Clive was still absent. The sight of the enemy retreating was too much for Major Killpatrick. Forgetting the order to maintain his position, he thought the moment opportune for a general advance. He turned to Desmond, who had remained at his side all the morning, and said:
“Burke, run off to Mr. Clive, and tell him the Moors are retreating, and I am following up.”
Desmond hurried away, and reached the hunting box just as Clive had completed his change of clothes. He delivered his message. Then for the first time he saw Clive’s temper at full blaze. With a passionate imprecation he rushed from the lodge, and came upon the gallant major just as he was about to lead his men to the assault.
“What the deuce do you mean, sir, by disobeying my orders? Take your men back to the grove, and be quick about it.”
His tone stung like a whip. But Killpatrick had the courage of his opinions, and Desmond admired the frank manner in which he replied.
“I beg a thousand pardons, Mr. Clive, for my breach of orders, but I thought ’twas what you yourself, sir, would have done, had you been on the spot. If we can drive the Frenchmen from that eminence yonder we command the field, sir, and—”
“You’re right, sir,” said Clive, his rage subsiding as easily as it had arisen. “You’re too far forward to retire now. I’ll lead your companies. Bring up the rest of the men from the grove.”
Placing himself at the head of two companies of grenadiers he continued the advance. Sinfray did not await the assault. He hastily evacuated his position, retiring on the redoubt near the Nawab’s intrenchments. It was apparent to Clive that the main body of the enemy was by this time much demoralized, and he was eager to make a vigorous attack upon them while in this state. But two circumstances gave him pause. To advance upon the intrenchments would bring him under a crossfire from the redoubt, and he had sufficient respect for the Frenchmen to hesitate to risk losses among his small body of men. Further, the movements of the enemy’s detachments on his right caused him some uneasiness. He suspected that they were the troops of Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh, but he had no certain information on that point, nor had he received a message from them. He knew that Mir Jafar was untrustworthy, therefore he was unwilling to risk a general assault until assured that the troops on his flank were not hostile to him.
The doubt was suddenly resolved when he saw them check their movement, retire, and draw apart from the remainder of the Nawab’s army. Giving the word at once to advance, he led his men to storm the redoubt and the mound on its right. For a short time Sinfray and his gallant Frenchmen showed a bold front; but the vigorous onslaught of the English struck fear into the hearts of his native allies; the news that the Nawab had fled completed their panic; and then began a wild and disorderly flight; horsemen galloping from the field; infantry scampering this way and that; elephants trumpeting; camels screaming, as they charged through the rabble. With British cheers and native yells Clive’s men poured into the Nawab’s camp, some dashing on in pursuit of the enemy, others delaying to plunder the baggage and stores, of which immense quantities lay open to their hand.