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Chapter XLVII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2


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The next day the troops marched to Khasgunge, Hodson leading, and on the 16th pushed on to Suhawun. Here they heard that the enemy had rallied at Puttiala, where they had entrenched themselves, resolved to fight. On the 17th the column moved out, and the advanced guard under Hodson found the enemy in position in front of a fortified village, his right resting on a ravine, his centre across the road, covered by slight entrenchments, and his left " in the air," as the military phrase is, resting on nothing, and entirely dependent on a mass of cavalry for protection. Colonel Seaton at once determined to attack the left. Our infantry were moved out to that flank, and Hodson's Horse held in readiness. The Carabineers and four guns made a demonstration on the other wing. The artillery shook the cavalry by a smart fire of shell, and then advancing, got into position, which enabled them to rake the whole line. Hodson had followed the guns, and seeing the enemy waver, called on his men to charge. They willingly obeyed, dashing into the camp and through the village, and down upon the enemy flying in disorder towards Furruckabad. The cavalry pursued eight miles. They met with no resistance, and slew hundreds of the enemy. We lost but one man killed and one wounded. Our officers felt pity for the poor wretches duty compelled them to destroy. And well they might. The enemy were country folk, ignorant and misled, with no heart in the cause, and no discipline. We took that day fourteen guns and all the ammunition. The leader of the beaten army had fled at the first sound of our guns.

After halting three days at Puttiala, the column, having thus effectually scared the enemy, returned to Gungaree, to cross the Kalee Nuddee there, and then striking across country, fell into the trunk road again at Etah. The Rajah of Mynpoorie had collected a force wherewith to dispute the road, and Seaton bent his steps towards him. There on the 27th he attacked the rajah and his men, and routed him out of hand, taking six guns, and following the fugitives for many miles. Thus the road down the Doab was cleared by Seaton's column, and the convoys from Agra and Allyghur began to move down towards Cawnpore. Seaton was made a brigadier, and elevated to the dignity of Knight Commander of the Bath.

In the meantime Brigadier Walpole, with a small column, had marched from Cawnpore on the 18th of December, had cleared the left bank of the Jumna, and reached Etawah on the 29th. Sir Colin Campbell, with the main body, had moved up from Cawnpore towards Futtehghur. On the 29th news reached the camp of Seaton, at Mynpoorie, that Campbell was at Goorsaigunge, about thirty-eight miles distant, and Hodson at once volunteered to ride over, and open communication between the two columns. On the 30th, accompanied by Macdowell and seventy-five of his Horse, he started. Halting at Bewar to feed, he left fifty men there, and pushed on with the rest to Chibberamow. Here he left the remaining twenty-five, and with Macdowell rode off for the camp of the chief. But when he arrived at Goorsaigunge, he found that the camp was fifteen miles farther off. Nevertheless thither he went, and there he found Sir Colin, who made him heartily welcome. After dinner, Hodson and his friend set off on their long ride, fifty-four miles. A few miles short of Chibberamow, where part of the escort had been left, a native stopped them and related how the enemy had swooped down on Chibberamow, and slain or driven off all the troopers. "This," says the gallant Macdowell, "was pleasant news - twenty miles from the Commander-in-Chiefs camp, thirty from our own - time, midnight; scene, an open road; dramatispersoncey two officers armed with swords; and revolvers, and a howling enemy supposed to be close at hand. We deliberated what we should do, and Hodson decided we should ride on at all risks. ' At the worst,' he said, ' we can gallop back, but we'll try and push through.' The native came with us, and we started. I have seen a few adventures in my time, but must confess this was the most trying one I had ever engaged in. It was a piercingly cold night, with a bright moon and a wintry sky, and a cold wind every now and then sweeping by, and chilling us to the very marrow. Taking our horses off the hard road on to the side where it was soft, so that the noise of their footfalls could be less distinctly heard, we silently went on our way, anxiously listening for every sound that fell upon our ears, and straining our sight to see if, behind the dark trees dotted along the road, we could discern the forms of the enemy, waiting in ambush to seize us. It was indeed an anxious time. We proceeded till close to Chibberamow. ' They are there,' said our guide, in a whisper, pointing to a garden in a clump of trees to our right front. Distinctly he heard a faint hum in the distance - whether it was the enemy, or whether our imagination conjured up the; sound, I know not. We slowly and silently passed through the village, in the main street of which we saw the dead body of one of our men lying stark and stiff and ghastly in the moonlight; and on emerging from the other side dismissed our faithful guide, with directions to come to our camp, and then, putting spurs to our horses, we galloped for the dear life to Bewar, breathing more freely as every stride bore us away from the danger now happily past. We reached Bewar at about two o'clock a.m., and found a party of our men sent out to look for us. Our troopers had ridden in to say they had been attacked and driven back, and that we had gone on alone, and all concluded we must fall into the hands of the enemy. We flung ourselves down on charpoys and slept till daylight, when our column marched in, and we received the hearty congratulations of all on our escape." This was a daring feat, and such feats made Hodson famous among all soldiers, and adored by his own. The enemy they had escaped consisted of a force driven by Walpole out of Etawah. They had seen the troopers ride in, and thinking they were an advanced guard, had made off; but on learning the smallness of the force they had returned, and snapped them up. Seaton now brought down his convoy, Walpole came in from Etawah, passing Mynpoorie, and overtaking Seaton at Bewar on the 3rd of January. That day Sir Colin had reached the Kalee Nuddee. His engineers were engaged in repairing the suspension bridge, when the Nawab of Futtehghur brought up all his force and attached the working party. "1'hus assailed, Sir Colin fell upon him, and in a short time routed him off the field, and took all his guns. The same day he moved close up to Futtehghur. The nawab blew up his palace, and escaped into Oude; but Nazir Ali Khan, chief instigator of the massacres which had taken place there, was captured and hanged. The fort had been abandoned, and thus was Futtehghur recoveredĽ It was an important place. Here was the depot of the; Gun Carriage Agency, and here were stores of clothing. Strange to say, Sir Colin found the invaluable stock of timber of the former, and all the bales of clothing, untouched! Seaton and Walpole, having come in, headquarters were established at Futtehghur.

Here we will leave the Commander-in-Chief meditating important schemes, while we lead the reader into fresh fields, and bring up a long arrear in our narrative, to pave the way for the splendid campaign of Sir Hugh Rose in the burning plains of Central India.

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Pictures for Chapter XLVII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2


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