THE SAVIOUR OF LUCKNOW
 IT was not until 11th July that tidings of the death of General the Hon. George Anson
reached the War Office. On that afternoon Lord Panmure sent for Sir Colin Campbell and
offered him the chief command in India.
"I accept it," said Sir Colin, not in the least surprised. "When will you be ready to
start?" said Lord Panmure. "To-morrow! I can get my outfit in Calcutta."
Sir Colin was sixty-five; his soldiers called him "Old take care!"
Lord Dalhousie and Lord Panmure had both deemed him too cautious; but when Britain was in
danger, the Queen pointed to the man.
Sir Colin left London by the night train after being bidden to Buckingham Palace. In his
journal he wrote:
"Her Majesty's expressions of approval of my readiness to proceed at once were pleasant to
receive from a Sovereign so good and so justly loved."
In Paris he took breakfast with his "dear old friend General Vinoy"; and reaching
Marseilles on the 14th July, he embarked on the Vectis, which was awaiting him with
its steam up.
On the 13th of August the new commander-in-chief landed at Calcutta. General Sir Patrick
Grant met him, and Lord Canning invited him and his military secretary, Major Alison, to
stay at Government House.
We may here quote a few lines on Sir Colin from Holme's history of the Mutiny: "He had not
 dash, the power to put everything to the hazard for a great end . . . which belonged to
some other well-known leaders of that time. Yet for any work requiring methodical and
precise movements extraordinary care for details, few were better fitted. . . . No
commander-in-chief more acceptable to the mass of Anglo-Indian officers could at that
moment have been selected. Many of them already knew his appearance well—his strong
spare soldierly frame, his high rugged forehead crowned by masses of crisp grey hair, his
keen, shrewd but kindly honest eyes, his firm mouth with its short trim moustache, his
expression denoting a temper so excitable yet so exact; so resolute to enforce obedience
yet so genial; so irascible and so forgiving."
As Sir Colin had to wait at Calcutta until 27th October, he had time to gather up the
threads of what had occurred. We know from previous chapters most of the events: Havelock,
with less than 2000 men, had fought his way from Allahabad to Cawnpur, but arrived just
too late to save the women and children. Then his gallant attempt to relieve Lucknow
failed in August, and he had to fall back on Cawnpur.
But the country between Calcutta and Cawnpur was seriously disturbed: Allahabad, placed on
a tongue of land at the junction of the Ganges and the Jumnah, had been the scene of a
revolt of sepoys on the 6th of June. Many officers were shot, and the rest, with
sixty-five invalided white soldiers and some sepoys, took refuge in the fort.
Fortunately the senior officer on the spot, Lieut. Brasyer, who had been promoted from the
ranks for gallantry in the Sutlej campaign of 1846, saw from the looks of the sepoys in
the fort what he must do. He promptly, with the help of some Sikhs, disarmed the rebels
and drove them from the fort.
Allahabad was saved by Colonel Neill on the 12th of June, though he had only a few men
under him. Thus one of the most important cities in India was saved by
 Brasyer, still only a lieutenant, and Neill of the 1st Madras Fusiliers, both true heroes
of the Mutiny.
But there were two other weak points between Calcutta and Allahabad: namely, Dinapur, 344
miles distant from Calcutta, and Patna, which was twelve miles nearer to the capital.
The commissioner, William Tayler, had preserved the province from revolt by his splendid
energy and foresight.
Colonel Malleson says in his History: "His services have never been
acknowledged, he has been treated with contumely and insult, but he contributed as much as
any man, in that terrible crisis called the Indian Mutiny, to save the Empire."
We must not forget William Tayler when we recall the brave heroes who fought for Britain
and her Empire in those troublous days.
There were 3000 disaffected sepoys at Dinapur, and Tayler asked the authorities at
Calcutta if he might disarm them. It was most important that this should be done, because
reinforcements could not be sent to Havelock with this danger left in the rear.
Lord Canning, Sir Patrick Grant, and Mr. Halliday, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal,
hesitated. The leading merchants sent a deputation to Canning, stating that a favourable
opportunity now occurred for disarming the sepoys. Canning listened, and curtly replied,
"I cannot comply with your request."
Later they threw the responsibility of the disarming on General Lloyd; if he thought it
desirable, he might take that step!
On the 25th of July, Lloyd took away their percussion caps. Three hours after the sepoys
broke out into open mutiny and started westward in the direction of Arah. No attempt was
made to stop them.
They marched to Arab, opened the goal, plundered the treasury and hunted for Europeans.
But Vicars Boyle, a civil engineer, had provisioned and fortified his house,
 foreseeing the catastrophe which Canning and his advisers had neglected to prevent. With
fifteen Englishmen and fifty Sikhs, sent by William Tayler, this heroic band resisted
sternly on the 27th, 28th, and 29th; then came a lull in the fighting: the- sound of
firing was heard in the distance! But Dunbar, sent by Lloyd with 415 men at Taylor's
instigation, had fallen into an ambush, and only fifty-three were left alive.
The effect of this repulse at Patna and Dinapur was alarming: the whole province would
rise and all would be massacred.
But another unknown hero started up, Major Vincent Eyre of the Artillery. This man had
served in the first Kabul war and had been kept there a prisoner: since then he had served
in Gwalior and Burma. He was bringing a battery on a steamer from Calcutta to Allahabad,
and had reached Dinapur on the evening of the day on which the mutineers had gone off to
Next day he went up the river, persuaded Captain d'Estrange to bring 150 men of the 5th
Fusiliers, and started for Arah.
Thereby he risked his commission, for his orders were to proceed to Allahabad, and a march
to Arah was fifty miles out of his way. But Eyre risked all that, and with 220 men and 3
guns and 40 gunners he set out on the 31st of July, a fortnight before Sir Colin landed at
Calcutta, and at his first halt the news came to him of Dunbar's defeat. That made no
difference: next day they came within six miles of Arah, and found the rebels entrenched
in a wood.
By fierce bayonet charges and flank movements and good gun-fire, the British at last drove
the enemy from cover. Eyre pressed on, hoping to be in Arah that night: but a raging
torrent stopped them, and they spent the whole night in making a causeway. Next morning
they crossed the torrent, entered the city and rescued the brave little garrison, which
for eight days had defied an enemy fifty times more numerous than themselves.
 But some of the rebels had fled to the stronghold of Kenwar Singh, a disaffected
landholder: this fort Eyre stormed and captured on the 11th of August.
In a moment the despair of the British residents in West Behar was changed into unexpected
relief, hope, and even triumph. Such is the magic of brave deeds done by a heroic soldier.
Eyre's action was of course upheld by the Indian Government: what would have been dealt to
him if he had been unsuccessful, we better not inquire. For William Tayler, who had done
so much to save his province, was removed from his office and ruined; he had advised his
subordinates to bring all their men and treasure to Patna before Vincent Eyre's arrival:
and was deemed at Calcutta to have been acting too much on his own initiative!
But the failure of the Government to disarm the three regiments had wasted a month and
prevented Havelock from reaching Lucknow with any chance of success.
Sir Colin must have been encouraged by the stories that came to Calcutta of British pluck
and patient resistance in many quarters: but he was full of business troubles, buying up
stores and sending small reinforcements to Allahabad.
The men went by bullock-train, which took ninety daily: they had their knapsacks and
blankets with them, ammunition and rifles. They travelled day and night, halting only for
two hours at noon. Food was scanty, but the men were eager to get to the front.
"I am delighted with Lord Canning," wrote Sir Colin; "he has never looked black at any
event which has occurred. He is such a nice person to do business with. Very clever and
hard-working . . . . with the highest courage, so simple and gentlemanly; and so firm and
decided that I cannot be too thankful for the good fortune which has placed me under such
In October, Sir Colin received a letter from Sir John Lawrence, in which he wrote: "We
have indeed had a
 terrible storm: and it is only, I am persuaded, by the mercy of God that a single European
is alive on this side of India. At one time I began to think that all must be lost. We
have now, as far as I can judge, weathered the gale; but until the troops arrive from
England, our position must continue to be precarious . . . I only know that Havelock has
done nobly. In fact he and his troops have exceeded all our hopes and expectations. I was
rejoiced to see that Outram did not supersede Havelock . . . my brother's death has indeed
been a great calamity. There were few, perhaps none, who would have proved more useful
with his counsel and experience than he."
On the night of the 27th of October, Sir Colin, attended by the headquarters staff, left
Calcutta by rail for Ranigunj.
Then he went on by carriage-dak up the Great Trunk Road, and a terrible catastrophe nearly
For as they drove along some peasants held up their hands and cried out, "Stop, sahib!
sepoys all in front!"
"Nonsense!" said one of the officers, "I can't believe that."
"There they are, sahib; some of them on elephants."
Then the Englishmen saw through their glasses nine elephants crossing the road about 1000
Sir Colin was in the second carriage, and word was sent to him to stop, as some 400
mutineers were ahead.
The carriages in the rear heard an exaggerated rumour and a panic seized the drivers, who
turned round to flee: one carriage was upset in the act of turning. Two officers got upon
country ponies and galloped back for the nearest detachment.
All the time Sir Colin was quietly tracing the route of the mutineers on the map.
Fortunately these gentlemen had no idea they were so near to the commander-in-chief and
continued calmly on their way. The headquarters staff prudently drove back some miles, and
then with a proper escort retraced their steps in the cool of the evening. So what might
have been a tragedy came to be regarded as a
 comic interlude. At Allahabad, Sir Colin heard that Outram could hold out in Lucknow till
the end of November: this gave him some satisfaction and a few spare days to complete
arrangements. On 3rd November they reached Cawnpur, and remained a few days to forward the
But to a cautious general like Sir Colin, who liked to make war according to rule and
principle, the state of affairs was very disadvantageous. For his line of communications
from Allahabad to Cawnpur was threatened by the Gwalior Contingent and other rebel bodies
who were concentrating at Calpi on the Jumna, forty miles only from Cawnpur. He knew that
his first duty should have been to clear this line of communication; but the call of
Lucknow seemed imperative, and he had no alternative but to leave Cawnpur open to attack
by superior numbers. However, he did all that was possible to strengthen the post of
Cawnpur, as it covered the bridge of boats, his only line of retreat from Lucknow. Early
on the morning of the 9th, Sir Colin left Cawnpur and reached the camp of Buntera after a
forced march of thirty-five miles. Here he met his old friend, Hope Grant, and placed him
in divisional command of the force.
On the morning of the 10th, Kavanagh came into camp with his attendant native: and some
hours were spent in working out the safest route to the Residency. It was resolved to give
the city a wide berth this time and swerve away to the right. A letter written in Greek
character was sent to Outram: "I have come only to hand out the wounded, women and
children." Outram was to make all preparations for their departure on the 16th. In the
afternoon Sir Colin reviewed his troops in brigades, ad-dressing each separately: as we
have stated before, when the war-worn, anxious commander had reviewed the 9th Lancers, the
Sikh horsemen in their loose dress and red turbans, the 8th and 75th Queen's worn with
fighting, with never a word or cheer from any—he rode on to his old Crimean friends,
Highlanders of the 93rd, a massive body
 of veterans in tartan and waving plume: and then there burst forth such a rapturous
welcome as took all the lines from his face and gave him strength for his mission.
"Aye, aye, Sir Colin; we'll bring the women and bairns oot o' Lucknow, or we'll leave oor
ain banes there."
We will not dwell at length on the fortunes of war in this second relief of Lucknow: it
has been given in a former chapter. On the morning of the 14th of November they reached
the Dilkoosha Park, and then on to the Martiniere College they forced their way helped by
Travers' heavy guns.
Next day, by the advice of Kavanagh, Sir Colin chose a long detour to the right,
approaching the Secundra Bagh by the open ground near the river.
The latter part of their way lay through a narrow lane, where the cavalry got jammed, and
Sir Colin rode to the front and thrust them in his impetuous way into the side alleys of
the village: then he ordered up the 18-pounders to batter a breach in the south-west
bastion of the Secundra Bagh.
While three companies of the 93rd were clearing the Serai of the enemy, the rest of the
infantry were lying down behind an embankment. At the end of an hour a Sikh native
officer, without waiting for the order, sprang up sword in hand, his men following. The
Highlanders followed, and it became a race who should get into the Secundra Bagh first.
Some say that Sir Colin called to Colonel Ewart, "Ewart, bring on the tartan," and then
they dashed from behind the bank.
Many were killed as they crept through the narrow breach, and for hours the conflict
raged; 2000 sepoys were found slain. We must remember that these soldiers had recently
seen Cawnpur and the house of massacre, and had heard all that gruesome story. So they
never dreamt of taking prisoners: the only penalty was death. After the Secundra Bagh came
the Shah Nujeef, a great mosque and tomb: this was held so strongly in spite of Peel's
 that once more Sir Colin had to call upon his Highlanders. But a high wall loopholed
brought them to a standstill, and the fire of the rebels was making havoc with the
regiment and Sir Colin's staff when Sergeant Paton of the 93rd came running up to Colonel
Hope saying, "I have found a breach, sir, near the river."
Sergeant Paton was the hero of the Shah Nujeef. It was by his plucky examination of the
defences that the mosque was taken. The relief of the Residency, which before had been
very uncertain, now seemed assured. The men lay down to rest and sleep, and next day, the
17th, Captain Wolseley, the Field-Marshal, attacked and took the mess house, and
Lieutenant Roberts, V.C., our Field-Marshal and honoured General, raised the British flag
on the top of the Motee Mahal, the signal that our troops were near the Residency.
It was now that Outram and Havelock crossed an open space half a mile wide intervening
between the Motee Mahal and the Residency, though they were exposed to fire from the
Kaiserbagh. Indeed three of their staff were wounded during the transit. Warm greetings
were exchanged, and plans quickly proposed.
Sir Colin was firm in his resolve to waste no time in getting back to Cawnpur to meet the
Gwalior Contingent and guard the bridge across the Ganges. But, said he, we must take back
the wounded, the women and children, and the garrison. Five days were occupied in making
preparations, and the whole British force simply held the positions they had won, like a
vast outlying picket.
At midnight of the 22nd the garrison filed out from the Residency in the deepest silence.
The rebels never suspected what was doing; before dawn they had all reached the Martiniere
We have already seen how Sir Colin hurried back to the bridge, crossed the Ganges, and
heartened Windham's garrison by his presence. It was a narrow escape for both forces.
Windham had been beaten back to his fortified
 camp at Cawnpur by Tantia Topee, after a march of six miles down the Calpi Road to attack
the rebels. On the morrow Windham saw the bungalows at Cawnpur all in flames, and the
clothing and stores left by Havelock's force being burnt.
Sir Colin was only just in time to prevent the bridge of boats from being destroyed by
placing Captain Peel's heavy guns to cover the crossing. He placed his convoy of women and
children near the riddled walls of Wheeler's encampment, and spent two days preparing for
the dispatch of his large convoy to Allahabad. He sent them off on the night of the 3rd of
December, and then turned his attention to the 25,000 rebels in front of him.
These rested their centre on the town, being separated from the British force by the
Ganges Canal. Their right was covered by limekilns and mounds of brick; their left rested
on the Ganges.
Sir Colin had with him 5000 infantry, 600 cavalry, and thirty-five guns; with this force
he attacked the rebels on the 6th of December.
During the days of waiting our men had been chafing and fretting at the delay, while the
enemy kept bowling round-shot into the camp. But the cautious Scot was making victory
secure for them, planting heavy gun batteries to command the canal bridges.
Early in the morning Sir Colin called the commanding officers together and explained his
plans with clearness from a written paper. All knew that only one week's supplies of food
were left in camp, and that no more could be procured unless the rebels were beaten! But
the men were like greyhounds straining on the leash!
Greathed was directed to make a false attack on the centre, whilst Walpole, Hope, and
Inglis turned the enemy's right. These latter drove the rebels from mound to mound despite
a fierce resistance. At length they reached a bridge strongly fortified and held by
artillery. There was a long and terrible struggle, the 4th Punjab Rifles and the 53rd
 gallantly attempting to carry the position. All of a sudden a rumbling was heard, and up
came William Peel and his sailors, dragging a heavy 24-pounder, placed the gun on the
bridge, and opened fire.
The British cheered again and again as the rebels fell back under the storm of shot: and
then with a shout Highlanders, Sikhs, and 53rd dashed at the foe and drove them back in
At this moment Lieutenant Bunny, H.A., rode back at a gallop and shouted to Captain
Bourchier, "Come along; they are bolting like the devil."
Away rattled the battery of field-guns along the Trunk Road. The infantry made way for
them, as if so many fire-engines were coming, and after galloping a mile and a half they
saw the rebels' camp, and at four hundred yards poured round-shot into the flying masses.
Major Turner rode up and ordered, "Go to grape distance."
Again the battery limbered up and at two hundred yards range poured a shower of grape into
Bourchier writes: "The men were yelling with delight. They actually stood upon the
gun-carriages as we advanced. The drivers cheered, and such a scene of excitement was
never known." Then Sir Colin himself rode up to the battery and said, "Well done, my men,
well done. Now go hot in pursuit of the rascals."
"Hurrah! Hurrah! we are on their track. Gun after gun is passed and spiked, cartloads of
ammunition lie strewed along the road; Pandies are bolting in all directions."
Without a check that battery pursued for two miles, Sir Hope Grant and his staff riding in
the dust behind.
Four times they came into action after that, to clear front and flank. Then General Grant
said, "We are getting too far away from our supports. Halt! Wait till the cavalry come
 The cavalry had been taken by their guides far too much to the left, and only arrived
late. But ten minutes' rest for the horses did good service; for, highly trained though
they were and in racing condition, the pace had been killing. With lowered heads and
frames shaken by the quick panting of exhausted lungs they awaited the next call upon
their stamina and muscle. And the gunners rubbed them down and spoke cheery words to them.
Presently a small cloud of dust was seen on their left coming nearer and nearer: it is
lost in a grove; soon the head of a cavalry column appears—they arrive: a quick
order is given. Like lightning the horsemen spread over the plain at a gallop and in
skirmishing order; Sir Colin is riding at the front. One might have thought it was a
fox-hunt, and indeed more than one fox did break cover, and the men merrily roared out a
"View halloa": so they rode on for fourteen miles, catching whom they could and making
So at last came the defeat of that Gwalior Contingent that had given Sir Colin so much
anxiety and nearly wrecked his plans. Sixteen guns, 350 cartloads of ammunition, huge
stores of grain, tents, bullocks, etc., fell into our hands.
The return to Cawnpur was rendered almost comic by an offer made to the men of three
rupees for every bullock the men could bring in. So the guard left at Cawnpur saw three or
four pairs of bullocks tied at the tail of each gun, while the Lancers were driving their
prisoners before them in hundreds, lowing as they went.
The next few weeks were spent in defeating rebel rajahs in Rohilkhand; but Lord Canning
strongly insisted on Lucknow and Oudh being brought to subjection before any other
attempts were made to sweep Rohilkhand.
By the 23rd of February 1858, Sir Colin had collected near Bunnee, 17 battalions of
infantry, 28 squadrons of cavalry, 54 light and 80 heavy guns.
Outram at the Alumbagh had been left alone for some time after the last severe handling by
Sir Colin of the sepoys
 at Lucknow. But the Maulavi, one of the chief authors of the
Mutiny, was now in Lucknow, and made two or three attacks which Outram repelled, though it
was said that the rebels had 100,000 men to Outram's 4000.
We need not dwell again on the storming of Lucknow, which was carried out so gallantly
with the help of Outram at the cost of 800 of all ranks. At this time Sir Colin received a
letter from the Queen written by her own hand, thanking him for his devotion, and the
troops for their gallantry.
After his next clearance of Rohilkhand in June, Sir Colin retired to Allahabad, where he
found a letter from Lord Derby: "Her Majesty deems the present a fitting moment for
marking her high sense of your eminent brilliant services by raising you to the dignity of
a peer of the United Kingdom."
Sir Colin was disposed to run restive at strange titles, but was at last reconciled to the
honour: though he continued to sign his letters to friends as before C. C., and not Clyde.
When he met the 93rd, of which he was colonel, the first time after becoming Lord Clyde,
he called the pipe-major to the front. John MacLeod saluted, saying, "I beg your pardon,
Sir Colin, but we dinna ken hoo tae address you noo that the Queen has made you a Lord!"
The chief replied, with a touch of humorous sadness, "Just call me Sir Colin, John, the
same as in the old times: I like the old name best."
Mr. Russell relates a story of Lord Clyde—an incident which he witnessed in the
campaign in Central India in December. It was dark and cold: the men had made blazing
fires of straw and grass in houses lately occupied by Nana Sahib's followers.
"At one of these fires, surrounded by Beloochees, Lord Clyde sat with his arm in a sling
(his horse had fallen with him) upon a native bed. Once he rose to give an order, when a
tired Beloochee flung himself on the crazy charpoy,
 but was jerked off by an indignant comrade with the loud exclamation, 'Don't you see, you
fool, that you are on the Lord Sahib's charpoy?' Lord Clyde broke in, 'No—let him
lie there; don't interfere with his rest,' and himself took his scat on a billet of wood."
It was not until June 1860 that the old general was able to sail home, after taking a
touching farewell of Lord Canning. Everybody now, from the French Emperor to the Court of
the City of London, was eager to welcome the man who had saved India at the cost of the
fewest lives possible. There was no more talk of being over-cautious, or too old: honours
were poured upon him: in November 1862 he was promoted to the rank of field-marshal. His
last appearance at the head of troops was on Easter Monday 1862, when he commanded 20,000
men. His health had begun to fail, and he died at Chatham on the 14th of August 1863, and
was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Fifty years of arduous service had raised him from a carpenter's son to the peerage, but
he always remained a simple, God-fearing Scot, beloved by the rank and file of his army.
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