Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sale, Robert Henry
SALE, Sir ROBERT HENRY (1782–1845), major-general, defender of Jalalabad, second son of Colonel Sale of the East India Company's service, by his wife, daughter of Harry Brine, esq., of Duckden, Huntingdonshire, was born on 19 Sept. 1782. Educated with his brother George John (afterwards of the 17th and 4th dragoons) at Dr. Nicholas's school at Ealing, he obtained an ensign's commission in the 36th foot on 19 Jan. 1795. He was promoted to be lieutenant on 12 April 1797, and on 8 Jan. 1798 was transferred in the same rank to the 12th foot, then quartered at Fort George, Madras. He marched with his regiment to Tanjore, arriving there on 1 March, and on 22 July proceeded with it to join the force assembling under Lieutenant-general (afterwards Lord) Harris to act against Tipu Sultan. The 12th foot were in the first infantry brigade under Major-general Baird. On 7 March 1799 they were employed in an attempt to surprise the enemy's cavalry camp, and on the 8th took possession of Naldrug. Sale took part in the operations in the battle of Melavelly on 27 March and in the siege and storm of Seringapatam, which was carried by assault on 4 May. He received the silver medal for Seringapatam. He was engaged with his regiment under Colonel Stevenson, in the subsequent operations directed by Colonel the Hon. A. Wellesley (afterwards Duke of Wellington), commanding in Maisur, against the freebooter Dhundia Wagh, between July and September, the troops engaged receiving the thanks of the governor-general in council and of the Madras government. The 12th foot were then encamped near Seringapatam till the close of 1800. In December Sale served in the expedition into the Wainad and Malabar country under Colonel Pater against Paichi Raja. The service was very severe in this hilly and thickly wooded country, and was not concluded until May 1801, when the troops again received the thanks of government.
Sale returned with his regiment to Seringapatam, moving in October to Trichinopoly, where they remained for nearly four years, when they were again sent to Seringapatam. On 23 March 1806 Sale was promoted to be captain, and in April 1807, after an epidemic of fever, he accompanied his regiment to Cannanore. In December 1808 they embarked for Quilon in Travancore to wage war against the rajah of that province, arriving there on 29 Dec. On 15 Jan. 1809 Sale served with his regiment, which formed part of Colonel Chalmers's force, against the dewan of Travancore. After an engagement at Quilon which lasted for five hours, the enemy were defeated with the loss of fourteen guns. Again, on 31 Jan. he was engaged in another victorious action at Quilon, when another gun was captured. He took part in the storming of the Travancore lines and the action of Killianore on 21 Feb., when seven guns were captured and five thousand of the enemy defeated.
Sale arrived on 24 July 1809 with his regiment at Trichinopoly, where he married the same year. In August 1810 the regiment moved from Walajabad, where it had been quartered, to St. Thomas's Mount, and thence in September to Madras, where it embarked in the fleet to take part in the expedition against Mauritius. Sale landed in Mapon Bay with the troops on 28 Nov. He took part in the storm of the French position a few miles from Port Louis, and in the other operations resulting in the surrender of the island on 3 Dec. 1810. He remained in Mauritius until April 1813, when he moved with the regiment to Bourbon. He was promoted to be regimental major on 30 Dec. 1813, and served on the staff during his stay in Bourbon; on the restoration of that island to France in April 1815 Sale returned with his battalion to Mauritius. Sale sailed from Mauritius with the 1st battalion on 25 July for England, and landed at Portsmouth on 10 Nov. The regiment moved to Ireland, arriving at Cork on 26 Dec. and at Athlone on 9 Jan. 1818. Here the two battalions met; the second was disbanded, on reduction of the army, on 16 Jan.; Sale, as a junior major, was placed on half-pay on 25 March 1818.
Sale was brought back to full pay as major in the 13th foot on 28 June 1821, and joined the regiment at Dublin. He accompanied the 13th foot to Edinburgh in August 1822 to do duty during the visit of George IV, and proceeded thence to Chatham, and on 1 Jan. 1823 sailed with it for India, arriving at Calcutta in May.
Towards the end of 1823 Burmese incursions on British territory led to war with Burma, and an expedition was fitted out under the command of Major-general Sir Archibald Campbell. Lieutenant-colonel McCreagh, who commanded the 13th foot, having been appointed to command a brigade, the command of the regiment devolved upon Sale, who embarked with it on 5 April 1824, and entered the Irrawaddy on 10 May. Rangoon was occupied, and Sale with the 13th regiment drove the enemy from the neighbourhood. On 10 June Sale commanded two companies of the 13th foot and two companies of the 38th foot in the successful attack on the stronghold at Kamandin. The stockade was ten feet high, and the men, encouraged by Sale, helped one another up its face, entering the work simultaneously with the party at the breach. Sir A. Campbell mentioned in his despatch that Sale was the first man who appeared on the top of the work. The attack on the seven stockades at Kamarut on 8 July was led by Sale at the head of his regiment. Sale had a personal encounter with the Burmese commander-in-chief, whom he killed in single combat, taking from him a valuable gold-hilted sword and scabbard.
At the end of November 1824 Sale commanded one of the two columns of attack which were to advance from Rangoon. With this column, eight hundred strong, on 1 Dec. Sale stormed the Burmese lines. On the 5th he drove the enemy from all their positions. On the 8th he attacked the rear of the enemy's lines opposite the Great Pagoda, and on the 15th stormed the enemy's entrenchment at Kokien, where he was severely wounded in the head. Sir A. Campbell again mentioned Sale in his despatch as ‘an officer whose gallantry has been most conspicuous on every occasion since our arrival at Rangoon,’ and, alluding to his wound, ‘I trust his valuable services will not long remain unavailable.’
The Burmese army having retreated to Donabyu, the commander-in-chief determined on an advance on Prome, first sending Sale with a column to reduce the province of Bassein. Embarking on 10 Feb. 1825 at Rangoon, Sale arrived off Pagoda Point, Great Negrais, on the 14th. On the 26th the first stockade on the river was successfully stormed; others followed; and when the city of Bassein was reached on 3 March, it was found to be on fire and abandoned. Sale made an expedition up the river 120 miles, returning to Bassein on 23 March, and, having met with no resistance, he re-embarked with the troops under his command for Rangoon, where he arrived on 2 May. He was promoted to be regimental lieutenant-colonel on 2 June 1825, and on the same day his brother George, in the 4th dragoons, was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel; so their names for some years were together in the army list.
On 8 Aug. Sale embarked with his regiment at Rangoon to join the army at Prome, where he arrived on 25 Aug. On 1 Dec. 1825 he commanded the 1st brigade and repulsed the Shans and Burmese at Simbike, near Prome; the next day he stormed the enemy's position on the Napadi Hills. On 19 Jan. 1826 he commanded the successful assault from boats on the main face of the enemy's works at Malown, when he was severely wounded. He was again mentioned in despatches. The war was concluded the following month, and Sale returned with his regiment to India, arriving at Calcutta in the middle of April 1826. He was made a Companion of the Bath for his services in Burma.
Sale was with his regiment at Barhampur until November 1826, when he took it to Danapur for five years and then to Agra for four years, and in January 1835 he arrived at Karnal. On 28 June 1838 Sale was promoted to be brevet-colonel. In October he was appointed to command the 1st Bengal brigade of the army of the Indus, then assembling at Karnal. This brigade, which formed the advanced brigade throughout the first campaign in Afghanistan, was composed of the 13th light infantry and the 16th and 48th native infantry regiments.
The march from Karnal began on 8 Nov. 1838. Sale reached Rohri at the end of January 1839, crossed the Indus by a bridge of boats, and reached Shakarpur on 20 Feb. After a five days' halt at Dadar he entered the Bolan pass on 15 March, and reached Shalkot or Quetta on 26 March with little opposition but great loss of baggage-animals. Want of supplies was greatly felt, and the force had to be put on reduced rations. After a halt of eleven days the Khojak pass was traversed, with further loss of animals, baggage, and ammunition, but without opposition, and Sale entered Kandahar on 26 April. Here a halt of two months was made to allow crops to ripen and the army to rest and refit. In this interval Sale was sent, on 12 May, with a mixed force of two thousand five hundred men, Abbott's battery of artillery, two 18-pounder guns, and two 5½-inch mortars, to reduce Girishk and dislodge the Kandahar chiefs from their refuge. After a fatiguing march the river Halmand was crossed on 18 May, and Sale found Girishk deserted, the Afghan chiefs having retired towards Seistan. Leaving a regiment of the shah's contingent to occupy Girishk and other abandoned places, Sale hastened back, on 24 May, to Kandahar, where he arrived on 29 May.
On 27 June the march to Kabul was resumed, and on 21 July the army arrived in front of Ghazni. The Kabul gate was blown in by the engineers on the morning of 23 July, and Sale commanded the storming column, composed of all the European infantry in the force; the advanced section, consisting of the light companies under Colonel Dennie, made good their entrance, and were at once supported by Sale with the main column. There was a sturdy conflict at the gate, and amid the crumbling masonry and the falling timber, Sale was brought to the ground by an Afghan sabre-cut in the face. After a desperate struggle with his assailant, whose skull he clave, he regained his feet, and the fortress was soon in possession of the British. Ghazni being well provisioned, the army was able to recruit, and after a week's rest the march was resumed and Kabul entered without further opposition on 7 Aug. 1839, Dost Muhammad having fled to Bokhara.
On 23 July 1839 Sale was given the local rank of major-general while serving in Afghanistan. He was made a K.C.B. for his services with the army of the Indus, and the shah bestowed upon him the order of the second class of the Durani Empire. On the break-up of the army of the Indus in October 1839 and the departure of Lord Keane, Major-general Sir Willoughby Cotton took command of the troops in Afghanistan, and Sale was second in command. He spent the winter at Jalalabad, whither Shah Shuja had moved his court, and where Lady Sale and his daughter joined him and accompanied him to Kabul when the shah returned there in the spring of 1840. In spite of the subsidies paid to the hill tribes, the escort was attacked on the way.
In the autumn of 1840 Dost Muhammad was again in the field and raising the whole country against the British. Sale was sent on 24 Sept. to chastise some rebellious chiefs in Kohistan, the hill country north of Kabul, his brigade consisting of the 13th light infantry, the 27th and two companies of the 37th native infantry, Abbott's 9-pounder battery, two of the shah's horse-artillery guns, a 24-pounder howitzer, two mortars, the 2nd Bengal light cavalry, and a regiment of the shah's horse. On 29 Sept. the enemy was found strongly posted in front of the village of Tutandara, six miles north-east of Charikar, their flanks supported by small detached forts. Sale threatened both flanks and attacked the centre in force with complete success. His attack on the fort of Jalgah on 3 Oct. was less successful, but, although the attacking column was at first beaten off with loss, the enemy evacuated the fort in the evening and fled. On 18 Oct. an attack was made on Babu-Kush-Ghar, when the enemy retired. On 19 Oct. Sale was reinforced by the remaining six companies of the 37th native infantry and two 9-pounders, and on the 20th he attacked and captured Kardarrah and Baidak. For the remainder of the month Sale was engaged in minor operations and ineffectual attempts to capture Dost Muhammad, who was then in the Nijrao country.
On 29 Oct. Sale was at Bagh-i-Alam when he heard that Dost Muhammad was in the Kohistan valley. On 2 Nov. he encountered and defeated him near the village of Parwan. In the cavalry charge the British officers covered themselves with glory, but the native troopers fled, and the Afghan horsemen, emboldened by this craven conduct, charged nearly up to the British guns. Broadfoot of the engineers and Dr. Lord, political agent, who accompanied the cavalry, were, with the adjutant, killed, and several of the officers were severely wounded. The British infantry, advancing, recovered the lost ground, and cleared the Parwandara or pass of Parwan, the enemy, completely defeated, flying to the Panjsher valley. Dost Muhammad, seeing the hopelessness of further resistance, went to Kabul and surrendered himself to Sir William Macnaghten. He accompanied Sir Willoughby Cotton to India, leaving Kabul on 12 Nov., when Major-general William George Keith Elphinstone [q. v.] succeeded to the Afghanistan command. Sale returned with his force to Kabul.
Some reductions and alterations were made in the army of occupation, which settled down into the quiet life of cantonments. Many of the married officers had sent for their wives and families, and, wrapt in a false sense of security, were oblivious of the coming storm. On 9 Aug. 1841 Sale's youngest daughter was married at Kabul to Lieutenant J. L. D. Sturt of the engineers. Notwithstanding that the inhabitants of the country manifested their antipathy to Europeans by continual insults and occasional murders; that the shah was daily, by his conduct, alienating his subjects; and that not a single month passed without a punitive expedition, no suspicion of danger influenced the actions of the political and military authorities. At an early stage of the occupation Sale had protested against placing the British troops in cantonments in the position proposed, and had vainly advocated the occupation of the Bala-Hissar, where a British force could have held Kabul against any odds. While contemplating a large reduction in the not over large army of occupation, the government now determined, for the sake of 4,000l. a year, to reduce the subsidies paid to the hill tribes to keep open the passes and refrain from plunder. The Ghilzai sardars were informed of the decision at the beginning of October 1841. The hillmen at once rose and occupied the passes in force, cutting the communications between Kabul and India.
Sale, who was about to proceed with his brigade to India on relief, and with whom Macnaghten, appointed governor of Bombay, was to have returned to India, was directed to clear the passes to Jalalabad. On 12 Oct. he moved from Butkhak into the Khurd Kabul pass, his force consisting of the 13th light infantry, the 35th native infantry, two field guns, some native sappers, and some Jazailchis. Crowning the height on each side of the defile, Sale forced the pass, but was wounded early in the fight by a bullet in the ankle and relinquished the command to Lieutenant-colonel Dennie. On reaching Khurd Kabul the 13th light infantry returned to Butkhak, leaving the rest of the force under Lieutenant-colonel Monteith at Khurd Kabul. In these positions the force remained for nine days, Sale refusing to move without a sufficient force, transport, and ammunition. He moved from Khurd Kabul on 22 Oct. with the 13th light infantry, the 35th and four companies of the 37th native infantry, No. 6 field (camel) battery, the mountain train, the corps of sappers and miners, a squadron of the 5th light cavalry, and a risala of the shah's second cavalry. He made his way cautiously through the defiles of the Haft Kotul, occupying the heights on each side with skirmishers, and on reaching the valley of Tezin attacked and captured the fort. The loss was slight, the rearguard suffering most, but a good deal of baggage and ammunition was carried off by the enemy.
Sale halted at Tezin on the night of 22 Oct. The political officers were all powerful, and as Macnaghten ruled at Kabul, so Macgregor controlled Sale at Tezin, and precious days were wasted in making a treaty with the faithless Afghans instead of, by seizing their forts and breaking their power, forcing them to keep open the passes. On 26 Oct. Sale sent back, under command of Major Griffiths, the 37th native infantry, three companies of Captain Broadfoot's sappers, and half the mountain train to Kabar Jabar, between Tezin and Khurd Kabul, to keep open the route through which he had just passed, and to await the arrival of a regiment expected from Kabul. Being much pressed for baggage animals, he appropriated the disposable animals of the troops sent back. On the same day he marched to Seh-Baba and reached his first camping ground with no other opposition than some sharp skirmishing between his baggage and rear guards and the enemy. On 27 Oct. he moved to Kata Sang through a narrow pass, after reaching the summit of which it was necessary for the rearguard to fight throughout the rest of the march, inflicting severe loss upon the enemy. At Kata Sang Sale received information that the enemy were massing to resist him in the Pari-dara and Jagdalak passes. Captain Macgregor, the political officer, assured Sale that there was no national feeling of hostility, and that after the treaty he had made there would be no organised attack. Sale, however, avoided the Pari-dara route, where the enemy were prepared to resist him, and on the 28th took the route to the south over the hills, a chord of the arc, a segment of which was occupied by the enemy. Here Sale missed an opportunity of striking a deadly blow, and of crushing the insurrection. Had he turned sharply to his left when opposite the defile, owing to the peculiar configuration of the ground, he would have caught the Ghilzais in a hopeless position, swarming along the southern margin of the pass to overwhelm, as they believed, the British column locked amid the winding of the defile below—would have snared them in their own net, and driven them headlong over the precipice. It is possible that ignorance of the ground or deference to Macgregor's treaty may have been the reason of the omission, but it was a serious blunder having momentous consequences. Sale was attacked after passing the outlet of the Pari-dara, but held the Afghans in check. On account, however, of the jaded condition of his camels he had to destroy a good deal of camp equipage to prevent it falling into the enemy's hands. On the 29th Sale marched from Jagdalak to Surkh-ab, and his rearguard had some sharp fighting in forcing the passage of the Kotal-i-Jagdalak. On the 30th Gandamak was reached without further molestation.
On 5 Nov. on the urgent representations of Broadfoot and (Sir) Henry Havelock [q. v.], Sale sent a force to Mamu Khel, which captured the fort of Mir Afzul Khan, who was molesting the British camp. On 10 Nov. Sale received the news of the outbreak at Kabul, and the murder on 2 Nov. of Sir Alexander Burnes [q. v.], accompanied by peremptory orders from Elphinstone to return at once with his whole force to Kabul. Sale called a council of war, and, concurring in its advice, continued his march the following day towards Jalalabad, where, after a successful contest at Fatehabad, he arrived on 12 Nov. 1841, the Afghans hovering about his rear all the way, but meeting with severe punishment. On 15 Nov. he wrote to Elphinstone explaining his reasons for taking this course, which were briefly that his camp equipage had been destroyed; he had three hundred sick and wounded; there was no longer a single depot of provisions on the road to Kabul; his available carriage was insufficient to bring on one day's rations with it; the whole country was in arms; his ammunition was insufficient; with the means at his disposal he could force neither the Jagdalak nor the Khurd Kabul pass, and if the débris of his force should reach Kabul, it would be only to find the Kabul garrison without the means of subsistence. Regard for the honour and interests of the government compelled him to put Jalalabad into a state of defence until the Kabul force should fall back on it or succour arrive from Peshawar.
Considering that Major Griffiths, with the 37th native infantry and three guns, sent back by Sale to Kabar Jabar and recalled to Kabul by Elphinstone, made good his way through the passes in spite of the Ghilzai attack, and reached Kabul on 3 Nov. without even the loss of any baggage, it is difficult to understand why Sale could not have secured his sick and wounded and his baggage in one of the defensible forts in his neighbourhood, and then, unencumbered, made a rapid march to Kabul, where his appearance would have been a blow to the insurrection and new life to the British cause. Even if he did not go to Kabul, he would have been of much greater use to the Kabul force had he remained at Gandamak, where he could have maintained himself at least as easily as at Jalalabad, and could have held out a helpful hand to the retiring Kabul force. On the other hand it must be remembered that Sale's decision must have been deliberately taken, for he had the strongest personal inducements to return to Kabul, where his wife and daughter and son-in-law shared the dangers of the garrison.
The defences of Jalalabad were in a miserable condition, and there were no food supplies. Sale's force numbered about two thousand men, composed of seven hundred men of the 13th light infantry, half of whom were recruits who had joined from England during the summer; the 35th native infantry, 750 men; Broadfoot's sappers, 150 men; forty men of the shah's infantry; one squadron (130 men) of the 5th Bengal cavalry under Captain Oldfield; one risala of Shah Shuja's contingent (ninety sabres); Backhouse's mountain train (sixty men); and Abbott's battery (120 men). A successful sortie was made by Monteith on 14 Nov., which cleared the neighbourhood of Afghans and enabled supplies to be got in. Abbott and Broadfoot were entrusted with the duty of placing the town in a state of defence. On the 21st Sale heard of the destruction of the Charikar garrison, and the following day of the evacuation of Pesh Bolak, east of the Khaibar pass, and by the end of the month Sale was surrounded by six thousand Afghans. Another successful sortie was made by Dennie on 1 Dec., which left the garrison unmolested for some time and enabled the provisional defences to be completed. On 2 Jan. 1842 Sale heard of the murder of Macnaghten, and on the 9th he received orders from Elphinstone to evacuate Jalalabad and march to Peshawar, in accordance with a convention made at Kabul. The despatch informed Sale that Akbar Khan had given a safe-conduct, and that he would be unmolested on his march. It is impossible to account for the imbecility which could put faith in the Afghans after the events which had occurred. Sale at this time intercepted a despatch from this very Akbar Khan to a chief near Jalalabad exhorting the faithful to assemble and fight the infidels, and he so informed Elphinstone, and declined to move without further orders. On 13 Jan. a solitary horseman, Dr. Brydon, wounded and exhausted, arrived to tell the fearful tale of the annihilation of the Kabul force of 4,500 men with its ten thousand camp followers. Broadfoot, the acting engineer, laid before Sale the condition of Jalalabad, and advised him, if he thought he could not hold out, to march that night for Peshawar while retreat was possible.
On 23 Jan. came news of Colonel Wild's attempt to force the Khaibar and the abandonment of Ali Masjid. Every precaution was taken by Sale and the Jalalabad garrison to enable them to fight to the last, and they prepared for the worst. On 26 Jan., however, Macgregor received a letter from Shah Shuja referring to the treaty, and asking Sale's intentions in remaining in Jalalabad. A council of war was called on the following day, which was presided over by Sale and attended by Captain Macgregor, political officer, Lieutenant-colonels Dennie and Monteith, and Captains Abbott, Broadfoot, Oldfield, and Backhouse. Captains Havelock and Wade, Sale's staff officers, were also present, but had no vote. Sale and Macgregor proposed to negotiate for the evacuation, which was vehemently opposed by Broadfoot and Oldfield, but agreed to by the rest; the meeting was, however, adjourned until the following day, when, after a heated discussion, the reply to Shah Shuja, agreed to by the majority, modified as regards hostages, was approved and sent. This reply was briefly that, if the shah had no further need of their services, they would evacuate Jalalabad on his giving them formal permission to do so, provided Akbar Khan were withdrawn, that safe-conduct were guaranteed to the force on their return to India, and that hostages were given.
The decision of Sale and the majority of the council was based upon the consideration that the governor-general had abandoned them by his despatch directing that, if Kabul fell, all other stations should be evacuated; and that, if they defied the shah, the British captives might suffer, while by negotiating time would at any rate be gained. On 12 Feb. the same council was assembled to hear the shah's rejoinder, which was a request that the members would affix their signatures and seals to Macgregor's letter. In the meantime there had been considerable discussion as to the situation, and, though Sale and Macgregor urged the members to affix their seals, the demand of the shah was seized upon as an opportunity to withdraw from the proposals contained in the letter of 28 Jan. The shah was accordingly informed that the council declined to negotiate further until assured that he no longer desired their services.
These councils of war have been the subject of considerable discussion, not generally favourable to Sale and Macgregor. The original papers came into the hands of the India office only in 1890, and a study of them shows that, while Sale was too easily influenced by Macgregor to put trust in the crafty Afghan, his chief hope seems to have been that negotiations would gain time, which was all important. The credit of withstanding all attempts at evacuation, and of almost alone upholding the necessity of maintaining the position of Jalalabad to the last, belongs to George Broadfoot. The very day after the council had been held Sale received intelligence that (Sir) George Pollock [q. v.] had arrived at Peshawar to command the force for his relief.
On 19 Feb. severe earthquakes occurred, causing great destruction of buildings. They undid in an hour all that Sale's force had constructed in three months. Nothing daunted, however, Sale set to work the next day to reconstruct the defences, and Broadfoot was again his right hand in the work. Earthquake shocks of a milder form continued to recur during the next month, but little damage was done by them. On 28 Feb. and on 2 and 4 March Akbar Khan made attacks which were repulsed. Provisions began to fall short, and the investment was drawn closer; but successful sorties were made on 1 and 24 March, and again on 1 April, when five hundred sheep were captured. When Sale proceeded to distribute the sheep among the different regiments and corps of his force, a pleasing incident occurred: the 35th native infantry desired that their share might be given to their friends, the 13th light infantry, as animal food was less necessary to them than to European troops.
On 5 April Macgregor's spies brought in false news of the defeat of Pollock in the Khaibar, and on the 6th Akbar Khan fired a salute, as was supposed, in honour of this victory. Urged by Broadfoot and Abbott and other fiery spirits, Sale, who was eager to fight but loth to take the responsibility, made arrangements to give battle to Akbar on the following day and, if successful, to move with all his baggage and stores towards the Khaibar. In the evening he learned that Pollock had been victorious at the Khaibar, and that Akbar's salute was to celebrate the murder of Shah Shuja at Kabul. Sale nevertheless determined to fight on the morrow as already arranged. Accordingly, at daybreak on 7 April, he formed his troops in three columns of attack, under command respectively of Dennie, Monteith, and Havelock. The attack was completely successful, but Dennie was killed leading the 13th light infantry to victory. Akbar Khan's lines were carried by 7 A.M., and his camp, baggage, artillery, arms, ammunition, and horses fell into Sale's hands. Akbar, with the wreck of his army, fled towards Kabul, and the chiefs of the districts in the Khaibar direction hastened to submit to Sale.
On 16 April Pollock arrived at Jalalabad with his relieving column to find that Sale had relieved himself. Lord Ellenborough, the new governor-general, issued a highly complimentary order, in which he alluded to the garrison of Jalalabad as that ‘illustrious garrison.’ A silver medal and six months' batta was granted to every officer, non-commissioned officer, and man, both European and native, which belonged to the garrison on 7 April 1842. The order was directed to be read to all the troops, and a salute of twenty-one guns to be fired at every principal station of the army in India.
A long stay was made by Pollock at Jalalabad, partly on account of sickness and want of transport, but mainly because of the indecision of the government as to the course to be pursued. On 16 June 1842 Sale was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath for his defence of Jalalabad. Towards the end of July Sale moved his division (the first) to Fatehabad, on the road to Kabul, and on 20 Aug. Pollock marched from Jalalabad with the remainder of the army. On 8 Sept. Sale encountered the enemy at the Jagdalak pass, where they occupied a position of great strength, and, after some sharp fighting and very fatiguing climbing, dispersed them. Sale, always to the front when fighting was going on, was wounded leading his men up the heights. On 12 and 13 Sept. some twenty thousand men had occupied every post of vantage in the Tezin pass, but Sale drove them from crag to crag, contested at every step, until the pass was cleared, but only to find numbers assembled in an almost impregnable position on the Haft Kotal (7,800 feet). The hill was after much labour scaled, and the enemy driven from height to height. A decisive victory was gained, and on 15 Sept. Sale encamped his division at Kabul.
On arrival at Kabul, Sir Richmond Campbell Shakespear [q. v.] had been at once despatched with six hundred horsemen to rescue the captives at Bamian, and on the 17th Sale took a brigade of his Jalalabad troops and pushed on to Shakespear's support. The captives, who had by bribery already effected their own release, met Shakespear on 17 Sept. and the following day were safe in Sale's camp.
On 12 Oct. Sale led the advanced guard on the return march to India by the Khaibar pass, and, having exercised great caution, met with no difficulty, and reached Ali Masjid on 12 Nov.
On 17 Dec., at the head of the Jalalabad garrison, Sale crossed the Satlaj by the bridge of boats into Firozpur, and was received with great honour and ceremony by the governor-general. On 24 Feb. 1843 the thanks of parliament were unanimously voted to Sale for the skill, intrepidity, and perseverance displayed in the military operations in Afghanistan. The resolution was moved in the House of Lords by the Duke of Wellington, and in the House of Commons by Sir Robert Peel. On the death of General Edward Morrison, colonel of the 13th (Prince Albert's) regiment of light infantry, Sale received on 15 Dec. 1843, as a special promotion for distinguished service, the colonelcy of his old regiment, a most unusual distinction for so junior an officer. In addition to the special medal for Jalalabad, Sale received medals for Ghazni and Kabul.
Sale went to England, but returned to India on appointment, on 29 March 1844, as quartermaster-general of the queen's troops in the East Indies. On the outbreak of the Sikh war, towards the end of 1845, he served as quartermaster-general of the army under Sir Hugh (afterwards Lord) Gough. His left thigh was shattered by a grape-shot at the battle of Mudki on 18 Dec., and he died from the effects on 21 Dec. 1845.
Sale was a brave soldier. He was nicknamed ‘Fighting Bob,’ and wherever there was fighting he was always in the thick of it. His men followed him anywhere. He was too much afraid of responsibility to make a good general, nor indeed had he the special gifts which make a great commander. Sir Robert Peel, in the House of Commons, paid a graceful tribute to his memory when proposing a vote of thanks to the army of the Satlaj, and suggested a public monument. A portrait of Sale was painted by George Clint, A.R.A., and engraved in mezzotinto by Thomas Lupton. Another portrait was painted by Scarlet Davis, and in 1846 was in the possession of John Hinxman, esq.
Sale married, in 1809, Florentia (born 13 Aug. 1790), daughter of George Wynch, esq. She was at Ludiana at the time of her husband's death. On the retreat of the British force from Kabul in January 1842, and the massacre which ensued, Lady Sale had shared the horrors of those cold snowy days and nights. She did what she could to alleviate the sufferings of the women and children and the wounded. Her clothes were riddled with bullets, and she was twice wounded and had a bullet in her wrist. With her daughter, Mrs. Sturt, she soothed the last moments of her mortally wounded son-in-law, Lieutenant Sturt of the engineers, who died near Khurd Kabul on 9 Jan. 1842, and was the only officer who received Christian burial. At last, on 10 Jan., Akbar Khan had compassion on these unfortunate women and children, and carried them, with other prisoners and hostages, to a fort in the Khurd Kabul. Their baggage was all looted, and they had only the clothes they were wearing. Fortunately, before leaving Kabul, Lady Sale had taken out her diary to make an entry, and then, finding her baggage gone, put it in a bag which she tied to her waist. This graphic account, begun at Kabul in September 1841, was continued through her captivity, and published in 1843. On 11 Jan. 1842 the captives were moved from Khurd Kabul; they reached Jagdalak on the 13th, on the 15th Tigri, a fortified town in the valley of Lughman, twenty-five miles north of Jalalabad, and on the 17th Badiabad, eight miles higher up the valley, the fort of which formed the prison of nine ladies, twenty gentlemen, and fourteen children, besides seventeen European soldiers, two European women, and one child. Crowded together, with no spare clothes nor necessaries, except coarse food and shelter, they were nevertheless not molested, and Lady Sale was even allowed to carry on a correspondence with her husband in Jalalabad. They suffered a good deal from the earthquake of 19 Feb. and frequent earthquakes during the following month. On 11 April, after the battle of Jalalabad, they were moved from Tigri, and reached Tezin on the 19th. Here some of the party, including General Elphinstone, who died on 23 April, were left, but Lady Sale and her daughter, with the remainder of the party, went on to Zandah on the 22nd, remaining there a whole month. On 23 May they left Zandah, and the next day arrived at Nur Muhammad, Mir Akor's fort near Kabul. On 25 Aug. the captives were moved from Nur Muhammad, and reached Bamian on 3 Sept., in charge of Saleh Muhammad Khan. Having ascertained that this man was open to bribery, a paper was drawn up in which the prisoners agreed to pay him twenty thousand rupees down and a pension of twelve thousand rupees per annum to effect their escape. On 18 Sept. they heard of the approach of Pollock and Nott to Kabul from Maidan and Butkhak respectively, and that a light force had been sent to their aid, so on the 16th they started from Bamian, and on the 17th, at the forts at the foot of the Kalu pass, met Sir Richmond Shakespeare on his way with six hundred Kazlbash horsemen to rescue them. They continued their march under his protection. On the following day they met Sale and his brigade, who arrived just in time to prevent their recapture by an Afghan force under Sultan Jan. On 21 Sept. they arrived at Kabul. After her husband's death Lady Sale continued to reside in the hills in India on a pension of 500l. a year, granted by the queen as a mark of approbation of her conduct and of her husband's services. In 1853 she visited the Cape of Good Hope for the benefit of her health, and died at Cape Town on 6 July, a few days after her arrival there. Lady Sale was par excellence ‘a soldier's wife.’ She was the companion and friend of her husband throughout a life of military vicissitude, sympathising with him in all that concerned his profession, quick in perception, self-reliant and practical.[Despatches; War Office Records; India Office Records; Stocqueler's Memorials of Afghanistan, Calcutta, 1843; Gleig's Sale's Brigade in Afghanistan, London, 1846; Kaye's History of the War in Afghanistan, London, 1851; Kaye's Lives of Indian Officers, London, 1867; Durand's First Afghan War and its Causes, London, 1879; Low's First Afghan War, from the Journal and Correspondence of Major-general Augustus Abbott, London, 1879; Forbes's Afghan Wars, London, 1892; Eyre's Military Operations at Cabul, London, 1843; Low's Life and Correspondence of Field-Marshal Sir George Pollock, London, 1873; Malleson's Hist. of Afghanistan, London, 1878; Lady Sale's Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan, London, 1843; Welsh's Military Reminiscences, London, 1830; Hough's Political and Military Events in British India from 1756 to 1849, London, 1853; Vibart's Military History of the Madras Engineers, London, 1881; Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers, Occasional Papers Series, vol. iii. 1879; Hist. Review, January 1893; Gent. Mag. 1846 and 1853; The Defence of Jalalabad, engravings, with letterpress at the end by Colonel W. Sale, fol. London, 1846, with portrait of Sir R. Sale as frontispiece; Annual Register, 1845; Broadfoot's Career of Major George Broadfoot, C.B., London, 1888; Cannon's Historical Record of the Twelfth or the East Suffolk Regiment of Foot, London, 1848; Cannon's Historical Record of the Thirteenth, First Somerset, or the Prince Albert's Regiment of Light Infantry, London, 1848; English Cyclopædia, 1872.]