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Captain Larkins to the Adjutant-General of the Army, Army Head Quarters, Allahabad.
Camp Phillibheet, September 1, 1858.
Sir, No. 55.
FOR the information of his Excellency the Commander-in- Chief, I have the honour to report a most successful attack made on the enemy's position at Seerpoorah, about fourteen miles from Phillibheet, under the command of Captain Browne, Commanding 2nd Punjab Cavalry, in which four guns were captured from the enemy, along with the whole of his ammunition, baggage, cattle, three elephants, tfec, and in which the enemy lost about 300 killed, amongst them one of the rebel leaders Allee Khan, Maiwattee, and Nizam Allee Khan was wounded, but escaped.
2. At the request of Mr. Low, Joint Magistrate of Phillibheet, and thinking it very advisable not to allow the rebels to get possession of Nooreah, a large village ten miles from this, on Saturday night the 28th ultimo, I sent Ensign Chalmers with 100 of the 24th Punjab Infantry, of which he is Commandant, and 100 Sabres 2nd Punjab Cavalry, the whole under command of Lieutenant Craigie, to Nooreah, to fortify the village, as Mr. Low was anxious to re-establish a police chowkee there, which he had been obliged to withdraw on the 22nd.
3. On the following morning, Ensign Chalmers commenced; but shortly afterwards, the rebels came down with cavalry, infantry, and artillery to attack him, and, hearing heavy firing in that direction, I concluded that such had been the case. I therefore immediately ordered out a force as per margin,* under command of Captain Browne, 2nd
* 2nd Pi.yab Cavalry, 150; 17tb Do. Infantry, 175; Kuataoo he ies, 100.—Total, 425.
Punjab Cavalry, to march to Nooreah to their assistance. They marched at a quarter to twelve o'clock A.m., arriving at Nooreah about half past three o'clock P.m., and found that the enemy had been obliged to retreat to their position at Seerpoorah. Captain Browne, therefore, halted his detachment at Nooreah, and, after reconnoitring the enemy's position, and from information he got from some villagers, he bivouacked at Nooreah for the night, intending to attack the enemy's position in the morning, with what result will be seen from the official reports of Lieutenant Craigie, as to the operations of the 29th, and that of Lieutenant Cunliffe (who assumed command of the detachment after Captain Browne was wounded) of the attack on the enemy's position, on the morning of the 30th.
4. I have further the honour to forward a sketch of the enemy's position, and the plan of attack, which was so ably and successfully carried out by Captain Browne; but in which, I regret to say, he was himself dangerously wounded, not however before he had the satisfaction of seeing the enemy's position carried, their guns, ammunition, camp equipage, &cc, captured, and themselves totally routed.
5. Captain Browne speaks highly of the conduct of all engaged, and of the steady advance of all, under the fire of the enemy's guns; but most especially of the steady advance of the skirmishers of the 24th Punjab Infantry, led by Ensign Chalmers.
6. I would here beg to bring Ensign Chalmers, Officiating Commandant, 24th Punjab Infantry, prominently to the notice of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, for his indefatigable zeal and energy at all times, and under all circumstances. Since he arrived at Phillibheet, he has placed the city in a thorough state of defence, and his thorough knowledge of field engineering in all its branches has been of the greatest service here. A a soon as he arrived, he threw up a bridge-head for the protection of the br;.dge-of-boats, to enable us, in the event of wanting assistance from Bareilly, to keep our communication open with that station, and although the river rose so high, and almost destroyed it, as soon as the water subsided, he set to work, and in less than three days had another bridge-head completed. Besides this, between Sunday and Monday morning last, he had completed the entrenching of Nooreah (though part of the day under fire) and there is now a police force there of 300 men, and the police chowkee re-established. Much praise, I consider, is due to Ensign Chalmers for all that he has done since he has been here, which is my reason for bringing him thus prominently to the notice of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief.
7. I have further the honour to forward returns of ordnance, and ordnance stores captured, as also a general casualty return of the detachment engaged.
1 hftVG ifec
ROBERTSON LARK INS, Captain,
Lieutenant Craigie to Captain S. Browne,
Camp Nooreah, August 29, 1858.
I HAVE the honour to report, for your information, that agreeably to detachment orders of yesterday's date, I proceeded with the force as per margin* to Nooreah, for the purpose of fortifying
* 100 sabres 2nd Punjab Cavalry; 100 rank and file; 24th Punjab Infantry.
the Tehseel, to enable the police to repel any attacks that might be made upon them by the rebels, who were encamped at Seerpoorah, about three miles off, on the edge of the jungle.
On arriving at Nooreah, I posted a picket of (1) one Dnffad&r, and (4) four Sowars, to watch the enemy's picket, which was posted about a mile from Nooreah. About half-past nine, the Duffadar of the picket sent in to say, that the enemy were advancing in force, with infantry and cavalry, but that they could not see any guns. I allowed them to advance within three quarters of a mile of Nooreah, when I divided my cavalry into two parties, sending one towards their left, under Ressaidar Hukdad Khan, where they had some cavalry drawn up ; and myself taking the remainder of the cavalry, and the whole of the infantry, under Ensign Chalmers (with the exception of a small guard left in Nooreah) also a few footmen and police Sowars, who accompanied Mr. Low, I advanced towards their right, the ground in their front being rice fields, knee-deep in water. The enemy were drawn up on a road running parallel to my front. There must have been about (300) three hundred infantry, (100) one hundred cavalry, and (2) two elephants.
Immediately I got within range, they opened upon me with round shot, from (3) three guns, posted along the road above mentioned, which being rather lower than the fields, were not visible from where I was. I moved off to the left, keeping as well as I could out of range of their shot, and got between them and their camp, where I left the infantry, a portion of the cavalry, and the detachment of police, under Ensign Chalmers, in a mangoe tope full of thick jungle, with orders to watch the guns, keep out of range, if possible, and endeavour to keep the enemy in play until 1859. L
reinforcements should arrive from Phillibheet: and taking the remainder of the cavalry with me, I went back by the way I had come, to see how Ressaidar Hukdad Khan was getting on.
Kessaidar Hukdad Khan reported that he had come across a body of the enemy's cavalry, about (19) nineteen in number (14) fourteen of whom had charged him in the most determined manner, that the (14) fourteen were all killed, and (5) five horses captured, with a loss on our side of (2) two Sowars killed (1) one Duffadar, and (1) one Sowar wounded, and (1) one horse missing; the Ressaidar himself also was wounded. I cannot speak too highly of the coolness and judgment of Ressaidar Hukdad Khan, on this occasion. I remained on the enemy's left watching their movements, and seeing that they were moving their guns towards where I had left Ensign Chalmers, I proceeded down the road they had been posted on at a trot, but had not gone above a quarter of a mile, when I heard a volley of musketry, and on getting off my horse, and looking with my telescope, I saw the enemy making off helter-skelter towards their own camp. On joining Ensign Chalmers, he reported that for about an hour and a half, the enemy had kept up a lire at intervals from their guns, at the end of which time, they edged towards their standing camp, and got between it and the tope he held; at the same time he received a note from me, directing him, in the event of the enemy passing him, to return direct to Nooreah, which he proceeded to do; on his getting clear of the tope, he found that the enemy had received reinforcements of cavalry, and was drawn up in such a position as to command the road for his return, and that he estimated their numbers at (250) two hundred and fifty infantry (150) one hundred and fifty cavalry, and (3) three