Page images
PDF
EPUB

the enemy had been driven back, and Cunliffe's surprise, began spinning the Dilkhoosha occupied. We were with the utmost rapidity; and then, warned to march at 2 A.M. the next instead of bounding off at an angle, morning; we moved from camp there- as he momentarily expected (and fore at half-past one, and proceeded it was most unpleasantly close), it very slowly, as we protected a large again moved in a straight line, and, and important train of guns, am- striking the tree it had first hit, there munition, and stores. The march, remained. In this grove we could which occupied ten hours, was exces- distinctly hear the bugle-calls of the sively tedious, and our tents came up enemy, and they seemed to have an very late to the ground, which was extra number of drummers; on the perhaps a mile in rear of the Dilk- left, indeed, our sentries at night hoosha, a post occupied by our troops, were relieved by the time kept in the and an occasional shot told us that enemy's lines. The duty was very it was not distant from the enemy's heavy for our weak corps, from the lines. A brisk fire drew us away great extent of wall to bé guarded ; from breakfast, to see what was going only one hundred men were off duty, on, but we were unable to distin- and these remained fully accoutred, guish who were engaged in this little so that after forty hours we were not affair. At 3 P.M. we were direct. sorry to return to camp on the morned to move to the front, leaving ing of the 5th. our tents standing : marching to the left of the Dilkhoosha, we entered

“And we ran, and they ran ; a large mango-grove — Mahommed And they ran, and we ran; Bagh-surrounded by a wall, which

And we ran, and they ran

Awa, man."Battle of Sherifmuir. extended to within 700 yards of the enemy's batteries. In the centre of “ The Dilkhoosha" (Heart's Dethe grove, or I might rather call it a light) is a large building in the style park, were two tanks, nearly dry, of a French chateau, standing in an the depth from the top of the bank extensive enclosure, formerly a deerbeing about 15 feet, in one of which park; and about twelve hundred yards the men off duty were desired to to the north stands the “Martinière,” make themselves comfortable; at any built somewhat in the same stylerate, we were here well sheltered from both erected by General Martin, a the shot of the enemy, and fortu- Swiss, formerly in the service of the nately they seemed to have no shell King of Oude. The general made to spare, as three only fell in the en- a large fortune in all kinds of curious closure during the time we were there, ways-polishing diamonds forming and of these one did not explode. Í part of his military duties. It is said found that it was made of brass, that the Martinière was built by him very badly cast, and about the size in the hopes of the king becoming a of a 9-pound shot. Round-shot was purchaser : the king, however, seeing fired pretty constantly at us, and that the general was very infirm, rendered a promenade under the considered that he might get the pleasant shade of the trees rather ex- building at a cheaper rate. The old citing, the sound of 18 or 9 pound soldier was not thus to be outshot crashing through the branches manquvred, for he directed his being not quite so agreeable as listen- body to be buried within the building to a regimental band. However, ing; and as natives dislike living by attending to the direction the balls among tombs, the expectations of the took, it was by no means a matter of king were not realised. The rest of danger to move about under such his property he applied to a noble deep cover. The course taken by purpose - being bequeathed to a round-shot, after striking live timber, charity for the support of orphans. is sometimes very peculiar. Captain The enemy held possession of the Cunliffe, who commanded us, while Martinière, which was, however, so visiting the pickets, saw an 18-pound immediately under the guns in the shot strike full against a mango-tree; defences they had erected on the city the projectile rebounded about thirty side of the canal, that it would have yards, and then, much to Captain been of little use in taking this advanced position, till prepared to act work, the old ist in their blue caps against their second line of defence. and tunics and clean white belts, Only a desultory fire, therefore, was the 79th, with waving plumes and kept up on the building-probably tartans, the well-tried Sikhs, the more to mask our real intentions than gorgeous Bays, and the Lancers, the for any other purpose,

glorious 9th; who so glad to see the On the evening of the 5th we were old dirty-shirts! Many were the ordered to be in readiness to move greetings as they passed in the mornat 2 A.M. of the day following, and as ing's uncertain light; “Good mornall baggage was to remain behind, ing, Fusiliers ;” and “What! is that we concluded that we should be ac- the old 1st once more ?” “And tively employed on the morrow. We where is and ?” wore the marched as directed, moving towards frequent questions as they rode along, the Dilkhoosha, but keeping to the responded to with hearty good-feelright of that building ; just before ing by our men. Truly the force daylight, as we marched very slowly which crossed the Goomtee was a and were frequently halted, we reach- choice one, and of which any soldier ed the river Goomtee, which was might be proud to form a part. passed by one of the excellent bridges The ground was undulating, so constructed by the engineers the day that the movements could be seen as before; we then turned to the right, each regiment marched along, and thus moving away from Lucknow, in the cool morning it was most exand having marched a short milé hilarating. As the day advanced, were halted until daylight. Just as however, the sun became extremely the grey of the morning made things warm, and the want of a good supply indistinctly visible, I was struck by the of water made this the more felt; the appearance of a most powerful horse, men, too, marched with fixed bayoand so taken up with the animal was nets, and carried arms the whole or I that I forgot for a minute to look the morning after breakfast, and at the rider. One glance, however, were, therefore, a good deal tired told me that the Bayard of the East when the report of heavy guns and was there. Yes, there sat the gallant the firing of musketry about 12 Outram, quietly inhaling the fragrant o'clock told us some part of our force weed, and looking as unconcerned as was engaged. Just then we were though he was out for a morning making our way through some rhuha ride, and proud were we to form part khets (fields of a grain growing on a of the force under such a leader. The long stalk) and young mango-trees, men were now ordered to breakfast, and these being above our head we each having a day's rations with him; were unable to see what was going as it chanced, we were standing in on. Getting free from this sort of a pea-field, so of course the oppor- cover, we entered an open space tunity for a laugh was too good with the dry bed of a river running to be lost by a wit of the 238 : down its centre; here we saw our “Ah!” said he, “if the General cavalry in front with the artillery, would only send 'the ducks, we have and on these the enemy were firing ; got the pease convenient !” After but their position being under trees the men were refreshed we advanced, they could not be very distinctly but more to the north, so that we made out ; for if Delhi is green with were in fact moving round Lucknow, many gardens, Lucknow is still more and we were able to see that we verdant; and until you get absoformed part of a corps-d'armée, com- lutely within the city, or quite close posed of the Rifle Brigade, 23d, 79th to it, you see but parts of the buildHighlanders, 2d Sikhs under Green, ings peeping out from the surround9th Lancers, Queen's Bays, Probyn's ing greenery. Lieut. Money's defiHorse, and, I think, some other irre- nition, when asked what Lucknow gular cavalry, with a formidable was like, is probably as good a detrain of light artillery. It was a scription of the place as can be given magnificent sight, the Rifles in green, in a few words: “It is the greenest the gallant 23d Fusiliers in their ad- city in the world ; " "and very bemirable dress, looking so ready for coming, too, considering that it is a

we

were

Mohammedan city, and green their say, seemed to have more pride in holy colour," put in Cunliffe. As I this odd digit than many in their said before, we came upon the open whole five, and on this day nothing plain, and moved down to the bed of would please him but he must go the stream, where we halted ; and out ; and as he could not carry a we could not have been very far musket, he took a sword: and this from the enemy, since while here is the stuff the old 1st was made of three round shot passed over the in 1858. column, fortunately without injury to During the 7th and 8th the enemy any one in the rear. One or two continued to annoy our pickets by a guns of our light artillery now fire from guns, to wbich we were opened on the enemy from our left, unable to reply effectually with our seemingly with the intention of as- field - artillery ; but it was quite certaining the weight and number astonishing to see how beautifully of their cannon, as very shortly after the Rifles, taking advantage of every we moved off to the right, and about particle of cover, kept them in check, lf P.x. took up a position in an en- and, by preventing their observing closure shaded by large mango-trees. our arrangements, rendered their Here we rested, strong pickets being fire almost useless. On the 8th sent out in advance for we were nothing was done, but all were only about one and a half mile aware that the final contest would from the enemy's works. Our tents not long be deferred, and few were and baggage came up so late at without that restless sort of excitenight that

all sound ment usually felt, though perhaps asleep before they arrived, and pre- not acknowledged, before engaging ferred sleeping on the ground to in mortal strife. By the evening pitching the tents in the dark. On it was known throughout camp the morning of the 7th we moved that operations would commence on out of our resting-place, the camp the right, and that Outram's divimarked out, and tents pitched ; men sion would advance to the attack and officers were then sitting down after the batteries of the enemy were to breakfast, when the report of silenced by our heavy guns, which several cannon-seven shot from had now come up. The particular which fell into our men's tents, duty assigned to the 1st European wounding two of the Fusiliers and Bengal Fusiliers was to protect the one camp - follower - told us the heavy pieces, which were to be enemy were close, and must have moved into battery at 2 A.M. advanced very rapidly. The regi- Shortly, then, before that hour, on ment fell in at once, and was ordered the 9th of March, we were drawn with other corps to the front; the up before our tents, and as the enemy retired as quickly as they elephants slowly drew their load came out, pounded by our artillery. along the sandy road, we left our The 1st never fired a shot. The vil- parade-ground and advanced with lages in front were then strongly them. Thus we marched about a occupied, the main body returning mile, when we reached the advanced into camp.

picket; here the main body halted, Here I must mention the conduct two companies only going on with of Lance-corporal Maclean, No. 4 the guns to the battery. It was a Company, as illustrative of the spirit moonlight morning, so

we could pervading the 1st Fusiliers. This make out the line of trees in which man had lost four of his fingers the enemy were sheltered, and the by a musket-ball at Puttialee, our noise in their camp could be disDoctor, who used to make a great tinctly heard ;, we were therefore fuss about having kept the thumb, surprised that the trumpeting of one talking no end about conservative of the elephants, and the clanking of surgery, or some such stuff, as if the chains attached to the artilleryMaclean would not have been much waggons, did not draw down on us better with a whole wooden hand the

kind attentions of their gunners, than with one flesh thumb; how- for that we were well within range ever, the man himself, strange to was proved by the state of the trees on the road-side. All, however, and gardens on the city side of the passed off quietly; every arrangement Goomtee. In the mean time those of was complete, and at daylight the the regiment who had been left at whole of the 1st, except those who the yellow house found that, though were on picket, moved down imme- the second storey and upper rooms diately in rear of the guns. The work had been cleared of the enemy, then commenced by our heavy bat- yet on the ground-floor there were tery opening on the line of the enemy's many Sepoys, and these men made a works. No reply was made, except most desperate stand. Keeping befrom one light gun, which was not hind the doorways, they were able, fired more than thrice; it was evident without being exposed, to shoot any therefore that the enemy must have one attempting to enter; and to reach withdrawn their guns, or were afraid them, excepting by entering the door, to use them. In the mean time the was impossible. Lieutenant Money troops on the right belonging to our was ordered with a company to clear division were sweeping through the out the place, but in making the atcover to their front, acting against tempt three or four of our men were the left flank of the enemy. Our killed, and several wounded. Straw battery now began to search the en- was then brought to the doorways, tire front with grape, and then the and, being ignited, such a smoke order was given to the 1st Fusiliers, produced as must have suffocated with two companies of H.M.'s 79th, any but a native. The party upon to advance. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 the top of the house, not aware of companies were sent out to skirmish these proceedings of their friends under Captain Cunliffe, Captain below, were somewhat taken aback Hume having joined and assumed when they saw flames and smoke command on the 7th. The remain- bursting from the second storey, parder of the regiment moved in sup- ticularly as knowing the way in port, with the light artillery on our which powder is usually left about left. We crossed the Kokrail, a on these occasions; they instantly small stream, and marched up a thought that there must be loose gentle rise of a short distance, when powder upon the premises; they the word "charge” was given ; on therefore made a precipitate retreat, rush the Fusiliers over a long tract and were very glad to find themof heavy sand with a cheer, and are selves out of the building. quickly in the trench cut by the enemy After the straw had ceased burnfor their musketry. The large house, ing, some of our men again attemptcoloured yellow, in the centre of their ed to enter the lower storey ; but anposition, was also quickly entered other casualty told them that Pandy, and occupied by our men. Just then though singed, was still active. Outram came up, and directed our Holes were now cut through the colours to be fixed on the top of a floor of the second storey, and live small summer-room, which had been shell dropped from above; these constructed on the second storey exploded, but seemingly without inof the building. This had been juring the lodgers; for Captain St much shattered by our shot, never- George and Lieutenant Magniac entheless young Battye mounted, and tering one of the rooms, the former fixed the colours there. This was was shot through the body, Captain the signal of our success to Sir Colin, Hume, commanding the regiment, who was awaiting the result of our had also a very narrow escape ; and operations at the Dilkhoosha. Mean- Captain Anderson, of the Sikhs, while the body of the regiment push- was shot dead. Artillery was now ed on resolutely after the enemy, fol- brought to the house ; and the Panlowing them up the river until we dies, seeing now that their time was met the Rifles, who had advanced come, made a rush for the river ; all from the right; we then halted, were quickly killed, except two-one occupying the houses and breast- of these ran nearly 300 yards before works on the banks of the stream, he was hit; the last reached the and keeping up a fire of musketrý stream and plunged in ; he was a very upon the enemy, who held the walls strong muscular man, doubtless the pulwan (champion wrestler) of some while Butler began to feel rather unnative regiment, and he swam brave- comfortable : first, he was wet and ly; though the bullets whistled round cold; and next, he saw some natives, him, he seemed to escape injury. He who, though distant, might return, had reached the shallow water, and and who, in fact, fired at him twice; was almost out of danger, when lastly, although he had taken his fort, Hospital-Serjeant Wilson, who had yet a garrison of one is rather á gone to bring in some wounded men, small force to hold even a strong borrowed a musket, took a steady place; moreover, he had no arms; he aim, and the Pandy fell forward upon therefore began to telegraph again. his face, never more to rise.

This time a Highland officer advancThe above occurred about 2 P.M., ed; he at once saw the importance at which time companies 3 and 10 of securing the fort, and ordered his were directed to move to the left, to company on without delay-the rest protect the heavy guns sent to en- of the Highlanders and Sikhs followfilade the enemy's second line of de- ing: Lieutenant Butler having thus fence, and against which the force delivered over his fort, again entered directly under Sir Colin Campbell, the river, and swam safely to our having captured the Martinière, had side. This act speaks for itself, had now advanced. This party was under a great object in view, and was well command of Captain Sallusbury, and performed. It must not be fancied going down the stream, they soon that because Butler was only fired at came to that part of the enemy's bat- from a distance, he therefore ran no teries which touched upon the river. risk; whoever has seen fighting at Here the Pandies had made a deep Lucknow knows the danger of entercut, communicating with the Goomtee ing seemingly deserted places. The and the canal, for a little below this party under Captain Sallusbury, repoint the Lucknow canal runs into turned at night to the place where the river. The heavy guns were un- we bivouacked. limbered, and Major Nicholson of the Royal Engineers commenced his

“ All was over, day was ending, work, observing, at the same time, that the lines seemed deserted. Cap- Gloomy red

Glowed the angry sun descending; tain Sallusbury proposed getting boats

While round Hacon's dying bed and crossing a party of the 1st, but Tears and songs of triumph blending, as Major Nicholson considered that

Showed how fast the warrior bled. it might be hazardous to leave the guns, this was not done. Lieutenant Though doubtless most of those Butler, 1st Fusiliers, and four men, who peruse these pages have some however, volunteered to go down to idea of the general appearance of the river and call to the Highlanders, Lucknow, its palaces and mosques, who were about six hundred yards from the plans, maps, and daguerreoon the other side. They reached the types which have been before the bank, but being unable to make the public in England for some months, infantry hear, Lieutenant Butler took yet, to make myself intelligible to all, off his coat and entered the stream, I must now give a brief description which runs there strongly, and is per- of the place, and the preparations haps sixty yards wide, swam across, made by the enemy for our warm and entered the works from their and uncomfortable reception when rear ; then, mounting the parapet, we should attempt to enter the city. quickly attracted the attention of our Let the reader then imagine a troops. After a short delay, a staff- plain with a triangle described in officer rode down to where Butler the centre, the two sides being about stood, and was informed as to the four miles in length, the apex pointstate of matters, and urged at once ing to the east, and the base about to send men to occupy the deserted three and a half miles in length tobatteries; he, however, seemed to con- wards the west ; let him further sider that this would not be correct fancy the northern boundary to be without having received orders, so formed by the river Goomtee, windcantered off

' for instructions. Mean- ing indeed, but still proceeding pretty

As the foeman turn'd and fled.

Hacon's Last Battle.

« PreviousContinue »