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The East India military calendar: containing the services of ..., Volume 1 online

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out the most proper ground for encampm^ts, and in providing for
the supplies of an army, is well known to those officers who served
with the aitny in the field under Gen. Stuart in 1803- I shall now
b^ leave to conclude, by assuring your Exc, that Capt. B. has been

h So denomiiiated with reference to the operatioiis of .die Bengd army then carrying on
in NepaaL

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iiidalwiigable iu iottniotiiig tbs Native guides in the principles bf
geometry and smrvejiiig ; and he has brought that corps to a degree
of per&btioQ in ikxip duties whic];i was rierer before equalled.

. . (Signed)!.' ." Alexia ndbr Orji, Quart.-Mast.-Geh.

" Fart St George, Jug. 8, 1806."

Extract from a Minute of the Commander-in-Chief, 6th July 1812. •

" Nor can I conclude this paragraph without recording my entire
approbation of the zeal, ability, and general information, which prove
the judicious selection of Lieut. -Col. Blacker for die office of
quart.. mast. -gen. of the army, which he fills to my entire satisfaction,
and with every advantage to the public services.

(Signed) " S. Auchmuty, Lieut.-Gen.

Extract from the Minute, Nov. 22, 1814.

" I shall only trouble the government with one more enclosure, re-
lating to the subject of this minute, — it is an extract from a secret
minute of Lieut-Gen. Hewitt, dated 27th Aug. 1810, and refers in
tiie strongest terms of approbation to the conduct of Lieut.-Cols. Con-
way and Blacker. These officers have continued, since the date of
Gen. Hewitt's minute, to evince the same qualifications which, at that
period, so deservedly gained them his praise ; they have invariably
received the thanks of every general officer who has commanded the
coast army since their appointments to their present offices ; and I have
sincere gratification in adding, that since that honour has been con-
ferred upon myself, I have had the greatest reason to think myself for-
tunate in having such able end zealous assistants at the heads of the
military departments as Lieut.-Cols. Conway, Blacker, and Morison.

(Signed) " J. Hislop, Lieut.-Gen.''

Extract from Gen. Hezatt'^ secret MintOe^ Aug. 27, 1810.
*^ The evil of appointing officers deficient ih rank, however emi-
nently qualified by talent for these appointments, I have already-
noticed ; but I hope it will not be supposed that. I am casting the

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slighest reflection ou the deseiring officers now hewing the appoint-
ments of adj.-gen. and quart.-maBt-gen., who, thoi^h but permanently
captains, are yeU in zeal and talent, every way qualified to discharge
the duties intrusted to them, with credit to themselves and benefit to
the service; and I have therefore nothing further from my contem-
plation than the recommendation of any regulation which shall
affect them or their deputies.

(Signed) " H. Scott, MiUSec.*'

Extract from a Minute of the Com.^m-Chief Nov. 22, 1814.

^* Lieut-CoL Blacker is an officer of much experience in this
country, having arrived at Madras in the year 1798* I am not aware
that an officer better adapted than Lieut-CoL Blacker for the situa*
tion of quart-mast.-*gen. can be found in this army ; not one, cer-
tainly, who combines the same measure of professional science, with
a correct, conscientious, and able system of conducting the complete
details of which his department is composed.

(Signed) « T. Hislop, Lieut-Gen/'

Extract from a Letter to the Marquess of Hastings^ Gov.-Gen* and
Com.4n42huf^ from Ueut.-^Gen. Sir T. Hishp^ Com.-in-Cfnef of the
army of the Deccan^ dated Camp on the Soopra^ opposite Mehidpoor^
Dec. 23, 1817.

" To Lieut.-Col. Blacker, quart.-mast.-gen. of the army, I feel it
also particularly incumbent on me to express my best thanks, for
the great aid I have received from him, not only through his per-
sonal exertions on the field of battle, but for the judicious reconnois-
sances made by him during our march, and before we engaged, by
which I obtained die clearest information respecting the ford at
which I subsequently crossed the Soopra; and the nature of the ground
occupied by ibe enemy, by which I was enabled to make my disposi-
tions for attacking them.

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Extracts from a Letter to the Marquess of Hastings^ from Ueut.-Gen.
Sir T. Hislop, Camp at Talneir, Feb. 28, 1818.
^^ On this I directed a reconnoissance to be made by the Quart-
Mast.-Gen., Lieut.-Col. filacker, and the officers of engineersy with a
company of light inf., the deep ravines round the place preventing its
accessibility on this service by the cav. picquets/' — " A second recon-
noissance having been made by Lieut.-CoL Blacker, who advanced
to the outer gate for that purpose, I determined upon storming it, in
the hope tliat, at all events, a lodgment might be made within/'

Extract of General Orders by the Com.-in-Chief Head-Quarters of the
DeccaHj Camp near Talneirj Feb. 28, 1818.
'^ The judicious and accurate reconnoissances made by Lieut.-C<4.
Blacker, Quart.-Mast-Gen. of the army, and the ability and gallantry
of that officer in conducting the important arrangements of his de-
partment during the operations of yesterday, were such also as to en-
title him to his £xc.*s warmest thanks and acknowledgements/'

(Bengal Establishment.)

In 1798 thb officer went out to India as a cadet, and landing in Cal-
cutta the beginning of Dec. 1800, was promoted to ensign in the
18th N. I. Sept 28, 1799 ; and to lieut 28th Oct following^ He
joined the 2d batt- of the reg* in quarters at Dinapoor in May 180¥ r
and in Nov. following marched with it* as part of the escort of the

* The iSth and 19th regs. were formed from the volanteers that had served with such
distinction in the last Mysore war, and at the taking of Seringapatam ; and this partieobr
battalion was selected by Lord Wellesley for the duty, on account of its high character and
state of discipline.

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Capt.-Gen. and Com.-in-Chief, Lord Wellesley, on his tour through
the upper provinces in 1801*2-

The Mahratta war, which broke out in. 1803, calling nearly the
whole pf the Bengal army into the fidd, this officer's corps formed
part of a/detacfament, cooinianded by Lieut.-CoL (now Lieutf-Gen.)
Powell, destined for the conquest of the province of Bundlecund, and
la cover. the. operations of the grand army, omder Gen. Lake; on
i^hich occasion, the adj* of the corps being temporally removed to a
superior stdff situation in the detachment, Lieut. Fagan, although a
very young officer, was selected by his commandant to officiate for
him. He was present in the action with the enemy on the 12th Oct.
1803, and at the reduction immediately afterwards of many strong
forls in that province. In Dec following the corps, with another, was
detached to aid a division of the grand army, under the lateMaj.-Geii.
Sir H- White, in the redoction of Gualior ; in which arduous and in-
teresting service 'be was appointed to^ctasan engineer. After the
fall of that celebrated,' and heretofore deemed impregnable fortress, he
returned with the corps to his former detachment, the command of
which, through the ill health of Col. Powell, and the death of his suc-
cessor, Lieut-Col. Pothill, had devolved on the present Maj.-Gen. W.
D- Fawcett.

The irruption of a large Mahratta army into Bundlecund, under
Ameer Khan, took place at this period. May 1804, and was the
precursor of proceedings memorable for the judicial investigations
they gave rise to ; but far more so for the dreadful hardships, sick-
ness, and mortality, to which the troops were subjected, and which
will be long remembered by the survivors of that ill-fated detach-
ment*. During the whole of the scenes here alluded to, this officer
was "present, on one occasion escaping most narrowly from falling
into the hands of the enemy.

* It was the hottest seasdn remembered for many years in India : biiicers and men fell
daily, victims to heat and fatigue ; and on the march to Kimchor Ghaut, on the Batwa
river, ^8th May, although partly effected at night, vast numbers of the troops and camp-
followers perished from the want of water.

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Lieut-Col. (iK)w'Maj.-Gen. Sir 64) M^tmdell was nominated to
the command of the detachment; and .as soon as the state and re-
equipment of the troop6 p^mitted, he advanced to clear the province
of the enemy. On the 2d of July this officer \ras present when Lieut.
CoL M., with a select part of his- force, attacked and routed a large
body in tlieir camp and formidable positiorfe on the hills near Pass-
warree; and on die 28lh of the same month, having had the adjutantcy
of his batt. conferred on him . by Lord Lake a few days before, he
was severely wounded in an attempt to carry, by a coup-de-mam^ the
strong hill-fort of Saitpoor. Obeof four attacking columns, composed of
the batt. companies of his corps, was ordered to force, by blowing
open^ the gates ; and from particular circumstances, it fell to the lot
of this oflScer to have the honoiir of rallying arid leading the head of it
in five or six different attempts on tlic main gate, close to which, from
being exposed to the enfilade of some works in the rear, guns over the
gateway, l^esides the mUsquelry from the whole garrison from all
around, (after the failure of the other columns,) the entire front was
at one time knocked down. After a month's siege, ho>vever, the
place capitulated ; but such service among hills in that climate and
season^ the periodical rains, was not to be carried on without severe
sufferings, and accordingly on the day Saitpoor fell, a dreadful fever
broke out among the troops, which, in its etfbcts and consequences.
Was far more fatal than any thing before experienced ; scarcely an
officer or man escaped, Lient. Fagan was attacked by it when just
beginning to recover from his wound, and was one of two or three of
his brother-officers given over by the surgeons at the same time.

The detachment returned to Culpee*, on the banks of the Jumna,
and after a halt of two months, during which it was considerably rein«
forced and recruited, it was called to aid in the operations of the war

* On its arrival, fhere were only three officers, with a few men, around the colours of
both batts. of the 18th reg. ; the remainder were all in hospital, and casualties were hourly
occurring.. The other corps was nearly in the same state. The contagion quickly spread
through the whole force; and the province altogether, from its unhealthiness at this
period^ was styled by the Europeans the '* St. Domingo of the East.''

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388 THfi fiAST INDIA

against Holkar, which had broken out ; as also to watch the move-
ments of Dowlat Rao Scindia, who, in a suspicious manner, approached
the grand army, then engaged in the siege of Burtpoor. Afler march-
ing twice towards that celebrated fortress, and as often counter-
marching, according to the movements of that prince, the force halted
in his vicinity ; and the Com.-in-Chief, who, in the meantime, had
concluded a treaty with the Burtpoor Rajah, effected a junction with
it, upon which Dowlat Rao rapidly moved to the Deccan.

This officer had now attained the capt-lieutenantcy of his reg., and
he is, we believe, the £rst officer on the Bengal establishment who ar-
rived at that rank within so short a period*^-

Until May 1806 Capt. Fagan served with his corps in the same
detachment, occasionally exercising the command of the former in
the absence of the senior officers. The rains of this year were also
passed under canvass at Jhansi, on the southern frontier of the pro-
vince, and the season was nearly as fatal as the preceding one, from
the general sickness and mortality that |H*evailed ; added to which,
officers and men suffered the greatest distress and privations from the
circumstance of their being nine months in arrears.

The war with the Mahratta states was however now brought to a
close, and Capt, Fagan obtained his first leave of absence to re-
establish his healths At the end of six months he rejoined his batt,
then relieved and in cantonments across the Ganges. To fill up its
ranks, and restore its drill and discipline, (for he still held the ad-
jutantcy,) became the duty of this officer, and he performed it to
the entire satisfaction (as repeatedly acknowledged) of his command-
ing-officer. His promotion to a company, in 1808, deprived him of
this situation. In Sept. 1809 the Com.-in-Chief, Lieut.-Gen* Hewitl,
conferred on this officer the fort4u)jutantcy and barrack-mastership
of Chunar. His successor. Sir G. Nugent, removed him to the more
important post of principal agent for army clothing, and he succeeded
to a majority in his reg. in Oct. 1815.

* In the Hon. Company's army the officers rise by gradation to the rank of major in
regiments or corps, and afterwards in a general list of field-officers of each branch re-

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The removal of Maj. Fagan, by his slafF appointmenl; from tK^
regimental duties of his profession, did not prevent his being ac-
tively employed;—- on the increase of the Bengal army, in 1814, he was
selected to join two baits, of inf., one for local, the other for general
service; this last, numbered the 1st batt. 29th*, was entirely dis-
ciplined by him, and he performed the duty so much to the satis-1
faction of Lord Hastings, whose head-quarters happened to be at the
same station that year, that he was appointed, in 1817) to raise and
discipline an infantry levy for the general service of the army. The
22d Sept. 1821 he obtained the rank of lieut.-col.


(Madras Establishment.)

At the close of 1789 this officer obtained a cadetship on the Madras
establishment, and early in 1790 embarked for the East Indies; his
first commission was dated 22d May of that year. He was stationed
in garrison at Velore till 1791 > when he joined a small party of
Sepoys, under Lieuts. Mapother and Irion, detached against the irre-
gular troops of Mysore, (who at that time infested and over-ran the
Carnatic, even to the very gates of Madras,) and in Nov. of the same
year he ascended the Ghauts with Col. Floyd's detachment, proceed-
ing to join his new corps, the 10th batt., then serving in the grand
army under Lord Cornwallis.

In Nov. 1792 he was promoted lieut., and removed to the 24lh
batt., with which corps he was present at the siege of Pondicherry,
in July and Aug. 1793. In 1794 he was removed to the 9th batt.

^ The Marquess of Hastiogs presented their colours to this corps ; its UDiforni, and
the dress of the European officers, are those of his lordship's regiment in the British ser-
vice. It is also designated the ^^ Moira«ka-Pdlton/' or Moira'g Battalion.


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In the ^nd of 1795, and beginniog of 1796, he was present at the
capture of Ceylon ; aijid remained on that island for three years, as
dep. paj-master and fort^jut. of Point de Galle. In Jan. 1799
he was removed to Masulipatam, as fort-adjut. and dep. post-master;
on the 10th Dec. following he was promoted to capt-lieut., and ap-
pointed adjut. and quart^^mast. of the 3d N- I., when joining the
southern field d^achment in the Tinnevelly district, he became quart.-
mast, to that force.

Early in 1801, several Poligars, (of whom those of Pimgalumr
coopchy and Murdoo were chief^ havipg thrown off the Company^s
yoke, this detachment was actively employed for eight. months against
20,000 of the best and bravest soldiers in the East, and had actually
one-third of its numbers icilted and wounded on that service, in-
cluding the two storms of Pimgalumcoorchy, &c. ; during which
period, though a staff-officer, Capt. Welsh was constantly personally
engaged, either at the head of the flank or batt. companies of the
1st batt. 3d reg., or as a volunteer with other corps. On one occa-
sion he was with a small party of native cavalry, which charged a
body of pike and matchlock men of five times its own number, and
the en^my, standing firm to receive it, were not dispersed and ulti-
mately cut up without considerable loss, and extraordinary exer-
tions of the assailants, among whom their gallant leader was piked
through the lungs.

. In 1803 Capt. W. vas present with his corps during the whole
Mahratta campaign, and personally engaged on the following occa-
sions :-r-Storming the pettah of Ahmednugger ; battle of Argaum ;
siege and assault of Gawilghur; and a volunteer with Maj.-Gen.
Wellesley in the affair at Mahkerseer, (after a march of fifty-four
miles). In 1804, when judge advocate and assistant surveyor to the
Poonah subsidiary force in the field, Capt. W. commanded a party
of 300 men, under Maj. James Campbell, of H. M/s 94*h reg., at the
storming of the outworks of the hill-fort of Chandore ; he took pos-
session of the hSIl-fort of Dhoorp, commanded a select party of Euro-
pean and Native light inf.» at the storming of the pettah and out-

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works of the hill-fort of Gallnah ; was appointed a prize agent, (but
the captured property was never given up to the army) ; and after-
wards, at the head of a small body of cavalry and infiefntry, opened a
communication between the army and Surat, through a cpuntry hi-
therto unknown, invested by Bheels (mountaineers armed with bows
and arrows), and over a ghaut and jungle of thirty miles in extent/
On this service Capt* W. caught a malignant fever, which several
times reduced him to the brink of the grave, and which continued to
oppress him for ten subsequent years.

In 1805 Capt. W. commanded his corps in the field, and also con*
tinned to perform the duties of his staff situation. E^rly in 1806 he
resigned the jtidge-advocateship, and returned with his corps to the
Carnatic ; was promoted to major ; and on the 19th Nov., when com-^
manding Palamcotta, discovered a plot to murder all the Europeans^
civil and military, at the station ; and at the moment when his men
(who were nearly related to many, and intimately connected with all
the mutineers of Velore) were assembling at the barrack, with arms in
their hands (suspecting the knowledge he had obtained), he collected
his six European officers, and dashed into the barracks, seized the
ringleaders (disarming one of them, a Native officer, with his own
hand, while loading a musket), and secured the arms of the corps.

In the middle of 1807 Major W. proceeded from Bengal to Eng-
land on sick certificate, distress of mind having increased his com-
plaint to such a degree as to render it absolutely necessary, to save
his life. Returning early in 1809 to Madras, he fiound that the
corps to which he then stood appointed wni taking the field; he set
out post, and reached the force under Col. the Hon. A. Sentleger on
the 6th Feb. ; took the command of the 2nd batt. 3d reg. (five com-
panies of the 1st batt. being also present), and was immediately de-
tached about two miles in advance, to watch the enemy's motions,
the force being encamped about five miles outside of the Travancore
lines ; here, on the 9th Feb., when no battering guns were within 200
miles, and a small subsidiary force in the interior was known to be
surrounded, and in danger of being destroyed, by a whole population

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in arms, he volunteered his services, and planned an attack upon a
fortified hill, which flanked and commanded the strong lines of Aram-
bpolee, mounting fiftj-two pieces of cannon, and defended bj 9 or
10,000 men. The storming party, consisting of a few pioneers, with
scaling ladders, a few European artillerymen, 150 men of his H. M/s
69th reg., and nine companies selected from both batts. of the 3d
Native reg., under twenty-five oflScers, assembled at his post, in ad-
vance, at 8 o^clock P. M. : he explained his plans to all the officers^
and then set forward on an expedition, which appeared so rash even
to those whom he was leading, that ere they had proceeded fer he
formed a forlorn hope of volunteer Europeans, and headed it himself.
The night was extremely dark, and, though the total distance was
within three miles, it took eight hours and a half to reach the works at
the summit of the hill, scrambling through very thick jungles, into
deep ravines, and over rugged rocks.

At balf-past four A. M. the 10th Feb., Maj. W. found himself and
Lieut. Bertram of the pioneers, with the forlorn hope alone, at the
foot of a stone wall twelve feet high, having been directed to it by the
enemy's patroles, who had just passed by with numerous lights ; this
was the moment for decision : he seized it, and with twenty resolute
followers entered the place, climbing upon one another's shoulders, &c. :
nearly at the same time the head of the storming party reached a part
of the wall about 200 yards lower down ; the ladders were applied,
and the whole works carried before daylight, under a very heavy
fire of cannon and musquetry, but which did hltle execution.

Major W. was publicly thanked in detachment and general orders,
and the works named after him (though subsequently destroyed).
The surviving officers of the storming party presented him with an
address and piece of plate, on which is inscribed their admiration of his
conduct. He was chosen a prize agent, but the appointment was after-
wards annulled by government, and hopes were held out to him from
head-quarters of more substantial benefits- In April 1812, when sta-
tioned at Seringapatam, in command of his old corps (the 1st bait. 3d
reg.), he was detached in command of a flank corps, formed of Euro-

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peans and Natives, to quell a rebellion in Wynaad, and relieve the
post of Mananloddy, besieged by the insurgents ; this service was ef-
fected on his part by one march of 48 miles, and several of 20 and
30 per diem, through the deepest jungle ; the insurgents were attacked
and dispersed in all directions, and tranquillity restored within the
month. On this occasion he received the thanks of Maj.-Gen.
Wetherall, commanding the division, and of government through him,
and Col. Webber, the senior officer, who had entered Wynaad from
the opposite coast. The 20th Feb. 1813 he obtained the rank of lieut«-
col., and was subsequently appointed dep. judg.-adv. at Bangalore.


(Bengal Establishment.)

This officer entered the service of the East India Company, as a
cadet in the 19th reg. of N. I-, in 1794 ; was promoted to ensign in
1795; lieut., in 1796; capt, in Feb, 1804; maj., 2ad Feb. 1811 j
and lieut-col, 14th July 1815. He was appointed in 1800 adj. to
his bait. ; which situation he voluntarily relinquished, to proceed with
the expedition to Egypt in 1801, when he was appointed, by Gen. Sir
D« Baird, agent for transports on the Nile, — a situation which he filled
in such manner as to obtain him the most honourable recommenda-
tion from the Gen- to the Supreme government. ^ He was subsequently
nominated dep. judge-ad v.-gen. on the junction of the Indian with
the British army at Alexandria. From Egypt he obtained a year's
furlough to England ; and in Dec. 1803 was again in India, serving
with his corps; with which he continued till Sept 1810, when he re-
linquished the command of the batt., a post of advantage as well as
honour, in order to proceed, as a volunteer, on the expedition against
the French islands. After the conquest of the Mauritius, he solicited

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and obtained Maj-Gen. Abercromby's permission to return to Ben-
gal, to resume the command of his corps. On his arrival at Calcutta
in Feb. 1811, the Gov-Gen., in concurrence with the Com.-in-Chief,
Sir G. Hewitt, appointed him dep.-judge-adv.-gen. ; this appoint-
ment he lost on his promotion to a majority, through the operation
of a rule which restricts that appointment to officers under the rank
of maj. ; on this change he rejoined his corps, and obtained the com-
mand of it, as well as of the military station of Lucknow.

In Oct. 1812, when Sir G. Nugent visited that post on his tour of
inspection of the army, he reviewed the troops stationed there under
Maj. F.'s command, and on that occasion issued the following general
orders : —

" Head Quarters^ Lucknow^ l6th Oct. 1813.

" The review in brigade this morning of the 2d batt. Ipth and

Online LibraryJohn PhilippartThe East India military calendar: containing the services of ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 29 of 45)