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Part IV: Nineteenth-Century Wars in .NET framework
Part IV: Nineteenth-Century Wars
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When the British took the Red Fort in Delhi, Bahadur was hiding with his family in a tomb six miles outside the walls Major William Hodson was sent to bring him back to the city Hodson was a natural beau sabreur (dashing adventurer), who enjoyed fighting for its own sake and was a noted swordsman Taking just 50 of his sowars, he told Bahadur that the British would spare his life if he surrendered at once For two hours Hodson and his little band faced down thousands of demoralised but still armed and dangerous mutineers Bahadur and his queen then gave themselves up and Hodson escorted them back to Delhi However, he hadn t quite finished for the day, as the sidebar Hodson s heroism relates From start to finish of the siege, the casualties that the Delhi Field Force incurred amounted to 992 killed, 2795 wounded, and 30 missing, a total of 3817, of whom 1677 were Indian soldiers It is impossible to estimate how many mutineers and their supporters were killed during the siege, but the number was far greater than the British casualties and more were tried and executed after the seizure of the city The lesson for the mutineers was that if they could not win at Delhi, they could not win at all Much hard fighting remained, but after Delhi the fortunes of the mutineers declined steadily
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The Reliefs of Lucknow, 1857 1858
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Lucknow was the capital of the former kingdom of Oudh, an area from which the mutineers drew much of their support It was a typical Indian city of the period, sprawling and labyrinthine The British Residency was in its own enclosure on a small plateau On all sides save the north the buildings of the city pressed against or overlooked it Sir Henry Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner for Oudh, saw the mutiny coming He began fortifying the Residency and laying in supplies for a siege during May News of the Meerut mutiny reached him on 14 May, and shortly after, he received a tip-off that the native element of the Lucknow garrison would mutiny on the evening of 30 May Lawrence moved the city s European community inside the defences The warning proved to be accurate, but before the mutineers could reach the Residency the under-strength 32nd (1/The Duke of Cornwall s Light Infantry) and 4/1 Battery Bengal European Artillery chased them out of town For the moment, these two units and about 300 loyal sepoys constituted the entire garrison
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14: Rebels, Rajahs, and a Rani: The Indian Mutiny
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By 12 June news came that every British outpost in Oudh had fallen Towards the end of the month, reports said that the Cawnpore garrison had surrendered, although some time elapsed before the defenders of the Residency learned of its horrible fate (see the section The Mutiny Begins, 1857 earlier in this chapter) They were, however, becoming increasingly conscious of their own isolation On 29 June Lawrence learned that a small force of mutineers had reached Chinhut, some 10 miles distant He led out a sizeable portion of the garrison to deal with them, but to his horror discovered that they numbered 10 times the figure he expected Having sustained 200 casualties and lost five of its 11 guns, his force withdrew into the Lucknow defences The Chinhut affair was a disaster, as the British defeat led every mutineer and malcontent for miles around to converge on the city As many of the larger buildings close to the perimeter were still standing, the enemy s fire could reach everywhere in the defences At any one time there were reputedly no fewer than 8000 mutineers and their supporters firing into the Residency Shellfire mortally wounded Lawrence on 2 July and command passed to Colonel JEW Inglis of the 32nd, later promoted to brigadier general Inglis pursued a much more aggressive defence than Lawrence had, instituting a series of successful sorties that wrecked the enemy s forward posts The mutineers resorted to mining under the defences The garrison s engineers, with the assistance of former tin miners from the 32nd, counter-mined and usually won the brutal subterranean fights that took place in hot, claustrophobic semi-darkness On 10 August, however, the mutineers did succeed in blowing a gap in the defences Above ground, most of their comrades showed little inclination to exploit it, and those that did the British quickly shot down While the fighting raged, the garrison had other challenges to overcome Overcrowded living conditions, poor sanitation, intense heat, and the difficulties involved in disposing of human and animal remains all contributed to the spread of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and smallpox that killed or incapacitated as many people as the mutineers fire
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