General Sir Henry D. Daly, G.C.B., C.I.E.:
The Leader of the Guides
Henry Dermot Daly was born near Poona, in the Bombay Presidency, in 1823: his mother was the only child of Captain Hugh M'Intosh of the 16th Light Dragoons, who served in Spain. His father, whose family possessed estates in West Meath and Connaught, joined Wellington's army in the Peninsula, and afterwards served in America and India, and was at the siege of Ghazni.
Henry Daly was sent home to be taken care of by his grandmother, Mrs. M'Intosh, at Newport, Isle of Wight.
In 1840, Daly was given a nomination to the East India Company's service, and was posted to the 1st Bombay Fusiliers (now 1st Dublin Fusiliers), but he did not go round by the Cape as most travellers did in those days. The passengers landed in Gibraltar and saw the mixed races of the East for the first time: the Turk and Christian, Jew and Arab and Moor all jostling in the narrow streets; the Rock, the galleries, the numberless steps, the strange tongues and little monkeys of the Rock and stranger vegetation—all made a clear and distinct impression on the mind of the seventeen-year-old cadet.
At Alexandria they found one British man-of-war riding at anchor at the mouth of the harbour; to prevent the egress of the whole Turkish fleet! Mahomet Ali kindly permitted them to pass through Egypt.
There was but one steamer then on the Nile, "of three donkey power!" But they reached Cairo at last, and wished to cross the desert to Suez at once. No horses! no camels! But each man was given two donkeys and a boy; at his shouts and shrieks the donkey trotted forward, taking no notice of any vagaries of the rider expressed by whip or rein.
They accomplished the 80 miles under twenty-four hours, and found at Suez a sea-going steamer. Thus they left on the 23rd September and reached Bombay on the 10th October.
Daly's regiment was at Aden, but his father got him attached to a corps at Poona that he might learn Hindustani for the Presidential Examination. So, on landing, Daly started for his father's house at Kirkee, 100 miles from Bombay, where he stayed some months. In May 1841 he returned to Bombay to be examined in colloquial Hindustani, and came out first as Qualified Interpreter.
We may note how men who rose early to distinction in India were often helped to the first steps by knowing how to speak to the natives: those who studied languages while others played games, or shot animals, reaped a rich reward in promotion when their services were really in request.
In his leisure Daly learnt a second language, Mahratti, and in May 1842 passed his examination well. Lady M'Mahon, wife of the commander-in-chief, had laughingly promised that if he passed she would obtain from her husband two months' leave for him to go to the hills.
Next day Daly was sent for by Sir Thomas, who said, "Daly, I have a reward for your industry—you are to be adjutant of an irregular infantry regiment." As he was only an ensign, this appointment changed his pay from 200 to 500 rupees a month.
The Guzerat battalion to which Daly was appointed was stationed at Kaira, where Daly's mother had been buried: thus for months he passed his mother's grave every day.
"My poor mother! I was a child when she died, but so often had I read her beautiful letters that her memory was a living feeling."
All round Kaira the country was luxuriantly beautiful; trees planted by the conquering Mahommedans rose to a magnificent height, and verdure and culture met the eye on every side. Here began a friendship with a fellow-officer named Anderson which only ended with his death at Multan.
They were in the same regiment and had the same tastes; they used to sit in the cool nights talking of the days to come, of hopes and fears and successes: then Anderson joined Sir Charles Napier's staff in Sind, caught fever and went to England. About this time Daly also was seized with fever and had to sail for England in December 1843, losing a good appointment worth £'700 a year.
If he had gone no farther than the Cape or Egypt, he could by the rule of the service have kept his staff appointment: but he preferred to risk that.
Daly travelled with a friend through Sicily, Naples, Leghorn, to France; there he again met Anderson and with him visited his friend's family in Scotland, and thus his days passed joyously. But he began to realise mentally the prophecies of those who had warned him against going home. If he spent his full three years of leave, what would he not miss?
However, in March 1846, during the Sutlej campaign, came an order: "Rejoin your regiment; ordered on service."
In fifteen days he was off and joined his regiment: just then the adjutancy was vacant, and it was offered to him! A few days' delay, and he would have lost a favourable opportunity.
Daly's friend, Anderson, after travelling through Persia, joined him at Karachi, and there they lived in the same house for many months, until Anderson went to Multan.
At Karachi, Anderson introduced Daly to Sir Charles Napier, who was to become a kind friend in the years following.
As Sir Charles left for England in 1847, his soldiers near the pier preserved a sad silence—they all felt his going so much: as he passed down the line of troops where with dropped sword Daly sat on horseback at the end of the formation, Sir Charles recognised the young officer and said: "Ah, Daly, is that you?" then turned his horse and shook him by the hand, with "Good-bye! good luck to you, my boy."
Daly felt that kind words from so great a soldier were to be remembered with pride.
In 1848 the Punjab seemed to be profoundly peaceful: Sir Henry Lawrence had gone to England, leaving his charge to his brother John until Sir Frederick Currie should come to Lahore.
The dewan, or ruler, of the Province of Multan, to the south of the Punjab, was Mulraj; he had succeeded his father, who had amassed great riches and constructed strong fortifications at Multan, a city more than two miles in circumference, having walls of sunburnt bricks forty feet high.
Now this Mulraj came to Lahore and told John Lawrence he wished to resign. No arguments could dissuade him; so the Sikh Durbar, at Currie's request, decided to send two British officers to accept the Dewan's resignation and install his successor. Vans Agnew and Anderson were chosen to accompany the new governor designate, Sirdar Khan Singh.
The escort consisted of 1400 Sikh infantry, a Gurkha regiment, 700 cavalry and 100 artillerymen with 6 guns.
Anderson, writing to Daly from a boat on the Ravi, says: "The Sirdar is a fine fellow and has lots of pluck . . . to say that I am a lucky fellow, Daly, is less than the truth. I could not in all India have a better appointment given me—I am indebted to John Lawrence and Outram for it."
The poor fellow little thought he was going to his death!
They reached Multan on the 18th April 1848; on the 19th, as they rode back from the fort of which they had taken formal charge, the British officers were attacked in the street and both wounded, Anderson seriously. Mulraj was actually riding by their side at the time and made no effort to protect them. They were brought back to the quarters of their escort, a Mahommedan walled temple outside the walls of Multan.
Next morning their escort deserted them and joined the rioters.
Sirdar Khan Singh and a dozen faithful horsemen alone stood by them; and in the evening Agnew and Anderson were murdered by a fanatical mob. But Agnew had had time to pencil a note to Sir Herbert Edwardes, 90 miles away, and call for help. Edwardes crossed the Indus and besieged Multan and fought and won three battles, until General Whish, with Daly coming later as volunteer, arrived in August 1848 to besiege the fort. Here Daly was under fire from heavy guns for the first time: he tells us the Sikh gunners in Multan were beautiful shots and we lost many men.
"The other day I made a most ludicrous blunder; I have never yet seen the general. I was suggesting some change in our position, when an old gent in a white jacket came up; Major Napier turned to him while I was speaking, and the old gent addressed some question to me, which, deeming irrelevant, or of no importance, compared with Napier's attention, I answered curtly and abruptly.
"Gordon, who was behind, listening, said to me:
"'Daly, you treat the general rather coolly!'
"'Lord! Lord! I thought he was an old sapper sergeant! The general!'"
The siege of Multan cost us in its first stage 17 British officers and many men; General Whish had to raise the siege and ask for reinforcements from Bombay.
Daly served in the final siege as Adjutant of the 1st 103 Bombay Fusiliers under General Dundas, and was thanked by the Chief Engineer, Major R. Napier, for his zeal and ability.
The Bombay Column reached Multan on Christmas Eve, 1848, and began operations on 27th December by attacking the suburbs, driving the enemy at the point of the bayonet from their strong positions in nullahs, or ravines, orchards and walled gardens.
General Whish had placed his batteries in the first siege nearly 3 miles from the city; now they were 500 yards from the walls.
On 30th December a shell struck the Jumma Musjid, or Great Mosque, and another blew up a powder magazine in the city, killing 1000 men.
On the 1st of January 1849, at 4 p.m., the signal to storm was given, the Fusiliers in advance led by Captain Leith; twice were the besiegers repulsed with heavy loss; Leith and his subaltern Grey were dangerously wounded.
A third time the Fusiliers, furious at the loss of 'their officers, and raising an Irish yell that dismayed their foes, rushed up to the steep breach, shouting, "Remember Anderson," and won the summit, where Colour-Sergeant Bennett, amid a shower of bullets, planted the British colours, and by sunset the city of Multan was captured. However, there still remained the clearing of many narrow streets, no easy task, and many casualties occurred.
Then our men lay down in square or gateway, food was brought them and chains of double sentries guarded them from surprise.
As they slept, worn out with their exertions, suddenly a terrific explosion at midnight set the houses rocking and falling.
Was it a mine? None knew the cause; but as the men started up from the ground, officers were heard calling to their men: "Be steady, boys, and stand to your arms."
Heart-piercing cries and groans of men buried alive unnerved their comrades in the dark; lanterns showed here and there the glimpse of a ghastly hand or leg protruding from the dusty debris.
In one regiment 10 were killed and 30 injured by falling stones.
Next day a hospital for the wounded and sick of the enemy was organised; there were no outrages and but little looting.
The citadel was on the point of being stormed when Mulraj with 3000 men surrendered. The bodies of Agnew and Anderson were carried with military honours through the sloping breach and buried side by side on the summit of Mulraj's citadel.
After the capture of Multan a garrison of Bombay troops was left there, and the remainder of the force hurried away to join Lord Gough's army of the Punjab which had fought two battles at great cost against the Sikhs (Ramnuggur and Chilianwala) and was in a very critical position.
When the Multan reinforcements arrived, the General was able to fight the battle of Gujerat on 21st February 1849; in this engagement 60,000 men with an immense number of guns were signally defeated; 14,000 laid down their arms, and the Punjab was annexed. We may then conclude that the battle of Gujerat saved India to us in the time of the Mutiny. For the Punjab, under the masterly administration of the Lawrences, Edwardes and Nicholson, became a loyal province of brave and faithful Sikhs, who marched down to Delhi and fought side by side with their British brothers on the Ridge. Lord Gough had led his men well and bravely, but his great losses made the people at home cry for a change of commander; and Sir Charles Napier was appointed, to Daly's great content; yet he felt for the grief and shame which this change would entail upon the old General. At the end of May, Daly received a letter from Sir Henry Lawrence:—
"My Dear Sir,—
After an expedition through the Kohat Pass under Sir Charles Napier, Daly's regiment now complete, and consisting mostly of Pathans and sons of great chiefs, was stationed at Peshawur, where Daly made friends with Sir Colin Campbell and Colonel Mansfield. Of the latter, Daly says: "He is versatile and accomplished: he will travesty Hamlet, or write you an essay on Military Defence, discuss Montaigne, or play an active part in a joke. There is a wondrous fund of life and humour about him."
In 1852, Daly was again down with fever, and went home by Aden and Trieste. After visiting the Isle of Wight he crossed over to Ireland, where his father was living in a big house dropped down on the edge of a marsh: he found him surrounded by colts and horses, well and merry. No doubt father and son told many a tale of war and peace, comparing experiences of many lands.
When Daly returned to the Isle of Wight he married a girl he had known from boyhood, Susan Kirkpatrick; they settled down at Shanklin. In March 1854 he saw the British fleet sail for the Baltic, Queen Victoria receiving the admiral and his captain on board the Fairy before they sailed. By Christmas, 1854, he was again at Bombay, hoping to be sent to the Crimea. But Colonel Mansfield wrote, advising him to stay in India. After some months' service at Karachi as Brigade-Major, Daly received two telegrams from the Viceroy's private secretary—"Go to Agra"; "You are to command Oudh cavalry." So, leaving his wife at Karachi, Daly went by sea to Calcutta; Oudh had been just incorporated in British India; Outram had become Chief Commissioner and had got Lord Dalhousie to send him Daly to command an irregular force of cavalry.
Daly's wife followed with her new baby and met her husband at Cawnpur: hence by dak ghari (or wooden carriage with venetian blinds) they went to Lucknow; passing many mosques and temples with tall minarets, they went through the Dilkusha Park, full of magnificent mango trees, acacia and banian till they arrived at the flat-roofed house near the river Goomti, which was to be their home.
There, every morning, men and horses from all parts of India came to be selected for the new regiment; the horses, wilder than the men, covered with all sorts of bright saddle-cloths and scarves from nose to saddle-girth.
At the end of January 1857, Mr. Jackson, the chief commissioner, brought two pretty nieces to Lucknow, and the ladies got up a ball for them. Alas! in a few months these pretty girls were seized by mutineers, and no one knows what fate pursued the elder sister, Georgina: Madeline, a bright sunny girl, was held captive in Lucknow city, half-starved, but rescued at last. On Daly's return from chasing an outlaw, he found a telegram from Sir John Lawrence, offering him the command of the Guides in Lumsden's absence. Meanwhile Sir Henry Lawrence had been made chief commissioner at Lucknow and wrote asking Daly to visit him at the Residency.
Mrs. Daly writes: "24th March.—We came in here last might . . . . Sir Henry is a most charming person; his manner so kind, cheerful and affable; it sets every one at his ease . . . but he looks sadly weary . . . he hates state and does not care for driving out with four horses . . . he gives one the feeling of living for another world, he believes that the real life is to come."
Daly had accepted the Guides by Sir Henry's advice, and on 14th April they left Lucknow and proceeded by Cawnpur to Agra.
They reached Delhi on the 18th April, talked to officers about the disaffection of the sepoys, and so on by Umballa to Lahore: Mrs. Daly and her child went to Simla and saw the Lawrence Asylum for children of white soldiers, to which Sir Henry Lawrence had given £10,000 in the last four years.
How nearly they had missed destruction—Lucknow, Cawnpur, Delhi! and only one month more, when the floods of mutiny would rise and swell. Daly had done his 212 miles in twenty-one hours by mail-cart. He says: "Grand doing, wondrous whipping, desperate driving in the dash across narrow bridges of boats—10:30 a.m., found Sir John in his office, no coat on—shirt sleeves tucked up—amidst a heap of papers—we had many familiar chats—he is prompter and harder than Sir Henry . . . has not that generous delicacy of his brother, is energetic, bold and vigilant."
Daly went on to Attock, where the morning air was cool and fresh, and to Mardan, where the Guides were stationed. There he found Battye second in command; Kennedy, commandant of cavalry; Hawes, adjutant; and Stewart, assistant-surgeon.
It was a bare fortnight after he joined the corps that Daly heard the first news of the mutiny at Meerut: an hour afterwards came an order from Colonel Edwardes, for Daly to move with his corps to Noushera. At midnight he arrived, and two hours later received an "urgent" to proceed at once to Attoch. Into Attoch galloped Chamberlain, a resolute, thoughtful soldier, with whom Daly had a grave talk.
In his diary Daly writes: "Swam the Indus last night and again to-night; the current was strong, and I found I had no spare strength on my return."
Marching by night they escaped the great heat and dust storms. On the 18th they were overtaken within 4 miles of Pindi by Edwardes, riding in a buggy to visit Sir John Lawrence. Daly jumped in, and they found at 5 a.m. Chamberlain in bed at the door: Sir John, in bed within, called them inside and conversed frankly and cordially.
Telegrams were read and discussed: Meerut with 1600 English troops making no effort to crush the mutineers was the worst item.
The young soldiers resolved on a course of action, without delay or hesitation. Edwardes and Nicholson, Cotton and Chamberlain stoutly told the old and somewhat bewildered General Anson what to do, and he did it!
Chamberlain was to command the movable column—high-minded he, and bold as a lion, knowing what to do. The Guides were to press forward for the scene of action. Daly and other officers could hardly keep awake as they rode; the men were cheerful and willing. They reached Lahore on the 26th and set about recruiting: many Sikh sirdars offered help: not one noble had joined the rebels. On 1st June they reached Ludhiana and enjoyed splendid quarters at the grand house of Mr. Ricketts, with iced water and cold sheets to lie on!
At Kurnal, on the 6th June, cholera broke out in Daly's corps and attacked three Gurkhas and others; one cook died and five sick men were left behind. Edwardes writes: "We are all delighted at the march the Guides have been making. It is the talk of the border. I hope the men will fill their pockets in the sack of Delhi."
On the 9th of June the Guides joined the Delhi force: a great excitement was caused as they appeared on the Ridge; for their stately height and martial bearing struck all beholders, and they came in as fresh and light as if they had marched but a few miles. Yet the march from Mardan to Delhi, a distance of 580 miles in twenty-two days, at the hottest time of the year, has been considered one of the finest achievements of the war.
They had just completed their last thirty miles to Delhi when a staff officer galloped up. "How soon can you be ready to go into action?" "In half an hour." That was rather sharp work; but some of them had seen hotter work at Multan. Three hours after their arrival they were engaged hand-to-hand with the rebels, and every British officer of the Guides was wounded.
Battye was mortally wounded; Khan Singh Rosa hard hit; Hawes cut across the face with a tulwar; Daly had his horse killed under him and was hit in the leg by a spent bullet; Kennedy was slightly hurt.
Edwardes writes to Daly: "Amidst all our joy at the march and brave deeds of the Guides, we are greatly grieved to hear of poor young Battye's death. He was full of hope and promise, and is indeed a flower fallen from the chaplet of our Indian Army."
Quintin Battye was shot by a sepoy within a couple of yards of him, right through the lower part of the stomach: he had fought gallantly and died a hero's death: he had two other wounds.
Of the commanders-in-chief, General Anson had died on the 27th May; General Sir H. Barnard died on the 5th July; General Reed was invalided on the 17th July; Brigadier-General Archdale Wilson was the fourth to take up the command. Hodson had said in his trenchant way, "We shall never do anything till all these old gentlemen pass away"; and this was the hard truth. War is certainly not a profession for old age: there are only a few elderly men, like Lord Roberts, who maintain the vigour and decision of youth. Within the city were 40,000 sepoys trained to shoot and charge by English officers; on the Ridge there were a little over 6000 on the 8th July. It was no wonder if the besiegers sometimes felt more like being besieged. The Guides were posted on the right of the Ridge, and during the siege had to repel twenty-six separate attacks on this side of our line.
Sir John Lawrence wrote to Daly his congratulations and said he was sending every man they could muster; but Peshawur gave anxiety, and three European regiments had to be held back in the Punjab, for none of the Hindoo corps could be trusted. And in censuring a certain general who had allowed all the Jullundhur rebels to escape, though they had a river to cross, Sir John bitterly remarks: "When I see some of the men we entrust with our troops, I almost think that a curse from the Almighty is on us."
On the 19th July, Daly was very severely wounded; for the enemy, taking advantage of the British being engaged in the front, moved round to our right and rear under cover of thick foliage. It was a surprise; for we had only a portion of the 9th Lancers, the Guides cavalry, and four guns with which to meet the attack.
Sir Hope Grant, who was in command, detached Daly to the left with two of Major Tombs' guns under Lieutenant Hills, a troop of lancers and the Guides cavalry. These quickly found themselves in the presence of a strong force with eight guns in position and a mass of infantry and cavalry. Daly directed Hills to get his guns into action, and with his Guides started off to clear the left flank already threatened by rebel cavalry. They were barely holding their own when Major Tombs came up with the remainder of his guns.
As the enemy began to close on Daly's men in great numbers, Tombs sent word to the Guides: "I must ask you to charge to save my guns." Thereat Daly led the Guides at a gallop, broke through the infantry and reached the enemy's guns.
But Daly got a bullet through his left shoulder which crippled his arm for life. As he lay on the ground in the dusk of evening his men searched for him in vain: until one of the enemy, who had served in the 1st Oudh Irregular Cavalry, came up and pointed to where he lay. Of this native Mrs. Daly had written a year before thus:
"There is a young Shahzadah (prince) in this regiment, a grandson of Shuja-ul-Mulk. A handsome boy of eighteen, pale and delicate, with beautiful eyes; a very interesting lad. The grandson of a king, he is thankful to be a jemadar (cornet) with £40 a year. Henry has taken quite a fancy to him, has him into the house to talk to him, gives him quinine, etc."
This boy seems to have joined the rebels from compulsion: poor lad, when Delhi was taken, he was probably hanged. A poor return for having saved the life of his former colonel. Yule, who commanded the 9th Lancers, also fell wounded; he was not found, and the rebels prowled round the battlefield during the night and put him and others to death. "Poor Yule," wrote Daly, "he trotted by me as I lay on the ground: it was quite dusk: he ought not to have been killed." For it was pitch dark when our men retired, otherwise we might have taken all their guns; one gun and two carriages were taken the following morning when, at Daly's suggestion, a party was sent out to search the ground.
Major Tombs said the enemy got so close to his guns that they could pick off his gunners as they worked the guns, and rendered it almost impossible to serve them. Daly's charge saved the battery; but it was a desperate charge right up to the enemy's guns. It was then that Hodson took the command of the Guides for five weeks, and was subsequently succeeded by Shebbeare.
On the 23rd of June, the Sikh corps arrived from the Punjab, and soon gave the rebels a specimen of their fighting powers.
On the 24th, the sepoys came out in great force, sniping and occupying gardens: their loss was so immense that they did not fire a shot next day. We found out what was going on in the city by Hodson's spies; there were also native officers who got in for three or four days at a time, and reported how there was dissension amongst the rebels, quarrelling over loot, robbing and fighting and much disease.
John Lawrence sent down in July 200 picked Punjabis, well mounted, under Lieutenant Bailey—a good reinforcement for the Guides.
The new arrivals of mutineers, it was said, were not allowed to enter Delhi until they had shown their prowess outside; thus many of them got cut up by our men and never saw the inside of the city.
On the 6th of July, Daly writes: "Poor General Barnard died yesterday of cholera: no doubt in him, like General Anson, worry and anxiety laid the seeds of the destroyer. He was the gamest, kindest, and kindliest gentleman I ever met. But he had no mind, no resolution save what he got from others. We have lots of good men and true, though heaps of muffs and old women."
When General Reed became commander-in-chief, Chamberlain became the real head: he was for waiting a little and would make no assault until more troops and guns came up: but Daly and Hodson were for immediate assault. Even as early as the 12th June, Wilberforce, Greathed, Maunsell, and Chesney had prepared a plan of assault: but an accident enforced its postponement. Men's spirits rose when they heard that Phillour, Agra, and Allahabad had been saved to the British. Phillour saved by an hour and a half! from this place most of the supplies for the siege were brought. Agra saved by stratagem: Allahabad by the fearlessness and prompt action of Lieutenant Brasyer, a young man who had been promoted from the ranks for his splendid conduct during the Sutlej campaign of 1846. Brasyer with his Sikhs, some invalid Europeans and Eurasians, disarmed just in time the 6th Native Infantry and expelled them from the fort.
These arsenals were of prime importance to the army before Delhi; but they were not saved by the foresight of the Indian Government.
On 15th July, Chamberlain had his arm broken: his tent was next to Daly's, and they were great friends. Daly says of him:
Chamberlain is of heroic mould, gallant and forward to a fault: tall, with a soldierly gait, fine principles, and an honest heart."
As to the price of provisions in camp, a buggy (covered dog-cart) was sold by auction for a pot of jam. Tins of bacon fetched four rupees a mouthful: grain was cheap, but fowls were unknown.
On the 29th July, Daly reports that a victory at Fattehpur, below Cawnpur, had cheered the men vastly.
Havelock had given the perpetrators of the Cawnpur Massacre a lesson in retaliation: Captain Maude, R.A., had shown them what eight guns could do, and if they had had cavalry to follow up the victory, it would have been complete.
The dark days of the Delhi siege were now passing: the men played merry games when they were not fighting; provisions were brought in by willing natives, who no longer thought that the British rule was doomed. Sheep began to be common now, poultry abundant; troops from China were expected.
Then Sir John Lawrence wrote, 25th July, to say he was sending down upwards of 4000 good and reliable troops, of whom 1200 might be Europeans: he dare not send more from the Punjab.
Edwardes writes 27th July: ". . . Our fancy man, Nicholson, has gone down from this side with his shirt sleeves up; so I hope this is the beginning of the end and Delhi will be assailed and squashed . . . Your native soldiers never write to their fathers, mothers, or sweethearts—and a precious row I hear at my house about it. If you would only send up some captured trophy, you would do good."
On the 4th August a letter from Havelock told how he, with the 78th Highlanders, 1st Madras Fusiliers, and Sikh corps, had beaten the rebels in three battles and taken all their guns: the Nana's residence had been destroyed, and Havelock was now on his way to relieve Lucknow. The Cawnpur tragedy, however, and the death of Sir Henry Lawrence sadly dashed the growing feeling of optimism among the men.
There were many deserters from Delhi, but the wretches were plundered by the villagers: there remained now in the city only about 15,000 effectives.
On the 14th August the Punjab column came in with Nicholson, and the men began to talk about the assault being near.
On the 26th of August the camp heard that the siege train of heavy guns was not far off: the rebels, too, in Delhi heard this, and sent out 6000 men and eighteen guns to intercept it.
This rebel force was attacked by Nicholson, who took twelve guns and thoroughly routed the enemy. But Major Lumsden's brother was killed, a fine gallant young soldier. Daly says:
"Nicholson accomplished what I believe no other man here would have done, and this is the impression of every man here—he is able, vigorous, and brave as a lion: so many guns were not taken even on the 8th June."
On the 4th September the siege train came safely in.
Two batteries were erected on the night of the 7th, 600 yards from the walls: the enemy were simply astonished when the firing began, and cavalry came out to take the guns, but a shower of grape quelled them.
By the 9th, ten heavy guns were at work tearing down the defences. Baird-Smith and Alexander Taylor had worked hard to reconnoitre and choose the ground and get the batteries erected. On the 11th September, Taylor called on Daly, saying all his work was over: one battery was to open 160 yards from the wall, and it was fully expected that Pandy would get a surprise packet.
On the 12th, there was a meeting at the General's to hear the plan of assault: three columns, led by Nicholson, Campbell, and Jones, were to assail the walls and bastions. Great regret was felt this day at Fagan being shot as he sat on the trail of his gun watching the effect of the shot for which he had just laid. He was an officer respected by all, cheerful, hardy, heroic: if all the heroes of this war were mentioned in any detail, many volumes could be filled. In fact it was no ordinary war: the supreme danger put every one on his mettle, and brought out unsuspected heroism.
Up to now Daly's wound had prevented him from taking active duty; he was able neither to ride nor run, but he watched the assault from the top of Hindu Rao's house.
From this coign of vantage he could not see the breach, but on the 15th could see our mortars shelling the palace, and a long train of fugitives leaving the city, and of animals laden with spoil: the mortal wound of General Nicholson and the broken arm of Greathed gave him great sorrow.
The Guides during the assault were in action on the right: in this young Murray fell, shot through the chest.
On the 22nd, Daly reports: "The old king is in our hands . . . some Sikh sowars of Hodson's came on the sons, not knowing who they were: they plundered them and took no heed of their capture. We shall get them yet, I hope; that Mirza Moghul must be hanged as high as possible."
On the 27th, Daly was staying with Major Coke in a palace in Delhi, being unable yet to ride. He saw the vision of a looted city: doors and windows broken; no life, save it were that of a derelict cat furtively peeping round the corner of some old bedding or furniture; the citizens either fled or roaming about with hungry eyes—no beggars these, you see, but haply nobles of yesterday and Indian ladies delicately bred, carrying their jewels about their person, sorely famished for want of food and clothing.
The rebels had made a stiff resistance in places up to a certain point: but you could still see sand-bags piled up across some narrow street, guns loaded and placed in position, but not fired: for there were none to lead them. In October, Daly was granted a few weeks' leave to Simla: thence he wrote letters criticising Lord Canning for his delay in helping Lucknow, Lord Palmerston for babbling in debate instead of acting at once; for even 500 men sent to Bombay might have done real good. "Sir John is most kind, most cordial . . . nevertheless he is not to me what Sir Henry was. I had a love for him exceeding even the admiration and reverence in which I held his lofty character and great attainments; as Lumsden said, "It is much, Daly, to have known one such man."
The Guides left Delhi on the 18th December 1857: at Peshawur they were given a great reception; the troops of the Peshawur cantonment were paraded under General Sir Sydney Cotton to welcome them; and a royal salute was fired on their approaching the parade-ground. Of the 19 officers who had been attached to the Guides during the siege, 3 were killed, 1 died, and 8 were wounded; of the last, 1 was wounded six times, 1 four times, and 2 twice. Amongst the men there were 313 casualties out of 550. Twenty-five native officers and men of the Guides received the order of merit; 54 were specially mentioned and promoted on the spot for gallantry in the field. The Court of Directors addressed the Government of India in August 1858 and dwelt on their wonderful march to Delhi, their services before the rebels, and their singular fidelity, as shown by the fact that out of 800 men not one deserted to the enemy.
Daly then spent his few weeks' leave at Simla with his wife, who had been left there in May, when the station was entirely without defence. Mrs. Daly and children started for England in January 1858; being accompanied by her husband as far as the Indus, where they took boat. Then Daly returned by mail-cart to Lahore, wishing he could join Sir Colin Campbell in clearing the rebels from Oudh.
He thought how that General, strong in artillery, cavalry, and prestige, would sweep the cowed sepoys before him into their forests and deserts: while he remembered how the rebels fought in the beginning of the Mutiny, sure of victory with their thousands against our poor hundreds, buoyed up by prophecies and elate with the first massacres of helpless women and children, they fought then for our extermination, now they knew the tables were turned.
Daly's old friend Mansfield was now chief of the staff to Sir Colin, and while Daly was visiting Edwardes at Peshawur, a telegram came: "The chief of the staff inquires where is Captain Daly?" The reply was, "At Peshawur, waiting for orders."
On the 23rd of February, Daly underwent a painful operation in order to recover the use of his left shoulder. Two days later came another telegram: "Ask Daly to come to Lucknow and live here with me—he may be in time for the struggle, if he makes haste." With Sir John Lawrence's permission Daly set off at once.
He found his friend and Sir Colin at the Martiniere, a college founded by General Martino, a French officer in the King of Oudh's service. Daly met with a hearty reception; Sir Colin being markedly cordial.
On the 12th of March, Daly reports: "The cordon is closing in on every side. Poor Hodson was badly wounded in the city, whither he had gone to speak to Colonel Napier. Mansfield wishes me to assume command of his corps, which is stronger than any here."
It chanced that Daly was at Bank's house when Hodson was brought in on a dhoolie: he fetched a doctor and helped to attend on him.
"Hodson was a wondrous compound," writes Daly; "ability high and strong; power and energy, physical and mental. His ability had received more culture than fell to the most of us. For he did not quit England till twenty-three years of age, when he was a B.A. and somewhat distinguished at Cambridge."
Hodson's Horse numbered just then 750 sabres with 7 officers: many of the men had never bestrode a pony before leaving the Punjab. Mr. Montgomery and the Rajah of Jhind had raised some troops at first: the men, bumping through the camp at Delhi on the big obstinate horses, were nick-named "The Plungers": they quickly learned to ride, however.
Soon after taking this command Daly had to ride out with the 7th Hussars and attack a mass of rebels collected at Nawabgunge: there was much single-combat fighting: some of the Irregular Horse, who had been attracted to the corps by hopes of plunder there, were found unfit for the service.
Daly discovered a good deal of loot gathered by his men and tried to equalise profits: for while some looted, others were busy fighting and got nothing: all had had much rough work to do; long patrols, hard gallops, difficult reconnaissances. They were a strange medley of men from the plough, robbers from the hills and border, nobles' sons and small land proprietors. They all needed to be managed with tact and genial talks rather than scoldings and severity.
After the relief of the Lucknow garrison, the city looked like Delhi after its capture: camp followers filled courts and houses, plundering and searching: dead bodies of sepoys, carcases of animals clogged the narrow passages and rendered the air nauseous and unhealthy. Most of the inhabitants had fled, but they had left behind the tokens of their skill in preparing for resistance in loop-holed walls and timber-built barricades; batteries and trenches in many places intersected each other. The Residency was a heap of ruins, pillars were broken, rooms were choked with the debris of fallen ceilings and roofs: the church was levelled to its foundations. Much of this damage was done during the rebel tenure of the place, after Sir Colin relieved and withdrew the garrison in November 1857.
It is said that one officer of the 13th Native Infantry, Sergeant Macpherson, had been accidentally left behind in the Residency: he had fallen asleep in a dark corner, and had not heard the warning cries of those about to leave. When he awoke, several hours after the garrison and all had gone, he was amazed by the strange silence, and jumped up to find he was alone in the fort and buildings. Quickly he ran in the dark down the lonely streets, through deserted palaces and courtyards, meeting none; till he reached the Secundra Bagh, where, to his delight, he came upon the rear-guard of the Highlanders: he was known afterwards as "Sleepy Sandy." Captain Waterman was also left asleep in the Residency: he too contrived to join the rear-guard in safety; but the fright so affected his nerves that he was never the same man afterwards.
Daly reports on the 25th March having led a pursuit of rebels through the long grass, which was still full of armed men who started up like hares, but fired ere they bolted.
All round Lucknow for miles the country was covered with dead carcases—men, horses, camels, bullocks, and donkeys lay about everywhere, and swarms of flies pestered the soldiers, settled on their plates of rice in black masses, and were a veritable torment as well as danger.
When the men struck their tents at night, the flies were sleeping in the roofs; so when the tents were rolled up the flies got crushed and killed: on pitching the tents again, the sweepers of each company were called to collect the dead flies; and from one tent there were carried out five large basketfuls of dead flies.
As most of the rebels from Lucknow had retreated north-west towards Bareilly and Rohilkhand, Daly's force was sent to cut them off. The country soon became difficult with belts of trees and thick underwood, very unfitted for movements of cavalry: also there were rivers and canals to cross, corn-fields and jungle full of desperadoes. At every minute men were being fired at and often wounded by these skulking sepoys. Outram had been attacking Moosabagh at the end of March, and one morning Daly received a note from the brigadier:—
"Come up as quick as you can and order a squadron of your regiment to follow: the rebels are streaming out of the fort."
The 1st Sikh Cavalry helped in the pursuit, but the officer in command, Wale, a gallant, cheery officer, was shot dead after cutting up a large number of the rebels.
One thing which Daly noticed was the small attention given to the war by the husbandmen: only for an hour or two were the sheaves of corn deserted; the bullocks were seen to be yoked to the well, ready to turn the wheel for irrigating the soil; the cucumber seed was sown, and all was carried on as if war were like a passing shower that need not interfere with the more important operations of life and nature.
It was reported that a large force, chiefly consisting of Lucknow rebels, was collected in Bareilly under Khan Bahadur Khan, who had issued orders to his men for their guidance in these words:—
"Do not attempt to meet the regular columns of the infidels, because they are superior to you in discipline and have more guns: but watch their movements; guard all the ghats on the rivers; stop their supplies; cut up their piquets; keep constantly hanging about their camps; give them no rest." Wise words no doubt! the old Mahratta tactics!
The Indian who had organised the Mutiny from the first, the Moulvi, the man who had proclaimed the restoration of' the King of Delhi, was going about Rohilkhand with a large force of cavalry. He and the Nana were together at Mohumdee, and John Jones of the 60th had attacked them with great spirit: but the British forces were not numerous enough to meet the enemy at so many scattered points.
In June 1858, Daly was ordered to accompany General Hope Grant in an attack on rebel rajahs, etc., at Nawabgunge, whose forces numbered some 12,000 men with ten guns, for many rajahs who wished to help the British were being compelled to join the rebels, or have their estates plundered. In one fight Daly made three charges and captured nearly all the enemy's guns.
Some men were beginning to blame Sir Colin for not clearing the country more successfully; but Daly always spoke well of the old General: "To my mind, knowing how terribly he is enveloped in ancient prejudices, it is wonderful to contemplate what he has done: . . . Sir Colin would have been happier in command of a brigade: . . . all in all, he has done well. The peerage will bring him no satisfaction: he said to me one day very mournfully, I am wifeless and childless—a lone man. The rank and wealth and honours which would have gladdened those dear to me, come to me when all who loved me in my youth are gone. Ah! Daly, I have suffered poverty and hardship. For years, for the want of a few hundred pounds, I was compelled to live in the West Indies, unable to purchase the promotion I craved for, and which younger men about me were getting as they wished: those were bitter days."
The richest men in high command, and old generals not superseded! One wonders how victory ever came to grace our arms!
Forbes-Mitchell of the 93rd Highlanders describes vividly the charge made by 360 Rohilla Ghazis or religious fanatics at the battle of Bareilly.
Sir Colin saw them coming and called out, "Ghazis, Ghazis! close up the ranks! bayonet them as they come on."
The Ghazis charged in blind fury, with their round shields on their left arms, their bodies bent low, waving their tulwars over their heads, throwing themselves under the bayonets and cutting at the men's legs. Colonel Cameron of the 42nd was pulled from his horse by a Ghazi; but his life was saved by Colour-Sergeant Gardener, who got hold of a tulwar and cut off the Ghazi's head. The struggle was short: every one of these brave Ghazis was killed; 133 lay in one circle in front of the colours of the 42nd.
Sir Colin caught the glint of the eye of one Ghazi as he lay on the ground, shamming dead. "Bayonet that man!" he cried. But the Ghazi was enveloped in a thick quilted tunic of green silk, and the blunt Enfield bayonet could not pierce it: the Highlander would have been cut down, had not a Sikh Sirdar rushed to his aid and cut off the Ghazi's head with one sweep of his keen tulwar. These fanatics made no bones of killing non-combatants. Mr. Ross, chaplain of the 42nd, all unarmed, was seen to be running for his life, dodging round camels and bullocks, with a rebel sowar after him: at last, seeing some Highlanders, he rushed to them breathless for protection, stammering out, "Ninety-third! shoot that impertinent fellow!" The sowar was shot down and his Reverence escaped with his life. In these fights with the rebels we often hear of the marvellous keen blade of the tulwar. There were three brothers named Ready in the 93rd, two of whom were cloven in twain by tulwars in the assault on the Begum's palace at Lucknow. David, the remaining brother, dropped his bayonet, seized a tulwar and in a kind of frenzy swung it round with terrible effect, cutting off men's heads as if they had been mere heads of cabbage. The curve of this tulwar was about a quarter circle, and it was sharper than most razors. The wonder is how such tempered steel could be wrought with such simple appliances.
Some of the rajahs were faithful to us in heart, and some also in deed. The Rajah of Bulrampur was most steadfast—one wonders if his loyalty was ever repaid! His elephants were sent to Sekrova for the transport of the ladies and children to Lucknow, and with him took refuge all the officers and civilians who were saved. In 1858 his position became difficult, when the sepoys from Delhi and Lucknow were thronging the towns and hiding in the fields. Nevertheless the Rajah held his ground, though his chief town had been plundered in December. The English General had congratulated him on his staunchness, and all the small rajahs were then seeking his influence, which he was proud to use in their behalf. An amnesty had been proclaimed, but the sepoys did not know about it, and kept skulking in the forests, spiritless and hopeless, but armed. So the Oudh rebellion was slowly dying out: but in Central India, Tantia Topee was still giving much trouble.
In April 1859, Daly handed over his command to Hughes and sailed for England. Thus ends the story of Daly as far as the Mutiny is concerned. But he returned to India and did good service in Central India as political agent: in his political career he showed great sympathy with the native princes. To commemorate his work the chiefs of Central India subscribed towards a handsome building named "The Daly College"; and Lord Dufferin in opening the hall spoke of Sir Henry Daly as one of the most accomplished and high-minded public servants in India—the champion and friend of the Native Princes and the Native States.
He died at Ryde in July 1895, having lived a life of action throughout: a grand horseman, a lover of dogs and horses, he had also a rich fund of Irish humour and delighted in telling and hearing anecdotes. He was well read in history and biography and was deeply religious at heart.
"To my mind," he says, "there is no religion so holy as that of helping and comforting our fellow-creatures."
Sir Neville Chamberlain wrote: "The natives were at once led to trust him; they accepted him as a just judge and as a friend who would do his best to see that their rights were respected by the State."
Thus the dashing cavalry officer developed into a healer of discord and a saviour of his Indian brethren.