Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/378

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Outram
Outram
372

Early in March the troops for the attack on Muhamra commenced to embark, but strong gales delayed the arrangements. It was not till 26 March that operations were commenced. The fire of the enemy was soon silenced, and the troops landed. After exploding their largest magazine, the Persians abandoned their position and fled, leaving sixteen guns and all their baggage stores and ammunition behind them. Peace had already been concluded at Baghdad, and the war was at an end. Outram was sent to Baghdad in May to arrange the formation of a mission to see that the evacuation of Herat fortress and district was duly carried out by the Persians. He returned to Bombay on 26 June 1857.

For his services Outram was made a G.C.B. In the meantime the Indian mutiny had commenced, and Outram's son, who was stationed at Aligahr, and his wife, who was staying there, had a narrow escape. Outram reached Calcutta on 31 July, and on 8 Aug. was given command of two divisions of the Bengal army occupying the country from Calcutta to Cawnpore inclusive, while he was also made chief commissioner of Oudh in succession to Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence [q. v.], killed in the defence of Lucknow. He took with him Robert Napier (afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala) [q. v.], as his military secretary and chief of the staff, and arrived at Dánapur on 19 Aug. On 1 Sept. he was at Allahabad, and on the 15th he reached Cawnpore. Outram had already telegraphed from Banáras to Havelock that he would shortly join him at Cawnpore with reinforcements, but that he would leave to Havelock the glory of the relief of Lucknow, accompanying him only in his civil capacity as commissioner, and placing his military services at Havelock's disposal as a volunteer. The arrangement had been made known to Sir Colin Campbell (afterwards Lord Clyde) [q. v.] at army headquarters, and to the governor-general, who united in expressing their admiration of the generous proposal. On 16 Sept. the force for the relief of Lucknow was constituted and announced in division orders, with Major-general Havelock in command. The order concluded as follows: ‘The important duty of relieving the garrison of Lucknow had been first entrusted to Major-general Havelock, C.B., and Major-general Outram feels that it is due to this distinguished officer and the strenuous and noble exertions which he has already made to effect that object that to him should accrue the honour of the achievement … The Major-general, therefore, in gratitude for, and admiration of the brilliant deeds of arms achieved by General Havelock and his gallant troops, will cheerfully waive his rank on the occasion, and will accompany the force to Lucknow in his civil capacity—as chief commissioner of Oude—tendering his military services to General Havelock as a volunteer. On the relief of Lucknow, the major-general will resume his position at the head of the force.’ On 28 Sept. Sir Colin Campbell confirmed Outram's temporary transfer of command by a general order, in which he called attention to the disinterested sacrifice made by Outram in favour of Havelock.

On 19 Sept. 1857 the force crossed the river and marched out of Cawnpore. On the 20th Outram headed the volunteer cavalry in a charge at the affair of Mangalwár. On the 23rd, in the action of the Alam-bágh, Outram, at the head of the volunteer and native cavalry, pursued the flying enemy to the Chhár-bágh bridge. On the 25th Havelock's force, after severe fighting, in which Outram received a flesh-wound in the arm, won their way to the residency.

Outram resumed his military command by a general order on 26 Sept. He found that he had simply reinforced a beleaguered garrison, and was himself effectually besieged until November, when Sir Colin Campbell, the commander-in-chief, came to the rescue. Campbell left Cawnpore for Lucknow on 9 Nov., joining the headquarters of his small army under Sir Hope Grant beyond Banni. On the 12th he encamped behind the Alam-bágh. On the 13th Fort Jalálabad was destroyed, and on the 16th the Sikandra-bágh was captured. The same day Outram, on his side, blew in the outer wall of the garden of the palace of Farid Bakhsh, and opened his batteries on the insurgent defences in front, following up the operations by the storm of the Hírn-khána and steam-engine house, under which three mines had been driven. Two of the mines blew up, and the buildings were soon in his possession; but he was still half a mile from the most advanced post of Sir Colin Campbell's force, and the way was under the enemy's fire. Outram, however, determined to meet Sir Colin Campbell without delay, and, with Havelock and seven others, set out. Four were struck down, but Outram, Havelock, and their surviving companions reached the Moti Mahál unhurt. After a short conference, they made their way back. Sir Colin entrusted the withdrawal of the garrison and the evacuation of the residency to Outram. The delicate operation of evacuation was effected by night, along the bank of the Gúmti. The whole force under his command reached Dilkúsha on the afternoon of the 23rd. On the evening of that day Outram had an affecting interview with the