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" Fort St. George, Nov. 7, 1800.
" I have had the honour of receiving your letter of the 13th ult. with
its enclosures, and am directed to express to you the satisfaction of the
Right Hon. the Gov. in Council at the conduct of Maj. Holmes, and of
the troops under his command, in the last relief of the post of Montana."

The Hon. Colonel Wellesley to the Hon. the Gov. in Council of Bombay,

(referred to above. J

" Camp, 10 miles south of Kopal, Nov. 15, 1800.
" Sir, — As I understand from Col. Sartorious that Maj. Holmes is about
to leave Malabar, and to join his corps at Surat, 1 take this opportunity
of expressing to you my high sense of the service which he has rendered
to the public during the time that he has commanded the troops in the
Cotiote districts. I have already taken an opportunity of mentioning, in
favourable terms, his services to the government of Fort St. George ;

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but, as Major Holmes is about to be more immediately under your or-
ders, I take the liberty of recommending him to your favourable notice.

(Signed) " Arthur Wbllbslby."

The Adjui.'Generat of the Bombay Army to Colonel Sartorious^ commanding

the troops in Malabar.

*♦ Sir, — In reply to that paragraph of your letter of the 24th ult. on
the subject of the zealous and active services of Maj. Holmes, which has
been laid before government, I am directed, by the commanding-oflfe^r of
the forces, to acquaint you that he embraces the earliest opportunity of
sigfnifying to that officer, together with his own, the very high sense
which the Hon. the Gov. in Council entertains of Maj. Holmes's meri-
torious and gallant exertions in the arduous duties which he had to per-
form in the present Cotiote service, as well as of the conduct and perse-
vering bravery of the officers and men who composed the detachment un-
der his command, in the different operations which he was called on to
execute -, a declaration of well-earned praise, which the commanding-
officer of the forces experiences great pleasure that it has fallen to his lot
to communicate.

'' The above you will be pleased to promulgate in such a way, as may
make more generally known to the troops under your command, this public
testimony of the merits of Maj. Holmes, and of the officers and men who
lately served under him in the districts of Cotiote.

(Signed) ** Robert Gordon, Adj.-Gen."

In 1801 and 1802, Maj, Holmes was employed under Gen, Sir
D. Baird in Egypt, in command of the 2d batt. 1st N. I. Few or
no opportunities occurred in that quarter for the Indian army to
achieve any field laurels. The corps of Maj. Holmes, who was never
an hour absent from it, was always in the most efficient state.

Immediately after the expulsion of the French from Egypt, and
the return thence of the Indian army, Maj. Holmes' corps was sent
into Guzerat. Our recent acquisitions in that quarter demanded very
active military measures ; and a series of very energetic service has
almost ever since, that is, from 1802, been displayed on that belli-

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gerent arena. In that year, among other smart affairs, Maj. Holmes
was present at the siege of Baroda. The following order was issued
by the officer commanding the field force iii Guzerat : —

" Field Morning Orders^ Baroda, Dec. 27, 1802.
" Whilst Lieut.-Col. Woodington laments the loss of the gallant men
who fell before Baroda, he congratulates the troops on the successful
termination of hostilities, by compelling our enemies to evacuate the fDrt
of Baroda, and accept the terms prescribed to them by government. He
entreats the officers and men to accept his unfeigned thanks for the ready
and willing support which he has received from them j and although the
enemy gave the army in general but few opportunities of distinguishing
themselves, still they did not fail to avail themselves of such as offered;
as was instanced in the attack and defeat of a considerable body of Arabs
by H. M.'s 86th reg. under Capt. Semple, on the 22d inst. ; and also of
Maj. Holmes, who, with bis batt., repelled an attack of double his number,
of Arabs, on the same day."

In 1803, Maj. Holmes commanded a field force operating against
a rebellious member of the Guicawar government, and distinguished
himself greatly on many occasions. The following are among the
public testimonies of his services at this period : —

Mr. Grrant, Secretary to the Bombay Government^ to Lieut.^CoL Woodington,
commanding the Subsidiary Force at Baroda.

" Bombay Castle, Feb. 14, 1803.
" Sir, — I am directed by the Hon. the Gov. in council to acknowledge the
receipt of your letter of the 8th inst., with its enclosure, detailing the parti-
culars of the attack of Canojee's camp, by the detachment under the command
of Maj. Holmes. The Gov. in council cannot advert to the energy, intrepidity^
and extraordinary exertions manifested by Major Holmes on that occasion,
without expressing his highest approbation of the merits of that officer j and
at the same time acknowledging, that to that officer's professional exertions
and personal intrepidity, so conspicuously evinced at the crisis of this very
serious attack, must be chiefly ascribed the complete overthrow of Canojee
and his adherents, which government has no doubt will, under your instruc-
tions, be uninterruptedly followed up, till this war be brought to a happy

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Mr. Duncan^ Governor of Bombay^ io Major Holmes.

" Bombay, Feb. 14, 1803.
** My dear sir, — Although the official acknowledgment of your gallant
conduct will reach you in due course, through Col. Woodington, yet I cannot
refrain from separately expressing my own admiration of it. It seldom hap-
pens that a commanding officer has an opportunity to such a degree as cir-
cumstances led to in your case on the 6th, nor can any, I am persuaded, occur,
where a better and more glorious use can be made of it : accept, then, of my
sincerest congratulations and thanks, which I shall be happy, if the means
should occur, of more sul>stantially evincing my sense of, being, with sincere
esteem, your faithful and obedient servant,

(Signed) " John Duncan."

Major Holmes obtained a lieut-colonelcy in 1803, and continued
during that and the two following years on very active service, in
command of a field detachment. He was at the siege and capture of
Pawaghur, a service of considerable eclat, as this fortress was
reckoned among the natives one of the most celebrated for strength
in India. War was at this period extensively carried on against
Scindia, Holkar, and other chieftains. On one occasion Lieut.-Col.
Holmes' detachment escorted treasure, to a large amount, from
Guzerat to the Bengal army under Lord Lake, besieging Burtpoor-
On the march thither and returning, a line of about 600 miles through
a hostile country, his detachment was smartly attacked by Holkar's
active and annoying cavalry ; but notwithstanding the notoriety of
the nature of his charge, so inviting to the cupidity of the Mahrattas,
he effected the service with the completes t success. Until 1807 Col.
H. was almost constantly employed in the field in Guzerat ; he then
succeeded to the temporary charge of the force subsidised by the
Guicawar government, and in the following year that respectable
command was conferred upon him by the government of Bombay,
in approbation of his services, as appears by the two following ex-
tracts :—

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Major Walkety Political Resident at Guzerat^ to Francis Warden^ Esq. Chief
Secretary to the Government of Bombay.
" March 1, 1807. — Adverting to the absence of (on account of illness) Col.
Woodington from the important duties of his command, it will not, I trust,
be deemed improper, if I respectfully recal the attention of the Hon. the Gov.
in council to the merits and services of Lieut.-Col. Holmes. The nature of
these it may be unnecessary to detail, but they are warm in the recollection of
this government (the Guicawar government of Guzerat), which would not only
view with satisfaction, but conceive it peculiarly agreeable and acceptable,
were these services noticed, by his being placed in Col. Woodington 's situation
during his absence. As an oflGicer of great experience and reputation. Col.
Holmes ranks high in the estimation of every military man ; and the public
service must continue to receive, from his well-known zeal, the same cordial
co-operation and support, which is so necessary to its success."

Mr. Secretary Warden to Major Walker.

^ Bombay, March 13, 1807.
" I am directed, by the Hon. the Gov. in council, to acknowledge the re-
ceipt of your letter of the 1st inst., and to intimate, that the eminent ser-
vices rendered by Col. Holmes, in the successful resistance which that officer
opposed to the inroads of Canojee, after his escape from confinement, in
1802-3, and to the party that adhered to him, give to that officer peculiar and
appropriate claims to the command of the subsidiary force at Baroda, during
the intended absence of Col. Woodington, and it is accordingly the intention
of the Honourable the Governor in council to nominate him thereto.''

The two following letters refer to operations of a detachment from
the subsidiary force, with which Col. Holmes moved from Baroda
(the Guicawar capital of Guzerat), in the rainy season of 1809> to
repel an invasion of the frontier of the Guicawar territory.

The Adjutant-General of the Bombay Army to Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes^
commanding in the Northern Division of Guzerat.

" Bombay, Sept. 19, 1809.

" Sir, — ^Your letters of the 3d and 5th insts., have been laid before the

commanding officer of the forces, who directs me to inform you, that he has

laid the subject before the Hon. the Gov. in council, who, he doubts not, will

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with him, be equally sensible of the zealous and active exertions of yourself,
and the detachment under your command, on the service from which you have
reported your return ; and you will be advised of the sentiments of govern-
ment thereon as soon as received.

(Signed) " Robert Gordon, Adj.-Gen."

Mr. Sec. Warden to Maj,'Gen. Richard Jonesy Commanding Officer of ihe
Forces at Bombay f 95lh Sept. 1809«
" Sir, — In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 14th of this
month, I have the honour to intimate to you, that the Hon. the Gov. in
council has been pleased to grant field allowances to Lieut. -Col. Holmes,
and the detachment under his command, whilst employed on the present
service ; and to signify to you, that the Hon. the Gov. in council concurs with
you in opinion, and commends the ready zeal and promptitude with which
Lieut.-Col. H. proceeded with the detachment on this service, at a season of
the year the most inclement, with such equipments as were available, and
which the aid of the Native government, and their own exertions, could fur-
nish them with.

(Signed) " F. Warden, Chief Sec.*'

Lieut.-Col. Holmes continued in the command of the force in
Guzerat, which was reviewed in 1812, by Gen. Abercromby, whose
testimony to its slate of eflSciency and discipline was recorded in
general orders.

Disturbances in Guzerat^ and its neighbourhood, kept Col. Holmes's
force in the field in 1813-14; but little opportunity offered for any
distinguished service. There were some sharp affairs before the fort
of Pulhunpoor. After the termination of one of the operations of
this period, the following extract of a letter, from Mr. Sec. Warden,
dated 6th Jan. 1814, to the political Resident at Baroda, was com-
municated to Col. Holmes:

'* The regularity and good order with which the force under Col. Holmes
has conducted itself, has not escaped the attention of government ; and you
will take an opportunity of conveying to that officer the sense which the
Hon. the Gov. in council entertains of the conduct* of the officers and men
under his command during th^ course of the service, which has fortunately

3 u

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been brought to a tenniiiatioft without the neceftity of haTiug recourse to

Early in 1815 it was deemed expedient to assemble a consider-
able army on the eastern frontier of the Guicawar territories, and
the command was conferred on Col. Holmes; but in consequence of
his obtaining the brevet of maj.-gen., the retention of that command
was, it seems, incompatible with military etiquette ; and his health
having materially suffered by such an uninterrupted series of service,
and the severity of much of it, he retired from the field. Guzerat
had been particularly fatal and destructive, to the health of both
Europeans and Natives, for two or three years preceding this period.
The great satisfaction the services and conduct of Maj.-Gen. Holmes
continued to the last to afford the governments under which he
served, will be evinced by the two following public documents :

Extract of a Letter from Mr. Chief Secretary Warden to the Political
Resident at Baroda^ dated Bombay Castle^ 23d March 1815.

** On the occasion of Maj.-Gen* Holmes^s retiring from the command of Uie
subsidiary force at Baroda, the Hon. the Gov. in council feels it due to the
merits of that gallant officer, to express his entire satisfaction, with his
conduct generally, as an officer on this establishment, and particularly dur-
ing the period of his having exercised the functions of that important situa-
tion ; and these sentiments the Gov. in council wiU have great satisfection in
communicating to the Hon. Court of Directors of the East India Company.**

Translation of a Letter from His Highness Fuiteh Sing Row Ouicawar^
C Sovereign of GuzeratJ to Maj.-Gen. Holmes^ dated Baroda^ 20th
April 1815.

" It has been communicated to me by Capt. Carnac, that, in consequence
of your advancement to a superior rank, the command of the Hon. Com-
pany's troops subsidized by the Guicawar government, will devolve on an-
other officer. In expressing my congratulations on your promotion, you must
allow me to regret the unavoidable consequences of your relinquishing the
command which you had held during many years. It is only an act of jus-
tice, on the eve of your departure, that I should render to you those senti-

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ments which your condact, during a period of nearly thirteen years, in the

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opinioD Uiat his native climate alone could effect a restoraCiod oi h\»
health, applied for a furlough, which was granted in general orders,
of which the following is an extract : —

By the Right Honourable the Governor in Council.

" Bombay Castle, Jan. 19, 1816.
" Brevet Maj.-Gen. and Lieut.-Col. Sir George Holmes, K. C. B., is allowed
a furlough to England, on his private concerns. The right Hon. the Gov. in
council will perform a gratifying act of public duty in bringing to the notice
of the Hon. the Court of Directors the many instances of meritorious conduct
which Maj.-Gen. Holmes has evinced during a period of thirty-six years* ser-
vice in India, the value and importance of which cannot be more forcibly
exemplified than by the distinguished honour lately conferrred on him by His
Royal Highness the Prince Regent.'*

When the Duke of York, as Com.-in-Chief, published to the
British army a just eulogy on the character and services of the late
Gen. Sir John Moore, H. R. H« laid particular stress on his being a
" regimental oflScer ;' that is, one who was constantly with his regi-
ment, especially in the earlier stages of his military career. This may
be said of Sir George Holmes to as full an extent, perhaps, as of any
oflScer in the army. In thirty-six years* service in India, his absence
from his corps did not exceed six months, on account of his private
concerns ; and such was the vigour of his frame, that in all this length
of servitude, in such a climate, and at certain times, particularly in
Malabar and Guzerat, in the most inclement seasons of sickly years,
his lotal absence from his corps did not exceed five months. As a
subaltern he served fifteen years ; as a captain, five ; as a field oflicer,
sixteen. It may hence be readily concluded, that, from such a period
of service in India, where, how little soever may be heard or thought
in England of their operations, the troops are rarely idle. Sir George
Holmes must have been a finished soldier : he truly was ; and to the
last acted with the fire and zeal of a subaltern. His hardy and robust
frame enabled him to bear up, until the last year or two, against every
disadvantage of climate and privation. But no human stamina and

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zeal could support it longer ; and it is to be deeply regretted that he
persevered so long. . But his services were wanted, and he did not
allow himself a choice. With the hope of repairing his severely shat-
tered eonstitiition. he nnifted Tndm earlv in 181fi. He would have

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tinued actively employed up to 1812, when, as dep.-cora^-gen., he ob-
tained the offidal rank of major. In that situation his merits and
conduct are recorded in the general orders issued by govCTnment on
the termination of the Nepaul war*, and subsequently on the oc-
casion of his premature death, Sept. 14, 1816.

To the exertions of this oflScer^ in conjunction with Lieut.-Col.
Wegudin-f-, may be ascribed the decided success of a department,
which had many difficulties to encounter, and which has received the
repeated and high commendation, both of the authorities in India
and at home. The establishment at Hissar was suggested by Major
Lumsdaine, and owed its flourishing condition to his management.

Oeneral Orders^ hy His Exc. the Right Hon. the Gov.-Gen. in Council^

Oct. 4, 1816.
*' The Gov.-Gen. in Council cannot omit the opportunity of expressing
the deep regret with which government has received the melancholy event
whence the vacancy arose : the death of Maj. Lumsdaine, whibt it must be
a source of sorrow to all who enjoyed his acquaintance, and thence knew the
sohdity of his worth, as well as the amiable tone of his manner, is felt by
government as a heavy public loss. The admirable order which he had
introduced into the branches of the commissariat department, committed
to his more immediate superintendence ; the judicious energy through which
he had matured establishments of important utility; and the skilful ar-
rangements by which, during the Nepaul war, he provided the supply of
the troops, under circumstances of unprecedented difficulty ; have already
been acknowledged by the Gov.-Gen. in Council in terms of high com-
mendation, which they so justly merited ; they will ever be remembered
with grateful applause, and now unhappily call forth the testimony of
poignant concern from the government at his premature decease. He
has bequeathed to the service inappreciable benefits, for it is impossible
that any one should contemplate his character and not be roused to emulate
his generous and disinterested zeal : the consciousness of his having honour-
ably and faithfully discharged all the duties that devolved on him through
life, must have been the last glowing sentiment of his heart.''

• See page 189. f See Services, page 180.

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(Bengal Estahtishment.)

This officer was appointed a cadet on the Bengal establishment in
1781 ; and early in that year sailed for India in Commodore John-
ston's fleet, and, after a twelvemonth's passage, landed at Bombay
in March 1782. He joined, as ensign, the Bengal detachment, serv-
ing in the west of India, under Gen. Goddard, and was appointed
to the 5th batt. N. I. At the end of that war, he returned with the
detachment through the Mahratta country, to Futtehgur. In 1784,
he was appointed to the 2d batt. 1st N. I., commanded by Major
Duncan, then serving with Sir John Cummings' detachment in the
field. He accompanied the regiment when it was detached to the
Furruckabad district, to reduce the forts of Begarry, &c. In 1787,
he was removed to the 32d N. I., flm which he served in the Ro-
hilla battle and campaign, under Gen. Sir Robert Abercrgmby.
He was next sent on command from Burhampoor to Nattore, in the
Ranjeshy district, and where he continued two years. Shortly
after rejoining his corps, he applied for and obtained permission to
accompany the volunteers proceeding by sea to join Lord Com-
wallis's army in Mysore, and was appointed to the 2d batt, Capt.
Hyndman's. At the end of the war, he returned with the army to
Bengal, and rejoined the 32d. In the following year, he i^s ap-
pointed, as lieut., to the command of a troop in the 1st Native cav.,
but detached from that regiment at Mahoondy, after Vizier Ally^s in-
surrection at Benares, in pursuit of a disaffected Rajah, who was
surprised in his camp, and delivered up to the Nabob at Lucknow.

In May 1800, this officer attained the rank of capt., and was
attached to the 6th Native cav. at Gazypoor. He had the honour
to command Lord Wellesley's cav. escort in his lordship's tour up the
country, until detached therefrom in command of a troop with Mr.

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Routledge, sent to regulate the ceded districts of the Nabob Vizier,
to Gooracpoor. At the expiration of a year he was recalled to join
his regiment, then with the cavalry of the army, under the Com .-in-
Chief, Lord Lake.

The ISth March 1803 he was promoted to the rank of major, and
the command of the 6th reg. Native cav. on the death of Major
Naire, killed at the taking of the fort of Catchoura. On the dispersion
of the various corps, the 6th Native cav. was detached to the frontier
station of Chandoorg. On the formation of the army, the same year,
under the Com .-in-Chief, against Scindia, Maj. M. was ordered to
march, and join the army before Delhi. He continued to serve in
the command of the reg. till some time after the battle of Laswarree,
when, from extreme ill health, and the advice of his medical friends,
that (to save his life) it was necessary to go to Europe, he reluc-
tantly quitted the army; and the 30th January ISO?, retired from
the service.


(Bombay Establishmeftt.j

This oflScer did duty with the artillery for four years after his arrival
in India, with the option of being permanently posted to that corps,
but gave the preference to the infantry. He served on the expedition
to the Red Sea in 1799j under Col., now Sir John, Murray ; and was
present in an affair at Suez with a detachment of the French army.
He was permitted to proceed, as a volunteer, on the service to Egypt,
under Maj.-Gen. Baird. He served in Cotiote during the rebellion
of 1802, 3, and 4, nnd was present in many affairs with the rebels,
and slightly wounded. He next served on an expedition against a
body of Bheels, and was present in two affairs with them. He was

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selected to collect boats for the passage of the Poonah subsidiary
force across the Godavery, on taking the field ; on which occasion he
i^ceived a letter, of which the following is an extract :—

<< Colonel Wallace is sensible of the difficulties you have met with in
the attempt to remove the boats by land, and is well pleased with your

He acted as adjut to the 2d batt- 3d reg. for one year, during the
absence of the adjut. ; as recruiting-officer for eighteen months, dur-
ing the absence of the officer holding that appointment ; as assist.-
adj.-gen. of the army six years and seven months ; and as acting dep.
adjut-gen. from Dec. 1813 to Feb. 1816, when he was confirmed as
dep.-adjutant-general. In Dec. following, he was compdled to
return to Europe on a sick certificate, after a service in India of
eighteen years and two months. The 1st Nov. 1817 he was pro-
moted to the rank of maj. ; and the 8th Jan. 1881 retired from the

Maj. Carpenter served three months as ensign ; seven years seven
months as lieut. ; one year as capt.-lieut. ; and nine years as capt.

(Madras Establishment.)

This officer was a native of Fifeshire : his family had been for many
generations the proprietors of St. Fort in that county. He was
born in 1766. In 1781 he obtained a cadetship in the East India
Company's service ; and in 1782 he embarked for India. His ori-

Online LibraryJohn PhilippartThe East India military calendar: containing the services of ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 37 of 45)