John Philippart.

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

. (page 6 of 45)
Online LibraryJohn PhilippartThe East India military calendar: containing the services of ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 6 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Extracts of Letters referred to in the preceditig Service.

" To Major 0*Donnell, Commanding at Purtaub Ghur.
" Sir, — Having submitted your letters of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd instant
to Maj.-Gen. St. Leger, commanding in the field, I am directed to
convey to you his sincere congratulation upon the success resulting
from your gallantry and decision in the attack of the fortress of Peter
Serai. (Signed) " Wm. Casement, A. D. A. G.'^

" D.A. G. Office, Head-quariers in the Fields
Caunpoor, Nw. 8, 1808.''

" To Major 0*Donnell, Commanding at Purtaub Ghur.

" Sir,— I am directed by Maj.-Gen. St. Leger, commanding the
army in the field, to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the
3th inst. and to express to you his warm acknowledgments and con-
gratulations upon the very nierited success so honourably obtained by
the detachment under your command. The Maj.-Gen. refrains from
saying more upon what so soon must be made known to the Com.-in-
Chief, but desires me to assure you, he anticipates with heartfelt satis-
faction a communication of his Excellency's sentiments upon the re-
sult of a very short but honourable warfare, so entirely to be attributed
to your personal decision, with the gallantry of the oflScers and troops
under your command.

(Signed) " Wm. Casement, A.D. A. G.

" D.A. G. Office J Head-quarters in the Field j
CaunpoWy Nov. 12, 1808."

" To Major G^Donnell, Commanding at Purtaub Ghur.
^^ Sir, — ^I am directed by Maj.-Gen. St. lieger, commanding in the
fidd, to communicate to you the very great satisfection he derives in

Digitized by



coDveying to the officers and soldieis under your command the very
merited and high approbation of the Com^^in-Chief, which the Maj.-
Gen. cannot perform in a manner more satisfactory to himself and to
them, than in the expression of his desire that the acting Adjut.-Ge-
neral's letter, a copy of which is hereunto annexed, may be read and
explained to the Native soldiers, at the head of the detachment that
was employed so honourably to themselves, and beneficially to the
service. (Signed) " Wm. Casement, A. D. A. G.

" D.A.G. Office, Caunpoor, Nov. 27, 1808/'

" To Majoe-General St. Leger, Commanding in the Field.

" Sir, — I have had the honour to lay before the Com.-in-Chief
your letter of the 7th inst. referring to Maj. 0*Douneirs despatch of
the 1st to my address, giving an account, for his Excellency's infor-
mation, of the success of his operations against the refractory Ze-
mindars of the Nawaub Vizier in the district of Purtaub Ghur.

The Com.-in-Chief requests you will signify to Maj. 0*Donnell his
Excellency's best thanks for the promptitude, judgment, anddecision^
with which he conducted the service recently entrusted to him ; and
that the same be communicated to Major Knox, and the whole of the
officers and men composing Maj. O^Donneirs detachment, by whose
gallant exertions the authority of the Vizier has been so speedily re-
established, and the detachment so soon enabled to return to its
cantonments. (Signed) " G. F. Fagan, Acting Adj.-Gen.

" Head-quarterSj Camp Hoorallj Nw. 16, 1808.''

" To Major 0*Donnell, Commanding the Detachment in Kewaee.
" Sir, — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
under date the 1st inst, conveying the satisfactory and important in-
telligence of the success of the troops under your command against
the fortress of Peter Serai, and the entire destruction of the rebellious
garrison of that fortress. The extraordinary rapidity and success of
your operations against Peter Sorai are highly creditable to your
zeal and judgment in conducting them, and to the gallantry of the

Digitized by



troops under your oommaiKl ; uid I anticipate the speedy suitender
of all the r^naining fortresses, as the effect of the severe but salu-
tary example which you have aff^ed in the reduction of Peter
Serai/' (Signed) ** J. Baillie, Resident.

'' iMcknoWy 5th Nw. 1808/'

<^ To Ma J, O^DoNKBLL, Commanding the Troops at Purtaub Qhur.

SiR| — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your several

" The rapidity and complete success of your operations in the dis-
trict of Kewaee have already obtained, as they merited, the expressions
of my admiration and respect, and have been communicated in suitable
terms for the notice of the Gov.«-Gen. in council. His £xc. the
Vizier has also desired me to convey to you his sentiments of appro*
batioh and applause. (Signed) ^^ J. Baillie, Resident.

" LudcMW^ nth Nov. 1808.''


(Bengal Establishment.)

This officer joined the reg. of Bengal art. in Fort William, as a
cadet, the 5th Nov. 1781 ; he was promoted to lieutenant fireworker
26th July 1782 ; to lieutenant, 26th June 1788 ; to capt.-lieuL
8th Jan. 1796; to captain, 18th Feb. 1802 ; to major, 28th Feb. 1806;
and to lieut.^col. 5th Dec. 1809.

In 1781 he was employed in garrison duties, and the practice of
artillery in its various branches ; in 1782 in arrangement and exercise
of the camp at Dum Dum, in the vicinity of Calcutta ; and in 1783
he embarked on board ship for Madras, and joined the Bengal army
in the Carnatic under the command of the late Gen. Sir Eyre Coote.
On peace being estabUshed with the Mysore chief, the artillery re-

Digitized by



turned by sea to Bengal. In 1784 he was ordered on garrison duty
at Port William, and employed in regimental exercise and practice of
artillery in the camp at Dum Dura.

In 1785 he was detached to the powder works for proof and ex-
amination of gunpowder, on removal of the contractor,* Capt.
Stewart, Edward Hay, Esq. in charge. At the end of this year he
was ordered to join the Gholundauz N. Art. at Chunar cantonments,
where he remained until the reduction and distribution of that corps,
as ordered by government, the men being transferred to the N. h

In 1786 he was ordered to join by water the artillery at Dinapore,
and was employed in the practice of artillery on the banks of the
Soane river, constructing mud redoubts, mining and blowing them
up, and in surveying Patna magazine. At the annual relief of the
troops at the close of 1787 he was ordered to Caunpoor with the Dina-
pore division, consisting of the King's and Company's troops, under
the command of Col. N. Macleod, and put on field-roaster duty.

In June 1788, orders being issued for his promotion and removal
from the field, he proceeded by water to the presidency, and was
posted to a company of artillery at Dum Dum. In Jan. 1789 he
was ordered to march from the presidency, with two companies of
artillery, for Burhampoor and Dinapore, accompanied by two new
constructed six-pounder carriages for experiment : they were reported
after trial unserviceable. In Nov. he was directed to proceed from
Dinapore, with one company of artillery, to Caunpoor, where he can-
toned. In 1790 and 1791 he was employed in regimental duties, and
frequently detached to Lucknow. In 1792 he had orders to bivouac
on the flank of cantonments with a company of artillery ; and in
Nov. he marched and entered Futtehgurh. In 1793 general orders
were issued for the station troops to retrogade to the presidency, in-
fantry for Barrackpoor, artillery for Dum Dum, where he joined the
head-quarters of the regiment, and after practice with the corps
moved into Fort William. In 1794 he was directed, with three com-
panies of European artillery, with their gun lascars, staff, and esta-

Digitized by



blishment complete, to embark on board the ship Fort William for
Madras. The artillery detachment was destined to accompany a
chosen division of the army assembled in the vicinity of Madras,
and intended for foreign service ; but on Lord Hobart's arrival from
England to relieve Sir Charles Oakley, the governor of Madras, the
design was abandoned. It was then considered unadvisable to
embark so large a European force from the . Coromandel coast : the
artillery re-embarked for Bengal, and landed in Fort William. In
1795 he was employed on the garrison duties ; in 1796 he received
orders to embark on board of boats, with a detachment of artillery-
men and guns, to proceed by the Sundyabunds for Chittagong,
where he landed, and commanded the artillery in that province to
the close of 1797. From thence he was directed to proceed by water
alone to join the army in the field under Gen. Sir James Craig:
he embarked in the river Ganges, and landed at Caunpoor in Dec.
In 1798 he was detached with men and guns to the residency at
Lucknow, where he remained three months on command, and then
fell back to Caunpoor. In Dec. he accompanied the field army for
Anoopshire, to give check (as published in general orders by Gen. Sir
James Craig) to Zeman Shaw, the king of Cabul's advancement in
favour of Tippoo Sultaun.

Shortly after the army had reached its destination at Anoopshire,
intelligence being received of Vizier Ally's rebellion at Benares, the
field army quickly retrogaded, and encamped at Lucknow; from
which capital this officer was detached, under cbmmand of the late
Gen. Robert Stuart, with a well-equipped artillery, in pursuit of
Vizier Ally and his adherents, at the foot of the Nepaul mountains:
he came up with the rebels at the village of Toolsepore, where they
dispersed and fled in every direction. The assassin rebel, Newaub
Vizier Ally, disguised as a fakeer, made his escape to the Rajah Jey-
pore, but was afterwards delivered up by the Rajah to Col. Collins,
and died a prisoner in the garrison of Fort William.

This service accomplished, the army returned to Caunpoor, from
whence this officer was detached with men and guns for Lucknow


Digitized by



rasideaacy, and remained ob oommaad till the close of 17999 when
he Ml back with his division to Caunpobr cantODimente. In Jan.
1800 he was ordered by Gen. Sir James Craig to Futlehgurh, under
the command of Gen. R. Stuart.

In May 1800 he was detached with artillery, and a battalion, 7th
N. I., Col. James Morris commanding, for the reduction of Dis^
tempom fort; which was captured, after a gallant defence, dismantled,
mined, and blowii up. He returned to Futtehgurh, and from tlience
io 1801, und^ command of Gen. R. Stuart, marched to Barrelie, fiur
the redudtion of the Nabob of Lucknow's r^ractory corps* They
were reduced, disbanded, and the Nabob's ordnance sent to Lucknow ;
and this service effected, the troops fell back to Futtehgurh.

Early in 1808 the fort of Sasnee was besieged by the troops from
Caunpoor: an attempt to storm having. foiled, the Com.-in-Chief,
Lord .Lake, went to the siege to view and conduct the operations;
and the artillery, with this officer, were then ordered to join from
Futtehgurh. Batteries were opened against the fortress, and Sasnee
was taken with the loss of a few artillery men. He next marched
against Bidzergur, a fortress of great strength and respectability,
which/fell after a severe loss (including Col. Gordon, who was killed.)
Lieut.-Col. Constable was here wounded in the belly by a cannon
shot in the grand battery, when besieging the place at noon-day,
and in the presence of the Com.-in-Chief. The fortress taken and
garrisoned, the army marched against Catchoura, which surrendered
on a battery bdng constructed: the enemy evacuated tl;^ fbrt at
night. The Com.-in-Chief then ordered the Caunpoor and Futteh-
gurh divisions, to return to their respective stations, preparatory to
more extensive operations — the conquest of the Dooaub, and the
famed empire of Delhi, the capital of Hindostan.

At Futtehgurh Lieut.-Col. Constable, judging himself sufficiently re-
covered from the effects of his wound to take the field again, he, in
the month of August 1803, with the artillery, left the station, and
joined the English army assembled under command of Gen. Lord
Lake at Mindy Ghaut, on the banks of the Ganges. The army

Digitized by



marched against tbe Mahratta and French forces assembled under
Gen. PerroiJ, their Com. -in-Chief, in the pay of Dowlut Eao Soindia,
and defeated them on the 29th of Aug. near Coil : on the 4th of S^.
1803 attacked and blue open the gates bf the hitherto considered
impregnable fort of Allygurh stormed and captured the fortress,
with Gen, Pedrong commandant, 281 pieces of ordnance, and a nu-
merous garrison. Upwards of 2000 of the ^nemy were killed. The
British Ipss was considerable : 228 oflScers and privates of the artil-
lery and infaiitry were killed and wounded. The Frfench Com.-in-
Chief in the field. Gen. Perron, at the same time came in and sur-
rendered himself.

After garrisoning Allygurh the army marched towards Delhi,
and on the 11th of Sept. defeated the enemy, consisting of cavalry,
infantry, and a large train of ordnance, under Gen. Louis Bourguien.
The loss of the enemy amounted to 3000 men, with sixty-eight pieces
of cannon, whilst that of the British in killed and wounded did not
exceed 400. On the 14th the army crossed the river Jumna, entered
Delhi, and on the same day Gen. Bourguien surrendered himself with
four of his officers. On the 24th of Sept. the army marched from
Delhi; on the 2nd Oct. arrived at Mutra; and on the 4th encamped
before Agra. On the morning of the 10th the Com.-in-Chief or-
dered an attack on seven battalions of the enemy's infantry, encamped
with a considerable number of guns on the glacis, The enemy were
defeated with the loss of 600 men and 26 pieces, brass guns, with their
tumbrils. The British loss amounted to 228 killed and wounded.
After this obstinate defence, operations for the siege commenced ;
the grand breaching battery was constructed within 350 yards of the
fort, near the river, and completed with eight eighteen-pounders and
four howitzers, an enfilading battery of four twelve-pounders to the
left of the breaching battery, and to the right two twelve-pounders.

At break of day of the 17th the fire from the batteries commenced,
and was ably directed to breach, and bring the bastion into the ditch,
which the enemy perceiving, sent out next morning to capitulate, and
the garrison, amounting to 6000, surrendered.

Digitized by



The fruits of this glorious conquest were from twenty-two to twenty-
four lacs of rupees, seventy-six brass guns, and eighty-six iron guns of
different calibres, mortars, howitzers, carronades, and gallopers: — total
164, with their tumbrils. One of their guns, surveyed by Lieut.-Co].
Constable, was of a most extraordinary nature, viz. brass of one cy-
linder, calibre twenty-three inches, metal at the muzzle eleven and a
half inches, diameter of the trunnions eleven inches, length fourteen
feet two inches, length of the bore eight feet eight inches, of the
chamber four feet four inches, diameter of ditto ten inches, length of
the cascabel one foot two inches, weight of the gun I2074. maunds,
equal to 96,600 pounds. The ball, made of cast-iron, weighed 1500
pounds, and 108 pounds of gunpowder were requisite to fill the
chamber. The enemy shot balls of stone. The gun was valued at
100,000 rupees.

After garrisoning Agra, the army marched on the 27lh Oct. in
pursuit of the enemy from the Deccan, the last of the French or-
ganized corps, to which was attached a formidable field artillery.
On the morning of the 1st of Nov. 1803, Lord Lake gallantly ad-
vanced with the cavalry and galloper guns, and came up with the
enemy at the village of Laswarree, and, in order to detain them till
the artillery and infantry were up, his lordship engaged. The struggle
was severe, and the loss of men on both sides very great ; but the ob-
ject was accomplished: the artillery and infantry got up with the
advance by eleven o'clock, A. M. after an hour's halt, and march of
twenty-five miles under a burning sun. The army formed, attacked,
and by four o'clock in the afternoon victory declared for the English.
The loss sustained by the British accomplishing this decisive victory
was great, 800 killed and wounded ; that of the enemy 7000. The
whole of their seventeen battaUons of infantry were annihilated, except
about 2000 prisoners : seventy-two pieces of artillery were captured,
5000 stand of arms, forty-four stand of colours, sixty-four ammunition
tumbrils, three with money, the bazars, camp equipage and baggage,
elephants, camels, and above I6OO bullocks — their cavalry cut up and
broken. On the 8th of Nov. the English left the bloody field, the

Digitized by



Stench of which was intolerable ; — a bed of honour to the conqueror
and vanquished, and to Asia repose.

On the l6th of April 1804, Col. Monson was detached from the
hue with a company of artillery, ten guns, and three battalions of
Sepoys : he was afterwards joined by a corps of N. C. Col. Mon-
son's division was attacked and defeated by Holkar. The health of
Lieut.-Col. Constable being much injured, he was compelled, in May
1804, to obtain leave from Lord Lake to quit the field, and proceed
to Agra and Futtehgurh, where he arrived in June. From thence he
embarked in the Ganges for Calcutta, and landed in August, prepa-
ratory to a European voyage for the benefit of his health ; and, in
Sept. 1805, he arrived in England, on furlough, after an absence of
twenty-five years.

In 1806 Lieut.-Col. Constable obtained permission of the court of
directors to put himself under the control of the board of ordnance,
(the Marquess of Hastings then Master-Gen.) to forge and cast ord-
nance on the same principle as manufactured in Asia, and taken at
AUygurh, Delhi, Agra, and Laswurree. From having been a member
of a committee for the survey of all the captured guns and stores, &c.
he obtained a thorough knowledge of the enemy's brass ordnance with
iron cylinders, their nature, properties, and formation, possessing ad-
vantages and superiority over the guns of Europe. In this object he
succeeded, after experiencing innumerable difficulties, but which he was
enabled to surmount through the assistance of the board of ordnance,
and under the auspices of Gen. Sir Thomas Blomfield, who furnished
him with materials from Woolwich. The guns were cast by Lieut.-
Col. Constable in London, put to proof, and surveyed by a committee
of artillery field-officers at Woolwich, and the thanks of the honour-
able board of ordnance were conveyed to him for his trouble.

In March 1 808 Lieut.-Col. Constable again embarked for India,
and landing on the 22nd August, was put on field-officer's duty in
Fort William garrison. In Feb. 1809 he received orders to proceed
by water to Allahabad, to command the artillery in that fortress, where
he practiced and exercised the artillery corps in Col. Shrapnell's ex-

Digitized by



perimental shot and shells, the principles of w^hich he had acquired
of that judicious and scientific officer whilst in £ngland. At the ex-
piration of two years' command, Lieut.-Col. Constable's health de-
clining, he was reluctantly compelled to give up the command, and
shortly after returned to England.

In the year 1816, and in conformity with the East India Com-
pany's regulations, Lieut.-Col. Constable forwarded to the secretary
at the East India-House (most unwillingly, it being his ambition to die
in the service) certificates of his state of health, requesting permission
to retire from the service on the pay of his rank, which was granted ;
" the reward of thirty-five years foreign service/'

The following is an extract of a letter from the court of directors,
dated the 29th April, 1808, to Lord Minto, then Gov.-Gen. in Ben-
gal, in reference to Lieut.-Col. Constable's introduction at Woolwich
of the Asiatic mode of casting brass ordnance with iron cylinders.

" In our letter of the 2nd of May, 1806, you were informed that
we had shipped for your presidency a quantity of shells of a new and
improved construction, for the use of field artillery ; and as we con-
ceive that the eflfect of these sliells would be better appreciated were
there an officer on the spot experimentally acquainted with their con-
struction, to be occasionally advised with and consulted, and who
would also be able to instruct others in their use, we recommend to
your ncrtice Major Constable, belonging to the corps of artillery bn
your establishment, who, during his stay in England, has been em-
ployed under the orders of his Majesty's board of ordnance, and has
therefore acquired such a knowledge of the principles of the construc-
tion of these shells, and of the improvements lately introduced into the
Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, as to render him well qualified for the
purpose above-mentioned. Major Constable has also evinced a laud-
able zeal in having successfully introduced into the Royal Arsenal the
Asiatic mode of casting brass ordnance, and we direct that you com-
municate to him our approbation of his conduct in this respect.
Major Constable proceeded to Bengal in the Hugh Inglis."

Digitized by



Description of Brass Guns mth iron cylinders^ as manufactured in Asia^
and cast in England in 1806, under the direction of Lieut.-CoL George
Constable^ of the Regiment of Bengal Artillery^ by order of the Honour-
able the Board of Ordnance^ the Marquess of Hastings then Master-

The gun metal is a composition of brass and iron : the cylinder
smooth as glass, and formed of metal of a dbtinct quality : vent of
solid iron, and gun made after the English model.
..The advantages of the Asiatic ordnance are strength and lightness.
in strength equal to iron ordnance ; in lightness less than brass.' In
proof of the latter position, a three-pounder of the above cobsistency,
proved at Woolwich, weighed 2 cwts. 3 qrs, and 1 lb:: ah £nglish
tbree>^pounder weighs 3 cwts^ being a difference in metal of 27 lbs* The
advantages in respect to weight are of the greatest importance; viz.
&cility of movement, light and easy exercise m the field and in
garrison, and a consequent saving both in riiea and horses. On
ship^board a reduction of one-fourth or one-fifth in weight of metal
must be of incalculable service.

It is notorious to officers who have seen much service, that
brass guns are, owing to their fusibility, often rendered in the field
aiid in batteries totally unserviceable. Prom the running and melting
of the guns, increase of windage^ &c. the shot is fired without a
ceitaiBty of direction or distance; and hence it is evident that a
brass train of artillery at sieges can never be relied on*.

* The necessity of resorting to brass guns with iron cylinders, for all services by sea
and land, as recommended by Lieut. -Col. Constable, appears deserving the serious atten-
tion of the Britbh government. — J. P.

Digitized by




(Bengal Establishment.)

This oflScer was appointed a cadet on t!ie Bengal establishment in
1790; ensign, the 15th March 1773; lieutenant, 17th Nov. 1794;
captain, SOth Sept. 1803; major, 2nd Jan. 1811; and lieut.-col.
14th July 1815.

In Nov. 1791 he arrived in India, and in 1797 he was employed
by Lord Teignmouth to translate from the AVabic language an emi-
nent work on the M ahomedan law, compiled by Sir William Jones.
On the first formation of the college of Fort William, about 1800, he
was appointed professor of the Arabic and Persian languages, and of
Mahomedan law in that institution. From 1803 to 1807 he served as
political agent of the Gov.-Gen. in Bundlecund ; and on the death
of Col. Collins, in 1807, he was appointed resident at Lucknow,
where he remained till the end of 1815 ; and in June 1818 he was
placed on the retired Mst.

Lieut.-Col. Baillie was elected 28th May 1823, to a seat in the di-
rection of the affairs of the East India Company, vacated by the
retirement of Mr. Cotton.

The following extract of a letter to the Court of Directors from the
Gov.-Gen. in Council of Bengal, descriptive of Lieut.-Col. Baillie's
services in India during the eventful period of the Mahratta war,
which commenced in 1 803, with an extract from the answer to that let-
ter by the Court of Directors; and another extract from a minute of
the Gov.-Gen., Lord Minto, expressive of the opinion entertained by
that nobleman of the Lieut-Col/s services, under his immediate autho-
rity, and as his representative at the court of Lucknow — are inserted
as honourable testimonials of this officer's public career : —

Online LibraryJohn PhilippartThe East India military calendar: containing the services of ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 6 of 45)