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Title: Famous Fights of Indian Native Regiments
Author: Hodder, Reginald
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Famous Fights of Indian Native Regiments" ***

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  The Daily Telegraph






  _Author of "British Regiments at the Front," Etc._


The Author wishes to express his indebtedness to Mr. J. NORVILL for his
valuable assistance and suggestions.


"_I look to all my Indian soldiers to uphold the Izzat of the British
Raj against an aggressive and relentless enemy._

"_I know with what readiness my brave and loyal Indian soldiers are
prepared to fulfil this sacred trust on the field of battle shoulder to
shoulder with their comrades from all parts of the Empire. Rest assured
that you will always be in my thoughts and prayers._

"_I bid you to go forward and add fresh lustre to the glorious
achievements and noble traditions of courage and chivalry of my Indian
Army, whose honour and fame are in your hands._"



  INTRODUCTION                                    xi


  THE SIKHS                                        9

  THE RAJPUTS                                     19

  THE MAHRATTAS                                   25

  THE GURKHAS                                     42

  THE DOGRAS                                      69

  THE BALUCHIS                                    73


  BHURTPORE                                      100

  THE WAR IN SCINDE                              104

  THE FIRST SIKH WAR                             109

  ALIWAL AND SOBRAON                             116

  THE STORMING OF THE TAKU FORTS                 131

  THE THIRD AFGHAN WAR                           134

  TEL-EL-KEBIR AND KASSASSIN                     139

  BATTLES AROUND SUAKIN                          143

  THE FRONTIER FIGHTING OF 1886                  149

  THE RELIEF OF CHITRAL                          154

  BATTLE OF DARGAI                               159




We have all read with pride the gracious message of his Majesty the
King-Emperor to his troops from India.

On the eve of going into the field to join our British comrades,
who have covered themselves with glory in this great war, it is our
firm resolve to prove ourselves worthy of the honour which has been
conferred on us as representatives of the Army of India.

In a few days we shall be fighting as has never been our good fortune
to fight before, and against enemies who have a long history.

But is their history as long as yours? You are the descendants of men
who have been mighty rulers and great warriors for many centuries. You
will never forget this. You will recall the glories of your race. Hindu
and Mahomedan will be fighting side by side with British soldiers and
our gallant French Allies. You will be helping to make history. You
will be the first Indian soldiers of the King-Emperor who will have
the honour of showing in Europe that the sons of India have lost none
of their ancient martial instincts and are worthy of the confidence
reposed in them.

In battle you will remember that your religions enjoin on you that to
give your life doing your duty is your highest reward.

The eyes of your co-religionists and your fellow-countrymen are on you.
From the Himalayan Mountains, the banks of the Ganges and Indus, and
the plains of Hindustan, they are eagerly waiting for the news of how
their brethren conduct themselves when they meet the foe. From mosques
and temples their prayers are ascending to the God of all, and you will
answer their hopes by the proofs of your valour.

You will fight for your King-Emperor and your faith, so that history
will record the doings of India's sons and your children will proudly
tell of the deeds of their fathers.

  _Commg. Indian Army Corps_.

  CAMP, Oct. 10th, 1914.


Our native army in India is principally composed of Sikhs, Pathans,
Punjabi Mussalmans, and Gurkhas. Each of these races has acquired in
its own way a high reputation for valour and martial skill, and it need
not be doubted that the men drawn from these sources in the East to
confront a relentless foe in the West are absolutely reliable.

Quite a third of the Indian Army is composed of Sikhs. They are not
exactly a race, but are a military and religious caste, the only modern
importation into their religion being a savour of socialism. The Sikh
sect dates from the fifteenth century, when Baba Nanak raised them, so
to speak, from the indiscriminate mass, to governing positions in the
Punjab. This was partly owing to their strong religious sentiment, but
principally to their military capabilities. In course of time, they
came to dominate the whole of Northern India, and reached the height
of their power under the Maharajah Runjit Singh (1780-1839). The
Sikh wars of 1845-6 and 1848-9 are a matter of history. In these both
British and Sikhs fought with the utmost gallantry. But, since 1849,
the brave Sikhs have been loyal British subjects, and have fought on
our side not only in the Indian Mutiny, but in Abyssinia, Afghanistan,
China, Burma, Somaliland, and Tibet. At the present time, the Indian
Army includes thirteen Sikh battalions, and there are one or more Sikh
squadrons in each of the cavalry regiments, as well as a company or two
in each of the infantry battalions.

The Khalsa Sikh is the beau-ideal of everything high and noble in the
Sikh race. Stirred by the depths of his own religion, he fought and
conquered at its behest. And to him is owing the high reputation and
romantic popularity of an honoured name. The Khalsa Sikh is derived
from many different castes, but principally from the Jats of the
Punjab, whose character has responded to, and whose development has
been moulded by, the self-reliant, warlike, and manly teachings of
their ideal lawgiver and hero, Govid Singh, from whom their name is
derived--the word Sikh being originally Singh.

It is to the Jat element that the Sikh owes his most lofty
characteristics. Thus the Jat Sikh respects himself wisely. His racial
pride is based on the knowledge that he is justly, and without doubt,
the flower of India. With him, as with all others who undertake great
deeds in the present, the natural stimulus to such deeds is the
stirring song of heroic achievements in the past.

The Pathans emanate from the Afghan race, and inhabit the hills of
the north-west frontier of India. While many of the clans are Shiahs,
the majority are orthodox Mussalmans. These Pathans, who frequently
figure in novels dealing with Indian life, are, in their way, romantic
figures. They are not only tall, handsome, and striking in appearance,
but they have also a very independent character, obeying discipline
for discipline's sake, and their officers for love of them. It is very
strange that their facial characteristics are decidedly Jewish in type.
It may be asked why there are only Company regiments, and no Class
regiments of the Pathans. The reason is that, while they do not possess
all the qualities which make for the complete efficiency of the Class
regiment, they have unusual merits which are a very desirable leaven to
almost any body of fighting men. They are certainly an admirable factor
in combination with Sikhs and Punjabi Mussalmans.

The Punjabi Mussalmans were the original inhabitants of the Punjab, and
their strong characteristics are still uppermost in that province. By
race they are both Rajput and Jat, but their clans are many. From their
wealthy families are recruited many fine cavalry regiments. They have
a particular leaning towards mountain cavalry work, and this tendency
has been fostered by the Government. Taking them all round, they are
most efficient and courageous soldiers, and their attachment to their
officers is proverbial.

As to the Gurkha, he needs but slight introduction. He is, so to speak,
the "Little Benjamin" of the force from India, and excites great
interest by his high courage and remarkable skill.

When the Gurkhas were told that they were wanted to fight in the great
war they asked, "Shall we all be killed?"; and the officer said, "Not
all." They inquired, "Shall a great many be killed?" He replied,
"Possibly." Then they asked, "Will a hundred come back?" "Perhaps so."
"That will be enough," they said; "our people will know that we have
fought well."

The Gurkha's skill with his _kukri_ is so remarkable as to appear
absolutely unerring. Given a human mark--let us say in the shape of a
German--he can take off his nose or ear, or pierce his eye with deadly
precision. No knife-thrower in the world can so accurately and closely
fence in a man standing against a wall as can a Gurkha with some twenty
knives--without drawing a drop of blood. A soldier writing from the
front concludes his mention of these terrible little men with the
passage: "God help the Germans these men come across, for nobody else
can. Death to them is a pastime." Yet, though the art of throwing the
_kukri_ is perfection itself among the Gurkhas, it must not be supposed
that they make a practice of throwing it at the enemy. They would not
run the risk of losing the beloved weapon for the sake of killing _one_

The well-known fighting races inhabiting the Punjab, such as the
Sikhs and Pathans, are supplemented by a considerable number of
smaller fighting castes. All these are either of Rajput, Jat, or
Tartar descent; but, being mostly Mahomedans, they are prone to claim
Moghul or Arab origin. Though not very distinct from some of the more
unwarlike Punjab castes, they have, at some period of their history,
displayed enough valour to acquire the ascendancy over neighbouring
districts, and the memory of this has given them that pride of blood
and race and that spirit of self-reliance which so largely constitute
the martial instinct. The smaller Mahomedan fighting tribes of the
Punjab are often grouped together under the generic term "Punjabi

The most important, from a military point of view, are the _Ghakkars_,
who make excellent soldiers. They are fine men, fierce, proud, and

_Awans_ and _Sials_.--These were at first soldiers, and latterly
agriculturists. During the Mutiny the Sial chief remained loyal, and
rendered active assistance by raising a small body of cavalry from his
tribe for Imperial use.

The Kharrals are also a well-built, hardy tribe, possessing the martial
instinct in a high degree. The Bhattis and the Khokars are also among
the warriors of India.

    [NOTE.--The warriors of India have a score to settle with the
    Germans. It is a private matter not to be mentioned in the same
    breath with the whole-hearted loyalty of the Indian troops, but at
    the same time it will lend a keener edge to every _kukri_, a more
    formidable point to every lance and bayonet, a more deadly aim to
    every bullet. What rankles justly in the Indian's breast in this.
    During the Boxer Insurrection of 1900 the Germans treated the brave
    Indian troops fighting by their side as if they had been the dirt
    of the earth. Our noble Indians, whose traditions were clothed
    in glory long before the Germans knew proper clothing of any
    kind, have not forgotten this. For fourteen years they, too, have
    been looking forward to "the day." And now it has come. "For the
    Padisha and the Right!"--if one could read their thoughts--"and,
    incidentally, a squaring of accounts!"]


COMMANDS.--A Command is one of the principal administrative
portions into which the Army of India is divided. There are four
such Commands--the Punjab, Bengal, Madras, and Bombay. Each Command
is presided over by a Lieut.-General, and is further divided into
first and second class districts, commanded by Major-Generals and
Brigadier-Generals respectively. The principal executive authority is
vested in the Commander-in-Chief in India, subject to the control of
the Governor-General, who is, by law, the supreme head of the Army.

NATIVE CAVALRY.--A regiment of native cavalry, with the exception of
the Guides and the Lancers of the Hyderabad Contingent, consists of
four squadrons. The strength varies slightly, but is usually eight
British officers, one medical officer, seventeen native officers, and
608 noncommissioned officers and men.

The native cavalry, with the exception of the Body-Guards and the
three regiments of Madras Lancers (now the 26th King George's Own
Light Infantry, the 27th Light Cavalry and the 28th Light Cavalry),
is organised on what is called the Silladar System, _i.e._, the
horses, saddlery, clothing, equipment and war arms (except carbines
and revolvers) are the private property of the regiment, and are
provided for by funds to which all ranks pay donations on joining, with
monthly subscriptions throughout their entire service. This system is
characteristic of their dignity and standing. The original donation, or
_assami_, is returned on a man being pensioned or discharged. A baggage
mule or pony, and a driver who acts as grass-cutter, are maintained
by every pair of fighting men. Two Sowars, mounted on fast-trotting
camels, are attached to each squadron for the rapid conveyance of
orders over long distances. The native cavalry is armed with sword and
carbine. Lancers carry their own special weapon in addition. All corps
are trained in the use of the lance, which in some regiments is carried
by the front-rank men.

THE RANKS.--The native ranks and their respective duties are as

    _Risaldar-Major._--The chief native officer of the regiment. The
    badge of his rank is a crown worn on each shoulder-strap. He
    commands a half-squadron, and is the confidential adviser of the
    Commandant in all matters relating to the native ranks.

    _Risaldar and Ressaidar._--Half-squadron commanders. The badge of
    the former is three stars; of the latter, two stars, worn on each

    _Woordie-Major._--Native adjutant. He is generally a Ressaidar.

    _Kot Dafadār._--The senior non-commissioned officer of the regiment.


    _Solutri._--Veterinary subordinate.


NATIVE ARTILLERY.--A native mountain battery has an establishment of
five British officers, three native officers, and 253 non-commissioned
officers and men. The armament consists of six 2.5 in. R.M.L. guns,
carried on mules.

The only native field batteries now maintained are those of the
Hyderabad Contingent. Each battery consists of two British officials,
two native officers, and 128 non-commissioned officers and men. The
armament consists of two six-pounder S.B. guns and two twelve-pounder

NATIVE INFANTRY.--A single battalion of native infantry is organised in
four double companies, and has a complement of nearly twenty British
officers, one medical officer, sixteen native officers, and eighty
non-commissioned officers. The strength of the rank and file varies
from 800 in the Punjab and Bengal to 720 in Madras and Bombay. To
facilitate transfers in war time, the infantry, with a few exceptions,
is organised into groups of two or three linked battalions, having a
common regimental centre. Each battalion has a reserve, varying in
strength from 218 to 160 men.

Native ranks and duties are:--

    _Subadār-Major._--Principal native officer of the battalion and
    confidential adviser of the Commanding Officer on all matters
    relating to the native ranks. He also commands a company.

    _Subadār._--Company commander.







RECRUITING.--For recruiting purposes, India is divided into districts,
each in charge of an officer, who recruits only for some particular
race. All recruiting parties detached from regiments work under his
orders, and all candidates for enlistment are brought to him for
approval after undergoing medical examination. The number of applicants
for service, especially for the Silladar Cavalry, is often in excess
of the number of vacancies available. Recruits must be from sixteen
to twenty-five years of age. There is a comparative scale of chest
measurement to height, the minimum in each case being 33 in. and 5 feet
6 in. Special standards are allowed for Gurkhas, Dogras, and Mazhbi
Sikhs. A native soldier enlists for three years. At the end of that
time he may either claim his discharge or prolong his service up to
twenty years, when he becomes entitled to a pension. All enlistments
are for general service, with liability to serve wherever required.

RACIAL COMPOSITION.--Regiments of native cavalry and battalions of
infantry are organised on the class system. They may be composed
entirely of one class, when they are called "Class" regiments, or
they may be recruited from three or four classes, kept apart in
separate companies, when they are styled "Class Company" regiments.
For instance, the 14th Sikhs, composed of eight companies of Sikhs,
would be an example of the former, while the 30th Punjab Infantry,
composed of four companies of Sikhs, two of Dogras, and two of Punjabi
Mussalmans, would serve as an example of the latter.

FORAGE AND RATIONS.--The native soldier pays for his own food and, in
the Silladar Cavalry, also for the upkeep of his horse. A regimental
bazaar is attached to each corps, from which the men purchase their
rations. When the cost of the daily ration exceeds Rs. 3.8.0 per month,
compensation is granted by the Government for the difference. On field
service the native soldier draws free rations, and in addition to his
ordinary pay is granted a special monthly allowance.

QUARTERS.--The quarters of native troops, except in Burma and on the
North-west Frontier, are ranges of huts, called lines, which have to
be built and kept in order by the corps temporarily occupying them. To
defray the cost of repairs, the Government makes an allowance, which is
paid monthly.

EDUCATION.--Each regiment and battalion has a school, at which
attendance is voluntary. Sepoys are required to pass an easy
examination in reading, writing, arithmetic and drill before promoted
to non-commissioned rank.

BANDS.--These are maintained by infantry, but not by cavalry. All
Gurkha battalions and many corps in which Pathans are enlisted have
pipers as well as bandsmen, buglers and drummers. The pipers make
their own pipes, in imitation of the Scottish bagpipes, and acquire
considerable efficiency under the instruction of Highland bandmasters.

FURLOUGH AND LEAVE.--The popularity of service in the native army is
largely due to the liberal manner in which furlough and leave are

DRESS.--The dress of the native army is picturesque and distinctive.
Kilmarnock caps are worn by the Gurkhas and Garhwalis, otherwise
the universal headdress is the turban or pugri. In the Silladar
Cavalry all uniforms are provided under regimental arrangements. In
the other regiments clothing is issued by the clothing factories at
Calcutta and Madras, but the khaki uniform, and all necessaries, such
as great-coats, boots, pugris, haversacks, water-bottles, bedding,
cooking-pots, etc., are purchased or manufactured regimentally, and may
be had from the quarter-master at fixed prices.

       *       *       *       *       *

Most of our native Indian soldiers are either peasant proprietors
or cultivators, and on retirement from service return to their
former employment. Some, however, accept minor posts with the civil
administration, such as those of caretakers or messengers.

The Indian soldier is generally excellent in sports and athletics.
The skill of the Sowar in tent-pegging, lime-cutting, and his daring
feats of horsemanship are well known. In the infantry, wrestling is a
favourite amusement, and certain classes, more especially Gurkhas, are
keen sportsmen in the all-round sense of the word.

The military and agricultural classes of India are seen at their best
in the native army. Enthusiastic in his profession, endued with great
pride of race and considerable spirit, the native soldier feels that
there is a _camaraderie_ and a community of interests between himself
and his British officers which are wholly lacking in his relations
with civil officials. Daily intercourse in the lines, and in various
games and sports, affords opportunities for mutual acquaintance, and
enables British officers to acquire that personal influence over their
men which has been so largely responsible for the brilliant results
achieved by most of our great men of India.


There are three great classes of Sikhs: the Sikh by race, the Sikh
by religious sect, and the Sikh by political conviction. They are,
however, divided tribally as follows:--

  The Jat Sikhs,
  The Khattri Sikhs,
  The Kamboh Sikhs,
  The Lobana Sikhs,
  The Sikh Chuhras or Mazhbis,
  The Sikh Tarkhans,
  The Kalal Sikhs.

THE JAT SIKHS.--Our Jat recruits are drawn from the Eastern Jats, a
race of hardy husbandmen. They are, so to speak, a clan of Indian
agricultural peasantry. They came originally from the highlands of
Scythia. These men possess the necessary instincts of the soldier, and
their history has been marked by stern, hard fighting.

THE KHATTRI SIKHS.--These are the merchant caste of the Punjabis.

THE KAMBOH SIKHS.--These make excellent soldiers, being of very fine
physique and possessing great courage. They have always been noted
for their cunning strategy, which now, being far less "slim" than in
former times, has developed into the permissible strategy of war.

THE LOBANA SIKHS.--These are the social equals of the Jats.

THE SIKH CHUHRAS or MAZHBIS.--The term "Mazhbis" has now come to be
applied to all Chuhras who have adopted Sikhism as their religion.
The true Mazhbis are descendants of certain Chuhras, who rescued in
a heroic fashion the body of Gurai Teg Bahadur from the Mahomedans,
thus saving it from being dishonoured. In return for this, Gurai's
son, Govind Singh, bestowed upon them the title of "Mazhbis Rangreeta"
("Chosen Brave"), and invited them into the fold of Sikhism. Therefore
the name Mazhbis belongs properly to the descendants of these
particular Chuhras' families. Inspired as they are by the glorious
history and traditions of Khalsa, these men make excellent soldiers.

SIKH TARKHANS.--Tarkhans are carpenters by caste and profession. They
are intelligent and industrious men, of whom about 20 per cent. are
Sikhs by religion, the rest being Hindu or Mahomedan. Sikh Tarkhans, if
carefully recruited, could supply a fair number of good soldiers.

KALAL SIKHS.--The Kalals are by caste and profession distillers and
wine merchants on a small scale. Twenty-five per cent. of these have
now embraced Sikhism, the rest being Hindu or Mahomedan; the Hindus
being about 50 per cent. of the whole, and the Mahomedans about 25 per
cent. Sikh Kalals are often styled Alhuwalias, from the fact that the
famous and important Alhuwalia Misb was founded by the Kalal convert to
Sikhism. The Chiefs of Kapurthala have always been Kalals by descent,
and, since the rise of the Sikh Kalals to political prominence, they
have largely given up their original profession to take to the more
respectable avocations of merchandise and agriculture. The Kalals have
a reputation for "enterprise, mercy and obstinacy"; and the Sikh Kalals
make good soldiers, being of good physique and great hardihood.

The stately, manly Sikh has a character all his own. He has the manly
virtues of honesty, industry, and tenacity well developed. He is
independent, patient, and full of methodical, laborious energy; and, of
all the Sikh tribes of whom this description is more or less true, the
Jat may be particularly mentioned.

The Sikh race is drawn from the Punjab tribes, such as the Jat and
Khattri, who from time immemorial have been renowned for their sturdy
grit and independence. It may perhaps be said that the Jat-Sikh
combines especially the best qualities of the Pathan races with those
of the Sikh tribes.

All the Punjab races are, as a rule, impatient of control, but the Jat
is particularly so, exercising in his impatience a fine quality of
individual freedom. This, together with the fact that he is neither
truculent nor turbulent, provides him with one of the finest qualities
of a well-disciplined soldier, in contradistinction to the machine-made
soldier. Well understood, he can be, and has been, well managed.
Encouraged to continue in his own peaceful agricultural ways, he is
reasonable and contented in doing his work; but if he is roused by what
he considers unjust aggression, or any unsolicited interference, he is
a dangerous man to deal with.

These salient characteristics of the Jat, combined with other qualities
cultivated by British rule and example, have tinctured practically the
whole Sikh race.

Respect of self and pride of race have now improved from the Sikh
character the early intolerance and ungovernable spirit emanating from
the Jats. Even the Sikh religion, as taught by its founder Nanak, has
modified the hard-and-fast prejudices of the Hindu on the one hand, and
on the other has eliminated the baser rancour and fanaticism of the
more exoteric Mahomedanism.

The Sikh of to-day is a level-headed, sober-minded, tolerant man,
keenly alive to practical issues. And from this may be judged his
valour as a soldier. In the thick of battle the Sikh is cool and
resolute. He is possessed of grim determination and tenacity. Just as
in any emergency of social life he will keep his head with admirable
self-restraint, so in the clash of battle he can be relied upon to
do the right thing at the right moment in the right way. While not
possessing quite so much _élan_ as some other tribes, he more than
compensates for that lack by his immunity from any tendency to panic.

The high-class Sikh may always be known by his stately bearing and
lofty courtesy. His every movement is graceful, and the general
impression one would get on the approach of a real Sikh is simply this:
"Here comes one who is a prince in his own country." This dignity
of bearing extends even to the lower classes, especially among our
Sepoys, who carry themselves with an easy elegance, much of which is
attributable to their splendid physique and the due consciousness of it.

It is not too much to say that of all the fine races of the East there
is no type of man superior to the Sikh. In innate breeding he can
tread the razor-edge between independence and insolence, between firm
resolution and unreasoning obstinacy, between the present value of
tradition and the dead husk of the glorified past. In his respect of
himself he commands respect from others, and, combining the essential
instinct of the soldier with the acquired love of practical ideals
he can see with a single eye what the doubleheaded vulture of Prussia
cannot see with four.

Constant fighting and an iron discipline had kept the Sikhs in order
during the lifetime of Ranjit Singh, but after his death the army
became unmanageable.

The history of the Sikh War is too well known to need more than passing
reference. The troops of the Khalsa were defeated after a series of
hard-fought battles, in which they showed soldierly qualities of the
highest order. In the decade which followed the conquest of the Punjab,
the British Government, impressed with the fighting capacity of their
former opponents, determined to employ them as soldiers in their own

On the outbreak of the Mutiny, which from the first was identified
with the restoration of the Moghul power, there was an immense
revival of Sikhism. Hundreds of Sikhs who had turned their swords
into ploughshares flocked to Lahore, and eagerly took service in the
regiments there being raised by Lord Lawrence. All were filled with
an intense longing to range themselves on the side of justice and
right. All were anxious to assist in the capture of Delhi--a city
associated in their minds with the heroic struggles and reverses of
their forefathers. The spirit of the Khalsa, which had suffered greatly
by the defeats on the Sutlej, was aroused at the thought of a conflict
between Sikhism and Islam--a conflict the memory of which is now not
only nobly forgotten, but to be blotted out for ever by heroism and
sacrifice; for both Sikh and Mahomedan of India have joined hands
in common cause against the enemy of all human progress. Both have
espoused our cause with a devotion and loyalty which is almost without
parallel in history.



The following regiments contain squadrons of Sikhs:--

    2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse).

    3rd Skinner's Horse.

    4th Cavalry.

    6th King Edward's Own Cavalry.

    7th Hariana Lancers.

    9th Hodson's Horse.

    10th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers (Hodson's Horse).

    11th King Edward's Own Lancers (Probyn's Horse).

    12th Cavalry.

    13th Duke of Connaught's Lancers.

    16th Cavalry.

    18th King George's Own Lancers.

    19th Lancers (Fane's Horse).

    20th Deccan Horse.

    21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier
    Force) (Daly's Horse).

    22nd Sam Browne's Cavalry (Frontier Force).

    23rd Cavalry (Frontier Force).

    25th Cavalry (Frontier Force).

    29th Lancers (Deccan Horse).

    30th Lancers (Gordon's Horse).

    31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers.

    32nd Lancers.

    33rd Queen Victoria's Own Light Cavalry.

    36th Jacob's Horse.

    37th Lancers (Baluch Horse).

    38th King George's Own Central India Horse.

    39th King George's Own Central India Horse.


The following regiments are composed exclusively of Sikhs:--


Consists of 8 companies of Sikhs.

BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales. The Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Lucknow," "Ali Masjid," "Afghanistan 1878/79,"
"Defence of Chitral," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

15TH LUDHIANA SIKHS. Raised 1846.

Consists of 8 companies of Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"China 1860/62," "Ahmad Khel," "Kandahar 1880,"
"Afghanistan 1878/80," "Suakim 1885," "Tofrek," "Chitral," "Punjab
Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

23RD SIKH PIONEERS. Raised 1857.

Consists of 8 companies of Mazhbi Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Taku Forts," "Pekin," "Abyssinia," "Peiwar Kotal,"
"Charasiah," "Kabul 1879," "Kandahar 1880," "Afghanistan 1878/80,"

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _chocolate_.

32ND SIKH PIONEERS. Raised 1857.

Consists of 8 companies of Mazhbi Sikhs.

MOTTO.--"_Aut viam inveniam aut faciam._"

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Afghanistan 1878/80," "Chitral."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

34TH SIKH PIONEERS. Raised 1887.

Consists of 8 companies of Mazhbi Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Chitral," "Punjab Frontier," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

35TH SIKHS. Raised 1798, disbanded 1882, reformed 1887.

Consists of 8 companies of Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

36TH SIKHS. Raised 1858, disbanded 1882, reformed 1887.

Consists of 8 companies of Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab Frontier," "Samara," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

47TH SIKHS. Raised 1901.

Consists of 8 companies of Sikhs.

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

The 48th Pioneers, 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force), 52nd Sikhs (Frontier
Force), 53rd Sikhs (Frontier Force), and 54th Sikhs (Frontier Force)
are Sikh regiments with other tribes intermixed.


The chief characteristic of the Rajput is his pride of blood.
Representing as he does the higher military castes of India, his one
ambition has always been to wield a sword, and wield it well. For ages
in the past the Rajput maintained his supremacy in one or another part
of India. Claiming descent from the sun and the moon, and later from
those two heroes of the Mahabharata--Rama and Krishna--the Rajput
maintains that his ancient and noble blood has flowed in the veins of
kings from times more remote than any other history can record. That
old but immortal legend of the Bhagavad Gîta, in which Prince Arjuna
held a discourse with Krishna, the supreme Deity, in his war-chariot,
drawn up between the opposing forces of Kauravas and Pandavas, is
regarded by the Rajput as peculiarly his own. It is not to be wondered
at, then, that, possessing from time immemorial this lofty poem, so
sublime in its aspiration, so pure and tender in its piety, the Rajput
has always been a man of high and noble sentiment and lofty ideals. He
is, as the literal rendering of his name implies, the "Rajah's son,"
and in war has always displayed most noble and fearless qualities.

It cannot be said that the Rajput is content to shine in the reflected
glory of the past. In ancient times he devoted his life to making
epic history, and in these days this serves him for an ever-present
tradition from which he will draw the necessary material to add another
volume to that history. Let him dream of the past achievements of his
race, his ancient glory in war; let him sing the songs that he has
made, and shake off the sloth of peace, and so rush into battle; for
out of such dreams and stirring songs springs all human greatness.

There is no questioning the bravery and stamina of the Rajput. Under
a good commander who knows how to appeal to him, the Rajput will face
death in any grim form. He has a spirit so fierce and dauntless that
naturally it is tinctured with the changing tides of strong emotion,
which at times may have its drawbacks; but he is, even more than the
Gurkha, a soldier fit for a special task; indeed, his dash and heroism
are so remarkable that even the Gurkha will sometimes claim to be
directly descended from the Rajput.

There is no history to record of the Rajput as a race, for each Rajput
state and clan--and there are a large number of them--has its own
history. Roughly, they may be described as more or less pure-blooded,
modern Hindu (Brahminical) representatives of the early Aryan emigrants
into India.

  ... "The mild Hindu
    Of far-off Rajputana,
  (Who) smiles to think how very few
    Will ever reach Nirvana,"

is not the Rajput. It is a mistake to suppose that the Rajputs are
the inhabitants of the province bearing their name. They form but a
small part of the population of that province, nor are they by any
means restricted to it, being found in large numbers from the Indus
to Benares. A large section of the Rajputs of the Punjab, having
been converted to Mahomedanism, have thereby lost their distinctive
character of Rajputs, who, retaining the religion of their forefathers,
are essentially Hindu. And among them are seers and philosophers of the
highest degree--men whose feet Nietzsche and Treitschke are not worthy
to kiss. And in the Rajput's championship of the higher things he is
instinct with the wisdom of India, who sends him westward; India, who
through the mouth of her sublimest poet says, from a platform undreamed
of by the Teutonic philosopher,

  "Near to renunciation--very near--
      Dwelleth eternal peace."

Each separate Rajput clan has its own peculiar customs and rites, while
holding the general customs and rites in common with the whole Rajput
race. This peculiarity is strongly marked by the fact that the same
clan living in different countries has, in addition to its own general
clan rights, others which seem to have been born out of its separate
environment. The Rajput in Rajputana invariably marries out of his
own clan, but if he allows his daughter to marry into a lower clan he
suffers in social position. A Rajput may legally marry more than one
wife, and he is permitted by his social and moral code certain things
which some other codes condemn.

In the process of recruiting among Rajputs it is a simple matter to
tell the real from the false by the following points. A true Rajput
will eat with his illegitimate children, but not out of the same dish;
he will allow his natural son to smoke his hookah, but only provided
he draws the smoke through his closed hand. He will eat food prepared
and cooked by the natural children of any Rajput, but he will not eat
_with_ them, nor under any conditions allow them to smoke his hookah.

The Rajput woman is noted for her bravery and high ideal of honour.
Woe betide the husband or brother who has not all his wounds in
front. There are many tales of Rajput women snatching a dagger from
their waistband and plunging it into their hearts rather than suffer
dishonour. There are even stories current as to their fighting ability,
telling how on occasion they have fought valiantly in the field, and
even led troops to victory.



BADGE.--The Royal and Imperial Cypher of Queen Victoria within the

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi 1803," "Leswarree," "Deig," "Bhurtpore,"
"Khelat," "Afghanistan," "Maharajpore," "Punjab," "Chillianwallah,"
"Goojerat," "Central India," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "Burma 1885/87,"
"China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Leswarree," "Bhurtpore," "Kabul 1842," "Ferozeshah,"
"Sobraon," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _black_.


BADGE.--The Duke of Connaught's Crest and Cypher.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Moodkee," "Ferozeshah," "Aliwal," "Sobraon," "China
1858/59," "Egypt 1882," "Tel-el-Kebir," "Pekin 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Sobraon," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

13TH RAJPUTS. (The Shekhawati Regiment.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Aliwal," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "Chitral."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

16TH RAJPUTS. (The Lucknow Regiment.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Lucknow" (with a Turreted Gateway), "Afghanistan
1879/80," "Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.


For geographical reasons connected with facility in recruiting, the
Mahrattas are divided into two parts: the Konkani Mahrattas and the
Dekhani Mahrattas. The whole race was originally confined to the
country known as Maharashtra, but since their rapid acquirement of
power in India they have spread beyond the limits of that country. They
may now be found in the heart of the Central Provinces on the east,
Central India on the north, and on the borders of Rajputana to the
north and west.

Mahrattas are generally divided into three classes:--

  1. Brahmans.
  2. Chatris--_i.e._, those who claim Rajput descent.
  3. Sudras--those belonging to agricultural and
  trading classes.

The best of the soldiers are probably those recruited in the Dekhan,
who are short, hardy and brave. Most of the Mahrattas in our ranks
are recruited from the Konkan. They are taller and smarter than the
Dekhanis, who, nevertheless, excel in endurance. The hillmen are nearly
always more hardy than the inhabitants of the plain.

There is no history of the early Mahrattas, but as it is tolerably
clear that the Mahratta language is Aryan, it follows that the race has
at least Aryan blood, although ethnologists set it down clearly to be
of Turanian or Dravidian origin.

It seems a curious thing that the Mahrattas were not brought up from
the cradle of their race as fighting men, since they have proved
in our first meetings with them such excellent foes. It is certain
that if they are not born fighters, they have become good soldiers.
Mr. Grant Duff in his "History of the Mahrattas" distinguishes them
very clearly in a military sense from the Sikhs and the Gurkhas,
while admitting that they make excellent soldiers. "The very fact of
their having played so conspicuous and not always ignoble a part in
the history of India," he says, "marks them out as a race with some
qualities of the genuine soldier. The Duke of Wellington, who had such
ample opportunities of forming a judgment in regard to them, rated
them highly; and there can be no doubt that, with the discipline which
the British officer enforces, and his personal example of courage,
constancy, and devotion to duty, the Mahrattas can still be made into
good soldiers, despite the enervating and softening influence which a
long spell of peace appears to have on India."

Authoritative historians have said that the courage of the Mahrattas
of old was the courage of the freebooter; that they were at the best
bold buccaneers, who were capable at times of courage because it paid
them, but that the moment the prospect of gain was taken away, their
courage oozed out. These writers maintain that the highest instincts of
the soldier were never theirs. The reason of that was necessarily that
the loyal and steadfast adhesion to a good cause, which has led the
highest human types, in all ages, willingly to sacrifice their lives,
never inspired them. Consequently, they were devoid of that spirit
which takes death with proud indifference from motives of patriotism.
One of these writers says: "The Mahrattas all through history have
never sacrificed a whole skin unless there was something very tangible
and substantial to be got thereby." Neither has Britain. We have never
sacrificed, and never intend to sacrifice, our men for anything less
than "something very tangible and substantial to be got thereby." The
criticism on both sides then simply amounts to this: that courage
is not a thing in itself, but a quality depending on motive, with
knowledge; and the Mahratta, although he may have lacked both in the
past, has certainly acquired them now.

Again, it has been contended that the Mahratta lacks the elegant
proportions of the Jat Sikh, the robust, well-knit figure of the
Gurkha, the lofty personal courage of the Pathan--in short, that he
is cast in a mould that is anything but heroic. But, when we come to
consider that there is in the Mahratta an essential sturdiness and
tenacity, we find eventually, and apart from all superficially striking
characteristics, the pabulum out of which the finest soldiery can be

In physique, the Mahratta is somewhat under the average height. His
skin is dark, and his features irregular. But in those features one can
discern a tremendous capacity for endurance. He may not be a cultured
man--either falsely or truly--but, in the ranks, he possesses those
natural adjuncts to steady, quiet strength, tractability, gentleness,
patience, and a general willingness to fall in with the idea of someone
who obviously knows more.

The Mahrattas in the 1st Bombay Infantry (Grenadiers), now the 101st
Grenadiers, proved their grit at Maiwand. In a tough fight they held
good till more than half their number were gone. Again, at Suakin, in
1885, the Mahrattas in the 28th Bombay Infantry (Pioneers), now the
128th Pioneers, proved, without a doubt, the nature of the qualities
already mentioned, which will indubitably find further development in
the present state of war.

Like the Rajputs, the Mahrattas are chiefly Hindus. They have strange
objects of worship, such as trees and snakes. Their deities are
principally incarnations of Shiva, the Destroyer, such as Etoba and
Kandoba. Like all the Hindus, they still maintain a strong belief in
Spirit, and, like all races who, in their early stages, have clung to
that belief in darkness, they have developed a broader knowledge, which
has always walked arm-in-arm with superstition towards enlightenment.
Yet, especially in time of war, the Mahrattas throw aside all caste
prejudices, even eat in common among themselves, and are not unwilling
to accept a drink from Tommy Atkins himself.


Various theories have been advanced as to the origin of the
Mahratta-speaking races of Western India. It is a generally accepted
idea that, though the higher classes are to some extent of Aryan
blood, the majority of the people are descended from aboriginal tribes
who settled in the country long before the Aryans commenced their
emigration from the Oxus.

The Mahratta country extends from Bombay in the north to Goa in the
south, and from the Indian Ocean in the west to the Central Provinces
and the Nizam's Dominions in the east. The tract is divided into two
well-defined portions by the Ghats, a chain of hills running parallel
with the coast. The strip of country near the sea, from the mouth of
the Taptee to Goa, is generally known as the Konkan, and was formerly
infested with pirates and brigands. The table-land of the Dekhan to
the west of the Ghats has been inhabited for numberless generations
by cultivators, shepherds, and herdsmen, and it was not until the
Mahomedan persecutions had driven these peasants into rebellion that
they developed any warlike instincts, and became aware of their own
capacity for conquest.

Considering the power to which they at one time attained, it seems
remarkable that no mention should have been made of the Mahrattas in
history from the time of the Mahomedan conquests in the thirteenth
century to the reign of Aurangzeb. It would appear, however, that
during this period the country on each side of the Ghats was divided
into numerous Hindu principalities, which paid tribute to the Mahomedan
Kings of the Dekhan and Golkonda, but were never really subdued. A
Mahratta family of the Bhondle tribe, which claimed to be of Rajput
descent, had been for many generations in the service of the Sultans
of Bijapur. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, a son of this
family, named Sivaji, turned brigand, and supported by his peasant
followers, who rapidly developed into soldiers, commenced a series of
daring raids in the rich plain country to the east of the Ghats.
In 1664 Sivaji changed the scene of his operations to the coast, and
sacked the town of Surat, carrying off booty to the value of a million
sterling. The British factory recently established there by the East
India Company was successfully defended by the merchants, supported by
sailors from their ships, but the exploit excited general alarm, for
Surat was not only a great emporium for trade, but the port at which
Mahomedan pilgrims embarked for Mecca, and landed on their return to


By this time the Moghuls were thoroughly alarmed. The levying of
the "chanth," or fourth share of the revenue, by the Mahrattas was
seriously affecting their finances, for Sivaji's raids extended to
the south, and as far to the east as Bengal. Large Moghul armies took
the field against his followers, but on the whole with very little
success. The Mahrattas were loose hordes of lightly-clad horsemen,
who lived on fruit and grain. They were the Cossacks of India, ever
hovering round camps and armies to carry off treasure, though unable to
face the heavy-armed Moghuls in the open field. The latter, however,
were generally very wanting in activity. Mahrattas could easily escape
from fortresses if driven out by starvation, and few Moghul commanders
dared to follow them into the winding paths of the Ghats, whither they
would retreat, lest the Moghuls, in their turn, should be cut off or
starved into submission. Meanwhile, troops of Mahratta horsemen might
be scouring the plains, harrying and plundering the peaceful villages,
ready to gallop back at the first warning to their fastnesses in the
hills and jungles.

Sivaji died in 1680, after a brilliant career of conquest. From then
until 1707 the Mahrattas were weakened by quarrels among themselves,
which caused the principal power in the state to be gradually
transferred from the Bhonste descendants of Sivaji to a family of
Brahmans, who were their hereditary Peishwas or Ministers.

Under these "Mayors of the Palace" the Mahratta power reached its
zenith. Satara was their original capital, but there were powerful
Mahratta governments established at Poona, Gwalior, Nagpur, Indore, and
Baroda; and, towards the close of the eighteenth century, they started
on a career of conquest which made them masters of India from Delhi to
Cape Comorin--a career which was only checked by the rising power of
the British.


At the time that the Mahratta Dominion was at its zenith in India, it
came into clash with the ever-widening rule of the British. In 1803 the
Mahratta Dominion extended from Hyderabad to Mysore as far as Delhi. In
addition to this its dependencies and territorial possessions in India
were far greater than those of the British.

The second Mahratta War was declared in August, 1803, and General Lake
marched on Delhi. The British forces consisted of about 22,000 men in
two equal divisions, one under Lake and the other under Wellesley, but
the Mahrattas outnumbered this little force by seven to one.

The first event of the war was the attack on the fortress of Aligati
by Lake. Here our men had a foretaste of the nature of "wild Mahratta
battle" and of the terrible valour of the enemy. History records that
the Mahrattas "fought like lions," and it was not until 2,000 of their
number were slain that they finally surrendered. During the following
week came the fall of Delhi, after a most determined conflict raged in
sight of its minarets--a conflict in which the enemy lost 3,000 killed
and wounded and 68 guns. A month later the famous stronghold of Agra
was taken. This was an important victory, as in those days Agra was
practically the key to Northern India.

In this campaign it was fully recognised that the Mahrattas were men
of good fighting quality. At the battle of Leswarree, when Lake was
outnumbered and forced to retire to wait for his infantry and guns
to come up, the prowess of the Mahrattas came as a surprise to him.
When some reinforcements arrived he attacked again with still greater
determination. On this occasion his horse was shot under him, and
his son, dismounting to offer his own horse, was severely wounded.
At the same moment, Lake, turning as his son fell, felt a shot pass
between his arm and his chest, which, if he had not moved, would have
found its way through his heart. But Lake was a man of cool judgment
and imperturbable courage. Mounting his son's horse, he surveyed the
field of battle and quickly made up his mind to decide matters by the
bayonet. Our troops greeted the word of command with a hearty cheer,
and immediately the 76th, admirably supported by the Native Infantry
Corps, swept down upon the enemy in a furious charge. But Lake's
generalship was matched by that of the Mahratta Chief, who instantly
ordered his cavalry to charge. It was a tense moment, and it was
rendered dramatic by the sudden appearance of the British Dragoons
galloping to the relief. "Horse and foot," says a historian, "met in
one great shock of battle; sabre rang out against bayonet and musket
flashed against pistol and carbine. A short period of indescribable
_mêlée_ ensued, in which the fate of the day was decided."

The Mahrattas were defeated. They were a foe as worthy in those days of
our steel as they are now, our comrades-in-arms, worthy of the Empire
they defend.

Meanwhile Wellesley in the south was trying conclusions with Madhi
Scindia and the Rajah of Madhpur. In conjunction with Col. Stevenson
he had 7,000 men, who chased Scindia for three weeks, the wily chief
having decided to fight on chosen ground. At length, on September
23rd, 1803, Wellesley, after a fatiguing march, reached the bank of
the Kaitna River. He was waiting for Col. Stevenson, with whom he
had prearranged a plan, but when he discovered that the enemy was in
camp on the other side of the river, he concluded that his chance of
bringing Scindia to action was "now or never." Accordingly he resolved
not to wait for Stevenson, but to attack at once. This was a daring
decision, for Scindia's forces numbered 17,000 foot, of whom 10,500
were highly disciplined infantry; and his artillery, consisting of
the regular equipment supplemented by 115 guns, was far stronger than
that of the British. In addition to this his Mahratta Horse numbered
about 30,000. The little British army that was getting ready to defeat
this gigantic force numbered 4,520 men, of whom 1,170 (74th and
78th Regiments) were British Infantry, 2,000 Native Infantry, 1,200
Cavalry, and 150 Artillery. The Mahrattas saw this piece of audacity
and stood awhile in amazement, but, wise in their generation, they
forbore to call the force opposing them "contemptible." When the rest
of the world came to have something to say about it, Wellesley simply
remarked: "But had I not attacked them I must have been surrounded by
their superior cavalry, my troops had starved and I had nothing left
but to hang myself to my tent-pole." But it may be justly contended
that it was not wholly a case of Hobson's choice, for Wellesley, like
Nelson, knew when to be rash and how to be rash, and it might have been
said of him, in the words of the French Admiral about Nelson, that his
genius lay in the fact that he could rightly estimate every weakness of
his enemy.

The battle which followed was of a terrible and terrific nature, but it
ended eventually in a glorious victory for the British. From first to
last, Wellesley, having conspired with the luck of war, left no single
point to the luck of chance.

From an elevated plain he could see the whole Mahratta force encamped
on the north side of the Kaitna, where the banks of that river were
very steep. Their right, consisting of cavalry, extended to Bokerdon;
their left, consisting of infantry, with ninety pieces of artillery,
lay near the village of Assaye, which has given its name to the
memorable battle.

Wellesley resolved to attack the infantry on its left and rear, and for
that purpose he moved his little army to a ford beyond the enemy's
left, leaving the Mysore and other irregular cavalry to watch the
Mahratta cavalry, and crossing the river only with his regular horse
and infantry. He passed the ford, ascended the steep bank, and formed
his men in three lines--two of infantry, and the third of horse. This
was effected under a brisk cannonade from the enemy's artillery.
Scindia, or the European officer who directed his movements, promptly
made a corresponding change in his line, giving a new front to his
infantry, which was now made to rest its right on the river and its
left upon the village of Assaye and the Juah stream, which flowed in a
parallel direction with the Kaitna. Scindia's numerous and well-served
cannon did terrible execution among Wellesley's advancing lines,
killing men and bullocks, and drowning the weak sound of his scanty
artillery. At one moment such a gap was made by cannon-ball in the
English right that some of the Mahratta cavalry attempted to charge
through it; but the British cavalry in the third line came up and
drove the Mahrattas back with great slaughter. Finding his artillery
of little or no use (the guns could not be brought up for lack of
bullocks), Wellesley gave orders to leave it in the rear, and bade the
infantry charge with the bayonet.

His steady, resolute advance in the teeth of their guns had already
awed the Mahrattas, who would not stand to meet the collision of
the English steel: their infantry gave way, and abandoned the guns.
One body of them formed again, and presented a bold front; but
Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell charged them with the British cavalry,
broke and dispersed them, and was killed in the moment of victory.
Wellesley's Sepoys having proceeded too far in pursuit, many of
Scindia's artillerymen, who had thrown themselves down among the
carriages of their guns as though they were dead, got to their feet
again, and turned their pieces against the rear of the advancing
Sepoys; and at the same time the Mahratta cavalry, which had been
hovering round throughout the battle, were still near. But Maxwell's
charge soon silenced the desultory artillery fire, and Scindia's
disciplined infantry went off and left ninety pieces of cannon, nearly
all brass and of the proper calibres, in the hands of the victors.
Wellesley led the 78th British infantry in person against the village
of Assaye, which was not cleared without a desperate combat.

Assaye cost Wellesley twenty-two officers and 386 men killed, and
fifty-seven officers and 1,526 wounded. Excluding the regular cavalry
which had remained on the other side of the river and had not been
engaged, the total number of killed and wounded amounted to nearly
one-third of his force. The general himself had two horses killed under
him, one shot and the other piked; every one of his staff officers had
one or two horses killed, and his orderly's head was swept off by
a cannon-ball as he rode close by his side. The enemy, who had fled
towards the Adjuntee Ghat, through which they had poured into the
Dekhan, left 1,200 dead, and a great number badly wounded on the field
of battle.


Although there are no Class Regiments composed wholly of Mahrattas,
they form in Company Regiments the bulk of the following bodies of


4 companies Dekhani Mahrattas, 2 companies Konkani Mahrattas, 2
companies Dekhani Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Mysore," "Seedaseer," "Seringapatam," "Beni Boo
Alli," "Punjab," "Mooltan," "Goojerat," "Abyssinia."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _black_.


4 companies Dekhani Mahrattas, two companies Konkani Mahrattas, 2
companies Dekhani Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Mysore," "Seedaseer," "Seringapatam," "Beni Boo
Alli," "Kahun," "China 1860/62," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _black_.


4 companies Dekhani Mahrattas, 2 companies Konkani Mahrattas, 2
companies Dekhani Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Central India," "Abyssinia," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _black_.


4 companies Konkani Mahrattas, 2 companies Dekhani Mahrattas, 2
companies Dekhani Mussalmans.

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.


4 companies Konkani Mahrattas, 2 companies Dekhani Mahrattas, 2
companies Dekhani Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan 1879/80," "British East Africa 1901."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.


4 companies Konkani Mahrattas, 2 companies Dekhani Mahrattas, 2
companies Dekhani Mussalmans.

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

There are companies of the Mahrattas also in the

  107th Pioneers.
  108th Infantry.
  109th Infantry.
  121st Pioneers.
  128th Pioneers.


The Gurkha is more closely a brother-in-arms to Tommy Atkins than is
any other native soldier. These brave little men swell with pride--and
their chest expansion is enormous--when they are referred to as the
"Highlanders of India." Their eyes twinkle and their white teeth gleam
in a smile of joy at this well-deserved honour bestowed upon them for
many a valiant fight. To stand by the side of their big brothers of
the Black Watch, the Seaforth, the Gordon, the Cameron, and the Argyll
and Sutherland Highlanders in glory and renown is their Nirvana of
bliss; and now, in the greatest conflict of Europe, to fight, and if
need be to die, in the same line with them for the great King-Emperor
(the Padisha), in the defence of the world against tyranny and wrong,
is absolutely the crowning moment in the history of this valiant
little man of Nepal. As the Gurkha marches to-day to the tune of The
Marseillaise, played on a weird collection of instruments approaching
as nearly as possible to the bagpipes, his cheerful spirit is glad
beyond words to be in line with the heroes who claim his special
admiration, and his one thought is "Shall we fight side by side with
the Gordons, as we did at Dargai, or with the Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders, or with the Seaforths?"

But behind his cheerful countenance and jaunty way of carrying himself
lies a bulldog courage which, in turn, commands the admiration of his
big brothers-in-arms--the British Highlanders. Those gleaming teeth
are exposed in no kind of smile when he grips the deadly _kukri_ in a
hand-to-hand encounter, and there is no twinkle in the fierce black
eyes as he sets his face to the foe, with the cool determination "never
to go back," which is a tradition of his race.

On this point, Lt.-Col. Newnham-Davis, writing in "Town Topics,"
declares that "The Gurkha is the most thorough little man I have ever
met in campaigning; he will never go back. He tackles any job that is
given him like a bulldog, and he is never beaten. In manoeuvres, as in
action, one thing a Gurkha regiment will not do is to go back.

"I have seen the Chief Umpire and all his satellites vainly trying to
explain to the native officers of a Gurkha company on manoeuvres that
they were surrounded and outnumbered and out of action, and that they
must therefore retire from the mimic fight. The Gurkhas grinned and
stopped where they were, and it was only by sounding the 'cease fire'
and telling the little men to get back and cook their dinners that the
Chief Umpire moved them off the ground."

"In the spring," says the Colonel, writing on the Gurkha War, "the
little Gurkhas--jovial little fellows, broad-chested and big-limbed,
short in stature, with their Tartar eyes, noses like pugdogs, and great
good-natured gashes for mouths--flock down to enlist in our regiments.
Brave as lions, vain as peacocks, faithful as dogs, with few prejudices
in peace and none in war, the Gurkhas are the special friends and
companions of our men.

"The stately Sikh throws away his food if a white man's shadow falls
upon it, and between the Mahomedan and the Christian is always the bar
of religion, but on a campaign the Gurkha eats his food with as few
formalities as Tommy Atkins drinks his wine, and is good company at the

The Gurkha has a merry wit and an equally happy conceit, as the
following incident will show. After the assault on Bhurtpore, where
the Gurkhas raced with the grenadiers of the 59th for the bridge, the
British soldiers praised them for their bravery. They returned the
compliment by the following characteristic remark: "The English are as
brave as lions; they are splendid Sepoys, and _very nearly_ equal to

It may be seen from the above incident that the vanity of these little
men is colossal. Indeed, it is only exceeded by their loyalty and
gallantry, which can never be questioned, since Lord Roberts, the hero
of Kabul, has accorded them the highest and warmest praise.

When Col. Younghusband, travelling in the Pamirs with an expedition of
Gurkhas, met the great Russian explorer Gromschefski, a native officer
of the Gurkhas asked leave to speak to Younghusband. "Tell him," he
said, pointing to the big Russian, "that though _we_ are small men, all
the rest of our regiment are taller than he is."

The only ritual the Gurkha observes is that he washes his hands and
face and takes off his head-dress before cooking his meals. Any meat
that chances to come the Gurkhas' way they call _shika_ (game). It
is permitted by their religion to eat anything they have killed when
hunting, but in their native land they prefer a kind of food made
from rice. In the British service they take kindly but temperately to
anything that the canteen supplies.

The Gurkhas were originally protectors of the cows, and this in India
is a more or less Divine right. The Hindu regards the cow in the light
of his mother, and frequently the beef-eating habit of the Sahib is
pathetically reproached by the native in these terms: "What! would you
eat your mother?" It may be permissible to stretch the derivation of
their name in the present day and apply it to the fact that Britain is
now their mother, and that they flocked westward to assist her in her
great effort to uphold and ensure the integrity of the world.

The Gurkhas, or Gurkhalis, claim descent from the Ranas of Udaipur in
Rajputana. Long ago, when they were driven out of their own country by
the Mahomedan invasion, they sought refuge in the mountainous tracts
about Kumaon. From this point they gradually began to invade the
country to the eastward, as far as the city of Gurkha, Noakote, and
ultimately the valley of Nepal, and even Sikkim. It was only when they
attempted to force their way southwards that they were met and repulsed
by the British. The Treaty of Seganli, which put an end to the Gurkha
War of 1814, set a definite limit to their territorial expansion.

In general character the Gurkha is bold and self-reliant. On his
gentler side, while extremely independent and self-centred, he is
frank, faithful, and capable of fine, heroic loyalty. All his ideas of
war and sport are modelled on European ideas. Though resembling in many
ways the little Jap, he is built on far sturdier lines. As a humorist
once remarked of his race: "They are 5 feet high in some places, and 5
feet round in others." Their movements in attack resemble lightning
rapidity as nearly as anything human can. Essentially a phlegmatic
race, they are supposed to lack sentiment and emotion, but education
and touch with Western civilisation have proved to a great extent that
these qualities were potential. In many ways they have been brought
out as true sentiment and emotion of the steadier and more genuine
kind. This fact, with their natural gaiety of disposition and their
good-humoured carelessness of good or evil hap, is no doubt the reason
that they make such fine soldiers. There is no grumbling on the part of
the Gurkhas.

The Gurkha in battle is terrible, and almost weird in his methods. His
ways are the ways of no other living soldier. And this brings us to a
consideration of that remarkable weapon, the _kukri_. It is a heavy,
curved knife, as sharp as a razor, and its drawing cut, inflicted
with much skill and little force on anything in motion, has terrible
effects. For instance, the intrepid Gurkha will wait for the tiger of
the jungle to spring, and then, at the right moment, will step aside,
leaving his deadly knife to follow the movement of his arm across the
tiger's throat.

This wonderful knife, which the Gurkha loves as the British gunner
loves his gun, has a small hilt, such as is common to all Indian
swords. The blade is about nine inches long, and has a point as sharp
as a needle. Both the hilt and the blade are curved, so that the weapon
does equally well for the drawing cut or the thrust. Owing to the
extreme thickness of the broad blade the weapon is remarkably heavy--a
property devised obviously for the purpose of gaining the full force of
inertia when the _kukri_ is wielded by the dexterous hand and wrist of
the Gurkha. One authority on this weapon says that the weight of the
razor-edged blade would drive it half through a man's arm if it were
only allowed to fall from a little height. One can imagine, then, the
terrible effect if used for the drawing cut of the broad-sword. In the
Gurkha's experienced hand its sharp edge carves through both bone and
sinew, proving it to be a weapon as formidable as can be conceived. The
method of this little warrior with the _kukri_, then, may be described
as an inhibition of force and an exhibition of skill, for by means of
it he will quickly cut to pieces any man of gigantic strength and build
who does not understand his mode of attack.

Many years ago, during the conquests on which we founded our Eastern
Empire, our men frequently came into clash with the Gurkhas. In those
days they were, as enemies, as formidable as they are to-day invaluable
as brothers-in-arms. Here is a description of one battle incident in
which we suffered severely at their hands: "Brave as lions, active
as monkeys, fierce as tigers, the wiry little men came leaping over
the ground to the attack, moving so quickly and keeping so far apart
from each other that rifle fire was of little use against them. When
they came near our soldiers they suddenly crouched and dived under
the bayonets, striking upwards at our men with their _kukris_ and
ripping them open with a single blow, then darting off as rapidly as
they came." Until our men learnt this mode of attack they were greatly
discomfited by their little opponents, who got under their weapons,
cutting or slashing with knives as sharp as razors, and often escaping
unhurt from the midst of the bayonets.

In all the history of invasion and conquests, of floating dynasties and
mushroom empires in the East, the most sanguinary chapters deal with
the British subjugation of the Gurkhas.

At a time when the Gurkhas were only some twelve thousand strong their
reputation as fighters stood high. Many a time and oft had they raided
neighbouring territory, carried off cattle, and even extorted tribute,
so that at length the British authorities realised that there was only
one course to take, and the message was sent to the bold Gurkha Chief:
"Keep within your own territory or beware of the consequences." But
this ultimatum was treated with scorn by the Gurkhas. Their haughty
spirit could not brook such a demand. Hot blood seethed in their
veins, and hot words were spoken at their council meetings. Their
natural warlike spirit rose to the occasion and they declared war.

That war of 1813-14, and that conquest of a truly warlike race, form a
record of one of the most heroic achievements of the British Army.

Nepal, the home of the Gurkhas, is situated on the slopes of the
Himalayas. Its natural barricade on the north is a mighty line of
peaks soaring against the sides of heaven up to the roof of the world,
covered with everlasting snow. In front and to the south dense forests
protect it from the approach of an invading host. Terrible were the
difficulties and hardships of our men in these forests. Despair
almost drove them back, while the prospect of utter failure seemed to
stare them in the face. But, as if in a forlorn hope, our men went
on, toiling and moiling towards the borders of Nepal; and, with the
tenacity that saves every hopeless situation, gained at length the
walls of Kalanga.

The fort held out for a long time, but fell at length, though not
until the heroic garrison of six hundred had been reduced to seventy.
It was here that brave General Gillespie fell as he was cheering his
men forward to a fruitless attack. At the outset he had reckoned
upon an easy conquest, but owing to the staunch resistance of the
Gurkhas, reinforced by their natural advantages, he found the greatest

There are many incidents recorded of the Gurkhas in this war, but
perhaps the following is characteristic. When a party of our troops
were searching for the enemy's outposts, they happened to fall in with
a band of Gurkhas. The fierce little men raised a yell and produced
their deadly _kukris_; then, after a brief consultation, their leader
strode forward into the open and challenged the English officer in
command to a settlement by single combat. His challenge was no sooner
offered than it was accepted, and Captain Showers advanced to meet
him. A short, sharp fight then took place on the plain separating the
two opposing forces; steel met steel, and, after a quick passage, the
Gurkha's blood ran crimson in the snow. He had met one who knew his

This war dragged slowly and wearily to a close. Finally there came a
time when the Gurkhas were compelled to sue for peace. By the treaty
drawn up at the conclusion of hostilities large tracts of territory
were ceded to the British; but, as this treaty had to be sent to the
Governor-General for approval and signature, there was a delay, and
during that delay the bold spirit of the Gurkhas rose against this
admission of defeat, and when the treaty was returned they flatly
refused to sign it. At this hostilities were resumed, and the British
again proceeded to attack.

This time they had a larger share of the luck of war. By the guidance
of a party of smugglers they were enabled to penetrate right into the
Gurkha stronghold unobserved. Their path lay through deep ravines,
darkly enclosed by rugged precipices and shrouded in the gloom of dense
overhanging trees. Threading their way through these eerie approaches,
they at length came up behind the Gurkhas, who were patiently waiting
and watching the regular avenues of approach. Being suddenly attacked
in the rear, the Gurkhas were demoralised, and, though they fought
bravely, were defeated. This action proved decisive. Again they
were conquered, and, from that time, they have nobly admitted the
superiority of their conquerors. A few years later their indomitable
spirit was linked with that of the British, and they were fighting side
by side with the white man in Asia.

The Gurkhas of to-day adhere to the Hindu religion. In their appearance
there is a strong trace of Mongolian blood, as shown by their
almond-shaped eyes, high cheek bones, and firm but mobile lips.

In early times Nepal consisted of a great number of petty states
constantly at war with each other. Thus it happened that, by conquest
and reconquest, and intermixture of tribes, the term "Gurkha" became
geographical rather than ethnic; that is to say, the name does not,
strictly speaking, apply to any special tribe or race, but to the
inhabitants of the locality known as Gurkhá.

The principality of Gurkhá owes its existence and name to a yogi called
Guraknath. He lived in a cave in a hill in Central Nepal. To this holy
man came many devotees daily, and, in the neighbourhood of his cave,
there soon sprang up a village which in time spread its boundaries
until it assumed importance as the City of Gurkhá, so named after the
yogi. In further course of time it became the capital of the district,
to which, and to its inhabitants, it gave its name.

It is interesting to note that this yogi Guraknath is still held in
great veneration by all Gurkhas, and to-day their battle-cry may be
heard in Europe--"Guru Guraknath Kijai" ("Victory to Guraknath!").

The Gurkhas are conquerors of no mean order. Their principal conquests
took place in the middle of the eighteenth century. In the year 1599
Drabiya Sah elected himself Gurkha Rajah, and, about 140 years later,
the eighth in descent from him--one Narbupal Sah--invaded the Nepal
valley. The invasion was unsuccessful and he was driven back, but the
spirit of invasion was not defeated. He was succeeded in 1742 by his
son, Prithwi Narayan Sah, a lad twelve years old. This boy grew up
into a sensible, brave man of great ambitions, and in time became a
very capable general and diplomat. It was to his genius as a ruler
and a general that the Gurkhas owed their ultimate conquest of the
region of Nepal. His first invasion failed, though he and his warriors
fought with splendid courage. Later, having subjugated several of the
neighbouring states, he strengthened his army from these sources, and
undertook a second invasion in 1765. Again he was utterly defeated; but
he was a man of heroic courage, and, in his third invasion in 1768, in
the course of which he was defeated as often as he was successful, he
finally seized Khatmandu--by superior "strategy" as it was known in
those days--and dictated terms of peace in the heart of the valley of

Prithwi, the conqueror, then removed his capital to Khatmandu, which
has ever since remained the capital of the Gurkha kingdom. He died in
1775, after a great and terribly eventful reign of thirty-three years.

Pratap Simha Sah, who succeeded his father Prithwi, attempted the
conquest of Sikkim, but failed utterly. In Sikkim the Maharajah
obtained the victory over him in so many battles that the Gurkha king
was forced to sign away some of his eastern territory; but the Gurkhas
returned again and again to the attack, until, in 1776, they utterly
defeated the Sikkim Maharajah at the battle of Chinepore, and more than
regained their lost possessions.

In 1776 the wars of conquest still continued. Another great man arose,
Ran Bahadur Sah, uncle to Pratap Simha Sah's infant son, who was on
the throne. Bahadur Sah was a man of ability, and, as Regent, decided
to subjugate the Chaobisi principalities. He conspired with the Rajah
of Palpa, one of the Chaobisi states, agreeing to a division of the
spoil in return for his assistance. The Gurkha-Palpa alliance was
then formed, and nearly all the Chaobisi states were subjugated, the
Gurkhas keeping the lion's share. Meanwhile the Gurkha armies in the
east, under General Saroop Simha, were victorious, and the whole of
the Rai and Limbu districts of eastern Nepal were conquered. For some
time after that they continued the extension of their rule in Sikkim
and parts of Tibet. This latter invasion brought upon the Gurkhas a
strong Chinese army, which utterly routed them in the year 1792. In
consequence of this the Regent was executed by order of the infant
king, who himself, on account of his later atrocities, was forced to
abdicate in 1800. After some years of exile in India he returned as a
firebrand to Gurkha, and died unhonoured and unmourned in 1807.

It was during the second and third Afghan wars that the Gurkhas and
the Highlanders fought together in an admirable combination. A brief
description of these two wars, containing some graphic incidents of
battle, and showing the part the Gurkhas and the Highlanders played
together, will be found in the following chapter.


It is interesting to trace to-day the heroic exploits of the Gurkhas
through campaigns in which they have fought side by side with the
Highlanders of our own country. Space admits of only a brief account,
but it will serve to show exactly how and why the Arms of Lord Roberts
come to bear, as supporters, a Highlander and a Gurkha.

The second Afghan war (1878-80) was brought about by the discovery of
Russian intrigues with Shere Ali. Although the Amir had been advised
by Lord Lytton that he was sending Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain on
a mission to Kabul, he made no satisfactory reply either in assent or
dissent; but when Sir Neville reached Ali Musjid, a fortress on the
Afghan frontier, his embassy was confronted by an armed force, and, not
possessing sufficient troops to attack, he was compelled to turn back.
Smarting under this affront--for it had been clearly laid down that
his mission was not of a hostile nature--he returned to Peshawur, from
which point an ultimatum was despatched to Shere Ali. This led to the
formal proclamation of war on November 21st, 1878. Ali Musjid was the
scene of the first battle, in which, under Sir Samuel Browne, the 6th
Native Infantry, the 45th Sikhs, and 27th Punjab Infantry were engaged.

Prior to this battle the Kurram Column, or Field Force, had been
formed, under General Roberts. The native troops included in this force
were as follow:--

1ST INFANTRY BRIGADE--29th Bengal Native Infantry, 5th Punjab Infantry,
and the Bhopal contingent.

2ND INFANTRY BRIGADE--21st Native Infantry, 2nd Punjab Infantry, and
5th Gurkhas, under Major Fitzhugh.

This famous Kurram Column immediately took the field, and their first
engagement of importance was at Peiwar Kotal. To the 29th Bengal Native
Infantry and 5th Gurkhas, under Col. Gordon, No. 1 Mountain Battery,
a wing of the 72nd (Duke of Albany's Own) Highlanders, the 2nd Punjab
Infantry and 23rd Pioneers, under Brigadier Thelwall, was assigned the
task of turning the enemy's position, while a feint was to be made upon
their front. The turning force set out during the night of December
1st. A writer who describes that campaign says: "The bright camp-fires
shed their wavering light on the white tents, when, without sound of
drum or bugle, the troops fell silently into their ranks, the companies
were told off, and the battalions formed.... Nor had they long to wait
before their challenge was responded to by two shots, showing that the
position had been reached. And ere long the troops found themselves
confronted by an abattis formed by felled trees which, laid over each
other to the height of 8 feet, completely blocked the way."

On this barricade, the Gurkhas, led by Major Fitzhugh and Captain Cook,
made a fierce rush. A stern conflict ensued--a hand-to-hand fight with
bayonet, _kukri_, and clubbed musket; and the Gurkhas drove the enemy
back to a second barrier nearly 100 yards to their rear. Here they made
another stand, but the ferocity of the lithe and wiry Gurkhas, and the
stern valour of the Highlanders--their right wing falling upon the
enemy's flank--combined to drive the Afghans from this second stockade
with considerable loss.

Here it was that the Gurkhas and the Highlanders rushed on together
side by side in a memorable charge, none of them knowing the strength
and number either of the enemy or his further stockades. In the
uncertain light of early dawn they drove the enemy up the hillside like
chaff before the wind. For a time the Afghans fled in disorder, then
suddenly they rallied and prepared for a wild charge downhill. Major
Galbraith of the 85th Foot was the first to see their intention, and
he immediately directed the fire of his men to demoralise and check
this movement. While he was doing this an Afghan crept up behind some
bushes, and, levelling his rifle at him, took careful aim. Suddenly the
Major observed him, and, with the rapidity of lightning, raised his
revolver and pulled the trigger. The weapon missed fire, but his prompt
action had disturbed the Afghan's aim, and in another moment Captain
Cook of the Gurkhas had closed with the native and flung him heavily.
There was a quick fight between them, during which Major Galbraith,
more fortunate this time with his revolver, sent a bullet through the
Afghan's heart. For his brave act in saving the Major's life Captain
Cook gained his V.C. But the nation was compelled to mourn this hero
very soon, for it was in the following campaign at Sherpur, while
leading the Gurkhas, that he was mortally wounded.

By the dawn of day the Gurkhas and the Highlanders, with the assistance
of the 29th Punjabis, had taken some important positions, and by the
time the sun rose the enemy was defeated.

This victorious campaign was carried on through the craggy ravines of
Sappri as far as Siafooden, where the Afghans made a stand and gave
battle a second time; but here again the Gurkhas and the Highlanders
were the principal factors in their defeat. The subsequent brilliant
rush on Shaturgardan Pass was also made glorious by these Highlanders
of Britain and Asia. The campaign ended on May 26th, 1880.

Again, in the third Afghan war, the Gurkhas, in common with different
regiments of Highlanders and some native regiments, won great

Sir Louis Cavagnari, who had concluded peace after the first campaign,
undertook a personal mission to Kabul. This time the mission was well
received--at least at first--but there soon came a time when the
Afghans, taking advantage of the necessary inferiority in the numbers
of our peaceful mission, insulted it, at first vaguely, then openly,
apparently with the idea of goading the Governor to a quarrel. Insult
on insult gave fuel to the fire thus aroused, and at last, when the
insults became unbearable, the Governor and his staff protested so
vigorously that the Afghans seized their opportunity and massacred
them. Immediately following on this came the declaration of war by
Shere Ali. After the preliminary battles at Charasiah and Asmai the
British force advanced to Kabul. There was very severe fighting around
the capital, and another sharp engagement at Asmai, after which our
troops found themselves entrapped in Sherpur. Here the Gurkhas won a
lasting glory for themselves by the recapture of some of our guns which
had been taken by the enemy.

During this campaign the Gurkhas took part in the battle of Sijazabad.
Here the enemy took up a strong position on the side of a steep hill,
which they had further strengthened by barricades of earth and stone.
From one to another of these they were driven point by point by the
determined assault of the 4th Gurkhas, 14th Punjabis, and the 9th Foot.
This was a battle in which all our outnumbered forces, especially the
Gurkhas, showed remarkable _élan_. For many hours the Gurkhas stormed
one barricade after another, always driving the Afghans up the hill
with bullet, bayonet, and _kukri_, until at last the enemy's final
defence was taken. It was in this battle that an incident occurred
which shows, not only the Gurkha's quality, but his primitive methods
of revenge--which methods, needless to say, are now somewhat modified.
Towards the close of the uphill battle, when the enemy was in full
retreat, a single Gurkha, in advance of his fellows, had just shot
one of the Afghans, when two of them suddenly sprang up from behind a
rock near by. They were Afghan hillmen--fanatics pledged in the name
of Allah to the last drop of blood for Islam. They shared the belief,
common among Orientals, that death under this pledge was the entrance
to Paradise, where the houris are born of pure musk. With a spring one
of them fiercely plunged his dagger into the unfortunate Gurkha, while
the other with a sweep of his tulwar clove the head of the dying man.
Swift as was this passage of arms, still swifter came the retribution.
Lieut. Gordon of the 92nd Foot despatched one of the hillmen, and the
other immediately fell, riddled by Gurkha bullets. With a ferocious cry
the Gurkhas swept down upon the two stricken hillmen, and with their
terrible _kukris_ hewed them in pieces. But as the time of Samuel and
Agag has departed, so has this primitive lust of revenge been gradually
modified in the Gurkha by his association with the humanity of the West.

The Gurkhas were in the famous march of General Roberts on Kandahar,
which immediately followed the battle of Sijazabad. It was towards the
end of this march that the Gurkhas and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders
made an attack on the little village of Gundi-Moolah-Sahibdad. In this
memorable assault the Gurkhas and the Gordons almost strove with one
another for the _kudos_ of the victory. But the _kudos_ may easily be
said to belong to them jointly. And in recognition of this the Gordon
loves to talk about his little comrade-in-arms, while the Gurkha
worships the Gordon to such a degree that he would lay down his life
for him.

The Afghan strife closed--let us hope for ever--with the battle
of Kandahar. This conclusive fight stands in history as a signal
tribute to the tenacity of the British soldier in general, and to the
generalship, since tried and proved and never found wanting, of Lord
Roberts. Says a historian, "It was remarkable for the generalship and
cool judgment Roberts had shown, and also for the courage displayed by
his troops.... On every occasion we were far outnumbered by the enemy,
who were equal to our men in physical strength, and armed with nearly
the same weapons; but Roberts trusted to the courage of his slender
army and to its perfect discipline, which were conspicuous alike in
the savage defiles of the Kurram Valley, on the rocky heights of the
Peiwar Kotal and the Spingawi Pass, in the lines of Sherpur, and on the
splintered bluffs of Asmai."

The Kandahar Field Force was disbanded in September, 1880, and
Roberts' last act before returning to India was to distribute
distinguished-service medals to the 72nd and 92nd Highlanders and
the 5th Gurkhas. These are his words on that occasion, and no doubt
every Gurkha at the front to-day has them, or their translation,
in his memory, for they have, more than anything else, confirmed
and ratified a brotherhood-in-arms between the Gurkhas and the
Highlanders:--"Soldiers of the Kandahar Field Force, I am glad to have
this opportunity of giving medals for distinguished conduct to the
men of the 72nd and 92nd Highlanders and the 5th Gurkhas. They have
deservedly won them. I say from my experience as a soldier that no men
with whom I have served can have better deserved these rewards; and
it is an additional pleasure to me to have seen the other day of what
material my Highlanders and Gurkhas are made. I can but hope it may
be my good fortune to have such good soldiers at my side when next I
go into action.... You may be assured that the very last troops the
Afghans ever wish to meet in the field are the Scottish Highlanders and
the Gurkhas."

After this, from one who is now a veteran of England, who can doubt
that, as the Gurkhas marched towards the front, their hearts went
before them to their big brothers of former frays, with the hope that
they would be in close touch in the battle line?


The following is a complete list of the ten Gurkha Regiments (each
composed of two battalions), with their Battle Honours, etc.:--


Raised at Subathu in 1815, chiefly from Gurkha soldiers of Amar Singh,
by Lieut. R. Ross.

BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Bhurtpore," "Aliwal," "Sobraon," "Afghanistan
'78/80," "Punjab Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _scarlet_.


Raised at Nahau (Sirmoor) in 1815, by Lieut. F. Young, from Gurkha
soldiers, who took service with the British on the termination of the
first phase of the Nepal war. Granted a truncheon for distinguished
service at Delhi, 1857.

BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial
Cypher of Edward VII.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Bhurtpore," "Aliwal," "Sobraon," "Delhi," "Kabul
'79," "Kandahar '80," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Punjab Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _scarlet_.


Raised at Almora in 1815, by Lieut. Sir R. Colquhoun, Bart., from
Gurkha soldiers, who took service with the British after the fall of
Malaun and the conquest of Kamaon; supplemented by transfers from the
Gorakhpur Hill Regiment, and originally designated the Kamaon Battalion.

BADGE.--The Cypher of Queen Alexandra.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Ahmad Khel," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Burma
'85/87," "Chitral," "Punjab Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


Raised in 1857, by Lieut. D. Macintyre, as an extra Gurkha regiment.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Ali Masjid," "Kabul '79," "Kandahar '80,"
"Afghanistan '78/80," "Chitral," "Punjab Frontier," "Tirah," "China

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.

5TH GURKHA RIFLES (Frontier Force).

Raised at Abbotabad in 1858, by Capt. H.M.F. Boisragon, as the 25th
Punjab Infantry, or Hazara Gurkha Battalion.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Peiwar Kotal," "Charasiah," "Kabul '79," "Kandahar
'80," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Punjab Frontier."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


Raised at Chanbiaganj (Cuttack) in 1817, by Capt. S. Fraser, as
the Cuttack Legion. Subsequently the 42nd Gurkha Rifles. Present
designation, 1903.

BATTLE HONOUR.--"Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


Raised at Thayetmyo in 1902, by Major E. Vansittart, as the 8th Gurkha
Rifles; became 2nd Battalion of the 10th Gurkha Rifles in 1903. Present
designation, 1907.

_Col._--Field-Marshal H.H. Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum.

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


Raised at Sylhet in 1824, by Capt. P. Dudgeon, as the 16th or Sylhet
Local Battalion; 1st Battalion was subsequently known as the 44th, 2nd
Battalion as the 43rd. Present designation, 1903.

BATTLE HONOUR.--"Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


Raised at Fategarh in 1817, by Major C.F. Fagan.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Bhurtpore," "Sobraon," "Afghanistan '79/80," "Punjab

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


Raised in 1890, by Lt.-Col. C.R. Macgregor, from the Kubo Valley
Police Battalion, and originally known as the 10th Regiment of Burma
Infantry.[1] Present designation, 1903.

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _black_.


[Footnote 1: It is a singular fact that the old 10th Madras Infantry
(1st Burma-Gurkha Rifles), raised in 1766, bore the honours "Carnatic,"
"Mysore," "Amboor," "Assaye," "Ava," "Burma '85/87," and in 1900 Capt.
J. Henegan was a wing commander. He is now, at the time of writing,
Lieut.-Col. commanding the 1st Battalion of the present 10th Gurkha

Another peculiar point will recommend itself to military students. In
"Whitaker's Naval and Military Directory" of 1899 and 1900 the 17th and
19th regiments of Madras Infantry are given, but the 18th regiment is
omitted. This, however, is not the only instance of the kind. As in the
case of our 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers there have been certain regiments
that have disappeared for a time from the Army List, the numbers of the
others remaining unaltered.]


There is some little doubt about the derivation of the word "Dogra."
Some say it is derived from the Indian word "dogur" or "dugur," meaning
"hill" or "mountain," and that the Dogra country is so called because
the whole of it is more or less mountainous. Others maintain that
the origin of the name is found in two Sanscrit words, "do," meaning
"two," and "girath," meaning "lake," there being two small lakes of
great beauty known as Man Sur and Sardin Sur. The first derivation is
most probably the correct one, for it is a matter of history that the
pioneer Rajputs, who left the plains to make their home in the hills to
found the Dogra principalities, styled themselves Dogras, or Hillmen,
as distinguished from men of the plains.

The district of Dogra lies between the rivers Chenab and Sutlej,
including all the hills and valleys on the slopes of the Western

The Dogra is a shy, reserved man, with considerable strength of
character. He may not be so brilliant as the Pathan, nor so tenacious
and subtle as the Gurkha, but he has a high idea of honour, is very
self-respecting, and makes a capital soldier. Since he is always
ready to cast aside his social prejudices he affords recruiting
officers little trouble. The virtues of this solid, quiet, resolute,
reliable man are seen in moments of peril, when, without any boasting
or striking of attitudes, he will face certain death with a calm
determination to do before he dies.

From the above description it will be gathered that the Dogra is
simple-minded and generous, capable of the highest loyalty, and a
complete stranger to anything like treachery or cruel barbarity. It is
through the combination of all these qualities that the Dogras as a
race have justly earned, and faithfully maintained, the reputation of
being among the best fighting material to be found in India.

The Dogra's physique is not so fine as that of the Pathan or Sikh.
He is a man of average height, somewhat sparely built, with fine,
sensitive features. His complexion is fair, though not as fair as that
of the Todas.

The Dogras are very particular in all matters relating to food and
drink. They are keen sportsmen, and in rifle-shooting they maintain a
fair standard of excellence. Hawking and snaring birds are favourite
pastimes among them, and even such games as tip-cat, leap-frog, and
hop-scotch are not unknown to them.

This brave and loyal race were faithful to us during the Mutiny, and
their services at the siege of Delhi were invaluable; but as early as
1849 their soldierly qualities had been recognised, for it was at that
time that the Government enlisted great numbers of them in the Punjab
Frontier Force. The reason of this lay chiefly in their military value,
although it was at the same time evident that they would be useful to
balance the influence of the Sikhs, who were still imbued with Khalsa

The 2nd Sikh Infantry, raised at Kangra in 1846, consisted entirely of
Dogras. This was the regiment that ratified its loyalty by assisting to
quell a rebellion of its own countrymen. Later, in the second Afghan
war, this same regiment, the majority still being Dogras, fought
gallantly at the battle of Ahmad Khel. Indeed, there was a moment in
this battle when victory or defeat depended entirely on this regiment.
At this critical juncture it behaved splendidly, and disaster was


_Company Regiments--Cavalry_

It must be borne in mind that Company Regiments are those which contain
squadrons or companies of different native classes. The following
regiments of Indian Cavalry contain Dogras in the proportions given:

_7th Hariana Lancers_, one squadron.

_9th Hodson's Horse_, half a squadron.

_10th Duke of Cambridge's Own Lancers_ (Hodson's Horse), one squadron.

_11th King Edward's Own Lancers_ (Probyn's Horse), one squadron.

_12th Cavalry_, one squadron.

_13th Duke of Connaught's Lancers_ (Watson's Horse), one squadron.

_16th Cavalry_, one squadron.

_19th Lancers_ (Fane's Horse), half a squadron.

_21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry_ (Frontier Force) (Daly's
Horse), half a squadron.

_23rd Cavalry_ (Frontier Force), half a squadron.

_25th Cavalry_ (Frontier Force), one squadron.

_Class Regiments--Infantry_

37TH DOGRAS. Raised 1858, disbanded 1882, re-formed 1887.

Comprises 8 companies of Dogras.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Chitral," "Punjab Frontier."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

38TH DOGRAS. Raised 1858.

Comprises 8 companies of Dogras.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

41ST DOGRAS. Raised 1900.

Comprises 8 companies of Dogras.

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.


The Baluchis are said to come of Arab stock. Their legends and
traditions attribute their origin to Hamzah, an Arab of the Koreish
tribe, which claimed the honour of including the prophet Mahomet as
one of its number. Mahomet is said to have been Hamzah's nephew.
Notwithstanding the fact that some Mahomedan peoples are in the habit
of employing elaborate fiction in their claims to close connection with
their prophet, it still remains that there is much evidence in favour
of the general tradition existing among the Baluchis as to their Arab

The traditional Hamzah, progenitor of the Baluchi race, is regarded
as one of the most important of the early Mahomedan chiefs. He is
pictured as a mighty warrior, a man of Herculean strength and high
courage; hence his romantic and classical sobriquet, "Lion of God." The
tradition runs that Hamzah was killed at the battle of Ohod in 625 A.D.
His descendants and adherents settled about Aleppo, whence they were
driven by Yezid, son and successor of Muavia, and first Omeyeid Kalif.
It seems that the reason for this expulsion was that Hamzah and his
tribe had given assistance to Hössein, grandson of the prophet, in his
attempt to oust Yezid from the position which he had occupied.

Being driven forth into the desert, the tribe migrated eastward as
far as Persia, where, as pastoral nomads, they wandered and lived and
multiplied to such an extent as to cause considerable alarm to the
Persian monarch. It is to this sojourn that the Baluchis attribute
their obvious admixture of Persian blood and characteristics. As their
rapid increase in numbers promised trouble to the Persian kingdom,
steps were taken to expel them, and they ultimately descended into an
uninhabited tract south-east of Mekran--a country to which no one laid
any definite claim. From this point they gradually spread over the
whole of the country now known as Baluchistan, driving before them all
the peoples who had so far emigrated to that region. It will be seen
from this that the probabilities are decidedly in favour of the Arab
origin of the Baluchis. Yet it has been contended by some that they are
a race of Turkish stock, since certain of their rites and customs seem
to be drawn from that source; nevertheless it is more probable, from
all the available facts, that the Turcoman and Persian characteristics
and survivals are merely the result of a temporary admixture.

Very little is known of the early history of the warlike Baluchis
beyond what can be drawn from tradition, unsupported by any written
historical records. One of their chief traditions is that Jalal Khan,
who led them out of Persia, had four sons, named Rind, Hot, Lashari,
and Korai; and a daughter named Jato. At the present day there are five
distinct tribes which still bear the names of these five children of
Jalal Khan; but of these tribes the Rind and Lashari soon acquired, by
reason of their superior force of character, a predominant influence,
so that, as the people multiplied and split up into an ever-increasing
number of tribes, all these fell under the domination of the Rind or
the Lashari. Gradually in this way all the Baluchi race came to be
divided under two great heads, the Rind and the Lashari--a division
which has been determined, not by descent, but by political sympathy.

The Rind division possess a great traditional hero, Mir Chakar, who
is supposed to have lived in the sixteenth century, and to have been
a powerful dependent of the Moghul Emperor Humayun, giving him great
assistance in his re-conquest of the Delhi throne. In return for this
Humayun bestowed upon Mir Chakar a large tract of land on the frontier,
and it is more than probable that the Baluchis' settlements on the
southern frontier were founded in this way.

The Lashari faction also had their traditional hero, Mir Gwahram Khan,
of whom many stories of heroism are recorded. His name has still a
sound of glory for the Lasharis.

The Baluchis follow the Mahomedan religion, but, like the Gurkhas, they
are not religious by nature, preferring practical pursuits and tangible
material ideals, chief among which is war. It is not that they are less
bigoted than many of the other races, but rather that they are more
practical. Their language is a rude and far-off dialect of the early
Persians, and they have no form of written literature.

Although the Baluchi differs greatly from the Pathan in the matter
of religion, there are many points in common in regard to social
character. The Baluchi has the manly, frank, brave, strong nature of
the Pathan, with a fund of patience rendering him capable of enduring
endless hardship, and a fine dignified carriage and physique combined
with a spirit of quick daring and sudden ferocity; to these qualities
he adds the virtues of truth, fidelity, and simple generosity. His
condemnation of servility, insolence, deceit, and treachery in many
tribes is indicative of his character. His wild, free, open-air life,
combined with the artificial restraints of civilisation, has given him
a bold and resolute air of vigour and self-reliance. It redounds to his
fundamental integrity to find still existing in Baluchistan a kind
of altar or sacred stone--"a stone or cairn of cursing--erected as a
perpetual memorial to the treachery of one who betrayed his fellow."
His chivalry is superior to that of some more cultured races, for,
wild as he is, he will not harm the women and children even of his
bitterest foe. Yet his moral code allows him to plunder and to loot
on a wholesale scale. But set against this is his strong adherence to
discipline, a quality which has developed more and more during his
closer touch with the British.

If a Baluchi were allowed his own choice of weapons in any fight
whatever, his immediate selection would be a long knife, a sword,
and a shield. He has never found any material use for the matchlock,
which has always been so dear to the heart of the Pathan. He is a
born knifer, and loves to kill at close quarters--a fact based upon
the primitive blood-thirstiness of his nature, "blood for blood"
being his motto. The tales of the Baluchi's prodigal hospitality to
a stranger within his gates, and then waylaying and murdering him on
his departure, must be discredited in these days, when these fierce
instincts have been turned into worthier channels. Nor should any
credence be accorded to such stories of degradation as picture him
the habitué of the opium, hemp, and gambling dens; for, though he
may have been prone to wild excesses, recent years have seen nobler
ambitions placed before him, and certainly those Baluchis now showing
their loyalty and love for Britain and the right on the battlefields
of Europe are not of the class of whom these stories have been told.
A word of praise must be given to the Baluchi's horse, which he rides
as if it were a part of him. Baluchistan produces some of the finest
horses in the world.



37TH LANCERS. (Baluch Horse.) Raised 1885.

Class Squadron Regiment. 2 squadrons Derajat Mussalmans (including
Baluchis), 1 squadron Pathans, 1 squadron Sikhs.

UNIFORM.--_Khaki serge_, facings _buff_. (No service.)




Class Company Regiment. 2 companies Hazaras, 1 company Khattacks, 1
company Waziris, 2 companies Baluchis and Brahmans, 2 companies Sikhs
and other Jat Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Persia," "Khooshab," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_ (_red serge trousers_), facings _scarlet_.


Class Company Regiment. 4 companies Pathans, 2 companies Hill Baluchis,
2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BADGE.--In each of the four corners the Cypher of Queen Mary.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Abyssinia," "Afghanistan 1878/80," "Burma
1885," "British East Africa 1897/99."

UNIFORM.-_Green_ (_red serge trousers_), facings _scarlet_.


Class Company Regiment. 4 companies North-west Frontier Pathans, 2
companies Hill Baluchis, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Persia," "Reshire," "Bushire," "Khooshab," "Kandahar
1880," "Afghanistan 1878/80," "Egypt 1882," "Tel-el-Kebir."

UNIFORM.--_Green_ (_red serge trousers_), facings _scarlet_.

_130TH KING GEORGE'S OWN BALUCHIS._ (Jacob's Rifles.) Raised 1858.

Class Company Regiment. 3 companies Pathans, 2 companies Mahsuds, 3
companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan 1878/80," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Green_ (_red serge trousers_), facings _scarlet_.


(Burmese War, 1824)

Diminished by sickness and death, brought on by hard service during
an inclement season, by defective provisions, and by the ordinary
casualties of war, Sir Archibald Campbell's forces at Rangoon were
greatly weakened. But the opportune arrival of the 89th British
Regiment from Madras, and of parts of two detachments which had subdued
the islands of Cheduba and Negrais, raised the effective strength just
at the critical moment. By the end of June, 1824, the Burmese in this
quarter appeared to have somewhat recovered from their defeats at our
hands. Chiefs of the highest fame, who, until they came in contact with
our troops, had always been victorious, were sent down the Irawaddi
from Ava and from Prome, with orders to slay or torture and mutilate
every Burmese soldier that did not fight to the utmost; and one of the
brightest of golden umbrellas, Sykya Wongee, minister of state, was
appointed commander-in-chief, with positive commands from the Golden
Foot to attack and drive the British at once into the sea. Following
this, on the first day of July, all the woods in Sir Archibald's front
exhibited bustle and commotion; 8,000 men had crossed to the Rangoon
side of the river; the jungles around all seemed animated; clouds of
rising smoke marked the encampments of the different corps of the
Burmese army in the forest; and their noisy preparations for attack
formed a striking contrast to the still and quiet of our readiness.

Golden Dagon Pagoda was the key of the British position. This splendid
edifice, in itself a fortress, is a little over two miles from the town
of Rangoon. In shape it resembles an inverted speaking-trumpet; it is
338 feet high, and is surmounted by a cap made of brass, 45 feet high;
the whole is richly gilded. The base of this pagoda is a conical hill,
flat at the top, and rising about 75 feet above the road.

In the neighbourhood of this gorgeous building Sir Archibald Campbell
placed a whole battalion of British troops. The two roads running
from the pagoda to the town were occupied by our forces, native and
European. The minor pagodas, bronze houses, and pilgrims' houses
along these two roads afforded good shelter to the troops against the
stormy weather, and some further shelter from the attack of an enemy
whose artillery was somewhat light. Two detached posts completed our
position--one at the village of Puzendown, about a mile below the town,
where the Pegu and Rangoon rivers meet; the other at Kemmendine, about
three miles above the town; this second post being chiefly intended to
protect our shipping against the descent of the enemy's fire-rafts.

On the morning of July 1st the enemy issued in dense masses from the
jungle to the right and front of the Golden Dagon Pagoda. Detaching to
their left a column, which succeeded in setting fire to part of the
village of Puzendown, their main body came boldly up to within half
a mile of Rangoon, and commenced a spirited attack upon part of our
line. But two field-pieces, served with grape and shrapnel, presently
checked their advance, and then a brilliant charge by the 43rd Madras
Native Infantry put them all to flight. In a very few minutes not a man
could be seen of the Burmese host, except the killed and wounded; nor
could anything be heard of them except a wild screaming of baffled fury
coming from the depths of the forest.

Their defeated commander was brought to book by the Golden Foot, and
degraded. Then a still higher minister of state, named Soomba Wongee,
who had arrived with reinforcements, took the command, and commenced
stockading his army in the most difficult and intricate part of
the forest, at Kummeroot, about five miles from the Great Pagoda,
intending, chiefly under cover of night, to carry on such a system
of desultory warfare as would harass, and ultimately destroy, our
sickly, worn-out soldiers. He also fortified a commanding point on
the river about Kemmendine, in communication with his stockaded camp,
hoping by this means not only to obstruct the navigation of the river,
but also to construct and employ numerous fire-rafts. But this new
commander-in-chief had scarcely finished his works when he was driven
from them with a terrible slaughter.

It was on July 8th that Sir Archibald Campbell embarked with one column
for the attack of the position upon the river, and Brigadier-General
MacBean, with a land column, marched upon the forest stockades at
Kummeroot. The works on the river were found to be so formidable that
it was judged necessary to employ breaching vessels; accordingly a brig
and three Company's cruisers, manned by seamen of his Majesty's and
the Company's navy, under the superintendence of Captain Marryat, soon
opened a heavy cannonade and silenced the enemy's guns. Our troops then
pushed across the river in boats, entered the practicable breach which
the firing of our seamen had made, and carried all those works with
comparatively trifling loss. The Burmese suffered severely in killed,
and many of them were drowned in trying to escape across the river.

The operations of the land column, under MacBean, were equally
successful. It was unprovided with artillery; but the storming parties,
who escaladed stockade after stockade, consisted entirely of British
troops. Here, again, the slaughter was dreadful. Soomba Wongee, and
several chiefs of high rank, with 800 men, were killed within the
stockades; and the neighbouring jungles were filled with the unhappy
creatures who were wounded, and left to die from want of food and care.
Some of these poor Burmese were found by the English soldiers, and
brought into our hospitals; but, unfortunately, none of them recovered.
The monsoon rains were now at their height. The adjacent country
was almost wholly under water. Nothing was to be obtained from it.
Again, disease spread so rapidly among our troops that the outlook was

Meanwhile an Expeditionary Force, consisting of his Majesty's 89th
Regiment and the 7th Madras Native Infantry, under the command of
Colonel Miles, was detached from Rangoon, with a considerable naval
force, to subdue the maritime possessions of his Burmese Majesty to
the eastward, in the hope that their loss might induce him to sue for
peace. The success of the expedition was complete: Tavoy surrendered.
Mergui was taken by storm, and British protection was welcomed by the
inhabitants of the entire coast of Tenasserim.

Some few weeks later Sir Archibald Campbell attempted to release such
of the inhabitants of Rangoon as were desirous of returning to their
houses; and, by means of the sudden, unexpected, and, to the natives,
inexplicable movement of our steamboats, a few families who had been
driven to the villages at the heads of the numerous creeks which branch
off from the Rangoon river were released from their guard, and joyfully
took the opportunity of returning to their city. It was to the report
of these people of the kind treatment they met with that our army was
afterwards indebted for the return of the great body of the men whose
services and exertions contributed to the final success of the war.

Having, so far, failed in all his undertakings, the Lord of the White
Elephant now sent his two brothers, the Prince of Tonghoo and the
Prince of Sarrawaddy, with a whole host of astrologers and a corps of
"Invulnerables," to join the army and to direct the future operations
of the war. The astrologers were to fix the lucky moment for attacking;
the "Invulnerables" had some points of resemblance to the Turkish
Delhis; they were the desperadoes, or madmen, of the army, and their
madness was kept up by enormous doses of opium. The corps consisted of
several thousand men, divided into classes; the most select band of all
being called the "King's Own Invulnerables."

The Prince of Tonghoo established his headquarters at Pegu, and the
Prince of Sarrawaddy took post at Donoopew, upon the great river, about
sixty miles from Rangoon. In the beginning of August the Prince of
Sarrawaddy sent down a force to occupy a strong post at the mouth of
the Pegu River, a few miles below Rangoon, giving his people strict
orders to block up the channel of the river in our rear, so that not
one of the "wild foreigners" or "captive strangers" might escape the
punishment that was about to fall upon them. Brigadier Smelt was at
once sent, with a small corps, to dislodge Sarrawaddy's force. Our land
troops were brought to a standstill, when within musket-shot of the
place, by a deep and impassable creek; but a party of sailors from his
Majesty's ship _Larne_, under Captain Marryat, threw a bridge over the
creek; and, as soon as the column of attack pushed forward, the enemy
began to fly, leaving eight guns and a quantity of ammunition in their
stockade. A strong pagoda, with a numerous garrison, and with cannons
pointing down every approach, was next carried with equal facility.
Other posts on the rivers and creeks were then attacked and taken. Such
of the enemy as had had any experience of our way of fighting seldom
stopped to fight in their stockades; but a new set of people from the
interior made a good stand in a succession of stockades on one of the
rivers, and cost us the loss of a good many brave men.

All this time the astrologers were busy casting the lucky moment.
Finally they told the Prince of Sarrawaddy that the moment had come
for a decisive action; and, on the night of August 30th, a body of the
"King's Own Invulnerables" promised to attack and carry the Golden
Dagon Pagoda, in order that the princes and the sages and pious men in
their train might celebrate the usual annual festival in that sacred
place--which was now crowded with English grenadiers. And, true so
far to their promise, the "Invulnerables," at the hour of midnight,
rushed in a compact body from the jungle under the pagoda armed with
swords and muskets. A small picquet, thrown out in our front, retired
in slow and steady order, skirmishing with the "Invulnerables" until
they reached the flight of steps leading from the road up to the
pagoda. The moon had gone down, and the night was so dark that the
enemy could be distinguished only by a few glimmering lanterns in their
front; but their noise and clamour and the volume of their threats
and imprecations launched upon the impious strangers if they did not
immediately evacuate the sacred temple proved their number to be very

"In a dense column," says the historian, "they rolled along the narrow
pathway leading to the northern gate of the pagoda, wherein all seemed
as silent as the grave. But hark! the muskets crash, the cannons roar
along the ramparts of the British post, drowning the tumult of the
advancing column; and see!--see by the flash of our guns, the column
reels back, the 'Invulnerables' fall, mortally wounded, and the rest
turn their backs on the holy place, and run with frantic speed for the
covering of the jungle."

Our grape-shot and our musketry broke the spell--those "Invulnerables"
ventured no more near any of our posts. But a far more terrible enemy
came within the lines; the dysentery broke out among our troops,
killing many of them, and reducing more to a most emaciated and feeble
state. Scarcely three thousand duty soldiers were left to guard the
lines. Floating hospitals were established at the mouth of the river;
and bread was now furnished in sufficient quantities, but nothing
except change of season or of climate could restore the sufferers to
health. Mergui and Tavoy, portions of our conquest on the sea-coast,
were represented by the medical officers who visited them as admirable
convalescent stations; and thither a number of our soldiers were sent,
and with the most beneficial result. Men who had for months continued
in a most debilitated state at Rangoon, rapidly recovered on arriving
at Mergui, and were soon restored to their duty in full health.

The Lord of the White Elephant now determined to call down from
the mountains of Arracan his prime favourite, and to carry off the
Governor-General in golden chains. Bandula obeyed the call, and led his
reinforced army from the mountains of Arracan to the Irawaddi river.
He had begun his march about the end of August, at a season of the
year when none but Burmese could have kept the field for a week, much
less have attempted to pass the unhealthy jungles and the pestilential
marshes of the country. The distance, by the shortest route, was more
than 200 miles; but Bandula, gathering fresh forces in the latter part
of his long march, reached Donoopew before Sir Archibald Campbell knew
that he had left Arracan. Happily, our troops, though woefully reduced
in numbers, were now fast recovering their health and strength; and two
fresh British regiments, some battalions of native infantry, a regiment
of cavalry, and a troop of horse artillery arrived from Calcutta and
Madras, together with some admirable trotting cattle of the true Mysore
breed. Five hundred native boatmen came round from Chittagong, and were
busily employed in preparing boats for river service.

The rains had now ceased at Rangoon; and Sir Archibald Campbell,
strongly reinforced, was completing his preparations for the ascent
of the Irawaddi, and for an attack upon Prome, when he learned that
Bandula had reached Donoopew with 60,000 fighting men, a considerable
train of artillery, and a body of Cassay horse, the best cavalry in
this part of Asia. Bandula's musketeers were estimated at 35,000 men.
Other numerous bodies were armed with gingals, which carried an iron
ball of from six to twelve ounces, and were mounted on a light carriage
easily dragged about by two men; and great numbers were attached to
the guns which were transported on the backs of elephants. The rest of
the host were armed with swords and spears, and scattered through the
army were more of the "Invulnerables" who had not yet tasted the sour
grape of English guns, and who were amply provided with charms, spells,
opium, bhang, and betel-nuts. As Bandula proclaimed on all sides his
intention of riding at the head of his invincible army, with horses and
elephants and all manner of warlike stores, to capture and destroy the
British at Rangoon, it was deemed proper to wait for him there with a
view to a decisive battle.

The enemy came down to the neighbourhood of Rangoon in boats. Our
posts, consisting of redoubts and fortified pagodas, were speedily
constructed, connecting the great Golden Dagon Pagoda by two distinct
lines with Rangoon and the river, and leaving a disposable force for
moving to the support of any point that might require such support. The
post at Kemmendine was also strongly occupied, and was supported on
the river by his Majesty's sloop _Sophie_, Captain Ryves, a Company's
cruiser, and a strong division of gunboats.

On November 30th Bandula's great army assembled in and behind the
dense forest; and his line, extending from the river above Kemmendine
in a semicircular direction towards Puzendown, might be distinguished
by a curved line of smoke rising above the trees. During the ensuing
night the low, continuous murmur and hum of voices proceeding from the
enemy's encampment suddenly ceased, and were speedily succeeded by
the distant but gradually approaching sounds of a multitude in slow
and stealthy movement through the woods. Our troops soon became aware
that the enemy's masses had approached to the very edge of the jungle,
within musket-shot of the pagoda, apparently in readiness to rush from
their cover to the assault at the break of day.

The day had scarcely dawned on December 1st when hostilities commenced
with a heavy fire of musketry and cannon at Kemmendine, the reduction
of that place being a preliminary to any general attack upon our
line. The firing continued long and brisk, and from their commanding
situation at the Great Pagoda, though nearly two miles distant from the
scene of action, our men could distinctly hear the yells and shouts of
the infuriated assailants, occasionally returned by the hearty cheer of
the British seamen as they poured in their heavy broadsides upon the
resolute and persevering masses. The thick forest which separated us
from the river shut out all sight of what was going forward; and, when
the firing ceased, we remained. There was a short period of anxiety,
though little doubt as to the result of the long and spirited assault.
At length, however, the thick canopy of smoke which lowered over the
fierce and sanguinary conflict gradually dissolved, and there could
be seen the masts of the vessels lying at their old station off the
fort--a convincing proof that all had ended well on that side.

Meanwhile the enemy had been seen on the west side of the river,
marching across the plains of Dalla towards Rangoon. They were formed
in five or six different divisions, and moved with great regularity,
led by numerous chiefs on horse-back--their gilt umbrellas glittering
in the rays of the sun--with a sufficiently formidable and imposing
effect. Opposite Rangoon the leading column of five or six Burmese
divisions began entrenching and throwing up batteries, while their main
body was stockading in the jungle. In the course of the day several
heavy columns issued from the forest, and successively took up their
ground along a woody ridge, gently sloping towards Rangoon. Here they
commenced operations with their entrenching tools, and with such
activity and good will that in the course of a couple of hours their
whole line was covered; their flags and banners, which had been flying
in profusion, all disappeared, and nothing was seen but a parapet of
fresh-turned earth, gradually increasing in height. The moving masses,
which had so very lately attracted anxious attention, had sunk into
the ground; and, by anyone who had not witnessed the whole scene, the
existence of these subterranean legions would not have been credited.
The occasional movement of a chief with his gilt umbrella from place to
place, superintending the progress of their labour, was the only thing
that now attracted notice. By a distant observer the hills, covered
with mounds of earth, would have been taken for anything rather than
the approaches of an attacking army. Even to those who had watched the
whole strange proceeding, it seemed the work of magic or enchantment.
But, thus working like moles in the earth, the Burmese could no more
see than they could be seen; and, in the afternoon, Major Sale, with
his Majesty's 13th Regiment and a regiment of Madras Native Infantry,
moving rapidly forward upon the busily employed and too confident
enemy, fell upon them before they were well aware of the visit, and
drove the whole line from their earthworks with considerable loss.

These Burmese trenches were found to be a succession of holes, capable
of containing two men each, and excavated so as to afford shelter both
from the weather and the fire of any enemy; even a shell lighting in
the trench could at most kill but two men. As it was not the Burmese
system to relieve their troops in making these approaches, each hole
contained a sufficient supply of rice, water, and even fuel for its
inmates; and under the excavated bank a bed of straw or brushwood was
prepared, in which one man could sleep while his comrade watched. When
one line of trench was completed, its occupiers, taking advantage
of the night, would push forward to where the second line was to be
opened, their places being immediately taken up by fresh troops from
the rear, and so on, progressively. The Burmese understood this art of
warfare, but our men--especially our Native Infantry--also understood
that art, and the enemy's weaknesses as well.

Attacks were made on Kemmendine that day and were all repulsed by our
troops or by the seamen of our little flotilla. But it was not until
night that the Burmese made their last desperate effort to open their
way down the river, and so get possession of the port of Rangoon.
The soldiers had lain down to rest, when suddenly the heavens and
the whole surrounding country became brilliantly illuminated. The
enemy had launched their fire-rafts into the stream with the first
of the ebb-tide, and had now applied the match to those huge masses
of combustible materials, in the hope of driving the _Sophie_ and
our other vessels from their stations off Kemmendine; and as these
fire-rafts came down, it was seen by the light of their flames that
they were followed by a vast fleet of war-boats, whose crew were ready
to take advantage of the confusion which might ensue if any of our
vessels should be set on fire. As the rafts floated rapidly down to
Kemmendine with the ebbing tide, columns of attack moved once more by
land against that well-defended post, with artillery, gingals, and

But the skill and intrepidity of British seamen proved more than a
match for the numbers and devices of the Burmese; after gazing for
a while at the red, blue, yellow and green flames of the mighty
fireworks, our sailors leapt into their boats, pushed off to meet the
flaming rafts, secured them with their grappling irons, and conducted
them safely past our shipping or ran them ashore to finish their short
but vivid life of fire and flame upon the river bank without injury to
anyone. If these fire-rafts could have reached the harbour of Rangoon,
which was now crowded with transports and vessels of all kinds, the
effect might have been very tragic; but the British tars said that none
should pass Kemmendine Point, and none did pass. Kemmendine, where
the river makes a sudden turn, was the only point from which the rafts
could have been launched with effect. Fully aware of this, Bandula
ordered attack upon attack to be made, and for seven days no rest by
night or by day was allowed to our troops or to our seamen there. But
every effort of the enemy failed--even their land attack on Kemmendine.

On December 5th, when the stores of the Burmese left wing were brought
forward from the jungle to their foremost entrenchment in front of
Rangoon, and were fairly within our reach, Sir Archibald Campbell
ordered a decisive attack to be made upon their army. Major Sale, with
one column 800 strong, and a troop of British dragoons, who had only
been landed the preceding day, was directed to fall upon their centre;
and Major Walker, with 500 men, was sent to make a vigorous attack on
their left wing. The operations of these two columns of troops were
greatly facilitated by Captain Chads of the navy, who proceeded up the
Creek to a point within gunshot of the rear of the enemy's line, with
the man-of-war boats and a part of the flotilla, and began a heavy
cannonade which distracted the attention of the Burmese and prevented
their strengthening their front. Our two columns broke through the
entrenchments, and completely routed both the centre and the left with
vigorous bayonet charges; but Major Walker and a good many of his
gallant comrades fell. The loss of the Burmese was appalling; they were
driven from every part of their works into the jungle, leaving the
ground behind them covered with dead and wounded, with all their guns,
entrenching tools, gilt umbrellas, and a great number of small arms. On
December 6th, Bandula tried to rally his defeated troops, and with some
success. On the 7th the Burmese made their last and grand attack on the
Great Pagoda, but they were beaten, driven back to their entrenchments
by the British bayonet, and finally into the depths of the jungle.

Our troops at that post, worn out by seven days and nights of incessant
fighting and watching, could not pursue the flying enemy, who left in
the trenches a great number of dead--nearly all stout, tall, athletic
fellows, who might almost have measured with English grenadiers,
and who had evidently belonged to the flower of Bandula's army.
During these seven busy and fiery days the Burmese, in addition to a
prodigious loss of life, had lost every gun and their entire stores.
The survivors fled towards Donoopew, but they were stopped in their
flight by some great and terrible chiefs, who had been sent down with
numerous reinforcements, and they rallied at Kokeen, about four miles
beyond the Great Pagoda.

It is said that when Bandula counted his forces he found them reduced
from more than 60,000 fighting men to less than 25,000. Nevertheless,
this favourite of the Lord of the White Elephant was allowed to retain
the chief command. His first move was to entrench and stockade himself
at Kokeen, after which he employed incendiaries to burn the invaders
out of Rangoon, and destroy all their stores and powder magazines.
On the night of December 12th the cry of fire resounded through the
town of Rangoon, and nearly the whole of that flimsy, bamboo-built
place seemed to be immediately in a blaze. The incendiaries had placed
their matches in various parts of the town, and had set fire to them
all the same moment. One half of the town was burned; but the flames
were prevented from reaching our depot of stores and ammunition. This
attempt, which was very nearly successful, brought down a rapid attack
upon Bandula's new position, and defeat and ruin upon himself. On
December 15th--three days after the midnight fire at Rangoon--1,500
British troops and sepoys, unaided by artillery, under the command of
Brigadier-General Willoughby Cotton, drove Bandula and his mighty host
from all their entrenchments and stockades at Kokeen, and strewed the
position with his dead in thousands.



If any fortress in India could have been with good reason called
impregnable, that fortress was Bhurtpore. In the early years of the
nineteenth century the chiefs and rajahs of Hindustan were wont to say,
"Yes, you may bully us, but go and take Bhurtpore!" Their belief in its
impregnability was well founded, for in 1805 Lord Lake had attacked it
vigorously, but had failed to reduce its well-fortified works manned by
staunch and numerous defenders. After suffering terrible losses he was
compelled to withdraw, leaving this Jat fortress with a still stronger
claim to impregnability than it had ever possessed before.

When it was once decided by the British Government that Bhurtpore must
fall, the question immediately arose, where was the man to take it? The
East India Company Directors interviewed the Duke of Wellington, asking
him to find a man capable of taking this fortress. The Duke gave them
an answer. He said, "You can't do better than have Lord Combermere.
He's the man to take Bhurtpore." "But," replied the directors with
great surprise, "we thought that your Grace had not a very high opinion
of Lord Combermere, and did not consider him a man of genius." "I
don't care a tuppenny damn" (that was the Iron Duke's favourite par of
exchange in hot words) "about his genius. _I tell you he is the man to
take Bhurtpore!_" And the Duke was right.

There were 25,000 men in the Bhurtpore garrison, and they represented
the most warlike races of India. When Lord Combermere set out with
Bhurtpore as his objective, his army consisted of 30,000 men of
very mixed quality. On reaching the fortress he began with heavy
bombardment. Then for a week he carried forward his siege works,
covered by Gurkha sharpshooters, whose eyes were so keen and whose aim
so sure that no man of the enemy could show his head above the ramparts
with impunity.

Point after point was won until, at last, a small breach was made by
the artillery; and into this breach Lord Combermere flung a force
in which were included 600 dismounted men from the various cavalry
regiments--eighty from the 11th Light Dragoons, eighty from the 16th
Lancers, 200 from Skinner's Horse, and forty from each regiment of
native cavalry.

Skinner's Horse is one of the earliest formed of the many distinguished
Native Irregular Cavalry Corps which have fought for Britain. They
had been under Colonel Skinner for many years, and had served him in
many wars; thus they had come to respect and love him as tribesmen do
their chief. There is a touching story of their valour and faithfulness
during the storming of Bhurtpore. A party was told off according to
rota duty, for the whole regiment had volunteered for the dangerous
service. Skinner placed at their head Shadull Khan, one of his oldest,
most faithful, and trustworthy native officers. Then he spoke to them
as follows: "This is the first time you are going into danger when
I cannot accompany you; but such is my affection for you all that I
cannot allow you to part from me without carrying with you something
dear to me." Then, taking his son by the hand--the lad had only lately
entered the corps--he continued: "See, here is my son. Take him and
gain for him such honour as you have won for his father."

This shows clearly what Colonel Skinner thought of Skinner's Horse,
and also what he knew they thought of him. Old Shadull Khan stepped
forward, and, taking young Skinner by the arm, cried out, "Farewell,
our commander! Trust in God, who never deserts those faithful servants
who do their duty and who, please God, will now do their utmost to
maintain the honour of the corps."

Although the assault on the breach had been planned, it was postponed
for that day, as on further consideration Lord Combermere deemed it was
not practicable. It took place later, after a great explosion of mines
which the engineers had placed beneath the ramparts. On entering the
widened breach our troops encountered fierce opposition. There was a
hand-to-hand fight of the most desperate description, and it was not
until after some hours of fierce fighting that the enemy surrendered.

The Iron Duke's words were justified; Lord Combermere had taken
Bhurtpore, and that successful assault on a fortress long regarded
as impregnable was one which yields in brilliancy and courage to few
in the British annals of war. Its beneficial effect on British rule
and influence in India was as striking as its place among battles is


(Meeanee, 1843)

"Let there be sixty or a hundred thousand," said Sir Charles Napier, "I
will fight."

This was when he moved away from the banks of the Indus and found that
an overwhelming force of the enemy was massing in his rear, while
another large force held Meeanee in his front. In the spirit of his
words he pushed forward with 2,600 of all arms, including officers
fit for duty in the field, and the result was the important battle of

The positions of the Baluchis were formidable. In the first place they
had a natural ravine in their front. Again, they had 5,000 cavalry and
more than 30,000 infantry, with fifteen guns. Their wings rested on
dense woods which extended on each side of the plain in front for a
considerable distance, so as to flank the British lines on both sides
when it should advance. But, in no mood to be intimidated by these
natural advantages of the enemy, Sir Charles Napier and his little
force fell impetuously on him by the front. The fighting which ensued
was terrific. Our men gradually forced their way across the level
plain, swept as it was by the Baluchi cannon and matchlocks, and
finally crossed the ravine and began the ascent of the high, sloping
bank beyond.

With matchlocks laid ready in rest along the summit, the Baluchis
waited until the assailants were within twenty yards before they
discharged a volley. But the active British offered an uncertain mark,
and this, combined with the steepness of the declivity, accounted for
the inconsiderable result of their fire.

Now the 22nd (the Cheshire Regiment) were on the top of the bank,
thinking to bear down all before them, but "they staggered back in
amazement at the forest of swords waving in their front. Thick as
standing corn, and gorgeous as a field of flowers, stood the Baluchis
in their many-coloured garments and turbans; they filled the broad,
deep bed of the ravine, they clustered on both banks, and covered the
plain beyond. Guarding their heads with their large dark shields, they
shook their sharp swords, beaming in the sun, their shouts rolling like
a peal of thunder, as with frantic gestures they dashed forward with
demoniac strength and ferocity full against the front of the 22nd. But
with shouts as loud, and shrieks as wild and fierce as theirs, and
hearts as big, and arms as strong, the Irish soldiers met them with the
queen of weapons--the musket--and sent their foremost masses rolling
back in blood."

The Baluchis closed their dense masses, and again the shouts, the
rolling fire of musketry, and the dreadful rush of their swordsmen
were heard and seen along the whole line; and such a fight ensued as
has seldom been recorded in the annals of war. These wild warriors
continually advanced, sword and shield in hand, striving in all the
fierceness of their valour to break into the opposing ranks; no fire of
small-arms, no thrust of bayonets, no sweeping discharges of grape from
the guns, which were planted in one fearful mass on the right, could
drive the gallant soldiers back; they gave their breasts to be shot at,
they leaped upon the guns by twenties at a time; their dead went down
the slope by hundreds, but the gaps in their masses were continually
filled up from the rear; the survivors of the front rank still pressed
forward with unabated fury, and the bayonet and the sword clashed in
full and frequent conflict.

Our loss in officers was heavy, and our native troops, deprived of
leaders though not of gallantry, were several times forced into
rearguard action; but at a given moment a charge made on the enemy's
right by our entire but small body of horse, under the command of
Colonel Pattle, won the day. The Baluchis had kept their ground for
more than three hours, but now they began to retreat in masses, still
keeping well together, with their broad shields slung over their
backs and their heads half turned towards their pursuers. The victors
followed closely, pouring in volley after volley, until tired of
slaughtering. "Yet," says Napier, "those stern, implacable warriors
preserved their habitual swinging stride, and would not quicken it to a
run, though death was at their heels."

In this conflict our officers and men, together with our native
troops, showed the greatest courage. The chief part of the battle was
a hand-to-hand fight. "The noble soldier Pennefather," as Sir Charles
Napier admiringly called him, fell on the top of the bank, to all
appearance mortally wounded, and his place was instantly taken by Major
Pool. Major Teesdale, followed by his sepoys, rode desperately over the
ridge into the midst of the Baluchis, and was instantly killed by shot
and sabre. Major Jackson followed the heroic example of Teesdale, and
met the same fate. Two brave havildars kept close to them in advance of
their regiment, and, like their leaders, they were also killed, but not
until they had slain several of the fiercest of the enemy. Lieutenant
M'Murdogh, of the General's staff, rode, like Teesdale and Jackson,
into the very heart of the Baluchi mass; his horse was killed under
him, yet he rose instantly, and meeting Jehan Mohabad, one of the most
warlike of the chiefs, slew him in the midst of his clan. Then, while
engaged with several in front, one came behind and struck at him, but
a sergeant of the 22nd killed that enemy so instantly that his blow
fell harmless.

M'Murdogh turned and did the same service for his preserver, cleaving
the head of a Baluchi who was aiming at his back. Captain Jacob and
Lieutenant Fitzgerald performed similar exploits. Six European officers
and sixty sergeants and privates were killed, and fourteen officers and
about 200 men wounded. The loss of the Baluchis was enormous; a careful
computation gave it as 6,000--1,000 bodies were heaped in the ravine
alone. What greater proof is wanting of the great courage and tenacity
of the Baluchi warrior, who is now linking his glorious traditions with
ours by deeds worthy of his ancient prowess?


(Moodkee, 1845)

It can hardly be said that when Sir H. Hardinge arrived in India in
1844 he found our frontier forces insufficient in numbers or unprepared
for action. When the first Sikh War broke out in December, 1845, there
were at Umballa 12,000 men with 32 guns, at Ferozepore 10,472 with 24
guns, and at Ludhiana 7,235 with 12 guns. Including the force of 1,800
at the hill stations this made a total of 32,479 men with 68 guns--a
very respectable little British army.

On December 7th and 8th news came from Lahore to the effect that
preparations were being made on a large scale for artillery, stores,
and all the munitions of war, but as yet no infantry or artillery
had been reported to have left Lahore, nor had a single Sikh soldier
crossed the Sutlej. On the 9th, at night, Captain Nicholson, the
assistant political agent at Ferozepore, reported that a portion of
the Sikh army had approached within three miles of the river. On the
10th no intelligence was received from Lahore confirmatory of Captain
Nicholson's report, and the opinion continued to prevail that the Sikh
army would not cross the Sutlej. Our troops, however, moved on the
10th, 11th, 12th, in pursuance of orders given on the 7th and 8th; and
the whole of the forces destined to move up to the Sutlej were in full
march on the 12th. Some days later the whole of the Ludhiana force was
moved up with the Umballa force, restricting the defence of Ludhiana
to the fort, which could be securely garrisoned by the soldiers left
at that post, unless attacked by heavy artillery, which was a very
improbable contingency.

This fine body of men, by a rapid march on Busseean, an important point
where the roads leading from Umballa and Kurnaul meet, formed the
advanced column of the army, and secured the supplies which had been
laid in at Busseean. Up to the morning of the 12th, the information
from Lahore had not materially varied; but, by the reports received on
that day, the general aspect of affairs appeared more warlike. Still
no Sikh aggression had been committed, and no artillery had moved
down to the river. On the 13th, however, Sir Henry Hardinge received
precise information that the Sikh army had crossed the Sutlej, and was
concentrating a great force on the left bank of the river. Sir Henry
immediately ordered Brigadier Wheeler to march, with 4,500 men and
twenty-one guns, early on the 14th from Ludhiana to Busseean, which
place had been filled with provisions by arrangements made through
Major Broadfoot with the native chiefs--provisions upon which the
British army depended in its advance to Ferozepore. By the afternoon of
the 14th, Brigadier Wheeler was in front of Busseean. The main column,
under the Commander-in-Chief, from Umballa, did not reach Busseean
until the 16th.

The Sikhs had not completed the passage of their heavy guns until
the 16th, and, by the 17th, the advance of the force under the
Commander-in-Chief began to tell upon them, for on the 17th the main
body, consisting, according to the Sikh accounts, of 25,000 regulars
and 88 guns, under Lal Singh, took possession of the wells around the
village of Ferozeshah, whilst Tej Singh with 23,000 men and 67 guns
remained opposite to Ferozepore. Now the only road by which an army can
march from Busseean to Ferozepore (on account of the scarcity of water)
passes through Moodkee, and is about twenty miles, Ferozeshah being
mid-way. Knowing that the Commander-in-Chief must carry these works
before he could relieve Ferozepore, the Sikhs commenced on December
17th to throw up entrenchments around the wells at Ferozeshah in
order to stop the advance of the column under the Commander-in-Chief.
Not knowing the strength of his column, and thinking it was only the
advance guard of the British army, 12,000 Sikhs, chiefly cavalry, and
22 guns, under the command of Lal Singh, left the camp at Ferozeshah,
early on the 18th, and had taken up their position at Moodkee before
the arrival of the British army. No sooner had our troops arrived than
a scout sent by the political agent brought the news that the enemy was
only three miles away.

The British troops hastily got under arms and moved to their positions.
Sir Hugh Gough immediately pushed forward the horse artillery and
cavalry, and directed the infantry, accompanied by the field batteries,
to move forward in support. Sir Hugh's own description is a good one.
He says, "We had not proceeded beyond two miles when we found the enemy
in position. To resist their attack, and to cover the formation of the
infantry, I advanced the cavalry, under Brigadiers White, Gough, and
Mactier, rapidly to the front in columns of squadrons, and occupied
the plain. They were speedily followed by the five troops of horse
artillery under Brigadier Brooke, who took up a forward position,
having the cavalry then on his flank.

"The country is a dead flat, covered at short intervals with a low but
in some places thick jhow jungle, and dotted with sandy hillocks. The
enemy screened their infantry and artillery behind this jungle and such
undulations as the ground afforded; and whilst our twelve battalions
formed from echelon of brigade into line they opened a very severe
cannonade upon our advancing troops, which was vigorously replied to by
the battery of horse artillery under Brigadier Brooke, which was soon
joined by the two light field batteries. The rapid and well-directed
fire of our artillery appeared soon to paralyse that of the enemy;
and as it was necessary to complete our infantry dispositions without
advancing the artillery too near to the jungle, I directed the cavalry
under Brigadiers White and Gough to make a flank movement on the
enemy's left, with a view of threatening and turning that flank if
possible. With praiseworthy gallantry, the 3rd Light Dragoons [now
known as the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars], with the second brigade of
cavalry, consisting of the Body-guard and 5th Light Cavalry, with a
portion of the 4th Lancers,[A] turned the left of the Sikh army, and
sweeping along the whole rear of its infantry and guns silenced for a
time the latter and put their numerous cavalry to flight. Whilst this
movement was taking place on the enemy's left, I directed the remainder
of the 4th Lancers, the 9th Irregular Cavalry[2] under Brigadier
Mactier, with a light field battery, to threaten their right.

"This manoeuvre was also successful. Had not the infantry and guns of
the enemy been screened by the jungle, these brilliant charges of the
cavalry would have been productive of greater effect.

"When the infantry advanced to the attack, Brigadier Brooke rapidly
pushed on his horse artillery close to the jungle, and the cannonade
was resumed on both sides. The infantry, under Major-Generals Sir Harry
Smith, Gilbert, and Sir John M'Caskill, attacked in echelon of lines
the enemy's infantry, almost invisible amongst wood and the approaching
darkness of night. The opposition of the enemy was such as might have
been expected from troops who had everything at stake, and who had long
vaunted of being irresistible. Their ample and extended line, from
their great superiority of numbers, far outflanked ours; but this was
counteracted by the flank movements of our cavalry. The attack of the
infantry now commenced, and the roll of fire from this powerful arm
soon convinced the Sikh army that they had met with a foe they little
expected; and their whole force was driven from position after position
with great slaughter, and the loss of seventeen pieces of artillery,
some of them of heavy calibre; our infantry using that never-failing
weapon, the bayonet, whenever the enemy stood. Night only saved them
from worse disaster, for this stout conflict was maintained during an
hour and a half of dim starlight, amidst a cloud of dust from the
sandy plain, which yet more obscured every object."

Our troops in this battle consisted of 3,850 Europeans and 8,500
natives, making a total of 12,350 rank and file, and 41 guns. Sixteen
officers were killed and 200 men; forty-eight officers wounded and 609
men, of whom 153 died subsequently of their wounds, or were disabled.
Amongst those who fell was the hero of Jellalabad, Sir Robert Sale;
he had his left thigh shattered by grape-shot, and the wound proved
mortal. Had there been more daylight, the rout of the enemy would have
been more complete; as it was, seventeen of their guns out of twenty
were captured, and their loss in killed and wounded was very severe.
Yet it must be said that, in this battle of Moodkee, our friend the
enemy fought bravely and well--so well that, casting a backward glance
on that day of glorious deeds, we are now proud to claim him as a
friend indeed.


[Footnote 2: Native regiments.]



Badly beaten at Ferozeshah, the Sikhs naturally expected that the
British troops would at once follow up their advantage by crossing
the Sutlej and advancing on the capital; but in order to do this
successfully it was necessary to wait the arrival of the powerful
battering train now moving upwards with the Meerut force under Sir
John Grey, consisting of the 9th Lancers, the 16th Lancers, and her
Majesty's 10th and 53rd Regiments of Foot, with the 43rd and 59th
Regiments of Native Infantry.

The Sikhs, mistaking this delay for irresolution, resolved to make
another effort to maintain their position on the left bank of the
Sutlej; and for this purpose they began to construct a new bridge
of boats, not very far from the spot where they crossed the river
after having been driven from Ferozeshah. Our Army of the Sutlej was
stationed some distance from the river, and no opposition was offered
by them. The bridge of boats was soon constructed, and works thrown up
in front of it with much military skill, in a position very favourable
to defence. The opposite banks were high, and the river, where the
bridge was laid, made a slight curve inwards, so as to throw those
banks sufficiently forward to afford protection to both flanks of
the advanced position from heavy artillery placed in battery. Above
the bridge, and not far from it, was a good ford, which facilitated
the communications with the forces on the opposite bank. Advantage
had also been taken of the slenderness of our troops at Ludhiana to
effect a passage for a force of about 10,000 men of all arms, in the
neighbourhood of that town. No attack was made either on the town
or cantonment of Ludhiana; the object of this force appeared to be
rather to entrench itself near the place at which it crossed, in order
to obstruct our progress and to cut off the passage of supplies to
Ferozepore, and to intercept the communication between the posts.

As soon as the Meerut force joined the Commander-in-Chief's camp,
immediate measures were taken to reinforce the Ludhiana post and the
station at Busseean. Some native infantry, some light cavalry, and some
guns were sent thither, and the sick, the women, and the children were
removed thence to Umballa. Meanwhile Sir Harry Smith had been detached
to reduce Dhurmkote and keep open the communication for supplies and
ammunition from our rear. Sir Harry was now reinforced, having with him
7,000 men and 24 guns, and it was confidently believed that he could
at one and the same time relieve Ludhiana and protect the whole of our
rear. Dhurmkote was evacuated at his approach. On the way from Jugraon
to Ludhiana he lost a good deal of his baggage, and sustained some
heavy fusilades, which he did not wait to return. His troops were much
harassed when he reached Ludhiana, but his presence put an end to the
consternation which was becoming general in that part of the country.

The Sirdar Runjur Singh had strongly entrenched himself at Aliwal,
about eight miles to the westward of Ludhiana. He had 15,000 men and 56
guns, and on the evening of January 26th he received a reinforcement
of 12 guns and 4,000 regular troops. Sir Harry Smith most gallantly
attacked the Sikhs on January 28th with not more than 16,000 men in
all. The right of the Sikh force rested on Bundree, and their left on
Aliwal. When they had advanced a short distance from their entrenched
camp, they cannonaded the British for half an hour, until our brave
fellows stormed the village of Aliwal, the key of their position. The
whole of the British line then began to advance. Her Majesty's 16th
Lancers charged in the most gallant style, but the Sikhs lay down
on the ground and the Lancers could not easily reach them. In this
position the Sikhs did deadly work with their muskets and keen swords.
The 16th Lancers had upwards of a hundred men killed or wounded. The
great mass of Sikh infantry could be broken only by our artillery. One
Sikh cannon after another was captured. So ably were the orders of
attack conducted, each column and line arriving at its point of attack
to the very moment, that the enemy was soon driven headlong back over
the river, and all their guns were captured or destroyed. Only one gun
was carried by the Sikhs to the opposite bank, and there it was spiked
by Lieutenant Holmes, of the Irregular Cavalry, and Gunner Scott, of
the Horse Artillery, who forded the river in pursuit. The victory was
complete, and great was the confusion among the Sikhs.

After this complete and decisive victory there was a breathing
space in the campaign. The Sikhs at Sobraon went on strengthening
their position, while Sir Hugh Gough waited for his artillery and
reinforcements. From January 14th till the beginning of February the
enemy was industriously employed in building defences, under the
direction, it is said, of a Spanish engineer. The army under Sir
Charles Napier, which had been assembled at Sukkar by order of the
Governor-General, consisting of 16,000 men, was moving up to the left
bank of the Sutlej towards Ferozepore, and would have proved, had
the war lasted, a most valuable reinforcement to the Army of the
Sutlej. It had by this time reached Bhawalpur, opposite Mooltan, and
as the Nawab of that place had intimated to the British Government his
intention of remaining neutral, the Governor-General, feeling that the
blow must be struck and the contest decided at Lahore, requested Sir
Charles Napier to come on with his staff in advance of his army, and to
join him without delay, being desirous of having the assistance of that
distinguished officer in the pending struggle. Sir Charles Napier did
not, however, arrive in time to add to the glories of Sobraon, but the
heavy guns from Delhi reached the Commander-in-Chief's camp on February

Although on the first intelligence of the battle of Aliwal, and at
sight of the numerous bodies which floated from the neighbourhood of
that battlefield down to the bridge of boats at Sobraon, the Sikhs
seemed much shaken and disheartened, they now appeared to be as
confident as ever of being able to defy us in their entrenched position
and to prevent our passage of the river. The soldiers were chiefly
those who had been trained by the French and Italian officers. They had
strong walls, only to be surmounted by scaling ladders, which afforded
a secure protection for triple lines of musketry. In all they were
34,000 men with 70 pieces of artillery; their position was united by a
good bridge to a reserve of 20,000 men on the opposite bank, on which
was a considerable camp and some artillery, commanding and flanking our

Sir Hugh Gough's forces consisted of 6,533 Europeans and 9,691
natives, making a total of 16,224 rank and file, with 99 guns. Sir
Hugh ordered this force to march at half-past three, on the morning of
Tuesday, February 10th, when his men would be fresh and there would be
a certainty of many hours of daylight. The troops began to move out
of camp at the very moment appointed, and they marched in silence to
their destination. Sir Hugh was now strong in cavalry and very strong
in artillery. He at once put his battering and disposable artillery in
position in an extended semicircle, embracing within its fire the works
of the Sikhs.

It had been intended that the cannonade should commence at daybreak,
but so heavy a mist hung over the plain and river that it was necessary
to wait. It was half-past six before the whole of the artillery was
developed. Dr. Macgregor, in his "History of the Sikhs," gives a
graphic description of the opening of the action. He says: "Nothing
could have been conceived grander than the effect of the batteries when
they opened, as the cannonade passed along from the Sutlej to Little
Sobraon in one continued roar of guns and mortars; while, ever and
anon, the rocket like a spirit of fire winged its rapid flight high
above the batteries in its progress towards the Sikh entrenchments.
Well might the Commander-in-Chief call the opening of the cannonade
'most spirited and well directed.' The Sikh guns responded with shot
and shell, but neither appeared to do much execution; the latter were
seen bursting in mid-air ere they reached the British batteries, while
some of the shot passed over Rhodawala, and struck the ground in
front of General Gilbert's division. It now became a grand artillery
concert, and the infantry divisions and brigades looked on with a
certain degree of interest, somewhat allied, however, to vexation,
lest the artillery should have the whole work to themselves. The
Commander-in-Chief, however, was determined to give full play to an arm
which he had not possessed to an efficient extent in other hard-fought
battles. It was reported that the guns were to play for four hours at
least; but there is some reason to believe that the rapid firing had
nearly exhausted the ammunition before half that time had elapsed,
and it was once more to be proved that the British Infantry were not
to remain mute spectators of a battle. 'Notwithstanding,' wrote the
Commander-in-Chief, 'the formidable calibre of our guns, mortars, and
howitzers, and the admirable way in which they were served, and aided
by a rocket battery, it would have been visionary to expect that they
could have silenced the fire of seventy pieces behind well-constructed
batteries of earth, planks, and fascines, or dislodge troops covered
either by redoubts or epaulements or within a treble line of trenches.'"

The utmost ingenuity of the Sikhs and their European advisers had been
exerted to render the works at Sobraon vastly superior to those at
Ferozeshah. They had aimed at absolute impregnability, and a French
officer assured Tej Singh that it was utterly impossible for the
British to make good their entrance. But it may be said they reckoned
without the small host opposing them. The British were now about
to try with the musket and the bayonet. At nine o'clock, Brigadier
Stacey's brigade, supported on either flank by Captain Horford's and
Fordyce's batteries, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lane's troop of horse
artillery, moved to the attack in admirable order. The infantry and
guns aided each other correlatively. The former marched steadily on
in line, which they halted only to correct when necessary, while the
latter took up successive positions at the gallop, until at length they
were within three hundred yards of the heavy batteries of the Sikhs.
But notwithstanding the regularity and coolness, and the scientific
character of the assault, which Brigadier Wilkinson well supported, so
hot was the fire of cannon and musketry kept up by the Khalsa troops
that it seemed for some moments impossible that the entrenchments could
be won under it. This fire was all the more formidable from the fact
that the Sikhs employed zumburuks--guns mounted on camels and carrying
pound shot.

There was a temporary check or pause, but, soon, persevering gallantry
triumphed, and the whole army had the satisfaction of seeing Brigadier
Stacey's gallant soldiers driving the Sikhs in confusion before them
within the area of their encampment. Every impediment was cleared,
the entrenchments were passed, and our matchless infantry stood
erect and compact within the Sikh camp. Said the Commander-in-Chief:
"Her Majesty's 10th, 53rd, and 80th Regiments, with the 33rd, 43rd,
59th, and 63rd Native Infantry, moving at a firm and steady pace,
never fired a shot until they had passed the barriers opposed to
them--a forbearance much to be commended, and most worthy of constant
imitation, to which may be attributed the success of their first
effort, and the small loss they sustained."

This attack was crowned with all the success it deserved, and, led
by its gallant Commander, Major-General Sir Robert Dick, obtained
the admiration of the army, which witnessed its disciplined valour.
When checked by the formidable obstacles and superior numbers to
which the attacking division was opposed, the second division, under
Major-General Gilbert, afforded the most opportune assistance by
rapidly advancing to the attack of the enemy's batteries, entering
their fortified position after a severe struggle, and sweeping through
the interior of the camp. This division inflicted a very severe
loss on the retreating enemy. Together with a portion of Gilbert's
division, the troops advanced immediately the order was received. But,
if intended to support Stacey on the right of the enemy's position,
they missed the object, for they unfortunately came in front of the
centre and strongest portion of the encampment, unsupported either
by artillery or cavalry. Her Majesty's 29th and 1st European Light
Infantry, with undaunted bravery, rushed forward, crossed a dry nullah
and found themselves exposed to one of the hottest fires of musketry
that can possibly be imagined; and what rendered it still more galling
was that the Sikhs were themselves concealed behind high walls, over
which the European soldiers could not climb. To remain under such a
fire without the power of returning it with any effect would have been
madness--the men would have been annihilated. Thrice did Her Majesty's
29th Regiment charge the works, and thrice were they obliged to retire,
each time followed by the Sikhs, who spared none. Similar was the fate
of the 1st European Light Infantry, who, in retiring, had their ranks
thinned by musketry and their wounded men and officers cut up by the
Sikhs. To the latter, the nullah afforded an admirable defence, for the
slope was in their favour, while the Europeans on the high bank were
completely exposed. At length the second division, which at Ferozeshah
had driven the Sikhs before them, capturing their guns at the point of
the bayonet and entering their encampment, were led to the right of the
entrenchment at Sobraon. The second division was followed by the first
division, which, under Sir Harry Smith, dashed against the enemy's
left. Yet it was not until the 3rd Light Dragoons, under Major-General
Sir Joseph Thackwell, had moved forward and ridden through the openings
of the entrenchments in single file, re-forming as they passed them,
and galloped over and cut down the obstinate defenders of batteries
and field-works--indeed, it was not until the weight of three entire
divisions of infantry, with every field-artillery gun which could be
sent to their aid, had been cast into the scale--that victory finally
fell to our troops. The fire of the Sikhs slackened, then almost
ceased; and the victors, pressing them on every side, swept them in
masses over the bridge of boats and into the Sutlej, which a sudden
rise of seven inches had rendered scarcely fordable.


In their efforts to reach the right bank through the deepened water,
they suffered a terrible carnage from our horse artillery. Hundreds
fell under this cannonade; hundreds upon hundreds were drowned in
attempting the perilous passage.

Thus terminated, in the brief space of two hours, this most remarkable
conflict, in which the military combinations of the Commander-in-Chief
were fully and ably carried into effect. The enemy's select regiments
of regular infantry had been dispersed, and a large proportion
destroyed, with the loss, since the campaign began, of 220 pieces
of artillery taken in action. Over sixty-seven guns, together with
upwards of 200 camel-swivels, and numerous standards were captured
within the entrenchments. Before the hour of noon this great battle
was over. It might, indeed, be well termed a glorious fight and
complete in its results. The battles of Moodkee, Ferozeshah, and
Aliwal had weakened the power of the Sikhs, but the battle of Sobraon
had completely broken it. It was, of course, bought at a dear price.
Her Majesty's 29th Regiment alone lost in killed and wounded thirteen
officers, eight sergeants, and 157 rank and file. The loss of the 1st
European Light Infantry was still heavier. Her Majesty's 31st, which
had fought most nobly at Moodkee, Ferozeshah, and Aliwal, had seven
officers and 147 rank and file killed and wounded at Sobraon. Her
Majesty's 50th, or Queen's Own, had twelve officers and 227 rank and
file killed and wounded. Her Majesty's 10th Foot lost three officers,
three sergeants, and 127 rank and file. These regiments suffered the
most, but others suffered severely. The total loss was 320 killed,
2,063 wounded. The brave Sir Robert Dick, who led the attack on the
entrenchments, received a mortal wound after he had entered them. Says
the historian: "Thus fell, most gloriously, at the moment of victory,
this veteran officer, displaying the same energy and intrepidity as
when, thirty-five years ago in Spain, he was the distinguished leader
of the 42nd Highlanders" (the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch).

Fearful had been the loss of the Sikhs. Five days after the action, and
when the walls of the entrenchments had been nearly levelled with the
ground, the sandbank in the middle of the river was completely covered
with their dead bodies, and the ground within their encampment thickly
strewn with carcasses of men and horses.

Before daylight the next morning six regiments of native infantry
and six guns had, by means of country boats, crossed the Sutlej at a
point nearer to the capital than where the débris of the Sikh army
was stationed. On the following day the bridge of boats was nearly
completed by the able and indefatigable Major Abbott, of the Engineers.
Had the British then followed up the Sikhs they might have made their
way without resistance to Lahore, and have there renewed the conflict;
but such was not the intention of our commanders, and the capital of
the Punjab was destined to be occupied by the British without any
repetition of the life-consuming struggles which had occurred on the
left bank of the Sutlej. If pressed, they would have fought hard in
their despair; but the power of the Sikhs was in reality destroyed.
Sham Singh, Dhubal Singh, Hera Singh, Kishen Singh, Mobaruck Ali,
Newaz Khan--all their bravest sirdars and leaders had perished. The
discomfited warriors who survived, being left to themselves, began
to disperse. Our army quietly crossed the river, and took undisputed
possession of Kussoor, which, in former times, had twice defied the
power of Runjeet Singh. On February 14th the Governor-General announced
by proclamation, dated from Kussoor, that the British army had crossed
the Sutlej and entered the Punjab, "in accordance with the intentions
expressed in the proclamation of December 13th last, as having been
forced upon him for the purpose of effectually protecting the British
provinces, and vindicating the authority of the British Government, and
punishing the violators of treaties and the disturbers of the public

The Government of Lahore paid, as an indemnity for the expense of the
war, about one million sterling. The Jullunder Doab, the district
between the Beas and Sutlej, was confiscated and proclaimed British
territory. All the guns we had taken were to be retained, and all those
which the Sikhs had ever directed against the British were to be given
up, and the Sikh army was to dismiss and break up for ever and a day.

This Punjab war is remarkable for the fact that it was the cheapest and
shortest ever waged. It cost the British Government about £2,000,000,
and lasted only sixty days. An indemnity of £1,500,000 from the Lahore
Durbar and Ghoolab Singh resulted, with a net annual revenue from
confiscated territory of £500,000. But these things could never be so
valuable to us as the whole-hearted loyalty and bravery of the gallant
Sikh himself, who to-day fights as nobly and fiercely by our side as in
the old "forties" he strove against us. And if in those days, to our
cost as well as our admiration, we learned the meaning of the "Pride of
the Punjab," we shall soon be able to appreciate it from a different



The trouble arose between the allied French and British and the
Chinese over Tien-tsin, the port of Pekin. On June 25th, 1859, Admiral
Hope attempted to force the entrance of the Pei-ho River at the
Taku Forts with a few gunboats, but his endeavours were frustrated.
In the following year allied forces of British and French troops,
under General Sir Hope Grant and General de Montauban, were landed
at Peh-tang, some eight miles north of Taku, while the allied fleets
safeguarded their movement by watching the mouth of the river. These
troops marched inland to avoid the marshes intervening between Peh-tang
and Taku, and joined battle with the Chinese Field Army, defeating them
at Sin-hid on August 12th. Two days later they descended the north bank
of the Pei-ho and seized the town of Tang-ku, three miles north of the

The Taku Forts were four in number, and the question arose between the
two generals as to the best method of attack. Sir Hope Grant was in
favour of beginning with the smallest fort, but de Montauban maintained
it would be better to cross the river and attack the largest fort in
the south first. After some friction the former course was adopted,
but Montauban was so little in favour of it that he sent only a few
hundred men and attended the battle himself merely as a spectator,
and without his sword. But this unfortunate little difference was
soon forgotten in the deadly work of the day. Many brave deeds were
done; the most furious conflict took place when the storming party
reached the fort and were crowded together between the inner ditch
and the ramparts. Here they were safe from the Chinese musketry, but
they immediately became a target for big stones, cannon balls, and
stifling stinkpots which the Chinese dropped on their heads. Again and
again the scaling ladders were planted against the ramparts, where the
Chinese caught them and either pulled them up into the fort or hurled
them down, shooting or spearing all who gained a footing within reach
of their weapons. The officers and men tried to force entries where
the artillery had broken down the embrasures for the guns. A gallant
Frenchman sprang on to the ramparts, clubbed a Chinaman with his rifle,
snatched another which was handed up to him, fired, and immediately
fell speared through the head. Another with a pickaxe gained the
top of the wall and tried to break it down; the brave fellow was
immediately shot dead, but Lieut. Burslem, who was behind him, seized
the pickaxe and continued the work. With many another heroic deed of
this kind the fort was eventually captured, the Chinese capitulating
after very heavy losses. Our Indian troops behaved with the greatest
gallantry in this momentous struggle.



When Yakoub Khan learned that Sir Louis Cavagnari had been sent on a
mission to Kabul, his grief and repentance over his terrible outrages
seemed beyond expression. He protested too much, and nobody believed
him; indeed, before the mission had set out, there had been quite
sufficient incentive for the British Government to teach the native
authorities at Kabul a severe lesson. When the truth of the matter was
felt, rather than known, three columns were despatched to the seat of
trouble. The most important of these, which proceeded by the Kurram
Road, was led by General Roberts. Its composition was as follows:--Two
batteries Horse and Field Artillery; one Mountain Train battery;
one squadron 9th Lancers; 67th South Hampshire Regiment; 72nd (Duke
of Albany's Own) Highlanders; 92nd (Gordon) Highlanders; 12th and
14th Bengal Cavalry; 5th Gurkhas and a wing of the 5th Punjab; 23rd
Pioneers; 5th and 28th Punjab Infantry; 3rd Sikhs, and one company of
sappers and miners, making a total of barely 8,000 men.

So determined was the spirit of these men that, as battle followed
battle on the way to the capital, Yakoub Khan, with twenty-five
principal citizens of Kabul, eventually surrendered. It was probably
a subterfuge on the part of the Amir to say that he no longer had any
power over his people. At all events, he was kept in durance vile, and
next day General Roberts advanced on Kabul. Then followed the battle of

Charasiah is twelve miles distant from Kabul, and its name signifies
"Four Water-mills." Here the tired troops camped, while cavalry patrols
were sent out to scour the vicinity. Like the Saxons on the eve of the
Battle of Hastings, our men little thought that the dawn would bring
a decisive battle; but, unlike the Saxons on that occasion, though
exhausted, they were always ready for any emergency that the morrow
might bring. In evidence of this, two cavalry patrols pushed forward
along the ways that led to Kabul before the first light of dawn. The
northern road was taken by a party of twenty men of the 14th Bengal
Lancers, under Captain Neville, while twenty of the 9th Lancers, under
Captain Apperley, took the southern road. Three hours later, as Captain
Neville's party was passing through a village, one of his men had his
horse shot under him. At the same time, Apperley, in another village,
was being hard pressed by the enemy. Major Mitford, with twenty
Lancers, was immediately sent to his relief, while a band of native
infantry was despatched in all haste to succour Neville. Following
immediately on these operations came news that the enemy was advancing
in great force from Kabul. They were focussing on the passes of the
northern hills. It then became an immediate matter of British tactics
to forestall or dislodge them. The event proved that they had to be
dislodged, and in this matter there was severe and prolonged fighting
before they were driven back. Ultimately the enemy fled incontinently
towards Kabul.

Some incidents of this battle are worth recording. It was here that
Major (afterwards Field-Marshal Sir George) Stuart White won his
Victoria Cross, while commanding the 92nd Highlanders. For a long time
he pounded the enemy with artillery, and raked him with rifle fire, but
all in vain; he could not dislodge the obstinate foe. The most decisive
method was to storm the hill, with a view to the ultimate efficiency of
cold steel.

Says the _Gazette_: "Advancing with two companies of his regiment, he
came upon a body of the enemy, strongly posted, and outnumbering his
force by eighteen to one. His men being exhausted, and immediate action
necessary, Major White took a rifle, and, going on by himself, shot
dead the leader of the enemy."

And this was where the Afghans were at a disadvantage. The loss of
their leader meant everything to them, for they were not as our
soldiers--every man a leader if emergency requires. They began to fall
back on the further slope of the hill, fearing the onslaught of the
Highlanders, who were on top of it, victorious. It is extraordinary
that in this important engagement our losses up to this point were
nothing more than three Highlanders killed and six wounded, one cavalry
soldier killed and three wounded.

While this engagement was proceeding, General Baker was leading his
72nd Highlanders across the hills, with a following of No. 2 Mounted
Battery, some Gatling guns, and the wings of the 5th Gurkhas, 5th
Punjab Infantry, and 23rd Pioneers. They fought their way over
precipitous ground, and through 4,000 of the enemy. The resistance
they met with remains to this day as a proof of the fighting powers of
our then enemy. After two hours' stubborn fighting, regulated by the
able generalship of Baker, the hill was at last taken in the rear by a
flanking movement of the Gordons. It was a scene to live in the memory,
when the gallant 92nd, cheered on by Cameron's pipes, stormed the hill.
The dash and vigour of the assault no doubt carried the position, but
the moral effect of Cameron and his pipes, to say nothing of brave
colours flying, had to be reckoned with.

From this point the march on Kabul was unimpeded. When General Roberts
arrived he found the place abandoned by the enemy. But there still
remained some Afghans entrenched on a high hill to the rear of Bala
Hissar, in such a position that it was necessary to dislodge them
before entering the city, especially as behind them the enemy was in
great force on the Ridge of Asmai. There was very severe fighting over
the dislodgment of these Afghans, but on the fourth day General Roberts
had removed every obstruction to his entry into Kabul. It was a great
moment when he hoisted our Standard on the walls of Kabul.



The British campaign arose out of the rebellious ambition of Arabi
Pasha. The culminating point of the campaign was the battle of
Tel-el-Kebir--the word signifying "A large village." Arabi Pasha was
of common origin, having risen from the ranks of the Viceroy's army to
the position of a somewhat famous colonel. His motto was "Egypt for
the Egyptians." In this he left out of account the fact that Britain
had tremendous interests in Egypt, including £4,000,000 of Suez Canal
stock. Blinding himself also to the fact that Britain could not afford
to lose the direct route to India, Arabi Pasha continued to oppose the
growth of British influence even up to the point that he wished to rule
Egypt himself.

The free expression of this ambition led to the bombardment of
Alexandria and the destruction of Arabi's forts. Being defeated, his
hatred of British influence grew stronger than ever. He retired into
the interior and began mobilising his countrymen. As soon as this was
known, it became necessary to send out a British army to hunt out
the rebellious Arabi and put an end to his ambitions for ever. This
army, under the command of Sir Garnet (afterwards Viscount) Wolseley,
comprised 40,000 men, and was derived from India, Malta, Cyprus and

This force landed at a port on the Canal and pressed on towards
Kassassin. The rebels attempted to check its progress at Mahuta, but
they were easily driven off. Very soon afterwards General Graham,
with his vanguard, arrived at Kassassin, where he entrenched himself
in obedience to a strict order to hold it at all costs. Many attacks
were made, but they were all successfully foiled. There were two
considerable engagements contested here, but they were merely
preliminaries to that at Tel-el-Kebir, which was of the greatest
moment. The 13th Bengal Lancers were engaged on the occasion when the
Egyptians made a second attack at Kassassin. Then they were moved up to

The fortified defences of Tel-el-Kebir were very strong. The British
were in position before the first streak of dawn, and everything was
"all Sir Garnet," as Tommy Atkins has constantly said ever since. There
was silence as the soldiers lay waiting for the word to advance, and,
when at last it was given in a subdued tone, all arose and marched
forward, and their footfalls on the soft sand were almost as noiseless
as footfalls on the snow. Of this mysterious nocturnal advance in the
silence of a mysterious land, a historian says: "The darkness around
and above, with the stars shining down as they had done in the time of
Pharaoh and the other dynasties of Egyptian kings lying entombed in
the Pyramids ... weird and ghostly was the effect of the dim streaks,
looking like shadows of moving clouds, but which were really lines of
men stealing over the desert."

The first indication that our approach was discovered came in the
form of some scattered shots fired by the enemy's sentries; then
came a bugle call from within the enemy's lines. This filled our men
with enthusiasm, for it meant that the action would begin in the
darkness, which was to our advantage. For a few minutes they marched
on stealthily, then the whole line of the enemy's entrenchments, which
had been unknown to us, was now clearly revealed by the sudden blaze
of rifle fire. The simultaneous flash was so great that it lit up the
whole scene. Immediately the British bugles sounded the charge, and
our men on the instant sprang forward with loud cheers, then advanced
rapidly but steadily on the foe.

The terrible conflict which ensued soon became general, and the
infantry, once in close grips with the Egyptians, inflicted severe
loss with the bayonet. It was to this astonishing "infantry" that the
credit of victory was mainly due; the artillery and cavalry, together
with a fine force of marines, were responsible for the infliction of
heavy punishment on the foe in the confusion of their retreat.

In this battle the 20th Duke of Cambridge's Own Light Infantry
("Brownlow's Punjabis") fought with great bravery, and, by their heroic
deeds, added "Tel-el-Kebir" to the list of their battle honours.

During the course of the Egyptian campaign two other Indian regiments
of cavalry, besides the 13th Bengal Lancers, and two of infantry
besides the 20th, fought bravely, and all bear the "honours" of "Egypt
1882" and "Tel-el-Kebir." The 2nd Queen Victoria's Own Sappers and
Miners (a native corps) also bear these "honours," in addition to
"Suakin 1885" and "Tofrek."


  El-Teb } 1884      Hasheen } 1885
  Tamai  }           Tofrek  }

Everywhere throughout the Sudan the Mahdi, or False Prophet, had
waged a successful rebellion against the authority of the Egyptian
Government, which, since the crushing defeat of Arabi Pasha at
Tel-el-Kebir, had fallen under Britain's protection. In order to bring
this truculent disturber to submission it was necessary to send a
British army to the relief of Tokar near Suakin. The Sudan had for a
long time been the impenetrable stronghold of the slave trade. "If any
part of God's earth was dyed with human blood," said Lord Wolseley,
"it was this," and now in addition to this there was the memory of the
treachery at El-Obeid, the capital of Kordofan, where Hicks Pasha's
army was treacherously led into ambush and ultimately massacred. The
Mahdi was not present in this battle, but he came later to see the body
of Hicks, who was the last to die, and thrust his spear through the
Pasha's body as an example to be followed by all his sheikhs. All this
blood--more than the blood of slaves--cried out for vengeance.

As the rebellion spread eastward, Osman the Ugly hastened thither and
further inflamed it. This man was a slave trader, whose chief grievance
was that he had been ruined by the prohibition of the vile traffic. For
a time he had a victorious career, completely annihilating force after
force of Egyptian troops. During his investment of Sinkat and Tokar,
Baker Pasha was despatched with a force of 3,600 men to the relief of
those two towns. But here another terrible slaughter of the Egyptian
troops took place in the battle--or rather, the massacre--of El-Teb.
An eye witness says of this: "Inside the square the state of affairs
was almost indescribable. Cavalry, infantry, mules, camels, falling
baggage and dying men were crushed into a struggling, surging mass.
The Egyptians were shrieking madly, hardly attempting to run away, but
trying to shelter themselves one behind another."

"The conduct of the Egyptians was simply disgraceful," said another
English officer; "armed with rifle and bayonet, they allowed themselves
to be slaughtered without an effort at self-defence, by savages
inferior in numbers and armed only with spears and swords."

Seeing the uselessness of attempting to rally such material, Baker,
with his staff, put spurs to his horse and charged the enemy. This
small band of determined men cut their way through the formidable
array of swords and lances. Soon after this the defenders of Sinkat,
finding their stores almost exhausted, decided to fight their way out.
Accordingly, 400 men, with many women and children, set out from the
town. The men fought valiantly, but they were overpowered by numbers,
and only six men and thirty women were left to tell the horrible tale
of butchery.

Meanwhile Tokar was still under siege, and Sir Gerald Graham was sent
with a small force to relieve it. At El-Teb he came in contact with the
Mahdi's forces; this time the victory was on our side. Having crushed
the Mahdi for the time being, he set out for Suakin, which was the
concentration point of the Government in its now extensive preparations
to humble Osman Digna. They had called on the rebel chiefs to lay down
their arms, but the call had met with a most defiant reply. Sir Gerald
advanced on Tamai and bivouacked within a mile of the enemy's position.
All night long the British were harassed by shot and shell, but victory
came in the morning, though with regrettable loss of life. It was none
the less crushing, however, and was followed by a temporary cessation
of hostilities. It was not until the following spring that Osman Digna
had recuperated sufficiently to face the British troops again. In the
campaign which followed, his hordes were successful until after the
battles of Hasheen and Tofrek.

It was early in the morning that General Graham with less than 1,000
men arrived at the foot of the hills to the east of Hasheen. He
established himself with his staff on one of the hills, and from that
point directed the battle which ensued. The wells of Hasheen lay below
in the valley.

With the light of day the whole place was seen to be alive with
riflemen. Says an eye-witness: "They crowded on the Hasheen hill; they
swarmed through the underwood, and nothing could be seen but little
puffs of smoke rising over the trees. Here and there a shriek, a groan,
a gap in the ranks, instantly filled up, showed that some of the
enemy's bullets had found a billet. But for one that hit, a thousand
whistled harmlessly over us." Volley answered volley from both sides,
and the bullets began to fall thick and fast. Where the Sikhs were
engaged the fire was especially furious. The enemy showed considerable
bravery, but after a while the distant fire of our troops proved too
hot for them. Two squadrons of the Bengal Lancers, making a gallant
show with their turbans, streaming pennants, and flashing spears, were
launched against them, and some desperate fighting now took place
in this part of the field. One of the squadrons was dismounted for
the purpose of firing volleys, but, being taken at a disadvantage,
was driven back with the loss of nine men. The Arabs were led on to
the attack by an old sheikh mounted on a camel. He waved his spear
frantically, and his equally fanatical followers rushed round the
Bengalese flank to their rear. One Lancer officer--an Englishman--was
seen to hew down two Arabs in quick succession; while the life of
another officer was only saved by the steel breastplate underneath his
tunic, which before his departure his wife had insisted on his wearing.
On the right, too, about the same time, a similar charge was made by
the other two squadrons of Bengal Cavalry and the 5th Lancers. This
rapid movement completely checked and scattered a large body of the
enemy who were advancing down the Hasheen valley with the intention of
turning the British flank. The swarthy-faced Indian troops, with their
eyes flashing friendly rivalry beneath their turbans, vied with their
fresh-complexioned British comrades to carry off the chief honours of
that charge; and so strong was this admirable rivalry that history can
only say "Honours easy."

In the action at Tofrek the Indian Brigade were engaged and showed
striking gallantry. The 17th Bengal Native Infantry (the Loyal
Regiment) gave some ground at a very important moment, but it was
against fearful odds. No more need be said than that "Tofrek" is among
their battle honours.

Orders were given to Generals McNeill and Hudson to advance to a
certain spot and construct three zarebas at a distance of from six
to eight miles from Suakin. Here, at Tofrek, they suddenly found the
enemy upon them. In the conflict which ensued, the main brunt of the
assault fell upon the 15th Sikhs and the 28th Bombay Native Infantry.
Time after time they received assaults with heavy fire, firmly standing
their ground and maintaining an intact line. The battle raged most
furiously round the Sikhs, a fact which was afterwards confirmed by the
hundreds of dead Arabs which lay in front of their position. The Bombay
Regiment, though not in the thick of the fight, fought bravely, as
proved by the toll of the enemy's dead and wounded.


In the frontier fighting (1886) against the Afghans and Tibetans many
important events occurred. Those of greatest interest were the survey
by the Afghan Boundary Commission, under Colonel Sir West Ridgeway;
General Sir G. White's march with his Flying Column to the Zhob Valley;
the Manipur Massacre; the attack by tribesmen on the Fort of Chilas,
and the Wazaris' fierce assault on the troops encamped at Wano.

The Afghan Boundary Commission, which had returned to India in
1886, after a two years' survey in the wild country to the north,
was commanded by Colonel Sir West Ridgeway. Among his troops was a
detachment of the 11th Bengal Lancers and 20th Punjab Infantry, who,
to quote the Official Gazette, "have upheld throughout by discipline,
endurance, and good conduct the credit of Her Majesty's Army."

The work before them was difficult and dangerous, but the British
officers and native soldiers carried it to a successful issue with
unflagging cheerfulness and invincible courage.

Sir G. White's march into the Zhob Valley may be described in terms
of equal praise. The Flying Column marched rapidly through the valley,
and reached Thanispa on October 15th. From that point they hurried on,
meeting with little opposition, and finally took possession of the
entire country, bringing the chiefs to terms, and binding them over
to cease the predatory raids which had been the occasion of all the

The Manipur Massacre, a terrible affair, arose, four years later,
through the ambitions of a would-be usurper. In this case it was the
ruler's own brother who caused the trouble. On September 22nd, 1890,
at two o'clock in the morning, the Residency in Manipur was startled
by the sound of musketry. Then, while the inmates were preparing for
the worst, the Maharajah himself came running, in a state of panic, and
told Mr. Grimwood, the Agent, that his brother had attacked the palace,
and that, as he had given up all hopes of retaining power, his only
course was to abdicate in favour of the usurper.

The Maharajah was allowed to escape from the country, but no sooner did
he find himself beyond the reach of his brother's strong arm than he
made up his mind to return. After having weighed the whole facts of the
case, the Government decided that the usurper was the better man, and
therefore they took steps to keep the Maharajah at a distance, and to
expel the Senapatti, whose ambitions and ideals were not for the good
of Manipur.

In accordance with instructions, Mr. Quinton, Chief Commissioner in
Assam, set out for Manipur to further the intentions of the Government.
His force consisted of 400 Rifles of the 42nd and 44th Gurkha
Regiments, which were deemed sufficient reinforcement to the 100 Rifles
of the 43rd Gurkhas already at Manipur. This little band of 400 arrived
at Manipur on March 22nd, and, after consultation, it was decided to
call a _darbar_, so as to declare and ventilate the decision of the
Government. It was in the back of the Government's mind to effect the
arrest of the Senapatti. But he had evidently got to know this; at all
events, neither he nor his followers attended the _darbar_.

Notwithstanding Mr. Grimwood's intervention, in which he explained
to the usurper that the Government was favourable to him, nothing
satisfactory could be brought about with either side. The fact was that
the usurper, as well as the Senapatti, was entirely antagonistic to the
aims of the British; consequently, the _darbar_ was a complete failure.

There was no time to be wasted, and there was no time to speculate on
what was "on the other side of the hill." At daybreak on the 24th,
Colonel Skene, with 250 men, called at the palace to arrest the missing
chief. The Manipurs had foreseen this. They were well prepared. They
had 6,000 men and two guns as a welcome, and, though the gallant 250
put up a tremendous fight, they were ultimately forced back to the
Residency. Swift after them came the enemy with their guns. A fierce
siege of the Residency then followed. Towards evening there was a
lull, and an armistice was agreed upon. But the natives, not knowing
at that time the far-reaching failure of Punic, or Prussian, faith,
played false. Mr. Quinton, Colonel Skene, Mr. Grimwood, Lieutenant
Simpson of the 43rd Gurkhas, and Mr. Cossins, Assistant Secretary of
the Chief Commissioner, were made prisoners by treachery, and then the
guns belched forth again on the Residency. In the morning the little
garrison was forced to retreat, and they took the road towards Cochar,
their way being lighted by burning villages on every hand, while far
in the rear the Residency itself proclaimed the temporary triumph of
the natives. In this retreat was Mrs. Grimwood, whose record of her
remarkable escape will be remembered.

It was a retreat, not a rout. The brave fighters of the greatest
rearguard action in history, in the present war, may well call to mind
that rearguard action on a small scale, when our troops were, so to
speak, pursued by defeat, fighting against it all the way. At last they
fell in with Captain Cowley, in command of a small band, and, joining
forces with him, they made their way to Lakhpur.

Meanwhile, General Graham, with half a battalion of the King's Royal
Rifles, No. 2 Mountain Battery R.A.; two battalions 4th Gurkhas and
12th Madras Infantry, and two guns, set out from Burma to the rescue
of the battered but not beaten troops. General Collett, commanding a
column, also made in all haste for Lakhpur. On the arrival of these
two contingents the city was speedily taken. But--and here is the
pity--before they could get to Manipur, the officers above mentioned,
treacherously taken, were treacherously massacred.



In the relief of Chitral a number of native regiments took part. In
the spring of 1895 Britain was suddenly called to attention by the
news, flashed along the cables, that hell had broken loose in Chitral.
This probably meant that a few British officers, with a small band of
Sikhs and other native troops, were in a most dangerous position in the
capital of that state. The probability soon became a certainty, and
great alarm was felt as to their safety. The next piece of bad news was
that the British were hemmed up in a small fort, and, in that desperate
position, were defending it against fearful odds, beating off wild
hordes of tribesmen, and fighting, in grim despair, against the clock,
hoping that time might bring succour and relief. And the jeopardy of
this situation was not lessened by the fresh news that two little
sections of the British army from Gilgit had to scale mountains more
rugged than the Alps before penetrating into the lowlands of Chitral to
the relief of the little garrison.

After news of an engagement on March 7th no tidings were received
from Chitral Fort. Meanwhile came the official report of the
defeat of Captain Goss at Mastuj, he and fifty-six men having
been killed--fifty-six out of a total of seventy-one. This, with
the death-like silence of Chitral, was appalling; and immediately
Major-General Sir Robert Low was ordered to mobilise on the frontier of
the enemy's territory, and Colonel Kelly, commanding the 32nd Pioneers
in the Gilgit district, was given _carte blanche_ to plan the relief of
Chitral in whatever way might seem best to him.

The journey from Gilgit to Chitral is a stupendous undertaking for
an army. The distance is 220 miles, and the way lies over a gigantic
range of mountains containing passes deep with perpetual snow. When it
became known that Colonel Kelly had actually undertaken this journey
in the hope of reaching Chitral in time to render assistance to the
beleaguered British, the heart of Britain was contracted. There was a
chill fear abroad, and the despairing word "impossible" was in constant
use. In the clubs men who knew those mountains gazed into each other's
eyes and borrowed what hope they could. The apparently impossible had
often been attempted before, and proved possible; so the nation waited,
nursing that fire of courage which is always kept burning in its

Low's force was as follows:--

    1ST BRIGADE (General Kinloch).--Royal Rifles, Bedfordshires, 1st
    Sikhs, 37th Dogras.

    2ND BRIGADE (General Waterfield).--Gordons, Scottish Highlanders,
    4th Sikhs, Guides' Infantry, Field Hospital.

    3RD BRIGADE (General Gatacre).--Seaforth Highlanders, Buffs, 25th
    Punjabis, 4th Gurkhas, Field Hospital.

    DIVISIONAL TROOPS.--Guides' Infantry, 11th Bengal Lancers, 13th
    Bengal Infantry, 23rd Pioneers, Bengal Sappers, East Lancashire
    Regiment, 29th and 30th Punjabis, Field Hospital.

Colonel Kelly's force consisted of two parties:--

(1) 200 Pioneers, 2 mountain guns, 40 Kashmir sappers, with 100
Hunzanagur levies.

(2) 100 Kashmir troops, under Lieut. Gough.

Low forced Malakand Pass. The enemy's strength was on the left side of
the pass. Low brought his artillery to bear on this position, while the
4th Sikhs and Guides were thrown forward to scale the hills and carry
the breastworks of loose stones; after which they were to work along
the ridges and turn the enemy's flank.

No sooner had they come within range than the hillmen poured a fierce
fire into their ranks; but our men could not reply, as their stern
business was to climb, and climb as quickly as possible. And a most
desperate ascent it was, for they had to contend against not only a
hail of bullets, but an avalanche of boulders as well. The officers
suffered heavily, from the simple fact that they could easily be
distinguished by their helmets among the turbaned troops.

It was a long and tragic climb, but at last it came to the point of
the bayonet on the crest of the hill, and after more than three hours'
fighting the defenders abandoned the position. The Sikhs and Guides,
who carried this important point, had been nineteen hours under arms.

During this time the Scottish Borderers and the Gordons had forced
their way up the centre of the pass until they now came to the last
climb, which was the steepest of all. But it was their own native task
that was before them, and, point by point, they scrambled upwards,
helping each other up, and never flinching under the constant storm of
lead. Seeing the desperate nature of their situation, Low despatched
Kinloch's infantry to their support: the King's Royal Rifles on the
left and the Bedfordshires and Dogras on the right; the 15th Sikhs
being held in reserve. The Borderers and the Gordons not only held, but
gained ground, and the Bedfordshires, when they came up, pushed right
through the fighting line, and, supported by the Dogras, finished the
fight the Borderers and the Gordons had so long contested. Clear over
the ridge they drove the hillmen, and the Dogras never ceased pursuit
of the routed foe until the survivors were dispersed in the Swat valley.

Kelly encountered much severe fighting on his difficult journey, and
his daring and successful mission of relief can never be forgotten.
The principal engagement, however, was at Malakand Pass, where, though
victorious, Sir Robert Low's small force lost seventy killed and

Besides the many native regiments which took part in the relief
of Chitral, special honour is due to the 14th (King George's Own)
Ferozepore Sikhs, who were prominent in its defence. Their bravery of
despair and their heroic patience in that defence have bequeathed to
them a heritage of glory in the annals of Britain; and

  "The gold of glory, put to use,
  More glory doth beget."



The storming of the Dargai Heights was the most daring enterprise of
the Tirah Expedition. In the middle of October, after much delay in the
setting out, and just in time to meet the worst of the early winter
storms, the Expedition duly reached its first camping-place beneath
the ridge of Dargai. This was the initial obstacle to its advance
into the Rakzai country. In order to clear this ridge, Sir William
Lockhart sent forward the second division of his force, under General
Yeatman-Biggs, which engaged the enemy in a desperate conflict at
mid-day on October 18th. The 4th Brigade, under General Westmacott,
advanced from the Chagru Kotal against the front of the ridge, while
the 3rd Brigade, under General Kempster, swept round to the south and
west. This brigade, however, which had set out from Shinwari two hours
before daybreak, had been delayed, and was not yet at close quarters,
when the Gurkhas, covered by the fire of the Scottish Highlanders from
the low ridge opposite the Heights, and by the mountain-gun batteries
from Chagru, sprang forward across the open space, and began to climb
like mountain cats up the steep and narrow zigzag of the ridge. After
them came the Borderers, and the enemy, observing the rapid approach of
the stormers, fled before our infantry had reached the summit.

Orders had been given that as soon as the ridge was cleared our men
were to return to Shinwari, but their obedience to this order had
an unfortunate result. The enemy immediately took it as a sign of
weakness, and returned to the attack. They quickly regained the ridge,
and, rushing down its front, harassed our retreating men. Thus a
brilliant victory assumed the complexion of a defeat, and the moral
effect of this upon the tribesmen was not to our advantage.

A more conclusive battle, however, took place two days later at about
the same spot. General Lockhart gave orders that the frontal attack
on the heights should be combined with an advance down the defile,
but in the event General Yeatman-Biggs decided to confine himself to
the former. Again the Gurkhas were flung forward. But this time the
tribesmen had increased their force, and the brave little men left many
dead and wounded in their track. The Dorsetshires and the Sherwood
Foresters followed them, and they in their turn suffered very heavily.
For a whole hour death was as common as life, but there was no thought
of retreat; it was a time for indomitable courage and tenacity.

A moment arrived, about noon, when the 1st Gordons and the 3rd Sikhs
prepared for a furious charge. The shrill pipes struck up as the
Gordons, led by Colonel Mathias, dashed out into the open space,
crossed it, and began to scale the steep hillside beyond. Difficult
as this stupendous task appeared to the onlookers, it was achieved by
these heroic mountaineers, though not without great loss. Once on the
ridge the battle was won. The enemy, unable to check this determined
assault, abandoned his position and fled in confusion. This time the
ridge was not only cleared, but held for good; and our forces found
their way open before them through the Chagru Kotal Pass.

In this Tirah Expedition there was much valuable native blood shed,
expecially in the Khurmauna Defile, where a native officer and
thirty-five Sikhs were cut off in a ravine and every one of them
killed. The Gurkhas, to whom the life of a victory is that only a few
come back, had their full share of the joy of battle, with well-earned
glory, in this immortal storming of the Dargai Heights.


The following is a list of the Indian Native Regiments from the ranks
of which the 70,000 now fighting at the front are drawn:--

_Indian Cavalry_


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Java," "Ava," "Maharajpore," "Moodkee," "Ferozeshah,"
"Aliwal," "Sobraon," "Seetabuldee."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

1ST DUKE OF YORK'S OWN LANCERS. (Skinner's Horse.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Bhurtpore," "Kandahar 1842," "Afghanistan 1879/80,"
"Pekin 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Yellow_, facings _black velvet_.

_Colonel-in-Chief_--THE KING.

2ND LANCERS. (Gardner's Horse.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Arracan," "Sobraon," "Punjab," "Egypt 1882,"

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _light blue_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan," "Ghuznee 1839," "Maharajpore,"
"Khelat," "Moodkee," "Ferozeshah," "Aliwal," "Kandahar 1880,"
"Afghanistan 1879/80," "Punjab Frontier."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _yellow_.


BATTLE HONOUR.--"Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab," "Mooltan," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.


BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial
Cypher of King Edward VII.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punniar," "Moodkee," "Ferozeshah," "Sobraon," "Egypt
1882," "Tel-el-Kebir," "Punjab Frontier."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.

_Colonel-in-Chief_--THE KING.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab," "Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.


BATTLE HONOUR.--"Afghanistan 1878/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Suakin 1885," "Chitral," "Punjab

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _white_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Abyssinia," "Afghanistan 1878/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.


BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial
Cypher of King Edward VII.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Lucknow," "Taku Forts," "Pekin," "Ali Masjid,"
"Afghanistan 1878/79," "Chitral," "Punjab Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.

_Colonel-in-Chief_--THE KING.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Abyssinia," "Peiwar Kotal," "Charasiah," "Kabul
1879," "Afghanistan 1878/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _blue_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan 1878/80," "Egypt 1882," "Tel-el-Kebir,"
"Punjab Frontier."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_, lace _silver_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Charasiah," "Kabul 1879," "Afghanistan 1878/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_, pugri _scarlet_.

15TH LANCERS. (Cureton's Multanis.)

BATTLE HONOUR.--"Afghanistan 1878/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.


BATTLE HONOUR.--"China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _blue_.


BATTLE HONOUR.--"Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _white_.


BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan 1879/80," "Punjab Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

19TH LANCERS. (Fane's Horse.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Taku Forts," "Pekin," "Ahmad Khel," "Afghanistan

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _French grey_, lace _silver_.


BATTLE HONOUR.--"Central India."

UNIFORM.--_Rifle-green_, facings _white_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Ahmad Khel," "Afghanistan

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.

22ND SAM BROWNE'S CAVALRY. (Frontier Force.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Ahmad Khel," "Afghanistan

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

23RD CAVALRY. (Frontier Force.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Kandahar 1880," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.

25TH CAVALRY. (Frontier Force.)

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Charasiah," "Kabul 1879,"
"Afghanistan 1878/80."

UNIFORM.--_Dark green_, facings _scarlet_, pugri _scarlet_.


BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Mysore," "Seringapatam," "Ava," "Afghanistan
1879/80," "Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_French grey_, facings _buff_, lace _silver_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Sholinghur," "Mysore," "Seringapatam,"
"Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_French grey_, facings _buff_, lace _silver_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Mysore," "Seringapatam," "Maheidpoor."

UNIFORM.--_French grey_, facings _buff_, lace _silver_.

29TH LANCERS. (Deccan Horse.)

UNIFORM.--_Rifle green_, facings _white_.

30TH LANCERS. (Gordon's Horse.)

BATTLE HONOUR.--"Central India."

UNIFORM.--_Rifle green_, facings _white_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan," "Ghuznee 1839," "Punjab," "Mooltan,"
"Central India," "Burma 1885/87."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Central India," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _white_.


BADGE.--The Royal and Imperial Cypher of Queen Victoria within the

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Ghuznee 1842," "Kabul 1842," "Hyderabad," "Persia,"
"Reshire," "Bushire," "Koosh-ab," "Central India," "Abyssinia,"
"Kandahar 1880," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _scarlet_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Corygaum," "Ghuznee 1839," "Afghanistan," "Kandahar
1842," "Meeanee," "Hyderabad," "Persia," "Reshire," "Koosh-ab,"
"Bushire," "Kandahar 1880," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _French grey_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Cutchee," "Meeanee," "Hyderabad," "Punjab,"
"Mooltan," "Goojerat," "Persia," "Central India," "Afghanistan 1878/79."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _white_.


BATTLE HONOURS.--"Cutchee," "Meeanee," "Hyderabad," "Punjab,"
"Mooltan," "Goojerat," "Afghanistan 1879/80."

UNIFORM.--_Blue_, facings _primrose_.

37TH LANCERS. (Baluch Horse.)

UNIFORM.--_Khaki serge_, facings _buff_.


BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Kandahar 1880," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "Punjab

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _maroon_.


BADGES.--The Plume of the Prince of Wales and the Royal and Imperial

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Kandahar 1880," "Afghanistan 1879/80," "Punjab

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _maroon_.

_Colonel-in-Chief_--THE KING.

_Cavalry and Infantry_


BADGE.--The Cypher of Queen Victoria within the Garter.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab," "Mooltan," "Goojerat," "Delhi," "Ali
Masjid," "Kabul 1879," "Afghanistan 1878/80," "Chitral," "Punjab
Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _red velvet_, _scarlet_ (cloth) for the ranks.

19TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Ahmad Khel," "Afghanistan '78/80."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

20TH DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE'S OWN INFANTRY ("Brownlow's Punjabis").

4 companies Pathans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Dogras.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Taku Forts," "Pekin," "Ali Masjid," "Afghanistan
'78/80," "Egypt '82," "Tel-el-Kebir," "Punjab Frontier," "China."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _emerald green_.

21ST PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

3 companies Pathans, 1 company Punjabi Mussalmans, 3 companies Sikhs, 1
company Dogras.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Abyssinia," "Afghanistan '78/80."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _scarlet_.

22ND PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 3 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 1 company Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"China '60/62," "Afghanistan '79/80," "Punjab

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

23RD SIKH PIONEERS. Raised 1857.

8 companies Mazhbi Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Taku Forts," "Pekin," "Peiwar Kotal," "Charasiah,"
"Kabul '79," "Kandahar '80," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Chitral."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _chocolate_.

24TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 1 company Dogras, 1 company Punjabi Mussalmans, 2
companies Afridis.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Kandahar '80," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Punjab
Frontier," "Malakand," "Pekin 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

25TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

3 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans,
1 company Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Ahmad Khel," "Kandahar '80," "Afghanistan '78/80,"

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

26TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Afridis, 2 companies Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan '78/80," "Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _scarlet_.

27TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

3 companies Sikhs, 1 company Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2
companies Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"China '60/62," "Ali Masjid," "Afghanistan '78/80,"
"Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _scarlet_.

28TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

3 companies Sikhs, 1 company Dogras, 3 companies Pathans, 1 company
Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Charasiah," "Kabul '79," "Afghanistan '78/80."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

29TH PANJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Peiwar Kotal," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Chitral."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

30TH PANJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan '79/80," "Chitral," "Punjab Frontier,"

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

31ST PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Afghanistan '78/80," "Punjab Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

32ND SIKH PIONEERS. Raised 1857.

8 companies Mazhbi Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Chitral."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

33RD PUNJABIS. Raised 1857.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Pathans, 2 companies Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOUR.--"Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _emerald green_.

34TH SIKH PIONEERS. Raised 1858, disbanded 1887, but recently re-formed.

8 companies Mazhbi Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Chitral," "Punjab Frontier," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _blue_.

35TH SIKHS. Raised 1798, disbanded 1882, re-formed 1887.

8 companies Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

36TH SIKHS. Raised 1858, disbanded 1882, re-formed 1887.

8 companies Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab Frontier," "Samana," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

45TH RATTRAY'S SIKHS. Raised 1856, added to Bengal Army 1864.

8 companies Sikhs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Defence of Arrah," "Behar," "Ali Masjid,"
"Afghanistan '78/80," "Punjab Frontier," "Malakand."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _white_.

46TH PUNJABIS. Raised 1900.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 1 company Afridis, 1 company Orakzais,
2 companies Lobana Sikhs.

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _emerald green_.

47TH SIKHS. Raised 1901.

8 companies Sikhs.

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _yellow_.

48TH PIONEERS. Raised 1901.

4 companies Lobana Sikhs, 4 companies Jats.

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _black_.

51ST SIKHS (Frontier Force). Raised 1846.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab," "Ali Masjid," "Afghanistan '78/79," "Pekin

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _yellow_.

52ND SIKHS (Frontier Force). Raised 1846.

3 companies Dogras, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans,
1 company Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Punjab," "Ahmad Khel," "Kandahar '80," "Afghanistan

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _scarlet_.

53RD SIKHS (Frontier Force). Raised 1847.

4 companies Sikhs, 1 company Dogras, 2 companies Khattaks, 1 company
Punjabi Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Kabul '79," "Kandahar '80," "Afghanistan '79/80,"
"Punjab Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _black_.

54TH SIKHS (Frontier Force). Raised 1847.

4 companies Sikhs, 1 company Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 1
company Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Pegu," "Delhi," "Chitral."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _emerald green_.

56TH PUNJABI RIFLES (Frontier Force). Raised 1849.

3 companies Sikhs, 1 company Dogras, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2
companies Khattaks.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Delhi," "Lucknow," "Peiwar Kotal," "Afghanistan
'78/79," "Punjab Frontier," "Tirah."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _black_.

62ND PUNJABIS. Raised at Madras 1759.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Rajputs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Mysore," "Assaye," "Nagpore," "China."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

66TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Trichinopoly 1761.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Rajputs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Sholinghur," "Mysore," "Seringapatam,"
"Bourbon," "China."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

67TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Trichinopoly 1761.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Mysore," "Ava."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

69TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Madras 1765.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Sholinghur," "Mysore," "Ava," "Pegu."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

72ND PUNJABIS. Raised at Cuddalose 1767.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Pathans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Sholinghur," "Ava," "Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Drab serge_, lacings _white_.

74TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Vallose 1776.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Sholinghur," "Mysore," "Maheidpoor,"
"China," "Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

76TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Trichinopoly 1776.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Hindu

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Carnatic," "Sholinghur," "Mysore," "Seringapatam,"
"Ava," "Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

82ND PUNJABIS. Raised at Ellore 1788.

2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Jat Sikhs, 2 companies
Hindu Jats.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Mysore," "Seringapatam," "Ava."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

84TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Vellore 1794.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Jat Sikhs, 2 companies

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Seringapatam," "Assaye," "Bourbon."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

87TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Trichinopoly 1798.

4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Jat Sikhs, 2 companies
Hindu Jats.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Maheidpoor," "Lucknow," "Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Scarlet_, facings _emerald green_.

89TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Masulipatam 1798.

3 companies Sikhs, 3 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 1 company Brahmans,
1 company Rajputs.

UNIFORM.--_Drab serge_, facings _blue_.

90TH PUNJABIS. Raised at Masulipatam 1799.

4 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 1 company Brahmans,
1 company Rajputs.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Ava," "Afghanistan '78/80," "Burma '85/87."

UNIFORM.--_Drab serge_, facings _black_.

91ST PUNJABIS (Light Infantry). Raised at Trichinopoly 1800.

3 companies Punjabi Mussalmans, 2 companies Sikhs, 2 companies Dogras,
1 company Hindustani Mussalmans.

BATTLE HONOURS.--"Maheidpoor," "China 1900."

UNIFORM.--_Drab_, facings _cherry_.

92ND PUNJABIS. Raised at Madras 1800.

4 companies Sikhs, 4 companies Punjabi Mussalmans.


UNIFORM.--_Drab serge_, facings _white_.

[For the Gurkha Regiments and others not mentioned in this list the
reader is referred to earlier chapters.]

    The Daily Telegraph

  Price One Shilling each net, cloth.





















_Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and

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