The Indian Mutiny Saul David Kindle, PDF

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The Indian Mutiny Saul David

 

During the four years it took to research and write this book, I was assisted by a number of people. My greatest debt of gratitude is to Hew Strachan, the newly appointed Chichele Professor of The History of War at Oxford University, who encouraged me from the start.
I am also beholden to the trustees of the General Palit Military Studies Trust – in particular Major-General D. K. Palit himself, John Miller and T. K. Mukherjee for awarding me a Fellowship and supporting my research in India. Other advice, assistance and companionship during my trip to India and Pakistan in 2000 was provided by my sister Catherine, Dr Kaushik Roy, Dr Ganeswar Nayak of the National Archives of India, Nigel Bryan, amazon kindle Khurshid Sohail, Lieutenant-Colonel Hameed Ullah Afridi and the officers of the Khyber Rifles. Thank you.
The following people were especially helpful during my research in Britain and I am grateful: Professor Sam Cohn, Professor Evan Mawdsley, Dr Simon Ball, Dr David Omissi, Alison Peden, Chris Fildes, Pamela Strachan, Dr Stewart and Noreen Harper, Paul Strathern, Lieutenant-Colonel John Inglis (the direct descendant of Brigadier John Inglis of Lucknow fame), the Revd Giles Goddard (ditto), Mary Jane Gibbons (a descendant of the Gough brothers) and Dr Margaret Bruce (a descendant of John Nicholson).
As ever, I must acknowledge the invaluable help given to me by the staffs of various institutions: the British Library, London Library, University of Glasgow Library, Epub Monmouth Library, National Army Museum, National Archives of India, National Archives of Scotland and National Library of Scotland.
Finally, I would like to thank my new editor Andrew Kidd (for sticking with me through some very protracted negotiations), my agent Julian Alexander (for conducting those negotiations) and, last but not least, my wife Louise.
The spelling of place names is generally the one in current usage. The exceptions are those places which are far better known to a British readership by their ‘colonial’ spelling: Benares (Varanasi), Cawnpore (Kanpur), Oudh (Awadh), Madras (Chennai) and Bombay (Mumbai), among others. When Indian personal names are shortened, the first name is used.

 

List of Illustrations

 

1. Government House (centre), Calcutta, with the Maidan in the foreground
2. Sepoys preparing for firing practice
3. Sir Henry Lawrence
4. Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson
5. Mutineers destroy a bungalow at Meerut during the outbreak of 10 May 1857
6. Bahadur Shah II, the last Mogul King of Delhi
7. The Lahore Gate of the Red Fort at Delhi, containing the apartments of Captain Douglas, the commander of the King’s Guard. Douglas, the Revd Jennings, his daughter and her friend were murdered there on 11 May 1857
8. Mutinous sowars of the 3rd Light Cavalry attacking Europeans at Delhi on 11 May 1857
9. Herbert Edwardes
10. John Nicholson
11. Mutinous sepoys being blown from guns
12. The larger of the two barracks in Wheeler’s entrenchment. A former dragoon hospital, measuring 60 by 350 feet, its thatched roof was set on fire by an incendiary shell on 12 June 1857 13. Satichaura Ghat, Cawnpore, from the Oudh bank of the Ganges. In the centre is the small boatman’s temple from where the rebel leaders directed the massacre of 27 June 1857
14. General Sir Mowbray Thomson, Kindle one of only four men to survive the massacre at Satichaura Ghat
15. Brigadier-General James Neill
16. Sir Henry Havelock
17. The interior of the Bibigarh at Cawnpore after the massacre of 15 July 1857
18. Kunwar Singh (centre with white beard), the rebel Raja of Jagdispur
19. The battered Kashmir Gate at Delhi after it was successfully stormed by Wilson’s troops on 14 September 1857
20. The storming of Delhi
21. The Baillie Guard Gate of the Residency compound at Lucknow. Havelock, Outram and the relieving army entered through the opening on the extreme right
22. The battered Residency at Lucknow after its recapture by Sir Colin Campbell in March 1858
23. General Sir Colin Campbell and his chief of staff, Major-General William Mansfield
24. T. H. Kavanagh VC
25. The 93rd Highlanders entering the breach in the Sikandarbagh at Lucknow on 16 November 1857
26. The interior of the Sikandarbagh and the skeletons of the rebels slaughtered by the 93rd Highlanders and the 4th Punjab Infantry
27. Havelock and Sir James Outram greet their deliverer, Campbell, near the mess house at Lucknow on 17 November 1857
28. Captain Charles Gough saving the life of his brother, Lieutenant Hugh Gough, at Khurkowdah on 15 August 1857. Both won VCs during the mutiny
29. British and Indian officers of Hodson’s Horse, pdf photographed shortly after Hodson’s death at Lucknow on 11 March 1858. Lieutenant Clifford Mecham is standing. Assistant Surgeon Thomas Anderson, who comforted Hodson in his last hours, is sitting
30. Lakshmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi. ‘The Ranee was remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance,’ wrote her opponent General Rose. ‘These qualities, combined with her rank, rendered her the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders’
31. Lord Canning receiving the Maharaja of Kashmir after the mutiny
32. One of Nana Sahib’s many impostors. The real Nana almost certainly died of fever in the Nepal terai in 1859

 

Picture credits:

By kind permission of the British Library: 1, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 30, 31, 32; National Army Museum: 2, 25, 27, 28, 29; By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London: 3, 9, 10; Hulton Archive – Getty Images: 4, 8, 15, 20, 23.

 

Prologue: ‘The Electric Telegraph has saved us’

 

Sunday, 10 May 1857, was typical of the north Indian summer: heat, dust and wind combining to produce a suffocating, furnace-like atmosphere. At Delhi, Amazon the former Mogul capital, the mercury had risen above a hundred degrees by eight in the morning. It was the start of the hot season, and the only way a European could gain respite from the heat and flies was by having a cold bath or lying motionless in a room whose outer doors and windows had been sealed with ‘tatties’, grass-shutters kept constantly wet by Indian water-bearers so that the ‘hot wind, after passing through them, became quite cool’.
In the telegraph office, about halfway along the two-mile stretch of road that separated the city walls from the military cantonment, the staff had been at work since daybreak. But as telegraph offices closed on the sabbath between nine and four, Charles Todd, the assistant in charge, and his two young Eurasian signallers, Brendish and Pilkington, were about to return to their bungalows to rest.
As Brendish rose from his desk, the telegraph needle began to move. It was an unofficial message from the office at Meerut, a large military station about 30 miles to the north-east, and referred to ‘the excitement that prevailed there on account of the sentence that had been passed on the men of the 3rd Light Cavalry for refusing to use the new cartridges’. It stated that eighty men had been imprisoned and were to be blown away from guns. In fact, eighty-five Indian cavalrymen had been given sentences ranging from five to ten years for refusing to accept the same carbine cartridges they had always been issued with. But the ill-advised decision by the Meerut authorities to have the prisoners shackled in irons at a morning parade on 9 May had caused considerable discontent among their fellow soldiers. Despite this potential for trouble, the telegraph offices at both stations were closed at the usual hour.
On reopening the office at four, Todd discovered that the line to Meerut had been severed. He therefore sent Brendish and Pilkington across the bridge-of-boats to the north-east of the city to check the line at the point where the underwater cable emerged from the River Jumna. They found that they could signal back to the office at Delhi but not on towards Meerut, which confirmed that the break was beyond the river. With the sun setting at six-thirty, they decided it was too late to do anything further that evening and returned to the office.
At eight the following morning Todd set off in a gharry drawn by two ponies to locate and repair the break in the line. He was never seen again. At first Brendish and Pilkington tried to reassure Todd’s wife and child that he would soon return. But, as the hours ticked by, the two young signallers picked up fragments of alarming news from Indian messengers attached to the telegraph office. They learnt that mutineers from Meerut had crossed the bridge-of-boats and entered the city; and later that a regiment of native infantry from the Delhi garrison, which they had seen march past the telegraph office in the direction of the Kashmir Gate, had disobeyed orders and the 3rd Light Cavalry for refusing to use the new cartridges’. It stated that eighty men had been imprisoned and were to be blown away from guns. In fact, eighty-five Indian cavalrymen had been given sentences ranging from five to ten years for refusing to accept the same carbine cartridges they had always been issued with. But the ill-advised decision by the Meerut authorities to have the prisoners shackled in irons at a morning parade on 9 May had caused considerable discontent among their fellow soldiers. Despite this potential for trouble, the telegraph offices at both stations were closed at the usual hour.
On reopening the office at four, Todd discovered that the line to Meerut had been severed. He therefore sent Brendish and Pilkington across the bridge-of-boats to the north-east of the city to check the line at the point where the underwater cable emerged from the River Jumna. They found that they could signal back to the office at Delhi but not on towards Meerut, which confirmed that the break was beyond the river. With the sun setting at six-thirty, they decided it was too late to do anything further that evening and returned to the office.
At eight the following morning Todd set off in a gharry drawn by two ponies to locate and repair the break in the line. He was never seen again. At first Brendish and Pilkington tried to reassure Todd’s wife and child that he would soon return. But, as the hours ticked by, the two young signallers picked up fragments of alarming news from Indian messengers attached to the telegraph office. They learnt that mutineers from Meerut had crossed the bridge-of-boats and entered the city; and later that a regiment of native infantry from the Delhi garrison, which they had seen march past the telegraph office in the direction of the Kashmir Gate, had disobeyed orders and allowed their officers to be shot down by the mutinous cavalry. Around midday, with no sign of Todd and no official news, Brendish went outside and met a wounded officer making his way along the road to the cantonment. ‘For God’s sake,’ implored the officer, ‘get inside and close your doors.’ The warning was repeated by Indian fugitives from the city who said that the mutineers were murdering shopkeepers and that white men had little chance of survival. Fearful of their isolated position, Brendish and Pilkington proposed heading towards the Flagstaff Tower on the Ridge, where the officers and European refugees were congregating. But Mrs Todd was reluctant to leave without her husband, and it was around two when she finally agreed. Before departing, Brendish sent the following message to Ambala, 120 miles to the north: ‘We must leave office, all the bungalows are on fire, burning down by the sepoys of Meerut. They came in this morning. We are off. Mr C. Todd is dead, I think. He went out this morning and has not yet returned. We learned that nine Europeans are killed.’

 

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