“The smaller boats sank, and others were set on fire. The cavalry of the enemy waded into the river, and sabred those who attempted to escape by swimming. In the largest boat was General Wheeler; and, by desperate rowing, it succeeded in getting away from the slaughter. Unhappily it got aground, and all on board of it were captured.
“Nana ordered that not a man should be saved, and all were murdered in cold blood. The various accounts differ considerably; but all the men were killed but four, two captains and two privates, who escaped by swimming down the river, and were protected by a rajah, who was afterwards pensioned for this service.”
“After the massacre of all the men, there remained one hundred and twenty-five women and children captured from the boats, who were confined in the town-house of the detested Nana, where they were fed upon the poorest food and subjected to many indignities. They were heroic women, and preferred death to any other fate at the hands of their miscreant captors. They were kept in confinement about three weeks, when it was whispered among them that deliverance was at hand. Sir Henry Havelock was marching from Allahabad to the relief of the garrison, and when he was within two days’ march Nana went out to meet him and give battle to him. He was defeated and driven back to Cawnpore.”
“Smarting under this defeat, and stimulated to revenge for it, Nana at once ordered the massacre of the helpless prisoners on his return. This order was executed with all the atrocity incident to the character of the savages, and the bodies of the victims were thrown into a well near their prison. Now, if you please, we will drive to the memorials of this dreadful butchery.”
A memorial church now indicates the site of General Wheeler’s intrenchments, which the party visited first. The scene of the massacre is now a memorial garden, in charge of an old soldier, who was one of the four who escaped. The place of the well into which the bodies of the women and children were thrown is marked by a beautiful marble statue of an angel standing by a lofty cross. It is surrounded by a Gothic fence, with lofty towers in the same style. The party looked upon these mementoes of the terrible events with mournful interest, and had hardly recovered their usual cheerfulness when they reached the hotel. The guides were invited to dine with them, and the evening was more cheerful than the afternoon had been.
Part of the forenoon of the next day was given to a ride along the Ganges, which was crowded with boats of all kinds, from the boat with a cabin covered with a thatched roof to steamboats of considerable size. They found an abundance of temples on the shores of the sacred stream, and a beautiful ghat or staircase to the water, which excited their admiration.
“We are now going to Lucknow this afternoon; but it is only forty-five miles,” said Sir Modava. “If you prefer to do so, we can return to Cawnpore, and go down the river on one of those fine steamers to Calcutta, a thousand miles from here by the river.”