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Proceedings in the Punjab


Proceedings in the Punjab - The Trial of the King of Delhi; his Guilt proved; his Sentence - Execution of the Rajah of Bullubghur and Nawab of Jhujjur - The Naval Brigade in Gorruckpore - Hope Grant's Summer Campaign in Oude - Defeats the Begum at Nawabgunge - Succours Maun Singh - Horsford at Sultanpore - The last Rebels in Oude.
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While Campbell had been capturing Lucknow and Bareilly, and Rose had marched and fought from Indore to Gwalior, by way of Calpee, the great force which held down the north-west, and made the Punjab a tower of strength, had not ceased to exert itself for the weal of the empire. Mr. Montgomery had issued an order in the very midst of our troubles, declaring that the system of caste could no longer be permitted to rule in our service; that soldiers and Government servants should be entertained irrespective of class, caste, or creed, and inviting native Christians to seek our service, promising to appoint those who were properly qualified. This was a great step; not taken before it was needed. Moreover, the Punjab Government determined that all loyal natives who had suffered in consequence of the acts of mutineers should be compensated by contributions levied in the offending districts - thus rewarding the faithful at the expense of the malcontents. Then, in the thick of the great struggle, Sir John Lawrence, as we have seen, raised a vast army in the Punjab, increasing his forces from 19,000 to 46,000; and affording invaluable aid to Sir Colin Campbell from the fall of Delhi onwards. More than this: in the summer of 1858 he was able to organise a plan for relieving himself of the huge army of disarmed Sepoys. He separated the faithful from the faithless. He sent off all the latter to their homes, passing them on in small batches of twenty a day, under escort, until they reached their native states, and then turned them adrift. Only two regiments, those at Mooltan, resisted, and they met with terrible punishment. Three regiments and one wing of a fourth were re-armed. Another body, faithful men from several regiments, was formed into a new regiment, to be known in future as the Wuffadar Pultun, or Faithful Regiment; while the 21st, which had been armed all along, which had resisted every appeal from its fellows, and the Khelat-i-Ghilies, were all that remained untouched in any way of the 41,000 Bengal Sepoys who in May, 1857, were in the Punjab and the Upper Doab!

During the spring of 1858 the King of Delhi had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to banishment. It was clearly proved that he was guilty of rebellion and murder. The rebellion was patent: he had proclaimed himself Emperor of India. The murders were proved: it was shown that he gave express permission for the massacre of the forty-nine women and children whom ho had in confinement, and that one of his sons took an active part in the foul work. The proof was read out of the royal diary: - "The king held his court in the hall of audience; forty-nine English were prisoners,, and the army demanded that they should be given over to them for slaughter. The king delivered them up, saying - 'The army may do as they please,' and the prisoners were consequently put to the sword." The old man was fairly tried; had not Hodson, with the sanction of General Wilson, promised him life, he would have been hanged. As it was, he was banished to Burmah. Thus Mohamed Bahadoor Shah, the last of the Moguls, terminated the dynasty of Timour; and, in the words of the Advocate-General, he was degraded by his crimes to a felon, and the long glories of a dynasty were effaced in a day.

Before the trial of the king had come to an end, the rebel Nawab of Jhujjur and the rebel Rajah of Bullubghur had been hanged; both having been proved to be accomplices of the king, and participators in the rebellion. At the same time the Maharajah of Puttiala, the Rajahs of Jheend, Nabha, and Kuppoorthulla - all of whom had given unhesitating aid in men, money, and provisions, and who had taken the field in person - were amply rewarded by an increase of dignity and territory. Besides these, several minor chiefs in the same district also received acknowledgments for their services. Thus, justice and political equity and expediency were alike satisfied. We showed those chiefs that in trusting to us they trusted not only to the strong, but to the just. By able and judicious measures Sir John Lawrence rapidly organised the territories over which he exercised unquestioned sway, and turned all the strength at his disposal to the promotion of the imperial cause.

In another quarter the work to be done was of a different kind. The presence of such large masses of rebels in Oude led to great disturbance on the eastern frontier of that country. The marches and battles of Franks, and the progress of Jung Bahadoor had not crushed opposition, nor had the capture of Lucknow reduced Oude. There were thousands of enemies on both banks of the Gogra, and between the Gogra and the Gunduck. It was in this extensive district that Colonel Rowcroft, with a small force of European and Ghoorka infantry, and Sotheby's Naval Brigade, chiefly sailors of the Pearl, and a mere handful of Bengal yeomanry cavalry, made head against an enemy who outnumbered them ten to one. It was to their exertions, aided by detachments from Dinapore, that Sarun was saved from invasion, and that the rebels could gain no footing in Azimghur and Gorruckpore. Sometimes acting together; sometimes working in detachments; now repelling with heavy loss an attack; now beating up the enemy s quarters and shattering his masses, this energetic and much-enduring force did most admirable services but the space at our disposal does not permit of details. Throughout the year, and with unvarying fortune, our soldiers and sailors continued the combat, shielding the eastern provinces of Bengal, north of the Ganges.

During the hot months, also, Sir Hope Grant, justly styled indefatigable, had moved about Oude with a flying column, to prevent the enemy from establishing himself too strongly at any point. In the earlier months he was actively engaged between the Ganges and the Goomtee. The weather was intensely hot, the losses from sun strokes were greater than those inflicted by the enemy, the sufferings of the troops were intense; but the moral effect of those trying marches was great, and proved to the natives that the heat of their country would not protect them. In June Sir Hope returned to Lucknow, from one of these expeditions. He had received information that the Begum had collected an army at Nawabgunge Bara Bankee, the place selected for a rendezvous by the Oude regiments at the outbreak of the mutiny, and whence they advanced upon Chinhut, and finally to Lucknow. Now Sir Hope Grant determined to attack them. He, also, like Sir Henry Lawrence, marched upon Chinhut; but under how different circumstances! Sir Henry had a weak and discontented force, composed chiefly of native troops, who played him false. Sir Hope Grant was at the head of a powerful army, not indeed as to numbers, but powerful because it was composed of tried troops, British and Punjabee. He had with him about 4,000 men and eighteen guns. The enemy mustered 20,000 men, and an unknown quantity of guns. He was posted behind a streamlet near Nawabgunge, on the road to Fyzabad, and his artillery commanded the point of passage. Sir Hope Grant did not hesitate to attack the enemy, in spite of his numerical superiority. He carried the bridge over the stream in the teeth of the guns, with little loss, and assailed the centre of the position. " At one time," says a participator in the combat, " our small force was completely surrounded, and the fight raged in every direction." But the only serious opposition encountered was on a hill, where a body of fanatics gathered round a green flag. This was charged by two companies of the Rifles; and for a moment there was a confused and hand to hand fight. In the end the banner went down and the fanatics fled. The guns were captured, and the 7th Hussars, charging home, slew many scores. The enemy was routed from the field with the loss of 600 killed. The action produced a great moral effect in the country north of the Goomtee. The cause of the Oude rebels had grown desperate. They had lost their ablest leader, the famous Moulvie, who fell in a fight before a contemptible mud fort; and now, their largest force beaten at Nawabgunge, they began to see that they had little, indeed no, hope of winning the game. Yet, with a good deal of fortitude, the Oude chiefs held out, and there was yet to be a cold weather campaign before the conquest of Oude was complete. Hope Grant marched from his camp at Nawabgunge in July to Fyzabad, and drove off a body of the enemy who were besieging Maun Singh, the most powerful talookdar in those parts, and •who now unhesitatingly rallied to our side. From Fyzabad he detached Brigadier Horsford, an excellent soldier, to Sultanpore, where he defeated the enemy; and, being reinforced by Grant himself, drove him from all his works, and secured that part of the country. Thus the summer campaign ended. There were only two Oude armies of any strength at large. The Begum was on the north-east of the Gogra, between that river and the Baptee; and Bainie Madho, of Amethie, held Boy Bareilly and the country around south of the Goomtee, and between that river and the Sye. The Begum had an open line of retreat to the hills. Bainie Madho was supposed to be surrounded by our posts. When these two were defeated Oude would be again in our possession.

British Columbia - showing the extend of the Gold Regions, and the route from Vancouver Island to the Diggings.


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Pictures for Proceedings in the Punjab

Capture of rebel guns by the cavalry of British brigade
Capture of rebel guns by the cavalry of British brigade >>>>

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