5. SICKNESS, AND LEAVE IN LUCKNOW AND CAWNPORE
During the hot season of this year 1861, I was very unwell and in June was
granted a fortnight's exclusion from duty and permission to stay at the Fort
of Raj Ghant which commands the bridge of boats, (there being no bridge across
the Ganges at Benares) and the highway for traffic. This fort so called
stands on an eminence partly natural and partly artificial and is composed
of earth. Its position is on the Benares side of the river adjoining
the public Ghant, where passengers and others pass over the river and which
at this point is of considerable width; as a place for defence it is but nominal
but as a preventative to the passage of the river answers well, and in the
hands of British troops would secure that route in the event of another outbreak.
On taking to my duties again a few days after the expiration of my short leave I was attacked on 18 June with a severe illness and by the recommendation of the Medical Officer obtained privilege leave for a month to visit Lucknow thinking that a change would do me good.
28 June 1861. This evening I started by Dak Gharry with my servant Benjamin for Allahabad distant abmit 75 miles, and during my night's travel caught a severe cold terminating into bowel complaint and dysentery.
1 July. Finding myself no better of my complaint I took rail at ¼ to 9 pm for Cawnpore arriving there at 3 am the next day where I put up at Noor Mahomed's Hotel near by to the Well of Cawnpore but as my dysentery instead of leaving me become more troublesome I could not at this time visit the places I wished.
6 July 1861. Everyday since I came to Cawnpore I grew worse and worse until this morning when I was seized with cholera, losing as I did my speech and completely prostrated with cramps in every limb and parts of body. Luckily as it happened at the time I was attacked a gentleman saw me and judging my case to be what in reality it was, succeeded in baffling its worst energies till the arrival of three medical men. To describe my feelings and the excruciating agonies I was in would fill a volume. However, by their timely assistance the cholera received a check and I my life for in a certain sense it was gone for a time.
10 July. Able to get up and take a short stroll tho' I felt excessively weak and was soon tired.
11th July. Being uneasy to get away from Cawnpore where the cholera had taken off several Europeans during the last few days I determined to go on to Lucknow, so ordering a Dak Gharry I proceeded in the evening over the river by a bridge of boats at the same spot and road where Havelocks troops marched in 1857 and at which Ghant the Nana's sepoys fired upon Wheeler's garrison who had been permitted to go by boat down the river to Allahabad.
12th July. Early this morning I passed the noted Alun Bagh a short distance from Lucknow but did not stay being anxious to take up quarters as the weather was too hot to be exposed to its influence especially in my weak state.
Arriving in Lucknow 7 am I put up (intending only for a time) at Mitter Sicar & Co, Lal Baugh, tho' I cannot say I was comfortable owing to the dampness of the house (one storey high) and the smallness of the rooms yet one of the cheapest about, their list being as near as I can remember as follows:-
|For board & room, per day
(not including liquor)
|County bottled beer each||1||0||0|
|Small glass of brandy||"||8||0|
|Soda water per bottle||"||5||0|
|Cheroots per bundle||"||8||0|
|Wine glass of sherry or port||"||8||0|
|Dinner for one (no liquor)||2||8||0|
|Tiffin (hot) (ditto)||1||8||0|
|Tiffin (cold) (ditto)||1||0||0|
17th July. Could not move out today in consequence of heavy fall of
rain. From this date till my leaving Lucknow viz. 22nd July I availed
every opportunity I could to get out and visit the various places so noted
during the recent mutiny, and as my old complaint had entirely left me I was
able to enjoy myself tho' not at all times free from headache, full and throbbing
at my temples from exposure to the rays of a July sun in India - yet never
daunted and as I wanted to make the best use of my time I took every fair moment
to see all I could and to satisfy my curiosity.
Lucknow at the time I visited it was undergoing a change i.e. the part around King's Palace to the Residency etc where mostly the mutiny was carried on to excess by the removal of old buildings, native huts etc enlarging the spaces, and making new roads in fact having its aspect renewed to a different description to what it formerly bore.
The country around excepting in the direction of Dilkhoosah and on the south side of the Gomlee river (or rather muddy stream) lays level and in general bears a verdant aspect more desirable than its sister side of the Ganges Cawnpore - the roads and drives being more acceptable to pedestrians and horsemen, the latter being through pleasant and well laid out plots of ground. The air too is more congenial and bracing tho' the weather in summer is hot - consequent of the flatness of the land for miles. 'Ere approaching the City from Cawnpore the roads and great portions of ground generally become covered with water when the rainy season sets in oftentimes to the inconvenience of traffic and travelling.
With regard to the principal features of attraction that Lucknow bears are the following and which have become noted because of their position in affairs of the great rebellion which took place in l857, 1858 and 1859.
First of all, the Residency stands prior, tho' at the present its appearance is much altered to what it was during the siege, much labor having been spent upon it to encircle the whole with earthen fortifications or embankments so as to preserve its interior. There stands yet the large gate pierced and battered as it is by all kinds of missiles, too as well the Residency where Sir H Lawrence took his life tho' the building is in a fallen and dilapidated condition resembling several others within the precincts of the besieged space; at a short distance from the Residency building a piece of ground encircled by a substantial wall closes the remains of many of the noble defenders over whom may be observed individual monuments executed with appropriate taste, here lay side by side near to the entrance the dust of General Neil, Major Banks, and Sir H Lawrence, the inscription on the latter being 11Here lieth Henry Lawrence".
After viewing the various spots of interest within the ramparts I bethoughit of the Muchee Bhawan, a small fort between the City and the Residency and close by the iron bridge which crosses the Gomlee but as this was not of very much interest I strayed along the route by the river's bank where Havelock's force made their way to the beleagued garrison thence in a straight line to Secunder Bagh and on to the Martiniere and Dilkhoosah, the latter being the site chosen by Sir Colon Campbell as his headquarters owing to its elevated and admirable position. The principal objects of note from the Residency in this direction along the bank of the river are the Furhud Bax (or Throne Room), the Post Office, the Library, the Chuttaih Mungil and several other buildings all of which were used more or less by Havelock's force when cooped up till the arrival of Sir C Campbell.
Emerging out of this road lays a large and neatly arranged piece of ground covered with a fine carpet of green short grass, giving it a miniature resemblance to a park fenced in as it is by posts and chains or iron rods and which is now apparently used by the people for pleasure walks. At the end of this road or nearly so but on the right hand side, stands the Palace of the King of Oude, commonly called the Kaiser Bagh, much battered and destroyed, and at the north entrance to the grounds the two high domed shaped buildings known as the tombs of Sadut Ali Khan and of his wife "Marshid Zadie11 these two bearing their share of bullet and shell marks as did also the walls of the interior of the whole design. About here the rebels had thrown up immense earthworks etc but are now demolished and partly levelled. Nigh to these tombs but on the opposite side of the roadway stands a solitary gate or archway bearing on the top a small figure intended no doubt for Colonel Neil who was killed beneath the arch and as I passed along same to the Chinese Bazaar, thence taking a turn to my left passed along the east end of the grounds alluded to heretofore and the following buildings of rebellious interest presented themselves to my view. First the Tarawalla Kothie, or observatory where the infamous Pundit-Priest held his court and who encouraged the Ex Queen of Oude In her rebellious movements. Between this place Tarawalla Kothie and the Kaiser Bagh on one portion of the green maidan stands a small memorial to the memory of the following persons who were so wickedly murdered at about the time when relief was near at hand: SIr M Jackson, Miss Jackson, Captain Orr, Lieut Burns, Mrs Green, Mr Rogers and some few others.
Next the Koorshed Munzil, a messhouse of H.M. 32nd Foot , the cantonments for the soldiers lying further away to the back and in a line with he Shah Nujuf. Close to the Koorshed Munzil and only separated by the road leading over a small stone bridge on the banks of the Gomlee are enclosed a cluster of buildings commonly called Motee Muhul tho' each separate building has its own name as follows:
1st the Motee Mohul, the 2nd Mobaruk Munzil and the third Shah Munzil the enclosure of this last being formerly used by the King and his attendants as a place for combats between wild beasts, excepting such as between the Elephants and Rhinoceroses, these latter taking place on the opposite side, and midway in the river, the King etc contenting themselves with a view of the fight from the verandah of their building.
Next to this site, distant some 300 yards is another construction of masonry encased within a square and high wall bearing the name of Shah Nujuf, meaning the tomb of the first King of Oude. Outwardly its appearance is not attractive tho' it may be sacred to the natives in these parts. Adjoining this but on the East side there is an artificial mound of earth, and on the top a small building being as it is a place of worship for the Mahomedans and which they say bears within its interior a stone upon which the Prophet has impressed his foot. By some mistake or other it appears that during the mutiny some person carried away this stone and whether the thief has ever been found out is a query I never ascertained. This structure bears the appellation of Kudum Rusool and does not attract the visitor otherwise than with a notion of its significance.
Passing away from this monument of corruption in religious matters the Secunder Bagh (or Queen's pleasure garden) presents itself to the eye at a short distance away but on the banks of the Gomlee. This place is noted from the fact of its being chosen as a standing place (or defence) against the advance of Sir Colon Campbell covering as it did the left flank of the rebels' position; the site has no particular appearance otherwise than being a square with a high masonry wall built in a square form to hide from view and to protect its interior laid out as it appeared in the form of a resort for such as it was intended the entrance to which being through large double folding gates.
On the advance of Sir Colon's army this place and nearby was defended by the rebels in force and as they were beaten back at every step retreated till at last they found no other place of security than within the walls tho' from which there could be no egress but by facing the British through the gateway. On Sir Colon finding that they had thus entrapped themselves, invested the whole, and after forming a breach directed two Regiments to enter and put to death all the enemy. Long and frightful was the carnage and yet when over 3000 dead Sepoys were counted and dragged out to be thrown into a pit dug for their reception, the few of the British who fell being interred more respectably.
After viewing this interesting vicinity and learning all I could from the many indentings on the walls, folding gates etc etc, made by the British Rifle and cannon I wended my way toward the Martiniere situated on the Gomlee and near to Dilkhoosah and as I did I stayed to examine or read the inscriptions on two tomb stones that stood within a small square walled enclosure on the roadside, the one being to the memory of Major Hodson of Hodson's Horse, the person who at the siege of Delhi captured the King and shot his two sons. Within this small plot of land the body of this man is mouldering into dust, having been buried in the roadside when he died of his wound received at Lucknow. With regard to the other individual I took no note of and therefore do not know who he was.
The Martinere so called after its founder is a semi circular building with pillars and steps and is ornamented on the top with various human figures. The building is white and like all Indian architecture is plastered. The origin of this building was for a school, and at present is such for half caste children of respectability. In front of the building towering high towards the stars of heaven may be seen a monumental shaped design, but for what purpose I know not. Not far from hence in a southerly direction is the noted Dilkhoosah and as we pass along away from the Gomlee come upon the new cantonments where the officers of the 23 Foot as well as others of Corps stationed there had to build their own houses or bide out in a tent during all sorts of weathers, there being no bungalows anywhere near the place.
Having now gone this round I wished to know a little about the Alum Bagh. This insignificant looking place occupies a space of ground on both sides the high road from Cawnpore - in fact the road goes through or between and its situation is near to the City of Lucknow and in easy communication with Dilkhoosah to the right, tho' lying low and on level ground and unprotected by any natural obstacle. It is a wonder how so few British Troops under Sir James Outram could hold out against the hordes of rebel soldiers and keep open the high road. Originally this place is for travellers or traffic to rest on their journey and is nothing else but a square walled enclosure cut through or divided by the road. When seized upon by the British its walls were immediately banked up outside to protect them from shot and outwork with trenches erected to make the place more tenable. Within the space on the East side of the road Havelock lies, and a small memorial marks the spot.
22 July 1861. My month's leave being now nearly expended I went and called on Pay Mr Young and Drum Mr McDonald of the 23rd Fusiliers and in the evening left Lucknow and by Horse Dak for Cawnpore paying 29 Rupees for myself and for Benjamin Total £3.12.0 for 210 miles. These Dak horses are changed every 5 miles only one being used at a time and the whole distance of 5 miles done in a gallop, the Gharry resembling a high and square box placed on 4 wheels with a seat in front like a cab for the driver; inside the traveller makes down his bed and lays at full length, there being a cross board placed in the middle to enable him to do so, while his luggage and servant mounts the top of the vehicle in question. At every stage of 5 miles stand a team of horse flesh, not at places as in England but on the high road with scarcely any shelter and a couple of natives half clad to look after them. When a Gharry arrives the trembling, half famished, broken winded, and miserable creature, teeming in perspiration and lather is unloosened and another facsimile change places, as well the harness (such as it is) for the next 5 miles (or Dookoss as is termed) the dirty, almost naked and untutored syce, keeping company with the driver during this stage so as to walk back his horse from whence he came when it is his turn for harness.
12 July 1861. Early this morning my Dhak entered Cawnpore by the bridge of boats and I put up at my old hotel, Noor Mahomed's; tho' I had not much time to spare yet I determined to see what I could of this place and hiring a Palkee for the day started off to Wheeler's entrenchments. On arriving there only some few traces of his position could be seen, tho' enough to shew that from the low flat level and the absence of natural defences, his hurried and untimely one was the best he could think of, yet could not be of long duration. The house where the infamous Nana Sahib held his headquarters stands about 1 ¼ mile away and has a reddish appearance situated not far from the railway station and among some trees, not a vestige of which appeared near Wheeler's defences. Close by the works of Wheeler's but on to the opposite side of the road the Government have built extensive Barracks for Europeans which in my humble belief are not adapted much for comfort and what is necessary for a soldier iii India.
From hence I departed to the site of the Well opposite to the Assembly rooms and not far from my hotel adjacent to it as it was the Fort (earthwork) that defended the Ghant or passage of the river to the Lucknow side. At the time I saw the spot no memorial church had then been erected and the only indication of where the remains of Nana's butchery lay entombed was a small mound of a circular form with 2 small cross shaped tablets as subjoined thrown down at its base, the inscription on both being much the same as each other excepting one was to the memory of the murdered women and children of 32nd Regt while that of the other was to them of the Artillery.
All around here were many indications of the recent mutiny by demolished buildings etc. tho' the movements of the native community were such as if none had ever occurred.
With regard to the situation of Cawnpore it rests upon level ground, is generally very dirty during the monsoons and extremely hot and sultry as well unhealthy.
Wishing to stay no longer than I could help in these parts I with my servant took rail for Allahabad in the evening and arrived there at 3 o'clock in the morning of 24 July 1861 and put up for the day at an hotel near the railway station. At Allahabad there are two stations one for passengers and the other near the Fort for luggage. Of all the places in India Allahabad is one equal to the rest as regards heat, situated upon a plain. Here is nothing that would cause a medium, the glare of the sun's reflection from the white dusty roads being beyond belief while the vaporious heat arising from the scorched land is sufficient to accelerate frequent attacks of sunstroke and apoplexy. Tho' Allahabad is extensive, well laid out, and possesses good accommodation for Europeans, in respect to residences, yet it is not a place where many desire to spend their existence as the heat especially during the hot season is over-bearable being as it also is much subjected to repetition of cholera and suchlike unwelcomed visitors. Here on the banks of the Ganges and near to the Ghant stands an extensive fort and is a Military Arsenal, the cantonments are situated at a good distance beyond the Fort where the buildings are anything but adapted for the health of the soldiers. Here too no bridge spans the river but to make up for this inconvenience one constructed of good sized native boats connected together and overlaid by planks afford to the traveller and traffic convenience to pass i.e. when the river is not too much swollen by rains and the stream too rapid. Such being the case the bridge is removed and the traveller then conveyed as well the ordinary traffic from one bank to the other by means of native ferries.
Not wishing to stay longer than eventide I ordered my gharry and started for Benares, and on reaching the ghant found the bridge gone, the consequence being that I was obliged to be ferried over and my gharry as well, another horse being in readiness on the other side to take me to my destination.
25 July 1861. Reached Benares this afternoon and dined with Captain and Mrs Palmer - and on the next day resumed my duties.