226 THE MUTINY. number of 450 embarked in boats on the Ganges. A mur- derous fire was opened upon them from the river bank. Only a single boat escaped ; and four men, who swam across to the protection of a friendly Raja, survived to tell the tale. The rest of the men were massacred on the spot. The women and children, numbering 125, were reserved for the same fate on the 15th July, when the avenging army of Havelock was at hand. Lucknow. — Sir Henry Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of Oudh, had foreseen the storm. He fortified and provisioned the Residency at Lucknow ; and thither he retired, with all the European inhabitants and a weak British regiment, on 2nd July. Two days later, he was mortally wounded by a shell. But the clear head was here in authority. Sir Henry Law- rence had deliberately chosen his position ; and the little gar- rison held out, under unparalleled hardships and against enor- mous odds, until relieved by Havelock and Outram on 25th September. But the relieving force was itself invested by fresh swarms of rebels ; and it was not till November that Sir Colin Campbell (afterwards Lord Clyde) cut his way into Lucknow, and effected the final deliverance of the garrison (16th Novem- ber 1857). Our troops then withdrew to more urgent work, and did not permanently reoccupy Lucknow till March P858. Siege of Delhi. — The siege of Delhi began on 8 th June, a month after the original outbreak at Meerut. Siege in the proper sense of the word it was not ; for our army, encamped on the historic ' ridge ' of Delhi, never exceeded 8000 men, while the rebels within the walls were more than 30,000 strong. In the middle of August, Nicholson arrived with a reinforcement from the Punjab ; his own inspiring presence was perhaps even more valuable than the reinforcement he brought. On 14th September the assault was delivered ; and, after six days' des- perate fighting in the streets, Delhi was again won. Nicholson fell heroically at the head of the storming party. Hodson, the daring but unscrupulous .leader of a corps of irregular horse, hunted down next day the old Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah, and his sons. The emperor was afterwards sent a State prisoner to Rangoon, where he lived till 1862. As the mob pressed in
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/230
This page needs to be proofread.