A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi.

From September 15 to 20, when Delhi fell, the force lost in killed and wounded about 200 officers and men, making the total casualties 1,400, including those of the day of assault.

From May 30 to September 13 inclusive 2,490 officers and men were killed and wounded, the grand total being close on 4,000.  Add to these fully 1,200 who perished by cholera and other diseases, and it will be seen at what a fearful cost of life to the small force engaged the victory was won.

Truly the capture of Delhi was a feat of arms without a parallel in our Indian annals.  The bravery of the men, their indomitable pluck and resolution, the siege carried on with dogged pertinacity and without a murmur, proclaimed to the world that British soldiers, in those stormy times when the fate of an Empire was at issue, had fully maintained the reputation of their ancestors and earned the gratitude of their country.

To me, after the long interval of years, the incidents of the siege, with its continual strife and ever-recurring dangers, come back to me as in a dream.  Often in fancy has my mind wandered back to those days of turmoil and excitement, when men’s hearts were agitated to their profoundest depths, and our cause appeared wellnigh hopeless.  Then it was that a small body of men in a far-away part of North-West India, entirely separated from the rest of the world, a few thousands amongst millions of an alien race, rallied round their country’s banners and despaired not, though mutiny and rebellion ranged through the land.  With steadfast purpose and with hearts that knew no fear, the Delhi army held its own for months against an overwhelming force of cruel and remorseless rebels.  Imperfectly equipped, and with little knowledge of the dangers to be surmounted and the difficulties arising on every side, each man of that force felt himself a host, and devoted his energies—­nay, his very life—­to meet the crisis.  None but those who were there can for one moment realize through what suffering and hardship the troops passed during the three months the Siege of Delhi lasted.  Day after day, under a burning sun or through the deadly time of the rainy season, with pestilence in their midst, distressing accounts from all parts of the country, and no hope of relief save through their own unaided exertions, the soldiers of the army before Delhi fought with a courage and constancy which no difficulties could daunt and no trials, however severe, could overcome.  In the end these men, worn out by exposure and diminished in numbers, stormed a strong fortified city defended by a vastly superior force, and for six days carried on a constant fight in the streets, till the enemy were driven out of their stronghold and Delhi was won.  It must also be remembered that the feat was accomplished without the help of a single soldier from home; reinforcements had arrived in the country, but they were hundreds of miles distant when the news reached them of the capture of Delhi:  and it is not too much to say that the success which followed the subsequent operations down-country was due mainly to the fact that all danger from the north-west had virtually ceased, and the mutiny had already received a crushing blow from the capture of the great city of rebellion.

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A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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