The Scinde Campaign of 1843
DEFENCE OF THE HYDERABAD RESIDENCY
Major James Outram’s Official Report.
From Major Outram, Commissioner, to Major-General Sir C. J. Napier, K.C.B., Commanding Scinde and Beloochistan.
On board the Planet steamer, 15 miles above Hyderabad, 6 p m., 15th Feb., 1843.
My despatches of the last few days will have led you to expect that earnest endeavours to effect an amicable arrangement with the Ameers of Scinde would fail, and it is with much regret I have now to report that their Highness’s have commenced hostilities by attacking my residence this morning, which, after four hours most gallant defence by my honorary escort, the light company her Majesty’s 22nd regiment, commanded by Captain Conway, was compelled to evacuate, in consequence of our ammunition running short.
At nine, a.m., this morning a dense body of cavalry and infantry took post on three sides of the Agency compound (the fourth being defended by the Planet steamer about five hundred yards distant) in the gardens and houses which immediately command the enclosure, and which it was impossible to hold with our limited numbers. A hot fire was opened by the enemy and continued incessantly for four hours, but all their attempts enter the Agency enclosure, although merely surrounded by a wall, varying from four to five feet high, were frustrated by Captain Conway’s able distribution of his small band, and the admirable conduct of every individual soldier composing it under the gallant example of their commanding officer and his subalterns, Lieutenant Harding and Ensign Pennefather, her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment; also, Captains Green, of the 21st Regiment Native Infantry, and Wells of the 15th [sic – 25th?] Regiment, who volunteered their services, to each of whom was assigned the charge of a separate quarter; also to your aide-de camp, Captain Brown, Bengal Engineers, who carried orders to the steamer, and assisted in working her guns and directing her flanking fire. Our ammunition being limited to forty rounds per man, the officers directed their whole attention to reserving their fire, and keeping their men close under cover, never showing themselves or returning shot, except when the enemy attempted to rush, or show themselves in great numbers, consequently great execution was done with trifling expenditure of ammunition and with little loss.
Our hopes of receiving a reinforcement, and supply of ammunition by the Satellite steamer (hourly expected) being disappointed by the arrival of that vessel, without either, shortly after the commencement of the attack, it was decided at twelve a.m., after being three hours under fire, to retire to the steamer, while we still had sufficient ammunition left to fight the vessel up the river. Accordingly I requested Captain Conway to keep the enemy at bay for one hour, while the property was removed, for which that time was ample, could the camp followers be induced to exert themselves; after delivering their first loads on board, however, they were so terrified at the enemy’s cross fire on the clear space between the compound and the vessel, that none could be persuaded to return except a few of the officers’ servants, with whose assistance but little could be removed during the limited time we could afford, consequently much had be abandoned, and I am sorry to find that the loss chiefly fell upon the officers and men, who were too much occupied in keeping off the enemy to be able to attend to their own interests.
Accordingly, after the expiration of another hour (during which the enemy, despairing of otherwise effecting their object, bad brought up six guns to bear upon us) we took measures to evacuate the Agency. Captain Conway called in his posts, and all being united, retired in a body, covered by a few skirmishers, as deliberately as on parade (carrying off our slain and wounded), which, and the fire from the steam boats, deterred the enemy from pressing as they might have done.
All being embarked, I then directed Mr. Acting Commander Miller, commanding the Satellite steamer, to proceed with his vessel to the wood station, three miles up the river, on the opposite bank, to secure a sufficiency of fuel for our purposes ere it should destroyed by the enemy, while I remained with the Planet to take off the barge that was moored to the shore. This being a work of some time, during which a hot fire was opened on the vessel from three guns, which the enemy brought to bear on her, besides small arms, and requiring much personal exposure of the crew, (especially of Mr, Cole, the commander of the vessel,) I deem it my duty to bring to your favourable notice their zealous exertions on the occasion, and also to express obligations to Messrs. Miller and Cole, for the flanking fire they maintained on the enemy during their attack on the Agency, and for their support daring the retirement and embarkation of the troops. The Satellite was also exposed to three guns in her progress up to the woods and station, one of which she dismounted by her fire. The vessels were followed by large bodies of the enemy for about three miles, occasionally opening their guns upon us to no purpose; since then we have pursued our voyage up the Indus about fifteen miles, without molestation, and purpose tomorrow morning anchoring off Mutarie, where I expect to find your camp.
Our casualties amount to two men of her Majesty’s 22nd Regt. and one camp follower killed; and Mr. Conductor Kiely, Mr. Carlisle, agency clerk, two of the steamer’s crew, four of her Majesty’s 22nd Regt. and two camp followers wounded, and four camp followers missing. Total – Three killed, ten wounded, and four missing.
I have, &c.,
(Signed) J. Outram,
Return of Killed and Wounded at Hyderabad, the 15th of Feb, 1843.
Killed: 2 privates. Wounded: 4 privates, 1 conductor, 1 European writer, 2 native followers. Missing: 3 native followers (dbobies).
Her Majesty’s 22nd Foot: Lance Corporal F. Gunn, and Private George Guthrie, killed.
Privates Edward Boyle, Richard Bowles, John Davis, and John Morris, wounded.
Wounded: Mr. Conductor Kiely Mr. Carlisle, agency writer; lascar Elleppa Mursoo, and Mahomet, officers’ servants. One seaman and one Lascar wounded on board the Satellite steamer.
(Signed) T. S. Conway,
Captain 22nd Regiment
THE BATTLE OF MEEANEE
(17 February 1843)
Meeanee by George Jones.
British Order of Battle
Command & Staff. Maj-Gen. Sir Charles Napier KCB. ADCs: Major P. (Philip) McPherson HM 43rd Regt., Lt. H. J. Pelly, 8th Bom. NI. Second-in-Command: Lt-Col. W. (William) Pattle, 9th BLC. Commander Artillery: Maj. J. (John) Lloyd, Bombay Artillery. Commanding Engineer: Maj. C. (Charles) Waddington, Bombay Engineers. Acting Assistant Quartermaster-General: Lieutenant W. M. G. McMurdo, HM 22nd Regt. Assistant Adjutant-General: Major W. (William) Wyllie, 21st Bom. NI. (WIA). Acting Orderly Officer: Cornet J. H. Thompson, 9th BLC. Additional Staff Officer: Lieut. J. M. Younghusband, 8th Bom. NI. Baggage Master: Lt. C. P. Leeson, 25th Bom. NI. Provost Marshal: Lt. Brennan, Poona Irreg. Horse. General’s Interpreter ‘Moonshee Alli Akbar’ [sic] more properly Mirza Ali Akhbar
Cavalry. (Lt-Col. W. (William) Pattle, 9th BLC).
9th Bengal Light Cavalry ((Maj. P. F. (Philip) Story).
Scinde Irregular Horse (Capt. J. (John) Jacob, Bombay Artillery).
HM 22nd (The Cheshire) Regiment of Foot (Lt-Col. J. L. (John) Pennefather (WIA), thereafter Maj J. (John) Poole).
1st Bombay (Grenadiers) Native Infantry (Maj. T. (Thomas) Clibborn).
12th Bombay Native Infantry (Maj. A. T. (Alexander) Reid).
25th Bombay Native Infantry (Maj. H. C. Teasdale (KIA), then Capt. J. (John) Jackson).
Artillery. 12 guns. (Maj. J. (John) Lloyd, Bombay Artillery).
No. 2 Coy, 2nd Bn. Camel Battery, Bombay Artillery, (Capt. W. T. (William) Whitlie).
No. 3 Coy, 3rd Bn. Golundauze, Horse and Mule Battery, Bombay Artillery. (Capt G. Hutt).
C Coy, Madras Sappers and Miners (Capt. Henderson Madras Engineers) – 3 & 50
Note on Strength: According to Maj-Gen. Sir William Napier, the historian of the campaign and younger brother of Sir Charles, the attacking force itemised above was barely 2,000 strong, with perhaps 1,780 sabres and bayonets in the ranks. This represented a substantial reduction on the 2,800 given in his brother's official despatch. Sir Charles later agreed in correspondence with his brother that he had overstated his strength, but see also the extract from a letter by an officer of the S.I.H. cited just below, which may be closer to the mark. The small size of 1st Bombay NI cited in that letter, may reflect that the body of sepoys detached under Outram was drawn from that regiment. Sir C. Napier's went out of his way to be conservative in his estimate of the Baluchi strength. He cited 22,000 in his official despatch, but it later became apparent that it was significantly larger and certainly not fewer than 30,000 men, including irregular horse.
Poona Auxiliary Horse (Capt. Tait) – 250
4 Coys Infantry (1 per regiment).
Concurrent River Operation. (Major J. (James) Outram).
The armed steamers Planet and Sattelite. (Captains Miller and Cole).
Detached infantry contingent (Capts. Wells & Brown). 3 European officers & 200 sepoys.
Letter by an officer of the SIH present at the battle.
Sir Charles Napier’s Official Despatch
Lord Ellenborough, Governor-General, &c.
Meeanee, six miles from Hyderabad, 18th February, 1843.
The forces under my command have gained a decisive victory over the array of the Ameers of Upper and Lower Scinde. A detailed account of the various circumstances which led to this action does not belong to the limited space of a hasty despatch. I therefore begin with the transactions belonging to the battle.
On the 14th inst. the whole body of the Ameers, assembled in full durbar, formally affixed their seals to the draft treaty. On leaving the durbar, Major Outram and his companions were in great peril – a plot had been laid to murder them all. They were saved by the guards of the Ameers; but the next day (the 15th) the residence of Major Outram was attacked by 8,000 of the Ameers’ troops, headed by one or more of the Ameers. The report of this nefarious transaction I have the honour to enclose. I heard it at Hala, at which place the fearless and distinguished Major Outram joined me with his brave companions in the stern and extraordinary defence of his residence against so overwhelming force, accompanied by six pieces of cannon.
On the 16th I marched to Muttaree, having there ascertained that the Ameers were in position at Meeanee (10 miles distance) to the number of 22,000 men, and well knowing that delay for reinforcements would both strengthen their confidence and add to their numbers, already seven times that which I commanded, I resolved to attack them, and we marched at four a.m., on the morning of the 17th. At six o’clock the advanced guard discovered their camp; at nine o’clock we formed in order of battle, about 2,800 men of all arms, and 12 pieces of artillery.
We were now within range of the enemy’s guns, and 15 pieces of artillery opened upon us, and were answered by our cannon. The enemy were very strongly posted – woods were on their flanks, which I did not think could be turned. These two woods were joined by the dry bed of the river Fulaillee, which had a high bank. The bed of the river was nearly straight, and about 1,200 yards in length. Behind this and in both woods were the enemy posted. In front of their extreme right, and on the edge of the wood, was a village.
Having made the best examination of their position which so short a time permitted, the artillery was posted on the right of the line, and some skirmishers of infantry with the Scinde irregular horse were sent in front to try and make the enemy show his force more distinctly; we then advanced from the right in echelon of battalions, refusing the left to save it from the fire of the village. The 9th Bengal Light Cavalry formed the reserve in rear of the left wing; and the Poonah horse, together with four companies of infantry, guarded the baggage. In this order of battle we advanced, as at a review, across the plain, swept by the cannon of the enemy. The artillery and her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment in line formed the leading echelon, the 25th N. I. the second, the 12th N. I. the third, and the 1st Grenadier N I. the fourth.
The enemy was 1,000 yards from our line, which soon traversed the intervening space. Our fire of musketry opened at about 100 yards from the bank in reply to that of the enemy; and in a few minutes the engagement became general along the bank of the river, on which the combatants fought for about three hours or more with great fury, man to man. Then, my lord, was seen the superiority of the musket and bayonet over the sword and shield and matchlock. The brave Beloochees, first discharging their matchlocks and pistols, dashed over the bank with desperate resolution; but down went these bold and skilful swordsmen under the superior power of the musket and bayonet. At one time, my lord, the courage and the numbers of the enemy against the 22nd, the 25th, and the 12th regiments bore heavily in that part of the battle. There was no time to be lost, and I sent orders to the cavalry to force the right of the enemy’s line. This order was very gallantly executed by the 9th Bengal Cavalry and the Scinde Horse; the details of which shall be hereafter stated to your lordship, for the struggle on our right and centre was at that moment so fierce that I could not go to the left. In this charge the 9th Light Cavalry took a standard and several pieces of artillery, and the Scinde horse took the enemy’s camp, from which a vast body of their cavalry slowly retired, fighting. Lieutenant Fitzgerald gallantly pursued them for two miles, and, I understand, slew three of the enemy in single combat. The brilliant conduct of these two cavalry regiments decided, in my opinion, the crisis of the action, for from the moment the cavalry were seen in rear of their right flank the resistance our opponents slackened; the 22nd Regiment forced the bank, the 25th and 12th did the same, the latter regiment, capturing several guns, and the victory was decided. The artillery made great havoc among the dense masses of the enemy, and dismounted several of their guns. The whole of the enemy’s artillery, ammunitions, standards, and camp, with considerable stores and some treasure, were taken.
Meer Roostum Khan, Meer Nusseer Khan, and Meer Wullee Mahomed of Khyrpoor; Meer Nusser Khan, Meer Shadab Khan, and Meer Hoosein Khan, all of Hyderabad, came into my camp and surrendered their swords as prisoners of war. Their misfortunes are of their own creation, but, as they are great, I returned to them their swords. They await your lordship’s orders. Their Highnesses have surrendered Hyderabad, and I shall occupy it to-morrow.
It is not to be supposed that so hard-fought an engagement could be sustained without considerable loss on both sides. That of the British force is 256 men killed and wounded. The enemy is generally supposed to have lost 5,000. Major Teasdale, while animating his Sepoys, dashed on horseback over the bank amidst the enemy, and was instantly shot and sabred – dying like a glorious soldier. Major Jackson in like manner rushed forward, two brave havildars followed him, too far advanced before their men; they fell under the sabres of the enemy, but it is said not before they killed several. Captains Meade, Few, and Cookson, with Lieutenant Wood, all fell honourably, urging on the assault with unmitigated valour. Lieutenant-Colonel Pennefather was severely wounded, as, with the high courage of a soldier, he led his regiment up the desperate bank of the Fulailee. Major Wyllie, Captains Tucker and Conway, and Lieutenants Harding and Phayre, were all wounded while gloriously animating their men to sustain the shock of numbers. And now, my lord, I have to say, that British officers could not show greater gallantry in leading their men into action than did the Queen’s and Company’s officers on this day, and the troops well maintained their reputation.
From the heads of departments and regiments I have received every assistance throughout the whole campaign and in the battle. The gallant charge of the Bengal cavalry was intrepidly led Lieut-Col. Pattle, second in command, and Major Story; nor were the Scinde horse under Captain Jacob idle. To this able soldier and his regiment I indebted for the most active services long previous to, and during the combat. He won the enemy’s camp, from which he drove a body of three or four thousand cavalry. Major Lloyd powerfully worked his artillery, ably seconded by Captains Whitlie and Hutt. The destruction caused by their guns is said to have been immense. Major Waddington, of the engineers, has given me great assistance throughout the campaign, and in the action lent me his aid in carrying orders. Nor is the country less indebted to Major Reid for his gallantry at the head of the 12th N. I. The grenadiers, under Major Clibborn, owing to a misconception of orders, were but slightly engaged. Major Poole of the 22nd, and Capt. Jackson of the 25th, who succeeded the command of those regiments, proved themselves worthy of their dangerous posts. In the medical and commissariat departments both activity and zeal have been shown by Dr. Dalrymple and Captain Blenkins. Major Wyllie, Assistant Adjutant-General, was wounded while leading up the bank, and I have thereby lost for a time his valuable assistance; no man has been more serviceable to me in all our previous operations. The acting Assistant Quartermaster-General, Lieut. McMurdo, of the 22nd Regiment, had his horse killed, and while on foot, leading some soldiers in desperate dash down the enemy’s side of the bank, he cut down a chieftain. He has greatly assisted me by his activity and zeal during the whole of our operations. Allow me to recommend to your lordship’s notice and protection Major McPherson, my aide-de-camp, an old soldier of the light division, from whom I have received that assistance which was expected from a veteran of the 43rd Regiment. To my acting aide-de-camp, Lieut. Pelly, I am much indebted in many ways, both during the campaign and in the action, and also Lieutenant Thompson, 9th Cavalry, who acted as my orderly officer during the day, and Lieut. Younghusband, staff officer. Captain Henderson, of the Madras Engineers, took a standard, and did good service with his band of sappers and miners, not only in this engagement, but through the campaign. His Lieutenants, Boileau and Outlaw, have also distinguished themselves. Innumerable are the individual acts of intrepidity which took place between our soldiers and their opponents, too numerous for detail in this despatch, yet well meriting a record. I hope that your lordship will pardon the length of this letter, written in the midst of great interruption and at various times.
Finally, I trust for receiving indulgence from one who so well knows how difficult my position has been for the last five months up to the present moment, and how hard I have laboured, and how much I have risked, to avoid a recourse to arms. This sanguinary engagement has been forced upon me by the duplicity of the Ameers, though I must say that, until the attack upon the Residency, neither Major Outram nor myself believed they were resolved to fight, and against which duplicity I never ceased to warn them. My conscience acquits me of the blood which has been shed. The tyrannical and deceitful Ameers brought on the battle, the fierce tribe of Beloochee robbers were resolved that it should be so, and bravely did they execute their resolution.
I perceive that I have omitted to mention three officers well worthy of being named. To Captain Tate [sic – Lieutenant Tait], of the Poonah [sic] horse, I intrusted [sic] charge of the baggage on this day of battle, and I have no doubt that the steadiness and imposing attitude of the detachment under his command held the enemy aloof, for I assure your lordship no post gave me greater anxiety than that of the baggage-guard. Lieutenants Leeson and Brenton [sic – Brennan?] have throughout the whole campaign been of the greatest use, as Baggage Master and Provost-Marshal, and during the action Lieutenant Brennan was scarcely from my side a moment, except when conveying orders. Nor will I omit to mention the Moonshee Alli [sic] Akbar, an Arab, who exhibited the coolest courage, and attended me everywhere.
I ought to have observed in the body of this despatch, that I had, the night before the action, detached Major Outram in the steamers with about two hundred sepoys, to set fire to the wood in which we understood the enemy’s left flank was posted. This was an operation of great difficulty and danger, but would have been most important to the result of the battle. However, the enemy had moved about eight miles to their right during the night, and Major Outram executed his task without difficulty at the hour appointed, viz., nine o’clock and from the field we observed the smoke of the burning wood arise. I am strongly inclined to think that this circumstance had some effect the enemy. But it deprived me of the able services of Major Outram, Capt. Green, and Lieuts. Brown and Wells, together with 200 men, which I much regretted for their sakes, and for my own, for I much wanted the officers; and here I hope your lordship will pardon me for saying that the want of European officers in the native regiments at one period endangered the success the action. The Sepoy is a brave and excellent soldier, but like all, he expects to led on in certain moments, and, as he looks to his European officer, if he misses him, the greatest danger arises – three times I saw them retreat, evidently because the officers had fallen, and when another appeared and rallied them, they at once followed him boldly. This, my lord, accounts for the great number of European officers killed and wounded in proportion to the whole. I am sure that, in observing defect in the formation the Company’s troops, the effect of which, might have been so serious, I shall not be deemed presumptuous or impertinent.
The defence the Residency by Major Outram and the small force with him, against such numbers of the enemy, was admirable, that I have scarcely mentioned it in the foregoing despatch, because I propose to send your lordship a detailed account of it, as a brilliant example of defending a military post.
I have, &c.,
(Signed) C. J. Napier,
Commanding in Scinde and Beloochistan.
The action was fought at Meeanee, within sight of the towers of Hyderabad. C. J. N.
Return of killed and wounded during the action of the force under the command of Major-General Sir C. J. Napier, K.C.B., at Meeanee, on the 17th of February, 1843.
9th Regiment Bengal Light Cavalry: 1 lieutenant and 3 troopers killed; 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 1 ensign, 1 native officer, 1 serjeant, and 23 troopers, wounded; 9 horses killed, and 35 wounded.
Poona Horse: No casualties.
Scinde Horse: 17 troopers wounded; 23 horses killed, and 21 wounded.
2nd Company, 2nd Battalion, Camel Battery: 2 privates wounded; 2 horses wounded.
3rd Company, 3rd Battalion, Golundauze, Horse and Mule Battery: 1 private killed; 1 serjeant, 1 private, and 4 horses wounded.
C Company, Madras Sappers & Miners: 1 private wounded.
H.M. 22nd Regiment: 1 captain, 1 serjeant, and 22 rank and file killed; 1 lieutenant colonel, 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 2 ensigns, 1 serjeant, and 48 privates wounded.
1st Grenadier N. I.: 1 sepoy killed, and 4 wounded.
12th N. I.: 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 1 havildar, 1 drummer, and 10 sepoys killed; 1 ensign, 1 native officer, 2 havildars, 43 sepoys, and 1 dooly-bearer wounded.
25th N.I.: 1 major, 2 havildars, and 14 sepoys killed; 2 lieutenants, 1 native officer, 2 havildars, 1 drummer, and 25 sepoys wounded.
Staff, l major wounded.
Total killed, 62: wounded, 194. Grand total of casualties, 256. Horses 33 killed, and 62 wounded.
Names of Officers Killed and Wounded.
9th Regiment Light Cavalry – Lt., Brev.-Capt. & Adjutant Cookson, killed; Capt. A. Tucker, Lt. and Brev.-Capt. S. Smith, Lt. H. G. C. Plowden, and Ensign J. H. Firth, wounded.
Her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment – Captain W. W. Tew, killed; Lieut-Col. J. L. Pennefather, Capt. Conway, Lieut. F. P. Harding, Ensign R. Pennefather, and Ensign B. Bowden, wounded.
12th Regt. Native Infantry – Capt. and Brev.-Major Jackson, Lieut. and Brev.-Capt. Meade, and Lieut. Wood, killed; Ensign Holbrough, wounded.
25th Regt. Native Infantry – Major Teasdale, killed; Lieut. & Quartermaster Phayre, and Lieut. Bourdillon, wounded.
Staff – Major Wyllie, Asst. Assistant Adjutant-General Scinde & Beloochistan, wounded; one horse killed under Lieut. MacMurdo, Acting Assistant Quartermaster-General.
(Signed) C. NAPIER,
A Roll of Standards taken in action by the regiments in action.
Camp Hyderabad, February 19, 1843.
9th Bengal Light Cavalry: 1 standard, dark blue silk spangled with white, of red silk. By Subadar Shaik Emam Bax, and trooper Bhurmadeen, of the 3rd Troop, and rough-rider Goolam Russool, 4th Troop.
3rd Coy. 3d Batt. Golundauze horse and mule battery: 1 standard also a pair of state drums.
C Coy, Madras Sappers and Miners: 1 standard. By Captain Henderson. This is sacred standard, with a hand instead of a spear blade at the top.
1st Grenadier Native Infantry: 1 colour; cloth torn away.
25th Regiment Native Infantry: 3 standards by the grenadier company: and 1 by No. 3 company.
Her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment: 1 standard, pierced with twenty bullets.
Scinde Irregular Horse: 1 standard; dark green. Nusseer Khan’s own standard, with his name written on it.
(Signed) C. J. Napier,
Examined. (Signed) H. J. Pelly,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
THE BATTLE OF HYDERABAD (aka DUBBA).
(24 March 1843)
British Order of Battle
Strength: 1,100 Horse, 3,900 Foot, 19 guns.
Command and Staff. Maj-Gen. Sir Charles Napier KCB. Second-in-Command: Lt-Col. W. (William) Pattle, 9th BLC. Commander Artillery: Maj. J. (John) Lloyd, Bombay Artillery. Commanding Engineer: Maj. C. (Charles) Waddington, Bombay Engineers. Military Secretary: Major P. (Philip) McPherson, HM 17th Regt. Acting Assistant Quartermaster-General: Lieutenant W. M. G. McMurdo, HM 22nd Regt. Acting Assistant Adjutant-General: Lieutenant H. J. Pelly, 8th Bom. NI. Principal Medical Officer: Inspecting Surgeon Bell. ADCs: Lt. Thompson, 9th BLC, and Lt. Brown, Bombay Artillery.
Right Flank Cavalry. (Maj. M. (Maurice) Stack, 3rd Bom. LC).
3rd Bombay Light Cavalry (Capt. C. H. (Charles) Delamain).
Scinde Irregular Horse (Capt. J. (John) Jacob).
Left Flank Cavalry. (Lt-Col. W. (William) Pattle, 9th BLC).
9th Bengal Light Cavalry (Maj. P. F. (Philip) Story).
Poona Auxiliary Horse (Capt. Tait).
1st Brigade. (Maj. J. (John) Poole, HM 22nd Regt.).
HM 22nd (The Cheshire) Regiment of Foot (Capt. F. D. (Frederick) George).
8th Bombay Native Infantry (Maj. W. (Walter) Browne).
1st Bombay (Grenadiers) Native Infantry (Maj. T. (Thomas) Clibborn).
2nd Brigade. (Maj. A. (Alexander) Woodburn, 25th Bom. NI).
12th Bombay Native Infantry (Capt. G. (George) Fisher).
21st Bombay Native Infantry (Capt. S. J. (Stephen) Stephens).
25th Bombay Native Infantry (Capt. J. (John) Jackson).
Artillery. 19 guns all told, of which 17 took the field. (Maj. J. (John) Lloyd, Bombay Artillery).
1st Troop Bombay Horse Artillery (Maj. J. T. (John) Leslie, Bombay Horse Artillery). 5 guns.
2nd Coy, 1st Bn. Bombay Artillery. (Capt. Willoughby).
No. 2 Coy, 2nd Bn. (Camel Battery), Bombay Artillery, (Capt. W. T. (William) Whitlie).
No. 3 Coy, 3rd Bn. Golundauze, (Horse and Mule Battery), Bombay Artillery. (Capt G. Hutt).
Madras Sappers & Miners (Capt. Henderson).
Baluchi Force under Shere Mahomed [sic]. His general the African slave Hoche Mohamed.
25,000 men, 15 guns.
Sir Charles Napier’s Official Dispatch
Dubba, 4 miles from Hyderabad, 24 March, 1843.
The forces under my command marched from Hyderabad this morning at daybreak. About half-past 8 o’clock we discovered and attacked the army under the personal command of the Meer Shere Mahomed, consisting of 20,000 men of all arms, strongly posted behind one of those large nullahs by which this country is intersected in all directions. After a combat of about three hours the enemy was wholly defeated with considerable slaughter, and the loss of all his standards and cannon.
His position was nearly a straight line; the nullah was formed by two deep parallel ditches, one 20 feet wide and 8 feet deep, the other 42 feet wide and 17 deep, which had been for a long distance freshly scarped, and a banquette made behind the bank expressly for the occasion. To ascertain the extent of his line was extremely difficult, as his left did not appear to be satisfactorily defined; but he began moving to his right when he perceived that the British force outflanked him in that direction. Believing that this movement had drawn him from that part of the nullah which had been prepared for defence, I hoped to attack his right with less difficulty, and Major Leslie’s troop of Horse Artillery was ordered to move forward and endeavour to rake the nullah, the 9th Light Cavalry and Poonah Horse advancing in line, on the left of the Artillery, which was supported on the right by her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment, the latter being, however, at first considerably retired to admit of the oblique fire of Leslie’s troop. The whole of the Artillery now opened upon the enemy’s position, and the British line advanced in echelon from the left, her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment leading the attack.
The enemy was now perceived to move from his centre in considerable bodies to his left, apparently retreating, unable to sustain the cross-fire of the British artillery; on seeing which Major Stack, at the head of the 3rd Cavalry, under command of Captain Delamain, and the Scinde Horse, under command of Captain Jacob, made a brilliant charge upon the enemy’s left flank, crossing the nullah and cutting down the retreating enemy for several miles. While this was passing on the right, Her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment, gallantly led by Major Poole, who commanded the brigade, and Capt George, who commanded the corps, attacked the nullah on the left with great gallantry, and, I regret to add, with considerable loss. This brave battalion marched up to the nullah under a heavy fire of matchlocks, without returning a shot till within 40 paces of the intrenchment [sic], and then stormed it like British soldiers. The intrepid Lieutenant Coote first mounted the rampart, seized one of the enemy’s standards, and was severely wounded while waving it and cheering on his men. Meanwhile the Poonah Horse, under Captain Tait, and the 9th Cavalry, under Major Story, turned the enemy’s right flank, pursuing and cutting down the fugitives for several miles. Her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment was well supported by the batteries commanded by Captains Willoughby and Hutt, which crossed their fire with that of Major Leslie. Then came the 2nd brigade under command of Major Woodburn, bearing down into action with excellent coolness. It consisted of the 25th, 21st, and 12th Regiments, under the command of Captains Jackson, Stephens, and Fisher, respectively. These regiments were strongly sustained by the fire of Captain Whitley’s battery, on the right of which were the 8th and 1st Regiments, under Majors Browne and Clibborn; these two corps advanced with the regularity of a review up to the intrenchments [sic], their commanders, with considerable exertion, stopping their fire, on seeing that a portion of the Scinde Horse and 3rd Cavalry in charging the enemy had got in front of the brigade. The battle was decided by the troop of Horse Artillery and her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment.
To Lieutenant-Colonel Pattle, as second in command, I am indebted, for his zealous activity and readiness to execute any duties confided to his charge.
To my personal staff, and to the general staff of division, thanks are due for their zealous assistance.
I beg to recommend my acting aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Thompson, to your Lordship’s protection.
The long experience of my military secretary, Major McPherson, was of much assistance to me in the field.
To my extra aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Brown, I have also to return best thanks, especially for his assistance in examining the position of the enemy.
Captain Tucker, Lieutenants Rathbourne, Hill, North, and Battersby, all did good service in the fight.
To Lieutenant Pelly, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, I am indebted for his zealous exertions in that department.
Of Lieutenant McMurdo’s abilities, as Acting Assistant Quartermaster-General, cannot speak too highly, and regret to say has received a sabre wound from a Beloochee, the third that he cut down in single combat during the day.
To Major Lloyd, who commanded the artillery, the service is indebted for the arrangements made for that arm, ably seconded by Major Leslie, Captains Willoughby, Whitley [sic] and Hutt.
To the commanders of brigades and regiments, and officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, under their command, I have to return my thanks for their valiant bearing in the action.
Major Waddington rendered me the most important aid in examining the enemy’s position with that courage which he possesses in so eminent a degree; nor must I omit the labours of Captain Henderson and Lieutenants Outlaw and Boileau with their hardy little band of Sappers, whose labours enabled the heavy 8-inch howitzers to come up into action.
To Captain Blenkins the service is indebted for the ablest arrangements in the commissariat department.
The exertions of the officers of the medical department, under Inspecting Surgeon Bell, were very laudable.
Lieutenant Leeson well arranged the baggage close up to the line, and merits thanks; for the duty of baggage master, with an Indian army, is Herculean. I will not close the list those to whom I am indebted without mentioning that brave and indefatigable Arab gentleman, Aly Ackbar, to whose ability and activity I am much indebted.
Many, my Lord, have been the acts of individual valour performed by officers and private soldiers (both European and native), and the account of them shall hereafter be laid before your Lordship. The Beloochee infantry and artillery fought well, their cavalry made no stand and 5,000 disciplined soldiers were not to be long resisted by a barbarian force, even though that force were nearly five to one.
From the accounts which have come in since writing the above, there is reason to believe that the loss of the enemy has been very great. About 500 bodies have been counted upon the field of battle, and it is said that the neighbouring villages are filled with dead and wounded men. Eleven pieces of cannon were taken in position on the nullah, and 17 standards.
It gives me great satisfaction to say, that some prisoners have been taken, and though the number is small, it is still some advance towards a civilized mode of warfare; for I cannot help thinking that the desperate resistance generally made by wounded Beloochees has arisen from their own system of warfare, which admits of no quarter being given in action.
We are at present employed in collecting the wounded Beloochees within our reach, in order to render them medical assistance.
I have deeply to regret the loss of the brave and excellent Captain Garrett, of the 9th Light Cavalry, who fell honourably in the battle; and also the fall of Lieutenant Smith, of the Bombay Artillery. With unsurpassed and desperate valour he galloped in front of his battery, and rode up upon the top of the nullah (filled with enemies) to see where his guns could hear with greatest effect. Here this hero fell. Many of the Scindian people (who are all in great delight at the destruction of their Beloochee oppressors) have come into camp from different parts, and bring assurances that the Beloochee force is wholly dispersed, and that Meer Shere Mohamed has fled into the desert with his family and about 40 followers; but as Emaun Ghur has been destroyed, the heat will soon force him to quit this temporary refuge, where there is no protection from the sun. He will, therefore, probably endeavour to reach Moultan. I have written to his highness Ali Morad to arrest his progress in that direction, if possible, and to make him prisoner.
Three Beloochee chiefs fell in the action; one of them was the great promoter of the war, Hoche Mahomed Seedee; and I have every reason to believe that not another shot will be fired in Scinde.
I have &c.,
(Signed) C. J. NAPIER,
Commanding in Scinde and Beloochistan.
Casualty Roll of Killed and Wounded in Action near Hyderabad, 24th March 1843.
The following is a list of our casualties, and guns taken from the enemy:
1st Troop Bombay Horse Artillery. 1 lieutenant killed, 3 troopers wounded.
2nd Company, 1st Battalion Foot Artillery. No casualties.
2nd Company, 2nd Battalion Foot Artillery. 1 camel killed, and 2 wounded.
3rd Company, Golundauze. 1 lieutenant, 1 syce, and 1 horse wounded.
3rd Regiment Bombay Light Cavalry. 1 trooper killed, and 9 wounded; 3 horses killed, and 12 wounded.
9th Regiment Bengal Light Cavalry. 1 captain killed; 3 troopers, 1 syce, and 9 horses wounded.
Poonah Horse. 3 troopers killed; 1 lieutenant, and 17 troopers wounded; 7 horses killed, and 8 wounded.
Scinde Horse. 1 trumpeter and 17 troopers wounded; 13 horses killed.
Civil [sic - C] Company Madras Sappers. 1 private wounded.
Her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment. 23 rank and file killed; 4 lieutenants, 1 ensign, 6 sergeants, 2 drummers, and 111 rank and file wounded.
1st Grenadier Regiment Bombay Native Infantry. 2 sepoys killed, and 1 wounded.
8th Regiment Native Infantry. 1 sepoy wounded.
12th Regiment Native Infantry.1 sepoy killed, and 1 wounded
21st Regiment Native Infantry. 1 drummer, and 3 sepoys killed; 2 lieutenants, 1 subedar, 1 jemedar, 1 havildar, and 21 sepoys wounded.
25th Regiment Native Infantry. 3 sepoys killed; 3 jemadars, 3 havildars, and 16 sepoys wounded.
Staff. 1 lieutenant wounded.
Total killed 39; wounded 231; grand total of casualties 270. Horses killed 23; wounded 30. Camels killed 1; wounded 2.
Names of Officers Killed and Wounded.
1st Troop Horse Artillery. Lieut. J. C. Smith, killed;
3rd Company, Golundauze. Lieut. J. C. Pownall, wounded slightly.
9th Regiment Light Cavalry. Captain C. Garrett, killed.
Poona Horse. Lieutenant Tait, wounded slightly.
H. M. 22nd Regiment. Lieutenants Chute, Coote, Evans, Brenan and Ensign Pennefather, wounded.
21st Regiment Native Infantry. Lieutenant Burr, severely wounded, and Lieutenant Wilkinson, slightly.
Staff. Lieutenant McMurdo, Acting Assistant Quartermaster-General, wounded.
(Signed) H. J. Pelly, Lieut.,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
(Signed) C. J. Napier, Major General,
Commanding in Scinde and Beloochistan.
Return of Ordnance Captured in the Engagement near Hyderabad on 24th March, 1843.
The guns are numbered from left to right, as they were placed in position. The whole of the iron ones are very inferior; uneven in bore, and much corroded; the carriages have been repaired only lately and are all fitted with elevating screws. All are now loaded
No. 1, iron gun, 3 inches and 7/10ths.
No. 2, iron gun 4 inches and 6/10ths.
No. 3, iron gun, 3 inches 7/10ths.
No. 4, iron gun, 2 inches 8/10ths.
No. 5, iron gun, 2 inches, a date of 1792, of European manufacture.
No. 6, iron gun, 2 inches and 9/10ths.
No. 7, brass gun, 2 inches and 7/10ths, in good order.
No. 8, brass gun, 2 inches and 7/10ths, in good order.
No. 9, iron gun, 2 inches and 2/10ths, apparently of the same date and manufacture as No. 5. No. 10, iron gun, 2 inches and 8/10ths, carriage superior to any of the enemy’s.
No. 11, brass gun, 3 inches and 3/10ths, nearly six feet in length.
(Signed) J. Lloyd, Major,
(True Copy.) (Signed) H. J. Pelly, Lieut.
Return of Standards taken from the Enemy on 24th March, 1843.
Her Majesty’s 22nd Regiment. Lieut. Coote, captured first standard. Lieu. Powell, captured a standard. Privates J. Doherty, C. Lynan, E. Jobin, J. McCarlin, J. Walmsly, G. Roberts, E. Watson, and J. Oakly shot the defenders and captured the standards. Privates S. Cowen, S. Alder, and G. Brandbury captured standards. Corporal Tim Kelly shot the defender and captured a silver knobbed standard. 25th Regiment Native Infantry captured two standards. 8th Regiment Native Infantry captured one standard and took two prisoners. 21st Regiment Native Infantry captured two standards and took one prisoner.
(Signed) C. J. Napier, Major-General,
Commanding in Scinde and Beloochistan.
(Signed) H. J. Pelly,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Scinde and Beloochistan.