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Title: Reminiscences of the Great Mutiny 1857-59 - Including the relief, siege, and capture of Lucknow, and - the campaigns in Rohilcund and Oude
Author: Forbes-Mitchell, William
Language: English
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 REMINISCENCES

 OF THE

 GREAT MUTINY

 1857-59

 INCLUDING THE RELIEF, SIEGE, AND CAPTURE OF
 LUCKNOW, AND THE CAMPAIGNS IN
 ROHILCUND AND OUDE



 BY
 WILLIAM FORBES-MITCHELL
 LATE SERGEANT, NINETY-THIRD SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS



 MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
 ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON
 1910



 _First Edition (Extra Crown 8vo) 1893. Reprinted 1894_
 _Reprinted (Crown 8vo) 1895, 1897, 1904_
 _Shilling Edition 1910_



 To the

 OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, AND MEN,

 STILL LIVING,

 OF THE OLD NINETY-THIRD SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS,

 AND TO THE MEMORY OF

 THOSE WHO FELL DURING THE MUTINY

 OR HAVE SINCE PASSED AWAY,

 These Reminiscences

 ARE RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

 BY THEIR OLD SERVANT AND COMRADE,


 WILLIAM FORBES-MITCHELL,

 LATE NINETY-THIRD SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS.

 CALCUTTA, _April, 1893._



INTRODUCTION


These Reminiscences are submitted to the public in the trust that they
will be welcomed alike by soldier and civilian. They are recorded by one
who was himself an actor in the scenes which he describes, and who
viewed them from a novel and most unusual position for a military
historian--the ranks.

They have been carefully perused by an officer who was present at many
of the operations mentioned; and considerable pains have been taken to
verify, wherever possible, those incidents of which he was not
personally cognisant.

The interest of Mr. Forbes-Mitchell's straightforward and soldierlike
story is enhanced by the coincidence that he takes up the pen where Lady
Inglis laid it down; and it is hoped that this volume may prove an
acceptable continuation of her touching narrative of the Defence of
Lucknow, and that, as a record of the Great Mutiny, it may furnish
another thrilling chapter in that unparalleled story of suffering and of
heroism,--of man's bravery and of woman's devotion.



CONTENTS


 CHAPTER I
                                                                     PAGE
 THE NINETY-THIRD HIGHLANDERS--SAIL FOR CHINA--COUNTER-ORDERED
 TO CALCUTTA--ARRIVAL IN INDIA                                          1


 CHAPTER II

 THE MARCH UP COUNTRY--FUTTEHPORE--CAWNPORE                             9


 CHAPTER III

 START FOR LUCKNOW--SIR COLIN--THE DILKOOSHÁ--MARTINIÈRE--
 SECUNDRABÂGH                                                          26


 CHAPTER IV

 THE NINETY-THIRD--ANECDOTES OF THE SECUNDRABÂGH--GENERAL
 EWART--THE SHÂH NUJEEF                                                51


 CHAPTER V

 PERSONAL ANECDOTES--CAPTURE OF THE SHÂH NUJEEF--A
 FEARFUL EXPERIENCE                                                    74


 CHAPTER VI

 BREAKFAST UNDER DIFFICULTIES--LONG SHOTS--THE LITTLE DRUMMER
 --EVACUATION OF THE RESIDENCY BY THE GARRISON                         94


 CHAPTER VII

 BAGPIPES AT LUCKNOW--A BEWILDERED BÂBOO--THE FORCED MARCH
 TO CAWNPORE--OPIUM--WYNDHAM'S MISTAKE                                114


 CHAPTER VIII

 ANECDOTES--ACTION WITH THE GWALIOR CONTINGENT--ITS DEFEAT
 --PURSUIT OF THE NÂNÂ--BITHOOR--JOHN LANG AND JOTEE PERSHÂD          135


 CHAPTER IX

 HODSON OF HODSON'S HORSE--ACTION AT THE KÂLEE
 NUDDEE--FUTTEHGHUR                                                   160


 CHAPTER X

 THE STRANGE STORY OF JAMIE GREEN                                     172
 CHAPTER XI


 CHAPTER XI

 THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW--SIR COLIN APPOINTED COLONEL OF THE
 NINETY-THIRD--ASSAULT OF THE MARTINIÈRE--A "RANK" JOKE               194


 CHAPTER XII

 ASSAULT ON THE BEGUM'S KOTHEE--DEATH OF CAPTAIN
 M'DONALD--MAJOR HODSON WOUNDED--HIS DEATH                            205


 CHAPTER XIII

 JUNG BAHÂDOOR--GUNPOWDER--THE MOHURRUM AT LUCKNOW--LOOT              219


 CHAPTER XIV

 AN UNGRATEFUL DUTY--CAPTAIN BURROUGHS--THE DILKOOSHÁ AGAIN
 --GENERAL WALPOLE AT ROOYAH--THE RÂMGUNGA                            231


 CHAPTER XV

 THE BATTLE OF BAREILLY--GHÂZIS--A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT--HALT AT
 BAREILLY--ACTIONS OF POSGAON, RUSSOOLPORE, AND NOWRUNGABAD--
 REST AT LAST!                                                        252


 APPENDIX A

 HISTORY OF THE MURDER OF MAJOR NEILL AT AUGUR                        271


 APPENDIX B

 EUROPEANS AMONG THE REBELS                                           278


 APPENDIX C

 A FEW WORDS ON SWORD-BLADES                                          286


 APPENDIX D

 THE OPIUM QUESTION                                                   292



CHAPTER I

THE NINETY-THIRD--SAIL FOR CHINA--COUNTER-ORDERED TO CALCUTTA--ARRIVAL
IN INDIA


I cannot truthfully commence these reminiscences with the usual formula
of the amateur author,--namely, by stating that, "At the solicitation of
numerous friends, the writer was most reluctantly prevailed upon to
publish his narrative," and so forth. No one has asked me to write my
recollections of the past and my impressions of the present. I do so to
please myself, because on revisiting the scenes of the Mutiny I have
been forcibly impressed with the fact that, like so many memories, the
soldiers and civilians who were personal actors in the great uprising
are fast passing away.

    They live but in time-stricken men,
    Or else lie hushed in clay.

Having served in the old Ninety-Third Sutherland Highlanders, and been
present at every action in which that famous regiment played a part from
the actual relief of Lucknow in November, 1857, till the final
operations in Oude ended in November, 1859, and being blessed with a
fairly retentive memory, I feel tempted to put on record the
recollections of the past and the impressions which my recent return to
those scenes has revived.

In writing of the past I shall be careful to discriminate between what I
saw myself and what I heard from other eye-witnesses, whether native or
European; but when I come to write of the present I may be permitted to
make my own comparisons and to draw my own conclusions from present
facts, or appearances, as they have been impressed on my own
observation; and when recording my recollections of the many engagements
in which the Ninety-Third played a prominent part, I intend to skip much
that has already been recorded in the pages of history, and to more
particularly notice the action of individual soldiers, and other
incidents which came under my own notice, which have not, to my
knowledge, been recorded by any historian or author of the numerous
narratives, personal or other, which have been written about the Indian
Mutiny.

Before entering on my reminiscences I may mention that I never
previously had an opportunity of revisiting any of the scenes of which I
am about to write since I had been an actor in them. My readers will,
therefore, understand that it was with strongly mixed feelings both of
pleasure and sorrow, not unmingled with gratitude, that I started by the
mail train from Howrah in August, 1892, to revisit Cawnpore and Lucknow
for the first time, with the terrible scenes of 1857 and 1858 still
vividly photographed, as it were, on my memory. In the course of
thirty-five years of the life of even the most commonplace individual
there are events which are never forgotten, and certain friends are lost
who are never replaced; so much so, that in thinking of the past one is
almost compelled to exclaim with Solomon,--"Vanity of vanities, all is
vanity! One generation passeth away and another generation cometh," and
the end of all is "vanity and vexation of spirit." But to the Christian,
in grand contrast to the vanity and changeableness of this life, stands
out like a rock the promise of the Eternal, the Self-existing, and
Unchangeable Jehovah. "The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are
the everlasting arms!" But I am no _padre_, and must not commence to
moralise or preach. What tempts me do so is the fact that there is a
class of writers in the present day who not only deny the truth of many
of the fondly-treasured recollections of the past, which have become
part of our national history, but who would, if it were possible, refine
even God Himself out of creation, and hand us all over to blind chance
for our existence! But enough; I must hark back to 1857.

On the return of the Ninety-Third from the Crimea they were quartered at
Dover, and in April, 1857, the regiment was detailed for the expedition
forming for China under Lord Elgin, and all time-expired men and those
unfit for foreign service were carefully weeded from the service
companies and formed into a depôt. The ten service companies were
recruited by volunteers from the other Highland regiments, the
Forty-Second, Seventy-Second, Seventy-Ninth, and Ninety-Second, each
giving a certain number of men, bringing the Ninety-Third up to a corps
of eleven hundred bayonets. About the 20th of May the Ninety-Third left
Dover for Portsmouth, where we were reviewed by the Queen accompanied by
Sir Colin Campbell, who took final leave, as he then supposed, of the
regiment which had stood with him in the "thin red line" of Balaklava
against the terrible Cossacks. On the first of June three companies, of
which mine formed one, embarked in a coasting steamer for Plymouth,
where we joined the _Belleisle_, an old 84-gun two-decker, which had
been converted into a transport for the China expedition. This
detachment of the Ninety-Third was under the command of Colonel the
Honourable Adrian Hope, and the captains of the three companies were
Cornwall, Dawson, and Williams--my company being that of Captain E. S.
F. G. Dawson, an officer of great experience, who had served in another
regiment (I forget which) throughout the Kaffir war in the Cape, and was
adjutant of the Ninety-Third at the Alma, where he had his horse shot
under him. The remaining seven companies, forming headquarters under
Colonel A. S. Leith-Hay, sailed from Portsmouth in the steam transport
_Mauritius_ about ten days after us.

Although an old wooden ship, the _Belleisle_ was a very comfortable
transport and a good sailer, and we sighted land at the Cape on the
morning of the 9th of August, having called and posted mails at both
Madeira and the Cape de Verde Islands on our way. We were at anchor in
Simon's Bay by the afternoon of the 9th of August, where we heard the
first news of the Indian Mutiny, and that our destination was changed
from China to Calcutta; and during the 10th and 11th all was bustle,
tightening up rigging, taking in fuel for cooking, and refilling our
empty water-tanks. On the evening of the 11th, just as it was becoming
dark, a steamer came up the bay, and anchored quite close to the
_Belleisle_; and on our bugler's sounding the regimental call, it turned
out to be the _Mauritius_ with headquarters on board. Most of our
officers immediately went on board, and many of the men in the three
companies were gratified by receiving letters from parents, sweethearts,
and friends, which had reached Portsmouth after our detachment had left.
On the forenoon of the 12th of August the _Belleisle_ left Simon's Bay,
making all sail day and night for Calcutta. The ship's crew numbered
nine hundred men, being made up of drafts for the ships of the China
squadron. Every yard of canvas that the masts or spars could carry was
crowded on day and night; and we reached the pilot station at the
Sandheads on the 19th of September, thirty-eight days from the Cape,
where we learned that the _Mauritius_, with our headquarters, had just
proceeded up the river.

Early on the 20th, the anniversary of the Alma, we got tug steamers and
proceeded up the Hooghly, anchoring off the steps at Prinsep's _ghât_[1]
on the afternoon of the 21st of September. Our progress up the river was
all excitement. We had two tug steamers, the _Belleisle_ being
considered too large for a single tug of the horsepower of those days;
and the pilot and tug commanders all sent bundles of the latest Calcutta
papers on board, from which we learned the first news of the sieges of
Delhi and Lucknow, of the horrible massacre at Cawnpore, and of the
gallant advance of the small force under Generals Havelock, Neill, and
Outram for the relief of Lucknow. When passing Garden Reach, every
balcony, verandah, and housetop was crowded with ladies and gentlemen
waving their handkerchiefs and cheering us, all our men being in full
Highland dress and the pipers playing on the poop. In passing the
present No. 46 Garden Reach the flood-tide was still running up too
strong for the _Belleisle_ to come into harbour, and we anchored for
about an hour just opposite No. 46. The house and steps of the _ghât_
were crowded with ladies and gentlemen cheering us; and one of my
comrades, a young man named Frank Henderson, said to me, "Forbes
Mitchell, how would you like to be owner of a palace like that?" when I,
on the spur of the moment, without any thought, replied, "I'll be master
of that house and garden yet before I leave India." Poor Henderson
replied: "I firmly believe you will, if you make up your mind for it;
but as for myself, I feel that I shall either die or be killed in this
war. I am convinced I shall never see the end of it. I have dreamed of
my dead father every night since we sighted the pilot-brig, and I know
my days are numbered. But as for you,--I have also dreamed of you, and I
am sure you will go safely through the war, and live for many years,
and become a prosperous man in India. Mark my words; I am convinced of
it." We had a Church of England chaplain on the _Belleisle_, and service
every morning, and Henderson and myself, with many others, formed part
of the chaplain's Sunday and Wednesday evening prayer-meeting class.
"Since ever we sighted the pilot-brig," Henderson went on to say, "and
my dead father has commenced to appear to me in my dreams, I have felt
every day at morning prayers that the words, 'That we may return in
safety to enjoy the blessings of the land, with the fruits of our
labours, and with a thankful remembrance of Thy mercies, to praise and
glorify Thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord,' had no reference
to me, and I cannot join in them. But when the chaplain read the prayers
this morning he looked straight at you when he pronounced that part of
the prayer, and I felt that the blessing prayed for rests on you. Mark
my words, and remember them when I am dead and buried." Strange to say,
on the 16th of November Henderson was severely wounded at the taking of
the Shâh Nujeef, died in the retreat from Lucknow on the evening of the
20th of November, and was buried on the banks of the Ganges, just
opposite the bridge of boats at Cawnpore. The Rev. Mr. Henderson of St.
Andrew's Church, Calcutta, who had accompanied the Seventy-Eighth
Highlanders to Lucknow, attended as chaplain to our wounded after we
relieved the Residency, and being of the same name, he took a particular
interest in poor Henderson. However, to return to Garden Reach.
Stranger still as it may appear, just thirty-two years after, I took
possession of the house No. 46, where I have established the Bon Accord
Rope Works. But enough of this; I am not writing my autobiography.

The arrival of the Ninety-Third caused quite a sensation in Calcutta,
where but few Highland regiments had ever been seen before. To quote the
words of an eye-witness writing from Calcutta to friends at home, and
published in the Aberdeen _Herald_, describing a party of the
Ninety-Third which was sent ashore to store the heavy baggage which had
to be left in Calcutta, he stated:--"On hearing the Ninety-Third in the
streets, Scotchmen who had long been exiled from home rose from their
desks, rushed out, and stood at the doors of their offices, looking with
feelings of pride at their stalwart countrymen, and listening with
smiles of pleasure to the sounds of their own northern tongue, long
unfamiliar to their ears. Many brought out tankards of cool beer, and
invited the men as they passed along to drink, and the Highlanders
required but little pressing, for the sun was hot, and, to use their own
vernacular, the exercise made them _gey an drauthy_."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] A landing-place.



CHAPTER II

MARCH UP COUNTRY--FUTTEHPORE--CAWNPORE


By the 25th of September the whole of the Ninety-Third were once more
together in Chinsurah, and on the 28th the first company, the grenadiers
under Captain Middleton, started by rail for Râneegunge _en route_ for
Lucknow, and a company followed daily in regular rotation till the light
company left Chinsurah on the 7th of October. From Râneegunge to Benares
the old bullock-train was arranged with relays of bullocks from eight to
ten miles apart, according to the nature of the road, and six men were
told off to each cart to ride and march by relief. Thus we proceeded,
making an average advance of from twenty-five to thirty miles daily,
halting every day about ten o'clock for cooking, resuming our march
about four o'clock, and so on through the night for coolness; the
bullocks did not average more than two and a half miles per hour, and
there was always considerable delay at the different stations, changing
teams. In this way my company reached Benares on the 17th of October.
From Benares we proceeded by detachments of two or three companies to
Allahabad; the country between Benares and Allahabad, being overrun by
different bands of mutineers, was too dangerous for small detachments of
one company. My company reached Allahabad on the 19th of October. There
we were supplied with the usual Indian field equipment of tents, etc. By
this time the railway had been pushed on in the direction of Cawnpore to
a place called Lohunga, about forty-eight miles from Allahabad, but no
stations were built. On the 22nd of October my company, with three
others, left Allahabad, packed into open trucks or waggons used by the
railway contractors for the construction of the line. From Lohunga we
commenced our daily marches on foot, with our tents on elephants, _en
route_ for Cawnpore.

By this time a considerable force had assembled at Allahabad, consisting
of artillery from the Cape, Peel's Naval Brigade, detachments of the
Fifth Fusiliers, the Fifty-Third, and Ninetieth Light Infantry. But the
only complete regiment was the Ninety-Third Highlanders, over a thousand
men, in splendid condition, armed with the Enfield rifle, and, what was
of more importance, well drilled to the use of it.

After leaving Lohunga, the first place of note which we reached was
Futtehpore, seventy-two miles from Allahabad. At Futtehpore I met some
native Christians whom I had first seen in Allahabad, and who were, or
had been, connected with mission work, and could speak English. They had
returned from Allahabad to look after property which they had been
obliged to abandon when they fled from Futtehpore on the outbreak of the
Mutiny. These men all knew Dr. Duff, or had heard of him, and were most
anxious to talk to Dr. Duff's countrymen, as they called the
Highlanders. From one of them I heard of the brave defence made by a
solitary Englishman who refused to leave his post, and as I have never
seen this alluded to in any of the histories of the Mutiny, I shall
relate it.

When the insurrection broke out, Mr. Robert Tucker was the judge of
Futtehpore, and like his namesake of Salvation Army fame, he combined
the missionary with the civil-servant, and used to preach to the
natives, who listened to him with seeming respect, but with concealed
hatred in their hearts. One of the most regular attendants at these
Christian meetings in the judge's house was a Mahommedan named Hikmut
Oollah Khân, the native head of the police in Futtehpore, and Mr. Tucker
had unbounded confidence in the friendship of this man and in the
loyalty of the police. On the first certain signs of disturbance in the
station Mr. Tucker despatched all the Christians, native and European,
to Allahabad, but refused to move himself. My informant told me that he
had stayed with the brave judge till the last, and had made his escape
to Allahabad after Mr. Tucker was killed; but I had no means of testing
the truth of that statement. He further stated that Mr. Tucker had sent
away all the Christians to Allahabad during the night, and next day
about noon he sent for Hikmut Oollah Khân, who had neglected to make his
usual morning report, with an intimation that the judge wished to see
him and his loyal police to make arrangements for the protection of the
Treasury and other Government property. The "loyal and friendly" Hikmut
Oollah Khân sent back a reply that it was then too hot for him to come
out, and that the judge _sâhib_ need not trouble himself about the
Treasury. Considering that the Government of the English was at an end,
the police would take care of the Treasury for the Bâdshâh of Delhi, to
whom it rightly belonged, and till the cool of the evening the judge
_sâhib_ might repeat his Kaffir prayers, when the "loyal and friendly"
Hikmut Oollah Khân, with a detachment of his loyal police, would come
and give his Kaffir soul a quick despatch to Jehunnum. Such was the
loyalty of Mr. Tucker's trusted and pampered friend!

The message of Hikmut Oollah Khân opened the eyes of the too confiding
judge, but he did not flinch from his duty. Mr. Tucker had been a mighty
hunter in his day, and possessed a good assortment of offensive and
defensive arms, such as rifles, fowling-pieces, and hog-spears. He
carefully arranged his ammunition and loaded every rifle and
fowling-piece which he had, strongly barricaded the doors and windows of
his house, and then sat quietly down to read his Bible. At sunset he saw
a large body of the police, with the green banner of Islâm and Hikmut
Oollah Khân at their head, entering his compound. They advanced, and
called on Mr. Tucker to surrender in the name of the Bâdshâh of Delhi,
and if he wished his life to be spared, he could have it on condition
that he accepted the religion of Mahommed. This he resolutely refused
to do, and tried to reason with the police, to which they replied by a
volley. Mr. Tucker returned the fire, and before the doors of his house
could be forced he had killed sixteen and wounded many more, when he
fell pierced by both spears and bullets. So died the brave and
God-fearing Robert Tucker, the glory of the Bengal Civil Service, and
thus ended the defence of Futtehpore by one solitary Englishman against
hundreds of rebels.

When the detachment of which my company formed part, marched through
Futtehpore, it was rumoured that the Banda and Dinapore mutineers,
joined by large bodies of _budmâshes_,[2] numbering over ten thousand
men, with three batteries of regular artillery, mustering eighteen guns,
had crossed the Jumna, and were threatening our communications with
Allahabad. Owing to this report, No. 2, or Captain Cornwallis's company
of the Ninety-Third, was left in the fort at Futtehpore to guard
provisions, etc., as that post had been greatly strengthened by a party
of sappers and was formed into a depôt for commissariat stores and
ammunition, which were being pushed on by every available mode of
conveyance from Allahabad. We left Futtehpore on the 25th of October,
and arrived at Cawnpore on the morning of the 27th, having marched the
forty-six miles in two days.

When we reached Cawnpore we found everything quiet, and Brigadier
Wilson, of the Sixty-Fourth Regiment, in command. Wheeler's immortal
entrenchment was deserted, but a much stronger one had lately been
built, or rather was still under construction on the right (the
Cawnpore) bank of the Ganges, to protect the bridge of boats crossing
into Oude. This place was constructed of strong and well-planned
earthworks, and every available coolie in Cawnpore was at work, from
daylight till dark, strengthening the place. Bastions and ramparts were
being constructed of every conceivable material, besides the usual
gabions and fascines. Bales of cotton were built into the ramparts, bags
of every size and shape, soldiers' knapsacks, etc., were filled with
earth; in brief, everything that could possibly hold a few spadefuls of
earth, and could thereby assist in raising a defensive breast-work, had
been appropriated for building the parapet-walls, and a ditch of
considerable depth and width was being excavated. On my recent visit to
Cawnpore I looked for this fort in vain. Eventually I learned from
Colonel Baddeley that it was some time ago dismantled and converted into
the Government Harness and Saddlery Factory, the ramparts having been
levelled and the ditch filled in with earth.

The day before we reached Cawnpore, a strong column from Delhi had
arrived under command of Sir Hope Grant, and was encamped on the plain
near the spot where the railway station now stands. The detachment of
the Ninety-Third did not pitch tents, but was accommodated in some
buildings, on which the roofs were still left, near General Wheeler's
entrenchment. My company occupied the _dâk_ bungalow, which, on my
revisit to Cawnpore, appeared to me to have given place to the present
Victoria Hotel.

After a few hours' rest, we were allowed to go out in parties of ten or
twelve to visit the horrid scene of the recent treachery and massacre.
The first place my party reached was General Wheeler's so-called
entrenchment, the ramparts of which at the highest places did not exceed
four feet, and were so thin that at the top they could never have been
bullet-proof! The entrenchment and the barracks inside of it were
complete ruins, and the only wonder about it was how the small force
could have held out so long. In the rooms of the building were still
lying strewn about the remains of articles of women's and children's
clothing, broken toys, torn pictures, books, pieces of music, etc. Among
the books, I picked up a New Testament in Gaelic, but without any name
on it. All the blank leaves had been torn out, and at the time I formed
the opinion that they had been used for gun-waddings, because, close
beside the Testament, there was a broken single-barrelled duck gun,
which had evidently been smashed by a 9-pounder shot lying near. I
annexed the Testament as a relic, and still have it. The Psalms and
Paraphrases in Gaelic verses are complete, but the first chapter of
Matthew and up to the middle of the seventh verse of the second chapter
are wanting. The Testament must have belonged to some Scotch Highlander
in the garrison. I have more than once thought of sending it home to the
Highland Society as a relic of the Mutiny.

From the entrenchment we went to the Suttee Chowrah _ghât_, where the
doomed garrison were permitted to embark in the boats in which they were
murdered, and traces of the treachery were still very plain, many
skeletons, etc., lying about unburied among the bushes.

We then went to see the slaughter-house in which the unfortunate women
and children had been barbarously murdered, and the well into which
their mangled bodies were afterwards flung. Our guide was a native of
the ordinary camp-follower class, who could speak intelligible
barrack-room English. He told us that he had been born in a battery of
European artillery, in which his forefathers had been shoeblacks for
unknown generations, and his name, he stated, was "Peshawarie," because
he had been born in Peshawur, when the English occupied it during the
first advance to Caubul. His apparent age coincided with this statement.
He claimed to have been in Sir Hugh Wheeler's entrenchment with the
artillery all the time of the siege, and to have had a narrow escape of
his life at the last. He told us a story which I have never seen
mentioned elsewhere, that the Nânâ Sâhib, through a spy, tried to bribe
the commissariat bakers who had remained with the English to put arsenic
into the bread, which they refused to do, and that after the massacre of
the English at the _ghât_ the Nânâ had these bakers taken and put alive
into their own ovens, and there cooked and thrown to the pigs. These
bakers were Mahommedans. Of course, I had no means of testing the truth
of this statement.[3] Our guide showed no desire to minimise the horrors
of the massacre and the murders to which he said he had been an
eye-witness. However, from the traces, still too apparent, the bare
facts, without exaggeration, must have been horrible enough. But with
reference to the women and children, from the cross-questions I put to
our guide, I then formed the opinion, which I have never since altered,
that most of the European women had been most barbarously murdered, but
not dishonoured, with the exception of a few of the young and
good-looking ones, who, our guide stated, were forcibly carried off to
become Mahommedans. But I need not dwell on these points. These are the
opinions I formed in October, 1857, three months after the massacre, and
nothing which I have since learnt during my thirty-five years' residence
in India has led me to alter them.

Most of the men of my company visited the slaughter-house and well, and
what we there saw was enough to fill our hearts with feelings which I
need not here dwell on; it was long before those feelings could be
controlled. On the date of my visit a great part of the house had not
been cleaned out; the floors of the rooms were still covered with
congealed blood, littered with trampled, torn dresses of women and
children, shoes, slippers, and locks of long hair, many of which had
evidently been severed from the living scalps by sword-cuts. But among
the traces of barbarous torture and cruelty which excited horror and a
desire for revenge, one stood out prominently beyond all others. It was
an iron hook fixed into the wall of one of the rooms in the house, about
six feet from the floor. I could not possibly say for what purpose this
hook had originally been fixed in the wall. I examined it carefully, and
it appeared to have been an old fixture, which had been seized on as a
diabolic and convenient instrument of torture by the inhuman wretches
engaged in murdering the women and children. This hook was covered with
dried blood, and from the marks on the whitewashed wall, it was evident
that a little child had been hung on to it by the neck with its face to
the wall, where the poor thing must have struggled for long, perhaps in
the sight of its helpless mother, because the wall all round the hook on
a level with it was covered with the hand-prints, and below the hook
with the foot-prints, in blood, of a little child.

At the time of my visit the well was only about half-filled in, and the
bodies of the victims only partially covered with earth. A gallows, with
three or four ropes ready attached, stood facing the slaughter-house,
half-way between it and the well; and during my stay three wretches were
hanged, after having been flogged, and each made to clean about a square
foot of the blood from the floor of the house. Our guide told us that
these men had only been captured the day before, tried that morning, and
found guilty as having assisted at the massacre.

During our visit a party of officers came to the slaughter-house, among
whom was Dr. Munro, Surgeon of the Ninety-Third, now Surgeon-General Sir
William Munro. When I saw him he was examining the hook covered with
dried blood and the hand and foot-prints of the child on the wall, with
the tears streaming down his cheeks. He was a most kind-hearted man, and
I remember, when he came out of the house, that he cast a look of pity
on the three wretches about to be hanged, and I overheard him say to
another officer who was with him: "This is horrible and unchristian to
look at; but I do hope those are the same wretches who tortured the
little child on the hook inside that room." At this time there was no
writing either in pencil or charcoal on the walls of the
slaughter-house. I am positive on this point, because I looked for any
writing. There was writing on the walls of the barracks inside General
Wheeler's entrenchment, but not on the walls of the slaughter-house,
though they were much splashed with blood and slashed with sword-cuts,
where blows aimed at the victims had evidently been dodged and the
swords had struck the walls. Such marks were most numerous in the
corners of the rooms. The number of victims butchered in the house,
counted and buried in the well by General Havelock's force, was one
hundred and eighteen women and ninety-two children.

Up to the date of my visit, a brigade-order, issued by Brigadier-General
J. G. S. Neill, First Madras Fusiliers, was still in force. This order
bears date the 25th of July, 1857. I have not now an exact copy of it,
but its purport was to this effect:--That, after trial and condemnation,
all prisoners found guilty of having taken part in the murder of the
European women and children, were to be taken into the slaughter-house
by Major Brace's _méhter_[4] police, and there made to crouch down, and
with their mouths lick clean a square foot of the blood-soaked floor
before being taken to the gallows and hanged. This order was carried out
in my presence as regards the three wretches who were hanged that
morning. The dried blood on the floor was first moistened with water,
and the lash of the warder was applied till the wretches kneeled down
and cleaned their square foot of flooring. This order remained in force
till the arrival of Sir Colin Campbell in Cawnpore on the 3rd of
November, 1857, when he promptly put a stop to it as unworthy of the
English name and a Christian Government. General Neill has been much
blamed for this order; but in condemning the action we must not overlook
the provocation. The general saw more of the horrors of Cawnpore than I
did; but what I saw, and the stories which were told by natives who
claimed to have been eye-witnesses of the horrible scenes which they
described, were enough to make the words _mercy_ and _pardon_ appear a
mockery; and in passing judgment on him we must not forget the
proclamations of the Nânâ Sâhib. These have often been published, and I
will only give one extract bearing on the murder of the women and
children. The extract is as follows, and was part of a proclamation
placarded all over Cawnpore: "To extinguish a fire and leave a spark, to
kill a snake and preserve its young, is not the wisdom of men of sense."

However, let General Neill speak for himself. The following is a copy of
one of his own letters, taken from Colonel White's _Reminiscences_. On
page 135 he writes: "_The Well and Slaughter-house, Cawnpore_.--My
object was to inflict a fearful punishment for a revolting, cowardly,
and barbarous deed, and to strike terror into the rebels. The first I
caught was a _subadar_ or native officer, a high-caste Brahmin, who
tried to resist my order of the 25th of July 1857, to clean the very
blood which he had helped to shed; but I made the provost-marshall do
his duty, and a few lashes compelled the miscreant to accomplish his
work. When done he was taken out and immediately hanged, and buried in a
ditch by the roadside. No one who has witnessed the scenes of murder,
mutilation, and massacre can ever listen to the word 'mercy' as
applicable to these fiends."

As already said, before condemning General Neill's order we must give
due weight to the terrible provocation, the horrible scenes he saw, and
the still more horrible stories he heard related by natives who either
had or pretended to have been eye-witnesses of the facts they described.
Even after the lapse of thirty-five years such horrors cannot be calmly
contemplated; they can only be hinted at here. Such stories were common
in camp, and believed not only by the soldiers in the ranks, but by
officers of position; and in judging General Neill's order we must give
due weight to the passionate nature of the man, and recollect that
General Havelock, his senior, must have approved of the order, or he
would have cancelled it.

But enough of massacre and revenge for the present; I shall return to
General Neill's order when I describe my revisit to Cawnpore. In the
meantime I should much like to know whether the late Major A. H. S.
Neill, who commanded the Central India Horse, and was shot on parade by
Sowar Mazar Ali, at Augur, Central India, on the 14th of March, 1887,
was a son of General Neill of Mutiny fame. Mazar Ali was sentenced to
death by Sir Lepel Griffin, as Governor-General's agent; but I did not
see a full account of the trial, and I ask for the above information to
corroborate a statement made to me, on my late visit to the scenes of
the Mutiny, by a native who admitted that he had been an armourer in the
rebel force at Cawnpore, but had joined the English after the defeat of
the Gwalior Contingent in December, 1857.[5]

General Hope Grant's brigade and part of the Ninety-Third Highlanders
crossed the bridge of boats at Cawnpore, and entered Oude on the 30th of
October, with a convoy of provisions and ammunition _en route_ to
Lucknow. My company, with three others, remained in Cawnpore three days
longer, and crossed into Oude on the 2nd of November, encamping a short
distance from the bridge of boats.

On the morning of the 3rd a salute was fired from the mud fort on the
Cawnpore side, from which we learned, to the great delight of the
Ninety-Third, that Sir Colin Campbell had come up from Calcutta. Shortly
after the salute some of our officers joined us from the Cawnpore side,
and gave us the news, which had been brought by the Commander-in-Chief,
that a few days before three companies of the Fifty-Third and Captain
Cornwallis's company, No. 2, of the Ninety-Third, which had been left at
Futtehpore, with part of the Naval Brigade under Captain William Peel,
had formed a force of about five hundred men under the command of
Colonel Powell of the Fifty-Third, marched out from Futtehpore to a
place called Khujwah, and attacked and beaten the Banda and Dinapore
mutineers, numbering over ten thousand, who had been threatening our
communications with Allahabad. The victory for some time had been
doubtful, as the mutineers were a well-equipped force, strongly posted
and numbering more than twenty to one of the attacking force, possessing
moreover, three well-drilled batteries of artillery, comprising eighteen
guns. Colonel Powell was killed early in the action, and the command
then devolved on Captain Peel of the Naval Brigade. Although hard
pressed at first, the force eventually gained a complete and glorious
victory, totally routing the rebels, capturing most of their guns, and
driving the remnant of them across the Jumna, whence they had come. The
company of the Ninety-Third lost heavily, having one officer wounded and
sixteen men killed or wounded. The officer, Lieutenant Cunyngham (now
Sir R. K. A. Dick-Cunyngham of Prestonfield, Edinburgh), was reported to
have lost a leg, which caused general sorrow and regret throughout the
regiment, as he was a most promising young officer and very popular with
the men. During the day when more correct and fuller reports came in, we
were all very glad to hear that, although severely wounded, the
lieutenant had not lost a limb, and that the surgeons considered they
would not only be able to save his leg, but that he might be fit to
return to duty in a few months, which he eventually did, and was present
at the siege of Lucknow.

During the afternoon of the 3rd of November more stores of provisions
and ammunition crossed the river with some of Peel's 24-pounder guns,
and on the morning of the 4th, long before daylight, we were on the
march for Lucknow, under command of Colonel Leith-Hay, leaving Cawnpore
and its horrors behind us, but neither forgotten nor disregarded. Every
man in the regiment was determined to risk his life to save the women
and children in the Residency of Lucknow from a similar fate. None were
inclined to pay any heed to the French maxim that _les représailles sont
toujours inutiles_, nor inclined to ponder and moralise on the lesson
and warning given by the horrible catastrophe which had overtaken our
people at Cawnpore. Many too were inclined to blame the
Commander-in-Chief for having cancelled the brigade order of General
Neill.

Before concluding this chapter I wish my readers to note that I merely
describe facts as they appeared to me in 1857. Nothing is further from
my intention than to revive the old race-hatreds. The real causes of the
Mutiny and its horrors have yet to be written. I merely mention facts to
show the incentive the troops had to make light of forced marches, under
short rations and a double load of ammunition for want of other means of
carriage, with an overwhelming enemy in front, and no means whatever of
obtaining reinforcements or recovering from a defeat.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] Bad characters, scoundrels.

[3] This story was current in Upper India at the time.

[4] Sweeper, scavenger; one of the lowest castes.

[5] See Appendix A.



CHAPTER III

START FOR LUCKNOW--SIR COLIN--THE DILKOOSHÁ--MARTINIÈRE--SECUNDRABÂGH


When proceeding on our march to Lucknow it was clear as noonday to the
meanest capacity that we were now in an enemy's country. None of the
villages along the route were inhabited, the only visible signs of life
about them being a few mangy pariah dogs. The people had all fled on the
first advance of Havelock, and had not returned; and it needed no great
powers of observation to fully understand that the whole population of
Oude was against us.

The deserted villages gave the country a miserable appearance. Not only
were they forsaken, but we found, on reaching our first halting-ground,
that the whole of the small bazaar of camp-followers, consisting of
goat-herds, bread, milk, and butter-sellers, etc., which had accompanied
us from Allahabad, had returned to Cawnpore, none daring to accompany
the force into Oude. This was most disappointing for young soldiers with
good appetites and sound digestions, who depended on bazaar
_chupatties_,[6] with a _chittack_[7] of butter and a pint of goat's
milk at the end of the march, to eke out the scanty commissariat
allowance of rations. What made the privation the more keenly felt, was
the custom of serving out at one time three days' biscuits, supposed to
run four to the pound, but which, I fear, were often short weight.
Speaking for myself, I did not control my appetite, but commenced to eat
from my haversack on the march, the whole of my three days' biscuits
usually disappearing before we reached the first halting-ground, and
believe me, I ran no danger of a fit of indigestion. To demolish twelve
ordinary-sized ship's biscuits, during a march of twenty to twenty-five
miles, was no great tax on a young and healthy stomach.

I may here remark that my experience is that, after a forced march, it
would be far more beneficial to the men if the general commanding were
to serve out an extra ration of tea or coffee with a pound of bread or
biscuit instead of extra grog. The latter was often issued during the
forced marches of the Mutiny, but never an extra ration of food; and my
experience is that a pint of good tea is far more refreshing than a dram
of rum. Let me also note here most emphatically that regimental canteens
and the fixed ration of rum in the field are the bane of the army. At
the same time I am no teetotaller. In addition to the bazaar people, our
cooks and _dhobies_[8] had also deserted. This was not such a serious
matter for the Ninety-Third just fresh from the Crimea, as it was for
the old Indian regiments. Men for cooking were at once told off for
each of our tents; but the cooking-utensils had also gone with the
cooks, or not come on; the rear-guard had seen nothing of them. There
were, however, large copper water-cans attached to each tent, and these
were soon brought into use for cooking, and plenty of earthen pots were
to be found in the deserted houses of the villagers. Highlanders, and
especially Highlanders who are old campaigners, are not lacking in
resources where the preparation of food is concerned.

I will relate a rather amusing incident which happened to the men of the
colour-sergeant's tent of my company,--Colour-Sergeant David Morton, a
Fifeshire man, an old soldier of close on twenty years' service, one of
the old "unlimited service" men, whose regimental number was 1100, if I
remember rightly. A soldier's approximate service, I may here state, can
almost always be told from his regimental number, as each man on
enlisting takes the next consecutive number in the regiment, and as
these numbers often range up to 8000 or even 10,000 before commencing
again at No. 1, it is obvious that the earlier numbers indicate the
oldest soldiers. The men in the Ninety-Third with numbers between 1000
and 2000 had been with the regiment in Canada before the Crimean war, so
David Morton, it will be seen, was an old soldier; but he had never seen
tobacco growing in the field, and in the search for fuel to cook a
dinner, he had come across a small plot of luxuriant tobacco leaf. He
came back with an armful of it for Duncan Mackenzie, who was the
improvised cook for the men of his tent, and told us all that he had
secured a rare treat for our soup, having fallen on a plot of "real
Scotch curly kail!" The men were all hungry, and the tobacco leaves were
soon chopped fine, washed, and put into the soup. But when that soup was
cooked it was a "caution." I was the only non-smoker in the squad, and
was the first to detect that instead of "real Scotch curly kail" we had
got "death in the pot!" As before remarked we were all hungry, having
marched over twenty miles since we had last tasted food. Although
noticing that there was something wrong about the soup and the "curly
kail," I had swallowed enough to act as a powerful emetic before I was
aware of the full extent of the bitter taste. At first we feared it was
a deadly poison, and so we were all much relieved when the _bheestie_,
who picked up some of the rejected stalks, assured us that it was only
green tobacco which had been cooked in the soup.

The desertion of our camp-followers was significant. An army in India is
followed by another army whose general or commander-in-chief is the
bazaar _kotwal_.[9] These people carry all their household goods and
families with them, their only houses being their little tents. The
elder men, at the time of which I write, could all talk of the victories
of Lords Lake and Combermere, and the Caubul war of 1840-42, and the
younger hands could tell us of the victories of Lords Gough and Hardinge
in the Punjâb. The younger generations took up the handicrafts of their
fathers, as barbers, cobblers, cooks, shoeblacks, and so forth, a motley
hive bred in camps but unwarlike, always in the rear of the army. Most
of these camp-followers were low-caste Hindoos, very few of them were
Mahommedans, except the _bheesties_. I may remark that the _bheesties_
and the _dooly_-bearers (the latter were under the hospital guard) were
the only camp-followers who did not desert us when we crossed into
Oude.[10] The natives fully believed that our column was doomed to
extermination; there is no doubt that they knew of the powerful force
collecting in our rear, consisting of the Gwalior Contingent, which had
never yet been beaten and was supposed to be invincible; also of the
Central India mutineers who were gathering for a fresh attack on
Cawnpore under the leadership of Nânâ Sâhib, Kooer Sing, Tântia Topee,
and other commanders. But we learned all this afterwards, when this army
retook Cawnpore in our rear, which story I will relate in its proper
place. For the present, we must resume our advance into Oude.

Every hour's march brought us three miles nearer Lucknow, and before we
made our first halt, we could distinctly hear the guns of the enemy
bombarding the Residency. Foot-sore and tired as they were, the report
of each salvo made the men step out with a firmer tread and a more
determined resolve to overcome all difficulties, and to carry relief to
the beleaguered garrison and the helpless women and children. I may
mention that the cowardly treachery of the enemy, and their barbarous
murders of women and children, had converted the war of the Mutiny into
a _guerre à la mort_,--a war of the most cruel and exterminating form,
in which no quarter was given on either side. Up to the final relief of
Lucknow and the second capture of Cawnpore, and the total rout of the
Gwalior Contingent on the 6th of December, 1857, it would have been
impossible for the Europeans to have guarded their prisoners, and, for
that reason, it was obvious that prisoners were not to be taken; while
on the part of the rebels, wherever they met a Christian or a white man,
he was at once slain without pity or remorse, and natives who attempted
to assist or conceal a distressed European did so at the risk of their
own lives and property. It was both horrible and demoralising for the
army to be engaged in such a war. Looking back to those days, over my
long experience of thirty-five years in India, I must admit that, with
few exceptions, the European soldiers went through the terrible scenes
of the Mutiny with great moderation, especially where women and
children, or even unarmed men, came into their power.

On the 10th of November the total force that could be collected for the
final relief of Lucknow was encamped on the plain about five miles in
front of the Alumbâgh. The total strength was under five thousand of all
arms, and the only really complete regiment was the Ninety-Third
Highlanders. By this time the whole regiment, consisting of ten
companies, had reached the front, numbering over a thousand men in the
prime of manhood, about seven hundred of them having the Crimean medals
on their breasts. By the afternoon of the 11th of November, the whole
force had been told off into brigades. The Fifty-Third Shropshire Light
Infantry, the Ninety-Third, and the Fourth Punjâb Infantry, just come
down from Delhi with Sir Hope Grant, formed the fourth brigade, under
Colonel the Hon. Adrian Hope of the Ninety-Third as brigadier. If I am
not mistaken the whole of the Fifty-Third regiment were not present. I
think there were only six or seven companies, and there was no
field-officer, Captain Walton, late commandant of the Calcutta
Volunteers, being the senior captain present.[11] Under these
circumstances Colonel Gordon, of ours, was temporarily put in command of
the Fifty-Third. The whole force was formed up in a line of columns on
the afternoon of the 11th for the inspection of the Commander-in-Chief.
The Ninety-Third formed the extreme left of the line in quarter-distance
column, in full Highland costume, with feather bonnets and dark waving
plumes, a solid mass of brawny-limbed men. I have never seen a more
magnificent regiment than the Ninety-Third looked that day, and I was,
and still am, proud to have formed one of its units.

The old Chief rode along the line, commencing from the right, halting
and addressing a short speech to each corps as he came along. The eyes
of the Ninety-Third were eagerly turned towards Sir Colin and his staff
as he advanced, the men remarking among themselves that none of the
other corps had given him a single cheer, but had taken whatever he had
said to them in solemn silence. At last he approached us; we were called
to attention, and formed close column, so that every man might hear what
was said. When Sir Colin rode up, he appeared to have a worn and haggard
expression on his face, but he was received with such a cheer, or rather
shout of welcome, as made the echoes ring from the Alumbâgh and the
surrounding woods. His wrinkled brow at once became smooth, and his
wearied-looking features broke into a smile, as he acknowledged the
cheer by a hearty salute, and addressed us almost exactly as follows. I
stood near him and heard every word. "Ninety-Third! when I took leave of
you in Portsmouth, I never thought I should see you again. I expected
the bugle, or maybe the bagpipes, to sound a call for me to go somewhere
else long before you would be likely to return to our dearly-loved home.
But another commander has decreed it otherwise, and here I am prepared
to lead you through another campaign. And I must tell you, my lads,
there is work of difficulty and danger before us,--harder work and
greater dangers than any we encountered in the Crimea. But I trust to
you to overcome the difficulties and to brave the dangers. The eyes of
the people at home,--I may say the eyes of Europe and of the whole of
Christendom are upon us, and we must relieve our countrymen, women, and
children, now shut up in the Residency of Lucknow. The lives at stake
are not merely those of soldiers, who might well be expected to cut
themselves out, or to die sword in hand. We have to rescue helpless
women and children from a fate worse than death. When you meet the
enemy, you must remember that he is well armed and well provided with
ammunition, and that he can play at long bowls as well as you can,
especially from behind loopholed walls. So when we make an attack you
must come to close quarters as quickly as possible; keep well together
and use the bayonet. Remember that the cowardly sepoys, who are eager to
murder women and children, cannot look a European soldier in the face
when it is accompanied with cold steel. Ninety-Third! you are my own
lads, I rely on you to do the work!" A voice from the ranks called out:
"Ay, ay, Sir Colin, ye ken us and we ken you; we'll bring the women and
children out o' Lucknow or die wi' you in the attempt!" and the whole
regiment burst into another ringing cheer, which was taken up by the
whole line.

I may here mention the service rendered to the relieving force by Mr.
Kavanagh, an enterprise of consummate daring which won for him a
well-deserved Victoria Cross; only those who know the state of Lucknow
at the time can fully appreciate the perils he encountered, or the value
of the service he rendered. My own company, made up to one hundred men,
with a troop of the Ninth Lancers and a company of the Fourth Punjâb
Infantry, formed the advance piquet at which Mr. Kavanagh, who had made
his way from the Residency through the heart of the enemy, disguised as
a native scout, arrived. I will not give any account of his venturesome
march. He has already told his own story, and I need not repeat it. I
only allude to the value of the service rendered, and how it was
appraised in the force at the time. Oude had only been annexed in 1856,
and the Mutiny broke out in May, 1857. There had been no time to
complete a survey of Lucknow and its surroundings, and consequently the
Commander-in-Chief had no plan of the city, and there was no officer in
the force, or, for that matter, no European outside the Residency, who
knew the strong positions of the enemy or the intricacies of the
streets. When Generals Havelock and Outram forced their way into the
Residency, their advance was through miles of intricate and narrow
lanes. The sequel is well known. The relieving force got into the
Residency, but they had lost so many men in the attempt that they were
unable to come out again in charge of the women and children, and so
they were themselves besieged. In our force, among the ranks (I don't
know what the plans of the Commander-in-Chief were), it was understood
that we were to advance on the Residency by the same route as Generals
Havelock and Outram had done, and that the streets were all duly
prepared for giving us a warm reception. But after "Lucknow" Kavanagh,
who thoroughly knew the ground, came out to act as a guide to the
relieving force, the Commander-in-Chief was supposed to have altered the
plan of his line of advance. Instead of forcing his way through
loopholed and narrow lanes, he decided to avoid the city altogether, and
advance through the Dilkooshá park and by the right bank of the
Goomtee, having thus only six or seven posts to force, instead of
running the gauntlet of miles of fortified streets. The strongest
positions which we had to attack on this route were the Dilkooshá palace
and park, the Martinière college, the Thirty-Second mess-house, the
Secundrabâgh, the Shâh Nujeef, and the Moti Munzil. The force in the
Residency would thus be able to assist and to distract the enemy by
advancing from their side to meet us at the Chutter Munzil and other
positions. This was what was believed in the camp to be the intentions
of the Commander-in-Chief, and the supposed change of route was
attributed to the arrival of Mr. Kavanagh; and whatever history may say,
I believe this is the correct statement of the position. It will thus be
seen and understood by any one having a plan of Lucknow before him,--and
there is no want of plans now--that the services rendered by Mr.
Kavanagh were of the greatest value to the country and to the relieving
force, and were by no means over-paid. I mention this because on my
recent visit to Lucknow I met some gentlemen at the Royal Hotel who
appeared to think lightly of Mr. Kavanagh's gallant deed, and that fact
has made me, as a soldier of the relieving force, put on record my
impressions of the great value of the service he rendered at a most
critical juncture in the fortunes of the country.[12]

By the afternoon of the 12th of November the total force under command
of Sir Colin Campbell for the final relief of Lucknow numbered only four
thousand five hundred and fifty men of all arms and thirty-two guns--the
heaviest being 24-pounders--and two 8-inch howitzers, manned by the
Naval Brigade under Captain William Peel of glorious memory. I have read
some accounts that mentioned 68-pounders, but this is a mistake; the
68-pounders had to be left at Allahabad when we started, for want of
cattle to drag them. There are four 68-pounders now in the Residency
grounds at Lucknow, which, during my recent visit, the guide pointed out
to me as the guns which breached the walls of the Secundrabâgh,[13] and
finally relieved the Residency; but this is an error. The 68-pounders
did not reach Lucknow till the 2nd of March, 1858. I am positive on this
point, because I myself assisted to drag the guns into position in the
assault on the Secundrabâgh, and I was on guard on the guns in Allahabad
when the 68-pounders had to be sent into the fort for want of bullocks,
and I next saw them when they crossed the river at Cawnpore and joined
the ordnance park at Oonâo in February, 1858. They were first used on
the works in defence of the Martinière, fired from the Dilkooshá park,
and were advanced as the out-works were carried till they breached the
defences around the Begum's palace on the 11th of March. This is a small
matter; I only wish to point out that the four 68-pounders now in the
Residency grounds are _not_ the guns which relieved the garrison in
November, 1857.

On the 13th of November a strong force, of which the Ninety-Third formed
the infantry, was sent to attack the mud fort of Jellâlabâd, lying
between the Alumbâgh and the Dilkooshá, on the right of Sir Colin
Campbell's advance. As soon as the artillery opened fire on the fort the
enemy retired, and the force advanced and covered the engineers until
they had completed arrangements for blowing in the main gate and
breaching the ramparts so that it would be impossible for Jellâlabâd to
be occupied in our rear. This was finished before dark, and the force
returned to camp in front of the Alumbâgh, where we rested fully
accoutred.

We commenced our advance on the Dilkooshá park and palace by daybreak
next morning, the 14th. The fourth brigade, composed of the Fifty-Third,
Ninety-Third, and Fourth Punjâb regiments, with a strong force of
artillery, reached the walls of the Dilkooshá park as the sun was
rising. Here we halted till a breach was made in the wall, sufficiently
wide to allow the Ninety-Third to march through in double column of
companies and to form line inside on the two centre companies.

While we were halted my company and No. 8, Captain Williams' company,
were in a field of beautiful carrots, which the men were pulling up and
eating raw. I remember as if it were only yesterday a young lad not
turned twenty, Kenneth Mackenzie by name, of No. 8 company, making a
remark that these might be the last carrots many of us would eat, and
with that he asked the colour-sergeant of the company, who belonged to
the same place as himself, to write to his mother should anything happen
to him. The colour-sergeant of course promised to do so, telling young
Mackenzie not to let such gloomy thoughts enter his mind. Immediately
after this the order was passed for the regiment to advance by double
column of companies from the centre, and to form line on the two centre
companies inside the park. The enclosure swarmed with deer, both black
buck and spotted, but there were no signs of the enemy, and a
staff-officer of the artillery galloped to the front to reconnoitre.
This officer was none other than our present Commander-in-Chief, then
Lieutenant Roberts, Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General of Artillery,
who had joined our force at Cawnpore, and had been associated with the
Ninety-Third in several skirmishes which had taken place in the advance
on Alumbâgh. He was at that time familiarly known among us as "Plucky
wee Bobs." About half of the regiment had passed through the breach and
were forming into line right and left on the two centre companies, when
we noticed the staff-officer halt and wheel round to return, signalling
for the artillery to advance, and immediately a masked battery of six
guns opened fire on us from behind the Dilkooshá palace. The first round
shot passed through our column, between the right of No. 7 company and
the line, as the company was wheeling into line, but the second shot was
better aimed and struck the charger of Lieutenant Roberts just behind
the rider, apparently cutting the horse in two, both horse and rider
falling in a confused heap amidst the dust where the shot struck after
passing through the loins of the horse. Some of the men exclaimed,
"Plucky wee Bobs is done for!"[14] The same shot, a 9-pounder,
ricochetted at almost a right angle, and in its course struck poor young
Kenneth Mackenzie on the side of his head, taking the skull clean off
just level with his ears. He fell just in front of me, and I had to step
over his body before a single drop of blood had had time to flow. The
colour-sergeant of his company turned to me and said, "Poor lad! how can
I tell his poor mother. What would she think if she were to see him now!
He was her favourite laddie!" There was no leisure for moralising,
however; we were completely within the range of the enemy's guns, and
the next shot cut down seven or eight of the light company, and old
Colonel Leith-Hay was calling out, "Keep steady, men; close up the
ranks, and don't waver in face of a battery manned by cowardly
Asiatics." The shots were now coming thick, bounding along the hard
ground, and MacBean, the adjutant, was behind the line telling the men
in an undertone, "Don't mind the colonel; open out and let them [the
round-shot] through, keep plenty of room and watch the shot." By this
time the staff-officer, whose horse only had been killed under him, had
got clear of the carcase, and the Ninety-Third, seeing him on his feet
again, gave him a rousing cheer. He was soon in the saddle of a spare
horse, and the artillery dashed to the front under his direction,
taking the guns of the enemy in flank. The sepoys bolted down the hill
for shelter in the Martinière, while our little force took possession of
the Dilkooshá palace. The Ninety-Third had lost ten men killed and
wounded by the time we had driven the enemy and their guns through the
long grass into the entrenchments in front of the Martinière. I may note
here that there were very few trees on the Dilkooshá heights at this
time, and between the heights and the city there was a bare plain, so
that signals could be passed between us and the Residency. A semaphore
was erected on the top of the palace as soon as it was taken, and
messages, in accordance with a code of signals brought out by Kavanagh,
were interchanged with the Residency. The 15th was a Sunday; the force
did not advance till the afternoon, as it had been decided to wait for
the rear-guard and provisions and the spare ammunition, etc., to close
up. About two o'clock Peel's guns, covered by the Ninety-Third,
advanced, and we drove the enemy from the Martinière and occupied it,
the semaphore being then removed from the Dilkooshá to the Martinière.

The Ninety-Third held the Martinière and the grounds to the left of it,
facing the city, till about two A.M. on Monday the 16th of November,
when Captain Peel's battery discharged several rockets as a signal to
the Residency that we were about to commence our march through the city.
We were then formed up and served with some rations, which had been
cooked in the rear, each man receiving what was supposed to be three
lbs. of beef, boiled in salt so that it would keep, and the usual dozen
of commissariat biscuits and a canteenful of tea cooked on the ground.
Just before we started I saw Sir Colin drinking his tea, the same kind
as that served out to the men, out of a Ninety-Third soldier's canteen.
Writing of the relief of Lucknow, Lady Inglis in her lately-published
journal states, under date the 18th of November, 1857, two days after
the time of which I write: "Sir Colin Campbell is much liked; he is
living now exactly as a private soldier, takes his rations and lies down
wherever he can to rest. This the men like, and he is a fine soldier. A
Commander-in-Chief just now has indeed no enviable position." That is
true; the Commander-in-Chief had only a staff-sergeant's tent (when he
_had_ a tent), and all his baggage was carried by one camel in a pair of
camel trunks, marked "His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief." I suppose
this was _pour encourager les autres_, some of whom required six or
seven camels and as many as four bullock-hackeries, if they could have
got them, to carry their stuff.

After getting our three days' rations and tea, the Ninety-Third were
formed up, and the roll was called to see that none, except those known
to be wounded or sick, were missing. Sir Colin again addressed the men,
telling us that there was heavy work before us, and that we must hold
well together, and as much as possible keep in threes, and that as soon
as we stormed a position we were to use the bayonet. The centre man of
each group of three was to make the attack, and the other two to come
to his assistance with their bayonets right and left. We were not to
fire a single bullet after we got inside a position, unless we were
certain of hitting our enemy, for fear of wounding our own men. To use
the bayonet with effect we were ordered, as I say, to group in threes
and mutually assist each other, for by such action we would soon bayonet
the enemy down although they might be ten to one; which as a matter of
fact they were. It was by strictly following this advice and keeping
cool and mutually assisting each other that the bayonet was used with
such terrible effect inside the Secundrabâgh. It was exactly as Sir
Colin had foretold in his address in front of the Alumbâgh. He knew the
sepoys well, that when brought to the point of the bayonet they could
not look the Europeans in the face. For all that they fought like
devils. In addition to their muskets, all the men in the Secundrabâgh
were armed with swords from the King of Oude's magazines, and the native
_tulwârs_ were as sharp as razors. I have never seen another fact
noticed, that when they had fired their muskets, they hurled them
amongst us like javelins, bayonets first, and then drawing their
_tulwârs_, rushed madly on to their destruction, slashing in blind fury
with their swords and using them as one sees sticks used in the sham
fights on the last night of the _Mohurrum_.[15] As they rushed on us
shouting "_Deen! Deen!_ (The Faith! the Faith!)" they actually threw
themselves under the bayonets and slashed at our legs. It was owing to
this fact that more than half of our wounded were injured by sword-cuts.

From the Martinière we slowly and silently commenced our advance across
the canal, the front of the column being directed by Mr. Kavanagh and
his native guide. Just as morning broke we had reached the outskirts of
a village on the east side of the Secundrabâgh. Here a halt was made for
the heavy guns to be brought to the front, three companies of the
Ninety-Third with some more artillery being diverted to the left under
command of Colonel Leith-Hay, to attack the old Thirty-Second barracks,
a large building in the form of a cross strongly flanked with
earthworks. The rest of the force advanced through the village by a
narrow lane, from which the enemy was driven by us into the
Secundrabâgh.

About the centre of the village another short halt was made. Here we saw
a naked wretch, of a strong muscular build, with his head closely shaven
except for the tuft on his crown, and his face all streaked in a hideous
manner with white and red paint, his body smeared with ashes. He was
sitting on a leopard's skin counting a rosary of beads. A young
staff-officer, I think it was Captain A. O. Mayne, Deputy Assistant
Quartermaster-General, was making his way to the front, when a man of my
company, named James Wilson, pointed to this painted wretch saying, "I
would like to try my bayonet on the hide of that painted scoundrel, who
looks a murderer." Captain Mayne replied: "Oh don't touch him; these
fellows are harmless Hindoo _jogees_,[16] and won't hurt us. It is the
Mahommedans that are to blame for the horrors of this Mutiny." The words
had scarcely been uttered when the painted scoundrel stopped counting
the beads, slipped his hand under the leopard skin, and as quick as
lightning brought out a short, brass, bell-mouthed blunderbuss and fired
the contents of it into Captain Mayne's chest at a distance of only a
few feet. His action was as quick as it was unexpected, and Captain
Mayne was unable to avoid the shot, or the men to prevent it.
Immediately our men were upon the assassin; there was no means of escape
for him, and he was quickly bayoneted. Since then I have never seen a
painted Hindoo, but I involuntarily raise my hand to knock him down.
From that hour I formed the opinion (which I have never had cause to
alter since) that the pampered high-caste Hindoo sepoys had far more to
do with the Mutiny and the cowardly murders of women and children, than
the Mahommedans, although the latter still bear most of the blame.

Immediately after this incident we advanced through the village and came
in front of the Secundrabâgh, when a murderous fire was opened on us
from the loopholed wall and from the windows and flat roof of a
two-storied building in the centre of the garden. I may note that this
building has long since been demolished; no trace of it now remains
except the small garden-house with the row of pillars where the wounded
and dead of the Ninety-Third were collected; the marble flooring has,
however, been removed. Having got through the village, our men and the
sailors manned the drag-ropes of the heavy guns, and these were run up
to within one hundred yards, or even less, of the wall. As soon as the
guns opened fire the Infantry Brigade was made to take shelter at the
back of a low mud wall behind the guns, the men taking steady aim at
every loophole from which we could see the musket-barrels of the enemy
protruding. The Commander-in-Chief and his staff were close beside the
guns, Sir Colin every now and again turning round when a man was hit,
calling out, "Lie down, Ninety-Third, lie down! Every man of you is
worth his weight in gold to England to-day!"

The first shots from our guns passed through the wall, piercing it as
though it were a piece of cloth, and without knocking the surrounding
brickwork away. Accounts differ, but my impression has always been that
it was from half to three-quarters of an hour that the guns battered at
the walls. During this time the men, both artillery and sailors, working
the guns without any cover so close to the enemy's loopholes, were
falling fast, over two guns' crews having been disabled or killed before
the wall was breached. After holes had been pounded through the wall in
many places large blocks of brick-and-mortar commenced to fall out, and
then portions of the wall came down bodily, leaving wide gaps. Thereupon
a sergeant of the Fifty-Third, who had served under Sir Colin Campbell
in the Punjâb, presuming on old acquaintance, called out: "Sir Colin,
your Excellency, let the infantry storm; let the two 'Thirds' at them
[meaning the Fifty-Third and Ninety-Third], and we'll soon make short
work of the murdering villains!" The sergeant who called to Sir Colin
was a Welshman, and I recognised him thirty-five years afterwards as old
Joe Lee, the present proprietor of the Railway Hotel in Cawnpore. He was
always known as Dobbin in his regiment; and Sir Colin, who had a most
wonderful memory for names and faces, turning to General Sir William
Mansfield who had formerly served in the Fifty-Third, said, "Isn't that
Sergeant Dobbin?" General Mansfield replied in the affirmative; and Sir
Colin, turning to Lee, said, "Do you think the breach is wide enough,
Dobbin?" Lee replied, "Part of us can get through and hold it till the
pioneers widen it with their crowbars to allow the rest to get in." The
word was then passed to the Fourth Punjâbis to prepare to lead the
assault, and after a few more rounds were fired, the charge was ordered.
The Punjâbis dashed over the mud wall shouting the war-cry of the Sikhs,
"_Jai Khâlsa Jee_!"[17] led by their two European officers, who were
both shot down before they had gone a few yards. This staggered the
Sikhs, and they halted. As soon as Sir Colin saw them waver, he turned
to Colonel Ewart, who was in command of the seven companies of the
Ninety-Third (Colonel Leith-Hay being in command of the assault on the
Thirty-Second barracks), and said: "Colonel Ewart, bring on the
tartan--let my own lads at them." Before the command could be repeated
or the buglers had time to sound the advance, the whole seven companies,
like one man, leaped over the wall, with such a yell of pent-up rage as
I had never heard before nor since. It was not a cheer, but a
concentrated yell of rage and ferocity that made the echoes ring again;
and it must have struck terror into the defenders, for they actually
ceased firing, and we could see them through the breach rushing from the
outside wall to take shelter in the two-storied building in the centre
of the garden, the gate and doors of which they firmly barred. Here I
must not omit to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of Pipe-Major
John M'Leod, who, with seven pipers, the other three being with their
companies attacking the barracks, struck up the Highland Charge, called
by some _The Haughs of Cromdell_, and by others _On wi' the Tartan_--the
famous charge of the great Montrose when he led his Highlanders so often
to victory. When all was over, and Sir Colin complimented the pipe-major
on the way he had played, John said, "I thought the boys would fecht
better wi' the national music to cheer them."

The storming of the Secundrabâgh has been so often described that I need
not dwell on the general action. Once inside, the Fifty-Third (who got
in by a window or small door in the wall to the right of the hole by
which we got through) and the Sikhs who followed us, joined the
Ninety-Third, and keeping together the bayonet did the work. As I before
remarked, I could write pages about the actions of individual men whose
names will never be known to history. Although pressed for space, I
must notice the behaviour of one or two. But I must leave this to
another chapter; the present one has already become too long.


NOTE.

      With regard to the incident mentioned on page 40 Captain W.
      T. Furse, A.D.C. to his Excellency, wrote to me as follows:
      "Dear Forbes-Mitchell--His Excellency has read your Mutiny
      Reminiscences with great interest, and thinks they are a
      very true description of the events of that time. He wishes
      me, however, to draw your attention to a mistake you have
      made in stating that 'the horse of Lieutenant Roberts was
      shot down under him.' But the Chief remembers that though he
      was in the position which you assign to him at that moment,
      it was not his horse that was shot, but the horse of a
      trooper of the squadron commanded by Lieut. J. Watson (now
      Sir John Watson, V.C., K.C.B.), who happened to be near Lord
      Roberts at the time."

      Now I could not understand this, because I had entered in my
      note-book that Lieutenant Fred. Roberts, Deputy Assistant
      Quartermaster-General of Artillery, was the first man to
      enter the Dilkooshá park and ride to the front to
      reconnoitre, that the enemy opened fire on him at
      point-blank range from a masked battery of 9-pounder guns,
      and that his horse was shot under him near the Yellow
      Bungalow (the name by which we then knew the Dilkooshá
      palace) on the morning of the 14th of November, 1857. And I
      was confident that about half-a-dozen men with Captain
      Dalziel ran out from the light company of the Ninety-Third
      to go to the assistance of Lieutenant Roberts, when we all
      saw him get on his feet and remount what we believed was a
      spare horse. The men of the light company, seeing that their
      assistance was not required, returned to the line, and
      directly we saw Lieutenant Roberts in the saddle again,
      unhurt, the whole regiment, officers and men, gave him a
      hearty cheer. But here was the Commander-in-Chief, through
      his aide-de-camp, telling me that I was incorrect! I could
      not account for it till I obtained an interview with his
      Excellency, when he explained to me that after he went past
      the Ninety-Third through the breach in the wall of the
      Dilkooshá park, Lieutenant Watson sent a trooper after him,
      and that the trooper was close to him when the battery
      unmasked and opened fire on them, the guns having been laid
      for their horses; that the second shot struck the trooper's
      horse as described by me, the horse and rider falling
      together amidst the dust knocked up by the other round shot;
      and that he, as a matter of course, dismounted and assisted
      the trooper to get from under the dead horse, and as he
      remounted after performing this humane and dangerous service
      to the fallen trooper, the Ninety-Third set up their cheer
      as I described.

      Now I must say the true facts of this incident rather add to
      the bravery of the action. The young lieutenant, who could
      thus coolly dismount and extricate a trooper from under a
      dead horse within point-blank range of a well-served battery
      of 9-pounder guns, was early qualifying for the
      distinguished position which he has since reached.

FOOTNOTES:

[6] Unleavened griddle-cakes.

[7] Rather less than two ounces.

[8] Laundry-men.

[9] The native official in charge of the bazaar; he possesses certain
magisterial powers.

[10] The _bheesties_, or water-carriers, have been noted for bravery and
fidelity in every Indian campaign.

[11] Now Colonel Bendyshe Walton, C.I.E.

[12] Kavanagh was a European clerk in one of the newly-instituted
Government offices.

[13] _Bâgh_ means a garden, usually surrounded by high walls.

[14] See note at end of chapter.

[15] The great Mussulman carnival.

[16] Religious mendicants.

[17] "Victory to the _Khâlsa_!"



CHAPTER IV

THE NINETY-THIRD--ANECDOTES OF THE SECUNDRABÂGH--GENERAL EWART--THE SHÂH
NUJEEF


In the first chapter of these reminiscences I mentioned that, before
leaving Dover, the Ninety-Third obtained a number of volunteers from the
other Highland regiments serving in England. Ours was the only Highland
regiment told off for the China expedition, and it was currently
whispered that Lord Elgin had specially asked for us to form his guard
of honour at the court of China after he had administered a due
castigation to the Chinese. Whether the report was true or not, the
belief did the regiment no harm; it added to the _esprit de corps_ which
was already a prominent feeling in the regiment, and enabled the boys to
boast to the girls in Portsmouth that they were "a cut above" the other
corps of the army. In support of this, the fact is worthy of being put
on record that although the regiment was not (as is usually the case)
confined to barracks the night before embarking, but were allowed leave
till midnight, still, when the time to leave the barracks came, there
was not a single man absent nor a prisoner in the guard-room; and
General Britain put it in garrison orders that he had never been able
to say the same of any other corps during the time he had commanded the
Portsmouth garrison. But the Ninety-Third were no ordinary regiment.
They were then the most Scotch of all the Highland regiments; in brief,
they were a military Highland parish, minister and elders complete. The
elders were selected from among the men of all ranks,--two sergeants,
two corporals, and two privates; and I believe it was the only regiment
in the army which had a regular service of Communion plate; and in time
of peace the Holy Communion, according to the Church of Scotland, was
administered by the regimental chaplain twice a year. I hope the young
second battalion of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders are like the
old Ninety-Third in this respect. At the same time, I don't ask them
ever to pray for the men who took away the numbers from our regiments;
may their beards be defiled, is the only feeling I have for them. By
taking away the old numbers a great deal was lost, and as far as I can
see nothing has been gained except confusion and the utter effacement of
all the old traditions of the army. The old numbers could easily have
been retained along with the territorial designations. I hope at all
events that the present regiment will never forget they are the
descendants of the old Ninety-Third, the "Thin Red Line" which Sir Colin
Campbell disdained to form four deep to meet the Russian cavalry on the
morning of the memorable 25th of October, 1854:--"Steady, Ninety-Third,
keep steady! Damn all that eagerness!" were Sir Colin's memorable
words. But I am describing the relief of Lucknow, not the "Thin Red
Line" of Balaclava.

Among the volunteers who came from the Seventy-Second was a man named
James Wallace. He and six others from the same regiment joined my
company. Wallace was not his real name, but he never took any one into
his confidence, nor was he ever known to have any correspondence. He
neither wrote nor received any letters, and he was usually so taciturn
in his manner that he was known in the company as the Quaker, a name
which had followed him from the Seventy-Second. He had evidently
received a superior education, for if asked for any information by a
more ignorant comrade, he would at once give it; or questioned as to the
translation of a Latin or French quotation in a book, he would give it
without the least hesitation. I have often seen him on the voyage out
walking up and down the deck of the _Belleisle_ during the watches of
the night, repeating the famous poem of Lamartine, _Le Chien du
Solitaire_, commencing:

    Hélas! rentrer tout seul dans sa maison déserte
    Sans voir à votre approche une fenêtre ouverte.

Taking him all in all Quaker Wallace was a strange enigma which no one
could solve. When pressed to take promotion, for which his superior
education well fitted him, he absolutely refused, always saying that he
had come to the Ninety-Third for a certain purpose, and when that
purpose was accomplished, he only wished to die

    With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe!
    And leaving in battle no blot on his name,
    Look proudly to Heaven from the death-bed of fame.

During the march to Lucknow it was a common thing to hear the men in my
company say they would give a day's grog to see Quaker Wallace under
fire; and the time had now come for their gratification.

There was another man in the company who had joined the regiment in
Turkey before embarking for the Crimea. He was also a man of superior
education, but in many respects the very antithesis of Wallace. He was
both wild and reckless, and used often to receive money sent to him from
some one, which he as regularly spent in drink. He went under the name
of Hope, but that was also known to be an assumed name, and when the
volunteers from the Seventy-Second joined the regiment in Dover, it was
remarked that Wallace had the address of Hope, and had asked to be
posted to the same company. Yet the two men never spoke to one another;
on the contrary they evidently hated each other with a mortal hatred. If
the history of these two men could be known it would without doubt form
material for a most sensational novel.

Just about the time the men were tightening their belts and preparing
for the dash on the breach of the Secundrabâgh, this man Hope commenced
to curse and swear in such a manner that Captain Dawson, who commanded
the company, checked him, telling him that oaths and foul language were
no signs of bravery. Hope replied that he did not care a d---- what the
captain thought; that he would defy death; that the bullet was not yet
moulded that would kill him; and he commenced exposing himself above the
mud wall behind which we were lying. The captain was just on the point
of ordering a corporal and a file of men to take Hope to the rear-guard
as drunk and riotous in presence of the enemy, when Pipe-Major John
M'Leod, who was close to the captain, said: "Don't mind the puir lad,
sir; he's not drunk, he is fey! [meaning doomed]. It's not himself
that's speaking; he will never see the sun set." The words were barely
out of the pipe-major's mouth when Hope sprang up on the top of the mud
wall, and a bullet struck him on the right side, hitting the buckle of
his purse belt, which diverted its course, and instead of going right
through his body it cut him round the front of his belly below the
waist-belt, making a deep wound, and his bowels burst out falling down
to his knees. He sank down at once, gasping for breath, when a couple of
bullets went through his chest and he died without a groan. John M'Leod
turned and said to Captain Dawson, "I told you so, sir. The lad was fey!
I am never deceived in a fey man! It was not himself who spoke when
swearing in yon terrible manner." Just at this time Quaker Wallace, who
had evidently been a witness of Hope's tragic end, worked his way along
to where the dead man lay, and looking on the distorted features he
solemnly said, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.
Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. _I came to the
Ninety-Third to see that man die!_" All this happened only a few seconds
before the assault was ordered, and attracted but little attention
except from those who were immediate witnesses of the incident. The
gunners were falling fast, and almost all eyes were turned on them and
the breach. When the signal for the assault was given, Quaker Wallace
went into the Secundrabâgh like one of the Furies, if there are male
Furies, plainly seeking death but not meeting it, and quoting the 116th
Psalm, Scotch version in metre, beginning at the first verse:

    I love the Lord, because my voice
      And prayers He did hear.
    I, while I live, will call on Him,
      Who bow'd to me His ear.

And thus he plunged into the Secundrabâgh quoting the next verse at
every shot fired from his rifle and at each thrust given by his bayonet:

    I'll of salvation take the cup,
      On God's name will I call;
    I'll pay my vows now to the Lord
      Before His people all.

It was generally reported in the company that Quaker Wallace
single-handed killed twenty men, and one wonders at this, remembering
that he took no comrade with him and did not follow Sir Colin's rule of
"fighting in threes," but whenever he saw an enemy he "went for" him! I
may here remark that the case of Wallace proved that, in a fight like
the Secundrabâgh where the enemy is met hand to hand and foot to foot,
the way to escape death is to brave it. Of course Wallace might have
been shot from a distance, and in that respect he only ran an even
chance with the others; but wherever he rushed with his bayonet, the
enemy did their utmost to give him a wide berth.

By the time the bayonet had done its work of retribution, the throats of
our men were hoarse with shouting "Cawnpore! you bloody murderers!" The
taste of the powder (those were the days when the muzzle-loading
cartridges had to be bitten with the teeth) made men almost mad with
thirst; and with the sun high over head, and being fresh from England,
with our feather bonnets, red coats, and heavy kilts, we felt the heat
intensely.

In the centre of the inner court of the Secundrabâgh there was a large
_peepul_[18] tree with a very bushy top, round the foot of which were
set a number of jars full of cool water. When the slaughter was almost
over, many of our men went under the tree for the sake of its shade, and
to quench their burning thirst with a draught of the cool water from the
jars. A number however lay dead under this tree, both of the Fifty-Third
and Ninety-Third, and the many bodies lying in that particular spot
attracted the notice of Captain Dawson. After having carefully examined
the wounds, he noticed that in every case the men had evidently been
shot from above. He thereupon stepped out from beneath the tree, and
called to Quaker Wallace to look up if he could see any one in the top
of the tree, because all the dead under it had apparently been shot from
above. Wallace had his rifle loaded, and stepping back he carefully
scanned the top of the tree. He almost immediately called out, "I see
him, sir!" and cocking his rifle he repeated aloud,

    I'll pay my vows now to the Lord
      Before His people all.

He fired, and down fell a body dressed in a tight-fitting red jacket and
tight-fitting rose-coloured silk trousers; and the breast of the jacket
bursting open with the fall, showed that the wearer was a woman, She was
armed with a pair of heavy old-pattern cavalry pistols, one of which was
in her belt still loaded, and her pouch was still about half full of
ammunition, while from her perch in the tree, which had been carefully
prepared before the attack, she had killed more than half-a-dozen men.
When Wallace saw that the person whom he shot was a woman, he burst into
tears, exclaiming: "If I had known it was a woman, I would rather have
died a thousand deaths than have harmed her."

I cannot now recall, although he belonged to my company, what became of
Quaker Wallace, whether he lived to go through the rest of the Mutiny or
not. I have long since lost my pocket company-roll, but I think Wallace
took sick and was sent to Allahabad from Cawnpore, and was either
invalided to England or died in the country.

By this time all opposition had ceased, and over two thousand of the
enemy lay dead within the building and the centre court. The troops were
withdrawn, and the muster-roll of the Ninety-Third was called just
outside the gate, which is still standing, on the level spot between the
gate and the mound where the European dead are buried.

When the roll was called it was found that the Ninety-Third had nine
officers and ninety-nine men, in all one hundred and eight, killed and
wounded. The roll of the Fifty-Third was called alongside of us, and Sir
Colin Campbell rode up and addressing the men, spoke out in a clear
voice: "Fifty-Third and Ninety-Third, you have bravely done your share
of this morning's work, and Cawnpore is avenged!" Whereupon one of the
Fifty-Third sang out, "Three cheers for the Commander-in-Chief, boys,"
which was heartily responded to.

All this time there was perfect silence around us, the enemy evidently
not being aware of how the tide of victory had rolled inside the
Secundrabâgh, for not a soul escaped from it to tell the tale. The
silence was so great that we could hear the pipers of the Seventy-Eighth
playing inside the Residency as a welcome to cheer us all. There were
lately, by the way, some writers who denied that the Seventy-Eighth had
their bagpipes and pipers with them at Lucknow. This is not true; they
had their pipes and played them too! But we had barely saluted the
Commander-in-Chief with a cheer when a perfect hail of round-shot
assailed us both from the Târa Kothi on our left and the Shâh Nujeef on
our right front. But I must leave the account of our storming the Shâh
Nujeef for a separate chapter.

I may here remark that on revisiting Lucknow I did not see a single
tablet or grave to show that any of the Ninety-Third are buried there.
Surely Captains Dalzell and Lumsden and the men who lie in the mound to
the east of the gate of the Secundrabâgh are deserving of some memorial!
But it is the old, old story which was said to have been first written
on the walls of Badajoz:

    When war is rife and danger nigh,
    God and the Soldier is all the cry;
    When war is over, and wrongs are righted,
    God is forgot and the Soldier slighted.

I am surprised that the officers of the Ninety-Third Regiment have never
taken any steps to erect some monument to the memory of the brave men
who fell in Lucknow at its relief, and at the siege in March, 1858.
Neither is there a single tablet in the Memorial Church at Cawnpore in
memory of the Ninety-Third, although almost every one of the other
regiments have tablets somewhere in the church. If I were a millionaire
I would myself erect a statue to Sir Colin Campbell on the spot where
the muster-roll of the Ninety-Third was called on the east of the gate
of the Secundrabâgh, with a life-sized figure of a private of the
Fifty-Third and Ninety-Third, a sailor and a Sikh at each corner, with
the names of every man who fell in the assault on the 16th of November,
1857; and as the Royal Artillery were also there, Sir Colin should be
represented in the centre standing on a gun, with a royal artilleryman
holding a port-fire ready.

Since commencing these reminiscences I met a gentleman in Calcutta who
told me that he had a cousin in the Ninety-Third, General J. A. Ewart,
who was with the regiment in the storming of the Secundrabâgh, and he
asked me if I remembered General Ewart. This leads me to believe that it
would not be out of place if I were to relate the following narrative.
General Ewart, now Sir John Alexander Ewart, I am informed, is still
alive, and some mention of the part played by him, so far as I saw it,
will form an appropriate conclusion to the story of the taking of the
Secundrabâgh. And should he ever read this narrative, I may inform him
that it is written by one who was present when he was adopted into the
Clan Forbes by our chief, the late Sir Charles Forbes, of Newe and
Edinglassie, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, and this fact alone will make the
general receive my remarks with the feelings of a clansman as well as of
my old commander.

The reminiscence of Secundrabâgh which is here reproduced was called
forth, I should state, by a paragraph which appeared at the time in the
columns of _The Calcutta Statesman_ regarding General Ewart. The
paragraph was as follows:

      General Ewart, not having been employed since he gave over
      the command of the Allahabad division on the 30th of
      November, 1879, was placed on the retired list on the 30th
      ultimo [Nov. 1884]. General Ewart is one of the few, if not
      the only general, who refused a transfer from the Allahabad
      Command to a more favourite division. He has served for over
      forty-six years, but has only been employed once since
      giving over the command of the Seventy-Eighth Highlanders in
      1864, and that was for two and a half years in this country.
      He commanded the Ninety-Third for about eighteen months
      before joining the Seventy-Eighth. He is in possession of
      the Crimean medal with four clasps, a novelty rather
      nowadays. He lost his left arm at the battle of Cawnpore.

I accordingly wrote to _The Statesman_ desiring to correct a slight
inaccuracy in the statement that "General Ewart commanded the
Ninety-Third for about eighteen months before joining the
Seventy-Eighth." This is not, I remarked, strictly correct; General
Ewart never commanded the Ninety-Third in the sense implied. He joined
the regiment as captain in 1848, exchanging from the old Thirty-Fifth
Royal Sussex with Captain Buchanan of the Ninety-Third, and served in
the regiment till he received the regimental rank of lieutenant-colonel
on the death, at Fort Rooyah in April, 1858, of the Hon. Adrian Hope.
Colonel Ewart was then in England on sick-leave, suffering from the loss
of his arm and other wounds and exchanged into the Seventy-Eighth with
Colonel Stisted about the end of 1859, so that he never actually
commanded the Ninety-Third for more than a few days at most. I will now
give a few facts about him which may interest old soldiers at least.

During the whole of his service in the Ninety-Third, both as captain
and field-officer, Colonel Ewart was singularly devoted to duty, while
careful, considerate, and attentive to the wants of his men in a way
that made him more beloved by those under his command than any officer I
ever met during my service in the army. To the best of my recollection,
he was the only officer of the Ninety-Third who received the clasp for
Inkerman. At that battle he was serving on the staff of Lord Raglan as
Deputy-Assistant-Quartermaster-General, and as such was on duty on the
morning of the battle, and I believe he was the first officer of the
British army who perceived the Russian advance. He was visiting the
outposts, as was his custom when on duty, in the early morning, and gave
the alarm to Sir George Brown's division, and then carried the news of
the attack to Lord Raglan. For his services at Inkerman he was promoted
brevet lieutenant-colonel, and on the termination of the war, besides
the Crimean medal with four clasps (Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, and
Sebastopol), he received the Cross of the Legion of Honour and the
Sardinian Medal, with the motto _Al valore Militare_, and also the
Turkish Order of the Medjidie.

Early in the attack on the Secundrabâgh three companies of the
Ninety-Third were detached under Colonel Leith-Hay to clear the ground
to the left and carry the barracks, and Colonel Ewart was left in
command of the other seven companies. For some time we lay down
sheltered by a low mud wall not more than one hundred and fifty to two
hundred yards from the walls of the Secundrabâgh, to allow time for the
heavy guns to breach the garden wall. During this time Colonel Ewart had
dismounted and stood exposed on the bank, picking off the enemy on the
top of the building with one of the men's rifles which he took, making
the owner of the rifle lie down.

It was an anxious moment. The artillerymen were falling fast, but, after
a few discharges, a hole,--it could not be called a breach--was made,
and the order was given to the Fourth Punjâb Rifles to storm. They
sprang out of cover, as I have already described, but before they were
half-way across the intervening distance, their commanding officer fell
mortally wounded, and I think two others of their European officers were
severely wounded. This caused a slight halt of the Punjâbis. Sir Colin
called to Colonel Ewart, "Ewart, bring on the tartan;" one of our
buglers who was in attendance on Sir Colin, sounded the _advance_, and
the whole of the Ninety-Third dashed from behind the bank. It has always
been a disputed point who got through the hole first. I believe the
first man in was Lance-Corporal Donnelly of the Ninety-Third, who was
killed inside; then Subadar Gokul Sing, followed by Sergeant-Major
Murray, of the Ninety-Third, also killed, and fourth, Captain Burroughs,
severely wounded.

It was about this time I got through myself, pushed up by Colonel Ewart
who immediately followed. My feet had scarcely touched the ground
inside, when a sepoy fired point-blank at me from among the long grass
a few yards distant. The bullet struck the thick brass clasp of my
waist-belt, but with such force that it sent me spinning heels over
head. The man who fired was cut down by Captain Cooper, of the
Ninety-Third, who got through the hole abreast with myself. When struck
I felt just as one feels when tripped up at a football match. Before I
regained my feet, I heard Ewart say as he rushed past me, "Poor fellow,
he is done for." I was but stunned, and regaining my feet and my breath
too, which was completely knocked out of me, I rushed on to the inner
court of the building, where I saw Ewart bareheaded, his feather bonnet
having been shot off his head, engaged in fierce hand-to-hand fight with
several of the enemy. I believe he shot down five or six of them with
his revolver. By that time the whole of the Ninety-Third and the Sikhs
had got in either through the wall or by the principal gate which had
now been forced open; the Fifty-Third, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon
of the Ninety-Third, and Captain B. Walton (who was severely wounded),
had got in by a window in the right angle of the garden wall which they
forced open. The inner court was rapidly filled with dead, but two
officers of the mutineers were fiercely defending a regimental colour
inside a dark room. Ewart rushed on them to seize it, and although
severely wounded in his sword-arm, he not only captured the colour, but
killed both the officers who were defending it.

By this time opposition had almost ceased. A few only of the defenders
of the Secundrabâgh were left alive, and those few were being hunted
out of dark corners, some of them from below heaps of slain. Colonel
Ewart, seeing that the fighting was over, started with his colour to
present it to Sir Colin Campbell; but whether it was that the old Chief
considered that it was _infra dig_. for a field-officer to expose
himself to needless danger, or whether it was that he was angry at some
other thing, I know not, but this much I remember: Colonel Ewart ran up
to him where he sat on his gray charger outside the gate of the
Secundrabâgh, and called out: "We are in possession of the bungalows,
sir. I have killed the last two of the enemy with my own hand, and here
is one of their colours," "D--n your colours, sir!" said Sir Colin.
"It's not your place to be taking colours; go back to your regiment this
instant, sir!" However, the officers of the staff who were with Sir
Colin gave a cheer for Colonel Ewart, and one of them presented him with
a cap to cover his head, which was still bare. He turned back,
apparently very much upset at the reception given to him by the old
Chief; but I afterwards heard that Sir Colin sent for him in the
afternoon, apologised for his rudeness, and thanked him for his
services. Before I conclude, I may remark that I have often thought over
this incident, and the more I think of it, the more I am convinced that,
from the wild and excited appearance of Colonel Ewart, who had been by
that time more than an hour without his hat in the fierce rays of the
sun, covered with blood and powder smoke, and his eyes still flashing
with the excitement of the fight, giving him the appearance of a man
under the influence of something more potent than "blue ribbon"
tipple--I feel pretty sure, I say, that, when Sir Colin first saw him,
he thought he was drunk. When he found out his mistake he was of course
sorry for his rudeness.

After the capture of the Shâh Nujeef, a field officer was required to
hold the barracks, which was one of the most important posts on our left
advance, and although severely wounded, having several sabre-cuts and
many bruises on his body, Colonel Ewart volunteered for the post of
commandant of the force. This post he held until the night of the
evacuation of the Residency and the retreat from Lucknow, for the
purpose of relieving Cawnpore for the second time from the grasp of the
Nânâ Sâhib and the Gwalior Contingent. It was at the retaking of
Cawnpore that Colonel Ewart eventually had his arm carried off by a
cannon-shot; and the last time I saw him was when I assisted to lift him
into a _dooly_ on the plain of Cawnpore on the 1st of December, 1857.
But I must leave the retaking of Cawnpore to its proper place in these
reminiscences, and resume my narrative of the capture of the
Secundrabâgh.

I mentioned previously that the muster-rolls had scarcely been called
outside the gateway, when the enemy evidently became aware that the
place was no longer held for them by living men, and a terrible fire was
opened on us from both our right and left, as well as from the Shâh
Nujeef in our direct front.

Let me here mention, before I take leave of the Secundrabâgh, that I
have often been told that the hole in the wall by which the Ninety-Third
entered is still in existence. This I had heard from several sources,
and on Sunday morning, the 21st of August, 1892, when revisiting
Lucknow, I left the Royal Hotel with a guide who did not know that I had
ever seen Lucknow before, and who assured me that the breach had been
preserved just as it was left on the 16th of November, 1857, after the
Ninety-Third had passed through it; and I had made up my mind to
re-enter the Secundrabâgh once again by the same old hole. On reaching
the gate I therefore made the _gharry_ stop, and walked round the
outside of the wall to the hole; but as soon as I arrived at the spot I
saw that the gap pointed out to me as the one by which the Ninety-Third
entered was a fraud, and I astonished the guide by refusing to pass
through it. The hole now shown as the one by which we entered was made
through the wall by an 18-pounder gun, which was brought from Cawnpore
by Captain Blount's troop of Royal Horse-Artillery. This was about
twenty yards to the left of the real hole, and was made to enable a few
men to keep up a cross fire through it till the stormers could get
footing inside the actual breach. This post was held by Sergeant James
Morrison and several sharp-shooters from my company, who, by direction
of Sir Colin, made a rush on this hole before the order was given for
the Fourth Punjâb Infantry to storm. Any military man of the least
experience seeing the hole and its size now, thirty-five years after
the event, will know this to be a fact. The real breach was much bigger
and could admit three men abreast, and, as near as I can judge, was
about the centre of the road which now passes through the Secundrabâgh.
The guide, I may say, admitted such to be the case when he found that I
had seen the Secundrabâgh before his time. Although it was only a hole,
and not what is correctly called a breach, in the wall, it was so wide,
and the surrounding parts of the wall had been so shaken by round-shot,
that the upper portion forming the arch must have fallen down within a
few years after 1857, and this evidently formed a convenient breach in
the wall through which the present road has been constructed.[19] The
smaller hole meanwhile has been laid hold of by the guides as the
identical passage by which the Secundrabâgh was stormed.

Having corrected the guide on this point, I will now give my
recollections of the assault on the Shâh Nujeef, and the Kuddum Russool
which stands on its right, advancing from the Secundrabâgh.

The Kuddum Russool was a strongly-built domed mosque not nearly so large
as the Shâh Nujeef, but it had been surrounded by a strong wall and
converted into a powder magazine by the English between the annexation
of Lucknow and the outbreak of the Mutiny. I think this fact is
mentioned by Mr. Gubbins in his _Mutinies in Oude_. The Kuddum Russool
was still used by the mutineers as a powder-magazine, but the powder had
been conveyed from it into the tomb of the Shâh Nujeef, when the latter
was converted into a post of defence to bar our advance on the
Residency.

Before the order was given for the attack on the Shâh Nujeef, I may
mention that the quartermaster-general's department had made an estimate
of the number of the enemy slain in the Secundrabâgh from their
appearance and from their parade-states of that morning. The mutineers,
let me say, had still kept up their English discipline and parade-forms,
and their parade-states and muster-rolls of the 16th of November were
discovered among other documents in a room of the Secundrabâgh which had
been their general's quarters and orderly-room. It was then found that
four separate regiments had occupied the Secundrabâgh, numbering about
two thousand five hundred men, and these had been augmented by a number
of _budmâshes_ from the city, bringing up the list of actual slain in
the house and garden to about three thousand. Of these, over two
thousand lay dead inside the rooms of the main building and the inner
court. The colours, drums, etc., of the Seventy-First Native Infantry
and the Eleventh Oude Irregular Infantry were captured. The mutineers
fought under their English colours, and there were several Mahommedan
standards of green silk captured besides the English colours. The
Seventy-First Native Infantry was one of the crack corps of the
Company's army, and many of the men were wearing the Punjâb medals on
their breasts. This regiment and the Eleventh Oude Irregulars were
simply annihilated. On examining the bodies of the dead, over fifty men
of the Seventy-First were found to have furloughs, or leave-certificates,
signed by their former commanding officer in their pockets, showing that
they had been on leave when their regiment mutinied and had rejoined
their colours to fight against us. It is a curious fact that after the
Mutiny was suppressed, many sepoys tendered these leave-certificates as
proof that they had _not_ taken part in the rebellion; and I believe all
such got enrolled either in the police or in the new regiments that were
being raised, and obtained their back pay. And doubtless if the
Ninety-Third and Fifty-Third bayonets had not cancelled those of the
Seventy-First Native Infantry all those _loyal_ men would afterwards
have presented their leave-certificates, and have claimed pay for the
time they were fighting against us!

When the number of the slain was reported to Sir Colin, he turned to
Brigadier Hope, and said "This morning's work will strike terror into
the sepoys,--it will strike terror into them," and he repeated it
several times. Then turning to us again he said: "Ninety-Third, you have
bravely done your share of this morning's work, and Cawnpore is avenged!
There is more hard work to be done; but unless as a last resource, I
will not call on you to storm more positions to-day. Your duty will be
to cover the guns after they are dragged into position. But, my boys,
if need be, remember I depend on you to carry the next position in the
same daring manner in which you carried the Secundrabâgh." With that
some one from the ranks called out, "Will we get a medal for this, Sir
Colin?" To which he replied: "Well, my lads, I can't say what Her
Majesty's Government may do; but if you don't get a medal, all I can say
is you have deserved one better than any troops I have ever seen under
fire. I shall inform the Governor-General, and, through him, Her Majesty
the Queen, that I have never seen troops behave better." The order was
then given to man the drag-ropes of Peel's guns for the advance on the
Shâh Nujeef, and obeyed with a cheer; and, as it turned out, the
Ninety-Third had to storm that position also.

The advance on the Shâh Nujeef has been so often described that I will
cut my recollections of it short. At the word of command Captain
Middleton's battery of Royal Artillery dashed forward with loud cheers,
the drivers waving their whips and the gunners their caps as they passed
us and Peel's guns at the gallop. The 24-pounder guns meanwhile were
dragged along by our men and the sailors in the teeth of a perfect hail
of lead and iron from the enemy's batteries. In the middle of the march
a poor sailor lad, just in front of me, had his leg carried clean off
above the knee by a round-shot, and, although knocked head over heels by
the force of the shot, he sat bolt upright on the grass, with the blood
spouting from the stump of his limb like water from the hose of a
fire-engine, and shouted, "Here goes a shilling a day, a shilling a day!
Pitch into them, boys, pitch into them! Remember Cawnpore, Ninety-Third,
remember Cawnpore! Go at them, my hearties!" and he fell back in a dead
faint, and on we went. I afterwards heard that the poor fellow was dead
before a doctor could reach the spot to bind up his limb.

I will conclude this chapter with an extract from Sir Colin's despatch
on the advance on the Shâh Nujeef:

      The Ninety-Third and Captain Peel's guns rolled on in one
      irresistible wave, the men falling fast, but the column
      advanced till the heavy guns were within twenty yards of the
      walls of the Shâh Nujeef, where they were unlimbered and
      poured in round after round against the massive walls of the
      building, the withering fire of the Highlanders covering the
      Naval Brigade from great loss. But it was an action almost
      unexampled in war. Captain Peel behaved very much as if he
      had been laying the _Shannon_ alongside an enemy's frigate.

But in this despatch Sir Colin does not mention that he was himself
wounded by a bullet after it had passed through the head of a
Ninety-Third grenadier.

FOOTNOTES:

[18] _Ficus Indica._

[19] The author is quite right in this surmise; the road was made
through the old breach in 1861.



CHAPTER V

PERSONAL ANECDOTES--CAPTURE OF THE SHÂH NUJEEF--A FEARFUL EXPERIENCE


I must now leave for a little the general struggle, and turn to the
actions of individual men as they fell under my own observation,--actions
which neither appear in despatches nor in history; and, by the way, I
may remark that one of the best accounts extant of the taking of the
Shâh Nujeef is that of Colonel Alison, in _Blackwood's Magazine_ for
October, 1858. Both the Alisons were severely wounded on that
occasion,--Colonel Archibald Alison, Military Secretary, and his
brother, Captain F. M. Alison, A.D.C. to Sir Colin Campbell. I will now
relate a service rendered by Sergeant M. W. Findlay, of my company,
which was never noticed nor rewarded. Sergeant Findlay, let me state,
merely considered that he had done his duty, but that is no reason why I
should not mention his name. I believe he is still in India, and a
distinguished officer of the Râjpootâna-Mâlwa Railway Volunteers at
Ajmere. However, after Captain Peel's guns were dragged into position,
the Ninety-Third took up whatever shelter they could get on the right
and left of the guns, and I, with several others, got behind the walls
of an unroofed mud hut, through which we made loopholes on the side next
to the Shâh Nujeef, and were thus able to keep up a destructive fire
on the enemy. Let me add here that the surgeons of the force were
overwhelmed with work, and attending to the wounded in the thick of the
fire. Some time after the attack had commenced we noticed Captain Alison
and his horse in a heap together a few yards behind where we were in
shelter. Sergeant Findlay rushed out, got the wounded officer clear of
his dead horse under a perfect hail of bullets and round-shot, and
carried him under the shelter of the walls where we were lying. He then
ran off in search of a surgeon to bandage his wounds, which were
bleeding very profusely; but the surgeons were all too busy, and Sir
Colin was most strict on the point of wounds being attended to.
Officers, no matter what their rank, had no precedence over the
rank-and-file in this respect; in fact, Sir Colin often expressed the
opinion that an officer could be far more easily replaced than a
well-drilled private. However, there was no surgeon available; so
Sergeant Findlay took his own bandage,--every soldier on going on active
service is supplied with lint and a bandage to have them handy in case
of wounds--set to work, stanched the bleeding, and bandaged up the
wounds of Captain Alison in such a surgeon-like manner that, when Dr.
Menzies of the Ninety-Third at length came to see him, he thought he had
been attended to by a doctor. When he did discover that it was Sergeant
Findlay who had put on the bandages, he expressed his surprise, and said
that in all probability this prompt action had saved Captain Alison's
life, who otherwise might have been weakened by loss of blood beyond
recovery before a doctor could have attended to him. Dr. Menzies there
and then applied to Captain Dawson to get Sergeant Findlay into the
field-hospital as an extra assistant to attend to the wounded. In
closing this incident I may remark that I have known men get the
Victoria Cross for incurring far less danger than Sergeant Findlay did
in exposing himself to bring Captain Alison under shelter. The bullets
were literally flying round him like hail; several passed through his
clothes, and his feather bonnet was shot off his head. When he had
finished putting on the bandages he coolly remarked: "I must go out and
get my bonnet for fear I get sunstruck;" so out he went for his hat, and
before he got back scores of bullets were fired at him from the walls of
the Shâh Nujeef.

The next man I shall refer to was Sergeant Daniel White, one of the
coolest and most fearless men in the regiment. Sergeant White was a man
of superior education, an excellent vocalist and reciter, with a most
retentive memory, and one of the best amateur actors in the
Ninety-Third. Under fire he was just as cool and collected as if he had
been enacting the part of Bailie Nicol Jarvie in _Rob Roy_.

In the force defending the Shâh Nujeef, in addition to the regular army,
there was a large body of archers on the walls, armed with bows and
arrows which they discharged with great force and precision, and on
White raising his head above the wall an arrow was shot right into his
feather bonnet. Inside of the wire cage of his bonnet, however, he had
placed his forage cap, folded up, and instead of passing right through,
the arrow stuck in the folds of the forage cap, and "Dan," as he was
called, coolly pulled out the arrow, paraphrasing a quotation from Sir
Walter Scott's _Legend of Montrose_, where Dugald Dalgetty and Ranald
MacEagh made their escape from the castle of McCallum More. Looking at
the arrow, "My conscience!" said White, "bows and arrows! bows and
arrows! Have we got Robin Hood and Little John back again? Bows and
arrows! My conscience, the sight has not been seen in civilised war for
nearly two hundred years. Bows and arrows! And why not weavers' beams as
in the days of Goliath? Ah! that Daniel White should be able to tell in
the Saut Market of Glasgow that he had seen men fight with bows and
arrows in the days of Enfield rifles! Well, well, Jack Pandy, since bows
and arrows are the words, here's at you!" and with that he raised his
feather bonnet on the point of his bayonet above the top of the wall,
and immediately another arrow pierced it through, while a dozen more
whizzed past a little wide of the mark.

Just then one poor fellow of the Ninety-Third, named Penny, of No. 2
company, raising his head for an instant a little above the wall, got an
arrow right through his brain, the shaft projecting more than a foot out
at the back of his head. As the poor lad fell dead at our feet,
Sergeant White remarked, "Boys, this is no joke; we must pay them off."
We all loaded and capped, and pushing up our feather bonnets again, a
whole shower of arrows went past or through them. Up we sprang and
returned a well-aimed volley from our rifles at point-blank distance,
and more than half-a-dozen of the enemy went down. But one unfortunate
man of the regiment, named Montgomery, of No. 6 company, exposed himself
a little too long to watch the effect of our volley, and before he could
get down into shelter again an arrow was sent right through his heart,
passing clean through his body and falling on the ground a few yards
behind him. He leaped about six feet straight up in the air, and fell
stone dead. White could not resist making another quotation, but this
time it was from the old English ballad of _Chevy Chase_.

    He had a bow bent in his hand
      Made of a trusty tree,
    An arrow of a cloth-yard long
      Up to the head drew he.

    Against Sir Hugh Montgomerie
      So right his shaft he set,
    The grey goose wing that was thereon
      In his heart's blood was wet.

Readers who have never been under the excitement of a fight like this
which I describe, may think that such coolness is an exaggeration. It is
not so. Remember the men of whom I write had stood in the "Thin Red
Line" of Balaclava without wavering, and had made up their minds to die
where they stood, if need be; men who had been for days and nights
under shot and shell in the trenches of Sebastopol. If familiarity
breeds contempt, continual exposure to danger breeds coolness, and, I
may say, selfishness too; where all are exposed to equal danger little
sympathy is, for the time being at least, displayed for the unlucky ones
"knocked on the head," to use the common expression in the ranks for
those who are killed. Besides, Sergeant Daniel White was an
exceptionally cool man, and looked on every incident with the eye of an
actor.

By this time the sun was getting low, a heavy cloud of smoke hung over
the field, and every flash of the guns and rifles could be clearly seen.
The enemy in hundreds were visible on the ramparts, yelling like demons,
brandishing their swords in one hand and burning torches in the other,
shouting at us to "Come on!" But little impression had been made on the
solid masonry walls. Brigadier Hope and his aide-de-camp were rolling on
the ground together, the horses of both shot dead; and the same shell
which had done this mischief exploded one of our ammunition waggons,
killing and wounding several men. Altogether the position looked black
and critical when Major Barnston and his battalion of detachments were
ordered to storm. This battalion of detachments was a body made up of
almost every corps in the service,--at least as far as the regiments
forming the expedition to China were concerned--and men belonging to the
different corps which had entered the Residency with Generals Havelock
and Outram. It also comprised some men who had been left (through
sickness or wounds) at Allahabad and Cawnpore, and some of the Ninetieth
Regiment which had been intercepted at Singapore on their way to China,
under Captain (now General Lord) Wolseley. However, although a made-up
battalion, they advanced bravely to the breach, and I think their
leader, Major Barnston, was killed, and the command devolved on Captain
Wolseley. He made a most determined attempt to get into the place, but
there were no scaling-ladders, and the wall was still almost twenty feet
high. During the heavy cannonade the masonry had fallen down in flakes
on the outside, but still leaving an inner wall standing almost
perpendicular, and in attempting to climb up this the men were raked
with a perfect hail of missiles--grenades and round-shot hurled from
wall-pieces, arrows and brickbats, burning torches of rags and cotton
saturated with oil--even boiling water was dashed on them! In the midst
of the smoke the breach would have made a very good representation of
Pandemonium. There were scores of men armed with great burning torches
just like what one may see in the sham fights of the _Mohurrum_, only
these men were in earnest, shouting "_Allah Akbar!_" "_Deen! Deen!_" and
"_Jai Kâli mâ ki!_"[20]

The stormers were driven back, leaving many dead and wounded under the
wall. At this juncture Sir Colin called on Brigadier Hope to form up
the Ninety-Third for a final attempt. Sir Colin, again addressing us,
said that he had not intended to call on us to storm more positions that
day, but that the building in our front must be carried before dark, and
the Ninety-Third must do it, and he would lead us himself, saying again:
"Remember, men, the lives at stake inside the Residency are those of
women and children, and they must be rescued." A reply burst from the
ranks: "Ay, ay, Sir Colin! we stood by you at Balaklava, and will stand
by you here; but you must not expose yourself so much as you are doing.
We can be replaced, but you can't. You must remain behind; we can lead
ourselves."

By that time the battalion of detachments had cleared the front, and the
enemy were still yelling to us to "Come on," and piling up missiles to
give us a warm reception. Captain Peel had meanwhile brought his
infernal machine, known as a rocket battery, to the front, and sent a
volley of rockets through the crowd on the ramparts around the breach.
Just at that moment Sergeant John Paton of my company came running down
the ravine that separated the Kuddum Russool from the Shâh Nujeef,
completely out of breath through exertion, but just able to tell
Brigadier Hope that he had gone up the ravine at the moment the
battalion of detachments had been ordered to storm, and had discovered a
breach in the north-east corner of the rampart next to the river
Goomtee. It appears that our shot and shell had gone over the first
breach, and had blown out the wall on the other side in this particular
spot. Paton told how he had climbed up to the top of the ramparts
without difficulty, and seen right inside the place as the whole
defending force had been called forward to repulse the assault in front.

Captain Dawson and his company were at once called out, and while the
others opened fire on the breach in front of them, we dashed down the
ravine, Sergeant Paton showing the way. As soon as the enemy saw that
the breach behind had been discovered, and that their well-defended
position was no longer tenable, they fled like sheep through the back
gate next to the Goomtee and another in the direction of the Motee
Munzil.[21] If No. 7 company had got in behind them and cut off their
retreat by the back gate, it would have been Secundrabâgh over again! As
it was, by the time we got over the breach we were able to catch only
about a score of the fugitives, who were promptly bayoneted; the rest
fled pell-mell into the Goomtee, and it was then too dark to see to use
the rifle with effect on the flying masses. However, by the great pools
of blood inside, and the number of dead floating in the river, they had
plainly suffered heavily, and the well-contested position of the Shâh
Nujeef was ours.

By this time Sir Colin and those of his staff remaining alive or
unwounded were inside the position, and the front gate thrown open. A
hearty cheer was given for the Commander-in-Chief, as he called the
officers round him to give instructions for the disposition of the
force for the night. As it was Captain Dawson and his company who had
scaled the breach, to them was assigned the honour of holding the Shâh
Nujeef, which was now one of the principal positions to protect the
retreat from the Residency. And thus ended the terrible 16th of
November, 1857.

In the taking of the Secundrabâgh all the subaltern officers of my
company were wounded, namely, Lieutenants E. Welch and S. E. Wood, and
Ensign F. R. M'Namara. The only officer therefore with the company in
the Shâh Nujeef was Captain Dawson. Sergeant Findlay, as already
mentioned, had been taken over as hospital-assistant, and another
sergeant named Wood was either sick or wounded, I forget which, and
Corporals M'Kenzie and Mitchell (a namesake of mine, belonging to
Balmoral) were killed. It thus fell to my lot as the non-commissioned
officer on duty to go round with Captain Dawson to post the sentries.
Mr. Kavanagh, who was officiating as a volunteer staff-officer,
accompanied us to point out the direction of the strongest positions of
the enemy, and the likely points from which any attempts would be made
to recapture our position during the night. During the absence of the
captain the command of the company devolved on Colour-Sergeant David
Morton, of "Tobacco Soup" fame, and he was instructed to see that none
of the enemy were still lurking in the rooms surrounding the mosque of
the Shâh Nujeef, while the captain was going round the ramparts placing
the sentries for the protection of our position.

As soon as the sentries were posted on the ramparts and regular reliefs
told off, arrangements were made among the sergeants and corporals to
patrol at regular intervals from sentry to sentry to see that all were
alert. This was the more necessary as the men were completely worn out
and fatigued by long marches and heavy fighting, and in fact had not
once had their belts off for a week previous, while all the time
carrying double ammunition on half-empty stomachs. Every precaution had
therefore to be taken that the sentries should not go to sleep, and it
fell to me as the corporal on duty to patrol the first two hours of the
night, from eight o'clock till ten. The remainder of the company
bivouacked around the piled arms, which were arranged carefully loaded
and capped with bayonets fixed, ready for instant action should an
attack be made on our position. After the great heat of the day the
nights by contrast felt bitterly cold. There was a stack of dry wood in
the centre of the grounds from which the men kindled a large fire near
the piled arms, and arranged themselves around it, rolled in their
greatcoats but fully accoutred, ready to stand to arms at the least
alarm.

In writing these reminiscences it is far from my wish to make them an
autobiography. My intention is rather to relate the actions of others
than recount what I did myself; but an adventure happened to me in the
Shâh Nujeef which gave me such a nervous fright that to this day I often
dream of it. I have forgotten to state that when the force advanced
from the Alumbâgh each man carried his greatcoat rolled into what was
then known in our regiment as the "Crimean roll," with ends strapped
together across the right shoulder just over the ammunition pouch-belt,
so that it did not interfere with the free use of the rifle, but rather
formed a protection across the chest. As it turned out many men owed
their lives to the fact that bullets became spent in passing through the
rolled greatcoats before reaching a vital part. Now it happened that in
the heat of the fight in the Secundrabâgh my greatcoat was cut right
through where the two ends were fastened together, by the stroke of a
keen-edged _tulwâr_ which was intended to cut me across the shoulder,
and as it was very warm at the time from the heat of the mid-day sun
combined with the excitement of the fight, I was rather glad than
otherwise to be rid of the greatcoat; and when the fight was over, it
did not occur to me to appropriate another one in its place from one of
my dead comrades. But by ten o'clock at night there was a considerable
difference in the temperature from ten in the morning, and when it came
to my turn to be relieved from patrol duty and to lie down for a sleep,
I felt the cold wet grass anything but comfortable, and missed my
greatcoat to wrap round my knees; for the kilt is not the most suitable
dress imaginable for a bivouac, without greatcoat or plaid, on a cold,
dewy November night in Upper India; with a raw north wind the climate of
Lucknow feels uncommonly cold at night in November, especially when
contrasted with the heat of the day. I have already mentioned that the
sun had set before we entered the Shâh Nujeef, the surrounding enclosure
of which contained a number of small rooms round the inside of the
walls, arranged after the manner of the ordinary Indian native
travellers' _serais_. The Shâh Nujeef, it must be remembered, was the
tomb of Ghâzee-ood-deen Hyder, the first king of Oude, and consequently
a place of Mahommedan pilgrimage, and the small rooms round the four
walls of the square were for the accommodation of pilgrims. These rooms
had been turned into quarters by the enemy, and, in their hurry to
escape, many of them had left their lamps burning, consisting of the
ordinary _chirâgs_[22] placed in small niches in the walls, leaving also
their evening meal of _chupatties_ in small piles ready cooked, and the
curry and _dhâl_[23] boiling on the fires. Many of the lamps were still
burning when my turn of duty was over, and as I felt the want of a
greatcoat badly, I asked the colour-sergeant of the company (the captain
being fast asleep) for permission to go out of the gate to where our
dead were collected near the Secundrabâgh to get another one. This
Colour-Sergeant Morton refused, stating that before going to sleep the
captain had given strict orders that except those on sentry no man was
to leave his post on any pretence whatever. I had therefore to try to
make the best of my position, but although dead tired and wearied out I
felt too uncomfortable to go to sleep, and getting up it struck me that
some of the sepoys in their hurried departure might have left their
greatcoats or blankets behind them. With this hope I went into one of
the rooms where a lamp was burning, took it off its shelf, and shading
the flame with my hand walked to the door of the great domed tomb, or
mosque, which was only about twenty or thirty yards from where the arms
were piled and the men lying round the still burning fire. I peered into
the dark vault, not knowing that it was a king's tomb, but could see
nothing, so I advanced slowly, holding the _chirâg_ high over my head
and looking cautiously around for fear of surprise from a concealed
enemy, till I was near the centre of the great vault, where my progress
was obstructed by a big black heap about four or five feet high, which
felt to my feet as if I were walking among loose sand. I lowered the
lamp to see what it was, and immediately discovered that I was standing
up to the ankles in _loose gunpowder_! About forty cwt. of it lay in a
great heap in front of my nose, while a glance to my left showed me a
range of twenty to thirty barrels also full of powder, and on the right
over a hundred 8-inch shells, all loaded with the fuses fixed, while
spare fuses and slow matches and port-fires in profusion lay heaped
beside the shells.

By this time my eyes had become accustomed to the darkness of the
mosque, and I took in my position and my danger at a glance. Here I was
up to my knees in powder,--in the very bowels of a magazine with a
naked light! My hair literally stood on end; I felt the skin of my head
lifting my feather bonnet off my scalp; my knees knocked together, and
despite the chilly night air the cold perspiration burst out all over me
and ran down my face and legs. I had neither cloth nor handkerchief in
my pocket, and there was not a moment to be lost, as already the
overhanging wick of the _chirâg_ was threatening to shed its smouldering
red tip into the live magazine at my feet with consequences too
frightful to contemplate. Quick as thought I put my left hand under the
down-dropping flame, and clasped it with a grasp of determination;
holding it firmly I slowly turned to the door, and walked out with my
knees knocking one against the other! Fear had so overcome all other
feeling that I am confident I never felt the least pain from grasping
the burning wick till after I was outside the building and once again in
the open air; but when I opened my hand I felt the smart acutely enough.
I poured the oil out of the lamp into the burnt hand, and kneeling down
thanked God for having saved myself and all the men lying around me from
horrible destruction. I then got up and, staggering rather than walking
to the place where Captain Dawson was sleeping, and shaking him by the
shoulder till he awoke, I told him of my discovery and the fright I had
got.

At first he either did not believe me, or did not comprehend the danger.
"Bah! Corporal Mitchell," was all his answer, "you have woke up out of
your sleep, and have got frightened at a shadow," for my heart was
still thumping against my ribs worse than it was when I first discovered
my danger, and my voice was trembling. I turned my smarting hand to the
light of the fire and showed the captain how it was scorched; and then,
feeling my pride hurt at being told I had got frightened at a shadow, I
said: "Sir, you're not a Highlander or you would know the Gaelic proverb
'_The heart of one who can look death in the face will not start at a
shadow_,' and you, sir, can yourself bear witness that I have not
shirked to look death in the face more than once since daylight this
morning." He replied, "Pardon me, I did not mean that; but calm yourself
and explain what it is that has frightened you." I then told him that I
had gone into the mosque with a naked lamp burning, and had found it
half full of loose gunpowder piled in a great heap on the floor and a
large number of loaded shells. "Are you sure you're not dreaming from
the excitement of this terrible day?" said the captain. With that I
looked down to my feet and my gaiters, which were still covered with
blood from the slaughter in the Secundrabâgh; the wet grass had softened
it again, and on this the powder was sticking nearly an inch thick. I
scraped some of it off, throwing it into the fire, and said, "There is
positive proof for you that I'm not dreaming, nor my vision a shadow!"
On that the captain became almost as alarmed as I was, and a sentry was
posted near the door of the mosque to prevent any one from entering it.
The sleeping men were aroused, and the fire smothered out with as great
care as possible, using for the purpose several earthen _ghurrahs_, or
jars of water, which the enemy had left under the trees near where we
were lying.

When all was over, Colour-Sergeant Morton coolly proposed to the captain
to place me under arrest for having left the pile of arms after he, the
colour-sergeant, had refused to give me leave. To this proposal Captain
Dawson replied: "If any one deserves to be put under arrest it is you
yourself, Sergeant Morton, for not having explored the mosque and
discovered the gunpowder while Corporal Mitchell and I were posting the
sentries; and if this neglect comes to the notice of either Colonel Hay
or the Commander-in-Chief, both you and I are likely to hear more about
it; so the less you say about the matter the better!" This ended the
discussion and my adventure, and at the time I was glad to hear nothing
more about it, but I have sometimes since thought that if the part I
acted in this crisis had come to the knowledge of either Colonel Hay or
Sir Colin Campbell, my burnt hand would have brought me something more
than a proposal to place me under arrest, and take my corporal's stripes
from me! Be that as it may, I got a fright that I have never forgotten,
and, as already mentioned, even to this day I often dream of it, and
wake up with a sudden start, the cold perspiration in great beads on my
face, as I think I see again the huge black heap of powder in front of
me.

After a sentry had been posted on the mosque and the fire put out, a
glass lantern was discovered in one of the rooms, and Captain Dawson
and I, with an escort of three or four men, made the circuit of the
walls, searching every room. I remember one of the escort was James
Wilson, the same man who wished to bayonet the Hindoo _jogie_ in the
village who afterwards shot poor Captain Mayne as told in my fourth
chapter. As Wilson was peering into one of the rooms, a concealed sepoy
struck him over the head with his _tulwâr_, but the feather bonnet saved
his scalp as it had saved many more that day, and Captain Dawson being
armed with a pair of double-barrelled pistols, put a bullet through the
sepoy before he had time to make another cut at Wilson. In the same room
I found a good cotton quilt which I promptly annexed to replace my lost
greatcoat.

After all was quiet, the men rolled off to sleep again, and wrapping
round my legs my newly-acquired quilt, which was lined with silk and had
evidently belonged to a rebel officer, I too lay down and tried to
sleep. My nerves were however too much shaken, and the pain of my burnt
hand kept me awake, so I lay and listened to the men sleeping around me;
and what a night that was! Had I the descriptive powers of a Tennyson or
a Scott I might draw a picture of it, but as it is I can only very
faintly attempt to make my readers imagine what it was like. The
horrible scenes through which the men had passed during the day had told
with terrible effect on their nervous systems, and the struggles,--eye
to eye, foot to foot, and steel to steel--with death in the
Secundrabâgh, were fought over again by most of the men in their sleep,
oaths and shouts of defiance often curiously intermingled with prayers.
One man would be lying calmly sleeping and commence muttering something
inaudible, and then break out into a fierce battle-cry of "Cawnpore, you
bloody murderer!"; another would shout "Charge! give them the bayonet!";
and a third, "Keep together, boys, don't fire; forward, forward; if we
are to die, let us die like men!" Then I would hear one muttering, "Oh,
mother, forgive me, and I'll never leave you again!"; while his comrade
would half rise up, wave his hand, and call, "There they are! Fire low,
give them the bayonet! Remember Cawnpore!" And so it was throughout that
memorable night inside the Shâh Nujeef; and I have no doubt but it was
the same with the men holding the other posts. The pain of my burnt hand
and the terrible fright I had got kept me awake, and I lay and listened
till nearly daybreak; but at length completely worn out, I, too, dosed
off into a disturbed slumber, and I suppose I must have behaved in much
the same way as those I had been listening to, for I dreamed of blood
and battle, and then my mind would wander to scenes on Dee and Don side,
and to the Braemar and Lonach gathering, and from that the scene would
suddenly change, and I was a little boy again, kneeling beside my
mother, saying my evening-hymn. Verily that night convinced me that
Campbell's _Soldier's Dream_ is no mere fiction, but must have been
written or dictated from actual experience by one who had passed
through such another day of excitement and danger as that of the 16th
of November, 1857.

My dreams were rudely broken into by the crash of a round-shot through
the top of the tree under which I was lying, and I jumped up repeating
aloud the seventh verse of the ninety-first Psalm, Scotch version:

    A thousand at thy side shall fall,
      On thy right hand shall lie
    Ten thousand dead; yet unto thee
      It shall not once come nigh.

Captain Dawson and the sergeants of the company had been astir long
before, and a party of ordnance-lascars from the ammunition park and
several warrant-officers of the Ordnance-Department were busy removing
the gunpowder from the tomb of the Shâh Nujeef. Over sixty _maunds_[24]
of loose powder were filled into bags and carted out, besides twenty
barrels of the ordinary size of powder-barrels, and more than one
hundred and fifty loaded 8-inch shells. The work of removal was scarcely
completed before the enemy commenced firing shell and red-hot round-shot
from their batteries in the Bâdshâhibâgh across the Goomtee, aimed
straight for the door of the tomb facing the river, showing that they
believed the powder was still there, and that they hoped they might
manage to blow us all up.

FOOTNOTES:

[20] "God is great!" "Religion! Religion!" "Victory to Mother Kâli!" The
first two are Mussulman war-cries; the last is Hindoo.

[21] The Pearl Mosque.

[22] Little clay saucers of oil, with a loosely twisted cotton wick.

[23] Small pulse.

[24] Nearly five thousand lbs.



CHAPTER VI

BREAKFAST UNDER DIFFICULTIES--LONG SHOTS--THE LITTLE DRUMMER--EVACUATION
OF THE RESIDENCY BY THE GARRISON


By this time several of the old campaigners had kindled a fire in one of
the small rooms, through the roof of which one of our shells had fallen
the day before, making a convenient chimney for the egress of the smoke.
They had found a large copper pot which had been left by the sepoys, and
had it on the fire filled with a stew of about a score or more of
pigeons which had been left shut up in a dovecot in a corner of the
compound. There were also plenty of pumpkins and other vegetables in the
rooms, and piles of _chupatties_ which had been cooked by the sepoys for
their evening meal before they fled. Everything in fact was there for
making a good breakfast for hungry men except salt, and there was no
salt to be found in any of the rooms; but as luck favoured us, I had one
of the old-fashioned round cylinder-shaped wooden match-boxes full of
salt in my haversack, which was more than sufficient to season the stew.
I had carried this salt from Cawnpore, and I did so by the advice of an
old veteran who had served in the Ninety-Second Gordon Highlanders all
through the Peninsular war, and finally at Waterloo. When as a boy I had
often listened to his stories and told him that I would also enlist for
a soldier, he had given me this piece of practical advice, which I in my
turn present to every young soldier and volunteer. It is this: "Always
carry a box of salt in your haversack when on active service; because
the commissariat department is usually in the rear, and as a rule when
an army is pressed for food the men have often the chance of getting
hold of a bullock or a sheep, or of fowls, etc., but it is more
difficult to find salt, and even good food without salt is very
unpalatable." I remembered the advice, and it proved of great service to
myself and comrades in many instances during the Mutiny. As it was,
thanks to my foresight the hungry men in the Shâh Nujeef made a good
breakfast on the morning of the 17th of November, 1857. I may here say
that my experience is that the soldiers who could best look after their
stomachs were also those who could make the best use of the bayonet, and
who were the least likely to fall behind in a forced march. If I had the
command of an army in the field my rule would be: "Cut the grog, and
give double grub when hard work has to be done!"

After making a good breakfast the men were told off in sections, and we
discharged our rifles at the enemy across the Goomtee,[25] and then
spunged them out, which they sorely needed, because they had not been
cleaned from the day we advanced from the Alumbâgh. Our rifles had in
fact got so foul with four days' heavy work that it was almost
impossible to load them, and the recoil had become so great that the
shoulders of many of the men were perfectly black with bruises. As soon
as our rifles were cleaned, a number of the best shots in the company
were selected to try and silence the fire from the battery in the
Bâdshâhibâgh across the river, which was annoying us by endeavouring to
pitch hot shot and shell into the tomb, and to shorten the distance they
had brought their guns outside the gate on to the open ground. They
evidently as yet did not understand the range of the Enfield rifle, as
they now came within about a thousand to twelve hundred yards of the
wall of the Shâh Nujeef next the river. Some twenty of the best shots in
the company, with carefully cleaned and loaded rifles, watched till they
saw a good number of the enemy near their guns, then, raising sights to
the full height and carefully aiming high, they fired a volley by word
of command slowly given--_one, two, fire!_ and about half a dozen of the
enemy were knocked over. They at once withdrew their guns inside the
Bâdshâhibâgh and shut the gate, and did not molest us any more.

During the early part of the forenoon we had several men struck by rifle
bullets fired from one of the minarets in the Motee Mahal, which was
said to be occupied by one of the ex-King of Oude's eunuchs who was a
first-rate marksman, and armed with an excellent rifle; from his
elevated position in the minaret he could see right into the square of
the Shâh Nujeef. We soon had several men wounded, and as there was no
surgeon with us Captain Dawson sent me back to where the field-hospital
was formed near the Secundrabâgh, to ask Dr. Munro if an
assistant-surgeon could be spared for our post. But Dr. Munro told me to
tell Captain Dawson that it was impossible to spare an assistant-surgeon
or even an apothecary, because he had just been informed that the
Mess-House and Motee Mahal were to be assaulted at two o'clock, and
every medical officer would be required on the spot; but he would try
and send a hospital-attendant with a supply of lint and bandages. By the
time I got back the assault on the Mess-House had begun, and Sergeant
Findlay, before mentioned, was sent with a _dooly_ and a supply of
bandages, lint, and dressing, to do the best he could for any of ours
who might be wounded.

About half an hour after the assault on the Mess-House had commenced a
large body of the enemy, numbering at least six or seven hundred men,
whose retreat had evidently been cut off from the city, crossed from the
Mess-House into the Motee Mahal in our front, and forming up under cover
of some huts between the Shâh Munzil and Motee Mahal, they evidently
made up their minds to try and retake the Shâh Nujeef. They debouched on
the plain with a number of men in front carrying scaling-ladders, and
Captain Dawson being on the alert ordered all the men to kneel down
behind the loopholes with rifles sighted for five hundred yards, and
wait for the word of command. It was now our turn to know what it felt
like to be behind loopholed walls, and we calmly awaited the enemy,
watching them forming up for a dash on our position. The silence was
profound, when Sergeant Daniel White repeated aloud a passage from the
third canto of Scott's _Bridal of Triermain_:

    Bewcastle now must keep the Hold,
      Speir-Adam's steeds must bide in stall,
    Of Hartley-burn the bowmen bold
      Must only shoot from battled wall;
    And Liddesdale may buckle spur,
      And Teviot now may belt the brand,
    Taras and Ewes keep nightly stir,
      And Eskdale foray Cumberland.
    Of wasted fields and plunder'd flocks
      The Borderers bootless may complain;
    They lack the sword of brave De Vaux,
      There comes no aid from Triermain.

Captain Dawson, who had been steadily watching the advance of the enemy
and carefully calculating their distance, just then called "Attention,
five hundred yards, ready--_one, two, fire!_" when over eighty rifles
rang out, and almost as many of the enemy went down like ninepins on the
plain! Their leader was in front, mounted on a finely-accoutred charger,
and he and his horse were evidently both hit; he at once wheeled round
and made for the Goomtee, but horse and man both fell before they got
near the river. After the first volley every man loaded and fired
independently, and the plain was soon strewn with dead and wounded.

The unfortunate assaulters were now between two fires, for the force
that had attacked the Shâh Munzil and Motee Mahal commenced to send
grape and canister into their rear, so the routed rebels threw away
their arms and scaling-ladders, and all that were able to do so bolted
pell-mell for the Goomtee. Only about a quarter of the original number,
however, reached the opposite bank, for when they were in the river our
men rushed to the corner nearest to them and kept peppering at every
head above water. One tall fellow, I well remember, acted as cunningly
as a jackal; whether struck or not he fell just as he got into shallow
water on the opposite side, and lay without moving, with his legs in the
water and his head on the land. He appeared to be stone dead, and every
rifle was turned on those that were running across the plain for the
gate of the Bâdshâhibâgh, while many others who were evidently severely
wounded were fired on as our fellows said, "_in mercy to put them out of
pain_." I have previously remarked that the war of the Mutiny was a
horrible, I may say a demoralising, war for civilised men to be engaged
in. The inhuman murders and foul treachery of the Nânâ Sâhib and others
put all feeling of humanity or mercy for the enemy out of the question,
and our men thus early spoke of putting a wounded Jack Pandy _out of
pain_, just as calmly as if he had been a wild beast; it was even
considered an act of mercy. It is now horrible to recall it all, but
what I state is true. The only excuse is that _we_ did not begin this
war of extermination; and no apologist for the mutineers can say that
they were actuated by patriotism to throw off the yoke of the oppressor.
The cold-blooded cruelty of the mutineers and their leaders from first
to last branded them in fact as traitors to humanity and cowardly
assassins of helpless women and children. But to return to the Pandy
whom I left lying half-covered with water on the further bank of the
Goomtee opposite the Shâh Nujeef. This particular man was ever after
spoken of as the "jackal," because jackals and foxes have often been
known to sham dead and wait for a chance of escape; and so it was with
Jack Pandy. After he had lain apparently dead for about an hour, some
one noticed that he had gradually dragged himself out of the water; till
all at once he sprang to his feet, and ran like a deer in the direction
of the gate of the Bâdshâhibâgh. He was still quite within easy range,
and several rifles were levelled at him; but Sergeant Findlay, who was
on the rampart, and was himself one of the best shots in the company,
called out, "Don't fire, men; give the poor devil a chance!" Instead of
a volley of bullets, the men's better feelings gained the day, and Jack
Pandy was reprieved, with a cheer to speed him on his way. As soon as he
heard it he realised his position, and like the Samaritan leper of old,
he halted, turned round, and putting up both his hands with the palms
together in front of his face, he salaamed profoundly, prostrating
himself three times on the ground by way of thanks, and then _walked_
slowly towards the Bâdshâhibâgh, while we on the ramparts waved our
feather bonnets and clapped our hands to him in token of good-will. I
have often wondered if that particular Pandy ever after fought the
English, or if he returned to his village to relate his exceptional
experience of our clemency.

Just at this time we noticed a great commotion in front, and heard our
fellows and even those in the Residency cheering like mad. The cause we
shortly after learned; that the generals, Sir Colin Campbell, Havelock,
and Outram had met. The Residency was relieved and the women and
children were saved, although not yet out of danger, and every man in
the force slept with a lighter heart that night. If the cost was heavy,
the gain was great.

I may here mention that there is an entry in my note-book, dated 18th of
November 1857: "That Lieutenant Fred. Roberts planted the Union Jack
three times on the top of the Mess-House as a signal to the force in the
Residency that the Mess-House was in our possession, and it was as often
shot down." Some time ago there was, I remember, a dispute about who was
entitled to the credit of this action. Now I did not see it myself, but
I must have got the information from some of the men of the other
companies who witnessed the deed, as it was known that I was keeping a
rough diary of the leading events.

Such was the glorious issue of the 17th of November. The meeting of the
Generals, Sir Colin Campbell, Outram, and Havelock, proved that Lucknow
was relieved and the women and children were safe; but to accomplish
this object our small force had lost no less than forty-five officers
and four hundred and ninety-six men--more than a tenth of our whole
number! The brunt of the loss fell on the Artillery and Naval Brigade,
and on the Fifty-Third, the Ninety-Third, and the Fourth Punjâb
Infantry. These losses were respectively as follows:

 Artillery and Naval Brigade         105 Men
 Fifty-Third Regiment                 76  "
 Ninety-Third Highlanders            108  "
 Fourth Punjâb Infantry               95  "
                                     ---
                   Total             384

leaving one hundred and twelve to be divided among the other corps
engaged.

In writing mostly from memory thirty-five years after the events
described, many incidents, though not entirely forgotten, escape being
noticed in their proper sequence, and that is the case with the
following, which I must here relate before I enter on the evacuation of
the Residency.

Immediately after the powder left by the enemy had been removed from the
tomb of the Shâh Nujeef, and the sun had dispelled the fog which rested
over the Goomtee and the city, it was deemed necessary to signal to the
Residency to let them know our position, and for this purpose our
adjutant, Lieutenant William M'Bean, Sergeant Hutchinson, and Drummer
Ross, a boy of about twelve years of age but even small for his years,
climbed to the top of the dome of the Shâh Nujeef by means of a rude
rope-ladder which was fixed on it; thence with the regimental colour of
the Ninety-Third and a feather bonnet on the tip of the staff they
signalled to the Residency, and the little drummer sounded the
regimental call on his bugle from the top of the dome. The signal was
seen, and answered from the Residency by lowering their flag three
times. But the enemy on the Bâdshâhibâgh also saw the signalling and the
daring adventurers on the dome, and turned their guns on them, sending
several round-shots quite close to them. Their object being gained,
however, our men descended; but little Ross ran up the ladder again like
a monkey, and holding on to the spire of the dome with his left hand he
waved his feather bonnet and then sounded the regimental call a second
time, which he followed by the call known as _The Cock of the North_,
which he sounded as a blast of defiance to the enemy. When peremptorily
ordered to come down by Lieutenant M'Bean, he did so, but not before the
little monkey had tootled out--

    There's not a man beneath the moon,
      Nor lives in any land he,
    That hasn't heard the pleasant tune
      Of Yankee Doodle Dandy!

    In cooling drinks and clipper ships,
      The Yankee has the way shown,
    On land and sea 'tis he that whips
      Old Bull, and all creation.

When little Ross reached the parapet at the foot of the dome, he turned
to Lieutenant M'Bean and said: "Ye ken, sir, I was born when the
regiment was in Canada when my mother was on a visit to an aunt in the
States, and I could not come down till I had sung _Yankee Doodle_, to
make my American cousins envious when they hear of the deeds of the
Ninety-Third. Won't the Yankees feel jealous when they hear that the
littlest drummer-boy in the regiment sang _Yankee Doodle_ under a hail
of fire on the dome of the highest mosque in Lucknow!"

As mentioned in the last chapter, the Residency was relieved on the
afternoon of the 17th of November, and the following day preparations
were made for the evacuation of the position and the withdrawal of the
women and children. To do this in safety however was no easy task, for
the mutineers and rebels showed but small regard for the laws of
chivalry; a man might pass an exposed position in comparative safety,
but if a helpless woman or little child were seen, they were made the
target for a hundred bullets. So far as we could see from the Shâh
Nujeef, the line of retreat was pretty well sheltered till the refugees
emerged from the Motee Mahal; but between that and the Shâh Nujeef there
was a long stretch of plain, exposed to the fire of the enemy's
artillery and sharp-shooters from the opposite side of the Goomtee. To
protect this part of their route a flying sap was constructed: a battery
of artillery and some of Peel's guns, with a covering force of infantry,
were posted in the north-east corner of the Motee Mahal; and all the
best shots in the Shâh Nujeef were placed on the north-west corner of
the ramparts next to the Goomtee. These men were under command of
Sergeant Findlay, who, although nominally our medical officer, stuck to
his post on the ramparts, and being one of the best shots in the company
was entrusted with the command of the sharp-shooters for the protection
of the retreating women and children. From these two points,--the
north-east corner of the Motee Mahal and the north-west of the Shâh
Nujeef--the enemy on the north bank of the Goomtee were brought under a
cross-fire, the accuracy of which made them keep a very respectful
distance from the river, with the result that the women and children
passed the exposed part of their route without a single casualty. I
remember one remarkably good shot made by Sergeant Findlay. He unhorsed
a rebel officer close to the east gate of the Bâdshâhibâgh, who came out
with a force of infantry and a couple of guns to open fire on the line
of retreat; but he was no sooner knocked over than the enemy retreated
into the _bâgh_, and did not show themselves any more that day.

By midnight of the 22nd of November the Residency was entirely
evacuated, and the enemy completely deceived as to the movements; and
about two o'clock on the morning of the 23rd we withdrew from the Shâh
Nujeef and became the rear-guard of the retreating column, making our
way slowly past the Secundrabâgh, the stench from which, as can easily
be imagined, was something frightful. I have seen it stated in print
that the two thousand odd of the enemy killed in the Secundrabâgh were
dragged out and buried in deep trenches outside the enclosure. This is
not correct. The European slain were removed and buried in a deep
trench, where the mound is still visible, to the east of the gate, and
the Punjâbees recovered their slain and cremated them near the bank of
the Goomtee. But the rebel dead had to be left to rot where they lay, a
prey to the vulture by day and the jackal by night, for from the
smallness of the relieving force no other course was possible; in fact,
it was with the greatest difficulty that men could be spared from the
piquets,--for the whole force simply became a series of outlying
piquets--to bury our own dead, let alone those of the enemy. And when we
retired their friends did not take the trouble, as the skeletons were
still whitening in the rooms of the buildings when the Ninety-Third
returned to the siege of Lucknow in March, 1858. Their bones were
doubtless buried after the fall of Lucknow, but that would be at least
six months after their slaughter. By daylight on the 23rd of November
the whole of the women and children had arrived at the Dilkooshá, where
tents were pitched for them, and the rear-guard had reached the
Martinière. Here the rolls were called again to see if any were missing,
when it was discovered that Sergeant Alexander Macpherson, of No. 2
company, who had formed one of Colonel Ewart's detachment in the
barracks, was not present. Shortly afterwards he was seen making his way
across the plain, and reported that he had been left asleep in the
barracks, and, on waking up after daylight and finding himself alone,
guessed what had happened, and knowing the direction in which the column
was to retire, he at once followed. Fortunately the enemy had not even
then discovered the evacuation of the Residency, for they were still
firing into our old positions. Sergeant Macpherson was ever after this
known in the regiment as "Sleepy Sandy."

There was also an officer, Captain Waterman, left asleep in the
Residency. He, too, managed to join the rear-guard in safety; but he got
such a fright that I afterwards saw it stated in one of the Calcutta
papers that his mind was affected by the shock to his nervous system.
Some time later an Irishman in the Ninety-Third gave a good reason why
the fright did not turn the head of Sandy Macpherson. In those days
before the railway it took much longer than now for the mails to get
from Cawnpore to Calcutta, and for Calcutta papers to get back again;
and some time,--about a month or six weeks--after the events above
related, when the Calcutta papers got back to camp with the accounts of
the relief of Lucknow, I and Sergeant Macpherson were on outlying piquet
at Futtehghur (I think), and the captain of the piquet gave me a bundle
of the newspapers to read out to the men. In these papers there was an
account of Captain Waterman's being left behind in the Residency, in
which it was stated that the shock had affected his intellect. When I
read this out, the men made some remarks concerning the fright which it
must have given Sandy Macpherson when he found himself alone in the
barracks, and Sandy joining in the remarks, was inclined to boast that
the fright had not upset _his_ intellect, when an Irishman of the
piquet, named Andrew M'Onville, usually called "Handy Andy" in the
company, joining in the conversation, said: "Boys, if Sergeant
Macpherson will give me permission, I will tell you a story that will
show the reason why the fright did not upset his intellect." Permission
was of course granted for the story, and Handy Andy proceeded with his
illustration as follows, as nearly as I can remember it.

"You have all heard of Mr. Gough, the great American Temperance
lecturer. Well, the year before I enlisted he came to Armagh, giving a
course of temperance lectures, and all the public-house keepers and
brewers were up in arms to raise as much opposition as possible against
Mr. Gough and his principles, and in one of his lectures he laid great
stress on the fact that he considered moderation the parent of
drunkenness. A brewer's drayman thereupon went on the platform to
disprove this assertion by actual facts from his own experience, and in
his argument in favour of _moderate_ drinking, he stated that for
upwards of twenty years he had habitually consumed over a gallon of beer
and about a pint of whisky daily, and solemnly asserted that he had
never been the worse for liquor in his life. To which Mr. Gough replied:
'My friends, there is no rule without its exception, and our friend here
is an exception to the general rule of moderate drinking; but I will
tell you a story that I think exactly illustrates his case. Some years
ago, when I was a boy, my father had two negro servants, named Uncle
Sambo and Snowball. Near our house there was a branch of one of the
large fresh-water lakes which swarmed with fish, and it was the duty of
Snowball to go every morning to catch sufficient for the breakfast of
the household. The way Snowball usually caught his fish was by making
them drunk by feeding them with Indian corn-meal mixed with strong
whisky and rolled into balls. When these whisky balls were thrown into
the water the fish came and ate them readily, but after they had
swallowed a few they became helplessly drunk, turning on their backs and
allowing themselves to be caught, so that in a very short time Snowball
would return with his basket full of fish. But as I said, there is no
rule without an exception, and one morning proved that there is also an
exception in the matter of fish becoming drunk. As usual Snowball went
to the lake with an allowance of whisky balls, and spying a fine big
fish with a large flat head, he dropped a ball in front of it, which it
at once ate and then another, and another, and so on till all the whisky
balls in Snowball's basket were in the stomach of this queer fish, and
still it showed no signs of becoming drunk, but kept wagging its tail
and looking for more whisky balls. On this Snowball returned home and
called old Uncle Sambo to come and see this wonderful fish which had
swallowed nearly a peck of whisky balls and still was not drunk. When
old Uncle Sambo set eyes on the fish, he exclaimed, "O Snowball,
Snowball! you foolish boy, you will never be able to make that fish
drunk with your whisky balls. That fish could live in a barrel of whisky
and not get drunk. That fish, my son, is called a mullet-head: it has
got no brains." And that accounts,' said Mr. Gough, turning to the
brewer's drayman, 'for our friend here being able for twenty years to
drink a gallon of beer and a pint of whisky daily and never become
drunk.' And so, my chums," said Handy Andy, "if you will apply the same
reasoning to the cases of Sergeant Macpherson and Captain Waterman I
think you will come to the correct conclusion why the fright did not
upset the intellect of Sergeant Macpherson." We all joined in the laugh
at Handy Andy's story, and none more heartily than the butt of it, Sandy
Macpherson himself.

But enough of digression. Shortly after the roll was called at the
Martinière, a most unfortunate accident took place. Corporal Cooper and
four or five men went into one of the rooms of the Martinière in which
there was a quantity of loose powder which had been left by the enemy,
and somehow,--it was never known how--the powder got ignited and they
were all blown up, their bodies completely charred and their eyes
scorched out. The poor fellows all died in the greatest agony within an
hour or so of the accident, and none of them ever spoke to say how it
happened. The quantity of powder was not sufficient to shatter the
house, but it blew the doors and windows out, and burnt the poor fellows
as black as charcoal. This sad accident cast a gloom over the regiment,
and made me again very mindful of and thankful for my own narrow
escape, and that of my comrades in the Shâh Nujeef on that memorable
night of the 16th of November.

Later in the day our sadness increased when it was found that
Colour-Sergeant Alexander Knox, of No. 2 company, was missing. He had
called the roll of his company at daylight, and had then gone to see a
friend in the Seventy-Eighth Highlanders. He had stayed some time with
his friend and left to return to his own regiment, but was never heard
of again. Poor Knox had two brothers in the regiment, and he was the
youngest of the three. He was a most deserving and popular
non-commissioned officer, decorated with the French war medal and the
Cross of the Legion of Honour for valour in the Crimea, and was about to
be promoted sergeant-major of the regiment, _vice_ Murray killed in the
Secundrabâgh. His fate was never known.

About two o'clock in the afternoon, the regiment being all together
again, the following general order was read to us, and although this is
well-known history, still there must be many of the readers of these
reminiscences who have not ready access to histories. I will therefore
quote the general order in question for the information of young
soldiers.

      HEADQUARTERS, LA MARTINIÈRE, LUCKNOW, _23rd
      November, 1857_.

      1. The Commander-in-Chief has reason to be thankful to the
      force he conducted for the relief of the garrison of
      Lucknow.

      2. Hastily assembled, fatigued by forced marches, but
      animated by a common feeling of determination to accomplish
      the duty before them, all ranks of this force have
      compensated for their small number, in the execution of a
      most difficult duty, by unceasing exertions.

      3. From the morning of the 16th till last night the whole
      force has been one outlying piquet, never out of fire, and
      covering an immense extent of ground, to permit the garrison
      to retire scatheless and in safety covered by the whole of
      the relieving force.

      4. That ground was won by fighting as hard as it ever fell
      to the lot of the Commander-in-Chief to witness, it being
      necessary to bring up the same men over and over again to
      fresh attacks; and it is with the greatest gratification
      that his Excellency declares he never saw men behave better.

      5. The storming of the Secundrabâgh and the Shâh Nujeef has
      never been surpassed in daring, and the success of it was
      most brilliant and complete.

      6. The movement of retreat of last night, by which the final
      rescue of the garrison was effected, was a model of
      discipline and exactness. The consequence was that the enemy
      was completely deceived, and the force retired by a narrow,
      tortuous lane, the only line of retreat open, in the face of
      50,000 enemies, without molestation.

      7. The Commander-in-Chief offers his sincere thanks to
      Major-General Sir James Outram, G.C.B., for the happy manner
      in which he planned and carried out his arrangements for the
      evacuation of the Residency of Lucknow.

      By order of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief,
                                   W. MAYHEW, _Major_,
                        _Deputy Adjutant-General of the Army_.

Thus were achieved the relief and evacuation of the Residency of
Lucknow.[26] The enemy did not discover that the Residency was deserted
till noon on the 23rd, and about the time the above general order was
being read to us they fired a salute of one hundred and one guns, but
did not attempt to follow us or to cut off our retreat. That night we
bivouacked in the Dilkooshá park, and retired on the Alumbâgh on the
25th, the day on which the brave and gallant Havelock died. But that is
a well-known part of the history of the relief of Lucknow, and I will
turn to other matters.

FOOTNOTES:

[25] It may be necessary to remind civilians that the rifles of 1857
were muzzle-loading.

[26] It must always be recollected that this was the _second_ relief of
Lucknow. The first was effected by the force under Havelock and Outram
on the 25th September, 1857, and was in fact more of a reinforcement
than a relief.



CHAPTER VII

BAGPIPES AT LUCKNOW--A BEWILDERED BÂBOO--THE FORCED MARCH TO
CAWNPORE--OPIUM--WYNDHAM'S MISTAKE


Since commencing these reminiscences, and more particularly during my
late visit to Lucknow and Cawnpore, I have been asked by several people
about the truth of the story of the Scotch girl and the bagpipes at
Lucknow, and in reply to all such inquiries I can only make the
following answer.

About the time of the anniversary dinner in celebration of the relief of
Lucknow, in September, 1891, some writers in the English papers went so
far as to deny that the Seventy-Eighth Highlanders had their bagpipes
with them at Lucknow, and in _The Calcutta Statesman_ of the 18th of
October, 1891, I wrote a letter contradicting this assertion, which with
the permission of the editor I propose to republish in this chapter. But
I may first mention that on my late visit to Lucknow a friend showed me
a copy of the original edition of _A Personal Narrative of the Siege of
Lucknow_, by L. E. R. Rees, one of the surviving defenders, which I had
never before seen, and on page 224 the following statement is given
regarding the entry of Havelock's force. After describing the prevailing
excitement the writer goes on to say: "The shrill tones of the
Highlanders' bagpipes now pierced our ears; not the most beautiful music
was ever more welcome or more joy-bringing," and so on. Further on, on
page 226: "The enemy found some of us dancing to the sounds of the
Highlanders' pipes. The remembrance of that happy evening will never be
effaced from my memory." While yet again, on page 237, he gives the
story related by me below about the Highland piper putting some of the
enemy's cavalry to flight by a blast from his pipes. So much in proof of
the fact that the Seventy-Eighth Highlanders had their bagpipes with
them, and played them too, at the first relief of Lucknow.

I must now devote a few remarks to the incident of Jessie Brown, which
Grace Campbell has immortalised in the song known as _Jessie's Dream_.
In the _Indian Empire_, by R. Montgomery Martin, vol. ii. page 470,
after denying that this story had its origin in Lucknow, the author
gives the following foot-note: "It was originally a little romance,
written by a French governess at Jersey for the use of her pupils; which
found its way into a Paris paper, thence to the _Jersey Times_, thence
to the London _Times_, December 12th, 1857, and afterwards appeared in
nearly all the journals of the United Kingdom." With regard to this
remark, I am positive that I heard the story in Lucknow in November,
1857, at the same time as I heard the story about the piper frightening
the enemy's _sowars_ with his bagpipes; and it appears a rather
far-fetched theory about a French governess inventing the story in
Jersey. What was the name of this governess, and, above all, why go for
its origin to such an out-of-the-way place as Jersey? I doubt very much
if it was possible for the news of the relief of Lucknow to have reached
Jersey, and for the said French governess to have composed and printed
such a romance in time for its roundabout publication in _The Times_ of
the 12th of December, 1857. This version of the origin of _Jessie's
Dream_ therefore to my thinking carries its own refutation on the face
of it, and I should much like to see the story in its original French
form before I believe it.

Be that as it may, in the letters published in the home papers, and
quoted in _The Calcutta Statesman_ in October, 1891, one lady gave the
positive statement of a certain Mrs. Gaffney, then living in London, who
asserted that she was, if I remember rightly, in the same compartment of
the Residency with Jessie Brown at the very time the latter said that
she heard the bagpipes when dull English ears could detect nothing
besides the accustomed roar of the cannon. Now, I knew Mrs. Gaffney very
well. Her husband, Sergeant Gaffney, served with me in the Commissariat
Department in Peshawur just after the Mutiny, and I was present as his
best man when he married Mrs. Gaffney. I forget now what was the name of
her first husband, but she was a widow when Sergeant Gaffney married
her. I think her first husband was a sergeant of the Company's
Artillery, who was either killed in the defence of the Residency or
died shortly after. However, she became Mrs. Gaffney either in the end
of 1860 or beginning of 1861, and I have often heard her relate the
incident of Jessie Brown's hearing the bagpipes in the underground
cellar, or _tykhâna_, of the Residency, hours before any one would
believe that a force was coming to their relief, when in the words of
J. B. S. Boyle, the garrison were repeating in dull despair the lines so
descriptive of their state:

    No news from the outer world!
    Days, weeks, and months have sped;
    Pent up within our battlements,
    We seem as living dead.

    No news from the outer world!
    Have British soldiers quailed
    Before the rebel mutineers?--
    Has British valour failed?

If the foregoing facts do not convince my readers of the truth of the
origin of _Jessie's Dream_ I cannot give them any more. I am positive on
the point that the Seventy-Eighth Highlanders _had_ their bagpipes and
pipers with them in Lucknow, and that I first heard the story of
_Jessie's Dream_ on the 23rd of November, 1857, on the Dilkooshá heights
before Lucknow. The following is my letter of the 18th of October, 1891,
on the subject, addressed to the editor of _The Calcutta Statesman_.

      SIR,--In an issue of the _Statesman_ of last week
      there was a letter from Deputy-Inspector-General Joseph Jee,
      V.C., C.B., late of the Seventy-Eighth Highlanders
      (Ross-shire Buffs), recopied from an English paper,
      contradicting a report that had been published to the
      effect that the bagpipes of the Seventy-Eighth had been left
      behind at Cawnpore when the regiment went with General
      Havelock to the first relief of Lucknow; and I write to
      support the assertion of Deputy-Inspector-General Jee that
      if any late pipe-major or piper of the old Seventy-Eighth
      has ever made such an assertion, he must be mad! I was not
      in the Seventy-Eighth myself, but in the Ninety-Third, the
      regiment which saved the "Saviours of India" (as the
      Seventy-Eighth were then called), and rescued them from the
      Residency, and I am positive that the Seventy-Eighth had
      their bagpipes and pipers too inside the Residency; for I
      well remember they struck up the same tunes as the pipers of
      the Ninety-Third, on the memorable 16th of November, 1857. I
      recollect the fact as if it were only yesterday. When the
      din of battle had ceased for a time, and the roll of the
      Ninety-Third was being called outside the Secundrabâgh to
      ascertain how many had fallen in that memorable combat,
      which Sir Colin Campbell said had "never been surpassed and
      rarely equalled," Pipe-Major John McLeod called me aside to
      listen to the pipers of the Seventy-Eighth, inside the
      Residency, playing _On wi' the Tartan_, and I could hear the
      pipes quite distinctly, although, except for the practised
      _lug_ of John McLeod, I could not have told the tune.
      However, I don't suppose there are many now living fitter to
      give evidence on the subject than Doctor Jee; but I may
      mention another incident. The morning after the Residency
      was evacuated, I visited the bivouac of the Seventy-Eighth
      near Dilkooshá, to make inquiries about an old school chum
      who had enlisted in the regiment. I found him still alive,
      and he related to me how he had been one of the men who were
      with Dr. Jee collecting the wounded in the streets of
      Lucknow on the 26th of September, and how they had been cut
      off from the main body and besieged in a house the whole
      night, and Dr. Jee was the only officer with the party, and
      that he had been recommended for the Victoria Cross for his
      bravery in defending the place and saving a large number of
      the wounded. I may mention another incident which my friend
      told me, and which has not been so much noticed as the
      Jessie Brown story. It was told to me as a fact at the time,
      and it afterwards appeared in a Glasgow newspaper. It was as
      follows: When Dr. Jee's detachment and the wounded were
      fighting their way to the Residency, a wounded piper and
      three others who had fired their last round of ammunition
      were charged by half-a-dozen rebel _sowars_[27] in a side
      street, and the three men with rifles prepared to defend
      themselves with the bayonet; but as soon as the _sowars_
      were within about twenty paces of the party, the piper
      pointed the drones of his bagpipes straight at them and blew
      such a wild blast that they turned tail and fled like the
      wind, mistaking the bagpipes for some infernal machine! But
      enough of Lucknow. Let us turn to more ancient history. Who
      ever heard of a Highland regiment going into action without
      their bagpipes and pipers, unless the latter were all
      "kilt"? No officer who ever commanded Highlanders knew the
      worth of a good piper better than Colonel John Cameron, "the
      grandson of Lochiel, the valiant Fassifern." And is there a
      Highland soldier worthy of the name who has not heard of his
      famous favourite piper who was shot at Cameron's side when
      playing the charge, while crossing the Nive in face of the
      French? The historian of the Peninsula war relates: "When
      the Ninety-Second Highlanders were in the middle of the
      stream, Colonel Cameron's favourite piper was shot by his
      side. Stooping from his saddle, Fassifern tried to rescue
      the body of the man who had so often cheered the regiment to
      victory, but in vain: the lifeless corpse was swept away by
      the torrent. 'Alas!' cried the brave Cameron, dashing the
      tears from his eyes, 'I would rather have lost twenty
      grenadiers than you.'" Let us next turn to McDonald's
      _Martial Music of Scotland_, and we read: "The bagpipes are
      sacred to Scotland and speak a language which Scotchmen only
      know, and inspire feelings which Scotchmen only feel. Need
      it be told to how many fields of danger and victory the
      warlike strains of the bagpipes have led? There is not a
      battlefield that is honourable to Britain where their
      war-blast has not sounded! When every other instrument has
      been silenced by the confusion and the carnage of the scene,
      the bagpipes have been borne into the thick of battle, and
      many a devoted piper has sounded at once encouragement to
      his clansmen and his own _coronach_!"

    In the garb of old Gaul, with the fire of old Rome,
    From the heath-covered mountains of Scotia we come;
    Our loud-sounding pipe breathes the true martial strain,
    And our hearts still the old Scottish valour retain.

We rested at the Alumbâgh on the 26th of November, but early on the 27th
we understood something had gone wrong in our rear, because, as usual
with Sir Colin when he contemplated a forced march, we were served out
with three days' rations and double ammunition,--sixty rounds in our
pouches and sixty in our haversacks; and by two o'clock in the afternoon
the whole of the women and children, all the sick and wounded, in every
conceivable kind of conveyance, were in full retreat towards Cawnpore.
General Outram's Division being made up to four thousand men was left in
the Alumbâgh to hold the enemy in check, and to show them that Lucknow
was not abandoned, while three thousand fighting men, to guard over two
thousand women and children, sick and wounded, commenced their march
southwards. So far as I can remember the Third and Fifth Punjâb Infantry
formed the infantry of the advance-guard; the Ninth Lancers and Horse
Artillery supplied the flanking parties; while the rear guard, being the
post of honour, was given to the Ninety-Third, a troop of the Ninth
Lancers and Bourchier's light field-battery, No. 17 of the Honourable
East India Company's artillery. We started from the Alumbâgh late in the
afternoon, and reached Bunnee Bridge, seventeen miles from Lucknow,
about 11 P.M. Here the regiment halted till daylight on the
morning of the 28th of November, but the advance-guard with the women
and children, sick and wounded, had been moving since 2 A.M.

As already mentioned, all the subaltern officers in my company were
wounded, and I was told off, with a guard of about twenty men, to see
all the baggage-carts across Bunnee Bridge and on their way to Cawnpore.
While I was on this duty an amusing incident happened. A commissariat
cart, a common country hackery, loaded with biscuits, got upset, and its
wheel broke just as we were moving it on to the road. The only person
near it belonging to the Commissariat Department was a young _bâboo_
named Hera Lâll Chatterjee, a boy of about seventeen or eighteen years
of age, who defended his charge as long as he could, but he was soon put
on one side, the biscuits-bags were ripped open, and the men commenced
filling their haversacks from them. Just at this time, an escort of the
Ninth Lancers, with some staff-officers, rode up from the rear. It was
the Commander-in-Chief and his staff. Hera Lâll seeing him rushed up and
called out: "O my Lord, you are my father and my mother! what shall I
tell you! These wild Highlanders will not hear me, but are stealing
commissariat biscuits like fine fun." Sir Colin pulled up, and asked the
_bâboo_ if there was no officer present; to which Hera Lâll replied, "No
officer, sir, only one corporal, and he tell me, 'Shut up, or I'll shoot
you, same like rebel mutineer!'" Hearing this I stepped out of the crowd
and saluting Sir Colin, told him that all the officers of my company
were wounded except Captain Dawson, who was in front; that I and a party
of men had been left to see the last of the carts on to the road; that
this cart had broken down, and as there was no other means of carrying
the biscuits, the men had filled their haversacks with them rather than
leave them on the ground. On hearing that, Hera Lâll again came to the
front with clasped hands, saying: "O my Lord, if one cart of biscuits
short, Major Fitzgerald not listen to me, but will order thirty lashes
with provost-marshal's cat! What can a poor _bâboo_ do with such wild
Highlanders?" Sir Colin replied: "Yes, _bâboo_, I know these Highlanders
are very wild fellows when hungry; let them have the biscuits;" and
turning to one of the staff, he directed him to give a voucher to the
_bâboo_ that a cart loaded with biscuits had broken down and the
contents had been divided among the rear-guard by order of the
Commander-in-Chief. Sir Colin then turned to us and said: "Men, I give
you the biscuits; divide them with your comrades in front; but you must
promise me should a cart loaded with rum break down, you will not
interfere with it." We all replied: "No, no, Sir Colin, if rum breaks
down we'll not touch it." "All right," said Sir Colin, "remember I trust
you," and looking round he said, "I know every one of you," and rode on.
We very soon found room for the biscuits, until we got up to the rest of
the company, when we honestly shared them. I may add that _bâboo_ Hera
Lâll Chatterjee is still living, and is the only native employé I know
who served through the second relief of Lucknow. He now holds the post
of cashier in the offices of Messrs. McNeill and Co., of Clive Ghât
Street, Calcutta, which doubtless he finds more congenial employment
than defending commissariat stores from hungry wild Highlanders, with
the prospect of the provost-marshal's cat as the only reward for doing
his best to defend his charge.

About five miles farther on a general halt was made for a short rest and
for all stragglers to come up. Sir Colin himself, being still with the
column, ordered the Ninety-Third to form up, and, calling the officers
to the front, he made the first announcement to the regiment that
General Wyndham had been attacked by the Nânâ Sâhib and the Gwalior
Contingent in Cawnpore; that his force had been obliged to retire within
the fort at the head of the bridge of boats, and that we must reach
Cawnpore that night, because, if the bridge of boats should be captured
before we got there, we would be cut off in Oude with fifty thousand of
our enemies in our rear, a well-equipped army of forty thousand men,
with a powerful train of artillery numbering over forty siege guns, in
our front, and with all the women and children, sick and wounded, to
guard. "So, Ninety-Third," said the grand old Chief, "I don't ask you to
undertake this forced march, in your present tired condition, without
good reason. You must reach Cawnpore to-night at all costs." And, as
usual, when he took the men into his confidence, he was answered from
the ranks, "All right, Sir Colin, we'll do it." To which he replied,
"Very well, Ninety-Third, remember I depend on you." And he and his
staff and escort rode on.

By this time we could plainly hear the guns of the Gwalior Contingent
bombarding General Wyndham's position in Cawnpore; and although terribly
footsore and tired, not having had our clothes off, nor a change of
socks, since the 10th of the month (now eighteen days) we trudged on our
weary march, every mile making the roar of the guns in front more
audible. I may remark here that there is nothing to rouse tired soldiers
like a good cannonade in front; it is the best tonic out! Even the
youngest soldier who has once been under fire, and can distinguish the
sound of a shotted gun from blank, pricks up his ears at the sound and
steps out with a firmer tread and a more erect bearing.

I shall never forget the misery of that march! However, we reached the
sands on the banks of the Ganges, on the Oude side of the river opposite
Cawnpore, just as the sun was setting, having covered the forty-seven
miles under thirty hours. Of course the great hardship of the march was
caused by our worn-out state after eighteen days' continual duty,
without a change of clothes or our accoutrements off. And when we got in
sight of Cawnpore, the first thing we saw was the enemy on the opposite
side of the river from us, making bonfires of our spare kits and baggage
which had been left at Cawnpore when we advanced for the relief of
Lucknow! Tired as we were, we assisted to drag Peel's heavy guns into
position on the banks of the river, whence the Blue-jackets opened fire
on the left flank of the enemy, the bonfires of our spare baggage being
a fine mark for them.

Just as the Nânâ Sâhib had got his first gun to bear on the bridge of
boats, that gun was struck on the side by one of Peel's 24-pounders and
upset, and an 8-inch shell from one of his howitzers bursting in the
midst of a crowd of them, we could see them bolting helter-skelter.
This put a stop to their game for the night, and we lay down and rested
on the sands till daybreak next morning, the 29th of November.

I must mention here an experience of my own which I always recall to
mind when I read some of the insane ravings of the Anti-Opium Society
against the use of that drug. I was so completely tired out by that
terrible march that after I had lain down for about half an hour I
positively could not stand up, I was so stiff and worn out. Having been
on duty as orderly corporal before leaving the Alumbâgh, I had been much
longer on my feet than the rest of the men; in fact, I was tired out
before we started on our march on the afternoon of the 27th, and now,
after having covered forty-seven miles under thirty hours, my condition
can be better imagined than described. After I became cold, I grew so
stiff that I positively could not use my legs. Now Captain Dawson had a
native servant, an old man named Hyder Khân, who had been an officers'
servant all his life, and had been through many campaigns. I had made a
friend of old Hyder before we left Chinsurah, and he did not forget me.
Having ridden the greater part of the march on the camel carrying his
master's baggage, Hyder was comparatively fresh when he got into camp,
and about the time our canteen-sergeant got up and was calling for
orderly-corporals to draw grog for the men, old Hyder came looking for
me, and when he saw my tired state, he said, in his camp English:
"Corporal _sâhib_, you God-damn tired; don't drink grog. Old Hyder give
you something damn much better than grog for tired mans." With that he
went away, but shortly after returned, and gave me a small pill, which
he told me was opium, and about half a pint of hot tea, which he had
prepared for himself and his master. I swallowed the pill and drank the
tea, and _in less than ten minutes_ I felt myself so much refreshed as
to be able to get up and draw the grog for the men of the company and to
serve it out to them while the colour-sergeant called the roll. I then
lay down, rolled up in my sepoy officer's quilt, which I had carried
from the Shâh Nujeef, and had a sound refreshing sleep till next
morning, and then got up so much restored that, except for the sores on
my feet from broken blisters, I could have undertaken another forty-mile
march. I always recall this experience when I read many of the ignorant
arguments of the Anti-Opium Society, who would, if they had the power,
compel the Government to deprive every hard-worked _coolie_ of the only
solace in his life of toil. I am certainly not an opium-eater, and the
abuse of opium may be injurious, as is the abuse of anything; but I am
so convinced in my own mind of the beneficial effects of the temperate
use of the drug, that if I were the general of an army after a forced
march like that of the retreat from Lucknow to the relief of Cawnpore, I
would make the Medical Department give every man a pill of opium and
half a pint of hot tea, instead of rum or liquor of any sort! I hate
drunkenness as much as anybody, but I have no sympathy with what I may
call the intemperate temperance of most of our teetotallers and the
Anti-Opium Society. My experience has been as great and as varied as
that of most Europeans in India, and that experience has led me to the
conviction that the members of the Anti-Opium Society are either
culpably ignorant of facts, or dishonest in the way they represent what
they wish others to believe to be facts. Most of the assertions made
about the Government connection with opium being a hindrance to
mission-work and the spread of Christianity, are gross exaggerations not
borne out by experience, and the opium slave and the opium den, as
depicted in much of the literature on this subject, have no existence
except in the distorted imagination of the writers. But I shall have
some more observations to make on this score elsewhere, and some
evidence to bring forward in support of them.[28]

Early on the morning of the 29th of November the Ninety-Third crossed
the bridge of boats, and it was well that Sir Colin had returned so
promptly from Lucknow to the relief of Cawnpore, for General Wyndham's
troops were not only beaten and cowed,--they were utterly demoralised.

When the Commander-in-Chief left Cawnpore for Lucknow, General Wyndham,
known as the "Hero of the Redan," was left in command at Cawnpore with
instructions to strengthen his position by every means, and to detain
all detachments arriving from Calcutta after the 10th of November,
because it was known that the Gwalior Contingent were in great force
somewhere across the Jumna, and there was every probability that they
would either attack Cawnpore, or cross into Oude to fall on the rear of
the Commander-in-Chief's force to prevent the relief of Lucknow. But
strict orders were given to General Wyndham that he was _on no account_
to move out of Cawnpore, should the Gwalior Contingent advance on his
position, but to act on the defensive, and to hold his entrenchments and
guard the bridge of boats at all hazards. By that time the entrenchment
or mud fort at the Cawnpore end of the bridge, where the Government
Harness and Saddlery Factory now stands, had become a place of
considerable strength under the able direction of Captain Mowbray
Thomson, one of the four survivors of General Wheeler's force. Captain
Thomson had over four thousand _coolies_ daily employed on the defences
from daybreak till dark, and he was a most energetic officer himself, so
that by the time we passed through Cawnpore for the relief of Lucknow
this position had become quite a strong fortification, especially when
compared with the miserable apology for an entrenchment so gallantly
defended by General Wheeler's small force and won from him by such black
treachery. When we advanced for the relief of Lucknow, all our spare
baggage, five hundred new tents, and a great quantity of clothing for
the troops coming down from Delhi, were shut up in Cawnpore, with a
large quantity of spare ammunition, harness, and saddlery; in brief,
property to the value of over five _lakhs_ of rupees was left stored in
the church and in the houses which were still standing near the church
between the town and the river, a short distance from the house in which
the women and children were murdered. All this property, as already
mentioned, fell into the hands of the Gwalior Contingent, and we
returned just in time to see them making bonfires of what they could not
use. Colonel Sir Robert Napier (afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala) lost
all the records of his long service, and many valuable engineering
papers which could never be replaced. As for us of the Ninety-Third, we
lost all our spare kits, and were now without a chance of a change of
underclothing or socks. Let all who may read this consider what it meant
to us, who had not changed our clothes from the 10th of the month, and
how, on the morning of the 29th, the sight of the enemy making bonfires
of our kits, just as we were within reach of them, could hardly have
been soothing to contemplate.

But to return to General Wyndham's force. By the 26th of November it
numbered two thousand four hundred men, according to Colonel Adye's
_Defence of Cawnpore_; and when he heard of the advance of the Nânâ
Sâhib at the head of the Gwalior Contingent, Wyndham considered himself
strong enough to disobey the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, and moved
out of his entrenchment to give them battle, encountering their advance
guard at Pândoo Nuddee about seven miles from Cawnpore. He at once
attacked and drove it back through a village in its rear; but behind
the village he found himself confronted by an army of over forty
thousand men, twenty-five thousand of them being the famous Gwalior
Contingent, the best disciplined troops in India, which had never been
beaten and considered themselves invincible, and which, in addition to a
siege train of thirty heavy guns, 24 and 32-pounders, had a
well-appointed and well-drilled field-artillery. General Wyndham now saw
his mistake, and gave the order for retreat. His small force retired in
good order, and encamped on the plain outside Cawnpore on the Bithoor
road for the night, to find itself outflanked and almost surrounded by
Tântia Topee and his Mahrattas on the morning of the 27th; and at the
end of five hours' fighting a general retreat into the fort had again to
be ordered.

The retiring force was overwhelmed by a murderous cannonade, and, being
largely composed of young soldiers, a panic ensued. The men got out of
hand, and fled for the fort with a loss of over three hundred,--mostly
killed, because the wounded who fell into the hands of the enemy were
cut to pieces,--and several guns. The Rev. Mr. Moore, Church of England
Chaplain with General Wyndham's force, gave a very sad picture of the
panic in which the men fled for the fort, and his description was borne
out by what I saw myself when we passed through the fort on the morning
of the 29th. Mr. Moore said: "The men got quite out of hand and fled
pell-mell for the fort. An old Sikh _sirdâr_ at the gate tried to stop
them, and to form them up in some order, and when they pushed him aside
and rushed past him, he lifted up his hands and said, 'You are not the
brothers of the men who beat the Khâlsa army and conquered the Punjâb!'"
Mr. Moore went on to say that, "The old Sikh followed the flying men
through the Fort Gate, and patting some of them on the back said, 'Don't
run, don't be afraid, there is nothing to hurt you!'" The fact is the
men were mostly young soldiers, belonging to many different regiments,
simply battalions of detachments. They were crushed by the heavy and
well-served artillery of the enemy, and if the truth must be told, they
had no confidence in their commander, who was a brave soldier, but no
general; so when the men were once seized with panic, there was no
stopping them. The only regiment, or rather part of a regiment, for they
only numbered fourteen officers of all ranks and a hundred and sixty
men, which behaved well, was the old Sixty-Fourth, and two companies of
the Thirty-Fourth and Eighty-Second, making up a weak battalion of
barely three hundred. This was led by brave old Brigadier Wilson, who
held them in hand until he brought them forward to cover the retreat,
which he did with a loss of seven officers killed and two wounded,
eighteen men of the Sixty-Fourth killed and twenty-five wounded, with
equally heavy proportions killed and wounded from the companies of the
Thirty-Fourth and Eighty-Second. Brigadier Wilson first had his horse
shot, and was then himself killed, while urging the men to maintain the
honour of the regiment. The command then devolved on Major Stirling,
one of the Sixty-Fourth, who was cut down in the act of spiking one of
the enemy's guns, and Captain M'Crea of the same regiment was also cut
down just as he had spiked his fourth gun. This charge, and these
individual acts of bravery, retarded the advance of the enemy till some
sort of order had been re-established inside the fort. The Sixty-Fourth
were then driven back, and obliged to leave their dead.

This then was the state of matters when we reached Cawnpore from
Lucknow. The whole of our spare baggage was captured: the city of
Cawnpore and the whole of the river-side up to the house where the Nânâ
had slaughtered the women and children were in the hands of the enemy;
but they had not yet injured the bridge of boats, nor crossed the canal,
and the road to Allahabad still remained open.

We marched through the fort, and took up ground near where the jute mill
of Messrs. Beer Brothers and Co. and Joe Lee's hotel now stand. We
crossed the bridge without any loss except one officer, who was slightly
wounded by being struck on the shin by a spent bullet from a charge of
grape. He was a long slender youth of about sixteen or seventeen years
of age, whom the men had named "Jack Straw." He was knocked down just as
we cleared the bridge of boats, among the blood of some camp-followers
who had been killed by the bursting of a shell just in front of us.
Sergeant Paton, of my company, picked him up, and put him into an empty
_dooly_ which was passing.

During the day a piquet of one sergeant, one corporal, and about twenty
men, under command of Lieutenant Stirling, who was afterwards killed on
the 5th of December, was sent out to bring in the body of Brigadier
Wilson, and a man named Doran, of the Sixty-Fourth, who had gone up to
Lucknow in the Volunteer Cavalry, and had there done good service and
returned with our force, volunteered to go out with them to identify the
brigadier's body, because there were many more killed near the same
place, and their corpses having been stripped, they could not be
identified by their uniform, and it would have been impossible to have
brought in all without serious loss. The party reached the brigadier's
body without apparently attracting the attention of the enemy; but just
as two men, Rule of my regiment and Patrick Doran, were lifting it into
the _dooly_ they were seen, and the enemy opened fire on them. A bullet
struck Doran and went right through his body from side to side, without
touching any of the vital organs, just as he was bending down to lift
the brigadier--a most extraordinary wound! If the bullet had deviated a
hair's-breadth to either side, the wound must have been mortal, but
Doran was able to walk back to the fort, and lived for many years after
taking his discharge from the regiment.

During the time that this piquet was engaged the Blue-jackets of Peel's
Brigade and our heavy artillery had taken up positions in front of the
fort, and showed the gunners of the Gwalior Contingent that they were no
longer confronted by raw inexperienced troops. By the afternoon of the
29th of November, the whole of the women and children and sick and
wounded from Lucknow had crossed the Ganges, and encamped behind the
Ninety-Third on the Allahabad road, and here I will leave them and close
this chapter.

FOOTNOTES:

[27] Native cavalry troopers.

[28] See Appendix D.



CHAPTER VIII

ANECDOTES--ACTION WITH THE GWALIOR CONTINGENT--ITS DEFEAT--PURSUIT OF
THE NÂNÂ--BITHOOR--JOHN LANG AND JOTEE PERSHÂD


So far as I now remember, the 30th of November, 1857, passed without any
movement on the part of the enemy, and the Commander-in-Chief, in his
letter describing the state of affairs to the Governor-General, said, "I
am obliged to submit to the hostile occupation of Cawnpore until the
actual despatch of all my incumbrances towards Allahabad is effected."
As stated in the last chapter, when our tents came up our camp was
pitched (as near as I can now make out from the altered state of
Cawnpore), about the spot where Joe Lee's hotel and the jute mill of
Messrs. Beer Brothers and Co. now stand. St. Andrew's day and evening
passed without molestation, except that strong piquets lined the canal
and guarded our left and rear from surprise, and the men in camp slept
accoutred, ready to turn out at the least alarm. But during the night,
or early on the morning of the 1st of December, the enemy had quietly
advanced some guns, unseen by our piquets, right up to the Cawnpore side
of the canal, and suddenly opened fire on the Ninety-Third just as we
were falling in for muster-parade, sending round-shot and shell right
through our tents. One shrapnel shell burst right in the centre of
Captain Cornwall's company severely wounding the captain,
Colour-Sergeant M'Intyre, and five men, but not killing any one.

Captain Cornwall was the oldest officer in the regiment, even an older
soldier than Colonel Leith-Hay who had then commanded it for over three
years, and for long he had been named by the men "Old Daddy Cornwall."
He was poor, and had been unable to purchase promotion, and in
consequence was still a captain with over thirty-five years' service.
The bursting of the shell right over his head stunned the old gentleman,
and a bullet from it went through his shoulder breaking his collar-bone
and cutting a deep furrow down his back. The old man was rather stout
and very short-sighted; the shock of the fall stunned him for some time,
and before he regained his senses Dr. Munro had cut the bullet out of
his back and bandaged up his wound as well as possible. Daddy came to
himself just as the men were lifting him into a _dooly_. Seeing Dr.
Munro standing by with the bullet in his hand, about to present it to
him as a memento of Cawnpore, Daddy gasped out, "Munro, is my wound
dangerous?" "No, Cornwall," was the answer, "not if you don't excite
yourself into a fever; you will get over it all right." The next
question put was, "Is the road clear to Allahabad?" To which Munro
replied that it was, and that he hoped to have all the sick and wounded
sent down country within a day or two. "Then by----" said Daddy, with
considerable emphasis, "I'm off." The poor old fellow had through long
disappointment become like our soldiers in Flanders,--he sometimes
swore; but considering how promotion had passed over him, that was
perhaps excusable. All this occupied far less time than it takes to
write it, and I may as well here finish the history of Daddy Cornwall
before I leave him. He went home in the same vessel as a rich widow,
whom he married on arrival in Dublin, his native place, the corporation
of which presented him with a valuable sword and the freedom of the
city. The death of Brigadier-General Hope in the following April gave
Captain Cornwall his majority without purchase, and he returned to India
in the end of 1859 to command the regiment for about nine months,
retiring from the army in 1860, when we lay at Rawul Pindee.

But I must return to my story. Being shelled out of our tents, the
regiment was advanced to the side of the canal under cover of the mud
walls of what had formerly been the sepoy lines, in which we took
shelter from the fire of the enemy. Later in the day Colonel Ewart lost
his left arm by a round-shot striking him on the elbow just as he had
dismounted from his charger on his return from visiting the piquets on
the left and rear of our position, he being the field-officer for the
day. This caused universal regret in the regiment, Ewart being the most
popular officer in it.

By the evening of the 3rd of December the whole of the women and
children, and as many of the wounded as could bear to be moved, were on
their way to Allahabad; and during the 4th and 5th reinforcements
reached Cawnpore from England, among them our old comrades of the
Forty-Second whom we had left at Dover in May. We were right glad to see
them, on the morning of the 5th December, marching in with bagpipes
playing, which was the first intimation we had of another Highland
regiment being near us. These reinforcements raised the force under Sir
Colin Campbell to five thousand infantry, six hundred cavalry, and
thirty-five guns.

Early on the morning of the 6th of December we struck our tents, which
were loaded on elephants, and marched to a place of safety behind the
fort on the river bank, whilst we formed up in rear of the unroofed
barracks--the Forty-Second, Fifty-Third, Ninety-Third, and Fourth Punjâb
Infantry, with Peel's Brigade and several batteries of artillery, among
them Colonel Bourchier's light field-battery (No. 17 of the old
Company's European artillery), a most daring lot of fellows, the Ninth
Lancers, and one squadron of Hodson's Horse under command of Lieutenant
Gough,[29] a worthy pupil of a famous master. This detachment of
Hodson's Horse had come down with Sir Hope Grant from Delhi, and served
at the final relief of Lucknow and the retreat to the succour of
Cawnpore. The headquarters of the regiment under its famous commander
had been left with Brigadier Showers.

As this force was formed up in columns, masked from the view of the
enemy by the barracks on the plain of Cawnpore, the Commander-in-Chief
rode up, and told us that he had just got a telegram informing him of
the safe arrival of the women and children, sick and wounded, at
Allahabad, and that now we were to give battle to the famous Gwalior
Contingent, consisting of twenty-five thousand well-disciplined troops,
with about ten thousand of the Nânâ Sâhib's Mahrattas and all the
_budmâshes_ of Cawnpore, Calpee, and Gwalior, under command of the Nânâ
in person, who had proclaimed himself Peishwa and Chief of the Mahratta
power, with Tântia Topee, Bâlâ Sâhib (the Nânâ's brother), and Râja Koor
Sing, the Râjpoot Chief of Judgdespore, as divisional commanders, and
with all the native officers of the Gwalior Contingent as brigade and
regimental commanders. Sir Colin also warned us that there was a large
quantity of rum in the enemy's camp, which we must carefully avoid,
because it was reported to have been drugged. "But, Ninety-Third," he
continued, "I trust you. The supernumerary rank will see that no man
breaks the ranks, and I have ordered the rum to be destroyed as soon as
the camp is taken."

The Chief then rode on to the other regiments and as soon as he had
addressed a short speech to each, a signal was sent up from Peel's
rocket battery, and General Wyndham opened the ball on his side with
every gun at his disposal, attacking the enemy's left between the city
and the river. Sir Colin himself led the advance, the Fifty-Third and
Fourth Punjâb Infantry in skirmishing order, with the Ninety-Third in
line, the cavalry on our left, and Peel's guns and the horse-artillery
at intervals, with the Forty-Second in the second line for our support.

Directly we emerged from the shelter of the buildings which had masked
our formation, the piquets fell back, the skirmishers advanced at the
double, and the enemy opened a tremendous cannonade on us with
round-shot, shell, and grape. But, nothing daunted, our skirmishers soon
lined the canal, and our line advanced, with the pipers playing and the
colours in front of the centre company, without the least
wavering,--except now and then opening out to let through the round-shot
which were falling in front, and rebounding along the hard
ground-determined to show the Gwalior Contingent that they had different
men to meet from those whom they had encountered under Wyndham a week
before. By the time we reached the canal, Peel's Blue-jackets were
calling out--"Damn these cow horses," meaning the gun-bullocks, "they're
too slow! Come, you Ninety-Third, give us a hand with the drag-ropes as
you did at Lucknow!" We were then well under the range of the enemy's
guns, and the excitement was at its height. A company of the
Ninety-Third slung their rifles, and dashed to the assistance of the
Blue-jackets. The bullocks were cast adrift, and the native drivers were
not slow in going to the rear. The drag-ropes were manned, and the
24-pounders wheeled abreast of the first line of skirmishers just as if
they had been light field-pieces.

When we reached the bank the infantry paused for a moment to see if the
canal could be forded or if we should have to cross by the bridge over
which the light field-battery were passing at the gallop, and
unlimbering and opening fire, as soon as they cleared the head of the
bridge, to protect our advance. At this juncture the enemy opened on us
with grape and canister shot, but they fired high and did us but little
damage. As the peculiar _whish_ (a sound when once heard never to be
forgotten) of the grape was going over our heads, the Blue-jackets gave
a ringing cheer for the "Red, white, and blue!" While the Ninety-Third,
led off by Sergeant Daniel White, struck up _The Battle of the Alma_, a
song composed in the Crimea by Corporal John Brown of the Grenadier
Guards, and often sung round the camp-fires in front of Sebastopol. I
here give the words, not for their literary merit, but to show the
spirit of the men who could thus sing going into action in the teeth of
the fire of thirty well-served, although not very correctly-aimed guns,
to encounter a force of more than ten to one. Just as the Blue-jackets
gave their hurrah for the "Red, white, and blue," Dan White struck up
the song, and the whole line, including the skirmishers of the
Fifty-Third and the sailors, joined in the stirring patriotic tune,
which is a first-rate quick march:

    Come, all you gallant British hearts
      Who love the Red and Blue,[30]
    Come, drink a health to those brave lads
      Who made the Russians rue.
    Fill up your glass and let it pass,
      Three cheers, and one cheer more,
    For the fourteenth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    We sailed from Kalimita Bay,
      And soon we made the coast,
    Determined we would do our best
      In spite of brag and boast.
    We sprang to land upon the strand,
      And slept on Russian shore,
    On the fourteenth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    We marched along until we came
      Upon the Alma's banks,
    We halted just beneath their guns
      To breathe and close our ranks.
    "Advance!" we heard, and at the word
      Right through the brook we bore,
    On the twentieth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    We scrambled through the clustering vines,
      Then came the battle's brunt;
    Our officers, they cheered us on,
      Our colours waved in front;
    And fighting well full many fell,
      Alas! to rise no more,
    On the twentieth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    The French were on the right that day,
      And flanked the Russian line,
    While full upon their left they saw
      The British bayonets shine.
    With hearty cheers we stunned their ears,
      Amidst the cannon's roar,
    On the twentieth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    A picnic party Menschikoff
      Had asked to see the fun;
    The ladies came at twelve o'clock
      To see the battle won.
    They found the day too hot to stay,
      The Prince felt rather sore,
    On the twentieth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    For when he called his carriage up,
      The French came up likewise;
    And so he took French leave at once
      And left to them the prize.
    The Chasseurs took his pocket-book,
      They even sacked his store,
    On the twentieth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    A letter to Old Nick they found,
      And this was what it said:
    "To meet their bravest men, my liege,
      Your soldiers do not dread;
    But devils they, not mortal men,"
      The Russian General swore,
    "That drove us off the Alma's heights
      In September, fifty-four."

    Long life to Royal Cambridge,
      To Peel and Camperdown,
    And all the gallant British Tars
      Who shared the great renown,
    Who stunned Russian ears with British cheers,
      Amidst the cannon's roar,
    On the twentieth of September,
      Eighteen hundred and fifty-four.

    Here's a health to noble Raglan,
      To Campbell and to Brown,
    And all the gallant Frenchmen
      Who shared that day's renown.
    Whilst we displayed the black cockade,
      They the tricolour bore;
    The Russian crew wore gray and blue
      In September, fifty-four.

    Come, let us drink a toast to-night,
      Our glasses take in hand,
    And all around this festive board
      In solemn silence stand.
    Before we part let each true heart
      Drink once to those no more,
    Who fought their last fight on Alma's height
      In September, fifty-four!

Around our bivouac fires that night as _The Battle of the Alma_ was sung
again, Daniel White told us that when the Blue-jackets commenced
cheering under the hail of grape-shot, he remembered that the Scots
Greys and Ninety-Second Highlanders had charged at Waterloo singing
_Bruce's Address at Bannockburn_, "Scots wha hae," and trying to think
of something equally appropriate in which Peel's Brigade might join, he
could not at the moment recall anything better than the old Crimean song
aforesaid.

After clearing the canal and re-forming our ranks, we came under shelter
of a range of brick kilns behind which stood the camp of the enemy, and
behind the camp their infantry were drawn up in columns, not deployed in
line. The rum against which Sir Colin had warned us was in front of the
camp, casks standing on end with the heads knocked out for convenience;
and there is no doubt but the enemy expected the Europeans would break
their ranks when they saw the rum, and had formed up their columns to
fall on us in the event of such a contingency. But the Ninety-Third
marched right on past the rum barrels, and the supernumerary rank soon
upset the casks, leaving the contents to soak into the dry ground.

As soon as we cleared the camp, our line of infantry was halted. Up to
that time, except the skirmishers, we had not fired a shot, and we could
not understand the reason of the halt till we saw the Ninth Lancers and
the detachment of Hodson's Horse galloping round some fields of tall
sugar-cane on the left, masking the light field-battery. When the enemy
saw the tips of the lances (they evidently did not see the guns) they
quickly formed squares of brigades. They were armed with the old musket,
"Brown Bess," and did not open fire till the cavalry were within about
three hundred yards. Just as they commenced to fire, we could hear Sir
Hope Grant, in a voice as loud as a trumpet, give the command to the
cavalry, "Squadrons, outwards!" while Bourchier gave the order to his
gunners, "Action, front!" The cavalry wheeled as if they had been at a
review on the Calcutta parade-ground; the guns, having previously been
charged with grape, were swung round, unlimbered as quick as lightning
within about two hundred and fifty yards of the squares, and round after
round of grape was poured into the enemy with murderous effect, every
charge going right through, leaving a lane of dead from four to five
yards wide. By this time our line was advanced close up behind the
battery, and we could see the mounted officers of the enemy, as soon as
they caught sight of the guns, dash out of the squares and fly like
lightning across the plain. Directly the squares were broken, our
cavalry charged, while the infantry advanced at the double with the
bayonet. The battle was won, and the famous Gwalior Contingent was a
flying rabble, although the struggle was protracted in a series of
hand-to-hand fights all over the plain, no quarter being given. Peel's
guns were wheeled up, as already mentioned, as if they had been
6-pounders, and the left wing of the enemy taken in rear and their
retreat on the Calpee road cut off. What escaped of their right wing
fled along this road. The cavalry and horse-artillery led by Sir Colin
Campbell in person, the whole of the Fifty-Third, the Fourth Punjâb
Infantry, and two companies of the Ninety-Third, pursued the flying mass
for fourteen miles. The rebels, being cut down by hundreds wherever they
attempted to rally for a stand, at length threw away their arms and
accoutrements to expedite their flight, for none were spared,--"neither
the sick man in his weakness, nor the strong man in his strength," to
quote the words of Colonel Alison. The evening closed with the total
rout of the enemy, and the capture of his camp, the whole of his
ordnance-park, containing a large quantity of ammunition and thirty-two
guns of sizes, siege-train, and field-artillery, with a loss of only
ninety-nine killed and wounded on our side.

As night fell, large bodies of the left wing of the enemy were seen
retreating from the city between our piquets and the Ganges, but we were
too weary and too few in number to intercept them, and they retired
along the Bithoor road. About midnight the force which had followed the
enemy along the Calpee road returned, bringing in a large number of
ammunition-waggons and baggage-carts, the bullocks driven by our men,
and those not engaged in driving sitting on the waggons or carts, too
tired and footsore to walk. We rested hungry and exhausted, but a man of
my company, named Bill Summers, captured a little pack-bullock loaded
with two bales of stuff which turned out to be fine soft woollen socks
of Loodiana manufacture, sufficient to give every man in the company
three pairs,--a real godsend for us, since at that moment there was
nothing we stood more in need of than socks; and as no commissariat had
come up from the rear, we slaughtered the bullock and cut it into
steaks, which we broiled on the tips of our ramrods around the bivouac
fires. Thus we passed the night of the 6th of December, 1857.

Early on the morning of the 7th a force was sent into the city of
Cawnpore, and patrolled it from end to end, east, west, north, and
south. Not only did we meet no enemy, but many of the townspeople
brought out food and water to our men, appearing very glad to see us.

During the afternoon our tents came up from the rear, and were pitched
by the side of the Grand Trunk road, and the Forty-Second being put on
duty that night, we of the Fifty-Third and Ninety-Third were allowed to
take our accoutrements off for the first night's sleep without them
since the 10th of November--seven and twenty days! Our spare kits
having all vanished with the enemy, as told in the last chapter, our
quarter-master collected from the captured baggage all the underclothing
and socks he could lay hands on. Thanks to Bill Summers and the little
pack-bullock, my company got a change of socks; but there was more work
before us before we got a bath or a change of shirts.

About noon on the 8th the Commander-in-Chief, accompanied by Sir Hope
Grant and Brigadier Adrian Hope, had our brigade turned out, and as soon
as Sir Colin rode in among us we knew there was work to be done. He
called the officers to the front, and addressing them in the hearing of
the men, told them that the Nânâ Sâhib had passed through Bithoor with a
large number of men and seventeen guns, and that we must all prepare for
another forced march to overtake him and capture these guns before he
could either reach Futtehghur or cross into Oude with them. After
stating that the camp would be struck as soon as we had got our dinners,
the Commander-in-Chief and Sir Hope Grant held a short but animated
conversation, which I have always thought was a prearranged matter
between them for our encouragement. In the full hearing of the men, Sir
Hope Grant turned to the Commander-in-Chief, and said, in rather a loud
tone: "I'm afraid, your Excellency, this march will prove a wild-goose
chase, because the infantry, in their present tired state, will never be
able to keep up with the cavalry." On this, Sir Colin turned round in
his saddle, and looking straight at us, replied in a tone equally loud,
so as to be heard by all the men: "I tell you, General Grant, you are
wrong. You don't know these men; these Highlanders will march your
cavalry blind." And turning to the men, as if expecting to be
corroborated by them, he was answered by over a dozen voices, "Ay, ay,
Sir Colin, we'll show them what we can do!"

As soon as dinner was over we struck tents, loaded them on the
elephants, and by two o'clock P.M. were on the march along the Grand
Trunk road. By sunset we had covered fifteen miles from Cawnpore. Here
we halted, lit fires, cooked tea, served out grog, and after a rest of
three hours, to feed and water the horses as much as to rest the men, we
were off again. By five A.M. on the 9th of December we had
reached the thirtieth mile from the place where we started, and the
scouts brought word to the general that we were ahead of the flying
enemy. We then turned off the road to our right in the direction of the
Ganges, and by eight o'clock came in sight of the enemy at Serai _ghât_,
a ferry twenty-five miles above Cawnpore, preparing to embark the guns
of which we were in pursuit.

Our cavalry and horse-artillery at once galloped to the front through
ploughed fields, and opened fire on the boats. The enemy returned the
fire, and some Mahratta cavalry made a dash at the guns, but their
charge was met by the Ninth Lancers and the detachment of Hodson's
Horse, and a number of them cut down. Seeing the infantry advancing in
line, the enemy broke and fled for the boats, leaving all their fifteen
guns, a large number of ordnance waggons loaded with ammunition, and a
hundred carts filled with their baggage and the plunder of Cawnpore. Our
horse-artillery and infantry advanced right up to the banks of the river
and kept up a hot fire on the retreating boats, swamping a great number
of them. The Nânâ Sâhib was among this lot; but the spies reported that
his boat was the first to put off, and he gained the Oude side in
safety, though some thousands of his Mahratta rebels must have been
drowned or killed. This was some return we felt for his treachery at
Suttee Chowrah _ghât_ six months before. It was now our turn to be
peppering the flying boats! There were a number of women and children
left by the routed rebels among their baggage-carts; they evidently
expected to be killed, but were escorted to a village in our rear, and
left there. We showed them that we had come to war with men--not to
butcher women! By the afternoon we had dragged the whole of the captured
guns back from the river, and our tents coming up under the rear-guard,
we encamped for the night, glad enough to get a rest.

On the morning of the 10th our quarter-master divided among us a lot of
shirts and underclothing, mostly what the enemy had captured at
Cawnpore, a great part of which we had now recovered; and we were
allowed to go by wings to undress and have a bath in the sacred Ganges,
and to change our underclothing, which we very much needed to do. The
condition of our flannel shirts is best left undescribed, while our
bodies round our waists, where held tight by our belts, were eaten to
raw flesh. We sent our shirts afloat on the sacred waters of Mother
Gunga, glad to be rid of them, and that night we slept in comfort. Even
now, thirty-five years after, the recollection of the state of my own
flannel when I took it off makes me shiver. This is not a pleasant
subject, but I am writing these reminiscences for the information of our
soldiers of to-day, and merely stating facts, to let them understand
something of what the soldiers of the Mutiny had to go through.

Up to this time, the columns of the British had been mostly acting, as
it were, on the defensive; but from the date of the defeat of the
Gwalior Contingent, our star was in the ascendant, and the attitude of
the country people showed that they understood which was the winning
side. Provisions, such as butter, milk, eggs, and fruit, were brought
into our camp by the villagers for sale the next morning, sparingly at
first, but as soon as the people found that they were well received and
honestly paid for their supplies, they came in by scores, and from that
time there was no scarcity of provisions in our bazaars.

We halted at Serai _ghât_ for the 11th and 12th December, and on the
13th marched back in triumph to Bithoor with our captured guns. The
reason of our return to Bithoor was because spies had reported that the
Nânâ Sâhib had concealed a large amount of treasure in a well there near
the palace of the ex-Peishwa of Poona. Rupees to the amount of thirty
_lakhs_[31] were recovered, which had been packed in ammunition-boxes
and sunk in a well; also a very large amount of gold and silver plate
and other valuables, among other articles a silver howdah which had been
the state howdah of the ex-Peishwa. Besides the rupees, the plate and
other valuables recovered were said to be worth more than a million
sterling, and it was circulated in the force that each private soldier
would receive over a thousand rupees in prize-money. But we never got a
_pie_![32] All we did get was hard work. The well was large. Four strong
frames were erected on the top of it by the sappers, and large leathern
buckets with strong iron frames, with ropes attached, were brought from
Cawnpore; then a squad of twenty-five men was put on to each rope, and
relieved every three hours, two buckets keeping the water down and two
drawing up treasure. Thus we worked day and night from the 15th to the
26th of December, the Forty-Second, Fifty-Third, and Ninety-Third
supplying the working-parties for pulling, and the Bengal Sappers
furnishing the men to work in the well; these last, having to stand in
the water all the time, were relieved every hour. It was no light work
to keep the water down, so as to allow the sappers to sling the boxes
containing the rupees, and to lift three million rupees, or thirty
_lakhs_, out from a deep well required considerable labour. But the
men, believing that the whole would be divided as prize-money, worked
with a will. A paternal Government, however, ignored our general's
assurance on this head, on the plea that we had merely recovered the
treasure carried off by the Nânâ from Cawnpore. The plate and jewellery
belonging to the ex-Peishwa were also claimed by the Government as State
property, and the troops got--nothing! We had even to pay from our own
pockets for the replacement of our kits which were taken by the Gwalior
Contingent when they captured Wyndham's camp.

About this time _The Illustrated London News_ reached India with a
picture purporting to be that of the Nânâ Sâhib. I forget the date of
the number which contained this picture; but I first saw it in Bithoor
some time between the 15th and 25th December 1857. I will now give the
history of that picture, and show how Ajoodia Pershâd, commonly known as
Jotee Pershâd, the commissariat contractor, came to figure as the Nânâ
Sâhib in the pages of _The Illustrated London News_. It is a well-known
fact that there is no authentic portrait of the Nânâ in existence; it is
even asserted that he was never painted by any artist, and photography
had not extended to Upper India before 1857. I believe this is the first
time that the history of the picture published as that of the Nânâ Sâhib
by _The Illustrated London News_ has been given. I learnt the facts
which I am about to relate some years after the Mutiny, under a promise
of secrecy so long as my informant, the late John Lang,
barrister-at-law and editor and proprietor of _The Mofussilite_, should
be alive. As both he and Ajoodia Pershâd have been many years dead, I
commit no breach of confidence in now telling the story. The picture
purporting to be that of the Nânâ having been published in 1857, it
rightly forms a reminiscence of the Mutiny, although much of the
following tale occurred several years earlier; but to make the history
of the picture complete, the facts which led to it must be noticed.

There are but few Europeans now in India who remember the scandal
connected with the trial of Ajoodia Pershâd, the commissariat
contractor, for payment for the supplies and carriage of the army
throughout the second Sikh war. When it came to a final settlement of
his accounts with the Commissariat Department, Ajoodia Pershâd claimed
three and a half _crores_ of rupees (equal to three and a half millions
sterling), in excess of what the auditor would pass as justly due to
him; and the Commissariat Department, backed by the Government of India,
not only repudiated the claim, but put Ajoodia Pershâd on his trial for
falsification of accounts and attempting to defraud the Government.
There being no high courts in those days, nor trial by jury, corrupt or
otherwise, for natives in the Upper Provinces, an order of the
Governor-General in Council was passed for the trial of Ajoodia Pershâd
by special commission, with the judge-advocate-general as prosecutor.
The trial was ordered to be held at Meerut, and the commission
assembled there, commencing its sittings in the Artillery mess-house
during the cold weather of 1851-52. There were no barristers or pleaders
in India in those days--at least in the Mofussil, and but few in the
presidency towns; but Ajoodia Pershâd, being a very wealthy man, sent an
agent to England, and engaged the services of Mr. John Lang,
barrister-at-law, to come out and defend him. John Lang left England in
May, 1851, and came out round the Cape in one of Green's celebrated
liners, the _Nile_, and he reached Meerut about December, when the trial
commenced.

Everything went swimmingly with the prosecution till Mr. Lang began his
cross-examination of the witnesses, he having reserved his privilege
till he heard the whole case for the prosecution. Directly the
cross-examination commenced, the weakness of the Government case became
apparent. I need not now recall how the commissary-general, the deputy
commissary-general, and their assistants were made to contradict each
other, and to contradict themselves out of their own mouths. Mr. Lang,
who appeared in court every day in his wig and gown, soon became a noted
character in Meerut, and the night before he was to sum up the case for
the defence, some officers in the Artillery mess asked him his opinion
of the members of the commission. Not being a teetotaller, Mr. Lang may
have been at the time somewhat under the influence of "John Exshaw," who
was the ruling spirit in those days, and he replied that the whole
batch, president and members, including the judge-advocate-general, were
a parcel of "d--d _soors_."[33] Immediately several officers present
offered to lay a bet of a thousand rupees with Mr. Lang that he was not
game to tell them so to their faces in open court the following day.
Lang accepted the bet, the stakes were deposited, and an umpire
appointed to decide who should pocket the money. When the court
re-assembled next morning, the excitement was intense. Mr. Lang opened
his address by pulling the evidence for the prosecution to shreds, and
warming to his work, he went at it somewhat as follows--I can only give
the purport:--"Gentlemen of the commission forming this court, I now
place the dead carcass of this shameful case before you in all its naked
deformity, and the more we stir it up the more it stinks! The only stink
in my long experience that I can compare it to is the experience gained
in the saloon of the _Nile_ on my passage out to India the day after a
pig was slaughtered. We had a pig's cheek at the head of the table
[indicating the president of the commission]; we had a roast leg of pork
on the right [pointing to another member]; we had a boiled leg, also
pork, on the left [indicating a third member]"; and so on he went till
he had apportioned out the whole carcass of the supposed pig amongst the
members of the commission. Then, turning to the judge-advocate-general,
who was a little man dressed in an elaborately frilled shirt, and his
assistant, who was tall and thin, pointing to each in turn, Mr. Lang
proceeded,--"And for side-dishes we had chitterlings on one side, and
sausages on the other. In brief, the whole saloon smelt of nothing but
pork: and so it is, gentlemen, with this case. It is the Government of
India who has ordered this trial. It is for the interest of that
Government that my client should be convicted; therefore every member on
this commission is a servant of Government. The officers representing
the prosecution are servants of Government, and every witness for the
prosecution is also a servant of Government. In brief, the whole case
against my client is nothing but pork, and a disgrace to the Government
of India, and to the Honourable East India Company, who have sanctioned
this trial, and who put every obstacle in my way to prevent my coming
out to defend my client. I repeat my assertion that the case is a
disgrace to the Honourable Company and the Government of India, and to
every servant of that Government who has had any finger in the
manufacture of this pork-pie." And so Mr. Lang continued, showing how
Ajoodia Pershâd had come forward to the assistance of the State in its
hour of need, by supplying carriage for the materials of the army and
rations for the troops, and so forth, till the judge-advocate-general
declared that he felt ashamed to be connected with the case. The result
was that Ajoodia Pershâd was acquitted on all counts, and decreed to be
entitled to his claims in full, and the umpire decided that Mr. Lang had
won the bet of a thousand rupees.

But my readers may ask--What has all this to do with the portrait of the
Nânâ Sâhib? I am just coming to that. After his honourable acquittal,
Ajoodia Pershâd was so grateful to Mr. Lang that he presented him with
an honorarium of three _lakhs_ of rupees, equal in those days to over
£30,000, in addition to the fees on his brief; and Mr. Lang happening to
say that he would very much like to have a portrait of his generous
client, Ajoodia Pershâd presented him with one painted by a famous
native artist of those days, and the portrait was enshrined in a
jewelled frame worth another twenty-five thousand rupees. To the day of
his death Mr. Lang used to carry this portrait with him wherever he
went. When the Mutiny broke out he was in London, and the artists of
_The Illustrated London News_ were calling on every old Indian of
position known to be in England, to try and get a portrait of the Nânâ.
One of them was informed that Mr. Lang possessed a picture of an Indian
prince--then, as now, all Indians were princes to the British
public--which might be that of the arch-assassin of Cawnpore. The artist
lost no time in calling on Mr. Lang to see the picture, and when he saw
it he declared it was just the thing he wanted. Mr. Lang protested,
pointing out that the picture no more resembled the Nânâ of Bithoor than
it did her Gracious Majesty the Queen of England; that neither the dress
nor the position of the person represented in the picture could pass in
India for a Mahratta chief. The artist declared he did not care for
people in India: he required the picture for the people of England. So
he carried it off to the engraver, and in the next issue of _The
Illustrated London News_ the picture of Ajoodia Pershâd, the
commissariat contractor, appeared as that of the Nânâ Sâhib. When those
in India who had known the Nânâ saw it, they declared it had no
resemblance to him whatever, and those who had seen Ajoodia Pershâd
declared that the Nânâ was very like Ajoodia Pershâd. But no one could
understand how the Nânâ could ever have allowed himself to be painted in
the dress of a Mârwâree banker. To the day of his death John Lang was in
mortal fear lest Ajoodia Pershâd should ever come to hear how his
picture had been allowed to figure as that of the arch-assassin of the
Indian Mutiny.

So much for the Nânâ's picture. By Christmas Day, 1857, we had recovered
all the gold and silver plate of the ex-Peishwa and the thirty _lakhs_
of treasure from the well in Bithoor, and on the morning of the 27th we
marched for the recapture of Futtehghur, which was held by a strong
force under the Nawâb of Furruckabad. But I must leave the re-occupation
of Futtehghur for another chapter.


NOTE

      Jotee Pershâd was the native banker who, during the height
      of the Mutiny, victualled the Fort of Agra and saved the
      credit, if not the lives, of the members of the Government
      of the North-West Provinces.

FOOTNOTES:

[29] Now Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough, V.C., K.C.B.

[30] "Red and Blue "--the Army and Navy. The tune is _The British
Grenadiers_.

[31] A _lakh_ is 100,000, so that, at the exchange of the day, the
amount of cash captured was £306,250.

[32] One _pie_ is half a farthing.

[33] Pigs.



CHAPTER IX

HODSON OF HODSON'S HORSE--ACTION AT THE KÂLEE NUDDEE--FUTTEHGHUR


As a further proof that the British star was now in the ascendant,
before we had been many days in Bithoor each company had got its full
complement of native establishment, such as cooks, water-carriers,
washer-men, etc. We left Bithoor on the 27th of December _en route_ for
Futtehghur, and on the 28th we made a forced march of twenty-five miles,
joining the Commander-in-Chief on the 29th. Early on the 30th we reached
a place named Meerun-ke-serai, and our tents had barely been pitched
when word went through the camp like wildfire that Hodson, of Hodson's
Horse, and another officer[34] had arrived in camp with despatches from
Brigadier Seaton to the Commander-in-Chief, having ridden from
Mynpooree, about seventy miles from where we were.

We of the Ninety-Third were eager to see Hodson, having heard so much
about him from the men of the Ninth Lancers. There was nothing, however
daring or difficult, that Hodson was not believed capable of doing, and
a ride of seventy miles more or less through a country swarming with
enemies, where every European who ventured beyond the range of British
guns literally carried his life in his hand, was not considered anything
extraordinary for him. Personally, I was most anxious to see this famous
fellow, but as yet there was no chance; Hodson was in the tent of the
Commander-in-Chief, and no one knew when he might come out. However, the
hours passed, and during the afternoon a man of my company rushed into
the tent, calling, "Come, boys, and see Hodson! He and Sir Colin are in
front of the camp; Sir Colin is showing him round, and the smile on the
old Chief's face shows how he appreciates his companion." I hastened to
the front of the camp, and was rewarded by having a good look at Hodson;
and, as the man who had called us had said, I could see that he had made
a favourable impression on Sir Colin. Little did I then think that in
less than three short months I should see Hodson receive his
death-wound, and that thirty-five years after I should be one of the few
spared to give evidence to save his fair fame from undeserved slander.
My memory always turns back to that afternoon at Meerunke-serai when I
read any attack on the good name of Hodson of Hodson's Horse. And
whatever prejudiced writers of the present day may say, the name of
Hodson will be a name to conjure with among the Sikhs of the Punjâb for
generations yet unborn.

On the 1st of January, 1858, our force reached the Kâlee Nuddee
suspension bridge near Khoodâgunj, about fifteen miles from Futtehghur,
just in time to prevent the total destruction of the bridge by the
enemy, who had removed a good part of the planking from the roadway, and
had commenced to cut the iron-work when we arrived. We halted on the
Cawnpore side of the Kâlee Nuddee on New Year's Day, while the
engineers, under cover of strong piquets, were busy replacing the
planking of the roadway on the suspension bridge. Early on the morning
of the 2nd of January the enemy from Futtehghur, under cover of a thick
fog along the valley of the Kâlee Nuddee, came down in great force to
dispute the passage of the river. The first intimation of their approach
was a shell fired on our advance piquet; but our camp was close to the
bridge, and the whole force was under arms in an instant. As soon as the
fog lifted the enemy were seen to have occupied the village of
Khoodâgunj in great force, and to have advanced one gun, a 24-pounder,
planting it in the toll-house which commanded the passage of the bridge,
so as to fire it out of the front window just as if from the porthole of
a ship.

As soon as the position of the enemy was seen, the cavalry brigade of
our force was detached to the left, under cover of the dense jungle
along the river, to cross by a ford which was discovered about five
miles up stream to our left, the intention of the movement being to get
in behind the enemy and cut off his retreat to Futtehghur.

The Fifty-Third were pushed across the bridge to reinforce the piquets,
with orders not to advance, but to act on the defensive, so as to allow
time for the cavalry to get behind the enemy. The right wing of the
Ninety-Third was also detached with some horse-artillery guns to the
right, to cross by another ford about three miles below the bridge, to
attack the enemy on his left flank. The left wing was held in reserve
with the remainder of the force behind the bridge, to be in readiness to
reinforce the Fifty-Third in case of need.

By the time these dispositions were made, the enemy's gun from the
toll-house had begun to do considerable damage. Peel's heavy guns were
accordingly brought to bear on it, and, after a round or two to feel
their distance, they were able to pitch an 8-inch shell right through
the window, which burst under the gun, upsetting it, and killing or
disabling most of the enemy in the house.

Immediately after this the Fifty-Third, being well in advance, noticed
the enemy attempting to withdraw some of his heavy guns from the
village, and disregarding the order of the Commander-in-Chief not to
precipitate the attack, they charged these guns and captured two or
three of them. This check caused the enemy's line to retire, and Sir
Colin himself rode up to the Fifty-Third to bring to book the officer
commanding them for prematurely commencing the action. This officer
threw the blame on the men, stating that they had made the charge
against his orders, and that the officers had been unable to keep them
back. Sir Colin then turned on the men, threatening to send them to the
rear, and to make them do fatigue-duty and baggage-guard for the rest of
the campaign. On this an old Irishman from the ranks called out: "Shure,
Sir Colin, you don't mean it! You'll never send us on fatigue-duty
because we captured those guns that the Pandies were carrying off?";
Hearing this, Sir Colin asked what guns he meant. "Shure, them's the
guns," was the answer, "that Sergeant Dobbin [now Joe Lee of Cawnpore]
and his section are dragging on to the road." Sir Colin seeing the guns,
his stern countenance relaxed and broke into a smile, and he made some
remark to the officer commanding that he did not know about the guns
having been withdrawn before the regiment had made the rush on the
enemy. On this the Irish spokesman from the ranks called out: "Three
cheers for the Commander-in-Chief, boys! I told you he did not mean us
to let the Pandies carry off those guns."

By this time our right wing and the horse-artillery had crossed the ford
on our right and were well advanced on the enemy's left flank. But we of
the main line, composed of the Eighth (the old "King's"--now called the
Liverpool Regiment, I think), the Forty-Second, Fifty-Third, and left
wing of the Ninety-Third under Adrian Hope, were allowed to advance
slowly, just keeping them in sight. The enemy retired in an orderly
manner for about three or four miles, when they formed up to make a
stand, evidently thinking we were afraid to press them too closely. As
soon as they faced round again, our line was halted only about seven
hundred yards from them, and just then we could see our cavalry
debouching on to the Grand Trunk road about a mile from where we were.
My company was in the centre of the road, and I could see the tips of
the lances of the Ninth wheeling into line for a charge right in the
enemy's rear. He was completely out-generalled, and his retreat cut off.

The excitement was just then intense, as we dared not fire for fear of
hitting our men in the rear. The Forty-First Native Infantry was the
principal regiment of the enemy's line on the Grand Trunk road. Directly
they saw the Lancers in their rear they formed square while the enemy's
cavalry charged our men, but were met in fine style by Hodson's Horse
and sent flying across the fields in all directions. The Ninth came down
on the square of the Native Infantry, who stood their ground and opened
fire. The Lancers charged well up to within about thirty yards, when the
horses turned off right and left from the solid square. We were just
preparing to charge it with the bayonet, when at that moment the
squadrons were brought round again, just as a hawk takes a circle for a
swoop on its prey, and we saw Sergeant-Major May, who was mounted on a
powerful untrained horse, dash on the square and leap right into it,
followed by the squadron on that side. The square being thus broken, the
other troops of the Ninth rode into the flying mass, and in less than
five minutes the Forty-First regiment of Native Infantry was wiped out
of the ranks of the mutineers. The enemy's line of retreat became a
total rout, and the plain for miles was strewn with corpses speared down
by the Lancers or hewn down by the keen-edged sabres of Hodson's Horse.

Our infantry line now advanced, but there was nothing for us to do but
collect the ammunition-carts and baggage of the enemy. Just about sunset
we halted and saw the Lancers and Sikhs returning with the captured
standards and every gun which the enemy had brought into the field in
the morning. The infantry formed up along the side of the Grand Trunk
road to cheer the cavalry as they returned. It was a sight never to be
forgotten,--the infantry and sailors cheering the Lancers and Sikhs, and
the latter returning our cheers and waving the captured standards and
their lances and sabres over their heads! Sir Colin Campbell rode up,
and lifting his hat, thanked the Ninth Lancers and Sikhs for their day's
work. It was reported in the camp that Sir Hope Grant had recommended
Sergeant-Major May for the Victoria Cross, but that May had modestly
remonstrated against the honour, saying that every man in the Ninth was
as much entitled to the Cross as he was, and that he was only able to
break the square by the accident of being mounted on an untrained horse
which charged into the square instead of turning off from it. This is of
course hearsay, but I believe it is fact.

I may here remark that this charge of the Lancers forcibly impressed me
with the absurdity of our cavalry-drill for the purpose of breaking an
infantry square. On field-days in time of peace our cavalry were made
to charge squares of infantry, and directly the horses came within
thirty or forty yards the squadrons opened out right and left, galloping
clear of the square under the blank fire of the infantry. The horses
were thus drilled to turn off and gallop clear of the squares, instead
of charging home right through the infantry. When it came to actual war
the horses, not being reasoning animals, naturally acted just as on a
field-day; instead of charging straight into the square, they galloped
right past it, simply because they were drilled to do so. Of course, I
do not propose that several battalions of infantry should be slaughtered
every field-day for the purpose of training cavalry. But I would have
the formation altered, and instead of having the infantry in solid
squares, I would form them into quarter distance columns, with lanes
between the companies wide enough for the cavalry to gallop through
under the blank fire of the infantry. The horses would thus be trained
to gallop straight on, and no square of infantry would be able to resist
a charge of well-trained cavalry when it came to actual war. I am
convinced, in my own mind, that this was the reason that the untrained
remount ridden by Sergeant-Major May charged into the square of the
Forty-First, and broke it, while the well-drilled horses galloped round
the flanks in spite of their riders. But the square once being broken,
the other horses followed as a matter of course. However, we are now in
the age of breech-loaders and magazine rifles, and I fear the days of
cavalry charging squares of infantry are over. But we are still a long
way from the millennium, and the experience of the past may yet be
turned to account for the wars of the future.

We reached Futtehghur on the morning of the 3rd of January to find it
deserted, the enemy having got such a "drubbing" that it had struck
terror into their reserves, which had bolted across the Ganges, leaving
large quantities of Government property behind them, consisting of tents
and all the ordnance stores of the Gun-carriage Agency. The enemy had
also established a gun and shot and shell foundry here, and a
powder-factory, all of which they had abandoned, leaving a number of
brass guns in the lathes, half turned, with many more just cast, and
large quantities of metal and material for the manufacture of both
powder and shot.

During the afternoon of the day of our arrival the whole force was
turned out, owing to a report that the Nawâb of Furruckabad was still in
the town; and it was said that the civil officer with the force had sent
a proclamation through the city that it would be given over to plunder
if the Nawâb was not surrendered. Whether this was true or not, I cannot
say. The district was no longer under martial law, as from the date of
the defeat of the Gwalior Contingent the civil power had resumed
authority on the right bank of the Ganges. But so far as the country was
concerned, around Futtehghur at least, this merely meant that the
hangmen's noose was to be substituted for rifle-bullet and bayonet.
However, our force had scarcely been turned out to threaten the town of
Furruckabad when the Nawâb was brought out, bound hand and foot, and
carried by _coolies_ on a common country _charpoy_.[35] I don't know
what process of trial he underwent; but I fear he had neither jury nor
counsel, and I know that he was first smeared over with pig's fat,
flogged by sweepers, and then hanged. This was by the orders of the
civil commissioner. Both Sir Colin Campbell and Sir William Peel were
said to have protested against the barbarity, but this I don't know for
certain.

We halted in Futtehghur till the 6th, on which date a brigade, composed
of the Forty-Second, Ninety-Third, a regiment of Punjâb infantry, a
battery of artillery, a squadron of the Ninth Lancers, and Hodson's
Horse, marched to Pâlamhow in the Shumshabad district. This town had
been a hot-bed of rebellion under the leadership of a former native
collector of revenue, who had proclaimed himself Râja of the district,
and all the bad characters in it had flocked to his standard. However,
the place was occupied without opposition. We encamped outside the town,
and the civil police, along with the commissioner, arrested great
numbers, among them being the man who had proclaimed himself the Râja or
Nawâb for the Emperor of Delhi. My company, with some of Hodson's Horse
and two artillery guns, formed a guard for the civil commissioner in the
_chowk_ or principal square of the town. The commissioner held his court
in what had formerly been the _kotwâiee_ or police station. I cannot say
what form of trial the prisoners underwent, or what evidence was
recorded against them. I merely know that they were marched up in
batches, and shortly after marched back again to a large tree of the
banian species, which stood in the centre of the square, and hanged
thereon. This went on from about three o'clock in the afternoon till
daylight the following morning, when it was reported that there was no
more room on the tree, and by that time there were one hundred and
thirty men hanging from its branches. A grim spectacle indeed!

Many charges of cruelty and want of pity have been made against the
character of Hodson. This makes me here mention a fact that certainly
does not tend to prove these charges. During the afternoon of the day of
which I write, Hodson visited the squadron of his regiment forming the
cavalry of the civil commissioner's guard. Just at the time of his visit
the commissioner wanted a hangman, and asked if any man of the
Ninety-Third would volunteer for the job, stating as an inducement that
all valuables in the way of rings or money found on the persons of the
condemned would become the property of the executioner. No one
volunteering for the job, the commissioner asked Jack Brian, a big tall
fellow who was the right-hand man of the company, if he would act as
executioner. Jack Brian turned round with a look of disgust, saying:
"Wha do ye tak' us for? We of the Ninety-Third enlisted to fight men
with arms in their hands. I widna' become yer hangman for all the loot
in India!" Captain Hodson was standing close by, and hearing the answer,
said, "Well answered, my brave fellow. I wish to shake hands with you,"
which he did. Then turning to Captain Dawson, Hodson said: "I'm sick of
work of this kind. I'm glad I'm not on duty;" and he mounted his horse,
and rode off. However, some _domes_[36] or sweeper-police were found to
act as hangmen, and the trials and executions proceeded.

We returned to Futtehghur on the 12th of January and remained in camp
there till the 26th, when another expedition was sent out in the same
direction. But this time only the right wing of the Ninety-Third and a
wing of the Forty-Second formed the infantry, so my company remained in
camp. This second force met with more opposition than the first one.
Lieutenant Macdowell, Hodson's second in command, and several troopers
were killed, and Hodson himself and some of his men were badly wounded,
Hodson having two severe cuts on his sword arm; while the infantry had
several men killed who were blown up with gunpowder. This force returned
on the 28th of January, and either on the 2nd or 3rd of February we left
Futtehghur _en route_ again for Lucknow _via_ Cawnpore.

We reached Cawnpore by ordinary marches, crossed into Oude, and encamped
at Oonâo till the whole of the siege-train was passed on to Lucknow.

FOOTNOTES:

[34] Lieutenant Macdowell, second in command of Hodson's Horse.

[35] Bedstead.

[36] The lowest Hindoo caste.



CHAPTER X

THE STRANGE STORY OF JAMIE GREEN


When we returned to Cawnpore, although we had been barely two months
away, we found it much altered. Many of the burnt-down bungalows were
being rebuilt, and the fort at the end of the bridge of boats had become
quite a strong place. The well where the murdered women and children
were buried was now completely filled up, and a wooden cross erected
over it. I visited the slaughter-house again, and found the walls of the
several rooms all scribbled over both in pencil and charcoal. This had
been done since my first visit in October; I am positive on this point.
The unfortunate women who were murdered in the house left no writing on
the walls whatever. There was writing on the walls of the barrack-rooms
of Wheeler's entrenchment, mostly notes that had been made during the
siege, but none on the walls of the slaughter-house. As mentioned in my
last chapter, we only halted one day in Cawnpore before crossing into
Oude, and marching to Oonâo about the 10th of February, we encamped
there as a guard for the siege-train and ordnance-park which was being
pushed on to Lucknow.

While at Oonâo a strange thing happened, which I shall here set down.
Men live such busy lives in India that many who may have heard the story
at the time have possibly forgotten all about it, while to most of my
home-staying readers it will be quite fresh.

Towards the end of February, 1858, the army for the siege of Lucknow was
gradually being massed in front of the doomed city, and lay, like a huge
boa-constrictor coiled and ready for its spring, all along the road from
Cawnpore to the Alumbâgh. A strong division, consisting of the
Forty-Second and Ninety-Third Highlanders, the Fifty-Third, the Ninth
Lancers, Peel's Naval Brigade, the siege-train, and several batteries of
field-artillery, with the Fourth Punjâb Infantry and other Punjâbee
corps, lay at Oonâo under the command of General Sir Edward Lugard and
Brigadier Adrian Hope. We had been encamped in that place for about ten
days,--the monotony of our lives being only occasionally broken by the
sound of distant cannonading in front--when we heard that General
Outram's position at the Alumbâgh had been vigorously attacked by a
force from Lucknow, sometimes led by the Moulvie, and at others by the
Begum in person. Now and then somewhat duller sounds came from the rear,
which, we understood, arose from the operations of Sir Robert Napier and
his engineers, who were engaged in blowing up the temples of Siva and
Kâlee overlooking the _ghâts_ at Cawnpore; not, as some have asserted,
out of revenge, but for military considerations connected with the
safety of the bridge of boats across the Ganges.

During one of these days of comparative inaction, I was lying in my tent
reading some home papers which had just arrived by the mail, when I
heard a man passing through the camp, calling out, "Plum-cakes!
plum-cakes! Very good plum-cakes! Taste and try before you buy!" The
advent of a plum-cake _wallah_ was an agreeable change from ration-beef
and biscuit, and he was soon called into the tent, and his own maxim of
"taste and try before you buy" freely put into practice. This plum-cake
vendor was a very good-looking, light-coloured native in the prime of
life, dressed in scrupulously clean white clothes, with dark, curly
whiskers and mustachios, carefully trimmed after the fashion of the
Mahommedan native officers of John Company's army. He had a
well-developed forehead, a slightly aquiline nose, and intelligent eyes.
Altogether his appearance was something quite different from that of the
usual camp-follower. But his companion, or rather the man employed as
_coolie_ to carry his basket, was one of the most villainous-looking
specimens of humanity I ever set eyes on. As was the custom in those
days, seeing that he did not belong to our own bazaar, and being the
non-commissioned officer in charge of the tent, I asked the plum-cake
man if he was provided with a pass for visiting the camp? "Oh yes,
Sergeant _sâhib_," he replied, "there's my pass all in order, not from
the Brigade-Major, but from the Brigadier himself, the Honourable Adrian
Hope. I'm Jamie Green, mess-_khânsama_[37] of the late (I forget the
regiment he mentioned), and I have just come to Oonâo with a letter of
introduction to General Hope from Sherer _sâhib_, the magistrate and
collector of Cawnpore. You will doubtless know General Hope's
handwriting." And there it was, all in order, authorising the bearer, by
name Jamie Green, etc. etc., to visit both the camp and outpost for the
sale of his plum-cakes, in the handwriting of the brigadier, which was
well known to all the non-commissioned officers of the Ninety-Third,
Hope having been colonel of the regiment.

Next to his appearance what struck me as the most remarkable thing about
Jamie Green was the purity and easy flow of his English, for he at once
sat down beside me, and asked to see the newspapers, and seemed anxious
to know what the English press said about the mutiny, and to talk of all
subjects connected with the strength, etc., of the army, the
preparations going forward for the siege of Lucknow, and how the
newly-arrived regiments were likely to stand the hot weather. In course
of conversation I made some remarks about the fluency of his English,
and he accounted for it by stating that his father had been the
mess-_khânsama_ of a European regiment, and that he had been brought up
to speak English from his childhood, that he had learned to read and
write in the regimental school, and for many years had filled the post
of mess-writer, keeping all the accounts of the mess in English. During
this time the men in the tent had been freely trying the plum-cakes, and
a squabble arose between one of them and Jamie Green's servant about
payment. When I made some remark about the villainous look of the
latter Green replied: "Oh, never mind him; he is an Irishman, and his
name is Micky. His mother belongs to the regimental bazaar of the
Eighty-Seventh Royal Irish, and he lays claim to the whole regiment,
including the sergeant-major's cook, for his father. He has just come
down from the Punjâb with the Agra convoy, but the commanding officer
dismissed him at Cawnpore, because he had a young wife of his own, and
was jealous of the good looks of Micky. But," continued Jamie Green, "a
joke is a joke, but to eat a man's plum-cakes and then refuse to pay for
them must be a Highland joke!" On this every man in the tent,
appreciating the good humour of Jamie Green, turned on the man who had
refused payment, and he was obliged to fork out the amount demanded.
Jamie Green and Micky passed on to another tent, after the former had
borrowed a few of the latest of my newspapers. Thus ended my first
interview with the plum-cake vendor.

The second one was more interesting, and with a sadder termination. On
the evening of the day after the events just described, I was on duty as
sergeant in charge of our camp rear-guard, and at sunset when the
orderly-corporal came round with the evening grog, he told us the
strange news that Jamie Green, the plum-cake _wallah_, had been
discovered to be a spy from Lucknow, had been arrested, and was then
undergoing examination at the brigade-major's tent; and that it being
too late to hang him that night, he was to be made over to my guard for
safe custody, and that men had been warned for extra sentry on the
guard-tent. I need not say that I was very sorry to hear the
information, for, although a spy is at all times detested in the army,
and no mercy is ever shown to one, yet I had formed a strong regard for
this man, and a high opinion of his abilities in the short conversation
I had held with him the previous day; and during the interval I had been
thinking over how a man of his appearance and undoubted education could
hold so low a position as that of a common camp-follower. But now the
news that he had been discovered to be a spy accounted for the anomaly.

It would be needless for me to describe the bitter feeling of all
classes against the mutineers, or rebels, and for any one to be
denounced as a spy simply added fuel to the flames of hatred. Asiatic
campaigns have always been conducted in a more remorseless spirit than
those between European nations, but the war of the Mutiny, as I have
before remarked in these reminiscences, was far worse than the usual
type of even Asiatic fighting. It was something horrible and downright
brutalising for an English army to be engaged in such a struggle, in
which no quarter was ever given or asked. It was a war of downright
butchery. Wherever the rebels met a Christian or a white man he was
killed without pity or remorse, and every native who had assisted any
such to escape, or was known to have concealed them, was as
remorselessly put to death wherever the rebels had the ascendant. And
wherever a European in power, either civil or military, met a rebel in
arms, or any native whatever on whom suspicion rested, his shrift was as
short and his fate as sure. The farce of putting an accused native on
his trial before any of the civil officers attached to the different
army-columns, after the civil power commenced to reassert its authority,
was simply a parody on justice and a protraction of cruelty. Under
martial law, punishment, whether deserved or not, was stern but sharp.
But the civilian officers attached to the different movable columns for
the trial of rebels, as far as they came under my notice, were even more
relentless. No doubt these men excused themselves by the consideration
that they were engaged in suppressing rebellion and mutiny, and that the
actors on the other side had perpetrated great crimes.[38] So far as the
Commander-in-Chief was concerned, Sir Colin Campbell was utterly opposed
to extreme measures, and deeply deplored the wholesale executions by the
civil power. Although as a soldier he would have been the last man in
the country to spare rebels caught with arms in their hands, or those
whose guilt was well known (and I know for certain that he held the
action of Major Hodson with regard to the Delhi princes to have been
justifiable), I well remember how emphatically I once heard him express
his disgust when, on the march back from Futtehghur to Cawnpore, he
entered a mango-tope full of rotting corpses, where one of those special
commissioners had passed through with a movable column a few days
before.

But I must return to my story. I had barely heard the news that Green
had been arrested as a spy, when he was brought to my guard by some of
the provost-marshal's staff, and handed over to me with instructions to
keep him safe till he should be called for next morning. He was
accompanied by the man who had carried his basket, who had also been
denounced as one of the butchers at Cawnpore in July, 1857. And here I
may state that the appearance of this man certainly did tally with the
description afterwards given of one of these butchers by Fitchett, an
Eurasian drummer attached to the Sixth Native Infantry which mutinied at
Cawnpore, who embraced the Mahommedan religion to save his life, and was
enrolled in the rebel force, but afterwards made his escape and
presented himself at Meerut for enlistment in the police levy raised in
October, 1858. What I am relating took place in February, 1858, about
eight months before the existence of Fitchett was known to the
authorities. However, when it was discovered that Fitchett had been
serving in one of the mutineers' regiments, he was called on to say what
he knew about the Cawnpore massacre, and I remember his statement was
considered the most consistent of any of the numerous narratives
published about it. Fitchett alleged that the sepoys of the Sixth
Native Infantry and other regiments, including the Nânâ Sâhib's own
guard, had refused to kill the European women and children in the
_bibi-ghur_,[39] and that five men were then brought by a slave-girl or
mistress of the Nânâ to do it. Of the five men employed, two were
butchers and two were villagers, and the fifth man was "a stout
_bilâitee_[40] with very hairy hands." Fitchett further described one of
the butchers as a tall, ugly man, very dark, and very much disfigured by
smallpox, all points that tallied exactly with the appearance of this
_coolie_. I don't suppose that Fitchett could have known that a man
answering to his description had been hanged, as being one of the actors
in the Cawnpore tragedy, some eight months before, for I don't recollect
ever having seen the matter which I am relating mentioned in any
newspaper.

But to proceed with my own story. My prisoners had no sooner been made
over to me, than several of the guard, as was usual in those days,
proposed to bring some pork from the bazaar to break their castes, as a
sort of preparation for their execution. This I at once denounced as a
proceeding which I certainly would not tolerate so long as I held charge
of the guard, and I warned the men that if any one attempted to molest
the prisoners, I should at once strip them of their belts, and place
them in arrest for disobedience of orders and conduct unworthy of a
British soldier, and the better-disposed portion of the guard at once
applauded my resolution. I shall never forget the look of gratitude
which came over the face of the unfortunate man who had called himself
Jamie Green, when he heard me give these orders. He at once said it was
an act of kindness which he had never expected, and for which he was
truly grateful; and he unhesitatingly pronounced his belief that Allah
and his Prophet would requite my kindness by bringing me safely through
the remainder of the war. I thanked my prisoner for his good wishes and
his prayers, and made him the only return in my power, viz., to cause
his hands to be unfastened to allow him to perform his evening's
devotions, and permitted him as much freedom as I possibly could,
consistent with safe custody. His fellow-prisoner merely received my
kindness with a scowl of sullen hatred, and when reproved by his master,
I understood him to say that he wished for no favour from infidel dogs;
but he admitted that the sergeant _sâhib_, deserved a Mussulman's
gratitude for saving him from an application of pig's fat.

After allowing my prisoners to perform their evening devotions, and
giving them such freedom as I could, I made up my mind to go without
sleep that night, for it would have been a serious matter for me if
either of these men had escaped. I also knew that by remaining on watch
myself I could allow them more freedom, and I determined they should
enjoy every privilege in my power for what would certainly be their last
night on earth, since it was doubtful if they would be spared to see
the sun rise. With this view, I sent for one of the Mahommedan
shopkeepers from the regimental bazaar, and told him to prepare at my
expense whatever food the prisoners would eat. To this the man replied
that since I, a Christian, had shown so much kindness to a Mussulman in
distress, the Mahommedan shopkeepers in the bazaar would certainly be
untrue to their faith if they should allow me to spend a single _pie_,
from my own pocket.

After being supplied with a savoury meal from the bazaar, followed by a
fragrant hookah, to both of which he did ample justice, Jamie Green
settled himself on a rug which had been lent to him, and said "_Shook'r
Khooda!_, (Thanks be to God)," for having placed him under the charge of
such a merciful _sâhib_, for this the last night of his life! "Such," he
continued, "has been my _kismut_, and doubtless Allah will reward you,
Sergeant _sâhib_, in his own good time for your kindness to his
oppressed and afflicted servant. You have asked me to give you some
account of my life, and if it is really true that I am a spy. With
regard to being a spy in the ordinary meaning of the term, I most
emphatically deny the accusation. I am no spy; but I am an officer of
the Begum's army, come out from Lucknow to gain reliable information of
the strength of the army and siege-train being brought against us. I am
the chief engineer of the army of Lucknow, and came out on a
reconnoitring expedition, but Allah has not blessed my enterprise. I
intended to have left on my return to Lucknow this evening, and if fate
had been propitious, I would have reached it before sunrise to-morrow,
for I had got all the information which was wanted; but I was tempted to
visit Oonâo once more, being on the direct road to Lucknow, because I
was anxious to see whether the siege-train and ammunition-park had
commenced to move, and it was my misfortune to encounter that son of a
defiled mother who denounced me as a spy. A contemptible wretch who, to
save his own neck from the gallows (for he first sold the English), now
wishes to divert attention from his former rascality by selling the
lives of his own countrymen and co-religionists; but Allah is just, he
will yet reap the reward of his treachery in the fires of Jehunnum.[41]

"You ask me," continued the man, "what my name is, and state that you
intend to write an account of my misfortune to your friends in Scotland.
Well, I have no objection. The people of England,--and by England I mean
Scotland as well--are just, and some of them may pity the fate of this
servant of Allah. I have friends both in London and in Edinburgh, for I
have twice visited both places. My name is Mahomed Ali Khân. I belong to
one of the best families of Rohilcund, and was educated in the Bareilly
College, and took the senior place in all English subjects. From
Bareilly College I passed to the Government Engineering College at
Roorkee, and studied engineering for the Company's service, and passed
out the senior student of my year, having gained many marks in excess of
all the European pupils, both civil and military. But what was the
result? I was nominated to the rank of _jemadâr_, of the Company's
engineers, and sent to serve with a company on detached duty on the hill
roads as a native commissioned officer, but actually subordinate to a
European sergeant, a man who was my inferior in every way, except,
perhaps, in mere brute strength, a man of little or no education, who
would never have risen above the grade of a working-joiner in England.
Like most ignorant men in authority, he exhibited all the faults of the
Europeans which most irritate and disgust us, arrogance, insolence, and
selfishness. Unless you learn the language of my countrymen, and mix
with the better-educated people of this country, you will never
understand nor estimate at its full extent the mischief which one such
man does to your national reputation. One such example is enough to
confirm all that your worst enemies can say about your national
selfishness and arrogance, and makes the people treat your pretensions
to liberality and sympathy as mere hypocrisy. I had not joined the
Company's service from any desire for wealth, but from the hope of
gaining honourable service; yet on the very threshold of that service I
met with nothing but disgrace and dishonour, having to serve under a man
whom I hated, yea, worse than hated, whom I despised. I wrote to my
father, and requested his permission to resign, and he agreed with me
that I the descendant of princes, could not serve the Company under
conditions such as I have described. I resigned the service and returned
home, intending to offer my services to his late Majesty
Nussir-ood-Deen, King of Oude; but just when I reached Lucknow I was
informed that his Highness Jung Bahâdoor of Nepâl, who is now at
Goruckpore with an army of Goorkhas coming to assist in the loot of
Lucknow, was about to visit England, and required a secretary well
acquainted with the English language. I at once applied for the post,
and being well backed by recommendations both from native princes and
English officials, I secured the appointment, and in the suite of the
Mâharâja I landed in England for the first time, and, among other
places, we visited Edinburgh, where your regiment, the Ninety-Third
Highlanders, formed the guard of honour for the reception of his
Highness. Little did I think when I saw a kilted regiment for the first
time, that I should ever be a prisoner in their tents in the plains of
Hindustan; but who can predict or avoid his fate?

"Well, I returned to India, and filled several posts at different native
courts till 1854, when I was again asked to visit England in the suite
of Azeemoolla Khân, whose name you must have often heard in connection
with this mutiny and rebellion. On the death of the Peishwa, the Nânâ
had appointed Azeemoolla Khân to be his agent. He, like myself, had
received a good education in English, under Gunga Deen, head-master of
the Government school at Cawnpore. Azeemoolla was confident that, if he
could visit England, he would be able to have the decrees of Lord
Dalhousie against his master reversed, and when I joined him he was
about to start for England, well supplied with money to engage the best
lawyers, and also to bribe high officials, if necessary. But I need not
give you any account of our mission. You already know that, so far as
London drawing-rooms went, it proved a social success, but as far as
gaining our end a political failure; and we left England after spending
over £50,000, to return to India _via_ Constantinople in 1855. From
Constantinople we visited the Crimea, where we witnessed the assault and
defeat of the English on the 18th of June, and were much struck by the
wretched state of both armies in front of Sebastopol. Thence we returned
to Constantinople, and there met certain real or pretended Russian
agents, who made large promises of material support if Azeemoolla could
stir up a rebellion in India. It was then that I and Azeemoolla formed
the resolution of attempting to overthrow the Company's Government, and,
_Shook'r Khooda!_ we have succeeded in doing that; for from the
newspapers which you lent me, I see that the Company's _râj_ has gone,
and that their charter for robbery and confiscation will not be renewed.
Although we have failed to wrest the country from the English, I hope we
have done some good, and that our lives will not be sacrificed in vain;
for I believe direct government under the English parliament will be
more just than was that of the Company, and that there is yet a future
before my oppressed and downtrodden countrymen, although I shall not
live to see it.

"I do not speak, _sâhib_, to flatter you or to gain your favour. I have
already gained that, and I know that you cannot help me any farther than
you are doing, and that if you could, your sense of duty would not let
you. I know I must die; but the unexpected kindness which you have shown
to me has caused me to speak my mind. I came to this tent with hatred in
my heart, and curses on my lips; but your kindness to me, unfortunate,
has made me, for the second time since I left Lucknow, ashamed of the
atrocities committed during this rebellion. The first time was at
Cawnpore a few days ago, when Colonel Napier of the Engineers was
directing the blowing up of the Hindoo temples on the Cawnpore _ghât_,
and a deputation of Hindoo priests came to him to beg that the temples
might not be destroyed. 'Now, listen to me,' said Colonel Napier in
reply to them; 'you were all here when our women and children were
murdered, and you also well know that we are not destroying these
temples for vengeance, but for military considerations connected with
the safety of the bridge of boats. But if any man among you can prove to
me that he did a single act of kindness to any Christian man, woman, or
child, nay, if he can even prove that he uttered one word of
intercession for the life of any one of them, I pledge myself to spare
the temple where he worships.' I was standing in the crowd close to
Colonel Napier at the time, and I thought it was bravely spoken. There
was no reply, and the cowardly Brahmins slunk away. Napier gave the
signal and the temples leaped into the air; and I was so impressed with
the justness of Napier's remarks that I too turned away, ashamed."

On this I asked him, "Were you in Cawnpore when the Mutiny broke out?"
To which he replied: "No, thank God! I was in my home in Rohilcund; and
my hands are unstained by the blood of any one, excepting those who have
fallen in the field of battle. I knew that the storm was about to burst,
and had gone to place my wife and children in safety, and I was in my
village when I heard the news of the mutinies at Meerut and Bareilly. I
immediately hastened to join the Bareilly brigade, and marched with them
for Delhi. There I was appointed engineer-in-chief, and set about
strengthening the defences by the aid of a party of the Company's
engineers which had mutinied on the march from Roorkee to Meerut. I
remained in Delhi till it was taken by the English in September. I then
made my way to Lucknow with as many men as I could collect of the
scattered forces. We first marched to Muttra, where we were obliged to
halt till I threw a bridge of boats across the Jumna for the retreat of
the army. We had still a force of over thirty thousand men under the
command of Prince Feroz Shâh and General Bukht Khân. As soon as I
reached Lucknow I was honoured with the post of chief-engineer. I was in
Lucknow in November when your regiment assisted to relieve the
Residency. I saw the horrible slaughter in the Secundrabâgh. I had
directed the defences of that place the night before, and was looking
on from the Shâh Nujeef when you assaulted it. I had posted over three
thousand of the best troops in Lucknow in the Secundrabâgh, as it was
the key to the position, and not a man escaped. I nearly fainted; my
liver turned to water when I saw the green flag pulled down, and a
Highland bonnet set up on the flag-staff which I had erected the night
before. I knew then that all was over, and directed the guns of the Shâh
Nujeef to open fire on the Secundrabâgh. Since then I have planned and
superintended the construction of all the defensive works in and around
Lucknow. You will see them when you return, and if the sepoys and
artillerymen stand firmly behind them, many of the English army will
lose the number of their mess, as you call it, before you again become
masters of Lucknow."

I then asked him if it was true that the man he had called Micky on our
first acquaintance had been one of the men employed by the Nânâ to
butcher the women and children at Cawnpore in July? To this he replied:
"I believe it is true, but I did not know this when I employed him; he
was merely recommended to me as a man on whom I could depend. If I had
known then that he was a murderer of women and children, I should have
had nothing to do with him, for it is he who has brought bad luck on me;
it is my _kismut_, and I must suffer. Your English proverb says, 'You
cannot touch pitch and escape defilement,' and I must suffer; Allah is
just. It is the conduct of wretches such as these that has brought the
anger of Allah on our cause." On this I asked him if he knew whether
there was any truth in the report of the European women having been
dishonoured before being murdered. "_Sâhib_," he replied, "you are a
stranger to this country or you would not ask such a question. Any one
who knows anything of the customs of this country and the strict rules
of caste, knows that all such stories are lies, invented to stir up
race-hatred, as if we had not enough of that on both sides already. That
the women and children were cruelly murdered I admit, but not one of
them was dishonoured; and all the sentences written on the walls of the
houses in Cawnpore, such as, 'We are at the mercy of savages, who have
ravished young and old,' and such like, which have appeared in the
Indian papers and been copied from them into the English ones, are
malicious forgeries, and were written on the walls after the
re-occupation of Cawnpore by General Outram's and Havelock's forces.
Although I was not there myself, I have spoken with many who were there,
and I know that what I tell you is true."

I then asked him if he could give me any idea of the reason that had led
the Nânâ to order the commission of such a cold-blooded, cowardly crime.
"Asiatics," he said, "are weak, and their promises are not to be relied
on, but that springs more from indifference to obligations than from
prearranged treachery. When they make promises, they intend to keep
them; but when they find them inconvenient, they choose to forget them.
And so it was, I believe, with the Nânâ Sâhib. He intended to have
spared the women and children, but they had an enemy in his _zenâna_ in
the person of a female fiend who had formerly been a slave-girl, and
there were many about the Nânâ (Azeemoolla Khân for one) who wished to
see him so irretrievably implicated in rebellion that there would be no
possibility for him to draw back. So this woman was powerfully supported
in her evil counsel, and obtained permission to have the English ladies
killed; and after the sepoys of the Sixth Native Infantry and the Nânâ's
own guard had refused to do the horrible work, this woman went and
procured the wretches who did it. This information I have from General
Tântia Topee, who quarrelled with the Nânâ on this same matter. What I
tell you is true: the murder of the European women and children at
Cawnpore was a woman's crime, for there is no fiend equal to a female
fiend; but what cause she had for enmity against the unfortunate ladies
I don't know--I never inquired."

Those of my readers who were in India at the time may remember that
something about this slave-girl was said in all the native evidence
collected at the time on the subject of the Cawnpore massacre.

I next asked Mahomed Ali Khân if he knew whether there was any truth in
the stories about General Wheeler's daughter having shot four or five
men with a revolver, and then leaped into the well at Cawnpore. "All
these stories," was his answer, "are pure inventions with no foundation
of truth. General Wheeler's daughter is still alive, and is now in
Lucknow; she has become a Mussulmânee, and has married according to
Mahommedan law the man who protected her; whether she may ever return to
her own people I know not."

In such conversation I passed the night with my prisoner, and towards
daybreak I permitted him to perform his ablutions and morning devotions,
after which he once more thanked me, and prayed that Allah might reward
me for my kindness to His oppressed servant. Once, and only once, did he
show any weakness, in alluding to his wife and two boys in their faraway
home in Rohilcund, when he remarked that they would never know the fate
of their unfortunate father. But he at once checked himself, saying, "I
have read French history as well as English; I must remember Danton, and
show no weakness." He then produced a gold ring which was concealed
among his hair, and asked me if I would accept it and keep it in
remembrance of him, in token of his gratitude. It was, he said, the only
thing he could give me, as everything of value had been taken from him
when he was arrested. He went on to say that the ring in question was
only a common one, not worth more than ten rupees, but that it had been
given to him by a holy man in Constantinople as a talisman, though the
charm had been broken when he had joined the unlucky man who was his
fellow-prisoner. I accepted the ring, which he placed on my finger with
a blessing and a prayer for my preservation, and he told me to look on
it and remember Mahomed Khân when I was in front of the fortifications
of Lucknow, and no evil would befall me. He had hardly finished speaking
when a guard from the provost-marshal came with an order to take over
the prisoners, and I handed this man over with a sincere feeling of pity
for his fate.

Immediately after, I received orders that the division would march at
sunrise for Lucknow, and that my party was to join the rear-guard, after
the ammunition-park and siege-train had moved on. The sun was high in
the heavens before we left the encamping-ground, and in passing under a
tree on the side of the Cawnpore and Lucknow road, I looked up, and was
horrified to see my late prisoner and his companion hanging stark and
stiffened corpses! I could hardly repress a tear as I passed. But on the
11th of March, in the assault on the Begum's Kothee, I remembered
Mahomed Ali Khân and looked on the ring. I am thankful to say that I
went through the rest of the campaign without a scratch, and the
thoughts of my kindness to this unfortunate man certainly did not
inspire me with any desire to shirk danger. I still have the ring, the
only piece of Mutiny plunder I ever possessed, and shall hand it down to
my children together with the history of Mahomed Ali Khân.

FOOTNOTES:

[37] Butler.

[38] It must also be remembered that these officials knew much more of
the terrible facts attending the Mutiny--of the wholesale murder (and
even worse) of English women and the slaughter of English children--than
the rank and file were permitted to hear; and that they were also, both
from their station and their experience, far better able to decide the
measures best calculated to crush the imminent danger threatening our
dominion in India.

[39] Lit. Lady-house.

[40] Foreigner. Among the sepoys the word usually signified an Afghân or
Caubuli.

[41] This very man who denounced Jamie Green as a spy was actually
hanged in Bareilly in the following May for having murdered his master
in that station when the Mutiny first broke out.



CHAPTER XI

THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW--SIR COLIN APPOINTED COLONEL OF THE NINETY-THIRD
--ASSAULT ON THE MARTINIÈRE--A "RANK" JOKE.


After leaving Oonâo our division under Sir Edward Lugard reached
Buntera, six miles from the Alumbâgh, on the 27th of February, and
halted there till the 2nd of March, when we marched to the Dilkooshá,
encamping a short distance from the palace barely beyond reach of the
enemy's guns, for they were able at times to throw round-shot into our
camp. We then settled down for the siege and capture of Lucknow; but the
work before us was considered tame and unimportant when compared with
that of the relief of the previous November. Every soldier in the camp
clearly recognised that the capture of the doomed city was simply a
matter of time,--a few days more or less--and the task before us a mere
matter of routine, nothing to be compared to the exciting exertions
which we had to put forth for the relief of our countrywomen and their
children.

At the time of the annexation of Oude Lucknow was estimated to contain
from eight to nine hundred thousand inhabitants, or as many as Delhi and
Benares put together. The camp and bazaars of our force were full of
reports of the great strength and determination of the enemy, and
certainly all the chiefs of Oude, Mahommedan and Hindoo, had joined the
standard of the Begum and had sworn to fight for their young king Brijis
Kuddur. All Oude was therefore still against us, and we held only the
ground covered by the British guns. Bazaar reports estimated the enemy's
strength at from two hundred and fifty to three hundred thousand
fighting men, with five hundred guns in position; but in the
Commander-in-Chief's camp the strength of the enemy was computed at
sixty thousand regulars, mutineers who had lately served the Company,
and about seventy thousand irregulars, matchlock-men, armed police,
dacoits, etc., making a total of one hundred and thirty thousand
fighting men. To fight this large army, sheltered behind entrenchments
and loophooled walls, the British force, even after being joined by Jung
Bahâdoor's Goorkhas, mustered only about thirty-one thousand men of all
arms, and one hundred and sixty-four guns.

From the heights of the Dilkooshá in the cool of the early morning,
Lucknow, with its numerous domed mosques, minarets, and palaces, looked
very picturesque. I don't think I ever saw a prettier scene than that
presented on the morning of the 3rd of March, 1858, when the sun rose,
and Captain Peel and his Blue-jackets were getting their heavy guns,
68-pounders, into position. From the Dilkooshá, even without the aid of
telescopes, we could see that the defences had been greatly
strengthened since we retired from Lucknow in November, and I called to
mind the warning of Jamie Green, that if the enemy stood to their guns
like men behind those extensive earthworks, many of the British force
would lose the number of their mess before we could take the city; and
although the Indian papers which reached our camp affected to sneer at
the Begum, Huzrut Mahal, and the legitimacy of her son Brijis Kuddur,
whom the mutineers had proclaimed King of Oude, they had evidently the
support of the whole country, for every chief and _zemindar_ of any
importance had joined them.

On the morning after we had pitched our camp in the Dilkooshá park, I
went out with Sergeant Peter Gillespie, our deputy provost-marshal, to
take a look round the bazaars, and just as we turned a corner on our way
back to camp, we met some gentlemen in civilian dress, one of whom
turned out to be Mr. Russell, the _Times'_ correspondent, whom we never
expected to have seen in India. "Save us, sir!" said Peter Gillespie.
"Is that you, Maister Russell? I never did think of meeting you here,
but I am right glad to see you, and so will all our boys be!" After a
short chat and a few inquiries about the regiment, Mr. Russell asked
when we expected to be in Lucknow, to which Peter Gillespie replied:
"Well, I dinna ken, sir, but when Sir Colin likes to give the order,
we'll just advance and take it." I may here mention that Sergeant
Gillespie lived to go through the Mutiny, and the cholera epidemic in
Peshawar in 1862, only to die of hydrophobia from the bite of a pet dog
in Sialkote years after, when he was about to retire on his sergeant's
pension. I mention this because Peter Gillespie was a well-known
character in the old regiment; he had served on the staff of the
provost-marshal throughout the Crimean war, and, so far as I now
remember, Colonel Ewart and Sergeant Gillespie were the only two men in
the regiment who gained the Crimean medal with the four clasps, for
Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, and Sebastopol.

On the 4th of March the Ninety-Third, a squadron of the Ninth Lancers,
and a battery of artillery, were marched to the banks of the Goomtee
opposite Beebeepore House, to form a guard for the engineers engaged in
throwing a pontoon bridge across the Goomtee. The weather was now very
hot in the day-time, and as we were well beyond the range of the enemy's
guns, we were allowed to undress by companies and bathe in the river. As
far as I can remember, we were two days on this duty. During the
forenoon of the second day the Commander-in-Chief visited us, and the
regiment fell in to receive him, because, he said, he had something of
importance to communicate. When formed up, Sir Colin told us that he had
just received despatches from home, and among them a letter from the
Queen in which the Ninety-Third was specially mentioned. He then pulled
the letter out of his pocket, and read the paragraph alluded to, which
ran as follows, as nearly as I remembered to note it down after it was
read: "The Queen wishes Sir Colin to convey the expression of her great
admiration and gratitude to all European as well as native troops who
have fought so nobly and so gallantly for the relief of Lucknow, amongst
whom the Queen is rejoiced to see the Ninety-Third Highlanders." Colonel
Leith-Hay at once called for three cheers for her Majesty the Queen,
which were given with hearty good-will, followed by three more for the
Commander-in-Chief. The colonel then requested Sir Colin to return the
thanks of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the
regiment to her Majesty the Queen for her most gracious message, and for
her special mention of the Ninety-Third, an honour which no one serving
in the regiment would ever forget. To this Sir Colin replied that
nothing would give him greater pleasure than to comply with this
request; but he had still more news to communicate. He had also a letter
from his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge to read to us, which he
proceeded to do as follows: "One line in addition to my letter addressed
to you this morning, to say that, in consequence of the Colonelcy of the
Ninety-Third Highlanders having become vacant by the death of General
Parkinson, I have recommended the Queen to remove you to the command of
that distinguished and gallant corps, with which you have been so much
associated, not alone at the present moment in India, but also during
the whole of the campaign in the Crimea. I thought such an arrangement
would be agreeable to yourself, and I know that it is the highest
compliment that her Majesty could pay to the Ninety-Third Highlanders to
see their dear old chief at their head." As soon as Sir Colin had read
this letter, the whole regiment cheered till we were hoarse; and when
Sir Colin's voice could again be heard, he called for the master-tailor
to go to the headquarters camp to take his measure to send home for a
uniform of the regiment for him, feather bonnet and all complete; and
about eighteen months afterwards Sir Colin visited us in Subâthoo,
dressed in the regimental uniform then ordered.

Early on the 7th of March General Outram's division crossed the Goomtee
by the bridge of boats, and we returned to our tents at the Dilkooshá.
About mid-day we could see Outram's division, of which the Seventy-Ninth
Cameron Highlanders formed one of the infantry corps, driving the enemy
before them in beautiful style. We saw also the Queen's Bays, in their
bright scarlet uniform and brass helmets, make a splendid charge,
scattering the enemy like sheep, somewhere about the place where the
buildings of the Upper India Paper Mills now stand. In this charge Major
Percy Smith and several men galloped right through the enemy's lines,
and were surrounded and killed. Spies reported that Major Smith's head
was cut off, and, with his helmet, plume, and uniform, paraded through
the streets of Lucknow as the head of the Commander-in-Chief. But the
triumph of the enemy was short. On the 8th General Outram was firmly
established on the north bank of the Goomtee, with a siege-train of
twenty-two heavy guns, with which he completely turned and enfiladed the
enemy's strong position.

On the 9th of March we were ordered to take our dinners at twelve
o'clock, and shortly after that hour our division, consisting of the
Thirty-Eighth, Forty-Second, Fifty-Third, Ninetieth, Ninety-Third, and
Fourth Punjâb Infantry, was under arms, screened by the Dilkooshá palace
and the garden walls round it, and Peel's Blue-jackets were pouring shot
and shell, with now and again a rocket, into the Martinière as fast as
ever they could load. About two o'clock the order was given for the
advance--the Forty-Second to lead and the Ninety-Third to support; but
we no sooner emerged from the shelter of the palace and garden-walls
than the orderly advance became a rushing torrent. Both regiments dashed
down the slope abreast, and the earthworks, trenches, and rifle-pits in
front of the Martinière were cleared, the enemy flying before us as fast
as their legs could carry them. We pursued them right through the
gardens, capturing their first line of works along the canal in front of
Banks's bungalow and the Begum's palace. There we halted for the night,
our heavy guns and mortar-batteries being advanced from the Dilkooshá;
and I, with some men from my company, was sent on piquet to a line of
unroofed huts in front of one of our mortar-batteries, for fear the
enemy from the Begum's palace might make a rush on the mortars. This
piquet was not relieved till the morning of the 11th, when I learned
that my company had been sent back as camp-guards, the captains of
companies having drawn lots for this service, as all were equally
anxious to take part in the assault on the Begum's palace, and it was
known the Ninety-Third were to form the storming-party. As soon as the
works should be breached, I and the men who were with me on the
advance-piquet were to be sent to join Captain M'Donald's company,
instead of going back to our own in camp. After being relieved from
piquet, our little party set about preparing some food. Our own company
having gone back to camp, no rations had been drawn for us, and our
haversacks were almost empty; so I will here relate a mild case of
cannibalism. Of the men of my own company who were with me on this
piquet one was Andrew M'Onvill,--Handy Andy, as he was called in the
regiment--a good-hearted, jolly fellow, and as full of fun and practical
jokes as his namesake, Lever's hero,--a thorough Paddy from Armagh, a
soldier as true as the steel of a Damascus blade or a Scotch Andrea
Ferrara. When last I heard of him, I may add, he was sergeant-major of a
New Zealand militia regiment. Others were Sandy Proctor, soldier-servant
to Dr. Munro, and George Patterson, the son of the carrier of Ballater
in Aberdeenshire. I forget who the rest were, but we were joined by John
M'Leod, the pipe-major, and one or two more. We got into an empty hut,
well sheltered from the bullets of the enemy, and Handy Andy sallied out
on a foraging expedition for something in the way of food. He had a
friend in the Fifty-Third who was connected in some way with the
quarter-master's department, and always well supplied with extra
provender. The Fifty-Third were on our right, and there Handy Andy found
his friend, and returned with a good big steak, cut from an artillery
gun-bullock which had been killed by a round-shot; also some sheep's
liver and a haversack full of biscuits, with plenty of pumpkin to make
a good stew. There was no lack of cooking-pots in the huts around, and
plenty of wood for fuel, so we kindled a fire, and very soon had an
excellent stew in preparation. But the enemy pitched some shells into
our position, and one burst close to a man named Tim Drury, a big stout
fellow, killing him on the spot. I forget now which company he belonged
to, but his body lay where he fell, just outside our hut, with one thigh
nearly torn away. My readers must not for a moment think that such a
picture in the foreground took away our appetites in the least. There is
nothing like a campaign for making one callous and selfish, and
developing the qualities of the wild beast in one's nature; and the
thought which rises uppermost is--Well, it is his turn now, and it may
be mine next, and there is no use in being down-hearted! Our steak had
been broiled to a turn, and our stew almost cooked, when we noticed
tiffin and breakfast combined arrive for the European officers of the
Fourth Punjâb Regiment, and some others who were waiting sheltered by
the walls of a roofless hut near where we were. Among them was a young
fellow, Lieutenant Fitzgerald Cologan, attached to some native regiment,
a great favourite with the Ninety-Third for his pluck. John M'Leod at
once proposed that Handy Andy should go and offer him half of our
broiled steak, and ask him for a couple of bottles of beer for our
dinner, as it might be the last time we should have the chance of
drinking his health. He and the other officers with him accepted the
steak with thanks, and Andy returned, to our no small joy, with two
quart bottles of Bass's beer. But, unfortunately he had attracted the
attention of Charley F., the greatest glutton in the Ninety-Third, who
was so well known for his greediness that no one would chum with him.
Charley was a long-legged, humpbacked, cadaverous-faced, bald-headed
fellow, who had joined the regiment as a volunteer from the
Seventy-Second before we left Dover in the spring of 1857, and on
account of his long legs and humpback, combined with the inordinate
capacity of his stomach and an incurable habit of grumbling, he had been
re-christened the "Camel," before we had proceeded many marches with
that useful animal in India. Our mutual congratulations were barely over
on the acquisition of the two bottles of beer, when, to our
consternation, we saw the Camel dodging from cover to cover, as the
enemy were keeping up a heavy fire on our position, and if any one
exposed himself in the least, a shower of bullets was sent whistling
round him. However, the Camel, with a due regard to the wholeness of his
skin, steadily made way towards our hut. We all knew that if he were
admitted to a share of our stew, very little would be left for
ourselves. John M'Leod and I suggested that we should, at the risk of
quarrelling with him, refuse to allow him any share, but Handy Andy
said, "Leave him to me, and if a bullet doesn't knock him over as he
comes round the next corner, I'll put him off asking for a share of the
stew." By that time we had finished our beer. Well, the Camel took good
care to dodge the bullets of Jack Pandy, and he no sooner reached a
sheltered place in front of the hut, than Andy called out: "Come along,
Charley, you are just in time; we got a slice of a nice steak from an
artillery-bullock this morning, and because it was too small alone for a
dinner for the four of us, we have just stewed it with a slice from Tim
Drury, and bedad it's first-rate! Tim tastes for all the world like
fresh pork"; and with that Andy picked out a piece of the sheep's liver
on the prongs of his fork, and offered it to Charley as part of Tim
Drury, at the same time requesting him not to mention the circumstance
to any one. This was too much for the Camel's stomach. He plainly
believed Andy, and turned away, as if he would be sick. However, he
recovered himself, and replied: "No, thank you; hungry as I am, it shall
never be in the power of any one to tell my auld mither in the Grass
Market o' Edinboro' that her Charley had become a cannibal! But if you
can spare me a drop of the beer I'll be thankful for it, for the sight
of your stew has made me feel unco' queer." We expressed our sorrow that
the beer was all drunk before we had seen Charley performing his oblique
advance, and Andy again pressed him to partake of a little of the stew;
but Charley refused to join, and sitting down in a sheltered spot in the
corner of our roofless mud-hut, made wry faces at the relish evinced by
the rest of us over our savoury stew. The Camel eventually discovered
that he had been made a fool of, and he never forgave us for cheating
him out of a share of the savoury mess.



CHAPTER XII

ASSAULT ON THE BEGUM'S KOTHEE--DEATH OF CAPTAIN M'DONALD--MAJOR HODSON
WOUNDED--HIS DEATH


We had barely finished our meal when we noticed a stir among the
staff-officers, and a consultation taking place between General Sir
Edward Lugard, Brigadier Adrian Hope, and Colonel Napier. Suddenly the
order was given to the Ninety-Third to fall in. This was quietly done,
the officers taking their places, the men tightening their belts and
pressing their bonnets firmly on their heads, loosening the ammunition
in their pouches, and seeing that the springs of their bayonets held
tight. Thus we stood for a few seconds, when Brigadier Hope passed the
signal for the assault on the Begum's Kothee. Just before the signal was
given two men from the Fifty-Third rushed up to us with a soda-water
bottle full of grog. One of them was Lance-Corporal Robert Clary, who is
at present, I believe, police-sergeant in the Municipal Market,
Calcutta; the other was the friend of Andrew M'Onvill, who had supplied
us with the steaks for our "cannibal feast." I may mention that
Lance-Corporal Clary was the same man who led the party of the
Fifty-Third to capture the guns at the Kâlee Nuddee bridge, and who
called out: "Three cheers for the Commander-in-Chief, boys," when Sir
Colin Campbell was threatening to send the regiment to the rear for
breach of orders. Clary was a County Limerick boy of the right sort,
such as filled the ranks of our Irish regiments of the old days. No
Fenian nor Home Ruler; but ever ready to uphold the honour of the
British Army by land or by sea, and to share the contents of his
haversack or his glass of grog with a comrade; one of those whom Scott
immortalises in _The Vision of Don Roderick_.

    Hark! from yon stately ranks what laughter rings,
      Mingling wild mirth with war's stern minstrelsy,
    His jest while each blithe comrade round him flings,
      And moves to death with military glee!
    Boast, Erin, boast them! tameless, frank, and free,
      In kindness warm, and fierce in danger known,
    Rough Nature's children, humorous as she.

When Captain M'Donald, whose company we had joined, saw the two
Fifty-Third boys, he told them that they had better rejoin their own
regiment. Clary replied, "Sure, Captain, you don't mean it;" and seeing
Dr. Munro, our surgeon, busy giving directions to his assistants and
arranging bandages, etc., in a _dooly_, Clary went on:--"We have been
sent by Lieutenant Munro of our company to take care of his namesake
your doctor, who never thinks of himself, but is sure to be in the thick
of the fight, looking out for wounded men. You of the Ninety-Third don't
appreciate his worth. There's not another doctor in the army to equal
him or to replace him should he get knocked over in this scrimmage, and
we of the Fifty-Third have come to take care of him." "If that is the
case," said Captain M'Donald, "I'll allow you to remain; but you must
take care that no harm befalls our doctor, for he is a great friend of
mine." And with that Captain M'Donald stepped aside and plucked a rose
from a bush close by, (we were then formed up in what had been a
beautiful garden), and going up to Munro he gave him the flower saying,
"Good-bye, old friend, keep this for my sake." I have often recalled
this incident and wondered if poor Captain M'Donald had any presentiment
that he would be killed! Although he had been a captain for some years,
he was still almost a boy. He was a son of General Sir John M'Donald,
K.C.B., of Dalchosnie, Perthshire, and was wounded in his right arm
early in the day by a splinter from a shell, but he refused to go to the
rear, and remained at the head of his company, led it through the
breach, and was shot down just inside, two bullets striking him almost
at once, one right in his throat just over the breast-bone, as he was
waving his claymore and cheering on his company. After the fight was
over I made my way to where the dead were collected and cut off a lock
of his hair and sent it to a young lady, Miss M. E. Ainsworth, of
Inverighty House, Forfar, who, I knew, was acquainted with Captain
M'Donald's family. I intended the lock of hair for his mother, and I did
not know if his brother officers would think of sending any memento of
him. I don't know if ever the lock of hair reached his mother or not.
When I went to do this I found Captain M'Donald's soldier-servant
crying beside the lifeless body of his late master, wringing his hands
and saying, "Oh! but it was a shame to kill him." And so it was! I never
saw a more girlish-looking face than his was in death; his features were
so regular, and looked strangely like those of a wax doll, which was, I
think, partly the effect of the wound in the throat. But to return to
the assault.

When Captain McDonald fell the company was led by the senior lieutenant,
and about twenty yards inside the breach in the outer rampart we were
stopped by a ditch nearly eighteen feet wide and at least twelve to
fourteen feet deep. It was easy enough to slide down to the bottom; the
difficulty was to get up on the other side! However, there was no
hesitation; the stormers dashed into the ditch, and running along to the
right in search of some place where we could get up on the inside, we
met part of the grenadier company headed by Lieutenant E. S. Wood, an
active and daring young officer. I may here mention that there were two
lieutenants of the name of Wood at this time in the Ninety-Third. One
belonged to my company; his name was S. E. Wood and he was severely
wounded at the relief of Lucknow and was, at the time of which I am
writing, absent from the regiment. The one to whom I now refer was
Lieutenant E. S. Wood of the grenadier company. When the two parties in
the ditch met, both in search of a place to get out, Mr. Wood got on the
shoulders of another grenadier and somehow scrambled up claymore in
hand. He was certainly the first man inside the inner works of the
Begum's palace, and when the enemy saw him emerge from the ditch they
fled to barricade doors and windows to prevent us getting into the
buildings. His action saved us, for the whole of us might have been shot
like rats in the ditch if they had attacked Mr. Wood, instead of flying
when they saw the tall grenadier claymore in hand. As soon as he saw the
coast clear the lieutenant lay down on the top of the ditch, and was
thus able to reach down and catch hold of the men's rifles by the bends
of the bayonets; and with the aid of the men below pushing up behind, we
were all soon pulled out of the ditch. When all were up, one of the men
turned to Mr. Wood and said: "If any officer in the regiment deserves to
get the Victoria Cross, sir, you do; for besides the risk you have run
from the bullets of the enemy, it's more than a miracle that you're not
shot by our own rifles; they're all on full-cock." And so it was!
Seizing loaded rifles on full-cock by the muzzles, and pulling more than
a score of men out of a deep ditch, was a dangerous thing to do; but no
one thought of the danger, nor did anyone think of even easing the
spring to half-cock, much less of firing his rifle off before being
pulled up. However, Mr. Wood escaped, and after getting his captaincy he
left the regiment and became Conservator of Forests in Oude. I may
mention that Mr. Wood was a younger brother of Mr. H. W. I. Wood, for
many years the well-known secretary to the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.
He has just lately retired on his pension; I wonder if he ever recalls
the danger he incurred from pulling his men out of the ditch of the
Begum's palace by the muzzles of their loaded rifles on full-cock!

By the time we got out of the ditch we found every door and window of
the palace buildings barricaded, and every loophole defended by an
invisible enemy. But one barrier after another was forced, and men in
small parties, headed by the officers, got possession of the inner
square, where the enemy in large numbers stood ready for the struggle.
But no thought of unequal numbers held us back. The command was given:
"Keep well together, men, and use the bayonet; give them the
Secundrabâgh and the sixteenth of November over again." I need not
describe the fight. It raged for about two hours from court to court,
and from room to room; the pipe-major, John M'Leod, playing the pipes
inside as calmly as if he had been walking round the officers' mess-tent
at a regimental festival. When all was over, General Sir Edward Lugard,
who commanded the division, complimented the pipe-major on his coolness
and bravery: "Ah, sir," said John, "I knew our boys would fight all the
better when cheered by the bagpipes."

"Within about two hours from the time the signal for the assault was
given, over eight hundred and sixty of the enemy lay dead within the
inner court, and no quarter was sought or given. By this time we were
broken up in small parties in a series of separate fights, all over the
different detached buildings of the palace. Captain M'Donald being dead,
the men who had been on piquet with me joined a party under Lieutenant
Sergison, and while breaking in the door of a room, Mr. Sergison was
shot dead at my side with several men. When we had partly broken in the
door, I saw that there was a large number of the enemy inside the room,
well armed with swords and spears, in addition to fire-arms of all
sorts, and, not wishing to be either killed myself or have more of the
men who were with me killed, I divided my party, placing some at each
side of the door to shoot every man who showed himself, or attempted to
rush out. I then sent two men back to the breach, where I knew Colonel
Napier with his engineers were to be found, to get a few bags of
gunpowder with slow-matches fixed, to light and pitch into the room.
Instead of finding Napier, the two men sent by me found the redoubtable
Major Hodson who had accompanied Napier as a volunteer in the storming
of the palace. Hodson did not wait for the powder-bags, but, after
showing the men where to go for them, came running up himself, sabre in
hand. 'Where are the rebels?' he said. I pointed to the door of the
room, and Hodson, shouting 'Come on!' was about to rush in. I implored
him not to do so, saying, 'It's certain death; wait for the powder; I've
sent men for powder-bags,' Hodson made a step forward, and I put out my
hand to seize him by the shoulder to pull him out of the line of the
doorway, when he fell back shot through the chest. He gasped out a few
words, either 'Oh, my wife!' or, 'Oh, my mother!'--I cannot now rightly
remember--but was immediately choked by blood. At the time I thought the
bullet had passed through his lungs, but since then I have seen the
memoir written by his brother, the Rev. George H. Hodson, Vicar of
Enfield, in which it is stated that the bullet passed through his liver.
However, I assisted to get him lifted into a _dooly_ (by that time the
bearers had got in and were collecting the wounded who were unable to
walk), and I sent him back to where the surgeons were, fully expecting
that he would be dead before anything could be done for him. It will
thus be seen that the assertion that Major Hodson was looting when he
was killed is untrue. No looting had been commenced, not even by Jung
Bahâdoor's Goorkhas. That Major Hodson was killed through his own
rashness cannot be denied; but for any one to say that he was looting is
a cruel slander on one of the bravest of Englishmen."

Shortly after I had lifted poor Hodson into the _dooly_ and sent him
away in charge of his orderly, the two men who had gone for the powder
came up with several bags, with slow-matches fixed in them. These we
ignited, and then pitched the bags in through the door. Two or three
bags very soon brought the enemy out, and they were bayoneted down
without mercy. One of the men who were with me was, I think, Mr. Rule,
who is now _sans_ a leg, and employed by the G.I.P. Railway in Bombay,
but was then a powerful young man of the light company. Rule rushed in
among the rebels, using both bayonet and butt of his rifle, shouting,
"Revenge for the death of Hodson!" and he killed more than half the men
single-handed. By this time we had been over two hours inside the
breach, and almost all opposition had ceased. Lieutenant and Adjutant
"Willie" MacBean, as he was known to the officers, and "Paddy" MacBean
to the men, encountered a _havildâr_, a _nâik_, and nine sepoys at one
gate, and killed the whole eleven, one after the other. The _havildâr_
was the last; and by the time he got out through the narrow gate,
several men came to the assistance of MacBean, but he called to them not
to interfere, and the _havildâr_ and he went at it with their swords. At
length MacBean made a feint cut, but instead gave the point, and put his
sword through the chest of his opponent. For this MacBean got the
Victoria Cross, mainly, I believe, because Sir Edward Lugard, the
general in command of the division, was looking down from the ramparts
above and saw the whole affair. I don't think that MacBean himself
thought he had done anything extraordinary. He was an Inverness-shire
ploughman before he enlisted, and rose from the ranks to command the
regiment, and died a major-general. There were still a number of old
soldiers in the regiment who had been privates with MacBean when I
enlisted, and many anecdotes were related about him. One of these was
that when MacBean first joined, he walked with a rolling gait, and the
drill-corporal was rather abusive with him when learning his drill. At
last he became so offensive that another recruit proposed to MacBean,
who was a very powerful man, that they should call the corporal behind
the canteen in the barrack-yard and give him a good thrashing, to which
proposal MacBean replied: "Toots, toots, man, that would never do. I am
going to command this regiment before I leave it, and it would be an ill
beginning to be brought before the colonel for thrashing the
drill-corporal!" MacBean kept to his purpose, and _did_ live to command
the regiment, going through every rank from private to major-general. I
have seen it stated that he was a drummer-boy in the regiment, but that
is not correct. He was kept seven years lance-corporal, partly because
promotion went slow in the Ninety-Third, but several were promoted over
him because, at the time of the disruption in the Church of Scotland,
MacBean joined the Free Kirk party. This fact may appear strange to
military readers of the present day with our short service and
territorial regiments; but in the times of which I am writing, as I have
before mentioned, the Ninety-Third was constituted as much after the
arrangements of a Highland parish as those of a regiment in the army;
and, to use the words of old Colonel Sparks who commanded, MacBean was
passed over four promotions because "He was a d--d Free Kirker."

But I must hark back to my story and to the Begum's palace on the
evening of the 11th of March, 1858. By the time darkness set in all
opposition had ceased, but there were still numbers of the mutineers
hiding in the rooms. Our loss was small compared with that inflicted on
the enemy. Our regiment had one captain, one lieutenant, and thirteen
rank and file killed; Lieutenant Grimston, Ensign Hastie, and
forty-five men wounded. Many of the wounded died afterwards; but eight
hundred and sixty of the enemy lay dead in the centre court alone, and
many hundreds more were killed in the different enclosures and
buildings. That night we bivouacked in the courts of the palace, placing
strong guards all round. When daylight broke on the morning of the 12th
of March, the sights around were horrible. I have already mentioned that
many sepoys had to be dislodged from the close rooms around the palace
by exploding bags of gunpowder among them, and this set fire to their
clothing and to whatever furniture there was in the rooms; and when day
broke on the 12th, there were hundreds of bodies all round, some still
burning and others half-burnt, and the stench was sickening. However,
the Begum's palace was the key to the enemy's position. During the day
large parties of camp-followers were brought in to drag out the dead of
the enemy, and throw them into the ditch which had given us so much
trouble to cross, and our batteries were advanced to bombard the
Imâmbâra and Kaiserbâgh.

During the forenoon of the 12th, I remember seeing Mr. Russell of _The
Times_ going round making notes, and General Lugard telling him to take
care and not to attempt to go into any dark room for fear of being
"potted" by concealed Pandies. Many such were hunted out during the day,
and as there was no quarter for them they fought desperately. We had
one sergeant killed at this work and several men wounded. During the
afternoon a divisional order by General Sir Edward Lugard was read to
us, as follows:--

"Major-General Sir Edward Lugard begs to thank Brigadier the Honourable
Adrian Hope, Colonel Leith-Hay, and the officers and men of the
Ninety-Third who exclusively carried the position known as the Begum's
Kothee. No words are sufficient to express the gallantry, devotion, and
fearless intrepidity displayed by every officer and man in the regiment.
The Major-General will not fail to bring their conduct prominently to
the notice of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief."

During the day Sir Colin himself visited the position, and told us that
arrangements would be made for our relief the following day, and on
Saturday, the 13th, we returned to camp and rested all the following
Sunday. So far as I remember, the two men of the Fifty-Third,
Lance-Corporal Clary and his comrade, remained with us till after the
place was taken, and then returned to their own regiment when the
fighting was over, reporting to Lieutenant Munro that they had gone to
take care of his brother, Doctor Munro of the Ninety-Third.

There were many individual acts of bravery performed during the assault,
and it is difficult to single them out. But before closing this chapter
I may relate a rather laughable incident that happened to a man of my
company named Johnny Ross. He was a little fellow, and there were two
of the same name in the company, one tall and the other short, so they
were named respectively John and Johnny. Before falling in for the
assault on the Begum's palace, Johnny Ross and George Puller, with some
others, had been playing cards in a sheltered corner, and in some way
quarrelled over the game. When the signal was given for the "fall in,"
Puller and Ross were still arguing the point in dispute, and Puller told
Ross to "shut up." Just at that very moment a spent bullet struck Ross
in the mouth, knocking in four of his front teeth. Johnny thought it was
Puller who had struck him, and at once returned the blow; when Puller
quietly replied, "You d--d fool, it was not I who struck you; you've got
a bullet in your mouth." And so it was: Johnny Ross put up his hand to
his mouth, and spat out four front teeth and a leaden bullet. He at once
apologised to Puller for having struck him, and added, "How will I
manage to bite my cartridges the noo?" Those were the days of
muzzle-loading cartridges, which had to be torn open with the teeth when
loading.

We returned to our tents at the Dilkooshá on Saturday, the 13th, and the
whole regiment formed a funeral party for our killed near the palace;
but I could not find the place on my late visit to Lucknow, nor do I
think any monument marks it. When going round the Dilkooshá heights I
found no trace of the graves of the Ninety-Third, nor was there any one
who could point them out to me. The guide took me to see the grave of
Major Hodson. I found it in excellent preservation, with a wall round
it, and an iron gate to it near the entrance to the Martinière College.
This care had been taken of Hodson's last resting-place by his friend,
Lord Napier of Magdala, and I cut a branch from the cypress-tree planted
at his head, and posted half of it to the address of his brother in
England.


NOTE

HODSON OF HODSON'S HORSE

      Sir Colin Campbell wrote thus at the time of Major Hodson's
      death: "The whole army, which admired his talents, his
      bravery, and his military skill, deplores his loss.... I
      attended his funeral yesterday evening, in order to show
      what respect I could to the memory of one of the most
      brilliant officers under my command.--(Signed) C.
      CAMPBELL, Commander-in-Chief in East Indies."

      The following tributes were also paid to Hodson's memory at
      the time. From a leading article in _The Times_: "The
      country will receive with lively regret the news that the
      gallant Major Hodson, who has given his name to an
      invincible and almost ubiquitous body of cavalry, was killed
      in the attack on Lucknow. Major Hodson has been from the
      very beginning of this war fighting everywhere and against
      any odds with all the spirit of a Paladin of old. His most
      remarkable exploit, the capture of the King of Delhi and his
      two sons, astonished the world by its courage and coolness.
      Hodson was indeed a man who, from his romantic daring and
      his knowledge of the Asiatic character, was able to beat the
      natives at their own weapons."

      From _Blackwood's Magazine_: "Then fell one of the bravest
      in the Indian Army, an officer whose name has been brought
      too often before the public by those in high command to need
      my humble word of praise. There was not a man before Delhi
      who did not know Hodson; always active, always cheery, it
      did one's heart good to look at his face when all felt how
      critical was our position."



CHAPTER XIII

JUNG BAHÂDOOR--GUNPOWDER--THE MOHURRUM AT LUCKNOW--LOOT


On the return of the regiment to camp at the Dilkooshá on the 13th of
March I was glad to get back to my own company. The men were mortified
because they had not shared in the honour of the assault on the Begum's
palace; but as some compensation the company had formed the
guard-of-honour for the reception of the Mâharâja Jung Bahâdoor,
Commander-in-Chief of the Nepaulese Army, who had just reached Lucknow
and been received in state by Sir Colin Campbell on the afternoon of the
11th, at the moment when the regiment was engaged in the assault on the
palace. The _durbar_ had at first proved a rather stiff ceremonial
affair, but Jung Bahâdoor and his officers had hardly been presented and
taken their seats, when a commotion was heard outside, and Captain Hope
Johnstone, aide-de-camp to General Sir William Mansfield, covered with
powder-smoke and the dust of battle, strode up the centre of the
guard-of-honour with a message to the Commander-in-Chief from Mansfield,
informing him that the Ninety-Third had taken the Begum's palace, the
key of the enemy's position, with slight loss to themselves, but that
they had killed over a thousand of the enemy. This announcement put an
end to all ceremony on the part of Sir Colin, who jumped to his feet,
rubbing his hands, and calling out, "I knew they would do it! I knew my
boys of the Ninety-Third would do it!" Then telling Captain Metcalfe to
interpret the news to the Mâharâja, and pointing to the guard-of-honour,
Sir Colin said: "Tell him that these men are part of the regiment that
has done this daring feat. Tell him also that they are _my_ regiment;
I'm their colonel!" The Mâharâja looked pleased, and replied that he
remembered having seen the regiment when he visited England in 1852. As
I have already said, the Ninety-Third had formed a guard-of-honour for
him when in Edinburgh, and there were still many men in the regiment who
remembered seeing Jung Bahâdoor. There was an oft-repeated story among
the old soldiers that the Mâharâja was so pleased at the sight of them
that he had proposed to buy the whole regiment, and was somewhat
surprised to learn that British soldiers were volunteers and could not
be sold, even to gratify the Mâharâja of Nepaul.

After returning to camp on the 13th of March, the regiment was allowed
to rest till the 17th, but returned to the city on the morning of the
18th, taking up a position near the Imâmbâra and the Kaiserbâgh, both of
which had been captured when we were in camp. We relieved the
Forty-Second, and the sights that then met our eyes in the streets of
Lucknow defy description. The city was in the hands of plunderers;
Europeans and Sikhs, Goorkhas, and camp-followers of every class, aided
by the scum of the native population. Every man in fact was doing what
was right in his own eyes, and "Hell broke loose" is the only phrase in
the English language that can give one who has never seen such a sight
any idea of the scenes in and around the Imâmbâra, the Kaiserbâgh, and
adjacent streets. The Sikhs and Goorkhas were by far the most proficient
plunderers, because they instinctively knew where to look for the most
valuable loot. The European soldiers did not understand the business,
and articles that might have proved a fortune to many were readily
parted with for a few rupees in cash and a bottle of grog. But the
gratuitous destruction of valuable property that could not be carried
off was appalling. Colour-Sergeant Graham, of Captain Burroughs'
company, rescued from the fire a bundle of Government-of-India
promissory notes to the value of over a _lakh_ of rupees,[42] and Mr.
Kavanagh, afterwards discovering the rightful owner, secured for
Sergeant Graham a reward of five per cent on the amount. But with few
exceptions the men of the Ninety-Third got very little. I could fill a
volume on the plunder of Lucknow, and the sights which are still vividly
impressed on my memory; but others have written at length on this theme,
so I will leave it.

Before I proceed to other subjects, and to make my recollections as
instructive as possible for young soldiers, I may mention some serious
accidents that happened through the explosions of gunpowder left behind
by the enemy. One most appalling accident occurred in the house of a
nobleman named Ushruf-ood-dowlah, in which a large quantity of gunpowder
had been left; this was accidentally exploded, killing two officers and
forty men of the Engineers, and a great number of camp-followers, of
whom no account was taken. The poor men who were not killed outright
were so horribly scorched that they all died in the greatest agony
within a few hours of the accident, and for days explosions with more or
less loss of life occurred all over the city. From the deplorable
accidents that happened, which reasonable care might have prevented, I
could enumerate the loss of over a hundred men, and I cannot too
strongly impress on young soldiers the caution required in entering
places where there is the least chance of coming across concealed
gunpowder. By the accident in the house of Ushruf-ood-dowlah, two of our
most distinguished and promising Engineer officers,--Captains Brownlow
and Clarke--lost their lives, with forty of the most valuable branch of
the service. All through the Mutiny I never forgot my own experience in
the Shâh Nujeef (as related in the fifth chapter of these
reminiscences); and wherever I could prevent it, I never allowed men to
go into unexplored rooms with lighted pipes, or to force open locked
doors by the usual method of firing a loaded rifle into the lock. I
think there ought to be a chapter of instructions on this head in every
drill-book and soldiers' pocket-book. After the assault on a city like
Lucknow some license and plundering is inevitable, and where discipline
is relaxed accidents are sure to happen; but a judicious use of the
provost-marshal's cat would soon restore discipline and order. Whatever
opponents of the lash may say, my own firm opinion is that the
provost-marshal's cat is the only general to restore order in times like
those I am describing. I would have no courts-martial, drum-head or
otherwise; but simply give the provost-marshal a strong guard of picked
men and several sets of triangles, with full power to tie up every man,
no matter what his rank, caught plundering, and give him from one to
four dozen, not across the shoulders, but across the breech, as judicial
floggings are administered in our jails; and if these were combined with
roll-calls at short intervals, plundering, which is a most dangerous
pastime, would soon be put down. In time of war soldiers ought to be
taught to treat every house or room of an assaulted position as a
powder-magazine until explored. I am surprised that cautions on this
head have been so long overlooked.

As before stated, the Ninety-Third did not get much plunder, but in
expelling the enemy from some mosques and other strong buildings near
the Imâmbâra on the 21st of March, one company came across the
tomb-model or royal _tâzia_, and the Mohurrum paraphernalia which had
been made at enormous expense for the celebration of the last Mohurrum
in Lucknow in 1857. The royal family and court of Lucknow were
_Sheeâhs_: and to enable European readers to understand the value of
the plunder to which I allude, before entering on the actual details, I
will quote from the chapter on the celebration of the Mohurrum in
Lucknow in _The Private Life of an Eastern King_, by William Knighton, a
member of the household of his late Majesty Nussir-ood-Deen King of
Oude, a book which, I believe, is now out of print. Few people seem to
know the meaning of those symbols, the star and crescent or half-moon,
on Mahommedan standards or banners and on the domes of mosques or tombs
of deceased persons of importance, as also on the tomb-models, or
_tâzias_ used in the celebration of the Mohurrum. For the explanation of
these symbols we must turn to the science of heraldry, which was well
known in the sixth century A.D., when Mahommed established his
religion. The star is meant to represent Mahommed himself, as the
prophet of God, and the crescent represents the Mahommedan religion,
which every sincere follower of the Prophet believes will eventually
become a full moon and cover the whole earth.

      The fanatical rites of the Mohurrum are celebrated on the
      anniversary of the death of two leaders of the faithful,
      near relatives of Mahommed himself, Hussun and Hoosein, and
      are observed by more than one-half the population of India
      as a period of deep humiliation and sorrow. The Mussulman
      faithful are divided into two sects, Sheeâhs and the
      Soonies, who feel towards each other much as fanatical
      Protestants and Roman Catholics mutually do. The Sheeâhs
      regard the deaths of Hussun and Hoosein as barbarous
      murders; the Soonies look on them as lawful executions of
      pretenders to supreme power by the reigning Caliph, the true
      head of the faithful. On the first day of the Mohurrum the
      vast population of Lucknow appears to be suddenly snatched
      away from all interests and employments in the affairs of
      this world; the streets are deserted; every one is shut up
      in his house, mourning with his family. On the second day
      the streets are crowded, but with people in mourning attire,
      parading the thoroughfares in funeral procession to the
      tomb-models set up here and there as tributes of respect to
      the memory of Hussun and Hoosein. These models, called
      _tâzias_, are representations of the mausoleum at Kerbela
      where the two chiefs are buried. The _tâzias_ are placed in
      an _imâmbâra_ belonging to a chief, or in the house of some
      wealthy Mussulman. The _tâzia_ belonging to the king of Oude
      was made for his Majesty's father, and was composed of
      panels of green glass fixed in gold mouldings, and was
      regarded as peculiarly holy. [I only take extracts from the
      chapter on the Mohurrum from the work I have named. The
      _tâzia_ belonging to the king accompanied him from Lucknow
      on the annexation of Oude.] It is on record at Lucknow that
      the celebration of the Mohurrum often cost a reigning Nawâb
      upwards of £300,000 or Rs. 3,000,000. In Lucknow, before the
      Mutiny, it was believed that they had the true metal crest
      of the banner of Hoosein, a relic regarded as peculiarly
      sacred, and enshrined in a building called the Doorgâh. The
      name of the charger which Hoosein rode when he was killed
      was Dhulldhull, represented in the procession of the
      Mohurrum by a spotless white Arab of elegant proportions.
      The trappings of Dhulldhull are all of solid gold, and a
      golden bow and quiver of arrows are fixed on the saddle.

These extracts from a history of Lucknow before the Mutiny will enable
my readers to form some idea of the splendour of the Mohurrum of 1857,
and the value of the _tâzia_ and paraphernalia found, as I said, by a
company of the Ninety-Third. I learned from native troopers that the
golden _tâzia_ belonging to the crown jewels of Lucknow having
accompanied the king to Calcutta, a new one was made, for which the
Mahommedan population of Lucknow subscribed _lakhs_ of rupees. In the
eleventh chapter of his _Defence of the Residency_, Mr. L. E. R. Rees
states that the Mohurrum was celebrated with unusual splendour and
fanaticism, commencing that year on the 25th of August, and that on the
_kutal-ka-râth_, or night of slaughter, a certain Mr. Jones, with ten
other Christians, deserted to the enemy by undoing a barricaded door
when one of their own number was on sentry over it. But, instead of a
favourable reception as they anticipated, the deserters received the
fitting reward of their treachery from the insurgents; for they were all
immediately killed as a sacrifice, and their blood sprinkled on the
different _tâzias_ throughout the city. To return to my own story; I was
told by a native jeweller, who was in Lucknow in 1857, that the crescent
and star alone of the new _tâzia_ made for the young king, Brijis
Kuddur, cost five _lakhs_ of rupees. Be that as it may, it fell to a
company of the Ninety-Third to assault the Doorgâh, where all this
consecrated paraphernalia was stored, and there they found this golden
_tâzia_, with all the gold-embroidered standards, saddle, and
saddle-cloth, the gold quiver and arrows of Dhulldhull. There was at the
time I write, a certain lieutenant in the company whom I shall call
Jamie Blank. He was known to be very poor, and it was reported in the
regiment that he used to regularly remit half of his lieutenant's pay to
support a widowed mother and a sister, and this fact made the men of the
company consider Jamie Blank entitled to a share in the loot. So when
the _tâzia_ was discovered, not being very sure whether the diamonds in
the crescent and star on the dome were real or imitation, they settled
to cut off the whole dome, and give it to Jamie; which they did. I don't
know where Jamie Blank disposed of this particular piece of loot, but I
was informed that it eventually found its way to London, and was sold
for £80,000. The best part of the story is, however, to come. There was
a certain newspaper correspondent in the camp (not Mr. Russell), who
depended on his native servant to translate Hindoostânee names into
English. When he heard that a company of the Ninety-Third had found a
gold _tâzia_ of great value, and that they had presented the senior
lieutenant with the lid of it to enable him to deposit money to purchase
his captaincy, the correspondent asked his Madrassi servant the English
equivalent for _tâzia_. Samuel, perhaps not knowing the English word
_tomb_, but knowing that the _tâzia_ referred to a funeral, told his
master that the English for _tâzia_ was _coffin_; so it went the round
of the English papers that among the plunder of Lucknow a certain
company of the Ninety-Third had found a gold coffin, and that they had
generously presented the senior lieutenant with the lid of it, which was
studded with diamonds and other precious stones. So far as I am aware,
this is the first time that the true explanation of Jamie Blank's golden
coffin-lid has been given to the world.

As already mentioned, with the exception of the company which captured
the golden _tâzia_ and the Mohurrum paraphernalia, the Ninety-Third got
very little loot; and by the time we returned to the city order was in
some measure restored, prize-agents appointed, and guards placed at the
different thoroughfares to intercept camp-followers and other plunderers
on their way back to camp, who were thus made to disgorge their
plunder, nominally for the public good or the benefit of the army. But
it was shrewdly suspected by the troops that certain small caskets in
battered cases, which contained the redemption of mortgaged estates in
Scotland, England, and Ireland, and snug fishing and shooting-boxes in
every game-haunted and salmon-frequented angle of the world, found their
way inside the uniform-cases of even the prize-agents. I could myself
name one deeply-encumbered estate which was cleared of mortgage to the
tune of £180,000 within two years of the plunder of Lucknow. But to what
good? I only wish I had to go through a similar campaign with the
experience I have now. But that is all very fine thirty-five years
after! "There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the
flood"--my readers know the rest. I missed the flood, and the tide is
not likely to turn my way again. Before we left Lucknow the plunder
accumulated by the prize-agents was estimated at over £600,000
(according to _The Times_ of 31st of May, 1858), and within a week it
had reached a million and a quarter sterling. What became of it all?
Each private soldier who served throughout the relief and capture of
Lucknow got prize-money to the value of Rs. 17.8; but the thirty _lakhs_
of treasure which were found in the well at Bithoor, leaving the plunder
of the Nânâ Sâhib's palace out of the calculation, much more than
covered that amount. Yet I could myself name over a dozen men who served
throughout every engagement, two of whom gained the Victoria Cross, who
have died in the almshouse of their native parishes, and several in the
almshouse of the Calcutta District Charitable Society! But enough of
moralising; I must get back to 1858.

Many camp-followers and others managed to evade the guards, and
cavalry-patrols were put on duty along the different routes on both
banks of the Goomtee and in the wider thoroughfares of Lucknow.

In my last chapter I gave it as my opinion that the provost-marshal's
cat is the only general which can put a stop to plundering and restore
order in times like those I describe, or rather I should say, _which I
cannot_ describe, because it is impossible to find words to depict the
scenes which met one's eyes at every turn in the streets of Lucknow. In
and around Huzrutgunge, the Imâmbâra, and Kaiserbâgh mad riot and chaos
reigned,--sights fit only for the Inferno. I had heard the phrase "drunk
with plunder"; I then saw it illustrated in real earnest. Soldiers mad
with pillage and wild with excitement, followed by crowds of
camp-followers too cowardly to go to the front, but as ravenous as the
vultures which followed the army and preyed on the carcases of the
slain. I have already said that many of the enemy had to be dislodged
from close rooms by throwing in bags of gunpowder with slow matches
fixed to them. "When these exploded they set fire to clothing,
cotton-padded quilts, and other furniture in the rooms; and the
consequence was that in the inner apartments of the palaces there were
hundreds of dead bodies half burnt; many wounded were burnt alive with
the dead, and the stench from such rooms was horrible! Historians tell
us that Charles the Ninth of France asserted that the smell of a dead
enemy was always sweet. If he had experienced the streets of Lucknow in
March, 1858, he might have had cause to modify his opinion."

FOOTNOTES:

[42] £10,000.



CHAPTER XIV

AN UNGRATEFUL DUTY--CAPTAIN BURROUGHS--THE DILKOOSHÁ AGAIN--GENERAL
WALPOLE AT ROOYAH--THE RÂMGUNGA.


After the Mutiny some meddling philanthropists in England tried to get
up an agitation about such stories as wounded sepoys being burnt alive;
but owing to the nature of the war it was morally impossible to have
prevented such accidents. As to cases of real wanton cruelty or outrage
committed by European soldiers, none came under my own notice, and I may
be permitted to relate here a story which goes far to disprove any
accusations of the sort.

My company had been posted in a large building and garden near the Mint.
Shortly after our arrival an order came for a non-commissioned officer
and a guard of selected men to take charge of a house with a harem, or
_zenâna_, of about eighty women who had been rescued from different
harems about the Kaiserbâgh,--begums of rank and of no rank, dancing
girls and household female slaves, some young and others of very
doubtful age. Mr. MacBean, our adjutant, selected me for the duty, first
because he said he knew I would not get drunk and thus overlook my
sense of responsibility; and, secondly, because by that time I had
picked up a considerable knowledge of colloquial Hindoostânee, and was
thus able to understand natives who could not speak English, and to make
myself understood by them. I got about a dozen old soldiers with me,
several of whom had been named for the duty by Sir Colin Campbell
himself, mostly married men of about twenty years' service. Owing to the
vicissitudes of my chequered life I have lost my pocket roll-book, and
do not now recollect the whole of the names of the men who formed this
guard. However, John Ellis, whose wife had acted as laundress for Sir
Colin in the Crimea, was one of them, and James Strachan, who was
nicknamed "the Bishop," was another; John M'Donald, the fourth of the
name in my company, was a third; I cannot now name more of them. If any
of that guard are alive now, they must be from threescore and ten to
fourscore years of age, because they were then all old men, tried and
true, and, as our adjutant said, Sir Colin had told him that no other
corps except the Ninety-Third could be trusted to supply a guard for
such a duty. MacBean, along with a staff or civil officer, accompanied
the guard to the house, and was very particular in impressing on my
attention the fact that the guard was on no pretence whatever to attempt
to hold any communication with the begums, except through a shrivelled,
parchment-faced, wicked-looking old woman (as I supposed), who, the
staff-officer told me, could speak English, and who had been directed
to report any shortcomings of the guard, should we not behave ourselves
circumspectly. But I must say I had little to fear on that head, for I
knew every one of my men could be trusted to be proof against the
temptation of begums, gold, or grog, and as for myself, I was then a
young non-commissioned officer with a very keen sense of my
responsibility.

Shortly after we were installed in our position of trust, and the
officers had left us, we discovered several pairs of bright eyes peeping
out at us through the partly shattered venetians forming the doors and
windows of the house; and the person whom I had taken for a shrivelled
old woman came out and entered into conversation with me, at first in
Hindoostânee, but afterwards in very good and grammatical English. I
then discovered that what I had mistaken for a crack-voiced old woman, a
second edition of "the mother of the maids," was no other than a
confidential eunuch of the palace, who told me he had been over thirty
years about the court of Lucknow, employed as a sort of private
secretary under successive kings, as he was able to read and write
English, and could translate the English newspapers, etc., and could
also, judging from his villainous appearance, be trusted to strangle a
refractory begum or cut the throat of any one prying too closely into
court secrets. He was almost European in complexion, and appeared to me
to be more than seventy years of age, but he may have been much younger.
He also told me that most of his early life had been spent at the court
of Constantinople, and that he had there learned English, and had found
this of great use to him at the court of Lucknow, where he had not only
kept up the knowledge, but had improved it by reading.

By this time one of the younger begums, or nautch girls (I don't know
which), came out to see the guard, and did not appear by any means too
bashful. She evidently wished for a closer acquaintance, and I asked my
friend to request her to go back to her companions; but this she
declined to do, and wanted particularly to know why we were dressed in
petticoats, and if we were not part of the Queen of England's regiment
of eunuchs, and chaffed me a good deal about my fair hair and youthful
appearance. I was twenty-four hours on that guard before the begums were
removed by Major Bruce to a house somewhere near the Martinière, and
during that twenty-four hours I learned more, through the assistance of
the English-speaking eunuch, about the virtues of polygamy and the
domestic slavery, intrigues, and crimes of the harem than I have learned
in all my other thirty-five years in India. If I dared, I could write a
few pages that would give the Government of India and the public of
England ten times more light on those cherished institutions than they
now possess. The authorities professed to take charge of those caged
begums for their own safety, but I don't think many of them were
over-thankful for the protection. Major Bruce, with an escort, removed
the ladies the next day, and I took leave of my communicative friend and
the begums without reluctance, and rejoined my company, glad to be rid
of such a dangerous charge.

Except the company which stormed the Doorgâh, the rest of the
Ninety-Third were employed more as guards on our return to the city; but
about the 23rd of the month Captain Burroughs and his company were
detailed, with some of Brazier's Sikhs, to drive a lot of rebels from
some mosques and large buildings which were the last positions held by
the enemy. If I remember rightly, Burroughs was then fourth on the list
of captains, and he got command of the regiment five years after,
through deaths by cholera, in Peshâwar in 1862. The Ninety-Third had
three commanding officers in one day! Lieutenant-Colonel MacDonald and
Major Middleton both died within a few hours of each other, and
Burroughs at once became senior major and succeeded to the command, the
senior colonel, Sir H. Stisted, being in command of a brigade in Bengal.
Burroughs was born in India and was sent to France early for his
education, at least for the military part of it, and was a cadet of the
_Ecole Polytechnique_ of Paris. This accounted for his excellent
swordsmanship, his thorough knowledge of French, and his foreign accent.
Burroughs was an accomplished _maître d'armes_. When he joined the
Ninety-Third as an ensign in 1850 he was known as "Wee Frenchie." I
don't exactly remember his height, I think it was under five feet; but
what he wanted in size he made up in pluck and endurance. He served
throughout the Crimean war, and was never a day absent. It was he who
volunteered to lead the forlorn hope when it was thought the Highland
Brigade were to storm the Redan, before it was known that the Russians
had evacuated the position. At the relief of Lucknow he was not the
first man through the hole in the Secundrabâgh; that was Lance-Corporal
Dunley of Burroughs' company; Sergeant-Major Murray was the second, and
was killed inside; the third was a Sikh _sirdâr_, Gokul Sing, of the
Fourth Punjâb Infantry, and Burroughs was either the fourth or fifth. He
was certainly the first _officer_ of the regiment inside, and was
immediately attacked by an Oude Irregular _sowâr_ armed with _tulwâr_
and shield, who nearly slashed Burroughs' right ear off before he got
properly on his feet. It was the wire frame of his feather bonnet that
saved him; the _sowâr_ got a straight cut at his head, but the sword
glanced off the feather bonnet and nearly cut off his right ear.
However, Burroughs soon gathered himself together (there was so little
of him!) and showed his tall opponent that he had for once met his match
in the art of fencing; before many seconds Burroughs' sword had passed
through his opponent's throat and out at the back of his neck.
Notwithstanding his severe wound, Burroughs fought throughout the
capture of the Secundrabâgh, with his right ear nearly severed from his
head, and the blood running down over his shoulder to his gaiters; nor
did he go to have his wound dressed till after he had mustered his
company, and reported to the colonel how many of No. 6 had fallen that
morning. Although his men disliked many of his ways, they were proud of
their little captain for his pluck and good heart. I will relate two
instances of this:--When promoted, Captain Burroughs had the misfortune
to succeed the most popular officer in the regiment in the command of
his company, namely, Captain Ewart (now Lieutenant-General Sir John
Alexander Ewart, K.C.B., etc.), and, among other innovations, Burroughs
tried to introduce certain _Polytechnique_ ideas new to the
Ninety-Third. At the first morning parade after assuming command of the
company, he wished to satisfy himself that the ears of the men were
clean inside, but being so short, he could not, even on tiptoe, raise
himself high enough to see; he therefore made them come to the kneeling
position, and went along the front rank from left to right, minutely
inspecting the inside of every man's ears! The Ninety-Third were all
tall men in those days, none being under five feet six inches even in
the centre of the rear rank of the battalion companies; and the right
hand man of Burroughs' company was a stalwart Highlander named Donald
MacLean, who could scarcely speak English and stood about six feet three
inches. When Burroughs examined Donald's ears he considered them dirty,
and told the colour-sergeant to put Donald down for three days' extra
drill. Donald, hearing this, at once sprang to his feet from the
kneeling position and, looking down on the little captain with a look of
withering scorn, deliberately said, "She will take three days' drill
from a man, but not from a monkey!" Of course Donald was at once marched
to the rear-guard a prisoner, and a charge lodged against him for
"insubordination and insolence to Captain Burroughs at the time of
inspection on morning parade." When the prisoner was brought before the
colonel he read over the charge, and, turning to Captain Burroughs,
said: "This is a most serious charge, Captain Burroughs, and against an
old soldier like Donald MacLean who has never been brought up for
punishment before. How did it happen?" Burroughs was ashamed to state
the exact words, but beat about the bush, saying that he had ordered
MacLean three days' drill, and that he refused to submit to the
sentence, making use of most insolent and insubordinate language; but
the colonel could not get him to state the exact words used, and the
colour-sergeant was called as second witness. The colour-sergeant gave a
plain, straightforward account of the ear-inspection; and when he stated
how MacLean had sprung to his feet on hearing the sentence of three
days' drill, and had told the captain, "She will take three days' drill
from a man, but not from a monkey," the whole of the officers present
burst into fits of laughter, and even the colonel had to hold his hand
to his mouth. As soon as he could speak he turned on MacLean, and told
him that he deserved to be tried by a court-martial and so forth, but
ended by sentencing him to "three days' grog stopped." The orderly-room
hut was then cleared of all except the colonel, Captain Burroughs, and
the adjutant, and no one ever knew exactly what passed; but there was no
repetition of the kneeling position for ear-inspection on morning
parade. I have already said that Burroughs had a most kindly heart, and
for the next three days after this incident, when the grog bugle
sounded, Donald MacLean was as regularly called to the captain's tent,
and always returned smacking his lips, and emphatically stating that
"The captain was a Highland gentleman after all, and not a French
monkey." From that day forward, the little captain and the tall
grenadier became the best of friends, and years after, on the evening of
the 11th of March, 1858, when the killed and wounded were collected
after the capture of the Begum's Kothee in Lucknow, I saw Captain
Burroughs crying like a tender-hearted woman by the side of a _dooly_ in
which was stretched the dead body of Donald MacLean, who, it was said,
received his death-wound defending his captain. I have the authority of
the late colour-sergeant of No. 6 company for the statement that from
the date of the death of MacLean, Captain Burroughs regularly remitted
thirty shillings a month, through the minister of her parish, to
Donald's widowed mother, till the day of her death seven years after.
When an action of this kind became generally known in the regiment, it
caused many to look with kindly feelings on most of the peculiarities of
Burroughs.

The other anecdote goes back to Camp Kamara and the spring of 1856, when
the Highland Brigade were lying there half-way between Balaclava and
Sebastopol. As before noticed, Burroughs was more like a Frenchman than
a Highlander; there were many of his old _Polytechnique_ chums in the
French army in the Crimea, and almost every day he had some visitors
from the French camp, especially after the armistice was proclaimed.

Some time in the spring of 1856 Burroughs had picked up a Tartar pony
and had got a saddle, etc., for it, but he could get no regular groom.
Not being a field-officer he was not entitled to a regulation groom, and
not being well liked, none of his company would volunteer for the
billet, especially as it formed no excuse for getting off other duties.
One of the company had accordingly to be detailed on fatigue duty every
day to groom the captain's pony. On a particular day this duty had
fallen to a young recruit who had lately joined by draft, a man named
Patrick Doolan, a real Paddy of the true Handy Andy type, who had made
his way somehow to Glasgow and had there enlisted into the Ninety-Third.
This day, as usual, Burroughs had visitors from the French camp, and it
was proposed that all should go for a ride, so Patrick Doolan was called
to saddle the captain's pony. Doolan had never saddled a pony in his
life before, and he put the saddle on with the pommel to the tail and
the crupper to the front, and brought the pony thus accoutred to the
captain's hut. Every one commenced to laugh, and Burroughs, getting into
a white heat, turned on Patrick, saying, "You fool, you have put the
saddle on with the back to the front!" Patrick at once saluted, and,
without the least hesitation, replied, "Shure, sir, you never told me
whether you were to ride to Balaclava or the front." Burroughs was so
tickled with the ready wit of the reply that from that day he took
Doolan into his service as soldier-servant, taught him his work, and
retained him till March, 1858, when Burroughs had to go on sick leave
on account of wounds. Burroughs was one of the last men wounded in the
taking of Lucknow. Some days after the Begum's Kothee was stormed, he
and his company were sent to drive a lot of rebels out of a house near
the Kaiserbâgh, and, as usual, Burroughs was well in advance of his men.
Just as they were entering the place the enemy fired a mine, and the
captain was sent about a hundred feet in the air; but being like a cat
(in the matter of being difficult to kill, I mean), he fell on his feet
on the roof of a thatched hut, and escaped, with his life indeed, but
with one of his legs broken in two places below the knee. It was only
the skill of our good doctor Munro that saved his leg; but he was sent
to England on sick leave, and before he returned I had left the regiment
and joined the Commissariat Department. This ends my reminiscences of
Captain Burroughs. May he long enjoy the rank he has attained in the
peace of his island home in Orkney! Notwithstanding his peculiarities,
he was a brave and plucky soldier and a most kind-hearted gentleman.

By the end of March the Ninety-Third returned to camp at the Dilkooshá,
glad to get out of the city, where we were suffocated by the stench of
rotting corpses, and almost devoured with flies by day and mosquitoes by
night. The weather was now very hot and altogether uncomfortable, more
especially since we were without any means of bathing and could obtain
no regular changes of clothing.

By this time numbers of the townspeople had returned to the city and
were putting their houses in order, while thousands of _coolies_ and
low-caste natives were employed clearing dead bodies out of houses and
hidden corners, and generally cleaning up the city.

When we repassed the scene of our hard-contested struggle, the Begum's
palace,--which, I may here remark, was actually a much stronger position
than the famous Redan at Sebastopol,--we found the inner ditch, that had
given us so much trouble to get across, converted into a vast grave, in
which the dead had been collected in thousands and then covered by the
earth which the enemy had piled up as ramparts. All round Lucknow for
miles the country was covered with dead carcases of every kind,--human
beings, horses, camels, bullocks, and donkeys,--and for miles the
atmosphere was tainted and the swarms of flies were horrible, a positive
torment and a nuisance. The only comfort was that they roosted at night;
but at meal-times they were indescribable, and it was impossible to keep
them out of our food; our plates of rice would be perfectly black with
flies, and it was surprising how we kept such good health, for we had
little or no sickness during the siege of Lucknow.

During the few days we remained in camp at the Dilkooshá the army was
broken up into movable columns, to take the field after the different
parties of rebels and to restore order throughout Oude; for although
Lucknow had fallen, the rebellion was not by any means over; the whole
of Oude was still against us, and had to be reconquered. The
Forty-Second, Seventy-Ninth, and Ninety-Third (the regiments which
composed the famous old Highland Brigade of the Crimea) were once more
formed into one brigade, and with a regiment of Punjâb Infantry and a
strong force of engineers, the Ninth Lancers, a regiment of native
cavalry, a strong force of artillery, both light and heavy,--in brief,
as fine a little army as ever took the field, under the command of
General Walpole, with Adrian Hope as brigadier,--was detailed for the
advance into Rohilcund for the recapture of Bareilly, where a large army
still held together under Khân Bahâdoor Khân. Every one in the camp
expressed surprise that Sir Colin should entrust his favourite
Highlanders to Walpole.

On the morning of the 7th of April, 1858, the time had at last arrived
when we were to leave Lucknow, and the change was hailed by us with
delight. We were glad to get away from the captured city, with its
horrible smells and still more horrible sights, and looked forward with
positive pleasure to a hot-weather campaign in Rohilcund. We were to
advance on Bareilly by a route parallel with the course of the Ganges,
so striking our tents at 2 A.M. we marched through the city
along the right bank of the Goomtee, past the Moosabâgh, where our first
halt was made, about five miles out of Lucknow, in the midst of fresh
fields, away from all the offensive odours and the myriads of flies. One
instance will suffice to give my readers some idea of the torment we
suffered from these pests. When we struck tents all the flies were
roosting in the roofs; when the tents were rolled up the flies got
crushed and killed by bushels, and no one who has not seen such a sight
would credit the state of the inside of our tents when opened out to be
repitched on the new ground. After the tents were pitched and the roofs
swept down, the sweepers of each company were called to collect the dead
flies and carry them out of the camp. I noted down the quantity of flies
carried out of my own tent. The ordinary kitchen-baskets served out to
the regimental cooks by the commissariat for carrying bread, rice, etc.,
will hold about an imperial bushel, and from one tent there were carried
out five basketfuls of dead flies. The sight gave one a practical idea
of one of the ten plagues of Egypt! Being now rid of the flies we could
lie down during the heat of the day, and have a sleep without being
tormented.

The defeated army of Lucknow had flocked into Rohilcund, and a large
force was reported to be collected in Bareilly under Khân Bahâdoor Khân
and Prince Feroze Shâh. The following is a copy of one of Khân Bahâdoor
Khân's proclamations for the harassment of our advance: "Do not attempt
to meet the regular columns of the infidels, because they are superior
to you in discipline and have more guns; but watch their movements;
guard all the _ghâts_ on the rivers, intercept their communications;
stop their supplies; cut up their piquets and _dâks_; keep constantly
hanging about their camps; give them no rest!" These were, no doubt,
the correct tactics; it was the old Mahratta policy revived. However,
nothing came of it, and our advance was unopposed till we reached the
jungle fort of Nirput Singh, the Rajpoot chief of Rooyah, near the
village of Rhodamow. I remember the morning well. I was in the
advance-guard under command of a young officer who had just come out
from home as a cadet in the H.E.I. Company's service, and there being no
Company's regiments for him, he was attached to the Ninety-Third before
we left Lucknow. His name was Wace, a tall young lad of, I suppose,
sixteen or seventeen years of age. I don't remember him before that
morning, but he was most anxious for a fight, and I recollect that
before we marched off our camping-ground, Brigadier Hope called up young
Mr. Wace, and gave him instructions about moving along with great
caution with about a dozen picked men for the leading section of the
advance-guard.

We advanced without opposition till sunrise, and then we came in sight
of an outpost of the enemy about three miles from the fort; but as soon
as they saw us they retired, and word was passed back to the column.
Shortly afterwards instructions came for the advance-guard to wait for
the main column, and I remember young Mr. Wace going up to the
brigadier, and asking to be permitted to lead the assault on the fort,
should it come to a fight. At this time a summons to surrender had been
sent to the Râja, but he vouchsafed no reply, and, as we advanced, a
9-pounder shot was fired at the head of the column, killing a drummer
of the Forty-Second. The attack on the fort then commenced, without any
attempt being made to reconnoitre the position, and ended in a most
severe loss, Brigadier Hope being among the killed. Lieutenant
Willoughby, who commanded the Sikhs,--a brother of the officer who blew
up the powder-magazine at Delhi, rather than let it fall into the hands
of the enemy,--was also killed; as were Lieutenants Douglas and Bramley
of the Forty-Second, with nearly one hundred men, Highlanders and Sikhs.
Hope was shot from a high tree inside the fort, and, at the time, it was
believed that the man who shot him was a European.[43] After we retired
from the fort the excitement was so great among the men of the
Forty-Second and Ninety-Third, owing to the sacrifice of so many
officers and men through sheer mismanagement, that if the officers had
given the men the least encouragement, I am convinced they would have
turned out in a body and hanged General Walpole. The officers who were
killed were all most popular men; but the great loss sustained by the
death of Adrian Hope positively excited the men to fury. So heated was
the feeling on the night the dead were buried, that if any
non-commissioned officer had dared to take the lead, the life of General
Walpole would not have been worth half an hour's purchase.

After the force retired,--for we actually retired!--from Rooyah on the
evening of the 15th of April, we encamped about two miles from the
place, and a number of our dead were left in the ditch, mostly
Forty-Second and Sikhs; and, so far as I am aware, no attempt was made
to invest the fort or to keep the enemy in. They took advantage of this
to retreat during the night; but this they did leisurely, burning their
own dead, and stripping and mutilating those of our force that were
abandoned in the ditch. It was reported in the camp that Colonel Haggard
of the Ninth Lancers, commanding the cavalry brigade, had proposed to
invest the place, but was not allowed to do so by General Walpole, who
was said to have acted in such a pig-headed manner that the officers
considered him insane. Rumour added that when Colonel Haggard and a
squadron of the Lancers went to reconnoitre the place on the morning of
the 16th, it was found empty; and that when Colonel Haggard sent an
aide-de-camp to report this fact to the general, he had replied, "Thank
God!" appearing glad that Râja Nirput Singh and his force had slipped
through his fingers after beating back the best-equipped movable column
in India. These reports gaining currency in the camp made the general
still more unpopular, because, in addition to his incapability as an
officer, the men put him down as a coward.

During the day the mutilated bodies of our men were recovered from the
ditch. The Sikhs burnt theirs, while a large fatigue party of the
Forty-Second and Ninety-Third was employed digging one long grave in a
_tope_ of trees not far from the camp. About four o'clock in the
afternoon the funeral took place, Brigadier Hope and the officers on
the right, wrapped in their tartan plaids, the non-commissioned officers
and the privates on their left, each sewn up in a blanket. The Rev. Mr.
Cowie, whom we of the Ninety-Third had nicknamed "the Fighting Padre,"
afterwards Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand, and the Rev. Mr. Ross,
chaplain of the Forty-Second, conducted the service, Mr. Ross reading
the ninetieth Psalm and Mr. Cowie the rest of the service. The pipers of
the Forty-Second and Ninety-Third, with muffled drums, played _The
Flowers of the Forest_ as a dead march. In all my experience in the army
or out of it I never witnessed such intense grief, both among officers
and men, as was expressed at this funeral. Many of all ranks sobbed like
tender-hearted women. I especially remember our surgeon, "kind-hearted
Billy Munro" as the men called him; also Lieutenants Archie Butter and
Dick Cunningham, who were aides-de-camp to Adrian Hope. Cunningham had
rejoined the regiment after recovery from his wounds at Kudjwa in
October, 1857, but they had left him too lame to march, and he was a
supernumerary aide-de-camp to Brigadier Hope; he and Butter were both
alongside the brigadier, I believe, when he was struck down by the
renegade ruffian.

We halted during the 17th, and strong fatigue-parties were employed with
the engineers destroying the fort by blowing up the gateways. The place
was ever after known in the Ninety-Third as "Walpole's Castle." On the
18th we marched, and on the 22nd we came upon the retreating rebels at
a place called Sirsa, on the Râmgunga. The Ninth Lancers and
Horse-Artillery and two companies of the Ninety-Third (I forget their
numbers) crossed the Râmgunga by a ford and intercepted the retreat of a
large number of the enemy, who were escaping by a bridge of boats, the
material for which the country people had collected for them. But their
retreat was now completely cut off, and about three hundred of them were
reported either killed or drowned in the Râmgunga.

About 3 P.M. a tremendous sandstorm, with thunder, and rain in
torrents, came on. The Râmgunga became so swollen that it was impossible
for the detachment of the Ninety-Third to recross, and they bivouacked
in a deserted village on the opposite side, without tents, the officers
hailing across that they could make themselves very comfortable for the
night if they could only get some tea and sugar, as the men had
biscuits, and they had secured a quantity of flour and some goats in the
village. But the boats which the enemy had collected had all broken
adrift, and there was apparently no possibility of sending anything
across to our comrades. This dilemma evoked an act of real cool pluck on
the part of our commissariat _gomâshta_,[44] _bâboo_ Hera Lâll
Chatterjee, whom I have before mentioned in my seventh chapter in
reference to the plunder of a cartload of biscuits at Bunnee bridge on
the retreat from Lucknow. By this time Hera Lâll had become better
acquainted with the "wild Highlanders," and was even ready to risk his
life to carry a ration of tea and sugar to them. This he made into a
bundle, which he tied on the crown of his head, and although several of
the officers tried to dissuade him from the attempt, he tightened his
_chudder_[45] round his waist, and declaring that he had often swum the
Hooghly, and that the Râmgunga should not deprive the officers and men
of a detachment of his regiment of their tea, he plunged into the river,
and safely reached the other side with his precious freight on his head!
This little incident was never forgotten in the regiment so long as Hera
Lâll remained the commissariat _gomâshta_ of the Ninety-Third. He was
then a young man, certainly not more than twenty. Although thirty-five
more years of rough-and-tumble life have now considerably grizzled his
appearance, he must often look back with pride to that stormy April
evening in 1858, when he risked his life in the Râmgunga to carry a
tin-pot of tea to the British soldiers.

Among the enemy killed that day were several wearing the uniforms
stripped from the dead of the Forty-Second in the ditch of Rooyah; so,
of course, we concluded that this was Nirput Singh's force, and the
defeat and capture of its guns in some measure, I have no doubt,
re-established General Walpole in the good opinion of the authorities,
but not much in that of the force under his command.

Nothing else of consequence occurred till about the 27th of April, when
our force rejoined the Commander-in-Chief's column, which had advanced
_via_ Futtehghur, and we heard that Sir William Peel had died of
smallpox at Cawnpore on his way to Calcutta. The news went through the
camp from regiment to regiment, and caused almost as much sorrow in the
Ninety-Third as the death of poor Adrian Hope.

FOOTNOTES:

[43] See Appendix B.

[44] Native assistant in charge of stores.

[45] A wrapper worn by Bengalee men and up-country women.



CHAPTER XV

BATTLE OF BAREILLY--GHÂZIS--A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT--HALT AT BAREILLY
--ACTIONS OF POSGAON, RUSSOOLPORE, AND NOWRUNGABAD--REST AT LAST!


The heat was now very oppressive, and we had many men struck down by the
sun every day. We reached Shâhjehânpore on the 30th of April, and found
that every building in the cantonments fit for sheltering European
troops had been destroyed by order of the Nânâ Sâhib, who, however, did
not himself wait for our arrival. Strange to say, the bridge of boats
across the Râmgunga was not destroyed, and some of the buildings in the
jail, and the wall round it, were still standing. Colonel Hale and a
wing of the Eighty-Second were left here with some guns, to make the
best of their position in the jail, which partly dominated the city. The
Shâhjehânpore distillery was mostly destroyed, but the native distillers
had been working it, and there was a large quantity of rum still in the
vats, which was found to be good and was consequently annexed by the
commissariat.

On the 2nd of May we left Shâhjehânpore _en route_ for Bareilly, and on
the next day reached Futtehgunge Every village was totally deserted,
but no plundering was allowed, and any camp-followers found marauding
were soon tied up by the provost-marshal's staff. Proclamations were
sent everywhere for the people to remain in their villages, but without
any effect. Two days later we reached Furreedpore, which we also found
deserted, but with evident signs that the enemy were near; and our
bazaars were full of reports of the great strength of the army of Khân
Bahâdoor Khân and Feroze Shâh. The usual estimate was thirty thousand
infantry, twenty-five thousand cavalry, and about three hundred guns,
among which was said to be a famous black battery that had beaten the
European artillery at ball-practice a few months before they mutinied at
Meerut. The left wing of the Ninety-Third was thrown out, with a
squadron of the Lancers and Tombs' battery, as the advance piquet. As
darkness set in we could see the fires of the enemy's outposts, their
patrol advancing quite close to our sentries during the night, but
making no attack.

About 2 A.M. on the 5th of May, according to Sir Colin's usual
plan, three days' rations were served out, and the whole force was under
arms and slowly advancing before daylight. By sunrise we could see the
enemy drawn up on the plain some five miles from Bareilly, in front of
what had been the native lines; but as we advanced, they retired. By
noon we had crossed the nullah in front of the old cantonments, and,
except by sending round-shot among us at long distances, which did not
do much harm, the enemy did not dispute our advance. We were halted in
the middle of a bare, sandy plain, and we of the rank and file then got
to understand why the enemy were apparently in some confusion; we could
hear the guns of Brigadier Jones ("Jones the Avenger" as he was called)
hammering at them on the other side. The Ninety-Third formed the extreme
right of the front line of infantry with a squadron of the Lancers and
Tombs' battery of horse-artillery. The heat was intense, and when about
two o'clock a movement in the mango _topes_ in our front caused the
order to stand to our arms, it attained such a pitch that the barrels of
our rifles could not be touched by our bare hands!

The Sikhs and our light company advanced in skirmishing order, when some
seven to eight hundred matchlock-men opened fire on them, and all at
once a most furious charge was made by a body of about three hundred and
sixty Rohilla Ghâzis, who rushed out, shouting "_Bismillâh! Allâh!
Allâh! Deen! Deen!_" Sir Colin was close by, and called out, "Ghâzis,
Ghâzis! Close up the ranks! Bayonet them as they come on." However, they
inclined to our left, and only a few came on to the Ninety-Third, and
these were mostly bayoneted by the light company which was extended in
front of the line. The main body rushed on the centre of the
Forty-Second; but as soon as he saw them change their direction Sir
Colin galloped on, shouting out, "Close up, Forty-Second! Bayonet them
as they come on!" But that was not so easily done; the Ghâzis charged in
blind fury, with their round shields on their left arms, their bodies
bent low, waving their _tulwârs_ over their heads, throwing themselves
under the bayonets, and cutting at the men's legs. Colonel Cameron, of
the Forty-Second, was pulled from his horse by a Ghâzi, who leaped up
and seized him by the collar while he was engaged with another on the
opposite side; but his life was saved by Colour-Sergeant Gardener, who
seized one of the enemy's _tulwârs_, and rushing to the colonel's
assistance cut off the Ghâzi's head. General Walpole was also pulled off
his horse and received two sword-cuts, but was rescued by the bayonets
of the Forty-Second. The struggle was short, but every one of the Ghâzis
was killed. None attempted to escape; they had evidently come on to kill
or be killed, and a hundred and thirty-three lay in one circle right in
front of the colours of the Forty-Second.

The Commander-in-Chief himself saw one of the Ghâzis, who had broken
through the line, lying down, shamming dead. Sir Colin caught the glance
of his eye, saw through the ruse, and called to one of the Forty-Second,
"Bayonet that man!" But the Ghâzi was enveloped in a thick quilted tunic
of green silk, through which the blunt Enfield bayonet would not pass,
and the Highlander was in danger of being cut down, when a Sikh
_sirdâr_[46] of the Fourth Punjâbis rushed to his assistance, and took
the Ghâzi's head clean off with one sweep of his keen _tulwâr_. These
Ghâzis, with a very few exceptions, were gray-bearded men of the Rohilla
race, clad in green, with green turbans and _kummerbunds_,[47] round
shields on the left arm, and curved _tulwârs_ that would split a hair.
They only succeeded in wounding about twenty men--they threw themselves
so wildly on the bayonets of the Forty-Second! One of them, an exception
to the majority, was quite a youth, and having got separated from the
rest challenged the whole of the line to come out and fight him. He then
rushed at Mr. Joiner, the quartermaster of the Ninety-Third, firing his
carbine, but missing. Mr. Joiner returned the fire with his revolver,
and the Ghâzi then threw away his carbine and rushed at Joiner with his
_tulwâr_. Some of the light company tried to take the youngster
prisoner, but it was no use; he cut at every one so madly, that they had
to bayonet him.

The commotion caused by this attack was barely over, when word was
passed that the enemy were concentrating in front for another rush, and
the order was given for the spare ammunition to be brought to the front.
I was detached with about a dozen men of No. 7 company to find the
ammunition-guard, and bring our ammunition in rear of the line. Just as
I reached the ammunition-camels, a large force of the rebel cavalry, led
by Feroze Shâh in person, swept round the flank and among the baggage,
cutting down camels, camel-drivers, and camp-followers in all
directions. My detachment united with the ammunition-guard and defended
ourselves, shooting down a number of the enemy's _sowârs_. I remember
the Rev. Mr. Ross, chaplain of the Forty-Second, running for his life,
dodging round camels and bullocks with a rebel _sowâr_ after him, till,
seeing our detachment, he rushed to us for protection, calling out,
"Ninety-Third, shoot that impertinent fellow!" Bob Johnston, of my
company, shot the _sowâr_ down. Mr. Ross had no sword nor revolver, and
not even a stick with which to defend himself. Moral--When in the field,
_padres_, carry a good revolver! About the same time as Mr. Ross gained
our protection, we saw Mr. Russell, of _The Times_, who was ill and
unable to walk from the kick of a horse, trying to escape on horseback.
He had got out of his _dooly_, undressed and bareheaded as he was, and
leaped into the saddle, as the _syce_ had been leading his horse near
him. Several of the enemy's _sowârs_ were dodging through the camels to
get at him. We turned our rifles on them, and I shot down the one
nearest to Mr. Russell, just as he had cut down an intervening
camel-driver and was making for "Our Special"; in fact, his _tulwâr_ was
actually lifted to swoop down on Mr. Russell's bare head when my bullet
put a stop to his proceedings. I saw Mr. Russell tumble from his saddle
at the same instant as the _sowâr_ fell, and I got a rare fright, for I
thought my bullet must have struck both. However, I rushed to where Mr.
Russell had fallen, and I then saw from the position of the slain
_sowâr_ that my bullet had found its proper billet, and that Mr. Russell
was down with sunstroke, the blood flowing freely from his nose. There
was no time to lose. Our Mooltânee Irregulars were after the enemy, and
I had to hasten to the line with the spare ammunition; but before I left
Mr. Russell to his fate, I called some of the Forty-Second
baggage-guards to put him into his _dooly_ and take him to their doctor,
while I hastened back to the line and reported the occurrence to Captain
Dawson. Next morning I was glad to hear that Mr. Russell was still
alive, and likely to get over his stroke.

After this charge of the rebel cavalry we were advanced; but the thunder
of Jones' attack on the other side of the city evidently disconcerted
the enemy, and they made off to the right of our line, while large
numbers of Ghâzis concentrated themselves in the main buildings of the
city. We suffered more from the sun than from the enemy; and after we
advanced into the shelter of a large mango _tope_ we were nearly eaten
alive by swarms of small green insects, which invaded our bare legs in
thousands, till we were glad to leave the shelter of the mango trees and
take to the open plain again. As night drew on the cantonments were
secured, the baggage was collected, and we bivouacked on the plain,
strong piquets being thrown out. My company was posted in a small field
of onions near a _pucca_[48] well with a Persian wheel for lifting the
water. We supped off the biscuits in our haversacks, raw onions, and the
cool water drawn from well, and then went off to sleep. I wish I might
always sleep as soundly as I did that night after my supper of raw
onions and dry biscuits!

On the 6th of May the troops were under arms, and advanced on the city
of Bareilly. But little opposition was offered, except from one large
house on the outskirts of the town, in which a body of about fifty
Rohilla Ghâzis had barricaded themselves, and a company (I think it was
No. 6 of the Ninety-Third) was sent to storm the house, after several
shells had been pitched into it. This was done without much loss, except
that of one man; I now forget his name, but think it was William
MacDonald. He rushed into a room full of Ghâzis, who, before his
comrades could get to his assistance, had cut him into sixteen pieces
with their sharp _tulwârs_! As the natives said, he was cut into
annas.[49] But the house was taken, and the whole of the Ghâzis slain,
with only the loss of this one man killed and about half a dozen
wounded.

While this house was being stormed the townspeople sent a deputation of
submission to the Commander-in-Chief, and by ten o'clock we had pitched
our camp near the ruins of the church which had been destroyed twelve
months before. Khân Bahâdoor Khân and the Nânâ Sâhib were reported to
have fled in the direction of the Nepâl Terâi, while Feroze Shâh, with a
force of cavalry and guns, had gone back to attack Shâhjehânpore.

About mid-day on the 6th a frightful accident happened, by which a large
number of camp-followers and cattle belonging to the ordnance-park were
killed. Whether for concealment or by design (it was never known which)
the enemy had left a very large quantity of gunpowder and loaded shells
in a dry well under a huge tree in the centre of the old cantonment. The
well had been filled to the very mouth with powder and shells, and then
covered with a thin layer of dry sand. A large number of ordnance
_khalâsies_,[50] bullock-drivers, and _dooly_-bearers had congregated
under the tree to cook their mid-day meal, lighting their fires right on
the top of this powder-magazine, when it suddenly exploded with a most
terrific report, shaking the ground for miles, making the tent-pegs fly
out of the hard earth, and throwing down tents more than a mile from the
spot. I was lying down in a tent at the time, and the concussion was so
great that I felt as if lifted clear off the ground. The tent-pegs flew
out all round, and down came the tents, before the men, many of whom
were asleep, had time to get clear of the canvas. By the time we got our
arms free of the tents, bugles were sounding the assembly in all
directions, and staff-officers galloping over the plain to ascertain
what had happened. The spot where the accident had occurred was easily
found. The powder having been in a deep well, it acted like a huge
mortar, fired perpendicularly; an immense cloud of black smoke was sent
up in a vertical column at least a thousand yards high, and thousands of
shells were bursting in it, the fragments flying all round in a circle
of several hundred yards. As the place was not far from the
ammunition-park, the first idea was that the enemy had succeeded in
blowing up the ammunition; but those who had ever witnessed a similar
accident could see that, whatever had happened, the concussion was too
great to be caused by only one or two waggon-loads of powder. From the
appearance of the column of smoke and the shells bursting in it, as if
shot out of a huge mortar, it was evident that the accident was confined
to one small spot, and the belief became general that the enemy had
exploded an enormous mine. But after some time the truth became known,
the troops were dispersed, and the tents repitched. This explosion was
followed in the afternoon by a most terrific thunderstorm and heavy
rain, which nearly washed away the camp. The storm came on as the
non-commissioned officers of the Ninety-Third and No. 2 company were
falling in to bury Colour-Sergeant Mackie, who had been knocked down by
the sun the day before and had died that forenoon. Just when we were
lowering the body into the grave, there was a crash of thunder almost as
loud as the explosion of the powder-mine. The ground becoming soaked
with rain, the tent-pegs drew and many tents were again thrown down by
the force of the hurricane; and as everything we had became soaked, we
passed a most uncomfortable night.

On the morning of the 7th of May we heard that Colonel Hale and the wing
of the Eighty-Second left in the jail at Shâhjehânpore had been attacked
by Feroze Shâh and the Nânâ Sâhib, and were sore pushed to defend
themselves. A brigade, consisting of the Sixtieth Rifles, Seventy-Ninth
Highlanders, several native regiments, the Ninth Lancers, and some
batteries of artillery, under Brigadier John Jones ("the Avenger") was
at once started back for the relief of Shâhjehânpore--rather a gloomy
outlook for the hot weather of 1858! While this brigade was starting,
the remainder of the force which was to hold Bareilly for the hot
season, consisting of the Forty-Second, Seventy-Eighth, and
Ninety-Third, shifted camp to the sandy plain near where Bareilly
railway station now stands, hard by the little fort in the centre of the
plain. There we remained in tents during the whole of May, large working
parties being formed every morning to assist the engineers to get what
shelter was possible ready for the hottest months. The district jail was
arranged as barracks for the Ninety-Third, and we moved into them on the
1st of June. The Forty-Second got the old _cutchery_[51] buildings with
a new thatch roof; and the Seventy-Eighth had the Bareilly College.
There we remained till October, 1858.

I omitted to mention in its proper place that on the death of Adrian
Hope, Colonel A. S. Leith-Hay, of the Ninety-Third, succeeded to the
command of the brigade, and Major W. G. A. Middleton got command of the
regiment till we rejoined the Commander-in-Chief, when it was found that
Lieutenant-Colonel Ross, who had exchanged with Lieutenant-Colonel C.
Gordon, had arrived from England and taken command before we retook
Bareilly.

We remained in Bareilly from May till October in comparative peace. We
had one or two false alarms, and a wing of the Forty-Second, with some
cavalry and artillery, went out about the beginning of June to disperse
a body of rebels who were threatening an attack on Morâdabâd.

These reminiscences do not, as I have before remarked, profess to be a
history of the Mutiny except in so far as I saw it from the ranks of the
Ninety-Third. But I may correct historical mistakes when I find them,
and in vol. ii., p. 500, of _The Indian Empire_, by R. Montgomery
Martin, the following statement occurs: "Khân Bahâdoor Khân, of
Bareilly, held out in the Terâi until the close of 1859; and then,
hemmed in by the Goorkhas on one side and the British forces on the
other, was captured by Jung Bahâdoor. The Khân is described as an old
man, with a long white beard, bent almost double with rheumatic fever.
His life is considered forfeited by his alleged complicity in the
Bareilly murders, but his sentence is not yet pronounced." This is not
historically correct. Khân Bahâdoor Khân was captured by the Bareilly
police-levy early in July, 1858, and was hanged in my presence in front
of the _kotwâlee_ in Bareilly a few days after his capture. He was an
old man with a long white beard, but not at all bent with age, and there
was certainly no want of proof of his complicity in the Bareilly
murders. Next to the Nânâ Sâhib he was one of the most active
instigators of murder in the rebel ranks. He was a retired judge of the
Company's service, claiming descent from the ancient rulers of
Rohilcund, whom the English, in the time of Warren Hastings, had
assisted the Nawâb of Lucknow to put down in the Rohilla war. His
capture was effected in the following manner:--Colonel W. C. M'Donald,
of the Ninety-Third, was on the staff in the Crimea, and he had in his
employ a man named Tâhir Beg who was a sort of confidential interpreter.
Whether this man was Turkish, Armenian, or Bulgarian I don't know, but
this much I do know; among Mahommedans Tâhir Beg was a strict Mussulman,
among Bulgarians he was a Roman Catholic, and in the Ninety-Third he had
no objections to be a Presbyterian. He was a good linguist, speaking
English, French, and Turkish, as well as most of the vernaculars of Asia
Minor; and when the Crimean war was over, he accompanied Major M'Donald
to England in the capacity of an ordinary servant. In 1857, when the
expedition under Lord Elgin was being got ready for China, Colonel
M'Donald was appointed quarter-master-general, and started for Canton
taking Tâhir Beg with him as a servant; but, the expedition to China
having been diverted for the suppression of the Mutiny, M'Donald
rejoined the regiment with Tâhir Beg still with him in the same
capacity. From his knowledge of Turkish and Persian Tâhir Beg soon made
himself master of Hindoostânee, and he lived in the regimental bazaar
with the Mahommedan shopkeepers, among whom he professed himself a
strict follower of the Prophet. After he became pretty well conversant
with the language, it was reported that he gained much valuable
information for the authorities. When Bareilly was recaptured
arrangements were made for the enlistment of a police-levy, and Tâhir
Beg got the appointment of city _kotwâl_[52] and did valuable service by
hunting out a great number of leading rebels. It was Tâhir Beg who heard
that Khân Bahâdoor Khân had returned to the vicinity of Bareilly with
only a small body of followers; and he arranged for his capture, and
brought him in a prisoner to the guard-room of the Ninety-Third. Khân
Bahâdoor Khân was put through a brief form of trial by the civil power,
and was found guilty of rebellion and murder upon both native and
European evidence. By that time several Europeans who had managed to
escape to Naini Tâl on the outbreak of the Mutiny through the favour of
the late Râja of Râmpore, had returned; so there was no doubt of the
prisoner's guilt.

I must mention another incident that happened in Bareilly. Among the
gentlemen who returned from Naini Tâl, was one whose brother had been
shot by his bearer, his most trusted servant. This ruffian turned out to
be no other than the very man who had denounced Jamie Green as a spy. It
was either early in August or at the end of July that a strange European
gentleman, while passing through the regimental bazaar of the
Ninety-Third, noticed an officer's servant, who was a most devout
Christian, could speak English, and was a regular attendant at all
soldiers' evening services with the regimental chaplain. The gentleman
(I now forget his name) laid hold of our devout Christian brother in the
bazaar, and made him over to the nearest European guard, when he was
tried and found guilty of the murder of a whole family of
Europeans--husband, wife, and children--in May, 1857. There was no want
of evidence, both European and native, against him. Thus was the death
of the unfortunate Jamie Green avenged. I may add a rather amusing
incident about this man. His master evidently believed that this was a
case of mistaken identity, and went to see the brigadier, Colonel A. S.
Leith-Hay, on behalf of his servant. But it turned out that the man had
joined the British camp at Futtehghur in the preceding January, and
Colonel Leith-Hay was the first with whom he had taken service and
consequently knew the fellow. However, the brigadier listened to what
the accused's master had to urge until he mentioned that the man was a
most devout Christian, and read the Bible morning and evening. On this
Colonel Leith-Hay could listen to the argument no longer, but shouted
out:--"He a Christian! that be d--d for a statement! He's no more a
Christian than I am! He served me for one month, and robbed me of more
than ten times his pay. Let him be hanged." So he was made over to the
civil commissioner, tried, found guilty, and hanged.

We rested in Bareilly till October. About the end of September the
weather was comparatively cool. Many people had returned from Naini Tâl
to look after their wrecked property. General Colin Troup with the
Sixty-Sixth Regiment of Goorkhas had come down from Kumâon, and
soldiers' sports were got up for the amusement of the troops and
visitors. Among the latter was the loyal Râja of Râmpore, who presented
a thousand rupees for prizes for the games and five thousand for a
dinner to all the troops in the garrison. At these games the
Ninety-Third carried off all the first prizes for putting the shot,
throwing the hammer, and tossing the caber. Our best athlete was a man
named George Bell, of the grenadier company, the most powerful man in
the British army. Before the regiment left England Bell had beaten all
comers at all the athletic games throughout Scotland. He stood about six
feet four inches, and was built in proportion, most remarkably active
for his size both in running and leaping, and also renowned for feats of
strength. There was a young lad of the band named Murdoch MacKay, the
smallest boy in the regiment, but a splendid dancer; and the two, "the
giant and the pigmy," as they were called, attended all the athletic
games throughout Scotland from Edinburgh to Inverness, always returning
covered with medals. I mention all this because the Bareilly sports
proved the last to poor George Bell. An enormous caber having been cut,
and all the leading men (among them some very powerful artillerymen) of
the brigade had tried to toss it and failed. The brigadier then ordered
three feet to be cut from it, expressing his opinion that there was not
a man in the British army who could toss it. On this George Bell stepped
into the arena, and said he would take a turn at it before it was cut;
he put the huge caber on his shoulders, balanced it, and tossed it clean
over. While the caber was being cut for the others, Bell ran in a
hundred yards' race, which he also won; but he came in with his mouth
full of blood. He had, through over-exertion, burst a blood-vessel in
his lungs. He slowly bled to death and died about a fortnight after we
left Bareilly, and lies buried under a large tree in the jungles of Oude
between Fort Mithowlie and the banks of the Gogra. Bell was considered
an ornament to, and the pride of, the regiment, and his death was
mourned by every officer and man in it, and by none more than by our
popular doctor, Billy Munro, who did everything that a physician could
do to try and stop the bleeding; but without success. Bell gradually
sank till he died.

We left Bareilly on the 10th of October, and marched to Shâhjehânpore,
where we were joined by a battalion of the Sixtieth Rifles, the
Sixty-Sixth Goorkhas, some of the Sixth Carabineers, Tomb's troop of
horse-artillery, and a small train of heavy guns and mortars. On the
17th of October we had our first brush with the enemy at the village of
Posgaon, about twenty miles from Shâhjehânpore. Here they were strong in
cavalry, and tried the Bareilly game of getting round the flanks and
cutting up our camp-followers. But a number of them got hemmed in
between the ammunition-guard and the main line, and Cureton's Mooltânee
cavalry, coming round on them from both flanks, cut down about fifty of
them, capturing their horses. In the midst of this scrimmage two of the
enemy, getting among the baggage-guard, were taken for two of our native
cavalry, till at length they separated from the main body and got
alongside of a man who was some distance away. One of them called to the
poor fellow to look in another direction, when the second one cut his
head clean off, leaped from his horse, and, lifting the head, sprang
into his saddle and was off like the wind! Many rifle-bullets were sent
after him, but he got clear away, carrying the head with him.

The next encounter we had was at Russoolpore, and then at Nowrungabad,
where the Queen's proclamation, transferring the government from the
Company to the Crown, was read. After this all our tents were sent into
Mahomdee, and we took to the jungles without tents or baggage, merely a
greatcoat and a blanket; and thus we remained till after the taking of
Mithowlie. We then returned to Sitapore, where we got our tents again
the day before Christmas, 1858; and by the new year we were on the banks
of the Gogra, miles from any village. The river swarmed with alligators
of enormous size, and the jungles with wild pig and every variety of
game, and scarcely a day passed without our seeing tigers, wolves, and
hyænas. But by this time fighting was over. We remained in those jungles
across the Gogra, in sight of the Nepaul hills, till about the end of
February, by which time thousands of the rebels had tendered their
submission and returned to their homes. The Ninety-Third then got the
route for Subâthoo, in the Himalayas near Simla. Leaving the jungles of
Oude, we marched _via_ Shâhjehânpore, Bareilly, Morâdabâd, and thence by
the foot of the hills till we came into civilised regions at
Sahârunpore; thence to Umballa, reaching Subâthoo about the middle of
April with our clothes completely in rags. We had received no new
clothing since we had arrived in India, and our kilts were torn into
ribbons. But the men were in splendid condition, and could have marched
thirty miles a day without feeling fatigued, if our baggage-animals
could have kept up with us. On our march out from Kalka, the
Commander-in-Chief passed us on his way to Simla.

This ended the work of the old Ninety-Third Sutherland Highlanders in
the Mutiny, and here, for the present, I will end my reminiscences.

FOOTNOTES:

[46] Native officer.

[47] Sashes.

[48] In this instance this word of many meanings implies "masonry."

[49] Is it necessary to explain that sixteen annas go to the rupee?

[50] Tent-pitchers.

[51] Court-house.

[52] Magistrate.



APPENDIX A

THE HISTORY OF THE MURDER OF MAJOR NEILL AT AUGUR IN 1887


I will relate an incident of an unusual kind, told to me by a man whom I
met in Jhânsi, which has reference to the executions ordered by General
Neill at Cawnpore in July and August, 1857. But before I do so I may
mention that in Cawnpore, Jhânsi, and Lucknow I found the natives very
unwilling to enter into conversation or to give any information about
the events of that year. In this statement I don't include the natives
of the class who acted as guides, etc., or those who were in the service
of Government at the time. _They_ were ready enough to talk; but as a
rule I knew as much myself as they could tell me. Those whom I found
suspicious of my motives and unwilling to talk, were men who must have
been on the side of the rebels against us. I looked out for such, and
met many who had evidently served as soldiers, and who admitted that
they had been in the army before 1857; but when I tried to get them to
speak about the Mutiny, as a rule they pretended to have been so young
that they had forgotten all about it,--generally a palpable falsehood,
judging from their personal appearance,--or they professed to have been
absent in their villages and to know nothing about the events happening
in the great centres of the rebellion. The impression left on my mind
was that they were either afraid or ashamed to talk about the Mutiny.

In the second chapter of these reminiscences it may be remembered I
asked if any reader could let me know whether Major A. H. S. Neill,
commanding the Second Regiment Central India Horse, who was shot on
parade by Sowar Mazar Ali at Augur, Central India, on the 14th March,
1887, was a son of General Neill of Cawnpore fame. The information has
not been forthcoming[53]; and for want of it I cannot corroborate the
following statement in a very strange story.

In 1892 I passed two days at Jhânsi, having been obliged to wait because
the gentleman whom I had gone to see on business was absent from the
station; and I went all over the city to try and pick up information
regarding the Mutiny. I eventually came across a man who, by his
military salute, I could see had served in the army, and I entered into
conversation with him.

At first he pretended that his connection with the army had merely been
that of an armourer-_mistree_[54] of several European regiments; and he
told me that he had served in the armourer's shop of the Ninety-Third
when they were in Jhânsi twenty-four years ago, in 1868 and 1869. After
I had informed him that the Ninety-Third was my regiment, he appeared to
be less reticent; and at length he admitted that he had been an armourer
in the service of Scindia before the Mutiny, and that he was in Cawnpore
when the Mutiny broke out, and also when the city was retaken by
Generals Havelock and Neill.

After a long conversation he appeared to be convinced that I had no evil
intentions, but was merely anxious to collect reliable evidence
regarding events which, even now, are but slightly known. Amongst other
matters he told me that the (late) Mâharâja Scindia was not by any means
so loyal as the Government believed him to be; that he himself (my
informant) had formed one of a deputation that was sent to Cawnpore from
Gwalior to the Nânâ Sâhib before the outbreak; and that although keeping
in the background, the Mâharâja Scindia incited his army to rebellion
and to murder their officers, and himself fled as a pretended fugitive
to Agra to devise means to betray the fort of Agra, should the Gwalior
army, as he anticipated would be the case, prove victorious over the
British. He also told me that the farce played by Scindia about 1874,
viz. the giving up a spurious Nânâ Sâhib, was a prearranged affair
between Scindia and the _fakeer_ who represented the Nânâ. But, as I
expressed my doubts about the truth of all this, my friend came down to
more recent times, and asked me if I remembered about the murder of
Major Neill at Augur in Central India in 1887, thirty years after the
Mutiny? I told him that I very well remembered reading of the case in
the newspapers of the time. He then asked me if I knew why Major Neill
was murdered? I replied that the published accounts of the murder and
trial were so brief that I had formed the conclusion that something was
concealed from the public, and that I myself was of opinion that a woman
must have been the cause of the murder,--that Major Neill possibly had
been found in some intrigue with one of Mazar Ali's womenkind. To which
he replied that I was quite wrong. He then told me that Major Neill was
a son of General Neill of Cawnpore fame, and that Sowâr Mazar Ali, who
shot him, was a son of Suffur Ali, _duffadâr_ of the Second Regiment
Light Cavalry, who was unjustly accused of having murdered Sir Hugh
Wheeler at the Suttee Chowrah _ghât_, and was hanged for the murder by
order of General Neill, after having been flogged by sweepers and made
to lick clean a portion of the blood-stained floor of the
slaughter-house.

After the recapture of Cawnpore, Suffur Ali was arrested in the city,
and accused of having cut off General Wheeler's head as he alighted from
his palkee at the Suttee Chowrah _ghât_ on the 27th of June, 1857. This
he stoutly denied, pleading that he was a loyal servant of the Company
who had been compelled to join in the Mutiny against his will. General
Neill, however, would not believe him, so he was taken to the
slaughter-house and flogged by Major Bruce's sweeper-police till he
cleaned up his spot of blood from the floor of the house where the women
and children were murdered. When about to be hanged Suffur Ali adjured
every Mahommedan in the crowd to have a message sent to Rohtuck, to his
infant son, by name Mazar Ali, to inform him that his father had been
unjustly denied and flogged by sweepers by order of General Neill before
being hanged, and that his dying message to him was that he prayed God
and the Prophet to spare him and strengthen his arm to avenge the death
of his father on General Neill or any of his descendants.

My informant went on to tell me that Mazar Ali had served under Major
Neill for years, and had been treated by him with special kindness
before he came to know that the Major was the son of the man who had
ordered his father's execution; that while he was lying ill in hospital
a _fakeer_ one day arrived in the station from some remote quarter of
India, and told him of his father's dying imprecation, and that Major
Neill being the son of General Neill, it was the decree of fate that
Mazar Ali should shoot Major Neill on parade the following day; which he
did, without any apparent motive whatever.

I expressed my doubts about the truth of all this, when my informant
told me he could give me a copy of a circular, printed in Oordoo and
English, given to the descendants of Suffur Ali, directing them, as a
message from the other world, to avenge the death and defilement of
their father. The man eventually brought the leaflet to me in the _dâk_
bungalow in Jhânsi. The circular is in both Oordoo and English, and
printed in clean, clear type; but so far as I can read it, the English
translation, which is printed on the leaflet beneath the Oordoo, and a
copy of which I reproduce below, does not strike me as a literal
translation of the Oordoo. The latter seems to me to be couched in
language calculated to prove a much stronger incitement to murder than
the English version would imply. However, the following is the English
version _verbatim_, as it appears on the leaflet, word for word and
point for point, italics and all.

      _The imprecation, vociferated by_ SUFFUR ALI,
      _Duffadâr 2nd Regiment Light Cavalry, who was executed at
      the Slaughter-house, on the 25th July, 1857, for killing_
      SIR HUGH WHEELER, _at the Suttechoura Ghât_.


      Oh Mahomed Prophet! be pleased to receive into Paradise the
      soul of your humble servant, whose body Major Bruce's Mehtur
      police are now defiling by lashes, forced to lick a space of
      the blood-stained floor of the Slaughter-house, and
      hereafter to be hanged, by the order of General Neill. And,
      oh Prophet! in due time inspire my infant son Mazar Ali of
      Rohtuck, that he may revenge this desecration on the General
      and his descendants.

      _Take notice!_--Mazar Ali, Sowar, 2nd Regiment, Central
      India Horse, who under divine mission, shot Major A. H. S.
      Neill, Commanding the Corps, at Augur, Central India, on the
      14th March 1887, was sentenced to death by Sir Lepel
      Griffin, Governor-General's Agent.

The Oordoo in the circular is printed in the Persian character without
the vowel-points, and as I have not read much Oordoo since I passed my
Hindoostânee examination thirty-three years ago, I have had some
difficulty in translating the leaflet, especially as it is without the
vowel-points. The man who gave it to me asked if I knew anything about
the family of General Neill, and I replied that I did not, which was the
truth. When I asked why he wanted to know, he said that if any more of
his sons were still in India, their lives would soon be taken by the
descendants of men who were defiled and hanged at Cawnpore under the
brigade-order of General Neill, dated Cawnpore, 25th of July, 1857. This
is the order to which I have alluded in the second chapter of my
reminiscences, and which remained in force till the arrival of Sir Colin
Campbell at Cawnpore in the following November. As I had never seen a
copy of it, having only heard of it, I asked my informant how he knew
about it. He told me that thousands of copies, in English, Oordoo, and
Hindee, were in circulation in the bazaars of Upper India. I told my
friend that I should very much like to see a copy, and he promised to
bring me one. Shortly after he left me in the _dâk_ bungalow,
undertaking to return with a copy of the order, as also numerous
proclamations from the English Government, and the counter-proclamations
on the part of the leaders of the rebellion. I thought that here I had
struck a rich historical mine; but my friend did not turn up again! I
sat up waiting for him till long after midnight, and as he did not
return I went into the city again the following day to the place where I
had met him; but all the people around pretended to know nothing
whatever about the man, and I saw no more of him. However, I was glad to
have got the leaflet _re_ the assassination of Major Neill, because
several gentlemen have remarked, since I commenced my reminiscences,
that I mention so many incidents not generally known, that many are
inclined to believe that I am inventing history rather than relating
facts. But that is not so; and, besides what I have related, I could
give hundreds of most interesting incidents that are not generally known
nor ever will be known.[55]

Now, in my humble opinion, is the time that a history of the real facts
and causes of the Mutiny should be written, if a competent man could
devote the time to do so, and to visit the centres of the rebellion and
get those who took part in the great uprising against the rule of the
Feringhee to come forward, with full confidence of safety, and relate
all they know about the affair. Thousands of facts would come to light
which would be of immense historical importance, as also of great
political value to Government, facts that in a few years will become
lost to the world, or be remembered only as traditions of 1857. But the
man who is to undertake the work must be one with a thorough knowledge
of the native character and languages, a man of broad views, and, above
all, one who would, to a certain extent, sympathise with the natives,
and inspire them with confidence and enlist their assistance. As a rule,
the Englishman, the Government official, the _Sâhib Bahâdoor_, although
respected, is at the same time too much feared, and the truth would be
more or less concealed from him. I formed this opinion when I heard of
the circumstances which are supposed to have led to the assassination of
Major Neill. If true, we have here secret incitement to murder handed
down for generations, and our Government, with its extensive police and
its Thuggee Department, knowing nothing about it![56]

FOOTNOTES:

[53] Major Neill _was_ a son of Brigadier-General Neill commanding at
Cawnpore during the first relief of Lucknow. General Neill went to the
front as colonel commanding the First Madras Fusiliers.

[54] Workman; in this case a blacksmith.

[55] "Some of the incidents related by Mr. Forbes-Mitchell, and now for
the first time brought to light in his most interesting series of
Reminiscences, are of so sensational an order that we are not surprised
that many persons to whom the narrator is a stranger should regard them
with a certain incredulity. We may take this opportunity therefore of
stating that, so far as it is possible at this date to corroborate
incidents that occurred thirty-five years ago, Mr. Forbes-Mitchell has
afforded us ample proof of the accuracy of his memory and the general
correctness of his facts. In the case under notice, we have been shown
the leaflet in which Mazar Ali's cold-blooded murder of his commanding
officer is vindicated, and of which the English translation above given
is an exact reproduction. The leaflet bears no evidence whatever to
disclose its origin, but we see no reason to doubt that, as Mr.
Forbes-Mitchell's informant declared, it was widely circulated in the
bazaars of Upper India shortly after Mazar Ali paid the penalty of his
crime with his own life."--ED. _Calcutta Statesman._

[56] The _vendetta_ is such a well-known institution among the Pathâns,
that no further explanation of Major Neill's murder by the son of a man
who was executed by the Major's father's orders is necessary.



APPENDIX B

EUROPEANS AMONG THE REBELS


Although recollections of the Mutiny are fast being obliterated by the
kindly hand of time, there must still be many readers who will remember
the reports current in the newspapers of the time, and elsewhere in 1857
and 1858, of Europeans being seen in the ranks of the rebels. In a
history of _The Siege of Delhi, by an Officer who served there_ (name
not given), published by Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh, 1861, the
following passages occur. After describing the battle of
Budlee-ke-Serai, the writer goes on to say: "The brave old Afghân chief,
Jân Fishân Khân,[57] who with some horsemen had followed our star from
Meerut, was heard crying out, his stout heart big with the enthusiasm of
the moment: 'Another such day, and I shall become a Christian!'" And in
his comments on this the writer says: "And sad to tell, a European
deserter from Meerut had been struck down fighting in the sepoy ranks,
and was recognised by his former comrades." After describing the opening
of the siege and the general contempt which the Europeans had for the
enemy's artillery, the writer states that the tone of conversation in
the camp was soon changed, and "From being an object of contempt, their
skill became one of wonder and admiration, perhaps too great. Some
artillery officers protested that their practice was better than our
own. Many believed that their fire was under the superintendence of
Europeans. Two men with solar helmets could be seen, by the help of our
best glasses, in their batteries, but no one who knew how much of the
work in India was really done by natives, wondered at the practical
skill they now showed." Turning from Delhi to Lucknow, many will
remember the account of the disastrous action at Chinhut by Mr. Rees. He
says: "The masses of the rebel cavalry by which the British were
outflanked near the Kookrail bridge, were apparently commanded by some
European who was seen waving his sword and attempting to make his men
follow him and dash at ours. He was a handsome-looking man, well-built,
fair, about twenty-five years of age, with light moustaches, wearing the
undress uniform of a European cavalry officer, with a blue, gold-laced
cap on his head." Mr. Rees suggests the possibility of this person
having been either a Russian or a renegade Christian.

The only other case to which I will allude came under my own
observation. I have told in my fourteenth chapter how Brigadier Adrian
Hope was killed in the abortive attack on the fort of Rooyah, by a shot
fired from a high tree inside the fort, and how it was commonly believed
that the man who fired the shot was a European. I myself thought at the
time that such was the case, and now I am convinced of it. I was the
non-commissioned officer of a party of the Ninety-Third sent to cover an
engineer-officer who had either volunteered or been ordered to take a
sketch of one of the fort gates and its approaches, in the hope of being
able to blow it in, and thus gain an entrance to the fort, which was
surrounded by a deep ditch, and inside the ditch an almost impenetrable
belt of prickly bamboos about ten yards in breadth, so interwoven and
full of thorns that a cat could scarcely have passed through it. Under
the guidance of a native of the Intelligence Department, we managed to
advance unseen, and got under cover of a thick clump of bamboos near the
gate. Strict orders had been given that no one on any account whatever
was to speak, much less to fire a shot, unless we should be attacked,
for fear of drawing attention to our proceedings, till the engineer had
had time to make a rough sketch of the position of the gate and its
approaches. During this time we were so close to the fort that we could
hear the enemy talking inside; and the man who was on the tree could be
seen and heard by us quite plainly, calling to the stormers on the other
face in unmistakable barrack-room English: "Come on, you ----
Highlanders! Come on, Scotty! you have a harder nut to crack than eating
oatmeal porridge. If you can come through these bamboos we'll warm your
---- for you, if you come in here!" etc., etc. In short, the person
talking showed such a command of English slang and barrack-room abuse
that it was clear he was no native. Every one of my party was convinced
that the speaker was a European, and if we had been aware at the time
that this man had just killed Brigadier Hope he would certainly have
paid the penalty with his own life; but we knew nothing of this till we
retired, and found that the stormers had been recalled, with the
butcher's bill already given.

The events above related had almost passed from my recollection, till
they were recalled by the following circumstance. A vacancy having
occurred among the _durwâns_[58] in the factory under my charge, among
several candidates brought by the _jemadâr_[59] for the vacant post was
a fine-looking old man, who gave me an unmistakable military salute in
the old style, square from the shoulder--quite different from the
present mongrel German salute, which the English army has taken to
imitating since the Germans beat their old conquerors, the French; I
mean the present mode of saluting with the palm of the hand turned to
the front. As soon as I saw this old man I knew he had been a soldier;
my heart warmed to him at once, and I determined to give him the vacant
appointment. So turning to him I said: "You have served in the army; are
you one of the sepoys of 1857?" He at once admitted that he had formerly
belonged to the Ninth Native Infantry, and that he was present with the
regiment when it mutinied at Allyghur on the 20th of May, 1857. He had
accompanied the regiment to Delhi, and had fought against the English
throughout the siege, and afterwards at Lucknow and throughout the Oude
campaigns. "But, _Sâhib_" said he, "the Ninth Regiment were almost the
only regiment which did not murder their officers. We gave each of them
three months' pay in advance from the treasury, and escorted them and
their families within a safe distance of Agra before we went to Delhi,
and all of us who lived to come through the Mutiny were pardoned by the
Government." I knew this to be the truth, and ordered the _jemadâr_ to
enrol the applicant, by name Doorga, or Doorga Sing, late sepoy of the
Ninth Native Infantry, as one of the factory _durwâns_, determining to
have many a talk with him on his experiences of the Mutiny.

Many of my readers may recollect that, after escorting their European
officers to the vicinity of Agra, the Ninth Regiment went to Delhi, and
throughout the siege the men of this regiment proved the most daring
opponents of the British Army. According to Mead's _Sepoy Revolt_, "The
dead bodies of men bearing the regimental number of the Ninth Regiment
were found in the front line of every severe engagement around Delhi and
at the deadly Cashmere Gate when it was finally stormed." After engaging
Doorga Sing it was not long before I made him relate his experiences of
the siege of Delhi, and afterwards at Lucknow and in Oude, and one day I
happened to ask him if it was true that there were several Europeans in
the rebel army. He told me that he had heard of several, but that he
personally knew of two only, one of whom accompanied the mutineers from
Meerut and was killed at the battle of Budlee-ke-Serai,--evidently the
deserter alluded to above. The other European was a man of superior
stamp, who came to Delhi from Rohilcund with the Bareilly Brigade, and
the King gave him rank in the rebel army next to General Bukht Khân, the
titular Commander-in-Chief, This European commanded the artillery
throughout the siege of Delhi, as he had formerly been in the Company's
artillery and knew the drill better than any man in the rebel army. I
asked Doorga Sing if he had ever heard his name or what rank he held
before the Mutiny, and he said he had heard his name at the time, but
had forgotten it, and that before the Mutiny he had held the rank of
sergeant-major, but whether in the native artillery or in one of the
native infantry regiments at Bareilly he did not now recollect. But the
Bâdshâh promoted him to be general of artillery immediately on the
arrival of the Bareilly Brigade, and he was by far the bravest and most
energetic commander that the rebels had, and the most esteemed by the
revolted sepoys, whose respect he retained to the last. Even after they
had ceased saluting their native officers they continued to turn out
guards and present arms to the European _sâhib_. Throughout the siege of
Delhi there was never a day passed that this man did not visit every
battery, and personally correct the elevation of the guns. He fixed the
sites and superintended the erection of all new batteries to counteract
the fire of the English as the siege advanced. On the day of the
assault, the 14th of September, he fought like _shâitân_,[60] fighting
himself and riding from post to post, trying to rally defeated sepoys,
and bringing up fresh troops to the support of assailed points. Doorga
Sing's company had formed the guard at the Cashmere Gate, and he vividly
described the attack and defence of that post, and how completely the
sepoys were surprised and the powder-bags fixed to the gate before the
sentries of the guard were aware of the advance of the English.

After the assault Doorga Sing did not see the European till the beaten
army reached Muttra, when he again found him superintending the
arrangements for crossing the Jumna. About thirty thousand sepoys had
collected there in their retreat from Delhi, a common danger holding
them together, under the command of Bukht Khân and Feroze Shâh. But they
paid more respect to the European, and obeyed his orders with far more
alacrity than they did those of Bukht Khân or any other of their nominal
leaders. After crossing the Jumna the European remained with the rebels
till they reached a safe retreat on the Oude side of the Ganges, when he
left the force in company with the Râja of Surâjpore, a petty state on
the Oude side about twenty or twenty-five miles above Cawnpore. About
this time my informant, Doorga Sing, having been wounded at Delhi, left
the rebel army _en route_ to Lucknow, and returned to his village near
Onâo in Oude; but hearing of the advance of the English, and expecting
no mercy, he and several others repaired to Lucknow, and rejoined their
old comrades.

He did not again see the European till after the fall of Lucknow, when
he met him at Fort Rooyah, where he commanded the sepoys, and was the
principal adviser of the Râja Nirput Singh, whom he prevented from
accepting the terms offered by the English through General Walpole. I am
fully convinced that this was the man whom we saw in the tree, and who
was reported to have killed Brigadier Hope.

After their retreat from Rooyah the sepoys, under this European,
remained in the jungles till the English army had passed on to Bareilly,
when they reattacked Shâhjehânpore, and would have retaken it, if a
brigade had not arrived from Bareilly to its relief. After being driven
back from Shâhjehânpore the sepoys held together in Mahomdee, Sitapore,
and elsewhere, throughout the hot season of 1858, mostly under the
guidance of the European and Bukht Khân. The last time Doorga Sing saw
the renegade was after the battle of Nawâbgunge in Oude, where Bukht
Khân was killed and a large number of the sepoys were driven across the
Raptee into Nepaul territory, upon which they held a council among
themselves and determined to follow their leaders no longer, but to give
themselves up to the nearest English post under the terms of the Queen's
proclamation. The European tried to dissuade them from doing this,
telling them that if they gave themselves up they would all be hanged
like dogs or sent in chains across the _Kâlâ Pâni_.[61] But they had
already suffered too much to be further imposed upon, and one of their
number, who had gone to get information about other parties who were
known to have given themselves up to the English, returned at this time
with information that all sepoys who had not taken part in murdering
their officers were, after giving up their arms, provided with a pass
and paid two rupees each, and allowed to return to their villages. On
this the greater part of the sepoys, including all left alive of the
Ninth Regiment, told the European that they had resolved to listen to
him no longer, but to return to their villages and their families, after
giving themselves up at the nearest English post. Thereupon the _sâhib_
sat down and commenced to shed tears, saying _he_ had neither home nor
country to return to. There he was left, with a few more whose crimes
had placed them beyond the hope of pardon; and that was the last which
Doorga Sing saw or heard of the European general of the mutineer
artillery.

Before writing this, I have often cross-questioned Doorga Sing about
this European, and his statements never vary. He says that the time is
now so long past that he could not be sure of the _sâhib's_ name even if
he heard it; but he is positive he came from Bareilly, and that his rank
before the Mutiny was sergeant-major, and that he had formerly been in
the Company's artillery. He thinks, however, that at the time of the
Mutiny this sergeant was serving with one of the native infantry
regiments in Bareilly; and he further recollects that it was commonly
reported in the sepoy ranks that when the Mutiny broke out this
sergeant-major had advised the murder of all the European officers,
himself shooting the adjutant of the regiment with his own hand to prove
his loyalty to the rebel cause.

The whole narrative is so extraordinary that I publish it with a view to
discovering if there are any still living who can give facts bearing on
this strange, but, I am convinced, true story. Doorga Sing promised to
find for me one or two other mutineer sepoys who knew more about this
European and his antecedents than he himself did. I have no detailed
statement of the Mutiny at Bareilly, and the short account which I
possess merely says that, "As soon as the artillery fired the signal gun
in their lines, Brigadier Sibbald mounted his horse and galloped off to
the cavalry lines, but was met on the way by a party of infantry, who
fired on him. He received a bullet in his chest, and then turned his
horse and galloped to the appointed rendezvous for the Europeans, and,
on arriving there, dropped dead from his horse." The account then goes
on to say: "The European sergeant-major had remained in the lines, and
Adjutant Tucker perished while endeavouring to save the life of the
sergeant-major." The question arises--Is it possible that this
sergeant-major can have been the same man whom Doorga Sing afterwards
met in command of the rebel ranks in Delhi, and who was said to have
killed his adjutant?

FOOTNOTES:

[57] Two of his sons joined Hodson's Horse, and one of them, Atâoollah
Khân, was our representative at Caubul after the last Afghân war.

[58] Doorkeepers.

[59] Head-man.

[60] Satan.

[61] "The Black Water," _i.e._ the sea, which no orthodox Hindoo can
cross without loss of caste.



APPENDIX C

A FEW WORDS ON SWORD-BLADES


A short time back I read an article on sword-blades, reprinted I believe
from some English paper. Now, in a war like the Mutiny sword-blades are
of the utmost importance to men who depend on them either for taking or
preserving life; I will therefore state my own experience, and give
opinions on the swords which came under my observation, and I may at
once say that I think there is great room for improvement in our blades
of Birmingham manufacture. I consider that the swords supplied to our
officers, cavalry and artillery, are far inferior as weapons of offence
to a really good Oriental _tulwâr_. Although an infantry man I saw a
good deal of sword-practice, because all the men who held the
Secundrabâgh and the Begum's Kothee were armed with native _tulwârs_
from the King of Oude's armoury, in addition to their muskets and
bayonets, and a large proportion of our men were killed and wounded by
sword-cuts.

In the first place, then, for cutting our English regulation swords are
too straight; the Eastern curved blade is far more effective as a
cutting weapon. Secondly, our English swords are far too blunt, whereas
the native swords are as keen in edge as a well-stropped razor. Our
steel scabbards again are a mistake for carrying sharp blades; and, in
addition to this, I don't think our mounted branches who are armed with
swords have proper appliances given to them for sharpening their edges.
Even in time of peace, but especially in time of war, more attention
ought to be given to this point, and every soldier armed with a sword
ought to be supplied with the means of sharpening it, and made to keep
it with an edge like a razor. I may mention that this fact was noticed
in the wars of the Punjâb, notably at Râmnugger, where our English
cavalry with their blunt swords were most unequally matched against the
Sikhs with _tulwârs_ so keen of edge that they would split a hair.

I remember reading of a regiment of British cavalry charging a regiment
of Sikh cavalry. The latter wore voluminous thick _puggries_ round their
heads, which our blunt swords were powerless to cut through, and each
horseman had also a buffalo-hide shield slung on his back. They
evidently knew that the British swords were blunt and useless, so they
kept their horses still and met the British charge by lying flat on
their horses' necks,[62] with their heads protected by the thick turban
and their backs by the shields; and immediately the British soldiers
passed through their ranks the Sikhs swooped round on them and struck
them back-handed with their sharp, curved swords, in several instances
cutting our cavalry men in two. In one case a British officer, who was
killed in the charge I describe, was hewn in two by a back-handed stroke
which cut right through an ammunition-pouch, cleaving the pistol-bullets
right through the pouch and belt, severing the officer's backbone and
cutting his heart in two from behind. It was the same in the Balaclava
charge, both with the Heavy and the Light Brigade. Their swords were too
straight, and so blunt that they would not cut through the thick coats
and sheep-skin caps of the Russians; so that many of our men struck with
the hilts at the faces of the enemy, as more effective than attempting
to cut with their blunt blades.

In the article on English sword-blades to which I have referred, stress
is laid on the superiority of blades of spring steel, tempered so that
the tip can be bent round to the hilt without breaking or preventing the
blade assuming the straight immediately it is released. Now my
observations lead me to consider spring steel to be totally unfitted for
a sword-blade. The real Damascus blade that we have all read about, but
so few have seen, is as rigid as cast-iron, without any spring
whatever,--as rigid as the blade of a razor. The sword-blade which bends
is neither good for cut nor thrust, even in the hands of the most expert
and powerful swordsman. A blade of spring steel will not cut through the
bone; directly it encounters a hard substance, it quivers in the hand
and will not cut through. Let any sword-maker in Birmingham try
different blades in the hands of an expert swordsman on a green tree of
soft wood, and the rigid blade of well-tempered steel will cut four
times as deep as the blade of highly tempered spring steel which you can
bend into a circle, tip to hilt. My opinion is that the motto of a
sword-blade ought to be the same as the Duke of Sutherland's--"_Frangas
non flectes_, Thou mayest break but not bend"; and if blades could be
made that would neither break nor bend, so much the better.

I believe that the manufacture of real Damascus steel blades is a lost
art. When serving in the Punjâb about thirty years ago, I was well
acquainted with an old man in Lahore who had been chief armourer to
Runjeet Sing, and he has often told me that the real Damascus blades
contained a large percentage of arsenic amalgamated with the steel while
the blades were being forged, which greatly added to their hardness,
toughness, and strength, preserved the steel from rust, and enabled the
blades to be sharpened to a very fine edge. This old man's test for a
sword-blade was to get a good-sized fish, newly caught from the river,
lay it on a soft, yielding bed,--cotton quilt folded up, or any soft
yielding substance,--and the blade that did not cut the fish in two
across the thickest part behind the gills, cutting against the scales,
at one stroke, was considered of no account whatever. From what I have
seen no sword-blade that bends, however sharp it may be, will do that,
because the spring in the steel causes the blade to glance off the fish,
and the impetus of the cut is lost by the blade quivering in the hand.
Nor will any of our straight sword-blades cut a large fish through in
this manner; whereas the curved Oriental blade, with a drawing cut,
severs it at once, because the curved blade presents much more cutting
surface. One revolution of a circular saw cuts much deeper into wood
than one stroke of a straight saw, although the length of the straight
saw may be equal to the circumference of the circular one. So it is with
sword-blades. A stroke from a curved blade, drawn through, cuts far
deeper than the stroke from a straight blade.[63]

I will mention one instance at Lucknow that came under my own notice of
the force of a sword-cut from a curved sword of rigid steel. There were
three brothers of the name of Ready in the Ninety-Third called David,
James, and John. They were all powerful, tall men, in the prime of life,
and all three had served through the Crimea. David was a sergeant, and
his two brothers were privates. When falling in for the assault on the
Begum's palace, John Ready took off his Crimean medal and gave it to his
brother David, telling him that he felt a presentiment that he would be
killed in that attack, and that David had better keep his medal, and
send it home to their mother. David tried to reason him out of his
fears, but to no purpose. John Ready replied that he had no fear, and
his mother might know that he had died doing his duty. Well, the assault
took place, and in the inner courts of the palace there was one division
held by a regiment of dismounted cavalry, armed with swords as keen as
razors, and circular shields, and the party of the Ninety-Third who got
into that court were far out-numbered on this occasion, as in fact we
were everywhere else. On entering James Ready was attacked by a _sowâr_
armed with sword and shield. Ready's feather bonnet was knocked off, and
the _sowâr_ got one cut at him, right over his head, which severed his
skull clean in two, the sword cutting right through his neck and
half-way down through the breast-bone. John Ready sprang to the
assistance of his brother, but too late; and although his bayonet
reached the side of his opponent and was driven home with a fatal
thrust, in doing so he came within the swoop of the same terrible sword,
wielded by the powerful arm of a tall man, and he also was cut right
through the left shoulder diagonally across the chest, and his head and
right arm were clean severed from the body. The _sowâr_ delivered his
stroke of the sword at the same moment that he received the bayonet of
John Ready through his heart, and both men fell dead together. David
Ready, the sergeant, seized the _tulwâr_ that had killed both his
brothers, and used it with terrible effect, cutting off heads of men as
if they had been mere heads of cabbage. When the fight was over I
examined that sword. It was of ordinary weight, well-balanced, curved
about a quarter-circle, as sharp as the sharpest razor, and the blade as
rigid as cast-iron. Now, my experience is that none of our very best
English swords could have cut like this one. A sword of that quality
would cut through a man's skull or thigh-bone without the least quiver,
as easily as an ordinary Birmingham blade would cut through a willow.

I may also mention the case of a young officer named Banks, of the
Seventh Hussars, who was terribly cut up in charging through a band of
Ghâzis. One leg was clean lopped off above the knee, the right arm cut
off, the left thigh and left arm both cut through the bone, each wound
produced by a single cut from a sharp, curved _tulwâr_. I don't know if
the young fellow got over it;[64] but he was reported to be still alive,
and even cheerful when we marched from Lucknow.

In this matter of sword-blades, I have no wish to dogmatise or to pose
as an authority; I merely state my observations and opinion, in the
hopes that they may lead to experiments being made. But on one point I
am positive. The sharpening of our cavalry swords, if still the same as
in 1857, receives far too little attention.

FOOTNOTES:

[62] In which case they would have been simply ridden over.

[63] These remarks of Mr. Mitchell's are quite true as regards curved
swords; but he forgets that the _point_ is the most effective attack
against Eastern swordsmen.

[64] He did not.



APPENDIX D

THE OPIUM QUESTION


On the afternoon of the 19th August, 1892, I left Cawnpore for Lucknow.
As I was a few minutes before time, I walked along the railway-platform
to see the engine, and, strange to relate, the engine attached to the
train which was to take me into Lucknow (under circumstances very
different from those of 1857) was No. 93! In 1857 I had crossed the
Ganges in the ranks of the Ninety-Third Highlanders, with the figures 93
on the front of my cap, and here I was, under very different
circumstances, revisiting Lucknow for the first time thirty-five years
after, and the engine to the train was No. 93! I need not say that I
lifted my hat to that engine. As a matter of fact, I never do pass the
old number without giving it a salute; but in this instance I looked
upon it as a happy omen for the success of my journey.

I took my seat in the carriage, and shortly after was joined by a
gentleman whom I took to be a Mahommedan; but to my surprise he told me
that he was a Christian employed in the Educational Department, and that
he was going to Lucknow for a month's holiday. He appeared to be a man
of over sixty years of age, but said he was only fifty-four, and that he
would retire from Government service next year. Of course I introduced
the subject of the Mutiny, and asked him where he had been at the time.
He stated that when the Mutiny broke out he was at school in Bareilly,
and that he was then a Mahommedan, but did not join in the rebellion;
that on the outbreak of the Mutiny, when all the Europeans were either
killed or fled from Bareilly, he had retired to his village near
Shâhjehânpore, and remained there till order was re-established on the
advance of the English into Rohilcund in May, 1858, after Khân Bahâdoor
Khân had reigned in Bareilly twelve months.

In course of conversation I asked my companion if he could give any
reason why it was that the whole rural population of Oude had joined the
urban population against the British in 1857, whereas on the south side
of the Ganges the villagers were in favour of the British, where they
were not overawed by the mutineers? He told me a strange thing, and that
was that he was fully convinced that the main reason why the village
population of Oude joined the city population of Lucknow was owing to
the oppression caused by our introduction of the opium-tax among the
people.

At first I misunderstood him, and thought I had come across an agent of
the Anti-Opium Society. "So you are against Government control of the
opium-cultivation and sale of the drug," I said. "By no means," he
answered. "I consider the tax on opium a most legitimate source of
revenue. What I mean is that although a just tax, it was a highly
obnoxious one to the citizens of Lucknow and the rural population of
Oude at the time of the Mutiny." He went on to state that although a
Christian convert from Mahommedanism and a strictly temperate man, he
had no sympathy with the anti-opium party; that he considered them a
most dangerous set of fanatics, who would set the whole country in
rebellion again before a twelve-month if they could get the Government
to adopt their narrow-minded views. Regarding 1857, he continued, and I
quote his exact words, as I noted them down immediately after I got to
the hotel:

"Under the rule of the Nawâbs of Lucknow many taxes were imposed, which
were abolished by the British; but in their stead the opium-tax was
introduced, which was the most unpopular tax that could have been
devised, because it touched every one, from the _coolie_ in the bazaar
to the noble in his palace. Before the annexation of Oude opium was
untaxed, and was largely consumed by all classes of the people, both in
the capital and in the villages. Though the mass of the people were
well-affected to British rule in general, disloyal agitators had merely
to cite the opium-tax as a most obnoxious and oppressive impost, to
raise the whole population against the British Government, and the same
would be the case again, if ever the British Government were weak enough
to be led by the Anti-Opium Society."

"Then," said I, "since you are so much against the Anti-Opium Society, I
suppose you are also against Christian missionaries." "That by no means
follows," was the answer. "Many of our most Christian and able
missionaries have as little sympathy with the anti-opium propagandists
as I have. The true missionary aims at reforming the people through the
people, not by compelling moral reformation through the Government,
which would be merely a return to the Inquisition of Rome in another
form. I would encourage missionaries by every possible means; but they
must be broad-minded, earnest, pious men, who mind their own business,
and on no pretence whatever attempt to dictate to Government, or to
control its action either in the matter of taxation or in any other way.
I would never encourage men who go about the country railing against the
Government for collecting revenue from one of the most just sources that
can be named. Missionaries of experience know that the mass of the
population are miserably poor, and a pill of opium is almost the only
stimulant in which they indulge. Then, why attempt to deprive them of
it, merely to please a score or so of sentimental faddists? Let the
missionaries mind their own business, and render to Cæsar the things
which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things which are God's. Let them
confine themselves to proclaiming the Gospel to the heathen, and teach
the Bible in their schools; but don't allow them to mix in politics, or
in any way interfere with the government or taxation of the country. I
would throw the English education of the people more into the hands of
the missionaries. Our Government schools are antichristian, and are
making infidels of the people."

THE END


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.



    +-----------------------------------------------+
    |             Transcriber's Note:               |
    |                                               |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the  |
    | original document have been preserved.        |
    |                                               |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:   |
    |                                               |
    | Page  16  Chowra changed to Chowrah           |
    | Page  26  girdle changed to griddle           |
    | Page  86  chupâties changed to chupatties     |
    | Page  94  chupâties changed to chupatties     |
    +-----------------------------------------------+





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