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caste of the soldiers handling them. The English officers were unable to convince the sepoys that this was a false report.
The spirit of discontent grew more and more marked, until several of the native regiments refused to receive these cartridges and broke into open mutiny at Meerut, a small station north of Delhi.
The mutiny spread in all directions, and nearly all the Bengal troops revolted. The struggle lasted more than a year, and all India was in a state of great excitement. The English knew not whom to trust.
The sepoys first turned against their British officers and shot them down. They then rushed toward Delhi and offered to restore to the throne the descendant of the Mogul emperors who, a pensioner of the British Government, was living quietly in the Great Palace.
On Sunday morning, May 11, 1857, the English residents of Delhi were aroused by the news, “ The sepoys have come in from Meerut, and are burning everything."
This was the beginning of the great mutiny. The fatal blow was struck; the native troops in Delhi joined the mutineers and sacked the town. Jails were thrown open, and the convicts were set free to aid in the work of destruction.
The infuriated natives killed English men, women, and children in the streets. The suddenness of the attack found the English unprepared to resist it. The garrison, only nine in number, could do almost nothing to defend the city against such odds, and, having blown
up the powder magazine, to deprive the sepoys of so much ammunition, the little band tried to escape.
The mutineers held the city until the following September, when the faithful Sikhs, with the small force of British troops that could be mustered for the siege, under command of the brave General Nicholson, compelled the surrender of the city.
It has been said that Delhi was taken, and India saved, by the personal character of Sir John Lawrence. As commander of the Punjab he had so inspired the natives with confidence that they never wavered from their allegiance.
The siege of Delhi was the most brilliant event of the mutiny. Here a mere handful of men, about thirty-seven hundred in number, encamped before the city and met the continued assaults of an army of rebels numbering as many as seventy-five thousand
Thirty times they were attacked by overwhelming numbers, and thirty times did they drive back the enemy behind their defenses.”
At last the day came when all was ready for the attack upon the city. Bags of powder were placed beneath the Cashmere Gate, and the fuses lighted by brave men. The troops were soon marching through the breach in the walls. After a fierce and deadly contest the rebels were routed, and the British flag was again floating above the walls of Delhi.
At Cawnpore the rebels, led by Nana Sahib, were enabled by treachery to gain, as they thought, a victory. The English residents at Cawnpore took refuge
within the fort which had been hastily made by the soldiers. For three weeks they suffered every privation, and then, trusting the promise of Nana Sahib to give them a safe retreat to Allahabad, they surrendered. The soldiers were marched to the river and embarked upon the boats.
the boats. The treacherous Nana then gave orders to his followers to open fire, and all but four of the Englishmen were slain.
The women and children, more than two hundred in number, were held as prisoners.' When it was known that English troops, sent to their rescue, were nearing Cawnpore, they were all cruelly murdered, and their bodies were thrown into a well. A beautiful stone inclosure has since been built around the well, and the spot is now visited by travelers, who find it difficult to believe, as they survey the quiet surroundings, that it was ever the scene of such a tragedy. Over the well stands a white marble angel with palms of victory in either hand, as a memorial to all who here were slain.
Although too late to save their friends at Cawnpore, the British troops, under General Havelock, pushed on to Lucknow (only forty miles from Cawnpore), with fear in their hearts that the same sad fate had befallen the English people in that city. It was with great rejoicing that they came in sight of the city and saw the British flag waving above the Residency, as their headquarters was called.
The city of Lucknow became the most famous of all the places affected by the mutiny. Here were gathered together within the walls of the Residency more than two thousand English people.
Through long and weary months the siege was continued. The English garrison, under command of Henry Lawrence, bravely resisted the attacks of more than fifty thousand rebels, until General Havelock
with his soldiers came to their assistance. The end was not wholly gained until a second and larger force under Sir Colin Campbell arrived, and the relief of Lucknow was made sure.
Among the many thrilling stories told of the siege of Lucknow is one of a Scotch girl, who, long before the English troops came to their relief, claimed she knew they were to be saved, because she could hear the bagpipes played by the Scotch Highlanders. No one else in the Residency heard any such sound, and it was thought the poor girl was becoming insane. But she still persisted that she could hear the notes of the wild slogan of Scotland.
Nearer and nearer it came, until, with unspeakable joy, all could distinguish, above the shot and shell of the enemy,
the welcome sound :
“Surely the pibroch of Europe is ringing again in our ears !
All on a sudden the garrison utter a jubilant shout, Havelock's glorious Highlanders answer with conquering cheers; Sick from the hospital echo them, women and children come
out, Blessing the wholesome white faces of Havelock's good fusileers, Kissing the war-hardened hand of the Highlander wet with their
The Sepoy Mutiny is not to be ranked among the great wars of history, but it added several names to the list of the world's greatest heroes. First among them is that of Sir John Lawrence, commander of the forces in the Punjab, and the real leader in crushing the mutiny. He afterwards became the viceroy of India.
The English garrison at Lucknow was commanded