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" We thus learn not to judge of the wisdom of measures too ex- 
clusively by the results. We learn to apply the juster standard of 
seeing what the circumstances and the probabilities were that sur- 
rounded a statesman or a general at the time when he decided on 
his plan : we value him not by his fortune, but by his Upoalpeffis, 
to adopt the expressive Greek word, for which our language gives 
no equivalent." — Sir Edwakd Ckeasy. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 





K.C.B., C.S.L, CLE. 




VOL. I. 


All Rights reserved 

1 DATE. M 2 ^.1990 







In preparing the following memoir of my late hus- 
band for publication, I have desired to reproduce, 
as nearly as possible in his own words, a personal 
account of the stirring and momentous events in 
which he played always an active and latterly a 
leading part. 

The principal portion of the biography relating to 
his early career up to the time of his promotion to 
field rank is taken from the unstudied letters written 
in camp and bivouac by Charles MacGregor to his 
parents during the period which includes the Indian 
Mutiny, the Chinese War, the Bhutan Campaigns, 
and the Abyssinian Expedition. 

The death of my husband's father in 1869 unfor- 
tunately brought to an end the interesting corre- 
spondence, which forms an almost complete auto- 
biography of the General up to his thirtieth year. 
For the continuation of the memoir recourse has 
been had to diaries and demi-official memoranda, 



from which a more or less connected narrative of Sir 
Charles's later services has been compiled. 

The full details of my husband's arduous duties, 
whether at the desk of the Quartermaster-General's 
office or on toilsome journeys performed in the 
saddle, during his preparation of the ' Central Asian 
and Frontier Gazetteer,' would afford but little in- 
teresting matter for the general reader, and therefore 
this portion of the biography is not dwelt upon at 
any length. The ponderous tomes of the * Gazet- 
teer' itself, forming, as it does, a standard work of 
reference for all time, bear sufficient testimony to the 
patience and energy of their author. 

The story of the famine in Northern Bengal and 
the strenuous exertions which it demanded on the 
part of the Director of Transport, the duties of 
which my husband so successfully carried out, has 
been gathered from official documents and Sir 
Kichard Temple's minutes. The conduct of relief 
operations on a large scale in^'-olves in reality the 
organisation and working of such numbers, that it is 
in every respect equivalent to the command of an 
army in the field, but with this difference, that, in 
the case of military operations, the combatant forces 
have been already trained to co-operate, and are 
fully under the control of proper departmental 
officers ; then, again, active service is exciting, and 
the achievements, if not the rewards, are brilliant : 



whereas, on the other hand, in the combat with 
dire famine, the multitudes are undisciplined and 
the staff of officers has to be extemporised for the 
occasion ; then, again, the exposure and fatigue are 
distressing, the task is irksome and laborious, whilst 
the proper performance of the duty is thankless, 
and leads neither to acknowledgment, promotion, 
nor honour. My husband always considered his 
service in North Bengal during the famine of 1874 
as the hardest and most creditable work in which 
he had been ever engaged. 

The journals of Sir Charles MacGregor's explora- 
tions in Khorassan and Baluchistan have already 
been published during his lifetime, and his journeys, 
therefore, in those countries need but be briefly 
alluded to. Nevertheless there is some matter added 
to the account already published, which will serve 
to explain several points that have been much mis- 

It has been found necessary, of course, to exercise 
considerable judgment in selecting for publication 
the portions of my husband's journal kept during the 
last campaigns in Afghanistan. From his position, 
as Chief of the Staff to more than one general, his 
facilities were unusually favourable not only for ob- 
serving minutely the direction and progress of the 
military operations during the war, from the begin- 
ning to the end, but also for noting the characters 



and abilities of officers of all ranks who came within 
his observation ; and he made the fullest use of his 
opportunities. Having attained the rank of major- 
general, and therefore expectant of obtaining an 
important command, he, not unnaturally, took care- 
ful note of the capabilities, special aptitudes, and per- 
sonal characteristics of all with whom he came in 
contact, so that he should know on whom he could 
thoroughly depend in the critical moment when the 
emergency should arise. It is almost needless to add 
that any passing remarks which could cause the least 
annoyance to any one have been altogether omitted, 
and much personal and confidential matter has, of 
necessity, been suppressed. 

With regard to the concluding chapters, relating 
to Sir Charles's directorate of the Quartermaster-Gen- 
eral's Department, here again the multiplicity of 
routine duties and the busy cares of official life offer 
but little attractive reading or amusement to the 
public in comparison with the more romantic epi- 
sodes of a soldier's life in the field ; but, neverthe- 
less, to the military student the perusal of the chap- 
ter dealing with this important period of stafi" service, 
so absolutely momentous in its effect on the stability 
of British power in India, will prove highly instruc- 
tive, and to the politician deeply suggestive. It 
should not be foro^otten that this work is intended 
to be a book for the service as well as for the general 



public, and many details, therefore, are preserved for 
their military interest. 

Sir Charles MacGregor worked hard to break 
down the inelastic red-tape system by which the 
departmental work had been fettered previous to his 
taking office, and by infusing some of his own energy 
and determination, created a spirit of activity in his 
colleagues, and of emulation in his subordinates, all 
of whom became zealous adherents of their gallant 
chief. In fact, to use the words of a distinguished 
general. Sir Charles MacGregor ''cast a halo o'er 
the post of Quartermaster-General in India, and 
brought the status of the holder to a pitch never 
attained by any predecessor" 

In the Intelligence Branch especially, my hus- 
band induced by his example the officers to take an 
interest in countries beyond the frontiers of Hindu- 
stan — in fact, wherever the Indian army might, by 
the remotest possibility, have to march through or 
to occupy, for defensive or aggressive purposes. It 
is most certainly owing to this encouragement that 
a school of military explorers has now been estab- 
lished in India, and a quantity of strategical and 
economical information has been amassed and sys- 
tematically arranged by the Intelligence Depart- 
ment — a department which, thanks to Sir Charles 
MacGregor s fostering care, differs somewhat per- 
haps from the much-lauded Prussian Office of In- 



telligence, but which possesses a superior scope, and 
takes vigilant cognisance of a far vaster area of 

In preparing the biography for the press, I have 
been greatly assisted by several of my husband's 
brother officers, who have in the most friendly 
spirit contributed information, advice, and explana- 
tion on various subjects which otherwise I should 
have had some difficulty in dealing with, and I beg 
them to accept my cordial thanks, and acknowledg- 
ments of their kindly services. 

It is not easy for a wife to write impartially of a 
departed husband, but from the numerous sympa- 
thetic communications which have reached me, it is 
impossible to shut one's eyes to the fact that the 
name of Charles Metcalfe MacGregor is deeply im- 
pressed on the memory of his comrades in the Im- 
perial armies in India and at home. 


Stronachlachar, Loch Katrine, 
October 1888. 




The Celtic sept of MacGregor — Possessions in Argyleshire and 
Perthshire — Eviction of the tribesmen — The wicked Clan — 
Letters of fire and sword — MacGregors of Glenstrae and 
Glengyle — Loyalty of the MacGregors — Penal statutes re- 
enacted — The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 — Lineal descent of 
Charles MacGregor from MacGregor of Glengyle — School-days 
at Glenalmond and Marlborough College — Mr Connelly, the 
sculptor — Reminiscences of young MacGregor's boyhood, 



Appointed to an ensigncy in the Indian army — Ensign Mac- 
Gregor joins the 57th Native Infantry — Life at Firozpur — 
The mysterious chiipatties — The greased cartridges — Symp- 
toms of mutiny — End of the Persian war — Incendiary fires 
— Disaffection and disbandment of native regiments — 
Mutiny and panic — The outbreak at Firozpur — The 45th 
Native Infantry in open revolt — Conduct of the 57th Native 
Infantry — The mutinous regiments proceed to Delhi — Mrs 
Robertson's escape from Hissar — Mutiny of the 10th Light 
Cavalry — Ensign MacGregor saves the life of Mrs Shaw — He 
volunteers for service at Delhi — The Cawnpore massacre — 



Death of Lieutenant Edward MacGregor at Lucknow — En- 
sign MacGregor posted to the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers 
— He proceeds to Delhi, . . . . .13 



The Bengal Fusiliers with Gerrard's column — The first battle 
near Narnul — Affair at Ganjairi — Capture of rebel camp at 
Patiali — Sword versus tulwar — Advance on Lucknow — His 
brother's sword — Outram's division enters Lucknow — A 
single combat — Another personal encounter — An adventure 
— With Sir Hope Grant's column — In pursuit of the Begum 
— Delights of campaigning — Love of fighting — Favouritism 
of the service — Sickness among the troops — Attached to 
Hodson's Horse — Wounded in a charge at Daryabad — A swell 
dafadar — Lord Canning's proclamation — Across the Gogra — 
Appointed adjutant in Hodson's Horse — Fight near Tulsipur 
— Private intelligence department — Ambition to get the Vic- 
toria Cross — Letters on Irregular Cavalry — Out on a daur 
— Kills Murad Buksh — Project for raising a cavalry corps, . 56 
Appendix.— Major Hughes's letter, &c., . . . 119 


WITH fane's horse IN CHINA. 

Events which led up to war with China — Repulse of Admiral 
Hope at the Peiho — Lieutenant MacGregor appointed to 
Fane's Horse — Raising volunteers and purchasing horses — 
Intelligence better than beer and cheroots — In camp at Kow- 
loon — A move northwards — Disembarkation at Ta-lien-wan — 
Landing at Pehtang — Spoiling for a fight — Battle of Sinho — 
Stirling's guns in danger — Charge of Sikh sowars under Mac- 
Gregor — The Tartars put to flight — Severely wounded — An 
eventful birthday — On a hospital-ship — Capture of the Peiho 
Forts — Advance to Tientsin — Remarks on Tartar cavalry — 
The army moved towards Pekin — Treachery at Tungchow — 
Fight at Chang-kia-wang — Sack of the Summer Palace — A 
row with Fane — Surrender of the Anting Gate — End of the 
campaign — Return to India, . . . . .121 





CAVALRY STUDIES, 1861-1864. 

Irregular Cavalry studies — Learning Hindustani — Sir Hugh Rose 
— The wild-looking man who gallops — Adjutancy of 2d Irre- 
gulars — Second in command of 2d Regiment (Hodson's Horse) 
— 10th Bengal Cavalry — Buying troop-horses at Lucknow — 
Making up saddlery — Home and Indian staff-services com- 
pared — Lectures at the Soldiers' Institute — Work on Native 
Cavalry — Improvement of horse equipment — Investigation of 
bribery — Spear, sword, and horse exercise — Pig-sticking a 
favourite sport — Stricter regimental discipline enforced — In- 
terview with the Commander-in-Chief — With the 7th Dragoon 
Guards — Studies in veterinary art — Tactics and equitation — 
Discipline in an English regiment — Escort to Lord Elgin — 
Appointed brigade-major of cavalry — Supersession of seconds 
in command — Bitter disappointment — Work on mountain 
warfare — The Indian Army Review, . . . .165 

Appendix. — Abstract of Report to the Commander-in- 
Chief, Sir Hugh Rose, " On Irregular Cavalry," in 1862, . 202 


quartermaster-general's DEPARTMENT THE BHUTAN 

CAMPAIGNS, 1864-1866. 

Mobilisation of Bhutan field-force — Appointed brigade-major 
to General Dunsford's column — Causes leading to the war — 
Bhutia razias — The British Envoy insulted — Preparations 
for an advance — Mainaguri occupied by Major Gough — March 
through jungle — Contempt for the enemy — Dalingkot taken 
by assault' — Wounded for the fifth time — Explosion of a 
powder-barrel — Fight at Chamurchi — Arrows against bullets 
— Capture of Chamurchi — Disasters at the outposts — Evac- 
uation of Diwangiri — Loss of guns — Abandonment of Bala 
— Sauve qui pent — Defence of Baxa — Again wounded — A 
bullet through the left hand — Appointed deputy quarter- 
master-general, N.E. frontier — With General Tytler — Re- 
connaissance into Bhutan — An arduous and important duty 



— A disgraceful peace — An expedition to Tong-su projected 
— Resignation of General Tytler — General Reid in command 
— The Agra Bank fails — Generous sympathy — The Bhutan 
report — Arrival of Miss MacGregor — Furlough to England — 
The Paris Exhibition, . . . . . .212 



Imprisonment of Europeans by King Theodore — Consul Cameron 
put in chains — Mission of Mr Rassam — British Envoy and 
suite made prisoners — Sir Robert Napier placed in command 
— Preliminary reconnaissances — Collection of transport — 
Carte blanche — Annesley Bay — Captain MacGregor appointed 
to General Staveley's division — Position of affairs — Com- 
mencement of the campaign — Ordered to the front — A ride to 
Senafe — Occupation of Adigerat — Meeting with the Prince 
of Tigre — Depot formed at Antalo — With the pioneer force 
— Over passes 10,000 feet high — Concentration of brigades 
— Alliance with Mashesha— Reconnaissance of Magdala — 
Project for attack — Thirst and fatigue — Battle of Arogee — 
A flag of truce — Great loss of the enemy — The storming of 
Magdala — Death of Theodore — Bad taste of some officers — 
A cruel fiend — General Napier's address — The return march, 255 
Appendix. — On the release of the Abyssinian prisoners, . 308 



COMMISSION, 1868-1874. 

Society at Simla — Sir John Lawrence — ' Gazetteer of Central 
Asia ' — Captain MacGregor's marriage — Along the north-west 
frontier — Promotion — Volunteer for the Kashgar Mission — 
Politicals the real friends of soldiers — Collecting materials for 
the ' Gazetteer ' — Publication — United Service Institution 
for India — On the Sind frontier — Should a soldier marry ? 
— Alarm-towers — Memorial cairns — Panjab frontier system 
compared with that of Sind — Formation of a Baluchi 
regiment — Posts too large for their garrisons — Sir Henry 



Durand's grave — With Commissioner Plowden — Crossing the 
frontier forbidden — Famine in North Behar — Vigorous action 
of Lord Northbrook and Sir George Campbell — Grain im- 
ported from Burma — Sir Kichard Temple— Colonel Mac- 
Gregor in charge of transport — Difficulties of organisation — 
Depots and "breaking-bulk" stations — Successful issue of 
the operations — Acknowledgment of Colonel MacGregor's 
services — Special Ordnance Commission, . . .315 

Appendix. — Keorganisation of the north-west frontier, . 360 


Major-General Sir Charles MacGregor, Frontispiece 

From a Photograioh by Bassano. 


Sketch of Cantonment, Ferozepore — To illustrate 
outbreak of lOtli Bengal Light Cavalry on 19th 
August 1S57, . . . To face page 46 

OuDH AND Portion of North - West .Provinces — 
Showing Lieutenant MacGregor's Koutes, 1857- 
1859, .... To face page 56 

Bhutan Frontier — To illustrate Campaigns of 1864-65, 

To fac-e page 212 

Abyssinia — March of General iN'apier's Expedition to 

Magdala, 1868, . . . To face page 255 

By permission of the Royal Artillery Institution. 










In writing the biography of a true Highlander, his 
pedigree must of necessity be alluded to, however 
briefly ; and therefore, without entering too minutely 
into the intricacies of Scotch genealogy, it may 

VOL. I. A 




"J.' the country, far and near, 
Have heard MacGregor' s fame." 




suffice to observe that, by direct lineage, the fore- 
bears of Sir Charles MacGreo^or belono^ed to a dis- 
tinguished branch of that most ancient clan, Mac- 
Gregor, "so famous for their misfortunes, and the 
indomitable gallantry with which they maintained 
themselves as a clan, linked and banded together in 
spite of the most severe laws, executed with unex- 
ampled rigour against those who bore this forbidden 
surname." ^ These clannish partialities were emi- 
nently noticeable in the subject of the following 
memoir, who proved himself to be no mean scion of 
this race of warriors who peopled the glens and 
"Hieland hills aboon the Balmaha." 

It is absolutely certain, according to Sir Walter 
Scott, that "the Celtic sept of MacGregor held, by the 
right of the sword, widely extensive possessions in 
Argyleshire and Perthshire, from days immemorial,"^ 
which were iniquitously encroached upon by the 
Earls of Argyll and the Campbells of Glenorchy, by 
means of charters obtained from the Crown under 
various pretexts ; and the tribesmen, thus evicted 
from their ancestral glens, defended themselves with 
such ferocity, that in the reign of Queen Mary, now 
three hundred years ago, a commission was granted 
to the Campbells to exterminate the Clan Gregor 
by fire and sword. Some years later " another cru- 

1 See Introduction to vol. vii. original edition of Waverley Novels, 
'Rob Roy.' December 1817. 

2 Dougal Ciar Mohr, the fifth son of Gregor, Laird of MacGregor, 
died in 1413, and his eldest son, Duncan !MacGregor, married a daugh- 
ter of the Laird of Macfarlane. 



sade was directed by an Act of the Privy Council 
against the loicJced Clan Gregor, so long continuing 
in blood, slcmgliter, theft y and rohhery, in which 
letters of fire and sword were denounced against 
them for the space of three years ; " and Sir Walter 
Scott goes on to state, that notwithstanding these 
severe denunciations, which were acted upon as 
cruelly and severely as possible, some of the clan 
still possessed property; and in 1604, the chief, desig- 
nated Allaster MacGregor of Glenstrae, was slain in 
a fight with the Colquhouns at Glenfruin, where his 
foster-brother, the celebrated Dugald Ciar^ Mohr, 
gained an unenviable notoriety. 

" By an Act of Privy Council, dated April 3, 1603, 
the name of MacGregor was ex|)ressly abolished, and 
those who had hitherto borne it were commanded to 
change it for other surnames," under pain of death ;^ 
and " by a subsequent Act of Council, 24th June 
1613, death was denounced against any persons of 
the tribe formerly called MacGregor, who should pre- 
sume to assemble in greater numbers than four ; " 
whilst again, " by an KoX of Parliament passed in 

1 Dougal Ciar, eldest son of Duncan MacGregor, married a daughter 
of Stewart of Coincachan, and had six sons, Gregor, Malcolm, Dougal, 
Patrick, Duncan, John. ' His eldest son, Gregor, took a lease of the 
Crown lands of Glengyle from the Marquis of Montrose, who had pur- 
chased them, and married Janet, daughter of Thomas Buchanan of 
that Ilk, and had four sons and one daughter. He fought at the 
battle of Glenfruin in 1604. He was succeeded by his second son, 
Malcolm MacGregor of Glengyle, who purchased, in 1659, Portnellan 
for 1000 marks. — MacGregor MS. pedigree. 

2 Under this Act MacGregor of Glenstrae was tried before the Court 
of Justiciary, 20th January 1604, and hung at Edinburgh. 




1617, these laws were continued and extended to 
the then rising generation." 

The execution of these fatal Acts was chiefly carried 
out by the followers of the Earl of Argyll and the 
Campbells, whilst the MacGregors failed not to re- 
sist with the most determined courage, sometimes 
gaining transient advantage, but always selling their 
lives dearly. 

The outlawed tribesmen, although submitting to 
the law so far as to take the names of families 
amongst whom they happened to live, nevertheless, 
'Ho all intents and purposes, yet remained the clan 
Gregor, united together for right or wrong ; and they 
continued to take and give offence regardless of 
legislation until a statute was enacted, in 1633, re- 
establishing the disabilities attached to the clan, and 
granting a new commission for enforcing the laws 
against such a rebellious race." 

Notwithstanding the severities exercised by Kings 
James and Charles towards these infuriated moun- 
taineers, the MacGregors espoused the cause of the 
latter monarch durino^ the civil war. Duncan 
Abbarach and his son, Patrick MacGregor, were at 
this time the chiefs of the clan, to whom Montrose 
promised full redress of all their grievances ; and 
later, when summoned to resist the invasion by the 
Commonwealth's army in 1651, the Clan Gregor 
claimed the immunities of the other tribes. 

Upon the Kestoration, King Charles II. " annulled 
the various Acts against the Clan Gregor, and re- 




stored to them the full use of their family name 
^vith the other privileges of liege subjects ; " but 
later the penal statutes against the MacGregors 
were re-enacted, although not so severely enforced, 
until, finally, "full redress was obtained from the 
British Parliament by an Act abolishing for ever the 
penal statutes which had been so long imposed upon 
this ancient sept." 

The Ciar Mohr branch of the clan lived chiefly in 
the mountains between Loch Lomond and Loch Kat- 
rine, and the chieftain of this tribe in 1690 is said 
to have been Donald MacGregor of Glengyle,^ a lieu- 
tenant-colonel in the service of James IL, a younger 
son of whom was afterwards celebrated as the great 
freebooter, Eob Eoy. 

During the Eebellion of 1715 a large force of 
MacGregors assembled at the lower end of Loch 
Lomond, commanded by Gregor MacGregor (or 
James Grahame) of Glengyle, and acted under the 

1 Donald, the eldest son of Malcolm of Glengyle, was married to a 
daughter of Campbell of Glenlyon, and had one daughter and three 
sons — (1) John, (2) Duncan, and (3) Kobert, surnamed Rob Roy. 

(1) John succeeded to the estate of Glengyle, married the daughter of 
Campbell of Duncared. His eldest son Gregor, surnamed Ghlune Dim, 
married Mary, daughter of Hamilton of Baldowie, and was buried at 
Glengyle 1777. His eldest son John, born 1708, married a daughter 
of AVilliam Buchanan of Craigwain. His eldest son James, married 
1777, Isabella, daughter of Captain M. MacGregor of Inverarderan. 

(2) Married Henrietta, daughter of Alexander MacGregor of Ardmac- 
muine, died 1798. His eldest son, John MacGregor of Glengyle, born 
1795, married Jane, daughter of Daniel MacGregor of Inverarderan. 
His eldest son, James MacGregor of Glengyle, born August 1812, the 
last survivor of the eldest branch of the family of Glengyle, is still 
living, 1888. 




directions of the Jacobite Earl of Mar ; and thirty 
years later, Eobert MacGregor of Glencarnoch, gen- 
erally regarded as the chief of the whole clan, raised 
a regiment for the Chevalier — but the race of Ciar 
Mohr, according to Sir Walter Scott, formed another 
corps, commanded by MacGregor of Glengyle, apart 
from the Glencarnoch regiment. 

Subsequently the majority of the clan entered into 
a deed recognising Sir John MacGregor, Bart., as 
the representative of the Glencarnoch family, and 
acknowledged him as their lawful chief, under whom 
a large number of MacGregors formed themselves 
into a regiment, called the Clan Alpine Eegiment, in 

The MacGregors descended from Dougal Ciar, 
however, appear to have refused their adherence to 
MacGregor of Glencarnoch. So far Sir Walter 

From the MacGregor family papers it appears 
that Lieutenant-Colonel Donald MacGregor of Glen- 
gyle, before mentioned, had one daughter and three 
sons, John, Duncan, and Robert, surnamed Roh Roy. 
The second surviving son, Rob Roy, was left guar- 
dian to his nephew, Gregor of Glengyle. Gregor 

1 The foregoing outline of the main historical facts connected with 
the MacGregors has been taken from Sir Walter Scott's well-known 
history of the clan ; for, although this author's details are ofttimes 
rather more ^picturesque than strictly accurate, yet his broad sketch 
of the misfortunes of that old "proscribed, nameless, red-handed 
clan," frequently referred to by Sir Charles MacGregor, may be ac- 
cepted on the whole as a fair representation of the real facts. 




married Helen Mary, daughter of MacGregor of 
Comar, and died in 1735, leaving five sons, Coll, 
Duncan, James, More Kanald, and Robert Oig. 

The eldest son, Coll, resided at Balquhidder, and 
married a daughter of MacGregor of Glencarnoch, 
by whom he had one daughter and two sons, John 
and Duncan. The elder son, John, became a cap- 
tain in the 60th Regiment of Foot, and served in 
the American AVar, being repeatedly mentioned in 
General Murray's despatches. He married a daughter 
of John MacAlpin in Edinburgh, and had two sons, 
James and Robert. 

The elder son, James MacGregor became a major- 
general in the Hon. East India Company's service. 
He was present at the siege of Seringapatam, and 
was frequently mentioned in despatches and general 
orders. He died in 1818. He married Catherine 
AVedderburn, daughter of Thomas Dunbar of West- 
field, Caithness, and had three sons and two daughters. 
The sons, Robert Guthrie, James, and Thomas, were 
all ofiicers in the army. 

The eldest son, Robert Guthrie MacGregor, became 
a major in the Bengal Artillery. He served in the 
Burma war, where he was severely wounded, and 
also at the capture of Bhartpur, where he lost the 
use of his leg. 

He married Alexandrina,-^ daughter of General 
Archibald Watson, of the Bengal Army, by whom 
he had eight daughters and three sons, Edward, 

^ Mrs MacGregor is still living, and resides at Ealing. 




Charles Metcalfe, and Norman. Major R. G. Mac- 
Gregor was one of the managers of the Agra Bank, 
and Charles Metcalfe MacGregor, the second son, and 
the subject of the following memoir, first saw the 
light at Agra on the 12th August 1840. 

After living four years in Scotland under the 
care of his maternal grandmother, when eight years 
of age young Charles MacGregor was put to school 
at Glenalmond College, in Perthshire, then ruled 
over by Dr Wordsworth, now Bishop of St Andrews, 
where he remained until 1853. 

When he was thirteen years old, Charles Mac- 
Gregor was placed at Marlborough College as a 
boarder in the house of the Rev. J. Sowerby, and 
entered the form then under the Rev. Herbert Plater, 
the present head-master of the Grammar School, 
Newark, in August 1853. Here he formed a friend- 
ship with P. F. Connelly, a boy of about the same 
age as himself, and in the same form. 

" We belonged," writes Mr Connelly,^ "to a class 
of boys to whom a state of hostility to everything 
was more or less a matter of duty. He was, I think, 
the first to start an improvement, and produced a 
revolution by gaining a prize, an unheard-of innova- 
tion. If I am not mistaken, it had something to do 
with the history of Charles XII. of Sweden. . . . 

" I was almost the only one of his schoolfellows 

^ P. F. Connelly, Esq., 6 Piazza del Carmine, Florence, 1887. A 
sculptor of considerable eminence, whose studio, says the ' Times,' no 
visitor to Florence should neglect to visit. 



with whom he formed any intimacy.^ He was re- 
served with all. I only remember one incident, such 
as you look for. He and I, with two others, made 
a whole holiday out of a fine Sunday, leaving chapel, 
dinner, and four o'clock call to others. We all en- 
joyed amazingly the livelong day under the green- 
wood tree, the forest, the deer, the provender, and 
even a bird's nest, which we did not take, having 
surprised the pretty little hen sitting, and being 
enchanted with her courage in staying there and 
looking us straight in the face. When we returned 
we were somewhat astonished that even next day 
nothing was said ; one was punished for one absence, 
another for another, but we, as a whole and on the 
whole offence, had not been caught ; but in the course 
of the week it got out, and we were reminded of it. 
It had been understood by us from the first that it 
was a question of giving and taking, and we had 
made up our minds to the latter. The grand avenue 
was where we went to, and I think a description of 
the magnificent forest would adorn any tale. 

" I regret that, though I seem to see him before 
me, I do not feel able to write anything which 
would be such as I should enjoy reading if any 
other person wrote it. Even at that age, as far as 

1 In a letter of Charles MacGregor (dated " Camp, Pachgawa, No- 
vember 21, 1859 ") is the following : " I see in the paper the death of 
Fred. Vernon. All boys (and men too, for the matter of that) have 
some one to whom they look up more than any other, and Fred. 
Vernon was my favourite. He was the runner, cricketer, &c , at 




I can remember, liis whole mind was towards the 
army ; he, at least, never talked about ' choosing a 
profession,' — his profession was chosen. I never 
knew of, or heard of, anything of any sort or kind 
being said against him, nor can I now think in what 
direction it would have been possible to expect any 
such saying. That he had a temper was manifest ; 
but before he got very angry he got very red, which 
was not inconvenient to others. 

" From all I remember, and from what I hear, he 
was as a boy very much as his after-life would point 
back to." 

Mr John S. Thomas, the present bursar of the 
College, who was also a schoolfellow of Charles, 
writes : — 

At the end of 1854 Charles MacGregor was in a 
form under Mr H. E. Tompkinson, and although 
second in his class, was a prize-winner. The prizes 
at Christmas were not necessarily given to the head 
boy or to any one boy in a form, but to all such as 
won a sufficient number of classes in the various 
branches of education. 

Charles MacGregor got a second class in classics, 
a first in divinity and history (combined), and a 
second in French. His friend Connelly was for 
some reason absent from this examination, and 
therefore not placed. 

'^At midsummer young MacGregor was under 
the tuition of Mr A. Martin,^ but his friend Connelly 

1 Mr Martin, Fellow of Christ Church College, Oxford. 




was now separated from his form, being removed 
into the modern schooL At Christmas, however, 
the friends again got together, MacGregor having 
also passed over to the modern side of the College. 
He was now head of the form, with his friend 
Connelly next below him. The Kev. H. B. Pugh 
writes of him at this period : * MacGregor, I re- 
member, was then a strong, powerful lad of about 
fifteen, and was the close friend of a boy named 
Connelly. MacGregor was, as I recollect him, a 
very reserved, silent fellow, and was, I should say, 
known intimately by few others.' This evidently 
is true as far as it goes, and explains the difficulty 
of learning what one would wish to know about him. 

" Another master of Marlborough writes : * I doubt 
if any master got inside the impenetrable armour of 
the irreconcilable MacGregor. Only after much 
coaxing could he be got to come to tea in my room 
with Connelly ; and when there, I remember being 
amused at his sort of under j^rotest air.' 

" Connelly and he were chums in quite a re- 
markable way, and singularly apart from every 
one else. 

" x^nother master, who was a good deal Mac- 
Gregor's junior, writes, that somehow he sat next to 
him in hall, and that ' though he always stood up for 
his rights, Charles MacGregor was not a bully ; and 
I quite remember, although it is about thirty-three 
years ago, feeling quite sure that I should not be 
subjected to petty tyranny if he was by.' 

12 THE YEARS OF YOUTH. [l855. 

" These few remembrances of MacGregor's school- 
boy days indicate pretty clearly the kind of boy he 
was. Silent and reserved ; strong of body, — with 
none, however, of the characteristics which too often 
in those rougher times went with the possession of 
strong sinews and made the possessor a terror to the 
weak instead of an assurance of protection. 

" Dr Cotton, the late Bishop of Calcutta, was master 
of the school ; and the head prefect, when MacGregor 
arrived among us, was Canon Saumarez Smith, ^ and 
when he left, E. C. Boyle. ^ Charles MacGregor left 
Marlborough College at the end of the year 1855. 
Among the most distinguished oflScers, old Marl- 
burians ^ and contemporaries with MacGregor in the 
army, might be mentioned Sir Evelyn Wood, Sir 
George Harman the present Military Secretary, and 
Colonel V. Clayton, R.E. The total number of boys 
in the school was then a little" over 400, and 
MacGregor's house would have consisted of about 
50 boys." 

On leaving Marlborough College Charles joined 
his brother Edward, who was studying for Hailey- 
bury at the establishment of Mr Inchbald, a tutor 
and crammer for the Indian service. 

1 The Eev. Canon Saumarez Smith, Principal of St Aidan's College. 
E. C. Boyle, Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, now deceased. 

^ The late Colonel Byron, an old Marlbinian, accompanied Sir 
Charles MacGregor on a visit to their old school during Sir Charles's 
stay in England, 1882-83. 




' ' Lest when our latest hope is fled, ye taste of our despair, 
And learn hy proof , in some ivild hour, hoio much the ivretched dare,'' 













In 1856 both Edward and Charles MacGregor 
obtained commissions in the Indian army, that of 
Charles being dated from the 20th October ; and very 
shortly afterwards the brothers proceeded to Cal- 
cutta, where Charles arrived on the 1st December. 




The young ensign did not like what he saw of 
Calcutta, which, Charles writes to his mother, " is 
not much of a place. It's all very well if you like 
balls, and all that sort of thing." He only stayed, 
however, a fortnight in Calcutta, after which time 
Charles was ordered up to do duty with the 40th 
Bengal Native Infantry at Dinapur, whilst Edward 
had been sent to Benares for duty with the 37th ; 
but they were both much disappointed at being 
posted only as third ensigns, having expected to join 
their regiments at least as second ensigns. 

Whilst at Dinapur, Charles lived with his rela- 
tives the Turners,^ and seems to have enjoyed him- 
self during the cold weather, having no drill, and 
doing much as he liked. He took to music, 
practised singing, and wrote home asking that a 
concertina and plenty of songs might be sent out to 
him. He also requested cricket and racket bats, 
foils, single-sticks, and boxing-gloves. He hunted 
with the garrison scratch pack of hounds, and, of 
course, got a spill out hunting which he m^^de very 
light of. He was fond of drawing ; caricaturing was 
his forte, and he asked for drawing materials and 
paint-box, &c. 

After a few weeks' stay at Dinapur,^ young Mac- 

^ Major Turner, then holding a civil appointment, had married a 
cousin of MacGregor. 

2 He left Dinapur, 22d January, with his brother Edward, with whom 
he stayed at Benares for two or three days, and at Meerut for three 
weeks. Whilst at Benares, MacGregor, hearing there was a vacancy 
in the 19th Native Infantry for a second ensign, determined to apply 


Gregor was posted to the 57th Bengal Native In- 
fantry, which regiment he joined at Firozpur in 
February 1857, having parted with a light heart 
from his elder brother, whom he was destined never 
to meet as^ain in this world. From this station he 
writes : — 

''March 12. — I play rackets and ride, and in 
fact take an immense lot of exercise. We have got 
a gymnasium in our compound, and leaping-poles, 
dumb-bells, &c., besides single-sticks, foils, &c. I 
declare life would be intolerable if it was not for 
something of that kind. Unless you do something 
(of this kind), India is the slowest place in the 
world, not even excepting Bognor. However, with 
all these things I manage to get on very well. To- 
morrow I begin those delightful drills. I look for- 
ward to them with such real joy.'' 

Meantime the remarkable circulation of the mys- 
terious chupatties occurred throughout the North- 
western Provinces of India, the significance of which 
was never understood by the authorities ; whether 
heralds of sedition and conspiracy, none could tell. 

There was outward serenity everywhere," writes 
Sir John Kaye, ''and apparent cheerfulness and 
content, when suddenly a cloud arose in an unex- 
pected quarter, and a tremendous danger, dimly seen 
at first, began to expand into gigantic proportions." 

for it, but was dissuaded by his uncle Mackenzie, who pointed out 
that there was more chance of promotion in the 57th. 




As early as the 28tli January, General Hearsey 
had reported " that an ill feeling was said to subsist 
in the minds of the sepoys " at Barrackpur/ and the 
story of the greased cartridges was by this time in 
every mouth. There was not a sepoy who did not 
believe that the issue of these cartrids^es was a de- 
liberate plot on the part of the English, designed to 
break down the caste of the native soldier and to ex- 
tirpate the creeds of the country. The rebellion was 
soon to break forth in widespread and rapid fury.^ 

D7th 3Iess, FirozpiiT, March 30. — There have 
been some tremendous rows and mutinies out here. 
The 19th Native Infantry at Bahrampur mutinied, 
and have been marched down to Calcutta to be 
disbanded. Five regiments have mutinied at Bar- 
rackpur on account of the cartridges having bullock's 
fat in them. The artillery and her Majesty's 53d 
are ordered to hold themselves in readiness, and the 
84th are comino- over from Maulmain in Burma. 
In Madras three reofiments have mutinied durins: 
the last year, and altogether there is as jolly a kick- 
up as one could wish for. 

"The Persian war is all over, at least so the 
papers say. There has not been much fighting. 
Bushire was taken some time ago, and the 3d Bom- 
bay Cavalry are said to have broken smack through 
a hollow square, the Persians being armed with the 
bayonet. . . . 

1 Barrackpur, an important cantonment on the Hugli river, sixteen 
miles above Calcutta. 

2 See Kaye's History, vol. i. p. 496. 




" I can tell you that you knew I was a second 
ensign a precious deal sooner than I did. We only 
got the news the other day while on a court-martial. 
To pass for the interpretership is the hardest ex- 
amination you can pass, so that I must take time 
about it. Hindustani is the driest stuff going ; how- 
ever, I have the moonshee over every morning. 

" Don't talk to me about drill, unless you want 
me to do something dreadful. I have drill all day 
long. I dream about bayonets and right about 
faces, company drill, and the goose-step. I am 
awoke at five o'clock by the bearer, who tells me it 
is time to be on parade. At twelve, perhaps, I am 
deeply engaged in something or another — a tall 
sepoy walks in, salutes me, and, without uttering a 
word, presents me with a musket or belt — oh, it is 
awful ! '^ 

During February incendiary fires were frequent 
at Barrackpur, and were followed by nocturnal 
meetings amongst the sepoys, who sent letters by 
which the excitement was spread to distant can- 

At Bahrampur, a hundred miles to the northward 
of Barrackpur, were stationed the 19 th Native In- 
fantry, a corps of irregular cavalry, and a native 
battery of artillery; but no European troops were 
there quartered. 

On the 25th February the 1 9th Regiment mutinied, 
or rather turned out in a panic, only lodging their 
arms when the cavalry and artillery called out to 

VOL. I. B 




overawe them had retired. A week after the occur- 
rence of this outbreak Colonel Mitchell was ordered 
to march the 19th Native Infantry to Barrackpur 
to be disbanded. This disbandment was carried 
into effect in front of all the available troops of the 
presidency division, European and native, including 
the 84th British Eegiment and two field-batteries, 
on the 31st March — the 84th having arrived from 
Eangoon in the steamer Bentinck on the 20th March. 
Meantime the native officers and sepoys of the 34th 
Native Infantry at Barrackpur had been disrespect- 
ful to their English officers, and on the 29th March 
the adjutant of this regiment was attacked by one 
of his men on the parade, whilst the jamadai^ and 
the sepoys of the quarter-guard looked on. The 
disbandment of the 34th was therefore taken into 
consideration by the Government, but not immedi- 
ately carried out. These were the forerunners of 
evil ; nevertheless there were no more overt acts of 
mutiny at Barrackpur, where the native regiments 
did their duty, sullenly perhaps, but still quietly.^ 

" We are in a state of some anxiety," wrote Lieu- 
tenant Hodson to his brother on the 7th April, 
" owing to the spread of a very serious spirit of 
disaffection among the sepoy army. One regiment 
(the 19th Bengal Native Infantry) has already been 
disbanded, and if all have their dues, more yet will 
be so before long. It is our great danger in India ; 
and Lord Hardin ge's prophecy, that our biggest fight 

^ See Kaye, vol. i. p. 581. 


in India would be with our own army, seems not 
unlikely to be realised, and that before long." 

Ensign MacGregor wrote : "Firozpur, 27th April. 
— There have been some fires going on at Umballa. 
Nobody knows who lit them, notwithstanding a re- 
ward of 1000 rupees having been offered. They 
burnt down the empty European barracks, the 5th 
Native Infantry hospital, besides several private 
houses, and attempted to get the artillery barracks 
alight when the men were away putting out the 
other fires. Edward's regiment will very likely be 
moved to Meerut. . . . 

''The 3d Cavalry has mutinied.^ I believe the 
sepoys have threatened to take possession of Fort 
William, but I expect they may fish for that. No, 
no ! they can't play any of their larks where there 
are European regiments." 

Firozpicr, May 8 or 9. — There is an awful 
shine going on ; every regiment is mutinying on 
account of these cartridges. The 19th have dis- 

1 The troopers of the 3d Cavalry at Meerut, on the 24th April, 
were the first to resist the orders of their oflBcers, eighty-five out of 
a parade of ninety refusing to touch the abhorred cartridges. 

Those significant fires which had preluded the outbreak at Barrack- 
pur became frequent and alarming at Umballa in the middle of the 
month of April, and nightly fires indicated the general excitement 
among the native soldiery. The European barracks, the commissariat 
storehouses, the hospital, and the huts in the lines, night after night 
burst out into mysterious conflagration, the work, it was believed, 
partly of the sepoys of the regiments stationed there and partly of 
those attached to the musketry depot. The jamadar, 34th Foot, was 
hung on the 22d April, and on the 6th May the 34th Bengal Native 
Infantry was disbanded and disgraced at Barrackpur. 




banded, ditto the 34th. The suhahdar-m^ov of the 
2d Grenadiers has been caught sending letters to 
every or nearly every regiment in India. Kjamadar 
of the 34th has been hung. Eighty-five men of the 
3d Cavalry at Meerut refused to take the cartridges : 
they are all in prison waiting their trial. 

" The 7th Oudh Irregulars refused also, so Sir H. 
Lawrence, instead of having any humbug, ordered 
all the regiments out with the artillery, and told 
them if they didn't take them he'd fire right into the 
middle of them.^ They all turned and cut away to 
the nearest cover. The native portion of the artil- 
lery at Meerut are disaffected — fires having been 
going on all over the country — all the lines at 
Umballa have been burnt down,^ and so also have 
those of the 7th, 8th, and 40th Native Infantry at 
Dinapur. At Sealkote a placard was hung up 
on a tree calling on all sepoys not to receive the 

We have brigade parades almost every week to 
hear an order read about some jamadar or siihahdar 
being hung or transported. 

1 On the 2d May, Captain Carnegie reported to Sir Henry La^vrence, 
Chief Commissioner of Oudh, that the 7th Oudh Irregulars were on 
the verge of revolt, and inciting the 48th to rebellion at Lucknow. 
By the evening of the 3d, Sir Henry concentrated his whole brigade of 
all arms before the lines of the 7th, seven miles out of Lucknow. A 
panic seized the regiment, the greater part of which broke away and 
fled, the remainder laid down their arms, were stripped of their ac- 
coutrements without resistance, and escorted back as prisoners to 

2 On the 7th May the lines of the Native Infantry were burnt 




" There was a placard stuck up on the brigadier's 
gate here. They say it was done by our men, con- 
sequently there was a parade ordered, after it had 
been referred to the colonel commanding, and we 
were told that, if we didn't take care, we should be 
pointed out as a disaffected regiment. The other 
day Shaw, our adjutant, sent his orderly to the 
magazine for one of the new muskets. The man 
went, and on his way back passed through our lines, 
and was nearly beaten to death. All this was what 
appeared in the papers ; but a court of inquiry being 
instituted, it was found that it was all humbug. 
The man hadn't been beaten but only abused, and 
we are not certain as yet if he had even that done 
to him. 

With regard to the other charge, I don't see 
that it was proved that our men did it at all. Cer- 
tainly it purported to come from the ' Lord Moira ' 
[the 57th Eegiment], but that doesn't prove it, and 
I think that there at least ought to have been some 
inquiry set on foot before the brigadier talked, 
laughed, and joked about it in public as he did. . . . 
There are here two native infantry regiments, 45th 
and 57th Native Infantry, one cavalry, 10th Light 
Cavalry, one Queen's, her Majesty's 61st, and a lot 
of artillery. Colonel Liptrap commands the 45th, 
Major MacDonald the cavalry, Colonel Jones the 
61st, Colonel Garbett the artillery, and Brigadier 
Innes the station." ^ 

^ " Brigadier Innes had arrived," says Kaye, " to take command of 




''May 13. — Parade to have order read about the 
suhahdar of the 34th. The new brigadier (Innes) 
arrived, and I had to go to mess and wait to be intro- 
duced to him.^ Dressed as usual for rackets, went 
over to tiffin, had a couple of games of billiards with 
Bond, when, during the second game, De Brett came 
in and said, — ' I say, you fellows, just come into the 
mess-room ; ' so we went, and he read out an order 
which had just come in, 'that the 57th were to go 
out and to encamp opposite the European regiment, 
the 45th on the Ludhiana road, the cavalry opposite 
their own lines, and the 61st were to remain under 
arms by the barracks.' All women and children to 
move immediately into the European barracks. The 
reason for this order was that the brigadier had 
cause to suspect disaffection in the country. 

You can imagine what a sensation all this created 
amongst us. Immediately we all went over to our 
houses to get everything ready. Parade was ordered 
at 5 o'clock Accordingly as the clock struck the 
whole regiment was drawn up in line, and at about 

the brigade only on the morning of the 11th. On the following night 
news came from Lahore that the sepoys in Meerut and Delhi had 
risen, and the brigadier was informed that the native troops at Lahore 
were to be disarmed on the following day." — Vol. i. p. 438. 

On the 10th May Lord Canning wrote : " The sooner this epidemic 
of mutiny is put a stop to the better. Mild measures won't do it. A 
severe example is wanted." — Kaye, vol. i. p. 594. 

1 After the parade was dismissed, Brigadier Innes called a council 
of war. The members summoned were the political officers, the com- 
mandants of the regiments, and the Commissary of Ordnance. It 
was determined to divide the native regiments, and to disarm them 
separately on the morrow. — Kaye, vol. i. pp. 438, 439. 




5.30 we marched to our destination, the men cheer- 
ing a good deal on the way. Halted opposite the 
burial-ground, piled arms, &c. About an hour after- 
wards an orderly came in and said that the 45th 
had attempted to take possession of the fort, having 
procured scaling-ladders from the Sudder Bazaar, 
but they didn't succeed. JMajor Eedmond wounded 
in the repulse of them. 

''At about 6.30 we saw a light glimmering in the 
distance, and we all thought it was the light of our 
mess-cart with the dinner ; but it w^ent on increasing 
till it became a regular blaze, and shortly after, 
although we were about three miles off, it gave quite 
enough light to see plainly about you, and with the 
aid of Walcott's glasses we saw that it was the 
church on fire.-^ This showed such very great ill- 
feeling among the natives, that, coupled with the 

1 The 57th quietly bivouacked on the space allotted to it ; but the 
45th, who were marched through the Grand Bazaar, lost there the 
little loyalty left in them, and as they went, the sepoys, catching sight 
of the European soldiery, raised a cry of treachery. Numbers of them 
fell out, loaded their muskets, and made a rush on the magazine. The 
rest marched on to their camping-ground. The magazine was de- 
fended by a guard of Redmond's Europeans. The sepoys within did 
their best to assist their comrades with scaling-ladders, but the English- 
men were more than a match for those within and without. The for- 
mer were seized and disarmed, and the latter driven back, but not 
before Redmond himself had been wounded. The magazine was thus 
saved, and three more companies of the 61st having been thrown into 
it, its security was established ; but with so small a body of European 
troops, it was impossible to defend the cantonments. The great 
bazaar poured forth its multitude to plunder. The bungalows of the 
European officers, the mess-houses, and the churches were sacked and 
fired. The night was a night of terror, but the families of the English 
officers were safe in the barracks of the 61st. — Kaye, vol. i. pp. 439, 440. 




open mutiny of the 45th, it made us rather anxious 
as to the state of our own men ; however, we walked 
about laughing and whistling as loud as we could, 
by which we meant to let the sepoys in general, and 
the mutinous ones in particular, know that they were 
quite welcome to come and cut all our throats. In 
about three hours after, I counted no less than nine 
houses alight at the same time. At last dinner came, 
and although it was a very good one, everybody 
declared that they did not feel a bit hungry — how- 
ever, it served to cheer us up a bit. Some of the 
sepoys said that they were very glad they were out 
here, as if they had been in their own lines they 
would have been accused of setting fire to the bunga- 
lows. Again they said, ' What shall we do ? there 
are all our lines burning, and everything in them.' 
This certainly did not sound very mutinous, and 
consequently I began to feel rather jolly, and as safe 
as when I was in my own bungalow ; and I w^as 
walking about, as bold as a cock-sparrow, when the 
colonel came up to me and said, ' You had better 
keep your sword ready by you to-night, and not go 
to sleep ; ' and although I strove to divest myself of 
the idea, I couldn't help thinking to myself, ' AVell, 
Charles Metcalfe MacGregor, you may thank heaven 
if ever you see daylight again.' . . . However, 
I determined to be prepared for the worst, so loaded 
my revolver and kept my sword half-drawn. 

" Shaw and De Brett went to sleep, and asked 
me to keep guard over them : did so for about two 




hours. I then went and lay down on my bed, but 
not with the intention of sleeping. It would be 
useless to have thought of making any stand if the 
Jacks tried to do anything, — the only thing would 
be to make straight for the European barracks. TVe 
made certain that our mess-house was burnt down. 
Went o& to sleep from sheer fatigue : awoke about 
four o'clock, after having slept for about three 

''May 14. — Got up and congratulated the other 
fellows on being able to say Good morning. A gun 
fired, and we thought it was the gun ; but we were 
mistaken, as two or three fired directly afterwards. 

Willes came, and said that they report the 45th 
quiet, and encamped in front of the 61st lines. 
He also told us that Beatson's, Salmon's, Vicar's, 
Harvey's, and Hunt's houses were burnt, and that 
all those houses which had a guard over them were 
safe. Heard more guns, and concluded they were 
firing into the 45th. Salmon's bearer came and 
said that two companies of the 45th had broken 
into his house and set it on fire. This seemed to 
confirm our suspicions about the firing. Our maga- 
zine blew up — put it down to the 45th blackguards ; 
but presently an orderly came up and said that it 
was done by order of the brigadier, and that they 
had been shelling the magazine : this explained all 
the firing. 

" On seeing their magazine blow up, all the 
sepoys took up their arms and ran away, thinking 




they would be fired into next. However, they soon 
came back. 

Simeon came over and said that the brigadier 
had ordered the men to lay down their arms.^ Da- 
wall did not like this, so he sent Simeon back to 
tell the brigadier that the men were very quiet and 
cheerful, and that there was no danger. Simeon 
came back and said that the brigadier said that the 
men were not to be forced to lay down their arms, 
but only asked to volunteer to do so, and that if 
they did so they should all go to their lines ; but if 
they didn't like to do it, 200 men should go to the 
lines, and get anything they wished from their lines 
to make them as comfortable as possible. For about 
one hour none would do so. Simeon came again 
with the same order. Dawall asked him to harangue 
the men, so had them all in a circle round us, and 
speechified for about half an hour. Officers again 
went to speak to them. The light company volun- 
teered to go to- the 61st quarter-guard and deliver 
their arms to the brigadier, provided Salmon walked 
in front, as they had got an absurd notion that the 
61st were going to open fire upon them. 

" The light company went oflf, and were watched 
by the others with great eagerness. The 61st guard 
turned out of course. The sepoys thought it was 
in order to scrag the light company, and accordingly 
they ran away again. Again they came back, and 

1 Colonel E. Dawall, commanding the 57tli Native Infantry, after- 
wards of the 3d European Regiment. 




part of the Eifles volunteered to lay down their 
arms, so they were marched off, with Wauchope at 
their head, and of course the guard again turned out, 
and the Jacks again took fright. The Grenadiers 
now volunteered, then the 8th, 2d, 1st Eifles, 4th, 
3d, and 6th companies followed. They were just 
going to march, when it became evident that there 
was some row going on. On our parade, the sepoys 
declared that the light company was massacred — 
that they were not going to stay to be done the 
same thing to. Shaw was sent off to the brigadier 
to say what had happened. I never wished I could 
speak the language more than at this moment. 
There were the sepoys in an awful state of panic, 
and I not able to speak a word to them. Shaw 
came and said that the brigadier had sent a com- 
pany of 61st on to our parade. While he (Shaw) 
was gone, all, or nearly all, the men had dispersed, 
as they said, for water. He rode out after them, 
and remembering what had happened- with the 34th, 
I went out after him. He tried to stop them, but 
it was no go, so he said, as nearly as I could under- 
stand, words to this effect : * Go ; I can't stop you. 
I. have been kind to you, and this is the way you 
repay it.' He put his hand to his heart, and pointed 
with the other to heaven. He addressed a sepoy 
by his name, ' and what ! are you going also ? ' The 
man turned round, looked at him for a moment, and 
came and stood by his horse's head for a moment. 
About 200 sepoys stayed behind, so the colonel told 




them to go and put up their tents, and we would 
do our best to make them comfortable. They did 
so, and are at this moment very quiet, and engaged 
in pitching their tents. 

An order has come from the brigadier that we 
are to march opposite the 61st barracks, and if we 
remain staunch he will not disarm us. Walcott 
went to the men, and they say they will go any- 
where the European officers go with them : the 
order at present is that we are to march in at five 

" Mercer has just come in with the following 
order. We are ordered by the brigadier to come in 
with all the officers and as many men as are staunch. 
They think that our men have mutinied and shot 
Bond, and gone off to Tonk ; but Mercer was told to 
take back word that our men had only gone for 
water. He told us that the 45th had gone off with 
their colours to Ludhiana ; that they had only left 
forty men with the officers ; that they had sworn to 
shoot their officers, and to return and play all kinds 
of pranks in cantonments to-night. 

" Codrington, being officer of the day, was sent 
down to the quarter -guard. We have had word 
that the quarter-guard has all gone, consequently 
we don't know where Codrington is. Shaw says 
he thinks the men won't come back — they may have 
fallen in with some of the 45th; but a man came 
to say that Codrington was struck down by a coup 
de soleil. 




" To - day is my first experience of hot winds, 
although Forsyth says this is nothing. Dust has 
been flying about all over the camp : dirty is no 
word for the state of filth we are in. 

" Order from brigadier that the 45th having all 
gone, and we remaining staunch, he will not disarm 
us. Another order about an hour afterwards that 
we are to march in and deliver up our arms. 
Colonel in a great way about these counter-orders. 
However, it was told to the men, and they seemed 
all right, willing to obey, and fell into line to 
march in. Men all very cheerful and jolly. They 
plundered an unfortunate Bania of his cucumbers. 
Seventy-two files present. Only fancy that out of 
a whole regiment. Arrived at the European bar- 
racks with band playing. Stopped in front of quarter- 
guard. Men told to pile arms — did so without the 
least hesitation. The brigadier then gave us leave 
to go to our own lines. 

With the light company and that part of the 
Rifles who came in at first, I suppose we have got 
about 200 men. Had dinner out on the parade- 
ground. I like the scramble for one's meals which 
goes on on these occasions. 

" One company of Europeans, a troop of cavalry, 
and two guns arrived to protect us, as we were with- 
out arms. Took my bed and went into my lines 
{i.e., 6th company), and tried to tell the men it was 
all right. I think I succeeded, because they were 
very quiet. Dropped off" to sleep, but was presently 




woke by some firing in the fort. Heard the sentries 
challenging right and left. About ten minutes after 
I heard the sentry of the European company chal- 
lenge. Jumped out of bed, stuck on my sword and 
revolver, and went out in front, thinking, Hurrah ! 
we're certainly in for a row now with those 45th 
chaps. Presently one sentry fired, then another, 
then a whole lot of men : this was kept up till every 
man had finished his charge. 

" Those Europeans fire very badly. Indeed, I 
heard balls come whizzing past my ear, and I was 
standing in quite a contrary direction from whence 
any enemy could come in. What made it seem still 
more certain that we would have a row was, that 
when about half the firing was over I heard a voice 
cry out, * Quartermaster-sergeant I have you got a 
dhoolie there ? ' I thought, here is- one of the Euro- 
peans shot by the 45th. I was right so far that the 
man was shot, but not that he was shot by a 45th 
Jack, for it turned out that a 61st soldier had been 
shot dead by one of his comrades, thus illustrating 
what execrable shots they are. We never found 
what it was that caused the alarm, but no bodies 
were found the next morning, or any blood, &c. 
After all was quiet, as I felt very sleepy, I went to 
bed and slept till morning. All of us are staying 
in Shaw's tent — three lie on the tops of the beds 
and three below. Forsyth rather seedy to-day with 
cramp, so got him right before the tattie, and kept 
sticking wet towels on his head. About five o'clock 




the brigadier came down with Woodcock, Vicars, 
MacDonnell, had the men all out and told them that 
nearly every regiment had mutinied, that they were 
a credit to the army, that they should have a great 
name, he would tell the ' Lord Sahib ' about them, 
&c. One man fell out, and asked if the officers were 
going into the fort that night. Everybody laughed 
at the bare idea of such a thing. By the by, the 
brigadier told us that the Lahore regiments had 
arrived at the Sutlej ; but as there were no boats, 
they would all have an awful business to get across. 

" I told the men that as long as every officer 
stayed with his company they were all safe, and 
that if anything happened, the sahibs would have as 
much chance of being knocked on the head as them. 
A great number of men arrived during the night. 
The night before there were only thirteen men in my 
company, now there are perhaps about fifty. They 
give up their arms as quietly as possible, and walk 
off to the brigadier with them with the greatest 
alacrity. I saw one man carrying no less than five 
muskets. Shaw went down with a batch of forty, 
and came back with the news that pardon was 
stopped, so that Bond had to hurry down with his 
batch. Two more men of the Rifles came in, and 
were in a great funk, asking Shaw if they would be 

"There were 2500 men loose all over the country, 
luckily without arms, a reward offered for every 
mutineer's head, and we are of opinion that scarcely 




a man of them will escape, as the villagers are all 
hostile to them. Rather a funny thing to leave us 
without protection when nearly 3000 mad mutineers 
are roving about the place within six miles of us. 
The ladies are all ordered to go into the fort, as an 
attack is expected from the Lahore regiments to- 
night. The men told me when I went to my ' bed ' 
that the Bmiias would not give them grub ; told 
them to tell the Banias that I would give my pay 
for their grub. Night passed without a shot being 

''May 15. — Heard that the 45th, ^ when they 
saw the artillery and cavalry coming after them, 
quarrelled and threw their colours down a well. 
The Lahore chaps didn't try to cross the river. 

I like this kind of life ; it brings out a man's 
true character, — everybody is so obliging and jolly. 
The colonel of the 45th came down, as usual, with 
a lot of news : that man has always some news to 
relate, and, strange to say, it seldom if ever comes 
true. Amongst other things the old gentleman re- 
marked that his corps (he hadn't got one, as the 
colours were lost) was as good as ours. Although I 
kept a serious countenance and assured him that 
there couldn't be the slightest doubt about it, that 
his corps had only been found in open mutiny, still 

1 The 45tli turned their faces towards Delhi ; but Brigadier Innes 
sent some companies of the 61st, with two squadrons of the 10th 
Cavalry and two horse-artillery guns under Major Marsden, the 
Deputy Commissioner, who scattered the mutineers over the country. 
— Kaye's Hist., vol. i. p. 441. 




I felt violent roars of laughter going on somewhere 
about my sleeves. . . . General van Cortlaiidt ^ (the 
Multan man) has been ordered to collect as many 
Sikhs as possible to assist the loyal troops. 

" Mercer and Anderson came down to say that all 
the officers at Meerut had been massacred ; but the 
murderers were cut to pieces by the 6th Carabineers, 
who went at them more like tigers than men. Five 
thousand stand of arms came in last night with 
only a naih and four men : it just shows what 
fools those niggers are — they might have boned 
those arms as easily as possible. Only 200 men 
left Lahore at all. 

" The 4.5th officers never stay in their lines, but 
stop in their bungalows all day : that is not the way 
to make their men repose confidence in them. I 
hear the heat in the fort is something awful ; we 
have tatties down here. There they have to sleep 
in gun-sheds, without a punkah or anything. Mrs 
Dawall and Mrs Shaw are two uncommonly plucky 
women. On the first night, when the fires took 
place, they walked right down to our bazaar, where 
a lot of murderous mutineers were walking about, 
only to make arrangements about their houses. On 
coming back the sentry challenged. Of course they 
didn't know what the parole was, so they began 
laughing. They didn't even know that the sentry 
had shot at them till afterwards. Went over to the 
45th mess, saw everybody assembled there : they 

1 An old officer of Ranjit Sinli's army, in the Company's service. 
VOL. I. C 




didn't seem to care a bit about their corps, and evi- 
dently think we are as bad as themselves. Got the 
list of the killed and wounded at Delhi — everybody 
wearing a European garb was massacred in cold 
blood. Lieutenant Willoughby blew 300 sepoys up 
in the magazine. It was said at first that he blew 
himself up also, but it turns out that such is not 
the case. 

Officers of the 20th Native Infantry murdered ; 
the 20th, 11th, 15th, mutinied at Meerut, and the 
9th at Aligarh. A council of war was held at Mian 
Mir, consisting of G-eneral Reid, Brigadier Cotton, 
Brigadier Neville Chamberlain, Colonels Edwardes 
and Nicholson, and the following measures were 
resolved on : That General Reid assumes chief 
military command in Panjab. His headquarters 
will be the headquarters of the Civil Commissioner. 
A movable column will be formed at Jhelum at 
once, which will move on any station in the Panjab 
where open mutiny requires to be put down by force. 

" I have not heard anything about the regiments 
in Gudh ; and as the King of Oudh is related to the 
Delhi princes, I should think there would be a ter- 
rible kick-up, especially as there are few European 
regiments in the province ; and as Edward's [his 
brother's] regiment is all by itself, and there are no 
Europeans nearer than Lucknow, it will be a bad 
look-out for them if the 41st mutinies. 

" There have been no reports heard from Benares, 
consequently none from Dinapur, so I don't know 




whether Turner is all serene or not ; and as there 
are three native infantry regiments there, it is not 
at all unlikely they have mutinied. 

" Delhi is to be retaken on the 8th proximo, and 
every soul that is found in it will be massacred. 
Not a stone is to be left on another, and most likely 
on the 9th or 10th nothing but ruins will be left of 
the splendid city where the Great Moguls used to 
reign. There are six mutinous regiments in the 

" The 45th Native Infantry were disbanded, or 
rather the remnant of them were : they were sur- 
rounded on three sides with cavalry, artillery, and 
the 61st. If anybody had asked me what I thought 
about my regiment, I should have said, ' They knew 
nothing about the plot, else why did they keep to 
their guards ? Why didn't they murder us all the 
first night ? — why didn't they murder us during the 
past fortnight ? The only reason they went away was 
because they were panic-struck. Why did they not 
go away with the treasure-chest ? — they might have 
done so.' If I had said that, I should have got 
these answers : 'You think your regiment is staunch ? 
You place great confidence in them ? You would 
trust yourself in the middle of them at night with- 
out arms ? ' ' Yes,' I should have answered, ' I 
would.' ' Would you do so after you have heard 
what we have found out by pumping your Jacks 1 
for if you did so, you would not have any confidence 
in them — now, for what we have found out. The 




reason why your Jacks were so quiet the first night 
was because some of them were allowed to go to 
their lines, and on their way they saw three guns 
pointed at them and a troop of cavalry ; if they had 
gone to their right they would have seen the same. 
You fancied yourself in a very perilous situation ; 
but you were not. You say they knew nothing 
about the plot? Listen. At sunrise on the 15tli 
May, the 45th were to come to the 57th officers 
and kill every one of them. The 57th were to go 
to the 45th officers and kill them. They were then 
to kill the European officers of the artillery and 
cavalry, after which the 45th were to be let into the 
fort by the guard which was supplied by the 57th. 
They were to turn the guns on the 61st barracks, 
while the 57th marched up and attacked the bar- 
racks. If they had been successful-, there would not 
have been a European here to tell the tale ! Again, 
about their not leaving their lines during all the 
fires. They did leave them; they joined the 45th, 
and burnt bungalows. None of yo.ur bungalows 
were burnt, in order that there might be no sus- 
picion attached to your corps. In the morning they 
came back to their guards, and when the officers 
came, of course they were all present. About the 
treasure. Every single man except the jamadar left 
the quarter-guard. They came back in the middle 
of the night and tried to loot the chest ; the jamadar 
drew his sword, and swore he would kill the first 
man that tried to 023en the chest. Now, do you 


believe in natives in general, and your own sepoys 
in particular?' 'No/ I should have answered, ' no. 
And if what you have heard is true, I wish from the 
bottom of my heart to see them taken out on to the 
maidan and have grape fired into them till not one 
man escaped ! If this is all true, never will I trust 
a native, after treating them in the kindest manner 
possible, and they to turn round and murder you 
in cold blood — perhaps at this moment, perhaps on 
such and such a day or night, while we are making 
ourselves as uncomfortable as possible by sleeping 
in their beastly lines without arms in order to place 
confidence in them — perhaps on such a night they 
will come and cut our throats.' ... I have seen a 
list of officers killed at Meerut : Lieutenant Pattle, 
Captain and Mrs MacDonald, Mrs Chambers, and 
poor young MacNabb. He was at Inchbald's with 
me, and a nicer or more gentlemanly fellow I never 

May 30. — We have just received very good 
accounts from Oudh, from Lucknow, but none 
from Sitapur ; so I suppose the 41st [his brother 
Edward's regiment] is all right. These are the regi- 
ments which will be most likely disbanded : 9th, 
nth, 19th, 20th, 15th, 29th, 34th, 45tb, 54th, 55th, 
57th, 74th. These are nearly certain, and I should 
not wonder if these were (judging by what we have 
found out about our regiments after all was over) : 
3d, 5th, 7th, 8th, 16th, 26th, 37th, 40th, 49th, 60th. 
These last may or may not be disbanded, but there 

38 A SULLEN CALM. [l857. 

have been signs of disaffection in every one of them. 
This finishes all I have to say at present. In my 
next I will give you an account of the taking of 
Delhi, &c. ; and now you need not be in the slight- 
est alarm about me, as I am all serene — although I 
think I have had as narrow a shave of being cut 
in two as is possible. I also think Edward is all 

I daresay that by this time you Avill have heard 
the most fearful accounts about the mutinies. It 
has been bad enough, but not so bad as they will 
make out at home. 

" We have been out encamped on our parade- 
ground for the last three weeks. It is not very hot, 
although the beginning of June. I am getting 
heartily sick of this kind of work, so dull and unex- 
citing. It would be almost a blessing to have a bit 
of a row with somebody. 

" We have settled to buy a step ; it will make me 
senior ensign, and I shall get my lieutenancy shortly, 
by the line step. All this bonus fund is knocked on 
the head for the present ; but I hope that directly 
everything is all quiet they will set it going again. 

"Is it not strange that every regiment I have 
been posted to has mutinied ? — i.e., first of all I was 
going to the 9th ; I was then posted to the 57th, 
but Dawall sent in my papers for an exchange into 
the 19th : I did not exchange, but came to the 

''May 31.— The day I finished my last letter I 




was on duty, and having sealed it, I mounted my 
tattums and went round the guards. Before, how- 
ever, I got half-way round, and I was passing the 
adjutant's house, I saw all the officers, with Shaw 
and Mrs Shaw, collected in a group. I accordingly 
went up to them, and Shaw said, ' You need not go 
round your guards, as we are to be disbanded to- 

At about seven o'clock two companies of Euro- 
peans, six guns, and a troop of cavalry came down 
to our lines to protect our houses against a lot of 
men perfectly dispirited and down in the mouth at 
the injustice of being disbanded without cause. I 
never saw such rot in my life, and I perfectly agreed 
with Shaw when he asked, ' What is the good of all 
this force down here 1 ' ' Why, to protect you,' was 
the answer. ' Protect us ! ' said Shaw ; ' give the 
men loaded muskets, and I would go and sleep in 
the lines among the whole lot of them.' 

" I went down to our lines to see the men before 
they went. They came up to us, some of them cry- 
ing like children ; and to see a strong man lay his 
head on your knee and cry like a child, is one of the 
most trying things I know of. Poor beggars ! they 
said that they were *just coming down to make 
their salaam before being turned out like so many 
pariahs.' Of course there were some bad men in the 
regiment, but those had gone on the 14th, and I 
cannot believe that those men, who were seemingly 
so devoted and so broken down, could be guilty of 




such cold-blooded deeds as it was stated would take 
place on the 15th. 

" The brigadier twice referred the matter to the 
Commander-in-Chief ; but no. He said : ' They are a 
mutinous set of scoundrels. I want the number, and 
I don't care if every one of them was as true as 
steel, I'd have that number scratched out of the 
Army List.' He ordered a court of inquiry ; but be- 
fore he could have heard of the proceedings we were 
disbanded and he was dead, his last act being one of 

''June 1. — On the morning of the 1st June six 
companies of the 61st, six guns, and two troops of 
cavalry were drawn up to disband the immense 
number of fourteen files, the rest having been told 
that they might go the night before if they liked. 
However, I am not sorry they are. gone : they might 
not have withstood another temptation to mutiny. 
The 57th is amongst the things that are. past; and 
what on earth they are going to do with us I don't 
know. I hope they will turn us into the 4th Euro- 
peans or something of that sort. 

We all live over in one bungalow, the largest in 
the station. There are ten of us, so that in case 
of any attack on us we'd give them a pretty fair 

''June [13?]. — General van Cortlandt marched 
out of Firozpur on the 8th, with 300 Sikh levies 
and 400 men of Eaja Jowahir Sinh. . . . This 
morning twelve men were blown from guns and two 




hung. They belonged to the 45th. . . . A wing 
of the 61st, and the remnant of the late 57th Na- 
tive Infantry, are ordered to march this evening for 
Delhi. They are to take possession of any kind of 
conveyance they can find, in order to get down 
there quickly. 

" It is very strange that I have not heard a word 
from Edward since the beginning of this row. All 
accounts from Oudh state that it is remarkably quiet. 
I hope he is all right. If anything happened to him, 
I never could look on a native with any other feel- 
ings but those of hatred and disgust." 

The next letters are filled with accounts of the 
progress of the Mutiny and the struggle before Delhi, 
all remaining quiet at Firozpur. He writes : — 

" This row has put an end to my studying. There 
is not a moonshee in the station, so that I have to 
try and get on by myself. If the heat in India is 
never more than this, it is not much. Here we are 
in the middle of June, and in the day -time it is not 
so very bad even without a punkah, while at night, 
or rather early in the morning, it is even cool. We 
have got a ripping garden, fruit of all kind in it." 

The long list of killed and wounded at Delhi 
and Meerut here follows. 

" June 25. — Another mail passes, and Delhi is not 
taken yet. Meanwhile everything is getting worse. 
Cawnpore is done for, so is Lucknow; and for all 
that we know the low stations may be in a state of 




mutiny. At Dinapur nothing much has happened 
since I wrote last time. A wing of her Majesty's 
61st went from here a short time as^o, and as its 
destination was Delhi, I asked the brigadier if I 
might go with it. He said, ' No ; they ve quite enough 
officers already.' A few days ago an order came 
that four volunteers were wanted from each dis- 
banded regiment. Of course the four seniors would 
have the first choice ; they did, and four were got 
without me. So I toddled off to the brigadier again, 
and asked him if he could not allow five to go. 
' What an awful young fire-eater you are ! I only 
wish I could let you go : we should take Delhi in no 
time. However, the order is only for four, so you 
can't go ; I can't take the responsibility of allowing 
five to go.' Responsibility ! Everything is respon- 
sihility. Nobody will take a bit of it on himself 
These big-wigs are more like a set of old women 
than soldiers. However, never say die. There is 
another wing of the 61st going when the 1st Bom- 
bay Fusiliers come here ; I'll try again. - It is an 
awful bore. I am the only subaltern in the station 
who has not been sent on service, because, I suppose, 
I am the youngest. . . . Nobody out here now goes 
to sleep without placing a couple of double-barrelled 
guns or so by his bed ; and although in nine cases 
out of ten nothing ever happens, it is just as well to 
be prepared for the rascals, or they'd cut your throat 
while you are asleep, as at Meerut and Delhi. . . . 
Mind you write regularly. We look forward to a 




mail now almost as much as we used to look forward 
to the weekly 6d. at school/' 

''July 6. — My drill stopped on the 15th May, 
the day of the outbreak here, but I have not passed 
in it yet. It is a great nuisance, as these sepoys 
could have waited another month before they tried 
to cut our throats, and I should then have passed all 
right. ... At Sitapur the 41st Native Infantry 
mutinied, after going out to drive away others [on 
the 3d of June]. Among others, Colonel Birch, 
Captain and Mrs Gowan [and Lieutenant Graves] 
were killed. The rest are reported to be safe at 

" July 25. — I believe Edward is safe at Lucknow, 
but he must have had a shave of it. It must have 
been a regular case of cut and run. ... I asked 
the brigadier to let me go down to Delhi instead of 
Forsyth, but he wouldn't let me. That's the third 
time I have been refused. Oh ! it's no good volun- 
teering, you always get sold. All the same, I don't 
intend to give in just yet. I'll ask a fourth and a 
fifth time, if I see any way I can get down." 

''Aug. 3. — Mrs Eobertson gave me an account of 
her escape from Hissar. One morning, just after 
breakfast, she heard some firing, but did not think 
much of it till her ayah rushed into the room and 
told her to fly, as the sepoys (Hariana Light 
Infantry) were coming to murder her. She ran 
out of the house and compound into the compound 
of a Lieutenant Barwell for safety ; but she had 




hardly got there when about fifty or sixty sepoys 
came into the compound. She ran and hid herself 
in the garden under a bush, and while she was 
there she heard shrieks from the house. In a few 
minutes Lieutenant Barwell rushed out, dragging 
Mrs Barwell with a child in her arms. They made 
for a buggy (Barwell had just come in from break- 
fasting with another officer), and were just getting 
in when the sepoys came out of the house and 
rushed at them. Barwell fought like a lion, shot 
four men with his own hand, and wounded several 
others with his sword. He placed Mrs Barwell 
between the buggy and himself, while he tried to 
keep the ruffians off ; and he was just going to turn 
to his wife, apparently to tell her to get into the 
buggy with the child, when he heard a bang behind 
him. He turned, and saw that a sepoy had got 
round to the other side and blown his wife's brains 
out. He cauo^ht hold of the child and ran towards 
the gate; but before he got twenty yards he was 
shot in the back. He fell, and just before he was 
murdered himself he saw the hell-hounds take the 
poor innocent baby, throw it up in the air, and 
catch it on the points of their bayonets. They then 
cut off his head with a tidivar. Mrs Robertson all 
this time was nearly fainting. She says she did not 
feel particularly frightened, she had quite given her- 
self up for lost. She knew her turn would come 
next — in fact she had determined on showing her- 
self, so little did she hope for her life ; but when she 




saw the fiends go out of the compound, leaving the 
buggy, she got up and went towards the buggy, 
and when the syce saw her (the wretch had been 
looking on quietly), he ran out of the compound 
calling after the sepoys, and saying that there was 
another mem sahib. She got into the buggy, 
lashed the horse ; but after being fired at several 
times, and pursued for about a mile, she found her- 
self safe. She went on, however, at a furious pace 
for about five miles, when she drove more gently. 
After going ten miles more, she met an old Sikh 
mounted on a camel. She stopped and told him her 
story, and he mounted her on his camel and brought 
her in safe here, to Firozpur, after behaving in the 
most respectful manner to her, giving her money 
and tying his imgree round her head (she had no 
bonnet) ; and she came into Firozpur with her things 
scarcely hanging on to her, and an enormous pugree 
tied round her head." 

''Aug. 6. — General Havelock, with a force of 
Europeans, has crossed the river and proceeded to 
the relief of Lucknow. Hurrah 1 Edward w^ill get 
off all safe now." 

''Aug. 10. — They say that Lucknow was relieved 
on the 30th of the month, and that the Europeans, 
together with the Nepalis, razed the city to the 
ground. I now hope to be able to get letters from 
Edward. I have tried all kinds of ways to write to 
him. The only way, and ten to one that would not 
do, is to write via Bombay and Calcutta." 

46 THE death-shot's PEAL. [l857. 

" Aug. 20.— The 10th Light Cavahy has just been 
playing off some of its larks here, trying to murder 
everybody they could get hold of ; however, I am 
happy to say they only killed one, the veterinary 

"Yesterday morning, about one o'clock, I heard 
a gun fired, but didn't think anything of it, as I 
thought they were only knocking down a portion of 
the Sudder Bazaar (there had been a committee on 
the subject). About three minutes after, I heard 
another gun and a roll of musketry, also the bugles 
sounding the alarm. Well, thinks I, there's some- 
thing up, evidently. Just at that moment one of 
my guard rushed in and said that the ressaldar 
had tried to take some of the guns — in fact, had 
mutinied. ' Bearer ! ' I holloaed out, ' my white 
jacket and sword ' — shouldered a couple of double- 
guns, and, telling the syce to get my pony ready, I 
rushed off to Mrs Shaw's house to get her into the 
buggy. I rushed into the room (it was no time to 
stand on ceremonies), found her in an awful state of 
deshahiUe, and told her to get ready immediately. 
She did so, and we started for Captain Smith's com- 
pound. His house is a large pucka one, in which 
you might keep any amount of Bandies off. Just as, 
or rather before, we got on to the course, we heard a 
noise as if a lot of horses were trotting — these were 
some fifteen or twenty sowcirs. There was no time 
to be lost, so I told Mrs Shaw to run on with the 
baby, while I tried to keep the rascals off. I waited 




till they were within twenty yards of me, and then 
let blaze a couple of barrels at them, and had the 
pleasure of seeing a couple of them fall to rise no 
more. I then took the other gun and blazed both 
barrels, but this time only wounded one man. I 
turned round and saw that Mrs Shaw was all right 
in the compound, and taking my sword in my hand 
and shouldering the guns, I am not ashamed to say 
I fairly hooked it, with a score of soivars at my 
heels. The beggars did not come into Smith's com- 
pound, not liking the idea of taking their chance 
against some twenty barrels on the roof of the house 
— so, after all, I arrived safe and sound on the top of 
the house. I then hooked it off to Dawall's com- 
pound to see if they \vere all right in there. I 
found old Dawall and Salmon running about the 
compound, dodging behind the walls and bushes to 
get out of the way of the grape, and pecking at the 
soiuars as they went past. Mrs Dawall came out 
in an awful state of mind, clutched hold of my arm, 
and asked me whether I thought we should all be 
murdered. Her voice, position, and manner were 
so capital that I couldn't help laughing, as I knew 
there was no danger if they kept within the house. 

" You know they say a dismounted dragoon is 
about as effective as a goose on the turnpike road. 
The Europeans came down in skirmishing order and 
cleared the station of the beggars, not before they 
had murdered the veterinary surgeon. They cut at 
everybody they saw. The brigadier had a fight 




with three soivars — of course he did for them. 
He is an immense man, and this is not his first 

" Aug. 22. — There are very bad accounts from 
Lucknow. The 3 2d Queen's and European officers 
are besieged by a force of 27,000 men, making the 
most fearful odds against the Europeans — upwards 
of twenty-seven to one. However, theyll never 
give in, and General Havelock is on his way to 
Lucknow with help. If it is God's will that Edward 
should not come safely through these dangers, we 
have the satisfaction of knowing that he will have 
died the death of a soldier, with his sword in his 
hand and his face to the foe — that he wdll have died 
as a MacGregor should die. We all know what 
Europeans can do against natives, and I think it 
not at all unlikely that they will hold out against 
almost any odds. I suppose they muster 1000 men, 
counting all the officers and heranies ; and it is to 
be hoped they have got possession of the guns. If 
they have, I think there is little doubt, they will 
hold out. At all events, there will be fearful 
slaughter amongst the natives." 

Attg. 23. — We had an alarm here yesterday. In 
the morning, just as I was sitting down to my 
bread-and-butter, my bearer (he's a good old fellow) 
rushed in and said, ' Sahib ! all the sahibs are going 
to the fort ! ' ' What's up now, old cock ? ' He 
didn't know, so I walked over to Smith's house to 
ask, and found them all gone to the fort ; and as 




the danger, whatever it was, did not seem very near, 
I sat down and finished my breakfast. In about ten 
minutes after, four Sikhs came rushing in, saying 
there was a force of 10,000 men coming from Tonk, 
and another force coming from the river. ' So we're 
going to have a little fighting, are we ? ' thought I. 
' Well, we've got 500 Europeans, and one of the 
largest magazines in India, and I daresay we shall 
manage to beat them off. However, I was not going 
to the fort to get stifled by the heat before I was 
pretty certain what it really was ; so I told the syce 
to get the pony ready, and off I went to see if I 
could get a look at the 10,000 Avarriors. I rode 
about three miles out, and saw — what do you think ? 
— you'll hardly believe it, but I saw — a large herd 
of goats and black bullocks, or rather buffaloes ; and 
so it turned out that everybody in the fort was 
trembling because a herd of 300 cattle was within 
three miles of them." 

" Sept 5. — I have just got an account of the 
Cawnpore massacre.^ It is frightful, as you will 

1 Cawnpore was the headquarters of the Cawnpore division, then 
commanded by General Sir Hugh Wheeler. A great strength of 
native soldiery garrisoned the place, with some 60 European gunners, 
to which were added 60 men of her Majesty's 84th Regiment, 74 men 
of her Majesty's 32d (invalids), 65 Madras European Fusiliers, — alto- 
gether, including the officers of the sepoy regiments, numbering some 
300 English combatants. 

The sepoy regiments — 1st, 53d, 56th, and 2d Light Cavalry — in all 
counted about 3000 men. 

General Wheeler had intrenched with a mud parapet the European 
barracks near the river. When the outbreak occurred on the 4th June, 
the sepoys recognised the Nana Sahib as their leader, under whom they 

VOL. I, D 




see from my list. Only one officer escaped — viz., 
Lieutenant Delafosse of the 53d Native Infantry." 

''Delhi, Oct. 14. — After having volunteered four 
times to go down to Delhi, I have been ordered 
down, and have been here about a month now. I 
arrived just after the assault, to my very great dis- 
gust, and consequently saw very little fighting : 
there was a bit of street-fighting, but no hand-to- 
hand encounters. The city is most fearfully knocked 
about, and all the shops and houses are cleaned 
inside out — chairs, tables, clothes, everything, all 
heaped and lying about in the streets ; while Euro- 
peans, Sikhs, Ghurkhas, Afghans, are all looting to 
their hearts' content. You don t know how sold I 
felt at not being in at the death. I wanted most 
awfully to see some fighting, and wanted nothing 
more than to get a chance of getting the Cross. If 

commenced an organised attack on the British earthworks on the same 
day. The memorable siege of Wheeler's feeble garrison lasted from 
the 6th until the 26th June, when an armistice and negotiations took 
place. The Nana promised a safe-conduct and carriage for the women 
and children to the river-side, and then to send them safely down the 
river to Allahabad, together with the garrison, which was to march out 
with their arms and sixty rounds of ammunition. How the evacuation 
was carried out, and how the little force was treacherously slaughtered, 
need not be recorded here ; the story is too well known. 

Mowbray-Thomson and Delafosse, with Privates Murphy and Sulli- 
van, alone reached friendly territory, and survived to tell the story. 
All the women and children, who had not been burnt or bayoneted, 
sabred or drowned on the 27th June, were carried to the Savada 
House, and afterwards to the Beebee-ghur. The order for the final 
massacre was given on the 15th July, and some 200 British women 
and children were hacked to death in the course of a few hours, their 
bodies being thrown down an adjacent well. — See Kaye's History, 
vol. i. pp. 206-373. 




I had been at the assault I should have had a chance, 
but, as it was, I arrived after it, and saw very little 
fighting, with just as much chance of being knocked 
over by a bullet from the tops of the houses. 

" It took five days to take the whole of the city, 
which is eight or nine miles round ; and if the 
cowardly Pandies had only fought tolerably, the 
small force we had ought never to have got out of 
the city again ; or if they did take possession of it, 
there ought to have been at least three-fourths of 
them disabled. As it was, sixty-six officers were 
killed and wounded. I am doing duty with the 1st 
Bengal Fusiliers, and this regiment alone has lost 
nine officers killed and wounded. They were the 
first up at the Kashmere breach. The most of the 
casualties happened while we were in the city. The 
breach was won almost at once, the cowardly black- 
guards not liking too close quarters with so much 
British steel. . . . 

" There is one thing I have just heard, to avoid 
which I would gladly have given my right hand — 
namely, poor Murray Mackenzie is no more. He died 
at Simla, of his wounds received down here. A finer, 
braver, or better fellow never drew sword. . . . By 
this sad occurrence aunt Emily must, I know, be left 
nearly destitute, and therefore I propose to devote 
every farthing I can spare to her. I shall be a 
lieutenant soon, if I am not one already. That will 
give me 100 rupees more a-month, and that, small 
as the sum is, I intend to give over to aunt Emily. 


HIS brother's fate. 


It will help her a little, and God only knows she is 
welcome to anything I can do for her. . . . 

" Not a word of any sort have I heard from 
Edward since the 5th May. His regiment mutinied, 
and all escaped except Colonel Birch, who was killed. 
They escaped to Lucknow, and as that was relieved 
on the 2.5th September, we must hope that poor 
Edward is still amono; the survivors of the gallant 
little garrison. You may be sure that anything I 
hear about Edward I will let you know. No list of 
the garrison has come in, and all we know is that 
Sir H. Lawrence, Major Banks, and a Captain Hayes 
are killed. The papers are, as usual, all wrong. The 
sepoys who witnessed the execution at Firozpur,^ 
so far from being paralysed or livid with fear, didn't 
care a bit about it. I didn't like the sight at first, 
but after seein^r such a lot of them huno^ and 
blown away, I don't care a bit about it. I went to 
see those two imps of the devil, the two princes, 
shot, with about as much the same kind of feeling as 
I would go to see a dog killed. I would have shot 
them myself sooner than they should have got off. 

''Our colonel still believes that the 57th never 
mutinied, so I sent him something the other day 
which, I fancy, rather shook his belief in that mag- 
nificent set of blackguards, the old 57th, in the shape 
of a general order by Buklitiar Khan, the man who 
commanded the mutineers at Delhi. It ran as fol- 
lows. After telling off a number of different regi- 

1 See ante, p. 40. 




ments to specified posts, it said : ' Regiment 57th, 
Pultun Lord Moira, will send its left wing to the 
Kabul Gate, and, in company with the soldiers of 
the Hamilton Ka Pultun, will defend that post. 
The right wing will proceed to Salimgharh, and form 
part of the garrison of that place.' x4nd so the 
blackguard went on giving every regiment its post. 
The orders of this man were capital — everything 
was done as regularly and with as much order as 
when they were the Kampani Bahadur's petted 
and pampered Sipahees ; and if the Sipahees had 
had the smallest atom of courage, and been able 
to carry out these arrangements, it would perhaps 
have gone precious hard with our little force. If 
the cowardly dogs had defended the Kabul Gate to 
the last, as they were ordered to, most likely we 
should never have got there. I have filled my room 
here with loot — nearly everything I have got is 
plunder — my chairs, tables, plates, cups — everything, 
in fact. If the prize-agents would only go about it 
in the proper way, they would find no end of loot in 
the city. 

The row out here is nearly all over; the wretched 
sepoys get licked everywhere. They got a splendid 
thrashing the other day. A force of them had been 
thrashed by Cawnpore force, and in retreating they 
got between the Ganges and the Gogra. Grant s 
column hearing of this, pushed on and cut them all 
up, driving all they didn't kill into the river, where, 
it is to be hoped, they all went to the bottom." 




Oct. W, — My dearest mother, prepare yourself 
for the worst concerning Edward's fate. The list of 
survivors has come ; in vain have I looked for the 
name of MacGregor. God ! that I should ever have 
to write such a thing — to think that poor Edward is 
cut off, so young, I can't believe it. When the list 
came in I hardly dared look at the 41st. When I 
did, I sat staring at it, at the blank where Lieutenant 
MacGregor ought to have been. A kind of a chill 
came over me. I felt the blood fly away from my 
heart. I threw down the paper, rushed up-stairs, and 
flung myself on my bed and burst out into loud sobs. 
I tried to be cool, but I couldn't. Sooner would I 
have given up my own life than Edward should have 
suflered. We used to quarrel, but God only knows 
how I loved him, such a fine generous boy as he 
was. I used to be so proud of Edward, and now he 
is under the cold turf. It is His will that it should 
be so — that we should lose as fine a young fellow as 
ever breathed. . . . 

" He was generous, brave, and good-hearted. Oh ! 
why was he killed ? Why wasn't I at Lucknow and 
he at Firozpur ? . . . Much better that I should 
die than such a one as Edward was. He would 
have risen to be a great man if he had only 
lived. ^ . . . 

1 Later, in December, Charles MacGregor writes : " Poor dear Ed- 
ward, not a word have I heard about him since the 4th May, but I 
can't and won't believe that he is killed ; I feel for you most deeply, 
as mail after mail comes in and still no tidings of Edward. How- 




The only piece of hope I can gather from the 
list is, that at the end of it are the following words : 
* and very many more, — in fact very few have been 
killed, — whose names will be communicated here- 
after.' I need not say how much I hope he will ; 
perhaps the Almighty intends to bring him safe 
back to us. God grant it may be so." 

ever, we have not actually heard that he is dead, so we must hope for 
the best. May God grant that our hopes may be realised." 

It was not till 5th January 1858 that any lingering hope was finally 
dispelled. " Gamp Fatehgarh. — My poor mother, how will you 
bear up with such a calamity ? there is no doubt about it — no doubt 
that your darling Edward has gone to his long home. May God Al- 
mighty grant that he is in heaven. To think that after waiting for 
eight long months, hoping almost against hope, to think that the first 
news we receive of poor dear Edward is, that he is lying cold and stiff 
under the sod. After living through the whole of that dreadful 
scene, after escaping shot and shell, to die within a few days of the 
relief, my God ! is quite maddening. It would have been better 
if I had gone — rather than such a fine fellow as Edward was — a mean 
thought never entered his head. He was as thoroughly unselfish as 




" The mutineers loere crushed, dispersed, or ta'en, 
Or lived to deem the happiest loere the slain." 
















Immediately after the capture of Delhi, General 
Wilson lost no time in following up his victory by 

1858 - 59. 



despatching forces in various directions in order to 
scour the Gangetic Doab, and prevent the fugitive 
sepoys forming fresh combinations under partisans 
of the Delhi princes. Brigadier Greathed com- 
manded the first of these columns, which succeeded 
in relieving Agra; whilst Van Cortlandt restored 
order in the district of Kohtak, to the north-west of 
Delhi ; and a third column, under Brigadier Showers, 
was despatched on the 2d October to clear the Mhair- 
wara district to the west and south-west. 

Oct. 19. — On the return of Showers' column to 
Delhi, General Penny, who had succeeded General 
Wilson, received intelligence that the rebels, rein- 
forced by the mutineers of the Jodhpur legion, had 
reappeared in the districts just traversed by Showers, 
reoccupying Rewari. It became necessary, therefore, 
to despatch another force to restore order. A col- 
umn, composed of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers [in which 
corps Ensign Charles MacGregor was now serving] 
under Captain Caulfield, the 7th Panjab Infantry, a 
troop of Bengal Horse-Artillery under Cookworthy, 
a heavy battery under Gillespie, a portion of the 
Sikh Guide Corps, cavalry and infantry, under 
Kennedy and Sandford, with the Multan Horse 
under Lane, was ordered on this duty, and the com- 
mand of this brigade was given to Colonel Gerrard ^ 

1 Immediately after the fall of Delhi, Colonel Gerrard, who had first 
joined the Bengal European Regiment in 1825, was appointed to its 
command, and as he was an officer both respected and beloved, his 
return was a matter of much congratulation and joy. — History Euro- 
pean Regiment, p. 496. 




of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers. In all, this force con- 
sisted of about 2500 men. 

Delhi, Nov. 9. — Gerrard's column was ordered to 
encamp outside the Kashmere gate of the city on 
the 9 th November, in readiness to proceed against 
several strongholds occupied by the mutineers in a 
westerly direction ; and the following morning the 
brigade marched, reaching Eewari by the 13th, 
when the fort was reoccupied without opposition, 
whilst -the troops were reinforced by two squadrons 
of Carabineers. 

Kanauj, Nov. 15. — At Kanauj, which was 
reached two days later, the column was further 
strengthened by a portion of the Hariana Field 
Force, including the 23d Panjab Infantry, and next 
day (Nov. 16) pushed on over a sandy plain, a dis- 
tance of fourteen miles, to Narnul, where it was 
supposed the enemy had mustered in force.^ 

Saunand Khan, in expectation of an attack, had 
drawn up his troops in line of battle on the ridge 
overlooking Narnul on the morning of the 16th 
November ; but about 10 a.m., no signs of an enemy 
appearing, he withdrew the sepoys back to his camp, 
near a fort two miles to the rear, so that Gerrard on 
approaching Narnul soon afterwards found the place 
unoccupied. However, after a short halt, the enemy 

1 This fort of Narnul had been reduced during the Mahratta war 
in 1803. See article in 'Blackwood's Magazine' of June 1852. The 
writer of this article, Dr Brougham, was present at the action de- 
scribed above. 


appeared, hastening to reoccupy their former strong 
position, upon which Brigadier Gerrard ordered an 
immediate advance of his line. 

In the centre were the 1st Bengal Fusiliers and 
the 23d Panjab Infantry, followed by the 18- 
pounders, escorted by a company of the Guides In- 
fantry ; to the right, the Carabineers and Guides, 
with a wing of the 1st Panjab Infantry; to the left, 
the Irregular Cavalry and Multan Horse, with four 
light Sikh guns and Sikh infantry. 

The fight, as usual, commenced with an artillery 
duel, succeeded by the rapid advance of the Cara- 
bineers and Guides, who sabred the enemy's gunners 
at their guns. The guns, however, which had not 
been spiked, were retaken by the sepoy infantry, 
but the Bengal Fusiliers quickly charged the battery, 
and gallantly captured and spiked the guns. Col- 
onel Gerrard, conspicuous on his white charger, was 
killed by a musket-shot, Captain Caulfield assuming 
the command of the brigade. Meantime the Fusi- 
liers pushed on to a small mud fort held by some of 
the enemy, who were defending it with one trap- 
gun. The Fusiliers captured this gun at the point 
of the bayonet, driving the enemy before them into 
their camp beyond, where another gun was captured. 
As the regiment went forward, the sepoys returned, 
retook the guns, which were again retaken and 
spiked by the Fusiliers. The enemy's camp-equi- 
page, cattle, and eight guns fell into the hands of 
the British. 



Unfortunately MacGregor s letter, describing his 
first action, has not been preserved ; but in his 
record of service it is stated that Ensign MacGregor 
captured a gun and cut down one of the gunners. 

Camp Patiali, Dec. 20 to 29.— The battle of Nar- 
nul took place on the 16th November, so that I shall 
give you an account of what has happened since then. 

" After Narnul we marched into Delhi, where we 
stayed for a few days to the 7th of this month, 
when we marched towards Aligarh, in charge of a 
large convoy of carriage intended for the troops 
below, and consisting of no end of hackeries, camels, 
and elephants, covering, when on the march, a space 
of sixteen miles of road. 

We arrived at Aligarh all serene, nothing of 
any consequence happening. We heard here that 
one of the rebel chiefs, Walidad, was likely to try 
and stop the convoy on the Grand Trunk Koad. So 
Colonel Seaton, our chief, determined to leave the 
convoy under the walls of Aligarh, and march and 
give Mr Walidad a good licking. 

"Our force consisted of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers, 
a hundred of the 3d Europeans, a troop of horse- 
artillery, three heavy guns, Hodson's Horse, and a 
squadron of Carabineers. 

" Kasganj, situated about thirty-five miles from 
Aligarh, was the name of the place where the 
Pandies were supposed to be, so ofi* to Kasganj 
we started. When we got to Ganjairi (Dec. 14), 
one march from Kasganj, we halted, and a 


party of Carabineers and Hodson's Horse were sent 
out to drive in a picket of the enemy about three 
miles off. About two hours or so after they had 
gone, we saw \Yardlaw of the Carabineers tearing 
in at full gallop to the camp. We got up from our 
breakfasts and went to meet him, and he told us 
that the enemy were advancing in force on our camp. 
The alarm and assembly were immediately sounded, 
and in a few minutes after, we were all drawn up 
in line, and ready to receive the beggars. The 
cavalry and horse-artillery were ordered to the front, 
and presently we heard our artillery opening on the 
Pandies. The artillery fired away for about a 
quarter of an hour, when the Carabineers were 
ordered to charge : they did so in splendid style. 
The Golundazes let fly five rounds of grape before 
they came up, and when they (the Carabineers) had 
swept through the guns, they turned them round 
and gave them another round ; but it was no good, 
the guns, three in number, were soon in our hands. 
The Carabineers lost two ofiicers killed in the charge, 
which was a most gallant affair. There were only 
ninety of the Carabineers against 1200 of the enemy 
with guns. Two more officers were killed during 
the day, being shot at from behind banks by 
the Pandies. The cavalry pursued the enemy, and 
cut up upwards of 300 of them, and then returned 
to camp. The infantry were not engaged ; only one 
or two round-shot came over our heads. The whole 
loss of the force that day was three officers killed, 


one wounded very badly ; six men killed and 
fourteen wounded in the Carabineers ; five men 
killed and fourteen wounded in Hodson's Horse ; 
fourteen killed and twenty-nine wounded in the 
whole force, making a most frightful proportion of 
killed to wounded, and also a very great proportion 
of officers hit. Out of the five ofiicers the Carabineers 
had with them, three were killed, and another danger- 
ously wounded. Their names were Wardlaw, Hud- 
son, Vyse, of the Carabineers ; and Head, of the 9th 
Lancers, dangerously wounded. 

"Next morning (Dec. 15) we marched to Kas- 
ganj, but found the birds flown. Our next march 
(Dec. 16) was to Sohawal. We just caught the 
tail of the cowards as they made ofl". About fifty 
of them were cut up by the cavalry. At last, on 
the 17th, we had the pleasure of coming up to them 
at this place — Patiali. 

" It was about seven o'clock in the morning when 
they opened the ball. They fired very pluckily for 
about three-quarters of an hour, when they seemed 
not to like the heavy fire of our artillery, and 
gradually their fire slackened — though at one time 
I was in hopes that we had at last found a set 
of Pandies with a little pluck in them, for the shot 
and shell came rattling over our heads pretty thickly. 

" We had got them between two cross-fires, and 
they could not stand it, and bolted, leaving a few 
men with the guns. Directly our horse-artillery saw 
this, oflf they dashed, guns and all, into their camp, 


and with the staff actually took possession of the 
guns which were there (seven). The cavalry was 
now sent in pursuit of the beggars, and the infantry 
was ordered up to skirmish through the sugar-canes. 
I went with my company — No. 3 — and we alone, in 
a distance of two miles, cut up fifty of the skulking 
brutes. I declare not a man we came across was 
without arms, and yet not a man made the least 
resistance. The cowardly wretches knelt and crouched 
at your feet, licking and kissing them, and telling 
you you were the protector of the poor, and no 
end of a sahibs begged their lives : but it would not 
do to forget that our women and children had no 
doubt begged their lives too, and been refused, — 
or rather I don't believe our women or even our 
children would beg it in such an abject manner as I 
have described, — so the word was given, and another 
fiend was launched into eternity. After breakfast I 
went out again with No. 3 to clear the fields and 
topes of the beasts. We killed a lot more, the whole 
of them behaving in the same disgusting cowardly 
manner as before : there was perhaps only one ex- 
ception, and that was a man who came at me. I 
saw him lying crouching in a ditch, with nothing but 
his dhotee on. I asked him who he was. He got 
up on to his knees, put up his hands, and begged 
his life. I was just going to grant him it, when I 
saw something blue peeping out from some grass by 
the side of him. I went up to it, and lo and be- 
hold I there was a light cavalry jacket, as perfect as 




possible, with its orange facings and white trimmings. 
Oh ho ! my boy, thought I ; so you're one of the 
clashing light cavalry, are you ? I called out to a 
man by me to come and shoot him, as I was not 
going to let any of these soivars off. All of a sudden 
the beast jumped up, snatched a tulwar from under- 
neath the grass, and rushed at me. As I was not 
prepared for him (my back being partly turned to 
speak to my man), he was on me before I knew 
where I w^as, and had given me a cut on the head 
with his tulivar, I saw the brute's eyes sparkle as 
he gave the cut, thinking he had done for me, and 
expecting to see me drop ; but thanks to a solah 
topee, with a good pugree, the blow did not touch my 
head. I went at him at once, and gave him a cut 
across his cheek ; but my sword not being sharp, it 
did not floor him as I expected, so I was prepar- 
ing to give him point 3 in his stomach, when he 
turned and bolted. I went after him, and instead 
of giving him the prod in his stomach, gave it him 
through his back. He fell heavily on iny sword, 
and broke it. I told one of our men to put a bullet 
through him, which he did. I then went up to look 
at his jacket to see what regiment he belonged to, 
and found he belonged to the 2d Light Cavalry — 
those fiendish beasts that murdered our women and 
children. You may be sure I was thankful I had 
polished that fellow off. On that day we took 
thirteen guns, killed upwards of 800 of the enemy, 
took all their baggage, and with all that, what do 




you think our loss was ? Only one killed and four 
wounded. I never heard of a more complete thing 
in my life. 

"It would always be the way if commanders 
would only give up thinking that because there is 
a good butcher's bill it has been a good fight. The 
plan is to give them plenty of artillery ; don't go 
making infantry take guns without thoroughly 
silencing those of the enemy. To be sure, they 
could take the guns if there were fifty to be taken, 
but look at the difference ; we lose in the whole 
force five men instead of eighty-four, as we did at 
Narnul. At Narnul we only took eight guns, and 
here we took thirteen guns. 

"On the 20th we heard that 6000 men, with 
twelve guns, had crossed the Kali Nadi, and 
were coming to attack us. Such a story could 
hardly be believed, as the niggers are never in a 
hurry to attack the Goralogs ; ^ however, in this 
case it was true. They were a lot of rabble from 
Bareilly. No doubt they were awfully plucky, hav- 
ing had it all their own way in Eohilkand ; but 
directly they heard that we were marching against 
them, ofi" they bolted, thinking better of their bit of 
bravado. Of course it was of no use our trying to 
follow them across the river, as they had all the 
boats on their side." 

" Dec. 22. — We stayed at Patiali for two or three 

1 " White folk," — a contemptuous expression in a native's mouth. 
VOL. I. E 


days, and this morning we have marched from thence 
to Sahawar. . . . 

" I daresay you will think that our fights are 
most harmless affairs, and so they are. Jack Pandy 
never will stand properly ; he hasn't got it in him ; 
he won't even fight when it's all up with him ; 
nothing will make him fight, neither hliang nor 
desperation. At no one place has Jack fought as 
he used to fight for us, and that was never very well. 

I had a letter about my exchanging into a 
European regiment, but I don't see the advantage 
of it. There are only three into which I could 
exchange. The 1st Fusiliers I am now with ; and 
although the regiment is a splendid one, I do not 
like the officers of it, and I could never get on with 
them if I didn't like them : I can't be civil to fel- 
lows I dislike. Then, again, I should have to go in 
as fourth ensign, whereas if I do not go into it I am 
a lieutenant. 

''Dec. 23. — The report here goes that the Com- 
mander-in-Chief has taken Fatehgarh ; if he has, it 
will spoil our fun, as we might have gone at it. 
However, I hope we shall have a bit of a scrimmage 
at Mainpuri." 

" Camp Mainpuri, Dec. 29. — We have since the 
23d marched from Kasganj to Mainpuri. Here 
I thought we were in for another scrimmage, but 
the cowardly wretches only fired on us for five 
minutes and then bolted clean, leaving seven guns. 
We got into the Rajah's palace, and did not find a 




soul there : they might have made a beautiful stand 
there, as the walls are immensely high, and the 
palace is in the midst of the city, and consequently 
we should not have been able to have got our guns 
up close. Of course every single thing was looted. 
Among other things, I found a European woman's 
nightcap, showing too plainly that the poor creature 
had fallen into that drunken little creature Tej 
Sinh's hands. I found a whole packet of European 
letters. In the city afterwards I came across a 
whole collection of silver cups, &c., some silver 
boxes, ODe of them a jolly spice-box. I gave it to 
Caulfield, whose tent I have been living in all the 
time we have been out. We had a very jolly Christ- 
mas, with no end of singing, speechifying, &c. I 
sang "The Monks of Old" and "Those Evening 
Bells" in my usual style. We halt here till the 31st, 
when we march to Bhongaon." 

The new year opened sadly for Charles Mac- 
Greo'or, his worst forebodino-s as to his brother's fate 
being fully confirmed. He writes to his mother : — 

" Camp Fatehgarh, Jan. 5. — Our worst fears are 
realised about poor dear Edward's death : he died in 
September. I wrote to Major Ay thorp about him, 
and received an answer in these words : * Your 
brother was taken ill of fever a fortnight before 
he died. During his illness every attention was 
paid to him by the doctor who attended him and 
the officers of the regiment; but from the first he 




never rallied. Like a number of others in Lucknow, 
he was a good deal weakened before he was taken 
seriously ill, from the effects of foul air, sameness of 
food, no liquor, and constant exposure. Like all 
the officers of the regiment, he lost all his property 
saving his gun, sword, and clothes on his back. 
Captain Saunders, 41st Regiment, was president of 
the committee of adjustment of his estate, and I 
have no doubt, if your poor brother had any trinkets 
or anything that could be kept as a memo, for his 
friends, he has preserved them. I will write and 
ask him, and let you know.' " ^ 

Jan. 13. — We arrived here from Mainpuri on 
the 4th, and we found the Chief here with an im- 
mense force. The followino^ reo^iments are here : 
Her Majesty's 8th, 23d, 42d, 93d, 82d, 53d, 64th; 
2d and 3d battalions Eifle Brigade, her Majesty's 
9th Lancers, squadron 6th Dragoon Guards, 1st 
European Bengal Fusiliers, Hodson's Horse, some 
Panjab Cavalry ; 2d, 4th, and 7th Panjab Infantry ; 
500 Naval Brigade and about twelve heavy guns ; 
Turner's troop Horse- Artillery, Blunt's do., Reming- 
ton's do., and Bourchier's battery. . . . Havelock is 
dead! . . . Outram commands at Alambagh." 

" Camp Bilhaur, Jan, 29. — We (the Fusiliers) 
have been ordered down to Cawnpore, and we are 
now on our way there. I suppose we shall see the 
place where the women were murdered. We shall 
go to Lucknow very soon. There will be a regular 

^ See ante, chap. ii. p. 54. 




good fight there ; none of your potting little fights 
like we have been having lately, but a regular good 
one — one in which we shall have our 2000 killed 
and wounded." 

Feb. 5. — We arrived at Cawnpore the day 
before yesterday. I went ofi" to Captain Saunders, 
and got dear Edward's sword from him : it was all 
covered with blood, and the hilt and the scabbard 
are all dented as if with bullets, showing that it has 
not remained idle in its sheath, but has drunk the 
heart's blood of more than one of these fiendish 
mutineers." — 

' Many a hand's on a richer hilt, 
But none on a steel more ruddily gilt.' 

— I wrote the other day to Mr Balfour to ask him 
if he knew anythiug about the money which my 
father was kind enough to lay aside to buy me a 
horse. He wrote back, and told me that my father 
had actually placed 1000 rupees in his hands to 
prevent my running into debt by these mutinies. 
Imagine my surprise at his kindness ! Now, next 
time you see him you must catch hold of his hand 
and nearly wring it oflf, and tell him from me that 
if ever there was a thoroughly kind old governor, 
he is one ; but thanks to the Lord Moira Ka Pultun} 
they did not take it into their heads to murder their 
ofificers and loot their bungalows, so that I have lost 
nothing ; besides, if I had, I should get it from 

1 The disbanded 57th Regiment Native Infantry. 




Government. I am not a bit in debt, and I shall 
be some few rupees on the right side of the book 
when I receive all my pay. Meanwhile I must 
think of others besides myself Aunt Emily must 
have suffered as much as any one by these mutinies, 
and if the 1000 rupees were handed over to her, I 
should like it much better. She wants it much 
more than I do. I am sure poor old Murray Mac- 
kenzie would have done the same to you or me if 
we had been placed in the same circumstances, and 
aunt Emily was very kind to me when I was at 

Feb. 8.^ — We marched from Cawnpore towards 
Lucknow the other day (6th), and are now encamped 
at Unao, twelve miles on the Lucknow side of the 
river Ganges. Things are gradually drawing to a 
close. All the Chiefs army has arrived at Cawn- 
pore, I believe ; waggons of shot and shell are con- 
tinually on their way to Lucknow ; Chamberlain's 
column is well into Kohilkand by this time ; and 
Jung Bahadur, with Colonel Franks, are reported 
to be close to Fyzabad. I may be knocked over at 
Lucknow, and, if I am, this is the last letter you 
will get from me. I may as well say Goodbye now 
as at any time, so that, if Jack Pandy puts a bullet 
through me, I have said Goodbye to you all. Kiss 
the youngsters for me and say Ta-ta. If I have 

1 By Governor-General's Order, No. 192, dated February 8, 1858, 
Ensign C. M. MacGregor was promoted Lieutenant 57th Bengal 
Native Infantry, from the 17th November 1857. 




your and my father's forgiveness for anything I have 
clone to pain you, you may be sure I shall feel none 
the worse for it when my time comes. However, I 
may not get knocked over, and then I will write 
you another letter, giving such accounts of the 
fights, single combats, &c., as I have been in. If I 
am to march, I shall have done my best to cry quits 
with the Pandies for poor dear Edward's death. I 
don't think I owe anything out here — at least, if I 
do, I have got five months' pay to receive, so that 
will pay it all." 

''Camp Naioabganj, Feb. 18. — Here we are 
still sticking. Only got as far as Nawabganj, 
twenty-five miles from Lucknow. Meanwhile we 
have a most awful lot of picket-duty. What be- 
tween being bullied by Cockney hussar soldiers and 
those swell Rifle Brigade ofiicers, who think that there 
is not a regiment like - themselves on the face of the 
earth, this begins to be unbearable. Hussar officers 
who don't know their right hand from their left try 
to teach you your duty, and by way of doing so 
they come haw-hawing round your picket at night 
with a lantern ! with their hands in those eternal 
peg-top trousers. . . . 

" What do you say to my going into the Agra 
Bank ; I wrote once or twice before on the same sub- 
ject. Myself I don't think it would be a bad plan, 
only I wish I had done it before." 

" Camp, Alamhagk, March 2. — Since I last wrote 
I have been engaged in the painful task of collecting 


A soldier's end. 


news from diflferent people about poor dear Edward's 
death. A letter I got from Keir says : ' He was taken 
ill about the 20th September ; about the 1st October 
he began to get better and rally a bit, but he had a 
relapse which caused his death on the 14th October.' 
With the exception of Colonel Birch and Lieuten- 
ant Smalley, all escaped from Sitapur; when they 
arrived at Lucknow they were ordered to do duty 
at the Machi Bhawan. Shortly after, Edward went 
to live with Sir H. Lawrence at the Residency for 
change of air. Keir was thus separated from him, 
and being in another part of the garrison, had neither 
time nor opportunity to see much of him. Dodgson, 
who, I think, is a cousin of yours, is here. He went 
into the garrison with Havelock, and was with poor 
dear Edward till he died." 

March 9. — The Chief arrived on the morning of 
the 2d, and marched on to the Dilkusha, of which 
he took possession on the same day wdthout any 

" On the 6th, Walpole's division, to which we 
belonged, marched across the river, much to the sur- 
prise of the Bandies, who did not find it out till we 
were over in the direction of the cantonments. 

" You know the song * Of what is the old man 
thinking ? ' I ask, Of what is old Sir Colin think- 
ing? We may be said to have appeared before 
Lucknow on the 2d. Nothing has been done since 
that, not a battery raised, no attempt made to push 
on, — no. All that has been done is, the troops have 




been unnecessarily harassed for tlie last six days. I 
have hardly been in bed or under shade for that 
time ; we are turned out every five minutes, have to 
sleep accoutred, and visit the sentries every hour or 
so. Well, I should not care about this if it was of 
any use, but it is not. All these false alarms come 
to nothing. J ack Pandy never attacks properly ; 
if he does, he opens fire so very far out of range 
always, that all the troops are under arms long be- 
fore they come up. Only yesterday^ we were at- 
tacked by these beggars, and the first we knew of it 
in camp was round-shot coming in like mad. We 
turned out sharp, formed line, and in our innocence 
were going ofi" at a double to take the Pandy 
guns, when a swell stafi" ofiicer galloped up and gave 
the order for us to lie down. Of course we had to 
obey, as the order came from the general, but I 
never heard of such an absurd order. Fancy making 
us lie down when we were only just within range of 
the enemy's guns. However, we lay down, and 
after the Pandies thought they had bothered us 
enough, they took their guns back into the city; 
whereas if we had been allowed to advance on their 
guns we should most likely have taken them. The 
great mistake all the swells noio in command out 
here make, is that of treating the Pandies as if they 
were European troops ; there is too much caution." 

1 The Fusiliers were encamped, on the 8th March, with Outram's 
division, on the Chinhat road, when they were attacked by the enemy, 
who were driven back. See p. 77. 




Colonel Innes writes :^ On the 16th March our 
brigadier^ received permission to cross the river, 
near Sikandra Bagh, over a hastily constructed pon- 
toon-bridge floating on casks ; so marching past the 
32d mess-house — or rather, where the house had 
stood — we reached the Kaisar Bagh, when an attack 
was ordered to be made on the Residency, which 
still contained some of the rebel troops. A rush in 
the face of a few wild shots, and the Residency was 
in our hands, the defence of which now formed a 
feeble contrast to the occasion on which Outram and 
Havelock with their brave force had held the posi- 
tion for months in the teeth of countless multitudes. 
Our troops, still pushing on, seized the ruined for- 
tress of Machi Bhawan, from which Captain Salusbury 
with his company pushed on up to the gateway over- 
looking the Husainabad, capturing three guns upon 
the river-bank and one at the gateway of the garden. 

" Lieutenant Charles MacGregor, attached to our 
regiment, was as usual to the front, and greatly dis- 
tinguished himself by engaging in single combat 
with one of the bravest of the rebels, whom he re- 
duced to eternal submission by sending his sword 
through his body up to its hilt. Brougham says, 
' Mac returned looking very ivarm, and exceedingly 
wild and happy.' . . . 

1 History Bengal European Eegiment, by Colonel Innes, p. 523. 
By Governor-General's Order, No. 192, of February 8, MacGregor had 
been promoted Lieutenant 57tli Bengal Native Infantry, but lie con- 
tinued attached to the 1st European Bengal Fusiliers. 

2 Brigadier Douglas. 




" LuckDow was taken on the 20tli, after two 
days' fighting. The Fusiliers were, as usual, in the 
thick of it. General Outram said they behaved just 
as he expected. Everybody down here has a great 
opinion of them, and they certainly are a fine 

" Sir James Outram says, ' The left column of 
attack, composed of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers, sup- 
ported by two companies of the 79th Highlanders, 
carried the Chakr-Kothi or Yellow House, the key 
of the rebels' position, in gallant style, and thereby 
turned the strong line of intrenchments which had 
been constructed by the enemy on the right banks.' 

General Outram then ordered a part of the 
Bengal Fusiliers along the river -bank with some 
heavy guns, to enfilade the enemy's works. No 
reply being offered to our fire, Major Nicholson 
of the Engineers, who was commanding, thought 
the rebel batteries must be deserted. Lieutenant 
T. A. Butler of the Fusiliers swam across the 
stream, sixty yards across with a rapid current, and 
alone, unarmed, he entered into the enemy's battery 
and signalled that they, the works, were empty. For 
this gallant act he received the Victoria Cross." 

This officer, now Major Butler, writes what he 
knew of MacGregor personally : — 

" He [MacGregor] joined our regiment a little be- 
fore the capture of Lucknow, and was attached to my 
company. You will know what his age was [seventeen 
and a half years]. He was not by any means a genial 


companion, and we used to consider him of rather 
a sulky disposition. At mess he would sometimes 
sit all dinner-time and not say half-a-dozen words ; 
but the moment there was any chance of fighting, 
it was extraordinary to see the change in his face 
and manner. It was a very common thing for one 
of the fellows to come into the tent and say, ' Look 
out, you fellows ! we shall be turned out directly ; 
the enemy are coming on,' just to draw MacGregor. 
The effect was magical. He immediately became 
full of smiles, and talked away merrily. He was the 
only man I ever met on service that I really believe 
loved fighting. He did not know what fear or 
danger were. My company was the centre one 
when we entered the Yellow House at Lucknow. 
MacGregor rushed on ahead of the men, and though 
I shouted to him to keep back with the men, as the 
place was full of the enemy, he would not stop. A 
sepoy stepped out and fired his musket right in his 
face : luckily it only blew his cap ofi", and blackened 
his face. MacGregor killed the sepoy, and turned 
round to me with a blackened face beaming with 
satisfaction. He did not seem to have the slio^htest 
idea of the awfully narrow escape he had had. I 
need hardly say the men very soon got confidence 
in him, and would have followed him anywhere. 
I often heard them saying what a fine young 
fellow he was. 

" After we got into Lucknow, as he was going 
through the courtyard of a house, a powerful sepoy 




sprang out on him. MacGregor fought him with 
his sword, and being a very good swordsman, and 
as cool as the proverbial cucumber, played with him 
for a few minutes, and then ran him through, and he 
was in the best of tempers for the rest of the day." 

In a letter of later date, MacGregor gives the fol- 
lowing extracts from his diary of this period : — 

" On the 6 th March we crossed the river as 
part of Outram's force, and after humbugging 
about the w^hole day, we bivouacked under some 
trees. On the 7th we w^ent into camp on the 
Chinhat road. On the 8th the Pandies came 
out and attacked us ; but as they had only a 
mile or so to go to get across the river, we did 
not get any of their guns. On the 9th a battery 
was raised just in front of the Yellow House, 
and after battering it for half an hour, we charged 
and took it, losing a few men. I was twice 
very nearly shot : once I felt the bullet strike the 
curtain of my piigree ; and, secondly, I was the first 
up to the Yellow House, and, like a young fool, was 
just going to rush into the rooms, which were chock- 
full of Pandies, w^hen I saw a fellow inside with his 
musket within a yard of my breast. I thought, 
' Thank you, no ! ' and bobbed behind the wall. We 
took as far as the Badshah Bagh that day. On the 
10th we did nothing, except erect flanking batteries. 
On the 11th we advanced as far as the Iron Bridge 
— in fact, took all the other side of the river. On 




the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, nothing was done except 
blazing into the Pandies with shelL On the 16th 
we formed one of the regiments of a brigade which 
crossed the river by the Yellow House. We took 
(i.e.^ our brigade) the Chattar Manzil Eesidency, 
Machi Bhawan, and Imambara and Husainabad 
that day, and I had to sleep out in the streets. On 
the 17th the regiment was put into the Husaina- 
bad. On the 18th nothing for us. 19th, ditto. 
20th, four companies, among which I was, were sent 
to take possession of Ali Nuckt Khan's house ; we 
did so, and lived there till we were ordered out with 
Grant's column. It was a jolly house on the banks 
of the river, and we used to have boating and 
bathing like bricks." 

" Litcknoio, March 24. — We passed through the 
Eesidency the other day on our way to the city. 
There is scarcely a square foot of - it that is not per- 
forated with round-shot and shell. It is perfectly 
incredible how they could have held out : there are 
scarcely any intrenchments, just the same as it was 
at Caw^npore. It only shows what despicable 
cowards these sepoys are. ... 

''The Chief makes a great deal of the High- 
landers — too much, I think ; he is always pushing 
them forward. I do not know what I shall do for 
a tent during the hot weather, the one I have now 
got is only a wretched sepoy's and doesn't 
keep the heat out at all. Then, again, those black- 
guard sepoys stole my revolver, and if it was not 




that I got poor Edward's sword, I should not have 
one, my own having broken over that wretched 
Pandy at Patiali. 

" I have had two very interesting adventures 
since we came this side of the river Gumti. The 
first is as follows. I was out with two men just 
underneath the Daulatkhana : we were out skir- 
mishing, and I had got separated from the rest of 
my company somehow. Well, I felt very thirsty, so 
I said to the men, ' Just break open that door and 
let us see if there is any water in the court.' They 
did so, and we went into the court. There was a 
well in it, and we commenced drawing some water, 
and just as I was drinking, one of the men shouted, 
' Look out, sir ! ' and fired ofi" his musket at one of 
four men who came rushing out of the house with 
tuhvars in their hands. Luckily it knocked the fel- 
low over, so that our numbers were equal. I went at 
one fellow with my sword, and the two men went at 
the others with their bayonets. Well, they soon 
polished off their two ; but I couldn't manage my 
chap so soon, as he was, like most of these niggers, 
a pretty tolerable swordsman. However, I had not 
quite forgot my lessons at Angelo's, and besides, these 
niggers can't understand the point ; so I waited, not 
trying to hit my man, but keeping my eye on him 
(which, by the way, was very necessary, as he danced 
and jumped about like a madman, now hitting at 
my right side, then dancing round like lightning at 
my left). I gave him a sharp jerking kind of cut on 




bis knuckles, his sword dropped, and I was just 
going to give him No. 3 through his body, but he 
picked it up again too sharp for me, and began cut- 
ting at me again ; but it was of no use, he couldn't 
hold it, and dropped it again, and he received the 
long-delayed No. 3 in his stomach. Over he went 
of course, and I picked up his tulwar and cut off his 
head very nearly with it. This is the first regular 
good single combat I have had, and I hope it may 
not be the last. If I had had a revolver, I could 
have polished the beggar off at once." 

" March 20. — Adventure No. 2 was as follows : 
As we were passing up a lane, while scouting, we 
saw a fellow's head popping over a wall, evidently 
with the intention of having a pot at us. We looked 
round for a door to break into the place. We soon 
found one, and broke it open, taking care, directly 
we had burst it open, to jump on .one side, to escape 
the volley with which we were sure to be greeted. 
It was just as well we did so in this case, as it was 
no exception to the rule ; however, the volley given, 
we rushed in, and had the pleasure of polishiug off 
four as jolly Pandies as could be. As there was 
another door leading into an inuer court, and I 
thought it not improbable that there might be some 
more of the beggars hiding inside, I went with some 
men and looked in. Instead, however, of seeing 
any more men, we were just in time to see two 
women jump down a well. Of course we went in, 
got a rope, put it down the well, and told them to 




catch hold of it ; but no, they wouldn't. They said, 
' You have killed our brothers, and you will kill us 
too.' We told them that the Goralog never killed 
women. They wouldn't believe it for a long time. 
At last, however, they asked us if they came up 
what would we do with them. Would we take 
them away ? As we said No, they might go where 
they liked, they seemed to be satisfied, and told us 
to pull. We did pull, and the first we brought up 
was a little bit of a boy about three years old, — such 
a pretty little beggar. The next was a young girl 
of about eighteen, very pretty, and evidently the 
mother of the child. She was perfectly insensible, 
and her hands had been tied by the other two women 
below. Next we pulled out her sister, and then 
the mother. As two of the women were all serene, 
only a bit frightened, we got a lot of clothes, lit 
a fire, and left them to get the girl round as they 
best could." 

Camp Belhir, April 18. — I am now out with a 
column, under the command of Sir Hope Grant. 
We are supposed to be pursuing the Begum, but 
we don't get on very fast. We have now been out 
for eight days, and are little more than thirty miles 
north of Lucknow. I am sick and tired of all this 
campaigning, if campaigning it can be called. All 
my desire to see service has been taken completely 
out of me. Days, weeks, months have been wasted 
doing nothing ; and however zealous and however 

VOL. I. F 




eager I was when I first came out from Firozpur, 
now there is not one who wishes to get back more 
than I do. I can't think that the one fight, which 
we get perhaps on an average once a-month, at all 
compensates for the twenty-nine days of marching, 
dirt, and heat, the latter of which is now no joke. 
In tents in the middle of the day it is 114°, and 
still it is only the middle of April : May, June, and 
July have got to come. By that time it will be pro- 
bably something under 300°. . . . 

" To give you some idea of the delights of the 
kind of campaigning we have, I'll just describe a 
day to you. The generale sounds at three, and we 
are supposed to commence our march at four ; but, 
owing to unavoidable delays of all sorts, we mostly 
commence at five, or at daybreak. The sun gets 
up very soon after daybreak, at six say. AVell, we 
go on marching till sometimes .two or three in the 
daytime (the sun being upwards of 130°). You see 
dogs, horses, camels, every animal panting for w^ater. 
Men fall down with sunstroke all about you ; others 
lie down, unable to bear up any longer, and swear 
they won't move another step. The men get quite 
mutinous. Camels go mad with the heat, break 
their strings and charge wildly about, not being 
very particular as to where they go to ; sometimes 
they knock you and your pony over. When we do 
get in, our tents do not come up for a good hour, 
and we have to sit on the hot ground until they do. 
When your tent is up, your thermometer never gets 


lower than 110° till the evening, which is the only 
enjoyable part of the whole day." 

''April 18. — I don't think that I shall stop 
much longer in this horrid service ; not that I think 
that the Company's is not as good and better than 
the Queen's, but I don't like either. To like the 
army a man must have no feeling of sensitiveness : 
he must be able to stand being bullied, insulted, 
and bothered without a word. To enable him to 
obey any order, however wrong, without a word, if 
he has not interest or money, he must stand by and 
see himself wronged, see others far junior to him 
placed over his head, see himself after years and 
years of meritorious service still at the bottom of 
the list. Nothing must make him ' down in the 
mouth,' but he must be able to go on hoping 
against hope for promotion and advancement. If 
a man has all these qualities he is a true soldier. 
Such a man was Havelock. . . . Poor old Murray 
Mackenzie was a real soldier. He was just as eager 
when he died as the youngest griff, in the service, 
always doing his duty and volunteering for every- 
thing. I feel that a soldier's calling is not mine. 
I can't stand being bullied and snubbed continually, 
for no other reason than that if you are encouraged 
you may prove yourself a good man and swallow 
up all the appointments that otherwise would go to 
the bigwigs' friends. All I want is your permission 
to cut the whole concern and go into the Agra 
Bank. I should get on much better there, and be 


outram's work. 


able to make a little money, and get out of this 
cursed country altogether." 

May 19. — Continuing the same subject at length 
on 19th May, Lieutenant MacGregor alludes to his 
personal habits as follows : — 

Now I flatter myself that I am both healthy and 
strong, and by bodily exercise, such as riding, 
rackets, &c., I could counteract the ill effects of 
stooping over a desk all day. I am also very tem- 
perate, abstemious almost. I never smoke, and a 
bottle of beer makes me quite silly, so that I don't 
think my health can be considered as any objection." 

Luchiow, May 19. — Eeport says, but I don't 
think it is true, that Sir Colin Campbell is dead ; if 
it is so, I don't know who can succeed him, unless it 
is Sir James Outram, who is the man who ought to 
have been put in at first before Sir Colin. It is to 
him that most of the kudos for all that has been done 
is due ; but being a Company's officer, of course he 
did not get any. It was Outram who sent Sir Colin 
Campbell a plan of Lucknow when he was coming to 
the relief of the garrison ; he established signals by 
means of semaphores ; he planned the retreat out of 
the Kesidency, a retreat that was so perfect that it 
was hours nearly before the enemy even knew that 
the Residency was empty — for that alone he de- 
serves more praise than has been given him. Again, 
it was Outram who planned the attack on the other 
side of the Gumti, which was altogether a most 
masterly thing. Thus the whole of the enemy's 



batteries, the whole of those immensely strong in- 
trenchments in rear of the Martiniere, were taken in 
flank by our column and rendered totally useless. 
The Pandies, finding their mistake at once, evacu- 
ated the whole line of batteries. They had to do 
the same with their second line of intrenchments, 
and by our playing on the Kaisar Bagh line Sir 
Colin's attack was greatly aided — in fact, it is well 
known that the Kaisar Bagh was found evacuated." 

" LucknoWf May 22. — There is a sentence in your 
letter to me of 1 7th April which makes me think you 
are favourable to a plan I have formed for some 
time, and about which I have written repeatedly — 
viz., my Avish to go into the Agra Bank. You say, 
speaking about my getting a little work at the bank, 
that you don't think I would like that sort of work 
unless I have changed very much since the days 
when I had the offer, and declined it. True ; but 
then nothing would have induced me to go into any 
other profession but the army. I thought it would be 
the most delightful service : everything was coideur 
cle rose then, and when you said I should find the 
army had its disagreeables, I thought you alluded 
only to the drills and parades, &c. These, I thought, 
will soon be over. Of course, one must expect to be 
bullied a little at first by one's colonel and adjutant, 
but they will leave that ofi" directly I know my 
work. However, I soon found my mistake, — that 
drills and parades were not the only disagreeables of 
the services, but tyranny and favouritism. I found 




that, from the moment you entered the army, you 
were a slave. A slave at the beck and call of 
your seniors, who might bully you, abuse you, and 
use you unjustly, without your ever being able to 
hope for redress. You say to me. Work hard at 
the languages ! Suppose I do, I should get nothing 
by it without interest. Moreover, all depends on 
one's commanding officer. If he doesn't choose, one 
will never be known as a good officer, and then how 
will one get an appointment ? In short, I do not 
think the advantages of the bank and the army can 
be compared. In the latter, it takes twenty years 
before you are known at all, and you never make 
even a competence in it ; whereas in the former, 
fifteen or twenty is ample to enable you to make 
a fortune. 

" In the army favouritism is everywhere rife. To 

give you an instance. Brigadier , being the 

brother of a Minister, has been pushed on, notwith- 
standing that he has done nothing but commit gross 
military blunders ever since he came; and though 

his last feat at , where by simple carelessness or 

stupidity he lost 150 killed and wounded uselessly 
in five minutes, amounts to a crime, he is now to 
be promoted to the command of the Division. 

" Lieutenant Hod son, on the other hand, is an 
instance the other way. Although he had, before 
the Mutiny, seen a great deal of fighting, and had 
done excellent service, he died absolutely without 
reward ; for though he was made a major, he was 


hodson's career. 


promised that before. Every one knows what his 
service in the Intelligence Department and as a 
cavalry leader have been ; but if I give you a few of 
his services, it will bring the contrast between his 

treatment and that of into stronger relief. 

"1. He made a line from Karnal to Meerut, to 
open communication with the force at the latter 
place, though the country was swarming with rebels. 
2. Before the arrival of the army at Delhi, he rode 
right to the rear of the enemy's position to recon- 
noitre, in spite of the enemy's cavalry. 3. His cap- 
ture of the King of Delhi is well known. 4. When 
with Seaton's column he rode from Bihar to Gosain- 
ganj to open communication. 5. In a charge at 
Shamshabad, where, it is said, his men would not 
follow, he dashed alone into the enemy. For all 
this and much more, he got simply nothing, not 
even the Victoria Cross, which he deserved a dozen 

I do not understand how I could work as you 
propose in the. Agra Bank while I am in the army. 
In the first place, they would not let me — in the 
next, my duty would not permit of it ; so that I must 
be one thing or the other, a soldier or a civilian, 

1 It must be remembered by the reader that young MacGregor, 
when he penned the above, had not completed his eighteenth year. 
It was believed that Hodson's hands were not clean, and for that 
reason his promotion, so well deserved, was kept back. Reynell 
Taylor, who, as Commandant of the Guides, had to inquire into the 
alleged misdealings of Hodson, fully acquitted him from the damag- 
ing charge. 




and I would rather be the latter. . . . Ever since 
November I can't see that we have gained any- 
thing towards the suppression of this mutiny. We 
have taken the principal towns, it is true. Luck- 
now, Fatehgarh, Bareilly, are ours; but that is all 
we can say. I wouldn't ride out five miles from 
any one of them. Oudh is just as much in the Pan- 
dies' hands as it was months ago. There are forts 
within ten or twelve miles of this place crammed 
full of Pandies, yet nothing is done. Columns are 
sent out, but they never do anything. . . . The 
fact is, things are not going half so well as they 
should, owing to the want of energy and decision in 
high quarters. The enemy have lost comparatively 
few men, and they know we lose a great many, 
though we may not get many killed. The hot 
weather, without the excitement which was ex- 
pected, is beginning to tell its tale. Out of our 
regiment there are 150 sick. The 20th have 166, 
the 90th 120, and the 97th have one-fourth down; 
while the 38th, who came out 1100 strong, are only 
600 now. Simply from sickness 57 men die in a 
week in Lucknow alone, and the force there is about 
one-fourth the whole army, so that about 200 die 
a-week, for the average in the rest of the army is 
probably not less than here. They are mostly out 
in tents : we are in some sort of quarters. 

" This doesn't include the Bombay or Madras 
columns, who have their sick also. Here it is very 
sickening, for you can hardly move in the direction 




of the burial-ground without meeting three or four 
funerals. Notwithstanding, I am as well as ever : I 
take lots of exercise, and have a swim in the Gumti 
every evening." 

" Camp Nawahganj, Aug. 4. — As you say you 
do not wish me to go into the bank, I shall neither 
say nor think any more about it. I must therefore 
think of going in for an appointment, and to do this 
must pass ; for though passing does not seem neces- 
sary now, when the air begins to clear a little more, 
no doubt one will be expected to. I would like to 
get into an irregular cavalry regiment. One has 
more chances of distinction than in any other 
branch, and besides, my inclinations lean more to 
the rough-and-ready than to the martinet side of 
soldiers. It seems to me that the great generals of 
the parade-ground do not come out quite so strong 
as might have been expected from the way in which 
they lay down the law. I don't by any means de- 
spise or ignore the necessity of drill, but the tricks 
of the barrack-square don't make a general. 

For instance, poor Hodson, who belonged to the 
company of this regiment which I am now in (a com- 
pany which, under its gallant leader, Tommy Butler, 
has proved itself second to none in the Mutiny), was 
not one of the tricksters of the parade-ground, but 
a born leader of men. I overheard a rather amusing 
conversation between two men of my company one 
day when Hodson was passing with his regiment, 
which is to the point. 'I say, Bill, d'ye recklect 




'Odson ? Well, 'e 'ad no more idea of telling off a 
company than 'e 'ad o' flying.' * Oh yes/ answered 
Bill ; ' but he's a good 'un. I don't believe that chap 
could walk his 'oss. He's always a gallerping.' 
* Yes,' said the other ; ' that's just where it is. 'E 
could 'a told off a company well enough if he'd 
liked, but it was too slow like for 'im. AVhat he 
wanted was to be on 'is 'oss again and into -them 

" The martinet school goes too much by rule for 
me ; a man has not a chance of showing what is in 
him if his every action is to be regulated by rules. 
I confess I have not got an eye for the minutice 
which delight some men. I think it is quite enough 
if a man's arms and accoutrements are clean and in 
serviceable order ; but having every buckle so that 
you can see your face in it won't make him fight 
more pluckily or more intelligently for these reasons. 

" I have been trying to get away from this regi- 
ment, but have not succeeded. Directly the cold 
weather comes I shall apply again for an irregular 
cavalry regiment, as I am determined that if I can 
distinguish myself, I will do so. As yet I am in 
capital health, and I am not likely to get worse in 
the cold weather, so I shall have no excuse for not 
volunteering for everything. 

" I met Simon Martin the other day, who knew 
Edward in the Kesidency, and said that, seedy as he 
was, he used to crawl up to the outposts to try and 
do what he could to help. I don't believe there was 




a finer or more noble-hearted young fellow anywhere 
than Edward. 

" The other day, when riding into Lucknow from 
here, I saw some of the enemy's cavalry hovering 
about three miles off. Perhaps, as I was dressed in 
khakee, they did not see me ; however, if they had 
come, I could have given them their fill, as I had two 
revolvers, but Pandies are not fond of close quarters. 
I am very fond of riding. You will hardly believe 
the number of spills I get from mad attempts to 
jump impossible ditches ; but I have never been hurt 
yet. Poor old Murray Mackenzie was a beautiful 
rider ; and I shall never forget the day he put me 
on a large kicking waler of his, and his standing by 
with a cheroot in his mouth prepared to enjoy my 
probable discomfiture." 

Camp Naivahganj, Aug. 8. — I was thinking 
of writing to Sir John Lawrence and asking him to 
do something for me — to give me a ' doing-duty ' 
appointment in some corps of the Panjab Cavalry, 
without pay, if he likes : all I want is an oppor- 
tunity to distinguish myself. Give me that, and I 
will do my best not to disappoint you. When I 
get the Victoria Cross, 1 will send you my portrait 
with it on my breast." 

" Camp Daryahad, Sept. 6. — Ree's ' Siege of 
Lucknow' seems to be in a great measure preju- 
diced. Get Anderson s account. 

There is not the slightest trace anywhere of poor 
dear Edward's grave. In addition to the fact that all 



who died in one day were buried together, the rebels 
tore the graves up after the evacuation. . . . 

" There are several immense jungles in Oudh, and 
each of them has got one or two forts in them. I 
have found out three different forts here — those of 
Byrampur, Harinarapur, and Banda- Serai — and I 

have told Major of them, but he won't take 

any measures to blow them up and cut the jungle 
about them down. I hope he will find out what a 
humbug he is making of himself. When we leave 
Daryabad these three forts will be again occupied. 

" I have written to Sir John Lawrence to ask him 
to put me into an irregular cavalry regiment, saying 
that I don't wish for any extra pay, but only for an 
opportunity to distinguish myself I don't know 
what he will do, as I have not had an answer ; per- 
hajDS he will write to ask what I mean by such a 
piece of presumption : if he does, I shall say that if 
he thinks it presumption to try and get on in the 
service I am sorry I wrote, but that I hope he will 
lay it to my youth and inexperience. ... I have 
made up my mind to do my best to get the Victoria 
Cross. When I go out to reconnoitre the camps or 
positions of the enemy I never feel a bit afraid of 
death itself, but I do feel afraid of what may come 
after death. Again, although not afraid of death, 
I am too worldly not to regret leaving life." 

Added later on, outside sheet: Sept. 17. — I have 
been wounded and mentioned in orders ; it was a 
sword-cut on right side of the calf of the right leg. 




It just cut the bone. My horse has been shot ; how- 
ever, I shall be up and at the Pandies in a month or 
so — so don't be in a way. C. M. M." 

In Aug^ust Lieutenant MacGreojor had been at- 
tached, for duty, to Hodson's Horse, and Colonel 
Hume, commanding at Daryabad, wrote in his 
despatch of September 18 as follows: ''Lieutenant 
MacGregor, in a most gallant way, led the irregular 
cavalry rather lower down into the river and across, 
the water being well over their saddles ; the Enfield 
rifle doing good execution, turning the rebels out of 
their rifle-pits, and forcing them to take the open 
plain, when Lieutenant MacGregor charged them 
with Hodson's Horse most steadily. I regret to say 
that Lieutenant MacGregor, whom I appointed to 
command Hodson's Horse, was severely wounded 
whilst charging the rebels, and his horse in three 
places, which has since had to be destroyed. The 
gallant manner in which the ofiicer behaved on this 
as on previous occasions when he was with Hod- 
son's Horse, seemed to gain the entire confidence of 
the men, and his being wounded was a great loss. 
No ofiicer could have behaved in a more gallant 
manner or set a better example to his men than 
Lieutenant MacGregor did, and the men themselves 
speak of his bravery on the occasion. I trust that 
he will soon be able to resume his duties." 

See also Major Hughes' letter^ and Major Hume's 
report, published in General Orders of Commander- 

1 See Appendix, p. 119. 




in-Chief, 14th December 1858, in which particu- 
lar mention is made of " Lieutenant MacGregor's 
gallantry, and the steady manner in which he led a 
cavalry charge, to which branch of the service he 
had then for the first time been attached." 

" Camp Daryahad, Oct. 13. — I got a letter from 
Colonel Daly thanking me for having led his men so 
well, and offering to apply for me to do duty with 
his regiment ; so I wrote to-day to him, thanking 
him, and saying I should only be too happy. The 
despatch will be out soon, and I will copy it and 
send it to you. I am not able to walk yet ; but I go 
out in a dhooUe every evening, and am getting all 
right. The skin has grown over the wound in one 
or two places . . . My ambition is to write F.S.C., 
as well as V.C., after my name, foremost with my 
book as with my sword. 

" I have been exchanged to the 68th Native In- 
fantry, and in a few months I shall have two or 
three lieutenants under me, whereas in the 57th I 
should have had none at all. 

Hodson's Horse, which in all probability will be 
my regiment for some time to come, was raised by 
that fine fellow Hodson under the very greatest dif- 
ficulties, so that, as far as drill goes, they are not 
much, but they fight capitally for mere levies. They 
are inclined to be swell, at least the officers are. The 
uniform is a red silk turban and kiommerhund, a blue 
coat with braid, spotless leather breeches, and large 
top-boots ; however, I don't intend to come very 




swell — a cotton turban does as well as a silk one, 
and the old blue coat that I wore last year with the 
Fusiliers will do well enough. 

"The troop that is at Daryabad was in a most 
deplorable condition, but I am getting them into a 
little order ; and as I have come down pretty sharp 
on one or two men, they think me no end of a fellow, 
and funk me accordingly. If I wallop a man, I do it 
directly I find out that the offence has been com- 
mitted, and after it is all over I call him to me before 
the troop and shake hands with him, and tell him I 
shall be as kind to him as ever till the next time I 
catch him out in anything, and then I will give him 
double what he got this time ; and as this all takes 
place while I am lying in a dhoolie, they can't make 
me out, and wonder what I shall do when I get all 
right. I am convinced that the only way to rule 
soldiers is by fear and love mixed — all fear and all 
love is nonsense and useless." ^ 

" Oct. 15. — We have just received reinforcements, 
consisting of a wing of the 88 th and two guns, as the 
Pandies are said to be near in great force — 8000 with 

^ Major Butler, V.C., writes : " MacGregor had a squadron of 
Hodson's Horse with us in camp at Daryabad, and for some reason or 
other the officer commanding them was taken away, and I believe I 
got MacGregor appointed to the command of them. He led them 
most splendidly in several sharp skirmishes. He came out of one 
with his long boots all slashed to pieces, and his horse wounded in 
more than a dozen places. He had charged ahead of his men right 
into the thick of the enemy." This charge seems to have taken place 
at Bamuri Ghat (Bahram Ghat ?) or Partabpur, near Daryabad, as Mac- 
Gregor alludes to the affair indifferently under each of these names. 




three guns — and our commander consequently feels 
proportionately uncomfortable. His name is Major 
Hon. J. J. Bourke,^ and I do hope he is a good 

" At Partabpur, the other day, all the orders given 
to me were to cross the Nadi ; for the rest I was 
left to myself, and so did what I liked. I kept 
round the flanks of the enemy, intending to wait till 
the infantry had broken their formation and then to 
go into them ; but what was my surprise to find that 
no infantry came, so all my plans about charging the 
enemy when broken were frustrated. (I afterwards 
heard that the commanding officer had no intention 
of crossing the infantry at all.) As it was, the Pan- 
dies, seeing that no infantry crossed, began to get 
cheeky and advanced against me. I had no choice 
but either to retreat towards the Nadi or charge 
them, so I formed line and charged and got wounded. 
I had twelve men and ten horses killed and wounded 
out of sixty. 

" I have an awful swell in my squadron. He is a 
dafadar, and is remarkably good-looking ; he rides 
a splendid horse with English officer s appointments, 
and, contrary to the general rule, he is a very plucky 
man. At my charge at Partabpur he had three 
horses shot under him. Partabpur was my first 
trial of a cavalry charge, and, as I thought, it was 
one of the most exciting things in the world. After 
I gave the word Charge ! I forgot everything, except 

1 A brother of Lord Mayo, afterwards Viceroy of India. 




that there was a slashing, digging, and yelling for a 
few minutes, and then I found myself with a cut 
across the leg, and my horse with three. . . . 

" From every account that I read of, either the 
Peninsula war or Sikh war, I feel how small, how 
childish, have been our fights when compared to 
them. ... As my swell dafadar said to me, when 
I was trying to give him some idea of Waterloo — 
* Ah, sahih ! that was the fight of kings ; our fights 
are those of slaves ! ' " 

Oct. 15. — There are three officers commanding 
the different regiments of Hodson's Horse : their 
names are. Major Sarel of the I7th Lancers, Captain 
Palliser, 63d Native Infantry, and Major Sir H. 
Havelock, 18th Eoyal Irish. Colonel Daly of the 
Bombay Fusiliers commands the whole. Although 
the regiment w^as only raised after the Mutiny broke 
out, there is scarcely an action which has been fought 
on the Bengal side that Hodson's Horse has not been 
at, and a good many gallant fellows have Avon their 
laurels with them — Hodson, Macdowell, the two 
Goughs, Baker, Mecham, &c., &c. Our Lucknow 
prize-money does not seem to be forthcoming, and, to 
be candid, I don't believe it will ever be so. ... I 
wish they would settle us all, and give us regiments. 
I don't like belonging to strange messes and book- 
clubs, &c." 

" Camp Daryahad, Oct. 26. — The order posting 
me to do duty with Hodson's Horse has been sanc- 

VOL. I. G 




tioned/ so that I am at last free from the bother of 
the 1st Fusiliers, with their pipe-clay notions of 
discipline. . . . 

"All our best men are either removed or placed 
so that they are of no use — witness Chamberlain, 
Seaton, Napier ; even Outram is made a Mem- 
ber of Council. He is much too energetic to be 
in the field. Oh, for Sir Charles Napier ! Jung Ba- 
hadur, as the natives called him, and with reason 
too. How he would have pitched into the niggers. 
We should have had all settled before the Mutiny 
had reigned a year, — there would have been camel 
corps, flying columns, and such cuttings-up. Cham- 
berlain, Seaton, and Napier would have been received 
with open arms by him. Sind would be played 
over again." 

Fyzabad. — I enclose Colonel Hume's despatch.^ 
It is the first time I have been mentioned in orders ; 
I hope it won't be the last. I am now at Fyzabad, 
and my leg is all well again. I only wait till I can 
get a horse, and then I shall try and join the 1st 
Eegiment, which as yet is more likely to see service 
than the 2d. A horse is a thing almost unknown 
here, and although I have managed somehow to 
scrape the money together, I can't find a single one 
for sale anywhere." 

1 By General Order, Commander-in-Chief, of 15tli October 1858, 
Lieutenant C. M. MacGregor was appointed to Hodson's Horse, to 
date back from 17th September 1858. He had joined, however, in 

2 See ante, p. 93. 




Oct. — My present commanding officer is Major 
Sarel of the 1 7th Lancers. He is a brick, and a very 
fine fellow. Our adjutant is the Hon. James Fraser, 
brother of Lord Saltoun : he is fat, very good- 
natured, but oh, so prosy ! 

Columns have gone out to look up Mr Beni 
Madhu, and I hope ere long he will be disposed of, 
and also that I may be in at the death. The Nana 
is up in Bahraich direction. I would give anything 
to catch him while on a separate command. I war- 
rant his last hours would be anything but pleasant. 

"I am getting on in my promotion. I am now 
eighth lieutenant, — in a month or two I shall be 
seventh. If my luck keeps up I shall, at this rate, 
be a captain in about four years more. Wouldn't 
that be stunning ? I shall only be twenty-two, and, 
having got my company, I should be eligible for 
brevet majorities, C.B. -ships, and all kinds of things. 

" By the way, let me offer a few remarks on those 
same brevet majorities. Unless a man is a captain, 
never mind what he does, he can't get anything in 
the shape of brevet promotion. I give you a most 
glaring instance of this. There are two officers, by 
name Watson and Probyn : they were both at Delhi, 
in command of squadrons of Panjab Irregular Cavalry; 
both went down with Grant's column to the relief of 
Lucknow ; both came out of Lucknow again, and 
were present at exactly the same actions up to the 
capture of Lucknow, when Probyn got leave home. 
Probyn went home as Brevet-Major Probyn, C.B., 


Y.C., and Watson is simple Lieutenant Watson, V.C. 
Watson's merit was allowed to be fully equal to that 
of Probyn, both by the Chief and by the army; still, 
because he was a subaltern, he has got nothing. 
They were both of them lieutenants at Delhi. There 
have been some little skirmishes lately. Brigadier 
Troup (of the 68th) took twelve guns the other day, 
and at Daryabad they took five — of course, as usual, 
they were deserted. ... I have got a galloway — 
the nearest approach to a horse that I can get — but 
it is such a thorough -going * bad un,' that it is of 
little or no use on parade. I have had it now three 
days, and I have been thrown twice, and. expect to 
be pipped a good many times more before I have 
done. However^ there is nothing like it to teach 
one to ride. I thought I could ride most horses, but 
this little beast is at present completely my master. 
He has got a knack of walking on his hind legs, and 
all of a sudden whirling round with you like a peg- 
top. I must learn Mr Earey's dodge. 

" We had the Queen's proclamation ^ read out 
here the other day, and, will you believe it '? it pro- 
mises amnesty to all who will return to their homes 
before January next. Oh the folly of granting an 
amnesty before they have received a good lesson at 

1 Tlie famous proclamation of Lord Canning to the landowners of 
Oudli, offering full and immediate restitution to all who should by a 
certain date present themselves and tender submission, excepting al- 
ways those who had been concerned in the murder of British subjects. 
This proclamation answered its object, although it was disapproved 
by many in India. — See ' Men and Events of my Time in India,' by 
Sir E. Temple, p. 172. 




our hands ! However, when a second slaughter of 
helpless women and children takes place they will 
open their eyes." 

Camp BunTcasia, Dec. 7 (about thirty miles 
north of Fyzabad, with Sir Hope Grant's force). — It 
is now three or four months since I wrote to Sir 
John Lawrence, and I have received no answer, so 
that I fancy your first supposition is right — namely, 
that his rise gives the desire to recollect differences 
in an unfriendly way. However, I am glad that I 
asked him in the manner I did. . . . 

" I am now with Sir Hope Grant's column, in 
Hodson's Horse, and since we crossed the Gogra, 
we have come across the Pandies twice — once at 
Wazirganj, where, if they had let us loose, we might 
have cut up a good many ; and once at Machhligaon, 
where it was all jungle, and consequently impossible 
for cavalry to act, so we had nothing to do. 

*'We are now at Sekrora,^ about thirteen miles 
from Bahram Ghat, where Lord Clyde is, with a force, 
waiting till he can make a bridge across the Gogra. 

" Every prisoner that is taken now is let off, 
whether he is a sepoy or not. The reason of this is, 
I believe, because the people will not put any faith 
in the proclamation, but think it is all a trap, so 
that every sepoy that is caught is sent off with half- 
a-dozen copies of the proclamation with him. How- 
ever, I am glad to say this absurd policy is to be put 

^ Vide ' Incidents in the Sepoy War,' by Sir Hope Grant (Black- 
wood, 1873), p. 315. 




an end to on the 1st of January 1859, when I hope 
all found with arms in their hands will be summarily 
dealt with. 

My brother oificers in Hodson's Horse are Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Daly, Major Sarel, Lieutenants Hon. 
J. Fraser and Warde, and Dr Wethered. Daly I 
cannot make out at all. Sarel is a very nice fellow, 
and so are the other three. There is one good thing 
in being with Grant — viz., that he is always ready 
to mention you if you do anything — in fact, I think 
he's almost too much so." 

Camp Laljpur (ten miles to the west of Tulsi- 
pur), Jan. — On the 5th we took fifteen guns from 
the Pandies ; but, can you believe it 1 without firing 
a single shot, notwithstanding that every advantage 
of position and numbers w^as on their side 1 

" I get on very well with Colonel Daly now, and 
I think he begins to like nie. If it was not for my 
temper, I would get on well with every one ; but I 
cannot curb my temper as I would : it will break 
out every now and then, and get me into trouble. I 
now do a good deal of writing for Daly, as the adju- 
tant of the regiment is such an awfully- lazy fellow. 
I don't perhaps get much for it now, but it all 
goes down to my account afterwards. Daly always 
sends me on all the patrols, and I have been lucky 
enough to bring in, on every occasion I have gone, 
very good information. 

All the officers of the irregular cavalry do a 
thing which seems to me anything but right : they 




wear steel gauntlets, and steel down their arms and 
legs. Now I should say that officers already have 
advantage enough over their enemies without resort- 
ing to armour. They have good horses, good swords, 
and a revolver, whereas the Pandies have only a tul- 
ivar, or at most a tulwar and matchlock ; besides, 
their own soivars must think it so strange — they 
see their officers go into action covered with chain- 
armour, when they have nothing but their tuhvars. 
What can their thoughts be 1 . . . 

" There is something cheering in the thought that 
I am no longer a burden to you. Not only no 
burden, but, as you said in one of your letters, you 
are proud of me. Since beginning the above, it has 
pleased the great soldier at our head to issue an 
order declaring that rebellion is trod out in Oudh, 
and that peace reigns. All I can say to his lord- 
ship is, ' I would like to see you go to the Eapti 
valley alone I ' 

" Colonel Daly and I are great friends now, and I 
am happy to see that I have won his good opinions, 
as he is thought a good deal of at headquarters, and 
consequently it is just as well to have him on your 
side as not. Biddulph (who is General Grant's ad- 
jutant-general) wrote to Daly to ask if I would take 
charge of the treasure-chest of the force here, and 
Daly answered : * All right about MacGregor ; he'll 
take it ; and I am glad you offered it to him, as he 
has done good service, and is always ready and will- 
ing to make himself useful.' We have got Sir Henry 

104 A "doing-duty" appointment. [i859. 

Havelock (son of the general) here as commandant. 
He is a good fellow/' 

" Camp BJmiga, Feb. 13. — You don't seem to 
have the slip cut off a newspaper which contained 
the despatch of the affair at Bahram Ghat. Since 
I last wrote, peace has been proclaimed, and most of 
the troops have been sent to quarters far distant from 
the seat of war. Carriage has been ordered to be sus- 
pended by all troops except those who are to remain 
Trans-Gogra. The consequence of all of which will 
be that, as soon as the hot weather returns, the Nana 
will make his appearance again ; and although he 
will never give any cause for alarm, he will serve to 
hold the band of cut-throats and thieves together in 
one of our districts, who will plunder the ryots and 
otherwise amuse themselves till the approach of some 
column, when they will all miraculously disappear. 
Columns will have to go, as the police are nothing 
but a name ; and the rebels, cowards as they are, 
would soon send the whole ten battalions to the 
right about. 

" Colonel Daly called me into his tent this morn- 
ing, and said that Government had sanctioned a 
* doing- duty' officer with every cavalry regiment, 
and that consequently I was all right. This shows 
that he intends to keep me in the regiment, so that 
I hope soon to become an adjutant. . . . 

" I am pretty certain that if Daly lives we shall 
see him Sir Henry Daly before long. He has struck 
me more than any one I have met with the idea of 




a future great man. We have a good many parades 
now, as the regiment has had no drill since it was 

" Camp Tulsipur, April 20. — I have been ap- 
pointed acting adjutant of the 1st Eegiment Hod- 
son's Horse, and I have had to bring up a lot of 
work to date, as it was neglected by our former ad- 
jutant. The adjutancy is vacant, and if Colonel 
Daly can get it for me he will. He told Anderson, 
our brigade-major, that he would apply for me, and 
when I went into his tent to thank him, he said: 
' Don't thank me, thank yourself. I tell you, when 
you first came I didn't think much of you ; but now 
I don't know any one I would sooner have for an 
adjutant, and there is no one I would sooner have 
by me in a hard day's work than yourself, young 
fellow.' He then said that if he couldn't get the 
adjutancy of the 1st for me, I should have the first 
vacancy it was in his power to fill up.^ 

On the 31st March we had a fight with the 
rebels under Gunga Sinh, who was a suhahdar in 

1 Extract from letter by Colonel Daly, C.B., commanding the brigade 
(three regiments) of Hodson's Horse : " My view of MacGregor is, that 
his character is such that he has it in him to win the purest Victoria 
Cross that can be won, and should be inclined to say, from all I have 
heard, that at Daryabad (before I saw him) his conduct was most gal- 
lant, most distinguished, and, probably, thoroughly entitled him to the 
Victoria Cross. I was not there ; but from what I heard of his bearing 
from some of my native officers and men, I resolved to get him attached 
to the corps, and many times — ay, scores of times — I selected him for 
reconnaisance requiring nerve and judgment, and took him to Sir Hope 
Grant and introduced him as one who had performed these duties, 
and I ^vrote to General Mansfield testifying to the same effect." 




poor Edward s regiment. The 1st Sikh Infantry was 
sent out to the edge of the jungle as a kind of out- 
post, and the rebels came on, some thousands strong, 
and kept a fire on them till we came at a gallop from 
Tulsipur, and then they began to make off. I 
was with the advanced- guard of about fifty sowars, 
and ofi" I set as hard as I could split to try and head 
them and get them away from the jungle. I suc- 
ceeded in turning them ; but they only went into 
jungle lower down, so I charged them and just got 
through the rear of the main body before they dis- 
appeared in the jungle. I got two elephants, and 
killed about thirty of them in the charge. The loss 
on our side was about fifty killed and wounded, but 
most of them were in the 1st Sikhs. Out of fifty 
men with me one was killed and nine wounded, and 
eleven horses wounded. I don't know whether I am 
mentioned in Brigadier Horsford's despatch, but I 
think I am ; however, time will show." 

*' April 20. — I have got two steps, and I am now 
sixth lieutenant. I hope this luck will continue. 
There is some talk about amalgamating the two ser- 
vices, and they will probably introduce the purchase 
system into our service. 

I have written some letters to the ' Delhi Gazette ' 
on Irregular Cavalry. The first has appeared. When 
I have finished, I will send all of them to you. I go 
on the tack that an irregular ought to be for work 
and not for look, and would like to discard every- 

^ This action was at Jarwa Ghat. See Appendix, p. 120. 




thing that is merely ornamental. I have been for 
the last three months in charge of the military chest 
with the Trans-Gogra force, and the staff allowance 
for it is 250 rupees a-month — not bad, eh ? 

" There are lots of wild boar here, and we go out 
very often pig-sticking. I am very fond of it, and 
am gettino; rather a dab at it." 

''Camp Gonda, May 11. — I marched here 
from Tulsipur under the command of Lieutenant 
Bethune of the Eoyal Artillery. On the way he 
lost as splendid a chance of distinguishing and 
making himself as ever man did. Just as we ar- 
rived at Maharajganj the thanahdar came to say 
that there were about 200 rebels looting a village 
close by, so I set off with my men (120 in number) 
to try and account for them. I galloped as hard as 
I could, and the first thing I saw of the rebels was 
in the Balrampur jungle. There were upwards of 
2000 of them instead of 200, and as they were in 
the jungle — and cavalry are useless in jungle — I 
drew up just out of fire, and sent back a man to tell 
Bethune to bring up his two guns and the infantry. 
Presently the Pandies began to make ofi", and in ten 
minutes or so were no longer visible, so I went with 
four or five men to the edge of the jungle, and as I 
heard or saw nothing, I ventured to enter. After 
going twenty yards, we came on a good open road. 
. . . I brought up my detachment at a gallop 
through the jungle, and came up with the rebels 
about two miles ahead. They were still in the 




jungle, so I merely went along with them in a 
parallel line, keeping out of fire. This went on for 
some time, so I determined to try and frighten them 
back, so I galloped ahead and advanced towards 
them at a trot ; but it was no go, they merely went 
deeper into the jungle and kept up a desultory fire. 
As neither the guns nor infantry came on, I returned. 
I never saw them march in such dense masses, 
when artillery would have acted with such fearful 
effect. . . . 

"The real reason why Bethune did not come on 
was that he feared responsibility. Never mind, he 
won't get the chance again, I know. I had one man 
shot through the chest, and I myself got a spent 
bullet in the thigh. [MacGregor's second wound.] 

" You will have heard ere this that Tantia Topi 
has been caught and hung. He is the only man 
amongst the rebels I feel for. He has done Avell, 
and has beaten all our generals in Central India. 
There were nine columns after him, and they would 
not have caught him yet if it had not been for the 
treachery of Man Sinh. 

"The Nana, Bala Eao, Khan Bahadur, Gunga 
Sinh, the Begum, Mahmoud Khan, are all yet 
uncaught, and, as far as I can foresee, likely to 
remain so for some time to come. 

" I always said that the only way to catch these 
fellows is to do what they do — i.e., march without 
tents, provisions, or any baggage, and don't take 
any Europeans after them. Let some good irregular 




officer be sent after them, with a force composed 
entirely of natives, and, if he takes no baggage, 
depend upon it our Sikhs, Afghans, or Ghurkhas 
can go anywhere, and as fast and as far as the 
Pandies. I am perfectly convinced that the Pandies 
only want pressing to give in — they will never fight. 
A Pandy never gets desperate." 

Camjo Pachperi Ghat, May 27. — Sir Hope Grant 
has just taken the two last guns in the hands of the 
rebels, and got within four miles, it is said, of the 
Nana. To give you some idea of the way things 
are going on. There are ten different columns on 
the banks of the Eapti, all quietly encamped there 
to stop the rebels if they try to cross. Ha, ha ! If 
they try to cross ! Why should they want to cross ? 
There is no one driving them towards the Eapti, 
and they, of course, find it much better fun encamp- 
ing than marching. However^ it is now too late : 
last night was the commencement of the Cliota Bur- 
sat (the early rains), and no troops can act now tvith 
baggage. We are to be kept out here during the 
rains, and it is my firm belief that scarce half of us 
Avill ever see the Gogra again. This is not my 
opinion, given recklessly, but that of every doctor 
I have spoken to. . . . 

"We have got a new commanding officer in the 
place of Havelock — Colquhoun Grant of the Bays 
(ain't we aristocratic ?) He is a good-natured fel- 
low, but, thanks to his constitution, will not stay 
long. Meanwhile I have to do the whole work of 


the regiment, as Grant sleeps all day and lets me do 
as I like, so that I virtually command the corps. 

Now I don't like this sort of thing, although it 
is very jolly being totally independent. I would far 
sooner see some fine bold energetic fellow at our 
head. To-morrow is the 28th ; and as it is the day 
on which Hodson s Horse was raised in 1857, I give 
a dinner to the whole regiment. Now, don't be 
alarmed, and think that I am running into extrava- 
gance. A native dinner is not a formidable afifair, 
whether you look at it on the table or at the paying 
time. I enclose a list of the books I want. I don't 
mean them to be given to me, but only that you 
should pay now and I pay after, — I insist on this. 
They are all good books on India. 

" I am under physic now, but merely as a pre- 
cautionary measure ; when the rains really com- 
mence, I shall take four or five grains of quinine 
every morning." 

Fyzahady Oct. 7. — The adjutancy of the 1st 
Kegiment Hodson's Horse has been given to a young 
fellow by the name of Dayrell ; but I have been act- 
ing second in command ever since the 20th June, 
and from the 1st September till the 26th September 
I was acting commandant. 

We have got a new commandant named Caul- 
field, who was with me in the 1st Fusiliers. Hughes, 
our new commanding officer, is a real soldier, and 
cares no more for responsibility than for wiggings, 
if he is doing his duty. I would give anything to 


go out under him. We might have a chance of get- 
ting the Nana, which is what I have been looking 
forward to for a long, long time ; and I know, if ever 
I get near him, it will not be for want of pursuing 
that he gets away. I will stake everything on that, 
and will disobey orders sooner than lose a chance of 
a run after the fiend. 

If to catch the Nana is all they want, I would 
volunteer to-morrow to go and do it with 300 men. 
They would, perhaps, laugh at me ; but I know, 
and you know, what natives are, and what a deter- 
mined man can do against them. Hodson, when 
the rebels were in their full strength, volunteered to 
go down with a force of under 1000 men and open 
the road to Cawnpore. Had they permitted him, 
the Cawnpore massacre would not have taken place ; 
but as it was, they thought he was mad. Give me 
300 men with carbines, and let me pick them and 
their horses, and I would do it or get a bullet 
through me. I would pick the men out of the three 
regiments, as I know most of the good men in the 
brigade. I would also pick their horses, and as we 
have not yet got our accoutrements (and conse- 
quently some have wretched bad ones), I would also 
pick them ; and believe me, for work like that, I 
would sooner have my 300 men than 400 Europeans. 
All I would ask for would be one other European 
officer, as if I got shot natives are apt to get 
ghahraoed (confused) if they have not some head to 
look to ; with that they are splendid. 




" I am hard at work studying for the examination 
in November. I went down to Calcutta to pass ; but 
before I was there six days I was ordered back, so 
that I had a good deal of expense for nothing. I 
am now fifth lieutenant, by the death of Major 
Barclay, so that I expect at most to be a captain 
in five years more, which will make me eight years' 
service and twenty-four years of age — which, taking 
it all in all, is very good luck. 

Fancy, little more than a year ago I was fretting 
and fuming at the bullying I met with in the 1st 
Fusiliers, and wishing to go. Now, give me £500 
a-year, and I would tell you I would rather stay 
and take my chance of being ' Sir Charles ' some of 
these days. However, I have the pleasure of know- 
ing that, whatever I am, it is not owing to head- 
quarter interest, and that the only interest I have 
— viz., Daly and Hughes — is owing to my own 
exertions. . . . 

" I am very likely to get the- brigade-majorship 
of Hodson's Horse. If Anderson, the present in- 
cumbent, goes, I am pretty sure to succeed him. 
He wants me to do so, and Hughes also, so that 
I have a very good chance. I would sooner be 
brigade - major than second in command for the 
position. A few years of that would give me a 
regiment, to say nothing of being constantly asso- 
ciated with such a clipping soldier as Hughes. . . . 

" My idea of a uniform for India is hhakce — i.e., 
dust-colour. There is nothing like it ; and when I 




get a regiment, I shall dress them according to the 
style of work they have to do. 

" How are we related to Sir Malcolm MacGregor, 
who is the chief of the clan ? We must be somehow, 
but I fancy rather far off. A brother of his out here 
has just got his brevet-majority ; he is the only one 
on our side, besides myself, of the name. . . . 

" Dr Brougham, the old doctor of the 1st Fusiliers, 
when I was in Calcutta the other day, expressed 
surprise that I had not been recommended for the 
Victoria Cross. He says he thinks that I deserved 
it for Bahram Ghat, if not before that. . . . 

^' AVe have got a very nice set of men in the 1st 
Regiment, and all who are to be enlisted in future 
are to be Afghans, so that we shall have a squadron 
of them. We have got some of the old Gorcharas 
of Runjit Sinh's time — the fellows that you used 
to hear of in the Pan jab war, as playing the deuce 
with our dragoons. . . . 

" I am doing my best to become a good swordsman 
and rider, and I think I am getting on very well, and 
fancy that if we do come across Jack Pandy again he 
won't find it so easy to cut me over the leg as he did 

''Camp Lotun (Gorakpur Frontier), Nov. 17. — 
Here we are again at the old work — looking up 
rebels, and ready for a pounce on them whenever 
they are foolish enough to show themselves. ... I 
have an establishment of spies, who bring me all the 
news of the rebels ; this I retail to Colonel Brett, of 

VOL. I. H 


the 54th, who thinks me no end of a fellow — as he 
doesn't know how to set to work to get news, and 
is very much obliged to me for getting it for him. 
Besides getting intelligence, I have to look after the 
regiment.' I have sent to find out all about Bala 
Rao, the Nana's brother, and have some hopes of 
being able to catch him. If I could do it, I should 
be a made man. Til try and see if it can be done. 
If I do it, I am certain of a second in command, and 
a command in a few years, say five — fancy at twenty- 
four commanding a regiment ! 

" I have just come in from a long ride. I went to 
look at the country round about, so that if the rebels 
come I shall know the ground and be able to ' sar- 
cumvent 'em.' My greatest ambition is as yet un- 
accomplished — namely, the Ceoss. A great deal 
goes by looks, and people think that all who get the 
Cross must be heroes ; but I know many men who 
have got it for doing things that I would not mind 
doing half-a-dozen times. My idea is, that I ought 
to have got it for Daryabad." 

''Nov. 17. — ^I am going to Colonel Brett to ask 
him to put me in charge of the Intelligence Depart- 
ment. I think he will do it, as no one in camp 
seems to care a bit about hearing intelligence. The 
Nepal people are beginning to make a move towards 
turning the rebels out of their country, and they (the 
rebels) are all moving ofi" westward towards Tulsi- 
pur. It is hard to say what they will do ; but I 
think that, unless things are well arranged at Tul- 


sipnr, they will try and get westward into the 
Khairigarh jungles, which extend from the hills to 
the Gogra river. If they were to get there, it would 
be hard to turn them out without considerable loss 
of life. . . . 

. " I have not sent you my letters in the ' Delhi 
Gazette ' on " Irregular Cavalry/' because I left them 
behind at Calcutta. From what I hear people say 
they are generally approved, and it is curious to sit 
at mess and hear conversations on them. Only a 
few of my friends know that I wrote them. All I 
say about them is that they were roughly written 
without much thought, and only what appeared most 
palpable was noted. I hope at some future period to 
be able to enter more fully on Irregular Cavalry. 

" I intend to try and get appointed to go with the 
China force — there may be some fighting there, and 
I would like to be wherever there is anything going 
on. If I am spared through it all, I will take a run 
home and see you all. What a brown face I shall 
have by that time. It is pretty well already, what 
with the sun and exposure. I don't fear the sun a 
bit. I w^ear a turban like the Sikhs, and a thick 
kummerbund — so that, although my face gets more 
burnt than with a helmet, I don't suffer half so much 
from the force of the sun's rays. You would not 
know me if you saw me in riding costume." 

"Nov. 19. — I have just been ordered out on out- 
post duty, with orders to go at the rebels wherever 
I find them, if they don't lay down their arms." 


Pachgaiva, Nov. 21. — Here I am, arrived on 
command. I have my own detachment of cavalry 
and some infantry — so if the rebels come here we 
will make precious short work of them. I have 
orders not to cross the Nepal frontier, however, 
which is rather a bore ; but if they come (even half- 
a-dozen), I will pursue right into the Nepal territory. 
I have a good lot of men with me — most of them 
wild Afghans, who talk nothing but Pushtu. I 
have also a few Hindustanis— men who stick to us 
through thick and thin, and are splendid fellows, 
such horsemen, and such hands with their weapons. 
They would take the shine out of our swell hussars 
and lancers in a very short time. They can start 
off at a gallop and pull up dead short, and take 
a ring off a string with their spears. What our 
cavalry want is practical teaching — as I said in 
one of my letters to the 'Delhi Gazette.' A British 
dragoon, from the time he is enlisted till he joins 
the ranks (a supposed cavalryman), has never once 
used his weapons at a gallop.^' 

" Camp Fachgaiva, Nov. 26. — I am now reading 
Abbott's * Mission to Khiva.' It is very interesting; 
and I often think, while reading such books as that 
and ' Ferrier's Caravans,' &c., that I should like to 
go to those rude people and make a kingdom of my 
own. I should have the kind of work I like — lots 
of excitement; and it would require only firmness 
and decision to bend them all to one's will. Perhaps 
in no country in the world do men of determined 




minds take the lead so quickly as in Afghanistan. 
Look at Dost Mahamad Khan, Yar Mahamad Khan, 
Fatteh Khan, Akbar Khan — all of them determined 
men ; but all, like most Afghans, disfigured by the 
possession of such qualities as cruelty, avarice, and 
selfishness ; and all of them — except the first-named, 
who will most probably meet a violent death — have 
been assassinated. 

" Only fancy, when the Dost dies there will be 
nothing but strife ; they will all fight till they have 
exterminated each other and exhausted the country. 
Fancy stepping in then and taking hold of the reins 
of government, and establishing one's self securely, by 
a series of decisive actions, before they had recovered 
from their strife ! It might be done ; I wonder no 
one has ever tried it. Things more wonderful have 
come to pass. Hodson was just the sort of man to 
have done it — totally unscrupulous, and with a head 
to plan and a heart to perform anything. There are 
some who say that, if he had not got off that court 
of inquiry, he would have done something of the 
sort. He would have been worth an army to whom- 
ever he transferred his services." 

" Nov. 30. — I have just been out on a daur, in 
which I killed Murad Buksh, suhahdar of the battery 
which fired on the boats at Cawnpore. By accident 
part of a village (Chappiah) was burnt ; but the 
brigadier^ says that he is pleased really, although 

1 Brigadier-General Holdich, commanding forces on the Trans- 
Kapti frontier. 




he shall most likely have to wig me. If a man is 
pleased, why can't he say so ? and not have any of 
his diplomacy, which, in my opinion, means swear- 
ing black is white in order to gain an object. Every 
one is pleased, but because the village was burnt I 
must be wigged. It is an accident which is just as 
likely as not to happen to the brigadier. The whole 
village is composed of nothing in the world but 
grass and wood, which would account for it in the 
eyes of any sensible man. Because we are afraid 
of offending Jung Bahadur we must go and tell 
lies, for it is simply that. 

I hope, if ever I become a general, that I shall 
have the courage to say that black's black and 
white's white, and not care what his Excellency the 
Governor-General in Council says. All our best 
generals hated diplomacy. 

I have improved in riding considerably, and now 
I don't mind riding any horse. It is the only kind 
of exercise I am really fond of, and I always take 
plenty of it. How I would like to raise a regiment 
of my own, about 350 strong, which is quite enough 
for a cavalry regiment. By my plan I would save 
Government 3000 rupees a-month, or a lakh in three 
years, which in the present time would be accept- 
able. If I could get one grand chance at the rebels, 
in which I could cover myself and detachment with 
a mixture of wounds and glory, I would propose to 
Government as a reward that I might raise three 
troops of 100 each for service all over the world, and 


when nothing is going on elsewhere, to be stationed 
on the frontiers. To show that I did not want the 
filthy lucre, I would ask for only 500 rupees a- 
month instead of 1000 rupees. I would, at the end 
of the year, ask for a committee to look into the 
affairs and prospects of the regiment, and if they did 
not consider the regiment likely to be one of the 
best in the service, I would resign. What a dreamer 
you must think me ! To say the truth, I do dream, 
but my dreams are not improbable, I think. I look 
forward to the day when I shall get the order to 
raise a corps. I feel that that day will come. I 
expect to become a general, not of first-rate ability, 
because I have not that in me ; but at all events 
celebrated, and I don't expect to be buried at home, 
but out here somewhere I shall be killed in action. 
All this may seem nonsense, but I have long 
thought it." 



Extract from letter of Major M. T. Hughes, commanding 
Hodson's Horse, to the Adjutant-General of the Army, 
Headquarters, Simla : — 

" Camp Gonda, Ath June 1859. 
" There is no officer now with the 1st Eegiment Hodson's 
Horse, so intimately acquainted with the men as Lieutenant 
MacGregor ; moreover, he has led them in action on many 




occasions, and always with distinguished daring ; while in 
Colonel Gordon's fight at Jarwa Ghat, in March last (the 
31st), alluded to by Captain Grant, four rebel sepoys were 
slain by Lieutenant MacGregor in hand-to-hand combat." 

A r6siim6 of the actions in which Lieutenant MacGregor 
was engaged, after the fall of Delhi, may be here given from 
the official record of that officer's services, as it includes the 
names of two or three fights not mentioned in the foregoing 
pages : — 

Actions. — Narnul, Ganjari, Patiali, Mainpuri, siege and 
capture of Lucknow, operations in Oudh, actions of Bara, 
Nawabganj, Daryabad, Bahram Ghat {wounded), passage of 
the Gogra river, Wazirganj, Machhligaon, Kamdakot, Maha- 
rajpur {wounded), Jarwa Ghat, Pachgaon. Four times men- 
tioned in despatches, received thanks of Governor-General. 
{Mcdcd and clas2J.) 




" Though far and near the bullets hiss, 
I've 'scaped a bloodier hour than this." 














The treaty with China, which had been signed by 
Lord Elgin and the Chinese Commissioners at Tien- 
tsin in June 1858, contained a clause providing for 
its ratification at Pekin within a year ; and accord- 
ingly, Mr Bruce was directed to proceed thither as 




envoy, in March 1859, in company with M. de 
Bourbolon, the representative of the Emperor 

On the 20th June 1859, the English and French 
envoys, on arrival at the entrance of the Peiho, in 
Admiral Hope's squadron, found the river-mouth 
barricaded against them, the defences of the Taku 
Forts increased, and the tone of the Chinese officials 
most arrogant and uncompromising. 

Under these circumstances. Admiral Hope deter- 
mined to clear the way; but upon his blue-jackets 
attempting to remove the booms and obstructions 
on the 25th June, the forts opened fire upon the 
English gunboats, four of which got on shore and 
were disabled. An attempt was then made to 
storm the forts, which proved an utter failure, the 
admiral himself being wounded, as was also the 
commander of a French ship in his company. 

The allied envoys were forced to retire to Shang- 
hai with their disabled vessels, Avhilst nearly 450 of 
all ranks were killed and wounded in this disastrous 
repulse. The English and French Governments 
therefore determined to send back Lord Elgin and 
Baron Gros, backed by a formidable expedition of 
combined forces, of all arms, naval and land, under 
General de Montauban and General Sir Hope Grant, 
to obtain redress, within the walls of Pekin if neces- 
sary. The fleet was strengthened by despatching 
vessels and gunboats from England, Admiral Jones 
being appointed second in command to Admiral 




Hope, whilst the expeditionary force was organised 
in India with reinforcements sent from home and 
the Cape. 

The despatch of this expedition was the main 
feature of the Queen's Speech at the opening of 
Parliament in January 1860. Lieutenant Mac- 
Gregor's letters commence at this period. 

''Camp Fyzahad, Jan. — Now for the grand 
news. To-day I sent in my name as a volunteer for 
service in China in the irregular cavalry. Colonel 
Hughes, who has just left us, and is in the head- 
quarter camp, wrote to me and advised me to send 
in my name sharp. He is my only hope, and I am 
not at all sanguine. ... Go to China T will, if it 
possibly can be done. If they will not let me go in 
the cavalry I will go in the infantry, and when once 
there, I'll manage somehow to get in the cavalry. I 
got into it and on in it through my own exertions 
before, and I really do not see why I should not do 
so again. 

" At present we hear that four troops of irregular 
cavalry are to go under Captain Fane (a splendid 
officer), and there is to be one second in command, 
one adjutant, and two officers per troop. They are 
all to be picked men, and the officers are to have 
some knowledge of irregular cavalry, and to be 
young. Now, although I say it, I think that I 
know as much about the interior economy and 
system of irregular cavalry as any one of my stand- 
ing, and I know no one of ditto who has got more 


kudos than I ; alas ! it is only kudos, for even to 
this day I have not been confirmed in anything. 

" Once in China, if they only fight, I shall have 
another chance of the Victoria Cross. Fancy Lieu- 
tenant MacGregor, V.C. ! You can form no idea, 
and I cannot describe to you, how I look forward to 
the day when I shall see my name in orders for the 
Victoria Cross. I am ambitious, there is no doubt. 
I do look forward and expect (if not laid low) to 
become a successful general. But I declare to you 
that I would gladly lose a leg or an arm, and with 
it all chance of any further distinction, if by so 
doing I could secure to myself the Victoria Cross. 

If my application is successful, I only look to 
a ' doing - duty ' appointment ; but Fane is an old 
adjutant of Colonel Hughes, and I would act on 
any suggestion from the latter. 

"I enclose my letter on 'Irregular Cavalry.' In 
some particulars my ideas have changed, but none 
of them materially, so that you. will know what my 
opinions are. 

^' I am preparing everything in case of being 
ordered to China, and shall take only the smallest 
quantity imaginable — two mule-loads — no more. I 
have invented a camp-bed, and am having it made 
up here by a mistri. It is slight, simple, and 
strong. When it is made I propose trying my 
hand on a chair, table, &c. Shall I take out a 
patent 1 ' MacGregor's patent Self-Collapsing Bed- 
stead,' &c. — eh ? 




" I was thinking of taking a couple of Arabs to 
China, but now I think that the risk is too great 
in the present state of my funds. Arabs I should 
have to pay heavily for, and if they died I should 
only get 500 rupees, and that only if they were 
killed or died from the effects of board-ship or a 

" I hope by the next letter I write that I shall 
be in orders for China. Hurrah for some more of 
the sword and spur ! " 

Feb. 20. — Since I wrote last I have arrived at 
Cawnpore on my way to China. Fane's Horse, with 
which I am doing duty, marched from this on the 
8th, and I am staying behind for horses from Ha- 
pur.^ I think that Fane may thank me for getting 
his corps together so soon. He arrived on the 15th, 
and I on the 18th January, and he had not a single 
man or horse ; so I galloped from Lucknow out 
some sixty miles to the 3d Kegiment of Hodson's 
Horse (which is about to be disbanded), and got him 
120 volunteers. I then went to Eai Bareli, to a 
wing of the 1st Eegiment, and picked him out fifty 
more — making a total of 170 sotvars, or the best 
part of his corps, which consists of 300 sowars. 
However, all I got for this was — 'Thank you, old 
fellow ; you're a brick.' It is very strange no one 
ever can make me out at first. I know well enough, 
notwithstanding what I've done for him, that Fane 
doesn't think much of me. Hughes, I know, gave 

1 The famous Hapur stud, near Meerut. 


me a capital character, but Fane thinks he is mis- 
taken. I am rather amused at all this, as I know it 
will all come straight in the long-run. Daly at first 
told me I would never do for irregular cavalry. 
Ask him his opinion now ! 

On the voyage I intend going in hard at a 
Chinese vocabulary, and on arrival I shall entertain 
one or two Chinese servants, and speak nothing but 
Chinese to them. Being able to speak Chinese 
tolerably will tell very greatly in my favour ; be- 
sides, unless a cavalry officer can speak the language 
of the country he is serving in, he can be of little 
use in patrol and reconnaissances ; therefore, if I 
study hard I shall most probably be employed in 
these kind of services in preference to others, and 
it is these separate commands that make you 
known. Hodson's great point was * Intelligence ' ; 
and I shall spend my extra cash in an ' Intelligence 
Department ' of my own, instead of in beer and 

Another great thing is to be well mounted ; if 
you are, you can volunteer for bits of service that 
you could not otherwise be able to; you then get a 
reputation of being made of iron. People see a man 
always in the saddle, galloping here and there, and 
instead of thinking * How capitally mounted he is ! ' 
they think ' How indefatigable he is ! ' If they were 
only to try, they would not find riding a hundred 
miles half so fatiguing as they fancy. Yes ! mark 
my words ; you will yet hear of the ' indefatigable 




Lieutenant MacGregor ' in one of Sir Hope Grant's 

" Another thing is, I have noticed Fane is a lazy 
fellow, and likes other people to do things for him. 
I like this, and always offer to do everything, never 
mind how fatiguing it is. Hope Johnstone, the 
second in command, is an immense man, too heavy 
to be much of a cavalry officer. 

I have a fair chance of pushing myself forward, 
for the men (170 of them) know me better than 
any one else in the regiment, and fifty of them 
are those whom I have been with for two years, and 
who would go anywhere with me. We have mutual 
confidence in each other. They have seen me in 
action more than once, and I them. This is a great 
thing. They are plucky fellows ; but natives don't 
care to go miichers with men they know nothing of. 

" I suppose there will be an interchange of medals 
similar to the Crimea ; I therefore stand a chance of 
getting the Legion of Honour. If I get the Victoria 
Cross, I am certain of it. Medals are great nonsense, 
but they often tell in your favour. With some big- 
wigs a good row of medals raises you several degrees 
in their estimation. Send me out a pair of skates — 
my foot is ten inches. Direct them to Hong-Kong, 
care of the bank agent. In the north of China there 
is lots of ice, I believe." 

''Camp Eaniganj, March 14. — Since I last 
wrote, we have marched from Cawnpore to this 
place, some 600 miles, on our road to China. I am 




now simply ' doing duty,' but I have some slight 
chance of the adjutancy, as our second in command 
(Hope Johnstone) will not be able to come with us 
on account of severe injuries received out pig-stick- 
ing. The consequence of this will be, that the 
adjutant will be promoted to second in command, 
and one of the doing-duty ivcdas ' to the adjutancy. 
The only question is, Will that be me ? I intend 
putting in my claim to it. 

" We have had rather a serious bout of cholera — 
seventy men out of 350 have had it, and of these 
about twenty died in twenty-four hours. One of the 
finest native officers in the regiment died. How- 
ever, now we are free from it. You may talk of 
the horrors of war, but cholera beats them all. If 
there were seventy casualties in battle, we should be 
praised to the skies, but 500 cases of cholera excite 
little attention." 

Koivloon (on the mainland opposite Hong-Kong), 
May 10. — 1 arrived here on the 22d of last month. 
The ship ^ in which I commanded was the only one 
of the whole force which did not lose any horses ; 
others lost five, six, even seven. AVe proceed north 
in a few days, when it is said that there will be a 
grand smash, as the Johnnies have marched with 
an immense force to drive the barbarians back into 
the sea directly they presume to set foot on Celes- 
tial soil. 

" Our camp here is the most extraordinary one I 

1 The Vortigern. 




have seen, and resembles, I am told, the camp at Se- 
bastopol. We are all perched on hills wherever any- 
open spot presents itself. The fore legs of our horses, 
when we first landed, were on the top of a hill, and 
the hind legs in a ravine. The run ashore has done 
them a great deal of good, though the Royal 
Commissariat are counteracting the good effects 
as fast as they can, by feeding our horses on paddy- 
straw, decomposed by the sun and rain into some- 
thinor like dunor. 

"A General Order the other day announced 
that the services of the Bengal Commissariat would 
be no longer required, consequently they were to 
proceed on the first opportunity to Calcutta. This 
is, in my opinion, one of the maddest steps that 
could have been taken ; and unless the Royal Com- 
missariat very much improve, we shall have the 
first winter in the Crimea business over again. Ar- 
rangements that only manage to collect one week's 
supply of grain and about three of fodder, cannot 
be good; and officers taken from their regiments 
plump and put into the Commissariat, and told to 
6nd food for 15,000 men and 1500 horses, cannot do 
it. It is not their fault : they do their best no doubt, 
but the authorities are in fault for choosing young 
and inexperienced officers before some of the best 
oflScers in the Indian Commissariat. Fitzgerald and 
Martineau haven't superiors in any commissariat. 

"Probyn, of whom no doubt you have heard a 
good deal, is commanding the other regiment of 

VOL. I. I 


Irregulars here. He has the advantage of Fane in 
having earned a name during the last war ; and 
though five years junior to Fane in the service, 
he is his senior by brevet. He has also the gen- 
eral's confidence, and a larger and older regiment 
than Fane. Therefore he has the odds on his side, 
and ought to do more than Fane. However, we 
shall see. A sudden order has fixed the date of our 
embarkation on Monday. Some say the reason of 
this is, that a force of Chinamen is coming to the 
coast, and others that Sir H. Grant wants to go for- 
ward before Lord Elgin comes out. I care not 
which is the reason, as long as we get to work. 
One of my plans for getting on is to volunteer for 
the Intelligence Department ; but as I have few 
claims to that sort of appointment, I must do some- 
thing before I apply. If the Chinamen are within 
riding distance, I will soon do this. It would be 
just the appointment I would like. If I got on 
it, I should apply for thirty picked men as an 
escort and some spare horses ; and I fancy I could 
keep the general tolerably well acquainted w^ith 
what was going on, provided he would give 
me unlimited credit, and let me do it my own 
way. Hodson made his name principally as an 

May 10. — As I have not told you who my 
brother ofiicers are, I proceed at once to do so. First 
of course comes Fane, whom I have described ; the 
second in command is Hope Johnstone, who was Mans- 


''I'll do it again." 


fields A.D.C. in the last war. The adjutant is Cat- 
tley, an old officer, but too fond of appearance to make 
anything of an Irregular. The quartermaster is 
Anderson, who was our brigade-major in Hodson's 
Horse. He is the best officer and the finest fellow I 
know anywhere. Luard is the senior ' doing duty ' ; 
Maclean is a fine plucky fellow, and one of the best- 
hearted fellows going, but he is dull. Upperton's 
qualities are transcendent in the choice of patent- 
leather boots, and his coats are beautiful. Campbell 
is an Old-Bailey-Guardite. Fitzgerald is the hardest 
working fellow in the corps ; he is an excellent 
warm-hearted fellow, and is related to the Fitzgerald 
of the Sind Camel Corps. Drake was our ' doing- 
duty' ivala in the 1st Hodson's Horse: he is a 
young cub at present ; but having a deal of good in 
him, only wants whipping to make him bright. 
Carnac is a nice gentlemanly boy. Daly, the 
doctor, was in my old regiment, and is a capital 
operator; so if I do get a bullet through my leg, 
you may rest assured it will be well taken off. 
Wallis is the junior medico, and is a good fellow. 
Field, the veterinary surgeon, is rather heavy. There 
you are. I come after Campbell, so that I am low 
down. Never mind, I was lower in Hodson's at 
first, and I rose higher than the lot of them, and 
ril do it again" 

*' Hong-Kong, May 20. — The force here is begin- 
ning to move off. General Napier and staff went 
the other day, and the 8th and 9th Kegiments of 


Panjab Infantry followed. Every day a regiment 
or part of one embarks ; but the authorities seem in 
no hurry to get us off. 

Some days ago the whole force was reviewed, 
and though there was scarcely room for a company 
to march past, there was something very striking in 
the appearance of the troo|)s defiling over the hilly 
ground. . . . Among the men-of-war in harbour 
now are the Chesapeake, Urgent, Sphinx, Fury, and 
Magicienne, besides several large French men-of- 
war, all of them crowded with troops. After all 
I had heard about the excellency of the French 
arrangements, I was surprised to see how they 
crowded their ships. . . . 

" General Grant returned some days back from 
Shanghai, where he had been to consult with .the 
French General.^ He was present at the review, 
and is not changed from the unpretending man I 
remember him at Lucknow. He looks thinner, but 
not so anxious as he looked in Oudh. . . . Warm 
clothing has been served out with no niggard hand, 
and considering that less than four months ago 
scarcely anything was in preparation, the whole 
equipment of this force reflects great credit on 
General Napier, who had the superintendence of the 
greater part of the business. As you may not per- 
haps know what the China expeditionary force is 
composed of, I give you all the information I 

1 Le General de Division, Commanclant-en-Clief C. de Montauban. 




[Here follows imperfect list of troops, a corrected 
list of which is given below. ^] 

''At Sea, June 11.- — By the 1st June the whole 
of the China force were embarked ; but, owing to the 
head-winds which prevailed outside, they did not 
fairly start till the 5th or 6th. Each steamer has 
three ships in tow, generally two transports and a 

" Ta-Lien-Wan Bay, June 18. — We arrived here 
on the 14th, and H.M.S. Imperieuse, flag-ship of 
Admiral Jones, arrived on the 1 7th with Sir Eobert 
Napier on board, and the Alfred with Sir John 
Michel, from Shanghai, both looking as well as ever. 

^ Generals of Division. — Sir John Michel and Sir Robert Napier. 

Brigadier-Generals. — Colonels Sutton, Jephson, Staveley, and Reeves. 

Headquarter Staff. — Colonel Stephenson, D.A.G. ; Major Dormer, 
A.A.G. ; Major Taylor, D.A.A.G. ; Colonel K. Mackenzie, D.Q.M.G. ; 
Colonel Ross, A.Q.M.G.; Lieut.-Colonel Garnet Wolseley, D.A.Q.M.G.; 
Dr Muir, P.M.O. 

Cavalry. — 1st King's Dragoon Guards, two squadrons, under Briga- 
dier-General Pattle ; 1st Sikh Cavalry, under Major Probyn, V.C. 
(called Probyn's Horse) ; Fane's Horse, under Lieutenant Fane, 

Royal Artillery. — Two batteries Armstrong guns. Major Barry's 
and Major Mil ward's ; one ditto 6-pounder smooth-bore guns. Major 
Desborough's ; one 6-pounder ditto. Captain Stirling's ; one Rocket 
battery, Major Go van's ; one 6-pounder ditto, Major Rotton's ; Siege- 
train, guns of position ; two batteries Madras mountain - train — the 
whole commanded by Brigadier Crofton, R.A. 

Royal Engineers. — One company. Fisher's ; one company, Graham's ; 
half-company, and Madras Sappers, two companies, all under Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Mann, R.E. 

Infantry. — 2d battalion 1st Royals ; 1st battalion 2d Royals ; 3d 
Buffs ; 31st ; 44th ; 2d battalion 60th Rifles ; 67th Regiment ; 99th ; 
Loodhiana Regiment ; 8th, 15th, and 19th Panjab Infantry— in all, 
439 officers, 13,116 men. Total, 18,555, with 1800 horses. 

Military Train and Chinese Coolie Corps. 




The bay is really most beautiful. It is almost sur- 
rounded with hills, laid out in terraces, cultivated to 
their very tops. 

*'Here and there, in the valleys and nooks and 
corners, are the villages, peeping out from fine clumps 
of trees. Notwithstanding all this, however, it does 
not seem to be thickly populated, and the fact of 
there being great scarcity of water confirms my 
opinion. Great efforts are being made to supply 
tools to the working-parties, which are sent on shore 
every day to dig wells. 

"Some forty or fifty junks have been detained. 
They were making all sail towards the Gulf of 
Pecheli, where they would, I have no doubt, have 
given a very fair account of the whereabouts of the 
* barbarians ' to the Emperor. 

" The rendezvous of the French troops is at Che- 
foo, to the west of the promontory of Shantung." 

''June 19.— I went to see the wells which are 
being dug. Two of them are in play, and the rest, 
about five or six in number, are progressing fast. 
Water is found about twelve feet from the surface. 
Those employed in digging are the soldiers of the 
1st Division, the 2d Division being too far from the 

" The fleet is anchored in five lines from north to 
south : (1) Ships of the 1st Division ; (2) ships Koyal 
Navy ; (3) transports Cavalry Brigade ; (4) Ditto 2d 
Division ; (.5) ship Eoyal Navy. . . . 

" Lord Elgin is the great bugbear of this force. 




Every one dreads his coming, as every one is firmly 
convinced that if he does come he will come only 
to make terms. However, it is my opinion that 
he will not be able to make terms just yet. The 
Imperialists are by far too flushed with their late 
victory/ and our subsequent dilatoriness, to be 
in a fit state for the settlement of this difiiculty. 
Terms made now would only give them the idea 
that we had had enough of it, and wanted to sheer 

''June 21. — News has just come that Lord Elgin 
has arrived at Hong-Kong, determined to make 

At Hong-Kong Lord Elgin heard from Mr Bruce 
that the ultimatim which had been forwarded from 
England had been delivered to the Chinese Govern- 
ment, with the intimation that an answer was to be 
sent to Shanghai by an early date. Lord Elgin 
decided, therefore, to proceed to Shanghai, where he 
met Mr Bruce ; and on the 5 th July he sailed for 
Ta-lien-wan, where he arrived on the 9th July. 

''Odin Bay, Ta-lien-ivan, July 11. — By the 24th 
all the transports had arrived, and apparently we 
only waited the arrival of Lord Elgin to proceed 
to our destination. At the commencement of the 
current month we were all disembarked ; the 1st 
Division at Victoria Bay, the 2d at Hand Bay, the 
artillery and cavalry at Odin Bay, all of which are 

^ The repulse of Admiral Hope's vessels with Mr Brace's mission, at 
the mouth of the Peiho in June 1859. 




inlets of the large bay of Ta-lien-wan. Just as we 
had settled down in our respective camps, Lord Elgin 
made his appearance, and after stopping a couple of 
days went yesterday to Chefoo, where the French 
are established. 

At Victoria Bay I went to the top of the highest 
hills, and the other day I went to the top of Mount 
Samson, the highest peak near here (3000 feet), and 
had a capital view of the hilly country around the 
Gulf of Pecheli. On the 6th I took advantage of 
the escort of a party of officers, and went to see 
King-Chow, a large walled city about nine miles 
from Odin Bay, passing through a country which 
reminded me of Caithness-shire. On arrival, the 
walls were mounted by crowds of Tartars, but our 
request for permission to enter was flatly refused. 
Nevertheless, an inferior mandarin was sent out to 
give us tea and ginger. Notwithstanding the stiff 
nature of the soil, the whole country is most highly 
cultivated, whilst in the fields were numbers of oxen, 
ponies, and mules, occupied in ploughing, grinding 
corn, or drawing carts. The plough is similar to 
that used in India. Nearly all the people are 
dressed alike, in a Tartar cap of black felt, a coat 
of white cloth and wide loose trousers, with shoes 
made of cloth excepting the soles. There is some 
talk of leaving a force behind here. Sir E. Napier 
has got into bad odour with the naval authorities for 
opposing the organisation of a Naval Brigade. I can- 
not see the necessity of turning sailors into soldiers. " 




" July 25. — The artillery were embarked on the 
23d, the cavalry yesterday, and the whole of the 
force, including stores, will be on board this evening. 
We sail for the Peiho to-morrow, and will pay off 
old scores with interest. The mail goes in an hour 
or two, so there is no time for a long letter. I am 
all right — in capital health and spirits, and eager for 
a brush with the Tartars. Good-bye." 

The French at Chefoo named the 25th July as the 
date when they would be ready to advance ; but 
they had had great difficulties in consequence of the 
non-arrival of their materiel, having no oriental base 
of operations, as the English had in Hong-Kong. 

Off the Peiho, Aug. 4. — We arrived some twenty 
miles off the mouth of the Peiho on the 28th, and 
stayed there until the 30th, when part of the force 
moved in to within six miles of the land off Pehtang, 
and on the 31st the whole force moved. Ere I write 
again I shall be out of my teens, only eight days 
more — a short time, but one that is likely to be an 
eventful one. I write to-night, as we may land to- 
morrow, and there would be no saying w^hen you 
could hear again from me. 

The infantry and artillery have landed and taken 
possession of the forts,^ with no loss ; but yesterday 
the Chinamen came down and attacked us, and we 

^ The original plan of operation had been that the English should 
land at Pehtang, about eight miles north of the Peiho, while the 
French were to land some twelve miles south of that river, and effect 
a simultaneous advance on the Taku Forts. The French, however, 
decided it was impossible to effect a landing to the south. 




drove them off with small loss — Major Greathed of 
the Benofal Engjineers wounded, one French officer 
killed, one French general and several officers 
wounded. We know nothing more out here as yet. 
Part of our regiment landed to-day, and although 
there is no order, we are likely to go to-morrow. 
We land with three days' provisions and our great- 
coats, so that I hope we shall see some real cam- 
paigning. I am better mounted than any officer in 
the regiment, and have got good arms, so don't be 
in a way about me." 

Pehtang, Aug. 8. — The disembarked force, des- 
tined to secure a landing-place on the 1st, consisted 
of about 6000 men, half English and half French. 
The English force was the 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 
commanded by Brigadier Sutton, and consisting of 
the 2d Eoyals, 60th Rifles, and 15th Panjab In- 
fantry, without guns. The landing was made with- 
out molestation on the south side of the Pehtang, 
between the town and the fortified camp of the 
Tartars. The force marched up within shot of the 
Pehtang Forts, and passed the night drawn up in 
columns of fours on a narrow road, totally exposed 
to the fire of the fort, which might have raked the 
road. They could not have formed a front to the 
fort on account of the boggy nature of the ground. 
At daybreak, on advancing, the fort was found 
evacuated, the inhabitants flying in all directions. 

" Next mornino^ the French made a reconnais- 
sance, supported by Brigadier Sutton's infantry, on 




the return of which pickets were thrown out and 
arrangements made for landing the rest of the force. 
This was all accomplished by the 7th, although the 
gunboats were few in number, and the distances 
very far. 

" There were upwards of 3000 horses, 3000 bag- 
gage-ponies, some 15,000 men of all ranks, besides 
ammunition, baggage, and food for the whole force ; 
and to do this there were some ten gunboats avail- 
able, so that you can imagine the number of trips 
that had to be made." 

Aug. 8. — The orders about marching onwards 
have come out. The 1st Division march along the 
road towards the intrenchment, heading the column 
— then comes a French column, and then another 
English. On the enemy opening fire the English 
are to debouch to the right of the road, and the 
French to the left. The cavalry have no orders, but 
I fancy will be sent to get round into the enemy's 
left rear, and so cut them off from the Taku Fort. 
AVhat appears rather absurd to me in the orders is 
the minuteness with which it is laid down what is to 
be done when the enemy opens fire, and w^hen the 
fire is reduced, and when the enemy retreats — taking 
it for granted that the Tartars will open fire, give in, 
and retreat all to the minute." 

" Aug. 9. — A reconnaissance, consisting of cavalry 
and infantry, has gone out, under command of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Garnet Wolseley, D.Q.M.G. The 
orders are not to fight except under very pressing 




circumstances. This will be a good chance for Wol- 
seley to improve his luck, which is the best in the 
army. I am glad the force is going to move out, as 
this place is beginning to smell very strong, and the 
filth might produce cholera. 

" We have a fight to-morrow, and to my great 
vexation there is a chance of my not going. This 
is owing to my being so junior. Therefore I have 
made up my mind to get my friends at headquarters 
to get me something where nothing but merit will 
tell. I dont care for 'pay — hid for fame!' ^ 

Aug. 12. — Mr Bowlby, the ' Times' correspondent, 
thus describes the action which ensued : — 

" On the 9th inst., a reconnaissance by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Wolseley, Captain Brabazon, Colonel Dupin, 
and some other ofiicers, with a party of cavalry, was 
made across the mud on the right of Pehtang, up to 
the Tientsin road, about six miles in front. The re- 
sult was satisfactory. The mud was discovered to 
be practicable for cavalry and artillery during dry 
weather, and beyond the four or five miles to which 
it extended was a hard plain with abundance of 
good water. It rained in torrents during the 10th, 
so it was impossible to start on the 11th, as origi- 
nally intended. The weather having improved on 
that day, the Commanders-in-Chief determined to 
lose no time, and the army was ordered to march 
at daybreak on the 12th. 

^ " What's fame % a fancied life in others' breath, 
A thing beyond us, e'en before our death." 




" The small town of Sinho, against which opera- 
tions were directed, lies on the road from Tang-kow 
and the northern forts to Tientsin. About seven 
miles south-west of Pehtang, three miles north-west 
of Tang-kow, and six miles north-west of the northern 
forts, it forms the most advanced position of the 
Chinese on the north bank of the river. Three in- 
trenched camps, commanding the causeway from 
Pehtanof, had been made towards the east of the 
town, the last intrenchment resting on Sinho itself. 
They were constructed in the usual fashion, of mud 
and straw, with crenelated walls and a deep ditch, 
and were of very recent formation. 

After the reconnaissance of the 9th, it was deter- 
mined to make a double attack on this position, so 
as to turn the left flank of the Tartars, cut them off 
from the Tientsin road, and drive them into the forts 
in their rear. For this purpose General Napier, with 
the 2d Division, was to diverge to the right 300 
yards from the causeway gate, and march across the 
mud to the Tientsin road, while the 1st Division 
and the French marched along the causeway and 
attacked the intrenchments in front. At 5 a.m. on 
the 12th, the division commenced defiling through the 
gate. First came an advanced-s^uard of three com- 
panics of the Buffs, with two of Captain Milward's 
Armstrong guns in support ; then four other Arm- 
strongs, of Milward's battery, the 23d company of 
Royal Engineers, 8th Regiment of Panjabees, 44th 
Regiment, Rotton's rocket battery. Royal Marines, 



Madras Sappers, and right wing of the 67th Regi- 
ment. The rear-guard was formed by the left wing 
of the 67th. The cavalry — King's Dragoon Guards, 
Probyn's Horse, and Fane's Horse, with Stirling's 
battery — followed soon after, and were attached to 
the division. On leaving the road, it became abun- 
dantly apparent that the mud was most difficult to 
cross. The infantry were ankle-deep, and before 
proceeding 200 yards all the Armstrong waggons 
had sunk above the axle. In vain were ropes at- 
tached, and fatigue-parties of soldiers called into 
requisition. All their efforts were in vain. The 
waggons were immovable ; so the limbers, containing 
thirty rounds a-gun, were detached and brought on, 
the remainder of the waggons being left in the march, 
and eventually taken back to Pehtang. Meanwhile 
the guns themselves kept advancing through ground 
such as has seldom been traversed by artillery. Over 
and over again the horses' legs disappeared in the 
mud, and. the carriage sank above the axle. Quick 
as thought the horses were unharnessed, the guns 
unlimbered, ropes applied to the wheels, and, with 
a strong pull and a pull together, the men had the 
guns out of the hole. Then came large ruts, or 
rather small trenches, over which they had to be 
rattled at a gallop, and then mud, marsh, and slush 
again. For fully five miles were the guns knocked 
about before reaching hard ground. Arrived on the 
plain, General Napier halted the division, and ordered 
the cavalry to advance from the town. After an 


napier's dispositions. 


hour's halt the cavalry arrived, and the whole force 
advanced, right wheel, on Sinho. First came a 
picket of Sikhs under Major Probyn. Then two 
companies of the Buffs, in skirmishing order, with 
the Armstrongs on their left. Behind them the 
main column of infantry, with the cavalry on the 
right, up to the Tientsin road, and protecting the 
rear. Vedettes of Tartar horse were seen in front, 
flank, and rear; but they retired as the army ap- 
proached, without firing a shot. After marching up- 
wards of an hour, we arrived before Sinho, about a mile 
from which place General Napier halted the division. 
The plain extended up to the town, which was open 
in front. On the proper right of the Tartars were 
the three large intrenchments ; on their left market- 
gardens, and a small intrenched camp on the road 
to the river. The possibility of their being attacked 
on the road from Tientsin had never occurred to 
them, so no preparations whatever had been made 
to receive us. A large body of Tartar cavalry took 
up position in front of the town when they saw the 
army approach, their line extending for about a mile 
and a half. General Napier's dispositions were soon 
made. The infantry was formed in line of contigu- 
ous columns at quarter-distance, the Sufi's in advance, 
in skirmishing order, three Armstrongs in the centre, 
three more on the British left fiank, the cavalry on 
the right, partially concealed by the Tientsin road, 
with Stirling's battery to cover that road. And now 
the Armstrongs in the centre were ordered to open 




fire on the Tartar cavalry. The Tartars stood right 
manfully for ten minutes, when they found the place 
too hot for them ; so, after some wavering, they took 
the desperate resolution of attempting to turn both 
flanks of the English, and so get into their rear. A 
large body of Tartar cavalry rushed up the Tientsin 
road, while a smaller force advanced on our left. 
The latter were soon disposed of by the three Arm- 
strongs. The former halted when they saw our 
cavalry, stood irresolute for a time, and then re- 
treated. Captain Stirling at once brought his bat- 
tery to bear, and pounded them well in flank. Just 
at this moment the guns of the 1st Division and the 
French were heard on the left, so the Armstrongs 
were ordered to cease firing into the intrenchments. 
I galloped across to Stirling's battery, and was ad- 
miring his practice, when, to the surprise of every 
one, a body of 80 or 90 Tartars rushed from their 
front to take his guns in flank. On they came, with 
the most wild and unearthly cries. So unexpected 
was this attack that Captain Stirling had barely time 
to fire two rounds of case, when they were within 
100 yards of the guns. There was no infantry near, 
but a guard of twenty-five of Fane's Horse, under the 
command of Lieutenant MacGregor, was attached to 
the battery. Now was the time, now the chance to test 
the Sikhs against the Tartars. Without a moment's 
hesitation, and regardless of numbers. Lieutenant 
MacGregor gave the word to charge, and away went 
the Sikhs in most gallant style. No flinching, no 


craning ; every spur was well in the horse's side, 
when one-half the Tartars met them in full shock. 
The effect was instantaneous. One of the leading 
Sikhs ran his spear right through the body of a Mon- 
gol horseman, the head entering at his chest, and 
going out at his back. The spear broke in the mid- 
dle : the Mongol fell to the ground spitted, and never 
moved a limb. Lieutenant MacGregor singled out 
his man, and was in the act of spearing him, when 
another Tartar fired his matchlock within ten yards 
point-blank. The slugs hit the lieutenant in five 
places — three lodging in the chest, two in the fore- 
head. For a moment he was blinded by the fire, 
which burnt his face ; but the work was done. The 
Tartars dispersed in every direction, the whole affair 
lasting little more than a minute. I am happy to 
say that Lieutenant MacGregor is fast recovering 
from his wounds, which, though severe, are not in 
the least dangerous. Nothiug could be more gal- 
lant than his conduct, for he had no supports, and 
but a handful of men. The Sikhs were delighted 
with the result, which naturally inspired them with 
the greatest confidence, and proved their unquestion- 
able superiority over the Tartar cavalry. The 1st 
Division and the French, who had advanced along 
the causeway, now commenced a tremendous fire 
against the more advanced intrenchment. Barry's 
Armstrong breech -loading guns and Desborough's 
and Govan's batteries, with three batteries of French 
rifled cannon, were in full play. The Tartars 

VOL. I. K 




opened a sharp and harmless fire from jingalls and 
matchlocks, but were driven from one intrenchment 
to the other by the artillery alone, no infantry hav- 
ing been engaged. At the end of an hour the enemy 
had retreated along the causeway to Tang-kow, and 
down to a ferry over the river. Sinho was in pos- 
session of the Allies." 

One of his brother officers, who saw young Mac- 
Gregor fall to the ground in the fight at Sinho, 
writes that, at first, they all made sure he had been 
killed, and one of them exclaimed, on reaching him, 
"Poor MacGregor's gone, I'm afraid !" whereupon the 
youth, desperately wounded as he was, cheerfully re- 
plied, " No ! there's plenty of life in me yet." And 
again, when the surgeon approached to examine his 
wounds, which must have been very painful, ''This 
is a nice birthday present they've given me ! " he 
gaily cried, for it happened to be his twentieth 

A day or two afterwards, whilst the disabled officer 
was lying hors de combat in his tent, there was an 
alarm that the enemy had attacked the camp. Mac- 
Gregor, weak as he was, at once jumped up, and 
determined to sell his life as dearly as possible, 
propped himself up against the tent-pole, and, whilst 
he held his pistol with his left hand, strove to open 
his swollen eyelids with his wounded right hand in 
order to see the enemy. Fortunately it turned out 
to be a false alarm. 

" Aug. 20. — Dr Wallis, our doctor, will have in- 




formed you that the Tartars have done for me 
for some time. My wounds, making three or four 
in number, are as follows. In my right cheek and 
neck are three slight wounds from slugs ; in my 
right shoulder are six slug wounds and one bullet 
ditto. Of these it is supposed that three slugs are 
still lodged in my shoulder. 

" I am doing very well indeed, and though I shall 
be able to ride soon, my sword-arm will not be strong 
for some little time. I have no strength to record 
at length. Suffice it, I was on escort with twenty-five 
men over a battery of guns. The Tartar horse, about 
150 strong, charged the guns, and I just caught 
them in the nick of time, at the charge, and suc- 
ceeded in driving them back and saving the guns. 

" In the melee which ensued, a Tartar galloped up 
from my left front and delivered his fire right in my 
face. By bobbing my head a little to the left, he 
missed my face, and skiffed my neck. I was totally 
unable to guard off his matchlock, as at the moment 
I had my spear through a man on my right. After 
I had received this last wound I was perfectly blind. 
x\t the moment it appeared to me that the whole of 
the side of my face was blown away ; but the excite- 
ment soon passed, and I felt that if I could only 
see my way, I was game for any Tartar that ever 

" The Commander-in-Chief came to see me, and 
said that * it was a most gallant action, and couldn't 
have been done better.' The brigadier commanding 




cavalry said, ' He had heard of my gallant charge, 
and should not forget to mention me in his despatch.' 
The officer commanding the battery thanked me for 
my ' pluck in saving his guns.' The ' Times ' corre- 
spondent is said to have witnessed it, and written about 
it in his letter ; while men I had never seen before 
came in and congratulated me on what I had done. 

"Strange to say, Fane was the only one who said 

" The general opinion in camp is that I deserve 
the Cross. Whether I shall get it or not I don't 
know. I have neither applied nor said anything 
about it to any one ; but several officers have said, 
' Oh ! you're sure to get it.' Anyhow, if I do, I de- 
served it more at Daryabad and Jarwa. I am afraid 
I have laid my heart too much on it, and that I am 
doomed to be disappointed. I can't write more. 
Don't let my mother get into a fright about me. 
I am all jolly, and if the Tartars will only go on 
fighting, I'll pay them out. — Your affectionate but 
(for the present) rather done-up son, Charlie." 

It seems that General de Montauban and the 
French Engineer officers were strongly desirous of 
attacking the southern forts across the Peiho first; 
but Sir Hope Grant's objection overruled their pro- 
ject, and it was decided to capture the northern forts 
at Taku before commencing any operations against 
the more formidable works on the other side of the 
river. Accordingly, Sir E. Napier was intrusted 




with the preliminary advances of the heavy artillery 
against these strongly constructed casemated forts, 
the approaches to which were most difficult for siege- 

By the morning of the 21st, Sir E. Napier's 10- 
inch mortars and heavy guns opened at 700 yards 
range, the field-guns being 200 yards nearer. The 
gunboats also threw shells into the Chinese works at 


long range. A heavy fire was maintained for four 
hours, Milward's and Govan's batteries being grad- 
ually advanced, and the siege-guns firing over the 
heads of the infantry, who had been advanced with- 
in 300 yards of the ditch. Two explosions occurred 
about 9 A.M., under cover of which pontoons were 
brought to the ditch, and crossings were effected by 
several storming -parties, who, after encountering a 
stubborn resistance, eflfected the capture of the outer 
fort. As soon as the Chinese saw this fort to be 
in the possession of the Allies, the fire from all the 
other forts ceased, and white flags were hoisted. 

The next and larger fort was entered without 
opposition, and finally the southern fort surrendered, 
or rather was evacuated, before sunset. 

These southern forts were only approachable by 
narrow causeways a mile long, on either side of 
which were extensive mud -flats impassable for 
infantry : they were thus secured without a shot 
being fired, and the whole of the Taku Forts, includ- 
ing 600 guns, were in the hands of the Allies during 
the 22d and 23d August. 




Admiral Hope with his gunboat flotilla at once 
proceeded up the Peiho ; Mr Parkes and Mr Loch 
being sent by Lord Elgin to accompany the admiral. 
The Tientsin forts were occupied by blue-jackets, 
and the admiral's yacht anchored off the Yamun by 
the evening of the 23d, with the Allied flags flying 
from the walls of the town of Tientsin. 

On the 31st, Kweiliang, one of the commissioners 
who had signed the treaty, entered into negotiations 
with Lord Elgin, who required the following terms : — 

1. An apology for the attack on the Allied forces 
in 1859. 

2. The ratification and execution of the treaty of 

3. The payment of an indemnity to the Allies for 
the expenses of the expedition. 

The proposed convention also included a provision 
that a portion of the Allied forces were to advance 
to Tungchow, near Pekin, from whence the Ambas- 
sadors, with a large military escort, might proceed to 
Pekin to present their credentials to the Emperor. 

Meantime the army steadily advanced to Tien- 
tsin, Brigadier Staveley taking possession of that 
town with the 1st Eoyals, the 67th Kegiment, and a 
battery of artillery, a small garrison being left in the 
large southern fort at Taku. 

Hospital-ship, the Sir W. Peel (off the Peiho), 
Sept. 6. — You will see, by the improvement in my 
handwriting, that I am getting all right. I can now 
sit up and write for a short time. The wounds in 




my neck are very nearly closed, and my shoulder is 
getting on capitally. In short, I hope by about the 
20th to be at work again. 

" The war is all over : there will be no more 
fighting, and I am happy to think that I have not 
let the only opportunity I had pass by. I have a 
chance of the Cross. It stands thus. Everybody in 
the Cavalry Brigade thinks that I deserve it. Fane 
has said that if he had seen me he would recommend 
me at once. Now, I know who did see me, and I 
intend to work it all up when I get on shore. I am 
not too sanguine, but I say that I deserve it, and 
without one dissentient voice they have all declared 
I ought to get it for the affair of Sinho. I deserve 
it ten times more for Daryabad and Jarwa. If I get 
it, my second in command is safe, and I shall get 
the Legion of Honour from the French, if they give 
any honours to our army. 

What I now propose is this. When I am well, 
to go to Tientsin, and if they give me a good 
appointment, to stop with the force that is going 
to winter there; but if I can't get an appoint- 
ment, to try and get to Calcutta before the regi- 
ment. On arrival there, get leave to stop and 
pass the languages, also send an application for a 
second in command — my old one in preference, back- 
ing it by the following papers : Extract of Colonel 
Hume's despatch ; copy of Major Hughes's letter 
about the adjutancy; letter of thanks from Brigadier 
Holdich ; letter of thanks from his Excellency the 


Governor-General ; extract of despatch of his Ex- 
celleDcy Lieutenant-General Sir H. Grant, and of 
Brigadier Pattle, commanding Cavalry Brigade. If 
these will not do, I don't know what will. That's 
more than most young fellows can achieve before 
twenty, taking in four wounds into the bargain. If 
everything turns out as I hope, I shall join my 
regiment till the hot weather comes on, and shall 
then try to get leave home for fifteen months. . . . 

" I cannot, of course, hope to get my book along 
as I had intended, still I must get through the 
rough of the work. My wound has thrown me back 
a good deal ; in fact, to-day will be the first time I 
have looked at my manuscript. 

" Every day shows me more and more how neces- 
sary some new system is in all our cavalry. The 
conduct of both Fane's and Probyn's regiments shows 
me that if there had been a cool and determined 
enemy to deal with, we should have heard of defeat 
instead of victory. The men went tearing like mad- 
men all over the country. With fifty men — drilled 
men — I would have cut Fane's regiment to pieces, 
and with 200 men I should have attacked the whole 
brigade with confidence. As I have said, ours and 
Probyn's were totally disorganised ; and as for the 
King's Dragoon Guards, I have great contempt for 
them : you could pick them ofi" without scarcely losing 
a man. If they charged, I should dissolve : they 
would get out of hand, and then woe to them ! 
I was much struck with the coolness of the 




Tartars : they behaved with considerable pluck at 
first, and when they did run, though they went as 
fast as they could, they stopped every now and then 
and fired, taking considerable care in their aim. 

" Some of them, both in advancing and retiring, 
dismounted and fired. This is one of my ideas, 
and what I saw of its efiicacy at Sinho makes me 
more than ever in its favour. I don't care who 
says aught to the contrary. I assert that a man can- 
not take proper aim on horseback : the horse may 
stand fire to perfection, yet the mere act of whisking 
ofi" a fly deranges the aim fatally. The Tartars had 
no arm but their matchlocks, which were not at all 
formidable. Their swords are useless, mere pieces of 
iron, and so blunt, that though I got a fair cut over 
the head, it did not even cut my turban. Some few 
carried wretched bad spears, but all had leaded sticks, 
something like our life-preservers. Bows and arrows 
were also much in fashion ; but their arrows went 
with no force — a belt or a thickly padded coat com- 
pletely stopping them. 

" In appearance they are very fine men, and only 
want good training to make excellent soldiers. They 
are mounted on ponies about 13.2 or 14 hands high. 
These appeared to be very active.^ 

" The Tartar cavalry since Sinho have disappeared 

^ " But spirited and docile too, 

Whate'er was to be done would do ; 
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb, 
All Tartar-like he carried him." 




altogether. No one knows where they have gone to : 
they seem to be regularly disheartened.^ 

" Don't forget to send me the books I wanted ; you 
had better do so by book-post. There is one subject 
which I consider myself very lucky in thoroughly 
understanding, as it is one in which few officers have 
any experience. I mean the transport of horses. I 
have paid a good deal of attention to it, taking the 
opinions of various officers, and going myself to see 
their ships. As these have been fitted at various 
places, they have been fitted up in a different man- 
ner, so that I can see exactly what has been omitted 
in each, and can give a very tolerable opinion on the 
proper manner of fitting and provisioning a horse- 
ship. This, as it is a very important subject, will 
form one of my chapters. I hope to get a good deal 
more information in Calcutta, where horse-ships are 
constantly arriving from Australia. I shall also add 
some hints about transporting horses in railway and 
in boats. I have always seen horses put in and out 
of boats in a very slovenly manner, and I intend to 
propose a plan which will enable us to get horses in 
safe and expeditiously." 

On the 8th September Sir Hope Grant set out 
from Tientsin, which was garrisoned by Sir E. 
Napier's division, with an advanced force of 800 
infantry, Fane's Horse and Dragoon Guards, Stir- 

1 Immense quantities of hay, collected for the use of the Tartar 
cavalry, were found at Sinho, sufficient to supply the Allied armies for 
at least six weeks. 




ling's and Barry's batteries, followed by Sir John 
Michel's division and the French, 1200 strong. A 
halt was made at Ho-si-wu on the 13th. On the 
1 7th this force marched to Matow, Lord Elgin and 
Baron Gros remaining at Ho-si-wu — Admiral Jones, 
Lord John Hay, K.N., and Mr Bowlby, ' Times ' cor- 
respondent, being guests of Lord Elgin. 

''Sept. 11. — I have arranged to go on the 15th, 
making very little more than one month from the 
date of my being hit. I believe the regiment has 
gone on to Pekin, on Lord Elgin's escort, so that I 
shall have a long ride to catch them up. I want to 
see Pekin, and arrange about this Cross business ; 
this done, I shall try and get an opportunity by 
steamer to India at once. 

" The hospital on board this ship is very badly 
managed. Attendance and superintendence is very 
bad. One man is told off to attend on some ten or 
eleven officers. He has to tie up their wounds, clean 
their rooms, feed them, besides anything else they 
may have to ask him ; and the consequence is that 
he has so little time that nothing is done properly. 
The bandages are loosely tied, your room remains 
dirty, and you get your meals at all sorts of hours. 

**The report is, that the Emperor says that he 
cannot pay what we want ; we may do what we 
like, — bring up our whole army to Pekin, he will 
not fight us, but will treat us as well as he can, and 
we may stop as long as we like. This shows con- 
siderable tact, and if it is true, I shall be curious to 




know how Lord Elgin manages it. If the Emperor 
sticks to this, the only way would be to take charge 
of Pekin and levy some tax ; also, on the river, 
junks might be taxed, and a ransom on the city 
mi2:ht be levied." 

On the 14th, Messrs Wade and Parkes were sent 
by Lord Elgin to the Chinese commissioners at 
Tungchow, when a convention was definitely agreed 
upon. It was arranged that the Allied armies were 
to advance to within ten miles of Tungchow, where 
they were to remain while the Ambassadors pro- 
ceeded to Pekin. 

Camp seven miles from Pehin, Oct. 1. — I ar- 
rived here on the 26th September, after a ride of 
about fifty miles, and I am happy to say it has done 
me no harm. Though my wound is not quite closed, 
the doctors say there is no fear of my hurting it by 

During my absence there have been two fights, 
in which the cavalry took the • principal part, and 
though I am sorry to have lost them, I have the 
pleasure to know that it was not on account of any 
delay of mine. You may look upon me as perfectly 
recovered, and thank God with me that it should be 
so. I don't anticipate a single evil effect from the 
wounds — no stiffness of joint or pain ; and though 
perhaps my face is a little scarred, I am now game 
for another go at the Tartars. 

" We march, I believe, to-morrow towards Pekin, 
taking up ground for our baggage, and the day after 




attacking the city, which, it is said, will be well de- 
fended. The cavalry, of course, will not be able to 
take part in the storm, so that it will be sent across 
the Grand Canal to the north of the city, to prevent 
the escape of the Tartars. 

^' I must now give you some account of the events 
which have occurred since I left the regiment. 

" First of all, they marched to Tientsin without 
anything of importance happening ; they stopped 
there till the 11th, enjoying the fruit and ice im- 
mensely. As the inhabitants of Tientsin made no 
resistance, it was thought that the Emperor might 
come to terms ; however, the mandarin sent to nego- 
tiate had no power to sign aught, so that it became 
necessary to proceed nearer the capital. Accordingly, 
the 1st Division and cavalry marched about the 
11th, and marching slowly, reached Ho-si-wu on or 
about the 15th. On the 16th the march was con- 
tinued to Matow, and from thence, on the 17th, Mr 
Parkes was sent to Tungchow (a large city ten miles 
from Pekin and twenty-two from our camp) to 
arrange about Lord Elgin's reception, he (Lord 
Elgin) not intending to go further if matters could 
be amicably arranged at this place. 

" In Mr Parkes's train was a Mr Loch, one of the 
attaches to Lord Elgin, and the following officers 
accompanied him out of curiosity: Colonel Walker, 
Q.M.G. Cavalry Brigade ; Mr Thomson, Commis- 
sariat ; Captain Brabazon, Q.M.G. Artillery Brigade ; 
Mr Bowlby, ' Times ' correspondent ; and Lieutenant 




Anderson of Fane's Horse, in charge of an escort of 
sixteen men. This party arrived at Tungchow on 
the 16th, and was very well treated; but on the 
I7th, whilst they were leaving, a French officer was 
set on and killed, and the rest taken prisoners. Col- 
onel Walker and Mr Thomson, with some troopers, 
cut their way out and reached camp.^ 

''On the 18th the force marched to attack the 
Tartars, who had come out to Chang-kia-wang to 
meet us. We beat them, killed a good many, and 
Chang-kia-wang was looted. 

'' On the 21st we marched again, and met the Tar- 
tars, 30,000 strong, near Tungchow. They behaved 
very pluckily, charging the French guns ; but after 
some hours' fighting they gave way, and the cavalry 
killed a great many. 

After the fight of the 18th, the 2d Division was 
ordered up, also the heavy guns : they have arrived, 
and we proceed to attack Pekin to-morrow or next day. 

[1 On the 17th Lord Elgin sent Mr Parkes to make final arrange- 
ments at Tungchow ; witli him he despatched Mr Loch, Mr de Ner- 
mann, a member of Bruce's Legation, and Mr Bowlby, with an escort 
of six Dragoon Guards and twenty sowars of Fane's Horse, under Lieu- 
tenant Anderson. Colonel Walker also went, to select ground for the 
encampment, and Mr Thomson, to make commissariat' arrangements. 
Mr Loch, on observing the treacherous preparations of the Chinese 
troops, returned and met Sir Hope Grant, whom he informed of the 
dangerous situation of Parkes and his companions. He afterwards re- 
joined Parkes with Captain Brabazon, R.A., who was with the ad- 
vanced-guard. The action commenced, and the above-named were 
made prisoners under the immediate orders of Sang-ko-lin-sin, the 
Chinese Commander-in-Chief. The story of their imprisonment, the 
death of some and the escape of the others, is well related by Mr 
Loch in his 'Narrative of Events in China' (Murray : 1869).] 




Lord Elgin previously sent word that if the 
prisoners were not given up in three days Pekin 
would be burnt and looted. The three days elapsed 
last night, and we have heard nothing of any inten- 
tion to give them up. Therefore it only remains for 
Lord*Elgin to carry out his threat. As for poor 
Anderson, now he is in misfortune, I only know that 
I am ready and willing to do anything that would 
help to release him." 

Oct. 3. — We march to-day close up to Pekin, 
and to-morrow the whole of the cavalry march round 
to the north, so that I shall perhaps not have an op- 
portunity of writing again for some time. I hope to 
get some more opportunities of adding to my name, 
which is already pretty good in this force. Every 
one thinks that I deserve the Cross — in fact, most 
people think I have been recommended, and I wait 
in hope. I shall get the Legion of Honour perhaps. 
If I get any loot, I will send you all home something. 
I have already got a beautiful dressing-gown for my 
father — grey satin, lined with unborn lamb's wool, 
and trimmed with light-blue silk." 

Outside Pehin^ Oct. 10. — I am all right, but am 
in a row with Fane, the issue of which will be I 
don't know what. Don't be alarmed : let them do 
what they like, they will not put me down. If I go 
down. Fane comes with me sooner or later." 

The Chinese, after their defeat on the 21st, re- 
treated to Pekin, and occupied a position to the east 
and north-east of the city. The Allies only advanced 




a few miles beyond Tungchow, on the road leading 
to Pekin, and there halted to wait for the heavy 
guns, supplies, and reinforcements from Tientsin. 
Lord Elgin saw that the prisoners' lives depended 
on vigorous action, and informed the mandarins that 
he would sign no convention except within the walls 
of Pekin. 

On the 6th October the Allies moved round the 
north-east angle of the Tartar city, the French, who 
were on the right of the line, occupying the Yuen- 
ming-yuen. During the 7th and 8th the army occu- 
pied a position in front of the north wall, concen- 
trating their objective on the Anting gate. Lord 
Elgin insisting on Prince Kung's compliance with 
all his demands. 

On the 9th the siege-guns and mortars were got 
into position by the artillery, and the Allied Com- 
manders-in-Chief gave the Chinese authorities till 
noon of the 13th to decide on surrender or renewal 
of hostilities. On the 1 2th the surviving prisoners 
were brought in. The batteries were completed by 
the 13th, on which day the Anting gate was surren- 
dered, and taken possession of by the 67th Regiment, 
Desborough's battery, and 8th Panjab Infantry. On 
the following days the bodies of De Normann, Ander- 
son, and two Sikh sowars, and subsequently those of 
Mr Bowlby and Trooper Phipps, King's Dragoon 
Guards, and the other Sikhs, were brought in. Cap- 
tain Brabazon and Abb^ de Luc, had, it appeared, 
been beheaded on the 21st at Pah-li-chao. 

I860.] A world's wonder IN FLAMES. 161 

" Pekin, Oct. 21. — Everything here is now in a 
fair way of being settled, and it is said that there is 
a likelihood of a great part of the force going back. 
The Tartars have agreed to all our terms, and are to 
pay up in a day or two. 

" Anderson, who was taken prisoner by them, has 
died of starvation and ill-treatment, and was buried 
the other day in the Eussian cemetery. Along with 
him lie Captain Brabazon, Mr Bowlby, and M. de 
Normann. There was a very large attendance of offi- 
cers, and I was glad to see that the French were not 
behindhand : they attended in great numbers, and 
some in full dress. 

" The family of each officer who died is to get 
£10,000 out of the indemnity paid by the Chinamen. 

"The other day the Cavalry Brigade and one of 
infantry went and burnt all the palaces and public 
places of the Emperor within reach of Pekin. AVhile 
doing this we got a little loot, which will enable me 
to come home more comfortably. I have not very 
good news about the Cross for you, though every 
one in camp thinks I deserve it. The solid truth is 
that, of those who saw me, one is afraid and the 
other frightened to take upon themselves the respon- 
sibility of recommending me. Meanwhile I can 
hardly tell you how much I feel losing this again." 

" Yuiig-Tsin, Nov. 15. — The force to stop at 
Tientsin during the winter is the 31st, 60th, 67th, 
Fane's Horse, and Desborough's and Govan's bat- 
teries : the rest all go to India or England, except 





one or two regiments, which go to Hong-Kong and 

On the 18th Sir John Michel's division moved 
into Yuen-ming-yuen, the buildings and palaces of 
which it had been determined to burn as a punish- 
ment on the Emperor for the violation of his word 
and the act of treachery to a flag of truce. The 
money found in the Treasury was taken possession of 
by the prize-agents for distribution among the troops. 
All loot taken before the 18th had to be handed over 
to appointed officers, and was sold by auction, the 
proceeds going to a general fund. During the whole 
of the 19th the Summer Palace buildings were burn- 
ing, the volumes of smoke being swept by the wind 
over Pekin. 

The Chinese army, on the advance of the Allies to 
the north of the city, retired to the west, and subse- 
quently to a greater distance. Reconnaissances made 
by Fane's and Probyn's Horse fell in with the ad- 
vanced pickets, which fell back, and no fighting took 

The necessity of an early retirement to winter 
quarters at Tientsin induced an early date being fixed 
for the signature of the convention and the ratifica- 
tion of the 1858 treaty. This was carried out with 
imposing ceremony on the 24th, in the Imperial Hall 
of Ceremonies, by Lord Elgin and Prince Kung, in 
presence of the chief officials of the State. The 
French convention was signed the following day. 
Mr Loch, in charge of the treaty and convention. 




reached England at the end of December. The war 
was now at an end, and Major Anson and Colonel 
Greathed took home despatches from Sir Hope Grant 
and Sir Robert Napier. 

" As Fane is going to stop here, and I don't like 
cold, and there is no chance of any more fighting, I 
have resigned my appointment, and am going back to 
India in charge of invalids. I don't know what 
vessel I go in as yet, but I daresay it will be in one of 
Probyn's ships. I'll bet it will turn out all for the 
best : my luck has not been so good just of late, but 
it will turn soon. I have great faith in the fickle 
jade, if you stick to your work." 

''Hong-Kong, Dec, 15. — I have arrived at Hong- 
Kong in the Mathilda Atheling, having left Fane's 
Horse for good. To-morrow we start again for India, 
where we shall arrive about the 20th of January 
1861 — a year which, I trust, may be fuller of happier 
times than '60 has been. It began with me full of 
hopes of doing good service in ^ splendid regiment, 
but soon did I find out my mistake. ... A gleam 
of sunshine broke upon me when I was wounded ; 
but it was damped by what occurred in the begin- 
ning of October, so on the first opportunity I left 
the corps." 

" The wars are all over, 
Our swords are all idle, 
The steed bites the bridle, 
The casque's on the wall." 

Lord Herbert, when he moved a vote of thanks to 


Her Majesty's forces engaged in China" in the 
House of Lords, in the course of his speech said : 
''The first engagement which then took place ex- 
erted considerable influence upon the after-part of 
the campaign. Sir E. Napier states that the enemy's 
cavalry nearly surrounded the whole of his force, in 
skirmishing order. Their number was very large, 
and the Tartar horsemen showed not the slightest 
fear or hesitation in meeting our troops. One body 
of cavalry galloped close up to a half-battery of our 
guns, which was protected only by an escort of 
thirty of Fane's Horse. This escort was almost 
overwhelmed by the numbers opposed to it; but 
Lieutenant MacGregor, who was in command, un- 
dismayed by the disparity of numbers, charged with 
his men with such a will that he broke quite through 
the Tartar ranks and scattered them most effectu- 
ally. This was an important achievement. The 
Chinese cavalry were numerically vastly superior to 
our own, and it was important to solve the problem 
whether the Sikh horsemen could cope with them 
under such circumstances. Lieutenant MacGregor 
and his troopers answered the question most satis- 
factorily. This engagement had the effect of dispir- 
iting thenceforward the Tartar cavalry, and, in the 
encounters near Pekin, as we shall presently see, our 
cavalry, by their rapid and impetuous charges, had 
the best of every encounter." 





Any man that doubts my ivord 
May try my gude claymore." 

















" Calcutta, Feb. 1. — Most welcome was the bud- 
get of kind letters from my sisters. I received 




them just after I had the news that I was turned 
out of my old appointment, and they did much to 
cheer me. 

*^ At one time I thought as you do about the 
' Cross.' I thought that they could not refuse it to 
me, but now I know they both can and have. 

" In addition to this, they have filled the ' second 
in command,' I suppose, because I have not passed ; 
but I am now hard at work, and am pretty certain 
to get through at the beginning of April. Mean- 
while I have written to the Chief, stating my case 
exactly, and asking for an appointment. I shall 
get an adjutancy somewhere, but no ' second in 
command,' though there are no less than four 
vacant, one of these being in Hodson's Horse, the 
incumbent of which has not passed and never 
will pass. There are five vacant adjutancies, so 
they have no excuse for not giving me some- 

I am longer in the irregulars than all the ad- 
jutants but three, and there are only eleven ' seconds 
in command' who date before me." 

Feb. 22. — I am hard at work at Hindustani 
from eight to nine, ten to twelve, two to five every 
day, and I am sanguine of passing on the 8th April. 
Calcutta is very gay : every night there is something 
going on, but all are eschewed by me till I pass. 
I don't let anything interfere with my working, and 
during the hours I work I lock my door against 
friends not in the same predicament as myself, and 




who, having nothing to do, are quite willing that I 
should also do nothing." 

"Feb. 28. — I have procured a great many books 
relating to military operations in India, and I am 
carefully studying them, and selecting such parts of 
them as are necessary to what I have in view [i.e., 
his projected work on Irregular Cavalry] ; but the 
more I read the harder does the task I have imposed 
upon myself appear, but in this I am comforted in 
the reflection that the harder the work is, the more 
credit will be due to me when it is finished. Before 
I get all the books I want, it will cost me some 700 
or 800 rupees, so expensive are most of them. Many 
are out of print, and it is only by hunting up in the 
bazaars that I can get any of them. The authorities 
to be referred to are upwards of 120 books, most 
of which are two volumes, the general orders and 
despatches of 115 years, besides the records of in- 
numerable corps. This seems at first rather over- 
whelming, but I hope to get through it all. The 
work is such as I like, and it only wants a will 
to enable one to get through anything." 

''March 14. — Yesterday I went to see the Chief 
(Sir Hugh Eose^), and luckily found him alone. 
He was very civil and kind, but did not make any 
promises. He asked me what appointment I wanted, 
and several questions about irregular cavalry, es- 
pecially as to whether I thought it was a good 

^ Afterwards created Lord Strathnairii : lie had succeeded Lord 
Clyde as Commander-in-Chief in India. 




plan to have many officers with the irregulars. I 
answered, ' Few, most decidedly, provided these 
few are none but the best/ Sir Hugh. ' Then, do 
you think that native officers will lead the men well 
in action ? ' * Yes ; I think that a good Sikh, Pathan, 
or Eohilla would lead men as well as a European 
officer.' Commander-in-Chief. ' Then how do you 
account for the fact that the rebel cavalry behaved 
so badly during the mutinies ' * I will ask a 
similar question, sir : How do you account for the 
equally bad behaviour of the Sikh cavalry in the 
Panjab campaigns ' ' How many officers do you 
consider necessary ? ' ' One commanding officer, 
one adjutant, one officer for each squadron,' — and 
so on for half an hour, he asking me questions and 
luckily I answering them without any hesitation, 
for I was well up in the subject. He then gave 
me my rukhsat (leave to go). He never promised 
anything, and even on my answering his questions 
he did not show whether he agreed with me or not, 
so that I don't know what to make of it exactly ; 
but I think that, on the whole, we may consider it 

The next letters are full of the anialgamation 
scheme, in which the advantages of the Staff Corps 
are fully discussed. I expect they will give us till 
August to decide. If they do, you will have lots 
of time to answer : I shall be guided by what you 

''April 17. — Though I don't know a soul in Cal- 




cutta, every one knows me by sight. I am known 
as that ' wild-looking man who always gallops at 
such a pace.'" 

''April 18. — I went to the Chief yesterday, and 
thanked him for my appointment (adjutant of the 
2d Irregulars), and at the same time plainly told 
him that I thought I deserved more. He said there 
were no ' seconds in command ' vacant except the 
17th Irregulars, which he had just filled up." 

April 20. — By last mail I wrote a few lines to 
say that I had passed. I was glad to receive the 
extract of Lord Herbert's speech : ^ it is an honour 
which few at my age have attained, and I am pro- 
portionally proud of it." 

" Ap^il 22. — I write a line just to say that I have 
received a most complimentary letter from the Chief, 
in which he says, having thought over my claims, 
he has determined to appoint me ' second in com- 
mand ' of the 2d Eegiment Hodson's Horse ; so I 
am off to-morrow to join them at Gonda." 

" Gonda, May 9. — I arrived here on the 7th, and 
found that the only corner I could get was a piece 
of the mess-house, which is as nice a tumble-down 
building as I have seen for some time. I am afraid 
I shall find it very hot, and very leaky in the rains. 
Khair ! I must just put up with it. 

" I have already procured a munsliiji, and 
commenced to study Persian and Pushtu. Both 

^ [The appearance of Lord Herbert's speech (see ante, p. 164) in 
the newspapers seems to have influenced Sir Hugh Rose.] 




languages will be very useful if I get up to the 
Derajat frontier ; and, I think, ere long I may have 
reason to thank my stars that I learnt Persian. On 
the death of the Dost at Kabal, there will be fine 
goings-on ; and though an army may not be sent, 
missions are not unlikely to go ; so that in either 
case I shall have a good chance of getting on up 
there — especially if I am lucky enough to inaugurate 
my arrival in the Panjab force with a brilliant 
charge on some of the marauding tribes up there. 

^' Palliser, our commanding officer, is one of the 
most dashing brilliant officers in the service, and 
from what I have seen of him, I like him. He ap- 
pears to me to be upright, generous, and energetic.'' 
Lucknoiu, June 19. — I am in here to buy horses 
for my regiment, and for that purpose I have got 
10,000 rupees; so that, you see, I am managing to 
make myself useful. I have declared for the Staff 
Corps, as there does not seem to be any chance of 
my getting my company soon, and I cannot afford 
to wait long on lieutenant's pay. . . . 

" What a deliberately iniquitous scheme the amal- 
gamation is ! Every day shows it up more and 
more. They offer us three courses — general service, 
local service, or the Staff Corps. If you take the 
first, you will starve ; if you take the second, they 
kill you by hard work — such as escorts, &c. ; and if 
you take that sugared plum the Staff Corps, they 
may get rid of you without trial under paragraph 98. 

" I want you to make me a birthday present — i.e., 




to give me a sworcl, for I have not got a good one. 
So you must inaugurate my twenty-first birthday 
with a real ' Wilkinson ' ; he has got the pattern 
I want." 

" Bareilly, July 29. — I have written a long paper 
on cavalry in India, including a series of questions 
which I have proposed shall be put to every com- 
manding officer in the service, and then submitted to 
a committee of the best officers in the service. This 
I have sent to the Chief anonymously, as writing 
in the papers does no good, and I should only be 
snubbed if I signed my own name. Whether the 
Chief will take any notice of it, I don't know^ ; but 
I am not at all certain that he won't. If he does 
act on the hint and assemble a committee and send 
questions round, I shall send in my own answers to 
the questions, with ' patterns and plans that I pro- 
pose. I shall then take care that Sir Hugh Kose 
shall find out who it was that wrote the papers to 
him; and when he comes to inspect the regiment 
next, I will show him some feats of horsemanship 
which, I reckon, he will never have seen before. . . . 
If Sir Hugh Eose does not take any notice of the 
paper, it cannot be helped. I must just wait till I 
can publish my work on Cavalry ; but I cannot do 
this without first going home and thoroughly in- 
specting the systems of the cavalry of every nation 
in Europe ; my opinions will then carry some weight 
with them. 

" I am going to Meerut in a day or two to make 




up saddles for the regiment ; and after that — I ex- 
pect in November — I shall have to visit some of the 
horse-fairs to buy horses. 

"We are not well mounted, but, with care, we 
might become so in a year. Altogether the regi- 
ment is in very bad order : the men cannot ride, 
and none of them know their work. They them- 
selves are dirty, and their horses ungroomed ; they 
have got bad accoutrements and uniforms — in fact 
there is nothing good in the regiment but the phy- 
sique of the men : they are fine fellows, and only 
want brushing up to make good troopers. Six 
months would suffice to get the regiment into order 
if I tried ; therefore I wish Palliser would take six 
months' leave, and let me do it for him. 

I have enlisted a man in my service who is 
without exception the best rider that I ever saw. 
He is to teach me some of his feats, and under his 
tuition I hope to improve wonderfully in horseman- 
ship, and learn to teach it to others. I must learn 
also the dragoon system of equitation ; for though I 
don't approve of what I know of it, still one ought 
thoroughly to understand a system before one pre- 
sumes to find fault with it ; and moreover, by learn- 
ing every system of riding, I shall be able to cull 
the good points and throw away the refuse. . . . 
My ambition is to perfect myself in all the minutice 
of my profession, as well as in the grander points — 
not only to be thought a good officer of cavalry, but 
the best cavalry soldier in India. When I have 




thoroughly mastered every point, I shall write my 
book, which, I hope, will be quite complete in every 

In August Lieutenant MacGregor writes home, de- 
siring his father to find out for him the price of 
cloth, saddlery, arms, and appointments for native 
cavalry. He wishes "to be able to show people 
that things are not so very expensive in England 
as they think ; " and he also wishes to draw up a 
scheme by which Government, by paying soivars 35 
rupees, can have them mounted and equipped in 
the very best style possible, and made fit for service 
in Europe. He proceeds : — 

There is a great deal of humbug talked out here 
about sending native cavalry to a European war. I 
assure you I only know three regiments in the whole 
army that I would depend on against Europeans, 
and that only with their present commanders. To 
say that any regiment would distinguish itself in 
Europe is utter folly. T am certain that unless they 
sent picked officers, picked men, picked horses, picked 
arms and accoutrements, nothing but disgrace could 
possibly ensue. The natives of India have got it in 
them to fight Europeans, but they want the very 
best management. Under such officers as Hughes, 
Chamberlain, Merewether, and Sam Browne, they 

would do ; under such men as and , they 

would come to grief. Under the first I am certain 
that no cavalry in the world could surpass them as 
Light Horse; under the second, the cowardly 



Cossacks would beat them. and are as 

brave men as you often meet, but they are not 
cavalry officers." 

Meeriit, Aug. 14. — I am making up saddles, 
and hope to gain considerable kudos when they arc 
made, for they will be, without exception, the best 
in any regiment of native cavalry. Palliser has 
given me carte blanche to make them up as I please. 
If he would only do this in every other case, I would 
guarantee him a good regiment ; but his allowing 
me to use my own discretion with the equipment of 
the men is a victory. 

I am living with Phillips of the 8th Hussars, 
a very nice fellow, who hearing I was looking out 
for a room somewhere, offered to share his house 
with me. 

" In the 8th there are several men who rode at 
Balaclava. I am going through their riding-school, 
and attending at their stables, parades, &c., in order 
to learn something of their system, for I have heard 
so many abuse it that I wish to satisfy myself 
before I follow suit. Bad as the system may be, I 
may pick up something worth knowing." 

''Aug. 30. — For amusement I am writing a series 
of letters to the 'Delhi Gazette' on subjects concern- 
ing the interests of the army. One of them is about 
the Guides ; when they are published I will send you 
copies. The nom de j^lume that I have assumed 
is * Ghorchara,' which means trooper or horseman. 
I wish there was a military paper or magazine, in 




which subjects of professional interest could be dis- 
cussed ; one's letters lose half their weight by being 
published in our Indian papers, and even if the 
home papers would publish them, no one at home 
would take any interest in the subjects/' 

In October Lieutenant MacGregor returned to 
Bareilly, and in some long letters written to his 
father, he discusses the advantages and disadvan- 
tages of home service as compared with the Indian 
StaflF Corps service, for which he had declared. He 
was at this time very anxious that his father would 
permit his exchanging into the Queen's service, and 
pressed his arguments as to the desirability of this 
step with great eagerness. ''I am certain," he 
writes, "that there is more chance of my getting 
on in the world in the Queen's army than in the 
Indian service." 

" Oct. 27. — On Thursday last I gave a lecture at 
the Soldiers' Institute, which, if you can judge by 
the clapping and ' Hear, hears,' was very successful 
indeed. The subject was ' China.' Next vv^eek I 
give another on ' The Afghans.' I felt rather ner- 
vous at first ; but after reading the first page or so, 
I got on swimmingly. " 

''Nov. 17. — I think I have succeeded in getting 
an engagement to write for the ' Bombay Saturday 
Keview ' on military subjects. I will send you home 
anything of mine that may be published. I am also 
engaged in writing a small work on ' Native Cavalry,' 
which I hope to publish in a month or two. 




" Palliser has gone on a month's leave, and I am 
consequently left in command. I am trying my 
best to get the regiment into some order ; but one 
month is not long to do anything in, far less to turn 
a rabble into a decent corps. 

I have had some walls and ditches made, over 
which, after every parade, I make every man in the 
regiment jump before going home. I have had some 
few accidents, but no serious ones. . . . 

My saddles and equipment are already begin- 
ning to make a name. Colonel Chamberlain of the 
1st Irregular Cavalry has written to me asking 
about them, and a friend of mine, Luard, is going to 
show them to the Chief when he visits his regiment. 

" I have got my name put down by Sir Eobert 
Napier as a volunteer for any service that is going. 

" I am reading regularly with a munshi, and can 
now read a native urzie in the running hand 
pretty fluently.'' 

''Nov. 31. — Two of my articles have appeared in 
the ' Bombay Saturday Eeview,' which I will send 
you. I am now engaged in writing a pamphlet on 
our Native Cavalry, which I hope will be successful. 
I don't care to make money by it, and shall send it 
round to people in India, amongst others to the 
Chief, who does not know what to do with native 
cavalry, and is constantly asking every one's opinion. 
I have tried to write impartially, and to back my 
opinions by those of our best ofiicers ; and it is for 
this reason that I expect it will be successful. If it 




is, it will place me high on the list for command. 
It will be ready by the beginning of next year. 

" Bribery has been going on to an immense ex- 
tent in our regiment, and I am now making inquiries 
preparatory to laying it all bare. I ought not, as 
most * seconds in command ' do, sit quietly by while 
the men are being swindled out of their money by 
villanous contractors and munshis. 

" The Mir Munshi of the regiment is said to have 
made 30,000 rupees since he was enlisted. I will 
find out how he did this on 80 rupees a-month ; 
fairly, such an amount could not be amassed under a 
salary of 5000 rupees. There will be a great shindy 
in this regiment soon, but don't fear for me. I shall 
not exceed my duty, but am determined to act up 
to it." 

In December another lecture was given by Lieu- 
tenant MacGregor to the soldiers of the Eifle Brigade 
on the "War in the Carnatic, from 1745-1760," at 
the Soldiers' Institute. 

Early in 1862 the answer from his father, dis- 
approving of his son's home-service scheme, reached 
the young cavalry officer, who was still at Bareilly, 
much to his disappointment. He writes : — 

''Jan. 12. — My not getting the Victoria Cross or 
my brevet was the beginning of my unrecognised 
services— may it be the end ? I fear not. The die 
is cast, and I shall now apply myself to an Indian 
career without dreaming of home any more, as that 
is now a closed book to me." 

VOL. I. jvi 


Bareilly, Jan. 29. — I have long felt that some 
book on cavalry, in which everything should be 
clearly laid down, from commanding a division of 
that arm to putting on a bridle, is necessary, and 
I have often heard other officers express the same 
opinion. It is one of my ambitions to supply my 
service with such a guide, and I have already com- 
menced collecting materials. ... It will be years 
before such a work can be finished. Another book 
which I propose to write, if possible, is a ' History 
of Cavalry in India.' This will be nothing but a 
compilation, but will be very interesting to cavalry 
officers in India. ... I look forward to being able 
to publish these two books, as I do not Avish my 
reputation to rest entirely on my fighting qualities, 
which are tolerable. 

I can now read urzies written in the native 
shikast [running] hand quite fluently, and though I 
make mistakes in speaking, it is more through care- 
lessness than anything else. I can read the native 
newspaper I take in as well as our munshi. 

" I have also, for the last few months, been prac- 
tising hard at spear and sword exercise on horse- 
back, and can now beat any man in our regiment 
at either. I have also mastered several other feats 
of horsemanship. I can jump ofi" a horse at full 
gallop, and jump on again without stopping him 
(this only requires nerve). I can jump on to a 
horse fifteen hands three inches high without catch- 
ing hold of anything; and only yesterday I jumped 




CD to a horse standing, off the ground on which I 
was — seventeen hands in one spring — without help 
from any one. I have been pistol-practising also, 
but do not succeed well at it. I can put ten bullets 
running, twenty-five yards off, into a space the size 
of a man's body, but this is nothing ; some men 
can break a bottle twice out of three times at that 
distance. I hope to improve. . . . What do I owe 
you for the sword, which has arrived in Calcutta 1 
I hope it will be a success." 

Feb. 4. — I have heard that a committee is to 
assemble to determine the future organisation of 
native cavalry, and I have written to Colonel Sarel, 
who is Deputy Adjutant-General of cavalry at head- 
quarters, to ask him to mention my name to the 
Chief for the duty of secretary to the committee." 

Feb. 17. — About the native officer who em- 
bezzled.^ Directly he came back, I went to Palliser 
and said he ought to be put under arrest, and a 
court of inquiry assembled on him. This was done. 
I was president, or rather superior officer, and we 
sat from ten in the morning till half-past eight in 
in the evening. I then sent in my opinion that the 
charges of embezzlement were true ; but that they 
would never have been brought forward if a dispute 
had not taken place betAveen the accuser and the 
accused about the amount of hush-money the former 
was to receive from the latter. Here the duty of a 
court of inquiry ends, and here I ended. Palliser 

^ See ante^ p. 177. 




released the man from arrest, and intends to send 
him to the invalids. Shortly after he had been 
released he came to make his salaam to me. I sent 
word that I would rather be excused having any- 
thing to say to him. 

So far from my being pecuniarily the better 
from the pamphlet I have written, I shall be 300 
rupees out of pocket. I hope it will do me good 
professionally. However, whatever they say of it, 
they can say nothing worse than that I am over- 

" March 2. — Palliser has acknowledged that I was 
in the right, and has proved that he really means this 
by giving me a ccn^te blanche to make out Standing 
Orders for the regiment, in which the duty of each 
and every rank, under all circum^stances, shall be 
clearly laid down. In consequence of this, I have 
been pretty busy for the last week or so. I have 
carefully looked up all Standing Orders of the Army 
and other authorities, and have nearly finished my 
task. When finished, I shall give it to Palliser, and 
express a hope at the same time that, since I have 
had the trouble of making out a routine for him, he 
will keep to it himself, and make others do so also. 
Whether he does so or not does not seriously matter 
to me ; in the regimental office my system will re- 
main as a record that I have done my duty, and 
none can attempt to lay any blame on me after 
reading it. 

"There are one or two petty disturbances in 




India now. The tribes on the Eastern frontier 
are getting troublesome ; but as they are not very 
warlike, they will soon be disposed of. The Chief 
of Datia, a small principality between Gwaliar 
and Jhansi, is also troublesome. A force has 
gone out against his fort, into which he has shut 
himself. If these affairs are well managed, it will be 
all right ; but the smallest failure on our part pro- 
duces quite a sensation amongst all the hudmashes 
and evil-wishers, and they might possibly become 
serious. If they do, I will get employed somehow, 
for I am still of opinion that I ought to lose no 
opportunity of seeing service." 

" March 14. — I am just recovering from a severe 
sprain of my right wrist, contracted when out pig- 
sticking just a week ago. It will be well again soon, 
and directly it is I shall go out again. Pig-sticking 
is the only sport I care about. Shooting small game 
and deer is, I should say, very unexciting ; tiger and 
bear shooting must be better, but not equal to pig- 

" My sword has just arrived, and is a beautiful 
blade, and well balanced. I like it very much ; it is 
just what I wanted. What do I owe you for it ? " 

" March 26. — I sometimes feel very wretched at 
having no one to whom I can talk familiarly. I 
scarcely ever make a friend, as I am so difficult to 
please. Here I have no friend ; indeed, in India I 
have scarcely half-a-dozen. I have often thought 
that I shall be much better liked when I grow older, 




when I get to a higher position, as now I am better 
liked by my inferiors than by my superiors. The 
men of this regiment like me very much, but the 
native officers who are nearer me in rank do not. If 
I was raised higher above them, they would like me 
as much as the men. 

When I feel that a man is my superior, really, I 
always wish to know him well ; but I am horribly 
abrupt to men my superiors in rank, but not in any- 
thing else : consequently they do not like me. I 
don't know whether you will understand this feeling, 
but I do actually experience it often. For instance, 
I think I should make a good ' second in command ' to 
Hughes, but perhaps a bad one to . I am writ- 
ing an article on ' The Guides.' I intend to show 
that it ought to be kept up, as a most useful corps." 

''April 12. — I enclose the copy of a letter I wrote 
in answer to one the Chief wrote, asking for the 
opinion of the officer commanding 10th Bengal 
Cavalry [Hodson's Horse~\ on the employment of 
European and native officers with native cavalry. 
It is rather long, but I hope he will be pleased with 
it. I have stated my opinions somewhat decidedly, 
for I believe it is necessary for me to do so, in order 
to give them some weight. Palliser has gone, and 
I am now in command of this regiment, at which, 
you may be sure, I am working hard. I will have 
it in apple-pie order by the time he comes back. I 
get no help from any of the European officers — in 
fact I have regularly to drive the adjutant to work. 




Two of the native officers are good and willing, and 
the men are willing ; and though they do not as yet 
like me, they admire me, as it was with a troop of 
this regiment that I first figured at Daryabad. The} 
will get to like me soon ; the really good men do 
so now." 

" April 30. — Yes. I am improving in horseman- 
ship ; for the last two months I have never used 
stirrups, and can sit any horse over a jump without 
them. To give you an idea of my skill in spear 
and sword exercise. The other night, when the elite 
of the regiment were out at this practice, I got a spear 
and fought with three of them together, and was not 
once hit, but hit them all, one after the other. With 
the single-stick I can beat any two men, be they 
armed with spear or sword. With the spear, riding 
without a saddle or a blanket, I can beat the pick of 
the whole regiment, he riding in a saddle. This is 
nothing to what I hope to do in another year. 
In the hands of a man who can use it, the spear 
is a terrible weapon. I should like to have a bout 
with some of your regular, pipe-clay Lancers. 

" I have now had command for one month, and 
already a change has come over the scene. Men 
who could hardly put their horses into a gallop 
without nearly falling ofi", now jump walls without 
stirrups, and mount without stirrups ; duty is per- 
formed properly ; the men are fast improving in 
their drill ; native ofiicers are beginning to stand on 
their dignity, and exact greater respect and obedi- 


ence from the men. All this has been done in one 
month. I have one month and a half more of com- 
mand. They shall improve still further." 

"May 31. — We will say no more about the Vic- 
toria Cross till another opportunity arises, and then 
jo hoga so hoga / ^ In a future campaign I shall have 
double chances of distinction, for now I can use my 
weapons properly, and I have got as good weapons 
as can be got, and my sword has my mother's bless- 
ing. I can never thank you both sufficiently for 
your constant thought of me. The present of a 
rifle, now on its way, serves only to strengthen my 

" June 13. — Palliser has come back, and is pleased 
at the improvement in his regiment. Yesterday he 
had a grand darbar, at which all native officers and 
non-commissioned officers attended. He then made 
me a speech, of which the following is the mutlab 
[gist] : ' I must first thank you, MacGregor, for 
the zeal, energy, and intelligence you have always 
displayed since you have been with the regiment. 
I notice very considerable difference since I left ; 
and since you first joined, an immense improvement 
has taken place in the efficiency of the corps. I 
shall always be glad to help you to the utmost of my 
power, and I hope to see you with a command of your 
own before long.' Such is the substance of what 
he said, only dear old Palliser accompanied it with 
stammerings, blushing to any extent. This is good. 

1 I.e., " Che sar^i, sara." 



" Here is a copy of Palliser's order about me on 
my proceeding on leave : ' Lieutenant and Second in 
Command MacGregor being about to proceed on two 
months' leave, the commanding officer desires, before 
his departure, publicly to express the very high esti- 
mation in which he holds that officer. Since his 
rejoining Hodson's Horse as second in command of 
the 2d Eegiment, Lieutenant MacGregor has exerted 
himself unceasingly for the benefit of the corps ; and 
to his intelligence, zeal, and energy the command- 
ing officer willingly and unhesitatingly imputes in 
chief measure the evident improvement in appear- 
ance, discipline, and drill that has taken place 
during the past year. Lieutenant MacGregor has 
travelled long distances at his own expense for the 
purchase of remounts ; and to his invention and 
careful superintendence at Meerut the corps is in- 
debted for the excellent saddles now in use, which 
in lightness, strength, and comfort can hardly be 
improved on. The new code of Standing Orders 
lately introduced into the regiment was compiled by 
Lieutenant MacGregor by direction of the command- 
ing officer. Lieutenant MacGregor has on three or 
four occasions, during the temporary absence of the 
commanding officer, most ably and efficiently com- 
manded the regiment, gaining, by the just but strict 
discipline which he has enforced, the esteem and 
respect of all ranks.' " 

''Simla, July 16. — I must give you a detailed 
account of what occurred at my interview with the 



Chief. On seating myself I began as follows : 
'When your Excellency gave me my appointment 
last year, you expressed a hope that I would not give 
you cause to regret having conferred such a favour 
on me, and I have come to show you what I have 
done in the first year of my tenure.' I then showed 
him Palliser's order. He read it through and said, 
' Well, I am most gratified to read this, and to see 
that you have justified my selection so fully.' He 
then asked me if I liked my regiment. Of course I 
said 'Yes; very much.' He then said, 'Yes; it is 
a real good regiment.' I next said that ' while in 
command the other day I felt the want of being 
thoroughly grounded in my work, and I wished now 
to ask him to let me go and do duty with the 7th 
Dragoon Guards to pick it up better. He said, ' Yes ; 
most certainly.' I then added, 'And besides, Lieu- 
tenant Palmer, who has just been appointed adjutant, 
has been through the course of instruction with the 
Hussars, and therefore he probably knows more 
about the minutice of cavalry drill than I do, and I 
should not like to serve in the same regiment with 
a junior who knows more about his work than I do.' 
At this he was quite delighted, and said, ' I am very 
glad to see this feeling in you, Mr MacGregor; it 
does you very great credit, and it will give me great 
pleasure to remember you for promotion.' Then he 
talked about cavalry, and said a deal about the folly 
of officers thinking themselves good soldiers because 
they knew their drill. I quite agreed with this, and 




said that a parrot could learn the mere drill by rote, 
but it was the application of the drill that should be 
studied. It was useless to go through manoeuvres 
on parade if the advantages of those manoeuvres were 
not thoroughly understood. Then he talked about 
native cavalry, and I gave my opinions, and ven- 
tured to say that I had paid a good deal of atten- 
tion to the subject. He did not say a word about 
* Ghorchara ' ; but he asked me to write down my 
opinions about native cavalry, and gave me a note 
to the Adjutant-General of Cavalry, Sarel.^ Just 
before I was going, I asked if I was to do duty with- 
out prejudice to my appointment. He said, ' Most 
certainly you must not be a loser. I will take care 
of your interests.' He then asked me to dinner." 

" July 30. — I went to-day to say good-bye to the 
Chief, and had another talk about native cavalry, 
and he was as civil and jolly as ever. He is tre- 
mendously pleased at my wishing to go to the 7th 
Dragoon Guards, and said once or twice that he was 
much gratified to see such an anxiety to learn in me, 
and that it did me great credit. When I got up to 
go away he said, ' You shall not be a loser, Mr 
MacGregor ; I will take care not to forget you.' 
Thus ended my visit to Simla. The Chief gave 
me a letter ^ to his military secretary (0. T. Burne), 

1 See Appendix, p. 202, at end of chapter. 

2 " Lieutenant MacGregor, second in command 10th Bengal Cavalry, 
will give you this note. He is an excellent officer. Pray confer with 
him about all the requirements of native cavalry, and beg him to 
put down his opinions in writing." 




to write a note of introduction for me to Colonel 
Thomson, who commands the 7th Dragoon Guards, 
and Colonel Sarel gave me a letter to the adjutant 
of that regiment, so I shall enter with good cre- 

" Sialkot, August 15. — I arrived here yesterday, to 
do duty with the 7th Dragoon Guards, with which 
I shall pass the next four or five months. I like 
much of what I have seen of the officers, especially 
the adjutant, who, an excellent officer himself, seems 
willing to impart his knowledge to others in an 
obliging manner. I intend (1) undergoing a thorough 
course of instruction with this regiment, so that it 
shall be reported that they can teach me no more ; 
(2) studying languages, so as to make myself a better 
linguist ; (3) studying veterinary art ; (4) studying 
tactics ; (5) miscellaneous. Then, if this time next 
year I can show the Chief, in addition to what he 
knows of my services, that I am thoroughly ac- 
quainted with every minute detail of cavalry duty, 
with language, with veterinary art, with tactics, and, 
in addition, that I have given the most complete 
satisfaction to all my commanding officers, and that 
in these respects I am superior to all other ' seconds 
in command,' I think it not improbable that I shall 
succeed in getting him to promise to promote me. 
This time next year I shall go to the Chief and ask 
him for a command." 

Lieutenant MacGregor received intimation shortly 
afterwards that he was only to get lieutenant's pay 


whilst doing duty with the 7th Dragoon Guards, 
which was a great blow to him, putting him some 
1000 rupees out of pocket. 

''October 17. — I am going on well towards being 
passed through this dragoon instruction, and the 
nearer I get to the end of it I wonder the more how 
little they have taught me that I did not know 
before. If I would let them, they would spoil my 
seat on horseback and substitute the cramped un- 
natural seat of the dragoon, so that in riding I have 
learnt actually nothing, and in drill it is the same. 
When I first attended the weekly examination in 
drill, I saw at once that I knew more of it. than 
most of them, and as much as any, so that what I 
have learnt simply consists of the sword and carbine 
exercises, neither of which it is any use knowing. 
But if the usual course has not done me much good, 
that which I carry out for my own pleasure has done 
me much good. At single-stick I have learnt much, 
and can make fair play with most of those with 
whom I have tried. I have learnt a good deal 
about horse-doctoring, and can perform some of the 
simple operations and can shoe a horse. I can play 
the trumpet sufficiently now to enable me, when I 
leave, to perfect myself alone ; but above all, I have 
learnt what neither I nor any one else thought I 
would learn — that is, from attending orderly-room 
as often as possible, I have seen a good deal of the 
workings of discipline in an English regiment ; and 
though this is a remarkably well-behaved corps, I 


A rajah's pomp. 


have seen enough, if not to make me think less of 
my countrymen, at least to think more of natives. 
I have seen that the former can be guilty of as much 
(or nearly so) of backbiting, deceit, &c., as the latter. 
I know now that I was wrono; in thinkino^ these 
vices confined to natives. I have seen one man 
brought up for stealing, others for insolence, others 
on frivolous grounds from spite, others with frivo- 
lous complaints from the same cause, and I look 
back and remember that these are very much the 
same faults that appear at our darbars. I am to 
a certain extent sorry that I know all this. I had 
been accustomed to look on the English soldier as 
a model for the native, but now I cannot, — the spell 
is broken.'' 

Bareilly, Nov. 29. — I have left the Dragoons, 
having learnt as much as they can teach me, and 
got my certificate from the colonel. This is not as 
good as I could have wished, but is better than they 
generally give." 

" Camp, Sikandra Rao, Jan. 27. — We have been 
marching ever since I last wrote, and have now ar- 
rived at this place, which is on the trunk road, about 
twenty-five miles from Aligarh. We have been con- 
siderably amused by the presence of the Eajah of 
Karauli in our vicinity for the last few days. He 
has come down to bathe in the Ganges, and of course 
wishes to do so with as much state as possible ; and 
it is his idea of pomp which tickles me — the whole 
of his line of march is a continued series of all sorts 


of mountebanks, i.e., preposterous imitations of our 

''Agra, Feb. 15. — We are in the vortex of great 
doings here, but they are not such fun for us as for 
the great people. We have to stay out in the sun, 
drawn up in line, for four hours together, constantly 
and continually saluting the native swells that come 
to see his Excellency. On the 13th there was a 
levee, at which great and small attended, and rubbed 
shoulders indiscriminately. I never saw such a 
badly managed thing in my life, and I have seldom 
seen a more undio^nified-lookino; man than Lord 
Elgin — he looks like a butler. However, he is said 
to be able, so this scarcely matters." 

"Camp, Faridahad, March 1. — We are now 
within a few miles of Delhi. This escorting Gover- 
nor-General is a great nuisance, and I hope I shall 
never have to do it again." 

" Roorkee, March 16. — Since I last wrote we have 
been marching onward. At Meerut there was a 
grand field-day — all the troops being out under 
General Wheeler, who performed a series of man- 
oeuvres, which made me think it was just as lucky 
there was no enemy. The Governor-General [Lord 
Elgin] and Commander-in-Chief were there with a 
very large staff, and, altogether, it was the most 
brilliant-looking parade I ever was present at. I 
saw Colonel Tombs, to my great pleasure : he looks 
what he is — a dashing horse-artilleryman. There 
was no want of celebrities ; some came up to my 




expectations, some did not. The Chief looks finer 
on horseback than in a room. By a strange fatality 
he had another accident. Just as he was galloping 
down the line, and had got opposite our regiment, 
his horse stumbled or put his foot into a hole, and, 
notwithstanding that the Chief held him up splen- 
didly, he could not recover himself and fell over, the 
Chief rolling on his side. He was not in the least 
hurt, and was up again in a manner that could not 
have been surpassed by many a younger man present ; 
indeed, so much was this the case that few saw that 
he had fallen at all." 

" Umhalla, Aj^ril 3. — We have had the honour of 
escorting Lord Elgin thus far, and here taking leave 
of him. The other day I was honoured by an invi- 
tation to dinner, and of course went. The dinner 
was good and passed off jolly enough, and after it 
Lord Elgin came up to me and asked if I had been 
in China. I said I had that honour ; and Stewart, 
one of the A.D.C.'s, who knew me, then put in : 
* He is the officer, sir, who was so badly wounded 
in defending Stirling's guns.' ' Indeed,' said his 
Mightiness, ' I am happy to meet you ; I have al- 
ways heard it was a most gallant action.' He then 
went on talking about China, and then about India 
and the Sikhs and our campaigns against them. 
This lasted for half an hour, I trying to make as 
much of my opportunity as possible. I suppose I 
was immensely honoured, for he came up to me 
directly after dinner and talked till just before he 




left, the whole time only saying a few words to 

" The Chief inspected our regiment on the 30th, 
and expressed himself much pleased, saying there 
had evidently been a deal of painstaking with it ; 
but what more especially concerned me was, that 
he called me out to the head of the regiment, and 
said he did so to thank me at the head of my 
regiment for my repeated gallantry, and that it 
gave him great pleasure to be enabled to do so. As 
he was leaving parade, he told Sarel to send him 
copies of despatches in which I had been mentioned, 
so that I seem to be increasing in favour with him." 

" Jalcmdha7% June 16. — I cannot make out what 
is the matter with me. No sooner do I get well of 
one thing than something else attacks me. My 
rheumatism has gone, but in its stead I have a sort 
of indefinable feeling of sickness and weakness. 
Can it be that this blessed climate is bee^innino^ to 
touch me up ? I hope not, for I must stay here 
till I have made a name. 

"Herat has fallen to the wonderful old Dost. 
What an extraordinary old man it is ! Why, when 
you first came to India Dost Mahamad had com- 
menced his public career for about a dozen years, 
and still we have him to the fore. He is undoubtedly 
a great man ; he has ruled the Afghans longer and 
more successfully than any one. What will come of 
Herat, falling into the Dost's hands 1 Will Kussia 
egg Persia on to try and recover it '? I think they 

VOL. I. N 




will keep quiet till the Dost's death, and then try 
and seize it in the confusion consequent on the strife 
which will ensue for the paramount power between 
the brothers. Depend upon it, some day wall see a 
British army at Herat." 

''Nov. 11. — I have been appointed brigade-major 
to the Cavalry Brigade at one of the camps of exer- 
cise at Lahore ; but do not know whether I shall go 
there or not, having volunteered for service on the 
frontier against the Bunerwals and Swatis. This 
campaign will, I fancy, not last longer than a couple 
of months, so that I can see it all and be at the 
camp, a little late, perhaps, but still in time for the 
manoeuvres." (The Umballa campaign ended by 

'' Attoch, Dec. 15. — On the 1st I rode twenty- 
five miles from Gujrat to the field of Chilianwala ^ 
in order to see the ground. I met a native, who 

1 Cliiliaiiwala, the disastrous battle, was fought on the 13th January 
1849, by Lord Gough against the Sikhs, under the rebel chief Chatter 
Sinh, who had just made an alliance with Dost Mahamad. The 
Sikhs, under Sher Sinh and Atar Sinh, Avere drawn up in front of 
the river Jhilam, between Rassul and Mong. Campbell's division 
of two brigades, including the 24th Foot, attacked Sher Sinli's right. 
The right brigade carried the guns, but being attacked by the Sikh 
infantry and cavalry, broke and fled back to Chilianwala, suffering 
heavily. Campbell's left brigade was doubled up by Atar Sinh's 
force's flank attack, which was somewhat checked by the horse-artil- 
lery. Gilbert's division was outflanked by Sher Sinh's left ; and the 
cavalry, notably the 14th Dragoons, broke and swept over their own 
guns, causing the capture of six pieces. Nevertheless the British in- 
fantry beat back the Sikhs, aided by Dawes's 9-pounders, and the 
Sikhs fell back on Rassul. The British claimed the victory, but it 
was a victory uncommonly like a repulse. The British lost 2500 
killed and wounded. — See Sir H. Durand's account. 




showed me over the whole field, and was very much 
interested in the account he gave me. The place 
is one mass of very thick jungle, and I cannot fancy 
a place more calculated to induce a general to be 
more cautious, and yet Lord Gough appears to have 
acted without any plan, and sent regiment after 
reo^iment to be broken as^ainst the rock-like firmness 
of the Sikh infantry. I returned twenty-five miles, 
having altogether ridden sixty miles, and been, with 
the exception of an hour, when I got off to feed my 
horse, in the saddle thirteen hours." 

Jan. 2d. — I went with some of our native ofiicers 
to see the practice of the Armstrong guns. They 
were much struck with the ingenuity in the con- 
struction of the projectile, which can be used either 
as a shot, shell, or grape, and at the distance which 
the piece carried. They have a great opinion of 
artillery of all sorts, and firmly believe that it was 
by our fine management of it that we won India. 

" 3cZ. — Marched into Jhilam, a very pretty little 
station indeed. I went over the scene of action 
fought here during the mutinies between the rebel 
14th Native Infantry-^ and the two companies of the 
24th Foot. The rebels fought well, but our force 

1 A force of horse-artillery, Multani horse, and some companies 
of her Majesty's 24th Foot, under Colonel Ellice, was despatched by 
Sir John Lawrence to disarm the 14th Bengal Native Infantry. The 
sepoys defended their lines and the village with great tenacity, 
and even captured one of the guns, which was turned on the discom- 
fited attacking force. Two attacks were repulsed on the 7th July 
1857, but by the following morning the sepoys had fled. The affair 
was terribly mismanaged.— See Kaye, vol. ii. p. 623. 




was inadequate and not well commanded, our loss 
being very large — larger in proportion to the num- 
ber engaged than either at Alma or Inkerman. I 
think it is by looking at the proportion of killed and 
wounded on both sides to those engaged that shows 
how hard the fighting was. Several of our Indian 
battles would rank higher in general estimation if 
this method of measuring the fight was adopted by 
every one. 

" Uh. — We marched on. I have marched the 
whole Yv^ay from Lahore on foot, and find myself 
much better for it. I rode out in the evening to see 
the old fort of Rotas, built three hundred years ago 
by Sher Shah, one of the Delhi kings. It is in 
most excellent preservation, and must have been 
very well built. 

"5iA, 6fA, 1th, 8^/i.— Marched again. Went to 
see the famous to]je at Manikiala." 

"llth. — Marched into Rawal Pindi, and stayed 
there two days. 

" I met Colonel Olpherts, a V.C., and better 
known in India as ' Spitfire Jack.' He said he 
remembered seeing me at home once, ---I did not 
remember it. He is the bravest of the brave, inva- 
riably dashing up with his guns to within grape- 
distance before he fired. 

" 12th. — We are now formed into one force under 
the command of Colonel Macdonnell, and consisting 
of ourselves, 3d battalion Rifle Brigade, and a bat- 
tery of Armstrong guns — the only one which has 




reached India. We are under orders to march to 
Hoti-Mardan, a place some fifteen miles from 

"On the 13th we arrived at Hasan Abdal, the 
very prettiest little spot I have seen in India, and 
well worthy of being, as it is, mentioned in Moore's 

" Peshaivar, Jan. Uth. — They would not let me 
go to the frontier, and owing to there being no camp, 
I have not been acting as brigade-major ; but I am 
still of opinion that it is my plan to volunteer for 
every sort of service going on." 

" 2^th. — It is quite certain that the news of the 
supersession of ' seconds in command ' is perfectly 
true. The day after this came out I went to see the 
Chief, who said he was very sorry indeed, but that 
he was quite helpless. I then asked him if I might 
send in an application to him to be recommended 
for a brevet-majority. He answered at once, ' Send 
it in, and I will give it fair consideration.^ The home 
people had limited him to recommending officers 
whose services were very particular, so that he could 
make no promises ; but if my case seemed to him to 
come within the limits set him, he would have much 
pleasure in forwarding it, and I had better make the 
most of my services and send in the application as 
soon as possible to Colonel Sarel. I believe from 
what Sarel said that I am to be appointed senior 
squadron officer, but my present feelings prompt me 
to resign if they supersede me." 




" Feb, 4. — I, in common with almost every 'second 
in command ' in the service, have been superseded. 
It is all over — the fiat has gone forth ; four years 
of honest service have been thrown to the winds. 
Where is the use now of distinguishing one's self? 
AVhere the use of risking one's life ? None. I am 
quite broken by this ; there is no longer any hope of 
my getting a command while I have yet energy in 
me to do something. I have not yet resigned, but 
I may do so. Oh for a campaign, a long one and a 
fierce one I One that would put me in my grave, or 
place me above injustice." 

Feb. 11. — I am afraid that it is likely to be a 
very long time ere I make a name sufficient to per- 
mit of my going home ; as far as this year has gone, 
it has been the most unlucky I have had. Every- 
thing has gone against me, and instead of progress- 
ing steadily if slowly up the ladder, my foot has 
slipped, and I find myself in a position less in every 
way to what I occupied five years ago." 

Raival Pindi, Feb. 26. — I have seen Sir Ne- 
ville Chamberlain, and though he did not tell me, 
I heard that it is his opinion that every ' second in 
command' who has been displaced should appeal 
against the order of the Commander-in-Chief. I 
have therefore made up my mind to do so, and pro- 
pose to write a letter respectfully appealing against 
the order, with a request that if it is beyond the 
power of the Chief to see me righted, he will forward 
my appeal to the Indian and Home Governments." 




" Jalandhar, Aijril 5. — I have got the best news 
that I have had for a long time. I had begun to 
despair of any success in my application for a brevet- 
majority, both on account of the length of time which 
had elapsed since I applied, and of the continual bad 
luck which has stuck to me lately. Now, however, 
the silver lining to my cloud is beginning to appear. 
Yesterday I received a notification from the Adju- 
tant-General of the army to say that my application 
was forwarded for the favourable consideration of 
Government on the 7th ult. ; and to-day Colonel 
Norman, in answerino^ a letter of mine to him resfard- 
ing my old ambition, the Guide Cavalry, said : ' It 
gave me great pleasure to send to the Secretary of 
State a few days ago the strong support of Govern- 
ment to your application for a brevet.' Thus far it 
seems that I am to have better luck in future. The 
Duke of Cambridge said that if the Indian author- 
ities recommended me, he would also do so, so that 
there seems some chance of my getting it eventually ; 
but I am not sanguine. I have been disappointed so 
often that I will not try to believe in my good luck. 
. . . The greatest fear I have concerning it is, 
that they will say they cannot entertain it till I am 
a captain ; and by that time, heaven only knows what 
may happen. . . . 

" I have been rather coming out in a new line — 
going to archery meetings, picnics, and balls, and, 
above all, giving a ladies' prize for the game of 
the rings. I have not gone the length of dancing 




yet, but I daresay I may some day summon courage 
for that even." 

" Simla, April 29. — I am at Simla, having come 
here on two months' leave. My object in doing 
this is to see if I cannot get an appointment out of 
either the Chief or Sir John Lawrence, and I have 
several irons in the fire. There is a chance of ser- 
vice in Bhutan at present, and I shall be off there, 
you may be sure. I intend to try and get an ap- 
pointment in the Quartermaster- General's Depart- 
ment, or, if not that, a brigade-majorship — I will 
volunteer for everything that is going. I will not 
woo Mistress Fortune any longer, I will command 
her to lay herself at my feet ! " 

" July 8. — I am now engaged in writing a small 
work on * Mountain Warfare,' which I hope to finish 
about October or November. I do this with a view 
of bringing myself into notice, in case of there being 
another hill campaign out here, which is not at all 
unlikely, and for this reason I publish under my 
own name. I hope it will be successful, as I have 
been steadily reading for six weeks all works that 
bear on the subject. 

" There seems some chance of a force being sent 
to Bhutan to avenge the insults put upon our Envoy, 
and I intend before I go down to the plains to make 
a special request to both the Governor-General and 
the Chief that I may be attached to it, in the ca- 
pacity of either brigade-major or assistant quarter- 
master-general. There also seems a probability of 




the Akhun of Swat trying to stir up the tribes in 
the north-west against us again, so that if he suc- 
ceeds, there will be another campaign up there." 

''July 28. — I have embarked in a paper specula- 
tion. It is to be called the ' Indian Army Eeview/ 
and is to be edited by Captain Thomson of the In- 
valids. It will give the best news of the goings- 
on (military) of any paper in India, more especially 
when any campaign takes place. Hanna and I have 
made ourselves responsible for the amount required. 
The editor is going to work for us from esprit cle 
corps till the loan required to start the paper is 
cleared off. 

" I don't care much to make money by it, but 
I can easily believe that it is very probable I will." 

'^August 10. — You will have heard that I have 
been promised my majority on getting my company, 
and it is therefore very important that I should do 
so at once. This new scheme of Sir Charles AVood 
will make me first lieutenant in the 68th, and thus 
it will only require one step to make me captain. 
I am not aware that any one in the 68th wishes to 
go ; but if any can be induced to do so by an offer 
of money, this is a case which should not be ne- 
glected. Till I get my company I can never be 
anything but second squadron officer, drawing 
420 rupees or so a-month ; directly I am a captain 
I shall be major also, and cannot possibly get any- 
thing lower than a 'second in command' on 700 






There are three kinds of constitution — viz.. Mixed Eegi- 
ments. Class Eegiments, and Regiments with Class Troops. 

The Mixed Regiment system is principally upheld by 
officers of the Bombay army, as being that which bore 
them safe through the tempest of rebellion which swept 
over the Bengal army. In support of their opinion — 

First, It is said that though the Poorbeea element of 
the Bombay army was larger than any other, and more- 
over, though it was undoubtedly disaffected at heart, it was 
so counteracted and held in check by being indiscrimi- 
nately mixed with other races (who always gave timely 
warning to their officers), that all attempts at rebellious 
combinations were rendered almost impossible. It cannot 
be denied that the Poorbeea element was held in check ; 
but I cannot allow that it was entirely so from the fear of 
other races, for the facts of the Mutiny prove that the dis- 
tance from their homes and the want of sympathy of the 
country people with the disaffected, had as much to do 
with keeping them within bounds as the influence of other 
castes. . . . Such being the case, I cannot believe that, 
if those regiments of the Bombay army in which the Poor- 
beea element outnumbered all other had been stationed in 
or near Oudh, the counteracting influence of other races 
would alone have proved sufficient to have enabled them to 
outride the tempest in safety ; and if particular stress is 
laid on the warnings given by their men of different castes 
to their officers, I would state that in my humble opinion 
there was no want of warning in regiments on the Bengal 
side. . . . 




Secondly, It is urged that the feeling of caste is lessened 
by being pitted against other tribes, and that discipline is 
in consequence better upheld. Undoubtedly the exclusive- 
ness of caste is diminished, but none of its serious preju- 
dices are removed or shaken ; for in the whole of the Mo- 
liammedan world there is none more bigoted than the 
Hindustani, whose ancestors were originally Hindus, and 
who in almost every transaction of his life is mixed up 
with them. He merely tolerates them and their preju- 
dices, without abating one iota of his own ; and if disci- 
pline was better upheld in the Bombay army I do not 
think this can be fairly attributed to the fact of its being 
formed of mixed regiments, but to its more enlightened 
system, which rewarded merit instead of imbecility, and, 
totally ignoring all caste, gave to its native officers that 
influence and authority in their regiments, the want of 
which did much to hasten the ruin of the Bengal army. 

Tliirdly, It is said that more military spirit and emu- 
lation is shown in regiments formed of general mixture. 
With regard to this, I suspect military spirit will be found in 
any regiment commanded as well as the generality of the 
Bombay corps were, and I would point out that emulation 
can and does exist in class regiments and regiments with 
class troops, fully as much as in mixed regiments. . . . The 
esprit de corps of the Guides (a class troop regiment) is well 
known throughout India. On the whole, therefore, I am of 
opinion that it would be injudicious to form the native cav- 
alry entirely of mixed regiments; for in the spirit of tolerance 
which does undoubtedly arise among races between whom, 
prior to their being brought together in such close fellow- 
ship, intense animosity existed, I see great danger. . . . 
Nevertheless I am fully alive to the advantage that would 
arise from the total ionorinc^ of all class or caste or distinc- 
tion of race ; but I am most strongly of opinion that the 
time for this desirable consummation has not yet arrived. 

The system of Class Eegiriients is upheld by many very 




distinguished officers, among whom I may mention Colonel 
C. Chaniljerlain and Captain li. Godby. The former holds 
that in regiments with class troops the separation of races 
cannot be so complete as to prevent the formation of an 
amount of mutual f^ood feeling^, which in the event of the 
disaffection of one race, would induce the others to act 
against it unwillingly ; whereas he thinks that if regiments 
are kept entirely separate, they could never have the small- 
est hesitation in acting against another disaffected regiment 
of a different race. But though perhaps it must be allowed 
that regiments formed wholly of one class have less in com- 
mon with each other than class troops of the regiment, still 
it is necessary to take into consideration the distance of regi- 
ments from each other, and the possibility that the nearest 
regiment to the one disaffected might be of the same race. 

I think, therefore, that the danger of the introduction of 
class regiments through the service would be very great; 
and though perhaps the feeling of clanship would not be 
greater than in class troops, it would be infinitely more 
dangerous, for there would be no body of men on whom 
the English officers could rely for support in any energetic 
measures they might wish to take to crush or counteract as 
much as possible the effects of mutiny ; and the mischief 
that a regiment might do in a district before aid could 
arrive would be incalculable as well as unavoidable. 
Xevertheless, as there are some very gallant races who will 
not willingly serve except in class regiments, I think it 
very advisable that some corps should be formed on this 
system, as, in addition to the wider field it would give for 
recruiting, these races not being enlisted in other regiments, 
it would prove most useful as a counterpoise to all of them. 

The objections against Class Troops, urged by the oppon- 
ents to the system, are, — Firstly, That it serves to intensify 
caste. Now I maintain that there is a vast difference be- 
tween class and caste. Class feelini^ can be used to (Threat 
advantage in managing natives, while the permitting caste 




prejudices to take ground must inevitably strike at the root 
of all discipline. Secondly, That class troops have a ten- 
dency to form themselves into a clique, and on command to 
cease to identify themselves with their regimental head- 
quarters. I am of opinion that the first part of this applies 
as much to mixed regiments ; for if cliques are formed they 
are formed in the lines among sects, as it is only natural to 
suppose that men of one tribe or caste or district should 
prefer each other's society to that of another race, with 
whom they can have little in common. With regard to a 
class troop ceasing to identify itself with the headquarters of 
its regiment, I do not see how it can well do so, provided 
it is frequently visited by an English officer, and relieved as 
often as possible ; and we must consider that all its pay and 
all its orders come from headquarters, and that it has the 
same interest and stake in all regimental institutions as if 
it was present. . . . Tliirdly, That greater facilities for 
plotting are afforded in class troops. When men are plot- 
ting they do not sit down to do so in the middle of the 
lines, but they retire to some spot where there is little 
chance of their being disturbed by those who are not in 
their secret. Fourthly, That native officers acquire undue 
infiuence in class troops. If a native officer is well af- 
fected towards Government, I cannot conceive what amount 
of influence can rightly be termed undue ; but if he is dis- 
affected, I cannot imagine why, after fair warning, he should 
be permitted to remain in the service at all. . . . 

Before concluding this subject, there is one point which I 
consider it my duty to notice —namely, a suggestion that the 
native cavalry should be constituted of class troops, com- 
manded by native officers of a different race from the men. 
This suggestion appears to me so fraught with danger to 
the efficiency of our native cavalry, that I would most 
respectfully state my entire want of concurrence in it. 
My experience of natives goes to tell me that the native 
officer of such a troop would generally either Idc bribed or 




bullied by the men, or if he was firm enough to make them 
do their duty, he would be intensely hated by them, and in 
the hour of trial they would make a point of deserting him. 
I consider that there is not one native officer in a hundred 
who could command such a troop properly, and at the same 
time gain the esteem and respect of the men ; and that in 
preference to such a system, the introduction of more Eng- 
lish officers would be more popular with the men, as well 
as better for the interests of the service. In conclusion, I 
would respectfully give it as my opinion that the bulk of 
the native cavalry should be constituted of class troops, but 
that there be some corps formed of general mixture, and 
that some others be class regiments of a race different from 
those in the rest of the cavalry. 

The debt of the native cavalry is a subject which should 
occupy the serious attention of all who care for its welfare ; 
for though since the abolition of recognised banks the 
amount of known debt is less, and commandants are en- 
abled to send in clean sheets, I am of opinion that were 
it possible to make out a true statement of debts owed by 
men of every regiment, the amount of them would astonish 
all, and none more so than those who are now congratulat- 
ing themselves on not having a "single man in debt" in 
their regiments. The remedies proposed for this evil are 
numerous, . . . but I would not recommend the adoption 
of any of them, and instead would state that the only plan 
that appears to me to give any probability of success, is to 
have it made illegal for any to lend money to a soldier of 
the native army without the sanction of his commanding 
officer, under penalty of the forfeiture of the entire amount 
of the loan. In addition, in order to check the possibility 
of sanction being granted too freely, quarterly reports of all 
debt should be sent in to headquarters. . . . 

I have stated that I considered the appointment of three 
"doing-duty" officers necessary for the efficiency of the native 
cavalry. Since then I have heard an objection advanced to 




their appointment which did not occur to me, and which I 
wish now shortly to notice. While it is allowed that ' doing- 
duty ' officers would be most eminently useful on a cam- 
paign, it is said that in times of peace enough work can- 
not be found for them without interfering seriously with 
the native officers. Were all other reasons wanting, I 
consider the mere fact of these officers being considered 
useful in time of war quite sufficient to ensure their ap- 
pointment in times of peace ; but far from there not being 
enough work for them, I am of opinion that there is 
work sufficient to occupy a fair share of their energies and 
time. Firstly, I consider it absolutely indispensable that 
an English officer should be sent in command of all 
detachments over the strength of a troop. Secondly, They 
would command squadrons on parade far more efficiently 
than native officers. Thirdly, There should be an Eng- 
lish officer of the week in every regiment of native cavalry, 
where it is wished to carry on work properly. Fourthly, 
They could help immensely in the drills and in the riding- 
schools. Fifthly, The following work could be divided 
among them : The charge of the magazine and all its 
contents ; the superintendence of the horse hospital, the 
bazaar, the workshops, the shoeing, and the conservancy 
arrangements ; the charge of the leave and furlough registers ; 
the distribution of pay to men and regimental servants. It 
is urged that much of this work could be performed more 
efficiently by experienced native officers than by young and 
inexperienced English officers. 

I am of opinion, from the experience I have had of native 
officers in four regiments of native cavalry in which I have 
served, that not two native officers in twenty could perform 
any of the duties above detailed as well as an average Eng- 
lish officer, who had undergone the usual course of instruc- 
tion with a regiment of English cavalry, and that not one 
in twenty could perform them better. The performance of 
the duties I have detailed would not interfere with the 


native officers commanding troops, and they are quite 
equal in amount to those performed by the generality of 
subalterns throughout the army. 

In order to secure an efficient light cavalry, equal to all 
the multitudinous duties that fall to their lot on service, the 
qualifications possessed by English officers for these most 
difficult commands must be narrowly attended to. I re- 
commend that every officer be required to do duty with an 
English regiment for at least two years after his arrival in 
the country ; and if after that time he showed an aiotitude 
for cavalry, and held a character for zeal and energy from 
his commanding officer, and had passed the Hindu examina- 
tion, he should be sent to do duty for at least one year with 
a regiment of English cavalry. After the expiration of this 
period, he should be required to undergo an examination 
in all duties of a cavalry officer, in addition to a stricter 
examination in colloquial. If successful, he should be con- 
sidered eligible for the appointment of ' doing-duty ' imla. 
For promotion to the rank of adjutant he should be required 
to show a certificate for marked zeal in all his duties. He 
should be examined in all the duties of an adjutant ; again 
in colloquial, and in reading and writing common native 
itrzies written in the sJdkast hand. For promotion to the 
rank of second in command, he should be liable to be ex- 
amined in any part of that laid down for adjutant ; also as 
to his knowledge of keeping all regimental accounts, and as 
to his practical and theoretical knowledge of cavalry tactics. 
For promotion to the rank of commandant he should show 
a thorough knowledge of all that appertains to the command 
of cavalry, both on service and in quarters, from the minutest 
details of drill to the rules which should guide in the com- 
mand of large bodies of cavalry. 

There is one point which I have not particularised above 
— viz., I consider it absolutely necessary that every officer 
who aspires to the command of native cavalry should know 
enough of a horse to enable him to choose good serviceable 




remounts ; for an officer who is not a judge of a horse may, 
even with the best intentions, inflict incalculable injury on 
his regiment by introducing horses of worthless qualities 
but showy appearance. I would also lay great stress on 
the acquisition by all officers who are to command natives 
of a thorough colloquial knowledge of their language. This 
can hardly be too strongly insisted on, for no officer can 
obtain a knowledge of the characters of his men without 
the power of conversing fluently with them, and without 
this knowledge I maintain no man can command any 
soldiers justly. I am bound to say that several officers 
with whom I have conversed on this subject liave stated 
their opinion that the power to read and write urzics is 
not necessary ; but when it is considered that a large and 
most important part of the business of native regiments 
is carried on in Persian, it will be seen what a margin is 
left for possible fraud when all the English officers are 
unable to read urzies. ... I hope it will not be 
thought that I have proposed too high a standard — I do 
so in the conviction that the command of a regiment of 
native cavalry is one of the most difficult appointments 
in the service to do justice to ; for in addition to the high 
qualities considered necessary for a commander of cavalry, 
it is necessary that a commander should excel in all feats 
of horsemanship, and be a good judge of a horse, a fluent 
linguist, an unerring judge of the native character, and an 
exact and ready accountant. 

With regard to the armament of native cavalry, I consider 
the sword to be the queen of weapons for the light horse- 
man, for it is the only one that comes into play at all times 
— in the charge, onel^e, and pursuit it is equally effective. 
As there are few, if any, really good native blades, I would 
recommend that swords be got from some good English 
manufacturer. Shape is a matter of custom, — the Vilayaties 
. liking that of the crooked Irani scimitar ; while Sikhs pre- 
fer the straighter shape of the Goojerati tuliuar. As I 
VOL. I. 




consider that one pattern sword cannot be suited for men 
all of different length and strength of arm, I would recom- 
mend that men be permitted to choose, from blades of 
different lengths and shapes and weights, the pattern which 
is most suited to them. Handles should be fitted on in 
India, only the blades being sent from England. In ad- 
dition to a sword, each man unprovided with a carbine 
should have a double-barrelled pistol of the same bore as 
the carbine, and of as handy and light a pattern as possible. 
I consider it necessary that every man should have firearms 
of some sort, and do not think that the objection that the 
men would be apt to trust to them too much in action 
would hold good in a well-disciplined corps. 

Though it is undoubtedly necessary that every regiment 
of cavalry should have a body of trained carbineers, I can- 
not subscribe to the opinion that every man should be 
armed with one. I think that the placing too great faith in 
the long shots of a carbine is quite opposed to the spirit of 
cavalry service, and I would therefore propose that only 
some twelve or fifteen men per troop be armed with it, 
taking care, however, that these men shall undergo such a 
course of training as shall fit them to use it effectively under 
all circumstances, whether mounted or dismounted. 

I am of opinion that the lance in the hands of a master 
in its use is the most deadly of all weapons ; but I know 
from experience it is so difficult to learn the use of, that I 
would not venture to recommend its general adoption in 
any regiment of cavalry. On the other hand, ! would not 
wholly abolish it, for in Indian warfare there are times 
when a few skilful lancers can be of the greatest service. 
The only drawback to having an unfixed number of lances 
in a regiment would be their appearance on parade; but, 
while I think that appearance should on all occasions be 
sacrificed to utility, I think that a little management might 
so place these lances as not to offend the eye of the most 




The most important of the equipments of a cavalry 
soldier are the saddle and bit. The main points to be 
looked to in the choice of a saddle are that the chance of 
galling a horse's back shall be reduced to the least possible 
extent, while the seat shall be such as to suit the generality 
of riders. 

The most perfect saddle of the kind I believe to be that 
in use with the 10th Bengal Cavalry ; for though it has only 
been in use for a short time, such is the ease with which 
the men have adapted themselves to it, that after every 
commanding officer's parade the regiment goes over without 
a fall a 3J-feet wall and an 8-feet ditch without stirrups. 
I consider that the supposition that one pattern bit will suit 
every horse's mouth to be as opposed to common-sense as 
the expectation that one-sized hat will fit every man's head. 
To ensure the perfect command of their horses, so necessary 
to the trooper, every horse should be bitted according to the 
feeling of his mouth and the touch of his rider's hand. . . . 
Nevertheless, whatever gear is adopted, there is little chance 
of its proving of much service, unless the horses are thor- 
oughly trained. Whatever might have been the case in 
former days, it is very certain that ready-made native horse- 
men cannot be now procured in any number, and therefore 
I would respectfully suggest that some system be adopted in 
every regiment of native cavalry for teaching both horses 
and men. I would propose that in each troop there be 
appointed a rough-rider, or ghorchara, who, him^self an excel- 
lent horseman and thoroughly au fait at the use of all the 
weapons of the cavalry soldier, shall be competent to teach 
both men and horses, and that neither the one nor the other 
be passed into the ranks without having undergone a course 
of instruction under him. 



quartermaster-general's department — THE 


" He teas a hedge about his friends, 
A hecJcle to his foes; 
If any man did him gainsay, 
He felt his deadly bloivs." 



















" Simla, Sept. 30. — Sir Hugh Eose has been kind 
enough to appoint me brigade-major^ to Brigadier- 
General Dunsford's column of the Bhutan field-force, 
which is to assemble in a short time to enter Bhutan, 
in order to punish the Bhutias for their treatment 
of our Envoy, Mr Eden, in the spring. It is not 
expected th^t there will be much fighting ; but even 
if there is not, there will be some fair opportunities 
for me to show my mettle. ... I am sorry to say, 
from all I hear, that I think it very improbable that 
these men will fight, though they certainly have a 
very strong country to hold.^ General Mulcaster is 

1 Governor-General's Order, No. 78, of 28tli September 1864. Ap- 
pointment as Brigade - Major, Dwar Field - force, Eastern Frontier 

^ Right Column (Gauhati). — Brigadier - General Mulcaster com- 
manding ; Captain F. Norman, Assistant Quartermaster-General ; 
Captain E. Lightfoot, Brigade-Major; Dr Nasmytli, Principal Medi- 
cal Officer ; three mountain -train guns under Captain Cockburn, R. A. ; 
two squadrons 7th Bengal Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, 
C.B. ; 43d Native Light Infantry, Colonel Campbell (Assam Light 
Infantry) ; one company Sappers (Bengal), Captain Perkins, R.E. 

Eight-Centre Column (Goalpara). — Colonel Richardson, C.B., com- 
manding ; three mountain-train guns, Eurasian Company of Artillery ; 
one squadron 7th Bengal Cavalry, under Captain AVard ; 2d squadron 
14th Bengal Cavalry, under Major Murray; one company Sebundy 
Sappers, Bengal; Wing, 44th Native Infimtry, under Major Dinning; 
Wing, 12th Native Infantry, under Major Stevens. (Sidli.) 

Left-Centre Column. — Colonel Watson commanding. (Kuch Behar.) 
Lieutenant Gilbert, Staff Officer ; three Armstrong guns, Lieutenant 
Cameron; two 8-inch mortars, Lieutenants Anderson and Waller, 
R.A. ; one company Sappers, three pontoon-rafts {Sehundij), Lieutenant 




to command the whole force, and four columns are 
to enter at different points, each having a separate 
plan of operations. Brigadier Dunsford is to com- 
mand the two left columns, and they are to pene- 
trate into the western part of the country, described 
as being very rugged, consisting of hills, some of 
which are 12,000 feet high. The Bhutias have 
stockades and stone forts, but few firearms of any 
sort, and as they are to be attacked with Armstrong 
guns, much resistance cannot be expected. Never- 
theless, from what I have seen of the maps of the 
country, I think this system of detachments is bad, 
— bad in any country, but particularly in this, where 
not one of them can communicate with another, 
and thus each will have to depend on support from 
its own rear. This division of force is bad, and 
though it may not be unsuccessful against such an 
enemy, I consider that it is rather tempting Provi- 
dence. The reason assigned is that there is a diffi- 
culty of finding supplies for a- large force on one 
route. This is a childlike reason, there being no 
mountainous country in the world in which it 
would not be equally applicable, and a decent com- 

CoUins, E.E. ; 3d Gliurkhas, Major Sanders; 11th Regiment Native 
Infantry, Captain Garstin ; one squadron 14th Bengal Cavalry. 

Left Column. — Brigadier - General Dunsford, C.B., commanding; 
Captain J. May, Assistant Quartermaster - General ; Captain C. 
MacGregor, Brigade - Major ; three Armstrong guns, Major Griffin, 
R.A. ; two 8-inch mortars, two 5^-inch mortars; one company 
Sappers, Lieutenant Armstrong; 18th Native Infantry, Captain 
Vinson; Wing, 30th Panjab Infantry, Major Mayne ; Wing, 5th 
Bengal Cavalry. 




missariat could surely make arrangements to feed 
a force in concentration, as the furthest we can go 
is only 200 miles from our frontier. If we get 
thoroughly well beaten in detail, we shall deserve 
it for such generalship. However, this is entre 
nous! I have to go to Calcutta, thence vid river 
to Goalpara/' 

In his ' Experiences of the Bhutan Campaign ' 
Lieutenant MacGregor gives the following account 
of the causes which led to the war : — 

" On our conquering Assam from the Burmese, we 
were involved in a series of disputes with the hill- 
tribes along our newly acquired frontier. Among 
these were the Bhutias, who had been in the habit 
of committing razias on the inhabitants of the plains, 
who claimed the Aham princes as their masters. 
These princes could neither stop these raids nor 
punish the perpetrators of them, and so they agreed 
to give over to the Bhutias a certain portion of the 
low country, in consideration of their desisting from 
all future attacks on their subjects. The British 
Government confirmed them in the possession of 
these lands on the same conditions, but it was 
soon found that these conditions were not kept. In 
1837 the Bhutias came down in force to threaten 
us, but were soon dispersed, and it was not until 
1841-42 that we resumed dominion over the low 
country, but unfortunately we gave them compen- 
sation, thus affording them a display of weakness. 
The raids went on ; the Bhutias burnt villages, mur- 




dered women and children, and carried off the men 
as shives, whilst the Indian Government wrote 
letters of remonstrance to a power that did not 

" At last, after years of endurance, the Bengal 
Government, finding their remonstrances in vain, 
thought of sending an embassy, which should ex- 
plain all differences and restore peace and quiet. 

" The embassy went, and, unfortunately, the 
Envoy chosen was the Hon. Ashley Eden. I will 
not recapitulate the result of this gentleman's em- 
bassy ; the story of it is one which will go down to 
posterity. . . . 

" The Envoy was insulted.^ . . . It of course be- 
came necessary, then, to punish the perpetrators of 
this insult, and it was settled that the Bhutias were 
to lose their plain country, not so much because 
they were turbulent, as because we were weak, and 
on account of the conduct of our .Envoy. 

The Bengal Government next strove to induce 
the Supreme Government to believe that one regi- 
ment would be sufficient to seize and hold all the 
eighteen passes from the mountains to- the hills ; 
but fortunately the Commander-in-Chief advised 
sending a sufficient force, and submitted a plan of 

1 " The Tongsu Penlow," states Dr Kennie, " took up a large piece 
of wet dough, rubbed Mr Eden's face with it, pulled his hair, slapped 
him on the back, and committed other acts of very great insolence. 
. . . Mr Eden, nevertheless, signed the convention with the Bhutan 
Government, putting the words * under compulsion' on each copy, 
on the 29th March 1864, at Panakha, the winter capital of Bhutan." 




operations, with details of strength required to carry 
out his project. 

" The Supreme Government insisted on a modifi- 
cation of the Commander-in-Chiefs plan, reduced the 
strength proposed, and with this diminution a force 
was advanced, which took possession of all the fron- 
tier posts of the enemy. The civilians were jubilant, 
but the Commander-in-Chief was distrustful, and ad- 
dressed memoranda to the commanders, insisting on 
the precautions necessary in mountain warfare, and 
on the vigilance requisite against surprise by a 
savage enemy. 

" It seems, however, that the . commandants of 
the various forces shared the confidence of the 
civilians rather than the distrust of the Commander- 
in-Chief, for they neglected the most ordinary pre- 
cautions, and were in every case surprised." 

''Nov. 20. — The right column is to advance from 
its base of operations, Gauhati, against Diwangiri. 
For sixty miles their route will be through our own 
territory, which is highly cultivated, and six miles 
from the frontier Diwangiri is situated. It is not 
a fort, and its principal strength appears to consist 
in the difficulties of the ground, which consists of a 
steep ascent to some 2500 feet above the sea. It is 
a small jolace of only some sixty houses ; but being 
the seat of a soichah, it has considerable importance. 
This force, like all the others, is meant to distract 
the attention of the Bhutias, and induce them to 
divide their forces, while it also serves to protect 


our right flank from any attacks from the savage 
tribes of the Abors, Mechs, &c., who are believed 
to sympathise with the Bhutias. Still further to 
answer this purpose, the left wing of the 18th Native 
Infantry, under Captain Allen, is to be posted at 
Jaipur, where it will be in command of the line of 
communication of the above-mentioned tribes. 

"The right-centre column will have to occupy the 
Bigni and Sidli Dwars, but here no opposition is 
expected : the cavalry will doubtless have to patrol 
right and left in the open country, which abounds 
between the Jaldhaka and Manas rivers. This 
column will serve the purpose of distracting the 
enemy's attention, and forming a connecting-link 
between the columns on its right and left. The 
left- centre column, which has assembled at Kuch 
Behar, was at first detailed as the strongest ; but it 
appears that further information has induced Gen- 
eral Dunsford to reduce the strength of this column 
and increase that of the Jalpaiguri one. This col- 
umn was made stronger in the belief that Chitta- 
kot and Pasakha would prove more difficult to 
take than any of the other places ; and though I am 
not aware that it has been proved that these places 
are weaker than was reported, its strength has been 
changed. It will advance simultaneously with the 
rest of the force against Chittakot, which offered 
a determined resistance to a British force in 1792. 
It is about thirty miles from Kuch Behar, and is 
separated from this place by a considerable number 




of small streams, for the crossing of which a pon- 
toon-train has been provided ; but this, 1 fancy, will 
be found superfluous. After taking Chittakot, and 
leaving a garrison there, this column advances 
against Pasakha, which is a place of great natural 
strength. This column is provided with mortars 
and Armstrong guns, and I hope it may be success- 
ful ; but I confess it is the only column of which I 
have my doubts. The work cut out for them is no 
joke, and it is the only column that is commanded by 
an officer of total inexperience in campaigning of any 
sort. It may come through ail right, and I trust it 
will ; but I consider that intrusting such work to so 
weak a column with no better support than the rabble 
of the Kuch Behar Rajah is foolhardy in the extreme. 
The left column, which will be commanded by Gen- 
eral Dunsford in person, is to occupy the stone fort 
of Daling, and, leaving a garrison there, proceed to 
the capture of Chamurchi, and then join the left- 
centre column, which is also to incline inwards after 
the capture of Pasakha. This column will protect 
our left flank from any attack from Sikkim or 
Thibet. As the force advances, the Bengal police 
will take up the minor posts, and the country will 
be placed under civil administration as soon as 
possible. Thanahs [police-stations] will at once be 
established, and the headquarters of two Deputy 
Commission erships formed at Diwangiri and Pasakha 
respectively. It is not meant to keep the troops in 
the Dwars longer than is absolutely necessary, and 



they will be withdrawn as soon as possible ; but this 
of course depends on the conduct of the Bhutias. 
Meanwhile, though there has been a good deal of 
ordering and counter - ordering of regiments, by 
which Government has been a considerable loser, 
everything is now ready for an advance. The com- 
missariat arrangements are very complete : 600 ele- 
phants and innumerable pack-ballocks have been 
collected, and three months' supplies have been 
stored at the bases. The medical arrangements also 
have not been neglected, some half-a-dozen assistant 
surgeons have been ordered down, and ample sup- 
plies of medicine, particularly quinine, have been 
laid in. 

" Thus we are now all ready, and there is no 
doubt that we shall advance by the 1st proximo, 
when I hope I shall have something more exciting 
to communicate to you, unless I get knocked over." 

'''Nov. 21. — Everything is now ready for an ad- 
vance along the whole line, and it is quite settled 
to take place on or before the 1st proximo. The 
artillery of the left columns are a little behindhand, 
but they are expected to reach their destinations in a 
very few days. Captain MacKenzie, Commissariat, 
and Lieutenant May, Quartermaster-General's De- 
partment, are about to leave Sahibganj for head- 
quarters, and it is very evident that the force is 
about to commence work at last. It is of course 
quite right that they should not delay for the 14th 
Bengal Cavalry, who, we hear, have earned the ap- 




pellation of the Creeping Jats at the front; they 
will have the pleasure of knowing that they are 
debarred from all participation in the campaign on 
account of their own dilatoriness. The proclamation 
has been issued. It is very short, and commences 
Avith an allusion to the long list of insults which the 
English Government has tamely received from the 
Bhutanese, and which have at last been crowned by 
insults to Mr Eden, our Envoy, more flagrant and 
gross than any previous ; and now, notwithstanding 
that ample time has been given them, the Bhutanese 
have failed to satisfy the just demands of the British 
Government, and have no wish or intention to do so. 
It therefore becomes the duty of the Indian Govern- 
ment to take steps to ensure for itself that respect 
which is its due, by, in the first place, occupying and 
permanently annexing the whole of the Bengal 
Dwars. The troops will advance for this purpose 
as soon as possible, and should the Bhutanese then 
fail to make overtures, the British Government will 
be obliged to proceed to a further exhibition of their 
power which the Bhutanese would gladly prevent. 
All inhabitants of the Dwars are directed to remain 
quietly at their homes, as they will not be molested 
in any way, and everything taken for the use of the 
troops will be paid for at once. Mr Eden's disgrace- 
ful treaty must be returned, and should the Bhutan- 
ese Government wish to treat, it can only do so on 
the basis of the entire cession of the Benoral Dwars." 
''Nov. 10. — General Dunsford joined on the 10th, 

222 MAINAGUfll TAKEN. [l864. 

and went to Darjeeling to inspect outposts at Eanjit 
and Pasliuk, and to settle about the column going 
from Darjeeling to Damsang : it was determined not 
to send it. Two companies l7th Native Infantry 
were on outpost, and 300 barrels of powder (without 
guard ! !) at Karsiang. On returning, the general 
went to see the road to Kuch Behar. Regiments 
came in and assembled by the 28th. Bridge at 
Paharpur being made opposite Domohanee." 

" On the 28th November a column of 140 of the 
5th Bengal Cavalry, 150 30th Panjab Infantry, and 
30 Sappers, with two 5^-inch mortars, marched from 
Jalpaiguri, under the command of Major Gough, 
V.C., to the attack of the stockade at Mainaguri, 
the seat of a souhah, situated fifteen miles by the 
road, but only seven miles north in a direct line. 
The force made two marches of this short distance, 
and consequently found the place evacuated ; but as 
it was ascertained that the enemy had only left dur- 
ing that night, it becomes probable that, if Major 
Gough had been a little more energetic in his move- 
ments, he would at least have succeeded in capturing 
some prisoners, an object which the very imperfect 
state of our information would seem to render almost 
imperative. Had the cavalry been crossed over 
directly opposite Jalpaiguri and galloped out to 
Mainaguri, while the infantry, crossing at the same 
place, pushed on on elephants, this object would 
have been effected. However, this was not done, 
and having given the place over to the police, 




Major Gough's column joined the main column at 

This had marched from Jalpaiguri on the Ist^ and 
crossed the Tista at Paharpur by a raft-bridge of 
a peculiarly fragile and oscillating nature, constructed 
by Captain Perkins, E.E. Domohanee is situated at 
the junction of the Cheyl, Neora, and Tista, and 
possesses a small stockade, which was also found 
evacuated. The force halted here one day, in order 
to let the rear-guard come up ; but on the 3d it 
marched to Kyrantee, through a good deal of tiger- 

" On the 4th December the march was resumed 
through the most dense grass and tree jungle I ever 
saw, the unbroken monotony of which made it 
most tedious : on, on we went through high tiger- 
grass reeking with malaria. Nothing but jungle, and 
again jungle on all sides ; no clearing to relieve the 
eye, all was close and impenetrable jungle, and after 
eighteen miles of it we came to the river Cheyl, in 
the bed of which we encamped. What struck me as 
most strange was that not a soul in camp had the 
faintest idea of what the ground was like for one 
mile in any direction : there was a vague idea exist- 
ent that encamping ground would be found fifteen 
miles ahead at Cheyldakari ; but on our reaching 
the two houses dignified by the name of this village, 
a space of about twenty yards square was found, 
with no water. Thus we went blindly on, trusting 
to Providence to find us a resting-place, and to the 




enemy not to oppose us. From this place the cav- 
alry was sent back, it having been found that they 
could be of no use." 

On the 5th December, a force consisting of 200 
of the 30th Panjab Infantry, Major Mayne ; 100 of 
the 11th Native Infantry, Major Garstin ; 100 18th 
Native Infantry, Lieutenant Loughnan ; the Sebundy 
Sappers, three Armstrong guns, two 5^-inch and one 
8 -inch mortar, — marched for Dalingkot, while the 
rest of the force, under Captain Huxham, remained 
behind. Though the road up to the fort of Baling 
was not particularly bad, it presented almost innu- 
merable opportunities for an enterprising enemy to 
resist our advance, and as we wound round hill after 
hill, passed height after height, penetrated dense 
masses of jungle safely, and crossed deep and rapid 
streams, I must confess that a most thorough con- 
tempt of our enemy was engendered in our mind. 

We reached Ambiok in safety. This is a toler- 
ably level and open spot about "400 yards square, 
and about 300 feet below the fort of Daling. Here 
we encamped, and Colonel Haughton immediately 
opened negotiations, which we all feared would be 
only too successful ; but as the replies came in and 
nothing came of them, while warlike preparations 
were commencing up at the fort, we still hoped that 
it would not all end in 'talkee talkee.' Next 
morning the soiibah, having failed to comply with 
Colonel Haughton's direction to present himself at 
our pickets at sunrise, everything was got ready for 




the attack. The fort of Daling is situated at the 
end of a short spur, and it follows in its outline that 
of the crest of the spur, so that its shape is altogether 
irregular ; on two sides it is too precipitous to admit 
of an assault, but from our camp a road ran direct 
up to it. Along this side were three houses at equal 
intervals ; but they were all pulled down to prevent 
our firing them, and the gateway is round the hill 
over a narrow gorge which was visible from our 
camp. The fort is commanded by more than one 
point at long ranges, and at the distance of about 
300 yards by a small knob on the same spur on which 
it is situated, and it is dependent for its supply of 
water on the stream below, so that in default of other 
ways the means of taking it were ready at hand ; 
but our general is not a man to brook such method- 
ical ways of conquering. Accordingly, the mortars 
and Armstrong guns were ordered into the open, 
whence they could obtain a clear view of the fort to 
play on it. While the advance went on, leaving 
100 men in camp under Captain Oliver, the rest of 
the force advanced thus — the 30th, 11th, and 18th, 
preceded by an advance-guard up the main road. 
However, they had scarcely moved off when a note 
came from Colonel Haughton (who had gone some 
other way) to recommend the force coming that 
way. Accordingly they were countermarched, and 
on this path ; but before we had gone many steps, 
the main column again lost its way, owing to the 
officer commanding the advance-guard having neg- 
VOL. I. p 




lected to throw out connecting and directing links. 
However, after a slight delay, the chapter of acci- 
dents brought us to where Colonel Haughton was 
sitting, waiting for us within a few yards of a 
Bhutia barricade, with only a guard of half-a-dozen 
men. We moved on, the 18th leading this time, 
and before we had gone many yards, a smart fire of 
arrows, stones, and matchlocks was opened on us 
from a dense screen of underwood, and the men of 
the 18th and 30th, spreading themselves out, kept 
up a desultory fire, which could have been of very 
little good, as every man appeared to me to be firing 
at the sky. As the column came up, the numbers 
collected, and a regular ' fray ' took place, and as 
the enemy were all this while firing their noiseless 
messengers of death, a greater number were here 
wounded than was necessary. Here I received my 
Jifth wound, being knocked over by a bullet which 
went through my helmet and hit the top of my 
head, fortunately only causing a scalp- wound ; ^ here 
Loughnan of the 18th had his arm actually pinned 
to his side by an arrow, while several Sikhs were 
wounded with arrows and stones. From this san- 
gar (stone work) we advanced under a sprinkling fire, 
which was directed with considerable precision. We 
had by this time got over the gorge where we had 
seen them so busily at work in the morning, and we 
then had a tedious halt till the 5^-inch mortar could 

^ From the effect of which, however, he suffered great pain and fever 
for a month afterwards. 




come up. The road, though good enough for men, 
was beyond elephants, and consequently the mortars 
were carried up by coolies, and on arriving were at 
last placed in position, and commenced firing ; but 
after half-a-dozen rounds or so, a most melancholy 
accident occurred. Captain Griffin, the energetic 
commander of the artillery, was sitting on the pow- 
der-barrel (which was placed a very few paces from 
the mortar, owing to the nature of the ground, but 
partially screened from the enemy's fire by a pillar) 
watching the preparation of the shells ; round him 
were Lieutenants Anderson and Walter, both of 
them good officers and genial companions, as also 
some seven men of the artillery, when — a noise — a 
wind — and a smoke, and where are they all ? At 
one moment they were round the mortars engaged in 
their duty, and at the next they are blown to atoms ! 
They died at their posts like the gallant soldiers 
they were. God's mercy go with them I How did 
it occur ? The general impression seems to be that, 
owing to the fuse being defective in some way, the 
shell burst at the muzzle, and a splinter flying back 
ignited the powder-barrel. After some more artil- 
lery practice, by which a small breach had been 
made at the north-east corner, the general, getting 
impatient, ordered an escalade at this place, and an 
explosion-party to blow in the gate. Accordingly, 
part of the sappers advanced to it with powder-bags, 
and notwithstanding that there was no firing, it was 
a service of considerable danger, as there was a 




house on fire near at hand ; but it was successfully 
performed by a plucky little Ghurkha, and a safe 
entrance was effected. Meanwhile a storming-party, 
under the leading of Major Mayne, escaladed the 
breach, when such of the enemy as had not already 
bolted, evacuated with a celerity that did equal 
credit to their discretion and to the warlike appear- 
ance of the Sikhs. Thus fell Dalingkot, a strong- 
hold of no mean order, and capable of a determined 
resistance if adequately garrisoned ; but this on the 
present occasion it was not, for the souhah could 
never have had more than sixty men with him. We 
have been accustomed to regard these Bhutias as a 
despicable, pusillanimous race, and yet we see them 
with stones and arrows offering no contemptible de- 
fence to some 500 or 600 men with Armstrong guns, 
and inflicting on them a loss of fifty-eight killed and 
wounded. It has also been the fashion to lauo-h at 
such arms as arrows and stones ; and yet I doubt, 
and the statistics of action in general will be found 
to bear me out, if we would have lost many more 
men if the enemy had been armed with muskets. 
The arrows are all sharp-pointed, and fly with great 
precision, having penetration enough to go through 
a man's body, while on this occasion one man was 
killed and several received very nasty gashes from 

"The Baling fort was garrisoned by 150 of the 
11th Native Infantry, and thirty sappers under 
Lieutenants Becher and iVrmstrong. On the 9th a 



party of sappers under Perkins was sent on ahead 
to clear the road to the fort of Damsang, which was 
said to be very bad ; and on the 14th a detachment 
of 150 of the 30th Panjab Infantry, two Armstrong 
guns, started under Major Mayne for its capture, 
but before they had gone an hour they returned with 
the intelligence that Perkins, finding the place evac- 
uated, had occupied it. It is a place of consider- 
able strength, being a stone fort situated rather low 
down on the crest of a spur : its walls are some 20 
feet high, but it is, of course, open to the usual 
objection of native strongholds, it is command- 
ed by the upper part of the ridge. A detachment 
of 50 of the 30th Panjab Infantry, under Lieutenant 
Durand, occupy it till relieved by the permanent 
garrison of the 17th Native Infantry from Darjeel- 
ing. Colonel Haughton, the chief civil officer, 
went to this place, as the country was inhabited by 
Lepchas and Bhutias, who were represented to be 
friendly; but I am sorry to say that the abrupt 
changes of climate which he met on the way over 
the interveninor ridores brought on a most serious 
illness, and he had to go into Jalpaiguri." 

On the I7th December, Perkins, the indefatigable, 
again started with his hardy little Ghurkhas to clear 
the road to Sipcha, which he found unoccupied on 
arrival ; a detachment of 50 Sikhs under Lieu- 
tenant Eamsden went to garrison it. The column 
then at last left the camp of x4mbiok for the bed 
of the Cheyl river, and thence, after a halt of two 




clays, to Toiidu, a place on the river Jaldakha. 
Here the force halted for some days ; and on the 
26th Captain Campbell was sent with a party to make 
the Sipcha detachment up to 100 men. On the 
29th a detachment of 150 Sikhs under Major Mayne 
started, ostensibly to clear the road and reconnoitre 
as far as Chamurchi. 1 went with his party. The 
road from Ambari to Chamurchi is very good 
indeed, though it winds a good deal, and the last 
part of it is through dense forest and jungle. On 
the arrival of the detachment on the plateau, which 
lies very much as does Ambiok with regard to 
Daling, a picket was sent to the road up the hill; 
but they had not been there long ere the enemy 
came down to attack them in considerable force, 
uttering their peculiarly unearthly jackal-howls, and 
the gallant suhahdar, being a man unaccustomed to 
take an enemy's challenge tamely, advanced on them, 
driving them back up the hill. On this Mayne sent 
another subdivision under Campbell to support the 
suhahdar; but he joining in the fight, the Sikhs 
went on at a run, and seemed to bid fair to take the 
place then and there, when Mayne, fearful of some 
disaster to his small party, recalled them. By this 
time twelve had been wounded by arrows, only two 
of them, however, dangerously. One would cer- 
tainly have bled to death if it had not been for the 
timely arrival of Dr Spry. The night passed with- 
out any attack ; a few arrows fell into camp in the 
morning, but no one was hurt." 




''Dec. 31. — About 11 a.m. the main column came 
up under the general, and the rest of the day was 
spent in reconnoitring the position and getting the 
baggage-animals down the hill again, as there was 
neither water nor space for them above. 

Chamurchi, then, is situated low down on a 
spur from a high range of about 8000 feet, which 
runs from north-east to south-west. It consists of a 
few houses and a monastery, placed on a piece of 
ground which has been cleared of jungle, and scat- 
tered along the crest of the ridge, while a stockade 
had lately been erected at the highest part of the 
clearing. Overlooking it, at a short range, is a small 
knob rising abruptly out of the ridge and command- 
ing the whole of it, and a little further up another 
spur leaves this one and runs down towards the 
plains, enclosing our camp in its course. Between this 
spur and the larger one runs a small stream, and 
just across it, 500 feet below the stockade, was the 
camp. From the camp one road ran steeply, and in 
serpentine fashion, to the crest of the hill ; and an- 
other, after running to the left for a time, eventually 
joined it. The enemy only expected an attack from 
the front, and they had prepared this road in a 
manner that would have done credit to a European 
engineer. Every turn, every spot whence it was 
commanded, was strongly barricaded, and these were 
made so close together, that the enemy evacuating 
one could find shelter behind the next before we 
could arrive, while each would ofi'er an obstacle to 




our progress. If we had attacked by this road, we 
should have lost 100 men at the least. The attack 
was planned accordingly. A column, under Perkins, 
of 100 men was sent up the little stream to gain the 
crest of the smaller spur, and following it, to come in 
in the rear of the enemy and intercept his line of 
retreat. Another column of 200 men, under Garstin, 
was sent up the left ; and in order that Perkins 
might have time to get into position, he started four 
hours before the other column. Meanwhile one 
mortar was placed in camp, and two Armstrongs 
across the stream, on a small plateau, which gave a 
clear range to the whole Bhutia position. These 
were meant to play on bodies of men who attempted 
to oppose Garstin ; but they were too late in opening, 
and after a couple of rounds it became dangerous to 
fire them. Garstin meanwhile made his way up the 
hill to the left, and met with no opposition till near 
the point where his path came in view of the place. 
Then the arrows began falling, and men were getting 
hit, when Captain Huxham, seeing that if they per- 
sisted in that road, it would be at the risk of great 
loss, turned off sharp into the jungles, and led his 
men round the forest to the left rear of the enemy's 
position, coming upon them with a suddenness which 
such a happy manoeuvre deserves. This gained the 
day — the column only lost five men. The enemy, 
out-manceuvred here, retreated hastily to the next 
house. But Sikhs are not men to give a flying 
enemy much time for thought, and as soon as they 




aj;aeived at one place there was a body of Sikhs ready 
charge them, and so they ran through everything, 
no time even to make a stand at the stockade, 
impetuous Sikhs and Pan dies still at their heels, and 
so on they must go — on, on till Perkins, with his 
Ghurkhas, brings them up with a volley. Having 
no other resource left, pressed in rear by men in red 
and in khakee, and brought up in front by Ghur- 
khas, they dived into the jungles in every direction, 
and were no more seen. Thus ended the attack. 
Chamurchi was ours with a loss of five. The care- 
fully prepared main road was never used in anger ; 
and the enemy, taken in flank and rear almost 
simultaneously, lost a greater number than they had 
in any previous action. AYith the capture of this. 
General Dunsford's occupation's gone. What could 
we do better after a smart little campaign and hard 
day's work than wind up the old year with a jovial 
dinner-party in the souhaJis house ? ' Here endeth 
the first lesson ' to the Bhutias ! The Dwars are ours ! 
When the second commences, where will it end ? " 

" Jan. 3. — Accompany General Dunsford on tour 
of posts. . . . All appeared quiet, and the order 
was expected to break up the force." ^ 

In his ' Experiences of the Bhutan Campaign,' 
Lieutenant MacGregor writes : — 

" At daybreak, almost on the same day, at the end 

1 Route of General Dunsford's tour : 3d, camp in bed of Ritee 
river ; 4th, Ranjalee Bujna ; 5th, Bala ; 6th, bed of Torsa river ; 7th, 
Tazagaon ; 8th, Nutteebaree ; 9th, Demdema Nadi ; 10th, Santara- 
baree ; 11th, Baxa ; 12th, Tondu. (See Map,) 




of January, stockades were found on each of the 
hills which commanded our positions at Diwangiri, 
Bishen Sing (January 25), Baxa (January 26), Bala^ 
(January 27), and Chamurchi, and these stockades 
were crowded with Bhutias, of the vicinity of whom 
not a soul in our garrisons had the slightest idea. 

" And the position they found them in was this. 
At all the posts, the jungle surrounded them so 
close that arrows could be fired into our stockades 
without an enemy being seen. At Diwangiri (Jan- 
uary 30) the supply of water was cut off, the gar- 
rison was short of ammunition and supplies, and 
it was composed of half-disciplined soldiers.^ More- 
over, it was commanded by an officer who, in a 
similar expedition, had shown such a respect for 
his savage enemies as to retreat precipitately with 
his whole force, leaving the civil officer with a dozen 
men at their mercy. If the Bhutias had a general 
amongst them, he must have seen from the first 
that his success was probable ; but when he heard 
that wild irregular fire which betokens frightened 
men, striving to relieve their fears with noise, he 
must have felt that it was certain. But. he could 

1 At Bala, Lieutenant Millett, with 50 men 11th Native Infantry, 
repulsed the Bhutias. Subsequently, on the 4th February, in at- 
tempting to take the Bhutia stockade at Tazagong, in the Bala Pass, 
under Colonel Watson, Lieutenant Millett was killed, and Lieutenant 
Cameron, R.A., badly wounded. 

2 The 43d Assam Light Infantry, owing to the description of men 
enlisted in it, who had never been brought together since the forma- 
tion of the battalion, was quite unfit to be left in occupation of an 
advanced post. 




not have foretold a retreat of so cowardly a con- 
ception, so bad a management, or so disastrous a 
result, and so Diwangiri was evacuated. Lieutenant 
Urquliart, R.E., was killed, and Captain Cockburn, 
E.A., was forced to abandon two howitzers, which 
were carried off by the Tongsu Penlow. 

" Although three men belonging to the camp 
below had disappeared in the most mysterious 
manner, the force at Bala was no better prepared 
against surprise than Diwangiri, and on the morn- 
ing of the 30th January, the stockade was suddenly 
attacked, though unsuccessfully. The subaltern in 
command immediately sent for reinforcements, and 
these were sent up sparingly ^ and slowly ; and next 
morning a party went to see what the enemy was 
doing, but before they had got far they found that 
breastworks and stockades bristled in every direc- 
tion. This caused a second call for reinforcements, 
and considering the increased urgency for them, 

1 " The garrison actually in the stockade only consisted of 60 men ; 
but two and a half miles off, in the bed of the river, which ran under- 
neath the stockade, there was a force consisting of one company of 
sappers, two 8-inch, two 5|-inch mortars, and three 6-pounder Arm- 
strong mountain-guns (manned by British gunners), the whole of the 
three companies Ghurkhas (less 150 on garrison at Baxa), and a wing 
of the 11th Native Infantry and one troop of cavalry. In round 
numbers, 700 infantry, 7 guns, and 60 cavalry. 

"First reinforcement of 70 men went up the first day but did 
nothing. On the second day the party sent up was beaten back. On 
the third day half the infantry and guns arrived at the stockade, and 
in more than forty-eight hours a feeble attempt was made to drive the 
enemy out. There was no hanging back on the part of the native 
troops, the fault was with the commander." (' Experiences.') 




this was as sparingly answered as the former. 
These arrived in due course, and started to drive 
the enemy out of his stockades ; but this operation 
failed signally, and the officer in command then 
called a council of war, and then followed the 
evacuation of the place. The Bhutias, elated by 
their success, continued their tactics of approaching 
us by a series of breastworks, and erected some in 
the bed of the river within two miles of our camp. 
Again a feeble attempt was made to drive them 
out ; but as the attack was only half-hearted, it of 
course failed, and a frightened retirement com- 
menced, and might have ended in a sauve qui pent 
flight, if it had not been for the gallantry of a native 
officer in charge of a small party of cavalry, who, 
estimating the Bhutias at their worth, soon put 
them to flight. Such is a succinct account of the 
occurrences at Bala, and it is a very sickening one. 

It is very sickening to think that an English 
officer could ever do such a thing as literally to be 
forced from his position by a party of savages, 
though numerically superior, without one gallant at- 
tempt to retrieve his position. I can see no excuse 
for it ; nor, when it is known that the officer in com- 
mand could have attacked the place with 800 in- 
fantry and seven guns by noon on the same day, do 
I think any one can ofler one for him. 

" Immediately on this news reaching the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, he ordered the evacuation of Bish- 
en Sing, and this was accordingly done. Baxa 


TEN days' hard WORK. 


was more gallantly defended, and Chamurchi was 
never seriously invested." General Dunsford re- 
signed, and was succeeded by General Tytler. 

" Feb. 16.— On the 16th February General Tytler 
rode into camp from a distance of some sixty miles. 
In this alone there was something to raise our hopes ; 
the man had evidently energy and did not spare it, 
and we had heard of his having been quartermaster- 
general to Havelock, and we augured well. He lost 
no time in mastering the details of the force and the 
position of the enemy, and while he saw from the 
general tone of the officers that they were at present 
in no fit condition for desperate deeds, he felt that 
this despondency must be put an end to ; and though 
he did not give this out, it soon came to be under- 
stood very generally that croaking must cease." 

''Feb. 27. — He then set off to inspect all the 
posts, a service which occupied ten days, and as I 
accompanied him throughout, I can testify they 
were ten days of as hard work as any general ever 
w^ent through. 

On his return to camp. General Tytler occupied 
the days which must elapse before the arrival of 
reinforcements in gaining intelligence of the enemy ; 
and so completely did he do this, that before the 
attack came off, every foot of the ground, every 
path, was known, and the position of every breast- 
work and of every sentry had been ascertained ; 
and what is more, the attention of the enemy had 
been entirely drawn away from the direction he 




eventually attacked by. The consequence was, that 
these positions were taken in a very brilliant manner 
with a very slight loss. 

"The same plan was followed at Baxa and 
Chamurchi, and they fell with equal ease." 

''Bala, March 15. — To-day we attacked the 
enemy's stockade, and I had a charge requiring 
great energy, judgment, and pluck. In carrying it 
out I was severely wounded in the left hand. A 
bullet hit me on the back of the hand, and by this 
means saved my life, for at the moment I had just 
put up my hand in front of my body, and it struck 
me then. I do not quite know the extent of the 
injury, but the doctors believe that the bone which 
runs down the back of the hand, in extension of the 
forefinger, is broken : they say it may heal, and that 
at the worst it may only be a crooked hand ; but if 
it is very badly broken, they will have to cut off the 
forefinger. Of course, as yet, they cannot tell for 
certain ; but I write to you to tell you, in case 
reports get about, as they well may — as the general 
has just told me that he had heard I was hit in the 
chest. I am quite well ; but this will lay up my 
hand for a good long time. However, let us hope 
for the best. 

"This is my sixth wound, and I suppose the Chief 
will do something for me. The general expressed 
himself very much pleased with my conduct, and I 
suppose he will mention me handsomely." 

" Chamurchi, April 2. — My wound in the head 




is now quite well, and I suffer no ill effects from it 
whatever. You will have heard also by this time 
that I have been again wounded in the left hand. 
I do not know whether the bone is broken, but the 
wound is all but healed, and I cannot bend the fore- 
finger or thumb ; however, there is no pain now or 
inflammation, only stiffness, which I am trying to 
get over by rubbing. . 

"This business may or may not be over. I am 
inclined to think it is not ; and moreover, that it 
can never come to a satisfactory conclusion until we 
have seized the capital, and placed a man capable 
of keeping the power on the throne ; thus securing 
to ourselves a friend who will be able and willing 
to settle all differences which may arise in future, 
and showing to the whole country of Bhutan that 
we are able to take the country at whatever mo- 
ment we please. Till we do this, nothing will be 
settled. It is the course we were driven to in 
Nepal and China ; and though I am far from ap- 
proving our meddling policy in this matter, I con- 
sider that, now we have begun, we should go through 
with it. 

" General Dunsford has been succeeded by General 
Tytler. He is a good man, and I believe has a good 
deal of interest, being connected in some way with 
Lord Gough and Sir Patrick Grant." 

Sylhet, June 1. — I am now acting as assistant 
quartermaster-general. I may be confirmed in it or 
I may not. Lumsden telegraphed the other day 




that the Chief had nominated me to Government ; 
so I have some chance." 

" Clierra Poonjee, June 12. — I have been ap- 
pointed deputy -assistant quartermaster -general on 
the north-eastern frontier. I am glad of this, as 
I like the work much better than that of brigade- 
major. The work of the quartermaster-general con- 
sists in procuring intelligence of the enemy and 
information regarding the country. AVhat can be 
more interesting than this \ for in doing this you 
naturally become acquainted with the history, the 
manners and customs, of the people ; you see a great 
deal of the country ; you know all that is going on. 
But so absurdly has this been neglected by my pre- 
decessors, that I am not exaggerating in the least 
when I tell you that I have collected more informa- 
tion regarding the north-eastern frontier in a month 
than all of them have done together. 

" I am doing my utmost to get information, and 
hope by the time I have done to have knowledge 
of every nook and corner in the place. 

" This place is a hill -station nearly 5000 feet 
above the sea, and a most fearful locality for rain. 
It is said that the rainfall attains 893 inches in the 
year ; and I believe it to be true that in one Febru- 
ary (not at all a rainy month) there fell 70 inches 
of rain." 

" Dhubri, July 23. — What a wandering Jew I 
am! — here to-day, there to-morrow ; no resting-place 




''Calcutta, Aug. 13. — I have arrived here, en 
route to the Western Dwars again ; and as General 
Ty tier's foot is bad, I shall probably have to remain 
here for some time. This I do not like, and I am 
trying to get the general to let me go up to Baxa 
to collect information of Bhutan. 

" My fever sticks to me regularly, and I celebrated 
my twenty-fifth birthday by a feast of quinine and 
iced water. Luckily, though, it appears to come 
every fortnight as regularly as clockwork : it does 
not stay long, and consequently does not have much 
effect on me. 

" I have a very great deal of work to do now. 
All day long I am writing or reading manuscripts 
about the north-eastern frontier, and a good part 
of the night I am trying to unravel the conflict- 
ing accounts of the different writers ; but though 
I believe I know as much about that part of the 
country as most men, the more I read the more I 
am. convinced that it will take months, if not years, 
to write a complete report. However, at present I 
will send them what I have got, and tell them that 
I know it is incomplete, but that I hope to finish it 
at some future date." 

" Jalpaiguri, Sept. 6. — We have got here, and 
to-morrow go on to Jalpesh, and then on to Baxa 
Dwar, where my real work will begin. There must 
be no more rest then. 

General Tytler, the other day, to my surprise, 
said : * I say, Mac, suppose you write the account 

VOL. I. Q 




of our campaign ? ' I promised to try, and will, but 
it is not an easy task : it is so difficult for a military 
man in the service to be honest about a military 
expedition, and I will not be either insubordinate or 
sycophantish ; so I doubt if I shall succeed. But 
if I do not, the careful study of the campaign will 
do me an immensity of good." 

''Beyond Baxa, Oct. 12. — I have returned all 
right from my reconnaisance into Bhutan, and the 
general has invited the approval of the Commander- 
in - Chief on my having so ' successfully carried 
through the arduous and important duty.'" 

" CamiJ Tcliinchu-La, Oct. 17. — I have arrived 
up here in this camp, which is some five miles be- 
yond Baxa into the interior. We are going on 
gradually, but are dependent on our supplies. The 
regular advance will not take place for nearly a couple 
of months, because we cannot be ready ; the old story 
over again, fiddle-faddling by the politicals till too 

" In July I wrote to Lumsden, recommending that 
I should be allowed to go to Baxa and collect infor- 
mation. No one paid any attention to the proposal 
till near the end of September, and then I was 
deputed to see if the route by Chirang was not 
the best to go by. I went, and I think it is, and 
said so ; but said that it was far too late now to go 
by it. The Commissariat are not ready. However, 
this will not afi'ect me. I mean to do my best. My 
report of the reconnaissance went on, with the gen- 




eral's opinion that I deserved some expression of the 
Commander-in-Chiefs approval.^ Meanwhile Lums- 
den has joined this force as deputy quartermaster- 
general, and he tells me it is settled that if I care to 
stay in the department I shall be appointed to the 
Peshawar Division. . . . 

I send a copy of my pamphlet on ' Mountain 
Warfare.' . . . 

'* I am going on a friendly mission to some vil- 
lages some eight or ten miles off, down the hill, on 
the opposite side of the river. There is some chance 
of peace with the Deb Kajah ; but I fancy we shall 
have some fio^hting with the Tono^su Penlow in the 
east. Wherever it is, as long as it comes, I don't 

"Camp Tapsi, Oct. 31. — This is very wretched 
work here. We don't know whether there will be 
w^ar or peace, and we are getting on very slowly with 
the road. I have hunted the hills in every direction, 
and know every foot of them between here and Baxa. 
. . . " I am in the most splendid health and condition 
now, and think nothing of walking eight or ten 
hours each day. . . . 

1 " Here is a copy of the Chief's letter about my Chirang recon- 
naissance : ' I have had the honour of submitting your despatch of 
11th October to the Commander-in-Chief, and am instructed, in con- 
veying his Excellency's acknowledgments for the same, to request the 
goodness of your communicating to Lieutenant MacGregor Sir Wil- 
liam Mansfield's approbation of the very creditable report, and appre- 
ciation of the service rendered by that officer and party under his 
orders, in eff"ecting, under difficulties, the reconnaissance from Dat- 
mah to Chirang,' &c." 




Since T wrote we have done nothing — in fact, I 
believe it is all over. I have been doing my very 
utmost to add to my name, but I confess my efforts 
have been a good deal circumscribed by my not 
being able to survey. Nevertheless, I have been 
more over the country than any one else, and there 
is certainly no one else in camp who enjoys more 
reputation than I do ; moreover, I am fast learn- 
ing to survey, under the teaching of my friend 

"Nov. 11. — I am afraid our little game is all up 
here. We are to have peace — in fact, as I write I 
believe it has been signed. ... So I am sold again, 
and must turn my attention to other things." 

Nov, 1 7. — This war appears to be over — a peace 
utterly unworthy of us, and most damaging to our 
prestige, has been concluded ; and so I have lost all 
interest in the business. What I am going to do 
when this force is broken up, I don't know. Go 
back to the eastern frontier and complete my report 
on it ; then I am to go to Peshawar as assistant 
quartermaster-general. . . . 

"It is a frightful disappointment to me this 
peace. " 

"Jan. 4, 1866. — Tapsi is about fourteen miles 
from Baxa Dwar. I have been engaged steadily 
in preparing a precis of all the information I can 
collect about Bhutan, as well as in makins^ a vocabu- 
lary of the Bhutia language. I have very complete 
information of the west of Bhutan, and have asked 




permission to be allowed to go to the east and com- 
plete my report." 

Baxa, Jan, 18. — We have left the front and 
come down here, because there has been an idea that 
the whole thing was up. General Tytler and Lums- 
den left on the 6th, and the rest of the divisional 
staff cleared out to-day ; but meanwhile there are 
signs of its being anything but over. The Tongsu 
Penlow has refused to give up our guns except on 
his own terms. Now we do not give them the 
' black-mail ' unless they give up the guns, and 
if they do not get the money they are not likely 
to be friendly to us ; so I should not be at all 
surprised to hear soon of hostilities commencing 
again. This would be splendid. I mean some 
day to write an account of this Bhutan war, and 
let people know who were the black sheep and 
who not." 

Baxa, Feb. 4. — I believe it is all settled that 
they are going to send a column to Tongsu, under 
the command of Colonel Richardson, to the exclu- 
sion of General Tytler. The reason for this I believe 
to be that they are at their wits' end to get out 
of this at once and soon ; and as General Tytler s 
plan of operations involves considerable delay, they 
jump at the idea of being able to send a column 
to Tongsu, and settle the whole thing, and they 
are annoyed at General Tytler for not approving 
of their crude scheme. . . . The whole affair will 




Feh. G. — A telegram came yesterday from Grey/ 
political oflficer on the right, to say that Colonel 
Richardson was to advance, and shortly after, ano- 
ther to say that he had advanced, under direct orders 
from army headquarters. Tytler immediately sent 

1 " After Colonel Bruce's departure, which took place immediately- 
after the ratification of the treaty, his place was taken by Colonel Ag- 
new, from Diwangiri, and Agnew's place was taken by a young lieu- 
tenant named Grey. Grey was of opinion that a force could march 
to Tongsu, burn it, and be back at Diwangiri in from eighteen to 
twenty-one days. This plan chimed in w^ith the wish of the Govern- 
ment to make a speedy termination of the business. Colonel Richard- 
son was a man who would undertake anything without counting the 
risks, and when the Government addressed him as to the advisability 
of the undertaking, said he would do it willingly. General Tytler 
now, seeing that Government were about to commit themselves to an 
operation for which they had neither the means nor the knowledge, 
once more addressed them on the danger they were incurring by send- 
ing a force into such a difficult country without intelligence or trans- 
port ; and then, having done all he could, he declared himself ready 
and willing to undertake anything the Government might direct. 
Government, under these circumstances, chose Colonel Richardson. 
The object of the enterprise was to force the Tongsu Penlow to give 
up the two guns which he had taken from us at Diwangiri, and the 
plan proposed was to make a dash on the fort of the Penlow, and either 
recapture the guns or burn and destroy the fort, and return in a 
period of time under twenty-four days. The feat undertaken by Colo- 
nel Richardson was this : in twenty-one days to march close upon 
300 miles, passing four snow-passes, over 11,000 feet, crossing six un- 
fordable rivers, over perhaps the worst road in the world, and against 
opposition, which would commence after the first thirty miles, to take 
and destroy a strong fort ; and this with only 120 coolies. What the 
force actually did accomplish was this : in eleven days they had ad- 
vanced twenty-five miles, and secured the passage of one of the streams, 
when luckily the guns were given up. And just before the guns came 
in. Lieutenant Grey telegraphed to Colonel Agnew that the force could 
go no further, and unless the guns were soon given up they would 
have to retire. A more conclusive proof of the wisdom of General 
Tytler's advice could not be wished for." — Experiences of the Bhutan 
Campaign, 1864-1866. By C. M. MacGregor. 




in his resignation by telegraph. To-day an answer 
from the Chief came to say he thought Tytler was 
unreasonable, and that he recommended him to re- 
call his resignation. Tytler immediately telegraphed 
back that he adhered to his determination. 

" Colonel Richardson, who started from Diwan- 
giri with the avowed intention of making a forced 
march of thirty miles to seize the bridge over the 
Manas, telegraphs now that he only made five and a 
half miles the first day, and hoped to be able to reach 
Salika, a place about half-way to the Manas, the 
second : so much for the surprise. If the Bhutias 
wish to cut the bridge, they will have time to cut 
one hundred such before Richardson comes up. 

" There is one chance for them, that Tongsu Pen- 
low will get frightened and send in the guns sharp. 
If Tongsu refuses to send them in, Richardson is 
done for." 

" Feh. 8. — General Tytler has resigned. I think 
he was perfectly right, as he has been most shame- 
fully treated. There is not much more news from 
the column under Colonel Richardson. I daresay 
they will get to the Manas easy enough^ as there 
is little population, and they would not oppose." 

" Tapsi, Feb. 13. — This Bhutan treaty is caus- 
ing great excitement out here : the papers are very 
indignant. I wonder what they will say at home. 
Meanwhile the whole of the north-west frontier is 
said to be in a very unsettled state, and it is gener- 
ally believed that there will be a row. I only hope 


it will hold off a bit, — for I can get nothing for it, 
even if I get up there. If it would keep off till I 
had got my majority and been fully established in 
the deputy assistant-quartermastership at Peshawar, 
it would be very lucky. . . . 

" This is very slow wretched work here. An 
order has come preventing us going any distance 
into the interior for fear of rencontres with the 
Bhutias, and consequently we are tied down to the 
road into and the road out of camp. Thus, beyond 
the Bhutias who pass through, I have not much 
opportunity of adding to our knowledge of the 
country, so I am now engaged in endeavouring 
to arrange a Bhutia vocabulary and grammar, for 
the use of the poor devils who may be sent here 

"The following is a copy of the Governor-Gen- 
eral's remarks on my Chirang business : * Having 
submitted to Government your memo., No. 534, of 
28th ult., with its enclosure, I am directed to ac- 
quaint you, for the information of the Commander- 
in-Chief, that the Governor-General in Council en- 
tirely concurs with his Excellency in thinking the 
service rendered by Lieutenant MacGregor in effect- 
in the reconnaissance from Datmah to Chiranor 
as very creditable to him and all that accompanied 
him.' So much, such is military glory ! You 
throw yourself with half-a-dozen men into the 
heart of an enemy's country, and it is said to be 
very creditable to you I " 




Darjeeling, May 6. — Tytler, after resigning the 
command, left for home on the 23d March, and 
said he was going to see you. . . . General Eeid, 
Tytler's successor, is a difficult man to get on with ; 
but I do so capitally at present, and hope to con- 
tinue to do so." 

May 12. — I am afraid that I cannot write the 
account of the Bhutan war in the way you recom- 
mend ; such a miserable business has it been that 
to leave out who were the black sheep would be to 
leave out nearly all. Very few did well. Alto- 
gether I think I had better have nothing more to 
do with it." 

Darjeeling, May 25. — I have just seen tele- 
grams from England, in which it says all the banks 
are going right and left. Bates, our brigade-major, 
has just been here, and tells me he thinks it most 
probable that he has lost £5000. I do not under- 
stand it all, and I don't know why they smash : I 
only hope that the Agra Bank is safe, or that you 
are out of it. I suppose that it is, because people 
say that the Agra Bank is as safe as a church. 
Bates says also that General Tytler has lost some 
money, — I am sure I hope not." 

''June 1. — People seem to be recovering from 
their panic, and I hope the worst is over, and that 
we shall hear of no more smashes." 

June 20. — I have just heard the worst news I 
have heard for a long time — namely, that the Agra 
Bank has stopped payment — that is, I suppose, 




failed ; and I am afraid that this is too true. There 
seems no doubt whatever about it. I scarcely dare 
believe the worst for you. I can hardly bring my- 
self to think that you arc ruined by it, yet I do not 
know how it can be otherwise. I know not in the 
least what your arrangements were, whether you 
had money elsewhere, or whether something may 
not have been saved. I hope so, for I tremble to 
think of my darling mother and sisters if the worst 
is true. For any sake write, and tell me exactly 
how you stand. I shall be miserable till I know ; 
but please remember that I am your son, that now 
it has pleased God to do this thing, I will prove 
that I am so. Remember, please, that I will place 
every farthing I have at your disposal — all is yours 
— you never stinted me when you had it, and God 
knows I will not be backward in giving all I have 
now. I have written oflf to find out if my small 
balance at the bank, and also the £500 you put 
there for me [this was to purchase his step], can be 
got hold of. I don't know the rules of the banks ; 
but mine was a floating deposit, and I hope this 
may not be lost also. It is only about £600 ; but if 
I can get it and the other £500, I will send it to 
you sharp by next mail. And I will do anything 
you propose. I can spare £40 a-month, perhaps 
more ; and I will send this to be of what use it can, 
directly I have paid off the few debts I owe — or I 
Avill have one of my sisters out to live with me, 
sending you also any balance we can save. I will do 




anything you tell me, only please let me know in 
what way I can help you and I will do it, even to 
resigning my soldier's career. That would be to 
me the greatest sacrifice ; yet I would not hesitate 
one instant, if I could add to the comfort of yourself 
and my darling mother and sisters. I telegraphed 
to you to-day, and hope to get an answer soon. 
This all seems like a dream to me, it has come so 
suddenly; a fortnight ago I had not the slightest 
suspicion that you were so near being ruined, and 
now I I can hardly believe it even now. However, 
we must bow in submission ; but let us all do one 
thing, let us stick to each other, do not let adversity 
sunder us. I for one will do so. My earnest hope 
and prayer now is, that I may become the prop of 
your old age, and that God will give me strength 
to stand by you. God forgive me ! I have thought 
too much of self, too much of honour and glory, too 
little of my darling parents. God forgive me I and 
direct all my energies and all my thoughts on them 
for the future. My ambition w^as one day to lead 
squadrons in battle ; now it shall be to place at 
your disposal competence, if not affluence. I thought 
little of money before, I cared not for it — I will now, 
I will treasure up every farthing for you. Please 
tell my darling mother this. I have no spirits to 
write any more. Thank God, for your sake, I am 
in health. But do not despond, do not let people 
see that a MacGregor is struck down by this blow. 
In the old days they tried to destroy us. This is a 




different kind of blow ; but let us meet it as our fore- 
fathers did — let us be worthy of our race and name. 
Let us stick to each other for better and for worse. 
Bright days will come again, and we shall enjoy 
them the more for this sorrow. Believe that I shall 
be true to you. I have given over self, and now 
only think of you. I will help you in every way 
I can." 

" Darjeeling, July 15. — I have just received yours 
of the 11th ult., and I can hardly tell you how glad 
I am that you are not very hard hit, and how proud 
I feel of your splendid conduct at such a moment as 
to give £15,000 voluntarily for the sake of some of 
the poorer shareholders. Of course you know best, 
and as you especially say that you have still enough 
to live upon, I suppose it is all right ; but remember 
I by no means cancel what I have said. If you 
want me to do anything, I shall be very glad 
indeed to do it. This upturn of affairs is indeed 

" My report ^ on Bhutan is finished, and has gone 
off, and the general took the opportunity of recom- 
mending that I be confirmed in my appointment 
as soon as possible, having shown myself ' peculiarly 
suited for the Department' [Quartermaster-General's]. 
Of course I must regret not getting promotion, as 

^ A Military Report on tlie country of Bhutan, containing all the 
information of military importance which has been collected up to 
date. (12th July 1866.) By Lieutenant C. M. MacGregor, Deputy- 
Assistant Quartermaster-General, late Bhutan Field Force. Calcutta : 
Printed at the Secretariat Press, 1873. FoL, 74 pages. 




wliat soldier who cares about his profession would 
not ? . . . I must confess to being somewhat 
annoyed at the change of Ministry, which has put 
off the grievance question indefinitely. I suppose I 
shall remain a lieutenant for ever. 

" Since I have been up here I have been learning 
surveying and drawing, and I find that though I 
shall never be a really good draughtsman, I shall 
soon learn enough for my purpose." 

In November Charles MacGregor wrote that he 
had nearly determined to go home in the following 
April. His fever and boils, which had not troubled 
him for five months, had now reappeared, and the 
doctor said that nothing would drive them away but 
a lengthened change of air. In the following month 
the medical authorities sent him before a board of 
officers, who invalided him to England. 

Early in 1867 MacGregor went down to Cal- 
cutta, and on his arrival he was " astounded " to 
hear from his mother that his sister had already 
sailed from England to join him in India. He re- 
ceived this intelligence on the 10th January, and 
on the 6th his sister had left Southampton. He 
immediately telegraphed to her at Malta, Alexandria, 
and Suez, to try and stop her continuing her journey ; 
for he had sold ofi" everything he possessed, taken 
his passage to England, and was on the point of 
starting. He was greatly inconvenienced ; but find- 
ing his telegrams were not received, he went to the 
President of the Medical Board by which he had 

254 ^ 



been ordered a voyage home, and told him that 
circumstances made it of very great importance that 
he should not go home just then. He stormed, 
and said if I did not, he would have me ordered." 
Lieutenant MacGregor then telegraphed to Colonel 
Paton asking if he might still hold on to his late 
appointment, deputy assistant - quartermaster - gen- 
eral, and received an affirmative reply. 

Miss MacGregor reached Madras on the 11th 
February, and her brother met her. He was very 
pleased at seeing her, and writes — "I am sure, 
though I do all for her possible, she is very little 
more trouble than if I was alone." He then took 
his sister up to Ootacamund, that she might see 
something of a hill-station. She was delighted with 
the place, and enjoyed the ride up. 

The brother and sister left Bombay on the 14th 
March, and reached England about a month after- 
wards. After remaining with his. family in England 
four months. Lieutenant MacGregor, who was now 
twenty-six years old, proceeded to Paris, where the 
Exhibition was then going on, and here he stayed a 
few weeks. 

Soon after his return to England, the expedition 
to Abyssinia was fitted out. MacGregor at once 
telegraphed, offering his services to Sir Eobert 
Napier at Bombay, and being promised a Staff 
appointment, made his preparations without loss 
of time, and sailed for the Eed Sea. 




' ' Just jionder what a pious pastime war is. " 















As far back as 1865 attention had been called in 
Parliament to the conduct of King Theodore towards 
some unfortunate British subjects in Abyssinia, who, 




having gone to that country as missionaries, were 
forced by the monarch to manufacture ammunition 
and make roads instead of reading the Scriptures, 
which was their proper vocation. 

Captain Cameron, who had been appointed Consul 
at Massowah in 1862, was strictly prohibited by his 
Government from interfering in any of Theodore's 
private quarrels, and consequently that king became 
offended with the English. A letter he despatched 
to Queen Victoria in 1863 remained by mistake un- 
answered, and Consul Cameron was suspected by him 
of intriguing with the Egyptians. 

The enraged Negus (as the ruler of Abyssinia was 
styled) soon imprisoned and otherwise maltreated all 
the Europeans he could lay his hands on, and in 
January 1864 "Mr Cameron and his suite, besides 
the missionaries, were confined in chains at Gondar, 
and brutally tortured. They were subsequently re- 
moved to Magdala. 

On the news of Cameron's imprisonment reaching 
England, Mr Rassam, Assistant Political Resident at 
Aden, was sent by the Foreign Office bearing a letter 
from her Majesty, translated into Arabic, to Theodore ; 
and this Envoy, accompanied by Dr Blanc and Lieu- 
tenant Prideaux, reached the cam.p of the Negus at 
Damot in January 1866. 

In April not only were the prisoners, who had been 
released and were on their way to the coast, brought 
back and again confined ; but Mr Rassam and his 
suite were also made prisoners under circumstances 




of great indignity. One of them, however, Mr Flad, 
was sent to England, conveying a letter to the Queen 
of Enorland as well as one from Mr Rassam to Lord 
Clarendon (written by order of Theodore and in- 
spected by him), requesting machinery and artisans. 

In December 1866, Colonel Merewether, Political 
Resident at Aden, arrived at Massowah, and wrote 
to the Negus, saying that the machinery and artisans 
were at Massowah, and would be forwarded as soon 
as the captives arrived at the coast. 

Mr Flad found Theodore at Dembea in April 1867. 
His followers were rapidly deserting the demented 
monarch, who finally marched with the remnant of 
his forces to Magdala, his rock-fortress, where the 
prisoners were confined, in October. The transport 
of his heavy ordnance prolonged his march, so that 
he only reached the plateau of Talanta in February 

Colonel Merewether from the first clearly fore- 
saw that no diplomacy would suffice, and perpet- 
ually urged upon the Foreign Office that force alone 
would cause Theodore to yield the prisoners ; but it 
was not until April 1867 that the British Govern- 
ment first began to contemplate the possibility of an 
expedition to Abyssinia. Only reluctantly was a 
military expedition determined on, some three months 

At last the Secretary of State for India telegraphed, 
on July 10 th, to the Governor of Bombay, inquiring 
how soon a force could be ready to start from Bom- 

VOL. I. R 




bay harbour, if an expedition were determined on. 
No orders were given for preparation. On July 23d 
Sir Robert Napier, Commander-in-Chief at Bombay, 
submitted his views to the Government of Bombay, 
and within a week Sir Stafford Northcote telegraphed 
ordering the collection of transport ; but it was not 
until Auo-ust 13th that the Cabinet decided on 
despatching a force, and proposed that Sir Robert 
Napier should go in command of it. 

The expedition being once decided upon, the Duke 
of Cambridge and the Secretary of State for War gave 
carte blanche to Sir Robert Napier to seek his mate- 
rials both in England and India. The Admiralty, 
War Department, Foreign Office, and other branches 
of the Government vied with one another in coming 
to the front with zealous co-operation. 

Preliminary reconnaissances were carried out by 
a committee under Colonel Merewether, including 
Colonel Phayre, Quartermaster - General, Colonel 
Wilkins, Royal Engineers, Major Mignon, Commis- 
sariat Department, Major Baigrie, Captains Good- 
fellow and Pottinger. After surveys conducted 
under great difficulties. Colonel Merewether occupied 
Senafe, 7000 feet above the sea, on December 5th, 
with the 10th Bombay Native Infantry, the 3d 
Cavalry, and the Bombay Mountain-Train. 

Early in December Sir Charles Staveley arrived 
with the Sind Brigade, from Karachi, in Annesley 
Bay, and assumed command. Vigorous measures 
were adopted for the disembarkation of the expedi- 




tion, a land- trail sport corps was organised, and stores 
pushed up to Senaf^.^ Water was condensed on a 
large scale, and wells were dug along the route from 
Zulla to Koomaylo, where the ascent of the moun- 
tains commences towards the inland highlands of 

Jan. 2. — Sir Kobert Napier arrived and took over 
chief command of the for.ce on the 2d January 1868. 
On the following day Captain MacGregor writes : — 

" Annesley Bay, Jan. 3. — I write a line to say I 
have at last landed on Abyssinian soil. I am 
assistant quartermaster - general of cavalry, and 
Brigadier-General ^ Merewether is my general. 

" Sir Eobert Napier arrived to-day, and General 
Merewether only waits to see him, when he goes on 
to the front again, and I go with him. General 
Merewether wants to be allowed to remain in front, 
and I daresay he will succeed, as being the most fit 
man. ... I have already got into harness, and have 
a deal of work on my hand, and my fingers are 
aching like mad." 

" Jan. 7. — It is all arranged that I am to go on, 
not with General Merewether, however, but in Sir 
Charles Staveley's division, and I hope with General 
Collings's brigade. It is expected the whole thing 

1 The British Expedition to Abyssinia. Compiled from authentic 
documents by Captain Henry M. Hozier, 3d Dragoon Guards, Assist- 
ant Military Secretary to Lord Napier of Magdala. (Macmillan & Co., 

2 Colonel Merewether had now been appointed brigadier-general 
while on the staff of Sir Robert Napier. 




will be over by June ; but all this depends on their 
settincf to work at once, and more on Theodore not 
bolting from Magdala." 

''Jan. 11. — Annesley Bay is the place which 
General Merewether chose for the landing-point. It 
is a long narrow bay, flanked by low hills of burnt 
rocks and sand, with the mountains of Abyssinia as 
a background. 

The camp is pitched on a sandy plain, where ^ 
the only green thing is the camel-thorn bush, and 
consequently the dust is continuous. We eat in 
dust, sleep and move in a cloud of dust. . . . And, 
if you take into consideration that on this thirsty 
plain there is no water, and that the thermometer 
is 90° in a tent, you will realise that we like to 
have all the water we can get. But as even the 
American pumps cannot coax a drop out of this 
soil, we have to trust to the condensing of the 
various steamers for anything " to drink. Every 
particle of food also has to be supplied from the 
ships, even down to the grass for the horses. In 
fact there is nothing here that will supply any 
known want of man or beast. Then think what 
labour, what zeal, what good plain sense must have 
been required to turn this inhospitable wilderness 
into what it is now ! You land at a pier which 
runs out for a quarter of a mile, your things are 
placed in a truck and trundled along to the end, 
whence they are taken on in carts to their destina- 
tion. On your left, as you land, are all the official 




Commissariat sheds, where are piled up mountains 
of food of all sorts, and where men are all day 
patiently weighing out grub to hungry men and 
still more hungry beasts ; then there is tlie office of 
the harbour-master, the post-office, telegraph, the 
watering-place, Engineer stores, Ordnauce and Maga- 
zine do., all with their vast accumulation of stores, 
apparently huddled together anyhow, but really in 
order and get-at-able. 

" General Merewether has been as far as Adigerat, 
and his opinion is that a force should go on at once 
there, while an advance party reconnoitres on to 
Antalo ; and when sufficient troops have arrived, 
then to push on to Sokota, and finally to Magdala. 

" Letters have arrived here from the prisoners, 
with news of the Magdala lot to the 16th ult. All 
of them are in a great funk of Theodore, who, de- 
spite all the stories of his being on his last legs, still 
manages to keep up a wholesome dread of himself 

" Nobody can form any conjecture as to what will 
be Theodore's line of conduct, and till he receives 
the ultimatum of Sir Robert Napier we shall not 
be able to do so. Five copies have been sent to 
him, two of which Rassam has taken on himself to 
destroy, on the plea that they will do no good, and 
would cause the death of any one who gave them ; 
and the probability is that none of them has been 
given to Theodore. . . . 

" You know one of my favourite army hobbies is 
that the Quartermaster-GeneraVs Department should 




be the Intelligence Department, so you may imagine 
my feelings when I found ten officers of that depart- 
ment here, and not one engaged in their real work, 
but all supposed to be disembarking troops, a duty 
which, to my mind, could be more expeditiously 
and more satisfactorily performed by an intelligent 

" They have not been very successful in some of 
the men they have sent out here, on account of their 
knowledge of Abyssinia. . . . The best man of the 
lot is a .shy quiet Swiss, named Munzinger, who 
was French Consul at Massowah, and is now one 
of the most useful men here. He has great influ- 
ence, and is very willing to do anything if he is 
well treated. 

" There is a frightful disease here, which attacks 
horses and mules, and carries them ofl" in a few 
hours.^ The vets, are at their wits' end. One 
regiment, the 3d Cavalry, has already lost 180 
horses by it. 

" The affair stands thus. There are four powers 
in Abyssinia — Menilek, King of Shoa ; Wagsham 
Gobize, ruler of Lasta ; Kassa, ruler of Tigre ; and 
lastly, Theodore, who once ruled the whole country, 
but who is said now to have only possession of the 
ground his camp occupies. Nevertheless he is the 
ablest and most feared of any of them. Now each 
of these men want to take Magdala, partly, I take 
it, because it is an important position, but chiefly 

1 African glanders. 




because the prisoners are there. If Theodore suc- 
ceeds, as I think he will, as the other chiefs are 
great cowards, we shall have to hunt him down ; 
and if any of the others get the prisoners we shall 
be no better off, because, depend upon it, their terms 
will not be easier than Theodore's, and it would then 
be a very curious phase in our operations if we had 
tacitly to acquiesce in receiving assistance from him. 

" I believe the next few days will tell us that the 
prisoners have been taken away by Theodore, because 
he must have heard of our move, and will doubt- 
less strain every nerve to possess himself of them ; 
and when he has done this, he will have means of 
extorting from us very favourable terms, because, 
though I do not doubt our ability to run him down 
eventually, it would be awkward to be told, ' One 
step more after me, and I will cut the throats of all 
the prisoners.' 

" If he can only be kept out of Magdala for a 
time, a dash of cavalry would doubtless be able to 
release the prisoners there ; and these being the prin- 
cipal ones, we might easily make terms about the 
small fry." 

" Annesley Bay, Jan. 14. — Until we have six 
months' supplies stored at Senafe it will be impos- 
sible to move on ; for as the road up to the high- 
lands lies up the bed of a mountain-torrent, liable to 
be flooded on a fall of rain, it is, of course, absolutely 
necessary that all these stores should be collected 
above before the rains come on and cut us off from 




our supplies. Sir Kobert Napier knows well what 
he is about. 

" It appears that many parts of the plain here are 
below the level of the sea, so they have set to work 
to raise embankments to keep the sea out, and are 
raising everything on piles before the rains come on. 

" The arrival of Sir Kobert Napier is very oppor- 
tune to throw oil on the troubled waters. There 
were too many masters, but now things are going 
better. . . . The prospects of the campaign have 
not brightened, as I do not see much chance of 
fighting. Letters from the prisoners report every- 
thing in statu quo — Theodore still at Wadela, within 
two days' ride of them, so that we have not much 
chance of getting there before him." 

" Senafe, Jan. 20. — I have been ordered up to the 
front, and I, of course, took precious good care that 
they should not have a chance of again counter- 
manding me, so I was off within an hour, and made 
the whole distance of sixty-five miles ^ on one horse 
in thirty-six hours, which, considering the road, is 
pretty quick. The first part of the road is over a 
sandy plain for fourteen miles, on which is not a 
drop of water, and only a few dried-up bushes when 
you arrive at Koomaylo, our first depot. Here the 

1 Zulla to Koomaylo, . , 14 miles. • 
Koomaylo to Sooroo, . . 12 ti 2000 feet elevation. 
Sooroo to Undul Wells, . 13 m 
Undul Wells to Eayray-Guddy, 18 ,, 6000 
Rayray-Guddy to Senafe, . 8 ,, 7000 i, „ 

Total, . . 65 miles. 




same incessant round of supplies pouring in and 
empty mules going out is going on all day. It is 
ZuUa on a small scale — huge mountains of grass 
and grain, piles of casks of rum and biscuit, strings 
of oxen and sheep, show that we are being looked 
after here. What a sight this must be to the miser- 
able, half-starved wretches, called Chohos, to whom 
a handful of rice is a godsend, flour a dream, and 
ghee a mere tradition ! Why, the greatest of their 
chiefs never had so much grain by him in a year as 
is here collected for a day's use. How they must 
wonder ! and when . . ." 

On January 25th Collings's brigade was ordered 
to hold itself in readiness to march from Senafe 
on Antalo, and Sir Kobert Napier left Zulla for the 

'^Senafe, Jan, 27. — I have not had a moment's 
time to myself. Since writing last I have been a 
good deal about the country, and am perhaps now 
as well acquainted with it as any one. A force has 
been in orders some days to go on to Adigerat. We 
are waiting for carriage, and shall then move. The 
Chief is said to have left Zulla, and will be here to- 
morrow, and then an onward move will be made of 
the whole force to Adigerat, but not much further. 
We have had one sad blow in the loss of Colonel 
Dunn, V.C., 33d Eegiment, who shot himself by 
accident. He was beloved by every one, a gallant 
soldier, a perfect gentleman, and one who appeared 
to have a brilliant future before him." 




Sir Kobert Napier, after leaving Zulla, inspected 
all the stations in the pass, and reached Senafe on 
the 29th, by which time friendly relations had been 
opened with Kassa, the ruler of Tigre. 

On the 30th January the British vanguard oc- 
cupied Adigerat, thirty-six miles beyond Senaf^^ 
Goonagoona, Mai Magrab, and Focada, the three 
stations between Senafe and Adigerat, were also 
occupied by infantry, cavalry, and engineers, who 
were engaged in making the road practicable for 
transport and guns. 

Senafe was regarded as the secondary base of 
operations in the campaign, the great storehouse for 
supplies to be pushed on to the front. 

The Commander-in-Chief on the 5th February 
reached Adigerat, the chief of which was captive to 
Wagsham Gobize, the ruler of Lasta. Here Sir 
Eobert Napier halted till the 18th; but the pioneer 
force had occupied Dodo, seventy miles south of 
Adigerat, on the 10th, and Antalo was reached by 
Colonel Phayre, with 150 horsemen, by the 15th 

At this time Theodore was reported within one 
day's march of MagdaJa, to which place he had sent 
all his prisoners. Sir Eobert Napier marched from 
Adigerat, on February 18th, with a wing of the 1st 

1 Senafe to Goonagoona, .... 12 miles. 
Goonagoona to Focada, . , . 12 „ 
Focada to Adigerat, 12 m 

Total, . . . 36 miles. 




battalion 4th Remment, a wing of the 10th Native 
Infantry, four guns Murray's Armstrong battery, the 
3d Bombay Cavalry, and a detachment of Eoyal 
Engineers, taking provisions for thirty days. 

In two marches he reached Adabaga, where a 
halt was made to give Kassa, Prince of Tigre, an 
opportunity of meeting the Commander-in-Chief, and 
a fortified post was constructed. 

Letters from Magdala reported that Theodore 
could not be in that fortress until the first week in 
March, and many schemes were proposed for rapid 
advances of the troops, by means of forced marches 
or flying columns.^ The Prince of Tigre, through 
whose territory the line of march extended for above 
150 miles, made his appearance on the 25th February, 
and a satisfactory interview between him and Sir 
Eobert Napier ensured the goodwill and co-operation 
of this Abyssinian potentate, who also undertook to 
supply weekly, at certain depots, some 60,000 lb. of 
wheat and barley in return for handsome pay. He 
also promised to protect the telegraph wire on the 
line of communications. 

The following day the British column marched 
onward, halting at the Dongolo river, thirty-eight 
miles south of Adigerat. The banks of the Agula 
were reached on the 27th, and another march of fif- 

1 See Appendix. Total distance from Zulla to Antalo is 192 miles. 
Stages. — Adigerat to Mai-Waliiz, Mai-Waliiz to Adabaga, Adabaga to 
Dongolo, Dongolo to Agula, Agula to Dolu, Dolu to Eikhullut, Eik- 
hullut to Antalo. 




teen miles up the Sallat Pass brought the force to 
Dolo river, where a halt was made till the 29th. 

The next day the march was resumed to the river 
Haik-Hellat, the advance-guard being at Musno, 
twenty-eight miles in front, and Collings's brigade 
at Buya, six miles south of Antalo. 

Sir Eobert's column arrived in camp at Buya, 
near Antalo, on the 2d March. This station, An- 
talo, is about half-way between Zulla and Magdala. 
Here Collings's brigade was. encamped, and halted 
with the main body of troops until the 12th. 

Antalo was the third main depot which was 
established on the line of communication, and here 
the army was redistributed in divisions, ready for 
the advance to the south.^ 

Sir Eobert moved with the 1st Division, south- 

^ Headquarters Staff. — His Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir Eobert 
Napier, Commander-in-Chief; Lieutenant-Colonel Dillon, Military 
Secretary ; Colonel Hon. F. Thesiger, Deputy Adjutant- General ; Cap- 
tain Holland, Assistant-Quartermaster-General ; Caj^tain Pottinger, 
Deputy Assistant - Quartermaster - General ; Major Maude, Deputy 
J udge-Advocate-General ; Captain Hozier, Assistant Military Secre- 
tary ; Captain Scott, Lieutenant R. Napier, Lord C. Hamilton, Aides- 
de - Camp ; Colonel Eraser, Commandant Headquarters ; Brigadier 
Merewetlier, Political Officer ; Lieutenant Tweedie, Political Secre- 
tary ; Major Grant and Captain Speedy, Intelligence Department ; 
Count SeckendrofF, Prussian Guards (attached) ; Captain Moore, 
Arabic Interpreter. 

Headquarters, Camp Antalo, Ath March 1868. 
The following distribution of troops is ordered : — 

1st Division. 

The whole of the troops from Antalo to the front will compose the 
1st Division. Major-General Sir Charles Staveley, K.C.B., to com- 
mand ; Lieutenant - Colonel Wood, Assistant - Adjutant - General ; 
Major R. Baigrie, Assistant-Quartermaster-General. 




wards, on the 12th March, by Amba Mayro and 
the Alaji Pass, 9500 feet above the sea, to the 
Atala valley. The main body of troops halted 

Pioneer Force. — To march two days in advance of the 1st Brigade, 
1st Division. Brigadier-General Field to command ; Captain Durand, 
Brigade-Major ; Captain 0. M. MacGregor, Deputij Assistant-Quarter- 
master-General ; Lieutenant Shewell, Commissariat Officer; Captain 
Goodfellow, Field Engineer ; Lieutenant Jopp, Field Engineer. 
Colonel Phayre, Deputy Quartermaster-General, will accompany the 
pioneer force, and survey the road and the country in its immediate 

Troops. — Forty sabres 3d Light Cavalry, Colonel Loch ; forty sabres 
3d Regiment Sind Horse, Major Briggs ; 3d and 4th companies 
Bombay Sappers and Miners, Captain Goodfellow ; two companies 
33d Foot, Captain Trent ; two companies 27th Native Infantry 
(Baluchis), Captain Hogg ; one company 23d Panjab Pioneers, 
Captain Currie. 

1st Brigade, 1st Division. 

Brigadier-General Schneider to command ; Captain Beville, Brigade- 
Major; Captain Hogg, Deputy Assistant - Quartermaster - General ; 
Major Mignon, Commissariat Officer. 

Troops. — Headquarters, wing 3d Dragoon Guards ; 3d Regiment 
Light Cavalry ; 3d Regiment Sind Horse ; " G " Battery, 14th 
Brigade, Royal Artillery (four guns) ; " H " Battery, 21st Brigade, 
Royal Artillery ; 4th King's Own Regiment ; headquarters and eight 
companies, 33d Regiment ; headquarters, 10th company Royal En- 
gineers ; headquarters and two companies, 27th Native Infantry 
(Baluchis) ; headquarters, wing 10th Regiment Native Infantry. 

2d Brigade, 1st Division. 

Brigadier-General Wilby to command ; Captain Hicks, Brigade- 
Major ; Captain Fawcett, Deputy Assistant- Quartermaster- General ; 
Major Bardin, Commissariat Officer. 

Troops. — Headquarters, wing 12th Bengal Cavalry; "B" Battery, 
21st Brigade, Royal Artillery ; two 8-inch mortars, with detachment 
5/25th Royal Artillery ; Rocket Battery, Naval Brigade ; " K " com- 
pany, Madras Sappers ; headquarters and seven companies 23d Panjab 
Pioneers ; wing 27th Native Infantry (Baluchis). 

2d Division. 

Major-General Malcolm, C.B., commanding ; Major G. Bray, Assistant- 




at Meshik; but the Commander-iu-Cliief, with a 
cavalry escort, caught up the pioneer force at 
AtaLa, across a mountain-pass of 10,000 feet eleva- 
tion, under the peak of Amba Afagi. 

From this point Sir Eobert accompanied the 
pioneer force on March 15th to Makhan, a severe 
march of fifteen miles, Sir Charles Staveley with 
his division reaching this station on the 18th, 
through the Belago Pass, 9700 feet above the sea. 

Adjutant- General; Captain Watts, Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster- 
General ; Major Leven, Assistant-Commissary-General. All troops 
to and from Senafe to Antalo will compose the 2d Division. 

Antalo Garrison. — Brigadier-General CoUings to command ; Major 
Quin, Brigade - Major ; Captain James, Deputy Assistant - Quarter- 
master-General ; Lieutenant Hore, Commissariat Officer. Troops. — 
Wing ]2tli Bengal Cavalry; 5/25tli Royal Artillery; headquarters 
and " H " company Madras Sappers ; 45th Foot ; 3d Regiment Native 

Acligerat Garrison. — Major Fairhrother to command ; squadron 10th 
Bengal Cavalry ; two guns, 8/14th Royal Artillery ; headquarters and 
2d company Bombay Sappers ; wing 25th Native Infantry. 

Senafe Garrison. — Lieutenant-Colonel Little, 25th Native Infantry, 
to command ; Lieutenant Becke, Staff Officer ; Captain Edwardes, 
Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster-General ; Major Thacker, Commis- 
sariat Officer. Troops. — One squadron 16th Bengal Cavalry ; one 
company Native Artillery ; three companies 21st' Panjab Native 
Infantry ; wing 10th Native Infantry ; detachment 21 st Bombay 
Native Infantry or Marine Battalion ; headquarters, wing 25th Native 
Infantry ; depots of all regiments in advance. 

Zulla Command. — To be composed of all troops at Zulla and the 
stations in the passes. Brigadier -General Stewart to command ; Cap- 
tain Fellowes, Brigade - Major ; Major Roberts, Assistant-Quarter- 
master-General ; Major Gammell, Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster- 
General ; Captain Hawkes, Commissariat Officer. Troops. — One 
squadron lOtli Bengal Cavalry ; " G " company Madras Sappers ; 
1st Company Bombay Sappers ; 2d Regiment Native Infantry (Grena- 
diers) ; 18th Regiment Native Infantry ; headquarters and five com- 
panies 21st Panjab Native Infantry. 




Sir K. Napier with advance force camped at Lake 
Ashangi on the 18th, moving forward over the plain 
of AVofela to the camping-ground of the Mesagita 
on the 20th. On the 22d Sir Charles Staveley and 
a portion of his leading brigade joined Sir R. Napier 
at Lat, south of the Womberat chain of hills, 10,000 
feet high. It was from Lat that the real rapid ad- 
vance on Magdala began. So far Sir Robert had 
been making steady preparations. He now prepared 
for a swifter move on his enemy's stronghold. 

The headquarters and advanced force arrived 
at Marawa on the 23d, and the next day to Dildi, 
where a depot was established, moving on the 26th 
to Wondaj. Sir Charles Staveley 's division followed 
at one day's march to the rear. On the 27th the 
advance was continued to Moja, and on the fol- 
lowing morning the passage of the Takkazie was 
secured and the plateau of Wadela occupied. Sir 
Robert halting on the river Santara, where the 1st 
Brigade arrived on the 28th. 

Here the 1st and 2d Brigades were concentrated, 
and Mashesha, the uncle and emissary of Wagsham 
Gobize, came in from that chief with instructions to 
render to the British all the aid in his power. 

On March 31st the 1st Brigade moved from 
Santara to Gaso, and, on April 1st, from Gaso to 
Abdakom. At this time the whole British force in 
Abyssinia consisted of 10,800 combatants. 

On April 2d Sir Robert shifted his camp to Ves- 
endi, and Sir Charles Staveley came on to Abdakom, 




within two miles, so that the force was concentrated 
in case of attack. 

On the 4th Sir Kobert moved across the ravine of 
the Jadda to the Talanta plateau, while the 2d 
Brigade occupied Bethor. 

Theodore's camp at Islamgi was now visible from 
the British camp. On the 9th the main body of the 
British moved forward five miles across the plain to 
the summit of the descent into the valley of the 
Beshilo, where it encamped within sight of the 
heights of Falla, Selassie, Islamgi, and Magdala, 
around which the army of Theodore could be clearly 

On the 5th April the Commander-in-Chief de- 
spatched to King Theodore a formal demand for 
the immediate and unconditional surrender of the 
prisoners ; and arrangements were made with Ma- 
shesha and Masteat, the Queen of the Gallas, to cut 
off the retreat of Theodore in case" he might attempt 
to fly and carry ofi* the prisoners. 

Captain MacGregor's letters are continued from 
this date. 

" Camp Talanta, April 6. — I thought ere this to 
have written and told you of the capture of Mag- 
dala ; but there has been great delay, and we are 
still two marches from it, and it is not certain that 
we shall be there for some time. Yesterday the 
troops made what really was a tremendous march, 
for though it was only nineteen miles in actual 
distance, 3500 feet had to be descended and then 




ascended in the course of it, the ascent and descent 
being just the very steepest I have ever seen. The 
consequence is, the force halts to-day. These spas- 
modic efforts do little good. If this march had 
been done in two days, we should have got just as 
far and with less hardships to the troops. The other 
day an event occurred which seemed likely to cloud 
our relations with Gobize. His brother Mashesha, 
the Governor of Lasta, had been paying a visit to 
the Chief, and, on leaving, was passed out of our 
pickets all right; but, through the carelessness of 
some one, the 2d Brigade (which was encamped two 
miles off) was not warned, nor was an officer sent to 
take his rabble through their pickets ; consequently, 
when he and his ' mounted brutes,' as Colonel Fraser 
calls his cavalry, arrived in front of the 2d Brigade 
pickets, they were challenged, and not replying 
satisfactorily, were fired into. 

" The whole brigade was now got under arms, 
under the impression that some of Theodore's rag- 
tag were before them, and the cavalry having just 
arrived, were ordered to the front. Luckily, in the 
meanwhile Mashesha's men were running like hares, 
and though the cavalry were coming up to them 
hand over hand, they had got so far off that time 
was afforded to an officer to gallop out and stop the 
cavalry ere they got amongst them. Five minutes 
more, and Mashesha and all his men would have 
been polished off, by skilful combination of cut and 
thrust from Gough's men. The result was, one man 

VOL. I. s 



was shot and one cut down. Luckily it was no 
worse. Masheslia does not care, and otherwise 
it will not have a bad effect. We have had several 
letters lately from Rassara. He says all the prison- 
ers have had their chains knocked off; but he always 
warns us against a night-attack, a fact which shows 
he has too high an opinion of Theodore's prowess, 
and does not know that a night-attack by undis- 
ciplined men against disciplined troops is an ab- 
surdity. The worst result of such an event to us 
would be to deprive us of a night's rest. Theodore 
is said to be busy on his last plundering, taking all 
the food from the villages near, so that I suppose he 
means to fight ; report says that he means to contest 
the passage of the Beshilo. I only hope he will, for 
then indeed he will dig' his own grave. I don't 
think he has much hope of safety ; but to come out 
of Magdala and fight us in the open is playing our 
game in the most complete manner. If he does this, 
I hope measures will be taken to keep him in play 
on the Beshilo, and to send a body of picked men 
by night to surprise the fort denuded of its de- 
fenders, and cut the prisoners out. This would be 
splendid, and we could then come back and thrash 
Theodore in style, if he was disposed to want more, 
which is doubtful under the circumstances. I be- 
lieve this to be quite practicable. Our state of in- 
formation of the place is most unsatisfactory : we 
have only native report to trust to, no proper re- 
connaissance having yet been made. This, I hope, 


will be clone soon, and to-day we are all going with 
the Chief to see the place. I confess I do not ap- 
prove of putting off this most important point so 
long, and feel sure that it cannot be done properly 
in a day or a few hours. A place like that would take 
three or four days' careful reconnoitring : of course 
it is no business of mine. Colonel Phayre cannot 
go without orders ; but I am certain that the less 
we know of it before we attack, the fewer chances 
we give ourselves of carrying that attack through 
successfully. It is said that Theodore has with him 
4000 musketeers, about the same number of rag-tag 
(whom we needn't count), and about twenty-five 
guns of sorts : with these there is no doubt that if 
he likes he can make a very good stand. Magdala 
is a strong position to assault, and 4000 determined 
men would make it difficult to take. We shall bring 
into the field 600 4th King's Own Eoyal Eegiment, 
600 33d, 400 45th, 400 Baluchis, 400 Panjabis, 
and 200 Sappers — total, 2600 infantry ; and four 
12-pounder Armstrongs, twelve 7-pounder rifled steel 
guns, and a battery of rockets and two 8-inch mor- 
tars. Of these, however, we must deduct 300 in- 
fantry to guard our camp, so that 2300 will be all 
we shall have, — not many, you must allow, and con- 
sidering we have 10,000 in the country, very con- 
clusive of the folly of those who recommended that 
the expedition should be composed of 2000 men at 
the commencement. The Chief means, I believe, to 
use every means to prevent Theodore escaping with 


the prisoners and thus prolonging the campaign in- 
definitely ; and as he has tried to make no terms, 
and in fact no terms would be granted him, this, in 
connection with the fact of his own natural pride 
and prestige, and the presence in Magdala of all his 
treasure, may make him fight. So you see things 
are looking up a bit, and we may not have all our 
campaign for nothing. 

" A week ago I received my China medal, and 
with it an intimation that my claim to the Indian 
medal (which I had also ventured to apply for) was 
being investigated, so that I may hope to get it in 
another ten years, if I live so long. 

I remember Bella, when she saw my preparations 
for Abyssinia, remarked what a number of things I 
was taking. Among other items were six pairs of 
boots. Notwithstanding her chaflf, I am sorry I did 
not bring eight, because here we are, with I don't 
know how much more before us, and I have com- 
pletely worn into shreds, beyond all mending, four 
pairs of boots, and am now painfully looking to the 
time when I may have to take to sandal.s. In other 
respects I am pretty well ofi" — i.e., bearably so. 
There are certainly some holes in my coat, but one 
doesn't mind that, whereas a hole in your boot is a 
very serious affair. At the last moment we have 
run short of flour, and consequently tremendous 
efforts and awful prices are being proclaimed to in- 
duce the natives to bring some of their inferior flour, 
but here there is none. The plain of Talanta, which 



we are now on, is as bare of every trace of a village 
or of cultivation as in the day it was created. Theo- 
dore has burnt all the villages, and there are no 
villasfers to cultivate. 

" I have been much pleased at the high praise the 
Bengal troops elicit from every one who sees them. 
The 21st and 23d Panjabis, and the 10th and 12th 
Cavalry are thought a great deal of ; but I have also 
been amused at finding that no one will believe that 
these regiments have not been especially selected as 
the best in the Presidency. ' Oh yes,' they say ; ' of 
course they are not selected, of course all your troops 
are as good ! ' Now the fact is, that all our troops 
are not as good, but all our North-West regiments 
are ; and they are only selected inasmuch as Panjab 
troops always are sent in preference to others. I 
have seen a great deal of Bombay and Madras troops, 
and know every regiment in Bengal, and my idea 
is, that taking an average Panjab regiment as the 
standard, there are, perhaps, one-sixth of the Bombay 
army, and one-tenth of the Madras, fit to be com- 
pared with them ; but you know my idea of the 
Indian army is to have it very small, but all picked 
men, and to keep them constantly in work. ' Per- 
haps some day I may give my ideas on army re- 
organisation, a subject on which I have thought and 
continue to think a great deal. All the foreigners 
in camp are unanimous in condemning our policy 
with regard to Abyssinia : they stigmatise it as weak 
and timid in the extreme, and think it would be a 




crying shame to give up Zulla ; that now we have 
opened Abyssinia in a measure, we have no right 
to close it again, as would be the case if we give 
Annesley Bay over to the Egyptians. I am inclined 
to agree with them. Zulla is the finest port on the 
Red Sea, and if we give it up, we shall not reap the 
very smallest advantage from the expedition. 

" There is an agent of that most indefatigable of 
all engineers, M. Lesseps, here, and one of his objects 
is to secure that the 4th and 33d Eegiments, which 
go home after this business, go through the Canal. 
He says Colonel Ross, the Deputy Quartermaster- 
General in Egypt, has approved, and adds that this 
route would be most comfortable, and cheaper than 
sending them in the usual manner by rail. If it is 
cheaper and easier, I hope the Palmerstonian oppo- 
sition to the Canal has sufficiently died out not 
to militate against its adoption ; but on the other 
hand, if it is not, no absurd spirit of liberality to a 
former opponent should make us take to it. The 
French oflicers say we are jealous of the CanaL AVe 
may be, and we certainly were at one time ; but I 
have an idea that if they can prove practically to 
John Bull that it will pay him to use it, that gentle- 
man is one of the last to wish to pay more for the 
sake of an idea. 

" In ]\Iagdala there are said to be confined nearly 
300 political prisoners — Theodore's former oppo- 
nents ; and as these men belong in a great many 
instances to the families who are regarded as the 




rightful governors of the various provinces, it be- 
comes clear that if we release them, as of course we 
must, the possibility of very serious complications 
occurs. It is said that there are men among them 
who, if released, would draw off the adherents of 
Kassa or Gobize at once, so these individuals are 
not likely to care much for their release ; and yet if 
we do not release them, what can we do ? Alto- 
gether, I foresee that Abyssinia is not likely to be in 
the least bettered by our invasion ; there seems to 
be no man strong enough and able enough to take 
the lead and keep it. Theodore was the one man, 
but latterly he has become an insane devil. And 
of course, unless some man does take the lead and 
keep it, we can expect no commerce. You will see 
by this, that the fall of Magdala will by no means 
end our difficulties. True, neither Kassa, Gobize, 
nor Menilek has done much for us ; but they will not, 
for this reason^ be the less inclined to expect much ; 
and if they expect much, and get nothing but fair 
words, they may cut up rusty. 

The one way out of the difficulty that suggests 
itself to me, is to select a man — Kassa, Gobize, or 
Menilek, whoever is the ablest — and give him the 
sort of assistance we gave the Imperial Government 
in China, after we had laid it so low that it could 
not hold its own against the rebels. The results of 
that policy have been sufficiently successful to jus- 
tify an attempt here, if thought advisable on other 
grounds. I should not be inclined to recommend 




such a policy, and just mention it as the only way, 
if we were to continue to have anything to do with 
Abyssinia ; but if we persist in our determination of 
washing our hands of the country, and letting it go 
to the devil its own way, of course there would be 
no need of such a plan. 

It is a difficult question how far we are bound 
to do anything for them. Some people think we 
have no business to come here and destroy the only 
strong governor they have had, and let them fall 
into the hands of the Egyptians; but it is certain 
that if we chose a good man, and gave him the aid 
of officers, a few cannon, and a few thousand stands 
of arms, we could gain the end of securing a strong 
government for Abyssinia, and consequently of 
trade for us, at comparatively little cost ; and, 
as the officers would be volunteers going at their 
own risk, with very little fear of after-complications 

" I have just returned from the reconnaissance 
with the Chief, and we have seen Magdala as plainly 
and well as you can see six miles off. Magdala itself 
is an oblong rock of volcanic origin, scarped, all 
round, and only accessible in two places to the north 
and south. To the south it is separated from the 
main range, of which it is a spur, by a low saddle, 
completely commanded by the Amba. To the north 
it is connected with a precipitous hill called Selassie 
by a narrow strip of land named Islamgi : this hill 
is higher, and about 1.500 yards off, and apparently, 




as far as one can judge, is the key of the position. 
The Selassie hill is scarped all round ; but to the 
north-west it trends gradually towards another hill 
called the Falla, whose descending contours inter- 
sect it, and the two here form a narrow neck or 
saddle. The Falla hill is not under 3000 yards 
from the Selassie at its nearest point, and is lower, 
so that it is commanded by artillery ; but it also 
commands the only road which leads up from the 
plateau of Arogee below it, along its eastern sides, 
to the saddle above mentioned : therefore, if this 
road is to be used, it will be necessary to have pos- 
session of the Falla hill. Now the problem is : 
Given this position, defended by twenty guns and 
8000 fairly determined men (we must credit them 
with this), how are you, with 2300 men and eighteen 
guns, to take it and prevent the escape of Theodore 
with the prisoners ? Takiug this last necessity as 
absolute (for if he did escape with the captives, the 
campaign would surely be prolonged into the rains), 
it becomes necessary to look for some means of pre- 
venting such a movement ; and on examining the 
ground, we find that the hill of Magdala is a spur 
connected with the main range from Tanta by the 
low saddle aforementioned, below and on the south 
of the Amba, and that immediately on the east and 
west of this spur other spurs leave the same range, 
and trending irregularly to the north, are eventually 
lost in the Beshilo river. These spurs give us the 
means of occupying the main range, and of command- 


ing any exit from Magdala on the south — at which 
point is placed the only other gate, and which would 
consequently be the probable point at which he would 
attempt to escape. Therefore this point, Tanta, must 
be occupied by a column of greater or less strength 
— rather less, I should say, as flying men are not 
difficult to handle. Having secured against the 
possibility of his successfully carrying off the prison- 
ers, we have still to solve the other part of the pro- 
blem — which is to take Magdala, with the balance 
of our force. To do this, we must have first the 
Falla hill and then the Selassie hill. The first can 
be done by sending a column, consisting of sufficient 
infantry, the two mountain-batteries, and the rocket 
battery, by paths to the foot of Falla ; escalading 
that hill with infantry, and then getting up the 
artillery to the nearest point to Selassie, and sweep- 
ing with our fire the north slopes of that hill, so as 
to clear it of men who might be disposed to harass 
the advance of a second column, who would advance 
at this moment up another and more east path to 
the assault of Selassie. Selassie taken, our four 12- 
pounder Armstrongs and two 8 -inch mortars could 
come up the King's road, covered the whole way by 
our troops on that hill and by the natural formation 
of the ground, which slopes to the north and west, 
and hides everything from the foot of Magdala till 
the crest of it is reached ; and the mountain and 
rocket batteries could also descend the south-east 
slopes of Falla, and hugging the north and west 




slopes of Selassie, establish themselves on the Selassie 

" Thus we should have eighteen guns and all our 
infantry in Selassie, the key of the position. Once 
there, no troops could live for a quarter of an hour 
on Magdala, with the fire of our guns plunging into 
them from such a commanding height ; and the con- 
sequence will be that, within that time of our opening 
fire from Selassie, Theodore and his brave army will 
be making the best of their way out. But here an ob- 
jection offers to clearing off the Magdala plateau with 
a fire of shells and rockets. These, which will cause 
such havoc among Theodore's men, and which will 
burn his houses, are likely — nay, almost certain — to 
place the prisoners and the houses they occupy in 
equal danger ; so we must either risk this chance, 
or, abandoning our plan of shelling the fort, try 
some other. In front of Selassie, and commanded 
by it, is the Kokirbur gate, the only way in from 
our side : w^e must therefore advance and assault 
this gate — the advance of our troops being covered 
as long as possible by the fire of our guns and of 
marksmen sent forward. In this last way we shall 
lose a great many more men, but we shall give our- 
selves the best chance of saving our prisoners. It is 
a choice of evils. We shall see which Sir Kobert 
will take. 

" Thus you see I have taken Magdala for you (on 
paper). What I have said is founded on what I have 
seen. But if I was general, I w^ould not be at all 


satisfied with my observations : there may be for- 
mations of the ground, pathways, &c., which we 
could not see, and which would change the whole 
plan of attack. I would have the place thoroughly 
reconnoitred in every direction, so that not a stone 
on the hillside should be unknown to me, not a path 
nor a bush unseen by me. I suppose Sir Eobert 
will do this. I have not the faintest idea where I 
shall be placed, but shall, of course, try for a good 
one ; and as Colonel Phayre is a brave, forward 
man, I daresay we shall get pretty much to the 

" To - day the 2d Brigade has arrived, and to- 
morrow the heavy artillery (called so by com- 
parison only) and the 45th will be up, so that the 
capture will come off on the 9th or 10th. I am 
just going out with Colonel Phayre to reconnoitre 
further, and we may have some slight skirmishing 
with Theodore. They say his troops are much dis- 
pirited, and he has to try to keep them up with lies. 
It is very curious that he has not made the slightest 
sign to show that he knows of our arrival in the 
country. Does this look promising of a fight, or 
not '? Good-bye. I hope the next letter will give 
you the real, undoubted, true, and particular account 
of the fall. I trust I shall come oat of it as I have 
come out of many as great dangers." 

" Magdala, April 12. — I think my last was from 
Talanta, within sight of Magdala, written in that 
state of pleasing uncertainty which they say is the 




fate of bridegrooms-elect before tliey take the fatal 
plunge. We are waiting and looking— for I think 
every single individual in camp went to do that, 
from his Excellency down to the muleteers ; and of 
course, each one that went to look came back and 
felt called upon to give his idea of the best way 
of taking it. I gave you the benefit of my idea 
in my last ; and judging from events, and those 
of others, I don't think it was so wild as some I 
have heard. I think, if 'tis ever my fate to com- 
mand an army in the field, I shall insist on a very 
careful medical opinion with regard to the tempera- 
ments of my chief ofiicers, as I think the possession 
of such information would enable one to form more 
just ideas as to the value of each report which might 
be submitted. Some men's reports are always col- 
oured with the hopeful roseate tint proceeding from 
their own sanguine natures, while others invariably 
display dark washes of Indian ink. One man sees 
in Magdala an impregnable mountain position ; to 
another, with the same opportunities of judging, it 
merely appears a hill with easy approaches — and it 
should be remembered that both are perfectly honest 
in their opinions. The one can see no more reason 
for the tints of the other than he can fly. In addi- 
tion to these discrepancies of opinion, proceeding 
from the difi"erent temperaments of men, a general 
has to remember other causes which, if they do not 
alter, intensify these opinions. 

"On 7th April I" was sent forward with the regiment 




of pioneers to select a good position for the bivouac 
of the army, and secure the passage of the Beshilo. 
I went without tent, or even change of clothes, and 
consequently got wet through and had to lie in the 
w^et all night. However, we managed the work we 
had come for unmolested, and secured a position that 
all Theodore's men could not storm or turn, were 
they ten times the men they are. On the 9th I 
stayed there till the afternoon, and then walked up 
to camp to report progress, getting wet through 
again. On the 10th I went with Colonel Phayre 
on ahead, to reconnoitre, as far as we safely could, 
towards Magdala, the 1st Brigade, with Sir Charles 
Staveley, coming up to support us, or take advantage 
of any opportunity for securing important points 
which we might discover. We advanced carefully 
up the ravine which leads to Magdala for two and a 
half miles, and then found a path which took us to 
the crest of the heights overlooking it, and w^ent to 
w^ithin two miles of the foot of the Falla hill (men- 
tioned in my last) ; here we waited till Sir Charles 
came up with some troops, and the ground in front 
being pretty open and unoccupied, we pushed on to 
the King's road, to about half a mile of the Selassie 
hill, without seeing an enemy below. We then came 
back and chose a position for our camp, and sat down 
to rest — having been then walking, almost without 
intermission, for eleven hours. I confess I was then 
very nearly played out, and sat down with that 
feeling of intense pleasure which only a thoroughly 




tired man can feel when he sees the end of his 
labours. It was not so much the distance covered 
— I have walked double as much before — but the 
sun was fearfully hot ; we had had nothing to eat, 
and we got not a single drop of water the whole day, 
and we had to climb up some extremely stiff places. 
Several men and officers gave in, regularly done ; 
and if you had seen the way the men straggled — 
with that painful distressed look, their tongues 
cleavinor to the roof of their mouths for want of 
moisture, and yet all that was in them pouring out 
in big drops of perspiration — you would have said : 
This has evidently been a hard day, yet a good one, 
one to be cherished up as a standard of comparison 
when more hard days shall come. I tell you, I felt, 
not once but several times, that I must give in if I 
got no water. I gave first my telescope, then my 
aneroid, then my sword, to a brother officer who was 
riding; then I felt even the prismatic compass a 
weight, and gave that ; then off came the coat (a fig 
for military appearance ! thought I) — till at last, 
when in decency nothing more could come off, I 
began to have thoughts of giving in. I don't know 
how far they affect other men, but with me they are 
a sure sign of being nearly pumped. When you 
think (for the time only, certainly) glory is a mis- 
take, fame a delusion, and distinction a snare, noth- 
ing seems worth going on ten minutes further for. 
You, who before prided yourself on that very quality 
of endurance, on never giving in, are ready now to 




confess that you are completely clone ; and yet, 
somehow, you don't confess it. You struggle on, 
feeling that courage is oozing out with each drop 
of perspiration, another round turn ; you say : How 
infernally hot ! Have you a drop of water 1 and 
thus, humbug to the last, manage to stumble in more 
dead than alive, to try and persuade yourself, even 
when the fatigue is over and the thirst quenched, 
that you could have endured more. This Avas my 
feeling. I was quite done ; I must have dropped in 
half an hour more. I have gone through some hot 
days, some tiring, hungry, and thirsty ones before, 
but never one where intense heat, raging thirst, and 
dull fatigue combined so completely to make me 
confess what a poor thing I was after all. And if I 
may be permitted to judge from my own feelings, I 
should say this was pretty much what every man 
who walked the whole day felt. Some rode, and of 
course have no right to talk of hard work — though 
their horses may. Phayre and I came in alone, 
ahead of a few cavalry as escort, and I think it was 
a toss-up which was the most done ; and I assure 
you it was balm to see, as each wretched straggler 
toiled painfully up to the little knoll on which we 
sat and then threw himself down, that we were not 
the only victims to the day's work. After we had 
been in an hour, word came up from the rear, ' Col- 
onel Cameron reports that the 4th are so done up 
they cannot come on." So it was with the Panjabis, 
and the Baluchis, and all who walked. 


Theodore's preparations. 


While we had been sitting, thankful for the 
rest, making anxious inquiries about the water, and 
arranging for a camp, we noticed that the number of 
men on Falla hill had increased greatly and was 
increasing more ; but we thought curiosity was their 
object, for as each man crowded up, he strove to 
get to the front to see the first of English soldiers. 
It was 'lucky we were too far to make out much of 
their movements, much less their faces, or they might 
have seen how done up we were. There was a 
tolerably clear space round one man in red, whom 
we afterwards learnt was Theodore, and he seemed 
to be speaking with frequent gesticulations, and the 
crowd swayed about as if by his order, when after a 
time they went back, and out of the crowd, dragged 
or lifted or pushed by many men, came some things 
which could only be made out as black objects, but 
which turned out to be guns. 

" Then we began to think they might fire at us, 
and it was curious to watch the magic efi*ect of the 
thought. For six months had the men toiled and 
slaved with half rations and the barest necessities 
of life ; for six months had they borne this without 
a murmur, and borne, what was far worse to them, 
the sneers of the home papers at a campaign without 
a fight — borne it, with one hope, one wish upper- 
most, — yes, above that of the release of the captives 
— for soldiers are not less selfish than other people, I 
suppose, — and that was that Theodore might meet 
us on the open hillside and give us a chance ; and 

VOL. I. T 




wlien that thought became changed to a reality 
when the first gun of the campaign was fired, the 
effect was marvellous. All jumped to their feet, and 
not a mere cheer, but a frantic yell of delight broke 
out, and Theodore's pluck was clapped with an 
energy and an excitement which I have only seen 
equalled by an audience listening to the warblings 
of the divine Patti. 

" Where is the heat now ? where the hunger, 
thirst, or fatigue ? all are gone : w^ho said her 
Majesty's 4th were so done up they could not come 
on ? they are doubling, yes, running, to get under 
fire, noisily, cheerily, talking the while ; and the 
Baluchis, the Panjabis, are so ' completely knocked 
up ' that they are running down the hillside like 

" ' D — n me if I want any water now. Bill ! ' 
' Chalo Bhai, ab badla lenge ! ' were the characteristic 
cries of the Indian and the British troops. And as Sir 
Charles Staveley (a few minutes before looking a 
haggard, worn-out man from the effects, of his late 
illness, but now with a bright eager look and erect 
bearing, gave the orders in quick succession,* ' In- 
fantry ivill take their packs off/' 'Naval Brigade 
to the front ! ' ' The Panjabis to support the artil- 
lery ! ' a man who did not know troops and the 
feelings that move them, might have thought he had 
ordered each man some tangible personal advan- 
tage ; and yet to them these orders only meant, Go 
forward and take your chance of a bullet. The 




crowd on the hill was meanwhile leaving the crest 
to us, and moving away, first to the rear and then to 
the road, down which they came in a quick confident 
way that surprised me, and showed those men were 
accustomed only to victory. Down they streamed, 
without hesitation or stoppage, on to the plateau in 
front of us, riding boldly, confidently up to the very 
edge, crying and flourishing their spears and firing 
occasionally. Meanwhile the rockets of the Naval 
Brigade were preparing, and as they got to the edge 
of the plateau, whish went one into the middle of 
them, causing them to reel and disperse, and calling 
forth a thousand throaty and hearty cheers at our 
first shot. Then the 4th sent forward skirmishers, 
the Baluchis and Sappers in support, the artillery 
firing shell, and the Panjabis for the present in 
support of them, and then came Theodore's first 
introduction to the terrible Sniders. Quick, sharp, 
angry shots were heard, and after them men were 
seen to fall like logs. The effect was tremendous, 
and the 4th and Baluchis (armed with Enfields) 
then getting into line, advanced firing. The Abys- 
sinians did not run back, but went back huddled 
together as if they could not make out this beautiful 
array, and were bewildered at the terrible fire which 
reached them from so far ; but even as they went 
back, over the swell of the ground behind came the 
thin line of red and green (the ' worn-out ' 4th and 
the Baluchis), spitting fire, as it were, and then as 
they reached the road back to their fort, they turned 




to the left — whether to avoid the deadly fire, or to 
outfiank us in that direction or not, I don't know — 
and made for the ground overhanging the ravine up 
which our baggage was coming. But woe to them 
for this fault ! the woe that falls to men who dare to 
cross the front of an enemy within range ; for no 
sooner was the move commenced, than it was noticed, 
— noticed by a Chamberlain, and one who brought 
much of the promptitude and daring of his dauntless 
brother Neville to bear on the position. In an 
instant a wing of the Panjabis were doubling down 
the hill, and then, circling round the contour just 
below the crest, they caught the Abyssinians just 
trying to cross the next ravine, and that they smote 
them severely, frequent volleys at fifty paces augured, 
and the number of dead bodies next morning proved. 
Then those of Theodore's men who remained w^ere 
peppered by the 4 th ; those that remained on the 
hill, and did not go down to that valley of death 
where the Panjabis were, were torn to pieces by 
the shells from Penn's (Plucky Penn of the Crimea) 
battery. Of those who went to that valley, many 
stayed, to go down valleys no more ; some got up 
beyond, and some got too far, but were caught again 
in flank by the baggage-guard of the 4th. And so 
the thing ended ; at 4.45 it commenced, at 6.15 it 

" Theodore fired from eight guns at us, from his 
commanding position on Falla, and the near slopes 
of Selassie by the saddle, yet he hit no one, not one 




man or horse, with all of them. His infantry fired 
as well as they could, and the result of their fire 
was Captain Eoberts, 4th, wounded, and about 
twenty men of the different regiments engaged. 
Of the result to him we can tell little, but it must 
have been terrible. I have just heard (but not yet 
surely ascertained) that our burying-parties have 
buried 370 bodies ; if this is the case, his total of 
killed and wounded will not be less than 500. 

" I was fortunate enough to be present throughout 
the whole fight, at first by the Chief, then having 
carried an order for him, with the 4th, and lastly, 
having fulfilled the same errand for Sir Charles 
Staveley, with the Panjabis ; so I had an opportu- 
nity of seeing the whole fight, and under different 
and favourable circumstances. The effect of the 
rockets on the enemy was very great. After they 
got to know them, they ran from them like sheep from 
the dog ; and though the fire of the Naval Brigade 
was very wild at first, it became much more steady 
towards the end, and one of them, we hear, went 
within a few yards of where Theodore was standing 
on the hill directing the guns. The mountain 
battery, familiarly termed in camp the Steel Penns, 
also did excellent service with their shells and 
rockets. On our side the danger was not much, 
as shown by the casualties ; but the results of the 
action were, as this letter will show, simply wonder- 
ful. During the whole fight it was pouring with 
rain, so we were all wet through ; and as the troops 




liad to march back and stand by their arms the whole 
night, I think I am not saying too much when I 
say that, as far as actual hardship goes, that twenty- 
four hours has not often been surpassed. I had to 
go to see about the water and the camp, so that I 
did not get away till 11 p.m., having been on my 
feet, with a short rest, since 5 a.m., eighteen hours, 
and then General Merewetlier gave me some cold 
beef and a chujmttee, and I lay out in the open, for 
no tents were up." 

''April 11. — Next morning, about 6.30 a.m., a flag 
of truce appeared, and shortly afterwards Prideaux 
and Flad rode into camp. They said that the King, 
on seeing his army bolt, and the casualties amongst 
them — for, in addition to those killed and wounded, 
very few went back that night to him — became 
very anxious, and in the middle of the night sent 
Wlademir to Eassam to say, ' I thought I was a 
man, I thought I could beat men sent by a woman, 
but I am mistaken ; I am beaten, all my best men 
are dead, I have nothing but women left, and to- 
morrow they will come and kill the rest : you must 
reconcile me.' Eassam sent the two above men- 
tioned : they came mounted on mules with gaudy 
trappings, belonging to the King, and as they rode 
in, the soldiers crowded round them, wrung their 
hands, and cheered most vociferously. I must say 
I felt wild, and kicked up as much row as the 
noisiest * Tommy Atkins ' there, till somehow I felt 
that ' lump ' in my throat, which shows how true are 


Shakespeare's words, 'One touch of nature/ &c., and 
that the hardest of us have their soft moments. I 
am sure the old Chief had the ' lump ' very bad ; he 
couldn t speak when he shook hands with them, and 
it is sure that if he had tried he would have burst 
out into as unmistakable a ' boo-hoo ' as ever came 
from schoolojirl's throat. Both Prideaux and Flad 
looked in excellent condition, the first as if he had 
been kept all the time under a glass case, and dusted 
by a servant-maid. They seemed very confident 
Theodore would give them up at once ; but said he 
had said nothing about terms, but had only asked 
to be reconciled. 

After getting some breakfast, they went back 
with the Chiefs answer, which was (I speak under 
correction, as of course I did not see it), ' Uncon- 
ditional surrender of all the prisoners, and of the 
King, his life and honourable treatment being guar- 
anteed.'' They went away, and came back about 
3 P.M., looking very blue. The King had flown into 
a passion, and nearly shot them when he heard the 
answer ; he would not give the prisoners unless his 
fort was left unmolested. Prideaux seemed to be 
very much down in the mouth, thought they would 
be killed, and things generally became very black. 
The Chief had a long interview with them, then 
came out looking wretched, walked near his tent in 
a half-dazed manner for five minutes, then went 
back and sent for Sir C. Staveley, General Mere- 
wether, Colonel Thesiger successively. Came out 




agaiD, looking eighty, the weight was upon him, 
what was he to do ? 

" I thought as I looked at him, and heard round 
the careless talk and light laughter of the soldiers. 
Here is the most terrible part of a general's duty, the 
weight of the responsibility for the lives of brother 
soldiers, and his whole professional life at stake. I 
thouoht, Here is a man who at this moment feels 
physically and morally that every man in England is 
looking at him, watching him for an answer, waiting 
for his word, before breaking out into the angry 
disappointed howls which would wither him as if 
struck by lightning, or into the applause so dear to 
every soldier's heart, notwithstanding theories about 
duty, &c., and I asked myself whether I would 
change with him at that moment. 

" But he stood firm, and the answer was (I be- 
lieve) still the same unconditional surrender. About 
6.30 P.M. Prideaux came again to say the King had 
tried to shoot himself, was now nearly blind, and 
quite silly drunk, was sending down Eassam and all 
the English prisoners, and was crying on the top of 
the hill himself. Sure enough, about eight, Rassam, 
Cameron, Blanc, Flad, Kerens, Rosenthal (and Mrs), 
Stern, Mayer, &c., came in. Here was a stroke of 
luck. Five hours before Theodore had in his hands 
terrible cards, and now he had thrown them up, put 
the game into Sir Robert's hands, and had given 
over the prisoners without a word about terms. 
Next morning, Easter Sunday, the rest of the prison- 


Theodore's unreason. 


ers, consisting of Mrs Flacl and the German artisans, 
also came in, also without terms, so that now Sir 
Robert had everything his own way. It is true that 
Theodore said he would never come, but would die 
at the head of a few faithful followers in Magdala ; 
but this afforded no cause for fear, but rather for con- 
gratulation, for although his resolution might affect 
the number of casualties, it could not affect the final 
result. The capture of Magdala was now certain, 
and I can imagine how the Chief must have chuckled 
that there was nothing but bullets in his way. No 
responsibility now as to their lives, — all was clear. 
Such is the uncertainty of war ! 1 will defy any 
one to afford the slightest clue to the reason of 
Theodore's late actions : it was not fear, nor remorse, 
nor kindness, nor policy ; neither remorse nor kind- 
ness was in the man, and if he had felt fear, the 
very last thing he should have done would have been 
the surrender of the prisoners. In this, as in many 
other circumstances, he had been our best friend. 
The best general, the greatest statesman in the world, 
could not have brought about a more completely 
successful combination of circumstances than was 
now at Sir Robert's disposal to make the most of. 

" The first news we heard on waking on Easter 
Monday (April 13) was that Theodore was off. 
This was true ; he had left, or tried to leave, but, 
whether from seeing the place surrounded, as it was, 
by Gallas thirsting for his blood, or because his 
chiefs prevented him, I know not ; anyhow he came 




back. The troops were formed up for attack, the 
33d leading ; because, though no fighting was ex- 
pected, it was necessary to proceed in exactly the 
same way as if we were to be resisted. The Arm- 
strong guns and 8-inch mortars took up their re- 
spective positions, and everything, down to scaling- 
ladders and powder-bags, were held in readiness, 
and we advanced. As we were going up, all the 
people on the hill began shouting, ' Lill ! lill ! lill ! ' 
in welcome of us, and pouring down, threw down 
their arms without the slightest hesitation, and so 
we got possession of Falla and Selassie without a shot. 

"A report came in that Theodore had shot himself, 
then another that he had told every one to go except 
those who meant to die with him on the hill, and so 
on, each contradicting the other, but each having 
some sort of foundation of truth. From the top of 
Selassie, to which we now went, we could see quite 
plainly that there were scarcely any men in Magdala, 
at all events that very few were moving about out- 
side the houses ; but notwithstanding this, the Chief 
thought it necessary to precede any attack by three 
hours' shelling, and this proved to be the very worst 
artillery practice I ever saw in my life ; a large pro- 
portion fell far short, and those that reached did no 

" Then the order was given to advance. Two 
companies of the 33d going first in skirmishing 
order, they kept up a terrible fire with the Snider ; 
but inasmuch as there was no one to fire at, I must 




say I thought their doing so most unsoldier-like. 
The Sappers then came to the front, and went up 
the path to the gate, — there was little or no fire on 
them, perhaps twelve men defended the gate, — and 
when they got there, they found it shut and barri- 
caded, so the 33d turned off and clambered up the 
sides, got in, shot the few men there were, and 
Magdala was ours. There was one man who was 
seen to stick to the gate to the last, and then to 
escape up to the second gate, fired at a hundred 
times, and closely pursued by the 33d. On getting 
to the second gate, this man was wounded, and 
seeing that escape was hopeless, he turned suddenly 
round, faced his foes, and putting his pistol to his 
head, fell dead as the first man of the 33d reached 
him. This man was Theodore, King of kings ! 
Negus-Negus ! Emperor of Abyssinia ! That lump 
of clay was he who had created all this fuss, and 
now he was less than the least of us. 

I am glad he died game, glad that when his 
hour was come he faced it like a man. And when 
that man died, the cup of Sir Kobert Napier's good 
fortune was full. If nine months ago one had pro- 
phesied that in three and a half months from date 
of the Chiefs landing the prisoners would be re- 
leased without a hair of their heads being injured, 
]\Iagdala would be taken with so slight a loss that it 
may be called no loss, Theodore would be dead, and 
that all this would be done without a single mis- 
calculation being made by our Chief along some 400 




miles of road, you would have shook your head and 
called him sanguine : you would have said, ' Such 
luck is most unlikely ; the best-laid plans are very 
seldom so completely successful in war, and if we 
get the prisoners alive and well, we shall be lucky 1 ' 
And yet the above is neither more nor less than 
what has happened. 

" I do not know of a single campaign where the 
results have been more completely in consonance 
with the plans or the desires of those who ordered 
it. There is very little of any value in the place, a 
trumpery crown being the most costly object. There 
was talk about treasure, but none has been found as 
yet ; but prize - agents have been appointed, and 
whatever there is is to be sold by auction, and the 
proceeds divided at once among the soldiers. The 
Kirwee prize-money has taught" English comman- 
ders a lesson they must profit by, if they would 
keep their soldiers from plundering and consequent 

" If the whole of this result can be attributed to 
any one action, I should say that it was owing to 
the terrible lesson Theodore learned at the fight at 
Arogee on Good Friday. After that, no one would 
stand by him, and there is no doubt all his actions 
after that were the result of this feeling of want of 
confidence in his men. As there has been a good 
deal of controversy, and still great difference of 
opinion about this, I will return to it in a future 
letter. If the Abyssinians were astonished at the 




Sniders on Good Friday, they must have been 
equally or more astounded on Saturday to see 
parties of English soldiers coming out to bury their 
dead, and take their wounded for treatment. Fore- 
most in this good work was one of the Chiefs 
aides, Lord Charles Hamilton. I saw this young 
fellow, who is perhaps one of the gayest and most 
reckless young sabreurs in all her Majesty's Hussars, 
take a wounded man up in his arms, put him on his 
own charger, and take him thus into camp, up a 
steep hillside. There is nothing much in this per- 
haps, and on paper it seems only what any one 
would do ; but when you come to actual facts, you 
find that many men would not do it. There are 
some men who would pass by a wounded man 
without vouchsafing a drop of water ; others, who 
would give this, would not deign more than a word 
of empty pity ; others would go so far as to order 
a stretcher ; but that day I only saw one who did 
what young Hamilton did. To turn to a contrast, I 
will mention a thing which disgusted me beyond 
measure. Theodore's dead body was lying in the 
fort, surrounded by a crowd of soldiers looking at it, 
when a rush of fiends, vultures, dressed like English- 
men, broke through, and tearing the clothes ofi" the 
corpse, fought for bits as mementoes ! I was sick- 
ened. I never saw anything more completely dis- 
gusting and unmanly in my life. . . . Heaven 
knows there is no maudlin sensitiveness in me ; 
but I say, a dead body is a dead body, and should 


always be respected as such, whether it is that of 
the greatest ruffian unhung or not. Mind, it is not 
because it was Theodore's body. I think the earth 
never produced a more cruel monster, and that we 
should have been quite justified on the score of 
outraged humanity in hanging such a brute. No 
honourable treatment or respect was due to the 
living Theodore, but to the dead corpse there was. 

The ex-captives left this to-day (15th). They are 
all quite well except Bardel, who has had fever. In 
fact, if they had all been living under the most care- 
ful system of diet and exercise, they could not look 
better ; and judging from their houses, &c., in the 
fort, they appear to have been treated well enough, 
except in the matter of the chains, which was done 
more as a precaution than anything else. 

" Ever since the l ith we have been in the greatest 
straits for water : we have had each about three 
quarts of putrid black stuff ; and as, of course, this 
is not more than enough for drinking, only those 
who have had time to spare have been able to go 
to the river, six miles off, and get a wash. Our 
plan for the last four days has been to' sacrifice a 
quart between us, and dip the end of our towels 
in, taking a sort of schoolboy rub as far as the 
water will go. This is very nasty for you to read, 
but it is much nastier for us to endure, and as 
we have a great deal of walking in a hot sun, the 
deprivation of a sufficiency to wash is a severe 
hardship. It is very much worse than ZuUa; for 




there, if the water was bad and scarce, you could at 
all events always buy liquor — beer, claret, or cham- 
pagne being present in abundance. There never was 
much water at Magdala, or near it, but what there 
is has been rendered undrinkable ; and this I say, 
though we do drink, we only do so because we must 
or starve ; but it is worse than black-draught, which 
has wdth it the consolation that it may do you good 
— with this water the only wonder is it does you no 
harm. I fully expect to have something horrible in 

" The filth of Magdala is indescribable. You know 
the Abyssinians are the dirtiest people under the sun, 
but at Magdala it is awful. They eat enormous 
quantities of meat, and their invariable practice is to 
kill the ox or sheep, eat as much as they want, and 
leave the entrails to rot outside their door. Theo- 
dore must certainly have been the most cruel fiend 
the world ever saw. On Thursday last it appeared 
there was not a sufficiency of provisions for his pris- 
oners, so he had 308 human beings thrown over a 
precipice below their prison. This is practical proof. 
I saw the bodies rotting there yesterday; but for this 
I should have felt inclined to have given him honour- 
able treatment if he had given himself up, but after 
this I think we should have been perfectly justified 
before God and man in hanorino- him. To have the 
power of ridding this world of such a monster, and 
not to exercise it, would have been a crime and a 


napier's address 

" All that has been collected of the prize is to be 
sold to-morrow, and perhaps I may be able to pick 
up some curios for Seton Guthrie ; but I do not fancy 
there is much that he would care about, so I shall 
not buy many things." 

" Adjutant-General's Office, 
Headquarters Camp, Talanta Plain, 
20th Aiwil 1868. 

" Soldiers and Sailors of the Army of Abyssinia, 

" The Queen and the people of England intrusted 
to you a very arduous and difficult expedition — to 
release our countrymen from a long and painful cap- 
tivity, and to vindicate the honour of our country, 
which had been outraged by Theodore, King of 

I congratulate you, with all my heart, on the 
noble way in which you have fulfilled the commands 
of our Sovereign. 

" You have traversed, often under a tropical sun, 
or amidst storms of rain and sleet, 400 miles of 
mountainous and rugged country. 

" You have crossed ranges of mountains, many steep 
and precipitous, more than 10,000 feet in altitude, 
where your supplies could not keep pace with you. 

" In four days you passed the formidable chasm 
of the Bcshilo ; and when within reach of your enemy, 
though with scanty food, and some of you even for 
many hours without either food or water, you de- 
feated the army of Theodore, which poured down 




upon you from its lofty fortress in full confidence of 

A host of many thousands have laid down their 
arms at your feet. 

" You have captured and destroyed upwards of 
thirty pieces of artillery, many of great weight and 
efficiency, with ample stores of ammunition. 

" You have stormed the almost inaccessible fortress 
of Magdala, defended by Theodore and a desperate 
remnant of his chiefs and followers. 

" After you forced the entrance to his fortress, 
Theodore, who himself never showed mercy, dis- 
trusted the offer of it held out to him by me, and 
died by his own hand. 

" You have released not only the British captives, 
but those of other friendly nations. 

" You have unloosed the chains of more than 
ninety of the principal chiefs of Abyssinia. 

" Magdala, on which so many victims have been 
slaughtered, has been committed to the flames, and 
now remains only a scorched rock. 

" Our complete and rapid success is due, firstly, to 
the mercy of God, whose hand, I feel assured, has 
been over us in a just cause ; secondly, to the high 
spirit with which you have been inspired. 

Indian soldiers have forgotten the prejudices of 
race and creed, to keep pace with their European 

. " Never did an army enter on a war with more 
honourable feelings than yours. This it is that has 
VOL. I. u 


napier's address. 


carried you through so many fatigues and difficulties ; 
your sole anxiety has been for the moment to arrive 
when you could close with your enemy. 

" The remembrance of your privations will pass 
away quickly ; your gallant exploit will live in history. 

" The Queen and the people of England will appre- 
ciate and acknowledge your services; on my part, as 
your Commander, I thank you for your devotion to 
your duty, and the good discipline you have main- 
tained throughout. 

Not a single complaint has been made against a 
soldier, of fields injured, or villagers wilfully molested, 
either in person or property. 

" We must not, however, forget what we owe to 
our comrades who have been labouring for us in the 
sultry climate of Zulla, the Pass of Koomaylo, or in 
the monotony of the posts which maintained our com- 
munications. One and all would have given every- 
thing they possessed to be with us; they deserve our 

" I shall watch over your safety to the moment of 
your re-embarkation, and shall to the end of my life 
remember with pride that I have commanded you. 

"E. Napier, Lieutenant-General, 

Gommander-in- Chief, A hyssinia. " 

Captain (now Major- General) E. F. Chapman, 
Royal Artillery, gives the following account of the 
retirement to the coast : ^ — 

"The army started in three columns on the 21st, 

1 Proceedings of the Royal Artillery Institution. 




2 2d, and 23d of April. These experienced some 
difficulty in the return march to Antalo, owing to 
the number of troops and followers in each, the ex- 
hausted state of the cattle, and the stormy weather 
they encountered, and some modification in their ori- 
ginal formation was made. It would no doubt have 
been impolitic to reduce the size of the columns, so 
as to enable them to perform long and difficult 
marches with comparative ease, and too hurried a 
return would not have been sufficiently dignified ; 
yet the reassembly of the force at Antalo on the 
12th of May without disaster was a relief to those 
who feared for our supplies, and dreaded the imme- 
diate downfall of the rains. 

" Once in Tigre, we came upon the admirable roads 
constructed by the 2d Division during our advance, 
and single-file marching was at an end. 

" The casualties amongst the European troops since 
the commencement of the operations at this time 
only amounted to 27 — 5 officers and 22 men; 2 offi- 
cers died violent deaths — out of a total of 520 officers 
and 4250 men landed in Abyssinia, and the expedi- 
tion had lasted six months. 

"The following congratulatory message from her 
Majesty the Queen was published at Antalo : — 

"Headquarters Camp, Antalo, 
I2th May 1868. 

" The Commander-in-Chief has the highest satisfac- 
tion in conveying to the army of Abyssinia the fol- 
lowing message received this day by telegraph. 




" Sir Robert Napier most heartily congratulates all 
under his command on this flattering recognition of 
their services by her Most Gracious Majesty Queen 

" ' The Queen sends hearty congratulations and 
thanks to Sir Robert Napier and his gallant force on 
their brilliant success.' " 



Adigeraty February 17, 1868. 

It is very evident that Theodore is trying to reach Magdala 
for the express purpose of getting the prisoners into his own 
immediate power; and it is certain that if he succeeds and 
carries the prisoners off with him, the campaign will be in- 
definitely prolonged, and the expense immensely increased. 
I tlierefore take it for granted that it is desirable to release 
the prisoners before Theodore gets to Magdala, and also 
that if this should unfortunately prove impossible, we should 
have some sure means of knowing exactly where they are 
taken to, and of seizing on the instant any opportunity 
which the fortune of war may give for their release. 

There are three ways of doing this. One is to induce 
either Menilek or Gobize to forestall Theodore, and take 
Magdala before he can reach it ; but this has the disadvan- 
tage that, whoever takes Magdala, also gets possession of the 
prisoners ; and I see no reason to believe that if they were 
in the hands of Menilek or Gobize, these chiefs would 
give them up on easier terms than Theodore would, and 


even if they did we should, by placing ourselves under an 
obligation to them, only the more complicate matters. 

Another plan might be to send a flying column to take 
Magdala before Theodore got there, or at all events to cut 
him off from that place. Such a plan would doubtless be 
feasible to the extent of overcoming all opposition — Theo- 
dore's 5000 musketeers notwithstanding. But, however 
much a flying column might dispense with baggage, it must 
eat; and the feeding of even a very small column in a 
country which yields no supplies, and for a forced march of 
300 miles, is a very serious affair — in fact, if such a pro- 
position is put into figures, it will be found that it must be 
limited by the amount of days' rations a mule can carry for 
man and beast (not forgetting in the calculation the food of 
the mules themselves and their drivers). Therefore it must 
be admitted that, till such a column got within this number 
of days of Magdala, a dash could not be carried out ; and it 
is not asserting too much to say that before it got to this 
point Theodore would hear of its approach, or rather of 
the approach of the large force the fear and imagination of 
the peasantry and his spies would have exaggerated it to, 
and hearing of it, he could hardly do otherwise than sur- 
mise that its object was intimately connected with the re- 
lease of his prisoners. Under these circumstances, his most 
natural course would be to throw himself from Wadela into 
Magdala, carry off his prisoners before our column arrived, 
and as we should then have come nearly to the end of our 
supply, an immediate and continued pursuit would not be 
possible. Now, the third way of attempting, if not actually to 
release the prisoners, at all events so to aid them as to make 
their eventual freedom pretty sure, would be to send a small 
party by forced marches to the vicinity of Magdala, or if 
the prisoners had been taken from that place, to their im- 
mediate neighbourhood. The strength of this party must 
be limited by three considerations : it must be so small that 
it could supply itself with provisions — so small that Theo- 




dore would not anticipate any very decisive action from it, 
even if he heard of its approach — and so small that its real 
intentions might be veiled with a fair chance of success ; 
and yet it must be so organised, equipped, and commanded, 
as to give it all the power it is possible for so small a body 
to possess. I would point out that I do not propose any- 
thing so quixotic as the despatch of a forlorn-hope to take 
Magdala sword in hand, and release the prisoners at all 
hazards and under any circumstances. My object is not to 
offer chances of gaining the Victoria Cross to each individual 
soldier of this party, nor yet to provide each man at the 
smallest possible notice with six feet of Abyssinian ground ; 
but it is to suggest a means by which the commander of 
this army may be kept surely and certainly acquainted with 
the movements of Theodore and his prisoners, and by which 
he may instantly seize any chance for their release which 
the fortune of war may momentarily present. The party 
should not be a body of Don Quixotes, burning to engage 
anything from a windmill upwards, but a party of cool, de- 
termined, untiring partisans, who should hover round the 
prisoners, watching over them and furthering their release, 
either by seizing unhesitatingly practicable opportunities 
for this end, or by enabling the commander of the army to 
do so. 

It were unprofitable to detail how this could be done, 
even if it were possible. A partisan can no more lay down 
what he will do on the morrow than he can be .sure of what 
is passing in his enemy's mind ; having his object clearly in 
view, he can but act as circumstances direct. To-day he 
may be striving for his end by stratagem, to-morrow he may 
be retreating to save his party from capture, and the next 
day he may return, and by a bold stroke carry his object. 

The desired object having been thought out and under- 
stood, the means having been carefully organised, the way 
must be left to the judgment of the officer in command ; 
and as I have above stated what the object is, I will now 


shortly detail how such a party should be constituted, 
equipped, and organised. 

Of course in such a case everything depends on the 
commander, and tlierefore coolness, judgment, energy, pluck, 
and resources are sine qua non ; but the commander may 
be ill, wounded, killed, what not — therefore there should 
be a number of officers under him selected for the same 
qualities, and also competent to command in case of neces- 
sity. The strength of such a party must be limited, for the 
reasons in the fourth paragraph of this paper ; fifty is the 
outside, and I recommend thirty. These should all be 
English, and each man must be selected ; each man must 
be physically without disease, or signs of it; each man 
must be enduring, intelligent, brave, and obedient, and he 
must be able to ride as well as walk. Each should be 
armed with the Snider carbine, and carry sixty rounds of 
ammunition, and with a sword. His uniform is a matter of 
indifference, as long as it is comfortable and warm enough ; 
he should have strong boots and gaiters and a greatcoat. 
Each man should be mounted, and there should be one 
spare horse to each. Each man should carry in a belt as 
many dollars as possible. There should be one spare mule 
for ammunition, one for dollars, and one for a few cooking 
things, medicines, &c. I think thirty such men could be 
chosen out of the 4th, 33d, or artillery, and doubtless 
officers could also be obtained from the various regiments. 
The officer commanding should have an interpreter, if 
possible a European, or one who could talk English or 
Hindustani; I should object to any native Abyssinian, if 
it can possibly be avoided. 

Having now shown in as much detail as is necessary 
what my scheme would be, I will endeavour to meet such 
objections as I foresee may be made to it. It may be that 
the chiefs of Tigre or Lasta would raise objections to such 
a party going through their country, but it is not likely : 
we have no .quarrel with them, and though they may not 



do much for us, it is not likely they would do anything 
against us — in fact, they would most probably endeavour to 
make capital by professing great regard for us, and the 
least they could do would be to let our parties alone. But 
while they might not think it worth the trouble to stop a 
party going, either of them might endeavour to intercept it 
if it was returning with the prisoners. Certainly in such a 
case it would be difficult to prevent an open rupture with 
them ; but if they were treated in a conciliatory manner and 
delayed, time might be given for the arrival of a supporting 
force. If, again, Theodore, hearing of the approach of a 
party, should, as the prisoners say he can, throw himself 
into Magdala and carry them off, the only thing then to be 
done would be to follow him, hang about him, watch for 
every opportunity of aiding the prisoners, and by personal 
observation, constant intercommunication with the prisoners 
and the army in the rear, help the commander to form 
correct judgment on the circumstances. 

The party might succeed in getting to Magdala, and 
having found the garrison ready, be unable to do more than 
communicate with the prisoners; yet it must be allowed 
that this constant communication with friends near at hand 
would be to them a certain source of consolation, and should 
events happen luckily, perhaps also of real aid. Theodore 
or some of his troops might sally out and endeavour to 
destroy the party ; but if the commander was on the look- 
out, the enemy would surely find he was going after a 
Will-o'-the-wisp — an intangible something there was no 
catching and no driving away. Failing in this, the enemy 
might threaten to kill the prisoners if the party did not 
leave ; but allowing this difficulty, it must not be forgotten 
that it is a contingency which is much more likely to 
happen when a large force shall appear in their vicinity 
with the avowed intention of rescuing the prisoners, an 
intention which in the case of the small party need not be 
avowed or hinted at. 


It is also necessary to think of the probability of some 
of the party falling sick or being wounded, or if these all 
keep well, of the fact that amongst the prisoners there are 
weakly women and children, and it certainly is a very 
serious thing to think of the possibility of having to sub- 
mit them to hardships and dangers to which their tender 
natures no less than their lengthened captivity have un- 
fitted them ; but these dangers and hardships should be 
compared with those they are enduring and have endured 
for years, and the vision of freedom in the background 
should not be forgotten. Women have had to suffer hard- 
ship and brave dangers greater than these, and have done 
so nobly and unmurmuringly, and I feel sure they would 
rather risk such dangers than any longer continue in the 
hands of Theodore. And if the worst came to the worst, if 
every endeavour shall have failed to throw off pursuit, and 
the party was driven to bay, if relief even should not arrive 
from the force, the fate that would then be theirs would not 
be worse than what they may expect if Theodore finds us 
deaf to all his terms ; and as for the party, the lives of all 
having been freely risked, would be as freely given in so 
good a cause. 

Again, though it must be admitted that the lives of 
these thirty men would be risked, and even allowing that 
there would be more danger to them than I anticipate, 
surely the risking thirty lives to aid a cause for which 
England has come prepared to sacrifice 12,000 (and not 
only 12,000 men, but as many more as may be necessary to 
gain her end), cannot be considered rashness of purpose or 
recklessness of life. 

It is possible — nay, even probable — that Theodore, on 
finding the Magdala batch slip out of his hands, would in a 
rage put all the others to death ; but in making this objec- 
tion it is necessary also always to keep in mind that if he 
once succeeds in getting the Magdala prisoners in his hands, 
such a fate is just as probable not only for the Debra Tabor 


prisoners but for the whole. Moreover, once the Magdala 
lot were safe, he would feel that his trump-card was gone, 
and that the best thing he could then do would be to con- 
ciliate us by offering the others ; and even if he did not, if 
he kept them to try and force us to his terms, we should be 
in no worse position than if we had not got the Magdala 
batch — on the contrary, we should be just so many better 
off. And be it remembered that, if once the prisoners slip 
from his hands, his followers, even those now faithful to 
him, will feel that they are indeed trusting to a broken reed, 
and they are more likely to leave him or betray him. Once 
the prisoners are released, it is certain Theodore cannot 
pursue very far in any one direction, for he is surrounded 
by enemies, and his only safety now appears in sticking to 
his guns. 

Thus I have sketched briefly an outline of my proposed 
plan. I myself consider it perfectly feasible, because it is 
not based on wild foundations, but on the belief that thirty 
well-armed determined Englishmen are not to be easily 
stayed or destroyed by a few thousand undisciplined, badly 
armed, half-hearted Abyssinians, because they will be 
working on a well-organised plan, and will be backed by 
the disaffection rampant in Theodore's camp, no less than 
by the knowledge that they are only the advanced-guard of 
an irresistible army. 

If his Excellency would intrust the command of such an 
operation to me, I can only say that, having thought it out, 
I shall be equally glad to carry it into execution. 

Charles M. MacGregor, 
Captain, D.A.QJW. 

To the ]\Iilitary Secretary 

of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, 
Abyssinian Expeditionary Force, 
&c., &c., &c., &c. 





' ' Say, then, that he xoas loise as brave, 
As tuise in thought as hold in deed." 

society at simla sir john lawrence * gazetteer of central 

Asia' — captain macgregor's marriage — along the north- 




















By August Captain MacGregor was up at Simla 
again ; and now he went more into society than he 
had formerly been accustomed to do, and he men- 
tions meeting, amongst others, the Misses Durand, 
" very nice, good-looking, and clever." 

" Aug. 22. — I went to breakfast this morning 
with ' King John ' [Sir John Lawrence, Governor- 
General]. Long table, filled with young A.D.C.'s, 
who in turn are so filled with awe, that they 
scarcely manage to fill themselves with food. Alto- 
gether, there was a decidedly filial aspect about the 
meal, John doing stern parent, and growding out 
some remark now and again. After breakfast, John 
asked me to come up to his room, asked me how my 
father was, in a tone which plainly said, You know I 
don't care a blow, but it's civil to ask. Then he 
went to other topics — Abyssinia, Bhutan, Bombay 
army, arming native troops with rifles, frontier rows, 
— opinions of men I had served with, &c. . . . 
You won't care to hear. He kept me an hour and 
a half talking, and then, something in the manner 
in which a bear would look if you gave it some 
honey, he said, ' Good-bye ; glad to have seen you,' 
&c. ... I can only hope my interview has done 
me no harm. I don't think it has. John is a frank 
honest man, and with these sort of men I generally 




do pretty well. After having thus polished off the 
Governor-General, I thought it right, while my hand 
was in, to have a try at the Commander-in-Chief, so 
I went to Sir William Mansfield,^ a very different 
sort of man, dark, Machiavelian, ' very knowing.' 
He asked me a good deal about the campaign, about 
Phayre, was particular in calling Sir Robert Lord, 
never hinted a word against him, and wound up by 
asking me to dinner. ... I have just seen a 
portion of the Abyssinian brevet {' Gazette ' of the 
15th August). I wonder what I am down for; if 
anything, you will know before me, but I was told I 
was recommended for a brevet-majority on getting 
my company. We shall see." ^ 

''Simla, Oct. 19. — You will have heard of my 
luck in being selected to write a ' Gazetteer of Central 
Asia.' I consider myself a made man now, for by 
the time I have finished it I shall know more about 
it than any man in India or in England either ; and 
as I am working at Persian also, I shall be more 
likely of employment almost than any other 

Umhalla. — The Clan are going it rather. You^ 
are just well from your upset, and I followed suit. 
Last night I was driving my successor into the 
artillery mess compound, when one of the wheels 

^ Afterwards Lord Sandhurst. 

2 Lieutenant MacGregor was not promoted captain until October 
20, 1868. His brevet -majority was dated the following day, 21st 
October, but the ' Gazette' was not published until April 1869. 

^ His mother. 




caught, and over we went. My friend disappeared 
somehow, and after I had finished seeing fireworks 
in the air, I found myself with my left foot under 
the bar of the dogcart, which had turned completely 
over, and with the horse^s hind-hoof within an inch 
of my nose. Luckily the brute was in such a fearful 
funk that he lay as if he was dead, and some men 
came and lifted the cart off" my foot. Fancy, neither 
I, the syce, nor Knollys, was hurt in the least, and 
the cart was only slightly broken ! " 

" Oct. — I leave Umballa to-morrow or next day 
for Simla, and then I commence on my task, the 
' Gazetteer of Central Asia.' This will be very diffi- 
cult and very hard work indeed. ... I hope I 
shall have time to pass in Persian, as it will be very 
useful to me hereafter, and when I come home by 
way of Persia and Russia in April. I am almost 
afraid the ' Gazetteer ' will keep me longer ; but I 
will do my utmost to get away, and will try and get 
Lumsden to place no end of clerks at my disposal to 
help me. B will show you the copy of a de- 
spatch from the Horse Guards to Lord Napier which 
puts my lieutenant- colonelcy, I think, beyond much 
doubt. I hope to be able now to get either a C.B. 
or C.S.L for Bhutan, as I was specially mentioned 
eight times, thanked by the Commander-in-Chief and 
Governor-General, and twice wounded in that cam- 
paign. I mean to find out whether they mean to 
include Bhutan for the frontier medal every one says 
they are going to give, and if not, I shall write to 




Lord Stratlinairn and General Tombs to use tlieir 
influence to get it for us. If they give this, and one 
for Abyssinia, and I get C.B. or C.S.I. , I shall have 
five medals, which will be pretty fair going for 
twelve years' service." 

A month later some new rules about furlough 
were promulgated, under which MacGregor was 
not entitled to leave before December 1870. He 
was now engaged on the ' Gazetteer,' which he 
expected would be finished by May or June. In 
December Mr Eivett-Carnac, C.S., was married to 
the eldest of Sir Henry Durand's daughters, and as 
Major MacGregor acted as best man to the bride- 
groom, he was thrown into greater intimacy with 
the bride's younger sisters, in whom the young 
Deputy Quartermaster- General found some likeness 
to his own sisters. However, till the end of the 
year he was more anxious about his brevet being- 
gazetted than anything else. In January Lord 
Mayo took over the Government from Sir John 

In February Major MacGregor's letters are 
taken up with the praises of the youngest Miss 
Durand. " Some croquet-parties, two or three pic- 
nics, and half-a-dozen morning rides," as he says, 
must have had something to do with it ; " and, 
after obtaining his much -wished -for majority in 
April (when his promotion appeared in orders), we 
find him, in May, " quite accustomed now to the 
state of beino- engao-ed." 




The wedding between Major Charles M. Mac- 
Gregor and Frances Mary Durand, who was barely 
eighteen years of years, took place at Simla on the 
22d September, tlie Venerable Archdeacon Bayly 
officiating at the church. Both the Governor-Gen- 
eral (Lord Mayo) and the Commander-in-Chief were 
among the 200 guests whom Sir Henry Durand 
(then member of the Governor-General's Council) 
entertained on the occasion. 

'^I must say," wrote Major MacGregor a month 
before his wedding, I do not care much for any 
supposed honour there may be in allying myself with 
any one in the position of Sir H. Durand ; if he was 
a Royal Dake I should think the same, for I am 
proud enough of my name to think that no other 
can add lustre to it. But I do feel proud of the 
prospect of being allied to such a man. Names and 
position are nothing to me, yet I think the best man 
in Europe might be proud to have Sir Henry Durand 
as a father-in-law ; for if fearless honesty and single- 
ness of purpose entitle a man to a high place in the 
regard of his fellows, no one is more entitled to it 
than he." 

After the wedding Major MacGregor and his 
young bride proceeded on their wanderings through 
the hills to Dharmsala, thence vid Lahore to Pesha- 
war, and down the N.W. frontier. " I foresee," he 
wrote, " that the first year of our married life will 
be a regular scramble — i.e., we shall be moving 
about during most of it." Thus the honeymoon was 


* gazetteer' work. 


not an idle holiday, but utilised in collecting mate- 
rials for the ' Gazetteer of the Frontier/ 

Whilst still on his honeymoon tour in October, 
Major MacGregor heard the news of his fathers 
death at Hallsannery, near Bideford, in Devon. 
The letter from his sister giving the first news and 
details of his father s last illness and death appears 
to have been lost in the wreck of the steamer Car- 
natic, so that beyond a few words of allusion to his 
fathers end in the letter received by him at Sul- 
tanpur (Panjab) on the 11th October, he had no in- 
formation of the facts connected with his father's 
decease till some time afterwards. He w^as devot- 
edly attached to his father, and always spoke of 
him with love and veneration. 

Throughout November and the following winter 
months letters from Chamba, Dalhousie, Nurpur, 
&c., show that Major MacGregor was constantly on 
the move, and busily engaged in the tedious work 
of compiling the ' Gazetteer.' After personal inves- 
tigation and research at the frontier posts, he pro- 
ceeded to examine the old records in the public 
offices, and for this purpose went down to Calcutta 
in the spring. Meantime he had been deservedly 
promoted brevet lieutenant-colonel for his services in 
Bhutan. 1 

Calcutta, April 19. — I went yesterday to the 
office, and worked all the time from ten to five, ex- 
cept for an hour. I got through a good deal, up to 

1 Governor-General's Order, No. 1223, of 10th December 1869. 
VOL. I. X 


1834 from 1775. This, of course, is no criterion of 
what time I shall take to get through the rest, as 
the last years are always more heavy than the first." 

" April 23. — I will most assuredly get over my 
work on the * Gazetteer ' as quickly as I can ; but I 
am doing that already. I can form no idea yet of 
how soon I can get away, as I do not know how 
much there is left. I have done up to 1845, but 
that gives you no ground to form a judgment upon." 

On the 29th April it seemed probable that Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel MacGregor would be attached to Mr 
Forsyth's ^ mission, then about to start for Kashgar, 
for which service he volunteered. Unfortunately, 
Lord Mayo would not permit the numbers of the 
mission to be increased. 

April 27. — The Waziris are most awfully 
cheeky ; they come behind the posts, raid, and mur- 
der as they please. A few days ago they cut up a 
guard of Norman's regiment. Everything there is 
working up for a row, and you will see that unless 
they take away that dear, pompous old noodle, 

, and put 's head in a bag, they will 

have a campaign. I always say politicals are the 
best friends soldiers have ! If you want a row, 

commend me to a supercilious ape like , or a 

blundering idiot like , or a Boeotian old bull 


General Jacob relates how he heard a soldier dur- 
ing a march in the first Panjab campaign remark, 

1 Afterwards Sir Douglas Forsyth. 




" Them politicals spoils all ; " to which his chum re- 
plied, smacking his hand on the breech of an 
18-pounder which they were escorting, "Them's 
your real politicals." This was the view of Colonel 
MacGregor, who nevertheless well understood — none 
better — the superiority of moral force, if wielded 
skilfully, over mere physical strength of numbers. 

Ajyril 28. — I finished yesterday all I have to do 
at the Foreign Office — i.e., all the indexes — and 
directly they can get all the papers out I am off ; 
but they may take a long time. Yesterday they 
had only got out for me the papers up to 1844. I 
go to-day to the Asiatic Society and the Surveyor- 
Gen erals. 

April 29. — I told you that I got an answer from 
Mr Forsyth about going to Kashgar with him. He 
didn't hold out any hopes, but he wrote in reply to 
Carnac that he would like some one to help him ; so 
I wrote off again to Dillon, Lumsden, and him. I 
said to Lumsden, ' I think, in a military and politi- 
cal point of view, that it is of the utmost importance 
that some officer should be deputed for the special 
purpose of gaining information of these countries, 
and as I see at present the intention is not to send 
any such officer, I think it ought to be worked. 
This is an opportunity that will never perhaps come 
again, and it is impossible to say how soon we may 
have bitter cause to regret our not having done it. 
Of the use that such a man can be, I need only 
refer to ^ Elphinstone's Mission to Cabul,' which to 




this day remains a standard work/ To Dillon I say, 
* Do not send me, for there may be other men far 
more fitted. All I ask Lord Napier to do, as a mat- 
ter of the first necessity, is to urge on Government 
the importance of sending some one to do the work. 
True, I submit that, having been engaged one and 
a half years in collecting materials for a ' Gazetteer ' 
of these very countries, I am in this respect at 
least more qualified than some others might be ; 
but really and truly the primary object is to send 
some one. I ask to go, to get this opportunity as 
reward for the hard work I have already had in this 
very matter, and in the hope I should not shame 
the choice.' To Forsyth I write much the same. 

" Ajpril 30. — Yesterday I went to the Surveyor- 
GeneraFs Office, both General and Eevenue Depart- 
ments, and satisfactorily proved they had nothing to 
help me ; but they gave me a splendid set of maps. 
After I had finished with them, I went to the For- 
eign Office, and there Mr Belleti told me he would 
have everything ready by to-morrow. 

I got a letter to the effect that I wa3 to stay on 
at my present work till 1st October, so I wrote and 
told Lumsden (Quartermaster-General) it would not 
be finished till October 1872 or 1873, if then, and 
so they had better give it up, or else face it and put 
me on special employ till it is finished. It is all 
bosh going on in this half-hearted way. I am think- 
ing of going straight to Lord Mayo and telling him 
to order one thing or another. They cannot expect 




a man to settle down to work if they are always 
talking of stopping it." 

Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor's labours on the 
* Gazetteer of Central Asia ' lasted throughout the 
year 1870-71. In September 1871 he dated his 
brief preface to parts ii. and iv., which comprised 
Afghanistan and Persia,^ from Simla. In this he 
merely states that his work did not pretend to be a 
complete account of Persia, but a compilation from 
information contained in the records to which he had 
had access. He hoped that it would be much im- 
proved and added to hereafter, as more information 
should become available. 

In October Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor went to 
Calcutta to see about the printing of his ' Gazetteer ' 
and correction of the proofs. 

On the 6th he writes : " I went to Mr Cutter the 
printer, who says he can give me forty pages a-day 
to correct; but unfortunately, the last ten days of 
this month are holidays, so that what I shall make 
up in one way I shall lose in another ; however, I 
will shove him on as quickly as possible." 

1 Central Asia. Part II. A contribution towards the better know- 
ledge of the Topography, Ethnology, Resources, and History of Af- 
ghanistan. Compiled for political and military reference by Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel C. M. MacGregor, Assistant-Quartermaster-General. 
(Calcutta, 1871.) Pp. 869. 

Central Asia. Part IV. A contribution towards the better know- 
ledge of the Topography, Ethnology, Resources, and History of Persia. 
Compiled for political and military reference by Lieutenant-Colonel 
MacGregor, Assistant-Quartermaster-General. (Calcutta, 1871.) Pp. 




" Oct. 7. — I am getting on famously with the 
proofs, having corrected about twenty pages to-day 
before breakfast. If they keep at this rate I shall 
do. ... I think my two books will come to about 
1200 pages, and the 'Frontier Gazetteer' to about 
600 more. This, with the heap that I have done of 
the other countries, is not bad work for two years ; 
but the undertaking is awfully heavy, and I see no 
end to it." 

" Oct. 10. — I went yesterday to the Surveyor- 
General's Office and saw Captain Waterhouse, who 
is in charge of the Photographic Department, and he 
sent for his head man and asked him to undertake to 
teach me. He agreed willingly, and to-day he came 
down here, and I had a preliminary talk. He 
seemed most intelli^xent and nice. He is a Scotch- 
man, and I really think they are the most reliable 
people in the world ; only don't give this opinion 
out, as people might think one prejudiced. 

" Mr Mackenzie says J must have a native to help 
me, so I am going to try and get one here, who is 
to go to the photographic studio and be taught to 
do all sorts of things, such as cleaning plates, &c. 
This will be a great help. I think if I can get a 
month with Mr Mackenzie I shall get on all right, 
as he seems a quiet practical man. It will be a 
great thing if I can really become a good photo- 
grapher by the time I go to the frontier, as my re- 
port will then be ever so much more useful and 
interesting. ... I am getting on swimmingly with 




my proofs, and have already in four days corrected 
double the number that Ker did in three months. 
I have got up to page 200, and only CH finished, 
so I calculate it will not be far off 800 pages alone ; 
and then Persia, &c., is quite as much more. . . . 
I am afraid this proof-correcting will take me fully 
to the end of November, as there are some holidays 
here which go on to the end of the month, and the 
press is shut." 

The two volumes of the ' Gazetteer ' published 
before the end of the year only formed a portion of 
the great work on Central Asia in which the Quarter- 
master-General's Department was engaged, the edit- 
ing and superintendence of which was intrusted to 
Lieutenant-Colonel IMacGregor, whilst Khiva was the 
task allotted to Captain Lockhart, Bokhara to Cap- 
tain Chapman, and Kokhan to Captain Trotter. 
Afghanistan and Persia were undertaken by Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel ]\iacGregor himself, and were the 
first volumes issued ; but they were branded as Con- 
fidential, and therefore have not been generally 
known or sufficiently recognised beyond official 
circles in India. This ' Gazetteer ' is a compilation 
of the information contained in accessible published 
works and in official records. In it are full separate 
accounts of the tribes, rivers, mountains, provinces, 
towns, alphabetically arranged, with the authorities 
quoted. The Afghanistan volume includes Kulm, 
Kunduz, Badakshan, Balkh, and JMaimana in Afghan- 




" Calcutta, Oct. 26. — I want very much to get 
hold of some one who will teach me to take latitudes 
and longitudes, for then I shall be complete in my 
knowledge of surveying, &c., and able to go every- 
where. ... 

" I shall have a frightfully difficult job on the 
frontier. They have given me too little time, and 
the men on the frontier will be very jealous of my 
getting information, so it will require a great deal 
of tact to manage them, but I don't despair. One 
thing, I shall be very careful to keep everybody's 
letters. I have now got a great bundle of papers of 
correspondence relating to the ' Gazetteer,' which of 
itself will make a small volume. These I am going 
to have printed, and all I get or send now I shall 
keep copies of. 

" I know the Government are too petty to under- 
take the exploration of the countries on a grand 
scale, and so I don't expect to succeed ; but I should 
like to have it on record that I tried over and over 
again to induce them to do so, and then, w^hen the 
time comes, they will not be able to come down on 
me for not giving them the information they want." 

" Calcutta, Oct. 28. — I had a regular outino- this 
morning with my photographic things. Of course 
one is not good at it yet ; but I took four views, 
which I am going to print on Monday, and will send 
you. One is a view across the water of the pagoda 
in the Eden Garden, another the pagoda close up, 
the third a little bridge over some water, and the 




fourth the statue of Sir William Peel, with the 
promenade and the shipping in the background." 

Nov. 1. — The first volume of my book is all 
finished, and the second is pretty well on. The 
printer here wanted to make one volume of it, but 
as it will take 1000 pages, it would, I think, be too 
big, so I have ordered two. It will be bound in a 
red cover, with ^ Central Asia, Part II. ; Afghan- 
istan, Vol. I.,' and ' MacGregor ' below. I think it 
will look very well. I think when you come to 
consider that I have in addition got enough for four 
more volumes, and that I went through all the pre- 
liminary grind of at least four others besides, they 
may say that I have done pretty well ; but the work 
is too vast for one man." 

When on leave in 1867, Lieutenant-Colonel Mac- 
Gregor had conceived an idea of extending to the 
Indian army the advantages of a local institute 
similar to the royal establishment in Whitehall 
Yard ; and at last, after continuous exertions on the 
part of MacGregor, the United Service Institution of 
India was founded at Simla. By 1871 the first 
annual report showed 800 members belonging to the 
Institution, and the proceedings since published 
prove it to be an association not unworthy of the 
older society maintained by the sister services of 
Great Britain. 

On 9th January 1872, Lieutenant-Colonel Mac- 
Gregor started off again on another tour of recon- 
naissance along the frontiers of Sind and the Pan- 




jab, to collect new materials and correct previously 
acquired information for his ^ Gazetteer of the Fron- 
tier.' At MuzafFargarh, which place he reached 
from Multan on the 9 th, he writes in his rough 
private diary as follows : — 

" ^th. — It must be confessed that parting gives 
one's feelings a tremendous wrench, and I can see 
very plainly now why it is that marrying is said to 
spoil a soldier, and how easy it would be for a weak 
man to fall away from his duty if much pressed by 
a woman he loves; how difficult it would be for 
any one not to deteriorate under such influence. I 
must therefore thank my star that I have got a wife 
that will never use her influence so as to induce me 
to go against my duty. So the rule that a soldier 
shouldn't marry, though I think a very good one, is 
no more without exception than any other. I could 
not help thinking, after I had seen the last of my 
darling, how many such partings take place in the 
service that are never heard of, and how much do 
soldiers subdue all the hio^hest feelings of our nature 
at the call of duty, and yet no credit is given them ; 
on the contrary, it is a far too common opinion 
that soldiers do scarcely anything but amuse them- 

Dera Ghazi, Jan. 11. — I left Muzaflargarh yes- 
terday morning, and walked for the first five miles, 
in order to get myself in trim, in case I shall have 
any walking in the hills. I then rode the mare, 
who tried to buck when she felt the sword, so I 




had ignominiously to take it off. The road is good 
enough ; but the country very sandy and waste. 
We were going the whole day till 6 p.m., twenty- 
five miles, the Indus taking a frightful time to cross. 
I didn t go out of a walk, as my munshi had a really 
awful animal, and I wanted to have a lesson in 
Persian and Pushtu. I try to combine both, first 
asking a sentence in Persian, then getting him to 
put it into Pushtu for me. I have not got very 
far, but can say the usual salutations, and so I 
practised these on every Pathan I met, much to his 
astonishment. One meets a good many Afghans 
of sorts down here, as they come in the cold weather 
to get work. They are splendid -looking fellows, 
but lazy -looking. I mean to photograph a lot of 

" I have been busy all the morning arranging 
papers, &c. I have got such a heap of them that 

I do not know what to do, and having done 

absolutely nothing of •, has thrown me out tre- 
mendously. I am sure it will end in my having to 
do the whole thing myself" 

Jampur, Jan. 16. — I hear the Barohi gentle- 
men, who are in rebellion against the Khan of 
Kalat, refused to let Pollock go through Katchi ; 
and though Sandeman offered to take him through 
the Mari hills, JMerewether has very properly de- 
termined to escort him through with the Sind 
Horse. . . . 

" I did a capital day's work yesterday, and have 




got a bit of information about the bills that will 
enable me to fill up a good deal of the blanks in the 
maps. The only thing that strikes me as wonderful 
is that the people of the district should not have got 
it long ago ; but Sandeman (or Sinman, as they call 
him) has no tact for geographical inquiries." 

At Eajanpur MacGregor was able to photograph 
some views and a group of Baluchis, a chief and 
his followers. 

''Jan. 18. — Sandeman says he cannot take me 
into the hills ; but I mean to see what I can do, as I 
have the orders of the Panjab Government. The 
military here are supposed to guard the frontiers, 
and the civilians [iDoliticals) will not let them know 
anything about the people or the passes." 

'' Rojhan, Jan. 21. — I rode yesterday from Ea- 
janpur to this, forty miles, and it was quite cloudy 
and cold, so I did not feel it in the very least. The 
chief of the Waziris is not here, so I am going to 
defer making a photo of them till I come back. 

'' Kctshmor, Jan. 22. — I got here after a ride of 
five hours. The whole country is one dense jungle, 
and I only passed one wretched village for twenty- 
five miles. The soil, however, is quite good, and if 
the would-be politicals of Jacobabad would only 
attend to their own work, it might be an extremely 
fine country. I am now in the land of tapals, gin- 
dees, saman, and patte - ivalas, where Jacob once 
used to roam unmolested over the wastes of Sind." 

MacGregor reached Toj on the 23d, and Sal- 




gani on the 24th. " This last place is one of the 
old posts of the Sind Horse, and boasts of a most 
extraordinary sort of tower, which was built by- 
Jacob in order that his Excellency might come and 
have a look at the country. It is forty-five feet 
high, and commands a very good view, indeed, of 
everything to see for miles round ; but as there is 
nothing to be seen, it does not seem quite as useful 
as it might be if there were.^ 

Yesterday I rode a long way with an awfully 
funny chap. His name was Satan. He told me his 
occupation was to go about begging. He was 
mounted on a bullock, and had a sort of guitar, 
which he played with great delight. He said he 
went roaming about, he didn't know where^ wher- 
ever God took him, and he got to eat here and some 
money there, and so got along. I gave him a 4- 
anna bit, and he played to me for some miles — an 
awfully jolly -looking chap." 

On arriving at Jacobabad on January 26th, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel MacGregor became the guest of Sir 
William Merewether. He found all the frontier 
officials at loggerheads about the khanate of Kalat. 
" The frontier policy, in my humble opinion, cer- 
tainly wants reforming the whole way along. I am 
working up the case, and shall give my opinion of 
it to Aitchison [the Foreign Secretary]."^ 

1 This tower subsequently suggested to MacGregor an idea for the 
establishment of frontier alarm-posts with a command of forty feet 

2 See Appendix at end of chapter. 




" Jan. 27. — I have a lot to do here, and I get on 
very well with Merewether, and also with Phayre ; 
but I cannot get Sandeman to say exactly what he 
knows, however. . . . The whole road to Afghanis- 
tan is shut, and so no caravans have come down 
this year, and as there are very few merchants here, 
I have not been able to hear of any turquoises for 

" Jan. 29. — I am going first to a place called 
Uch, and then round the Sind frontier posts to 
the Panjab. I am going to report on them very 
carefully. My idea is that they are badly placed, 
and are a great deal too strong. 

"Merewether has seen the memorandum I wrote 
when down here two years ago on the Sham plain, 
and thinks it so good that he has asked me to let 
him have it reprinted and sent to the Governor of 
Bombay, and I said he might." 

" Goranari, Feb. 1. — This is one of the Sind 
Horse posts. They are all alike, in the middle of a 
desert, but good houses and stables. The first march 
to Dil Morad yesterday was simply the worst march 
1 ever had. The wind was blowing, and it was 
fearfully cold. At night the tent let the wind in 
all round, and in the morning all the water was 

" Feh. 3. — I took photos of the post at Sanri yes- 
terday, and one of a Jat encampment, which came 
out fairly. 

" Coming along the posts here, I had been asking 




about the hills, and had been repeatedly told there 
was nothing but sand-hills till I got to a place called 
Gandri, and that they were all isolated. This was 
against my experience of hills, which are always con- 
nected by a distinct watershed with other ranges, 
so I determined to see for myself. After about ten 
miles, we got into the bed of a river, and I found 
myself between two distinct ranges, very low, to 
be sure, but evidently connected with the hills to 
the north. 

" I am now encamped in the bed of this river, and 
having gone up a high hill near, had a good survey 
of the country. Where I was told there were no hills, 
I am literally so surrounded by them that I can see 
no plain or sign of one, except in the basin of the 
river ; and the sand-hills, which were said to be so 
easy you could ride over any of them, I find to be 
for at least one-third of the circle so frightfully im- 
practicable that I don't believe that a cat could 
get over them. Certainly not ground for cavalry. 

" Gandri, Feb. 4. — Marched this morning through 
eighteen miles of a perfect waste of sand, and we 
never even saw a living thing the whole way. I 
passed several places where they told me there had 
been fights ; and if the numbers of heaps of stones 
really mark the spot where a man was killed, they 
must have fought very well. They have the reputa- 
tion of doing so, and it certainly is borne out by facts. 
For instance, of four Baluchis with me, the headman 
has got three bullet and one sword wounds, while an 




old villain of a dafadar has six wounds on him. He 
seems to have been an awful old scoundrel, and to 
have been in every fight for the last forty years. 
Perhaps he romances a little, but he could not have 
got all those wounds in his sitting-room." 

Feh. 8.— On the 5th I went to Sui. It is be- 
lieved to be the place where the famous beauty of 
that name, the bride of a celebrated Baluchi robber, 
Tami, met an early death from over-indulgence in 
sour-milk. These old stories are somewhat interest- 
inof. The dust and wind were fearful all the 6th, 
and on the 7th I went to Kashmor, and got here to- 
day. I must halt somewhere, or all my folk will be 
laid up. Since I left Dera Ghazi I have marched 
380 miles, which is pretty good." 

Passing Shekhwali on the 9th, and Banduwali on 
the 10th, Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor reached 
Tozani on the 11th. He observes : — 

''Don't at all approve of the Panjab system of 
shutting themselves up in forts. They actually pro- 
vision them for a month, as if these wretched jackals 
of Baluchis were going to besiege them. In Sind 
there is no sign of an enclosure even. I like Jacob's 
system on this border. It is much more worthy of 
a great Government than the present one. 

''The country here, Tozani, is a howling wilder- 
ness. Not counting the posts, I have come to 
exactly four villages since I left Jacobabad, which is, 
by the road I came, at least 120 miles. For the last 
three days I have not seen a single soul on the road ; 




and the two next marches are worse again — viz., 
Sabzil Kot and Kum Ka Thul.'' 

Drigri, Feb. 14. — I had not a very long march 
from Rum Ka Thul, and so have had some time to 
get through some work. This place is a fort strong 
enough to keep off the whole Baluchi nation. It is 
ridiculous spending money in this sort of way. 

" Harand, Feb. 15. — Just come in from a very 
long and hot ride to the passes to our front. I had a 
capital view of them, and understand the geography 
of the country now much better than I did. 

''Harand, Feb. 16. — Jalb Khan, the thanahdar, is 
a fine young fellow, and anxious to get on. He says 
that there would be no difficulty in raising a regi- 
ment of Baluchi Horse, under the following con- 
ditions : 1st, To be composed wholly of Baluchis, 
the non-commissioned officers to be leading men of 
the tribes ; 2d, not too much uniform or drill. There 
is no reason why these shouldn't be granted, and it 
would be a decidedly good move to open a new field 
for enlistment. There is a new generation springing 
up who have never enjoyed the sweets of looting, 
and yet who do not take quite kindly to agriculture. 
Service in the army seems to me at once the fittest 
outlet for them, and to open a new field for recruit- 
ment to Government. I think this is a far more 
legitimate and efi'ectual way of taming them than 
the present system of paying them for doing noth- 
ing. Then they would make money, and become 
civilised by constant intercourse with us and other 

VOL. I. Y 




races, while they would earn their pay. Now they 
must see that their present employment is more 
as a sop to stop looting than anything else, and 
twenty years of this sort of work would see them 
just where they are now. I believe that an officer 
like MacLean, who likes them, and has the knack 
of attaching men to him, would make a very good 
thing of it. I shall certainly moot the question 
when I get back to Simla." 

Five days' continued riding, with unwearied ob- 
servation (which are recorded at length in his min- 
utely accurate diary), brought Lieutenant-Colonel 
MacGregor to Dera Ghazi Khan nearly on the morn- 
ing of the 21st February. After breakfasting, ''hav- 
ing got a cart, I drove off to the ghat to meet my 
darling, thinking I should be decidedly early. On 
passing the ddk bungalow I noticed a trap standing 
outside, went in, and found my wife there. We 
went to Anderson's, and I did no work that day." 

'' Feb. 22. — Stayed at Dera Ghazi, during which 
I searched the records of the Staff Office, but didn't 
find much to the purpose." 

" Batil, Feb. 27. — The road is a capital one for 
galloping, and runs through one mass of cultivation 
the greater part of the way. I could not help think- 
ing that it would be far better if our civilians would 
try to extend the green line of cultivation on this 
border rather than the red line, which only marks 
territorial lust. I rode to-day through splendid soil, 
that seems crying out, ' Give me water and labour, 




and I will return you one hundredfold ' ; and so it 
is more or less all the way from Jacobabad, and 
yet the commanding officer of this district has been 
over three months away from his headquarters 
meddlinor in thine^s that do not concern him in 
the least. 

" When I rode up to the Baluchi post at Vidor, 
I found the door locked and not a soul in it, the 
dafadar in charge having gone into the hills to 
attend a wedding. When he came back he said, 
^ All is well, sahib ; I have been patrolling round the 
posts.' I gave him a letter to Colonel Jones report- 
ing him. This is by no means the first lie I have 
heard from this truth-loving people. When I got 
here I sent for the headman of the Kosahs, Sikandar 
Khan. After talking half an hour, I rather liked 
him, and pumped him pretty dry about his tribe." 

" Feb. 28. — This morning I rode by Nurpur to 
Kala, about nineteen miles, all the way through 
good soil and cultivation. There is a great same- 
ness about these frontier roads, there being no trees 
to relieve the dead level ; but occasionally one comes 
to pretty bits, and the background of mountains 
makes the view sometimes bearable. Nurpur is a 
post, as usual, six times too big for its garrison. 
Except Banduwali, I don't think I have yet come to 
a post that has not been a great deal too big, but 
still they go on repairing them. Government spends 
a great deal of money unnecessarily." 

" Mahoiy Feb, 29. — This place is an enormous fort 

340 CHIEF OF THE LUNDS. [l872. 

built by the Siklis, and kept up by us for the benefit 
of some twenty dirty Baluchis. A proper garrison 
for it would be at least 500 men. 1 have got hold of 
a capital Baluchi, recommended by Neville Cham- 
berlain and Pollock, by name Pir Bakhsh. I am 
going to send him to explore the road to Thai and 
Bori, and then to find where the source of the Luni 
river is. I shall give him 200 rupees if he brings 
back a good account, and recover it from Govern- 
ment, if they are not so mean as to refuse to refund 
it. Old Ghulam Haidar, chief of the Lunds, came 
to see me, a shrewd old man, reputed very rich. 
He looks at you sideways out of his one eye, and 
looks a very devil. He gave me an account of his 
tribe and their sections, and is going to give me a 
list of the Lund villages, &c. 

" Mangrota, Ma7xh 1. — I got here about nine 
this morning, took two photos .of the fort, a place 
large enough for 2000 men, with a garrison of 40, 
and since then I have either been writing or pump- 
ing Baluchis for the benefit of this blessed ' Ga- 
zetteer.' " 

" Kot Kasrani, March 5. — I went to-day into the 
Sanghar Pass, and then round through the hills and 
out by another pass. I never saw anything so 
extraordinary as some of the hills : they were ex- 
actly like huge walls, rising straight out of the 
earth, perfectly upright, and, moreover, just as if 
they had been covered with chunam, being white, 
and as smooth as the wall of a house. Then they 




nearly all run due north and south in lines behind 
one another, as correct as if they had been laid out. 
From east to west they are utterly impracticable, 
but from north to south you can go the whole day 
along them for miles." 

On the 4th, MacGregor rode thirty miles to 
Vihowa, where he was joined by Captain Carr, a 
very cheery companion ; and on the 7th he writes 
from Draban, where he was much exercised by the 
obstructive meddling of the political officer of the 
district. On the 9th he rode fifty miles into Dera 
Ismail Khan, and here he took a photograph of the 
marble block which covered the grave of his father- 
in-law, Sir Henry Durand.^ At Dera Lieutenant- 
Colonel MacGregor spent several days looking over 
the "fusty old records of the commandant's office, 
which he found very tiresome work." 

After he had passed through Draban and Zarkani 
(the burial-place of the Povindas), thence a march 
of twenty - five miles, over stony roads, brought 
MacGregor on March 18th to Manglin, in a pretty 
valley, which seemed Paradise after the previous 
waste he had just traversed. 

On the 21st the post at Murtaza was visited, and 
next Girni, an outlying station, liable to be cut off 
by the Waziris. Tank was reached on the 22d. 

The next halt was at Chinai Pass, where the party 
encamped, a place celebrated for robbers, but where 

1 Sir Henry Durancl died from the eflfect of an accident at Tank on 
the 31st December 1870. 




the nearest station is eight miles oiF. A long march 
was then made to Umar Khel ; and on the 27th, " I 
started at 3 a.m., as I had to go up a pass which had 
never been explored before. I got through all right ; 
but one place was so steep that I had to dismount, 
and regularly drag my horse up some natural steps 
for some fifty paces. The people did not at all like 
it, and I heard them shouting abuse at us." 

So the journey continued through Daraka and 
Jani Khel to Banu. 

''April 1. — Not a very easy line of country to 
defend, and which wants a thoroughly new selection 
of posts.^' 

From Banu an expedition was made to the Gum- 
ati Pass, across the Kuram river. Thence on the 7th 
April the frontier trip was continued via Latamar, 
Bahadur Khel, and Bandah to Thai, where a darhar 
was being held by Plowden, the Deputy Commis- 
sioner. Here MacGregor joined the Commissioner's 
camp, as it gave him an opportunity of meeting the 
various local chiefs and notables of the district. 
Darsamand and Matkoza were the next stations. 
" I have had all sorts of dirty chiefs coming in to 
see me all day. It is a bore. If I want to get 
any information out of them, I can send for them, 
and I often long to tell them so ; but I suppose 
Government would say that I should bring on an 
Afghan war." 

After ten days' rest at Kohat, Lieutenant-Colonel 
MacGregor resumed his tedious journey on the 28th 




April, passing over " a mixture of cinders and rocks, 
with patches of green here and there," to camp at 

Fort Mackeson, May 3. — I got a letter yesterday, 
saying I was to be peremptorily forbidden from going 
beyond our border. I have been over it dozens of 
times if they only knew it, and I mean to go again 
whenever it seems necessary." 

Hard work, grinding away at his papers, detained 
MacGregor at Peshawar during the first half of the 
month of May, by which time his appointment to 
work on the 'Gazetteer' came to an end. Not- 
withstanding, he still worked away on the remaining 
papers till the end of May. Davidson and Captain 
Lockwood assisted him greatly in his voluminous 

So the work went on day after day, and the above 
brief extracts will serve to show that the collection 
of information for the * Frontier Gazetteer ' was no 
child's-play. The amount of information acquired 
by Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor was marvellous, 
considering the difficulties placed in his way by 
some of the obstructive politicals, for whom he does 
not, in his correspondence, conceal his contempt. 
Lieutenant -Colonel MacGregor returned to Simla 
in June, and his only child, a daughter, Genevieve 
Muriel (Viva), was born on the 15th of that month. 

Barely four months during the hot weather had 
passed when Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor was 
aojain on the north-west frontier, on the same tedious 




business as before. During this interval he had not 
been idle ; for besides continuing the literary work 
at his desk, he took the opportunity of going through 
a course of instruction in army-signalling, obtaining 
a certificate of qualification as instructor. "I won- 
der," he writes, what they will give me after all 
this is over ? I shall have to grind away like blazes 
when I get back to Lahore, so as to finish my work 
by the end of April. Shall I not be glad ? I will 
never undertake anything on the same scale, or in so 
blind a manner again. I will, if they ask me, say, 
If you give me such and such help, I will agree to 
do so much. I don't believe any Government ever 
got so large a work done for so little before." 

" Girnee, Nov. 6. — I took Earle ^ all round to show 
him everything, and though I do not in the least 
obtrude my opinions on him, I think he is coming 
round to mine. I believe the reason why my views, 
if upheld, will triumph, is simply because I base 
them entirely on common-sense military grounds. 
If you can show me that any selected position of 
mine is bad on military grounds, I will abandon it, 
but not because some deputy commissioner chooses 
to advance some ridiculous political reason. . . . 
We have already ridden 356 miles, and are only 
about one-third through with it." 

" Tank, Nov. 7. — We made a tedious round over 
the stones to-day, round the absurd posts, and my 

^ Colonel W. Earle, Military Secretary to the Viceroy, Lord North- 




only consolation was that Earle, after seeing it all, 
said, ' Well, I must say I agree with you about these 
posts : they are shockingly badly placed, and ought 
to come back ' (to the line I propose). The igno- 
rance of the officers here, as well as their apathy, 
seems also to have struck Earle forcibly. They 
don't know the very commonest things, and from 
their talk one would think they were in a penal 
settlement. The fact is, all the seniors are tired of 
this work, and long to get away, and the juniors 
take their tone from them. I think the best thing 
they could do would be to relieve the whole force 
gradually, and send some new blood here. The 
worst man must feel some little interest in what 
would be to him such new work, and there would 
be far more chance of the work being properly done, 
than by the ' old soldiers,' who are always trying to 
dodge their work." 

" Feshcavar. — To-day we are going round the 
Doaba Forts, and end up by floating down the river 
on a massaJc [skin] raft, which I daresay Earle will 
enjoy. All this is no fun for me." 

By the end of this year, part v. of the ' Central 
Asian Gazetteer' was issued from the Foreign De- 
partment press at Calcutta. In this part (342 
pages) are comprised portions of Asiatic Turkey 
and Caucasia. 

After a prolonged wandering over the debatable 
ground beyond the Indus, Lieutenant - Colonel 
MacGregor returned to army headquarters at Simla, 



where his wife and child were residing, and com- 
pleted his reports and the editing of his colleagues' 
compilations. In April the state of his wife's health 
necessitated her proceeding to England, and he took 
her to Bombay, where he saw her off in the P. & 0. 
steamer Khedive. Mrs MacGregor was taken ill on 
board shijD off Malta, and died on the 9th May just 
before the vessel reached Southampton, at which place 
she was buried, being only twenty-one years of age. 

Lieutenant - Colonel MacGregor, on hearing by 
telegraph from Malta of his wife's dangerous illness, 
obtained immediately leave of absence, and followed 
by the next available packet ; but at Malta the tele- 
gram announcing his wife's death was handed to 
him, and on reaching England the nearly heart- 
broken widower decided to return at once to India, 
leaving his child with an old friend of his wife. On 
the death of this guardian, the little girl was con- 
fided to the care of her mother's sister. 

On the 1st May the Indian Government had 
sanctioned the printing of part i. of the * Central 
Asian Gazetteer,' comprising the North- West Frontier, 
at the Government press in Calcutta. On his return 
to India, after superintending the completion of the 
work, and seeing the proof-sheets through the press, 
Lieutenant- Colonel MacGregor was posted to the 
Presidency District as Assistant - Quartermaster- 

The Secretary of Government, Military Depart- 
ment, wrote on the l7th July, notifying the sane- 


tion of the Governor-General, Lord Nortlibrook, to 
Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor's reappointment as 
an Assistant- Quartermaster- General for a further 
term of five years from 10th August 1873, which 
was duly announced in General Orders. 

Colonel Burne, Secretary to the Government of 
India, Military Department, in forwarding the dis- 
tribution list of part i. (North- Western Frontier), 
* Central Asian Gazetteer,' begged on July 14th that 
the work might be treated as strictly confidential, 
and wrote that — ''The Government of Lidia have 
seen with great satisfaction the result of the labours 
of Colonel MacGregor. . . . They consider that 
the compilation is a most valuable contribution to 
our military and political knowledge of the north- 
western frontier ; and I am desired to request that 
you will move his Excellency the Commander-in- 
Chief to convey to Colonel MacGregor the cordial 
appreciation of Government for the labour and ability 
with which he has carried through this work." 

With respect to the satisfactory completion of the 
' Gazetteer,' the Quartermaster-General, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Roberts, V.C., R.A., was directed to submit 
to the Government a brief statement of the time and 
manner in which this work had been performed 
under Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor. He observed 
that Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor commenced the 
'Gazetteer' at the end of 1868, and finished parts 
i., ii., iv., and v. before the end of 1873, by which 
time part vii. (Kashmere), by Captain Bates, and 




portions of part vi. (Kokhan), by Captains Collet 
and Trotter, were also compiled and printed. Part 
iii. (Baluchistan) was undertaken by Captain Lock- 
hart, and would soon be ready for the press. The 
greater part of this extensive work had therefore 
been completed in five years ; and the whole, when 
finished, would only have cost the Government of 
India, in addition to a lieutenant -colonel's travel- 
ling expenses, the staff pay of an assistant-quarter- 
master-general and the salary of a clerk (1200 rupees 
for one year), besides the printing expenses. 

It was believed that such an amount of informa- 
tion had never before been collected for the State 
in so short a time at so small a cost ; and Colonel 
Eoberts was instructed to represent to the favour- 
able consideration of Government the great zeal 
displayed, and the indefatigable labour bestowed, 
by Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor in accomplishing 
a work which required special qualifications, and 
which, comparatively unaided, he had brought to 
so successful a termination. 

The time actually occupied by Colonel Mac- 
Gregor in compiling the books was thirty-two 
months,^ and besides, seven months were occupied 

1 1st November 1868 to 1st Marcli 1869, . 

4 months. 

1st May 1869 to 15tli October 1869, 

5^ M 

15th May 1870 to 1st November 1870, . 

. 5^ „ 

1st Jamiary 1871 to 10th October 1871, . 

9 „ 

15th June 1872 to 15th October 1872, . 


1st December 1872 to 1st April 1873, . 

4 „ 

32 1. 

1874.] FAMINE IN NORTH BEHAR. ^ 349 

in printing, two months in the Viceroy's camp, thir- 
teen months collecting material, and seven months 
on leave. 

In consequence of the failure of the usual rains 
during 1873, not only was the summer crop of rice 
in Behar and Northern Bengal unusually short in 
yield, but the autumnal or principal crop also failed, 
whilst the seed sown for the coming spring harvest 
was prevented from germination by the drought. 
Then, again, the amount of grain in store had been 
greatly depleted by exportation, so that the defi- 
ciency of available food-supply could not possibly 
be made good from local resources, and a disastrous 
famine impended, affecting some twenty millions of 

Lord Northbrook and the Government of Bengal, 
under Sir George Campbell, set vigorously to work 
to counteract the dire eflfects of such a calamity by 
the importation of grain from British Burma, where 
there happened to be an unusually abundant har- 
vest of rice, in sufficient time to combat the an- 
ticipated distress in March 1874; and 450,000 
tons of rice were purchased and transported to 
Calcutta by steamers, this store being estimated 
sufiBcient to last throughout the forthcoming sum- 
mer, autumn, and winter, until the crisis was 
tided over. 

Sir George Campbell's health breaking down, his 
duties devolved upon Sir Eichard Temple in Janu- 
ary 1874, by which date the consignments of grain 


were beginning to arrive from Kan gun at Calcutta, 
whence they were conveyed by railway to the 
banks of the Ganges. 

On entering North Behar at this time, Sir R. 
Temple " was struck by the difficulties affecting the 
transport of grain in large quantities during the 
dry season, which had already begun, and would 
become drier still as the months rolled on. The 
traffic of the country was ordinarily carried by boats 
on the many navigable streams which flow from 
the Himalayas to join the Ganges ; but these 
streams were now almost devoid of water. Wheeled 
carriage for commercial purposes did not exist in 
any considerable quantity, and thus trade was for 
a time paralysed. The only persons possessing 
carts and draught- bullocks in large numbers were 
the European indigo - planters, who used these ve- 
hicles for their manufacturing work. Their busi- 
ness was so slack that they could spare their carts, 
which were accordingly hired by tens of thousands, 
and the transport of the Government grain was so 
far secured. The organisation of this enormous 
amount of hired transport was placed under Colonel 
C. M. MacGregor of the Quartermaster-General's 
Department, a public servant of high capacity and 
unsurpassed energy, with a large staff of military 
officers." ^ Colonel MacGregor took over these duties 
under the Relief Department on the 8tli February. 

1 Men and Events of My Time in India. By Sir Richard Temple, 
Bart. (1882), p. 392. 




Unfortunately his private diaries are not available, 
but some idea may be formed of the work from the 
following extracts from the official reports. 

Lieutenant -Colonel MacGregor, writing to Mr 
(now Sir Stuart) Bayley, Commissioner of the Patna 
Division, says : ^ 

" I am entitled to speak regarding the transport 
operations. The problem in this department was 
one which it is eo exaggeration to call appalling. 
It consisted of the transport of no less than 5,200,000 
maunds (185,714 tons) of grain from the Ganges to 
142 different magazines, at an average distance of 
seventy miles from the base ; and this not by the 
aid of railroads,^ or even over good roads, not with 
the aid of a regularly organised Transport Depart- 
ment, but through the means of officers and men 
collected from the length and breadth of India, 
most of these without the slightest experience of 
organisation on a large scale, and of contractors, 
innocent of any greater feat of transport than that 
of a few cartloads of indigo from their fields to 
their factories once a-year. 

" It has been reported that before the arrival of 
the military officers all was more or less chaos ; but 
having had as good opportunities of knowing the 
state of affairs as any one, I may perhaps be per- 
mitted, as the senior military officer in the Patna 

1 No. 852, dated Bankipore, the 19tli October 1874. 

2 A temporary railway was afterwards constructed by Captain 
Stanton, R.E. 




Division, to place on record my opinion of the 
singular injustice of any such remark. If, at the 
commencement, there was some confusion apparent, 
I can only say that is nothing unusual ; the same 
thing has happened more or less in every large 
operation I have seen, and in most I have read of: 
it seems to be left to the Prussians alone to start into 
life with a complete organisation. There was some 
confusion, but it seemed to me that all that was 
possible had been done or thought of, and it is 
sufficient to remark that the main plan of the cam- 
paign had been determined, and that it was this 
plan which crowned our efforts with eventual suc- 
cess. That plan, briefly stated, was to call out the 
whole available strength of the country in carts, by 
making it the interest of those whose experience 
of, and influence in, the country was greatest, to 
assist you and to direct this transport by the most 
direct routes to the points at which aid was most 

The primary base of operations was, of course, 
Calcutta, and the secondary bases or depots on the 
left bank of the Ganges were settled at the ghdts of 
Champta and Bankar, and afterwards, as operations 
extended, at Jamatia, Simaria, and Parihara. " The 
work at these depots consisted of receiving and 
landing the grain from the boats, its preservation 
on shore and its despatch by carts — that is to say, 
this was all that was apparent to a casual observer ; 
yet the most important and most difficult part of 




the work was the manao-ino: the numerous individ- 
uals necessary to carry this programme out ; that is, 
coaxing and directing inexperienced contractors, 
frightening, petting, and wheedling cartmen with 
understandings more dense than those of their 
own bullocks, and prejudices much stronger than 
their carts ; work which required method, zeal, 
and untiring energy, tact, firmness, and good 

Having organised these depots, the next point 
was the state of the roads, and it was arranged that 
the whole field of operations should be divided into 
separate lines, leading by the most direct route to 
the golas (stores) to be filled. An ofiicer was placed 
in charge of each line, averaging seventy-five miles, 
with assistants — viz., one native officer on each 
fifteen miles, one sepoy on each three miles, and 
twenty or more coolies on each mile. 

Besides, where possible, every bridge was made 
by sappers, and special parties told ofi" to keep 
them in repair, and arrangements were made for 
the supply of materials for mending the roads at 
convenient intervals. Where sappers were not 
available, the road officers had to construct the 
bridges themselves. The duties of the officers were 
most onerous ; they required the most constant su- 
pervision and entailed great exposure : they con- 
sisted, in addition to keeping the roads in order, in 
making arrangements for grass and fodder, keeping 
the traffic moving, assisting in the repair of carts, 

VOL. I. z 




making reports of the traffic — in fact, doing all in 
their power to secure the end in view ; and right 
well they did it. 

Difficulty was experienced in getting carts to 
work far from their homes, and so it became neces- 
sary to select points at which the carts from the 
south could be relieved by those from the north. 
These were termed hreahing-hitlk stations, and were 
administered by the officer in charge of the road in 
addition to his other duties. Besides the cart-traffic, 
another of the operations was the river transport in 
East Tirhut. 

Another branch of the working of the department 
which Lieutenant-Colonel MacGregor had to direct 
was that connected with the Tirhut State Railway. 
The only detriment which occurred to the public 
service during the operations was occasioned by 
this branch of the department being commanded 
from Calcutta, whilst the whole of the rest was ad- 
ministered in Tirhut (a district of Behar province). 

The plan of operations rested on the determina- 
tion to make use of all available strength in carts of 
the district. The problem was to carry up 5,200,000 
maunds in 120 days — a task wellnigh impossible — 
indeed Lord Northbrook informed Lieutenant -Col- 
onel MacGregor he did not expect it could be done. 
Nevertheless it was done, and successfully accom- 
plished, despite the exposure and hard work under 
the burning sun, without failure even in a single 




When " the month of May set in, the famine had 
thoroughly declared itself," and the contest for life 
was intense till the middle of June, when the blessed 
rain fell and a chano-e for the better was at once 
experienced." ^ In the autumn a good harvest was 
reaped, and by the middle of October few recipients 
of relief from Government were left. The famine 
campaign had been overcome without loss of life, 
and a reserve of grain, which had been provided in 
the event of a prolonged drought, remained on 
hand — an essential precaution. 

In concluding his report, Lieutenant-Colonel ]\Iac- 
Gregor remarks that the name " Transport Depart- 
ment " hardly gives a correct idea of the variety of 
duties which fell to its lot. It is true, he says, that 
4419 carts, 11,280 ponies and mules, 11,948 bul- 
locks, 98 buffaloes, 1360 camels, &c., had been di- 
rectly under its orders and worked by it, but the 
department had, in arranging the feeding of all 
these animals and many of the men, also performed 
duties which strictly belong to the Commissariat. 
In addition, it had the direction of 44,679 carts be- 
longing to contractors, a work of considerable mag- 
nitude by itself, necessitating a staff of about 35 
Europeans and 47,000 natives, whose only control- 
ling power came direct from the Director. It kept 
in repair 1173 miles of road, and constructed and 
maintained, for four and a half months, fifty-nine 
bridges. It had the direction of a large fleet of 

1 Sir Richard Temple, ojy. cit., p. 402. 


boats,^ necessitating a total change in arrangements ; 
and lastly, the Director had acted as chief of the 
staff for all matters connected in the remotest man- 
ner with the work in h^^nd. 

" The first place in this branch of the operations 
(transport service)," writes Sir Richard Temple, " be- 
longs to Colonel C. M. MacGregor, Assistant-Quarter- 
master-General. He was the Director of Transport 
in North Behar. The magnitude of his charge may 
in general terms be measured thus : He had at one 
time about 50,000 two-bullock carts, and in addition 
about 15,000 pack-animals, working under his super- 
vision, carrying from first to last 282,000 tons of 
grain, equal to over four million bags. He had to 
distribute this mass of grain amongst the numerous 
depots and granaries, according to instructions re- 
ceived from the Relief Department. He had sixty- 
five European commissioned officers under his im- 
mediate command, and at his disposal were the 
services of two companies of Sappers and Miners 
and four companies of the 3 2d Pioneer Regiment. 
In the discharge of these duties he displayed many 
of those qualities which make up the character of an 
administrator — intelligence in mastering facts, skill 
in adapting means to the end in view, aj)titude in 
raising resources against difficulties, power of com- 
bining and concentrating efforts from many quarters 
on particular objects, and persistency in carrying 

^ Eight hundred canoes were sent by the Oudh Government by the 
river Gogra. 


commissioner's report. 


measures to their termination. His services were 
most valuable in the accomplishment of the im- 
portant task devolving on the Transport Depart- 
ment." ^ 

The Commander-in-Chief expressed himself as 
" very much pleased, but not in the least surprised, 
at the testimony borne by the Lieutenant-Governor 
to the valuable assistance rendered by Lieutenant- 
Colonel MacGregor, who has never failed to distin- 
guish himself by the high qualities for which he is 
commended by the Lieutenant-Governor." ^ 

In August Mr Hewett, officiating Junior Secre- 
tary to the Government of Bengal (Scarcity and 
Eelief Department), writing to the Military Secre- 
tary of the Commander-in-Chief, forwarded a letter 
from Mr S. C. Bayley,^ Commissioner of Patna, 

^ Extract from minute by Sir Richard Temple, Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal, in letter to Secretary of Government, Military Department. 

2 Letter from Colonel Dillon, Military Secretary to the Commander- 

3 Mr Bayley, Commissioner of Patna, to Secretary of Bengal. 

" 11th August 1874. 

" Having been associated and in close communication with Colonel 
MacGregor from the day of his taking charge of the famine transport, 
I may perhaps be permitted to record my admiration of the persistent 
and indefatigable energy, no less than the skill and administrative 
ability, with which he has performed a task the magnitude of which 
is scarcely represented by figures. To the main fact already known 
to Government — that he has in the limited time at our disposal suc- 
ceeded in conveying to the numberless golas scattered through Tirhut 
over four millions of maunds of grain, the average distance of which 
from the river being about seventy miles — I would add that, notwith- 
standing the numerous companies of contractors, as well as depart- 


under whom Colonel MacGregor was then serving, 
bearing strong testimony to that officer's efficiency 
as Director of Transport in Tirhut. The Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal, Sir Eichard Temple, who had 
closely watched the transport operations throughout, 
was gladly able to indorse all that Mr Bayley said, 
and forwarded a minute,^ in which he acknowledged 
Colonel MacGregor s services. 

Sir Eichard Temple added that in the North 
Behar Transport Department were collected a large 
number of officers from all parts of India. All these 
officers had been placed under Colonel MacGregor, 
and the way in which he organised them, taught 
them their work, and managed them throughout, 
evinced most creditable tact and power of managing 
men and affairs on a large scale. 

Dec. 12.— At this time a Special Ordnance Com- 
mission, which had been appointed some months 
previously, was engaged in determining, amongst 
other matters, the ordnance establishments necessary 

ments of all kinds, with whom his duty brought him into contact, there 
has been little or no friction, and with me his work has been most 
perfectly harmonious ; and I can only say that, in case of being ever 
called on to undertake such duty again, I could not wish for better 
fortune than to have Colonel MacGregor for my coadjutor. 

"S. C. Bayley." 

1 Minute by the Hon. Sir Richard Temple, 2d July 1874 : "Before 
leaving Darbangah for the present, I desire to communicate to Colonel 
MacGregor the expression of my high appreciation of the skill, fore- 
sight, promptitude, and perseverance displayed by him in the dis- 
charge of his arduous and important duty in the Grain Transport 
Department of Tirhut during the several months past, . . . 

"R. Temple." 




for India, and the sites which they should occupy ; 
and as many questions of a purely military nature 
were involved therein, application was made to the 
Commander-in-Chief for the services of an officer who 
was qualified to be associated with them in consider- 
ing the requisite departmental information, and in 
preparing the final report. For this service Lieu- 
tenant - Colonel MacGregor's extensive knowledge 
and study of the requirements of the Store Depart- 
ments, and arrangements necessary for the reorganis- 
ation of the methods of distribution, pre-eminently 
fitted him, and he was appointed a member of the 

A glance at the map which accompanied the re- 
port of the Commission, will enable any one to gain 
a slight idea of the intricacy and importance of the 
distribution scheme recommended by the Commis- 
sion, and which has been adopted and worked with 
such satisfactory results ever since. The campaigns 
of 1878-81 in Afghanistan, and the recent expedi- 
tion to Burma, have tried the resources of the ord- 
nance depots severely; and the system, although so 
rigorously taxed, has withstood the strain to which 
it has been subjected most satisfactorily, and no 
heavier test of its working could possibly have been 
applied. Whatever Colonel Charles MacGregor ap- 
plied himself to he did thoroughly, put his heart 
into it, and never flinched until he had put things 
through in his own practical, straightforward fashion. 
No work was too hard for him ; but he expected his 




colleagues to work with a will too, otherwise he had 
no mercy on them. He hated shufflers, and con- 
sequently was not popular with idlers. He was 
employed on the Ordnance Commission until Feb- 
ruary 1875, when he served as Assistant -Quarter- 
master-General to the Rawal Pindi Division. 



On the 6th January 1878, Colonel MacGregor sent in to 
army headquarters another memorandum ^ on the Reorgan- 
isation of the North-West Frontier, which was based on a 
similar paper he had submitted seven years previously, and 
referred to a recent minute on this subject, issued by Lord 
Lytton. The following is an abbreviated epitome of the 
paper, which will serve to give his opinions on the subject. 
He wrote : — 

"The first point, then, which strikes one is, that the 
system under which the frontier was first administered was 
never regularly planned and thought out. The fact was 
that Government had then the advantage of the services of 
quite a unique batch of young and singularly able soldiers, 
who had proved their valuable qualities by the roughest and 
best test — that of war. Having the services of such men, it 
seemed better to leave them to work out their own system 
according to their lights. 

" All the men on whom they thus relied seem intuitively 

^ Although this memorandum was written in 1878, it forms a sequel to 
the frontier work devised by Colonel MacGregor in 1868, and has therefore 
been attached to Chapter YIIT, 




to have recognised the real state of affairs, to have realised 
they had to deal with bands of robbers without cohesion 
and with no respect whatever for any authority. They 
treated every frontier complication, every irruption into 
our territory, in a decided and determined manner, which 
exactly suited the requirements of the case, and which was 
consequently thoroughly understood and appreciated by the 
tribes ; and there can be no doubt that in those first years 
of our rule across the Indus, our prestige stood higher than 
in any other part of India. 

" How is it, then, that having begun so well, the adminis- 
tration fell from bad to worse, till we are now face to face 
with an overwhelming concurrence of opinion as to the 
necessity for its immediate readjustment ? The answer is. 
With advancing years these men one by one disappeared, 
so that by '70 there was scarcely any of the old leaven 

" Government now determined to enter on an era of peace 
on the border, and in order to succeed in this, they unfor- 
tunately also began to interfere more and more in frontier 
affairs, without having sufficient knowledge of the subject 
to enable them to intervene judiciously. 

"In the old days posts were placed out on military 
grounds, and raiders nearly always got more than they 
gave : and when things got worse, political and military 
officers being of one mind, and well supported by Govern- 
ment, they soon brought matters straight again. But now, 
knowing well Government would not countenance any de- 
cided measures, officers were obliged to keep the peace, or 
seem to keep it, by other means — by paying them black-mail, 
by a system of reprisals, by using border chiefs in negotia- 
tions, by pitting one section of a tribe against another, by 
concealing crime. 

" Thus Government was blinded, and finding how easily 
Government was hoodwinked, every effort was directed to 
keeping all frontier questions a profound secret, the key 




to which could only be obtained through the frontier 

"From 1864 things have been steadily going from bad to 
worse. Warnings, however, were not wanting to active and 
adventurous minds ; there was something peculiarly charm- 
ing in a visit to the frontier, and from time to time a great 
many outsiders have ridden along it. 

" But they soon found the mantle of the old men had not 
fallen on the new ; and it is a curious fact that every out- 
sider who visited the frontier, came back impressed with 
the lamentable state affairs had fallen into. 

" At first all such reports were met with a mighty dis- 
dain ; the frontier quidnuncs argued that what had taken 
them years to master, could not seriously be considered 
graspable by even the ablest man in the course of a month 
or two's ride along the border. Yet, notwithstanding, the 
impression that things were wrong has been growing in 
strength every year till now ; ' an overwhelming con- 
currence of opinion ' thinks so, and happily we have 
his Excellency the Viceroy's minute to put it beyond 

" The key-note of all frontier affairs is this. Eaids are 
sometimes voluntary^ sometimes instigated. The former are 
not so difficult to deal with as the latter, which, from the 
fact of their being brought about either by men beyond the 
border or by men within our border, are more complicated, 
because they are not undertaken from pure devilry or love 
of plunder, but with the object of paying off some old spite, 
or of leading the stream of Government reward to flow self- 

" The raids voluntary, if the military were used as they 
might be, and should be, would of course cease, and there 
is equally no doubt in my mind that the second would 
cease also, if there was no encouragement for them— that 
is, if the frontier management was changed — if the present 
system of secret and political management of the tribes is 




abandoned, — if, in fact, we give up trying to act the part 
of Afridis with Afridis. 

" The theory of this political management is as above, the 
practice as follows : The robbers beyond the frontier are 
regarded by the civil officers as so many petty independent 
states, each with its chief and its council of state. If a raid 
is committed, it is at once said this tribe or that tribe did 
it ; we must send for their council (jirgct) and call the tribe 
to account, or we must seize all the property of the tribe 
in our territory. 

" I will now turn to Lord Lytton's scheme, and see how 
far it seems to me to meet the requirements of the case. 
First, I may say I agree entirely as to the necessity for 
taking the frontier management away from the Panjab 
Government. Frontier affairs are an imperial question, 
and as such should be dealt with by the Supreme Gov- 
ernment alone. 

" I am also of opinion that there must be some officer of 
rank who should have charge of all frontier relations, who 
should be in the confidence of the Viceroy and directly 
responsible to him, who, frequently visiting the border, 
would be thoroughly familiar with the actual state of affairs, 
and who would report on them direct, unbiassed by any 
local prejudices. 

"These points it is proposed to encompass by the ap- 
pointment of a Chief Commissioner for the north - west 
frontier, who shall be in charge of all our border relations 
of a province consisting of the present frontier districts" of 
Sind and the Panjab, and an additional district from Trans- 
Indus Sind, and of the relations of the Government of 
India with Afghanistan and Baluchistan. 

" To assist him to carry on these duties, it is proposed 
to provide him with a 'secretary, assistant-secretary, and 
staff and office establishment, proportionate to his position ; ' 
besides, there are to be two additional commissioners, at 
least six judicial assistants, and an increase of assistant- 




commissioners throiigliout the province, besides an increase 
of the police force under ' picked officers.' 

" The necessity for a thorough change of system, and for 
working out a clear simple plan, suited for all time, does 
not seem to me to have received sutficient consideration. 
Instead of a Lieutenant-Governor, a Chief Commissioner 
is substituted ; but no thorough change of system is in- 
sisted on : the same officers are to be employed, and the 
same system to be continued. But it is evident that fron- 
tier management is still to be regarded from a political 
point of view. 

"It is proposed to place under the Chief Commissioner 
our relations with Kabul and Kalat. I cannot conceive 
wliy. In the first place, it cannot be too clearly stated 
that Kabul politics have nothing to do with the border; 
and further, I submit everything should be done to dis- 
courage any idea they have. 

" The Chief Commissioner cannot have any knowledge of 
Kabul or Kalat politics that the Government of India are 
not in possession of, and as he cannot have any policy of 
his own towards Afghanistan and Baluchistan, there seems 
nothing but disadvantage to be reaped from his being placed 
in charge of the relations with those countries. 

" A radical change of system is required. The proposals 
of Lord Lytton will not effect a radical cure, but only a 
partial amendment. The first step must be in removing 
the frontier officers from all connection with border matters. 
The second must be a thorough change of system, for I am 
so convinced of the rottenness of the system that I do not 
think even a new set of men could make it work satis- 

" I would treat tlie frontier as a police question, whereas 
it has always been regarded as a political problem. I do 
not mean to say I would defend the border by civil police, 
but by that greater police — the army. 

" The system I propose is simply that by which Jacob 




brought the Sincl frontier from a state of the most frightful 
anarchy and bloodshed to one of almost complete peace in 
less than five years. He looked on the border tribes not 
as separate nationalities to be negotiated with, but a mass of 
incoherent marauding robbers, to be coerced into conforming 
to his will or suppressed ; and the way he accomplished 
his object was, putting out his posts on military grounds 
alone, and giving them a few simple orders suited to the 

" I would appoint an officer to the command of all the 
troops from Abbottabad to Quetta, and place him in charge 
of all relations with the border, call him ' Commandant and 
Viceroy's Agent of the North-West Frontier,' and provide 
him with a staff consisting of three or four ofiicers. He 
should have command of all the troops, and charge of all 
frontier relations. Under him I would divide the fron- 
tier into three districts — viz., (1) Peshawar and Hazara ; (2) 
Kohat, Bannu, and Dera Ishmail Khan; (3) Dera Ghazi 
Khan, Jacobabad, and Quetta. Eor the Peshawar command, 
the present brigadier-general at that place would suffice ; 
for the Kohat command, the present brigadier-general of 
the Panjab frontier force ; and for the lower district, the 
brigadier-general from Karachi. These officers have their 
staff, and there need therefore be no increase of expense 
on this account. 

" The districts I would subdivide as follows [here follows 
list of subdivisions]. 

" In each of these sub-districts there would be a certain 
number of outposts, the larger ones of which would be under 
the command of an English officer. The sites of these posts 
should be selected entirely on military grounds, so as to 
give our own troops every advantage of ground, and place 
raiders under every disadvantage. The next thing to do 
would be to lay down a frontier road, which would con- 
nect each post by a good galloping road (as far as possi- 
ble), and also each post with its support at the sub-district 




headquarters. Much of this is already done, and troops 
should be employed to do the rest. 

"Then a military cordon should be carefully drawn, 
which would include all villages which, from their position 
on the immediate border, were liable to attack. This cordon 
once established and understood, it would follow that all 
who resided beyond it should be liable to aid in frontier 
defence, and be exempt from all taxation. All situated 
within the cordon would belong to the civil district of which 
it forms a part, and be subject to the same administration 
as at present. 

" In addition, I would enlist a body of men who should be 
termed ' Militia,' and consist of men only from within our 
border on whom we could thoroughly rely. Their duty 
would consist principally in serving as guides to the regular 
troops, for which reason they should be local. 

" The force at the disposal of each officer commanding a 
sub-district would therefore be — (1) regular troops, who 
would hold the outposts and do whatever fighting was 
necessary ; (2) militia as guides ; (3) villagers of villages 
beyond the cordon, who should be regularly enrolled and 
armed, and whose duty would alone consist in defending 
their own villages and lands, and in taking charge of posts 
when the regulars were away. 

" A few simple rules would be necessary for the satisfac- 
tion of our own troops and the information of the border 
tribes. These could not be too clear. . . : 

" I have often talked the matter over with frontier officers, 
and though I have met with objections, I never met with 
one that would stand the test of strict examination. 

"Though I propose the institution of a firm military 
system for the border, I do not forget that it should always 
be the desire of Government to make the tribes our friends. 
Thirty years of mutual distrust and reprisal have proved 
that this end will never be accomplished by the present 
system. The first step in reclaiming any savages must be 


to make it impossible for them to carry on their marauding 
practices, and having thus instilled into them fear, respect 
will follow ; and if we give over our distrust of them, and 
cultivate more frequent intercourse with them, that respect 
will be followed by confidence in our justice and our high- 

"C. M. MacGregok. 

"January 6, 1878." 









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' 1888 
! V.l