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Eight Months’ Campaign Against the Bengal Sepoy Army

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Eight Months’ Campaign Against the Bengal Sepoy Army
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Author(s): George Bourchier
Date Published: 2010/06
Page Count: 128
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-217-8
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-218-5

: A horse gunner's Mutiny experiences

Bourchier's is a well known and highly regarded eyewitness account of the Indian Mutiny as experienced and reported by an officer of that most famous of Indian Army corps d'elite—The Red Men—the galloping gunners of the Bengal Horse Artillery. The author describes the outbreak of the Mutiny and early actions leading toward the siege and fall of Delhi—including bloody street fighting—in all its appalling violence. Bourchier takes his reader with his battery on the pursuit to Cawnpore, the Relief of Lucknow and the destruction of the Gwalior Contingent. This is an account of warfare told with the passion one would expect from a participant who irrespective of his military duties was constantly concerned for the safety of his wife and children. Essential reading for all those interested in the period. Available in soft cover and hard cover with dust jacket.

Our advance on Lucknow was made from a different point from that taken by General Havelock; who threaded his way through the densest part of the city, and that most strongly defended by batteries and barricades: across the Charbagh Bridge.<br>
At nine o’clock, the columns being formed, they struck across country direct for the Dil Khooshah House, which, with the Martiniere, both highly defensible buildings, were intended to form the basis of our operations during the attack on the numerous works on the canal and suburbs. These on the side of the Goomtee, though possessing a series of highly- fortified posts, were more open, and could be carried in detail; while the river, though in some points fordable for cavalry, formed somewhat a protection to the right flank.<br>
Arriving in the neighbourhood of the Dil Khooshah park, the advance was met by a sharp fire of musketry. Captain Remmington’s Troop and No. 17 Battery were ordered to the front, supported by three regiments of infantry; a running fight was kept up to the park, into which the infantry, covered by the guns, advanced, driving the enemy from the house. We crossed the park at speed, to the enclosure round the Martiniere College; here the resistance was stouter, and a number of guns opened from the plain in front, covered from view by brushwood.<br>
Captain Hardy, of the Royal Artillery, brought up a heavy howitzer, which, with the eleven field guns, kept up such a continued rattle, that the enemy quickly evacuated the college; the infantry, bounding over the wall, drove them from the enclosure at the point of the bayonet, while the cavalry pursued for a considerable distance.<br>
Brigadier Hope’s Brigade occupied the gardens and enclosures attached to the Martiniere, which were surrounded by a high stone wall, and abutted upon the canal. Captain Remmington’s Troop of Horse Artillery was in the same position; Brigadier Russell was on the left, in front of Dil Khooshah; while Brigadier Little, with the cavalry and No. 17 Battery, occupied the plain in front of the Martiniere—the position extending from the canal on the right to the Dil Khooshah park wall on the left.<br>
Sir Colin Campbell had sent orders that the greatest care was to be taken to prevent the left being turned; as this would not only have cut off our communications with the Alumbagh, but also our commissariat stores and reserve ammunition, now only on the road. The latter, with the baggage of the army, excepting the tents, were to be stowed around the Dil Khooshah House; an elevated position, strongly situated, and not liable to surprise. With a view to prevent any such catastrophe. Brigadier Russell pushed forward several companies of infantry, and seized two villages on the banks of the canal opposite the left; a move of the utmost importance, considerably strengthening our position.<br>
These villages were held by the Sikhs, until the force advanced into Lucknow.<br>
In the mean time, the enemy were collecting in large bodies in front of the centre, near the Bank House; while it was impossible, from the mass of buildings, to see what mischief was brewing in the suburb. Captain Grant, of H. M.’s 9th Lancers, galloped gallantly to the front to reconnoitre, and was saluted with a perfect feu de joie; providentially without effect Brigadier Little (9th Lancers) ordered an immediate advance of the centre, at speed; which, favoured by a rise in the ground, we were enabled to effect unseen, debouching on the level plain within seven hundred yards of the enemy, who were on the opposite bank of the canal.<br>
A few rounds, well put, sent them scuttling back into the city. A second advance brought us to the canal bank; the bed of which, and some groves on the opposite side (from which a heavy fire was kept up on the villages held by Major Russell), were soon cleared. But as it was not intended at the time to hold so extended a position in that quarter as the whole length of the canal bank presented, which was within musketry range of the suburbs. Brigadier Little fell back to the Martiniere Compound, where orders were issued for a night bivouac.<br>
Scarcely were the horses untraced, than a heavy attack was made on the position from the city. The force turned out like magic; Remmington was first upon the road and went well to the front, nearly up to the canal bridge, followed by the remainder of the artillery and cavalry. The infantry, as each successive column arrived on the plain, deployed along the banks of the canal, while the 53rd, 93rd, and 4th Sikhs, attacked with vigour the main body of the enemy and drove them back with slaughter, pursuing them beyond the canal.
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