150                       THE  SIEGE OF LUCKNOW



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 SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                            151



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:



‘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,


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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.


‘Yours sincerely,






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


                             THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                            153



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


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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


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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 High-landers formed part of the relieving force, arid 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


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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 commmssariat 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


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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


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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 Qutram 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 Baillie 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



i6z                        THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW



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


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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


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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, 8oo 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 Ioopholed by the enemy. The dhoolie-bearers could not stand the fire which was opened upon them, and dropped the dhoolies


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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 Moor-som, 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


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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, 9oth, 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 9oth 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


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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


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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


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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.


3oth.—A quiet day. John not at all well, and did not leave his room. In the evening I heard


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that Captain Hardinge with his Sikhs was going out to try and open communication between us and Alum Bagh, where were some of the 9oth. 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


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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 9oth 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


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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 9oth 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


                             THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                                 177








‘Headquarters, Lucknow.

October ~, 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



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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


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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 governor­general 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 today, 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


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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—2000 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.


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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;


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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.

I 7th.—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


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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.—Johnl 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


                             THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                               187



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 3 2nd, 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


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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


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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.


3Ist.—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.


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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


                             THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                               191



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, 6oo cavalry, and thirty guns, was at Cawnpore, and would be at Alum Bagh on the 1oth, 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


192                                   THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOIV



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,


                              THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW,                            193



assistant adjutant-general to Sir James Qutram, 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 Cohn 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



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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 Cohn 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


                              THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                                 19~



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 Cohn 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


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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


                             THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                            197



officers to see Sir Cohn 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-chiefs 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


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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,

                             THE SIEGE OF LUCKNOW                              199



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