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shock, which made me think at the moment I was smashed to bits, by a
ball from a ginjall, or native wall piece. I was knocked senseless to
the ground, in which state I suppose I lay for a few minutes, and when I
came to myself I found myself kicking away, and coughing up globules of
clotted blood at a great pace. I thought at first I was as good as done
for; however, on regaining a little strength, I looked around, and
seeing none of our men in the place, and thinking it more than probable,
from what I knew of their character, that the very men whom I had been
endeavouring to save might take it into their heads to give me the
"_coup de grace_" now I was left alone, I made a desperate effort, got
on my legs, and managed to hobble out, when I soon found some of our
men, who supported me until a dooly could be brought, into which I was
placed, and was soon on my way to the doctor.

You may imagine my feelings all this time to be anything but pleasant. I
still continued coughing up blood, which was flowing also pretty freely
from my side. The idea that you may probably have only a few hours
longer to exist, with the many recollections that crowd into your mind
at such a time, is anything but a delightful one; and the being so
suddenly reduced from a state of vigorous activity to the sick, faintish
feeling that came over me, by no means added to the _agremens_ of my
situation.

I well recollect being carried through the gate, where General Willshire
with his staff and the officers who had been left with the reserve
companies were, and who all pressed forward to see who the unfortunate
fellow in the dooly was, when the low exclamation of "Poor Holdsworth!"
and the mysterious and mournful shaking of heads which passed among
them, by no means tended to enliven my spirits. I soon reached the place
where the doctors, with their understrappers, were busily employed among
the wounded, dying, and dead. I was immediately stripped and examined,
and then, for the first time, heard that the ball had passed through and
out of my body. I also now discovered that it had struck and gone
through my arm as well. Being very anxious, I begged Hunter, the doctor,
to let me know the worst. He shook his head, and told me "he thought it
a rather dangerous case, principally from my having spit so much blood."
He had not time, however, to waste many words with me, as he had plenty
of others to attend. Dickenson, also, I found here; having been wounded,
as I before told you. He did all he could to keep my spirits up, but, as
you may suppose, I felt still very far from being comfortable. Nor were
the various objects that met my eye of a consolatory nature: men lying,
some dead, others at their last gasp, while the agonizing groans of
those who were undergoing operations at the hands of the hospital
assistants, added to the horror of the scene. I may now say that I have
seen, on a small scale, every different feature of a fight.

In the meantime, there had been sharp fighting in the citadel. Our men,
after forcing their way through numerous dark passages, in sonic places
so narrow and low that they were forced to crawl singly on their hands
and knees, at length arrived there; but as there were a great number of
approaches to this their last place of refuge, our men got broken up
into small detached parties, and entered it at different places. One
party reached the place where Mehrab Khan, at the head of the chiefs who
had joined his standard, was sitting with his sword drawn, &c. The
others seemed inclined to surrender themselves, and raised the cry of
"Aman!" but the Khan, springing on his feel, cried, "Aman, nag!"
equivalent to "Mercy be d - d," and blew his match; but all in vain, as
he immediately received about three shots, which completely did his
business; the one that gave him the "_coup de grace_," and which went
through his breast, being fired by a man of our regiment, named Maxwell.
So fell Mehrab Khan, having fulfilled his promise to General Willshire,
and died game, with his sword in his hand, in his own citadel.

Other parties, however, were not so fortunate, as each being too weak,
the enemy generally offered a determined resistance, and several, after
giving themselves up, finding the numbers to whom they had surrendered
smaller than they had at first appeared, turned upon them suddenly; for
which, however, they suffered in the long-run, as the soldiers, at
last, maddened by this conduct, refused quarter, and fired at once into
whatever party they met, without asking any questions.

At length the few survivors, being driven to their last stronghold at
the very top of the citadel, surrendered on condition of their lives
being granted to them; when one loud and general "hurrah!" proclaimed
around that Kelat was ours. The greatest part of the garrison had,
however, before this managed to make their escape over the hills.
Dickenson, while he was lying wounded by my side, saw quantities of them
letting themselves down the walls of the citadel by means of ropes,
shawls, &c.

Dooly, the most faithful of his chiefs and followers, remained by Mehrab
Khan to the last. These were all either taken prisoners or killed.
Besides the Khan himself, the Dadur chief, who had been the cause of
great annoyance to us in our way up, and the Governor of the Shawl
district, were among the slain. The only two men of his council of any
note among the survivors are at present prisoners in our camp, on their
way to Bengal.

Thus ended this short, but decisive affair, which I consider to be a
much more gallant one than that of Ghuzni, both in regard to the numbers
engaged on each side and the manner in which it was taken. We merely
halted for an hour, and then went slap at it, as if it was merely a
continuation of our morning's march. General Willshire was exceedingly
pleased with the result, as well he might be, and issued a very
complimentary address to the force engaged, the next day. I hope and
conclude his fortune will be made by it.

The loss on our side at Kelat was, in proportion, a great deal greater
than at Ghuzni. We had altogether about 1100 bayonets engaged, and the
loss was 140, being about one in seven; of this loss, the Queen's bear a
proportion equal to that of the other two regiments together, having
returned about seventy in the butcher's bill out of 280, which was the
number we brought into the field, being about one in four. Out of
thirteen officers, we had one killed, four severely, and one slightly,
wounded; twenty-three men were killed, and forty-one wounded, of whom
some have died since, and most will feel the effect of their wounds till
their dying day, as the greatest portion are body wounds.

With regard to prize-money, I have no doubt that had things been even
tolerably well managed, there would have been plenty of it, but we did
not stay there long enough to search the place thoroughly. I hear also
that the other part of the force that went down by the Bolan Pass claim
to share with us, which we do not allow; so that, perhaps, it may get
into the lawyers' hands, and then good-bye to it altogether, I do not
expect, under any circumstances, more than 100l. Some of the rooms of
the citadel were very handsomely fitted up, particularly one in the old
fellow's harem, which was one entire mirror, both sides and ceiling.

We remained at Kelat till the 21st of November, and then marched by the
Gundava Pass on this place. During the week that we remained there, my
wounds continued doing very well, and I had very little fever; and on
the third and fourth days after I was hit, the doctor considered me "all
right." On the two first days of our march, however, I caught a low
fever, which left me on the third, and I have continued to grow
gradually better ever since. We found the Gundava a much longer and more
difficult pass than that of the Bolan, and could get very little grain
or supplies either for ourselves or our cattle. Our march was perfectly
unmolested, as by that time the new Khan had arrived at Kelat, and most
of the principal chiefs had acknowledged him. I do not know, however,
what has become of Mehrab Khan's eldest son, a lad of fifteen years old,
who was bringing up a reinforcement to his father in our rear, while we
were marching on Kelat, but did not arrive in the neighbourhood until
after the place was taken. He, however, threatened us with a night
attack while we were lying in front of it, so that we were on the alert,
every one sleeping on his arms during the whole time we were there.

"We laid not by our harness bright,
Neither by day nor yet by night."

During the whole of this time the weather set in dreadfully cold, colder
than I ever experienced it anywhere in my life; sharp frosts, &c.

Well; to cut the matter short, yesterday, the 7th of December, we
arrived at this place, which is the same that we halted at for a week in
our march up. Here, at length, we are in the land of plenty, and enjoy
such luxuries as fresh eggs, butter, milk, vegetables, &c., with a goût
that those only can feel who have been so long without them as we have.
We find the climate, however, very hot, and I am sorry to say that we
are losing many fine fellows from the effect of the change. It is very
painful to witness these poor fellows going off in this miserable
manner, after surviving the chances of fire and steel, and all the
harassing duties they have had to perform during the campaign, now when
they have arrived at nearly the very end of it.

_Larkhanu, Dec. 24th_. - I have delayed sending this till our arrival
here, as the communication between this and Bombay is perfectly open,
which might not have been the case at Kotra. We have been here about a
week, and report says that we are to finish our marching here, and drop
down the river to Curachee in boats. I hope this may prove the case, as
I am sure we have had marching enough for one campaign. Another report,
however, says, that there is a kick-up in the Punjab, and that we shall
be detained in this country in consequence; but I do not think it
likely.

That part of our force which was not employed at Kelat went down by the
Bolan Pass, and have suffered considerably from cholera, which luckily
we have as yet escaped. The men that we have lost since our arrival in
this low country have all died from complaints of the lungs, from which
they were perfectly free in the cold country above the hills. Since
writing the former part of this letter, I have received a letter from
Kate, dated September 10th, which I will answer as soon I have finished
this letter to you.

_December 25th, Christmas day_. - I hope to spend this evening more
comfortably than I did last year, when I was on out-lying picket, the
night before we commenced our first march. Now, I trust, we have
finished our last. We have luckily met all our mess supplies here, which
have been waiting for us about six months, having never managed to get
further than Bukkur. So now it is a regular case of -

"Who so merry as we in camp?
Danger over,
Live in clover," &c.

I have just heard that the order is out for our marching the day after
to-morrow to the banks of the river, there to remain till the boats are
ready. Now the campaign is so near its close, I feel very glad that I
have been on it, as it is a thing that a man does not see every day of
his life in these times; and I consider it to be more lucky than
otherwise that I have four holes in my body as a remembrance of it; but
I cannot say that I relish a longer sojourn in India, unless we have the
luck to be sent to China, which I should like very much, (fancy sacking
Pekin, and kicking the Celestial Emperor from his throne,) as I do not
think the climate has done me any good, but on the contrary.

I do not know whether these wounds of mine will give me any claim; - and,
talking about that, I would wish you to inquire whether or not I am
entitled to any gratuity for them. I hear that officers returned
"wounded" on the list in the Peninsular Campaign, no matter how slight
the wound might have been, received a gratuity of one year's pay as a
compensation; and this, I think, was called "blood-money." I do not know
how far this may be the case at present, but I do not think that 120l.
ought to be lost sight of for want of a little inquiry.

By-the-bye, I had nearly forgotten to say that I have received two
letters from Eliza, which I will answer as soon as possible; but I do
not think it safe to keep this open any longer, as I may lose the mail
to Bombay; so must conclude, with best love to all at home,

Your very affectionate son,
T.W.E. HOLDSWORTH.




LETTER XI.


Camp Larkanu, Dec. 26th, 1839.

MY DEAR ELIZA, - I finished and sent off a letter to my father yesterday,
giving an account of the storming of Kelat, and the wounds I received in
the skrimmage, and telling him of everything that had happened since I
wrote before, which was the day we left Cabool. You can see his letter,
which gives a pretty full account of all our proceedings up to the
present time.

I have now to make many apologies for not having answered your two
letters, one dated May 29th, giving an account of Kate's wedding, and
the other, dated the 29th of July, from Bristol, and likewise for having
forgotten to thank you for the money you were kind enough to send out
with my father's, last year. I can assure you never came money more
acceptable, as no one can imagine what expenses we have unavoidably been
obliged to incur in this campaign, which I suppose has cost officers
more than any other campaign that ever was undertaken. I think there are
few of us who have come off under 100l. besides our pay; and yet this
was merely for the common necessaries of life, - just sufficient to keep
body and soul together. I can assure you I feel very much obliged for
your present, as also for the two letters which I received while on the
march. I have often thought of Brookhill during the many dreary marches
that we have made, and on the solitary out-lying pickets, with no one to
speak to, and deplored my unlucky fate, in being obliged to leave home
just as you seem to be comfortably settled there. Still I have hope that
I may yet return, some day or other.

I can now give you more definite intelligence with regard to our
movements than I did in my father's letter; since sending off which
orders have come out, and the campaign, as far as our regiment is
concerned, is decidedly brought to a close. H.M. 17th, with Gen.
Willshire, Baumgardt, and Head-quarter Staff, marched this morning for
Bukkur, where they are to remain for four or five months, so report
says, and longer than that I suppose, if their services are required.
The Queen's, and the 4th Light Dragoons, are to return to Bombay as soon
as the necessary arrangements for their transportation thither &c. are
completed. We march from this to-morrow for the banks of the river,
about twelve miles, and shall probably remain there for three weeks or
so, until the shipping is got ready in Bombay, when we shall drop down
the Indus in boats, and embark from Curachee for the Presidencies: would
it were for England. Most of our married officers have obtained leave to
precede the regiment, and are off in a day or two.

I hope to see Lieutenant-Colonel Fane when we arrive at Bombay. His
father, Sir H. Fane, has publicly and officially resigned the
commander-in-chief-ship in favour of Sir Jasper Nicolls. Sir Henry has
been dangerously unwell at Bombay; but report says he is now getting
better. He intends sailing as soon as possible, I believe, and so will
most likely be gone before we arrive there. Sir J. Keane has also
resigned, and is to be succeded by Sir Thomas M'Mahon. It is not quite
certain that we shall go to Bombay, as some say that we shall land at
Cambay, and go up to Deesa, and others that we shall return to Belgaum.
Last night we received Bombay papers, giving an account of the taking of
Kelat. They have buttered us up pretty well, and seem to think it a much
more gallant affair than that of Ghuzni - in this last particular they
are only doing us justice.

_Dec. 30th, Camp, Taggur Bundur; Banks of the Indus_. - We arrived here
the day before yesterday, and are likely to remain, I believe, a
fortnight or so. We muster rather small, as most of the married officers
are off to-day and yesterday. As to my wounds, I have only one hole
still open - namely, the one through which the bullet took its final
departure, and that, I think, will be closed in a day or two. I am
sorry to say that since arriving here I have caught a "cruel cold," from
which I am suffering severely at present.

By-the-bye, there are a few incidents connected with the taking of Kelat
which I forgot to mention in my letter to my father. Mehrab Khan, the
chief of Kelat, managed to send away all his harem and family on the
morning of the fight, directly we were seen approaching, but his other
chiefs were not so fortunate, and the greater part of them deliberately
cut the throats of all the females belonging to their establishments,
including wives, mothers, and daughters, as soon as we established
ourselves within the town, rather than suffer them to fall into the
hands of us infidels. I forgot, I think, also, to mention that I managed
to procure rather a handsome Koran, which was found in the citadel, and
also an excellent Damascus blade, both of which I intend giving to my
father, and a few articles of native costume, which would go far to make
up a neat fancy dress, but it is not quite complete. A great number of
handsome articles were stolen by the camp followers and other rascals,
worse luck for us poor wounded officers, who could not help ourselves.
We were rather surprised at finding some excellent European articles in
the shape of double-barrelled guns, pistols, beautiful French musical
boxes, prints, looking-glasses, and pier-glasses, &c., in the rooms of
the citadel. Where Mehrab Khan could have picked them up I cannot
think, unless they were the result of some successful foray on some
unfortunate caravan.

The day after the fight, Captain Outram, of whom I have so often spoken
in my letters to my father, volunteered to take the dispatches to
Bombay, and started for that purpose straight across country to Someanee
Bay, on the sea-coast, a distance of 350 miles, and across the barren
mountains that compose the greatest part of Beloochistan. This route had
up to that time never been traversed by any European, except Pottinger,
who passed through all these countries twenty years ago, disguised as a
native. It was attempted last year by Captain Harris, of the Bombay
Engineers, author of the "African Excursions," a very enterprising
officer, and who landed at Someanee Bay for that purpose; but after
getting about twenty miles into the interior, reported the route as
impracticable. When this is taken into consideration, with the great
chance there was of Captain Outram's falling into the hands of the many
straggling fugitives from Kelat, and the well-known character of these
_gentlemen_, now smarting under the painful feeling of being driven from
their homes, &c., it must be confessed that it required no little pluck
to undertake it. The plan proved, however, perfectly successful. He
travelled in the disguise of an Afghan Peer or holy man, under the
guidance of two Afghan Seyds, a race of men much looked up to and
respected in all Mahomedan countries, on account of their obtaining,
[whether true or not, I know not] a pure descent from the Prophet.
Outram and his party fell in with several bands of fugitives, and
actually came up and were obliged to travel a day or two with the harem
and escort of Mehrab Khan's brother. As there was a chance of Outram's
being discovered by this party, the Seyd introduced him in the character
of a Peer, which holy disguise he had to support during the whole
journey; and after some extraordinary escapes he arrived at Someanee Bay
in seven or eight days.

Our sick and wounded have been left behind at Kelat, under the charge of
an officer of the 17th, since which things have gone on very smoothly
there. The new Khan has been very accommodating, and has given fêtes,
&c., to the officers left behind, in honour of our gallantry. He has
also written to General Willshire to say that he intends giving us all a
medal each, whether we are allowed to wear it or not, as he does not see
why, if the Shah did it for Ghuzni, he might not do it also for Kelat.
Lord Auckland has published an order that all regiments belonging to the
Company that went beyond the Bolan Pass shall wear Afghanistan on their
colours and appointments, and all engaged at Ghuzni that name also; and
has written to the Queen for permission for Queen's regiments employed
in like manner to bear the same. I suppose we shall get Kelat in
addition.

There is one other point which, in my hurry to get my letter off in
time for the January mail, I totally forgot to mention - viz., about
drawing some money on my father. I have before mentioned the great
expense we have been put to in this campaign; in addition to this, when
we were ordered from Quettah to take Kelat, we were also under orders to
return to Quettah after having taken the place. A sergeant was therefore
left behind at Quettah to take charge of whatever effects any person
might leave, and officers were strongly advised to leave the greater
part of their kit at this place. I, as well as most of my brother
officers, was foolish enough to follow this advice, and brought only a
bundle of linen; consequently now I am almost minus everything;
dress-coat, appointments, are all left behind, as General Willshire,
after the taking of Kelat, instead of returning to Quettah, proceeded
into Cutch Gundava by the Gundava Pass. Nothing has been since heard of
what we have left behind, except that the sergeant could not get camels
or carriage sufficient to bring them down. Moreover, it is unsafe to go
through the Bolan Pass without a tolerably strong escort; so, taking all
things into consideration, I do not think there is much chance of our
ever seeing anything of them again. The consequences will be, that, on
our arrival at Bombay, I shall be obliged to get an entire new fit out,
and as the campaign has drained me dry, I shall be obliged to draw upon
my father for it; however, I will repay him by the end of the year, as
by that time the Company will have given us half a year's full batta,
which they intend doing as a sort of indemnification for the losses we
have sustained on the campaign; my batta will be about 72l.

I do not think I have any more to say, and as the January overland sails
on the 25th, I hope this letter will reach Bombay in time to go by it,
as well as my father's. By-the-bye, how is old Nelly? If she has any
good pups, I wish you would manage to keep one for me, as I expect the
old girl will be either dead or very old by the time I return. I am
longing to get out of the "Sick-list," as the thickets here near the
river are full of partridges and hares, and the climate, at this time of
the year, is very cool and pleasant. My rheumatism is much better since
I was wounded; but I still have it in my left arm. Well, no more; but
wishing you, and all, a happy new year.

Believe me ever your very affectionate brother,
T.W.E. HOLDSWORTH.




LETTER XII.

Camp, Curachee, Feb. 14th, 1840.

MY DEAR FATHER, - You will see, by my date, that our share of the
campaign is ended; in fact, we are only waiting here for shipping, which
is on its way from Bombay, to take us from this place to Mandavie, in
Cutch, where we land, and then march immediately to Deesa, in Guzerat;
so that, after all our toilsome marches, &c., we have yet another, still
more toilsome, before us of 240 miles. The climate of Cutch and Guzerat
during the period of year that we shall be occupied in marching is so
hot that no changes of station are ever made even by native corps, and
Europeans are never allowed to march in Guzerat except during the cold
months. It is sharp work on our poor men; many of whom appear very unfit
for it; but they are now so accustomed to hard work, that they will get
well through it I have little doubt.

We left Tuggur Bandur, from which place I wrote to Eliza and Kate, on
the 13th of January, and drifted quietly down the river in boats,
pulling up and coming to an anchor every evening at sunset. We reached
Tatta Bundur, about five miles from the town, on the 21st, and after
staying there a few days, started again for this place, which we reached
in five marches, on the 31st. We were immediately most hospitably


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