Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/199

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teed to the force on their return to India, and that hostages were given.

The decision of Sale and the majority of the council was based upon the consideration that the governor-general had abandoned them by his despatch directing that, if Kabul fell, all other stations should be evacuated; and that, if they defied the shah, the British captives might suffer, while by negotiating time would at any rate be gained. On 12 Feb. the same council was assembled to hear the shah's rejoinder, which was a request that the members would affix their signatures and seals to Macgregor's letter. In the meantime there had been considerable discussion as to the situation, and, though Sale and Macgregor urged the members to affix their seals, the demand of the shah was seized upon as an opportunity to withdraw from the proposals contained in the letter of 28 Jan. The shah was accordingly informed that the council declined to negotiate further until assured that he no longer desired their services.

These councils of war have been the subject of considerable discussion, not generally favourable to Sale and Macgregor. The original papers came into the hands of the India office only in 1890, and a study of them shows that, while Sale was too easily influenced by Macgregor to put trust in the crafty Afghan, his chief hope seems to have been that negotiations would gain time, which was all important. The credit of withstanding all attempts at evacuation, and of almost alone upholding the necessity of maintaining the position of Jalalabad to the last, belongs to George Broadfoot. The very day after the council had been held Sale received intelligence that (Sir) George Pollock [q. v.] had arrived at Peshawar to command the force for his relief.

On 19 Feb. severe earthquakes occurred, causing great destruction of buildings. They undid in an hour all that Sale's force had constructed in three months. Nothing daunted, however, Sale set to work the next day to reconstruct the defences, and Broadfoot was again his right hand in the work. Earthquake shocks of a milder form continued to recur during the next month, but little damage was done by them. On 28 Feb. and on 2 and 4 March Akbar Khan made attacks which were repulsed. Provisions began to fall short, and the investment was drawn closer; but successful sorties were made on 1 and 24 March, and again on 1 April, when five hundred sheep were captured. When Sale proceeded to distribute the sheep among the different regiments and corps of his force, a pleasing incident occurred: the 35th native infantry desired that their share might be given to their friends, the 13th light infantry, as animal food was less necessary to them than to European troops.

On 5 April Macgregor's spies brought in false news of the defeat of Pollock in the Khaibar, and on the 6th Akbar Khan fired a salute, as was supposed, in honour of this victory. Urged by Broadfoot and Abbott and other fiery spirits, Sale, who was eager to fight but loth to take the responsibility, made arrangements to give battle to Akbar on the following day and, if successful, to move with all his baggage and stores towards the Khaibar. In the evening he learned that Pollock had been victorious at the Khaibar, and that Akbar's salute was to celebrate the murder of Shah Shuja at Kabul. Sale nevertheless determined to fight on the morrow as already arranged. Accordingly, at daybreak on 7 April, he formed his troops in three columns of attack, under command respectively of Dennie, Monteith, and Havelock. The attack was completely successful, but Dennie was killed leading the 13th light infantry to victory. Akbar Khan's lines were carried by 7 A.M., and his camp, baggage, artillery, arms, ammunition, and horses fell into Sale's hands. Akbar, with the wreck of his army, fled towards Kabul, and the chiefs of the districts in the Khaibar direction hastened to submit to Sale.

On 16 April Pollock arrived at Jalalabad with his relieving column to find that Sale had relieved himself. Lord Ellenborough, the new governor-general, issued a highly complimentary order, in which he alluded to the garrison of Jalalabad as that ‘illustrious garrison.’ A silver medal and six months' batta was granted to every officer, non-commissioned officer, and man, both European and native, which belonged to the garrison on 7 April 1842. The order was directed to be read to all the troops, and a salute of twenty-one guns to be fired at every principal station of the army in India.

A long stay was made by Pollock at Jalalabad, partly on account of sickness and want of transport, but mainly because of the indecision of the government as to the course to be pursued. On 16 June 1842 Sale was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath for his defence of Jalalabad. Towards the end of July Sale moved his division (the first) to Fatehabad, on the road to Kabul, and on 20 Aug. Pollock marched from Jalalabad with the remainder of the army. On 8 Sept. Sale encountered the enemy at the Jagdalak pass, where they occupied a position of great strength, and, after some sharp fighting and very fatiguing climbing, dispersed them.