John Philippart.

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

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much of perseverance and skill as had ever been exhibited in India.
In this trying campaign, which was terminated in the death of
Doondia, and the destruction of his followers, Capt. Walker had his
full share of fatigue and danger. This service was remarkable for an
uninterrupted succession of long and rapid marches, for the laborious
duties which devolved upon the officers, and for the excessive fatigue
which the troops endured.

On the 1st of July 1800 Capt. Walker was appointed subordinate
agent for cavalry supplies to the 4th. reg. of cav. ; but he still con-
tinued in the command of the reg. In consequence of the clashing
interests and wavering politics of the M^ratta government at this
period, it was found necessary to direct a large force to their frontier.
Gen. Wellesley accordingly maroiied towards Darwar, and the 4th,
commanded by Capt. W., composed part of his army. This force re-
mained only a few weeks encamped at Hubley ; and the Mahraltas

* Tbb enterprisiDg adrenturer had collected a large army in the Dooaab, between the
.Kistoa and Toombudra, where he had established himself, and placed garrisons in many of
the forts : he was a bold but an unprincipled freebooter, and disguised his schemes of plun-
der under the specious design of driving the English out of the country, and of replacing
the family of Tippoo on the throne of Mysore. By this declaration he expected to attract
the officers and adherents of that family to his standard.



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 447

testifying a friendly disposition, Gen. Wellesley ordered the troops
into quarters.

Almost immediately after this service, Capt. W- was employed with
his reg. in the ceded districts, under Maj.-Gen. Dugald Campbell.
The object of this expedition was to take possession of the districts
which the Nizam had ceded to us, and in which it was necessary to
establish the Company's authority by an armed force. The inhabi-
tants of these countries are mostly of the Poligar race ; they lived
under their respective chiefs or leaders, and paid often but a nominal
submission to the Nizam. Their revenue was consequently much
in arrear ; and as they possess many strong forts, they were conti-
nually able to set a weak government at defiance. The reduction of
this people could only be accomplished by a series of long marches and
fatiguing operations. Most of the refractory chiefs, after an ineffecr
tual shew in some cases of resistance, submitted, and in a few instances
they were punished for their temerity. Capt. W. was detached against
the chiefs of Chitsill, a descendant of the ancient Rajahs of Anna-
goondy, and Nursum Reddy, both of whom yielded at discretion.

We find, by the government orders of Fort St. George, of Sept. 27,
1801, Capt. Walker is directed to proceed to M angalore, for the pur-
pose of receiving remount horses for the service of the cavalry ; and
he was to perform ^is duty without detriment to his regimental staff
appointment. On the 27th March 1802, the Gov. in council at
Madras appointed Capt. Walker to be general agent for cavalry sup-
plies, and to procure, at the same time, horses for the cavalry.

On the army taking the field, in the general war against the Mah-
rattas, under the Com-in-Chief, Lieut.-Gen. James Stuart, Capt W.
was appointed commissary of grain and bullocks. On the 1st May
1804 he was promoted to a majority in the 8th reg. of cavalry, which
he was appointed to raise. In the same year he was confirmed by
government as sole agent for the purchase of horses for the cavalry,
having in fact supplied the cavalry with horses since 1802, and which
appointment he continued to hold until he found it necessary, for the
sake of his health, to return to England towards the end of 1807* A



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4p48 the east INDIA

short time before this event, and in the same year, he was promoted
to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

In mentioning the laborious and honourable offices which were
successively held by Lieut.-Col. Walker, the record of the Court of
Directors, which bestows a high and justly merited encomium on
his integrity and t&lents, ought not to be omitted. In a despatch to Fort
St. George they take notice of the able and satisfactory manner in which
he had conducted the purchase of horses ; and they remark with plea-
sure, as a circumstance highly creditable to Lieut-Col. Walker, that
his agency had been conducted on principles of economy and public
advantage, superior to what they had before observed in that de-
partment. During the whole period that Lieut.-Col. Walker held this
important appointment, the cavalry were supplied with fine horses in
any number that was required, and at such reduced prices, that the
government made him a present, on one occasion, of 3000 pagodas.
While engaged in this important duty, Lieut.-Col. W. raised and
formed the 8th reg. of cavalry. So effectually and speedily was this
reg. mounted and disciplined, that, in less than a year after it had
been formed, it was ordered to proceed to Bellary, and to join a force
assembled there for field service. Lieut.-Col. W. marched with the
reg., and put himself under the orders of Gen. Campbell ; but the war
at that time having blown over, the troops were sent into quarters. He
from thence went to M angalore on the duty of the agency, and re-
turned with upwards of 1000 horses for the service. In April 1806,
while he was on his route to rejoin his reg. at Bellary, the Com.-in-
Chief thought his presence necessary at Grammum, which was the
depot fixed for the rendezvous of the horses previous to their distribu*
tion to corps. A malignant fever raged amongst the inhabitants of
this place, and committed great destruction : it seized the cavalry fol-
lowers, and an alarming mortality ensued. Lieut.-Col. Walker and
his family were attacked by the contagion ; and although Gen. Mac-
dowall had considerately sent a surgeon to their assistance from Se«
ringapatam, there appeared no other way of escaping from this de-
structive fever than by removing to another situation. There was



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 449

no time to apply to head-quarters, and Lieut-Col. W. took the respon-
sibility upon himself, by removing the dep6tto CoondguU, about forty
miles distant, on the road to Bangalore. The people soon recovered,
and the Com.-in-Chief fully approved of the measure. Lieut.-Col. W.'s
own illness however continued, and rendered it impossible for him to
join the reg. His constitution had . been much impaired by the fever
contracted at Chitdedroog, from which he had never entirely re-
covered, and this new attack, which was still more severe than the
former, induced his medical attendant to recommend that he should
first go to sea, and eventually to Europe. While he was proceeding to
Arcot, he passed Velore a few days before the mutiny and massacre
of that garrison ; and he narrowly escaped the same fate, by refusing
to accept the invitation of his friends to remain with them a short
time. At Arcot, however, his health, in the course of a few months, had
assumed a considerable degree of amendment, and he was prevailed
on to give up his intention of immediately returning to Europe. His
presence was thought necessary to reconcile the horse-dealers to some
regulations which government was at this time desirous of introduc-
ing : difficulties were apprehended, should those men prove refrac-
tory, which might afterwards produce much inconvenience and dis-
tress to the service. Lieut.-Col. W. accordingly once more proceeded
to Mangalore, settled all the existing differences, and returned with
1200 remount horses. He purchased, by commission, 1000 horses
for the ensuing season, which were to be from three to eight years
old, and settled their price with the dealers at the average rate of
106 star pagodas a-head. It is to be observed, that all these horses
were to be transported by sea from the gulph of Kutch, or the ports
of Guzerat and Scind ; that many of them were drawn from Scind,
Kattywar, Lahore, Cabool, and the Persian provinces adjoining.
This horse-market was far beyoud the pohtical influence and controul
of the British government; it depended upon a multitude of ferocious
and barbarous tribes, who were led by caprice and avarice. It may
readily be imagined, that it required no small share of address, intel.
ligence, and management, to direct the co-operatioQ of a rude and

3 M



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450 THE EAST INDIA

suspicious people, and to prevent them from disappointing the pubRc
service. In March 1807, Lieut-Col. W* having finished his business
at Mangalore, and dispatched the remount horses to CooudguU, pro-
ceeded to that depdt, but found himself under the necessity of signify-
ing to the Com -in-Chief, that he had received medical advice to go
on furlough to Europe, which had now become absolutely necessary
for the restoration of his health, and at the same time requested leave
to visit the presidency for the settlement of his affairs. This request
was complied with, and in July he arrived at Madras. In the follow-
ing month, after a period of twenty-five years actual service in India,
he obtained a furlough for three years; and on the 24th Oct. em-
barked for England.

The loss of a moderate fortune, which he had saved in the course of
a long service, by the failure of a house at Madras, obliged Lieut-Col.
W., on the expiration of his furlough, to return to India. In the
month of May 181], he embarked for India, landed at Madras
10th Sep. 1811, and found himself in the 1st reg. of cav. It was his
wish to have joined his reg. immediately ; but it was judged expedient,
by the government of the period, to remove him to the 3rd reg., at
Bangalore, and very soon afterwards he was appointed to the 5th reg.
of cav., which was stationed at Seroor. It was alleged that this corps
required the presence of a commanding officer of judgment and ex«
perience,-" but the arrangement exposed Lieut-Col. W. to a heavy
expense. As some parts of the road were infested by banditti, it
obliged him to proceed with his family to Bombay by sea, before he
could arrive at his station. On the 2Sd Feb. he arrived at Bombay ;
from thence he proceeded to Poonah, and joined the 5th reg. at Seroor.
At this station he was the second in command, but derived no emolu-
ment on that account.

Every thing at that period was quiet in India. The materials of
discontent, however, were abundantly diffused, and they were ready
in every direction to burst into a flame. In the beginning of the fol-
lowing year general symptoms of commotion began to manifest them-
selves^ and some circumstances about this period gave the Resident at



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 451

Poonah reason to suspect the Peishwa of hostile intentions. His
highness had left that capital to visit a place in the neighbourhood, on
pretence of performing some religious ceremonies ; and, althou^ ac-
companied by one of our batts. as an honorary escort, as he had still
more considerable forces of his own collected about his person/it was
judged expedient to watch his motions, by the subsidiary troops sta*
tioned at Seroor. They continued marching for some time in the
vicinity of that station, and at length took up a position on the banks
6f the Punderpore river. This happened in Feb. 1813. The troops
remained in this encampment for several months ; but on the approach
of the monsoon they were ordered to return to their cantonments. In
June, Lieut.-Col. W. arrived with his reg. at Seroor. For a short
tune he commanded the cantonment during the absence of Col. Mon-
tresor. In Aug- the 5th reg. was ordered to Jaulnah, and Lieut.-Col.
W. consequently became attached to the Hyderabad subsidiary force.
Some time in Nov. following, the whole force at that station took the
field, in consequence of the general disturbed state of the country,
which was infested by robbers and banditti. Travelling was rendered
unsafe, and it was diflSicult to preserve the usual military communica-
tions. It was not before a strong remonstrance was made to the
Nizam's government, and the determined appearance of using force,
that these disorders were suppressed. On this arrangement, Lieut-
Col. W. and the rest of the troops returned to their cantonments. On
the 4th June, a general promotion in his Majesty's army conferred on
Lieut-Col. W. the rank of colonel ; and, for a short time, the com-
mand of the Hyderabad subsidiary force devolved on him.

In the course of this year the Pindarries had become very trouble-
some, and had committed depredations to a great extent in various
directions. Some duplicity was also apprehended on the part of
several of the chiefs who were in alliance with the British government,
and who owed to it fidehty in return for protection. The war with
Nepaul had been protracted to an unusual length, and had given rise
to feelings among the native states, particularly the Mahratta govem-
pieuts, which it was necessary not only to watch with attention, but be



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452 THE EAST INDIA

prepared to check on the first decided appearance of a hostile dispo-
sition. Under these circumstances it was expedient to have our
armies in the field- Towards the end of Oct. 1814, the different sub-
sidiary forces were put in motion, and Col. Walker accompanied that
of Hyderabad. They remained in this state of preparation until Sept.
1815, when the cavalry, under the command of Col. Walker, received
a route for EUichpore ; but on the march he was met by a fresh and
pressing order to proceed with the utmost expedition to Poonah. This
sudden and unexpected destination was occasioned by the murder* of
Gungathlir Shastree, who had been dispatched by the Guicawar
government, as its agent, to settle some pecuniary differences with the
Poonah slate, under the guarantee of the Company. But when CoL

* This assassination was contrived, and the instraments of it directed, by Trimbackjee
Danglia, the minister and favourite of the Peishwa, with the sanction and authority of the
latter : it was perpetrated on the night of the 19th Sept. at Punderpore, under circumstances
of the deepest perfidy and guilt. This base and atrocious deed is briefly but forcibly re-
ferred to in the proclamation of the Grov.-Gen. in India deposing the Peishwa ; and Bajee
Rao is expressly charged with the crime. It excited every where in India indignation and
horror. It is impossible in this narrative to enter into the details of this wicked transaction ;
but as the prelude to it has never been fully explained to the British public, it may here be
concisely mentioned, that the Peishwa being unable to corrupt the fidelity and integrity of
the Shastree, resolved to effect his destruction by the hands of assassins. To succeed the
better in his purpose, Bajee Rao proposed an alliance between their families, by afiiancing
one of his relations, the sister of his own wife, to the eldest son of the Shastree. Hie Shastree
was distinguished by an ingenuous detestation of falsehood. The insidious caresses of the
Peishwa did not for a moment deceive his acute and perspicacious understanding : from the
beginning he suspected his highness of some nefarious design, and with reluctance accepted
an invitation to accompany the Peishwa to Punderpore, a place of worship in the vicinity of
Poonah, celebrated for its sanctity, and the whole territory of which is considered holy. On
the evening of the 19th July, Trimbuckjee sent for the Shastree to meet him in the temple
to perform his devotions. The Shastree twice declined the invitation, under the pretext
of indisposition ; but on receiving a third message, he thought it necessary to go, and pro-
ceeded with a few unarmed Brahmins, leaving, by the Peishwa's desire^ his escort of English
sepoys behind him. On his return from the pagoda on foot, and having hold of one of the
Brahmins by the hand, he was beset by the assassins, cut down, and his body was divided in
pieces by sabre wounds. This breach of faith, and violation of hospitality, called forth the
indignation of every generous mind. Mr. Elphinstone, the able and distinguished Resident
at Poonah, prepared with suitable dignity and spirit to resent it as an affront to his country,
and as an atrocious offence committed against society. He instantly imparted to the
Peishwa, that the same enquiry and investigation must take place respecting the murder of



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 453

Walker had nearly reached Poonah with his detachment, he was re-
called. The same order directed him to make forced marches on
Hyderabad, where symptoms of disaffection appeared, and where many
of the Nizam's court and family were adverse to a connexion with the
British' Some blood was shed on this occasion; but the troops on
the spot were found sufficient to allay the dissensions, of which the
causes, as lie case in India, were a compound of public

and private Order being restored, the forces, which this

service had cauea oui^ returned to the cantonments at Jaulnah. They
arrived at that station late in Oct. ; but the Pindarries had now be-
come so daring and formidable, that they had set the native govern-
ments at defiance, who were unable or unwilling, to check their
depredations. It became necessary that the British government should
interfere with all its power and resources, to prevent the ruin and
desolation of the country. The troops had been scarcely twenty days
in their cantonments at Jaulnah, when they were again obliged to take
the field. An important part in these operations, most fatiguing to
execute, fell to the lot of Col. Walker. He was repeatedly detached
with the cavalry in pursuit of the marauders ; to Basseen, or Amora-
witty, to EUichpore, and to scour the banks of the Nerbuddah. In
these rapid excursions, which were frequently made in the night, and
were peculiarly harassing, Col. Walker was always at the head of his
troops. Although he was not successful in falling in with any of the
parties of these freebooters, he kept them on the alert, and disconcerted
their schemes of plunder. The superior authorities in India appre-

the Shastree, as if he had been a minister deriving his appointment directly from the British
government. The Peishwa denied that he was accessory to the crime, and we were led,
by motives of forbearance to an allied sovereign, to accept of a weak and mean apology.
Our demands for satisfaction were limited to the apprehension of the persons of Trimbuckjee
Danglia, the minister, and a few others who were publicly known to have been immediately
accessory to the assassination. It was to enforce this claim, and to defeat the ultimate ma*
chinations of the miscreants at Poonah, that large bodies of forces were marched on that
capital ; but the Peishwa's duplicity and cowardice induced him to commit an additional act
of baseness, by surrendering into the hands of the British government his servile and guilty
minions. This prevented hostilities at that time.



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454 THE EA8T INDIA

ciated his energy, zeal, and intelligent activity*. From this period,
for two years, Col. Walker may be fairly said to have been on the
move and in the field. Every flying detachment that was formed,
before the Nagpore force was established, and after it had rejoined
Col. Doveton, was sent under Col. Walker's command. While in
command of the Nagpore force, he fell in with several bodies of Pin-
darries, cut them up, and di the

station at Jaulnah, Col. Wall ich-

ment in pursuit of Trimbuck his

confinement in the fort of Tai i^ted

to consider as a rebel, and offered, at the requisition of the British go-
vernment, two lacs of rupees for his apprehension.

This life of vigilance and constant movement continued until about
the 10th of June 1816, when in consequence of a treaty of alliance
with the Rajah of Berar, who accepted a subsidiary force. Col. Walker
was appointed to the command of it, and directed to march a large
body of troops and art. to Nagpore, the capital of that Rajah's domi-
nions. We are now arrived at an important and interesting stage of
Col. Walker's life. The command that he had attained was, at once,
one of the most honourable and advantageous in India. He was to
act in a country which had scarcely yet been visited by our arms or
taught to confide in us by intercourse, and where the government had
for the first time adopted the federative system of the Company. The
situation was new and difficult ; it required political as well as mili-
tary talents ; energy and vigilance, conciliation and address. While
the peaceful and well disposed were to be gained by mildness and
friendship, it was necessary, by firmness and vigour, to restrain and
keep in order the turbulent and disaffected. One important duty was
to check the incursions of the Pindarries, and to protect the inhabi-

* A pcurtisan officer has always a bold and decisive part to perform ; but this duty iu
India, besides eminent talents in the leader, requires an intimate acquaintance with the
language and manners of the people : the strongest constitutions are gradiially wasted by
excessive fetigue in that country; by an alternate exposure to the violent heat of the day,
and the cold vapours of the night.



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 465

tabts from the effects of their depredations. This duty was effectually
performed by Col. Walker, who compelled these marauders to flee to
their retreats, and by a series of judicious movements, secured the
Nagpore territories from their depredations. He was received with
flattering attention at the Rajah's court, and enjoyed the confidence of
the Resident*

* The following extracts of despatclies from the governments of India bear honour-
able testimony to the able manner in which Col. Walker conducted this service, and of the
pecutiar difficulties which attended it : —

Tke Gm).'Gen. to the Court qf Directors, I2th Dec. 1816.

'' The establishment of the subsidiary force in the territories of the Rajah of Nagpore
has produced a most salutary effect ; and its advance to the Nerbuddah, and the active pur-
suit by Col. Walker of a body of Pindarries> which crossed the river early in Nov.^ has
created a degree of alarm in the minds of the Pindarry leaders, which may tend materially
to restrain their excesses during the present season. Intelligence, indeed, is transmitted
to us, that considerable bodies of the Pindarries have penetrated through the wide intenrali
between Col. Walker's posts, and have committed some devastation; but as we have not
had any distinct report as to the amount or direction of these columns, we cannot judge
whether they have any more distant object, or are only employed to occupy Coh Walker's
attention. Col. Walker pursued the freebooters into Scindia's territory, south of the Ner-
buddah, which afforded him the opportunity of compelling them to return across the river,
and ultimately to break up their camp on the north bank, and retire to Satwas. The Resi-
dent had authorised Col. Walker to take this step, under a conviction diat it was essential
to any plan of operations for the obstruction, pursuit, or interruption of the Pindarries, and
that no objection would be offered to it by Scindia or his officers.

'^ li is manifest that no defensive precautions can be of avail against an enemy Vke the
Pindarries, while they occasion an annual expenditure exceeding the most extravagant cal-
culations of the cost of a vigorous and decided system of measures, jwhich would destroy the
evil effectually. The inability of Col. Walker's force to defend the extended line of fron-
tier committed to his charge has already been made manifest, notwithstanding the activity
and exertion of that officer, and the troops under hb command, by a large body of Pin-
darries having actually turned one of his largest detachments, so close to its position, as to
have been partially engaged with the British troops, which being composed entirely of inf.,
was unable to offer any effectual obstruction to the rapid movements of the enemy. We
have endeavoured to improve Col. Walker's means of defence, by placing at his disposal
two batts. and two squadrons of cav., and we hope that with this additional force his line
will be considerably more secure, though we can entertain no hopes that any system of
measures founded on defensive principles will oppose an effectual barrier to the incursion
of the Pindarries.

7^ Gov. in Council, at Bombay, to the Court qf Directors, I8ih Dee. 1816.