Official Report of the Defence of Lakhnao (vide Chapter II. Book IX.).
“FROM BRIGADIER INGLIS, Commanding Garrison of Lakhnao, TO THE SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT MILITARY DEPARTMENT, Calcutta.
Dated, “Lakhnao, 26th September, 1857.
“SIR, – In consequence of the very deeply-to-be-lamented death or Brigadier-General Sir H. M. Lawrence, K.C.B., late in command of the Oudh Field Force, the duty of narrating the military events which have occurred at Lakhnao since 29th June last, has devolved upon myself.
“On the evening of that day several reports reached Sir Henry Lawrence that the rebel army, in no very considerable force, would march from Chinhat (a small village about eight miles distant on the road to Faizabad) on Lakhnao on the following morning; and the late Brigadier-General therefore determined to make a strong reconnaissance in that direction, with the view, if possible, of meeting the force at a disadvantage, either at its entrance into the suburbs of the city, or at the bridge across the Gokral, which is a small stream intersecting the Faizabad road, about half-way between Lakhnao and Chinhat.
“The force destined for this service, and which was composed as follows, moved out at 6 A.M. on the morning of the 30th June:–
Artillery. – Four guns of No. – Horse Light Field Battery.
Four ditto of No. 2 Oudh Field Battery;
Two ditto of No. 3 ditto ditto ditto.
An eight-inch Howitzer.
Cavalry. – Troop of Volunteer Cavalry.
120 Troopers of Detachments belonging to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments of Oudh Irregular Cavalry.
Infantry.-300 Her Majesty’s 32nd.
150 13th Native Infantry.
60 48th Native Infantry.
20 71st Native Infantry (Sikhs).
“The troops, misled by the reports of wayfarers – who stated that there were few or no men between Lakhnao and Chinhat – proceeded somewhat further than had been originally intended, and suddenly fell in with the enemy, who had up to that time eluded the vigilance of the advance guard by concealing themselves behind a long line of trees in overwhelming numbers. The European force and the howitzer, with the native infantry, held the foe in check for some time, and had the six guns of the Oudh
Artillery been faithful, and the Sikh Cavalry shown a better front, the day would have been won in spite of an immense disparity in numbers. But the Oude artillerymen and drivers were traitors. They overturned the guns into ditches, cut the traces of their horses, and abandoned them, regardless of the remonstrances and exertions of their own officers, and of those of Sir Henry Lawrence’s staff, headed by the Brigadier-General in person, who himself drew his sword upon these rebels. Every effort to induce them to stand having proved ineffectual, the force, exposed to a vastly superior fire of artillery, and completely outflanked on both sides by an overpowering body of infantry and cavalry, which actually got into our rear, was compelled to retire with the loss of three pieces of artillery, which fell into the hands of the enemy, in consequence of the rank treachery of the Oudh gunners, and with a very grievous list of killed and wounded. The heat was dreadful, the gun ammunition was expended, and the almost total want of cavalry to protect our rear made our retreat most disastrous.
“All the officers behaved well, and the exertions of the small body of Volunteer Cavalry – only forty in number – under Captain Radcliffe, 7th Light Cavalry, were most praiseworthy. Sir Henry Lawrence subsequently conveyed his thanks to myself, who had, at his request, accompanied him upon this occasion, Colonel Case being in command of H.M.’s 32nd. He also expressed his approbation of the way in which his staff – Captain Wilson, Officiating Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General; Lieutenant James, Sub-Assistant Commissary-General; Captain Edgell, Officiating Military Secretary; and Mr. Couper, C.S., – the last of whom had acted as Sir Henry Lawrence’s A.D.C. from the commencement of the disturbances, – had conducted themselves throughout this arduous day. Sir Henry further particularly mentioned that he would bring the gallant conduct of Captain Radcliffe and of Lieutenant Bonham, of the Artillery, (who worked the howitzer successfully until incapacitated by a wound), to the prominent notice of the Government of India. The manner in which Lieutenant Birch, 71st N.I., cleared a village with a party of Sikh skirmishers, also elicited the admiration of the Brigadier-General. The conduct of Lieutenant Hardinge, who, with his handful of horse, covered the retreat of the rear-guard, was extolled by Sir Henry, who expressed his intention of mentioning the services of this gallant officer to His Lordship in Council. Lieutenant-Colonel Case, who commanded H.M.’s 32nd Regiment, was mortally wounded whilst gallantly leading on his men. The service had not a more deserving officer. The command devolved on Captain Steevens, who also received a death-wound shortly afterwards. The command then fell to Captain Mansfield, who has since died of cholera. A list of the casualties on this occasion accompanies the Despatch.
“It remains to report the siege operations.
“It will be in the recollection of His Lordship in Council that it was the original intention of Sir Henry Lawrence to occupy not only the Residency, but also the tort called Machchi Bhawan – an old dilapidated edifice, which had been hastily repaired for the occasion, though the
defences were even at the last moment very far from complete, and were, moreover, commanded by many houses in the city. The situation of the Machchi Bhawan with regard to the Residency has already been described to the Government of India.
“The untoward event of the 30th June so far diminished the whole available force, that we had not a sufficient number of men remaining to occupy both positions. The Brigadier-General, therefore, on the evening of the 1st July, signalled to the garrison of the Machchi Bhawan to evacuate and blow up that fortress in the course of the night. The orders were ably carried out, and at 12 P.M. the force marched into the Residency with their guns and treasure without the loss of a man; and shortly afterwards the explosion of 240 barrels of gunpowder and 6,000,000 ball cartridges, which were lying in the magazine, announced to Sir Henry Lawrence and his officers – who were anxiously awaiting the report – the complete destruction of that post and all that it contained. If it had not been for this wise and strategic measure, no member of the Lucknow garrison, in all probability, would have survived to tell the tale; for, as has already been stated, the Machchi Bhawan was commanded from other parts of the town, and was, moreover, indifferently provided with heavy artillery ammunition, while the difficulty, suffering, and loss which the Residency garrison, even with the reinforcement thus obtained from the Machchi Bhawan, has undergone in holding the position, is sufficient to show that, if the original intention of holding both posts had been adhered to, both would have inevitably fallen.
“It is now my very painful duty to relate the calamity which befell us at the commencement of the siege. On the 1st July an 8-inch shell burst in the room in the Residency in which Sir H. Lawrence was sitting. The missile burst between him and Mr. Couper, close to both; but without injury to either. The whole of his staff implored Sir Henry to take up other quarters, as the Residency had then become the special target for the round-shot and shell of the enemy. This, however, he jestingly declined to do, observing that another shell would certainly never be pitched into that small room. But Providence had ordained otherwise, for on the very next day he was mortally wounded by the fragment of another shell which burst in the same room, exactly at the same spot. Captain Wilson, Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General, received a contusion at the same time.
“The late lamented Sir Henry Lawrence, knowing that his last hour was rapidly approaching, directed me to assume command of the troops, and appointed Major Banks to succeed him in the office of Chief Commissioner. He lingered in great agony till the morning of the 4th July, when he expired, and the Government was thereby deprived, if I may venture to say so, of the services of a distinguished statesman and a most gallant soldier. Few men have ever possessed to the same extent the power which he enjoyed of winning the hearts of all those with whom he came in contact, and thus ensuring the warmest and most zealous devotion for himself and for the Government which he served. The successful
defence of the position has been, under Providence, solely attributable to the foresight which he evinced in the timely commencement of the necessary operations, and the great skill and untiring personal activity which he exhibited in carrying them into effect. All ranks possessed such confidence in his judgment and his fertility of resource, that the news of his fall was received throughout the garrison with feelings of consternation only second to the grief which was inspired in the hearts of all by the loss of a public benefactor and a warm personal friend. Feeling as keenly and as gratefully as I do the obligations that the whole of us are under to this great and good man, I trust the Government of India will pardon me for having attempted, however imperfectly, to portray them. In him every good and deserving soldier lost a friend and a chief capable of discriminating, and ever on the alert to reward merit, no matter how humble the sphere in which it was exhibited.
“The garrison had scarcely recovered the shock which it had sustained in the loss of its revered and beloved General, when it had to mourn the death of that able and respected officer, Major Banks, the Officiating Chief Commissioner, who received a bullet through his head while examining a critical outpost on the 21st July, and died without a groan.
“The description of our position, and the state of our defences when the siege began, are so fully set forth in the accompanying Memorandum, furnished by the Garrison Engineer, that I shall content myself with bringing to the notice of His Lordship in Council the fact that, when the blockade was commenced, only two of our batteries were completed, part of the defences were yet in an unfinished condition, and the buildings in the immediate vicinity, which gave cover to the enemy, were only very partially cleared away. Indeed, our heaviest losses have been caused by the fire from the enemy’s sharp-shooters stationed in the adjoining mosques and houses of the native nobility, the necessity of destroying which had been repeatedly drawn to the attention of Sir Henry by the staff of Engineers; but his invariable reply was, Spare the holy places, and private property, too, as far as possible; ‘ and we have consequently suffered severely from our very tenderness to the religious prejudices and respect to the rights of our rebellious citizens and soldiery. As soon as the enemy had thoroughly completed the investment of the Residency, they occupied these houses, some of which were within easy pistol-shot of our barricades, in immense force, and rapidly made loop-holes on those sides which bore on our post, from which they kept up a terrific and incessant fire day and night, which caused many daily casualties, as there could not have been less than 8,000 men firing at one time into our position. Moreover, there was no place in the whole of our works that could be considered safe, for several of the sick and wounded who were lying in the Banqueting Hall, which had been turned into an hospital, were killed in the very centre of the building, and the widow of Lieutenant Dorin and other women and children were shot dead in rooms into which it had not been previously deemed possible that a bullet could penetrate. Neither were the enemy idle in erecting batteries. They soon had from
twenty to twenty-five guns in position, some of them of very large calibre. These were planted all round our post at small distances, some being actually within fifty yards of our defences, but in places where our own heavy guns could not reply to them, while the perseverance and ingenuity of the enemy in erecting barricades in front of and around their guns, in a very short time rendered all attempts to silence them by musketry entirely unavailing. Neither could they be effectually silenced by shells, by reason of their extreme proximity to our position, and because, moreover, the enemy had recourse to digging very narrow trenches about eight feet in depth in rear of each gun, in which the men lay while our shells were flying, and which so effectually concealed them, even while working the gun, that our baffled sharp-shooters could only see their hands while in the act of loading.
“The enemy contented themselves with keeping up this incessant fire of cannon and musketry until the 20th July, on which day, at 10 A.M., they assembled in very great force all around our position, and exploded a heavy mine inside our outer line of defences at the water gate. The mine, however, which was close to the Redan, and apparently sprung with the intention of destroying that battery, did no harm. But, as soon as the smoke had cleared away, the enemy boldly advanced under cover of a tremendous fire of cannon and musketry, with the object of storming the Redan. But they were received with such a heavy fire, that, after a short struggle, they fell back with much loss. A strong column advanced at the same time to attack Innes’s post, and came on to within ten yards of the palisades, affording to Lieutenant Loughnan, 13th N.I., who commanded the position, and his brave garrison, composed of gentlemen of the Uncovenanted Service, a few of Her Majesty’s 32nd Foot, and of the 13th N.I., an opportunity of distinguishing themselves, which they were not slow to avail themselves of, and the enemy were driven back with great slaughter. The insurgents made minor attacks at almost every outpost, but were invariably defeated, and at 2 P.M. they ceased their attempts to storm the place, although their musketry fire and cannonading continued to harass us unceasingly as usual. Matters proceeded in this manner until the 10th August, when the enemy made another assault, having previously sprung a mine close to the Brigade Mess, which entirely destroyed our defences for the space of twenty feet, and blew in a great portion of the outside wall of the house occupied by Mr. Schilling’s garrison. On the dust clearing away, a breach appeared, through which a regiment could have advanced in perfect order, and a few of the enemy came on with the utmost determination, but were met with such a withering flank fire of musketry from the officers and men holding the top of the Brigade Mess, that they beat a speedy retreat, leaving the more adventurous of their numbers lying on the crest of the breach. While this operation was going on, another large body advanced on the Cawnpore battery, and succeeded in locating themselves for a few minutes in the ditch. They were, however, dislodged by hand grenades. At Captain Anderson’s post they also came boldly forward with scaling ladders, which
they planted against the wall; but here, as elsewhere, they were met with the most indomitable resolution, and, the leaders being slain, the rest fled, leaving the ladders, and retreated to their batteries and loop-holed defences, from whence they kept up for the rest of the day an unusually heavy cannonade and musketry fire. On the 18th August the enemy sprung another mine in front of the Sikh lines with very fatal effect. Captain Orr (unattached), Lieutenants Mecham and Soppitt, who commanded the small body of drummers composing the garrison, were blown into the air, but providentially returned to earth with no further injury than a severe shaking. The garrison, however, were not so fortunate. No less than eleven men were buried alive under the ruins, from whence it was impossible to extricate them, owing to the tremendous fire kept up by the enemy from houses situated not ten yards in front of the breach. The explosion was followed by a general assault of a less determined nature than the two former efforts, and the enemy were consequently repulsed without much difficulty. But they succeeded, under cover of the breach, in establishing themselves in one of the houses in our position, from which they were driven in the evening by the bayonets of H.M.’s 32nd and 84th Foot. On the 5th September the enemy made their last serious assault. Having exploded a large mine, a few feet short of the bastion of the 18-pounder gem, in Major Apthorp’s post, they advanced with large heavy scaling ladders, which they planted against the wall, and mounted, thereby gaining for an instant the embrasure of a gun. They were, however, speedily driven back with loss by hand grenades and musketry. A few minutes subsequently they sprung another mine close to the Brigade Mess, and advanced boldly; but soon the corpses strewed in the garden in front of the post bore testimony to the fatal accuracy of the rifle and musketry fire of the gallant members of that garrison, and the enemy fled ignominiously, leaving their leader – a fine-looking old native officer – among the slain. At other posts they made similar attacks, but with less resolution, and everywhere with the same want of success. Their loss upon this day must have been very heavy, as they came on with much determination, and at night they were seen bearing large numbers of their killed and wounded over the bridges in the direction of the cantonments. The above is a faint attempt at a description of the four great struggles which have occurred during this protracted season of exertion, exposure, and suffering. His Lordship in Council will perceive that the enemy invariably commenced his attacks by the explosion of a mine, a species of offensive warfare for the exercise of which our position was unfortunately peculiarly situated; and, had it not been for the most untiring vigilance on our part in watching and blowing up their mines before they were completed, the assaults would probably have been much more numerous, and might, perhaps, have ended in the capture of the place. But, by countermining in all directions, we succeeded in detecting and destroying no less than four of the enemy’s subterraneous advances towards important positions, two of which operations were eminently successful, as on one occasion not less than eight of them were blown into the air, and twenty
suffered a similar fate on the second explosion. The labour, however, which devolved upon us in making these countermines, in the absence of a body of skilled miners, was very heavy. The Right Honourable the Governor-General in Council will feel that it would be impossible to crowd within the limits of a despatch even the principal events, much more the individual acts of gallantry, which have marked this protracted struggle. But I can conscientiously declare my conviction that few troops have ever undergone greater hardships, exposed as they have been to a never-ceasing musketry fire and cannonade. They have also experienced the alternate vicissitudes of extreme wet and of intense heat, and that, too, with very insufficient shelter from either, and in many places without any shelter at all. In addition to having had to repel real attacks, they have been exposed night and day to the hardly less harassing false alarms which the enemy have been constantly raising. The insurgents have frequently fired very heavily, sounded the advance and shouted for several hours together, though not a man could be seen, with the view, of course, of harassing our small and exhausted force, in which object they succeeded, for no part has been strong enough to allow of a portion only of the garrison being prepared in the event of a false attack being turned into a real one. All, therefore, had to stand to their arms, and to remain at their posts until the demonstration had ceased; and such attacks were of almost nightly occurrence. The whole of the officers and men have been on duty night and day during the eighty-seven days which the siege has lasted, up to the arrival of Sir J. Outram, G.C.B. In addition to this incessant military duty, the force has been nightly employed in repairing defences, in moving guns, in burying dead animals, in conveying ammunition and commissariat stores from one place to another, and in other fatigue duties too numerous and too trivial to enumerate here. I feel, however, that any words of mine will fail to convey any adequate idea of what our fatigue and labours have been – labours in which all ranks and all classes, civilians, officers, and soldiers, have all borne an equally noble part. All have together descended into the mines, all have together handled the shovel for the interment of the putrid bullock, and all, accoutred with musket and bayonet, have relieved each other on sentry without regard to the distinctions of rank, civil or military. Notwithstanding all these hardships, the garrison has made no less than five sorties, in which they spiked two of the enemy’s heaviest guns, and blew up several of the houses from which they had kept up their most harassing fire. Owing to the extreme paucity of our numbers, each man was taught to feel that on his own individual efforts alone depended in no small measure the safety of the entire position. This consciousness incited every officer, soldier, and man to defend the post assigned to him with such desperate tenacity, and to fight for the lives which Providence had entrusted to his care with such dauntless determination, that the enemy, despite their constant attacks, their heavy mines, their overwhelming numbers, and their incessant fire, could never succeed in gaining one single inch of ground within the bounds of this straggling position,
which was so feebly fortified that, had they once obtained a footing in any of the outposts, the whole place must inevitably have fallen.
“If further proof be wanting of the desperate nature of the struggle which we have, under God’s blessing, so long and so successfully waged, I would point to the roofless and ruined house, to the crumbled walls, to the exploded mines, to the open breaches, to the shattered and disabled guns and defences, and, lastly, to the long and melancholy list of the brave and devoted officers and men who have fallen. These silent witnesses bear sad and solemn testimony to the way in which this feeble position has been defended. During the early part of these vicissitudes, we were left without any information whatever regarding the posture of affairs outside. An occasional spy did, indeed, come in with the object of inducing our sipahis and servants to desert; but the intelligence derived from a such sources was, of course, entirely untrustworthy. We sent our messengers daily, calling for aid and asking for information, none of whom ever returned until the 26th day of the siege, when a pensioner named Angad came back with a letter from General Havelock’s camp, informing us that they were advancing with a force sufficient to bear down all opposition, and would be with us in five or six days. A messenger was immediately despatched requesting that on the evening of their arrival on the outskirts of the city two rockets might be sent up, in order that we might take the necessary measures for assisting them while forcing their way in. The sixth day, however, expired, and they came not; but for many evenings after officers and men watched for the ascension of the expected rockets, with hopes such as make the heart sick. We knew not then, nor did we learn until the 29th August – or thirty-five days later – that the relieving force, after having fought most nobly to effect our deliverance, had been obliged to fall back for reinforcements; and this was the last communication we received until two days before the arrival of Sir James Outram, on the 25th September.
“Besides heavy visitations of cholera and smallpox, we have also had to contend against a sickness which has almost universally pervaded the garrison. Commencing with a very painful eruption, it has merged into a low fever, combined with diarrhoea; and, although few or no men have actually died from its effects, it leaves behind a weakness and lassitude which in the absence of all material sustenance save coarse beef and still coarser flour, none have been able entirely to get over. The mortality among the women and children, and especially among the latter, from these diseases and from other causes, has been perhaps, the most painful characteristic of the siege. The want of native servants has also been a source of much privation. Owing to the suddenness with which we were besieged, many of these people who might, perhaps, have otherwise proved faithful to their employers, but who were outside the defences at the time, were altogether excluded. Very many more deserted, and several families were consequently left without the services of a single domestic. Several ladies have had to tend their children, and even to wash their own clothes, as well as to cook their scanty meals entirely unaided. Combined with
the absence of servants, the want of proper accommodation has probably been the cause of much of the disease with which we have been afflicted. I cannot refrain from bringing to the prominent notice of His Lordship in Council the patient endurance and the Christian resignation which have been evinced by the women of this garrison. They have animated us by their example. Many, alas! have been made widows, and their children fatherless, in this cruel struggle. But all such seem resigned to the will of Providence, and many, among whom may be mentioned the honoured names of Birch, of Polehampton, of Barbor, and of Gall, have, after the example of Miss Nightingale, constituted themselves the tender and solicitous nurses of the wounded and dying soldiers in the hospital.
“It only remains for me to bring to the favourable notice of His Lordship in Council the names of those officers who have most distinguished themselves, and afforded me the most valuable assistance in these operations. Many of the best and bravest of these now rest from their labours. Among them are Lieutenant-Colonel Case and Captain Radcliffe, whose services have already been narrated; Captain Francis, 13th N.I., – who was killed by a round-shot – had particularly attracted the attention of Sir H. Lawrence for his conduct while in command of the Machchi Bhawan; Captain Fulton, of the Engineers, who also was struck by a round-shot, had, up to the time of his early and lamented death, afforded me the most invaluable aid; he was, indeed, indefatigable. Major Anderson, the Chief Engineer, though, from the commencement of the siege, incapable of physical exertion from the effects of the disease under which he eventually sank, merited my warm acknowledgments for his able counsel; Captain Simons, Commandant of Artillery, distinguished himself at Chinhut, where he received two wounds, which ended in his death; Lieutenants Shepherd and Arthur, 7th Light Cavalry, who were killed at their posts; Captain Hughes, 57th N.I., who was mortally wounded at the capture of a house which formed one of the enemy’s outposts; Captain McCabe, of the 32nd Foot, who was killed at the head of his men while leading his fourth sortie; as well as Captain Mansfield, of the same corps, who died of cholera – were all officers who had distinguished themselves highly. Mr. Lucas, too, a gentleman volunteer, and Mr. Boyson, of the Uncovenanted Service – who fell when on the look-out at one of the most perilous outposts – had earned themselves reputations for coolness and gallantry.
“The officers who commanded outposts – Lieutenant-Colonel Master, 7th Light Cavalry; Major Apthorp, 41st N.I.; Captain Gould Weston, 65th N.I.191; Captain Sanders, 41st N.I.; Captain Boileau, 7th Light
Cavalry; Captain Germon, 13th N.I.; Lieutenant Aitken, and Lieutenant Loughnan, of the same corps; Captain Anderson, 25th N.I.; Lieutenant Graydon, 44th N.I.; Lieutenant Langmore, 71st N.I.; and Mr. Schilling, Principal of the Martinière College – have all conducted ably the duties of their onerous position. No further proof of this is necessary than the fact which I have before mentioned, that throughout the whole duration of the siege the enemy were not only unable to take, but they could not even succeed in gaining one inch of the posts commanded by these gallant gentlemen. Colonel Master commanded the critical and important post of the Brigade Mess, on either side of which was an open breach, only flanked by his handful of riflemen and musketeers. Lieutenant Aitken, with the whole of the 13th N.I. which remained to us with the exception of their Sikhs, commanded the Bailey Guard – perhaps the most important position in the whole of the defences; and Lieutenant Langmore, with the remnant of his regiment (the 71st), held a very exposed position between the hospital and the water gate. This gallant and deserving young soldier and his men were entirely without shelter from the weather, both by night and by day.
“My thanks are also due to Lieutenants Anderson, Hutchinson and Innes, of the Engineers, as well as to Lieutenant Tulloch, 58th N.I., and Lieutenant Hay, 48th N.I., who were placed under them to aid in the arduous duties devolving upon that department. Lieutenant Thomas, Madras Artillery, who commanded that arm of the service for some weeks, and Lieutenants Macfarlane and Bonham rendered me the most effectual assistance. I was, however, deprived of the services of the two latter, who were wounded, Lieutenant Bonham no less than three times, early in the siege. Captain Evans, 17th B.N.I., who, owing to the scarcity of Artillery officers, was put in charge of some guns, and was ever to be found at his post.
“Major Lowe, commanding H.M.’s 32nd Regiment; Captain Bassano, Lieutenants Lawrence, Edmonstoune, Foster, Harmar, Cook, Clery, Browne, and Charlton, of that corps, have all nobly performed their duty. Every one of these officers, with the exception of Lieutenants Lawrence and Clery, have received one or more wounds of more or less severity. Quartermaster Stribbling, of the same corps, also conducted himself to my satisfaction.
“Captain O’Brien, H.M.’s 84th Foot; Captain Kemble, 41st N.I.; Captain Edgell, 53rd N.I.; Captain Dinning, Lieutenant Sewell, and Lieutenant Worsely, of the 71st N.I.; Lieutenant Warner, 7th L.C.; Ensign Ward, 48th N.I. (who, when most of our Artillery officers were killed or disabled, worked the mortars with excellent effect); Lieutenant Graham, 11th N.I.; Lieutenant Mecham, 4th Oude Locals; and Lieutenant
Keir, 41st N.I., have all done good and willing service throughout the siege, and I trust that they will receive the favourable notice of his Lordship in Council.
“I beg particularly to call the attention of the Government of India to the untiring industry, the extreme devotion and the great skill which have been evinced by Surgeon Scott (superintending surgeon) and Assistant-Surgeon Boyd, of H.M.’s 32nd Foot; Assistant-Surgeon Bird, of the Artillery; Surgeon Campbell, 7th Light Cavalry; Surgeon Brydon, 71st N.I.; Surgeon Ogilvie, Sanitary Commissioner; Assistant-Surgeon Fayrer, Civil Surgeon; Assistant-Surgeon Partridge, 2nd Oude Irregular Cavalry; Assistant-Surgeon Greenhow; Assistant-Surgeon Darby, and by Mr. Apothecary Thompson, in the discharge of their onerous and most important duties.
“Messrs. Thornhill and Capper, of the Civil Service, have been both wounded, and the way in which they, as well as Mr. Martin, the Deputy Commissioner of Lakhnao, conducted themselves, entitles them to a place in this despatch. Captain Carnegie, the Special Assistant Commissioner, whose invaluable services previous to the commencement of the siege, I have frequently heard warmly dilated upon, both by Sir H. Lawrence and by Major Banks, and whose exertions will probably be more amply brought to notice by the Civil authorities on some future occasion, has conducted the office of Provost Marshal to my satisfaction. The Reverend Mr. Harris and the Reverend Mr. Polehampton, Assistant Chaplains, vied with each other in their untiring care and attention to the suffering men. The latter gentleman was wounded in the hospital, and subsequently unhappily died of cholera. Mr. McCrae, of the Civil Engineers, did excellent service at the guns, until he was severely wounded. Mr. Cameron, also, a gentleman who had come to Oudh to enquire into the resources of the country, acquired the whole mystery of mortar practice, and was of the most signal service until incapacitated by sickness. Mr. Marshall, of the Road Department, and other members of the Uncovenanted Service, whose names will, on a subsequent occasion, be laid before the Government of India, conducted themselves bravely and steadily. Indeed, the entire body of these gentlemen have borne themselves well, and have evinced great coolness under fire.
“I have now only to bring to the notice of the Right Hon’ble the Governor-General in Council the conduct of several officers who composed my Staff; – Lieutenant James, Sub-Assistant Commissary-General, was severely wounded by a shot through the knee at Chinhat, notwithstanding which he refused to go upon the sick list, and carried on his most trying duties throughout the entire siege. It is not too much to say that the garrison owe their lives to the exertions and firmness of this officer. Before the struggle commenced, he was ever in the saddle, getting in supplies, and his untiring vigilance in their distribution, after our difficulties had begun, prevented a waste which otherwise, long before the expiration of the eighty-seven days, might have annihilated the force by the slow process of starvation.
“Captain Wilson, 13th N.I., Officiating Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General, was ever to be found where shot was flying thickest, and I am at a loss to decide whether his services were most invaluable, owing to the untiring physical endurance and bravery which he displayed, or to his ever-ready and pertinent counsel and advice in moments of difficulty and danger.
“Lieutenant Hardinge – an officer whose achievements and antecedents are well known to the Government of India – has earned fresh laurels by his conduct throughout the siege. He was officiating as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General and also commanded the Sikh portion of the cavalry of the garrison. In both capacities his services have been invaluable, especially in the latter, for it was owing alone to his tact, vigilance, and bravery, that the Sikh horsemen were induced to persevere in holding a very unprotected post under a heavy fire.
“Lieutenant Barwell, 71st N.I., the Fort Adjutant and officiating Major of Brigade, has proved himself to be an efficient officer.
“Lieutenant Birch, of the 71st N.I., has been my A.D.C. throughout the siege. I firmly believe there never was a better A.D.C. He has been indefatigable, and ever ready to lead a sortie, or to convey an order to a threatened outpost under the heaviest fire. On one of these occasions he received a slight wound on the head. I beg to bring the services of this most promising and intelligent young officer to the favourable consideration of His Lordship in Council.
I am also much indebted to Mr. Couper, C.S., for the assistance he has, on many occasions, afforded me by his judicious advice. I have, moreover, ever found him most ready and willing in the performance of the military duties assigned to him, however exposed the post or arduous the undertaking. He commenced his career in Her Majesty’s Service, and consequently had had some previous experience of military matters. If the road to Kanhpur had been made clear by the advent of our troops, it was my intention to have deputed this officer to Calcutta, to detail in person the occurrences which have taken place, for the information of the Government of India. I still hope that, when our communications shall be once more unopposed, he may be summoned to Calcutta for this purpose.
“Lastly, I have the pleasure of bringing the splendid behaviour of the soldiers, viz., the men of H.M.’s 32nd Foot, the small detachment of H.M.’s 84th Foot, the European and Native Artillery, the 13th, 48th, and 71st Regiments N.I., and the Sikhs of the respective corps, to the notice of the Government of India. The losses sustained by H.M.’s 32nd, which is now barely three hundred strong; by H.M.’s .84th and by the European Artillery, shew at least that they knew how to die in the cause of their countrymen. Their conduct under the fire, the exposure, and the privations which they have had to undergo, has been throughout most admirable and praiseworthy.
“As another instance of the desperate character of our defence, and the difficulties we have had to contend with, I may mention that the number
of our artillerymen was so reduced that, on the occasion of an attack, the gunners – aided as they were by men of H.M.’s 32nd Foot, and by Volunteers of all classes – had to run from one battery to another where-ever the fire of the enemy was hottest, there not being nearly enough men to serve half the number of guns at the same time. In short, at last the number of European gunners was only twenty-four, while we had, including mortars, no less than thirty guns in position.
“With respect to the native troops I am of opinion that their loyalty has never been surpassed. They were indifferently fed and worse housed. They were exposed – especially the 13th Regiment – under the gallant Lieutenant Aitken, to a most galling fire of round-shot and musketry, which materially decreased their numbers. They were so near the enemy that conversation could be carried on between them; every effort, persuasion, promise, and threat was alternately resorted to, in vain, to seduce them from their allegiance to the handful of Europeans, who, in all probability, would have been sacrificed by their desertion. All the troops behaved nobly, and the names of those men of the native force who have particularly distinguished themselves have been laid before Major-General Sir James Outram, G.C.B., who has promised to promote them. Those of the European force will be transmitted in due course for the orders of his Royal Highness the General Commanding-in-Chief.
“In conclusion, I beg leave to express, on the part of myself and the members of this garrison, our deep and grateful sense of the conduct of Major-General Sir J. Outram, G.C.B., of Brigadier-General Havelock, C.B., and of the troops under those officers who so devotedly came to our relief at so heavy a sacrifice of life. We are also repaid for much suffering and privation by the sympathy which our brave deliverers say our perilous and unfortunate position has excited for us in the hearts of our countrymen throughout the length and breadth of Her Majesty’s dominions.
“I have, &c.,
“J. INGLIS, Colonel,
“H.M.’s 32nd, Brigadier.”
NOTE. – To preserve uniformity I have applied to the spelling of the names of places in the Appendices the system which has been used throughout the work. – G.B.M.
191. G. G. O., No. 1546, dated, Fort William, 15th November 1858: “Major. General Sir J. E. Inglis, K.C.B., formerly commanding Lucknow Garrison, having brought to notice that the name of Captain G. Weston, 65th Regiment Native Infantry, was inadvertently omitted in his despatch of the 26th September, 1357, the Hon. the President of the Council of the Right Hon. the Governor-General of India in Council, with the concurrence of his Lordship, desires to rectify that omission, and is pleased to direct that that officer’s name be added to the paragraph commencing with the words ‘the officers who commanded the outposts,’ and inserted after the name of Major Apthorp, 41st Native Infantry. Order Books to be corrected accordingly.”
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage