GENERAL SIR HENRY D. DALY, G.C.B., C.I.E.:
THE LEADER OF THE GUIDES
 HENRY DERMOT DALY was born near Poona, in the Bombay Presidency, in 1823: his mother was the only child of
Captain Hugh M'Intosh of the 16th Light Dragoons, who served in Spain. His father, whose
family possessed estates in West Meath and Connaught, joined Wellington's army in the
Peninsula, and afterwards served in America and India, and was at the siege of Ghazni.
Henry Daly was sent home to be taken care of by his grandmother, Mrs. M'Intosh, at
Newport, Isle of Wight.
In 1840, Daly was given a nomination to the East India Company's service, and was posted
to the 1st Bombay Fusiliers (now 1st Dublin Fusiliers), but he did not go round by the
Cape as most travellers did in those days. The passengers landed in Gibraltar and saw the
mixed races of the East for the first time: the Turk and Christian, Jew and Arab and Moor
all jostling in the narrow streets; the Rock, the galleries, the numberless steps, the
strange tongues and little monkeys of the Rock and stranger vegetation—all made a
clear and distinct impression on the mind of the seventeen-year-old cadet.
At Alexandria they found one British man-of-war riding at anchor at the mouth of the
harbour; to prevent the egress of the whole Turkish fleet! Mahomet Ali kindly permitted
them to pass through Egypt.
There was but one steamer then on the Nile, "of three
 donkey power!" But they reached Cairo at last, and wished to cross the desert to Suez at
once. No horses! no camels! But each man was given two donkeys and a boy; at his shouts
and shrieks the donkey trotted forward, taking no notice of any vagaries of the rider
expressed by whip or rein.
They accomplished the 80 miles under twenty-four hours, and found at Suez a sea-going
steamer. Thus they left on the 23rd September and reached Bombay on the 10th October.
Daly's regiment was at Aden, but his father got him attached to a corps at Poona that he
might learn Hindustani for the Presidential Examination. So, on landing, Daly started for
his father's house at Kirkee, 100 miles from Bombay, where he stayed some months. In May
1841 he returned to Bombay to be examined in colloquial Hindustani, and came out first as
We may note how men who rose early to distinction in India were often helped to the first
steps by knowing how to speak to the natives: those who studied languages while others
played games, or shot animals, reaped a rich reward in promotion when their services were
really in request.
In his leisure Daly learnt a second language, Mahratti, and in May 1842 passed his
examination well. Lady M'Mahon, wife of the commander-in-chief, had laughingly promised
that if he passed she would obtain from her husband two months' leave for him to go to the
Next day Daly was sent for by Sir Thomas, who said, "Daly, I have a reward for your
industry—you are to be adjutant of an irregular infantry regiment." As he was only
an ensign, this appointment changed his pay from 200 to 500 rupees a month.
The Guzerat battalion to which Daly was appointed was stationed at Kaira, where Daly's
mother had been buried: thus for months he passed his mother's grave every day.
"My poor mother! I was a child when she died, but
 so often had I read her beautiful letters that her memory was a living feeling."
All round Kaira the country was luxuriantly beautiful; trees planted by the conquering
Mahommedans rose to a magnificent height, and verdure and culture met the eye on every
side. Here began a friendship with a fellow-officer named Anderson which only ended with
his death at Multan.
They were in the same regiment and had the same tastes; they used to sit in the cool
nights talking of the days to come, of hopes and fears and successes: then Anderson joined
Sir Charles Napier's staff in Sind, caught fever and went to England. About this time Daly
also was seized with fever and had to sail for England in December 1843, losing a good
appointment worth £'700 a year.
If he had gone no farther than the Cape or Egypt, he could by the rule of the service have
kept his staff appointment: but he preferred to risk that.
Daly travelled with a friend through Sicily, Naples, Leghorn, to France; there he again
met Anderson and with him visited his friend's family in Scotland, and thus his days
passed joyously. But he began to realise mentally the prophecies of those who had warned
him against going home. If he spent his full three years of leave, what would he not miss?
However, in March 1846, during the Sutlej campaign, came an order: "Rejoin your regiment;
ordered on service."
In fifteen days he was off and joined his regiment: just then the adjutancy was vacant,
and it was offered to him! A few days' delay, and he would have lost a favourable
Daly's friend, Anderson, after travelling through Persia, joined him at Karachi, and there
they lived in the same house for many months, until Anderson went to Multan.
 At Karachi, Anderson introduced Daly to Sir Charles Napier, who was to become a kind
friend in the years following.
As Sir Charles left for England in 1847, his soldiers near the pier preserved a sad
silence—they all felt his going so much: as he passed down the line of troops where
with dropped sword Daly sat on horseback at the end of the formation, Sir Charles
recognised the young officer and said: "Ah, Daly, is that you?" then turned his horse and
shook him by the hand, with "Good-bye! good luck to you, my boy."
Daly felt that kind words from so great a soldier were to be remembered with pride.
In 1848 the Punjab seemed to be profoundly peaceful: Sir Henry Lawrence had gone to
England, leaving his charge to his brother John until Sir Frederick Currie should come to
The dewan, or ruler, of the Province of Multan, to the south of the Punjab, was Mulraj; he
had succeeded his father, who had amassed great riches and constructed strong
fortifications at Multan, a city more than two miles in circumference, having walls of
sunburnt bricks forty feet high.
Now this Mulraj came to Lahore and told John Lawrence he wished to resign. No arguments
could dissuade him; so the Sikh Durbar, at Currie's request, decided to send two British
officers to accept the Dewan's resignation and install his successor. Vans Agnew and
Anderson were chosen to accompany the new governor designate, Sirdar Khan Singh.
The escort consisted of 1400 Sikh infantry, a Gurkha regiment, 700 cavalry and 100
artillerymen with 6 guns.
Anderson, writing to Daly from a boat on the Ravi, says: "The Sirdar is a fine fellow and
has lots of pluck . . . to say that I am a lucky fellow, Daly, is less than the truth. I
could not in all India have a better appointment given me—I am indebted to John
Lawrence and Outram for it."
 The poor fellow little thought he was going to his death!
They reached Multan on the 18th April 1848; on the 19th, as they rode back from the fort
of which they had taken formal charge, the British officers were attacked in the street
and both wounded, Anderson seriously. Mulraj was actually riding by their side at the time
and made no effort to protect them. They were brought back to the quarters of their
escort, a Mahommedan walled temple outside the walls of Multan.
Next morning their escort deserted them and joined the rioters.
Sirdar Khan Singh and a dozen faithful horsemen alone stood by them; and in the evening
Agnew and Anderson were murdered by a fanatical mob. But Agnew had had time to pencil a
note to Sir Herbert Edwardes, 90 miles away, and call for help. Edwardes crossed the Indus
and besieged Multan and fought and won three battles, until General Whish, with Daly
coming later as volunteer, arrived in August 1848 to besiege the fort. Here Daly was under
fire from heavy guns for the first time: he tells us the Sikh gunners in Multan were
beautiful shots and we lost many men.
"The other day I made a most ludicrous blunder; I have never yet seen the general. I was
suggesting some change in our position, when an old gent in a white jacket came up; Major
Napier turned to him while I was speaking, and the old gent addressed some question to me,
which, deeming irrelevant, or of no importance, compared with Napier's attention, I
answered curtly and abruptly.
"Gordon, who was behind, listening, said to me:
"'Daly, you treat the general rather coolly!'
"'Lord! Lord! I thought he was an old sapper sergeant! The general!'"
The siege of Multan cost us in its first stage 17 British officers and many men; General
Whish had to raise the siege and ask for reinforcements from Bombay.
Daly served in the final siege as Adjutant of the 1st 103
 Bombay Fusiliers under General Dundas, and was thanked by the Chief Engineer, Major R.
Napier, for his zeal and ability.
The Bombay Column reached Multan on Christmas Eve, 1848, and began operations on 27th
December by attacking the suburbs, driving the enemy at the point of the bayonet from
their strong positions in nullahs, or ravines, orchards and walled gardens.
General Whish had placed his batteries in the first siege nearly 3 miles from the city;
now they were 500 yards from the walls.
On 30th December a shell struck the Jumma Musjid, or Great Mosque, and another blew up a
powder magazine in the city, killing 1000 men.
On the 1st of January 1849, at 4 p.m., the signal to storm was given, the Fusiliers in
advance led by Captain Leith; twice were the besiegers repulsed with heavy loss; Leith and
his subaltern Grey were dangerously wounded.
A third time the Fusiliers, furious at the loss of 'their officers, and raising an Irish
yell that dismayed their foes, rushed up to the steep breach, shouting, "Remember
Anderson," and won the summit, where Colour-Sergeant Bennett, amid a shower of bullets,
planted the British colours, and by sunset the city of Multan was captured. However, there
still remained the clearing of many narrow streets, no easy task, and many casualties
Then our men lay down in square or gateway, food was brought them and chains of double
sentries guarded them from surprise.
As they slept, worn out with their exertions, suddenly a terrific explosion at midnight
set the houses rocking and falling.
Was it a mine? None knew the cause; but as the men started up from the ground, officers
were heard calling to their men: "Be steady, boys, and stand to your arms."
Heart-piercing cries and groans of men buried alive unnerved their comrades in the dark;
 here and there the glimpse of a ghastly hand or leg protruding from the dusty debris.
In one regiment 10 were killed and 30 injured by falling stones.
Next day a hospital for the wounded and sick of the enemy was organised; there were no
outrages and but little looting.
The citadel was on the point of being stormed when Mulraj with 3000 men surrendered. The
bodies of Agnew and Anderson were carried with military honours through the sloping breach
and buried side by side on the summit of Mulraj's citadel.
After the capture of Multan a garrison of Bombay troops was left there, and the remainder
of the force hurried away to join Lord Gough's army of the Punjab which had fought two
battles at great cost against the Sikhs (Ramnuggur and Chilianwala) and was in a very
When the Multan reinforcements arrived, the General was able to fight the battle of
Gujerat on 21st February 1849; in this engagement 60,000 men with an immense number of
guns were signally defeated; 14,000 laid down their arms, and the Punjab was annexed. We
may then conclude that the battle of Gujerat saved India to us in the time of the Mutiny.
For the Punjab, under the masterly administration of the Lawrences, Edwardes and
Nicholson, became a loyal province of brave and faithful Sikhs, who marched down to Delhi
and fought side by side with their British brothers on the Ridge. Lord Gough had led his
men well and bravely, but his great losses made the people at home cry for a change of
commander; and Sir Charles Napier was appointed, to Daly's great content; yet he felt for
the grief and shame which this change would entail upon the old General. At the end of
May, Daly received a letter from Sir Henry Lawrence:—
"MY DEAR SIR,—
You are nominated to the command of the 1st Cavalry Regiment to be raised at
 After an expedition through the Kohat Pass under Sir Charles Napier, Daly's regiment now
complete, and consisting mostly of Pathans and sons of great chiefs, was stationed at
Peshawur, where Daly made friends with Sir Colin Campbell and Colonel Mansfield. Of the
latter, Daly says: "He is versatile and accomplished: he will travesty Hamlet, or write
you an essay on Military Defence, discuss Montaigne, or play an active part in a joke.
There is a wondrous fund of life and humour about him."
In 1852, Daly was again down with fever, and went home by Aden and Trieste. After visiting
the Isle of Wight he crossed over to Ireland, where his father was living in a big house
dropped down on the edge of a marsh: he found him surrounded by colts and horses, well and
merry. No doubt father and son told many a tale of war and peace, comparing experiences of
When Daly returned to the Isle of Wight he married a girl he had known from boyhood, Susan
Kirkpatrick; they settled down at Shanklin. In March 1854 he saw the British fleet sail
for the Baltic, Queen Victoria receiving the admiral and his captain on board the Fairy
before they sailed. By Christmas, 1854, he was again at Bombay, hoping to be sent to the
Crimea. But Colonel Mansfield wrote, advising him to stay in India. After some months'
service at Karachi as Brigade-Major, Daly received two telegrams from the Viceroy's
private secretary—"Go to Agra"; "You are to command Oudh cavalry." So, leaving his
wife at Karachi, Daly went by sea to Calcutta; Oudh had been just incorporated in British
India; Outram had become Chief Commissioner and had got Lord Dalhousie to send him Daly to
command an irregular force of cavalry.
Daly's wife followed with her new baby and met her husband at Cawnpur: hence by dak ghari
(or wooden carriage with venetian blinds) they went to Lucknow; passing many mosques and
temples with tall minarets, they went through the Dilkusha Park, full of magnificent mango
 trees, acacia and banian till they arrived at the flat-roofed house near the river Goomti,
which was to be their home.
There, every morning, men and horses from all parts of India came to be selected for the
new regiment; the horses, wilder than the men, covered with all sorts of bright
saddle-cloths and scarves from nose to saddle-girth.
At the end of January 1857, Mr. Jackson, the chief commissioner, brought two pretty nieces
to Lucknow, and the ladies got up a ball for them. Alas! in a few months these pretty
girls were seized by mutineers, and no one knows what fate pursued the elder sister,
Georgina: Madeline, a bright sunny girl, was held captive in Lucknow city, half-starved,
but rescued at last. On Daly's return from chasing an outlaw, he found a telegram from Sir
John Lawrence, offering him the command of the Guides in Lumsden's absence. Meanwhile Sir
Henry Lawrence had been made chief commissioner at Lucknow and wrote asking Daly to visit
him at the Residency.
Mrs. Daly writes: "24th March.—We came in here last might . . . . Sir Henry is a
most charming person; his manner so kind, cheerful and affable; it sets every one at his
ease . . . but he looks sadly weary . . . he hates state and does not care for driving out
with four horses . . . he gives one the feeling of living for another world, he believes
that the real life is to come."
Daly had accepted the Guides by Sir Henry's advice, and on 14th April they left Lucknow
and proceeded by Cawnpur to Agra.
They reached Delhi on the 18th April, talked to officers about the disaffection of the
sepoys, and so on by Umballa to Lahore: Mrs. Daly and her child went to Simla and saw the
Lawrence Asylum for children of white soldiers, to which Sir Henry Lawrence had given
£10,000 in the last four years.
How nearly they had missed destruction—Lucknow, Cawnpur, Delhi! and only one month
more, when the floods of mutiny would rise and swell. Daly had done his
 212 miles in twenty-one hours by mail-cart. He says: "Grand doing, wondrous whipping,
desperate driving in the dash across narrow bridges of boats—10:30 a.m., found Sir
John in his office, no coat on—shirt sleeves tucked up—amidst a heap of
papers—we had many familiar chats—he is prompter and harder than Sir Henry . .
. has not that generous delicacy of his brother, is energetic, bold and vigilant."
Daly went on to Attock, where the morning air was cool and fresh, and to Mardan, where the
Guides were stationed. There he found Battye second in command; Kennedy, commandant of
cavalry; Hawes, adjutant; and Stewart, assistant-surgeon.
It was a bare fortnight after he joined the corps that Daly heard the first news of the
mutiny at Meerut: an hour afterwards came an order from Colonel Edwardes, for Daly to move
with his corps to Noushera. At midnight he arrived, and two hours later received an
"urgent" to proceed at once to Attoch. Into Attoch galloped Chamberlain, a resolute,
thoughtful soldier, with whom Daly had a grave talk.
In his diary Daly writes: "Swam the Indus last night and again to-night; the current was
strong, and I found I had no spare strength on my return."
Marching by night they escaped the great heat and dust storms. On the 18th they were
overtaken within 4 miles of Pindi by Edwardes, riding in a buggy to visit Sir John
Lawrence. Daly jumped in, and they found at 5 a.m. Chamberlain in bed at the door: Sir
John, in bed within, called them inside and conversed frankly and cordially.
Telegrams were read and discussed: Meerut with 1600 English troops making no effort to
crush the mutineers was the worst item.
The young soldiers resolved on a course of action, without delay or hesitation. Edwardes
and Nicholson, Cotton and Chamberlain stoutly told the old and somewhat bewildered General
Anson what to do, and he did it!
 Chamberlain was to command the movable column—high-minded he, and bold as a lion,
knowing what to do. The Guides were to press forward for the scene of action. Daly and
other officers could hardly keep awake as they rode; the men were cheerful and willing.
They reached Lahore on the 26th and set about recruiting: many Sikh sirdars offered help:
not one noble had joined the rebels. On 1st June they reached Ludhiana and enjoyed
splendid quarters at the grand house of Mr. Ricketts, with iced water and cold sheets to
At Kurnal, on the 6th June, cholera broke out in Daly's corps and attacked three Gurkhas
and others; one cook died and five sick men were left behind. Edwardes writes: "We are all
delighted at the march the Guides have been making. It is the talk of the border. I hope
the men will fill their pockets in the sack of Delhi."
On the 9th of June the Guides joined the Delhi force: a great excitement was caused as
they appeared on the Ridge; for their stately height and martial bearing struck all
beholders, and they came in as fresh and light as if they had marched but a few miles. Yet
the march from Mardan to Delhi, a distance of 580 miles in twenty-two days, at the hottest
time of the year, has been considered one of the finest achievements of the war.
They had just completed their last thirty miles to Delhi when a staff officer galloped up.
"How soon can you be ready to go into action?" "In half an hour." That was rather sharp
work; but some of them had seen hotter work at Multan. Three hours after their arrival
they were engaged hand-to-hand with the rebels, and every British officer of the Guides
Battye was mortally wounded; Khan Singh Rosa hard hit; Hawes cut across the face with a
tulwar; Daly had his horse killed under him and was hit in the leg by a spent bullet;
Kennedy was slightly hurt.
Edwardes writes to Daly: "Amidst all our joy at the march and brave deeds of the Guides,
we are greatly
 grieved to hear of poor young Battye's death. He was full of hope and promise, and is
indeed a flower fallen from the chaplet of our Indian Army."
Quintin Battye was shot by a sepoy within a couple of yards of him, right through the
lower part of the stomach: he had fought gallantly and died a hero's death: he had two
Of the commanders-in-chief, General Anson had died on the 27th May; General Sir H. Barnard
died on the 5th July; General Reed was invalided on the 17th July; Brigadier-General
Archdale Wilson was the fourth to take up the command. Hodson had said in his trenchant
way, "We shall never do anything till all these old gentlemen pass away"; and this was the
hard truth. War is certainly not a profession for old age: there are only a few elderly
men, like Lord Roberts, who maintain the vigour and decision of youth. Within the city
were 40,000 sepoys trained to shoot and charge by English officers; on the Ridge there
were a little over 6000 on the 8th July. It was no wonder if the besiegers sometimes felt
more like being besieged. The Guides were posted on the right of the Ridge, and during the
siege had to repel twenty-six separate attacks on this side of our line.
Sir John Lawrence wrote to Daly his congratulations and said he was sending every man they
could muster; but Peshawur gave anxiety, and three European regiments had to be held back
in the Punjab, for none of the Hindoo corps could be trusted. And in censuring a certain
general who had allowed all the Jullundhur rebels to escape, though they had a river to
cross, Sir John bitterly remarks: "When I see some of the men we entrust with our troops,
I almost think that a curse from the Almighty is on us."
On the 19th July, Daly was very severely wounded; for the enemy, taking advantage of the
British being engaged in the front, moved round to our right and rear under cover of thick
foliage. It was a surprise; for we had only
 a portion of the 9th Lancers, the Guides cavalry, and four guns with which to meet the
Sir Hope Grant, who was in command, detached Daly to the left with two of Major Tombs'
guns under Lieutenant Hills, a troop of lancers and the Guides cavalry. These quickly
found themselves in the presence of a strong force with eight guns in position and a mass
of infantry and cavalry. Daly directed Hills to get his guns into action, and with his
Guides started off to clear the left flank already threatened by rebel cavalry. They were
barely holding their own when Major Tombs came up with the remainder of his guns.
As the enemy began to close on Daly's men in great numbers, Tombs sent word to the Guides:
"I must ask you to charge to save my guns." Thereat Daly led the Guides at a gallop, broke
through the infantry and reached the enemy's guns.
But Daly got a bullet through his left shoulder which crippled his arm for life. As he lay
on the ground in the dusk of evening his men searched for him in vain: until one of the
enemy, who had served in the 1st Oudh Irregular Cavalry, came up and pointed to where he
lay. Of this native Mrs. Daly had written a year before thus:
"There is a young Shahzadah (prince) in this regiment, a grandson of Shuja-ul-Mulk. A
handsome boy of eighteen, pale and delicate, with beautiful eyes; a very interesting lad.
The grandson of a king, he is thankful to be a jemadar (cornet) with £40 a year. Henry has
taken quite a fancy to him, has him into the house to talk to him, gives him quinine,
This boy seems to have joined the rebels from compulsion: poor lad, when Delhi was taken,
he was probably hanged. A poor return for having saved the life of his former colonel.
Yule, who commanded the 9th Lancers, also fell wounded; he was not found, and the rebels
prowled round the battlefield during the night and put him and others to death. "Poor
Yule," wrote Daly, "he trotted
 by me as I lay on the ground: it was quite dusk: he ought not to have been killed." For it
was pitch dark when our men retired, otherwise we might have taken all their guns; one gun
and two carriages were taken the following morning when, at Daly's suggestion, a party was
sent out to search the ground.
Major Tombs said the enemy got so close to his guns that they could pick off his gunners
as they worked the guns, and rendered it almost impossible to serve them. Daly's charge
saved the battery; but it was a desperate charge right up to the enemy's guns. It was then
that Hodson took the command of the Guides for five weeks, and was subsequently succeeded
On the 23rd of June, the Sikh corps arrived from the Punjab, and soon gave the rebels a
specimen of their fighting powers.
On the 24th, the sepoys came out in great force, sniping and occupying gardens: their loss
was so immense that they did not fire a shot next day. We found out what was going on in
the city by Hodson's spies; there were also native officers who got in for three or four
days at a time, and reported how there was dissension amongst the rebels, quarrelling over
loot, robbing and fighting and much disease.
John Lawrence sent down in July 200 picked Punjabis, well mounted, under Lieutenant
Bailey—a good reinforcement for the Guides.
The new arrivals of mutineers, it was said, were not allowed to enter Delhi until they had
shown their prowess outside; thus many of them got cut up by our men and never saw the
inside of the city.
On the 6th of July, Daly writes: "Poor General Barnard died yesterday of cholera: no doubt
in him, like General Anson, worry and anxiety laid the seeds of the destroyer. He was the
gamest, kindest, and kindliest gentleman I ever met. But he had no mind, no resolution
save what he got from others. We have lots of good men and true, though heaps of muffs and
 When General Reed became commander-in-chief, Chamberlain became the real head: he was for
waiting a little and would make no assault until more troops and guns came up: but Daly
and Hodson were for immediate assault. Even as early as the 12th June, Wilberforce,
Greathed, Maunsell, and Chesney had prepared a plan of assault: but an accident enforced
its postponement. Men's spirits rose when they heard that Phillour, Agra, and Allahabad
had been saved to the British. Phillour saved by an hour and a half! from this place most
of the supplies for the siege were brought. Agra saved by stratagem: Allahabad by the
fearlessness and prompt action of Lieutenant Brasyer, a young man who had been promoted
from the ranks for his splendid conduct during the Sutlej campaign of 1846. Brasyer with
his Sikhs, some invalid Europeans and Eurasians, disarmed just in time the 6th Native
Infantry and expelled them from the fort.
These arsenals were of prime importance to the army before Delhi; but they were not saved
by the foresight of the Indian Government.
On 15th July, Chamberlain had his arm broken: his tent was next to Daly's, and they were
great friends. Daly says of him:
Chamberlain is of heroic mould, gallant and forward to a fault: tall, with a soldierly
gait, fine principles, and an honest heart."
As to the price of provisions in camp, a buggy (covered dog-cart) was sold by auction for
a pot of jam. Tins of
bacon fetched four rupees a mouthful: grain was cheap, but fowls were unknown.
On the 29th July, Daly reports that a victory at Fattehpur, below Cawnpur, had cheered the
Havelock had given the perpetrators of the Cawnpur Massacre a lesson in retaliation:
Captain Maude, R.A., had shown them what eight guns could do, and if they had had cavalry
to follow up the victory, it would have been complete.
 The dark days of the Delhi siege were now passing: the men played merry games when they
were not fighting; provisions were brought in by willing natives, who no longer thought
that the British rule was doomed. Sheep began to be common now, poultry abundant; troops
from China were expected.
Then Sir John Lawrence wrote, 25th July, to say he was sending down upwards of 4000 good
and reliable troops, of whom 1200 might be Europeans: he dare not send more from the
Edwardes writes 27th July: ". . . Our fancy man, Nicholson, has gone down from this side
with his shirt sleeves up; so I hope this is the beginning of the end and Delhi will be
assailed and squashed . . . Your native soldiers never write to their fathers, mothers, or
sweethearts—and a precious row I hear at my house about it. If you would only send
up some captured trophy, you would do good."
On the 4th August a letter from Havelock told how he, with the 78th Highlanders, 1st
Madras Fusiliers, and Sikh corps, had beaten the rebels in three battles and taken all
their guns: the Nana's residence had been destroyed, and Havelock was now on his way to
relieve Lucknow. The Cawnpur tragedy, however, and the death of Sir Henry Lawrence sadly
dashed the growing feeling of optimism among the men.
There were many deserters from Delhi, but the wretches were plundered by the villagers:
there remained now in the city only about 15,000 effectives.
On the 14th August the Punjab column came in with Nicholson, and the men began to talk
about the assault being near.
On the 26th of August the camp heard that the siege train of heavy guns was not far off:
the rebels, too, in Delhi heard this, and sent out 6000 men and eighteen guns to intercept
This rebel force was attacked by Nicholson, who took
 twelve guns and thoroughly routed the enemy. But Major Lumsden's brother was killed, a
fine gallant young soldier. Daly says:
"Nicholson accomplished what I believe no other man here would have done, and this is the
impression of every man here—he is able, vigorous, and brave as a lion: so many guns
were not taken even on the 8th June."
On the 4th September the siege train came safely in.
Two batteries were erected on the night of the 7th, 600 yards from the walls: the enemy
were simply astonished when the firing began, and cavalry came out to take the guns, but a
shower of grape quelled them.
By the 9th, ten heavy guns were at work tearing down the defences. Baird-Smith and
Alexander Taylor had worked hard to reconnoitre and choose the ground and get the
batteries erected. On the 11th September, Taylor called on Daly, saying all his work was
over: one battery was to open 160 yards from the wall, and it was fully expected that
Pandy would get a surprise packet.
On the 12th, there was a meeting at the General's to hear the plan of assault: three
columns, led by Nicholson, Campbell, and Jones, were to assail the walls and bastions.
Great regret was felt this day at Fagan being shot as he sat on the trail of his gun
watching the effect of the shot for which he had just laid. He was an officer respected by
all, cheerful, hardy, heroic: if all the heroes of this war were mentioned in any detail,
many volumes could be filled. In fact it was no ordinary war: the supreme danger put every
one on his mettle, and brought out unsuspected heroism.
Up to now Daly's wound had prevented him from taking active duty; he was able neither to
ride nor run, but he watched the assault from the top of Hindu Rao's house.
From this coign of vantage he could not see the breach, but on the 15th could see our
mortars shelling the palace, and a long train of fugitives leaving the city, and of
animals laden with spoil: the mortal wound of General Nicholson and the broken arm of
Greathed gave him great sorrow.
 The Guides during the assault were in action on the right: in this young Murray fell, shot
through the chest.
On the 22nd, Daly reports: "The old king is in our hands . . . some Sikh sowars of
Hodson's came on the sons, not knowing who they were: they plundered them and took no heed
of their capture. We shall get them yet, I hope; that Mirza Moghul must be hanged as high
On the 27th, Daly was staying with Major Coke in a palace in Delhi, being unable yet to
ride. He saw the vision of a looted city: doors and windows broken; no life, save it were
that of a derelict cat furtively peeping round the corner of some old bedding or
furniture; the citizens either fled or roaming about with hungry eyes—no beggars
these, you see, but haply nobles of yesterday and Indian ladies delicately bred, carrying
their jewels about their person, sorely famished for want of food and clothing.
The rebels had made a stiff resistance in places up to a certain point: but you could
still see sand-bags piled up across some narrow street, guns loaded and placed in
position, but not fired: for there were none to lead them. In October, Daly was granted a
few weeks' leave to Simla: thence he wrote letters criticising Lord Canning for his delay
in helping Lucknow, Lord Palmerston for babbling in debate instead of acting at once; for
even 500 men sent to Bombay might have done real good. "Sir John is most kind, most
cordial . . . nevertheless he is not to me what Sir Henry was. I had a love for him
exceeding even the admiration and reverence in which I held his lofty character and great
attainments; as Lumsden said, "It is much, Daly, to have known one such man."
The Guides left Delhi on the 18th December 1857: at Peshawur they were given a great
reception; the troops of the Peshawur cantonment were paraded under General Sir Sydney
Cotton to welcome them; and a royal salute was fired on their approaching the
parade-ground. Of the 19 officers who had been attached to the Guides during the siege, 3
were killed, 1 died, and 8 were wounded; of the
 last, 1 was wounded six times, 1 four times, and 2 twice. Amongst the men there were 313
casualties out of 550. Twenty-five native officers and men of the Guides received the
order of merit; 54 were specially mentioned and promoted on the spot for gallantry in the
field. The Court of Directors addressed the Government of India in August 1858 and dwelt
on their wonderful march to Delhi, their services before the rebels, and their singular
fidelity, as shown by the fact that out of 800 men not one deserted to the enemy.
Daly then spent his few weeks' leave at Simla with his wife, who had been left there in
May, when the station was entirely without defence. Mrs. Daly and children started for
England in January 1858; being accompanied by her husband as far as the Indus, where they
took boat. Then Daly returned by mail-cart to Lahore, wishing he could join Sir Colin
Campbell in clearing the rebels from Oudh.
He thought how that General, strong in artillery, cavalry, and prestige, would sweep the
cowed sepoys before him into their forests and deserts: while he remembered how the rebels
fought in the beginning of the Mutiny, sure of victory with their thousands against our
poor hundreds, buoyed up by prophecies and elate with the first massacres of helpless
women and children, they fought then for our extermination, now they knew the tables were
Daly's old friend Mansfield was now chief of the staff to Sir Colin, and while Daly was
visiting Edwardes at Peshawur, a telegram came: "The chief of the staff inquires where is
Captain Daly?" The reply was, "At Peshawur, waiting for orders."
On the 23rd of February, Daly underwent a painful operation in order to recover the use of
his left shoulder. Two days later came another telegram: "Ask Daly to come to Lucknow and
live here with me—he may be in time for the struggle, if he makes haste." With Sir
John Lawrence's permission Daly set off at once.
He found his friend and Sir Colin at the Martiniere, a
 college founded by General Martino, a French officer in the King of Oudh's service. Daly
met with a hearty reception; Sir Colin being markedly cordial.
On the 12th of March, Daly reports: "The cordon is closing in on every side. Poor Hodson
was badly wounded in the city, whither he had gone to speak to Colonel Napier. Mansfield
wishes me to assume command of his corps, which is stronger than any here."
It chanced that Daly was at Bank's house when Hodson was brought in on a dhoolie: he
fetched a doctor and helped to attend on him.
"Hodson was a wondrous compound," writes Daly; "ability high and strong; power and energy,
physical and mental. His ability had received more culture than fell to the most of us.
For he did not quit England till twenty-three years of age, when he was a B.A. and
somewhat distinguished at Cambridge."
Hodson's Horse numbered just then 750 sabres with 7 officers: many of the men had never
bestrode a pony before leaving the Punjab. Mr. Montgomery and the Rajah of Jhind had
raised some troops at first: the men, bumping through the camp at Delhi on the big
obstinate horses, were nick-named "The Plungers": they quickly learned to ride, however.
Soon after taking this command Daly had to ride out with the 7th Hussars and attack a mass
of rebels collected at Nawabgunge: there was much single-combat fighting: some of the
Irregular Horse, who had been attracted to the corps by hopes of plunder there, were found
unfit for the service.
Daly discovered a good deal of loot gathered by his men and tried to equalise profits: for
while some looted, others were busy fighting and got nothing: all had had much rough work
to do; long patrols, hard gallops, difficult reconnaissances. They were a strange medley
of men from the plough, robbers from the hills and border, nobles' sons and small land
proprietors. They all needed
 to be managed with tact and genial talks rather than scoldings and severity.
After the relief of the Lucknow garrison, the city looked like Delhi after its capture:
camp followers filled courts and houses, plundering and searching: dead bodies of sepoys,
carcases of animals clogged the narrow passages and rendered the air nauseous and
unhealthy. Most of the inhabitants had fled, but they had left behind the tokens of their
skill in preparing for resistance in loop-holed walls and timber-built barricades;
batteries and trenches in many places intersected each other. The Residency was a heap of
ruins, pillars were broken, rooms were choked with the debris of fallen ceilings and
roofs: the church was levelled to its foundations. Much of this damage was done during the
rebel tenure of the place, after Sir Colin relieved and withdrew the garrison in November
It is said that one officer of the 13th Native Infantry, Sergeant Macpherson, had been
accidentally left behind in the Residency: he had fallen asleep in a dark corner, and had
not heard the warning cries of those about to leave. When he awoke, several hours after
the garrison and all had gone, he was amazed by the strange silence, and jumped up to find
he was alone in the fort and buildings. Quickly he ran in the dark down the lonely
streets, through deserted palaces and courtyards, meeting none; till he reached the
Secundra Bagh, where, to his delight, he came upon the rear-guard of the Highlanders: he
was known afterwards as "Sleepy Sandy." Captain Waterman was also left asleep in the
Residency: he too contrived to join the rear-guard in safety; but the fright so affected
his nerves that he was never the same man afterwards.
Daly reports on the 25th March having led a pursuit of rebels through the long grass,
which was still full of armed men who started up like hares, but fired ere they bolted.
All round Lucknow for miles the country was covered with dead carcases—men, horses,
camels, bullocks, and
 donkeys lay about everywhere, and swarms of flies pestered the soldiers, settled on their
plates of rice in black masses, and were a veritable torment as well as danger.
When the men struck their tents at night, the flies were sleeping in the roofs; so when
the tents were rolled up the flies got crushed and killed: on pitching the tents again,
the sweepers of each company were called to collect the dead flies; and from one tent
there were carried out five large basketfuls of dead flies.
As most of the rebels from Lucknow had retreated north-west towards Bareilly and
Rohilkhand, Daly's force was sent to cut them off. The country soon became difficult with
belts of trees and thick underwood, very unfitted for movements of cavalry: also there
were rivers and canals to cross, corn-fields and jungle full of desperadoes. At every
minute men were being fired at and often wounded by these skulking sepoys. Outram had been
attacking Moosabagh at the end of March, and one morning Daly received a note from the
"Come up as quick as you can and order a squadron of your regiment to follow: the rebels
are streaming out of the fort."
The 1st Sikh Cavalry helped in the pursuit, but the officer in command, Wale, a gallant,
cheery officer, was shot dead after cutting up a large number of the rebels.
One thing which Daly noticed was the small attention given to the war by the husbandmen:
only for an hour or two were the sheaves of corn deserted; the bullocks were seen to be
yoked to the well, ready to turn the wheel for irrigating the soil; the cucumber seed was
sown, and all was carried on as if war were like a passing shower that need not interfere
with the more important operations of life and nature.
It was reported that a large force, chiefly consisting of Lucknow rebels, was collected in
Bareilly under Khan Bahadur Khan, who had issued orders to his men for their guidance in
 "Do not attempt to meet the regular columns of the infidels, because they are superior to
you in discipline and have more guns: but watch their movements; guard all the ghats on
the rivers; stop their supplies; cut up their piquets; keep constantly hanging about their
camps; give them no rest." Wise words no doubt! the old Mahratta tactics!
The Indian who had organised the Mutiny from the first, the Moulvi, the man who had
proclaimed the restoration of' the King of Delhi, was going about Rohilkhand with a large
force of cavalry. He and the Nana were together at Mohumdee, and John Jones of the 60th
had attacked them with great spirit: but the British forces were not numerous enough to
meet the enemy at so many scattered points.
In June 1858, Daly was ordered to accompany General Hope Grant in an attack on rebel
rajahs, etc., at Nawabgunge, whose forces numbered some 12,000 men with ten guns, for many
rajahs who wished to help the British were being compelled to join the rebels, or have
their estates plundered. In one fight Daly made three charges and captured nearly all the
Some men were beginning to blame Sir Colin for not clearing the country more successfully;
but Daly always spoke well of the old General: "To my mind, knowing how terribly he is
enveloped in ancient prejudices, it is wonderful to contemplate what he has done: . . .
Sir Colin would have been happier in command of a brigade: . . . all in all, he has done
well. The peerage will bring him no satisfaction: he said to me one day very mournfully, I
am wifeless and childless—a lone man. The rank and wealth and honours which would
have gladdened those dear to me, come to me when all who loved me in my youth are gone.
Ah! Daly, I have suffered poverty and hardship. For years, for the want of a few hundred
pounds, I was compelled to live in the West Indies, unable to purchase the promotion I
craved for, and which younger men about me were getting as they wished: those were bitter
 The richest men in high command, and old generals not superseded! One wonders how victory
ever came to grace our arms!
Forbes-Mitchell of the 93rd Highlanders describes vividly the charge made by 360 Rohilla
Ghazis or religious fanatics at the battle of Bareilly.
Sir Colin saw them coming and called out, "Ghazis, Ghazis! close up the ranks! bayonet
them as they come on."
The Ghazis charged in blind fury, with their round shields on their left arms, their
bodies bent low, waving their tulwars over their heads, throwing themselves under the
bayonets and cutting at the men's legs. Colonel Cameron of the 42nd was pulled from his
horse by a Ghazi; but his life was saved by Colour-Sergeant Gardener, who got hold of a
tulwar and cut off the Ghazi's head. The struggle was short: every one of these brave
Ghazis was killed; 133 lay in one circle in front of the colours of the 42nd.
Sir Colin caught the glint of the eye of one Ghazi as he lay on the ground, shamming dead.
"Bayonet that man!" he cried. But the Ghazi was enveloped in a thick quilted tunic of
green silk, and the blunt Enfield bayonet could not pierce it: the Highlander would have
been cut down, had not a Sikh Sirdar rushed to his aid and cut off the Ghazi's head with
one sweep of his keen tulwar. These fanatics made no bones of killing non-combatants. Mr.
Ross, chaplain of the 42nd, all unarmed, was seen to be running for his life, dodging
round camels and bullocks, with a rebel sowar after him: at last, seeing some Highlanders,
he rushed to them breathless for protection, stammering out, "Ninety-third! shoot that
impertinent fellow!" The sowar was shot down and his Reverence escaped with his life. In
these fights with the rebels we often hear of the marvellous keen blade of the tulwar.
There were three brothers named Ready in the 93rd, two of whom were cloven in twain by
tulwars in the assault on the Begum's palace at Lucknow. David, the remaining brother,
dropped his bayonet, seized a tulwar
 and in a kind of frenzy swung it round with terrible effect, cutting off men's heads as if
they had been mere heads of cabbage. The curve of this tulwar was about a quarter circle,
and it was sharper than most razors. The wonder is how such tempered steel could be
wrought with such simple appliances.
Some of the rajahs were faithful to us in heart, and some also in deed. The Rajah of
Bulrampur was most steadfast—one wonders if his loyalty was ever repaid! His
elephants were sent to Sekrova for the transport of the ladies and children to Lucknow,
and with him took refuge all the officers and civilians who were saved. In 1858 his
position became difficult, when the sepoys from Delhi and Lucknow were thronging the towns
and hiding in the fields. Nevertheless the Rajah held his ground, though his chief town
had been plundered in December. The English General had congratulated him on his
staunchness, and all the small rajahs were then seeking his influence, which he was proud
to use in their behalf. An amnesty had been proclaimed, but the sepoys did not know about
it, and kept skulking in the forests, spiritless and hopeless, but armed. So the Oudh
rebellion was slowly dying out: but in Central India, Tantia Topee was still giving much
In April 1859, Daly handed over his command to Hughes and sailed for England. Thus ends
the story of Daly as far as the Mutiny is concerned. But he returned to India and did good
service in Central India as political agent: in his political career he showed great
sympathy with the native princes. To commemorate his work the chiefs of Central India
subscribed towards a handsome building named "The Daly College"; and Lord Dufferin in
opening the hall spoke of Sir Henry Daly as one of the most accomplished and high-minded
public servants in India—the champion and friend of the Native Princes and the
He died at Ryde in July 1895, having lived a life of action throughout: a grand horseman,
a lover of dogs and
 horses, he had also a rich fund of Irish humour and delighted in telling and hearing
anecdotes. He was well read in history and biography and was deeply religious at heart.
"To my mind," he says, "there is no religion so holy as that of helping and comforting our
Sir Neville Chamberlain wrote: "The natives were at once led to trust him; they accepted
him as a just judge and as a friend who would do his best to see that their rights were
respected by the State."
Thus the dashing cavalry officer developed into a healer of discord and a saviour of his
Life of Sir H. Daly, by kind permission of Colonel Daly and Mr. Murray.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics