Indian Mutiny soldier - died at Dehli 13-11-1857 ,Estate?

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Indian Mutiny soldier - died at Dehli 13-11-1857 ,Estate?

Postby Fathertime » 15 Jan 2018 01:38

I suppose anything is possible, but I have been researching a Private soldier who served in the HEIC 2nd Eur'n Bengal Fusilers. He died at Dehli in November of 1857, and the papers state: Amount of Estate in Money + Effects: L 695-13-6

I think American soldiers made 13 dollars a month around that time. I imagine British soldiers made a bit less. Is it possible for this man to have an estate that large, from shares in the company, or some sort of spoils? Maybe I am reading it wrong. Maybe he was a card sharp?

regards
Bob
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Re: Indian Mutiny soldier - died at Dehli 13-11-1857 ,Estate

Postby Maureene » 15 Jan 2018 04:56

I believe that for some earlier campaigns, there was a bounty paid, from the treasures confiscated/ransacked from the defeated Indian rulers.

However, I have no idea if this still applied at the period this Private died. Another alternative is that he received a bounty earlier on, and became a trader, perhaps in a valuable commodity such as opium. However, if he was intelligent enough to do that, perhaps he would have ranked higher than a private.

Perhaps he was systematically robbing the Company's stock of supplies, (including alcohol) or indeed, as you have suggested, a card sharp.

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Re: Indian Mutiny soldier - died at Dehli 13-11-1857 ,Estate

Postby Fathertime » 15 Jan 2018 15:32

Private yes, but he listed his occupation upon enlistment as schoolmaster and made sergeant very quickly. was remanded to private several years before the Mutiny. Perhaps he was a soldier capitalist, or came upon something during the Mutiny. He didn't leave a will, and it says Intestate. Secy to govt. 16 June 1859. With any luck, it found his poor old mother eventually, if he had one.
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Re: Indian Mutiny soldier - died at Dehli 13-11-1857 ,Estate

Postby Frogsmile » 26 Jan 2018 12:41

Two things seem likely in this case. First, as Maureene has pointed out it was policy around that time (albeit on a case by case basis and sometimes reneged upon by higher authority) for soldiers (especially HEIC mercenaries as in this case) to receive a share (by rank) of spoils from a campaign. Second, the looting that occurred during the Indian Mutiny was widespread and prolific. This is well recorded in many books on the Mutiny/Rebellion both, in contemporary accounts, and more recently published scholarly works. Some more canny soldiers did extremely well out of these actualities, others who were less fortunate, or less wise, frittered their gains away. There seems understandably to have been a more mercenary culture amongst the officers and men of HEIC units than their equivalents in the so-called ‘Queen’s regiments’ of the regular army, although the latter too sought their fortunes wherever they could find them and there was then a strong, general culture that believed to the victor goes the spoils.
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Re: Indian Mutiny soldier - died at Dehli 13-11-1857 ,Estate

Postby mike snook » 26 Jan 2018 17:59

What Frogsmile said.

There is nothing surprising in that Bob. Delhi fell by storm in mid-September (in which operation 2nd B.E.F. played a prominent part) and in the process was looted four ways from Sunday. Part of the reason it took several days to eject the rebels is because too many of the troops were more concerned with plundering than with street fighting. By all accounts there were large amounts of gold, silver and precious stones to be had. If he was there for the assault, that's your answer. It would not have been possible for your man to save such a large sum, even allowing for periodic distribution of official prize money over a full career.

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