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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/71

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ments beforehand with care, and had personally ascertained that each commander was acquainted with the dispositions. He directed columns, under Lieutenant-colonel Taylor and Major Anderson, to crown the heights on the right of the pass, while similar columns, under Lieutenant-colonel Moseley and Major Huish, were to crown the hills on the left. Artillery and the infantry of the advanced guard were drawn up opposite the pass, and the whole of the cavalry placed so that any attack from the low hills on the right might be frustrated. The heights on each side were scaled and crowned, in spite of a determined opposition from the hardy mountaineers. On finding their position turned, the barrier at the mouth of the pass was abandoned, as well as the redoubts on the heights, and Pollock's main body commenced the destruction of the barrier. The flank columns now descended, and attacked the enemy, drawn up in dense masses, who, in spite of a vigorous defence, were compelled to retreat; and Pollock pushed on to Ali Masjid, some five miles within the pass. Ali Masjid had been evacuated, and was at once occupied by the British force. Detained during 6 April at Ali Masjid by finding the Sikhs had not completed the arrangements for guarding the road to Pesháwar, Pollock marched on the 7th to Ghari Lala Beg, meeting with trifling opposition on the road, and pushed on to Landikhana. Thence he advanced to Daka, and emerged on the other side of the pass. He formed a camp near Lalpura, where Saadut Khan made an effort to oppose him, but was driven off, and on the 16th Pollock arrived at Jalálábád, the band of the 13th regiment marching out to play the releasing force into the town. Sale had sallied out on 7 April, and with eighteen hundred men had completely defeated Akbar Khan, whose force was six thousand strong, with heavy loss, capturing his guns and burning his camp.

Lord Auckland had been relieved by Lord Ellenborough as governor-general at the end of February 1842, and on 15 March Ellenborough addressed a spirited letter to the commander-in-chief in India, advocating not only the relief of the troops at Jalálábád, Ghazni, Kalát-i-Ghilzai, and Kandahar, but the advantage of striking a decisive blow at the Afghans, and possibly reoccupying Kábul, and recovering the British captives, before withdrawing from the country. Unfortunately the news of Sale's victory at Jalálábád, and of the forcing of the Khaibar and arrival at Jalálábád of Pollock, was more than counterbalanced in Lord Ellenborough's eyes by the news of the capitulation of Ghazni by Colonel Palmer, after holding out for four months, and of Brigadier-general England's repulse on 28 March at Haikalzai, and he induced both Pollock at Jalálábád and Nott at Kandahar to make arrangements for the withdrawal of all British troops from Afghanistan. Fortunately neither Pollock nor Nott feared responsibility, and both were of an opinion that an advance on Kábul must be made before withdrawing from the country. Pollock at once communicated with Nott, requesting him on no account to retire until he should hear again from him. In the meantime Pollock remonstrated strongly against the policy of the governor-general, and pointed out the necessity of advancing, if only to recover the captives, while at that season it was highly advantageous for the health of the troops to move to a hotter climate rather than retire with insufficient carriage through the pass to Pesháwar. He further assumed that the instruction left him discretionary powers. Having received further orders from the governor-general that, on account of the health of the troops, they would not be withdrawn from Afghanistan until October or November, Pollock remained at Jalálábád negotiating with Akbar Khan for the release of the captives, but making preparations for an advance on Kábul. On 2 Aug. Captains Troup and George Lawrence arrived from Kábul, deputed by Akbar Khan to conclude negotiations, but they were obliged to return to captivity, as Pollock would not agree to retire. In July Lord Ellenborough decided to leave the responsibility of an advance on Kábul, or as he put it, a withdrawal by way of Kábul, to the discretion of Pollock and Nott, directing Pollock to combine his movements with those of Nott, should he decide to adopt the line of retirement by Ghazni and Kábul; and, in that case, as soon as Nott advanced beyond Kábul, Pollock was directed to issue such orders to Nott as he might deem fit. It now became a race, in which the two generals were each bent on getting to Kábul first. In the middle of August Pollock heard from Nott that he would withdraw a part of his force by way of Kábul and Jalálábád, and on 20 Aug. Pollock moved towards Gandamak, leaving a detachment to hold Jalálábád. Pollock reached Gandamak on the 23rd, and on the 24th he attacked the enemy and drove them out of their positions at Mamú Khel and Kuchli Khel, and then out of the village and their adjoining camp. Major Broadfoot and his sappers greatly distinguished themselves,