John Philippart.

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

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almost centrically situated between its own army and that of Ryder's,
cantoned at Arcot. The l6th battalion was immediately detached
with all the tent bullocks of the three corps into the interior of the Pol-
lams, to procure and dispatch provisions to the army, and from the
head-quarters of the detachment, parties were constantly sent out to



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42 THE EAST INDIA

endeavour to intercept convoys going to Hyder's camp, and to sur-
prise the enemy^s horse in the neighbourhood, but whose intelligence
was so superior that the parties seldom succeeded. They were upon
the whole, however, such an annoyance to Hyder, that he s^it a numer^-
ous and select corps of horse and foot to surprise and cut them off.
This force, after marching all night, arrived at the English outposts at
day-break, drove them in, and followed them so rapidly, that there was
scarcely time to blow the tents up with the spare ammunition, and reach
the pass, before the enemy arrived in great force. Fortunately thp
evening before this attack a company of European grenadiers, two
six-pounders, and three two-pound gallopers, with a small party of
pioneers, had joined the detachment from the army, with a view to an
attack by a coup-de-main on a small fort* This reinforcement
proved highly serviceable, as without the guns the detachment could
not have defended the mouth of the pass, from whence the enemy was
driven repeatedly, and great havoc made in his columns of horse.
Whilst this took place in the rear, the enemy endeavoured to establish
himself in our front, but failed and were driven back. Thus a small
detachment of not 1500 firelocks, successfully defended themselves
against 30,000 picked men. The loss it sustained was considerable,
but by no means in proportion to that of the enemy. In the evening
the detachment joined the army, which was marching to its succour.
Shortly after the army was cantoned for the remainder of die rainy
season, within twenty miles round Madras.

The beginning of Jan. 1782, the army marched with a considerable
supply of grain and provisions, for the relief of the garrison of Velore,
embracing a range of hills all the way on its baggage flank, until
within a short march of the place. When within a few miles of A root,
Hyder's head-quarters at this time, and capital of the Carnatic, an
attack was expected from his army on the following morning, but
during the night he employed a party of pioneers to inundate a large
track of low ground that the English were obliged to pass in their
march, by cutting the banks of a large reservoir for watering the rice
fields in the dry season.



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 43

The English proceeded on their march the next day (11th Jan.)
with no other than the usual attendance of irregular horse, until
the European brigade of the army got entangled in the slough,
when the horse dispersed, and a furious cannonade commenced,
but which slackened on some guns being opened by the English ;
and the officer commanding the 2nd having halted, and advanced
towards the enemy, he retired.

On the ISth the English returned by the same route, menaced by a
considerable body of horse, which, being dispersed by a few rounds
from the twelve-pounders, Hyder's army was discovered drawn up in
line at a short distance. Sir Eyre Coote immediately advanced,
but the enemy retired precipitately, keeping up a fire of heavy artil-
lery from a great distance.

•After various marches and counter-marches, and several feints to
alarm the enemy for some of his principal posts, the English by a
forced march got between Hyder and one of his chief depdts, called
Arnee : to save this place he now advanced, and it was expected that
he would hazard an action ; but in this the English were disappointed,
for as they moved forward he retreated, and by the superiority of his
draught cattle, left; them as distant as he pleased. Sir Eyre Coote,
annoyed at not being able to get near enough, ordered all the flank
companies of the army to be formed in front of the line, and to push
on at charging pace until they came up with the enemy's rear, support-
ing the flank companies by an advance of the rest of the troops :
they overtook the enemy in the bed of a river, and captured a number
of ammunition carts and several tumbrils.

Tippoo dying the latter end of this year (1782,) his son was
obliged by this event to appear in the Mysore to establish his au-
thority, leaving the English to cope with the French only, and de-
tachments of Tippoo's troops left with them. The celebrated Marquis
de Bussy commanded them in Cudalore, a place taken from the Eng-
lish, and the fortifications of which he had much improved. No
further operations of importance occurred in this war.

Lieut. Mackay was appointed aid-de-camp to Col. Reinbold, of the



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44 THE EAST INDIA

Hanoverians, who had two regiments under his orders in India, and
in 1783 took the field under the command of Gen. Stuart, then com-
manding the troops of the Madras establishment.

The army was encamped on the south-west bank of the river Ca-
very, near the fort of Chingleput, and while there, Sir Eyre Coote
died*, having returned to Madras from Calcutta. The loss of this
general was unfeignedly lamented by the whole army, natives as well
as Europeans, by all of whom he was sincerely beloved.

About the middle of May the army moved from the banks of the
Cavery southward towards Cudalore, where the tents were pitched
south of the bound-hedge, and lay encamped inactive for many days,
till the field-officers of the army obtained (at their unanimous request)
a council of war, when it was determined to attack the French lines,
which they had thrown up along the whole front of the English army.
In pursuance of this plan, a field-officer was detached in the night of
the 12lh of June, with a force to drive the enemy from a post they had
on a hill commanding our left flank : if the attack succeeded, he
was directed to hoist a flag on the point of the hill at day-break, wheji
a battalion of European grenadiers (to which Lieut. Mackay be-
longed) it was agreed, should immediately march, and attack a grand
battery that terminated their lines. The signal being hoisted, this
body of 330 choice veterans moved on to the berme of the ditch, but
found it so deep and well stoccadoed at bottom, tliat it was utterly im-

* Sir Eyre Coote was not less a fortanate than an heroic soldier. In his mind military
glory and the honour of his country superseded every personal consideration. To firmness
and intrepidity of character he united the most tender sensibility : the pleadings of distress
never reached his ear in vain — the voice of sorrow was the eloquence that overwhelmed
him ; to that his heart, too tender for the keenness of its feelings, melted into tears of pity
and benevolence. — ^It may here be observed, that the foundation of our empire in Asia was
laid, and its subsequent aggrandizement effected, by an handful of men surrounded by
hostile myriads. A constellation of extraordinary characters (amongst whom stood pro-
minent, Clive, Lawrence, Ford, and Coote,) appeared in the earlier periods of the extension
of our Asiatic dominions, as if decreed by fate to erect the British standard in the East —
to establish it on a firm and permanent basis, from whence its conquests were destined to ex-
tend beyond the banks of the Brahmapootra on the east, to the Indus on the west — to as-
pire to the Indian Caucasus on the north, and on the south to be bounded only by the shores
of the ocean.



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 45

possible to succeed : on retiring, the corps suffered severely from the
repeated discharges of cannister grape from four 26-pounders. Ano-
ther mode of attack was then resolved on, which was, that the grenadiers
should endeavour to turn the flank, and get in the rear of this power-
ful battery, whilst the first and second lines attacked generally in
front. This was carried into execution ; but the enemy having laid
the ground the English had to pass under water ; they were obliged
to wade through mud and water for nearly half an hour, by which
means they were so much retarded that their first line, headed by a
young corps that had never before been in ^action, were so roughly
treated by the fire of grape from the grand battery, that they
were panic-struck, and retired. Possession of this battery being
however obtained, by an officer's party of N. I., the army pro-
ceeded, and took all the small works along the line. It appeared
that the French on seeing that the havoc made on the head of
the English column (almost every officer in the front divisions
being killed or wounded) caused the men to wavw, sallied out of
the battery, and attacked the first line with irresistible impetuosity.
The grenadiers had not been many minutes in possession of the
enemy's lines, when four regiments were seen approaching from the
direction of the English camp, and which being recognised as
French, the English were compelled to retreat, with some loss, to
the grand battery, which they retained. The number of killed and
wounded on both sides in this battle (called Cudalore) was great
The English had 1500 killed and wounded ; the French lost full as
many.

On the 20th of die same month, the enemy, in three columns, made
a sally on the English trenches. One column succeeded in getting
between the trenches and the supporting picquets in waiting, whilst
the other two attacked the right and left of the trenches. The
darkness of the night, and the turning of the English flank, rendered
their situation extremely difficult; but the Bengal native troops be-
haved with undaunted gallantry, the rear rank opposing in the rear,
and the front rank over the parapet : at the same time, a wing of the



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46 THE EAST INDIA

grenadia battalion arriving from camp, immediately stood to their
arms, and closed the interval through which one of the columns
entered ; and, by some accident, some drummers beat the grenadier's
march, which accelerated the retreat of the enemy : a Count Dumas,
who led the left column, was taken prisoner ; the right-hand column
was dreadfully raked by a small battery of six-pounders, whilst striv-
ing to escalade ; and the one that entered by the right, lost above
100 in prisoners, besides killed and wounded : the English also suf-
fered ccmsiderably.

At tliis period a great scarcity of provisions began to prevail, so
that the cattle for the carriage of the tents, &c. were dying in the
lines, and the army were unable to move for want of means to convey
guns, tents, or ammunition ; thus every thing wore a most gloomy
and unpromising aspect, when most unexpectedly a flag of truce
arrived from the enemy, announcing a peace in Europe between
France and England, which was confirmed from Madras next day,
and a cessation of hostilities took place, at a time when the ruin of
this army seemed inevitable.

Lieut. Mackay immediately obtained permission to proceed to
Madras, where be was appointed to a native corps in one of the nor-
thern provinces. In the year 1785 he was made capt-lieut. to a
corps doing duty at Madras ; and in the year 1789 promoted to a
company, and appointed to a regiment of European infantry at Ve-
lore; on joining which, he obtained the grenadier company, with
which he had served in the field nearly two years as first lieutenant.

A few months afler. Captain Mackay was appointed by the go-
vernment of Madras to the command of the fort of Arnee, of
which it had been determined to make a grand dep6t during the
war just then recommenced with Tippoo Sultaun. He accordingly
took charge of the garrison of Arnee in May 1789, where he re-
mained during the war, and at its close was relieved, and joined his
regiment at Velore.

War with France having succeeded the short peace, an attack on
Pondichory was resolved on, and the corps to which Captain Mackay



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MILITARY CALENDAR. 47

then belonged not being one of those selected to form the siege, he
got appointed to one that was ; and when the place fell, had the
temporary command of a corps that formed part of the garrison.

Early in the year 1793 he was appointed to command a native
corps in the subsidiary force of the Nizam of the Deccan, which he
joined immediately. The next year the detachment, consisting of
two native battahons, a company of artillery, and six six-pounders,
were ordered to proceed against some refractory subjects of the Ni-
zam's ; whom, after beating in the field, and taking all their guns,
he was directed, the next evening, to take the pettab, or town. On
getting over the mud wall that surrounded it, he found that a party,
twice the amount of the number under his command, were in posses-
sion of a high hill, of difficult access, in the middle of the place,
which he was obliged to storm, and was so fortunate as to succeed,
with the loss of only one man, taking a standard, and killing and
wounding several. Captain Mackay next besieged, with only two
breaching guns, a strong fort called Rachare, and took it by assault
on the second day.

In the year 1797 he left the subsidiary force, and was appointed
major to a regiment, named in the arrangements for forming an
army to attack the Spanish settlement of Manilla : the 1st division
of transports with troops arrived at the Prince of Wales's Island, the
rendezvous, but the expedition being countermanded. Major Mackay
was directed, with four companies of the regiment to which he be-
longed, to reinforce the officer commanding the troops at Amboyna ;
and had permission to return to the coast in 1799» on account' of ill
health. In 18(X) he was made commandant of Ryacottah, on the
frontiers of Mysore : in six months afterwards he was directed to
complete his battalion to 12CX) firelocks, and to march, agreeable to
instructions sent him, to watch the motions of some plunderers that,
during harvest time, frequently descended from the hills, and pillaged
the neighbouring villages. A short time aft«r, he was ordered by
the commanding officer of the troops in Mysore (Col. Wellesley, now
Duke of Wellington,) to march to Bangalore, there to await the



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48 THE EAST INDIA

arrival of a field officer erf His Majesty's service, marching with
troops and recruits for the regiments of the line in the Mysore
country, and with that party to proceed to Seringapatam.

On the day of his arrival. Major Mackay received the commands of
the governor in council of Madras to move immediately to take posses-
sion of a large tract of country ceded to the Madras government by his
highness the Nizam of the Deccan : this accomplished, he was ordered
to join a division of the army under the command of Maj.-Gen.
Dugald Campbell; by whom he was almost immediately after de-
tached with his own corps, and a brigade of guns, to take pos-
session of the capital of a petty hill Rajah, and secure him as refrac-
tory and disobedient. The Rajah escaped, but made his peace soon
after. Maj. Mackay was next detached with a troop of cavalry,
and an officer of artillery, with a brigade of guns added to his corps,
on a hill and jungle service ; on which occasion he was obliged to
conceal his corps in the woods by day, and march all night. He
was three weeks occupied on this tiresome expedition, taking one of
the petty chieftains prisoner, burning the gates, and destroying the
little fort of another, and forcing a third to make his submission.

In 1802 he went on furlough to Madras, and while there on private
business, an application was received by the governor from the com-
manding officer in Mysore, requesting that two experienced field
officers might be sent up to him, to command two corps that he
thought required older officers at their head than they had, as he was
going on service ; and the subject of this memoir was directed by
the Com.-in-Chief to hold himself in readiness to proceed to Seringa-
patam, as the exigencies of the service required it. He begged
leave to set off immediately, as the distance was great, and it was
the hottest season of the year; but was assured, that he should be
informed in due time to enable him to join: he repeated his appli-
cation without efiect ; and when ultimately he obtained permission
to march, though he used every effort, by travelling day and night,
he arrived too late. He did duty at Seringapatam until Sept., when
he applied for leave to go to England, after above twenty-nine



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MILITARY CALBKDAR. 49

year's service. In Oct. 1802 he left Madras, and arrived in Eng-
land March 1803.

The 21st September 1804 he obtained the rank of lieut.-col.
commandant; 25th April 1808, that of colonel ; 4th of June 1811,
that of maj.-gen. ; and the 19th July 1821, of lieut.-gen.



THE LATE LIEUT.-GEN. VERE WARNER HUSSEY.

(Bengal Establishment.)

This officer was appointed to the artillery on the Bengal establish-
ment in 1769; arrived 6th Oct. 1770; lieutenant fireworker, 12th
March 1771 ; lieutenant, 10th Jan. 1773; captain, 28th Feb. 1777;
major, 17th April 1786; lieut.-col., 14th Sept. 1790; cdonel, 8th
Jan. 1796; maj.-gen., 1st Jan. 1798; and lieut.-gen., 1st Jan. 1805*

He embarked for Bengal in 1770, where he engaged in arduous
service in common with his contemporaries. Whilst in the Carnatic,
und^ the command of Gen. Sir Eyre Coote, and on actual service,
he received a severe wound. After three years confinement, the Gov.*-
Gen., Mr Hastings, appointed him commksary of ordnance and
stores out of the provinces, and to the command of the artillery in
the province of Benares, and in the garrison of Chunar, where aU
the military boats at that station were placed under his charga

In 1785 he proceeded to Europe on furlough, and returned to
loiUta in 1788; in 1797 he succeeded to the command of the Bengal
artillery ; in 1799 he returned to Europe; and in 1803 was trans*
ferred to the retired list.

Owing to the wound above-mentioned, Lieut.-Gen. Huss^ con-
tJBued very lame till his death, which took place in 1823.



H



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50 THB BAST IVDIA

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL WILLIAM NEVIL CAMERON.

(Bengal Establishment.)

This officer was appointed a cadet on the Bengal establishment in
Feb. 1773» and having some knowledge of mathematics, was no-
minated an assistant engines, and employed at the fort of Buxar
till 1774, when he joined the cadet corps serving with the army in the
Rohilla campaign, and was employed under the field engineer in
throwing up some temporary works. In May 1775 he obtained a
commission in the corps of engineers, and joined at Fort William;
shortly after which he was appointed deputy to the field engineer
with the army in the Vizier's country, where he w^ engaged in active
service. In 1777 he rejoined the head-^qmrtars of his corps at Fort
William ; in Jdty 1778 he was promoted to the rank of liratenant ;
and about the end of that year was ordered to proceed with a
detacbmeiit under Maj. Camac, intended to join Gen. Goddard in
the Mahratta country ; but afyjer having moved to the Company's
wertera frontier, and halted for some weeks, the detachment was
lecatted, and eantoned at Dinapore. In 1779 he joined a detach-
meat under M§q. Piqpham, as field engineer, which crossed the
Jumna tO( assist ^eRaanah ofGohud in opposing the Mahrattas, and
was engaged in the ofi^'ations terminating with the escalade of the
Ibrtress of Gualior, whidi was effected by surprise just before the
dawn of the 3d of August 1780. Aboirt this period government
deemed it advisable to threaten Scindia's northern fromtiery and a
strong force, commanded by Col. Camac (added to the detachment
senritigiBrtheGohud country,) was appointed for this service ; to wUch
this officer was attached, and saw some active service ; as well as
widn a superior force under Col. Muir, who succeeded Col. Camac.
About this period (June 1781) he was promoted to the rank of cap-
tain. In 1783 arrangements being made with the Mahrattas, the army
went into cantonments, and Capt. Cameron proceeded to Calcutta.



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MILITARY CALBKDAR. 51

In 1784 he was appointed field engineer to the army semng in tlie
Vizier's country; and in 1787 obtained the situation of comiliaDd-
ing eotgineer in the fortress of Chunar. The 15th Not. 1788 he was
promoted to the ranlc of major; and the 24th Feb. 1793 to the ranlc
of lieut-coL and chief engineer at Fort William, where he continued
to fill the duties of that c^ce, with a seat at the military board, tSl
1804, and then was brought on the general staff of the army as maj.-i
gen. Early in the following year, finding his constitution iamek im^
paired, he was obliged, against his inclination, to return to £mofie,
after a continued absence of thirty-three years. He obtain^ the
rank of colonel Sd May 1796 ; of maj.-gen. 1st Jan. 1801 ; and of
lieut-gen. 25th April 1808.



LIEUTENANT-COLONEL HENRY A. O^DONNELL, C.B.

(Bengal Establishment.)

This officer arrived at Madras as a Bengal cadet in January 1781,
and served in a corps of cadets, when Hyder Ally threatened that
fortress. In May of the same year, he was appointed, as lieutenant, to
the detachment of Bengal troops, seihring in the west of India, under
Gen. Goddard ; and on his way to join thelt army at Bombay by fiiea,
volunteered to serve at the sieges of Nagapatam and Trihcamale, and
was wounded in the head at the storm of fort Osnaburg, at the latter
place. On his recovery he joined Gen. Goddard's army, and par-
took of the services performed by it. In 1791 he volunteered, and
served in the Carnatic, in the war against Tippoo Sultaun, under Lord
Comwallis, until the storming of Tippoo's lines, on the 6th of Feb.
1792, at Seringapatam, put an end to that war. In 1793 he wi^ em-
ployed in quelling an insurrection of Rajah Damoodah Bunga in the
Midnapore district, pursuant to the iiistmctioBs of Mr. Dowdeswell,



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52 THB EAST INI>IA

tiie judge and magistrBte of that district ; upon whidi occasion he re-
ceived a letter expressing the approbatiod of that gentleman for th^
promptness and decision with which he executed that duly. The 7th
of January 179&$ he obtained the rank of captain. In the latter end;
of 18QS he served under the late Lord Lake at the sieges of Sasuee
and.Hdsergur, at the siege of Agra in 1803, and at the battle of
Lasn^mree on the 1st Nov. in that year. In 1804 Capt. O'Donnell
comanuided the 12th regiment of Bengal N. I. under Brig.-Gen.
Mcmson, in the disastrous retreats to and from Kampoorah. The
grenadier companies of that detachment were formed into a body,
which he commanded in a night attack, on the south bank of the
Chumbul river; upon which occasion he succeeded in completely
routing the enemy, and taking a considerable number of horses and
camels. He was promoted to the rank of major 21st Sept. 1804, and
commanded a battalion of the 12th regiment N. I. under Lord Lake,
in his extraordinary forced marches from Delhi to Furruckabad, with
the reserve of the army, where Holkar's army was surprised and routed.
He served at the siege of Deeg in command of the same corps, and
was woimded in the right hip at the first storm of Burtpoor, in Jan.
1805. In March 1807 he commanded a force sent against the fort
of Ackbar[>oor in the Vizier's dcnninions, which he took by storm, and
receiV^ed the thanks of the resident at Lucknow on that occasion. In
April 1808 bis battalion formed part of a detachment, under the
command of Lieut.-Col. (now Maj.-Gen.) R. Gregory, employed in
reducing the forts of Buddree and Gowrah, in the dominions of the
Newaub Vizier. In Oct. of the same year he commanded a force em-
ployed against some refractory Zemindars, who, possessing nineteen
mud forts in the Vizier's dominions, set his government at defiance :
having succeeded in taking the principal fort by storm, the others
speedily surrendered, and Major O'Donnell got possession of the
whole in a few days ; upon which occasion he received letters, ex-
pressive of the high approbation of his Excellency the Com.-in-Chief,
the commander of the forces, Capt Baillie, resident at Lucknow, and
of his Highness the Newaub Vizer— and of which the following are



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MILITARY .CAL£a9^DAB. 53

Extracts; He was promoted to lieiitJ-od. Bth Sept. I809i aod removed
to the comnand (^ the 2nd battalwn 4l;h N. I.

Lieut.-CoL O^Donnell was appointed June 4» 181 5» a knight com-
panion of the order of the Bath.