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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Jhansi and Cawnpore the mutiny was of political importance


The Indian mutiny]

The mutiny became a revolt. The rebellious Sepoys marched on Delhi. When the rebel troops came up from Meerut the English officers prepared to meet them. Their Sepoys joined the mutineers. The revolt spread throughout Delhi. In despair, Willoughby blew up the fort with 1,500 rebels who were assaulting it. Only four of his command escaped. Willoughby himself died six weeks afterward, while India and Europe were ringing with his name. Fifty Englishmen whom the rebels had captured were butchered in cold blood. Delhi on Monday evening was in rebel hands. The remaining officers on the Ridge fled for their lives. Their subsequent suffering was one of the harrowing features of the great convulsion. The revolution at Delhi opened Lord Canning's eyes. He telegraphed for regiments from Bombay, Burma, Madras and Ceylon.

[Sidenote: Lahore mutineers foiled]

On May 11, the news of the outbreak at Meerut was brought to the authorities at Lahore. Meean Meer is a large military cantonment five or six miles from Lahore, and there were then some four thousand native troops there, with only about thirteen hundred Europeans of the Queen's and the Company's service. There was no time to be lost. A parade was ordered on the morrow at Meean Meer. On the parade-ground an order was given for a military movement which brought the heads of four columns of the native troops in front

of twelve guns charged with grape, the artillerymen with their port-fires lighted, and the soldiers of one of the Queen's regiments standing behind with loaded muskets. A command was given to the Sepoys to stack arms. Cowed, they piled their arms, which were borne away at once in carts by the European soldiers. All chances of a rebellious movement were over for the moment in the Punjab.

[Sidenote: Situation at Lucknow]

[Sidenote: Massacre of Jhansi]

At three stations--Lucknow, Jhansi and Cawnpore--the mutiny was of political importance. The city of Lucknow, the capital of Oude, extended four miles along the right bank of the river Goomti. The British Residency and other principal buildings were between the city and the river. The Residency was a walled inclosure, and near it stood a castellated structure, the Muchi Bowun. Since the affair of May 3, Sir Henry Lawrence had been making preparations for a defence in case of insurrection. The native force consisted of three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, all Sepoys, and there was a European force of 570 men with sixty artillerymen. Lawrence brought all the European non-combatants within the Residency walls, and established a strong post between the Residency and the Muchi Bowun to command the two bridges which led to the cantonments. The outbreak began on May 30, when the insurgents rushed to the bridges, and, being repulsed by Lawrence, made off to Delhi. At Jhansi, the garrison of fifty-five men was butchered in cold blood.

[Sidenote: Defence of Cawnpore]

[Sidenote: Massacre of Cawnpore]

[Sidenote: Englishwomen spared]

At Cawnpore, on the Ganges, fifty-five miles southwest of Lucknow, the tragedy was even more terrible. Cawnpore had been in the possession of the English for more than fifty years. In May, sixty-one artillerymen and four Sepoy regiments were there. Sir Hugh Wheeler, the commandant, prepared for the coming storm. He took some old barracks and there quartered the white women, children

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