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Chapter XLVI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 4


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The loss of Havelock's force, since it crossed the Ganges on the 19th of September, was 535 killed and wounded. Of these, 196 were killed, and 339 were wounded. Ten officers were killed, including General Neill and Colonel Bazely, of the Bengal Artillery; and thirty were wounded. Sir James Outram was hit, and young Henry Havelock was wounded a second time in the same arm. Thus Lucknow was relieved at the cost of a sixth of the little band which had started from Cawnpore.

It was anticipated that Sir James Outram, who now assumed command, would carry off the garrison. This was not found to be practicable, except at great risk and heavy cost of life. On making due inquiry, it was found that, with the supplies brought in, there was abundance of provisions for several weeks. Sir James, therefore, determined to remain. He divided his force into two parts. Colonel Inglis was left in command of the lines he had so long defended. Havelock was directed to take the remaining troops, and establish himself in the palaces and buildings to the east, on the road through which the troops had come in. This was done in three days. The soldiers now made themselves at home in the luxurious palaces of Lucknow. They were in comparative comfort and safety, but shut out from the rest of India: comparative, for the enemy renewed his mining operations; directing them now against the buildings under Havelock's charge. But at this work he was foiled by the skill and science of Colonel Robert Napier and Captain Crommelin. Guarding against these tricks of the enemy, enduring a fire of guns and musketry less Severe and less deadly, and poorly fed, our men, without a murmur, held on for eight more weeks, when the Commander-in-Chief himself arrived, and snatched them, as it were, from the jaws of death.

The Government of India had now become fully aware of the character of the mutiny, which in Oude, Rohilcund, and Central India, had been supplemented by an insurrection. In Oude we have seen how strong was the spirit of hostility; and although many talookdars held aloof from the rebels, they did not join the "Europeans. In Rohilcund and Central India the insurrectionary forces were masters of the field from the Ganges to the frontiers of Oude, from the Nerbudda to the Jumna. In Bombay there were intermittent signs of disaffection, and sharp remedies had to be promptly applied. Lord Elphinstone ruled with an iron hand- clad in a velvet glove, it is true, but none the less effective for that. Ho had his own difficulties to contend against - hostility in Kolapore, and Sattara, and Kandeish; mutiny also in some recently-raised regiments - but all these he overcame. Madras was quiet, and as Bombay sent troops to the Nerbudda Valley and Rajpootana, so Madras sent a column to cover the frontier of Nag- pore, and reinforcements to Bengal - European infantry, whom we have seen in battle, and native infantry and native guns, which did good service.

Except during the spring, neither the Indian nor the Home Government underrated the magnitude of the struggle, and the thousands of troops embarked in the summer began to pour into Calcutta by battalions at the end of September. The China troops had all been intercepted before that time, and had been sent up the country. The sailors of the Pearl and the Shannon had been landed with some of their heavy guns, and had been sent up the Ganges - the Pearl men going into the Gorruckpore and Azimghur country, to support the Ghoorkas already there; and Captain William Peel, with a sailor brigade, forming a part of the army rapidly gathering at Allahabad and Cawnpore. For as soon as it became certain that Outram and Havelock could not bring off the Lucknow garrison, treasure, women and children, guns and ammunition, Sir Colin began to organise a force for their relief and rescue. Throughout the month of October this force was being collected at Cawnpore. Except the China regiments, all the troops employed were those already in India. They consisted of the 93rd Highlanders, in full strength, and parts of the 5th, 23rd, 64th, 82nd, 90th, and Madras Fusiliers; of the 8th, 53rd, and 75th Foot, together with the 9th Lancers, Hodson's Horse, and some Sikh cavalry, and two regiments of Sikh infantry. The whole strength was about 4,550 men, with forty-nine guns, including Peel's eight heavy pieces, manned by his gallant tars. This force, gradually collected, was completed by the arrival of Greathed's force from Delhi, which, we have already stated, arrived at Cawnpore on the 26th of October.

As soon as he heard of Greathed's arrival, Sir Colin Campbell quitted Calcutta, and " travelling like a courier," reached Cawnpore on the 5th of November. Part of the troops had already gone on, with large convoys, to the Alumbagh, which, it will be remembered, was held by part of Outram's force, now under the orders of Brigadier Hope Grant, who arrived in time to repel a smart attack made by the enemy. The troops had commenced the passage on the 30th of October, and the bulk of the troops were near Alumbagh by the 5th of November. On the 9th Sir Colin reached that place, and on the 11th he reviewed his army. As the Gwalior Contingent - a force of all arms, the nucleus of a large native army - had come up to Calpee, it was not without some apprehensions that Sir Colin left General Windham, of Bedan renown, with about 500 men, to guard the small entrenchment which protected the bridge over the Ganges. Nevertheless, as he knew Windham would be reinforced by the troops coming daily up the Ganges from Calcutta, and as it was imperative that Lucknow should be relieved, he left Windham to do his best, and gathered up his strength for a deadly blow at the Oude insurrection.

As soon as General Outram was informed of the early approach of Sir Colin Campbell, he sent plans of the city and its approaches to the Alumbagh, and arranged with Brigadier Grant a code of signals to be worked by means of the old semaphore. It is a remarkable fact that all the necessary particulars for establishing this means of communication were obtained from the article headed "Telegraph" in a copy of the "Penny Cyclopaedia" belonging to Mr. Gubbins. The garrison also sent a guide. Fired with the desire of winning the Victoria Cross, Mr. Kavanagh, of the uncovenanted service, volunteered to join the Commander-in-Chief. The offer was accepted. Staining his face, shoulders, and hands with lampblack, putting on the gay dress, and carrying the simple arms of an irregular mutineer, Kavanagh, guided by a native scout, forded the Goomtee at night, dressed on the opposite bank, walked up the river, and recrossing at the iron bridge, made his way through the heart of the city of Lucknow. Emerging in the open country through the enemy's pickets, he pushed on and reached Sir Colin's camp. This is one of the most daring acts ever done in India, since James Outram made his way from Afghanistan to Bombay disguised as a groom. And Kavanagh had his reward, obtaining not only the Victoria Cross in due time, but a reward of £2,000 and admission into the regular civil service. The telegraph soon told not only that Kavanagh had come in safely, but that on the 14th Sir Colin would march on Lucknow.

At nine o'clock on the 14th the army was in motion. Passing to the rear of the Alumbagh, Sir Colin directed his columns upon the Delkoosha Palace and Park, and a fantastic building a little to the west of it, called the Martinière. This side of Lucknow was a mass of groves, gardens, enclosures, and palaces, with stretches of greensward and cultivated patches between. By sweeping so far to the eastward Sir Colin avoided the defences which the Sepoy mutineers and their allies had accumulated on the canal, and about the bridge stormed by Havelock. They had dammed the canal, in order to deepen the water above, and thus outwitted themselves, for they left it dry below, and easy of passage even for heavy guns. After a brief march, the skirmishers came under fire, but pressing on, they chased the enemy through and out of the park, and entered the palace. Then, turning half left, the troops made for the Martinière. Here there was a smarter defence, for the enemy had begun to comprehend the drift of Sir Colin's manœuvre. A number of guns opened on both sides, and the rattle of musketry shook the air; but the infantry leaped over the wall, and with the bayonet soon cleared the building and the enclosure, while the horsemen, dashing through, hunted the enemy over the canal into the suburb on the other side. The troops were now in position from the canal on the right to the Delkoosha Park wall on the left. To cover that flank and protect the road to the Alumbagh, Brigadier Russell seized two villages in front of the left and garrisoned them with Sikhs.

Thus posted, the troops prepared to pass the night, when suddenly the enemy assailed the whole position. The troops turned out rapidly and drove them back with great slaughter, and to guard against a similar occurrence, a strong force of all arms bivouacked on the canal. The next day the troops rested in position, and completed the arrangements essential for the safety of the baggage and the line of communications. The garrison of Lucknow were disappointed, and looked on with apprehension; but on the evening of the 15th they were rejoiced to see the telegraph at work, and to read off the signal, " advance to-morrow." For they had prepared the means of making a diversion in favour of the assailants, and the powder in the mines was getting damp during this delay.

Sir Colin Campbell, although he might have slept in a house, passed the night in the open air, "from sheer love of doing exactly what the troops did," says the gallant Bourchier. Early on the 16th the guns and infantry, except the Sikhs, were withdrawn from the left, and the columns were formed to attack the enemy's position. This consisted of the Secunderbagh across the canal, and near to the Goomtee. Sweeping to the right, the troops moved on, and about mid-day reached the front of the enemy's lines. The Secunderbagh was surrounded by a high wall, loopholed on all sides, and flanked by towers. Within was a house of two stories. Thus the enemy showed a triple line of muskets. The gates were barricaded. Opposite the south side - that is, opposite our left - was a serai, and on either flank were clusters of native houses. The whole formed a formidable front, as each group of buildings was supported by another. Nevertheless, the exterior defences were rapidly carried. The guns dashed up under a cross fire and opened on the villages, and the infantry, in open order, closing with the defenders, expelled them. The bulk of the leading brigade then turned upon the Secunderbagh, while the skirmishers stretched away to the left, sweeping the foe before them, and seizing each post of vantage. In the meantime two 18-pounders had been engaged breaching the main wall of the garden. They had broken down a part of the wall, a small hole through which three or four men could enter abreast.

Sir Colin thought his men could carry it, and he started the 93rd and 53rd and 4th Punjabees at the place. They bounded in with a cheer. The houses and the garden were full of Sepoys. Four regiments, upwards of 3,000 men, were caught in this trap. Burning with rage, our troops plied the bayonet with such good will that the enclosure, 120 yards square, became a mere pile of carcases. Nearly 3,000 were slain in that place. "There never was a bolder feat of arms," wrote Sir Colin; and rarely, perhaps never, such a horrible slaughter. Still on went the column. The work was not over. Several strong places intervened between the assailants and their friends inside. A little farther on was the Shah Nujeef. This is a domed mosque, says Sir Colin's report, with a garden. The walls of the enclosure were pierced by a double tier of loopholes, the entrance was covered with traverses, the top crowned by a parapet. The enemy defended it with great resolution. Guns were brought up and opened, with the hope of making a breach. Two hours passed and the shot produced no effect on the massive walls. Then Peel brought up a 24-pounder. It was dragged up by the sailors and the men of the 93rd, and with its muzzle almost touching the wall, it was fired. " The dust and smoke," writes Mr. Gubbins, " were so great that it was almost impossible to see what was the effect of this cannonade, unexampled, except in naval warfare. A breach was made in the outer wall, but there was yet an inner wall, which seemed to present a serious obstacle; and the enemy from the elevated terrace still maintained a fire of musketry, which could not be effectually kept down by the rifles of the 93rd. There was a tree standing at the corner of the Shah Nujeef, close to the building, and at this juncture, Captain Peel offered the Victoria Cross to any of his men who would climb it. Three men immediately ascended the tree up to the level of the terrace, and from this position fired on the enemy. Their names are - Harrison, leading seaman, Lieutenant N. Salmon, and Lieutenant Southwell; the last named fell killed, and both the others were wounded. By this time, however, the enemy, alarmed by the progress of the attack, began to desert the place. Their fire slackened, the Highlanders rushed in at the breach, and the Shah Nujeef was taken." Here was another feat of arms. " Captain Peel," says, Sir Colin, " led up his guns, with extraordinary gallantry, within a few yards of the building, to batter the massive stone walls. The withering fire of the Highlanders effectually covered the naval brigade from great loss. But it was an action almost unexampled in war; Captain Peel behaved very much as if he had been laying the Shannon alongside an enemy's frigate." This terminated the operations of the day. Indeed, the closing scenes were acted in darkness, illumined only by the fire of the guns, the rockets, and the shells. Thus far had Sir Colin penetrated towards the Chutter Munzil. Between him and it lay the Motee Munzil, to reach which he must come under the guns and musketry of the Kaiserbagh. During this contest outside Havelock and Outram had not been idle. By dint of mine and battery they had so wrought that, not only had they cleared a part of the road between them and their friends, but had materially assisted in engaging the Kaiserbagh and other buildings full of men and guns. They had made a desperate sortie, and wrought a passage by powder, bayonet, and torch. From the top of the Chutter Munzil the whole scene - domes, minarets, noble palaces, groves and gardens, all alive with combatants, and mantled in smoke - was visible, and there, aloft, Outram and others, under fire from the other side of the Goomtee, watched the progress of Sir Colin, till night fell.

The next day the first step of Sir Colin Campbell was to make his left rear and line of communications more secure, and with that view he caused a body of troops to occupy a large building near the canal, called Banks's House, and a series of bungalows on the south of the lanes leading to the Delkoosha Park. When this was accomplished, he turned his attention to the Mess House of the 32nd, and the Observatory, which stood on the flank of his road into the Residency. Determined to use his guns as much as possible, Sir Colin directed them upon the Mess House, while Outram caused Eyre's Battery in our lines to join in the fire. Then the place was stormed, and found to have been abandoned; but the fire from the Observatory was so heavy, that the flag of the 90th, planted by Captain Wolseley, was twice shot away. Wherefore the troops turned furiously upon the Observatory, drove out the enemy, and set it on fire. Only the Motee Munzil remained, and the obstacles here offered were soon overcome. Pouring into this palace under fire from the Kaiserbagh, the troops rapidly filled it; the sappers broke through into other buildings, and the lines of the Residency were won. Forth from them came Lieutenant Moorsom, of the 52nd, ever foremost, and greeted the army of rescue. The troops emerge, Outram and Havelock issue forth, and Sir Colin has the "inexpressible gratification" of greeting them before the fighting is quite at an end. Thus the relief of the besieged garrison was accomplished, and great was the rejoicing among the battered walls, and broken minarets, and gorgeous palaces of Lucknow.

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Pictures for Chapter XLVI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 4

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Brigadier Inglis
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