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about daylight; and very shortly after the troops came in contact with the enemy, who seemed fully prepared for the fight, as was shown by the numerous replies to the sharp cracks of the rifles of the 60th on the right and left.
The Simoor battalion (Goorkahs) led the attack, but shrank from the heavy fire poured in from thousands of the enemy. The 1st Fusiliers were then ordered to the front, and under a very heavy fire cleared a bridge and breastwork which the enemy held in force. It was here the brave Captain M'Barnet, 55th N. I., doing duty with the Fusiliers, met soldier's death. Marching in front, and encouraging the men to the charge, he was shot in the forehead, and died instantly. This gallant officer seems to have had some presentiment of his end, for he left a message to her he honoured most, that if he died, he wished her to know he died like a Highlander.
It was then perceived that on the left flank the rebels had possession of a serai, built almost like a fort, and completely commanding the post taken; while in the front hardly less than 2000 men, in skirmishing order, were perpetually firing on our small body. Seeing it was impossible to remain where the Fusiliers were, and Major Reid being about this time obliged to retire from the field severely wounded, Captain Wriford gave the order to charge a second breastwork in the front, which was quickly cleared; but again the enemy were discovered in overpowering numbers, as here both cavalry and infantry were in large bodies, and the fire was most deadly and unceasing. Lieutenant Owen was severely wounded, sixteen men lay dead in the road, and thirty-four were wounded. Application was therefore made for immediate support; but the advance was so slow, and the pressure on the small party in front so great, that it was absolutely necessary to retire behind a small wall in rear. This was held for about three quar ters of an hour by portions of the force, and here the poor Goorkahs suffered very severely. In fact, had
not the flanks been partially protected by garden - walls, the party must have been annihilated.
It was about this time discovered that the enemy, emboldened by our check, were creeping to our rear, and therefore, if any were to escape, a retreat must take place; the force then retired in good order without further loss. In fact, the retreat was so well protected by the admirable firing directed by Lieutenant Evans of the Artillery, that the enemy were quite unable to advance or molest the retreat effectively.
It is well known to many that the entire force of the enemy was for a short time brought to bear on the 1st Fusiliers, and that though the plan of the attack failed in the object wished, yet that probably the result attained was more important than had they succeeded in driving the enemy into Delhi, for by this fight hardly less than 8000 of the rebels were kept out of the city while the assault on the left was being successfully executed.
During the time the above was taking place on our right, the right wing of the regiment, consisting of 230 men, Major Jacob commanding, had at 4 A. M. marched from camp, and having reached Ludlow Castle, halted and remained till about an hour after daylight, this delay being considered necessary to enable the artillery to knock down the sandbags with which the active enemy had heaped the breaches during the night. The men were then ordered to advance down the open road, with ladders in front, to escalade the Cashmere Bastion. The movement was made under a heavy fire of grape and musketry. On reaching the ditch, it was found to be twenty feet deep, without water, down the slope of which the men easily slid, then placing the ladders against the scarp, and mounting quickly, they were at the foot of the walls of Delhi, and the breach, though eighteen feet high, offering no great difficulty, was gained at once, the 1st entering the Cashmere Battery through the embrasures. No sooner did the enemy see the white faces looking sternly on them,*
This may seem far-fetched, but the truth is, all the 1st had their muskets
than they turned and fled, and the bastion was ours.
The 1st then advancing, cleared the church and took the rebels in the Water Bastion in flank, driving them in confusion before them.
After having thus far successfully gone on, the wing moved to the right along the rampart, capturing the guns and stores of shot and shell abandoned by the enemy, who offered little resistance. A party of about thirty men, pursuing the flying enemy, got separated from the main body. Captain Caulfield was the senior officer, with Captain Speke and Lieutenants Woodcock and Butler. With them were some Goorkahs, and men of Coke's Rifles, under Lieutenant Nicholson: these advanced through the College as far as the Magazine, but not knowing that it was the Magazine gate at which they stood, collecting all strag glers together, retired by Skinner's House, and found the men under Major Jacob advancing on the Cabul Gate. Lieutenant Woodcock, previously to reaching this gate, ascended the rampart, and entered one of the small towers which project from the wall, and, looking in the direction of the Lahore Gate through an embrasure, was surprised to see a large body of men returning from the Subzee Mundee into the city by the Lahore and Ajmeer gates. In his estimation there were not less than 10,000 cavalry and infantry. Seeing these, and feeling sure they were the enemy who had been driven in by the right attack, he seized an Enfield rifle from one of the men to try the range, when some one laid his hand on the butt, and said, "Don't fire these are Cashmere troops!" "No," replied Woodcock; "Cashmeres never wear white clothes." On this the officer turned to the 9th Lancers, who were then drawn up immediately under the walls. Some words passed, and men or officers rode out to the front to reconnoitre. The officer had borrowed Lieutenant Woodcock's glass, and was hurrying away with it, when Lieutenant Woodcock asked, "Am I
mistaken in asking General Nicholson for my glass." "Ah, is it yours? Well, I shall know you again," as he hurried away-for the General now saw exactly how matters stood, and was thoroughly aware of the importance of moving on, which, however (from the confusion after such an assault, and the failure of the attack on the Gumma Muzjid, and no artillery having joined as ordered), was impossible. A lamentable delay at the Cabul Gate, therefore, took place for two hours. For thus far all had gone most happily; the assault had been wonderfully successful, and the loss, compared to the result, almost nothing. The enemy had been driven back from every point attacked, and we had got a firm footing in the city.
Charge, Chester, charge! on, Stanley, on!
After this delay the men were ordered to charge three guns held by the enemy, two of which were in a lane, and one on the rampart. This lane, up which our braves had to charge, was tolerably straight, about twelve feet wide, but narrowed in places by projecting buttresses or towers, with parapets; and these small buildings narrowed the roadway where they were to about three feet.
The rampart also, of which they formed, as it were, a part, was obstructed by them; for above they were constructed so as to form guardhouses, in which a few men could be sheltered from the weather. The city side of the lane was bounded by houses with flat roofs and parapets; and all these different points were strongly occupied by the enemy, now returned in great force, as above mentioned.
About 160 yards up this formidable position was a brass field-gun, pointing straight in the line of advance, and about 100 yards in rear of this was a second, which commanded the first; behind both was a bullet-proof screen; and as it were projecting from without the wall was
slung behind, to enable them to use their hands in ascending the breach; consequently there was not a shot fired at the enemy till the breach was entered: till this was gained, the men had no muskets in their hands.
the Burn Bastion, armed with heavy field-pieces, and capable of containing a thousand men.
Our men charged up to and took the first gun, and advanced to within ten yards of the second, where the fire of grape and musketry, and shower of stones and round shot, which were thrown by hand, was so severe that none could stand it; and after seeking shelter, as far as was possible in such a place, we were compelled to retire, and unable to bring off the captured gun. At this place Lieutenant Butler greatly distinguished himself, doing his utmost to encourage the men; and how he escaped with life is a perfect marvel, for he was quite up to the bullet-proof screen, where two bayonets were thrust out at him, and there he had to stand between their points, till, by firing his revolver down the loopholes, he caused the men who were thrusting at him to withdraw their
After a brief pause the men were called on again to advance, and responded as British soldiers are ever wont. The first gun was again captured and spiked by Captain Greville; but a little beyond, Major Jacob fell mortally wounded; and there, as the brave man lay, he still urged his men on against the foe. Captain Caulfield, of the 3d N. I., who on this day led the first company, tried to urge the men on; and almost immediately Captain Greville, who had been recalled from another street, advanced to the front, and took command of the corps. Lieutenant Wemyss was about this time hit while advancing to the front and encouraging the men, and almost immediately Captains Greville, Caulfield, and Speke, with Lieutenants Woodcock and Butler, were wounded. General Nicholson also fell here with a mortal injury. The men, who were greatly discouraged at seeing Major Jacob and so many officers fall, hesitated, and felt they could do nothing against such a fire in such a place; they therefore retired to the Cabul Gate, which they held.
It is surmised that in this lane eight officers and fifty men of the 1st were placed hors de combat.
Major Jacob and Captain Speke
were both mortally wounded; and it may be not unbecoming to pay a tribute, small though it be, yet due to the brave. Jacob was an officer of great experience, having been present through the Cabul and Sutledge campaigns with his corps, and was subsequently engaged on the frontier in command of a regiment of horse. He was in the prime of life, quiet and gentlemanly in manner, kind to a degree, yet firm. He was loved by the men, and the officers looked to him as a friend. The great peculiarity of Major Jacob was, I should say, exceeding coolness in action; and, riding as he did at the head of his men on a white horse, how he escaped so long was to us a matter of wonder. His temperament fitted him admirably for the command of men, and in action enabled him to take advantage of any oversight on the part of the enemy. Soldiers ever look up with confidence to such a leader, and no wonder the men of the 1st looked up to him. Long will he be remembered in the corps he loved so well; and never will a better soldier command the 1st Fusiliers. Captain Speke, 65th N. I., joined shortly after the battle of Bardul Ki Serai, and it was not long before we found by the ring of the metal that he was formed of sterling stuff. Rather reserved in manner, he might at first be considered 'cold, but underneath flowed the warm stream of human kindness. He was devotedly fond of his profession, more particularly that which calls forth the active energies; and for a fight there was no better captain than Speke, and his hardy wiry frame fitted him for the hardships of such a campaign. He entirely gained the hearts of the men of his company, by carrying in one of the wounded men, Private Brock, who had his leg shattered by a round shot; and the poor fellow, I am told, said to the doctor, after he had been under the knife, "Ah, doctor, if I die, tell Captain Speke how much I feel his kindness." Yes, these are indeed the acts which bind men and officers as one, and make them invincible in fight, for the blow falls properly directed and concentrated, by the full force of all willingly applied.
In all our fights Speke had his share, escaping unhurt till the last. Strange to say, he had almost no pain, and retained his mental powers though his wound was very severe. Firmly yet humbly did he depart this life, deeply lamented by all who knew him. After the repulse from the lane, the regiment retired to the Cabul Gate, which they continued to hold, together with other troops composing the first column, notwithstanding a very annoying fire of grape and musketry from the mutineers, which continued very heavy till 5 P.M. The 1st remained at the Cabul Gate till the evening of the 15th, when they were ordered to take up their quarters in some narrow lanes and streets between the Moree Bastion and the Cabul Gate. In the course of the day, however, a party of men under Captain Beatson, attached to the regiment, and Lieutenant Monney, were sent to occupy the Moree Bastion.
Early in the morning, on the 16th, forty men of the regiment under Colonel Burn, with Lieutenants Cairnes and Vibart, proceeded to take possession of a house about a quarter of a mile further down the banks of the canal. This was done without opposition. A party of her Majesty's 75th meanwhile advanced still further on, and occupied Jung Bahadoor's house. On the evening of the 17th the rest of the regiment and right wing joined this party, with the exception of the men at the Moree Bastion.
At daylight on the 18th, a column, consisting of her Majesty's 8th and 75th foot, and some Sikhs, were sent to take the Lahore Gate. Fifty of the 1st were sent as a support. Colonel Burn, Campbell, and Vibart accompanied this party. The advance was up a narrow street leading into Chandne Chouk, where the insurgents had a 24-pound howitzer posted, which played on us with grape as we advanced, aided by a smart fire of musketry from the windows of the houses on both sides of the street. The 8th and 75th were driven back, though they had the gun in their possession at one time. The 1st were then ordered to the front to cover the retreat. This
was done slowly, without much loss, till we eventually got back to our old quarters. In the course of the day, Beatson and Monney also joined us from the Moree Bastion.
It was now determined to get possession of the Burn Battery by means of sapping up to it gradually, and accordingly Lieutenant Wallace with twenty men were sent during the afternoon to occupy a house in advance of Jung Bahadoor's, in the direction of the Burn Bastion. The following day (the 19th), Lieutenant Vibart was also sent with another party of twenty men to take possession of a house still further in advance, and completely overlooking the Burn Battery. A fusilade was kept up between us and the Pandies, from behind loop-holes and walls, the whole of this day, till evening, when some of the 8th Foot and 4th Sikhs were ordered up to take and hold the Burn Battery: this they did without meeting any opposition; and early next day the remainder of our regiment also came up, and proceeded to occupy the Lahore Gate, which was found deserted. The men today were in a very unruly state, and the remark made to me by an experienced officer is singularly applicable, "That no men will act properly with officers of whom they know nothing." Moreover, much brandy, beer, and other intoxicating liquors were left so exposed by the enemy, that it would seem they had almost been left about purposely; and though the officers endeavoured to persuade their men that the liquor was poisoned, they did not succeed in persuading them that such was the case, as one old soldier, a thirsty soul, taking up a bottle of brandy, and looking at it, said, "Oh no, sir, the capsule is all right-Exshawe and Co.: lettering all correct; no poison in that."
In the evening, Lieutenants Wallace and Vibart received orders to march back to our old quarters near the Moree Bastion, from whence, together with Lieutenants Monney and Campbell (who had remained there with a few men the whole time), we proceeded to the Jumma Musgid, where, after waiting about an hour, we got orders from Colonel Burn to join him at the Delhi Gate,
or rather at a larger house in one of the streets not far off.
The next day, No. 6 Company was sent to reinforce the left wing at the Subzee Mundeh Serai, where they had remained stationed ever since the morning of the 14th. On the 23d, the left wing joined the right at the Delhi Gate. On this evening, Lieutenant Cairnes, who had gone through the whole campaign without missing one turn of duty, and had ever been foremost when work was to be done, was taken ill of cholera, and died in a few hours. He was much beloved by the men, and respected by his brother officers.
The regiment remained at the Delhi Gate, and had to furnish guards for that, the Tur Ko-man Gate, and also the Wellesley Bastion. On the evening of the 4th, however, we were sent on a scouring expedition to clear out that portion of the city. About thirty of the inhabitants fell victims to us, the men being fully persuaded that they had taken part in the siege, giving assistance to the enemy. All women were carefully protected from injury and insult.
Since the 27th, the regiment has remained in Mahomed-Ali-Khan's mansion, merely furnishing a daily guard for the Cashmere Gate.
List of Officers who marched from Dugshai with the First European Bengal
Major Jacob. Wounded at the action of Nujjufghur-mortally at Delhi.
Captain Dennis. Struck down by the sun when in action at Subzee Mundah-sick certificate.
Greville. Wounded, Bardul Ka Serai-capture of guns, 14th-severely wounded, Delhi.
Wriford. Had Delhi fever twice.
Adjutant Wemyss. Wounded in Subzee Mundah, and again in storming of Delhi. Quartermaster MacFarlane.
Monney. Joined the regiment with detachment, 1st July 1857.
Walters. Sun-stroke while in action, Subzee Mundah-subsequently Delhi
Butler. Knocked down by a stone or round-shot, thrown in the lane Subzee
Cairnes. Died of cholera after the capture of Delhi.
Wallace. Sun-stroke, twice.
Owen. Wounded, capture of guns, Ludlow Castle and severely in the right attack on Delhi.
Ellis. Wounded, Bardul Ka Serai-attacked with cholera, and after a very severe illness went on sick leave.
Joined before the first action.
Colonel Welchman. Severely wounded, Subzee Mundah.
Officers attached to the Corps at different periods after first engagement. Captain Speke, 6th. Mortally wounded in assault of Delhi.
Lieut. Hadby, 36th N. I. Died of cholera.
Edwards, 45th N. I. Attached for a short time-present at Nujjufgbur.
Captain Stafford, 36th N. I.
Law, N. I.
Beatson, N. I.
Graydon, 16th N. I. Blown up in assault; severely injured.