everything pertaining to the officers and soldiers, commands
had been placed in charge of a strong rear-guard, guard!"
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Ewart, H.M.'s
93rd Highlanders. This officer, whose splendid
gallantry was soon to be displayed in a position
more advanced and still more dangerous, had had
no easy time of it. Getting under arms on the
morning of the 14th at the same time as the rest
of the army, his progress, charged with a large
* In this action our force Wheatley, talking with some
Losi fcwo v'tv promising offi- comrades of the approaching
crs, Captain Mayne, of the Christmas, had remarked, "I
Bengal Artillery, and Captain wonder how many of us will
Wheatley, of toe Carabineers, then he alive." He was a
<l<iin_r duty willi tin' !>th very gallant officer.
Iiam<Ts. A few hours before,
THE EVE OF THE ADVANCE.
at the Dilku-
prior to the
convoy, had necessarily been slow. The enemy,
hovering about the main force, but afraid to attack
it, had singled out the rear-guard as their prey.
The attacks which they made upon it were inces-
sant. But, well aided by Blunt of the Bengal,
and Crawford of the Royal, Artillery, Ewart beat
back every assault. But the attacks had neces-
sarily delayed him, and he was unable to bring
his convoy into camp before the 15th. But he
brought it then, having accomplished, skilfully, a
difficult and harassing task.
Then did Sir Colin make his final arrangements.
The whole of his heavy baggage, his supplies
for fourteen days, he stored in the Dilkiisha. Into
the palace all the sick and wounded were conveyed.
Defences were thrown up round that building,
and a force was detailed to guard it. This force
consisted of five field guns, half the 9th Lancers,
the Military Train, a squadron of Panjab Cavalry,
and the remnant of the gallant 8th, about three
hundred strong — the whole under the command
of Brigadier Little of the 9th Lancers.
But though the 15th was a day of preparation,
the enemy did not leave the fighting qualities of
our soldiers untested. About mid-day, huge
masses of infantry, supporting two horse artil-
lery guns, made a strong demonstration against
the extreme right of the British position. Their
pickets, however, were on the alert, and the guns
(two guns of the Madras Native Horse Artillery)
speedily opening fire, the enemy fell back. As
the point thus threatened was that from which it
was intended to made the advance the following
THE ADVANCE. 179
morning, Sir Colin deemed it advisable to book xi.
draw the enemy's attention to another quarter. ; a £!!l
He accordingly a little later in the day made a No^ 37 ^
strong reconnaissance in front of our extreme
left, and subsequently massed all our artillery on
that point. He further directed that, during the
night, a fire of mortars should be directed on the
point opposite our left, so as to keep the enemy's
attention fixed there, whilst silence should be
preserved at the other end of the line.
Having made all the arrangements which skill Sir Colin
and foresight could suggest, Sir Colin signalled outram his
to Sir James Outram, by a code previously 3j2£?*°
arranged, that he would advance on the morrow.
Early on the morning of the 16th the heavy Nov. 16.
guns were withdrawn from the advanced pickets
on the canal, and the detachments of Adrian
Hope's brigade which had been sent to the front,
rejoined their regiments. The men first break- The advance
fasted. Then, a strong body of cavalry, with
B hint's troop of horse artillery and a company
of the 53rd, forming the advance guard, moved
forward from the extreme right. The way crossed
the canal, then dry ; followed then for about a
mile the bank of the Giimti, led then through
a narrow line, through thickly wooded enclosures,
and then made a sharp turn to the left on to a
road which, turning again, runs between low mud
houses, for about one hundred and twenty yards
parallel to the Sikandarbagh. Following the ad-
vance guard marched Adrian Hope's brigade ;
then Russell's; then the ammunition and engi-
neers' park. Greathed's brigade, now reduced
180 CRITICAL POSITION OF THE ADVANCE.
book xi. by the retention of the 8th at the Dilkiisha, re-
Cbapter II. -, .,, . ., -, . .
mamed till mid-day occupying the position on the
Not° 7 i6. canal, so as to protect the left rear of the main
body. It then followed the remainder of the
force as its rear-guard.
The precautions taken by Sir Colin the pre-
ceding afternoon and evening had been successful,
for the enemy's attention had been completely
diverted from the line of advance he had contem-
plated. His advanced guard, then, marched along
the bank of the Giimti, through the lane and
The British enclosures, without meeting an enemy. Suddenly
comes°hi con- it made the sharp turn to the left already de-
tact with the scr ibed. Then the enemy for the first time took
the alarm. First from men occupying huts and
enclosures in advance of the building, then from
the mass of men in the Sikandarbagh* itself,
poured an overwhelming fire on the troops forming
the advance. Their position was, in a military
point of view, desperate, for they were exposing
their flank to the enemy. For a distance of a
hundred and twenty yards to the walled enclosure
of Sikandarbagh, they were broadside on to the
Danger of its enemy's fire. Our officers saw the position clearly.
posi ion. Before a shot had been fired a staff officer remarked
to his right-hand comrade, " If these fellows allow
one of us to get out of this cul cle sac alive, they
deserve every one of them to be hanged. "f
* The Sikandarbagh is a October 1858. The writer of
high- walled enclosure about the article quoted either made
one hundred and fifty yards or heard the remark. He
square, with towers at the was himself a distinguished
angles. actor in the campaign.
f Blackwood's Magazine,
GALLANT DEED OF BLUNT. 181
The situation was indeed critical. The gallant Book xi.
,..,..-,. -i Chapter II.
53rd (one company only), m skirmishing order,
lined indeed the enclosures bordering on the lane ; N o^ 7 ' 6 .
but their numbers were few, and the fire of the
enemy was concentrated ; the cavalry were
jammed together, unable to advance, and the high
banks on either side seemed to offer an impassable
barrier to artillery.
But only "seemed." Up the steep bank the The splendid
J L x gallantry or
daring Blunt led his gallant troop, and " conquer-
ing the impossible," brought them, guns and all,
into an open space between the Sikandarbagh and
another large loop-holed building, exposed as he
galloped on to a terrific cross-fire. Here unlim-
bering, with remarkable coolness and self-posses-
sion, he opened with his six guns on the Sikandar-
bagh. Never was anything done better.
Whilst Blunt was engaged on this gallant deed,
Adrian Hope's brigade, disengaging itself, had ^^ bri
come up with a rush and driven the enemy first ga de.
from the enclosures bordering the lane, and then
from the large building of which I have spoken
opposite the Sikandarbagh. This gave it access
to the open space on which Blunt had unlimbered.
Travers followed with his heavy battery, and the Tracers and
, . . his heavy
sappers and miners having demolished a portion battery.
of the high I tank, he too was able, by the aid of
the infantry, to bringtwoof his 18-pounders into
position and to open fire against the angle of the
enclosure. In less than an hour their fire opened
a hole in the wall which might be practicable
Meanwhile the infantry of Adrian Hope's bri-
STORMING OF THE SIKANDARBAGH.
of the Sikan-
gade, after the achievement already related, had
been ordered to lie down, covered by a small bank
and some trees. But the moment the breach was
considered practicable the bugle- sound gave the
signal for assault. It was made by the 93rd
Highlanders and the 4th Panjab Rifles, supported
by the 53rd and a battalion of detachments.
Springing to their feet the Highlanders under
Lieutenant-Colonel Ewart, and the Sikhs under
Lieutenant Paul, dashed forward. " It was,"
writes an eye-witness,* " a glorious rush. On
went, in generous rivalry, the turban of the Sikh
and the dark plume of the Highlander. A native
officer of the Sikhs " — Subadar Gokal Singh,
specially mentioned by the Commander-in-Chief
in his despatch — " waving his tulwar above his
head, dashed on full five yards in front of his
men. The Highlanders, determined not to be left
behind, strained nerve and limb in the race.
Their officers led like gallant gentlemen, shaking
their broad swords in the air. Two young
ensigns springing over a low mud wall gave the
colours of the regiment to the breeze. Paul with
voice and accent urged on his wild followers."
All ran towards the hole — a small hole in a
bricked-up doorway, about three feet square and
about the same distance from the ground. A
Sikh of the 4th Rifles reached it first, but he was
shot dead as he jumped through. A similar fate
befell a Highlander in his track. A young officer
of the 93rd, Richard Cooper by name, outstrip-
* Blackwood's Magazine, October 1858.
RICHARD COOPER AND EWART. 183
ping the remainder of his comrades, was more book xi.
fortunate. Flying, so to speak, through the hole, Chapter IL
he landed unscathed. " His jump into it," wrote n 1857 ^
the gallant Blunt, who witnessed it, " reminded
me of the headloug leap which Harlequin in a
pantomime makes through a shop window, and I
thought at the time that if he was not rushing
to certain death life would be very uncertain to
those first making entrance by that ugly blind
hole." Cooper was almost immediately followed
by Colonel Ewart of the 93rd, Ewart by three Ewart,
privates of his regiment, they again by eight or
nine men, Sikhs of the 4th Pan jab Rifles and
Highlanders. Altogether, besides the two officers, and twelve
about a dozen men, Sikhs and Highlanders, Highlanders
had jumped within the enclosure, when, from
some reason yet undiscovered, the supply from
outside suddenly stopped. The enclosure in which
these fourteen men found themselves was one
hundred and fifty yards square, with towers at
the angles, and in the centre of the eastern face
a building, consisting of a room opening out into
a courtyard behind it. The grass growing all jump into the
over the ground of the enclosure sufficiently high mailed en-
to conceal the enemy from view. There were, closure -
however, two pathways — the one to the left leading
to the gate ; the other, to the right, to the build-
ing in the centre of the eastern face.
Losing not a moment after he had daringly Cooper,
jumped in, Cooper dashed along the path to the thdrfoSow.
right, closely followed by Ewart and the soldiers, ors
one of whom had almost immediately been shot
down. Following the path, they reached an angle
COOPER AND EWART.
come face to
face with the
of Ewart, the
of the enclosure, turned it, and in three seconds
more found themselves in front of the square
building I have already described. There were
rebels in front of it, rebels within it, rebels in the
courtyard behind it. But on this occasion, as
on so many others, boldness was prudence. The
rebels outside, astonished by the sudden appear-
ance of the two British officers and their following,
ignorant of their numbers, and believing, it
may be presumed, that the main entrance had
been forced, ran hurriedly into the building, and
attempted to make their way through a small
door into the courtyard behind. The two officers
and their men dashed after them, and a hand-to-
hand encounter ensued. Cooper, after greatly
distinguishing himself and laying many low with
a sword wielded by an arm of more than ordinary
strength, was singled out by a native officer of
the regiment of Liidhiana, and received from him
a slash across the forehead at the same moment
that he laid his antagonist dead at his feet.
Ewart, forcing his way into the courtyard, pushed
forward with his following against the men at the
other end of it. Some of these men had muskets,
some swords and shields. They allowed Ewart
to approach within ten yards of them, when those
who had muskets fired a volley. Fortunately
they fired high. One ball pierced Ewart's bonnet.
Our men then rushed at them, and a desperate
hand-to-hand encounter ensued. One tall rebel,
armed with sword and shield, singled Ewart out
for destruction, but that gallant officer was before-
hand with him, and shot him, and five others who
THE EEST OF THE STORMERS ARRIVE. 185
followed him, dead with his revolver. Still in the book xi.
end numbers might have prevailed when at the apter '
critical moment the Highlanders, the Sikhs, and X t 1857 ,'*
° ' ' Nov. 16.
the 53rd poured in to the rescue. when the re-
How these had forced their way remains now JJe^tormfn
to be told. Impatient of the delay which would P arfc y arrive.
be caused by jumping singly through a narrow J™ ^Zyel
hole, the bulk of the storming party had turned
to the left to force a way by the gate of the
enclosure. This gate was locked and barred ; and
although the men used all their efforts, firing their
pieces at the lock, some time elapsed before it
gave way. But at last it yielded, and the 93rd
and Sikhs dashed through it. Almost simulta-
neously the 53rd forced a barred window to the
right of it and joined in the rush to the rescue of
Ewart, of Cooper, still fighting in spite of his
wound, and their comrades.
1 have been particular in describing in full The splendid
detail the services of these two gallant officers, Rwtaind
both belonging to the 93rd Highlanders, not only noSS^'d
because they and the ten or twelve men who fol- unrewarded,
lowed them were the first to penetrate within the
enclosure of the Sikandarbagh, nor because their
action had a direct effect on the ultimate issue,
holding, as they did, the rebels in check while the
main body of the storming party were engaged
in endeavouring to force an entrance by the main
gate, but because whilst many officers were men-
tioned in the despatch,* the splendid services of
' "The attack on the Si- and a half when it was deter-
kandarbagh had now been mined to take the place by
ding for about an hour storm through a small open-
THE STOEMEES MAKE WAT,
these two gallant men did not receive even a bare
notice. It is fit that, even after the lapse of
twenty years, history should atone, as far as
atonement is possible, for official neglect.
To return. I have already stated that whilst
Ewart and Cooper and their small following
were making fierce head against the mass of
rebels opposed to them, a considerable body of
the 93rd and the 4th Panjab Rifles, outside the
enclosure, had, by strenuous exertions, succeeded
drive S baak ers in forcin g tne main doorway, whilst the 53rd
the rebels. had driven in the window on its right. Through
these, and through Cooper's hole, which the
ing which had been made.
This was done in the most
brilliant manner by the re-
mainder of the Highlanders,
the 53rd and 4th Panjab In-
fantry, supported by a batta-
lion of detachments under
Major Barnston." — Official
Despatch of Sir Colin Camp-
bell, dated 18th November
1857. It will be observed
that neither Ewart nor Cooper
is mentioned. Yet Cooper's
splendid deed was well known
in camp. I have seen letters
from distinguished officers
stating that he was pointed out
to them as the man " who had
leapt into the breach." When,
a little later, the officers of
the 93rd were called upon to
elect from among themselves
one member whom they con-
sidered entitled to receive the
Victoria Cross for distin-
guished conduct and bravery
under fire in the field, al-
though the majority of the
officers voted for Captain W.
D. Stewart, many voted for
Ewart and Cooper. No other
officer was voted for. ' ' On that
occasion " wrote three years
later one, not the least distin-
guished amongst them, "I,
for one, gave my vote in
Cooper's favour, conscien-
tiously considering that he
had justly earned the distinc-
tion. ... I know that
this was the opinion of others
Cooper and Ewart both de-
served to receive the Vic-
toria Cross." Yet their gal-
lant deeds were not even
mentioned. It is true that
Colonel Ewart was subse-
quently made a Companion of
the Bath and Aide-de-Camp
to the Queen, but Cooper
was left out in the cold —
where he still remains.
AND GAIN THE SIKANDARBAGH. 187
sappers had succeeded in enlarging, the stormers book xl
-, <• i n i j.1 ■ Chapter II.
poured as fast as they could make tneir way. —
As they entered, the rebels fell back into the N ov! 7 i6.
towers at the angle of the enclosure, and opened
a heavy and continuous musketry fire on our
men, occasionally diversifying this mode of
fighting bv descending to a hand to hand en- Ewartcap-
° i r»i rv i i t\ tures a colour,
counter. In one of these, Colonel xLwart sue- cutting down
ceeded in cutting down two native officers who
guarded a colour, and in capturing the colour,*
which he presented with his own hand to Sir
The contest for the possession of the enclosure ^- fter »
was bloody and desperate, the rebels fighting slaughter,
with all the energy of despair. Nor did the t^W" 1
Btruggle end when our men forced their way inside. g ained -
Every room, every staircase, every corner of the
towers was contested. Quarter was neither given
nor asked for, and when at last our men were
masters of the place more than two thousand
rebel corpses lay heaped upon each other. It
is said that of all who garrisoned it only four
men escaped, but even the escape of four is
Meanwhile, whilst a portion of the 93rd, of The " - ar '
the 53rd and the 4th Panjab Rifles were gra- tured.
* This was another splendid assisted, at the room. He
deed buried till now in silence, found the entrance to it de-
Ewart had observed the colour fended by two native officers
in question in one of the armed with tulwars, each on
rooms into which the rebels either side of the doorway,
had retreated. He deter- He fought them both and
mined to get possession of it, killed them, receiving himself
and made a dash, quite un- two sabro cuts.
188 THE BARRACKS ARE CAPTURED.
book xi. dually overcoming resistance in the enclosure,
' some companies of the 93rd and 53rd, supported
Nov 5 16. by two guns of Blunt's battery, had pushed for-
ward through the opening, and following the
plain, nearly southwards, for almost half a mile,
had attacked and effected a lodgment in a large
building called " The Barracks," and which formed
at about half the distance the angle of the rect-
angular road, used in contradistinction to the
direct road which connected the Sikandarbagh
Captain with the Kaisarbagh. In this attack Captain
tewart,93r . g£ ewar fc f ^e r ig\^ wm g f the 93rd greatly
distinguished himself by capturing two guns
which commanded the approaches to the Barracks.
But the shorter road from Sikandarbagh to
the Residency ran directly westward between
the large loop-holed building, stormed in the
first instance by Adrian Hope's brigade and
the Sikandarbagh itself, across an open plain
about twelve hundred yards broad. " About
three hundred yards along this road there is a
small village, with garden enclosures round it ;
while about two hundred and fifty yards further
on, and one hundred yards to the right of the
The shah road stood the Shah Najif, a large mosque,
a]1 ' situated in a garden enclosed by a high loop-holed
wall. This wall is nearly square and very strong.
Between it and the plain is a thick fringe of jungle
and enclosures, with trees, and scattered mud
cottages, which make it impossible to get a distinct
view of the place until you come close on it.
Between it and the Sikandarbagh, amidst jungles
and enclosures, to the right of the little plain,
THE ATTACK ON THE SHAH NAJIF. 189
was a building on a high mound called the Kaddam book xi.
RaSlil."* Chapter n.
The afternoon was now waning, and Sir Colin v 1857 ;,,
c Wov. lb.
Campbell deemed it essential to carry the Shah sir Colin de-
Najif. The operation was dangerous and most car^tLV
difficult. Success, to most men, would have Shah Na J lf -
seemed uncertain. Failure was ruin. Of all the
actions in the campaign this was the most critical.
How it was done has been described by an actor
in the scene, with a vigour of touch and with a
life-like freshness which it is impossible to surpass.
I have read nothing which conveys the scene more
vividly to the mind. I am sure, then, I shall be
pardoned, if, instead of using my own language,
I borrow the account of the daring action from
one who saw it, and who wrote what he saw.f
" Hope," says the writer, taking up the story
from the point where I left it, " having now drawn
off his brigade from the Sikandarbagh, led it
against the village, which he cleared and oc-
cupied witllOllt much difficulty; while Peel Preliminaries
brought up his 24-pounders, mortars, and rocket
frames, and placed them in battery against the
Shah Xajif in an oblique line, with their left
resting on the village. The musketry fire
which streamed unceasingly from that build-
ing and the surrounding enclosures, was most
biting and severe; and after nearly three hours
battering it was still unsubdued. An attempt,
made with great gallantry by Major Barnston
with his battalion of detachments, to drive the
* Blackwood' a Magazine, October 1858.
190 OBSTINATE RESISTANCE OF THE SHAH NAJIF.
in the lane
enemy from the fringe of jungle and enclosures
in front, by setting fire to the houses, proved un-
successful ; but on the right the Kaddam Rasul
was assaulted and carried by a party of Sikhs.
" In the narrow lane leading up from the rear,
meanwhile, the utmost confusion prevailed. The
animals carrying the ordnance and the engineer
supplies, unable to advance from the enemy's fire
in front — unable to get out on either side, and
pressed forward by those in rear — got completely
jammed, insomuch that an officer, sent to bring
up ammunition and all Greathed's disposable in-
fantry to the now hard-pressed front, had the
utmost difficulty to get the men on in single file ;
whilst some houses having been wantonly set on
fire by the camp-followers, the passage was for
a time entirely blocked up ; and it was only when
the flames were abating that a string of camels,
laden with small-arm ammunition, which was
urgently required by the troops engaged, could
with great risk and toil he forced through the
narrow and scorching pass. Even then, however,
the confusion near the Sikandarbagh had got to
such a pitch, that all passage had become impos-
sible ; and had it not been that a staff officer dis-
covered a by-path leading into a broad road, which
abutted on the Sikandarbagh, neither men nor
ammunition could have been brought up.
" In front of the Shah Najif the battle made
no way. The enemy, about 4 o'clock, got a heavy
gun to bear upon us from the opposite bank of
the river, and their very first shot blew up one of
Peel's tumbrils, whilst their deadly musketry had
SIR COLIN HARANGUES THE 93RD. 191
obliged him to withdraw the men from one of his book xi.
pieces and diminished the fire of the others. The
men were falling fast. Even Peel's usually bright
face became grave and anxious. Sir Colin sat on
his white horse, exposed to the whole storm of
shot, looking intently on the Shah Najif, which
was wreathed in volumes of smoke from the
burning buildings in its front, but sparkled all
over with the bright flash of small arms. It was
now apparent that the crisis of the battle had
come. Our heavy artillery could not subdue the
fire of the Shah Najif; we could not even hold
permanently our present advanced position under
it. But retreat to us there was none. By that