The Story of the Guides
by G. J. Younghusband
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Richard Clay and Sons, Limited, BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.

First Edition, March 1908. Reprinted April 1908.







The Author's grateful thanks are due to the many past and present officers of the Guides who have helped him in this little book. And especially to General Sir Peter Lumsden and G.R. Elsmie, Esq., authors of Lumsden of the Guides; and to the Memoirs of General Sir Henry Dermot Daly, written by his son, Major H. Daly.





Sir Henry Lawrence's idea—Stocks and tunics—A new departure—Selection of title—Duties—Harry Lumsden—His methods of training—Baptism of fire—A gallant exploit—Working for the Sikhs—Capture of Babuzai—Death of Duffadar Fatteh Khan—The spring of 1848—Guides unravel a plot—General Khan Singh hanged—The Maharani deported 1



The Insurrection at Mooltan—Murder of Agnew and Anderson—Herbert Edwardes's great achievement—A guide or two with nerves of steel—Siege of Mooltan—Guides capture twelve guns—Ressaldar Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk—His historic charge—With seventy men routs a brigade—Arrival of Bombay troops—Mooltan stormed and taken—Lumsden attacks and annihilates Ganda Singh's force—Battle of Gujrat—Pursuit of the Sikhs—End of Second Sikh War 18



The fort described—Seventy-two guns and a battalion of infantry—British determine to capture it—Rasul Khan and Guides' infantry sent in advance—The strategy of the Subadar—Effects an entry—A day of anxiety—Plans for the night—The sudden onslaught—Capture of the fort—The Union Jack—Rasul Khan's reward 31



Guides increased—Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk, again—The night attack—Staunchly repulsed—Thirty against two hundred—With Sir Colin Campbell—Nawadand—The enemy attack in force—A cavalry picquet—Lieutenant Hardinge to the front—His splendid charge with twenty men—Hodson of Hodson's Horse—Attack on Bori—Lieutenant Turner's predicament—Gallantry of Dr. Lyell—Hodson's charge—Celebrated spectators 39



Men accustomed to look after themselves—Shooting for a vacancy in the Guides—No fiddlers and washermen—Rudyard Kipling's Bhisti—The brave Juma decorated—Enter Dilawur Khan—A noted outlaw—Lumsden pursues him—They "talk things over"—The outlaw enlists—The goose-step—Dilawur the doctrinarian—The sinking boat—Nearly killed as a Kafir—Becomes a Christian—His last duty—A brave but pathetic end 51



The Mutiny of the 55th Native Infantry—Their tragic fate—The Guides start for Delhi—Daly's diary—A fight by the way—An average of twenty-seven miles a day—Arrival at Delhi—Every officer killed or wounded first day—The summer of '57—Return to the Frontier—A warm welcome—Three hundred and fifty out of six hundred left behind—Complement of officers four times over killed or wounded 65



With Sir Sidney Cotton against the Hindustani fanatics—Fierce hand to hand fighting—Dressed to meet their Lord—Against the Waziris in 1860 under Sir Neville Chamberlain—Fierce attack on the Guides' camp—Lumsden stands the shock—The charge of the five hundred—The Guides clear the camp with the bayonet—Heavy casualties—Lumsden's last fight—A story or two—Lord William Beresford—The Crag picquet—Colonel Dighton Probyn—A boat expedition—Cavignari's methods—Surprise of Sappri 76



The Cavignari mission—Escort of the Guides—Cordial reception—The clouds gather—Insubordination of Herati regiments—The storm bursts—Seventy men against thousands—Defence of the Residency—The fight begins—Cavignari's bravery and death—Messages to the Amir—The attempt of Shahzada Taimus—The enemy's guns arrive—The distant witness—The three officers lead a charge—Kelly's death—Another charge by Hamilton and Jenkyns—Jenkyns killed—Hamilton's last charge and heroic death—The last bright flash—Retribution 97


THE AFGHAN WAR, 1878-80.

The Guides under Sir Frederick Roberts—Their devotion to him—Under Sir Sam Browne at Ali-Musjid—Jenkins enlists an enemy—"No riding school for me"—Battle of Fattehabad—Wigram Battye's death—Hamilton's fine leading—He wins the V.C.—The Guides' march to Sherpur—They pass through the investing army—Assaults on the Takht-i-Shah and Asmai heights—Captain Hammond receives the V.C.—The final assault of the enemy on Sherpur—Defeat and pursuit—The second battle of Charasiab—A fine fight—Roberts marches to Kandahar 117



Fighting against his own people—The temptation—The sentry succumbs—Seventeen sent in pursuit—Their return after two years—Duffadar Faiz Talab's adventure—An unwilling General—His unhappy position—A narrow escape—Saved by a British officer 135



Shah Sowar meets "Smith"—They depart together—Sheikh Abdul Qadir, late Smith—A travelling Prince—The first pitfall—Escape—Tea and diplomacy—The Evil Spirit—The Chief with a thousand spears—The Englishman's disguise fails—Death in the morning—A hairbreadth escape—Abdul Majid—The fatal shoes—The compass down the well—A night with his jailer—A stroke for freedom—A later meeting—Peace and jollification 144



The beleaguered garrison—Two hundred miles from anywhere—Rapid mobilisation—Kelly's fine feat—Storming the Malakand—The Guides' charge in the Swat Valley—Roddy Owen—The Panjkora—Position of the Guides—The bridge breaks—The fight in retreat—Seven thousand held at bay—A battle on the stage—Colonel Fred. Battye mortally wounded—A night of suspense—Defeated by star-shells—Death of Capt. Peebles—Action of Mundah—Relief of Chitral 160



A sudden call on the Guides—Prompt departure and fine march—Days and nights of constant hand-to-hand fighting—Story of the trouble—Great bravery of the enemy—Repulsed again and again with slaughter—Reinforcements arrive—Sir Bindon Blood—Relief of Chakdara—Its splendid defence—A word for the British subaltern—The fight at Landaki—MacLean's heroic death—Three V.C.s in one day 172



A camp to start with—The Five Star Fort—On the borders of Yaghistan—After the mutiny—The bastions—Godby cut down—The mess—The garden—The old graveyard—The Kabul memorial—Ommanney's assassination—The names of roads—Old leaders—The farm—Polo-grounds—Church—Daily life—Sport—Hawking—Climate—A happy home 185


Sir Harry Lumsden, who raised the Guides, from a portrait made when he was commanding the corps Front.

Afridis on the war-path To face page 8

Ressaldar Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk, who at the head of seventy men of the Guides' Cavalry defeated and drove into Mooltan a Brigade of Sikh Cavalry, from a picture by W. Carpenter. By kind permission of General Sir Peter Lumsden, G.C.B. " 24

A Picquet of the Guides' Infantry bivouacking " 40

A Scout of the Guides' Cavalry warning his Infantry Comrades. The small man on the right is a Gurkha " 70

A non-commissioned officer of the Guides' Infantry " 80

An Afridi of the Guides' Infantry " 92

The Memorial Arch and Tank to the memory of Sir Louis Cavignari and the officers and non-commissioned officers and men of the Guides killed in the defence of the Kabul Residency, September 3, 1879. In the foreground is a brass cannon captured during the Relief of Chitral " 104

Statue of Lieutenant Walter Hamilton, erected in Dublin Museum " 107

A Trooper of the Guides' Cavalry Types of men in the Guides' Infantry " 136

Types of men in the Guides' Cavalry, both in uniform and mufti " 144

Non-commissioned Officer and Trooper of the Guides' Cavalry " 162

Thirty-four wearers of the Star "For Valour," all serving at one time in the Corps of Guides. This is the highest distinction open to an Indian soldier for gallantry in action. The group illustrates the variety of tribes enlisted in the Guides—Afridis, Yusafzai Pathans, Khuttuks, Sikhs, Punjabi Mahomedans, Punjabi Hindus, Farsiwans (Persians), Dogras, Gurkhas, Kabulis, Turcomans, &c., &c., most of whom are here represented " 172

The old Graveyard at Mardan " 190

The Church at Mardan " 194




It is given to some regiments to spread their achievements over the quiet centuries, while to the lot of others it falls to live, for a generation or two, in an atmosphere of warlike strife and ever present danger. The Guides have been, from a soldier's point of view, somewhat fortunate in seeing much service during the past sixty years; and thus their history lends itself readily to a narrative which is full of adventure and stirring deeds. The story of those deeds may, perchance, be found of interest to those at home, who like to read the gallant record of the men who fight their battles in remote and unfamiliar corners of the Empire across the seas.

To Sir Henry Lawrence, the preux chevalier, who died a soldier's death in the hallowed precincts of Lucknow, the Guides owe their name and origin. At a time when soldiers fought, and marched, and lived in tight scarlet tunics, high stocks, trousers tightly strapped over Wellington boots, and shakos which would now be looked on as certain death, Sir Henry evolved the startling heresy that to get the best work out of troops, and to enable them to undertake great exertions, it was necessary that the soldier should be loosely, comfortably, and suitably clad, that something more substantial than a pill-box with a pocket-handkerchief wrapped round it was required as a protection from a tropical sun, and that footgear must be made for marching, and not for parading round a band-stand.

Martinets of the old school gravely shook their heads, and trembled for the discipline of men without stocks and overalls. Men of the Irregular Cavalry, almost as much trussed and padded as their Regular comrades (who were often so tightly clad as to be unable to mount without assistance), looked with good-natured tolerance on a foredoomed failure. But Sir Henry Lawrence had the courage of his opinions, and determined to put his theories to practice, though at first on a small scale.

Not only were the Guides to be sensibly clothed, but professionally also they were to mark a new departure. In 1846 the Punjab was still a Sikh province, and the administration was only thinly strengthened by a sprinkling of British officers. Men, half soldiers, half civilians, and known in India under the curious misnomer of Political Officers,—a class to whom the British Empire owes an overwhelming debt—were scattered here and there, hundreds of miles apart, and in the name of the Sikh Durbar practically ruled and administered provinces as large as Ireland or Scotland. The only British troops in the country were a few of the Company's regiments, quartered at Lahore to support the authority of the Resident,—a mere coral island in the wide expanse. What Sir Henry Lawrence felt was the want of a thoroughly mobile body of troops, both horse and foot, untrammelled by tradition, ready to move at a moment's notice, and composed of men of undoubted loyalty and devotion, troops who would not only be of value in the rough and tumble of a soldier's trade, but would grow used to the finer arts of providing skilled intelligence.

The title selected for the corps was in itself a new departure in the British Army, and history is not clear as to whether its pre-ordained duties suggested the designation to Sir Henry Lawrence, or whether, in some back memory, its distinguished predecessor in the French army stood sponsor for the idea. Readers of the Napoleonic wars will remember that, after the battle of Borghetto, the Great Captain raised a Corps des Guides, and that this was the first inception of the Corps d'Elite, which later grew into the Consular Guard, and later still expanded into the world-famed Imperial Guard ten thousand strong.

But whatever the history of the inception of its title, the duties of the Corps of Guides were clearly and concisely defined in accordance with Sir Henry's precepts. It was to contain trustworthy men, who could, at a moment's notice, act as guides to troops in the field; men capable, too, of collecting trustworthy intelligence beyond, as well as within, our borders; and, in addition to all this, men, ready to give and take hard blows, whether on the frontier or in a wider field. A special rate of pay was accorded to all ranks. And finally, fortunate as Sir Henry Lawrence had been in the inspiration that led him to advocate this new departure, he was no less fortunate in his selection of the officer who was destined to inaugurate a new feature in the fighting forces of the Empire.

Even from among officers of proved experience and ability it is by no means easy to select the right man to inaugurate and carry through successfully an experimental measure; much more difficult is it to do so when the selection lies among young officers who have still to win their spurs. Yet from among old or young, experienced or inexperienced, it would have been impossible to have selected an officer with higher qualifications for the work in hand than the young man on whom the choice fell.

Born of a soldier stock, and already experienced in war, Harry Lumsden possessed all the finest attributes of the young British officer. He was a man of strong character, athletic, brave, resolute, cool and resourceful in emergency; a man of rare ability and natural aptitude for war, and possessed, moreover, of that magnetic influence which communicates the highest confidence and devotion to those who follow. In addition he was a genial comrade, a keen sportsman, and a rare friend to all who knew him. Such, then, was the young officer selected by Sir Henry Lawrence to raise the Corps of Guides.

That the commencement should be not too ambitious, it was ruled that the first nucleus should consist only of one troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry, with only one British officer. But as this story will show, as time and success hallowed its standards, this modest squad expanded into the corps which now, with twenty-seven British officers and fourteen hundred men, holds an honoured place in the ranks of the Indian Army.

Following out the principle that the corps was to be for service and not for show, the time-honoured scarlet of the British Army was laid aside for the dust-coloured uniform which half a century later, under the now well-known name of khaki, became the fighting dress of the whole of the land forces of the Empire.

The spot chosen for raising the new corps was Peshawur, then the extreme outpost of the British position in India, situated in the land of men born and bred to the fighting trade, free-lances ready to take service wherever the rewards and spoils of war were to be secured. While fully appreciating the benefits of accurate drill, and the minute attention to technical detail, bequeathed as a legacy by the school of Wellington, Lumsden upheld the principle that the greatest and best school for war is war itself. He believed in the elasticity which begets individual self-confidence, and preferred a body of men taught to act and fight with personal intelligence to the highly-trained impersonality which requires a sergeant's order before performing the smallest duty, and an officer's fostering care to forestall its every need.

Holding such views, it is with no surprise we read that, while his men were still under the elementary training of drill instructors borrowed from other regiments, Lumsden led them forth to learn the art of war under the blunt and rugged conditions of the Indian frontier. To march, not through peaceful lanes, but with all the care and precautions which a semi-hostile region necessitated; to encamp, not on the quiet village green where sentry-go might appear an unmeaning farce, but in close contact with a vigilant and active race of hard fighters, especially skilled in the arts of surprises and night-attacks; to be ready, always ready, with the readiness of those who meet difficulties half way,—such were the precepts which the hardy recruits of the Guides imbibed simultaneously with the automatic instruction of the drill-sergeant.

Nor was it long before Lumsden had an opportunity of practically demonstrating to the young idea his methods of making war. The corps, barely seven months old, was encamped at Kalu Khan in the plain of Yusafzai, when sudden orders came, directing it to make a night-march, with the object of surprising and capturing the village of Mughdara in the Panjtar Hills. In support of the small band of Guides was sent a troop of Sikh cavalry, seasoned warriors, to stiffen the young endeavour and hearten the infant warrior. Marching all night, half an hour before daylight the force arrived at the mouth of a narrow defile, three-fourths of a mile long, leading to the village, and along which only one horseman could advance at a time. Nothing dismayed, and led by the intrepid Lumsden, in single file the Guides dashed at full gallop through the defile, fell with fury on the awakening village, captured and disarmed it, and brought away, as trophies of war, its chief and three hundred head of cattle. To add to the modest pride taken in this bright initial feat of arms, it was achieved single-handed, for the supporting troop of Sikhs failed to face the dark terrors of the defile and remained behind. This opening skirmish was the keynote to many an after success. It helped to foster a spirit of alert preparedness, readiness to seize the fleeting opportunity, and courage and determination when once committed to action. These seeds thus planted grew to be some of the acknowledged attributes of the force as it blossomed into maturity under its gallant leader.

During the first year of its existence the young corps was engaged in several more of the same class of enterprise, and in all acquitted itself with quiet distinction. As, however, the history of one is in most particulars that of another, it will not be necessary to enter into a detailed account of each.

The British in the Peshawur Valley, as elsewhere in the Punjab, were in a somewhat peculiar position. They were not administering, or policing, the country on behalf of the British Government, but in the name of the Sikh Durbar. In the Peshawur Valley, in which broad term may be included the plains of Yusafzai, the Sikh rule was but feebly maintained amidst a warlike race of an antagonistic faith. In the matter of the collection of revenue, therefore, the ordinary machinery of government was not sufficiently strong to effect regular and punctual payment; and consequently, when any village or district was much in arrears, it became customary to send a body of troops to collect the revenue. If the case was merely one of dilatoriness, unaccompanied by hostile intent, the case was sufficiently met by the payment of the arrears due, and by bearing the cost of feeding the troops while the money was being collected. But more often, dealing as they were with a weak and discredited government, the hardy warriors of the frontier, sending their wives and cattle to some safe glen in the distant hills, openly defied both the tax-collector and the troops that followed him. It then became a case either of coercion or of leaving it alone. An effete administration, like that of the Sikhs, if thus roughly faced, as often as not let the matter rest. But with the infusion of British blood a new era commenced; and the principle was insisted on that, where revenue was due, the villagers must pay or fight. And further, if they chose the latter alternative, a heavy extra penalty would fall on them, such as the confiscation of their cattle, the destruction of their strongholds, and the losses inevitable when the appeal is made to warlike arbitration.

It was on such an expedition that one of the Guides had a curious and fatal adventure. Colonel George Lawrence, who was the British Representative in Peshawur, was out in Yusafzai with a brigade of Sikh troops, collecting revenue and generally asserting the rights of government. Co-operating with him was Lumsden with the Guides. Among the recalcitrants was the village of Babuzai, situated in a strong position in the Lundkwar Valley, and Lawrence determined promptly to coerce it. His plan of operation was to send the Guides' infantry by night to work along the hills, so that before daylight they would be occupying the commanding heights behind the village, and thus cut off escape into the mountains. He himself, at dawn, would be in position with the Sikh brigade to attack from the open plain; while the Guides' cavalry were disposed so as to cut off the retreat to the right up the valley.

In pursuance of their portion of the plan of operations, as the Guides' infantry were cautiously moving along the hills towards their allotted position, in the growing light they suddenly came upon a picquet of the enemy placed to guard against this very contingency. To fire was to give the alarm, so with exceeding promptness the picquet was charged with the bayonet, and overpowered. At the head of the small storming party charged a duffadar[1] of the Guides' cavalry, by name Fatteh Khan. Fatteh Khan was one of those men to whom it was as the breath of life to be in every brawl and fight within a reasonable ride. On this occasion he was of opinion that the cavalry would see little or no fighting, whereas the infantry might well be in for a pretty piece of hand-to-hand work. "To what purpose therefore, Sahib, should I waste my day?" he said to Lumsden. "With your Honour's permission I will accompany my infantry comrades on foot. Are we not all of one corps?" And so he went, keeping well forward, and handy for the first encounter.

[1] Duffadar, a native non-commissioned officer of cavalry, answering to the naik (corporal) of infantry.

As the gallant duffadar, sword in hand, dashed at the picquet, he was from a side position shot through both arms; but not a whit dismayed or hindered he hurled himself with splendid courage at the most brawny opponent he could single out. A short sharp conflict ensued, Fatteh Khan with his disabled arm using his sword, while his opponent, with an Affghan knife in one hand, was busy trying to induce the glow on his matchlock to brighten up, that the gun might definitely settle the issue. In the course of the skirmishing between the two men a curious accident, however, occurred. The tribesman, as was usual in those days, was carrying under his arm a goat-skin bag full of powder for future use. In aiming a blow at him, Fatteh Khan missed his man, but cut a hole in the bag; the powder began to run out, and, as ill chance would have it, some fell on the glowing ember of the matchlock. This weapon, pointed anywhere and anyhow at the moment, went off with a terrific report, which was followed instantaneously by a still greater explosion. The flame had caught the bag of powder, and both the gallant duffadar and his staunch opponent were blown to pieces.

So died a brave soldier. But lest the noise should have betrayed them, his comrades hurried on with increased eagerness, and as good fortune would have it arrived in position at the very nick of time. The operation was completely successful. In due course the Sikhs attacked in front, and when the enemy tried to escape up the hills behind their village, they found retreat cut off by the Guides' infantry. Turning back, they essayed to break away to the right; but the intention being signalled to the Guides' cavalry, who were placed so as to intercept the fugitives, these fell with great vigour on the tribesmen and gave them a much needed lesson. It was now no longer an effete Sikh administration that breakers of the law had to deal with, but the strong right arm and warlike guile of the British officer, backed up by men who meant fighting.

* * * * *

It was now the spring of 1848, and great events were brewing in the Punjab. It was the lull between the two stormy gusts of the First and Second Sikh Wars. To us at this date it does not seem to require the omniscience of a prophet, prophesying after the event, to discover that the settlement arrived at after the First Sikh War contained most of the possible elements of an unpermanent nature. The Punjab was to remain a Sikh province, with the infant son of the Lion of the Punjab as its Sovereign; but the real ruler of the kingdom of the Sikhs was a British officer, Henry Lawrence, at the head of a council of regency. To support his authority British bayonets overawed the capital of the Punjab, and assumed the mien of those who hold their place by right of conquest. Attached to, but really at the head of, the minor centres of administration, were men like Herbert Edwardes, Abbott, Taylor, George Lawrence, Nicholson, and Agnew; the stamp of high-souled pioneer who though alone, unguarded, and hundreds of miles from succour, by sheer force of character makes felt the weight of British influence in favour of just and cleanly government. And acting thus honourably they were naturally detested by the lower class of venal rulers, whose idea of government was, and is at all times and on all occasions, by persuasion, force, or oppression, to squeeze dry the people committed to their charge. Ready to the hand of a discontented satrap, sighing for the illicit gains of a less austere rule, were the bands of discharged soldiers, their occupation gone, who crowded every village. It was easy to show, as was indeed the case, that these discontented warriors owed their present plight to the hated English. For while one of the conditions of peace, after the First Sikh War, insisted on the disbandment of the greater portion of the formidable Sikh army, the enlightened expedient of enlisting our late enemies into our own army had not yet been acted upon to any great extent. To add to the danger, every town and hamlet harboured the chiefs and people of only a half-lost cause.

Thus the train of revolt was laid with an almost fatal precision throughout the province, and only required the smallest spark to set it alight. At the head of the incendiary movement was the Maharani, the wife of the late and mother of the present infant king. Some inkling of the plot, as could hardly fail, came to the British Resident's ears, the primary step contemplated being to seduce from their allegiance the Company's troops quartered at Lahore.

It was at this stage that a summons reached Lumsden to march with all despatch to Lahore, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles. Here was an opportunity of testing the value of a corps whose loyalty was above question, and which from its composition could have no sympathy with the movement. Consequently to Lumsden and his men was assigned the difficult and unaccustomed duty of unravelling the plot and bringing the conspirators to justice. Setting to work with his accustomed readiness, and aided by one of his ressaldars,[2] Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk, of whose prowess on many a bloody field the story will in due course be told, Lumsden with characteristic alacrity undertook this intricate and dangerous duty. His tracks covered, so to speak, by the unsuspicious bearing of a blunt soldier in command of a corps of rugged trans-border warriors, the unaccustomed role of a skilled detective was carried out with promptness and success. In the course of a very few days some of the Guides had obtained conclusive proof regarding three matters: that the Maharani was at the head of the movement, that her chief agent was the Sikh general Khan Singh, and that the Company's troops had already been tampered with.

[2] Ressaldar, a native commissioned officer of cavalry.

As the plot thickened it was discovered that a meeting of the conspirators, including fifty or sixty men of various regiments, was to take place on a certain night at a certain place. Lumsden patiently awaited the event, intending with the Guides to surround and capture the conspirators red-handed. But, on the night fixed for the meeting, a retainer of General Khan Singh came to visit one of the Guides, with whom he was on friendly terms, and in the course of conversation made it evident that his master was not easy in his mind, why not no one could say, and that he had half determined on flight. The man of the Guides, leaving his friend in charge of a comrade, with commendable acumen hastened to Lumsden and told him the story. That officer at once saw that the moment had come to strike, lest the prey escape. He therefore immediately clapped the Sikh general's retainer into the quarterguard, much to that individual's astonishment, and promptly parading the Guides, hurried down to the city and surrounded Khan Singh's house.

It was now past eleven o'clock, the house was in darkness and strongly barricaded all round; the city was that of a foreign power, and no police, or other, warrant did Lumsden hold. But he was no man to stand on ceremony, or shirk responsibility, nor was he one for a moment to count on the personal risks he ran. Finding the doors stouter than they expected, his men burst in a window, and headed by their intrepid officer dashed into the building. There, overcoming promptly any show of resistance, they seized General Khan Singh, his munshi[3] and a confidential agent, together with a box of papers, and under close guard carried them back to the Guides' camp. In due course the prisoners were tried and conclusive evidence being furnished, and confirmed by the incriminating documents found in the box, General Khan Singh and his munshi were sentenced to be hanged. This prompt dealing served at once to check rebellion in the vicinity of Lahore, and placed the Company's troops beyond the schemes of conspirators.

[3] Munshi, a secretary or clerk.

Amongst other papers found in Khan Singh's box were some which clearly inculpated the Maharani, and it was at once decided to deport her beyond the region of effective intrigue. The lady was, under arrangements made for her by the Government, at this time residing in one of the late Maharaja's palaces at Sheikapura about twenty-three miles from Lahore. To Lumsden and his men was entrusted the duty of arresting and deporting the firebrand princess. As taking part in this mission, first appears in the annals of the Guides the name of Lieutenant W.S.R. Hodson, afterwards famous for his many deeds of daring, and whose name still lives as the intrepid and dashing leader of Hodson's Horse. Appointed as adjutant and second-in-command to a born exponent of sound, yet daring, methods of warfare, his early training in the Guides stood him in good stead in his brief, stirring, and glorious career.

In the execution of their orders Lumsden and Hodson with the Guides' cavalry set off quietly after dark for their twenty-three miles ride. The service was of some difficulty and of no little danger, for not only might the Maharani's numerous partisans make an armed resistance, but failing this they might organise a formidable rescue party to cut off the enterprise between Sheikapura and the Ravi. Against any such attempt, made with resources well within hail, the slender troop of the Guides would naturally come in for some rough buffeting. Much, however, to the surprise, and possibly the relief, of the British officers, they were received not only without any signs of hostility, but with smiles of well-assumed welcome. The explanation of this was that somehow news of the fate of General Khan Singh had already reached the Maharani, and with Eastern diplomacy she was preparing to trim her bark on the other tack. Even to the suggestion that she should prepare to make a journey she raised no objection; and it was only when she found herself on the road to Ferozepore, and learnt that her destination was Benares, that the courtesy and dignity of a queen gave place to torrents of scurrilous abuse and invective such as the dialects of India are pre-eminently capable of supplying.



These prompt measures, however, served only a local and temporary purpose, effective but little beyond striking distance of the troops stationed at Lahore. The flame of unrest damped down here had burst forth under a different banner at Mooltan, where the Diwan Mulraj farmed the province under treaty with the Sikhs. The Diwan himself was a miserable personality, but carried away by the tide of popular feeling, he became inextricably involved in antagonism to the British cause by the cold-blooded murder of Agnew and Anderson. These two British officers, with the full consent and support of the Sikh Durbar, had been sent to Mooltan on special duty in connection with the voluntary abdication of Mulraj, which had been accepted by his suzeraine. The escort sent with the British officers was a strong one, and, if loyal, perfectly competent to deal with any disorders. It consisted of fourteen hundred Sikhs, a regiment of Gurkhas, seven hundred cavalry, and six guns.

This seemingly formidable and carefully composed body of troops proved, however, to be entirely unreliable. Agnew and Anderson were, within a few hours of their arrival at Mooltan, attacked and severely wounded by fanatics, and no one raised a hand to help them. Lying helpless and sorely wounded in the temporary asylum which their quarters afforded, they heard with dismay that practically the whole of the escort on whom their safety depended had gone over to the faction of Mulraj, a faction which insisted on his remaining in power, and which was strongly antagonistic to the claims of British political influence. Alone amid thousands, it remained only for these brave young officers to offer up their lives on the altar of British dominion.

Thus strongly committed to a line of action which was far from according with his weak and vacillating nature, Mulraj raised the standard of revolt, and sending the fiery cross through the country, called on all to join in expelling the hated foreigner, and common enemy, from the Land of the Five Rivers. The prospects of the cause looked bright indeed. No organised body of British troops lay nearer than Lahore, hundreds of miles distant; the hot season had commenced, when the movement of regular troops encounters almost insuperable difficulties; the whole country was smarting under the sense of recent severe but hardly conclusive defeat; while hundreds of petty chiefs, and thousands of soldiers, were chafing under the thinly disguised veil of foreign sovereignty.

Yet out of the unlooked for West arose a star which in a few brief weeks eclipsed the rising moon of national aspiration, and, shining bright and true, helped to guide the frail bark of British supremacy through victory to the haven of a permanent peace. That star was an unknown British subaltern named Herbert Edwardes. Edwardes was one of the young officers deputed to assist the Sikhs in the work of systemising and purifying their administration, and was at this time engaged in the revenue settlement of the Dera-Ismail-Khan district. One day in June as he sat in court settling disputes, there came to him a runner, covered with dust and sweat, who brought to him a last message from Agnew, as he lay wounded on his bed in Mooltan. The message asked urgently for help, and appealed, as the writer knew, to one who would spare no risk or pains to furnish it. To succour the wounded British officers was a matter which had passed beyond the region of possibility, for the ink had hardly dried on their message before they were murdered; but to re-establish the prestige of the British name, to reassert its dignity and influence, and to bring to punishment the perpetrators of a hideous and treacherous crime,—these tasks Herbert Edwardes at once set before himself.

Alone, save for the presence of one other Englishman, the young British subaltern, with the sage intrepidity of ripest experience, hastily summoned the chiefs of the Derajat and Bannu districts to his aid, and assembled their motley followings under his banner. He sent messengers to the friendly chief of Bhawulpore, and called on him to join in the crusade against Mooltan. Then after much feinting and fencing, and greatly assisted by the stout Van Cortlandt, Edwardes threw his army across the Indus, at this season a roaring torrent three miles wide, and sought out his enemy. Coming up with him he defeated Mulraj and his army of ten thousand men in two pitched battles, and drove him to take refuge behind the walls of Mooltan.

Accompanying Herbert Edwardes was a detachment of the Guides, lent by Lumsden, and before the war bent on learning their way about this portion of the frontier, in accordance with the role assigned their corps. This detachment not only joined with natural zest in the hard fighting that fell to the share of all, but proved of great service to the commander as scouts and intelligence men. So far did intrepidity and love of adventure carry them, that four sowars,[4] under Duffadar Khanan Khan, rode through the enemy's outposts, and with admirable coolness picketed their horses, probably without excessive ostentation, amidst the enemy's cavalry. They then separated, and went about to see and remember that which might be useful to their own commander and their own comrades in the war. It is perhaps needless to say that discovery meant instant death, yet, with the happy insolence of the born free-lance, superb indifference carried them through where the slightest slip would have been fatal. Indeed, one of them, by name Mohaindin, with nerves of steel, actually succeeded in being taken on as an orderly by Diwan Mulraj himself, and while acting as such was severely wounded by a round shot from one of our own guns at the battle of Sadusam.

[4] Sowar, a native trooper.

Meanwhile the headquarters of the Guides, under Lumsden, were hastening down from Lahore to give Edwardes that invaluable support which, however meagre in numbers, stout hearts, whose loyalty is above suspicion, afford to a harassed commander. Joyfully were they welcomed, as one sweltering day in June the Guides joined the little force which was besieging an army of equal or perhaps greater strength lying behind the growing ramparts of Mooltan.

Nor were the new arrivals long in showing their mettle. The camp was then pitched on the right of the nullah at Suraj Kund, and in this position was much annoyed by twelve pieces of ordnance, placed in position round the Bibi Pakdaman mosque. These Lumsden offered to capture and silence and, if possible, bring away. The service was carried out with much dash and gallantry, and the guns were captured and rendered useless, though it was found impossible, in face of the heavy odds, to bring them off.

But the siege of Mooltan, in so far as the Guides were concerned, was chiefly memorable for bringing prominently to notice the gallant and romantic figure of Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk. This noble fellow was one of those Bayards of the East who know no fear, and as soldiers are without reproach. Born of a fighting stock and fighting tribe, cradled amidst wars and alarms, he developed the highest qualities of a brave, resolute, and resourceful partisan leader. Always ready, always alert, nothing could upset his equanimity, nothing take him by surprise, while no odds were too great for him to face. With the true instinct of the cavalry leader he struck hard and promptly, and upheld in person the doctrine that boldness, even unto recklessness, should be the watchword of the light cavalryman. Yet this paladin of the fight could barely write his name. It is not every soldier who has the opportunity nowadays, as in the days of champions, to perform a historic deed in the open with both armies as spectators. Yet so it happened to Ressaldar Fatteh Khan one hot day in August, 1848, before the walls of Mooltan.

Lumsden was absent on some duty; indeed, there were only three British officers, and these took turn and turn about in the trenches, when a messenger galloped into the Guides' camp to report that a marauding party of the enemy's cavalry, some twenty strong, had driven off a herd of General Whish's camels which were grazing near his camp. Fatteh Khan, as ressaldar, was the senior officer in camp, and at once gave the order for every man to boot and saddle and get to horse at once. The little party, numbering barely seventy, led by Fatteh Khan, followed the messenger at a gallop for three miles to the scene of the raid. Arrived there they suddenly found themselves confronted, not by a marauding troop of horsemen hastily driving off a herd of camels, but by the whole force of the enemy's cavalry, some twelve hundred strong. These veteran swordsmen and lancers, of whose skill and bravery in battle we had had ample proof during this and previous wars, had been sent out to intercept a convoy of treasure expected in the British camp. Having, however, failed in their mission, they were leisurely returning to Mooltan, when a little cloud appeared on their fighting horizon. Some returning patrol, no doubt, they thought, some frightened stragglers driven in perhaps, some stampeding mules or ponies. But no! the little cloud now discloses a little line of horsemen, tearing along as if the devil drove. The whole mass of cavalry, like startled deer, halted and stared at this reckless onslaught; and while thus standing, transfixed with astonishment, Fatteh Khan and his gallant troop of Guides were on them.

Yelling fiercely, with lance and sword the Guides clove their way through the huddling mass of the enemy. Then clearing, they wheeled about, and with unabated fury fell again upon the benumbed and paralysed foe. Not yet content, the heroic Khuttuk again called on his men for another effort, and, rallying and wheeling about, the weary troopers and still wearier horses once more rode down into the stricken mass. But "God preserve us from these fiends," muttered the demoralised Sikhs, and, assisting their deity to answer the pious prayer, the whole mass broke and fled, pursued up to the very walls of Mooltan by "that thrice accursed son of perdition, Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk," and the remnants of his seventy Guides.

Through the intense heat of the summer of 1848 the little cluster of English officers who stood for British dominion kept heart and energy in the siege of Mooltan. As Edwardes described the position, it was only a terrier watching a tiger; but it was at any rate a good stout-hearted English terrier, and the tiger was afraid to face it. Yet even this stout terrier had to give way a little, when no reinforcements arrived, and when, in September, Sher Sing, with three thousand four hundred cavalry and nine hundred infantry, deserted and went over to the enemy.

The siege, however, was only temporarily raised, and was at once resumed on the arrival of a column of Bombay troops. This reinforcement consisted of two British infantry regiments, five Native infantry regiments, and three regiments of Native cavalry. With his force thus strengthened General Whish immediately resumed the offensive, and not only renewed the siege, but determined to take the place by assault. In the furtherance of this project he first stormed and captured the city, many of the buildings in which completely dominated the fort at short effective ranges. From the coigns of vantage thus gained the British artillery and infantry poured a hail of shot and shell into the doomed defences, while the cavalry hovered outside ready to pounce on those who broke cover. Placed in these desperate straits, and without hope of succour, Diwan Mulraj and the whole of his force surrendered unconditionally on the 22nd of January, 1849, after a siege which had lasted nearly seven months.

This timely success released at a critical moment, for service elsewhere, the British forces engaged in the siege. For meanwhile great events had been happening in the upper Punjab, and great were yet to come. On January 13th had been fought the bloody battle of Chillianwalla, where the casualties on both sides were very severe, and where the gallant 24th Foot had thirteen officers and the sergeant-major laid out dead on their mess-table. Lord Gough required nearly three thousand men to fill the gaps in his ranks before again closing with the redoubtable Sikhs. On every count, therefore, the news of the fall of Mooltan was received with considerable satisfaction, and the troops recently engaged in it with keen alacrity turned their faces northwards to Lord Gough's assistance, in the hope of arriving in time to throw their weight into the balance in the closing scenes of a campaign destined to add a kingdom to the British Empire.

Ahead of the troops from Mooltan went Lumsden and the Guides' cavalry, followed by Hodson with the Guides' infantry. The corps when re-united, before it joined Lord Gough, was deflected for the performance of a detached duty which brought it no little honour. It was reported that considerable numbers of Sikh troops, under Ganda Singh and Ram Singh, having crossed the Chenab, were moving south-east heavily laden with spoil, which having disposed of, they would be free to fall on the British lines of communication.

Starting in hot haste, Lumsden and Hodson took up the trail, and by dogged and relentless pursuit, after three days and nights of incessant marching, came up with their quarry. They found Ganda Singh and his following at Nuroat on the Beas River, while Ram Singh was some miles further on.

The position taken up by Ganda Singh was in a clump of mango trees, surrounded by a square ditch and bank in place of a hedge, as is often the case in the East. This formed a good natural defence, and piling their spoil up amongst the trees, Ganda Singh prepared to fight desperately to hold what they had won with so much toil. The right of the Sikh position rested on a deep and tortuous nullah, or dry watercourse, whose precipitous sides, if properly watched, formed an excellent flank defence; but if unwatched they formed an equally admirable covered approach whereby an opponent might penetrate or turn the position. The manifest precaution of setting a watch was, however, neglected, an error not likely to slip the attention of so skilled a campaigner as Lumsden. Occupying, therefore, the attention of the enemy in front by preparations for the infantry attack under Hodson, Lumsden himself, with the cavalry, slipped into the nullah, and working quietly past the enemy's flank emerged on to his rear at a spot where a friendly clump of sugar-cane afforded further concealment till the appointed moment. A signal was now made for Hodson to attack vigorously in front, which he accordingly did, and after severe fighting drove the enemy into the open. Seizing the auspicious moment, Lumsden issued from his shelter, and falling like a whirlwind on the retiring enemy, literally swept them from the face of the earth; one man only escaped to tell the tale. Amongst the recovered loot were found the silver kettle-drums of the 2nd Irregular Cavalry lost in the recent fighting, and amongst the slain was Ganda Singh. General Wheler coming up on the following day, the combined force crossed the Beas, attacked, and utterly routed Ram Singh, who was occupying a strong position behind that river.

These services performed the Guides turned back, and hastening northwards arrived in the camp of the Grand Army in time to take part in the crowning and decisive victory of Gujrat. The battle, according to history, was chiefly an artillery duel, the preponderance and accuracy of our fire paving the way for a practically unchecked advance of the infantry. The Guides, therefore, did not see much fighting during the battle; but their turn came that night, when, attached to Gilbert's cavalry division, they joined in the strenuous pursuit of the Sikhs,—a pursuit which began on the battle-field and ended at the rocky gates of the Khyber two hundred miles away. The first burst carried the pursuing squadrons past the battle-field of Chillianwalla, across the Jhelum river, capturing on the way all the Sikh guns that had escaped from the battle-field. Snatching a few hours' rest, Gilbert's fine horsemen were again in the saddle, and with relentless fury hunted the demoralised enemy, allowing him not a moment's respite, not an hour to steady his flight or turn to bay. Right through the bright winter days, through a country of rocks and ravines, pressed on the avenging squadrons; till, utterly worn out, starving, with ammunition failing, a dejected and exhausted majority laid down their arms and surrendered unconditionally at Rawul Pindi. But the Affghan Horse in the service of the Sikhs fled still further north, hoping to escape to their own country, and in hot pursuit of these went the Guides, a stern stiff ride of close on a hundred miles; and running them staunchly to the end, they drove the sorry remnants across the Affghan border.

Thus brilliantly concluded the second Sikh War, which, after many anxious moments and much hard fighting, resulted in adding to the Queen's domains a kingdom larger than France or Germany and more populous than Italy or Spain; and herein is recorded the modest share taken by the Guides in these great events.



A Traveller who at this day passes Amritsar by train will, if he looks to the south, see hard by the formidable fortress of Gorindghar. Over its battlements now floats the Union Jack, and on its drawbridge may be seen the familiar red coat of the British sentry. Should he ever pass that fort again, he may perhaps regard it with greater interest after reading the stirring tale of how it was captured from the Sikhs by a handful of resolute men of the Guides. To tell this story we must be forgiven for forsaking strict chronology; for the incident here narrated took place while part of the corps was still engaged at the siege of Mooltan.

Against modern artillery the fort of Gorindghar would be of little avail, however gallantly held; but by the standard of 1848 it was a very powerful work. Its armament consisted of no less than eighteen guns, while fifty-two lay stored in reserve, and its garrison consisted of such veteran fighters as a regiment of Sikh infantry. As may readily be understood, without touching on strategical details, it was a matter of considerable importance that this fort, lying as it did on the main line of the British communications between Umballa and Lahore, should not remain in hostile hands. It was therefore resolved to send back from Lahore a force to capture if possible, but at any rate to mask, this formidable work. To accomplish this, a considerable force was despatched from Lahore, and in advance of it was sent a party to reconnoitre and gain intelligence. This party consisted of Subadar[5] Rasul Khan, and one hundred and forty of all ranks of the Guides' infantry, with orders to get along as fast as they could. At noon, therefore, on a hot September day the little party set off on their forty mile march along the dusty, treeless road to Amritsar.

[5] Subadar, a native commissioned officer commanding a company of infantry.

Marching all that day, and the greater part of the following night, Rasul Khan arrived in the vicinity of the fort just as day was breaking. His orders were to reconnoitre and find out in what state of preparedness the garrison stood, what was its strength in men and guns, the best means of attack, and the most vulnerable quarter. To gain all this useful information the most obviously complete method was to get inside the fort itself, and this the resourceful subadar determined to do.

It must be remembered that at this time the second Sikh war was in full swing, and that various bands of troops who had espoused the Sikh cause were roaming the country. The British forces, on the other hand, consisted chiefly of drilled and organised regiments, armed, equipped, and clothed on a regular basis, and recognisable as such. The Guides, however, newly raised, and living a rough and ready adventurous life in their ragged and war-worn khaki, bore little resemblance to these, and might to a casual observer come from anywhere, and belong to either side.

Rasul Khan was quick to perceive this point in his favour, and take full advantage of it; for during the long and weary night march, he had thought out his plan. Taking three of his own men, stripping off what uniform they had, and concealing their arms, he had them securely bound and placed under a heavy guard of their own comrades. As soon as it was broad daylight, closely guarding his prisoners, Rasul Khan marched boldly up to the main gate of the fort, and was hailed by the Sikh sentry: "Halt there! who are you and what is your business?"

"After an exceedingly arduous pursuit, as you may judge from our dusty and exhausted condition," replied Rasul Khan, "we have managed to capture three most important prisoners, on whose heads a high price has been placed by the Sikh Durbar. They are the most desperate ruffians, full of the wiles of Satan, and we greatly fear lest they should escape us. I and my troops are weary, and to guard them in the open requires so many men. Of your kindness ask your Commandant if, in the Maharaja's name, I may place them in your guard-room cells until we march on again."

The Sikh sentry called the havildar[6] of the guard, who in turn called the Commandant, and after much palavering and cross questioning, the drawbridge was let down and the party admitted. The remainder of the Guides bivouacked here and there under the shade of the fort walls, cooked their food, and lay about at seeming rest, but all the while as alert and wide-awake as their extremely hazardous position required.

[6] Havildar, a native non-commissioned officer of infantry, corresponding to a sergeant.

The guard-room cells were pointed out to Rasul Khan, the prisoners thrust into them, and the escort quietly but firmly invited to rejoin their comrades outside the walls; for in time of war, as the Commandant explained, it behoves every man, especially when the safety of a great fort is concerned, to walk warily, and treat the stranger with circumspection. So far, beyond seeing the main entrance and the guard-room cells, Rasul Khan had not done much towards securing that full information about the fort, its garrison, and its defences, which it was of such vital importance to gain. He had, however, secured a footing, and, while with apparent readiness he prepared to rejoin his men outside, he politely insisted that he must leave his own sentry to guard the prisoners; "for," as he jocularly remarked to the Commandant, "if I don't, you will be saying that you captured these villains, and, sending them off to Lahore, will secure the reward my men have earned!" The Commandant laughed heartily at this blunt pleasantry, and partly out of good nature, and partly to avoid all blame should the prisoners escape, agreed to the proposal of the diplomatic subadar. During the course of the day the utmost cordiality was maintained, the Sikhs coming out and freely fraternising with the Guides, who, in their casual wanderings round, had at any rate got hold of a fairly shrewd notion of what the outside of the fort was like. But this was not enough for Rasul Khan, and he laid his further plans accordingly.

The cordial interchange of rough soldierly amenities had borne its fruit, and the suspicions of the Sikhs were completely lulled. To an alert and resourceful soldier like Rasul Khan, a man whom nothing in warlike strategy escaped, it occurred amongst other things that only a single sentry with his reliefs, under a non-commissioned officer, guarded the main entrance. As night fell, with engaging candour he pointed out the weakness of this arrangement to the Commandant, and, to avoid imposing additional guard duties on the Sikh garrison, offered, now that his men were well rested, to place a double sentry on the cells of the prisoners. Further, he made the obvious suggestion that it would be unsound, when once the drawbridge was up, to let it down each time that a relief of sentries was required, and that therefore it would probably be more convenient for all parties, as well as safer, if the reliefs for the double sentry also slept in the fort. With a whole regiment in garrison there seemed to be no particular objection to this proposal, and it was therefore accepted. Rasul Khan thus had at the main gate six men and a non-commissioned officer, not to mention three soldiers disguised as prisoners, as against three Sikhs and a non-commissioned officer. Be assured that he chose the bravest of the brave for that night's work, for, when the drawbridge was drawn slowly up that evening, it was ten men, and three of them unarmed, against a regiment; and short and terrible would have been the shrift accorded to them had an inkling of suspicion arisen, or had the slightest blunder, or precipitation, exposed the true position.

Meanwhile the force of cavalry and infantry sent by the British Resident was hastening down from Lahore, and Rasul Khan calculated that it would arrive at streak of dawn next morning. He despatched therefore two or three of his men to meet the column, to apprise the commanding officer of the state of affairs, urging him to make all haste and giving him as full information as possible should he on his arrival find that during the night disaster had fallen on the staunch little band of Guides. "On the other hand," the message concluded, "if by the Grace of God my plans prevail, I shall be ready to welcome your Honour at the fort gates at dawn."

To the party inside the fort the subadar's orders were to keep a very desultory watch over the prisoners, thus by example discouraging any undue vigilance on the part of the Sikh sentry; and for the rest to await quietly their opportunity till near dawn of day. This they did, and when the appointed hour had arrived the double sentry of the Guides fell like the upper millstone on that heedless Sikh sentry, and hewed him to the ground; at the same moment the rest of the guard was silently overpowered, gagged, and bound. Then, arming the three prisoners with the captured weapons, the Guides' sentries quickly and quietly lowered the drawbridge and let in the whole company of their comrades. Thus collected inside, with fixed bayonets, the cavalier, which commanded the whole of the interior of the work, was captured; the rest was easy, and the Sikhs, out-manoeuvred and placed at great disadvantage, surrendered at discretion. It is not always that the best laid plans succeed without a hitch, but the fortune of war was on this occasion entirely kind to the British cause, and the bold game played by subadar Rasul Khan and his men reaped a splendid reward; the capture of a formidable fortress, seventy guns, and a regiment of infantry, with little or no loss.

When, as dawn grew stronger, the British commander strained his anxious eyes towards the fort, to his immense relief friendly signals welcomed him, and as the sun rose the gentle breeze flung to the dusty haze the Union Jack, which ever since that day has floated from the ramparts of the fort of Gorindghar at Amritsar.

It may not be without interest, as illustrating the liberality with which soldiers in those days were treated, to mention that, besides the official thanks of the British Government, Rasul Khan received a robe of honour, a gun, a brace of pistols, and five hundred rupees, each havildar and naik fifty rupees, and each sepoy, including the "prisoners," eleven rupees. Nor may it be inappropriate to mention that Rasul Khan was a brother of that same ressaldar Fatteh Khan, who only the month before with a handful of the Guides' cavalry had scattered as chaff before the wind the flower of Diwan Mulraj's horsemen, and chased them into the gates of Mooltan.



The Guides were now two years old, and, as an outward and visible sign that they had won their spurs, they were by the orders of the Government considerably augmented. Hitherto with one troop and two companies they had established an honoured record; they were now raised to three troops of cavalry and six companies of infantry.

To the general historian, who can of necessity deal only with great events, peace reigned in India from the conclusion of the Sikh Wars to the outbreak of the Mutiny; but there was no peace for the Guides during those eight years. Their history is full of hardy adventure, of forced marches, and night attacks; of the wiles of the border free-lance, met and overcome with equal strategy and greater skill; of brave deeds and splendid devotion. The conscientious scribe is tempted to enlarge on each and all of these; but perhaps our purpose in giving the story of the Guides will be well enough served if we content ourselves with taking only two or three of these exploits, thus hoping to throw some light on the life led by a regiment on the Indian frontier in those rough days.

Dipping haphazard into the ancient records, we chance again on our old and gallant friend Fatteh Khan, Khuttuk; and once again we find him a man not easily taken aback in a sudden emergency. It was towards the end of 1851 that the British Government, having undertaken the surveying and mapping out of the Peshawur Valley and Yusafzai, deputed Mr. James, of the Survey Department, to superintend a portion of the work. For his protection during this duty, amongst a people fanatically opposed to anything in the shape of a map or a survey, a party of thirty of the Guides' cavalry was detailed under Ressaldar Fatteh Khan. This detachment was ordered to meet Mr. James at a small village named Gujar Garhi, about two miles from Mardan. Here, therefore, Fatteh Khan encamped to await the Sahib's arrival; but the day passed, the night fell, and still there were no signs of him. Thinking that there must have been some mistake in the dates, all turned in, and the camp was soon wrapped in slumber, the silence disturbed only by the stamping and roaring of the stallions at their standings, and by the crisp alert call of the sentries as they challenged.

It was past midnight, when a sharp-eyed Pathan sentry espied mistily through the darkness what looked like a large body of mounted men approaching. Instantly a sharp peremptory challenge rang out: "Halt! Who goes there?" Equally promptly floated back the answering watchword, "Friend." "What friend?" the sentry shouted, suspicious still. "Sahib," came back the disarming reply. Whereupon the sentry, coming to the not unnatural conclusion that the long-expected Sahib had at last arrived, and that he saw before him Mr. James with a large escort, sloped his sword, and gave the usual right of way: "Pass friend,—all's well."

At this moment Fatteh Khan awoke, and hearing the word sahib, jumped up, ran out of his tent, and hastened down to the end of the camp to meet the Sahib. He had, however, no sooner arrived there, than he at once noticed that the advancing horsemen were armed with matchlocks. Now our own cavalry in those days carried swords and lances, but not firearms, therefore these midnight visitors could not belong to any regiments in our service. To a man like Fatteh Khan, born to wars and alarms, who takes little for granted in daylight and nothing at night, this was sufficient to place him on his guard. With instant presence of mind he shouted, in a voice to be heard throughout the camp: "Rouse up everyone! Draw swords! The enemy are upon us!"

Scarcely had he ceased speaking when the enemy, throwing off further disguise, gave a yell and dashed at the camp, firing heavily as they rode. But though taken at a great disadvantage, and with odds of seven to one against them, the Guides made shift to be ready for the onslaught. There was naturally no time to get to horse, or into any regular formation, and therefore the attack had to be met on foot with sword and lance, in some hasty serviceable formation. Fatteh Khan therefore shouted to all the non-commissioned officers, who carried lances, to dash to the front and hold the outskirts of the camp, while the rank and file who were armed with swords should fall into knots of five or six, and prepare to defend themselves.

Against this hardy improvised defence the fierce attacks spent themselves like stormy waves against outstanding rocks; yet as a proof of the heavy fire, no tent escaped with less than ten or twelve bullet-holes. When once, however, the first fusillade was over, matters were on a somewhat more equal basis, for a matchlock cannot be reloaded on horseback; yet the odds were still great, and it took the Guides all their time to hold their own. But the surprise, as a surprise, having failed, the Swati cavalry, finding so stout a resistance, began to weaken in their endeavour. Catching the tide on the turn, the Guides dashed forth, and became themselves the attackers, hamstringing the horses, and so hewing, cutting, and thrusting, that, finding this no pigeons' nest, but rather a swarm of angry hornets, the whole two hundred horsemen scattered and fled.

The loss of the Guides in this staunch little affair proved, when all was over, to have been altogether insignificant; while the enemy on their part, besides leaving many dead men and horses in camp, carried off also, as was afterwards ascertained, a goodly number who would never throw a leg over a horse again. The leader of the attack was the redoubtable Mukaram Khan, one of the most daring and notable free-lances on the border.

In consequence of this and other raids it was determined to take measures, on a considerable scale, to discourage further efforts on the part of the border tribes. Consequently a brigade of all arms, under Sir Colin Campbell, moved out from Peshawur, to punish the lawless, and to exact retribution from those who had erred from the strict path of peace.

Amongst the various strongholds that were on the black list, and which, unless they surrendered at discretion, were destined to be attacked, captured, and sacked, was the Utmankheyl fortified village of Nawadand. Opposite this the British force sat down with the studied deliberation of old-time warfare, when contending armies might encamp for weeks and months within a stone's throw of each other. During this dignified pause, while doubtless supplies were being collected, and negotiations proceeding with the enemy, the British outpost line lay in full view of, and only "one shout's distance," as the Pathans expressively call it, from the enemy. And outside the line of infantry outposts lay a cavalry picket of twenty men of the Guides.

Thus it happened that one fine morning, in the month of May, 1852, the enemy, whether with intent to surprise, or merely fired with the nervous irritation of one who can no longer stand the strain of awaiting an impending blow, determined to hasten the issue by taking the offensive. So collecting his rough and ragged legions, stout of heart and stout of arm, carrying weapons not meanly to be compared with our own, the outlaw chief, Ajun Khan, marched out to attack the British, and to take them unawares in their tents.

The movement was at once reported by the British outposts, but troops take some few minutes to arm, equip, and form up in line of battle; while the Affghan border warrior moves with a swiftness that may well cause panic and dismay. A young subaltern of the Guides, Lieutenant G.N. Hardinge, seeing how matters were trending, rode out to the outlying picket of the Guides' cavalry, and there took his stand. It was an anxious moment. Behind him was the hastily arming camp, humming with the bustle of preparation; and before him, advancing across the stony plain, moved a line of skirmishers backed up by closed supports, and followed by great hordes of shouting warriors.

The motionless troop of the Guides stood foremost to meet the shock. On came the hardy tribesmen swiftly and relentlessly; but still, as he looked anxiously back, it was plain to the British subaltern that his comrades were not yet armed to meet the coming storm. "We can only give them one minute more," he said, and stout and steady came the answer: "Yes, your Honour, one minute more." And as they spoke each stalwart trooper gripped his sword still tighter and, shortening his reins, laid the flat of his thigh hard on his wiry neighing stallion; for as of old, so now, the war-horse scented the battle from afar.

The time passed very slowly, a minute seeming an eternity to the impatient soldiers. Fifteen seconds—twenty seconds—thirty seconds—for—ty-five seconds—six—ty!

"Carry swords," in a serene and conversational voice remarked the young subaltern; equally smoothly and quietly came the order, "Walk, march." Then, as the troop moved forward, followed the slightly more animated command, "Trot"; and as the excitement of coming conflict coursed with the wild exuberance of youth through the boy's veins, "Gallop! Charge!" he yelled, and back came an answering shout, "Fear not, Sahib, we are with you!" And thus was launched on the flood of death a little band of heroes, that they might save an army.

But ever since the day when David slew Goliath, the God of Battles has not always sided with the big battalions. A few staunch hearts hurled fearlessly at the foe may still, like the ancient slinger's stone, lay low the giant. So on this occasion the effect of the bold attack was magical. Through the thin line of skirmishers, heedless of the spluttering fire, went the troop, like a round shot through a paper screen, and fell like yelling furies on the clumps of swordsmen, pikemen, and any-weapon-men, who formed the supports. These they killed and wounded and scattered like chaff to the wind. And then,—their mission was accomplished! The enemy's advancing masses wavered, halted, hesitation and dismay replacing the confident sling-trot of a few minutes before. The surprise had failed, the camp was saved. Then Hardinge, his work accomplished, himself sore wounded, the enemy's standard in his hands, rallied his pursuing troop, and clearing to a flank left displayed the British force drawn up and ready to receive all comers.

To see the right moment and to seize it, to balance the profit and loss, counting one's own life as a feather in the scales, to strike hard and bold whatever the odds,—such are a few simple soldier lessons, learnt not from the scribes, but from a gallant British subaltern.

* * * * *

While Lieutenant Lumsden was in England in 1853 the command of the Guides was given to Lieutenant W.S.R. Hodson. This book would not be complete without relating the story of at any rate one of the many occasions on which this gallant officer, afterwards so famous, showed his fine metal. The fight about to be described was one, too, in which the many brave and devoted officers who have been surgeons to the corps have displayed the greatest gallantry.

For high crimes and misdemeanours it was decided to punish the large and important cluster of villages named Bori, in the land of the Jowaki Afridis, not far from the present military station of Cherat. A brigade of all arms, consisting of the 22nd Foot, 20th Punjab Infantry, 66th Gurkhas (now the 1st Gurkha Rifles), the Corps of Guides, a squadron of Irregular Cavalry, some 9-pounder guns on elephants, and a company of Sappers, the whole under Colonel S.B. Boileau, was detailed for the undertaking. The Bori villages lay in the valley of the same name enclosed by high and rugged mountains, making both ingress and egress in face of practised mountaineers a most difficult operation.

The advance was led by the Guides, who, themselves active as panthers in the hills, drove the Afridis before them through the Bori villages and up the precipitous mountains behind. The main body then set to work to burn and destroy the villages with all the food and fodder therein, and to drive off the cattle. So far, as is often the case in fighting these mountaineers, all had gone well; but now came the crucial time. Afridis may be driven all day like mountain sheep, but when the night begins to fall, and their tired pursuers commence of necessity to draw back to lower levels for food and rest, then this redoubtable foe rises in all his strength, and with sword and gun and huge boulder hurls himself like a demon on his retiring enemy.

At one of the furthest points ahead was Lieutenant F. McC. Turner, who with about thirty men of the Guides had driven a very much superior force of the enemy into a stone breastwork at the top of a high peak. Here the British officer was held; not an inch could he advance; and now he was called upon to conform with the general movement for retirement. To retire, placed as he was, meant practical annihilation, so sticking to the rocks like a limpet he blew a bugle calling for reinforcement. Hodson, who himself was faced by great odds, seeing the serious position of his friend, sent across all the men he could afford to extricate him, but these were not strong enough to effect their purpose. Then it was that Dr. R. Lyell, the surgeon of the Guides, took on himself to carry forward the much needed succour. In reserve lying near him was the Gurkha company of the Guides, and also a company of the 66th Gurkhas under a native officer. Taking these troops, with great dash and personal gallantry he led them to the attack, drove back the already exulting enemy, stormed their position, and extricated Lieutenant Turner and his party from their perilous position. It was a noble deed, nobly and gallantly carried out; and when it had been achieved, the brave fighter returned to the tender care of the wounded, and to alleviate the pains of the dying.

And now Hodson had got together the threads of his retirement, and using one to help the other, gradually and slowly drew back, covering the brigade with a net of safety. Thus quietly falling back, and meeting wild charges with ball and bayonet, he kept the open valley till all the force had safely passed the defile of exit. Then, while the last of his infantry got safely to commanding posts on the lower slopes, he himself, with the ready resource of the born fighter, changed his game, and from the patient role of the steady infantry commander, became a cavalry leader. Mounting his horse and calling on the Guides' cavalry to follow him, he suddenly charged the astonished enemy, and hurling them back with slaughter secured for the rest of his men a peaceful retirement. But before they laid themselves on the hard ground, this paladin of the fight and his staunch warriors had spent eighteen hours in desperate warfare with little food and no water.

So far as the records show this was the first occasion on which Hodson had led a cavalry charge, and was an auspicious opening to a cavalry career of remarkable brilliancy,—a career which was brought to a brave, but untimely end, only four years later before the walls of Lucknow.

Amongst other historic figures who watched this fight, and who added their generous meed of praise, were John Lawrence, the saviour of the Punjab, who later, as Lord Lawrence, was Viceroy of India, Major Herbert Edwardes, now Commissioner of Peshawur, who as a subaltern had won two pitched battles before Mooltan, and Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Napier, afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala and Commander-in-Chief of the Army in India.



The story of Dilawur Khan, subadar of the Guides, is one which kindles many a kindly memory of the rough brave fellows who, under a sprinkling of English officers, upheld British supremacy on the North-West Frontier of India in the early 'fifties.

When Lumsden was raising the Guides he looked about for men who, as he expressed it, were "accustomed to look after themselves and not easily taken aback by any sudden emergency,"—men born and bred to the sword, who had faced death a hundred times from childhood upwards, and who had thus instinctively learnt to be alert, brave, and self-reliant. To these hardy warriors Lumsden explained the simple doctrine that they were enlisted for three years, had to do what they were bid, and would receive a certain fixed salary every month for their trouble.

Soldiers of fortune and dashing young bloods from all the countryside flocked to his standard, and so popular was the corps that there were sometimes as many as thirty of these receiving no pay, and maintaining themselves and their horses, while awaiting a vacancy. And great indeed was the excitement when Lumsden, in his bluff breezy way, would say: "Well, here's a vacancy, and I don't for the life of me know which of you to give it to. Come along down to the rifle-range, and shoot it off amongst yourselves; the best shot gets the vacancy." And off they would go to the range, with all their friends and relations to the fifth generation, and all the partisans in the corps of each competitor: shooting for the King's Prize at Bisley is a flat and tame proceeding in comparison with this. And as each shot was fired the friends of the competitor would yell: "Shahbash! Bravo! Well shot! Another bull's eye! You will win for certain." While rival interests would with equal emphasis discredit the performance: "This bull's eye was certainly an accident. God willing he will miss next time. Bravo! let us not lose heart!"

The demeanour of the winner on such occasions would make a Master in Lunacy look grave. The happy young fellow would jump into the air, yelling and pirouetting, brandishing a sword, and at frequent intervals letting off a gun, nominally into the air, while most of his friends did likewise, embracing and congratulating him in the intervals. Without taking a seat amongst the Scribes and Pharisees, it is perhaps permissible to notice that such a scene as this is in curious contrast to that to be seen in any French or German country town when lots are being drawn for conscription. There the youth, who by drawing a lucky number escapes serving his country, is congratulated, feted, and led in procession round the streets.

One hard and fast rule, however, Lumsden made. He would take no low caste men; he would have naught to say to the washermen, sweepers, and fiddlers[7] of the village; he would take only the highest, which in this land is the fighting caste. His argument was one which still holds good. It is not in reason to expect the classes which for hundreds of years have been hewers of wood and drawers of water, and for hundreds of years have been accustomed to receive the cuffs and kicks of their village superiors, to face readily the fighting classes in the day of battle. The prestige of the soldier would be wanting to them, and prestige counts for as much in the East as elsewhere.

[7] A musician in India is a low caste person.

Yet holding these views, a brave man was a brave man to Lumsden, be his birth or caste what it might be. Most English-speaking people have read Mr. Rudyard Kipling's poem about Gunga Din the bhisti, or water-carrier, who by the unanimous verdict of the soldiers was voted the bravest man in the battle. Whether Mr. Kipling got that incident from the Guides or not his poem does not show, but there it actually occurred. The name of the bhisti was Juma, and so gallantly did he behave in action at Delhi, calmly carrying water to the wounded and dying under the most tremendous fire, that the soldiers themselves said: "This man is the bravest of the brave, for without arms or protection of any sort he is in the foremost line; if any one deserves the star for valour this man does." And so the highest distinction open to an Indian soldier was bestowed on Juma the bhisti; and further, the soldiers petitioned that he should be enlisted and serve in the ranks as a soldier, and no longer be menially employed. Nor was this all: in spite of his low birth, in a country where birth is everything, he rose step by step to be a native officer; and then to crown his glory, in the Afghan War he again won the star for valour, and the clasp which that great distinction carries. But this story is not about Juma, and so we must reluctantly leave him and get to our theme.

At this time it so happened that the most notorious highwayman and outlaw in the whole of Yusafzai was one Dilawur Khan, a Khuttuk of good family belonging to the village of Jehangira, on the Kabul River near its junction with the Indus. Brought up to the priesthood, his wild and impetuous nature and love of adventure could not brook a life of sedentary ease, and therefore, like many a spirited young blood, both before and since, he "took to the road." In his case the step was taken, if not actually with the sanction and blessing of his Church, at any rate with its unofficial consent. In those days the Sikhs held by force the country of the Faithful, and Hindus fattened on its trade. It was no great sin therefore, indeed, an active merit, that the sons of the Prophet, sword in hand, should spoil the Egyptian, by night or by day, as provided for by Allah.

To recount all the adventures of Dilawur would fill a book, and require a Munchausen to write it; but there was about them all a touch of humour, and sometimes of almost boyish fun, accompanied often by the rough courtesies of the gentlemen of the road, which reminds one of Dick Turpin and other famous exponents of the profession on the highways of England.

Now it so happened that it was at this time one of Lumsden's duties to hunt down and capture Dilawur, who for just and sufficient cause was now an outlaw, with a price on his head of no less than two thousand rupees. Many a time and oft did Lumsden and his men plan and strive, and ride and hide, but no nearer could they get to the capture of Dilawur.

Sitting one evening outside his tent, after yet another unsuccessful attempt, it suddenly occurred to Lumsden that Dilawur must have an astonishingly intimate knowledge of every path, nullah, and pass in the district to thus evade capture, as well as a remarkably efficient intelligence department, to give him timely warning. "Just the man for the Guides," exclaimed Lumsden. "I'll send for him." A polite note was accordingly written inviting Dilawur Khan to come into the Guides' camp, at any time and place that fitted in with his other, and doubtless more important, engagements, "to talk matters over." At the same time a free passport was sent which would allow of his reaching the camp unmolested. It speaks volumes for the high estimate which British integrity had already earned amongst these rough borderland people, that a man with two thousand rupees on his head could accept such an invitation. For the same man to have accepted a similar invitation from the Sikhs, or even from his own countrymen, would have been an act of culpable and aimless suicide.

One fine day, therefore, Dilawur strolled into camp, and he and Lumsden began "to talk matters over." After compliments, as the Eastern saying is, Lumsden with much heartiness, and in that free and easy manner which was his own, took Dilawur with the utmost candour into his confidence.

"Look here, Dilawur," said he; "you are a fine fellow, and are living a fine free life of adventure, and I daresay are making a fairly good thing out of it. So far, although I have done my best, I have failed to catch you, but catch you I assuredly shall some day. And what do you suppose I shall do with you when I do catch you? Why, hang you as high as Haman,—a gentleman whose history appears in our Good Book. Now, that's a poor ending for a fine soldier like you, and I'll make you an offer, take it or leave it. I'll enlist you, and as many of your men as come up to my standard, in the Guides, and with decent luck you will soon be a native officer, with good fixed pay, and a pension for your old age, and, meanwhile, as much fighting as the greatest glutton can wish for. Well, what do you say?"

Dilawur Khan first stared, thunderstruck at the novelty and unexpectedness of the offer; and then, tickled with the comical side of it, burst into a roar of laughter. It was one of the very best jokes he had ever heard. He, an outlaw, with a price on his head, his sins forgiven, enlisted in the Guides, with the prospect of becoming a native officer! "No, no," he exclaimed, "that won't do"; and, still shaking with laughter, rose to take his leave. And as he walked away he was followed by the hearty and genial voice of Lumsden roaring after him: "Mind, I'll catch you some day, Dilawur, and then I'll hang you, as sure as my name's Lumsden!"

Lumsden, having many other matters on hand, thought nothing more about the matter, till, much to his surprise, one day six weeks later, who should walk calmly into his camp, without passport or safe conduct, or anything save serene confidence in the British officer, but Dilawur Khan.

"I've been thinking of what you said," he began, "and I have come to enlist, and as many of my band as you care to take."

"That's right," said Lumsden, with great affability. "I thought you were a sensible fellow, as well as a brave one. I'll take you on."

"I have, however, one condition to make," solemnly continued the outlaw.

"Well, what's that?" asked Lumsden, thinking that he was going to drive some desperate bargain.

"I'll enlist on one condition," replied Dilawur, "and that is, I must be let off doing the goose-step. I really can't stand about on one leg, a laughing-stock amongst a lot of recruits."

"Oh, nonsense," laughed Lumsden; "you'll have to begin at the beginning, like everyone else. The goose-step is one of the foundations of the British Empire. If a king came into the army he'd have to do it. Why, I had to do goose-step myself! Of course you'll have to do it."

So with much good-humoured laughing and chaffing Dilawur Khan enlisted; and for weeks after one of the sights of Yusafzai, which notable chiefs rode many a mile to see, was the dreaded Dilawur, the terror of the Border, peacefully balancing himself on one leg, under the careful tuition of a drill-sergeant of the Guides.

Long years afterwards, when he had reached the highest rank open to him, in one of his friendly talks with Lumsden, he said: "Yes, Sahib, when I enlisted I thought you were one of the most unsophisticated persons I had ever come across. All I took on for was to learn your tricks and strategy, and how British troops were trained, and how they made their bandobust[8] for war. Directly I had learnt these things I had intended walking off whence I came, to use my knowledge against my enemies. But by the kindness of God I soon learnt what clean and straight people the sahibs are, dealing fairly by all, and devoid of intrigue and underhand dealing. So I stopped on, and here I am, my beard growing white in the service of the Queen of England."

[8] Bandobust, lit., a tying or binding; any system or mode of regulation discipline; arrangements.

His early religious education had given Dilawur more than the average insight into the intricacies of Mahomedan doctrine, and being possessed of ready wit, and considerable ability in debate, he was ever anxious to enter into doctrinarian discussions with the mullahs. Their superstitions especially came in for his lively ridicule, and a good story is told by old native officers illustrating his views. One day, Dilawur with a crowd of other passengers was crossing the Indus, which there was very deep and rapid, in the ferry-boat. Being over-heavily loaded, the boat, when it felt the strong current, appeared in great danger of filling and sinking. Then the Mahomedans on board with one accord set up loud lamentations, and began to call upon their saints to succour them. "Oh Ali! Oh Hosein! Oh Kaka Sahib! save us," they cried. Whereupon Dilawur, not to be outdone, in his turn commenced yelling and shouting vociferously: "Lumsden Sahib! Oh Lumsden Sahib, save me!" "What are you doing, you accursed infidel?" exclaimed the scandalised passengers, furiously. "Why do you supplicate Lumsden Sahib? It is enough to sink the boat straight away." "That is easily explained," calmly replied Dilawur. "You are calling on saints who have been dead for ages, while Lumsden Sahib is alive and lives close by. Personally I consider it more sensible to call on a living man than on a dead saint."

On another occasion his enthusiasm in the cause of religious enlightenment nearly cost him his life. When the Amir Dost Mahomed Khan came to Peshawur in 1856, he was accompanied by Hafiz Ji, a leading mullah of Afghanistan and a great doctrinarian; to whom came the learned amongst the Faithful, to discuss the tenets of their religion and to listen to the wisdom of the wise. With them came also Dilawur, full of zeal and thirsting for knowledge, who artlessly introduced so debatable a subject, that the assembly was thrown into an uproar; and lest worse things might happen unto him, the worthy, but too enquiring, subadar was hustled hastily forth, and requested in future to stick to soldiering, and to avoid bringing his infernal questions to cause discord amongst the chosen of the Prophet. As Dilawur afterwards pathetically remarked, he "didn't think much of a religion which instead of meeting argument with argument only threw stones at the head of the seeker after knowledge." Indeed the occasion seems to have thoroughly unsettled him in the convictions of his youth, for shortly afterwards he finally shook off all connection with the Mahomedan religion, and turning Christian was baptised at Peshawur in 1858.

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