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over the battlements of the fortress from which it
had been torn. Accordingly, on the morning succeed-
ing his arrival at Cabul, General Pollock proceeded
to the Bala Hissar with the object of planting the
colours of our country upon its topmost pinnacles.

This was done with much military pomp and
circumstance. Besides the whole of the general
and provisional staff, the General took with him
a troop of Horse Artillery under Major Dela-
fosse, commanding the artillery ; a company of each
regiment of infantry ; the 3rd Dragoons, under
Major Lockwood; a troop of the 1st Light
Cavalry, and a rissallah of the 3rd Irregular

* The gates were eventually seen, among other arms and tro-
deposited in the Judgment Hall, phies of the different Indian cam-
now converted into an armoury, of paigns. They are twelve feet
the magnificent palace at Agra, high, of carved and inlaid sandal
commenced by the great Emperor wood. The three metal bosses
Akbar, in the time of James I., affixed to the panels are said to
about 1610. Here they may be be from the shield of Mahmoud.

Life of Sir George Pollock. 391

Cavalry. Prince Futteh Jung, who two weeks before
had joined the British camp at Gundamuck, asked
and obtained permission to accompany the detach-
ment, because, as he said, treachery was to be appre-
hended if he proceeded to the palace without the
support of his late father's allies.

" And so it happened," says Kaye, " that when the British troops
moved from their ground towards the Bala Hissar, the Prince,
attended by some of his principal adherents, fell in at the head
of the procession. A portion of the town was traversed by the
detachment on its way to the citadel. But although the hideous
sights of the last few days were still fresh in the memory of the
troops, they resisted all temptation to violence or outrage. Not
a man was hurt, or house injured. In orderly procession they
streamed into the citadel. The road to the point at which the
colours were to be hoisted, ran by the palace gates. As a road
for the passage of artillery, indeed, it terminated there. It was
necessary that the General should halt the guns and troops in
the vicinity of the palace. There was no point beyond to which
they could proceed."

The Prince and his attendants having entered the
royal abode, the former took his seat on a throne in
an apartment or elevated open verandah, looking out
on a large square, in which the Kuzzilbash chiefs and
a crowd of people had assembled to do him honour.
The British General and some of his principal officers
were invited to appear at the installation, and General
Pollock sat in a chair of state to the right of the
throne, and General McCaskill on the left. The
ceremony of appointing officers of state having been
gone through, General Pollock and his staff moved
off to carry out the object of their entry into the
Bala Hissar. The British colours were hoisted in

Life of Sir George Pollock.

the most conspicuous point, the hand of H. M.'s 9th
Toot immediately struck up the National Anthem,
while the Horse Artillery guns thundered out a royal
salute, and the whole of the troops gave three hearty
cheers. The Infantry remained in the Bala Hissar
under the command of Colonel Taylor, who had
directions to hoist the colours daily during the occu-
pation, and then the General returned.

The question of the nature and extent of the
recognition General Pollock afforded to Futteh Jung
by being present at his installation, has been the
subject of much controversy and misunderstanding ;
but it is certain that so careful was he to discourage
any hope of material assistance from himself or his
Government, that he deputed Captain Macgregor,
who conducted the political duties of his camp, to wait
on Futteh Jung after the ceremony and explain defi-
nitely his intentions. On this point the following entry
occurs in Major Eawlinson's manuscript journal :

" As it appeared desirable that a direct communication should
be established between the camps as soon as possible, I proposed
to the General, on arriving at Urghundeh, that I should ride in
and see General Pollock. My offer was accepted, and I imme-
diately put on an Afghan dress, and, escorted by the Parsewans
who had come out to the camp, rode in through the town to the
race-course, where I found the Jellalabad force encamped. I
experienced no sort of difficulty or inconvenience on the road,
being generally taken for an Afghan. I now learnt from
General Pollock that there were no fresh orders from Lord
Ellenborough regarding the establishment of an Afghan Govern-
ment ; in fact, that he was prohibited from pledging the
Government to recognize any one, but that still, as Futteh Jung
had thrown himself on our protection, and that as it was

Life of Sir George Pollock. 393

absolutely necessary something like a government should be
established, in order to enable us to obtain supplies (the
Jellalabad commissariat being entirely exhausted), as well as to
facilitate our subsequent departure, General Pollock had resolved
to give Futteh Jung such indirect assistance as he was able. In
this view he had recommended the Kuzzilbash and Douranee
chiefs to tender their allegiance to him, and he had so far given
him his countenance as to accompany him to the Bala Hissar in
the morning, and even, as the Shah elect took his seat on the
throne, to fire a royal salute, ostensibly for the remounting of
the British colours on the citadel of Cabul, but of course in the
apprehension of the Afghans as an honorary recognition by us
of the new monarch's accession. I met Macgregor on my way
to the camp, coming into the Bala Hissar with all the chiefs to
make their salaam to Shah Futteh Jung, as he is now called ;
and I now hear that Macgregor, who conducts all the political
duties of General Pollock's camp, endeavoured in a private
audience which he had of His Majesty after the durbar, to come
to an explanation with him regarding our inability to support
him with men, money, or arms, and the necessity, in conse-
quence, of his relying entirely on his own resources. At first
sight it appears to me out of the question that Futteh Jung
should be able to hold his own after our departure, and I see no
great object even in making the attempt, but I cannot yet form
a propar judgment." (Quoted by Kaye.)

On the evening of the 18th, Futteh Jung held a
council for the purpose of electing a minister, and
the choice of the prince and chiefs was fixed on
Gholam Mahomed Khan, of the Populzye tribe.

The armies of Generals Pollock and Nott were, on
the 17th September, encamped on opposite sides of
Cabul, and, on that day, Major Eawlinson returned to
the camp of the latter, which had been pitched at
Kellat-i- Sultan, a distance of four or five miles from
the city. Lieutenant W. Mayne, of Anderson's

394 Life of Sir George Pollock.

Horse, who had done such good service at Jellalabad,
and subsequently on General Pollock's staff, accom-
panied the major, attended by a party of Irregular
Horse. These officers were the bearers of the follow-
ing note from the General :

"We have sent 700 Kuzzilbashes to Bamian, and Sir B.
Shakespear accompanies them. It is known that Mahomed
Akbar has gone towards Kohistan ; he cannot have any very
great forces, 1,000 or 2,000 horse, and may possibly attempt to
get the prisoners. Will you, therefore, send in the direction of
Bamian a brigade. Instruct the officer that the object is merely
to make a demonstration in favour of the party already gone. I
therefore wish that the party you send should get into no
difficulty, and risk nothing. I feel pretty certain that after
what has happened Mahomed Akbar will be very unwilling to ad-
vance if he hears that a force is on its way to rescue the prisoners."

The recovery of the prisoners had ever been, next
to the vindication of the honour of his country, the
General's most anxious wish, and the too probable
fate that had overtaken so many brave officers,
tenderly nurtured ladies, and innocent children,
weighed heavily on him. Being now, therefore,
desirous above all else that they should be rescued, he
had, immediately on his arrival at Cabul, despatched
his military secretary, Sir Eichmond Shakespear,*
who, with characteristic gallantry, had volunteered

* General Pollock would tell an General was sitting in his tent,

anecdote of the circumstances when a tall, stately-looking Afghan

under which this most chivalrous in full costume stalked into the

soldier volunteered on a service of apartment, and saluting with a

so similar a character to that in precision that savoured rather of

which he had already earned his the parade ground than of Cabul,

spurs as worthily as any knight expressed his readiness, in unde-

errant of mediaeval times. The niably good Persian, or rather

Life of Sir George Pollock. 395

his services, with a body of 600 Kuzzilbash
horsemen, who had also offered, on the receipt of a
sum of 10,000 rupees, to overtake the prisoners and
their escort, and bring them back to camp.

As Sultan Jan, whom Nott had defeated at Mydan,
was said to be hovering about with the object of
intercepting this party of horsemen, the General
judged it expedient and the wisdom of this deter-
mination was verified by the result to send a strong
brigade of British troops to Shakespear's support.
The fulfilment of this honourable task he now offered
to Nott. And how did this officer, it will be asked,
receive the proposal ? At no time the most amiable
of men, General Nott happened to be in no very
genial mood when the missive from George Pollock
was brought to him. He had long since made up
his mind as to the expediency of moving on one side
to rescue the prisoners ; he considered that the orders
of the Governor- General were definite that he should
turn neither to the right hand nor to the left after
accomplishing the march to Cabul, and these instruc-
tions he intended to carry out, unless ordered to the
contrary by his brother general, who, as his senior
officer, assumed command of all the troops in Afghan-
istan from the date of his division passing Ghuznee,

Pushtoo, to lead a band of Kuzzil- but soon recognized in the corn-
bash horsemen to the rescue of the manding figure, and still more by
Feringhees. The General was at the voice, the person of his mili-
first somewhat taken aback at the tary secretary. In this attire he
intrusion of this singular visitant, led the Kuzzilbash horse.

396 Life of Sir George Pollock.

according to the tenor of the Governor-General's
instructions. That the proposal to despatch a bri-
gade to effect the release of the prisoners had been
made to him twice before by officers of his staff,
appears from the following entries in Major Bawlin-
son's MS. journal :

" September 14. As we find that the prisoners have certainly
been carried off to Bameean, and the Kuzzilbashes are disposed
to assist us in their recovery, while General Pollock is not likely
to encounter further opposition on his march upon Cabul, it was
suggested to the General to-day that he should despatch a
brigade from Urghundeh, where the Bameean road strikes off,
to form a support for our party, assisted by the Huzarehs, to
fall back upon. He would not, however, listen to this proposal,
declaring that he had only one object in view, that of marching
his force to India via Cabul, without turning to the right or left,
and that he considered from the tenor of all Lord Ellenborough's
despatches the recovery of the prisoners to be a matter of
indifference to the Government.

" September 15. It was again to-day urged upon the General
to send a brigade to Bameean, or in that direction, to .assist in
the rescue of the prisoners ; but he seems to have made up his
mind that he will not separate his force unless positively ordered
to do so by higher authority."

When, therefore, the proposal came to Nott in an
official shape from his superior officer, he received it,
says Kaye, " as one on which he had no consideration
to bestow, and determined at once within the bounds
of due subordination to decline it."

We have before us a memorandum in the hand-
writing of Lieutenant Mayne, dated " Governor-
General's Camp, February 27th, 1847," and signed

Life of Sir George Pollock. 397

" W. Mayne, Major commanding body guard." It
is as follows :

" I was ordered by Sir G. Pollock to carry a despatch to
General Nott, commanding the Candahar division of the army,
whose camp was on the opposite side of Cabul. I believe the
despatch contained a request that General Nott would send a
brigade towards Bameean to bring off the prisoners. It being
considered a duty of some danger, a troop of Irregular Cavalry
was ordered to escort me. I met General Nott at the head of
his troops on the line of march, and on being introduced by one
of his staff, I delivered the despatch to him. He read it, and
then turned to me, and asked me how many days' supplies
General Pollock had with him ? I said I believed he had about
a week's supplies for his troops. He immediately said, " What
business has General Pollock up at Cabul with on ly a week's sup-
plies ? " I made no reply. He then appeared dreadfully irri-
tated, and turning round asked me whether I had ordered my
escort to go where it then was? viz., on the reverse flank of his
column. I said I had. He immediately stopped, and in a most

loud, angry voice said, " G d you, sir, what do you mean

by sending your escort there ? Send them to H , sir, send

them to H ." On my not taking any notice of this ebulli-
tion, he said, "D you, sir, do you not understand Hindo-

stanee ? Tell your escort immediately to go to H ." I told

him I would not speak to my men in that strain, but that I
would take them away from his line of march. He then went
up himself to the men, and abused them in a most improper
manner. I told his Adjutant- General that I could not stand
such treatment, even from a general officer ; that I would not
go with him into camp, but would await his answer at the out-
lying picket. General Nott was surrounded by his staff the
whole time, and many of them apologized to me for the General's
rudeness. He appeared in perfect health at the time. I may
add, I was often astonished that General Pollock did not put
General Nott under arrest for his disobedience to orders, and
rude and insubordinate replies to his letters. I expressed myself
frequently to this effect to General Pollock, on whose staff I then

Life of Sir George Pollock.

Such gross conduct to any gentleman, and more
particularly to so distinguished and gallant a man as
the Deputy Quartermaster- General of his superior
officer, is scarcely conceivable, were it not well at-
tested. It has been stated, as offering some apology
for this ebullition of temper, that Mayne's escort
crowded on General Nott's staff, but this the former

General Nott retired to his tent and wrote a reply to
his superior officer, the original of which is now lying
before us, in which, while protesting against the em-
ployment of his troops for the purpose specified, viz.,
to effect the release of the prisoners, he did not fail
to express his intention to obey any orders that might
be conveyed to him. The following is the letter re-

ferred to :

"Camp, September 17th, 1842.

" MY DEAR GENERAL, I have been favoured with your note of
this date, in which you express a wish that I should detach a
brigade towards Bameean ; before you decide on sending it, I
would beg to state as follows :

" 1. The troops under my command have just made a long and
very difficult march of upwards of 300 miles, and they have
been continually marching about for the last six months, and
most certainly require rest for a day or two, the same with my
camels and other cattle. I lost twenty-nine camels yesterday,
and expect to-day's report will be double that number. 2. I am
getting short of supplies for Europeans and natives, and I can
see but little probability of getting a quantity equal to my daily
consumption at this place. I have little or no money. 3. I
have so many sick and wounded that I fear I shall have the
greatest inconvenience and difficulty in carrying them ; and
should any unnecessary operations add to their number they
must be left to perish. If I remain here many days I shall

Life of Sir George Pollock. 399

expect to lose half my cattle, which will render retirement very
difficult. 4. I sincerely think that sending a small detachment
will and must be followed by deep disaster. No doubt Mahomed
Akbar, Shumshooden, and the other chiefs are uniting their
forces, and I hourly expect to hear that Sir R. Shakespear is
added to the number of British prisoners. In my last affair
with Shumshooden and Sultan Jan they had 12,000 men ; and
my information is, that two days ago they set out for Bameean.
5. After much experience in this country, my opinion is, that
if the system of sending out detachments should be adopted,
disaster and ruin will follow. 6. After bringing to your notice,
showing that my men require rest for a day or two, that my
camels are dying fast, and that my supplies are nearly expended,
should you order my force to be divided, I have nothing to do
but implicitly to obey your orders ; but, my dear General, I feel
assured you will excuse me when I most respectfully venture to
protest against it under the circumstances above noted. I could
have wished to have stated this in person to you, but I have
been so very unwell for the last two months that I am sure you
will kindly excuse me."

The characters of no two men could have been
more dissimilar than of these Generals, the chief actors
of this memorable episode of Indian history. Equally
honourable and high-minded, they were not less reso-
lute and determined when the time for action came ;
but, and herein lay the difference, Pollock combined
with the fortiter in re the suaviter in modo, while his
brother General, on the other hand, was as remarkable
for his irritability and moroseness of temper. There
is much that is instructive in the career of Nott, and
even though his unfortunate temperament got him
into hot water more than once, we cannot but admire
his independence of character, that native manliness
which would never yield to bullying superiors, and

400 Life of Sir George Pollock.

that simple devotion to duty ; while the impartial
historian will accord to him a high place among
Indian generals.

On receipt of Nott's letter, General Pollock sat
down, and without any acerbity of feeling wrote the
few lines subjoined :

" MY DEAR GENERAL, I will pay you a visit to-morrow morning,
leaving this at an early hour, and will return again in the even-
ing. I left it entirely at your discretion to detach a brigade,
and as you seem to think it undesirable, it need not be done.
Shakespear will reach the prisoners to-morrow morning. Till
we meet, adieu. Yours very sincerely, GEO. POLLOCK. 17th

The biographer of Nott, in seeking to exonerate
him from the charge of inhumanity for the ungra-
cious part he took in thus leaving the prisoners to
their fate, states that, " General Pollock was his
(Nott's) senior, and could have commanded him to
perform the duty," but did not do so. But there is
another point of view from which the fact of his
having left it to Nott's discretion to detach a brigade
may be viewed, and one which we should say was
more likely to be the correct one. General Nott's
camp was nearer Bameean than his own. Pollock re-
garded the taking part in the release of the prisoners,
not in the light of a duty, but rather as a privilege
the most gratifying that could be awarded the troops
employed. Finally, the army under his supreme
command was in the heart of an enemy's country,
and General Pollock, well aware of Nott's infirmities

Life of Sir George Pollock. 401

of temper, was, before all, desirous of maintaining
chat cordiality and good understanding with his
second in command, failing which, the cause he had
so much at heart might yet be involved in disaster.

" On the following day," writes Kaye, " Nott, having excused
himself on the plea of ill health from visiting Pollock in his
camp, Pollock, waiving the distinction of his superior rank,
called upon his brother General. The conversation which ensued
related mainly to the question of the despatch of the brigade in
aid of the recovery of the British prisoners. Nott had made up
his mind on the subject. He was not to be moved from his first
position. There were few besides himself who considered the
arguments he advanced to be of the overwhelming and conclu-
sive character which Nott himself believed them to be ; and it
was, at all events, sufficiently clear that, as it was of primal im-
portance on such a service to lose the least possible amount of
time, it was desirable to detach a brigade from Nott's camp in
preference to one from Pollock's, if only because the former was
some ten miles nearer to Bameean than the latter. ISTott was
inflexible. ' Government,' he said, * had thrown the prisoners
overboard ;' why, then, should he rescue them ? He would obey
the orders of his superior officer, but only under protest. So
Pollock returned to camp, and delegated to another officer the
honourable service which Nott had emphatically declined."

Greneral Pollock sent for Sale, and ordered him to
proceed without any loss of time to the rescue of the
prisoners, among whom were his wife and widowed
daughter. Sir Robert at first expressed his readiness,
but soon came back and explained that he could not
get the necessar}^ stores, and that his regiment, the
1 3th, were knocked up, and not fit to undertake
forced marches. " Well, never mind," said Genera
Pollock, "I will send the 9th; Taylor will go." "No,


4O2 Life of Sir George Pollock.

no," broke in the veteran soldier, who could not
brook the idea of any one being sent on a duty that
he had himself declined, " I will go." So Sir Eobert
Sale took with him a brigade from his Jellalabad
troops, and pushed on in pursuit of Shakespear and
the Kuzzilbashes.

But the prisoners had accomplished their own
liberation, the details of which would be out of
place in this work; suffice it to say, they had
been hurried off towards Bameean on the 25th of
August, under an escort of 300 men commanded
by one Saleh Mohamed, and that, thanks to the
diplomatic tact and courage of Major Pottinger,
Captain George Lawrence, and Captain Johnson,
who bribed their custodian to release them,* they
were enabled to set off on their return to Cabul on
the 16th of September; on the 17th they were met

* Much of the credit of effect- a life pension of 1,000 rupees a

ing the release of the prisoners is month, and a donation of 20,000

due to the initiation of Mohun Lai rupees, in addition to 0,520 rupees

Cashmeree, formerly companion to his adherents, and a further

and Moonshee to Sir Alexander sum of 5,000 rupees. Saleh Mo-

Burnes in his memorable travels hamed refused to negotiate with a

to Cabul, Balk, and Bokhara, and native agent, but eagerly seized

who remained in the former city the bait when the British officers

as our secret agent after the insur- appended their signatures to a

rection of the 2nd of November, bond to that effect. Mohun Lai

1841, keeping up a correspondence is at present a pensioner at Loo-

with General Pollock at great per- diana, but has hardly received the

sonal risk. This Mohun Lai des- rewards due to him. His original

patched one Syud Moorteza Shah name was A'gha, or Mirza Hasan-

to Saleh Mohamed with a proposi- jan (see his travels to Bokhara),

tion that, on the prisoners being His present name was given him

brought into the British camp, in the Delhi school.
General Pollock would grant him

Life of Sir George Pollock. 403

by Sir Bichmond Shakespear and his Kuzzilbash
horsemen, and three days afterwards Sir Eobert Sale
experienced the rapturous joy of clasping once more
to his breast his heroic wife and daughter, who,
through all their sufferings, had never forgotten that
they were the wife and child of a soldier. On the
22nd of September a royal salute announced their
safe arrival in Pollock's camp. Those who witnessed
the scene will not soon forget it. Lady Sale describes
the meeting with her husband, and the subsequent
triumphal entry into the camp, with a touching
simplicity that has gone straight to many a heart.
Captain Smith writes :

" How eagerly we crowded to see them pass along ; what
grasping of their hands ; what hearty congratulations. The
ladies were conveyed in litters, the curtains of which concealed

Online LibraryCharles Rathbone LowThe life and correspondence of Field Marshall Sir George Pollock ...(constable of the Tower) → online text (page 29 of 40)