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Scots in India
Clyde and Strathnairn

CLYDE (1792-1863) AND STRATHNAIRN (1801-1885).

THE names of Lord Clyde and Lord Strathnairn will always be identified with the operations that ended with the complete suppression of the Indian Mutiny. Great military leaders may often be allowed to rank as rulers equally with great administrators, for without the work done by them there would often be no work for administrators to do. More especially then may Lord Clyde and Lord Strathnairn be allowed to take rank as Rulers of India, for without the work done by them in the suppression of the great revolt, British rule in India might have disappeared for ever during that time of storm and stress.

A separate account of each of these great military commanders is given in this sketch, for, though one was Commander-in-Chief and the other his lieutenant, the work of the lieutenant was, if anything, of greater importance in its ultimate effects than the work of the commander. The time covered by the operations of each was much the same.

The task they had to perform was no light one. The numbers of disciplined and trained Sepoys that took part in the revolt may be estimated from the fact that, out of seventy-four regular regiments of the Bengal Native Infantry, forty-five actually mutinied, twenty were disarmed, three were disbanded, and only six remained true to their salt.

The operations, moreover, extended over vast areas. The neutral attitude of the people generally alone prevented the task from being an impossible one. The Mutiny was primarily a military rising aided and abetted by a proportion of the hereditary criminal classes, and by all those who had little or nothing to lose; but, as Lord Lawrence has recorded, the industrial classes throughout India were on the English side, though for a long time they feared to act. On the one side they saw the few English in the country shot down or flying for their lives, or, at the best, standing on the defensive, hard pressed; on the other side they saw summary punishment in the shape of the destruction and plunder of their houses dealt out to those who aided the English. But when the English showed signs of vigour and began to assume the offensive, and vindicate their authority, many of these people came forward and identified themselves with the English cause. If the attitude of the great bulk of the people was neutral, the great Princes of India proved conspicuously and actively loyal ; this fact was one of the most instructive lessons of the crisis. 'The shock was a terrible one,' writes the historian, 'but it left British power more firmly established than ever. Foes and friends rose up where their appearance was least expected. And one lesson will Over be indelibly engraved on the pages of its history, namely, that while the Indian Princes whom we mistrusted brought their armies and their influence to our aid, the Sepoys whom we trusted turned against us. From the day when this experience was taken to heart dates the consolidation of our Indian Empire.'

The Mutiny had already been in progress some weeks before the news reached England, and a still longer period elapsed before Sir Cohn Campbell reached the scene of operations. It will be necessary, therefore, to give some account of its progress previous to the military operations carried out by him and by Sir Hugh Rose, which ended in its final suppression.

The first outbreak took place at Mirat early in May, 1857, and owing to some weakness and hesitation of the commanding officer at that important cantonment the mutineers got control of affairs: they released the prisoners from the jail, and set fire to the cantonments. They then hurried off to Delhi unmolested. They soon obtained possession of that city, and proceeded to set up the titular King of Delhi as Sovereign Lord of Hindustan, though they treated both him and his family with contempt and insolence. From this moment the revolt took on a more serious complexion; Delhi became the rallying-point, and 'Onwards to Delhi' the cry of the great body of the rebels and those who had attached themselves to their ranks.

The other points round which the Mutiny had centred in its early days were Cawnpur and Lucknow. The chief instigator of the revolt at Cawnpur was a man who had all along been professing himself a friend of the English: all the time, however, he had been awaiting his opportunity, and had been secretly spreading discontent throughout India. His opportunity had now come: the Sepoys in the cantonments had risen in revolt, and the officer commanding, Sir Hugh Wheeler, believing in the professions of friendship which the Nana Sahib, as this man was designated, had so profusely offered, invited him to lend him some troops to guard the Treasury. The Nana at once threw off the mask and put himself at the head of the rebels, and laid siege to the small British garrison. By an act of gross treachery he obtained the surrender of the force, and by an act of still grosser treachery had them massacred nearly to a man when they were proceeding to leave Cawnpur by boat, under a safe-conduct signed by his own hand; and finally, the blackest crime of all, which has won him for all time the unenviable designation of 'the infamous Nana Sahib', had the few survivors, the women and the children, hacked to pieces by the butchers of the place, and their bodies thrown into a well. He had then celebrated what he was pleased to call his ' glorious victory' by proclaiming himself Peshwa, or Mahratta Sovereign Lord of Hindustan, disregarding the fact that another Sovereign Lord of Hindustan had only recently been proclaimed at Delhi, in the person of the Muhammadan representative of the Moguls.

At Lucknow the British had been fortunate in having as their adviser Sir Henry Lawrence, who, with wise prescience and foresight, had taken precautions beforehand to prepare the Residency to stand a siege, with the result that when the crisis came the small but heroic garrison of some seventeen hundred troops all told were able to withstand for months the overwhelming numbers of the rebels, which have been estimated to have amounted at one period of the siege to not far short of one hundred thousand men.

Sir Henry Lawrence had died from a wound early in the siege; his dying words had been 'No surrender'. The general order issued to the troops by Lord Canning, when that gallant defence had come to an end with the final relief, was as follows: 'There cannot be found in the annals of war an achievement more heroic than this defence, which has exhibited in the highest degree a noble and sustained courage, which, against enormous odds and fearful disadvantages, against hope deferred, and through unceasing toil, and wear of body and of mind, still held on, day after day, and finally triumphed.'

As regards the rest of India, communication throughout the country had become more or less interrupted. Agra, had been invested, and the great arsenal at Allahabad had been in serious danger. Though there had been only a few local risings in the North-West Provinces, a state of general disorder prevailed.

In Bengal, the Province of Behar was practically the only one that was disturbed; this was due to the depredations of the rebel Zamindar, Koer Singh, who was the only landholder in all Bengal to take an active share in the revolt.

The most glorious incident in this part of the disturbed provinces was the gallant stand made at Arrah by two civilians assisted by a small force of Sikhs and English— eighty in all. For a whole week they successfully withstood the attack of some three thousand of the enemy on the small bungalow they had to defend, which was commanded by a house on which guns had been posted; they were eventually relieved by a small British force. The principal hero of this defence, Mr. Richard Vicars Boyle, has recently died at the advanced age of eighty-six.

Though there was anxiety about other parts of India, a state of quietude generally prevailed, largely the result of the judicious tact displayed by responsible officers on the spot, both Indian and English; thus in the South of India the services rendered by Sir Salar Jung, the great Muhammadan Minister of the Nizam, in keeping under control the great Muhammadan peoples, who were naturally excited on hearing of the proclamation of a Muhammadan Empire in the North, were inestimable.

Similarly, on the West of India, the judgement and resolution of the Governor of Bombay, Lord Elphinstone, very largely contributed to the state of quietude that prevailed there: the fact that the peace of Kathiawar was maintained by the Princes of that part of the country without the presence of a single British soldier, speaks volumes for his influence with them.

That the Punjab remained quiet, and not only so, but contributed materially to the defence of the Empire, was due to the decisive action of Sir John Lawrence and his famous lieutenants.

The Sikh Chieftains of Patiala, Thind, Nabha, Kapurthala, and others, behaved with conspicuous loyalty; they not only came forward with oilers of military assistance, but provided guards for English ladies in out-stations, and assisted very materially in the operations against Delhi, as well as in the reoccupation of the disturbed territory round Delhi.

It is curious to note that at the very time that the disquieting news of the disturbed state of affairs in India reached England, the leading English journals in London, were commenting, as the anniversary of Plassey approached, on the perfect serenity of the Indian sky. When England woke to the real facts of the situation, the nation made one of those characteristic efforts which she has so often been called upon to make at a sudden crisis: within a few weeks thirty thousand men were on the high road to India.
The Commander-in-Chief in India when the Mutiny broke out had been General Anson: he had died suddenly from cholera, when commencing his march against Delhi. It had therefore become necessary to select a new Commander-in-Chief, and the choice of the Government fell upon Sir Colin Campbell.

Sir Colin Campbell was a Scotchman, born at Glasgow in 1702. Having entered the Army at the age of sixteen, he had early distinguished himself by his gallantry and courage during the Peninsular Campaign. He had been severely wounded on one occasion in leading a forlorn hope, and had been obliged to go to hospital: another attack was made, and he left hospital before his wounds were healed to take part in it: this was of course a breach of military discipline, but it was passed over on account of the personal gallantry that he had again displayed. He had also taken part in the war between America and England of 1812, in the China War, and in the second Sikh War: 'for steady coolness and military precision' in which he received the distinction of a K.C.B., and, said Sir Charles Napier to him, on presenting the insignia to him, 'No man has won it better.'

After the Sikh War he had hoped to have been able to retire from active service, but he could not be spared.

On the outbreak of the Crimean war he was again called on to serve in command of 'The Highland Brigade'. It is recorded that when Lord Raglan sent for him after the great battle of the Alma to congratulate him on the share his troops had taken in helping to win the battle, he preferred the simple request that he might be allowed to wear, for the rest of the campaign, the highland bonnet, instead of the cocked hat to which he was entitled as a General: he wished to pay a compliment to his men, and it is almost needless to say that they highly appreciated it.

When the Crimean War came to an end he had fully anticipated that his fighting days were over: he had reached the age when the great majority of men consider themselves entitled to rest : but, fortunately for her own interests, England has never allowed age to stand in the way when she wants the services of men whom she has learnt to trust. Is not Field-Marshal Earl Roberts a conspicuous illustration of this fact? A thoughtful writer has said in this connexion, 'Place a bar as regards age in the military, civil, or legal service, and you will have done something to cut yourself off from the use of the greatest men.' Sir Colin Campbell was sixty-five years of age when he was again called on by his country to assist them in a great emergency. The Government made him the offer of the supreme command in India on July 11, 1857. He was asked, 'When will you be ready to start?' 'To-morrow' was his reply, and on the very next day, July 12, he set out for India. The spirit in which he had accepted the charge may be seen from his utterances on the occasion of his appointment: 'Never did a man proceed on a mission of duty with a lighter heart and a feeling of greater humility, nor yet with a juster sense of the compliments that have been paid to a mere soldier of fortune like myself, in being named to the highest command in the gift of the Crown.'

Sir Colin Campbell took up his command in India in August, 1857; he was destined not to lay it down again till June, 1860. As Commander-in-Chief, he had control of all the military operations, but he personally conducted only the Northern ones, leaving to his lieutenant, Sir Hugh Rose, the conduct of the operations in the South and in Central India. He was fortunate in finding a man like Lord Canning at the head of affairs in India, for his ever ready co-operation and advice in the subsequent movements of the Army were of inestimable value to him.

Possessed as he was of a deep sense of responsibility, and determined to leave nothing to chance, Sir Colin Campbell prepared all his plans most carefully beforehand: his conduct of the campaign was characterized by an extraordinary care for details, and by a close supervision of distant operations; his extreme caution, indeed, earned for him the sobriquet of 'Old Khabardar' from his men. It is recorded of Admiral Lord Nelson that, when he was asked by another famous naval commander, Lord Dundonald, what tactics he should pursue when he came up to the enemy's fleet, his characteristic reply was : 'Tactics be hanged! Go straight at him.' Similarly, many of Sir Cohn Campbell's officers would have preferred greater independence of action than lie allowed them, and a more vigorous policy. In the end, as history has recorded, his operations were eminently successful, but success was not to be won without a stupendous effort. The measures taken by him comprised three separate movements: two columns were to advance from the West and the South, and the great central movement to the North was to be led personally by himself. Until the plans for his own advance northwards were matured, he remained in Calcutta hurrying up reinforcements, among which was a naval contingent. After a prolonged siege of more than three months, Delhi was finally captured from the rebels late in September, 1857. The final assault cost the life of the gallant John Nicholson, who, since his arrival from the Punjab, had been the life and soul of the siege. 'Nicholson ,is dead' was the hushed whisper that struck all hearts with grief. It is said that to this day the superstitious frontier tribes, where his rule is still remembered, hear the hoofs of his war-horse ringing all night over the Peshawar Valley, and they are said to hold a belief that until that sound dies away the rule of the Feringhi in the valley will endure. A memorial to his memory was erected during the Viceroyalty of Lord Curzon, at Delhi.

The fall of Delhi was celebrated by a banquet in the halls of the historic Diwan-i-Khas, the audience chamber of the Mogul emperors : the soldiers pledged the health of the Queen, and loud and prolonged cheering proclaimed the re-establishment of British supremacy.

With the transportation of the old Mogul Emperor to Burmah, and the death of his Sons, the end of the Mogul dynasty had arrived.

With the fall of Delhi, the first real step in the suppression of the Mutiny had been made; till that event, all had felt that the prestige of British supremacy was still trembling in the balance.

The news reached the Commander-in-Chief when he was still in Calcutta: he at once wrote to the General Officer commanding at Delhi, to congratulate him on his brilliant success.

All eyes were now turned to Lucknow. Already, as early as July, Sir Henry Havelock had made several most gallant attempts to relieve the Residency, but he had been unable to achieve his purpose. Cholera, dysentery, and floods had all co-operated in hampering the movements of his force: fatigue and exposure did the rest, and he had been compelled to halt while waiting for necessary reinforcements. These came to him about the middle of September: they were under the command of Sir James Outram, who, being the senior officer, would now naturally have taken the command of Havelock's force as well; but with that generosity and nobility of character that have earned for him the title of 'The Bayard of India', he had relinquished the command in favour of Havelock. He said to him: 'To you shall be left the glory of relieving Lucknow, for which you have already struggled so much. I shall accompany you only in my civil capacity as Commissioner, placing my military services at your disposal should you please, and serving under you as a volunteer.' The Commanderin-Chief's comment upon this generous conduct was brief but to the point: 'Outram has behaved very handsomely. Lucknow was finally entered by the combined forces of Havelock and Outram late in September, 1857, five days only after the fall of Delhi.

Among the numerous heroes of the final attack was an officer named Olpherts: the tribute that Outram, himself the bravest of the brave, paid to his gallantry must have made him thrill with pride 'Believe me, my dear heroic Olpherts,' Outram remarked, 'bravery is a poor and insufficient term to apply to a valour such as yours.'

The final relief, however, was not yet: still the hard- pressed garrison felt the temporary relief thus accorded them most welcome: it brought the siege, with all its horrors, practically to an end, but the garrison could not be withdrawn as yet to a place of safety: the position to be held was extended a considerable distance as far as the Alambagh, but beyond that the investment was complete, and it remained so till the final relief by the Commander-in-Chief in person, late in November.

Sir Colin Campbell had only left Calcutta late in October: marching with his usual caution, he reached Oudh early in November. A guide to the Residency reached his camp soon after his arrival in the person of a Mr. Kavanagh, a member of the Tineovenanted Civil Service of India. He had a perfect command of Hindustani, and a faculty for disguise; these combined enabled him to leave the Residency and to reach the camp safely. The Victoria Cross was his reward for his brave act. Only after some severe fighting was Sir Colin Campbell able to relieve the force invested at Lucknow; he succeeded in safely withdrawing all the garrison to the Dilkusha. Sir Henry Havelock only lived long enough to know of this final relief: he died two days after, and his loss was mourned by all. Sir Colin Campbell finally got all the women and children and the wounded safely to Allahabad, but he had to encounter a large force of rebels under the redoubtable Tantia Topi on the way: his victory was a decisive one; thus another great step in the final suppression of the revolt had been taken. The city of Lucknow still, however, remained in the hands of the rebels, and was only finally recaptured in the spring of 1858.

Jung Bahadur, the Nepalese ally of the British, gave Sir Colin Campbell material assistance in the operations for its recapture. A graphic picture of the extraordinary scene presented on the occasion has been left on record from the pen of one of the foremost war correspondents of the world, the late Sir William Russell : 'It was late in the evening when we returned to the camp through roads thronged with at least twenty thousand camp followers, all staggering under loads of plunder—coolies, syces, khidmatghars, dooli-bearers, grass-cutters, a flood of men covered with clothing not their own, carrying on head and shoulders looking-glasses, mirrors, pictures, brass pots, swords, firelocks, rich shawls, scarves, embroidered dresses, all the loot of ransacked palaces. Luck- now was borne away piecemeal to camp, and the wild Ghurkas and Sikhs, with open mouths and glaring eyes, burning with haste to get rich, were contending fiercely againstthe current, as they sought to get to the sources of such unexpected wealth.'

Outram had been anxious to carry out a movement for a crushing rear-attack on the rebels when they fled from Luck- now, but Sir Colin Campbell, actuated doubtless by a desire not to weaken his forces in view of the fresh efforts expected of them, had forbidden him to do so, if, by so doing, he would lose a single man. As it was, large numbers of the rebels got clear away, and Oudh and Rohilcund were only reconquered after several more stubborn fights. The last body of rebels finally surrendered to Brigadier Holdich towards the close of 1859; amongst the men taken was one Jwala Pershad, who had been one of the Nana's principal advisers on the occasion of the terrible Cawnpur massacres.

The operations in Behar resulted in the death of the rebel Zamindar, Koer Singh, and in the gradual pacification of the Province; the most notable incident in the final operatioiis was the relief of Azamgarh by Colonel Lord Mark Kerr, who forced his way through an ambuscade of several thousand Sepoys, which had been cleverly devised by Koer Singh.

Sir Colin Campbell remained in India long enough to see the Mutiny finally suppressed, and the pacification of the country commenced. He finally left India in 1860, with the title of Lord Clyde conferred on him for his services. He was afterwards created Field-Marshal; he died, generally beloved and regretted, in 1863.

On the stone that marks the spot where he lies buried in the great Valhalla of England's worthies, Westminster Abbey, these words are inscribed :-

'He died lamented by the Queen, the Army, and the People.'

The operations in Central India had been entrusted to Sir Hugh Rose, but before they can be dealt with some account of his antecedent career is necessary.

He learnt the rudiments of military science in Berlin, where he was born, and at the age of nineteen be entered the British Army. The tact he displayed as an intelligence officer in dealing with disturbances in Ireland brought him early promotion. He won fresh laurels at Malta, not only on account of his military qualifications, but in consequence also of the courage and humanity he displayed during an outbreak of cholera among the troops: he visited every man of his regiment who fell ill, and encouraged all around him by his activity and cheerfulness.

In Syria he had shown conspicuous gallantry when on special duty with Omar Pasha during certain Turkish operations against the Egyptians: putting himself at the head of a body of Arab cavalry and charging down upon the enemy's advanced guard, he had saved Omar Pasha from a surprise. He was awarded a sword of honour and a decoration by the Sultan of Turkey in recognition of his courage on this occasion, and Frederick William, the King of Prussia, also decorated him with the Cross of St. John of Jerusalem; he had not forgotten his former young friend, as he called him.

He soon afterwards received the appointment of British Consul-General for Syria. An incident that occurred during this period of his career will serve to illustrate his cool presence of mind, a characteristic that never seems to have deserted him throughout his military career. Civil war was going on between two hostile sections of the population: he found the opposing forces firing at one another one day, and without hesitation, and at the imminent risk of his life, he rode between them, and, by the sheer force of a stronger will, stopped the fight. At another time he was instrumental in saving the lives of some hundreds of Syrian Christians: he gave them his personal escort as far as Beyrout; on the march, he gave his horse up to many a weary woman, and proceeded himself on foot. When a great epidemic of cholera, moreover, raged at Beyrout, he was the only European, with the exception of a medical officer and some Sisters of Mercy, who remained behind to visit the sick and dying.

He was Secretary of the Embassy at Constantinople in 1851, and acted for a time as Chargé d'Affaires for Lord Stratford de Reddiffe. As it happened, the Sultan was at the time being pressed by the Russian Minister to sign a secret Treaty, which he was unwilling to do. The Grand Vizier requested Sir Hugh Rose to write to the British Admiral suggesting the expediency of a visit of the British fleet to Turkish waters, the mere hint of which, he thought, would help to stiffen the back of the Sultan in his refusal to sign the obnoxious Treaty. Sir Hugh Rose acceded to his request, and though the British Admiral did not act on the suggestion, the desired effect was accomplished, and the intrigues of the Russian Minister were baffled.

During the Crimean War he was Queen's Commissioner with the French Army, holding rank as Brigadier-General. The French commanders repeatedly thanked him, and the French Marshal recommended him for the Victoria Cross, for the conspicuous gallantry he had displayed on three occasions at least during the operations before Sebastopol.

One incident that occurred in connexion with Sir Hugh Rose during the progress of one great battle particularly impressed the imagination of a Russian officer, who tells the story: 'He had seen through the mist,' he said, 'a tall gaunt figure riding leisurely down the road under a withering fire from the whole line of pickets: the horseman turned neither to the right hand nor to the left, nor could the Russians hit him. Suddenly they saw him fall headlong with his horse. After a few minutes, paying no attention to the firing, the mysterious horseman got up, patted his horse, and led the animal leisurely back up the road. The Russians were so awestruck that an order was sent along the line to cease firing on the man.'

He received the honour of knighthood from the British Government for his services during the Crimean War. An opportunity was soon after this given him of winning, in the East, a still more distinguished reputation than he had already won in the West. He was to show that, in addition to being a gallant soldier, he was also a born commander.

The chief interest of the campaign in Central India, with which his name will always be identified, centres round the names of the fortresses of Jhansi, Kalpi, and Gwa]ior. The capture of Jhansi was regarded as of the greatest importance for the success of the other operations that the Commander-in-Chief was conducting further north: he had humorously remarked in a dispatch he sent to Sir Hugh Rose, 'Until this takes place, Sir Colin will be constantly obliged to be looking to his rear, and this constant looking over his shoulder will give him a stiff neck.' It was the great stronghold of the rebels in Central India, and was strongly fortified.

,Jhansi had gained almost as unenviable a notoriety amongst the English as Cawnpur had. Nowhere in India did the people display a more intense hostility to the English. In June, 1857, some seventy English men and women were murdered in a most deliberate way. The principal inhabitants and leading tradesmen of the town, headed by Muhammadan priests and fanatics, marched with their victims to the place of execution, singing verses from the Koran, and in particular one merciless text therein contained, 'Death to the Infidel.' The prisoners were then all marshalled in regular order near an old mosque, and they were hacked to pieces by the butchers of the city, just as the victims of the Nana's vindictive hate had been at Cawnpur.

This was all due to the influence of that bitter enemy of the English, the Rani of Jhansi, who had never forgiven Lord Dalhousie for refusing his sanction to the adoption she had proposed, and for bringing into force the doctrine of lapse, whereby the sovereignty of Jhansi had passed from her family to the British.
The Nana, or, as he had styled himself, the Peshwa, sent an army of some 20,000 men under the command of Tantia Topi to assist her in repelling the attack on Jhansi.

Until this force was disposed of there was no chance of Jhansi being taken. Tantia Topi was the first to attack: he was totally routed by the British, losing 1,500 men, all his heavy guns, and his camp equipage. Having thus disposed of the rebel commander, Sir Hugh Rose was at liberty to turn his attention again to the capture of Jhansi. Every preparation had been made there to resist his attack: even native women were to be seen working on the walls, and carrying ammunition, and the Rani of Jhansi herself and her attendant ladies, all richly dressed, used daily to visit a high tower called 'The Black Tower', in the cool of the evening, to watch the progress of the fight. After the British had succeeded in scaling the walls, the fighting inside was very fierce the enemy defended themselves with the fury of despair: after the gates had been forced, they set fire to trains of gunpowder on the floor of the palace, and even to the powder in their pouches.

In one of the severest fights Sir Hugh Rose had one of his spurs shot off and his charger wounded. There was one great fight in the palace stables, and amongst the trophies captured there was an English Union Jack: it had been given many years before by Lord William Bentinck to a former ruler of Jhansi, with permission to have it carried in front of him as a reward for his fidelity.

The Rani had herself let down from a turret window of the palace : a horse was in waiting for her below ; it had been brought there with the connivence of a native contingent serving with Sir Hugh Rose: she mounted, placed her little stepson on the saddle in front of her, and rode off.

It is pleasant to record, after the barbarous treatment the English ladies and children had been subjected to by the people of Jhansi, that the British soldiers treated the enemy's women and children with conspicuous humanity. Sir Hugh Rose himself has left it on record that 'the recollection of the atrocious murders could not make the English soldiers forget that in an English soldier's eye the women and children are always spared: so far from hurting them, the troops were seen sharing their rations with them'.

The final capture of Jhansi took place in April, 1858. The next objective was Kalpi, whither the Rani of Jhansi and her ally, Tantia Topi, had retired. Before Kalpi could be taken, there had to be some severe fighting between that place and Jhansi. Tantia Topi was again encountered, and was again decisively defeated, this time with the loss of 600 men and 15 guns. The battle was one of the most trying of the whole campaign: the British soldiers dropped down in numbers from sunstroke, and even their General himself fell three times from the same cause: he rallied himself, however, by sheer strength of will, until victory was won; the doctor had to pour cold water over him, and give him restoratives, to keep him going at all. Tantia Topi and the Rani had meanwhile been reinforced by the Nawab of Banda, another rebel nobleman, who apparently had been nursing some grievance against the British Government. Sir Hugh Rose was compelled to make forced marches to Kalpi, to prevent their cutting his communications with Sir Colin Campbell. One incident that occurred on the way will help to illustrate the spirit that animated all ranks, notwithstanding the hardships incidental from these forced marches during the Indian hot weather. At one of the halting-places, the General found a party of sick and wounded lying on the ground in their great coats, with their knapsacks under their heads for a pillow. He asked if they had any complaints. 'Complaints, sir ! ' said the doctor in charge, 'they haven't a single thing which they would have in an English hospital in camp, or at home, or in the field; but,' he added, 'they have no complaints but one, and that is that they cannot march with you to-morrow against the enemy.' The men, raising their heads from their knapsacks, smiled in assent. And so it was with all the soldiers under Sir Hugh Rose's command. 'These noble soldiers,' he testified, 'never proffered one complaint. They fell in their ranks, struck down by the sun, and exhausted by fatigue, but they would not increase the anxieties of their General or belie their devotion by complaint. No matter how great their exhaustion, or how deep their short sleep, they always sprang to my call to arms with the heartiest goodwill.' It is no wonder that, with soldiers animated by such a spirit, Sir Hugh Rose was able to pass from one victory to another, without suffering a single reverse or check. In the battle that took place almost under the walls of Kalpi, and which preceded its capture, the enemy were again defeated, and the Rani and Tantia Topi were driven into the fortress, only, however, to leave it precipitately again as the British advanced to the attack. The severity of the fighting may be estimated from the fact that, before commencing their attack, the rebel Sepoys had taken an oath by the sacred waters of the Jumna river, and had primed themselves with opium. After the capture of Kalpi, Sir Hugh Rose issued a general order to his troops in these terms: 'You have fought against the strong, and you have protected the rights of the weak and defenceless of foes as well as of friends. I have seen you in the heart of the combat preserve and place children out of harm's way. This is the discipline of Christian soldiers, and this it is that has brought you triumphant from the shores of Western India to the waters of the Jumna.' The capture of this important place completed the plan of the campaign as originally devised, and Lord Canning telegraphed to Sir Hugh Rose: 'Your capture of Kalpi has crowned a series of brilliant and uninterrupted successes. I thank you and your brave soldiers with all my heart.'

Sir Hugh Rose, thinking the campaign over, now applied for the sick leave he so urgently needed, but the end was not yet. Another capture yet had to be effected, that of the strong fortress of Gwalior, which had fallen into the hands of the rebels with all its guns. The Maharaja Scindia had been on his march to co-operate with Sir Colin Campbell in Rohileund: he had been attacked by Tantia Topi and the Rani of Jhansi, and the whole of his army, with the exception of a few of his immediate bodyguard, had gone over to the enemy. The Maharaja himself, after a brave attempt to get them to return to their allegiance, was fired on by his own gunners, and just managed to get away in safety to Agra. As a preliminary step to the capture of the great fortress, Sir Hugh Rose took the cantonments of Morar. The Rani of Jhansi received her death-wound in one of the engagements that preceded the final capture of Gwalior. She was fighting at the head of her troops, dressed in a red jacket and trousers, and with a white turban on her head, and she was wearing at the time the famous pearl necklace which had formed part of the plunder of Scindia's palace when the rebels seized it : tradition had it that this necklace had originally formed part of the Portuguese regalia which had been taken by the Mahrattas hundreds of years before. As the Rani lay mortally wounded in her tent, she distributed her ornaments to her troops the whole rebel army mourned her loss; she was only twenty when she died, but yet she had earned the reputation of being the bravest and best military leader of the, rebels. Her body was burnt with great ceremony by her troops on the field of battle.

The Maharaja returned to his capital the day after its capture from the rebels by the British : he was overcome with joy at the turn events had taken, and insisted on giving a dinner to Sir Hugh Rose, served by his old servants. He was also very anxious to present a medal, with his device, a serpent, engraved on it, to all the officers and men of the Central India Field Force; Lord Canning, who was referred to in the matter, approved, but the Home Government refused its permission.

The rebels had now all been dispersed, but it was not till the spring of 1859 that an old associate betrayed the hiding-place of Tantia Topi; he was captured and hanged in April of the same year.

The military operations in Central India came practically to an end with the capture of Gwalior. What those operations had meant to the force engaged may be realized from the description given by an authority: 'In five months the Central India Field Force traversed 1,085 miles, crossed numerous large rivers, took upwards of 150 pieces of artillery, one entrenched camp, two fortified cities, and two fortresses, all strongly defended, fought sixteen actions, captured twenty forts, and never sustained a check against the most warlike and determined enemy led by the most capable commanders then to be found in any part of India.'

The victorious General received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament, and was created a Grand Commander of the Bath.

The secret of Sir Hugh Rose's success will be found in the qualities that distinguished him throughout his military career, which have been thus summed up: 'Ever at the post of danger, he never spared himself or others. What he did was always done courageously and thoroughly: his whole career was an example of earnestness and thoroughness, and of unflinching devotion to duty. In India, we are told, the rebel Sepoys could make nothing of the General who routed and destroyed them. His rapid marches and indomitable energy struck terror into their hearts; he had grasped the great principle of Indian warfare: "When your enemy is in the open, go straight at him, and keep him moving; and when behind ramparts, still go at him, and cut off all his chances of retreat when possible : pursue him, escaping or escaped." He realized to the full in his own person Napoleon's ideal of a military commander: he was indeed the head and soul of his army.'

In 1859, Sir Hugh Rose was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army, and on the departure of Sir Cohn Campbell, now Lord Clyde, from India in 1860, he received the appointment of Commander-in-Chief in India. His words on receiving his appointment were characteristic of the man: 'I will endeavour to bear with humility my elevation, which I am convinced I owe more to the signal mercy of God than to my own merits. I feel that with His blessing I can do an immense amount of good, but I shall fail in doing what I ought to do, if I give way to anything like feelings of pride.'

When, after holding this appointment for five years, he finally gave up office, he did so to the universal regret of both officers and men of the Indian Army. At a farewell entertainment given to him at Simla, Sir Robert Napier, afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala, voiced the general opinion about him in the speech he made on the occasion: 'Never has the Army of India had a Chief more earnestly solicitous to secure its efficiency than Sir Hugh Rose. Never, I believe, has the Army of India been in a more efficient condition than it is at the present moment ; never has the Army of India had a Chief whom it would have followed to the field against a foe worthy of it, with fuller confidence of success than the Army would feel under its present Commander-in-Chief.'

On his return to England, Sir Hugh Rose was raised to the Peerage as Lord Strathnairn of Strathnairn and Jhansi. He was thus greeted by The Times, on behalf of the English nation: 'We welcome the veteran General home after a career which would have entitled a Roman General to 'Triumph.'

He was eventually promoted to the rank of Field-Marshal. He died suddenly at Paris in 1885.

Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde
By Lieut-General Shadwell in 2 volumes
Volume 1  |  Volume 2


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