Allahabad, June 6th
“About seventy miles beyond Banaras, at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jamnah, lies the city of Allahabad. It has none of that wealth of structural beauty which renders Banaras so famous among the cities of the East. Its attractions are derived chiefly from its position, at the extreme point or promontory of the Duab, formed by the meeting of the waters. The broad rivers rushing down towards the sea, and mingling as they go their streams of varied colour and varied motion – the one of yellow-brown, thick and turbid, the other blue, clear, and sparkling – the green banks between which they flow, the rich cultivation of the inner country dotted with groves and villages, make a landscape pleasant to the eye. But the town itself, principally situated on the Jamnah, has little to command admiration. It has been called in derision by natives of Hindustan, “Fakirabad,” or the city of beggars; but the Fort, which towers above it, massive and sublime, with the strength of many- ages in its solid masonry, imparts peculiar dignity to the place. Instinct with the historical traditions of the two elder dynasties, it had gathered new power from the hands of the English conqueror, and, garrisoned, by English troops, might almost have defied the world.”
Sitting on the junction of two rivers and commanding the land route from the Upper to the Lower Provinces, the military importance of Allahabad should not have been underestimated. It was so to speak, the thoroughfare of India. Before the annexation of Oudh, the Fort at Allahabad had already been utilised as a vast arsenal, reason alone that it should have been the best-guarded station in India.
The news of the disasters at Meerut and Delhi reached Allahabad on the 12th of May. Although considered a great and important station by everyone throughout the province, Allahabad was poorly garrisoned. The only regiment at Allahabad was a company of the 6th Bengal Native Infantry, under the command of Colonel Simpson. They were relative newcomers to the station, having marched down from Jamalpur at the end of March, to relieve the 11th under Colonel Finnis. In early May, a wing of the Firozepore Regiment of Sikhs (400 men in all) arrived from Mirzapore, who were followed ten days later by 2 troops of Irregular Horse, sent from Lucknow by Sir Henry Lawrence with explicit orders to place themselves under the command of the civil authorities. To complete the assemblage, 60 European invalids were brought in from Chanar. It was thought prudent to place the bulk of the Indian troops in their lines in the Cantonments together with a battery of Indian artillery, some three miles away from the Fort between the two rivers. The invalids were told off for duty in the Fort along with the Sikhs together with a few Commissariat and magazine sergeants. As for the Irregulars, they were stationed at the entrances to the city.
At the news of the outbreak, Colonel Simpson, “a polished gentleman but scarcely a leader of men,” argued strenuously that his entire regiment should be moved into the Fort, a move equally vigorously opposed by Mr. Court. The Colonel was entirely convinced of his regiment’s loyalty, they had, after all, “professed their utmost
loyalty begged to be led against their mutinous brethren, swore again and again
they were, and would continue to be, “true to their salt.”
L.E. Ruutz Rees, who happened to be travelling to Cawnpore in May 1857, saw the whole thing as a bit of a joke. He had just passed through Benares where the news of Meerut and Delhi had just been transmitted and although he chose not to remain in Benares himself, he watched as his friends “left the station, flying before an imaginary or real danger..” Moving onwards to Allahabad, he found the people there “in a fright about what appeared to me to be nothing.” While at the station, Rees took it on himself to join one of the impromptu civilian militias, raised less as a fighting force but more as a show of bravado.
“I remained a week there, and formed one of a garrison where soldiering was enacted in a very pleasant mode. Capital dinners, first-rate wines, cheroots, songs, music, were the order of the day, with a little patrolling and keeping watch…”
Rees would soon know better.
On the 5th of June, a rather ominous telegram was received at Allahbad from Sir Henry Lawrence – the order was to keep “every European in the Fort until all was secure…” It was the last message they would receive from Lucknow as shortly after, the telegraphic line was severed with that place, followed in close succession by communications with Benares. Fearing the worst, Mr. Charles Chester the Allahabad Commissioner, and the Magistrate Mr. M.H. Court went to some lengths to secure the Fort and had issued orders for all non-combatants to find their way there, so as to ensure they were out of harm’s way. Colonel Simpson ordered two companies of the 6th with 2 guns to guard the Bridge of Boats, on the chance that the Benares mutineers would try to enter the city from over the river. Court and Chester remained on guard at the Fort with the volunteers, arming themselves with carabines and ammunition from the Fort. However, the night passed by quietly and in the morning they returned to their homes in the European quarter. Tired from his night on duty, Mr. Chester only reluctantly left his house again later that day to take his place with the voluntary corps – as fate would have it, he would have every reason to be grateful he did.
The next day, Colonel Simpson received a report from his native officers that not all was as it seemed with the 6th, he paid no heed to the warning. Instead, he called a parade.
It Could Not be Helped
The 6th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry
Raised in 1763 as the 13th Battalion
1764 – ranked as the 4th Battalion under Captain Campbell
1767 – named the Gowan Battalion, after Captain Clothworthy Gowan
Served with distinction at Bhurtpore and Mysore
Known as the 6th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry since 1824
“It will, perhaps, never be known to the full satisfaction of the historical inquirer whether the 6th Regiment was saturated with that deepest treachery which simulates fidelity for a time, in order that it may fall with more destructive force on its unsuspecting victim, or whether it had been, throughout the month of May, in that uncertain, wavering condition which up to the moment of the final outburst has no determined plan of operations. The officers of the regiment believed that the men were staunch to the core.”
“In the eyes of the commanding officer, and, indeed, of every Englishman who held a commission under him, the 6th was true to the core, and was thoroughly to be trusted. It was one of those regiments in which the officers looked lovingly on their soldiers as on their children; cared for their comforts, promoted their amusements, and lived amongst them as comrades. They had done so much for their men, and seen so many indications of what at least simulated gratitude and affection, that it would have been to their discredit if they had mistrusted a regiment which had such good reason to be faithful to the English gentlemen who had treated them with the kindness of parents. But the civil officers, who had none of the associations and sympathies which made the centurions of the 6th Regiment ever willing to place their lives in the hands of the Native soldiery, saw everywhere grounds of suspicion and causes of alarm.”
The professed faithfulness of the 6th so impressed Simpson, he reported their conduct to Lord Canning in Calcutta. Canning was equally pleased, and hoping to use the 6th as a shining example of loyalty for other regiments, sent a return telegram to Allahabad – a singular message of thanks to the 6th BNI from the Governor-General himself. As the general order containing Canning’s thanks was read out to the men at a parade 6th in the early evening, the men responded with “European cheers” and swore they were ready to die for the Kamapani Bahadur. Convinced more than ever of his men’s loyalty, a satisfied Colonel Simpson and his officers rode off the parade ground to the Mess.
It is then not so simple to explain, why, a mere three hours later, the 6th were murdering their officers. The problem, it seems started, not on the parade ground, or even in the lines but at Bridge of Boats.
An order was issued to remove the guns from the Bridge of Boats to the fort where they would be of more use. It was left to Lieutenant Harward, the officer on duty, to move them. The sepoys, chosen as the escort had other ideas and they “asserted their resolve to take them to the cantonments instead.”
Stationed with the 6th were 2 European officers, Harwood and Hicks and 2 young ensigns who had but recently joined the regiment. Slightly alarmed by this sudden defiance, Harwood hastened to warn Lieutenant Alexander in command of the Irregulars to intercept these would-be mutineers on the road to the cantonments – Alexander quickly assembled his men and rode out. Calling on the Irregulars to follow him and seize the guns, only three rode behind him to the attack; the rest merely fired their guns into the air and at the next opportune moment, went over to the mutineers. Lieutenant Alexander fell, shot through the heart. His body would later be found,
“..the muzzle of the musket was so near his breast, that his shirt was singed. Besides the musket wound, he had two deep sabre cuts on his face, proving that his own men of the irregular cavalry had been treacherous.”
Harwood did not need any convincing – he turned and fled to the fort, abandoning any thought of reasoning with his men, and in turn leaving Hicks and the ensigns to shift for themselves.
The sepoys of the 6th and their sudden reinforcement of the Irregulars hurried up to the Lines to gather up the rest of the regiment. A little before 9 p.m., a sepoy entered the regimental lines and told his comrades the Europeans were coming to disarm them; to prove his point he was closely followed by the detachment from the bridge with one gun, without any orders at all. At 9pm, the still night of Allahabad was jarred by a bugle call.
“We were at cards in a garden adjacent to our house, when a sowar of Mr Commissioner Chester’s informed us of the impending danger. Almost all the piquets and other sepoys sent on escort duty in and about the station assembled at the parade ground. The officers of the regiment were either at the mess house, or at their own dwellings…When therefore the bugle was sounded, they hastened, some in uniform, others undressed to the regiments, each eager to take the lead of his company and conduct it against the enemy. Their arrival, however delighted the sepoys beyond conception…”
The bulk of the sepoys gathered in front of their lines and “received their officers as they rode to the spot with murderous volleys.” Captain Plunkett, who just that morning had been praising his men’s loyalty was one of the first to fall; the Adjutant, Lieutenant Steward, the Quarter-Master Lieutenant Hawes, and the very young ensigns, Pringle and Munro were shot down.
Colonel Simpson, upon hearing the bugle call, rode out to the parade ground and as he passed each guard, he was showered with bullets. Hastening away from the parade ground, he rode to the treasury where another volley was fired at him; turning his wounded horse around, Simpson urged it on to the mess house but the guard there gave him yet another volley. One of the bullets hit the top of his cap while another hit his wrist – his horse managed to bring its rider to the fort where it fell down dead, the Colonel’s clothes thoroughly drenched in the poor animal’s blood. Lieutenant Currie managed to escape though he had to run for it as his horse was shot out from under him; Captain Gordon was concealed by some sepoys until the firing stopped, at which he was urged to dash for the fort as quickly as his legs could carry him.
When the guns had left the bridge of boats, 20 sepoys escorted Lieutenant Hicks and 2 young ensigns along the river bank and so up to the station, where they deposited them at Captain Birch’s (the Fort Adjutant) house. Taking their leave of the officers, the sepoys went off to join the general mayhem in Allahabad – which at that moment was centred around the treasury and the kutcherry. Finding Birch was not there, the three men made their way to Hick’s house and taking his buggy, they drove back to the river, rightly thinking if they attempted to traverse the city they would be killed. At the river, they abandoned the buggy, stripped their clothes and plunged into the water. They swam downstream a mile and half, crossed to the Ghosee side, made a long detour of three miles through the countryside, their bodies liberally smeared with mud in some vague hope of defying detection, they reached the bank opposite the fort. Again they were obliged to swim across, and on coming out, they crept round close under the walls, until they reached the entrance at the main gate, where they managed to startle the volunteers by their muddy naked appearance.
In the mess house of the 6th, a group of seven ensigns, upon hearing the bugle, left their comfortable table and went outside with the other officers – the sepoys rushed up and shot the defenceless boys. The ensigns were so raw to India some of them had not even been assigned regiments yet. “Poor boys! Who had never given offence to any native, nor caused dissatisfaction to the Sepoys.” Four were shot down as they left the mess house, another three managed to escape to the quarter guard but they were discovered and bayonetted to death. Three officers after their flight would recall hearing the cries of the boys.
The ensigns had all but lately come out to India with their hopes and aspirations, the youngest barely 16, and Allahabad after hardly a week of their arrival became their tomb. Only one of them however ever had a proper burial and he will be discussed at length in the next chapter. The boys in the mess house were left where they fell and their remains were devoured by dogs and jackals.
The horror of the 6th of June was perhaps only comparable with those perpetrated in Meerut – property looted, houses fired, the treasury ransacked, telegraph wires torn up and the newly started railway works were destroyed. By morning, 50 Europeans were dead, civilians and officers.
Fort Adjutant Captain Birch and his friend Captain Innes, Executive Engineer of the Department of Public Works both were killed while attempting to attain the gates of the Fort – they had chosen the take a boat instead of swimming across and were shot by the sepoys. Elsewhere, any European or Eurasian caught by the mob – which by now consisted not just of sepoys and Irregulars but townspeople – were mercilessly butchered and for some, like Birch and Innes, their deaths remained a mystery.
“The last four men mentioned were killed in the district, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Lancaster while trying to escape to Barwari. Mrs. Ryves was with a party of railway officers who were besieged for two days on the top of a tank at Barwari by a mob till relieved by a party of a 3rd Oude Irregulars. Mrs. Ryves died immediately on being removed from the tank.”. The remains of that party would arrive at the Fort on the 10th of June, brought in by a volunteer force sent to their aid by Mr. Court. Upon receiving a note from Mr. Snow, explaining where they were and what they were facing, Court assembled 14 sowars of (the remains of the Irregulars who had not mutinied) and promised each man 1400 Rupees if they brought in the fugitives alive.
Ryves and his party had ensconced themselves on top of a tank at Barwari, and were fending off, as best they could, the villagers who were baying for their blood. With the timely arrival of the sowars they were saved but not so Mrs. Ryves – dying of exhaustion her body was buried in a hole dug in the sands of the Ganges.
A colony of Bengalis too was murdered in the slaughter of Allahabad – their “crime” was that many were clerks to the British; they acted as go-betweens and held positions as tradesmen – as in Meerut, they were singled out for particularly brutal reprisals.
From the fort, the besieged could only watch as Allahabad and their homes, burned. 2500 prisoners had been set free from the local jail and the
“noise of iron, dangling on the legs of the prisoners, resounded for hours, through the city. The prisoners all in a body rushed toward where the residences of the Europeans were situated and set fire to the bungalows. The first house which was destroyed…was that of the adjutant of the 6th regiment, situated close to the regimental lines. They next burnt Mr. Berril’s house and carried on the work of destruction, till the Post Office, the bungalow belonging to Mr. Bell, the beautiful house of Captain Birch…the Assembly house, those of Major Moorhouse, Mrs. Hamilton and Mr. Palmer and several other buildings were reduced to heaps of ashes….”
The burning and looting carried on through the night and for the 5 following days. With the station in ruins, some sepoys were seen to engage the prisoners as impromptu coolies to help them cart away the property they had plundered, while others simply went off and began ransacking the nearby villages and the outskirts of the city.
A Eurasian drummer of the 6th who had been forced by the mutineers to join them on their flight to Cawnpore would later recall, “I saw one or two native officers crying and heard them say that three or four badmashes had ruined the regiment. I heard that many of the sepoys were sorry, and some of them went directly to their homes. The havildar major was at first sorry, but said it could not be helped, and there persuaded the men to go to Delhi.”
In the district, villagers impartially robbed each other, while the sudden lawlessness was seen as a perfect time to remove boundary marks, avenge grudges and landowners were driven from their property. Every man did, what in his eyes, he thought was right.
Although much of what happened in Allahabad could be said to have followed the pattern – kill officers, loot the treasury, free the prisoners and then march off, the mutiny had another aspect. It brought home to the Europeans that much of the local Muslim population had also been incited partly to such rage by a Maulvi. This charismatic man, Liaquat Ali would, on the 7th of June declare himself the ruler of Allahabad, – and was allowed by the Europeans to do so as they would not leave the Fort – by unfurling a green flag atop the police station. Although he declared a jihad against the foreigners, the Muslim gentry was not particularly convinced and refused to join him. “..the Shias because, according to their religion, a jihad had to be led by a Prophet and Imam, where the Sunnis were kept back on the ground that it was a political rebellion and not a Jihad or religious war.” (Saul David, The Indian Mutiny, pp 236).
His brief reign was brought to an end barely 10 days later and he was forced to abandon Allahabad, deserted by most of his followers. Accompanied by a small escort he made his way to Cawnpore.
“Thank God Sir, You’ll Save Us Yet!”
“We had in the Fort a company of that regiment (the 6th) at the main gate and four companies of a Sikh regiment, sixty-five invalids who had arrived a day or two before from Chunar, and about the same number of ourselves. We found the company of the 6th native infantry had loaded their muskets. The first thing to do was evidently to disarm them. The Sikhs hesitated, and this was the most painful time. Any hesitation would have lost us the Fort.” However, their commander would not take any wavering. The men of the 6th quickly lost heart. It could perhaps also be because three nine-pounders loaded with grape were brought to bear on them and being surrounded by a regiment of silent, surly Sikhs and equally determined volunteers was simply too much for the sepoys of the 6th to bear. They threw down their weapons. The arms were collected, the stocks sawed off and the bayonets were thrown into the river, while the sepoys were turned out of the Fort.
The commander of the Sikhs was none other than Lieutenant Jeremiah Brayser. He had the distinction of being a true officer of his regiment, a man who spoke the language, and had been instrumental in organising the first Sikhs troops for service to the British. The regiment he served with, although raised by Captain Watt in Ferozepore consisted of men that Brayser himself had picked, visiting villages south of the Sutlej river in the Malwa country, personally engaging with the men many of whom had recently been fighting against the British in the Sikh Wars, haranguing them to join the Company service. When his tour was done, Brayser brought to Ferozepore 400 men who he handed over to Captain Watt to turn into a regiment. The number soon doubled. This was in 1846 -and 11 years later, Brayser was still with his men. He had been their adjutant, quartermaster, interpreter and second-in-command and by 1856, their commander.
Jeremiah Brayser had been commissioned in 1846 after the Battle of Sobraon, less than 12 years after coming out to India as a gunner in the service of the company. He held particular sway over his men – he had even convinced them to adopt Company uniform but at Allahabad he had to rely on all the tact he had. He had allowed them to ditch the uniforms and put on their turbans, and local dress, which he himself adopted, for the sake of appearing different from the regular sepoys and to give them a sense of identity.
With the mutiny in full swing outside, the Sikhs, shut up as they were in the Fort, were “burning to be led against the enemy.” Brayser realised quickly that the Europeans in the Fort did not trust his men with one man in his regiment causing much consternation. Brayser collected his men about him and “pointed out he was alone with four hundred of them, and that he trusted them utterly. He made the accused man his orderly and then led them on some minor operations near the Fort, clearing buildings that been occupied by the enemy, after which he marched them back into the Fort.“
Although Colonel Simpson was theoretically in charge of Allahabad Fort, he had no control over anything at all. “He did nothing against the rebels, from an idea that he not the means of acting..” It was Brayser who organised the defences, bringing up the Sikhs onto the ramparts supported by the guns, manned by the Chanar invalids, and “on his flank, by the hastily armed Europeans and Eurasians, to a point commanding the main gate..”
As it was, nothing inside the Fort was organised. Food was short but the attitude of one of the commissariat officers was dumbfounding – “he did not know how those widows and children who came in on Monday night could be supplied with rations, as they were not fighting men…” The Sikhs found their own amusement in plundering the godowns and proceeded, over the next few days to sell off anything they didn’t drink themselves to the Europeans – beer, champagne and wine going for the ridiculously low sum of 4 annas. It was not long before a good portion of the garrison at Allahabad so wretchedly drunk they could not have fired a musket if they had tried. Many of the volunteers became so demoralised they too turned their hand at plunder, smashing furniture and indiscrimately looting the stores of the few merchants who had managed to save anything at all.
It was in this vain, with chaos within and without, a sentry on the gate, exclaimed upon seeing General Neill, “Thank God, Sir, you’ll save us yet!”
Lieutenant-Colonel Neill Takes Allahabad
On the 9th of June, leaving Benares behind him, Neill set his course to Allahabad. Having sent forward an advance party of the Madras Fusiliers under Lieutenant Arnold, Neill gave command of Benares to Colonel Gordon and with another party of his regiment, pressed onto to Allahbad by horse dak.
On the 7th of June, Lieutenant Arnold had reached the Bridge of Boats but found at once he was unable to cross, the bridge still being held by mutineers. He would have to wait 2 days for a river steamer to be sent down to ferry his men across.
It must have been quite a sight that met Neill on his arrival; expecting to find a grateful, yet organised garrison, he entered a fort of raging drunks, impotent officers, terrified women, bawling children -the demon of chaos was indeed running rampant.
Exhausted as he was by his rapid journey from Benares, Neill found himself needing to “lie down constantly” and for several days, he was obliged to drink champagne and water to stave off the exhaustion he was verily feeling. However, despite his own debilitated state and that of his men who could barely walk, Neill was determined to knock not just Allahabad but the fort back into some order.
On the morning of the 12th of June, Neill directed the bombardment and recapture of the suburb of Dariagunj and the Bridge of Boats, sending out a detachment of Fusiliers and all of the Sikhs to drive out the enemy. They burnt part of the village and took possession of the bridge, at the head of which Neill then placed a company of the Sikhs to hold it. Reinforced the following day by a fresh detachment of 100 men, led by Major Stephanson, he ordered the attack of Kydgunj on the left bank of the Jumna, where a party of insurgents still held out.
Neill now resolved to put an end to the disorder in the fort. He paraded the volunteers, and after a severe reprimand for their disgraceful conduct, he threatened to turn out of the fort the next man he caught drunk. He then proceeded to buy up all the liquor the Sikhs had to sell. He sent out two carts to empty out what was left in the godowns and commissariat stores and with that which he purchased from the Sikhs, destroyed all of it.
He then turned his attention to the Sikhs themselves.
Neill now relied on Brayser to convince his men that there was certainly better plunder outside the fort than within it; and with a little tact, they marched out, and took up quarters in some houses and in the old native hospital, while others were stationed on the banks of the Jumna river, under the guns of the fort. Although Neill gives himself credit for getting every “native soldier and sentry” out of the fortress, it had been Brayser’s doing.
Neill then packed off the women and children by river steamer to Calcutta without anything at all but what they had on, and thus unencumbered, he continued his campaign.
“On the evening of the 14th I threw a shell from a howitzer on the brutes into Kydgunge, and the morning of the 15th opened the same fire with round shot also upon it at daylight. I sent a steamer up the Jumna with a howitzer under command of Captain Harwood of the Artillery, and a party of twenty picked shots of the fusiliers, under Lieutenant Arnold of that corps, who went up the river, some distance above the city, and did much execution. The Sikhs were directed to attack and clear Kydgunge and Mooteegunge on the Jumna, and were supported on the right by fifty of the fusiliers, under Lieutenant Bailey, and the small party of the irregular cavalry. The troops behaved with great gallantry…the opposition they met was not so great; they however, punished the enemy severely… The fusiliers met with some resistance, did good execution among the enemy…The insurgents were so thoroughly beaten at all points, and our men followed them up so close to the city, that we have since been informed the greatest terror seized them all, and they all fled from the city during the night.” (Lieutentant-Colonel Neill, to the Deputy Adjutant-General of the Army, Allahabad, 17th June).
A portion of the native town was set on fire, and a volley of grape and canister rained down on the inhabitants as they fled from the flames. In the meantime, another detachment was on its way from Benares with the purpose of reopening the lines of communication but they behaved very much like an army of retribution, burning rebel villages and indiscriminately hanging their zamindars. By the 18th of June, the districts could be said to be “mastered” but the price was terrible. Fusiliers, volunteers and Sikhs sallied out into the streets of Allahabad and slaughtered anyone they could find, little caring who it was, as long as they slew someone. As in Benares, the civilians joined in on the carnage, with one boasting he had hung eight or then men a day. Villages were burned indiscriminately and their inhabitants, the innocent, old and young were forced from the burning homes with nowhere to go, undoubtedly, cursing the Europeans “as bitterly as we cursed the murderers of Cawnpore.” In the city, hundreds of “rebels” were hung on the slightest proof of criminality.
On the 17th Neill wrote, “I may have acted with justice. I know I acted with severity, but under all the circumstances, I trust for forgiveness.” Unlike some of the civilians, he did not relish the infliction of punishment and yet, with the flight of the Maulvi, Neill had restored order to Allahabad by terror and force. The very next day, Mr. M.H. Court was sent back to his duties as Magistrate and no one in Allahabad dared stand in his way. The Europeans left the fort and returned to the ruins of their houses.
July 19th – Rose early this morning, and began to set my house in order, cleaning and sweeping the rooms. I have neither table, nor knife, nor plate nor cup and saucer, to my home, nor bed..” (Narrative of Mr. J. Owen, Missionary of the American Board of Missions).
Mr. Owen must have been aware, that some now had precious less than he.
Killed at Allahabad
(From Edward Blunt, List of Inscriptions on Christian Tombs and Tablets of Historical Interest in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, 1911)
VICTIMS of the MUTINY. Inscription:—” In memory of
John Plunket, Captain;
Robert Stewart, Lieutenant and Adjutant;
George H. Hawes, Lieutenant and Quarter-master;
Thomas L, Bailiff, Ensign;
Philip S. Codd, Ensign;
Marshall D. Smith, Ensign;
Arthur M. H. Cheek, Ensign;
George L. Munro, Ensign;
George S. Pringle, Ensign;
Thomas Foley, Sergeant-Major;
George Richard Watkins, Quarter-master- Sergeant; (Aged 30 years 1 month and 21 days)
Charles G. Way, Ensign;
Edward Beaumont, Ensign;
Arthur J. Scott, Ensign;
Edward M. Smith, Ensign.
DOING DUTY with 6th REGIMENT, N. I.—
Thomas C. H. Birch, Captain, 31st Regiment, N. I., Fort Adjutant ;
Charles D. Innes, Lieutenant, Engineers, Executive Engineer, 6th Division ;
Augustus H. Alexander, Lieutenant, 68th Regiment, N. I., second-in-command,
3rd Oudh Irregular Cavalry.
Geoffry Coleman, Conductor Ordnance Department,
Anthony Fernando, pensioned Drummer,
Julien Boilard, merchant,
Henry Archer, merchant,
Joseph Fulow, merchant,
George D. Castro, pensioned clerk,
David Thomas, Inspector, E. I. R.,
William Lancaster, assistant contractor, E. I. R
Julia Louisa, wife of Major Thomas James Ryves, retired list, Madras Army,
Mary, wife of Sergeant Collins,
Frederica, daughter of Mr. John Jones, W. R. R.,
Mary Thomas, widow, Susan Benson, widow, Ann, George and Catherine, wife, son and daughter of Drummer Diddea ;
— Who were killed in the station and district of Allahabad, between the 6th and 10th days of June 1857, by sepoys of the 6th Regiment, Native Infantry, and other mutineers and rebels. This monument is erected by the surviving residents of Allahabad.”
Some Further Notes:
Lieut Augustus Hay Alexander 68th NI -Aged 30. Son of Lt-Col. Alexander, 5th Bengal Light Cavalry. Son of Colonel William Alexander C.B., and Ann Kennedy (step mother – Penelope Hooper, m. 1850). He had been born in Neemuch in 1827. He was buried in the Fort at Allahabad.
Brother of: Maj. Gen. William Ruxton Eneas Alexander b. 1825, (married Charlotte Blair, 1850, in Benares) Charlotte Blair – daughter of Susanna Kennedy Blair, d. 1857 in Cawnpore, widow of Edward Macleod Blair.
Captain Thomas Charles Birch, aged 42. Son of John and Anna Birch, of Calcutta., was born in Bengal in 1814, and joined the service in 1832. He was the husband of Caroline Frances Amesbury (she was his second wife, having previously been married to Dorothy Curtis in 1838) who had been born in 1827. Following their marriage in 1851 in Calcutta, they had 3 children:
Charles Richard Amesbury Birch, born in 1852
Caroline Esther Emily Birch, born in 1854
Jessie Agnes Birch born in 1856
Thomas Charles Birch is a part of the bewildering Birch family whose names crop up throughout 1857, be it in Sitapur, Lucknow or Cawnpore. His sister was Emily Sophia Birch born 1805, Calcutta, wife of John Ewart who was killed at Cawnpore. His other sister, Anna Maria Birch, b.1806 in Calcutta, was the wife of George Gough, m. 1823.
Lieutenant and Quarter-Master George Harry Hawes, son of William Hawes of Plymouth, was born at Colgong in Bengal in 1831. He also served as regimental interpreter.
Charles Daubuz Innes, son of R. H. Innes, of Leyton, Essex was born in 1821.
Captain John Plunkett was the youngest son of William Plunkett, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, born in 1816. He joined the army in 1835.
Lieutenant Robert Stewart was son of R. Stewart, a Calcutta merchant, born in India in 1823. He joined the service in 1843. He was murdered in the mess house.
Unposted Ensign Thomas Lane Bayliff (also Balief, Bailiff) doing duty with the 6th NI. He was the beloved godson of Mrs. E.B. Lanzeen and had travelled out together with Marcus Cheek.
Ensign Edward Ernest Beaumont, 38th NI, – Aged 19. Son of E. Beaumont, and ward of Sir H. Lytton Bulwer, was born at Southwell, Essex in 1838.
Ensign Philip Herley Codd, 73rd NI – Aged 18. Only son of Capt. J.M. Codd, 3rd Light Dragoons was born at Karnal in 1839.
Unposted Ensign Arthur Marcus Hill Cheek, aged 17. Son of Oswald Cheek, solicitor, was born at Evesham, in1840, and educated at Cheltenham Grammar School. He was buried “in the covered way of the fort, near the riverside, at the salient angle of the Jumna Battery.”
Ensign George Lloyd Munro, 6th NI, eldest son of Lt.Col. O.A. Munro, Bengal Army
Ensign George Stewart Pringle was the 3rd son of W. A. Pringle, B. C. S. His grandfather, father, three uncles, three brothers and a cousin all served in India, the most distinguished of them being his uncle R. K. Pringle, who was Commissioner of Scinde.
For his twin brother, David, the following notes are available:
“David Pringle was born at Berhampore on 9 December 1839, son of the late W. A. Pringle, late Bengal Civil Service, and Anne Elizabeth, of Yair, Scotland. He was nominated for the H.E.I.C. Army by John Harvey Anstell and recommended by Robert Nesbitt. He was appointed Ensign on 4 September 1857, and arrived in India on 16 October 1857. On the outbreak of the Mutiny, the cadets of the H.E.I.C. forces, mostly boys of sixteen or seventeen, were known universally throughout India as ‘Griffins’ or ‘Little Griffs’ and were attached to various British Regiments, as most of the regiments they were to have joined had mutinied. They are not to be found in the British Army Lists of the period and are only traceable through the East India Registers. David Pringle appears as an Ensign on the roll of Officers and others attached to H.M’s 42nd Highland Regiment: ‘Lucknow. Engaged in the late campaign in the open field. Engaged in the operations against Lucknow from 2nd – 16th March 1858.’ Service: ‘To 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) 2nd November 1858. At Cawnpore and the capture of Lucknow, also taking of Fort Rhoyiah and Bareilly in 1858. To 58th Bengal Native Infantry 29th May 1860.’
Pringle was promoted to Lieutenant on 4 September 1858, and to Captain on 16 December 1868. He died on 1 February 1874, at Portabello, and is commemorated by a monumental inscription in Melrose Church. His twin brother, Ensign G. S. Pringle, 6th Bengal Native Infantry, was murdered at Allahabad on 6 June 1857.
Ensign Arthur James Scott 47th NI – Aged 17 years and 4 months. Second son of James Scott, of Cadogan Place, London. Killed while on temp. duty with the 6th NI
Ensign Marshall Deverell Smith, 24th NI – Aged 19 years and 4 months, born in 1838 in Calcutta. Son of Samuel Smith, merchant of Calcutta, of Westbourne Terrace Road, London.
Ensign Edward Morris Smith, 24th NI,- Aged 18. Son of N. T. Smith, was born at Eltham, Kent in 1839.
Ensign Charles Gregory Way, 62nd NI – Aged 19. Son of the Revd. 0. J. Way of Spaynes Hall, Essex, born in 1838. He was educated at Marlborough.
Henry Archer, merchant, was an agent of L.E.Ruutz-Rees. He was 52 years old when he was killed. His wife erected a tablet in his memory with the following inscription:
What though in lonely grief I sigh;
For husband loved, no longer nigh;
Submissive still, I would reply: –
“Thy Will Be Done.”
Killed at M. Paharpur, Tahsil Phulpur
James Philip Barrett. aged 49.
Inscription :~ Sacred to the memory of James Philip Barrett, Collector of this toll-bar, Bairagi-ka-nala. Born November 1808, killed during the Mutiny on the 7th June 1857. This tablet is erected by his son Mr. P. Barrett.
I am killed here, leaving my beloved children and friends behind committed
to the protection and guardianship of my Redeemer to battle in the pilgrimage of this dark world. Farewell children, and brethren, the ransom of my sins has been paid. Shed no tears, but leave me here until my Redeemer Christ appears. The Grace of our Lord be with you all.
The Martyr of Allahabad, Memorials of Ensign Arthur Marcus Hill Cheek – Rev. Robert Meek, M.A. (1858)
Annals of the Indian Rebellion – Noah Alfred Chick (1859)
A History of the Indian Mutiny – T.R.E. Holmes (1891)
The Indian Mutiny of 1857 – Colonel G.B. Malleson (1891)
Kaye’s and Malleson’s History of the Indian Mutiny, Vol II (1899)
Kaye’s and Malleson’s History of the Indian Mutiny, Vol VI (1892)
List of Inscriptions on Christian Tombs and Tablets of Historical Interest in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, 1911 – E.A.H. Blunt, I.C.S. (1911)
A Matter of Honour, An Account of the Indian Army, Its Officers and Men – Philip Mason (1974)
The Great Mutiny, India 1857 – Christopher Hibbert (1978)
The Indian Mutiny – Saul David (2003)
Mutiny at the Margins, New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857, Vol. 1, Anticipations and Experiences in the Locality – Edited by Crispin Bates (Sage Publications, 2013)