Sati Chaura Ghat, Samuel Bourne,1865

Navigating Mutiny Reflections

How my readers choose to navigate Mutiny Reflections is of course at their discretion.
-Randomly choose posts and read them
– Use the search function to find something in particular
– Read through the menu categories and go through the sub-menus.

However, as it has come to my attention that many of my readers are new to this segment of history, I have attached below an idea which may make it easier to read through the site chronologically. I do not publish articles in any certain order and this may prove confusing for my readers.

  • Before 1857 and Beyond with the subsections, History and Georgraphy:
    this will give you some background information leading up to the events of 1857. This section is designed to give you a background before moving into specific rebellions. The posts are as follows and can be read in the following order:

    – A Little History
    – The Geography of 1857
    – Presidencies and Provinces
    – Mayhem, Maps and Names
    – Of Agitators and Chapatis
    – Rumors and Cartridges
    – The Army Has Ceased to Fear
    – The Army Has Ceased to Fear II
    – The Army Rebels
  • The rest of the posts can be found by searching for the month – currently, there are entries for April, May, June, some for July and very few for November. July and November predominantly deal with Cawnpore.

    So for all events in May, you will find Calcutta, Meerut, Delhi and some events in the Punjab amongst others.
    June is by far the largest month and is still a work in progress. It was a rather harrowing month in 1857.
  • All rebellions, big and small, are tagged by name and by month of occurrence.
  • Details of the Siege of Lucknow can be found under The Lucknow Residency and to find out more about Cawnpore and the Bibighar, there is a separate section for this.
    Lucknow can be found under Oudh, sub-menu, Lucknow Residency and while Cawnpore is a sub-menu under the Northwestern Provinces as it was so categorized at the time.

    I have as yet to find a system to categorize the site that will be beneficial to everyone and I am of course open to suggestions. Again, the posts are shown in the order that I publish them which is not particularly satisfying, but I am afraid until I get to grips with this all, you will be left scrolling to the oldest post in order to make sense of what I am publishing now.

    A whole host of tags which should make it a little easier to find specific items so hopefully my readers shall not feel completely lost.
  • I shall shortly be publishing a chronology of events which should make it easier for my readers to understand the sequence of events. That is a work in progress as I gather the information together. I do not, as you may have noticed, do things by half. My ambition is to give all the rebellions their dues!

A Little History of this Site

Although my interest in the Mutiny stems back to the days when my nanny used to tell me horrible stories of Nana Sahib hiding under my bed, ready to jump out if I did not go to sleep at once (she never actually said what he would do if he did jump, but it was the idea that he might that kept me tucked in), it evolved into a more concrete interest when I lived in India as a teenager, I started writing seriously about the Lucknow Residency some 20 years ago, way back when I was simply furious at how badly the archaeological site was kept. No, let me rephrase – the site was kept well but the information given about it was appalling. I visited Lucknow several times and if I had not brought my handy HIlton’s Guide to Lucknow, 1934 edition, each time, I would have been lost, scratching my head like a lost little ape, staring at crumbling, shot peppered walls, wondering what on earth I was looking at. Then I realised, I was looking at an awful lot of empty space where buildings should have been.
My idea was to re-create Hilton’s famous book but modernise it with notes for the current visitor to give them an idea of what is there and what is missing. Hence, the original site on blogger was devoted to the Lucknow Residency.
Over time, I added Cawnpore and the Bibighar; and then gradually the inspiration to create a site that deals with everything mutiny, but focus not on the generals, the wise, the political, the grand, the battles but on the doings of those who were stuck in the middle of such a tumultuous mess. Those who died due to bad decisions of others, the ones who were slaughtered for no reason at all other than hate, the young civilians in their bloom of youth cut down for the ambitions of others. The children and the women who were victims of terrible circumstances. The mutiny belongs to them as much as it does to Neill, Havelock and Lawrence, Nicholson and Canning. The Satichaura Ghat might be a quiet place now, but I still could not view the ghat without feeling a sense of creeping horror, even in the middle of the day.

It is an attempt to present a small piece of history from the different viewpoints – soldiers, civilians, rajahs, men and women, the ordinary, the extraordinary, lucky and luckless. It is a tale of human courage in the face of immense adversity. I stand in awe of Mowbray Thompson, who, after surviving the Siege of Cawnpore, swimming for his life away from Satichaura Ghat with barely any hope left to live another day, and after this horrible ordeal, when asked what he did after he was with the British troops again, he simply said, he went and reported himself fit for duty. And duty he did for another year. How Gavin Jones rebuilt Cawnpore but poor Jonah Shepherd died a wreck, haunted to the end of his days by the death of his family.

It is the story of women who fled the comfort of their homes, saw their husbands mercilessly butchered but held onto their faith and their sanity enough to still be mothers to their children. It is the story of Mrs. Leeson who, after the mutiny, went back to Delhi with her husband to look for the bones of their poor dead children. It is Mrs. Beresford with a hog’s spear standing on a roof fighting with her husband to save her daughters. We have Mrs. Inglis in Lucknow, grim and determined with such trust in her husband, knowing that surrender was not an option but should the time come, her husband would kill her himself. She believed they would survive and so they would.

Mr. Rees, the civilian caught up in a war that wasn’t his; it is the story of the determination of Mr, Barrows, Mr. Probyn, Mr. Sherer, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Hearsey to live on at all costs and the men who risked everything to save them.
This is Mutiny Reflections. And hopefully, we can take some time to reflect on how we would have behaved had we had the mischance to be in the same straits.

Cannon shot, Lucknow Residency