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move any troops actually to Cabul, where your force will be
amply sufficient to beat anything the Afghans can oppose to it.
The operations, however, of the armies must be combined upon
their approach, so as to effect with the least possible loss the
occupation of Cabul, and keep open the communications between
Cabul and Peshawur. This letter remains absolutely secret."

In his second communication of the 4th July to
General Pollock, the Governor-General, in communi-
cating a copy of his letter to Nott adds,

" You will endeavour to combine your movements, as far as
you can, with those of the Major-General, should he decide upon
adopting the line of retirement by Ghuznee and Cabul ; and as
soon as he shall have advanced beyond Ghuznee, you will, as
senior officer, issue such orders to Major-General Nott as you may
deem fit ; but until the Major-General shall have passed Ghuznee,
his movements must rest with himself, as he alone can know all
the circumstances by which they must be determined."

It may be gathered from that passage in the instruc-
tions to General Nott, in which the Governor-General
intimates an opinion that General Pollock "will
probably not deem it necessary to move any troops

330 Life of Sir George Pollock.

actually to Cabul ; " also from the first-quoted letter
to General Pollock, and from a subsequent communi-
cation to him, dated 23rd July, wherein may be found
the following words: "you will possess sufficient
carriage to move the remainder of your army in
advance, to support the march of Major-General Nott
upon Cabul ; " also from a paragraph in a communi-
cation to the Secret Committee, written four days
subsequent to his letters to the two generals, in which
he makes mention that the forward movement of a
" portion " of Pollock's army was to be confined " to
an advance towards the upper end of the Jellalabad
valley," and that " the Major-General has already
moved a brigade of his army on Pesh Bolak, a measure
which he deems prudent as a demonstration to overawe
the turbulent tribes situated on the flanks of his future
line of march, when he retires through the Khyber
Pass," it may fairly be inferred from all these pas-
sages, that the Governor- General intended that General
Pollock was to confine himself to a demonstration, and
was not to advance on Cabul. Looking at this order
in the light of subsequent events, and considering the
heavy fighting that took place at Tezeen, near the
defiles of the Khoord Cabul, a pass more terrible than
the Khyber, there can be small doubt (and it was
an opinion often expressed by General Pollock) that
the result of Nott's retiring unaided through the
passes would have been most disastrous.

At length the hour for action had come, and it
not only found General Pollock ready, but eager to

Life of Sir George Pollock. 331

embark in the enterprise of advancing on Cabul, the
responsibility for undertaking which was, by a most
unjustifiable expedient, cast upon his shoulders. " If
I have not," he wrote to a friend, " lived long enough
to judge of the propriety of an act for which I alone
am responsible, the sooner I resign the command as
unfit the better. I assure you that I feel the full
benefit of being unshackled and allowed to judge for
myself." And he had a worthy coadjutor in his
brother General on the other side of Afghanistan.
Nott was in a mood to respond eagerly to the sugges-
tion thrown out by the Governor- General. Since the
day he heard from George Pollock requesting him to
stand fast, notwithstanding the orders of his military
and political superiors at Simla, he had been anxious
to carry out the military operation of " retiring by
Ghuznee and Cabul/ 7 The Governor- General's letter
arrived just in time to prevent Nott from carrying out
the orders he had previously received to retire, and
which he considered left him, as a soldier, no option
but to obey. Major Clark son had at the end of
June brought up a convoy of camels from Quettah,
supplied by Major Outram's exertions, as the latter
had hoped, for the advance. The first three weeks of
July had passed away, the supply of carriage and
provisions was now sufficient, everything in short was
in train for withdrawing the army from Candahar.*

* Captain Peter Nicolson son, who fell at the assault at
who must not be confounded with Delhi, though he was almost as
the late lamented General Nichol- remarkable a man, and himself

332 Life of Sir George Pollock.

On receiving the Governor- General's letter, Nott did
not shrink from taking upon himself the responsibility
of the bolder course, and rep lied on the 20th July, ex-
pressing his determination " to retire a portion of the
army under my command via Ghuznee and Cabul."
It was, of course, above all things essential that the
Generals should act in concert that they should so
time their movements that the last blow should be
struck together. General Pollock accordingly wrote off
at once to ISTott, at Candahar, requesting to be informed
what course he proposed to adopt. " As I have offered
to meet him," he says in a letter to a friend, " he will
find some difficulty in resisting the glorious tempta-
tion ; but if he does resist, he is not the man I take
him for." Five messengers were despatched in suc-
cession to ISTott, and a letter was sent by Captain Colin
Troup, who actually had the amusing audacity to
make Akbar Khan, whose destruction was planned
therein, the medium of communication between the
two camps. A few common-place lines were written
in ink, while the message was indicted in rice-water,
to be brought out by the application of iodine.
Ingenious people, fond of epigrams, had a story that
General Pollock conveyed his message to Candahar

died the soldier's death at the off when he received the counter

sanguinary fight of Ferozeshuhur order. This I have had for some

in a private letter to General days, but it is of course kept very

Pollock, dated 22nd August, writes quiet." Captain Nicolson was en-

on this point : " Nott had made gaged to one of General Pollock's

all preparations to retire nay, the daughters, but his untimely death

day was named and the force told prevented the nuptials.

Life of Sir George Pollock. 333

by the enigmatical expression, " Advance, Nott; " but,
like that famous order of Wellington's at Waterloo,
" Up, guards, and at them," and Cambronne's reply to
the demand for surrender, " The guard dies, but never
surrenders," and many other equally pointed but
apocryphal sayings of great men on great occasions
the incident is purely fictional.

General Pollock was much afraid that Nott would
have commenced his retreat before the receipt of the
Governor-General's despatch of the 4th July. Writing
confidentially to Mr. Eobertson on the 10th August,
he says :

" My movement will, of course, depend on General Nott's ability
to meet me. Our late accounts from that quarter are not
favourable. They say that General Nott is bent on retiring, and
I very much fear that he will have made several marches to the
rear before the Government despatch can reach him. ....
I ought by this time to have heard from General Nott in reply to
my letter by the first of the five messengers. If he is not coming
on, my negotiations for the prisoners will be a very simple affair."

These negotiations, indeed, had, after Captain
Troup's return to Akbar Khan on the 12th August,
become the merest sham, for it was obvious that the
General could not proceed with them without hamper-
ing himself with conditions which, as a military com-
mander about to advance into the heart of the enemy's
country, would have been inadmissible. The Governor-
General had instructed him that " all military opera-
tions must proceed as if no negotiations were on foot ;"
but, as we have already seen, Akbar Khan had pre-
cluded any favourable result by demanding, as a

334 Itfe of Sir George Pollock.

condition of the delivery of the prisoners, that all the
British troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Lord Ellenborough, however, seems to have considered
it not wholly improbable that the contemplated mili-
tary movement upon Cabul would be suspended by
the favourable conclusion of the negotiations with the
enemy ; and in a letter to General Pollock, dated 29th
July, actually authorized him to exercise his discretion
in ordering Nott to retire by Quettah, even though the
march upon Ghuznee and Cabul had been commenced.
Subsequently, the Governor-General seemed to remem-
ber^that he had directed Pollock to leave him unfet-
tered until he had passed Grhuznee, for he wrote to
the latter on the 26th August, that he " could hardly
imagine the existence of circumstances which would
justify the diversion of Major-General Nott's army
from the route of Ghuznee and Cabul, when his in-
tention of marching by that route shall have been
once'clearly indicated/'

All doubt was put an end to by the middle of
August, when the long-expected messenger arrived
from General Nott, bearing the following most welcome
letter :

" CandaJiar, July 27th, 1842.

" MY DEAR GENERAL, You will have received a copy of a letter
from the Governor-General, under date the 4th instant, to my
address, giving me the option of retiring a part of my force to
India, vid Cabul and Jellalabad. I have determined to take that
route, and will write to you fully on the subject as soon as I have
arranged for carriage and supplies. Yours truly, W. NOTT."

Pollock was right in his estimate of Nott's character ;

Life of Sir George Pollock. 335

the latter was too gallant a soldier to resist the
"glorious temptation" held out to him, and every
British heart in the two armies at Jellalabad and
Candahar must have beat high with the fierce expec-
tancy of coming battle, when, after months of weary
waiting and hope deferred, the order was given to

33 6 Life of Sir George Pollock.


Mamoo Khail. Jugdulluck. Tezeen. Occupation of Cabul. 20th of
August to 15th of September, 1842.

IT would be impossible to describe the enthusiasm with
which the news of the intended advance was received
by every officer and man of General Pollock's gallant
army. The question as to whether the force was to
advance or withdraw had been eagerly discussed at
every mess-table for the last four months, and the
General himself, the most cautious of men, had kept
his counsel so well, that the result of the correspon-
dence with the Supreme Government was unknown
even to Sir Eobert Sale. That noble old soldier, only
too eager to take part in whatever fighting was on the
tapis, on learning the General's intentions, wrote to
him from Futtehabad, under date 16th August,
" Hurrah ! this is good news. All here are prepared
to meet your wishes to march as light as possible. /
take no carriage from the commissariat ; and our
officers are doubling up four in a small hill-tent,* and

* These tents, called pauls, Europeans; yet during this me-

were in use among the Sepoys, morable advance, nothing else were

and were considered to afford in- used by officers, from the General

sufficient shelter from the sun to downwards.

Life of Sir George Pollock. 337

are sending all to the rear that they can dispense with.
. ... I am so excited that I can scarce write!'

Not so overjoyed was Sir Jasper Nicolls whom
Sir Charles Napier was cruel enough to call in his
Journal "an old woman" -on the receipt of this intel-
ligence. It found him in a state of perplexity, as
appears by the following extract from his MS.
journal, quoted by Kaye :

" August 24. The 3rd Dragoons, an another troop of horse
artillery, are about to join Sir B. Sale at Futtehabad. Can the
General be now organizing an advance on Cabul ? Is he com-
manded to do so ? Can he effect it ? Is he to encamp at Gunda-
muck till Nott's attack on Ghuznee (if that take place) ? It is
curious that I should have to ask myself these questions, but so
it is. I am wholly ignorant of the intended movements of either.
Lord Ellenborough means to surprise friend and foe equally.
August 27. To-day I find, by a despatch from General Pollock,
that General Nott has decided on retiring to the provinces, vid

Ghuznee and Cabul. Lord E , by letter dated 4th of July,

gave him a choice as to the line by which to withdraw, and he
has chosen this certainly the noblest and the worthiest ; but
whether it will release our prisoners and add to our fame I can-
not venture to predict. Lord E.'s want of decent attention to my
position is inexcusable."

Sir Eobert Sale had been encamped for some little
time with his own brigade, and some horse artillery at
Futtehabad, two marches from Jellalabad. General
Pollock first despatched the 3rd Dragoons under
Colonel White, who commanded the cavalry brigade,
and some more artillery to join him, and on
the morning of the 20th August, himself moved


Life of Sir George Pollock.

towards Grundamuck, with head- quarters and the fol-
lowing details : Captain Abbott's battery, six guns;
5th company Sappers and Miners ; one squadron
5th Light Cavalry ; head-quarters and one squadron
10th Light Cavalry; H.M.'s 9th Foot ; 26th and 60th
Eegiments of Native Infantry. His camp was pitched
that day at Sultanpore, and he proposed to assemble
at Grundamuck the following troops, which he decided
to take with him on his advance to Cabul, in addition
to those above mentioned : 3rd troop, 1st brigade,
Horse Artillery, four guns ; 3rd troop, 2nd brigade,
Horse Artillery, four guns ; and Captain Backhouse's
Mountain Train, three guns total, 17 guns. H.M.'s
3rd Dragoons ; 1st Regiment Light Cavalry; and 600
of the 3rd Irregular Cavalry. The whole of Sir
Eobert Sale's and Brigadier Tulloch's Brigades of In-
antry ; General McCaskill's division, of which Mon-
teith was Brigadier, including H.M.'s 31st Eegiment,
which had joined him at Jellalabad, the 33rd Eegi-
ment of Native Infantry, and the Eegiment of Bildars
or Pioneers, led by Mr. Mackeson, who did such good
service at Ali Musjid. The total force numbered
8,000 men. A detachment sufficient to hold Jellala-
bad was left behind, together with all the sick and
weakly men, and the superfluous baggage. This latter
consisted of almost the entire amount of impedimenta
belonging to the advancing troops ; indeed, so eager
were the officers and men to push on to Cabul, that
the officers of the 13th, emulating the example of the
General, and of their old colonel, Sir Eobert Sale,

Life of Sir George Pollock. 339

were content to congregate three or four together
in a small hill-tent; while that chivalrous soldier,
Broadfoot, ever foremost in devotion and duty,
offered to take on his Sappers without any tents
at all.*

General Pollock passed Sir Eobert Sale at Futte-
habad, and moved with General McCaskill's division,
some guns, and a detachment of Native cavalry to-
wards Gundamuck. He encamped on the 22nd in the
Valley of Neemlah, a picturesque spot remarkable for
a beautiful garden of plane and cypress-trees, planted
by Ahmed Shah, whose favourite resort it was. On
the advance of the force becoming known to them,
the Sikhs, who were on the left bank of the Cabul
river, requested permission to be allowed to recross
the stream. The General yielded to their wishes on
their consenting to take up positions at Neemlah and
Gundamuck, where they would be of service in facili-
tating his communications with the rear. They ex-
pressed themselves as very anxious to participate in
the advance movement, and as their conduct, owing
entirely to the exertions of Henry Lawrence, had been
satisfactory, the General yielded to the solicitations
of the latter, who was to assume the command, and
attached a portion of the force, 300 horse and 200
foot, to McCaskill's division.

Some idea of the difficulties with which General
Pollock had to contend, and the heavy weight of re-

* General Sale to General Pollock, August 18th, 1842.

22 *

34 Life of Sir George Pollock.

sponsibility he incurred in the march now about to
commence, may be gathered from the accompanying
passage in a work by Lieutenant Greenwood, of the
31st Eegiment, entitled, "Narrative of the Late Vic-
torious Campaign in Afghanistan under General
Pollock." He says :

" It was necessary to carry every ounce of food for eight days'
consumption, for our baggage animals and the camp followers
and Sepoys were in the same predicament. It may be readily
conceived what a train of baggage we had to protect, although
everything was reduced as much as possible. Eight days' food
for 60,000 men, and for about 14,000 baggage animals, besides
that for the horses of the cavalry and artillery, must be carried,
or the army would be starved on the road. When it is considered
that, in many places, one camel only could go at a time, the
difficulty and delay in getting through these marches may be
imagined. For hours and hours together sometimes would the
baggage animals be jammed together in some of the narrow
gorges, without progressing an inch on the way. A march here
of ten miles generally took us twelve or fourteen hours, and the
rearguard was frequently near twenty-four hours in performing
the distance."

General Pollock reached Ghmdamuck on the 2 3rd, and
selected a strong position for the camp. Indications
of warm work were soon not wanting. In front of
the camp, to the left, about two miles distant, lay a
fort and village called Mamoo Khail, in which was
observed a considerable body of the enemy, of the
tribe called Ooloos. Having sent away their women
and children, they assembled under their chiefs,
Hadji Ali and Khyroollah Khan, and assumed a
threatening attitude. Three or four of them, indeed,
rode most impudently close up to the British camp,

Life of Sir George Pollock. 341

and fired their matchlocks, as if in defiance. Lieu-
tenant Mayne, officiating Assistant Quartermaster-
General, a gallant cavalry officer, who had served with
great distinction under Sale at the defence of Jellala-
bad, and who did equally well throughout the suc-
ceeding operations, pursued these fellows with a party
of horse, but the ground, being broken up into ravines,
was found unfavourable for cavalry, and the General
recalled the troopers. Throughout the whole of that
night the camp was disturbed by parties of the enemy
keeping up an ineffectual fire on the British pickets,
and shouting their war-cry of Allah ! Allah ! During
the night the General ordered up from Sale's camp a
squadron of the 3rd Dragoons and Captain Broad-
foot's corps of Sappers, and they joined before day-
light on the following morning.

General Pollock moved towards the enemy at 4 A.M.
on the 24th, with the greater portion of the troops
then with him, Major Davis of H.M/s 9th Foot being
left behind to take charge of the camp, with three
companies of the 26th Native Infantry, three com-
panies of the 60th Native Infantry, and fifty sowars
of the 3rd Irregular Cavalry. This duty was one of
considerable importance, as it was by no means im-
probable that the enemy would take advantage of the
British advance to send a party to loot the camp. The
squadron of the Dragoons having arrived just as the
troops were starting, the General considered their
horses would not be equal to a hard day's work over
such bad ground as lay before them, so they also were

Life of Sir George Pollock.

left in camp ; but he took on with him the indefatig-
able Broadfoot and his Sappers, who, notwithstanding
their fatigue, were eager for the fray.

On clearing the broken ground in front, the General
divided his force into two columns, with a wing of
H.M.'s 9th at the head of each, and skirmishers in
front. Captain Broadfoot was directed to go to the
right with his corps, which was supported by a
portion of the 3rd Irregulars. General Pollock
accompanied the right column, which was under
the more immediate command of General McCaskill.
Captain Abbott's battery proceeded with the columns,
and, as they advanced, opened on the enemy, who con-
tinued in position so long that it seemed as though
they intended to defend the village; but, after a little
skirmishing, they retreated, and Mamoo Khail, the
fields in front of which had been purposely flooded to
prevent the British advancing, was occupied by our
troops. The left column, under Brigadier Tulloch, now
went towards the fort of Mamoo Khail, and the right,
under Generals Pollock and McCaskill, proceeded to
Koochlie Khail, nearly two miles to the right, and
had some tough fighting. This detachment consisted
of four companies of H.M.'s 9th, and six of the 26th
Native Infantry, under the immediate command of
Colonel Taylor. The enemy, after abandoning their
positions at Mamoo Khail, and also the village of
Koochlie Khail, were strongly reinforced by the fugi-
tives driven back by Brigadier Tulloch's column, and,
assuming a menacing attitude, occupied in force a

Life of Sir George Pollock. 343

range of heights and detached summits in the Suffeid
Koh. The most salient of these was a spur of the
mountain within long musket range of the buildings
of Koochlie Khail. From this the Ooloos were dis-
lodged with the utmost spirit and gallantry by the de-
tails under Colonel Taylor, aided in the most effective
manner by Captain Broadfoot and his corps. The
former officer followed the enemy from crag to crag,
and dislodged them from eminences of the most pre-
cipitous character, the Sepoys of the 26th Native In-
fantry emulating their European comrades in daring
and courage.

Captain Broadfoot moved with his Sappers, and the
3rd (or Tait's) Irregular Cavalry, numbering 250
sabres, across a ravine on the ri^ht of the force.
He found the enemy strongly posted in an orchard
with some enclosures, while in their front were the
usual field works of loose stones, also occupied. As
this position flanked the approach of the main body,
Broadfoot formed an attacking party in front, while
he sent the rest of the Sappers under Lieutenant Orr
to turn the enemy's left flank, and Captain Tait still
more to the right and in advance, to cut off their
retreat. Broadfoot intended waiting the advance of
the main force, but the enemy being reinforced in the
orchard, he advanced to the attack. The positions
were quickly carried in succession. One party was
driven towards the 3rd Irregulars, who pursued, and
the remainder fled to the village of Mamoo Khail,
into which the main body of the enemy were at this

344 Life of Sir George Pollock.

moment driven by the fire of Captain Abbott's battery.
They, in return, opened an ill-directed matchlock fire,
and Broadfoot determined to carry the village, but on
his Sappers reaching it, the Ooloos fled to the fort,
which they entered, and then barricaded the gate ;
their fire was kept down by one party of Broadfoot's
corps, while the men of the remainder climbed on
each other's shoulders over a half-repaired bastion,
about eight feet high and covered with thorns. The
enemy made a precipitate retreat over the walls on the
other side, leaving the rear gate barricaded.

Though most of his men were exhausted by the
long march from Futtehabad and the previous opera-
tions, Broadfoot pushed on with the few capable of
further exertion, and forced the Ooloos into lower
ground, where the cavalry cut them up handsomely.
Directing parties to destroy the forts abandoned on
the approach of the cavalry, Broadfoot pressed on to
the last village near the hills, and succeeded in sur-
prising the enemy whose head- quarters were there.
Driving them out of the village and adjoining camp,
he was fortunate enough to capture the whole of their
tents, cattle, and a good supply of ammunition. The
Afghans now fled to the hills, and the Sappers being
completely worn out with their exertions, Captain
Broadfoot, who seemed gifted with almost preterna-
tural powers of endurance, taking a party of H.M.'s
9th and 26th Native Infantry, attacked the heights in
support of Colonel Taylor's party, when position after
position was carried at the point of the bayonet. The

Life of Sir George Pollock. 345

enemy were assembled here in great strength, and,
being reinforced, made many bold attacks, and kept
up a sharp fire of jezails from the almost inaccessible
peaks of the mountain; but General McCaskill's
command, though so hard pressed as to be compelled
to recede from ground which they had gained in one
direction, maintained an advanced position among the
hills, until withdrawn by General Pollock's orders, on
to the plateau in front of the village of Koochlie
Khail. In subsequently retiring over the plain

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