Karl Marx in the New-York Tribune 1857
Source: New-York Daily Tribune, November 14, 1857;
Transcribed: by Tony Brown.
The mail of the Arabia brings us the important intelligence of the fall of Delhi. This event, so far ;is we can judge from the meager details at hand, appears to have resulted upon the simultaneous occurrence of bitter dissensions among the rebels, a change in the numerical proportions of the contending parties, and the arrival on Sept. 5 of the siege train which was expected as long ago as June 8.
After the arrival of Nicholson’s re-enforcements, we had estimated the army before Delhi at a total of 7,521 men, an estimate fully confirmed since. After the subsequent accession of 3,000 Cashmere troops, lent to the English by the Rajah Ranbeer Singh, the British forces are stated by The Friend of India to have amounted in all to about 11,000 men. On the other hand, The Military Spectator of London affirms that the rebel forces had diminished in numbers to about 17,000 men, of whom 5,000 were cavalry; while The Friend of India computes their forces at about 13,000, including 1,000 irregular cavalry. As the horse became quite useless after the breach was once effected and the struggle within the town had begun, and, consequently, on the very entrance of the English they made their escape, the total forces of the Sepoys, whether we accept the computation of The Military Spectator or of The Friend of India, could, not be estimated beyond 11,000 or 12,000 men. The English forces, less from increase on their side than from a decrease on the opposite one, had, therefore, become almost equal to those of the mutineers; their slight numerical inferiority being more than made up by the moral effect of a successful bombardment and the advantages of the offensive enabling them to choose the points on which to throw their main strength, while the defenders were obliged to disperse their inadequate forces over all the points of the menaced circumference.
The decrease on the part of the rebel forces was caused still more by the withdrawal of whole contingents in consequence of internal dissensions than by the heavy losses they suffered in their incessant sorties for a period of about ten days. While the Mogul specter himself, like the merchants of Delhi, had become averse to the rule of the Sepoys, who plundered them of every rupee they had amassed, the religious dissensions between the Hindoo and Mohammedan Sepoys, and the quarrels between the old garrison and the new re-enforcements, sufficed to break up their superficial organization and to insure their downfall. Still, as the English had to cope with a force but slightly superior to their own, without unity of command, enfeebled and dispirited by dissensions in their own ranks, but who yet, after 84 hours’ bombardment, stood a six days’ cannonade and street-fight within the walls, and then quietly crossed the Jumna on the bridge of boats, it must he confessed that the rebels at last, with their main forces, made the best of a bad position.
The facts of the capture appear to be, that on Sept. 8 the English batteries were opened much in advance of the original position of their forces and within 700 yards of the walls. Between the 8th and the 11th the British heavy ordnance guns and mortars were pushed forward still nearer to the works, a lodgment being effected and batteries established with little loss, considering that the Delhi garrison made two sorties on the 10th and 11th, and made repeated attempts to open fresh batteries, and kept up an annoying fire from rifle-pits. On the 12th the English sustained a loss of about 56 killed and wounded. On the morning of the 13th the enemy’s magazine, on one bastion, was blown up, as also the wagon of a light gun, which enfiladed the British batteries from the Talwara suburbs; and the British batteries effected a practicable breach near the Cashmere gate. On the 14th the assault was made on the city. The troops entered at the breach near the Cashmere gate without serious opposition, gained possession of the large buildings in its neighborhood, and advanced along the ramparts to the Moree bastion and Cabul gate, when the resistance grew very obstinate, and the loss was consequently severe. Preparations were being made to turn the guns from the captured bastions on the city, and to bring up other guns and mortars to commanding points. On the 15th the Burn bastions and Lahore bastions were played upon by the captured guns, on the Moree and Cabul bastions, while a breach was made in the magazine and the palace began to be shelled. The magazine was stormed at daylight, Sept. 16, while on the 17th the mortars a continued to play upon the palace from the magazine inclosure.
At this date, owing, it is said by The Bombay Courier, to the plunder of the Punjaub and Lahore mails on the Scinde frontier, the official accounts of the storm break off. In a private communication addressed to the Governor of Bombay, it is stated that the entire city of Delhi was occupied on Sunday, the 20th, the main forces of the mutineers leaving the city at 3 a.m. on the same day, and escaping over the bridges of boats in the direction of Rohilcund. Since a pursuit on the part of the English was impracticable until after the occupation of Selimgurh, situated on the river front, it is evident that the rebels, slowly fighting their way from the extreme north end of the city to its south-eastern extremity, kept, until the 20th, the position necessary for covering their retreat.
As to the probable effect of the capture of Delhi, a competent authority, The Friend of India, remarks that
“it is the condition of Bengal, and not the state of Delhi, that ought at this time to engage the attention of Englishmen. The long delay that has taken place in the capture of the town has actually destroyed any prestige that we might have derived from an early success; and the strength of the rebels and their numbers are diminished as effectually by maintaining the siege as they would be by the capture of the city.”
Meanwhile, the insurrection is said to be spreading north-east from Calcutta, through Central India up to the north-west; while on the Assam frontier, two strong regiments of Poorbeahs, openly proposing the restoration of the ex-Rajah Parandur Singh, had revolted; the Dinapore and Ranghur mutineers, led by Kooer Singh, were marching by Banda and Nagode in the direction of Subbulpore, and had forced, through his own troops, the Rajah of Rewah to join them. At Subbulpore itself the 52d Bengal Native Regiment had left their cantonments, taking with them a British officer as a hostage for their comrades left behind. The Gwalior mutineers are reported to have crossed the Chumbul, and are encamped somewhere between the river and Dhalapore. The most serious items of intelligence remain to be noticed. The Todhpore Legion has, it appears, taken service with the rebel Rajah of Arwah, a place 90 miles south-west of Beawar. They have defeated considerable force which the Rajah of Todhpore had sent against them, killing the General and Captain Monck Mason, and capturing three guns. Gen. G. St. P. Lawrence made an advance against them with some of the Nusserabad force, and compelled them to retreat into a town, against which, however, his further attempts proved unavailing. The denuding of Scinde of its European troops had resulted in a widely extended conspiracy, attempts at insurrection being made at no less than five different places, among which figure Hyderabad, Kurrachee and Sikarpore. There is also an untoward symptom in the Punjaub, the communication between Moultan and Lahore having been cut off for eight days.
In another place our readers will find a tabular statement of the forces dispatched from England since June 18; the days of arrival of the respective vessels being calculated by us on official statements, and therefore in favor of the British Government. From that list it will be seen that, apart from the small detachments of artillery and engineers sent by the overland route, the whole of the army embarked amounts to 30,899 men, of whom 24,739 belong to the infantry, 3,826 to the cavalry, and 2,334 to the artillery. It will also be seen that before the end of October no considerable re-enforcements were to be expected.
|Troops for India|
The following is a list of the troops which have been
sent to India from England since June 18, 1857
|Date of arrival||Total||Calcutta||Ceylon||Bombay||Kurrachee||Madras|
|Total for Oct.||8,757||5,036||3,721|
|Total for Nov.||15,115||6,782||3,593||1,542||1,922||1,276|
|Total for Dec.||5,893||1,851||607||2,559||2,284||258|
|Total for Jan.||920||...||...||340||...||580|
|Sept. till Jan. 20||30,899||12,217||7,921||4,441||4,206||2,114|
|Troops dispatched by the overland route:|
|October 2||235 R.E.||117||...||...||118||...|
|October 12||221 Art.||221||...||...||...||...|
|October 14||224 R.E.||122||...||...||122||...|
|Total for Oct.||700||460||...||...||240||...|
|Men en route from Cape, partly arrived||...||4,000|