« السابقةمتابعة »
Colonel Ellice at once detached 220 of the Moultanee Horse to proceed through cantonments and cross the river, with the two-fold object of allaying suspicion and guarding the opposite bank. He himself rode into Jhelum, and made arrangements with Colonel Gerard, commanding the 14th Native Infantry, for carrying out his orders on the following morning.
Before gun-fire on the 7th, the Horse-Artillery guns under Captain Cookes, and the remaining 240 of Lind's Moultanee Horse, had, as previously directed, taken up their ground on the extreme right of cantonments, to guard that flank, and to prevent any attempt at escape to the city of Jhelum. The day dawned, but the Europeans were not yet in sight; at length they appeared, filing down from the neighbouring high ground, and on reaching the level they deployed into line. The 14th were now standing on their own parade-ground in open column; about a hundred Sikhs had been just separated from the rest, and were standing apart. As soon as the Sepoys saw the European force advancing, the whole body were thrown into commotion; they began loading without orders, and in defiance of their officers' entreaties. Colonel Gerard and the other officers finding all remonstrance in vain, and perceiving their danger, rushed forward from the regiment (as also did the Sikhs), and were followed by several stray shots; but not one of them was touched. The Sepoys at once broke, and fell back on their lines; a portion holding the QuarterGuard, and a small body formed in advance across the road leading to it. The Moultanees, though five hundred yards off, were ordered to charge. Down they came; not a shot was fired till they were within thirty yards, when a withering volley met them. On went the Moultanees, cutting down right and left: but the Sepoys were soon out of reach in the verandahs, and on the battlemented top of the Quarter-Guard, and in their own huts; and unfortunately the 24th had not yet come up in support. Lieutenant Lind's charger was shot dead; and when his men saw him fall, they wavered and drew off, not, however,
before they had done good execution among the mutineers, though with heavy loss to themselves. In that short ten minutes nine of their own number had fallen dead, and twenty-eight were brought off wounded, with some thirty horses killed and as many more wounded. The Moultanee infantry and police now came up and went in bravely; but they were mere recruits, some raised scarcely a fortnight, and armed only with matchlocks, and they could not stand before the superior numbers, arms, and discipline of the Sepoys. The guns, too, were in full play; but the Sepoys had so much shelter that the grape could rarely reach them. For some time they held their lines (having loopholed their huts, as if preparing for such a contingency), and were in comparative safety. At length the 24th (Queen's) came up in fine style, and some fifty of them, with Colonel Ellice at their head, made a gallant dash, and carried the Quarter-Guard, but with the loss of their leader, who fell dangerously wounded. The Sepoys at last, driven from their own lines, made for those of the 39th, and occupied a small musjid. Here, however, they did not stay long a well-directed shell blew up the regimental magazine; and they were quickly in retreat on the village of Saemlee, where they still mustered some three hundred strong.
Now came a short respite. It was just 1 o'clock in the day: the men of the 24th, after a long march, and above seven hours' fighting,were spent and faint; and finding out the 39th mess-house, and Major Knatchbull's far-famed stores, they helped themselves, perhaps too liberally; so that for a time all order was lost. However, at 5 P.M., Colonel Gerard, who had assumed command on Colonel Ellice being wounded, resolved to attack the village; and a desperate struggle ensued. The Moultanee horse and Police troopers were again placed on the left flank, to prevent the rebels escaping. The artillery were brought up to the front, with the infantry in support. But unfortunately the guns were ordered on too near, notwithstanding Captain Cookes' remonstrance; the Sepoys, safe behind the walls and houses, were picking off the gunners with fatal precision; while the grape that was being
poured in either passed harmless over their heads, or spent itself on the mud walls. Had a rush been now made like that under Colonel Ellice at the Quarter-Guard, the village must have been carried at the bayonet's point. But it was not attempted in any force. Captain M'Pherson with five or six men made a gallant dash, and effected a lodgment; but finding the force retiring instead of supporting him, he gave it up, and drew off his brave little band without the loss of a man. Captain Cookes, too, found himself losing horses and men so fast that he was compelled to retire, and could only save two of his guns: the howitzer had been unhorsed and well-nigh unmanned, and he had no alternative but to leave it behind. The whole force now fell back beyond musket range. Captain Spring was borne off mortally wounded, Streatfield and Chichester severely. The rebels made a sally, seized the disabled howitzer, dragged it, limber and all, into the village: the howitzer they tumbled into the river as useless, but preserved all the ammunition, as likely to stand them in good stead.
It was now sunset. All hope of taking the village that night was abandoned. The men, wearied with the day's work, threw themselves down on the ground in front of the village, and there passed the night.
A telegraphic message had reported all to the Rawul Pindee authorities. Colonel Browne of the 24th was sent off express to take command, and a further detachment of the regiment followed under Lieutenant Holland.* When the day dawned, however, and
preparations were being made to renew the attack, it was found that the rebels had saved them the trouble; they had slipped off during the night, and the village was empty! However, the 14th had still to learn that, though they got off for a time, resistance and mutiny were in the long run a losing game. The arrangements of Major Clement Browne, the Commissioner, were far too good to give them much chance of escape: the bridge of boats across the river, which ran along the rear of cantonments, had been secured the first thing that morning by some Punjabee police, who relieved the usual Sepoy guard; all the ferry-boats on this and all the Punjab rivers had been long before seized by the authorities. The 14th Native Infantry had paraded that morning some six hundred strong; of these one hundred Sikhs had been at once separated, and did good service during the day. Of the remaining five hundred, only about one-tenth_eventually escaped.† A great number were captured in the district and brought in by the villagers; and those who did contrive to escape by the Munglas ford, some miles up the Jhelum, into the Cashmere territory, were subsequently given up. But there had been heavy loss on our side. The 24th lost one Captain (Spring) killed, and had its Colonel (Ellice), and two subalterns, Lieutenants Streatfield and Chichester, dangerously wounded; and a young civil-engineer, named Scott, who had gallantly volunteered and done good service, was also wounded.
Thus closed the Jhelum affair-in
This detachment had only reached Goojur Khan, just half-way, when a counter order overtook them, and they returned to Rawul Pindee, all need for them at Jhelum having ceased.
+ One hundred and fifty were killed in the encounter, 180 captured afterwards, and 120 given up by the Cashmere authorities, leaving only an odd 50 not "accounted for."
The total loss on that day was as follows:
the final defeat and destruction of the mutinous 14th. But, as will be seen, the temporary success of their resistance was a shock which vibrated through the Punjab.
The telegraph had carried the tidings that night to Sir John Lawrence at Rawul Pindee; it was repeated back at once to Mr Montgomery, at Lahore, who passed it on instantly to Umritsur, and thither we must follow it. The Movable Column was now here. Chamberlain having, on the death of Colonel Chester, at Budlee Serai, been offered the appointment of Adjutant-General of the Army, had left the Column in the middle of June, probably not without some reluctance, laying down the sword to take up the pen. The vacancy thus caused was at once filled by Colonel Nicholson, with the similar rank of Brigadier-General. Hastening down from the Peshawur frontier, he at once joined the Column, and took command on the 21st of June, on which day the Column had marched into Jullundhur. He soon found reason, not only to suspect the 35th Light Infantry, who were still armed, of disaffection, but to believe that they were actually ripe for mutiny, which was only kept under by the strictest surveillance. Of the 33d Native Infantry, who also had retained their arms at Hosheyarpore, there were grave suspicions. This corps had been, therefore, ordered down, and was now on its way to join the Column; and as the two corps together might prove too strong, the General resolved on disarming them both simultaneously. This was effected in the following manner: The Column moved out of Jullundhur on the 23d. "On for Delhi!" was the cry-a rumour industriously confirmed, as it tended to allay all suspicion of the General's ulterior object. It was thus arranged that the 33d Native Infantry were to join the Column at Phugwarrah, on the road towards Phillour. They came in about midnight on the 24th, just as the Column itself was moving off the ground, and naturally fell in in rear of the 35th Light
Infantry-a plan carefully preconcerted by the General. The Column marched in the following order: Dawes's troop, Bourchier's battery, her Majesty's 52d Light Infantry, the 35th Light Infantry, the 33d Native Infantry, and the wing of the 9th Cavalry in rear, to bring up the baggage. Captain Farrington, the Deputy-Commissioner, whose local knowledge of the district rendered his presence of great importance; and Lieutenant Roberts, of the Artillery, as Deputy Assistant QuartermasterGeneral, with the Column (being both in the secret), rode on overnight to Phillour, to examine whether the ground immediately in front of the fort would admit of the disarming taking place there, it being a great object if possible to bring them within range of the fort guns. Other precautions had also to be taken; and all were so taken as to give colouring to the belief that an onward move was contemplated. The bridge of boats was examined, on the plea of some anxiety being felt lest it should give way before the Column could cross, and additional waggons were collected, apparently with the view of expediting the journey. Censures were rife, both in camp and in the fort. Nicholson was condemned in no qualified terms for dreaming of taking two such corps to Delhi, where not a man could be trusted. The morning dawned, and found the General on the ground, he having ridden on ahead to reconnoitre for himself; and it was decided that the space near the fort was too small for the purpose, and the advantage of being under the fort guns was of necessity foregone: the usual camping-ground was the only alternative. The whole plan was at once resolved on. As the Column arrived on the ground, they filed off on the right of the road. The artillery and the 52d Queen's, having designedly pushed on, were some way in advance, and were in position, the guns at intervals, with the Europeans distributed between, before the rest arrived. Across the road stood a serai, the usual accompaniment of every camping-ground. As the 35th
His name, it will be remembered, had been one of the three originally recommended to General Anson for this command.
NativeInfantry came near, they were ordered to turn off to the left, and go round the rear of the serai, which helped to conceal the Europeans from them till they were wheeled up, left shoulders forward, and brought face to face with them and the guns, about 300 yards off (a good distance for grape). The 52d were lying along on the ground resting; the gunners had dismounted. The camp was being pitched, as usual, in the rear; there was nothing to cause suspicion. The 35th Light Infantry were now ordered to form in close column as they stood, on the opposite side of the road. The men of the 52d rose up, unpiled arms, and stood "at attention." The gunners remounted. The officer commanding the 35th Native Infantry was sent for by the General, and told that the men must give up their arms! The men, probably expecting they were about to hear some common order read, were completely taken by surprise, and overawed, and (says one who stood at his guns, ready to annihilate them at the slightest resistance) "they quietly laid down their arms like a set of cows.' The 33d Native Infantry, being fatigued with the double march, were a little behind, and by the time they reached the ground, the arms of the 35th had been all stowed away in the carts so conveniently at hand. They also obeyed the order as submissively as the 35th had done,* and all the arms were at once carried off to the fort, and the day's work was concluded.
By this masterly arrangement of General Nicholson, on the morning of the 25th of June, some 1500 Sepoys were thus disarmed in the presence of about 800 Europeans and a dozen guns, without a shot being fired, or a drop of blood shed! Every
precaution, however, had been taken to meet any emergency that might arise. The artillery were ready to open at the first sign of resistance, and the first shot fired was to have been the signal for Mr Ricketts, who was at the bridge, to cut away some boats, and stop the passage of the river; and the fate of the rebels would have been far different from that of their Jullundhur brethren a fortnight before. All this was mercifully averted. The tact of General Nicholson triumphed. Nor was the effect of the success lost on the natives who witnessed it. "You have to-day drawn the fangs of 1500 snakes," said an old Sikh to Captain Farrington; "truly your ikbal (good fortune) is great!'
After this, Nicholson moved up to Jullundhur. In the beginning of July, however, a hint reached him from above; on which, leaving the 33d Native Infantry under the eye of the Europeans and some Kuppoorthulla men at Jullundhur, he brought up the rest of the Column to Umritsur. This move appeared incomprehensible; its object was the constant theme of wonder and conjecture, and of condemnation too, by those who inferred from the former downward march that Delhi was to be their destination, and in their disappointment abused the tactics they could not understand. The time was not yet come for the Column to march on Delhi. More work had to be done in the Punjab. The Column had remained for nearly a month, moving from Umritsur to Phillour, and now back again, biding its time. Here was its range below there remained no more regiments to mutiny; and if those above attempted to rise and make for Delhi, here was the point from which they could be most easily
The turn events took really proved most favourable, though this delay of the 33d Native Infantry, at the time, caused great anxiety. Had the 35th Native Infantry resisted, and the guns once opened fire, the 33d would have taken alarm, and probably all their officers would have fallen victims. The wing of the 9th Cavalry close behind them would have joined, and the consequence might have been a deadly struggle. To wait, however, till the 33d should come, involved a greater risk that the 35th, if kept waiting, might suspect the object, and break out; whereas, taking them by surprise, having had no means as yet of consulting with the 33d for any combined action, with a powerful body of Europeans and guns facing them, the probability was they would be overawed and succumb. Most providentially such was the result; and the 33d, on coming up, and finding their comrades disarmed, had no inducement to resist,
instead of thus voluntarily disarming themselves, they would have resented the disgrace to which they had been subjected by shooting down their officers, who were wholly at their mercy. Such an act will hardly be forgotten when the day of reckoning
and effectually cut off in their downward march. Loudly as men might complain of the retrograde march, condemning it as objectless, the event disclosed its object, and showed its wisdom. On the morning of the 8th, the 59th Native Infantry had been paraded; and Nicholson, to remove the somewhat natural fear that they were to share the fate of the 33d and 35th Native Infantry, had complimented them on their general good conduct, and assured them that he rejoiced in having no reason for disarming them. That day the telegraphic message came in from Mr Montgomery, reporting the imperfect success of the Jhelum affair. A necessity now arose, which had not existed a few hours before, although this upward march had been made in anticipation of its possibility, and the Column was now on the spot to meet it. On the following morning, the 9th of July, some wretched rebel was doomed to be executed. The General ordered down the 59th Native Infantry to witness it. The spot always selected for this purpose was a large space of level ground between the city and Govindgurh Fort, about a mile from the cantonments. The 59th marched down; the whole European column, her Majesty's 52d Light Infantry, Dawes's troop, and Bourchier's battery, were drawn up, forming three sides of a square. The execution proceeded; when it was over, the 59th were suddenly ordered to pile arms;" they were taken wholly by surprise, but obeyed without a moment's hesitation. They laid down 450 stand of arms, which were at once carried off to the fort; the Sikhs were ordered to fall out; and the regiment marched back to its lines. It appeared to have been forgotten that only a part of the regiment were on parade, and that 450 formed only a small portion of their complement of arms. The corps proceeded to their lines crestfallen, but most orderly; they went to their kotes (bells of arms), and brought out nearly 700 more muskets, which they gave up to their officers, and helped to pack away to be carried off to the fort! There could surely have been then but little treason in that corps, or,
This occurred on the morning of Thursday the 9th of July; from that scene of order and apparent faithfulness we are suddenly carried to a scene of treachery and bloodshed, which was at that very moment being perpetrated at the neighbouring station of Sealkote.
The position of Sealkote had from the first been most precarious. The withdrawal of the whole European force in the end of May had left it wholly unprotected. A wing of the 9th Cavalry, with the 46th Native Infantry, remained there; and thus about a dozen officers belonging to these two corps, the Brigadier and his staff, with a few soldiers left to guard a small number of sick of her Majesty's 52d and artillery, who were too ill to be moved, not forty able-bodied men in all, constituted the European strength of the station; several ladies also, with their families, who could not be persuaded to leave, still remained: all these were in the power and at the caprice of some 250 mounted troopers, and at least 700 armed Sepoys. For six weeks, it may truly be said, every man's life was in his hand; they were all living, and they felt it too, on the edge of a mine of treason which might explode at any moment and destroy them all, while they were utterly powerless to avert it. The policy of Brigadier Brind, who commanded the station, was throughout to appear to place the fullest confidence in the native troops. To have acted otherwise could only have hastened the catastrophe. To the wisdom of that policy those six weeks of unbroken quiet are the best testimony. That it at length failed, under irresistible pressure from without, can cast no reflection on him, In the course of the 8th, private intelligence reached the civil authorities of the attempt to disarm the 14th at Jhelum, and their desperate resistance. It was communicated con