THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW
As I have said in the preface to this book, I have not the slightest intention of giving any history of the events relating to the Indian Mutiny; but, in order to bring my readers to the period of time when my personal narrative commences, I must just give a slight sketch of the position of things in Lucknow immediately previous to the month of May, 1857, the names of the principal persons in authority at the time, and the number and position of the troops concerned in the revolt and subsequent defense.
The 32nd Regiment, of which my husband, Lieutenant-Colonel Inglis, was the colonel, marched into Lucknow January, 1857, relieving H.M. 52nd, under Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, the first British regiment to garrison Lucknow after the annexation of Oude. At that time Mr. Coverley Jackson was chief commissioner. He was succeeded by Sir Henry Lawrence on March 20, 1857. Major Banks was the commissioner, Mr. Ommanney judicial commissioner, and Mr. Gubbins financial commissioner, Dr. Fayrer chief surgeon. The headquarters of the chief commissioner were at the Residency, situated in the city close to the river Goomtee. Around the Residency were clustered several buildings, the houses of the officials, public offices, post-office, hospital, church, etc. About a mile from this position were the barracks of the European regiment, the officers' houses being scattered about in the neighbourhood. Three miles from the Residency, on the other side of the river, was the cantonment, where the three native regiments were quartered: the 13th, under Major Bruere; the 48th, under Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer; the 71st, under Lieutenant-Colonel Halford; also a company of European artillery and a native battery. Brigadier Handscomb was in command, and resided in cantonments. About a mile further on beyond the race-course was Moodkipore, where the 7th Cavalry was stationed, and the 4th and 7th Regiments of Oude infantry were at Moosa Bagh, about three miles on the other side of the city.
The military force in the capital and its environs on April 30, 1857, was:
|Europeans,||H.M.||84th,||one weak company.|
During this month we were constantly hearing of a mutinous spirit having shown itself amongst portions of the native troops in Bengal, but the disaffection was not supposed to be general, and it was hoped that it would easily be repressed by a judicious mixture of severity and conciliation. The discontent was said to originate in a report spread amongst the Sepoys that the cartridges they were to use for the new Enfield rifle were greased with pigs' fat, the touching of which with their mouth would pollute them, and the refusal to use this obnoxious cartridge was the first sign of insubordination. A pretext for revolt was wanted, and they used this; the cause was far deeper seated. Much wonder and discussion was caused about this time by what was called the chappattie movement. Chappatties, or small cakes, the common food of the country, were being sent by running messengers from one village to another, whose inhabitants understood the secret sign and acted accordingly. Of the troops in Lucknow, the 13th N.I. was considered the stanchest. It was said they had been asked by some Sepoys of the other regiments on the day before an inspection whether they intended using the cartridges, and their readiness to obey orders as usual prevented any appearance of a mutinous spirit, and the inspection passed as usual. Occasional fires in the native lines gave rise to strong suspicions that there was an evil spirit abroad. Dr. Wells, 48th N.I., had his house burned down, and combustible arrows were found in Brigadier Handscomb's and Captain Barwell's (71st N.I.) compounds; but the culprits were not discovered. Such was the state of affairs up to May 3, when my diary commences.
Sunday, May 3. – As we were driving to church this evening, about five o'clock, we met Mr. Barber, of the irregular cavalry, who said that his regiment was just ordered off to Moosa Bagh, where the 7th Oude Infantry were in a state of mutiny. We drove on, and a few minutes afterwards Captain Hayes, military secretary to Sir Henry Lawrence, rode up in a state of great excitement, and said: 'I want you and your regiment directly.' We turned our horse's head and drove home as fast as possible, sending every 32nd man we passed to his barracks. It was just after roll-call, and most of the men were out; however, they were soon assembled, and in less than an hour the regiment had marched, leaving a small force to protect the women and children, the hospital and the officers' houses. Captain Hayes said he expected opposition in passing through the city, so the men were loaded. Mrs. Case and her sister, Miss Dickson, had been to church, and did not return till late. They had been rather alarmed by Colonel Case's (32nd) nonappearance, and by seeing several officers leave during the service. Some of their servants went to meet them, and to escort them through the city. They came to our house, and we dined together, it having been arranged, in case of any disturbance occurring, that we were to assemble at the house of Mr. Giddings, paymaster to the 32nd. The evening gun rather startled us, but we heard no other war-like sounds. At twelve o'clock, being rather anxious for news, we went outside the garden-gate, and just then Major Banks rode up and told us all was right, and the troops on their way back.
John returned at 1 a.m. The affair terminated thus: On arriving at Moosa Bagh, the force was arranged in such a manner as to command the lines of the rebellious regiment; they were ordered to turn out, which they did rather slowly; but when they saw the line of infantry and artillery waiting to receive them, and actually the port fires of the guns lighted, an act which was rather premature, and for which no order had been given, a panic seized them, and they ran off, throwing down their arms; a few men were made prisoners, and nothing more remaining to be done, the troops were ordered back to Lucknow, leaving guards over the prisoners and treasure. It seemed a pity that John had not been informed previously of the mutinous spirit evinced by the 7th, when of course he could have kept his men in barracks, and have had them ready to turn out at a moment's notice. They had actually threatened their officers, and confined them to their houses before anything was done to put them down; the delay might have had most dangerous results. The native regiments employed on that expedition behaved very well; they were narrowly watched and not loaded. The principal reason for taking them was that it was not considered safe to leave them in cantonments. The 4th N.I., quartered with the 7th, manifested no desire to join their rebellious brethren, but seemed quite ready to fire on them if called on to do so.
Nothing particular occurred for the next week or so; but on May 15 we were out driving with Colonel and Mrs. Case, when Mr. Harris, the chaplain, brought John a message from Sir Henry Lawrence that he wished to see him immediately. We found him waiting near our house in close consultation with Major Banks. We at once feared something was wrong, but little dreamed of the bad news that was to greet our ears, namely, that the native cavalry had mutinied at Meerut, and, after murdering many of the officers and residents in cantonments, had gone off to Delhi, where it was expected the standard of revolt would also be raised. This news had arrived by telegraph, and of course it was of great consequence to take some immediate precautionary measures, so as to be prepared for a rising here, which was expected as soon as what had taken place in Delhi and Meerut was made known.
The next day (16th) still worse news was received; Delhi was said to be in the hands of the mutineers, and the military and civil authorities were consulting together all day as to what measures should be taken. The result being that this evening all the women and children were sent into the city Residency with a company of the 32nd and four guns; the rest of the 32nd was ordered to march the next morning into cantonments, together with four guns. Sir Henry Lawrence most kindly asked the 32nd ladies to stay in his house in cantonments, an invitation we gladly accepted in order to be near our husbands. We were very busy packing all the afternoon. Whilst we were at dinner, Major Banks came to speak to John; he was in a state of great excitement, said he considered the move to cantonments most injudicious, that the city Residency was the place in which we ought to have collected our forces, and to that we should hold on like grim death; he evidently considered we were in a critical and dangerous position.
The 32nd was ordered to march the next morning, the 17th (Sunday). Just as we were getting up, a note arrived for John from Captain Hayes to say we were likely to be attacked on entering cantonments. This was not pleasant news; however, I got myself and my three children ready as soon as possible, and John went off to the parade-ground. When ready I mounted my pony, and with Mrs. Case and her sister rode up and down the road near our bungalows, waiting for the order to march. Some of the police-force came up at this time to guard our houses. Day was just breaking; hardly a sound broke the stillness of the hour, for no bugles or drums were allowed to sound, in order that our time of march might not be known; and a sort of awe crept over us, giving us presentiments of evils to come. We waited nearly an hour, there having been some unaccountable delay in the march of the regiment. At last Colonel Case came for us. One troop of irregular cavalry, four guns, and the 32nd, composed our force. Mrs. Case, Miss Dickson, and I rode in front; Mrs. Giddings and my three boys were close to us in carriages; Colonel Case rode on to reconnoitre. The city was perfectly quiet as we passed through – indeed, all the inhabitants seemed asleep, and half-way from cantonments we met Sir Henry, who told us all was right, the report of an attack having been spread by a drunken artilleryman; so our alarm subsided. On reaching cantonments the regiment marched into camp, and we took up our quarters in Sir Henry's house. I think it was the longest day I ever passed, as of course we could settle to nothing. John came in the evening, and read the service with me; he told me he did not think we should ever return to our house. This was sad news, as we had imagined the fall of Delhi, against which a large force had been sent, would put an end to all fear of disturbances here. Mrs. Gall and Mrs. Barber, whose husbands were in the irregular cavalry, arrived here this evening, the place they lived in not being considered safe. Colonel Case dined with us. John remained in camp; being in command, he did not like to leave his regiment at night. I sat next Sir Henry; he was very grave and silent. He told me that he considered the annexation of Oude the most unrighteous act that was ever committed. A telegraphic message came in whilst we were at dinner, which we feared did not contain good news.
The next morning (19th), at eleven o'clock, an alarm was given that the 71st N.I. intended rising at two o'clock. The gentlemen immediately rushed out, and ladies from all parts rushed in for protection. We were all ordered, in case the house were attacked, to go into a small inner room without windows, and to remain there whilst the firing lasted. The hour passed, however, and all remained quiet. John had the regiment ready to turn out, and was standing by the guns when the hour struck, expecting the attack to be made; but the Sepoys remained passive. This alarm augmented the numbers in our house very much, and we were now eleven ladies and fifteen children. Sir Henry, notwithstanding all he had to do, spared no pains in making us as comfortable as circumstances would admit. I had a small room to myself with the children – a great comfort; but I did not quite like having a Sepoy of the 4th Oude Infantry as a sentry outside my door, which had no fastening. These Sepoys were most mild-looking men, and used to amuse themselves during the day by playing with the children. I used to watch them, and could hardly fancy they were murderously inclined.
The next day (20th) nothing eventful occurred. I paid Mrs. Hayes a visit, and found her sadly cast down and anxious. Sir Henry gave a large dinner-party. I think he was anxious to keep up our spirits, but the attempt was, I am sure, trying to him and to all of us. He received this day from Lord Canning the appointment of brigadier-general, which invested him with full powers, civil and military, and freed him from all control; this seemed to give him pleasure.
21st. – From the reports of spies an attack was expected to-day, but everything remained quiet till the evening, when, just as we were sitting down to dinner, Sir Henry and his staff were heard calling for their horses, and we caught the words, 'A fire in the artillery lines!' The table was at once abandoned, and everyone rushed to the door. Certainly the sight was alarming; the flames were rapidly spreading, and appeared to be coming in the direction of our house. It was considered as the signal for the outbreak of the mutiny, and fear was painted on every countenance. Some counselled our leaving the bungalow, and taking refuge elsewhere; but at that moment Mr. Polehampton, the chaplain, came in, and said we were all to remain where we were. The wind providentially died away, and the fire was got under. I shall never forget poor Sir Henry's look of relief when he returned and said all was right. It was almost the first time I had seen a smile on his countenance. John had the 32nd under arms, expecting to be attacked, but the Sepoys actually helped to put the fire out. At this time our native sentries round the house were relieved by Europeans, much to my satisfaction. A company of the 32nd went off to Cawnpore yesterday under Captain Lowe, also some irregular cavalry under Captain Barber. Captain Hayes accompanied the party as Sir Henry's agent.
22nd. – An attack was again expected. I drove to camp in the evening, and sat some time with John. I saw very little of him, as he seldom liked to be away from the regiment. In the middle of the night I was awakened by the cry, 'Turn out the guard!' and by a clatter of arms. I jumped up, fancying the house was attacked. Captain Mansfield (32nd) came down at once to see what was the matter, and found it was a false alarm. The state of suspense we lived in was very trying, but we felt thorough confidence in Sir Henry, whose energy, prudence, and forethought could not be exceeded, and we knew that every necessary precaution would be taken, and that all that human wisdom could do for our safety would be done. Captain Wilson (13th N.I.) was appointed adjutant-general; he laughed at the idea of a mutiny.
23rd. – Mrs. Case and I drove to camp in the morning, and saw the scene of last night's fire, a large empty outhouse. Had the wind been high, and had the flames spread, the building being in a direct line with the mess-house of the 13th N.I., where a company of the 32nd was located, and with Sir Henry's house, the consequences might have been serious; and this looked as if the fire had been more intentional than accidental. This day a rising was also expected; and Colonel Case, who was far from being an alarmist, advised our having a bundle of necessaries ready, in case we might have to leave our present quarters suddenly. We followed his advice, and communicated it to the other ladies in the house. News arrived from Cawnpore that Sir Hugh Wheeler, commanding there, had fully expected the native troops to rise, but the danger had been averted for the time. Telegraphic messages were constantly passing; it was thought that as long as Cawnpore remained quiet Lucknow was safe. Sir Henry ordered that all the roofs of the bungalows, which were thatched, and therefore easily ignited, should be kept constantly wetted in case of fire.
Sunday, 24th. – A quiet day. I went to camp in the morning, and to the cantonment church in the evening. During the service one or two shots were fired, apparently very close to us. For an instant I felt much alarmed, but soon remembered that the great Mussulman fast called Ramazan ended to-day, and that when the new moon appears, which ushers in the festival, guns are fired off to salute it. Two or three gentlemen left the church, but soon returned; and Sir Henry did not even turn his head, so we felt quite reassured. Mr. Polehampton preached a beautiful sermon, one most applicable to the time and our position.
25th. – I was awakened very early this morning by John, who told me all the ladies were to go at once to the city Residency, commonly called the Bailie Guard. Sir Henry, having received a telegraphic message from Cawnpore, 'All quiet now, but not expected to remain so,' thought it advisable that all the women and children should be placed in comparative safety before the rising here, which was hourly expected, should take place. We were soon ready, and left cantonments in no happy mood, as it was a great trial to us all to be parted from our husbands. I drove to the city in the buggy, the children following in the bullock carriage; the road was occupied by cavalry, and everything wore a most warlike appearance. The Gubbinses kindly asked me to stay in their house, which was inside the Residency walls; and I was reluctantly compelled to part company with Mrs. Case and her sister, who occupied the Residency house. Our party consisted of Major and Mrs. Banks and one child, Mr. and Mrs. Thornhill, Mr. and Mrs. Polehampton, Mrs. Cooper and two children, Mrs. Brydon and two children.
During the day I received one or two notes from John, saying that better news had arrived, and he still hoped we might escape the horrors of a revolt. I went over to the Residency house in the evening, and walked on the roof with Mrs. Case and her sister. The place was filled with women and children; all seemed very crowded and uncomfortable. Everything was being prepared within the Residency walls to sustain a siege, cartloads of provisions and grain, ammunition, etc., coming in continuously. Two large guns were placed in position, pointing down the road leading to cantonments, and it was very evident preparations for the worst were being made. Whilst we were at dinner to-night, Mr. Gubbins received a telegraphic message from Sir Hugh Wheeler. He said they had passed an anxious night; but all had remained quiet, and he trusted the crisis was past.
For the next few days everything remained quiet. Mrs. Case and I generally drove to cantonments in the afternoon, and sat with our husbands under a semianah (awning), which they had pitched in camp. These visits were a great treat to us; but we were obliged to return to the city before dusk, and even with this precaution I do not think our driving down each day by ourselves was very prudent. There were a great many ill-looking men about; and I was always very glad when we had re-crossed the iron bridge dividing us from cantonments. I was the coachman, and drove at a pretty good pace. All in camp led a most trying, fatiguing, and anxious life; constant alarms and reports kept them continually on the alert, and rest was almost out of the question. Sir Henry himself directed and inspected all things; his energy and activity were unsurpassed. Night and day seemed all the same to him. Either encouraging the wavering, punishing the rebellious, rewarding the faithful, visiting the Sepoy lines to show his confidence in them, giving audience to influential natives, or examining our own defences, all the energies of his master mind were employed in the one great effort of deferring the coming catastrophe, which he clearly saw was inevitable, and thereby rendering us better prepared to meet it; and doubtless but for him, and God's blessing on his endeavours, the fate of all in Lucknow would have been but a prelude to the horrors of Cawnpore. John generally accompanied him in his visits to the city and Muchee Bowun; the latter was a fort three miles from the Residency, occupied by a company of the 32nd and some native troops, and it was munitioned and provisioned to stand a siege. About this time some men were caught in the lines of the 71st N.I., said to have come over from Delhi, trying to induce the Sepoys to desert to the rebel army, promising them high pay and promotion. The 71st themselves showed the traitors up; and the adjutant, Mr. Chambers, came to the lines to arrest them. One of them attempted to shoot him, but was overpowered, and the next day sentenced to be hanged. The Sepoys were very handsomely rewarded.
29th. – Drove down to camp as usual. I had had a visit from John in the morning, and did not think him at all in good spirits. Mrs. Case and I were mentioning some report we had heard about a mutiny at Peshawur, and rather laughing at its absurdity. He checked us by saying, 'It's no laughing matter; the most dreadful reports reach us daily. You think the crisis is past; I tell you it is yet to come.' From that hour I seemed to realize the true seriousness of our position, and could never again smile at anything I heard, feeling that, if not true then, it might be before long.
30th. – We spent some hours in camp this afternoon, and John and Colonel Case accompanied us a short distance on our way home; we little thought then what perils shortly awaited them. I went to my room that night earlier than usual, and was just going to bed, when Mr. Gubbins knocked at my door, and said, 'Bring your children, and come up to the top of the house immediately.' I dressed myself and them, and obeyed as quickly as possible. I found all the inmates of the house assembled on the roof, and looking anxiously towards cantonments, where fires were blazing in all directions, and from whence cannonading and musketry firing could plainly be heard. Mr. Polehampton offered up a prayer for our preservation, and for those engaged in the strife, and then all the men prepared to defend our position, should it be attacked. Guns, revolvers and ammunition were plentiful, and we had some skilful matchlock men to assist us. If the house had been attacked, we were in a tolerably safe position against anything but artillery, as the roof was approached by a spiral staircase, up which but one could come at a time, and one good revolver could have kept the foe at bay for some time. A sowar (native horse soldier) arrived from cantonments with the news that the Sepoys had mutinied, and were burning and plundering in all directions. About twelve o'clock I received a note from John telling me all was over for the present. I was most thankful to see his handwriting, as my anxiety on his account had been great. All crowded round me to hear the news. He did not think the rising was general. Brigadier Handscomb and Captain Grant, 71St N.I., had been killed, also another officer. I sent the note to Mrs. Case, as her husband was mentioned in it. We all now felt reassured, and lay down to get a little rest – sleep was out of the question. At daylight we descended from the roof, but were startled by hearing heavy guns again.
Sunday, 31st. – I had a few lines from John this morning telling me a little of what had occurred last night. It appeared the nine o'clock gun was the signal, and as it fired the Sepoys seized their muskets and rushed on our guns. Spies had reported their intention to Sir Henry Lawrence, and therefore in an instant the 32nd was turned out ready to receive them. A little desultory firing ensued, but a few rounds of grape soon dispersed the rebels, who then scattered themselves about cantonments burning and plundering the houses. The remnants of the 13th, 48th, and 71st N.I. regiments, who remained faithful, were drawn up in line with the 32nd. Brigadier Handscomb was shot dead when imprudently venturing down the lines. Mr. Grant, 71st N. I., was murdered at the quarter-guard of his regiment. Mr. Chambers, adjutant, 13th N.I., was badly wounded, but saved by some of his own men, and escorted to the Residency. Cornet Raleigh, a young officer in the 7th Cavalry, was murdered. Mrs. Bruere, wife of the colonel of the 13th N.I., had a narrow escape. She was spending the night in cantonments contrary to orders, and while the mutineers were entering her house, some of the faithful Sepoys of the regiment got her out at the back, and hid her in the dry bed of a nullah (stream) until the morning. At daylight it was reported that the rebels had taken up a position near Moodkipore, where the 7th Cavalry were stationed. Sir Henry immediately, leaving a small force in cantonments under Colonel Case, gave them chase with the 32nd, under John, and some artillery and cavalry; but the latter did not show much alacrity in the pursuit, and some of them rode over to the enemy at once. The sun was very powerful, the men exhausted, and the Sepoys soon got out of their reach, excepting a few who were made prisoners. Finding the uselessness of the pursuit, the troops now marched back to cantonments. The destruction of property during the night had been terrible, but it was no time to be thinking of losses; preservation of life was the chief thought in our minds. At 12 o'clock (noon) Major Banks sent word there was a rising in the city he could not withstand, and we were again ordered up to the roof; but on second thoughts it was decided that it would be better for us all to go over to the Residency house. Over we went at once, and the confusion and excitement that prevailed there baffles description. We all anticipated the worst, and, indeed, if we had been attacked then, our resistance could have been but for a short time. A clerk had already been murdered in the city, showing the feeling that was abroad. To add to our uneasiness, we were told not to crowd too much together, as the building was not very strong, and it was feared would not stand so great a pressure. I took refuge with Mrs. Case and her sister, who occupied a room on the top floor. We were soon joined by Mrs. Halford and her daughter, who were in a state of the greatest misery and alarm. Their house had been burned and plundered. Colonel Halford, 71St N.I., soon afterwards arrived, and the meeting was most painful to witness. Towards evening we went on the roof of the house. Occasional shots could be heard, and we were told that a disturbance in the city had been attempted, but the native police had behaved well and put it down. I was beginning to feel very uneasy about the force in cantonments, when to my great joy we descried troops crossing the iron bridge, and soon recognised the 32nd, with Sir Henry and John at their head. When they came within the Residency walls Sir Henry made the troops a speech, which was loudly cheered. From this time the Residency, or Bailie Guard, as it was called, became his headquarters. A small force with four guns was left in cantonments under Colonel Case to keep the communication open. The Muchee Bowun fort was also occupied by our troops, Captain Francis, 13th N.I., in command. I saw John for a few minutes after he came in from cantonments. Mr. Polehampton and Mr. Harris, our chaplains, read the evening service to us, and then we were all glad to lie down and rest, after the excitement and anxiety of the past day and night. Our own room, or rather Mrs. Case's, was so oppressively hot and crowded, that Miss Dickson, the children and I slept on the roof of the house with some others. The night passed quietly.
June 1st. – As everything seemed to have quieted down in the city, those ladies who had been staying in the Gubbinses', Fayrers' and Ommanneys' houses returned to their quarters. I preferred remaining with Mrs. Case and Miss Dickson. We had a scrambling breakfast, and finding that the present mode of living was likely to last for some time, we determined on organizing a sort of mess, instead of being entertained by Dr. and Mrs. Ogilvie, who had always occupied the Residency house with Sir Henry. Kind and hospitable as they were, they could not arrange comfortably for so many. I asked Mrs. Radcliffe and Mrs. Boileau, 7th Cavalry, with their six children, to join us, and made my khansamah (butler) cater for the party. All approved of the arrangement, and it certainly was much pleasanter. John took up his abode in a small room in the lower part of the house. Sir Henry gave him the command of the troops, an onerous and anxious position; but it showed the confidence he placed in him. He appointed as his A.D.C. Captain Birch, 71st N.I. He had been struck by the activity and intelligence of this young officer upon one or two occasions when he had acted orderly officer to him on field-days, and selected him on that account. After-events fully justified his choice. Mrs. Case heard from Colonel Case to-day; he wrote cheerfully, though he had suffered from Saturday's work. Our artillery had opened fire in such a reckless manner that the shot had gone right through his tent, killing two of his servants and two horses – really a very serious loss. I finished a long home letter to-day, and John sent it to Captain Barrow, who was at Salone, in Oude; but I believe it never reached him. There was a false alarm to-night, and the men rushed to the guns and lighted the port-fires, fancying the rebels were approaching.
June 2nd. – Miss Dickson and I dined with Sir Henry in his tent. He was most kind and hospitable, and insisted on all the members of his staff living at his table. Whilst at dinner the news arrived of the defeat of a body of rebels near Delhi by the 60th Rifles. He said it was refreshing to get some good news, and his spirits seemed quite raised. Sad news, however, also arrived of the death of the commander-in-chief, General Anson. It was attempted to keep this a secret, but it soon leaked out.
June 3rd. – We received the sad news to-day that Captain Hayes, Mr. Barber, and Mr. Fayrer, brother to Dr. Fayrer, had been murdered by their own escort near Mynpoorie. Mr. Gubbins communicated the dreadful intelligence to Mrs. Hayes; and in the evening, finding that Mrs. Barber was still in ignorance of what had occurred, I asked Mr. Polehampton to break it to her. She had only been married three months. Captain Hayes left five children. This was a very, very sad day. Accounts were daily received of mutinies and murders in the different districts of Oude, and some fugitives came in at this time from Seetapore, having escaped with difficulty, and undergone many hardships and dangers. News arrived that the troops at Cawnpore had mutinied on the 2nd, and were besieging our small force there, consisting of one company of the 32nd, under Captain Moore, principally married men, with their wives and children, a few of the 84th, and some artillery, all under the command of Sir Hugh Wheeler. We could learn no particulars. The soldiers who were sent from here to Cawnpore returned some days ago. Sir Hugh Wheeler, imagining that all danger was past, had sent them back, and actually offered us assistance.
Sunday, 7th. – We had service in the Residency church to-day. Mr. Polehampton always read prayers, morning and evening, in our house, which was a great comfort to us.
June 8th. – News arrived from Cawnpore describing the garrison there as being in great distress. We felt deeply anxious about them. There were three officers in Lucknow whose wives were in Cawnpore. One, Captain Evans, was in our house, and his wretched face used quite to haunt me. He seldom spoke.
9th. – Colonel Case came in from camp this morning; he was always so sanguine and cheery, that a visit from him raised our spirits. He was one who always looked on the bright side of things.
12th. – I sent a letter home to-day by Major Gall, who had volunteered to take despatches to Allahabad; he had entreated hard to go, though he knew what a great risk he ran. He started disguised as a native, and took some of his own men, native cavalry, with him, who professed the greatest fidelity. The police force mutinied to-day. Captain Orr, commandant, came to the Residency with the news; they went off without attempting to molest their officers. In the afternoon, a force went out under John, consisting of two companies 32nd, two guns, and some Sikh cavalry. The rebels had had so much time to themselves, and had employed it so well, that it was almost impossible to overtake them. It was a fearfully hot day, and the men were quite exhausted after marching eight miles. The artillery opened fire at a long distance, and the cavalry, led by Captain Forbes and Lieutenant Hutchinson of the engineers, charged and took some prisoners; and then the infantry being unable to support them, the pursuit was given up. Mr. Thornhill was slightly wounded, two Sikhs killed, and a few wounded. It was now late in the evening, and John gave the order to return. On their way back through the city an attempt was made to lead the force the wrong way; but John held on his course, and most fortunate it was that he did so, for from the very street he had been advised to go down a sharp musketry fire was opened, but the shots fell too far off to do any harm. I did not see John before he started on this expedition, and was naturally very anxious. Two 32nd men died of heat-apoplexy on the march. Mrs. Case, Miss Dickson, and I went to-day to see a poor wounded woman who had escaped from Seetapore, and was being taken care of by Mrs. Wilkinson, 32nd. She was a very nice-looking girl about eighteen, and had two bad wounds in her side. Her escape, with her little boy, had been most wonderful. Of her husband's fate she was ignorant. There were several other refugees in the lower part of the Residency house, where the 32nd women lived, and we gave them some clothes of which they stood much in need.
13th. – Still no news. I paid Mrs. Cowper a visit to-day. Our conversation was, of course, entirely on the state of affairs here and in other places; it was difficult to talk or think of anything else. I asked John at this time if he thought the enemy would attack us. He said it was his firm opinion that they would. I then said, 'Do you think we can hold out?' He answered, 'Our position is a bad one, and we shall have a hard struggle.' I was glad to know what one might expect, as it enabled us to prepare for the worst. Our life was a most wearisome one; the heat was very great. It was impossible to read much; but we occupied our time in making clothes for the refugees, and this employment was a comfort to us. Miss Dickson, the children, and I always slept on the roof of the house; the nights were very pleasant in the open air, and the view of the city and country round very beautiful. Everything used to look so calm and peaceful, it was difficult to think it could ever be a scene of war; but looking down into the Residency garden, we could see the guns placed in position ready to be used at a moment's notice, and the soldiers sleeping amongst them. John generally had his bed placed there also, as his presence prevented false alarms. In the distant country we could constantly see large fires blazing, and imagined, I know not if correctly, that they were signals. At the first gleam of daylight we used to be awakened by two soldiers who came up to reconnoitre, and to give the alarm if any body of men were seen; they were relieved every two hours. Sir Henry was generally to be seen at this hour going round the works, and visiting the different positions. Ladies and children used to come up on the roof to breathe the morning air, and this used to be my signal for descending, as it was the only hour in the day when our room was empty and I could enjoy a little privacy. The doors and windows of the house were kept open all day, the doctors considering that the hot wind was healthier than a scarcity of air where there were so many people shut up in a small space. There were several children on our floor; they felt the heat much. Mine continued well. On the floor below us, trials were daily going on of different natives who had been taken prisoners, many of whom were sentenced to be hanged. We could see them chained in couples sitting on the ground, apparently taking little interest in the proceedings. John occasionally came to our room for a few minutes, but he had little time to himself. Except for a walk I took with Mr. Polehampton round the place, to see the fortifications, I never left the house.
Sunday, 14th. – We had service morning and evening. It was the last time the church was used. Afterwards it was converted into a storehouse for grain.
15th. – A most sad event occurred to-day. The sergeant-major of the 7th Cavalry had a quarrel with the riding-master Eldridge, upon some very trifling matter, when the former, Keogh, drew his pistol and shot the latter. He died in a few hours; but before his death he said, 'You are a good fellow, Keogh, and I am sure never intended this.' They were both steady, respectable men with large families, and liked by their officers. The sergeant-major was, of course, put in confinement, and his poor wife was nearly distracted. I believe he was released during the siege, and afterwards killed. News reached us that Colonel Fisher, of the irregular cavalry; had been killed by his own men. He was considered one of the best officers of the Indian army, and had the most perfect confidence in his men – indeed, appealed to them for protection. This was indeed a sad day. In the evening I was sitting on the top of the house talking to Mrs. Gall, who was in great anxiety about her husband, when Mrs. Barber called me. I saw at once something was the matter; and she told me that Major Gall's Madras servant had just returned, bringing an account of his master's murder. He had been betrayed by his own men, and murdered by the inhabitants of a little village near to which he was resting himself. I had to break the intelligence to his wife; it was a fearful blow to her, though few had expected that he would return from his perilous expedition; but it had been his urgent wish to go. Each day seemed to bring us more melancholy tidings, and we felt very heart-sick. All the officers belonging to the native regiments had by this time come down from cantonments to the Residency, and nearly all the Sepoys had been disarmed and sent to their homes on leave, with the exception of those who were considered stanch. The 13th N.I. had the majority; they saved their colours and the treasure the night of the mutiny.
16th. – A letter was received to-day from Cawnpore, giving a sad account of the state of the garrison, but saying they could hold out fifteen days longer. There was some talk just now of making overtures to Mhan Singh, a chief in Oude, who possessed great power and influence, and it was thought that if he would declare on our side the country would follow his lead.
17th. – The rebels reported to-day to be within fourteen miles of us. Colonel Case came to see us this morning; he was in his usual spirits. He used to write daily to his wife, and his letters were beautiful, so full of Christian confidence and manly, soldier-like courage. For the next two or three days no event of importance occurred. Good reports arrived from Cawnpore and Delhi, which turned out to be false. Captain Moore, 32nd, wrote hopefully from the former place, but begged for assistance.
Sunday, 21st. – We had service in the Residency house in the morning, and in Mr. Gubbins' garden in the evening. I spoke to Sir Henry; he looked sadly worn.
22nd. – The volunteer cavalry, under Captain Radcliffe, went out to Nawabgunge to reconnoitre, but brought back no information regarding the enemy, only found out that stores of grain were being collected there.
23rd. – Very bad news arrived from Cawnpore to-day in a letter from Sir Hugh Wheeler, imploring assistance which, alas! we could not give. The engineers were consulted, and pronounced it impossible to get a force across the river, the bridge having been broken and all boats taken away. Besides which, we really had no troops to spare, expecting daily, as we were, to be attacked ourselves. It was fearful to think of the miserable state of the little force, and to feel we were powerless to help them. Sir Hugh said the enemy were shelling them, and it was well known his position was not in the least protected from these missiles.
24th. – I sat some time with John in the evening; he was much harassed, but cheerful. He had been with Sir Henry to inspect the road leading to Nawabgunge, to see if it would be possible to meet the rebels, and give them battle as they advanced on Lucknow. The project was at that time abandoned. I felt very unwell to-day, and fancied I had fever.
25th. – An old ayah of Mrs. Orr's came into the Residency to-day. She said she had marched with the mutineers to Nawabgunge, where they were assembling in force awaiting further reinforcements, and intending to attack us in a few days. Her information was given in a manner which made us inclined to credit it. Good news arrived from Allahabad that the place was in our possession, and that every effort was being made to send up troops to Cawnpore. We sent just now some little comforts, tea, etc., to a Mrs. Dorin who had escaped from Seetapore after seeing her husband killed, and who had been living concealed in the jungle; she managed afterwards to get into the Residency. At this time by John's direction we began to lay in a store of sugar, arrowroot, beer, wine, food for our goats, etc., etc., which afterwards proved most valuable to us. An eight-inch howitzer was found buried to-day and brought in by elephants. We were driven down from the roof at night by heavy rain, ushering in the rainy season, which was very late. I felt very ill and weak all day.
26th. – In bed all day. Early in the morning Mr. Thornhill knocked at our door and told us not to be alarmed, as a salute was going to be fired in honour of the fall of Delhi, authentic news of which had just been received. One was fired from the Residency, cantonments, and Muchee Bowun. How this news, which ultimately proved false, originated it is impossible to say; the natives must have been amused at our credulity. I could not help thinking, as I lay listening to the booming cannon, how soon we might hear the same in real warfare, and wondering what my feelings would be then. A letter was received to-day from Captain Barrow, commissioner in Salone, Oude. He wrote from Allahabad, where he and his family had arrived in safety. The news from that place was good, and we fervently trusted Cawnpore might yet be relieved. A reward of 100,000 rupees was offered for the Nana of Bithoor's head. He at first offered assistance to the poor Cawnpore people, and afterwards treacherously turned against them; and when the mutineers started for Delhi, he persuaded them to turn back and kill the Europeans in cantonments first. I felt very ill all day. I missed our good old doctor Scott very much; but he was at this time dangerously ill himself, and not expected to live.
Sunday, 28th. – There was service to-day at a place called the King's Hospital, but I could not go. Some suspicious marks appeared on me, and I was pronounced to have small-pox. Not pleasant news, at such a time especially. I was most anxious to be moved, to prevent the infection spreading, and John promised to have a tent prepared for me. The dreadful report arrived to-day that Sir Hugh Wheeler had entered into a treaty with the Nana, and had afterwards with his whole garrison been betrayed and murdered. We could not bring ourselves to believe it. A party went out this morning and brought in some very valuable jewels belonging to the King of Oude, which had been discovered. Captain Birch thus describes the expedition:
'On the morning of June 28, 1857, the immediate approach of the rebel army was imminent. It did not seem fair to leave the Khaiser Bagh palace of the King of Oude to be plundered by the enemy. Scarcely a year had elapsed since the king, Wassid Ali Shah, had been deposed, a wing of my regiment, 71st N.I., having formed part of the annexing column, which in 1856 took the place of his army. The king himself was now in Calcutta; He had made no resistance to his deposition, though urged to do so by so many of his subjects, and for the time being he was a pensioner of the British Government. It was a question whether or no his property should be respected. If loyal, he was entitled to our protection; if, on the other hand, he had joined the machinations against us, the crown jewels of Oude would make a pleasant addition to the army prize-money – either way it was necessary to get hold of them; so the commissioner, Major Banks, went with an escort, of which the Sikhs of my regiment formed a portion, to the palace. The attendants scowled at us as we entered the gates, but made no resistance. On entering I was fortunate enough to find behind a low mud-wall a twenty-four-pounder brass gun, with its equipments complete. I immediately reported the find to Major Banks, and it was sent at once to the Residency. After this discovery the regalia-room was entered, and the whole of the king's jewels taken possession of. Amongst them were some very fine pearls and emeralds, some of the latter being as large as eggs; they were roughly strung together, uncut and unpolished, but very valuable. Besides the jewels, it was necessary to search for arms, with which the palace was supposed to be stocked; and I was sent the next morning with my Sikhs and Major Carnegie, the city magistrate, to continue the search. The inner gateway leading to the zenana premises had been earthed up, so I made my men take off their coats and accoutrements, and set to work to get the earth away. I had a native officer with me, whom I left in charge of the party, whilst I accepted the invitation of two of the dowlahs (members of the royal family) to walk inside. They told me they were much concerned at the idea of the harem precincts being entered, and begged I would keep my men from coming in. I promised to do so, and gave orders accordingly, but had hardly entered twenty yards when I saw my companions casting uneasy glances behind me. I looked back, and found that a corporal and four Sepoys had put on their uniforms, and were following me. I returned, and set them to work again. My companions seemed much pleased, and with great civility renewed their invitation to me; but again I was followed by a party of my men, and on my asking somewhat angrily why my orders were disobeyed, the native officer took me aside and remonstrated with me for going alone with two treacherous scoundrels, who would, he said, as likely as not assassinate me. He had ordered the guard twice in with me, and hoped I would not again leave them. I thought his advice good, and was pleased with his fidelity. Major Carnegie, who had left to fetch carts, returned just now, and he and I together entered the beautiful gardens of the Khaiser Bagh, probably the first Europeans who had ever done so. We found arms in plenty stored in the rooms below the building, and were loading carts with them the whole day.'
June 29th. – I renewed my request to be moved to-day, but was told that the rebels were so very near, that we might be attacked at any moment, and a tent would not then be safe quarters for me; so I reluctantly remained where I was. The force that had remained in cantonments came in this afternoon; part came into the Residency, and part were sent to the Muchee Bowun fort. Colonel Case was in command at the latter place; he wrote a most beautiful letter to his wife, not expecting to be able to visit her; but to her great joy he came over in the evening, and they spent a happy half-hour together, little dreaming it was to be their last on earth. I did not see him, but as he passed through our room I called out, 'Good-bye, Colonel Case; I hope we may meet again under happier circumstances.' We of course all felt deeply anxious. Captain Birch was desired to go to John at ten p.m. for orders; he did so, and found him with Sir Henry. He ordered him to take a party of the 32nd down to the iron bridge. The enemy were close upon us – eight miles on the Chinhut road. It was Sir Henry's intention to attack them in the morning, and this party was to prevent anyone crossing the bridge. There were so few officers of the 32nd, that Captain Birch was sent in command. He asked to take his Sikhs, and John inquired if they could be trusted, as it was so important that no communication of our intentions should reach the enemy. Hearing how well they had behaved on the previous day at the Khaiser Bagh, he gave the required permission.
Tuesday, 30th. – At daylight this morning Mrs. Case told me that a great commotion was going on outside, and that evidently a force was leaving the Residency. We had not then heard of the intended expedition, and I felt very much distressed, as John had promised he would not go out again without coming to say good-bye to me. I was feeling very unwell, and slept uneasily for some time, and on awaking said, 'Oh, I have dreamt that our troops have been signally defeated!' I almost laughed at the idea; but it was too true. A wounded officer soon afterwards came in and said the cavalry had deserted us. Then the news arrived that our native artillery had proved faithless, that our force was retreating, and that it was doubtful if we could save our guns. The greatest excitement and consternation prevailed. I could remain in bed no longer, but posted myself at the window, from whence I could see our poor soldiers returning – a most mournful sight. They were straggling in by twos and threes, some riding, some on guns, some supported by their comrades. All seemed thoroughly exhausted. I could see the flashes of the muskets, and on the opposite side of the river could distinguish large bodies of the enemy through the trees. Mrs. Case came up to me at this time, and said, 'Oh, Mrs. Inglis, go to bed; I have just heard Colonel Inglis and William' (her husband) 'are both safe.' I said, 'Why, I did not know Colonel Case was out.' A few minutes afterwards John came in, he was crying; and, after kissing me, turned to Mrs. Case, and said, 'Poor Case!' Never shall I forget the shock his words gave me, or the cry of agony from the poor widow. Mrs. Polehampton took her into her room and tried to tranquillize her. John could not stop a moment. Just then Mrs. Stevens came to ask me about her husband, a captain in the 32nd. I had just heard he was also killed, and persuading her to go down quietly into her room, sent Mrs. Giddings to tell her. It was a wretched moment, but there was no time for thought; the enemy was already firing heavily on our position, and our room was not safe, so we prepared to leave it, and began to pack a few necessaries. One of our servants, Curruk, a tent-pitcher, and who acted as a sort of nurse to Johnny, showed his honesty at this time, I had commenced to pay the servants' wages, when the news of our defeat came and interrupted me, and I had a large bag of rupees. These and my jewels I gave into our butler's charge, when Curruk said to me, 'Don't give him those things to take care of – don't give them to me – keep them yourself.' He evidently thought the temptation of possessing money at such a time might prove too great, and might induce them to desert us. And I followed his advice. We soon abandoned the upper story of the house, and took refuge in a small, almost underground, room where the artillery women were quartered. The shot were flying about too thickly outside for us to venture out. The windows were barricaded, rendering us comparatively safe; and there we remained all day, listening anxiously to the rapid musketry firing which was going on all round our defences. A soldier occasionally came in and told us we were getting on well, and once or twice John looked in on us for a minute. He eased my mind by telling me he had been quite against our troops going out; he said the affair had done us irreparable injury, and had brought our troubles upon us at least two days sooner than would otherwise have been the case. Our khansamah (butler), who behaved admirably, managed to bring us something to eat during the day. We had not long left the upper room, when a shell fell into it, showing that our retreat had not been too speedy. Towards evening the fire slackened, and John took us all over to a court in the centre of our position, where he had prepared a small room for us. I was carried over on a sofa, which I made my bed. We all slept, fairly worn out with wretchedness. There was hardly any firing during the night.
The following account of this disastrous day is thus given by Captain Birch:
'At six a.m. on the morning of June 30 the force formed up between the gate of the Residency and the iron bridge. Captain Hamilton Forbes, with a party of Sikh cavalry, twenty-five of H.M.'s 32nd, under Captain Stevens, and my twenty-five Sikhs, formed the advanced guard. We had gone but a short distance, when Captain Wilson, assistant adjutant-general, rode up and told me that Sir Henry required my services as A.D.C., his own A.D.C., Captain George Hutchinson, an engineer officer, being employed elsewhere. We marched some miles up the road towards Chinhut, until we came to a group of trees. It was discovered that the enemy had fallen back to a strong position in the rear of the village, and it was a question as to whether we should advance further. Sir Henry was himself against doing so, but was over-persuaded by the ardour of the younger members of his staff. Neither Brigadier Inglis, Colonel Case, commanding 32nd, as fine an officer as ever stepped, nor Captain Wilson, were present during this discussion. Sir Henry sent me to ask the brigadier if his men could go on. He gave the only possible answer, as I take it: "Of course they could, if ordered." I returned with this answer, and was immediately sent back with orders for the force to advance. And here I must mention what I consider was a great mistake, the not halting the men for refreshment. The elephants were up with commissariat stores, and it would have been easy to give them their breakfast; but this useful opportunity was lost, and the force advanced with empty stomachs, under a burning sun. The road lay between two villages, the one slightly in advance of the other, in the direction of the position the enemy had taken up. The advanced guard was ordered to occupy the village on the left of the road. The heavy guns opened fire, the 32nd being kept in reserve. I cannot say what the details exactly were, because, as soon as the advance guard was ordered to skirmish, I got leave and joined my Sikhs, under Captain Stevens. We were not supported, but maintained our position in the village for some time. Our artillery firing over our heads broke the centre of the enemy. These were so numerous that they divided into wings, and seeing that we did not advance, they took the initiative, and came down on both flanks. I am told that the reason we did not advance was because there was treachery in our ranks. It appears that the Sikh cavalry refused to charge, and the native gunners, cutting the traces of the horses, left the guns and went over to the enemy. Meanwhile, left unsupported as we were, it became necessary to abandon our former position, and Captain Stevens ordered us to retire, but not before several casualties had occurred. As we left the village, the enemy seized it at a bound. We retreated on the 32nd, and found Colonel Case in the act of deploying. The corps, 300 strong, stood in the space between the two villages, which by this time were both in possession of the enemy. A cross fire was kept up, which caused the 32nd serious loss: Colonel Case and his adjutant, the only mounted officers, and half the force, were left for dead on the field. The remainder took up a position near a sandhill under the command of Captain Mansfield. I went up to Colonel Case as he lay on the ground, caught his charger for him, and tried to help him on to it; but he was again hit, and gave up the attempt. Nothing more could be done; the fire was extremely hot; we shook hands with him, and as we did so the pallor of death came over his face, and I think he must have expired before the enemy reached him. For a moment I thought of jumping on his horse, but fortunately did not do so, as I should have inevitably been shot. My own horse, which I had left when I joined the skirmishers, was never recovered. Meanwhile, the volunteer cavalry, under Captain Radcliffe, formed across the road to cover the retreat, which had turned to a rout. Our eight-inch howitzer was lost, as well as two other of the guns of the Oude irregular force. Sir Henry only left the field when matters became irretrievable, to give directions for the defence of the Residency, which that day commenced. The enemy followed us very closely the whole way back; the troops were utterly disheartened, and not until we reached the iron bridge, where Sir Henry's forethought had already placed a fresh company of the 32nd, under Lieutenant Edmonstone, was any semblance of formation or discipline regained. Our loss was most severe: nearly 200 killed and wounded, Colonel Case, Captain Stevens, Mr. Brackenbury and Mr. Thompson, 32nd, killed, and Captain Maclean, 71st N.I., Colonel Symons, artillery, Captain James, commissariat, Mr. Farquhar, 7th Cavalry, Captain Bassano, 32nd, and several others, wounded.'
Such was the result of this ill-fated expedition; it had shown our weakness to the enemy, lost us some of our best and bravest men, and depressed the spirits of all in the garrison to a sad extent. John had his horse shot under him, and walked three miles, when Sir Henry ordered him to mount a trooper's charger, and bring the 32nd in. He said he had never before been under such heavy fire, and quite gave up all hope. Strange to say, the excitement and knocking about of this day didn't do me any harm, though the small-pox was at its height with me. Mrs. Case and her sister both preferred remaining with me to seeking shelter elsewhere, and did not seem at all afraid of infection. I was very anxious on their account and the children's, whom I could not keep away from my sofa. Our room, which really formed part of a native gaol, was very small, hardly more than a verandah, about twelve feet by six feet, with no doors nor windows, only arches; but we put up screens and curtains, which gave us a certain amount of privacy; and we had an outhouse attached, which we used as a bath-room, a great luxury. The servants who remained with us were our khansamah, who acted as cook, Curruk, and Quibert, who took care of the boys; my ayah and her son, John's khidmatgar, and four punkah coolies. Mrs. Case had also several servants, so we were well off. The cook and his wife were the only ones who ran away; the others were outside the Residency when the siege commenced. Our bearer, an excellent servant, went out to try and bring in his wife, and could not get back again. Mrs. Case's ayah was at her house ill. Our syces (grooms) also remained faithful. Many persons were left with only one or two servants, and some with none. We had our goats inside, and John had laid in a stock of food for them, and many little comforts for ourselves. The inhabitants of our court consisted principally of half-caste clerks and their families. In the next square to us lived a good many of the ladies, who were all together in a large room, and very uncomfortable. The officers of the native regiments had also their mess-room there. On the other side of us was a square occupied by Sikhs of the 71st N.I., and some Christian drummers and their wives. Our courtyard was considered the safest of the three. We had two wells in it, and abundance of good water. Rations were issued daily to every member of the garrison – beef, rice, flour, tea or coffee, sugar and biscuit, at this time in very ample quantities. Before continuing my narrative, I will give Captain Birch's account of our post and its defences. He says:
'Our position was commanded on several sides; the fact is, our preparations for defence were only half completed when the siege commenced, and many of the buildings surrounding us had been left standing. On one side only was there anything like open ground, and on this side resort was had to a temporary expedient, which will show how unprepared we were. A large stack of firewood had been collected close by the Residency house. It was pointed out how dangerous this might become if set on fire; so the stack was pulled down, and rearranged in semicircular form on the west of the lawn in front of the house; earth was thrown over it, and throughout the siege no better defence than this slender rampart existed on that side. On the day of our departure, the hot metal from some exploded guns penetrated this faggot rampart, and set it on fire, and we left it in a blaze. I was always of opinion that the enemy, deceived by this ramparts appearance, thought it solid earth. Besides this rampart, we had the battery named the Redan, and next to it the outpost established in Lieutenant Innes' former dwelling, and hence called Innes' outpost. This was a much-exposed place; its chief utility consisted in its flanking fire, which protected the churchyard; the church itself was filled with grain and bhoosa for the beasts, but had no garrison in it, as the ground before it left it so liable to a surprise. This was the weakest point in the whole defence, and one which caused the greatest anxiety to Brigadier Inglis. The dead were nightly buried in the churchyard, and the funeral parties were constantly fired at. On the other side of the churchyard came the bhoosa post, commanded by Captain J. F. Boileau of the 7th Native Cavalry, perhaps the most trying post in the whole garrison, for here the commissariat butchers' operations took place; and the offal was thrown over the wall, the effluvium being terrific. Next came the garrison located in Mr. Gubbins' house, under the command of Major Apthorpe of the 41st N.I., which had a heavy battery in the corner of the garden. Between Gubbins' house and the brigade-mess were the Sikh squares, in which the horses of the Sikh cavalry were kept, and which had a mixed garrison of Christian drummers, as well as of Sikhs, under the command of officers relieved in weekly rotation. Then came the brigade-mess, in which all the officers of the native infantry regiments, whose men had mutinied, were put together under the command of the senior officer, Colonel Masters. This was a high building, and from the roof the best rifle-shots caused considerable annoyance to the enemy. Colonel Masters was constantly hailing from the top, and from this practice got the name of "admiral." He was a fine old fellow, and would have been probably selected by the staff to the command had anything occurred, which, thank Heaven! it did not, to Brigadier Inglis. The true value of the brigadier's life may be estimated by the difficulty there would have been in replacing him; and the survivors of the eighty-seven days may indeed thank God that he was spared to us. Next in order to the brigade mess came the house in which the boys of the Martinière College were lodged. This was opposite to a house outside our entrenchments which had been the shop of one Johannes, an Armenian merchant. It was flanked on both sides, and had no protection but its own thick wall and low-lying position. The most dangerous outwork was the Cawnpore battery, which came next; but was so overlooked, and so exposed to the enemy's fire, that the guns had to be withdrawn, and the battery turned into a musketry one. It was an onerous command, and the troops were relieved daily under a captain. But the principal means of defence on this side was a post, commanded by and named after Captain Anderson, 25th N.I. It was severely handled, and almost destroyed by the enemy. It was, perhaps, the most exposed post in the whole garrison, and the only one called by the name of its own commander during the siege. Mr. W.C. Capper, of the Civil Service, was the second in command of this glorious Anderson's post. Following the line of defence came the house in which was the office of the financial commissioner. It was commanded alternately by several of the captains of the infantry regiments; near this was the native hospital. Next in order of the outside defences came the post-office garrison and battery, underneath which lay the small outpost called Sago's, having been once the residence of a Mrs. Sago. Then came the Bailie Guard gate, the name by which the natives called our whole entrenchment. Holding this gate were the remnants of the 13th N.I., under the command of Lieutenant Aitkin; and above these, again, came the remnants of the 71st N.I., which completed the circle of our defences.
'In the interior were the European and native hospitals (the former situated in the banqueting-hall), Dr. Fayrer's house, the Begum Kotee, and the Thug Gaol, in the cells of which our ladies were placed, whilst the women of the 32nd were put in the tykhana, or underground rooms of the Residency house. The force at the commencement of this memorable siege of eighty-seven days, which comprised all the real operations, entitled to be called "the Defence of Lucknow," under the command of Brigadier Inglis, consisted of the following troops:
|7th Light Cavalry||9|
|13th Native Infantry||250|
Double this number of natives had remained true to their salt, and never mutinied; but it was not deemed advisable to keep them all, as they outnumbered the European portion of the garrison.1 Besides these trained soldiers came a large and important body of 150 volunteers, consisting of officers whose men had mutinied, clerks of the Government offices, merchants and tradesmen, all of whom had to put on cross-belts, and shoulder their muskets. They were distributed in parties with the regular troops throughout the garrison, and were most useful. Our losses at Chinhut considerably reduced our numbers. The 32nd marched out of Lucknow after the defence only 250 strong, and the other regiments suffered in proportion. Besides the fighting men there were 500 women and children, some of whom, in spite of all our precautions, suffered from shot and shell. We mounted of guns and mortars about thirty pieces, but had not men to work them all properly. About 1,700 shells were expended during the siege. Lieutenant Bonham, of the artillery, supplied the loss of our eight-inch howitzer very ingeniously, by rigging up an eight-inch mortar on to a truck. This proved very useful for throwing shells, howitzer fashion, straight at the enemy, and was nicknamed by the soldiers "the Ship."
July 1st. – Woke early, and managed to get some breakfast. John came in and told us we should soon hear heavy firing; his words were verified, and in a few minutes the cannonading and musketry firing were most terrific. We felt sure the enemy must get in, when the most terrible death awaited us. We sat trembling, hardly able to breathe, when Mrs. Case proposed reading the Litany, and came with her sister and knelt down by my bedside; the soothing effect of prayer was marvellous. We felt different beings, and, though still much alarmed, could talk calmly of our danger, knowing that we were in God's hands, and that without His will not all the fury of the enemy could hurt us. The firing soon after slackened, and we heard that the enemy had been beaten back on all sides, though they had made vigorous attempts to storm the place. Poor Miss Palmer had her leg taken off by a round shot to-day, she, with some other ladies, having remained in the second story of the Residency house, though warned that it was not safe. At night there was heavy firing, and at twelve o'clock a tremendous explosion which alarmed us much. I thought the Residency house was destroyed, but we soon heard that the Muchee Bowun fort had been evacuated by Sir H. Lawrence's orders and blown up, and that the whole force, with their sick, prisoners, and treasure, had made their way from thence to the Residency without encountering one of the enemy. It was a splendidly-managed affair, and strengthened our garrison considerably. It appears that after our losses at Chinhut it was found impossible to hold both places, and after returning from that disastrous fight Captain Birch was asked by Major Anderson if he would ride to the fort with an order to withdraw the garrison. He said he did not believe he would ever have got there, but a happy thought struck him; he said to Major Anderson: 'What is the use of the semaphore at the top of the Residency house if you cannot work it now?' His advice was taken, the signal given, and the retreat effected. The explosion did not take place till the column had safely reached the Residency. Captain Birch says:
'The suspense was awful; much of our ammunition was lost, and it seemed a pity, but it would never have done for the enemy to get it; and when all was over, we were satisfied that we had done the best we could with our weakened resources. The next day Brigadier Inglis, whose delight was intense at getting the rest of his regiment under his wing, proceeded to distribute it through the entrenchment; and here it may be well to mention how greatly the success of the defence, which depended so much on the disposition of our scanty numbers, and the vigilance of individual sentries, was owing to the skilful arrangements made from the first by this able tactician. The brigadier, having his own regiment under him, knew every sergeant and every soldier by name, and this personal knowledge proved most useful on many occasions. I remember upon one occasion some of the regiment getting over a wall, and being mistaken for the enemy, when the brigadier recognised the face of one of his own men, and just in time prevented our firing. Numerous instances could be given of the immense value of his personal influence and activity, which served to prevent accidents, and to keep in harmonious working order all the diverse elements of which our garrison was composed. Details of H.M.'s 32nd were placed in every house. The faithful remnants of the native infantry regiments were kept together under picked officers belonging to each, and the company of the 84th was held in reserve near the brigadier's own quarters, in the centre of the position, ready to go down to any point that was threatened. The native prisoners that we had, princes of the royal houses of Delhi and Oude, were confined in the banqueting-hall, a part of which was also used as a hospital, and their presence, as soon as it was known, saved our sick and wounded from being fired on.'
Thursday, 2nd. – When John came to us this morning he told us the sad news that poor Sir Henry had had his thigh broken by a shell from the howitzer we lost at Chinhut, and was not expected to live. He had just been receiving Holy Communion with him, and had wished him good-bye. We were indeed grieved, for independently of the loss he would be to our garrison, we all loved as a friend the dear old man who seemed to live only to do good. It appears that, before the shell which proved so fatal, another had been pitched into his apartment, raising a cloud of dust, and his staff had begged him to shift his quarters; but he had answered, in his cheery way, that sailors always consider the safest place in a ship to be that where the shot had last made a hole, and he did not think it likely that such another good aim would be made. But the event proved otherwise. Another shell came pitched precisely as the first, and this time the effect was fatal, and Sir Henry mortally wounded. He was carried to Dr. Fayrer's house; the wound was in the thigh too high up to allow of amputation, and all that could be done was to give narcotics to ease the pain. It became necessary to provide for a successor to the chief-commissionership, and he appointed Major Banks. He had some time previously sent the following telegram to the governor-general: 'If anything happens to me during present disturbances, I earnestly recommend that Major Banks succeed me as chief-commissioner, and Colonel Inglis in command of the troops until better times arrive. This is no time for punctilio as regards seniority. They are the right men – in fact, the only men – for the places.'
Friday, 3rd. – Firing continued unceasingly. Miss Palmer died. John told us yesterday that the first relief we might expect would be in three weeks, when three Goorkha regiments might arrive. Each had been promised £10,000; they were to come from Nepaul. Captain Power, 32nd, was seriously wounded to-day.
Saturday, 4th. – Poor Sir Henry died to-day, after suffering fearful pain, which he had borne nobly. He was a good man and a true Christian. Almost his last request was that Government should be urged to supply his place to the Lawrence Asylum, which would be nearly ruined by his death. As an artillery officer, a clear-headed and most judicious general, and a most efficient civilian, thoroughly understanding the native character, and knowing how to deal with them, his loss to our garrison was irreparable. Thunder and rain at night. We heard dreadful shouting and screaming in the city; it was fearful to think how near the wretches were to us. We afterwards learnt they had been plundering and committing the most dreadful atrocities. Their being employed in this way the first few nights of the siege doubtless saved our garrison. Though they came boldly forward and invested us on all sides, they could not resist the temptation to plunder which the defenceless city afforded; and this gave us time to settle down. Had the enemy at once charged us after Chinhut, in all probability every man of our small force would have been annihilated; and had they at once assaulted our entrenchments, so great was the confusion, that the garrison would most likely have been put to the sword. The plunder of the city saved us our first night.
5th and 6th. – Nothing particular occurred. Sir Henry was buried. The desire to show respect and affection for him by attending his funeral was so general, that John, thinking it invidious to select, forbade any but the staff to be present. It would never have done to permit the garrison to be left improperly defended, and a large crowd would also have attracted the enemy's fire.
Captain Birch thus describes the state of affairs at this juncture: 'The brigadier now took measures to render our position, in a sanitary point of view, more endurable. Fatigue parties were told off under cover of the night to bury the dead horses and bullocks that lay strewed about, and which it was impossible to approach by daylight. Many loose animals, maddened by hunger or thirst, had to be secured, or, if wounded, shot down. It was a work of some danger. Outlying commissariat stores, exposed to fire, had to be emptied. Officers and volunteers were told off for these duties, as the trained soldiers were mostly kept to their arms. The great object was to keep the men under cover in the positions they knew. The constant brigade order was to keep under cover, always to be on the alert, and never to fire a shot unless you could see your man. This saved a great deal of ammunition, and on occasions of attack enabled us to give the enemy a warm reception. Few, except the staff and cook-boys, really knew their way about the entrenchments. Members of the different garrisons rarely left their posts, and then only at night. when they could not see. The cook-boys had to take the men's dinners to the various garrisons, and many were shot. I can say what is the truth, that Brigadier Inglis and his staff in their daily and nightly rounds were more exposed than any other members of the garrison. Once by day and once by night the brigadier went his rounds. Captain Wilson, adjutant-general, went round also, and I had to go at daylight every morning to collect the reports of the casualties of the previous night, so that the garrison was always kept on the alert. Had it been otherwise, a moment's carelessness might have been our ruin. It has been imputed, though I cannot say from what sources, that room could only be found for 10,000 men round our position, and reliefs were said to be weekly made. I do not think these numbers were exaggerated. Our position was a very straggling one, with quite room enough for ten regiments, and the way in which all outlets were entirely barred showed we must be well surrounded. Our spies, with one or two exceptions, were prevented going out, and no information from outside reached us for a long time. The remainder of the mutinous troops – most of whom were Oude men – were living in free quarters in the city, or had gone on short excursions to their homes. They were supplemented by large numbers of the martial population of Oude matchlock men, and men armed with bows and arrows. Many of their arrows were found in the entrenchment; some had oiled wicks attached to the end, with the intention of setting fire to our grain-stacks, on which the commissariat cattle depended for food. Other unearthly weapons were used against us, amongst them huge blocks of wood, which came swinging through the air, and must have been propelled by an extemporized funnel in the earth charged with powder. The men were highly amused with them, and used to say when they saw them, "Here comes a barrel of beer at last." They did not do much damage, but were very heavy, and if they alighted on the roof of a house, would make their way down through all the stories. There were two or three of the enemy who were most persistent in their attacks upon us, and who never left us for a day. 'Two of these were nicknamed "Bob the nailer" and "Jim the rifleman," the first so called from the good shots he made. He was an officer, and had a first-rate double-barrelled rifle. It was fortunate that, just before the siege commenced, the whole of the white clothing of the troops had been dyed kharkee, or mud colour, as washermen were conspicuous by their absence. Some of the refugees from the neighbouring stations presented a most ragged appearance. One officer, whose clothes had been torn in the jungle, cut the cloth off the Residency billiard-table, and donned a suit of Lincoln green. Our ladies were many of them put to sore straits as the siege continued; they had no servants, and had to cook their own food and wash their own clothes. Firewood was scarce, owing to the principal stock, as I have said, being turned into a rampart; and I have seen ladies going out, at the risk of being shot, to pick up sticks. The palings round the Residency garden disappeared in this way. All had to undergo the hardships of bad cooking and coarse food. The boys of the Martinière College, and such servants as were left, helped to grind the corn with the hand-mills used in India for this purpose, and an officer was detailed to overlook the labour and prevent waste and peculation. Nothing was thrown away. The full rations at first starting were a pound of meat and a pound of flour per man; this was reduced to twelve ounces, then to six, and after General Havelock's arrival to four ounces. Women got three-quarter rations, children half. Except for hospital comforts, and here and there private stores, there was little else procurable in the garrison – no bread, butter, milk, eggs, vegetables, wines, beer or tobacco. The lack of vegetables was most sorely felt, and was the cause of much illness; and the want of sugar and milk was most trying to the children, amongst whom there was a great mortality. The men took to smoking green leaves instead of tobacco, and many had to go to hospital in consequence.'
July 7th. – A sally was made this morning by the light company 32nd and some Sikhs, under Captain Lawrence and Captain Mansfield, Mr. Green, 13th N.I., and Mr. Studdy, the latter leading the sortie. The object was to search a house outside our position, called Johannes House, where the enemy was supposed to be mining. A hole was made in the wall large enough to admit of one man getting out at a time, and we kept up heavy cannonading during the process to hide the sound and to divert the enemy's attention. The party started at twelve o'clock, after the men had had some dinner, and John had said a few words to them. I felt very sad as they passed through our courtyard, for I thought perhaps few would return. However, in a quarter of an hour, or less, their work was done. They rushed into Johannes House, Ensign Studdy being the first to go through the wall, bayoneted some thirty men they found there, and then, reckless as soldiers are, were running down the Cawnpore road, when John called them back. We had one Sikh and one 32nd man slightly wounded, and poor Cuney, of the band, severely so in two places. He was a fine fellow, and had once before made a sortie on his own account and spiked a gun. He sat down on our doorstep, and John gave him some brandy and praised him for his bravery. Captain Lawrence had one of the legs of his trousers blown to pieces, but was not touched. This little affair raised all our spirits, as it had been so thoroughly successful, and showed what we could do. As we were at dinner this evening an officer was carried by on a litter, and on inquiry we heard it was Major Francis, of the 13th N.I., who had just had both his legs nearly taken off by a round shot, when sitting on a chair at the top of the brigade-mess-house. Death ensued very shortly.
84th. – Mr. Polehampton, one of our chaplains, was shot through the body to-day whilst shaving himself in the hospital; the wound was at first thought to be dangerous, but no vital part was touched. His wife, Mrs. Gall and Mrs. Barber, both widows, lived in the hospital at this time, and attended to the sick and wounded. I quite envied them for being able to do some good. Rain fell heavily this morning. At one p.m. there was severe firing, and a piece of a shell fell close to our khansamah whilst he was cooking his dinner; it did not seem to alarm him much. He was with John all through the siege of Mooltan, and used to take him his dinner to the trenches, quite regardless of all the balls flying about. We found him invaluable – indeed, all our servants behaved well. My poor ayah's husband and child were outside, which made her very miserable. By this time we had settled down into a pretty regular life. John breakfasted and dined with us every day, and managed to read the psalms and prayers with us in the morning, which was a great comfort, and prepared us for each day's trials; but beyond this I saw very little of him, unless the firing was particularly heavy, when he would just look in after it was over to show he was all right. A number of horses were turned out to-day, as we had not food for them; four of ours were amongst the number. My hill pony, called Ducrow, a curiously marked animal, was on the point of being ousted, when a Sikh saw him, and took such a fancy to him that he begged to exchange him for one of his own horses.
July 19th. – Heavy firing this morning. Numberless reports that the enemy were mining, which seemed more terrible than anything else.
11th. – Fewer casualties than usual to-day. John was led to believe last night that the enemy intended making an attack, and every man was ready at his post, but nothing occurred. The soldiers all slept in their trenches at night.
Sunday,12th. – Very heavy firing last night. John read the morning service to us.
13th. – Mr. Charlton, 32nd, was badly wounded to-day: it was feared mortally, as the ball lodged in the back of his head. He had only just joined, and was quite young. He ultimately recovered. Very heavy rain in the evening, filling the trenches, and adding very much to the suffering and discomfort of the poor men, many of whom had no change of clothing.
14th. – There was again an idea this morning that the enemy intended making an attack, and all the fighting men in our courtyard turned out; but it proved another false alarm. As we were sitting outside our door in the evening, a young officer ran past, and advised us to go inside, as the balls were flying about; and soon afterwards John came down with some men dragging tents along, and we heard they were to fill up a breach that had just been made in the wall behind the brigade mess-house, where the ladies lived. A 32nd man was carried by, who had had his leg taken off by a round shot.
15th. – Dr. Scott, 32nd, came to see us. He had been very ill. The meeting between him and Mrs. Case was a very painful one, as he had not seen her since her husband's death, and they had been great friends. I talked to him for some time, and consulted him about baby, who was looking thin and weak.
16th. – When John came this morning he told us that his soldier servant, Vokins, had lost his leg. He was standing in the portico of the Residency house, which was considered a safe spot, when a round shell hit him. Amputation was considered necessary. He was too weak for chloroform, and he asked John to hold him while the operation was being performed, of course he complied with his request. This was Johnny's fourth birthday, a sad one to us all. I thought much of the 32nd children, who used to have a dinner and dance on this day, and wondered what their condition was, for I could never believe the report of the Nana's treachery, and little did I dream that on this very day the last scene in this dreadful tragedy was being enacted, and these children with their mothers were being murdered in cold blood. We managed to get some toys for Johnny from a merchant inside. John had a most providential escape to-day; he left his little room in the Residency house rather earlier than usual, and soon after a round shot came through the door and passed over his bed. Had he been in his room, he could hardly have been untouched. He had told us only the day before that he believed the enemy had discovered his whereabouts, and I had begged him to change his quarters. He now decided to do so. Mrs. Case was very unwell this evening. Very heavy firing at night.
17th. – Mrs. Case still very ill. Dr. Scott said she was suffering from suppressed grief; she had exerted herself so much after hearing of her husband being killed, and nature could not be resisted any longer. Captain Mansfield, 32nd, came to see us. I paid Mrs. Cowper a visit in the evening; it was the first time I had seen her since I had the small-pox. She was living in a wretchedly small room, with her nurse and two children, in the court next to us. In order not to disturb Mrs. Case, we dined in a large sort of barn at the end of our yard, where our boxes were stowed away and our goats lived. She took a composing draught at night, but just as it was beginning to take effect fearful firing commenced, and awoke her. I sat on her bed for some time holding her hand, and trying to reassure her, at the same time I was myself trembling with fright. The firing soon ceased, but the alarm had done her so much harm that she nearly sank from weakness. It was an anxious night. The enemy generally made more noise at night than at other times, I suppose to harass us; but John ordered the men to lie quiet in the trenches, and not to return the firing, and there were seldom many casualties on these occasions.
18th. – A tolerably quiet day, heavy firing for a short time at night. Mr. and Mrs. Thornhill, Civil Service, came to see us. In the middle of the day John told us that the dead body of a man was lying outside the Residency gate, and he fancied it must be a messenger, who had been shot trying to get to us. When it got dusk he, Captain Wilson, and Captain Birch, with eight soldiers, managed to drag the body in; it was that of a woman, and she had no letter or paper of any kind about her.
Sunday,19th. – Mr. Arthur, 7th Cavalry, was killed to-day at the Cawnpore battery. Mr. Harmer, 32nd, had his leg fractured by the splint of a table struck by a round shot, which came into the mess-room whilst the officers were at breakfast. I was much shocked this morning at hearing from John that Mr. Polehampton the chaplain had been attacked with cholera; he had only just recovered from his wound. I felt very down to-day. John's old room was set on fire last night by the explosion of a carcase.
I now turn to Captain Birch's narrative of outside events. He says:
'Things had fairly settled down the first week after Brigadier Inglis assumed command. Rains had commenced, but the heat at intervals was very excessive. Commissariat returns were lessened every third day, so as to eke out our resources to the utmost. The enemy's fire never ceased, night nor day, and the casualties were frequent. The bad smells from imperfectly buried bodies was horrible; the want of change of diet was beginning to be felt, and in addition to other diseases cholera, small-pox, and especially scurvy, began to be fearfully prevalent. We lost several fine fellows from these diseases, who had escaped the enemy's fire. Scurvy took the form of loose teeth, swollen heads, and boils, and gained the name of 'garrison disease.' Men began to pull long faces at the absence of all news from without, or prospect of relief, and several suicides occurred. There was no possibility of our moving out ourselves, encumbered as we were with so many women and children, besides the sick and wounded. We kept fifty horses besides those belonging to a couple of field-guns, in case it might be possible to create a diversion by sortie in favour of a relieving force. But there appeared to be little chance of using them, surrounded as we were by narrow streets and brick buildings, except on the side of the river. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to keep good heart, and to husband our resources, both in ammunition and provisions. On the whole, the garrison kept up their spirits well. Whilst the drinkables lasted there was possibly some boasting and vapouring begotten of Dutch courage, and some stores of liquor in European shops, which had escaped notice and were got at by the soldiers, caused some drunkenness; but the supplies were soon exhausted, and with reduced diet and plain water, which was abundant and good, the conduct of the men became exemplary. The instances of cowardice and shirking were very few, those of fortitude, courage, and brave endurance very many. As an example of brilliant courage, which to my mind made him one of the heroes of the siege, I must instance Private Cuney, H.M. 32nd. His exploits were marvellous; he was backed by a Sepoy named Kandial, who simply adored him. Single-handed and without any orders, Cuney would go outside our position, and he knew more of the enemy's movements than anyone else. It was impossible to be really angry with him. Over and over again he was put into the guard-room for disobedience of orders, and as often let out when there was fighting to be done. On one occasion he surprised one of the enemy's batteries, into which he crawled, followed by his faithful Sepoy, bayoneting four men and spiking the guns. If ever there was a man deserving the V.C. it was Cuney. He seemed to bear a charmed life. He was often wounded, and several times left his bed to volunteer for a sortie. He loved fighting for its own sake. After surviving all the perils of the siege, he was at last killed in a sortie made after General Havelock's arrival. The casualties amongst the artillery, owing to the exposed position of our batteries, were very numerous. Every officer was either killed or wounded, and to supply their places several officers of the native infantry, whose men had mutinied, some civil engineers, and some gentlemen of independent means, who had come to visit the country, were trained in artillery drill, and so proficient did they become, that each in turn came to be entrusted with a command. Two or three – Lieutenant Ward, Mr. Macrae, Mr. Lucas, and Mr. Cameron – especially distinguished themselves. The first two were skilled in throwing shells, a difficult task, as, the enemy being so close to us, it required great care to prevent the shell exploding in our own lines. Bits constantly came singing back to us. The enemy's artillery practice was very good. The peculiarities of our position rendered us very liable to be undermined on every side. The enemy had skilled sappers and miners, and the mines we discovered during the siege were beautifully constructed, though they often lost the direction underground. Every sortie that was made against us was preceded by the explosion of a mine, and the garrison was constantly employed in countermining. Around each salient point a defensive underground passage was constructed, into which a sentry had periodically to crawl and listen for the approach of the enemy's workmen; it then became a question of judgment and skill where to explode our own mine, so as to destroy the enemy's gallery, and bury the unfortunate pioneers. In fact, all through the siege there was going on an underground campaign, in which we did not always get the best of it.'
July 20th. – Early this morning all were on the alert, as the officer on the look-out tower of the Residency house reported that the enemy was moving in large masses, and was evidently assembling for a vigorous attack. Every man was at his post. However, we went to breakfast, and John sat down with us, receiving constant reports of the movements of the enemy. Suddenly we heard a sound that had never greeted our ears before, like a gun being fired off under our feet. John immediately rushed out, knowing it was the explosion of a mine. That was the signal for an attack, and fierce musketry firing commenced on both sides. The noise was terrific, and that of heavy cannonading and whizzing shells was soon added. The enemy were completely repulsed with great loss. They advanced very bravely at first. Captain Birch says that the mine exploded in the direction of the Redan battery, leaving an enormous crater. Innes' house bore the brunt of the attack, and gallantly repulsed it under Mr. Loughman, 13th N.I. On the opposite side of our position an attack was also made on the Cawnpore battery. The enemy advanced boldly, and left a scaling-ladder inside the ditch; but their hearts failed them, and the hand grenades with which they were saluted quickly drove them away. Our casualties were slight, four men killed and twelve wounded, Mr. Grant, Mr. Hely, 7th Cavalry, and Mr. Edmonstone, 32nd, wounded. This attack and its complete repulse raised all our spirits, and gave us confidence that with God's help we should be able to hold out till succour arrived. It was the severest assault the enemy had yet made, and John said the bullets fell like hail. He was, of course, exposed to great danger whilst it lasted, and great was my thankfulness when I heard he was uninjured. I was speaking to a 32nd man to-day, and saying how foolish it was of the men to expose themselves as they did, when there were the trenches to protect them. 'Yes,' he said, 'but it's not in the way of Englishmen to fight behind walls.' It was the case throughout the siege, that there were more casualties on a quiet day than when there was heavy firing, as the men used to get careless and forget their danger. Poor Mr. Polehampton died to-day during the attack. All grieved much for him and his poor young widow.
John issued the following order to the troops after the day's fighting: 'The brigadier commanding congratulates the force on the determined manner in which the attack made on the position was repulsed. When all behaved well, it is invidious to draw comparisons; but the manner in which the garrison outposts drove back the enemy is worthy of the highest commendation.'
In speaking of the state of our defences at this time, Captain Birch says:
'The chief engineer officer, Major Anderson, had been unable, owing to illness, to leave his bed since the siege commenced. Captain Fulton, the next senior, therefore, took his place, and was the brigadier's right hand – he was indefatigable. Under his direction a regular network of defensive mines was constructed. The 32nd, being a Cornish regiment, had some good miners in it. One man especially, Day by name, was most skilled.'
21st. – Major Banks was killed to-day on the top of Mr. Gubbins' house; he was exposing himself too much, being a gallant soldier, and forgetting how much more valuable his head was than his hands. Yesterday, during the attack, he was going about carrying shot and shell. John wrote to him a strong letter on the subject, reminding him how valuable his life was, and of the loss he would be were he to be killed or disabled. He was an excellent man, zealous, active, and clear-headed, and his death at this particular time was most deeply felt. John now declared military authority to be paramount, and took upon himself the chief command, the commissionership not being filled up. Mrs. Dorin was killed to-day at the Gubbinses' house; she was helping to carry some things upstairs, when a very small bullet struck her in the forehead and went through her head, causing instantaneous death. She had fled from Seetapore after seeing her husband killed, and had, as I mentioned before, lived for some days in the jungle, protected by the villagers, and afterwards managed to get into the Residency. Dr. Brydon, the survivor of the Cabul massacre, was also badly wounded in the back whilst sitting at dinner in the same house.
22nd. – A sally was made by us to-day, and one of the enemy's houses burnt. John accompanied the party. A poor 32nd man was accidentally killed by a shot from one of our own people, who could not distinguish him in the darkness, he having ventured some distance from his party. On the 32nd, commanded by Major Lowe, devolved the principal share of the defence, and the regiment suffered severely. Up to this date they had had 150 casualties.
23rd. – A quiet day, comparatively speaking. When the enemy fired little, we always imagined they were mining, and this was indeed usually the case. Miss Dickson, who had been feeling unwell for some days, was pronounced to have small-pox in a mild form. I was very anxious lest Mrs. Case should catch it, knowing how weak she was. Mrs. Thomas had lately died of the disease, which was very prevalent, as also cholera; but neither, providentially, ever assumed the form of an epidemic. This evening I was standing outside the door with baby in my arms, talking to the ayah, when I felt something whiz past my ears. I rushed inside, and when my alarm had subsided, ventured out again to discover what it was. I found a large piece of shell embedded about ten inches deep in the earth. It had fallen on the spot where I had been standing. It was a fragment from one of our own shells, which often recoiled and fell inside our entrenchments.
24th. – Heavy rain last night. John was roused by a false report that 400 men were inside the entrenchments; he got little rest, and I daily feared he would break down; but his cheerful, hopeful spirits never deserted him. I paid Mrs. Cowper a visit in the evening: she was very sad and desponding, and I did my best to cheer her. She was confined to her bed – most trying at such a time, when active employment was the only means to keep one's mind at rest and to prevent one's brooding over our position. I found the children my greatest comfort, as with them to amuse and look after I never had an idle moment. Up to this time they had kept pretty well. We had plenty of work to do, and occasionally I read aloud; but we found it almost impossible to fix our minds on anything beyond the entrenchments, and eventually gave up the attempt.
25th. – A sad event occurred to one of the inhabitants of our yard to-day. An old man named Need, who had been in the King of Oude's army, was picking up some stacks for firewood near the Residency house, when he was shot through the heart. His wife, who lives close to us and has several children, came to us in great grief. We gave her a few things for her husband, who had been carried to the hospital, but could not, she knew, live long. At twelve o'clock at night Mr. Cowper came to our door and told us the good news that a letter had been received from Colonel Tytler, quarter-master-general, announcing that a force sufficient to destroy any number of the enemy was on this side Cawnpore, under General Havelock, and expected to arrive in five days. With regard to this news, Captain Birch says:
'It is curious that until the successful repulse of the attack of July 20 no news from the outside reached us, but afterwards, and probably in consequence of our success, we were gratified by the return of one of our spies, a pensioner, who informed us that a British force was at Cawnpore, and that there had been several successful fights with the Nana. This news, and the letter from the quartermaster-general, raised our spirits greatly. We sent by the same messenger a plan of our entrenchments, and the brigadier promised 5,000 rupees for every trip he made; he made three, and this in addition to the promotion he received gave him a nice little fortune for a native. Many others went out, but never returned. The service was a most difficult and dangerous one. I attribute the failure of so many of our messengers to the fact that many members of the garrison could not resist the temptation of communicating with anxious friends and relations, and entrusted notes to our spies, which they bribed them to carry. The practice became so prevalent that the brigadier was obliged to put a stop to it. Orders were given at the outposts to bring in any spy direct to him without any communication with anyone else, and it fell to my duty as aide-de-camp to escort the messenger back again to our furthest outpost, and see him depart without any other burden than the brigadier's own letter; this was usually written on a very small piece of paper in Greek characters, put into a piece of quill which was sealed at both ends. Ungud had various methods of concealing it. The first letter he took out was written on the 22nd of this month, and was as follows:
"'Lucknow, July 22nd.
'"MY DEAR SIR,
It is with deep regret that I have to announce to you the death of Major Banks, chief commissioner, who was killed yesterday. I now write to inform you that the enemy have pushed on up to some of the walls of our defences, and keep up a perpetual musketry fire day and night from loopholes. As yet their artillery have not done us much mischief. On the 20th the enemy appeared in force on all sides, and blew up a mine in the vicinity of our batteries facing the river, and made an attempt to storm our position, but were repulsed with great loss. Our casualties were few, considering the heavy firing we were exposed to for three hours. Since the commencement of operations on the 30th ult. there have been 151 casualties in the 32nd foot, including several officers, and there are from 70 to 80 in hospital. The present strength of the regiment's fighting-men is 380 32nd, and H.M.'s 84th detachment numbers 36 men. We are most anxiously looking for succour, and I trust you will lose no time in pushing on to assist us. I am most desirous to hear from you. We have not had any news from any quarter since the 27th ult. Aid is what we want, and that quickly. Our defences are straggling, and our numerical strength quite inadequate to man them. Our artillery is weak, and the casualties heavy.
'(Signed) "J. INGLIS, Brigadier.
'"To the officer commanding the relieving force."
'The answer received on the 25th from Lieut.-Colonel B. Fraser Tytler, assistant quartermaster-general to General Havelock's force:
'"MY DEAR SIR,
"Your letter of the 22nd has reached us. We have two-thirds of our force across the river, and eight guns in position already. The rest will follow immediately. I send over more news to-night or to-morrow. We have ample force to destroy all who oppose us. Send us a sketch of your position in the city, and any directions for entering it or turning it that may strike you. In five or six days we shall meet. You must threaten the rear of the enemy if they come out, and we will smash them.
'"B. FRASER TYTLER.
'"P.S. – We have smashed the Nana, who has disappeared and destroyed his place Bithoor. No one knows where his army has dispersed to, but it has vanished."
'To this letter Ungud took out the following answer:
'"MY DEAR SIR,
'"At Busharat Gunge there are about 1,000 matchlock men, and about as many more at Nawab Gunge. It is said that the 3rd Oude Irregular Infantry left this to oppose you on the night of the 24th, and was followed yesterday by the 22nd Native Infantry. The bridge at Bunnee is believed to be entire, but being a good defensible position, it is likely that the enemy will oppose you there. There is another bridge, however, at Mohan, about eight miles further up, though the road is indifferent. The bearer, though, will give you later information of the state of the road, and the force on it. I send you a plan of the town and our position, and a memo by the engineer. The distance from the entrance to the city to our position is about a mile and a half. We can assist you by shelling your flanks for the last 1,500 yards or more. In the event, however, of the enemy disputing your entrance, you might endeavour to work round his left flank by diverging to the right towards the Dil Koosha Park, and making your entrance by the European barracks. The road, however, will be very difficult and heavy for guns, and likewise lined with houses. I would suggest the direct route. If you have rockets with you, send up two or three at 8 p.m. on the night before you intend entering the city, by way of warning to us, at which signal we will begin shelling the houses on both sides of the road. Ignorant of the strength of your force and of its formation, I can only offer these suggestions with the assurance that the utmost that our weak and harassed garrison is capable of shall be done to cause a diversion in your favour as soon as you are sufficiently near. Should the bridge at the entrance of the town be broken down, there is another on the side of the Dil Koosha Park. It is a good mile and a half from the first-mentioned bridge to our position.
'(Signed) "J. INGLIS, Brigadier.
'"To officer commanding relief force."'
Sunday, 26th. – Mr. Lewin, of the artillery, was shot dead at the Cawnpore Battery to-day. He left a young widow; their only little girl, one of the prettiest children I have ever seen, had died from cholera at the commencement of the siege. At six p.m. there was service at the brigade mess-room, read by Mr. Harris. At night there was an alarm, and fearfully heavy firing, preceded by shouting, and for an instant I really thought the enemy was inside. Again prayer was our support, and when the firing ceased John came to show himself and report that all was well. The intense and constant anxiety on his account was very trying. Our faithful servant, Curruk, was a great comfort to us; he was quite indignant if we appeared frightened, and would not allow that there was any danger of the enemy getting in. I am sure he kept all the other servants together, and in good spirits.
Captain Birch says: 'The vigilance of the enemy had at this time a little relaxed, though they still surrounded us in great numbers. We managed to make several sorties to examine their ground. I was engaged in one in command of the Sikhs of my regiment. We cut a large hole in the wall of Mr. Gubbins' garden, and rushed out into the houses opposite to us; we were thankful to find no traces of mining, and only lost one man. A laughable incident occurred on one of these sorties. One of my Sikhs, Alla Singh, a man of great muscular strength but small heart, hid himself when we started, and on our return dropped down from the wall amongst the party, hoping to escape notice; he was discovered, and his cowardice lost him his promotion. One day we entered a fresh earthwork about forty yards outside the Redan battery. Lieutenant George Hutchinson, of the engineers, gave it as his opinion that it was merely a covered way to enable the enemy to pass to and fro at a corner much exposed to our fire. Sam Lawrence, of the 32nd, commanding at the Redan, who was always cheery and jolly, assured the brigadier that he and his men expected very shortly to be up amongst the little birds, as he was convinced it was a mine. George Hutchinson maintained his opinion, on which the brigadier acted, and would not allow of a sortie. At night Lieutenant Hutchinson determined to verify his opinion, and stole out under cover of the darkness; he asked me to accompany him, and we certainly went round a very ticklish corner. Hutchinson was right; it was only a covered way or trench. Such were some of our adventures during the siege; but they were only the divertissements, few and far between, varying a little the long periods of patient resistance and continual wearying daily toil. The heavy rains that had fallen washed away a good many of our defences, and also broke in the roofs of a couple of mines, which the enemy had laid. This was a very important discovery. We had been sure from the sounds heard, and this exposure verified it, that the enemy were undermining us from several directions, especially about the Sikh square, which lay between the brigade-mess and Mr. Gubbins' house. Our mines were worked so as to meet theirs, and we succeeded on several occasions in breaking into their gallery, which we made use of. We were, however, much annoyed by the proximity of the houses, which made these mines possible. After the appointment of Captain Fulton as garrison engineer, several sorties on a small scale were made to blow up these houses. As soon as one was cleared, Captain Fulton appeared on the scene accompanied by a muscular Sikh, Hookum Singh, who could carry a barrel of powder on his back. On several occasions I and my Sikhs formed his escort. The powder was laid near the columns and corners of the building; this had to be judiciously done, or we might have brought down our own defences; but Captain Fulton was a superb engineer, and no accident of this kind ever occurred. As soon as the train was laid the order was given to "withdraw the escort." I generally sent it away with the native officer, leaving only sentries to warn us of a rush of the enemy. Then came the second order, "Withdraw the sentries," and with them I used to rush in, leaving Captain Fulton all alone in the enemy's country to fire the train. He returned at full speed, and simultaneously came the blow up. I never knew him fail.'
July 27th. – When John came to us this morning he made us very sad by telling us that Captain Shepherd, 7th Light Cavalry, had been killed by mistake last night by a shot from our own garrison; he was a very fine young officer, and had been for some time attached to the 32nd. It seemed a hard fate. I paid Mrs. Cowper a long visit in the evening. I went to see her often, as, being of a hopeful nature, I generally succeeded in raising her spirits a little. From her I heard that the enemy were mining under the room where most of the ladies lived. Mrs. Bird had first discovered it, and called her husband to listen to the sound. The old man in our court, Mr. Need, died to-day of his wounds; and one of his children, a boy belonging to the Martinière College, was seized with cholera, but recovered. These boys, under the care of their principal, Mr. Schilling, did good service during the siege, in taking messages, fanning the sick, and keeping the flies off them. These flies were indeed a torment to us all. They covered our tables, filled our dishes and cups, and prevented the children getting rest during the day. Every kind of insect, fleas, etc., abounded, and rats and mice ran about the room in broad daylight, the former of an immense size. This and the difficulty of keeping our things clean were our greatest bodily discomforts, and at times we felt them a good deal.
28th. – We destroyed one of the enemy's mines this evening. John said it was beautifully made, and had a wax candle burning in it; they had evidently trained sappers and miners, which gave them a great advantage over us. A Cornish man in the 32nd, Day by name, was a great stand-by; he was solely employed in listening for mining, and became most acute in detecting the sound. I met Mrs. Martin to-day, when sitting with Mrs. Cowper. She asked me the question which, I fancy, had been much discussed, whether, in the event of the enemy getting in, I thought self-destruction would be justifiable. I said what I feel now, that it could not be right, and that I thought, if the time of trial came, our God who sent it would put it into our hearts how to act. They told me several of the ladies had poison at hand.
29th. – As we were sitting at dinner to-day we suddenly heard loud cheers. In an instant we all ran out, and I certainly thought our reinforcements had arrived. Everyone seemed in a state of great excitement. Colonel Palmer rushed up, and, shaking hands with me, congratulated me on our deliverance. I seized baby, and was running with him to Mrs. Cowper, when I heard John say, in a very angry voice, 'It's the most absurd thing I ever heard.' My heart sank at once. He ordered us all to come back to dinner, and looked so much annoyed that we did not like to speak to him. However, at last he told us that the officer on the look-out tower, a brave but not a very wise man, had heard heavy firing in the distance, and making up his mind that it was our relieving force fighting their way in, rushed down and communicated the news to the garrison. It spread like wildfire; men in hospital, who were only just able to move, jumped up and said they must help the poor fellows coming in. The ladies in the brigade-mess-room ran to the top of the house to see the force approaching, and were remaining there in a most exposed position until ordered down in no very courteous terms. The firing turned out to be a salute from the enemy, in honour of some national event. This sudden excitement, and the subsequent reaction, made us all rather despondent, and John was the more vexed because he thought it would have a bad effect on the native portion of the garrison. We were daily expecting to hear something of our relieving force, and nightly on the look-out for the rockets they were to send up to announce their approach. Colonel Halford died to-day; he had been sinking gradually since the commencement of the siege.
30th. – Numbers of the enemy were seen to-day on the Cawnpore side of the river, and several charpoys (bedsteads) were being carried, which we supposed contained wounded men. This made us imagine that an engagement had taken place, but of course all was conjecture. Dr. Scott told us to-day that Captain Grant had died from a wound in his hand, caused by the bursting of a hand grenade which he was throwing. His wife died from cholera almost at the same time; two orphans were left. Mr. Bonham, artillery, who had been twice wounded, was seized with small-pox; he was a very young man, but very clever, and a most useful artillery officer, so his being laid up was a very great loss. Miss Dickson was able to leave her bed to-day, but was very weak.
31st. – No news; distant guns reported; all sorts of conjectures afloat to account for the non-arrival of our relieving force. Some thought the bridge at Bunnee must be broken down, which would oblige them to go a long way round; others, that the rebels had cut up the road to obstruct their movements, etc. Johnny was not well to-day, and I feared he might be sickening for small-pox.
August 1st. – No news of our reinforcements. Mrs. Giddings came to see us. She told Mrs. Case that she had heard Mr. Cooke, 32nd, was the last person to see her husband, and that he had tried to get a locket off his neck, but the enemy's fire prevented him. I was sorry she mentioned this, for it was the greatest source of misery to poor Mrs. Case that no one could actually declare her husband was dead when they left him, though all pronounced him mortally wounded. She kept up wonderfully and tried hard to be cheerful and useful – indeed, she and her sister were of the greatest help and comfort to me. They bore so patiently the many discomforts and annoyances attendant on being shut up in a small room night and day with three small children, and were always ready to amuse, nurse, or work for them. To Mrs. Case we owed it that our small room was always kept nice and tidy, for she had the superintendence of its arrangements.
Sunday, 2nd. – John commenced reading the service to us this morning, but was interrupted by the sound of heavy guns. He immediately rushed out, and found that it was a salute from the enemy in honour of the day, it being the festival of the Buckra Eed. I went to the service at the brigade-mess at twelve o'clock. Mr. Hely, veterinary surgeon 7th Cavalry, died to-day from the effects of a wound received on the 20th ultimo. This was the day John had said he expected our reinforcements, but we could hear nothing of them.
3rd. – Still no news. We used to look forward to seeing John the first thing in the morning, as we always hoped he would have heard something during the night. He used to sit outside our door drinking his tea, and this was our most cheerful half-hour in the day – at least mine. Towards three or four o'clock he would get thoroughly worn out, almost too tired to speak, and the approach of night, especially when there was no moon, always made him anxious; it was so difficult to avoid false alarms, and darkness naturally increased the confusion. Johnny was very unwell to-day.
4th. – Whilst John was going round his outposts, which he always did in the middle of the day, he was seized with giddiness, owing to the heat of the sun, and was obliged to keep quiet for an hour or two. Our servants declared to-day that they heard distant guns. Mrs. Case and I strained our ears and fancied we heard them too, but no one else did. As we were sitting at dinner, the coolie who was pulling the punkah outside jumped into the room in a great fright, and an instant afterwards an explosion took place, which was the bursting of a shell in our courtyard. The children were all playing about, and it was a moment of intense anxiety, till I saw they were all safe. On going to see Mrs. Cowper, I found she had also been much alarmed by a shell which had fallen on her doorstep, but not exploded for want of sufficient powder.
Captain Birch says: 'There is no end to the stories that might be told of extraordinary shots and hair-breadth escapes during the defence. Even the European hospital which had been established in the banqueting-hall was not safe from the fire of the enemy. One of the doctors had his pillow taken away from his head by a round shot. Dr. Boyd, the indefatigable surgeon in charge, could tell of many more extraordinary occurrences which he had heard of from some of the wounded men. It was a happy thought that led to putting the political prisoners in a room in the hospital building, for after they were removed there, the enemy's firing on the place ceased, showing how well they were informed as to what was going on in the garrison. The condition of those poor prisoners, accustomed as they had been to luxurious lives, was very wretched. They were exposed to all the disagreeable sights and smells of a hospital crowded with wounded men, or those suffering from scurvy and cholera. They had no opium, and lived in a miserable state of dirt and squalor. Their only moment of pleasure was when the brigadier visited them in his daily rounds. As long as he had any cigars, he used to give them each one. It was necessary to keep these prisoners, and Sir Henry Lawrence when dying counselled our doing so, and exchanging them as our last resource, if necessary, for food. They were all released at the end of the siege, but one of them, the Rajah of Toolsepore, never recovered from the hardships he had undergone. It was now the commencement of August, and no further news had been received of the relieving force. The movements of the enemy in the direction of Cawnpore were very energetic, and we had little doubt but that some fighting was going on in that direction. The prolonged suspense and terrible heat had their effect upon the brigadier, who was far from well; his hair turned quite gray during the siege, and there is no doubt the responsibility was awful. His words and presence were most encouraging, and his example had the best effect in keeping good heart in all; but I believe that, from the confidential terms that existed between us, I knew more than any of the other members of the staff of the anxieties which his responsible command caused him. Great anxiety was felt regarding the native soldiery, and at times sinister rumours regarding their fidelity circulated through the garrison. Desertions took place from time to time, but were heaviest at the commencement of the siege. The 84th company was always kept in reserve in the centre of the position, as a check on any trickery, and guns were placed near Mr. Ommanney's house, ready to open either on the Sikh square or the Bailie Guard gate road; so that not only had the defence against an outward force to be provided for, but also the chance of our own native garrison turning against us had to be faced. When later on the Rajah Mhan Singh marched up to the city and encamped across the river within sight of our defences, several of our native officers told us that if he declared against us there was little chance of our native soldiery remaining faithful; but he maintained his neutrality. The Residency house, being situated on high ground, was a regular target for the enemy, and by this time its walls were in a most crumbling condition, made still more so by the heavy rains. The rain also caused the collapse of the bhoosa (grain stack). The bullocks had been allowed to eat in at the bottom of this stack, and when it fell eight of them were buried in it. These had to be dug out. I, being one of the staff, was exempt from fatigue duties, but necessarily, as in this instance, volunteered my services, as I thought it right to take my share of disagreeables. Mr. Cowper, formerly secretary to the chief commissioner, and now acting in the same capacity to the brigadier, volunteered with me. I shall never forget that night's work. We had to dig out the eight suffocated bullocks, drag them to their place of interment, dig their graves, and cover them up. It was a most extremely trying operation. Cowper worked most manfully.'
5th. – A very quiet day. Two regiments were seen to march away in the Cawnpore direction – we supposed to fight General Havelock's force. To-night again a shell burst close to our door, and such numbers of bullets came into the yard that I fancied the enemy must be aiming at our room, fancying John was quartered in it. This evening Mrs. Case and I walked through the Sikh square next to us, and ventured outside a small gate where a sentry was posted, from whence we could see a house called the Begum Khotee, where several persons lived. It was all riddled with shot. The more we saw of our position the more perilous did it appear, and the more certain we felt of destruction should the rebels ever effect an entrance. About this time Sir Henry Lawrence's property was sold by auction. His stores and wine fetched fabulous prices: brandy, from £14 to £16 a dozen; beer, £6 to £7; hermetically sealed provisions, from £7 a tin; a bottle of honey, £4; cakes of chocolate, £3 to $4; sugar, had there been any, would have commanded any price.
6th. – Mr. Studdy, 32nd, was badly wounded to-day by a round shot when standing at the door of the mess-room. His arm had to be amputated; he bore the operation most bravely, we heard, never uttering a groan; he was too weak for chloroform. His chest was also severely bruised. Just before we went to bed John came to tell us that two messengers had come in, one from Havelock's force, but he had lost the letter entrusted to him. He said our troops had been obliged to retreat, but from their present position they might be with us in three days. John said, however, he did not expect them for eight. This good news raised our hopes and spirits considerably. One of the messengers said the enemy are confident of being able either to blow us up or starve us out.
7th. – Sergeant Holmes and Sergeant Conolly, 32nd, two excellent and most valuable men, were mortally wounded to-day at the same time by the bursting of a shell; they were unnecessarily exposing themselves. It was almost impossible to make the men careful; they seemed to be becoming quite reckless. I read to-day the deposition of one of the messengers who came in last night; it certainly sounded truthful. In an account of one of the battles, he said: 'The enemy left thousands of shoes behind them, having thrown them away to expedite their flight.'
8th. – Two regiments were seen marching into cantonments to-day. John brought us in a letter to see, which was going to be sent to the relieving force. It was quite a curiosity; it contained 283 words on a very small piece of paper, rolled up into a quill about this size sealed at both ends. Mr. Cowper wrote it, and all the important part was in Greek character, so that if it fell into the enemy's hand they would not gain much information. The rations of all the garrison were reduced at this time, and our servants had their wheat given to them unground. However, we still had enough to eat, though we were obliged to limit ourselves and be very prudent and economical. I gave the khansamah every day the flour and rice he was to use, which prevented waste.
Sunday, 9th. – I went to the service at twelve o'clock. Mr. Studdy died to-day. Everyone seemed so sorry for him; he was very young, and had behaved so well through the siege.
10th. – This morning when we went in to breakfast we found a Sikh sitting in the room, who we were told came in last night; and as his account of himself was not credited, he was kept a prisoner, and not allowed to speak to anyone in the garrison. About twelve o'clock we were startled by a fearful explosion which lasted some seconds, and a cloud of dust and smoke coming from the direction of the brigade-mess made us fear the room had been blown up. Mr. Thornhill ran past that minute, and called out that the ladies were all safe. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Cowper came over to our room almost fainting with fright, and she and her children took refuge with us. Mrs. Radcliffe and her children also came, quite filling our little room. The enemy having exploded the mine, which did not do as much harm as they expected, commenced a furious attack, and also blew up a second mine in another part of our position. A round shot struck the wall within a yard of our room and fell at the door, greatly adding to our alarm. John, running past, called to us to take refuge in the large room at the end of the court, and each seizing a child, we ran across as quickly as we could. This room being without windows, a sort of storehouse, was comparatively safe. The firing continued for some time, but we were relieved by John's coming in and telling us that the mines had done no harm. The enemy made three separate attacks, and at one place actually took hold of the soldiers' firelocks which were pointed through the loopholes. All this time the Sikh was in the room, and we were told to watch that he did not get out. It was evident he had known of the intended attack, and had given false information to mislead us. I do not know what his ultimate fate was, but he was not hanged. The enemy suffered severely; our loss was not great. Poor Sergeant Campbell 32nd, was killed; he was canteen sergeant, and after taking every man his glass of rum, could not resist remaining out and sharing in the fight. John had a providential escape, a man being killed close to his side. At night there was fearful firing again. It was a hard and anxious day, but a most successful one, and gave us renewed confidence in our strength, and I trust greater faith in our Heavenly Father's protecting care over us. Three men of the 32nd were blown up by the mine on to the enemy's ground; they jumped up and rushed back to the entrenchments amidst a shower of bullets, untouched, one only being a little singed. Captain Birch, in relating the events of the day, says:
'Inspirited by their success in causing the temporary retirement of our relieving force, the enemy began to show increased activity. On August 10 a mine was sprung in the house next to the brigade-mess. I entered the court immediately afterwards, and saw that the door leading into an outside house was open, and the enemy could have walked inside with ease. Mr. Schilling, the principal of the Martinière College, ran up and shut the door in their faces. A little further on they effected a lodgment in the ditch of the Cawnpore battery, but were turned out by hand grenades. Still further round another mine was sprung opposite Sago's house. The post was commanded by Captain Saunders, 41st Native Infantry, but our fire was steady and severe, and the enemy did not like it. Though their mines were successful in two places, they never succeeded in effecting a lodgment inside, and contented themselves with a prolonged fusillade.'
11th. – A dreadful event occurred to-day. Part of the Residency house fell in, burying in its ruins six men of the 32nd. Every effort was made to extricate them, the enemy meanwhile directing their fire on the spot. After two hours' work two were dug out much exhausted, but not seriously injured; the four others, alas! were buried alive, and could not be saved, the masses of brick being so large and heavy. Poor John was quite broken-hearted. It was one of the saddest events that had occurred during the siege. Major Anderson, our chief engineer, died to-day; he had been sinking gradually since the siege commenced. Distant guns were heard yesterday and to-day. We began to fear what ultimately proved the case, that General Havelock had been obliged to retreat, and a sad feeling of depression pervaded the garrison. I had been hopeful hitherto, but could hardly now help desponding. We used to say what a comfort it would be if we could write to those we loved, and tell them we were prepared for death. John said he had made up his mind that every man should die at his post, but what were the sick and wounded, the women and helpless children, to do? The contemplation seemed too dreadful. At one time he talked of blowing us up at the last minute, but I have since heard this would have been impracticable. It was strange how calmly we talked on these subjects.
12th. – A sally was made to-day by some of the 32nd under Mr. Clery to blow up a house, but the enemy were prepared, and on approaching the spot were seen surrounding it in great numbers; and the party were obliged to run back as fast as they could, being exposed to heavy firing. This was our first unsuccessful attempt. A child of Mrs. Radcliffe's died to-day from cholera after a few hours' illness. A bheetie (water-carrier) got into the Residency, but brought no important news.
13th. – Another and successful attempt made to blow up the house. It was destroyed, and another one examined, where the enemy were supposed to be mining. One of Mrs. Martin's children died to-day, and another one was not expected to live. Captain Power, 32nd, died some days ago, but we only now heard of it. Sharp firing for a short time at night, but no attack.
14th. – A suspiciously quiet day and night, and we feared the enemy must be plotting something. A poor woman, Mrs. Beale by name, whose husband, an overseer of roads, had been killed during the siege, came to-day to ask me to give her a little milk for her only child, who was dying for the want of proper nourishment. It went to my heart to refuse her; but at this time I had only just enough for my own children, and baby could not have lived without it. I think she understood that I would have given her some if I could. She said she was the daughter of a clergyman, and that her husband had kept a large school in England, but came out to this country to try and make his fortune. Dr. Scott paid us a very long visit this morning; poor man! he had been very ill again. He was so much upset by Major Anderson's death, that it quite turned his head for a time. A matah (sweeper) came in to-day, and said our relieving force was at Oonao, about nine miles from Cawnpore, waiting for reinforcements; but that 900 had advanced, and had an engagement with the enemy. We hardly knew what to believe, but could plainly see that the prospect of relief was much deferred.
15th. – Dr. Scott came to-day, and took up his abode in the large room at the end of the court. We thought the change would do him good, as he was not up to any work at present. An attack was expected to-day, but did not take place. Mr. Edmonstone, 32nd, came to see us; he had recovered from his wound, and was in cheerful spirits.
Sunday,16th. – The pensioner, Ungud, who took out John's letter to Colonel Tytler, returned with one from him to Mr. Gubbins, dated August 4, which was as follows
'We march to-morrow morning for Lucknow, having been reinforced, and we shall push on as speedily as possible. We hope to reach you in four days at furthest. You must aid us in every way, even by cutting your way out, if we cannot force our way in. We have only a small force.
'"B. FRASER TYTLER, Lieut-Colonel.
'Mungulwar, August 4.'
The messenger said that since this letter was written they had had another battle, and the force had returned to Cawnpore, so we were not relieved from our anxiety. John returned the following answer
'Lucknow, August 16.
'MY DEAR GENERAL,
'A note from Colonel Tytler to Mr. Gubbins reached last night, dated Mungulwar, the 4th inst., the latter paragraph of which is as follows: "You must aid us in every way, even by cutting your way out, if we cannot force our way in." It has caused me much uneasiness, as it is quite impossible that with my weak and shattered force I can leave my defences. You must bear in mind how I am hampered, that I have upwards of 120 sick and wounded, and at least 220 women, and about 250 children, and no carriage of any description, besides sacrificing 23 lacs, 230,000 rupees, and 20 guns of sorts. In consequence of the news received, I shall soon put the force on half-rations, unless I hear again from you. Our provisions will last till about September 10. If you hope to save this force, no time must be lost in pushing forward. We are daily being attacked by the enemy, who are within a few yards of our defences. Their mines have already weakened our post, and I have reason to believe they are carrying on others. Their eighteen-pounders are within 150 yards of some of our batteries, and from their position and our inability to form working parties, we cannot reply to them, and consequently the damage done hourly is very great. My strength now in Europeans is 350, and about 300 natives. Our men are dreadfully harassed, and owing to part of the Residency house having been brought down by round shot, many are without shelter. Our native force, having been informed, on Colonel Tytler's authority, of your near approach some twenty-five days ago, are naturally losing confidence; and if they leave us I do not see how the defences are to be manned. Did you receive a letter and plan from me from the man Ungud? Kindly answer this question.
'J. INGLIS, Brigadier.
'To Brigadier-General Havelock,
'Commanding relieving force.
'P.S. – Since the above was written the enemy have sprung another mine, which has given us a great deal of trouble, and caused some loss. I trust that you will lose no time in coming to us. Military men are unanimous regarding our case.'
17th. – Mrs. Anderson died to-day. The Thornhills and Mrs. Barber came to see us. Some of the ladies moved about a good deal, but it was contrary to John's orders, and he would not let us go anywhere; indeed, he was very angry when he heard that Mrs. Case and I had once ventured beyond the precincts of our courtyard, and forbade our doing so again. I felt he was right. When every man in the garrison was doing all he could to save and defend us, the least we could do was to avoid unnecessary danger, and give as little trouble as possible. Mrs. Polehampton was very indefatigable in her labours at the hospital; she went daily and seldom empty-handed, and at this time one could not give away without self-denial. I have since heard how much the soldiers loved her. Mrs. Gall and Mrs. Barber also worked most indefatigably amongst them.
18th. – This morning at six o'clock we were startled by an explosion, which our now practised ears knew at once to be a mine blowing up, the prelude to all the enemy's attacks, and succeeded, as usual, by sharp musketry firing and cannonading, the latter not so heavy as usual. We soon learned that a breach had been made in the Sikh square (not the one next to us); the mine in exploding had blown up three officers into the air – Captain Orr, Mr. Mecham, and Mr. Soppitt; they were, however, unhurt, but five drummers were buried in the ruins. Firing continued all day, and John was evidently in great anxiety. At seven o'clock the firing ceased, and he came to his room for a little dinner; and then I heard what a day of danger and suspense it had been. The first intimation he had of what had occurred was when the mine blew up, and someone told him the enemy was in the Sikh square; this was tantamount to being in the place. He rushed down to the spot, taking with him the reserve of the 84th, eighteen men. The enemy had gained a position and forced us to abandon one; but John was determined to regain it, and in his turn force the enemy to retire. His plan was thought impracticable, but he persevered in it, and succeeded. Having driven the enemy from the position they held, he determined on following up his success, and calling on Mr. McCabe, 32nd, to follow him with a hand-grenade, he advanced beyond our position to that occupied by the enemy. Suddenly they came to a door leading into a house; a sentry was posted here with a tulwar (sword) in his hand. John fired; his pistol snapped. Mr. McCabe threw his hand-grenade, and the man fled; then John called out, '32nd, follow me!' The men, a certain number who had been told off quickly, obeyed the summons. The enemy fled without attempting opposition, and two barrels of gunpowder being sent for, the place was blown up. We not only regained what we had lost in the morning, but blew up several houses, and thereby materially strengthened our position. It was a most important day, and one in which we were in greater danger than at any other time during the siege. John was fairly worn out, and, as soon as he had eaten something, went to lie down. Sharp firing soon recommenced, but it did not rouse him, and he managed to get some sleep. I give some further details of this eventful day from Captain Birch's diary:
'On the morning of August 18 Brigadier Inglis was awakened by the sound of the explosion of a mine, a heavy, dull sound we knew too well. We hastily buckled on our arms, which lay by our side; our boots we never took off. The reserve of the 84th was immediately called to arms, and as their officer, Lieutenant O'Brien, was wounded, the brigadier sent me in command. Lieutenants Mecham and Soppitt and Captain Orr were blown up, together with Band-Sergeant Curtain of the 41st Native Infantry, the last-named being thrown outside the entrenchments and killed by the enemy. Six drummers and a Sepoy were buried in the ruins. It is believed that the tramping of the horses of the Sikh cavalry, who suffered dreadfully from the flies, had prevented the underground operations of the enemy being heard. On previous occasions our countermines had been successfully worked, and danger averted, and it seemed strange that in spite of all our precautions a gallery should have been pushed so far. There was an immediate flight of all the drummers and Sikh cavalry from the outside wall. Their arms and horses were abandoned, and they took refuge behind the wall of the second square, which was parallel to the first, and had two narrow entrances on either side. As I came up with the 84th reserve, the outer square had been abandoned, some of the enemy had come in over the breach, and a fine native officer of the irregular cavalry was seen leading them on. A short and well-sustained fire from the brigade-mess took them in front, and considerably damped their ardour. The native officer was shot within our defences, and this was the first and only time that the foot of the foe ever came within our crumbling but well-contested fortifications. There is no doubt this was the best chance the enemy ever had of getting in. The breach was large, the cover was good close up to it, and cutting in between the brigade-mess and Mr. Gubbins' house, they would have taken us in a very vital part of our defensive position. The brigadier desired us to work up under the colonnades on both sides of the square until we could reoccupy the outer wall which had been breached. It was not thought advisable to advance direct, as we were much exposed. The horses were all in our way in the middle of the square, and we did not know in what strength the enemy might be. Two guns were brought by the brigadier's orders to command the breach, and holes were knocked through the wall of the second square for them, so that they might sweep the first square should the enemy secure a footing. I think these arrangements, which could be plainly seen by them, deterred the enemy from making any further advance. The poor horses were many of them wounded by shots from both sides, but what was more harrowing to our feelings was the sight of the struggles made by the unfortunate drummers entangled in the debris of the morning's explosion. It was useless to send any party forward, as they would instantly have been shot; but one man, a comrade, was allowed to steal forward and see what could be done. He came back and said that one drummer was alive, with a beam across his chest, and he wanted a saw to release him. This I with difficulty procured, and promised fifty rupees and honourable mention to anyone who rescued him. As soon as the drummer returned with the saw, another attempt was made, but by this time the enemy observed our movements, and a shot turned the drummer back, leaving the saw behind him. To show the proximity of the enemy, we found holes dug through the outer walls that remained standing, and hands intruded trying to pick out the muskets and swords abandoned in the morning. I had five shots with a revolver at one of these holes, through which protruded a man s hand, and I think I hit him, as he gave up his attempt. As the day fell it was determined by the brigadier to retake the breach. Shutters were procured from some of the windows of the Residency house, and held double by each man of the 84th party, who advanced down one side of the square, whilst Brigadier Inglis, Mr. Cowper, Mr. Thornhill, Captain Wilson, Lieutenant Hutchinson and myself advanced down the other, each holding a half-door in front of him, till we came to the end, where each planted his door, and so barricaded the place that the enemy could not see to fire down it. The 32nd advanced parallel on the opposite side of the square, but they did not require so much cover, as the front wall on their side was still standing. Only one shot was fired as we advanced. I put my shutter down into the hole where we had seen the poor drummer struggling: he was quite dead, and his body, with those of the other poor fellows, formed the foundation of the barricade which we hastily constructed across the breach. It was soon made fairly strong, and we then regained the ground we had lost in the morning. It was fortunate the enemy were taken by surprise by our promptness; they were probably away at dinner at the time. At night the position was still further secured. Lieutenant Graham, of the cavalry, and Lieutenant Hutchinson, with their own hands put doors all along the open breach in the face of the square, aided by a few Sikhs, and a sortie was made to blow up some small houses, from which the enemy had so successfully worked their mines. The next day further operations of the same kind were undertaken. The cover under which the enemy had worked was thereby destroyed, and we were made much more comfortable. Altogether the fighting during the last month was by no means contemptible. The earlier part of the siege had been distinguished by the severe attack of July 20. Since then the enemy had for some time contented itself with an increasing fusillade and a strict blockade, doubtless hoping to starve us out before relief could reach us; but the renewed activity of our relieving force had doubtless roused them to more active measures of attack – hence this last one. They also attempted to burn the Bailie Guard gate with large bales of cotton, giving easy shelter to a man. These were rolled across the road, which divided our gate from the clock-tower, but the attempt did not succeed, and the fire which was lighted on one occasion was soon extinguished.'
19th. – A round shot struck the tree close to our room to-day and fell amongst our goats, but without touching one. The children had a swing on the tree, but fortunately were not on it. The sergeant-major of the 32nd died.
20th. – Several men were seen coming in from the Cawnpore road to-day. A boy named Dedman, who lived in the next room to us, and whose father had been killed some time previously, was seized with cholera in the morning and died in the evening. We did all we could for him. The poor mother was frantic during his illness, but perfectly calm when all was over. She had nothing to bury him in, and asked us for a box, but we had nothing large enough. Mr. Browne and Captain Lowe, 32nd, came to see us.
21st. – I was awakened this morning just before daylight by Mrs. Case, and found Mrs. Pearce in our room with her little child. She told us that we were going to blow up a mine, and that a large number of soldiers were assembling for the purpose. Soon the explosion took place, and the house 'Johannes,' which, from being so close, had caused us much annoyance during the siege, was destroyed. We had five casualties: one 84th killed, one sergeant mortally wounded, one sergeant artillery killed, two 32nd wounded. The poor men were carried past our door; it was very sad to see them. The sergeant of the 84th was, John told us, a gentleman; he was an excellent man. He sent for Captain Birch on his deathbed and told him his history. He left all his personal property and the pay due to him to a comrade. It was chiefly owing to his influence and good management that the detachment of the 84th, who had lost the services of all their officers from wounds, always turned out so smart and clean, and behaved so well. So he was a great loss. Captain Barlow died this morning. Another child of the Dedmans was taken seriously ill. A little boy was brought in prisoner; he was caught picking up bullets near our position. He could not give much information.
22nd. – A very quiet day. Dr. Scott was obliged to leave us, as Dr. Boyd was taken ill, and there was no one to do his work. In the evening John took me and Mrs. Case a short walk past the Ommanneys' house. It was a great treat, though we only saw dead walls.
Sunday, 23rd. – A very unhappy day, there being many casualties, though not much firing. Service at two o'clock, and the Holy Communion administered. Whilst we were at dinner, Mr. Foster, adjutant 32nd, came to report that the verandah of the Residency house had fallen in – no one hurt. Dr. Scott came to see us, and told us that distant guns had been heard; but we hardly listened to these reports now.
24th. – A servant of Mrs. Hayes got in to-day, and did not bring us very cheering information; but his story was not believed. He said the enemy had suffered severely from the explosion of our mine. A species of attack took place at midnight, and the firing was very heavy. We were really getting quite accustomed to these little incidents, and if it had not been for my anxiety on John's account, I should often have slept through the heaviest cannonading. Mr. McCrea, engineers, badly wounded to-day.
25th. – Uneasiness was felt to-day regarding the native troops inside, who had, I believe, excited suspicion by asking for their pay. Two messengers started this evening for Allahabad and Cawnpore. Our ayah to-night gave us a very melancholy account of the state of the brigade-mess, where so many of the ladies were living; she also assured us that we could not be relieved for four months, and the enemy would get in in four days. She was evidently in a very desponding state.
26th. – This evening we saw John and Captain Wilson go into the large room at the end of our court, accompanied by a native, and made sure news had been received from outside. After an hour's suspense, they came out, and we learned to our disappointment that the native was one of the garrison whom they had been examining concerning the feeling of the native troops. The Sikhs were suspected of disaffection. John had taken necessary precautions, and had so placed them that they were completely commanded by the 32nd, and could not desert their posts without endangering their lives; still, it was terrible to think of treachery within our walls. I said to John I wished we had no natives inside, but he checked me by answering, 'Do not say that; we could not hold the place without them – they outnumber us.' It was a fearful reflection. John had a wonderful escape to-night. He was in Mr. Gubbins' garrison, looking through an embrasure with Mr. Webb, 32nd, and a soldier; he saw the enemy's gun-port open, and calling out 'Stoop!' bent down himself. The round shot came through the wall, covering his head with dust; but he jumped up and said 'All right.' 'No,' said a sergeant, 'it's not all right, sir.' Mr. Webb and the soldier lay dead. I felt awed, as it were, by God's mercy to me and mine.
27th. – A quiet day, apparently; heavy rain at night, which was a great comfort, as it cooled the air, and we had been suffering a good deal latterly from the heat.
28th. – An attack was expected to-day, but did not take place. There was a report that all the servants in the garrison intended leaving us on the 1st, but I did not place much faith in it, having great confidence in our own; their devotion and attention could not be surpassed. The children still kept pretty well, though baby grew thinner every day; nothing I gave him seemed to nourish him. Johnny's rosy cheeks, which he never lost, excited great admiration; he passed most of his time in the square next to us with the Sikhs, who were very fond of him, and used to give him chappatties (native bread), though they could not have had much to eat themselves, poor men! I used rather to encourage this friendship, as I thought if things came to the worst they might be the means of saving his life. We had a swing on the tree near our door, which was a great amusement, and altogether the children did not seem to feel the confinement very much. I certainly used to long to get outside the walls, even for half an hour. We used to walk up and down our court in the evening for exercise, and were fortunate in being able to do this, for in some parts the ladies could not stir out of doors.
29th. – This morning, as I was dressing, John brought me a copy of a letter which had been received from General Havelock last night. I opened it, full of hopeful, eager anticipation. What was my disappointment to read as follows
'Cawnpore, August 24, 1857.
'MY DEAR COLONEL,
'I have your letter of the 16th. Sir Colin Campbell, who came out at a day's notice to command on hearing of General Anson's death, promises me fresh troops, and you shall be my first care. The reinforcements may reach me in about twenty to twenty-five days, and I will prepare everything for a march on Lucknow. Do not negotiate, but rather perish sword in hand.'
My first thoughts were, 'All is over with us; we can't hold out till then.' But John seemed more hopeful, and said our provisions would last; still, it was a gloomy prospect, and we hardly dared look forward. The messenger, in the deposition which we read, said that regiments were assembling at Cawnpore, that the fall of Delhi was expected in about twenty days, that the rebels outside say that the Sikhs and our native troops are in league with them, and that to-morrow and Tuesday are the days they speak of for attacking us, their numbers being about 11,000. We blew up one of the enemy's mines to-day. In the evening I went to see Mrs. Cowper, who was in more hopeful spirits than I had expected; the truth is she had begun to think that we were all deserted and forgotten, and that General Havelock had gone to Delhi, so that even this last news was a little reassuring. Mrs. Banks was with her; she had left the Gubbinses' house, where she had been since her husband's death, on account of the want of room. The upper story was quite unsafe, the enemy having several guns bearing on it, and the ladies were all much crowded in consequence, so some sought refuge elsewhere. A confidential servant of Mr. Gubbins' had deserted some time ago, and it was supposed had given the rebels information concerning our position. The Martins' youngest child died to-day; both had been sickly at the commencement of our troubles, and could not stand up against the want of fresh air and proper nourishment. Captain Birch says of this time:
'On August 28 definite news from the relieving force reached us that there was no hope of our being relieved for another twenty-five days. Great care had to be taken in consequence to husband our resources, and the tension and strain after expected relief was felt much by some of the native members of the garrison, especially by the opium-eaters. A party of sixteen, consisting of the King of Oude's musicians, with one Jones, who had been promoted to the rank of sergeant, deserted on the night of August 30. A number of servants accompanied them, and one of them stole Captain Boileau's double-barrelled gun. They left inscribed on the walls in several places, "Because I have no opium," and no doubt to regular opium-eaters prolonged abstinence was hardly endurable. They did not gain much by their desertion, for all the party were made prisoners by the enemy at the iron bridge, and were eventually shot. The soldiers, too, felt the want of tobacco very much. Spirits, wine, and beer had long run out, except a very little which was kept for the sick.'
Sunday, 30th. – Service as usual at the brigade-mess, and the Holy Communion administered. An attack was expected to-day; but we had less firing than usual, and everything was so quiet that John was able to read to me a little; half an hour's quiet time with him was a great treat, and one I seldom enjoyed. Mr. Bonham, artillery, was wounded for the third time to-day, whilst sitting at the post-office. The wound was a bad one. He had done excellent service.
31st. – A quiet day. About nine p.m. firing commenced, and we all ran into the large room according to John's instruction, as the enemy had some guns pointed in the direction of our room. He soon came and told us all was quiet, and we might go back.
September 1st. – An attack again expected, but the day passed quietly, though the usual firing was kept up, and between ten and twelve p.m. it was rather severe. A letter sent out to-day to General Havelock was as follows:
'Lucknow, September 1.
'MY DEAR GENERAL,
'Your letter of the 24th has duly reached me in reply to mine to you of the 16th ultimo. I regret your inability to advance at present to our relief; but, in consequence of this communication, I have reduced the rations, and with this arrangement, and our great diminution of numbers from casualties, I trust to be able to hold out from the 20th to 25th instant. Some stores we have been out of for the last fourteen days, and many others will be expended before the above date. I must be frank, and tell you that my force is daily diminishing from the enemy's musketry fire, and our defences are daily weaker. Should the enemy make a really determined effort to storm the place, I shall find it difficult to repulse them, owing to my paucity in numbers, and to the weak and harassed state of the force. Our losses since the commencement of hostilities here have been, in Europeans only, upwards of 300. We are continually harassed in countermining the enemy, who have about twenty guns in position, many of them of large calibre. Any advance of yours towards this place will act beneficially in our favour, and greatly inspirit the native part of my garrison who have up to this time behaved like faithful and good soldiers. If you can possibly communicate any intelligence of your intended advance, pray do so by letter. Give the bearer the pass word "Agra," and tell him to give it to me in person.
2nd. – I went to see Mrs. Cowper this morning, and heard from her that five babies were buried last night. As we were going to bed, our ayah told us that a Mr. Birch had been killed by a mistake; we were much afraid it was John's aide de-camp, but afterwards learnt it was his cousin. He had gone out beyond Mr. Gubbins' outpost to reconnoitre, and on his return was seen by one of the sentries, who, having received no intimation that anyone was going out, fired and mortally wounded him. He was our assistant-engineer, and it appears had been deputed to inspect a new excavation just opposite Captain Boileau's post; Captain Boileau had command of the covering party. After Mr. Birch had made his inspection, he proposed to continue exploring, as no enemy was to be seen. Captain Boileau, however, refused to advance without orders; but he gave Mr. Birch permission to explore alone, and hence the fatal accident, as the garrison had not been warned, at least only Captain Boileau's had, and the sentry who fired belonged to Major Apthorpe's post. Mr. Birch left a widow and young brother and sister, all dependent on him, his father, Colonel Birch, having been killed at Seetapore. Vokins, John's servant, who lost his leg some time ago, died to-day; he was a weak man, and could not rally from the shock. Ellicock, a private in the 32nd now did the little John required; he also had been very ill in hospital, but he took him out and brought him down to us, and change of air and better food soon made a different man of him. John used to visit the hospital every day, and would often give the men cigars, which they thoroughly appreciated.
3rd. – Poor Mrs. Case got some of her boxes to-day; they had been used for barricades, and one had a round shot right through it. Nearly all her things, as well as her sister's, had been placed in a building called the Terah Kotee which we had intended holding, but were forced eventually to abandon, and thereby much valuable property was lost. We were more fortunate, having brought most of our things into the Residency. A quiet day, but constant firing at night.
4th. – Heavy firing during the day. A great number of the enemy were about. Whilst we were at diner an officer came to tell John that Major Bruere, of the 13th Native Infantry, had just been shot dead on the top of the brigade-mess house; he had been firing at the rebel artillery men from a much-exposed position. His poor wife, who had seen him only a few minutes before, was in a sad state. She had four children, and had lost one during our troubles. The 13th Sepoys carried their commanding officer to his grave, the greatest mark of respect and affection they could show him, as it is against their caste to touch a dead body.
5th. – At three this morning I went to Mrs. Cowper, who had a little girl born at five. We put her into our room at the end of the court, which, though hot and uncomfortable, was better than the hole she was living in. Soon after breakfast the enemy blew up two mines and attacked us in great force, but were as usual completely repulsed with severe loss. Our casualties were: one pensioner and one Sepoy killed, and a little drummer-boy, Hely by name, wounded; he lost his hand. He was the first 32nd man I ever saw, as we met him at Lahore in '52 marching up with a party of recruits. Captain Graham committed suicide to-day by shooting himself in bed; he left a young widow. We were told that to-day's attack was a more determined one than either of the two preceding, but to us the firing did not seem so heavy. Part of the wall of the ladies' room came down yesterday, and they were obliged to abandon it.
Sunday, 6th. – A tolerably quiet day, but at ten p.m. very heavy firing commenced, and everyone turned out. We all ran into Mrs. Cowper's room for safety, and remained there till it had subsided. We afterwards learnt that it was a false attack made to draw off our attention, whilst an attempt was made to blow down the Bailie Guard gate. The first man who approached was shot dead; the rest fled.
7th. – A quiet day. Numbers of the enemy were seen coming in by the Cawnpore road. A great deal of firing during the night, and more bullets than usual fell into our court. In general they were spent; still, I used to be afraid, lest the children should be hit. Johnnie's quick ears detected immediately when a bullet fell, and he would run and pick it up whilst it was warm. It was curious to see how the children's plays and amusements harmonized with what was going on around us. They would make balls of earth, and, throwing them against the wall, would say they were shells bursting. Johnnie fell down one day, and getting up very dusty, said: 'They'll say I have been mining.' He often asked, 'Is that the enemy or us firing?' They slept soundly in the midst of the heaviest cannonading, and never appeared frightened.
8th. – A quiet day. Captain Simons, artillery, died of wounds received at Chinhut. Some of the enemy's mines discovered.
9th. – We blew up a mine to-day. As soon as it exploded the enemy commenced heavy firing. The explosion was very severe, and a piece of shell blown up in it fell close to our door. Captain Carnegie told John that he heard the enemy were quarrelling amongst themselves, and that some wished to send us a flag of truce. We placed little faith in this report.
10th. – A quiet day. Charlie ill – indeed, all the children were beginning to look thin and pulled down, and I felt so anxious about them, knowing how few rallied when once ill. Numbers had already died.
11th. – We blew up two more of the enemy's mines to-day; the shock was very severe, and large pieces of brick fell into our court. Several of the enemy were buried in the ruins, and John said it was fearful to hear their groans. Johnnie and Charlie both ill. Dr. Scott came to see them, and looked quite grieved at their sickly appearance.
12th. – Johnnie was very unwell during the night, and delirious. A grass-cutter came in from outside this evening, and brought good news. He said our relieving force, 4,000 strong, had crossed the river, and that Mhan Singh was at Chinhut, undecided which side to take. John seemed more sanguine than usual, which of course raised our spirits.
Sunday,13th. – A quiet day. Children better. A supposed spy came in; his news contradicted that of yesterday. and was not believed. A sad event occurred this evening: Captain Fulton, an excellent man and a most able engineer officer, was killed by a round shot whilst reconnoitring from Mr. Gubbins' garrison. He had conducted the engineering operations since Major Anderson's death, and was a severe loss to the garrison besides being universally regretted by all who knew him. He left a wife and five children, who were at Simla. Captain Birch thus describes his end:
'The death of this brilliant officer was occasioned by one of the most curious of wounds. He had been inspecting a new battery in a red wall opposite Mr. Gubbins' house. He was lying at full length in one of the embrasures, with a telescope in his hand. He turned his face with a smile on it and said, "They are just going to fire"; and sure enough they did. The shot took away the whole of the back of Captain Fulton's head, leaving his face like a mask still on his neck. When he was laid out on his back on a bed we could not see how he had been killed. His was the most important loss we sustained after that of Sir Henry Lawrence. Anyone except the brigadier could have been better spared.'
15th. – An attack expected, but did not take place. A further portion of the verandah of the Residency house fell in. It was wonderful how the house had stood at all, for before the siege commenced it was thought the first cannonading would bring it down.
16th. – Good news received from outside through several channels. It was reported that Mhan Singh and the Nana were both in the city; the former not fighting against us. Ungud, the pensioner, who had been out so often, started again for our relieving forces with a letter as follows:
'September 16, 1857.
'MY DEAR GENERAL,
'The last letter I received from you was dated the 21st ult. Since then I have received no news whatever from your camp or of your movements, but am now daily expecting to receive intelligence of your advance in this direction. Since the date of my last letter, the enemy have continued to persevere unceasingly in their efforts against this position, and the firing has never ceased either day or night. They have brought about eighteen guns in position round us – many of them are eighteen-pounders. On the 5th Inst. they made a very determined attack after exploding two mines, and almost succeeded in getting into one of our batteries, but were repulsed on all sides with heavy loss. Since the above date they have continued a cannonade and musketry fire, occasionally throwing in a shell or two. I shall be quite out of rum for the men in eight days; but we have been long on reduced rations, so I hope to be able to get on pretty well until the 1st proximo. If you have not relieved us by that time, we shall have no meat left, as I must keep some few bullocks to move my guns about the position; as it is, I have had to kill nearly all the gun bullocks, as my men could not perform the hard work without animal food. I am most anxious to hear of your advance to reassure the native soldiers. There is a report, though from a source upon which I cannot implicitly rely, that Rajah Mhan Singh has just arrived in Lucknow, and has left part of his force outside the city. It is said that he is in our interests, and that he has taken the above step at the instigation of the British authorities. I cannot say for certain whether this is the case, or whether he is really now in Lucknow, as all I have to go on is bazaar rumour.
17th. – This evening a shell thrown from our batteries exploded inside the entrenchment and severely wounded two natives; they were brought past our door and seemed wonderfully patient, though their sufferings must have been very great. I went to see Mrs. Radcliffe this evening; she was quite lame from what all, more or less, suffered from, boils and eruptions. The slightest scratch inflamed, owing to the bad air and want of vegetable food; and it was on this account that so few who were wounded at all severely recovered. Amputations were, I believe, with only two exceptions, fatal, and the least wound became serious. It made one very sad to think of the poor sick men, who ought to have had everything that was nourishing and delicate, having little else than rations of beef and rum; and latterly very little of that.
18th. – There was a partial eclipse of the sun at 10 a.m., which, I dare say, the natives, who are very superstitious, regarded as an omen. A piece of one of our shells burst in our courtyard to-day, and brought down a good deal of brick and rubbish. Our khansamah and my ayah's boy were just touched – not much hurt, but considerably frightened. We were shown to-day a large piece of wood which had been thrown into the ladies' square by the enemy, evidently from a large mortar.
19th. – A quiet day. No news. Very heavy firing at midnight.
Sunday, 20th. – Service at the brigade-mess at twelve. Miss Dickson and I went. Whilst we were there a piece of shell fell close to the cook-room at the place where our servants were generally sitting; no one was hurt. Heavy firing at midnight. A bandsman, 32nd, killed.
21st. – A rainy day, which cooled the air, and was pleasant; but our room leaked very much, and it was impossible to dry our things, which we were obliged to wash almost daily. There were a few dhobies (washermen) inside; but they did not wash any better than we did, having no soap; and they charged exorbitant prices, four shillings for a dress, so we did not often employ them, and the occupation of washing was rather an amusement for us.
22nd. – Steady rain all day. Several desertions took place from the garrison; one could hardly wonder at it. Mr. Cunliffe, artillery, died of fever; he was engaged to one of the Miss Ommanneys; and his brother, a civilian, who had been killed in the district, had been engaged to the other. Poor girls! their father had died during the siege, and their mother was a confirmed invalid and required all their attention. I did not know them, but heard that their conduct was most praiseworthy, and that they bore their troubles nobly.
23rd. – Good news at last. When John came in to us this morning, he told us a messenger had come in from our relieving forces with a letter dated September 20, which was as follows:
'TO COLONEL INGLIS,
'North Side of the River,
'September 20, 1857.
'The army crossed the river yesterday, and all the material being over now, marches towards you to-morrow, and under the blessing of God will now relieve you. The rebels, we hear, intend making one desperate assault on you as we approach the city, and will be on the watch in expectation of your weakening your garrison to make a diversion in our favour as we attack the city. I beg to warn you against being enticed to venture far from your works. When you see us engaged in your vicinity, such diversion as you could make without in any way risking your position should only be attempted.
As I was sitting in a small room in our court which John occupied during the day, the sound of distant guns struck my ear, and I shall never forget the thrilling sensation of hope and joy that filled my heart. Each boom seemed to say, 'We are coming to save you.' Captain Hardinge had a letter from his cousin, who was with the relieving force; he told him that many regiments were on their way from England, and that the excitement at home was intense. A thirty-two-pound shot came through the wall of our courtyard to-day and lodged in an archway, from which Ellicock dug it out with his bayonet. It made a tremendous crash, and certainly was not a pleasant visitor. Before speaking of the relief, I will give Captain Birch's account of some of the incidents of this eventful month:
'As an instance of the heavy firing brought to bear on our position this month may be mentioned the cutting down of the upper story of a brick building simply by musketry firing. This building was in a most exposed position, just behind the Cawnpore battery. All the shots which just missed the top of the rampart cut into a dead wall pretty well in a straight line, and at length cut right through and brought the upper story tumbling down. The upper structure on the top of the brigade-mess also fell in. The Residency house was a wreck. Captain Anderson's post had long ago been knocked down, and Innes' post also fell in. These two were the most exposed positions in the garrison, and were riddled through with round shot. As many as 200 shots were picked up and collected by Colonel Masters. The effect of the rains, too, was to bring down all our shaky buildings to the ground, leaving us only some shattered defences to cling to. More than one attempt was made by the enemy to find a loose joint in our armour; but though there were in reality many openings, they were not to be pierced by the half-hearted endeavours of our cowardly foe. We used often to hear them say "Challo Bahadoor!" which means "Go on, brave men!" but the brave men hearkened not to the persuasive accents, and contented themselves with keeping well under cover. The braver few occasionally showed themselves and were shot down. There were constant movements of troops during this month, probably on account of the advance of the relieving force but the determination with which our little garrison held out evidently disappointed the expectations of the enemy. His attacks were rather desultory, though at the same time severe, and they always resulted in some slight loss to us which we could ill afford. The mining was continuously persevered in, but we made use of our defensive mines, exploding them in several directions and destroying the enemy's underground approaches. The native soldiers, and especially the Sikhs, made excellent miners, and got handsomely paid for their work. All sorts of rumours were rife in the garrison, and the sound of distant cannonading was often reported. In the still watches of the night, too, the sound of bagpipes was said to be heard. But as the relieving force did not make its appearance, these reports were put down to imagination. Afterwards, when General Havelock's fighting came to be known, there was every reason to believe that what we fancied was true. The distance of the force being only fifty miles, the sound of cannon could be well accounted for, but hardly the sound of the bagpipes. It was known that a regiment of Highlanders formed part of the relieving force, and doubtless the wish was father to the thought. The immediate proximity of the relieving force towards the end of the month, of which undoubted signs had been observed from the look-out towers, induced us to communicate once more through Ungud, our faithful spy. And now it may be as well to mention what great importance the brigadier attached to these look-out posts, which commanded an extensive view of the town and country. One was on the Residency tower, which still stood, though the body of the building had been knocked down by fire, and the other was on the top of the post-office. An officer was detached for each, and relieved as the sentries were, and immediate and constant reports were made as to the movements of the enemy. These movements were now chiefly in the Cawnpore direction, and we were naturally thirsting for intelligence. The commissariat reports regarding the state of our provisions were most alarming. A fortnight's supply was all we thought we had to depend on. This was reported to the brigadier; and on these reports he acted in his communication to our relieving force, urging their immediate advance. There had been, however, a separate store of grain collected from various sources of which the military department had no knowledge. By the extraordinary foresight of Sir Henry Lawrence, the large plunge-bath under the banqueting-hall had been set apart for contributions. Whenever any rich native offered his services, Sir Henry used to take him at his word, and tell him to send in grain, hence this extra supply. The civil authorities had also taken occasion to add to this store. From the day the Residency position had been taken up, nothing was allowed to be brought in excepting provisions and drinkables. Rubbish of all sorts was vigorously kept out, and consequently we were not inconvenienced, as were the unfortunate garrison of Cawnpore, with litter and lumber which took up much valuable room. The contents of Deprat's and Sinclair's shops were allowed because they consisted of edible stores. The consequence was that there was a good deal of provision and liquor in the garrison of which the commissariat had no cognizance. The mistake, if mistake it was, of keeping them in ignorance, proved beneficial in the sequel, as will be related.'
24th. – Distant guns were heard during the day. The enemy fired heavily round our position at night. Two round shot fell into our yard, and our wall was much knocked about. I could not sleep from excitement and anxiety.
Friday, 25th. – A day never to be forgotten. Heavy firing all round, and towards the middle of the day our relieving force could be descried. It was evident they were having a hard struggle, though the enemy could also be seen leaving the city in large numbers, swimming the river and crossing the bridges. We shelled them severely to expedite their departure. John had ordered us to remain in the room at the end of the court, and not to let the children out. It was almost impossible to remain quiet. Amidst the excitement, I was in great anxiety about Mrs. Cowper's little boy, who seemed to be dying from bronchitis. It was wonderful to notice the mother's love, so strong as to overpower all feelings of fear, excitement or joy at our expected relief; she who had been so nervous and downhearted during the siege now seemed to care for nothing and to hope for nothing but her child's life. And yet I had heard her say she would not murmur if both her children were taken from her, for she anticipated a more dreadful fate for them. But to return. At 3 p.m. John told us that hard fighting was going on near the bandstand, not far from our houses. At 6 p.m. tremendous cheering was heard, and it was known our relief had reached us. I was standing outside our door when Ellicock rushed in for John's sword; he had not worn it since Chinhut, and a few moments afterwards he came to us accompanied by a short, quiet-looking, gray-haired man, who I knew at once was General Havelock. He shook hands with me, and said he feared we had suffered a great deal. I could hardly answer him – I longed to be with John alone, and he shared my feelings, for erelong he returned to me, and never shall I forget his heartfelt kiss as he said, 'Thank God for this!' Yes, we were safe, and my darling husband spared to me. It was a moment of unmixed happiness, but not lasting. I felt how different my lot was to others'; and, of course, Mrs. Case was my first care. She could not but feel what her happiness would have been had her husband been spared. I tried to write home, but could not. Captain Hardinge rushed past our room, and asked if we had any cold meat for starving officers; this we had not, but we gave him some soup which we had in sealed tins. I also gave some to Mrs. Pearce, who said she had had nothing to eat all day. 1 would have given away all we had, for I thought we were relieved and should be in want no more. Dr. Ogilvie told us he had received orders to find out how many carts would be required to move us, which made us think we were to start at once. To all this excitement succeeded much that was sad and painful. On going to see Mrs. Cowper, whose child was better, I learnt that the relieving force had suffered most severely coming in, and the wounded, sad to say, had been abandoned, also the baggage. The enemy had loopholed the houses and shot the poor fellows down by scores, as they passed through the narrow streets. General Neil, a most splendid soldier, was killed just at the gateway. Then Mrs. Roberts, a sergeant's wife in the 32nd, came to tell us that the account of the Nana's treachery and the Cawnpore massacre was but too true. One of the survivors had come in, and his accounts were most fearful. This alone was enough to cloud our joy at being relieved, and at the same time to remind us of what might have been our fate. We found it difficult to sleep at night, owing to the noise going on amongst the Sikhs in the square next to us – a sound discordant to my ears, for it seemed a time for solemn thankfulness, and not for noisy revelry; still, one could not grudge the poor men their enjoyment: they had suffered and fought well, long, and nobly, and merited recreation and rest. Poor Captain Radcliffe was severely wounded to-day, and had to have his arm amputated. Captain Birch gives fuller accounts of this most memorable day, and of the difficulties encountered by our noble relieving force.
He says: 'The time has now arrived when this long-watched-for and happy relief can be described. The cheering sound of the approaching force marked by distant cannonading was listened to anxiously. We knew the combined force under Generals Havelock and Outram was very weak, and quite inadequate under ordinary conditions to attack a populous town with an enormous force defending it. The path literally bristled with difficulties. The road taken by the force was by the canal bank, and the city was entered by the Terahkhotie and the old 32nd mess-house, known as Khonshaid Munzil. Leaving the Khaiser Bagh on the left, the troops crossed the Khass Bazaar and got into the Chuttur Munzil which joined the Residency position near the Bailie Guard gate. In the garrison we were of the opinion that the best approach would have been made by crossing the river Goomtee and keeping to the left bank until opposite the Captain Bazaar, in which case they would have passed over open ground instead of through narrow streets. Fortunately, they did not come straight up the Cawnpore road, as the enemy had expected them to do, for they had loopholed the houses, and were prepared to give them a warm reception. In the meantime, we were very much on the alert, and had no intention of being surprised at the last moment after our protracted defence and the strenuous efforts made to relieve us. The garrison, by the brigadier's orders, was kept under arms all night; more than once alarms were raised of an impending attack, but our attitude was too repellent. We could not, as General Havelock had asked us, make a diversion in his favour, because our defences lay so open and our numbers were so reduced, that any body of men we sent out would have left our position unprotected and at the mercy of the enemy; and also we could not leave the sick, women, and children. A diversion, therefore, was not to be thought of, but we remained very strictly on the defence, watching with intense anxiety the steady progress made by our gallant comrades, fighting for our rescue. It was indeed a gallant feat of arms by which Generals Havelock and Outram and their small force threw themselves into our entrenchments. They were outnumbered a hundred to one, and had to make their way through narrow streets and dense parts of the city. Indeed, so dense were the suburbs, that they completely swallowed up the force, preventing our seeing them. The first sign of their approach was the evident panic amongst the citizens. Crowds streamed out of the city in headlong flight. Horsemen rode to the banks of the river and, cutting the tight martingales of their horses, plunged into the stream. Our irregular cavalry, of which we used to think so much, behaved the worst, in a fighting point of view, of all our ancient army. They were the first to leave the city; whilst the gunners and small-arm men still opposed the advance of the relieving force, and continued to fire upon us from all the batteries and loopholes in their position. The enthusiasm in the garrison was tremendous, and only equalled by that of our relievers. H.M.'s 78th Highlanders and the 14th Sikhs raced up to our gate, which was earthed up, and which we did not dare to open, as the enemy kept up their fire till the last moment. Indeed, the relief was too precipitate. Brigadier Inglis, as he saw the manner of the approach, said to me, "We are not relieved yet," and so indeed it proved. Generals Outram and Havelock came in at an embrasure which had been pretty well knocked about and admitted them. General Havelock was an old friend of my father, Sir Richard Birch, and they had been in several campaigns together. I was able to introduce him to the brigadier; he was buttoned up to the chin in a blue coat. We of the old garrison had long deserted red and blue, and, with flannel shirts, white clothing dyed dust-colour and soiled with gunpowder, we looked more like buccaneers than officers of the British army. I sent Ellicock, the brigadier's orderly, for his sword, for he had only pistols in his waist-belt, and I tried to make him look a little more like the generals who had invaded us. General Outram I had not seen before; he did not seem pleased with the conduct of operations, and said his loss had been very severe he feared, 800 killed. When Brigadier Inglis asked him for orders, he bowed, and said, "General Havelock commands to-day." The brigadier said, "We hardly expected you in before to-morrow." He answered, "When I saw your battered gate, I determined to be in before nightfall." General Outram put up in Dr. Fayrer's house, in the room where Sir Henry Lawrence had died, and General Havelock established himself in the brigadier's night-quarters, Mr. Ommanney's house, where the 84th reserve was, and which was a central position. It was a sight never to be forgotten to see the hand-shaking and welcomes between the relievers and the relieved. Hirsute Sikhs and brawny Highlanders were seen taking up the children in their arms and kissing them. Inquiries after relations and friends were eager and anxious – alas! in too many instances to be met by the doleful tidings of death.'
26th. – A sortie was made by our garrison to-day, and four guns taken. Mr. Thornhill, Civil Service, volunteered to go out with a force to bring in the wounded; amongst them was General Havelock's son and his cousin. Poor fellow! he reached them all right by a safe road, but for some unknown reason returned by a different one through the most frequented streets, which had been loopholed by the enemy. The dhoolie-bearers could not stand the fire which was opened upon them, and dropped the dhoolies with the wounded inside them. The escort was overwhelmed and Mr. Thornhill himself badly wounded, but he managed to get into the Residency. The enemy, we were told, collected the dhoolies in the Khass Bazaar square and set fire to them. General Havelock and his aide-de-camp breakfasted with us. We also saw Colonel Napier, engineers, and Captain Moorsom, 52nd, quartermaster-general; the latter told us he had always mentioned us in writing home, and said as much as he could to comfort and cheer our families. I could hardly answer him for fear of breaking down, the whole scene was so trying and exciting. It was evident to us, from the conversation that went on, and from the reports that were constantly coming in to the general, that though reinforced we were not relieved; indeed, John told me that himself, and our position still seemed most perilous. The opposition the force had met with in getting to us had far exceeded their expectations, and all seemed much disheartened and discouraged. A good deal of plundering went on all day, and the servants kept bringing in large piles of silk cloth from the bazaar outside our entrenchment which had been abandoned by the enemy. Captain Hughes, who had been attached to the 32nd, was mortally wounded to-day, and also Captain Joly, who had come in with General Havelock to rejoin his regiment, being on leave when the mutiny broke out. In the afternoon Colonel Campbell, 90th, was brought in slightly wounded in the leg. His brother in the 52nd was an old friend of ours, so John took charge of him, and brought him to the room at the end of our court. We dined there with General Havelock and one or two others. We gathered from the conversation that much anxiety was felt regarding the 90th Regiment which was still outside with guns, baggage, and ammunition; every available man in the garrison was sent out to help them, and the last order we heard from General Outram himself, who came into the room for a few minutes, was that if necessary the guns were to be abandoned; but I believe that eventually all but two or three were brought in. John was appointed to-day to the brigade left vacant by the death of General Neil, and he was left in command of the original garrison. Brigadier Hamilton, 79th, came to see Mrs. Case. Mr. McCabe, 32nd, did a brave thing to-day; he came upon a large party of the enemy, attacked them, drove them into a corner, and completely destroyed them.
Sunday, 27th. – Fighting outside all day. A sortie was made to take some guns; but I believe it was rather an unsuccessful one, though the enemy suffered severely. Our casualties also were very numerous. Mr. Warner, 7th Cavalry, a fine young officer, led a small party of the 32nd; he rushed into our room whilst we were at dinner and begged for something to eat. We gave him a chappattie and piece of beef, and he afterwards told us it was all he had that day. Captain Barrow, commanding volunteer cavalry, paid us a visit; I was so pleased to see him – an old friend's face was indeed a treat. We got a paper, the Home News, lent us for two hours; it was the first paper we had seen for months; it was of an old date, but most interesting to us. John had less to do than usual, and I read it aloud to him and the others, and they all listened with eager attention. Mr. Huxham, 4th Native Infantry, was slightly wounded to-day. Dr. Scott paid us a visit; he looked ill and worn out; I believe the hospital, with its fresh accession of sick and wounded, was a fearful sight. It was a sad Sunday, and we were not able to have any service. Firing all night.
28th. – A quieter day. Captain Hughes died, and Mr. Alexander, artillery, was mortally wounded, and died during the day.
29th. – A very sad day. Very early in the morning a party of men assembled in our yard for a sortie to destroy guns. They were taken from the different regiments, the 32nd furnishing a good number. Mr. McCabe was told off to lead. John protested against the selection, saying he had already led three sorties, and it was not fair to take him again; but General Outram said he must have him. The affair was far from being successful; only seven guns were spiked, and our loss was most severe. Poor Mr. McCabe was carried past our door shot through the lungs. Mr. Lucas, a gentleman volunteer, mortally wounded; Major Simmonds, 5th Fusileers, killed Mr. Edmonstone, 32nd, slightly wounded. The latter behaved most bravely, having with three of the 32nd rushed forward to spike a gun when a good many of the others fell back; he and two of the men were hit, the remaining one spiked the gun – an act worthy of the V.C. Cuney and Smith of the 32nd were both killed: two braver men never lived; the former had no right to be out, as he was on the sick-list, but he could not resist accompanying the party, as his comrade Smith and he had been together all through the siege. Poor John was sadly cut up at Mr. McCabe being so badly hit; no hopes were entertained of his life. An old servant of the Moores came to see us, and gave us some terrible accounts of the massacre at Cawnpore; he said Captain Moore, 32nd, was killed in the boats, but Mrs. Moore was one of those taken back to a house belonging to the Nana, and afterwards murdered by his orders. It was impossible to realize such horrors, and to hear them made one's very heart sick. Captain Barrow and Mrs. Gall came to see us. Poor Major Gall had been a brother officer of the former in the 5th Madras Cavalry. It was said that a party was to go out to-morrow to take the iron bridge, John in command, which, of course, made me anxious. It did not come off.
30th. – A quiet day. John not at all well, and did not leave his room. In the evening I heard that Captain Hardinge with his Sikhs was going out to try and open communication between us and Alum Bagh, where were some of the 90th. It was considered a most perilous undertaking, and Captain Birch, who came to speak to John about it, seemed much distressed. We all admired and liked Captain Hardinge; he had proved himself throughout the siege a most gallant officer, and he was always so cheerful. It used always to be a pleasure to us to hear him whistle as he passed our door. The enemy made a feigned attack at night.
October 1st. – John still unwell. Another sortie made to-day, which was tolerably successful, and several houses were taken possession of and blown up. An old tailor belonging to the 32nd, who had come in with General Havelock, came to speak to us, but he could tell us nothing of our missing servants, merely knowing that numbers had been murdered. Mr. Brown led the 32nd to-day in the sortie. I spoke to him just before he went out, as he stood in our yard with Mr. Foster, the adjutant, and Captain Bassano; the latter was in command of the regiment, Captain Lowe having been wounded. Mr. Brown returned untouched, contrary to our, and I fancy his own, expectations. John was much annoyed at the 32nd being made to lead all the sorties. Captain Birch, speaking on this subject, says:
'Sir James Outram said that our old garrison were best acquainted with the ground (inside the entrenchment we were so, but not outside). Parties of twenty men of the reduced 32nd were told off to lead each column of attack, and on them fell the brunt of the loss that ensued. The other regiments did not in the least want to be shown the way, but the general seemed to think that enough loss had been sustained in relieving us. Each column of attack consisted of detachments of the 64th, 78th Highlanders, 1st Madras Cavalry, 5th Fusileers, and 90th Light Infantry; and we had the gallant band of the twenty 32nd men like the steel head of the lance to pierce the way. The batteries were all taken, but only temporarily silenced; they were soon at work again; indeed, it was a most useless waste of life to leave our own entrenchments, unless we meant to hold the outside position.'
Captain Hardinge did not get to Alum Bagh last night; the firing was so severe directly he left the Residency gate that he was forced to return; to have got through the streets would have been impracticable. We were very glad, as, humanly speaking, he must have been killed had he persevered. Mr. McCabe died this morning; he had done splendid service during the siege. He began life as a private soldier, and got his commission for bravery; he was a sad loss to our garrison. I was with Mrs. Cowper nearly all day, watching her baby dying. Towards night the little thing's sufferings ceased and it breathed its last. The nurse sewed it up in some cloth, and Mr. Cowper carried it to the dead-house – a sad office for a father, but we could hardly grieve for the little one who had been born in such troublous times. My baby was ill to-day. Sharp musketry firing at 10 a.m.
2nd. – Another sortie made; three or four guns taken, no one hurt. The enemy withdrew some of their guns during the night. Our rations were at this time reduced, and we were obliged to be most prudent, and only eat just enough to satisfy hunger. I cannot say I ever suffered from actual hunger, but I very often felt I should like to eat more than I had, and an extra piece of chappattie was a great treat to us all. I was most fortunate in having a good supply of arrowroot, and to the last was able to give some away. Poor General Neil, who was killed at the Residency gate, had with him a small box of provisions, etc., for different members of the garrison. A list was found of the names of those he intended to share them, and Mrs. Case was one; she had known his brother in America. Some arrowroot and sago fell to her share, which was most acceptable to us, as I was just running short. We also possessed candles, a great luxury, and by economy, and only using one when we wanted to read or write, they lasted us all the time. Yesterday a man of the Madras Fusileers was found in a dry well, into which he had fallen three days ago, during one of the sorties; he had remained there, not daring to call out, until he heard European voices; he was in a dreadful state of hunger, but not hurt. What a fearful time he must have passed! A 32nd man fell in at the same time and was killed. This morning John called me out to speak to him, and told me what was only known to himself, Mr. Cowper, and the two generals – namely, that our, relieving force was going to leave us in consequence of the scarcity of provisions, and were to try and fight their way to Alum Bagh, there to wait until further reinforced. The 90th was to be left with us; the thing was to be done most secretly. The garrisons from the different outposts were to be withdrawn, and a sortie was to be made, for the ostensible purpose of finding and bringing in cattle; but the force, instead of returning, was to make for Alum Bagh. John did not seem at all dismayed at the prospect of being left alone again; on the contrary, he was sanguine and cheerful. He told me to write a short note home to send out.
3rd. – Captain Barrow came in the middle of the day, and we gave him something to eat, as he was badly off for provisions. Colonel Napier dined with us. This night had been fixed for the force leaving us, and as I said good-bye to him, I felt we might never meet again. I had my letter written, and waited long for John, but he did not come till late at night, and then told me the force could not leave till to-morrow. It was an anxious time.
Sunday, 4th. – This day was appointed as the day of humiliation for the mutiny throughout India. We had service at twelve, and the Holy Communion administered. There were a large number of communicants. I was very glad of this, for it seemed a fitting preparation for those who, though unconscious of it, were so soon, as I thought, to engage in so perilous an undertaking. However, the force did not leave us after all, for it was discovered that they would not be able to get through the city, and also the result of Sir Henry Lawrence's forethought came into play. The plunge-bath under the banqueting hall, with its deep store of grain, was measured, and by greatly reducing the rations it was found possible to retain General Havelock's force within our defenses. Major Haliburton, 78th Highlanders, was mortally wounded to-day, and Mr. Joly, 32nd, died.
5th. – I was busy all the morning writing letters from John's dictation, which he was writing to Lord Canning, etc. One of the enemy's mines was blown up to-day. Several casualties occurred at the Ferad Buksh palace outside the entrenchments now occupied by Europeans. I read General Outram's order to our garrison, which was most handsome and gratifying. It was as follows
JAMES OUTRAM, G.C.B.
October 5, 1857.
'The incessant and arduous duties which have devolved on Brigadier Inglis and his staff since the arrival of the relieving force has hitherto prevented him from furnishing to the major-general commanding the usual official documents relative to the siege of the garrison. In the absence of these, the major-general could not with propriety have indulged in any public declaration of the admiration with which he regards the heroism displayed by Brigadier Inglis and the glorious garrison he has so ably commanded during the last three months, and he has been reluctantly obliged to defer, therefore, so long the expressions of the sentiments he was desirous to offer.
'But the major-general, having at length received Brigadier Inglis' reports, is relieved from the necessity of further silence, and he hastens to tender to the brigadier and to every individual member of the garrison the assurance of his confidence that their services will be regarded by the Government under which they are immediately serving, by the British nation, and by her gracious Majesty, with equal admiration to that with which he is himself impressed.
'The major-general believes that the annals of warfare contain no brighter page than that which will record the bravery, fortitude, vigilance, and patient endurance of hardships, privations, and fatigue displayed by the garrison of Lucknow; and he is very conscious that his unskilled pen must needs fail adequately to convey to the Governor-General of India and to his excellency the commander-in-chief the profound sense of the merits of that garrison which has been forced on his mind by a careful consideration of the almost incredible difficulties with which they have had to contend.
'The term "illustrious" was well and happily applied by a former governor-general to the garrison of Jellahabad; but some far more laudatory epithet – if such the English language contains – is due, the major-general considers, to the brave men whom Brigadier Inglis has commanded with undeviating success and untarnished honour through the late memorable siege; for, while the devoted band of heroes, who so nobly maintained the honour of their country's arms, under Sir Robert Sale, were seldom exposed to actual attack, the Lucknow garrison of inferior strength have – in addition to a series of fierce assaults, gallantly and successfully repulsed – been for three months exposed to a nearly incessant fire, from strong and commanding positions, held by an enemy of overwhelming force, possessing powerful artillery, having at their command the whole resource of what was but recently a kingdom, and animated by an insane bloodthirsty fanaticism. It is a source of heartfelt satisfaction to the major-general to be able, to a certain extent, to confer on the native portion of the garrison one installment of those rewards which their gallant and grateful commander has sought for them, and which he is very certain the governor-general will bestow in full; and though the major-general, as regards the European portion of the garrison, cannot do more than give his most earnest and hearty support to the recommendations of the brigadier, he feels assured that the Governor-General of India will fully and publicly manifest his appreciation of their distinguished services, and that our beloved Sovereign will herself deign to convey to them some gracious expression of royal approbation of their conduct.
'Brigadier Inglis has borne generous testimony to the bravery, vigilance, and devotedness and good conduct of all ranks; and to all ranks as the real representative of the British Indian Government the major-general tenders his warmest acknowledgments. He would fain offer his special congratulations and thanks to the European and Eurasian portion of the garrison whom Brigadier Inglis has particularly noticed; but by doing so, he would forestall the governor-general in the exercise of what the major-general is assured will be one of the most pleasing acts of his official life.'
Colonel Napier, engineers, when he went round the works, said that ours had been the most wonderful defence ever made, and that enough could not be done for the commander. Mrs. Roberts, a sergeant's wife, came to see us to-day, and made us very sad by telling us that there was no more chloroform in the hospital; and the idea of what the poor wounded men must be suffering was most painful. She also told us that Mrs. Ousely had lost both her children a few days ago; they died within a few hours of each other.
6th. – The enemy made rather a determined attack to-day, commencing as usual with the blowing up of a mine. The firing lasted about three hours, and was very sharp. They managed to regain a position from which we had driven them yesterday. A sergeant, 32nd, killed, one man wounded.
7th. – A quiet day. We heard that 250 men had arrived at Alum Bagh with provisions. Captain Barrow sat some time with us. I was laid up with inflamed mosquito-bites on my feet, and could not walk at all, which was trying, as I felt the need of exercise so much. Dr. Scott was very kind, and came to see me every day; and, but for his care and attention, and Miss Dickson's good nursing, I might have lost my foot, or been lame for life. Mr. Edmonstone, 32nd, had tea with us, and a long gossip principally about his home; he was looking rather pulled down from the wound in his head; it was his second, and he said he knew if he had a third it would be a very bad one; he seemed quite superstitious about it. He said he had heard that news had gone to England of our garrison being all cut up, which grieved us much; one of our saddest thoughts during the siege was the reflection of how those we loved must be suffering. How one used to long to hear something of them!
9th. – Wrote from John's dictation; he had much writing to do. Mr. Crommelin, engineer, whom we had known at Peshawur, came to see us. A messenger came in with letters bringing the account of the fall of Delhi, with severe loss on our side – 2,000 killed and wounded, sixty-one officers. The messenger said that the garrison at Alum Bagh was well off for provisions, and not very closely besieged. We heard to-day that Mhan Singh had offered to escort the women and children to a place of safety. Whether he meant well or otherwise one cannot say; but we should have been sorry to trust ourselves to his care.
10th. – An attack was expected to-night, and all the sentries were doubled, numbers of the enemy having been seen on the bridges, but we had only some heavy firing.
Sunday,11th. – Service at twelve, and the Holy Communion administered. Brigadier Hamilton and Captain Barrow came to see us. Heavy firing at night, and the enemy blew up a mine, killing a man of the 78th Highlanders.
12th. – Two letters came in last night from Cawnpore and Alum Bagh. Troops coming up country daily, and being pushed on to our relief. I to-day sent out a tiny note by a messenger, enclosed by Captain Birch in one to his father. The messenger was promised a large reward if he delivered it safely at Cawnpore. It eventually reached home, and was the first assurance they had of our safety. I mentioned in it the names of Captain Barrow, Mr. Warner, and Mr. Farquhar, whose families we knew. Mr. Thornhill died to-day from his wounds; he had not been married a year.
13th. – A good deal of firing in the early morning; the rest of the day very quiet. The weather was now delightful; mornings and evenings quite cold. I used at this time to let the children take a little walk in the mornings as far as the Ommanneys' house, there being little or no firing in that direction, and they enjoyed it so much; but we were soon obliged to keep them prisoners again, as John did not think it safe.
14th. – We heard to-day that the Sikhs outside were anxious to fight for us, so they were told to go and join our relieving force. Mhan Singh was also trying to come to terms with us – all this looked well, but one could not trust much to native promises. Mr. Harmer, 32nd, came to see us; he was on crutches, poor boy! but was in good spirits.
15th. – John brought us some of the King of Oude's jewels to show us; he had been taking an inventory of them; they were very handsome. An old pensioner came to talk to John, and gave us a good deal of information as to what was going on outside.
16th. – An attack expected, and a great deal of firing. Miss Dickson went to see Mrs. Polehampton, and John let Johnny go with her. Poor little fellow! he quite enjoyed the change.
17th. – A quiet day, but a good deal of firing at night.
Sunday, 18th. – A Sikh came in from Mhan Singh with a letter professing his wish to serve us, and an answer was returned from General Outram; but we did not hear the purport of it. I was too lame to go to church, so John read the service to me. At about 10.30 p.m. the enemy opened a sharp musketry firing which lasted for half an hour. Mrs. Case and Johnny were walking in the square next to ours to-day, when a Sikh officer passed them, and directly afterwards he was hit in the arm by a bullet. No place was really safe, and I never liked having the children out of my sight.
19th. – Read a home newspaper to-day of August 26.
20th. – An attack anticipated. One child was killed and another wounded by the bursting of a shell. Captain Gordon, 6th Native Infantry, paid us a visit, and gave us a fearful account of the mutiny of his regiment at Allahabad. Fourteen officers were killed; some of the men of his company saved him and escorted him to the fort. Another letter from Mhan Singh to-day.
21st. – The enemy fired a good deal this morning. Poor young Dallicott, a hospital apprentice in the 32nd, was asleep in his bed when a round shot came and took off his head. 'He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow,' were words that recurred painfully to me when I heard of his sad fate. His mother was almost broken-hearted, for he had been an excellent son to her, and was in every way a good and promising young man. The enemy blew up two mines to-day, but they did no harm.
22nd. – Distant guns and musketry-firing were heard this morning, supposed to proceed from Alum Bagh, which place it was thought the enemy was attacking.
23rd. – Not able to move on account of my foot. I had simply scratched it, but the slightest prick at this time caused inflammation and became serious. Mrs. Giddings and Mr. Cowper came to see us, also Mr. Charlton, 32nd, who had been so badly wounded at the commencement of the siege; the bullet was still in his head, and his recovery was considered very wonderful; he looked very worn and ill.
24th. – John told us to-day that all hopes of terms being made with Mhan Singh were at an end, and that we must wait patiently for relief from our own people. Our rations were to be again reduced. It was a very wearying prospect, and at times made one feel very heart-sick; but if we felt this, what must the sick and wounded have done, who were positively dying for want of fresh air and common comforts! Poor Colonel Campbell, who had been going on so well, was seriously ill to-day with fever. Captain Barrow drank tea with us and stayed some time, also Colonel Napier and Captain Wilson.
25th. – A messenger came in from Mhan Singh this afternoon; he was evidently playing a deep game, and did not want entirely to break with us. As I could not walk to church, John read the service to me. Two letters arrived to-night from Cawnpore containing good news. Troops arriving there daily.
26th. – Colonel Campbell better; he was under Dr. Scott's care, who was certainly one of the best and cleverest doctors in the garrison, but all were most indefatigable. A Mr. Thompson, attached to the 32nd, was most kind and hard working; he used to come at night to see one of our servants who was ill, and was most attentive, though he had such incessant work at the hospital. Our rations were reduced to-day, and I was obliged to diminish our allowance of chappatties. We had some grain (split peas), which I used to make into cakes; but I disliked it exceedingly, and only ate it when I could get nothing else. Mhan Singh made a pleasant proposal at this time, namely, that an underground passage should be made for him to come in and go out of the Residency unwatched. Our confidence in him was not quite so firm as to make us accept this proposition.
27th. – An attack expected. Mr. Graydon, 44th Native Infantry, was mortally wounded to-day; he was a very valuable officer, and had been in the commissariat for some time, but begged so hard to have command at an outpost that John did not like to refuse him, and there he met his death. Another messenger came in from Mhan Singh, who told us that the English prisoners were in the Khaiser Bagh palace, Miss Jackson amongst them.
28th. – A messenger came in from Alum Bagh last night. The Delhi force had arrived at Cawnpore, Colonel Grant, 9th Lancers, commanding.
29th. – Captain Barrow paid us a visit. Uneasiness was felt at this time regarding the Gwalior force, which was said to be marching towards Lucknow – no small addition to the numbers already fighting against us.
30th. – The enemy blew up a mine to-day, but did no harm. A messenger from Mhan Singh came in saying that he, Mhan Singh, would retire according to General Outram's instructions.
31st. – A letter received to-day, signed by the poor prisoners in the palace, saying they were kindly treated; but of course they might have been forced to write it, so it did not give us much comfort on their account. Captain Birch, Captain Barrow, and John, drank tea with us. This used to be our most sociable hour in the day; we used to sit outside our door, chatting and sipping our not very palatable tea, minus milk and sugar – and with which at this time we could not even afford a chappattie – and when John was of the party it was a great treat to me. I seldom had the pleasure of a quiet conversation with him, and often used to watch his door for an hour to try and catch him alone, I felt I had so much to say to him.
Sunday, November 1st. – Still laid up with my foot, so John read the service to me. Captain Barrow dined with us. A man of the 78th Highlanders killed to-day, and one wounded.
2nd. – A great many casualties to-day. A letter arrived from Cawnpore, saying that the commander-in-chief had arrived there, and would be at Alum Bagh on the 10th; so the end of our weary siege seemed really approaching.
3rd. – Guns heard at Alum Bagh. A good deal of fighting during the night.
4th. – A sad casualty occurred to-day. Mr. Dashwood, a very young officer, had wounded himself with his revolver very early in the siege, and had been going about on crutches ever since. He was a great draughtsman, and was amusing himself with sketching in a very exposed position, when a round shot came and wounded him severely in both his feet. They had to be amputated above the ankles, and, of course, he was not expected to live. His brother in the 48th Native Infantry had died some time before of cholera, leaving a widow and two young children. Sharp firing at night. Poor Mrs. Cowper lost her milk-goat to-day; it was killed by two men of the Madras Fusileers, as also two of our kids. We used to send them out to graze when there was not much firing. The men killed them for food. Fortunately, we could spare her a little of our milk. The poor men suffered much from hunger at this time. The weather was cold, and, combined with much work, gave them an appetite which they had not the means of satisfying. They would give a rupee (two shillings) for a small chappattie. Rum and tobacco had been long unknown amongst them.
5th. – A quiet day and night; no news. Colonel Campbell was very unwell again; his wound had suffered from the fever.
6th. – Major Eyre, artillery, paid us a visit. He had known my mother, so I was glad to see him. News arrived that Sir Colin Campbell, with 5,700 infantry, 600 cavalry, and thirty guns, was at Cawnpore, and would be at Alum Bagh on the 10th, confirming the news we had some time ago. John seemed in good spirits when he told us.
7th. – A very quiet day. The enemy blew up a mine, but did no harm,
Sunday, 8th. – John came to breakfast, but was taken suddenly ill, and had to go and lie down, and send for the doctor. He did not get up all day. I went to the service at the brigade-mess, and spent the rest of the day with him. He got better towards evening. Mr. Brown, of the 32nd, was wounded slightly in the leg; hardly an officer of the regiment had escaped; one and all did their duty nobly.
9th. – John better, but did not leave his room. Captain Barrow came to see us in the evening, and we made him stay to dinner, which he did, very readily, as he confessed to having dined early and sparingly and to being very hungry.
10th. – John better. Just after breakfast Mr. Farquhar, 7th Cavalry, came to report to him that heavy firing could be heard at Alum Bagh, and that the commander-in-chief was supposed to have arrived at that place. Mr. Kavanagh, a clerk, volunteered last night to go out to Alum Bagh with plans and despatches from Sir James Outram; he disguised himself as a native, and reached the place safely. It was a splendid feat of gallantry and a most invaluable service. All the garrison were much delighted to hear that a flag had been hoisted at Alum Bagh, the signal of his having arrived. John was too much excited to remain in his room, but he was very weak when he attempted to walk. Captain Dodgson, assistant adjutant-general to Sir James Outram, came to see Mrs. Case and Miss Dickson; he had known some friends of theirs in England.
11th. – Poor Colonel Campbell, whose leg had been gradually getting worse for some days, was obliged this morning to have it amputated; we were so very sorry for him. Dr. Scott performed the operation, and they were able to procure him a little chloroform; he bore it well, but was very weak afterwards. Mrs. Cowper saw him constantly. Mr. Harmer came to see us to-day; he had discarded his crutches, but was still very lame. An attempt was made to establish a communication between the Residency and Alum Bagh by means of signals to-day, but it failed.
12th. – Communication established, and news gained that Sir Colin Campbell had arrived at Alum Bagh, and was to advance the next day. Sharp firing was heard there; an attack on our position expected. Colonel Campbell, who had been sinking gradually since yesterday, died at eleven o'clock; he was insensible some time before his death. We felt so glad it had been in our power to give him comforts which he could not have had in the hospital, and thereby in some degree to have alleviated his sufferings. He was a gallant soldier, and a clear-headed, valuable officer. A curious incident occurred in connection with his illness. During the siege, we had picked up a little white hen, which used to run about and pick up what it could. Just before Colonel Campbell became so very ill, we had decided to kill and eat it, when one morning Johnny ran in and said, 'Oh, mamma, the white hen has laid an egg!' We took it at once to Colonel Campbell, it being a great luxury in those days. The hen laid one every day for him till he died, and then ceased for the rest of the siege; but we would not kill it then.
13th. – Sharp musketry-firing at Alum Bagh. We were daily expecting an attack, but the enemy seemed otherwise engaged.
14th. – Sir Colin advanced and took possession of the Martinière College, from which our flag could be seen flying, then of the Dil Khoosha. Poor Mrs. Ousely, Colonel Palmer's daughter, died to-day. She had lost her two children within a few hours of each other. We heard she had been most kind and unselfish during the siege, ever ready to help others and to share any little extra comforts she might have. Mrs. Bruere's ayah was carried past our door to-day, wounded in the eye. To extract the bullet, it was found necessary to take out the eye – a fearful operation – and her mistress actually held her while it was being performed. It was astonishing how accustomed, I will not say hardened, one had become to sights which once even to talk of would have sickened one. We were, alas! too familiar with the sight of blood to turn away from it.
Sunday, 15th. – Went to service in the morning. Sir Colin remained stationary. It was John's birthday, and in honour of the day we invited Captain Barrow to dinner, and actually had a fruit tart – an extravagance I should certainly not have been guilty of had not our hopes of relief been very high. Johnny ran after Captain Barrow screaming at the top of his voice, 'Come to dinner; we've got a pudding.' The enemy fired heavily all night.
16th. – Sir Colin advanced, and the reports of his progress were listened to with the greatest excitement and anxiety. A sortie was made from our garrison – not a very successful one – and our loss was heavy. John and Captain Birch were on the top of the Residency house to-day, when a bullet passed the former, and, going through Captain Birch's cap, just took off the top of his ear. It was a wonderful escape for both.
17th. – A most exciting, anxious day. At two o'clock we were told that red-jackets were in the 32nd mess-house – a fortified building, and a strong position. At about 4 p.m. two strange officers walked through our yard, leading their horses, and asking for the brigadier. One was Colonel Berkely, who had exchanged with Colonel Brooks, and had come out to command the 32nd. By this we knew communication was established between the two forces, and, that we really were relieved. Colonel Berkely came afterwards, and talked with us for some time. Poor Mrs. Case felt much seeing him, for had her husband been spared, he would have been in his place, and it had always been his greatest ambition to command the regiment. Colonel Napier was wounded slightly to-day; he was riding with two other officers to see Sir Colin Campbell, who had not come inside our entrenchments. All the three were hit, so friendly visits could not be exchanged without risk. John did not come to dinner till late, and when he did, he said he had bad news to tell us, which was that our whole garrison was to leave the Residency to-morrow night. We were indeed thunderstruck, and truly grieved to think of abandoning the place we had held so long with a small force, now that it seemed to us we could have driven the enemy completely out of Lucknow, re-established our supremacy, and marched out triumphantly.
Captain Birch says: 'When the commander-in-chief's orders came for the abandonment of the Baille Guard position, which we had so long and strenuously defended, it came like a blow to my chief, Brigadier Inglis. He went to Sir James Outram, commanding the division, and pleaded, though without success, that our flag should be kept flying on the ruins of the old Residency – the only spot in Oude from which, through the dreadful crises of the mutiny, it had never been removed. He volunteered to maintain our former position, if only one regiment were left him, and the sick and wounded, as well as the women and children, removed. Outram had much of the hero in him, and liked the spirit of the offer. He repeated it to his excellency the commander-in-chief, but no representations at headquarters were of any avail. It had been determined to make another campaign of it in the succeeding year, and the fiat went forth for immediate relinquishment.'
Mr. Cowper came to see us after dinner; he was in a state of great excitement and indignation. We were told we were to take nothing with us but what we could carry in our hands, and many immediately began to make a bonfire of their property, determined the rebels should not appropriate it.
18th. – It was found impossible to get off the sick and wounded, women and children to-day, so our departure was postponed, and arrangements were also made to allow of each person having a camel to carry his baggage. We spent the day packing, with interruptions from visitors – Colonel Grant, 9th Lancers, being one. I was so glad to see him; he had been all through the Delhi siege, and was looking so fresh and well. Mr. Sarel, 9th Lancers, also came in; he had lost two of his fingers.
19th. – Finished our preparations for starting. John decided we should leave at four o'clock, and at that hour we were all ready. Mrs. Case s carriage was drawn by coolies, there being no horses available, and into it we put the three children and servants, and started ourselves walking. John came as far as the gate with us, and then sent Captain Birch as an escort. I turned my back on the Residency with a heavy heart, for at that time I fancied a force might still be left there, and that I was bidding farewell to my husband for some time. The way we went out I cannot describe, as I had never been there before. It was considered safe, except in three parts where the enemy commanded the road, and they were firing at intervals. At these spots Captain Birch carried the children, and we all ran as fast as we could – strange to say, I did not feel at all afraid. An hour's walk brought us to Secundra Bagh, a house standing in a large garden, where already most of the women and children were assembled. At this place three days ago, terrible retribution had fallen on the rebels. Nearly 1,200 of them had been cut to pieces, no quarter being asked or granted. Their bodies had just been covered over with earth, and it sickened me to feel they were so near us. I met several old friends, Dr. Browne, Major Rudman, 32nd, Dighton Probyn of the irregulars, whom I had known as a boy in England. All were most kind, and feasted us with tea and bread and-butter, which were great luxuries. As it was getting late, I begged Captain Birch to return, fancying John might be anxious at his prolonged absence. Sir Colin Campbell came and talked to me for some time; he was very kind in his manner, and talked about us as dear creatures, meaning the ladies; at the same time, I knew he was wishing us very far away, and no wonder! At 10 p.m., an escort having arrived to take us to Dil Khoosha Park, we again started. Major Ouvry, 9th Lancers, lent us a bullock cart, into which Mrs. Case and sister, a Mrs. Pitt and child, myself and the three children squeezed ourselves. I never was so tightly packed before, and as I was the furthest from the door, I did not feel very comfortable in case of any danger threatening us. I had at first put the two boys into a dhoolie with their ayah, but they got separated from us, and it was fully a quarter of an hour before I found them, so I would not let them go from me again. As we were starting, Major Ouvry brought us some beer to drink, and poor baby, who was very thirsty, cried louder for it than I had ever heard him before. With difficulty I pacified him, and succeeded in getting him to sleep. Just then the word 'Halt!' was heard, and silence was ordered, all lights to be put out. It was evident some danger was apprehended, and I shall never forget my anxiety lest baby should commence crying again, and perhaps betray our whereabouts; I hardly dared breathe. About a quarter of an hour passed in this way, and then the order was given to proceed, more troops having, I believe, been sent from Secundra Bagh. We reached Dil Khoosha Park about midnight found a number of tents pitched in a row, with beds in them for our reception. After partaking of some refreshments, which had been kindly prepared for us by Colonel Little and the officers of the 9th Lancers, we all lay down and slept pretty soundly.
26th. – As soon as it was daylight, we were up and pitched a large tent which John had procured for us. It had two partitions, and I was glad to be able to offer one side to Mrs. Birch and her sister. The former's husband had been killed during the siege, and she was very unwell. Mrs. Case and her sister were quite ready with their usual kindness to share the other side with myself and the children. The officers of the 9th Lancers asked us to breakfast, and though not, I trust, very greedy, I certainly appreciated the good things with which their table was loaded. I went afterwards to see the 32nd women, who had a tent to themselves, and looked so happy and comfortable. Miss Dickson and I strolled about the camp in the evening. It was a strange scene of confusion, but everything had been done to make us as comfortable as possible.
21st. – Quite bewildered to-day by receiving home letters which had been accumulating for five months, and thankful did I feel to hear all our loved ones were well. The letters of a late date were very sad ones to read, especially from my mother; she evidently wrote doubting whether the words would ever reach us. I can safely say much of my unhappiness during the siege was caused by the reflection of what those at home must be suffering, and now it was sad to think how long it would be before they could hear of our safety. I wrote home to-day. Went to see Mrs. Cowper, and was sorry to hear from her that Mr. Dashwood was dead; he had been going on well, but the move was too much for him. Dr. Darby was also dead; he had been wounded in the head some time previously.
Sunday, 22nd. – The enemy cut up some grass-cutters near the camp this morning. The 9th Lancers were ordered out in pursuit. They did not stay out long, as, of course, the enemy ran away, all except a few stragglers, who were killed. I was very anxious to-day, having heard that the remaining portion of the garrison were to evacuate the Residency. We could learn nothing of what was going on, and at 11 p.m. I went outside the tent, and was alarmed by hearing heavy musketry-firing. I imagined the enemy were attacking the garrison on their march out, but heard afterwards this firing took place before the withdrawal commenced. I lay down without undressing, hoping every moment to hear John's footstep, but he did not come that night.
23rd. – John arrived this morning; he had been out all night, having commanded the rear. Nothing could have been better planned than the evacuation, and it was done in the manner he suggested. He had recommended that the garrison should be withdrawn at midnight, and that not a shot was to be fired. Some time before the hour, the garrison were silently withdrawn from their different posts, each man's name was called out, and at twelve precisely they marched out, John and Sir James Outram remaining till all had passed, and then they took off their hats to the Bailie Guard, the scene of as noble a defence as I think history will ever have to relate. Captain Birch thus describes the departure of the garrison from the Residency:
'And now commenced a movement of the most perfect arrangement and successful generalship – the withdrawal of the whole of the various forces under orders of the commander-in-chief, a combined movement requiring the greatest care and skill. First, the garrison in immediate contact with the enemy at the furthest extremity of the Residency position was marched out. Every other garrison in turn fell in behind it, and so passed out through the Bailie Guard gate, till the whole of our position was evacuated. Then came the turn of Havelock's force, which was similarly withdrawn, post by post, marching in rear of our garrison. After them again came the forces of the commander-in-chief, which joined on in the rear of Havelock's force. Regiment by regiment was withdrawn with the utmost order and regularity. The whole operation resembled the movement of a telescope. Stern silence was kept, and the enemy took no alarm. Never shall I forget that eventful night. The withdrawal of the fourteen garrisons which occupied our defensive positions was entrusted to three staff officers: Captain Wilson, assistant-adjutant-general, the brigade major, and myself, as aide-de-camp. Brigadier Inglis stood at the Bailie Guard gate as his gallant garrison defiled past him; with him was Sir James Outram, commanding the division. The night was dark, but on our side, near the Residency house, the hot gunmetal from some guns which we burst before leaving set fire to the heap of wood used as a rampart, which I have before described, and lighted up the place. The noise of the bursting of the guns, and the blazing of the rampart, should have set the enemy on the qui vive, but they took no notice. Somehow a doubt arose whether the full tale of garrisons had passed the gate. Some counted thirteen, and some fourteen, probably two had got mixed; but, to make certain, I was sent back to Innis' post, the furthest garrison, to see if all had been withdrawn. The utter stillness and solitude of the deserted position, with which I was so familiar, struck coldly on my nerves; I had to go, and go I did. Had the enemy known of our departure, they would ere this have occupied our places, and there was also a chance of individuals or single parties having got in for the sake of plunder; but I did not meet a living soul. I think I may fairly claim to have seen the last of the Residency of Lucknow before its abandonment to the enemy. Captain Waterman, 13th Native Infantry, however, was the last involuntarily to leave; he fell asleep after his name had been called, and woke up to find himself alone; he escaped in safety, but the fright sent him off his head for a time. As I made my report to the commanders at the gate, Sir James Outram waved his hand to Brigadier Inglis to precede him in departure, but the brigadier stood firm, and claimed to be the last to leave the ground which he and his gallant regiment had so stoutly defended. Sir James Outram smiled, then, extending his hand, said, "Let us go out together;" so, shaking hands, these two heroic spirits, side by side, descended the declivity outside our battered gate. Immediately behind them came the staff, and the place of honour again became the subject of dispute between Captain Wilson and myself; but the former was weak from all the hardships and privations he had undergone, and could not stand the trick of shoulder to shoulder, learned in the Harrow football fields. Prone on the earth he lay, till he rolled down the hill, and I was the last of the staff to leave the Bailie Guard gate. From the nature of the movement, the old garrison headed the retreat – namely, the 32nd, the remnants of the native regiments and volunteers, etc.; but these last dispersed when they were outside the walls, and the brigade was formed by adding two other infantry regiments to Brigadier Inglis' command. To him was given the honour of commanding the advance. The next day our advance brigade, in due course, became the rear-guard of the army, and so it remained until we reached Cawnpore. The enemy did not molest us on this our first march.'
24th. – We were ordered to march this morning at eleven o'clock. By some mistake no carriage had been prepared for my party, and it was with some difficulty I managed to procure a bullock hackery (native cart), in which Mrs. Case, Miss Dickson, baby and I traveled; Johnny, Charlie, and the ayah had a dhoolie. Our conveyance was not so uncomfortable as I expected, but the dust baffles description. John commanded the advance-guard to-day, and expected to have some fighting to clear the way for us; but the enemy only showed themselves at a respectful distance, and a few cavalry soon sent them flying. We went at a foot's pace, and were now and then obliged to stop owing to the carriage, carts, etc., being hemmed in together. We had accomplished four miles at 6 p.m., when we arrived at Alum Bagh; we pitched our small tent, and then, being rather hungry, began to look out for our baggage-cart; but that was far behind, and in the state of confusion in which everything was, there seemed little hopes of our finding it that night. I managed to waylay a flock of goats and get some milk for baby, but that was all we had. At last John arrived, and, seeing our destitute condition, started off for the 9th Lancers camp, and in a short time returned with good, kind Colonel Grant, laden with bread, cold beef, and a bottle of beer, to which we did ample justice; and before we went to bed he actually took the trouble to bring us some tea, ready made, though his camp was certainly three-quarters of a mile off; we thoroughly appreciated his kindness. Having no light, it was useless sitting up; so, spreading a large resai (quilt) on the floor of our tent, we all lay down on it, and I will not say passed a very comfortable night. Just as we were leaving Dil Khoosha Park this morning, the news was brought us that General Havelock was dead; he had been sinking from the time he entered the Residency. Poor man! the greatest honours were in store for him had he lived to return to England; but God willed it otherwise. He was a gallant soldier and a most excellent man. His body was brought on to Alum Bagh, and buried under a group of three trees.
25th. – As we heard we were to remain a day or two at Alum Bagh, we had our large tent pitched; and as there was no one who wanted accommodation, we had it to ourselves – a great luxury. John breakfasted and dined with us. Captain Barrow paid us a visit. Had another letter from my mother to-day, written very happily, as they had heard at home that General Havelock, though he had not been able to relieve us, had saved Lucknow, as most of the enemy had withdrawn and the garrison had been able to sally out and obtain some provisions. This showed how little idea they had had of our position; still, it was a comfort to think that any good news had reached them, though untrue.
26th. – Poor Mrs. Case was very weak and unwell to-day, and I was also on the sick-list, which was unfortunate, as we had some hard work before us. Dighton Probyn came to see us this morning, and offered us the use of a Bombay bullock-cart, which we thankfully accepted; and Mr. Coverley Jackson lent us a mule-carriage, so we were luxuriously prepared for our future journeyings.
27th. – Orders were given that we were to march at 7 a.m., and we were all ready at that hour, when Captain Edgell, who had the management of the women and children – no easy task – came and told us we were not to start till eleven. At eleven we got into our carriage; but, owing to the long line that had to be set in motion, we did not move for an hour and a half; and after a tedious seven hours, having accomplished a distance of nine miles, we reached our encamping ground and pitched our small tent. Captain Rudman, 32nd, whom we met, most kindly assisted us, and we asked him to share our dinner, after which we were all glad to lie down.
28th. – We started again at 7 a.m., and were told we were to make a double march. Mr. Harris, chaplain, who drew the rations for us, managed to get some bread just as we were leaving, which was fortunate, as we had no other provisions. We moved along at a foot's pace and had several stoppages. As the day wore on we heard the sound of distant guns, evidently in the direction of Cawnpore; this excited much conjecture and anxiety, and the officers who passed us on the road seemed as much in the dark as we were. About 3 p.m. a halt was ordered for an hour, and I took advantage of it to cook some arrowroot for baby, and, as the goats were near, managed to get some milk for the other two boys. We were all very tired, but had to continue our journey, and at about 10 p.m. reached our encamping ground. I had been feeling ill all day, and was thoroughly done up. The Harrises were near us, and had nothing to eat; so, having two tins of soup, I gave them one, for which they were duly thankful. Undressing was out of the question, but we were becoming old campaigners, and ceased to care about these trifles.
Sunday, 29th. – This morning we heard the cause of yesterday's firing, and also of our forced march. It appeared that the Gwalior force had been attacking the force at Cawnpore, and had apparently beaten them, forcing us to take refuge in the entrenchments. Meanwhile, they were engaged in burning and plundering; from a small hill near us we could see the houses in flames. It was sad, when we had been looking forward to a little peace and tranquility, to find that fightings were still in store for us. John, whom I had not seen for two days, came in for a cup of tea; he said he had not had a moment's rest since leaving Alum Bagh, and even now could not find time to tell us what was going on. At 10 a.m. we were ordered to change camp, and moved about half a mile farther. We pitched our small tent, as the sun was powerful, but were told we were to go into Cawnpore that evening. Being Sunday, we read the service together, and at four o'clock John and Major Wilson came and had some dinner with us. Soon after dark we started again. We were only about half a mile from the bridge of boats crossing the Ganges; but from the immense crowd of vehicles, and the heaviness of the road, we took at least two hours getting there. As our carriage touched the bridge, sharp musketry-firing commenced on the other side, and we could see the flashes of the muskets. We were much frightened, as we thought it was an attack on our advance-guard. It soon ceased, and we continued our route. Half-way across the bridge, Colonel Grant came to speak to us, and to ask if we had been much alarmed. He told us the firing proceeded from our own pickets. This reassured us. Another stoppage took place after we had crossed the bridge; and an artilleryman, who was not very sober, offered us most pressing invitations to enter the entrenched post, which we were close to. My feelings on entering Cawnpore were indeed most painful. The moon was bright, and revealed to us the sad spectacle of ruined houses, trees cut down, or branches stripped off, everything reminding us of the horrors that had been enacted in the place, and making us feel thoroughly miserable. We reached the dragoon barracks about midnight, and found the women and children located in a small space between two buildings. Our servants having arrived, our tent was soon pitched, and we lay down to rest.
30th. – We were up early, and the sight that greeted our eyes was certainly a strange one – tents, carts, carriages, dhoolies, all pushed together as closely as possible. I went to see Mrs. Cowper and Mrs. Banks, who had remained in their carriage all night, and now were performing their toilette in it. Some of the women and children had gone into the barracks; but a visit I paid them did not make me feel much inclined to join them. We had been told we were to change ground in the evening, but an after-order told us to remain where we were. I did not see John all day, and did not even know if he were in Cawnpore. Desultory firing continued, and once or twice a shell fell near enough to our quarters to make us feel rather uncomfortable.
December 1st. – Ordered to move ground at 7 a.m.; and fortunate it was we did so, for the enemy had discovered our whereabouts, and during the day fired shrapnel into the place we had left, wounding one officer and killing one or two animals. Had we remained there, crowded as we were, the casualties would in all probability have been very heavy. The change of quarters was decidedly an improvement. We moved to the infantry barracks, where there was plenty of spare ground; and as we were told we should remain in Cawnpore some days, we pitched our large tent. John soon after came to see me; he said he did not know when we should get away – half Cawnpore was in the hands of the enemy, the Gwalior insurgents. It appears that General Wyndham, hearing this force was in the neighbourhood, and failing to get instructions from the commander-in-chief, who had not answered his letters, determined on going out to attack it. He was much misled by the account of their numbers, and discovered his mistake when too late. They quite outflanked his small force; it was composed of very young regiments, and the men got frightened. Confusion succeeded; a retreat was ordered. The camp equipage and baggage fell into the hands of the enemy, who followed up our retreating force with great vigour almost to the entrenchments, and our casualties were very numerous. General Wyndham's conduct was severely censured, and all the blame fell on him; but it was very hard for him to know how to act, and perhaps, had he allowed the Gwalior force to advance without opposition, he would have been accused of supineness and want of energy. It certainly was a very unfortunate affair, and cost lives we could ill spare.
2nd. – After all, we were told we were to leave Cawnpore to-day, and I passed it in a great state of uncertainty and anxious suspense. I knew that John was to remain in Cawnpore. The commander-in-chief, in a very flattering letter, had offered him the command of the station in place of General Wyndham, who had been removed in consequence of the mistake he had committed, and, of course, he could not refuse the appointment. Mrs. Case and Miss Dickson went in the evening to see Sir Hugh Wheeler's entrenchment; but I did not like to leave our tent, as I feared John might come in our absence, and every minute with him was precious. I was rewarded by having a quiet walk and talk with him. We had received rations for eight days, and were all ready to start. John dined with us; but, being very tired, went to his tent afterwards, telling us to send for him when the order came for us to move. Major Rudman came to say 'Good-bye,' and I was grieved to see him looking very ill and worn. We sat up till a late hour, expecting the order to arrive, but at last lay down dressed, and slept till morning undisturbed.
3rd. – Spent the day in the same unsettled manner. At four o'clock I went to see the entrenchments, or rather the ruined barracks, in which our poor countrymen and women maintained so noble a struggle. I could not have believed that any human beings could have stood out for one day in such a place. The walls inside and out were riddled with shot: you could hardly put your hand on a clear spot. The ditch and wall – it is absurd to call it a fortification – any child could have jumped over; and yet behind these for three weeks the little force held their own against overwhelming numbers of the enemy, who had not the courage to approach them. As I looked, I thought how small were the troubles and trials of Lucknow in comparison. The agony and miseries these poor creatures must have suffered defies even imagination to conceive; they must have, as it were, died daily. Doubtless, if the truth could be recorded, many a noble deed of heroism and self-denial was enacted here, and many a weak one waxed strong through faith; and it was consoling to remember that not a tear was shed nor a groan uttered but it was heard by One who chastens in love, and we may trust that the agony those poor creatures endured may work for them a far more exceeding weight of glory. The reflection would arise, Why were we spared whilst others suffered? what had we done to deserve such great mercies? Truly God's ways are past finding out. As we were returning we met John, who told us we should not start that evening; but on reaching the tent, we found an order for us to be ready to start at 10 p.m. The blow, though expected, was a heavy one to me. I sent to tell John, but he was not able to come to me till we had finished dinner and were on the eve of departing. I felt truly wretched; he walked some little way with us, and then put us into the carriage, and the last sad farewell was spoken. We had shared so much anxiety and peril together that it was hard to leave him as I did, weak and worn with constant mental anxiety and hard bodily labour; but I knew when we were once safe he would be far happier, and this was my comfort. I put the two children in bed in the bullock-cart, and Mrs. Case, her sister, and I with baby filled the mule-carriage. Our escort consisted of a wing of the 34th Regiment, four guns, and a few native cavalry. We had not gone very far when I discovered the bullock-cart, which I had ordered the driver to keep close to us, was not near. We waited some time, and at last I ran back and found it had broken down. There was nothing for it but to take all out and put them into our own carriage. This, of course, crowded us very much, and made us most uncomfortable. Miss Dickson took Charlie on her knee, and I laid Johnny down on the seat behind us, and they slept all night.
4th. – We reached our encamping ground, cramped, cold, and tired, about 11 a.m. I had met an officer of the 4th Regiment going up to Cawnpore with detachments, and had given him a short pencil note for John. A sad accident occurred just as we reached our encamping ground. A young woman, a clerk's wife, accidentally shot herself with her brother's rifle. He had left it in the carriage where she was sitting. The horse moved, and she caught hold of the rifle to keep it from falling. It went off, and the ball went right through her hand. She was brought close to us, and when Dr. Fayrer saw her, he pronounced amputation of the thumb necessary. The operation was performed at once; she was suffering fearfully, poor thing! We passed a pleasant day sitting under the trees, dined early, and started again about to p.m. We came about twenty-seven miles to-day.
5th. – Reached our encamping ground about 7 a.m., having accomplished twelve miles. Mrs. Giddings' waggon, which constituted her home, was drawn up near us, so we asked her to breakfast and dine with us during the remainder of our march. Colonel Kelly, commanding our escort, came to see me to-day, and told us that in case of any alarm we were all to repair to a serai (native inn) close by; this made us fancy we were in some danger, but the number of troops constantly passing up country made the road pretty safe, otherwise we had an absurdly small escort. Started again at night.
Sunday, 6th. – Marched sixteen miles, and reached our encamping ground about 7 a.m. Our servants, for the first time, were behindhand, and did not arrive for two hours, their excuse being that they had fallen asleep on the road; and really I could not be in the least angry with them, for they had had no rest since we left Cawnpore, and had never made a complaint. Being Sunday, we read the evening service, and spent a quiet day. The early mornings and nights were very cold, but in the day-time the climate was perfect, and, as we had generally some trees to encamp under, we lived in the open air. Started at 8 p.m.
7th. – Arrived at daylight at the place where we were to take the rail, and were ordered to get into the train at once. The greatest confusion prevailed, and there seemed no one to take the management of affairs; we were tired and hungry, but did not dare to wait to get anything to eat – only managed to get some cold chappatties and milk for the children, which prevented their suffering. We sat in the carriage for nearly two hours, expecting to start every minute. We eventually reached Allahabad, a distance of forty miles, at 3 p.m. The station was crowded, and we were received with enthusiastic cheering, which was very overpowering.
All sorts of conveyances were waiting for us, and we were all taken to the fort, where we found a large grassy space walled round, and inside this all the governor-general's tents pitched for our reception. We had a very large one for the Cases, Mrs. Giddings, and myself, and hardly knew what to do with so much room. The residents of Allahabad were indeed most kind in the way they received us, and thankful did we feel once more to be in a place of security and rest. Poor Mrs. Case was thoroughly done up, and suffering much from an inflamed ankle, which had commenced in the Residency. We had had a most trying and fatiguing journey; but if we felt it, what must the poor sick and wounded have done? They did not come in the train with us, but continued their march in carts, and did not arrive for some days. The shaking must have added terribly to their sufferings, and there were so few surgeons that they could not be properly attended to.
We remained at Allahabad some time waiting for steamers to take us down to Calcutta; the delay was rather pleasing to me, as I was near John, and heard daily from him. He was evidently very hardly worked, but wrote in good spirits, and seemed well. I begged him to let me remain where I was, instead of going home, but to this he would not consent. Shortly before Christmas the first steamer arrived; it had been decided that all the widows and sick ladies were to go first, and poor Mrs. Case had been so very unwell since she had been at Allahabad that we decided she had much better leave at once. She never seemed thoroughly to realize her great sorrow until she came out of Lucknow, and then it was as if the blow had just struck her; she became thoroughly prostrate, and had no energy or wish to move. I was very thankful when I saw her on board the steamer, though she and Miss Dickson were sad losses to me. On Christmas Day I had Mrs. Giddings, Dr. Scott, a Mr. Sims, a friend of the former, and Mrs. Orr, to dinner; I also gave the women and children who were left of the 32nd a dinner. It was anything but a festive sight to me. There were now only seventeen women, and nearly all were widows, and every child present had lost one or both parents. Mrs. Polehampton and Mrs. Harris had established a school for the children in the barracks, as they were all running wild, and I asked to have the 32nd children on Sundays. The first time was very trying, as the remembrance of all that had happened since I last saw them, and the thoughts of their companions who had died so terrible a death, quite overcame all the children, and it was some time before I could continue speaking to them. After remaining six weeks at Allahabad, I began to contemplate a journey down by land. Brigadier Campbell offered me an escort, and I tried to get some other ladies to join me, but they seemed disinclined to venture; and just as I was trying to make the arrangements three steamers were announced to be within seven miles of the station, so of course I gave up all idea of the land journey. We were obliged to go some distance down the river in flat-bottomed boats, there not being enough water for our steamer, the Benares, to come up as far as Allahabad. We had a very tedious three weeks' journey to Calcutta; the water was so low that we were constantly running aground, and in general did not get off for hours. We were much crowded, and badly fed, the captain not having had warning of the number of passengers he was to provide for. They were nearly all from Lucknow. I made acquaintance with Mrs. Bartrum and Mrs. Kendall; the former's history was very sad. She and three other ladies had fled from one of the out-stations in Oude, and taken refuge in the Residency; but their husbands had remained behind, not thinking it right to leave their regiments. The day before General Havelock's force arrived, Mrs. Bartrum heard that her husband, a doctor, was with the force safe and well. She dressed herself and child as nicely as possible under existing circumstances, and sat waiting in trembling joy and anxiety for his approach; but in vain – he never came; and at last the sad news reached her that he had been killed outside the Residency gates. She had one little child with her, dreadfully weak and thin, but she hoped it would live to get home, as it was her only comfort; but even this was taken from her, for the little fellow died in Calcutta. Mrs. Bartrum, Mrs. Kendall, and a Mrs. Hale, who died during the siege, came into the Residency without any servants, and consequently had to do everything for themselves. All they ate was cooked by their own hands, and they had even to collect and chop wood to make their fires, and each had a young baby to attend to. These poor women must indeed have endured great hardships; at the same time, I cannot understand how, surrounded as they were by others who were certainly better off, a little help was not given them. I fancy they could never have made known their destitute condition, for, with few exceptions, I believe a very kind spirit pervaded the garrison, and many noble and self-denying acts of charity were performed. We reached Calcutta on February 6. The first steamer, conveying members of the Lucknow garrison that had arrived, had been received with great honours; no doubt this was kindly meant, but, as nearly all the passengers had lost those who were dearest to them on earth, this public demonstration must have been most painful. We were suffered to land quietly. Sir Charles Jackson, chief justice, came on board to meet me, and he and his wife gave me a most kind welcome. Finding myself once again in a comfortable house, with all the appurtenances of civilization around me, made me feel quite strange. I went off at once to see Mrs. Case and her sister, who were staying with Sir Robert Garratt, and was delighted to find the former much better; but it was sad to see her in her widow's cap. It had been a great trial to her ever since her husband's death that she had been unable to wear suitable mourning for him; a black dress was all that any of the widows could procure. I made up my mind to go home in the same steamer with Mrs. Case and Miss Dickson, which left me only a few days to prepare. Captain Birch came down from Cawnpore for a little holiday. I was so glad to see him, and to hear all he could tell me about John; he gave a very good account of his health and spirits. He told me that, before John took over the Cawnpore command, he ordered the 32nd Regiment to parade before him, according to their old companies; this showed the fearful gaps that had been made in their ranks. He then made them a speech, thanking them for their noble and heroic conduct during the siege, and at the same time reminding them that, but for the help of a higher Power, no defence of theirs could have been successful; it was, Captain Birch and Major Wilson both told me, a beautiful speech, and one to go to all hearts. He published the following order in giving up the command some time after this:
'Cawnpore, March, 1858.
'Major-General Sir John Inglis, having appeared in general orders as a major-general on the staff in India, and being thereby removed from the command of the 32nd Regiment, requests Major Lowe, now commanding, will kindly publish the following order:
'The major-general, though highly grateful for the manner in which her gracious Majesty has been pleased to recognise his services, cannot help deeply feeling the separation which his promotion entails from those with whom he has passed the last twenty-five years of his life, having joined the regiment at Quebec, North America, in 1832, and remained with it almost uninterruptedly until the present time.
'This regret is heightened from the intimate knowledge which late events have enabled the major-general to obtain of every officer, noncommissioned officer, and soldier in the regiment, during the harassing times which all hands underwent in the defence of Lucknow.
'The major-general cannot conclude his farewell order to the regiment, in which the best and happiest years of his life have been passed, without expressing his sincere conviction that it is owing to the admirable conduct, discipline, and steadiness of the officers and men under the most trying circumstances that the rank and honours conferred on him are mainly due.
'The major-general in taking leave of his old corps wishes them every success and prosperity, and assures them that the hand of friendship will always be extended by him to every officer, noncommissioned officer, and private.
'J. INGLIS, Major-General.'
The 32nd cheered him on every occasion – indeed, he was afraid to go near them. On Christmas Day he gave them and the native soldiers, who had remained faithful to us during the siege, a dinner. These last were incorporated with our regiment, and called the 'Regiment of Lucknow.' Lord Canning had wished to call them the Inglis Regiment, but the word 'Inglees' is always applied in India to the pensioners and therefore, the two words being so much alike, the meaning of the former might not have been understood. Before leaving Calcutta, I went with Mrs. Cowper to Dum Dum to see the 32nd women and children, and to wish them good-bye.
We left on the morning of February 10. Captain Birch came to see us off, and brought us a beautiful deck-chair and toys for the children. Numbers of our passengers were from Lucknow, sick and wounded, ladies and children. Three days brought us to Madras. Miss Dickson, Johnny, and I landed there on Monday morning, and went to the house of Mrs. Arbuthnot, mother-law to Mrs. Banks, who had been our fellow-passenger so far, but intended remaining for the next steamer. We spent a few very pleasant hours on shore, and before leaving I telegraphed to John that we had arrived thus far safely. On going on board again I was greeted with the pleasing intelligence that he had been made a major-general. We weighed anchor about 4 p.m. We were told that we were to run into Trincomalee, Ceylon, to land treasure; but the captain said he would go in and out as quickly as possible, and allow no one an opportunity of landing. We expected to reach there the next evening. We made good progress all that day (Tuesday). It was eight o'clock, a beautiful night, and we were running along at a great pace. Mrs. Case and I, finding it very hot in the saloon after tea, had come on deck, and were sitting on the bulwarks behind the wheel. Suddenly we were startled by a loud grating sound something like the letting down of an anchor, and just then saw a large rock close to us. I said, 'We must have touched that.' Several men rushed to the wheel, and then again we heard the same sound, only louder, and a quivering of the whole ship. She then remained stationary, only heaving backwards and forwards. We ran below and found the saloon filled with ladies and children, evidently just out of bed. Meeting Captain Lawrence, of the 32nd, he seized my hand and said, 'Don't be afraid, Mrs. Inglis.' This decided me that there was some cause for fear, but I thought we had run ashore. I begged him to ascertain what was to be done, and, going into my cabin, roused up my nurse, Mrs. Campbell, and told her to be prepared to leave the steamer. My cabin was forward; I was getting something for the children to put on, when Captain Lawrence rushed in and said, 'Don't wait a minute! Come on deck at once!' Mrs. Case, Miss Dickson, and self, communicated our determination to keep together under all circumstances. On going on deck we found the boats were being lowered. The captain, Kirton by name, a young man of twenty-eight, was giving his orders in a quiet, calm manner; the greatest order prevailed, no one appeared to have lost his presence of mind, and not even a child cried. The first boat was launched in about twenty minutes, and Captain Lawrence and Captain Foster came and said that I was to go in it. I objected at first, not liking to be the first to leave the scene of danger; but they pressed me and said all would follow immediately, so I made no further remonstrance. As I left the steamer, the captain said, 'This is only a precautionary measure. Captain Lawrence had run down into my cabin, and brought me up my cash-box, containing £50, and my writing-desk. The party in our boat consisted of Mrs. Bruere, four children, and nurse; Mrs. Cowie and one child; Mrs. Case; Miss Dickson; Mrs. Campbell, my nurse, and her daughter; myself and three children. Mr. Stallard, one of the officers, commanded the boat and steered. There were seven boats, and all the passengers were put into them. The captain and crew remained on board. The steamer had struck nearly in the centre; her fore part was sunk very deep, and we watched her with the greatest anxiety to see if the water gained on her, fearing for the safety of those still on board, and also dreading that if she sank our boats would all be swamped. We rowed backwards and forwards between the rocks and the steamer all night, and a weary time it was. Guns were fired, and rockets sent up; but our signals of distress were not answered, though a light we saw at some distance on the shore made us hopeful that assistance was at hand. The masts were cut down to lighten the ship, and the crash as they fell into the water sounded very fearful. Mrs. Case had Johnny on her knee; Miss Dickson, Charlie; and baby was with me. In the midst of the danger, I often found myself laughing at the absurd remarks of Mrs. Bruere's Irish nurse, who was quite a character in her way. Day at last broke, and threw light on a curious scene – our seven little boats, crowded with passengers, tossing up and down; for the sea, which had been calm, was now rather rough, rocks and breakers on all sides; and the steamer, with her masts and rigging cut away, lying a black, shapeless mass on the water, with the waves dashing over her, and apparently not likely to remain together many hours longer. The captain ordered us all to make for Trincomalee, which was about ten miles off; and accordingly we started. He told us to send him back assistance as soon as possible; for when we were gone he had only a raft to depend on. Several of the gentlemen passengers remained with him; and afterwards they, with the captain and crew, managed with some difficulty to effect a landing on the rocky coast near them. On getting clear of the reef, we found the sea very rough, and the wind against us; our boatmen, who were wet through, were tired, and our boat, a very bad one, leaking fast. It was as much as two men could do to bale her. Under these circumstances, I must confess I did not see a chance of making land in safety. We had some wine, which we mixed with water, and gave to the men; but they were very desponding, and seemed to have lost all heart. I myself baled for a little while just to encourage them; and this, giving me something to do, cheered me up. The waves were very high, and each one looked as if it would swamp us. Johnny was delighted when they broke over the boat, and his merry laugh sounded sadly in my ears, for I quite thought that a watery grave awaited each one of us. The next boat to us was commanded by Captain Haswell, the captain of the Himalaya, a very good sailor. His quiet self-possession and power of commanding had made him of great use since our disaster occurred. He had a good boat, and was getting on well; but when he saw how we were labouring, he would not leave us. At this time a distant sail was espied a long way off. Signals were made; but at first she seemed to be going in the opposite direction. At last, however, to our great joy, she turned, and was evidently approaching us; and before long Captain Haswell's boat was up to her. He put Mr. Cowie on board as a protection for us, and then told us, if we had any ornaments or money with us, to conceal them. This was anything but agreeable, as it was evident he thought the boat might be a pirate one. With great difficulty we were hoisted on board. The nurse, an immense woman, hung for some time midway, and I really thought the men would drop her. As soon as we were on board, the crew told us we must go below. We refused, thinking it was a trap for us; but they said they could not navigate the ship if we remained where we were. We consented, therefore, to be lowered down the hatchway, another difficult operation. We certainly judged the poor men wrongly; for they were most kind to us, spread sails for us to sit on, made curry for us to eat, and gave us hard-boiled eggs. The children eat ravenously, having had nothing but a few crumbs of biscuit since the evening before. For my part, I was too done up to eat. Another boat's crew was added to our party. The others continued their way to Trincomalee, and arrived before us. At three p.m. our dangers were over, and we found ourselves alongside the wharf. An officer of the 50th came on board our little ship, and introduced himself to me as Colonel Weare; he told me he had been John's subaltern in the 32nd. I certainly felt most thankful to see him; he took me, Mrs. Case, Miss Dickson, and some other ladies, to his house, where we were most kindly received by his wife. Every house in Trincomalee opened for the reception of the passengers, and nothing could exceed the generosity and hospitality shown towards us during the time we remained there. The soldiers gave up their tea the first night so that we might have bread enough, as, being a small town, there was no superfluity of provisions. Before leaving Trincomalee, I drove with Colonel Weare to the scene of the wreck. The steamer was still where we left her, but broke in two soon afterwards. The beach was strewn with portions of the wreck and cargo. One of my boxes had been washed on shore, but everything in it was spoiled. Captain Kirton and the officers were on the beach in tents, and I spoke to the former. Poor man! he seemed sadly cast down. No wonder, for he had but himself to blame for what had occurred; still, he was very young, and had behaved nobly after the disaster occurred. His first exclamation, when the ship struck, was, 'Oh, my poor father!' I felt much for him.
This is the history of another most merciful interposition of Providence on our behalf; we were, as I have since heard, in the most imminent danger. Had the steamer, after striking, gone on a few fathoms, she must have filled and sunk. The mails and treasure were afterwards recovered by divers, but an immense deal of personal property was lost.
On Sunday, 21st, a small steamer was sent from Galle to carry us to Alexandria. We were dreadfully crowded and uncomfortable in her, but Captain Tregeare did all in his power to add to our comfort. We were all busily employed in making up articles of wearing apparel, having lost everything in the wreck. I had to make one day what the children wore the next; fortunately, it was hot weather, and the less clothing they had the better pleased they were. We had two alarms of fire before reaching our destination, but no harm ensued. At Suez I heard that the Derby Ministry were in, and my father Lord Chancellor. I had previously heard that John was made a K.C.B., so good news seemed to be pouring in upon me. We crossed the desert in sixteen hours, partly by rail. At Alexandria I parted with Mrs. Case and her sister; they were a great loss to me. We had lived together, since our trouble commenced, upon the most intimate terms of friendship, cemented, as I may truly say, by mutual kindness; for if, as they say – and I am too pleased to hear it to deny it – I was enabled during that sad time of bereavement to be of some comfort to them, I myself owe them much gratitude for their unvarying kindness to me and my children; the cheerfulness with which they submitted to innumerable inconveniences and annoyances; and, above all, the noble example they set me of unselfishness, Christian fortitude, and resignation. They are, and ever will be, two of my best and truest friends.
Ten days brought us to Southampton, from which place I had started for India in 1851; and in a few hours' time I was welcomed home by all dear to me. The past seemed forgotten; and had John only been with me, my cup of joy would indeed have been filled to the brim. He remained in command at Cawnpore for some months, and then, his health breaking down, was obliged to apply for leave, and came home by the steamer of April 23, reaching London on May 20, 1858.