The column left Kabul on the 6th January, 1842. It comprised of 4,500 soldiers, including 690 Europeans and 12,000 wives, children and civilian servants. Despite a guarantee of safe conduct the column was attacked as soon as it left Kabul. On 13 January, the last remnants comprising of 20 officers and 45 soldiers, mostly of the 44th, made a last stand on a hillock at Gandamak. Only six moúnted officers escaped and of these five were murdered on the route back. On the afternoon of the 13th, British soldiers in Jelalabad, watching for their comrades from the Kabul garrison, saw a lone rider approaching. It was Doctor Bryden, sole survivor of the column.
The entire force of 690 British soldiers, 2,850 Indian soldiers and 12,000 civilians, were all killed except for a few taken prisoner. The 44th lost 22 officers and 640 soldiers, mostly killed. The Afghan casualties are unknown.