Red Book of Heroes - Andrew Lang

A Child's Hero

On a dark January day in the year 1858 a little girl was running quickly downstairs for her play-hour with her elders. Just as she reached the foot of the staircase the drawing-room door opened, and her brother came out with a grave face. "Havelock is dead!" said he, and at the news the little girl laid her head against the wall and burst into tears.

Who was this Havelock, that a strange child should care so much about him? Well, he was a man who worked hard and fought hard all the days of his life, never shirking his duty or envious of the good luck of others. Again and again those who had shared the burden and heat of the day with Havelock got rewards to which it might seem that he had an equal claim; still, whatever his disappointment he showed no sign, but greeted his fortunate friends cheerfully, and when it was required of him served under them with all his might. Just at the end the chance came to him also, and gloriously he profited by it.

But if you want to know how that came about you must begin at the beginning.

Henry Havelock was born at Bishop's Wearmouth, close to Sunderland, on April 5, 1795. His grandfather was a shipbuilder in the flourishing seaport town, and his son, Henry's father, became a partner in the business. The Havelocks soon made a name in the trade, and were given a commission to build the Lord Duncan, christened after the famous admiral, the largest ship ever launched from the port.

Money flowed in rapidly, and when Henry was about three years old his father determined to leave the north and to go and settle at Ingress Hall, near Dartford, in Kent, which became the birthplace of his two youngest sons, Thomas and Charles.

There was no school nearer than three miles, which was too far for them to walk, so to the great delight of Henry and his elder brother William ponies were given them, and even if they had disliked their lessons instead of being fond of books, the pleasure of the ride through the lanes would have made up for everything. As it was, they were always hanging about the front door long before it was time to start, and the moment the coachman brought out the ponies from the stable they would spring into their saddles in a great bustle, and clatter away over the grass, pretending that they were very late and would get bad marks if they did not hurry.

All through Havelock's childhood the continent of Europe was under the foot of Napoleon, and was forced to submit to his rule. England only had stood aloof and refused his advances; yet she waited, with the dread that accompanies the expectation whose fulfilment is delayed, for an invasion of her own coasts. No story was too bad to be believed of "Boney," and women are said to have frightened their naughty children into good behaviour by threatening to send for "Boney" to carry them away. No doubt Havelock heard a great deal from his parents and schoolfellows of the desperate wickedness of "Boney," but, in spite of the terrible pictures that were drawn, the boy devoured eagerly all the newspapers wrote of the ogre's campaigns and his battles, and never joined in the outcry against him.

Before Henry had passed his tenth birthday he was sent, with his brother William, to the Charterhouse School in the City of London, where he stayed for seven years. He was always bold and daring, so the other boys respected him, even though he did not care much for games, and, what was still worse in their eyes, was fond of Greek and Latin and always did his work. Still, though it was, they said, very silly for a boy to do more than he could possibly help, it must be admitted that Havelock never minded risking his neck when he was dared to do so, would climb trees or chimneys while others looked on awe-stricken, and would endure any punishment sooner than betray "a fellow" who was caught.

During these years of school Havelock had many battles of Napoleon's to study, and we may be sure that each one in its turn was thoroughly discussed with the friends who afterwards became celebrated in many ways—the historians, Grote and Thirlwall, Eastlake the painter, Yates the actor, and Macnaghten, afterwards murdered at Cabul, while Havelock was with the force on the way to relieve him. As they grew older they used to talk over the future together, and not one of them doubted that he would be in the front rank of whatever profession he might choose. "My mother wants me to be a lawyer, and she is sure that one day I shall be lord chancellor," said Havelock, and no doubt every other mother was equally convinced of her son's genius. But before his school-days were over Mrs. Havelock died, to Henry's great grief, and then came the news that their father had lost a great deal of money, and they must leave Ingress Hall and move to a smaller house at Clifton.

It was in 1813—the year of the battle of Leipzig, Henry Havelock would have told you—that the young man took the first step towards becoming "lord chancellor," and was entered at the Middle Temple. He set to work with his usual energy, and when he was too tired to understand any more of what the law books taught him, he would take down a volume of poetry and read till he was soothed by the music of the words. But at the end of a year a change came into his life. His father, whose temper seems to have been ruined by the loss of his money, quarrelled with him about some trifling matter. Henry's allowance was withdrawn, and as he could not live in the Temple upon nothing he was forced to bid good-bye to the dream of the chancellorship.

At this time in his life he was perplexed and unhappy, though he never gave up the strong religious faith which he had inherited from his mother. It was necessary that he should earn his living in some way, but he could not see what he was to do, and things were so uncomfortable at home that he wished to leave it as soon as possible.

Happily he had not long to wait, for William, who had joined the 43rd Regiment and fought at Busaco and Salamanca and Waterloo, came home on leave, and solved the puzzle.

In the great battle which finally broke the power of Napoleon, William Havelock had been acting as aide-de-camp to baron von Alten, who had succeeded to the command of general Craufurd's division. We are told that William "had done the baron a service" during the engagement, and that the general was anxious to prove his gratitude. The special "service" the young soldier had rendered is not mentioned, but we may take it for granted that William Havelock had in some way saved his life. However, in answer to the general's offer of reward, William said that he had all he could possibly wish for, and so the matter ended for the moment. But when he came home, and found Henry with all his plans changed, and not knowing how to set about making a career for himself, the baron von Alten's words flashed into his mind.

"You were always fond of soldiering," he said to Henry one day, "and I believe you could describe the battles I have fought in almost as well as I could. If the baron can give me a commission for you, will you take it? I am sure you would make a splendid soldier."

Henry's eyes beamed. Somehow he had never thought of that. At the Charterhouse he had been laughed at for his love of books, and called the "Phlos."—short for "Philosopher"—by the boys. He had always, too, been very religious, and after his mother's death (which occurred when he was about fourteen) had gathered four of his special friends round him once or twice a week in the big dormitory where they all slept, in order that they might read the Bible together. Yet there was in Havelock much of the spirit of the old crusader and of his enemy, the follower of Mahomet the prophet, and though, unlike them, he did not deal out death as the punishment of a rejected faith, still he positively delighted in fighting, and indeed looked on it as a sacred duty.

So the commission was obtained, and Henry, now second lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade, then called the 95th, was sent to Shorncliffe, and captain Harry Smith was his senior officer. The Boer war has made us very well acquainted with the name of this gentleman, for in after years it was given to the town of Harrismith in South Africa, while his wife's has become immortal in "Ladysmith."

Young Havelock, who was still under twenty-one, made fast friends with his captain, and listened eagerly to all he could tell of the Punjaub, where Smith had seen much of service. How he longed to take part in such deeds! But his turn was slow in coming, and for eight years he remained inactive in England, while the nation was recovering as best it could from the strain of the Peninsular War. Most of his messmates grumbled and fretted at having "nothing to do," but this was never Havelock's way, for if he could not "do" what he wanted, he did something else. The young man, only five feet six inches in height, with the long face and eyes which looked as if they saw things that were hidden from other people, spent his spare time in studying all that belonged to his profession. For hours he would pore over books on fortification and tactics, and try to find for himself why this or that plan, which seemed so good, turned out when tried a hopeless failure. He had always a pile of memoirs of celebrated soldiers round him, and often bored his brother-officers by persisting in talking of the campaigns of Marlborough or Frederick the Great, instead of discussing the balls or races that filled their minds. Still, though he made the best of the circumstances in which he found himself, he looked forward to the prospect of going to India, where William and Charles already were.

But to get to India it was needful to exchange into another regiment, and Henry was gazetted to the 13th Light Infantry. The process took some time, but as usual he found some work for himself, and prepared for his future life by taking lessons in Persian and Hindostanee.

Now there is no better way of learning a language than to teach it to somebody else, and on the voyage out to Calcutta, which then took four months, some of the officers on board ship begged him to form a class in these two languages. Havelock had passed in London the examination necessary for the degree of a qualified Moonshee, or native tutor, and his Persian was so good that regularly throughout his life, when his superior officers wished to mark their appreciation of his services, they recommended him for an interpretership! Therefore during those tedious four months, when land was seldom seen, and the ship sailed on from St. Helena, whose great captive had not been two years dead, to the Cape of Good Hope and the island of Ceylon, the little band of students met and struggled with the strange letters of the two tongues, and by the time the ship General Kyd arrived at Calcutta in May 1823, Havelock's pupils could all talk a little, and read tolerably.

At first it seemed as if life in India was going to be as quiet as life in England, but in 1824 the king of Ava, a Burmese city, demanded that Eastern Bengal should be given up to him, or war would be instantly declared. The answer sent to the "Lord of the Great White Elephant" was a declaration of war on the part of our viceroy in India. Sir Archibald Campbell was given the command of the invading force, and he appointed Havelock to be his deputy-assistant adjutant-general.

It was the young man's first taste of warfare, and a very bitter one it proved to be. The experiences of Marlborough and Frederick on the battlefields of Europe were of little use in the jungle, where the Burmese knew a thousand hiding-places undreamed of by the English, who had the unhealthy climate to fight against as well. At last Havelock fell ill like the rest, and was sent to his brother, then stationed at Poonah, not far from Bombay, to recover his health.

Havelock went very unwillingly; he was doing his work to the satisfaction of the general, and he knew it; besides, he could not help thinking that before he got better the war might have ended, or someone else might be filling his place. However, there was no help for it, and as soon as he was on board ship he began to feel for the first time how ill he had really been. Once at Poonah he soon recovered, and in June was able to return to the camp in Burmah.

For a long while it had been Havelock's habit to hold a sort of Bible class for any of the men whom he could persuade to come to it; and not only did he give them religious teaching, but he made them understand that he expected them to "live soberly, righteously, and godly," as the Catechism says. They were not to quarrel, or to drink too much, or to do as little work as possible. They were to tell the truth, even if it got them into trouble, and they were to bear the hardships that fall to the lot of every soldier—hunger and thirst, heat and cold—without grumbling. And the men accepted his teaching, and tried to act up to it, because they saw that Havelock asked nothing of them that he did not practise himself.

"Havelock's Saints" was their nickname among the rest of the camp, but sometimes even their enemies were forced to admit that "Havelock's Saints" had their uses. One night sir Archibald Campbell ordered a sudden attack to be made on the Burmese by a certain corps. The messenger or orderly who was sent with the order returned saying that the men were too drunk to be fit for duty.

"Then call out Havelock's Saints," said the commander-in-chief; "they are always sober and to be depended upon, and Havelock himself is always ready."

So the night attack was made by the "Saints," and the position carried.

At the end of the Burmese war Havelock returned to his regiment, then commanded by colonel Sale, who became his lifelong friend. All he had gained in Burmah, except experience, was the rank of a Burmese noble, conferred on him by the "Golden King" on account of his services in making the treaty of peace. This cost the "Lord of the White Elephant" nothing, and did no good to Havelock; and six months after the troops left Burmah he was glad to accept the adjutancy of a regiment in a pleasant part of India, near some friends. Here he became engaged to be married to Miss Marshman, daughter of a missionary, and the wedding-day was soon fixed. Early that morning the bridegroom received a message that he must go up at once to Calcutta in order to attend a court-martial to be held at twelve o'clock. Calcutta was a long way from Chinsurah, and as he was bound to be present at the military trial most men would have put off the marriage till the following day. But Havelock was different from other people. He sent one messenger to order the fastest boat on the river to be in waiting, and another to inform the bride and her father that they must get ready as quickly as possible. The ceremony was performed without delay, and as soon as it was over Havelock ran down to his boat. For several hours he sat in the stifling court, hearing witnesses and asking them questions as coolly as if there had been no marriage and no bride, and when the proceedings were ended, and the sentence passed, he stepped on board the boat again, and arrived at Chinsurah in time for the wedding dinner.

After he had been at Chinsurah for four years the Government thought they could do without an adjutant, and thus save money. This fell hardly on Havelock, who was very poor, and when he went back to his regiment his wife and child had to live in two tiny rooms on the ramparts. Mrs. Havelock never complained, but in a hot climate like India plenty of space and air are necessary for health, and both father and mother were terrified lest the baby should suffer. However, very soon the new governor-general gave him the adjutancy of his own regiment, then at Agra, and things grew brighter. His days were passed in drilling and looking after his men, but he still took thought for their welfare in their spare hours, and managed to get some chapels put up for them, and to open a coffee-house, with games and books, which he hoped might keep them out of mischief.

Now at this date, and for many years after, it was the custom in the English army that the officers should buy their promotion, unless a vacancy occurred by death. Havelock was a poor man, and like many well-known Indian soldiers had to depend for luck on his "steps," or advancement. If, like Havelock, officers exchanged into other regiments, they were put back to the bottom of the list, and had to work their way up all over again.

Besides this there were two armies in India, one belonging to the English sovereign, and the other to the East India Company's Service, under which near a hundred years before Clive had won his battles. It was the officers serving under "John Company," as it was called, who had all the "plums" of the profession; who governed large provinces, made treaties with the native princes, and gave orders even to the general himself. Outram, who afterwards entered Lucknow side by side with Havelock; sir Henry Lawrence, who died defending the city before Outram and Havelock fought their way in; John Nicholson, who was killed in the siege of Delhi, and hundreds of other well-known men, all wore the Company's colours and received rewards. For the officers of the royal army it was no uncommon thing for a man to wait fifty years before being made a general, as lord Roberts's father waited; so, although it was very disheartening for Havelock to see young men, with not half his brains but with ten times his income, become captains and majors and colonels over his head, he knew well what he had to expect, and also that he possessed thousands of companions in misfortune.

By-and-by the Company's army was done away with, and India is now ruled in an entirely different way.

It was in the autumn of 1836 that Havelock sent up his wife and little children for a change to a hill station called Landour. The cool air and quiet were very restful after the heat of the summer, and at last they were all able to sleep, instead of tossing to and fro through the dark hours, longing for the dawn.

One night the moon was shining brightly, and Mrs. Havelock had stepped out on her verandah before she went to bed, and thought how beautiful and peaceful everything looked. A few hours later she was awakened by a dense smoke, and jumping up found that the house was on fire all round her. She snatched up her baby and opened the door to get to the room where the two little boys were sleeping with their ayah, or nurse, but such a rush of flames met her that she staggered back and fell. In an instant her thin nightdress was on fire, and she was so blinded by the glare and the smoke that she did not know which way to turn. Happily one of the native servants heard the noise, and, wrapping a wet blanket about him which was too damp to burn, he managed to crawl over the floor and drag her through the verandah to a place of safety. He then ran back and succeeded in reaching the two boys and putting them beside their mother, but not before the eldest had been badly burnt.

Fire in the Havelock home


As for the baby, she died in a few days, and it was thought that her mother, who had been borne unconscious to the house of a neighbour, could hardly survive her many hours.

Such was the news which reached Havelock at Kurnaul, where the regiment was now stationed. It was a crushing blow to him, but, with a violent effort to control himself, he sent a hasty request to the colonel for leave, and arranged the most important parts of his work, so that it might be carried on by another officer. He had just finished and was ready to start when a message was brought in from the men of his regiment, who were waiting below, begging that he would speak to them for one moment. Half dazed he hurried out to the courtyard, and then the sergeant stepped forward from the ranks, and in a few words told him of the sorrow with which all his company had heard of the terrible calamity, and hoped that he would accept a month of their pay to go towards replacing the burnt furniture.

Havelock was touched to the heart, and his eyes filled with tears of gratitude. His voice shook as he stammered out his thanks, but he could not take their savings, though to the end of his life he never forgot the kindness of their offer. Happily Mrs. Havelock did not die, and in a few months was as well as ever.

In 1838, when Havelock had been twenty-three years a soldier, he obtained his captaincy by the death of the man above him, and in the end of the same year the war with Afghanistan gave him another chance of distinguishing himself.

It was a very unfortunate and badly managed business. The native ruler, the Ameer or Dost Mohammed, who had for twelve years governed the country fairly well, was deposed, and a weak and treacherous prince, hated by all the Afghans, was chosen by us to replace him. This could only be done by the help of our troops, and although Englishmen who knew Cabul pointed out to the governor-general the folly of his course, lord Auckland would listen to no one, and the expedition which was to finish in disaster was prepared.

Havelock's old friend sir Willoughby Cotton was given the command of the part of the army destined for Afghanistan itself, while the other half remained as a reserve in the Punjaub. Cotton appointed Havelock his aide-de-camp, greatly to his delight, and at the end of December 1838 the march began. As far as the Indus things went smoothly enough, but after that difficulties crowded in upon them. They had deserts to cross, and not enough animals to drag their guns and waggons, food grew scarcer and scarcer, and at length the general ordered "famine rations" to be served out. It was winter also, and the country was high and bitterly cold, and April was nearly at its close before the city of Candahar was reached. Here sickness broke out among the troops, and they were obliged to wait in the town till the crops had ripened and they could get proper supplies for their march to Cabul.

The first step towards winning Cabul was the capture of Ghuzni, a strong fortress lying two hundred and seventy miles to the north of Candahar. This was carried by assault during the night, the only gate not walled up being blown open by the English. In the rush into the town which followed, colonel Sale was thrown on the ground while struggling desperately with a huge native, who was standing over him.

"Do me the favour to pass your sword through the body of the infidel," cried Sale, politely, to captain Kershaw, who had just come up. The captain obligingly did as he was asked, and the Afghan fell dead beside his foe.

Battle of Ghuzni


Early in August the British army reached the town of Cabul, on the river of the same name, and found that the Dost Mohammed had fled into the mountains of the Hindu Koosh, leaving the city ready to welcome the British. As everything was quiet, and the army was to remain in Cabul for the winter, Havelock obtained permission to go back to Serampore, near Calcutta, in the hope of bringing out a book he had been writing about the march across the Indus. Unluckily this book, like the two others he wrote, proved a failure; which was the more unfortunate as, in order to get it published, Havelock had been obliged to refuse sir Willoughby Cotton's offer of a Persian interpretership. But he needed money for his boy's education, and thought he might obtain it through his book. Therefore this lack of a sale was a bitter disappointment to him.

Just at that time a company of recruits had been raised for service in Cabul, and in June 1840 Havelock started in charge of them from Serampore. He had the whole width of India to cross, and at Ferozepore, on a tributary of the Indus, he joined general Elphinstone, the successor of Cotton, who was retiring. Why Elphinstone should have been chosen to conduct a war which the mountainous country was certain to render difficult is a mystery, and another mystery is why Elphinstone should have accepted the appointment, as he was so crippled with gout that he could hardly move. However, there he was, commander-in-chief of this part of the expedition, and from this unwise choice resulted many of the calamities which followed.

The general could not travel fast, and it was more than six months before they reached Cabul. Havelock, now Persian interpreter to Elphinstone, was much disturbed at the condition of things that they found on their arrival, and at the folly which had lost us the support of the native hill tribes, who had hitherto acted as our paid police and guarded the passes leading into the Punjaub. So when Sale's brigade, with a native regiment, a small force of cavalry and artillery, and a few engineers under the famous George Broadfoot, marched eastwards up the river Cabul, they discovered that the passes had all been blocked by the mountaineers, who were ready to spring out and attack the English from all sorts of unsuspected hiding-places.

Now Havelock had not drawn his sword since the end of the Burmese war, and directly he saw a chance of fighting he had begged to be allowed to accept the appointment of staff-officer offered him by Sale. This was given him, and the troops had only gone a few miles from Cabul when the fighting began, and Sale was severely wounded.

It is impossible to tell all the details of the march, but much of the burden of it fell on Havelock's shoulders, as Sale could not go about and see after things himself. Here, as always, he proved himself, as Kaye the historian says, "every inch a soldier." "Among our good officers," wrote Broadfoot at the time, "first comes captain Havelock. The whole of them together would not compensate for his loss. He is brave to admiration, invariably cool, and, as far as I can see or judge, correct in his views."

All along the march up the Cabul these qualities were badly needed, for it was necessary to watch night and day lest the little army should be taken unawares by the hill tribes. At last the rocky country was left behind, and they halted in the rich and well-wooded town of Gundamak, to rest for a little and to wait Elphinstone's orders. The letters, when they came, told a fearful tale. The Afghans had risen in Cabul; Burnes, the East India Company's officer in Afghanistan, had been murdered, together with other men, among them Broadfoot's brother, and though there were five thousand British troops stationed only two miles away, as Havelock well knew, they had never been called out to quell the insurrection.

Under these circumstances Elphinstone implored Sale to return without delay to Cabul.

A council of war was held to decide what was to be done. They all saw that if it had been difficult to get through the passes before, it would be almost impossible now, when the success at Cabul had given fresh courage and audacity to the hill-men, and thousands who had hung back waiting to know if the insurrection would be successful or not would have rushed to the help of their country. Besides, with five thousand fresh troops close to the city, the English could hardly be in such desperate straits. So Sale decided to disobey Elphinstone's orders and to push on to Jellalabad further up the river.

Jellalabad was not reached without much fighting, and when they entered the town it was clear that it would not be easy to hold, and that the walls stood in much need of repair. However, Broadfoot was the kind of man who felt that whatever had to be done could be done, and he turned out his corps, consisting of natives of every tribe, to work on the fortifications. Happily he had brought with him from Cabul all the tools that were necessary, and the Afghan fire which poured in upon them was soon checked by Colonel Monteath, who scattered the enemy for the time being.

This left the garrison a chance of getting in supplies; but they were short of powder and shot, and orders were issued that it should not be used unnecessarily.

On the morning of January 8, 1842, three Afghans rode into the town, bearing a letter from Cabul, signed both by sir Henry Pottinger and general Elphinstone. This told them that a treaty had been concluded by which the English had agreed to retire from Afghanistan, and bidding Sale to quit Jellalabad at once and proceed to India, leaving behind him his artillery and any stores or baggage that he might not be able to carry with him.

With one voice the council of war, which was hastily summoned, declined once more to obey these instructions, which they declared had been wrung out of Elphinstone by force. Jellalabad should be held at any cost, and the news that they received during the following week only strengthened their resolution. The British in Cabul were hemmed in by their enemies, the cantonments or barracks were deserted, and the sixteen thousand fugitives had been surrounded outside the city by Afghan troops led by the son of the Dost Mohammed. These things gave the defenders of Jellalabad enough to think of, and to fear.

Five days later some officers on the roof of a tall house were sweeping the horizon with their field glasses to see if there was any chance of an attack from the Afghans, who were always hovering about watching for some carelessness on the part of the besieged. But gaze as they might, nothing was moving in the broad valley, or along the banks of the three streams which watered it. They were turning away satisfied that at present there was no danger, when one of them uttered a sudden cry, and snatching the glasses from his companion, exclaimed, "Yes, I am right. A man riding a pony has just come round that corner. It is the Cabul road, and his clothes are English. Look!"

The others looked, and saw for themselves. The pony's head drooped, and he was coming wearily down the road, while it was clear that the rider was urging the poor beast to his best speed. A chill feeling of disaster filled the little group; they hastened down to the walls and gave a shout of welcome, and the man waved his cap in answer.

"Throw open the gate," said the major, and they all rushed out to hear what the stranger had to tell.

It was a fearful tale. The general in Cabul had listened to the promises of the son of the Dost Mohammed, and had ordered the five thousand troops and ten thousand other hangers-on of the British army to leave their position, in which they were safe, and trust themselves solely to the Afghans. Cold, hungry, and tired they struggled to the foot of the mountains; then the signal was given, the Afghans fell on their victims, and the few who escaped were lost among the snows of the passes. Only Dr. Brydon had been lucky enough to strike a path where no one followed him, and in spite of wounds and exhaustion had managed to reach the walls of Jellalabad.

In silence the men listened, horror in their faces. It seemed impossible that Englishmen should have walked blindfold into such a trap, and besides the grief and rage they felt at the fate of their countrymen another thought was in the minds of all. The Afghans would be intoxicated by their success, and at any moment might swoop down upon the ill-defended Jellalabad. Instantly the gates were closed, the horses saddled, and every man went to his post. At night bonfires were lit and bugles sounded every half-hour to guide to the city any fugitives that might be hiding in the woods or behind the rocks. But none came—none ever came save Brydon.

Meanwhile Sale was daily expecting a relief force under Wild; but instead there arrived the news that Wild had been unable to fight his way through the terrible Khyber Pass—the scene of more than one tragedy in Indian history.

In face of this a council of war was again held to consider what was best to be done. Most of the officers wished to abandon the city and make terms with the Afghans, in spite of the lesson that had already been given them of what was the fate of those who trusted to Afghan faith. Only Broadfoot and Havelock opposed violently this resolution, and in the end their views prevailed. Jellalabad was to be defended by the garrison till general Pollock arrived from the East.

So matters went for the next three months. By this time the raw troops that had entered the city had become steady and experienced soldiers. There was a little fighting every now and then, which served to keep up their spirits, and though food needed to be served out carefully, they were able sometimes to drive in cattle from the hills, which gave them fresh supplies. On February 19 Sale received a letter from general Pollock asking how long they could hold out, and he was writing an answer at a table, with Havelock beside him, when suddenly the table began to rock and the books slid on to the ground. Then a whirlwind of dust rushed past the window, making everything black as night, and the floor seemed to rise up under their feet.

Earthquake in india


The two men jumped up, and, blinded and giddy as they were, made their way outside, where they were nearly deafened with the noise of tumbling houses and the cries of hurt and frightened people. It was no use to fly, for havoc was all round them, and they were no safer in one place than another. At last the earth ceased to tremble and houses to fall; the dust stopped dancing and whirling, and the sun once more appeared.

During the first shock of the earthquake Broadfoot was standing with another officer on the ramparts, his eyes fixed on the defences, which had caused him so much labour, and were now falling like nine-pins.

"This is the time for Akbar Khan," he said, and if Akbar had not dreaded the earthquake more than British guns the massacre of Cabul would have been repeated in Jellalabad. But though Akbar feared greatly, he knew that his soldiers feared yet more; he waited several days till the earth seemed peaceful again, and then rode up to a high hill from which he could overlook the city.

"Why, it is witchcraft!" he cried, as he saw the defences all in their places; for Broadfoot's men had worked so well that in a week everything had been rebuilt exactly as before.

March passed with some skirmishes, but when April came the senior officers told Sale that they strongly advised an attack on Akbar, who, with six thousand men, had taken up a position on the Cabul river two miles from Jellalabad, and had placed an outpost of three hundred picked men only three-quarters of a mile outside the walls. Broadfoot had been badly wounded in a skirmish a fortnight before, and could not fight, so the attacking party, consisting of three divisions of five hundred each, were led by Dennie, Monteath and Havelock. Dennie was mortally wounded in trying to carry the outpost, and Havelock halted and formed some of his men into a square to await Akbar's charge, leaving part of his division behind a walled enclosure to the right.

Having made his arrangements, Havelock stood outside the square and near to the wall, so that he could command both parties, and told his troops to wait till the Afghans were close upon them before they fired; but in their excitement they disobeyed orders, and Havelock's horse, caught between two fires, plunged and threw him. In another moment he would have been trampled under the feet of the Afghan cavalry had not three of his soldiers dashed out from the ranks and dragged him into the square.

Battle at Jellalabad


The enemy were thrown into confusion and retired to re-form. They charged again, and were again repulsed, and by seven that morning Akbar's camp was abandoned and his power broken.

Pollock's assistance had not been needed; the garrison of Jellalabad had delivered themselves.

There is no room in this story to tell of the many wars in which Havelock took part during the next fifteen years, always doing good work and gaining the confidence of his commanding officers. He fought in the war with the Mahrattas in 1843, and was made lieutenant-colonel after the battle of Maharajpore. The following year he was fighting by sir Hugh Gough's side in the Punjaub against the Sikhs, who were the best native soldiers in India, and had been carefully trained by French officers. In this war four battles took place in fifty-five days, all close to the river Sutlej, but the last action at the village of Sobraon put an end to hostilities for two years to come.

"India has been saved by a miracle," writes Havelock, "but the loss was terrific on both sides."

In 1849 Havelock, who had exchanged from the 13th into the 39th, and again into the 53rd, applied for leave of absence to join his family in England. It was his first visit home for twenty-six years, and everything was full of interest to him. His health had broken down, and if he had been rich enough he would certainly have retired; but he had never been able to save a six-pence, and there were five sons and two daughters to be educated and supported. Should he die, Mrs. Havelock would have a pension of 70 l. a year, and the three youngest children 20 l. each till they were fourteen, when it would cease. This, in addition to 1,000 l. which he possessed, was all the family had to depend on.

Therefore, leaving them at Bonn, on the Rhine, where teaching was good and living cheap, he returned to India in December 1851, rested both in mind and body, and in good spirits. To his great joy a few months later his eldest son was given the adjutancy of the 10th Foot, and he himself was promoted to various posts where the pay was good and the work light. Now that he had some leisure he went back to his books, and in a letter to his youngest son, George, on his fifth birthday, he bids him read all the accounts he can find of the battles that had just been fought in the Crimea—Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman—and when his father came home to England again he would make him drawings, and show him how they were fought. But little George had to understand the battles as best he might, for his father never came back to explain them to him.

After serving in Persia during the early part of 1857, Havelock was suddenly ordered to return to India to take part in the struggle which gave him undying fame, and a grave at Lucknow before the year was out. According to the testimony of Kaye the historian, for half a century he had been seriously studying his profession, and knew every station between Burmah and Afghanistan! "Military glory," says Kaye, "was the passion of his life, but at sixty-two he had never held an independent command."

Now, in the mutiny which had shaken our rule to its foundation, all Havelock's study of warfare and all his experience were to bear fruit. A great many causes had led up to that terrible outbreak of the native soldiers, or sepoys, early in 1857. India is, as you perhaps know, a huge country made up of different nations, some of whom are Mahometans, or followers of the prophet Mahomet, and worshippers of one God, while most of the rest have a number of gods and goddesses. These nations are divided into various castes or classes, each with its own rules, and the man of one caste will not eat food cooked by the man of another, or touch him, or marry his daughter, lest he should become unclean.

It is easy to see how an army composed of all these races would be very hard to manage, especially as it is impossible for any white man, who is used to changes going on about him, really to understand the minds of people who have followed the same customs from father to son for thousands of years. And if it is difficult for the English officers to understand the Hindoos, it is too much to expect that soldiers without education should do so either.

The true cause of the mutiny which wrought such havoc in so short a time in the north of India was that the number of our British soldiers had been greatly reduced, and some had been sent to the Crimea, some to Persia, and some to Burmah. Besides this, the government had been very weak for many years in its dealings with the native troops. Whenever the sepoys chose to grumble, which was very often indeed, their grievances were listened to, and they were generally given what they wanted—and next time, of course, they wanted more. To crown all, our arsenals containing military stores were mostly left unprotected, as well as our treasuries, and from the Indus to the Ganges the native army was waiting for a pretext to shake off the British rule.

This they found in an order given by the commander-in-chief that a new sort of rifle, called the Enfield rifle, should be used throughout India, and it was necessary that the cartridges with which it was loaded should be greased. As early as the month of January an English workman employed in the factory of Dumdum, near Calcutta, where the cartridges were made, happened one day to ask a sepoy soldier belonging to the 2nd Grenadiers to give him some water from his brass pot. This the sepoy refused, saying that he did not know what caste the man was of, and his pot might be defiled if he drank from it. "That is all very fine," answered the workman, "but you will soon have no caste left yourself, as you will be made to bite off the ends of cartridges smeared with the fat of pigs and cows"—animals which the Hindoos held to be unclean.

Indian Mutiny


This story speedily reached the ears of the officer in charge at Dumdum, and on inquiry he found that the report had been spread through the native army that their caste was to be destroyed by causing them to touch what would defile them.

General Hearsey, the commander of the Bengal division, instantly took what steps he could to prove to the sepoys that the government had no intention of making them break their caste, but it was too late. Chupatties, little cakes which are the common food of the people, were sent from town to town as a signal of revolt, and on February 19, 1857, the first troops mutinied.

This was only the beginning; the message of the chupatties spread further and further, but even now the government failed to understand the temper of the people. The regiment which had been the earliest to rebel were merely disarmed and disbanded, and even this sentence was not carried out for five weeks, while they were allowed to claim their pay as usual. It is needless to say that in a few weeks the whole of Northern India was in a flame; the king of Delhi was proclaimed emperor, and every European who came in the way of the sepoys was cruelly murdered.

Such was the state of things found by Havelock when he landed in Bombay from Persia, and was immediately sent on by the governor by sea to Calcutta, to resume his appointment of adjutant-general to the royal troops in Bengal. On the way his ship was wrecked, and he had to put in to Madras, where he heard that the commander-in-chief was dead, and that sir Patrick Grant, an old friend of Havelock's, had been nominated temporarily to the post.

As soon as possible Havelock hurried on to Calcutta in company with Grant, and there the news reached them that Lucknow was besieged by the celebrated Nana Sahib, the leader of the sepoys and a skilful general, and that a force was being got ready to go to its relief.

"Your excellency, I have brought you the man," said Grant to lord Canning as he presented Havelock, and the command of the 64th and the 78th Highlanders was entrusted to him. These last he knew well, as they had been with him in Persia, and he thought them "second to none" in the service.

But before you can understand all the difficulties Havelock had to fight with I must tell you a little about the towns on his line of march.

The instructions given to Havelock were to go first to the important city of Allahabad, situated at the place where the Ganges joins the Jumna. Allahabad had revolted in May, and the English garrison now consisted mainly of a few artillerymen between fifty and seventy years of age. Benares, the "Holy City" of the Hindoos, a little further down the Ganges, had been saved by the prompt measures of the resident and the arrival of colonel Neill with a detachment of the 1st Fusiliers. The soldiers had come up from Madras and were instantly ordered to Benares, but when they reached the Calcutta station they found that the train which was to take them part of the way was just starting.

The railway officials declared that there was no time for the troops to get in, and they would have to wait for the next train—many hours after. For all answer Neill turned to his troops, and told them to hold the engine driver and stoker till the company was seated. But for this the soldiers could not have got to Benares in time, for that very night had been fixed for the revolt.

Having put down the rising at Benares, Neill pushed on over the eighty miles that separated him from Allahabad, the largest arsenal in India except Delhi. For five days the sepoys had been killing and plundering the British. On hearing of Neill's approach, two thousand of them encamped near the fort in order to hold it, but an attack of the Fusiliers soon dispersed them, and the commander ordered a large number to be executed in order to strike terror into the rest.

Bad as was the state of things at Allahabad, where the railway had been destroyed and the garrison was weak, it was still worse in Cawnpore, a hundred and twenty miles higher up the Ganges. Here sir Hugh Wheeler was in command, and having spent his whole life among the sepoys it was long before he would believe in the tales of their treason. Even when at length his faith was partly shaken by the deeds done under his eyes, he still did not take all the precautions that were needful. His little fort, which was to be the last refuge of the sick and wounded, women and children, in case of attack, was a couple of barracks one brick thick, which had hitherto been used as a hospital, and in this he gave orders that provisions for a twenty-five days' siege should be stored. This was the place for which he intended to abandon the powder magazine, where he could have held the enemy at bay for months.

With inconceivable carelessness nobody saw that the orders for provisioning the fort were properly carried out, or the works of defence capable of resisting an attack. By May 22, however, even sir Hugh Wheeler was convinced that there was danger abroad, and he directed that the women and children, whose numbers were now swelled by fugitives from Lucknow and the surrounding towns, should be placed in it. Altogether the refugees amounted to about five hundred, and the force of men to defend them was about equal.

The expected siege did not begin till June 6, when the plain which surrounds Cawnpore was black with sepoys, led by the treacherous Nana. For three weeks the prisoners inside the fort underwent the most frightful sufferings of every kind, and had it not been for the women the garrison would have tried to cut their way through to the river. As it was they felt they must stay—till the end.

So the soldiers fought on, and the women helped as best they might, giving their stockings as bags for grape-shot, and tearing up their clothes to bind up wounds, till they had scarcely a rag to cover them. One, the gallant wife of a private of the 32nd, Bridget Widdowson, stood, sword in hand, over a number of prisoners tied together by a rope. Not one of their movements passed unnoticed by her; her gun was instantly levelled at the hand which was trying to untie the rope, and not a man of them escaped while in her charge. By-and-by she was relieved by a soldier, and in his care many of them got away.

Wife standing guard at Cawnpore


At length hope sprung up in their hearts, for Nana offered a safe-conduct for the garrison down the Ganges to Allahabad, if only sir Hugh Wheeler would surrender the city. It was a hard blow to the old general, and but for the women and children he and his men would gladly have died at their posts. But for their sakes he accepted the terms, first making Nana swear to keep them by the waters of the Ganges, the most sacred of all oaths to a Hindoo.

The following morning a train of elephants, litters and carts was waiting to carry the sick, the women, and children down to the river, a mile away, for after their terrible imprisonment they were all too weak to walk; and behind them marched the soldiers, each with his rifle. Crowds lined the banks and watched them as they got into the boats, and pushed off with thankful hearts into the middle of the stream, leaving behind them, as they thought, the place where they had undergone such awful suffering. Suddenly those looking towards the shore saw a blinding flash and heard a loud report. Nana had broken his oath and ordered them to be fired on.

One boat alone out of the whole thirty-nine managed to float down the stream, and the men in it landed and took refuge in a little temple, the maddened sepoys at their heels. But the fourteen Englishmen were desperate, and drove back their enemies again and again, till the sepoys heaped wood outside the walls and set it on fire. It was blowing hard, and the wind instead of fanning the flames put them out, and the defenders breathed once more. But their hopes were dashed again as they saw the besiegers set fire to the logs a second time, and, retiring to a safe distance, lay a trail of powder to blow up the temple. Then the men knew they had but one chance, and fixing their bayonets they charged into the crowd towards the river.

When they reached the banks, seven had got through, and flung themselves into the stream. Half-starved and weak as they were, they could scarcely make head against the swift current, and three sank and disappeared. The other four were stronger swimmers, and contrived to hold out till they arrived at the territory of an Oude rajah who was friendly to the English.

It was while they were resting here that they heard of the awful fate of their countrymen. After a time Nana had desired that the women and children should be spared, and the remnant were brought back to Cawnpore. They were lodged, all of them, in two rooms, and here these stayed, hardly able to breathe, and almost thankful when the expected doom fell on them. After their sufferings death was welcome, even though it came by the hand of Nana Sahib.

All this time Havelock (now brigadier-general), ignorant of the horrors that were taking place, was advancing towards Cawnpore, which he knew must be in the hands of the English before it was possible to relieve Lucknow, lying further away across the plain to the north-west of Allahabad. Neill had sent forward a detachment of four hundred British soldiers and three hundred Sikhs under major Renaud, and Havelock, who had arrived in the town just as they were starting, promised to follow in a day or two, as soon as he could get ready a larger force. Eager soldier though he was, he had long ago laid to heart the truth of the old saying, "for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the man was lost; for want of a man the kingdom was lost," and he always took care that his nails were in their places. Therefore he waited a few days longer than he expected to do, and spent the time in enlisting a body of volunteer cavalry, formed partly of officers of the native regiments who had mutinied, of ruined shopkeepers, of fugitive planters, and of anybody else that could be taught to hold a gun.

The general was still asleep in the hot darkness of July 1 when a tired horseman rode into camp and demanded to see him without delay. He was shown at once into the general's tent, and in a few short words explained that he had been sent by Renaud with the tidings of the massacre of Cawnpore.

[Illustration] from The Red Book of Heroes by Andrew Lang


Six days later "Havelock's Ironsides," numbering under two thousand men, of whom a fourth were natives, began the march to Cawnpore, and five days after the start they had won about half-way to the city the battle of Futtehpore. It was the first time since the mutiny broke out that the sepoys had been beaten in the field, and it shook their confidence, while it gave fresh courage to sir Henry Lawrence and the heroic band in the residency of Lucknow. But the relief which they hoped for was still many months distant, and Havelock was fighting his way inch by inch, across rivers, over bridges, along guarded roads, with soldiers often half-fed, and wearing the thick clothes that they had carried through the snows of a Persian winter. But they never flinched and never grumbled—they could even laugh in the midst of it all! During a fierce struggle for a bridge over the Pandoo river, one of the 78th Highlanders was killed by a round shot close to where Havelock was standing.

"He has a happy death, Grenadiers," remarked the general, "for he died in the service of his country"; but a voice answered from behind:

"For mysel, sir, gin ye've nae objection, I wud suner bide alive in the service of ma cuntra.' And let us hope he did.

The guns across the bridge were captured with a dash, and the sepoys retreated on Cawnpore. In spite of their victory our men were too tired to eat, and flung themselves on the ground where they were. Next morning, July 16, they set out on a march of sixteen miles, after breakfasting on porter and biscuits, having had no other food for about forty hours.

At the end of the sixteen miles march, which they had performed under a burning sun, the bugles sounded a halt. For three hours the troops rested and fed, and then two sepoys who had remained loyal to their salt came in with the news that in front of us Nana Sahib, with five thousand men and eight guns, was drawn up across the Grand Trunk road, down which he expected our guns to pass; and doubtless they would have been sent that way had it not been for the timely warning. Now Havelock, with a strong detachment, crept round through some mango groves between the enemy's left flank and the Ganges, and attacked from behind; the sepoys wheeled round in a hurry and confusion, and the Nana dared not order his right and centre to fire lest they should injure his own men, and before he could re-form them the pipers of the 78th had struck up and the Highlanders were upon them, the sound of the slogan striking terror into the heart of the Hindoos. Once more the Scots charged, led this time by Havelock himself, and the position was carried.

Yet the Nana was hard to beat, and on the road to Cawnpore he halted again, and fresh troops streamed out from the gates to his help. It was his last chance; but he knew that the little British army was wearied out, and he counted on his reinforcements from the city. But Havelock noted the first sign of flagging as his men were marching across the ploughed fields heavy with wet, and knew that they needed the spur of excitement. "Come, who is to take that village, the Highlanders or the Sixty-fourth?" cried he, and before the words were out of his mouth there was a rush forwards, and the village was taken.

Still, even now the battle of Cawnpore was not ended. Once more the sepoys re-formed, but always nearer the city, and their deadly fire was directed full upon us. The general would have waited till our guns came up to answer theirs, but saw that the men were getting restless. So turning his pony till he faced his troops, while the enemy's guns were thundering behind him, he said lightly:

"The longer you look at it the less you will like it. The brigade will advance, the left battalion leading."

The enemy's rout was complete, even before our guns had reached the field of battle. Next morning the news was brought in that while the battle for the deliverance was being fought the women and children inside the walls had been shot by order of the Nana. And, as a final blow, when, the day after, the victor rode through the gate of Cawnpore, a messenger came to tell him that his old friend sir Henry Lawrence, the defender of Lucknow, had been struck by a shell a fortnight previously, and had died two days later in great agony.

"Put on my tombstone," he gasped in an interval of pain, "here lies Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty, and may God have mercy on him."

For a while it seemed to Havelock that his whole mission had been a failure; and indeed he is said never to have recovered the two shocks that followed so close on each other, though there was no time to think about his feelings or indulge regret. Like Lawrence, he must "try to do his duty," and the first thing was to put the town in a state of defence lest the Nana should return, and sternly to check with the penalty of death the plundering and drunkenness and other crimes of his victorious army. Then, leaving Neill with three hundred men in Cawnpore, he prepared to cross the Ganges, now terribly swollen by the late rains, into the kingdom of Oude, of which Lucknow is the capital.

Not for a moment did Havelock make light of the difficulties that lay before him. They would have been great enough with a large force, and his was now reduced to twelve hundred British soldiers, three hundred Sikhs, and ten guns, while cholera had begun to make its appearance. However, the passage had to be made somehow, and there must be no delay in making it.

First, boats were collected, and as the boatmen secretly sided with the sepoys, the hundreds of little craft generally to be seen on the river had vanished. At length about twenty were found concealed, and as the Ganges was dangerous to cross in its present state, the old boatmen were bribed, by promises of safe-conduct and regular pay, to pilot the troops to the Oude bank. Even under their skilled guidance the river was so broad that a boat could not perform the passage under eight hours, and a week passed before the whole force was over and encamped on a strong position in Oude.

Well, they were at last on the same side as Lucknow—that was something; but they still had forty-five miles to march, wide rivers to cross, and Nana to fight, and Havelock knew that the sepoy general had an instinct for war as keen as his own. But Lucknow must be relieved, and the sooner the work was begun the better.

Two days after the landing of the British a battle was fought at Onao against the steady, well-disciplined soldiers of Oude, whose gunners were said to be the best in India. The fighting was fiercer than any Havelock had yet experienced, but in the end the enemy was beaten back and fifteen guns taken. The next day there was another battle and another victory, but the general had lost a sixth of his men and a third of his ammunition—and he had only gone one-third of the way. Nana Sahib was hovering about with a large body of troops, ready to fall on him; how under the circumstances was it possible for him to reach Lucknow?

Therefore, with soreness of heart, he gave the order to fall back till the reinforcements which he had been promised came up, and to send the sick and wounded, of which there were now many, across to Cawnpore.

Deep was the gloom and disappointment of the "Ironsides" as they marched back along the road they had come; but far deeper and more awful was the disappointment of the garrison at Lucknow. They had looked on relief as so near and so certain that their hardships seemed already things of the past. Now it appeared as if they were abandoned, and the horrors of the siege felt tenfold harder to bear. In the heat of an Indian summer the women and children were forced to leave the upper part of the residency, where at least there was light and air, and seek safety in tiny rooms almost under ground, where shot and shell were less likely to penetrate. These cellars were swarming with large rats, and, what was worse, there was a constant plague of flies and other insects. Luckily, sir Henry Lawrence had collected large stores before he died, and had hidden away a quantity of corn so securely that colonel Inglis, the present commander, had no idea of its existence, and not knowing how long the siege might last, was very careful in dealing out rations. There was no milk or sugar for the babies, and many of them died.

Women at Lucknow


Meanwhile Neill sent over urgent requests that Havelock would come to his assistance in Cawnpore, as he was threatened on all sides and could not hold out in case of an attack. Most reluctantly the general gave the order to recross the Ganges, but before doing so gave battle to a body of troops entrenched in his rear, and caused them to retreat. This raised the spirits of his soldiers a little, and they entered Cawnpore in a better temper than they had been in since their marching orders had been given.

It was while he was in Cawnpore that Havelock received notice that major-general Outram was starting from Calcutta to his assistance, and owing to his superior rank in the army would naturally take command over Havelock's head, as successor to major-general sir Hugh Wheeler. This Havelock quite understood, and though disappointed, felt no bitterness on the subject, welcoming Outram as an old friend, under whom he was ready to serve cheerfully.

Outram's answer to the generous spirit of Havelock's reception was a proclamation which showed that he understood and appreciated the services which seemed so ill-rewarded by the government, and that he too would not be behindhand in generosity. Till Lucknow was taken Havelock should be still in command, and it was Outram himself who would take the lower position.

When Havelock had entered Cawnpore for the second time, he gave orders to break down the bridges of boats which had been thrown across the Ganges, so as to check any pursuit from the enemy. Therefore a floating bridge must be built over which the troops might pass; and so hard did the men work, that in three days the little army, consisting, with Outram's reinforcements, of 3,179 soldiers, was once more in Oude.

Here the sepoys were awaiting them, but they were soon put to flight and some guns captured. In the confusion of the retreat the defeated army quite forgot to destroy the bridge over the Sye, a deep river flowing across the plain between the Ganges and the Goomtee, so that when the British force arrived next day they found nothing to prevent their crossing at once, as even the fortifications on this further bank had been abandoned. Soon a faint noise, as of thunder, broke on their ears. The men looked at each other and said nothing, but their eyes grew bright and their feet trod more lightly.

It was the sound of the guns of Lucknow, sixteen miles away.

On September 23 the British army reached the Alumbagh, the beautiful park and garden belonging to the king of Oude. Opposite 12,000 sepoys were drawn up, the right flank being protected by a swamp. In front of them was a ditch filled with water from the recent heavy rains, and the road itself was deep in mud, so that the passage of heavy guns was a difficult matter. But the soldiers came along with a gallop and got through the ditch somehow, following our cavalry, which were already on the other side. On they flew, cavalry and gunners, wheeling so as to get behind the right of the sepoys, while Eyre's artillery, stationed in the road, raked with fire the centre and the left. The enemy wavered and showed signs of giving way, but one gun manned by Oude artillerymen remained steady. Then young Johnson, who led the Irregular Horse, dashed along the road for half a mile, followed by a dozen of his men, killed the gunners and threw the gun into the ditch. When he returned to his post the enemy was flying to the Charbagh bridge across the canal, with our army behind them.

It was no use attempting to take the bridge that day; the troops were exhausted and wet through, and the position strongly fortified. The order was given to encamp, but there were no tents and no baggage, and after drinking some grog which was fortunately obtained, the men lay down on the wet ground wrapped in their great-coats, the rain pouring heavily on them. But wet, weary and hungry as they were, a great shout of joy rent the air when Outram announced that he had just received news that Delhi had been recaptured by the English.

The next day the sun was shining, and as the baggage waggons came up the men changed the soaking clothes, and slept and rested while the generals anxiously discussed the best plan for getting into Lucknow. There were three ways to choose from, all full of danger and difficulty, but in the end it was decided to force the passage of the Charbagh bridge over the canal.

This the enemy had evidently expected, for they had erected across it a barrier seven feet in height, with six guns, one a 24-pounder. Beyond the bridge, along the canal, were tall houses, and from every window and loophole a deadly fire would pour. And even supposing that the bridge was carried, the troops would have to pass through narrow streets and gardens and palaces, under showers of bullets at every step.

Yet this seemed the only way to Lucknow.

As for the sick and wounded, they were left with the stores and a guard of three hundred men at the Alumbagh.

Breakfast was over by half-past eight on the morning of September 25, when the order was given to advance. The first opposition met with by the leading column, headed by Outram, was near the Yellow House, which lay along the road to the bridge. Here Maude, one of the best officers in the army, who was to win his V.C. that day, charged the two guns whose fire was so deadly, and silenced them, and the troops went on till they were close to the canal. Then Outram took the 5th Fusiliers and bore away to the right in order to clear the gardens of the sepoys hidden in them, and to draw off the attention of the enemy; lieutenant Arnold, with a company of the Madras Fusiliers, took his station on the left of the bridge with orders to fire at the houses across the canal, and right out in the open facing the bridge was Maude, with two light guns straight in front of the battery. In a bend of the road on one side some of the Madras Fusiliers supported him, and on the other side, a little way off, stood Neill and his detachment, waiting for the diversion to be made by Outram's movement.

To Neill's surprise, not a trace of Outram was to be seen, and Maude stood shelterless, his gunners falling before the continuous fire from the bridge. Again and again the Fusiliers from behind filled their places, only to be swept down like the rest, and now Maude and a subaltern were doing the work.

"You must do something," called out Maude to young Havelock; "I cannot fight the guns much longer." Havelock nodded and rode through the fire that was raking the road to Neill, urging him to order a charge. But Neill refused. He was not in command, he replied, and could not take such a responsibility. The young aide-de-camp did not waste time in arguing, but hurried on to Fraser-Tytler, only to receive the same answer. Then, turning his horse's head, he galloped hard down the road, in the direction of the spot where his father was stationed. In a few minutes he was back and, reining up his horse at Neill's side, while he saluted with his sword, he said breathlessly:

"You are to charge the bridge, sir."

It did not occur to Neill that there had not been time for young Havelock to have reached his father's position and come back so soon, and therefore that no such order could have been given by the general, and was simply the invention of the aide-de-camp himself. Quite unsuspiciously, therefore, he bade the buglers sound the advance, and Arnold, with twenty-five of his men, rushed on to the bridge and were instantly shot down. For fully two minutes Harry Havelock on his horse kept his position in front of the guns with only a private beside him, and the dead lying in heaps on all sides.

"Come on! Come on!" he cried, turning in his saddle and waving his sword, while the fire from the houses was directed upon him, and a ball went through his hat.

And they "came on" with a rush, wave upon wave, till the guns were silenced and the barrier carried.

The aide-de-camp had indeed "done something."

Young Havelock


The 78th Highlanders held the bridge for three hours till the whole force was over, and desperate fighting was going on all the time, for the enemy was coming up in dense numbers. At length a detachment advanced to a little temple further up the road, which was held by the sepoys, and succeeded in turning them out. But once inside, the Highlanders could only defend it with their swords, for the cartridges were so swelled by exposure to the rain that they would not go into the guns. After an hour, young Havelock, whose duty lay at the bridge, sent up some fresh cartridges, and then Webster, who from the shelter of the temple had been impatiently watching the action of three small cannon which had been firing down the Cawnpore road, exclaimed:

"Who's for those guns?"

"I'm for the guns!" they all shouted, and the temple door was opened and Webster leaped out, Macpherson, the adjutant, and the men following. The guns when captured were thrown into the canal, where those of the Charbagh bridge were already lying.

Perhaps the most trying part of the whole campaign was the advance towards the residency through the narrow streets, where the very women flung down stones, and from the roofs and windows a ceaseless fire poured upon our men. Deep trenches had been cut along the cross-roads in order to make the horses stumble, and the smoke was so thick that men and beasts were nearly blinded. It was here that Neill fell, shot in the head, and Webster found a grave instead of the Victoria Cross, which would certainly have been given him. Then there was a rush forward, and they were within the gates.

For the first few minutes the men did not know what they were saying or doing, so great was the excitement on both sides; but soon it was plain that the rescuing party were utterly exhausted, and needed rest, and what food might be forthcoming, which was neither good nor plentiful. Most of all they must have rejoiced in the possibility of changing their clothes, stiff with mud and wet, for Havelock tells us that he himself entered the city with one suit which had hardly been off his back for six weeks.

Next day Outram resumed his proper position as commander, and Havelock took a subordinate place as brigadier-general. But to him fell the task of making up his despatches and recommending certain of his men for the Victoria Cross. In this Havelock was especially begged by Outram to mention his son Harry for his gallantry on the Charbagh bridge; corporal Jakes, who was also worthy of the honour, had unhappily been killed later in the day. Unluckily, young Havelock had, against his own will, been previously recommended for the decoration by his father for an act of extraordinary bravery, but one which he had no sort of right to perform.

In the battle of Cawnpore young Havelock, then a lieutenant in the 10th Foot, and aide-de-camp to his father, was sent to order the 64th, who had been under a heavy fire all day, and were now lying on the ground, to advance with some other regiments, and take a gun of twenty-four pounds, which was sweeping the road in front. The 64th at once formed up, but before they had started their major's horse was shot under him, and he was forced to dismount. Harry Havelock, carried away by excitement, never gave him time to get another, but calling on the men to follow him, rode straight to the mouth of the gun and stayed there till it was captured.

Now of course this was a deed of wonderful courage, and no man denied it, but it is curious that so stern a supporter of discipline as Havelock did not see that his son had put himself in a position where he had no right to be, and in so doing had thrown a slur on the bravery of the major, who except for the accident of his horse being shot would have led the men himself. But Havelock, full of pride in his son's action, insisted, to the great mortification of the 64th, on recommending him for the Victoria Cross, though the young man himself, when his excitement had calmed down, implored his father to leave out his name, declaring that the recommendation would be put down to affection. For a month he managed to delay the despatch, but in the end it was sent and the Cross granted. Therefore Outram's recommendation after the relief of Lucknow was disregarded, and only captain Maude's V.C. is associated with the Charbagh bridge.

But although Havelock's force had successfully won its way into the residency of Lucknow, the town was in no way "relieved," for the British troops were few and the sepoys many. The besieging army crowded up as before, and bored mines under the buildings, which kept our men continually on the watch to hinder the town from blowing up. Every day Havelock went round the entrenchments, and then he returned to the house, to pass some hours in reading, for now that the frightful strain of the last six weeks was over he felt tired and broken, and unfit for work. Much of the time he spent in visiting the banqueting hall, which had months before been made into a hospital for the soldiers, but there was little that he or anyone else could do to help them, for all medicines and bandages and food suited to sick people had been used up long ago.

In this manner seven weeks went slowly by, while the garrison was waiting for the arrival of sir Colin Campbell, commander-in-chief in India, with an army of nearly five thousand men, a mere handful in numbers compared with the enemy, but yet enough to compass what is known in history as "the second relief of Lucknow." By November 9 news came that the British troops had reached the Alumbagh, but it was absolutely necessary that the commander-in-chief should know Outram's plans for the defence of the city, and tell him the manner in which he himself intended to attack.

How was this to be done? The country lying between the two generals was covered with small detachments of sepoys carefully entrenched, and it seemed impossible for any man to pass through them. Yet without some knowledge of the sort and of the state of affairs in the residency the relief expedition could not advance without frightful loss, and might perhaps end in failure.

Then there entered the room where Outram and Havelock were gloomily talking over the matter a man, Henry Cavanagh by name, who said that he would undertake to get through the pickets of sepoys and carry any message to the English camp. Outram was amazed. Brave though they all were, not one soldier had volunteered for this forlorn hope, not because they were afraid, but because if our maps and plans fell into the enemy's hands, the destruction of our army would certainly follow; and if a soldier could not do it, with all his experience of war, how could this man, who knew nothing of soldiering, except what he had learned during the siege? But when the general looked at Cavanagh's face his doubts vanished.

Disguised as a native and speaking the language like one, Cavanagh made his way slowly through the lines till the open plain was reached. Here he breathed more freely, for, though many dangers awaited him, the worst risks were over. Often he had seen suspicion in the eyes of the sepoys, and felt that a terrible death was very near, but he had kept his head and got through somehow. At length he was within the Alumbagh and could speak with sir Colin face to face.

Cavanaugh disguised as a native.


The return journey still lay before him, but now he knew better what he was about, and reached the residency without accident. On November 14 the relieving force was to begin its advance on the town, and on the 15th the general signalled that the attack would begin next day.

This last fight was a desperate one for both sides, and continued far into the night, while at the Kaiserbagh, or king's palace, the fire was fiercest of all. The brave deeds that were done that day would fill a volume, but at length it was over, and Lucknow once more flew the British flag, planted on the highest tower of the mess house by the hand of young Roberts.

Did Havelock, one asks oneself, know that this was his last fight also? He had been present during the whole struggle, but when it was done sank into the weakness which seemed daily to grow greater. The commander-in-chief had informed him—probably by means of Cavanagh—that on September 29 he had been gazetted major-general, and the somewhat tardily bestowed honour filled him with pleasure. If he had been able to see any English papers he would have known how eagerly the nation followed his footsteps, and how warmly they rejoiced in his success.

The capture of Lucknow was only three days old when Havelock was taken suddenly ill. In order to get him away from the close, infected air of the town, he was carried in a litter to a quiet wooded place, called the Dilkoosha, near a bend of the river Goomtee, where a tent was pitched for him, but as the bullets of the enemy fell around him even here, a more sheltered spot had to be found for him to lie. His illness did not appear at first very serious, but he himself felt that he would not recover. Perhaps he hardly wished to, for he had "fought a good fight," and was too tired to care for anything but rest. His son, whose wound, received on the day of the fight for the residency, was still unhealed, sat on the ground by the litter, and gave him anything he wanted. For a time he lay quiet, and in the afternoon of the 23rd Outram came to see him, and holding out his hand, Havelock bade his friend good-bye.

"I have so ruled my life for forty years that when death came I might face it without fear," he said; and next morning death did come.

Marching on the 25th into the Alumbagh, the victorious army bore with them Havelock's body, still lying in the litter on which he died. They dug a grave for him under a mango tree, on which an H. was cut to mark the place—all they dared do with hosts of the enemy swarming round them, ready to offer insult to the dead who had defied them.

Thus Henry Havelock died and was buried, though the news did not reach England for six weeks. So he never knew how the hearts of his countrymen had been stirred by his courage and his constancy, and that his queen had made him a baronet and Parliament had voted him a pension of 1,000. a year, which was continued to his widow and to his son. But

Guarded to a soldier's grave

By the bravest of the brave,

He hath gained a nobler tomb

Than in old cathedral gloom.

Nobler mourners paid the rite

Than the crowd that craves a sight.

England's banners o'er him waved—

Dead, he keeps the realm he saved.