December 15, 2008

British Chronicle of 1857 Revolt ( Mutiny ) and Jalandhar--The Beginning

When the Mutiny of 1857 occurred , Phillaur was occupied by some of the 3 rd Native Infantry . Part of the regiment was at Ludhiana . At Jullundur , the 6 th Light Cavalry , the 36 th and 61 st Native Infantry and some Native Artillery were stationed .The 8 th Foot and Horse with a troop of Artillery formed the European garrison . Brigadier Hartley was in command but was succeeded by Brigadier M.C. Johnstone before the actual outbreak occurred at Jullundur . The Civil Officers were Commissioner , Major Lake the Deputy Commissioner , Capt. Farrington ,the Assistant Commissioner , S.S, Hoggand the Extra Assistant Commissioner , G.Knox.

Jullundur District was of great importance , as one of the main lines of communication between Punjab and Delhi passed through it, and was commanded , where it crossed the Sutlej , by the Phillaur Fort .Jullundur being rich in agricultural resources was able to supply ample means of carriage and other necessaries of an army engaged in the battle field.

When news of the outbreak at Meerut arrived , on 12-05-1857 , Major Lake was not at Head -Quarters but Captain Farrington was present at a council held by Brigadier Hartley , at which it was decided to secure Phillaur and to establish telegraphic communication with it .Brown , the Superintendent of Telegraphs , had the telegraph at work by 10 o'clock the same evening and by 8 A.M. next morning the native troops had been replaced by 150 men of the 8 th Foot.Two guns were taken from Phillaur to Jullundur and with the two already there were placed under a guard of the same regiment.Two guns were equipped for service in any part of Jullundur District where required.

The Tehsil at Jullundur was strengthened to serve as a fort. The men of the Sher-Dil police battalion were called in from the district. The treasure was placed under an European guard and all European inhabitants were brought together.The Raja of Kapurthala ,Randhir Singh ,was asked for help; but there was no need to ask as , on first intimation of the outbreak at Meerut ,he proceeded to Jullundur with all the troops he could collect , at with his brother remained there the whole of hot weather.To his influence the peace of the Town and District was largely due.

The Civil Treasure , ordinarily kept under a sepoy guard at kutchery was transferred to the 8 th Regiment , but afterwards , by the orders of Brigadier Johnstone , placed in charge of the two Native Infntry Regiments in equal shares , while new remittances were forwarded to Phillaur . As the guard of the 36 th Native Infantry remained staunch to the last , only Rs.5000/- were lost when the storm broke.There was no lack of evidence to show that a mutinous spirit was in the native regiments .Constant fires had occurred in the Cantonments which are nearly 4 miles from the City and Civil Lines. Other signs of bad feeling had manifested . But the military authorities disregarded these warnings , placed confidence in their men , neglected an opportunity for disarming them ,and when the crisis came were found unprepared.

At 11 P.M. on 07-06-1857 , afire broke out in Cantonments.

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