Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Post Office and Germon's Post

Situated above both Sago’s and Germon’s 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. Four guns were placed here – of which two were 18 pounders and a 9 pounder – two of the guns were positioned to cover the approach to the Baillie Guard Gate and two for frontal defence. Three mortars 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 look out was posted everyday on the roof of the Post Office. 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 was garrisoned here and provided for the subsequent defence of the position.

Captain McCabe was killed on the 1st of October. An exceptional soldier, he had been commissioned from the ranks in 1846 for outstanding heroism during the Battle of Sobroan, while serving with the the 31st Regiment. For his gallantry at Sobroan Sergeant McCabe was awarded a commission in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, and  went to Hong Kong, taking part in April 1847 in a short campaign to protect the British 'factories' at Canton. Returning to India in April 1849 he transfered on promotion to Lieutenant to the 32nd Regiment. Throughout the siege, Bernard McCabe, proved himself a gallant and capable soldier. He distinguished himself in repelling the second main assault of the mutineers, and then by leading a series of sorties into enemy lines, to blow up positions and spike guns. On the last of these, he was gravely injured and died three days later. Although he has no known grave,his Regiment placed a memorial tablet in the Lucknow Church.

The garrison’s chief engineer, Major Anderson directed all engineering operations from the Post Office – he did not survive the siege, and died of dysentery at the post on the 11th of August. 

Germon's Post

“..almost battered out of the perpendicular, and the walls were so crumbled away, and eaten into by the incessant rain of bullets that it is hardly too much to say it was breached by musketry.” 
Mutiny Records Awadh and Lucknow, (1857-1859) –Edward Hilton (1913)
Known during the siege as Germon's Post, the Judicial Commissioners Office was a large, double storied building standing on higher ground, the external wall and compound of which were on a slope. Due to the severity of the slope, the wall was considered impossible to defend so it was subsequently abandoned and a line of defence was constructed by imbedding large pointed stakes into the ground, protected by a bank of earth. The house itself was barricaded on all sides with furniture and boxes, while an earth bank and a wall of fascines protected it from the road. Manned completely by men of the Uncovenanted Services (whose families were also sheltered here) and the Sikhs of the 13th N.I. under the command of Captain Germon.

Due to its close proximity to the road and subsequently to the enemy whose position was just on the other side of it, Germon’s Post saw more hand to hand combat than any of the other posts and was frequently under assault – mines too were sunk against the position but none of them were successful. 

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