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Major Eyre to Colonel Napier.
Koondun Puttee, Sept. 11th, 1857.
I am happy to have it in my power to report, for the information of Major-General Sir James Outram, K.C.B., that the expedition he did me the honour of entrusting to my command has been attended with entire success, and the daring invasion of this territory from Oude has been signally punished.
I arrived at Hutgaon last evening at dusk, where I was joined by Captain Johnson's troop of the 12th Irregular Horse, forty in number. As they had marched twenty-four miles, and were in need of rest, I halted till half-past one A.m., when we had the advantage of moonlight to pursue our march to Koondun Puttee, where we arrived at daybreak.
The Oude rebels having been apprised but a short time previously of our advance, had fled precipitately to their boats, about half a mile off. I ordered the cavalry, under Captain Johnson and Lieutenant Havelock, to pursue them, and followed up, myself, with all practicable speed with the infantry and guns. We found the cavalry had driven the enemy into their boats, which were fastened to the shore, and were maintaining a brisk fire on them from the bank above.
On the arrival of the detachments of Hill's 5th Fusiliers and 64th Foot, under Captains Johnson and Turner, the fire of our musketry into the densely crowded boats was most telling ; but the enemy still defended themselves to the utmost, until the guns under Lieutenant Gordon opened fire, when the rebels instantly threw themselves, panicstricken, into the river. Grape was now showered upon them, and a terrific fusilade from the infantry and cavalry maintained, until only a few scattered survivors escaped. Their numbers appeared to be about 300.
Previously to their plunging into the river, they threw their guns overboard, and blew up one of their boats, which had been boarded by a party of infantry, whereby, I regret to say, one man of Hill's 5th was killed, and ten, more or less, injured (of whom five were Europeans and five natives). All the officers mentioned above distinguished themselves highly; and the conduct of the men was all that could be desired.
Captain Impey, of the Engineers, and Mr. Volunteer Tarby, have likewise, by their zeal and usefulness, merited my thanks and commendation.
P.S.—Having heard of another party of rebels at a ghaut higher up the river, I have despatched the cavalry to reconnoitre.
Major V. Eyre, Commanding Field Detachment, to Colonel Napier, Military Secretary.
Camp Futtehpore, Sept. 12th, 1857.
I have the honour herewith to forward a correct return of killed and wounded on the late expedition to Koondun Puttee.
In the postscript of my despatch of the 11th instant, I mentioned having sent the forty 12th Irregular Cavalry troopers, under Captain Johnson, to reconnoitre, and, if possible, to intercept a party of Oude rebels said to have landed at Ukree Ghaut.
They had, however, retreated across the river before Captain Johnson's troop could get at them; but a small fort, which had been recently erected near the ghaut by the rebels, was destroyed by Captain Johnson.
I was informed by Mahomed Zuboor Khan, the Thanadar of Koondun Puttee, that, had not the Oude invaders been checked, and a portion of them destroyed by our troops, it was their intention to have overrun the whole country between Futtehpore and Allahabad, with a view of interrupting our communication and impeding our operations.
He also assured me that the following persons on this side of the river had taken an active part in these disturbances and hostile designs, viz. : Bhunmur Sing, Zemindar of Ukree, Ramsahae (hast) of Hutgaon (an active confederate of the former), Seetta Bux and Pulwan Sing, of Burgulla, and Nurlusta Kumaroodeen Hoossain, of Puttee.
I take this opportunity of mentioning that the detachment of the 12th Irregulars had already marched twenty-four miles, when they received the sudden order to join me at Hutgaon, and, although both men and horses had been a whole day without food, they galloped on the whole way t> meet me, a distance of nine miles further, guided by that energetic officer, Captain Dawson, of the 1st N. I., who also took a conspicuous part in their subsequent operations.
Nominal Return of Killed and Wounded with the Field Force under command of Major V. Eyre, Artillery, on the 11th of September, 1857.
Her Majesty's bth.—Private Isaac Money, Stephen Lally, Thomas Walker; Charles Helford, slightly burnt; Private William Berant, severely burnt; Corporal Henry Evans, slightly burnt, sword-cut in head.
Artillery.—Tent Lascar, severely burnt; Tent Lascar, bullet wound, severely.
12th Irregular Cavalry,—Hossein Bux, slight sword-cut.
Commissariat.—Jemadar of Mahouts, killed.
Camp Followers.—Three (names unknown), severely burnt.
[The following General Order by his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, with its enclosures, refers to the march of the column on Lucknow, and the arrangements made by the generals.]
General Orders By His Excellency The
Head Quarters, Calcutta,
28th September, 1857. Seldom, perhaps never, has it occurred to a Commander-in-Chief to publish and confirm such an order as the following one, proceeding from Major-General Sir James Outram, K.C.B.
With such a reputation as Major-General Sir James Outram has won for himself, he can well afford to share glory and honour with others. But that does not lessen the value of the sacrifice he has made with such disinterested generosity in favour of Brigadier-General Havelock, C.B., commanding the field force in Oude.
Concurring, as the Commander-in-Chief does, in everything stated in the just eulogy of the latter by Sir James Outram, his Excellency takes this opportunity of publicly testifying to the Army his admiration for an act of self-sacrifice and generosity, on a point, which, of all others, is dear to a real soldier.
The confidence of Major-General Sir James Outram in Brigadier-General Havelock is indeed well justified. The energy, perseverance, and constancy of the Brigadier-General, have never relaxed throughout a long series of arduous operations, in spite of scanty means, a numerous and trained enemy, and sickness in his camp. Never have troops shown greater or more enduring courage than those under the orders of Brigadier-General Havelock.
The force and the service at large are under the greatest obligations to Sir James Outram, for the manner in which he has pressed up the reinforcements to join Brigadier-General Havelock, in the face of much difficulty.
The following orders are confirmed:—
Division order by Major-General Sir James Outram, K.C.B., commanding the Dinapore and Cawnpore Divisions of the Army.
Camp Cawnpore, lQth September, 1857. 1. All Cawnpore divisional reports to be made for the information of Major-General Sir James Outram, K.C.B., commanding.
2. The force selected by Brigadier-General Havelock, which will march to relieve the garrison of Lucknow, will be constituted and composed as follows:—
1st Brigade.—Her Majesty's 5th Fusiliers; Her Majesty's 84th Regiment, and detachment 64th Foot attached; 1st Madras Fusiliers; — Brigadier-General J. G. S. Neill, commanding, nominating his own Brigade Staff.
2nd Brigade.—Her Majesty's 78th Highlanders; Her Majesty's 90th Light Infantry; Ferozepore Regiment; — Brigadier Hamilton, commanding, nominating his own Brigade Staff.
3rd Brigade. — Captain Maude's Battery, Captain Olphert's Battery, Brevet Major Eyre's Battery; Major Cooper to command, nominating his own Staff.
Cavalry.—Volunteer Cavalry, 12th Irregular Cavalry; Captain Barrow to command.
Engineer Department.—Captain Crommelin, Chief Engineer; Lieutenants Limond and Judge, Engineers; Captain Oakes, 8th Native Infantry;—Assistant Field Engineer.
Brigadier-General Havelock, C.B., to command the Force.
The important duty of relieving the garrison of Lucknow had been first entrusted to Brigadier-General Havelock, C. B., and Major-General Outram feels that it is due to that distinguished officer, and to the strenuous and noble exertions which he had already made to effect that object, that to him should accrue the honour of the achievement.
Major-General Outram is confident that this great end, for which Brigadier-General Havelock and his brave troops have so long and so gloriously fought, will now, under the blessing of Providence, be accomplished.
The Major-General, therefore, in gratitude for, and admiration of, the brilliant deeds of arms achieved by Brigadier-General Havelock and his gallant troops, will cheerfully waive his rank in favour of that officer on this occasion, and will accompany the force to Lucknow in his civil capacity, as Chief Commissioner of Oude, tendering his military services to Brigadier-General Havelock as a volunteer.
On the relief of Lucknow, the Major-General will resume his position at the head of the Forces.
By Order of his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief.
W. Mayhew, Major,
Deputy Adjutant-General of the Army.
[The following Field Force After Order, by Major-General Havelock, was not published in General Orders:—]
Cawnpore, 16th September, 1857. Brigadier-General Havelock, in making known to the column the kind and generous determination of MajorGeneral Sir James Outram, G.C.B., to leave to him the task of relieving Lucknow and rescuing its gallant and enduring garrison, has only to express his hope that the troops will strive, by their exemplary and gallant conduct in the field, to justify the confidence thus reposed in them.
[During the advance of the column the following telegraphic despatches were forwarded to head-quarters, showing the successes achieved:—]
Telegraphic Despatch from General Havelock.
Dated Bussarut Gunge, 2\st September, 1857. I have to request that you will inform his Excellency the Commander-in-Chief that I was joined by my reinforcements on the 15th and 16th instant.