We must now return to the General and his party. At daybreak on the 13th the Sirdar had again changed his mind; and instead of following up the troops, he decided to move to the position they had vacated, and remain there during the day; and should the ladies and officers left at Khoord Cabul arrive in the evening, that all should start the next morning over the mountains to the valley of Lughman, north of Jellalabad. At 8 A. M., they mounted their horses; and with the Sirdar and his party rode down the pass, which bore fearful evidence to the last night's struggle. They passed some 200 dead bodies, many of them Europeans; the whole naked, and covered with large gaping wounds. As the day advanced, several poor wretches of Hindostanees (camp followers, who had escaped the massacre of the night before) made their appearance from behind rocks and within caves, where they had taken shelter from the murderous knives of the Affghans and the inclemency of the climate.
They had been stripped of all they possessed; and few could crawl more than a few yards, being frostbitten in the feet. Here Johnson found two of his servants: the one had his hands and feet frostbitten, and had a fearful sword cut across one hand, and a musket ball in his stomach; the other had his right arm completely cut through the bone. Both were utterly destitute of covering, and had not tasted food for five days.
This suffices for a sample of the sufferings of the survivors.
About four o'clock Sultan Jan (a cousin of the Sirdar) arrived with the ladies and gentlemen; also Lieut. Melville of the 54th, and Mr. Magrath, surgeon of the 37th, both of whom had been wounded between Khoord Cabul and Tézeen. A large party of cavalry accompanied Sultan Jan, both Affghan and our irregular horse, who had deserted, as before mentioned.
14th.--We marched twenty-four miles to Kutz-i-Mahommed Ali Khan: started at about 9 A. M.; the Sirdar with Gen. Elphinstone; Brig. Shelton, and Capt. Johnson bringing up the rear.
We travelled over a dreadfully rough road: some of the ascents and descents were fearful to look at, and at first sight appeared to be impracticable. The whole road was a continuation of rocks and stones, over which the camels had great
difficulty in making their way; and particularly in the ascent of the Adrak-Budrak pass, where I found it requisite to hold tight on by the mane, lest the saddle and I should slip off together.
Had we travelled under happier auspices, I should probably have been foolish enough to have expressed fear, not having even a saces to assist me. Still I could not but admire the romantic tortuous defile we passed through, being the bed of a mountain torrent, which we exchanged for the terrific pass I have mentioned, and which was rendered doubly fearful by constant stoppages from those in front, which appeared to take place at the most difficult spots.
At the commencement of the defile, and for some considerable distance, we passed 200 or 300 of our miserable Hindostanees, who had escaped up the unfrequented road from the massacre of the 12th. They were all naked, and more or less frostbitten: wounded, and starving, they had set fire to the bushes and grass, and huddled all together to impart warmth to each other. Subsequently we heard that scarcely any of these poor wretches escaped from the defile: and that driven to the extreme of hunger they had sustained life by feeding on their dead comrades.
The wind blew bitterly cold at our bivouac; for the inhabitants of the fort refused to take us in;
stating that we were Kaffirs. We therefore rolled ourselves up as warm as we could; and with our saddles for pillows braved the elements. Gen. Elphinstone, Brig. Shelton, and Johnson considered themselves happy when one of the Affghans told them to accompany him into a wretched cowshed, which was filled with dense smoke from a blazing fire in the centre of the hut. These officers and Mr. Melville were shortly after invited by Mahommed Akbar Khan to dine with him and his party in the fort. The reception room was not much better than that they had left: they had, however, a capital dinner, some cups of tea, and luxurious rest at night; the room having been well heated by a blazing fire with plenty of smoke, with no outlet for either heat or smoke, except through the door and a small circular hole in the roof.
15th January.--A bitterly cold wind blowing, we started at 7 a. m.; crossed two branches of the Punjshir river, which was not only deep, but exceedingly rapid. The chiefs gave us every assistance: Mahommed Akbar Khan carried Mrs. Waller over behind him on his own horse. One rode by me to keep my horse's head well up the stream. The Affghans made great exertions to save both men and animals struggling in the water; but in spite of all their endeavours five
unfortunates lost their lives. We passed over many ascents and declivities; and at about 3 p. m. arrived at Tighree, a fortified town in the rich valley of Lughman; having travelled twenty miles over a most barren country, without a blade of grass or drop of water until we approached Tighree. Our route lay along a tract of country considerably higher than Lughman, with scarcely a footpath visible the whole way. The road was good for any kind of carriage. We passed over the Plain of Methusaleh; and saw at a short distance the Kubber-i-Lamech, a celebrated place of pilgrimage, about two miles from Tighree and twenty-five from Jellalabad.
The Sirdar desired the General, the Brigadier, and Johnson to take up their quarters with him, whilst the ladies and the other gentlemen were located in another fort.
A great number of Hindu Bunneahs reside at Tighree. We went to the fort of Gholab Moyenoodeen, who took Mrs. Sturt and myself to the apartments of his mother and wife. Of course we could not understand much that they said; but they evidently made much of us, pitied our condition, told us to ask them for any thing we required, and before parting they gave us a lump of goor filled with pistaches, a sweetmeat they are themselves fond of.
16th.--Halted. They tell us we are here only thirty miles from Jellalabad. It being Sunday, we read prayers from a Bible and Prayer Book that were picked up on the field at Bhoodkhak. The service was scarcely finished when a clannish row commenced. Some tribes from a neighbouring fort who had a blood feud with the chiefs with us came against the fort: a few juzails were fired; there was great talking and noise; and then it was all over.
17th.--Early in the morning we were ordered to prepare to go higher up the valley. Thus all hopes (faint as they were) of going to Jellalabad were annihilated; and we plainly saw that, whatever might be said, we were virtually prisoners, until such time as Sale shall evacuate Jellalabad, or the Dost be permitted by our government to return to this country.
"We had a little hail this morning; and shortly after, at about nine o'clock, we started, and travelled along the valley, which was a continuation of forts, until we arrived at Buddeeabad (about eight or nine miles): it is situated almost at the top of the valley, and close to the first range of hills towards Kaffiristan.
Six rooms, forming two sides of an inner square or citadel, are appropriated to us; and a tykhana to the soldiers. This fort is the largest in the
valley, and is quite new; it belongs to Mahommed Shah Khan: it has a deep ditch and a fausse-braye all round. The walls of mud are not very thick, and are built up with planks in tiers on the inside. The buildings we occupy are those intended for the chief and his favourite wife; those for three other wives are in the outer court, and have not yet been roofed in. "We number 9 ladies, 20 gentlemen, and 14 children. In the tykhana are 17 European soldiers, 2 European women, and 1 child (Mrs. Wade, Mrs. Burnes, and little Stoker).
Mahommed Akbar Khan, to our horror, has informed us that only one man of our force has succeeded in reaching Jellalabad (Dr. Brydon of the Shah's force: he was wounded in two places). Thus is verified what we were told before leaving Cabul; "that Mahommed Akbar would annihilate the whole army, except one man, who should reach Jellalabad to tell the tale."
Dost Mahommed Khan (the brother of Mahommed Shah Khan) is to have charge of us. Our parties were divided into the different rooms. Lady Macnaghten, Capt. and Mrs. Anderson and 2 children, Capt. and Mrs. Boyd and 2 children, Mrs. Mainwaring and 1 child, with Lieut. and Mrs. Eyre and 1 child, and a European girl, Hester Macdonald, were in one
room; that adjoining was appropriated for their servants and baggage. Capt. Mackenzie and his Madras Christian servant Jacob, Mr. and Mrs. Ryley and 2 children, and Mr. Fallon, a writer in Capt. Johnson's office, occupied another. Mrs. Trevor and her 7 children and European servant, Mrs. Smith, Lieut. and Mrs. Waller and child, Mrs. Sturt, Mr. Mein, and I had another. In two others all the rest of the gentlemen were crammed.
It did not take us much time to arrange our property; consisting of one mattress and resai between us, and no clothes except those we had on, and in which we left Cabul.
Mahommed Akbar Khan, Sultan Jan, and Ghoolam Moyen-oo-deen visited us. The Sirdar assured me we were none of us prisoners; requested that we would make ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would admit of; and told us that as soon as the roads were safe we should be safely escorted to Jellalabad. He further informed me that I might write to Sale; and that any letters I sent to him he would forward. Of this permission I gladly took advantage to write a few guarded lines to say that we were well and safe.
19th.--We luxuriated in dressing, although we had no clothes but those on our backs; but we enjoyed washing our faces very much, having had
but one opportunity of doing so before, since we left Cabul. It was rather a painful process, as the cold and glare of the sun on the snow had three times peeled my face, from which the skin came off in strips.
We had a grand breakfast, dhall and radishes; the latter large hot ones that had gone to seed, the former is a common pulse eaten by the natives: but any change was good, as we find our chupatties made of the coarse ottah anything but nice. Ottah is what in England is called pollard; and has to be twice sifted ere it becomes flour. The chupatties are cakes formed of this ottah mixed with water, and dried by standing by the fire set up on edge. Eating these cakes of dough is a capital recipe to obtain the heartburn. We parch rice and barley, and make from them a substitute for coffee. Two sheep (alias lambs) are killed daily; and a regular portion of rice and ottah given for all. The Affghans cook; and well may we exclaim with Goldsmith, "God sends meat, but the devil sends cooks;" for we only get some greasy skin and bones served out as they are cooked, boiled in the same pot with the rice, all in a lump. Capt. Lawrence divides it; and portions our food as justly as he can. The chupatty is at once the plate and bread: few possess other dinner-table implements than their fingers. The rice even is
rendered nauseous by having quantities of rancid ghee poured over it, such as in India we should have disdained to use for our lamps.
21st.--The weather cleared up at noon. Major Pottinger is said to have received information that Zeman Shah Khan and all the Dooranees have surrendered to Shah Shoojah; and that his Majesty was at the bottom of the whole affair to turn us out of Afghanistan.
22nd.--I heard from Sale, dated the 19th. Our force can hold out at Jellalabad for six months. It is calculated that Col. Wylde must be at Jellalabad to-day with 5000 men. Gen. Pollock is coming with an army across the Punjab.
We hear that Mahommed Akbar has been offered the Sirdar-i-sirdaranee; but has refused it. He is said to be gone, or going, to the Khyber.
23rd, Sunday.--After prayers Mahommed Akbar Khan and Sultan Jan paid us a visit: the latter took charge of a letter from me for Sale. He told me that Abdool Guffoor Khan says that Sale is quite well.
They say that Shah Shoojah demanded Conolly and three other hostages to be given up to him to put them to death; but Zeman Shah Khan refused.
24th.--A day or two ago the Sirdar sent some chintz to be divided amongst us. A second
quantity was to-day given out; and we are working hard that we may enjoy the luxury of getting on a clean suit of clothes. There are very few of us that are not covered with crawlers; and, although my daughter and I have as yet escaped, we are in fear and trembling.
It is now said that the General gave Anderson's horse permission to go over to the enemy: a circumstance that does not at all agree with his conduct on the day following our taking protection; when he wished for Anderson's return lest the men should desert.
Dost Mahommed Khan took Mrs. Trevor's boys and some of the gentlemen out walking in the sugar-cane fields near the fort, which they enjoyed very much.
25th.--The Sirdar sent eight pieces of long cloth to be divided amongst us. I fancy he is generous at little cost; and that it is all a part of the plunder of our camp. He is said to have received letters from the Khyber stating that our force has been defeated there; two guns taken, and some treasure: and that Mackeson is shut up in Ali Musjid with 300 men.
26th.--As soon as the Bukhraeed is over, Shah Shoojah is to send 4000 men, and all the guns we left in Cabul, against Jellalabad. A Mussulman force is also now at Balabagh.
Mahommed Akbar Khan has had a private conference with Major Pottinger; of which no account has transpired. We had two shocks of earthquake at night.
27th.--A report that Sale has made another sally, and has taken a number of prisoners. I heard from him to-day: he has sent me my chest of drawers, with clothes, &c.: they were all permitted to come to me unexamined. I had also an opportunity of writing to him by Abdool Guffoor Khan, who brought them to me. I was rejoiced to see any one I had known before; and especially one who was well inclined towards the English, though nominally on the side of Akbar.
4th.--The irregular cavalry have had their horses and everything taken away from them; and have been turned adrift. I wrote to Sale, but my note did not go.
5th.--My note to Sale was sent to-day. I got another from him dated the 29th, and replied to it.
9th.--We hear that all our horses are to be taken away; as also our servants. Bain to-day, as if the clouds wept for our misfortunes.
10th.--I received boxes from Sale, with many useful things; and also books, which are a great treat to us. I wrote to him, but fear my letter will not reach him, as all notes that came for us
were kept back by the Sirdar; who is very angry, having detected a private cossid between Capt. Macgregor and Major Pottinger: if we behave ill again, the Sirdar says, woe will betide us. Abdool Guffoor again came to see us; and I had again the comfort to hear that Sale was well. "We had rain to-day. Major Griffith arrived, with Mr. Blewitt.
Major Griffith tells me, that on the morning of the 13th, at daylight, the miserable remains of the force, reduced to about 100 Europeans of all ranks, including 20 officers, worn out with fatigue and hunger, and encumbered with very many wounded, some on horseback and some on foot, were, when within four miles of the bridge of Gundamuk, surrounded by a considerable number of the enemy both horse and foot. They had only thirty-five muskets and but little ammunition remaining; finding it impossible to proceed further, a position was taken up on a hill to the left of the road; and a parley opened with the enemy by means of waving a white cloth. This produced a cessation of the firing; and brought four or five men up to ascertain the cause. It was unanimously agreed that he (Major Griffith), as senior officer of the party, should go to the chief, and endeavour to make some terms for the peaceful march of the party to Jellalabad. He accordingly went, accompanied by Mr.
Blewitt as interpreter, escorted by one or two of the enemy. On reaching the chief, they were hurried off without his giving them the opportunity of making any proposal. The last sight Major Griffith had of the party he had left, they appeared to be engaged in hostilities with the Affghans, whose numbers had gradually increased. He afterwards understood that the waving of a loonghee is considered by them as an act of unconditional surrender; and as our party would not give up their arms, the Affghans resorted to force; but were driven off the hill for the time. The few natives who had accompanied us so far did not go up the hill; but kept the road, and were seen to be plundered by the enemy. This he was afterwards told by Capt. Souter; who was brought to the village of Tootoo some hours after Major Griffith was taken there. This village was between two and three miles to the right of the scene of action. The same evening Major Griffith and Mr. Blewitt were taken to the Khan's fort, four or five miles further on the hills; where they found three or four European soldiers, who had escaped from the slaughter, wounded and taken prisoners. Some days after five more Europeans were brought in, who had proceeded in advance of our party. Major Griffith opened a communication with Jellalabad; and was in great hopes of effecting the release of the
prisoners on ransom: but, owing to the jealousy and suspicion of the Khan Ghobam Jan Uzbezee, in whose power they were, nothing could be arranged. At last, after twenty days' confinement, he allowed one of their party, Serg.-Major Lisson, 37th N. I., to proceed to Jellalabad, and endeavour to explain matters. The party in all consisted of ten: two of these died, and Capt. Souter was left wounded at Tootoo.
The man who accompanied the Sergeant-Major returned the third day, and told them all was right. He was understood to have received 500 rupees as the ransom of the Sergeant-Major, who remained at Jellalabad. The party had strong hopes of liberation: but unfortunately the Sirdar, Mahommed Akbar Khan, heard of their being prisoners and sent to demand them. After some hesitation it was agreed to; and they were marched off to Charbagh to the Sirdar, and from thence to Buddeeabad.
Major Griffiths was severely wounded in the right arm on the 8th of January, just at the entrance of the Khoord Cabul pass; and, from want of dressing, the wound had become very painful the day he was taken prisoner.
11th.--Rain. "We hear that the force under Col. Wylde have fallen back on Peshawer; that
Gen. Avitabile, the Sikh General with them, has been obliged to retreat to Attock.
I had again an opportunity, and wrote to Sale.
To-day all arms have been taken from the officers, on a promise that they shall be restored when we go away. I took poor Sturt's sword myself and begged that the Sirdar would keep it himself; that we might be sure of its restoration, as being invaluable to his widow. Dost Mahommed Khan, Abdool Guffoor Khan, &c., desired me to keep it myself; acting in the handsomest manner, and evincing much feeling on the occasion.
12th.--The snow at Tézeen is reported to be knee-deep. A very dismal day, with gentle rain at night. The Europeans, who have arrived, are all full of tales regarding each individual's escape. Six of them, amongst whom was Serg.-Major Lisson, of the 37th N. I., at daylight on the morning after the final struggle at Gundamuk, found themselves about a mile and half on the Jellalabad side of Gundamuk; and perceiving some Ghilzyes coming over the edge of a hill, they betook themselves to a cave in the neighbourhood, where they contrived to conceal themselves until about 11 a.m.; when their retreat was betrayed by the neighing of a horse belonging to one of the men, which caused them to be discovered
by a party of the enemy who were passing near the mouth of the cave. These men came up, and told them to come outside; which they refused to do: the Ghilzyes then offered them bread, provided they would pay for it; and they thus procured three nans for forty-six rupees! The enemy then again ordered them to come out of the cave; and they replied, "In the evening, when it gets dusk, we will come outside." They were watched till then; and at that time gave themselves up. They were immediately rifled of all the money, &c. they possessed; and then taken to a fort in the neighbourhood, and afterwards transferred to another, where they found Major Griffiths; and from whence Lisson was despatched to Jellalabad, to treat for terms of ransom, as before mentioned.
13th.--A fine day. Not content with the arms given up, they pretend our servants have others, and a general search took place to-day; when all the poor wretches were fleeced of the few rupees they had succeeded in securing on their persons.
14th.--This is the day that Mahommed Akbar Khan is to go over the river towards Jellalabad to attack it. The 13th sent a quantity of clothes for distribution amongst the gentlemen. I received a large packet of letters, both from my
family in the provinces, and also from England, but no note from Sale; so the Sirdar is still angry about the private correspondence. It was a very foolish attempt, for there was no news of consequence to send; and rousing the Sirdar's suspicion is not the way to make him kind to us.
15th.--Firing of heavy guns distinctly heard to-day; supposed to be a salute at Jellalabad. Shah Shoojah is said to be still in the Bala Hissar; and Zeman Shah Khan with Amenoollah Khan in the city. They are said to be raising a force to be sent by the former against Jellalabad; which force is to be commanded by his son Futteh Jung. To-day we hear that our horses are not to be taken away from us; and every thing is to be done to make us comfortable. There is an old adage, that "Fair words butter no parsnips."
17th.--The ground was covered with snow at daybreak; which continued to fall all day, and also at night. At breakfast-time we distinctly heard the report from three guns; and about half an hour afterwards three or four heavy discharges of musketry.
18th.--Dost Mahommed Khan came with his son; the family have all arrived at a neighbouring fort in this valley. There is a report that Sale has chupaoed Mahommed Akbar Khan's camp at Charbagh, and cut up fifty of his men.
19th.--I heard from Sale. A friend writes me that there will he no relief before April. At noon I was on the top of the house; when an awful earthquake took place. I had gone up stairs to see after my clothes; for, servants being scarce, we get a sweeper, who also acts as saces, to wash for us; and I hang them up to dry on the flat roof: we dispense with starch and ironing; and in our present situation we must learn to do every thing that is useful. But to return to the earthquake. For some time I balanced myself as well as I could; till I felt the roof was giving way. I fortunately succeeded in removing from my position before the roof of our room fell in with a dreadful crash. The roof of the stairs fell in as I descended them; but did me no injury. All my anxiety was for Mrs. Sturt; but I could only see a heap of rubbish. I was nearly bewildered, when I heard the joyful sound, "Lady Sale, come here, all are safe;" and I found the whole party uninjured in the courtyard. "When the earthquake first commenced in the hills in the upper part of the valley, its progress was clearly defined, coming down the valley, and throwing up dust, like the action of exploding a mine.--I hope a soldier's wife may use a soldier's simile, for I know of nothing else to liken it to. Our walls, and gateways, and corner towers, are all
much shaken, or actually thrown down. We had at least twenty-five shocks before dark; and about fifteen more during the night, which we spent in the courtyard. The end wall of the room Lady Macnaghten and party were in has sunk about two feet, and all the beams have started.
20th.--I wrote to Sale, to tell him we were all safe. At 3 in the morning we had a pretty smart shock; and constant ones, some severe, and many very slight, on an average every half hour all day, and five or six slight ones at night. The gentlemen gave up their largest room to my party, who were utterly roofless. Nearly all the others slept outside: but we had only one crack in the roof of our room, caused by part of the wall falling on it. The cold outside was intense; and the dew completely saturated the bed clothes last night: added to which, should the buildings come down, we were safer above, for the yard was so crammed that, in case of accident, half the people below must be crushed.
21st.--At 1 in the morning a sharp shock made us run to the door. We had numerous slight, and three or four pretty good shocks: they became more frequent in the evening. Part of our party made awnings in the court-yard to sleep under; but Mrs. Sturt and myself still preferred the house as safest.
Dost Mahommed Khan brought workmen to clear away the débris. He tells us our fort is the best of forty that have suffered in this valley; and that many are entirely thrown down. In one, a tower fell, and crushed five women and a man: others have not a wall remaining.
We have various reports regarding Jellalabad;--that it has been taken, that the walls and all the defences are thrown down, &c
Dost Mahommed says that a man was sent as a spy to Jellalabad: that Macgregor sent for him; and, with Sale, took the man round to show him the state of the place: that two bastions had sunk a little; but that they were not only able to withstand Mahommed Akbar, but, if he came against them, they would meet him in the plain. It is said that Mahommed Akbar intends sending Gen. Elphinstone away if he can get a palkee. Lady Macnaghten has requested she may go with him; being, she says, differently circumstanced from the rest, who have most of them their husbands with them. Not even an animal's life was lost in our earthquake (I mean at our fort). Lady M.'s cat was buried in the ruins, and dug out again.
22d.--My wounds are quite healed. We had earthquakes day and night; less severe, but equally frequent. A prop was put up in our room to support the broken roof. We experienced a curious
shock in the evening like a heavy ball rolled over our heads. Some large pieces of hills have fallen, and immense masses of stone. I miss some large upright stones on the hills that divide us from Kaffiristan, and that looked in the distance like large obelisks.
23d.--This has been a very close and gloomy day; earthquakes frequent, and some very sharp ones. We hear that, at Charbagh, 120 Affghans, and 20 Hindostanees were buried in the ruins.
Capt. Bygrave arrived, with one of his feet severely frost-bitten: we were all rejoiced to see him, having long supposed he had shared the fate of the many. On the 12th of January, perceiving that our army was utterly annihilated, he left the road at midnight, turned to the left, and took to the mountains; where he was out seven days and six nights. During a part of this time he was accompanied by Mr. Baness. the merchant from Delhi, who had with him a small bag containing coffee: on this they subsisted, taking each about six grains a day. When this was spent Baness proceeded on; and we afterwards heard that he got to Jellalabad, but so worn out with fatigue that he only arrived to die. Capt. Bygrave suffered greatly from having his feet frost-bitten: he however contrived at daylight in the morning of the 19th to reach Nizam Khan's village, called Kutch Soorkhab,
about four miles north of Grundamuk, and twenty-eight from Jellalabad. Here he remained (plundered of course of what little money he had about him) until the 14th of February; when he was sent for to the Indian camp, then about six miles from Jellalabad. He had been demanded some days previously; but Nizam Elian refused to give him up until the arrival of the second messenger, accompanied by two mounted followers, when he was obliged to comply. Bygrave reached the Sirdar's camp in the afternoon of the 15th, and remained there with him till the 21st, on which day he started for Buddeeabad; and has, as before remarked, this day joined the other prisoners.
24th.--Very few shocks, and those gentle ones: but all last night, and great part of to-day, particularly late in the evening, there was a tremulous motion as of a ship that has been heavily struck by a sea, generally feeling as if on the larboard quarter, and accompanied by a sound of water breaking against a vessel. At other times we have just the undulatory motion of a snake in the water: but the most uncommon sensation we have experienced has been that of a heavy ball rolling over our heads, as if on the roof of our individual room, accompanied by the sound of distant thunder.
Abdool Ghyas Khan came to Buddeeabad. The report is, that Sultan Jan was sent the day before
yesterday with 1000 men to make a false attack on Jellalabad; in which, on retreating, he lost three men. Yesterday he was sent to repeat the experiment, an ambuscade being planted by Mahommed Akbar's order; and it is said that our troops were led on to the spot in pursuit of the fugitives; and that the enemy lying in ambush attacked them, and cut up a whole regiment, of which only three men escaped to tell the tale at Jellalabad.
General Pollock with 5000 men is said to have arrived at Peshawer, as commander of the forces in Affghanistan, and with full political power. The news came from a merchant, who has just arrived from Peshawer.
25th.--The earth is still unquiet, constantly trembling, with reports like explosions of gunpowder, but no severe shocks.
We hear that the camp followers we passed on the road are eating the bodies of those that die: eventually they must take their turn; for frostbitten as they are, they never can leave the places we saw them at.
27th.--A man has arrived who confirms the report of a fight, four days ago, at Jellalabad: and says four of the 13th are killed, and four taken prisoners; but they do not know whether they are officers or men. Sultan Jan is said to
have had a narrow escape, all his men having been cut up.
Earthquakes very frequent, but not severe, though worse than yesterday. The Ameer Dost Mahommed is reported to be on his way up from the provinces with the army; others say he has escaped from Ferozepore.
28th.--In consequence of a message from the Sirdar, our guards are doubled. The Mirza Bowadeen Khan is to go to him to-morrow. It is said 8000 men are coming from Cabul. A smart shock of an earthquake about 9 o'clock in the evening; and during the night several slight ones.
March 1st.--The Mirza went to the Sirdar. Nothing has transpired. A smart double shock in the morning, with slight tremulous motion.
3rd & 4th.--Earthquakes as usual. To-day every servant that is frost-bitten or unable to work has been turned out of the fort: they were stripped first of all they possessed. I received two notes from Sale, dated the 11th and 16th.
5th.--At 3 A. M. turned out of bed by a smart shock of an earthquake. Three continuous ones at breakfast-time. Futteh Jung is reported to be at Tighree.
8th.--A letter arrived from Mahommed Akbar Khan; stating that the King has written to
desire that the force at Jellalabad may be withdrawn, and that Futteh Jung is on his way down with 8000 men. It is stated that Macgregor has refused to receive the King's messenger; and that our force have arrived at Jumrood.
9th.--Several slight shocks at night; after which, great screaming and alarm. Husnoo, a sweeper, being a disappointed man, attempted to strangle Rookeria, a woman of the same cast. The gentlemen searched every corner; and the delinquent had to jump down the wall; in doing which he seriously injured his back. There was no other mode of escape, as we are always locked into the square at night.
10th.--The Affghans gave Mr. Husnoo a desperate flogging; and had it not been for the officers, would have hanged him afterwards: he was, however, stripped, and turned out of the fort.
11th.--Dost Mahommed Khan came. Khoda Bukeh, the half-brother of Mahommed Shah, has, we are told, left the Sirdar, whose party is breaking up; and he is supposed to be trying to get Major Pottinger to make some terms for him with Macgregor, and for him to join the English against the King. Col. Palmer has sent down to Macgregor the terms on which he will surrender at Ghuznee; but Macgregor refuses to ratify them; and has forwarded them to Gen. Pollock, through
the Sirdar, who has sent them here to Pottinger. Meantime the garrison at Ghuznee are to be provisioned by the chiefs. Dost Mahommed says that the King has written to Macgregor to vacate Jellalabad; and at the same time sent, by the bearer of the letter, a verbal communication not to do so. The messenger had a long conversation with Macgregor, and then started sharp for Cabul, passing Mahommed Akbar Khan's camp at night; who, on his part, was expecting to catch him in the morning, and possess himself of the letters.
The Mirza Bowadeen Khan is getting a paper signed by us all, to say he has treated us well: from whence we suspect he thinks our party will eventually gain the ascendant.
The Sirdar sent to Lady Macnaghten to say that if she did not require the services of three Hindostanee saceses that are in another fort, he will send them, with the Resallah, to Peshawer on rafts, the day after to-morrow: a demonstration of civility without meaning. The saceses are useless at a distance; and she does not require grooms for the horses that have been taken from her, either by him or Mahommed Shah Khan.
13th.--Earthquakes as usual. There has been a fight at Jellalabad. A party were sent out to mine: Sale, having intelligence of their intention,
planted an ambush. The enemy were first attacked from the fort; and when they fled, they fell into the ambuscade, and were cut to pieces. Numbers of wounded Affghans have come into this and the neighbouring forts.
14th.--Earthquakes in plenty. Mrs. Boyd was confined early this morning; adding another to our list of female captives. In the evening Affghans came in with many reports; confirming the account that there have been three fights, in which the Affghans have been worsted; that after the last battle Mahommed Akbar Khan in his retreat was fired at by an Affghan, and wounded in the body and arms.
The Affghans tell two tales: one, that Shah Shoojah had bribed a man with a lakh of rupees to assassinate Akbar; the other, that Capt. Macgregor gave Abdool Guffoor Khan (Akbar's cousin) the same sum to procure the like effect; and that Abdool and all his family have been put to death.
They say that Mahommed Akbar Khan chafes like a lion taken in the toils, with his three wounds,--for he was previously wounded in the thigh. He allowed no one but Mahommed Shah Khan to enter his tent.
15th.--I was made very anxious by a report that Jellalabad had been taken: it proved to be a piece of wit, to impose on those who were eager
for news. The Mirza, as soon as he heard of it, left his tent to come and assure me that it was false, and to request I would not make myself unhappy about it.
Of authentic accounts the last are, that there was a burj between the Sirdar's camp and Jellalabad, which Mahommed Akbar wished to establish as an outpost, and intended taking possession of. "Fighting Bob" (as Sale is called), having got intelligence of their intentions, sent a party of sappers and miners with supports during the night, who destroyed the work and returned; and on the Sirdar's party's arrival, they found their intended post annihilated.
Further accounts regarding the Sirdar's wound state, that it was purely accidental. A favourite Pesh Khedmut, who had accompanied Mahommed Akbar Elan to Bokhara, and had been with him in all his changes of fortune, was assisting him to dismount from his horse, when some part of his dress catching upon his fire-arms, they went off, and the Sirdar was wounded through the arm and lungs. One account states, that the unfortunate man was instantly cut to pieces; another, that he was burnt alive; and that to the last he took his oath on the Koran that the act was an accident. There is nothing too brutal or savage for Akbar to accomplish: he is known to have had a man
flayed alive in his presence, commencing at the feet, and continuing upwards until the sufferer was relieved by death.
The Mirza has sent for nalbunds to shoe our horses; and there seems to be an idea that we shall not long remain here. We have lately made ourselves more comfortable: a temporary shed or two, composed of mats, have been erected since the great earthquake for the accommodation of those who were turned out of their rooms at that time, all of course at their own expense. We have also got stools to sit upon, and charpoys instead of lying on the ground; and a cujava, with boards nailed on it, serves me for a table--a decided luxury, there being but one other here. Mirza, in this man's case, denominates a secretary: he is a kind of under-jailor (Dost Mahommed Khan being the principal one), who issues out our allowance of food: to some he is civil, and has been so to me: to some very rude; and has even drawn his knife on one of the officers.
18th.--We had two slight shakes, with reports like distant guns or thunder in the morning; and another during prayers at night. The Mirza Bowadeen Khan is to leave us the day after tomorrow. The servants have a report that there have been several engagements, in which Sale has been victorious; that the Sirdar is wounded
in two places; and that the married people are all to be sent to Jellalabad, and the bachelors to Cabul.
19th.--No earthquake to-day. The Mirza is ordered off; and the Nazir of Mahommed Shah Khan is come in his place: that is, he is to be our sub-jailor, Dost Mahommed Khan being the principal one, and answerable for our safe custody to Mahommed Shah Khan, his brother, who rules all Mahommed Akbar Khan's councils.
The Nazir begins well: says the Mirza cheated us of our allowance; that two sheep and twenty fowls are to be distributed daily, one seer of ottah, and one of rice to each room, with ghee in proportion; and that we are to have keshmish, sugar, and tea, monthly.
It is further reported that the Sirdar never intended the servants to be sent away; and that it was done by the Mirza in hopes of obtaining plunder. However, to do him justice, he sent to Capt. Lawrence, desiring him to make it known that the servants' money was unsafe; and that those who had any had better intrust it to the keeping of their masters. Now this he never would have done had he intended to fleece them. For myself I regret his going away; as he was always very civil to me, getting me any little thing I required.
20th.--During prayers (it being Sunday) about one o'clock we felt three distinct shocks.
Numbers of cattle are being driven off towards the hills. The people are sending their families and property away from the villages. The Affghans say that it is only the wandering Ghilzye tribes returning, as is their wont in the spring of the year, towards Cabul; having, as usual, wintered their flocks in the warmer climate of the Lughman valley.
21st.--The no-roz, or vernal equinox. Mr. Melville brought us a bouquet of narcissuses, which we highly prized, for it is long since we have seen even a blade of grass.
The report of to-day is, that troops have at length arrived at Jellalabad; having lost 1000 out of 3000 men in forcing the Khyber pass. All the forts about this place are filling fast with wounded men of Akbar's army; and skirmishes are said to take place daily at Jellalabad, in which we never hear of the Sirdar being victorious.
A nalbund is come to this fort, and is shoeing all our horses, we paying for the same. This looks like preparation for a move; but we trust it will not be a precipitate flight to Khoolloom with Mahommed Akbar Khan, as we have heard it hinted.
Mr. Clarke is stated to have arrived at Peshawer. He is an active political functionary, and just the man to set things to rights.
Mahommed Akbar Khan sent 800 men to watch the proceedings at Jellalabad. Sale is said to have attacked them, and cut them to pieces. This is the Affghan report of to-day.
23d.--A report that the Sirdar is willing to go over to the English; but that Mahommed Shah Khan is averse to the measure.
Another report, that all the horses and ponies are sent for by the Sirdar, has caused a great commotion; which, however, has subsided, on the discovery that the Sirdar had sent to claim a blue horse he had lent Mr. Ryley on the march, which he requires for his artillery: it was an iron grey.
An earthquake early in the morning, and many slight ones at night.
Mahommed Shah Khan's people are sounding us, to ascertain whether we shall be ransomed or not; talking of a lakh and half as our value: the General, Major Pottinger, and Capt. Lawrence to remain until we are in safety, and their rupees in hand. A council of officers was held at the General's regarding this same ransom business: which they refer to Macgregor. I protest against
being implicated in any proceedings in which I have no vote.
25th.--The Nazir says it was only a feeler, and it was a lakh and half each that Mahommed Shah Khan required from us. Perhaps this is only a piece of Affghan wit.
26th.--Letters from Jellalabad. The 31st, and 9th Queen's, a regiment of Dragoons, two of Native Cavalry, eight of Infantry, three eighteen-pounders, three nine-pounders, and six six-pounders, are expected there on the 1st of April Gerard has been wounded. Abbott hit by a spent ball: all well, thank God!
This news is very different from what we heard this morning, which was that those left at Cabul and Ghuznee have been sent to Bokhara to be sold as slaves; and that our turn would come next.
The thermometer of our spirits has risen greatly. We hear from Jellalabad that all at Cabul are well, and that Ghuznee has been obliged to surrender; but that the officers are all well, safe, and taken care of, as we are here.
Earthquakes in the usual number.
27th.--Easter Sunday. I wrote to Sale. Four earthquakes before breakfast, and more at night.
28th.--We hear from an Affghan, just come from Jellalabad, that two regiments have left
Peshawer, and advanced two marches; that Capt. Mackeson, political agent, has bought over the Khyberries; but that Gholab Sing, the Sheikh general, has claimed the honour of keeping the pass open for us.
29th.--An Affghan reports that our troops have arrived at Lallpoorah. A trifling earthquake at sunset; the hills enveloped in clouds, which suddenly assumed a lurid hue, and one sharp clap of thunder much resembling a gun was heard; after which they cleared off. A little rain about 8 P. M. when it became very warm, and we experienced a very hot night.
30th.--Sultan Jan and Mahommed Shah Khan are (we hear) gone with 3000 men to oppose the troops coming up. This force might annoy ours very much in the Cholah Khyber, between Lallpoorah and Hazar-i-now.
Another report is current to-day, that we are to be off on Sunday for Jellalabad.
Heavy rain in the evening and at night, with rumblings and trifling shocks.
31st.--The weather has cleared up again. Today's report is, that we go on Monday to Tagow or Kaffiristan. The people are becoming very civil; ask if we will spare their lives, and are sending their women away. We tell them that
all who behave well to us will have their property respected, and be well treated.
They say that Sultan Jan is really gone with 3000 men to the Cholah Khyber; that our force coming up gives no quarter; that the Affghans sent spies in the guise of country people, with things to sell, to see what loot the Feringhees had. They report that not only the soldiers, but also the officers, are packed close in small palls, without beds, chairs, tables, or any thing but the clothes on their backs.
April 1st.--A famous hoax went round, that a letter had come from Macgregor, that government were going to ransom us from Mahommed Shalt Khan for three lakhs of rupees, and that we were to leave Buddeeabad on Wednesday; that Sultan Jan had been defeated in the Khyber, and that Mahommed Akbar Khan had fled to Cabul.
Letters did actually arrive from Jellalabad subsequently, with very conflicting accounts: Gen. Pollock not expected till the 16th.
A report that Mahommed Akbar had withdrawn all his outposts, and hostilities had ceased; that Dost Mahommed had arrived at the Attack; and that as soon as he entered the country, all prisoners were to be set at large, and our force to quit the country, leaving the Ameer Dost
Mahommed to prosecute his fortunes as best he may.
Sale's letter gives no intelligence of a public nature; but as he proposes getting more shoes made to send to me, it does not look as if he expected us to leave this country soon.
3d.--A report that Macgregor has seized a flock of 200 sheep, twenty head of cattle, and twenty camels that were passing near Jellalabad; that Mahommed Akbar Khan, who it seems cannot have withdrawn his outposts, sent to seize our yaboos when they went out to water, and planted a party for that purpose. Some of our people who went out early, saw them stealing along to their position, and immediately reported the circumstance, when Sale planted an ambush of two companies, one of Europeans and one native. They then sent out the animals as usual, and when the Affghans pounced on their expected prey, they were attacked, and it is said 200 of them were killed.
5th.--I wrote to Sale, but heard that the letter will not go till to-morrow. We are told that three chiefs at Jellalabad are supplying our army with grain, leaving it at the gate at night.
6th.--The Nazir says that a brass six-pounder has been brought in from the Khyber on a camel, and that it has killed two camels bringing it to the
Sirdar's camp; also, that they have brought in thirty Europeans heads. Dost Mahommed Khan has returned from Cabul; whither the Sirdar sent him on business: he reports that there is great commotion in Cabul; and he has brought all Sultan Jan's family back with him for safety, to the Lughman valley. The gun above alluded to, is probably one taken at Ali Musjid; and the Sirdar having brought it to his camp, induces us to think that he has given up the idea of defending the Khyber.
Pottinger gives it as his opinion, that we may probably remain here for six months.
The Nazir tells us that the gun that has arrived has been a month on the road, and has killed six camels; that it is the one taken at Jumroad three months ago, when our people were out foraging; and that Zeman Khan has ordered Shah Shoojah to send a force down from Cabul. What they are going to do, and by whom the troops are to be headed, we know not; but only that the report is that a force has started. The Nazir told Pottinger that the talk of our being ransomed at two lakhs was only a feeler, to see what we would offer: that Mahommed Shah Khan would for that sum allow one gentleman to go to Peshawer to treat with our party there; but that Pottinger would be held answerable for his safe return.
News has just arrived to the Nazir from the Kazanchey, who is with the Sirdar, that all the officers at Ghuznee are killed except eight; that our troops at Khelat-i-Gilzye hold their ground, though they have been attacked several times; that the garrison of Kandahar have made frequent sallies, and scoured the country in every direction for eight or ten miles; and that they have got in a number of sheep and cattle: also, that an army is coming up from Shikarpore.
Further reports assure us that Shah Shoojah left Cabul to proceed to Bégramee, where his tents were pitched; but that he had not got further than the Musjed, where John Hicks's tomb is, in front of the Bala Hissar gate, when he was cut down in his palkee by the son of Zeman Khan, and was immediately cut to pieces.
Three Sirdars are said to have come in to-day; but we know of a truth that the Affghans are burnishing up their arms, and making bullets.
Our force is reported to have arrived at Jellalabad. Our guards are all on the alert. A report that Mahommed Akbar is killed; another that he has fled to Gundamuk.
Our broken towers are manned, and thirteen men added to our guard.
8th.--The first news this morning was, that Mahommed Shah Khan had been here during the
night, and that he has removed his family from the valley. It is still reported that Mahommed Akbar Khan is dead. The Sirdar reproached the chiefs for having supplied our garrison with provisions; and the same night, Abdool Guffoor Khan, Abdool Rahim, and Aga Jan, went over to Macgregor with 1000 Affghan cavalry, and told him that the enemy were not prepared; on which a chupao was made on Akbar's camp, with great slaughter. The three chiefs remained as hostages in Jellalabad, whilst their men went with our cavalry to chupao the camp. Akbar's horse was restive; and none of his people waited for him: his own artillery-men turned the guns against him in their flight; and they left their camp standing, their arms, and every thing they possessed; and ran for their lives. Mahommed Shah Khan has escaped; and Mahommed Akbar Khan is said to be within four kos of Buddeeabad.
10th.--We were hurried from daybreak to get ready. Mahommed Shah Khan has taken away all Lady Macnaghten's jewels, to the value of above a lakh of rupees; and her shawls, valued at between 30,000 and 40,000 rupees. He desired to see my boxes; but did not take the trouble of examining them: he, however, knew that I arrived here without any baggage. He sent to inquire if
we had any valuables; and, if so, we were to give them up at once.
The Mirza has returned: he, and the Nazir, promise to send a box, which I have no means of carrying, as also our servants, who are unable to go with us, to Jellalabad to Sale: however as they crammed the box into their own godown, I strongly suspect they mean to keep it themselves. My chest of drawers they took possession of with great glee--I left some rubbish in them, and some small bottles, that were useless to me. I hope the Affghans will try their contents as medicine, and find them efficacious: one bottle contained nitric acid, another a strong solution of lunar caustic!
We did not start till past noon, and then did not take the road we expected, leading to Tighree; but an upper one to the right, and were told we were going to Tagow. We had a great number of detentions from the camels that carried the kujavas; the General's broke down; so did Mrs. Sturt's; the General was laid on the ground until another could be brought for him; and Mr. Melville gave his horse to my daughter. Here the Mirza professed to be very kind and attentive: he took a chogah lined with valuable fur, which was particularly prized by Mrs. Sturt, as being her husband's; also his sword; and said
he would carry them for her when she was obliged to ride; but he quite forgot to return them, which caused much annoyance to us; and proved that the Mirza, despite his fair speeches, took care not to lose an opportunity of enriching himself at our expence.
We had not proceeded far when we met some horsemen shouting Kalus shud, and we were ordered to turn round: then we heard that our troops had been beat in the Khyber, and had lost ten guns. The next report was, that our troops had penetrated into the Lughman valley; another, that Jellalabad was taken. We went back; and found that the mat houses, and other little comforts we had put up, were mostly demolished; our scraps of setringees taken away, as also our mats, &c.: but the soldiers were very civil to us: one brought back my charpoy, and busied himself in stringing it for me; another brought me a chiragh; and a soldier's wife brought Mrs. Sturt and me each a stool to sit on. These little kindnesses make a deep impression at such times.
We were told not to unpack; and to be ready to start, if requisite, in the night.
A servant who refused to march with us was all activity on our return: he ran here and there, took our horses, and then, best of all, bought some fowls and cooked them for us.
We had been cooped up so long without any exercise, that we were quite ready for and enjoyed our dinner after the ride.
11th.--We got an early breakfast; and soon after started again; leaving the soldiers, two European women (Mrs. Wade and Mrs. Burnes), and the child Seymour Stoker, with all the maimed servants, and those that would not go with us. The women and child certainly ought to have accompanied us.
We went to Ali Kund, a rather long march, and found the Sirdar there, seated in his nalkee, and looking very ill. He was particular in bowing to us all, making every demonstration of civility.
Three tents were pitched for us on a pretty and green spot. The valley was beautiful under cultivation; and to us doubly so, from our not having seen a blade of grass for so long a time.
The field pea was in blossom; several sorts of cranesbill, gentian, forget-me-not, campions, &c.
Having taken the precaution to have some fowls roasted over night, we got a good meal; and we design, whenever we march, and can procure them, to do the same.
As we marched through the valley, we saw the effects of the late earthquake: not a fort was entire; very few habitable; and most of them masses of ruins.
Sultan Jan arrived this evening from the Khyber. Truly, the Persian expression of a man's face being blackened is true: he looks very black upon, his late defeat in the Khyber; and has returned with 50, all that remain to him of 500 men he took there. I had no idea, before our captivity, that people could become so changed by sunburn; the Europeans looking like the Affghans, and the Affghans as dark as Hindostanees.
12th.--Set out at eight a. m., and arrived at our ground at five p. m.; a very long march over a sterile country. We only twice met with water, which was very shallow, and so sandy that our horses would not drink it. We did not see a vestige of a habitation, nor any cultivation.
We left the Adanek Beeduck pass to our left; and travelled up and down a number of very difficult mountain passes. Mahommed Akbar Khan passed us; bowed, and smiled--"He can smile, and smile, and be a villain." I shook hands with Moyenoodeen, who is also arrived from the Khyber. He looks what is vulgarly called down in the mouth. He appeared afraid of acknowledging his acquaintance with me; and stealthily came to inquire if my wound was well. He was with Sale in the Kohistan; and then, and still, professes to be his friend, and the friend of the English in general. 13th.--Made a march of about twelve miles:
the country sterile and rocky; the road rather better than yesterday; only one very awkward ascent, when all the ladies got out of their kujavas. I always ride; and have my own saddle: but some of the ladies are obliged to ride gentleman fashion, sitting on their beddings instead of saddles.
The road was mostly up and down hill. We passed two small forts, with patches of cultivation near them, not far from our encamping ground. We found it very hot in our tent. This tent is one division of a common Sipahee's pall. We have taken up our places; and always retain them. Our party consists of Mrs. Trevor and five of her children, and Mrs. Sturt and myself, on one side; on the other Mrs. Boyd and her three children, Lady Macnaghten, Mrs. Mainwaring and child, Capt. and Mrs. Anderson and two children, and Capt. Lawrence. The other tents are similarly crammed: all spread their beddings (which touch each other) upon the ground.
14th.--A very tiresome hill on setting out,--the Badhpush or Windy Back: the ascent rather difficult: the descent could be made good for guns with 100 sappers in a few days. Saw plenty of fruit trees in blossom on the hill; at the foot of which we halted, dismounted, and sat on the ground till all our people got over; and found Mahommed Shah's sons with large bouquets of
tulips. I observed the mistletoe, the myrrh, ilex, &c. The rest of the march was along a tolerably good road. We crossed the same stream at least twenty times. Saw some purple iris's. We were detained a long time at the Cabul river; which we crossed on a jhala (or raft) supported on inflated skins; and encamped close to the bank, but further down the stream, as the current was very rapid: the river is said to be twenty feet deep at some places. Here we found Mahommed Akbar Khan. Our baggage came up at dusk, as also the tents; but a great deal did not get over, and has to wait for daylight. Several horses swam over; and their efforts, and those of their riders, were a source of great interest to us.
15th April.--We did not leave our encampment until the middle of the day; when we found the sand dreadfully hot. We came only four or five miles to Sehruby; and pitched our tents not far distant from Abdoollah Khan's fort. There were no kujavas to-day, and great grumbling thereat amongst the ladies. A report, which we fervently hope is untrue, that all the hostages left at Cabul are murdered.
I saw plenty of amaryllis in bloom; as also of the Persian iris (the orris of the druggists), which quite scented the air with a perfume resembling that of mingled violets and wall-flowers.
16th.--We halted. All manner of reports today,--that the King has not been murdered, but is in power with the Dooranees, the Populzyes, and Achukzyes, who are in the ascendant; whilst the Barukzyes are at a discount:--that great commotion exists in Cabul:--that the soldiers, who were left there, are to remain; but the officers are to come and join us at Tézeen to-morrow; whither we are to march, and go by roads impracticable for cattle; all to walk, to Herat: we are to be there in two months, after which we are to be sent to Balkh.
17th.--Halted again, probably waiting for the four kujavas that the Sirdar has ordered Mahommed Shah Khan to furnish us with. They say we go to Tézeen to-morrow: the mirza is off in advance, in great haste. Our troops are said to be near; and the Affghans are going to chupao them. The Sirdar has fallen back on the river, to confer with the Chief of Tagow.
This day I was attacked with fever.
18th.--Halted. Mahommed Shah Khan is gone off to Cabul; we are to go to the hills above Tézeen, and stay there till all is settled. If only a small force comes up, the Affghans mean to cut them up in the Khoord Cabul; if a large force come, they will succumb at once. I was worse to-day: a pleasant prospect, as we
daily expect to march. Our troops are said to he still at Lallpoorah, quieting refractory tribes.
19th.--A miserable day, and we marched through heavy rains to Tézeen: we are told that no supplies were to be had where we were. Kodá Buksh Khan's fort, close at hand, is full of loot and plate. The earthquake has brought down part of the fort they have brought us to.
The Sirdar could only get two camels with kujavas; but gave up his own palkee to Lady Macnaghten and me. I was utterly incapable of sitting on horseback: however, as I had to sit backwards, with very little room, nothing to lean against, and to keep a balance against Lady M. and Mrs. Boyd's baby, I benefited but little, except in the grandeur of a royal equipage. My turban and habit were completely saturated by the rain; and I shivered as I went. On arrival at the fort, I was told to go into the room where Mahommed Shah's and the other chief's ladies were. They received us with great kindness; and kept heaping up three large fires for us to dry our clothes by. The court yard was a deep mass of mud; and in the evening Affghans carried us on their backs across it to another apartment, which was nicely covered with numdas: our beddings were all regularly sopped through. The whole of the
baggage was sent on to the camp, with our servants. A dinner was cooked for us,--a huge dish of rice, with dhye (sour curds) in the centre, and ghee poured over all! This is a favourite Affghan dish, and therefore my bad taste must be arraigned for thinking it not eatable. Fortunately I had a little tea and sugar in a bag, suspended from the crupper of my saddle: they gave us some milk, and I found tea the most refreshing repast. We stretched ourselves on the numdas (coarse felt carpets) in our still wet clothes. In the night I began shivering again; and Capt. Anderson, my nearest bed mate, covered me with a bed cloak, which, strange to say, soon imparted warmth to me. We slept, large and small, thirty-four in a room 15 feet by 12; and we lay on the floor, literally packed together, with a wood fire in the centre, and using pine torches for candles.
20th.--The Sirdar fears if he is taken by us, we shall either hang him or blow him from a gun. Mahommed Shah Khan is in a great fright also. Sultan Jan appears to be our bitterest enemy. The Sirdar says he alone could take us through the country: or, if he wished it, he could assemble 5000 men at any point to attack us.
It is said that Mackenzie is to go to Jellalabad on a secret mission. He will not be allowed to take any letters for individuals.
We had rain all day; and our wet chogahs, &c. hanging up, increased the damp. I wrote a few lines in pencil to Sale by a trooper who expected to go with Mackenzie, recommending both this trooper himself (Oomar Khan), and the Rajah Ali Bahadur to him: both have been very useful to us. We had rain all day, and three earthquakes.
Mackenzie did not go after all.
Mrs. Waller increased the community, giving birth to a daughter: she, Mrs. Waller, and Mr. and Mrs. Eyre got a room to themselves and their children, diminishing our number to twenty-nine. A slight earthquake, and a fine night.
21st.--A fine sunshiny day: we went out to camp; getting on the first horses we could find: mine was a half-starved beast that could scarcely put one foot before the other. We had scarcely a mile to go. We hear that we are to halt here one day; and then to go to Zenganah, where the snow is four feet deep, and to stay there for four months. Rain in the evening; and very heavy rain at night. The General, who is said to be dying, Pottinger, Mackenzie, Dr. Magrath, the Eyres and Wallers, are left at the fort.
Major Pottinger expostulated with Akbar; and told him that surely he did not make war on women and children, and that it was great cruelty to drive us about the country in the way they are
doing; that when the Dost and the ladies of his family (amongst them Akbar's wife, the daughter of Mahommed Shah Khan) went to Hindostan, they travelled with every comfort procurable, and probably many more than they would have experienced in their own country. To this he replied, I will do whatever you wish: but Mahommed Shah Khan is gone to Cabul; the very bread I eat I get from him; and until he returns I cannot do any thing. He however insists that he has a letter from Hindostan, in which it is asserted that his father has twenty sentries over him, and offered to show the letter to Capt. Lawrence; who said he cared not who wrote the letter: it was untrue:--that the Dost has a guard: but so far from being a close prisoner, he being fond of hawking, &c., goes out when and where he pleases, with an escort of horse, which would be given in compliment to his station, as in the case of the royal families of Delhi, &c.; and that any restraint the women are placed under, is at the sole desire of the Dost himself.
22nd. We were roused before daylight with orders to march immediately; and as we had fully expected to halt for another day or two, all was confusion.
I was still too weak to ride; and Mrs. Boyd kindly gave me her place in the kujava, I carrying
her baby. It was my first attempt, and the conveyance was a particularly small one of the kind; for when the resai was put in to sit on, there was not one foot and a half square; and I found (being rather a tall person) the greatest difficulty in doubling up my long legs into the prescribed compass.
On inquiry, I found that our departure was occasioned by the arrival of a letter from Cabul; stating that Futteh Jung, son of the deceased Shah Shoojah, was coming with 400 horse to carry us off, as a card to play in his own favour.
Zeman Shah Khan, acting-King in Cabul, also demands us. Akbar wants to keep us: but both he and we are in the hands of Mahommed Shah Khan; who says he never took place or present from us; that he hated us always; and will be our enemy to the last.
We came to-day about twelve miles up the bed of a deep ravine, crossing the stream at least fifty times. From our last encampment we could see Kodah Buksh Khan's fort, looking very pretty, surrounded with fine trees in blossom.
On first starting, we passed on our right a large mountain-slip, caused by the earthquake near to a cave, where there are a great number of bodies. The hills were very precipitous on our left, and high on both sides. We also passed a cave at some
small distance, in front of which were some dead bodies and many bones strewed about: and, from the blood close to its entrance, there is every reason to believe that the inhabitants were supporting nature by devouring each other. I saw three poor wretches crawling on hands and knees just within the cave: but all we had to bestow upon them was pity, not unmingled with horror at the evidences of cannibalism but too apparent. These miserable creatures called to us for that relief which we had it not in our power to afford; and we can only hope that their sufferings were speedily terminated by death.
No guns excepting those of the mountain train could travel this road; and cavalry and infantry would be greatly annoyed from the heights.
We did not go direct up the Tézeen valley; but took the right hand valley, which leads to the Jubhar Khail country, considered as the strongest of the Ghilzye mountain fastnesses. We passed an old Ghilzye fort on an eminence on our right; also a small colony of charcoal makers, resident in mud huts, and encamped at a second place of the same kind. Ice six inches thick in places close to the road; and plenty of snow from six to eight inches deep on the sides of it.
23rd. Being still very weak, I am glad to hear we are likely to halt here eight days. Khojeh
Mahommed Khan seems very anxious regarding some terms being made with the Feringhees: the bahadurs notwithstanding; and says he can bring two lakhs of fighting men against us.
The Gbazeeas are getting discontented; and complain that they have had no food for four days.
The Sirdar has ordered our horses back to Tézeen: he says he cannot feed them here.
24th. The General died last night, and his remains are to be sent to Jellalabad. Mackenzie was sent there on a secret mission just afterwards. The General's death was hastened by a rumour of a Chupao from Cabul the very day we left Tézeen. At mid-day all were put on horseback, and sent off to a fort near at hand. In the general hurry to save themselves, Mrs. Waller, with her two children, seemed to be quite forgotten. Mr. Waller went to Major Pottinger, who was mounted on his horse, and who said all must do the best they could for themselves; but that no doubt accommodation would be given. On this Mr. Waller, who cannot speak Persian, applied to Capt. Mackenzie; who went to Akbar Khan, and represented to him how shocking a thing it was to leave a lady and two children to have their throats cut. An old kujava was found, and strung; and some Affghans carried it on a pole. Three wives of one of the chiefs were also
left in a great fright; but they procured some conveyance also. Pottinger was hurried off in such haste that he could not remonstrate.
Mahommed Shah Khan says he will not give us any thing besides ottah. I suppose he keeps all the good things for the Affghan ladies; some of whom inhabit two mud huts on the hill, and the others are lodged in black tents more fragile than our own. Mahommed Rufeek, our present keeper and purveyor, has purchased twelve sheep on his own account for us; and Mahommed Akbar Khan has sent twelve camels to Cabul to bring rice and ghee. We are also busy making chebootras: we hang up our resais and blankets for roof and walls, and find they make very comfortable places to sit in all day.
25th.--A report that Macgregor is to exchange us against an equal number of Affghan ladies and children at Loodianah; and that we are to be released in a few days.
26th.--A report to-day that the Jellalabad army are moving upwards and the Cabul one downwards. The Affghans say that their force consists of 11,000 men.
27th.--The Sirdar and Major Pottinger paid us a visit. The former tells us we are not to be angry; that nothing is procurable here; that he has sent to Cabul for every thing for us. He
brought some native shoes and cloth for distribution. Miller and Moore, the two soldiers who attended on the General, have been liberated: but Akbar says that it is not prudent to let them go at present, as the roads are unsafe!
28th.--We have converted our chebootras into arbours made of juniper. We were driven from ours to-day before dinner by a shower of rain. At night we had thunder, hail, and showers of rain, that came on in gusts.
It is said that the Sirdar has intercepted a letter from Conolly to Macgregor regarding some treaty with Ameenoollah Khan for 3 lakhs: and that Kohundif Khan (the Dost's brother), with 8000 Persians, is moving on Kandahar. If this is true, it involves a quarrel with Persia.
A number of the Sirdar's men are said to have gone off to-day; having struck for arrears of pay. The Sirdar offered them 5 rupees each, but they demanded 10. A relief guard of seven men has arrived with some petty chief.
We have just heard that Miller was disguised as an Affghan to lead the camel that conveyed the General's body. Moore looked too English to attempt it. Near Jugdaluk, the party of ten horsemen were attacked, and the box, which was supposed to contain treasure, broken open. We at first heard that they had mutilated the poor
old man's body; but only a few stones were thrown, one of which struck the head.
Miller was beaten a good deal, and wounded with a knife; but saved his life by saying he was a Mussulman: he had to return. The body was sent on; but I believe there is as yet no authentic account of its arrival at Jellalabad.
Mahommed Shah Khan arrived at night.
30th April.--A messenger came in from Amenoollah Khan. The government have refused to pay the 14½ lakhs; and the Affghans say that Pottinger and Lawrence are answerable for it. Is not Akbar more answerable for the non-fulfilment of the treaty? he who went to the Durbar, booted, (on the 7th of January,) ready to start after our army for the avowed purpose of its annihilation?
The Rajah has come in; he goes off to Cabul again to-morrow. Goolam Moyen oo deen also came to see us: he goes with the Sirdar to Tézeen to-day.
All accounts seem to agree in this: that although the Affghans are raising troops in Cabul, yet they seem to be as likely to fight against each other as against us.
Our soldiers who were left at Cabul, have been sent to Logur (Amenoollah's country). The hostages are placed in the hands of the son of the high priest, Bucha-i Meer Wyse.
It is reported that the Dost has written to Akbar Khan to say, that, if there is any chance of regaining the throne, he was to fight for it; but if not, not to drive us women and children about the country; as it was against his interest that we should be ill treated. Perhaps he pities the wives of all these Ghilzye chiefs, who go wherever we do: they however have the best and largest kujavas, and plenty of them; whilst with us, many ladies very unfit to ride, are forced to do so, and even without side or any saddles; for myself, I would rather walk than be again packed into a kujava.
1st May.--Futteh Jung, Amenoollah, and the Populzyes are in the Bala Hissar. The new king, Zeman Shah Khan, and Osman Khan, with the Barukzyes, are in the city. They have sixteen guns; and want the former party to join them; but they refuse to do so, saying that the others inveigled Shah Shoojah out, and killed him.
Neither party will have any thing to do with Akbar; who, they say, plays a double part, and killed all our army. Mahommed Shah Khan wants to get Akbar to Cabul: but he refuses to go, from dread of assassination.
He (Akbar) wishes to be made a consequential chief of some part of the country; and would probably give us up, had he the power: but
Mahommed Shah Khan is very powerful, and averse to the project.
2nd.--All Cabul is in an uproar, the people fighting amongst themselves. Khojeh Mahommed took some of the officers out shooting: whilst on the hills, they heard the report of guns; and were told that the firing was at Cabul; about thirty miles off in a direct line.
In a conference with Pottinger, Troup, and many other English and Affghans,--amongst the latter Mahommed Shah Khan,--Mahommed Akbar Khan became greatly excited. He said, that on the religious cry being raised, he killed the Envoy, he destroyed our army; and now that he has drawn down the vengeance of the British upon him, the rest are deserting him: that he has kept his feelings pent up within his own breast, until they have preyed upon his vitals; and that, were he in power now, he would exterminate every one of the recreant Mussulmans who have deserted him, and left him to obloquy.
A cossid has arrived from Cabul; where there has been a fight, in which Zeman Shah Khan has been victorious. One of Amenoollah's sons is killed; and Hamza Khan is wounded: but Futteh Jung and Amenoollah are still in possession of the Bala Hissar.
3rd.--Amenoollah Khan has been worsted. The
Sirdar has sent troops, under his cousin Shamshudeen, to lay waste the Logur country, destroy the forts, and capture the women: for all which Akbar promises a reward of 30,000 rupees.
It is now reported that we are to go in three or four days to Ghuznee, where the Sirdar's cousin Shumshudeen commands. I heard from Sale. The Wallers and Eyres arrived from Tézeen.
4th.--The Sirdar is gone or going to Cabul.
Capt. Troup is just summoned to join him and Pottinger: Magrath remains at Tézeen; and Mackenzie, they say, is gone back to Jellalabad again.
Another account states that Amenoollah has fled to the Logur country, and that Futteh Jung holds the Bala Hissar. Further accounts state that Amenoollah, although defeated, got safe into the Bala Hissar. 200 horsemen have been sent from Cabul to the Sirdar: Zeman Shah Khan invites him to assume the throne. He was sleeping when they arrived; but the prospect of a crown soon chased his slumbers; and he was quickly on horseback with Pottinger, leaving orders for Troup, on his arrival, to follow. Mackenzie was not to go to Jellalabad; but to wait half way for further orders from the Sirdar.
The Sirdar has been urgent (but ineffectually of course) with Mr. Eyre to go to Cabul to lay his guns for him. We hear that the hostages are all again with Zeman Shah Khan.
7th.--I have before adverted to Mackenzie's secret mission to Jellalabad. It was first, to ascertain what terms our party would propose: the reply was an offer of two lakhs of rupees for all the prisoners, and that the sooner we were given up to our own people the greater would be the friendship of our government; that, in consequence of the protection afforded us by Dost Mahommed Khan, and Mahommed Shah Khan, their families and possessions would not be attacked: but that the grand question of peace or war, and the settlement of the country, must depend upon replies to be received from the Governor-General. The Sirdar has sent in his rejoinder by Mackenzie; saying, he does not want money; nothing but the friendship of our nation; and that if the ladies and children go, he cannot part with the gentlemen yet.
Gen. Pollock has issued a proclamation, that whoever remains quiet will be unmolested.
Threats are held out that if our troops move up higher than Gundamuk, we shall also be taken 20 miles further up into the hills. To this there are two objections: we are now above the Tézeen valley, in the Jubhar Khail country; these people declare we shall not go further, or if we do they will themselves take us to our army, for they do not want to bring down upon themselves the vengeance
of our nation; secondly, we have no carriage: there is little doubt, that Mahommed Shah Khan would care little for our being obliged to leave behind our clothes and the few comforts we have, but we cannot be expected to walk; and the Sirdar or some of the chiefs have taken away to Cabul both our riding horses and baggage ponies.
I consider myself fortunate in having had my horse selected to carry Capt. Mackenzie to Jellalabad: it arrived there lame, and was left with Sale. We have this day seen the general order with Col. Palmer's capitulation at Ghuznee; and dreadful was the tale that shortly followed it. On the faith of the orders received, and the promises of the treaty with the chiefs, these devoted troops left Ghuznee, under the charge of Shumshudeen (the Sirdar's cousin). Treachery seems to be inherent in the blood of this family.
A Ghazeea shot an officer, another shot the Ghazeea; a fight ensued; the whole of our troops were cut up; exertions were made to save the officers, but every Sipahee fell. Seven of the officers are said to be alive, and poor Mrs. Lumsden. It is exactly the counterpart of what occurred with the Cabul force.
Regarding our climate.--The snow has melted on the hills immediately in our front and rear; but the tops of those within a moderate walk
(were we permitted to go out of the bounds assigned to us for exercise) are still covered with it.
This morning, when we were dressing, and long after sunrise, the Bheestee took his mushk to the stream, not 50 yards from our tents, and filled it: on his return the water was frozen so hard he could not pour it out; and we had to thaw it by the fire.
8th.--A very gloomy day, and cold: we kept up a good fire in the bower. A little snow fell. Serj. Deane's wife, a Persian woman, has been taken by force and married to a younger brother of Mahommed Shah Khan. Whenever this man enters her presence, she salutes him with her slipper. It is only within a few days that she has been told of Deane's death: she appears to have been sincerely attached to him; and is represented as a very pretty young woman.
The man who took the General's body to Jellalabad has returned. He seems highly pleased with the present he has received of 200 rupees: and it appears to have had a good effect; for he reports in glowing terms on the grand turn-out for the funeral, the salvoes fired, &c. on the occasion; and the magnificent appearance of our troops.
10th.--Capt. Anderson's little girl was restored, to the great joy of her parents.
Parties run high at Cabul: Zeman Shah Khan says he will be King, Akbar ditto, Jubhar Khan
the same, and Amenoollah has a similar fancy, as also Mahommed Shah Khan, and Futteh Jung the Shahzada.
The troops go out daily to fight; Amenoollah's to Ben-i-shehr, and Zeman Shah Khan's to Siah Sung; they fight a little, and then retreat to their own positions. Zeman Shah Khan has been driven out of his house, and Amenoollah out of his; but have part of the town in their favour.
The citizens are ruined by the perfect stagnation of trade; and would probably side with us were we to show in force. Now is the time to strike the blow, but I much dread dilly-dallying just because a handful of us are in Akbar's power. What are our lives when compared with the honour of our country? Not that I am at all inclined to have my throat cut: on the contrary, I hope that I shall live to see the British flag once more triumphant in Afghanistan; and then I have no objection to the Ameer Dost Mahommed Khan being reinstated: only let us first show them that we can conquer them, and humble their treacherous chiefs in the dust.
There have been a number of reports to-day, which I believe to have no foundation in truth: amongst others, that the Ghilzye ladies have been packing up all night; and are going to give us the slip and leave us, in consequence of hearing that
our force is coming up in four divisions; one of which arrived at Tézeen at four this morning, and looted the place: and that we are to be sent forty kos higher up into the hills. This is, however, contradicted, as some persons who were sent out yesterday to explore have returned, and say that the snow is two feet deep and impracticable.
A letter arrived from the Sirdar; stating that whenever it might be requisite for us to move, he would send us camels, ponies, and all the carriage we require; and that we are positively not to move without his especial order.
11th.--Futteh Jung wrote to his brother Timor at Kandahar to come and assist him: Timor sent him 3000 Juzailchees; and assured him that he was himself coming up with the British army.
Major Pottinger writes that there is no present chance of our liberation.
Mahommed Akbar Khan professes that he does not want money from us; but he laughs at our offer of two lakhs for the whole party; and has sent back to say he wishes for eight. It has been recommended that we should offer him five; but the general opinion is that we shall remain in captivity till all is settled.
13th.--The Akhonzada says, that, after we left Buddeeabad, all the natives were turned out, and told they might make the best of their way
to Jellalabad; being first stripped of their clothes and all that they possessed. Those who had lost their feet of course could not attempt it; and the greater part of the rest, we are told, have been taken as slaves.
We have a slave merchant here now. We learn that men sell for forty-six rupees, and women for twenty-two, each: they are sent off to Khoolloom. 400 Hindostanees have been entrapped at Cabul, under an assurance of safe conduct to Jellalabad.
14th.--People have come in from the Lughman valley, who report that the wheat and barley there are ripe, and also the mulberries. Here the crops have not attained the height of six inches.
The booming of heavy guns heard: on which the guard here said the Kulma; hoping that it was something in the Sirdar's favour.
It is reported that Futteh Jung is King, the Sirdar Wuzeer, and Zeman Khan Sirdar-i-Sirdaran. About thirty shots were heard in the night.
15th.--More of Mahommed Rufeek's people have come in from Cabul: they say that Mahommed Akbar Khan is proclaimed King, until his father's return; that he resides at present in the Ben-i-shehr; and that Amenoollah has free ingress and egress to and from him, for the purpose of meeting with Futteh Jung. The Sirdar has sent
for all our horses, ponies, &c. The Naib Shureef has sent Mrs. Sturt and me tea and sugar:--a kind attention and great comfort.
Akbar says he will fight our army. This is expressed in a letter written to Suballan Khan, the captain of our guard. Dost Mahommed Khan asserts that it is Major Pottinger who retards our release: but he is as much a prisoner as ourselves.
16th.--I kept the anniversary of my marriage by dining with the ladies of Mahommed Shah Khan's family; who told us that Futteh Jung was King, Mahommed Akbar Khan Wuzeer, and Mahommed Shah Khan the Sirdar-i-Sirdaran. It was an extremely stupid visit. We had two female servants to interpret for us. Three of Mahommed Shah Khan's wives and some of Dost Mahommed's, with the mother of the chiefs, and two of their unmarried sisters, were present. They were, generally speaking, inclined to embonpoint, largely formed, and coarsely featured; their dress inelegant, and of the coarsest materials. The favourite wife, and the best dressed, was attired in a common Cabul silk, with a coarse piece of chintz inserted behind, evidently for economy's sake. The dress, which covers the whole person, nearly resembles a common night-dress; and has tacked on to it coins, or other pieces of silver or gold, such as crescents, &c, all over the sleeves,
the front and sides, from the shoulders to the feet. A breast-plate is worn, commencing at the throat, of coins strung together: this descends far below the waist; and when they sit down, it hangs in festoons on the lap. Only the favourite wore gold coins; those of the other ladies being of silver. They had nothing in the way of jewels, properly so called. About seven common-sized pearls surrounding an emerald full of flaws, the whole set as a nose ornament, was the handsomest thing I saw in the trinket way. Some of them had very inferior ear-rings of gold and silver. They wear their hair in innumerable small plaits hanging down: these are arranged once a week after taking the bath; and the tresses are then well stiffened with gum. The unmarried women bend their hair in a flat braid across the forehead touching the eyebrows; which gives them a very heavy look. These said eyebrows, whilst they are maidens, remain as nature formed them: but when they marry, the hair of the centre is carefully picked out; and the arch, thus most unnaturally raised, is painted. The Cabul women are much addicted to the use of both white and red paint; and they colour not only the nails, as in Hindostan, but the whole hand up to the wrist, which looks as though it had been plunged in blood, and to our ideas is very disgusting. A particular plant is often used for this purpose.
The upper part of the leaf sparkles, and resembles the ice plant; but the lower side is red, and on being pressed gives a fine dye. A chuddah is thrown oyer the head and shoulders in the house, as in Hindostan; and when they go out they wear the bourka, ru-i-bund, and legwraps: high-heeled iron-shod slippers complete the costume. After a time an extremely dirty cloth was spread over the numdas in front of us, and dishes of pillau, dhye or sour curd, and férnéz or sweet curd, were placed before us. Those who had not taken a spoon with them, ate with their fingers, Affghan fashion;--an accomplishment in which I am by no means au fait. We drank water out of a tea-pot. A dinner was given to the gentlemen by Abdoollah Khan at his tents about two miles off, nearer the snow.
In the evening Capt. Mackenzie arrived; and I received a letter from Sale.
There seems to be no present prospect of release.
We hear that the force under Gen. Nott has been reinforced by Brig. England; who had nevertheless been beaten back in the first instance:--that Gen. Nott was to march towards Cabul as yesterday (the 15th); and that Gen. Pollock was still awaiting orders from Lord Ellenborough; but that whether they arrive or not, we must now wait until Nott's force gets near to Cabul to make a simultaneous attack. Now as Akbar only boasts of
12,000 men against us, and as we have fully that number at Jellalabad, with 18-pounders, Pollock's force would easily capture Cabul in the present position of affairs. A short time ago it would have been still easier, as there was then more division among the Affghan troops.
A letter from Mahommed Akbar Khan to Sultan Khan has been intercepted; in which he acknowledges, that for every rupee he can muster, the Shahzada (Futteh Jung) can produce a gold mohur.
An European and some natives were murdered near our camp at Jellalabad: and, vigorous measures not being taken, the offence was repeated; and a duffodar of Tait's horse fell a victim to the Affghans. On the murderer taking refuge in a village, Tait immediately surrounded it with his men; and then reported the circumstance to Gen. Pollock; who, after consulting with Capt. Macgregor, sent to tell the people of the village that if they did not, within a specified time, give up the malefactor to be hanged by us, he would burn the village, and put every living being in it to death. The time had not expired when this news came. Cruel as an action of this kind may appear, it is probably the best method of striking terror into these savages, and perhaps of eventually preventing bloodshed.
Capt. Mackenzie has brought me intelligence of
Sale's having broken three of his ribs, from his horse falling with him; and that he has suffered also from inflammation in consequence of the accident; but that he is fast recovering, if not, as he says he is, quite well and fit for work again.
17th.--I heard this morning that part of my letters regarding the siege had arrived in England, and been laid before the Court of Directors.
20th.--Lady Macnaghten and a part of the ladies breakfasted with Dost Mahommed Khan and his ladies. They were told that, if the Sirdar gains the Bala Hissar, we shall all go there; if not, we go to Jellalabad.
One report states, that the Sirdar, who is resident at Ben-i-shehr, was to meet Futteh Jung on amicable terms; but that the latter refused to go outside the Bala Hissar until Mahommed Shah Khan and Sultan Jan were given up to him as hostages, which was done: but when Futteh Jung got as far as the Musjid, finding Akbar at the head of 3,000 men, fearing treachery, he retreated, shut the gates, and fired on Akbar's party. Another account states, that when the gates were opened for Futteh Jung to go out, Amenoollah released the hostages, and then went over to the Sirdar himself. Mackenzie is supposed to be at Tézeen to-day; and will be here either to-morrow or in three days. It is worthy of
remark, that during Lady Macnaghten's visit to the ladies this morning, Dost Mahommed Khan was present the whole time; which was decidedly, according to Affghan custom, an insult; as the men never are present when their wives receive company.
A Kandaharee female servant of these ladies told them in Hindostanee not to believe a word that Dost Mahommed said to them; as his intelligence was all false and was intended to mislead them.
A storm of thunder and rain at dinner-time: in the evening we ascended the hill, about 150 feet; and then found the view bounded by another: so we fatigued ourselves to no purpose. A fire beacon lighted on the hill at night.
21st--Lady Macnaghten and two other ladies breakfasted with Khojeh Mahommed Khan's family; and on this occasion two men were present. The rest of us were not invited.
Khojeh Mahommed sighed much and seemed out of spirits. According to the statement of their servants, the ladies have not had food cooked for them for two days in consequence of their grief. In these parties they do not eat with the Kaffirs; but are profuse of their expressions of good will; and desire us to ask them for any thing we require.
Their professions were put to the test; at least those of Dost Mahommed himself: a gentleman asked for a chillum, and was told to go to the devil (Goom Shud).
I received two notes from Sale dated the 15th; informing me that he had received a highly gratifying letter from Lord Ellenborough, and another from Sir Jasper Nicholls, regarding the holding of Jellalabad, the chupao on Akbar's camp, &c.; and stating that the 35th were to be made light infantry; the Company's troops to have medals, and to bear "Jellalabad" and a mural crown on their colours: also that Lord Ellenborough would request Her Majesty's permission that the 13th should be similarly honoured.
Chintz, sugar candy, tea, and cheese, distributed amongst the ladies; they were sent to us by our friends at Jellalabad: also Shalu (Turkey red cotton cloth) and jean, with boots and shoes for the gentlemen. We also received the March overland mail. I heard a droll anecdote of Akbar when he went off to Cabul from Tézeen. His followers asked him what tent they should take for him: his reply was given with great good humour (he believed himself on the point of mounting a throne);--"The ladies and people above have got all our tents here; but you may send my salaam to Gen. Sale, and ask him to lend me one of those he took from me."
22nd.--The first thing we heard this morning was, that ponies had arrived and that we are going to Cabul. They afterwards told us that
we are going to Shéwakee, a fort near the Pillar. The officers went to Dost Mahommed and informed him that only thirty-three ponies had arrived, and no camels; and that it was impossible we could move without more means of transport: so the order to march at mid-day was rescinded; and we have been promised animals to start with early to-morrow morning. We are to go to Khoord Cabul, seventeen miles, as our first march.
23rd.--Mules arrived for three kujavas; but no camels, as we take a road that is bad for these animals.
Started at a little before 10 a. m., and got to the fort we formerly went to at Khoord Cabul, at 6 p. m. We travelled fully twenty-two miles, following the road to Tézeen, by which we came to Zanduh, for some time, and then turning to the left. Except in a few places the road was tolerable. We crossed a highly cultivated valley studded with forts; a perfect oasis in our barren mountain track. The yellow briar-rose is in bloom, and asphodels of three different colours, yellow, pink, and a greenish brown, a pretty description of borage, and a plant resembling sage with a red flower; and blue sage in blossom was found amongst the wells and stones. The climate here was much warmer than at Zanduh. We did not strike into the regular road till we arrived at
the Huft Kotul; and here we came upon a sad scene of decaying bodies, amongst which poor Major Ewart's was still recognisable.
There is a fort opposite to the point where the short road turns back to Seh Baba; and another at Thana Tariffa, which is the entrance to the Thungee on the Jellalabad side. This was also dreadful to go through; both to the sight and smell equally offensive.
Immediately after emerging from the pass, we took a short cut to the left of the regular road, which brought us to the fort. In its immediate vicinity there was rich cultivation; but a great deal of land formerly tilled lies fallow this year.
24th.--We left the fort at about the same time as yesterday: our march was eighteen or nineteen miles over hill and dale, with a rich valley but scantily cultivated on our left. We had a difficult ascent over a rocky hill; after which we passed a tope which has no appearance of having been opened. There is a fine tank nearly opposite to it, shaded by trees, and containing small fish: it is supplied with beautifully clear water from the Karez, near it; from which, I suppose, it takes its name of Káreza. We then pursued our way over a plain, covered with stones, till we ascended a difficult rocky hill, which was surmounted by the
famous Pillar generally ascribed to Alexander the Great. It is evidently not of Affghan workmanship; and is now out of the perpendicular, leaning back, as if it shrank from Cabul. The outer casing is quite gone; and it is not therefore wonderful that no inscription exists: and the greater part of the square base it rested on has also mouldered away. From this spot there is a magnificent view. Immediately below us was a richly cultivated country studded with forts and fruit trees, the Logur river, beyond it the Siah Sung, and a distant view of Cabul, and then ranges of hills, the whole bounded by the mountains of Kohistan and the Hindo Koosh, covered with perperpetual snow. The descent on the Cabul side is rather more difficult in parts; particularly when you have not an acquaintance of long standing with your horse; which was my case, having hired for the day a mere baggage poney, for the large sum of two rupees six anas. The creature was evidently not used to scrambling; and did not like it. "Whenever he came to a difficult place, he jumped down with his two fore feet; and then considered whether he should bring the hinder ones after them; and in this way jumped up on rocks, where kids would joy to disport, but where he shook with fear. However, riding was less trouble than walking on such a road; and I go
safely through. We passed another tope which had been opened, and a succession of forts; and at length arrived at Noor Mahommed, the Meer Akor's Fort: here we were not expected; no notice having been given. The truth is, that the Sirdar ordered us to be sent to a fort of Mahommed Shah Khan's, two miles from this one; but Mahommed is to bring his family hither; and was determined to keep his own fort for them. We were first told that two open stables or cowsheds, down a narrow gulley in the outer square, were all the accommodation they had to give us.
As no one would fight for the ladies, I determined to be Yaghi myself; and I went with Mr. Melville to Dost Mahommed Khan and Mahommed Rufeek. At length our bower party got a small room over the gateway of the inner fort; with a promise of better quarters for all to-morrow.
The reason given for our sudden flitting from Zanduh is an expected chupao from the two chiefs, Azaid Khan, and Aziz Khan; who offered, if Macgregor would furnish the cash, to raise 2000 men, and carry us off to our friends.
There was firing of guns all day long; and at night very sharp firing, without much intermission. Being in pain from the arm that was wounded, and in great anxiety for the result (having heard
from the Affghans here that Akbar meant to surprise and take the Bala Hissar), I never closed my eyes until after daybreak; when we heard the muezzin call to prayers.
25th.--The tables were turned last night; for a sally was made from the Bala Hissar; and Mahommed Akbar Khan was, they say, nearly caught He escaped to a fort near the Shah's camp, behind Siah Sung.
The females were removed from this fort, and we all got excellent quarters. In addition to the two rooms apportioned to our party, we have permission to sit, in the daytime, in a room in a bourj, a small octagon with oorsees or openwork lattices. There are two nights of steep steps to mount to it from our apartments, which are upstairs; but the view from it is so refreshing, looking over all the forts and highly cultivated grounds; it has the advantage of being always cool; and which compensates for the trouble in getting there.
The Sirdar says he will not remain here when our force comes up, but retire to the Kohistan, and allow the English to take Cabul: after which he will come forward with an offer to go to Hindostan, and take his father's place, if they will permit the Ameer Dost Mahommed Khan to return and rule in this country.
26th.--We heard a few guns early in the morning. This day they say the Sirdar is to have a friendly conference with Futteh Jung; but it is to be hoped that the latter will not put himself into the power of his treacherous enemy.
Khan Shireen Khan, the head of the Kuzzilbashes, keeps neuter. Zeman Shah Khan seems to be but a lukewarm friend of the Sirdar.
The gentlemen of Cabul are all disgusted at the treachery that took place, ending in the murder of Shah Shoojah.
The shopkeepers and merchants wish for us back; as the circulation of rupees is much less than in our time: and the cultivators would fain leave the army and look after their crops.
Gen. Pollock offers to exchange the captive ladies and children, against Akbar's family of four wives with their children. One of the former is a daughter of Mahommed Shah Khan; and another is a sister of Sirballan Khan's. Capt. Troup came to see us, and brought us a message from the Sirdar, desiring we would all write to him, and state whatever we required, that he might send it to us.
27th.--Capt. Troup returned to the Sirdar, and took our notes and lists with him; also a letter for Sale, though he doubts its being sent immediately. This day was fixed for a
conference between Akbar and Futteh Jung: Akbar required him to vacate the Bala Hissar; and says he may go into the strongest fort in the neighbourhood, and keep all his guns; giving up his army, wherewith Akbar is to go down and fight the British force. No firing heard today; but we hope that Futteh Jung will manage to hold out until our force comes to his assistance.
28th.--The advance of our army has arrived at Gundamuk; and the rest are following, purchasing up carriage at any expense.
The Kandahar force have been attacked by the Affghans; who have been signally defeated; which has struck such terror into them, that they are flying in all directions: this is their own account.
29th.--Sujat Dowlut, the son of Zeman Shah Khan, and the murderer of Shah Shoojah, came to the fort to visit Ali Mohammed Khan. To his father's honour be it said that he refused to see him for some time after the murder. It is reported that we leave this place in six days for--no one knows where.
30th.--There was firing late in the evening from the Bala Hissar and the city. A man of some respectability, with three or four followers, came to see Capt. Johnson, and bring him some things:
they were all taken away by the Affghans; and the people carried off prisoners to Akbar.
The Kuzzilbashes have openly declared in favour of Futteh Jung. They are throwing provisions into the Bala Hissar; and strengthening the works.
Our troops have been some days at Gundamuk. There are orders that the officers are not to go out of the fort, as they did before, to bathe. We hope we shall not be interdicted walking in the garden, as we always have guards with us there; and every night we are locked into the square; and the servants cannot go outside the gate for any purpose without a guard.
1st June.--The Naib Shureef is obliged to hide for safety. Mahommed Rufeek is sent away; and Ali Mohammed Khan has now sole charge of us.
2d.--It is true that our troops left Kandahar on the 16th of last month. General Nott's force has given the Affghans a fourth beating at Khelat-i-Gilzie; and killed 2000 men. Gen. Pollock's division is expected here on the 15th.
Sharp firing all day; particularly in the afternoon, evening, and all night.
3d.--The servants have a report that whenever we leave this place, Futteh Jung means to chupao us; and that twenty men are always on the
watch, mounted, to carry the intelligence of our removal to him.
4th.--Capt. Troup came to us; and brought me two parcels from Sale; one of which was for distribution amongst the ladies. Also letters enclosing copies of Lord Ellenborough's and Sir Jasper Nicholls' letters to him. Their contents were so gratifying that I shook off all my feverish feelings and concomitant weakness; and in the gladness of my heart felt quite well again.
Troup seems to think that the Sirdar will succeed in getting possession of the Bala Hissar. He assures Futteh Jung that he has a mine all ready to spring; but will not have recourse to it till the last moment. Now this is an evident ruse; for if he had the means he would take the Bala Hissar at once: and we have heard that he has mined in three places to the extent of twelve hauts; but has each time come to solid rock, on which the miners can make no impression. The cossid, who brought our letters, brought one also for the Sirdar; and another for Futteh Jung from Macgregor: on the receipt of the latter, Futteh Jung fired a royal salute and made a sally.
The Sirdar sent us some coarse cloth, soap, an Affghan chillumchee, and some tallow candles: others received sundry donations of the like kind.
6th.--The Sirdar is said to have possession of the Bala Hissar; and to occupy the gate nearest to us: while the Kuzzilbashes hold the Chandowlee gate; and Mahommed Shah another. Futteh Jung is said to have given up two lakhs of rupees to Akbar.
The tale of the mine was true; but Futteh Jung had filled it with water.
Mahommed Shah Khan and Sultan Jan have been daily for three days at the Bala Hissar, unattended; in conference with the Shahzada, who gave them khelluts, &c. He then asked Mahommed Akbar Khan to meet him in friendly conference in the gateway, each to have only five followers: but the Sirdar refused to go further than John Hicks' tomb, fearing treachery. He had previously warned Mahommed Shah not to trust Futteh Jung; who might easily have secured the two others each of these days: but we suspect his aim was to lull them into security, to enable him to seize the Sirdar.
Here he has shown bad policy: for though Akbar is the superior in rank, Mahommed Shah has the troops, and what money they can raise at command. Sultan Jan is the fighting arm of the trio, under the latter; whilst Akbar sits in durbar, laughs, talks, and squeezes all who are suspected of having money. He has carefully
kept all our notes to him, asking for or thanking him for things received: no doubt to produce at the last; as a further proof of his kindness to his captives. Dr. Grant is said to be alive and safe with some Bunneah; who of course keeps him secreted from the chiefs, that he and not they may have a reward: but we heard so positively that he was killed, near the lake beyond Behmaru, that our hopes are but faint.
Much firing in the evening and night.
7th.--We hear that last night there was a sortie from the Bala Hissar; and an attack made on two guns of Mahommed Akbar's. They did not succeed in capturing them; but took some ammunition and camels. An attempt was made to carry off the camels belonging to this fort, which were out grazing; but six horsemen went from hence and rescued them.
Akbar says he does not spring his mine because it will damage the walls of the Bala Hissar, and make it easier for the English to enter the place; and that even were the gates open, he doubts the courage of his troops to enter them.
Amenoollah Khan has been for some time soliciting permission to leave the Sirdar, to go to Loghur on important affairs of his own: this has induced the Sirdar to seize him, which is now supposed to be the cause of all the firing we heard
last night. Whether this will prove for our advantage or not, remains to he proved.
This chief is said to have eighteen lakhs of rupees; which Mahommed Akbar Khan will probably endeavour to squeeze out of him: however, he is not likely to have it here. If his treasure is secure at Loghur, and his sons rise in his favour (as he can bring 10,000 men into the field), a very powerful diversion may be formed, whether they join us or Futteh Jung: if, on the contrary, Akbar procures even one lakh of ready cash, he can do much mischief; by raising troops even for a few weeks to annoy our force. The celerity with which troops are raised is quite astonishing to us; who are accustomed to see recruits drilled for a length of time. Here, every man is born a soldier; every child has his knife,--that weapon which has proved so destructive in the hands of a hostile peasantry, incited against us by the moollahs, who threaten eternal perdition to all who do not join in the cause of the Ghazeeas; whilst heaven, filled with Houris, is the recompence for every man who falls in a religious war. With them, the only expense attending the soldier consists in his pay, which is scanty; his horse, if he have one, is his own; and every Affghan is armed completely with some three or four of these knives, of different sizes--from that as long
as a sword to a small dagger--pistols, and a juzail; which latter predominates over the matchlock: they carry much farther than our muskets; so that when our men are beyond range to hit them, they pour a destroying fire on us. Regarding these same muskets being better than matchlocks; those who had only the latter may have taken them of late in exchange; but, generally speaking, the only useful part to the Affghans are the locks; which they tear off, and leave the rest.
Capt. Troup did not return to the Sirdar till this morning. The man, who went with him, has returned; and states that the Sirdar has blown up the bastion of the Bala Hissar which is nearest to the Shor Bazar. There is, however, some discrepancy in his account; as he states that he saw the Sirdar's men parading about on the tops of the very bastion that has been destroyed: he also added, that they were busily employed in throwing out the dead bodies.
It is a great pity that Gen. Pollock's force does not move up. Futteh Jung pays the Hindostanees in the Bala Hissar a rupee a day to keep watch at the gates; being afraid to trust the Affghans.
Mahommed Akbar's guns are worked by three Chuprassies, two Buglers, and a few other of our runaways.
It is said that whenever we leave this place, there will be great opposition made to our removal; and that various parties, will endeavour to get us into their power.
3 p. m.--Further accounts have just been brought in; stating that yesterday's fight, at the Bala Hissar, was commenced by Sultan Jan. When he got tired, Mahommed Shah Khan took his place; and when he too was fatigued, the Sirdar assumed command in person. When he brought his gun to bear on the mine at the bourj, Futteh Jung ran another gun opposite; and blew the Sirdar's gun away!--a novel method of firing a train; nevertheless it seems the mine was fired; and, by some bungling, Akbar blew up 300 of his own men. But Futteh Jung gave in, and the Sirdar is supposed to have the Bala Hissar. We only obtain such information as the Khan and his guard are pleased to communicate; excepting those of our party who perchance overhear them speaking amongst themselves; when, however, they generally use Pushtoo, to prevent our understanding them. Four Coolies have arrived with two tin boxes and two baskets from Tézeen. They are supposed to have come from Jellalabad; as all were quickly huddled into a room and locked up; and a man despatched to the Sirdar to know his pleasure concerning them.
The packets have been distributed; mostly medicine for Dr. Magrath.
There were letters and newspapers; but those have been sent to the Sirdar.
In the garden in the evening we heard that the Sirdar had sent his salaam, that he was master of the Bala Hissar: but just as we entered the gate we heard that, so far from that being the case, he had only taken the bourj above. Now that same bourj above completely commands the fort. However Akbar has no guns in it; though by manual labour he could easily drag them up. The mountain train guns go up on mules well; and I have seen them myself practising over that very hill.
There is another report that Gool Mahommed is to chupao us in four days. We heard the report of some juzails between nine and ten p.m.
8th.--The servants declare, that above forty guns were fired last night between eleven and twelve; but some of the officers, who were awake, did not hear them any more than I did. On the same authority we have a rumour of Futteh Jung's having taken two of the Sirdar's tents and some ammunition; and of his having killed forty of his Ghazeeas.
They say that the Sirdar sent Zeman Shah
Khan to treat with Futteh Jung; and to propose that the latter should remain king; making Akbar his wuzeer; and that he should make over all the guns and troops to him, to go and fight the English with. Futteh Jung has placed Zeman Shah Khan in confinement, until he gets a reply to his message to the Sirdar, in which he accedes to his request; on condition that he previously places all the captives in his hands.
9th.--Capt. Mackenzie arrived; and brought some newspapers and letters,--those which we have been expecting back from the Sirdar: and we strongly suspect that he has kept many. Mackenzie assures us that Futteh Jung has surrendered the Bala Hissar to Akbar Khan; who has demanded all his treasure, as the first step he takes.
There seems to have been no military necessity for the surrender. One bourj had been mined; but traverses might have been thrown up to render the place perfectly secure from any Affghan attack. It is probable that the Arabs were intimidated by the effect of the mine; that being a species of warfare they particularly dread. Futteh Jung had held out for a month--the time, it is said, he had promised to do so; and Pollock's force not moving to his succour, he probably became disheartened. He now has not
only lost his treasure; but it is likely he may lose his life also: for he never can feel safe whilst in the power of Akbar and Mahommed Shah. The latter resides in the Bala Hissar; the former in the Shor Bazar. Both Mahommed Shah and Sultan Jan were wounded in the explosion of the bourj, by stones falling on their heads.
Pollock's force is suffering from sickness; occasioned by the great heat of Jellalabad.
Col. Parsons' arrangements only extend to camels and carriage cattle as far as Peshawer. Capt. Mackeson, with great difficulty, prevailed on them to go as far as Jellalabad; but no further: and immense exertions have been made to enable the force to leave that place. The arrangements are, we hear, nearly completed: but now that Akbar has money (18 lakhs, it is said) at his command, he may raise troops to harass ours.
Gen. Nott is said still to be encamped on this side of Khelat-i-Gilzie. A week or ten days ago, one brigade might have taken Cabul without opposition.
The Affghans are very jealous of any people coming to us; lest we should obtain information. A young man of great respectability, who came to bring some things for Capt. Johnson a few days since, has been fined 6000 rupees; and in addition to that has been tortured, and had all his nails torn out.
10th.--A slight earthquake in the morning; and four shocks during the night.
11th.--Our guard is increased by thirty men.
The fruit in the garden is sold to a Khoord; who says, if we will pay him a few rupees, we may eat any we like: but the grapes are sour, and will not be ripe for these six weeks at least. The sour plums make preserves.
It appears very uncertain what power Akbar really possesses. The Kuzzilbashes occupy the gate which commands their quarter. Mahommed Shah Khan has one. Futteh Jung is still king, and lives in the interior of the Bala Hissar. Akbar still inhabits a house in the Shor Bazar.
12th.--A Hindostanee was severely beaten at the gate; being suspected of bringing in news.
13th.--A Peshawer-i-Suwar was beaten, and had his horse taken from him, for attempting to come here: if he had any letters, they were not discovered.
Various reports to-day: some, that our troops are at Gundamuk; and others that the forces both at Jellalabad and at Kandahar, &c. are all retreating to the provinces, and leaving us to enjoy the gentle mercies of our captors.
14th.--Ali Mahommed Khan says that we shall not leave this fort: that even if Akbar meditated our removal, the various tribes, by whom we are
surrounded, would look to their own interests; and interfere to get us into their own hands. This agrees with what Dost Mahommed Khan told us at Zanduh; that the Sirdar had been peremptory in ordering our removal to Cabul; but that he had, in so doing, committed a great mistake; as he would probably find out in three or four days after our arrival at the capital; and when it would be too late to rectify his error.
15th.--In consequence of having yesterday given a rupee to the Khoordish Baghwan, he had this evening two dallies of the finest mulberries the garden produced (the Bédanas) ready for us; nicely cooled by the rill of the stream, and covered with a shower of roses. We filled our basket; and sat and ate the fruit under the vines; and look forward to delicious sherbet from the flowers to-morrow.
16th.--Towards morning we were awakened by such a noise, that we could not possibly imagine it to be less than a chupao: on inquiry it proved to be a row between an ayah and a bearer.
The on-dit of to-day is, that 4000 Sikhs are to hold Jellalabad, whilst our troops come up to Cabul. The Affghans say that eight of our regiments are at Gundamuk. On the arrival of the force it is expected by the Affghans that Akbar and Mahommed Shah will flee; but that very few of
their followers will accompany them. They will take us with them; either to Mecca or Room! By the latter they mean Constantinople.
They tell us that Futteh Jung is a prisoner.
Late in the evening news arrived that Kamran (who, by-the-bye, we heard was put to death by his minister, Yai Mahommed, some time since) is coming with an army from Herat; to form a coalition with Futteh Jung, Akbar, the Ghilzyes, and all the Affghan chiefs. They are to go down and fight our force: if they are successful, we are to remain as we are; if not, to be sent viā Charekar to Turkistan.
A report prevalent amongst the Affghans that our force has marched from Jellalabad; and that we consequently shall soon be removed from hence.
The Prince Futteh Jung is still in confinement. Mahommed Akbar Khan, Mahommed Shah Khan, and the Ghilzye chiefs, are bent on having him put to death. Zeman Shah Khan, and the more moderate party, oppose it: not from affection for us or him, but as a measure of better policy. The Ghazeeas, however, are determined to steep the chiefs as deeply in blood as they can, to prevent the possibility of their making any terms with us. They say the captives shall not be taken away from Cabul; and that if the Sirdar or any
of the Ghilzye chiefs attempt to fly, they will put them to death.
Zeman Khan wishes the Sirdar to send him to Jellalabad to treat; taking the captives with him. This Akbar will not hear of: and they have had a quarrel, ending in a fight. The sound of cannon has been heard; also vollies of musketry. A grand battle is to come off on Sunday.
18th.--Waterloo day.--It seems that we are to be sent viā the Kohistan to Bokhara. Mackenzie writes, that we are to be prepared for a sudden move.
19th.--A letter is said to have arrived from Gen. Pollock to Akbar; who, with Futteh Jung and all the chiefs, is going in four days to Jellalabad to salaam. The Ameer is on his way up to resume the throne.
21st.--Henry's birthday; celebrated by a great battle in Cabul; in which Akbar has been victorious; though he has lost from sixty to eighty men.
Zeman Shah Khan is said to have been made prisoner, with both his sons.
Another report states, they have all three escaped: also, that Zeman was surrounded in a fort, but contrived to get away from it He had eighteen guns out; and the Sirdar had as many:
the latter is going down to Jellalabad, to give battle to the English force there.
22d.--Various reports to-day:--That Zeman Khan lost fifteen guns yesterday, and all his treasure:--that to-morrow there will be a great fight between the Sirdar and Khan Shireen Khan.
Later accounts in the evening state that Khan Shireen has made his salaam; and that we are to go to the Bala Hissar. Plenty of firing heard by us: said by some to be fighting; by others to be salutes in honour of Futteh Jung being declared king.
23d.--The Dost is not to come up until after the rains. No chance of our removal at present.
25th.--Mackenzie and Troup arrived.
Colonel Palmer is said to have been tortured at Ghuznee. Mohun Lull has been seized, and tortured. Humza Khan has been imprisoned by the Sirdar. Ali Bega, Naib Shureef, and Jan Fishan Khan have fled: the latter's two sons have been murdered. Osman Khan (the late wuzeer) has been seized by Akbar. Nott is said to have returned to Kandahar; after putting to death all his Affghan captives, and blowing up Khelat-i-Gilzie. This seems (if true) to be a strange proceeding, if we are to retain the country; as the fortress was but just completed; and was
considered an indispensable site for a granary and depot of troops. Major Rawlinson's opinion is, that our troops will all be withdrawn in the autumn: but this does not square with the order, received by Ali Bega from Dallas, to lay in all the provisions he can possibly store in Cabul.
Ali Mahommed tells us that the Khyberries have risen; and that we have sent two regiments and two guns against them: but there is an inkling that more guns have arrived at Jellalabad; and therefore we might have sent a force to protect them on their way up. They say, also, that Pollock has actually moved up as far as Gunda muk; and there is a report that our men at Buddeeabad have been set at liberty by our troops; who blew up the fort, and also that at Tighree.
26th.--A report that 10,000 Sikhs have come up from Peshawer; that they are in the Lughman valley; have destroyed Tighree; and, fearing a chupao on Buddeeabad, all the prisoners there were brought away: they were fed on bread and water only after we left them. The day after our departure, Mrs. Wade (wife of a sergeant) changed her attire, threw off the European dress, and adopted the costume of the Mussulmans; and, professing to have changed her creed also, consorted with the Nazir of our inveterate enemy, Mahommed Shah Khan; and gave information of some
plans laid by the men for their escape; which nearly caused them all to have their throats cut. Having reported to her Affghan paramour the manner in which her husband had secreted some gold mohurs in his jorabs, he was of course plundered of them. The Hindostanees were stripped of every article of clothing they possessed; and had even the rags taken off their sores, to ascertain there was no money concealed: they were then turned out. Some got to Jellalabad; through the kindness of a Hindu Bunneah, who sent them down on a jhala; others have been made slaves. Of the unfortunate servants, Mrs. Sturt and I left behind us, we have no tidings.
The Europeans found it dreadfully hot at Buddeeabad; and most of them were attacked by fever: their only remedy being bleeding with a penknife; in which Mr. Blewitt was very successful One man (Sergt. Reynolds), who was left there with a broken arm, died of lockjaw.
Sergt. Fare brought with him the colour of the 44th which has been before mentioned. A few days after Capt. Souter's arrival at Buddeeabad, Brig. Shelton expressed a wish that the colour should be given to his servant (Moore, of the 44th); for the purpose of sewing it in a piece of cloth; and to keep it in his possession. Previous to our quitting Buddeeabad, the Brigadier
suggested that the colour should be left with Sergt. Fare; who, with the party that was left at the fort, would, it was expected, be released before those who proceeded to Cabul. Sergt. Fare kept the colour concealed by wrapping it round him; and when he joined us here (at Shewakee) he made it over to Gen. Shelton; who retains it in his possession.
Of so incorrect a personage as Mrs. Wade I shall only further say, that she is at Mahommed Shah Khan's fort with her Affghan lover; and has taken with her young Stoker. As he is the son of a man in Sale's regiment, I am doing all I can to get the Sirdar (through Capt. Troup's entreaty) to have him brought here; and again placed under Mrs. Burnes's care. She and her infant are looking very miserable, as are most of the men.
Col. Stoddart and Capt. Arthur Conolly are prisoners at Bokhara. The latter had been enthusiastically employed in endeavouring to effect the release of the slaves in Kokan. The king of Bokhara conquered the chief of that country; and placed Conolly in confinement at Bokhara. He and his fellow-prisoner, by the last accounts, had been 126 days confined in a dungeon underground, without light: they had never changed their clothes, nor washed; and their food was let down
to them once in four or five days. A native, who had compassion on them, received a message through the person who took their food to them; and through him Conolly has communicated with his family here; who, alas! are now powerless to assist him.
We ate the first really ripe apricots (zerdaloos) and cherries (gulas) brought in from the city: but the produce of the Kohistan, the aloo baloo, or sour wild cherry, in the garden, is now pretty ripe; and the apricots and some of the green plums are ripening. The peach of this garden is very inferior to what I used to purchase last year. The best apricot in it is the white one; it is called kysee; and has a flavour of rose-water.
The red plum is not permitted to ripen properly: it has some flavour; and is called turna-sook. The green plum looks something like a greengage; but has no flavour except that of eau sucree.
It is said, on the authority of Sergt. Wade,--who was informed by his wife, who professed to have her information from Mahommed Shah Khan's family,--that we are all going to be sent to Bokhara. There is also a report, not however traceable to any foundation, that Pollock's force is not to move upwards until the middle of August.
28th.--An earthquake about 11 A. M., and
another about 9 p. m.; sufficient both times to make the roof creak.
We have heard from undoubted authority that Mahommed Akbar Khan said in the durbar, before he left Cabul to follow our troops in January, that it was his intention to go and kuttle kurra, or cut the throats of all our force; and, after that, let THEM beware,--meaning the chiefs. He seems to be now verifying his promise; and is, by all accounts, squeezing as much wealth as he can out of all those who are in his power; and disgusting every one of them.
29th.--Jan Fishan Khan has escaped to Jellalabad. Khan Shireen Khan, and many of those friendly to the English, have retired into the hills.
30th.--Troup left us; taking part of my journal, and plenty of letters; as it is said he is to be sent to Jellalabad. Mackenzie is ill with fever; and unable to go with him.
July 1st.--The Sirdar has promised that Stoker shall be sent back to us; but he has not yet arrived.
3rd.--Troup arrived; and brought us a comb and two caps from Mahommed Rufeek. The Sirdar still talks of sending him to Jellalabad; but says he must wait four or five days, as he, the Sirdar, is busy collecting his revenue. The hostages
are all coming here to-morrow or next day. I fear their arrival will crowd us very much; and at present we have Mackenzie, Waller, and Melville laid up with fever.
Timor Shah says that if the English will support him on his father's throne, well and good; if not, that he will prefer going to Loodianah, on a pension.
A man has just come in, and reports that our troops are in the Lughman valley. We conclude they are foraging parties, collecting grain.
4th.--The Cabullees say they will cut Akbar in pieces, before they will permit us to be taken away. The hostages are sold to Akbar for 400 gold mohurs.
Sultan Khan, said to be made Sirdar-i-Sirdaran.
5th.--The Wuzeer Akbar Khan went to reside in the Bala Hissar. Troup, who left us, had to follow him there with Pottinger.
6th.--All the hostages are to come here; except Conolly, who is to remain with the Wuzeer in the Bala Hissar. There are reports that our troops have left Kandahar; having received a number of camels from Sindh. When the cossid started, they had made three marches hither-wards. As a cossid takes eight or ten days to come, they must have left Kandahar about the 26th or 28th. They have twenty-two marches
thence to Cabul; which, with the detention at Ghuznee, and on the road, if they have any fighting, will retard the arrival of the force until from the 25th instant to the 1st of August.
Akbar has ordered the ditch round the Bala Hissar to be cleaned out; and proposes sending 6000 men, under Mahommed Shah Khan, to occupy the passes between this place and Jellalabad. But his grand battle is to take place here, on the plain in front of the Bala Hissar. Akbar has ordered every one to be fined who addresses him, or speaks of him, otherwise than as the wuzeer. Mrs. Burnes' child died; and was buried under the hill: the service was performed by Mr. Eyre.
7th.--The news we heard yesterday is confirmed by Troup and Conolly; with this addition from the Khan, that Timor Shah is proclaimed King of Kandahar. Col. Palmer is said to have died at Ghuznee. When Mahommed Akbar Khan went to the durbar the day we left Cabul, prepared for bis journey, and publicly declared that it was his intention to kuttle kurra all the English, Zeman Shah Khan sent to Conolly, who wrote off to Major Pottinger, to put him on his guard. This letter arrived at Bhoodkhak while Pottinger and Akbar were in conference: the treating went on notwithstanding, and the result was the hostages being given. At this time, the people at Cabul all
supposed that, as Akbar had only about 300 men with him, we should make him prisoner.
When Shah Shoojah was killed, a letter was found on him from Capt. Macgregor, dated in April; telling him to hold out fifteen days longer, and he should have assistance.
The Nawaub Zeman Shah Khan has spent two lakhs in raising men on our side; and in feeding troops to act against Akbar, He has still 1000 men; but now wants money. He also fed hundreds of wretched Hindostanees, who were starving in Cabul; great numbers of whom were seized, sold for one and two rupees each, and sent to Turkistan. Zeman Shah Khan did every thing in his power to put a stop to this.
8th.--Mishdeen, in the Ahmedzye country, S. E. of Tézeen, belongs to Sultan Khan. This is the place we are likely to go to, if we are removed from hence. When little Tootsey (Capt. Anderson's child) was carried off in the Khoord Cabul pass, she was taken direct to Cabul: and the Khan rode up and down the streets with her; offering her for sale for 4000 rupees. After some negotiation regarding the price, Conolly purchased the child; who was in the hands of Amenoollah Khan. A plot was laid to take Conolly's life, and that of the other hostages; but Taj Mahommed Khan gave them timely warning not to attend the King,
should they be sent for. The restoration of the child was a good pretext: and Amenoollah tried to persuade them to go and thank the king for his kindness; when, as soon as they reached the door, they were to have been assassinated. They made some excuse of ill health; and escaped. Nothing could exceed the kindness of Zeman Shah Khan, both to the hostages and the little girl; who became much attached to her new friends. Taj Mahommed Khan, Khan Shireen Khan, the Naib Shureef, and many others, did all they could, consistently with the safety of both parties, to make them comfortable.
9th.--Two men have come in; who repeat the old story of ten days since;--that there has been a great battle at Peshbolak; where every man, woman, and child was killed; that at Ali Baghan the men were all killed, but the women and children spared; and that the slaughter of the Affghans has been great. By the account of another cossid, who came in yesterday in twelve days from Kandahar, Nott's force ought to-day to be at Mookkoor.
11th.--The Wuzeer is to be married to one of Amenoollah Khan's daughters.
Our fever cases to-day consist of Mackenzie, Waller, Freddy Eyre, Mrs. Waller, Magrath, two
ayahs, one or two Hindostanee servants, and several soldiers.
An earthquake at night.
Major Pottinger arrived. Troup went to Jellalabad the night before last. There is a report that we are building a fort at Jugdaluk: also that 70,000 men are collecting at Ferozepore; 25,000 of these are to form a corps of observation there; 15,000 are now at Kandahar; and 20,000 at Jellalabad; and 10,000 are coming from England. These are independent of Gen. Brookes's force in Sindh.
13th.--The Wuzeer had all the kujavas ready to move us in two days; but the Cabullees would not let him.
Yai Mahommed, who is supreme at Kandahar, having, it is said, Shah Kamran in kyde, has invited Akbar to go to him at Herat: but he, good man, has other views; such as friendship and alliance with the Feringhees. He only asks to be acknowledged King of Affghanistan; and to have a subsidiary force with which to conquer Bokhara.
14th.--Shumshudeen Khan refuses to give up the Ghuznee prisoners. Only Lumsden and his wife are killed. Col. Palmer is said to have died of a fever; but whether brought on by the torture said to have been inflicted on him, or not, is not known.
Four of our regiments are at Gundamuk; erecting a fort.
Mrs. Trevor gave birth to another girl, to add to the list of captives.
Two earthquakes to-day.
15th.--Mr. Campbell, assistant surgeon of the 54th, who was left at Cabul with the sick of the various regiments, came here a few days since to consult regarding Capt. Mackenzie's case. It is now decided that he remains here; as the men at Cabul are very healthy, and we have got what seems very like a gaol fever amongst us.
16th.--Conolly and Airey came to pay us a visit. A letter has been received by the former from Gen. Pollock; who offers to exchange all the Affghan prisoners in Hindostan against the captives that are in this country. He writes, that if Conolly thinks his going to Jellalabad will facilitate arrangements, he is to go thither, accompanied by all those who appear to have been foremost in civility to us,--Khan Shireen Khan, Mahommed Shah Khan, &c. (How our friends and enemies are here mixed up; for the latter chief is our most inveterate foe!) He tells him also of the force now in the country, and of that expected from Hindostan and England; the army of observation to be commanded by Sir Jasper Nicholl: and states that if we are driven to extremities against the Affghans, their punishment will be fearful.
Also, that if Akbar wishes to make friends with us, he ought to give up all our guns. As far as I can understand, the captives on both sides are to be placed in the hands of the Sikhs.
18th.--The Wuzeer, Mahommed Akbar Khan, and the Sirdar-i-Sirdaran, Sultan Jan, Mahommed Shah Khan, &c., paid a visit here; and sat in the garden, which was quickly despoiled of all the fruits: no doubt greatly to the Khoord's disgust; although some small sum was given to him as a recompence.
We received letters and papers from Jellalabad which must have been lying with Akbar for above a month.
Lady Macnaghten has had a part of her jewels restored to her; but in a sadly broken condition. They talk of giving back the rest.
19th.--Half rations issued to us, and no meat. This is to repay Ali Mahommed for the expense of feasting the great people yesterday, I suppose: though he saved all the expense he could; sending to one person for tea, to another for sugar; and saying it was for the Wuzeer, who sent his salaam for it. I believe Akbar pays high prices that he may have plenty of the best of every thing; and is of course cheated by bis purveyors: but he would never send to us to supply his wants.
20th.--Ali Mahommed Khan reports that 1000
men are gone to defend the passes: he also hints that we shall be released soon.
22d.--Dost Mahommed Khan came. He says we shall be kalōss in twenty days; that there is to be an exchange of prisoners; and that the guns are to be given up.
23d.--Commemoration of the capture of Ghuznee; over which, in its recaptured state, we groan in spirit. An earthquake at night.
24th.--At two P. M. Mrs. Sturt presented me with a grand-daughter;--another female captive. Capt. Troup and Hadje Bukhtian are accepted by Pollock; who will have nothing to do with Major Pottinger. It seems all the Politicals are set aside. The terms are, that Akbar gives up the guns and all British subjects attached to the camp, in exchange for the ex-Ameer and all the Affghan prisoners. A truce agreed to for a month: the agents to remain at Jellalabad, until Gen. Pollock hears from Lord Ellenborough whether he will enter into an alliance.
26th.--They now require that all Shah Shoojah's family be given up to Akbar; to be dealt with as best pleases him and Mahommed Shah Khan. A report that our force is coming up.
27th.--Troup arrived from Jellalabad. Akbar has deceived us: there is no armistice; no collection of revenue by him where our troops are.
On the contrary, we have taken supplies to the extent of six months' provisions, without payment, in the neighbourhood of Jellalabad.
Nothing had been decided on which tends towards our release.
28th.--Troup, who purchased a quantity of things of all kinds for us at Jellalabad, opened his shop; and I procured arrow root, cotton gloves, reels of cotton, tape, soap, jalap, and cream of tartar.
Troup left us in the evening, and went to the Wuzeer. He expects to be sent to Jellalabad; and I gave him more of my Journal, to take to Sale.
30th.--At two this morning Troup and Lawrence left us for Jellalabad. We hear that orders have been Bent to the Kandahar force to move up; and that there has been some fighting, and a great many Affghans killed. On inquiry being made, the Affghans told the following tale:--That one regiment was out beyond Lughman, foraging; that in the night the people rose, and our troops retired; on which we sent 12,000 men 1 with a park of artillery I against which, of course, the Affghans could not stand. There has been probably some trifling skirmish. The Kandahar troops are ordered up; and the Wuzeer told Lawrence (who says he never saw
him appear so angry before) that If our troops advance, he should take us all to Bameean, and make a present of us to the chiefs of that place: so that our prospects appear gloomier than ever. I cannot understand the motive of moving up the troops both ways. Nott is to go to Ghuznee to receive the prisoners: not to fight, but only to defend himself if attacked; and then to come here and join Pollock: and, having received us, all are to walk back hand in hand. We are not to attack Cabul, &c., but to evacuate the country; with Akbar, the Ghilzyes, the Barukzyes, and all the other Zyes hanging on our flanks and rear: and if they can but get us to procrastinate, so as to give them the advantage of their faithful ally the snow, the Affghans will have the satisfaction of destroying another and still larger army this year.
31st.--Had Skinner lived, he would have thrown more light than any other person upon the late events; as he was the bearer of the messages, more especially of the one sent on the night before the Envoy's death. It is as nearly certain as such an event can be, that poor Skinner, who was evidently a dupe to Akbar Khan, was put to death by his orders. At Jugdaluk, after the General, the Brigadier, and Johnson were in the Sirdar's power, Major Thain went to the other officers and said, "I fear there is treachery:
poor Skinner has been shot; and had the object of the Affghan only been to kill a Feringhee, he would not have passed me to shoot him." There can be little doubt, that the Sirdar was anxious to put out of the way one who could give such fearful evidence against him. Trevor was also much in the Envoy's confidence; and he also became a victim. I have, however, heard that Skinner was not in reality the dupe he appeared to be: and that he had expressed to the Envoy his conviction that the Sirdar was not trustworthy. Yet, if so, it is strange he should have placed the faith he did in him during the retreat; and have advised our going over to him;--unless indeed he saw further into Akbar's policy than others; and believed that we should be treated with honour and kept by him as a dernier ressort. What will now be our fate seems very uncertain: but I still think he will not cut our throats;--not out of love to us, but because the other chiefs would resent it; as, having possession of us, they could at least obtain a handsome sum as our ransom.
The last time Troup came from Jellalabad, three ponies were sent from thence loaded with different articles for us: but money was put in one of the boxes; and this was known to the Affghans in charge; and ponies and all disappeared. I have lost my letters from England and the provinces,
and from Sale; and also newspapers and medicine: the latter invaluable; as we are very sickly, and have scarcely any. A part of the things corning were clothes for the captives, sent, by subscription, from the provinces. But the medicine is our greatest loss; as this gaol fever seems to be going though all the party, ladies, children, officers, men, and servants, both male and female. I think it arises in great measure from malaria. This valley is full of rice cultivation; which is all under water in a stagnant state: and we are also devoured by musquetoes, which breed there.
At first we hoped that though the money, probably not more than 300 or 400 rupees, would be abstracted from the boxes, we should recover the parcels: but now we have give up that hope.
A letter has been received by Ahmed Khan; stating that every fort from Tighree to Buddeeabad has been sacked by the force that have entered the Lughman valley: some say they are a part of a foraging party of ours; others conjecture that they are our Sikh allies.
Should the Wuzeer attempt to remove us to Bameean, Goolam Mahommed, the father of Taj Mahommed, as also the latter, the high priest of Cabul, and Khan Shireen Khan, have determined to prevent it: but Khan Shireen Khan is
the very man who had charge of the hostages some time since; and assured them nothing should induce him to give them up:--yet he did so the very next day, on the Sirdar sending him 4000 rupees. So, much dependence cannot be placed on him.
The Kuzzilbashes ever side with the strongest party; and therefore, if our troops come up, it is likely that Khan Shireen Khan may keep his word. He has many friends in the Huzara country, through which we must pass; and he may direct them to seize us. In that case we shall probably, during the conflict with our guards, lose the few comforts of clothing, &c. which we now possess.
A kafila is going down to Jellalabad; and at the same time Akbar sends 2000 men towards that place to line the passes. He sent 3000 some time since; but their commander did not proceed further than Bhoodkhak; whence he wrote to the Wuzeer, that his force was too weak to cope with Pollock's.
August 2nd.--Reports that all the forts from Tighree to Buddeeabad are destroyed.
4th.--Three more fever cases; and Conolly very ill We hear that immediately on Troup's arrival at Jellalabad, all our outposts were withdrawn.
Zeman Shah Khan's party is increasing again: and it is thought, if our troops come up, that the owner of the fort may side with us; and give us arms to resist being taken away.
6th.--Mohun Lull says, that letters have passed through his hands from several chiefs to Gen. Pollock; stating, that if he will forbear from injuring the city of Cabul, and respect their lives and possessions, they will engage that we shall not be taken from Cabul. Amongst these chiefs are, the high priest, Zeman Shah Khan, Khan Shireen Khan, and Goolam Mahommed Khan (father of Taj Mahommed): the latter is in hopes, should we obtain the ascendency, that he may obtain office, as of old; his family being the hereditary Wuzeers.
7th.--John Conolly died, at thirty-two minutes past noon. The Wuzeer has sent a Khan to order his coffin; and offers to send the body to Jellalabad.
8th.--Ahmed Khan informs us, that the baggage, of the army at Kandahar, has been sent out eight miles on the road towards the provinces; and that our eighteen-pounders at Kandahar have been destroyed. Some days since we had a report that the force there, consisting, as the Affghans say, of 8000 men, have been exterminated, with every man, woman, and child thereunto appertaining; and Kandahar taken and burnt.
Three regiments have been sent from Kandahar to reinforce Quetta; and the story concerning the baggage is probably true; and Gen. Nott has taken advantage of this force to send down all superfluous baggage, and also the sick; preparatory to a move upwards.
8th.--Camels have come; but none of them are strong enough to carry the coffin; and they say they will send mules at mid-day to carry it.
9th.--Major Pottinger arrived.
The Wuzeer refuses to allow Conolly's body to go to Jellalabad until Troup returns; and then, if all is not peace, he says he will not allow him to go, alive or dead.
There is a report to-day amongst the Affghans, that Pollock has written to say, that if it is attempted to remove any one of us from Cabul, he will lay the city in ashes.
We hear that the Kandahar force is coming up; and it is expected that the one from Jellalabad will do the same.
The Sappers and Miners have long been at Charbagh; and they generally precede the army.
Conolly was buried at sunset in the garden of the fort.
Hadje Bukhtian writes to his brother Ahmed Khan, that Gen. Pollock has written to say it is all one to him whether it is a day or a month; but
that immediately on the arrival of the prisoners he will return to the provinces.
The servants have a report that we are forthwith to be taken away, to, or towards, Bokhara. For two days there have been eight camels here, with their surwans ready; which looks as if the Wuzeer meditated our removal, in case of the force coming up; or to send us to our friends, should the negotiation prove unsuccessful.
We heard to-day that the Sappers had advanced as far as Gundamuk.
10th.--Troup and Lawrence arrived. I received letters, &c. from Sale. No present hope of release: nor fear of a move, I trust. Nothing appears to have been done beyond talk. Pollock, has threatened, if we are not sent down in eight days, to come up and destroy Cabul: but Akbar knows, as well as he does himself, that Pollock has no carriage. The 1st brigade are gone to Jellalabad. Sale writes me, that, in addition to it, he has with him the 3d dragoons and a troop of horse artillery: but it does not appear that they are coming up further. Indeed, without more troops to back them, or rather to flank them, they cannot come through the passes. They might do it well with three brigades, having one on each flank keeping the heights and adjacent country.
A durbar held by Mahommed Akbar,
Mahommed Shah, &c. to consult on the steps to be taken regarding Futteh Jung, Amenoollah, the Meerwyse, Zeman Shah, &c. who all wrote advising the immediate advance of our troops. A letter from Futteh Jung to Gen. Pollock, to that effect, had been intercepted: but, until Troup's return, it was not safe to make any stir in the affair.
11th.--There was a report last night, that two Europeans (officers) had been taken prisoners in Cabul; having come from Kandahar, disguised as natives of the country, with thirty followers: and that they had been purchasing up all the gunpowder.
To-day it is said, the same persons are now with the hostages; and that they are either adventurous persons, who have come up from Nott's brigade, for some purpose, as yet unknown; or that they are part of the Ghuznee prisoners, attempting to escape.
Late in the evening we heard that the above tale has arisen out of the arrival of an Arab Hadje. He calls himself a soldier of fortune; and offered his services to Gen. Pollock; who declined them. He is suspected of being a spy; and has just come from Hindostan.
The deliberations in the durbar have ended in Futteh Jung's being placed in confinement.
12th.--All the hostages have come over to oar fort; and there is a talk of our being all sent away,--some say to Soorkhab, four marches off, on the confines of the Loghur country; others say to the Kohistan, or Bameean.
We know that Sale's brigade, the 3d dragoons, and a troop of horse artillery, were to leave Jellalabad for Futteabad on the 6th; which would bring them only fifteen miles nearer to us. The women are being sent out of the city; and we have packed up our little all, to be ready whenever the hookm arrives: we have moreover purchased two ponies.
13th.--The republic has only endured a day. Zeman Shah Khan is again Shah Zeman Shah. We heard guns, probably in honour of the event. This is news to mark my birth-day; which is not likely to be spent much as a jour de fête by a prisoner.
I fear Zeman is too much in the hands of Akbar and Mahommed Shah for him to do us any good; although he is, and ever has been, well disposed towards us: he acted with the greatest kindness to the English left with him; and when he had no longer power to protect them, and they were forcibly taken from his house to that of the Bucha Meerwyse or high priest of Cabul, he took off his turban, placed it at his feet, and
protested against the measure: and finally sent his eldest son with them; that, in case evil befel them, his family should not shrink from sharing in it. The priest's professions were great; but he ended in giving the hostages up to Akbar for the value of 4000 rupees. As they were sold for that sum, we tell them they are Akbar's slaves.
There is now an idea,--whether only the fertile emanations of prisoners' brains or not, time must unfold,--but an opinion prevails, that Akbar is so ungallant as to be heartily tired of dragging the women and children about the country at his heels; and that, if any flight is designed, it will be that of himself and four hostages; Pottinger, Lawrence, and Troup, to be decidedly three of them: we are not so certain of the fourth; but at present we have selected either Gen. Shelton or Capt. Johnson.
15th.--The news of to-day is, that Nott's force has left Kandahar; taking Timor Shah with them. They are said to have taken the route leading to Dera Ismael Khan; but it is thought possible they may, about ninety miles from Kandahar, at Gulnarye, strike to the north, and pursue that road to Ghuznee; which would be far preferable to crossing the mountains by the Gholary pass, near the river, and that they will thence cross over to the left again to the Abistadeh lake, and fall into the
regular road to Ghuznee at Mookkoor. This is a wild and roundabout tract of country; which is probably not feasible with guns. Akbar says, that 5000 men have been sent to oppose them. He also says, that our force at Jellalabad is in statu quo; but that if it moves up, we shall be sent off at half an hour's notice, to a fine climate, with plenty of ice; which we conclude to be Bameean.
16th.--Futteh Jung has made his escape
Our troops are reported to have made sixteen marches from Kandahar. Akbar ordered 5000 men to go and meet them; but it is said, he has mustered 400 only.
17th.--Mrs. Smith (Mrs. Trevor's servant) died of fever and water on the chest.
19th.--We hear that the men, who went towards Kandahar, have been beaten; and that more are to be sent.
Futteh Jung escaped through a hole made in the roof; from whence he let himself down by a rope. The Wuzeer says he is gone to Tagow; but the general opinion is that he is gone to Jellalabad. Troup went to see the Wuzeer today; who told him, he purposes sending for him and Pottinger, to stay with him in the Bala Hissar.
A thunder-storm at night, with heavy rain; the lightning vivid; but it was all over in an hour
This storm was immediately preceded by an earthquake, between 10 and 11 o'clock.
Akbar has written to Lord Ellenborough to say he will only treat with him; and that he will not have have any thing to do with Gen. Pollock; who is "a fool!" This is complimentary.
20th.--We heard a great deal of firing in the evening.
Futteh Jung is said to have been taken on the road to Jellalabad: but Abib Khan declares it is not true. They also say that there has been a fight at Gundamuk; that our troops have arrived there; and that the Affghans have lost several men in their defeat; that one of the fugitives has just arrived; and that Akbar will send 5000 more men there. They also say, that the Kandahar force is within two marches of Ghuznee. Three horses are kept ready saddled to start with messengers at a moment's notice, night or day; and the Khan says, he thinks we shall not be here more than three days longer.
21st.--The late newspapers have not a little amused me. They show that the editors catch at every expression, used in any letters they have read; or on any comments they hear on news from Affghanistan. A regular controversy has arisen between one, who asserts that Lady Sale in her letters evinces a strong prepossession in favour of
Mahommed Akbar Khan, and another, who thinks Lady Sale wrote, as she did, because she was a prisoner: to which the first rejoins, that he does not think Lady S. would, under any circumstances, write that which was false. There he is right: but I would not have written on the subject at all, unless I wrote as I thought: if people misunderstand, it is their fault and not mine. Again, they say it were better I had never written at all. Perhaps so: but it seems that details were wanting; my letters to Sale gave those; and he thought them of sufficient consequence to send them to the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief. They were afterwards sent to England by the former; and, if the papers tell truth, excited some attention in the highest circles. As to my "great prepossession" in favour of Akbar, my greatest wish is, that Gen. Nott's force should march up to Ghuznee; release the prisoners there; and then that a simultaneous movement should take place of Nott's and Pollock's forces upon Cabul. Once again in power, here, I would place Akbar, Mahommed Shah, and Sultan Jan hors de combat; befriend those who befriended us, and let the Affghans have the Ameer Dost Mahommed Khan back, if they like. He and his family are only an expense to us in India; we can restore them, and make friends with him. Let us first show the Affghans
that we can both conquer them, and revenge the foul murder of our troops; but do not let us dishonour the British name by sneaking out of the country, like whipped Pariah dogs. Afghanistan will become a byword amongst the nations. Had we retreated, as poor Sturt proposed, without baggage, with celerity (forced marches to get through the snow), and had the men stood by us (a doubtful point,--they were so worn out and dispirited), we might have figured in history; and have cut out Xenophon's account of the retreat of the 10,000.
As to the justice of dethroning the Ameer Dost Mahommed, and setting up Shah Shoojah, I have nothing to say regarding it: nor regarding our policy in attempting to keep possession of a country of uncivilised people, so far from our own; whence all supplies of ammunition, money, &c, must be obtained. Let our Governors-General and Commanders-in-chief look to that; whilst I knit socks for my grand-children: but I have been a soldier's wife too long to sit down tamely, whilst our honour is tarnished in the sight and opinion of savages. Had our army been cut to pieces by an avowed enemy, whether in the field or the passes--let them have used what stratagems they pleased,--all had been fair. Akbar had shone, as another William Tell; he had been the deliverer of his country from a hateful yoke imposed on
them by Kaffirs: hut here he stands, by his own avowal freely made, the assassin of the Envoy;--not by proxy, but by his own hand. I do believe, he only meant to make him prisoner; for the purpose of obtaining better terms and more money: but he is a man of ungovernable passions; and his temper when thwarted is ferocious. He afterwards professed to be our friend;--we treated with him;--great was the credulity of those who placed confidence in him: still they blindly did so;--even after the letter was received from Conolly, at Bhoodkhak, confirming the previous warnings of his intentions towards us. He followed us, with his blood-thirsty Ghilzyes. Mahommed Shah Khan, his principal adviser, I might almost say his master, is the most inveterate of our enemies. Akbar is a jovial smooth-tongued man; full of compliments and good fellowship; and has the knack of talking over both kaffirs and true believers.
To our cost, he did talk our chiefs over; and persuaded them of his friendship; but said that those sugs (dogs) of Ghilzyes were intent on murder and plunder; and totally unmanageable. In this way he hovered on our flanks and rear: and when our people were massacred and his bloodhounds in human shape were tolerably glutted with their blood, the scene was changed; although it was
constantly reacted. In the distance, a group of horsemen invariably appeared: they were beckoned to; questioned as to what chief was present,--it was invariably Akbar, who always pretended good faith, said his 300 horsemen were too few to protect us from the Ghilzyes, &c.,--and then, the following day witnessed a repetition of the slaughter, and pretended friendship; for that this friendship was a mere pretence, was acknowledged by him when he said, "I was the man who killed your Envoy with my own hand; I destroyed your army; I threw aside all ties of family, deserted every thing, for the faith of Islam; and now I am left to bear the opprobrium heaped on me by the Feringhees, whilst no one supports me: but were I in power, I would make the chiefs remember it!" and then he uttered maledictions on their heads. He has kept his word; has been a bitter enemy to all who have shown the slightest kindness to us; and grinds their money out of them by threats and torture.
A woman's vengeance is said to be fearful; but nothing can satisfy mine against Akbar, Sultan Jan, and Mahommed Shah Khan. Still I say that Akbar, having, for his own political purposes, done as he said he would do--that is, destroyed our army,--letting only one man escape to tell the tale, as Dr. Brydon did,--and having got
the families into his possession;--I say, having done this, he has ever since we have been in his hands, treated us well:--that is, honour has been respected. It is true that we have not common comforts; but what we denominate such are unknown to Affghan females: they always sleep on the floor, sit on the floor, &c.--hardships to us. "We have bought common charpoys at two rupees each; that is, a bed formed by four poles and ropes tied across and across them. Had we tables and chairs, we have not space for them; so many inhabit the same apartment. Individually I have no right to complain on this subject; as Lady Macnaghten, Mrs. Mainwaring, Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Sturt, and I, occupy the same apartment. Capt. Boyd makes his bed on the landing-place of the stairs, or on the roof of the house; so that we have no man-kind amongst us, except the Boyds' two little boys, and Mrs. Mainwaring's baby. This little fellow was born just before the insurrection broke out in Cabul (in October): his father had gone with Sale's brigade; and we always call him Jung-i-Bahadur.
After so long enduring the misery of having gentlemen night and day associated with us, we have found this a great relief.
The "Wuzeer gives us rations of meat, rice, ottah, ghee, and oil; and lately fruit. At first our food
was dressed for us; but it was so greasy and disgusting, that we asked leave to cook for ourselves. That again was a matter of taste: one person likes what another docs not. By us, a strong cup of coffee is considered a luxury; whilst an Affghan the other day, who had some given to him (he had never tasted any before), pronounced it bitter and detestable.
It is true, we have been taken about the country; exposed to heat, cold, rain, &c.; but so were their own women. It was, and is, very disagreeable: but still we are, de facto, prisoners; notwithstanding Akbar still persists in calling us--honoured guests: and, as captives, I say we are well treated. He has given us common coarse chintz, and coarse longcloth, too, wherewith to clothe ourselves;--I must not use the word dress: and making up these articles has given us occupation; increased by having to work with raw cotton, which we have to twist into thread for ourselves. We suffered more from uncleanliness than any thing else. It was above ten days after our departure from Cabul, before I had the opportunity to change my clothes, or even to take them off and put them on again, and wash myself: and fortunate were those who did not possess much live stock. It was not until after our arrival here (at Spéwakee, near Cabul) that we completely got rid of lice, which
we denominated infantry: the fleas, for which Afghanistan is famed (and particularly Cabul), we call light cavalry.
The servants, of course, were worse off than ourselves; and, not having as good wardrobes as we had, communicated their pests, of the insect tribe, to the children they carried about; and thus the mothers obtained a double share. Bugs have lately made their appearance; but not in great numbers: the flies torment us; and the musquitoes drive us half mad. But these annoyances, great as they are, are the results of circumstances which cannot be controlled; and when I say this, I suppose I shall again be accused of prepossession in favour of the Wuzeer. We ought, however, to bear in mind, that the Affghans are not addicted to general ablution: they wash their hands before and after their meals, which is but comme il faut, as they eat with their fingers; and they constantly wear the same clothes a month. This is not economy. The Wuzeer will take his bath perhaps once a week; and change his clothes: and the women never think of doing so oftener; and only open their hair at such times; which is kept smooth for that period by the application of gum to its innumerable plaits. Here again is a difference between their tastes and ours, who so enjoy bathing twice a day.
The garden, or rather vineyard and orchard, I consider a great luxury: we walk in it every evening for an hour or two. A strong guard is placed there: but, except when it has been lately changed, the men do not annoy us. At such times they dodge about after us; but otherwise do not. Last evening, for instance, sixteen men, armed at all points, sat down in a row in the centre walk; and laughed and joked together: five or six were sitting eating grapes on the top of the summer-house; and a few were posted, seated on the walls; whilst we walked here and there where we pleased.
"When we have marched since we left Buddeabad, Mahommed Shah's family, and some others, have accompanied us; and the best camels, largest kujavas, &c., have been selected for them; and when carriage runs short, they are served first. But this is only what we must expect. Mahommed Shah Khan, too, preferred Mrs. Sturt's riding-horse to his own; and took it. Mine was sent to Jellalabad. When Mackenzie went there, he rode, and lamed it; and it was left behind. There I was fortunate; as Sale has got it. Luckily I had a few rupees; and the only day I was not provided with a horse to ride, I hired one for two rupees six anas, a mere baggage pony; but it carried me safely.
Nothing can exceed the folly I have seen in the papers regarding my wonderful self;--how I headed the troops, &c. &c. It puts me in mind of Goldsmith's verses on Mrs. Blaze; in which he remarks, that "the king hi
mself has followed her, when she has gone before:" and certainly I have thus headed the troops; for the chiefs told me to come on with them for safety sake: and thus I certainly did go far in advance of the column; but it was no proof of valour, though one of prudence.
Troup and Pottinger have been told to be in readiness to go in to-morrow morning: so I now make up my packet, in case an opportunity should offer by which Troup can send it to Sale.
The only thing that has given me pleasure in the Indian papers, is a subscription set on foot by the civilians, to purchase a sword, to be presented to Sale; because it shows that they appreciate his conduct; and I know that he will value it most highly. I hear that after Futteh Jung was placed in confinement, his family had all their jewels, &c. taken away; to the value of twenty lakhs. Some say this was done by Akbar and Sultan Jan; others, by Mahommed Shah Khan. The latter had taken a lesson in such actions, when he despoiled Lady Macnaghten of her valuables.
22d August.--Our friends went back to the Wuzeer; and took my packets with them.
The Affghans still talk of some defeat they have experienced near Soorkhab: whence the celebrated miner has returned discomfited and wounded; and says he will not attempt to cope with our force. The Wuzeer has made the people of Cabul take their oath on the Koran to stand by him; and great excitement prevails in the city. Futteh Jung has arrived safely at Jellalabad; and has written from thence, that, if Akbar is his father's son, he will meet him in fair fight; for which purpose there is said to have been held a grand muster of troops on the Siah Sung plain; amounting to 25,000 infantry and 5,000 horse, who are to be headed by Akbar in person. I can scarcely believe that he will set his fortunes on the issue of a battle. A fair field and no favour is what we want: but he would be mad to meet our disciplined troops on the plain; when he knows that the fastnesses of his country give him every advantage over us, with any rabble he can collect. Besides, he is all but supreme now. He wishes to be king: but Zeman Khan has again got a strong party in his favour; and is endeavouring to regain the throne.
23d.--The prisoners from Ghuznee arrived quite unexpectedly:--Col. Palmer, Capt. Burnett (54th), Harris, Nicholson, Poett, Alston, Williams, Crawford, and Thompson.
Akbar says, he will send us away in three or four days, either to Bameean, Zoormut, or Soorkhab; twenty miles off, on the borders of the Loghur country.
24th.--Sultan Jan left Cabul with 300 men; to reinforce Shumshudeen, who has been signally defeated, we hear, at Carabagh; escaping with only twenty men. Some say Nott's force achieved this victory; but others that the Huzaras rose against him: so probably British gold has been weighed in the balance, and found more ponderous than the hatred of the Kaffirs.
Being greatly in want of medicine, Mr. Campbell went to the Sirdar to get some from Cabul; and he told him we were to move to-night or tomorrow. Mrs. Anderson, being too ill to travel, remains here.
25th.--A sudden order arrived for our removal; with a report, that Futteh Jung's and all the female royal family were to accompany us. Capt. Troup arrived in the evening to see us off, by Akbar's command. Mrs. Anderson, her husband and children, remained at the fort. Akbar has ordered every attention to be paid to her and the gentlemen; Mr. Campbell being left with the party to afford medical aid. Mrs. Trevor and eight children are also left here, in consequence of her being seriously ill with fever;
as also one of her children. A man of the 44th died of fever to-day; and was buried in the garden. Soon after the moon rose we left the fort; camels for kujavas and fifty ponies having been sent for our accommodation. All our ponies, &c., were taken from us; and on our removal, a certain number wore sent. We fortunately purchased two ponies to carry our baggage. We were told we were to go to Killa Kazi, about seven miles from Cabul: but we made a long detour to avoid the city; and crossed the Loghur river: the road was very tolerable. After proceeding about five miles we came to several forts on our tight; the first a large one; and were told it was called Killa Kazi. We passed a succession of forts on either side; but there was scarcely any one to be seen except a few men watching their grain heaps in the fields. On the right appeared much cultivation; judging from the dark shade; which, with an ill-defined line of irregular mountains, was all we could even speculate upon in the way of scenery. We had with us ten soldiers; so ill with fever as to require to be carried in kujavas: and Capt. Mackenzie and Lieut. Eyre were also suffering.
I was the only lady who rode; the others preferring the kujavas; on account of their children,
26th.--At daybreak we were still travelling;
and near sunrise found ourselves just opposite to Cabul; and about two miles distant, as the crow flies, from Baber's tomb. We saw the wall on the hill quite distinctly. We did not arrive at our ground till past seven: and took up our stations under some trees near the fort; which, I have been told, is called Kundah. Here there was no admittance: as Sultan Jan was in it, with his reinforcements for Ghuznee. This disproves a report of yesterday; to the effect that the people of Cabul had insisted on having Sultan Jan as a hostage for our safety. He had a number of good horses with him: and we recognised the Envoy's grey. His army consisted of about thirty men; but Inshallah! he is to be joined by lakhs. We are said to be guarded by 1000 men; but 300 were nearer the mark. During the morning we were joined by Dr. Berwick, Lieut. Evans, and the European soldiers who were left sick when we evacuated Cabul: they form a total of thirty-seven; but a few have been left for want of carriage, which is to be furnished; and they are to be sent after us; as also Lieut. Haughton. We this morning recognised the summer-house above Baber's tomb, Kerghah and the Pughman hills.
Judging from the time that we were travelling, about twelve hours; and taking the rate of the camels at about two miles per hour, deducting a
fourth for halt; we estimate the distance we have gone at eighteen miles.
A letter has been received from Kandahar: Nott has marched in three columns with only 6000 men. He sent his camels out to graze the 3d March; and lost 2000. He left Kandahar on the 28th.
Shumshudeen has retired on Ghuznee: and, by the last accounts, Gen. Nott was within ten miles of that fortress. He is expected at Cabul on the 1st. Pollock's force is to move on the 20th. "We are to march at moon-rising. "We witnessed a parade of telling off the guards, &c.; and heard the retreat beat off at sunset. They use our drums and fifes, and have some bugles with which they sound for us to halt or advance. The sentries planted round our camp are a perfect farce. These men are the Pultans; who have no knives, and are mostly armed with our own muskets: I saw them place their pickets, in imitation of ours; and sentries walked backwards and forwards, with a ramrod in their hand; having stuck the butt end of the musket in the earth at their posts: so that, were it of any use, we might easily overpower them. We asked to be admitted into the fort: but though they said we might occupy one room when vacated by Sultan Jan; after his departure, they insulted the gentlemen who went to get it ready for us; and asked, how the Kaffirs dared to wear their shoes there.
We, therefore, spread loonghees to form a shade, as the heat was excessive; and at night it was very cold. At eleven the réveillé was beat by the drums, and performed by the pipes; a kind of repetition of one, two, three: and at midnight we were all ready to start.
27th.--We left camp soon after midnight. The Meer Akhor Ahmed Khan was very anxious that all the riders should follow the advance guard of half the infantry; the rest of which closed on our rear: then came the kujavas, followed up by the baggage; and their rear was closed by a strong guard of Affghan cavalry.
Another body of horsemen, about twenty in number, joined as riders; and kept near the Meer Akhor; who desired Lady Macnaghten's kujavas to be kept as the leading ones; and the camel had fine trappings, as if to mark it particularly in case of an attempt at escape.
We were between eight and nine hours on the march over a barren broken slip of land, bounded on either side by the hills for a considerable distance, until we passed a fort and chokey at Urghundee on our left; soon after which the road turns off to the left to Ghuznee. The ascent to Bala Maidan was long, but not difficult; and the view from the top of it, looking down on the plain above named, was very pretty; comprising a narrow
valley, thickly studded with forts and diversified by cultivation; with lines of willows and poplars marking the water cuts; which here serve as hedgerows. We were taken to a fort; but not admitted into it: and after a time had tents pitched for us. Lady Macnaghten, Mrs. Boyd and three children, Mrs. Mainwaring and child, Mrs. Sturt and child, and I, occupied one division of a Sipahee's pall: there was another tent for the other ladies; two more for the gentlemen, and one for the sick soldiers.
We hear that Gen. Nott has arrived at Ghuznee, has blown up the new bourj in the city, and has put to death nearly every man, woman, and child found there. We cannot be surprised at the men taking signal vengeance; but we fear the news is too good to be true. We met on our road two horsemen; whom we supposed to be expresses. We met, also, several camels, bullocks, and donkeys, laden, for the most part, with assafoetida.
It seems a plan was proposed this morning, and negatived. I only heard of it by chance; so no thanks are due for courtesy to those, who, had the measure been carried, would have come to us for our share. The plan was, to get Ahmed Khan to make short marches, or halt; so as to allow Gen. Nott to hear where we are, and rescue us: and should it succeed, Ahmed was to receive two and
a half lakhs. The scale before proposed was, I believe, again to be brought forward: Lady Macnaghten 10,000 rupees, Lady Sale 5000, Mrs. Sturt 5000, Capt. and Mrs. Boyd and family 5000, &c This scale is said to be prepared according to rank and means; which I deny: the other captives are not wealthy any more than ourselves; and where the money was to come from, I know not. The Indian Government, it is said, offered to ransom us for that sum; and I believe would have given more: but this seems to have been a private and most zubberrdust arrangement.
There is a report, that all Cabul is in confusion, and the natives fighting against each other; and that our force has passed Gundamuk.
28th.--We left our encamping ground about two o'clock; and reached Tarkhana between eight and nine. Had I taken the ride for my own amusement on a good horse, instead of being driven about as a captive on a sorry baggage yaboo, I should have enjoyed it very much. The narrow vale we passed through was highly cultivated; the fields divided by willow and poplar trees, and the forts frequent. Near to Julraiz (the head of the spring) the scenery was particularly beautiful; the trees well clumped together; and the river, here clear as crystal, rapidly flowing to our left. The hills, also,
assumed a novel aspect; having a foreground of lower hills of most uncommon form. Nearly opposite to the town was a triangular one, sharp as though it had been scarped purposely; next to it a semicircular one, &c.; with the usual chain of mountains behind. Julraiz appears to be rather a large town, surrounded by forts. The scenery was varied; but the land always under cultivation until we reached our halting ground; where we bivouacked on the green sward, sheltered from the sun's rays by a double row of poplar trees; between which rippled a stream that empties itself into the Cabul river, which bounds our resting-place on one side. This river is at this place as famed for its clear limpid waters, as it is at Cabul for its dirty hue, being there quite red. "We here got some small fish like gudgeons, some bad small apricots, sour grapes, and apples and pears, that had just arrived by a caravan. Here General Saleh Mahommed's troops looted five camels.
29th.--Marched at daybreak; and shortly afterwards saw a curious stone on the hill to the left. At about three miles passed Sir-i-chushm on the right; a fortified town, with a fort in front of it. Here are three preserves full of sacred fish. The name of this place signifies the "head of the spring." The road becomes daily more rugged.
On our right we passed a fine fort; called
Mustapha Khan Ke Killa, It was built by a person of that name. He is dead; but his son lives there; a very gentlemanlike man, wearing spectacles. As we passed he gave us nan (bread), and apricots prepared as a paste.
We halted at Killa Naziri; eight miles from, our last resting-place. Here our troops again looted two camels.
30th.--Marched at two, A. M., sixteen miles to Gurdundewar, on the Helmund. At first we passed through a narrow defile with a stony road; after which the road was excellent, fit to drive carriages upon; except in a few places where there were rather awkward descents.
There were three steep ascents; one of which was very long. Very little cultivation; and but few forts seen on our route.
A man was met on the march, who said he was a cossid from Ghuznee: that that fort was in our possession; and that a force was to be sent to release us.
Shortly before we arrived at our destination, ten or twelve Huzaras were set upon by about 300 of our guard. They fired about fifty shots at them: killed one, wounded one, took two prisoners, and some loot.
There are two Yaghi forts here: the rest are subject to Akbar
30th.--Left the Hah-i-Baba to our left: there was snow in the clefts; but none on the top, which is 18,000 feet above the level of the sea.
We marched about eight miles to the foot of the Hadje Gurk pass. The road led the whole way through a defile; at first very narrow and stony; with a tributary stream to the Helmund occupying nearly the whole of it.
There were several rocks which assumed the appearance of gigantic statues. One on the right representing a man seated on a bull couchant: another on the left, at first resembled a man clothed in the toga, standing on a pedestal There were others, also, that it was difficult to suppose natural: they may have been ancient Buddhistic or Brahminic remains. After arriving at some forts and two tombs near a ruined fort, the valley became wider and fertile; being all planted with wheat, some perfectly ripe and some quite green.
On nearing our destination, the valley again closed up. We came to a fort dilapidated, but still inhabited. Every breach in the walls was filled with armed men. Our troops were drawn up in due form; our two drums and one fife struck up; the bugle sounded at intervals; and the men marched to this discord in the most
appropriate manner; invariably missing both cadence and step, until we arrived at our tents.
Twice during the day's march there were shots fired in front; and much talk of battle, which never took place; though each time there were a number of Huzaras posted on the heights. These men have been for some time past besieging the forts here. The damaged one has been partially rebuilt; and the one opposite to it appears to be in perfect repair.
Our commandant is going with his army to fight: but I am not sure which side he takes. There was a skirmish this morning; one party posted behind a sungah on the hill, which was forced, and the brave troops fled.
31st.--Marched to the forts of Kaloo. Found the road bad and stony; with constant steep ascents and descents. Ascended the Hadje Gurk pass, which is 12,400 feet above the level of the sea; the hills barren; grain was cultivated in the bed of the valley, where a silver serpentine stream meandered; and the hay, freshly thrown into cocks, reminded me of England. We crossed the river twice; and with difficulty conquered a steep ascent to the fort, near which we encamped. A report that Akbar has been fighting with the chiefs at Cabul; and that our force must be at Bhoodkhak to-day.
1st September.--Marched at daylight over the Kaloo pass. It is nearly four miles to the top of it. The road at first is narrow and precipitous; and for the most part little more than a steep path. From the top the view is very grand; resembling the waves of a very troubled sea, and composed of barren hills of every variety of shade and hue. We saw Bameean from thence) but though a magnificent scene was before us, it presented no pleasing object to those who expected to remain captives in that desolate region. The only plant here is the Koole-Huzara, or Huzara Cass, a kind of furze that is very prickly, and grows in bunches: it is used for fuel. As we neared our destination (Killa Topchee), we entered a very narrow but highly cultivated valley: the grain short in the stalk, but particularly fine in the ear. This day's march was seven miles.
3d.--Marched at daylight seven miles to Bameean. The road wild and uneven, with narrow paths and many ascents and descents. This valley is nowhere more than a mile broad; but it is very fertile, and produces particularly fine grain. Plenty of beans and pease are cultivated here; the former very small, the latter small and hard. The tamarisk and barberry were abundant, and a shrub with yellow berries. We halted for a short time opposite a fort, near which were many cows.
Here we got some mast (curds), which we found very refreshing. Looking back from hence, we saw Zohak behind us, on a high point. At Bameean they refused to take us into the fort; and we pitched our tents just under the ancient fortress and city which were destroyed by Jhenzhis Khan; when upwards of 300,000 persons perished. The caves, ruins, and towers, extend for miles. There are two large images which have been described by former travellers: opposite to the largest was our encampment.
We had scarcely settled ourselves in the tents ere the General beat, in consequence of the people of the fort and the regiment disagreeing: so we went on about a mile, to such a wretched fort, that we asked leave to remain in tents; which was with difficulty obtained: but the Khan said he would endeavour to get a better fort for us tomorrow.
4th.--Saleh Mahommed Khan's lady came to visit Lady Macnaghten. She is young and fair, with a fat round face; and comes from Loodianah; where, it is said, she was a dancing girl. Her information is, that Futteh Jung is a prisoner, or has been put to death: his family, she says, are expected here in a day or two.
From the 5th to the 9th we made excursions
to see the caves, &c. At first some difficulty was made: but the General sent about thirty men to guard us and our pencils; for several went intent on sketching. I only copied the frescoes that were on the walls and ceiling near the large image; but Mr. Eyre made some very pretty and correct sketches of Ghoolghoola (the ancient city), &c.
9th.--I have daily been begging hard for permission to go and see the ancient city; but am at last put off by a direct refusal: the soldiers, it seems, are over-worked in keeping watch over us in camp; and to relieve them we are to be taken into one of these horrid forts.
We went to the fort formerly occupied by Dr. Lord.
Long ago, to prevent a recurrence of disputes which had formerly arisen amongst us regarding distribution of accommodation, &c., we elected, by vote, a committee of three gentlemen, whose fiat was indisputable--Major Pottinger, and Capts. Webb and Lawrence: the latter also undertook to be our purveyor; portioning out our rations generally with his own hands (servants being scarce), as well as the food for the soldiers.
On our going into the fort, the committee, having examined the miserable sheds built round the square of high walls with comer towers and a gateway, at first decided that the five
best rooms, or rather most convenient ones as regarded privacy, &c, should be destined for the ladies; and we were to draw lots for them, or arrange amongst ourselves. Finally, it was requested that the choice might go by seniority. Lady Macnaghten of course had the first choice. I had the second; and took a dark cow-house; the only light admitted being from a door down a long narrow passage and a hole in the roof. This was for Mrs. Sturt, myself, the ayah, and the dog; and was decidedly the best apartment there, to my taste. We soon set to: and by dint of hard working with sticks and stones, in which I bore my part, assisted by Mr. Melville until both of us got blistered hands, we knocked two small windows out of the wall; and thus obtained darkness visible.
10th.--We were fortunate in our selection; although our nightly visitant, in the shape of the largest bug I ever saw, was sufficiently disgusting: but Lady Macnaghten, Captain and Mrs. Boyd, and Mrs. Mainwaring, with the children, had no Test in the three rooms they had taken; which all communicated with each other. They had capital shikar all night: and in the morning got leave to pitch a tent at the gate, and reside there.
11th.--When we were at Tai Khana on our way to this place, a Sipahee came to us and said that there were about fifty Hindostanees,
amongst our guard, who were willing to join us; and that Saleh Mahommed Khan was a man who would do any thing for money. This was told to Capts. Johnson and Lawrence; and they agreed to sound him on the subject; which they did: but he laughed at their offer; and pretended to imagine they were only joking.
This morning early, Capt. Lawrence came to ask if we would allow a conference to take place in our room, as being the most private place. We assented. Saleh Mahommed Khan, the Syud Morteza Khan, Major Pottinger, Capts. Lawrence, Johnson, Mackenzie, and Webb, assembled; and our bed, spread on the floor, formed the divan. Here in the course of an hour all was settled. The gentlemen present signed their names to the paper; in which we promised to give Saleh Mahommed Khan 20,000 rupees, and to insure him 1000 rupees a month for life; and that if the government did not extricate us from this difficulty, we would be answerable for the money. Thus they held the promise of five British officers as sacred. In heading the paper, they insisted that we should do so in the name of Christ; as rendering it perfectly binding. Saleh Mahommed declared to us, that he had received orders to remove us farther (to Khooloom), and to set out that night: also, that he had another letter from Akbar, ordering all who
were not able to march to be put to death. He seems anxious that we shall not receive any news from others; and had his two drummers severely flogged, for telling us that the Kuzzilbashes with Khan Shireen Khan had risen against Akbar, and that the latter had fled to the Kohistan.
12th.--Saleh Mahommed Khan hoisted the standard of defiance on the walls,--white, with a crimson edge and green fringe.
Two Huzara chiefs have tendered their allegiance to Major Pottinger; as also Zulficar Khan, the Naib of the province, who, we heard, had fled. Another man has been appointed in his room; and has paid 1000 rupees to Saleh Mahommed for his appointment: which money was laid out in purchasing khelluts (for the chiefs who came in to us) from a Kaffila fortunately passing by.
A report that the Andersons, Trevors, and By-grave have got safe to our troops: but as this is coupled with Troup's having gone to Ghuznee, we fear it is not true; more especially as we are told that our force is still on the other side of the Khoord Cabul pass; and the last accounts from Ghuznee are, that Gen. Nott was one march on the other side of it.
13th.--A large party travelling by, supposed to be the Meer Hadje and his family. Saleh Mahommed Khan determined to seize them. They
pulled the Moollah off his horse; who only proved to be a Sheikh somebody, a relation of the Hadje's; so they were all bien quittés pour la peur, and proceeded on their way in double quick. There is a talk of arming our men, if we can get muskets. Our valley is now almost hermetically sealed at both ends. Akbar is at Begram in the Kohistan; the Meer Hadje and Zeman Shah Khan quiet at Cabul.
The Meer Akhor went off at night with his Juzailchees; taking with him sundry ashurpees which he had received from myself and others to change for us. This is particularly inconvenient; as we are about to purchase all the ottah procurable, in order to lay in a little commissariat of our own; and, if Akbar sends troops against us, hold out till our own people come to relieve us. We have appointed Capt. Johnson our commissariat officer.
Kurrim Beg came over to us, and Meer Hassun; and with much form and ceremony swore on the Koran to be faithful to us. The latter is the person whose fort Dr. Lord burnt; and on which subject there was much angry discussion, pro and con., in the Indian papers. He offered his fort to us: it has a name, which the wits pronounce fool-hardy; and say it is synonymous with our attempt. The only persons who are against the measure are Gen. Shelton and Col. Palmer. As the latter has
already been tortured at Ghuznee, he possibly fears a repetition of barbarity, should we not succeed The former says, we are precipitating matters with Akbar; whom he considers as our friend. I believe both have at length signed the paper. They could scarcely do less; as our signatures were to exonerate the five officers whose names were superscribed as answerable for the whole account, which we were of course to pay our shares of.
I wrote to Sale to-day; informing him of our resolution to hold out till we received assistance, even should we be reduced to eating the rats and mice; of which we have a grand stock.
14th.--Zulficar Khan, Salamid Khan, and other chiefs, joined us.
It would be great injustice to Major Pottinger not to mention the active part he took in affairs. From his perfect knowledge of the Persian language, and his acquaintance with the manners and customs of the people, he well knew how to manage them, and take advantage of the slightest opening on their part in our favour. His coolness and decision were only equalled by the promptness with which he met the wishes of the chiefs; giving them barats on the neighbouring lands, empowering them to receive the government rents, &c; all which documents, though he executed them with an air of great condescension and with the gravity
of a judge, he well knew were mere pieces of waste paper: yet they had a magic charm for the time; which was all we required. I had again an opportunity of writing to Sale; as another messenger is sent, in case the first should no reach his destination.
At night we were roused by the sounding of the cracked trumpet, and the drums beating to arms; which, in our yaghi (rebellious) position, was a little astounding. It seems that a body of horsemen were hovering about the ruins near the images; and were suspected to be some of Akbar's troops. Saleh Mahommed sent out his men in skirmishing order, or rather disorder: however, it answered our purpose; for, whoever they were, they made themselves scarce.
15th.--A letter was received from some one, whose signature in cypher was not to be made out; stating that all Cabul had risen against the Wuzeer; that Nott's force was at Maidan last Wednesday, and Pollock's at Bhoodkhak; that Akbar had fled to the Toba mountains towards Kandahar to the Ghilzyes, and Shumshudeen Khan to the Kohistan.
Another letter came from Mohun Lull, corroborating the account of the insurrection in Cabul. He himself had fled to the Kuzzilbash quarter with his family: Zeman Khan had fled to either
the Kohistan or Kuzzilbash quarter; and the Kuzzilbashes have taken a decided part in the business. A light force is said to have been sent to our aid: it is therefore decided that we are to march to-morrow; taking with us two kurwahs of ottah, which is all (out of four) that we can carry; being very short of cattle. This ottah was purchased by the subscription I before mentioned.
16th.--We marched to Killa Topchee on a fine sunshiny morning; which we hailed as a presage of the future. We were not, however, without considerable anxiety; for our present state was replete with danger. We had every reason to believe that the Meer Akhor, on leaving us, had gone to Akbar, and revealed our plans; and consequently every man we saw was suspected to be the avant courier of troops sent to reclaim us: and the cheering hope of an escape was considerably clouded before we had been an hour on the road. Those who travelled in kujavas, of course, could not keep pace with those who rode: our equestrian party, of which I formed one, had halted; and, to screen themselves from the sun, had taken shelter under some huge masses of rock. Here Saleh Mahommed Khan came up to us; and speaking in Persian to Capt. Lawrence, told him that he had succeeded in getting a few muskets; which, together with ammunition, he had brought with him on a camel: and
requested that he would ask the men, which of them would take them; it being his wish to form a small advance guard of Europeans, as a show. Capt. Lawrence then said, "Now, my lads, here's Saleh Mahommed Khan has brought arms and ammunition for some of you: who volunteers to take muskets?"
I blush to record, that a dead silence ensued. Thinking the men might be shamed into doing tbeir duty, I said to Lawrence, "You had better give me one, and I will lead the party;" but there was still no offer: and he told our General, that it was useless; and he had better take them on. It is sad to think the men were so lost to all right feeling.
We encamped near the small forts. Here a letter was received; stating, that on Tuesday Pollock's force fought from mid-day to midnight; and eventually forced the Khoord Cabul pass, charging the enemy as far as the hills north of Cabul to the Jurra Tunghee, leading to Tagow; that on Wednesday morning Nott attacked and pursued the enemy as far as Siah Sung; that meanwhile the Kuzzilbashes seized the city, and partially looted it.
Mahommed Akbar Khan and Mahommed Shah Khan are said to be--nowhere!
Sultan Jan and Shumshudeen Khan had been
previously defeated at Maidan; as also Sultan Ahmed Khan.
Reports have just arrived that 2.000 horse from Khoolloom are following us up to take us thither.
17th.--At two in the morning we were roused by the arrival of a horseman with a letter from Sir Richmond Shakespear; who is coming with 600 Kuzzilbash horsemen to our aid.
We marched eleven miles to the forts at the foot of the Kaloo pass; again admiring the silvery serpentine stream and the haycocks near it. We arrived at our ground at mid-day, and were sitting under the walls of one of the forts, sheltering ourselves from the sun until the arrival of our tents; when, at three o'clock, Sir Richmond arrived; and was received, with one exception, with heartfelt pleasure. That one, Gen. Shelton, could not forget the honour due to his rank as the senior military man; and was much offended at Sir R. not having called on him first, and reported his arrival in due form. Even were this a military duty, Sir Richmond was perfectly exonerated in its omission; for the greater part of us ladies and some gentlemen had seated ourselves where he must pass, anxious to offer our acknowledgments to him for his prompt assistance.
He told us, that Gen. Nott had gained two victories on the 28th and 30th, at Ghuznee and
Maidan; and that Gen. Pollock had beaten Akbar at Jugdaluk and Tézeen. He also, most considerately, informed me of Sale having been struck by a spent ball without injury; and congratulated me on our gracious Queen's bestowal of the highest order of the Bath upon my gallant husband;--a distinction, I believe, unparalleled in his present rank; and therefore the more dearly prized.
We now have accounts we can depend upon of the position of our armies. Pollock is encamped at Siah Sung; and Nott expected to march on to Cabul to-morrow. Akbar is supposed to have taken refuge in the Ahmedzye country.
18th.--We marched to Gundundewar over a very stony road, having a serpentine river on our left. Crossed the Hadje Gurk pass; which is at an elevation of 12,400 feet above the level of the sea; but lower than Kaloo, which is 14,000. At the end of the pass, the river appears to gush through immense portals of solid rock.
During this march, many curiously formed rocks were seen at a distance; one bearing a strong resemblance to a giant climbing up the precipice; another, so perfect when near, as to render one doubtful whether the bull couchant was not the remains of ancient Hindu sculpture. We did not fail to drink of the mineral spring u
as we passed it; and whilst so employed, attracted the attention of a party of Affghans; to whom Major Pottinger recommended a hearty draught of this sparkling liquid; which, however pleasing to the eye, is far from being so to the palate; being very like ink. The grave Affghans drank a full cup of it; exclaiming, "Shookr!" and "Joor Ustie;"--praise be to God! and they would grow strong upon it. They then stroked down their beards; and wended their way with great satisfaction. The latter part of our road lay among a narrow path, on either side of a tributary stream, bounded by a high and precipitous range of slatestone rocks. We soon came to the Helmund; which we crossed, and encamped on its bank. Nearly opposite to us, a part of the rocks presented the form of a seated figure of Boodh.
19th.--We marched two hours before daylight, and crossed the Onai Kotul; a succession of ascents and descents, and some of them very steep, ending in a defile: after which the road was very stony. The grain was still green in many parts; but some of it was not only cut but carried away. We passed Killa Onai, Killa Suffard, and Killa Mustapha Khan: at the latter, breakfast was prepared;--nan (native sweet cakes) and tea for all who chose to partake of it en passant. The proprietor of this fort is a friend
of Saleh Mahommed Khan's; and had given us bread and preserved fruit as we passed before. From hence we went on to Sir-i-Chushm; and diverged from the road to see the preserve of fish there. I asked the name of the fish; but all they knew was that they were fish; that they were held sacred, and fed; and that any one who caught, or even touched, one would die shortly afterwards. The streams were very clear, and the fish innumerable. Four miles from this place we took up our old ground under the poplar trees at Tarkhana. We were not yet considered as safe even here, and Sir Richmond Shakespear felt much anxiety at not receiving any accounts of troops coming to our aid; as he had written to Gen. Pollock to send a brigade to meet us. As Sultan Jan was believed to be hovering near, there were some thoughts of our going into a fort: however it was decided that we should remain in our tents.
We had proceeded but a short way on our journey, when a horseman arrived with a note informing us, that Sale was close at hand with a brigade. I had had fever hanging about me for some days; and, being scarce able to sit on my horse, had taken my place in a kujava; the horrid motion of which had made me feel ten times worse than before I entered it. But this news renovated my strength. I shook off fever and all ills; and
anxiously awaited his arrival, of which a cloud of dust was the forerunner. Gen. Nott was near Urghundee, and consequently close to us; and Gen. Pollock requested he would send a brigade to our assistance. This he refused, much to the disgust of his officers, alleging that his troops were fatigued. On this, Gen. Pollock sent Sale with a brigade, at a few hours' notice. He left Siah Sung two miles east of Cabul; and made a forced march on the 19th (his sixtieth birthday) to Urghundee: he halted there that night; and on the following morning left his camp standing, and marched to meet us. At the pass near Kote Ashruffee he left his infantry to hold the position, and proceeded at the head of the 3rd dragoons. A party of Sultan Jan's men were in this neighbourhood; and some Kokhes in the immediate vicinity were driven off by the Juzailchees. Had we not received assistance, our recapture was certain: but as it was, they dared not attack the force they saw. It is impossible to express our feelings on Sale's approach. To my daughter and myself happiness so long delayed, as to be almost unexpected, was actually painful, and accompanied by a choking sensation, which could not obtain the relief of tears. When we arrived where the infantry were posted, they cheered all the captives as they passed them; and the men of the 13th
pressed forward to welcome us individually. Most of the men had a little word of hearty congratulation to offer, each in his own style, on the restoration of his colonel's wife and daughter: and then my highly-wrought feelings found the desired relief; and I could scarcely speak to thank the soldiers for their sympathy, whilst the long withheld tears now found their course. On arriving at the camp, Capt. Backhouse fired a royal salute from his mountain train guns: and not only our old friends, but all the officers in the party, came to offer congratulations, and welcome our return from captivity.
21st.--We marched to Killa Kazee; and great was the contrast of our present happiness and comfort, compared with what our state had been, when we last bivouacked under the trees at this place. The obnoxious fort was deserted; but the troops obtained forage there; and the place was destroyed by fire: as also a fort of Sultan Jan's, But guards were sent to the Kuzzilbash forts near us, to protect the property of our friends. A reward has been offered for Capt. Bygrave, and it is supposed he will be brought in to us shortly. At three o'clock we resumed our march to Cabul; and passed through the great bazaar; where the shops were shut, and all looked very desolate, and unlike the busy city it was when we were here last
year, and the inhabitants found their trade prosper under our rule. We were greeted, on our arrival at the camp at Siah Sung, with a salute of twenty-one guns.
And now my Notes may end. Any further journals of mine can only be interesting to those nearly connected to me.
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