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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
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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
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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 today 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
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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 enemys 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 Baillie 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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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 brokenhearted. It was one of the saddest events that had occurred during the siege. Major Anderson, our chief engineer, died to-day; he had been
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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.
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A child of Mrs. Radcliffe’s died to-day from cholera after a few hours’ illness. A bheetie (watercarrier) got into the Residency, but brought no important news.
I3th.—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
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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.
Mv 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 brigademess 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
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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;
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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 my-
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self 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.
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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 Baillie 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.
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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.
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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—
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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.
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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 enemys 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,’
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said a sergeant, it’s not all right, sir.’ Mr. Webb and the soldier lay dead. I felt awed, as it were, by Gods 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
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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
‘Cawr.pore, 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.’
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My first thoughts were, ‘All is over with us we cant 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,ooo. 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
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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
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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, 3oth.—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
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was rather severe. A letter sent out to-day to General Havelock was as follows:
‘Lucknow, Sep/ember i.
‘Mv 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,
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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
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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
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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
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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 Baillie Guard gate. The first man who approached was shot dead; the rest fled.
7th—A quiet day. Numbers of the enemy
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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
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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.—Johnny 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.
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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
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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.
‘Mv 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
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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
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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