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Page:The Lucknow album 1874 by Darogha Ubbas Alli.djvu/45

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It is necessary here to notice the disastrous expedition to Chinhutt, because it was from the date of this battle that the siege of the Bailie Guard commenced. The head of the intelligence department was the Finanical Commissioner, Martin Gubbins, who learned that a body of rebels were threatening Lucknow, but it appears had no accurate information of their strength. The British force was most inadequate, consisting only of a small body of infantry, some volunteer cavalry, a few field guns, and an eight-inch howitzer drawn by an elephant ; Newab Mohsin-ood-dowlah, grandson of Ghazee-ood-deen Hyder, the first King of Oudh, sent elephants, carts and other conveyances to assist the expedition, which marched off under a tropical sun on a hot morning in the month of June. The rebel forces were encountered at a distance of six miles, but to the surprise of the British, an army of infantry, cavalry and artillery, calculated at sixty thousand strong, regularly organized, drilled and disciplined with a Commander-in-Chief and full staff, was formed up. A check was given for a moment to the enemy's advance, by a spirited charge of the volunteer cavalry ; the rebels were taught by this to keep a respectful distance ; treating the small British force like hornets that could sting sharp, but that they would much like to catch, they tried hard to surround the diminutive body by out-flanking ; and the British, seeing this movement, were compelled to retreat, abandoning their guns, elephants and carriage, and leaving Colonel Case and nearly one hundred men of Her Majesty's 32nd amongst the killed. Lieutenant-Colonel Inglis was in command, but the fatal movement was principally directed by Sir Henry Lawrence. The force retreated at once into the Bailie Guard and the siege commenced. It was from a shell, from the same eight-inch howitzer which thus fell into the possession of the rebels at the battle of Chinhutt, that Sir Henry Lawrence, whilst seated in a room on the north-east corner of the Eesidency, received his death-wound on the third day