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INDIAN UPRISING OF 1857 - A BRITISH SOLDIER'S LETTERS TO A BRISBANE RESIDENT (V)

Extracts from letters written to a lady resident in Brisbane, whose two sons were officers in the Indian service during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and were stuck in the area around Banaras. (Published in The Moreton Bay Courier on October 31, 1857)

MIRZAPORE, 25TH JULY, 1857.

Since I last wrote I think things are changing for the better, though regiments and contingents are still rising. The European force that marched from Allahabad to Cawnpore has defeated the rebels upon four separate occasions, and has taken 40 guns, of course, not without loss. They were too late to relieve the unfortunates at Cawnpore, who numbered, men, women, and children, some 500 souls, out of whom not one survives to tell their misery. They were besieged in their intrenchments by about 20,000 men, who kept a continual cannonade upon them, and not until they had been without provisions and shelter of any kind for three days in the hottest month of the year, and upon a sworn promise of being allowed to proceed by boats to Allahabad did they surrender themselves. They got into the boats, and had proceeded about a mile, when guns were opened upon them from both sides, the boats sunk, all the men were killed, and the women taken away for a worse fate. Those latter poor wretches were found down a well hacked to pieces. They had been kept and slaughtered by divisions as the attacking column neared Cawnpore, and the sight that met the eyes of the Europeans upon their driving these demons from Cawnpore, was something awful. It (the news of this?) has now spread throughout India, and the feeling of Europeans against natives is as deep as it can be. The Cawnpore force burnt the palace of the Nanah Saheb, the head of these miscreants, but he had wisely run for it ; he will, when hard pressed, most probably commit suicide, so we shall not have the pleasure of putting him to death. This force crossed the Ganges, and by this time will have relieved the small garrison at Lucknow, who have had a hard time of it; but I imagine no terms will ever again be asked from natives after their treachery at Cawnpore.

Delhi is still in possession of the rebels. Our army before it has not been able to act from want of a siege train, which by last accounts was quite close, so we hope soon to hear of its downfall. The native merchants in this town say it has bean taken, but with great loss to the Europeans.

There are some 100 Europeans stationed here now, so we all feel more relieved, as in case of a row, there is some place to run to. I am living in a room in the mess, and there is another for H. when he joins. I am afraid there will be great confusion about letters for some time; direct yours to Grindley & Co., Calcutta, for w6 cannot say where a week may find us.
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