THE SEPOY ARMY REVOLTS
AT last we were overlords of all India. There was no one left to dispute our rule or break the peace of the land.
True, we had once more to fight the Burmese, and added Lower Burmah to the empire, but in India all was quiet
for seven years. Then suddenly war and wild confusion broke out. Our great native army rebelled.
All sorts of reasons have been given for this terrible outbreak. There was the story of the new cartridges,
which the soldiers were told had been greased by the English with the fat of cows and pigs so as to cause
defilement to Hindu and Mussulman soldiers alike. Mischief-makers went about secretly stirring up trouble,
saying that the English wished to destroy the ancient native religions and turn all into Christians.
These things no doubt helped to infuriate the native army, but behind all this was the fact that the universal
peace in India, which had succeeded long years of war,
 had left the sepoys, who were proud of themselves and their triumphs, restless and discontented. There was
also an old-time prophecy that a white race should rule the sacred land of India for a hundred years, and was
it not now just a century since the battle of Plassey?
Although the mutiny took us by surprise, there were many warnings of the coming storm, and it should have been
possible to prevent it. There were midnight meetings of the sepoys followed by sullen disrespect to their
officers. Also chupatis, or small cakes, were sent from village to village far and wide. Few of the
English saw what it all meant, but every one felt that some strange secret was abroad in the land.
17TH REGIMENT BENGAL IRREGULAR CAVALRY, 1850.
The story of its horrors and of its heroes will be found in the histories of the Great Mutiny. The record is
both horrible and fascinating. The first outbreak occurred at Barrackpore, about one hundred miles north of
Calcutta. Thanks to that excellent old officer General Hearsay, it was quelled. But, unfortunately, when the
storm burst at Meerut on May 10 the almost criminal folly of General Hewitt gave the mutiny its first chance.
Although he commanded a strong force of British soldiers, yet he stood by while
 the sepoys fired the town and murdered every European, man, woman, and child, they could find.
Then, with their devil's work done, they raced off to Delhi, where our people were all unwarned by Hewitt of
what was coming upon them. Bahadur Shah, the doddering old descendant of the great Akbar, was proclaimed their
king, and for days Delhi was turned into a slaughter-house full of unnamed horrors, in which all that was
English disappeared—men, delicate women, and little children being done to death, often with terrible
cruelties. But not all died unavenged. Nine heroes held the Delhi arsenal, with its great store of powder and
arms, until the mutinous hordes swarmed in upon them. Then Lieutenant Willoughby, after firing his last
cannon-shot, lifted his hand. Scully fired the powder-train, and the great magazine and fort with all in it
went to the skies with a mighty roar which shook the solid earth for miles around.
All over the country little isolated garrisons were staring death in the face bravely. Cawnpore fell in
hideous massacre, but Lucknow defied the rebel hosts and held them back from Delhi, where a small British
force daringly began the siege. Regiments hurried out from England, the Sikhs stood by us, and the little
Gurkhas came down to our succour from Nepal.
 At last all seemed to hang upon whether we could take Delhi and whether the Lucknow Residency would fall.
A KHYBERI OF THE QUEEN'S OWN CORPS OF GUIDES, 1853.
Swept by a merciless fire night and day, its garrison of heroes, led by the gallant Lawrence, were holding out
with the utmost difficulty against thousands of furious enemies. Even wounded men at times of great pressure
would crawl from the hospital to lie down and fire or load for others. Lawrence was killed by a shell, but
Havelock and Outram, with a small force, burst through the enemy and strengthened the garrison, for now Delhi
had been taken by John Nicholson and the tide was turning. The end came on November 16, when Sir Colin
Campbell, with a strong force of British and Sikhs, attacked and carried, one by one, the great sepoy
positions surrounding the Residency.
The fighting was desperate in the extreme, as our men stormed their way through or over great walled buildings
amidst a rain of bullets. Perhaps most desperate of all was it at the Secunder Bagh, with its high walls,
bastions and loopholes, held by a strong force of sepoys. "There never was a bolder feat," said stern old Sir
Colin himself, "than the storming of the Secunder Bagh."
THE 93RD HIGHLANDERS CLEARING THE SECUNDER BAGH BEFORE LUCKNOW.
 The enemy, finding escape impossible, fought with the courage of despair and religious hate. The air was full
of horrible noises, the ceaseless rattle of musketry, the curses and yells of the sepoys, and the fierce cry
of the British soldiers, "Remember Cawnpore, boys!" Into the Secunder Bagh we went at last, the fair legs of
the Highlanders and the brown legs of the battle-loving Sikhs showing in strange contrast as they charged
together through the gardens inside. Next morning the bodies of 20,000 sepoys dressed in their old British
uniforms strewed the ground in tumbled heaps.
By such fighting was Lucknow saved from the awful fate of Cawnpore. More hard fighting lay before Colin
Campbell before he could bring all the women and children to safety, but by May 1858 the mutiny had
disappeared. It had vanished as the mutineer army at Agra had done on that day in late September after our
recapture of the imperial city of Delhi.
CASHMERE GATE, DELHI.
Night found them encamped on the Agra plains, fifty thousand strong, still an organised force, still
determined and full of fight. Through the darkness flickered the watch-fires of a vast army, but when the dawn
arose it had vanished into thin air and not a man was there to be seen. Suddenly in the night the fierce
spirit of resistance had burnt itself cut. Panic had set in, and with the morning light all were scattering
and hurrying to their homes, anxious only to seem like peaceful peasants and workers in the fields now that
vengeance was abroad in the land.
Still stands the gaunt Residency, with its broken
 walls beaten by the rebel fire, a memorial ruin of the heroes, men and women, who held it. We can still see
the place where Lawrence died and where, amidst the crash of shells and musketry, he received that last
Communion, and then with a beautiful calmness urged all to resist to the last and on no account to surrender,
to protect the women and children from all evil, and to remain tranquil, trusting in God. All round the
Residency are still the various posts, each with a desperate little history of its own, from which we held the
enemy at bay, and one of them, called Duprat's Post, is that where a gallant Frenchman of that name did right
good service for us.
RUINS OF THE BAILEY GUARD OF THE PRESIDENCY, LUCKNOW.
After the Mutiny we swept away the last shadows of names once famous and formidable in India. First the
phantom of a Moghul emperor and his court, which had given head to the rebellion, vanished from Delhi for
ever. Secondly, the last pretender to the chieftainship of the Mahrattas disappeared from Cawnpore, where he
had shared in the black treachery of Nana Sahib, the murderer of our women and children. Lastly, the entire
government of India passed from the East India Company to the Crown.
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