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action with the whole of the Sikh army. I therefore ordered Brigadier Wheeler to be prepared to march at the shortest notice.
The Umballa force, in March, was 7,500 men and 36 guns.
The Commander-in-Chief concurred in these views : and this fine body of men, by a rapid march on Busseean, an important point, where the roads leading from Umballa and Kurnaul meet, formed the advanced column of the army, and secured the supplies which had been laid in at Busseean.
Up to the morning of the 12th, the information from Lahore had not materially varied: but, by the reports received on that day, the general aspect of affairs appeared more warlike. Still no Sikh aggression had been committed, and no artillery had moved down to the river.
On the 13th I first received precise information that the Sikh army had crossed the Sutlej, and was concentrating in great force on the left bank of the river.
The Umballa force at that time had been in movement three days. On this date I issued the proclamation, a copy of which is enclosed.
On the 14th the British forces moved up by double marches on alternate days, and on the 18th reached Moodkee, 20 miles from Ferozepore, after a march of 21 miles.
On this day, and at this place, the whole British force was concentrated, with the exception of two European and two native regiments, expected on the following day.
The troops were engaged in cooking their meals, when Major Broadfoot received information that the whole Sikh army was in full march, with the intention to surprise the camp. The troops immediately stood to their arms, and advanced. The result of that short, but decisive action, was the signal defeat of the enemy at every point, and the capture of 17 guns, the details of which are given in the report of the Commander-in-Chief, herewith sent. The troops returned to their camp at midnight, and halted the 19th
and 20th to refresh the men, to collect the wounded, and bring in the captured guns.
There was no objection to this delay, as it was evident, from the preparations and movements of the Sikh army, that its commander was intent upon intercepting the relieving force, and had no intention of risking an attack against Ferozepore.
On the 21st, the Commander-in-Chief, having left the baggage of the army, the wounded, and the captured guns at Moodkee, protected by two regiments of native infantry, marched at four o'clock in the morning by his left, keeping about three or four miles from the enemy's entrenched position at Ferozeshah, in which the enemy had placed 108 pieces of cannon, protected by breastworks.
A communication had been made during the preceding night with Sir John Littler, informing him of the intended line of march, and desiring him to move out with such a part of his force as would not compromise the safety of his troops and the post.
At half-past one o'clock the Umballa force, having marched across the country disencumbered of every description of baggage, except the reserve ammunition, formed its junction with Sir John Littler's force, who had moved out of Ferozepore with 5,000 men, two regiments of cavalry, and 21 field guns.
This combined operation having been effected, the Commanderin-Chief, with my entire concurrence, made his arrangements for the attack of the enemy's position at Ferozeshah, about four miles distant from the point where our forces had united.
The British force consisted of 16,700 men, and 69 guns, chiefly horse artillery.
The Sikh forces varied from 48,000 to 60,000 men, with 103 pieces of cannon of heavy calibre, in fixed batteries.
You will observe that every soldier who could be brought into our ranks, had, by these combinations from Umballa and Loodiana to Ferozepore, been rendered available; that the force was most efficient, and, notwithstanding the difficulty of the ground, intersected with jungle, the vast superiority of the enemy's wellserved artillery and the breast-works behind which their infantry fought, that our British force, particularly our infantry, surmounted every obstacle, capturing that evening and the following morning 70 pieces of artillery, and the whole of the enemy's camp-equipage and military stores.
I refer to the report of the Commander-in-Chief for the details of this brilliant exploit.
The three attempts of the Sikh army, reinforced by Tej Sing's army, to retake their position in the course of the day, were unavailing.
The Sikh army then retreated on the fords of the Sutlej, disheartened by the capture of its artillery, and the severe loss it had sustained in killed and wounded, and has since crossed over to the other side of the river.
The force thus promptly brought forward from Umballa to the frontier, has proved that it was sufficient for the protective object for which it was prepared, to repulse the treachery of the Maharajah's government, and the arrogance of the Sikh army.
It has further proved, that the military precautions taken were most necessary. It has driven the invading force from our territories, and punished the mutinous soldiery of a most unscrupulous Government.
It remains for me to advert to the proclamation, a copy of which forms an enclosure of this despatch. I have endeavoured, in that paper, to give a brief outline of our relations with the Lahore state, and of the circumstances which have preceded the present rupture. That this invasion of our territory by the Sikh army was unprovoked, must be apparent to all; and I considered it right that the forbearance I had shown, with the motives of that forbearance, should be distinctly promulgated.
The caution to the protected chiefs was necessary; for, during many months past, though no overt acts of hostility have been committed, with one exception, there was a feeling very generally prevalent among them favourable to the Lahore Government rather than to ours, which evinced itself in a backwardness to afford
supplies for our army, and to attend to the requisitions of the agency. This, with the exception of the Maharaja of Puteala, was the case with perhaps all the chiefs.
Immediate measures will be taken for bringing into some order and settlement the states which have been declared confiscated on this side of the Sutlej, when it is hoped that the advantages of the British rule may, by light assessment and judicious arrangements, be made apparent to them.
I have now to conclude this despatch, by expressing my deep concern for the loss, in the action of the 21st inst. of that most invaluable officer, Major Broadfoot, my political agent for these states. He was wounded, and thrown off his horse, at my side, but I failed in prevailing on him to retire. He remounted his horse, and, shortly afterwards, received a mortal wound in leading on the troops against the battery in our front. I entertained the highest opinion of his abilities. He was second to none in this accomplished service, in every qualification by which the political or military interests of the East India Company could be advanced, and I shall be most gratified if, at a season of more leisure, some special mark of honour can be conferred, by which his great merits and glorious death may be perpetuated.
Major George Broadfoot was the last of three brothers, who held appointments in the Company's army, and all these have fallen in battle in the service of their country.
Captain Nicolson, assistant political agent from Ferozepore, was also killed in the action of the 21st inst., and was a most able and gallant officer. • Captain Abbott and Lieutenant Lake, assistants under Major Broadfoot, were wounded, and have ever since continued their exertions.
Captain Mills, assistant political agent at Loodiana, took the command of a troop of horse artillery during the action, and has subsequently been of the greatest use by his intelligence and activity.
I owe great obligations to the chief secretary to the Govern
ment of India, Frederick Currie, Esq., who has, during all these various, and sometimes conflicting, duties, in which I have been engaged, given me his sound advice and active aid, sometimes accompanying me in the field, and at all times evincing the coolest judgment, and exhibiting the resources of his experience to the great advantage of the Company's service.
Mr. Cust, of the civil service, confidential assistant to Major Broadfoot, both in the field and in his own immediate department, has shown great intelligence in duties which were new to him, and I notice him as a most promising officer.
Camp, Lushkuree Khan-ke-Serai,
December, 13, 1845. “ The British Government has ever been on terms of friendship with that of the Punjaub.
“In the year 1809, a treaty of amity and concord was concluded between the British Government and the late Maharajah Runjeet Singh, the conditions of which have always been faithfully observed by the British Government, and were scrupulously fulfilled by the late Maharajah.
“ The same friendly relations have been maintained with the successors of Runjeet Singh by the British Government up to the present time.
“Since the death of the late Maharajah Shere Singh, the disorganized state of the Lahore Government has made it incumbent on the Governor-General in Council to adopt precautionary measures for the protection of the British frontier; the nature of these measures, and the cause of their adoption, were at the time fully explained to the Lahore Durbar. '
“ Notwithstanding the disorganized state of the Lahore Government during the last two years, and many most unfriendly proceedings on the part of the Durbar, the Governor-General in Council has continued to evince his desire to maintain the relations of amity