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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Tantia Topi had come again to the front


[Sidenote:

The Princess of Jhansi]

[Sidenote: An Amazon's death]

The mutineers had seized Gwalior, the capital of the Maharajah Scindia, who escaped to Agra. The English had to attack the rebels, retake Gwalior and restore Scindia. One of those who fought to the last on the mutineers' side was the Ranee, or Princess of Jhansi, whose territory had been one of the British annexations. She had flung all her energies into the rebellion. She took the field with Nana Sahib and Tantia Topi. For months after the fall of Delhi she contrived to baffle Sir Hugh Rose and the English. She led squadrons in the field. She fought with her own hand. She was foremost in the battle for the possession of Gwalior. In the garb of a horseman she led charge after charge, and she was killed among those who resisted to the last. Her body was found upon the field, scarred with wounds enough to have done credit to any hero. Sir Hugh Rose paid her a well-deserved tribute when he wrote: "The best man upon the side of the enemy was the woman found dead, the Ranee of Jhansi."

[Sidenote: Relief of Lucknow]

Lucknow was still beleaguered. Late in September, Havelock had prepared for a second attempt to relieve that place. Sir Colin Campbell had reached Calcutta as Commander-in-Chief. Sir James Outram had come to Allahabad on September 16. He joined Havelock with 1,400 men. With generous

chivalry the "Bayard of India" waived his rank in honor of Havelock. "To you shall be left the glory of relieving Lucknow," he wrote. "I shall accompany you, placing my military service at your disposal, as a volunteer." On September 20, Havelock crossed the Granges into Oude with 2,500 men. Having twice defeated the enemy, on September 25 he cut his way through the streets of Lucknow. Late in the day he entered the British cantonments. The defence of the Residency at Lucknow was a glorious episode in British annals. It has been sung in immortal strains by Alfred Tennyson. The fortitude of the garrison was surpassed only by the self-sacrificing conduct of the women who nursed the wounded and cared for all. They received the thanks of Queen Victoria for their heroic devotion. For four months the garrison had watched for the succor which came at last. The surrounding city remained for two months longer in rebel hands. In November, Sir Colin Campbell with 2,000 men took charge of the intrenchments at Cawnpore, and then advanced against Lucknow with 5,000 men and thirty guns. He defeated the enemy and carried away the beleaguered garrison with all the women and children.

[Sidenote: Cawnpore rises again]

[Sidenote: Death of Havelock]

Still the British were unable to disperse the rebels and reoccupy the city. Sir Colin Campbell left Outram with 4,000 men near Lucknow. He himself returned to Cawnpore. On approaching that city he heard the roll of a distant cannonade. Tantia Topi had come again to the front. He had persuaded the Gwalior contingent to break out in mutiny and march against Cawnpore. General Windham resisted his advance. The whole city was in the hands of the rebel Sepoys, but the bridge of boats over the Ganges was saved to the British. Sir Colin Campbell marched over it, and in safety reached the intrenchment in which Windham was shut up. He routed the Gwalior rebels and drove them out of Cawnpore. General Havelock the day after he left Lucknow succumbed to dysentery. Throughout the British Empire there was universal sorrow that will never be forgotten so long as men recall the memory of the mutinies of Fifty-seven. Havelock's victories had aroused the drooping spirits of the British nation.

[Sidenote: Aftermath of the Mutiny]


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