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449
INDIAN MUTINY

broke into open mutiny, he prevailed on them to stay and help him to carve a new kingdom out of the company’s territory, instead of throwing in their lot with the Delhi empire. From the 6th to the 27th of June the handful of British soldiers, who composed the garrison of a fortification that could not have resisted a serious assault for a single hour, held out with the greatest gallantry in hope of relief. When this hope had died away, they surrendered to the Nana on his solemn promise that all their lives should be spared and that they should have a safe conduct to Allahabad. The Nana, partly urged by his native cruelty, partly, no doubt, by the wish to commit his followers beyond all possibility of composition, massacred the entire garrison in the boats which should have taken it down the river, reserving only some two hundred women and children for a later death. These poor victims were confined in a house known as the Bibigarh. On the 15th of July, when Havelock’s avenging army was within a march of Cawnpore, they were all hacked to death and their bodies—some still faintly breathing—were thrown down the adjacent well which is to-day one of the most famous monuments of British rule in India. No single act of the Mutiny elicited such a storm of fierce anger among the British, both those who were fighting in India and those who supported them at home; for none was a more terrible vengeance taken, though the Nana himself escaped from his pursuers.

Meanwhile Lucknow, the capital of Oudh, was the scene of a historic defence. It was the headquarters of Sir Henry Lawrence, one of the most far-seeing of Indian statesmen, who was well aware of the mutinous state of The Defence of Lucknow. the native army. On the 18th of April he warned Lord Canning of some manifestations of discontent, and asked permission to transfer certain mutinous corps to another province. On the 1st of May the 7th Oudh infantry refused to bite the cartridge, but on the 3rd they were disarmed by other regiments. When the news of the outbreak at Meerut reached Lucknow, Sir Henry Lawrence recognized the gravity of the crisis and summoned from their homes two bodies of pensioners, one of sepoys and one of artillerymen, to whose loyalty, and to that of the Sikh sepoys, the successful defence of the residency was largely due. This position was immediately fortified. On the 30th of May the native troops broke into mutiny. On the 4th of June there was a mutiny at Sitapur, a large and important station 51 m. from Lucknow. This was followed by another at Fyzabad, one of the most important cities in the province, and outbreaks at Daryabad, Sultanpur and Salon. Thus in the course of ten days English authority in Oudh practically vanished. On the 30th of June Sir Henry Lawrence ordered a reconnaissance in force from Lucknow, which met the enemy at Chinhat; but the native sepoys and artillerymen turned traitors, and Sir Henry was forced to retreat to the residency, where the siege now began. The first attack was repulsed on the 1st of July, when the separate position of the Machchhi Bhawan was evacuated, and all the troops concentrated in the residency. The entrenchments surrounding this building covered some 60 acres of ground, and included a number of detached houses and buildings, knit together by ditches and stockades. In a military sense the position was indefensible. The garrison consisted of 1720 fighting men, of whom 712 were native troops, 153 civilian volunteers, and the remainder were British officers and men. This small force had to defend 1280 non-combatants. At the very beginning of the siege Sir Henry Lawrence was fatally wounded by a shell, and died on the 4th of July, thus depriving the defence of its guiding spirit. The command then developed upon General Inglis, who met the incessant attacks of the enemy with counter-sorties. On the 21st of July news was received that General Havelock was advancing, had defeated the Nana, and was master of Cawnpore; but it was still more than two months before even the first relief of Lucknow was achieved. During those two months every device was employed, by direct assault and by mining operations, to reduce the garrison, who held out nobly, meeting assault with sortie and mine with countermine. But the loyalty of the native troops began to waver as the weeks dragged by and no sign of relief appeared. On the 23rd of September, however, the sound of distant guns in the direction of Cawnpore was heard, and on the 25th General Havelock’s relieving force entered Lucknow. During the 87 days of the siege the strength of the garrison had diminished to 982, and many of these were sick and wounded. Against these were arrayed six thousand trained soldiers and a vast host of undisciplined rabble. For nearly three months their heavy guns and musketry had poured an unceasing fire into the residency entrenchment from a distance of only 50 yds. During the whole time the British flag flew defiantly on the roof of the residency. The history of the world’s sieges contains no more brilliant episode.

On the 5th of June the troops at Benares mutinied, but were disarmed by Neill; and on the 6th of June the 6th native infantry at Allahabad mutinied and shot down their officers, but the fort was held until the arrival of First Relief of Lucknow. Neill, who promptly restored order. On the 30th of June Sir Henry Havelock, who had been appointed to the command of the relieving column, arrived at Allahabad from Calcutta, and on the 7th of July he set out for the relief of Lucknow. His force consisted of some two thousand men all told, of whom three-quarters were British. On the 12th of July he fought the action of Fatehpur, and gained his first victory, though the irregular cavalry misbehaved and were subsequently disarmed. On the 15th the village of Aong was captured, and on the 16th the Nana’s force was utterly shattered in the battle of Cawnpore. In nine days Havelock had marched 126 m. and fought three general actions under a broiling sun in the hottest season of the year; but the women and children whom it had been his object to save had already been massacred. Leaving Neill in command at Cawnpore, Havelock started out again on the 29th of July with ten light guns and 1500 men in the desperate attempt to relieve Lucknow, which was 53 m. away. On the 29th he gained two victories at Unao and Busherutgunge, but considering himself too weak to advance, he fell back two marches upon Mangalwar. This decision was badly received by his troops, who were burning to avenge their countrywomen, and by General Neill, whom Havelock was obliged to reprimand for insubordination. Being slightly reinforced, he advanced on the 5th of August, and again turned the enemy out of Busherutgunge, but was again obliged by cholera to retreat to Mangalwar; and on receipt of news from Neill that the enemy were assembling at Bithur, he returned to Cawnpore, and abandoned for the time the attempt to relieve Lucknow. On the 16th of August he defeated the mutineers at Bithur. At this point General Havelock was joined by Sir James Outram, who would have superseded him in the command had not Outram himself, with unequalled generosity, proposed to accompany Havelock only in his civil capacity as chief commissioner of Oudh and to serve under him as a volunteer. On the 21st of September Havelock started on his second attempt to relieve Lucknow, and won the victory of Mangalwar. On the 23rd another victory was gained at Alam Bagh, and news reached the force of the fall of Delhi. From Alam Bagh there were four possible routes of advance to the residency, and Outram considered that the route chosen by Havelock, lying through the streets of Lucknow, involved unnecessary losses to the troops. Neill was killed in the streets, and the little force lost in all 535 officers and men; but on the 26th of September it entered the residency, and the first relief of Lucknow was accomplished.

But the two thousand men who had thus entered the residency entrenchment under Havelock and Outram, though sufficient to reinforce the garrison and save it from destruction, were not strong enough to cut their way back to safety, Second Relief of Lucknow. hampered with the women and children and wounded, amounting to 1500 souls, and the siege now recommenced upon a larger scale. Havelock’s task, however, was accomplished, and Outram now took command of the residency. A detachment had been left in the Alam Bagh, which was short of provisions; some attempts were made to open up communication with it, but without success. Subsequently it was