able,’ were mentioned in a despatch from the Bengal government. When Sir Proby Cautley commenced the Ganges canal works in 1843, Baird Smith was left in charge, under him, of the Jamna canal.
On the outbreak of the first Sikh war Baird Smith, with the other officers of the canal department, joined the army of the Satlaj. Although he made rapid marches, he arrived in camp a few days after the battle of Firozshah (22 Dec. 1845). He was attached to the command of Major-general Sir Harry George Wakelyn Smith [q. v.], whom on 18 Jan. 1846 he accompanied to Dharmkote, and thence towards Ludiana. He was with him at Badiwal and at the battle of Aliwal (28 Jan. 1846). In Sir Harry Smith's despatch of 30 Jan. he mentions that ‘Strachey and Baird Smith of the engineers greatly contributed to the completion of my plans and arrangements, and were ever ready to act in any capacity; they are two most promising and gallant officers’ (cf. London Gazette Extraordinary, 27 March 1846). Baird Smith returned with Sir Harry Smith to headquarters on the evening of 8 Feb., and was on the staff at the battle of Sobraon on 10 Feb. He received the medal for Aliwal with clasp for Sobraon. He was one of the selected officers who accompanied the secretary to the government of India on 20 Feb., when the Maharaja Dhuleep Singh was publicly conducted to his palace in the citadel of Lahore. On the termination of the campaign Baird Smith returned to his canal duties. In addition, on 12 Aug. 1848 he took over temporarily the duties of superintendent of botanical gardens in the North-West Provinces during the absence of Dr. Jameson.
The second Sikh war gave Baird further opportunities of distinction. On 26 Nov. 1848 he was attached to the army of the Punjab, which was engaged in repressing the new Sikh revolt. He had previously joined the headquarters of the army at Firozpur, and having been detached with Brigadier-general Colin Campbell to watch the movements of Sher Singh on the Chenab, was with Campbell at the action of Ramnagar on 22 Nov. He then joined the force of Sir Joseph Thackwell [q. v.], consisting of twenty-eight guns, four regiments of cavalry, and seven regiments of infantry, with baggage and trains. Under his direction the force crossed the Chenab at Wazirabad. The operation commenced at 6 P.M. on 1 Dec. and was completed by noon on the 2nd. Baird Smith took part in the action at Sadulapur on the 3rd, and marched with Thackwell to Helah, where Lord Gough with the main army arrived a fortnight later. He was present at the battles of Chilianwala (13 Jan. 1849) and of Gujrat (21 Feb.). He was honourably mentioned for his services in the despatches reporting the passage of the Chenab and the battles of Chilianwala and Gujrat.
The war being ended and the Punjab annexed, Baird Smith returned to irrigation work on 12 March 1849. On 10 Feb. 1850 he obtained furlough to Europe for three years. In October the court of directors commissioned him to examine in detail (with a view to reproduction in India) the canals of irrigation in Northern Italy. Baird Smith was promoted to be brevet-captain on 9 Dec. 1851. In January 1852 he finished his report on Italian irrigation, which was printed under his supervision in two volumes and published the same year (‘Italian Irrigation, being a Report on the Agricultural Canals of Piedmont and Lombardy,’ Edinburgh and London, 8vo, 2 vols. plates atlas fol. 1st edit. 1852). A second edition was issued in 1855. Presentation copies of Baird Smith's work were placed by the Sardinian government in the Royal Academy of Science at Turin, and the king of Sardinia offered Baird Smith the insignia of a knight of the order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus. The regulations of the British service did not admit of the acceptance of this honour, but the court of directors expressed to Smith their high satisfaction with the manner in which he had executed his commission, and permitted him to visit the irrigation works of the Madras presidency before returning to duty. He arrived in Madras on 1 Jan. 1853, and soon afterwards published a description of the irrigation works of that presidency (‘The Cauvery, Kistnah, and Godavery, being a Report on the Works constructed on these Rivers for the Irrigation of the Provinces of Tanjore, Guntoor, Masulipatam, and Rajahmundry, in the Presidency of Madras,’ 8vo, London, 1856).
On 10 March 1853 Baird Smith was appointed deputy superintendent of canals, North-West Provinces. He was promoted to be captain on 15 Feb. 1854, and the following day to be brevet major for service in the field. On 17 May he was appointed director of the Ganges canal and superintendent of canals in the North-West Provinces, in succession to Cautley, with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel while holding the appointment. Hence it was that at the outbreak of the mutiny Baird Smith was living at Rurki, the irrigation headquarters, some sixty miles from Mirat; and when Major Fraser, commanding the Bengal sappers and miners, was ordered, on 13 May