Chandni Chdk. During these days, too, the posi-
tions on the right and left, indicated by the Kabul
gate and the magazine, were brought into direct
communication by a line of posts.
Nor were the artillery silent. Whilst the and by the
. . ,-i artillery.
steady progress of sapping was going on, tne
heavy mortars and guns in the magazine, and the
recovered and re-armed batteries of the enceinte
bastions and gates, were at work, pouring a con-
tinuous flight of shells into the city and palace.
Of the enemy's resistance it may be said that,
though continuous, it was not characterised by the
determination which had marked their conduct on
the 14th. They had read their doom, and though
they still fought, their hearts were elevated neither
by the hope of victory nor by the energy of despair.
Many had abandoned the city. The courage of ^ c e e resist "
those who remained was still undaunted, but slackens.
hopelessness of success had weakened their powers.
Owing partly to this, and in a great measure to
the skill of the attack, the British losses on those
days were small.
The position of the attacking force on the
evening of the 18th has thus been described : Sept. is.
11 The lino of the canal may be said to have been
our front ; on its h.-mk sonic light mortars were
62 AN ATTACK ON THE LA.HOR GATE FAILS.
book x. posted, to clear the neighbourhood of the Lahor
-L!? ' gate ; while light guns were posted at the main
Se\ 8 t 57 i8 junction of the streets, and sand-bag batteries
erected to prevent the possibility of a surprise."*
The establishment of communications between
the extreme right and left has been already men-
tioned. In the rear everything was our own.
Greathed'a Still all was not couleur de rose. On the morn-
Lahorgate ing of that day an attack on the Lahor gate had
fails ' been directed, and failed. Greathed, who directed
that attack at the head of a column composed of
detachments from the 8th, the 75th, and a Sikh
Regiment, and supported by fifty men of the 1st
Fusiliers, had to advance up a narrow lane lead-
ing into the Ohandni Chdk through a gate at the
end of it. This gate had been closed, and behind
it dwelt the unknown. Greatked had led his men
up the narrow lane, but as he approached the end
leading into the Chandni Chdk the gate was sud-
denly thrown open and displayed to his astonished
gaze a 24-pounder turned on the assailants. This
gun opened suddenly with grape on the column,
whilst simultaneously from the houses on either
flank poured a smart and continuous fire of mus-
ketry. No wonder that the men recoiled. They
were enormously outnumbered, and occupied a
cramped position, which gave no play for
manoeuvring. Greathed drew them back, and,
bringing a 6-pounder to the front, ordered a
charge under cover of the smoke. But all was
in vain. For a moment indeed the hostile gun
* Eight Months' Campaign against the Bengal Sepoys, Bourchier.
ITS EFFECT ON GENERAL WILSON. 63
appeared to be in the possession of our men ; * Book x.
but the oclds were too great, the position too iap
confined; the enemy being thoroughly on the alert, sepTw
surprise had become impossible. No one saw
more clearly than Greathed that the attack on
the Chdk had failed. He therefore gave the order
to retire. The retreat was effected in good order
and without loss, the enemy not venturing to
enter the lane.
The repulse of Greathed's column had filled its lowering
the mind of General Wilson with despair. " We General
are still," he wrote, that same day, " in the same Wllson -
position in which we were yesterday. An attempt
was made this morning to take the Labor gate,
but failed from the refusal of the European sol-
diers to follow their officers. One rush, and it
would have been done easily ; but they would
not make it. The fact is, our men have a great
dislike to street fighting; they do not see their
enemy, and find their comrades falling from
shots of the enemy who are on the tops of houses
and behind cover, and get a panic, and will not
advance. This is very sad and, to me, very dis-
heartening. We can, I think, hold our present
position, but I cannot see my way out at all. I
have now only three thousand one hundred men
(infantry) in the city, with no chance or possi-
bility of any reinforcements. If I were to attempt
to push on into the city, they would be lost in
such innumerable streets and masses of houses,
* Blackwood's Magazine, the article is known to the
:i . l 358. The writer <>i' author.
TAYLOR PUSHES ON WITH THE PICKAXE.
to the Burn
and would be annihilated or driven back." The
reader will remark that, desponding as are these
words, they mark a step in advance of those
uttered on the evening of the 14th. Then,
General "Wilson was inclined to retire to the
ridge to save his army. On the 18th, though
he still doubted of ultimate success, he felt he
could hold his own.
On the 19th action of a different character was
taken. A glance at the plan will show the posi-
tion, previously described, attained on the evening
of the 18th. Immediately in front of our right
was the Burn bastion, no longer supported by
the presence of a strong hostile force in Kishan-
ganj and Taliwari. Now the Burn bastion com-
manded the Labor gate, and with it the Chandni
Chdk ; and, though from our advanced post in
the Bank that important street could be occupied,
it would be difficult to maintain it and to push
on operations against the palace and the Jamma
Mas j id until the remaining strongholds on the
enemy's left should be occupied.
To the clear minds of the Chief Engineer and
of his principal coadjutor, Captain Alexander
Taylor, the requirements of the position were
apparent. With the concurrence, then, of the
former, Captain Taylor obtained from the General
an order to the Brigadier commanding at the
Kabul gate to place at his disposal, for operations
on the following morning, a body of men to work
through the intermediate houses, and thus to
gain the Burn bastion. Whilst this gradual and
necessarily somewhat slow process was being
JONES OCCUPIES THE BURN BASTION; 65
adopted, a column of about five hundred men, book x.
taken from the 8th and 75th and the Sikh regi- J _Ll r
ment, proceeded, under Brigadier William Jones, Se pt 5 i9.
to attack the Lahor gate.
The sapping party, directed by Captain Taylor, Its capture
gradually made their way through the detached Jones.
houses situated between the Kabul gate and the
Burn bastion, annoyed only by a constant mus-
ketry fire maintained by the enemy upon such of
their number as were forced to show themselves.
Making their way, as it were, step by step, they
succeeded, as night fell, in occupying a house
which completely overlooked the Burn bastion.
From this place they were able to pour a com-
manding fire upon the occupants of the latter,
and they did this with so much effect that the
enemy, convinced of the impossibility of holding
it, evacuated it during the night. Brigadier Jones
then pushed forward his men, and found it de-
serted. But his men were in a very unruly con-
dition. Much brandy had fallen into their hands,
and it was difficult to keep them steady.*
The news brought to the General that night The immense
(19th) by Captain Taylor of the capture of the capture.
Burn bastion, could not fail to revive his spirits.
* The men were in a very poisoned they did not suc-
unruly state . . . Much ceed. . . One old soldier,
brandy, beer, and other in- a thirsty soul, taking up a
toxicating liquors were left bottle of brandy, and looking
so exposed by the enemy, at it, said: " Oh no, Sir, the
that it would seem they had capsule is all right — Exshaw
almost briii left about pur- and Co.' — no poison that." —
posely; and though the ofK- Blackwood's Magazine, Janu-
cers endeavoured t<> persuade ary 1858.
their men thai the Liquor was
AND CARRIES THE LAHOR GATE.
Mas j id :
he then in-
to attack the]!
It was an immense gain ; for the possession of
that bastion was the certain key to the capture of
the Lahor gate. So impressed was General Wil-
son with the importance of the conquest that he
sent some officers of his staff to spend the night
in the bastion, and to take measures for its reten-
tion. The precaution, wise though it was, was
not needed. The enemy by this time were
thoroughly cowed, and, far from thinking of re-
covering the place, were hurrying out of the city
as fast as their legs could carry them.
The capture of the Burn bastion was the be-
ginning of the end. Early the following morning
(the 20th) Brigadier Jones's column, pursuing
the advantage of the previous evening, carried
the Lahor gate with a rush ; the Garstin bastion
fell also to their prowess. The Brigadier then
received instructions to divide his force, and,
whilst detaching one portion up the Chandni
Chdk to occupy the Jamma Masjid, to proceed
with the remainder towards the Ajmir gate. The
opportune arrival of Major Brind and his artillery
caused the Brigadier to confide to him the com-
mand of the first portion. Brind, having under
his orders, in addition to his own men, the 8th
Regiment and the 1st Fusiliers, marched at once
to the Jamma Masjid, and carried it without
difficulty. He had no sooner occupied it than he
perceived that the one thing wanting to assure
the complete capture of the city was to assault
the palace, promptly and without delay. He,
therefore, on the spot, wrote a pencil note to
the General reporting his success, and urging
THE PALACE IS CAPTUEED. 67
him to an immediate attack on the royal resi- book x.
dence. Ch !£!l r L
Meanwhile Jones had penetrated to the Ajmir Se 18 t 57 20
gate. Almost simultaneously the main body of Completion of
the cavalry, going round by the Idgar, found the tioVSfthe"
camp of the mutineers outside Dehli evacuated, s ate -
and secured the clothing, ammunition, and plunder
left by the rebels in the precipitation of their flight.
Greneral Wilson responded to Brind's note by wnson sends
ordering the advance of the column at the maga- against the
zine to attack the palace. The decreasing fire v alace '
from the battlements of the residence, famous in
history, famous in romance, of the descendants
of Babar, had made it abundantly clear that the
last representative of the family which had for
so long ruled in Hindustan had, with his family
and attendants, sought refuge in flight. When
the British troops (the 60th Rifles), pressing
forward, reached the walls, a few fanatics alone
remained behind, not to line them, for their num-
bers were too few, but, careless of life, to show
to the very last their hatred of the foe they had
so long defied. Powder-bags were promptly which is cap-
brought up, the gates were blown in, and our
troops entered, and hoisted the British flag. The
Se"limgarh fort had been occupied even a little
earlier. Its capture was effected in a manner
which demands a separate notice.
me short time before the assault on the palace
gate, Lieutenant Aikman, with a small party of
Wilde's Sikhs, had been directed to feel his way to
the Left. Aikman, the most daring and intrepid Aikman oa P -
of men, knew the ground thoroughly; and having s"i'im K Hii,.
68 SPLENDID DARING OF AlKMAN.
Book x. received, as lie imagined, permission to act on
Chapter . -^ Q ^ n judgment, he resolved to effect an
o 18 . 57 on entrance into the Selimgarh from the rear, and
Sept. 20. °
hold the enemy as in a trap. Accordingly he
doubled round to the Calcutta gate, forced it
open, and pushed on to the Selimgarh. The few
men in that fort fled on his appearance, and es-
caped across the river. Aikman's attention was
then turned to the gateway at the narrow passage
from the Selimgarh into the rear of the palace.
This passage connected the rear gate of the palace
with an arched gate over the fort, over which was
a parapet. Were he able to gain possession of
this he could stop the escape of multitudes till
the storming party should reach them from the
front. Thus thinking, he acted without hesita-
tion, shot the sentry at the gate opening on to
the drawbridge leading into the rear of the
palace, and placed his men in the best position
to defend it. He then, with the assistance of
the Sergeant -Major of Renny's troop or bat-
tery, set to work to spike the heavy guns
directed against the Water bastion. He was
in possession of the gate and drawbridge when
the gates of the palace were blown in. The
rush of the fugitives was not so great as had
been anticipated, so extensive had been the flight
on the two preceding days. But some at least
were kept back. A more gallant or well-thought-
out act was not performed even during that
* Official report of Major Wilde, commanding 4th Sikh
DEHLI AFTER THE CAPTURE. 69
In the afternoon of the same day General Wil- Book x.
son, having given directions for the establishment !Ll r
of posts at the various gateways and bastions, g e 18 t 57 jJo
took up his quarters in the imperial palace.
The appearance of Dehli after the capture of Appearance
the palace, the Selimgarh, and the Jamma Mas- the captured
jid had placed it in the hands of the British,
has thus been graphically described by a gallant
officer who took part in the assault and in the
" The demon of destruction," writes Colonel
Bourchier, " seemed to have enjoyed a perfect
revel. The houses in the neighbourhood of the
Mori and Kashmir bastions were a mass of ruins,
the walls near the breaches were cracked in every
direction, while the church was completely riddled
by shot and shell. ... In the Water bastion
the destruction was still more striking. Huge
siege-guns, with their carriages, lay about seem-
ingly like playthings in a child's nursery. The
palace had evidently been hastily abandoned. The
tents of Captain de Teissier's battery, stationed
at Dehli when the mutiny broke out, were left
standing, and contained plunder of all sorts.
The apartments inhabited by the royal family
combined a most incongruous array of tawdry
splendour with the most abject poverty and filth.
The apartments over the palace gate, formerly
inhabited by Captain Douglas, who commanded
the palace guards, and Mr. Jennings the clergy-
* Eight Months 1 Campaign Colonel George Bourchier,
against the Bengal Sepoys, by C.B., ll.A.
70 THE KING OF DEHLI
Book x. man, were denuded of every trace of the unfor-
J !Ll r tunate party which had inhabited its walls, and
SepT 7 20 W ^ n wnom J n °t many months before, I had spent
a happy week. It was with a sad and heavy
heart that I paced its now empty rooms, which
could tell such terrible tales of the scenes there
Dehli was now virtually our own. But though
the strong places had been occupied by our troops
thousands of the mutineers were still in the vi-
cinity, armed, and ready to take advantage of any
slackness of discipline. The very relief of guards
and batteries was still a matter of danger and
difficulty, nor did the event of the following day,
which deprived the rebels of their nominal leader,
lessen in any material degree the magnitude of
The King of The King of Dehli, his family, and his personal
adherents had shown themselves as easily de-
pressed by adversity as they had been cruel and
remorseless when Fortune had seemed, in the
early days of the revolt, to smile upon them.
Sept. 14. The result of the events of the 14th September
had produced upon the mind of the King effects
precisely similar to those which had, for the
moment, mastered the cooler judgment of the
British commander. We have seen that General
Wilson, surveying his position on the evening of
the 14th, declared that a prompt retreat to his
original position could alone save the army.
Baird Smith and Neville Chamberlain forced him,
so to speak, to remain. On the other side, the
King and his advisers, deeply impressed by the
IS UEGED TO FLEE WITH THE ARMY. 71
successful storm of the assailants, and not con- Book x.
sidering that success outweighed, or even balanced, u ap er
by the repulse of the first and fourth columns, se?^
rapidly arrived at the conclusion that, unless the
British should retire, the game was up. There
was no Baird Smith at the right hand of the
King to point out to him how many chances yet
remained in his favour if he would but profitably
employ the small hours of the night ; no Neville
Chamberlain to urge him, above all things, to Sept. 15.
dare. When the morning of the 15th dawned, Thepersist-
. ence of the
and the British were seen to have retained their British de-
positions, to be making preparations for a further adherents e f
advance, the hearts of the King and his advisers the Kin s-
fell, and they began even then to discount the
Still, as long as the Selimgarh, the palace, the
Jamma Masjid, and the Labor gate were held, no
active measures for retreat were taken. But Sept. 19.
when, on the night of the 19th, the Burn bastion, Their success
' D completes the
virtually commanding the Labor gate and the despondency.
Chandni Chok, was captured, the thought that
had been uppermost in every heart found expres-
sion. That thought was flight.
The commander-in-chief of the rebel army, Bakht Khan
the Bakht Khan, whom we have seen exercising King 8 to ac-
so strong an influence at Bareli,* evacuated the ^Jf^ 6
city that night, taking with him all the fighting flight.
men upon whom he could depend. Ways of
egress, that by the bridge of boats, and those by
the Khairati and Dehli gates were still open to
* Vol. i., page 303, note.
THE KING VACILLATES.
them; and of these they availed themselves.
Bakht Khan exerted all his eloquence to induce
the King to accompany him. He represented to
him that all was not lost, that though the Eng-
lish had gained their stronghold the open country
was before them, and that, under the shadow of
his name and presence, it would be still possible
to continue the war, always with a chance of
Had Bahadur Khan possessed a spark of the
persistent nature or the vigorous energy of his
ancestors, of Babar, of Huinayun, or of Akbar,
that appeal had not been made in vain. But he
was an old man — one of that class of old men
who have exhausted youth in their teens, and who
become, with increasing years, more and more
nerveless and irresolute. It is probable that
throughout the mutiny the King had been a
mere puppet in the hands of others. Whilst the
siege lasted the chiefs of the army had sustained
their power over him by promises of ultimate
victory. But with impending defeat their in-
fluence vanished ; and the old King, acted upon
by events, was in the humour to fall under any
spell which might seem to promise him immunity
for his misdeeds.
Such a spell was at hand. Of all the nobles
about him the wiliest was Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh,
whose daughter was the widow of the eldest son
of the King. It is probable that in the early
days of the mutiny the counsels of Ilahi Bakhsh
had been strongly in favour of vigorous action.
But he had a keen eye for probabilities. The
FALLS UNDER REACTIONARY INFLUENCE. 73
events of the 14th and 15th September had read Book x.
to him no doubtful lesson. He foresaw the
triumph of the English — a triumph fraught with
ruin to himself and his family unless he could
turn to account the few days that must still
He did turn them to account. Having made He moulds
all his plans, he listened, without speaking, to his purpose.
the eloquent pleadings made to the King by the
commander-in-chief, Bakht Khan. When all
was over, and when Bakht had departed with a
promise from the King that he would meet him
the following day at the tomb of Humayun,
Ilahi Bakhsh persuaded the Moghol sovereign to
accompany him to his house for the night.
Having brought him there, he moulded him to
his purpose. He pointed out to him the hard-
ships which would follow his accompanying the
army, assured him of its certain defeat, and then,
showing the other side of the shield, indicated
that a prompt severance of his cause from the
cause of the Sepoys would induce the victorious
English to believe that, up to that moment, he
had acted under compulsion, and that he had
seized the first opportunity to sever himself from
These arguments, urged with great force upon
one whose brain power, never very strong, was sept. 20.
waning, had their effect. When, next day, the The King
King of Dehli, his zenana, his sons, and his nobles, accompany
met the rebel commander-in-chief at the tomb of tlu ' ;in ". v -
Humayun, lie and they declined to accompany
1 1 1 1 1 j . Rather than undergo the fatigues, the
INTEIGUES OP MIEZA ILAHI BAKHSH.
of Mirza Ilahi
cated to Cap
perils, the uncertainties attendant on the pro-
longation of a contest which they had encouraged,
they deliberately preferred to trust to the tender
mercies of the conqueror. What those tender
mercies were likely to be did. not seem to trouble
much the degenerate Moghols. They promised, at
all events, a quick decision — a decision preferable
to the agony of suspense.
Bakht Khan and the rebel army, then, went
their way, leaving behind the royal family and a
numerous crowd of emasculated followers, the
scum of the palace, men born never to rise above
the calling of a flatterer or a scullion. So far had
the plans of Mirza Ilahi Bakhsh succeeded. The
next step was more difficult. It involved the
betrayal of his master.
Difficult, it was not insurmountable. Chief of
the native agents maintained by the English to
obtain correct information regarding the move-
ments of the enemy during the siege, was
Munshi Rajab Ali, a man possessing wonderful
tact, cleverness, assurance, courage — all the quali-
ties which go to make up a spy of the highest order.
He possessed to the full the confidence of the
English administrators, and he was true to his
employers. With this man Ilahi Bakhsh opened
communications. Rajab Ali requested him simply
to detain the royal family for twenty-four hours
after the departure of the rebel army, at the
tomb of Humayun, and to leave the rest to him.
Rajab Ali communicated the information he
had received to Hodson of Hodson's Horse ; Hod-
son at once rode down to the General's head-
HODSON of hodson's hoese. 75
quarters, communicated the news, and requested Book x.
. . , • i i • pi- Chapter I.
permission to take with him a party ot nis men
to bring in the King*. "With some reluctance — Sep? 20.
for he knew Hodson's nature — General Wilson ac-
corded the permission, but solely on the condition
that the King should be exposed to neither injury
nor insult. Hodson, taking fifty of his troopers
with him, galloped down towards the tomb.
"Who was Hodson ? Some men are born in Hodson.
advance of their age, others too late for it. Of
the latter class was Hodson. Daring, courting
danger, reckless and unscrupulous, he was a con-
dottiere of the hills, a free-lance of the Middle
Ages. He joyed in the life of camps, and revelled
in the clang; of arms. His music was the call of
the trumpet, the battle-field his ball-room. He
would have been at home in the camp of Wal-
lenstein, in the sack of Magdeburg. In him
human suffering awoke no feeling, the shedding
of blood caused him no pang, the taking of life
brought him no remorse. The certaminis gaudia
did not entirely satisfy his longings. Those joys
were but preludes to the inevitable consequences
— the slaughter of the fugitives, the spoils of the
Hodson rode off, full of excitement, towards the Hodson rides
tomb of Humayun. As he approached that time- the C K J in U g. e
honoured structure he slackened his pace, and
making way cautiously to some ruined buildings
near the gateway, posted his men under their
shade. Having takes every precaution, he then
sent to announce to the King his arrival, and to
invite him to surrender.