Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Havelock, Henry
HAVELOCK, Sir HENRY (1795–1857), major-general, second son of William Havelock (1757–1837), shipbuilder, of Sunderland, was born at Ford Hall, Bishop-Wearmouth, on 5 April 1795. To his mother, Jane, daughter of John Carter, solicitor, of Stockton-on-Tees, he owed a careful religious training. The family removed to Ingress Park, Dartford, Kent, when he was still a child, and here his mother died in 1811. Before he was ten years old he was placed with his elder brother in the boarding-house of Dr. Raine, head-master of the Charterhouse. Among his contemporaries at the Charterhouse were Connop Thirlwall, George Grote, William Hale, Julius Hare, and William Norris, the last two being his special friends. Shortly after leaving the Charterhouse his father lost his fortune by unsuccessful speculation, sold Ingress Hall, and removed to Clifton. At the beginning of 1813 Havelock was entered at the Middle Temple, and became a pupil of Joseph Chitty [q. v.]; his fellow-student was Thomas Talfourd [q. v.] Owing to a misunderstanding with his father in 1814, Havelock was thrown upon his own resources, and obliged to abandon the law as a profession. By the good offices of his brother William, who had distinguished himself in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, he obtained on 30 July 1815 a commission as second lieutenant in the 95th regiment, and was posted to the company of Captain (afterwards Sir) Harry Smith, who encouraged him to study military history and the art of war, and Havelock diligently read all the standard works on these subjects. He was promoted lieutenant on 24 Oct. 1821.
During the first eight years of his military life he was quartered at various stations in Great Britain and Ireland. Seeing no prospect of active service, he resolved to go to India, and at the end of 1822 exchanged into the 13th regiment, then commanded by Major (afterwards Sir) Robert Sale, and embarked in the General Kyd in January 1823 for India. Before embarkation he studied Persian and Hindostani with success under John Borthwick Gilchrist [q. v.] During the voyage a brother officer, Lieutenant James Gardner, was the means of awakening in him religious convictions which had slumbered since his mother's death, but henceforth became the guiding principle of his life.
Havelock arrived in Calcutta in May 1823, and while stationed there made the acquaintance of Bishop Heber, Archdeacon Cowie, and the Rev. T. Thomason. He visited the missionaries at Serampore, and took great interest in their work. Before, however, he had been a year in India, war was declared against Burmah, and Havelock was appointed deputy assistant adjutant-general to the army under the command of Sir Archibald Campbell. After the occupation of Rangoon Havelock was in the habit of assembling any religiously disposed soldiers, particularly those of his own regiment, for services in one of the cloisters of the pagoda of Gaudama. On the occasion of a night attack on an outpost these men were called for by the general to take the place of troops rendered unfit for duty by drink, because ‘Havelock's Saints,’ as he called them, were always sober, and to be depended on in an emergency. After some stockade fighting Havelock was prostrated with illness, and was invalided to India. At the end of a year, spent chiefly with his brother William of the 4th dragoons at Poonah, he was sufficiently recovered to rejoin the army at Prome in Burmah, where he arrived on 22 June 1825. He was present at the capture of Kemundine, Kumaroot, and Melloon, and in the engagements of Napadee, Patanago, and Pagahm Mew. When the Burmese king sued for peace, Havelock was selected to go to Ava to receive the ratification of the treaty. The army returned to India in February 1826, and Havelock rejoined his regiment at Dinapore. His narrative of the Burmese expedition was published at Serampore in 1828.
In March 1827 Havelock was appointed adjutant of the depôt of king's troops, then recently established at Chinsurah, near Serampore, the headquarters of the baptist mission; he was a constant visitor at Serampore, and much in the society of Dr. Carey and Dr. Joshua Marshman, whose daughter Hannah he married on 9 Feb. 1829, having previously been received into the baptist community. In 1831 the depôt at Chinsurah was abolished, and Havelock rejoined his regiment at Dinapore, moving with it at the end of the year to Agra. In 1834 he was appointed interpreter to the 16th regiment at Cawnpore, and the following year adjutant to his own regiment (13th), a position he held for three years and a half. Towards the end of 1836 the regiment moved to Kurnaul, and Havelock sent his wife and children to the hill station, Landour, where their bungalow was burnt down, and Mrs. Havelock nearly lost her life. Havelock was promoted captain on 5 June 1838, at the age of forty-three, after twenty-three years' service as a subaltern.
On the outbreak of the first Afghan war in the same year Havelock was appointed aide-de-camp to Sir Willoughby Cotton [q. v.], commanding the Bengal division. After a toilsome march of four and a half months the force reached Kandahar, and two months later was joined by the Bombay division, under Sir John Keane, who assumed the chief command. An advance was then made on Ghazni, and Havelock was present at the blowing in of the Cabul gate and the capture of the fortress by assault. Cabul was occupied in July 1839, and an army of occupation, under the command of Sir Willoughby Cotton, was left to support the puppet Shah Sujah on the Afghan throne. Sir Willoughby Cotton pressed Havelock to remain with him as aide-de-camp, offering him in addition the appointment of Persian interpreter, but Havelock, having kept careful notes of the campaign, was eager to publish before the interest should abate. He therefore declined the offer, and hastened to Serampore, where he wrote his work. It was lished in London in two duodecimo volumes, and is a remarkably clear and impartial narrative. It, however, fell flat, and Havelock, regretting that he had left Afghanistan, prepared in June 1840 to return in charge of a detachment. On his way up country at Ferozepore he found General William Elphinstone [q. v.] going to Cabul to succeed Cotton. Elphinstone took a fancy to Havelock, and appointed him to his staff as Persian interpreter. They reached Cabul in the beginning of 1841, and during the six months of his second residence Havelock resumed his religious services. When the army was isolated by the defection of the mountain tribes, and the 13th regiment and 35th native infantry were despatched under Brigadier-general Sir R. Sale to open the passes, Havelock obtained leave to accompany him. On entering the Khoord Cabul Pass, so severely were they attacked that, leaving an advanced guard, Sale fell back on Boothak, and sent Havelock to Cabul for reinforcements. Havelock rejoined Sale with considerable reinforcements and supplies. Sale's force now pushed through the passes, fighting all the way until it reached Gandamak. Here tidings were received of the insurrection in Cabul, and Sale was ordered to return through the passes. Macgregor, the political agent, Broadfoot of the engineers, and Havelock, the trusted advisers of Sale at this crisis, urged the impossibility of returning to Cabul, and the importance of seizing Jallálabád without delay, in order to secure a fortified post on the road to India, and so give the force at Cabul a point on which to retire. Sale occupied Jallálabád on 12 Nov., and encamped under its walls. Through the siege Havelock was one of the leading spirits, took an active part in repairing the works and making sorties, and supported Broadfoot in preventing the contemplated capitulation [see Broadfoot]. The advice of Havelock, Macgregor, and Broadfoot determined Sale to make his decisive attack upon Akbar Khan on 7 April. On the arrival of Pollock nine days later Havelock was appointed by the commander-in-chief in India deputy adjutant-general of a division of his force, and accompanied the army of retribution in August on its advance to Cabul. He was present at the battle of Jagdallak and Tezín on 8 and 13 Sept., and the entry into Cabul two days later. He accompanied the expedition under Shakespeare to succour the prisoners sent away by Akbar Khan to the Hindu Khoosh, and after their rescue he was sent with Sir John McCaskill on the expedition into the Kohistan, where he took a prominent part in the capture of Istaliff. On the return of the army to India Havelock was one of the garrison of Jallálabád received by Lord Ellenborough with great pomp on the banks of the Sutlej. Havelock was made a C.B., promoted brevet-major (4 Oct. 1842), and received three medals for his past services, but his appointment was at an end, and he returned to the command of a company of the 13th light infantry. His wife, who had gone to England with the children before the Cabul disaster, now rejoined him, and they spent some pleasant months together at Simla.
On 30 June 1843 Havelock obtained a regimental majority without purchase, and through the interest of friends was appointed Persian interpreter to the new commander-in-chief, Sir Hugh Gough. Havelock joined his chief at Cawnpore on 23 Oct., in time to take part in the Gwalior campaign. He was present at the battle of Maharajpore, for which he received a medal and brevet-lieutenant-colonelcy. When the affairs of Gwalior were settled, he accompanied Gough on a tour through the independent states of the north-west, and then to Simla. About this time (1844) a spirit of insubordination manifested itself among the sepoys of the native army. Thirty-nine mutineers were found guilty, but only six were executed. Havelock, always an unflinching disciplinarian, had urged the necessity of following the course pursued in 1824, when Sir E. Paget decimated the 47th native infantry at Barrackpore, and he was indignant at the timidity of the government.
At the close of 1845 the first Sikh war began, and Havelock took part in the battles of Mudki and Ferozshah. At Mudki he had two horses shot under him, and at Ferozshah he lost two of his most intimate friends, Sir Robert Sale and Major Broadfoot. He was also present at the battle of Sobraon, and again had a horses shot under him. At the close of the campaign Havelock attended the governor-general and commander-in-chief to Lahore, and witnessed the instalment of the new government of the Punjab in full durbar, 9 March 1846. In acknowledgment of his services in the Sutlej campaign he received the medal with two clasps, and was appointed by the Duke of Wellington deputy adjutant-general of queen's troops, Bombay. Soon after his arrival at Bombay in July 1847 his old chief, Sir Willoughby Cotton, was appointed to the command of the Bombay army, and Havelock remained with him on the general staff of the army for some years.
Havelock had exchanged from the 13th light infantry into the 39th regiment before the Sutlej campaign, and he had since exchanged again into the 53rd. When the 53rd regiment was ordered to take part in the Punjab campaign, Havelock obtained leave from Sir W. Cotton to relinquish his staff appointment at Bombay, and to join his regiment in the Punjab. On 12 March, however, when he was halfway between Indore and Agra, he was directed by telegram to return to Bombay, and Sir W. Cotton was censured for allowing him to leave without Lord Gough's permission. At the battle of Ramnuggur in the second Sikh war, his brother, Colonel William Havelock [q. v.], was killed charging at the head of his troopers, and Havelock drew up a memoir of his brother's career, which was published in Dr. Buist's ‘Annals of the Year.’ In the autumn of 1849 Havelock's health necessitated a visit to England, whither his family had preceded him. He arrived in London in November, after six-and-twenty years' continuous service in India. He resided during his furlough at Plymouth and on the continent, renewing his intercourse with Sir W. Norris and Archdeacon Hale. At the end of 1851 he left his family at Bonn, and returned to his old post at Bombay. In 1854 Lord Hardinge appointed him quartermaster-general of the queen's troops in India. On 20 June 1854 he obtained his regimental lieutenant-colonelcy and brevet-colonelcy, and when the appointment of adjutant-general of queen's troops in India became vacant a few months later he was transferred to that post.
On 1 Nov. 1856 war with Persia was declared, and early in 1857 Havelock was appointed to command a division of the force under Sir James Outram, ordered to the Persian Gulf. He joined Outram at Bushire on 15 Feb., and was at once directed to prepare for an attack on Mohumra, a strongly fortified town on the Euphrates. The troops were forwarded gradually, in vessels which anchored some miles below Mohumra, and were joined by Havelock in the Berenice on 15 March. Havelock drew up a complete plan of operations, which he sent to Outram, who was detained at Bushire by the death of General Stalker. The plan was approved by Outram, who himself reached the rendezvous on 22 March. The attack took place on the 26th, Havelock with the highlanders and sappers leading the way in the Berenice. The attack was completely successful, but on 5 April came news of a treaty of peace, signed at Paris on 4 March, and the expedition was at an end. Havelock's son [Sir Henry Havelock-Allan [q. v.], see SUPPL.] acted as his aide-de-camp throughout the campaign.
Havelock left Mohumra on 15 May, and on the 29th reached Bombay, where he learned that the native regiments at Meerut, Ferozepore, and Delhi had mutinied, and that Delhi was in the hands of the rebels. The upcountry route, by which he desired to join the commander-in-chief, General Anson, then marching on Delhi, was no longer open, so he embarked on 12 June in the steamship Erin for Galle. The Erin was wrecked on the Singalese coast near Celturn, but no lives were lost. Havelock hastened to Galle, and embarked in the Fire Queen, which had been sent from Calcutta, and reached Madras on 13 June. Here he learned that General George Anson [q. v.] had died (27 May), and Sir Patrick Grant, commander-in-chief of the Madras presidency, had been summoned by the governor-general to take supreme command for the time. Havelock accompanied Grant to Calcutta, arriving there on 17 June, just five weeks after the outbreak of Meerut. He was at once selected to command a column to be formed at Allahabad; left Calcutta, accompanied by his son Henry of the 10th regiment as aide-de-camp, on 25 June; and reached Allahabad on the 30th. His instructions were to quell all disturbances at Allahabad, to lose no time in supporting Sir Hugh Wheeler at Cawnpore, and Sir Henry Lawrence at Lucknow, and to take prompt measures to disperse and destroy all mutineers. Tidings of the capitulation and massacre of the garrison at Cawnpore reached Havelock on 3 July. On the 7th, leaving Colonel Neill to take care of Allahabad, he marched out to recapture Cawnpore with a force consisting of about a thousand bayonets, made up of the 64th regiment, the 78th highlanders, the 84th regiment, and the 1st Madras fusiliers, a dozen Sikhs, a handful of volunteer cavalry, and six guns. By forced marches at the hottest season of the year, he reached Futtehpore on the 12th, and signally defeated the rebels. On the 15th Havelock again came up with the enemy at Aong, and again defeated them, but the absence of cavalry prevented him from following up his victories. He pushed on to the Pandoo-nuddee river to reach the bridge before it should be destroyed by the enemy. He arrived as they were attempting to blow it up. The attempt was unsuccessful, but the enemy held the bridge in force, and heavy guns raked it from the other side. The Madras fusiliers stormed the bridge, and closed with the enemy's gunners on the other side. The bridge was saved, and the enemy in retreat. On the 16th tidings reached the force that over two hundred European women and children were still alive in Cawnpore, and in the hope of saving them Havelock pressed forward. Already, however, unknown to the relieving force, the passage of the river had determined the fate of the captives, and having murdered them all in cold blood, Nana Sahib moved out with five thousand men to dispute Havelock's advance. By a masterly flank movement on the morning of the 16th Havelock disconcerted the rebels, and by the steadiness and bravery of his troops charging right up to the enemy's batteries, he captured their guns, and after a hard day's fight put the rebels to flight. Havelock bivouacked two miles from the cantonment, and entered Cawnpore the next morning (17th). In nine days he had marched 126 miles under an Indian sun in July, and fought four successful actions.
The influence exercised by Havelock over his troops, and the admirable discipline he maintained, are strikingly shown by the behaviour of the men on entering Cawnpore. The pitifulness of the scene presented by the remains of their murdered fellow-countrymen exasperated them to madness, but the firm hand of their commander held them in check, and even marauding was put down with a strong arm.
Cholera and dysentery had attacked the force, and Havelock moved it out of the town to a carefully selected site, which he proceeded to entrench. Here he left a small garrison under Neill, who had joined him from Allahabad, and prepared to advance to the relief of Lucknow. On 25 July he crossed the Ganges, and on the 29th encountered the enemy, posted in a very strong position at Onao, and defeated them after a sharp fight. Six miles further the strongly occupied village of Busseerutgunge was stormed and taken:—two fights in one day, and nineteen guns captured. But the enemy, gathering in force in his rear, compelled him to fall back on Mungulwar. On 4 Aug., having received some small reinforcements, and being much pressed from Lucknow to push on to its relief, he again moved forward, and again fought a successful engagement at Busseerutgunge, though with some loss and considerable expenditure of ammunition. Three strong positions still remained to be forced before he could reach Lucknow; ammunition was insufficient, cholera was reducing his small force, the sick and wounded had to be carried, and his communication could not be kept open. He decided that he could not relieve Lucknow without considerable reinforcements and supplies, and determined to return to Cawnpore. The moral courage he displayed in boldly carrying out this painful decision is worthy of the highest commendation. Having fallen back on Mungulwar, while he lay there to rest his men before crossing the river to Cawnpore, intelligence reached him that the rebels were again collecting in force at Busseerutgunge to harass him while crossing; he therefore again advanced, and (12 Aug.) a third time defeated them at that village. He captured two guns, and so scared the rebels that next day he was able to effect the passage of the Ganges without molestation.
On 16 Aug., leaving only a hundred men under Neill at Cawnpore, he marched on Bithoor, where four thousand rebels had assumed a threatening attitude. After a severe fight he defeated them, captured two guns, and returned to Cawnpore. Here he found awaiting him the ‘Gazette’ announcing the appointment of Sir James Outram to be chief commissioner of Oudh, and to take military command of the country in which Havelock was operating. To remove him from his command because he had not taken Lucknow seemed unreasonable. He did not, however, for one moment suffer his bitter disappointment at his supersession to affect the energetic discharge of his duty, and when Sir James Outram arrived at Cawnpore on 15 Sept. with large reinforcements, he found Havelock had made every preparation to enable him to advance at once on Lucknow. Then occurred one of the most memorable acts of self-abnegation recorded in military history. Sir James Outram waived his military rank in order to allow Havelock to reap the reward of his noble exertions, and accompanied the force in his civil capacity, offering his military service to Havelock as a volunteer, proposing to resume chief military command when Havelock had effected the relief of Lucknow.
On 19 Sept. the bridge over the Ganges was completed, and Havelock marched out of Cawnpore with three thousand men of all arms, and crossed the river under the enemy's fire. On arrival at Mungulwar on the 21st he found the enemy massed there in strength, and literally drove them out of it and beyond Onao. At Busseerutgunge he rested for the night, and pushing on next day seized Bunnee, sixteen miles from Lucknow, before the enemy had time to destroy the bridge or organise an effectual resistance. At Bunnee he again rested for the night, and on the morning of the 23rd he appeared before the Allumbagh, and made his disposition for attack. After severe fighting he carried the Allumbagh, and halted for twenty-four hours within sight of Lucknow to complete the preparation for the difficult task before him. On the 25th an advance was made amid a storm of round and grape shot and of musketry. The enemy were driven out of the Charbagh enclosure, and the Charbagh bridge was carried by a most gallant charge of the Madras fusiliers, Havelock's son distinguishing himself by personal valour. Forcing its way through narrow streets and lanes alive with the enemy's fire, the column reached a bridge under the lee of the Kaiserbagh and exposed to its fire. With the loss of many men the bridge was surmounted, and the force, reunited, halted under cover near the Chattar Manzil. Outram strongly advised that, as darkness was coming on, the Chattar Manzil should be occupied until the rear guard could join them. But Havelock was determined to push on, and to the great joy of the besieged he gained the residency that night. On the 26th a strong party was sent out to bring in the rear guard, the sick and the wounded. This was accomplished with considerable loss, and then the command was assumed by Outram. It was soon evident that the relieving force had arrived only to reinforce the garrison, for, owing to lack of transport to carry away the sick and wounded and the women and children, no movement could be made, and they were themselves besieged. During the seven weeks which elapsed before Sir Colin Campbell [q. v.] came to the second relief, the larger garrison was able to cope more equally with the enemy, and gradually to drive them out of many buildings and enclosures in the neighbourhood of the residency.
Sir Colin Campbell attacked on 16 Nov., and Havelock was directed to co-operate actively with the relieving army, a duty which he carried out with complete success. The meeting of Outram and Havelock with Sir Colin Campbell was most cordial, and Havelock learned that for his early successes he had been made a K.C.B.
His last active duty had, however, been performed. On the morning of 20 Nov., when the withdrawal from Lucknow commenced, he was attacked by diarrhœa, and died on the 24th. He was buried at the Alumbagh, his son and the leaders with whom he had been associated, Colin Campbell, Outram, Inglis, and others, following his body to the grave. On the day of his death he remarked, ‘I die happy and contented;’ and to his son he said, ‘See how a Christian can die.’
The report of Havelock's earlier victories had been received with a burst of enthusiasm in England as the first gleam of light after the darkness of revolt and massacre, and his hitherto almost unknown name was on every tongue. As success followed success he became the popular hero, and the knowledge of his earnest religious character deepened the effect upon the public. On 30 July he was promoted major-general, on 26 Sept. he was made a K.C.B., and on 26 Nov., when his death was not known at home, he was created a baronet, while a pension of 1,000l. a year was granted by parliament. It was not until 7 Jan. 1858 that tidings of his death reached England and plunged the nation into mourning. The rank of a baronet's widow was bestowed upon Lady Havelock, who died on 25 Aug. 1882, a baronetcy on the eldest son, Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, his father's aide-de-camp [see SUPPL.], and an annuity of 1,000l. a year was unanimously voted by parliament to both widow and son. The common council of London directed a bust of the general to be placed in the Guildhall, and a statue was erected by public subscription in Trafalgar Square. Gifted with military abilities of a high order, Havelock had been employed for the greater part of his career in subordinate positions, to which his want of means, and probably also a certain sternness of disposition, combined with an earnest but somewhat narrow religious profession, had contributed to confine him. A soldier of the old puritan type, his highest aim was to do his duty as service rendered to God rather than to his superiors, while the constant submission of himself to God's will enabled him to bear with cheerfulness his many disappointments and the long waiting for that recognition of his powers which he coveted, and made him resolute and devoted in the discharge of duties no matter how small. When the opportunity came to him he was ready. He proved himself to be a great military leader, and won the gratitude of his country.
[Despatches; Marshman's Memoirs of Sir H. Havelock; Kaye's Sepoy War; Malleson's Indian Mutiny.]