Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about Across India.

“Havelock was born in 1795.  His father was a merchant, and he was well educated.  He was at first intended for the law; but he followed the example of his brother, and entered the army a month after the battle of Waterloo.  In 1823 he was sent to India; and on the voyage he became a Christian in the truest sense of the word, and this event influenced his life.  He was employed in the Afghan and Sikh wars; but he had learned ’to labor and to wait,’ and he was still a lieutenant after twenty-three years’ service.

“He was in command of a division of the army that invaded Persia in 1856.  The news of the Indian mutiny called him hastily to Calcutta.  Following the Ganges to Allahabad,” continued the speaker, pointing out the river and the city on the map, “he organized, at this point, a force of two thousand men, and pushed on for Cawnpore, driving the enemy before him.  At Fatehpur the rebels made a stand; but they broke before his little band, and he hastened on to his destination.

“Nana Sahib, the native leader of the mutiny, was the adopted son of the former peshwa, or ruler, of the Mahrattas, as certain states in the west and middle of India are called.  His foster-father had been deprived of his dominion, and lived on a pension paid by the British.  The son had been brought up as a nobleman, with expensive habits.  When the father died in 1851, the pension was not continued to the son.  He was bitterly disappointed that his income was cut off, and it stirred up all the bad blood in his nature, and there was a good deal of it.  He did his best to foment discontent, and succeeded too well; for the mutiny was his work.

“As Havelock and his puny force approached Cawnpore, this miscreant incited the cold-blooded massacre of all the women and children the rebels had captured on the day before the place was taken.  The intrepid general found the Sepoys strongly intrenched at a village; but he turned their left, and carried the works by a splendid charge of the 78th Highlanders.  Entering Cawnpore, he saw the results of the atrocious massacre in the mutilated bodies of the women and children with his own eyes.

“The sight inspired the little band of heroes with renewed courage, and Havelock began his march upon Lucknow.

“After fighting eight victorious battles, his little force was so reduced by sickness and fatigue that he was forced to retire to Cawnpore.  In September General Outram arrived there with additional troops, and operations against Lucknow were renewed.  The general in command of this force outranked Havelock, and the command belonged to him; but with a noble generosity he waived his claim, and served in the expedition under his victorious subordinate as a volunteer.

“Havelock’s army now numbered 2,500 men, with seventeen guns.  He encountered the enemy, and scattered them several times.  They reached the thickly settled town where each house was a fortress, and with valor equal to anything on record, fought their way to the Residency, where they were rapturously received by the beleaguered garrison.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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