The Story of the Guides eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 176 pages of information about The Story of the Guides.
miles of its objective, when it was found impossible, owing to the difficult nature of the country, to proceed further on horseback.  All the horses were consequently sent back to Fort Abazai, and the dismounted cavalry and infantry went on in the darkness over a most stony precipitous country.  By strenuous effort the village of Sapri was reached and surrounded by daybreak.  The villagers immediately rushed to arms and prepared for a desperate resistance, but the Guides were not to be denied; they carried the place, killing many and capturing the ringleaders, and nine others of those implicated in the murders.  Our own losses were eight men wounded; while two received the Order of Merit for conspicuous bravery in action.

Such were a few of the adventures of the Guides during the twenty years which elapsed between the Mutiny and the Afghan War.

CHAPTER VIII

THE MASSACRE OF THE GUIDES AT KABUL, 1879

The annals of no army and no regiment can show a brighter record of devoted bravery than has been achieved by this small band of Guides.  By their deeds they have conferred undying honour, not only on the regiment to which they belong, but on the whole British Army....  The conduct of the escort of the Queen’s Own Corps of Guides does not form part of the enquiry entrusted to the Commission, but they have in the course of their enquiries had the extreme gallantry of the bearing of these men so forcibly brought to their notice that they cannot refrain from placing on record their humble tribute of admiration.

So wrote the brave, bluff soldier, Sir Charles Macgregor, as president of the Committee appointed to enquire into the causes of the dreadful tragedy which in a few hours ended in the massacre of Sir Louis Cavignari and the whole of his escort.

When Cavignari, as minister and plenipotentiary on behalf of the British Government, signed the treaty of Gundamuk, one of the provisions of which was that a British Embassy with a suitable escort should be established at Kabul, there were many who, unable to forget the long-drawn history of Afghan treachery, looked with grave apprehension on the proposal.  The Amir Yakub Khan, himself but lately and unsecurely seated on the throne, was not strong enough, it was urged, to uphold this new departure, even were he honestly anxious to do so.  But against all opposition Cavignari placed his commanding personality and strong prevailing will; and by degrees he calmed not only any doubts the Amir on the one hand may have expressed, but on the other removed by convincing argument the objections raised by the prophets of evil in our own camp.  Finally, to prove his unwavering confidence in the practicability of establishing a British Embassy at Kabul, he asked to be allowed in his own person to prove the soundness and safety of the policy he advocated.

The treaty of Gundamuk was signed in June 1879; but the Amir asked for a short respite, that he might return to his capital to prepare quarters for the Embassy and also accustom the minds of his people to its proposed arrival.  It was not therefore till July 24th that Sir Louis Cavignari and his escort arrived at Kabul.

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The Story of the Guides from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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