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A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi by Griffiths

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A NARRATIVE OF THE SIEGE OF DELHI WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE MUTINY AT FEROZEPORE IN 1857

BY CHARLES JOHN GRIFFITHS LATE CAPTAIN 61ST REGIMENT

EDITED BY HENRY JOHN YONGE LATE CAPTAIN 61ST REGIMENT

WITH PLANS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W. 1910

INTRODUCTION

The ever memorable period in the history of our Eastern Empire known as the Great Indian Rebellion or Mutiny of the Bengal army was an epoch fraught with the most momentous consequences, and one which resulted in covering with undying fame those who bore part in its suppression. The passions aroused during the struggle, the fierce hate animating the breasts of the combatants, the deadly incidents of the strife, which without intermission lasted for nearly two years, and deluged with blood the plains and cities of Hindostan, have scarcely a parallel in history. On the one side religious fanaticism, when Hindoo and Mohammedan, restraining the bitter animosity of their rival creeds, united together in the attempt to drive out of their common country that race which for one hundred years had dominated and held the overlordship of the greater portion of India. On the other side, a small band of Englishmen, a few thousand white men among millions of Asiatics, stood shoulder to shoulder, calm, fearless, determined, ready to brave the onslaught of their enemies, to maintain with undiminished lustre the proud deeds of their ancestors, and to a man resolved to conquer or to die.

Who can recount the numberless acts of heroism, the hairbreadth escapes, the anxious days and nights passed by our gallant countrymen, who, few in number, and isolated from their comrades, stood at bay in different parts of the land surrounded by hundreds of pitiless miscreants, tigers in human shape thirsting for their blood? And can pen describe the nameless horrors of the time--gently nurtured ladies outraged and slain before the eyes of their husbands, children and helpless infants slaughtered--a very Golgotha of butchery, as all know who have read of the Well of Cawnpore?

The first months of the rebellion were a fight for dear life, a constant struggle to avert entire annihilation, for to all who were there it seemed as though no power on earth could save them. But Providence willed it otherwise, and after the full extent of the danger was realized, gloomy forebodings gave way to stern endeavours. Men arose, great in council and in the field, statesmen and warriors--Lawrence, Montgomery, Nicholson, Hodson, and many others. The crisis brought to the front numbers of daring spirits, full of energy and resource, of indomitable resolution and courage, men who from the beginning saw the magnitude of the task set before them, and with calm judgment faced the inevitable. These were they who saved our Indian Empire, and who, by the direction of their great organized armies, brought those who but a few years before had been our mortal enemies to fight cheerfully on our side, and, carrying to a successful termination the leaguer of Delhi, stemmed the tide of the rebellion, and broke the backbone of the Mutiny.


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