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The History of the Rifle Brigade—During the Kaffir Wars, The Crimean War, The Indian Mutiny, The Fenian Uprising and the Ashanti War

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The History of the Rifle Brigade—During the Kaffir Wars, The Crimean War, The Indian Mutiny, The Fenian Uprising and the Ashanti War
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Author(s): William H. Cope
Date Published: 2010/07
Page Count: 316
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-131-7
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-132-4

Volume 2 of a special edition

This is the second volume of Leonaur’s special two volume edition created by dividing Cope’s expansive work on the green coated sharpshooters—the famous Rifles. Where Volume 1 concentrated on the birth and early years of the regiment as it fought all over the globe against the Spanish, the Danes, the Napoleonic era French and the emergent American nation, this volume takes up the regimental story immediately after the destruction of the French First Empire on the bloody fields of Waterloo. The nations of Europe were about to enter an extraordinarily long period of peace—compared to its recent history—and it would be some forty years before another major conflict came the way of the British Army. Great Britain was now about to create her own empire and this would involve soldiering in many small conflicts to the end of the Victorian period. Cope’s history considers the activities of The Rifles—soon to be The Rifle Brigade—up to 1876; so the reader will join them in the early 19th century struggles against the native tribes of South Africa in what became the Kaffir Wars. War against Russia drew them towards the Crimea where disease and privation killed more than battle. The turbulent 1850’s also brought the horrific outburst of violence that was the Indian Mutiny, during which The Rifles shouldered their share of the fighting—including an interesting experiment as camel borne troops. Rebellion in Canada called them to colder climes but their services—always in demand—propelled them, in complete contrast to the final campaign covered by this book, into the steaming jungles of West Africa against the Ashanti. This is an indispensable history for anyone interested in this famous regiment and it is available to soft cover or hard cover with dust jacket for collectors.

On the 28th the rebels, by giving a gun great elevation, and probably half burying it, contrived to throw a few shot into the Riflemen’s camp; doing no damage to them, however, though they killed an old woman, and knocked over an elephant, by hitting him on the pad, but, except rolling him over, doing him no hurt. <br>
On the 29th they paraded at two in the morning, and marched at three to the cantonments, making a circuit to get well round the enemy; but to their great disappointment the enemy had gone off during the night. The Riflemen waited under topes till the baggage came up, when they pitched their tents, heavy rain coming on just as they did so.<br>
The battalion halted at Sultanpore for some weeks with little change, such as, for instance, a company (under Lieutenant Sotheby) recrossing the Goomtee to protect the heavy guns.<br>
On October 4 six companies of the 3rd Battalion, under Colonel Glyn, moved into Lucknow. And on the 5th Captain Alexander’s company marched at nine in the evening to join an expedition to Sundeelah (about forty miles from Lucknow), commanded by Brigadier Barker.<br>
This party, consisting of 100 men, was in charge of Lieutenant Andrew Green, and accompanied by Ensign Richards; for Captain Alexander had been ordered to take a detachment up the country.<br>
On arrival at Sundeelah on the 7th, information was received that a large force of rebels were about four miles off at a place called Jamo.<br>
At daybreak on the 8th, therefore, the column marched to Jamo. On approaching the enemy’s position, which was a strong one, a village on high ground and surrounded with dense jungle, fire was opened on them from guns posted in the village and from matchlocks in the jungle. The Riflemen were extended in skirmishing order on the right, and entered the jungle. Lieutenant Green had warned the men not to lose communication with their files; but in the thickness of the jungle three men got separated, and were surrounded and wounded by the enemy.<br>
Hearing firing, Lieutenant Green at once made for the place, and was immediately surrounded by six rebels. He shot two with his revolver. As he was in the act of dismounting to attack the others, he was cut down and hacked at while on the ground. Springing to his feet, however, he managed to knock down two more of his assailants with the butt of his revolver, and drawing his sword, he kept the others at bay. While he was about to fall back in search of some of his men, he was attacked by three more of the enemy and a second time cut down.<br>
Again getting to his feet, he contrived with his wounded right hand to shoot another man, who was in the act of cutting at him with his tulwar, and whose blow, descending as he fell dead, inflicted a deep wound on Green’s head. Colour-Sergeant Mansel, meantime, had heard the firing, and was making his way to the part of the jungle the sounds seemed to proceed from, when he came on a Rifleman wounded and retiring, who informed him that Lieutenant Green had come to his assistance, and was then hard pressed by several sepoys.<br>
Hurrying on in the direction the man had pointed out, the sergeant soon was attacked by a rebel, whom he succeeded in shooting; but before he could reload his rifle he was set upon by another man, who cut at him with his tulwar. After a severe struggle Sergeant Mansel knocked him over by a blow with the butt of his rifle, and soon after he came upon Green lying bathed in blood outside the jungle, and with the help of two Riflemen carried him fainting to the rear.<br>
Green received fourteen sabre cuts and one gunshot wound. Four of these wounds were obliged to be sewn up on the ground, and as soon as he was brought back to camp his left arm was amputated below the elbow, and his right thumb was taken off. Faint from loss of blood and from excessive fatigue (for the Riflemen had been under arms from four in the morning till three in the afternoon), it was not thought that he could rally, and for some days his life was despaired of. He was, however, moved to Lucknow on the 21st.<br>
Few men, probably, have ever survived so many and such severe wounds.<br>
Besides Lieutenant Green, three Riflemen were (as I have said) wounded on this day.<br>
It will be anticipated that Brigadier Barker speaks highly of this gallant deed in his despatch of October 9,<br>
‘The party of the Rifle Brigade, under Lieutenant Green,’ He says, ‘gallantly rushed up the high position in front of the village, and captured a six-pounder gun.’ . . . ‘Among the wounded (and I am sorry to say he is dangerously so) is Lieutenant Green, Rifle Brigade. . . . This officer had behaved so gallantly all through the day that I most deeply lament this misfortune.’ Ensign Richards also was favourably mentioned in this despatch.