Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ava.

1826. to Pagahm Mew, where the enemy had been concen

trating himself, and by a reconnaissance effected on the evening of the 8th, was discovered in force of not less than 16,000 men, strongly posted about five miles in advance of the village of Yesseah : part of the fugi. tives from Melloon having been rallied at that point, and there reinforced by fresh levies from Ava. On the 9th February Sir Archibald Campbell determined to attack the enemy, who after a severe struggle was entirely defeated, and the British obtained possession of Pagahm Mew.

Operations were at the same time carried on in Pegu under Col. Pepper. The force of that officer was intended to act simply on the defensive, but the frequent acts of devastation and pillage induced him to move from Pegu towards Shoegeen on the 23d December, which post he occupied without resistance. A severe reverse was however experienced on the 7th January 1826, by a detachment sent under Lieut.-Colonel Conry, for the reduction of Setaung, a stockade on the eastern bank of the river; in the attack that officer was killed, and the party. repulsed. The reduction was subsequently effected by a force under Colonel Pepper in person, after surmounting obstacles of no common kind, every man having been up to his neck in water whilst crossing the creek to the attack.

The provinces of Arracan and Assam continued in undisturbed possession of the British authorities. Cachar was freed from a foreign force, and Munnypoor was finally cleared of the enemy...

Sir Archibald Campbell, after halting a day or two at Pagahm Mew, continued his advance towards the capital. On his route, and when within four days of

Ummera

[blocks in formation]

Ummerapoora Mr. Price again made his appearance, bringing with him the treaty ratified by the king.

By the treaty, which was dated at Yandaboo, the 24th February 1826, the King of Ava renounced all claim to, and is to abstain from all interference with Assam and its dependencies, and also with the petty states of Cachar and Jynteea. Ghumbeer Singh was to be recognized as Rajah of Munnypoor, should he desire to return thither. The four provinces of Arracan, Ramree, Cheduba, and Sandoway, as divided from Ava by the Arracan mountains, together with the conquered provinces of Yeh, Tavoy, Mergui, and Tenasserim, were ceded to the British government, who were also to receive from the state of Ava one crore of rupees, as part indemnification to the British government for the expenses of the war. It was also agreed that a commercial treaty, upon principles of reciprocal advantage, should be entered into between the contracting parties.

Sir Archibald Campbell, with Mr. Robertson of the Bengal service, civil commissioner in Ava, and Mr. Mangles, arrived at Calcutta in the Enterprize steam vessel on the 5th April.

Throughout the whole of the protracted war, the troops, both European and native, evinced a patient endurance of fatigue and privations and sickness, to which they were unavoidably exposed in a hostile country, and in an inclement season. The Madras Sepoys manifested an alacrity in volunteering for foreign service, which afforded an unequivocal proof of their fidelity and attachment to government. It would be superfluous to mention the important and effectual aid afforded by his Majesty's squadron under the late Sir James Brisbane, throughout the operations.

Thanks

1826.

Ava.

Thanks were voted by Parliament and by the EastIndia Company, to the joint forces, naval and military, both King's and Company's, which had been engaged. * The Court of Directors confirmed the grant of batta to the army by the Bengal government, and authorized an addition thereto, making the total sum granted

pearly half a million sterling. Bhurtpore. It has already been noticed that the fortress of Bhurt

pore surrendered unconditionally on the 18th January 1826. Its reduction became an object of great importance, with reference to the generally received impression by the natives that it was invulnerable, owing to the celebrated and successful defence which it made when besieged by Lord Lake in 1805. The late Bishop Heber, in a letter to Mr. Williams Wynn, dated in the Carnatic in March 1826, wrote as follows: “It “ is really strange how much importance has been at« tached to the fortress of Bhurtpore. Even in the “ Carnatic, Sir Thomas Munro tells me, the native s princes would not believe that it ever could be taken, 6 or that the Jâts were not destined to be the rally« ing point of India.”+ It was a town of great extent, and everywhere strongly fortified, being surrounded by a mud wall of great height and thickness, with a very wide and deep ditch. The circumference of both town and fort was above eight miles, and the walls in all that extent were flanked with bastions at short distances, on which was mounted numerous artillery.

The preparations for the attack were made on a large and complete scale, calculated to insure ultimate success. On the 10th December Lord Combermere appeared before it with an army of upwards of 20,000 men, and a field of more than a hundred pieces of

artillery. * Vide Appendix. + Bishop Heber's Journal, vol. ii, p. 457.

[blocks in formation]

artillery. During the night the enemy had cut the bund or embankment of a lake to the northward, for the purpose of filling the board and deep ditch ; a most essential means of defence, which had contributed largely to the successful resistance of the place in 1805. But they had been too tardy with this operation: the British troops arrived in time to make themselves masters of the embankment, and repair the breach before a sufficient quantity of water had flowed into the fosse to render it impracticable. The following days were occupied in reconnoitring the works and determining the points of attack, until the battering train and its appurtenances should have come up, the fortress occasionally firing upon the reconnoitring parties, and skirmishes taking place between small detachments and the enemy's cavalry encamped under the walls,

Lord Combermere, desirous to save the women and children from the horrors of a siege and of a bombardment, like that which must follow from such a battering train as he was about to employ, addressed a letter to Doorjun Sal on the 21st, calling upon him to send them out of the fort, promising them a safe conduct through the British camp, and allowing four and twenty hours for that purpose before he should open his fire upon the town.

Having received an evasive answer, his Lordship again sent to him allowing a further extension of the time for twelve hours; but the humane offer was not accepted. On the 23d therefore, every thing being in readiness to commence operations, and the north-east angle of the works'having been fixed upon as the point of attack, the besiegers under a heavy fire took possession of a ruined village called Kuddum Kundee and of Buldeo Singh's garden, and completed their first

parallel

, *1826. parallel at the distance of about eight hundred yards Bhurtpore.

from the fort. On the morning of the 24th two
batteries erected at these two points opened upon the
town, and on the 25th another more advanced battery
between them having likewise begun its fire within
two hundred and fifty yards of the north-east angle,
the defences of the east side of that part of the works
were in a great measure destroyed. A battery was
then constructed bearing on the north face of the
same angle, at a distance of about two hundred and
fifty yards. The rest of December was employed in
a similar manner in strengthening the old batteries,
erecting new ones, and pushing forward the works,
a constant fire which left scarcely a roof uninjured
being kept up against the town, while the enemy
seemed to be reserving his resources to the last, and
the operations of the besiegers were exposed to no
material interruption. On the 3d January 1826 the
artillery began to breach the curtains; the ditches in
front were found to be dry, and from the ruggedness of
the counterscarp, offered fewer obstacles than had
been expected. Such, however, was the tenacity of
the tough mud walls, that they resisted the effects of
shot better than masonry would have done ; it was
found that the batteries were insufficient to breach
them, and recourse was had to mining. On the even-
ing of the 6th, a mine was commenced in the scarp
of the ditch on the northern face of the work, with
the purpose of improving the breach: but the engi-
neers fearing that they would be discovered if they
continued their operations during the day, sprung it at
day-light on the following morning, when it was not
sufficiently advanced to have any material effect upon
the wall. In making a second attempt the miners

were

« PreviousContinue »