12 JULY

VICTORIOUS BRITISH TROOPS TAKE NO PRISONERS

Statue in London’s Trafalgar Square inscribed ‘To Major General Sir Henry Havelock, KCB, and his brave companions in arms during the campaign in India, 1857.’ Photo by ‘Peter from Lincoln’ – CC License – via Wikimedia Commons.

[ 12 July 1857 ]

On this day in 1857, hundreds of Indian mutineers, including many seriously wounded, were denied any possibility of surrender after loosing the battle of Fatehpur. They were shot or bayoneted by the victorious British redcoats under the command of Brigadier-General Sir Henry Havelock.  The historian Saul David notes that, ‘as would become common British practice during the mutiny, his men took no prisoners.’1

The Morning Chronicle cited a letter from a non-commissioned officer relating how, as the insurgents fled from the field of battle, ‘we cut the rebels up fearfully, and might have done still greater execution, if we had any cavalry that could be relied on.’2 Over thirty years later, Captain Francis Maude of the Royal Artillery, still remembered how he ‘saw a Fusilier go up to (a wounded rebel soldier) .. with his rifle cocked. The poor creature joined his hands together, crying piteously “Aman! Aman! (Pardon!),”… I added an entreaty that a wounded man should not be shot. But (Captain Stuart) Beatson overruled me, saying sternly that there would be “no mercy shown in that campaign.” Accordingly the fusilier promptly blew the man’s brains out.’3

FOOTNOTES

  1. Saul David, Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire, Penguin Books, London, 2007, p. 312.
  2. ‘The Battle of Futtehpore,’ The Morning Chronicle, 17 September 1857, p. 5.
  3. Francis Cornwallis Maude, Memories of the Mutiny, Volume 1, Remington and Company, London, 1894, p. 45 accessed online at url https://archive.org/stream/memoriesmutiny01shergoog/memoriesmutiny01shergoog_djvu.txt

Please feel welcome to post comments below.  If you have any questions please email alisdare@gmail.com

© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.