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Chapter XLIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 3


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Such was the capture and sack of the Kaiserbagh. Rarely had such a scene of plunder been before, and many grew rich out of the "loot." In a military point of view, the capture of this palace was a piece of great good fortune, as it virtually gave us the command of the city. There were now only the houses and buildings towards the old Residency; and with Outram on their flank, they could easily be taken, and taken at leisure.

Yet, the action on the 13th might have been more successful. When the Kaiserbagh fell, the troops on the right swept forward from the Shah Nujeef nearly up to the old Residency, and the 20th Foot caught a host of Sepoys in the Engine-house, and slew nearly every man. At this time Sir James Outram was ready to burst across the iron bridge. His column was prepared, his men were eager. Lieutenant Wynne, with some sappers, had gallantly thrown down the breastwork across the end of the bridge - a service which won for him the Victoria cross. But Outram did not advance. His orders were precise, and he construed them literally. He was to advance; but on the condition that he could do so without the loss of a single man. Seeing a gun bearing down the long street which, led to the bridge, a gun steadily fired, Outram knew that if he charged across, he must lose at least one man, perhaps many. He obeyed the conditional order, and the Sepoys escaped. But had he crossed at the moment the Kaiserbagh fell, he must have inflicted a terrible loss upon the enemy, though suffering some loss himself.

Virtually Lucknow was now taken, but much still remained to be done. The troops rested on the 14th, except the gunners, who were rarely or never quiet. On the 15th Sir James Outram, leaving a force near the iron bridge, crossed the Goomtee, and a general attack was made on the buildings west of the Kaiserbagh. A great deal of irregular fighting ensued, but the enemy stood nowhere. Outram's column worked up through the old battered Residency to the iron bridge; and as the enemy fled in disorder over the stone bridge higher up, our guns on the iron bridge kept up a heavy fire. That night we occupied the Muchee Bowun, and by the 18th every place was captured, except the Moosabagh, out in the country; the city itself was occupied, and direct communication established with the Alumbagh. Prize agent, had now been appointed to secure the plunder; but order was not restored, and every street and house had its horrible scenes. The place was full of powder; our men were careless, and explosions were frequent, in one of which Captain Clark, Lieutenant Brownlow, and thirty men were killed. On the 19th a concerted attack was made on the Moosabagh. Here were the resolute Moulvie, stout and cunning; the courageous and undaunted Begum, who had been the soul of the defence, her cowardly paramour Munnoo Khan, her son, the titular King of Oude, and some 8,000 men. The object was to catch them, but the combination failed. Somehow the cavalry sent out to cut off the fugitives lost their way. The enemy stayed just long enough to see the approach of the infantry and guns; then their hearts failed them, and they fled. There was one more desperate skirmish in the city with a band of budmashes; that was the last fight, and the capital of Oude was recovered, after being so many months in the possession of the enemy. We took 120 guns, tons of ammunition, and much treasure; and so splendidly was the work done that our loss did not exceed 700 men killed and wounded!

The Governor-General now issued a proclamation, which, after setting forth the wickedness of the rebellion, and rewarding some talookdars by granting them a hereditary right to their lands, declared that, with these exceptions, the proprietary right in the soil of Oude was confiscated to the British Government. To those who made immediate submission life and honour were promised, but nothing more. Those who had murdered Europeans were to expect no mercy. This proclamation created a great ferment in India and in England. It was held to be monstrous that Lord Canning should confiscate a province. Sir James Outram resigned rather than carry out the scheme; and Mr. Montgomery, who succeeded him, obtained full permission to deal with each case on its merits. In England, Lord Ellenborough, then at the Board of Control, was so angry that he wrote a most insolent dispatch to Lord Canning, on mere newspaper report; and, not satisfied with this, he published it before he posted the document to Lord Canning. It was an uncourteous and an ungentlemanly act; and Lord Ellenborough had to resign his seat to save the Derby Cabinet from censure. The fact is the proclamation was completely misunderstood. The confiscation was not permanent deprivation. It enabled the Government to take a position in Oude calculated to restore men to their real rights - to reward the faithful and punish the wrong-doers; and, above all, under the settlement made by Mr. Montgomery, and his successor, Mr. Wingfield, all those proprietors held from the Crown. In the end the measure worked well, and was essentially just and politic; and, in U long dispatch, Lord Canning fully refuted the melodramatic impertinences of Lord Ellenborough.

But in the spring of 1858, not only Oude but Rohilcund had to be reconquered. For a time, the proclamation was a dead letter; the army had still to be employed; and in April, Sir Colin, after an interview with Lord Canning at Allahabad, broke up his force and proceeded to the work of conquest. General Walpole started, on the 7th, with a fine brigade towards Rohilcund. Sir Edward Lugard, with another, set out eastward towards Gorruckpore, where Koer Singh and a host of enemies were afoot. A garrison was left in Lucknow, which was to be strongly fortified, and the remaining troops marched for Cawnpore on the 13th, to move up the Doab and enter Rohilcund from Futtehghur.

The plan of campaign now was this: Sir Colin was to effect a junction with Walpole on the Ramgunge, opposite Futtehghur, and thence march on Bareilly by Shahjehanpore; while General Penny, with a brigade collected at Roorkee, and Brigadier Jones, from Moradabad, crossed the Ganges, and also made for Bareilly. Walpole marched his column by Sundeela. Near Rhodamow he came upon a mud fort in the jungle, occupied by a force under Nirput Singh. These mud forts are strong defensive posts; a high embankment and a deep ditch make them formidable. The place was reconnoitred, and the cavalry reported that it could be easily assailed in the rear; but Walpole thought he could take it by rushing at the front. He did not even use his heavy guns, but sent the 42nd and 93rd against the rampart. They were driven back by the fire of the enemy. Many men fell killed and wounded; but the greatest loss was Adrian Hope, the pride of his brigade. The Highlanders were on the verge of mutiny, and the officers were savage with this unskilful mode of warfare. In the night Nirput Singh, knowing his own weakness, ran away, and then it was seen how easily the place might have been taken. Walpole marched on towards the Ramgunge. On his way he heard that a body of the enemy were guarding a bridge of boats over that stream; and dashing on with cavalry and guns, he surprised and routed them with heavy loss. Sir Cohn, marching by Cawnpore and Futtehghur, crossed the Ganges on the 27th, and joined Walpole at Tingree. In the meantime, that gallant sailor and hope of the British navy, Sir William Peel, had died of small-pox at Cawnpore. Weakened by a wound at Lucknow, he could not bear up against the fatal disease; and, after a brilliant career, he died in his bed, deplored by all his countrymen. Henry Lawrence, Nicholson, Hodson, Peel - these were the first of men; perhaps the greatest losses we suffered in India.

Sir Colin entered Shahjehanpore on the 30th of April, without meeting any resistance. Here he learned that Penny, leading his column through Budaon, misled by a civilian, who trusted to native information, got into an ambuscade and lost his life. His troops carried the position occupied by the enemy, and marched on. Jones also had made progress, and was approaching Bareilly from Moradabad. On the "2nd of May Sir Colin moved out of Shahjehanpore, leaving behind a small force with four guns to hold the gaol. He had not gone far before the energetic Moulvie, bringing a great body of all arms, fell upon Shahjehanpore; and although he failed to take it out of hand, he invested it, and put the little garrison in peril. Sir Colin got news of this, but he was then near Bareilly, and had a large army in his front whom it was necessary to fight.

Disregarding the Moulvie, and his skilful onslaught on the rear, Sir Colin pursued his march to Bareilly, where Khan Bahadoor Khan had 40,000 or 50,000 men of all arms, and forty guns. Here, in front of Bareilly, on the 5th of May he engaged the enemy. Penny's force had already joined him; Brigadier Jones was on the other side of the city. While Sir Colin attacked the enemy on the east, J ones broke into the place from the west. The enemy were defeated, but managed to escape in a disordered and broken state, some flying for the Ganges and some for Oude. During this action, a body of Ghazees - fanatic Moslems - made a dash on the 93rd and 42nd. They were powerful men with grizzly beards; they wore green turbans, and came on, brandishing their sabres with their heads down behind their shields. Sir Colin was near the Highlanders, but the Ghazees came on so rapidly that he had only time to call on his men to stand firm, and bayonet them as they came on, before the dare-devils were in their midst. The men fired, and then used the bayonet, after knocking their foes down. A number of them got round the flank of the 42nd, dragged Colonel Cameron from his horse, and cut General Walpole over the head. Both were saved by the Highlanders. "Sir Colin had a narrow escape. As he was riding from one company to another, his eye caught that of a quasi-dead Ghazee, who was lying, tulwar in hand, just before him. The chief guessed the ruse in a moment. ' Bayonet that man! ' he called to a soldier. The Highlander made a thrust at him, but the point would not enter the thick cotton quilting of the Ghazee's tunic; and the dead man was rising to his legs, when a Sikh, who happened to be near, with a whirling stroke of his sabre, cut off the Ghazee's head at one blow, as if it had been the bulb of a poppy!" The enemy's troopers also got round the rear, and, charging the baggage and ambulances, did considerable mischief before they were driven off. We lost nearly as many men from apoplexy as from the fire of the enemy.

But Bareilly was captured, and the enemy dispersed. Sir Colin's first thought was for the safety of Shahjehanpore. He sent off Brigadier Jones with his brigade to relieve Colonel Hale; and, having established a garrison in Bareilly, followed himself. Jones easily drove off the Moulvie's troops on the 11th, and covered the place. Sir Colin himself marched from Bareilly on the 15th. Arriving at Shahjehanpore on the 18th, he marched through the town, and drew up on the eastern side. There the Moulvie had made a demonstration with an immense force of horsemen. The action, however, was almost wholly carried on by the artillery. When the infantry were deployed and developed, the enemy retired. Sir Colin now handed the army over to the command of Brigadier John Jones, and with a weak escort set off suddenly for Futtehghur. Jones marched on Mohumdee, the last stronghold of the rebels on the eastern frontier of Rohilcund; but the enemy would not wait for him. They evacuated the place, and rode off. Thus the Moulvie and the Begum escaped once more. This ended the campaign for the summer in Oude and Rohilcund. While the Commander-in-Chief had been thus engaged, Sir Hope Grant, with a flying column from Lucknow, had scoured the country towards Fyzabad, and had surprised and defeated the enemy at Nawabgunge. Sir Edward Lugard had relieved Azimghur, and, following up Koer Singh, had passed the Ganges, driven the valiant old chief into the jungle, and restored confidence in Behar. The troops were put under cover as far as possible, but there was still considerable fighting at different points in the Doab, and north and south of Allahabad; while Colonel Bowcroft, with some infantry, and Sotheby's naval brigade, were keeping down the rebel element on the north of Gorruckpore, and facilitating the march of Jung Bahadoor and his plunder back to the mountains of Nepaul.

Such, at the end of May, was the state of things in the valley of the Ganges. The Doab, though not free from incursions, had been made dangerous for our enemies, and tolerably secure; the enemy had no footing therein. Lucknow had been re-captured; Rohilcund had been swept clear of foes; the country round Meerut and Delhi contained no enemies in any force; Gorruckpore and Azimghur were occupied in strength; Behar had been relieved from a daring, mischievous, and skilful leader, who, if he had been younger, might have been a head to the rebellion. Yet during this very time, when we were obtaining successes every day, two more native regiments mutinied, and thrice Calcutta was wild with panic! The regiments were pursued and cut up chiefly by the energy of the planters, and Calcutta regained its equanimity. But we must now turn to Central India, and trace the brilliant path of Hugh Rose.

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British troops approaching Agra
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