Open main menu

Page:The Lucknow album 1874 by Darogha Ubbas Alli.djvu/48

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

( 39 )

struction, and inflicted such ghastly and excruciating wounds that an ignominious retreat, leaving heaps of dead and wounded, was nearly always the result. The defenders, however, did not escape scatheless. In this battery, Lieutenants Lavin and Alexander of the Artillery, Lieutenant Arthur and Captain Radcliffe, of the 7th Cavalry, were mortally wounded ; and many other valuable lives were lost in defending this post. Respecting Captain Radcliffe, it may be here related, that it was on the memorable day of the " RELIEF," while all hearts were rejoicing at the arrival of the gallant succouring force, that that brave and indefatigable officer, after surviving nearly three months' hard work and exposure, at various outposts, received his death-wound ; a calamity which converted the transient joy of the defenders into inexpressible sorrow, for he was as much admired and loved by friends, as he was feared by the enemy. It was Radcliffe, who as Commandant of the Volunteer Company, with only about forty men, brought up the rear of the fugitive column from Chinhutt, successfully keeping at bay the relentless rebels, who were in hot pursuit on all sides.

Next is a spot, called during the siege " Sikh's Square," especially remarkable as having been the scene of one of the most extraordinary escapes ever known in the annals of battles and sieges. The enemy here sprung a mine, blowing Captains Alexander, Orr and Mecham, into the air. Those officers fell on the enemy's side of the defences, but, being providentially unhurt, contrived to regain their own entrenchment in safety. Ten Christian drummers, who were lying asleep when the explosion took place, were, however, less fortunate ; the poor fellows were buried under the ruins of a fallen building. The astonishing conduct of the enemy on this occasion may be taken as an amusing illustration of the deplorable incapacity of the natives of Hindustan generally for anything like active warfare, except when led by European officers and supported by European troops. The