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Infantry Small Arms

Queen's regiments serving in India were provided with the approved patterns of service musket under the arrangements of the Board of Ordnance. The P1853 '3-band' Enfield rifle had been adopted, but when the Mutiny broke out only 1st/60th Rifles was fully equipped with the new weapon. The other British regiments already serving in India at that time still carried percussion muskets. There were sufficient Enfields to hand in India for some British regiments of the Allahabad Moveable Column to have Enfield-armed flank companies. All regiments arriving in India from England, or from the diverted China expedition, were Enfield armed. 

Of the EIC European regiments only the 1st Madras Fusiliers was universally armed with the P1853 Enfield from the outset. The regiment went into action without having had the opportunity to train with the weapon. 

The Home Army's percussion muskets came in P1839 and P1842 versions. The former was a flintlock conversion, while the latter was a purpose-made percussion lock weapon. EIC small arms were not manufactured in India, but purchased from English gunmakers and shipped to the sub-continent. The company had its own patterns of percussion lock weapons, which while they were not identical to the 1839/1842 patterns of the Home Army were nevertheless much the same. One of the EIC percussion muskets was a shorter-barreled weapon, referred to as a 'fusil', which was particularly issued to Gurkha regiments, because Nepalese sepoys were more often than not men of smaller stature. The fusil was also carried in the 26th, 35th, 38th, 42nd and 43rd (LI) Bengal Native Infantry Regiments.*

The EIC '2-groove rifle', (as it was known), was not technically the same 'Brunswick' Rifle formerly carried by the rifle regiments of the Home Army, but even so was very much akin to it. Informally at least, people had started referring to the EIC weapon as a 'Brunswick' by the time of the Mutiny. The two-groove rifle was carried in certain regiments of the Punjaub Irregular Force (see unit entries below) and in the rifle companies of those Bengal Native Infantry Regiments which were established for both a light company and a rifle company: these were the 9th, 25th, 26th (LI), 31st, 35th (LI), 41st, 42nd (LI), 43rd (LI), 48th, 57th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 68th and 72nd BNI. Note that in this list, the regiments which actively mutinied are underlined. 

* Source Acknowledgement: D. F. Harding Small Arms of the East India Company 1600-1856 (4 vols), (London, 1999).

British Infantry Regiments & Battalions

Unlike other European armies where 'regiments' were often tactical groupings consisiting of three or four battalions, the British Army's order of battle contained a great many regiments whose only tactically disposable element was a single battalion. Thus in the British service 'regiment' and 'battalion' were more often than not synonymous, while the British equivalent of a Continental 'regiment' was the infantry brigade, typically consisting of three or sometimes four battalions. In pre-Mutiny India an infantry brigade had typically consisted of a British battalion and two sepoy battalions. In line of battle it was usual for the British battalion to be disposed in the centre, where it not uncommonly bore the brunt of the fight, with the sepoy battalions deployed to its flanks. In addition to conventional infantry units of the British regular army, the armies of the three East India Company presidencies, Bengal, Madras and Bombay each fielded two or three 'European' regiments. The home army regulars were referred to as 'Queen's regiments' and were typically distinguished in military despatches and other correspondence by the prefix 'HM' (standing for 'Her Majesty's'); thus HM 10th Regiment, HM 9th Lancers, HM 78th Highlanders and so forth. There was not uncommonly a good deal of friction between 'Queen's officers' and 'Company officers', as the former held themselves to be of superior social standing, albeit during the Mutiny shared hardships served to mitigate the friction. That said the Royal Artillery assets arriving in India quickly made themselves unpopular by constantly objecting to Indian logistic arrangements, much to Sir Colin Campbell's irritation.

     A full strength infantry battalion was commanded by a lieutenant colonel, who might, at some intermediate point during his tenure in command rise to the top of the seniority roster of lieutenant colonels and be promoted to colonel. On the war-time establishment and for units posted to India there was a second lieutenant colonel's vacancy, to allow for a second-in-command. The battalion consisted of ten companies, including two 'flank' companies - the grenadier company (right flank) and the light company (left flank). The grenadiers held themselves to be a cut above the rest, the pick of the battalion, while the light company derived their elite standing from being specialists in light infantry or skirmish tactics. In practice, in what was an age of military transition, centre companies were now every bit as capable of functioning in a skirmishing role as the light company. Indeed by 1857 the notion of flank companies was conceptually obsolescent and was fated to be dropped only a few years later. In similar vein, the validity of the distinction between line, light and rifle regiments was on the very cusp of being swept away - a function of the imminent universal issue of rifled small arms. For the British Army the termination of the Mutiny would mark the end of what might be termed the sub-Napoleonic tactical era. For the time being, though, battalions were still perfectly rehearsed in close order drill and tactics. When fighting in the open field, the first instinct of the British line infantry was still to form up in a close order line and deliver its fire by volleys. There was great flexibility built into the technique, but the most commonplace practice, arguably, was sequential company volleys commenced from a directing flank. The idea of a single massed battalion volley at short range, followed by an immediate bayonet charge was also prevalent and not uncommonly paid good tactical dividends against less resolute enemy formations. Increasingly, however, companies fought in skirmish lines, with other companies, termed the supports, echeloned one tactical bound to their rear. There were one or two instances during the Mutiny where the infantry formed square to receive cavalry, but the widespread introduction of the P1853 Enfield Rifle, providing as it did the capability to engage accurately at much longer ranges than had been viable with the P1842 smoothbore musket, soon made it well nigh impossible for rebel cavalry to press an attack hard. The formerly vital necessity to resort to the all-round defence provided by a close-order square soon began to tail away with the realisation that in open ground cavalry could generally be held in check by fire alone.

     The infantry battalion was subdivided into two wings, left and right, each of which were commanded by a major. It was by no means unusual in situations of operational or logistic over-stretch for the wings to operate independently of one another: two small battalions 'for the price of one' as it were. Where this was the case, the wing under the immediate control of the commanding officer was known as the 'headquarters wing'. In the 1849 edition of standing orders for HM 84th, already in India at that time, the right wing was stated to consist of the grenadier company and A-D Coys, while the left wing consisted of the light company and E, F and G Companies. Why there was no H Company is unclear. It is possible that drafts from home permitted an H Company to form up prior to 1857.

     Companies were commanded by the captains of the regiment, each of whom had a lieutenant and an ensign to assist him. The senior non-commissioned officer in the company was the colour-sergeant, who fulfilled the role which today rests with the 'Company Sergeant Major' or 'CSM', but did not at that time exist. In 1857 there was only one sergeant-major in a battalion - who not unnaturally was known simply as the sergeant-major. Internally the company was organized into two sub-divisions, each of two sections. At full strength a company would be around a hundred strong: in practice strengths dwindled rapidly in the field, so that companies of only one or two officers, two or three sergeants, a comparable number of corporals and 40 or 50 private soldiers were more often the norm. There were two 'drummers' per company, (who by now typically functioned as buglers). It was not uncommon for teenage military orphans to be enlisted in the status of 'boy' and to serve as apprentice bandsmen or drummers (in a line infantry regiment) or buglers (in a light infantry regiment).

     It follows that a full strength battalion at war establishment was more than a thousand strong. In practice while regiments arrived in India topped up to strength, they soon dwindled in numbers to something well below that, notwithstanding the periodic arrival of drafts of newly trained recruits from home, intended to counterbalance attrition incurred over the previous year. At the time of the Mutiny, 25 officers and 700-800 NCOs and men was a more typical strength for a unit which had been stationed in the sub-continent for a number of years. With the Mutiny in full swing such figures fell away rapidly through battle and disease - a glance at the orders of battle shown elsewhere on the site will be instructive in that regard. That the 93rd (Sutherland) Highlanders played such a prominent role in Sir Colin Campbell's operations around Lucknow was not due solely to the C-in-C's favoritism, but rather to the fact that the regiment, originally bound for operations in China, disembarked in Calcutta with more than a thousand officers and men. Thus it was thus a more powerful combat grouping, in its own right, than some of the hard-fighting brigades already in the field.

     The commanding officer, the 'second lieutenant colonel' (where there was one), the two majors and the adjutant were officially designated as mounted officers. Accordingly these officers were permitted to draw government allowances for their chargers and remained mounted in action, so as to be able to move rapidly from one part of the battalion's frontage to another, in accordance with their duties. The same tactical doctrine required company officers to fight on foot, so while captains and subalterns maintained horses privately and rode them on the line of march, they did not ride them into action.

     The centre of the battalion line was occupied and denoted by the Colour Party. The right-hand and senior colour of the pair was the royal colour, based on the Union Flag. Regulations of 1844 had decreed that all regimental badges, battle honours and other distinctions were not, in future, to be borne on the royal colour, but on the 'second' (or regimental) colour alone. Thus apart from a central device embracing the name and number of the regiment, the royal standard was now quite a plain union flag. The regimental colour by contrast, the field of which was in the regiment's facing colour, was emblazoned with battle honours which bespoke the regiment's past service and any special crests or devices granted in recognition of past feats. The colours were consecrated on first presentation and were held to epitomize the very soul of the regiment. Their loss in battle was to be considered a disgrace. As a result officers and men alike knowingly laid down their lives to preserve them. There were often fierce fights around the colours and, once inside small arms range, they tended to attract a great deal of fire. By the 1870s the resultant losses amongst the young officers carrying the colours, and the sergeants assigned to protect them, were no longer considered justifiable and it had become a matter of the colonel's judgement whether the colours were carried into action or not. A positive prohibition on the practice came in 1881, following the Battle of Laing's Nek in South Africa. In 1857-8 it was still normal for the colours to be carried into battle, but in a reflection of changing times some general officers have local orders prohibiting it. During the first relief of Lucknow for example, Brig-Gen Neill ordered that the three regiments of his brigade leave their colours behind at Cawnpore. During the second relief of Lucknow, colours were required to be carried cased, by Sir Colin Campbell's order. They were only very rarely uncased: known instances include signalling to the defenders of the residency from the rooftops of certain prominent buildings that they had fallen to the advancing relief column. By contrast the 78th Highlanders had fought their way into the residency on 25 September 1857, the date of the first relief, with uncased colours. A number of officers and SNCOs were hit whilst carrying the colours.

The Bengal Light Cavalry

The Bengal Light Cavalry Regiments proved to be one of the most fertile grounds for sedition. All ten regiments actively mutinied or were disarmed and disbanded. Regiments were conventionally organized into six troops, paired off to operate as three squadrons in the field. Unlike irregular cavalry regiments, which had only a handful of European officers, BLC regiments had a full complement: the establishment table allowed for 24. In addition to a European captain and lieutenant, a troop had a subedar (captain equivalent), a jemadar (lieutenant equivalent), four havildars (sergeants), four naiks (corporals), a farrier, a trumpeter and 60 sowars, for an all up strength of 4 & 70. The light cavalry arm carried conventional straight bladed swords, rather than the native tulwar styles favoured by the irregulars. Only 15 sowars per troop were issued with carbines, which is to say 90 men across the regiment, who were known as the 'skirmishers'. It will be recalled that at Meerut where, on 24 April 1857, sowars of 3rd BLC 'refused the cartridge', (in this instance precisely the same carbine cartridge they had used contentedly for the past several years), some 85 men were clapped into irons. This figure is no mere coincidence: it was a parade of the skirmishers, five of whom, all NCOs, took the cartridge without protest. As described in the uniforms section, the BLC were dressed, armed and equipped much after the fashion of European light dragoons. One notable exception was 4th BLC, which carried lances. It seems reasonable to speculate that pennants would most likely have been red over white, as was the case in the British Army.

Irregular Cavalry Regiments

In 1857 there were 18 regiments of Bengal Irregular Cavalry in the Bengal Army and 5 regiments of Punjab Irregular Cavalry in the Punjab Irregular Force. All 23 of these regiments wore loose fitting regimental alkaluks, which was a mid-length smock, a much more comfortable mode of dress than the European-style stable-jackets and tight-fitting overalls of the ten Bengal Light Cavalry regiments. A second notable characteristic of the irregular regiments was that enlistment took place in accordance the silladar system. This meant that individual officers and soldiers (silladars) provided their own horses and equipment in return for enhanced rates of pay. In practice this meant that unit administration was heavily contractorized, with the soldier obliged to part with a significant slice of his pay in return for his mount and an initial issue of kit of the requisite regimental pattern. Provided the sowar maintained a good character, his initial investment in a vacancy was returned to him when he departed the service. A third major divergence from the norms prevailing in the light cavalry arm was that there were typically only four European officers in a regiment; the commandant, the second-in-command, the adjutant and an assistant-surgeon, (the most junior rank of medical officer). The paucity of Europeans meant that much more authority was vested in the hands of the native officers commanding the regiment's six resalas or troops. As in the British cavalry, the regiment's three squadrons only formed up for training, or in the field, and were not permanently constituted organizations. There was no provision in the establishment for squadron leaders. Rather the three senior troop commanders took command of the squadrons, having handed over command of their own troops to their respective seconds-in-command. The senior troop commanders were known as resaldars and the junior ones as resaidars. There seem to have been no fundamental organizational differences between the light cavalry regiments and the irregular ones, save in the respect that irregular troops seem often to have been somewhat stronger. The establishment of a PIF cavalry regiment allowed for four European officers, 18 native officers and 588 sabres. All irregular cavalrymen carried carbines and tulwars, but in some regiments half of the men also carried lances. There was a much higher proportion of Muslims in the cavalry arm of the Bengal Army, light cavalry and irregular cavalry alike, than in the largely Hindu regiments of the Bengal Native Infantry.     

The Punjaub Irregular Force (PIF)

The Punjaub [sic] Irregular Force was raised in 1849 and came under the authority of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, rather than that of the Commander-in-Chief. The principal role of the PIF was the protection of the North-West Frontier, although it also played a prominent role in the suppression of the Mutiny. European officers serving with the PIF had been seconded there from a parent regiment in the Company's service and were usually of very high quality. At first the force consisted only of Punjabi infantry and cavalry regiments, but in 1851 it was significantly enlarged by the inclusion of the Corps of Guides and four regiments of 'Seikh [sic] Local Infantry', which ceased by definition to be classified as local infantry units at that point. By May 1857, then, the PIF comprised the Corps of Guides, five regiments of Punjab Irregular Cavalry, six Punjab Infantry regiments, the four specifically Sikh infantry regiments, three horsed light field batteries, two mountain batteries and two companies of garrison artillery. The horsed batteries fielded 5 x 9-pdrs and 1 x 24-pdr howitzer apiece. There were 64 guns across the PIF as a whole, albeit a proportion of them, manned by the men of the garrison companies, many of whom were old Khalsa gunners, were fairly antiquated guns emplaced in the forts at Bunnoo and Kohat.

     There were only a handful of British officers' vacancies on the establishment of PIF units: typically there was a commandant (or commanding officer), a second-in-command, an adjutant and a medical officer, usually in the rank of assistant-surgeon. They were hand-picked men and typically much younger than their counterparts in the Company's regular regiments. A handful, typically the commandants, were captains in their parent regiment, but overwhelmingly the force was led by lieutenants. One exception was Major John Coke who raised the 1st Punjab Infantry, widely referred to as 'Coke's Rifles', and was still in command of the regiment at the time of the Mutiny. For a while Coke played an important role in some of the fighting on Delhi Ridge, but eventually he was severely wounded.

     With so few British officers it necessarily followed that the troop and company commanders were all 'native' Indian officers vested with real responsibility, a situation very different to that pertaining in the Bengal Army. A PIF infantry regiment had eight companies; at full strength these were a hundred strong. The 1st, 2nd and 4th Punjab Infantry played a distinguished role in the defeat of the mutineers. The 1st, 4th and 5th Punjaub Infantry were armed with the EIC 2-groove rifle and the corresponding straight-bladed sword-bayonet. The 2nd Regiment carried EIC pattern percussion muskets and socket bayonet, leaving it at something of a disadvantage, at least on the frontier, where long barrelled jezails might throw a ball five or six hundred yards.

     With the exception of Coke's Rifles, which wore rifle green, the uniform of the PIF infantry was 'khaki', which is this instance meant a shade very closely approximating to the dust of the North-West Frontier zone. Poshteens were worn in the winter. Turbans were also khaki, save in Coke's regiment where, according to James Fairweather, who served with the 4th Punjab Infantry during the Mutiny, the 'high set puggries' [turbans] of the men were adorned with 'a gold fringe hanging down the side of their head'. Unfortunately Fairweather does not state what the base colour of the high set Afridi turbans happened to be, but they are more than likely to have matched the rest of the regiment's rifle green uniform. Prior to securing a fast rifle green dye, the regiment's uniforms had quickly faded to a shade of indigo blue, but this was a number of years before the Mutiny, by which time the problem seems to have been solved. Fairweather states emphatically that in typical frontier conditions the men of the 1st Regiment, clad in their rifle green, were much easier to see at a distance than the other regiments in their khaki.

Composition of the Punjaub Irregular Force

[All seemingly curious spelling is derived from the East India Company Army List ].

Corps of Guides.

Punjaub Cavalry.

1st Punjaub Cavalry, 2nd Punjaub Cavalry, 3rd Punjaub Cavalry, 4th Punjaub Cavalry, 5th Punjaub Cavalry.

Punjaub Infantry.

1st Punjaub Infantry, 2nd Punjaub Infantry, 3rd Punjaub Infantry, 4th Punjaub Infantry, 5th Punjaub Infantry, 6th Punjaub Infantry.

Seikh [sic] Infantry Regiments.

1st Seikh Infantry, 2nd Seikh Infantry, 3rd Seikh Infantry, 4th Seikh Infantry.

Formed in the period 1846-7 and properly uniformed about a year to 18 months into their existence, the four Sikh 'local infantry' regiments were at first dressed like units of the Bengal Army, with 1st, 3rd and 4th Seikh Local Infanty in red coats and yellow facings and 2nd Seikh Local Infantry in rifle green with black facings. Orders of 1847 stipulated that the regiments were to use black belts and pouches and would be provided with a set of colours of the same dimensions and pattern as those in use with the Bengal Native Infantry regiments of the line. The 2nd and 4th regiments were armed with flintlocks of fusil length, while 1st and 4th used full length muskets. How long this arrangement continued and in what years, respectively, each of the regiments adopted percussion lock weapons is impossible to say. It would be surprising, however, to learn that percussion locks were not in use in all four regiments well in advance of the Mutiny.

     The men observed the Sikh obligation in respect of beards and facial hear, although they did not at first wear turbans. Rather they were issued with the Bengal Army's newly adopted version of the Kilmarnock forage cap. In the case of the three red coated regiments, the cap had a hat band in the yellow facing colour. Doubtless 2nd Seikh Infantry would have had a green kilmarnock with black hatband at this period. The regiments would also have had a conventional hot weather summer dress, consisting of white shell jacket and trousers. in 1851 the four regiments were incorporated into the Punjab Irregular Force, which given the forward thinking ways of the PIF leadership meant the demise of line infantry style uniforms. As described above it also meant that the regiments would no longer be classified as 'local'. In 1852 the 1st and 3rd Seikh Infantry switched from red to khaki to conform with the more enlightened military thinking of the PIF's leadership. This would have been effected in the first instance by dyeing one set of white summer clothing. By the time of the Mutiny single-breasted, three-quarter length khaki tunics had been adopted. In 1854, certainly, 1st Seikh Infantry was wearing red piping on the khaki jacket, (it is not clear where the piping was worn, but this could be a pointer towards the jacket having shoulder straps). The native officers of the regiment had a red stripe down the outside seam of the trousers. In April 1857 1st Seikh Infantry also turned away from forage caps, (the latest version had been khaki drab with a red hat band), and adopted the traditional Sikh dastaar or turban instead. The regiment's dastaars were khaki, but seem also to have incorporated a band of yellow. The 2nd Seikh Infantry continued to wear forage caps until the end of 1857, at which juncture it too transitioned to turbans. 3rd Seikh Infantry is said to have transitioned to a khaki dastaar with a distinctive orange fringe in 1855. In the same year it also adopted black facings for its khaki tunic; these would almost certainly have been worn as a plain round cuff and an otherwise unadorned collar, but could also have been worn at the shoulder strap. In W. Y. Carman's Indian Army Uniforms - Infantry (London, 1969), wherein most of the data at this paragraph has been derived, 4th Seikh Infantry is said not have adopted khaki until 1856. When it did, it also adopted a dastaar of khaki with a dark green fringe at both ends. That the 4th Seikh Infantry should be any different to the 1st and 3rd regiments in terms of the adoption of khaki seems anomalous, however, such that it appears not improbable that 1856 is not the correct date. In any event, we can be tolerably sure that the transition of the 1st 3rd and 4th Seikh Infantry to khaki clothing and the dastaar style of headdress was complete by the time the Mutiny broke out. The 4th Seikh Infantry, known at the time as 'Rothney's Sikhs', served on Delhi Ridge, where it was found necessary to expel all non-Sikh members of the regiment, reducing it strength by about a quarter. It seems likely that 2nd Seikh Infantry, known informally as the 'Hill Regiment', remained in rifle green tunics until about 1861, but that its adoption of the dastaar occurred about 6 months into the Mutiny. 

Other Units of the Bengal Army

(Derived from the 1857 edition of the East India Company Register & Army List) 

Bengal Sappers & Miners.

There were 12 companies of Sappers & Miners in all, of which two thirds, amounting to something around 720 men, were at Roorki when the Mutiny commenced at Meerut. Six companies, about 500 men, were ordered to Meerut under Maj. Fraser, the commandant. Not long after their arrival, four of the six companies mutinied, killed Fraser and fled towards Delhi. They were pursued and about 50 were killed, albeit the survivors straggled into Delhi eventually. The two companies remaining at Meerut were disarmed, but set to work on fortifications. The two companies left behind at Roorki also mutinied and marched off to Moradbad, after first mistreating about 50 of their colleagues who were inclined to remain loyal. They were intercepted by the 29th BNI, still loyal at that time, were disarmed and made prisoner. Subsequently they were sent into Bareilly, but later made their way to Delhi with the mutinous Bareilly Brigade.

Miscellaneous Infantry Regiments.

Regiment of Kelat-i-Ghilzie.  

Regiment of Loodiannah. [Sikh]. Red coats with green facings. (Panicked and mutinied at the disarming parade in Benares. A large proportion marched off to Oude, but some remained staunch and others returned promptly). 

Regiment of Ferozepore. [Sikh]. Red coats with yellow facings and yellow banded blue Kilmarnocks up to the outbreak at Allahabad, when the commandant, Lt. Brasyer, directed that they return to their native dress. See our Unifroms Page for full details. 

Sirmoor Rifle Battalion. [Gurkha]. Green with black wing pads, buttons facings and lace.

Regiments of 'Local Infantry'.

Calcutta Native Militia. Red with black facings. 

Ramghur Light Infantry Battalion. Green with black facings and lace. (Mutinied). There was also a unit known as the Ramghur Irregular Cavalry, the strength of which is uncertain, but appears at one point to have been two rissalahs or troops. Likewise there appears at one point to have been 4 x 6-pdr guns and an artillery detachment associated with the battalion.

Hill Rangers. Raised at Baugalpore in 1792. Red with dark green facings and silver lace.

New Nusseree (Rifle) Battalion. [Ghurkha]. [Sometimes rendered as 'Nasiri' and other variants on the theme]. Green with black wing pads, button, facings and lace. Note that the original Nasiri Battalion became the 66th BNI in 1850, hence the name of this newly raised unit.

Pegu Light Infantry Battalion.

Kemaoon Battalion. [More typically rendered as 'Kumaon']. [Gurkha]. Green with black wing pads, buttons facings and lace.

First Assam Light Infantry. Green with black facings and black lace.

Second Assam Light Infantry. Green with black facings and black lace.

Mhairwarrah Battalion (Civil). Red with dark green facings and silver lace. The designation 'civil', which appears in the East India Register and Army List of 1857, means that this was effectively a police battalion. 

Arracan Battalion. [Burma]. Green with black facings and black lace.

Hurrianah Light Infantry. Green with black facings and black lace. (Mutinied and marched to Delhi. Numbers of their bodies noted around the Kashmir Gate after the assault).

Sylhet Light Infantry Battalion. Also provided with a small artillery detachment and 2 guns. Green with black facings and black lace.

Malwa Bheel Corps. Green with black facings and black lace.

Meywar Bheel Corps. Green with black facings and black lace.

Miscellaneous All Arms Local Units/Formations.

The Shekhawatee Brigade. Red with blue facings.

The Joudpore Legion. (Mutinied). One regiment of infantry. Three cavalry troops. Two camel-drawn guns manned by infantrymen. Green with black facings and black lace. (Mutinied). 

Oude Irregular Force (OIF).

All bar the 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments, which had formerly been local battalions, were newly raised in 1856, mainly from former members of the King of Oude's army. The Oude Irregular Force mutinied comprehensively the following year and was heavily involved in the fighting in and around Cawnpore and Lucknow. Uniquely the 10th Oude Irregular Infantry is believed to have joined the rebels at Delhi. The OIF was so short-lived that few details of its uniforms appear to have survived. It is clear, however, that it was dressed in broad conformity with the rest of the Bengal Army. The infantry had a system of facing colours, but quite what these were in five of ten instances remains a IDM at least. (Let us in on the secret if you have found a comprehensive listing!). We have identified from British accounts of the fighting at Lucknow that shakoes continued to be worn by the Oude sepoys, some years after they had been dropped by the native infantry regiments of the Bengal Army. The infantry carried a pair of colours of the usual dimensions, the first or Queen's Colour seemingly a plain Union Flag, while the Regimental Colour was of fairly orthodox design, with a field in the facing colour, and a central wreath of green leaves embracing the EIC coat of arms and the regimental title. There was no miniature union flag next to the pikestaff in the two surviving examples of which we have seen either a sketch or a photograph, and of course none of the OIF regiments had any battle honours.

The composition of the OIF was as follows:

1st Oude Irregular Cavalry, 2nd Oude Irregular Cavalry, 3rd Oude Irregular Cavalry (green alkaluks with silver lace).

1st Oude Irregular Infantry (buff facings), 2nd Oude Irregular Infantry, 3rd Oude Irregular Infantry (white facings), 4th Oude Irregular Infantry, 5th Oude Irregular Infantry (green facings), 6th Oude Irregular Infantry, 7th Oude Irregular Infantry (yellow facings), 8th Oude Irregular Infantry, 9th Oude Irregular Infantry, 10th Oude Irregular Infantry (white facings).

1st, 2nd and 3rd Oude Light Field Batteries & Reserve Coy, Oude Artillery. The 'reserve' company was in effect a garrison artillery unit, employed in manning emplaced guns in forts.  

There were also three Oudh military police units, designated 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments Oude Military Police. There is nothing to state how strong they were, but they were perhaps unlikely to field a thousand men, as the infantry regiments did. There was also some kind of mounted police unit, once again of unknown strength. All the police units mutinied.

A couple of interesting notes in passing: 

a. Pronunciation. Oude or Oudh, which would conventionally elicit an 'oo' sound from a first language English speaker, is actually pronounced as something akin to 'Av-ad', by reason of which fact it is commonly rendered today as Awadh. 

b. Presence of African mercenaries in Lucknow. Those who have read of the siege of Lucknow may well have encountered references to 'Bob the Nailer', which was a nickname given by the garrison to a particularly troublesome sniper who fired from one quarter of the perimeter or another. In the literature of the Mutiny, he is sometimes described as a court eunuch of African descent, although this is never coupled with any other data to support the assertion. Interestingly, however, there had in fact been a small corps of African irregulars in the lately disbanded army of the former King of Oude, (who had been carted off to a comfortable exile in Calcutta, following the EIC's annexation of his turbulent kingdom early in 1856). In 1849 Maj-Gen W. H. Sleeman had travelled through Oude tendering periodic reports to the Governor-General of the day, Lord Dalhousie. In September that year, Sleeman wrote, 'The first thing necessary will be the disbanding of the African, or Hubshee Corps, of 300 men. They are commanded by one of the eunuchs, and a fellow fit for any dark purpose. They were formed into a corps, I believe, because no man's life was safe in Lucknow while they were loose upon society.' Given this interesting snippet of evidence, it seems not unreasonable to conclude that the eponymous 'Bob' was more likely than not to have been one of the members of the lately disbanded African corps, which presumably would have continued to exist until the 1856 annexation. Sleeman's 'hubshee' is more properly rendered in Arabic as 'Habshi', a proper noun applied to Abyssinians and other Africans in the service of the Mughals and other Indian rulers, a phenomenon dating back to the 17th Century. Evidently they were present in sufficient numbers to warrant their own proper noun. Quite what became of the other 299 members of the corps we are unlikely ever to know, but it seems probable that they must have been amongst the vast numbers of matchlock-armed retainers and mercenaries who provided the cutting edge of the purportedly 'civil' rebellion in Awadh and that like their Indian confederates they too would have fought the British during the Mutiny. Given that there had reportedly been 60,000 men under arms in the state prior to annexation, of whom fewer than 10,000 had been absorbed into the new British-officered Oude Irregular Force, the 'civil' rebellion in Awadh was likely not quite as civil as some modern narratives would have it.

Nagpore Irregular Force.

1st Nagpore Irregular Cavalry, 1st Nagpore Irregular Infantry, 2nd Nagpore Irregular Infantry,

3rd Nagpore Irregular Infantry, Nagpore Irregular Artillery (coy strength). 

Contingent Forces

Gwalior Contingent (Mutinied in entirety).

Like most other contingents, the Gwalior Contingent was uniformed in broad conformity with the Bengal Army. The cavalry are known to have worn alkaluks after the fashion of the Bengal Irregular Cavalry; in the case of the 2nd Regiment the alkaluk was red. It is of course possible that the 1st Regiment also wore red. 

The facing colours of the infantry regiments remain something of a mystery. It is known that the infantry regiments carried colours, as a small number captured during the Mutiny have survived. (See John French, Armies of the Nineteenth Century; the British in India, Nottingham, 2006, p. 167). It is possibly the case that a colour attributed to the 5th Infantry Gwalior Contingent, which features a black-edged white St Andrews cross, with a small, square red panel at the intersection, and contrasting quarters of red and blue, is a 'national' colour and that as such it enjoyed the same status as the Queen's Colour carried by the native infantry regiments of the Bengal Army. It is hard to know for sure, however, if the design was universal or whether it was unique to that regiment. The central device of a 3rd Infantry colour has also survived, but since this is not mounted on a red square, or any other kind of square for that matter, it might reasonably be postulated that the one might be a first colour and the other a fragment of a regimental colour. But in truth this remains not much more than guesswork, based as it is on too small a sample of data. It noteworthy that while the units were all referred in official papers as belonging to the 'Gwalior Contingent', the term 'Scindia's Contingent', (the name of the Maharajah of Gwalior), is preferred at the central devices of the surviving colours. All told the contingent amounted to more than 8,400 men. It consisted of:

1st Cavalry Gwalior Contingent (medium blue alkaluks), 2nd Cavalry Gwalior Contingent (red alkaluks).

1st Infantry Gwalior Contingent, 2nd Infantry Gwalior Contingent, 3rd Infantry Gwalior Contingent (white facings), 4th Infantry Gwalior Contingent, 5th Infantry Gwalior Contingent, 6th Infantry Gwalior Contingent, 7th Infantry Gwalior Contingent.

1st to 4th Companies of Artillery.

Malwa Contingent. (Mutinied)

Sometimes referred to as the 'United Malwa Contingent'. One regiment of infantry, a battery of artillery and 4 troops of cavalry. The greater part of the infantry was absorbed into the rebel 'Indore brigade'. The cavalry troops fought against Polwhele at the Battle of Sassiah near Agra.  

Bhopaul Contingent. (Mutinied)

Regimental sized grouping of all three arms.

Hyderabad Contingent.

1st Cavalry Hyderabad Contingent, 2nd Cavalry Hyderabad Contingent, 3rd Cavalry Hyderabad Contingent, 4th Cavalry Hyderabad Contingent.

1st Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, 2nd Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, 3rd Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, 4th Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, 5th Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, 6th Infantry Hyderabad Contingent. 

Kotah Contingent. (Mutinied)

Regimental strength grouping of all three arms amounting to about 700 men. Fought at Sassiah near Agra, joined the Nimach Brigade at Delhi and was routed by Nicholson at Nafgarjah. The cavalry wore red. 

The 'Typical' Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) Regiment

A 'Bengal Native Infantry Regiment' was a regular unit commanded and administered by the Bengal Army. More than 60 of 74 regiments mutinied, so it is immediately apparent that things had gone badly awry in the management of the Bengal Native Infantry. A BNI regiment was uniformed in red and drilled in close order tactics in imitation of its British Army equivalent - the infantry regiment of the line. Like a British regiment, a BNI boasted a set of two colours, one a Union Flag and the other with a miniature Union Flag in the top left corner and a field in the regimental facing colour. The rank and file were armed with EIC pattern percussion muskets and socket bayonet. No Indian regiment had yet received the P1853 Enfield rifle, scheduled to replace the musket, though of course some small arms instruction utilizing the new weapon had taken place at major depots, such as Dum Dum, precipitating the notorious 'greased cartridges' scare. The typical BNI regiment contained Muslim and Sikh minorities and a Hindu majority. The percentage of high caste Hindus in a regiment was typically in the high 50s. One of the sundry contributing factors to mutiny was that this proportion had been declining over the previous decade, allowing brahmin and rajput ringleaders to advance the notion that the recent influx of Muslims and Sikhs formed part of a concerted British attack on the religion of the old sepoy army. In the aftermath of the Second Anglo-Sikh War, for example, a hundred vacancies per regiment had been allotted to Sikh recruits. Soldiering for the EIC had always been considered a thoroughly respectable career in most quarters of Indian society. Once it had also been a tolerably well paid line of work, but lately pay had stalled, where the cost of living had not, with the result that sepoys had lately come to consider themselves hard-up. This too was a contributing factor to the military breakdown of 1857, when one of the several motivations in play was the belief that if the British could be expelled from India the sepoy regiments would be able to seek much more lucrative employment in the service of princely rulers.

     A BNI regiment consisted of either 10 or 11 companies. Each company consisted of 100 sepoys or privates, 12 NCOs, (a combination of havildars or sergeants and naiks or corporals) and two native officers, a subedar and a jemadar, equating to captain and lieutenant respectively. The senior Indian officer in the regiment was the subedar-major. Thus the Indian complement comprised 1,000 sepoys, 120 NCOs and 21 officers. All the regiments had grenadier companies and light companies, but fifteen regiments (see the 'Small Arms' subject header at the top of the page) also had a rifle company armed with the EIC '2-groove rifle'. Such companies were dressed, in imitation of the British Army's rifle regiments, in rifle green uniforms and were issued black pouches and belts.

     Promotion for both the rank and file and the 'native officer' grades came by strict seniority, with the result that the Indian officers were often well past their physical prime and the peak of their efficiency. Moreover lifelong subordination to the leadership and decision-making of the British officers set over them had not uncommonly served to smother both their grasp of higher military matters and their sense of initiative. The typical age at which a man might reach naik or corporal was 36; havildars or sergeants were 45 and upwards; jemadars or lieutenants were 54-60; and subedars or captains 60 or more. The subadar-major, though venerable, was, in any meaningful military sense, little more than an old man. Herein lay another cause of mutiny: men who considered themselves able and worthy of promotion were simply not able to get on.

     There were only two European NCOs per regiment. At 26 the full complement of British officers was generous enough, but in practice it was rare for there to be more than 15 or so actually serving with the regiment at any one time. Not only did headquarters staffs and depots have to be manned, but the most able officers were able to compete for political-administrative appointments. Such posts were both challenging and rewarding in career terms. Moreover they attracted allowances so lucrative that they might as well have been designed to entice talent away from regimental duty. In peacetime this was a factor with the potential to leave a regiment in the hands of a temperamentally indolent or laissez faire 'B team' for lengthy periods of time.

     It is not uncommon in Mutiny literature to encounter remarks which castigate the British officers of the BNI for their purported indifference and remoteness, but a more balanced interpretation would also acknowledge that the upper echelons of the Bengal Army had grown institutionally inclined to pamper to the caste system in ways which were prejudicial to the preservation of good order and military discipline. It was the diktats of caste which kept the British officers out of the unit lines, with the result that they seldom saw their men, save fleetingly at the morning parade, leaving scant opportunity for any meaningful form of bonding. It was not even acceptable to move amongst the sepoys at mealtimes, or to be anywhere near where food was being prepared, a dogma that, even in the field, served to rule out so much as a casual stroll through the regimental bivouac. Additionally the power of the commanding officer had been greatly eroded in the decade preceding the Mutiny. In particular they were far less powerful in the all important domains of promotion and summary punishment than had formerly been the case. No longer did the sepoys regard their colonel as an all powerful figure. For tired old colonels bent on an easy life, the line of least resistance was to fall back on a paternalistic, overly casual, leadership style which made free and easy recourse to flattery, pampering and appeasement. In other words sepoys were increasingly treated as truculent teenagers, best won over by the persuasive arguments trotted out by the head of the family, rather than being snapped to it like the infantry soldiers they were meant to be. Of course nobody ever played up in the presence of the elderly colonels themselves, many of whom imagined in their arrogance that they still had their sepoys eating out of their hands. The subversives in the regimental lines were invisible to such men.

     Notwithstanding the creeping encroachment of idleness, arrogance, petulance and indiscipline, many British officers had so much faith in the continued loyalty of their sepoys that when at length the crisis broke they demonstrated a foolish naivete about the possibility that their own house of cards might just come crashing down around them. In many cases their misplaced loyalty to their men cost them their lives.

     The process of subversion not untypically yields uneven results, so it is unsurprising that in the Bengal Army of 1857 there were any number of outcomes. In some regiments agents provacateurs were betrayed to the authorities and the unit remained staunchly loyal. In other diametrically opposite scenarios the whole regiment turned, sometimes within a day or two of some marked profession or demonstration of continued loyalty. In many turncoat regiments the British officers and their families met with cruel deaths, (or were fortunate enough to escape by the skin of their teeth), though in a small number of units, where the worst sort of genocidal instincts had been kept in check, generally by the native officers, they were simply sent packing or even escorted out of town. Many of the turncoat regiments marched to Delhi as formed units, while a handful of others simply went plundering locally and dispersed when pressed. Of course the onset of mutiny inevitably gives rise to distrust and suspicion in the loyal rump of an army, a factor which in 1857 probably led to some regiments being needlessly disarmed and disbanded. Ultimately nobody at this remove of time will ever be able to say for sure that any single act of disarming/disbandment was genuinely unnecessary. In some instances prevarication over whether or not to disarm a regiment resulted only in delayed disaster that might otherwise have been prevented. Generally speaking, disarming, wherever there was the remotest grounds for suspicion, was by far the most advisable course of action for the British.

     Even so, many sepoys from disarmed and disbanded regiments made their way to focal points of rebellion, such as Delhi or Lucknow, where they proceeded to join the rebel movement anyway. Others simply went back to remote home villages clutching the leave furloughs they had been granted and dutifully stayed at home for the duration of hostilities. Although there were tens of thousands of indoctrinated, willing and committed mutineers, there were also significant numbers of men who had been intimidated into participating, or who had meekly allowed themselves to be carried along in the heat of the moment. Unhappily for pressganged or repentant mutineers, the military crime in which they had shared was devoid of an exit strategy: Brigadier John Nicholson would not have mused for long before coming up with his famously abrupt pronouncement, 'The punishment for mutiny is death.'  


Horse artillery was the elite branch of the artillery arm and was typically called upon to operate in close support of the cavalry, whose dash, elan and cross-country mobility it was required to emulate. The higher level organization in the horse artillery branch was the brigade, but this was an organizational and administrative command, not a tactical one. In the Bengal Army there were three brigades of horse artillery. In the 1st Brigade, Nos. 1-3 Troops were European and Nos. 4 and 5 Troops were 'native' or Indian manned. In the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, Nos. 1-3 Troops were European and No. 4 Troop was Indian. There were only a handful of Europeans, primarily officers, in a native troop, and only a dozen or so Indian gunners or golundauz in a European troop.

     The basic tactical sub-unit of the horse artillery was a 'troop' of six horse-drawn pieces, the direct equivalent of a 'battery' in the more pedestrian field artillery. The lightest gun and, arguably, the best suited to the mounted branch of the service was the 6-pounder, although there could be no denying that it was outclassed for range and punch by the 9-pounder, by reason of which fact it was not unknown for troops of horse artillery to be equipped with the heavier gun instead. There was at least one instance early in the Mutiny where a troop equipped with 9-pdrs failed to cross sodden ground successfully traversed a few moments earlier by a troop of 6-pdrs. There was always at least one howitzer in a troop, of which more in a moment.

     A limber and gun was commonly towed by a team of 6 horses, (albeit 8-horse teams were not entirely unknown). In the Royal Horse Artillery, the Madras Horse Artillery and the Bombay Horse Artillery, the nearside (or left hand) animal of each pair in the team was ridden by a 'driver'. In the Bengal Horse Artillery, however, all six horses were ridden. On the nearside horses were the three drivers, known as Nos. 8, 9 and 10, while the offside animals were ridden by gunners known as Nos. 5, 2 and 4. No. 2 usually carried the sponge staff upright in a saddle bucket. Only No. 1, the sergeant in command of the gun, and his horse holder, No. 14, were provided with saddle horses. Nos. 11, 12 and 13 drove the six horses of the supporting ammunition wagon, with No. 3 mounted on the off-leader of the same team. Even in a European battery, Nos. 6 and 7 were always Indian golundauz, who rode the axle-tree seats on either side of the gun barrel.

In troops and batteries of the Royal Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery, (none of which had been routinely rostered to serve in India prior to the Mutiny), it had become the norm to employ two howitzers and four guns per troop or battery, but in the respective armies of the three East India Company 'presidencies', there was usually only one howitzer per sub-unit. The 6-pdr was usually but not invariably twinned with the 12-pdr howitzer, while the 9-pdr was usually paired with the heavier 24-pdr howitzer. At this stage all these guns were muzzle-loading smoothbores.

     Field artillery was organized into battalions and companies. In the Bengal Artillery the 1st to 6th Battalions inclusive were European and consisted of only four companies, while the 7th to 9th Battalions were Indian and consisted of six companies. There were, then, 42 companies all told. Unlike the horse artillery branch, however, the operational role of a conventional Bengal Artillery company was not fixed. The companies were divided on a rotational basis between 21 garrison companies and 21 manoeuvre units. In order to assume the manoeuvre role, a company needed to 'go into battery', which is to say that the officers and men of the company had to be twinned with a battery's worth of equipment. This was maintained by a permanent staff consisting of a few European NCOs and around 60 Indian golundauz, primarily employed in the role of drivers. Whether the golundauz were retained or not, in a time of mutiny, was a judgement call for commanders: Havelock, for example, took the decision to dismiss the golundauz in Olpherts' Battery. In addition to the uniformed Indians, the battery also had a substantial civilian establishment of grooms and grasscutters (or 'syces'). The equipment came with around 130 horses or the equivalent number of bullocks. If the guns were heavy field guns or 'guns of position', such as the 18-pdr, which were pretty much always bullock-drawn, the merger of company and battery would be known as a 'heavy field battery'. The combination of 9-pdrs and horses would be termed a 'light field battery'. In some of our orders of battle the gamer will see entries such as 'No. 3 Coy/1st Bn., with No. 7 Light Field Battery, Bengal Artillery'. From all of the foregoing it follows that this is a single tactical grouping consisting of 6 horse-drawn pieces manned by the European personnel of the third company of the first battalion of the Bengal Artillery, working in concert with a broadly equal number of golundauz drivers from a shadow organization called No. 7 Battery. As such titles were too long-winded for everyday use, it was far more commonplace to refer to the resultant 'light field battery' by its captain's name eg. 'Olpherts' Battery', though where the practice crops up in an official despatch it can sometimes be difficult to tell what kind of battery or class of artillery is at issue. The six-horse teams in a light field battery had only three drivers, the Bengal Army included.

     The Bengal Artillery battery commanded during the Relief of Lucknow by Captain 'Hellfire Jack' Olpherts, (No. 2 Coy/3rd Bn,, with No. 12 Light Field Battery), was unusual, in that it took the field with two complete sets of limbers - one fitted for bullock-draught and the other horse-drawn, which Olpherts whistled up wherever the tactical situation demanded that he fight his guns in the horse artillery role. Olpherts needed additional manpower to function as drivers for his horsed limbers, so in addition to pressing some of his syces into a combtant role, he was also given a small party of Madras Fusiliers. With some basic training under their belts, fusiliers and syces alike did sterling service in their unaccustomed role as drivers.

     A troop or battery was commanded by a captain, who might well have already have secured the brevet rank of maor through distinguished service in the field. The troop or battery commander was assisted by three subalterns, each of whom commanded one 'division' of two guns and limbers, with two supporting ammunition wagons. After the Mutiny 'divisions' became known as 'sections'. A single gun, limber, team and gun detachment (or crew) was called a 'sub-division' and was commanded by a sergeant. There were instances in the Mutiny where the manpower of a troop or battery had declined to such a degree that it was necessary to leave one or two guns behind in the artillery park. Our orders of battle reflect this, wherever our research has revealed such instances.

     The most commonplace pieces of siege artillery were the 24-pdr gun and the 8-inch howitzer. These were often supplemented by mortars of various calibres, but it was the 24-pdr which did the donkey work of breaching. The heavy guns were often towed over distance by elephants. It was not usual to take elephants beyond the edge of the battlespace, however, substantially because the animal is far too intelligent to abide being shot at, without making its feelings on the matter known, most typically in ways which are more immediately prejudicial to those who happen to be in its near vicinity. That is not say that elephants did not come to harm during the Mutiny. At Fattehpur, for example, Captain Francis Maude personally laid one of his 9-pdrs, with the intention of bringing down an elephant fitted with a howdah which he thought might have been carrying the Nana Sahib about on the opposite side of the battlefield. It was not the Nana as it turned out, but the ball entered the animal's body end on, just above its tail, killing it on the spot, which must have shaken the occupant of the howdah rather badly, to say the least. The norm, then, was to transfer elephant-drawn guns to bullock-draught before going into action. The 24-pdr was the mainstay of the breaching batteries at Delhi, where it performed its task well. Captain William Peel of HMS Shannon landed even heavier naval guns with his ship's 'naval brigade', but was obliged to leave them behind on the lines of communication and proceed on his way to Lucknow with army 24-pdrs. While it was relatively commonplace for the mutineers to use 24-pdrs in the open field, in effect as heavy field guns, the more tactically agile British were much less inclined to misemploy their guns. Mutineer artillery organizations obviously mirrored those of the army against which they had turned. Their gunnery was generally of a high standard and not uncommonly caused the British their most pressing tactical problems. 


Facing Colours of the Bengal Native Infantry Regiments

Yellow: 2nd (Grenadiers) (d), 3rd, 4th, 8th, 18th, 21st, 36th (V), 37th (V), 41st, 42nd Light Infantry*, 47th (V), 48th, 53rd*, 54th, 61st, 62nd (d), 63rd, 64th (d), 65th (V), 67th (V) (d), 68th, 70th, 72nd, 73rd (d) & 74th.

Dark Green: 6th, 7th, 10th*, 13th, 19th (d), 23rd, 28th, 29th, 38th (V), 39th (V) (d), 45th, 46th, 51st (d) & 52nd.

White: 1st*, 5th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 20th, 22nd, 24th (d), 35th Light Infantry (d), 55th, 56th*, 66th (or Goorka Regiment) & 69th.

Buff: 14th, 16th (Grenadiers) (d), 30th, 31st, 49th (d), 50th, 57th & 58th (d).

Black: 17th*, 32nd, 33rd & 71st.

Dark Blue: 25th (d), 34th & 40th (V).

Red: 26th & 27th (d).

Pea Green: 43rd Light Infantry (d) & 44th (d).

Saxon Green: 59th & 60th.

French Grey: 15th.

Regiments specifically identified in the table of Havelock's engagements, (which might be good candidates to model), are asterixed.

Most regiments were referred to formally by their number (in longhand), followed by the word 'Regiment' and then the classification 'Native Infantry' e.g. 'Second Regiment Native Infantry'. In order to distinguish a unit from the identically numbered regiments in the other two presidencies, it would be necessary to state to which of the three EIC armies the regiment belonged. e.g. 'Second Regiment Bengal Native Infantry'. Some Bengal Native Infantry regiments had '(Volunteers)' as part of their full title, e.g. 'Fortieth Regiment Native Infantry (Volunteers)'; where this is the case regiments have been annotated in the list above with the abridged designation '(V)'. The term denoted that the members of these regiments had signed on under terms and conditions of service that permitted the regiment to serve overseas. Other regiments were designated 'Light Infantry', e.g. 'Thirty-Fifth Regiment Light Infantry'. The 2nd and 16th Bengal Native Infantry were designated as 'grenadier' regiments. In imitation of their British Army counterparts light regiments wore white worsted wings on the shoulders of their coatees: curiously the word 'native' does not appear in their EIC Army List titles, but this variance from the norm is meaningless. It can also be safely assumed that 2nd and 16th BNI also wore wings on the shoulders of their coatees. One unique divergence from the norm occurred in the case of the 66th Regiment, which was referred to in full as the 'Sixty-Sixth Regiment Native Infantry (or Goorka Regiment)'.

Regiments which did not mutiny are underlined.

Regiments which were disarmed and disbanded preemptively are annotated (d). Sepoys of disarmed and disbanded regiments were typically sent home, only for a great many of them to join the rebel movement subsequently. 

Note that in addition to the Bengal Native Infantry and Light Infantry regiments there were also many Bengal 'Local Infantry' Regiments and a number of 'Irregular Contingents', some of which also participated in the Mutiny. See the organization page for a listing and breakdown. Although designated as 'irregular' troops, forces such as the Gwalior Contingent (2 regiments of cavalry, 7 regiments of infantry and 4 companies of artillery), and the Oude Irregular Force, (3 regiments of cavalry, 10 regiments of infantry and 3 companies of artillery), both of which mutinied wholesale, were in fact uniformed and drilled after the fashion of their Bengal Army counterparts and were likewise led by British officers.

Facing Colours of Infantry Regiments in the Oude Irregular Contingent (where known): 1st Oude Irregular Infantry: buff. 5th Oude Irregular Infantry: Green. 7th Oude Irregular Infantry: yellow. 10th Oude Irregular Infantry: white. Three of these four instances are derived from the field colour of the respective Regimental Colours.

41st Bengal Native Infantry

Sepoys of the rifle company (left) and of a centre company (right). The plate pre-dates the Mutiny by a few years, as the sepoy on the right is still wearing a right shoulder crossbelt. Note that the artist portrays the ammunition pouch on the wrong belt (the image is not reversed). The pouch was actually worn over the right buttock, from a belt slung over the left shoulder. By 1857 the bayonet had moved onto the waistbelt and the right shoulder crossbelt with integral bayonet frog had been dropped altogether. Rifle companies of those BNI regiments that had one, were armed with the 'two-grooved rifle', the EIC version of the Home Army's 'Brunswick' Rifle. 

Headdress of the Bengal Native Infantry

What follows is an extract from a Bengal Army General Order dated November 1847, the date on which the shako was abolished in favour of the forage cap in the BNI:

"The head-dress for the native infantry of the line is henceforth to be a dark blue Kilmarnock cap, encircled by a white band (woven in the cap) with the number of the regiment in front; the numbers to be one inch and a half long. Light infantry regiments and rifle corps will wear a dark green band and bugle above the number of the regiment. Regiments having a badge are to wear the badge instead of a number. The cap to be stiffened round the top and at the sides with a piece of cane or wire to preserve the shape. Each to provide himself, as articles of half mounting, with two white cotton cap covers. The white cap cover is worn by the native infantry, the number is to be placed outside it, so as to be visible.''

Shakoes continued to be worn in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies and, it would seem, in many of the local contingents sponsored by the Bengal Army, including the infantry regiments of the Gwalior Contingent and those of the Oudh Irregular Force. At the second relief of Lucknow, HM 93rd Highlanders locked horns with sepoys wearing red coatees, dhotis and shakoes. These men were almost certainly from one of the regiments of Oude Irregular Infantry, as the same 93rd officer who describes the enemy's uniform specifically identifies an Oudh regiment in a subsequent paragraph of his account.

In the aftermath of the Anglo-Sikh Wars each of the Bengal Native Infantry regiments was required to admit a hundred or so Sikh recruits, giving a Sikh component of around 10% per BNI. Additionally the Ferezopore and Ludianah Regiments, specifically Sikh units, were formed at the same time. There is contradictory evidence as to what the Sikhs wore by way of headdress. At least one source notes that some of the crustier EIC colonels were driven apoplectic by an order that the Sikhs were to be permitted to retain the beards and dastaars (Sikh style turbans) required by their faith and culture, as they felt that the measure spoiled the uniformity of their regiments on parade. On the other hand, the memoirs of Colonel Jeremiah Brasyer, make it abundantly clear that the Ferezopore Regiment was required from the outset to wear conventional military headdress. There was some apprehension as to what the men's reaction would be, but in the event only sepoy refused to wear a cap on religious grounds, which he continued to do even after being told by the regimental 'gooroo' that the cap was acceptable. Brasyer does not make it clear whether he is referring to shakoes or forage caps, but if it was the former, they would have been replaced by the latter in pretty short order anyway. It is certain that the regiment was not wearing the dastaar when the Mutiny broke out, as Brasyer, now the commandant, instructed his men to dispense with their EIC uniforms and revert to the native kurta and dastaar formerly worn off-duty. This may well have been something of a leadership masterstroke, serving to draw a very distinct line between his own men and the treacherous 6th Bengal Native Infantry, which was also based at Allahabad and had just inflicted a heavy slaughter on its officers. The Ferezopore Sikhs, by contrast, remained staunch and fought in their comfortable native dress for the rest of the war. Quite what the Sikhs integrated into the BNIs were wearing on their heads at the time of the 1857 outbreak is not terribly clear, but if they were serving in mutinous regiments they would most likely have reverted to the Sikh headdress of choice anyway. In similar vein, once a regiment had disintegrated, as many did, into a majority rebel faction and a minority loyalist faction, it would have to be considered unlikely that British officers commanding loyalist contingents would deny their Sikh followers permission to revert to the dastaar. Regardless of which side they were fighting on, the inclination amongst the Sikhs to set themselves apart would be pronounced, as they were strongly inclined to regard poorbeah sepoys as their military inferiors. In vindication of this there are British intelligence reports from spies reporting in at Agra that state that those Sikh sepoys which had gone to Delhi with the mutinous BNI regiments eventually detached themselves from their parent regiments to form two exclusively Sikh battalions. The same reports indicate that the motivation of the Sikhs in so doing was to show the rest of the rebel army, in effect, how 'real' soldiers went about their business. It is not to be imagined that such units would not have worn the dastaar specified by their faith. It must be said, however, that there are not any confirmatory reports from the British troops on Delhi Ridge of Sikh battalions sallying forth from the city to attack them any harder than the rest...or indeed of any rebel Sikh battalions at all. It is of course possible that the formation of such composite battalions, (if it happened at all), post-dated the juncture at which the rebel army gave up on sallying forth to attack the ridge.

There are additional remarks on the headdress of the Punjaub Irregular Force at the PIF entry on the Organizations Page.  

Uniform & Facing Colours of the Bengal Light Cavalry Regiments

The ten Light Cavalry regiments of the Bengal Army wore 'French grey' stable jackets and overalls, although 'grey' is something of a misnomer for a shade that was not a great deal deeper than sky blue. The everyday headdress of the sowar was a dark blue forage cap, rather wider in the crown than the Kilmarnock adopted by the infantry and artillery. It did not have a peak, featured a white hat band and had a white pom-pom on top. It was also fitted with a thin black leather chinstrap. In hot weather, and in the field, the forage cap was often worn inside a white cap cover. The facing colour was displayed at the collar and cuffs of the stable jacket. In nine of the ten regiments, the facing colour was orange-red. In the 5th Bengal Light Cavalry, it was black. The coloured collar and cuffs were edged in a half-inch wide trim of white lace. The same white lace also ran down the chest of the stable jacket, where it manifested itself as a double white line, either side of a thin strip of facing orange, and then ran around the bottom hem of the jacket. The shoulder straps came in the form of white twisted cord secured with a button. There was thin white piping running up the rear of the jacket, across the shoulders and down the rear seam of the sleeves. A broad white welt ran down the outside seam of the overalls. Waistbelts, sword slings and crossbelts were all pipeclayed white leather. Shoes were black with boxed silver spurs. The sword scabbard was steel. Our horse codes IMH 2 or 3 would best suit BLC units.

Notes on Irregular Cavalry Regiments

L to R: 18th, 9th and 12th Bengal Irregular Cavalry.

Sowar, 6th Bengal Irregular Cavalry, c. 1847.

Irregular Cavalry on the march, unit and year uncertain.

There were four types of irregular cavalry regiment of relevance to the history of the Mutiny. The five Punjab Irregular Cavalry regiments and the Guides Cavalry formed part of the Punjaub [sic] Irregular Force (PIF). The Punjabi regiments recruited mainly Punjabi Muslim and Sikh sowars. Not a few of the former came from the frontier tribes - Pathans, Dogras, Afridis etc - while many of the latter were former members of the Khalsa, the old Sikh army. The Guides contained Afghans and Gurkhas in addition. Loyal squadrons of 1st, 2nd and 5th Punjaub Cavalry played a prominent role in the British/Company cavalry arm at Delhi, Agra and Lucknow. The composition of these three squadrons was predominantly but not exclusively Sikh. There were 18 regiments of Bengal Irregular Cavalry. Those units that mutinied are annotated in the listing below. The third category of relevance were the irregular cavalry regiments of the local state contingents, in particular the Oude [sic] Irregular Force, with three such regiments, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Oude Irregular Cavalry, based in the vicinity of Lucknow. These too were British-officered and not greatly different in dress and organization from the company's own irregular regiments. All of the Oude Irregular Force regiments mutinied (3 of cavalry, 10 of infantry and 3 batteries of artillery), though some individuals in the cavalry, the Sikh sowars in the main, remained loyal. The hastily raised 'Hodson's Horse' provides our fourth category. At first Hodson's Horse was a single unit, but in 1858 the surfeit of Punjabi volunteers were hived off into a second regiment. Right at the end of the Mutiny a third regiment was also added, although there appear to have been some difficulty in mounting it. The dress of the Guides Cavalry,1st, 2nd and 5th Punjaub Cavalry and of Hodson's Horse is addressed at separate unit entries in the itemized list of British & Company units further down the page.

          The observations made here in respect of the dress of the Bengal Irregular Cavalry regiments are in many instances drawn from artwork in the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, which can be accessed online. Other key references are W. Y. Carman's Indian Army Uniforms (London, 1961) and Boris Mollo's The Indian Army (Blandford Press, 1981). It should be borne in mind that the 1840s and 50s was a dynamic period for the HEIC's cavalry arm and that there were many fast-moving developments, with the result that paintings carried through in the 1840s might well be obsolete and misleading when contemplating regimental dress in the 1850s. Additionally dress regulations for the irregular regiments were often vague in the detail to begin with. It is best to tread carefully with research material accordingly. The changes made in that era included the formation of eight new regiments in 1846 and then, in the following year, the upwards renumbering of the new regiments by one place, which is to say from the 10th Irregular Cavalry onwards, a measure designed to accommodate incorporation of the cavalry wing of the Bundelkund Legion as the new 10th Irregular Cavalry. Thus there is some potential for confusion when looking at art plates from the 1846-7 period or at plates that are not specifically dated.

            In any event, a rough feel for some of the colour schemes in use in 1857 is given below. So tentative a list is bound to Incorporate some inaccuracies, so if you come across imagery of a particular regiment that you find convincing and pleases you, then you might just as well adhere to that. Typically the irregular cavalry wore regimental alkaluks adorned on the chest with a broad u-shaped band of contrasting coloured lace. The colour of the officers' lace was often different to that of the men, while the lace on the cuffs and forearms of the officers' alkaluks typically reached to the elbow and was ornate in the extreme. By contrast the cuffs and forearms of the sowar's alkaluk were often unadorned. The 1st and 4th Bengal Irregular Cavalry had earlier worn tawah steel helmets, but these were not popular in extremes of heat, so by 1857 these two regiments had switched to pagri-turbans like everybody else. Irregular cavalry almost always wore black jackboots and in most instances had black leather carbine belts, swords belts and pouches. Usually a regimental kummerbund in a plain colour was worn around the waist. Breeches were typically white, cream, or a buff-mustard colour. All ranks carried tulwars not swords, while the sowars were universally issued with carbines, unlike the Bengal Light Cavalry regiments, where only 15 'skirmishers' per troop carried carbines. Some irregular regiments also carried lances; there are contemporaneous paintings where some sowars carry lances and yet others do not. It is not clear whether this was governed by any rigid doctrine or standing practice, but it is certainly the case that in some regiments 50% of the sowars carried lances in addition to the carbine. We will be adding lance-armed sowars to the range. Regimental saddle cloths went on over the top of the saddlery. Sometimes they were in a facing colour, with a contrasting trim, but in other cases they were highly colourful, not untypically featuring two contrasting colours related to the regiment's general uniform scheme. In some instances they were quartered between the two colours, but in other regiments the colours appeared as horizontal bands, one colour above the other. British officers typically wore the same alkaluk as the native officers, albeit they were heavily decorated with lace. Where some of the European officers wore the regimental helmet prescribed for them, with or without the full dress horsehair plume, others preferred to wear pagri-turbans like their native officers and sowars. The sowar's pagri-turban was usually in a single colour, while the officers' version sometimes had a more ornate trim or pattern running through the cloth.

Bengal Irregular Cavalry Regiments in 1857

1st Bengal Irregular Cavalry - mustard yellow alkaluk; possibly the same red trousers worn at an earlier stage in the regiment's history, but perhaps more likely white or cream; pagri-turban in blue; saddle cloth quartered in red and yellow. Formerly the 1st Corps of Skinner's Horse. Remained loyal.

2nd Bengal Irregular Cavalry - green alkaluk with silver lace; pagri-turban in red, red kummberbund. Remained loyal.

3rd Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluk with blue facings and gold/yellow lace. Pagri-turbans seem from one illustration to have been green, at least in the 1840s. Officers' alkaluk was red but, in the 1840s, seems to have had a green panel at the chest. There is no particular reason to believe that this had changed by 1857. White breeches trousers and black jackboots; light blue kummerbunds; saddlecloths also in light blue, with some kind of yellow ornamentation in the corners. A proportion of the regiment was lance-armed. Greater part mutinied at Saugor. Joined the Nana Sahib's Army at some stage and was reportedly amongst the rebel cavalry at the battle of Bithoor (16 Aug 1857).  

4th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - yellow alkaluk with blue facings at the cuffs; blue and gold banded girdle over a red kummerbund; red pyjama trousers with black jackboots, but officers in white breeches; officers' alkaluk heavily embroidered on the chest with horizontal rows of silver lace after the hussar fashion; lances with red over yellow pennons. British officers with spiked silver helmet and black horsehair plume; native officers and sowars in spiked tawah helmets, swathed in a leopard-skin pattern pagri-turban. Officers crossbelts were black, with silver lace running down both outside edges. Sowars crossbelts in plain white leather. This description dates to a painting of 1846, but it is difficult to know how relevant it is to the subsequent decade. Partial mutiny. Formerly the 2nd Corps of Skinner's Horse. About 90 sowars served with the British at Delhi, were disarmed as a precaution but continued to serve as unarmed police.

5th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluk with silver lace and blue facings. Crimson kummerbund. Blue pagri-turban. White breeches. In the 1840s lances with red over blue pennon. Red saddlecloth trimmed in a blue, white, blue edging. A proportion of the regiment was lance-armed. Mutinied in August 57 and seems to have served under Tantia Tope in the Central India campaign. 

6th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluk with yellow/gold lace; green pagri-turban. Lances with white over red pennon in 1849. White breeches. Black leather carbine belt and waistbelt. Yellow over red saddecloth with a light blue outside trim. British officers in red alkaluk, with blue cuffs and collar laced in gold, and a black helmet after the early Prussian fashion with gilt fittings, helmet plate and chinstrap, and a white horsehair plume. A proportion of the regiment was lance-armed. Remained loyal.

7th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluk with gold/yellow lace and blue facings; blue kummerbund. Disarmed at Peshawar.

8th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - blue alkaluk trimmed with gold lace for officers and in red for sowars. Pagri-turban in red for sowars and in red and gold for officers; buff or mustard breeches with black jackboots. Mutinied at Bareilly and present at Delhi.

9th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluk with yellow lace for ORs; blue kummerbund; pagri-turban in blue and yellow; black belts, ammo pouch and jackboots; saddle cloth divided horizontally mustard yellow over red; breeches mustard; lances with red over blue pennon; braided harness in red and yellow. Mutinied by detachments at various junctures. The headquarters wing was part of the escort to the siege train making its way to Delhi. After it had joined the British force on the ridge, it soon became clear that the regiment was not to be depended upon and so it was broken into detachments and sent away. At least one such detachment murdered its British officer and joined the rebels.

10th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - blue alkaluk with yellow lace and scarlet facings; pagri-turban in yellow and red stripes; mustard breeches with black jackboots; blue saddlecloth with broad red trim and 'X' latin numeral in red at bottom rear corner; braided harness in blue and red. Mutinied 1857. Regiment gave clear signs of disloyalty but did not immediately overthrow its officers. One wing disarmed at Nowshera, the other at Peshawar, on the same day. Sowars marched to Attock and turned adrift. A proportion of the men may have joined the rebel forces subsequently.

11th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - scarlet alakluk with gold lace. Mutinied at Berhampore and two other stations in Dec 57 and deserted, having earlier been disarmed in anticipation of a rising. A proportion of the men subsequently joined the rebel forces in Oude.

12th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - green alkaluk with silver lace; pagri-turban in pinkish-red. It is possible that the trim of the sowars' alkaluk was of a different colour to the silver worn by the officers, (perhaps yellow or red, given the colouring of the saddle cloth), as the sowar in the only watercolour of the regiment we have ever seen at IDM has his back turned. Red waist sash; black shoulder and waist belts with brass fittings; saddle cloth quartered in yellow and red; braided harness in red and yellow; mustard yellow breeches with black riding boots. Partial mutiny. A loyal residue of about troop-strength did distinguished service under Lt. Johnson, serving in the Oude Field Force for the first Relief of Lucknow. Continued to serve under General Outram thereafter.

13th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - blue alkaluk with silver lace. Mutinied at Benares and elsewhere. Some part of the regiment went off to Delhi. Those from Benares joined the Nana Sahib's army at Cawnpore and fought on the Lucknow front. An ostensibly loyal residue of about 50 sowars, under the command of Lt. Palliser, served with Renaud's force and the main body of the Allahabad Moveable Column thereafter, but they proved hesitant at the Battle of Fatehpur (12 July 1857), failed to protect the baggage train on 14 July and were disarmed by General Havelock that evening.  

14th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - not known. Mutinied by wings at Jhansi and Nowgong. Heavily implicated in the Jhansi massacre. Seems to have split thereafter between Delhi and Lucknow.

15th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluk with gold/yellow lace. Mutinied. Present at Chinhat, the Siege of Lucknow and most of the other fighting on the Lucknow front.

16th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - red alkaluks with gold/yellow lace. Disarmed at Rawalpindi in 1857.

17th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - scarlet alkaluks with gold/yellow lace. Disarmed.

18th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - blue alkaluk with red facings and white lace. The alkaluk featured a solid red interior panel on the chest. Pinkish-red pagri-turban; mustard yellow breeches; black jackboots and belts; saddle cloth quartered red and blue. Disarmed at Peshawar but remained loyal.

Note: From 1823, when it was first decided to allot numbers to regiments, according to seniority, the regiments towards the top of the listing had been designated as regiments of 'Local Horse'; for example the '4th Regiment of Local Horse'. The term 'Irregular Cavalry' was adopted by the Bengal Army in 1840, at which juncture the title of the aforementioned unit changed to '4th Irregular Cavalry'. Within the presidency the designation 'Bengal' was assumed, rather than formally stated in unit titles, an expedient we have adopted above for the avoidance of confusion with the regiments' Bombay or Madras counterparts, but one which was also followed contemporaneously whenever the potential for confusion existed in a field force that embraced units from more than one presidency.

Gwalior Contingent

Both cavalry regiments, 1st Cavalry Gwalior Continent and 2nd Cavalry Gwalior Contingent, mutinied. A portrait of Colonel Alexander Dewar in the NAM collection, (which can be accessed online simply by searching his name), portrays him in the uniform of 1st Cavalry Gwalior Contingent. He wears a medium blue alkaluk with ornate gold lace, loose fitting maroon trousers (without jackboots) and a kummerbund and scarf also in maroon. This suggests that the sowar's alkaluk must likewise have been a medium blue and that it might have had a U-shaped trim of maroon lace on the chest. It is reasonable to speculate that the sowar's pagri-turban might also have been maroon. Dewar's highly distinctive officers' helmet is coloured off white and is either a light grey or a shade of cream. It has a large silver badge on front, while the chinstrap, band and trim are in gold. It is set off with an elevated horsehair plume in maroon. If the dress of the sowars was consistent with most other irregular cavalry regiments, they would have worn black jackboots. That being so they are perhaps more likely to have had breeches in white or buff than maroon. There are at least two references in British participant accounts of the Mutiny to red alkaluks being worn by Gwalior cavalrymen, one of which, the account of Lt Arthur Moffat Lang, Bengal Engineers, specifically puts the 2nd Cavalry in red alkaluks at the Battle of Agra. A credible contemporaneous newspaper illustration shows that at least one of the Gwalior regiments was partially armed with lances, but the caption fails to identify which regiment is portrayed. It is of course perfectly possible that both regiments were partly armed with lances.

Oude Irregular Force

1st Oude Irregular Cavalry, 2nd Oude Irregular Cavalry and 3rd Oude Irregular Cavalry all mutinied, although small Sikh residues of each of the regiments remained loyal. It seems to be popularly believed that the 3rd Oude Irregular Cavalry wore green alkaluks with silver lace and that the regiment used black belts and pouches, though we are duty bound to say that at IDM we have not seen unequivocal primary source evidence to that effect.

Sowars of a typical Bengal or Oude Irregular Cavalry Regiment.

Formal Titles, Facing Colours & Distinctions borne on Colours & Standards


Queen's and EIC Regiments of Particular Interest


6th Regiment of Dragoon Guards (Carabineers). (White). SEVASTOPOL.

9th (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Light Dragoons (Lancers). (Scarlet). PENINSULA, PUNNIAR, SOBRAON, PUNJAUB, CHILLIANWALLAH, GOOJERAT.

5th Regiment of Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers). (Bright Green). Quo Fata Vocant surmounting St George and the Dragon. On the corners of the second colour the Rose and Crown. WILHELMSTAHL, ROLEIA, VIMIERA, CORUNNA, BUSACO, CIUDAD RODRIGO, BADAJOZ, SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, NIVELLE, ORTHES, TOULOUSE, PENINSULA.

8th (The King’s) Regiment of Foot. (Blue). The ‘white horse’ on a red ground within ‘the Garter’, and the ‘Crown’ over it. In the three corners of the second colour, the ‘Royal Cypher and Crown’. ‘Nec aspera terrent’. The ‘Sphinx with the words EGYPT, MARTINIQUE, NIAGARA.

10th (The North Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). The Sphinx with the words EGYPT, PENINSULA, SOBRAON, PUNJAUB, MOOLTAN, GOOJERAT.

23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot. (Blue). In the centre of the colours the Prince of Wales’s Feathers with the motto Ich Dien. In the second and third corners the Rising Sun and the Red Dragon, and in the fourth corner, the White Horse with the motto Nec aspera terrent. MINDEN, the Sphinx with the words EGYPT, CORUNNA, MARTINIQUE, ALBUHERA, BADAJOZ, SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, PYRENEES, NIVELLE, ORTHES, TOULOUSE, PENINSULA, WATERLOO, ALMA, INKERMAN, SEVASTOPOL.

32nd (The Cornwall) Regiment of Foot. (White). The Sphinx with the words EGYPT, BADAJOZ, SALAMANCA, PENINSULA, WATERLOO, ALMA, INKERMAN, SEVASTOPOL.


37th (The North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). MINDEN, TOURNAY, PENINSULA.



1st Battalion, 60th (The King’s Royal Rifle Corps). (Red).


64th (The 2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot. (Black). ST LUCIA, SURINAM.

75th Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). The Royal Tiger, superscribed INDIA, SERINGAPATAM.

78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Ross-shire Buffs). (Buff). ‘Cuidich’u Rhi’. The elephant superscribed ASSAYE, MAIDA, JAVA.

82nd Regiment of Foot (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers). (Yellow). Prince of Wales's Feathers. ROLEIA, VIMIERA, VITTORIA, PYRENEES, NIVELLE, ORTHES, PENINSULA, NIAGARA, SEVASTOPOL.

84th (The York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). The Union Rose. NIVE, PENINSULA, INDIA.

88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers). (Yellow). The harp and crown with the motto Quis Separabit. The Sphinx with the words EGYPT, TALAVERA, BUSACO, FUENTES D’ONOR, CIUDAD RODRIGO, BADAJOZ, SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, NIVELLE, ORTHES, TOULOUSE, PENINSULA, ALMA, INKERMAN, SEVASTOPOL.

90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers) (Light Infantry). (Buff). The Sphinx, ANDORA, EGYPT, MARTINIQUE, GUADALOUPE, SEVASTOPOL.

93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, ALMA, BALAKLAVA, SEVASTOPOL.

Rifle Brigade. (Black).


1st Madras (European) Fusiliers. (Blue). The Indian Tiger with Spectamur agendo below. ARCOT, CONDORE, SHOLINGUR, AMBOYNA, BANDA, MAHIDPOOR, PEGU, PLASSEY, WYNDEWASH, MUNDYDROOG, TERNATE, PONDICHERRY, AVA.

1st Bengal (European) Fusiliers. (Blue). Lion with Crown. In the 3rd quarter the Indian TIGER with scroll superscribed with the words PLASSEY, BUXAR. In the fourth quarter the elephant with scroll superscribed with the words CARNATIC, MYSORE. Other battle honours GUZERAT, SERINGAPATAM, KIRKEE, BENI BOO ALI, ADEN, PUNJAUB, MOOLTAN, GOOJERAT.

2nd Bengal (European) Fusiliers. (Blue). PUNJAUB. 1st Punjab Cavalry. Formed 1849. No battle honours.

3rd Bengal (European) Light Infantry.

1st Punjaub Cavalry. Formed 1849. No battle honours.

2nd Punjaub Cavalry. (Blue). Formed 1849. No battle honours. 

5th Punjaub Cavalry. (Red). Formed 1849. No battle honours.  

Regiment of Ferozepore. (Yellow). No battle honours.

Kemaoon Battalion. (Black). N/A. No colours.

Sirmoor Battalion. (Black). BHURTPORE, ALIWAL, SOBRAON.

Corps of Guides. (Red). MOOLTAN, GOOJERAT, PUNJAUB.

1st Punjaub Infantry (Coke's Rifles). (Red). Formed 1849. No battle honours.

2nd (Green's) Punjaub Infantry. (Black). Formed 1849. No battle honours.

4th (Wilde's) Punjaub Infantry. (Blue). Formed 1849. No battle honours.

4th (Rothney's) Seikh Infantry. (Yellow). Formed 1849. PEGU.

Note that in Punjab Irregular Force regiments, facing colours did not govern the colour of the turban, nor were they generally worn on the drab or khaki uniforms typically worn by PIF units during the Mutiny.   

Notes on Colours

Crimean War Battle Honours were awarded in October 1855: it is not certain whether all the Crimean regiments would yet have had them emblazoned on their colours by the second half of 1857. A new set of regulations dated 1844 cleared all regimental badges and battle honours from the 'Royal Colour', (increasingly referred to as the 'Queen's Colour'), where previously they had been borne on both colours. In 1857 some battalions would still have been carrying colours conforming to the old pre-1844 pattern. Colours had a typical life expectancy of 20-30 years: sets which had been recently carried into action at Alma, Inkerman or the battles of the 1st and 2nd Sikh Wars are likely to have been extremely ragged through battle damage.


(To November 1857)

Work in progress

MacKenzie of Seaforth Tartan:

78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Ross-shire Buffs)

Sutherland Tartan:

93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

Some useful uniform references by unit.

HM 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment.

HM 78th Highland Regiment (Ross-shire Buffs).

HM 84th (The York and Lancaster) Regiment.

(Note that there is no historical certainty about the type of trousers worn by HM 84th. White, blue 'dungri' (shown here), & home service are all possible.

1st Madras Fusiliers ('Neill's Bluecaps').

Ferozepore Regiment ('Brasyer's Sikhs').

HM 93rd (Sutherland) Highlanders.

Note the shade of the 'brown holland' cloth with which the so-called 'China boat-coat' was made up.

Maude's Battery, Royal Artillery, supplemented by Bengal Artillery 'Invalids' (old soldiers) and infantrymen (primarily HM 64th).

Olpherts' Battery, Bengal Artillery, with seconded drivers from 1st Madras Fusiliers.

Allahabad Volunteer Cavalry.

British Officers Generally.

Over the course of the Mutiny, Queen's and Company officers alike evinced a casual disregard for the finer detail of army and regimental dress regulations, so you can have a good deal of fun painting them. There were of course certain limits beyond which even the most piratically inclined officers dare not go, for fear of incurring the wrath of passing general officers. Much depended on how strict the commanding officer was by temperament, but practical factors like season, the accessibility of baggage and wear and tear all exerted an influence. In the fullness of time the willpower of even the strictest of martinets was generally worn down. Certain regiments, such as the 9th Lancers and 1st/60th KRRC, were well known for the maintenance of strict standards of dress. The officers of Havelock's column, on the other hand, forced their way into Lucknow on 25 Sep 1857 with only the clothing they were stood up in. They were forced to undergo the ensuing extended siege in that same single set of clothing. The uniform items and other personal effects of officers killed in action commanded high prices at the auctions held to dispose of their possessions. One officer was annoyed to miss the sale of a much admired sun-helmet that had belonged to his lately deceased best friend. Through a combination of factors he missed it when it came up on subsequent occasions too. After four officers had been killed wearing the helmet, he concluded that he was probably better off in his battered old forage cap after all!


  • White leather waist-belt (with brass buckle), bayonet frog and shoulder-belt. Note that the original leather was a light buff or suede colour, prior to being pipeclayed white. If pipeclaying was not kept up, as would typically be the case on campaign, the equipment would gradually return, through wear and tear, to its original coloration.

  • The old pattern 60-round ammo pouch (right buttock), the new pattern 40-round ammo pouch (ditto) and 20-round expense pouch (front right of waist-belt) were all in black leather. With the introduction of the P1853 Enfield rifle, the old 60-round pouch was replaced with the two new ones. The new expense pouch dislodged the percussion cap pouch, formerly worn on the right side of the waist-belt, to a new position as described at the next bullet point. When in 1850 the Home Army replaced the bayonet crossbelt with a bayonet frog suspended from the waistbelt, the brass plate formerly worn on the front of the ammunition pouch belt was also dropped. The plate seems nonetheless to have survived through to the Mutiny in some company regiments, such as the 1st Bengal Fusiliers, even though they too had converted to bayonet frogs.

  • Note that the small percussion cap pouch was white by the time of the Mutiny, though it had formerly been manufactured in brown leather, a pattern which might still have been in use in some regiments. On our musket armed figures it is placed on the right side of the waist-belt, while on our Enfield armed figures it is attached to the front of the shoulder-belt, so as to be suspended on the lower right abdomen.

  • Bayonet scabbard in black leather with brass tip.

  • Off-white canvas haversacks with shoulder-belt.

  • The Home Army P1854 water-bottle was blue-grey with a brown leather cross-strap, but had not been issued to units already in India at the time of the outbreak. As a result units in situ often procured soda bottles, carried in a wicker or brown leather carrier, in lieu of a proper waterbottle. Previously campaigning had almost always been undertaken in winter, when the bhisti system, (a number of Gunga Din types per company), had sufficed. The arrangement quickly proved untenable in the intolerable heat of an Indian summer.

  • By the time of the Mutiny officers' sword-belts and slings in the line and light infantry were white, though they had formerly been black, so it is likely that both types saw service on campaign. They were consistently black in the KRRC and Rifle Brigade. General officers, their staff officers and such like might wear either kind and, indeed, almost anything else they pleased!

  • Officers' sashes were crimson red. SNCOs' sashes were more a scarlet-red, but were often discarded in the field.

  • Officers' forage caps were dark blue with a black leather peak. For the most part the hatband was black, though highland regiments would have had a red and white diced band and 'royal' regiments red ones. The Madras Fusiliers also had red hatbands.

  • The IDM infantry officers have been sculpted carrying the P1845 sword, which had a brass hand-guard with a gold coloured sword-knot. The sword was usually carried in a black leather scabbard with brass fittings and adornment at the top, centre and bottom. A quick google image search will quickly throw up the pattern amongst the many militaria websites.

  • Pistol holsters were in dark brown leather. Commonly they were carried suspended on the sword-belt. Revolver holsters might also come with a brown leather cross-belt and be worn slung over the shoulder.    


6th Regiment of Dragoon Guards (Carabineers). (White). [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi]. Notwithstanding the regiment's heavy cavalry status, which would ordinarily have seen them clad in red cloth, the Carabineers had been provided with Home Service uniforms based on the dark blue light dragoon pattern. Even so the regiment retained the heavy dragoon brass helmet. Two squadrons marched to Delhi, via the Battle of Badli-ke-Serai, dressed in blue undress stable jackets, blue overalls and helmets. On 10 Jun 1857 Capt. Octavius Anson of the 9th Lancers noted in a letter from Delhi Ridge, 'The poor Carabineers look dreadfully heavy and oppressed in their blue clothing and overalls. They envy us much our comfortable white clothing.' The regiment's blue cloth stable jacket had white collars and cuffs piped in yellow, or gold in the case of the officers. The overalls had a double white strip at the outside seam. Shoes were black. The NCOs and men carried swords and Victoria carbines. The waistbelt and carbine-belt were in white pipeclayed leather. The cap pouch was white and the ammunition pouch black. Scabbards were steel with white sword slings. The regiment's brass helmets were retained on Delhi Ridge for a good while, but were soon being worn swathed in a loose pugri with trailing ends. At some point a change to forage caps with white covers and curtains was made. There are grounds to believe that home service blue was also swapped for white summer uniforms during the course of the siege. Our horse codes IMH 2 or 3 would best suit this unit.

9th (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Light Dragoons (Lancers). (Scarlet). [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi, Najafgarh, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. In September 1857 the strength of the regiment just before the storming of Delhi was 391. Lancer regiments were armed with a 9-foot ash lance and swords, but did not carry a carbine, in lieu of which NCOs and men were issued a regulation percussion pistol (of virtually no practical utility). The headdress worn by the regiment at Delhi was a small 'pillbox' style forage cap with a white cover but no peak. It appears that for most the regiment's stay on Delhi Ridge the men were not even supplied with a neck curtain. Writing on 27 Jul 1857, Capt. Octavius Anson noted of his men, 'What they want most just now are padded curtains to their cap covers, Their heads owing to the small size and shape of the forage caps they wear, are very inadequately protected from the burning sun.' Nine days later he stated, 'I have written to Pila Doss [presumably a contractor at the regiment's home station] for fifty cap curtains for my troop. I am about the only one who has done so, but it was Ouvry's [the acting commanding officer] order that captains of troops were to take measures themselves to supply their men with them.' On 17 Aug Anson further observes, 'The cap flies have come from Pila Doss and he has been ordered to supply all the regiment.' If the turn around time for this second order was also 21 days, this would mean that by far the greater part of the 9th Lancers did not have wadded curtains until about 8 Sep 1857, or just under a week before the storming of Delhi. There is a possibility of some ambiguity arising from the distinction between wadded curtains and plain ones, but on the other hand Anson would surely have mentioned in passing the ineffectiveness of the latter had they been available but were in some way unsatisfactory. The regiment was noted at Delhi for its bandbox appearance, a function of its having retained pristine white stable jackets and overalls, while almost everybody else dyed their summer clothing khaki. On the evening of 8 Sep 1857 Anson received orders to take 24 of his men into the siege batteries the following day, (as the gunners were very short-handed), but in writing to his wife the next morning, he noted, 'We had all our white pugrees [sic] dyed and were ready to go, when they found they could do without us...'. So in Anson's troop at least we see the cap being worn with a wadded curtain and dyed (khaki?) pugri. This latter measure would have been undertaken, of course, to mitigate the danger of head shots, particularly by night, once Anson and his men were behind the protection of the gabions and earthworks of the batteries. There were often parties of lancers serving in the breaching batteries over the last few days of the siege, so that it is possible that the practice of dying pugris became quite widespread in the regiment at that time. On 14 Sep two squadrons of the regiment, each a hundred strong, paraded with the main body of the cavalry brigade, only to be subjected to a galling fire whilst protecting the right flank of the assault. The balance of the regiment, under Anson, remained on the Ridge as part of the 400 strong cavalry reserve. After the fall of Delhi the regiment was assigned to Brigadier Greathed's Column and duly marched for Lucknow via Agra. On 4 October, whilst still in transit to Agra, the regiment paraded for the first time in winter order, the men in their blue cloth tunics and overalls, while Anson, who might well be representative of all the officers, dressed in his blue stable jacket and was glad to find that it still fitted. The tunic was piped in scarlet, including thin welts running in parallel up the back and down the rear seams of the sleeves. It also featured the regiment's scarlet facing colour at the collar and pointed cuffs. At the shoulders there was a narrow yellow cord secured by a button. The overalls were decorated at the outside seam with a double yellow welt. Theoretically the double breasted lancer tunic should have been worn with a decorative waist girdle of alternating yellow and scarlet horizontal bands, (crimson and gold for officers), but this is unlikely to have featured in marching order, when it would have been considerably more comfortable to wear the sword belt on the outside of the tunic. The regiment was still dressed in blue cloth during the Second Relief of Lucknow. At Sir Colin Campbell's formal inspection of his army, the forage caps of the 9th Lancers, with their wadded curtains, were being worn swathed with a pugri, an arrangement which can be traced back by means of Anson's correspondence to the later stages of the regiment's stay on Delhi Ridge. The red over white lance pennants which had featured at Delhi were not used at Lucknow. Our horse codes IMH 2 or 3 would best suit this unit.

5th Regiment of Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers). ('Bright Green'). [Beebeegunje, Jugdispore, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. HM 5th deployed to India from Mauritius and came up the lines of communication to join Havelock in time for the September advance on Lucknow. During the move upcountry a detachment of 6 & 148, under Capt. L'Estrange, participated in Major Vincent Eyre's relief of Arrah, an operation which precipitated an extraordinary general action at Beebeegunje (2 Aug 1857), in which a British force of 6 & 220 defeated 2,500 mutineers from the 7th, 8th and 40th BNI, together with an unknown number of followers of the rebel leader Koer Singh. After the salvation of Arrah, L'Estrange's detachment accompanied Eyre in his attack on Koer's Singh's stronghold at Jugdispore. Like all the other regiments which participated in the 1st Relief of Lucknow, on 25 Sep 1857, HM 5th underwent a terrible ordeal in fighting through the streets of the city to reach the residency. The unit was armed from the outset with 3-band Enfields and socket bayonet for the rank and file, with the 2-band Enfield and sword-bayonet reserved for SNCOs. It was dressed in off-white smock-frocks and matching trousers, items which were probably dyed to a light shade of khaki on the way up the Ganges. Headdress was a peaked Kilmarnock, worn with a white cover and curtain. Standard infantry equipment (see above). After Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow, and the subsequent extrication of the garrison, the regiment was amongst the units left to hold the Alambagh under Sir James Outram.

8th (The King’s) Regiment of Foot. (Blue). [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. The regiment was stationed at Jullundur when the Mutiny broke out and duly received orders to march for Delhi. It was armed with the P1842 percussion musket and socket bayonet. It set out for Delhi in white summer clothing, which was dyed khaki not long after its arrival. The resultant shade is known to have been 'slate' coloured. Grouped with Brigadier Jones's No. 2 Column, some 250 officers & men under Lt-Col. Edward Greathed participated in the storming of Delhi. The regiment was a mere remnant by the time it had redeployed, via the Relief and Battle of Agra, to the Lucknow front. 'Next to them', wrote one eyewitness to the operations for the Second Relief of Lucknow, 'were the worn and wasted remains of the 8th and 75th Queen's, clad entirely in slate coloured cloth'. It is commonplace for illustrators to portray HM 8th in flannel shirts at Delhi, though the justification for doing so is at best obscure: there appears to be no good reason to believe that it arrived before Delhi in anything other than issued shell jackets, or that its appearance changed significantly before its arrival at Lucknow via Agra. On marching into Agra the regiment was famously mistaken by one woman, looking on from a distance of only three yards: 'Those dreadful looking men must be Afghans'. This doesn't really tell us anything, save perhaps that the lady was shortsighted. Her confusion was perhaps attributable to her having grown accustomed to the red shell jackets of the 3rd European Regiment.   

10th (The North Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). [Dunbar Disaster, Jugdispore]. HM10th was stationed at Dinapore, where the disarming of three BNI regiments was so badly mishandled by Maj. Gen. Lloyd that he was almost immediately superseded. The regiments got clean away and, amongst their other acts of mischief, attempted to wipe out the small European community at Arrah. During the ill-fated Dunbar expedition to relieve Arrah, the regimental detachment from HM 10th (4 & 149) wore un-dyed white shell jackets and cotton drill trousers. The expedition met with a truly terrible disaster by night, which was due in no small part to the conspicuous white uniform of the troops: it was reported that of 415 officers and men present, only 50 were not hit. Headdress was the Kilmarnock with white cover and curtain, but there is no data to suggest whether or not they were fitted with peaks. Another detachment of 5 & 197, under Capt. Patterson, participated in Major Vincent Eyre's capture of Koer Singh's stronghold at Jugdispore. It would seem logical, after the Dunbar disaster, that this detachment would have dyed its kit khaki before taking the field.  

23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot. (Blue).[Second Relief of Lucknow]. One wing of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, consisting of Nos 2, 4, 5 and 7 Companies, under the command of Lt Col Samuel Wells, participated in Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow. The regiment had been diverted to India from the China Expedition and is likely to have worn the fawn/dark sand coloured boat-coats with red facings specially provided for that enterprise. Certainly there is a primary source reference to their being clad in their boat coats, not long after disembarking in Calcutta. Armed with P1853 Enfield rifles. 

32nd (The Cornwall) Regiment of Foot. (White). [Chinhat, Defence of Cawnpore and Lucknow]. HM 32nd was the regiment which, (together with a company of HM 84th and contingents of loyal sepoys and military pensioners), defended the Lucknow residency from the outbreak through to 25 September 1857, the date on which Havelock fought his way into the city with a relief column. Command of the combined force then passed to Major General Sir James Outram, who had generously waived his rank in order that Havelock might fulfill the objective for which he had been so gamely struggling for the past several months. Because the relief column had incurred more than 500 casualties fighting its way through the city to the residency, Outram lacked the strength to break the siege and evacuate the original garrison and non-combatants. It was not until November that General Sir Colin Campbell was able to bring up a sufficiently strong force to evacuate the residency perimeter and fall back on Cawnpore. The siege began badly for HM 32nd when, on 30 Jun 1857, Sir Henry Lawrence sallied forth to meet the turncoat regiments of the Oudh Irregular Force, only to find himself heavily outnumbered and defeated at Chinhat, an action at which 300 officers and men of the regiment were present. The 32nd fought in summer shell jackets which would have become filthy in very short order. As many enemy positions were within a short musket shot of the perimeter and fighting was kept up day and night, white trousers would have been promptly discarded in favour of anything less conspicuous in the men's kits, which would more than likely have been blue dungri fatigue trousers. The headdress was the Kilmarnock with white cover and curtain. Obviously the cap covers too would very quickly have been dyed, dirtied or removed altogether. The Kilmarnock itself was a plain dark blue item; many infantry units wore their regimental number on the front in brass. HM 32nd was armed with the P1842 percussion musket and socket bayonet. It would have had the old pattern 60-round ammo pouch and would thus have worn percussion cap pouches on the right side of the waistbelt.

34th (The Cumberland) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). [Bhowsee & Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. During Windham's operations, the regiment was commanded by Lt Col. Kelly. 

37th (The North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). [Dunbar Disaster]. A regimental detachment of 4 & 193, led by Capt. Harrison, participated in the ill-fated Dunbar expedition to relieve Arrah. Like the detachment from HM 10th, Harrrison's men also wore pristine white shell jackets and trousers, an order of dress which proved to be a major contributory factor in the ensuing night-time disaster. Headdress would have been a Kilmarnock with white cover and curtain: there is no data to suggest whether or not they were fitted with peaks.

52nd (The Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry). (Buff). [Delhi]. Before leaving the Punjab for Delhi, Colonel Campbell secured permission to dye his regiment's clothing khaki. This is certainly a reference to shell jackets and drill trousers. However the generally accepted proposition is that HM 52nd wore flannel shirts on Delhi Ridge, so there was evidently a process of transition over the course of the long march to Delhi and the month spent by the regiment on Delhi Ridge. We know that Ensign Reginald Wilberforce and his tent-mate put on flannel shirts as they were dressing for the assault on the Kashmir Gate, items which they regarded as their best bib and tucker, suggesting that they had routinely worn something else up to this point, the most likely item being their khaki shell jackets of course. There is nothing to suggest that the regiment wore any other colour of trousers than khaki ones - khaki is the only colour mentioned by Wilberforce in his description of Nicholson's funeral. A veteran of the 52nd was asked as a Chelsea pensioner what he had worn for the assault on Delhi to which his reply was 'slops', but this is not altogether helpful in distinguishing between shirts and shells. Much more usefully there is also testimony from Bugler Michael Johnson who states that 'nearly all' the members of his regiment wore loose flannel shirts. This of course also implies that some minority proportion of the 52nd continued to wear shell jackets. Johnson adds that the shirts were worn with the shirt-tails outside the trousers and generally with a kummerbund, Such a sash might conceivably have been worn as an affectation, but would also have made the waistbelt and equipment more comfortable to wear over so thin an item of clothing, which is perhaps the more likely explanation. The sash is unlikely to have been coloured anything other than khaki or other references to it would likely have cropped up in sources such as Wilberforce. All ranks in HM 52nd carried a soda bottle and wicker carrier on a thin brown leather cross belt. Grouped with Colonel Campbell's No. 3 Column, some 200 officers & men under Maj. Vigors participated in the storming of Delhi. The headdress reported by Johnson was the Kilmarnock, (no peak), worn with a cover and curtain, and swathed with a pugri, all of which were khaki. The regiment had only 180 P1853 Enfield rifles at Delhi, with P1842 percussion muskets making up the balance. Having arrived more than 650 strong, this quantity was not at first sufficient even for one man in three to carry a rifle. Such was the heavy toll taken of the 52nd by cholera and sickness in the month it spent on Delhi Ridge that, by 14 September, only one man in four would not have been carrying an Enfield.  

53rd (The Shropshire) Regiment of Foot. (Red). [Second Relief of Lucknow]. Enfield armed. One wing of the regiment participated in the Second Relief of Lucknow, where, the seasons having turned over, it was dressed in red home service tunics with 'white'/dirty summer trousers. The collar, cuffs and shoulder straps of the tunic were in the regimental facing colour and edged with thin white piping. Officers tunics might well have been double breasted, though a new single breasted version had been authorised by 1857. Others may have preferred their red cloth shell jackets. HM 53rd appears to have worn a peaked headdress inside a 'white'/dirty cover and curtain, though whether this was a Kilmarnock or a P1855 shako is not certain. It is likely to have received the new ammunition pouches, (a 20 round expense pouch and a 40 round main pouch) with its Enfields. There are grounds to believe that the infantry carried greatcoats en banderole at the second relief of Lucknow: it is a certain fact that the 93rd Highlanders did. The 53rd is reported to have had a high proportion of Irishmen in its ranks at this time. The wing present at Lucknow was placed under the temporary command of Lt-Col. Gordon of the 93rd Highlanders.

1st. Battalion, 60th (The King’s Royal Rifle Corps). (Red). [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi]. Six companies of the battalion participated in the Battle of Badli-ke-Serai en route to Delhi. The 60th wore their rifle green cloth shell jackets, with white summer trousers, throughout the operations at Delhi. The shell jacket bore regimental facings; unadorned red pointed cuffs and a red collar edged in black. NCOs chevrons were in black lace, on a red background. It is a misconception that a rifle green uniform acts as any kind of camouflage, least of all in Indian summer conditions, where a dark uniform stands out starkly against the landscape. Headdress was a peaked Kilmarnock with white cap cover and curtain. The battalion was the first unit in India to be equipped with the P1853 3-band Enfield and thus marched to Delhi better armed than most units. Although the short-barreled '2-band' Enfield and P1856 sword-bayonet was being rolled out for rifle regiments at home, 1st/60th had been provided with the long-barreled '3 band' version and socket bayonet. Assigned to screen the assaulting columns, some 200 officers & men under Lt-Col. John Jones participated in the storming of Delhi. A further 50 officers & men were grouped to the composite battalion of pickets in Maj. Charles Reid's No. 4 Column. 

61st (The South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot. (Buff). [Delhi, Najafgarh]. Writing home from Delhi Ridge on 22 July 1857, Hervey Greathed, whose brother Edward commanded HM 8th Regiment, noted, 'I had a pleasant dinner with Edward yesterday: the 61st were dining with them. They all dress in 'khakee' (dust colour), which will be the uniform of the army of the East.' The 61st carried the P1842 musket and socket bayonet at Delhi. Grouped with Brigadier Longfield's No. 5 Column, some 250 officers & men under Lt. Col. Deacon participated in the storming of Delhi. A further 86 officers & men were grouped to the composite battalion of pickets in Maj. Reid's No. 4 Column.

64th (The 2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot. (Black). [Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow (2 x coys only), Bhowsee & Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. Up to August 1857 the regiment had P1853 3-band Enfields in both its flank companies, but P1842 percussion muskets in the centre companies. The 64th had not long since returned from the Anglo-Persian War, where it had worn Home Service (winter) dress. For Havelock's first march on Cawnpore/Lucknow, it stripped down to its white shirtsleeves. As with most units, there is room for doubt on the type of trousers worn: white drill is likely, but 'Oxford mix' (dark grey with a thin red welt) or blue dungri are also possible. A mixture of white and one of the other two possibilities would not necessarily be wrong. The headdress was the Kilmarnock in improvised white covers and curtains. Standard infantry equipment (see above). In early Sep 57, prior to the First Relief of Lucknow, there was a universal issue of Enfields, together with an issue of off-white smock-frocks and summer trousers, both of which were more than likely dyed to some unknown shade of khaki. Only two companies went forward to the Relief of Lucknow, at which time they were taken under command by HM 84th Regiment. The balance of the 64th, a wing of four companies, remained at Cawnpore with their own colonel and, as a component of General Windham's command, defended the city against the Gwalior Contingent while Sir Colin Campbell was carrying through the Second Relief of Lucknow. The 64th suffered heavy casualties during Windham's defence of Cawnpore, an action for which the general was heavily criticized subsequently, though whether this was altogether justified remains a moot point. For HM 64th up to September 1857 use codes IMBC 1-4. Additional officers and ensigns are available at IMBC 19 and 20 respectively.

75th Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. En route to Delhi the regiment dyed its white clothing khaki at the suggestion of Captain Richard Barter, the adjutant. At this early stage the regiment can only have been clad in shell jackets. Barter's memoirs make it clear that the regiment's clothing had already been dyed by the time it carried out the gallant but costly frontal attack at the Battle of Badli-Ke-Serai (in which Barter was amongst the wounded). This evidence makes something of a nonsense of the Atkinson print which purports to show HM 75th in action at Badli-ke-Serai, in which the soldiers are shown in pristine white shell jackets. As has been remarked elsewhere on the site, Atkinson drew pencil sketches; he did not colour the lithographs. In short HM 75th did not at any point fight in white. It is clear that the regiment continued wearing khaki shell jackets throughout the siege of Delhi and beyond. The regiment had only 100 Enfields at Delhi. The balance of the men were still carrying the P1842 percussion musket which, interestingly, some of them preferred to the allegedly less reliable Enfield. Grouped with Brigadier John Nicholson's No. 1 Column, some 300 officers and men under Lt-Col. Herbert participated in the storming of Delhi. The regiment was little more than a remnant by the time it redeployed with Greathed's Column to Lucknow. It was still clad in the same khaki rig it had worn at Delhi when it arrived at Agra and fought in the battle there. Writing of his time at Agra, Barter notes that the regiment's clothing was heavily patched and ragged. When at length the 75th reached Lucknow, it was described in the following terms: 'Next to them [on parade] were the worn and wasted remains of the 8th and 75th Queen's, clad entirely in slate coloured cloth'. This passage, then, provides the final clue in identifying the outcome of HM 75th's experiment with khaki: a shade of grey. The regiment was left to hold the Alambagh during the Second Relief of Lucknow. It later received an issue of smocks.

78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Ross-shire Buffs). (Buff). [Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. Up to September 1857 by far the greater part of the regiment was armed with P1842 percussion muskets, with Enfields in the light company only. Standard infantry equipment (see above). The regiment had recently returned from the Anglo-Persian War where it had worn Home Service (winter) dress, including scarlet doublets and kilts. There was difficulty in re-equipping the units of the Allahabad Moveable Column with summer uniforms. The 78th received trousers, but no lightweight shell jackets or smocks. As a result the men's heavy cloth highland doublets were discarded aboard the transport by day and worn by night or in foul weather. Only four companies, including the flank companies, participated in the initial march of Havelock's force. They were commanded by Colonel Walter Hamilton, 'Watty' Hamilton to his men. The 78th fought in white shirtsleeves and white drill trousers. In practice white shirtsleeves and white drill trousers would stain very quickly, particularly wherever the equipment was in permanent contact with the body and, of course, at the knees and buttocks. Importantly no kilts were worn: they were however imagined in England, so that it is not uncommon to see portrayals of the 78th in red doublets and kilts. It is even possible to read hammed up accounts in which the kilt features prominently. There were five pipers present with Hamilton's wing which did indeed go into battle to the sound of the pipes. The headdress was a covered 'hummel' bonnet, (not unlike a Kilmarnock), which was worn with a white cover and curtain, swathed with a pugri. A cap and cover would likely spend a good few hours a day lying in the dust, while the soldier was in bivouac, and thus is unlikely to have remained pristine white for long. The officers' forage caps were dark blue, with a black leather peak and were adorned with a red and white diced hatband. The diced hatband was common to all ranks and is visible on the uncovered bonnet of our piper figure and the forage cap of the officer flourishing his sword (IMBC 16). It is not visible on our ensign, whose cap is covered, with only the peak exposed. It is likely that some officers would have worn regimental trews ('MacKenzie of Seaforth' tartan) and that most or all carried their regimental dirk (black leather scabbards with ornate silver decoration). The oils by Desanges, which portray the regiment fighting at Lucknow in kilts and scarlet doublets are entirely spurious, as is his portrayal of the regiment's bonnets, which rightly belong in the eighteenth century, not the nineteenth. In early Sep 57 there was a universal issue of Enfields, and of off-white smock-frocks which were probably dyed to shades of khaki. All the companies came up in time for the First Relief of Lucknow. The colours are known to have been carried during the fight through the streets of the city. An eyewitness watercolour postdating the first relief of Lucknow shows a soldier of the 78th in a cane or wicker sunshade, (in shape and appearance much like a helmet), enclosed in a white cover and swathed with a pugri. The cover buttons at the front: with three buttons visible above and below the pugri. His trousers are blue-grey; so are either blue dungri or Nanking cotton. There is nothing to say that the type of headdress seen in the watercolour was universally issued in the 78th, or that it was in any way unique to the 78th. With no clothing but that which they were wearing on their backs when they entered Lucknow, the 78th, in common with all the other units of the relief column, became exceptionally dirty and ragged over the course of the extended siege. After Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow, and the subsequent extrication of the garrison, the regiment was amongst the units left to hold the Alambagh under Sir James Outram. Codes IMBC 13-16 inclusive are specifically designed to portray HM 78th during the operations of the Allahabad Moveable Column up to the end of August 1857. Additional officers and ensigns are available at IMBC 19 and 20 respectively.

82nd Regiment of Foot (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers). (Yellow). [2nd Relief of Lucknow, Bhowsee & Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. Enfield armed. A detachment of 200 officers & men participated in the 2nd Relief of Lucknow. A four company wing under Lt-Col. Watson fought at Cawnpore under Maj. Gen. Windham. 

84th (The York and Lancaster) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). [Sieges of Cawnpore and Lucknow, Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. The 84th had been recalled from Burma. When it passed through Calcutta to board river steamers to travel up the Ganges, it was clad in home service tunics. Indeed, we know from the correspondence of Sir Henry Lawrence, that the two advanced companies rushed upcountry to Cawnpore/Lucknow arrived at those stations still in red home service cloth. There no indications as to which kind of trousers were worn, but white drill or blue dungri are on balance the most likely.Lawrence speiciallly urged They would have fought during the subsequent sieges in their white shirtsleeves. Standard infantry equipment (see above). The regiment was armed with P1842 percussion muskets. The next two companies to come up marched from Allahabad with Major Renaud and fought thereafter in their shirtsleeves. When the Light Company came up on 4 Aug, it was re-armed with the Enfields of the casualties incurred across Havelock's force up to that point. There is room for doubt on the type of trousers worn in the regiment; white is likely, but dungri blue-grey, Nanking cotton or home service 'Oxford mix' are all possibilities. A mixture of both white and one or the other options would not necessarily be wrong. The headdress was the Kilmarnock, worn with improvised white covers and curtains. As has already been observed above, white clothing would not have remained pristine for long. In early Sep 57 there was a universal issue of Enfields, and an issue of off-white smock-frocks and trousers, which would likely have been dyed to an unknown shade of khaki in time for the First Relief of Lucknow. The 84th took two companies of HM 64th under command for the operation. After Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow, and the subsequent extrication of the garrison, HM 84th was amongst the units left to hold the Alambagh under Outram. For HM 84th up to September 1857 use codes IMBC 1-4. Additional officers and ensigns are available at IMBC 19 and 20 respectively.

88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers). (Yellow). [Bhowsee & Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. Enfield armed. The four company wing of the regiment in action at Bhowsee & Cawnpore (26-28 Nov 1857) was commanded by Lt-Col. E. H. Maxwell.

90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers) (Light Infantry). (Buff). [1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. The 90th were diverted at sea from the aborted China Expedition. Seven companies participated in the First Relief of Lucknow, but the other three, commanded by Major Roger Barnston, were shipwrecked aboard the troopship Transit and arrived in India too late to march for Lucknow with the rest of the regiment. They also lost all their kit and had to be fully re-equipped on their arrival at Calcutta/Chinsurah, so would have been dressed differently to the seven companies already at the front. The regiment was armed with 3-band Enfields and socket bayonet for the rank and file, and the short barreled 2-band Enfield and sword-bayonet for SNCOs. Standard infantry equipment (see above), There was a light infantry silver whistle on the shoulder belts of SNCOs. Having come from England the regiment would have carried P1854 water bottles. It is possible, but by no means certain, that the regimental main body fought in Lucknow in the China Expedition 'boat-coat', a loose frock, (possibly even a smock style garment), manufactured in so-called 'brown holland', a type of cloth which was actually somewhere between a fawn and a dark sand colour. The China boat coat had a red collar and round cuffs, regardless of regiment. NCOs chevrons were also red. In addition to HM 93rd Highlanders, which certainly wore the boat coat in action at Lucknow, it might also have been worn by some or all of HM 23rd, HM 59th, HM 90th and a logistic unit known as the 2nd Bn. the Military Train (see below). It has so far proved difficult, definitively to put boat coats on the backs of the 90th at Lucknow, though it seems tolerably certain from remarks made in one of Lady Canning's letters that they were wearing them as they passed through Calcutta. Problematically there was a major logistic depot, some little way further up the Ganges, at Chinsurah, where summer clothing could conceivably have been issued to a transiting regiment. Probably the safest assumption is that the 90th proceeded on their way in their boat coats, as a contemporary watercolour by Sankey, now in the British Library, shows a soldier of the 90th at Lucknow in a loose brown smock garment with collar and cuffs faced in red. One item of evidence, relating to only one soldier, is far from conclusive proof however. Trousers would have been white drill or dark blue Home Service (summer pattern) with a thin red welt. Headdress was a peaked Kilmarnock with white cover and curtain, though it is of note that the man in the Sankey watercolour has a light blue cap cover and curtain with the peak exposed. (Units with the China Expedition embarked with both P1855 shakos and Kilmarnocks, for both of which they had been provided with white cotton covers). Like everybody else concerned in the operation, the seven companies which fought their way into Lucknow arrived at the residency with only the clothing on their backs and duly became became beexceptionally grubby and ragged over the course of the extended siege. The three delayed companies, including that of Capt. Garnet Wolseley, were grouped into a composite battalion referred to as 'Barnston's 1st Battalion of Detachments' and participated in Sir Colin Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow. It was Wolseley who was the first to effect a link up with the garrison: indeed with members of his own regiment as it turned out. There is almost no worthwhile data on the dress of the three companies with Barnston, so a best guess is that they would have been clad in off-white smock-frocks and matching trousers, dyed to an unknown shade of khaki. Headdress is anybody's guess really, but we will catalogue our version with covered Kilmarnocks and curtains, or possibly covered P1855 shakos and curtains. Who knows we might get lucky and come up with a decent source reference in the interim. After Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow, the 90th was amongst the units left to hold the Alambagh under Sir James Outram. Barnston's battalion had been dissolved by the time the withdrawal from Lucknow took place. Unhappily Major Barnston himself, an experienced and much respected officer, was dead by then.

93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot. (Yellow). [2nd Relief of Lucknow]. HM 93rd was diverted at sea and arrived at Cawnpore in time to play a prominent role in the Second Relief of Lucknow. Enfield armed, over a thousand strong, and very Scottish, (there were only around 50 Irishman and even fewer Englishmen), the 93rd constituted a formidable body of troops: indeed by the prevailing standards of the conflict it was all but a brigade unto itself. The regiment was dressed in 'brown holland' (fawn to dark sand coloured) China Expedition 'boat coats', with plain red collars and round cuffs. NCOs chevrons were also in red. Standard infantry equipment (see above), including the P1854 waterbottle. Headdress was the highland black feather bonnet. This had a red and white diced hatband. There was a brass regimental badge, with a white feather plume above it, on the left side of the hatband. In the light company the plume was green. Uniquely the regiment's medical officers, led by Surgeon William Munro, wore a black plume in their bonnets. Munro, at least, certainly wore his bonnet in action at Lucknow. The bonnet was worn with a large, stiffened and wadded neck curtain, which started white but which would have very quickly turned a grimy grey in the field. The curtain had to be fitted so as to be centrally parted directly above the eyes and must therefore have gone under the diced hatband, though strangely modern illustrators have frequently shown it attached to the bonnet above the hatband, (which at IDM we consider at least curious, if not indeed impossible!). Kilts, sporrans, gaiters and hosetops were retained by the 93rd throughout. The Sutherland tartan is illustrated at the top of this guide. Sporrans were black with white tassels. The officers' sporran featured a badger's head. Greatcoats were worn en banderole in the 93rd, by officers and men alike. Officers wore highland bonnets, kilts or trews and tailor-made alpaca versions of the boat-coat, also faced red, but in a slightly browner shade of cloth than that worn by the NCOs and men. Trews were very likely the preserve of the mounted field officers and the adjutant. There are references to officers wearing their boat coats over the top of a scarlet shell jacket, suggesting that the officers version was more generously cut than that of the men. The officers' sword blade was typically of the P1845 pattern but fitted with a claymore style basket. in addition officers also carried regimental dirks, which they slung from the swordbelt in a traditional style black sheath ornamented with silver. Although the dirk was intended more as a ceremonial adornment than a serious weapon of war, at least one officer of the 93rd had learned to fight with it in the ancient way and did so at Lucknow. Officers' sword belts and slings were in white leather. Hosetops had a red and white diagonal pattern with a red ribbon, spats were white canvas and the shoes black. The 93rd carried its colours into action at the Second Relief of Lucknow in November 57, and again in the recapture of Lucknown in March 58, albeit Sir Colin Campbell had forbidden that colours be uncased, except by specific order. During the Lucknow operations of mid-November 5, the colours of the 93rd and, on a separate occasion, those of 2nd Punjab Infantry, were uncased and flown from the roofs of prominent buildings lately captured by the relieving force, in order to signal their fall to the embattled defenders of the residency perimeter.

2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade. (Black). [Bhowsee & Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. Enfield armed. Five companies under Col. Walpole and subsequently Lt-Col. Woodford, amounting to about 300 officers & men, participated in Windham's operations and were heavily engaged on all three days (26-28 Nov 1857).

Maude's Battery (No 3 Coy/8th Bn, RA). [Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. Only part of Maude's Battery came to India from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), so he was obliged to make up his numbers with a combination of some 31 volunteers from the infantry regiments of the Allahabad Moveable Column, 22 European 'invalids' from the Bengal Artillery, (old soldiers usually restricted to garrison duty), and 18 native golundauze (or gunners), also of the Bengal Artillery. The Bengal invalids operated as a self-contained 2-gun detachment, while the rest manned the other 6 guns of the battery proper. The RA gunners and Bengal invalids would either have worn white shell jackets or have fought in their their shirtsleeves. Trousers would have been white cotton drill. Waist belts were in white pipeclayed leather, while personal effects were carried in the universal off-white canvas haversack. Both types of gunner would have worn (probably peaked) forage caps in the Kilmarnock style, with a white cover and curtain. The dress of the golundauze is less certain: such soldiers were certainly issued with white summer clothing, although their winter undress would have been a blue stable jacket with red facings. Most of the 31 infantrymen who paraded with Maude at the outset came from HM 64th and were uniformed accordingly (see above). The battery was bullock-drawn and would have had a fair number of Indian civilians in its employ as drivers and such like. How many ammunition wagons there were, in addition to the eight limbers, is unclear. The balance of the logistic burden would have been catered for with bullock-carts or hackeries. It is likely that a number of ammunition wagons would have been captured alongside the numerous guns taken by Havelock's column and utilized subsequently.

Travers' Battery, Bengal Artillery. [Second Relief of Lucknow]. Though reports sometimes refer to 'Travers' Battery', Capt. Frederick Travers was technically OC Royal Artillery in Sir Colin Campbell's headquarters, rather than a battery commander. The battery in question is No. 4 Coy/5th Bn., RA, which was actually commanded by Capt. Whaley Hardy, later KIA, at which point Travers probably did become the battery commander. Source references tend to suggest that Travers must have spent most of his time with Hardy's guns during the second relief of Lucknow. No. 4 Company was roled as a heavy field battery and was armed with 2 x 18-pdrs and 1 x 8 in. howitzer.


1st Madras (European) Fusiliers. (Blue). [Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. Nicknamed 'Neill's Bluecaps' on account of their unusual cap cover and neck curtains, the fusiliers were the only regiment universally equipped with the P1853 Enfield rifle at the commencement of Havelock's campaign. They were also the only regiment to have a full set of summer clothing and duly took the field in off-white smock-frocks with matching cotton drill trousers. Standard infantry equipment (see above). The spare trousers in the men's kits are likely to have been either 'Oxford mix' with a thin red welt or blue dungri, which did not have a welt. After a while a mix of both the summer and spare types would have been seen. The regiment wore its distinctive peaked forage cap, with a stiffened neck guard, inside a medium-blue all-in-one muslin cover which also went over the peak of the cap. The shade of blue seems to have varied with washing and exposure to the sun. Officers' dress would have included the option to wear a braided off-white/light khaki frock, typically worn with a collar and a black tie/neckerchief. See the picture of Lord Mark Kerr (below) for guidance on the colour of braid etc. The officers' forage cap was dark blue with a red hatband. The IDM officer, portrayed flourishing his sword at IMBC 12, has an uncovered forage cap, while the ensign twinned with him has a cover and curtain, with an exposed black leather peak. The sculpting of the ensign is refined in such a way as to permit his cap to be painted uncovered, with a red hatband, should you so wish. Another option is to paint the cover medium blue, like the rank and file, but leave the wadded curtain in off-white. After Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow, and the subsequent extrication of the garrison, the regiment was amongst the units left to hold the Alambagh under Sir James Outram. The regiment has its own unique codes in the Iron Duke range at IMBC 8-12 inclusive. Additional officers and ensigns are available at IMBC 19 and 20 respectively.

1st Bengal (European) Fusiliers. (Blue). [Badli-ke-Serai, Najafgarh. Delhi]. EIC percussion musket and socket bayonet: no Enfields were carried by the regiment at Delhi. The fusiliers marched off for Delhi in white shirtsleeves and white lightweight trousers. Knotted black neckerchiefs also formed part of the regiment's undress rig. The undress hat at this time was a small 'pillbox' style forage cap, without a peak. Almost immediately, to cite the words of a regimental officer, 'the white shirts of the men were dyed, so as to present a less conspicuous mark to the enemy.' Plainly white trousers would also have been dyed at the same time. The Atkinson prints, which feature the regiment prominently, suggest that the resultant 'khaki' colour was a light-to-medium grey. At least one primary source refers to the regiment wearing shirtsleeves and blue dungri trousers, so it is likely that this was the spare set of trousers carried in the men's baggage. If that is so, then it is likely that after a while both types of trousers would have been worn according to state of repair and whim. Another source talks specifically of rolled up shirtsleeves. On the ridge at Delhi the forage cap was worn swathed with a pugri, in such fashion as to leave trailing ends at the rear to protect the neck from the sun. The forage cap cover and pugri were also dyed to broadly the same grey-khaki. The pill box style cap would not have given very effective protection from the sun, and it is possible to infer from the Atkinson lithographs that a new style of headdress was adopted by the regiment on Delhi Ridge. This can best be seen on Atkinson's portrayal of an outlying picket (see the Inspiration section), in which the central figure stands shielding his eyes from the sun. The headdress worn by the said central figure is distinctively shaped and would appear to be a cane, straw or similar cap of local manufacture, with an integral peak, something after the fashion of a 19th century hunting cap. It was evidently worn inside a dyed grey-khaki cover and swathed in a pugri much as before. When Brigadier-General Wilson succeeded to the command of the Delhi Field Force, he immediately clamped down on dress: as a result the regiment would thereafter have been obliged to eschew shirtsleeves and turn out in its by now grey-khaki shell jackets. These can also be seen at the same Atkinson print where, in most instances, the soldiers have folded back the round collar for greater comfort. The regiment played a leading role in Brigadier General Nicholson's victory at Najafgarh. The officers of the regiment favoured informal shell jackets, cut with high lapels, which on a hot day might be worn unbuttoned at the front. These originally white items were also dyed grey-khaki. The shirt underneath was on most occasions white, if for no other reason than that the great majority of shirts in an officer's kit were white, but doubtless nobody would have baulked at wearing other colours on Delhi Ridge. Black neck-ties or knotted neckerchiefs were customarily worn with the shirt. Judging by Atkinson's work the officers of 1st Bengal Fusiliers tended to favour airpipe style helmets, which they generally swathed with a pugri. Doubtless the officers' pattern peaked forage cap was also worn by some. If worn uncovered the forage cap would be blue: the hatband was most likely red, as 1st Madras Fusiliers sported just such a hatband in recognition of their fusilier status. That said the armies of the three EIC presidencies were administered as distinctly separate entities, so that what held good in one might not necessarily apply to the other two. Grouped with Nicholson's No. 1 Column, some 250 officers & men under Maj. George Jacob participated in the storming of Delhi. A further 160 officers & men were grouped to the composite battalion of pickets in Maj. Charles Reid's No. 4 Column and, on the first day of the assault, were engaged in the Kissengunge suburb outside the city walls. On the succeeding days the whole regiment was involved in street fighting inside the city.    

2nd Bengal (European) Fusiliers. (Blue). [Badli-Ke-Serai, Delhi]. EIC percussion musket and socket bayonet: no Enfields were available to the regiment at Delhi. A regimental officer states that, (unlike 1st Bengal Fusiliers), he and his colleagues did not have helmets but wore, 'forage caps made of pasteboard, with a small white turban neatly folded round them, with one end hanging down neatly but uselessly behind, with black leather peaks. The men had wadded covers and curtains which were even worse.' Where 1st Bengal Fusiliers are frequently mentioned as fighting on the ridge in shirtsleeves, the sources do not afford anything like the same level of attention to 2nd Bengal Fusiliers. This suggests that the regiment might well have worn shell jackets from the outset but, even if that had not been the case, it too would have been obliged to revert to them on Wilson's assumption of command. The shade of khaki worn in 2nd Fusiliers is open to doubt. Grouped with Brigadier Jones's No. 2 Column, some 250 officers & men under Capt. Alexander Boyd participated in the storming of Delhi.

3rd Bengal (European) Light Infantry. [Sassiah and Agra]. The regiment's most significant role in the Mutiny was the defence of Agra. It is sourced as wearing red at the Battle of Agra. On balance this is more likely to refer to shell jackets than tunics. As the battle was fought at the regiment's permanent station, in October, precisely the time of year when the traditional change over to winter uniform took place, this same source reference can provide no guarantee that the regiment was also clad in red at the Battle of Sassiah earlier in the year. Isolated as it was from the vogue for khaki prevailing at both Delhi and on the Cawnpore-Lucknow front, and far from hard-pressed inside Agra Fort, the regiment is unlikely to have felt quite the same compulsion to dye its summer clothing. Perhaps the most likely scenario is that the regiment wore white shell jackets at Sassiah and red shell jackets at Agra. The type of trousers worn is anybody's guess. The regiment was armed with EIC percussion muskets.

Remmington's Troop, 1st Tp/1st Bde., Bengal Horse Artillery. [Delhi, Najafgarh, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. Before Capt. Frederick Remmington, the troop had been commanded by Maj. Henry Olpherts, (not to be confused with his relation Capt. William 'Hellfire Jack' Olpherts who was fighting on the Lucknow front). The troop was equipped with 5 x 6-pdr light field guns and a howitzer.

Tombs's Troop, 2nd Tp/1st Bde., Bengal Horse Artillery. [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi, Najafgarh]. Commanded by Lt. W. Wilson at Najafgarh. By 17 July 1857 the formidably brave Major Harry Tombs had already had five horses killed under him. The troop was equipped with light 6-pdrs but only ever fielded four guns, probably as a function of a shortage of manpower. En route to Delhi and at Badli-ke-Serai, it was clad in its brass helmets, (with cover and curtain, horsehair plumes removed), and dark blue winter uniform, with collars and cuffs in the red facing colour of the artillery arm. We know this as Tombs famously ordered his men to cut off the high collars of their stable jackets. It is likely that it was the undress version of the stable jacket which was at issue, rather than the ornately braided full dress stable jacket worn in the Bengal Horse Artillery. How long the troop remained dressed in blue is uncertain, but it is unlikely to have been very long.

Money's (then Blunt's) Troop, 2nd Tp/3rd Bde., Bengal Horse Artillery. [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi, Najafgarh, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. Capt. Charles Blunt commanded the troop at Nafgarjah and subsequently. It was equipped with 9-pdrs. 

Turner's Troop, 3rd Tp/3rd Bde., Bengal Horse Artillery. [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi]. The troop was commanded by Major Frank Turner.

Scott's Battery, 3rd Coy/3rd Bn., Bengal Artillery, with No. 14 Horse Field Battery. [Delhi]. The battery was commanded by Capt. E. W. S. Scott and was a horse-drawn light field battery equipped with 9-pdrs. 

Bourchier's Battery, Bengal Artillery. (No. 11 Light Field Battery). [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. The battery was commanded by Capt. George Bourchier and was a horse drawn light field battery, and equipped with 9-pdrs.

Pearson's Battery, Bengal Artillery. [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra].

Olpherts' Battery: No. 12 Light Field Battery, (No. 2 Coy/3rd Bn.), Bengal Artillery. [1st Relief of Lucknow] This battery fielded 5 x 9 pdrs and 1 x 24-pdr howitzer and was a bullock-draught battery under the command of Captain William Olpherts, whose gallantry was such that friends and admirers soon bestowed the nickname 'Hellfire Jack' upon him. Like most Bengal Artillery batteries the unit had originally included a combination of European and native soldiers but, during the march upcountry to Cawnpore, the Indian personnel with Lt. Smithett's half-battery had attracted suspicion. They were sent to the rear immediately Havelock had been apprised of that officer's doubts. In order to be capable of operating in pseudo-horse artillery mode in time for the September advance on Lucknow, the battery was provided with horses and a second set of limbers. Olpherts first had to supervise the manufacture of harness for the teams, after which he was able to conduct some hurried training for role, He also retained his original limbers and bullock-teams, to draw his guns on the line of march, but always whistled up his horse-drawn limbers to go into action. Deprived of its Indian gunners and with more equipment to man than normal, the battery inevitably found itself short-handed. For the most part drivers for the horse-drawn limbers came from a party of 1st Madras Fusiliers hurriedly seconded to the battery, but a number of dependable Indian civilians, ordinarily held on the battery's establishment as syces or grass-cutters, also played a part as drivers. The European gunners would have started the campaign in white stable jackets and overalls, which by September would almost certainly have been dyed to a shade of khaki. Headdress: peaked forage caps, with white cover and curtain. White pipeclayed leather belts. Canvas haversack.

Eyre's Battery: No. 3 Heavy Field Battery, (No. 1 Coy/5th Bn.), Bengal Artillery. [First Relief of Lucknow]. The battery was commanded by Major Vincent Eyre, a survivor of the Kabul catastrophe in the First Afghan War. It was equipped with 4 x 24-pdr guns and 2 x 8-inch howitzers. Eyre had greatly distinguished himself during his move upcountry to join Havelock at Cawnpore, by three times leading numerically inferior British forces to victory in actions fought astride the lines of communication. Between Cawnpore and Lucknow his heavy guns were drawn by elephants, but on the outskirts of the latter city they were switched to bullock draught to go into action. Eyre's gunners would be indistinguishable from Olpherts' men, described above.  

Renny's Troop, 5th (Native) Tp/1st Bde, Bengal Horse Artillery. [Delhi]. The troop was commanded by Lt. George Renny and only ever consisted of 2 divisions (4 guns). During the course of the siege of Delhi it was deprived of its guns as a precaution, though in fact the men proved to be staunchly loyal. The troop subsequently served in the siege batteries as the climax of the siege drew nigh. On 14 Sep 1857, the day of the assault, members of the troop manhandled two 5.5 inch mortars into the heart of the city under Renny's direction. Two days later Renny's party supported HM 61st Regiment and the 1st Belooch Battalion in the attack on the Delhi Magazine. Though exposed to a heavy fire, Renny climbed into an exposed place to drop lighted mortar bombs onto the enemy below. His conduct earned him the VC. There is no reason to think that the troop was anything other than conventionally dressed in summer shell jackets and overalls. Headdress was probably a covered forage cap of much the same kind worn in the Bengal Native Infantry.   

Chanier's Battery, Madras Artillery. [Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. This was a battery of 4 bullock-drawn 6-pdrs, commanded by Lt. Chanier and manned by Indian gunners of the Madras Artillery.  

Guides Cavalry. [Delhi, Rhotuck, Najafgarh]. The Corps of Guides was founded by Lieutenant Harry Lumsden in December 1846 and had both an infantry and a cavalry component. By 1857 these comprised 6 companies and 3 risalas (or troops) respectively. The corps had been recruited across a variety of hill tribes for the purpose of frontier policing. General Sir Hugh Gough, at that time a subaltern in 3rd BLC, recollected in his memoirs that the Guides consisted of 'Sikhs, Punjabis, Mohammedans, Afridis and other frontier tribes, and even Hindustanis.' In what was regarded as one of the legendary feats of the old Indian Army the second commandant of the Guides, Captain Henry Daly, force-marched all his sub-units to Delhi from the regimental depot at Mardan, covering 580 miles in only 22 days. The strength of the Corps at that juncture was 6 British officers and about 600 Indian officers, NCOs and sepoys. The corps went into action on the very day it arrived on Delhi Ridge. Lieutenant Quentin Battye, commanding the cavalry component, was almost immediately killed in action, while Daly was wounded the following day. On 19 June Daly was again wounded, this time rather more seriously. For about five weeks afterwards Lieutenant William Hodson acted as the commandant of the corps, (as well as continuing to command his own newly raised regiment of horse), although Daly continued to hold daily meetings with his native officers at his tent. Two troops of the Guides were involved in Hodson's cavalry action at Rhotuck. Command next passed to Capt. Charles Sanford, formerly of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry. One Guides squadron of about 120 men participated in the Battle of Najafgarh. At the storming of Delhi, Sanford and part of his regiment were among the 600 or so cavalrymen who were obliged to sit at the halt under a heavy fire, while Brigadier Hope Grant secured the right flank of Nos. 1-3 Columns. 'The Guides were dressed in a plain serviceable drab uniform.' Another officer said that 'every atom' of their clothing was khaki. The Guides Infantry companies can be shown to have worn thin red piping at the cuffs and shoulder straps of their three-quarter length frocks, but there is no certainty that there would even be any shoulder straps on the alkaluks of the cavalry wing. The usual irregular cavalry pattern black jackboots were worn. The ammunition pouch, waistbelt, slings and carbine belt were also in black leather. Saddlery was more in the regular cavalry style than the irregular, so we recommend you use our horse codes IMH 2 or 3. 

Punjab Irregular Force (PIF) Cavalry Regiments (General Remarks): The Punjab Cavalry regiments wore regimental alkaluks much like those of the Bengal Irregular Cavalry Regiments. The key regiments were the 1st, 2nd and 5th Punjaub Cavalry, which collectively did much distinguished service in both the Delhi and Lucknow campaigns, as well as fighting at Agra in between. These three units all had Punjabi Muslim and Sikh sowars, but it was predominantly the latter who were committed to active operations in squadron-sized contingents. The chest of the regimental alkaluk was adorned with a broad u-shaped band of lace in the regimental facing colour. In the case of NCOs and men there appears not to have been any adornment on the cuffs of the alkaluk, although the officers' version had an ornate pattern of gold lace running from the cuff to the elbow. Turbans (or pugris) and kummerbunds were commonly in the regimental facing colour. PIF cavalry regiments were armed with carbines and tulwars, but there is also emphatic evidence to show that in March 1858 one or two troops were also armed with lances at Lucknow, albeit nothing to say whether they were carried across all three regiments or not. The sowars' sword belt and slings, like the carbine belt and cartridge pouch, came in black leather with brass buckles and fittings. A depiction of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry suggests the likelihood that there was a large raised brass monogram on the flap of the cartridge pouch. Breeches were off-white, buff or a mustard yellow, while the irregular cavalry pattern jackboots were always black.

          There is some suggestion that at least one of the three regiments, the 1st Punjaub Cavalry, might have worn a khaki undress costume at Delhi during the summer months. As we shall see at the regimental entry below, however, the unit was certainly in blue in December 1857, which is consistent with the onset of the cold weather and might indicate that the regiment wore both orders of dress at different junctures. A reference in the account of Capt Oliver Jones RN, dating to that same December period, which is to say not long after the second relief of Lucknow, talks of the cavalry's red and blue turbans and then goes on to mention 'their grey tunics and bright coloured vests'. At first glance this appears to be a perplexing remark, but Jones it would seem is not describing a single order of dress, but rather two separate orders of dress - in other words he uses 'vest' as a synonym for alkaluk and, like other witnesses, is inadvertently contributing to a degree of confusion by lumping the three Punjaub Cavalry Regiments and Hodson's Horse together - in effect as a generic corps of 'Punjaub Cavalry'. Lt. Hugh Gough, commanding the large squadron of Hodson's Horse present with Campbell's army at this juncture, indicates in his memoirs that, like Yoiunghusband and Probyn, he too was subject to the orders of Lt. John Watson, the commandant of 1st Punjaub Cavalry. In other words the three squadrons of Punjab Cavalry and the single squadron of Hodson's Horse, when they were despatched from Delhi to the Lucknow front, operated thereafter as a single large regiment under Watson's command. It is thus easy to see how witnesses like Captain Jones were inclined to lump all the Sikh irregular cavalry together in their accounts. It is tolerably certain that all the Punjaub Cavalry were in khaki during Campbell's operations for the recapture of Lucknow in March 1858.

          European officers of the Punjaub Cavalry should theoretically have worn ornately laced alkaluks and a blue-black felt helmet with a coloured horsehair plume, albeit the plume was typically not worn in the field. The pagris they were given to wrapping around their helmets are likely to have been non-regulation items of any randomly preferred colour or pattern. It is of course possible that forage caps or, perhaps more likely, regimental pagri-turbans were preferred in the field. The officers' crossbelt usually incorporated a silver whistle and chain. The three squadron commanders discussed below were all notable swordsmen and favoured the curved native tulwar as their weapon of choice. The PIF cavalry regiments used saddlery and harness after the irregular cavalry pattern, so our horse codes IMH 4 and 5 would be the optimal choice for modelling them. 

1st Punjaub Cavalry. (Initially at least, a blue alkaluk with red turban). [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. See the general remarks on the dress of the Punjab Cavalry regiments at the paragraph above. As there was some doubt over the loyalty of the wider regiment, only one squadron, a composite grouping of dependable Sikhs and Afghans, was sent to Delhi. The officer commanding was Lieutenant John Watson. In July 1857 the contingent had a strength of 148, a figure that had been reduced by only one by the time of the storming of the city in September. The regimental alkaluk was prescribed as blue with silver lace, but the turban and kummerbund were both red, suggesting that the lace of the other ranks' alkaluk was more than likely red and that silver lace might have been the preserve of the officers. As we saw above, there is some suggestion that the regiment wore 'slate coloured' khaki during the Siege of Delhi, although with only a single source reference to work with the possibility of a mis-identification of the unit at issue cannot be precluded. Writing of December 1857, however, Lieutenant Arthur Lang reported in quite unequivocal terms that the regiment was at that time dressed in blue (from which blue regimental alkaluks can reasonably be inferred). There would have to be a possibility. therefore, that the regiment might have moved to Delhi in alkaluks, transitioned to hot weather dress during the course of the siege, and then transitioned back to alkaluks at the end of the year. A source relating to Sir Colin Campbell's formal inspection of his force, just before his operation for the Relief of Lucknow in November 1857, talks of the blue and red turbans and the 'ash-coloured robes' of the 'Punjaub Cavalry', (note that in this context the word 'robe' is nothing more than a synonym for 'garments' and is not to be taken literally). Unhappily the reference is not specifically related to any one regiment, or combination of regiments, and could conceivably be a reference to Hodson's Horse, (khaki with red turbans). Taken in the round the only really specific evidence relating to the 1st Punjab Cavalry's dress is Lang's mention of blue alkaluks in December. John Watson was senior to Probyn and Younghusband, commanding the 2nd and 5th Punjab Cavalry respectively, and acted as the de facto regimental commandant of the three squadron-sized contingents. As we have see above, he also exercised authority over Lt. Hugh Gough's squadron of Hodson's Horse, which in effect functioned as a fourth squadron of Watson's ad hoc regiment. [Use our horse codes IMH 4 or 5 for this unit]. 

2nd Punjaub Cavalry. (Initially at least, a red alkaluk with blue turban). [Delhi, Najafgarh, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. Scroll to bottom of this section for an illustration. See the general remarks on the dress of the Punjab Cavalry regiments two paragraphs above. The regiment appears to have been safely more than 200 strong on its arrival on Delhi Ridge, but on 1 Jul 1857 something around 70 Muslim sowars were dismissed, leaving only 110 Sikhs in the ranks. From that point onwards, 2nd Punjaub Cavalry was effectively only of squadron strength. Initially it was commanded by Lieutenant Charles Nicholson, (a younger brother of Brigadier John Nicholson), but on his appointment to take over Coke's Rifles, the squadron passed into the hands of Lieutenant Dighton Probyn. A print of 1856 shows that the 2nd Punjab Cavalry wore a red alkaluk and light buff breeches. The lace on the chest of the officers' alkaluk was gold, but for NCOs and men it was probably closer to yellow. The regimental turban was certainly dark blue: it was in plain coloured cloth for NCOs and sowars, while the officers' version seems to have featured a gold-coloured trim that showed up randomly in the folds. The kummerbund worn beneath the sword belt was blue. The saddlecloth was blue with a broad red trim. The regiment is sourced as being clad in red alkaluks at Delhi, arguably lending credence to the notion that both of the other Punjaub Cavalry regiments must also have been in their alkaluks over the same period. A portrait in oil of Probyn fighting at Agra, (which is to say in transit between Delhi and the Second Relief Lucknow), shows him and his sowars in ash-khaki frocks and blue turbans, although such paintings are seldom to be regarded as wholly trustworthy. As if to confirm that this one is not, Arthur Lang's account of the same battle suggests very strongly that 2nd Punjab Cavalry was dressed in red that day. I say 'suggests' because he describes mistaking a member of the 2nd Cavalry Gwalior Contingent, an enemy sowar clad in a red alkaluk, for a member of Probyn's regiment. We have already seen that no reference is made to the coloured alkaluks of the Punjaub Cavalry in the sketchy remarks on the dress of Sir Colin Campbell's force when he conducted his November 1857 inspection prior to advancing on Lucknow, but must inevitably conclude that the absence of positive evidence does not constitute proof that none of the Punjaub Cavalry regiments present that day were clad in alkaluks. [Horse codes IMH 4 or 5].

5th Punjaub Cavalry. (Initially at least, an olive green alkaluk and red turban). [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. See the general remarks on the dress of the Punjab Cavalry regiments, three paragraphs above. As usual the facing colour, scarlet, was reflected in the turban, the kummerbund and the lace on the alkaluk. Only one squadron of the regiment took the field. It fielded 116 men in July 1857. In September the strength had fallen marginally to 107. After serving at Delhi it moved on to Lucknow via Agra with Col. Greathed's column. The saddle cloth was possibly green with a red trim, though it is not impossible that it was quartered red and green. The officer commanding was Lieutenant George Younghusband. There appears to be no meaningful mention of the dress of 5th Punjab Cavalry in participant accounts, so we are forced to rely on what we can reasonably infer from the available data on the other two regiments. That being so, it seems not unreasonable to suggest that the sowars of the 5th probably wore their alkaluks during the Siege of Delhi and again at Agra, that they might conceivably have worn khaki for the second Relief of Lucknow in November, switched back back to alkaluks from December to February and were back in khaki again for the recapture of Lucknow in March. [Horse codes IMH 4 or 5].

3rd Oude Irregular Cavalry. [Allahabad Moveable Column, Battle of Fatehpur only, then disarmed]. Seemingly a green regimental alkaluk with silver lace trim. Turban not known. Breeches unknown - white, buff or mustard all seem possible with a green alkaluk. Black jackboots, pouches and belts. As has been observed elsewhere, we have not at IDM seen unequivocal primary source evidence for the green alkaluk. [Horse codes IMH 4 or 5].

12th Bengal Irregular Cavalry. [1st Relief of Lucknow]. Orange-red turban, green regimental alkaluk with silver lace trim to the chest panel of the alkaluk. It is possible that the trim of the sowars' alkaluk was a different colour to the silver worn the officers, (perhaps yellow or red, given the colouring of the saddle cloth), as the sowar in the only watercolour of the regiment we have ever seen at IDM has his back turned. Red waist sash. Black shoulder and waist belts, with brass fittings. Saddle cloth quartered in yellow and red. Mustard yellow breeches with black riding boots. Most of the regiment mutinied, but a contingent of about 60 mainly Afghan sowars remained loyal and were brought up by Outram to join Havelock. Their commander was A/Capt. Wm. 'Billy' Johnson, seconded from 6th BNI. This is a good regiment to model as its uniform details are known and your figures can legitimately be fielded on either side of your wargames table. [Horse codes IMH 4 or 5]. 

13th Bengal Irregular Cavalry. [Allahabad Moveable Column, Battle of Fatehpur only, then disarmed]. Few hard details are available, other than that the regimental alkaluk was blue with silver lace. Red would be a tolerably good bet for the colour of the turban. Similarly, red and blue quartering of the saddle cloth would be a reasonable guess. Probably a red kummerbund, with black shoulder and waist belts. Black jackboots with buff or mustard yellow breeches. The greater part of the regiment mutinied and was present at Futtehpore. The contingent which had remained loyal put in a questionable performance at Futtehpore and were disarmed immediately afterwards. Like 12th BIC, this is a good regiment to model as it can legitimately be fielded on either side. [Horse codes IMH 4 or 5]. 

Regiment of Ferozepore. ('Brasyer's Sikhs'). (Yellow). [Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. P1842 musket and socket bayonet. Technically this was an 'irregular' infantry regiment, but we should note immediately that it would be a mistake to read too much significance into the designation. This was a properly drilled and uniformed regiment like any other. Originally the regiment had been uniformed much after the fashion of Bengal Native Infantry, but when, in early June 1857, the men of 6th BNI murdered their officers at Allahabad, the Ferezopore Sikhs were ordered by their commandant, Lieutenant Jeremiah Brasyer, to throw off their unpopular EIC uniforms and revert to their dastaars, (the traditional Sikh turban), kurtas (a loose smock) and drainpipe style 'pantaloon' trousers. All these items came in white cotton. Click to the 'Inspiration' section of this website to see the Atkinson portrayal of the march of the Siege Train to Delhi, in order to visualize Sikh Infantry in an all white rig. The date on which the Ferozepore Regiment's white clothing was dyed 'khaki' is unclear, but most units in Havelock's force transitioned from white (or filthy white!) to 'khaki' in late Aug/early Sep 57. Dastaars were dyed to the same shade of khaki as kurtas etc. A Beato photograph from late 1858, (also at the 'Inspiration' page), shows the regiment in its dyed clothing. Standard infantry equipment was worn, with the exception of the cap pouch which the photo indicates was black or brown, (probably the latter, as there had been such an item in service prior to the introduction of the white cap pouch). Other Sikh and Punjabi regiments had black or brown belts, but this was plainly not the case with Brasyer's men. The Ferozepore Regiment had a set of regimental colours of the same pattern and size as the Bengal Native Infantry Regiments, one of which was the First or Queen's Colour and based on the Union Flag accordingly. There is a primary source reference from Havelock's campaign to show that the regimental colour was yellow, as one would expect from the facing colour. Contrary to popular myth, the regiment did not wear red turbans throughout the Mutiny, as the photograph at the Inspiration Page plainly demonstrates. There is one source reference to Brasyer himself wearing a red turban, whilst fighting through the streets of Lucknow on 25 Sep 1857, which is most likely where the myth originates, but even so the group photograph and portrait (at the same page) amply demonstrate that it was not his inveterate practice to wear red. There is no mention whatever of red dastaars in Brasyer's memoirs. Our IDM portrayal shows the Sikh officers in braided frocks, with red waist sashes, (but you could legitimately vary the sashes to something more colourful). It is also possible that the Sikh officers might have worn different coloured turbans, according to personal whim, but at the same time it is unlikely that the same latitude would have been extended to the rank and file. A glimpse of Brasyer's sword belt in his portrait shows that it is white. We have portrayed his Sikh officers carrying tulwars on shoulder belts, which we would recommend painting black. There were usually two or three other European officers with the regiment, but the casualty rate amongst them was high and Brasyer was sometimes left as the only European fit for duty. After Campbell's Second Relief of Lucknow, and the subsequent extrication of the garrison, Brasyer's regiment was amongst the units left to hold the Alambagh under Sir James Outram. Brasyer's Sikhs should be modelled using codes IMBC 5-7 inclusive. You can use figures from IMBC 19, a generic infantry officers code, should you wish to portray any of Brasyer's European officers, or to substitute for his personality figure if you are modelling another musket-armed Sikh regiment using the IMBC 5-7 codes. They are every bit as suitable for 2nd (Green's) Punjab Infantry and 4th (Rothney's) Sikh Local Infantry, (both of the Delhi Field Force), or for 'Rattray's Sikhs', a Bengal police unit, 50 of whom participated in the defence of Mr Boyle's house at Arrah, an action that can pretty much be thought of as a Sikh equivalent of Rorke's Drift. 

Kemaoon Battalion. (Black). [Delhi]. The Kumaon battalion, a Gurkha unit, was armed with the 'fusil' version of the EIC percussion musket, the socket bayonet and also carried the kukri on the waistbelt. Theoretically the Kumaon Battalion should have looked much like the Sirmoor Battalion, (the distinctive red and black diced band of the latter unit excepted), but at the Siege of Delhi it seems to have been dressed in a short sand-coloured khaki frock with matching trousers. The waistbelt, shoulder belt, cap pouch, kukri sheath and 60-round ammo pouch would all have been in black leather, with the cap pouch positioned on the right side of the waistbelt. The forage cap was of the old round topped style without a peak. Grouped with Col. Campbell's No. 3 Column, some 250 officers & men under Capt. Ramsay participated in the storming of Delhi. A further 65 officers & men were grouped to the composite battalion of pickets in Maj. Reid's No. 4 Column. According to W. Y. Carman, the Kumaon Battalion did not transition from being a local battalion to a line battalion until 1860, so unlike the Sirmoor Battalion it probably did not have regimental colours at the time of the Mutiny. 

Sirmoor Battalion. (Black). [Badli-ke-Serai, Delhi]. The Sirmoor battalion, another Gurkha unit, was heavily engaged during the defence of Delhi Ridge, by dint of occupying Hindu Rao's house, a vital position which Major Charles Reid, the commandant, never once left save to fight at the head of his men. The regiment remained in its rifle green forage caps, (with red and black diced band), green jackets and green trousers throughout the siege. Usefully a regimental group was photographed at Hindu Rao's House, after the siege, and there is also a good watercolour of a regimental group from only a few years before the Mutiny to work from. The jackets of both the native officers and the NCOs & men had black collars, black shoulder straps and a double row of black buttons. The rank & file version of the jacket had black wing pads at the shoulder. NCOs chevrons were also black. The forage cap worn by both the native officers and the men was of the older round-topped style, from the 1830s and 40s, rather than the newer 'pork pie' pattern of Kilmarnock, but evidently came with a broad stiffened hatband, which served to elevate the top of the cap some inches clear of the head. A stringed powder horn cap badge was worn just above the hatband. The black waistbelt, shoulder belt and pouches were all in black leather. The photograph at Hindu Rao's also features a lone European officer, wearing a braided rifle green shell jacket and white lightweight trousers. His black crossbelt is fitted with a silver whistle and chain. His sword belt and slings are also black and he appears to be carrying a P1845 infantry officers sword in the usual black leather scabbard with brass fittings. His forage cap is green with a black hatband and peak. Other officers might have fitted a white cover and/or a curtain according to personal whim. The native officers carried swords, but were otherwise dressed much after the fashion of the rank and file. NCOs and men were armed with the slightly shorter 'fusil' variant of the EIC percussion musket and the socket bayonet. Naturally they also carried razor sharp kukris, which were slung from the waistbelt in a black leather sheath. Grouped with their own commanding officer's No. 4 Column for the assault, some 200 officers & men of the battalion participated in the storming of Delhi. Reid himself was dangerously wounded on the first day. In 1850 the regiment made a technical transition, in that it went from being regarded as a local regiment to become a regiment of the line. As a result it was now provided with a set of Colours of conventional size and design for the period, with a Queen's Colour based as usual on the Union Flag, and a Regimental Colour with a field in the facing colour - black. 

Guides Infantry. (Red). [Delhi]. The infantry component of the Corps of Guides consisted of six companies and was commanded at the Siege of Delhi by Lieutenant Robert Shebbeare. Recruited from across a variety of hill tribes for the purpose of frontier policing, the corps had worn khaki from its inception. The infantry component was armed with the Brunswick Rifle and sword bayonet. A watercolour from just before the Mutiny, unfortunately only ever printed in black and white, shows a soldier clad in a collarless khaki frock coat and fairly baggy pyjama style trousers of the same colour. The coat has piped shoulder straps and pointed piping at the cuffs, both presumably in red, which was certainly the facing colour of the Guides in the aftermath of the Mutiny, although it is clear that in 1857 there was no facing colour inside the piping. The soldier is shown in native shoes/slippers rather than military shoes. His waistbelt has a snake clasp in brass and, like his shoulder belt and ammo pouch is in black or dark brown leather. Forced to guess from the tone, one would probably plump for brown ahead of black. Grouped with Maj. Reid's No. 4 Column, some 200 officers & men of the Guides Infantry participated in the storming of Delhi. Lt. Shebbeare was awarded the VC for his actions on the first day of the assault. 

1st Punjaub Infantry (Coke's Rifles). (Red). [Delhi, Najafgarh]. A unit of the 'Punjab Irregular Force' raised at Delhi in 1849. Prior to the rifle-green uniform worn by the regiment at the time of the Mutiny, it had been clad head-to-toe in indigo blue, turbans included. At this time there were broad red stripes down the trouser seams. The commandant at the time of the Mutiny was Major John Coke. As the nickname 'Coke's Rifles' would suggest, its sepoys were armed with the EIC 'two-groove rifle' {Brunswick] and the appropriate sword bayonet. Coke brought his regiment to Delhi more than 700 strong, but was shot in the thigh in an action fought on 12 Aug 1857. Lieutenant William Lumsden commanded the regiment at Najafgarh, but unhappily did not survive the battle. There are a number of primary source references to the regiment being clad during the siege in the rifle-green uniform for which it eventually became well-known, and a single reference (Col Seaton), out on something of a limb, which puts it in an ash-coloured upper garment, broad waist sashes of an unspecified colour and blue pagri- turbans. The possibility that the regiment transitioned from green to ash-khaki during the course of the siege cannot be altogether discounted, but it is possible that Seaton mistook men of 'Wilde's Rifles', also a Brunswick armed unit, for some of Coke's. A rifle-green uniform is more likely to have been fashioned after the round collared, single-breasted and three-quarter length khaki tunic worn in the Guides Infantry, than after a loose, shirt-like kurta, albeit there is no compelling data one way or the other. The regimental turban was said to be 'high set' in the Afridi style and was worn with a trailing end, decorated with a gold fringe, down one side of the head. Its base colour is uncertain: it might conceivably have been blue, as Seaton would have it, but might equally have the same rifle green as the rest of the uniform, or perhaps of a more ornate striped or patterned cloth. Seaton states that the regiment's belts and pouches were in brown leather. Grouped with Col. Campbell's No. 3 Column, some 500 officers & men under Lt. Charles Nicholson participated in the storming of Delhi. A further 25 men were grouped to the composite battalion of pickets in Maj. Reid's No. 4 Column. 

2nd (Green's) Punjaub Infantry. (Black). [Delhi, Najafgarh, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. A unit of the 'Punjaub Irregular Force', the regiment wore khaki kurtas and trousers at the siege of Delhi and was armed with the EIC percussion musket and socket bayonet. W. Y. Carman puts the regiment in white clothing, black belts and pouches and black turbans at the siege of Delhi, but I have been unable to verify black turbans independently, which, if true, seems a curious thing to have escaped all contemporaneous commentary. The European officers of the Punjab Irregular Force were an experienced, hand-picked lot and generally pretty idiosyncratic in matters of dress. They tended to favour airpipe style helmets, usually swathed in a pugri: sometimes these were highly decorative pieces of silk. They might wear khaki frocks/patrol jackets with braid across the chest or might equally have turned out in khaki shell jackets. There were in effect no rules governing trousers, boots and equipment. Grouped with Nicholson's No. 1 Column, some 450 officers & men under Capt. George Green participated in the storming of Delhi. After Delhi the regiment redeployed to Lucknow as part of Greathed's column. It was reported that when Sir Colin Campbell formally inspected his force prior to the relief of Lucknow, the 2nd and 4th Punjaub Infantry were both dressed in 'sand-coloured' clothing; there is no good reason to believe that this was not the same clothing earlier worn at Delhi. The regiment can be modelled using codes IMBC 5-7. 

4th (Wilde's) Punjaub Infantry. (Blue). [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. A unit of the 'Punjab Irregular Force', the regiment was armed with the EIC two-grooved rifle [much akin to the Brunswick rifle] and sword-bayonet. It wore 'khaki' kurtas and trousers at Delhi. In watching Wilde's arrival on the Ridge, Captain Medley of the Bengal Engineers also took note of the regiment's khaki turbans. For European officers see the remarks at 2nd (Green's) Punjab Infantry (above). Grouped with Brig. Longfield's No. 5 Column, some 450 officers & men under Capt. Alfred Wilde participated in the storming of Delhi. Like the 2nd Punjab Infantry, Wilde's regiment also redeployed to Lucknow via the the relief and Battle of Agra and, like the 2nd Punjaub Infantry, was reported at Lucknow as being dressed in 'sand-coloured' clothing. Once again there is no good reason to believe that this was not the same clothing earlier worn at Delhi. Because of its weaponry the regiment was not uncommonly referred to informally as 'Wilde's Rifles'. The regiment struck up a close friendship with HM 93rd Highlanders, alongside which it had seen a good deal of action, including Storming the Secunderabagh.  

4th (Rothney's) Seikh Infantry. (Yellow). [Delhi]. 'Rothney's Sikhs' were armed with the EIC percussion musket and socket bayonet. About a quarter of the regiment was made up of poorbeahs, (the Sikh name for Hindu easterners), when it arrived on Delhi Ridge, but in due course doubts started to grow about their loyalty. In particular there were suspicions that British officers had been wounded by shots fired from behind. Eventually the poorbeahs were turned out of the camp, leaving only Sikhs and a scattering of trustworthy hillmen on the regiment's muster roll. Grouped with Brig. Jones's No. 2 Column, some 350 officers & men under Capt. Octavius Rothney participated in the storming of Delhi. The purged regiment can be represented by using our Sikh codes IMBC 5-7. Like most regiments of the Punjaub Irregular Force, Rothney's Sikhs had worn khaki clothing from before the Mutiny. Its turbans were also khaki. A few years later, certainly, there were green fringes at both ends of the cloth, which were arranged so as to hang down the left side of the head, but whether or not these fringes were in place over the 1857-8 period is uncertain.

'Rattray's Sikhs'. [Defence of Arrah, Dunbar Disaster, Eyre's Capture of Jugdispore]. This unit was a Bengal Police Battalion and wore turbans with an all white uniform. EIC percussion musket and socket bayonet. The contingent which defended Mr Boyle's house at Arrah, a minor epic which pitched the 67 defenders against 3,000 rebels, (including 7th, 8th and 40th BNI), comprised 1 x lieutenant, 2 x sgts, 2 x cpls, 45 ptes, 1 x bhisti, 1 x cook. A 70-man party of 'Rattray's Sikhs', commanded by Lt. Ingleby, a 7th BNI officer, was present with Major Dunbar's expedition when, in attempting to march to the relief of Arrah, it met with disaster. In the aftermath of Major Vincent Eyre's successful relief of Arrah, Mr Wake, the magistrate who had led the defence of Boyle's house, took command of 150 of Rattray's Sikhs for Eyre's subsequent operation against Koer Singh's stronghold at Jugdispore.  

1st Belooch Battalion. [Delhi]. The Baluchis were armed with P1842 muskets and socket bayonets. Their dress on Delhi Ridge was recorded by a medical officer named James Wise: 'Their dress is picturesque. A fez with a blue pugri wound round it.; a dark green tunic with red facings; the pants of a light blue colour. The men themselves are not so dark as the Hindoos [sic], but their hair is jet black, glossy and arranged in ringlets, which hang down over the shoulders. They wear beards and moustaches.' Additionally Hervey Greathed noted in one of his letters the, 'broad stripes of red [lace] across the chest.' Grouped with Brig. Longfield's No. 5 Column, some 300 officers & men under Lt-Col. R. Farquhar participated in the storming of Delhi. 

Bengal Sappers & Miners. [Delhi].

Punjaub Sappers & Miners. [Delhi, Greathed's Column at Balandshahr and Agra, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. Mainly manned by Sikhs, the unit wore a khaki tunic and trousers. A plate in Captain Medley's memoirs shows a Sikh officer in a round collared, button up tunic of three-quarter or frock-coat length. The officer's turban is white, dirtied to a soft shade of grey, while his tunic and trousers are in   


Captain Peel's Naval Brigade. [Main Body- 2nd Relief of Lucknow, 3rd battle of Cawnpore. Lt Hay's detachment - Windham's Defence of Cawnpore Capt. Peel, a distinguished veteran of the Crimean War and a son of one-time Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, took 250 men into the Second Relief of Lucknow, his primary role being heavy artillery support with bullock-drawn naval guns. The brigade included about 50 RMLI, known to be dressed in red, though whether the NCOs and men were wearing tunics or shell jackets is unclear. One officer is known to have been wearing a shell jacket. The naval ratings wore broad-brimmed straw hats with white neck curtains, naval blouses and bell-bottomed trousers. Those not engaged in serving the guns carried a miscellany of rifles and muskets, some of which had been aboard HMS Shannon, while others were provided by the EIC in Calcutta. Senior officers tended to wear their naval frock coats, while midshipmen generally wore short jackets, in all cases with white shirts and black neckties. Peel was a stickler for appearance and insisted that his men shave daily. A naval detachment commanded by Lt. Hay RN, consisting of 50 officers & men, with 2 x bullock-drawn 24-pdrs also fought at Cawnpore under General Windham (27-28 Nov 1857).

Hamilton's 1st Battalion of Detachments. [2nd Relief of Lucknow]. The second composite battalion in Campbell's force was commanded by Brevet Lt-Col. Henry Hamilton, 78th Hldrs, the younger brother of Lt-Col. Walter Hamilton of the same regiment. It consisted of 2 x coys HM 5th Fusiliers plus a detachment of 70 men of the same regiment earlier left behind by Havelock to hold the Alambagh, 1 x coy HM 64th, 1 x coy HM 78th Highlanders. The 78th coy had likewise been left at the Alambagh during the first relief of Lucknow. Like Barnston's 2nd Battalion of Detachments, Hamilton's battalion was broken up after Outram's force had been extricated.

Barnston's 2nd Battalion of Detachments. [2nd Relief of Lucknow]. Commanded by Maj. Roger Barnston HM 90th LI (KIA at Lucknow). The battalion consisted of 3 x coys HM 90th LI and company-sized detachments from HM 84th and 1st Madras Fusiliers. Its strength at the beginning of the second fight into Lucknow was something around 600 officers and men. Sir Colin Campbell's infantry were ordered to wear greatcoats en banderole during this operation. Immediately after Outram's garrison had been extricated from the city, the two battalions of detachments in Campbell's force were broken up and the components dispersed to join their parent regiments. All the elements of Barnston's unit were Enfield armed.

2nd Battalion, Military Train. [2nd Relief of Lucknow]. 2nd Bn. Military Train was a logistic unit diverted to India from the aborted China Expedition. As the unit contained many former cavalrymen, at a time when mounted troops were in critically short supply, it was re-roled as an ad hoc cavalry unit of two squadrons, using horses stripped out of the 8th Madras Cavalry. It was commanded in the fighting around Lucknow by Major James Robertson. It is likely that the 'holland' boat coats of the China Expedition were worn in the unit. These were a fawn or dark sand colour and were adorned with a plain red collar and round cuffs. NCOs chevrons were also in red. The boat coat was probably worn with dark blue Home Service (summer order) trousers. Use horse codes IMH 2 or 3.

Allahabad Volunteer Cavalry. [Allahabad Moveable Column, 1st Relief and Extended Siege of Lucknow]. A unit to have fun with: initially only 20 strong, it was made up of overthrown European officers of various Bengal infantry and cavalry regiments, some in uniform, some in mufti (civilian clothes), plus a number of civilian volunteers in mufti. An eyewitness description states that the unit, 'cut a queer figure, from their being rigged in regimentals of all colours and hats of all kinds, from the beaver helmet to the bamboo hunting cap, tastefully set off by red pugris and interwoven in some instances with blue and in others with white cloth.' Apart from the more eccentric items described in the extract, headdress would also have included airpipe helmets, forage caps and 'wideawakes' (slouch hats) in felt or straw. The unit was expanded after the Battle of Futtehpore by the addition of 40 volunteers from Havelock's infantry regiments. The infantrymen were mounted on the horses of the two disarmed irregular cavalry detachments (3rd Oudh and 13th Bengal) and there is no good reason to believe that the brightly coloured saddle cloths of those regiments would have been discarded. The infantrymen would also have inherited tulwars, carbines and possibly even the long black riding boots formerly sported by the irregular cavalry. By the time of the 19 Sep advance on Lucknow, the unit had been further expanded by the addition of 60 more overthrown officers, civil servants and former railway men brought up by Outram. The enlarged squadron was then divided into two troops; the infantrymen in one and the overthrown officers and volunteers in the other. With only a handful of exceptions, (those who held command appointments in the unit), overthrown officers were required to suspend their former ranks and serve as sergeants, troopers etc. En route to Lucknow, with Havelock still in command, Major General Outram led the squadron in a charge, wielding a 'stout malacca cane' as a club. Mounted Infantrymen and would do best on horse codes IMH 4 or 5. Overthrown officers and civilians could go on any combination of IMH 1, IMH 4 or IMH 5.

Hodson's Horse. [Delhi, Rhotuck, 2nd Relief of Lucknow]. Hodson's Horse was a Punjabi irregular cavalry unit raised in response to the outbreak of the Mutiny. Its members were not generally trained riders on enlistment, so that at first there was a good deal of rough and ready horsemanship on display. During the Siege of Delhi, Lt. William Hodson was for a spell the chief of intelligence at the field force headquarters, the acting commandant of the Corps of Guides and the commandant of his own regiment of irregular horse. He eventually had to give up the Guides, but retained his other two jobs. Hodson's Horse was hastily recruited and consisted mainly of Sikhs, although there was also a Punjabi Muslim element. Strength returns from the army before Delhi show that the regiment had a strength of 338 in July 1857 and 462 in September, just before the city fell. In due course so many volunteers came in that in mid-1858 the regiment was sub-divided to operate as two separate cavalry units. A third was also added at the end of the Mutiny period, but as we have seen this might not have been fully mounted. The sowars were clad in loose, relatively short, light grey 'khaki' frocks, with off-white or cream coloured breeches and the usual long black jackboots sported by irregular cavalry regiments. Waistbelts, sword slings, scabbards, carbine belts and ammo pouch were all in black leather. The native officers and sowars wore red turbans. Red sashes were adopted as a field sign and were worn by all ranks over the right shoulder. There is an apparent anomaly in that Atkinson shows the sashes in his portrayal of Hodson executing the sons of Bahadur Shah, immediately after the fall of Delhi, but omits them in what purports to be a portrayal of Hodson's charge at Rhotuck. Although the coloured lithograph of what was originally an Atkinson pencil sketch is specifically captioned as portraying Hodson's Horse, it seems possible, if not indeed likely, that it actually shows the Guides Cavalry, two troops of which played a far more central role in the charge. The vaguely red turbans (the Guides wore khaki ones) might perhaps be based on the flawed assumption that Atkinson had drawn Hodson surrounded by men of his own regiment. It is of note that the red sashes of Hodson's Horse are mentioned in unequivocal terms in a Hervey Greathed letter dated 6 Aug 1857. This pre-dates the action at Rhotuck and thus lends strong collateral to the notion that Atkinson actually drew the Guides. Hodson and his handful of European officers wore (originally white) grey-khaki informal frocks/patrol jackets, decorated across the chest with horizontal bars of braid. Their riding breeches were probably not very uniform, but, for what it is worth, Atkinson portrays Hodson in white/cream breeches with black riding boots. His saddle cloth is in navy blue, but again this is unlikely to have been a uniform item in so hastily raised a unit. There is no indication that there was regimental saddle cloth for the rank and file either, although we do know that the saddlery itself was of the regular cavalry type. Typically the European officers' seem to have favoured an airpipe helmet, swathed with a red pagri, although Lieutenant Gough, formerly of 3rd BLC, complained in his memoirs that he was obliged to adhere to his forage cap through an inability to lay his hands on a helmet. He noted that he was outbid for a helmet that came up during the sale of one deceased officer's effects, but that this was perhaps for the best as four successive officers were killed wearing that very helmet. Officers' belts etc were in black leather. The regiment was armed with curved tulwar style swords and carbines of an unknown pattern. Use our horse codes IMH 2 or 3, with regular cavalry saddlery.

Mooltanee [Multani] Horse. [Delhi, Najagarh]. This was a Sikh irregular cavalry unit of 250 men, raised by John Nicholson. It was commanded by Lt. J. B. Lind and was neither uniformed nor formally trained. There are allusions to the colourful and picturesque dress worn in the unit, but no details to speak of. Such a unit would have been armed with tulwars, lances and a variety of firearms. A proportion of the men would probably have carried round shields. The Mooltanee Horse were devoted to the persona of Nicholson and served without pay. Within days of his death at Delhi, the unit simply decamped and went home again. Ensign Wilberforce notes that men he thought could never in their lives have wept before, wailed openly at Nicholson's funeral.

The Kashmir or Jammu Contingent. [Delhi]. The contingent was an all arms irregular force, consisting of something in excess of 2,000 men, and was commanded by Capt. Richard Lawrence. For the storming of Delhi, Lawrence was ordered to act in support of Major Reid's No. 4 Column. The force was then subdivided between an advanced element of 400 infantry, 100 'mounted police' and 4 guns, under Capt. H. A. Dwyer, and a main body of 800 infantry under Capt Lawrence. The balance remained on the ridge to protect the camp and batteries. One officer present at Delhi, (Griffiths of HM 61st), referred to the 'strange outlandish uniform' of the contingent and noted that it was recruited from 'Sikhs and hilllmen'. He also refers to the carriage of regimental colours, the contingent's curious style of marching and the presence of bands. The contingent's cavalry arm wore low, round brimmed helmets, which one officer thought were analogous to the type shown in popular depictions of Cervantes' Don Quixote.

Rajah of Jhind's Contingent. [Najafgarh, Delhi]. This was a Sikh irregular contingent, originally 800 strong, with both infantry and cavalry components. It had joined the British early and had been deployed to protect the lines of communication between Delhi Ridge and the Punjab. The contingent came up to join the Delhi Field Force for the last week of the siege. The cavalry wing was at least 50 strong and in all likelihood larger than that. Some 300 officers & men under Lt-Col. H. F. Dunsford were grouped to Maj. Reid's No. 4 Column and participated in the storming of Delhi.

Greene's Battery. [Windham's Defence of Cawnpore]. This was an ad hoc bullock-drawn battery of 2 x 9-pdrs and 2 x 24-pdr howitzers cobbled together by Capt. Greene RA. The 9-pdrs were manned by European gunners and the howitzers by Sikh gun-crews. 

2nd Punjab Irregular Cavalry

Two sowars, left and centre, with a native officer on the right. 

Shades of 'Khakee'

Lieutenant George Medley, Bengal Engineers, on the dress of the Delhi Field Force

''The camp was now a very lively scene, and contained a strange mixture of uniforms and faces, which showed the motley nature of the force which had been scraped together in this desperate crisis of the empire. The well-known British scarlet was a rare sight indeed. The European regiments in India wear white clothing in the hot weather; but white is not well suited to campaigning, as the reader can conceive, and most of them had dyed their clothes the well known khakee [sic] (or dust colour). This khakee, which before May, 1857, was only seen across the Indus, was a sort of grey drab, varying much in tint, but adopted by the frontier troops for their hill fighting, being nearly the colour of the desert, or the bare stony hills in those parts, and therefore admirably suited to the constant skirmishing against men armed with matchlocks good at 600 yards' distance. Directly these troops marched to join our camp, the advantage of this colour were seen, and it quickly became fashionable for everybody, which it has pretty well remained. Coke's 1st Punjaub Infantry, and the Sirmoor Battalion of Goorkhas [sic] (perhaps the two finest corps in camp) had stuck however, to their original green, which looked most woefully dilapidated by the service it had seen. Almost every other regiment (cavalry, artillery and infantry), Native and European, turned out in the aforesaid khakee, but it was of so many different shades, puce colour, slate colour, drab, &c., that a delightful variety was exhibited, not only in the uniforms of the different corps, but (alas! for the native dyers) in men belonging to the same company. There certainly was little of the pomp, whatever there might be of the circumstance, of war at Delhi. As long as a man's weapon was in good fighting order, commanding officers did not trouble their head very much about their dressing. As to the Staff and Engineer officers I am quite sure no two men were dressed alike in the whole camp.''

Chaplain Rotten on Shirtsleeves at Delhi

Many of the men of the Delhi force had grown slovenly in dress when they turned out to engage the enemy: numbers were to be seen fighting in shirtsleeves, which was a very great eyesore, not to martinets only, but to many kind and considerate commanding officers. With this practice Brigadier Wilson declared war as early as the second day after assuming the command; he required the men on turning out, always to wear some kind of uniform.

The infantryman's entitlement to summer clothing on arrival in India

4 x lightweight white shell jackets

1 x pair of Home Army summer trousers

5 x pairs of lightweight white trousers

5 x white shirts

2 x check shirts

1 x pair of white braces

The soldier was also provided with a Home Army tunic or a shell jacket, both in scarlet cloth, in alternating years. 

Types of Trousers

Home Army

Line Infantry Winter Dress: 'Oxford mix' cloth; very dark grey with red welt. (See Osprey 193, plate C1; Osprey 196, plate F2).

Line Infantry Summer Dress:

  • White linen to 1845-6, then abolished except for hot climates.

  • Lavender-grey tweed, no welt, to 1850. (See Osprey 196, plate G3; similar shade to Osprey 193, plate D1).

  • Indigo Blue, no welt, from 1850. (Similar shade to Osprey 193, plate E1.)

  • Dark blue serge with red welt from c. 1855. (See Osprey 268 Plate D2; or Osprey 67, plate H3.)

Kilted Highland Infantry undress: tartan trews.

Rifle Regiments: 'Rifle Green' cloth. (See Osprey 193, plate F1).

Cavalry overalls: dark blue cloth, double/single scarlet/yellow welts according to regiment. (See Osprey 268, plate G1; or Osprey 196, plates A1, C3, D1 and D3). 

The 'Army in India'

Line Infantry Winter Dress: 'Oxford mix' cloth; very dark grey with red welt. (See Osprey 193, plate C1; Osprey 196, plate F2).

Line Infantry Summer Dress: White drill (see Osprey 198, Plate A3; or Osprey 268, plate E1). After the first few weeks of the Mutiny white drill was often dyed 'khaki', producing any number of shades from light grey through soft buff to dark sand). (See Osprey 268, plates C1 and C3; Osprey 198, plates A2 and B2).

Line Infantry Fatigues: (often worn on campaign)

  • 'Nanking' cotton: shades from medium blue to lavender-grey (See Osprey.193, plates C3 and D1).

  • 'Dungri' blue-grey. (See Osprey 268, plate D1; Osprey 193, plate E1).

The type of summer trousers with which Queen's infantry regiments arrived in India is a variable depending on date of arrival and length of stay up to the start of the Mutiny. Most of the regiments rushed out in response to the crisis in 1857 would have arrived with dark blue serge. (See Osprey 268, Plate D2; or Osprey 67, plate H3). Theoretically they would be issued with white drill trousers on arrival, but there were insufficient stocks in hand to accommodate all the newly arrived regiments, a number of which proceeded to the front in full home service uniform (see Osprey 198, plate B1).

HEIC 9-pounder field gun.

Contemporaneous imagery suggests that, at the time of the Mutiny, the woodwork of HEIC gun carriages was painted grey, while gun barrels and metal fittings were black. There are also surviving bronze pieces, generally dated to the two Anglo-Sikh Wars in the previous decade, where the natural wood of the carriage has been stained with varnish to a dark brown finish. It is likely that both styles could still be seen in 1857. 

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