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Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde
Chapter III China and India


The Ninety-Eighth had been moved to Plymouth in anticipation of departure on foreign service, and on the 20th of December, 1841, it embarked for Hong-Kong on H.M.S. Belleisle, a line-of-battle ship which had been commissioned for transport service. According to present ideas the Belleisle, whose burden did not exceed 1750 tons, was abominably overcrowded, especially for a voyage of six months or longer. The Ninety-Eighth embarked eight hundred and ten strong; and what with staff officers, details, women and children and crew, the ship carried a total of nearly thirteen hundred souls. Among her passengers was Major-General Lord Saltoun, the hero of Hougomont, who was going out as second in command of the Chinese expeditionary force. During a short stay in Simon’s Bay Colin Campbell had the pleasant opportunity of visiting his old Demerara chief Sir Benjamin D'Urban, who since they last met had served a term of office as Governor of Cape Colony, and was now living in retirement among his orchards and vineyards a few miles from Cape Town. The Belleisle made a fairly quick voyage to Hong-Kong, where she arrived oil June 2nd, 1842, and where orders were awaiting the Ninety-Eighth to make all haste to join the force of Sir Hugh Gough operating in the region of the estuary of the Yang-tse-Kiang. Active hostilities had for some time previously been in progress. After the capture of the town of Chapoo on May 18th the fleet carrying the expeditionary force had proceeded to an anchorage off the mouth of the Yang-tse-Kiang, where it lay for a fortnight while tho bar was being surveyed and buoyed. The Chinese had constructed a great line of defensive works about Woosung, but the British fleet anchored in face of the batteries on the 16th of June, and as the result of a two hours’ bombardment the Chinese fire was crushed and the garrisons were driven from their batteries by the sailors and troops. Shanghai was occupied, and the expedition remained in the vicinity of Woosung while surveying steamers were prospecting the river. It was during this halt that the Belleisle with the Ninety-Eighth aboard joined the expeditionary force at Woosung on the 21st of June. The regiment was assigned to the first brigade under Lord Saltoun, and occupied part of the third division of vessels during the ascent of the river.

The expedition left Woosung on July 6th, its objectives being the great cities of Chin-Kiang and Nanking. The strength of it was overwhelming, for the fleet consisted of fifteen ships of war, ten steamers and fifty transports and troop-ships, on which were embarked nine thousand soldiers and three thousand disciplined seamen ready for service on shore in case of need. The Belleisle was off Chin-Kiang on the 19th, and on the morning of the 21st the troops disembarked in three brigades. The columns of Sir Hugh Gough and General Schoedde had some hard fighting with the Tartar garrison of the city commanded by the gallant Haeling. Lord Paltoun’s brigade, with the Ninety-Eighth in advance, marched against a Chinese force occupying a low ridge some miles inland and to westward of the city. The opposition encountered was trivial, and was easily overcome by the light company of the Ninety-Eighth in skirmishing order supported by a few discharges from a mountain-battery. But the regiment, debilitated as it was by a long tropical voyage in an overcrowded ship, unsupplied with an equipment suitable for the climate and wearing its ordinary European clothing, was in no case to resist the fierce summer-heat of China. The sun had its will of the men, thirteen of whom died on the ground; and Colin Campbell, seasoned veteran as he was, was himself struck down, though he soon recovered. From this day forth for months, and even for years, disease maintained its fell grip on the victims of overcrowding, and Napier would have been puzzled to recognise in the shattered invalids of Hong-Kong the “beautiful regiment” which had sailed from Plymouth in fine physique and high heart. On the night following the disembarkation several cases of cholera occurred, and fever and dysentery became immediately prevalent. Within ten days from the landing at Chin Kiang fifty-three men of the Ninety-Eighth hau died, and the Belleisle was rapidly becoming a floating hospital.

A garrison was left in Chin-Kiang, and on August 4th the GurnicaUis man-of-war anchored in front of that very gate of Nanking which twenty-six years earlier had been rudely shut in the face of a British ambassador. Opposite that same gate it was destined that severe terms should now be dictated by a victorious British force. The mass of the expedition reached Nanking on the 9th and preparations for the attack on that city were promptly begun. The Ninety-Eighth men fit for service were transferred from the Belleisle to a steamer which conveyed them to a point where a diversion was intended. Colin Campbell was too ill to accompany his regiment* and when he joined it a few days later he was again prostrated by fever. But Nanking escaped its imminent fate. Negotiations resulted in a treaty of peace which was concluded on August 26th; the expedition retraced its steps, and in October the Belleisle reached Hong-Kong with the wreck of the unfortunate regiment Even after those long months fate still kept imprisoned on ship-board what remained of the hapless Ninety-Eighth. The regiment had to remain on the Belleisle until barracks could be built for its reception. Writing to his sister in December, Colin Campbell had the following sad tale to tell:—“ The regiment has lost by death up to this date two hundred and eighty-three men, and there are still two hundred and thirty-one sick, of whom some fifty or sixty will die; and generally, of those who may survive, there will be some seventy or eighty men to be discharged in consequence of their constitutions having been so completely broken down as to unfit them for the duties of soldiers. This is the history of the Ninety-Eighth regiment, which sailed from Plymouth in so effective a state in all respects on the 20th of December of last year—and all this destruction without having lost a man by the fire of the enemy ! ” His estimate of the losses, grave as it was, did not reach the grim actual total. From its landing at Chin-Kiang on July 21st, 1842, up to February, 1844, a period of nineteen months, the unfortunate regiment lost by death alone four hundred and thirty-two out of a strength of seven hundred and sixty-six non-commissioned officers and men; and there remained of it alive no more than three hundred and thirty-four, an awful contrast to the full numbers with which it had embarked at Plymouth twenty-six months earlier.

When the expeditionary force was broken up at the end of 1842 Colin Campbell became commandant of the island of Hong-Kong, and he devoted himself to the care of the survivors of his regiment. The worst cases were sent to a hospital ship, those less serious to a temporary hospital on shore. The remainder of the corps, some three hundred and thirty men, at last, in February, 1843, quitted the Belleisle and occupied quarters at Stanley. While at Hong-Kong he learned that he had been made a Companion of the Bath and aide-de-camp to the Queen, the latter appointment conferring promotion to the rank of colonel. In January, 1844, he left Hong-Kong to succeed General Schoedde in command of the garrison quartered on the Island of Chusan, a transfer which gave him the position of brigadier of the second class. In the more bracing and salubrious climate of Chusan Campbell materially regained his health; and he had not been many months in his new command when he began his efforts to have the Ninety-Eighth removed from its unhealthy quarters in Hong-Kong to the reinvigorating atmosphere of Chusan. This he was able to accomplish in the earlier months of 1845, and he immediately set about the restoration of the regiment to its former efficiency. He was a rigorous task-master, but if he did not spare others he never spared himself. He seldom missed a parade, and except in the hot season there were three parades a day. Leave of absence except on medical certificate was refused to officers who had come from England with the regiment, on the ground that their experience was needed to instruct the comparatively raw material from the depot. The officers of the Ninety-Eighth who belonged to the garrison staff were also required to perform their regimental duty. The painstaking and laborious chief thus notes in his journal the progress of the regiment in the midsummer of 1845 : “Parade as usual morning and evening; men improving, but still in great want of individual correctness in carriage, facings, motions of the firelock, etc.; but they move in line and open column very fairly, and I confidently expect before the end of the year to have them more perfect than any battalion in this part of the world.” When toward the close of the year the health of the regiment was fully re-established, its colonel conceived that it should undergo higher tests than the ordinary movements of the drill-ground afforded. He accordingly took it out into the open country and divided it into an attacking and a defending force, in order to train the men in the art of taking cover and skill in skirmishes over broken ground. By the beginning of 1846 he was “quite at ease as to the appearance the regiment would make on landing in India,”

The time fixed by the treaty of Nanking for the evacuation of the island of Chusan by the British troops was now approaching, and on May 10th the Chinese authorities resumed jurisdiction over the island. Until then Campbell’s duties had not been purely military, the entire civil charge of Chusan having been vested in his hands. The most friendly relations existed between the British Brigadier and the Chinese Commissioners. Arrangements were made without a trace of friction for the preservation of the European burial-grounds and in regard to other matters. Campbell was the recipient of an interesting letter from the Commissioners, passages in which deserve to be quoted “ While observing and maintaining the treaty, you have behaved with the utmost kindness and the greatest liberality towards our own people, and have restrained by strict regulations the military of your honourable country. . . . The very cottagers have enjoyed tranquillity and protection, and have not been exposed to the calamity of wandering about without a home. All this is owing to the excellent and vigorous administration of you, the Honourable Brigadier, ... Now that you are about to return to your own country crowned with honour, we wish you every happiness.”

Notwithstanding occasional attacks of ague which rendered him liable to depression and irritation, Campbell appears to have been fairly happy during his stay in Chusan, He writes on the eve of his departure of “‘my last walk’ in Chusan, where I have passed many days in quiet and peace, and where I have been enabled to save a little money, with which I hope to render my last days somewhat comfortable. My health upon the whole is pretty good; and altogether I have every reason to be thankful to God for sending me to a situation wherein I have been enabled to accomplish so much for my own benefit and the comfort of others, whilst my duty kept me absent from them.” The latter allusion was to his father and sister, for both of whom he had been able to make provision in the event of his predeceasing them. Having left England heavily embarrassed, the increase of his emoluments during his stay in China had enabled him to relieve himself of liabilities, and this without being at all niggardly in the hospitalities which he dispensed.

Sailing from Chusan on July 5th in the transport Lord Hungerford, the colonel and headquarters of the Ninety-Eighth landed at Calcutta on October 24th, 1846; the last of the detachments carried by other transports arrived at the end of November, when the regiment was complete. Colin Campbell meanwhile had been in charge of Fort-William, but when the regiment began its march to Dinapore in December he resumed its command. He really seemed to live for the Ninety-Eighth. Lord Hardinge had expressed his intention of appointing him a brigadier of the second class. "This,” writes Campbell, “is very flattering; but I would prefer to remain with my regiment.” He writes with soldierly pride of its conduct on the route-march: “The march of the regiment has been conducted to my entire satisfaction, no men falling out, and the distance of sections so correctly preserved that their wheeling into line is like the operation of a field-day. Those who follow me will benefit by this order and regularity in conducting the line of march.” On arrival at Dinapore in the end of January, 1846, he found his appointment in general orders as brigadier of the second class to command at Lahore. Before starting for his new sphere he held what proved to be his last inspection of the Ninety-Eighth. “ Men steady as rocks,” he writes, “moving by bugle-sound as correctly as by word of command — equally steady, accurate, and with the same precision.” In the evening he spoke to the regiment some simple manly, soldierly words, to which the men must have listened with no little emotion. He dined with the mess the same night, when the president rose and proposed his health in connection with the day’s inspection of the regiment and the exertions he had made as commanding officer to produce such results. “The toast,” he wrote, “was received with great warmth and cordiality. ... I could not speak without emotion, and my manner could not conceal my deep anxiety respecting a corps in which I had served so long. I begged that, if their old colonel had been sometimes anxious and impatient with them, they would forget the manner and impatience of one who had no other thought or object in life but to add to their honour and reputation collectively and individually.”

Next day he started for Lahore, “feeling,” as he records in his restrained yet sincere manner, “more than I expected when taking leave of the officers who happened to be at my quarters at the moment of my departure.” He had a pleasant meeting at Cawnpore with his old West Indian comrades of the Twenty-First Fusiliers; and on the road between Kurnal and Meerut he had an interview with the Governor-General Lord Hardinge received him with the frank kindness of an old Peninsular man to a comrade, described Henry Lawrence, the British Resident in the Punjaub, as “the King of the country, clever and good-natured, but hot-tempered,” and gave Campbell to understand that if any part of the force in the Punjaub should be called upon to take the field, he should have a command. A few days later he reached Saharunpore, the headquarters for the time of Lord Gough, the Commander-in-Chief, also an old Peninsular man, whom he found most cordial and friendly. The old Chief asked him whether he could be of any service to him. Colin Campbell, sedulous as ever for the welfare of the Ninety-Eighth, replied that he had no favour to ask for himself, but that his lordship would give him pleasure by removing his regiment nearer to the frontier as early as might be, away from its present station which afforded the men so many temptations to drink. On his arrival at Lahore in the end of February, 1847, he was cordially received by Henry Lawrence, whose guest at the Residency he became until he should find accommodation for himself.

Campbell came into the Punjaub at a very interesting period. The issue of the war of 1845-46 had placed that vast territory at the mercy of the British Government, and Lord Hardinge might have incorporated it with the Company’s dominions. But he desired to avoid the last resource of annexation; and although he considered it necessary to punish the Sikh nation for past offences and to prevent the recurrence of aggression, he professed his intention to perform those duties without suppressing the political existence of the Punjaub State. The Treaty of Lahore accorded a nominally independent sovereignty to the boy Prince Dhulip Singh, a British Representative was in residence at Lahore, and the Sikh army was being reorganised and limited to a specified strength. Within a few months Lall Singh, who had been appointed Prime Minister, had been deposed, and a fresh treaty was signed in December, 1846, which provided that a council of regency composed of eight leading Sikh chiefs should be appointed to act under the control and guidance of the British Resident, who was to exercise unlimited influence in all matters of internal administration and external policy. British troops were to be stationed in various forts and quarters throughout the country, maintained from the revenues of the State. The management was to continue for eight years until the Maharaja Dhulip Singh should reach his majority. The treaty conferred on the Resident unprecedented powers, and Major Henry Lawrence, an officer of the Company's artillery, became in effect the successor of Runjeet Singh.

This settlement had a specious aspect of some measure of permanency. It might have lasted longer if the state of his health had enabled Henry Lawrence to remain at his post; but it was unsound at the core, for a valiant and turbulent race does not bow the neck submissively after a single disastrous campaign on its frontier. But the Punjaub seemed in a state of unruffled peace when Colin Campbell shook hands with Henry Lawrence in the Residency of its capital. In those days the familiar sobriquet of “Kubhurdar,” of which the English is “Take care!”, had not attached itself to him; but Campbell, even when his Highland blood was aflame in the rapture of actual battle, was never either reckless or careless; and the motto “Be Mindful,” which he chose for his coat of arms when he was made a peer, was simply a condensation of the principles of cool wisdom and shrewd caution on which he acted through life. A strong Sikh force, he found, was located in and about Lahore, and the population of the city had a name for turbulence. In order to inform himself as to how the troops were posted in relation to the defences of the city, as well against an interior as an exterior attack, one of his earliest concerns was to make a careful inspection of the positions along with the responsible engineer. In choosing his residence he held it to he his duty to have it in the proximity of his troops. Soon after his arrival there was a fUe in the Shalimar gardens to which all the garrison had been invited, but he allowed only half of the officers of his command to be absent from their men, giving as his reason that “if the Sikhs wanted to murder all the officers, they could not have a better chance than when these were gathered four miles away from their men, enjoying themselves at a fete.” In the measures of precaution which he adopted he had the approval of Henry Lawrence and of Sir Charles Napier, to the latter of whom he wrote on the subject. Napier expressed himself in his trenchant fashion :—“I am delighted at all your precautions against surprise. In India we who take these pains are reckoned cowards. Be assured that English officers think it a fine dashing thing to be surprised—to take no precautions. Formerly it was an axiom in war that no man was fit to be a commander who permitted himself to be surprised; but things are on a more noble footing now! ”

In the end of 1847 Henry Lawrence left Lahore and went home to England in the same ship with Lord Hardinge. A week before they sailed from Calcutta Hardinge’s successor, Lord Dalhousie, arrived there and took the oaths as Governor-General,—a potentate at whose hands a few years later Colin Campbell was to receive treatment which caused the high-spirited soldier to resign the command he held and leave India. In the Lahore Residency Henry Lawrence was succeeded temporarily hy his brother John, who in March, 1818, gave place to Sir Frederick Currie, a member of the Supreme Council. The position "was one which required the experience and military knowledge of a soldier, but Sir Frederick Currie was a civilian. In January Sir John Littler had been succeeded in the Punjaub divisional command by Major-General Whish, an officer of the Company’s service, an appointment which disappointed Colin Campbell who had hoped for the independent command of the Lahore brigade.

The deceptive quietude of the Punjaub was now to be exposed. When Sir Frederick Currie reached Lahore, he found there Moolraj the Governor of Mooltan, a man of vast wealth who had come to offer the resignation of his position for reasons that were chiefly personal. Moolraj stipulated for some conditions which were not conceded, and ultimately he resigned without any other condition than that of saving his honour in the eyes of his own people. A new Governor was appointed in his place, who set out for Mooltan accompanied by Mr. Vans Agnew of the Bengal Civil Service and Mr. Agnew’s assistant, Lieutenant Anderson of the Bombay Army. Moolraj marched with the escort of the new Governor, to whom, on the day after the arrival of the party in Mooltan, he formally surrendered the fort After the ceremony Agnew and Anderson started on their return to camp, Moolraj riding alongside the two English gentlemen. At the gate of the fortress Agnew was suddenly attacked,—run through by a spear and slashed by sword-cuts. At the same moment Anderson was cut down and desperately wounded. Moolraj galloped off, leaving the Englishmen to their fate. Khan Singhs people carried them into a temple wherein two days later they were brutally slaughtered; their bodies were cut to pieces and their heads thrown down at the feet of Moolraj. What share Moolraj had taken in this treacherous butchery was never clearly ascertained ; but every indication pointed to his complicity. This much is certain, that on the morning after the assassination he transferred his family and treasure into the fort, and placed himself at the head of the insurrectionary movement by issuing a proclamation summoning all the inhabitants of the province, of every creed, to make common cause in a religious war against the Feringhees.

News of the outrage and rising at Mooltan reached Lahore on April 24th. It was emphatically a time for prompt action, if an outbreak was to be crushed which else might grow into a general revolt throughout the Punjaub. It was extremely unlikely that the fort of Mooltan was equipped for an early and stubborn defence. To maintain our prestige was essential, for it was by prestige and promptitude only that we have maintained our pre-eminence in India. Sir Henry Lawrence would have marched the Lahore brigade on Mooltan without an hour’s hesitation. Lord Hardinge would "have ordered up the troops and siege-train from Ferozepore and the strong force collected at Bukkur; and would have invested Mooltan before Moolraj could have made any adequate preparations for prolonged defence. Marches through Scinde, from the northwestern frontier, and from Lahore, could not have been made in the hot season without casualties; but, in the words of Marshman, “our Empire in India had been acquired and maintained, not by fair-weather campaigns, but by taking the field on every emergency and at any season.”

On the first tidings from Mooltan Sir Frederick Currie ordered a strong brigade of all arms to prepare for a march on that stronghold, being of opinion that the citadel, described in poor Agnew’s report as the strongest fort he had seen in India, would not maintain a defence when a British force should present itself before it, but that the garrison would immediately abandon Moolraj to his fate. Colin Campbell, on the other hand, held that since the fort of Mooltan was very strong it was to be anticipated that Moolraj would obstinately defend it; in which case a brigade sent to Mooltan would be obliged to remain inactive before it while siege-guns were being brought up, or, as seemed more probable, should no reinforcements arrive in support, it would have to retrace its steps followed and harassed by Moolrajds active and troublesome rabble. Eventually, in great measure because of the arguments advanced by Campbell, the movement from Lahore on Mooltan was countermanded; and the Commander-in-Chief, with the concurrence of the Governor-General, intimated his resolve to postpone, military operations until the cold weather, when he would take the field in person.

Meanwhile a casual subaltern, for whom swift marches and hard fighting in hot weather had no terrors, struck in on his own responsibility. Gathering in the wild - trans-Indus district of Bunnoo some fifteen hundred men with a couple of guns, Lieutenant Herbert Edwardes marched towards Mooltan. Colonel Cortland with two thousand Pathans and six guns hastened to join him; and on May 20th the united force defeated Moolraj’s army six thousand strong. The loyal Nawab of Bhawalpore sent a strong force of his warlike Daudputras across the Sutlej to join hands with Edwardes and Cortland; and the junction had just been accomplished on the field of Kinairi some twenty miles from Mooltan, when the allies, about nine thousand strong, were attacked by Moolraj with a force of about equal magnitude. After half a day’s hard fighting the enemy fled in confusion from the field. Edwardes and Cortland moved up nearer to Mooltan, their force now raised to a strength of about eighteen thousand; and there was a moment when Moolraj seemed willing to surrender if his life were spared. But he rallied his nerves and came out on July 1st with twelve thousand men to give battle on the plain of Sudusain within sight of the walls of Mooltan. After another obstinate fight his troops were thoroughly beaten and fled headlong into the city. “Now,” wrote Edwardes to the Resident, “is the time to strike; I have got to the end of my tether. If,” added the gallant and clear-sighted subaltern, “you would only send, with a few regular regiments, a few heavy guns and a mortar battery, we could close Moolraj’s account in a fortnight, and obviate the necessity of assembling fifty thousand men in October.”

Meanwhile the Resident had taken the strange course of empowering the Lahore Durbar to despatch to Mooltan a Sikh force of some five thousand men under Shere Singh. It was notorious that both commander and troops were thoroughly disaffected; and so anxious was the Resident to prevent the force from approaching Moolraj that Shere Singh had orders to halt fifty miles short of Mooltan, and was only allowed to join Edwardes after his victory of July 1st. In tardy answer to that young officer’s appeal for reinforcements, in the end of July a force of seven thousand men with a siege-train was ordered to converge on Mooltan from Lahore and Ferozepore under the divisional command of General Whish. It had been chiefly at Colin Campbell’s dissuasion that the Resident had relinquished his intention of sending a force to Mooltan in April. Campbell’s argument in that month had been the unfavourable season for marching; and now in a season not less unfavourable he was scarcely justified in considering himself the victim of a job in not obtaining the command of the Lahore brigade ordered on Mooltan. The disappointment proved fortunate, since a few months later he found himself in command of a division in the field with the rank of brigadier-general. By August 24th the whole of Whisk's field-force was before Mooltan, but it was not until September 7th that the siege-guns were in position. Moolraj, confident in the increased strength which our delay had afforded him, spurned a summons to surrender. Active and bloody approaches were carried on for a week, when Shere Singh with his contingent suddenly passed over to the enemy. After this defection Whish held it impossible to continue the siege, and he retired to a position in the vicinity pending the arrival of reinforcements from Bombay. The siege was reopened late in December: the city was stormed after a hard fight; and finally on January 22nd, 1849, Moolraj surrendered at discretion. It must be said of him that he had made a heroic defence.

By the end of September, 1848, the local outbreak was fast swelling into a national revolt The flame of rebellion was spreading over the Land of the Five Rivers, and by the end of October only a few brave English officers were still holding together the last shreds of British influence in the. Punjaub outside of Lahore and the camp of General Whish. Moolraj was the reverse of cordial to Shere Singh, who on October 9th quitted Mooltan and marched northward towards Lahore, his original force of five thousand men strengthened at every step by the warriors of the old Khalsa army who flocked eagerly to his standard. After threatening Lahore he moved westward to meet the Bunnoo insurgents, who had mutinied and murdered their officers, and he finally took up a position h, cheval of the Chenab at Ramnuggur, his main body on the right hank of the river.

During the summer and autumn Colin Campbell passed an uneasy and anxious . time. It was not until the beginning of November that he had the full assurance of being employed in the manifestly impending campaign. By this time Cureton’s cavalry brigade and Godby’s infantry brigade were in the Doab between the Ravee and the Chenab, and on November 12th Colin Campbell joined Cureton there with two native infantry regiments, taking command of the advanced force with the temporary rank of brigadier-general. At length Lord Gough himself took the field, and 011 the 19th he crossed the Eavee at the head of an army of respectable strength. Apart from the division before Mooltan and the garrison required for Lahore, he had available for field service four British and eleven native infantry regiments. He was strong in cavalry, with three fine British regiments, five of native light cavalry, and five corps of irregular horse; and his powerful artillery consisted of sixty horse and field guns, eight howitzers, and ten 18-pounders. On the early morning of the 22nd his lordship, with Colin Campbell's infantry division and a cavalry force under Cureton with horse and field artillery, marched from Saharun towards Bamnuggur with the object of driving across the Chenab some Sikh infantry reported to be still on the left bank. Some small detachments hurrying towards the river were pursued somewhat recklessly by horse-artillery, which had to retire under the heavy fire opened from the Sikh batteries on the commanding right bank, A gun and two waggons stuck fast in the deep sand and could not be extricated. Colin Campbell suggested to Lord Gough the measure of protecting the gun until it could be withdrawn at night, by placing infantry to cover it in a ravine immediately in its rear; but the Commander-in-Chief disapproved of this measure. The enemy lost no time in sending the whole of his cavalry across the river to take possession of the gun under cover of his overwhelming artillery fire. Our cavalry was foolishly sent forward to charge the superior hostile horse,—a folly which was committed, according to Colin Campbell, under the personal direction of the Commander-in-Chief. Ouvry’s squadron of the Third Light Dragoons made a brilliant and useful charge which materially aided the withdrawal of the artillery. In the face of a heavy fire Colonel William Havelock, a noble soldier who had fought in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, led on the Fourteenth Light Dragoons to a desperate combat with the Sikh horse. The horses of the dragoons were exhausted by the long gallop through the heavy sand and the casualties were heavy. Among the slain was Havelock himself, after a hand-to-hand combat; and while riding forward to stay Havelock’s last advance Brigadier-General Cureton, who had raised himself to distinction from the ranks in which he had enlisted as a runaway lad, was killed by a Sikh bullet.

Lord Gough withdrew his troops beyond the reach of the Sikh batteries and awaited the arrival of his heavy guns and the remainder of his force. If his intention was to refrain from coming to close quarters with the enemy until the fall of Mooltan should bring him reinforcements, he was well placed on the left bank of the Chenab, covering Lahore and the siege of Mooltan and leaving Shere Singh undisturbed. If on the other hand he preferred the offensive, that offensive should have been prompt; a rapid stroke might have ended the business, for the Sikhs, as the sequel proved, were eager enough for fighting. And to all appearance the Commander-in-Chief meant to gratify their desire. To do so he had in the first instance to cross the Chenab. To accomplish this by direct assault on the Sikh position on the opposite bank was impracticable; and he resolved to compel the enemy’s withdrawal by a wide turning movement with part of his force under the command of Sir Joseph Thackwell, an experienced soldier. Thackwell’s command consisted of Colin Campbell’s strong division, a cavalry brigade, three troops of horse-artillery, two field-batteries and two heavy guns,—in all about eight thousand men. This force started in the early morning of December 1st, and after a march of twenty-four miles up the left bank of the Chenab was across that river at Wuzeerabad by noon of the 2nd. The same afternoon the force marched ten miles down the right bank and bivouacked. During the short march of the following morning Thackwell learned that a brigade was on its way to reinforce him, crossing by an intermediate ford; whereupon he halted the force and rode away in search of this reinforcement. Before he departed Colin Campbell asked permission to deploy and take up a position. Thackwell replied, “No—remain where you are until my return,”

The force was then in open ground in front of the village of Sadoolapore, which has given its name to the engagement. Campbell rode to the front to reconnoitre. In front of the centre were some hostile horse; to the right in wooded ground some detachments of cavalry and infantry were seen scattered about. Certain that the enemy was in force and near at hand, he returned to the force and as a measure of precaution occupied with an infantry company each of the three villages in his front,—Langwala, Khamookhan and Rutta. The force, in his own words, “was not in a state of formation for troops to be when liable to be attacked at any moment. However, my orders were imperative not to deploy.” Two hours later the enemy opened fire with their artillery from the woodland behind the villages.

At that moment Thackwell returned, and he ordered the companies holding the three villages to withdraw and rejoin their respective corps. The columns were immediately deployed. Between the British line and the Sikh troops, which had occupied the villages and were firing heavily from some twenty pieces of artillery while large bodies of their cavalry were threatening both flanks of the British force, was a smooth open space over which Thackwell desired to advance to the attack. Colin Campbell suggested that “as they were coming on so cockily, we should allow them to come out into the plain before we moved.” He states in his journal that, since presently the enemy halted at the villages and there plied their artillery firo, he was convinced that they did not intend to come further forward; and that he twice begged of Thackwell to be allowed to attack with his infantry but was not permitted. The affair then resolved itself into a simple cannonade the result of which was to silence the Sikh fire. By this time Thackwell had received permission from the Commander-in-Chief to act as his judgment should dictate, whether his reinforcements had come up or not. It seemed the moment for an advance; the troops were full of eagerness, and a portion at least of the enemy’s guns were in Thackwell’s grasp. Thackwell, however, exercised caution for the time, hoping most likely for a decisive victory on the morrow. But during the night the enemy withdrew and marched away towards the Jhelum, probably without having sustained serious loss. That of the British amounted to some seventy men. Thackwell’s turning movement had not been brilliant, and Sadoolapore was not an affair to be very proud of; but it had brought about the relinquishment by the Sikhs of their position on the right bank of the Chenab, and this enabled the main British force to cross the river. By the 5th the mass of the army was at Heylah, about midway between Ram-nuggur and Chillianwallah; but the Commander-in-Chief and headquarters did not cross the Chenab until December 18th.

If until then Lord Gough had been trammelled by superior authority, a few days later he was set free to act on his own judgment,—the result of which was simply absolute inaction until January, 1849. On the 11th of that month he reviewed his troops at Lassourie, and next day he was encamped at Dinjhi, whence the Sikh army had fallen back into the sheltering jungle, its right resting on Mung, its left on the broken ground and strong entrenchments about the village and heights of Russoul. Colin Campbell had been suffering from fever resulting from night exposure in bivouac during Thackwell’s flank march; he had been on the sick list until the 10th and was still weak. In the memoir of the late Sir Henry Durand by bis son occurs an interesting passage illustrative of Campbell’s anxiety that the ground on which the enemy’s position was to be approached should be properly reconnoitred. Durand writes: “Whilst in the Commander-in-Chief’s camp to-day (11th) the projected attack on the enemy’s position was described to me by General Campbell. He had just been with the Commander-in-Chief, who had spoken of attacking the Sikh position on the 13th. Campbell, seeing that his lordship had no intention of properly reconnoitring the position, was anxious on the subject; and we went into the tent of Tremenheere the chief engineer, to discuss the matter. Campbell opened on the subject, announcing the intention to attack, and that it was to be done blindly, that was to say without any reconnaissance but such as the moment might afford on debouching from the jungle. He advocated a second march from Dinjhi, the force prepared to bivouac for the night, and that the 13th should be passed by the engineers in reconnoitring. Campbell wished Tremenheere to suggest this measure in a quiet way to the Commander-in-Chief; but he said that since the passage of the Chenab the Chief was determined to take no advice, nor brook any volunteered opinions; and he proposed that I should speak to John Gough (the Commander-in-Chief’s nephew) and try to engage him to put it into the Commander-in-Chief’s mind to adopt such a course.” It is not certain that anything came of this improvised council of war : but there is no question that up to the afternoon of the 13th Lord Gough intended to defer the attack until the following morning.

Early on the 13th the army was at length marching on the enemy. The heavy guns moved along the road leading over the Russoul ridge to the Jhelum fords. Gilbert’s division marched on their right, Colin Campbell’s (the third) on their left, with the cavalry and light artillery on their respective flanks. The original intention was that Gilbert’s (the right) division, with the greater part of the field-guns, was to advance on Russoul, while Campbell’s division and the heavy guns should stand fast on the left, overthrow the left of the Sikhs, and thus cut them off from retiring along the high road toward Jhelum. Their left thus turned, Gilbert and Campbell were to operate conjointly against the Sikh line, which it was hoped would be rolled back upon Moong and driven to the southward. A reconnaissance made by Tremenheere and Durand reported the road clear and practicable up to Eussoul, hut that the enemy was marching down from the heights apparently to take up a position on the plain. The march was resumed to beyond the village of Umrao; hut when deserters brought in the intelligence that the enemy was forming to the left front of Gough’s line of march behind the village of Chillianwallah, he quitted the Eussoul road, inclined to his left, and moved straight on Chillianwallah. An outpost on the mound of Chillianwallah was driven in upon the main body of the enemy, and from that elevated position was clearly discernible the Sikh army drawn out in battle array. Its right centre directly in front of Chillianwallah was about two miles distant from that village, but less from the British line, which was being deployed about five hundred yards in its front. There was a gap nearly three-quarters of a mile wide between the right wing of the Sikhs under Utar Singh, and the right of the main body under Sbere Singb. The British line when deployed could do little more than oppose a front to Shere Singh’s centre and right, which latter, however, it overlapped a little, so that part of Campbell’s left brigade was opposite to a section of the gap between Shere Singh’s right and Utar Singh’s left. Between the hostile lines there intervened a belt of rather dense low jungle, not forest, but a mixture of thorny mimosa bushes and wild caper.

It was near two o’clock in the afternoon of a winter day, and the troops had been under arms since daybreak. Lord Gough, therefore, wisely determined to defer the action until the morrow, and the camping-ground was being marked out. But the Sikh leaders knew well how prone to kindle was the temperament of the gallant old Chief. They themselves were keen for fighting, and the British commander needed little provocation to reciprocate their mood when they gave him a challenge of a few cannon shots. Late in the day though it was, he determined on immediate attack. The heavy guns were ordered up and opened fire at a range of some sixteen hundred yards, the gunners in the thick jungle having no other means of judging distance than by timing the intervals between tbe flash and report of the Sikh guns. The advance of the infantry soon obliged the fire of the British guns to cease. The line pressed on eagerly, its formation somewhat impaired by the thickness of the jungle through which it had to force its way, and met in the teeth as it pushed forward by the artillery fire which the enemy, no longer smitten by the heavy guns, poured on the advancing ranks of the British infantry. For a while nothing but the roar of the Sikh artillery was to be heard; but after a short time the sharp rattle of the musketry told that the conflict had begun in earnest and that the British infantry were closing on the hostile guns. Of the two divisions Gilbert’s had the right, Colin Campbell’s the left. The latter had been the first to receive the order to advance and was the first engaged. Pennycuick commanded Campbell’s right brigade, consisting of the Twenty-Fourth Queen’s, and the Twenty-Fifth and Forty-Fifth native infantry regiments; Hoggan’s, his left brigade, was formed of the Sixty-First Queen’s and the Thirty-Sixth

and Forty-Sixth Sepoy regiments. In the interval between the brigades moved a field-battery, and on the left of the division three guns of another. At some distance on Campbell’s left were a cavalry brigade and three troops of horse-artillery under Thackwell, whose duty it was to engage the attention of Utar Singh’s detachment and to attempt to hinder that force from taking Campbell in flank and in reverse. The nature of the ground to be fought over rendered it impossible that the divisional commander could superintend the attack of more than one brigade; and Colin Campbell had arranged with Pennycuick that he himself should remain with the left brigade. Pennycuick’s brigade experienced an adverse fate. During the advance its regiments were exposed to the fire of some eighteen guns on a mound directly in their front, from which they suffered very severely. The Twenty-Fourth, a fine and exceptionally strong regiment, advancing rapidly on the hostile batteries carried them by storm, but encountered a deadly fire from the infantry masses on either flank of the guns. The regiment sustained fearful losses. Pennycuick and thirteen officers of the regiment were killed at the guns, nine were wounded, two hundred and three of the men were killed and two hundred and sixty-six wounded. The native regiments of the brigade failed adequately to support the Twenty-Fourth, and musketry volleys from the Sikh infantry, followed by a rush of cavalry, completed the disorder and defeat of the ill-fated body. Already broken, it now fled, pursued with great havoc by the Sikh horse almost to its original position $t the beginning of the action.

Hoggan’s brigade, the left of Colin Campbell’s division, had better fortune. Campbell himself conducted it and its advance was made without any great difficulty. Its experiences he thus described in his journal:—“I took care to regulate the rate of march of the centre or directing regiment (H.M.’s Sixty-First), so that all could keep up; and consequently the brigade emerged from the wood in a very tolerable line. We found the enemy posted on an open space on a slight rise. He had four guns, which played upon us in our advance \ a large body of cavalry stood directly in front of the Sixty-First, and on the cavalry’s left a large body of infantry in face of the Thirty-Sixth N.I. That regiment went at the Sikh infantry and was repulsed; the Sixty-First moved gallantly and steadily on the Sikh cavalry in its front, which slowly retired. When the Sixty-First had nearly reached the ground which the cavalry had occupied, I ordered the regiment to open its fire to hasten their departure.” This fire was delivered as the corps advanced in line, a manoeuvre constantly practised by Campbell, and it put the Sikh cavalry to a hasty flight. At this moment the enemy pushed forward two of their guns to within about twenty-five yards of the right flank of the Sixty-First, and opened with grape while their infantry were actually in rear of its right. Campbell promptly wheeled to the light the two right companies of the Sixty-First and headed them in their charge on the two Sikh guns. Those were captured, whereupon the two companies opened fire on the flank of the Sikh infantry in pursuit of the Thirty-Sixth Native Infantry and obliged the former to desist and fall back. While the Sixty-First was completing its new alignment to the right, an evolution by which Shere Singh’s right flank was effectually turned, the enemy advanced with two more guns strongly supported by infantry. Neither of the two native regiments had succeeded in forming on the new alignment of the Sixty-First; “but,” writes Campbell, “the confident bearing of the enemy and the approaching and steady fire of grape from their two guns made it necessary to advance, and to charge when we got within proper distance. I gave the word to advance and subsequently to charge, heading the Sixty-First immediately opposite the guns as I had done in the former instance. These two attacks,” he continues, et gave the greatest confidence to the Sixty-First, and it was evident that in personally guiding and commanding the soldiers in these two successful attacks under difficult circumstances, I had gained the complete confidence and liking of the corps, and that with it I could undertake with perfect certainty of success anything that could be accomplished by men.”

While Campbell was leading the earlier charge on the two first Sikh guns, one of the enemy’s artillerymen who had already fired at him from under a gun apparently without result, rushed forward sword in hand and cut at the General, inflicting a deep sword-cut on his right arm. Not until the following morning was it discovered that the Sikh gunner’s bullet had found its billet, fortunately an innocuous one. It had smashed to atoms the ivory handle of a small pistol which Campbell carried in a pocket of his waistcoat, and had also broken the bow of bis watch. The Sikh’s aim was true, and but for the pistol and the watch Colin Campbell would never have seen another battle. His charger was found to be wounded by a musket-shot which had passed through both sides of the mouth and finally had lodged and flattened in the curb-chain.

The journal thus continues:—“After the capture of the second two guns, and the dispersion of the enemy, we proceeded rolling up his line, continuing along the line of the hostile position until we had taken thirteen guns, all of them by the Sixty-First at the point of the bayonet. We finally met Mountain’s brigade coming from the opposite direction. During our progress we were on several occasions threatened by the enemy’s cavalry on our flank and rear. The guns were all spiked, but having no means with the force to remove them and it being too small to admit of any portion being withdrawn for their protection, they were, with the exception of the last three that were taken, unavoidably left on the field.”

Colin Campbell had to fight hard for his success, and it was well for him that in the gallant Sixty-First he had a staunch and resolute English regiment. But he would have had to fight yet more hard, and then might not have attained success, if away on his left Thackwell had not been holding Utar Singh in check and impeding his efforts to harass Campbell’s flank and rear. Brind’s three troops of horse-artillery expended some twelve hundred rounds in a hot duel with Utar Singh’s cannon which else would have been playing on Campbell’s flank, and Unett’s gallant troopers of the famous “Third Light” crashed through Sikh infantry edging away to their left with intent to take Campbell in reverse. Thackwell did his valiant best until he and his command were called away to the endangered right, but before then he had time to serve Campbell materially, although he could not entirely prevent Utar Singh’s people from molesting that commander; and although Campbell did not record the critical episode, there vras a period when he found himself engaged simultaneously in front, flank, and rear, and when the brigade was extricated from its entanglement only by his own ready skill and the indomitable staunchness of the noble Sixty-First.

In spite of the disasters which chequered it the battle of Hillianwaliah may be regarded as a technical victory for the British arms, since the enemy was compelled to quit the field, although they only retired into the strong position on the Bussoul heights from w hich in the morning they had descended into the plain to fight. The moral results of the action w ere dismal, and the cost of the barren struggle was a loss of two thousand four hundred killed and wounded. At home the intelli gence of this waste of blood excited feelings of alarm and indignation, and Sir Charles Napier was inme diately despatched to India to supersede Lord Gough in the position of Commander-in-Chief. Meanwhile the army lay passiv e in its encampment at Chillianwadah, within sight of the Sikh position at Bussoul, awaiting the surrender of Mooltan and the accession of strength it would receive in consequence of that event. The Sikh leader more than once gave the British Commander-in-Chief an opportunity to fight, but Gongh with tardy wisdom resisted the offered temptation, resolved not to join issues until his reinforcements from Mooltan should reach him. On the night of February 13th the Sikh army abandoned Bussoul, marched round the British right flank, and on the 14th was well on its way to Goojerat. Gough, who had slowly followed to within a march of Goojerat, was joined at Koonjah by the Mooltan force on the 18th and 19th, and on the 20th advanced to Shadawal whence the Sikh encampment around the town of Goojerat was within sight The battlefield of February 21st was the wide plain to the south of Goojerat, intersected by two dry water-courses. The Sikh line of battle extended from Morarea Tibba, where their cavalry was in force, along an easterly bend of the Bimber (the western) channel, thence across the plain, behind the three villages of Kalra which were occupied by infantry, to Malkawallah a village on the left hank of the eastern channel Against this extended front advanced the British army, now twenty-three thousand strong with ninety guns, eighteen of which were heavy siege-pieces. The heavy guns, followed by two and a half infantry brigades, moved over the plain between the two channels. Campbell’s division and Dundas’ brigade were on the left bank of the western channel, with Thackwell’s cavalry still further to the left. The Sikhs, ever ready with their artillery, opened the battle with that arm. Gough at last had been taught by hard experience that an artillery preparation should precede his favourite "cold steeL” The British batteries went out to the front and began a magnificent and effective cannonade which lasted for two hours and crushed the fire of the Sikh guns. The infantry then deployed and marched forward, stormed the three Kalra villages after experiencing a desperate and prolonged resistance, and swept on up the plain toward Goojerat. There was little bloodshed on the right of the Bimber channel, where marched Campbell and Dundas, hut there was plenty of that skill which spares precious lives. Campbell describes how he handled his division:—“I formed my two brigades in contiguous columns of regiments with a verv strong line of skirmishers—the artillery in line with the skirmishers. When we arrived within long range of the enemy’s guns, we deployed into line. In this order, the artillery—twelve 9-pounders with the skirmishers anil the infantry in line close in rear, advanced as at a review; the guns firing into the masses of infantry and cavalry behind the nullah, who gradually melted away and took shelter in its channel. I then caused the artillery of my division to be turned on the fiank -if these throngs while the Bombay troop of horse-artillery fired direct on their front. I finally dislodged them by artillery which enfiladed the nullah, and which was moved forward and placed in position for that object. I was ordered to storm this nullah; hut to have done so with infantry would have occasioned a useless and needless sacrifice of life. Recognising that the result could be obtained by gun-fire without risking the life of a man, I proceeded on my own responsibility to employ my artillery in enfilading the nullah; and after thus clearing it of the enemy, I had the satisfaction of seeing the whole of our left wing pass this formidable defence of the enemy’s right wing without firing a shot or losing a man. We had too much slaughter at Chil-lianwalluh because due precaution had not been taken to prevent it by the employment of our magnificent artillery. Having felt this strongly and expressed it to theCommander-in-Chief in warm terms, I had determined to employ this arm thenceforth to the fullest extent; and I did so, accordingly, in the battle of Goojerat.” The discomfiture of the enemy was thorough.

Cavalry, infantry, and artillery left the field in utter confusion. The rout was too complete to allow of the reunion of formed bodies in anything like order. A body of Sikh horse with a brigade of Afghan cavalry adventured an advance on Thackwell’s flank. He hurled against them the Scinde Horse and the Ninth Lancers, and a wild stampede resulted. The rest of the British cavalry struck in and rushed on, dispersing, riding over, and trampling down the Sikh infantry, capturing guns and waggons, and converting the discomfited enemy into a shapeless mass of fugitives. The horsemen did not draw rein until they had ridden fifteen miles beyond Goojerat, by which time the army of Shere Singh was a wreck, deprived of its camp, its standards, and fifty-three of its cherished guns. On the morning after the battle Sir Walter Gilbert started in pursuit of the broken Sikh host, while Campbell took out his division in the direction of Dowlutanuggur, but the latter was recalled on the 25th. On March 6th, however, he received the order to join Gilbert’s force in room of Brigadier Mountain who had been injured by the accidental discharge of his pistol. On the road to Rawul Pindi on the 15th he passed the greater part of the Sikh army with its chiefs, who were laying down their arms. Campbell was moved by the fine attitude of the men of the Khalsa army. “There was,” he wrote, “nothing cringing in the manner of these men in laying down their arms. They acknowledged themselves beaten, and they were starving—destitute alike of food and money. Each man as he laid down his arms received a rupee to enable him to support himself while on his way to his home. The greater number of the old men especially, when laying duwn their arms, made a deep reverence or salaam as they placed their swords on the heap, with the muttered words ‘Runjeet Singh is dead to-day!’ This was said with deep feeling ; they are undoubtedly a fine and brave people.” On the 21st Gilbert and Campbell reached Feshawur, and the latter encamped near the fort of Jumrood at the mouth of the Khvber Pass, through which the Afghans, whom Dost Mahomed had sent into the Punjaub to reinforce the Sikhs in their warfare with the British forces, had retreated very shortly before. The campaign was at an end; and early in April Colin Campbell took command of the Sind Sagur District with his headquarters at Rawul Pindi. There he shared a house with his friend Mansfield, who in the time of the Mutiny was to be his Chief-of-Staff. In July there occurred an event which called for all his firmness and discretion. Two native infantry regiments stationed at Rawul Pindi refused to accept the cantonment scale of pay, which was lower than they had been receiving when on campaign. Evidence was clear that the combination to resist the cantonment scale had spread to other stations, and the situation was temporarily critical; but fortunately there was a British regiment at Rawul Pindi, and the sepoys came to reason without the necessity on Campbell’s part of resorting to strong measures. When at Rawul Pindi he had the gratification to learn of his having been promoted to be a Knight of the Bath for his services in the recent campaign; and Sir Charles Napier in sending him the intimation added that “no man had won it better,” and expressed the hope that “he would lung wear the spurs.”

In November he was transferred to the divisional command of the Peshawur District, a more important, but also a more unquiet post than Rawul Pindi. Thenceforth for three years he was to be the Warden of the turbulent north-western frontier. It pleased him to find in his command his old regiment the Ninety-Eighth, and also the Sixty-First which he had led at Chillianwallah. When in February, 1850, Sir Charles Napier reached Peshawur on a tour of inspection, Sir Colin was able to assemble for review quite a little army of all ranks; three troops of horse-artillery and two field-batteries, three cavalry regiments, three European and three native infantry regiments. While Sir Charles was in Colin Campbell’s district, it happened that he came under hostile fire for the last time in his tumultuous life. Between Peshawur and Kohat, both places in British territory, a mountain road ran outside that territory through a long and dangerous defile. The Afridis inhabiting the intervening hill country had complained that their subsidy for keeping open the pass had not been paid, and in revenge had slaughtered a working party of sappers and miners. Sir Charles determined to force the defile in person. Campbell, on Napier’s requisition, detailed a tolerably strong force as escort to the Commander-in-Chief. It chanced that before starting Napier inspected a regiment of irregulars under the control of the much-vaunted Punjaub Government. The men were of fine physique, but “one soldier had a musket without a lock, another a lock without a musket. A stalwart soldier, his broad chest swelling with military pride, his eyes sparkling with a malicious twinkle, held on his shoulder between his finger and thumb a flint—his only arm.” The defile was duly forced, but its passage was one long skirmish. Kohat was inspected and reinforced, but Napier, on commencing his return march, found that the pickets left to keep the road open had been roughly handled and had suffered serious loss. The Afridis were very daring, and actually fired on Sir Charles and his staff at short range. The loss sustained in this somewhat quixotic expedition amounted to one hundred and ten men killed and wounded—“not much,” comments Napier grimly, “when one considers the terrible defile through which we passed, defended by a warlike race.” His biographer calls the enterprise an “ interesting episode it certainly was not a very wise enterprise to be undertaken by the Commander-in-Chief of British India. It was Napier’s last eccentricity of a military character. By the end of the year he resigned the command of the army of India, and was succeeded by Sir William Gomm, an old brother officer of Colin Campbell in the Ninth in the Peninsula days.

In March, 1851, Lord Dalhousie visited Peshawur and discussed with Sir Colin the policy to be adopted towards the troublesome and turbulent tribes on the north-western border. Scarcely had the Governor-General gone when news came in that a Momund tribe, of the region north of Peshawur between the Swat and Cabul rivers, had been raiding into British territory. Dalhousie left to Sir Colin the decision whether to make signal reprisals or to adopt defensive measures, and, as the result of the description of the wild and rugged region sent him by Sir Colin after a reconnaissance he had made, elected for the defensive as an experiment.

It failed, for in October the Momunds of Michni made an irruption upon some villages within British territory. The Governor-General now decided on an immediate resort to active measures, and Sir Colin was ordered to inflict summary chastisement on the offending tribe. He marched from Peshawur on October 25th with a force of all arms about twelve hundred strong, and advanced to the confines of the Michni territory. He did not hurry, because he desired that his political officer should have opportunity to inform the inhabitants of the conditions intended to be offered them; which were annexation of the territory, exile for the irreconcilables, and the retention of their lands by the cultivators on payment of revenue. Campbell's humane view was that “to drive into the hills the whole population of Michni, occupying some seven and twenty villages, could only result in forcing them to prey on the plunder of the villages inside the border.” The villages and fortalices whose inhabitants were implicated in the violation of British territory were destroyed under a harmless fire maintained by the mountaineers; but, as Campbell records, “while engaged in duties in which no soldier can take pleasure no lives were lost on either side. God t knows the rendering homeless of two or three hundred families is a despicable task enough, without adding loss of life to this severe punishment.” The British camp was more than once assailed by bodies of Momund tribes, and one of those attacks was made by some five thousand hillmen whom Sir Colin dispersed by shell fire. A fort was built and garrisoned in the Michni country, and the field-force returned to Peshawur in February, 1852. With the results it had accomplished the Governor-General expressed his entire satisfaction.

The column had scarcely settled down in Peshawur when fresh troubles were reported from the wearyful Momund frontier. Sir Colin hurried thither with two horse-artillery guns and two hundred and sixty native troopers, to find the Momund chief Sadut Khan in position on the edge of the Panj Pao upland, fronting towards Muttah, with six thousand matchlock men and some eighty horsemen. The affair had its interesting features. Sir Colin took in reverse the Momund hordes with his artillery fire, broke up their masses, put them to flight, and pursued them. As he was preparing to return the Momunds suddenly wheeled in their tracks and rushed upon him over the broken ground. The guns were instantly unlimbered, and double charges of grape checked the wild and gallant attack,—a brilliant rally after the endurance of two hours’ shell fire followed by a hasty retreat. The mountaineers continued to press Campbell’s slow retirement across the table-land, notwithstanding the fire of grape which he maintained. The incident strengthened his belief in the superior efficacy of defensive operations, and he declined to fall in with the anxious wish of the Punjaub Board of Administration that he should act on the offensive against the Momunds, on the ground that he was not prepared to execute operations of that character without the most precise orders by the Commander-in-Chief, the authority to which he was responsible. His reply met with the full approval of the Commander-in-Chief, which however the Governor - General did not share. Sir Colin maintained his ground with the approval of the former authority, when pressed by the Commissioner of Peshawur to enter Swat. Meanwhile the Ootman-Kheyl tribe had become implicated in the murder of a native official in British employ at Char-suddah. Sir Colin had no hesitation in taking measures to inflict punishment on this powerful and turbulent clan. A column of all arms, two thousand four hundred and fifty strong, was assembled on the left bank of the Swat river, and on May 11th proceeded to destroy a group of deserted villages belonging to the Ootman-KheyL The column then advanced on the large village of Prangurh, the Ootman-Kheyl stronghold. It .had been prepared for defence, and was crowded with men who opened fire on Sir Colin’s advanced guard. Covered by artillery fire his troops carried the village with a rush, after a stout defence on the part of the enemy. During the destruction of Prangurh letters were found proving a strong feeling of hostility towards the British Government on the part of the rulers of Swat. Sir Colin then fell in with the views of the Commissioner, and declared himself prepared to invade the Swat territory unless he should be absolutely prohibited by the Commander-In-Chief.

The British force next moved upon Iskakote, a large village of Kanizai, a dependency of Swat, whither large bodies of hillmen hastened to defend the village and valley. Sir Colin estimated the number of the hostile clansmen to be not less than six thousand. They made a stubborn resistance, and endured a sharp cannonade with great firmness. The Guides and Ghoorkas stormed the nullah with some hand-to-hand fighting, whereupon, having suffered severe loss, the enemy broke up and made for the hills pursued by the cavalry.

The Commander-in-Chief interposed no veto on the invasion of Swat, but it became apparent to Sir Colin Campbell that the transport for that operation was inadequate and inefficient. Experience of the opposition he had encountered in the Iskakote affair, and a subsequent reconnaissance in theRanizai valley, convinced him that his infantry would require a reinforcement of two thousand five hundred men, without receiving which he could not proceed to the invasion of Swat. The Punjaub Board of Administration refused his requisition for the number of troops he asked, and as it was unadvisable to keep the force in the field in the hot weather, the column returned to Peshawur in the beginning of June.

Campbell had already been made aware by the Commander-in-Chief of the Governor-General’s dissatisfaction, which in the shape of a formal censure awaited him at Peshawur. Lord Dalhousie used expressions which must have cut the old fighting man to the quick. His lordship chose to tell the soldier of many battles that he had manifested “over-cautious reluctance” in advancing against the Swat marauders in March. Presently came the further charge that not only had he “transgressed the bounds of his proper province,” but that “he had placed himself in an attitude of direct and proclaimed insubordination to the authority of the Governor-General in Council.” Campbell replied with disciplined dignity and self-respect, expressing his regret that expressions so strong should have been used in regard to him, and his painful surprise that after a lifetime of unswerving military subordination he should be accused of the reverse. He was aware that he was in disaccord with the Government, and already when in the field he had determined to resign his command, an intention which he had communicated to the Commander-in-Chief. To that old friend he wrote without heat:—“I have come to the conclusion that I should be wanting in what is due to myself, if, after what has passed, I were to continue in this command; there is a limit at which a man’s forbearance ought to stop, and that limit has in my case been reached.”

Sir Colin resigned his command on July 25th. He declined a farewell banquet to which the officers of the Peshawur garrison desired to invite him, believing that in the circumstances to accept the honour would be contrary to the spirit of the Queen’s regulations. After spending three months in the bracing hill-station of Murree, in the end of October he visited at Dugshai the Ninety-Eighth regiment, to his original position as senior lieutenant-colonel of which he had reverted on the resignation of his divisional command; then, after a brief visit to Simla, he sailed from Bombay, arriving in England in March, 1853. Before leaving India he had read the official acknowledgment by the Government of the services of the troops engaged in the recent operations. The despatch recorded the Governor-General’s regret “that any incident should have occurred to deserve a censure of any portion of Sir Colin Campbell’s conduct;” but it “acknowledged in the most ample terms the ability, the personal intrepidity and activity, and the sterling soldierly qualities, which this distinguished officer had displayed in the military command of the troops at Peshawur upon every occasion on which they had taken the field.” The amende honorable was well enough in its lumbering way; but it could scarcely take away the hitter flavour of the barbed and venomous insinuation conveyed in the cruel words “over-cautious reluctance.”


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