7A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi: With An Account Of The by Charles John Griffiths

By Charles John Griffiths

EDITED by means of HENRY JOHN YONGE

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At length, from sheer exhaustion, the combat came to an end, and, sitting on our beds panting from fatigue, and overcome by the heat of the night, we discussed the incidents of the fight. Some of the senior officers seemed at first inclined to treat the attack as something more than a joke, and threatened to report us to the Colonel. We pointed out to them that such a proceeding would be absurd, for had they not also compromised themselves by joining in the fray? It was not long, however, before they were struck with the grand ridiculousness of this very strange episode; and the question at issue, as may naturally be supposed, ended in laughter.

On this two sepoys were to be hanged, and at the same time their comrades in mutiny were to be blown away from guns. We paraded at daylight every man off duty, and, with the band playing, marched to the place of execution, and drew up in line near the gallows and opposite the native quarter. Shortly after our arrival the European Light Field Battery, of six guns, appeared on the scene, forming up on our left flank, and about twenty yards in front of the Light Company. The morning was close and sultry, not a cloud in the sky, and not a breath of wind stirring; and I confess I felt sick with a suffocating sense of horror when I reflected on the terrible sight I was about to witness.

The English church, we afterwards heard, was first fired, then the Roman Catholic chapel, our mess-house, and nineteen other bungalows. The sepoys, mostly of the 45th Native Infantry, attended by dozens of badmashes, marched unchallenged through the station with lighted torches fixed on long bamboo poles, with which they set fire to the thatched roofs of the various houses. All night long we lay by our arms, watching the destruction of our property, and thankful only that the wives and children of our officers and men were safe under our care, and not exposed to the fury of the wretches engaged in their fiendish work.

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