Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/197

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naghten, appointed governor of Bombay, was to have returned to India, was directed to clear the passes to Jalalabad. On 12 Oct. he moved from Butkhak into the Khurd Kabul pass, his force consisting of the 13th light infantry, the 35th native infantry, two field guns, some native sappers, and some Jazailchis. Crowning the height on each side of the defile, Sale forced the pass, but was wounded early in the fight by a bullet in the ankle and relinquished the command to Lieutenant-colonel Dennie. On reaching Khurd Kabul the 13th light infantry returned to Butkhak, leaving the rest of the force under Lieutenant-colonel Monteith at Khurd Kabul. In these positions the force remained for nine days, Sale refusing to move without a sufficient force, transport, and ammunition. He moved from Khurd Kabul on 22 Oct. with the 13th light infantry, the 35th and four companies of the 37th native infantry, No. 6 field (camel) battery, the mountain train, the corps of sappers and miners, a squadron of the 5th light cavalry, and a risala of the shah's second cavalry. He made his way cautiously through the defiles of the Haft Kotul, occupying the heights on each side with skirmishers, and on reaching the valley of Tezin attacked and captured the fort. The loss was slight, the rearguard suffering most, but a good deal of baggage and ammunition was carried off by the enemy.

Sale halted at Tezin on the night of 22 Oct. The political officers were all powerful, and as Macnaghten ruled at Kabul, so Macgregor controlled Sale at Tezin, and precious days were wasted in making a treaty with the faithless Afghans instead of, by seizing their forts and breaking their power, forcing them to keep open the passes. On 26 Oct. Sale sent back, under command of Major Griffiths, the 37th native infantry, three companies of Captain Broadfoot's sappers, and half the mountain train to Kabar Jabar, between Tezin and Khurd Kabul, to keep open the route through which he had just passed, and to await the arrival of a regiment expected from Kabul. Being much pressed for baggage animals, he appropriated the disposable animals of the troops sent back. On the same day he marched to Seh-Baba and reached his first camping ground with no other opposition than some sharp skirmishing between his baggage and rear guards and the enemy. On 27 Oct. he moved to Kata Sang through a narrow pass, after reaching the summit of which it was necessary for the rearguard to fight throughout the rest of the march, inflicting severe loss upon the enemy. At Kata Sang Sale received information that the enemy were massing to resist him in the Pari-dara and Jagdalak passes. Captain Macgregor, the political officer, assured Sale that there was no national feeling of hostility, and that after the treaty he had made there would be no organised attack. Sale, however, avoided the Pari-dara route, where the enemy were prepared to resist him, and on the 28th took the route to the south over the hills, a chord of the arc, a segment of which was occupied by the enemy. Here Sale missed an opportunity of striking a deadly blow, and of crushing the insurrection. Had he turned sharply to his left when opposite the defile, owing to the peculiar configuration of the ground, he would have caught the Ghilzais in a hopeless position, swarming along the southern margin of the pass to overwhelm, as they believed, the British column locked amid the winding of the defile below—would have snared them in their own net, and driven them headlong over the precipice. It is possible that ignorance of the ground or deference to Macgregor's treaty may have been the reason of the omission, but it was a serious blunder having momentous consequences. Sale was attacked after passing the outlet of the Pari-dara, but held the Afghans in check. On account, however, of the jaded condition of his camels he had to destroy a good deal of camp equipage to prevent it falling into the enemy's hands. On the 29th Sale marched from Jagdalak to Surkh-ab, and his rearguard had some sharp fighting in forcing the passage of the Kotal-i-Jagdalak. On the 30th Gandamak was reached without further molestation.

On 5 Nov. on the urgent representations of Broadfoot and (Sir) Henry Havelock [q. v.], Sale sent a force to Mamu Khel, which captured the fort of Mir Afzul Khan, who was molesting the British camp. On 10 Nov. Sale received the news of the outbreak at Kabul, and the murder on 2 Nov. of Sir Alexander Burnes [q. v.], accompanied by peremptory orders from Elphinstone to return at once with his whole force to Kabul. Sale called a council of war, and, concurring in its advice, continued his march the following day towards Jalalabad, where, after a successful contest at Fatehabad, he arrived on 12 Nov. 1841, the Afghans hovering about his rear all the way, but meeting with severe punishment. On 15 Nov. he wrote to Elphinstone explaining his reasons for taking this course, which were briefly that his camp equipage had been destroyed; he had three hundred sick and wounded; there was no longer a single depot of provisions on the road to