in camp. All were keen to see him,
and to hear how it was faring with those who had been shut up in
the Residency for so long; but the new-comer was the bearer of very
important information from Sir James Outram, and to prevent any chance
of its getting about, the Commander-in-Chief kept the messenger, Mr.
Kavanagh, a close prisoner in his own tent.

Outram, being anxious that the officer in command of the relieving
force should not follow the same route taken by himself and Havelock,
and wishing to communicate his ideas more at length than was possible
in a note conveyed as usual by a spy, Kavanagh, a clerk in an office
in Lucknow, pluckily volunteered to carry a letter. It was an offer
which appealed to the heart of the 'Bayard of the East,' as Outram has
been appropriately called, and just such an errand as he himself,
had he been in a less responsible position, would have delighted to
undertake. Outram thoroughly understood the risk of the enterprise,
and placed it clearly before the brave volunteer, who, nothing
daunted, expressed his readiness to start at once, and his confidence
in being able to reach the British camp.

Disguised as a Native, and accompanied by a man of Oudh, on whose
courage and loyalty he was convinced he could rely, Kavanagh left the
Residency after dark on the 9th and got safely across the Gumti. He
and his guide remained in the suburbs mixing with the people until
the streets might be expected to be pretty well empty, when they
re-crossed the river and got safely through the city. They were
accosted more than once on their way, but were saved by the readiness
of the Native, who it had been arranged should answer all inquiries,
though Kavanagh, having been born and bred in the country, could
himself speak the language fluently. On the morning of the 10th they
made themselves known to a piquet of Punjab Cavalry on duty near the

Outram, profiting by his own experience, wished the relieving column
to be spared having to fight its way through the streets of Lucknow.
This was all the more necessary because the enemy, calculating on our
following the same route as before, had destroyed the bridge over the
canal and made extensive preparations to oppose our advance in that
direction. Outram explained his views most clearly, and sent with his
letter a plan on which the line he proposed we should take was plainly
marked. He recommended that the advance should be made, by the
Dilkusha[6] and Martinière,[7] and that the canal should be crossed
by the bridge nearest the Gumti. Outram showed his military acumen
in suggesting this route, as our right flank would be covered by the
river, and therefore could only be molested by a comparatively distant
fire. Sir Colin, appreciating all the advantages pointed out, readily
accepted and strictly adhered to this plan of advance, except that,
instead of crossing the canal by the bridge, we forded it a little
nearer the river, a wise divergence from Outram's recommendation, and
one which he would assuredly have advised had he been aware that the
canal was fordable at this spot, as it kept us altogether clear of the

Outram did not touch in his despatch upon any question but the
all-important one of how the junction between his own and the
relieving forces could best be effected. Many other matters, however,
claimed the earnest consideration of the Commander-in-Chief before he
could proceed. He had to determine what was to be done to secure the
safety of the women and children in the Residency, after the first
most pressing duty of relieving the garrison had been accomplished.
Cawnpore was again in great danger from the Gwalior mutineers, who,
foiled at Agra, and finding that the Maharaja Sindhia would not
espouse their cause, had placed themselves under the orders of the
Rani of Jhansi and Tantia Topi, the vile Mahratta whom the Nana made
use of to carry out the massacre of the Sati-Choura Ghat; led by
this man the rebels were seriously threatening Cawnpore, and it was
necessary to take steps for its security. Then again the city of
Lucknow had to be thought of; its capture and the restoration of
British authority were alike essential, but our Chief knew that he
had neither the time nor the means at his disposal to undertake this
important operation at once. He therefore made up his mind that so
soon as the Residency had been relieved he would withdraw altogether
from Lucknow, and place a force at the Cawnpore side of the city, to
form the nucleus of the army with which he hoped later on to take the
place, and to keep open communication with his Head-Quarters, while
he himself should hurry back to Cawnpore, taking with him all the
non-combatants and the sick and wounded.

[Footnote 1: No account of the quantity and description of supplies
stored in the Residency had been kept, or, if kept, it was destroyed
when the Mutiny broke out. Captain James, the energetic Commissariat
officer, on receiving Sir Henry Lawrence's order to provision the
Residency, spent his time riding about the country buying supplies of
all descriptions, which were stored wherever room could be found for
them. James was very severely wounded at the fight at Chinhut, and was
incapacitated the greater part of the siege. It was only by degrees
that some of the supplies were discovered; no one knew how much had
been collected, and no record of the quantities issued from day to
day could be kept. When Outram joined hands with Inglis, his first
question was, 'How much food is there?' Thanks to Sir Henry Lawrence's
foresight, there was an ample supply, not only for the original
garrison, but for the numbers by which it was augmented on the arrival
of the relieving force. Of this, however, Outram must have been
ignorant when he despatched the little note to which I have alluded in
the text.]

[Footnote 2: On the 25th June, after twenty-one days of intense
suffering--with his numbers so reduced as to render further defence
scarcely possible, with starvation staring him in the face, and with
no hope of succour--Sir Hugh Wheeler most reluctantly consented to
capitulate. The first overtures were made by the Nana, who, despairing
of being able to capture the position, and with disaffection in his
own camp, sent the following message to the General: 'All those who
are in no way connected with the acts of Lord Dalhousie, and are
willing to lay down their arms, shall receive a safe passage to
Allahabad.' This missive, which was without signature, was in the
handwriting of Azimula Khan, a Mahomedan who had been employed by the
Nana as his Agent in England, and was addressed, 'To the subjects of
Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria.' General Wheeler agreed
to give up the fortification, the treasure, and the Artillery, on
condition that each man should be allowed to carry his arms and sixty
rounds of ammunition, that carriages should be provided for the
conveyance of the wounded, the women, and the children, and
that boats, with a sufficiency of flour, should be ready at the
neighbouring _ghat_ (landing-place). The Nana accepted these
conditions, and three officers of the garrison were deputed to go to
the river and see that the boats were properly prepared. They found
about forty boats moored, and apparently ready for departure, and in
their presence a show of putting supplies on board was made.]

[Footnote 3: The Nana never intended that one of the garrison should
leave Cawnpore alive, and during the night of the 26th June he
arranged with Tantia Topi to have soldiers and guns concealed at the
Sati-Choura Ghat to open fire upon the Europeans he had been unable to
conquer as soon as the embarkation had been effected and they could no
longer defend themselves and their helpless companions in misery. The
river was low and the boats were aground, having been purposely drawn
close to the shore. When the last man had stepped on board, at a given
signal the boatmen jumped into the water and waded to the bank. They
had contrived to secrete burning charcoal in the thatch of most of the
boats; this soon blazed up, and as the flames rose and the dry wood
crackled, the troops in ambush on the shore opened fire. Officers and
men tried in vain to push off the boats; three only floated, and of
these two drifted to the opposite side, where sepoys were waiting to
murder the passengers. The third boat floated down the stream, and of
the number on board four eventually escaped--Lieutenants Thomson and
Delafosse, both of the 53rd Native Infantry, Private Murphy of the
84th Foot, and Gunner Sullivan, of the Bengal Artillery. The rest
of the officers and men were killed or drowned, and the women and
children who escaped were carried off as prisoners.]

[Footnote 4: Permanent occupiers of the land, either of the landlord
class, as in Bengal, Oudh, and the North-West Provinces, or of the
yeoman class, as in the Punjab.]

[Footnote 5: Afterwards General Lord Sandhurst, G.C.B., G.C.S.I.]

[Footnote 6: The Dilkusha house was built at the beginning of the
century by a king of Oudh as a hunting-box and country residence, and
close to it he cleared away the jungle and laid out a large park,
which he stocked with herds of deer and other game.]

[Footnote 7: The Martinière was built by Claude Martin, a French
soldier of fortune, who came out to India, under Count de Lally,
in the stirring days of 1757. In 1761 he was taken prisoner by the
English at Pondicherry and sent to Bengal. After the conclusion of
the war he enlisted in the English Army, and on attaining the rank of
Captain he got permission to attach himself to the Court of the King
of Oudh, where he soon obtained supreme influence, and became to all
practical purposes Prime Minister. He remained an officer of the East
India Company's Service, and at the time of his death held the rank
of Major-General. He amassed a large fortune, and by his will founded
colleges at Lucknow, Calcutta, and Lyons, the place of his birth. His
directions that his house at the former place should never be sold,
but should 'serve as a college for educating children and men in
the English language and religion,' were carried out by the British
Government, and Martin lies buried in its vault.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Sir Colin's preparations--The Alambagh
  --The Dilkusha and Martinière--Mayne's death--A tall-talk story
  --Ammunition required--A night march--The advance on Lucknow
  --Sir Colin wounded--The attack on the Sikandarbagh
  --Heroic deeds--The 4th Punjab Infantry

The next morning, the 11th, I had the honour of making the
Commander-in-Chief's acquaintance. The manner of my introduction was
peculiarly unceremonious. I had left my own tent to be repaired at
Cawnpore, and was sharing one with Norman, who was well known to, and
greatly believed in by, His Excellency, whose Brigade-Major he had
been at Peshawar. Before we were out of bed we heard Sir Colin's
voice outside. He had come to speak to Norman about his plans for
the future, and as the conversation seemed likely to be of a very
confidential nature, and it was too dark for him to see me, I asked
Norman to make my presence known. Sir Colin said to Norman somewhat
roughly, 'Who is he?' and on my name being mentioned, he asked if I
were to be trusted. Norman having vouched for my discretion, the
old Chief was apparently satisfied, and then ensued an intensely
interesting discussion on Outram's letter, Kavanagh's description of
the state of affairs in the Residency, and the manner in which it was
best to carry out Outram's recommendations.

That same afternoon the Commander-in-Chief reviewed the column, which
now amounted to about 600 Cavalry and 3,500 Infantry, with 42 guns.[1]
The parade was under the command of Hope Grant, who had been given the
rank of Brigadier-General, and put in executive command of the whole

Sir Colin spoke a few inspiriting words to each regiment and battery,
being particularly appreciative and complimentary in his remarks to
the Delhi troops, who certainly looked the picture of workmanlike
soldiers; and, considering what they had accomplished, there was
nothing invidious in the Chief's singling them out. The Bengal
Artillery came in for a large share of praise; he had a strong liking
for them, having been with them on service,[2] and seen of what good
stuff they were made. He recognized several old acquaintances amongst
the officers, and freely expressed his satisfaction at having such
reliable batteries to help him in the hazardous operation he was about
to undertake. He was careful also to say a few words of commendation
to the four squadrons of Punjab Cavalry, and the two regiments of
Punjab Infantry, the only Native troops, except the Sappers, with the

That evening orders were issued for a march to the Alambagh the
following morning. It may perhaps seem as if Sir Colin was rather
leisurely in his movements, but he had ascertained that the Lucknow
garrison was in no immediate want of food, as had been reported, and
he was determined to leave nothing undone to ensure the success of the
undertaking. He personally attended to the smallest detail, and he had
to arrange for the transport of the sick and wounded, and the women
and children, shut up in the Residency, numbering in all not less than
fifteen hundred souls.

Everything being ready, we began our march towards Lucknow, one and
all eager to have a share in the rescue of our suffering countrywomen
and their children from a most perilous position, and in relieving
soldiers who had so long and so nobly performed the most harassing
duty, while they cheerfully endured the greatest privations.

We had proceeded but a short distance, when the advance guard was
fired upon by some guns in position on our right, near the old fort of
Jalalabad. An extensive swamp protected the enemy's right flank, while
on their left were a number of water-cuts and broken ground. The
Infantry and Artillery wheeled round and attacked the battery in
front, while Hugh Gough pushed on with his squadron of Cavalry to see
if he could find a way through the apparently impassable swamp to the
enemy's right and rear. Bourchier's battery coming up in the nick of
time, the hostile guns were soon silenced, and Gough, having succeeded
in getting through the _jhil_, made a most plucky charge, in which he
captured two guns and killed a number of the enemy. For his gallant
conduct on this occasion Gough was awarded the Victoria Cross, the
second of two brothers to win this much-coveted distinction.

The next morning Adrian Hope, who commanded a brigade, was ordered to
seize the Jalalabad fort, but finding it evacuated, he blew up one of
the walls, and so rendered it indefensible.

On the afternoon of the 13th I accompanied the Commander-in-Chief in a
reconnaissance towards the Charbagh bridge and the left front of the
Alambagh, a ruse to deceive the enemy as to the real line of our
advance. When riding along he told me, to my infinite pride and
delight, that I was to have the honour of conducting the force to the
Dilkusha. The first thing I did on returning to camp was to find a
good guide. We had only about five miles to go; but it was necessary
to make sure that the direction taken avoided obstacles which might
impede the passage of the Artillery. I was fortunate in finding a
fairly intelligent Native, who, after a great deal of persuasion,
agreed, for a reward, to take me by a track over which guns could
travel. I never let this man out of my sight, and made him show me
enough of the road to convince me he knew the way and meant fair

The Alambagh now proved most useful; all our camp equipage was packed
inside the enclosure, for we took no tents with us, and all our spare
stores were left there. A rough description of semaphore, too, was
constructed on the highest point of the building, by means of which we
were able to communicate with the Residency. It was put in Orders that
the troops were to breakfast early the next morning, and that they
were to take three days' rations in their haversacks; while sufficient
for fourteen days was to be carried by the Commissariat.

Just before we started on the 14th November we were strengthened by
the arrival of 200 of the Military Train equipped as Cavalry, two
Madras Horse Artillery guns, and another company of Madras Sappers.

Captain Moir, of the Bengal Artillery, was placed in charge of the
Alambagh, with a garrison consisting of the 75th Foot, 50 of the
regiment of Ferozepore,[3] and a few Artillerymen. The 75th was the
first regiment to move down from the hills when the news of the
outbreak at Meerut reached Head-Quarters; it had done grand service,
had suffered heavily during the siege of Delhi, and had well earned,
and badly needed, a rest. It was now only 300 strong, and had lost in
six months 9 officers, in action and from disease, besides 12 wounded.
The officers were all friends of mine, and I was very sorry to leave
them behind, particularly Barter, the Adjutant, a jolly, good-hearted
Irishman, and an excellent officer.

We marched at 9 a.m., keeping to the south of the Alambagh and the
Jalalabad fort. We then struck across the fields to the ground now
occupied by the Native Cavalry lines, and on to the open space upon
which the present race-course is marked out. On reaching this point
the Dilkusha came in sight about a mile in front. As we approached, a
few shots were fired at us; but the enemy rapidly disappeared as the
Cavalry and Horse Artillery, followed by the Infantry of the advance
guard, in skirmishing order, passed through an opening which had been
hastily made in the wall of the enclosure.

The gallop across the Dilkusha park was quite a pretty sight: deer,
which had been quietly browsing, bounded away on all sides, frightened
by our approach and the rattle of the guns; while the routed sepoys
flew down the grassy slope leading to the Martinière. We reined up for
a few seconds to look at the view which opened out before us. In front
rose the fluted masonry column of the Martinière, 123 feet high;
directly behind, the picturesque building itself, and in the distance
the domes and minarets of the mosques and palaces within the city of
Lucknow; all looked bright and fair in the morning sun.

We could see that the Martinière was occupied; a crowd of sepoys were
collected round the building; and as we showed ourselves on the brow
of the hill, a number of round shot came tumbling in amongst us.

Remmington's troop of Horse Artillery, Bourchier's battery, and a
heavy howitzer brought up by Captain Hardy, now came into action,
and under cover of their fire the 8th Foot and 1st battalion of
Detachments attacked and drove the enemy out of the Martinière, while
the Cavalry pursued them as far as the canal.

On this occasion my friend Watson greatly distinguished himself.
Entirely alone he attacked the enemy's Cavalry, and was at once
engaged with its leader and six of the front men; he fought gallantly,
but the unequal contest could not have lasted much longer had not
Probyn, who, with his own and Watson's squadrons, was only about 300
yards off, become aware of his comrade's critical position, and dashed
to his assistance. For this 'and gallantry on many other occasions,'
Hope Grant recommended Watson for the Victoria Cross, which he duly

By noon on the 14th we had occupied the Dilkusha and Martinière, and
placed our outposts along the right bank of the canal from the river
to the point immediately opposite Banks's house. The left bank was
held in force by the rebels. Early in the afternoon I went with Hope
Grant, accompanied by a small force of Cavalry, to ascertain whether
it would be possible to ford the canal somewhere close to the river,
and we succeeded in finding a place by which the whole force crossed
two days later. Our movements were fortunately not noticed by the
enemy, whose attention was concentrated on the roads leading direct to
the city from the Dilkusha and Martinière, by which they expected our
advance to be made.

Sir Colin, meanwhile, had fixed his Head-Quarters in the Martinière,
on the topmost pinnacle of which he caused a semaphore to be erected
for communication with Outram. From this post of vantage Kavanagh was
able to point out to the Commander-in-Chief the different objects of
most interest to him--the positions taken up by the enemy; the group
of buildings, of which the Chatta Manzil[5] was the most conspicuous,
then occupied by the gallant troops led by Outram and Havelock, who,
by overwhelming numbers alone, had been prevented from carrying their
glorious enterprise to a successful issue; the Residency, where,
thanks to Sir Henry Lawrence's foresight and admirable arrangements,
a handful of heroic Britons had been able to defy the hordes of
disciplined soldiers and armed men who, for nearly three months,
day and night, had never ceased to attack the position; and the
Kaisarbagh, that pretentious, garish palace of the Kings of Oudh, the
centre of every kind of evil and debauchery.

Later in the day the enemy made a determined attack on our centre,
which was checked by Brigadier Little advancing with the 9th Lancers
and some guns. On a few rounds being fired, they retired from the
immediate neighbourhood of the canal, and in the belief that there
would be no further trouble that day, the Cavalry and Artillery
returned to the Martinière; but the guns were hardly unlimbered before
heavy firing was heard from the direction of Banks's house.

I galloped off with Mayne to ascertain the cause. Some little distance
from the canal we separated, Mayne going to the left, I to the right.
I found the piquets hotly engaged, and the officer in command begged
me to get him some assistance. I returned to Hope Grant to report
what was going on, but on the way I met the supports coming up, and
presently they were followed by the remainder of Hope's and Russell's
brigades. Russell had, early in the day, with soldierly instinct,
seized two villages a little above the bridge to the north of Banks's
house; this enabled him to bring a fire to bear upon the enemy as
they advanced, and effectually prevented their turning our left. Hope
opened fire with Remmington's troop, Bourchier's battery, and some of
Peel's 24-pounders, and as soon as he found it had taken effect and
the rebels were shaken, he proceeded to push them across the canal and
finally drove them off with considerable loss.

Hope's and Russell's united action, by which our left flank was
secured, was most timely, for had it been turned, our long line
of camels, laden with ammunition, and the immense string of carts
carrying supplies, would in all probability have been captured. As it
was, the rear guard, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ewart,[6] of the 93rd
Highlanders, had a hot time of it; it was frequently attacked, and its
progress was so slow that it was more than twenty-four hours between
the Alambagh and the Dilkusha.

At the conclusion of the fight I heard, with great grief, that my poor
friend Mayne had been killed, shot through the breast a few seconds
after he had left me. He was seen to turn his horse, and, after going
a short distance, fall to the ground; when picked up he was quite
dead. This was all I could learn. No one was able to tell me where his
body had been taken, and I looked for it myself all that evening in

At daybreak the next morning, accompanied by Arthur Bunny, the cheery
Adjutant of Horse Artillery, I began my search afresh, and at
length we discovered the body inside a doolie under the wall of the
Martinière. As there was no knowing how soon our services might be
required, we decided to bury the poor fellow at once. I chose a spot
close by for his grave, which was dug with the help of some gunners,
and then Bunny and I, aided by two or three brother officers, laid our
friend in it just as he was, in his blue frock-coat and long boots,
his eyeglass in his eye, as he always carried it. The only thing I
took away was his sword, which I eventually made over to his family.
It was a sad little ceremony. Overhanging the grave was a young tree,
upon which I cut the initials 'A.O.M.'--not very deep, for there was
little time: they were quite distinct, however, and remained so long
enough for the grave to be traced by Mayne's friends, who erected the
stone now to be seen.

The whole of that day (the 15th) was spent in preparing for the
advance. The Dilkusha was turned into a general depot, where the sick
and wounded were placed, also the Ordnance park and stores of every
description. A rough defence was thrown up round the building, and a
garrison was left to protect it, consisting of five Field guns, half
the 9th Lancers, the Military Train, a squadron of Punjab Cavalry, and
the 8th Foot, the whole under the command of Little, the Brigadier of

In the afternoon Sir Colin made a feint to the left of our position
for the purpose of diverting the attention of the enemy from the
real line of advance. He massed the Artillery in this direction, and
ordered a constant mortar fire to be kept up during the night on the
Begum palace and the barracks. To further strengthen the belief that
operations would be carried on from our left, some of the piquets
on our right were drawn in; this induced the enemy to make a slight
demonstration in that direction. They crossed the canal, but were
speedily driven back by the Madras Horse Artillery guns. They then
opened fire with a 12-pounder howitzer from the west side of the
Gumti, when a really most extraordinary incident happened, which I am
not sure I should have the courage to relate, were it not that Sir
Dighton Probyn and Sir John Watson, who were close by and saw what
took place, are able to vouch for the accuracy of my story.

A shell, fortunately a blind one, from the enemy's howitzer came into
Watson's squadron, which was drawn up under the bank of the Martinière
tank; it struck a trooper's saddle in front, and must have lifted the
man partly out of it, for it passed between his thigh and the horse,
tearing the saddle[7] to shreds, and sending one piece of it high into
the air. The horse was knocked down, but not hurt; the man's thigh was
only badly bruised, and he was able to ride again in a few days. One
of Watson's officers, Captain Cosserat, having examined the man and
horse, came up and reported their condition to Watson, who, of course,
was expecting to be told they were both dead, and added: 'I think we
had better not tell this story in England, for no one would believe
it.' I myself was close to the squadron, and distinctly saw what
happened, [8]

All that day (the 15th) I had been very hard at work, and was greatly
looking forward to what I hoped would be a quiet night, when an
Aide-de-camp appeared, who informed me that the Commander-in-Chief
desired my presence at the Martinière.

On reporting myself to His Excellency, he told me that he was not
satisfied that a sufficient reserve of small-arm ammunition had been
brought with the force, and that the only chance of getting more in
time was to send back to the Alambagh for it that night, adding that
he could neither afford the time nor spare the troops which would be
required, were the business of fetching the additional supply to
be postponed until the following day. Sir Colin then asked me if
I thought I could find my way back to the Alambagh in the dark. I
answered, 'I am sure I can.' I might have hesitated to speak so
confidently had I not taken the precaution of placing the man who
had acted as my guide on the 14th in charge of some Afghan
_chuprassies_[9] attached to the Quartermaster-General's department,
with strict orders not to lose sight of him. I thought, therefore,
I would have him to depend upon if my own memory failed me. The
Commander-in-Chief impressed very strongly upon me the great necessity
for caution, and told me I could take what escort I thought necessary,
but that, whatever happened, I must be back by daybreak, as he had
signalled to Outram that the force would advance on the morrow. Sir
Colin desired that the Ordnance officer, whose fault it was that
sufficient ammunition had not been brought, should go back with me and
be left at the Alambagh.

It was then dusk, and there was no time to be lost. In the first
instance I went to my General, and reporting the orders I had received
from the Commander-in-Chief, consulted him about my escort. Hope Grant
strongly urged my taking with me a troop of the 9th Lancers, as well
as some Native Cavalry, but for a night trip I thought it would be
better to employ Natives only. I knew that my one chance of success
depended on neither being seen nor heard, and Native Cavalry move more
quietly than British, chiefly because their scabbards are of wood,
instead of steel. I felt, too, that if we came across the enemy, which
was not improbable, and got scattered, Natives would run less risk,
and be better able to look after themselves. All this I explained to
the General, but in the kindness of his heart he pressed me to take
the Lancers, telling me he would feel happier about me if I had my own
countrymen with me; but I stuck to my own opinion, and it was arranged
that I was to be accompanied by Younghusband and Hugh Gough, with
their respective squadrons of Native Cavalry. I took leave of my kind
and considerate General, and hurried off first to warn the two Cavalry
officers, then to the Dilkusha to tell Lieutenant Tod Brown, in charge
of the Ordnance depot, that his assistant was to go with me, and
lastly to arrange with the Commissariat officer for camels upon which
to bring back the ammunition.

It was quite dark before I got to the place where my servants had
collected, and where I expected to find my guide. What was my horror
to hear that he had disappeared! He had made his escape in the
confusion consequent on the enemy's attacks the previous afternoon.
What was to be done now? I was in despair--and became more and more
doubtful of my ability to find the Alambagh in the dark. By daylight,
and with the aid of a compass, which I always carried about me, I
should have had little difficulty, even though the country we had to
get over was intersected by ravines and water-courses, not to speak of
the uncompromising _jhil_ near the Jalalabad fort. However, go I must.
I could not possibly tell the Commander-in-Chief that I was unable to
carry out a duty for which he had selected me--there was nothing for
it but to trust to my own recollection of the route and hope for the

Everything having been put in train, I returned to the Artillery
bivouac, managed a hasty dinner, mounted a fresh horse, and, about
9 p.m., started off, accompanied by Younghusband, Hugh Gough, the
unlucky Ordnance officer, two squadrons of Cavalry, and 150 camels.

We got on well enough until we reached the broken ground near the
present Native Cavalry lines, when we lost the road, or rather track,
for road there was none. We could see nothing but the lights of the
enemy's piquets at an uncomfortably short distance to our right. I
struck a match, and made out from the compass the right direction; but
that did not help us to clear the ravines, which, in our efforts to
turn or get through them, made our way appear interminable. At length
we found ourselves upon open ground; but, alas! having edged off too
much to our right we were in close proximity to the enemy's piquets,
and could distinctly hear their voices. We halted to collect the long
string of camels, and as soon as they were got in order started off
again. I led the way, every few minutes striking a light to see how
the compass was pointing, and to take an anxious look at my watch, for
I was beginning to fear I should not be able to accomplish my task by
the given time. Our pace was necessarily slow, and our halts frequent,
for the little party had to be carefully kept together.

At last the Jalalabad fort was reached and passed. I then told Hugh
Gough, whose squadron was in front, that we had better halt, for
we could not be far from the Alambagh, and I was afraid that if we
approached in a body we should be fired upon, in which case the
camel-drivers would assuredly run away, there would be a stampede
amongst the camels, and we might find it difficult to make ourselves
known. I decided it would be best for me to go on alone, and arranged
with Gough that he should remain where he was until I returned.

The Alambagh proved to be farther off than I calculated, and I was
beginning to fear I had lost my way, when all at once a great wall
loomed in front of me, and I could just make out the figure of the
sentry pacing up and down. I hailed him, and ordered him to ask the
sergeant of the guard to summon the officer on duty. When the latter
appeared, I explained to him my object in coming, and begged him to
have the ammunition boxes ready for lading by the time I returned with
the camels. I then rode back to where I had left Gough, and the whole
procession proceeded to the Alambagh.

Already half the night was gone; but beyond the time required for
loading the camels there was no delay; the utmost assistance was
afforded us, and ere long we started on our return journey.

Day had dawned before we came in sight of the Dilkusha, and by the
time I had made the ammunition over to the Ordnance officer it was
broad daylight. As I rode up to the Martinière I could see old Sir
Colin, only partially dressed, standing on the steps in evident
anxiety at my non-arrival.

He was delighted when at last I appeared, expressed himself very
pleased to see me, and, having made many kind and complimentary
remarks as to the success of the little expedition, he told me to go
off and get something to eat as quickly as possible, for we were to
start directly the men had breakfasted. That was a very happy moment
for me, feeling that I had earned my Chief's approbation and justified
his selection of me. I went off to the Artillery camp, and refreshed
the inner man with a steak cut off a gun bullock which had been killed
by a round shot on the 14th.

At 8 a.m. the troops moved off. I was ordered to go with the advance
guard.[10] Hope's and Russell's brigades came next, with Travers's
Heavy battery, Peel's Naval Brigade, and Middleton's Field battery.

Greathed's brigade (except the 8th Foot left at the Dilkusha), with
Bourchier's battery, remained to guard our left flank until mid-day,
when it was ordered to follow the column and form its rear guard.

The offer of a Native who volunteered to guide us was accepted, and
Sir Colin, who rode just behind the advance guard, had Kavanagh with
him, whose local knowledge proved very valuable.

The enemy had been so completely taken in by the previous day's
reconnaissance that they had not the slightest suspicion we should
advance from our right, the result being that we were allowed to cross
the canal without opposition.[11] We kept close along the river bank,
our left being partially concealed by the high grass. About a mile
beyond the canal we turned sharp to the left, and passed through the
narrow street of a small village, coming immediately under fire from
some houses on our right, and from the top of a high wall above and
beyond them, which turned out to be the north-east corner of the

The greatest confusion ensued, and for a time there was a complete
block. The Cavalry in advance were checked by a fierce fire poured
directly on them from the front: they were powerless, and the only
thing for them to do was to force their way back, down the confined
lane we had just passed up, which by this time was crammed with
Infantry and Artillery, making 'confusion worse confounded.' As soon
as the Cavalry had cleared out, the 53rd lined the bank which ran
along the side of the lane nearest the Sikandarbagh, and by their fire
caused all those of the rebels who had collected outside the walls
to retire within the enclosure. This opened a road for Blunt, who,
leading his guns up the bank with a splendid courage, unlimbered and
opened fire within sixty yards of the building.

Blunt found himself under a heavy fire from three different
directions--on the right from the Sikandarbagh; on the left and left
front from the barracks, some huts (not twenty yards off), and a
serai; and in front from the mess-house, Kaisarbagh, and other
buildings. In these three directions he pointed his guns, regardless
of deadly fire, especially from the huts on the left.

It would, however, have been impossible for the advance guard to have
held its ground much longer, so it was with a feeling of the utmost
relief that I beheld Hope's brigade coming up the lane to our
assistance. A company of the 53rd, in the most brilliant manner,
forced the enemy from the position they held on our left front, and
the Highlanders, without a moment's hesitation, climbed on to the
huts--the point, as I have already said, from which the heaviest fire
proceeded; they tore off the roofs, and, leaping into the houses,
drove the enemy before them right through the serai and up to the
barracks, which they seized, and for the remainder of the operations
these barracks were held by the 93rd.

This action on the part of the Highlanders was as serviceable as it
was heroic, for it silenced the fire most destructive to the attacking
force; but for all that, our position was extremely critical, and Sir
Colin, perceiving the danger, at once decided that no further move
could be attempted until we had gained possession of the Sikandarbagh.
It was, indeed, a formidable-looking place to attack, about 130 yards
square, surrounded by a thick brick wall twenty feet high, carefully
loopholed, and flanked at the corners by circular bastions. There
was only one entrance, a gateway on the south side, protected by
a traverse of earth and masonry, over which was a double-storied
guard-room. Close to the north side of the enclosure was a pavilion
with a flat roof prepared for musketry, and from the whole place an
incessant fire was being kept up.

Sir Colin, in order to get a better view of the position, and thus be
able to decide in what direction the attack could most advantageously
be made, rode up the bank and placed himself close to one of Blunt's
guns. Mansfield and Hope Grant were on either side, and Augustus
Anson and I were directly behind, when I heard the Commander-in-Chief
exclaim, 'I am hit.' Luckily it was only by a spent bullet, which had
passed through a gunner (killing him on the spot) before it struck Sir
Colin on the thigh, causing a severe contusion, but nothing more. It
was a moment of acute anxiety until it was ascertained that no great
damage had been done.

By this time one of Travers's guns and a howitzer, which with
considerable difficulty had been dragged up the bank, opened fire on
the point selected by Sir Colin for the breach--the south-east corner
of the wall surrounding the Sikandarbagh.[12] Instantly Hardy (Captain
of the battery) was killed and the senior Subaltern wounded: Blunt's
charger was shot, and of the few men under his command 14 Europeans
and 6 Gun Lascars were killed or wounded; 20 of the troop-horses were
also knocked over.[13]

While the heavy guns were at work on the breach, Adrian Hope, with the
53rd, cleared off a body of the enemy who had collected on our left
front, and connected the barracks with the main attack by a line of

In less than half an hour an opening three feet square and three feet
from the ground had been made in the wall. It would have been better
had it been larger, but time was precious; Sir Colin would not wait,
and ordered the assault to begin. The Infantry had been lying down,
under such slight cover as was available, impatiently awaiting for
this order. The moment it reached them, up they sprang with
one accord, and with one voice uttered a shout which must have
foreshadowed defeat to the defenders of the Sikandarbagh. The 93rd
under Lieutenant-Colonel Ewart, and the 4th Punjab Infantry under
Lieutenant Paul, led the way, closely followed by the 53rd under
Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon[14] of the 93rd Highlanders, and one of the
battalions of Detachments under Major Roger Barnston.

It was a magnificent sight, a sight never to be forgotten--that
glorious struggle to be the first to enter the deadly breach, the
prize to the winner of the race being certain death! Highlanders and
Sikhs, Punjabi Mahomedans, Dogras[15] and Pathans, all vied with each
other in the generous competition.[16]

A Highlander was the first to reach the goal, and was shot dead as he
jumped into the enclosure; a man of the 4th Punjab Infantry came next,
and met the same fate. Then followed Captain Burroughs and Lieutenant
Cooper, of the 93rd, and immediately behind them their Colonel
(Ewart), Captain Lumsden, of the 30th Bengal Infantry,[17] and a
number of Sikhs and Highlanders as fast as they could scramble through
the opening. A drummer-boy of the 93rd must have been one of the first
to pass that grim boundary between life and death, for when I got in
I found him just inside the breach, lying on his back quite dead--a
pretty, innocent-looking, fair-haired lad, not more than fourteen
years of age.

The crush now became so great in the men's eagerness to get through
the opening and join the conflict within, that a regular block was the
consequence, which every minute became more hopeless. One party
made for the gateway and another for a barred window[18] close by,
determined to force an entrance by them. The traverse having
been rushed by the 4th Punjab Infantry gallantly led by a Dogra
Subadar,[19] a Punjabi Mahomedan of this distinguished corps behaved
with the most conspicuous bravery. The enemy, having been driven out
of the earthwork, made for the gateway, the heavy doors of which were
in the act of being closed, when the Mahomedan (Mukarrab Khan by name)
pushed his left arm, on which he carried a shield, between them, thus
preventing their being shut; on his hand being badly wounded by a
sword-cut, he drew it out, instantly thrusting in the other arm, when
the right hand was all but severed from the wrist.[20] But he gained
his object--the doors could not be closed, and were soon forced open
altogether, upon which the 4th Punjab Infantry, the 53rd, 93rd, and
some of the Detachments, swarmed in.

This devoted action of Mukarrab Khan I myself witnessed, for, with
Augustus Anson, I got in immediately behind the storming party. As
we reached the gateway, Anson was knocked off his horse by a bullet,
which grazed the base of the skull just behind the right ear, and
stunned him for a moment--the next, he was up and mounted again, but
was hardly in the saddle when his horse was shot dead.

The scene that ensued requires the pen of a Zola to depict. The
rebels, never dreaming that we should stop to attack such a formidable
position, had collected in the Sikandarbagh to the number of upwards
of 2,000, with the intention of falling upon our right flank so soon
as we should become entangled amongst the streets and houses of the
Hazratganj.[21] They were now completely caught in a trap, the only
outlets being by the gateway and the breach, through which our troops
continued to pour. There could therefore be no thought of escape, and
they fought with the desperation of men without hope of mercy, and
determined to sell their lives as dearly as they could. Inch by inch
they were forced back to the pavilion, and into the space between it
and the north wall, where they were all shot or bayoneted. There they
lay in a heap as high as my head, a heaving, surging mass of dead and
dying inextricably entangled. It was a sickening sight, one of those
which even in the excitement of battle and the flush of victory make
one feel strongly what a horrible side there is to war. The wretched
wounded men could not get clear of their dead comrades, however great
their struggles, and those near the top of this ghastly pile of
writhing humanity vented their rage and disappointment on every
British officer who approached by showering upon him abuse of the
grossest description.

The firing and fighting did not cease altogether for some time after
the main body of the rebels were destroyed. A few got up into the
guard-room above the gateway, and tried to barricade themselves in;
others sought shelter in the bastions, but none escaped the vengeance
of the soldiers. There were some deadly combats between the mutinous
sepoys and the Sikhs. Eventually all the rebels were killed, save
three or four who dropped over the wall on the city side. It is to
be hoped they lived to tell the tale of the dauntless courage which
carried everything before it.

Considering the tremendous odds which those who first entered through
the breach were exposed to, and the desperate nature of the fighting,
our losses were astonishingly small. The 93rd had 2 officers and 23
men (including the Sergeant-Major) killed, and 7 officers and 61 men

The 4th Punjab Infantry went into action with four British officers,
of whom two were killed and one was severely wounded. Sixty-nine of
the Native officers and men were also killed or wounded.[22]

[Footnote 1: Besides the troops from Delhi, the force consisted of
Peel's Naval Brigade, with eight heavy guns and howitzers; Middleton's
Field Battery of Royal Artillery (the first that had ever served in
India), and two companies of garrison Royal Artillery, under Travers
and Longden, equipped with heavy guns and mortars; a company of Royal
Engineers under Lieutenant Lennox, V.C.;[*] a few Bengal, and two
newly-raised companies of Punjab Sappers; the 93rd Highlanders,
Head-Quarters and wing of the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and of
the 53rd Foot; part of the 82nd Foot, and detachments of the 5th
Fusiliers, 64th, 78th, 84th, and 90th Foot, and Madras Fusiliers,
regiments which had gone into the Residency with Outram and Havelock.
The Infantry was brigaded as follows:

  Wing 53rd Foot              \
  93rd Highlanders            | Commanded by Brigadier the Hon.
  Battalion of detachments    | Adrian Hope, 93rd Highlanders.
  4th Punjab Infantry         /

  8th Foot                    \
  Battalion of detachments    | Commanded by Brigadier Greathed,
  2nd Punjab Infantry         / 8th Foot.

  Wing 23rd Fusiliers         \ Commanded by Brigadier D.
  Two companies 82nd Foot     / Russell, 84th Foot.]

  [*Note: Afterwards General Sir Wilbraham Lennox, V.C., K.C.B.]

[Footnote 2: Sir Colin Campbell had served throughout the Punjab
Campaign and on the Peshawar frontier.]

[Footnote 3: Now the 14th (Sikhs) Bengal Infantry.]

[Footnote 4: During one of Watson's many reconnaissances he received a
cut on the face from a sabre. One of the 2nd Punjab Cavalrymen, seeing
what had happened, rushed to Probyn, and said: 'Watson _sahib_ has got
a wound which is worth a lakh of rupees!']

[Footnote 5: Built by a king of Oudh for the ladies of his harem.
It takes its name from the gilt umbrella (Chatta) with which it is
adorned. Now the Lucknow Club.]

[Footnote 6: Now General Sir John Ewart, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 7: It was a Native saddle, such as Irregular Cavalry used in
those days, made of felt without a tree.]

[Footnote 8: On one occasion, when I was telling this story to General
Sir Samuel Browne, V.C., he said that something similar happened at
the battle of Sadulapur on December 2, 1848. He (Browne) was Adjutant
of his regiment (the 46th Native Infantry), which was drawn up in
line, with a troop of Horse Artillery, commanded by Major Kinleside,
on its right flank. Seeing that something unusual had occurred, Browne
rode up to the troop, and found that one of the men had had his saddle
carried away from under him by a small round shot. The man, who
happened at the moment to be standing up in his stirrups, escaped with
a bruise, as did the horse.]

[Footnote 9: A kind of more or less responsible servant or messenger,
so called from wearing a chuprass, or badge of office.]

[Footnote 10: It consisted of Blunt's troop of Horse Artillery, the
wing of the 53rd Foot, and Gough's squadron of Hodson's Horse.]

[Footnote 11: We had not, however, gone far, when a body of rebel
Infantry, about 2,000 strong, managing to elude Greathed's brigade,
crossed the canal, and, creeping quietly up, rushed the Martinière.
Sir Colin had left Lieutenant Patrick Stewart, an unusually promising
officer of the Bengal Engineers, on the top of the Martinière to keep
Outram informed of our movements by means of the semaphore, and
while Stewart was sending a message he and Watson (who was with him)
observed the enemy close up to the building. They flew down the
staircase, jumped on their horses, and, joining Watson's squadron and
the two Madras Native Horse Artillery guns, rode to the city side
of the Martinière to try and cut off the enemy, who, finding no one
inside the building, and seeing their line of retreat threatened, made
the best of their way back to the city. Several were killed by the
Horse Artillery, which opened upon them with grape, and by Watson's

[Footnote 12: This wall has long since been built up, and the whole
place is so overgrown with jungle that it was with difficulty I could
trace the actual site of the breach when I last visited Lucknow in

[Footnote 13: Blunt's troop, when it left Umballa in May, 1857,
consisted of 93 Europeans and 20 Native Gun Lascars. It suffered so
severely at Delhi that only five guns could be manned when it marched
from there in September, and after the fight at Agra its total loss
amounted to 12 killed and 25 wounded. Four guns could then with
difficulty be manned. When Blunt left the troop in January, 1858, to
take command of Bourchier's Field Battery, 69 out of the 113 men with
whom he had commenced the campaign had been killed or wounded! The
troop would have been unserviceable, had men not volunteered for
it from other corps, and drivers been posted to it from the Royal
Artillery. At the commencement of the Mutiny Blunt was a subaltern,
and in ten months he found himself a Lieutenant-Colonel and a C.B.
Quick promotion and great rewards indeed, but nothing more than he
richly deserved; for seldom, if ever, has a battery and its commander
had a grander record to show.]

[Footnote 14: Captain Walton was the senior officer of the regiment
present, and took a conspicuous part in leading it, but as in
Sir Colin Campbell's opinion he was too junior to be in command,
Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon was appointed as a temporary measure.]

[Footnote 15: The word 'Dogra' was originally applied to the Rajput
clans in the hills and sub-montane tracts to the north of the Ravi.
In later years it included hill Rajputs south of the Ravi, and in
military parlance all these Rajputs who enlisted in our ranks came to
be called Dogras.]

[Footnote 16: In consequence of the behaviour of the 4th Punjab
Infantry on this occasion, and in other engagements in which they
served with the 93rd Highlanders, the officers and men of the latter
corps took a great liking to the former regiment, and some years after
the Mutiny two officers of the 93rd, who were candidates for the Staff
Corps, specially applied to be posted to the 4th Punjab Infantry.]

[Footnote 17: Attached as Interpreter to the 93rd Highlanders.]

[Footnote 18: It was here Captain Walton, of the 53rd, was severely

[Footnote 19: Subadar Gokal Sing was mentioned by the
Commander-in-Chief in despatches for his conduct on this occasion.]

[Footnote 20: For this act of heroism Mukarrab Khan was given the
Order of Merit, the Indian equivalent to the Victoria Cross, but
carrying with it an increase of pay. At the end of the campaign
Mukarrab Khan left the service, but when his old Commanding officer,
Colonel Wilde, went to the Umbeyla expedition in 1863, Mukarrab Khan
turned up and insisted on serving with him as an orderly.]

[Footnote 21: One of the principal thoroughfares of Lucknow.]

[Footnote 22: Lieutenant Paul, the Commandant, was killed. Lieutenant
Oldfield mortally, and Lieutenant McQueen severely, wounded.
Lieutenant Willoughby, who brought the regiment out of action, was
quite a lad, and was killed at Ruhiya the following April. Both he
and McQueen were recommended for the V.C. for their gallantry on
this occasion. After the fight was over, one of the Native officers,
bemoaning the loss of the British officers, asked me who would be sent
to replace them. He added: '_Sahib, ham log larai men bahut tez hain,
magar jang ka bandobast nahin jante_' ('Sir, we can fight well, but
we do not understand military arrangements'). What the old soldier
intended to convey to me was his sense of the inability of himself and
his comrades to do without the leadership and general management of
the British officers.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Henry Norman--The Shah Najaf--The mess-house--Planting the flag
  --A memorable meeting--The Residency

The operation which I have tried to describe in the last chapter
was not completed until well on in the afternoon, when the movement
towards the Residency was at once proceeded with. To the left as we
advanced the ground was fairly open (with the exception of quite a
small village) for about 1,100 yards in the direction of the British
Infantry mess-house. To the right also, for about 300 yards, there was
a clear space, then a belt of jungle intersected by huts and small
gardens extending for about 400 yards farther, as far as the Shah
Najaf,[1] a handsome white-domed tomb, surrounded by a court-yard, and
enclosed by high masonry loopholed walls; and beyond the Shah Najaf
rose the Kadam Rasul,[2] another tomb standing on a slight eminence.

But little opposition was experienced from the village, which was
carried by the Infantry, while the Artillery were brought up to open
fire on the Shah Najaf and Kadam Rasul. The latter was soon occupied
by the 2nd Punjab Infantry, belonging to Greathed's brigade, which had
by this time joined the main body; but the Shah Najaf proved a harder
nut to crack. This building was almost concealed by dense jungle, and
its great strength therefore remained unsuspected until we got quite
close up to it.

Barnston's battalion of Detachments advanced in skirmishing order,
under cover of our guns. One of the shells most unfortunately burst
prematurely, wounding Major Barnston so severely that he died soon
afterwards. Whether it was that the men were depressed by the loss of
their leader, or that they were not prepared for the very damaging
fire which suddenly poured upon them, I know not, but certain it is
that they wavered, and for a few minutes there was a slight panic. The
Commander-in-Chief, with Hope Grant, Mansfield, Adrian Hope, and their
respective staffs, were sitting on their horses anxiously awaiting the
result of the attack, when all at once it became apparent that there
was a retrograde movement on the part of some of the men, who were
emerging from the belt of jungle and hastening towards us. Norman
was the first to grasp the situation. Putting spurs to his horse,
he galloped into their midst, and called on them to pull themselves
together; the men rallied at once, and advanced into the cover from
which they had for the moment retreated. I had many opportunities for
noting Norman's coolness and presence of mind under fire. On this
particular occasion these qualities were most marked, and his action
was most timely.

More Infantry were brought up, but without avail. The enemy evidently
were determined to prevent the capture of the Shah Najaf. Fire was now
opened upon us from a heavy gun on the other side of the Gumti (the
first shot from which blew up one of the ammunition waggons belonging
to the Naval Brigade), and all the cannon that were collected at the
Kaisarbagh and mess-house were brought to bear upon us. The musketry
fire was incessant, and Peel's men suffered so severely that one of
his guns could not be worked.

Sir Colin was beginning to get extremely anxious, and no wonder--the
position was most uncomfortable, and the prospect very gloomy. Three
hours since the attack began! The day was rapidly drawing to a close,
and we were no nearer our object; on the contrary, the opposition
became every moment stronger, and the fire more deadly. A retreat was
not to be thought of; indeed, our remaining so long stationary had
been an encouragement to the enemy, and every one felt that the only
chance for the little British army fighting against 30,000 desperate
mutineers, with every advantage of position and intimate knowledge of
locality in their favour, was to continue to advance at all hazards;
and this our gallant old Chief decided to do. Placing himself at the
head of the 93rd, he explained to the only too eager Highlanders the
dangerous nature of the service, and called on them to follow him.
There was no mistaking the response; cheer after cheer rent the air
as they listened to the words of the Chief they knew so well, and
believed in so thoroughly, assuring him of their readiness to follow
whithersoever he should lead, do whatever he should direct. They moved
off, followed by Peel's guns dragged by sailors and some of the Madras
Fusiliers, the advance of the party being covered by Middleton's Field
battery, which dashed to the front and opened with grape.

Almost instantaneously the narrow path along which we were proceeding
was choked with wounded officers and dead and struggling horses. It
was here that Sir Archibald Alison, Sir Colin's Aide-de-camp, lost his
arm, and his brother (another Aide-de-camp) was wounded. Adrian Hope's
horse was shot dead--indeed, very few escaped injury, either to
themselves or their horses. I was one of the lucky few. On reaching
the wall of the Shah Najaf enclosure, it was found to be twenty feet
high, no entrance could be seen, and there were no scaling-ladders
available, so there was nothing for it but to endeavour to breach the
massive wall.[3] The 24-pounders hammered away at it for some time,
but proved quite unequal to the task; though only a few yards off,
they made no impression whatever, and it seemed as if the attempt to
take the position must be abandoned. Peel was, therefore, ordered to
withdraw his guns under cover of some rockets, which were discharged
into the enclosure, and Hope was directed to retire as soon as he
could collect the killed and wounded.

Captain Allgood, Sir Colin's trusted Assistant Quartermaster-General,
was the bearer of the order. He and Hope, after consulting together,
determined that before the latter obeyed they would try to discover
if there did not exist an opening in some other part of the walls.
Assisted by a sergeant of the 93rd, they set about their search, and
actually did find a narrow gap, through which they could see that the
enemy, terrified and thrown into confusion by the exploding rockets
falling amongst them, were fast abandoning the building. The two
friends helped each other through the gap, and, followed by some
Highlanders, they proceeded across the now deserted enclosure to
secure the only gateway, which was on the opposite side to that which
we had attacked; and Allgood had the great pleasure of announcing
to the Commander-in-Chief that there was no need to retire, for the
formidable position was in our possession.

It was getting dark when at length we occupied the Shah Najaf; some of
us got on to the top of the building to take a look round. There was
just light enough to show us a sepoy sauntering unconcernedly up to
the gate, evidently in happy ignorance of what had happened. He soon
discovered that his comrades were no longer masters of the situation,
and, letting his musket fall, he made all haste to the river, into
which he dropped, and swam to the other side.

Sir Colin and my General took up their quarters in the Shah Najaf, but
only nominally, for after a scratch dinner we all joined the troops,
who bivouacked where they stood.

The force was disposed in a semicircle, extending from the Shah
Najaf to the barracks. The wounded were placed in the huts near the
Sikandarbagh, where they passed a most comfortless night, for when
the sun set it rapidly got cold, and the hospital arrangements were
necessarily on a very limited scale.

By this time I was dead beat, having been for sixty hours continually
in the saddle, except when I lay down for a short nap on the night of
the 14th.

We were not allowed, however, to have a very long night's rest. Hours
before dawn on the 17th we were roused by the beating of drums and
ringing of bells (an impotent attempt on the part of the rebel leaders
to excite the enthusiasm of their followers), which caused the troops
to prepare for an attack and stand to their arms. But the enemy were
not in a mood to encounter us in the open, small as our numbers were;
they had suffered heavily the day before, and they must have begun to
realize that their strongest positions were inadequate against British
pluck and determination.

The mess-house was the next point to be carried, but the
Commander-in-Chief thought it would be prudent to make our left quite
secure in the first instance. The duty of occupying the houses and
gardens situated between the barracks and Banks's house was entrusted
to Brigadier Russell. Four bungalows,[4] in which the officers of the
32nd Foot had lived, were first seized. Russell then pushed on towards
Banks's house, which it was necessary to occupy, as it commanded the
crossing over the canal, by which we communicated with the Dilkusha,
and by which it was thought that the people rescued from the Residency
would have to be brought away. Russell, avoiding the main road,
advanced under cover of his Artillery, and forced the rebels to
vacate this important position, and Banks's house was held during the
remainder of the operations by 50 men of the 2nd Punjab Infantry,
under Lieutenant F. Keen.[5]

In the meantime a heavy fire from Peel's guns had been opened on the
mess-house--a double-storied building, situated on slightly rising
ground, surrounded by a ditch 12 feet broad, and beyond that at some
little distance by a loop-holed wall.

Our losses on the previous day had been very severe, and Sir Colin,
anxious to spare his men as much as possible, decided to batter the
place freely with Artillery before permitting it to be attacked.
Peel's guns and Longden's mortars were therefore brought to bear upon
it, and kept up a continual fire until 3 p.m., when the enemy seemed
to think they had had enough, their musketry fire slackened off, and
the Commander-in-Chief, considering the assault might safely be made,
gave the order to advance. The attacking party was commanded by
Brevet-Major Wolseley,[6] of the 90th Light Infantry, and consisted of
a company of his own regiment, a piquet of the 53rd Foot under Captain
Hopkins, and a few men of the 2nd Punjab Infantry under Captain
Powlett, supported by Barnston's Detachments, under Captain Guise, of
the 90th.

The building and its many outhouses were carried with a rush, and
the enemy, who hastily retreated to the Moti Mahal,[7] were followed
across the road, where our troops were stopped by the high wall which
enclosed that building. Wolseley then sent for some Sappers, who
quickly opened out a space through which they all passed. The Moti
Mahal was hotly defended, but without avail, and ere the sun set the
last position which separated the relieved from the relieving forces
was in our possession.

As the party moved off to attack the mess-house, Sir Colin, who, on
his white horse, was interestedly watching the proceedings, ordered me
to procure a regimental colour and place it on one of the turrets
of the building, that Outram might be able to judge how far we had
advanced. I rode off accordingly to the 2nd Punjab Infantry, standing
close by, and requested the Commandant, Captain Green, to let me have
one of his colours. He at once complied, and I galloped with it to the
mess-house. As I entered, I was met by Sir David Baird (one of Sir
Colin's Aides-de-camp), and Captain Hopkins, of the 53rd Foot, by both
of whom I was assisted in getting the flag with its long staff up the
inconveniently narrow staircase, and in planting it on the turret
nearest the Kaisarbagh, which was about 850 yards off. No sooner did
the enemy perceive what we were about, than shot after shot was aimed
at the colour, and in a very few minutes it was knocked over, falling
into the ditch below. I ran down, picked it up, and again placed it in
position, only for it to be once more shot down and hurled into the
ditch, just as Norman and Lennox (who had been sent by Sir Colin to
report what was going on in the interior of the Kaisarbagh) appeared
on the roof. Once more I picked up the colour, and found that this
time the staff had been broken in two. Notwithstanding, I managed
to prop it up a third time on the turret, and it was not again hit,
though the enemy continued to fire at it for some time.

Outram, unwilling to risk unnecessary loss of men, did not greatly
extend his position until he was sure we were close at hand, but he
was not idle. While Sir Colin was slowly working his way towards him
on the 16th, he had gradually occupied such buildings as lay in the
direction of our advance. From the mess-house we could see the British
flag flying on the top of the engine-house, only a short distance
beyond the Moti Mahal, which satisfactory piece of intelligence Norman
went down to report to Sir Colin, who, with his Chief of the Staff,
had just arrived. I followed Norman, and we two made our way to the
western wall of the Pearl Palace enclosure, outside which Outram and
Havelock were standing together. They had run the gauntlet of the
enemy's fire in coming from the engine house; Colonel Robert Napier
and two other officers who accompanied them, having been wounded, had
to be carried back. Some of Lennox's Sappers set to work, and soon
made a hole in the wall[8] large enough for these two distinguished
men to pass through.

I had never before met either of them. In Afghanistan Outram had been
a friend of my father, who had often spoken to me about him in terms
of the warmest admiration, and his courage and chivalry were known and
appreciated throughout India. It was therefore with feelings of the
most lively interest that I beheld this man, whose character I so
greatly admired. He was then fifty-four years of age, strong and
broad-shouldered, in no way broken down by the heavy load of
responsibility and anxiety he had had to bear, or the hardships he had
gone through. Havelock, the hero of a hundred fights, on the contrary,
looked ill, worn and depressed, but brightened up a little when Norman
told him he had been made a K.C.B.

Sir Colin waited to receive these two heroes on the ground sloping
down from the mess-house, and it was there that the meeting between
the three veterans took place. A most impressive and memorable scene
was that meeting, which has been well depicted in the historical
picture by Barker.

As if to show the rage and disappointment of the enemy at this
evidence of the success of our operations, every gun in the Kaisarbagh
was turned upon us, and it was under a shower of shot and shell that
the interview was held; it did not last long, for it was neither the
time nor the place to discuss plans for the future. All Sir Colin
could then say was that the troops should be removed outside Lucknow
as soon as the women and children had been brought away, and he
expressed his 'thankfulness that the relief of the garrison had been

_From a painting by Thomas Brigstocke, R.A._]

Norman and I obtained permission to accompany Outram and Havelock back
to the Residency. It was intensely but painfully interesting to visit
this scene of so many acts of heroism, and of so much suffering
endured with unexampled fortitude. We first went to the posts occupied
by Havelock's force in the Chatta Manzil, and in other buildings which
have long since disappeared. At one of these we stopped to watch the
Artillery trying to silence the enemy's guns on the opposite side of
the river. We talked to the men, who were keen to hear news from the
outer world and the story of our advance. It was some little time
before we discovered in one of them the Commander of the battery,
Captain William Olpherts,[9] for in his soiled and torn summer
clothing, his face thin, worn, and begrimed with smoke, it was
difficult to distinguish the officer from his men, and it was under
these levelling circumstances that I had the honour of making the
acquaintance of my distinguished brother officer, whose audacious
courage on the occasion of Havelock's advance over the Charbagh bridge
had won the admiration of everyone in the force, and gained for him
the Victoria Cross.

We next came to the Bailey-guard; and as we looked at the battered
walls and gateway, not an inch without a mark from a round shot or
bullet, we marvelled that Aitken and Loughman could have managed to
defend it for nearly five months. There was plenty of evidence on all
the surrounding buildings of the dangerous nature of the service which
they and their gallant Native comrades had so admirably performed.
Although we were pressed for time, we could not resist stopping to
speak to some of the Native officers and sepoys, whose magnificent
loyalty throughout the siege was one of the most gratifying features
of the Mutiny.

At length we came to the Residency itself, where we met a few old
friends and acquaintances, who welcomed us with the most touching
enthusiasm. Mrs. (afterwards Lady) Inglis and the Rev. J.P. Harris and
his wife I had known at Peshawar; there were also Mrs. Fletcher Hayes,
the widow of the poor fellow whose murder by the men of his own escort
near Mainpuri I have related, and Mrs. Case, the widow of the brave
Major of the 32nd, who lost his life at the affair of Chinhut. Mrs.
Inglis showed us the tiny room which she and her children had shared
with Mrs. Case all through the siege; but it was difficult to get any
of them to speak of their miserable experiences, which were too sad
and terrible, and too recent to be talked about, and they naturally
preferred to dwell on their thankfulness for the relief that had come
at last, and to listen to our account of what had happened in other

It was too late then to go round the position; that had to be left
for another day; indeed, it was quite dark when we returned to
Head-Quarters, established by our Chief in the open, his soldierly
instincts prompting him to remain with his troops.

[Footnote 1: Shah Najaf is the tomb of Ghazi-ud-din Haidar, first King
of Oudh, built by himself. It derives its name from Najaf, the hill
on which is built the tomb of Ali, the son-in-law of Mahomed, and of
which tomb this is said to be a copy.]

[Footnote 2: The Kadam Rasul, or Prophet's footprint, a Mahomedan
place of worship, which contained a stone bearing the impress of the
foot of the Prophet, brought from Arabia by a pilgrim. During the
Mutiny the holy stone was carried off.]

[Footnote 3: Lieutenant Salmon, R.N. (now Admiral Sir Nowell Salmon,
K.C.B.), climbed up a tree overhanging this wall, in order to see what
was going on behind it; he succeeded in obtaining useful information,
but on being perceived, was fired at and badly wounded. He received
the V.C.]

[Footnote 4: Marked D on the map.]

[Footnote 5: Now Major-General Keen, C.B. It was an extremely
responsible charge for so young an officer with such a small party, as
it was very isolated and exposed to attack.]

[Footnote 6: Now Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, K.P.,

[Footnote 7: Called the Pearl Palace from the fancied resemblance of
one of its domes (since destroyed) to the curve of a pearl.]

[Footnote 8: A slab let into the south-west corner of the wall marks
the spot.]

[Footnote 9: Now General Sir William Olpherts, V.C., K.C.B.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Sir Colin's wise decision--Robert Napier
  --Impressions on visiting the Residency--Henry Lawrence
  --Lawrence as Statesman and Ruler
  --Lawrence's friendliness for Natives--A hazardous duty

The night of the 17th passed off quietly. Before daybreak the next
morning the troops were under arms. Thousands of the enemy had
collected in the Kaisarbagh, and for the protection of the mess-house,
the Tara Koti, about 200 yards to the south-west, was seized and held,
as from this position a flanking fire could be brought to bear upon
any enemy advancing from the Kaisarbagh.

The most difficult part of Sir Colin's task had yet to be
accomplished--the bringing away of the women and children, and the
sick and wounded, from the Residency--and the question of how this
could best be done was one which caused the Commander-in-Chief much
anxious thought. Many, amongst whom were Outram and Hope Grant,
pressed him to attack the Kaisarbagh and capture the city in the first
instance; but 45 officers and 496 men out of our small force had been
killed or wounded; Sir Colin, therefore, decided that it would be to
the last degree imprudent to attempt such an undertaking with his
reduced numbers, and became more than ever determined to confine his
operations to the relief of the garrison.

That the Chief was right there can be no room for doubt. This force
was barely strong enough for the service it had to perform. Every man
was on duty day and night; there was no reserve to fall back upon; and
had he listened to these proposals, and allowed himself to be drawn
into complications in the city, it is more than probable that those
he had come to succour would have been sacrificed. The wisdom of his
decision was fully proved by subsequent events, and unreservedly
acknowledged by Hope Grant and others who at the time differed from
him in their ideas of the course which should be adopted.

From the Dilkusha to the Residency was not less than five miles; every
yard of the way had to be guarded, and the garrison at the former
place was so attenuated that it had to be reinforced by the withdrawal
of part of the 75th Foot from the Alambagh. Fortunately this could be
done without dangerously weakening that post, as it had been lately
strengthened by the arrival of a small body of troops from Cawnpore.

It had now to be settled whether the evacuation should be effected
by the route we had ourselves followed, which was circuitous and in
places difficult for the wheeled vehicles necessary for the conveyance
of the sick and wounded, and the women and children; or by the way
past the barracks and Banks's house, which was shorter and had the
advantage of a metalled road throughout. But unless Russell, whose
brigade was in position at the barracks, could make the latter line
secure, it would be too hazardous to adopt, and up to the present the
reports from Russell had not been very promising. He had been
hardly pressed on the 17th, and had sent word that he could make no
impression on the enemy without heavy guns. Colonel Biddulph, the
Deputy-Quartermaster-General, was therefore ordered to proceed to
the barracks to ascertain how guns could best be sent to Russell's
assistance, and report to the Commander-in-Chief on the whole
situation. I was told to go with him and bring back the required

We found Russell in a very uncomfortable position, exposed to a hot
fire and closely surrounded by the enemy, who were holding the British
Infantry hospital and other buildings within a few yards of him.

I remained with Russell while Biddulph reconnoitred the ground between
the barracks, the canal, and the Sikandarbagh. It was found covered
with villages and walled enclosures, but he discovered a path secure
from the enemy's fire, along which he was able to bring to Russell's
assistance a 9-pounder gun, a 24-pounder howitzer, and four 5-1/2-inch
mortars. As the 9-pounder was fired, a round shot from one of the
enemy's 18-pounders struck the mud wall immediately in front of it,
scattering great clods of earth, which knocked over Bourchier and
another officer; the round shot then hit Brigadier Russell, just
grazing the back of his neck, actually cutting his watch-chain in two,
and causing partial paralysis of the lower limbs for some days.

Russell being for the time _hors de combat_, Biddulph assumed command,
and ordered me to return to Head-Quarters, report what had happened,
and inform Sir Colin that he intended to attack the hospital and
endeavour to drive the enemy out of his immediate neighbourhood.

I never saw Biddulph again. I had scarcely delivered my message to the
Chief when heavy firing was heard from the direction of the barracks,
and shortly afterwards a determined attack was made by the rebels on
the piquets placed between the Sikandarbagh and the barracks, which
was repulsed by Remmington's troop of Horse Artillery, with two
companies of Infantry belonging to the 23rd and 53rd Foot, brought up
by the Commander-in-Chief himself, who expressed to Remmington his
warm approval of the brilliant manner in which his troop had come into

Sir Colin now received information that Biddulph was killed, and that
Hale, who succeeded to the command of the brigade, had attacked and
taken the hospital, but had been forced to abandon it, as the thatched
roof had been set on fire by the shells showered upon it by the enemy,
who were keeping our troops constantly on the alert. This decided Sir
Colin to give up the idea of withdrawing the relieved garrison by
Banks's house.

Early on the following morning, the 19th, I was sent by the
Commander-in-Chief to the Residency with a note for Sir James Outram,
containing the information that arrangements for the withdrawal were
now complete, and that conveyances for the women, children, sick, and
wounded would be sent as soon as they arrived from the Dilkusha.

When he had read the note Sir James questioned me as to the road, and
asked me particularly if I had noticed the openings made in the walls
of houses and enclosures, and whether I thought they were large enough
for the guns, carts, and carriages to get through. I replied that I
had not observed them very particularly, but I was inclined to
think some of them were certainly rather small. My answer, to my
astonishment, roused the ire of a wounded officer lying on a couch at
the end of the room, for he wrathfully asked me whether I had measured
the openings, and on my saying I had not, he added: 'You had better
wait to give your opinion until you know what you are talking about;
those openings were made by my orders, and I am quite sure they are
the necessary size.' The officer was no other than Colonel Robert
Napier, who, as I have already stated, was badly wounded on the 17th.
I felt myself considerably snubbed, but Sir James kindly came to the
rescue, and explained that I had merely answered his question and had
not offered any opinion of my own: Colonel Napier, however, was not
to be appeased, and I could plainly see that I had incurred his
displeasure, and that he thought me a very bumptious youngster. I do
not know whether the Chief of the Staff[1] ever heard of it, but it
was some satisfaction to me to find afterwards that I was right in my
estimation of the size of those apertures, some of which had to be
enlarged before the guns and carriages could pass through.

By sunset that day the women and children had been brought away and
collected in the Sikandarbagh. Not a very agreeable resting-place, for
though the 2,000 dead mutineers had been got out of sight, they were
merely slightly covered over in a ditch which they themselves had
recently dug outside the north wall to strengthen the defences. The
survivors of the siege, however, had become too inured to horrors of
all kinds, and were too thankful for their deliverance from the fate
which for months had constantly threatened them, to be over-sensitive.

It was a sad little assemblage; all were more or less broken down and
out of health, while many were widows or orphans, having left their
nearest and dearest in the Residency burial-ground. Officers and men
accorded them a respectful welcome, and by their efforts to help them
showed how deeply they felt for their forlorn condition, while our old
Chief had a comfortable tea prepared for them. When night set in, the
road having been carefully reconnoitred beforehand, the melancholy
convoy with its guard of soldiers started for the Dilkusha, where it
arrived in safety, and was warmly received by the officers of the 9th
Lancers and the rest of the garrison, who did all that circumstances
would allow to make the ladies and children comfortable.

During the 20th, 21st, and 22nd, everything that was worth removing
and for which carriage could be provided was brought away. Such a
miscellaneous collection it was--jewels and other valuables belonging
to the ex-royal family, twenty-five lakhs of treasure, stores of all
kinds, including grain, and as many of the 200 guns discovered in the
palace as were considered likely to be of use.

The troops were not moved away from the Residency till midnight on the
22nd, and I had several opportunities before then of going over the
position, to every point of which some thrilling story was attached,
and of renewing acquaintance with many of the garrison whom I had
known before. Amongst them was Sam Lawrence, of the 32nd Foot, a
friend of Peshawar days, who, for his gallant defence of the Redan,
was awarded the Victoria Cross. I was shown Innes's advanced post,
named after McLeod Innes,[2] a talented Engineer officer, who also
subsequently gained that coveted reward; the Cawnpore battery, where
so many valuable lives had been sacrificed, and the room where Sir
Henry Lawrence received his mortal wound; then I climbed up to the
tower, from which a good view of the city and the posts held by the
enemy could be obtained.

The more I saw, the more I wondered at what had been achieved by such
a mere handful of men against such vast numbers. It was specially
pleasant to me to listen to the praises bestowed on the officers of my
own regiment, of whom nine were present when the siege commenced, and
only one escaped to the end unwounded, while five were killed or died
of their injuries. Of the other three, one was wounded three different
times, and both the others once.

All were loud, too, in their praises of the Engineer officers. During
the latter part of the siege the rebels, finding they could not carry
the position by assault, tried hard to undermine the defences; but our
Engineers were ever on the watch, and countermined so successfully
that they were able to frustrate the enemy's designs on almost every

The wonderful manner in which the Hindustani soldiers held their
ground, notwithstanding that they were incessantly taunted by their
mutinous comrades for aiding the Feringhis against their own people,
was also much dilated upon.

The casualties during the siege were extremely heavy. When it
commenced on the 1st of July, the strength of the garrison was 927
Europeans and 765 Natives. Of the former, 163 were civilians--brave
and useful, but untrained to arms; of the latter, 118 were pensioners,
many of whom were old and decrepit. Up to the arrival of Outram and
Havelock (a period of eighty-seven days), 350 Europeans and 133
natives were either killed or died of wounds and disease. Of the noble
and unselfish conduct of the ladies and soldiers' wives, everyone
spoke in the highest terms and with the warmest appreciation. They
suffered, without a murmur, the most terrible hardships; they devoted
themselves to the sick and wounded in the hospital, and were ever
ready to help in any way that was useful. Two ladies were killed, and
nine died, during the siege.

The contemplation of the defence of Lucknow, and the realization of
the noble qualities it called forth in the defenders, cannot but
excite in the breast of every British man and woman, as it did in
mine, feelings of pride and admiration. But what impressed me more
than even the glorious defence was the foresight and ability of the
man who made that defence possible.

Henry Lawrence was, apparently, the only European in India who, from
the very first, formed an accurate estimate of the extent of the
danger which threatened our rule in the early part of 1857, and who,
notwithstanding his thorough appreciation of the many good qualities
of Native soldiers, was not misled into a mistaken belief in the
absolute loyalty of the Native army. Fourteen years before Lawrence
had predicted the Mutiny[3] and the course it would take, and when
events shaped themselves as he had foreseen, he gave it as his opinion
that the disaffection would be general and widespread. But while his
intimate knowledge of Native character led him to this conviction,
so great was his influence with Natives--perhaps by reason of that
knowledge--that he was able to delay the actual outbreak at Lucknow
until his measures for the defence of the Residency were completed,
and he persuaded a considerable number of sepoys, not only to continue
in their allegiance, but to share with their European comrades the
dangers and privations of the siege--a priceless service, for without
their aid the defence could not have been made.

_From a photograph taken at Lucknow._]

In no part of India was there greater need for the services of a
strong, enlightened, and sympathetic Ruler and Statesman. Difficult as
were the positions in which many men in authority were placed in
1857, none was more difficult than that in which Henry Lawrence found
himself when he took over the Chief Commissionership of Oudh in the
spring of that year. His colleagues in the administration were at
feud with each other, and by their ignorance of the proper methods of
dealing with the people they had succeeded in alienating all classes.

While Lawrence was engaged in pouring oil on these troubled waters,
and in earning the gratitude of the people by modifying the previous
year's undue assessment, signs appeared of the disaffection, which
had begun amongst the troops at Barrackpore, having spread to the
cantonments in Oudh. Sir Henry met this new trouble in the same
intelligent and conciliatory spirit as that in which he had dealt with
his civil difficulties. He summoned to a durbar some Native officers
who had displayed a very proper feeling of loyalty by arresting
several fanatics who had tried to tamper with the soldiery, and he
liberally rewarded them, pointing out at the same time in forcible
language the disgrace to a soldier of being faithless to his salt. But
while doing everything in his power to keep the Natives loyal, and
with a certain amount of success, he did not neglect to take every
possible precaution.

When first he heard of the outbreak at Meerut, he telegraphed to the
Governor-General advising him to send for British troops to China and
Ceylon, and to call on the Nepalese to assist; at the same time
he applied to Lord Canning for, and obtained, the rank of
Brigadier-General, which gave him military as well as civil control--a
very necessary measure, for none of the senior military officers in
Oudh were men to be relied upon; indeed, as in so many other places,
they had to be effaced when the troubles began.

Very early in the day Henry Lawrence commenced his preparations for
the defence of the Residency; he cleared the ground of all cover
in its immediate vicinity, as far as it was possible to do so; he
fortified it, mounted guns, stored ammunition, powder, and firewood;
arranged for a proper supply of water; collected food, which proved
sufficient, not only for the original number of refugees, but for the
3,000 additional mouths belonging to Outram and Havelock's force; in
fact, he did everything which forethought and ingenuity could suggest
to enable the garrison to hold out in what he foresaw would be a long
and deadly struggle against fearful odds. There was no fort, as there
was at Agra, capable of sheltering every European in Oudh, and strong
enough to defy any number of mutineers, nor was there, as at Cawnpore,
a well-stocked and strongly-fortified magazine to depend upon. But
Henry Lawrence was not cast down by the difficulties which surrounded
him; he was fully alive to the danger, but he recognized that his
best, indeed, his only, chance of delaying the inevitable rebellion
until (as he hoped) assistance might arrive, was to show a bold front.

On the 27th May Lawrence wrote to Lord Canning as follows: 'Hitherto
the country has been kept quiet, and we have played the Irregulars
against the line regiments; but being constituted of exactly the same
material, the taint is fast pervading them, and in a few weeks, if not
days--unless Delhi be in the interim captured--there will be but one
feeling throughout the army, a feeling that our prestige is gone, and
that feeling will be more dangerous than any other. Religion, fear,
hatred, one and all have their influence; but there is still a
reverence for the Company's _ikbâl_[4]--when it is gone we shall have
few friends indeed. The tone and talk of many have greatly altered
during the last few days, and we are now asked, almost in terms of
insolence, whether Delhi is captured, or when it will be. It was
only just after the Kabul massacre, and when we hesitated to advance
through the Khyber, that, in my memory, such a tone ever before

Feeling all this so strongly, it is the more remarkable that Henry
Lawrence never lost heart, but struggled bravely on 'to preserve the
soldiery to their duty and the people to their allegiance,' while
at the same time he was, as I have shown, making every conceivable
preparation to meet the outbreak whenever it should come.

There is no doubt that Henry Lawrence was a very remarkable man; his
friendly feeling for Natives, and his extraordinary insight into
their character, together with his military training and his varied
political experience, peculiarly fitted him to be at the head of a
Government at such a crisis.[6]

All this, however, is a digression from my narrative, to which I must
now return.

While the withdrawal was being effected, Peel's guns distracted the
enemy's attention from the proceedings by keeping up a perpetual and
destructive fire on the Kaisarbagh, thus leading the rebels to believe
that our whole efforts were directed to taking that place. By the
evening of the 22nd three large breaches had been made, and the enemy
naturally expected an assault to take place the next morning. But the
object of that heavy fire had already been accomplished; the women and
children, the sick and wounded, were all safe in the Dilkusha; no one
was left in the Residency but the garrison, on duty for the last time
at the posts they had so long and so bravely defended, and they were
to leave at midnight.

As the clock struck twelve, in the deepest silence and with the utmost
caution, the gallant little band evacuated the place, and passed down
the long line of posts, first those held by Outram's and Havelock's
men, and then those occupied by the relieving force, until they
reached the Martinière Park. As they moved on, Outram's and Havelock's
troops fell in behind, and were followed by the relieving force, which
brought up the rear. The scheme for this very delicate movement had
been most carefully considered beforehand by General Mansfield, the
clever Chief of the Staff, who clearly explained to all concerned the
parts they had to play, and emphatically impressed upon them that
success depended on his directions being followed to the letter, and
on their being carried out without the slightest noise or confusion.

Sir Colin Campbell and Hope Grant, surrounded by their respective
staffs, watched the movement from a position in front of the
Sikandarbagh, where a body of Artillery and Infantry were held in
readiness for any emergency. When the time arrived for the advanced
piquets to be drawn in, the enemy seemed to have become suspicious,
for they suddenly opened fire with guns and musketry from the
Kaisarbagh, and for a moment we feared our plans had been discovered.
Fortunately, one of Peel's rocket-carts was still in position beyond
the Moti Mahal, and the celerity with which the officer in charge
replied to this burst of fire apparently convinced the enemy we were
holding our ground, for the firing soon ceased, and we breathed again.

Mansfield had taken the precaution to have with him an officer from
Hale's brigade, which was on the left rear of our line of posts, that
he might go back and tell his Brigadier when the proper time came for
the latter to move off in concert with the rest of the force; but this
officer had not, apparently, understood that he would have to return
in the dark, and when Mansfield directed him to carry out the duty for
which he had been summoned, he replied that he did not think he could
find his way. Mansfield was very angry, and with reason, for it was
of supreme importance that the retirement should be simultaneous, and
turning to me, he said: 'You have been to Hale's position: do you
think you could find your way there now?' I answered: 'I think I can.'
Upon which he told me to go at once, and ordered the officer belonging
to the brigade to accompany me. I then asked the General whether he
wished me to retire with Hale's party or return to him. He replied:
'Return to me here, that I may be sure the order has been received.'

I rode off with my companion, and soon found I had undertaken to
perform a far from easy, and rather hazardous, duty. I had only been
over the ground twice--going to and returning from the position on the
18th--and most of the villages then standing had since been burnt.
There was no road, but any number of paths, which seemed to lead in
every direction but the right one; at last, however, we arrived at our
destination, I delivered the order to Colonel Hale, and set out on
my return journey alone. My consternation was great on reaching the
Sikandarbagh, where I had been ordered to report myself to Mansfield,
to find it deserted by the Generals, their staffs, and the troops; not
a creature was to be seen. I then began to understand what a long time
it had taken me to carry out the errand upon which I had been sent,
much longer, no doubt, than Mansfield thought possible. I could not
help feeling that I was not in at all a pleasant position, for any
moment the enemy might discover the force had departed, and come out
in pursuit. As it turned out, however, happily for me, they remained
for some hours in blissful ignorance of our successful retirement,
and, instead of following in our wake, continued to keep up a heavy
fire on the empty Residency and other abandoned posts. Turning my
horse's head in the direction I knew the troops must have taken, I
galloped as fast as he could carry me until I overtook the rear guard
just as it was crossing the canal, along the right bank of which the
greater part of the force had been placed in position. When I reported
myself to Mansfield, he confessed that he had forgotten all about me,
which somewhat surprised me, for I had frequently noticed how exactly
he remembered the particulars of any order he gave, no matter how long
a time it took to execute it.

[Footnote 1: Colonel Napier was Chief of the Staff to Sir James

[Footnote 2: Now Lieutenant-General McLeod Innes, V.C.]

[Footnote 3: _Calcutta Review_, 1843. After commenting on the habitual
carelessness of Government and its disregard of ordinary military
precautions and preparations, Henry Lawrence had shown how possible it
was that a hostile party might seize Delhi, and, if the outbreak were
not speedily suppressed, what grave consequences might ensue. 'Let
this happen,' he said, 'on June 2, and does any sane man doubt that
twenty-four hours would swell the hundreds of rebels into thousands,
and in a week every ploughshare in the Delhi States would be turned
into a sword? And when a sufficient force had been mustered, which
could not be effected within a month, should we not then have a more
difficult game to play than Clive at Plassy or Wellington at Assaye?
We should then be literally striking for our existence at the
most inclement season of the year, with the prestige of our name
tarnished.' Going on to suggest that Meerut, Umballa, and Agra might
say that they had no troops to spare from their own necessities, or
that they had no carriage, 'Should we not, then,' he wrote, 'have to
strike anew for our Indian Empire?]

[Footnote 4: Prestige, or, rather, good luck.]

[Footnote 5: 'Life of Sir Henry Lawrence.']

[Footnote 6: In Sir Henry Lawrence's 'Life' two memoranda appear,
one by Lieutenant (now Lieutenant-General) McLeod Innes, Assistant
Engineer at Lucknow in 1857, the other by Sir Henry Lawrence himself.
They are worthy of perusal, and will give the reader some insight into
Lawrence's character; they will also exemplify how necessary it is
for anyone placed in a position of authority in India to study the
peculiarities of the people and gain their confidence by kindness and
sympathy, to which they readily respond, and, above all, to be firm
and decided in his dealings with them. Firmness and decision are
qualities which are appreciated more than all others by Natives; they
expect them in their Rulers, and without them no European can have any
power over them, or ever hope to gain their respect and esteem.

(See Appendix II).]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Death of General Havelock--Appeals from Cawnpore
  --General Windham--The passage of the Ganges

The Relief of the Lucknow garrison was now accomplished--a grand
achievement indeed, of which any Commander might well be proud,
carried out as it had been in every particular as originally planned,
thus demonstrating with what care each detail had been thought out,
and how admirably movement after movement had been executed.

November the 23rd was spent in arranging for the march to Cawnpore,
and in organizing the division which was to be left in position, under
Outram, in and about the Alambagh; it was to be strong enough to hold
its own, and to keep open communication with Head-Quarters.


My time was chiefly occupied in assisting in the distribution of
transport, and in carrying out Hope Grant's directions as to the order
in which the troops were to march. Round the Dilkusha the scene of
confusion was bewildering in the extreme; women, children, sick
and wounded men, elephants, camels, bullocks and bullock-carts,
grass-cutters' ponies, and doolies with their innumerable bearers, all
crowded together. To marshal these incongruous elements and get them
started seemed at first to be an almost hopeless task. At last the
families were got off in two bodies, each under a married officer
whose wife was of the party, and through whom all possible
arrangements for their comfort were to be made, and their place on the
line of march, position in camp, etc., determined.

In the afternoon the force was gratified by the issue of a General
Order by the Commander-in-Chief thanking the troops for the manner in
which the very difficult and harassing service of the Relief had been
performed. Alluding to the withdrawal, he said it was a model of
discipline and exactitude, the result of which was that the rebels
were completely thrown off their guard, and the retirement had been
successfully carried out in the face of 50,000 of the enemy along a
most inconveniently narrow and tortuous lane--the only line of retreat

The following morning Hope Grant's division marched to the Alambagh.
On arrival there, our transport was sent back for Outram's division,
which joined us the morning after, bringing with it General Havelock's
dead body. He had died the previous day--'a martyr to duty,' as the
Commander-in-Chief expressed it in his General Order. The brave old
soldier, who had served with distinction in four campaigns before the
Mutiny--Burma, Afghanistan, Gwalior, and the Sutlej--was buried inside
the Alambagh enclosure, respected and honoured by the whole army, but
more especially by those who had shared in his noble efforts to rescue
the Lucknow garrison.

A wash and change of clothes, in which we were now able to indulge,
were much-appreciated luxuries. From the time we had left the Alambagh
every officer and man had been on duty without cessation, and slept,
if they slept at all, on the spot where the close of day found them

It was a rough experience, but, notwithstanding the exposure, hard
work, and a minimum of sleep, there was no great sickness amongst the
troops. The personal interest which every man in the force felt in
the rescue of his countrymen and countrywomen, in addition to the
excitement at all times inseparable from war, was a stimulant
which enabled all ranks to bear up in a marvellous manner against
long-continued privations and hardships--for body and mind are equally
affected by will--and there was no doubt about the will in this
instance to endure anything that was necessary for the speedy
achievement of the object in view. Personally, I was in the best
of health, and though I almost lived on horseback, I never felt
inconvenience or fatigue.

The 25th and 26th were busy days, spent in allotting camp equipage
and making the necessary arrangements for fitting out Outram's
force--4,000 strong, with 25 guns and howitzers and 10 mortars.

At 11 a.m. on the 27th we started on our return march towards
Cawnpore.[1] It was a strange procession. Everything in the shape of
wheeled carriage and laden animals had to keep to the road, which was
narrow, and for the greater part of the way raised, for the country
at that time of the year was partly under water, and _jhils_ were
numerous. Thus, the column was about twelve miles in length, so that
the head had almost reached the end of the march before the rear could
start. Delays were constant and unavoidable, and the time each day's
journey occupied, as well as the mode of conveyance--country carts
innocent of springs--must have been most trying to delicate women and
wounded men. Fortunately there was no rain; but the sun was still hot
in the daytime, causing greater sensitiveness to the bitter cold at

My place was with the advance guard, as I had to go on ahead to mark
out the camp and have ramps got ready to enable the carts to be taken
off the raised roads. Soon after leaving the Alambagh we heard the
sound of guns from the direction of Cawnpore, and when we reached
Bani bridge (about thirteen miles on, where a small post had been
established) the officer in command told us that there had been heavy
firing all that day and the day before.

Camp was pitched about two miles further on late in the afternoon; but
my work was not over till midnight, when the rear guard arrived, for
it took all that time to form up the miscellaneous convoy.

Next morning we made an early start, in order to reach our
destination, if possible, before dark. Having received no information
from Cawnpore for more than ten days, the Commander-in-Chief was
beginning to feel extremely anxious, and the firing we had heard the
previous day had greatly increased his uneasiness, for there seemed
little room for doubt that the Gwalior rebels were making an attack on
that place. The probability that this would happen had been foreseen
by Sir Colin, and was one of his reasons for determining to limit the
operations at Lucknow to the withdrawal of the garrison.

We had not proceeded far, when firing was again heard, and by noon
all doubt as to its meaning was ended by a Native who brought a note
marked 'Most urgent,' written in Greek character, and addressed to
'General Sir Colin Campbell, or any officer commanding troops on the
Lucknow road.' This turned out to be a communication from General
Windham, who had been placed in command at Cawnpore when the
Commander-in-Chief left for Lucknow on the 9th of November. It was
dated two days earlier, and told of an attack having been made, that
there had been hard fighting, and that the troops were sorely pressed;
in conclusion Windham earnestly besought the Chief to come to his
assistance with the least possible delay.

Two other letters followed in quick succession, the last containing
the disappointing and disheartening intelligence that Windham, with
the greater part of his troops, had been driven into the entrenchment,
plainly showing that the city and cantonment were in the possession
of the enemy, and suggesting the possibility of the bridge of boats
having been destroyed.

Sir Colin, becoming impatient to learn the exact state of the case,
desired me to ride on as fast as I could to the river; and if I
found the bridge broken, to return at once, but if it were still in
existence to cross over, try and see the General, and bring back all
the information I could obtain.

I took a couple of sowars with me, and on reaching the river I found,
under cover of a hastily-constructed _tête-de-pont_, a guard of
British soldiers, under Lieutenant Budgen, of the 82nd Foot, whose
delight at seeing me was most effusively expressed. He informed me
that the bridge was still intact, but that it was unlikely it would
long remain so, for Windham was surrounded except on the river side,
and the garrison was 'at its last gasp.'

I pushed across and got into the entrenchment, which was situated on
the river immediately below the bridge of boats. The confusion inside
was great, and I could hardly force my way through the mass of men who
thronged round my horse, eager to learn when help might be expected;
they were evidently demoralized by the ill-success which had attended
the previous days' operations, and it was not until I reassured them
with the news that the Commander-in-Chief was close at hand that
I managed to get through the crowd and deliver my message to the

The 'hero of the Redan,' whom I now saw for the first time, though the
fame of his achievement had preceded him to India, was a handsome,
cheery-looking man of about forty-eight years of age, who appeared, in
contrast to the excited multitude I had passed, thoroughly calm and
collected; and notwithstanding the bitter disappointment it must have
been to him to be obliged to give up the city and retire with his
wholly inadequate force into the entrenchment, he was not dispirited,
and had all his wits about him. In a few words he told me what had
happened, and desired me to explain to the Commander-in-Chief that,
although the city and cantonment had to be abandoned, he was still
holding the enemy in check round the assembly-rooms (which were
situated outside and to the west front of the entrenchment), thus
preventing their approaching the bridge of boats near enough to injure

I was about to start back to Head-Quarters, when suddenly loud cheers
broke from the men, caused by the appearance in their midst of the
Commander-in-Chief himself. After I had left him, Sir Colin became
every minute more impatient and fidgety, and ere long started off
after me, accompanied by Mansfield and some other staff officers. He
was recognized by the soldiers, some of whom had known him in
the Crimea, and they at once surrounded him, giving enthusiastic
expression to their joy at seeing him again.

The Chief could now judge for himself as to how matters stood, so, as
there was plenty of work in camp for me, I started back to rejoin my
own General. On my way I stopped to speak to Budgen, whom I found in
a most dejected frame of mind. Unfortunately for him, he had used
exactly the same words in describing the situation at Cawnpore to Sir
Colin as he had to me, which roused the old Chief's indignation, and
he flew at the wretched man as he was sometimes apt to do when greatly
put out, rating him soundly, and asking him how he dared to say of Her
Majesty's troops that they were 'at their last gasp.'

I found Hope Grant about four miles from the river bank, where the
camp was being pitched. Sir Colin did not return till after dark, when
we were told that the rest of Windham's troops had been driven inside
the entrenchment, which only confirmed what we had suspected, for
flames were seen mounting high into the air from the direction of the
assembly-rooms, which, it now turned out, had been set on fire by the
enemy--an unfortunate occurrence, as in them had been stored the camp
equipage, kits, clothing, etc., belonging to most of the regiments
which had crossed the Ganges into Oudh. But what was more serious
still was the fact that the road was now open for the rebels' heavy
guns, which might be brought to bear upon the bridge of boats at any

Owing to the length of the march (thirty-two or thirty-three miles),
some of the carts and the heavy guns did not arrive till daybreak.
Scarcely had the bullocks been unyoked, before the guns were ordered
on to the river bank, where they formed up, and so effectually plied
the enemy with shot and shell that the passage of the river was
rendered comparatively safe for our troops.

When the men had breakfasted, the order was given to cross over. Sir
Colin accompanied the column as far as the bridge, and then directed
Hope Grant, with the Horse Artillery and most of the Cavalry,
Bourchier's battery and Adrian Hope's brigade, to move to the
south-east of the city and take up a position on the open ground which
stretched from the river to the Grand Trunk Road, with the canal
between us and the enemy. By this arrangement communication with
Allahabad, which had been temporarily interrupted, was restored,
a very necessary measure, for until the road was made safe,
reinforcements, which on account of the paucity of transport had to
be sent up in small detachments, could not reach us, nor could the
families and sick soldiers be sent down country.

The passage of the huge convoy over the bridge of boats, under the
protection of Greathed's brigade, was a most tedious business,
occupying thirty hours, from 3 p.m. on the 29th till about 9 p.m. on
the 30th, when Inglis brought over the rear guard. During its transit
the enemy fired occasionally on the bridge, and tried to destroy it by
floating fire-rafts down the river; fortunately they did not succeed,
and the convoy arrived without accident on the ground set apart for it
in the rear of our camp.

For the three first days of December I was chiefly employed in
reconnoitring with the Native Cavalry the country to our left and
rear, to make sure that the rebels had no intention of attempting to
get round that flank, and in making arrangements for the despatch of
the families, the sick, and the wounded, to Allahabad _en route_ to
Calcutta. We improvised covers for some of the carts, in which we
placed the women and children and the worst cases amongst the men; but
with all our efforts to render them less unfit for the purpose, these
carts remained but rough and painful conveyances for delicate women
and suffering men to travel in.

We were not left altogether unmolested by the enemy during these days.
Round shot kept continually falling in our midst, particularly in the
neighbourhood of the Commander-in-Chief's tent, the exact position of
which must have somehow been made known to the rebels, otherwise they
could not have distinguished it from the rest of the camp, as it
was an unpretentious hill tent, such as was then used by subaltern

Until the women left camp on the night of the 3rd December, we were
obliged to act on the defensive, and were not able to stop the enemy's
fire completely, though we managed to keep it under control by
occupying the point called Generalganj, and strengthening the piquets
on our right and left flank. On the 4th a second unsuccessful attempt
was made to destroy the bridge of boats by means of fire-rafts, and on
the 5th there were several affairs at the outposts, all of which ended
in the discomfiture of the rebels without any great loss to ourselves;
Lieutenant-Colonel Ewart of the 93rd Highlanders, who lost his arm on
the 1st, and Captain Crutchley of the same regiment, who was severely
wounded, being the only casualties amongst the officers.

[Footnote 1: Our force consisted of the troops which Sir Colin had
reviewed on the Alambagh plain on the 11th instant, with the exception
of the 75th Foot, which was transferred to Outram's division. We had,
however, in their place, the survivors of the 32nd Foot, and of the
Native regiments who had behaved so loyally during the siege. These
latter were formed into one battalion, called the Regiment of
Lucknow--the present 16th Bengal Infantry. The 32nd Foot, which was
not up to full strength (1,067) when the Mutiny broke out, had in
1857-58 no less than 610 men killed and wounded, exclusive of 169
who died from disease. We had also with us, and to them was given an
honoured place, 'the remnant of the few faithful pensioners who had
alone, of many thousands in Oudh, responded to the call of Sir Henry
Lawrence to come in to aid the cause of those whose salt they had
eaten.'--Lecture on the Relief of Lucknow, by Colonel H.W. Norman.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  The fight at Cawnpore--Unexpected visitors--A long chase
  --Unjur Tiwari--Bithur--Windham at Cawnpore

The time had now arrived to give the Gwalior troops a repetition of
the lesson taught them at Agra on the 10th October. They had had
it all their own way since then; and having proved too strong for
Windham, they misunderstood the Commander-in-Chief remaining for so
long on the defensive, and attributed his inaction to fear of their
superior prowess.

Sunday, the 6th December, was one of those glorious days in which the
European in northern India revels for a great part of the winter,
clear and cool, with a cloudless sky. I awoke refreshed after a good
night's rest, and in high spirits at the prospect before us of
a satisfactory day's work; for we hoped to drive the enemy from
Cawnpore, and to convince those who had witnessed, if not taken part
in, the horrible brutalities perpetrated there, that England's hour
had come at last.

The 42nd Highlanders, a battery of Royal Artillery, and detachments of
several different corps, had quite lately been added to the force,
so that the Commander-in-Chief had now at his disposal about 5,000
Infantry, 600 Cavalry, and 35 guns. The Infantry were divided into
four brigades, commanded respectively by Greathed, Adrian Hope,
Inglis, and Walpole.[1] The Cavalry brigade, consisting of the
same regiments which had come with us from Delhi, was commanded by
Brigadier Little, the Artillery[2] by Major-General Dupuis, and the
Engineers by Colonel Harness, General Windham being placed in charge
of the entrenchments.

Opposed to this force there were 25,000 men, with 40 guns, not
all disciplined soldiers, but all adepts in the use of arms, and
accustomed to fighting. They were divided into two distinct bodies,
one composed of the Gwalior Contingent, the Rani of Jhansi's
followers, and the mutinous regiments which had been stationed in
Bundelkand, Central India, and Rajputana, which occupied the right
of the enemy's position, covering their line of retreat by the Kalpi
road. The other consisted of the troops--regular and irregular--which
had attached themselves to the Nana, and held the city and the ground
which lay between it and the Ganges, their line of retreat being along
the Grand Trunk Road to Bithur. Tantia Topi was in command of the
whole force, while the Nana remained with his own people on the left

On the centre and left the enemy were very strongly posted, and could
only be approached through the city and by way of the difficult broken
ground, covered with ruined houses, stretching along the river bank.

While the men were eating their breakfasts, and the tents were being
struck, packed, and sent to the rear, Sir Colin carefully explained
his plan of operations to the Commanding officers and the staff; this
plan was, to make a feint on the enemy's left and centre, but to
direct the real attack on their right, hoping thus to be able to
dispose of this portion of Tantia Topi's force, before assistance
could be obtained from any other part of the line.

With this view Windham was ordered to open with every gun within
the entrenchment at 9 a.m.; while Greathed, supported by Walpole,
threatened the enemy's centre. Exactly at the hour named, the roar of
Windham's Artillery was heard, followed a few minutes later by the
rattle of Greathed's musketry along the bank of the canal. Meanwhile,
Adrian Hope's brigade was drawn up in fighting formation behind the
Cavalry stables on our side of the Trunk Road, and Inglis's brigade
behind the racecourse on the other side. At eleven o'clock the order
was given to advance. The Cavalry and Horse Artillery moved to the
left with instructions to cross the canal by a bridge about two miles
off, and to be ready to fall upon the enemy as they retreated along
the Kalpi road. Walpole's brigade, covered by Smith's Field battery,
crossed the canal by a bridge immediately to the left of Generalganj,
cleared the canal bank, and, by hugging the wall of the city,
effectually prevented reinforcements reaching the enemy's right.

Peel's and Longden's heavy guns, and Bourchier's and Middleton's Field
batteries, now opened on some brick-kilns and mounds which the enemy
were holding in strength on our side of the canal, and against which
Adrian Hope's and Inglis's brigades advanced in parallel lines,
covered by the 4th Punjab Infantry in skirmishing order.

It was a sight to be remembered, that advance, as we watched it from
our position on horseback, grouped round the Commander-in-Chief.
Before us stretched a fine open grassy plain; to the right the dark
green of the Rifle Brigade battalions revealed where Walpole's brigade
was crossing the canal. Nearer to us, the 53rd Foot, and the 42nd and
93rd Highlanders in their bonnets and kilts, marched as on parade,
although the enemy's guns played upon them and every now and then a
round shot plunged through their ranks or ricocheted over their heads;
on they went without apparently being in the least disconcerted, and
without the slightest confusion.

As the brick-kilns were neared, the 4th Punjab Infantry, supported by
the 53rd Foot, charged the enemy in grand style, and drove them across
the canal. Here there occurred a slight check. The rebels, having been
reinforced, made a stand, and bringing guns to bear upon the bridge
within grape range, they must have done us great damage but for the
timely arrival of Peel and his sailors with a heavy gun. This put new
life into the attacking party; with a loud cheer they dashed across
the bridge, while Peel poured round after round from his 24-pounder on
the insurgents with most salutary effect. The enemy faced about and
retired with the utmost celerity, leaving a 9-pounder gun in our

The whole of Hope's brigade, followed by Inglis's, now arrived on the
scene and proceeded to cross the canal, some by the bridge, while
others waded through the water. Having got to the other side, both
brigades re-formed, and moved rapidly along the Kalpi road. We
(the Commander-in-Chief, Hope Grant, and their respective staffs)
accompanied this body of troops for about a mile and a half, when the
rebels' camp came in sight. A few rounds were fired into it, and then
it was rushed.

We were evidently unexpected visitors; wounded men were lying about in
all directions, and many sepoys were surprised calmly cooking their
frugal meal of unleavened bread. The tents were found to be full of
property plundered from the city and cantonment of Cawnpore--soldiers'
kits, bedding, clothing, and every description of miscellaneous
articles; but to us the most valuable acquisition was a quantity of
grain and a large number of fine bullocks, of which those best suited
for Ordnance purposes were kept, and the rest were made over to the

That portion of the rebel force with which we had been engaged was now
in full retreat, and Sir Colin wished to follow it up at once; but
the Cavalry and Horse Artillery had not arrived, so that considerable
delay occurred; while we were waiting the Chief arranged to send
Mansfield with a small force[3] round to the north of Cawnpore, and,
by thus threatening the road along which the Nana's troops must
retreat, compel them to evacuate the city. The 23rd Royal Welsh
Fusiliers and a detachment of the 38th Foot were to be left to look
after the deserted camp, and Inglis's brigade was to move along the
Kalpi road in support of the Cavalry and Horse Artillery. But where
were the much-needed and anxiously-expected mounted troops? It was not
like them to be out of the way when their services were required; but
it was now nearly two o'clock, they had not appeared, and the days
were very short. What was to be done? The enemy could not be allowed
to carry off their guns and escape punishment. Suddenly the old Chief
announced that he had determined to follow them up himself with
Bourchier's battery and his own escort.

What a chase we had! We went at a gallop, only pulling up occasionally
for the battery to come into action, 'to clear our front and flanks.'
We came up with a goodly number of stragglers, and captured several
guns and carts laden with ammunition. But we were by this time
overtaking large bodies of the rebels, and they were becoming too
numerous for a single battery and a few staff officers to cope with.
We had outstripped the Commander-in-Chief, and Hope Grant decided to
halt, hoping that the missing Cavalry and Horse Artillery might soon
turn up. We had not to wait long. In about a quarter of an hour they
appeared among some trees to our left, even more put out than we were
at their not having been to the front at such a time. Their guide had
made too great a détour, but the sound of our guns showed them his
mistake, and they at once altered their course and pushed on in the
direction of the firing. Sir Colin had also come up, so off we started
again, and never drew rein until we reached the Pandu Naddi, fourteen
miles from Cawnpore. The rout was complete. Finding themselves
pressed, the sepoys scattered over the country, throwing away their
arms and divesting themselves of their uniform, that they might pass
for harmless peasants. Nineteen guns, some of them of large calibre,
were left in our hands. Our victory was particularly satisfactory in
that it was achieved with but slight loss to ourselves, the casualties
being 2 officers and 11 men killed, and 9 officers and 76 men wounded.

Hope Grant now desired me to hurry back to Cawnpore before it got too
dark, and select the ground for the night's bivouac. As there was some
risk in going alone, Augustus Anson volunteered to accompany me.
We had got about half-way, when we came across the dead body of
Lieutenant Salmond, who had been acting Aide-de-camp to my General,
and must have got separated from us in the pursuit. His throat was
cut, and he had a severe wound on the face. Soon after we met Inglis's
brigade, which, in accordance with my instructions, I turned back. On
reaching the Gwalior Contingent camp, we heard that an attempt had
been made to recapture it, which had been repulsed by the troops left
in charge.

It was dusk by the time we reached the junction of the Kalpi and Grand
Trunk roads, and we agreed that this would be a good place for a
bivouac, the city being about a mile in front, and Mansfield's column
less than two miles to the left. I marked out the ground, and showed
each corps as it came up the position it was to occupy. When all this
was over I was pretty well tired out and ravenously hungry; but food
there was none, so I had made up my mind to lie down, famished as I
was. Just then I came across some sleeping men, who to my joy turned
out to be Dighton Probyn and the officers of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry,
who were magnanimous enough to forgive the abrupt interruption to
their slumbers, and to supply me with some cold mutton, bread, and a
bottle of beer. Never was man more grateful for a meal, and never was
a meal more thoroughly enjoyed. I lay down beside my friends and was
soon fast asleep, in spite of the bitter cold and being much troubled
about my horse; neither for him nor myself was there a vestige of
covering to be found.

The next morning I was astir by cockcrow. Patrols who had been sent
forward to ascertain the truth of a rumour which had reached the
Commander-in-Chief the previous evening, to the effect that the city
had been evacuated, returned with confirmation of the report; but the
news in other respects was far from satisfactory. Mansfield's movement
had caused the enemy to retire, but they had got away without loss,
and had succeeded in carrying off all their guns; so that only one
half of Tantia Topi's force had really been dealt with; the other
half still remained to be disposed of, and to Hope Grant's great
satisfaction and my delight, the duty of following them up was
entrusted to him.

His orders were to go to Bithur, as it was thought likely that the
Nana's troops would retire on that place. But as the news was not
very reliable, Hope Grant was told to use his own discretion, and act
according to circumstances.

For several days I had been trying unsuccessfully to get hold of some
Natives upon whom I could rely to bring me trustworthy information as
to the enemy's movements. It is always of the utmost importance that a
Quartermaster-General on service should have the help of such men, and
I was now more than ever in need of reliable intelligence. In this
emergency I applied to Captain Bruce, the officer in charge of the
Intelligence Department which had been established at Cawnpore for the
purpose of tracing the whereabouts of those rebels who had taken
a prominent part in the atrocities. I was at once supplied with a
first-rate man, Unjur Tiwari by name,[4] who from that moment until
I left India for England in April, 1858, rendered me most valuable
service. He was a Brahmin by caste, and belonged to the 1st Native
Infantry. In a few words I explained what I required of him, and he
started at once for Bithur, promising to meet me the next day on the
line of march.

[Illustration: PLAN OF CAWNPORE. 1857.]

Early on the afternoon of the 8th we marched out of Cawnpore, and at
sunset Unjur Tiwari, true to his promise, made his appearance at the
point where the road turns off to Bithur. He told me that the Nana had
slept at that place the night before, but hearing of our approach, had
decamped with all his guns and most of his followers, and was now at a
ferry some miles up the river, trying to get across and make his way
to Oudh. We had come thirteen miles, and had as many more to go before
we could get to the ferry, and as there was nothing to be gained
by arriving there in the dark, a halt was ordered for rest and
refreshment. At midnight we started again, and reached Sheorajpur
(three miles from the ferry) at daybreak. Here we left our
impedimenta, and proceeded by a cross-country road. Presently a couple
of mounted men belonging to the enemy, not perceiving who we were,
galloped straight into the escort. On discovering their mistake, they
turned and tried to escape, but in vain; one was killed, the other
captured, and from him we learnt that the rebels were only a short
distance ahead. We pushed on, and soon came in sight of them and of
the river; crowds were collected on the banks, and boats were being
hurriedly laden, some of the guns having already been placed on board.
Our troops were ordered to advance, but the ground along the river
bank was treacherous and very heavy. Notwithstanding, the Artillery
managed to struggle through, and when the batteries had got to within
1,000 yards of the ferry, the enemy appeared suddenly to discover
our presence, and opened upon us with their Artillery. Our batteries
galloped on, and got considerably nearer before they returned the
fire; after a few rounds the rebels broke and fled. The ground was so
unfavourable for pursuit, being full of holes and quicksands, that
nearly all escaped, except a few cut up by the Cavalry. Fifteen guns
were captured, with one single casualty on our side--the General
himself--who was hit on the foot by a spent grape-shot, without,
happily, being much hurt.

Hope Grant's successful management of this little expedition
considerably enhanced the high opinion the Commander-in-Chief had
already formed of his ability. He was next ordered to proceed to
Bithur and complete the destruction of that place, which had been
begun by Havelock in July. We found the palace in good order--there
was little evidence that it had been visited by an avenging force, and
in one of the rooms which had been occupied by the treacherous Azimula
Khan, I came across a number of letters, some unopened, and some
extremely interesting, to which I shall have to refer later on.

We left Adrian Hope's brigade at Bithur to search for treasure
reported to have been buried near the palace, and returned to
Cawnpore, where we remained for about ten days, not at all sorry for
the rest.

During this time of comparative idleness, I went over the ground where
the troops under Windham had been engaged for three days, and heard
many comments on the conduct of the operations. All spoke in high
terms of Windham's dash and courage, but as a Commander he was
generally considered to have failed.

Windham was without doubt placed in an extremely difficult position.
The relief of the garrison at Lucknow was of such paramount importance
that Sir Colin Campbell was obliged to take with him every available
man,[5] and found it necessary to order Windham to send all
reinforcements after him as soon as they arrived, although it was
recognized as probable that Tantia Topi, with the large force then
assembled near Kalpi, would advance on Cawnpore as soon as the
Commander-in-Chief was committed to his difficult undertaking.
Windham's orders were to improve the defences of the entrenchment; to
carefully watch the movements of the Gwalior army; and to make as much
display as possible of the troops at his command by encamping them in
a conspicuous position outside the city; but he was not on any account
to move out to attack, unless compelled to do so in order to prevent
the bombardment of the entrenchment. The safety of this entrenchment
was of great importance, for it contained a number of guns, quantities
of ammunition and other warlike stores, and it covered, as already
shown, the bridge of boats over the Ganges.

Windham loyally carried out his instructions, but he subsequently
asked for and obtained leave to detain any troops arriving at Cawnpore
after the 14th of November, as he did not feel himself strong enough,
with the force at his disposal, to resist the enemy if attacked. But
even after having received this sanction he twice despatched strong
reinforcements to Lucknow, thus weakening himself considerably in
order to give Sir Colin all possible help.

Windham eventually had at his disposal about 1,700 Infantry and eight
guns, the greater part of which were encamped as directed, outside the
city, close to the junction of the Delhi and Kalpi roads, while the
rest were posted in and around the entrenchment. Meanwhile the rebels
were slowly approaching Cawnpore in detachments, with the evident
intention of surrounding the place. On the 17th two bodies of troops
were pushed on to Shuli and Shirajpur, within fifteen miles of the
city, and a little less than that distance from each other. Windham
thought that if he could manage to surprise either of these, he could
prevent the enemy from concentrating, and he drew up a scheme for
giving effect to this plan, which he submitted for the approval of the
Commander-in-Chief. No reply came, and after waiting a week he gave up
all idea of attempting to surprise the detachments, and determined to
try and arrest the rebels' advance by attacking the main body, still
some distance off. Accordingly he broke up his camp, and marched six
miles along the Kalpi road, on the same day that the Gwalior force
moved some distance nearer to Cawnpore. The next morning, the 25th,
the enemy advanced to Pandu Naddi, within three miles of Windham's

Windham now found himself in a very critical position. With only 1,200
Infantry[6] and eight light guns, he was opposed to Tantia Topi with
an army of 25,000 men and forty guns. He had to choose whether he
would fight these enormous odds or retire: he decided that to fight
was the least of the two evils, and he was so far successful that
he drove back that portion of the opposing force immediately in
his front, and captured three guns; but being unable to press his
advantage on account of the paucity of men and the total absence of
Cavalry, he had perforce to fall back--a grievous necessity. He was
followed the whole way, insulted and jeered at, by the rebel horsemen.
The result of the day was to give confidence to the wily Mahratta
leader; he pushed on to Cawnpore, and attacked Windham with such
vehemence that by nightfall on the 28th the British troops were driven
inside the entrenchment, having had 315 men killed and wounded, and
having lost all their baggage and camp equipage.

Windham undoubtedly laid himself open to censure. His defence was
that, had he received the Commander-in-Chief's authority to carry out
his plan for surprising the rebels, he would certainly have broken up
their army, and the disaster could not have occurred. But surely when
he decided that circumstances had so changed since Sir Colin's orders
were given as to justify him in disregarding them, he should have
acted on his own responsibility, and taken such steps as appeared to
him best, instead of applying for sanction to a Commander far from
the scene of action, and so entirely ignorant of the conditions under
which the application was made, as to render it impossible for him to
decide whether such sanction should be given. The march which Windham
made towards the enemy on the 24th was quite as grave a disobedience
of orders as would have been the surprise movement he contemplated
on the 17th; but while the former placed him in a most dangerous
position, and one from which it was impossible to deal the enemy a
decisive blow, the latter, if successful, would have deserved, and
doubtless would have received, the highest praise.

[Footnote 1: Greathed's brigade consisted of the 8th and 64th Foot and
2nd Punjab Infantry. Adrian Hope's brigade consisted of the 53rd Foot,
42nd and 93rd Highlanders, and 4th Punjab Infantry. Inglis's brigade
consisted of the 23rd Fusiliers, 32nd and 82nd Foot. Walpole's brigade
consisted of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions Rifle Brigade and a detachment
of the 38th Foot.]

[Footnote 2: The Artillery consisted of Peel's Naval Brigade, Blunt's,
Bridge's and Remmington's troops of Horse Artillery, Bourchier's,
Middleton's, and Smith's Field batteries, and Longden's Heavy

[Footnote 3: Mansfield was given the two Rifle Brigade battalions, the
93rd Highlanders, Longden's Heavy, and Middleton's Field battery.]

[Footnote 4: Unjur Tiwari's career was a very remarkable one. A sepoy
in the 1st Bengal Native Infantry, he was at Banda when the Mutiny
broke out, and during the disturbances at that place he aided
a European clerk and his wife to escape, and showed his
disinterestedness by refusing to take a gold ring, the only reward
they had to offer him. He then joined Havelock's force, and rendered
excellent service as a spy; and although taken prisoner more than
once, and on one occasion tortured, he never wavered in his loyalty to
us. Accompanying Outram to Lucknow, he volunteered to carry a letter
to Cawnpore, and after falling into the hands of the rebels, and
being cruelly ill-treated by them, he effected his escape, and safely
delivered Outram's message to Sir Colin Campbell. He then worked
for me most faithfully, procuring information which I could always
thoroughly rely upon; and I was much gratified when he was rewarded by
a grant of Rs. 3,000, presented with a sword of honour, and invested
with the Order of British India, with the title of Sirdar Bahadur. I
was proportionately distressed some years later to find that, owing to
misrepresentations of enemies when he was serving in the Oudh Military
Police, Unjur Tiwari had been deprived of his rewards, and learning he
was paralyzed and in want, I begged Lord Napier to interest himself in
the matter, the result being that the brave old man was given a yearly
pension of Rs. 1,200 for his life. He was alive when I left India,
and although he resided some distance from the railway he always had
himself carried to see me whenever I travelled in his direction.]

[Footnote 5: The garrison left at Cawnpore consisted of:

  Four companies of the 64th Foot, and small
  detachments of other regiments             450 men.
  Sailors                                     47 men.
  Total                                      497

with a hastily organized bullock battery of four field guns, manned
partly by Europeans and partly by Sikhs.]

[Footnote 6: The force was composed of the 34th Foot, and portions of
the 82nd and 88th Foot, and 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade; with four
9-pounders, manned partly by Royal and Bengal gunners and partly by
Sikhs; and four 6-pounders, manned by Madras Native gunners.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  The Fight at Khudaganj--A mêlée--Oudh or Rohilkand?

Our stay at Cawnpore was more prolonged than the Commander-in-Chief
intended or wished it to be, but want of transport made it impossible
for us to move until the carts returned which had gone to Allahabad
with the women and children and the sick soldiers. We were thus
delayed until the 23rd December, on which date we commenced our march
towards Fatehgarh.

At Chobipur, two marches from Cawnpore, where we spent Christmas Day,
we were joined by the troops who had been left behind at Bithur;
they had not succeeded in discovering any considerable quantity of
treasure, some silver vessels of various kinds being the only result
of their labours.

The Commander-in-Chief's object in moving on Fatehgarh was to restore
order throughout the Doab and open communication between the Punjab
and Bengal.

A brigade under Brigadier Walpole had been despatched on the 16th,
with orders to clear the country along the left bank of the Jumna up
to Mainpuri, where he was to be joined by Brigadier Seaton with a
strong column from Delhi, and whence the united force was to advance
on Fatehgarh.

We reached Gursahaiganj, where the road turns off to Fatehgarh, on the
31st, and here the main body of the army halted on New Year's Day,
1858; but information having been received that 5,000 rebels under the
Nawab of Farakabad had partly destroyed the suspension bridge over
the Kali Naddi, about five miles ahead, and had then gone off towards
Fatehgarh, Adrian Hope's brigade was sent forward to repair the damage
and watch the bridge.

Early the following morning Sir Colin, with Mansfield and the rest of
his staff, went on to inspect progress, leaving orders for the rest of
the force to follow later in the day. Very soon, however, Hope Grant
received an urgent message from the Chief of the Staff, telling him to
push on the troops with all possible speed, as the enemy had returned,
and were now in strength on the other side of the Kali Naddi.

We (Sir Hope and his staff) started off with the Horse Artillery and
Cavalry, and found, on reaching the bridge, that the rebels were
occupying the village of Khudaganj, just across the river, and only
about 300 yards off, from which advantageous position they were
pouring a heavy fire on Hope's brigade. Our piquets on the further
side of the stream had been strengthened by a wing of the 53rd Foot,
and a wing of the 93rd Highlanders had been placed in reserve behind
the bridge on the nearer side, the rest of the regiment having been
despatched to watch a ford some distance down the river, while a
battery of Field Artillery had been brought into action in reply to
the enemy's guns. Immediately on the arrival of the main body, three
of Peel's guns, under Vaughan, his First Lieutenant, were pushed
across the bridge to the further side, and getting under shelter of
a convenient building, opened fire on the village, and on a toll-bar
directly in its front, about which the enemy were collected in
considerable numbers. Our Infantry now crossed over, followed by the
Cavalry and Horse Artillery--a tedious operation, as there had not
been time to fully repair the bridge, and in one place planks had only
been laid for half its width, necessitating horses being led, and
Infantry passing over in sections. Moreover, the enemy had got the
exact range, and several casualties occurred at this spot; one round
shot alone killed and wounded six men of the 8th Foot. Vaughan at
last succeeded in silencing the gun which had troubled us most, and
preparations were made for an attack on the village. While we were
watching the proceedings, the Interpreter to the Naval Brigade, Henry
Hamilton Maxwell, a brother officer of mine who had been standing
close to me, was very badly wounded in the leg, and both Sir Colin and
Sir Hope were hit by spent bullets, luckily without being much hurt.

There was a feeling throughout the army that Sir Colin was inclined to
favour Highlanders unduly; and a rumour got about that the 93rd were
to be allowed the honour of delivering the assault on Khudaganj, which
was highly resented by the 53rd, and they determined that on this
occasion, at any rate, the Highlanders should not have it all their
own way. The 53rd was composed of a remarkably fine set of fellows,
chiefly Irish, and it was Mansfield's own regiment; wishing,
therefore, to do an old comrade a good turn, he had placed Major
Payn,[1] one of the senior officers, in command of the piquets. Payn
was a fine dashing soldier, and a great favourite with the men, who
calculated on his backing them up if they upset Sir Colin's little
plan. Whether what happened was with or without Payn's permission, I
cannot say, but we were all waiting near the bridge for the attacking
party to form when suddenly the 'advance' was sounded, then the
'double,' followed by a tremendous cheer, and we saw the 53rd charge
the enemy. Sir Colin was very angry, but the 53rd could not be brought
back, and there was nothing for it but to support them. Hope's and
Greathed's troops were instantly pushed on, and the Cavalry and Horse
Artillery were ordered to mount.

The ground gradually sloped upwards towards Khudaganj, and the
regiments moving up to the attack made a fine picture. The 93rd
followed the impulsive 53rd, while Greathed's brigade took a line to
the left, and as they neared the village the rebels hastily limbered
up their guns and retired. This was an opportunity for mounted troops
such as does not often occur; it was instantly seized by Hope Grant,
who rode to the Cavalry, drawn up behind some sand hills, and gave the
word of command, 'Threes left, trot, march.' The words had hardly left
his lips before we had started in pursuit of the enemy, by this time
half a mile ahead, the 9th Lancers leading the way, followed by
Younghusband's, Gough's, and Probyn's squadrons. When within 300 yards
of the fugitives, the 'charge' was sounded, and in a few seconds we
were in their midst. A regular mêlée ensued, a number of the rebels
were killed, and seven guns captured in less than as many minutes. The
General now formed the Cavalry into a long line, and, placing himself
at the head of his own regiment (the 9th Lancers), followed up the
flying foe. I rode a little to his left with Younghusband's squadron,
and next to him came Tyrrell Ross, the doctor.[2] As we galloped
along, Younghusband drew my attention with great pride to the
admirable manner in which his men kept their dressing.

On the line thundered, overtaking groups of the enemy, who every now
and then turned and fired into us before they could be cut down,
or knelt to receive us on their bayonets before discharging their
muskets. The chase continued for nearly five miles, until daylight
began to fail and we appeared to have got to the end of the fugitives,
when the order was given to wheel to the right and form up on the
road. Before, however, this movement could be carried out, we overtook
a batch of mutineers, who faced about and fired into the squadron at
close quarters. I saw Younghusband fall, but I could not go to his
assistance, as at that moment one of his _sowars_ was in dire peril
from a sepoy who was attacking him with his fixed bayonet, and had I
not helped the man and disposed of his opponent, he must have been
killed. The next moment I descried in the distance two sepoys making
off with a standard, which I determined must be captured, so I rode
after the rebels and overtook them, and while wrenching the staff out
of the hands of one of them, whom I cut down, the other put his musket
close to my body and fired; fortunately for me it missed fire, and I
carried off the standard.[3]

[Illustration: Plan of the Engagement on the Banks of the KALI NADI at
KHUDAGANJ January 2nd. 1858.]

Tyrrell Ross, attracted by a party of men in the rear of the squadron
bending over the fallen Younghusband, now came up, and, to everyone's
great grief, pronounced the wound to be mortal. From the day that I
had annexed Younghusband's pony at the siege of Delhi we had been so
much together, and had become such fast friends, that it was a great
shock to me to be told that never again would my gallant comrade lead
the men in whom he took such soldierly pride.[4]

When the wounded had been attended to, we returned to camp, where
we found Sir Colin waiting to welcome us, and we received quite an
ovation from our comrades in the Infantry and Artillery. We must
have presented a curious spectacle as we rode back, almost every
man carrying some trophy of the day, for the enemy had abandoned
everything in their flight, and we found the road strewn with laden
carts and palankins, arms, Native clothing, etc. Our losses were
surprisingly small--only 10 men killed, and 30 men and 2 officers

The next day the column marched to Fatehgarh, which we found deserted.
The rebels had fled so precipitately that they had left the bridge
over the Ganges intact, and had not attempted to destroy the valuable
gun-carriage factory in the fort, which was then placed in the charge
of Captain H. Legeyt Bruce.[5]

We remained a whole month at Fatehgarh, and loud were the complaints
in camp at the unaccountable delay. It was the general opinion that
we ought to move into Rohilkand, and settle that part of the country
before returning to Lucknow; this view was very strongly held by
Sir Colin Campbell, and those who accused him of "indecision,
dilatoriness, and wasting the best of the cold weather" could not have
known how little he deserved their censure. The truth was, that the
Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief were not in accord as to
the order in which the several military operations should be taken in
hand; the latter urged that Rohilkand should be dealt with first, and
settled before the end of the cold weather; he thought that the troops
would then be the better for a rest, and that Lucknow could very well
wait till the following autumn. Lord Canning opined, on the other hand
(and I entirely agree with him), that, while it was most desirable
that order should be restored in Rohilkand, and indeed throughout the
whole of the North-West Provinces, the possession of Lucknow was of
'far greater value.' 'Every eye,' Lord Canning wrote, 'is upon Oudh as
it was upon Delhi: Oudh is not only the rallying-place of the sepoys,
the place to which they all look, and by the doings in which their own
hopes and prospects rise or fall; but it represents a dynasty; there
is a king of Oudh "seeking his own."' He pointed out that there was an
uneasy feeling amongst the Chiefs of Native States, who were intently
watching our attitude with regard to Lucknow, and that even in
'far-off Burma' news from Lucknow was anxiously looked for. The
Governor-General laid great stress also upon the advisability of
employing as soon and as close to their own country as possible the
troops from Nepal which, at Sir Henry Lawrence's suggestion, had been
applied for to, and lent us by, the Nepalese Government.

The visit of Jung Bahadur (the Prime Minister of Nepal) to England a
few years before had opened his eyes to our latent power, and he had
been able to convince his people that time alone was required for us
to recover completely from the blow which had been dealt us by the
Mutiny, and that it was therefore to their advantage to side with us.
Lord Canning wisely judged, however, that it would be highly imprudent
to allow the province immediately adjoining Nepal to continue in a
state of revolt, and he felt that neither Jung Bahadur nor his Gurkhas
would be satisfied unless they were allowed to take an active part in
the campaign.

[Footnote 1: The late General Sir William Payn, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 2: Tyrrell Ross was well known as a skilful surgeon, and
much esteemed as a staunch friend. He had just returned from England,
and had that very morning been placed in medical charge of the Cavalry
Brigade. When the order to mount was given, Ross asked the General
where he wished him to be, pointing out that he would not be of much
use in the rear if there were a pursuit across country. Hope Grant
replied: 'Quite so; I have heard that you are a good rider and can
use your sword. Ride on my left, and help to look after my third
squadron.' This Ross did as well as any Cavalry officer could have

[Footnote 3: For these two acts I was awarded the Victoria Cross.]

[Footnote 4: Younghusband met with an extraordinary accident during
the fight at Agra. While pursuing one of the Gwalior rebels, he fell
with his horse into a disused well, fifty feet deep, and was followed
by two of his men, also mounted. Ropes were brought, and the bodies
were hauled up, when, to the astonishment of everyone, Younghusband
was found to be alive, and, beyond being badly bruised, uninjured.
He had fallen to the bottom in a sitting position, his back resting
against the side of the well, and his legs stretched out in front
of him, while his horse fell standing and across him. He was thus
protected from the weight of the other two horses and their riders,
who were all killed.]

[Footnote 5: Now Major-General H.L. Bruce, C.B.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Mianganj--Curious effect of a mirage--The Dilkusha revisited
  --Passage of the Gumti--Capture of the Chakar Kothi
  --Capture of the iron bridge--Hodson mortally wounded
  --Outram's soldierly instinct--A lost opportunity--Sam Browne
  --Start for England--Death of Sir William Peel

Our prolonged stay at Fatehgarh was not altogether without advantage.
Such a large force being concentrated in the neighbourhood secured the
safety of the Doab for the time being, and as Fatehgarh was equally
conveniently situated for an advance, either into Rohilkand or upon
Lucknow, the rebels were kept in a state of uncertainty as to the
direction of our next move.

At length it was decided that Lucknow was to be our first objective,
and Sir Colin at once communicated with Outram and Napier as to the
best means of conducting the siege. Then, leaving Hope Grant to take
the division across the Ganges, the Chief went to Allahabad, the
temporary Head-Quarters of the supreme Government, to discuss the
situation with the Governor-General.

We marched through Cawnpore, and on the 8th February reached Unao,
where we found encamped the 7th Hussars, a troop of Royal Horse
Artillery, the 38th Foot and the 79th Highlanders.

Sir Colin on his return from Allahabad on the 10th issued a General
Order detailing the regiments, staff, and Commanders who were to take
part in the 'Siege of Lucknow.'[1] Hope Grant, who had been made
a Major-General for the 'Relief of Lucknow,' was appointed to the
command of the Cavalry division, and I remained with him as D.A.Q.M.G.

Rumours had been flying about that the Nana was somewhere in the
neighbourhood, but 'Wolf!' had been cried so often with regard to him,
that but little notice was taken of the reports, until my faithful
spy, Unjur Tiwari, brought me intelligence that the miscreant really
was hiding in a small fort about twenty-five miles from our camp. Hope
Grant started off at once, taking with him a compact little force, and
reached the fort early next morning (17th February), just too late
to catch the Nana, who, we were told, had fled precipitately before
daybreak. We blew up the fort, and for the next few days moved by
short marches towards Lucknow, clearing the country as we went of
rebels, small parties of whom we frequently encountered. On the 23rd
we reached Mianganj, a small fortified town on the old Cawnpore and
Lucknow road, where some 2,000 of the enemy had ensconced themselves.
Our advance guard having been fired upon as we approached, the
column was halted and the baggage placed in safety, while Hope
Grant reconnoitred the position in order to see where it could most
advantageously be attacked. We found the town enclosed by a high
loop-holed wall with circular bastions at the four corners and at
regular intervals along the sides, the whole being surrounded by a wet
ditch, while the gateways had been strengthened by palisades. Large
bodies of the enemy's Cavalry hovered about our reconnoitring party,
only to retire as we advanced, apparently not liking the look of the
7th Hussars and 9th Lancers, who formed the General's escort.

After a careful inspection, Hope Grant decided to breach the
north-west angle of the wall, as from a wood near the Infantry could
keep down the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, and the heavy guns
would be in a measure protected while the walls were being bombarded.
A sufficiently good breach was made in about two hours, and the 53rd
Regiment, having been selected for the honour of leading the assault,
was told to hold itself in readiness. Hope Grant then spoke a few
words of encouragement to the men, and their Colonel (English) replied
on their behalf that they might be depended upon to do their duty. The
signal was given; the Horse Artillery, under Lieutenant-Colonel Frank
Turner, galloped to within grape range of the town, and covered by
their fire the 53rd marched in steadily until they got within 100
yards of the walls, when, with a ringing cheer, they dashed through
the water in the ditch and entered the breach. Hopkins, the plucky
Captain of the light company, was the first inside the walls, followed
closely by Augustus Anson and an adventurous Post-Captain of the Royal
Navy, who, being unemployed, came to see what 'a winter's campaign in
India' was like.[2] There was a good deal of hand-to-hand fighting,
and the enemy lost about 500 men, those who tried to escape being cut
down by the Cavalry outside the walls. We took about the same number
of prisoners, but as none of these were soldiers, and vowed they had
been forced to take up arms against us, the General, as much to their
astonishment as to their delight, ordered them to be set free. Our
losses were small.

Next day we halted while the walls were being destroyed and the
place rendered indefensible. As I was superintending the work of
destruction, the horrors of war were once more brought very forcibly
before me by the appearance of an infirm old man, who besought me to
spare his house, saying: 'Yesterday I was the happy father of five
sons: three of them lie there' (pointing to a group of dead bodies);
'where the other two are, God only knows. I am old and a cripple, and
if my house is burned there is nothing left for me but to die.' Of
course I took care that his house and property were left untouched.

On the 25th February we marched to Mohan, a picturesquely situated
village on the bank of the Sai Naddi, which stream we crossed the next
day and encamped on a fine grassy plain, there to remain until it
should be time to join the army before Lucknow.

While we were halting at this place, Watson and I had rather a curious
adventure. During a morning's ride my greyhound put up a _nilghai_[3]
so close to us that Watson, aiming a blow at him with his sword,
gashed his quarter. Off he started, and we after him at full speed;
the chase continued for some miles without our getting much nearer,
when, all at once, we beheld moving towards us from our right front
a body of the enemy's Cavalry. We were in an awkward position; our
horses were very nearly dead beat, and we could hardly hope to get
away if pursued. We pulled up, turned round, and trotted back, very
quietly at first, that our horses might recover their breath before
the enemy got to closer quarters and we should have to ride for our
lives. Every now and then we looked back to see whether they were
gaining upon us, and at last we distinctly saw them open out and make
as if to charge down upon us. We thought our last hour was come. We
bade each other good-bye, agreeing that each must do his best to
escape, and that neither was to wait for the other, when lo! as
suddenly as they had appeared, the horsemen vanished, as though the
ground had opened and swallowed them; there was nothing to be seen
but the open plain, where a second before there had been a crowd of
mounted men. We could hardly believe our eyes, or comprehend at first
that what we had seen was simply a mirage, but so like reality that
anyone must have been deceived. Our relief, on becoming convinced
that we had been scared by a phantom enemy, was considerable; but
the apparition had the good effect of making us realize the folly
of having allowed ourselves to be tempted so far away from our camp
without escort of any kind in an enemy's country, and we determined
not to risk it again.[4]

While we were occupied in clearing the country to the north of
the Cawnpore-Lucknow road, the main body of the army, with the
siege-train, Engineer park, Naval Brigade,[5] ammunition, and stores
of all kinds, had gradually been collecting at Bhantira, to which
place we were ordered to proceed on the 1st March. We had a
troublesome march across country, and did not reach the Head-Quarters
camp until close on midnight. There was much difficulty in getting the
guns through the muddy nullas and up the steep banks, and but for
the assistance of the elephants the task could hardly have been
accomplished. It was most curious and interesting to see how these
sagacious creatures watched for and seized the moment when their help
was needed to get the guns up the steep inclines; they waited till
the horses dragging the gun could do no more and were coming to a
stand-still, when one of them would place his forehead against the
muzzle and shove until the gun was safely landed on the top of the

We started early on the morning of the 2nd for Lucknow, Hope Grant
taking command of the Cavalry division for the first time.

On nearing the Alambagh, we bore to our right past the Jalalabad fort,
where Outram's Engineers were busily engaged in constructing fascines
and gabions for the siege, and preparing spars and empty casks for
bridging the Gumti. As we approached the Mahomedbagh we came under the
fire of some of the enemy's guns placed in a grove of trees; but no
sooner had the Artillery of our advance guard opened fire than the
rebels retired, leaving a gun in our hands. We moved on to the
Dilkusha, which we found unoccupied. The park had been greatly
disfigured since our last visit, most of the finest trees having been
cut down.

My General was now placed in charge of the piquets, a position for
which he was admirably fitted and in which he delighted. He rode well,
without fatigue to himself or his horse, so that any duty entailing
long hours in the saddle was particularly congenial to him. I
invariably accompanied him in his rounds, and in after-years I often
felt that I owed Hope Grant a debt of gratitude for the practical
lessons he gave me in outpost duty.

Strong piquets with heavy guns were placed in and around the Dilkusha,
as well as in the Mahomedbagh. The main body of the army was encamped
to the rear of the Dilkusha, its right almost on the Gumti, while its
left stretched for two miles in the direction of the Alambagh. Hope
Grant, wishing to be in a convenient position in case of an attack,
spent the night in the Mahomedbagh piquet, and Anson, the D.A.A.G.,
and I kept him company.

On the 3rd some of the troops left at Bhantira came into camp, and
on the 5th General Franks arrived. His division, together with
the Nepalese Contingent, 9,000 strong, brought the numbers at the
Commander-in-Chief's disposal up to nearly 31,000 men, with 164
guns;[6] not a man too many for the capture of a city twenty miles in
circumference, defended by 120,000 armed men, who for three months and
a half had worked incessantly at strengthening the defences, which
consisted of three lines, extending lengthwise from the Charbagh
bridge to the Gumti, and in depth from the canal to the Kaisarbagh.

In Napier's carefully prepared plan, which Sir Colin decided to adopt,
it was shown that the attack should be made on the east, as that
side offered the smallest front, it afforded ground for planting
our Artillery, which the west side did not, and it was the shortest
approach to the Kaisarbagh, a place to which the rebels attached the
greatest importance; more than all, we knew the east side, and were
little acquainted with the west. Napier further recommended that the
attack should be accompanied by a flank movement on the north, with
the object of taking in reverse the first and second lines of the
enemy's defences.[7] A division was accordingly sent across the
Gumti for this purpose, and the movement, being entirely successful,
materially aided in the capture of the city. The passage of the river
was effected by means of two pontoon bridges made of empty barrels,
and thrown across the stream a little below the Dilkusha. They were
completed by midnight on the 5th March, and before day broke the
troops detailed for this service had crossed over.

Outram, who, since the 'Relief of Lucknow,' had been maintaining his
high reputation by keeping the enemy in check before the Alambagh,
commanded this division, with Hope Grant as his second in command. As
soon as it was light we moved away from the river to be out of reach
of the Martinière guns, and after marching for about two miles we came
in view of the enemy; the Artillery of the advance guard got to within
a thousand yards and opened fire, upon which the rebels broke and
fled. The Bays pursued them for a short distance, but with very little
result, the ground being intersected with nullas, and the enemy
opening upon them with heavy guns, they had to retire precipitately,
with the loss of their Major, Percy Smith, whose body, unhappily, had
to be abandoned.

About noon we encamped close to Chinhut, and Hope Grant took special
care that day to see the piquets were well placed, for the rebels
were in great numbers, and we were surrounded by ravines and wooded
enclosures. It was thought by some that he was unnecessarily anxious
and careful, for he rode several times over the ground; but the next
morning proved how right he was to leave nothing to chance.

While we were at breakfast, information was brought in that the enemy
were advancing in force, and directly afterwards half a dozen round
shot were sent into our camp; the troops fell in, the Infantry moved
out, and Hope Grant took the Horse Artillery and Cavalry to our right
flank, where the mutineers were collected in considerable numbers. In
less than an hour we had driven them off, but we were not allowed to
follow them up, as Outram did not wish to get entangled in the suburbs
until heavy guns had arrived. The piquets were strengthened and pushed
forward, affording another opportunity for a useful lesson in outpost

All that day and the next I accompanied my General in his
reconnaissance of the enemy's position, as well as of the ground near
the Gumti, in order to determine where the heavy guns could best
be placed, so as effectually to enfilade the enemy's first line of
defences along the bank of the canal. On returning to report progress
to Outram at mid-day on the 8th, we found Sir Colin Campbell and
Mansfield with him, arranging for a joint attack the following day;
after their consultation was over, they all rode with us to see the
site Hope Grant had selected for the battery. It was a slightly
elevated piece of ground about half a mile north of the Kokrel nulla,
fairly concealed by a bend of the river; but before it could be made
use of it was considered necessary to clear the rebels out of the
position they were occupying between the nulla and the iron bridge,
the key to which was the Chakar Kothi, and Outram was directed to
attack this point the next morning.

At 2 a.m. on the 9th the heavy guns, escorted by the 1st Bengal
Fusiliers, were sent forward to within 600 yards of the enemy.
The troops then moved off in two parties, that on the right being
commanded by Hope Grant. We marched along the Fyzabad road, the two
Rifle Brigade battalions leading the way in skirmishing order, with
the Cavalry well away to the right. The rebels retired as we advanced,
and Walpole, commanding one of our brigades, by wheeling to his left
on reaching the opposite bank of the nulla, was enabled to enfilade
their position. The column was then halted, and I was sent to inform
Outram as to our progress.

When I had delivered my message, and was about to return, Outram
desired me to stay with him until the capture of the Chakar Kothi
(which he was just about to attempt) should be accomplished, that I
might then convey to Hope Grant his orders as to what further action
would be required of him; meanwhile Outram sent a messenger to tell
my General what he was about to do, in view of his co-operating on the

The Chakar Kothi was attacked and taken, and the enemy, apparently
having lost heart, fled precipitately. One of the 1st Bengal
Fusiliers' colours was placed on the top of this three-storied
building by Ensign Jervis to show the Commander-in-Chief that it was
in our possession, and that the time had come for him to attack the
first line of the enemy's defences. We then continued our advance to
the river, where the parties united, and I rejoined Hope Grant.

It was now only 2 p.m., and there was plenty of time to place the
heavy guns in position before dark. Major Lothian Nicholson,[9]
Outram's Commanding Engineer, was superintending this operation, when
he thought he perceived that the enemy had abandoned their first line,
but he could not be quite sure. It was most necessary to ascertain for
certain whether this was the case, as the Infantry of Hope's brigade,
which had attacked and driven the rebels out of the Martinière, could
be seen preparing to assault the works at the other side of the river.
A discussion ensued as to how this knowledge could be obtained, and a
young subaltern of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers, named Butler,[10] offered
to swim across the Gumti, and, if he found the enemy had retired,
to communicate the fact to Hope's men. This feat was successfully
accomplished by the plucky young volunteer; he found the enemy had
retired, and, on giving the information to Hope, the brigade advanced,
and before nightfall the whole of the enemy's first line was in our
possession--a success which had been achieved with but slight loss to
us, the chief casualty during the day being William Peel, the gallant
Commander of the Naval Brigade, who had been seriously wounded while
in command of a battery near the Dilkusha.

The next day, the 10th, Outram's camp was moved close up to the Gumti,
and batteries were constructed from which fire could be poured on the
mess-house and the Kaisarbagh. For the protection of these works,
and to prevent an attack in force being made on the main part of the
column, Hope Grant kept moving about with the Horse Artillery and
Cavalry between the river and the Sitapur road, our reconnaissance
extending beyond the old cantonment. We had several little fights,
in one of which a very promising officer named Sandford, who had
succeeded Younghusband in command of the 5th Punjab Cavalry squadron,
was killed.

At daybreak on the morning of the 11th the batteries opened fire on
the enemy's second line of defence; at the same time Outram himself
led a strong body of Infantry along the river with the object of
securing the approaches to the bridges. On reaching the Fyzabad road,
about half a mile from the iron bridge, Outram placed the 1st Bengal
Fusiliers in a mosque, with orders to entrench themselves and hold
the post, while he pushed on to the stone bridge about a mile away.
Outram's advance was covered by Hope Grant's Horse Artillery and
Cavalry, but we had to keep at some distance away to the right, in
order to avoid houses and walled enclosures. Soon after crossing the
Sitapur road we heard guns to our left, and proceeding at a smart
trot, came up with Outram just as he was about to attack a large body
of the rebels, who, finding themselves in an awkward position, with
the river in their rear and their retreat by the iron bridge cut off,
made but a feeble resistance before they broke and fled. Some few
escaped by the stone bridge, but the greater number, including the
whole of the mutinous 15th Irregular Cavalry, made for the old
cantonment. We pursued with our Cavalry, and very few of them got
away. A couple of guns and a quantity of plunder were left behind by
the enemy, who evidently had not expected us and were quite unprepared
for our attack. Outram pushed on to the stone bridge, but finding he
was losing men from the fire poured upon us by the rebels from the
opposite side of the river, he fell back to the mosque where he had
left the Fusiliers.

That afternoon, as there was nothing particular for the Cavalry to do,
the General, Anson, and I rode across the river to see how matters
were progressing on the left of the attack. We reached the
Head-Quarters camp just as Sir Colin was about to receive a visit of
ceremony from the Nepalese General, the famous Jung Bahadur. Our old
Chief, in honour of the occasion, had doffed his usual workman-like
costume, and wore General's full-dress uniform, but he was quite
thrown into the shade by the splendour of the Gurkha Prince, who was
most gorgeously attired, with magnificent jewels in his turban, round
his neck, and on his coat.

I looked at Jung Bahadur with no small interest, for his deeds of
daring had made him conspicuous amongst probably the bravest race of
men in the world, and the fact that a high-born Hindu, such as he was,
should, fifty years ago, have so far risen superior to caste prejudice
as to cross the sea and visit England, proved him to be a man of
unusually strong and independent mind. He was about five feet eight
inches high--tall for a Gurkha--with a well-knit, wiry figure, a
keen, dauntless eye, and a firm, determined mouth--in every respect a
typical, well-bred Nepalese. The interview did not last long, for Sir
Colin disliked ceremonial, and, shortly after the Nepalese Prince had
taken his seat, news was brought in that the assault on the Begum
Kothi had been successfully completed, upon which Sir Colin made the
necessity for attending to business an excuse for taking leave of his
distinguished visitor, and the interview came to an end.

I then obtained leave to go to the scene of the recent fight, and,
galloping across the canal by the bridge near Banks's house, soon
found myself at the Begum Kothi. There I was obliged to dismount, for
even on foot it was a difficult matter to scramble over the breach.
The place was most formidable, and it was a marvel that it had been
taken with comparatively so little loss on our side. The bodies of a
number of Highlanders and Punjabis were lying about, and a good many
wounded men were being attended to, but our casualties were nothing in
proportion to those of the enemy, 600 or 700 of whom were buried
the next day in the ditch they had themselves dug for their own
protection. A very determined stand had been made by the sepoys when
they found there was no chance of getting away. There were many tales
of hair-breadth escapes and desperate struggles, and on all sides I
hoard laments that Hodson should have been one of those dangerously,
if not mortally, wounded in the strife. Hodson had been carried to
Banks's house, and to the inquiry I made on my way back to camp, as to
his condition, the answer was, 'Little, if any, hope.'

A great stride in the advance had been made on this day. Outram
had accomplished all that was expected of him, and he was now
busy constructing additional batteries for the bombardment of the
Kaisarbagh; while Lugard,[11] from his newly-acquired position at the
Begum Kothi, was also able to bring fire to bear upon that doomed

Hodson died the following day (the 12th). As a soldier, I had a very
great admiration, for him, and, in common with the whole army, I
mourned his early death.[12]

On the 13th Lugard's division was relieved by Franks's, and to Jung
Bahadur and his Gurkhas, only too eager for the fray, was entrusted
the conduct of operations along the line of the canal between Banks's
house and the Charbagh bridge. On our side of the river nothing of
importance occurred.

The capture of the Imambara (a mosque situated between the Begum Kothi
and the Kaisarbagh) was accomplished early next morning. The assault
was led by Brasyer's Sikhs and a detachment of the 10th Foot,
supported by the remainder of that regiment and the 90th Light
Infantry. After a short but very severe struggle, the enemy were
forced to retire, and were so closely pursued that the storming party
suddenly found themselves in a building immediately overlooking the

It had not been intended to advance that day beyond the Imambara,
but, recognizing the advantage of the position thus gained, and the
demoralized condition of the rebels, Franks wisely determined to
follow up his success. Reinforcements were hurried forward, the troops
holding the Sikandarbagh and the Shah Najaf were ordered to act in
concert, and before nightfall the Kaisarbagh, the mess-house, and the
numerous buildings situated between those places and the Residency,
were in our possession.

By means of the field telegraph, Outram was kept accurately informed
as to the movements of Franks's division, and he could have afforded
it valuable assistance had he been allowed to cross the Gumti with his
three brigades of Infantry. Outram, with his soldierly instinct, felt
that this was the proper course to pursue; but in reply to his request
to be allowed to push over the river by the iron bridge, he received
from the Commander-in-Chief through Mansfield the unaccountably
strange order that he must not attempt it, if it would entail his
losing 'a single man.' Thus a grand opportunity was lost. The bridge,
no doubt, was strongly held, but with the numerous guns which Outram
could have brought to bear upon its defenders its passage could have
been forced without serious loss; the enemy's retreat would have been
cut off, and Franks's victory would have been rendered complete,
which it certainly was not, owing to Outram's hands having been so
effectually tied.

Lucknow was practically in our hands on the evening of the 14th March,
but the rebels escaped with comparatively slight punishment, and the
campaign, which should have then come to an end, was protracted for
nearly a year by the fugitives spreading themselves over Oudh, and
occupying forts and other strong positions, from which they were able
to offer resistance to our troops until towards the end of May, 1859,
thus causing the needless loss of thousands of British soldiers.[13]
Sir Colin saw his mistake when too late. The next day orders were
issued for the Cavalry to follow up the mutineers, who were understood
to have fled in a northerly direction. One brigade under Campbell (the
Colonel of the Bays) was directed to proceed to Sandila, and another,
under Hope Grant, towards Sitapur. But the enemy was not seen by
either. As usual, they had scattered themselves over the country and
entirely disappeared, and many of the rebels who still remained in the
city seized the opportunity of the Cavalry being absent to get away.

Outram's command on the left bank of the Gumti was now broken up, with
the view to his completing the occupation of the city. Accordingly, on
the 16th, he advanced from the Kaisarbagh with Douglas's brigade[14]
and Middleton's battery, supported by the 20th Foot and Brasyer's
Sikhs, and occupied in quick succession, and with but slight
resistance, the Residency, the Machi Bhawan, and the great Imambara,
thus taking in reverse the defences which had been thrown up by the
enemy for the protection of the two bridges. As Outram pushed on, the
rebels retreated, some across the stone bridge towards Fyzabad, and
some through the city towards the Musabagh. They made two attacks to
cover their retirement, one on Walpole's piquets, which enabled
a large number (20,000 it was said) to get away in the Fyzabad
direction, and another on the Alambagh, which was much more serious,
for the garrison had been reduced to less than a thousand men, and the
rebels' force was considerable, consisting of Infantry, Cavalry and
Artillery. They attacked with great determination, and fought for four
hours and a half before they were driven off.

It was not a judicious move on Sir Colin's part to send the Cavalry
miles away from Lucknow just when they could have been so usefully
employed on the outskirts of the city. This was also appreciated when
too late, and both brigades were ordered to return, which they did on
the 17th. Even then the Cavalry were not made full use of, for instead
of both brigades being collected on the Lucknow bank of the river,
which was now the sole line of retreat left open to the enemy (the
bridges being in our possession), one only (Campbell's) was sent
there, Hope Grant being directed to take up his old position on the
opposite side of the Gumti, from which we had the mortification of
watching the rebels streaming into the open country from the Musabagh,
without the smallest attempt being made by Campbell to stop or pursue
them. His brigade had been placed on the enemy's line of retreat on
purpose to intercept them, but he completely failed to do what was
expected of him. We, on our side, could do nothing, for an unfordable
river flowed between us and the escaping mutineers.[15]

There was one more fight in Lucknow. The Moulvie[16] of Fyzabad (who
from the first was one of the prominent leaders of the rebellion) had
returned at the head of a considerable force, and had placed himself
in a strongly-fortified position in the very centre of the city. It
was not without a severe struggle that he was dislodged by the 93rd
Highlanders and 4th Punjab Infantry under Lugard. The brunt of the
fighting fell upon the last-named regiment, the gallant Commander
(Wilde) of which, and his second in command,[17] were severely
wounded. The Moulvie made his escape, but his followers were pursued,
and many of them were cut up. Thus at last the city was cleared of
rebels, and we were once more masters in Lucknow.

On the 22nd March Hope Grant was ordered to proceed to Kursi, a small
town about twenty-five miles off between the Sitapur and Fyzabad
roads, reported to be occupied in force by the enemy.

We started at midnight with a brigade of Infantry, 1,000 Cavalry, two
troops of Horse Artillery, and eight heavy guns and mortars. We were
delayed some hours by the heavy guns and their escort (the 53rd Foot)
taking a wrong turn when leaving the city, which resulted in the enemy
being warned of our approach in time to clear out before we arrived.

On hearing they had gone, Hope Grant pushed on with the mounted
portion of the force, and we soon came in sight of the enemy in full
retreat. The Cavalry, commanded by Captain Browne,[18] was ordered
to pursue. It consisted of Browne's own regiment (the 2nd Punjab
Cavalry), a squadron of the 1st Punjab Cavalry under Captain Cosserat,
and three Horse Artillery guns. At the end of two miles, Browne came
upon a body of the mutineers formed up on an open plain. The Cavalry
charged through them three times, each time thinning their ranks
considerably, but they never wavered, and in the final charge avenged
themselves by killing Macdonnell (the Adjutant of the 2nd Punjab
Cavalry), and mortally wounding Cosserat. I arrived on the ground with
Hope Grant just in time to witness the last charge and the fall of
these two officers, and deplorable as we felt their loss to be, it was
impossible not to admire the gallantry and steadiness of the sepoys,
every one of whom fought to the death.

[Illustration: GENERAL SIR SAMUEL BROWNE, V.C., G.C.B., K.C.S.I.
_From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott and Fry._]

As soon as Browne could got his men together, the pursuit of the enemy
was continued; no further opposition was met with, and fourteen guns
fell into our hands.

On the 24th we retraced our steps, halting for the night at the old
cantonment of Muriao, where we buried poor Macdonnell. On the 25th we
crossed the Gumti, and pitched our camp near the Dilkusha.

Lucknow was now completely in our possession, and our success had been
achieved with remarkably slight loss, a result which was chiefly
due to the scientific manner in which the siege operations had been
carried on under the direction of our talented Chief Engineer, Robert
Napier, ably assisted by Colonel Harness; and also to the good use
which Sir Colin Campbell made of his powerful force of Artillery. Our
casualties during the siege amounted to only 16 British officers, 3
Native officers, and 108 men killed; 51 British officers, 4 Native
officers, and 540 men wounded, while 13 men were unaccounted for.

The capture of Lucknow, though not of such supreme importance in its
consequences as the taking of Delhi, must have convinced the rebels
that their cause was now hopeless. It is true that Jhansi had not yet
fallen, and that the rest of Oudh, Rohilkand, and the greater part
of Central India remained to be conquered, but there was no very
important city in the hands of the enemy, and the subjugation of the
country was felt to be merely a matter of time. Sir Hugh Rose, after a
brilliant campaign, had arrived before Jhansi, columns of our troops
were traversing the country in every direction, and the British Army
had been so largely increased that, on the 1st of April, 1858, there
were 96,000 British soldiers in India, besides a large body of
reliable Native troops, some of whom, although hurriedly raised, had
already shown that they were capable of doing good service--a very
different state of affairs from that which prevailed six months

For some time I had been feeling the ill effects of exposure to the
climate and hard work, and the doctor, Campbell Browne, had been
urging me to go on the sick-list; that, of course, was out of the
question until Lucknow had fallen. Now, however, I placed myself in
Browne's hands, hoping that a change to the Hills was all that was
needed to set me up; but the doctors insisted on a trip to England. It
was a heavy blow to me to have to leave while there was still work to
be done, but I had less hesitation than I should have had if most
of my own immediate friends had not already gone. Several had been
killed, others had left sick or wounded; Watson had gone to Lahore,
busily engaged in raising a regiment of Cavalry;[19] Probyn was on his
way home, invalided; Hugh Gough had gone to the Hills to recover from
his wounds; and Norman and Stewart were about to leave Lucknow with
Army Head-Quarters.

On the 1st April, the sixth anniversary of my arrival in
India, I made over my office to Wolseley, who succeeded me as
Deputy-Assistant-Quartermaster-General on Hope Grant's staff, and
towards the middle of the month I left Lucknow.

The Commander-in-Chief was most kind and complimentary when I took
leave of him, and told me that, in consideration of my services,
he would bestow upon me the first permanent vacancy in the
Quartermaster-General's Department, and that he intended to recommend
that I should be given the rank of Brevet-Major so soon as I should
be qualified by becoming a regimental Captain. I was, of course, much
gratified by his appreciative words and kindly manner; but the brevet
seemed a long way off, for I had only been a First Lieutenant for less
than a year, and there were more than a hundred officers in the Bengal
Artillery senior to me in that rank!

I marched to Cawnpore with Army Head-Quarters. Sir William Peel, who
was slowly recovering from his wound, was of the party. We reached
Cawnpore on the 17th, and the next day I said good-bye to my friends
on the Chief's staff. Peel and I dined together on the 19th, when to
all appearances he was perfectly well, but on going into his room
the next morning I found he was in a high fever, and had some
suspicious-looking spots about his face. I went off at once in search
of a doctor, and soon returned with one of the surgeons of the 5th
Fusiliers, who, to my horror--for I had observed that Peel was nervous
about himself--exclaimed with brutal frankness the moment he entered
the room, 'You have got small-pox.' It was only too true. On being
convinced that this was the case, I went to the chaplain, the Rev.
Thomas Moore, and told him of Peel's condition. Without an instant's
hesitation, he decided the invalid must come to his house to be taken
care of. That afternoon I had the poor fellow carried over, and there
I left him in the kind hands of Mrs. Moore, the _padre's_ wife, who
had, as a special case, been allowed to accompany her husband to
Cawnpore. Peel died on the 27th. On the 4th May I embarked at Calcutta
in the P. and O. steamer _Nubia_, without, alas! the friend whose
pleasant companionship I had hoped to have enjoyed on the voyage.

March, 1858]

[Footnote 1: The Infantry portion of the army was divided into three
divisions, commanded respectively by Outram, Lugard, and Walpole. This
was exclusive of Franks's column, which joined at Lucknow and made a
fourth division. The Artillery was placed under Archdale Wilson, and
the Engineers under Robert Napier. Sir Colin's selection of Commanders
caused considerable heart-burnings, especially amongst the senior
officers who had been sent out from England for the purpose of being
employed in the field. But, as the Chief explained to the Duke of
Cambridge, the selection had been made with the greatest care, it
having been found that 'an officer unexperienced in war in India
cannot act for himself ... it is quite impossible for him to be able
to weigh the value of intelligence ... he cannot judge what are the
resources of the country, and he is totally unable to make an estimate
for himself of the resistance the enemy opposed to him is likely to
offer.' Sir Colin wound up his letter as follows: 'I do not wish to
undervalue the merits of General or other officers lately arrived
from England, but merely to indicate to your Royal Highness the
difficulties against which they have to contend. What is more, the
state of things at present does not permit of trusting anything to
chance, or allowing new-comers to learn, except under the command of
others.'--Shadwell's 'Life of Lord Clyde.']

[Footnote 2: The late Captain Oliver Jones, who published his
experiences under that title.]

[Footnote 3: Literally 'blue cow,' one of the bovine antelopes.]

[Footnote 4: A few days afterwards, when we were some miles from the
scene of our adventure, I was awakened one morning by the greyhound
licking my face; she had cleverly found me out in the midst of a large
crowded camp.]

[Footnote 5: Peel had changed his 24-pounders for the more powerful
64-pounders belonging to H.M.S. _Shannon_.]

[Footnote 6:

  Naval Brigade                   431
  Artillery                     1,745
  Engineers                       865
  Cavalry                       3,169
  Infantry                     12,498
  Franks's Division             2,880
  Nepalese Contingent           9,000

[Footnote 7: Kaye, in his 'History of the Indian Mutiny,' gives
the credit for originating this movement to the Commander-in-Chief
himself; but the present Lord Napier of Magdala has letters in his
possession which clearly prove that the idea was his father's,
and there is a passage in General Porter's 'History of the Royal
Engineers,' vol. ii., p. 476, written after he had read Napier's
letters to Sir Colin Campbell, which leaves no room for doubt as to my
version being the correct one.]

[Footnote 8: Outram's division consisted of the 23rd Royal Welsh
Fusiliers, 79th Highlanders, 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Rifle
Brigade, 1st Bengal Fusiliers, 2nd Punjab Infantry, D'Aguilar's,
Remmington's and Mackinnon's troops of Horse Artillery, Gibbon's and
Middleton's Field Batteries, and some Heavy guns, 2nd Dragoon Guards,
9th Lancers, 2nd Punjab Cavalry, and Watson's and Sandford's squadrons
of the 1st and 5th Punjab Cavalry.]

[Footnote 9: The late Lieutenant-General Sir Lothian Nicholson,

[Footnote 10: Now Colonel Thomas Butler, V.C.]

[Footnote 11: Now General the Right Hon. Sir Edward Lugard, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 12: It was current in camp, and the story has often been
repeated, that Hodson was killed in the act of looting. This certainly
was not the case. Hodson was sitting with Donald Stewart in the
Head-Quarters camp, when the signal-gun announced that the attack on
the Begum Kothi was about to take place. Hodson immediately mounted
his horse, and rode off in the direction of the city. Stewart, who had
been ordered by the Commander-in-Chief to accompany the troops, and
send an early report to his Excellency of the result of the assault,
had his horse ready, and followed Hodson so closely that he kept him
in sight until within a short distance of the fighting, when Stewart
stopped to speak to the officer in charge of Peel's guns, which had
been covering the advance of the troops. This delayed Stewart for a
few minutes only, and as he rode into the court-yard of the palace a
Highland soldier handed him a pistol, saying, 'This is your pistol,
sir; but I thought you were carried away mortally wounded a short time
ago?' Stewart at once conjectured that the man had mistaken him for
Hodson. In face they were not much alike, but both were tall, well
made and fair, and Native soldiers had frequently saluted one for the
other. It is clear from this account that Hodson could not have been
looting, as he was wounded almost as soon as he reached the palace.]

[Footnote 13: In the month of May, 1858, alone, not less than a
thousand British soldiers died of sunstroke, fatigue and disease, and
about a hundred were killed in action.]

[Footnote 14: Consisting of the 23rd Fusiliers, 79th Highlanders, and
1st Bengal Fusiliers.]

[Footnote 15: Captain Wale, a gallant officer who commanded a newly
raised corps of Sikh Cavalry, lost his life on this occasion. He
persuaded Campbell to let him follow up the enemy, and was shot dead
in a charge. His men behaved extremely well, and one of them, by name
Ganda Sing, saved the life of the late Sir Robert Sandeman, who was a
subaltern in the regiment. The same man, two years later, saved the
late Sir Charles Macgregor's life during the China war, and when I was
Commander-in-Chief in India I had the pleasure of appointing him to be
my Native Aide-de-Camp. Granda Sing, who has now the rank of Captain
and the title of _Sirdar Bahadur_, retired last year with a handsome
pension and a small grant of land.]

[Footnote 16: A Mahomedan Priest.]

[Footnote 17: Now General Cockburn Hood, C.B.]

[Footnote 18: Now General Sir Samuel Browne, V.C., G.C.B. This popular
and gallant officer, well known to every Native in Upper India as
'S[=a]m Br[=u]n _Sahib_,' and to the officers of the whole of Her
Majesty's army as the inventor of the sword-belt universally adopted
on service, distinguished himself greatly in the autumn of 1858. With
230 sabres of his own regiment and 350 Native Infantry, he attacked a
party of rebels who had taken up a position at Nuria, a village at the
edge of the Terai, about ten miles from Pilibhit. Browne managed to
get to the rear of the enemy without being discovered; a hand-to-hand
fight then ensued, in which he got two severe wounds--one on the knee,
from which he nearly bled to death, the other on the left shoulder,
cutting right through the arm. The enemy were completely routed, and
fled, leaving their four guns and 300 dead on the ground. Browne was
deservedly rewarded with the V.C.]

[Footnote 19: The present 13th Bengal Lancers.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  What brought about the Mutiny?
  --Religious fears of the people--The land question
  --The annexation of Oudh--Fulfilment of Malcolm's prophecy
  --The Delhi royal family--The Nana Sahib--The Native army
  --Greased cartridges--Limited number of British troops
  --Objection to foreign service--Excessive age of the British officers

'What brought about the Mutiny?' and 'Is there any chance of a similar
rising occurring again?' are questions which are constantly being put
to me; I will now endeavour to answer them, though it is not a very
easy task--for I feel that my book will be rendered more interesting
and complete to many if I endeavour to give them some idea of the
circumstances which, in my opinion, led to that calamitous crisis in
the history of our rule in India, and then try to show how I think a
repetition of such a disaster may best be guarded against.

The causes which brought about the Mutiny were so various, and some of
them of such long standing, that it is difficult to point them out as
concisely as I could wish; but I will be as brief as possible.

During the first years of our supremacy in India, Hindus and
Mahomedans alike were disposed to acquiesce in our rule--the blessings
of rest and peace after a long reign of strife and anarchy were too
real not to be appreciated; but as time went by, a new generation
sprang up by whom past miseries were forgotten, and those who had real
grievances, or those who were causelessly discontented, were all ready
to lay the blame for their real or fancied troubles on their foreign
rulers. Mahomedans looked back to the days of their Empire in India,
but failed to remember how completely, until we broke the Mahratta
power, the Hindus had got the upper hand. Their Moulvies taught them
that it was only lawful for true Mussulmans to submit to the rule of
an infidel if there was no possibility of successful revolt, and they
watched for the chance of again being able to make Islam supreme. The
Hindus had not forgotten that they had ousted the Mahomedans, and they
fancied that the fate of the British _raj_ might also be at their

The late Sir George Campbell, in his interesting memoirs, says: 'The
Mutiny was a sepoy revolt, not a Hindu rebellion.' I do not altogether
agree with him; for, although there was no general rising of the rural
population, the revolt, in my judgment, would never have taken place
had there not been a feeling of discontent and disquiet throughout
that part of the country from which our Hindustani sepoys chiefly
came, and had not certain influential people been thoroughly
dissatisfied with our system of government. This discontent and
dissatisfaction were produced by a policy which, in many instances,
the Rulers of India were powerless to avoid or postpone, forced upon
them as it was by the demands of civilization and the necessity for a
more enlightened legislation. Intriguers took advantage of this state
of affairs to further their own ends. Their plan of action was to
alienate the Native army, and to increase the general feeling of
uneasiness and suspicion, by spreading false reports as to the
intentions of the authorities in regard to the various measures which
had been adopted to promote the welfare and prosperity of the masses.
It can hardly be questioned that these measures were right and proper
in themselves, but they were on that account none the less obnoxious
to the Brahmin priesthood, or distasteful to the Natives generally.
In some cases also they were premature, and in others they were not
carried out as judiciously as they might have been, or with sufficient
regard to the feelings and prejudices of the people.

The prohibition of _sati_ (burning widows on the funeral pyres of
their husbands); the putting a stop to female infanticide; the
execution of Brahmins for capital offences; the efforts of
missionaries and the protection of their converts; the removal of all
legal obstacles to the remarriage of widows; the spread of western and
secular education generally; and, more particularly, the attempt to
introduce female education, were causes of alarm and disgust to the
Brahmins, and to those Hindus of high caste whose social privileges
were connected with the Brahminical religion. Those arbiters of
fate, who were until then all-powerful to control every act of their
co-religionists, social, religious or political, were quick to
perceive that their influence was menaced, and that their sway would
in time be wrested from them, unless they could devise some means for
overthrowing our Government. They knew full well that the groundwork
of this influence was ignorance and superstition, and they stood
aghast at what they foresaw would be the inevitable result of
enlightenment and progress. Railways and telegraphs were specially
distasteful to the Brahmins: these evidences of ability and strength
were too tangible to be pooh-poohed or explained away. Moreover,
railways struck a direct blow at the system of caste, for on them
people of every caste, high and low, were bound to travel together.

The fears and antagonism of the Brahmins being thus aroused, it
was natural that they should wish to see our rule upset, and they
proceeded to poison the minds of the people with tales of the
Government's determination to force Christianity upon them, and
to make them believe that the continuance of our power meant the
destruction of all they held most sacred.

Nor was opportunity wanting to confirm, apparently, the truth of their
assertions. In the gaols a system of messing had been established
which interfered with the time-honoured custom of every man being
allowed to provide and cook his own food. This innovation was most
properly introduced as a matter of gaol discipline, and due care was
taken that the food of the Hindu prisoners should be prepared by
cooks of the same or superior caste. Nevertheless, false reports were
disseminated, and the credulous Hindu population was led to believe
that the prisoners' food was in future to be prepared by men of
inferior caste, with the object of defiling and degrading those for
whom it was prepared. The news of what was supposed to have happened
in the gaols spread from town to town and from village to village,
the belief gradually gaining ground that the people were about to be
forced to embrace Christianity.

As the promiscuous messing story did not greatly concern the
Mahomedans, other cries were made use of to create suspicion and
distrust amongst the followers of the Prophet. One of these, which
equally affected the Hindu and Mahomedan, was the alleged unfairness
of what was known in India as the land settlement, under which system
the right and title of each landholder to his property was examined,
and the amount of revenue to be paid by him to the paramount Power, as
owner of the soil, was regulated.

The rapid acquisition of territory by the East India Company, and
the establishment of its supremacy as the sovereign Power throughout
India, were necessarily effected by military operations; but as peace
and order were established, the system of land revenue, which had
been enforced in an extremely oppressive and corrupt manner under
successive Native Rulers and dynasties, had to be investigated and
revised. With this object in view, surveys were made, and inquiries
instituted into the rights of ownership and occupancy, the result
being that in many cases it was found that families of position and
influence had either appropriated the property of their humbler
neighbours, or evaded an assessment proportionate to the value of
their estates. Although these inquiries were carried out with the best
intentions, they were extremely distasteful to the higher classes,
while they failed to conciliate the masses. The ruling families deeply
resented our endeavours to introduce an equitable determination of
rights and assessment of land revenue. They saw that it would put an
end to the system of pillage and extortion which had been practised
from time immemorial; they felt that their authority was being
diminished, and that they would no longer be permitted to govern their
estates in the same despotic manner as formerly. On the other hand,
although the agricultural population generally benefited materially
by our rule, they could not realize the benevolent intentions of a
Government which tried to elevate their position and improve their
prospects. Moreover, there were no doubt mistakes made in the
valuation of land, some of it being assessed at too high a rate, while
the revenue was sometimes collected in too rigid a manner, sufficient
allowance not being made for the failure of crops. Then the harsh
law for the sale of proprietary rights in land to realize arrears of
land-tax was often enforced by careless revenue authorities in far too
summary a manner. The peasantry of India were, and still are, ignorant
and apathetic. Accustomed from the earliest days to spoliation and
oppression, and to a periodical change of masters, they had some
reason to doubt whether the rule of the Feringhis would be more
permanent than that of the Moghuls or the Mahrattas. Much as a just
and tolerant Government would have been to their advantage, they were
unable to appreciate it, and if they had appreciated it, they were too
timid and too wanting in organization to give it their open support.
Under these social and political conditions, the passive attitude of
the rural population failed to counterbalance the active hostility
of a large section of the upper classes, and of their predatory
followers, who for centuries had lived by plunder and civil war.

Another weighty cause of discontent, chiefly affecting the wealthy and
influential classes, and giving colour to the Brahmins' accusation
that we intended to upset the religion and violate the most cherished
customs of the Hindus, was Lord Dalhousie's strict enforcement of
the doctrine of the lapse of property in the absence of direct or
collateral heirs, and the consequent appropriation of certain Native
States, and the resumption of certain political pensions by the
Government of India. This was condemned by the people of India as
grasping, and as an unjustifiable interference with the institutions
of the country, and undoubtedly made us many enemies.[1]

Later on, the annexation of Oudh, which was one of those measures
forced on the Rulers of India in the interests of humanity and good
government, and which could hardly have been longer delayed, created
suspicion and apprehension amongst all the Native States. For more
than sixty years Governor-General after Governor-General had pointed
out the impossibility of a civilized Government tolerating in the
midst of its possessions the misrule, disorder, and debauchery
which were desolating one of the most fertile and thickly-populated
districts in India.

As early as 1801 Lord Wellesley wrote: 'I am satisfied that no
effectual security can be provided against the ruin of the province
of Oudh until the exclusive management of the civil and military
government of that country shall be transferred to the Company under
suitable provisions for the Nawab and his family.'

In 1831 Lord William Bentinck warned the King of Oudh that, unless
he would consent to rule his territories in accordance with the
principles of good government and the interest of the people, the East
India Company would assume the entire administration of the province,
and would make him a state prisoner.

In 1847 Lord Hardinge went in person to Lucknow and solemnly
reiterated the warning, giving the King two years to reform his

In 1851 Colonel Sleeman, the Resident at Lucknow, whose sympathy with
the Rulers of Native States was thought to be even too great, and
who was the last person to exaggerate the misrule existing in Oudh,
reported to Lord Dalhousie that the state of things had become
intolerable, and that, if our troops were withdrawn from Oudh, the
landholders would in one month's time overrun the province and pillage
Lucknow. It is true Sleeman, with his Native proclivities, did not
contemplate annexation; his advice was to 'assume the administration,'
but not to 'grasp the revenues of the country.' The same mode of
procedure had been advocated by Henry Lawrence six years before in an
article which appeared in the _Calcutta Review_. His words were: 'Let
Oudh be at last governed, not for one man, the King, but for the King
and his people. Let the administration of the country be Native; let
not one rupee come into the Company's coffers.'

Sleeman was followed in 1854 by Colonel Outram, than whom he could
not have had a more admirable successor, or one less likely to be
unnecessarily hard upon a State which, with all its shortcomings, had
been loyal to us for nearly a century. Colonel Outram, nevertheless,
fully endorsed the views of his predecessor. General Low, the then
Military Member of Council, who twenty years before, when Resident
at Lucknow, had deprecated our assuming even temporarily the
administration of Oudh, thinking our action would be misunderstood by
the people, now also stated his conviction that 'it was the paramount
duty of the British Government to interfere at once for the protection
of the people of Oudh.'

In summing up the case, Lord Dalhousie laid three possible courses of
action before the authorities in England. The King of Oudh might be
forced to abdicate, his province being incorporated in the British
dominions; or he might be maintained in his royal state as a
subsidized Prince, the actual government being permanently transferred
to the East India Company; or the transfer of the government to
the East India Company might be for a limited period only. The
Governor-General recommended the second course, but the Court of
Directors and Her Majesty's Ministers decided to adopt the first,
and requested Lord Dalhousie to carry out the annexation before he
resigned his office.

This measure, so long deferred and so carefully considered, could
hardly, in my opinion, have been avoided by a civilized and civilizing
Government. It was at last adopted with the utmost reluctance, and
only after the experiment of administering a province for the benefit
of the Natives, without annexing it, had been tried in the Punjab
and had signally failed. To use Lord Dalhousie's words, it was amply
justified on the ground that 'the British Government would be guilty
in the sight of God and man if it were any longer to aid in sustaining
by its countenance an administration fraught with suffering to
millions.' But the Natives generally could not understand the
necessity for the measure, or believe in the reasons which influenced
us; many of them, therefore, considered it an unprovoked usurpation,
and each Ruler of a Native State imagined that his turn might come

Thus, the annexation of Oudh in one sense augmented that weakness in
our position as an eastern Power which, so to speak, had its source
in our strength. So long as there was a balance of power
between ourselves and Native States--Mahratta, Rajput, Sikh, or
Mahomedan--they were prevented by their mutual jealousies and
religious differences from combining against us; but when that balance
was destroyed and we became the paramount Power in India, the period
of danger to us began, as was prophesied by the far-seeing Malcolm in
the early days of our first conquests. We had now become objects of
suspicion and dread to all the lesser Powers, who were ready to sink
their own disputes in the consideration of the best means to check the
extension of our rule and overthrow our supremacy; while we, inflated
by our power and satisfied with our apparent security, became more
dogmatic and uncompromising in enforcing principles which, though
sound and just in themselves, were antipathetic to Native ideas and
traditions. By a great many acts and measures we made them feel how
completely our ideas differed from theirs. They preferred their own,
and strongly resented our increasing efforts to impose ours upon them.
Even those amongst the Native Princes who were too enlightened to
believe that we intended to force our religion upon them and change
all their customs, felt that their power was now merely nominal, and
that every substantial attribute of sovereignty would soon disappear
if our notions of progress continued to be enforced.

At a time when throughout the country there existed these feelings of
dissatisfaction and restless suspicion, it was not to be expected that
the most discontented and unfriendly of the Native Rulers would not
seize the opportunity to work us mischief. The most prominent of these
amongst the Mahomedans were the royal family of Delhi and the ex-King
of Oudh, and, amongst the Hindus, Dundu Pant, better known by English
people as the 'Nana Sahib.'

All three considered themselves badly treated, and no doubt, from
their point of view, their grievances were not altogether groundless.
The King of Oudh's I have already indicated, and when his province was
annexed, he was removed to Calcutta. Having refused the yearly pension
of twelve lakhs[2] of rupees offered to him, and declined to sign the
treaty by which his territory was made over to the British Government,
he sent his mother, his son, and his brother to England to plead his
cause for him.

The most influential of the three discontented Rulers, or, at all
events, the one whom the rebellious of all castes and religions were
most inclined to put forward as their nominal leader, was the head of
the Delhi royal family, by name Bahadur Shah. He was eighty years old
in 1857, and had been on the throne for twenty years. His particular
grievance lay in the fact of our decision that on his death the
title of King, which we had bestowed on the successors of the Moghul
Emperor, should be abolished, and his family removed from Delhi.

In the early part of the century Lord Wellesley pointed out the danger
of allowing a Mahomedan Prince, with all the surroundings of royalty,
to remain at the seat of the old Moghul government, but the question
was allowed to remain in abeyance until 1849, when Lord Dalhousie
reconsidered it, and obtained the sanction of the authorities in
England to the removal of the Court from Delhi to a place about
fourteen miles off, where the Kutub tower stands. At the same time the
Heir Apparent was to be told that on his father's death the title of
King of Delhi would cease.

Lord Dalhousie had been only a short time in India when he took
up this question, and he could not properly have appreciated the
estimation in which the Natives held the King of Delhi, for he wrote
in support of his proposals 'that the Princes of India and its people
had become entirely indifferent to the condition of the King or his
position.' But when the decision of the British Government on the
subject reached India, he had been more than two years in the country,
and although his views as to the desirability of the measure remained
unchanged, the experience he had gained enabled him to gauge more
accurately the feelings of the people, and, with the advice of his
Council, he came to the conclusion that it would be wiser to let
affairs remain _in statu quo_ during Bahadur Shah's lifetime. The
royal family were informed accordingly, and an agreement was drawn up,
signed, sealed, and witnessed, by which the Heir Apparent accepted the
conditions to be imposed upon him on the death of his father, who was
to be allowed to remain in Delhi during his lifetime, with all the
paraphernalia of royalty.

However satisfactory this arrangement might be to the Government of
India, to every member of the Delhi royal family it must have seemed
oppressive and humiliating to the last degree. Outwardly they appeared
to accept the inevitable quietly and submissively, but they were only
biding their time, and longing for an opportunity to throw off the
hated English yoke. The war with Persia in 1856 seemed to offer the
chance they wanted. On the pretence that the independence of Herat
was threatened by the Amir of Kabul, the Persians marched an army to
besiege that place. As this act was a violation of our treaty with
Persia made three years before, Her Majesty's Government directed that
an army should be sent from India to the Persian Gulf. The troops had
scarcely left Bombay before the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West
Provinces was warned by a Native correspondent that the King of
Delhi was intriguing with the Shah of Persia. At the same time a
proclamation was posted on the walls of the Jama Masjid (Shah Jehan's
famous mosque at Delhi), to the effect that a Persian army was coming
to relieve India from the presence of the English, and calling on all
true believers to rise and fight against the heretics. Reports were
also diligently circulated of our being defeated on the shores of
the Persian Gulf, and the people were made to believe that their
opportunity had arrived, and that the time was now favourable for a
successful rebellion.

Of the three principal movers in the events which immediately preceded
the Mutiny, the Nana Sahib was by far the most intelligent, and had
mixed most with Europeans. He was the adopted son and heir of the last
of the Peshwas, the Chiefs of the Mahratta confederacy. His cause of
dissatisfaction was the discontinuance to him of a pension which, at
the close of the Mahratta war in 1818, was granted to the Peshwa, on
the clear understanding that it was to cease at his death. The Peshwa
died in 1851, leaving the Nana an enormous fortune; but he was not
content. The lapse of the pension, to which he was not entitled,
rankled in his breast, and when all his efforts to get it restored
to him proved of no avail, he became thoroughly disgusted and
disaffected. After failing to obtain in India a reconsideration of
the decision of the Government on the subject, he sent to England
as confidential agent a Mahomedan of the name of Azimula Khan, who
remained three years in Europe, residing for the most part in London;
but he also visited Paris, Constantinople, and the Crimea, arriving at
the latter place when we, in alliance with the French, were besieging
Sebastopol. He was a man of no rank or position in his own country, a
mere agent of the Nana's, but he was received into the best English
society, was everywhere treated as a royal Prince, and became engaged
to a young English girl, who agreed to follow him to India to be
married. All this was revealed by the correspondence to which I have
referred as having been found in the Nana's palace of Bithur. The
greater number of these letters were from people in England--not a few
from ladies of rank and position. One elderly dame called him her dear
eastern son. There were numerous letters from his English _fiancée_,
and two from a Frenchman of the name of Lafont,[3] relating to some
business with the French settlement of Chandernagore, with which he
had been entrusted by Azimula Khan, acting for the Nana. Written, as
these letters were, immediately before the Mutiny, in which the Nana
was the leading spirit, it seems probable that '_les principales
choses_,' to which Lafont hopes to bring satisfactory answers, were
invitations to the disaffected and disloyal in Calcutta, and perhaps
the French settlers at Chandernagore, to assist in the effort about to
be made to throw off the British yoke. A portion of the correspondence
was unopened, and there were several letters in Azimula's own
handwriting which had not been despatched. Two of these were to Omar
Pasha at Constantinople, and told of the sepoys' discontent and the
troubled state of India generally. That the Nana was intriguing with
the King of Delhi, the Nawab of Oudh, and other great personages, has
been proved beyond a doubt, although at the time he was looked upon by
the British residents at Cawnpore as a perfectly harmless individual,
in spite of its being known that he considered himself aggrieved on
account of his having been refused the continuance of the pension, and
because a salute of guns (such as it is the custom to give to Native
Princes on entering British territory) had not been accorded to him.

While the spirit of rebellion was thus being fostered and stirred into
active existence throughout the country, it was hardly to be hoped
that the Native army would be allowed to remain unaffected by a
movement which could not easily attain formidable proportions without
the assistance of the Native soldiers, who themselves, moreover, had
not remained unmoved spectators of all that had happened during the
previous thirty or forty years. The great majority of the sepoys were
drawn from the agricultural classes, especially in the province
of Oudh, and were therefore directly interested in all questions
connected with rights of property, tenure of land, etc.; and questions
of religion and caste affected them equally with the rest of the

Quietly, but surely, the instigators of rebellion were preparing the
Native army for revolt. The greatest cunning and circumspection were,
however, necessary to success. There were so many opposing interests
to be dealt with, Mahomedans and Hindus being as violently hostile to
each other, with regard to religion and customs, as they were to us.
Soldiers, too, of all ranks had a great stake in their profession.
Some had nearly served their time for their pensions, that greatest
of all attractions to the Native to enter the army, for the youngest
recruit feels that, if he serves long enough, he is sure of an income
sufficient to enable him to sit in the sun and do nothing for the rest
of his days--a Native's idea of supreme happiness. The enemies of our
rule generally, and the fanatic in particular, were, however, equal
to the occasion. They took advantage of the widespread discontent to
establish the belief that a systematic attack was to be made on the
faith and habits of the people, whether Hindu or Mahomedan, and, as a
proof of the truth of their assertions, they alleged that the Enfield
cartridges which had been recently issued to the army were greased
with a mixture of cows' fat and lard, the one being as obnoxious to
the Hindu as the other is to the Mahomedan. The news spread throughout
the Bengal Presidency; the sepoys became alarmed, and determined to
suffer any punishment rather than pollute themselves by biting the
contaminating cartridge, as their doing so would involve loss of
caste, which to the Hindu sepoy meant the loss of everything to him
most dear and sacred in this world and the next. He and his family
would become outcasts, his friends and relations would look on him
with horror and disgust, while eternal misery, he believed, would be
his doom in the world to come.

It has been made quite clear that a general belief existed amongst the
Hindustani sepoys that the destruction of their caste and religion had
been finally resolved upon by the English, as a means of forcing them
to become Christians, and it seems extraordinary that the English
officers with Native regiments were so little aware of the strength of
this impression amongst their men.

The recent researches of Mr. Forrest in the records of the Government
of India prove that the lubricating mixture used in preparing the
cartridges was actually composed of the objectionable ingredients,
cows' fat and lard, and that incredible disregard of the soldiers'
religious prejudices was displayed in the manufacture of these
cartridges. When the sepoys complained that to bite them would destroy
their caste, they were solemnly assured by their officers that they
had been greased with a perfectly unobjectionable mixture. These
officers, understanding, as all who have come in contact with Natives
are supposed to understand, their intense abhorrence of touching the
flesh or fat of the sacred cow or the unclean pig, did not believe it
possible that the authorities could have been so regardless of the
sepoys' feelings as to have allowed it to be used in preparing their
ammunition: they therefore made this statement in perfect good faith.
But nothing was easier than for the men belonging to the regiments
quartered near Calcutta to ascertain, from the low-caste Native
workmen employed in manufacturing the cartridges at the Fort William
arsenal, that the assurances of their officers were not in accordance
with facts, and they were thus prepared to credit the fables which the
sedition-mongers so sedulously spread abroad, to the effect that the
Government they served and the officers who commanded them had entered
into a deliberate conspiracy to undermine their religion.

Notwithstanding all the evil influence brought to bear on the Native
army, I do not think that the sepoys would have proved such ready
instruments in the hands of the civilian intriguers, had that army
been organized, disciplined, and officered in a satisfactory manner,
and had there been a sufficient proportion of British troops in India
at the time. To the great preponderance of Native, as compared with
British, troops may be attributed the fact that the sepoys dared to
break into open mutiny. Moreover, the belief of the Natives in the
invincibility of the British soldier, which formerly enabled small
numbers of Europeans to gain victories over large Native armies, had
been seriously weakened by the lamentable occurrences at Kabul during
the first Afghan war, terminating in the disastrous retreat in the
winter of 1841-42.

To add to the exalted idea the sepoys were beginning to entertain of
their own importance, they were pampered by their officers and the
civil Government to a most absurd extent, being treated under all
circumstances with far greater consideration than the European
soldiers. For instance, in the time of Lord William Bentinck flogging
was abolished in the Native army,[4] while still in full swing amongst
British soldiers, and sepoys were actually allowed to witness the
humiliation of their white comrades when this degrading form of
punishment was inflicted upon them.

In the early days of our connexion with India, we had no need for
an army. Living, as we were, on sufferance in a foreign land for
commercial purposes, armed men were only required to guard the
factories. As these factories increased in size and importance, these
armed men were given a semi-military organization, and in time they
were formed into levies as a reserve to the few Europeans entertained
by the merchants, to enable them to hold their own against the French,
who were then beginning to dispute with us for supremacy in southern
India. When employed in the field, the Native troops were associated
with a varying proportion of British soldiers, but the number of the
latter was limited by the expense of their maintenance, the difficulty
of supplying them from England, and the unadvisability of locking up a
part of the British army in distant stations, which at that time
were very inaccessible and generally unhealthy. Native troops were
therefore raised in continually increasing numbers, and after the
battle of Plassey the Native army was rapidly augmented, especially
in the Bengal Presidency; and, trained and led as it was by British
officers, it achieved remarkable successes.

During the thirteen years preceding the Mutiny, the Native army,
numbering 217,000 men and 176 guns, was increased by 40,000 men and 40
guns, but no addition was made to the small British force of 38,000
until 1853, when one regiment was added to each Presidency, or less
than 3,000 soldiers in all. This insignificant augmentation was
subsequently more than neutralized by the withdrawal of six British
regiments from India to meet the requirements of the Crimean and
Persian wars. Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General in 1854, saw the danger
of this great preponderance of Native troops. He represented that the
annexations and conquests which had taken place during his tenure of
office necessitated a proportional increase of British soldiers; he
protested against the withdrawal of a single European regiment, either
on account of the war with Russia or for operations in the Persian
Gulf, and he solemnly warned Her Majesty's Government that the
essential element of our strength in India was the presence of a large
number of British troops.

No attention, however, was paid to Lord Dalhousie's representations by
the authorities in England, who doubtless thought they understood the
requirements of India better than the Governor-General, with his
more than six years' experience of the country. In spite of his
remonstrances, two regiments were ordered to England, and four were
sent later to the Persian Gulf, with the result which I have already

When the Mutiny broke out, the whole effective British force in India
only amounted to 36,000 men, against 257,000 Native soldiers,[5] a
fact which was not likely to be overlooked by those who hoped and
strived to gain to their own side this preponderance of numerical
strength, and which was calculated to inflate the minds of the sepoys
with a most undesirable sense of independence. An army of Asiatics,
such as we maintain in India, is a faithful servant, but a treacherous
master; powerfully influenced by social and religious prejudices with
which we are imperfectly acquainted, it requires the most careful
handling; above all, it must never be allowed to lose faith in the
prestige or supremacy of the governing race. When mercenaries feel
that they are indispensable to the maintenance of that authority which
they have no patriotic interest in upholding, they begin to consider
whether it would not be more to their advantage to aid in overthrowing
that authority, and if they decide that it would be, they have little
scruple in transferring their allegiance from the Government they
never loved, and have ceased to fear, to the power more in accordance
with their own ideas, and from which, they are easily persuaded, they
will obtain unlimited benefits.

A fruitful cause of dissatisfaction in our Native army, and one which
pressed more heavily upon it year by year, as our acquisitions of
territory in northern India became more extended, was the sepoy's
liability to service in distant parts of India, entailing upon him a
life amongst strangers differing from him in religion and in all their
customs, and far away from his home, his family, and his congenial
surroundings--a liability which he had never contemplated except in
the event of war, when extra pay, free rations and the possibility
of loot, would go far to counterbalance the disadvantages of
expatriation. Service in Burma, which entailed crossing the sea, and,
to the Hindu, consequent loss of caste, was especially distasteful. So
great an objection, indeed, had the sepoys to this so-called 'foreign
service,' and so difficult did it become to find troops to relieve the
regiments, in consequence of the bulk of the Bengal army not being
available for service beyond the sea, that the Court of Directors
sanctioned Lord Canning's proposal that, after the 1st September,
1856, 'no Native recruit shall be accepted who does not at the time of
his enlistment undertake to serve beyond the sea whether within
the territories of the Company or beyond them.' This order, though
absolutely necessary, caused the greatest dissatisfaction amongst
the Hindustani sepoys, who looked upon it as one of the measures
introduced by the _Sirkar_ for the forcible, or rather fraudulent,
conversion of all the Natives to Christianity.[6]

That the long-existing discontent and growing disloyalty in our
Native army might have been discovered sooner, and grappled with in a
sufficiently prompt and determined manner to put a stop to the Mutiny,
had the senior regimental and staff officers been younger, more
energetic, and intelligent, is an opinion to which I have always been
strongly inclined. Their excessive age, due to a strict system of
promotion by seniority which entailed the employment of Brigadiers of
seventy, Colonels of sixty, and Captains of fifty, must necessarily
have prevented them performing their military duties with the energy
and activity which are more the attributes of younger men, and must
have destroyed any enthusiasm about their regiments, in which there
was so little hope of advancement or of individual merit being
recognized. Officers who displayed any remarkable ability were allowed
to be taken away from their own corps for the more attractive and
better-paid appointments appertaining to civil employ or the Irregular
service. It was, therefore, the object of every ambitious and capable
young officer to secure one of these appointments, and escape as soon
as possible from a service in which ability and professional zeal
counted for nothing.[7]

So far as I understand the causes which led to the rebellion of 1857,
I have now answered the question, 'What brought about the Mutiny?' The
reply to the second question, 'Is there any chance of a similar rising
occurring again?' must be left to another chapter.

[Footnote 1: In this matter it seems to me that Lord Dalhousie's
policy has been unfairly criticized. The doctrine of lapse was no
new-fangled theory of the Governor-General, but had been recognized
and acted upon for many years by the Native dynasties which preceded
the East India Company. Under the Company's rule the Court of
Directors had investigated the subject, and in a series of despatches
from 1834 to 1846 had laid down that, in certain cases, the selection
and adoption of an heir by a Native Ruler was an incontestable right,
subject only to the formal sanction of the suzerain Power, while in
other cases such a procedure was optional, and could only be permitted
as a special favour. Lord Dalhousie concurred in the view that each
case should be considered and decided on its merits. His words were:
'The Government is bound in duty, as well as in policy, to act on
every such occasion with the purest integrity, and in the most
scrupulous observance of good faith. Where even a shadow of doubt can
be shown, the claim should at once be abandoned. But where the right
to territory by lapse is clear, the Government is bound to take that
which is justly and legally its due, and to extend to that territory
the benefits of our sovereignty, present and prospective.']

[Footnote 2: In those days £120,000.]

[Footnote 3:

    '_April 4, 1857._


    'Je suis parti de Cawnpore le premier du mois et suis arrivé ici
    ce matin, je partirai ce soir et serai à Chandernagore le 7 au
    matin, dans la journée je ferai une visite au Gouverneur et
    le lendemain irai à Calcutta, je verrai notre Consul General.
    Ecrivez-moi et adressez-moi vos lettres, No. 123, Dhurumtollah. Je
    voudrais que vous puissiez m'envoyer des fonds au moins 5 ou
    600 Rs. sans retard, car je ne resterai à Calcutta que le temps
    nécessaire pour tout arranger et _le bien arranger_. Je suppose 48
    heures à Calcutta et deux ou trois jours au plus à Chandernagore,
    ne perdez pas de temps mais répondez de suite. Pour toutes les
    principales choses les réponses seraient satisfaisantes, soyez-en

    'Faites en sorte de me répondre sans délai afin que je ne sois pas
    retenu à Calcutta.

    'Présentez mes compliments respectueux.

    'Rappelez-moi au souvenir de Baba Sahib, et croyez moi,
    'Votre bien dévoué
    'A. LAFONT.

    'Mon adresse à Chandernagore, "Care of Mesdames Albert."

    'N.B.--Mais écrivez-moi à _Calcutta_, car je serai chaque jour là,
    en chemin de fer, je fais le trajet en 20 minutes. Si vous avez
    quelque chose de pressé à me communiquer vous le pouvez faire par
    télégraph en Anglais seulement.

    '_April 9, 1857._


    'J'ai tout arrangé, _j'apporterai une lettre_, et elle sera
    satisfaisante _cette lettre_ me sera donnée le 14 et le 15 je
    partirai pour Cawnpore. Mes respects à son Altesse.

    'Votre tout dévoué
    'A. LAFONT.']

[Footnote 4: Flogging was re-introduced in 1845.]

[Footnote 5: This does not include the bodies of armed and trained
police, nor the lascars attached to the Artillery as fighting men.
These amounted to many thousands.]

[Footnote 6: In a letter to Lord Canning, which Sir Henry Lawrence
wrote on the 9th May, 1857, he gave an interesting account of a
conversation he had had with a Brahmin Native officer of the Oudh
Artillery, who was most persistent in his belief that the Government
was determined to make the people of India Christians. He alluded
especially to the new order about enlistment, our object being, he
said, to make the sepoys go across the sea in order that they might be
obliged to eat what we liked; and he argued that, as we had made our
way through India, had won Bhartpur, Lahore, etc., by fraud, so it
might be possible that we would mix bone-dust with grain sold to
Hindus. Sir Henry Lawrence was quite unable to convince the Native
officer; he would give us credit for nothing, and although he would
not say that he himself _did_ or did _not_ believe, he kept repeating,
'I tell you Natives are all like sheep; the leading one tumbles, and
down all the rest roll over him.']

[Footnote 7: It is curious to note how nearly every military officer
who held a command or high position on the staff in Bengal when the
Mutiny broke out, disappeared from the scene within the first few
weeks, and was never heard of officially again. Some were killed, some
died of disease, but the great majority failed completely to fulfil
the duties of the positions they held, and were consequently
considered unfit for further employment. Two Generals of divisions
were removed from their commands, seven Brigadiers were found wanting
in the hour of need, and out of the seventy-three regiments of Regular
Cavalry and Infantry which mutinied, only four Commanding officers
were given other commands, younger officers being selected to raise
and command the new regiments.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Discontent of the Natives--Successful administrators
  --Paternal despotism--Money-lenders and the Press--Faddists
  --Cardinal points

The India of to-day is altogether a different country from the
India of 1857. Much has been done since then to improve the civil
administration, and to meet the legitimate demands of the Native
races. India is more tranquil, more prosperous, and more civilized
than it was before the Mutiny, and the discipline, efficiency, and
mobility of the Native army have been greatly improved. Much, however,
still remains to be done, and a good deal might with advantage be
undone, to secure the contentment of the Natives with our rule.

Our position has been materially strengthened by the provision of main
and subsidiary lines of communication by road and railway; by the
great network of telegraphs which now intersects the country; and by
the construction of canals. These great public works have largely
increased the area of land under cultivation, minimized the risk of
famine, equalized the prices of agricultural produce, and developed a
large and lucrative export trade. Above all, while our troops can now
be assembled easily and rapidly at any centre of disturbance, the
number of British soldiers has been more than doubled and the number
of Native soldiers has been materially reduced. Moreover, as regards
the Native equally with the British army of India, I believe that
a better feeling never existed throughout all ranks than exists at

Nevertheless, there are signs that the spirit of unrest and discontent
which sowed the seeds of the Mutiny is being revived. To some extent
this state of things is the natural result of our position in
India, and is so far unavoidable, but it is also due to old faults
reappearing--faults which require to be carefully watched and guarded
against, for it is certain that, however well disposed as soldiers the
men in our ranks may be, their attitude will inevitably be influenced
by the feelings of the people generally, more especially should their
hostility be aroused by any question connected with religion.

For a considerable time after the Mutiny we became more cautious and
conciliatory in administrative and legislative matters, more intent
on doing what would keep the Chiefs and Rulers satisfied, the masses
contented, and the country quiet, than on carrying out our own ideas.
Gradually this wholesome caution is being disregarded. The Government
has become more and more centralized, and the departmental spirit
very strong. Each department, in its laudable wish for progress and
advancement, is apt to push on measures which are obnoxious to the
Natives, either from their not being properly understood, or from
their being opposed to their traditions and habits of life, thus
entailing the sacrifice of many cherished customs and privileges. Each
department admits in theory the necessity for caution, but in practice
presses for liberty of action to further its own particular schemes.

Of late years, too, the tendency has been to increase the number of
departments and of secretariat offices under the supreme Government,
and this tendency, while causing more work to devolve on the supreme
Government than it can efficiently perform, results in lessening
the responsibility of provincial Governments by interference in the
management of local concerns. It is obvious that in a country like
India, composed as it is of great provinces and various races
differing from one another in interests, customs, and religions, each
with its own peculiar and distinct necessities, administrative details
ought to be left to the people on the spot. The Government of India
would then be free to exercise a firm and impartial control over the
Empire and Imperial interests, while guiding into safe channels,
without unduly restraining, intelligent progress.

In times of peace the administration is apt to fall too exclusively
into the hands of officials whose ability is of the doctrinaire type;
they work hard, and can give logical and statistical reasons for the
measures they propose, and are thus able to make them attractive to,
and believed in by, the authorities. But they lack the more perfect
knowledge of human nature, and the deeper insight into, and greater
sympathy with, the feelings and prejudices of Asiatics, which those
possessed in a remarkable degree who proved by their success that they
had mastered the problem of the best form of government for India.
I allude to men like Thomas Munro, Mountstuart Elphinstone, John
Malcolm, Charles Metcalfe, George Clerk, Henry and John Lawrence,
William Sleeman, James Outram, Herbert Edwardes, John Nicholson, and
many others. These administrators, while fully recognizing the need
for a gradual reform, understood the peculiarities of our position
in the east, the necessity for extreme caution and toleration, and a
'live and let live' policy between us and the Natives. The sound and
broad views of this class of public servant are not always appreciated
either in India or England, and are too often put aside as
unpractical, obstructive, and old-fashioned.

Amongst the causes which have produced discontent of late years,
I would mention our forest laws and sanitary regulations, our
legislative and fiscal systems--measures so necessary that no
one interested in the prosperity of India could cavil at their
introduction, but which are so absolutely foreign to Native ideas,
that it is essential they should be applied with the utmost gentleness
and circumspection.

I think, also, that the official idea of converting the young Princes
and Nobles of India into English gentlemen by means of English tutors
and English studies should be carried out with great care and caution.
It has not hitherto invariably succeeded, and the feeling in many
States is strongly opposed to it. The danger of failure lies in the
wholesome restraint of the tutor being suddenly removed, and in the
young Prince being left at too early an age to select his advisers and
companions. The former, perhaps not unnaturally, are interested
in proving that the training of their young Ruler by his European
governor or tutor has not resulted in good either to himself or his
people, while the latter are too often of the lowest class of European

The proceedings and regulations of the Forest Department, desirable
as they may be from a financial and agricultural point of view, have
provoked very great irritation in many parts of India. People who have
been accustomed from time immemorial to pick up sticks and graze their
cattle on forest lands, cannot understand why they should now be
forbidden to do so, nor can they realize the necessity for preserving
the trees from the chance of being destroyed by fire, a risk to which
they were frequently exposed from the Native custom of making use of
their shelter while cooking, and of burning the undergrowth to enrich
the grazing.

The action taken by the Government in sanitary matters has also
aroused much ill-feeling and apprehension. Sanitary precautions are
entirely ignored in eastern countries. The great majority of the
people can see no good in them, and no harm in using the same tank
for drinking purposes and for bathing and washing their clothes. The
immediate surroundings of their towns and villages are most offensive,
being used as the general receptacles for dead animals and all kinds
of filth. Cholera, fever, and other diseases, which carry off hundreds
of thousands every year, are looked upon as the visitation of God,
from which it is impossible, even were it not impious to try, to
escape; and the precautionary measures insisted upon by us in our
cantonments, and at the fairs and places of pilgrimage, are viewed
with aversion and indignation. Only those who have witnessed the
personal discomfort and fatigue to which Natives of all ages and both
sexes willingly submit in their struggle to reach some holy shrine on
the occasion of a religious festival, while dragging their weary limbs
for many hundreds of miles along a hot, dusty road, or being huddled
for hours together in a crammed and stifling railway carriage, can
have any idea of the bitter disappointment to the pilgrims caused
by their being ordered to disperse when cholera breaks out at such
gatherings, without being given the opportunity of performing their
vows or bathing in the sacred waters.[1]

Further, our legislative system is based on western ideas, its object
being to mete out equal justice to the rich and poor, to the Prince
and peasant. But our methods of procedure do not commend themselves
to the Indian peoples. Eastern races are accustomed to a paternal
despotism, and they conceive it to be the proper function of the local
representatives of the supreme Power to investigate and determine on
the spot the various criminal and civil cases which come under the
cognizance of the district officials. Legal technicalities and
references to distant tribunals confuse and harass a population which,
with comparatively few exceptions, is illiterate, credulous, and
suspicious of underhand influence. An almost unlimited right of
appeal from one court to another, in matters of even the most trivial
importance, not only tends to impair the authority of the local
magistrate, but gives an unfair advantage to the wealthy litigant
whose means enable him to secure the services of the ablest pleader,
and to purchase the most conclusive evidence in support of his claims.
For it must be remembered than in India evidence on almost any subject
can be had for the buying, and the difficulty, in the administration
of justice, of discriminating between truth and falsehood is thereby
greatly increased. Under our system a horde of unscrupulous pleaders
has sprung up, and these men encourage useless litigation, thereby
impoverishing their clients, and creating much ill-feeling against our
laws and administration.

Another point worthy of consideration is the extent to which, under
the protection of our legal system, the peasant proprietors of
India are being oppressed and ruined by village shop-keepers and
money-lenders. These men advance money at a most exorbitant rate of
interest, taking as security the crops and occupancy rights of the
cultivators of the soil. The latter are ignorant, improvident, and
in some matters, such as the marriage ceremonies of their families,
inordinately extravagant. The result is that a small debt soon swells
into a big one, and eventually the aid of the law courts is invoked to
oust the cultivator from a holding which, in many cases, has been
in the possession of his ancestors for hundreds of years. The
money-lender has his accounts to produce, and these can hardly be
disputed, the debtor as a rule being unable to keep accounts of his
own, or, indeed, to read or write. Before the British dominion
was established in India, the usurer no doubt existed, but his
opportunities were fewer, his position more precarious, and his
operations more under control than they are at present. The
money-lender then knew that his life would not be safe if he exacted
too high interest for the loans with which he accommodated his
customers, and that if he became too rich, some charge or other would
be trumped up against him, which would force him to surrender a large
share of his wealth to the officials of the State in which he was
living. I do not say that the rough-and-ready methods of Native
justice in dealing with money-lenders were excusable or tolerable, but
at the same time I am inclined to think that, in granting these men
every legal facility for enforcing their demands and carrying on their
traffic, we may have neglected the interests of the agriculturists,
and that it might be desirable to establish some agency under the
control of Government, which would enable the poorer landholders to
obtain, at a moderate rate of interest, advances proportionate to the
security they had to offer.[2]

Another danger to our supremacy in India is the license allowed to
the Native press in vilifying the Government and its officials, and
persistently misrepresenting the motives and policy of the ruling
Power. In a free country, where the mass of the population is well
educated, independent, and self-reliant, a free press is a most
valuable institution, representing as it does the requirements and
aspirations of important sections of the community, and bringing to
light defects and abuses in the social and political system. In a
country such as Great Britain, which is well advanced in the art of
self-government, intolerant and indiscriminate abuse of public men
defeats its own object, and misstatements of matters of fact can be
at once exposed and refuted. Like most of the developments of
civilization which are worth anything, the English press is a plant
of indigenous growth, whereas in India the Native press is an exotic
which, under existing conditions, supplies no general want, does
nothing to refine, elevate, or instruct the people, and is used by its
supporters and promoters--an infinitesimal part of the population--as
a means of gaining its selfish ends, and of fostering sedition, and
racial and religious animosities. There are, I am afraid, very few
Native newspapers actuated by a friendly or impartial spirit towards
the Government of India, and to Asiatics it seems incredible that we
should permit such hostile publications to be scattered broadcast over
the country, unless the assertions were too true to be disputed, or
unless we were too weak to suppress them. We gain neither credit nor
gratitude for our tolerant attitude towards the Native press--our
forbearance is misunderstood; and while the well-disposed are
amazed at our inaction, the disaffected rejoice at being allowed to
promulgate baseless insinuations and misstatements which undermine our
authority, and thwart our efforts to gain the goodwill and confidence
of the Native population.

Yet another danger to the permanence of our rule in India lies in the
endeavours of well-intentioned faddists to regulate the customs and
institutions of eastern races in accordance with their own ideas.
The United Kingdom is a highly civilized country, and our habits and
convictions have been gradually developed under the influences of our
religion and our national surroundings. Fortunately for themselves,
the people of Great Britain possess qualities which have made them
masters of a vast and still expanding Empire. But these qualities have
their defects as well as their merits, and one of the defects is a
certain insularity of thought, or narrow-mindedness--a slowness to
recognize that institutions which are perfectly suitable and right for
us may be quite unsuited, if not injurious, to other races, and that
what may not be right for us to do is not necessarily wrong for people
of a different belief, and with absolutely different traditions and

Gradually the form of Government in the United Kingdom has become
representative and democratic, and it is therefore assumed by some
people, who have little, if any, experience of the east, that
the Government of India should be guided by the utterances of
self-appointed agitators who pose as the mouth-pieces of an oppressed
population. Some of these men are almost as much aliens[3] as
ourselves, while others are representatives of a class which, though
intellectually advanced, has no influence amongst the races in whom
lies the real strength of India. Municipal self-government has been
found to answer well in the United Kingdom, and it is held, therefore,
that a similar system must be equally successful in India. We in
England consume animal food and alcoholic liquors, but have no liking
for opium; an effort has accordingly been made to deprive our Asiatic
fellow-subjects, who, as a rule, are vegetarians, and either total
abstainers or singularly abstemious in the matter of drink, of a small
and inexpensive stimulant, which they find necessary to their health
and comfort. British institutions and ideas are the embodiment of
what long experience has proved to us to be best for ourselves; but
suddenly to establish these institutions and enforce these ideas on
a community which is not prepared for them, does not want them, and
cannot understand them, must only lead to suspicion and discontent.
The Government of India should, no doubt, be progressive in its
policy, and in all things be guided by the immutable principles of
right, truth, and justice; but these principles ought to be applied,
not necessarily as we should apply them in England, but with due
regard to the social peculiarities and religious prejudices of the
people whom it ought to be our aim to make better and happier.

It will be gathered from what I have written that our administration,
in my opinion, suffers from two main defects. First, it is internally
too bureaucratic and centralizing in its tendencies; and, secondly, it
is liable to be forced by the external pressure of well-meaning but
irresponsible politicians and philanthropists to adopt measures which
may be disapproved of by the authorities on the spot, and opposed to
the wishes, requirements, and interests of the people. It seems to me
that for many years to come the best form of government for India will
be the intelligent and benevolent despotism which at present rules the
country. On a small scale, and in matters of secondary importance,
representative institutions cannot perhaps do much harm, though I am
afraid they will effect but little good. On a large scale, however,
such a system of government would be quite out of place in view of
the fact that ninety-nine out of every hundred of the population are
absolutely devoid of any idea of civil responsibility, and that the
various races and religious sects possess no bond of national union.

In reply, then, to the question, 'Is there any chance of a Mutiny
occurring again?' I would say that the best way of guarding against
such a calamity is--

    By never allowing the present proportion of British to Native
    soldiers to be diminished or the discipline and efficiency of the
    Native army to become slack.

    By taking care that men are selected for the higher civil and
    military posts whose self-reliance, activity, and resolution are
    not impaired by age, and who possess a knowledge of the country
    and the habits of the peoples.

    By recognizing and guarding against the dogmatism of theorists and
    the dangers of centralization.

    By rendering our administration on the one hand firm and strong,
    on the other hand tolerant and sympathetic; and last, but not
    least, by doing all in our power to gain the confidence of the
    various races, and by convincing them that we have not only the
    determination, but the ability to maintain our supremacy in India
    against all assailants.

If these cardinal points are never lost sight of, there is, I believe,
little chance of any fresh outbreak disturbing the stability of our
rule in India, or neutralizing our efforts to render that country
prosperous, contented, and thoroughly loyal to the British Crown.

[Footnote 1: Few acts have been more keenly resented than the closing
of the great Hurdwar Fair in the autumn of 1892, on account of a
serious outbreak of cholera. It was looked upon by the Natives as a
direct blow aimed at their religion, and as a distinct departure from
the religious tolerance promised in Her Majesty's proclamation of
1858. The mysterious mud marks on mango-trees in Behar have been
attributed by some to a self-interested motive on the part of certain
priests to draw the attention of Hindus to the sanctity of some temple
outside the limits of British jurisdiction, where the devotees would
be at liberty to assemble in any numbers without being troubled by
officious inspectors, and where they could remain as long as they
pleased, irrespective of the victims daily claimed by cholera, that
unfailing avenger of the neglect of sanitary laws in the east.]

[Footnote 2: The proposal would seem to be quite a practical one, for
I read in the _Times_ of the 28th November, 1894, that the Government
of New Zealand invited applications for Consols in connexion with the
scheme for granting loans at a reasonable rate of interest to farmers
on the security of their holdings.]

[Footnote 3: I allude to the Parsis, who came from Persia, and whose
religion and customs are as distinct from those of the Natives of
India as are our own.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Home again--Back in India--Allahabad and Cawnpore
  --The Viceroy's camp--State entry into Lucknow
  --The Talukdars of Oudh--Loyalty of the Talukdars
  --Cawnpore and Fatehgarh--The Agra Durbar

I travelled home _viâ_ Corfu, Trieste, Venice, and Switzerland,
arriving in England towards the end of June. The intense delight
of getting 'home' after one's first term of exile can hardly be
exaggerated, and certainly cannot be realized, save by those who have
gone through the exile, and been separated, as I had been for years,
from all that made the happiness of my early life. Every English tree
and flower one comes across on first landing is a distinct and lively
pleasure, while the greenness and freshness are a delicious rest to
the eye, wearied with the deadly whitey-brown sameness of dried-up
sandy plains, or the all-too gorgeous colouring of eastern cities and

My people were living in Ireland, in the county of Waterford, so after
only a short sojourn in London, for the very necessary re-equipment
of the outer man, I hastened over there. I found my father well
and strong for a man of seventy-four, and to all appearance quite
recovered from the effects of his fifty years of Indian service, and,
to my great joy, my mother was looking almost as young, and quite as
beautiful, as I had left her six years before. My little sister, too,
always an invalid, was very much as when I had parted from her--full
of loving-kindness for everyone, and, though unable to move without
help, perfectly happy in the many resources she had within herself,
and the good she was able to do in devoting those resources to the
benefit of others.

There, too, I found my fate, in the shape of Nora Bews, a young lady
living with a married sister not far from my father's place, who a
few months later consented to accompany me on my return to India. The
greater part of my leave was, therefore, spent in Ireland.

During the winter months I hunted with the Curraghmore hounds, and was
out with them the day before Lord Waterford was killed. We had no run,
and at the end of the day, when wishing us good-bye, he said: 'I hope,
gentlemen, we shall have better luck next time.' 'Next time' there was
'better luck' as regarded the hunting, but the worst of all possible
luck for Lord Waterford's numerous friends; in returning home after a
good run, and having killed two foxes, his horse stumbled over quite
a small ditch, throwing his rider on his head; the spinal cord was
snapped and the fine sportsman breathed his last in a few moments.

I was married on the 17th May, 1859, in the parish church of
Waterford. While on our wedding tour in Scotland, I received a command
to be present on the 8th June at Buckingham Palace, when the Queen
proposed to honour the recipients of the Victoria Cross by presenting
the decoration with Her Majesty's own hands.

Being anxious that my wife should be spared the great heat of a
journey to India in July, the hottest month of the year in the Red
Sea, and the doctors being very decided in their opinion that I should
not return so soon, I had applied for a three months' extension of
leave, and quite calculated on getting it, so our disappointment
was great when the answer arrived and I found that, if I took the
extension, I should lose my appointment in the Quartermaster-General's
Department. This, we agreed, was not to be thought of, so there was
nothing for it but to face the disagreeable necessity as cheerfully
as we could. We made a dash over to Ireland, said good-bye to our
relations, and started for India on the 27th June.

[Illustration: LADY ROBERTS
_From a sketch by Carpenter._]

The heat in the Red Sea proved even worse than I had anticipated. Our
captain pronounced it the hottest trip he had ever made. Twice was the
ship turned round to steam against the wind for a short time in order
to revive some of the passengers, who were almost suffocated.

We passed the wreck of the _Alma_, a P. and O. vessel which had struck
on a coral reef not far from Mocha. The wreck had happened in the dead
of night, and there had been only time to get the passengers into the
boats, in which they were rowed to another reef near at hand; there
they had remained for eighty hours in their scanty night garments, and
without the smallest shelter, until rescued by a friendly steamer. The
officers and crew were still on the rock when we passed, endeavouring
to get up the mails and the passengers' property. We supplied them
with provisions and water, of which they were badly in need, and then
had to leave them in their extremely uncomfortable position.

We could not complain of lack of air after we passed Aden, for we
forthwith encountered the south-west monsoon, then at its height, and
on entering the Bay of Bengal we experienced something very nearly
akin to a cyclone. We broke our rudder; the lightships, on which a
certain number of pilots were always to be found, had all been blown
out to sea; and as we had only just sufficient coal to take us up the
Hugli when the pilot should appear, we did not dare to keep up steam.
Thus we had to remain at the mercy of the winds and waves for some
days, until at length a brig with a pilot on board was sent to look
for us, and eventually we arrived in Calcutta, in rather a dilapidated
condition, on the 30th July.

We were not cheered by the orders I found awaiting me, which were to
proceed to Morar and join Brigadier-General Sir Robert Napier, then in
command of the Gwalior district. Morar in the month of August is one
of the hottest places in India, and my wife was considerably the worse
for our experiences at sea. However, a Calcutta hotel never has many
attractions, and at that time of year was depressing and uncomfortable
to the last degree; in addition, I had rather a severe attack of my
old enemy, Peshawar fever, so we started on our journey 'up country'
with as little delay as possible.

The railway at that time was not open further than Raniganj; thence we
proceeded for a hundred miles in a 'dâk-ghari,' when, changing into
doolies, we continued our journey to Hazaribagh, a little cantonment
about twenty miles off the main road, where some relations of mine
were living; but a day or two after our arrival at their hospitable
house, I was ordered back to Calcutta.

I left my wife with our kind friends, and retraced my steps in
considerable elation of spirits, for the China expedition was even
then being talked about, and I hoped this sudden summons might
possibly mean that I was to be sent with it in some capacity. On
reaching Calcutta, however, I was told that I had been appointed
to organize and take charge of the large camp to be formed for the
triumphal progress which Lord Canning proposed to make through Oudh,
the North-West Provinces, and the Punjab, with the view of meeting
the principal feudatory Chiefs, and rewarding those who had been
especially loyal during the rebellion. I was informed that the tents
were in store in the arsenal at Allahabad, and that the camp must be
ready at Cawnpore on the 15th October, on which date the Viceroy would
arrive, and a day or two later commence his stately procession towards

While I was in England a Royal Proclamation had announced to the
people of India that the Queen had taken over the government of their
country, which had hitherto been held in trust for Her Majesty by the
Honourable East India Company. This fact had been publicly proclaimed,
with befitting ceremony, throughout the length and breadth of the
land, on the 1st November, 1858. At the same time it was announced
that Her Majesty's representative in India was henceforth to be styled
Viceroy and Governor-General of India, and it was with the object of
emphasizing this Proclamation, and impressing the Native mind with the
reality of Queen Victoria's power and authority, that Lord Canning
decided on undertaking this grand tour.

While in Calcutta on this occasion, I was offered a post in the
Revenue Survey Department. I refused it, for, although as a married
man the higher pay was a tempting bait, the recollection of the
excitement and variety of the year of the Mutiny was still fresh upon
me, and I had no wish to leave the Quartermaster-General's Department.
I therefore started for Allahabad, picking up my wife _en route_.

It was then the middle of the rains, and the bridge of boats over
the Jumna had been taken down, so we had to cross in ferry-boats--
dâk-gharis, horses, and all--rather a perilous-looking proceeding,
for the river was running at a tremendous pace, and there was some
difficulty in keeping the boat's head straight. At Allahabad we
stayed with a brother officer of mine in the fort, while I was
getting the camp equipage out of store, and the tents pitched for
inspection. There had not been a large camp for many years, and
everything in India deteriorates so rapidly, that I found most of the
tents in such a state of mildew and decay as to render it necessary
to renew them almost entirely before they could be used for such a
splendid occasion as that of the first Viceroy's first march through
the re-conquered country.

From Allahabad we proceeded to Cawnpore, where I had a busy time
arranging for the multifarious requirements of such an enormous camp;
and sometimes I despaired of its being completed by the appointed
date. However, completed it was; and on the 15th October Lord and Lady
Canning arrived, and expressed themselves so pleased with all the
arrangements, and were so kindly appreciative of the exertions I had
made to be ready for them by the appointed time, that I felt myself
fully rewarded for all my trouble.

The next day I took my wife to call upon Lady Canning, whose
unaffected and simple, yet perfectly dignified manner completely
charmed her, and from that day she was devoted, in common with
everyone who was at all intimately associated with Lady Canning, to
the gentle, gracious lady, who was always kindness itself to her.

On the 18th the Viceroy made his first march towards Lucknow. The camp
equipage was in duplicate, so that everyone on arriving at the new
halting-place found things exactly the same as in the tents they had

The camp occupied a considerable space; for, in addition to the
Viceroy's large _entourage_, ground had to be provided for the
Commander-in-Chief and the officers of Army Head-Quarters, who
were marching with us; then there were the post-office, telegraph,
workshops, _toshikhana_,[1] commissariat, and a host of other offices
to be accommodated, beside the escort, which consisted of a battery of
Horse Artillery, a squadron of British Cavalry, a regiment of British
Infantry, a regiment of Native Cavalry, a regiment of Native Infantry,
and the Viceroy's Bodyguard. For the Viceroy, his staff, guests, and
secretaries alone, 150 large tents were pitched in the main street,
and when we came to a station the duplicate tents were also pitched.
For the transport of this portion of the camp equipage 80 elephants
and 500 camels were required.[2]

It is very difficult to give any idea of the extraordinary spectacle a
big camp like this presents on the line of march. The followers, as a
rule, are accompanied by their wives and families, who are piled upon
the summits of laden carts, or perched on the loads borne by the
baggage animals. In the two camps marching together (Lord Canning's
and Lord Clyde's) there could not have been less than 20,000
men, women, and children--a motley crowd streaming along about
four-and-twenty miles of road, for the day's march was usually about
twelve miles, and before every one had cleared out of the camp
occupied the night before, the advance guard had begun to arrive on
the ground to be occupied the next day. The strictest discipline had
to be maintained, or this moving colony would have been a serious
calamity to the peasantry, for the followers would have spread
themselves over the country like a flight of locusts, and taken
anything they could lay their hands on, representing themselves
as _Mulk-i-Lord-Sahib-Ke-Naukar_,[3] whom according to immemorial
tradition it was death to resist. The poor, frightened country-people,
therefore, hardly ventured to remonstrate at the _mahouts_ walking off
with great loads of their sugar-cane, or to object to the compulsory
purchase of their farm produce for half its value. There was a great
deal of this kind of raiding at the commencement of the march, and
I was constantly having complaints made to me by the villagers; but
after I had inflicted on the offenders a few summary and tolerably
severe punishments, and made the peasants to understand it was not the
_Mulk-i-Lord-Sahib's_ wish that they should submit to such treatment
from his servants, order was established, and I had very rarely any

Our first halt was at Lucknow. Sir Hope Grant was commanding the
division, and had established himself very comfortably in the
Dilkusha. He had written asking me to bring my wife straight there and
stay with him during the Viceroy's visit, as it was still very hot in
tents during the day. An invitation which I gladly accepted, for it
was pleasant to think of being with my old General again, and I wanted
to introduce him to my wife.

The next day, the 22nd October, the state entry was made into Lucknow.
It must have been an imposing sight, that long array of troops
and guns, with Lord Canning in the centre, accompanied by the
Commander-in-Chief, and surrounded by their respective staffs in full
uniform. Lord Canning, though at that time not given to riding, looked
remarkably well on horseback; for he had a fine head and shoulders,
and sat his horse well; on foot, his height, not being quite in
proportion, rather detracted from the dignity of his presence.

I headed the procession, leading it across the Charbagh bridge, the
scene of Havelock's fiercest encounter, past the Machi Bhawan, and the
Residency, to the Kaisarbagh, in front of which were drawn up in a
body the Talukdars of Oudh, who had with difficulty been persuaded
to come and make their obeisance, for, guiltily conscious of their
disloyalty during the rebellion, they did not feel at all sure that
the rumours that it was intended to blow them all away from guns, or
to otherwise summarily dispose of them, were not true. They salaamed
respectfully as the Viceroy passed, and the cavalcade proceeded to the
Martinière park, where the camp, which I had pitched the previous day,
lay spread before us, in all the spotless purity of new white tents
glistening in a flood of brilliant sunshine. The streets through which
we passed were crowded with Natives, who--cowed, but not tamed--looked
on in sullen defiance, very few showing any sign of respect for the

Sir William and Lady Mansfield, and several other people from our camp
were also staying with Sir Hope Grant, and that evening the whole
Dilkusha party went to a state dinner given by Lord and Lady Canning.
The latter was a delightful hostess; the shyest person was set at ease
by her kindly, sympathetic manner, and she had the happy knack of
making her guests feel that her entertainments were a pleasure to
herself--the surest way of rendering them enjoyable to those she

I made use of the next week, which was for me a comparatively idle
time, to take my wife over the ground by which we had advanced two
years before, and explain to her the different positions held by the
enemy. She was intensely interested in visiting the Sikandarbagh, the
Shah Najaf, the mess-house, and, above all, that glorious memorial
of almost superhuman courage and endurance, the Residency, ruined,
roofless, and riddled by round shot and bullets. Very little had then
been done towards opening out the city, and the surroundings of the
Residency were much as they had been during the defence--a labyrinth
of streets and lanes; it was therefore easier for the stranger to
realize exactly what had taken place than it is now that the landmarks
have been cleared away, and well-laid-out gardens and broad roads have
taken the place of jungle and narrow alleys.

On the 26th the Viceroy held a grand durbar for the reception of the
Talukdars. It was the first function of the sort I had witnessed, and
was an amusing novelty to my wife, who, with Lady Canning and some
of the other ladies in camp, viewed the proceedings from behind a
semi-transparent screen, it not being considered at that time the
thing for ladies to appear at ceremonials when Natives were present.
The whole scene was very impressive, though not as brilliant in
colouring as it would have been in any other part of India, owing
to the Chiefs of Oudh being clad in simple white, as is the custom
amongst Rajputs.

The Talukdars, to the number of one hundred and sixty, were ushered to
their places in strict order of seniority, the highest in rank being
the last to arrive. They were arranged in a half semicircle on the
right of the Viceroy's chair of state, while on the left the Europeans
were seated according to their official rank. When all was ready, the
words 'Attention! Royal salute! Present arms!' were heard without,
warning those within of the Viceroy's approach, and, as the bugles
sounded and the guns thundered forth their welcome, Lord Canning,
accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief, and preceded by their staffs,
entered the tent.

Everyone rose, and remained standing until the great man took his
seat, when the Foreign Secretary came forward, and, making a low bow,
informed His Excellency that all who had been summoned to attend the
durbar were present. The Chiefs were then brought up and introduced
to the Viceroy one by one; each made a profound obeisance, and, as
a token of allegiance, presented an offering of gold mohurs,
which, according to etiquette, the Viceroy just touched by way of
acknowledgment. The presents from the Government to the Chiefs were
then handed in on trays, and placed on the ground in front of each,
the value of the present being regulated according to the rank and
position of the recipient. This part of the ceremony being over, the
Viceroy rose and addressed the Talukdars.

After expressing his pleasure at meeting them in their own country, he
gave them an assurance that, so long as they remained faithful to the
Government, they should receive every consideration; he told them that
a new era had commenced in Oudh, and that henceforth they would be
allowed to revert to the conditions under which they had held their
estates prior to the annexation of the province. When Lord Canning had
finished speaking, a translation of his address in Urdu was read
to the Talukdars by Mr. Beadon, the Foreign Secretary; _atar_ and
_pan_[4] were then handed round, and the Viceroy took his departure
with the same formalities as those with which the durbar had been

There is some excuse to be made for the attitude of the Talukdars,
who, from their point of view, had little reason to be grateful to the
British Government. These powerful Chiefs, whose individual revenues
varied from £10,000 to £15,000 a year, and who, in their jungle
fastnesses, often defied their sovereign's troops, had suddenly been
deprived of all the authority which in the confusion attending a long
period of misgovernment they had gradually usurped, as well as of a
considerable proportion of the landed property which, from time to
time, they had forcibly appropriated. The conversion of feudal Chiefs
into ordinary law-abiding subjects is a process which, however
beneficial to the many, is certain to be strenuously resisted by the

In March, 1858, when Lucknow was captured, a Proclamation was issued
by the Government of India confiscating the proprietary rights in the
soil. The object in view was not merely to punish contumacious Chiefs,
but also to enable the Government to establish the revenue system on
a sounder and firmer footing. Talukdars who submitted were to receive
their possessions as a free gift direct from the Government; while
those who had done good service, whether men of Oudh or strangers,
might be rewarded by grants of confiscated property.

The Proclamation was considered in many influential quarters too
arbitrary and sweeping a measure; Outram protested against it, and
Lord Ellenborough (the President of the Board of Control) condemned
it; but Lord Canning was backed up by the British public, and Lord
Ellenborough resigned to save his Cabinet from being wrecked. That
Outram and Ellenborough took the right view of the case is, I think,
shown by the fact that Lord Canning cancelled the Proclamation on his
first visit to Lucknow. By that time he had come to recognize that the
Talukdars had reasonable grounds for their discontent, and he wisely
determined to take a step which not only afforded them the greatest
relief and satisfaction, but enlisted their interest on the side
of Government. From that day to this, although, from time to time,
subsequent legislation has been found necessary to save the peasantry
from oppression, the Chiefs of Oudh have been amongst the most loyal
of Her Majesty's Indian subjects.

We remained a few days longer at Lucknow. Lord and Lady Canning
entertained all the residents, while a ball was given by the latter in
the Chatta Manzil to the strangers in camp, and the city and principal
buildings were illuminated in the Viceroy's honour with those curious
little oil-lamps which are the most beautiful form of illumination,
the delineation of every line, point, and pinnacle with myriads of
minute lights producing a wonderfully pretty effect.

On the 29th the first march was made on the return journey to
Cawnpore. My duty was to go on ahead, select the best site for the
next day's camping-ground, and make all necessary arrangements for
supplies, etc. I waited till the Viceroy had given his orders, and
then my wife and I started off, usually in the forenoon; sometimes
we remained till later in the day, lunching with one or other of our
friends in camp, and on very rare occasions, such as a dinner-party at
the Viceroy's or the Commander-in-Chief's, we drove on after dinner by
moonlight. But that was not until we had been on the march for some
time and I felt that the head Native in charge of the camp was to
be trusted to make no mistake. It was a life of much interest and
variety, and my wife enjoyed the novelty of it all greatly.

Lord Canning held his second durbar at Cawnpore on the 3rd November,
when he received the principal Chiefs of Bundelkand, the Maharaja of
Rewa, the Maharaja of Benares, and a host of lesser dignitaries.

It was on this occasion that, in accordance with the Proclamation
which had already announced that the Queen had no desire to extend her
territorial possessions, and that the estates of Native Princes were
to be scrupulously respected, the Chiefs were informed that the right
of adoption was conceded to them. This meant that, in default of male
issue, they were to be allowed to adopt sons according to the Indian
custom of adoption, and that the British Government would recognize
the right of the chosen heir to succeed as Ruler of the State as well
as to inherit the personal property of the Chief by whom he had been
adopted. There had been no clear rule on this point previously, each
case having been considered on its own merits, but the doctrine that
adoption should not be recognized, and that, in default of natural
heirs, the State should lapse and be annexed by the supreme
Government, had been enforced in a good many instances. Lord Canning's
announcement therefore caused the liveliest satisfaction to certain
classes throughout India, and did more than any other measure to
make the feudatory Princes believe in the sincerity of the amnesty

Our next move was to Fatehgarh, eight marches from Cawnpore, where,
on the 15th November, a third durbar was held, at which was received,
amongst other leading men of Rohilkand whose services were considered
worthy of acknowledgment, the Nawab of Rampur, who had behaved
with distinguished loyalty in our time of trouble. This Mahomedan
Nobleman's conduct was the more meritorious in that the surrounding
country swarmed with rebels, and was the home of numbers of the
mutinous Irregular Cavalry, while the close proximity of Rampur to
Delhi, whence threats of vengeance were hurled at the Nawab unless he
espoused the King's cause, rendered his position extremely precarious.

From Fatehgarh we proceeded to Agra, nine marches, only halting on
Sundays, and consequently everyone appreciated being stationary there
for a few days. The camp was pitched on the parade-ground, the scene
of the fight of the 10th October, 1857. Here the Viceroy received some
of the bigger potentates, who were accompanied by large retinues, and,
as far as the _spectacle_ went, it was one of the grandest and most
curious gatherings we had yet witnessed.

The occasions are rare on which a Viceroy has the opportunity of
receiving in durbar the great vassals of our Indian Empire, but when
these assemblies can be arranged they have a very useful effect,
and should not be looked upon as mere empty ceremonials. This was
especially the case at a time when the country had so recently been
convulsed by intestine war, and when the Native Princes were anxiously
considering how their prospects would be affected by Her Majesty's
assumption of the administration of India.

The Chief of highest rank on this occasion was the Maharaja of
Gwalior, who, as I have already stated, influenced by his courageous
Minister, Dinkar Rao, had remained faithful to us. Like most Mahratta
Princes of that time, he was very imperfectly educated. Moreover, he
was possessed of a most wayward disposition, frequently threatening,
when thwarted in any way, to throw up the reins of government, and
take refuge in the jungle; manners he had none.

Next came the enlightened head of the Princely house of Jaipur, the
second in importance of the great Chiefs of Rajputana.

He was succeeded by the Karaoli Raja, whose following was the most
quaint of all. Amongst the curious signs of his dignity he had on his
escort four tigers, each chained on a separate car, and guarded by
strange-looking men in brass helmets.

The Maharao Raja of Ulwar was the next to arrive, seated on a
superb elephant, eleven feet high, magnificently caparisoned with
cloth-of-gold coverings, and chains and breastplates of gold. He was a
promising-looking lad who had succeeded to his estate only two years
before; but he soon fell into the hands of low intriguers, who
plundered his dominions and so oppressed his people that the British
Government had to take over the management of his State.

After Ulwar came the Nawab of Tonk, the descendant of an adventurer
from Swat, on the Peshawar border, who had become possessed of
considerable territory in Rajputana. The Nawab stood by us in the
Mutiny, when his capital was plundered by Tantia Topi.

The sixth in rank was the Jât Ruler of Dholpur, a bluff,
coarse-looking man, and a very rude specimen of his race.

Last of all arrived the Nawab of Jaora, a handsome, perfectly-dressed
man of considerable refinement of manner, and with all the courtesy of
a well-bred Mahomedan. Though a feudatory of the rebellious Holkar of
Indore, he kept aloof from all Mahratta intrigues, and behaved well to

Some of the highest of the Rajput Chiefs declined to attend, alleging
as an excuse the distance of their capitals from Agra; but the truth
is that these Rulers, the best blood of India, had never bowed their
heads to any Power, not even that of the Moghul, and they considered
it would be derogatory to their dignity to obey the summons of the
representative of a sovereign, of whom they considered themselves the
allies and not the mere feudatories.[6]

Those of the Chieftains attending this durbar who had shown
conspicuous loyalty during the rebellion were not allowed to leave
without receiving substantial rewards. Sindhia had territory
bestowed on him to the value of £30,000 a year. Jaipur was given the
confiscated property of Kôt K[=a]sim, yielding £5,000 a year, while
others were recompensed according to the importance of the services

[Footnote 1: The depository for jewels and other valuables kept for
presentation to Native Chiefs at durbars.]

[Footnote 2: The following details will give some idea of the
magnitude of the arrangements required for the Viceroy's camp alone.
Besides those above mentioned there were 500 camels, 500 bullocks and
100 bullock carts for transport of camp equipage, 40 _sowari_ (riding)
elephants, 527 coolies to carry the glass windows belonging to the
larger tents, 100 _bhisties_, and 40 sweepers for watering and keeping
the centre street clean. These were in addition to the private baggage
animals, servants, and numberless riding and driving horses, for all
of which space and shelter had to be provided.]

[Footnote 3: Servants of the Lord of the Country, or

[Footnote 4: A few drops of attar of roses are given to each person,
and a small packet of _pan_, which is composed of slices of betel-nut
smeared with lime and wrapped in a leaf of the betel-tree.]

[Footnote 5: The question of Native Rulers having the right to adopt
heirs was first brought to Lord Canning's notice by the three Phulkian
chiefs--Patiala, Jhind and Nabha--who jointly requested in 1858 that
the right of adoption might be accorded to them as a reward for the
services they had rendered during the Mutiny. The request was refused
at the time on the ground that it had never been the custom of the
country, though it had occasionally been done. Since then, however,
Lord Canning had come to see that the uncertainty which prevailed as
to the rights of succession was harassing to the owners of land, and
undesirable in many ways, and he urged upon the Secretary of State
that some distinct rule on the subject might with advantage be laid
down. He wrote as follows: 'The crown of England stands forth the
unquestioned Ruler and paramount Power in all India, and is now for
the first time brought face to face with its feudatories. There is a
reality in the suzerainty of the Sovereign of England which has never
existed before, which is not only felt, but eagerly acknowledged
by the Chiefs. A great convulsion has been followed by such a
manifestation of our strength as India has never seen; and if this in
its turn be followed by an act of general and substantial grace, over
and above the special rewards which have already been given to those
whose services deserve them, the measure will be seasonable and
appreciated.' Lord Canning's proposals met with the cordial approval
of Her Majesty's Government, and his announcement at Cawnpore rejoiced
the hearts of the Chiefs, one of whom, the Maharaja of Rewa, was a
leper and had no son. He said, on hearing the Viceroy's words, 'They
dispel an evil wind which has long been blowing upon me.']

[Footnote 6: These Rajput Chiefs, however, accepted Lord Lytton's
invitation to attend the Imperial Assemblage at Delhi on the 1st
January, 1877, and having once given their allegiance to the 'Empress
of India,' they have since been the most devotedly loyal of Her
Majesty's feudatory Princes.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Delhi under a different aspect--Lord Clyde--Umritsar and Lahore
  --The Lahore Durbar--Simla--Life at Simla

We remained at Agra until the 9th December. There was so much of
beauty and interest in and around the place, that Lady Canning found
a wealth of subjects for her facile pencil, and was well content to
remain there. There were the usual banquets to the residents, and
entertainments given by the Agra people to those in camp, one of them
being a party in the Taj gardens, to give us an opportunity of seeing
the tomb by moonlight, when it certainly looks its loveliest. My wife
was more delighted even than I had anticipated with the perfect
beauty of the Taj and the exquisite little mosque in the fort, the
Moti-Masjid. I greatly enjoyed showing her all that was worth seeing,
and witnessing her pleasure on first viewing these wonderful works of

There was no halt again, except the usual one on Sunday, until we
reached Meerut on the 21st December.

Three marches from Agra a fire broke out in Lady Canning's tent soon
after she had retired for the night, caused by the iron pipe of
the stove, which passed through the side of the tent, becoming
over-heated. Lady Canning's tents were on one side of the big
dining-tent, and the Viceroy's on the other. Immediately on perceiving
the fire, Lady Canning ran across to awaken her husband, but the
Native sentry, who did not know her or understand a word of what she
was saying, would not let her in, and, in despair of being able to
make anyone hear, she rushed off to the tent of Sir Edward Campbell,
the Military Secretary, which was nearest her own. She succeeded
in awaking him, and then flew back to try and save some of her own
treasures. The first thing she thought of was her portfolio of
drawings, which she dragged outside; but it had already been partially
burned, and most of the valuable and characteristic sketches she had
made at the different durbars were destroyed. She next tried to rescue
her jewels, many of which she had worn the night before; her pearls
were lying on the dressing-table, and she was only just in time to
save them; one of the strings had caught fire, and several of the
pearls were blackened. She swept them off the table into a towel, and
threw them into a tub of water standing outside. Her wardrobe was
completely destroyed. More damage would have been done had not the
Private Secretary, Mr. Lewin Bowring, on the alarm being given,
hurried to the dining-tent, and, with great presence of mind, ordered
the Native Cavalry sentry to cut the ropes, causing it to fall at
once, and preventing the fire from spreading. Some office boxes and
records were destroyed, but nothing more. We were as usual in the
advance camp, and did not hear what had happened until next morning,
when Lady Canning arrived dressed in Lady Campbell's clothes; and as
Lady Canning was tall, and Lady Campbell was short, the effect was
rather funny.

Christmas was spent at Meerut, where I met several of my brother
officers, amongst others my particular friend Edwin Johnson, whom I
had the great pleasure of introducing to my wife. With scarcely
an exception, my friends became hers, and this added much to the
happiness of our Indian life.

Delhi, our next halting-place, was certainly not the least interesting
in our tour. Lord Canning was anxious to understand all about the
siege, and visited the different positions; the Ridge and its
surroundings, the breaches, and the palace, were the chief points
of interest. There were two 'Delhi men' besides myself to explain
everything to him, Sir Edward Campbell, who was with the 60th Rifles
throughout, and one of the best officers in the regiment, and Jemmy
Hills, who had now become the Viceroy's Aide-de-camp; while in Lord
Clyde's camp there were Norman, Stewart, and Becher.

I had, of course, taken my wife to the scenes of the fights at Agra,
Aligarh, and Bulandshahr, but Delhi had the greatest fascination for
her. It is certainly an extraordinarily attractive place, setting
aside the peculiar interest of the siege. For hundreds of years it had
been the seat of Government under Rulers of various nationalities and
religions; few cities have the remains of so much pomp and glory, and
very few bear the traces of having been besieged so often, or could
tell of so much blood spilt in their defence, or of such quantities of
treasure looted from them. When Tamerlane captured Delhi in 1398 the
city was given over to massacre for five days, 'some streets being
rendered impassable by heaps of dead'; and in 1739 the Persian
conqueror, Nadir Shah, after sacking the place for fifty-eight days
and massacring thousands of its inhabitants, carried off thirty-two
millions sterling of booty.

Although the fierce nature of the struggle that Delhi had gone through
in 1857 was apparent everywhere, the inhabitants seemed now to have
forgotten all about it. The city was as densely populated as it had
ever been; the Chandni Chauk was gay as formerly with draperies of
bright-coloured stuffs; jewellers and shawl-merchants carried on their
trades as briskly as ever, and were just as eager in their endeavours
to tempt the _Sahib log_ to spend their money as if trade had never
been interrupted; so quickly do Orientals recover from the effects of
a devastating war.

We left Delhi on the 3rd January, 1860, marching _viâ_ Karnal. When at
this place my wife went to see Lady Canning, as she often did if we
remained at all late in camp. On this particular occasion she found
her busy with the English mail, which had just arrived, so she said
she would not stay then, but would come next day instead. Lady
Canning, however, would not let my wife go until she had read her part
of a letter from Lady Waterford, which she thought would amuse her. It
was in answer to one from Lady Canning, in which she had described
the camp, and given her sister a list of all the people in it. Lady
Waterford wrote: 'Your Quartermaster-General must be the son of
General Roberts, who lives near Waterford; he came home on leave last
year. I must tell you an amusing little anecdote about his father. One
night, when the General was dining at Curraghmore, he found himself
sitting next the Primate of Ireland, with whom he entered into
conversation. After some time they discovered they had known each
other in the days of their youth, but had never met since a certain
morning on which they went out to fight a duel on account of some
squabble at a mess; happily the quarrel was stopped without any harm
being done, each feeling equally relieved at being prevented from
trying to murder the other, as they had been persuaded they were in
honour bound to do. The two old gentlemen made very merry over their

For some time I had been indulging a hope that I might be sent to
China with my old General, Hope Grant, who had been nominated to the
command of the expedition which, in co-operation with the French, was
being prepared to wipe out the disgrace of the repulse experienced
early in the year, by the combined French and English naval squadrons
in their attack on the Taku forts. My hope, however, was doomed to
disappointment. Lord Clyde decided to send Lumsden and Allgood as
A.Q.M.G.'s with the force, and I was feeling very low in consequence.
A day or two afterwards we dined with the Cannings, and Lord Clyde
took my wife in to dinner. His first remark to her was: 'I think I
have earned your gratitude, if I have not managed to satisfy everyone
by these China appointments.' On my wife asking for what she was
expected to be grateful, he said: 'Why, for not sending your husband
with the expedition, of course. I suppose you would rather not be
left in a foreign country alone a few months after your marriage? If
Roberts had not been a newly-married man, I would have sent him.'
This was too much for my wife, who sympathized greatly with my
disappointment, and she could not help retorting: 'I am afraid I
cannot be very grateful to you for making my husband feel I am ruining
his career by standing in the way of his being sent on service. You
have done your best to make him regret his marriage.' The poor old
Chief was greatly astonished, and burst out in his not too refined
way: 'Well, I'll be hanged if I can understand you women! I have done
the very thing I thought you would like, and have only succeeded in
making you angry. I will never try to help a woman again.' My wife
saw that he had meant to be kind, and that it was, as he said, only
because he did not 'understand women' that he had made the mistake.
She was soon appeased, and in the end she and Lord Clyde became great

The middle of January found us at Umballa, where Lord Canning met in
state all the Cis-Sutlej Sikh Chiefs. Fine, handsome men they most of
them were, and magnificently attired. The beautifully delicate tints
which the Sikhs are so fond of, the warlike costumes of some of the
Sirdars, the quiet dignity of these high-born men who had rendered
us such signal service in our hour of need, made the scene most
picturesque and impressive. The place of honour was given to the
Maharaja of Patiala (the grandfather of the present Maharaja), as the
most powerful of the Phulkian Princes; and he was followed by his
neighbours of Nabha and Jhind, all three splendid specimens of
well-bred Sikhs, of stately presence and courtly manners. They were
much gratified at having the right of adoption granted to their
families, and at being given substantial rewards in the shape of
extension of territory.

The Sikh Chiefs were followed by Rajas of minor importance, chiefly
from the neighbouring hills, whom the Viceroy had summoned in order to
thank them for assistance rendered during the Mutiny. Many of them had
grievances to be redressed; others had favours to ask; and the Viceroy
was able to more or less satisfy them by judiciously yielding to
reasonable demands, and by bestowing minor powers on those who were
likely to use them well. The wisdom of this policy of concession
on Lord Canning's part was proved in after years by its successful

On the 29th January the Raja of Kapurthala came out to meet the
Viceroy one march from Jullundur. He had supplemented the valuable
assistance rendered to Colonel Lake in the early days of the Mutiny
by equipping and taking into Oudh a force of 2,000 men, which he
personally commanded in six different actions. The Viceroy cordially
thanked him for this timely service, and in recognition of it, and his
continued and conspicuous loyalty, bestowed upon him large estates in
Oudh, where he eventually became one of the chief Talukdars. This Raja
was the grandfather of the enlightened nobleman who came to England
three years ago.

After visiting Umritsar, gay with brilliant illuminations in honour
of the Viceroy, and crowded with Sikhs come to welcome the Queen's
representative to their sacred city, we arrived at Lahore on the 10th

Early the following morning Lord Canning made his state entry. As we
approached the citadel the long line of mounted Chiefs drawn up to
receive the Viceroy came into view. A brilliant assemblage they
formed, Sikh Sirdars, stately Hill Rajputs, wildly picturesque
Multanis and Baluchis with their flowing locks floating behind them,
sturdy Tawanas from the Salt range, all gorgeously arrayed in every
colour of the rainbow, their jewels glittering in the morning sun,
while their horses, magnificently caparisoned in cloth-of-gold saddle
cloths, and gold and silver trappings, pranced and curvetted under
pressure of their severe bits. As the procession appeared in sight
they moved forward in one long dazzling cavalcade, each party of
Chiefs being headed by the Commissioner of the district from which
they came; they saluted as they approached the Viceroy, and then
passing him fell in behind, between the Body Guard and the Artillery
of the escort. A royal salute was fired from the fort as we passed
under the city walls; we then wound through the civil station of
Anárkáli, and on to camp where the garrison of Mian Mir, under the
command of Major-General Sir Charles Windham, was drawn up to receive
the Viceroy.

At nightfall there were illuminations and a procession of elephants;
the Viceroy, seated in a superb howdah, led the way through the
brilliantly lighted city. Suddenly a shower of rockets was discharged
which resulted in a stampede of the elephants, who rushed through the
narrow streets, and fled in every direction, to the imminent peril and
great discomfort of the riders. In time they were quieted and
brought back, only to become again unmanageable at a fresh volley of
fireworks; a second time they were pacified, and as they seemed to be
getting accustomed to the noise and lights, the procession proceeded
to the garden of the old palace. Here the elephants were drawn up,
when all at once a fresh discharge of rockets from every side drove
them mad with fright, and off they bolted under the trees, through
gates, and some of them could not be pulled up until they had gone far
into the country. Howdahs were crushed, hats torn off, but, strange to
say, there was only one serious casualty; an officer was swept out of
his howdah by the branch of a tree, and falling to the ground, had his
thigh broken. Lord Clyde declared that a general action was not half
so dangerous, and he would much sooner have been in one!

The Lahore durbar, at which the Punjab Chiefs were received, surpassed
any former ceremonials in point of numbers and splendour of effect.
Many of Runjit Singh's Sirdars were present, and many who had fought
against us in the Sutlej and Punjab campaigns, but had now become our
fast friends. The Chiefs quite spontaneously prepared and presented
Lord Canning with an address, and, in reply, his Excellency made
an eloquent and telling speech, commenting in terms of the highest
appreciation on the courage and loyalty displayed by the Nobles and
people of the Punjab during the Mutiny.

While the camp was marching to Sialkot, where the Maharaja of Kashmir
and some of the leading men of the Punjab were to be received, the
Viceroy, accompanied by Lady Canning, Lord Clyde, and a small staff,
went on a flying visit to Peshawar, with the object of satisfying
himself, by personal examination of our position there, as to the
advisability or otherwise of a retirement cis-Indus--a retrograde
movement which John Lawrence was still in favour of. The visit,
however, only served to strengthen Lord Canning in his preconceived
opinion that Peshawar must be held on to as our frontier station.

My wife remained at Mian Mir with our good friends Doctor and Mrs.
Tyrrell Ross until it was time for her to go to Simla, and the kind
thoughtfulness of Lord Canning, who told me the camp now worked so
well that my presence was not always necessary, enabled me to be with
her from time to time.

Lord Canning's tour was now nearly over, and we marched without any
halt of importance from Sialkot to Kalka at the foot of the hills,
where, on the 9th April, the camp was broken up. It was high time to
get into cooler regions, for the heat of the tents in the day had
become very oppressive.

Thus ended a six months' march of over a thousand miles--a march never
likely to be undertaken again by any other Viceroy of India, now that
railway trains run from Calcutta to Peshawar, and saloon carriages
have taken the place of big tents.

This progress through India had excellent results. The advantages of
the representative of the Sovereign meeting face to face the principal
feudatories and Chiefs of our great dependency were very considerable,
and the opportunity afforded to the Viceroy of personally
acknowledging and rewarding the services of those who had helped us,
and of showing that he was not afraid to be lenient to those who had
failed to do so, provided they should remain loyal in the future, had
a very good effect over the whole of India. The wise concessions also
announced at the different durbars as regards the adoption by Native
Rulers of successors to their estates, and the grant to Native
gentlemen of such a share as they were fitted for in the government
of the country, were undoubtedly more appreciated than any other
description of reward given for assistance in the Mutiny.

My duty with the Viceroy being ended, I returned to Mian Mir to fetch
my wife and the little daughter, who had made her appearance on the
10th March, and escort them both to Simla. The journey up the hill was
a tedious one. Carriages were not then used as they are now, and my
wife travelled in a _jampan_, a kind of open, half-reclining sedan
chair, carried by relays of four men, while I rode or walked by her
side. She had been greatly exhausted by the heat of the journey from
Mian Mir, but as we ascended higher and higher up the mountain side,
and the atmosphere became clearer and fresher, she began to revive.
Four hours, however, of this unaccustomed mode of travelling in her
weak state had completely tired her out, so on finding a fairly
comfortable bungalow at the end of the first stage, I decided to
remain there the next day. After that we went on, stage by stage,
until we reached Simla. Our house, 'Mount Pleasant,' was on the very
top of a hill; up and up we climbed through the rhododendron forest,
along a path crimson with the fallen blossom, till we got to the top,
when a glorious view opened out before our delighted eyes. The wooded
hills of Jakho and Elysium in the foreground, Mahasu and the beautiful
Shalli peaks in the middle distance, and beyond, towering above all,
the everlasting snows glistening in the morning sun, formed a picture
the beauty of which quite entranced us both. I could hardly persuade
my wife to leave it and come into the house. Hunger and fatigue,
however, at length triumphed. Our servants had arranged everything in
our little abode most comfortably; bright fires were burning in the
grates, a cosy breakfast was awaiting us, and the feeling that at last
we had a home of our own was very pleasant.

Lord Canning did not remain long at Simla. His Council in Calcutta was
about to lose its President, Sir James Outram, who was leaving India
on account of failing health; and as the suggestion to impose an
income-tax was creating a good deal of agitation, the Viceroy hurried
back to Calcutta, deeming it expedient to be on the spot.

The measures necessary for the suppression of the Mutiny had emptied
the Government coffers; and although a large loan had been raised,
the local authorities found it impossible to cope with the increased
expenditure. Lord Canning had, therefore, applied to the Government in
England for the services of a trained financier; and Mr. Wilson, who
had a great reputation in this respect, was sent out. He declared the
only remedy to be an income-tax, and he was supported in this view
by the merchants of Calcutta. Other Europeans, however, who were
intimately acquainted with India, pointed out that it was not
advisable to ignore the dislike of Natives to such direct taxation;
and Sir Charles Trevelyan, Governor of Madras, argued well and wisely
against the scheme. Instead, however, of confining his action in the
matter to warning and advising the supreme Government, he publicly
proclaimed his opposition, thus giving the signal for agitation to all
the malcontents in India. Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay,
followed Trevelyan's example, but in a less pronounced manner,
and these attacks from the minor Presidencies proved a serious
embarrassment to the action of the Government. In spite of all this
antagonism, the income-tax was passed, and Sir Charles Trevelyan's
unusual procedure led to his recall.

Lord Canning left Simla for his long and trying journey in May, about
the hottest time of the year. On my taking leave of him, he told
me that Sir Hugh Rose, then commanding the Bombay army, had been
appointed to succeed Lord Clyde, who had long been anxious to return
to England, and that Sir Hugh, though he intended to go to Calcutta
himself, wished the Head-Quarters of the Army to remain at Simla; a
question about which we had been rather anxious, as it would have been
an unpleasant breaking up of all our plans, had I been ordered to

Life at Simla was somewhat monotonous. The society was not very large
in those days; but there were a certain number of people on leave
from the plains, who then, as at present, had nothing to do but amuse
themselves, consequently there was a good deal of gaiety in a small
way; but we entered into it very little. My wife did not care much
about it, and had been very ill for the greater part of the summer.
She had made two or three kind friends, and was very happy in her
mountain home, though at times, perhaps, a little lonely, as I had to
be in office the greater part of each day.

In the autumn we made a trip into the interior of the hills, beyond
Simla, which was a new and delightful experience for my wife. We
usually started in the morning, sending our servants on about half
way, when they prepared breakfast for us in some pretty, shady spot;
there we remained, reading, writing, or resting, until after lunch,
and it was time to move on, that we might get to our halting place for
the night before dinner.

It was a lovely time of the year, when the autumn tints made the
forest gorgeous, and the scarlet festoons of the Himalayan vine stood
out in brilliant contrast to the dark green of the solemn deodar,
amongst the branches of which it loves to twine itself.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The Staff Corps--With the Viceroy's camp again--The marble rocks
  --Lady Canning's death--Pig-sticking at Jamu--Lord Canning
  --Another cold-weather march--Gwalior and Jhansi
  --Departmental promotion

In 1860 an important alteration was made in the organization of the
army in India, by the passing of a Bill for the amalgamation of the
local European Forces with the Royal Army.

On the transfer of the administration of India from the Honourable
East India Company to the Crown, a question arose as to the conditions
under which the European soldiers had enlisted. The Government
contended that the conditions were in no way affected by the abolition
of the Company. The soldiers, on the other hand, claimed to be
re-enlisted, and on this being refused they asked for their discharge.
This was granted, and 10,000 out of the 16,000 men serving in the
local army had to be sent to England. These men were replaced and the
local Forces were kept up to strength by fresh drafts from England;
but, from the date of the amalgamation, enlistment to serve solely in
India was to cease.

There was great difference of opinion as to the advisability of this
measure; officers of the Queen's service for the most part, and
notably Sir Hugh Rose, were in favour of it, but it was not generally
popular in India. It was feared that the change would result in a
great increase to the military charges which the Indian Government
would be called upon to pay; that, notwithstanding such increase,
there would be a serious diminution in the control exercised by that
Government over the administration and organization of the British
Army in India; and that, under the pressure of political emergency in
Europe, troops might be withdrawn and Indian requirements disregarded.
On the other hand, those in favour of the Bill thought that, after the
transfer of India to the Crown, the maintenance of a separate Force
uncontrolled by the Horse Guards would be an anomaly. There was, no
doubt, much to be said on both sides of the question, but, although it
has been proved that the fears of those opposed to the change were not
altogether without foundation, in my opinion it was unavoidable, and
has greatly benefited both services.

The amalgamation considerably accelerated my promotion, for, in order
to place the Indian Ordnance Corps on the same footing as those of the
Royal service, the rank of Second Captain had to be introduced into
the former, a rank to which I attained in October, 1860, only,
however, to hold it for one day, as the next my name appeared in the
_Gazette_ as a Brevet Major.

The same year saw the introduction of the Staff Corps. This was the
outcome of the disappearance during the Mutiny of nearly the whole of
the Regular regiments of the Bengal Army, and their replacement by
Irregular regiments. But, as under the Irregular system the number of
British officers with each corps was too limited to admit of their
promotion being carried on regimentally, as had been done under the
Regular system,[1] some organization had to be devised by which the
pay and promotion of all officers joining the Indian Army in future
could be arranged. Many schemes were put forward; eventually one
formulated by Colonel Norman was, with certain modifications, accepted
by the Secretary of State, the result being that all officers about
to enter the Indian Army were to be placed on one list, in which they
would be promoted after fixed periods of service;[2] and all those
officers who had been thrown out of employment by the disbandment
of their regiments, or by the substitution of the Irregular for the
Regular system, were to have the option of joining it. The term Staff
Corps, however, was a misnomer, for the constitution of the Corps and
the training of its officers had no special connection with staff

Towards the end of the summer the Viceroy announced his intention of
making a march through Central India, and I was again ordered to take
charge of his camp, which was to be formed at Benares. My wife and her
baby remained at Simla with our friends the Donald Stewarts, and I
left her feeling sure that with them she would be happy and well taken
care of.

Sir Hugh Rose was at Allahabad, and as I passed through that place I
availed myself of the opportunity to pay my respects to the new Chief,
being anxious to meet an officer whom I had held in great admiration
from the time when, as _Chargé d'affaires_ at Constantinople, his
pluck and foresight practically saved Turkey in her time of peril
from Russia's threatened attack--admiration increased by the masterly
manner in which he had conducted the Central India campaign, in spite
of almost overwhelming difficulties from want of transport and
other causes, and a severe attack of sunstroke, which would have
incapacitated many men. Sir Hugh Rose, when I first met him at
Allahabad, was fifty-nine years of age, tall, slight, with refined
features, rather delicate-looking, and possessing a distinctly
distinguished appearance. He received me most kindly, and told me
that he wished me to return to Head-Quarters when the Viceroy could
dispense with my services.

The camp this year was by no means on so grand a scale as the
preceding one. The escort was much smaller, and the Commander-in-Chief
with Army Head-Quarters did not march with us as on the previous

Lord and Lady Canning arrived by steamer at Benares on the 6th
November, and I went on board to meet them. Lord Canning was cordial
and pleasant as usual, but I did not think he looked well. Lady
Canning was charming as ever; she reproached me for not having brought
my wife, but when I told her how ill she had been, she agreed that
camp was not quite the place for her.

Benares, to my mind, is a most disappointing city; the streets
are narrow and dirty, there are no fine buildings, and it is only
interesting from its being held so sacred by the Hindus. The view of
the city and burning ghâts from the river is picturesque and pretty,
but there is nothing else worth seeing.

Two days were occupied in getting the camp to Mirzarpur, on the
opposite bank of the Ganges. There was no bridge, and everything had
to be taken over in boats; 10,000 men, 1,000 horses, 2,000 camels,
2,000 bullocks, besides all the tents, carts, and baggage, had to be
ferried across the great river. The 180 elephants swam over with their
_mahouts_ on their backs to keep their heads straight and urge them
on; the stream was rapid, and it was a difficult business to land them
safely at the other side, but at last it was accomplished, and our
only casualty was one camel, which fell overboard.

The march to Jubbulpur lay through very pretty scenery, low hills
and beautiful jungle, ablaze with the flame-coloured blossom of the
dhâk-tree. Game abounded, and an occasional tiger was killed. Lord
Canning sometimes accompanied the shooting expeditions, but not often,
for he was greatly engrossed in, and oppressed by, his work, which he
appeared unable to throw off. Even during the morning's drive he was
occupied with papers, and on reaching camp he went straight to his
office tent, where he remained the whole day till dinner-time,
returning to it directly the meal was over, unless there were
strangers present with whom he wished to converse.

At Jubbulpur the Viceroy held a durbar for the Maharaja Tukaji Holkar
of Indore, and some minor Chiefs of that part of the country. Holkar's
conduct during the Mutiny was not altogether above suspicion, but,
considering that the only troops at his disposal belonged to the
mutinous Indore Contingent, which consisted mainly of Hindustanis
enlisted by English officers, over whom he could not be expected to
exercise much control, Lord Canning gave him the benefit of the doubt,
and was willing to attribute his equivocal behaviour to want of
ability and timidity, rather than to disloyalty, and therefore allowed
him to come to the durbar.

Another potentate received at this time by the Viceroy was the Begum
of Bhopal, who, being a powerful and skilful Ruler, and absolutely
loyal to the British Government, had afforded us most valuable
assistance during the rebellion. She was one of those women whom the
East has occasionally produced, endowed with conspicuous talent and
great strength of character, a quality which, from its rarity amongst
Indian women, gives immense influence to those who possess it. Lord
Canning congratulated the Begum on the success with which she had
governed her country, thanked her for her timely help, and
bestowed upon her a large tract of country as a reward. She was
a determined-looking little woman, and spoke fluently in her own
language; she personally managed the affairs of her State, and wrote a
remarkably interesting account of her travelling experiences during a
pilgrimage to Mecca.

Just as the Begum took her departure, news was brought in of the
presence of a tiger two or three miles from the cantonment, and as
many of us as could get away started off in pursuit. Not considering
myself a first-rate shot, I thought I should be best employed with the
beaters, but, as good luck would have it, the tiger broke from the
jungle within a few yards of my elephant: I could not resist having a
shot, and was fortunate enough to knock him over.

While at Jubbulpur, I visited the famous marble rocks on the Nerbudda.
We rowed up the river for about a mile, when the stream began to
narrow, and splendid masses of marble came into view. The cliffs rise
to about a hundred feet in height, pure white below, gradually shading
off to gray at the top. The water at their base is of a deep brown
colour; perfectly transparent and smooth, in which the white rocks are
reflected with the utmost distinctness. In the crevices hang numerous
beehives, whose inmates one has to be careful not to disturb, for on
the bank are the graves of two Englishmen who, having incautiously
aroused the vicious little creatures, were attacked and drowned in
diving under the water to escape from their stings.

A few days later the Viceroy left camp, and proceeded to Lucknow,
where he held another durbar for the Talukdars of Oudh. Lady Canning
continued to march with us to Mirzapur, where I took her on board her
barge, and bade her farewell--a last farewell, for I never saw this
good, beautiful, and gifted woman again.

The camp being broken up, I returned towards the end of February to my
work in the Quartermaster-General's Office at Simla. I found the place
deep in snow; it looked very beautiful, but the change of temperature,
from the great heat of Central India to several degrees of frost, was
somewhat trying. My wife had benefited greatly from the fine bracing
air, and both she and our baby appeared pictures of health; but a day
or two after my arrival the little one was taken ill, and died within
one week of her birthday--our first great sorrow.

We passed a very quiet, uneventful summer, and in the beginning of
October we left Simla for Allahabad, where I had received instructions
to prepare a camp for the Viceroy, who had arranged to hold an
investiture of the Star of India, the new Order which was originally
designed to honour the principal Chiefs of India who had done us
good service, by associating them with some of the highest and most
distinguished personages in England, and a few carefully selected
Europeans in India. Lord Canning was the first Grand Master, and Sir
Hugh Rose the first Knight.

The durbar at which the Maharajas Sindhia and Patiala, the Begum of
Bhopal, and the Nawab of Rampur were invested, was a most imposing
ceremony. The Begum was the cynosure of all eyes--a female Knight
was a novelty to Europeans as well as to Natives--and there was much
curiosity as to how she would conduct herself; but no one could have
behaved with greater dignity or more perfect decorum, and she made a
pretty little speech in Urdu in reply to Lord Canning's complimentary
address. She was dressed in cloth-of-gold, and wore magnificent
jewels; but the effect of her rich costume was somewhat marred by a
funny little wreath of artificial flowers, woollen mittens, and black
worsted stockings with white tips. When my wife visited the Begum
after the durbar, she showed her these curious appendages with great
pride, saying she wore them because they were 'English fashion.' This
was the first occasion on which ladies were admitted to a durbar, out
of compliment to the Begum.

That evening my wife was taken in to dinner by a man whose manner and
appearance greatly impressed her, but she did not catch his name when
he was introduced; she much enjoyed his conversation during dinner,
which was not to be wondered at, for, before she left the table, he
told her his name was Bartle Frere.[3] She never saw him again, but
she always says he interested her more than almost any of the many
distinguished men she has since met.

From Allahabad the Viceroy again visited Lucknow, this time with the
object of urging upon the Talukdars the suppression of the horrible
custom of female infanticide, which had its origin in the combined
pride and poverty of the Rajputs. In various parts of India attempts
had been made, with more or less success, to put a stop to this
inhuman practice. But not much impression had been made in Oudh, in
consequence of the inordinately large dowries demanded from the Rajput
fathers of marriageable daughters. Two hundred Talukdars attended
Lord Canning's last durbar, and, in reply to his feeling and telling
speech, declared their firm determination to do their best to
discourage the evil.

The Commander-in-Chief had decided to pass the winter in marching
through the Punjab, and inspecting the different stations for troops
in the north of India. The Head-Quarters camp had, therefore, been
formed at Jullundur, and thither we proceeded when the gathering at
Allahabad had dispersed. We had but just arrived, when we were shocked
and grieved beyond measure to hear of Lady Canning's death. Instead of
accompanying the Viceroy to Allahabad she had gone to Darjeeling,
and on her return, anxious to make sketches of the beautiful jungle
scenery, she arranged, alas! contrary to the advice of those with
her, to spend one night in the _terai_,[4] where she contracted
jungle-fever, to which she succumbed ten days after her return to
Calcutta. Her death was a real personal sorrow to all who had the
privilege of knowing her; what must it have been to her husband,
returning to England without the helpmate who had shared and lightened
the burden of his anxieties, and gloried in the success which crowned
his eventful career in India.

The Commander-in-Chief arrived in the middle of November, and all the
officers of the Head-Quarters camp went out to meet him. I was mounted
on a spirited nutmeg-gray Arab, a present from Allgood. Sir Hugh
greatly fancied Arabian horses, and immediately noticed mine. He
called me up to him, and asked me where I got him, and of what
caste he was. From that moment he never varied in the kindness and
consideration with which he treated me, and I always fancied I owed
his being well disposed towards me from the very first to the fact
that I was riding my handsome little Arab that day; he loved a good
horse, and liked his staff to be well mounted. A few days afterwards
he told me he wished me to accompany him on the flying tours he
proposed to make from time to time, in order to see more of the
country and troops than would be possible if he marched altogether
with the big camp.

We went to Umritsar, Mian Mir, and Sialkot; at each place there were
the usual inspections, mess dinners, and entertainments. The Chief's
visit made a break in the ordinary life of a cantonment, and the
residents were glad to take advantage of it to get up various
festivities; Sir Hugh, too, was most hospitably inclined, so that
there was always a great deal to do besides actual duty when we
arrived at a station.

Jamu, where the Ruler of Kashmir resides during the winter, is not far
from Sialkot, so Sir Hugh was tempted to accept an invitation from the
Maharaja to pay him a visit and enjoy some good pig-sticking, to my
mind the finest sport in the world. His Highness entertained us right
royally, and gave us excellent sport, but our pleasure was marred by
the Chief having a bad fall: he had got the first spear off a fine
boar, who, feeling himself wounded, turned and charged, knocking over
Sir Hugh's horse. All three lay in a heap together; the pig was dead,
the horse was badly ripped up, and the Chief showed no signs of life.
We carried him back to Jamu on a _charpoy_[5] and when he regained
consciousness we found that no great harm was done beyond a severely
bruised face and a badly sprained leg, which, though still very
painful two or three days later, did not prevent the plucky old fellow
from riding over the battle-field of Chilianwalla.

Very soon after this Norman, who was then Adjutant-General of the
Army, left Head-Quarters to take up the appointment of Secretary to
the Government of India in the Military Department. Before we parted
he expressed a hope that I would soon follow him, as a vacancy in the
Department was about to take place, which he said he was sure Lord
Canning would allow him to offer to me. Norman was succeeded as
Adjutant-General of the Indian Army by Edwin Johnson, the last officer
who filled that post, as it was done away with when the amalgamation
of the services was carried into effect.

Two marches from Jhelum my wife was suddenly taken alarmingly ill, and
had to remain behind when the camp moved on. Sir Hugh Rose most kindly
insisted on leaving his doctor (Longhurst) in charge of her, and told
me I must stay with her as long as was necessary. For three whole
weeks we remained on the encamping ground of Sahawar; at the end of
that time, thanks (humanly speaking) to the skill and care of our
Doctor, she was sufficiently recovered to be put into a doolie and
carried to Lahore, I riding a camel by her side, for my horses had
gone on with the camp.

While at Lahore I received a most kind letter from Norman, offering me
the post in the Secretariat which he had already told me was about
to become vacant. After some hesitation--for the Secretariat had its
attractions, particularly as regarded pay--I decided to decline the
proffered appointment, as my acceptance of it would have taken me away
from purely military work and the chance of service in the field. I
left my wife on the high-road to recovery, and hurried after the
camp, overtaking it at Peshawar just in time to accompany the
Commander-in-Chief on his ride along the Derajat frontier, a trip I
should have been very sorry to have missed. We visited every station
from Kohat to Rajanpur, a ride of about 440 miles. Brigadier-General
Neville Chamberlain, who was still commanding the Punjab Frontier
Force, met us at Kohat, and remained with us to the end. We did from
twenty-five to forty miles a day, and our baggage and servants,
carried on riding-camels, kept up with us.

This was my first experience of a part of India with which I had later
so much to do, and which always interested me greatly. At the time of
which I am writing it was a wild and lawless tract of country. As we
left Kohat we met the bodies of four murdered men being carried in,
but were told there was nothing unusual in such a sight. On one
occasion General Chamberlain introduced to Sir Hugh Rose two young
Khans, fine, handsome fellows, who were apparently on excellent terms.
A few days later we were told that one of them had been murdered by
his companion, there having been a blood-feud between their families
for generations; although these two had been brought up together, and
liked each other, the one whose clan had last lost a member by the
feud felt himself in honour bound to sacrifice his friend.

When I rejoined my wife at the end of the tour, I found her a great
deal worse than her letters had led me to expect, but she had been
much cheered by the arrival of a sister who had come out to pay us
a visit, and who lived with us until she married an old friend and
brother officer of mine named Sladen. We remained at Umballa till the
end of March; the only noteworthy circumstance that occurred there was
a parade for announcing to the troops that Earl Canning had departed,
and that the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine was now Viceroy of India.

There are few men whose conduct of affairs has been so severely
criticized as Lord Canning's, but there are still fewer who, as
Governors or Viceroys, have had to deal with such an overwhelming
crisis as the Mutiny. While the want of appreciation Lord Canning at
first displayed of the magnitude of that crisis may, with perfect
justice, be attributed to the fact that most of his advisers had
gained their experience only in Lower Bengal, and had therefore a very
imperfect knowledge of popular feeling throughout India, the very
large measure of success which attended his subsequent action was
undoubtedly due to his own ability and sound judgment.

That by none of Lord Canning's responsible councillors could the
extent of the Mutiny, or the position in Upper India, have been
grasped, was evident from the telegram[6] sent from Calcutta to the
Commander-in-Chief on the 31st May, three weeks after the revolt at
Meerut had occurred; but from the time Lord Canning left Calcutta
in January, 1858, and had the opportunity of seeing and judging for
himself, all that he did was wise and vigorous.

Outwardly Lord Canning was cold and reserved, the result, I think, of
extreme sensitiveness; for he was without doubt very warm-hearted,
and was greatly liked and respected by those about him, and there
was universal regret throughout India when, three months after his
departure, the news of his death was received.

We returned to Simla early in April. The season passed much as other
seasons had passed, except that there was rather more gaiety. The new
Viceroy remained in Calcutta; but Sir Hugh Rose had had quite enough
of it the year before, so he came up to the Hills, and established
himself at 'Barnes Court.' He was very hospitable, and having my
sister-in-law to chaperon, my wife went out rather more than she had
cared to do in previous years. We spent a good deal of our time also
at Mashobra, a lovely place, in the heart of the Hills, about six
miles from Simla, where the Chief had a house, which he was good
enough to frequently place at our disposal, when not making use of
it himself. It was an agreeable change, and one which we all greatly
enjoyed. But at the best one gets very tired of the Hills by the close
of the summer, and I was glad to start off towards the end of
October with my wife and her sister for Agra, where this year the
Head-Quarters camp was to be formed, as the Chief had settled the
cold-weather tour was to begin with a march through Bundelkand and
Central India, the theatre of his successful campaign.

The second march out we were startled by being told, when we awoke
in the morning, that Colonel Gawler, the Deputy-Adjutant-General of
Queen's troops, had been badly wounded in the night by a thief, who
got into his tent with the object of stealing a large sum of money
Gawler had received from the bank the previous day, and for greater
safety had placed under his pillow when he went to bed. In the middle
of the night his wife awoke him, saying there was someone in the tent,
and by the dim light of a small oil-lamp he could just see a dark
figure creeping along the floor. He sprang out of bed and seized the
robber; but the latter, being perfectly naked and oiled all over,
slipped through his hands and wriggled under the wall of the tent.
Gawler caught him by the leg just as he was disappearing, and they
struggled outside together. When despairing of being able to make his
escape, the thief stabbed Gawler several times with a knife, which was
tied by a string to his wrist. By this time Mrs. Gawler had been
able to arouse two Kaffir servants, one of whom tried to seize the
miscreant, but in his turn was stabbed. The second servant, however,
was more wary, and succeeded in capturing the thief; Kaffir fashion,
he knocked all the breath out of his body by running at him head
down and butting him in the stomach, when it became easy to bind the
miscreant hand and foot. It was a bad part of the country for thieves;
and when some four weeks later I went off on a flying tour with the
Commander-in-Chief, I did not leave my wife quite as happily as usual.
But neither she nor her sister was afraid. Each night they sent
everything at all valuable to be placed under the care of the guard,
and having taken this precaution, were quite easy in their minds.

[Illustration: THE EARL CANNING, K.G., G.C.B., G.M.S.I., VICEROY AND
_From a photograph by Messrs. Mayall._]

When the camp reached Gwalior, the Maharaja Sindhia seemed to think
he could not do enough to show his gratitude to Sir Hugh Rose for his
opportune help in June, 1858,[7] when the Gwalior troops mutinied, and
joined the rebel army under the Rani of Jhansi and Tantia Topi. The
day after our arrival Sindhia held a grand review of his new army in
honour of our Chief. The next day there was an open-air entertainment
in the Phulbagh (garden of flowers); the third a picnic and elephant
fight, which, by the way, was a very tame affair. We had nerved
ourselves to see something rather terrific, instead of which the great
creatures twisted their trunks about each other in quite a playful
manner, and directly the play seemed to be turning into earnest they
were separated by their _mahouts_, being much too valuable to be
allowed to injure themselves. Each day there was some kind of
entertainment: pig-sticking or shooting expeditions in the morning,
and banquets, fireworks, and illuminations in the evening.

Gwalior is an interesting place. The fort is picturesquely situated
above a perpendicular cliff; the road up to it is very steep, and it
must have been almost impregnable in former days. It was made doubly
interesting to us by Sir Hugh Rose explaining how he attacked it, and
pointing out the spot where the Rani of Jhansi was killed in a charge
of the 8th Hussars.

Our next halt was Jhansi. Here also Sir Hugh had a thrilling tale to
tell of its capture, and of his having to fight the battle of the
Betwa against a large force brought to the assistance of the rebels by
Tantia Topi, while the siege was actually being carried on.

From Jhansi the big camp marched to Lucknow, _viâ_ Cawnpore; while the
Chief with a small staff (of which I was one) and light tents, made
a detour by Saugor, Jubbulpur, and Allahabad. We travelled through
pretty jungle for the most part, interspersed with low hills, and we
had altogether a very enjoyable trip. Sir Hugh was justly proud of the
splendid service the Central India Field Force had performed under
his command; and, as we rode along, it delighted him to point out the
various places where he had come in contact with the rebels.

While at Allahabad, on the 13th January--quite the coolest time of the
year--I had a slight sunstroke, which it took me a very long time to
get over completely. The sensible custom introduced by Lord Clyde,
of wearing helmets, was not always adhered to, and Sir Hugh Hose was
rather fond of cocked hats. On this occasion I was wearing this--for
India--most unsuitable head-dress, and, as ill-luck would have it, the
Chief kept me out rather late, going over the ground where the present
cantonment stands. I did not feel anything at the time, but an hour
later I was suddenly seized with giddiness and sickness, and for a
short time I could neither see nor hear. Plentiful douches of cold
water brought me round, and I was well enough in the afternoon to go
with the Chief to inspect the fort; but for months afterwards I never
lost the pain in my head, and for many years I was very susceptible to
the evil influence of the sun's rays.

We reached Lucknow towards the middle of January. Here, as elsewhere,
we had constant parades and inspections, for Sir Hugh carried out his
duties in the most thorough manner, and spared himself no trouble to
secure the efficiency and the well-being of the soldier. At the same
time, he was careful not to neglect his social duties; he took a
prominent part in all amusements, and it was mainly due to his liberal
support that we were able to keep up a small pack of hounds with
Head-Quarters, which afforded us much enjoyment during the winter

From Lucknow we marched through Bareilly, Meerut, and Umballa, and the
30th March saw us all settled at Simla for the season.

Early in April Lord Elgin arrived in Simla for the hot weather,
and from that time to the present, Simla has continued to be the
Head-Quarters of the Government during the summer months.

About this time the changes necessitated by the amalgamation of
the services took place in the army staff. Edwin Johnson lost his
appointment in consequence, and Colonel Haythorne,[8] Adjutant-General
of Queen's troops, became Adjutant-General of the Army in India,
with Donald Stewart as his deputy. The order limiting the tenure of
employment on the staff in the same grade to five years was also now
introduced, which entailed my good friend Arthur Becher vacating the
Quartermaster-Generalship, after having held it for eleven years.
He was succeeded by Colonel Paton, with Lumsden as his deputy, and
Charles Johnson (brother of Edwin Johnson) and myself as assistants in
the Department.

[Footnote 1: Under the Regular system, which was modelled on the Royal
Army organization, each regiment of Native Cavalry had 22, and each
regiment of Native Infantry 25 British officers, who rose to the
higher grades by seniority. From this establishment officers were
taken, without being seconded, for the multifarious extra-regimental
duties on which the Indian Army was, and is still, employed, viz.,
Staff, Civil, Political, Commissariat, Pay, Public Works, Stud,
and Survey. With the Irregular system this was no longer possible,
although the number of British officers with each corps was (after
the Mutiny) increased from 3 to 9 with a Cavalry, and 3 to 8 with an
Infantry regiment.]

[Footnote 2: Captain after twelve years,[*] Major after twenty years,
and Lieutenant-Colonel after twenty-six years.]

[Footnote * to Footnote 2: Since reduced to eleven years.]

[Footnote 3: The late Sir Bartle Frere, Bart, G.C.B., G.C.S.I.]

[Footnote 4: The fever-giving tract of country at the foot of the

[Footnote 5: Native string bed.]

[Footnote 6: 'Your force of Artillery will enable us to dispose
of Delhi with certainty. I therefore beg that you will detach one
European Infantry regiment and a small force of European Cavalry to
the south of Delhi, without keeping them for operations there, so that
Aligarh may be recovered and Cawnpore relieved immediately.']

[Footnote 7: After the capture of Kalpi in May, 1858, Sir Hugh Rose,
worn out with fatigue and successive sunstrokes, was advised by his
medical officer to return at once to Bombay; his leave had been
granted, and his successor (Brigadier-General Napier) had been
appointed, when intelligence reached him to the effect that the rebel
army, under Tantia Topi and the Rani of Jhansi, had been joined by
the whole of Sindhia's troops and were in possession of the fort
of Gwalior with its well-supplied arsenal. Sir Hugh Rose at once
cancelled his leave, pushed on to Gwalior, and by the 30th of June had
re-captured all Sindhia's guns and placed him again in possession of
his capital.]

[Footnote 8: The late General Sir Edmund Haythorne, K.C.B.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  The Umbeyla expedition--The Akhund of Swat
  --The 'Eagle's Nest' and 'Crag piquet'--The death of Lord Elgin
  --Loyalty of our Pathan soldiers--Bunerwals show signs of submission
  --The conical hill--Umbeyla in flames--Bunerwals agree to our terms
  --Malka destroyed

In the autumn of 1863, while we were preparing for the usual winter
tour, Sir Hugh Rose, who had accompanied Lord Elgin on a trip through
the hills, telegraphed to the Head-Quarters staff to join him at Mian
Mir without delay.

The news which greeted us on our arrival was indeed disturbing. Lord
Elgin was at Dharmsala in a dying condition, and the Chief had
been obliged to leave him and push on to Lahore, in consequence of
unsatisfactory reports from Brigadier-General Chamberlain, who was
just then commanding an expedition which had been sent into the
mountains near Peshawar, and had met with unexpected opposition. The
civil authorities on the spot reported that there existed a great deal
of excitement all along the border, that the tribes were collecting in
large numbers, that emissaries from Kabul had appeared amongst
them, and that, unless reinforcements could be sent up at once, the
Government would be involved in a war which must inevitably lead to
the most serious complications, not only on the frontier, but with
Afghanistan. In so grave a light did the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir
Robert Montgomery, view the position, that he contemplated the force
being withdrawn and the undertaking abandoned.

Sir Hugh had had nothing to do with the despatch of this expedition;
it had been decided on by the Government of India in consultation with
the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. When the Commander-in-Chief was
communicated with, he expressed himself adverse to the proposal, and
placed his views at length before the Government, pointing out the
inexpediency of entering a difficult and unknown country, unless the
troops were properly equipped with transport, supplies, and reserve
ammunition; that time did not permit of their being so equipped before
the winter set in; and that, to provide a force of 5,000 men (the
strength considered necessary by the Government), the frontier would
have to be dangerously weakened. Moreover, he gave it as his opinion
that it would be better to postpone operations until the spring, when
everything could be perfectly arranged. Subsequent events proved how
sound was this advice. But before proceeding with my narrative it will
be as well to explain the circumstances with led the authorities to
undertake this expedition.

In 1857, when all our resources were required to quell internal
tumult, the Hindustani fanatics[1] took the opportunity to stir up
disturbances all along the Yusafzai frontier of the Peshawar district,
and, aided by the rebel sepoys who had fled to them for protection,
they made raids upon our border, and committed all kinds of
atrocities. We were obliged, therefore, to send an expedition against
them in 1858, which resulted in their being driven from their
stronghold, Sitana, and in the neighbouring tribes being bound down to
prevent them reoccupying that place. Three years later the fanatics
returned to their former haunts and built up a new settlement at
Malka; the old troubles recommenced, and for two years they had been
allowed to go on raiding, murdering, and attacking our outposts with
impunity. It was, therefore, quite time that measures should be taken
to effectually rid the frontier of these disturbers of the peace,
provided such measures could have been decided upon early enough in
the year to ensure success.

The Punjab Government advocated the despatch of a very strong force.
Accordingly, two columns were employed, the base of one being in the
Peshawar valley, and that of the other in Hazara. The Peshawar column
was to move by the Umbeyla Pass, the Buner frontier, and the Chamla
valley, thus operating on the enemy's line of retreat. This route
would not have been chosen, had not Chamberlain been assured by the
civil authorities that no hostility need be feared from the Bunerwals,
even if their country had to be entered, as they had given no trouble
for fifteen years, and their spiritual head, the Akhund of Swat,[2]
had no sympathy with the fanatics. It was not, therefore, considered
necessary to warn the Buner people of our approach until preparations
were completed; indeed, it was thought unadvisable to do so, as it was
important to keep the proposed line of advance secret. The strength of
the force was 6,000 men, with 19 guns, but to make up these numbers
the stations in Upper India had to be considerably weakened, and there
was no reserve nearer than Lahore.

The Peshawar column[3] being all ready for a start, a Proclamation was
forwarded to the Buner and other neighbouring tribes, informing
them of the object of the expedition, and stating that there was no
intention of interfering with them or their possessions.

On the following morning, the 20th October, the Umbeyla Pass was
entered, and by noon the kotal[4] was reached without any resistance
to speak of; but, from information brought in, it was evident that any
further advance would be stoutly opposed. The road turned out to be
much more difficult than had been anticipated, and the hurriedly
collected transport proved unequal to the strain. Not a single baggage
animal, except the ammunition mules, got up that night; indeed, it was
not until the morning of the 22nd--more than forty-eight hours after
they started--that the rear guard reached the kotal, a distance of
only six miles. As soon as it arrived Colonel Alex. Taylor, R.E., was
sent off with a body of Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Probyn, to
reconnoitre the road in front. The delay in reaching the top of the
pass had given the tribes time to collect, and when the reconnoitring
party entered the Chamla valley the Bunerwals could be seen about two
miles and a half off, occupying in force the range which separates
Buner and Chamla. Whatever may have been their first intention, they
apparently could not resist the temptation to try and cut off this
small body of Cavalry, for our horsemen on their return journey found
a large number of the trusted Buner tribe attempting to block the
mouth of the pass. A charge was made, but mounted men could not do
much in such a hilly country; the proceedings of the Bunerwals,
however, had been observed from the kotal, and Major Brownlow,[5] with
some of his own regiment (the 20th Punjab Infantry), was sent to the
assistance of the party. A hand-to-hand fight ensued, and the enemy
pressed our troops closely on their way back, coming right in amongst
them with the utmost daring.

There was now brought in to the Commissioner by a spy the copy of
a letter from the Hindustani fanatics, addressed to the Bunerwals,
telling them not to be taken in by our assurances that our only object
was to punish the fanatics, for our real intentions were to annex
Chamla, Buner, and Swat. This letter no doubt aroused the suspicions
of the tribes, and, encouraged by the slowness of our movements, they
all joined against us from Buner, Mahaban, and the Black Mountain.

On the 23rd large bodies of men with numerous standards were to be
seen approaching the mouth of the pass, and a day or two later a
report was received that our foes were to have the support of the
Akhund of Swat, which meant a most formidable accession of moral as
well as material strength, and put a stop, for the time being, to
any possibility of a successful advance being made with the force at
Chamberlain's disposal.

The position occupied by our troops was enclosed on the left (west)
by the Guru Mountain, which separates Umbeyla from Buner, and on the
right (east) by a range of hills, not quite so high. The main piquet
on the Guru occupied a position upon some precipitous cliffs known as
the Eagle's Nest, while that on the right was designated the 'Crag
piquet.' The Eagle's Nest was only large enough to accommodate 110
men, so 120 more were placed under the shelter of some rocks at its
base, and the remainder of the troops told off for the defence of the
left piquet were drawn up on and about a rocky knoll, 400 feet west of
the Eagle's Nest.

Some 2,000 of the enemy occupied a breastwork on the crest of a spur
of the Guru Mountain; and about noon on the 26th they moved down, and
with loud shouts attacked the Eagle's Nest. Their matchlock men posted
themselves to the greatest advantage in a wood, and opened a galling
fire upon our defences, while their swordsmen made a determined
advance. The nature of the ground prevented our guns from being
brought to bear upon the assailants, and they were thus able to
get across the open space in front of the piquet, and plant their
standards close under its parapet. For some considerable time they
remained in this position, all our efforts to dislodge them proving of
no avail. Eventually, however, they were forced to give way, and were
driven up the hill, leaving the ground covered with their dead, and a
great many wounded, who were taken into our hospitals and carefully
treated, while a still greater number were carried off by their
friends. Our losses were, 2 British officers, 1 Native officer, and
26 men killed; and 2 British officers, 7 Native officers, and 86 men

The day following the fight the Bunerwals were told they might carry
away their dead, and we took advantage of their acceptance of this
permission to reason with them as to the uselessness of an unnecessary
sacrifice of their tribesmen, which would be the certain result of
further opposition to us. Their demeanour was courteous, and they
conversed freely with General Chamberlain and Colonel Reynell Taylor,
the Commissioner, but they made it evident that they were determined
not to give in.

Our position had now become rather awkward; there was a combination
against us of all the tribes between the Indus and the Kabul rivers,
and their numbers could not be less than 15,000 armed men. Mutual
animosities were for the time allowed to remain in abeyance, and
the tribes all flocked to fight under the Akhund's standard in the
interests of their common faith. Moreover, there was trouble in the
rear from the people along the Yusafzai border, who assisted the
enemy by worrying our lines of communication. Under these changed
conditions, and with such an inadequate force, Chamberlain came to
the conclusion that, for the moment, he could only remain on the
defensive, and trust to time, to the discouragement which repeated
unsuccessful attacks were sure to produce on the enemy, and to the
gradual decrease of their numbers, to break up the combination against
us; for, as these tribesmen only bring with them the quantity of food
they are able to carry, as soon as it is finished they are bound to
suspend operations till more can be procured.

For three weeks almost daily attacks were made on our position; the
enemy fought magnificently, some of them being killed inside our
batteries, and twice they gained possession of the 'Crag piquet,' the
key of the position, which it was essential should be retaken at all
hazards. On the second occasion General Chamberlain himself led the
attacking party, and was so severely wounded that he was obliged to
relinquish the command of the force.

The Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, being convinced that
reinforcements were necessary, in consultation with Colonels Durand[6]
and Norman (the Foreign and Military Secretaries, who had come to
Lahore to meet the Viceroy), and without waiting for the sanction of
the Commander-in-Chief, ordered to the frontier the three regiments
which had been detailed for the Viceroy's camp,[7] as well as the 93rd
Highlanders, then at Sialkot; and when Sir Hugh Rose on his arrival
at Lahore heard of the heavy losses the expeditionary force had
sustained, and of General Chamberlain being _hors de combat_ from his
wound, further reinforcements from every direction were hurried to the
front. Subsequently, however, it became a question whether the troops
should not be withdrawn altogether, and the punishment of the fanatics
given up, the Government of India and the Punjab Government being
completely in accord in favouring this view, while the Commissioner of
Peshawar, Major James (who had succeeded Reynell Taylor),[8] and Sir
Hugh Rose were as strongly opposed to a retrograde movement. The
Commander-in-Chief pointed out to the Government that the loss of
prestige and power we must sustain by retiring from the Umbeyla Pass
would be more disastrous, both from a military and political point
of view, than anything that could happen save the destruction of the
force itself, and that General Chamberlain, on whose sound judgment he
could rely, was quite sure that a retirement was unnecessary.

Unfortunately at this time the Viceroy died at Dharmsala, and the
question remained in abeyance pending the arrival of Sir William
Denison, Governor of Madras, who was coming round to take over the
reins of Government until a successor to Lord Elgin should be sent
from England.

In the meantime Sir Hugh Rose was most anxious to obtain exact
information respecting our position at Umbeyla, the means of operating
from it, the nature of the ground--in fact, all details which could
only be satisfactorily obtained by sending someone to report on the
situation, with whom he had had personal communication regarding
the points about which he required to be enlightened. He therefore
determined to despatch two officers on special service, whose duty it
would be to put the Commander-in-Chief in possession of all the facts
of the case; accordingly, Colonel Adye[9] (Deputy-Adjutant-General
of Royal Artillery) and I were ordered to proceed to Umbeyla without

Adye proved a most charming travelling companion, clever and
entertaining, and I think we both enjoyed our journey. We reached the
pass on the 25th November.

There had been no fighting for some days, and most of the wounded had
been removed. Sir Neville Chamberlain was still in camp, and I was
sorry to find him suffering greatly from his wound. We were much
interested in going over the piquets and listening to the story of the
different attacks made upon them, which had evidently been conducted
by the enemy with as much skill as courage.[10] The loyalty of our
Native soldiers struck me as having been most remarkable. Not a single
desertion had occurred, although all the Native regiments engaged,
with the exception of the Gurkhas and Punjab Pioneers, had amongst
them members of the several tribes we were fighting, and many of our
soldiers were even closely related to some of the hostile tribesmen;
on one occasion a young Buner sepoy actually recognized his own father
amongst the enemy's dead when the fight was over.[11]

We listened to many tales of the gallantry of the British officers.
The names of Brownlow, Keyes,[12] and Hughes[13] were on everyone's
lips, and Brownlow's defence of the Eagle's Nest on the 26th October,
and of the 'Crag piquet' on the 12th November, spoke volumes for his
coolness and pluck, and for the implicit faith reposed in him by the
men of the 20th Punjab Infantry, the regiment he had raised in 1857
when but a subaltern. In his official report the General remarked that
'to Major Brownlow's determination and personal example he attributed
the preservation of the "Crag piquet."' And Keyes's recapture of the
same piquet was described by Sir Neville as 'a most brilliant exploit,
stamping Major Keyes as an officer possessing some of the highest
military qualifications.' Brownlow and Keyes were both recommended for
the Victoria Cross.

We (Adye and I) had no difficulty in making up our minds as to
the course which ought to be taken. The column was daily being
strengthened by the arrival of reinforcements, and although the
combination of the tribesmen was still formidable, the enemy were
showing signs of being disheartened by their many losses, and of a
wish to come to terms.

Having consulted the civil and military authorities on the spot, we
informed the Commander-in-Chief that they were of opinion a withdrawal
would be most unwise, and that it was hoped that on the arrival of
General Garvock[14] (Chamberlain's successor) an advance would be made
into the Chamla valley, for there would then be a sufficient number
of troops to undertake an onward move, as well as to hold the present
position, which, as we told the Chief, was one of the strongest we had
ever seen.

Sir William Denison reached Calcutta on the 2nd December. A careful
study of the correspondence in connexion with the Umbeyla expedition
satisfied him that the Commander-in-Chief's views were correct, and
that a retirement would be unwise.

Sir Hugh Rose had previously requested to be allowed to personally
conduct the operations, and in anticipation of the Government acceding
to his request, he had sent a light camp to Hasan Abdal, from which
place he intended to push on to Umbeyla; and with the object of
collecting troops near the frontier, where they would be available
as a reserve should the expedition not be soon and satisfactorily
settled, he desired me to select an encamping-ground between Rawal
Pindi and Attock suitable for 10,000 men.

Leaving Adye in the pass, I started for Attock, where I spent three
days riding about in search of a promising site for the camp. I
settled upon a place near Hasan Abdal, which, however, was not in the
end made use of. The people of the country were very helpful to me;
indeed, when they heard I had been a friend of John Nicholson, they
seemed to think they could not do enough for me, and delighted in
talking of their old leader, whom they declared to be the greatest man
they had ever known.

On my return I marched up the pass with the Rev. W. G. Cowie[15] and
Probyn, who, with 400 Cavalry, had been ordered to the front to be in
readiness for a move into the Chamla valley. James, the Commissioner,
had been working to detach the Bunerwals from the combination against
us, and on the afternoon of our arrival a deputation of their headmen
arrived in camp, and before their departure the next morning they
promised to accompany a force proceeding to destroy Malka, and to
expel the Hindustani fanatics from the Buner country.

Later, however, a messenger came in to say they could not fulfil their
promise, being unable to resist the pressure brought to bear upon them
by their co-religionists. The man further reported that large numbers
of fresh tribesmen had appeared on the scene, and that it was intended
to attack us on the 16th. He advised the Commissioner to take the
initiative, and gave him to understand that if we advanced the
Bunerwals would stand aloof.

Sir Hugh Rose had been accorded permission to take command of the
troops in the field, and had sent word to General Garvock not 'to
attempt any operations until further orders.' James, however, thinking
that the situation demanded immediate action, as disturbances had
broken out in other parts of the Peshawar valley, deprecated delay,
and pressed Garvock to advance, telling him that a successful
fight would put matters straight. Garvock consented to follow the
Commissioner's advice, and arranged to move on the following day.

The force was divided into three columns. The first and
second--consisting of about 4,800 men, and commanded respectively by
Colonel W. Turner, C.B.,[16] and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilde, C.B.--were
to form the attacking party, while the third, about 3,000 strong,
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Vaughan,[17] was to be left
for the protection of the camp.

At daybreak, on the 15th, the troops for the advance, unencumbered by
tents or baggage, and each man carrying two days' rations, assembled
at the base of the 'Crag piquet.' Turner, an excellent officer, who
during the short time he had been at Umbeyla had inspired great
confidence by his soldierly qualities, had on the previous afternoon
reconnoitred to the right of the camp, and had discovered that
about 4,000 men were holding the village of Lalu, from which it was
necessary to dislodge them before Umbeyla could be attacked. On being
told to advance, therefore, Turner moved off in the direction of Lalu,
and, driving the enemy's piquets before him, occupied the heights
overlooking the valley, out of which rose, immediately in front about
200 yards off, a conical hill which hid Lalu from view. This hill,
which was crowded with Hindustani fanatics and their Pathan allies,
was a most formidable position; the sides were precipitous, and the
summit was strengthened by _sangars_.[18] No further move could be
made until the enemy were dislodged, so Turner lined the heights all
round with his Infantry, and opened fire with his Mountain guns.
Meanwhile, Wilde's column had cleared off the enemy from the front
of the camp, and formed up on Turner's left. On the advance being
sounded, Turner's Infantry rushed down the slopes, and in ten minutes
could be seen driving the enemy from the heights on his right; at the
same time the 101st Fusiliers, the leading regiment of Wilde's column,
made straight for the top of the conical hill, and, under cover of
the fire from the Mountain guns of both columns, and supported by
the Guides, 4th Gurkhas, and 23rd Pioneers, they climbed the almost
perpendicular sides. When near the top a short halt was made to give
the men time to get their breath; the signal being then given, amidst
a shower of bullets and huge stones, the position was stormed, and
carried at the point of the bayonet. It was a grand sight as Adye and
I watched it from Hughes's battery; but we were considerably relieved
when we perceived the enemy flying down the sides of the hill, and
heard the cheers of the gallant Fusiliers as they stood victorious on
the highest peak.

_From a sketch by General Sir John Adye, G.C.B., R.A._]

Now that the enemy were on the run it was the time to press them, and
this Turner did so effectually that the leading men of his column
entered Lalu simultaneously with the last of the fugitives. The
rapidity of this movement was so unexpected that it threw the enemy
inside the walls into confusion; they made no stand, and were soon in
full retreat towards Umbeyla and the passes leading into Buner.

While affairs were thus prospering on our right, the enemy, apparently
imagining we were too busy to think of our left, came in large
numbers from the village of Umbeyla, threatening the camp and the
communications of the second column. Wilde, however, was prepared for
them, and held his ground until reinforced by Turner, when he made a
forward movement. The Guides, and detachments of the 5th Gurkhas and
3rd Sikhs, charged down one spur, and the 101st down another; the
enemy were driven off with great slaughter, leaving a standard in
the hands of the Gurkhas, and exposing themselves in their flight to
Turner's guns. During the day they returned, and, gathering on the
heights, made several unsuccessful attacks upon our camp. At last,
about 2 p.m., Brownlow, who was in command of the right defences,
assumed the offensive, and, aided by Keyes, moved out of the
breastworks and, by a succession of well-executed charges, completely
cleared the whole front of the position, and drove the tribesmen with
great loss into the plain below.

All opposition having now ceased, and the foe being in full retreat,
the force bivouacked for the night. We had 16 killed and 67 wounded;
while our opponents admitted to 400 killed and wounded.

The next morning we were joined by Probyn with 200 sabres of the 11th
Bengal Lancers and the same number of the Guides; and after a hasty
breakfast the order was given to march into the Chamla valley. My duty
was to accompany the Mountain batteries and show them the way. As we
debouched into comparatively open country, the enemy appeared on a
ridge which completely covered our approach to Umbeyla, and we could
descry many standards flying on the most prominent points. The road
was so extremely difficult that it was half-past two o'clock before
the whole force was clear of the hills.

General Garvock, having made a careful reconnaissance of the enemy's
position, which was of great strength and peculiarly capable of
defence, had decided to turn their right, a movement which was to be
entrusted to the second column, and I was told to inform Turner that
he must try and cut them off from the Buner Pass as they retreated.
I found Turner close to Umbeyla and delivered my message. He moved
forward at once with the 23rd Pioneers and a wing of the 32nd Pioneers
in line, supported by the second wing, having in reserve a wing of the
7th Royal Fusiliers.

When we had passed the village of Umbeyla, which was in flames, having
been set fire to by our Cavalry, the wing of the 32nd was brought up
in prolongation of our line to the right. The advance was continued
to within about 800 yards of the Buner Pass, when Turner, observing a
large body of the enemy threatening his left flank, immediately sent
two companies of the Royal Fusiliers in that direction. Just at that
moment a band of _Ghazis_ furiously attacked the left flank, which
was at a disadvantage, having got into broken ground covered with low
jungle. In a few seconds five of the Pioneer British officers were
on the ground, one killed and four wounded; numbers of the men were
knocked over, and the rest, staggered by the suddenness of the
onslaught, fell back on their reserve, where they found the needed
support, for the Fusiliers stood as firm as a rock. At the
critical moment when the _Ghazis_ made their charge, Wright, the
Assistant-Adjutant-General, and I, being close by, rushed in amongst
the Pioneers and called on them to follow us; as we were personally
known to the men of both regiments, they quickly pulled themselves
together and responded to our efforts to rally them. It was lucky they
did so, for had there been any delay or hesitation, the enemy, who
thronged the slopes above us, would certainly have come down in great
numbers, and we should have had a most difficult task. As it was, we
were entirely successful in repulsing the _Ghazis_, not a man of
whom escaped. We counted 200 of the enemy killed; our losses were
comparatively slight--8 killed and 80 wounded.

We bivouacked for the night near the village of Umbeyla, and the next
morning the Bunerwals, who, true to their word, had taken no part in
the fighting on the 15th or 16th, came in and made their submission.

The question which now had to be decided was, whether a force fully
equipped and strong enough to overcome all opposition should be sent
to destroy the fanatic settlement of Malka, or whether the work of
annihilation should be entrusted to the Bunerwals, witnessed by
British officers. The latter course was eventually adopted, chiefly
on account of the delay which provisioning a brigade would entail--a
delay which the Commissioner was anxious to avoid--for although for
the present the combination had broken up, and most of the tribesmen
were dispersing to their homes, the Akhund of Swat and his followers
were still hovering about in the neighbourhood, and inaction on our
part would in all probability have led to a fresh gathering and
renewed hostilities.

The terms which were drawn up, and to which the Bunerwals agreed,

    The breaking-up of the tribal gathering in the Buner Pass.

    The destruction of Malka; those carrying out the work to be
    accompanied by British officers and such escort as might be
    considered necessary by us.

    The expulsion of the Hindustanis from the Buner, Chamla, and
    Amazai countries.

    And, finally, it was stipulated that the headmen of their tribe
    should be left as hostages until such time as the requirements
    should have been fulfilled.

On the afternoon of Saturday, the 19th December, the little party
of British officers who were to witness the destruction of Malka
assembled at Umbeyla. Its members were Reynell Taylor (who was in
charge), Alex. Taylor (Commanding Engineer), two Survey officers,
Wright, Adye, and myself. Twenty-five Cavalry and 4 companies of the
Guides Infantry, under four officers, formed our escort, and it had
been arranged that we were to be accompanied by four leading Buner
Khans, with 2,000 followers, who would be responsible for our safety,
and destroy the fanatics' stronghold in our presence. Rain was falling
heavily, but as all our arrangements had been made, and delay was
considered undesirable, it was settled that we should make a start. It
was rough travelling, and it was almost dark when we reached Kuria,
only eight miles on our way, where we halted for the night, and where
we had to remain the next day, as the Bunerwals declared they could
not continue the journey until they had come to an understanding with
the Amazais, in whose territory Malka was situated.

We had noticed on leaving Umbeyla that, instead of 2,000 Bunerwals,
there were only about sixty or seventy at the most, and in reply to
our repeated questions as to what had become of the remainder, we were
told they would join us later on. It soon became evident, however,
that no more were coming, and that the Khans thought it wiser to trust
to their own influence with the Amazais rather than to intimidation.

We made a fresh start on the morning of the 21st. Malka was only
twelve miles off, but the way was so difficult, and our guides stopped
so often to consult with the numerous bands of armed men we came
across, that it was sunset before we arrived at our destination.

Malka was perched on a spur of the Mahabun mountain, some distance
below its highest peak. It was a strong, well-built place, with
accommodation for about 1,500 people. The Amazais did not attempt to
disguise their disgust at our presence in their country, and they
gathered in knots, scowling and pointing at us, evidently discussing
whether we should or should not be allowed to return.

The next morning Malka was set on fire, and the huge column of smoke
which ascended from the burning village, and was visible for miles
round, did not tend to allay the ill-feeling so plainly displayed. The
Native officers of the Guides warned us that delay was dangerous, as
the people were becoming momentarily more excited, and were vowing we
should never return. It was no use, however, to attempt to make a
move without the consent of the tribesmen, for we were a mere handful
compared to the thousands who had assembled around Malka, and we were
separated from our camp by twenty miles of most difficult country. Our
position was no doubt extremely critical, and it was well for us that
we had at our head such a cool, determined leader as Reynell Taylor. I
greatly admired the calm, quiet manner in which he went up and spoke
to the headmen, telling them that, the object of our visit having been
accomplished, we were ready to retrace our steps. At this the
Amazais became still further excited. They talked in loud tones, and
gesticulated in true Pathan fashion, thronging round Taylor, who stood
quite alone and perfectly self-possessed in the midst of the angry and
dangerous-looking multitude. At this crisis the Bunerwals came to our
rescue. The most influential of the tribe, a grey-bearded warrior,
who had lost an eye and an arm in some tribal contest, forced his way
through the rapidly increasing crowd to Taylor's side, and, raising
his one arm to enjoin silence, delivered himself as follows: 'You are
hesitating whether you will allow these English to return unmolested.
You can, of course, murder them and their escort; but if you do, you
must kill us Bunerwals first, for we have sworn to protect them, and
we will do so with our lives.' This plucky speech produced a quieting
effect, and taking advantage of the lull in the storm, we set out on
our return journey; but evidently the tribesmen did not consider the
question finally or satisfactorily settled, for they followed us the
whole way to Kuria. The slopes of the hills on both sides were covered
with men. Several times we were stopped while stormy discussions took
place, and once, as we were passing through a narrow defile, an armed
Amazai, waving a standard above his head, rushed down towards us.
Fortunately for us, he was stopped by some of those less inimically
disposed; for if he had succeeded in inciting anyone to fire a single
shot, the desire for blood would quickly have spread, and in all
probability not one of our party would have escaped.

On the 23rd December we reached our camp in the Umbeyla Pass, when the
force, which had only been kept there till our return, retired to the
plains and was broken up.

During my absence at Umbeyla my wife remained with friends at Mian Mir
for some time, and then made her way to Peshawar, where I joined her
on Christmas Day. She spent one night _en route_ in Sir Hugh Rose's
camp at Hasan Abdal, and found the Chief in great excitement and very
angry at such a small party having been sent to Malka, and placed at
the mercy of the tribes. He did not know that my wife had arrived, and
in passing her tent she heard him say: 'It was madness, and not one
of them will ever come back alive.' She was of course dreadfully
frightened. As soon as Sir Hugh heard she was in camp, he went to see
her, and tried to soften down what he knew she must have heard; but
he could not conceal his apprehension; and my poor wife's anxiety was
terrible, for she did not hear another word till the morning of the
day I returned to her.

[Footnote 1: In 1825 a religious adventurer from Bareilly made his
appearance on the Yusafzai frontier with about forty Hindustani
followers, and gave out that he was a man of superior sanctity, and
had a divine command to wage a war of extermination, with the aid of
all true believers, against the infidel. After studying Arabic at
Delhi, he proceeded to Mecca by way of Calcutta, and during this
journey his doctrines had obtained so great an ascendency over the
minds of the Mahomedans of Bengal that they have ever since supplied
the colony which Syad Ahmed Shah founded in Yusafzai with money and
recruits. The Syad was eventually slain fighting against the Sikhs,
but his followers established themselves at Sitana, and in the
neighbourhood of that place they continue to flourish, notwithstanding
that we have destroyed their settlements more than once during the
last forty years.]

[Footnote 2: The Akhund of Swat was a man of seventy years of age at
the time of the Umbeyla expedition; he had led a holy life, and had
gained such an influence over the minds of Mahomedans in general,
that they believed he was supplied by supernatural means with the
necessaries of life, and that every morning, on rising from his
prayers, a sum of money sufficient for the day's expenditure was found
under his praying carpet.]

[Footnote 3: The Peshawar column consisted of half of 19th Company
Royal Artillery, No. 3 Punjab Light Field Battery, the Peshawar and
Hazara Mountain Batteries, the 71st and 101st Foot, the Guides, one
troop 11th Bengal Lancers, one company Bengal Sappers and Miners, 14th
Sikhs, 20th Punjab Infantry, 32nd Pioneers, 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th
Punjab Infantry, and 4th and 5th Gurkhas. The Hazara column consisted
of a wing of the 51st Foot, 300 Native Cavalry, a regiment of Native
Infantry and eight guns, holding Darband, Torbela, and Topi on the

[Footnote 4: The highest point of a pass crossing a mountain range.]

[Footnote 5: Now General Sir Charles Brownlow, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 6: The late Sir Henry Marion Durand, K.C.S.I., C.B.,
afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab.]

[Footnote 7: 7th Royal Fusiliers, 23rd Pioneers, and 24th Punjab
Native Infantry.]

[Footnote 8: Reynell Taylor remained with the force as political

[Footnote 9: General Sir John Adye, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 10: The expedition was an admirable school for training men
in outpost duty. The Pathans and Gurkhas were quite at home at such
work, and not only able to take care of themselves, but when stalked
by the enemy were equal to a counter-stalk, often most successful. The
enemy used to joke with Brownlow's and Keyes's men on these occasions,
and say, 'We don't want you. Where are the _lal pagriwalas?_ [as the
14th Sikhs were called from their _lal pagris_ (red turbans)] or the
_goralog_ [the Europeans]? They are better _shikar_ [sport]!' The
tribesmen soon discovered that the Sikhs and Europeans, though full of
fight, were very helpless on the hill-side, and could not keep their
heads under cover.]

[Footnote 11: Colonel Reynell Taylor, whilst bearing like testimony to
the good conduct of the Pathan soldiery, said the personal influence
of officers will always be found to be the only stand-by for the
Government interests when the religious cry is raised, and the
fidelity of our troops is being tampered with. Pay, pensions, and
orders of merit may, and would, be cast to the winds when the honour
of the faith was in the scale; but to snap the associations of years,
and to turn in his hour of need against the man whom he has proved
to be just and worthy, whom he has noted in the hour of danger, and
praised as a hero to his family, is just what a Pathan will not do--to
his honour be it said. The fact was that the officers in camp had been
so long and kindly associated with their soldiers that the latter were
willing to set them before their great religious teacher, the Akhund
of Swat ('Records of Expeditions against the North-West Frontier

[Footnote 12: The late General Sir Charles Keyes, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 13: The late Major-General T. E. Hughes, C.B., Royal

[Footnote 14: The late General Sir John Garvock, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 15: Now Bishop of Auckland and Primate of New Zealand.]

[Footnote 16: The late Brigadier-General Sir W. W. Turner, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 17: General Sir T. L. Vaughan, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 18: Stone breastworks.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  A voyage round the Cape--Cholera camps--The Abyssinian expedition
  --Landed at Zula

Early in the New Year (1864) Sir Hugh Rose, with the Head-Quarters
camp, marched into Peshawar, where we remained until the middle of
February. The time was chiefly spent in inspections, parades, and
field-days, varied by an occasional run with the hounds. The hunting
about Peshawar was very fair, and we all, the Chief included, got a
great deal of fun out of our small pack.

On the 25th January a full-dress parade was held to announce to the
garrison that Sir John Lawrence had been appointed Viceroy of India,
and soon afterwards we left Peshawar and began our return march to

We changed our house this year and took one close to the Stewarts, an
arrangement for which I was very thankful later, when my wife had a
great sorrow in the death of her sister, Mrs. Sladen, at Peshawar. It
was everything for her at such a time to have a kind and sympathizing
friend close at hand, when I was engaged with my work and could be
very little with her during the day. At this time, as at all others,
Sir Hugh Rose was a most considerate friend to us; he placed his house
at Mashobra at my wife's disposal, thus providing her with a quiet
resort which she frequently made use of and which she learned to love
so much that, when I returned to Simla as Commander-in-Chief, her
first thought was to secure this lovely 'Retreat' as a refuge from the
(sometimes) slightly trying gaiety of Simla.

The Commander-in-Chief was good enough to send in my name for a brevet
for the Umbeyla expedition, but the Viceroy refused to forward the
recommendation, for the reason that I was 'too junior to be made a
Lieutenant-Colonel.' I was then thirty-two!

Throughout the whole of 1864 I was more or less ill; the office work
(which never suited me quite as well as more active employment) was
excessive, for, in addition to the ordinary routine, I had undertaken
to revise the 'Bengal Route-Book,' which had become quite obsolete,
having been compiled in 1837, when Kurnal was our frontier station. A
voyage round the Cape was still considered the panacea for all Indian
ailments, and the doctors strongly advised my taking leave to England,
and travelling by that route.

We left Simla towards the end of October, and, after spending the next
three months in Calcutta, where I was chiefly employed in taking up
transports and superintending the embarkation of troops returning to
England, I was given the command of a batch of 300 time-expired men
on board the _Renown_, one of Green's frigate-built ships which was
chartered for their conveyance. Two hundred of the men belonged to
the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Rifle Brigade, the remainder to the
Artillery and various other corps; they had all been twelve years in
the army, and most of them were decorated for service in the Crimea
and Indian Mutiny.

At the inspection parade before we embarked, a certain number of men
were brought up for punishment for various offences committed on
the way down country; none of the misdemeanours appeared to me very
serious, so I determined to let the culprits off. I told the men that
we had now met for the first time and I was unwilling to commence our
acquaintance by awarding punishments; we had to spend three or four
months together, and I hoped they would show, by their good behaviour
while under my command, that I had not made a mistake in condoning
their transgressions. The officers seemed somewhat surprised at
my action in this matter, but I think it was proved by the men's
subsequent conduct that I had not judged them incorrectly, for they
all behaved in quite an exemplary manner throughout the voyage.

We had been on board more than six weeks, when one of the crew was
attacked by small pox--an untoward circumstance in a crowded ship. The
sailor was placed in a boat which was hung over the ship's side, and a
cabin-boy, the marks on whose face plainly showed that he had already
suffered badly from the disease, was told off to look after him. The
man recovered, and there was no other case. Shortly before we reached
St. Helena, scurvy appeared amongst the troops, necessitating
lime-juice being given in larger quantities, but what proved a more
effectual remedy was water-cress, many sacks of which were laid in
before we left the island.

On the 29th May, 1865, we sighted the 'Lizard,' and took a pilot on
board, who brought with him a few newspapers, which confirmed the
tidings signalled to us by an American ship that the war between the
Federals and Confederates was at an end. How eagerly we scanned the
journals, after having heard nothing from home for four months, but
the only piece of news we found of personal interest to ourselves was
that my father had been made a K.C.B.

On the 30th May we reached Portsmouth, and landed between two showers
of snow! I had a final parade of the men before leaving the ship, and
I was quite sorry to say good-bye to them; some of the poor fellows
were already beginning to be anxious about their future, and to regret
that their time with the colours was over.

My father, mother, and sister came up to London to meet us, very
little changed since I had left them six years before. I remained in
England till March, 1866, when I returned to India, leaving my wife
behind to follow in the autumn.

While I was at home, Sir Hugh Rose's term of the chief command in
India came to an end, and his place had been taken by Sir William
Mansfield. On my arrival in Calcutta, I received orders to join the
Allahabad division, and thither I proceeded. In October I went to
Calcutta to meet my wife and take her to Allahabad, where we remained
for nearly a year, her first experience of a hot season in the plains,
and a very bad one it was. Cholera was rife; the troops had to be sent
away into camps, more or less distant from the station, all of which
had to be visited once, if not twice, daily; this kept me pretty well
on the move from morning till night. It was a sad time for everyone.
People we had seen alive and well one day were dead and buried the
next; and in the midst of all this sorrow and tragedy the most
irksome--because such an incongruous--part of our experience was that
we had constantly to get up entertainments, penny readings, and the
like, to amuse the men and keep their minds occupied, for if once
soldiers begin to think of the terrors of cholera they are seized with
panic, and many get the disease from pure fright.

My wife usually accompanied me to the cholera camps, preferring to do
this rather than be left alone at home. On one occasion, I had just
got into our carriage after going round the hospital, when a young
officer ran after us to tell me a corporal in whom I had been much
interested was dead. The poor fellow's face was blue; the cholera
panic had evidently seized him, and I said to my wife, 'He will be the
next.' I had no sooner reached home than I received a report of his
having been seized.

We were fortunate in having at Allahabad as Chaplain the present
Bishop of Lahore, who, with his wife, had only lately come to India;
they never wearied in doing all that was possible for the soldiers.
Bishop Matthew is still one of our closest friends; his good, charming
and accomplished wife, alas! died some years ago.

We remained at Allahabad until August, 1867, when we heard that a
brigade from Bengal was likely to be required to take part in an
expedition which would probably be sent from Bombay to Abyssinia for
the relief of some Europeans whom the King, Theodore, had imprisoned,
and that the Mountain battery, on the strength of which my name was
still borne, would in such case be employed. I therefore thought I had
better go to Simla, see the authorities, and arrange for rejoining
my battery, if the rumour turned out to be true. The cholera had now
disappeared, so I was at liberty to take leave, and we both looked
forward to a cooler climate and a change to brighter scenes after the
wretched experience we had been through. On my arrival at Simla I
called upon the Commander-in-Chief and told him that, if my battery
was sent on service, I wished to join it and was quite ready to resign
my staff appointment.

Sir William Mansfield was particularly kind in his reception of me,
from which I augured well; but I could learn nothing definite, and it
was not until quite the end of September that it was announced that
Colonel Donald Stewart was to have command of the Bengal Brigade
with the Abyssinian Force, and that I was to be his Assistant-
Quartermaster-General. We at once hastened back to Allahabad, where
we only remained long enough to pack up what we wanted to take with
us, and arrange for the disposal of our property; thence we proceeded
to Calcutta, where, for the next two months, I had a busy time taking
up transports and superintending the equipment of the force.

I had often read and heard of the difficulties and delays experienced
by troops landing in a foreign country, in consequence of their
requirements not being all shipped in the same vessels with
themselves--men in one ship, camp equipage in another, transport and
field hospital in a third, or perhaps the mules in one and their
pack-saddles in another; and I determined to try and prevent these
mistakes upon this occasion. With Stewart's approval, I arranged that
each detachment should embark complete in every detail, which resulted
in the troops being landed and marched off without the least delay as
each vessel reached its destination.[1]

We were living with the Stewarts in the Commander-in-Chief's quarters
in Fort William, which His Excellency had placed at our disposal for
the time being. On the 1st November Calcutta was visited by the second
cyclone within my experience. We had arranged to go to the opera that
evening, but when it was time to start the wind was so high that there
seemed every chance of the carriage being blown over before we could
get there, so we decided not to attempt it. It was well we did, for
the few adventurous spirits who struggled through the storm had the
greatest difficulty in getting back to their homes. The opera-house
was unroofed before the performance was half over, and very little
of the building remained standing the next day. At bedtime we still
thought it was only a bad storm, but towards midnight the wind
increased to an alarming extent, and my wife awoke me, and begged me
to get up, as the windows were being burst open and deluges of rain
coming in. Stewart and I tried to reclose the windows, but the thick
iron bars had been bent in two and forced out of their sockets; a
heavy oak plate-chest and boxes, which we with much difficulty dragged
across the windows, were blown into the middle of the dining-room,
like so much cardboard, and the whole place was gradually flooded.
We were driven out of each room in turn, till at length we all took
refuge in a small box room, about ten feet wide, right in the middle
of the house, where we remained the rest of the night and 'hoped for
the day.'

Towards morning the wind abated, but what a scene of desolation was
that upon which we emerged! The rooms looked as if they could never be
made habitable again, and much of our property was floating about in a
foot of water.

My first thought was for the shipping, and I hurried down to the river
to see how my transports had fared. Things were much better than I
expected to find them--only two had been damaged. Most fortunately the
cyclone, having come from a different direction, was not accompanied
by a storm-wave such as that which worked so much mischief amongst the
shipping on a former occasion, but the destruction on land was even
greater: all the finest trees were torn up by the roots, a great part
of the Native bazaar was levelled, and lay from two to three feet deep
in water, while many houses were wholly or partly demolished. We came
across most curious sights when driving round Calcutta in the evening;
some of the houses were divided clean down the centre, one half
crumbled into a heap of ruins, the other half still standing and
displaying, as in a doll's house, the furniture in the different

The work of filling up and loading the vessels was greatly retarded,
owing to a large number of cargo boats having been sunk, consequently
it was the 5th December before the first transport got off; from that
date the others started in quick succession, and on the 9th January,
1868, Stewart and his staff left Calcutta in the P. and O. steamer
_Golconda_. The officers and men of the Mountain battery were also on
board, Captain Bogle in command, my friend Jemmy Hills in my place as
second Captain, and Collen[2] and Disney as subalterns. Mrs. Stewart
and my wife accompanied us as far as Aden, where they were left to the
kind care of Major-General Russell,[3] commanding there at the time,
until the arrival of the mail-steamer in which they were to proceed to

On the 3rd February we anchored in Annesley Bay and landed at Zula.

[Footnote 1: The average strength of the regiments was as follows:
10th and 12th Bengal Cavalry, each 9 British officers, 13 Native
officers, 450 non-commissioned officers and men, 3 Native doctors, 489
horses, 322 mules, 590 followers. 21st and 23rd Punjab Infantry, each
9 British officers, 16 Native officers, 736 non-commissioned officers
and men, 3 Native doctors, 10 horses, 350 mules, 400 followers. I
found that six ships were required for the conveyance of a Cavalry and
four for that of an Infantry regiment; for the Mountain battery three
ships were necessary, and for the coolie corps (1,550 strong) four; in
all twenty-seven ships, besides nine tugs. In selecting ships, care
was taken to secure those intended for Artillery or Cavalry as high
'tween-decks as possible; a sufficient number of these were procurable
at Calcutta, either iron clippers from Liverpool or large North
American built traders, with decks varying from 7 feet 6 inches to 8
feet 2 inches high. I gave the preference to wooden ships, as being
cooler and more easily ventilated. The vessels taken up were each from
1,000 to 1,400 tons, averaging in length from 150 to 200 feet, with a
beam varying from 30 to 35 feet, and usually they had a clear upper
deck, where from forty to fifty animals were accommodated.]

[Footnote 2: Now Major-General Sir Edwin Collen, K.C.I.E., Military
Member of the Governor-General's Council.]

[Footnote 3: Now General Sir Edward Lechmere Russell, K.C.S.I.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Sir Robert Napier to command--Defective transport
  --King Theodore commits suicide--First A.Q.M.G

It will, perhaps, be as well to recall to the reader's mind that the
object of the expedition in which we were taking part was to rescue
some sixty Europeans, who, from one cause or another, had found their
way to Abyssinia, and been made prisoners by the King of that country.
Amongst these were four English officials, Mr. Rassam, and Captain
Cameron, who had at different times been the bearers of letters from
Queen Victoria to King Theodore, and Lieutenant Prideaux and Dr.
Blanc of the Bombay Army; the rest were chiefly French and German
missionaries, and artisans, with their wives and children. The
prisoners were confined in a fort built on the Magd[=a]la plateau,
9,150 feet above sea-level, and 379 miles inland from Annesley Bay.

The repeated demands of the British Government for the restoration of
the prisoners having been treated with contemptuous silence by the
King, Colonel Merewether, the Political Agent at Aden, who in July,
1867, had been directed to proceed to Massowa and endeavour to obtain
the release of the captives, and to make inquiries and collect
information in case of an expedition having to be sent, reported to
the Secretary of State that he had failed to communicate with the
King, and urged the advisability of immediate measures being taken to
prepare a force in India for the punishment of Theodore and the rescue
of the prisoners. Colonel Merewether added that in Abyssinia the
opinion had become very general that England knew herself to be
too weak to resent insult, and that amongst the peoples of the
neighbouring countries, even so far as Aden, there was a feeling of
contemptuous surprise at the continued long-suffering endurance of the
British Government.

On receipt of this communication, Her Majesty's Government, having
exhausted all their resources for the preservation of peace,
decided to send an expedition from India under the command of
Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Napier, the Commander-in-Chief of the
Bombay Army. After carefully considering the distance along which
operations would have to be prosecuted, and the necessity for holding
a number of detached posts, Napier gave it as his opinion that the
force should consist of not less than 12,000 men.[1]

Profiting by the experience of the Crimean War, the Government was
determined that the mobility of the force should not be hampered by
want of food and clothing. Stores of all descriptions were despatched
in unstinted quantities from England, and three of the steamers in
which they were conveyed were fitted up as hospital ships. But food,
clothing, and stores, however liberally supplied, would not take the
army to Magd[=a]la without transport.

The question as to the most suitable organization for the Land
Transport Corps occupied a good deal of Sir Robert Napier's attention
while the expedition was being fitted out, and caused a considerable
amount of correspondence between him and the Bombay Government. The
Commissary-General wished to keep the corps under his own orders, and
objected to its being given an entirely military organization. Sir
Robert Napier preferred to establish the corps on an independent
basis, but was at first overruled by the Bombay Government. While
acting in accordance with their orders, the Commander-in-Chief wrote:
'I believe that the success of systems depends more on the men who
work them than on the systems themselves; but I cannot accept without
protest a decision to throw such a body of men as the drivers of our
transport animals will be (if we get them) on an expedition in a
foreign country without a very complete organization to secure order
and discipline.' Eventually Sir Robert got his own way, but much
valuable time had been lost, and the corps was organized on too small
a scale;[2] the officers and non-commissioned officers were not sent
to Zula in sufficient time or in sufficient numbers to take charge of
the transport animals as they arrived.

A compact, properly-supervised train of 2,600 mules, with serviceable,
well-fitting pack-saddles, was sent from the Punjab; and from Bombay
came 1,400 mules and ponies and 5,600 bullocks, but these numbers
proving altogether inadequate to the needs of the expedition, they
were supplemented by animals purchased in Persia, Egypt, and on the
shores of the Mediterranean. The men to look after them were supplied
from the same sources, but their number, even if they had been
efficient, was insufficient, and they were a most unruly and
unmanageable lot. They demanded double the pay for which they had
enlisted, and struck work in a body because their demand was not at
once complied with. They refused to take charge of the five mules
each man was hired to look after, and when that number was reduced
to three, they insisted that one should be used as a mount for the
driver. But the worst part of the whole organization, or, rather, want
of organization, was that there had been no attempt to fit the animals
with pack-saddles, some of which were sent from England, some from
India, and had to be adjusted to the mules after they had been landed
in Abyssinia, where there was not an establishment to make the
necessary alterations. The consequence was that the wretched animals
became cruelly galled, and in a few weeks a large percentage were
unfit for work, and had to be sent to the sick depot.

Other results of having no properly arranged transport train, and
no supervision or discipline, were that mules were lost or stolen,
starved for want of food, or famished from want of water. The
condition of the unfortunate animals was such that, though they had
been but a few weeks in the country, when they were required to
proceed to Senafe, only sixty-seven miles distant, a very small
proportion were able to accomplish the march; hundreds died on the
way, and their carcases, quickly decomposing in the hot sun, became a
fruitful source of dangerous disease to the force.

On arrival at Zula, we were told that Sir Robert Napier was at Senafe,
the first station in the Hills, and the advanced depot for supplies.
We of the Bengal brigade were somewhat disconcerted at the orders
which awaited us, from which we learned that our brigade was to be
broken up; the troops were to proceed to the front; while Stewart was
to take command at Senafe, and I myself was to remain at Zula, as
senior staff officer. The disappointment was great, but, being the
last-comer, I had no unfairness to complain of, and I had plenty
to do. I spent the greater part of each day amongst the shipping,
superintending the embarkation and disembarkation of men, animals, and

Zula was not an attractive place of residence. The heat was
intense--117° in the daytime in my tent. The allowance of fresh water
was extremely limited,[3] while the number of scorpions was quite
the reverse, and the food, at the best, was not appetizing. Few who
remained there as long as I did escaped scurvy and horrible boils or
sores. I was fortunate, however, in finding in charge of the transport
arrangements afloat, my old friend and Eton schoolfellow, George
Tryon,[4] to whom I owed many a good dinner, and, what I appreciated
even more, many a refreshing bath on board the _Euphrates_, a
transport belonging to the British India Steam Navigation Company
which had been fitted up for Captain Tryon and his staff. Indeed, all
the officers of the Royal Navy were most helpful and kind, and I
have a very pleasant recollection of the hospitality I received from
Commodore Heath[5] and those serving under him.

During the four months I remained at Zula, Tryon and I were constantly
together, and I had plenty of opportunity for observing the masterly
manner in which he could grasp a situation, his intimate knowledge of
detail, and the strong hold he had over all those working with him,
not only the officers of the Royal Navy, but also the commanders of
the merchant vessels taken up as transports, and lying in Annesley

On the 17th April news reached us that four days before Sir Robert
Napier had successfully attacked Magd[=a]la and released the
prisoners, having experienced but very slight opposition; and that
King Theodore, deserted by his army, which had apparently become
tired of his brutalities, had committed suicide.[6] A few days later
Major-General Russell, who had come from Aden to take over the command
at Zula, received orders to prepare for the embarkation of the force.
Arrangements were accordingly made to enable regiments and batteries
to be embarked on board the transports told off for them directly they
arrived from the front--a matter of the utmost importance, both on
account of the fearful heat at Zula, and the absence of a sufficient

On the 2nd June the Commander-in-Chief returned to Zula, and on the
10th he embarked on board the old Indian marine steamer _Feroze_ for
Suez. Sir Robert was good enough to ask me to accompany him, as he
wished to make me the bearer of his final despatches. My work was
ended, the troops had all left, and as I was pretty well knocked up,
I felt extremely grateful for the offer, and very proud of the great
honour the Chief proposed to confer upon me.

We reached Alexandria on the 20th June, and the next day I started in
the mail-steamer for Brindisi, arriving in London on the evening of
Sunday, the 28th. I received a note at my club from Edwin Johnson (who
was at that time Assistant Military Secretary to H.R.H. the Duke of
Cambridge), directing me to take the despatches without delay to the
Secretary of State for India. I found Sir Stafford and Lady Northcote
at dinner; Sir Stafford looked through the despatches, and when he had
finished reading them, he asked me to take them without delay to the
Commander-in-Chief, as he knew the Duke was most anxious to see them.
There was a dinner-party, however, that night at Gloucester House,
and the servant told me it was quite impossible to disturb His Royal
Highness; so, placing my card on the top of the despatches, I told the
man to deliver them at once, and went back to my club. I had scarcely
reached it when the Duke's Aide-de-camp made his appearance and told
me that he had been ordered to find me and take me back with him. The
Commander-in-Chief received me very kindly, expressing regret that I
had been sent away in the first instance; and Their Royal Highnesses
the Prince and Princess of Wales, who were present, were most
gracious, and asked many questions about the Abyssinian Expedition.

The next day I joined my wife, who was staying with my people at
Clifton, and on the 14th August, when the rewards for the
Abyssinian Expedition were published, my name appeared for a brevet

I was now anxious to ascertain in what manner I was to be employed. My
five years as A.Q.M.G. were about to expire, and I thought I should
like to go back to my regiment for a time. I therefore applied for the
command of a battery of Horse Artillery. I was told, in answer to my
application, that it was not the custom to appoint an officer who had
been in staff employment for some time to the mounted branch, but
that, in consideration of my services, the Duke of Cambridge was
pleased to make an exception in my favour. I was posted to a battery
at Meerut, and warned to be ready to start in an early troopship.
Before the time for our departure arrived, however, I received a
letter from Lumsden, who had now become Quartermaster-General,
informing me that the Commander-in-Chief had recommended, and the
Government had approved of, the formation of a fresh grade--that of
First A.Q.M.G.--and that he was directed by Sir William Mansfield to
offer the new appointment to me--an offer which I gratefully accepted;
for though the command of a Horse Artillery battery would have been
most congenial, this unexpected chance of five years' further staff
employ was too good to be refused.

On the 4th January, 1869, having said good-bye to those dear to us,
two of whom I was never to see again, my wife and I, with a baby girl
who was born the previous July, embarked at Portsmouth on board the
s.s. _Helvetia_, which had been taken up for the conveyance of troops
to Bombay, the vessel of the Royal Navy in which we were to have
sailed having suddenly broken down. The _Helvetia_ proved most
unsuitable as a transport, and uncomfortable to the last degree for
passengers, besides which it blew a gale the whole way to Alexandria.
We were all horribly ill, and our child caught a fatal cold. We
thoroughly appreciated a change at Suez to the Indian trooper, the
_Malabar_, where everything possible was done for our comfort by our
kind captain (Rich, R.N.), and, indeed, by everyone on board; but,
alas! our beautiful little girl never recovered the cruel experience
of the _Helvetia_, and we had the terrible grief of losing her soon
after we passed Aden. She was buried at sea.

It was a very sad journey after that. There were several nice, kind
people amongst our fellow-passengers; but life on board ship at such
a time, surrounded by absolute strangers, was a terrible trial to us
both, and, what with the effects of the voyage and the anxiety and
sorrow she had gone through, my wife was thoroughly ill when we
arrived at Simla towards the end of February.

[Footnote 1: The numbers actually despatched from India were 13,548,
of whom 3,786 were Europeans. In addition, a company of Royal
Engineers was sent from England.]

[Footnote 2: At first it was thought that 10,000 mules, with a coolie
corps 3,000 strong, would suffice, but before the expedition was over,
it was found necessary to purchase 18,000 mules, 1,500 ponies, 1,800
donkeys, 12,000 camels, and 8,400 bullocks.]

[Footnote 3: Fresh water was obtained by condensing the sea-water;
there were few condensors, and no means of aerating the water.]

[Footnote 4: The late Admiral Sir George Tryon, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 5: Now Admiral Sir Leonid Heath, K.C.B.]

[Footnote 6: He is said to have killed in one month, or burnt alive,
more than 3,000 people. He pillaged and burnt the churches at Gondur,
and had many priests and young girls cast alive into the flames.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Afzal Khan ousts Sher Ali--Sher Ali regains the Amirship
  --Foresight of Sir Henry Rawlinson--The Umballa Durbar

In January, 1869, Sir John Lawrence, after a career which was
altogether unique, he having risen from the junior grades of
the Bengal Civil Service to the almost regal position of
Governor-General,[1] left India for good. He was succeeded as Viceroy
by Lord Mayo, one of whose first official acts was to hold a durbar at
Umballa for the reception of the Amir Sher Ali, who, after five years
of civil war, had succeeded in establishing himself on the throne
of Afghanistan, to which he had been nominated by his father, Dost
Mahomed Khan.[2]

Sher Ali had passed through a stormy time between the death of the
Dost, in June, 1863, and September, 1868. He had been acknowledged as
the rightful heir by the Government of India, and for the first three
years he held the Amirship in a precarious sort of way. His two elder
brothers, Afzal and Azim, and his nephew, Abdur Rahman (the present
Ruler of Afghanistan), were in rebellion against him. The death of
his favourite son and heir-apparent, Ali Khan, in action near
Khelat-i-Ghilzai, in 1865, grieved him so sorely that for a time his
reason was affected. In May, 1866, he was defeated near Ghazni (mainly
owing to the treachery of his own troops) by Abdur Rahman, who,
releasing his father, Afzal, from the prison into which he had been
cast by Sher Ali, led him in triumph to Kabul, and proclaimed him Amir
of Afghanistan.

The new Amir, Afzal, at once wrote to the Government of India
detailing what had occurred, and expressing a hope that the friendship
of the British, which he so greatly valued, would be extended to him.
He was told, in reply, that the Government recognized him as Ruler of
Kabul, but that, as Sher Ali still held Kandahar and Herat, existing
engagements with the latter could not be broken off. The evident
preference thus displayed for Sher Ali caused the greatest vexation to
the brothers Afzal and Azim, who showed their resentment by directing
an Envoy who had come from Swat to pay his respects to the new Amir
to return to his own country and set on foot a holy war against the
English; the Waziri _maliks_[3] in attendance at the court were
dismissed with presents and directions to harass the British frontier,
while an emissary was despatched on a secret mission to the Russians.

After his defeat near Ghazni, Sher Ali fled to Kandahar, and in the
January of the following year (again owing to treachery in his army)
he met with a second defeat near Khelat-i-Ghilzai, and lost Kandahar.

On this fact being communicated to the Government of India, Afzal Khan
was in his turn recognized as Amir of Kabul and Kandahar. But he was
at the same time informed that the British Government intended to
maintain a strict neutrality between the contending parties in
Afghanistan. John Lawrence, in his letter of the 20th of February,
said that 'neither men, nor arms, nor money, nor assistance of any
kind, have ever been supplied by my Government to Amir Sher Ali. Your
Highness and he, both equally unaided by me, have fought out the
battle, each upon your own resources. I purpose to continue the same
policy for the future. If, unhappily, the struggle for supremacy in
Afghanistan has not yet been brought to a close, and hostilities are
again renewed, I shall still side with neither party.'

This reply altogether failed to satisfy Afzal and Azim. They answered
it civilly, but at the same time they sent a copy of it to General
Romanofski, the Russian Governor of Tashkent, who was informed by
the new Amir that he had no confidence in the 'Lord _sahib's_ fine
professions of friendship, and that he was disgusted with the British
Government for the ingratitude and ill-treatment shown towards his
brother Azim.[4] He looked upon the Russians as his real and only
friends, hoped soon to send a regular Ambassador to the Russian camp,
and would at all times do his utmost to protect and encourage Russian

In October of this year (1867) Afzal Khan died, and his brother Azim,
hastening to Kabul, took upon himself the Amirship. Abdur Rahman had
hoped to have succeeded his father, but his uncle having forestalled
him, he thought it politic to give in his allegiance to him, which he
did by presenting his dead father's sword, in durbar, to the new Amir,
who, like his predecessor, was now acknowledged by the Government of
India as Ruler of Kabul and Kandahar.

The tide, however, was beginning to turn in favour of Sher Ali. Azim
and Abdur Rahman quarrelled, and the former, by his extortions and
cruelties, made himself detested by the people generally.

In March, 1868, Sher Ali's eldest son, Yakub Khan, regained possession
of Kandahar for his father. In July father and son found themselves
strong enough to move towards Ghazni, where Azim Khan's army was
assembled. The latter, gradually deserted by his soldiers, took to
flight, upon which Sher Ali, after an absence of forty months, entered
Kabul on the 8th of September, and re-possessed himself of all his
dominions, with the exception of Balkh, where Azim and Abdur Rahman
(now reconciled to each other) still flew the flag of rebellion.

One of the newly-installed Amir's first acts was to inform the Viceroy
of his return to Kabul, and of the recovery of his kingdom. He
announced his desire to send some trusted representatives, or else
proceed himself in person, to Calcutta, 'for the purpose of showing
his sincerity and firm attachment to the British Government, and
making known his real wants.'

Sir John Lawrence, in his congratulatory reply, showed that a change
had come over his policy of non-interference in the internal affairs
of Afghanistan, for he stated that he was 'prepared, not only to
maintain the bonds of amity and goodwill which were established
between Dost Mahomed and the British Government, but, so far as may be
practicable, to strengthen those bonds'; and, as a substantial proof
of his goodwill, the Viceroy sent Sher Ali £60,000, aid which arrived
at a most opportune moment, and gave the Amir that advantage over his
opponents which is of incalculable value in Afghan civil war, namely,
funds wherewith to pay the army and bribe the opposite side.

The energetic and capable Abdur Rahman Khan had in the meantime
collected a sufficient number of troops in Turkestan to enable him to
move towards Kabul with his uncle Azim. On nearing Ghazni, he found
himself confronted by Sher Ali; the opposing forces were about equal
in strength, and on both sides there was the same scarcity of ready
money. Suddenly the report was received that money was being sent from
India to Sher Ali, and this turned the scale in his favour. Abdur
Rahman's men deserted in considerable numbers, and a battle fought
on the 3rd January, 1869, resulted in the total defeat of uncle and
nephew, and in the firmer consolidation of Sher Ali's supremacy.

The change in policy which induced the Government of India to assist
a struggling Amir with money, after its repeated and emphatic
declarations that interference was impossible, was undoubtedly brought
about by an able and elaborate memorandum written by the late Sir
Henry Rawlinson on the 28th July, 1868. In this paper Rawlinson
pointed out that, notwithstanding promises to the contrary, Russia was
steadily advancing towards Afghanistan. He referred to the increased
facilities of communication which would be the result of the recent
proposal to bring Turkestan into direct communication, _viâ_ the
Caspian, with the Caucasus and St. Petersburg. He dwelt at length upon
the effect which the advanced position of Russia in Central Asia would
have upon Afghanistan and India. He explained that by the occupation
of Bokhara Russia would gain a pretext for interfering in Afghan
politics, and 'that if Russia once assumes a position which, in virtue
either of an imposing military force on the Oxus, or of a dominant
political influence in Afghanistan, entitles her, in Native
estimation, to challenge our Asiatic supremacy, the disquieting effect
will be prodigious.'

'With this prospect before us,' Sir Henry asked, 'are we justified
in maintaining what has been sarcastically, though perhaps unfairly,
called Sir John Lawrence's policy of "masterly inaction"? Are we
justified in allowing Russia to work her way to Kabul unopposed, and
there to establish herself as a friendly power prepared to protect the
Afghans against the English?' He argued that it was contrary to
our interests to permit anarchy to reign in Afghanistan; that Lord
Auckland's famous doctrine of 'establishing a strong and friendly
Power on our North-West Frontier' was the right policy for India,
'that Dost Mahomed's successful management of his country was in a
great measure due to our aid, and that, if we had helped the son as we
had helped the father, Sher Ali would have summarily suppressed
the opposition of his brothers and nephews.' Rawlinson then added:
'Another opportunity now presents itself. The fortunes of Sher Ali are
again in the ascendant; he should be secured in our interests without

Rawlinson's suggestions were not at the time supposed to commend
themselves to the Government of India. In the despatch in which they
were answered,[5] the Viceroy and his Councillors stated that
they still objected to any active interference in the affairs of
Afghanistan; they foresaw no limits to the expenditure which such a
move would entail, and they believed that the objects that they had at
heart might be attained by an attitude of readiness and firmness on
the frontier. It is worthy of note, however, that, after Sir Henry
Rawlinson's memorandum had been received by the Indian Government, and
notwithstanding these protests, the sum of £60,000 was sent to Sher
Ali, that Sir John Lawrence invited him 'to come to some place in
British territory for a personal meeting in order to discuss the best
manner in which a limited support might be accorded,' and that five
days from the time of writing the above-mentioned despatch, John
Lawrence sent a farewell letter to Sher Ali, expressing the earnest
hope of the British Government that His Highness's authority would be
established on a solid and permanent basis, and informing him that a
further sum of £60,000 would be supplied to him during the next few
months, and that future Viceroys would consider, from time to time,
what amount of practical assistance in the shape of money or war
materials should periodically be made over to him as a testimony of
their friendly feeling, and to the furtherance of his legitimate
authority and influence.

Sher Ali expressed himself as most grateful, and came to Umballa full
of hope and apparently thoroughly well disposed towards the British
Government. He was received with great state and ceremony, and Lord
Mayo was most careful to demonstrate that he was treating with an
independent, and not a feudatory, Prince.

At this conference Sher Ali began by unburdening himself of his
grievances, complaining to Lord Mayo of the manner in which his two
elder brothers had each in his turn been recognized as Amir, and
dwelling on the one-sided nature of the treaty made with his father,
by which the British Government only bound itself to abstain from
interfering with Afghanistan, while the Amir was to be 'the friend of
the friends and the enemy of the enemies of the Honourable East India
Company.' His Highness then proceeded to make known his wants, which
were that he and his lineal descendants on the throne that he had
won 'by his own good sword' should be acknowledged as the _de jure_
sovereigns of Afghanistan; that a treaty offensive and defensive
should be made with him; and that he should be given a fixed subsidy
in the form of an annual payment.

It was in regard to the first of these three demands that Sher Ali was
most persistent. He explained repeatedly and at some length that to
acknowledge the Ruler _pro tempore_ and _de facto_ was to invite
competition for a throne, and excite the hopes of all sorts of
candidates; but that if the British Government would recognize him and
his dynasty, there was nothing he would not do in order to evince his

These requests, the Amir was informed, were inadmissible. There could
be no treaty, no fixed subsidy, no dynastic pledges. He was further
told that we were prepared to discourage his rivals, to give him warm
countenance and support, and such material assistance as we considered
absolutely necessary for his immediate wants, if he, on his part,
would undertake to do all he could to maintain peace on our frontier
and to comply with our wishes in matters connected with trade.

As an earnest of our goodwill, the Amir was given the second £60,000
promised him by Sir John Lawrence, besides a considerable supply of
arms and ammunition,[6] and was made happy by a promise that European
officers should not be required to reside in any of his cities. Before
the conference took place, Lord Mayo had contemplated British agents
being sent to Kabul in order to obtain accurate information regarding
events in Central Asia, but on discovering how vehemently opposed Sher
Ali was to such an arrangement, he gave him this promise. Saiyad Nur
Mahomed, the Minister who accompanied the Amir, though equally averse
to European agents, admitted that 'the day might come when the
Russians would arrive, and the Amir would be glad, not only of British
officers as agents, but of arms and troops to back them.'

One request which the Amir made towards the close of the meeting the
Viceroy agreed to, which was that we should call Persia to account for
her alleged encroachments on the debatable ground of Sistan. This,
which seemed but an unimportant matter at the time, was one of the
chief causes of Sher Ali's subsequent estrangement; for the committee
of arbitration which inquired into it decided against the Amir,
who never forgave what he considered our unfriendly action in
discountenancing his claims.

The Umballa conference was, on the whole, successful, in that Sher Ali
returned to his own country much gratified at the splendour of his
reception, and a firm personal friend of Lord Mayo, whose fine
presence and genial manner had quite won the Amir's heart, although he
had not succeeded in getting from him everything he had demanded.

[Footnote 1: I should have mentioned that Sir John Lawrence was not
the only instance of a Bengal civilian rising to the position of
Governor-General, as a predecessor of his, Sir John Shore, afterwards
Lord Teignmouth, was appointed Governor-General in 1792, and held that
office until 1798.]

[Footnote 2: Dost Mahomed had several sons. Mahomed Akbar and Ghulam
Haidar, the two heirs-designate in succession, died before their
father. Sixteen other sons were alive in 1863, of whom the following
were the eldest:

  1. Mahomed Afzal Khan, aged 52 years } By a wife not of Royal blood.
  2. Mahomed Azim Khan     "  45   "   }  " "   "   "   "   "      "
  3. Sher Ali Khan         "  40   "   } By a favourite Popalzai wife.
  4. Mahomed Amir Khan     "  34   "   }  " "     "         "      "
  5. Mahomed Sharif Khan   "  30   "   }  " "     "         "      "
  6. Wali Mahomed Khan     "  33   "   } By a third wife.
  7. Faiz Mahomed Khan     "  25   "   }  " "    "    "

Afzal Khan had a son Abdur Rahman Khan, the present Amir of
Afghanistan, and Sher Ali had five sons--Ali Khan, Yakub Khan, Ibrahim
Khan, Ayub Khan, and Abdulla Jan.]

[Footnote 3: The headmen of villages in Afghanistan are styled

[Footnote 4: Azim Khan behaved well towards the Lumsden Mission, and
it was reported that he encouraged his father, Dost Mahomed Khan, not
to disturb the Peshawar frontier during the Mutiny.]

[Footnote 5: Dated 4th January, 1869.]

[Footnote 6: Besides the remainder of the aggregate sum of twelve
lakhs, 6,500 more rifles were forwarded to the frontier for
transmission to the Amir, and in addition four 18-pounder smooth-bore
guns, two 8-inch howitzers, and a Mountain battery of six 3-pounders
complete, with due proportion of ammunition and stores, together with
draught bullocks and nine elephants.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  The Lushais--The Lushai expedition--Defective transport again
  --Practice _versus_ theory--A severe march
  --Lushais foiled by Gurkhas--A successful turning movement
  --Murder of Lord Mayo

We spent a very quiet year at Simla. My wife was far from strong, and
we had another great sorrow in the death of a baby boy three weeks
after his birth.

That winter I was left in charge of the Quartermaster-General's
office, and we moved into 'Ellerslie,' a larger and warmer house than
that in which we had lived during the summer.

Simla in the winter, after a fresh fall of snow, is particularly
beautiful. Range after range of hills clothed in their spotless
garments stretch away as far as the eye can reach, relieved in the
foreground by masses of reddish-brown perpendicular cliffs and
dark-green ilex and deodar trees, each bearing its pure white burden,
and decked with glistening fringes of icicles. Towards evening the
scene changes, and the snow takes the most gorgeous colouring from
the descending rays of the brilliant eastern sun--brilliant even in
mid-winter--turning opal, pink, scarlet, and crimson; gradually, as
the light wanes, fading into delicate lilacs and grays, which slowly
mount upwards, till at last even the highest pinnacle loses the
life-giving tints, and the whole snowy range itself turns cold and
white and dead against a background of deepest sapphire blue. The
spectator shivers, folds himself more closely in his wraps, and
retreats indoors, glad to be greeted by a blazing log-fire and a hot
cup of tea.

In the spring of the next year (1870) Sir William Mansfield's term
of command came to an end, and he was succeeded by Lord Napier of
Magd[=a]la. The selection of this distinguished officer for the
highest military position in India was greatly appreciated by the
Indian army, as no officer of that army had held it since the days of
Lord Clive.

In September a daughter was born, and that winter we again remained
at Simla. I amused myself by going through a course of electric
telegraphy, which may seem rather like a work of supererogation; but
during the Umbeyla campaign, when the telegraph office had to be
closed in consequence of all the clerks being laid up with fever, and
we could neither read nor send messages, I determined that I would on
the first opportunity learn electric signalling, in order that I might
be able to decipher and send telegrams should I ever again find myself
in a similar position.

In May my wife and I went for a march across the hills to Chakrata,
and thence to Mussoorie and back by way of Dehra Dun and the plains.
The object of this trip was to settle the boundary of Chakrata, and my
wife took the opportunity of my being ordered on this duty to get away
from Simla, as we had now been there for more than two years, and were
consequently rather longing for a change. Our route lay through most
beautiful scenery, and notwithstanding that the trip was a little
hurried, and that some of the marches were therefore rather long, we
enjoyed it immensely. When passing along the ridge of a very high
hill one afternoon, we witnessed rather a curious sight--a violent
thunderstorm was going on in the valley below us, while we ourselves
remained in the mildest, most serene atmosphere, enjoying bright
sunshine and a blue sky. Dense black clouds filled up the valley a
thousand feet beneath us, the thunder roared, the lightning flashed,
and soon we could hear the rush of waters in the streams below from
the torrents of rain which the clouds were discharging; but it was not
until we had crossed over the mountain, and descended to a low level
on the other side, that we fully realized the effects of the heavy

On our return to Simla we had the pleasure of a visit from
Major-General Donald Stewart, who had come up to receive Lord Mayo's
instructions before taking over his appointment as Superintendent
of the Andaman Islands. In September he and I travelled together to
Calcutta, to which place I was directed to proceed in order to make
arrangements for a military expedition into the country of the
Lushais, having been appointed senior staff officer to the force.

Lushai, situated between south-eastern Bengal and Burma, was a _terra
incognita_ to me, and I had only heard of it in connexion with the
raids made by its inhabitants upon the tea-gardens in its vicinity,
which had now spread too far away from Cachar for the garrison of that
small military station to afford them protection. From time to time
the Lushais had done the planters much damage, and carried off several
prisoners, and various attempts had been made in the shape of small
military expeditions to punish the tribesmen and rescue the captives;
but from want of proper organization, and from not choosing the right
time of the year, these attempts had hitherto been unsuccessful, and
our failures had the inevitable result of making the Lushais bolder.
Raids became more frequent and more destructive; until at last a
little European girl, named Mary Winchester, was carried off, and
kept by them as a prisoner; on this the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal
declared that a punitive expedition was 'absolutely necessary for the
future security of the British subjects residing on the Cachar and
Chittagong frontiers.'

The despatch of a force was therefore decided upon; it was to consist
of two small columns[1]--one having its base at Cachar, the other at
Chittagong--commanded respectively by Brigadier-Generals Bourchier,
C.B., and C. Brownlow, C.B., supreme political power being also vested
in these two officers. Long experience had taught Lord Napier the
wisdom of having only one head in time of war, and he impressed upon
the Government his opinion that the civil officers, while acting as
advisers and as the channels of communication with the tribes, should
be subordinate to the control of the two Commanders, who, after having
been put in possession of the views and wishes of the Government,
should be held responsible for carrying them out loyally so far as
circumstances and the safety of the force would permit.

As the existence of the tea industry was at stake, the Lushais having
established a perfect terror on all the estates within their reach,
it was essential that they should be given a severe lesson, and this
could only be done by their principal villages, which lay at some
considerable distance from the base of operations, being visited in
force. The difficult country and the paucity of transport necessitated
the columns being lightly equipped; no tents were to be allowed, and
baggage and followers were to be reduced to a minimum. My instructions
were to fit out and despatch the two columns, and then join
Brigadier-General Bourchier at Cachar.

I was kept in Calcutta all October--not a pleasant month, the climate
then being very muggy and unhealthy. Everyone who could get away had
gone to the Hills or out to sea; and the offices being closed for the
Hindu holidays of the _Durga Puja,_ it was extremely difficult to get
work done. Everything for the Chittagong column had to be sent by
sea. The shipping of the elephants was rather interesting: they clung
desperately to the ground, trying hard to prevent themselves being
lifted from it; and when at last, in spite of all their struggles,
they were hoisted into the air, the helpless appearance of the huge
animals and their despairing little cries and whines were quite
pathetic. I found it trying work being on the river all day; my eyes
suffered from the glare, and I became so reduced that before I left
Calcutta I weighed scarcely over eight stone--rather too fine a
condition in which to enter on a campaign in a mountainous country, so
thickly covered with jungle as to make riding out of the question.

By the 3rd November the equipment and stores for both columns had been
despatched, and on the 16th I joined General Bourchier at the house of
that most hospitable of hosts, Mr. Edgar,[2] Deputy-Commissioner of
Cachar, who accompanied the left column as civil officer.

We left Cachar on the 23rd, and from the outset we had to make our own
roads, a labour which never ceased until the end of January, by which
date 110 miles had been completed. There was not the vestige of a
track to direct us; but I got hold of some people of the country, with
whom I made friends, and induced them to act as guides. Many a long
and weary reconnaissance had to be executed, however, before the line
of advance could be decided upon. The troops worked with a will, and,
notwithstanding the vapour-bath-like atmosphere of the valleys and the
difficult nature of the country, which was a succession of hill-ranges
covered with jungle forests, made almost impenetrable from the huge
creepers, and intersected by rivers and watercourses, a good road,
from six to eight feet wide, was constructed, with a sufficiently easy
gradient for laden elephants to travel over. Cutting one's way day
after day through these dense, gloomy forests, through which hardly a
ray of light penetrates, was most stifling and depressing. One could
hardly breathe, and was quite unable to enjoy the beauty of the
magnificent trees, the graceful bamboos and canes, and the wonderful
creepers, which abounded, and under other circumstances would have
been a source of pleasure; the difficulties we encountered, and the
consequent delay in our progress, quite prevented me from being in a
frame of mind to appreciate my picturesque surroundings.

It became evident from the first that our onward movements would be
greatly impeded by want of transport. Notwithstanding the experience
which ought to have been gained in many small mountain wars, the
Government had not been taught that a properly organized transport
corps was an absolute necessity, and that it was a mere waste of money
to collect a number of men and animals without providing trained
supervision. Fourteen hundred of our coolies were attached to
the Commissariat Department without anyone to look after them,
consequently officers and non-commissioned officers, who could ill be
spared from their regimental duties, had to be told off to organize
and work them.

To add to our troubles, cholera broke out amongst some Nepalese
coolies on their way to join us; out of 840, 251 died in a few days,
and a number deserted panic-stricken, while the rest were so weakened
and shaken that, notwithstanding the care bestowed upon them by their
able and energetic Commandant, Major H. Moore, only 387 joined the
column. We were not much better off in the matter of elephants, which
had been so carelessly selected that only 33 out of the 157 sent with
our column were of any use. All this resulted in our being obliged to
still further reduce our already small kits. Officers were allowed
only forty pounds of baggage, and soldiers twenty-four pounds, limits
within which it was rather difficult to keep. A couple of blankets
were essential, as we should have to operate over mountains five and
six thousand feet high; so was a waterproof sheet, for even if we
should be lucky enough to escape rain, the dew is so heavy in those
parts that it wets one just as thoroughly as a shower of rain. These
three items with my cloak and cork mattress--which is also a very
necessary adjunct in such a damp climate--amounted to thirty-one
pounds, leaving only nine pounds for a change of clothes, plate,
knife, fork, etc.--not too much for a four months' campaign. However,
'needs must,' and it is surprising how many things one considers
absolute necessities under ordinary circumstances turn out to have
been luxuries when we are obliged to dispense with them.

The advance portion of the column did not arrive at Tipai Mukh, only
eighty-four miles from Cachar, until the 9th December, which will give
an idea of the enforced slowness of our progress. Tipai Mukh proved a
very suitable place for our depot: it was situated at the junction
of two rivers, the Tipai and the Barak; thickly-wooded hills rose
precipitously on all sides, but on the right bank of the Barak there
was sufficient level space for all our requirements. With the help
of local coolies, the little Gurkhas were not long in running up
hospitals and storesheds; bamboo, the one material used in Lushailand
for every conceivable purpose, whether it be a house, a drinking
vessel, a bridge, a woman's ear-ring, or a musical instrument, grew
in profusion on the hillside. A trestle bridge was thrown across the
Tipai in a few hours, and about that bridge I have rather an amusing
story to relate. On my telling the young Engineer officer in charge of
the Sapper company that a bridge was required to be constructed with
the least possible delay, he replied that it should be done, but that
it was necessary to calculate the force of the current, the weight to
be borne, and the consequent strength of the timber required. Off he
went, urged by me to be as quick as he could. Some hours elapsed, and
nothing was seen of the Engineer, so I sent for him and asked him when
the bridge was to be begun. He answered that his plans were nearly
completed, and that he would soon be able to commence work. In the
meantime, however, and while these scientific calculations were being
made, the headman of the local coolies had come to me and said, if the
order were given, he would throw a good bridge over the river in no
time. I agreed, knowing how clever Natives often are at this kind
of work, and thinking I might just as well have two strings to this
particular bow. Immediately, numbers of men were to be seen felling
the bamboos on the hillside a short distance above the stream: these
were thrown into the river, and as they came floating down they were
caught by men standing up to their necks in water, who cut them to the
required length, stuck the uprights into the river-bed, and attached
them to each other by pieces laid laterally and longitudinally; the
flooring was then formed also of bamboo, the whole structure was
firmly bound together by strips of cane, and the bridge was pronounced
ready. Having tested its strength by marching a large number of men
across it, I sent for my Engineer friend. His astonishment on seeing a
bridge finished ready for use was great, and became still greater when
he found how admirably the practical woodmen had done their work; from
that time, being assured of their ability to assist him, he wisely
availed himself when difficulties arose of their useful, if
unscientific, method of engineering.

By the 14th December matters had so far progressed as to warrant an
advance. As our route now lay away from the river, scarcity of water
entailed greater care being taken in the selection of encamping
grounds, so on arriving at our halting-place each day I had to
reconnoitre ahead for a suitable site for our next resting-ground, a
considerable addition to the day's work. Road-making for the passage
of the elephants became more difficult, and transport was so deficient
that the troops could only be brought up very gradually. Thus, it was
the 22nd of the month before we reached the Tuibum river, only twenty
miles from Tipai Mukh. On our way we were met by some scouts from
the villages ahead of us, who implored of us to advance no further,
saying, if we would only halt, their headmen would come in and submit
to whatever terms we chose to make. The villagers were informed in
reply that our quarrel was not with them, and so long as we remained
unmolested, not the slightest injury should be done to them, their
villages, or their crops; but that we were determined to reach the
country of Lalbura, the Chief who had been the ringleader in the raids
upon the tea-gardens.

We pushed on as fast as the dense undergrowth would permit until
within about a mile of the river, where we found the road blocked by
a curious erection in the form of a gallows, from which hung two
grotesque figures, made of bamboo. A little further on it was a felled
tree which stopped us; this tree was studded all over with knife-like
pieces of bamboo, and from the incisions into which these were stuck
exuded a red juice, exactly the colour of blood. This was the Lushai
mode of warning us what would be our fate if we ventured further. We,
however, proceeded on our way, bivouacked for the night, and early the
next morning started off in the direction of some villages which we
understood lay in the road to our destination.

For the first thousand feet the ascent was very steep, and the path so
narrow that we could only march in single file. Suddenly we entered
upon a piece of ground cleared for cultivation, and as we emerged from
the forest we were received by a volley from a position about sixty
yards off. A young police orderly, who was acting as our guide, was
knocked over by my side, and a second volley wounded one of the
sepoys, on which we charged and the enemy retired up the hill. We came
across a large number of these _jooms_ (clearings), and at each there
was a like effort to oppose us, always with the same result. After
advancing in this way for the greater part of the day, alternately
through dense jungle and open spaces, and occasionally passing by
scattered cottages, we sighted a good-sized village, where it was
decided we should remain for the night. The day's march had been very
severe, the village being 4,000 feet above the river; and the troops
were so worn out with their exertions that it was with difficulty the
piquets could be got to construct proper shelter for themselves out of
the plentiful supply of trees and underwood ready at hand. Throughout
the night the enemy's sharpshooters kept up an annoying fire under
cover of the forest which surrounded the village, and so as soon as
day dawned a party moved out to clear the ground all round.

It was most aggravating to find from the view we got of the country
from this elevated position that the previous day's harassing march
had been an absolutely useless performance and an unnecessary waste of
time and strength. We could now distinctly see that this village did
not lead to Lalbura's country, as we had been led to believe it would,
and that there was no alternative but to retrace our steps as far as
the river. The men and animals were too tired to march that day, and
the next being Christmas, we made another halt, and commenced our
retirement on the 26th. This was an extremely nasty business, and
had to be carried out with very great caution. The ground, as I said
before, necessitated our proceeding in single file, and with only
250 fighting men (all that our deficient transport admitted of being
brought on to this point) it was difficult to guard the long line
of sick, wounded, and coolies. As soon as we began to draw in our
piquets, the Lushais, who had never ceased their fire, perceiving we
were about to retire, came down in force, and entered one end of the
village, yelling and screaming like demons, before we had got out
at the other. The whole way down the hill they pressed us hard,
endeavouring to get amongst the baggage, but were invariably baffled
by the Gurkhas, who, extending rapidly whenever the ground was
favourable, retired through their supports in admirable order, and
did not once give the enemy the chance of passing them. We had 3 men
killed and 8 wounded during the march, but the Lushais confessed
afterwards to a loss of between 50 and 60.

As we were given to understand that our short retrograde movement had
been interpreted into a defeat by the Lushais, the General wisely
determined to pay the village of Kholel another visit. Our doing so
had the best possible effect. A slight resistance was offered at the
first clearance, but by the time the ridge was reached the Chief,
having become convinced of the uselessness of further opposition,
submitted, and engaged to give hostages and keep open communication
with our depot at Tipai Mukh, a promise which he most faithfully

1872 opened auspiciously for me. On New Year's Day I was agreeably
surprised by a communication from the Quartermaster-General informing
me that, a vacancy having unexpectedly occurred, Lord Napier had
appointed me Deputy-Quartermaster-General. This was an important step
in my department, and I was proportionately elated.

A few days later I received the good news of the birth of a son at
Umballa on the 8th.

Paucity of transport and difficulty about supplies kept us stationary
on the Tuibum for some time, after which we moved on as before, the
Lushais retiring in front of us until the 25th, when they attacked
us while we were moving along a narrow ravine, with a stream at the
bottom and steep hills on either side. The first volley wounded the
General in the arm and hand, and killed his orderly. The enemy's
intention was evidently to push past the weak column along the
hillside and get amongst the coolies; but this attempt was again
foiled by the Gurkhas, who, flinging off their great-coats, rushed
into the stream and engaged the Lushais before they could get at the
baggage, pressing them up the mountain, rising 2,500 feet above us, as
fast as the precipitous nature of the ascent would allow. On the crest
we found the enemy occupying a good-sized village, out of which we
cleared them and took possession of it ourselves. On this occasion
we had only 4 killed and 8 wounded, including the General, while the
enemy lost about 60. In one place we found a heap of headless bodies.
The Lushais, if unable to remove their dead, invariably decapitate
them to prevent their adversaries from carrying off the heads, their
own mode of dealing with a slain enemy, as they believe that whoever
is in possession of the head will have the man to whom it belonged as
a slave in the next world.

To complete the success we had gained, the General sent me the next
day with a small party to burn the village of Taikum, belonging to the
people who had attacked us. It was past noon before we could make a
start, owing to the non-arrival of the elephants with the guns. When
they did come in, the poor huge creatures were so fatigued by their
climb that it was considered advisable to transfer their loads to
coolies, particularly as the route we had to traverse was reported to
be even more difficult than anything we had yet encountered. When we
had proceeded a short distance, we perceived that our way was blocked
a mile ahead by a most formidable-looking stockade, on one side of
which rose perpendicular cliffs, while on the other was a rocky
ravine. As the nature of the ground did not admit of my approaching
near enough to discover whether the Artillery could be placed so as to
cover the Infantry advance, and being anxious to avoid losing many
of my small party, I settled to turn the stockade by a detour up the
hillside. This manoeuvre took some time, owing to the uncompromising
nature of the country; but it was successful, for when we struck
the track, we found ourselves about a mile on the other side of the
stockade. The Lushais, on realizing what we were about, retired to
Taikum, which place came into view at 5 p.m. It was situated on the
summit of a hill 1,200 yards in front, and was crowded with men. The
guns were brought at once into action, and while Captain Blackwood[3]
was preparing his fuses, I advanced towards the village with the
Infantry. The first shell burst a little beyond the village, the
second was lodged in its very centre, for a time completely paralyzing
the Lushais. On recovering from the shock, they took to their heels
and scampered off in every direction, the last man leaving the village
just as we entered it. The houses, as usual, were made of bamboo, and
after it had been ascertained that there was no living creature inside
any of them, the place was set on fire, and we began our return
journey. There was a bright moon, but even aided by its light we did
not reach our bivouac until midnight. This ended the campaign so far
as opposition was concerned, for not another shot was fired either by
us or against us during the remaining six weeks we continued in the

Soon after this we heard that some of the captives we had come to
relieve had been given up to the Chittagong column, and that Mary
Winchester was safe in General Brownlow's hands--very satisfactory
intelligence, showing as it did that the Lushais were beginning to
understand the advisability of acceding to our demands. The work of
our column, however, was not over, for although, from the information
we received of his whereabouts, we had given up hope of joining hands
with Brownlow, Bourchier determined that Lalbura's country must be
reached; he (Lalbura) being the chief offender, it would never have
done to let him think his stronghold lay beyond our power.

In order that we might be well out of Lushailand before the rains,
which usually begin in that part of the world about the middle of
March, and are extremely heavy, it was decided not to wait until a
road could be made for elephants, but to trust to coolie-carriage
alone, and to push on rapidly as soon as supplies sufficient for
twelve days could be collected. Kits were still further reduced,
officers and soldiers alike being only allowed a couple of blankets
and one or two cooking utensils.

We resumed our march on the 12th February; the route in many places
was strongly and skilfully stockaded, but the tidings of our successes
had preceded us, and our advance was unopposed. In five days we
reached the Chamfai valley, at the end of which, on a high hill,
Lalbura's village was situated.[4] Although Lalbura's father, Vonolel,
had been dead some years, the people still called the place Vonolel's
country. Vonolel had been a famous warrior, and they were evidently
very proud of his reputation. We were shown his tomb, which, like that
of all great Lushai braves, was decorated with the heads of human
beings (his slaves in paradise) and those of animals, besides
drinking-vessels and various kinds of utensils for his use in another

Lalbura had taken himself off; but his headmen submitted to us and
accepted our terms. We remained at this place till the 21st, in
accordance with an agreement we had made with Brownlow to send up
signals on the night of the 20th in case his column should be anywhere
in the neighbourhood. During the three days we stayed amongst them
we mixed freely with the Lushais, who were greatly delighted and
astonished with all we had to show them. The telescope and the
burning-glass amused them greatly; our revolvers excited their
envy; and for the little Mountain guns they displayed the highest
veneration. But what seemed to astonish them more than anything was
the whiteness of our skins, particularly when on closer inspection
they discovered that our arms and bodies were even fairer than our
faces and hands, which to our eyes had become from long exposure so
bronzed as to make us almost unrecognizable as Europeans.

We were all glad that the duty entrusted to us had been satisfactorily
ended, and we were hoping that the Viceroy, who had taken a keen
personal interest in our proceedings, would be satisfied with the
result, when we were shocked and startled beyond measure by hearing
that Lord Mayo had been murdered by a convict while visiting the
Andaman Islands. The disastrous news arrived as we were in the midst
of firing signal-rockets, burning blue-lights, and lighting bonfires
to attract the attention of the Chittagong column. I could not help
thinking of the heavy loss India had sustained, for the manly,
open-hearted Governor-General had impressed the Native Chiefs in quite
an exceptional manner, and he was liked as well as respected by all
classes of Europeans and Natives. I felt also much for Donald Stewart,
to whom, I knew, such a terrible tragedy, happening while he was
Superintendent at Port Blair, would be a heavy blow.

On the 6th March we reached Tipai Mukh, where we bade farewell to our
Lushai friends, numbers of whom accompanied us to get possession of
the empty tins, bags, and casks which were got rid of at every stage.
The hostages and those who had assisted us were liberally rewarded,
and we parted on the best of terms, with promises on their part of
future good behaviour--promises which were kept for nearly twenty

No one was sorry that the marching was at an end, and that the rest of
the journey back was to be performed in boats. Constant hard work and
exposure in a peculiarly malarious and relaxing climate had told upon
the whole force; while our having to depend for so long on tinned
meats, which were not always good, and consisted chiefly of pork, with
an occasional ration of mutton and salt beef, had been very trying to
the officers. One and all were 'completely worn out,' as the principal
medical officer reported; two out of our small number died, and the
General's condition gave cause for grave anxiety. For myself, having a
perfect horror of pork, I think I should have starved outright but
for the extraordinary culinary talent of Mr. Edgar, who disguised
the presence of the unclean animal in such a wonderful way in soups,
stews, etc., that I frequently partook of it without knowing what I
was eating. My wife and some anonymous kind friend sent by post small
tins of Liebig's extract, which were highly appreciated.

Cholera pursued us up to and beyond Cachar; the wretched coolies
suffered most, and it is a disease to which Gurkhas are peculiarly
susceptible, while a feast on a village pig from time to time probably
helped to make matters worse for them. Many of these grand little
soldiers and some of the Sikhs also fell victims to the scourge. My
orderly, a very smart young Gurkha, to my great regret, was seized
with it the day after I reached Cachar, and died next morning.

On my way to Simla, I spent a few days with Norman at Calcutta. The
whole place was in mourning on account of the terrible catastrophe
which had happened at Port Blair.

[Footnote 1: The Cachar column consisted of half of the Peshawar
Mountain battery, one company of Bengal Sappers and Miners, the 22nd
Punjab Infantry, 42nd and 44th Assam Light Infantry. The Chittagong
column consisted of the other half of the Mountain battery, the 27th
Punjab Infantry, and the 2nd and 4th Gurkhas. Each regiment was 500
strong, and each column was accompanied by 100 armed police.]

[Footnote 2: Now Sir John Edgar, K.C.S.I.]

[Footnote 3: Major Blackwood, who was killed at Maiwand, in command of
E Battery, R.H.A.]

[Footnote 4: Latitude 23° 26' 32", longitude (approximately) 93° 25';
within a short distance of Fort White, lately built in the Chin Hills.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Lord Napier's care for the soldier
  --Negotiations with Sher Ali renewed--Sher Ali's demands

Lord Napier of Murchiston, the Governor of Madras, had been summoned
to Calcutta to act as Viceroy until Lord Northbrook, Lord Mayo's
successor, should arrive. He seemed interested in what I had to tell
him about Lushai, and Lord Napier of Magd[=a]la spoke in laudatory
terms of the manner in which the expedition had been carried out.

I reached Simla on the 1st of April, the twentieth anniversary of my
arrival in India. I found my wife, with the two children, settled in
Snowdon,[1] a house I had recently purchased. She had had much trouble
in my absence, having been at death's door herself, and having very
nearly lost our little son at Umballa three weeks after his birth
from a Native wet-nurse having tried to kill him. The English nurse's
suspicions had been aroused by one day finding a live coal in the
cradle, but she did not mention this discovery at the time for fear of
frightening my wife; but she determined to watch. A few days later,
while with our little girl in the next room, she heard the baby boy
choking, and rushed in to find, to her horror, blood on his lips, and
that he was struggling violently, as if to get rid of something in his
throat! She pushed down her finger and pulled out a sharp piece of
cane about two inches long; but other pieces had evidently gone down,
for the poor little fellow was in terrible agony for many days. It
turned out that the wretched woman hated the unwonted confinement of
her new life, and was determined to get away, but was too much afraid
of her husband to say so. He wanted her to remain for the sake of the
high pay this class of servant receives, so it appeared to the woman
that her only chance of freedom was to get rid of the child, and to
carry out her purpose she first attempted to set fire to the cradle,
and finding this did not succeed, she pulled some pieces of cane off
the chair upon which she was sitting, and shoved them down the child's
throat. She was, as my wife described her, a pretty, innocent,
timid-looking creature, to whom no one would ever have dreamt of
attributing such an atrocity. The boy was made extremely delicate for
several months by this misadventure, as his digestion had been ruined
for the time being, but eventually he completely recovered from its

In September the C.B. was conferred upon me for the Lushai Expedition.
Lord Napier informed me of the fact in a particularly kind little
note. I was very proud of being a member of the Bath, although at the
time a brevet would have been a more useful reward, as want of rank
was the reason Lord Napier had given for not allowing me to act as
Quartermaster-General, on Lumsden being temporarily appointed Resident
at Hyderabad.

We began our usual winter tour in the middle of October. At Mian Mir I
made the acquaintance of the Adjutant of the 37th Foot, the late Sir
Herbert Stewart, who was then a smart, good-looking subaltern, and I
recollect his bemoaning bitterly his bad luck in never having had a
chance of seeing service. How little at that time could it have been
anticipated that within twelve years he would see hard fighting in
Africa, and be killed as a Major-General in command of a column!

We visited several of the stations in the Punjab, and spent a few days
at Jamu as guest of the Maharaja of Kashmir, who treated us royally,
and gave us some excellent pig-sticking; and on the 21st December we
joined Head-Quarters at Lawrencepur for a large Camp of Exercise, to
be held on the identical ground which I had selected for the camp
which Sir Hugh Rose proposed to have eleven years before.

Lord Napier of Magd[=a]la did much to improve the efficiency of the
army by means of Camps of Exercise. He held one at Delhi in the winter
of 1871-72, and the Camp of which I am writing was most successful and
instructive. No Commander-in-Chief ever carried out inspections with
more thoroughness than did Lord Napier of Magd[=a]la. He spared
himself no trouble. On the hottest day he would toil through barrack
after barrack to satisfy himself that the soldiers were properly cared
for; Europeans and Natives were equally attended to, and many measures
conducive to the men's comfort date from the time he was in command in

At the close of this camp Lumsden, who had returned to his appointment
from Hyderabad, gave up the Quartermaster-Generalship for good. We had
been greatly thrown together during the twenty-one years I had been in
India, and my wife and I were very sorry to bid farewell to him and
Mrs. Lumsden. He was succeeded by Edwin Johnson, pending whose arrival
I was now allowed to officiate.

From Lawrencepur I went with the Commander-in-Chief to Calcutta. Soon
after we arrived there I was asked by Sir Douglas Forsyth to accompany
him on his Mission to Yarkand and Kashgar. I should have much liked to
have done so, for the idea of a trip to these, at that time unknown,
regions possessed great fascinations for me. I was therefore well
pleased when Lord Napier told me he would not stand in the way of
my going, and proportionately disappointed when, the next day, His
Excellency said that on consideration he did not think I could be
spared just then, for the Quartermaster-General would be new to the
work at first, and he thought he would need my assistance.

The end of April saw us back in Simla, and in July Edwin Johnson

During the summer of 1873 important events occurred which had much to
do with our subsequent relations with Afghanistan. The inquiries which
Sher Ali had begged Lord Mayo to make about Persian encroachments in
Sistan, had resulted in General Goldsmid[2] and Colonel Pollock[3]
being deputed in 1871 to proceed to Sistan to decide the question. The
settlement arrived at by these officers, which assigned to Afghanistan
the country up to the right bank of the Helmand, but nothing beyond,
satisfied neither the Shah nor the Amir, and the latter sent his
confidential Minister, Saiyad Nur Mahomed, the Afghan Commissioner
in the Sistan arbitration, to meet Lord Northbrook on his arrival in
Bombay for the purpose of appealing to him against the decision. It
could not, however, be reversed; but in a subsequent interview which
the new Viceroy accorded the Envoy, the latter was told that as soon
as Persia and Afghanistan had signified their acceptance of the
settlement, the Government of India would present the Amir with five
lakhs of rupees as compensation for the ceded territory which had for
a time belonged to Afghanistan.

The action of Her Majesty's Ministers in communication with Russia
regarding the northern boundary of Afghanistan was another matter
about which the Amir was greatly exercised; and Lord Northbrook,
thinking that all such vexed questions could be more satisfactorily
explained by personal communication than by letter, proposed to the
Amir that His Highness should consent to receive at Kabul a British
officer 'of high rank and dignity, in whom I have full confidence'
(Mr. Macnabb),[4] 'who will also explain to Your Highness,' wrote
the Viceroy, 'the negotiations which have now been satisfactorily
concluded with the Government of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia,
whereby the Russian Government have agreed to recognize and respect
the integrity and independence of the territories now in Your
Highness's possession.'

To this request Sher Ali replied that he considered it advisable that
one of his agents should first wait on the Viceroy to ascertain the
real views of the British Government on these important matters. This
was agreed to, and Saiyad Nur Mahomed was again selected to represent
the Amir. He reached Simla towards the end of June. On being informed
that Persia had unreservedly accepted the decision as to the Sistan
question, the Envoy declared that, whatever opinion the Amir might
hold as to his rights, His Highness would also scrupulously respect
that decision. With regard to the northern frontier, the Envoy begged
it to be clearly understood that the Afghan Government wished to be
allowed to make their own laws and follow their own customs within
their territories; that the internal affairs of the country should be
free from interference; and that the acknowledgment by Russia of the
Amir's claim to land south of the Oxus should be confirmed by Bokhara.
He further requested 'that the British Government would distinctly
promise that, in the event of any aggression on the Amir's
territories, they would consider the perpetrator of such aggression
as their own enemy.' It was explained to the Saiyad that the British
Government did not share the Amir's apprehension of Russia; that under
such circumstances as he contemplated, it would be the duty of the
Amir to refer to the British Government, who would decide whether it
was an occasion for assistance to be rendered by them, and what the
nature and extent of the assistance should be; moreover, that their
help must be conditional upon the Amir himself abstaining from
aggression, and on his unreserved acceptance of the advice of the
British Government in regard to his external relations.

Two other questions were discussed:

    (1) The location in certain towns in Afghanistan of British
    officers as representatives of the British Government.

    (2) The present assistance to be rendered to the Amir for the
    purpose of strengthening his country against foreign aggression.

On the first point the Envoy said he had no instructions, but that, in
his opinion, to ask Sher Ali to allow British officers to be located
in Afghanistan would give rise to mistrust and apprehension. He
recommended that a letter should be addressed to the Amir, pointing
out the desirability of a British officer being sent to inspect the
western and northern boundaries of Afghanistan, proceeding _viâ_
Kandahar and returning _viâ_ Kabul, where he might confer personally
with His Highness. This suggestion was carried out.

With regard to the second point under discussion, the Envoy stated
that 20,000 stand-of-arms were desired, laying very particular stress
on 5,000 Sniders being included in this number, and that hopes were
entertained by the Amir that he would be largely assisted with money.
In answer to this, the Saiyad was told that there was not then a
sufficient reserve supply of Sniders for the English troops in India,
and that it was impossible to spare more than 5,000 Enfields; that
this number should at once be placed at the Amir's disposal, and that
the remainder should be forwarded as soon as they were received from
England. He was further informed that five lakhs of rupees (exclusive
of the five lakhs promised the year before, as indemnification for the
loss of territory) would be given to Sher Ali.

A final letter from the Viceroy was sent to the Amir through Saiyad
Nur Mahomed, dated 6th September, 1873, summing up the result of the
conference. His Highness was told, with reference to a fear expressed
by the Envoy lest Russia should press for the establishment of a
Russian Mission and agents in Afghanistan, that Prince Gortschakoff
had officially intimated that, while he saw no objection to British
officers going to Kabul, he engaged that Russian agents should abstain
from doing so, and that, far from apprehending a Russian invasion of
Afghanistan, the British Government believed that the effect of the
recent arrangements had been to render the occurrence of such a
contingency more remote than ever. At the same time, being desirous of
seeing the Amir strong and his rule firmly established, the Government
were prepared to give him any reasonable assistance.

Sher Ali was greatly annoyed and disappointed at the result of his
Envoy's visit to Simla. He was of a very impulsive, passionate
disposition; his reply to the Viceroy's letter was discourteous and
sarcastic; he declined to receive a British officer at Kabul, and
although he condescended to accept the arms presented to him, he left
the ten lakhs of rupees untouched in the Peshawar treasury. Colonel
Valentine Baker, who was at that time travelling through Central Asia,
was forbidden by the Amir to pass through Afghanistan on his way
to India; and a few months later he refused to allow Sir Douglas
Forsyth's Mission to return to India by way of Afghanistan.

[Footnote 1: We lived in this house whenever we were in Simla, till
we left it in 1892. It has since been bought by Government for the
Commander-in-Chief's residence.]

[Footnote 2: General Sir Frederick Goldsmid, K.C.M.G.]

[Footnote 3: Major-General Sir Frederick Pollock, K.C.S.I.]

[Footnote 4: Sir Donald Macnabb, K.C.S.I., then Commissioner of

       *       *       *       *       *


  A trip in the Himalayas--The famine in Behar
  --The Prince of Wales in India--Farewell to Lord Napier

In the beginning of October my wife and I started for a fortnight's
trip to the top of the Chor, a fine mountain sixty-two miles from
Simla, and close on 12,000 feet high. We were accompanied by a very
dear friend of ours--now no more--Colonel Baigrie, who was soon
afterwards made Quartermaster-General in Bombay. He was a talented
artist and delightful companion, and notwithstanding the old adage
that two are company and three none, we three enjoyed our holiday

After crossing a stream called the Ghiri, below Fagu, the road passes
through beautiful forest and cliff scenery, and for the most part was
fairly easy, until the foot of the mountain was reached about six
miles from the top, when it became very precipitous and difficult. We
were the whole day doing this march, breakfasting in one place and
lunching in another higher up. There was a good deal of snow in the
shady spots. A few days before we had noticed that the top of the
mountain was white, but the sun was still too strong in the daytime
for the snow to lie long in exposed parts. The way being too steep
for my wife to ride or go in a dandy, we all three walked, or rather
climbed, up to the shoulder where our tents were pitched, about a mile
from the summit.

The forest through which we passed was very beautiful, commencing with
dark-green ilex, glistening holly, and sombre brown oak, interspersed
with groups of the dainty, graceful, white-stemmed birch, and wreathed
with festoons of the scarlet Himalayan vine. As we mounted higher,
trees became fewer and the foliage less luxuriant, till at length only
oaks were to be seen, their branches twisted into all sorts of weird,
fantastic shapes from the strength of the south-west monsoon. Huge
rocks became more frequent, covered with lichens and mosses of every
shade, from dark-green to brilliant crimson. At length trees and
shrubs were left behind, except the red-berried juniper, which grows
at a higher elevation here than any other bush, and flourishes in the
clefts of the rocks, where nothing else will exist. We got up in time
to see the most glorious sunset; the colours were more wonderful than
anything I had ever seen before, even in India. My wife urged Baigrie
to make a rough sketch, and note the tints, that he might paint a
picture of it later. He made the sketch, saying: 'If I attempted to
represent truly what we see before us, the painting would be rejected
by the good people at home as absurdly unreal, or as the work of a
hopeless lunatic.' There was such a high wind that our small tents had
a narrow escape of being blown away. That night the water was frozen
in our jugs, and it was quite impossible to keep warm.

We were up betimes the next morning, and climbed to the highest peak,
where we found breakfast awaiting us and a magnificent view of the
Himalayan ranges, right down to the plains on one side and up to the
perpetual snows on the other. We descended to the foot of the mountain
in the afternoon, and then returned, march by march, to Simla.

Towards the end of the month Lord Napier began his winter tour,
visiting the hill stations first. At Chakrata I made the acquaintance
of the 92nd Highlanders, that distinguished corps which stood me
in such good stead a few years later in Afghanistan. At the end of
November we found ourselves at Lucknow, in time to take part in Lord
Northbrook's state entry, and be present at a fête given to the
Viceroy in the Wingfield Park by Sir George Cooper, the Chief

From Lucknow we went for a brief visit to a small Camp of Exercise
near Rurki, where Lord Napier left the Adjutant-General, Thesiger,[1]
in command, while he himself proceeded to visit some of the stations
in the Madras Presidency, and I returned for a short time to Simla.

While riding up the hill from Kalka, I had a novel experience. One
of those tremendous thunder-storms which are not uncommon in the
Himalayas came on; the rain was blinding and incessant, and the peals
of thunder were simultaneous with the lightning. At last there was a
tremendous crash; a flash, more vivid than the rest, passed right
in front of my horse's head, accompanied by a whizzing noise and a
sulphurous smell, completely blinding me for a second. Two Natives
travelling a few yards ahead of me fell flat on their faces, and I
thought they were killed, but it turned out they were only knocked
over and very much frightened.

Early in January, 1874, we received by telegram the infinitely sad
news of my father's death. We ought, I suppose, to have been prepared
for such an event, seeing that he was within a few months of his
ninetieth birthday; but he was so well and active, and took such a
keen interest in all that was going on, especially anything connected
with India, that we hardly realized his great age, and always hoped we
might see him once more. He had received the G.C.B. from Her Majesty's
hands at Windsor on the 8th December, and two days afterwards he wrote
me an account of the ceremony, and expressed himself much pleased and
gratified at the Queen's gracious manner to him. He said nothing about
his health, but we heard later that he had taken cold in the train on
his way home, and never recovered from the effects; he died on the
30th of December. His love for India had not been weakened by his
twenty years' absence from the country, and he never wearied of
being told of the wonderful changes which had taken place since his
day--changes which, for the most part, dated from the Mutiny, for up
till 1857 life in India was much the same as when my father first
landed in the beginning of the century.

A continued drought in Behar was at this time causing grave fears of
a famine, such as from time to time had desolated various parts of
India. Nine years before such a drought, and the absence of means
of communication, which prevented grain being thrown into the
famine-stricken districts in sufficient quantities, resulted
in one-fourth of the population of Orissa being carried off by
starvation, or disease consequent on starvation. So on this occasion
Lord Northbrook was determined, at all costs, to ward off such a
calamity. He sent Sir Richard Temple to Behar in the confident hope
that his unbounded resource and energy would enable him to cope with
the difficulties of the situation, a hope that was fully realized.
Relief works were at once commenced; a transport train was quickly
improvised, worked chiefly by military and police officers; and one
million tons of rice were distributed amongst the people. Not a life
was lost, but the cost to the State was enormous--six millions and a
half sterling.

In the beginning of February I was ordered by Government to proceed to
the famine districts to help Temple. I started at once; but I had
not been long in Behar before I was required to join the
Commander-in-Chief in Calcutta, His Excellency having determined to
nominate me Quartermaster-General, in succession to Johnson, who was
about to become Adjutant-General. Being only a Lieutenant-Colonel
in the army, I could not, according to the rules, be put at once
permanently into the appointment, which carried with it the rank of
Major-General. The difficulty was overcome, however, by my being
allowed to officiate till the following January, when, in the ordinary
course of promotion, I should become a Colonel.

Lord Northbrook spent the summer of 1874 in Calcutta, in
consequence of the famine necessities having to be met; and as the
Commander-in-Chief determined to follow his example, I took a house in
Calcutta, and my wife joined me in the middle of March--rather a bad
time of year to come down to the plains after spending the winter
amongst the snows of Simla. But she did not fancy Simla in the season
as a grass-widow, and had had quite enough of being alone.

We continued in Calcutta until August, when the Head-Quarters returned
to Simla, where we remained till November.

We had a standing camp at Umballa during the winter of 1874-75, doing
our inspections from there, and returning to the camp at intervals.
There was the usual visit to Calcutta in March, towards the end of
which month another daughter was born.

In October, 1875, I spent some time at Delhi, arranging for the Camp
of Exercise to be held there in January for His Royal Highness the
Prince of Wales. The camp was formed in the beginning of December,
and consisted of 17,000 men, in four divisions, commanded by
Major-Generals Sir Charles Reid, Macdonnell, the Hon. Arthur Hardinge,
and Donald Stewart.

The country round Delhi is particularly well suited for extended
manoeuvres, and full advantage was taken of the facilities it afforded
during the two months the Camp of Exercise lasted. The Prince of Wales
landed at Calcutta on the 23rd December; and Lord Napier with his
staff went down to meet His Royal Highness, whose reception was loyal
and hearty to a degree. As the _Serapis_, with the Prince on board,
steamed slowly up the Hughli, salutes were fired from Fort William and
three ships of the Royal Navy. All the vessels in the river were gay
with flags, their yards were manned, and good hearty English cheers
resounded from stem to stern of each ship as the Indian troopship,
carrying the heir to England's throne, came in sight. As soon as the
_Serapis_ was moored, the Viceroy went on board to greet the Prince
and conduct His Royal Highness to the gaily-decorated landing-stage,
where the principal officials, Native Princes, and chief inhabitants
of Calcutta were assembled. Troops lined the road from the river to
Government House, and the _maidan_ (the great open space in front) was
thronged with a dense crowd of Natives in their most brilliant gala
attire, eager to catch a glimpse of the son of the great Queen of

That evening Lord Northbrook gave a State banquet. The next day there
was a reception of the Princes and Chiefs, followed by a levée, and
after dark the whole place was most beautifully illuminated. The
week that followed was taken up with entertainments of various
kinds--balls, races, and garden-parties, interspersed with official
visits--which I am afraid the Prince could not have found amusing--and
on New Year's Day, 1876, His Royal Highness held a Chapter of the
Order of the Star of India, after which the Commander-in-Chief
returned to Delhi to arrange to receive the Prince in that historical
city on the 11th January.

His Royal Highness's camp, and that of the Commander-in-Chief, were
pitched on the ground occupied by the British army during the siege.
The road, five miles in length, from the station to the camp was lined
with troops, and on the Ridge itself were placed six Rifle corps,
three of which had taken part in the siege.[2] The 2nd Gurkhas were
very appropriately drawn up immediately under Hindu Rao's house,
and when this point was reached, the Prince stopped and warmly
complimented the men on the distinguished service the regiment had

The next day there was a parade of all the troops in review order for
the inspection of the Prince, who was pleased to express his complete
satisfaction and approval of 'the steadiness under arms, soldier-like
bearing, and precision of movement, which distinguish the corps of the
three armies assembled at the camp at Delhi.'

That evening the Prince was present at a ball in the _diwan-i-khas_
(private audience hall) in the palace, given in His Royal Highness's
honour by the officers of the army.

The next few days were taken up with manoeuvres, which the Prince
attended, accompanied by Lumsden[3] and myself. The defence was
commanded by Reid, the attack by Hardinge, the latter's object being
to gain possession of the Ridge, with a view to future operations
against the city on the arrival of the main army from the Punjab. But
the attack did not meet with the success which attended Barnard in
1857, while the Commander of the defence proved himself as skilful in
protecting the Ridge against an enemy advancing from the north as
he had been, twenty years before, in repulsing one coming from the
opposite direction.

The Prince of Wales held another investiture of the Star of India
on the 7th of March at Allahabad, which Lord Napier and the staff
attended. At its close we took our leave of His Royal Highness, who
started that night for England.

In less than a fortnight our dear old Chief followed, and I saw him
off from Bombay on the 10th April. I was very low at parting with him,
for though in the earlier days of our acquaintance I used to think
he was not very favourably disposed towards me, when I became more
intimately associated with him nothing could exceed his kindness. He
was universally regretted by Europeans and Natives alike. The soldiers
recognized that he had carefully guarded their interests and worked
for their welfare, and the Native Princes and people felt that he
was in sympathy with them, and to this day they speak of _Lat Napier
Sahib_ with the deepest respect and affection.

Lord Napier was succeeded in the command by Sir Frederick Haines.

[Footnote 1: Now General Lord Chelmsford, G.C.B.]

[Footnote 2: 60th Rifles, 2nd Gurkhas, and 1st Punjab Infantry.]

[Footnote 3: Lumsden returned to Head-Quarters as Adjutant-General
on Edwin Johnson being appointed a member of the Indian Council in

       *       *       *       *       *


  Lord Lytton becomes Viceroy--Difficulties with Sher Ali
  --Imperial assemblage at Delhi--Reception of the Ruling Chiefs
  --Queen proclaimed Empress of India
  --Political importance of the assemblage
  --Sher Ali proclaims a 'Jahad'--A journey under difficulties

With a new Commander-in-Chief came a new Viceroy, and it was while
we were in Bombay seeing the last of Lord Napier that the _Orontes_
steamed into the harbour with Lord Lytton on board. Little did I
imagine when making Lord Lytton's acquaintance how much he would have
to say to my future career.

His Excellency received me very kindly, telling me he felt that I was
not altogether a stranger, as he had been reading during the voyage
a paper I had written for Lord Napier, a year or two before, on
our military position in India, and the arrangements that would be
necessary in the event of Russia attempting to continue her advance
south of the Oxus. Lord Napier had sent a copy of this memorandum to
Lord Beaconsfield, by whom it had been given to Lord Lytton.

_From a photograph by Messrs. Maull and Fox._]

During the summer of 1876 our frontier policy was frequently under
discussion. Sir Bartle Frere wrote two very strong letters after the
Conservative Government came into power in 1874, drawing attention
to the danger of our being satisfied with a policy of aloofness, and
pointing out the necessity for coming into closer relations with
the Amir of Afghanistan and the Khan of Khelat. Soon afterwards the
Secretary of State communicated with the Government of India as to the
advisability of establishing British agents in Afghanistan, and of
persuading the Amir to receive a temporary Embassy at Kabul, as had
originally been proposed by Lord Northbrook.

The members of Lord Northbrook's Council were unanimously opposed to
both these proposals, but they did not succeed in convincing Lord
Salisbury that the measures were undesirable; and on the resignation
of Lord Northbrook, the new Viceroy was furnished with special
instructions as to the action which Her Majesty's Government
considered necessary in consequence of the activity of Russia in
Central Asia, and the impossibility of obtaining accurate information
of what was going on in and beyond Afghanistan.

The question of the Embassy was dealt with at once; Lord Lytton
directed a letter to be sent to the Amir announcing his assumption
of the Viceroyalty, and his intention to depute Sir Lewis Pelly to
proceed to Kabul for the purpose of discussing certain matters with
His Highness.

To this communication a most unsatisfactory reply was received, and
a second letter was addressed to the Amir, in which he was informed
that, should he still decline to receive the Viceroy's Envoy after
deliberately weighing all the considerations commended to his serious
attention, the responsibility of the result would rest entirely on the
Government of Afghanistan, which would thus alienate itself from
the alliance of that Power which was most disposed and best able to
befriend it.

This letter was the cause of considerable excitement in Kabul,
excitement which ran so high that the necessity for proclaiming a
religious war was mooted; and, to complicate matters, the Amir at
this time received overtures from General Kauffmann, the Russian
Governor-General in Turkestan.

A delay of six weeks occurred before Sher Ali replied to Lord Lytton's
letter, and then he altogether ignored the Viceroy's proposal to send
a Mission to Kabul, merely suggesting that the British Government
should receive an Envoy from him, or that representatives from both
countries should meet and hold a conference on the border, or, as
another alternative, that the British Native Agent at Kabul should
return and discuss affairs with the Viceroy.

The last suggestion was accepted by the Government of India, and the
agent (Nawab Ata Mahomed Khan) arrived in Simla early in October. The
Nawab gave it as his opinion that the Amir's attitude of estrangement
was due to an accumulation of grievances, the chief of which were--the
unfavourable arbitration in the Sistan dispute; the want of success of
Saiyad Nur Mahomed's mission to India in 1873, when it was the desire
of the Amir's heart to enter into an offensive and defensive alliance
with the British Government; the interposition of Lord Northbrook's
Government on behalf of Yakub Khan;[1] the recent proceedings in
Khelat,[2] which the Amir thought were bringing us objectionably near
Kandahar; the transmission of presents through Afghanistan, to his
vassal, the Mir of Wakhan, without the Amir's permission;[3] and,
above all, the conviction that our policy was exclusively directed to
the furtherance of British interests without any thought for those of

As regarded the proposed Mission to Kabul, the Envoy said that His
Highness objected to it for many reasons. Owing to local fanaticism,
he could not insure its safety, and it seemed probable that, though of
a temporary nature to begin with, it might only be the thin end of the
wedge, ending in the establishment of a permanent Resident, as at the
courts of the Native Rulers in India. Furthermore, the Amir conceived
that, if he consented to this Mission, the Russians would insist upon
their right to send a similar one, and finally, he feared a British
Envoy might bring his influence to bear in favour of the release of
his son, Yakub Khan, with whom his relations were as strained as ever.

In answer, the Viceroy enumerated the concessions he was prepared to
make, and the conditions upon which alone he would consent to them;
and this answer the agent was directed to communicate to the Amir.

The concessions were as follows:

  (1) That the friends and enemies of either State should be those of
  the other.

  (2) That, in the event of unprovoked aggression upon Afghanistan
  from without, assistance should be afforded in men, money, and arms;
  and also that to strengthen the Amir against such aggression, the
  British Government was willing to fortify Herat and other points on
  the frontier, and, if desired, to lend officers to discipline the

  (3) That Abdulla Jan should be recognized as the Amir's successor to
  the exclusion of any other aspirant; and that the question of
  material aid in support of such recognition should be discussed by
  the Plenipotentiaries.

  (4) That a yearly subsidy should be paid to the Amir on the
  following conditions:

    That he should refrain from external aggression or provocation of
    his neighbours, and from entering into external relations without
    our knowledge.

    That he should decline all communication with Russia, and refer
    her agents to us.

    That British agents should reside at Herat and elsewhere on the

    That a mixed commission of British and Afghan officers should
    determine and demarcate the Amir's frontier.

    That arrangements should be made, by allowances or otherwise, for
    free circulation of trade on the principal trade routes.

    That similar arrangements should be made for a line of telegraph,
    the direction of which was to be subsequently determined.

    That Afghanistan should be freely opened to Englishmen, official
    and non-official, and arrangements made by the Amir, as far as
    practicable, for their safety, though His Highness would not be
    absolutely held responsible for isolated accidents.

The Viceroy concluded by suggesting that, if the Amir agreed to these
proposals, a treaty might be arranged between the agents of the
respective Governments, and ratified either at Peshawar, by the Amir
meeting Lord Lytton there, or at Delhi if the Amir accepted His
Excellency's invitation to be present at the Imperial Assemblage.

The Amir at the time vouchsafed no reply whatever to these proposals
or to the invitation to come to Delhi.

In the autumn of 1876 preparations were commenced for the 'Imperial
Assemblage,' which it was announced by the Viceroy would be held
at Delhi on the first day of January, 1877, for the purpose of
proclaiming to the Queen's subjects throughout India the assumption
by Her Majesty of the title of 'Empress of India.' To this Assemblage
Lord Lytton further announced that he proposed 'to invite the
Governors, Lieutenant-Governors, and Heads of Administration from all
parts of the Queen's Indian dominions, as well as the Princes, Chiefs,
and Nobles in whose persons the antiquity of the past is associated
with the prosperity of the present, and who so worthily contribute to
the splendour and stability of this great Empire.'

Delhi was selected as the place where the meeting between the Queen's
representative and the great nobles of India could most appropriately
be held, and a committee was appointed to make the necessary
arrangements. As a member of the committee I was deputed to proceed to
Delhi, settle about the sites for the camps, and carry out all details
in communication with the local authorities. The Viceroy impressed
upon me that the Assemblage was intended to emphasize the Proclamation
Lord Canning issued eighteen years before, by which the Queen assumed
the direct sovereignty of her eastern possessions, and that he wished
no trouble or expense to be spared in making the ceremony altogether
worthy of such a great historical event.

I returned to Simla in October, when my wife and I accompanied the
Commander-in-Chief on a very delightful march over the Jalauri Pass
through the Kulu valley, then over the Bubbu Pass and through the
Kangra valley to Chamba and Dalhousie. Our party consisted of the
Chief, his Doctor (Bradshaw), Persian interpreter (Moore), General and
Mrs. Lumsden, and ourselves. The first slight shower of snow had just
fallen on the Jalauri Pass, and as we crossed over we disturbed a
number of beautiful snow-pheasants and minals busily engaged in
scratching it away to get at their food. The scenery on this march is
very fine and varied; for the most part the timber and foliage are
superb, and the valleys are very fertile and pretty, lying close under
the snow-capped mountains.

Having inspected the 'Hill stations,' we proceeded to Peshawar,
where the Viceroy had arranged to hold a conference with the
Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab and the Commissioner of Peshawar
about frontier affairs.

Early in December I was back again at Delhi, where I found the
arrangements for the several camps progressing most satisfactorily,
and canvas cities rising up in every direction, I had previously
chosen the site of the old cantonment for the camps of the Viceroy,
the Commander-in-Chief, and the principal officials, while for the
Assemblage itself I had selected ground about three miles off.

The Chiefs and Princes were all settled in their several camps ready
to meet the Viceroy, who, on his arrival, in a few graceful words
welcomed them to Delhi, and thanked them for responding to his
invitation. He then mounted, with Lady Lytton, on a state elephant,
and a procession was formed, which, I fancy, was about the most
gorgeous and picturesque which has ever been seen even in the East.
The magnificence of the Native Princes' retinues can hardly be
described; their elephant-housings were of cloth of gold, or
scarlet-and-blue cloths embroidered in gold and silver. The howdahs
were veritable thrones of the precious metals, shaded by the most
brilliant canopies, and the war-elephants belonging to some of
the Central India and Rajputana Chiefs formed a very curious and
interesting feature. Their tusks were tipped with steel; they wore
shields on their fore-heads, and breastplates of flashing steel;
chain-mail armour hung down over their trunks and covered their backs
and sides; and they were mounted by warriors clad in chain-mail, and
armed to the teeth. Delhi must have witnessed many splendid pageants,
when the Rajput, the Moghul, and the Mahratta dynasties, each in its
turn, was at the height of its glory; but never before had Princes and
Chiefs of every race and creed come from all parts of Hindustan, vying
with each other as to the magnificence of their _entourage_, and met
together with the same object--that of acknowledging and doing homage
to one supreme Ruler.

The next few days were spent by Lord Lytton in receiving the
sixty-three[4] Ruling Princes of India according to the strictest
etiquette. Each Prince, with his suite, was met at the entrance to
the camp, and conducted up the street to the durbar tent by mounted
officers, the salute to which he was entitled being fired while the
procession moved on. He was then presented by the Foreign Secretary to
the Viceroy, who placed him on a chair on his right, immediately
below a full-length portrait of Her Majesty. A satin banner, richly
embroidered with the Chief's armorial bearings, surmounted by the
Imperial crown, was next brought in by Highland soldiers and planted
in front of the throne, when the Viceroy, leading the particular Chief
towards it, thus addressed him: 'I present Your Highness with this
banner as a personal gift from Her Majesty the Queen, in commemoration
of her assumption of the title of Empress of India. Her Majesty trusts
that it may never be unfurled without reminding you not only of the
close union between the throne of England and your loyal and princely
house, but also of the earnest desire of the paramount power to see
your dynasty strong, prosperous, and permanent.'

His Excellency then placed round the Chief's neck a crimson ribbon, to
which was attached a very handsome gold medal[5] with the Queen's head
engraved on it, adding: 'I further decorate you, by command of Her
Majesty. May this medal be long worn by yourself, and long kept as
an heirloom in your family in remembrance of the auspicious date it

The 1st January, 1877, saw the Queen proclaimed Empress of India, The
ceremony was most imposing, and in every way successful. Three tented
pavilions had been constructed on an open plain. The throne-pavilion
in the centre was a very graceful erection, brilliant in hangings and
banners of red, blue, and white satin magnificently embroidered in
gold, with appropriate emblems. It was hexagonal in shape, and rather
more than 200 feet in circumference. In front of this was the pavilion
for the Ruling Chiefs and high European officials, in the form of
a semicircle 800 feet long. The canopy was of Star of India
blue-and-white satin embroidered in gold, each pillar being surmounted
by an Imperial crown. Behind the throne was the stand for the
spectators, also in the form of a semicircle divided in the middle,
and likewise canopied in brilliant colours. Between these two blocks
was the entrance to the area.

Each Chief and high official sat beneath his own banner, which was
planted immediately behind his chair, and they were all mixed up as
much as possible to avoid questions of precedence, the result being
the most wonderful mass of colour, produced from the intermingling of
British uniforms and plumes with gorgeous eastern costumes, set off by
a blaze of diamonds and other precious stones.

All the British troops brought to Delhi for the occasion were paraded
to the north, and the troops and retainers belonging to the Native
Chiefs to the south, of the pavilion. Guards of Honour were drawn up
on either side of the throne and at each opening by which the Ruling
Chiefs were to enter the pavilion.

The guests being all seated, a flourish of trumpets by the heralds
exactly at noon announced the arrival of the Viceroy. The military
bands played a march, and Lord Lytton, accompanied by Lady Lytton,
their daughters, and his staff, proceeded to the pavilion. His
Excellency took his seat upon the throne, arrayed in his robes as
Grand Master of the Star of India, the National Anthem was played,
the Guards of Honour presented arms, while the whole of the vast
assemblage rose as one man. The Chief Herald was then commanded to
read the Proclamation. A flourish of trumpets was again sounded, and
Her Majesty was proclaimed Empress of India.

When the Chief Herald had ceased reading, the Royal Standard was
hoisted, and a salute of 101 salvoes of artillery was fired, with a
_feu de joie_ from the long line of troops. This was too much for the
elephants. As the _feu de joie_ approached nearer and nearer to
them they became more and more alarmed, and at last scampered off,
dispersing the crowd in every direction. When it ceased they were
quieted and brought back by their _mahouts_, only to start off again
when the firing recommenced; but, as it was a perfectly bare plain,
without anything for the great creatures to come in contact with,
there was no harm done beyond a severe shaking to their riders. As
the sound of the last salvo died away the Viceroy addressed the
assemblage. When he had ceased speaking, the assembly again rose _en
masse_ and joined the troops in giving several ringing cheers.

His Highness the Maharaja Sindhia then spoke as follows: '_Shah in
Shah Padishah_. May God bless you. The Princes of India bless you, and
pray that your sovereignty and power may remain steadfast for ever.'

Sir Salar Jung rose on behalf of the boy Nizam, and said: 'I am
desired by His Highness the Nizam to request your Excellency to convey
to Her Majesty, on the part of himself and the Chiefs of India, the
expression of their hearty congratulations on the assumption of the
title of Empress of India, and to assure the Queen that they pray for
her, and for the enduring prosperity of her Empire, both in India and

The Maharajas of Udaipur and Jaipur, in the name of the united Chiefs
of Rajputana, begged that a telegram might be sent to the Queen,
conveying their dutiful and loyal congratulations; and the Maharaja
of Kashmir expressed his gratification at the tenor of the Viceroy's
speech, and declared that he should henceforth consider himself secure
under the shadow of Her Majesty's protecting care.[6]

[Illustration: THE EARL OF LYTTON, G.C.B., G.M.S.I., G.M.I.E., VICEROY
_From a photograph by Messrs. Maull and Fox._]

It is difficult to overrate the political importance of this great
gathering. It was looked upon by most of the Ruling Chiefs as the
result of the Prince of Wales's visit, and rejoiced in as an evidence
of Her Majesty's increased interest in, and appreciation of, the vast
Empire of India with its many different races and peoples.

I visited all the camps, and conversed with every one of the Princes
and Nobles, and each in turn expressed the same intense gratification
at the Viceroy's reception of him, the same fervent loyalty to the
Empress, and the same satisfaction that the new title should have been
announced with such appropriate splendour and publicity.

General rejoicings in honour of the occasion took place all over
India, in Native States as well as British cantonments. School-houses,
town halls, hospitals, and dispensaries were founded, large numbers of
prisoners were released, substantial additions were made to the pay of
all ranks in the Native Army, as well as a considerable increase in
numbers to the Order of British India; and the amnesty granted in 1859
was extended to all but murderers and leaders in the Mutiny.

When the Assemblage broke up, I started with Sir Frederick Haines
for a tour along the Derajat frontier. We visited Kohat, Bannu, Dera
Ismail Khan, and Multan; proceeded by steamer down the Indus to
Sukkur, and thence rode to Jacobabad. Then on to Kotri, from which
place we went to see the battle-field of Miani, where Sir Charles
Napier defeated the Amirs of Sind in 1843. From Kotri we travelled
to Simla _viâ_ Karachi and Bombay, where we were most hospitably
entertained by the Commander-in-Chief of Bombay (Sir Charles Stavely)
and his wife.

Afghan affairs were this year again giving the Viceroy a great deal
of anxiety. The Amir had eventually agreed to a discussion of Lord
Lytton's proposals being held, and for this purpose Saiyad Nur Mahomed
and Sir Lewis Pelly had met at Peshawar in January, 1877. The
meeting, unfortunately, ended in a rupture, owing to Sher Ali's
agent pronouncing the location of European officers in any part of
Afghanistan an impossibility; and what at this crisis complicated
matters to a most regrettable extent was the death of Saiyad Nur
Mahomed, who had been in failing health for some time.

On learning the death of his most trusted Minister, and the failure of
the negotiations, Sher Ali broke into a violent fit of passion, giving
vent to his fury in threatenings and invectives against the British
Government. He declared it was not possible to come to terms, and that
there was nothing left for him but to fight; that he had seven crores
of rupees, every one of which he would hurl at the heads of the
English, and he ended by giving orders for a _jahad_ (a religious war)
to be proclaimed.

For the time being nothing more could be done with Afghanistan, and
the Viceroy was able to turn his attention to the following important
questions: the transfer of Sind from Bombay to the Punjab, a measure
which had been unanimously agreed to by Lord Northbrook's Government;
the removal from the Punjab government of the trans-Indus tract of
country, and the formation of the latter into a separate district
under the control of a Chief Commissioner, who would be responsible
to the Government of India alone for frontier administration and
trans-frontier relations. This post Lord Lytton told me, as much to my
surprise as to my gratification, that he meant to offer to me, if his
views were accepted by the Secretary of State. It was above all others
the appointment I should have liked. I delighted in frontier life and
frontier men, who, with all their faults, are men, and grand men, too.
I had felt for years what an important factor the trans-Indus tribes
are in the defence of India, and how desirable it was that we should
be on better terms with them than was possible so long as our policy
consisted in keeping them at arm's length, and our only intercourse
with them was confined to punitive expeditions or the visits of their
head-men to our hard-worked officials, whose whole time was occupied
in writing long reports, or in settling troublesome disputes to the
satisfaction of no one.

I now hoped to be able to put a stop to the futile blockades and
inconclusive reprisals which had been carried on for nearly thirty
years with such unsatisfactory results, and I looked forward to
turning the wild tribesmen from enemies into friends, a strength
instead of a weakness, to our Government, and to bringing them by
degrees within the pale of civilization. My wife quite shared my
feelings, and we were both eager to begin our frontier life.

As a preliminary to my engaging in this congenial employment, Lord
Lytton proposed that I should take up the command of the Punjab
Frontier Force. I gladly acquiesced; for I had been a long time on the
staff, and had had three years of the Quartermaster-Generalship.
My friends expressed surprise at my accepting the position of
Brigadier-General, after having filled an appointment carrying with it
the rank of Major-General; but this was not my view. I longed for
a command, and the Frontier Force offered opportunities for active
service afforded by no other post.

We were in Calcutta when the question was decided, and started very
soon afterwards to make our arrangements for the breaking up of our
home at Simla. I took over the command of the Force on the 15th March,
1878. My wife accompanied me to Abbottabad--the pretty, quiet little
place in Hazara, about 4,000 feet above the sea, which was to be
henceforth our winter head-quarters. For the summer months we were to
be located in the higher hills, and my wife was anxious to see the
house which I had purchased from my predecessor, General Keyes, at
Natiagali. So off we set, nothing daunted by being told that we were
likely to find snow still deep in places.

For the first part of the way we got on well enough, my wife in a
dandy, I riding, and thirteen miles were accomplished without much
difficulty. Suddenly the road took a bend, and we found ourselves in
deep snow. Riding soon proved to be impossible, and the dandy-bearers
could not carry my wife further; so there was nothing for it but to
walk. We were seven miles from our destination, and at each step we
sank into the snow, which became deeper and deeper the higher we
ascended. On we trudged, till my wife declared she could go no
further, and sat down to rest, feeling so drowsy that she entreated me
to let her stay where she was. Fortunately I had a small flask with
me filled with brandy. I poured a little into the cup, mixed it with
snow, and administered it as a stimulant. This restored her somewhat,
and roused her from the state of lethargy into which she had fallen.
Again we struggled on. Soon it became dark, except for such light as
the stars, aided by the snow, afforded. More than once I despaired
of reaching the end of our journey; but, just as I had become quite
hopeless, we saw lights on the hill above us, and heard our servants,
who had preceded us, shouting to attract our attention. I answered,
and presently they came to our assistance. Half carrying, half
dragging her, we got my wife up the steep mountain-side; and at
length, about 9 p.m., we arrived at the little house buried in snow,
into which we crept through a hole dug in the snow wall, which
encircled it. We were welcomed by a blazing wood-fire and a most
cheering odour of dinner, to which we did full justice, after having
got rid of our saturated garments. Next morning we started on our
return journey at daybreak, for it was necessary to get over the worst
part of the road before the sun had had time to soften the snow, which
the night's frost had so thoroughly hardened that we slipped over it
without the least difficulty.

This was our only visit to our new possession, for very soon
afterwards I was informed that Lord Lytton wished me to spend the
summer at Simla, as the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab would be
there, and His Excellency was anxious to discuss the details of the
proposed Chief Commissionership. My wife, therefore, returned to Simla
at once, and I joined her at the end of May, having in the meanwhile
inspected every regiment and visited every post held by the Frontier
Force between Sind and Hazara--a most interesting experience, which I
thoroughly enjoyed.

[Footnote 1: The Amir's eldest son, who had rebelled on his younger
brother, Abdulla Jan, being nominated heir to the throne.]

[Footnote 2: Before Lord Northbrook left India he sent Major Sandeman
on a Mission to Khelat to re-open the Bolan Pass, and endeavour to
settle the differences between the Khan and the Baluchistan tribes,
and between the tribes themselves, who were all at loggerheads.]

[Footnote 3: Presents given by the British Government to the Mir of
Wakhan in recognition of his hospitable reception of the members of
the Forsyth Mission on their return from Yarkund.]

[Footnote 4: 'Besides the sixty-three Ruling Chiefs, there were nearly
three hundred titular Chiefs and persons of distinction collected
at the Imperial Assemblage, besides those included in the suites
of Ruling Chiefs.--J. Talboys Wheeler, 'History of the Delhi

[Footnote 5: These gold medals were also presented to the Governors,
Lieutenant-Governors, and other high officials, and to the members of
the Imperial Assemblage Committee.]

[Footnote 6: In endeavouring to describe this historical event, I have
freely refreshed my memory from Talboys Wheeler's 'History of the
Imperial Assemblage,' in which is given a detailed account of the

       *       *       *       *       *


  Object of the first Afghan war
  --Excitement caused by Russia's advances

Before continuing my story, it will, I think, be as well to recall to
the minds of my readers the train of events which led to England
and Russia becoming at the same moment solicitous for the Amir's
friendship, fo