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Mutiny: 1857

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Mutiny: 1857
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Author(s): James Humphries
Date Published: 08/2007
Page Count: 448
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-280-1
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-279-5


The voices of one terrible year of blood, horror, battle and revenge

It is now 150 years since the 'Indian Mutiny' burst like an engulfing flame on the British soldiers, their families and the civilians of the Empire in North East India. The Bengal Native army arose in violent rebellion, and the once peaceful countryside became a battleground as Native sepoys and elements of the Indian population, led by their traditional leaders, massacred their masters of the British Empire, besieged them in their cantonments and defeated them in open battle. As the tide turned, a vengeful army of British and loyal Indian troops repressed the insurgency with a savagery that knew no mercy. It was a time of fear and slaughter. James Humphries has drawn together the voices of those dreadful days for this commemorative book. Here is the young British officer whose lazy Sunday is shattered as his own men try to murder him. Here is the wife who witnesses the death of her husband and must run for her life. The loyal sepoy recounts how he is caught in a maelstrom where all suspect his loyalties. An ordinary British soldier describes his suffering as he endures a protracted siege and a young and able author takes us vividly to the battles of final retribution so that we can see the sweat run and the blood spilt. Mutiny: 1857 is the ideal companion for those interested in these terrible events-for the curious it will be a revelation and for the military historian it is a treasure trove of new material. James Humphries puts the events of the Mutiny in an historical context, taking into account all we now know about it and viewing it in the light of what has occurred since.

I know no sight more pleasing to the eye than that of a force crossing these Indian rivers in the cool of the morning. Horsemen in advance soon cross and appear on the opposite banks among the brushwood and trees, while the column moves slowly on, filing down the narrow road that leads to the ford. Once upon the shingle at the water’s edge, the infantry commence taking off shoes and stockings to cross, some mount upon each other’s backs like schoolboys, having tossed up for the ride over. Then there’s the joke; hundreds stay to drink of the clear cold water, native and European mingling together, then quietly wade across and form up upon the opposite bank; then down comes the artillery, gun after gun, dashing the stream about in a thousand rainbows as they pass through; there are the dragoons and gaudily-dressed irregulars in groups quietly watering their horses; there dhooly-bearers carrying the sick men across, sprinkling their heads and dhoolies with the precious water as they go; yonder is a long line of camels jingling with bells, stalking over; and there is the great unwieldy elephant sucking up gallons of water for his capacious stomach (with a huge bunch of leaves tucked up between his trunk and tusk), or blowing it over his heated body and limbs. When he has quenched his thirst, he takes down his leaves and fans the flies away as he carefully moves off..<br>
Both banks are lined with men, horses, and followers, and droves of sheep, goats, and bullocks; all, and every animal, seem delighted with the river. I wonder not that natives worship rivers in this country, for no one can too highly estimate the value of clear, cool, running water, wherein all may wash and be clean, quench their burning thirst, and cool their heated, weary frames after a march over an arid country and through clouds of choking dust.
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