"In the meantime, Captain Fagan, who had been writing in his tent, hearing the noise, started up, and without waiting for his sword, led a few foot artillerymen, who were ready armed, in pursuit. Fifteen of the enemy were shot down by the party, and the captain returned with a sword and a Minie carbine, of which he had relieved a ressaldar of the 8th Cavalry."
Note. None but Europeans now remained in the camp. In consequence of their behaviour on this occasion, the 9th Irregulars were sent away, while the Golundazees who composed Renny's artillery were ordered to be disarmed. This latter measure was considered unnecessary. The brave fellows served in the batteries during the remainder of the siege; and, at the time of the assault, were sent in with the stormers to turn the guns captured in the bastions upon the enemy.
Notice having been received in the camp that the Nemuch brigade was advancing upon Agra, the only city in the Doab which remained faithful to the British, a force was sent out to oppose them. It consisted of 450 of the 3rd Europeans, Captain D'Oyley's battery, and about 50 mounted volunteers. It was determined to attack the enemy, who were several thousand strong. They came in front of the village, with 11 guns. The British force met them with half a battery on each wing, supported by the volunteer horse. A long artillery fight took place, and the enemy were driven back but not followed up. The foot were kept alternately advancing and lying down. Two tumbrils were blown up, and a gun dismounted. The enemy sent some cavalry to turn our flank, but they were met by our guns and some volunteer horse. It was now that Captain D'Oyley was mortally wounded, but still he continued giving his orders. At last, beginning to faint away, he said, "They have done for me now. Put a stone over my grave, and say that I died fighting for my guns." The enemy were ultimately driven out of the village, but the British ammunition falling short, advantage could not be taken of the success which had been obtained.
GALLANTRY OF BRIGADIER CHAMBERLAIN.
Brigadier Chamberlain's gallantry was on all occasions very conspicuous. On the 14th of July a desperate attack was planned by the enemy on the British batteries.
They came out in great force to storm the pickets under Hindoo Rao's hill, and the Subzi Mundi. The British, however, under good cover, kept them back for several hours, making great havoc among them, and losing only 12 men. When Chamberlain appeared, he ordered the infantry and two troops of horse artillery into the Subzi Mundi. The Goorkhas descended from the fatal hill, a cheer running along the gardens, thickets, and rocks, to the length of the British line. The enemy were supported by the fire from their walls; grape thrown from their large guns fell up to 1100 yards, but our men pushed on.
A native officer was seen sitting on his horse, waving his arm to cheer his men. Our troops recoiled from a wall lined with the enemy, when Chamberlain, leaping his horse over it among them, dared his men to follow. Influenced by his example, they charged, and drove the enemy through the gates with immense slaughter. The British force was, however, compelled to fall back in some confusion by the tremendous fire from the walls; and a large body of horse was advancing against them, when some infantry, consisting of the 1st Fusiliers and Guides, collected by Majors Jacob, Hodson, and Greville, and a few horsemen, came to their rescue, and again turned the enemy. There was great difficulty in getting off the wounded. Many soldiers were seen bearing their comrades in their arms; and Lieutenant Thompson, of the horse artillery, was shot through the leg while trying to save one of his men from falling into the hands of the enemy. Seventeen men were killed, and 16 officers and 177 men wounded. Among the latter was Brigadier Chamberlain, who had his arm shattered below the shoulder. He received his wound at the time he leaped the wall and charged the enemy who had sheltered themselves behind it. Captain Norman was appointed, in consequence, to carry on the duties of the Adjutant-General.
On the 31st July, another fierce attempt was made by the rebels to gain the rear of the British camp, followed by another attack the next day, but both were vigorously repulsed.
A welcome reinforcement a few days after this arrived, of 2000 Europeans and Sikhs, under Brigadier—General Nicholson.
On the 24th of August, General Nicholson obtained a brilliant victory over the enemy at Nujjuffghur, about twenty miles from Delhi, and thus prevented an attack which had been intended by the rebels on the rear of the British camp.
On the morning of the 4th of September, the long-expected siege-train arrived from Meerut, and now all felt sure that the moment for storming the central stronghold of the mutiny was not far off.
The most gallant action fought at this time was that of Nujjuffghur. Information had been received in camp that 7000 of the enemy had marched from Delhi, with the object in view of taking the British army in the rear. Immediately a force consisting of 1000 European and 2000 native troops, under the gallant Brigadier-General Nicholson, was despatched to meet the enemy, who were found posted at Nujjuffghur. The Brigadier formed the 1st and 61st Europeans in line, reminding them in a short speech of the renown gained by several regiments in the Crimea from reserving their fire till they were close on the foe. The word was given, "Line will advance." Steadily as on parade they stepped off with fixed bayonets, and not till close to the enemy did they utter their hearty British cheer, and rush fiercely forward towards the serai they were ordered to attack, on which four guns were mounted. The sepoys fled, and their guns were captured; a bridge was next taken; and in all thirteen guns fell into the hands of the victorious column, while ammunition and stores were destroyed, and numbers of the enemy were killed or wounded.
Towards the termination of a severe engagement in the Subzi Mundi, near Delhi, on the 10th of July, Lieutenant Wilberforce Greathead had, with part of the artillery and others, thrown himself into a serai, where they were surrounded by a host of rebels, who opened a hot fire on them. As they were not in a position to stand a siege, it was agreed that they should force their way out. All were prepared. The gate was thrown open. The officers led. Out rushed the gallant band. They killed the men immediately in front with their swords, and the British soldiers pressing on, the rebels gave way, and fled in disorder to Delhi. It was a trying moment. The odds against the British were ten to one. One officer was killed, another was wounded, and twenty-nine men were killed or wounded.
The capture of a rebel post before Delhi called Ludlow Castle, on the 12th August, was a very gallant affair. While still dark, the column destined to make the attack under Brigadier Showers marched down the Flagstaff road, and aroused the rebels by a rattling fire of musketry and a bayonet charge. So completely were the enemy taken by surprise, that all who could escape fled to the town, leaving four field-guns in the hands of the victors, which were brought back in triumph to camp. Brigadier Showers was severely wounded, and Colonel Greathead was sent down to take the command. With the coolness and forethought for which he is well-known, he brought the force out of action, taking good care that not a wounded man should be left behind. Colonel Greathead afterwards much distinguished himself. The qualifications for command which he possesses are such as all young officers should endeavour to obtain—coolness, decision, and forethought, with gallantry unsurpassed. Without these virtues, bravery, and even a perfect knowledge of his profession, will not make a man fit to command.
STORMING OF DELHI.
On the night of the 13th of September, two Engineer officers were sent to examine the breaches made in the walls of Delhi. They stole through the enemy's skirmishers, descended into the ditch, and ascertained that the breaches were practicable, but that they might both be improved by a longer cannonade. As, however, the enemy had begun greatly to strengthen the fortifications, it was decided that the assault should take place at once. The infantry were accordingly divided into five columns of about 1000 men each, destined to carry the city in different places. The first was composed of detachments of the 75th, 1st Fusiliers, and 2nd Punjaub Infantry, to storm the breach near the Cashmere bastion.
The second was made up from Her Majesty's 8th and 2nd Fusiliers, and 4th Infantry, to carry the breach in the Water bastion. It was commanded by Brigadier Jones.
The third column was composed of Her Majesty's 52nd Foot, the Kumaon battalion, and the 1st Punjaub Infantry. This was to blow open and enter by the Cashmere gate.
The fourth, composed of Goorkhas and the Guides, with some companies of European troops, and the Cashmere contingent, was under Major Reid, and was to assault Kissengunge, and enter by the Lahore gate.
The fifth column, consisting chiefly of native troops, was destined for a reserve.
At one o'clock a.m. on the 14th, the men turned out in silence, not a bugle nor a trumpet sounding, and noiselessly moved down to the trenches. The batteries all the time kept up an incessant fire on the city, which was responded to as usual.
When the troops arrived at the trenches, they lay down, awaiting the signal which was to be given at daybreak. This was to be the blowing in of the Cashmere gate. The party selected for this hazardous operation consisted of Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, of the Engineers; Sergeants Carmichael, Burgess, and Smith; Bugler Hawthorne to sound the advance; and eight native sappers.
This work was to have been done before dawn; but, through some mistake, it was daylight before they reached the spot. Lieutenant Home walked through the outer barrier gate, which he found open, and crossed the broken drawbridge with four men, each carrying a bag of powder. The enemy in alarm shut the wicket, and Home had time to arrange his bags and jump into the ditch. The firing party followed, with four more bags of powder and a lighted port-fire. The enemy now understood what the party were about. The wicket was open, and through it, from above and from every side, came the bullets of the sepoys. Lieutenant Salkeld was wounded in two places, but passed the light to Sergeant Carmichael, who fell dead while attempting to fire the train. Havildar Madhoo was also wounded. The port-fire was next seized by Sergeant Burgess. Scarcely had he time to apply it successfully to the powder, than he too sank with a mortal wound. Sergeant Smith ran forward to see that all was right, while Bugler Hawthorne lifted up Lieutenant Salkeld; and barely had they time to leap for safety into the ditch than the explosion took place, and instantly afterwards the storming column burst through the shattered gates. For ever associated with the storming of Delhi will be the names of the two young Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, and the brave men who accompanied them.
Bugler Hawthorne, after sounding the advance, bore away Salkeld on his shoulders, and did not leave him till he had bound up his wounds and deposited him in a place of safety. The four heroes who survived were recommended for the Victoria Cross, but Salkeld died of his wounds, and the gallant Home lost his life by accident not two weeks afterwards; so that two only, Sergeant Smith and Bugler Hawthorne, received their honours.
Meantime the storming columns had marched on with deep and steady tramp. The Rifles ran forward in skirmishing order, and the heads of the first two columns issued from the Koodsia Bagh at a quick march. No sooner were their front ranks seen, than a storm of bullets showered upon them from every side. At the breach of the Cashmere gate, for some minutes it was impossible to put ladders down into the ditch. The ladders were thrown down, but they were quickly again raised against the escarp. Numbers are struck down, some to rise no more; others again scramble up,—the groans of the wounded, the feeble cries of the dying, the shouts and shrieks of the combatants, mingle together in wild confusion.
First to mount the breach was Lieutenant Fitzgerald, of the 75th: but the young hero fell dead on the spot. On came stout hearts and strong hands behind him. The enemy gave way. The British were in at last, and the glorious old colours over the broken wall. The second column had also burst through; and that line of ramparts which had so often turned back the brave soldiers of England was now their own.
The first and second columns swept along the circuit of the walls, taking the Moree bastion and the Cabul gate. On approaching the Lahore gate they found, however, that they should have to push through a narrow lane, barricaded and swept by some pieces of artillery, while the enemy fired on them from the houses. In vain was the attempt made; the hero Nicholson was shot through the chest, Lieutenant Speke killed, Major Jacob mortally wounded, and Captain Greville severely.
The third column, ably guided by Sir T. Metcalf, had also to retire before the massive walls of the Jumma Musjid. Part also of the 4th, under Major Reid, hastening to the support of the Cashmere contingent, was almost overpowered. Major Reid was wounded, and his troops retreated; but the guns mounted on Hindoo Rao's hill poured shrapnel into the enemy. The gallant Chamberlain came among the infantry a little recovered from his wound; while Brigadier Hope Grant brought up his old Lancers, with three regiments of Punjaub cavalry, and Hodson's Sikh and Paton sabres, to their aid. However, from the nature of the ground, the troopers could neither charge nor retire. They were compelled, therefore, to sit on their horses till some infantry could come to their relief. The horse artillery did what they could to keep the enemy back, but they became every moment bolder, and spread out, mending their sight and taking better aim.
Lieutenant Macdowell, second in command of Hodson's Horse—an eye-witness—says: "The steadiness with which the cavalry confronted this most anxious position for two hours is as deserving of praise as the courage of the infantry who carried the breaches. At three a.m. we moved down in column of squadrons to the rear of our batteries, and waited there till about five a.m., when the enemy advanced from the Lahore gate with two troops of artillery, no end of cavalry, and a lot of infantry, apparently to our front. I think that they intended to try and take their old position now that we had got theirs. In an instant, horse artillery and cavalry were ordered to the front, and we then went at a gallop through our own batteries, the men cheering us as we leaped over the sandbags, and halted under the Moree bastion under as heavy a fire of round shot, grape, and canister, as I have ever in my life been peppered with. Our artillery dashed to the front, unlimbered, and opened upon the enemy, and at it they went, hammer and tongs. We had no infantry with us; all the infantry were fighting in the city. The enemy came out against us with large bodies of infantry and cavalry, and then began the fire of musketry. It was tremendous. There we were (9th Lancers, 1st, 2nd, and 4th Sikh Guide Cavalry, and Hodson's Horse), protecting the artillery, who were threatened by their infantry and cavalry. All this time we never returned a shot. Our artillery blazed away, of course; but we had to sit in our saddles, and be knocked over. However, I am happy to say we saved the guns. The front we showed was so steady as to keep the enemy back, till some of the Guide infantry came down and went at them. Here we had had to sit for three hours in front of a lot of gardens, perfectly impracticable for cavalry, under a fire of musketry which I have seldom seen equalled, and the enemy quite concealed. Had we retired, they would at once have taken our guns. Had the guns retired with us, we should have lost the position."
Night put an end to the desperate struggle. A considerable portion of the city remained in the hands of the victors, but in other parts the rebels still held out. During this day's operations the casualties amounted to 1170 killed, wounded, and missing.
The victorious British continued making progress day by day, driving the enemy before them through the city. The magazine still remained in the power of the rebels. Lieutenant-Colonel Deacon, of the 61st Regiment, led the attack. In silence his men approached the city: not a trigger was pulled till the stormers and supports reached the walls; when, with a loud cheer, they rushed on at the enemy, who, taken by surprise, threw down the port-fires at their guns, and fled before them. Some were bayoneted close to the breach as they attempted to escape, and others, flying, were followed by the 61st and the 4th Punjaub Infantry.
Captain Norman accompanied a party under Lieutenant-Colonel Rainey, and spiked a gun which was in position, pointing at the College garden battery, in spite of the desperate defence of the enemy. Assistant-Surgeon Reade and Colour-Sergeant Mitchell, of the 61st, also spiked a gun. Frequent attacks were made by the rebels on the troops within the walls under Colonel Farquhar, but they were vigorously repulsed on each occasion.
On the morning of the 20th, the enemy were driven from the Lahore gate, and possession was secured. The troops now pushed triumphantly on, capturing the other gates and bastions, till all the defences of the rebel city were in the power of the British. The gate of the palace was blown in early on the 20th, and here Major-General Wilson established his headquarters. Major Brind, of the Artillery, with a detachment of fifty men of the 8th Foot, and twenty of the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers, under the command of Major Bannatyne, forced an entrance in the most brilliant way into the Jumma Musjid, and contributed much to the success of the operations.
The guns from the bloodstained battlements of Delhi thundering forth a royal salute, as the rising sun gilded the summit of its domes and minarets, on the 21st of September 1857, proclaimed that Delhi was once more under the rule of Great Britain.
PURSUIT OF THE FOE.
In terror, the hordes of the rebel foe took to flight, abandoning most of their artillery, stores, and sick and wounded. The princes, the chief instigators of the atrocities committed, were captured by Major Hodson, and shot; and the old king was likewise taken, and sent as a prisoner for life to Rangoon.
A flying column, consisting of the 9th Lancers, 8th and 75th Regiments, the 2nd and 4th Punjaub Infantry, 200 of Hodson's Horse, with the 1st, 2nd, and 5th Punjaub Cavalry, and horse artillery, was immediately formed, and placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel E.H. Greathead, who proceeded in a south-easterly direction, in order to cut off the mutineers on the right bank of the Jumna. After defeating a body of the enemy at Boolundshuhur on the 28th of September, the column took and destroyed the fort of Malaghur. Here, while blowing up the fortifications, the gallant and young Lieutenant Home lost his life.
On the evening of the 10th October, as the troops, wearied with a long march in the heat of the sun, were preparing to encamp, they were attacked by a numerous body of the enemy, whom they routed with great slaughter, the 9th Lancers especially distinguishing themselves. The column defeated the enemy in various engagements. On the 14th of October it was joined by Brigadier Hope Grant, who, as superior officer, took the command; and finally, on the 8th of November, reached the Alumbagh, before Lucknow.
The following officers and men obtained the Victoria Cross for gallant deeds performed during these operations:—
Lieutenant John Charles Campbell Daunt, 11th (late 70th) Bengal Native Infantry, and Number 2165, Sergeant Denis Dynon, 53rd Regiment, gained that honour, for conspicuous gallantry in action, on the 2nd of October 1857, with the mutineers of the Ramgurh battalion at Chotah Behar, in capturing two guns, particularly the last, when they rushed forward and secured it by pistolling the gunners, who were mowing the detachment down with grape, one-third of which was hors de combat at the time. Lieutenant Daunt highly distinguished himself by chasing, on the 2nd of November following, the mutineers of the 32nd Bengal Native Infantry across a plain into a rich cultivation, into which he followed them with a few of Rattray's Sikhs. He was dangerously wounded in the attempt to drive out a large body of these mutineers from an enclosure, the preservation of many of his party, on this occasion, being attributed to his gallantry.
Conductor James Miller, Ordnance Department, Bengal, gained the Cross on 28th October 1857, at great personal risk, by going to the assistance of a wounded officer, Lieutenant Glubb, of the late 38th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, whom he carried out of action. He was himself subsequently wounded, and sent to Agra. Conductor Miller was at the time employed with heavy howitzers and ordnance stores attached to a body of troops commanded by the late Colonel Cotton, C.B., in the attack on the rebels who had taken up their position in the serai at Futtehpore Sikra, near Agra.
On the 17th of October the fort of Jhujjur was captured by Brigadier Showers, and this achievement is looked upon as the close of the operations against Delhi.
LIEUTENANT KERR AT KOLAPORE.
Among the many dashing exploits performed at this time, was one for which Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr, adjutant of the South Mahratta Horse, gained high renown. He was with his regiment at Sattara, the inhabitants of which had already exhibited a mutinous disposition, when information was received that the 27th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry, stationed at Kolapore, a town about 75 miles off, had mutinied and murdered their officers. For the safety perhaps of the whole Presidency, the mutiny must be immediately crushed. Kerr instantly volunteered to lead a body of his men against the rebels. He knew that he could trust his fellows. Not a moment was to be lost. The bugle sounded to horse. He addressed them, and told them what was to be done. They promised to follow him to the death. Across rivers and nullahs, swollen by heavy rains, they went, and in twenty-six hours pulled rein before the gates of Kolapore. The mutineers had barricaded all the entrances to the place, and were already flushed with a momentary success over a body of infantry sent against them. Without guns the barricades were difficult to remove, but Kerr was not to be disheartened. He and a faithful sowar, Gumpunt Row, dismounting from their horses, with crowbars in their hands advanced to the attack, leading on the rest of the troop also on foot. The first defences, in spite of showers of bullets, were forced; the rebels gave way, but took refuge in a loopholed house with other barricades in front. These were to be removed before an entrance could be effected. Again the gallant lieutenant vigorously plied his crowbar; the barricade was forced; a shot carried away the chain of his helmet. Gumpunt Row was wounded, but still he fought on by the side of his leader, and twice saved his life from the bayonet-thrusts of the foe. Kerr, passing his sword through the body of a sepoy who had fired his musket in his face and almost blinded him with the powder, rushed on, and, wounded though he was, killed another enemy, entered the house, and the defenders, to the number of 34, armed with muskets and bayonets, were all either killed, wounded, or captured. Of his own brave followers, not one escaped unhurt; 8 were killed on the spot, and 4 afterwards died of their wounds. It was not only a brave deed, but well-executed, and so well timed that it contributed greatly to crush the spread of the mutiny throughout the Presidency. Lieutenant Kerr most deservedly obtained the Victoria Cross.
DEFENCE OF CAWNPORE—7TH AND 25TH JUNE 1858.
The saddest episode in the bloodstained history of the sepoy mutiny is the storming of Cawnpore. Cawnpore was one of the most pleasant stations of the Indian army. The cantonments were entirely separated from the native town, and spread in a semicircular form over an extent of six miles along the banks of the river. On the highest ground in the cantonments stood the church and the assembly rooms, and on another part a theatre and a cafe, supported by public subscriptions. Round them were scattered, amid gardens and groves, numberless bungalows, the residence of officers, with barracks for troops, and a separate bazaar for each regiment; while numerous tents for the troops kept under canvas increased the picturesque effect and animation of the scene. The native town at the time of the mutiny contained 60,000 inhabitants. In cantonments there were 3000 sepoy troops, and, including officers, 300 European combatants, and upwards of 700 European civilians, merchants, railway officials, shopkeepers, and women and children. General Sir Hugh Wheeler was the commandant of the division. It was not till the middle of May that full credit was given to the fact that the great sepoy army of India was in revolt.
A spot was then selected, in which the Europeans intrenched themselves. In the centre was the old dragoon hospital, and round it a mud wall was thrown up four feet high. Ten guns were placed round the intrenchments, three commanding the lines on the north-east, and three on the south to range the plain which separates the cantonments from the city. Of the other four, one was a 3-pound rifled gun, and three were brought by Lieutenant Ashe, of the Bengal Artillery. Supplies of food were also laid in, but very inadequate to the wants of so large a number of people. The outbreak of the troops commenced on 6th June, when the 2nd Native Cavalry deserted their post, taking with them their horses, arms, colours, and regimental treasure-chest. Some few, but very few, of the natives proved true to their oaths. Among them was the old subadar-major of the regiment, who defended as long as he had the power the colours and treasure, which were in the quarter guard. The old man was found in the morning severely wounded, and lying in his blood at his post. He remained with the British, and was killed by a shell in the intrenchment.
The native commissioned and non-commissioned officers and a few privates of the 53rd Regiment of Native Infantry also remained faithful. The British troops who defended the intrenchments of Cawnpore for so long a period, and against such fearful odds and so treacherous an enemy, consisted of 60 men of the 84th Regiment, 74 men of the 32nd, 15 men of the Madras Fusiliers, and 59 men of the Company's artillery, besides the officers attached to the sepoy regiments. The siege was noted, perhaps, more for the patient suffering and endurance of those within the lines, especially of the women and children, and for its most dreadful and terrible termination, than for many especial acts of bravery performed by its defenders. The fact is, that the whole defence was one continual act of heroism; and had more forethought been exhibited in providing a sufficient store of food, and had no confidence been placed in the promises of that abominable wretch the Nana, it might have proved as successful as that of Lucknow, which in many respects it resembled.
On the morning of Sunday the 7th June, the bugle-call summoned the whole garrison to the lines; and soon after Lieutenant Ashe with his guns went out to meet the enemy, but he was speedily compelled to return. In a short time the mutineers opened their fire from a 9-pounder, the shot striking the crest of the mud wall, and gliding over into the puckah-roofed barrack. This was about ten o'clock; a number of ladies and children were outside the barrack. The consternation among them was indescribable. As the day advanced, the firing became hotter. Shrieks and cries most heartrending burst from them as the shot struck the walls of the barrack. This was the commencement of the horrible sufferings they had to endure, and which only terminated with their yet more terrible destruction. They soon learned the uselessness of giving vent to their fears in cries, and from henceforth never uttered a sound except when groaning from the dreadful mutilation they were compelled to endure. The following were the arrangements made for the defence:—On the north, Major Vibart, of the 2nd Cavalry, assisted by Captain Jenkins, held the redan, which was an earthwork defending the whole of the northern side. At the north-east battery, Lieutenant Ashe, of the Oude Irregular Artillery, commanded one 24-pounder howitzer and two 9-pounders, assisted by Lieutenant Sotheby. Captain Kempland, 56th Native Infantry, was posted on the south side. Lieutenant Eckford, of the Artillery, had charge of the south-east battery with three 9-pounders, assisted by Lieutenant Burney, also of the Artillery, and Lieutenant Delafosse, of the 53rd Native Infantry. The main guard, from south to west, was held by Lieutenant Turnbull, 13th Native Infantry. On the west, Lieutenant C. Dempster commanded three 9-pounders, assisted by Lieutenant Martin. Flanking the west battery, the little rifled 3-pounder was stationed, with a detachment under the command of Major Prout, 56th Native Infantry; and on the north-west, Captain Whiting held the command. At each of the batteries infantry were posted, fifteen paces apart, under the cover of the mud wall, four feet in height. This service was shared by combatants and civilians alike, without any relief: each man had at least three loaded muskets by his side, with bayonet fixed in case of assault; but in most instances our trained men had as many as seven and even eight muskets each.
The batteries were none of them masked or fortified in any way, and the gunners were in consequence exposed to a most murderous fire. The intrenchments were commanded by eight or more barracks in the course of erection, from 300 to 400 yards distant, on the Allahabad road. A detachment, consisting chiefly of civil engineers, was accordingly placed in two or more of them, and they became the scene of several desperate encounters. Even to obtain ammunition it was necessary to send across to the intrenchments under fire of the mutineers, who had obtained possession of the outer barracks. Food also had to be obtained in the same way; but volunteers were never found wanting for this hazardous service. Every day the pickets swept through these barracks to dislodge the enemy, who scarcely ever remained for a hand-to-hand fight. Scarcity of food, the shot of the enemy, and the excessive heat of the weather, carried off day after day numbers of the gallant defenders. Want of food was greatly felt—the defenders were glad to shoot the horses of the enemy for the purpose of making soup; and on one occasion a Brahmin bull coming near the lines was killed. To get it was now the difficulty. An officer, with ten followers, rushed out, and dragged it within the intrenchments under a hot fire from the enemy.
The well in the intrenchment was one of the points of greatest danger, as it was completely exposed to the enemy's fire; and even at night the creaking of the tackle was the signal for the mutineers to point their guns in that direction. Still, brave men were found, chiefly privates, who incurred the risk of drawing water for the women and children, when all money reward had become valueless. A gentleman of the Civil Service, Mr John McKillop, constituted himself captain of the well, drawing for the supply of the women and children as often as he could. After numerous escapes, he received his death-wound in the groin from a grape-shot, with his last breath entreating that someone would draw water for a lady to whom he had promised it. Dreadful were the sufferings of all from thirst; and children were seen sucking pieces of old water-bags to try and get a drop of moisture on their parched lips. One of the barracks was thatched; part of it was used as an hospital. That at length caught fire; and while the heroic garrison were dragging forth their wounded countrymen from the flames, the mutineers poured in on them incessant volleys of musketry, and a continued shower of round shot.
The enemy, imagining that all the attention of the garrison was devoted to extinguishing the flames, advanced to the assault, with the intention of storming Ashe's battery. Not a sound did they utter, and, fancying that they were undiscovered, were allowed to come within 60 or 80 yards of the guns before one was fired, or a movement made to indicate that they were perceived. Just as they must have supposed their success certain, the 9-pounders opened on them with a most destructive discharge of grape. The men shouldered in succession the muskets which they had by their sides ready loaded, and discharged them into their midst. In half an hour the enemy took to flight, leaving a hundred corpses on the plain. No sooner had the ashes of the barrack cooled, than the soldiers of the 32nd Regiment, though the enemy were firing on them, raking with their swords and bayonets, made diligent search for their medals. Several of them were found, though much injured by fire. This fact shows the high appreciation in which the British soldier holds his decorations.
Numbers of the officers and men had already fallen.
Soon after the destruction of the hospital, Captain Moore determined to make a dash upon the enemy's guns, in the hope of silencing some of them. Accordingly a party of fifty, headed by the captain, sallied out at midnight towards the church compound, where they spiked two or three guns. Proceeding thence to the mess-house, they killed several of the native gunners asleep at their posts, blew up one of the 24-pounders and spiked another, and returned with the loss of one private killed and four wounded. Gallant and successful as was the exploit, it availed the garrison nothing, as the next day the enemy brought fresh guns into position. In vain did they look for relief. So completely were the roads closed by the rebel sepoys, that news of their condition did not reach Lucknow, only fifty miles distant, till near the termination of the affair.
The 23rd of June 1857 was the centenary of the battle of Plassy, and the sepoys believed on that day they should finally throw off the British yoke. On the night of the 22nd, the barrack held by the British under the command of Captain Mowbray Thomson was threatened with a grand attack. Numbers of rebels were seen gathering from all directions at this barrack, and Captain Thomson, believing that he should be overpowered, sent to the intrenchments for reinforcements. The answer was that none could be spared. Captain Moore, however, shortly after came across to see how affairs stood. He proposed that they should themselves sally out as if they were about to make an attack. He himself had but a sword, Lieutenant Delafosse an empty musket. Captain Moore vociferated to the winds, "Number one to the front"; and hundreds of ammunition pouches rattled on the sheaths as the astonished foe vaulted out from the cover afforded by heaps of rubbish, and rushed for shelter to the barrack walls. The gallant little party, which consisted but of 13 privates and 3 officers, fired a volley, and with bayonets at the charge followed the enemy, who dared not face them. The party returned to their barrack, laughing heartily at the success of their feint.
All night long a series of false charges and surprises were made on the barrack, and not a man for an instant left his post. Towards dawn, the enemy being more quiet, Mr Mainwaring, a cavalry cadet, one of Captain Thomson's picket, begged him to lie down, while he kept a look-out. Scarcely had the captain closed his eyes when Mainwaring shouted, "Here they come!" The enemy, with more pluck than they had hitherto shown, advanced close up to the doorway of the barrack. Mainwaring's revolver despatched two of the enemy. Stirling, with an Enfield rifle, shot one and bayoneted another. Captain Thomson fired both charges of his double-barrelled gun, killing two more.
The defenders of the barrack consisted of but seventeen men, while the enemy left eighteen corpses lying outside the doorway. At the same time the mutineers surrounded the intrenchments on all sides with cavalry and infantry, and horse and bullock batteries of field-artillery. Their cavalry, however, started on the charge at a hand gallop, so that when they neared the intrenchments their horses were winded, and a round from the British guns threw their ranks into hopeless confusion; all who were not biting the dust wheeling round, and galloping off in dismay. One of the expedients adopted by the enemy was to roll before them large bales of cotton, under which they managed to approach very near the walls. A well-directed fire from the batteries soon, however, set fire to these novel defences, and the skirmishers, panic-struck, took to flight before the main body had begun to advance.
For seventeen days and nights had the gallant little band resisted all the efforts made by the overwhelming numbers of the foe to storm the position. At last it only remained for the enemy to starve them out; and this operation they forthwith commenced, abandoning all attempts to take the place by assault. Of the fifty-nine artillerymen, all, with the exception of four, had perished at the batteries, while the guns themselves were so knocked about that two only could be made to carry grape. Even in these, in consequence of the irregularity of the bore, the canisters could not be driven home. A new style of cartridge was therefore invented, formed by stockings supplied by the women; and into these the contents of the canisters were emptied. Among the most gallant defenders of the fort, and one of the few survivors of the siege, was Lieutenant Delafosse. Being much annoyed by a small gun in Barrack Number 1, he resolved to silence it if possible. Giving his own worn-out gun a monster charge of three 6-pound shots, and a stockingful of grape, he rammed them all well down. He fired; his faithful piece of artillery did not burst, and his troublesome little antagonist was never again heard.
Another gallant exploit on the part of Lieutenant Delafosse occurred at the north-east battery on the 21st June. A shot had entered the tumbril of a gun, blew it up, and ignited the woodwork of the carriage, thus exposing the ammunition all around to destruction. The rebels, observing what was taking place, directed their fire to the spot with redoubled fury. Delafosse, with perfect self-possession, went to the burning gun, and, lying down under the firing mass, pulled away portions of the wood, and scattered earth with both hands on the flames. Two soldiers followed this courageous example, each with a bucket of water, which the lieutenant applied till the fire was extinguished.
In time, the sepoys discovering that they were not likely to capture the fort while any of the heroic garrison remained alive, resolved to starve them to death. Their sufferings from want of food at last became so great, that on the 25th of June General Wheeler entered into arrangements for the evacuation of the place with Nana Sahib. The next day the survivors proceeded to the river to embark on board boats prepared for them, when, with a treachery almost unparalleled in history, by the order of that demon in human shape, they were fired on and mostly killed. The rest, with few exceptions, were brought back to Cawnpore, when the men were shot, and the women and children, after being kept prisoners for some time and treated with the utmost indignity and barbarity, were indiscriminately slaughtered, and their bodies thrown into a well. One boat only escaped down the river, by which the life of Lieutenant Delafosse, who has given a narrative of what he witnessed, was preserved. Of all the gallant men and heroic women who endured the sufferings which have been described, he, with two or three others, alone escaped.
Terribly, however, ere long were they to be avenged.
The drama of Lucknow may properly be divided into four acts. 1st, The defence by Sir Henry Lawrence and Brigadier Inglis; 2nd, The succour of Lucknow by Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outram, 25th September; 3rd, The relief of Lucknow on the 22nd November 1857 by Sir Colin Campbell, when the hard-pressed garrison were carried out from overwhelming numbers of the enemy; and 4th, The siege of Lucknow by the British force under Sir Colin Campbell and Sir James Outram. Sir James Outram had previously been established in the strong position of the Alumbagh, from which the rebels had in vain endeavoured to dislodge him.
DEFENCE OF LUCKNOW—29TH JUNE TO 25TH SEPTEMBER 1857.
Sir Henry Lawrence, with a small body of troops, was stationed at Lucknow, when, on the 29th of June, hearing that a large body of rebels was approaching, he marched out to make a reconnaissance.
The force fell into an ambuscade, and some of the native artillerymen proving traitors, it was compelled to retire with a very heavy loss of officers and men, and three pieces of artillery.
Immediately on his return, Sir Henry prepared for the defence. The whole garrison amounted only to 1616 officers and men fit for duty, and with 80 officers and men sick and wounded. Sir Henry's first care was to withdraw the garrison from the old fort of Muchee Bowen; and in the course of the night of the 1st July, such provision as could be removed having been carried off, it was blown up with vast quantities of gunpowder and ball cartridges. An intrenched position had been commenced round the British Residency, and to complete this all the energies of the garrison were first devoted. Long, however, before all the proposed batteries were thrown up, the rebels, assembling in vast numbers, began the blockade of the place. Unhappily, Sir Henry Lawrence was mortally wounded by a shell on the 2nd of July, and closed a distinguished career on the 4th. Brigadier Inglis then succeeded to the command. At this time only two batteries were finished. No spot was safe: the sick and wounded were killed in the hospital, and women and children in private houses suffered the same fate. On the 20th of July, the enemy, after exploding a mine, attempted to storm the defences, but were driven back, after a desperate struggle which lasted four hours. Day and night a murderous fire was kept up on the garrison, who were already suffering dreadfully from sickness, while famine stared them in the face. On the 10th of August, the enemy attempted another assault, after, as before, springing a mine. On the 18th, a similar attempt was made. On this occasion three officers were blown up, though without injury, and the enemy established themselves in one of the houses of the British position; they were, however, driven out in the evening by a gallant charge of the 32nd and 48th Regiments. No men could have behaved more splendidly than did those of these two regiments. The 32nd was reduced to less than 300 men. The artillery behaved admirably, and suffered so much, that at length there were only 24 European gunners to work guns, including mortars in position; so that, although ably assisted by the men of the 32nd and by civilian volunteers, they had to run from gun to gun to defend the points most threatened by the enemy.
Five sorties were made during the siege by the British, for the purpose of destroying buildings which commanded the intrenchments, and of spiking guns. On all these occasions, both officers and men of the 32nd Regiment particularly distinguished themselves. In a sortie made on the 7th July, for the purpose of examining a house strongly held by the enemy, to ascertain whether or not a mine was being driven from it, Lieutenant Lawrence, 32nd Regiment, was the first to mount the ladder and to enter the window of the house, in effecting which he had his pistol knocked out of his hand by one of the enemy. On the 26th of September, he charged with two of his men in advance of his company, and captured a 9-pounder gun. A verandah having fallen on the 30th June, Mr Capper, of the Bengal Civil Service, being entangled among the ruins, Corporal Oxenham rushed forward amid a shower of bullets, to which he was exposed for ten minutes while extricating him from his dangerous situation. Private Dowling on three several occasions rushed out and spiked the enemy's guns; on one, killing a subadar, who attempted to defend his gun. Captain Henry George Browne, 32nd Regiment, later of the 100th Regiment, performed a similar conspicuous act of bravery, having, on the 21st August 1857, gallantly led a sortie at great personal risk, for the purpose of spiking two heavy guns, which were doing considerable damage to the defences. Captain Browne was the first person who entered the battery, which consisted of the two guns in question, protected by high palisades, the embrasures being closed with sliding shutters. On reaching the battery, Captain Browne removed the shutters, and jumped into the battery. The result was, that the guns were spiked, and it is supposed that about 100 of the enemy were killed.
THE SUCCOUR OF LUCKNOW—25TH SEPTEMBER.
At length, on the 25th September, early in the morning, a messenger arrived with a letter from General Outram, announcing his approach to Lucknow. Hours passed by; many of the enemy were seen retreating across the river, and every gun which could be brought to bear was fired at them, though all the time the rebels engaged in besieging the intrenchments never ceased firing, both with artillery and rifles. At four p.m. there was a report that some officers and a European regiment had been seen advancing in the distance. At five p.m. volleys of musketry were heard, growing louder and louder, and soon afterwards the British troops were seen fighting their way through one of the principal streets; and though men fell at every step, onward they gallantly pushed, till the rearguard heavy guns were inside the position. The relieving force was under the command of Sir James Outram. It had suffered severely in the gallant exploit. Of 2600 who had left Cawnpore, nearly one-third had been either killed or wounded in forcing their way through the city, so that nothing could be done for the relief of the place. The united body was therefore as closely besieged as before.
We must now describe more particularly how this gallant exploit had been accomplished.
On the return of General Havelock from Persia, he was appointed to the command of a movable column, consisting of 1964 men. He immediately commenced his march on Cawnpore, hoping to relieve the prisoners there confined by the miscreant Nana Sahib. Having been joined by Major Renard with 800 men, a victory was obtained, on the 12th July, over a large body of the rebels near Futtehpore.
Twice on the 15th he engaged the rebels, at Aeng, and the bridge of Pandoo Nudder. On the 16th he drove Nana Sahib from a strong position at Ahirwa.
The next day, the fatal 17th, the wretch butchered the women and children left in his power, blew up the magazine at Cawnpore, and retreated to Bithpor. Here he was unable to make a stand, and once more made a hasty retreat. General Havelock, on this, leaving General Neill at Cawnpore, pushed on for Lucknow. He again encountered the mutineers near Uano on the 29th July, when the 78th Highlanders, the 1st Fusiliers, and the 64th Regiment were chiefly engaged. The same corps next captured Busherut Gunge, a walled town with wet ditches. Three times the same place was attacked and taken while General Havelock was waiting at Cawnpore for reinforcements. On the 16th September, Sir James Outram arrived. Though superior officer, he refused to supersede Major-General Havelock, but accompanied the force as Chief-Commissioner of Oude. The relieving force, now amounting to about 2500 men and 17 guns, crossed the Ganges, and, on the 21st September, attacked the rebels at Munghowar, who fled, four guns being captured, two of which were taken in a cavalry charge led by Sir James Outram. On the 23rd, they arrived before the Alumbagh, an isolated building, a country palace situated in a large walled park to the south-east of the city of Lucknow, and about three miles from the Residency. From this place the enemy were driven, four guns were taken, and it was occupied by the relieving army. As the British troops were wearied with their long march in pelting rain, the assault was deferred till the 25th. All the 24th they were bombarded by the enemy, and an attack was made by 1000 cavalry on the baggage, which was defeated by the soldiers of the gallant 90th, though not without the loss of several officers and men.
The morning of the 25th arrived. The generals breakfasted at a small table placed in the open field; and while they and their staff were afterwards examining a map of the city spread out on it, a 9-pound shot from the enemy's battery struck the ground five yards from it, and bounded over their heads. Soon after eight the welcome order to advance was given. Sir James Outram commanded the first and leading brigade, with all the artillery, heavy and light. The second brigade, under General Havelock, followed in support. Scarcely had Sir James's brigade passed the advanced pickets, than it was assailed by a heavy fire in front, on either flank, and from two guns planted near a house called from its colour the Yellow House. The enemy had flanked his road under cover of long, high grass, and a murderous fire was poured on the columns from a double-storied house, full of musketeers, from the loopholed walls of the surrounding gardens, from two guns that raked the road from his right flank, and from another that commanded his front. In the face of this desperate opposition, Captain Maude, with his brave artillerymen, pushed on, though not without the loss of one-third of their number. A canal passes between the Alumbagh and Lucknow. At the bridge over it the enemy had determined to make their stand, and dispute the entrance to the city. It was defended by six guns on the Lucknow side, one of them a 24-pounder, which completely swept the bridge and the approach to it, while all the houses near it were loopholed and filled with musketeers. Here nearly every man of Captain Maude's two guns was killed or wounded, though he and Lieutenant Maitland remained unhurt, and they frequently had to call for volunteers from the infantry to replace the artillerymen falling around. A charge was now made by the Madras Fusiliers, when Lieutenant Arnold, at the first word of command, dashed on to the bridge with nineteen of his men. The enemy, believing this little band to be the main body, sent a discharge of grape, which they had reserved for the occasion, among them. Lieutenant Arnold fell, shot through both legs, and most of his men were swept down. Lieutenant Havelock alone remained on the bridge. Waving his sword, he called to the Fusiliers to advance. Then, bravely led by their regimental officers, they dashed forward with a cheer, and, not giving the enemy time to reload, rushed on the guns, amid a storm, of bullets, wrested them from the enemy, and bayoneted the gunners.
The British army now entered the city, and the 78th Highlanders were pushed forward on the Cawnpore road to the Residency, to cover the passage of the troops and baggage, etcetera; while the remainder turned short to the right, and began to thread the narrow lane leading towards the king's stables.
The 78th Highlanders held their position at the head of the street, as the baggage, the wounded, and the followers defiled over the bridge. As soon as the enemy perceived that it was an unsupported rearguard, it was assailed by overwhelming numbers, but continued firmly to hold its own. In this unequal struggle, which lasted nearly three hours, its ammunition was more than once exhausted and renewed.
On one occasion, the enemy becoming more bold, brought two brass 9-pounders to bear on the Highlanders; but they immediately left the shelter of the houses, captured the guns, hurled them into the canal, and then calmly resumed their defensive position. Repeatedly tried through this campaign, and always found worthy of its high reputation, never did the valour of this gallant regiment shine brighter than in this bloody conflict.
Among others, Lieutenant-Adjutant Herbert McPherson was conspicuous in the splendid charge on the two guns, while Assistant-Surgeon Valentine McMaster exhibited the most devoted gallantry in the way in which he risked his life for the purpose of binding up the wounds, and securing the retreat of the men under his charge disabled by the bullets of the enemy.
The main body, turning to the right, advanced to a point between the Motee Mahal and the old mess-house of the 32nd. It was between this spot and the Residency, a distance of three-quarters of a mile, that the strength of the enemy was concentrated; and here the fiercest conflict, after that of forcing the bridge, occurred. At length, however, the enemy were driven back by the heavy guns, and, after passing through a hot fire from the roofs of neighbouring houses, the force was halted under shelter of a wall of one of the palaces, to allow the long column, the progress of which had been impeded by the narrowness of the streets, to come up. The main body was now within 500 yards of the Residency, but surrounded with enemies. The generals, however, determined to push on. The Highlanders and a regiment of Sikhs were called to the front; Sir James Outram, though wounded, and General Havelock placed themselves at their head, and through an incessant storm of shot pushed on to the Residency. "The loopholed houses on either side poured forth a stream of fire as they advanced: every roof sent down a shower of missiles on them. Deep trenches had been cut across the road to detain them under the fire of the adjacent buildings. At every angle they encountered a fearful volley; but, animated by the generals, officers and men pushed on, till at length the gate of the Residency was reached, and the hard-pressed garrison welcomed them with their hearty cheers. The remainder of the troops quickly followed, and entered the Residency. Numbers had fallen, and among them General Neill, who was with the 1st Madras Fusiliers, and soon after the shelter was quitted was shot dead, falling instantly from his horse, and never speaking more. The united forces were, however, too weak to attempt to retreat. They were consequently again besieged in the Residency, though able to keep the foe at bay."
RELIEF OF LUCKNOW.
At length, on the 10th of November, Sir Colin Campbell, with a thoroughly equipped force of 5000 men, arrived in the neighbourhood of the Alumbagh. It was important that the generals in the Residency should communicate with him, and Mr Cavanagh, an officer of the Civil Service, volunteered to proceed to his camp with plans of the city, and suggestions as to the route he should take. Perilous as was the adventure, Mr Cavanagh accomplished the undertaking. A semaphoric communication was soon afterwards established between the Alumbagh and the Residency. By its means Sir Colin was enabled, on the 12th, to announce his intention of advancing by the Dilkoosha at seven a.m. on the 14th. The garrison therefore prepared to co-operate with him.
At the time appointed, the advance began; but several large buildings, strongly fortified, had to be stormed,—the Dilkoosha, Martiniere, and finally the Secunderbagh, in which place upwards of 2000 rebels were killed. These operations occupied till the afternoon of the 17th, when the mess-house was gallantly stormed by a company of the 90th, a picket of the 53rd, with some Punjaub infantry. Beyond this the enemy again made a desperate stand; but the advance was sounded—the troops pushed on—house after house was taken—nowhere could the rebels withstand them, and complete communication was established with the Residency.
It was now resolved to remove the non-combatants, the women, children, and sick and wounded, as well as the troops, from Lucknow. By masterly arrangements, the enemy were completely deceived. The women and children, the sick and wounded, were first withdrawn on the night of the 18th, many ladies walking a distance of six miles to the Dilkoosha encampment over rough ground, and at one spot exposed to the fire of the enemy,—Lady Inglis, the heroic wife of Brigadier Inglis, setting the example. When they were in safety, arrangements were made to withdraw the garrison.
On the 20th and 21st, Captain Peel, with the guns of his Naval Brigade, aided by Havelock's guns in the palaces, breached the Kaiserbagh. The enemy, believing that an assault would immediately follow, stood on the defensive. Orders were then given for the garrison to withdraw through the line of pickets at midnight on the 22nd. Brigadier Hope's brigade covered all their movements, and Brigadier Greathead's brigade closed in the rear, and formed the rearguard as the troops retired through a long narrow lane, the only road open for them towards the Dilkoosha. That position was reached by four o'clock in the afternoon of the 23rd of November, without the loss of a man. On the previous day, one of the gallant defenders of Lucknow, the good and brave Sir Henry Havelock, had breathed his last in the Dilkoosha, from dysentery, brought on by exposure and the unwholesome food on which he had been compelled to exist.
Of course all the property in the Residency, which had been so long bravely defended, had to be left at the mercy of the rebels; but that was a slight gain compared to the rage and vexation they must have experienced at finding themselves so completely out-manoeuvred, and that the foes they hoped to crush had escaped them.
SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF LUCKNOW—2ND AND 21ST MARCH.
When Sir Colin Campbell retired with his rescued countrymen from Lucknow, on the 27th of November 1857, he left a force under Sir James Outram in the strong position of the Alumbagh, to keep the enemy in check in the city, thus locking up a large number, and preventing them from committing mischief throughout the country.
On the 12th and 16th of January, and at other subsequent times, the rebels endeavoured to dislodge Sir James Outram from his position, but were each time driven back with loss. Meanwhile, Sir Colin Campbell defeated the enemy on the 6th of December,—estimated at 25,000 men and 36 guns.
He remained at Cawnpore till the 4th of February, when the first portion of his army crossed the Ganges, on their road to Lucknow. While marching on Lucknow, Brigadier Franks, on the 19th, successively defeated two bodies of the enemy at Chanda and Amerapore; and, on the 23rd, gained a still more important victory over their united forces near Sultanpore. Sir Colin, with reinforcements and siege-train, arrived at the Alumbagh on the 1st of March, and no time was lost in carrying out the contemplated operations against Lucknow.
The Dilkoosha palace was first seized, when a gun was captured. This palace then formed the advanced post on the right, and the Mahomed Bagh on the left, heavy guns being placed in them, to keep down the fire of the enemy. Sir James Outram being withdrawn from the Alumbagh, crossed to the left bank of the Goomtee, and, on the 9th, drove the enemy before him at all points, till he was enabled to occupy the Tyzabad road, and to plant his batteries so as to enfilade the works on the canal. A two gun battery of the enemy had in the most gallant way been attacked by an officer with half his company, and the guns spiked, thus securing the most advanced position of the troops from artillery fire. It thus became very important that the skirmishers on the opposite side of the river should be made acquainted with this success. To carry the information, Lieutenant Thomas Adair Butter, 1st Bengal Fusiliers, plunging into the Goomtee, swam across it under a heavy fire, and, climbing the parapet, remained for some time still exposed to the shots of the enemy. He, however, happily escaped without a wound, and, leaping down, delivered his message. For this act of cool bravery, he was prominently mentioned by General Outram in general orders, and deservedly received the Victoria Cross.
On the afternoon of the same day, Brigadiers Sir Edward Lugard and Adrian Hope, with the 42nd, 53rd, and 90th Regiments, stormed and captured the Martiniere College. And now the operations against the Kaiserbagh could be carried out more effectually, and science and engineering skill were brought into play. Building after building was captured, and well secured, before the infantry were allowed to advance. A large block of palaces, known as the Begum Kotee, having been breached under the direction of Brigadier Napier, it was stormed on the morning of the 12th, with the greatest gallantry, by the 93rd Highlanders, supported by the 4th Punjaub Rifles and 1000 Goorkhas, led by Brigadier Adrian Hope. This was looked upon as one of the severest struggles and most gallant actions during the siege.
Brigadier Napier now, by aid of sappers and heavy guns, pushed forward the approaches through the enclosures, the infantry immediately occupying the ground as he advanced, the guns and mortars being moved on as the positions were gained where they could be placed. Brigadier Franks, early on the morning of the 14th, carried the Imambarrah; and Major Brasyer, with a regiment of Sikhs, pressing forward in pursuit, entered the Kaiserbagh, and then the third line of the enemy's defences was won, and the spot where so many desperate encounters had taken place was once more occupied by the British. Moosabagh, the last position of the rebels on the Goomtee, was cannonaded and captured by Sir James Outram and Sir Hope Grant on the 19th; and, on the 21st, Sir Edward Lugard, after a fierce struggle, took the last stronghold in the possession of the rebels in the heart of the city.
Brigadier W. Campbell, at the head of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, followed the fugitives for the distance of six miles, killing vast numbers, and completely routing them. The inhabitants were now invited to return, and Lucknow was once more placed under British rule.
SOME OF THE GALLANT DEEDS PERFORMED DURING THE SUPPRESSION OF THE MUTINY.
At no time in the history of the world has more calm courage, devotion, perseverance, and gallantry been shown than was exhibited by the soldiers of England during the Indian Mutiny. Many of their gallant deeds have already been recounted, but it is impossible to recount them all.
Not only soldiers, but non-combatants were conspicuous on many occasions for their gallantry. The surgeons especially exhibited the most heroic courage. The name of Surgeon Herbert Taylor Reade deserves to be mentioned. During the siege of Delhi, while he was attending to the wounded at the end of one of the streets, on the 14th of September, a party of rebels advanced from the direction of the Bank, and, having established themselves in the houses in the street, commenced firing from the roofs. The wounded were thus in very great danger, and would have fallen into the hands of the enemy, had not Surgeon Reade, drawing his sword, and calling upon about ten soldiers who were near him to follow, dashed bravely forward under a heavy fire, and, attacking the rebels, dislodged them from their position, and put them to flight. Two of his followers were killed, and five or six wounded, in this gallant act, for which he was deservedly decorated with the Victoria Cross. He also accompanied his regiment on the assault of Delhi, and, on the morning of the 16th September, was one of the first up at the breach of the magazine. On this occasion, he, with a sergeant of his regiment, spiked one of the enemy's guns.
Surgeon Joseph Jee, C.B., was another medical officer whose bravery was conspicuous. After that gallant charge made by the 78th Highlanders, when two guns were captured near the Char Bagh, as they, forming part of Sir Henry Havelock's force, were entering Lucknow on the 25th September 1857, numbers were left wounded on the ground. He hastened among them, exposed to a severe fire and the risk of being cut off, and succeeded, by great exertions, in getting them removed in cots, or on the backs of their comrades, until he had collected the dooly-bearers, who had fled. He remained by the wounded till later in the day, when he endeavoured to convey them into the Residency, but was compelled to take refuge with his charge and their escort in the Motee Mahal, where they were besieged by an overwhelming force. Here, however, he remained during the whole night, voluntarily and repeatedly exposing himself to a heavy fire while he was engaged in dressing the wounds of the men who fell serving a 24-pounder in a most exposed situation. At length he set forward to accompany a number of the wounded into the Residency by the river bank, although warned of the danger of the undertaking. Seeing the importance, however, of placing them in safety, he persevered, and succeeded in accomplishing his object.
Surgeon Anthony D. Home, of the 90th, aided by Assistant-surgeon W. Bradshaw, on the same occasion, and under very similar circumstances, behaved in the same manner. When the relieving columns pushed their way forward towards the Residency, he was left behind in charge of the wounded. The escort had by casualties been greatly diminished, and, being entirely separated from the column, they were compelled to take refuge in a house on the approach of a large body of the enemy. Here they defended themselves till it was set on fire. Of four officers who were with the party, all were badly wounded—three of them mortally. The conduct of the defence therefore devolved on Mr Home; and as it was by his active exertions, before being forced into the house, that the wounded were then saved, so now to his coolness and intrepidity the continued defence of the building was mainly due. Hour after hour passed by, one after the other dropping, till only he and six companions remained to fire. Still they persevered, though they had almost abandoned hope, and had resigned themselves to their fate. At length, a little after daybreak, they were aroused by distant firing. They did not, however, believe that it announced any help to them, but rather the return of more foes. Still it approached nearer and nearer, when a brave soldier of the 1st Madras Fusiliers, John Ryan, suddenly jumping up, shouted, "Oh, boys! them's our chaps!" The little band, leaping to their feet, united in a hearty cheer, crying out to their friends to keep on the right, while they fired into the loopholes from which the enemy were annoying them. In about three minutes, Captain Moorsom, who had led the party to their relief, appeared at the entrance-hole of the shed, and they beckoning to him, he entered.
It was by the admirable arrangements of this officer that the little band were brought safely off, and soon after reached the palace, with the rearguard of the 90th. On this occasion, Private McManus, 5th Regiment, kept outside the house, and continued behind a pillar, firing on the sepoys, to prevent their rushing into it, till he was himself wounded. He also, in conjunction with Private John Ryan, rushed into the street under a heavy fire, and took Captain Arnold, 1st Madras Fusiliers, out of a dooly, and brought him into the house, that officer being again hit while they were so doing.
Among the many gallant men we may mention Captain George Alexander Renny, and Gunner William Conolly, of the Bengal Horse Artillery. After the capture of the Delhi magazine, 16th September 1857, a vigorous attack was made on it by the enemy. Under cover of a heavy cross fire from the high houses on the right flank of the magazine, and from Selinghur and the palace, the enemy advanced to the high wall of the magazine, and endeavoured to set fire to a thatched roof. This was partially accomplished, but the fire was extinguished by a sepoy of the Beloochee battalion. However, the roof having been again set on fire, and the enemy pressing round, Captain Renny, with great gallantry, mounted to the top of the wall of the magazine, and flung several shells with lighted fusees into the midst of the enemy. This had so considerable an effect, that the enemy almost immediately retreated.
The half troop to which Gunner Conolly belonged, under command of Lieutenant Cooks, having advanced at daybreak at a gallop, and engaged the enemy within easy musket range, the sponge-men of one of the guns having been shot, Conolly assumed the duties of second sponge-man; and he had barely assisted at two discharges of his gun, when a musket-ball through the left thigh felled him to the ground. Nothing daunted by pain and loss of blood, he was endeavouring to resume his post, when a movement in retirement was ordered. Mounting his horse, he rode to the next position the guns took up, and manfully declined going to the rear when the necessity of his doing so was represented to him. At about eleven a.m. he was again knocked down by a musket-ball striking him on the hip, causing him great pain and faintness. On hearing his commanding officer direct that he should be taken out of action, he staggered to his feet, exclaiming, "No, no; I'll not go there while I can work here."
Shortly afterwards he once more resumed his post. Later in the day the guns were engaged at 100 yards from the walls of a village, whence a storm of bullets was directed at them. Here, though suffering severely from his two previous wounds, he was wielding his guns with an energy and courage which attracted the admiration of his comrades; and while cheerfully encouraging a wounded man to hasten in bringing up the ammunition, he was a third time hit by a musket-ball, which tore through the muscles of his right leg. Even then, with the most undaunted bravery he struggled on, and not until he had loaded six times did he give way, and then only from loss of blood, when he fell fainting at his post into his commander's arms, and, being placed in a waggon, was borne in a state of unconsciousness from the fight.
Such are the materials of which are made the true British soldiers, the redcoats of Old England, who have nobly upheld her honour and glory in all parts of the world.
We do not pretend to give a catalogue of all the gallant deeds done during that sanguinary struggle worthy of being chronicled. Were we to attempt to give all, we should fail in so doing; and some, whose names were omitted, would complain that we treated their comrades with partiality. The numerous brave acts we have recorded are rather to show of what British soldiers of the present day are capable, and what is more, what sort of deeds are most highly appreciated, for on all, or nearly all, the men whose names we have mentioned, the Victoria Cross has been bestowed; and yet, probably, we have omitted half the recipients of that honour, not less deserving than those whose deeds we have recorded.
THE CHINESE WAR—1856-1860.
The Chinese, in breach of the treaties into which they had entered in 1842, committed a series of aggressive acts against British subjects, the most memorable of which was the seizure of the crew of the lorcha Arrow, in 1856. War was consequently declared, and hostilities were commenced by our naval forces, which, under Sir Michael Seymour, after bombarding Canton in October, and destroying several war-junks on the 5th, captured the Bogue Forts, mounting more than 400 guns, on the 12th and 13th of November, and again attacked the suburbs of Canton on the 12th of January 1857. The fleet also destroyed a large number of Chinese war-junks in the Canton waters; but further operations on land were suspended till the Indian Mutiny had been quelled, and Lord Elgin had returned to China.
The British and French troops having united towards the end of December 1857, the city of Canton was summoned to surrender. On the refusal of the Chinese authorities to do so, a bombardment was commenced by the fleet on the 28th, and the British and French troops landed at Kupar Creek, to the south-east of the town. The English troops were divided into two brigades: the first, consisting of the first and second battalions of Royal Marine Light Infantry, was commanded by Colonel Holloway, of that corps; while the second, which was composed of the Royal Engineers and a volunteer company of Sappers, Royal Artillery, and Royal Marine Artillery, Provisional Battalion Royal Marines, the 59th Regiment, and 38th Madras Native Infantry, was under Colonel Hope Graham, of the 59th. Colonel Dunlop commanded the artillery. The troops amounted to 2900 men. Then there was the British Naval Brigade, consisting of 1829 men, and the French Naval Brigade, of 950.
The first attack was made on East or Linn Fort. The Chinese received their assailants with a hot fire, but were soon driven out, retreating to Cough's Fort. The ships kept up a continued cannonade during the day and the following night, and on the 29th it was determined to make a grand attack by escalade on the east wall of the city. The advance was led by the brave Major Luard, the 59th, under Major Burmister, covering the French Naval Brigade and Royal Marines. At an appointed time the ships were to cease firing, and the assault was to be made. The Chinese, meantime, were keeping up a hot fire on their approaching assailants from their walls. It was necessary to ascertain the best spot for placing the scaling-ladders. Captain Bate volunteered to go, and Captain Naun, of the Engineers, accompanied him. Captain Bate had run across an open space, and was looking down into the ditch, when a shot struck him. He fell. Dr Anderson rushed out through a hot fire, accompanied by Captain Bate's coxswain, to his assistance, but he never spoke again. They escaped uninjured.
"Some minutes before the time, the French advanced, and the English could not be kept back. They had crossed the ditch, and were clustered under the walls before the scaling-ladders could be brought up. A young Frenchman had taken off his shoes and gaiters, and was trying to work himself up to the southern angle of the bastion, aided by Major Luard, who was propping him up with the muzzle of the Frenchman's own firelock, when a ladder was placed, and Luard, leaping on it, stood first upon the wall. He was followed by a Frenchman, the bandmaster of the 59th, and Colonel Hope Graham. At the same time, Stuart, of the Engineers, was balancing in air on a breaking ladder at the north side of the bastion; but though he sprang to another, two or three Frenchmen got up before him. Here, also, Corporal Perkins and Daniel Donovan, volunteer sappers, pushing on with the French, were among the first over the wall. Meantime the Chinese had been tumbling down all sorts of missiles; but when the Allies were once upon the walls, the great body of them retired. They poured down into the city, and fired from the streets; they dodged behind the buildings on the ramparts, and thence took aim with their cumbrous matchlocks. A few single encounters occurred, and Major Luard's revolver disposed of one lingerer; but the Allies generally fired right and left, and pushed on to the right, so as to sweep the wall upwards towards the hill. Helter-skelter they went, driving the Tartars close into the town and before them along the wall, until, some hundred yards in front, they came upon Captain Fellowes and his bluejackets, who were just accomplishing another escalade. Commodore Elliot was well in front, and the admiral and general were not far behind." See 'China', by Wingrove Cooke.
The enemy were now driven entirely along the wall, and complete possession was taken of the eastern gate. Some casualties had occurred. Lieutenants Shinkwin and Ensign Bower, of the 59th, were both wounded, the latter mortally. The chiefs of the expedition, however, anxious to prevent the destruction of life, would not allow the troops to descend into the streets, though they had in reality entire command over the city. A whole week was allowed the Chinese authorities to consider the matter, and to sue for peace; but, as they continued obstinate, on the 5th of January the allied forces were poured down into the streets, when Commissioner Yeh, the Tartar General, and the Governor of Canton were speedily captured, very much to their own astonishment, and very little to the regret of the people over whom they ruled.
On the 20th of May, the forts at the mouth of the Peiho were taken, and then at length the Chinese commissioners, discovering that the Allies were in earnest, sued for peace. A treaty was signed at Tientsin on the 20th of June, when all the terms demanded by the Allies were agreed to, though the Chinese authorities had no intention, probably, of adhering to any of them.
CAPTURE OF THE TAKU FORTS—21ST AUGUST 1860.
The Chinese Government having refused to ratify the treaty of Tientsin, the British and French forces once more prepared for active operations. Major-General Sir Hope Grant had been appointed to the command of the British troops, with the local rank of lieutenant-general,— Major-General Sir Robert Napier holding command of the second division under him. The expedition started from Hong Kong harbour early in June, and assembled at Talien Bay, ready for a descent on the Peiho.
On the 1st of August, the expedition, organised with great forethought, and in the most admirable manner, commenced disembarking at the mouth of the Peiho River. The village of Pehtang was immediately taken possession of.
The first engagement took place at Sinho, when the Tartar cavalry showed some courage, but were soon put to the rout,—the Armstrong guns being here for the first time employed; the second division, under Sir Robert Napier, taking the principal part in the action. Soon after daybreak on the 13th, the first division received notice that they were to storm the fortified village of Tangkoo. A causeway ran from Sinoo to Tangkoo, with a marsh on one side, and a moist plain, intersected by ditches, on the other, which ditches had now been bridged over.
The fortifications of Tangkoo consisted of a long semicircular crenelated wall, three miles in length, terminating at both ends on the banks of the river. The attack was made from the right of the causeway,—the English on the right near the river, the French along the road. Two hundred Rifles, commanded by Major Rigaud, advanced in skirmishing order, to support the batteries of Armstrong guns and some 9-pounders. The Royals and 31st followed, and then the Queen's 60th Rifles and 15th Punjaubees. Some Chinese batteries and junks were silenced; and then Sir John Michel ordered up the infantry, who rushed into the fortress, and bowled over the Tartars, as they scampered with precipitancy from the wall across the open into the village, while rockets, whizzing through the air over their heads in graceful curve, spread dismay among their masses, and hastened their speed.
The Taku forts were next to be taken. On the 20th, they were summoned to surrender; and the officer in command having refused to do so, preparations were made to storm them on the morning of the 21st. The French force consisted of about 1000 infantry, and six 12-pounder rifled cannon. The English mustered 2500 men, consisting of a wing of the 44th, under Lieutenant-Colonel McMahon; a wing of the 67th, under Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas, supported by the other wings of those two regiments; the Royal Marines, under Lieutenant-Colonel Gascoigne; a detachment of the same corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Travers, carrying a pontoon-bridge for crossing the wet ditches; and Ensign Graham, with his company of Royal Engineers, to conduct the assault. The whole were commanded by Brigadier Reeves.
Several gunboats had also come up the river to bombard the forts. At daylight the Chinese opened fire on their assailants, which was replied to by the gunboats and Armstrong guns; and soon a large magazine blew up with a terrific roar, the explosion shaking the ground for miles round. Soon after, another magazine in the lower north fort blew up. Still the Tartar troops defended themselves with the greatest bravery. The field-guns were advanced to within 500 yards of the forts, and redoubled their efforts. The fire of the forts having ceased, a breach was commenced near the gate, and a portion of the storming party were advanced to within thirty yards, to open a musketry fire. No sooner had the artillery fire slackened, than the enemy emerged from their cover, and opened a heavy fire of musketry on the Allies.
No less than fifteen men of the sappers carrying the pontoon-bridge were struck down, and the French who had pushed on were unable to escalade the walls.
While the fire was hottest, an hospital apprentice, Arthur Fitzgibbon, * who had accompanied a wing of the 67th, quitted cover, and proceeded, in spite of the shot rattling round him, to attend to a dooly-bearer whose wounds he had been directed to bind up; and while the regiment was advancing under the enemy's fire, he ran across the open to attend to another wounded man, when he was himself severely wounded.
At this juncture Sir R. Napier caused the two howitzers of Captain Govan's battery to be brought up to within fifty yards of the gate, in order more speedily to create a breach, when the storming party was joined by the headquarters wing of the 67th, under Colonel Knox, who had partly crossed by the French bridge, and partly swam over. A space having been made sufficient to admit one man, the brave band forced their way in by single file in the most gallant manner, Lieutenant Rogers, * 44th Regiment, and (All marked thus * obtained the Victoria Cross) Lieutenant Burslem, * 67th Regiment, being the first to enter, when they assisted Ensign Chaplain, * who carried the regimental colours, to enter; and he, supported by Private Lane, * 67th Regiment, was the first to plant them on the breach, and subsequently on the cavalier, which he was the first to mount. Accompanying Lieutenant Rogers was Private John McDougall, * 67th Regiment, and Lieutenant E.H. Lewis, * who gallantly swam the ditches, and were the first established on the walls, each assisting the others to mount the embrasures. Lieutenant Burslem and Private Lane more especially distinguished themselves in enlarging the opening in the wall, through which they eventually entered, and were severely wounded in so doing. At the same moment the French effected their entrance, and the garrison was driven back step by step, and hurled pellmell through the embrasures on the opposite side, when a destructive fire was opened on them by Captain Govan's guns, which strewed the ground outside with dead and wounded. Preparations were then made to attack the lower fort, but the garrison of 2000 men and upwards yielded without firing a gun. Of the British, 17 men were killed, and 22 officers and 161 men wounded. The French had 130 casualties; several of their officers were killed. Fully 2000 Tartars must have been killed and wounded.
The Allies entered Tientsin on the 6th September, when every effort was made by the Chinese authorities to gain time by negotiations.
On the arrival of the Allies on the ground intended for the camp, it was found occupied by a large Chinese army, who had hastily thrown up batteries for their defence. Colonel Walker, with Commissary Thompson and a few orderlies, had ridden on at an early hour, to arrange about the camping-ground for the army. Mr Parkes, Lieutenant Anderson, Mr De Norman, and Mr Bowlby went forward to ascertain the reason of the threatening attitude of the Chinese, not in any way apprehending danger. Captain Brabazon and Mr Lock followed with a flag of truce, to order them to return.