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Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde
Chapter VII The Campaign in Rohilcund


t will be remembered that in the beginning of the year, when the Commander-in-Chief was desirous of effecting the settlement of Rohilcund before proceeding to the final reduction of Lucknow in the autumn, the Governor-General had evinced his preference for postponing operations in Rohilcund and for proceeding as early as possible to the conquest of the capital of Oude. That great task had uow been accomplished, and it was the opinion of the sagacious veteran that, Oude having been entered and Lucknow in British possession, it was the wise and proper course to proceed to the subjugation and settlement of the great province of which Lucknow was the centre, before committing the British arms to a campaign beyond the boundaries of that province. But now again Lord Canning differed from his military subordinate. “I feel,” he wrote to Sir Colin, “the full force of the reasons which you have urged in favour of limiting active operations in the field to Oude for the present, and of making clean work of that province while we are about it.” But he argued that, unlike Oude the inhabitants of which had been and still were bitterly hostile, Rohilcund contained a “numerous well-affected population.” The argument had a real weight, but was somewhat belated. If Sir Colin had been permitted to settle Rohilcund in the beginning of the year, the numerous “well-affected population” of that province, on behalf of whom Lord Canning was now suddenly so solicitous, would have escaped several months of anarchy and disorder.

Sir Colin, disciplined soldier as he was, bowed to the superior authority and promptly set about the preparations for the Rohilcund campaign. Napier’s engineers established a secure military position for the troops appointed to garrison Lucknow. To Hope Grant was given the command of the Lucknow field-force, inclusive of the troops available for the garrison of Lucknow and for operations in the districts; a formidable force the infantry alone of which comprised eleven regiments, with a siege-train, nine batteries, and adequate cavalry. Lugard led a column of all arms into the disturbed Azimghur district beyond south-eastern Oude, which with local reinforcements was to constitute the Azimghur division. On April 8th Walpole’s column, in which marched one Punjaub and three Highland regiments with a strong artillery force and two cavalry regiments, started on its road for Rohilcund by way of Sandeela, Ehooyah, and the Ramgunga river. Sir Colin’s plan for the invasion of Rohilcund was based on the projected advance of two columns from opposite points ; Walpole’s force marching up from Lucknow, and a fine body of troops collected at Roorkee by the exertions of Sir John Lawrence, consisting of four infantry regiments, the Mooltan Horse, a field-battery and two 18-pounders under the command of Brigadier-General John Jones. Those columns, sweeping the country during their respective onward movements, were destined to converge on Bareilly the capital of the province, which thus became the objective point of this strategical combination.

Sir Colin Campbell had a high opinion of Walpole, which the latter had certainly justified at Cawnpore and throughout the recent operations against Lucknow. In the course of his march towards Rohilcund, some fifty miles from Lucknow there was reached the jungle-fort of Rhooyah. The Rajah in possession refused to surrender. Walpole then ordered an attack without having previously reconnoitred the position; and the attack was unfortunately delivered against the strongest face of the paltry place. The garrison took advantage of this folly to make an obstinate defence, with the result of heavy losses among the assailants and of their failure to carry the fort. Several officers of distinction fell; but the most grievous loss was the death of that noble soldier Adrian Hope, the heroic leader of the Highland Brigade. The feeling against Walpole throughout the column was so strong as almost to endanger discipline, and to this day his name is execrated by the survivors of that time. From Rhooyah Walpole advanced to Allehgunj after having defeated at Tirsa a large body of the enemy, whom he pursued with artillery and cavalry, capturing their guns and camp and saving from destruction the bridge of boats, whereby he was enabled to cross to the right bank of the Ramgunga. He encamped at Inigree two miles in advance of Allehgunj to await the arrival of the Commander-in-Chief. Brigadier-General Jones began his march from Roorkee on the 17 th of April In the course of his advance after crossing the Ganges he had several sharp engagements with rebel bodies resulting in the capture of twenty-three guns. In the last week of April he reached Moradabad, where he halted in a position whence he should be able to time his arrival at Bareilly simultaneously with that of Walpole’s column from Lucknow.

A siege-train of twenty-eight guns and mortars commanded by Lieutenant Tod Browne and escorted by two infantry regiments and a squadron of cavalry, had left Cawnpore on April 15th, and moved up by the usual stages to Futtehghur. Three days later, having assured himself that the arrangements for the efficient maintenance of the Lucknow garrison were complete, Sir Colin went to Cawnpore with Mansfield, headquarters having preceded them to that station. They started next day for Futtehghur and moving rapidly reached that place on the 24th. Next day the artillery-park and siege-train crossed the Ganges by the bridge of boats commanded by the guns of the fort, and on the 27th Sir Colin and his staff joined Walpole’s column at Inigree. The advance on Bareilly began on the following morning. The route was across the Ramgunga at Bajpoorea Ghat through Jellalabad to Shahjehanpore, a large town which the enemy were known to hold in force, but which when entered on May 1st was found deserted and the cantonment destroyed. A detachment of all arms under Colonel Hale of the Eighty-Second was placed in the jail and its enclosure as the most defensible position, and the army resumed its march on the 2nd. A considerable detachment from the Meerut division joined at Meranpore Kuttra on the same day.

It had been commanded by General Penny, a gallant officer who had fallen in a night skirmish, and the command had now devolved upon Brigadier Richmond Jones. Thus reinforced Sir Colin’s force continued its advance on Bareilly, from which place on the 4th it was distant one march. Next morning the column moved on Bareilly.

At the sixth milestone the troops halted for the baggage to close up. At 6 A.M. the force was formed in order of battle and advanced against the enemy who, full of confidence, had come out from the city and taken up a position on the hither bank of the Nerkuttea nullah with that stream in their rear. Sir Colin advanced in two lines, the Highland Brigade leading supported by the Fourth Punjaub Infantry and the Belooch battalion, with a heavy field-battery in the centre on the road,—the front and flanks covered by horse-artillery and cavalry. The second line had the duty of protecting the baggage and siege-train, a necessary precaution against the enemy’s numerous and daring cavalry. The strength of the British column amounted to seven thousand six hundred and thirty-seven men, with nineteen gun3 apart from the siege-train.

About 7 A.M. the enemy opened fire from guns commanding the approach to the bridge. The British cavalry rode out on both flanks covering the horse-artillery, until the latter unlimbered and replied so sharply to the enemy that they fled across the stream abandoning such of their guns as were on the near side of the bridge. Meanwhile the infantry, along with the heavy field-battery, moved rapidly forward in line. As the mullah was approached the left wing halted on its right bank while N

the right crossed the bridge and continued its advance for some distance in the direction of the town; but the progress was slow partly on account of the great heat, partly because the enemy’s position was masked by dense groves. As the heavy guns crossed the bridges and were brought up, they opened fire on the hostile line holding the suburbs and ruined cantonments. About 11 A.M. a fierce onslaught, described by Sir Colin as “the most determined effort he had seen during the war,” was delivered by a body of Ghazees or Mussulman fanatics. The Fourth Punjaub Rifles were in broken order in the irregular cavalry lines when the Ghazees, numbering about one hundred and thirty, caught the Sikhs at a disadvantage and rushed upon them. Brandishing their swords, with heads low covered by their shields, and uttering wild shouts of “Been! Been!” they fell on with furious impetuosity and hurled the Punjaubis back on the Forty-Second Highlanders. Sir Colin had formed up the latter regiment, with strong warnings on his part to the young soldiers to be steady and hold their ground against the impending assault, hut it was barely ready to meet the whirlwind of the charge when the Ghazees were upon the bayonets. Giving ear to the injunctions of their veteran commander to trust to the bayonet and to keep cool, the Forty-Second never wavered; but some of the fanatics swept round its flank and fell upon its rear. A brief but bloody hand-to-hand struggle ensued, and in a few moments every Ghazee was killed right in the very ranks of the Highlanders. Colonel Cameron of the Forty-Second was dragged from his horse by three men and would certainly have been slain but for the timely and gallant interposition of Colour-Sergeant Gardiner who bayoneted two of the fanatics. General Walpole was wounded and escaped with his life only by the promptitude with which the Black Watch used the bayonet. When the Ghazees had been exterminated the Highlanders and Punjaubis advanced into the cantonments.

Almost simultaneously with the onslaught of the Ghazees a large body of rebel cavalry swept in upon the flank of the baggage - column, cutting down camels, camel-drivers and camp-followers in all directions. The confusion for the moment amounted almost to a panic. Mr. Russell of The Times had an extremely narrow escape. He was very ill and was being carried in a dooly. In the alarm caused by the rush of the enemy’s horsemen he had left his dooly and mounted his horse undressed and bareheaded as he was. “Several of the enemy’s sowars” writes Forbes-Mitchell, “were dodging through the camels to get at him. We turned our rifles on them, and I shot down the one nearest to Mr. Russell just as he had cut down an intervening camel-driver and was making for The Times correspondent; in fact, his tulwar was actually raised to swoop down on Mr. Russell’s bare head when my bullet put a stop to his proceedings. I saw Mr. Russell tumble from his saddle at the same instant as the sowar fell; and I got a rare flight, for I thought my bullet must have struck both. However, I rushed to where Mr. Russell had fallen, and I then saw from the position of the slain sowar that my bullet had found its proper billet, and that Mr. Russell had been struck down with sunstroke, the blood flowing freely from his nose,”

The wild dash of rebel cavalry was sharply checked by the fire of Tombs’ guns, and their rout was soon completed by the Carabineers and the Mooltanee Horse. The cantonments and civil lines were occupied in force. The action had lasted for six hours; the sun’s rays were oppressive, and a hot wind intensified the distress so greatly that several fatal cases of sunstroke occurred. The trophies of the day consisted of seven guns, and several more were found abandoned in the town when the column finally entered it. Owing to the prudence with which the troops were handled Sir Colin’s casualties were remarkably few. His halt outside the city enabled Khan Bahadoor Khan, the rebel commander, quietly to withdraw his trained forces under cover of darkness, leaving only a rabble to maintain a show of resistance while he marched away to Pileebheet, thirty-three miles north-east of Bareilly. When on the morning of the 6th the British forces opened fire on the city, they met with no reply. But the sound of artillery was heard from the further side of Bareilly—the guns of the force which Brigadier John Jones had brought forward from Moradabad having encountered and defeated some opposition by the way. He took up positions in the city and opened communication with Sir Colin. On the 7th Bareilly was entirely occupied by the united force.

On the same day tidings reached Sir Colin that the detachment under Colonel Hale left to hold Shahjehan-pore was surrounded in its position by a force several thousand strong, which had been brought up from Mohumdee by the Fyzabad Moulvie and the local Bajah within twenty-four hours after Sir Colin had quitted Shahjehanpore on the morning of the 2nd. Since the 3rd the rebels had bombarded the position incessantly, Hale steadfastly maintaining a gallant resistance. Sir Colin promptly despatched to his support a column of all arms under Brigadier-General John Jones, which left Bareilly on the 8th and reached the vicinity of Shahjehanpore on the 11th. The enemy, consisting chiefly of great masses of horsemen, was encountered in fair fight and was defeated with the loss of a gun. Jones then pressed forward, passed through the town and crossing the parade-ground reached the jail where for eight days Hale had been stoutly holding his own against heavy odds. But now Jones in his turn found himself compelled to accept the defensive until reinforcements should arrive. To the standard of the Moulvie, meanwhile, there rallied contingents from far and near. In his camp were the Begum of Oude, the Prince Feroze Shah, and a body of warlike followers sent by the Nana Sabib; not to speak of budmashes and freebooters from the Nepaul frontier to the Doab. On the 15th the Moulvie attacked Jones with his whole force. The rebels fought with ardour and persistency, but they achieved no success. Jones, for his part, destitute as he was of cavalry, could do no more than maintain the defensive and abide in his position the arrival of reinforcements.

So far as the occupation of Bareilly and the dispersion of the main body of insurgents were concerned, Sir Colin had brought the Rohilcund campaign to a satisfactory conclusion. Having thereby secured the re-establishment of British authority vested in Mr. Alexander the Civil Commissioner, he considered himself in a position to break up the Rohilcund force.

The Second and Fourth Punjaub Infantry regiments, which had served with great distinction during the past year, were despatched on their return to the Punjaub. A force consisting of a troop and battery of artillery, the Second Punjaub Cavalry, the Forty-Second, Seventy-Eighth and Ninety-Third Highlanders, and the Seventeenth Punjaub Infantry, was chosen to constitute the garrison of Bareilly. General Walpole was nominated as divisional commander of the troops in Kohilcund. On the 15th Sir Colin, with Tombs’ troop of horse-artillery, part of the siege-train, the Ninth Lancers, a Punjaub Cavalry regiment, the Sixty-Fourth Foot, the Belooch battalion, and the artillery-park, started from Bareilly and moved in the direction of Futtehghur, believing that he might now safely betake himself to some central point on the great line of communication, whence he might direct the general campaign. But at Faridpore on the 16th he received a message from Jones at Shahjehanpore asking for assistance. Sir Golin hastened towards Shahjehanpore, sheltering his men from the terrific heat under the groves by the wayside. As he approached the town on the 18th, he swept aside a hostile force threatening him with a demonstration, and traversing the city effected a junction with Jones. An engagement occurred in the afternoon in which the enemy displayed more than ordinary skill and courage, and although in the end they were repulsed no attempt was made to pursue them. Sir Colin waited until the arrival of Brigadier Coke’s column, which, while it was on the march to Pileebheet he had recalled to Shahjehanpore. Coke arrived on the 22nd, and on the evening of the 23rd Sir Colin, having given Jones orders to attack the enemy next morning, left Shahjehanpore with his staff and a small escort, and proceeding by double marches reached Futtehghur on the morning of the 25th, where he remained until June 5th, once more in direct communication with Lord Canning at Allahabad, and in a position to exercise a more active supervision over the columns operating in Oude, Behar, and Rundelcund.

Brigadier-General Jones in accordance with his instructions advanced upon the Moulvie’s position at Mohumdee, which fell into his hands; but the rebels crossed the Goomtee too promptly to admit of his cavalry capturing their guns. A few weeks later the Moulvie, one of the most bitter and stubborn antagonists of the British rule, met his death by the treachery of one of his own countrymen, the Rajah of Powain. The Rajah’s brother shot him dead; the Rajah himself cut off the Moulvie’s head, and wrapping it in a cloth carried it to Shahjehanpore. He entered the magistrate’s house, opened the bundle and rolled the bloody head at the feet of the official. On the day following it was exposed to view in a conspicuous part of the town, “ for the information and encouragement of all concerned.”

Sir Colin left Futtehghur on June 5th, having made the necessary arrangements regarding the troops he could spare to support Sir Hugh Rose’s advance on Gwalior, and having satisfied himself that affairs in Rohilcund and the Doab were progressing favourably. Since the settlement of the early spring the latter territory had remained undisturbed save by a few casual irruptions. Sir Colin proceeded directly to Allahabad where he remained during the hot weather in the house which Lord Canning had prepared for him. There awaited him in Allahabad a letter from Lord Derby, then Prime Minister, in which his lordship intimated that he “had been honoured with the Queen’s commands to signify to you her Majesty’s unqualified approval of the distinguished services you have rendered to her Majesty and to the country as Commander-in-Chief of the armies in India. . . . Her Majesty deems the present a fitting moment for marking her high sense of your eminent and brilliant services by raising you to the dignity of a peer of the United Kingdom by such title as you may think it proper to assume.” Sir Colin, with his innate modesty of character, at first shrank from the proferred honour. He was, in the words of Sir William Mansfield, “much disposed to run restive at being put into such strange harness; but he is now reconciled, and, I think, very much pleased.” His constant friend the Duke of Cambridge suggested that he should be called up by the title of “Lord Clyde of Lucknow.” But he modestly wrote in reply, “ I have thought it proper not to add the word  'Lucknow,’ as the baronetcy of the late Sir Henry Havelock was distinguished in that manner. It would be unbecoming in me to trench, as it were, on the title of that very distinguished officer.” Ultimately, at the suggestion of Lord Derby, he took the title of “Lord Clyde of Clydesdale.” But he was curiously reluctant to make use of his new title. Not one of his letters to his intimate friends has the signature of “Clyde.” They uniformly bear his initials "C. C.” or “ C. Campbell ”—a retention of the simplicity which had been a marked feature of his character in the days of his comparative obscurity.

To accompany Ms peerage the grant of an annuity of £2000 was made to him by the East India Company -one of the last acts of that body before its extinction by Act of Parliament. On the 14th of May he had been gazetted to the rank of full General.

An old Ninety-Third man still to the fore, tells a genial little anecdote about Lord Clyde when he first met Ms favourites after having been raised to the peerage. He had a great regard for worthy old Pipe-Major John MacLeod of that regiment. When Sir Colin took what he believed to be his final tarewell of the Ninety-Third when he left the Crimea in May, 1856, the last man he shook hands with was John MacLeod. When the Mauritius on the . third anniversary of the Alma reached Calcutta with the Ninety-Third aboard, the first man to recognise Sir Colin as he came alongside in a dinghy was John MacLeod, who electrified his comrades with the shout, “Lord save us! wha could hae believed it? Here’s Sir Colin himsel’”   “Aye, aye, John," replied Sir Colin, “it’s just me, able to go through another campaign with you. Little did I think, when we last parted, that I should hear your pipes on the plains of India!” When he met the regiment for the first time after becoming Lord Clyde, he as usual called the pipe-major to the front. After the customary greetings John came to attention, saluted and said, “I beg your pardon, Sir Colin, but we dinna ken hoo tae address you noo that the Queen has made you a lord!” The old Chief replied, with just a touch of sadness in his voice,—“Just call me Sir Colin, John, the same as in the old times; I like the old name best. Except yourselves of the Ninety-Third there are but few now alive in whom I take interest enough to care how they call me.”

After a good deal of fighting in the Azimghur district with Koer Singh, Sir E. Lugard and Brigadier Douglas had followed that notable rebel across the Ganges. An attempt, however, to dislodge him from his native jungles of Jugdeespore, resulted in a serious discomfiture. In the hope of effecting a surprise a small force of one hundred and fifty British infantry, fifty men of the Naval Brigade, and one hundred and fifty Sikhs penetrated into the jungle, where they encountered the enemy at dawn of April 23rd. The rebels were on the alert; a panic ensued, the guns were abandoned, and most of the Europeans were killed or died of sunstroke. With the co-operation of the Dinapore Brigade Lugard now approached Jugdeespore through the open country on the western side instead of taking the direct route through the jungle. The rebel force covering Jugdeespore was taken by surprise and driven in; and on the 9th of May the Jugdeespore stronghold was captured. It was ascertained that Koer Singh had died of his wounds, and his followers were now discouraged. Lugard succeeded in defeating and dispersing the main rebel force, and the guns lost by the Arrah detachment were recovered. It was an unsatisfactory and harassing warfare, in which the rebels played the part of guerillas. No longer formidable as a military body, they kept the province in a state of anarchy and confusion; and they gave no rest to the troops, many of whom fell victims to the deadly effect of exposure in the unhealthy season.


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