The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

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The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 15 Jan 2018 19:18

This link leads to the Britannia Magazine Facebook page where I have written this first post of 2 about the actions involved during the second relief of Lucknow.

https://t.co/6LhMR6u8mt

Josh.
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby Lucknow57 » 16 Jan 2018 19:55

That is a very interesting and slightly gruesome post Josh. Very well written. I read the book by William-Forbes Mitchell, "Reminiscences of the Great Mutiny 1857-1859" a few years ago, (loaned I remember from the National Library).

In that book (Page 118, Chap. 7) I was very intrigued by the reference of a letter from Forbes-Mitchell to "The Calcutta Statesman" on 18 Oct 1891.

Quote;- " The morning after the Residency was evacuated, I visited the bivouac of the Seventy Eighth near Dilkoosha, to make enquiries about an old school chum who had enlisted in the regiment. I found him still alive, and he related to me how he had been one of the men who were with Dr Jee collecting the wounded in the streets of Lucknow on the 26th Sept 1857, and how they had been cut off from the main body and besieged in a house the whole night, and Dr Jee was the only officer with the party, and that he had been recommended for the Victoria Cross for his bravery in defending the place and saving a large number of the wounded."

The letter goes on to say;- "When Dr Jee's detachment and the wounded were fighting their way to the Residency, a wounded piper and three others who had fired their last round of ammunition were charged by half a dozen rebel sowars in a side street, and the three men with rifles prepared to defend themselves with the bayonet; but as soon as the sowars were within about twenty paces of the party, the piper pointed the drones of his bagpipes toward straight at them and blew such a wild blast that they turned tail and fled like the wind, mistaking the bagpipes for some infernal machine".

Why that extract from the book intrigued me so much is that my ancestor, Bombardier Jacob Thomas VC, an original defender of Lucknow 'may' have been one of the men accompanying Dr Jee on their return to the Residency. Jacob Thomas VC, as you may be aware was awarded his VC for action 27th Sept 1857.

I can only speculate?

William.
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 16 Jan 2018 23:12

That's very interesting, William, wish I could add something to your suspicions but and I'm glad you enjoyed the post ... I too was kind of taken aback by the 'grittiness' of what I was reading in the source material. I actually tried to tone it down a bit!!

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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby bill wright » 04 Feb 2018 18:29

DEAR JOSH
I enjoyed your account of the so-called 2nd Relief of Lucknow, but would wish to point out that you might have benefitted from reading my own book, THROUGH THE INDIAN MUTINY which is only my own writing so far as notes and a long Introduction goes since it is the memoirs of James Fairweather, regimental surgeon of the 4th Punjab Native Infantry. For example, Fairweather makes clear that the 4th PNI marched to join others at the Alumbagh on the morning of the 12th. This just one of many facts that might have helped you. The book is published by Spellmount in their Military Memoirs series in paperback at just £14.95.
Throughout the article you refer to the 4th Punjabis as "Sikhs". This is a misnomer though one that was common amongst contemporary writers such as Munro. In fact, as Surgeon Fairweather explains in his 224 page book, "My own regiment, the 4th, having been raised within the Five Rivers, contained a large proportion of Punjabi, Mahomedans and Dogras, from the Kangra and Kashmir Hills, besides Pathan, Baluchis and Multanis from the Dera Ghazi Khan district, and a few Hindustanis. There was also in it a larger proportion of the lately conquered Sikhs" than in other Punjab infantry regiments. This greater number is why some writers refer to the 4th as a Sikh regiment. Fairweather goes on to say "Our men presented many different appearances; the Sikh with his hair in a knot on the top of his head, the Pathan with a shaven crown but full beard, the Baluchi with thick black locks hanging round his neck and the Dogras and Hindustanis shaven and trim." You might like to know that the men, commanded (later) Lieut-General Sir Alfred Wilde KCB CSI, did not use the Brown Bess, but were armed (as were the 1st PNI) with the Brunswick Rifle.
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 05 Feb 2018 02:05

Dear Bill,

Though I appreciate the offer to buy and read your book for what I am sure is a very affordable price for the valuable information it doubtless holds, one cannot go back in time, and being as I am not paid for contributing to the FB page in question I could not have countenanced the buying of any single book about a single officer at the time. Your advice is nonetheless appreciated.
I would seem to be indeed remiss for not including an explanatory line to the effect of "although the 4th Punjab was primarily composed of Sikh's, like many Regiments it harboured many faiths", the nature of FB being what it is I will be able to insert this addendum (and will consider replacing said appellation with Punjabi, though that would also be innacurate as I'm sure not all of them came from the Punjab), with appropriate thanks to your good self. I will add your book to my never ending list to buy, unless of course if I may return your good natured tout, and you would wish me to review it.

I might, in my defence however, point out that although it is excellently inclusive to employ a little scholarly pedantry after every statement, I was mindful of trying to keep the piece readable. Further; as the Regiment was raised out of the ranks of the army of the Khalsa Raj and as Surgeon Fairweather pointed out contained a higher proportion of Sikhs than other Punjab regiments, I feel that I did not make any particular error. It is quite normal usage to abbreviate regimental names by secondary designations, or by the most common national or religious contingent within the unit. Hence we may call the 42nd Regiment of Foot, Highlanders, or indeed Royal Highlanders, or just Scottish even though proportions of all Scottish, Welsh, English and Irish Regiments contained elements of each nation. The Guards and line Regiments recruited south of Scotland and east of Wales are all nominally called English Regiments but contained up to half, Irish and Scottish soldiers. I thus felt that since the majority of men in the 4th Punjab were Sikhs, and was spoken of at the time in that manner, it would be no great sin to refer to the regiment as such.

Although surgeon Fairweather's account of the date on which the 4th Punjab arrived at Alambagh would have been helpful to pose alongside the other sources, I cannot admit to any meaningful error there either. So far as I can see, and remember, I merely wrote that they moved to Cawnpore from Delhi and were involved in skirmishes on the road to Alambagh. Richard Holmes' book said that at least one company was present on picquet on 9 November, so doubtless surgeon Fairweather meant the main body rather than the entire regiment arrived on the 12th, and sources were so irritatingly contrary on when the force mustered that it would probably only have confused me. Almost all the sources referring to the 93rd spoke of the Punjabi Regiment being present in some form or another up to Alambagh. Therefore while doubtless I would have indeed benefited (and hope to do so in the future) from reading your book, I am always eager to read accounts of native Regiments, I think the damage is slight here.

If I may be so bold. You make a curious observation at the end where you inform me that the regiment carried Brunswick Rifles rather than Brown Bess Muskets. If this was meant as a simple interesting note then I do indeed find it very interesting, though I think I was aware that by this time (unlike during the first China/Opium War) Native Regiments had been given updated arms, at the time Company Regiments used old flintlock India pattern muskets rather than percussion ones. If however the subject was brought up because of something I wrote, in fairness I think you should observe that I used the word 'musketry' about three times, and I did so without particular reference to unit, and knowing that the majority of the army was armed with 'rifled muskets', as I'm sure you are aware the army continued to call its firing exercises musketry until at least the end of the period.

Anyway thank you for recommending your book, and I am glad you enjoyed my scribbling.
Josh.
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby bill wright » 05 Feb 2018 13:02

Dear Josh
My apologies if my comments on your article came across as pedantic. I simply thought you might like to know a better source on the 4th PNI (after all, we do have not one but two books from Surgeon Munro) and as Fairweather was the regiment`s surgeon and with them through all their fights it is a source I felt you should know about.

I totally agree with you that one of the tricky things in writing a magazine article is in deciding what you can or cannot include or exclude. I have faced the same things myself.

If I had spare copies of the Fairweather book I`d be delighted to send you one gratis but the dozen or so that the publishers sent me have long gone, I regret. Hence mentioning the publisher`s details. I mentioned the Brunswick Rifle simply as an example of the kind of facts that Fairweather clears up and which are not always easily available. He is equally good on uniforms etc.

I might add that I found your article, as others have, very vivid and I will make reference to it when I need extra info on Lucknow. Keep writing !
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 06 Feb 2018 15:29

Thanks, Bill.

Will do, and don't worry, pedantry in my opinion is a necessary part of historical research. And your book does sound very interesting and I'm glad you told me about it. Hopefully in the future I will have the time to add it to my library. Thanks for the advice and kind words.

Josh.
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby 95th » 08 Feb 2018 12:56

That was a great read,thanks for posting it up.I wouldn't have toned it down though as I think it's best to get the "full bore" effect of history.Either way it was excellent so well done.
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Re: The 2nd Relief of Lucknow.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 09 Feb 2018 22:38

You are too kind, 95th.
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