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Page:The Lucknow album 1874 by Darogha Ubbas Alli.djvu/58

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reckon upon an army, as numerous as the fish in the Goomtee, to rally round his standard : a tradition that proved significantly false, in the case of the British, for, instead of the traditional army making its appearance, the troops deserted by whole regiments at a time and not a single man could be induced to join the ranks of the British force, after the rebellion had once commenced.

In 1857, Muchee Bhawun was well stored with gunpowder, ammunition and ordnance supplies of all descriptions, and from these, precautions had been taken to well stock the Residency. After the battle of Chinhutt, it soon became apparent that the fort was untenable ; it was therefore resolved to evacuate it and blow it up. This movement was successfully accomplished on the night of the 1st July, 1857. The small body of troops located there were quietly formed up, a time fuze, cut for twenty minutes-was fixed in the magazine and lighted. The party then marched off; the fuze had been timed, so as to allow them to reach the Bailie Guard before the explosion should take place ; it was well timed, for exactly at the twentieth minute it did take place ; a tremendous explosion which caused the earth to rock as from a mighty earthquake, which shook every house to its foundations and which struck terror and consternation into the hearts of the rebels. The party from Muchee Bhawun reached the Bailie Guard and joined their comrades, in safety. The falling debris must have caused much damage and loss of life in the city, but not a soul in the Bailie Guard was hurt. After the re-occupation of Lucknow, Muchee Bhawun was rebuilt ; it is now a fort of considerable strength, armed with heavy guns, and garrisoned by both artillery and infantry.

The gate to the west was, prior to the siege, a place of public execution for mutineers ; on this spot, many a rebel paid the last penalty of the law as a punishment for his perfidy to the British Government.