Saturday, 6 August 2011

An Outline of the Main Events at Lucknow

At the beginning of the siege, the inhabitants within the Residency numbered 2’994 persons, of which 1720 were officers, British and Indian troops, and civilian volunteers. 237 women, 260 children, 50 boys from the Martiniere College, 27 non-combatant Europeans and 700 non-combatant Indians made up the rest. Of the original garrison, on the 17th of November, not more than 930 were left.

1st July –The Machi Bhawan Fort is destroyed.

The fort, like the Martiniere College, then on the outskirts of Lucknow, had been deemed untenable due to its distance from the Residency and the fact that the British were undermanned – it was decided to concentrate all their defences on one position rather than trying to defend two. Even though they had spent the better part of June reinforcing the Machi Bhawan, the British ultimately decided to blow it up.

“On the 1st July, the whole force at the Muchee Bawan was withdrawn into the Residency, and this affair was arranged uncommonly well. The ammunition was all collected in one place, the guns were spiked and damaged as much as circumstances would permit; and at a given signal (at midnight), the force marched out, whilst a slow match, attached to a train leading to the magazine, was lighted. Just as our men reached the Residency, a magnificent explosion took place, and Muchee Bawan was instantly in ruins.” 1

2nd July – Sir Henry Lawrence mortally wounded.

“..Sir Henry had had his thigh broken by a shell from the howitzer we lost at Chinhut, and was not expected to live…It appears that, before the shell which proved so fatal, another had been pitched into his apartment, raising a cloud of dust, and his staff had begged him to shift his quarters; but he had answered, in his cheery way, that sailors always consider the safest place in a ship to be that where the shot had last made a hole, and he did not think it likely that such another good aim would be made. But the event proved otherwise. Another shell came pitched precisely as the first, and this time the effect was fatal, and Sir Henry mortally wounded. He was carried to Dr. Fayrer’s house; the wound was in the thigh too high up to allow of amputation, and all that could be done was to give narcotics to ease the pain.”  2

He appointed Brigadier Inglis in charge of military command and Major Banks took on the position of Chief Commissioner. Upon Banks’ death, the position was passed on to Brigadier Inglis.

4th July –Death of Sir Henry Lawrence

7th July – Sortie against Johannes’ House.

Johannes was an Armenian merchant whose house boarded the walls of the Residency on the southern side. As the house was very close to the wall it was ideal for the tunnelling of mines and for sniper fire.

 “A sally was made this morning by the light company 32nd and some Sikhs, under Captain Lawrence and Captain Mansfield, Mr. Green, 13th N.I., and Mr. Studdy, the latter leading the sortie. The object was to search a house outside our position, called Johannes House, where the enemy was supposed to be mining. A hole was made in the wall large enough to admit of one man getting out at a time, and we kept up heavy cannonading during the process to hide the sound and to divert the enemy’s attention. The party started at twelve o’clock, after the men had had some dinner, and John had said a few words to them. I felt very sad as they passed through our courtyard, for I thought perhaps few would return. However, in a quarter of an hour, or less, their work was done. They rushed into Johannes House. Ensign Studdy being the first to go through the wall, bayoneted some thirty men they found there, and then, reckless as soldiers are, were running down the Cawnpore road, when John called them back.” 3

The house was completely destroyed on the 17th of August.

20th July – first large scale assault on the Residency. This was also the start of the mining operations which were to continue until the end of the siege. In all there were 37 mines between this date and the 25th of September, of which only one was successful.

“Early this morning, all were on the alert, as the officer on the look-out tower of the Residency house reported that the enemy was moving in large masses and evidently assembling for a vigorous attack. Every man was at his post… Suddenly we heard a sound that had never greeted our ears before, like a gun being fired off under our feet. John immediately rushed out, knowing it was the explosion of a mine. That was the signal for an attack, and fierce musketry firing commenced on both sides. The noise was terrific, and that of heavy cannonading and whizzing shells was soon added. The enemy were completely repulsed with great loss. They advanced very bravely at first. Captain Birch says that the mine exploded in the direction of the Redan battery, leaving an enormous crater. Innes’ house bore the brunt of the attack, and gallantly repulsed it under Mr. Loughman, 13th N.I. On the opposite side of our position an attack was also made on the Cawnpore battery. The enemy advanced boldly, and left a scaling-ladder inside the ditch; but their hearts failed them, and the hand grenades with which they were saluted quickly drove them away…It was the severest assault the enemy had yet made, and John said the bullets fell like hail. I was speaking to a 32nd man to-day, and saying how foolish it was of the men to expose themselves as they did, when there were the trenches to protect them. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but it’s not in the way of Englishmen to fight behind walls.” 4

l0th August – the second large assault on the Residency position.

11th August – Part of the Residency building caves in.

12th August – Following a severe cannonade, the Cawnpore Battery becomes untenable.

l7th August – Johannes House destroyed.

18th August – Third assault. A rebel mine detonates successfully directed at the Sikh Square

4th September – Fourth assault.

23rd September –Havelock and Outram’s battle of the Alambagh.

24th September – First Relief.  

A running fight began at the Alambagh, which ended with the seizure of the Char Bridge, held by the 78th Highlanders. The planned route had been to go along the canal as far the Bilkisha Road, to Sikandra Bagh and then to the Moti Mahal. However, the 78th lost their way and came down Hazratganj instead while the rest of the column was already at the Chattar Manzil. Only by forcing their way through the lanes and the Sher Daiwaza, and then through Khas Bazar did the 78th and the rest reach Bailly Guard Gate, but it was tough fight and the losses were large.

26th September – 2nd Defence.

Initially, Generals Havelock and Outram when they reached the Residency with their forces had intended to evacuate the women and the children, the sick and the wounded to Kanpur. But it proved impossible – the relief force had lost one fifth of its strength just getting there, thus lacking the manpower to provide protection to a retreating garrison. The plan was abandoned and the generals determined to remain in the Residency. They were able to fortify the position and extend the outer lines but from the 27th of September, the siege continued.

November 9th – Sir Colin Campbell left Kanpur and joined the troops under the command of Brigadier-General Grant Hope at camp 9 miles from Alambagh. As there were still some detachments on the road, Sir Colin delayed the departure of the force until the 12th of November.

It is necessary to mention that the British in the Residency were made aware of both relief forces by utilising a network of spies, particularly one, named Ungud, an Indian pensioner, did excellent work, carrying messages between the garrison and the marching forces. Later they would also make use of a semaphore.

When it became clear that Sir Colin was approaching it was necessary to send him plans of the city and suggestions for the route he should take through it to get to the Residency.  Included in the documents was the code of signals for communication with the semaphore. Mr. T.H. Kavanagh, a civilian with the Uncovenanted Services volunteered to take the documents to the Campbell’s camp at Banthra. Disguised as a native and led by an Indian spy named Kanauji Lal, Kavanagh set out at night on the 9th of November – it went more or less to plan, with both Kavanagh and Lal narrowly avoiding capture, getting lost and of all things, receiving directions from a squad of sepoys!  They arrived at the camp early the following morning on the 10th of November.

12th November – 2nd Relief operations – Advance to the Alambagh

Campbell set out with a formidable force, about 5’000 strong, including 700 cavalry and 30 pieces of cannon. The arsenal consisted of 8 heavy guns (24-pounders and 8-inch howitzers) and two rocket tubes mounted on carts. These were manned by the Naval Brigade which consisted of 250 men of the crew of the Shannon.  5

From the Alambagh, Campbell could directly communicate with the Residency by means of a semaphore erected on top of the building.

14th November - Advised to “give the city a wide berth”, Campbell’s route was subsequently not very direct and entailed much bitter fighting. They proceeded first eastwards, taking the Dilkusha Palace and the Martiniere College. Both positions were occupied. They erected another semaphore on top of the Martiniere, thus ensuring an unbroken line of communication.

16th November – Storm of the Sikandra Bagh, Shah Najaf, Kadam Rasul ; storm of the Hiran Khana by the defenders.  Attack on the Kurshid Manzil

17th November – Kurshid Manzil taken. Meeting of Outram, Havelock and Campbell at Kurshid Manzil.

The British now held important positions between the Dilkusha Palace and the Residency. The fight was by no means over but it had secured a passage way of sorts and Colin Campbell did the only thing possible – he ordered retreat. Just getting to the Residency had cost him 45 officers and 496 men and by abandoning the position he not only saved his forces from becoming trapped in the grounds as Havelock had, he broke the siege, rescuing the garrison from yet another prolonged fight.

They were not out of the woods yet and could not leave the garrison all at once – the retreat was carried out over a space of a few days, from the 19th of November to the 22nd.
The rebels would not discover until the following morning - the 23rd - that the Residency had been abandoned and the British were gone. The siege ended, not as a victory but more as a truce.  For the rebels it had proved impossible to throw the British out and when they left, no one outside the walls saw them go.  The sick and wounded were the first to leave, followed by the women and the children and then by the rest of the garrison on the on the 22nd. The siege did not end with a slaughter as Rees had feared. He writes:

“It was twelve o’clock at night on the 22nd of November when we finally prepared to evacuate. The lights were left burning and we stole out as quietly and silently as possible the enemy keeping up the usual desultory fire of matchlocks and musketry.” 6

Whatever guns they could not take were spiked and the ammunition destroyed. Very little of value was left behind.

 1, p. 55 A Personal Journal of the Siege of Lucknow – Captain E.R. Anderson (1858)

2,3,4 p. 64, 71, 83 The Siege of Lucknow, A Diary – The Honorable Lady Inglis (1892)
5, p 71 Mutiny Records Awadh and Lucknow, (1857-1859) –Edward Hilton (1913)
6, p. 346 Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow – L.E. Ruutz Rees (1858)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Missing Buildings

Site plan at the entrance

What remains today is but a fraction of the original 28 buildings and batteries – only six  are reasonably intact – Dr. Fayrer’s House, the Main Residency Building, the Banqueting Hall, The Treasury, Bailey Guard Gate and Begum Kothi.  A few, like Ommanney’s House, Martiniere Post and Anderson’s Post,Germon's Post, Sikh Square and Horses Square are a little more than a few crumbling walls and foundations. The rest have vanished. 
Map,  "Hilton's Guide to Lucknow and the Residency,"

Many of the brick markers, which would give a visitor some idea where a building should have stood, are gone and it takes much imagination to even begin to see where some structure might have stood. That smaller structures like Sago’s House, Post Office and the outlying Saunders Post are no longer visible is hardly surprising – the damage done to these buildings was extensive and it is likely the resulting rubble has either been taken over by nature or carted away for other uses.  In the case of Sago’s and Saunder’s Post, these buildings would have fallen outside the current boundaries of the Residency compound which is smaller than then it had been originally. I have described below some of the buildings which are not on the site plan at the entrance.
View from Bailey Guard Gate, towards the entrance

Mound and ditch, right side of Baily Guard Gate

A barricade was erected to defend a lane which separated Dr. Frayers House from the Financial Garrison also known as Saunders Post. The enclosure wall of the latter building subsequently formed the line of defence. This was a large, double storied building with two verandahs. Both of these were barricaded with furniture and boxes filled with earth. The position was reached by a slipping down a steep slope, and ducking all the way to avoid the musket fire of the enemy.  It was even worse trying to leave it:

“..the noise made by the falling bricks, displaced by the departing soldier as he nimbly scrambled up the ascent, terraced the attention of the insurgents, which brought on him a sharp fire.”1

Although both dangerous and uncomfortable, Saunders Post was of vital importance, as it held the lower ground towards the outer walls of the compound. As a result, it was of great interest to the insurgents and between the 1st and the 5th of September, they ran three mines against it, though none of the attempts proved successful. During the “grand attack” of the 5th, the enemy managed to get up to the barricade that ran along the front of the verandah but after being driven off by hand grenades, desisted from making another attempt – in deed, the sheer number of mines that were blown up in front of the position broke up the ground so much that the position became “impervious” to further such attacks. During the siege, the post was garrisoned by a party of the 32nd Regiment and men of the Uncovenanted Services under the command of Captain Saunders of the 41st N.I. 

Next in line to  Saunder's Post, stood Sago’s House. Before the siege, it had been the property of Mrs. Sago, a school mistress. The building was a small single storied affair difficult to defend due to its low lying position and so exposed to shelling that by the 14th of August it was completely in ruins.  Only the house was defended, the compound and enclosing walls had been abandoned due to lack of manpower to defend the position in its entirety. A party of the 32nd Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Clery were garrisoned here.

Situated above both Sagos and Germons Post, was the Post Office. During the siege, it was the headquarters of the Engineers and Artillery and provided defence for the two lower lying buildings. Three guns were placed here – 2 18 pounders and a 9 pounder – and three mortars which covered the Cawnpore Road. The southerly wall communicated by breaches with the Native Hospital, Martiniere Post, Cawnpore Battery as well as the Judicial and Anderson Posts. A workshop was also established here, for the manufacture of tools, and for the preparation of fuses and shells in the initial stages of the siege.  A party of the 32nd commanded by Captain McCabe were garrisoned here and provided for the subsequent defence of the position. Captain McCabe was killed on the 1st of October while Mrs. Kavanagh had the calf of her leg shot away at this post, but she was to survive the siege. The garrison’s chief engineer, Major Anderson directed all engineering operations from this position – he did not survive the siege, and died of dysentery at the Post Office on the 11th of August. 

Next to Anderson’s Post was the Cawnpore Battery. Three guns - an 18 pounder and two 9 pounders consisted of the entire defence, while the battery itself was constructed of earth and palisades. The guns themselves were placed on a platform, which was protected by a stockade and trench. The trench led past Andersons Post. In spite of its firepower, the battery was deemed by many to be of little use, as the men were unable to stand at the guns due to the heavy musketry fire levelled against them from the tower of Johannes House, almost directly opposite. A flanking fire was kept up by the Martiniere Post and the rifles of the Brigade Mess. Although this allowed the battery to be held, it was not without heavy losses of life.

The Thuggee Jail and the Native Hospital, located  behind Deprats House and the Martiniere Post respectively, have both vanished - a marker and few indentations in the ground show the remains of the Native Hospital while the Thuggee Jail marker has been severely damaged. There is nothing remaining of the building though a curious archway still stands.

Thuggee Jail marker and some ruins


View between behind the Deprat's House marker

Native Hospital marker

The house of Martin Gubbins, which should have been adjacent to Ommanney's House has been completely obliterated, whether by time or by man, it is difficult to say. Indeed, the entire area from the Grants Bastion marker to the garden center resembled, in January 2011, a rather unkempt forest.  Where the back wall of Gubbin's House should have been,  is now a brand new toilet facility. 

Grants Bastion marker

Wooded area, Gubbins House should be to the right

A well, unmarked and uncovered, close to Grant's Bastion
The Sikh Square and Horse Square, located next to the Brigade Mess consist of little more than a few outlines of buildings with some pillars remaining. Only the Horse Square still has a marker.

Horse Square with marker
Slaughterhouse Post marker
Tower in the garden centre
In the place of the racket court, indeed the entire area that should have been the Slaughter and Sheep House batteries, there is now a thriving garden centre. A few ruined buildings, including a completely intact tower - which is now used to house gardening implements, are visible yet covered over with a fine display of bougainvillea and other creeping plants. Although it does provide an interesting diversion, a garden centre is hardly what one would expect in the grounds of an archaeological site. Brick markers denote the spots of the Slaughterhouse and the Sheep House respectively.
Innes Post
Inne’s Post is somewhat difficult to locate. Like some of its compatriots all that remains is a marker and this is located, rather oddly, in what shall one day be a most charming garden. It is only with some patience that one can locate the marker itself – there are no signs pointing in that direction and visitors are most likely never to even walk the road parallel to the churchyard.

It is unclear why these buildings are not mentioned on the site plan, nor marked in any way. The grounds are well documented and enough maps exist from 1857 to give the archaeological society enough material to create a better walking tour of the area.  Losing more and more of these outlying buildings while creating an oddly fictional world lacking explanation gives the Residency a sadly plastic feel and removes it from squarely from its place in history.


1 Mutiny Records Awadh and Lucknow, (1857-1859) –Edward Hilton (1913)

The Treasury

For practical purposes, I have designated this as the last stop - correctly, it belongs to the Bailey Guard gateway. It was commanded by Lieutenant Aitken and the brave men of the 13th N.I. 
The long room in the centre of the building was used for making Enfield cartridges – it is interesting to point out that at the beginning of the siege, there no provisions had been made to produce these and manufacture only started when Major North, of Havelock’s force provided a mould and a second was discovered in the compound. The rest of the building was used a store room, a treasury and last but not least as the barracks of the 13th N.I. and their commander.

There are some interesting memorials at the Treasury and worth taking time to read. Besides a tribute to Lieutenant Aitkens and the 13th N.I. there is also a grand marble column situated to the front of the Treasury and right of the Bailey Guard that should not be overlooked. It is inscribed in three languages and now sadly defaced, is not as supposed, a tribute to the British but to the Indians:

“To the Memory of
The Native Officers and Sepoys
Of the
13th Native Infanty, 41st Native Infantry
488th Native Infantry, 71st Native Infantry
The Oude Irregular Force,
Native Pensioners,  New Native Levies
Artillery, and Lucknow Magazine
Who died near this spot
Nobly performing their duty.”

And nor should they be forgotten.

The Banqueting Hall

The Banqueting Hall, side view
It is a strangely melancholy building and bears echoes of better times. A beautiful black and white marble fountain still remains where the entrance hall would once have been, majestic staircases leading nowhere, and everywhere there is an almost oppressive silence. It was here, before the siege that the resident had entertained his guests, where balls were held and comfort had prevailed – but in June 1857 it was turned into a hospital, a far less joyous purpose than for what it had been intended. 
Fountain, main entrance

The building, even in its ruinous state, is huge. Two storied and with no tyekhannas below, the ground floor served as a general hospital. The right wing was a factory for the manufacture of fuses and cartridges and one room on the north was set aside for state prisoners. The upper floor suffered a similar fate to that of the Residency – the large windows and doors made tempting targets (even though they had been closed with shutters, and fairly stuffed with tents and boxes), and the apartments were soon reduced to rubble.

Inner rooms

 “Everywhere wounded officers and men were lying on couches, covered with blood, often with vermin. The apothecaries, hospital attendants, and servants, were too few in number, and with all their activity could not attend to everybody; and as for a change of linen, where was that to come from? There were not even bedsteads enough for all.Many of the wounded were lying groaning upon mattresses and cloaks only. Everywhere cries of agony were heard, piteous exclamations for water or assistance. The fumigations to which recourse was had were not sufficient to remove the disagreeable, fetid smell which pervaded the long hall of the sick, and the air in it was pestilential and oppressive. Owing to the unceasing fire of the enemy, the windows had to be barricaded, and it was therefore only by the doors facing the Residency, and those fronting the Bailey Guard wall at the back, that light and air could penetrate the buildings. The upper story was quite untenable; and, indeed, the lower was far from safe.  One poor fellow, in a fair way of recovery, while smoking his pipe, was shot in his bed, and several of our sick had most narrow escapes from the bursting of shells. At a subsequent period, too, a carcase fell into the midst of one of our barricades and set not only the whole of it on fire, but consumed also a great number of hospital appurtenances. Dysentery and diarrhoea swelled the numbers in the hospital almost as much as the balls of the enemy.” 1
Rear Portico

The Banqueting Hall as seen from the Residency, ca. 1814

The Residency building and the Banqueting Hall during the Siege

View from the Residency roof of the Banqueting Hall and Dr. Fayrer's House, after the Siege

1 Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow – L.E. Ruutz Rees (1858)

The Residency Building

The Residency, front view

It is difficult to imagine that this had once been “an imposing edifice, along the west front of which extended a wide and lofty collonaded verandah. The main entrance was on the east side, under a handsome portico.”1  This beautiful brick building, besides having a ground floor, two upper stories the tyekhanna had “splendid apartments, as lofty and as well arranged as any in the house. Skylights gave excellent light to them…There were little turrets leading up to a fine terrace whence a view of the whole city could be obtained…”2  On top of the building the semaphore had been built and a flagstaff. A look out was posted on the roof through out the siege. The gardens surrounding the building were carefully planned and abounded with flowers and trees but fairly soon, the railings around the flowerbeds were used as firewood, the flowers trampled, the trees destroyed and everywhere lay piles of shot and shell. To protect the front of the building large stacks of firewood had been stored and arranged into a semi-circle. This formed an embankment, about 6 feet high, with embrasures cut through it for four 9-pounders. Dirt had been thrown on the rampart giving the illusion it was made of solid earth.  

Undoubtedly, the tyekhannas were the buildings’ best feature –where the museum is located today.  These had been built to afford the Resident some respite from the gruelling heat of a Lucknow summer, but without any punkahs in place, and lacking any “conveniences”, these rooms turned from an abode of luxury to rather terrible places. The women of the 32nd, their children and many of the families of the Uncovenanted services found shelter in these dark and damp chambers, and when cholera and small pox made their unwanted appearances, the living conditions down there must have been grim indeed.

It didn’t take long for the upper parts of the residency to become uninhabitable. It was simply not constructed to withstand a siege - the large windows proved impossible to barricade and the roof, with its open balustrade, was all but indefensible. Sir Henry Lawrence was mortally wounded in a room on the second floor on the 2nd of July, and shortly after the women and children who had found shelter in the upper stories, moved to the ground floor – not that they there stayed long. Some were lucky, they had friends with room to spare in other houses, or influential husbands who secured them quarters in the Brigade Mess – the rest of them fled to the tyekhanna.

By August, as if to prove how precarious it was to stay in the Residency at all, a gust of wind blew down a large part of the left ground floor wing. In one of the ruined rooms, six men of the 32nd were sleeping at the time; only two were brought out alive. The others were left under the rubble.

On the 24th of August yet another part of the building fell in, this time, the verandahs on the west side, their entire length came down burying yet another seven men. The arches of the lower story were found to be cracked and could no longer withstand a heavy cannonade– it was estimated that nearly one half of the building had fallen in due to round shot, the rest was now in imminent danger of following suite. 
Cannonball damage

The Residency

The Museum and tyekhannas

The tower

Inner room

The Residency building, before the Siege
1 Mutiny Records Awadh and Lucknow, (1857-1859) –Edward Hilton (1913)
2 Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow – L.E. Ruutz Rees (1858)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Innes' House

Leaving the church yard and proceeding left, we see now a gate to the left, and a path beyond it. If we follow this path almost to its end, we will see, somewhat obscured by shrubbery, a lone marker. Upon it are the words, barely legible, Innes House 

Marker, Innes' House

Before the siege, here stood: 
“A long commodious lower roomed building with a verandah to the east, covered by a sloping pukka roof and another to the north. It consisted of four large and several small rooms fronting the verandahs, and as many opposite them; in a centre room of which was a little staircase leading to the rook, and commanding through a hole in the wall a position to the west. Next there was a sort of courtyard leading to a bathroom, which projected considerably beyond the walls of the main building, in this respect, resembling Gubbins battery. From the outside, the bathroom buildings looked considerably steep. To the left or south of them were several large houses, in front of which was a pond of stagnant water surrounded by reeds and long grass. To the right was a Mohammedan cemetery, on a very considerable elevation of natural formation, and commanding the outpost from the enemy’s side. In front of the house, and in the rear of the buildings already alluded to as possessed by the enemy, was an extensive low garden, then even covered with high long grass, plantain trees and prickly brambles. A stockade protected a portion of the west side of our ground from that which we tacitly allowed to be that of the enemy.” 1
As the last defended building on the north westerly side of the compound, it was called Innes’ Outpost, named after Lieutenant Mcleod Innes, whose house it had once been. Only scantily protected by palisades, a compound wall made of mud and wooden barricade, and separated from the enemy’s position to the north by low mud wall. It was defended by a party of the 32nd, a few Indian troops of the 13th N.I., and some men of the Uncovenanted Services, one of whom was Rees.

To the right of Innes’ House was a Muslim cemetery situated on a natural mound.  A stockade protected the west side of the grounds.  To the north, an earth wall separated the compound of the Innes house from the enemy’s positions – these consisted of the cemetery mound, several mud huts, and three brick buildings scarcely 6 yards distant and topped off by a mosque opposite but commanded by several high buildings from across the river.  Further on were a garden and the ruins of the house and office of the Central India Horse Company – both buildings had been levelled before the siege by the garrison engineers.

The whole north side of these positions was situated on the road leading along the river from the water gate to the Iron Bridge, from east to west. Stockades were located along the defences – at the end of one of those, was a mud shed with a flight of stairs that led to an upper room, called the Cockloft. From here it was possible to have a view of the Iron Bridge, barely 500 yards in the distance. The position was later extended to include the mound, which was further fortified with deep trenches running the distance from Innes Post to the mound, reducing the danger of being shot when moving between the two positions. The natural levitation of the mound made it an ideal place to shoot from, which the mosque and the headstones provided the necessary shelter.

The command of the post initially was given to Lieutenant Loughnan of the 13th N.I. but was subsequently handed over to Captain Graydon of the 44th N.I.  The outpost had neither cannons not mortar so the occupants had to rely on their imagination as much as on their fighting skills. The attack on the 20th of July put this to the test:

“Our men, seeing the rebels come on swarming as thick as bees, and nothing but one sea of heads and glittering weapons before them, thought of retreat, but Mr. Loughnan and the civilians would not hear of it. “Give a shout my boys!” cried Loughnan, “a loud and a strong one.” And shout they did, with a right good will. “Hurrah, Hurrah! Hurrah!” resounded from all the different quarters where attacks were expected. The enemy were evidently checked in their advance by the cheering of our friends. They at once came to a dead halt, and not only imagined us stronger in number than we really were, but fancied (as we afterwards learnt) that we had received reinforcements from the Residency.” 2

The shout did not stop the attack but it did give them a moment’s pause. The insurgents made it up to the wall, and took cover behind it, just out of reach of the musket fire from the outpost. However, the insurgents had their own problem. They had forgotten to bring ladders. So now, safe as they were behind the wall, they could not get over it to attack the outpost in one sudden rush. It was impossible to bring the ladders – every party carrying them was shot, so they bravely tried climbing it instead, with some success but were bayoneted on the top of it. Lieutenant Loughnan saw the danger should they get over the wall in large numbers, a retreat on a part of the outpost would have be inevitable. Without any hand grenades to dislodge the enemy from their position, the civilians resorted to throwing “bricks and mortar, and succeeded so well in dislodging the enemy with these and other missiles of a very impure nature that our friends soon had that part of the outpost clear.”  3

The enemy beat a hasty retreat but this put them again in range of the muskets and they were unable to approach the wall again.

The attack which started in the morning, gradually relented around 4 in the afternoon neither side victorious. Had the enemy known that Innes Outpost, on that day was held by a force of less than 65 men, they may not have let off so easily. After the battle, the rebels sent a flag of truce, requesting the garrison to allow them to remove their dead and wounded. The truce was respected.

On the 10th of August, a howitzer, nicknamed the Turk by the garrison was brought into play against Innes Post. The constant and precise firing of the rebels destroyed many of the roof beams turning portions of the post into a wasteland of rubble and burying some of the men in the ruins. By the middle of the month, two sides of the house had caved in and the roof was completely gone, but it wasn't until September that the engineers declared the house unsafe.  

1,2,3, -  Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow - L.E.Ruutz-Rees

The Church and Graveyard

St Mary's Church with the breaching wall.

St Mary’s Church was constructed in 1810 and the last service was held here in May 1857 after which it was converted, in June, into a store room for grain. This proved to be a bad arrangement. Its close proximity to the outer lines made it an extremely dangerous position and it was not possible to adequately defend it.  It was abandoned early on as a post a and the grain was moved out through a breach in the east wall of the chancel. The breach and the corresponding plaque are still visible.

The first burials in the churchyard took place in May 1857 – up to this point in time there had been no graveyard in the compound. Siege burials were hasty and took place at night, with darkness providing some cover from the firing. The bodies were placed into mass graves, piled either on top of one another or side by side, and covered over with a thin layer of dirt as quickly and as quietly as possible. It was a thoroughly dreadful place.
“The smell there became so horrible, owing to the shallowness of the graves and the want of work people to make proper arrangements that the medical men pronounced it positively dangerous for the living to go there.”A Ladys Diary of the Siege of Lucknow – Harris

Breaching wall and plaque
Burials continued here long after 1857 - but with a curious twist. Only members of the original garrison and their families were permitted to be buried here, which accounts for the many family graves and the relatively recent dates

Slaughter House Post and Sheep House

Where today an idyllic and somewhat surreal garden store and nursery stands, there were before 1857, several structures that served as cook rooms and stables for the main residency building, which, during the siege functioned as cattle pens and quite literally as slaughterhouses from where the garrison received the commissariat rations of meat. The fodder for the livestock was kept in the walled racquet court which stood nearby. Of the court nothing remains. 


The Sheep House, next to the Slaughter House Post, was a row of low houses used as pens to keep the sheep in before their slaughter for food. In the same area, a group of Indian Christians and their families also found shelter. Both areas were actively defended by Captain Boileau of the 7th Light Cavalry and by civilians of the Uncovenanted Services. At the end of the lane between the sheep yard and the slaughter house a battery was started to flank and protect that front, but the work was only partly completed and the battery was never used.
Ruins at the garden center

Slaughterhouse Post marker

Gubbins Post and Ommanney's Post

Although nothing remains of Gubbin's Post today and indeed the man himself, Martin Gubbins, both were an important part of the siege and deserve to be mentioned in more detail.

Drawing of Gubbin's House

It had initially been anticipated that holding Gubbins’ house was futile. The engineers, fearing the worst, constructed a wooden bridge by which Mr. Gubbins and the occupants of his house might escape to Mr. Ommanney’s compound should the insurgents break through. Never doubting for a moment that an attack would eventually be made, he not only fortified his house, but erected a battery at his own expense all the while incredulous at what little faith the engineers (and indeed the rest of the garrison) were showing to his efforts. Half-moon in shape, the battery would later be mounted with a 9 pound gun. It had an enclosing wall, 10 feet thick walls of masonry and was strengthened with large wooden beams, which had been driven into the ground on both sides of the wall, 5 feet apart and further bound together with cross beams nailed to them.  Inside this structure, dirt had been piled up in order to construct a platform for the gun. It wasn't completed until after the siege had begun - correctly, Mr. Gubbins surmised he could not make any reasonable defence without the battery in front – it was finished under fire.

The house was initially intended by the Awadh king to be a concert room and a cock pit - it had been a solid, two storied house that stood in a little garden. Unfortunately, three sides of the house were exposed to the city, so Mr. Gubbins fortified his house as best he could and built brick parapets on the flat roof with loopholes. With only a small staircase leading up to it, it was further decided that in case of an attack, the roof would be the safest place to be and the easiest position to defend, rather than remaining in the house. The verandas and the doorways on the floors below were bricked in, and the main entrance doors were replaced with stronger ones which were additionally cased in iron on the outside.

In the garden a tree also added to the defences. Describe by Gubbins as, “a magnificent forest tree” that stood higher than the house itself, and with massive branches that were, at least for a short while, able to intercept most of the round shot from an enemy gun that had been placed just outside the Gubbins’ compound.  When only the trunk and few branches were left, Sikh Risaldar Sher Singh remarked, “It has well repaid the Company’s Salt.” The tree had done its duty.

It was the north side of the compound that gave Mr. Gubbins his most worries. The houses of the city approached so closely here that only a narrow lane separated his house from them and he tried in vain to have the houses removed.  He took the issue up with Henry Lawrence, hoping for a result but, to his dismay, Sir Henry refused.  Finally in June when Captain Fulton had received the necessary permission to begin the demolition of buildings that surrounded the Residency, Gubbins had some respite and “at the eleventh hour, a clearance was made of buildings, whose occupation by the enemy would have rendered the maintenance of my post impossible.” He was however far from satisfied: “Still in that quarter, others remained which commanded the upper and lower windows of my house within 100 yards. From them during the siege we suffered great annoyance. To the south of my post, although the ground was covered with houses, of which the principal one was that of the younger Johannes, I was not suffered to carry on the work of demolition; but was permitted only to knock off the top parapet of the roofs.”               (Gubbins, p.161)  It wouldn't be until August that this house too would be destroyed.

On the west and south side of the compound there were further structures, ranging from servants quarters to stabling. As all of these building were flat roofed and built of brick, it was possible to erect parapets on top of them with more loopholes. For good purpose – the compound wall on the south side was considerably lower than the ground on the other side and did not inspire Gubbins with much confidence when it was practically possible to climb over it. The wall connected directly to the aforementioned Grant’s Bastion.

Having started the fortifications in early May, Gubbins’ Post was one of the few that approached adequate to withstand a siege and in spite of his preparations “provoking the mirth of some of my neighbors",  he at least was not caught off guard when it began. Standing as it did within a few feet of the enemy lines, the post proved to be extremely vulnerable to attack. Gubbins recollects that at different times during the siege, he and the other men in his post collected as many as 500 cannon shots and does not recall a moment when they were not being fired upon.

There were a large number of deaths at his post, civilian and military alike. The post was to have three commanders in as many months - Captain Forbes (1st Light cavalry), Captain Hawes (5th Oudh Irregular Infantry) and Major Apthorp (41st N.I.) – the first two were killed at the Post. A party of the 32nd Regiment, some pensioners, the 48th N.I. and local levies were garrisoned made up the posts’ defensive force.

Interestingly enough, the levies were all men of Awadh who had offered their services to the British before the siege began. A Naib Risaldar name Abdul Aziz Khan of the 5th Irregular Cavalry on home leave at the time joined along with his son, some of his relatives and 18 other men (they were all stationed at Gubbins’ Post); artillerymen who had before been in the pay of the local Government, also volunteered. Their chief Meer Furzund Ali was to lose everything as a result - his house was burned to the ground and all his property plundered. Then there was also personal loyalty. Gubbins writes of “an overseer who had served under me at Agra named Ramadeen, a Brahmin, and a native of Oudh, being now driven from his district employ, also joined me. He brought six of his brethren as foot soldiers and no men ever behaved better. I must not omit mention of Pirana, a native architect, who had also followed me from Agra and joined me at the beginning of these disturbances. His services were most valuable. He was an excellent workman and but for his aid and that of Ramadeen, we could never have completed the works which we put up.(Gubbins, p.167)

Although the architect survived the siege, Rama Deen was killed.

Precarious as it was, life at Gubbin’s Post was not without its luxuries. The house was well-stocked, having been prepared with, “500 maunds of wheat, 100 maunds of gram, thirty maunds of dahl, a large supply of ghee and rice, five maunds of soft sugar and last, though, as proved, not least, one maund of tobacco. Besides these I laid in a store of charcoal and wood.”  (Gubbins, p. 249) A cook, a butler, a table attendant and an English maid named Chivers, were all present and on duty through-out. They had the further services of a sweeper. Gubbins provided housing within his compound and food from his own private stores (plus rations) for his Indian servants and their families – one of the few places where they were provided such security. The residents at the post had access to a “swimming bath”, which Gubbins had replenished often clean water. With soap running short the bath doubtlessly provided a relief from the smell of unwashed people.

Although Gubbins talks at length of “husbanding” provisions, he certainly ate better than poor Mrs. Bartrum did. Even life at the Gubbins’ house looks almost normal. For one they had tea – served three times a day, with milk and sugar, and this long after the rest of the garrison had run out. It was served first at 6 am, another cup at 10 with breakfast and the last at night. A cold luncheon, served daily, was followed by an early dinner at 4. Twice a day, rice pudding was made with the eggs from Gubbins’ chickens; the milk came from goats and two cows. To supplement their meals, “One glass of sherry and two champagne or of claret was served to the gentlemen, and less to the ladies, at dinner. One glass of light wine, Sauterne was provided at luncheon.”  (Gubbins, p. 204) The house had a large supply of bottled beer but it was only given to nursing ladies and the sick. Although he gave many of his provisions away to the commissariat and donated generously to the hospital, he still had so much the end of the siege that much had to be left behind at the final evacuation.  Unfortunately, Mr. Gubbins was not  liked by the everyone in the garrison, having spent much time locked in petty power struggles and squabbling,- first with Henry Lawrence – and then with each of his successors.  An exasperated Brigade Inglis even threatened to arrest him for disobeying orders. However, his generosity and kindness to the sick and wounded was beyond reproach.

The siege left its’ mark on Mr. Gubbins, perhaps more deeply than his contemporaries believed. After the relief, Gubbins accompanied Sir Colin Campbell’s army but was forced to leave India in early 1858 due to ill-health. At the end of 1858, he returned to India and became judge of the supreme-court at Agra but by January 1863, illness plagued him again and he was forced to resign. The same year he returned to England for the last time – on the 6th of May 1863, Mr. Gubbins committed suicide at his home in Leamington.

Following on, we come to Ommanney's House.

Ommanney's House

The house of Mr. Ommanney had been double storied, and only lightly defended, by a deep ditch and hedge of cactus. Additionally, it had two guns thoughtfully placed here to sweep the road between Gubbin’s Post and the Sikh Square, in case Gubbin’s was overrun. It was considered safe enough – Brigadier Inglis made his headquarters here after the death of Sir Henry Lawrence, and later Henry Havelock and his staff made it their residence. 
Mr. Ommanney was a less fortunate. He was killed by cannonball to the head at the Redan Battery early on in the siege on the 5th of July. The inscription on his tombstone is from Isaiah, 57:1.

The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

Epitaph to Mr. Ommanney, Lucknow Residency