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Chapter XLIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8


Sir Colin Campbell and Lord Canning - Oude or Rohilcund? - Lord Canning insists on the Capture of Lucknow - Combat at Shumshabad - The Army moves from Futtehghur to Cawnpore - Prepares to invade Oude - Waiting for Jung Bahadoor - Franks on the Goomtee - His Victories - Sir Colin crosses into Oude - Defences of Lucknow - How Sir Colin dealt with them - Seizes the Delkoosha - Franks arrives - Outram crosses the Goomtee, and takes the Rebel lines in reverse - Capture of the Martinière and of the Rebel first line - Arrival of Jung Bahadoor - Outram's Successes - Capture of the Begum Kothie - Death of Hodson - Capture of the Kaiserbagh - Sack of the Palaces - The Enemy driven out of Lucknow - Lord Canning's Proclamation - Campaign Continued - Walpole's March - Sir Colin moves on Rohilcund by Cawnpore and Futtehghur - Marches on Bareilly - Battle of the 5th of May - The Moulvie Attacks Shahjehanpore - Jones sent to relieve it - Sir Colin returns to Futtehghur - End of the Campaign.
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We left the Commander-in-Chief encamped at Futtehghur in the beginning of January, 1858. Here he remained for the rest of the month; his troops engaged in watching the enemy on the opposite shore of the Ganges, and himself occupied in an important correspondence with Lord Canning with regard to the next step in the war. The problem to be solved was whether the army, now augmenting daily, should be used against Lucknow or Bareilly, whether Oude or Rohilcund should be first conquered. It was an exceedingly difficult question. The whole country from the mountains to the Ganges as far as Allahabad swarmed with enemies. The two centres were Bareilly in Rohilcund and Lucknow in Oude. In both there was some form of government - that is, natives had set themselves up as rulers. The larger number and the better forces were in Oude; the more active and threatening, so far as the upper and central parts of the Doab were concerned, the districts of Meerut and Saharunpore, were in Rohilcund. To crush the latter first, and thus remove all chance of an irruption on the great trunk road, and into any part of the country on the right bank of the Ganges, seemed to Sir Colin the wiser plan; but Lord Canning thought differently. He saw less political danger from the new-born royalty of Khan Bahadoor at Bareilly than from the resuscitated royal government at Lucknow; for one of the wives of the late king had set her son on the throne, had organised a sort of government, and was exerting every kind of pressure upon the more reluctant talookdars, like Maun Singh, to make them cast in their fortunes with hers. The Governor-General probably feared the effect upon Jung Bahadoor - now leading 9,000 of his Ghoorkas from the hills to operate in Gorruckpore - of leaving the rebels in Oude untouched, while Sir Colin cleared Rohilcund; and he may also have apprehended that an attempt would be made by Oude men to break into the fertile provinces on the left bank of the Lower Ganges. It was at best a choice of evils which lay before the soldier and the statesman; and it may be presumed that, in a military point of view, the former was right; while, from the political point of view, the balance of reason was on the side of Lord Canning. And as he had supreme authority, and did not fear responsibility, so he prevailed. Sir Colin had been too long accustomed to the soldier's first duty, obedience, to throw any obstacles in the way of the Queen's representative. Thus the campaign in Rohilcund was postponed until Lucknow had been wrested from the rebels; but, judging after the event, one is inclined to think that the soldier was right, and that the better plan would have been to clear Rohilcund, and then swoop down on Lucknow.

In the meantime Sir Colin kept a sharp watch upon parties of the enemy who were known to have assembled both above and below Futtehghur, intent on breaking into the Doab and plundering. Walpole watched the fords below and Hodson above. Adventurous parties of the Rohilcund forces crossed the Ganges at Soorajpore, about twenty miles up the river, and a large body prepared to follow. Well informed of their movements, Sir Colin waited until they crossed, and approached near enough to be within reach. They numbered about 9,000, and came on very confidently, and, giving out that they intended to attack Furruckabad, they encamped at Shumshabad, and were fairly in the trap. Keeping his own counsel, knowing well the value of secrecy, Sir Colin, on the night of the 26th, organised a column, and placing it under the command of Adrian Hope, ordered him to attack the enemy. Hope came up with their camp at daybreak. Hodson being in advance with about 200 men, found himself in presence of a large body of rebel horse. He was escorting Remington's Battery, and as soon as the guns opened on the foe, their horsemen, old irregulars, boldly made a dash at the guns. To save them, Hodson was obliged to charge. This he did in his usual style, and beat the enemy, although they were, he says, superior to his men in number, and individually so as horsemen and swordsmen. Macdowell was mortally, and Hodson severely wounded. " It was the hardest thing of the kind," he says, " in which I was ever engaged." The guns having shaken the enemy, the 9th Lancers went in to support and disengage Hodson; and the whole line advancing, the enemy were beaten, pursued, and driven over the Ganges. Their guns and ammunition, as usual, were captured. This action ended, Sir Colin left Walpole with a small force at Futtehghur, and marched for Cawnpore. The Governor-General had come up to Allahabad, in order to be nearer the scene of action, and thither Sir Colin went to settle, in a personal interview, the more important details of the campaign. They understood each other so well that they worked in harmony throughout the whole period of the war. The stories of their quarrels, current at the time, were baseless.

The result of this interview was the completion of an extensive plan for the reduction of Lucknow, and the dispersion of the armed mob who held it. Sir Colin Campbell, with the main body, 18,000 strong, with 180 guns, was to march from Cawnpore; while General Franks, with 2,500 European troops, and as many Ghoorkas from Jung Bahadoor's army, now in Gorruckpore, as he could obtain, was to move up the Goomtee. At the same time General Penny and General Chamberlain were to invade Rohilcund, while the Ghoorkas at Nynee Tal were to descend into the plains. Sir Hugh Rose also was afoot, marching from Indore upon Saugor; and General Whitlock, with a Madras force, was to move from Jubbulpore on Banda. Other columns were on the move from Bombay into Rajpootana, where our troops had not only relieved Neemuch, as already recorded, but had recovered Ajmere and Nusseerabad. In this quarter the Rajahs of Tonk and Bikaneer were our fast friends. Thus at the beginning of 1858 the numerous troops sent from England began to tell, and from all quarters the rebels and mutineers were threatened with certain destruction.

The main body under Sir Colin had been in great part pushed across the river from Cawnpore, and occupied camps on the road to Lucknow, Onao, which the reader knows, Nawabgunge, deeper into Oude, Bunnee, where there is a bridge over the Sye, Jellalabad, a fort near the Alumbagh, and finally the Alumbagh itself, where Outram had held his own so long in front of the insurgent army. Sir Colin was ready to march early in February; but he had to wait, until his patience was quite exhausted, for the march of Jung Bahadoor up the Goomtee. Lord Canning hoped to produce a great moral effect upon the mind of the Hindoos by showing them so stout a Hindoo us Jung Bahadoor as his ally. But the Nepaul chief moved slowly. He did not bring with him the men of the fighting caste of Nepaul. He brought the scum of the hills, and these worthies plundered every rood of ground over which they passed. Lord Canning had no sooner got them from the hills than he wished them back again; but as they were there, and as their chief was burning for military distinction, he was obliged to let them go on, and even to stay the march of his own Commander-in- Chief, lest Lucknow should be taken without the aid of the Nepaulese. Therefore Sir Colin made all his arrangements for moving on Lucknow, and so disposed his troops that he could concentrate them at the Alumbagh, as soon as it was plain that Jung Bahadoor was near at hand, or that he could be stayed for no longer.

In the meantime Brigadier General Franks, who had been warring successfully near Allahabad and Jounpore, had collected a column 5,700 strong, 2,000 of whom were Europeans, the rest being Ghoorkas, with twenty-four guns at Sigramow on the road from Benares to Lucknow. His orders were to march up the right bank of the Goomtee, and arrive within one march of Lucknow by the 1st of March. The population were hostile; there Were 30,000 men in arms on the line of operations; the roads were in many places unbridged, in others almost impassable; the distance to be traversed was about 130 miles. On the 18th Franks was at Sigramow. In his front were two bodies of the enemy, 8,000 at Chanda and 10,000 more eight miles distant. General Franks designed to beat them in detail. He therefore gave out that he should march on the 20th. The rebel chief ordered his troops to concentrate on the 19th. But Franks moved on the 19th himself; before noon he had beaten the 8,000 at Chanda; and resting his men, turned at eventide on the 10,000 coming up on his left flank, and routed them also. The enemy were thus skilfully driven off the road to Lucknow with a loss on our side of only eleven men; and seizing the moment, Franks pushed his column, with its immense baggage train, through the defile of Budhayan, without the loss of a cart or a man. This was a fine piece of work.

The enemy, making a wide detour - which, as Franks was so encumbered, he was unable to do- - reappeared on the Lucknow road two miles beyond Sultanpore. Here were collected 25,000 men, of whom 1,100 were horse and 5,000 Sepoys, with 25 guns. They occupied a compact position, showing a line a mile and a half long, the front being covered by a ravine, the left resting on the Goomtee and the right on a serai. The road to Lucknow ran through the position at right angles, and was commanded by five heavy guns at the point where it crossed the ravine. There were six guns on the right, the remaining fourteen being distributed along the front. Franks marched from Budhayan on the 23rd; and, feeling the enemy, he approached him in order of battle, brought up his troops in columns, the British Brigade in front, the Ghoorkas in rear, and making a show of assaulting the position in front, rode up with his cavalry, sixty horse, and a few score riflemen, and drove the enemy's pickets over the ravine. His design was to impress the enemy with the belief that he was about to assault their centre; and to prevent them from discovering his real intentions, he kept the horsemen close to the ravine. Riding off to the left, he hoped to find a point where he could cross the Nullah, and turn their right. This he found. Then swiftly and secretly marching the British Brigade to the left, while he kept the Ghoorkas on the road, he turned the enemy's right so completely that he forced his way on to the Lucknow road, captured the guns, and pushed the enemy into the ravine. The Ghoorkas charged upon the front, and finished the action. By these skilful movements, showing real soldiership, Franks, at the cost of eleven men, turned the enemy's position, killed and wounded 1,800 men, dispersed an army, and captured twenty-one guns. This was a great exploit. The fruit of it was an open road to Lucknow, by which he marched to join Sir Colin Campbell.

That chief had become impatient of further delay. He knew that Jung Bahadoor was on the Gogra on the 24th, and that Franks had thrashed the enemy on the 23rd; and as he knew Franks would be up to time, and as he could do without Jung, he determined to cross into Oude. The troops, as we have said, were in camp on the road to Lucknow. The enemy, growing suspicious of all these preparations, resolved to assume the offensive. The Sepoys, horse and foot, came out of Lucknow, and assaulted Outram's camp on several occasions. They had promised the Queen mother to drive them away, and no doubt they did their best. But sometimes they only came within grape or musket range, fired a little, and ran away.. At others they showed more daring, approached closer in front and on both flanks; brought up scaling ladders wherewith to storm the fort; but could not stand the grape fired at 200 yards. In the last attack they had been allowed to come nearer, as we had some cavalry; then they were pounded with grape, and the Military Train (used as cavalry) and Hodson's Horse were let loose, and did great execution. On the 27th the headquarters crossed the Ganges, and on the 1st Sir Colin was at Buntera, ready for work. All the-men were "drawn together. The engineering preparations were complete. A cask-bridge had been made, whereon to cross the Goomtee. The heavy guns were up. Franks was close at hand, and Jung Bahadoor over the Gogra. The drama was about to begin.

Lucknow was defended by about 130,000 men of all sorts, from the regular Sepoy to the matchlock man following his chief; from the matchlock man to the Paisie with his bow and arrows. It was against this vast force, holding strong entrenchments, and having a city at its back full of defensible buildings, that Sir Colin had to contend, and which he had to overcome.

Leaving his heavy guns at Buntera, Sir Colin, on the 2nd, marched, with a strong force of all arms, to seize the Delkoosha palace and park, in order that he might make this the base of his operations against the city. He took the post with little resistance from the enemy, and established his head-quarters at Bibiapore, on the Goomtee, east of the park. On the 3rd the siege train arrived, and on the morning of the 4th General Franks marched in and joined the grand army. The same evening the siege began.

The reader will remember that the east front of Lucknow is covered by a deep canal, that this canal runs into the Goomtee, and that the road from Alumbagh, or the Cawnpore Road, crosses it at the Charbagh Bridge, and goes through the city to the Residency. Havelock, it also will be remembered, entered the city by storming this bridge; and Campbell, in his first attack, struck the canal lower down, where it was then dry, having been dammed up near the bridge. Between the Cawnpore road and the Goomtee stand all the great buildings, which served as forts for the defenders. As Have- lock and Campbell had both entered the city from the east side, the enemy expected that Sir Colin would repeat the movement; therefore, the waters had again been allowed to flow in the canal. A line of earthworks, well flanked at intervals with round bastions, was thrown up on the inner bank of the canal, from the Charbagh Bridge to the Goomtee. In support of this line the enemy had manned Banks's House on the right, a mosque a little in its left rear, and behind them the Begum's Kothie - a large palace and gardens - and the Huzrut Gunge, another large building. Then came a second line. Starting from the Imambara - a temple close to the Begum's Kothie - the line of earthworks, flanked a'; intervals like the first, ran in front of the Mess House and the Motee Mahal to the river. Behind all, in support of the right, was the Kaiserbagh, the front of which was strongly entrenched. Such were the defences of the place, full of men, and abundantly supplied with guns. The advanced posts of the enemy were over the canal, the principal outpost being the Martinière, on the left front. This was a fantastic building, erected by Claude Martin, a Frenchman some time resident in Lucknow, founder of the Martinière School. It was a huge clump, of strange shape, covered all over with statues, and standing on its own grounds. On the north bank of the Goomtee the enemy occupied some of the few buildings and the suburb; -but he had no works- on that side. This was a strong position, but it had a great defect, and of this defect Sir Colin Campbell took full advantage. As the enemy's entrenched line rested on the Goomtee, and as the other bank was not defended, by crossing the river Sir Colin saw that he could take each of the enemy's lines in reverse, and so render them untenable. He wished to capture the place with as little loss as possible, and to make his artillery do the work. Therefore he gave Outram a strong force of all arms, and directed him to cross the Goomtee at Bibiapore, march up the left bank, establish his batteries, and force the enemy out of his lines.

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Pictures for Chapter XLIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8

British troops approaching Agra
British troops approaching Agra >>>>

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