It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. — G. K. Chesterton

Indian Mutiny

Jun-Sept 1857
Mahattras — versus — British East India Company

Delhi — June-Sept 1857      Cawnpore — June-Dec 1857     
Lucknow — June 1857 - March 1858      Jhansi and other Rebel Strongholds — 1857-1858     

Introduction

indian mutiny
BRITISH SOLDIERS WERE SEEN FIGHTING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE STREETS.
The Indian Mutiny was the worst crisis in the history of British India, and one of the worst crises in all the years of Britain's colonial rule. It occurred a century after the Battle of Plassey, and was likely inspired by a prophecy that the British rule in India would "last 100 years". The causes of the mutiny are often given as an almost endless list of every policy ever invoked by the British rulers that disturbed any portion of the Indian native populace, combined with every incompetent or unsuccessful foreign policy or staffing decision ever made by the Imperial government. There is unquestionably truth to many of these explanations, but they are so various and wide-ranging, involving religious, social, economic, and military oppressions, that any effort to determine the "root cause" of the rebellion, on any particular list of policy blunders is bound to be incomplete. Many of the difficulties and missteps Britain had in governing India had very long term, complicated histories, yet even when the rebellion occurred, a great many natives remained faithful to British rule throughout the crisis. This may seem surprising, but India was never a homogenous country either ethnically, or religiously, and distrust between various native populations was often even more pronounced than dislike of the British. Had the grievances and rebellion been universal, or the Indians natives united instead of divided, the empire would likely have been lost.

The leaders of the mutiny included many of the dispossessed Moslem aristocracy of Northern India as well as high caste Hindus, since it was the upper classes who had lost the most influence under British rule. For a variety of reasons, they believed the time was at hand when they had a chance to reclaim their former status. The real "cause" of the rebellion, therefore, was the same as that of many other wars: one set of antagonists believed they had a good chance of success if they took the offensive.

Book Links
Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat

Delhi : June-Sept 1857

indian mutiny
AT DELHI, BURGESS RUSHED TO THE POWDER BAGS, FIRED THEM, AND FELL MORTALLY WOUNDED.
The actual mutiny itself began when a division of sepoys in Meerut refused to used new cartridges supplied to them, which were thought to have been greased with cow and pig lard. The following day, two other divisions revolted, murdered some number of Europeans, and marched to Delhi, which soon became the center of the rebellion. There still existed in Delhi a Moghul emperor whose realm had been reduced to little beyond the city limits, but he was proclaimed emperor of all of India by the mutineers. All available British divisions descended on Delhi, and a British siege of the Rebel stronghold was begun in June, but it was unable to accomplish anything until receiving large reinforcements from the Crimea and China in September. As soon as sufficient forces and armaments arrived, a coordinated assault on Delhi was made. The battle was a horrendous one with savage atrocities committed on both sides.



DateBattle Summary
1857  
Battle of Baduli-ki-Serai (Delhi ) British victory
Fought June 8, 1857, when a British force, under Sir Henry Barnard, defeated a large body of mutineers, who were opposing their march to Delhi. All the rebels' guns were captured.
  
1857  
Siege of Delhi (Delhi ) British victory
After the outbreak at Meerut, Delhi became the rallying place of the mutineers, and on June 8, 1857, Sir Harry Barnard commenced the siege of the city. His force was too small for a complete investment, while the mutineers numbered 30,000, and could obtain continual reinforcements, and ample supplies. The garrison made constant sorties, and fighting was incessant at the outposts. On September 8 the breaching batteries opened fire, and on the 14th the final assault was made and the city entered. It was not however, till the 20th that the Palace was taken, and all resistance at an end. Among those who fell was John Nicholson.
  
1857  
Battle of Nujufghur (Jansi ) British victory
Fought August 24, 1857, between 6,000 rebels, under Mohammed Bukht Khan, and a small British force, under John Nicholson. The rebels were defeated, at small cost, with a loss of over 800 men and all their guns.
  


Commander
Short Biography
John Nicholson Famous Military hero. Led the storming party on Delhi during the mutiny and died during the assault.
Lord Roberts Career officer, saw service in Indian Mutiny, Afghanistan, Abyssinia, India and South Africa.
Bakht Khan Commander of the Sepoys during the siege of Delhi. Escaped from Delhi and continued the fight at Lucknow.
Bahadur Shah Last Moghul Emperor. He was declared the leader of the sepoy rebellion by the forces in Delhi.


Story Links
Book Links
Cawnpore, Lucknow, Delhi  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Before the Mutiny  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Sir Thomas Seaton  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Sir Herbert B. Edwardes  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Hodson of Hodson's Horse  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
General Henry D. Daly  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Field-Marshal Lord Roberts  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Lord Roberts and Delhi  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
John Nicholson  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
General A. Taylor  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Sikh Monument  in  Tales from Canterbury Cathedral  by  Mrs. Frewen Lord
Mutiny—Delhi  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Victoria—The Siege of Delhi  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Mutiny  in  The Story of Lord Roberts  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
Mutiny (continued)  in  The Story of Lord Roberts  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
Ridge at Delhi  in  The Story of Lord Roberts  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
Indian Mutiny  in  The Reign of Queen Victoria  by  M. B. Synge
Delhi  in  The Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood


Cawnpore : June-Dec 1857

indianmutiny
THE THATCHED ROOFS OF THE BOATS BLAZING FURIOUSLY
Meanwhile, other rebellions broke out, primarily in the region of the Ganges valley. Besides Delhi the towns best known for the rebellion are Cawnpore, and Lucknow. The former was besieged by mutineers on June 6, 1857, and the latter on June 30. Both cities were the scene of terrific heroism and appalling atrocities. From Cawnpore, there were scarecly four survivors out of over a thousand Europeans and loyal natives. The garrison was promised safe transport if they surrendered but they were fired upon and massacred as they descended to boats waiting in the river. The women and children were held hostage, and then killed before a relieving force arrived. Havelock had led the relief party to Cawnpore, but soon after the battle of Maharajpur, he gathered another party to relieve Lucknow. Unfortunately, his forces were too diminished to continue through hostile territory, so he had to fall back to Cawnpore and await reinforcements. The final conquest of Cawnpore was delayed until after Lucknow had been relieved.



DateBattle Summary
1857  
Siege of Cawnpur (Cawnpore ) Sepoys victory
The Residency of Cawnpur was invested by the mutineers June 6, 1857, and defended by a small garrison until June 24, when the survivors, about 450 in number, surrendered under promise from the Nana Sahib of a safe conduct to Allahabad. They were, however, fired upon as they took to the boats, and only a few escaped. The survivors of this massacre were afterwards murdered in cold blood by order of the Nana Sahib.
  
1857  
Battle of Futteypur (Cawnpore ) British victory
Fought July 12, 1857, between a strong force of rebels, and the British troops under Havelock, who was marching to the relief of Lucknow. The rebels were completely defeated, losing 11 guns, while not a single European in the British force was killed.
  
1857  
Battle of Aong (Cawnpore ) British victory
Fought July 15, 1857, between the British relieving force under Havelock and the mutineers who were opposing their advance on Cawnpore. The rebels were defeated and driven from their entrenchments.
  
1857  
Battle of Pandu Naddi (Cawnpore ) British victory
Fought July 15, 1857, between a British relieving force. under Havelock, and the mutineers who were opposing his advance to Cawnpore. By a forced march in the heat of the day, Havelock succeeded in seizing the bridge over the Pandu Naddi, which the mutineers were engaged in mining, thus securing an open road to Cawnpore. The rebels were driven off after a short engagement.
  
1857  
Battle of Maharajpur (Cawnpore ) drawn battle victory
Fought July 16, 1857, between 5,000 rebels, under the Nana Sahib, and the British relieving force, under Havelock. The Nana was entrenched across the Grand Trunk Road, and his position being too strong for a frontal attack, Havelock turned his left flank. After severe fighting the rebels were defeated, though Havelock was left with only 800 Europeans available for further service. On the following day Cawnpore was re-occupied.
  
1857  
Battle of Arrah (Cawnpore ) British victory
A house in Arrah was, in 1857, defended by Mr. Boyle, with 16 Englishmen and 60 Sikh police, against the attacks of three revolted native regiments, led by a Zemindar named Kur Singh. This small garrison held out from July 25 till August 3, when they were relieved by a small field force under Major Vincent Eyre.
  
1857  
Battle of Bithur (Cawnpore ) British victory
Fought August 16, 1857, when 4,000 mutineers, strongly posted, were attacked and routed by the relieving force under General Havelock. When driven from their position, the rebels had to cross a stream in their rear by a small bridge, and had Havelock possessed an adequate cavalry force, but few could have escaped.
  
1857  
Battle of Pandu Naddi (Cawnpore ) British victory
Fought November 26, 1857, between 1,400 British, under General Windham, and the advance guard of the mutineers and the Gwalior contingent, under the Nana Sahib. The rebels were posted beyond the river, and the British crossing the dry bed, drove them from their entrenchments, capturing 3 guns. Windham, then finding himself close to the main body of mutineers, retired towards Cawnpore.
  
1857  
Battle of Cawnpur (Delhi ) British victory
Fought December 6, 1857, between the British under Sir Colin Campbell, and 25,000 rebels, including the Gwalior contingent. The mutineers were routed at all points, and fled, pursued by the cavalry for 14 miles, suffering heavy loss. Out of 36 guns, 32 were captured. The British lost 99 only.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Henry Havelock Led a division to relieve Lucknow during the Sepoy Rebellion. Died during the siege.
Nana Sahib Adopted son of the Marthi Peshwar. Leader of the Indian Mutiny.
Colin Campbell Commanded the Highland Brigade during the Crimean War. Also served in India.


Story Links
Book Links
Cawnpore, Lucknow, Delhi  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Field-Marshal Henry Wylie Norman  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Heroes of Cawnpur  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Monuments of Westminster in  Back Matter  by  books/lord/westminster/_back.html
Mutiny—Cawnpore  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Cawnpore and Lucknow  in  The Story of Lord Roberts  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
How the Sepoys Gave Themselves Up to the Devil in  India  by  Victor Surridge


Lucknow : June 1857 to March 1858

indianmutiny
THE 93RD HIGHLANDERS CLEARING THE SECUNDER BAGH BEFORE LUCKNOW
The Mutineers did not attack Lucknow until the end of June, so the garrison there had time to prepare for a siege. Henry Lawrence, the commander in charge was far sighted and fortified the residency but he was killed in one of the first days of the siege. The defenders held out for several months before the first relieving force, led by Havelock arrived, and even then it was not strong enough to lift the siege, but only to assist the defenders. The original plan of evacuating the garrison was abandoned because there were too many sick and wounded who could not possibly leave the fortified residence. The defenders settled in for what they knew would be a long wait for further relief. It was not until Delhi was completely pacified, near the end of September, that any more forces could possibly be spared for Lucknow, and they would have to fight their way through hostile territory. Finally, at the end of November that a large force lead by Colin Campbell finally relieved Lucknow. Many of the rebels fled to a fortified palace outside of town, which was not taken for several more months.



DateBattle Summary
1857  
Siege of Lucknow (Lucknow ) British victory
On the approach of the rebel Sepoy army, July 1, 1857, the garrison and residents took refuge in the Residency, which had been prepared to stand a siege. On September 19, 1857, a force of 3,179 British troops, under Havelock and Outram, left Cawnpore to relieve the garrison. On the 23rd they encountered and defeated a force of 12,000 rebels at the Alumbagh, capturing 5 guns. On the 25th they forced the Charbagh bridge, and captured the Secunderbagh, and the main body, after prolonged street fighting, reached the Residency, the rearguard with the wounded getting in on the 26th. The loss during the operations amounted to 535, while the garrison up to this time had lost 483 killed and wounded, Outram now took command and the garrison held out until November 19, when it was relieved, after very heavy fighting, by a column under Sir Colin-Campbell, and the whole force withdrawn. On March 1, 1858, the recovery of the city from the rebels commenced by the capture of the Alumbagh, and was completed on the 21st, when the mutineers were finally driven from the place. During the interval the various fortresses and palaces held by the rebels were successively carried by assault, the fighting in many cases being exceedingly severe.
  
1857  
Battle of Onao (Lucknow ) British victory
Fought July 28, 1857, between Havelock's relieving force, 1,500 strong, and the rebels, who occupied a strong position near Onao, so protected on the flanks that a frontal attack was necessary. This was successful, and after the town had been passed, a further attack by the mutineers was repulsed, with a loss of 300 men and 15 guns.
  
1857  
Battle of Secunderbagh (Lucknow ) British victory
Fought November 16, 1857, during the second relief of Lucknow, by Sir Colin Campbell. The Secunderbagh, a walled enclosure of strong masonry, held by a large body of rebels, was, after a bombardment of about an hour and a half, taken by storm by the 93rd Highlanders and the 4th Punjabis, with very heavy loss to the enemy, over 2,000 dead bodies being afterwards carried out of the enclosure.
  
1857  
Battle of Goraria (Lucknow ) British victory
Fought November 23 and 24, 1857, between a British column, about 3,000 strong, under Brigadier Stuart, and a body of 5,000 rebels. The mutineers occupied a strong position, and the British were unable to dislodge them on the 23rd. On the following day the attack was renewed, and the rebels were driven out and dispersed, with a loss of over 1,500.
  
1858  
Battle of Musa Bagh (Danish Invasion ) British victory
Fought March 19, 1858, when a British force, under Sir James Outram, totally routed a body of mutineers, 7,000 strong, under Huzrat Mahul, Begum of Oude, which was holding the Musa Bagh, a fortified palace in the outskirts of Lucknow.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Henry Lawrence Statesman in British India who promoted the welfare of the Indian natives. Died at the siege of Lucknow.
Henry Havelock Led a division to relieve Lucknow during the Sepoy Rebellion. Died during the siege.
James Outram Hero of the sieges of Cawnpore and Lucknow during the Sepoy Rebellion.
Colin Campbell Commanded the Highland Brigade during the Crimean War. Also served in India.


Story Links
Book Links
Cawnpore, Lucknow, Delhi  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Sir Henry and John Lawrence  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Havelock and Outram  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Sir Colin Campbell  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Lord Clyde  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat
Sepoy Army Revolts  in  India: Peeps at History  by  Beatrice Home
Mutiny—Lucknow  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Victoria—The Pipes at Lucknow  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
End of the Company  in  India  by  Victor Surridge
Indian Mutiny  in  Growth of the British Empire  by  M. B. Synge
Lucknow and Delhi  in  The Reign of Queen Victoria  by  M. B. Synge


Jhansi and other Rebel Strongholds : 1857 to 1858

indianmutiny
ROBERTS SAVING THE GUNS
Besides Delhi, Cawnpore and Lucknow, there were several other centers of rebellion, but until these three cities were pacified, there were no troops available resist Jhansi and other rebel strongholds. The rebellion in Jhansi was lead by the widow of the local Raja, who had lost control of the territory when her husband died childless. The rebels of Jhansi fled to Gwailor when the city was retaken by the British in March 1858. Other regions that participated in the rebellion included Agra, Oudh, Kotah and Banda. By the summer of 1858, all of the known centers of rebellion were crushed and by the end of 1958, the last vestiges of the rebellion had been put down.



DateBattle Summary
1857  
Battle of Agra (Jansi ) British victory
On August 2, 1857, the British garrison holding Agra sallied out to attack a body of 10,000 rebels encamped within four miles of the city. The Kotah contingent, which formed a portion of the British force, deserted to the mutineers, and the British troops, hard pressed and short of ammunition, were driven back into Agra, and forced to take refuge in the fort. In October of the same year Colonel Greathed's column of four battalions and two cavalry regiments encountered close to Agra a force of 7,000 mutineers. The rebels at first held their own, but were eventually put to flight, and pursued with great slaughter for ten miles.
  
1857  
Battle of Jhansi (Jansi ) British victory
This place, which fell into the hands of the mutineers in June, 1857, was recaptured by Sir Hugh Rose, who invested it in March, 1858, and carried the city by assault, April 2.
  
1858  
Siege of Kotah (Jansi ) British victory
This place, which had been seized by the rebellious troops of the Rajah of Kotah, 5,000 in number, was besieged by General Roberts, March 22, 1858. The Rajah, who held the citadel, joined forces with the British, and after a short bombardment the town was stormed, March 30.
  
1858  
Battle of the Betwa (Jansi ) British victory
Fought April 1, 1858, between 1,200 British under Sir Hugh Rose, forming part of the force besieging Jhansi, and 20,000 rebels, chiefly belonging to the Gwalior contingent, under Tantia Topi. The enemy was thrown into confusion by a charge of cavalry on the flank, and, being then attacked with the bayonet, broke and fled, leaving 1,000 dead on the field and all their guns.
  
1858  
Battle of Azimghur (Jansi ) British victory
Fought April 15, 1858, between a British column, composed of three regiments of infantry and three of Sikh cavalry, under Sir Edward Layard, and the Dinapur mutineers, about 5,000 strong, under Kur Singh. The rebels were routed and dispersed, Kur Singh falling mortally wounded.
  
1858  
Battle of Banda (Jansi ) British victory
Fought April 19, 1858, between a force of rather over 1,000 British troops under General Whitlock, and 7,000 mutineers under the Nawab of Banda. After an obstinate conflict the rebels were totally routed.
  
1858  
Siege of Kalpi (Jansi ) British victory
This town, which had fallen into the hands of the mutineers, was besieged by Sir Hugh Rose, May 19, 1858. The garrison made two ineffectual sorties, in which they were repulsed with heavy loss, and on the 23rd the town was entered without further resistance, the mutineers having fled.
  
1858  
Battle of Gaulauli (Jansi ) British victory
Fought May 22, 1858, between a British column under Sir Hugh Rose, and 20,000 rebels under Tantia Topi, the Ranee of Jhansi, and other rebel leaders. The overwhelming numbers of the rebels at first gave them the advantage, but a bayonet charge broke them, and they fled in disorder with heavy loss. This victory was followed by the recovery of Calpi.
  
1858  
Battle of Gwalior (Lucknow ) British victory
Fought June 17, 18 and 19, 1858, between a British column under Sir Hugh Rose, and a large body of rebels, led by the Ranee of Jhansi in person. On the 17th the mutineers were driven out of the cantonments with heavy loss, while on the following days the important positions in the town were captured in succession, until by the evening of the 19th, the British were in undisputed possession of Gwalior. The Ranee was known to be amongst the slain, though her body was never found.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Lord Roberts Career officer, saw service in Indian Mutiny, Afghanistan, Abyssinia, India and South Africa.
Rani of Jhansi The Rani of Jhansi led the rebels in their defense of Jhansi and died it battle at Gwalior.
Sir Hugh Rose leader of the British force besieging Jhansi.


Story Links
Book Links
Sir Hugh Rose and Jhansi  in  Heroes of the Indian Mutiny  by  Edward Gilliat


Image Links


Cawnpore
 in Stories from English History, Part Third

James Hills' brave charge
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

Mungul Pandy
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

Blowing up the Kashmir Gate
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

Lieutenant Roberts finding General Nicholson wounded
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

Hodson and his boar spear
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

The massacre of Cawnpur
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

Outram and the Tiger
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

Jhansi
 in Heroes of the Indian Mutiny

""Relief of Lucknow;Jessie's
 in  The Story of the English

The 93rd Highlanders clearing the Secunder Bagh before Lucknow
 in India: Peeps at History

You will soon have no caste left yourself.'
 in Red Book of Heroes

Not one of their movements passed unnoticed by her.
 in Red Book of Heroes

The place was swarming with rats.
 in Red Book of Heroes

The young aide-de-camp did not waste time in arguing.
 in Red Book of Heroes

Often . . .he had felt that a terrible death was very near.
 in Red Book of Heroes

The boats stuck in the mud and were an easy mark.
 in Our Empire Story

British soldiers were seen fighting their way through the streets.
 in Our Empire Story

Dinna ye here them! Dinna ye hear them!'
 in Our Island Story

Roberts saving the guns
 in The Story of Lord Roberts

Roberts winning the Victoria Cross
 in The Story of Lord Roberts

The thatched roofs of the boats blazing furiously
 in India

See', he said, 'here is one of my monkeys.'
 in India

Delhi, 1853
 in The Reign of Queen Victoria

Cawnpore in 1857
 in The Reign of Queen Victoria

Lucknow
 in The Reign of Queen Victoria

Lucknow The Residency
 in The Reign of Queen Victoria

Assault of Delhi Capture of the Cashmere Gate
 in The Reign of Queen Victoria

Delhi: Burgess rushed to the powder bags, fired them, and fell mortally wounded.
 in The Boy's Book of Battles