Page images

guns, and that as soon as he was clear of the tope, they fired (3) three round shot at him, but without effect, after which their cavalry immediately charged. He faced his men about, and when they were within (120) one hundred and twenty yards, gave them a volley that emptied (5) five saddles; they halted, and hesitated; his infantry and cavalry shouted, and made an attempt to charge, but he restrained them ; the joint effect of the volley, and attempt to charge was however such, that the Sowars turned and retired, or rather ran away towards their guns, which were immediately limbered up, and taken back to their standing camp, without giving him any more annoyance. I returned to Nooreah at one o'clock.

Great praise is due to Ensign Chalmers, and the detachments of the 24th Punjab Infantry and 2nd Punjab Cavalry under his command, as also to Mr. Low, and the few police who were with him for their steadiness under fire.

Attached is a casualty return.

I have, &c,
2nd Punjab Cavalry,
Commanding Detachment.

No. 33.

Lieutenant Cunliffe to Captain Larkins, commanding at Phillibheet.

Sir. Phillibheet, August 31, 1858.

IN consequence of the incapability of Captuiu Browne to report the occurrences of yesterday himself, I have the honour to report, that agree ably to your orders, the force as per margin,'

• Cavalry.—130 sabres 2nd Punjab Cavalry; Infantry.— 150 rank and file, 17th Punjab Infantry; 100 rank and file, KomaoQ Levies.

under his command, starting for Nooreah at 4 P.m., to assist Lieutenant Craigie, and arrived there about 4 P.m. Captain Browne, on his arrival, finding that the enemy had retired, before Lieutenant Craigie (whose report of the proceedings in the earlier part of the day I enclose), to their standing camp at Seerpoorah, determined to postpone any attack that might be made until the following morning.

The position of the enemy, the whole of whose force was reported to consist of 500 infantry and 300 cavalry, with two or three guns, was a strong one. They occupied a rising ground, the site of a ruined village called Seerpoorah, about three miles from Nooreah, in rear of a wide and deep jheel, approachable from the front only by a straight and narrow road, entirely destitute of cover of any kind, and knee deep in water and mud. Advance from this side being out of the question, and a reliable native having been found by Mr. Low, C. S., Joint Magistrate of Phillibheet (who accompanied the force,) who said, he could point out a circuitous road through the jungle, which led to the enemy's rear, it waa determined, that the attack should take place at daybreak on the following morning. The whole force accordingly, strength as per margin,* waa conducted by the guide through the jungle to within sight of the enemy's camp.

The march having been conducted with the strictest silence up to this time, the enemy were apparently unaware of our appioach; the ground between us and their camp, a distance of about half a mile, being open, the line of attack was

* Cavalry.—230 sabres, 3rd Punjab Cavalry t Infantry.— 150 rank and file, 17th Punjab Native Infan ry; 100 rank and file, 24th Punjab Native Infantry; 100 rank and file Knumao Levies.

immediately formed in the following order :—The 17th Punjab Native Infantry, and Kumaon Levies in line, covered by the 24th Punjab Native Infantry, half in skirmishing order, and half aa support, a squadron of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry on either flunk, and a troop in reserve in the rear. Tue order having been given to move on, the whole force proceeded at a steady pace to the attack, the enemy being now drawn up to receive ns. On arriving at a distance of ubout 400 yards, two guns commenced playing with round shot and grape upon the advancing line. The skirmishers led by Ensign Chalmers advanced unshaken, at a steady pac*, and without firing a shot up to within 30 yards of the guns, when they poured in a rapid fire and charged up the ascent. Being then in command of the infantry, and noticing that at this time a portion of the enemy had already commenced to retire, I rapidly brought up the whole line of reserve, and swept through the enemy's position, the greatest resistance being offered by the rebel artillerymen, who fought most desperately, apparently trying to single out the European officers.

During this time, Captain Browne, who was with the skirmishers, seeing that the squadron on the right, under the command of Lieutenant Craigie, was suffering from the fire of the guns, ordered it to charge in flank, but a swamp intervening, the squadron was obliged to make a detour, which brought it to the enemy's left rear, where a gun hitherto concealed opened on it; this however was speedily captured, its supporters either killed, or put to flight.

By this time, the flight became general, the fugitives making their way towards the jungle, which stretched away to the left; they were vigorously pursued by the cavalry up to its edge, which point however tew of them ever reached.

This force was under the personal command of Nizam Ale'e Khan, who however made himself scarce at a very early stage of the proceedings. A noted chief, however, named Allee Khan, was killed, and three elephants were captured in the pursuit. On returning from the pursuit, it was with sincere regret that I learnt that Captain Brown was so severely wounded, that it was necessary for me to assume command, being the next senior officer. Having formed up again, I returned with the force to Nooreah, bringing in the captured guns. &c, being compelled, however, to halt there that day, on account of the wounded, and I marched back to the station this morning.

By all accounts, the enemy must have lost fully 300 men, besides all their guns, ammunition, camp equipage, &c, and so thoroughly dispersed, that many more have since been killed by the zemindars of the surrounding villages.

At the special request of Captain Hrowne, I beg to bring to your notice the extremely steady way in which the whole of the infantry advanced under fire of the guns, strictly obeying their orders not to fire a shot till they reached them; the advance of the skirmishers under Ensign Chalmers was the admiration of all concerned.

I have, &c,
G. G. CUNLIFFE, Lieutenant,

Commanding Field Detachment.

Nominal Soil of European Officers Wounded at the Action of Seerpoorah, 3Oth August, 1858.

Captain S. J. Browne, 2nd Punjab Cavalry, and Commanding the Force, dangerously wounded, left arm amputated.

Lieutenant J. Stevenson, 24th Regiment, severely wounded on the head.

G. G. CUNLIFFE, Lieutenant,

Commanding Field Detachment.

No. 36.


Military Department.

No. 447 of 1858. THE Right Honourable the Governor-General is pleased to direct the publication of the following despatch, from Brigadier-General Sir R. Napier, K.C.B., forwarding a report from Captain Ashburner, Commanding Field Detachment, detailing the operations of a force under his command, against certain rebel Thakoors.

His Lordship entirely concurs with the Right Honourable the Commander-in-Chief, in the commendation bestowed on Captain Ashburner, for the highly satisfactory and creditable manner in which these operations were carried on by him, with the small force under his command.

R. J. H. BIRCH, Major-General, Secretary to the Government of India, Military Department, with the Governor-General.

No. 37.

Brigadier-General Sir R. Napier, K.C.B., Commanding Gicalior Division, to the Chief of the Staff, Head Quarters, Allahabad.

Camp Sepree, September 11, 1858.

Sir, No. 204 of 1858.

I HA.VE the honour to forward, for the information of his Excellency the Commander-in

« PreviousContinue »