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The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 by Archibald Forbes

Part 4 out of 5

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resistance, and the Afghan charge swept up the hill-side. In momentary
panic the defenders gave ground, carrying downhill with them the
reinforcement of Punjaubees which Captain Hall was bringing up. Two of
the mountain guns were lost, but there was a rally at the foot of the
hill under cover of which the other two were extricated. The Afghans
refrained from descending into the plain, and directed their efforts
toward cutting off the occupants of the position on the Asmai summit.
They ascended by two distinct directions. One body from the conical hill
followed the route taken by Jenkins in the morning; another scaled a spur
trending downward to the Chardeh valley from the southern extremity of
the Asmai ridge.

It was estimated that the Afghan strength disclosed this day did not fall
short of 40,000 men; and General Roberts was reluctantly compelled to
abandon for the time any further offensive efforts. His reasons, stated
with perfect frankness, may best be given in his own words. 'Up to this
time,' he wrote, 'I had no reason to apprehend that the Afghans were in
sufficient force to cope successfully with disciplined troops, but the
resolute and determined manner in which the conical hill had been
recaptured, and the information sent to me by Brigadier-General
Macpherson that large masses of the enemy were still advancing from the
north, south, and west, made it evident that the numbers combined against
us were too overwhelming to admit of my comparatively small force meeting
them. I therefore determined to withdraw from all isolated positions, and
to concentrate the whole force at Sherpur, thus securing the safety of
our large cantonment, and avoiding what had now become a useless
sacrifice of life.' The orders issued to Generals Baker and Macpherson to
retire into the cantonment were executed with skill and steadiness.
Jenkins' evacuation of the Asmai position was conspicuously adroit. When
the order to quit reached that able officer, Major Stockwell of the 72d
was out with a small detachment, maintaining a hot fire on the Afghan
bodies ascending by the southern spur from the Chardeh valley. He fell
back with great deliberation, and when he rejoined the retirement down
the hill face looking toward Sherpur was leisurely proceeded with, the
hostile advance from, the northern side being held in check by the fire
of covering parties from Jenkins' left flank. General Macpherson's
retirement was masterly. Flanking his march through the Cabul gorge with
two companies of the 67th who stalled off a rush of ghazees from the
Asmai crest, he continued his march through the suburb of Deh Afghan, his
baggage in front under a strong guard. Some few shots were exchanged
before the suburb was cleared, but the casualties were few and presently
the brigade entered the cantonment. General Baker continued to hold a
covering position with part of his force, until the troops from the
heights and Macpherson's command had made good their retirement, and he
was the last to withdraw. By dusk the whole force was safely concentrated
within the cantonment, and the period of the defensive had begun. The
casualties of the day were serious; thirty-five killed, and 107 wounded.
During the week of fighting the little force had lost somewhat heavily;
the killed numbered eighty-three, the wounded 192. Eight officers were
killed, twelve were wounded.


Although overlarge for its garrison, the Sherpur cantonment had many of
the features of a strong defensive position. On the southern and western
faces the massive and continuous enciente made it impregnable against any
force unprovided with siege artillery. But on the eastern face the wall
had been built to the elevation only of seven feet, and at either end of
the Behmaroo heights, which constituted the northern line of defence,
there were open gaps which had to be made good. The space between the
north-western bastion and the heights was closed by an entrenchment
supported by a 'laager' of Afghan gun-carriages and limbers, the ground
in front strengthened by abattis and wire entanglements, beyond which a
village flanking the northern and western faces was occupied as a
detached post. The open space on the north-eastern angle was similarly
fortified; the village of Behmaroo was loopholed, and outlying buildings
to the front were placed in a state of defence. The unfinished eastern
wall was heightened by logs built up in tiers, and its front was covered
with abattis, a tower and garden outside being occupied by a detachment.
A series of block houses had been built along the crest of the Behmaroo
heights supporting a continuous entrenchment, gun emplacements made in
the line of defence, and the gorge dividing the heights strongly
fortified against an attack from the northern plain. The enciente was
divided into sections to each of which was assigned a commanding officer
with a specified detail of troops; and a strong reserve of European
infantry was under the command of Brigadier-General Baker, ready at short
notice to reinforce any threatened point. It was presumably owing to the
absorption of the troops in fighting, collecting supplies, and providing
winter shelter, that when the concentration within Sherpur became
suddenly necessary the defences of the position were still seriously
defective; and throughout the period of investment the force was
unremittingly engaged in the task of strengthening them. Nor had the
military precaution been taken of razing the villages and enclosures
within the fire zone of the enciente, and they remained to afford cover
to the enemy during the period of investment.

Before the enemy cut the telegraph wire in the early morning of the 15th
Sir Frederick Roberts had informed the authorities in India of his
situation and of his need for reinforcements; and he had also ordered up
General Charles Gough's brigade without loss of time. Gough was already
at Jugdulluk when he received the order calling him to Cabul, but he had
to wait for reinforcements and supplies, and the tribesmen were
threatening his position and the line of communication in rear of it. He
did not move forward until the 21st. On the following day he reached
Luttabund, whence he took on with him the garrison of that post, but
although his march was unmolested it was not until the 24th that he
reached Sherpur, a day too late to participate in repelling the assault
on the cantonment.

While General Roberts' force was busily engaged in making good the
defences of Sherpur, the Afghans refrained from attempting to back their
success on the Asmai heights by an assault on the defensive position
which seemed to invite an attack. During the first two days of their
possession of the city they were enjoying the fruits of their occupation
in their own turbulent manner. Roberts' spies reported them busily
engaged in sacking the Hindoo and Kuzzilbash quarters, in looting and
wrecking the houses of chiefs and townsfolk who had shown friendliness to
the British, and in quarrelling among themselves over the spoils.
Requisitioning was in full force. The old Moulla Mushk-i-Alum was the
temporary successor of General Hills in the office of Governor of Cabul;
and spite of his ninety years he threw extraordinary energy into the work
of arousing fanaticism and rallying to Cabul the fighting men of the
surrounding country. The _jehad_ of which he had been the chief
instigator had certainly attained unexampled dimensions, and although it
was not in the nature of things that every Afghan who carried arms should
be inspired with religious fanaticism to such a pitch as to be utterly
reckless of his life, swarms of fierce ghazees made formidable the levies
which Mahomed Jan commanded.

On the 17th and 18th the Afghans made ostentatious demonstrations against
Sherpur, but those were never formidable, although they made themselves
troublesome with some perseverance during the daytime, consistently
refraining from night attacks, which was remarkable since ordinarily they
are much addicted to the _chapao_. There never was any investment of
Sherpur, or indeed any approximation to investment. Cavalry
reconnaissances constantly went out, and piquets and videttes were
habitually on external duty; infantry detachments sallied forth whenever
occasion demanded to dislodge the assailants from points occupied by them
in inconvenient proximity to the defences. The Afghan offensive was not
dangerous, but annoying and wearying. It was indeed pushed with some
resolution on the 18th, when several thousand men poured out of the city,
and skirmished forward under cover of the gardens and enclosures on the
plain between Cabul and Sherpur, in the direction of the southern front
and the south-western bastions. The Afghans are admirable skirmishers,
and from their close cover kept up for hours a brisk fire on the soldiers
lining the Sherpur defences, but with singularly little effect. The
return rifle fire was for the most part restricted to volleys directed on
those of the enemy who offered a sure mark by exposing themselves; and
shell fire was chiefly used to drive the Afghan skirmishers from their
cover in the gardens and enclosures. Some of those, notwithstanding, were
able to get within 400 yards of the enciente, but could make no further
headway. On the morning of the 19th it was found that in the night the
enemy had occupied the Meer Akhor fort, a few hundred yards beyond the
eastern face, and close to the Residency compound of the old cantonments
of 1839-42. The fire from this fort was annoying, and General Baker went
out on the errand of destroying it, with 800 bayonets, two mountain guns,
and a party of sappers. As the fort was being approached through the
dense mist a sudden volley from it struck down several men, and
Lieutenant Montenaro of the mountain battery was mortally wounded. The
fort was heavily shelled from the south-eastern bastion; its garrison
evacuated it, and it was blown up.

Mahomed Jan and his coadjutors could hardly flatter themselves that as
yet they had made any impression on the steadfast defence which the
British force was maintaining in the Sherpur cantonment. The Afghan
leader had tried force in vain; he knew the history of that strange
period in the winter of 1841 during which Afghan truculence and audacity
had withered the spirit of a British force not much less numerically
strong than the little army now calmly withstanding him. Things had not
gone very well with that little army of late, possibly its constancy
might have been impaired, and its chief might be willing, as had been
Elphinstone and the Eltchi, to listen to terms. Anyhow there could be no
harm in making a proffer based on the old lines. So the Afghan leader
proposed to General Roberts, apparently in all seriousness, that the
British army should forthwith evacuate Afghanistan, encountering no
molestation in its march; that the British General before departing
should engage that Yakoub Khan should return to Afghanistan as its Ameer;
and that there should be left behind two officers of distinction as
hostages for the faithful fulfilment of the contract. 'We have a lakh of
men; they are like wolves eager to rush on their prey! We cannot much
longer control them!'--such were said to have been the terms of a message
intended to disturb the equanimity of the British commander. Meer Butcha
and his Kohistanees, again, were not to all appearance anxious for the
restoration of Yakoub. They professed themselves content to accept our
staunch friend Wali Mahomed as Ameer, if only the British army would be
good enough to march home promptly and leave to Afghans the
administration of Afghan affairs. It was not likely that a man of
Roberts' nature would demean himself to take any notice of such
overtures. For the moment circumstances had enforced on him the wisdom of
accepting the defensive attitude, but he knew himself, nevertheless, the
virtual master of the situation. He had but one serious anxiety--the
apprehension lest the Afghans should not harden their hearts to deliver
an assault on his position.

That apprehension was not long to give him concern. On the 20th, as a
menace against the southern face of Sherpur, the enemy took strong
possession of the Mahomed Shereef fort, stormed so gallantly by Colonel
Griffiths on 6th November 1841; and they maintained themselves there
during the two following days in face of the fire of siege guns mounted
on the bastions of the enciente. On the 21st and 22d large numbers of
Afghans quitted the city, and passing eastward behind the Siah Sung
heights, took possession in great force of the forts and villages outside
the eastern face of Sherpur. On the 22d a spy brought in the intelligence
that Mahomed Jan and his brother-chiefs had resolved to assault the
cantonment early on the following morning, and the spy was able to
communicate the plan of attack. The 2000 men holding the King's Garden
and the Mahomed Shereef fort had been equipped with scaling ladders, and
were to make a false attack which might become a real one, against the
western section of the southern front. The principal assault, however,
was to be made against the eastern face of the Behmaroo
village--unquestionably the weakest part of the defensive position. The
23d was the last day of the Mohurrum--the great Mahomedan religious
festival, when fanaticism would be at its height; and further to
stimulate that incentive to valour, the Mushk-i-Alum would himself kindle
the beacon fire on the Asmai height which was to be the signal to the
faithful to rush to the assault.

The information proved perfectly accurate. All night long the shouts and
chants of the Afghans filled the air. Purposeful silence reigned
throughout the cantonment. In the darkness the soldiers mustered and
quietly fell into their places; the officers commanding sections of the
defence made their dispositions; the reserves were silently standing to
their arms. Every eye was toward the Asmai heights, shrouded still in the
gloom of the night. A long tongue of flame shot up into the air, blazed
brilliantly for a few moments, and then waned. At the signal a fierce
fire opened from the broken ground before one of the gateways of the
southern face, the flashes indicating that the marksmen were plying their
rifles within 200 yards of the enciente. The bullets sped harmlessly over
the defenders sheltered behind the parapet, and in the dusk of the dawn
reprisals were not attempted. But this outburst of powder-burning against
the southern face was a mere incident; what men listened and watched for
was the development of the true assault on the eastern end of the great
parallelogram. The section commanders there were General Hugh Gough in
charge of the eastern end of the Behmaroo heights, and Colonel Jenkins
from the village down to the Native Hospital and beyond to the bastion at
the south-eastern corner. The troops engaged were the Guides from the
ridge down to Behmaroo village and beyond to the Native Hospital, in
which were 100 men of the 28th Punjaub Infantry, and between the Hospital
and the corner bastion the 67th, reinforced by two companies of 92d
Highlanders from the reserve, which later sent to the defence of the
eastern face additional contributions of men and guns. 'From beyond
Behmaroo and the eastern trenches and walls,' writes Mr Hensman, 'came a
roar of voices so loud and menacing that it seemed as if an army fifty
thousand strong was charging down on our thin line of men. Led by their
ghazees, the main body of Afghans hidden in the villages and orchards on
the east side of Sherpur had rushed out in one dense mob, and were
filling the air with their shouts of "Allah-il-Allah." The roar surged
forward as their line advanced, but it was answered by such a roll of
musketry that it was drowned for the moment, and then merged into the
general din which told us that our men with Martinis and Sniders were
holding their own against the attacking force.' When the first attack
thus graphically described was made the morning was still so dark and
misty that the outlook from the trenches was restricted, and the order to
the troops was to hold their fire till the assailants should be
distinctly visible. The detachment of the 28th opened fire somewhat
prematurely, and presently the Guides holding Behmaroo and the trenches
on the slopes followed the example, and sweeping with their fire the
terrain in front of them broke the force of the attack while its leaders
were still several hundred yards away. Between the Hospital and the
corner bastion the men of the 67th and 92d awaited with impassive
discipline the word of permission to begin firing. From out the mist at
length emerged dense masses of men, some of whom were brandishing swords
and knives, while others loaded and fired while hurrying forward. The
order to fire was not given until the leading ghazees were within eighty
yards, and the mass of assailants not more distant than 200 yards.
Heavily struck then by volley on volley, they recoiled but soon gathered
courage to come on again; and for several hours there was sharp fighting,
repeated efforts being made to carry the low eastern wall. So resolute
were the Afghans that more than once they reached the abattis, but each
time were driven back with heavy loss. About ten o'clock there was a lull
and it seemed that the attacking force was owning the frustration of its
attempts, but an hour later there was a partial recrudescence of the
fighting and the assailants once more came on. The attack, however, was
not pushed with much vigour and was soon beaten down, but the Afghans
still maintained a threatening attitude and the fire from the defences
was ineffectual to dislodge them. The General resolved to take their
positions in flank, and with this intent sent out into the open through
the gorge in the Behmaroo heights, four field guns escorted by a cavalry
regiment. Bending to the right, the guns came into action on the right
flank of the Afghans, and the counter-stroke had immediate effect. The
enemy wavered and soon were in full retreat. The Kohistanee contingent,
some 5000 strong, cut loose and marched away northward, with obvious
recognition that the game was up. The fugitives were scourged with
artillery and rifle fire, and Massy led out the cavalry, swept the plain,
and drove the lingering Afghans from the slopes of Siah Sung. The false
attack on the southern face from the King's Garden and the Mahomed
Shereef fort never made any head. Those positions were steadily shelled
until late in the afternoon, when they were finally evacuated, and by
nightfall all the villages and enclosures between Sherpur and Cabul were
entirely deserted. Some of those had been destroyed by sappers from the
garrison during the afternoon, in the course of which operation two
gallant engineer officers, Captain Dundas and Lieutenant Nugent, were
unfortunately killed by the premature explosion of a mine.

Mahomed Jan had been as good as his word; he had delivered his stroke
against Sherpur, and that stroke had utterly failed. With its failure
came promptly the collapse of the national rising. Before daybreak of the
24th the formidable combination which had included all the fighting
elements of North-Eastern Afghanistan, and under whose banners it was
believed that more than 100,000 armed men had mustered, was no more. Not
only had it broken up; it had disappeared. Neither in the city, nor in
the adjacent villages, nor on the surrounding heights, was a man to be
seen. So hurried had been the Afghan dispersal that the dead lay unburied
where they had fallen. His nine days on the defensive had cost General
Roberts singularly little in casualties; his losses were eighteen killed
and sixty-eight wounded. The enemy's loss from first to last of the
rising was reckoned to be not under 3000.

On the 24th the cavalry rode far and fast in pursuit of the fugitives,
but they overtook none, such haste had the fleeing Afghans made. On the
same day Cabul and the Balla Hissar were reoccupied, and General Hills
resumed his functions as military governor of the city. Cabul had the
aspect of having undergone a sack at the hands of the enemy; the bazaars
were broken up and deserted and the Hindoo and Kuzzilbash quarters had
been relentlessly wrecked. Sir Frederick Roberts lost no time in
despatching a column to, the Kohistan to punish Meer Butcha by destroying
that chief's forts and villages, and to ascertain whether the tribesmen
of the district had dispersed to their homes. This was found to be the
case, and the column returned after having been out five days. After
making a few examples the General issued a proclamation of amnesty,
excluding therefrom only five of the principal leaders and fomentors of
the recent rising, and stipulating that the tribesmen should send
representatives to Sherpur to receive explanations regarding the
dispositions contemplated for the government of the country. This policy
of conciliation bore good fruit; and a durbar was held on January 9th,
1880, at which were present about 200 sirdars, chiefs, and headmen from
the Kohistan, Logur, and the Ghilzai country. Rewards were presented to
those chiefs who had remained friendly; the General received the salaams
of the assembled sirdars and then addressed them in a firm but
conciliatory speech.

The country remained still in a disturbed state, but there was little
likelihood of a second general rising. General Roberts was resolved,
however, to be thoroughly prepared to cope with that contingency should
it occur. Sherpur was encircled by a military road, and all cover and
obstructions for the space of 1000 yards outside the enciente were swept
away. Another road was constructed from Behmaroo village to the Siah Sung
heights and yet another from the south-eastern gateway direct to the
Balla Hissar, on both of which there were bridges across the Cabul river.
Along the northern face of Cabul from Deh Afghan to the Balla Hissar, a
road broad enough for guns was made, and another broad road cut through
the lower Balla Hissar. Another military road was built through the Cabul
gorge to the main Ghuznee and Bamian road in the Chardeh valley. Strong
forts were built on the Asmai and Sher Derwaza heights and on the spur
above the Balla Hissar, which, well garrisoned and supplied adequately
with provisions, water, and ammunition, would enable Cabul as well as
Sherpur to be held. The latter was greatly strengthened, the eastern
point of the Behmaroo heights being converted into something like a
regular fortress. Later, in March, when the Cabul force had increased to
a strength of about 11,500 men and twenty-six guns, the command was
formed into two divisions, of which the first remained under the
Lieutenant-General, the second being commanded by Major-General John
Ross. The line of communications was in charge of Major-General Bright,
and Brigadier-General Hugh Gough was the cavalry commander in succession
to Brigadier-General Massy. On the 2d of May, Sir Donald Stewart arriving
at Cabul from Candahar, took over the chief command in North-Eastern
Afghanistan from Sir Frederick Roberts. Sir Donald's march from Candahar,
which was an eventful one, is dealt with in the next chapter.


While Sir Frederick Roberts had been fighting hard in North-Eastern
Afghanistan, Sir Donald Stewart had been experiencing comparative
tranquillity in his Candahar command. As soon as the news reached him of
the destruction of Cavagnari's mission he had promptly concentrated his
troops, and so early as the third week of September (1879) he was in a
position to carry out his orders to create a diversion in aid of Roberts'
advance on Cabul by making a demonstration in the direction of Ghuznee
and placing a garrison in Khelat-i-Ghilzai. No subsequent movements of
importance were undertaken in Southern Afghanistan during the winter, and
the province enjoyed almost unbroken quietude. In Herat, however,
disturbance was rife. Ayoub Khan, the brother of Yakoub Khan, had
returned from exile and made good his footing in Herat, of which formerly
he had been conjoint governor with Yakoub. In December he began a hostile
advance on Candahar, but a conflict broke out between the Cabul and Herat
troops under his command, and he abandoned for the time his projected

[Illustration: ACTION AT AHMED KHEL. 20 Miles from GHUZNEE. 19th. April

In the end of March Sir Donald Stewart began the march toward Cabul which
orders from India had prescribed. He left behind him in Candahar the
Bombay division of his force under the command of Major-General Primrose,
whose line of communication with the Indus valley was to be kept open by
Phayre's brigade, and took with him on the northward march the Bengal
division, consisting of two infantry brigades and a cavalry brigade. The
first infantry brigade was commanded by Brigadier-General Barter, the
second by Brigadier-General Hughes, and the cavalry brigade, which
divisional headquarters accompanied, by Brigadier-General Palliser.
Khelat-i-Ghilzai was reached on 6th April; the Bengal portion of its
garrison joined the division and the advance was resumed on the following
day. Until Shahjui, the limit of the Candahar province, the march was
uneventful; but beyond that place extreme difficulties were experienced
in procuring supplies, for the villages were found deserted and the
inhabitants had carried off, destroyed, or hidden their stores of grain.
The force was embarrassed by a horde of Hazaras, who swarmed in wild
irregularity on its flanks, plundering and burning with great
vindictiveness, eager to wreak vengeance on their Afghan foes. And it had
another although more distant companionship, in the shape of several
thousand hostile tribesmen and ghazees, whose fanaticism their moullas
had been assiduously inciting, and who marched day by day parallel with
the British right flank along the foothills at a distance of about eight
miles. Their attitude was threatening but it was not thought wise to
meddle with them, since their retreat over the hills could not well be
cut off, and since the policy of non-interference would tend to encourage
them to venture on a battle. The soundness of this reasoning was soon to
be made manifest.

On the night of April 18th the division was encamped at Mushaki, about
thirty miles south of Ghuznee. The spies that evening brought in the
information that the enemy had resolved on fighting on the following
morning, and that the position they intended to take up was the summit of
a low spur of the Gul Koh mountain ridge, bounding on the west the valley
followed by the road. This spur was said to project in a north-easterly
direction toward the Ghuznee river, gradually sinking into the plain.
During a great part of its length it flanked and overhung the road, but
near where it merged into the plain the road passed over it by a low
saddle at a point about six miles beyond Mushaki. At dawn of the 19th the
column moved off, Palliser leading the advance, which Sir Donald Stewart
accompanied, Hughes commanding the centre, Barter bringing up the rear
and protecting the baggage. An hour later the enemy were visible in great
strength about three miles in advance, presenting the aspect of a vast
body formed up on the spur and on the saddle crossed by the road, and
thus threatening Stewart at once in front and on both flanks. The British
general at once made his dispositions. His guns were on the road in
column of route. The three infantry regiments of Hughes' brigade came up
to the left of and in line with the leading battery, the cavalry took
ground on the plain on its right, and a reserve was formed consisting of
an infantry regiment, two companies sappers and miners, and the General's
escort of a troop and two companies. Orders were sent back to Barter to
send forward without delay half the infantry of his brigade. In the
formation described the force resumed its advance until within striking
distance. Then the two batteries came into action on either side of the
road; the horse-battery on the right, the flat ground to its right being
covered by the 2d Punjaub Cavalry; the field-battery on the left. Sir
Donald Stewart's proper front thus consisted of the field and
horse-batteries with their supports, but since it was apparent that the
greatest strength of the enemy was on the higher ground flanking his
left, it behoved him to show a front in that direction also, and for this
purpose he utilised Hughes' three infantry regiments, of which the 59th
was on the right, the 2d Sikhs in the centre, and the 3d Goorkhas on the
left. Part of the reserve infantry was sent to make good the interval
between the left of the artillery and the right of the infantry.

The guns had no sooner come into action than the enemy in great masses
showed themselves on spur and saddle and plain, bent seemingly on an
attempt to envelop the position held by the British. 'Suddenly,' writes
Hensmen, 'a commotion was observed in the most advanced lines of the
opposing army; the moullas could be seen haranguing the irregular host
with frantic energy, the beating of the tom-toms was redoubled, and then
as if by magic waves on waves of men--ghazees of the most desperate
type--poured down upon the plain, and rushed upon General Stewart's
force. The main body of the Afghan army remained upon the hill to watch
the ghazees in their reckless onslaught, and take advantage of any
success they might gain. The fanaticism of the 3000 or 4000 men who made
this desperate charge has perhaps never been equalled; they had 500 or
600 yards to cover before they could come to close quarters, and yet they
made nothing of the distance. Nearly all were well armed with tulwars,
knives, and pistols. Some carried rifles and matchlocks, while a few--and
those must have been resolute fanatics indeed--had simply pikes made of
bayonets, or pieces of sharpened iron fastened on long shafts. Their
attack broke with greatest violence on our flanks. On our left flank the
19th Bengal Lancers were still moving into position when the ghazees
rushed in among them. In an instant they were hidden in the cloud of dust
and smoke, and then they galloped toward the right rear, and struck into
the reserve in rear of the Lieutenant-General and his staff. All was
confusion for a moment; the ammunition mules were stampeded, and with the
riderless horses of the lancers killed or wounded in the _melee_, dashed
into the headquarter staff. The ghazees had continued their onward rush,
and were engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with our infantry. Some of them
penetrated to within twenty yards of the knoll on which the staff were
watching the action, and so critical was the moment that Sir Donald
Stewart and every man of his staff drew their swords and prepared for
self-defence.' The hurried retirement of the lancers had left the left
flank bare. It was turned by the fierce rush of the fanatics, who were
actually in rear of the leftward infantry regiment and in the heart of
the British position. The Goorkhas had been thrown into momentary
confusion, but their colonel promptly formed them into rallying squares,
whose fire mowed down the ghazees and arrested the headlong vehemence of
their turning movement. But it was not the British left only which was
temporarily compromised by the furious onslaught of the fanatics. Their
enveloping charge broke down the defence of the weakly-manned interval
between the left of the artillery and the right of the infantry. The
detachments holding that interval were forced back, righting hand-to-hand
as the sheer weight of the assault compelled them to give ground; the
59th, in its effort to throw back its right to cover the interval and
protect the guns, was thrown into confusion and gave ground; and the
guns, their case shot exhausted and the Afghans within a few yards of
their muzzles, had to be retired. The onslaught on the right front of the
horse-battery was delivered with great determination, but was held at bay
and finally crushed by the repeated charges of the 2d Punjaub cavalry.

Every man of the reserves was hurried into the fighting line; the
soldiers were steadied by the energetic efforts of their officers and
settled down to a steady and continuous fire from their breechloaders;
the guns poured their shells into the hostile masses; and the fire of the
forty-pounders on the left effectually arrested the attempt of the Afghan
horse to move round that flank. The hard-fought combat lasted for an
hour; at ten o'clock the 'cease fire' sounded, and the British victory
was signal. The enemy was dispersing in full flight, and the cavalry was
chasing the fugitives across the plain on the right. How reckless had
been the whirlwind charges of the ghazees was evidenced by the
extraordinary number of their dead whose corpses strewed the battlefield.
In no previous conflict between our troops and the Afghans had the latter
suffered nearly so heavily. More than 1000 dead were counted on the
field, and many bodies were carried away; on a moderate computation their
total loss must have been between 2000 and 3000, and that in an estimated
strength of from 12,000 to 15,000. The casualties of the British force
were seventeen killed and 124 wounded, of whom four died of their wounds.
The injuries consisted almost wholly of sword slashes and knife stabs
received in hand-to-hand encounters. The pursuit was soon recalled, but
the Hazaras took up the chase with ardour and in the rancour of vengeance
slew and spared not.

Sir Donald Stewart tarried on the field only long enough to bury his dead
and have his wounded attended to; and soon after noon his force resumed
its march. Ghuznee was reached on the 21st, where there was a halt of
three days. It had been reported that the indomitable Mushk-i-Alum was
raising the tribesmen of Zurmut and Shilgur to avenge the defeat of Ahmed
Khel, and a cavalry reconnaissance made on the 22d had found a gathering
of 2000 or 3000 men about the villages of Urzoo and Shalez, six miles
south-east of Ghuznee. On the morning of the 23d a strong column
commanded by Brigadier-General Palliser moved on the villages, which were
found occupied in considerable force. They were too solidly built to be
much injured by artillery fire, and the Afghans lay close in the shelter
they afforded. Palliser hesitated to commit his infantry to an attack.
Sir Donald Stewart having arrived, ordered the infantry to carry the
villages without delay, and the affair was soon over, the tribesmen
suffering severely from the rifle fire as they evacuated the villages,
and later in the pursuit made by the cavalry and horse-artillery. On the
following day the march toward Cabul was resumed.

On the 16th April Major-General Ross had been despatched from Cabul by
Sir Frederick Roberts on the mission of joining hands with Stewart's
division. On the 20th Ross opened heliographic communication with Sir
Donald, and was informed of the latter's victory at Ahmed Khel. But the
junction of the two forces was not accomplished until the 27th; and in
the interval the force commanded by General Ross had received
considerable annoyance at the hands of tribal levies gathered by local
chiefs. The tribesmen interfered with the roadmaking operations of his
sappers in the vicinity of Sheikabad, and some fighting occurred in very
rugged country on the 23d. Trivial loss was experienced by his command,
but the demonstrations of the tribesmen evinced with what inveterate
determination, notwithstanding so many severe lessons, the Afghans
persisted in their refusal to admit themselves conquered. Driven away
with severe loss on the 25th, those indomitable hillmen and villagers
were back again on the following morning on the overhanging ridges; nor
were they dispersed by the 'resources of civilised warfare' until more of
them had paid with their lives the penalty of their obstinate hostility.
On the 28th, at Sheikabad, Sir Donald Stewart took leave of the division
which he had led from Candahar, and proceeded to Cabul with General Ross'
force to assume the chief command in North-Eastern Afghanistan. His
division turned aside into the Logur valley, where it remained at until
the final concentration about Cabul in anticipation of the evacuation. By
the reinforcement brought by Stewart the Cabul field force was increased
to a strength of about 18,000 men.


The occupation of Afghanistan by the British troops had been prolonged
far beyond the period originally intended by the authorities. But the
strain of that occupation was great, and although it had to be maintained
until there should be found a ruler strong enough to hold his own after
the evacuation, the decision was definitely arrived at to withdraw from
the country before the setting in of another winter. Mr Lepel Griffin, a
distinguished member of the political department of the Indian Civil
Service, reached Cabul on 20th March, his mission being to further the
selection and acceptance of a capable ruler to be left in possession. The
task was no easy one. There was little promise in any of the Barakzai
pretenders who were in Afghanistan, and in the address which Mr Griffin
addressed in Durbar to a number of sirdars and chiefs in the middle of
April, he preserved a tone at once haughty and enigmatical. One thing he
definitely announced, the Viceroy's decision that Yakoub Khan was not to
return to Afghanistan. The State was to be dismembered. As to the future
of Herat the speaker made no allusion; but the province of Candahar was
to be separated from Cabul and placed under an independent Barakzai
prince. No decision could for the present be given in regard to the
choice of an Ameer to rule over Cabul. The Government desired to nominate
an Ameer strong enough to govern his people and steadfast in his
friendship to the British; if those qualifications could be secured the
Government was willing and anxious to recognise the wish of the Afghan
people, and nominate an Ameer of their choice.

But in effect the choice, so far as the English were concerned, had been
already virtually made. On the 14th of March Lord Lytton had telegraphed
to the Secretary of State advocating the 'early public recognition of
Abdurrahman as legitimate heir of Dost Mahomed, and the despatch of a
deputation of sirdars, with British concurrence, to offer him the throne,
as sole means of saving the country from anarchy'; and the Minister had
promptly replied authorising the nomination of Abdurrahman, should he be
found 'acceptable to the country and would be contented with Northern
Afghanistan.' Abdurrahman had known strange vicissitudes. He was the
eldest grandson of the old Dost; his father was Afzul Khan, the elder
brother of Shere Ali. After the death of the Dost he had been an exile in
Bokhara, but he returned to Balkh, of which province his father had been
Governor until removed by Shere Ali, made good his footing there, and
having done so advanced on Cabul, taking advantage of Shere Ali's absence
at Candahar. The capital opened its gates to him in March 1866; he fought
a successful battle with Shere Ali at Sheikabad, occupied Ghuznee, and
proclaimed his father Ameer. Those were triumphs, but soon the wheel came
round full circle. Afzul had but a short life as Ameer, and Abdurrahman
had to retire to Afghan Turkestan. Yakoub, then full of vigour and
enterprise, defeated him at Bamian and restored his father Shere Ali to
the throne in the winter of 1868. Abdurrahman then once more found
himself an exile. In 1870, after much wandering, he reached Tashkend,
where General Kaufmann gave him permission to reside, and obtained for
him from the Czar a pension of 25,000 roubles per annum. Petrosvky, a
Russian writer who professed to be intimate with him during his period of
exile, wrote of him that, 'To get square some day with the English and
Shere Ali was Abdurrahman's most cherished thought, his dominant,
never-failing passion.' His hatred of Shere Ali, his family, and
supporters, was intelligible and natural enough, but why he should have
entertained a bitter grudge against the English is not very apparent; and
there has been no overt manifestation of its existence since he became
Ameer. To Mr Eugene Schuyler, who had an interview with him at Tashkend,
he expressed his conviction that with L50,000 wherewith to raise and
equip an army he could attain his legitimate position as Ameer of
Afghanistan. Resolutely bent on an effort to accomplish this purpose, he
was living penuriously and saving the greater part of his pension, and he
hinted that he might have Russian assistance in the prosecution of his
endeavour. The selection of a man of such antecedents and associations as
the ruler of a 'buffer' state in friendly relations with British India
was perhaps the greatest leap in the dark on record. Abdurrahman came
straight from the position of a Russian pensionary; in moving on
Afghanistan he obeyed Russian instructions; his Tashkend patrons had
furnished him with a modest equipment of arms and money, the value of
which he undertook to repay if successful. It is of course possible that
those functionaries of a notoriously simple and ingenuous government
started and equipped him in pure friendly good nature, although they had
previously consistently deterred him. But there was not a circumstance in
connection with Abdurrahman that was not suspicious. Three distinct
hypotheses seem to present themselves in relation to this selection as
our nominee; that Lord Lytton had extraordinary, almost indeed
preternatural foresight and sagacity; that he was extremely fortunate in
his leap in the dark; that he desired to bring to the naked _reductio ad
absurdum_ the 'buffer state' policy. When Abdurrahman began his movement
is uncertain. So early as the middle of January it was reported at
Sherpur that he had left Tashkend, and was probably already on the Afghan
side of the Oxus. In a letter of February 17th Mr Hensman speaks of him
as being in Badakshan, where his wife's kinsmen were in power, and
describes him as having a following of 2000 or 3000 Turcoman horsemen and
possessed according to native report of twelve lakhs of rupees. On the
17th of March Lord Lytton telegraphed to the Secretary of State that he
was in possession of 'authentic intelligence that the Sirdar was in
Afghan Turkestan, having lately arrived there from Badakshan.'

[Illustration: The Ameer Abdurrahman.]

It was regarded of urgent importance to ascertain definitely the
disposition of Abdurrahman, and whether he was disposed to throw in his
lot with the British Government, and accept the position of its nominee
in Northern Afghanistan. The agent selected by Mr Griffin to open
preliminary negotiations was a certain Mohamed Surwar, Ghilzai, who had
been all his life in the confidential service of the Sirdar's family.
Surwar was the bearer of a formal and colourless letter by way simply of
authentication; but he also carried full and explicit verbal
instructions. He was directed to inform the Sirdar that since he had
entered Afghan Turkestan and occupied places there by force of arms, it
was essential for him to declare with what object he had come, and
whether actuated by friendly or hostile feelings toward the British
Government, which for its part had no ill-feeling toward him because of
his long residence within the Russian Empire and his notoriously close
relations with that power. That the British Government was able to
benefit him very largely in comparison with that of Russia; and that
wisdom and self interest alike suggested that he should at once open a
friendly correspondence with the British officers in Cabul. That his
opportunity was now come, and that the British Government was disposed to
treat him with every consideration and to consider most favourably any
representations he might make. It had no intention of annexing the
country, and only desired to see a strong and friendly chief established
at Cabul; and that consequently the present communication was made solely
in Abdurrahman's own interest, and not in that of the British Government.
He was desired to send a reply by Surwar, and later to repair to Cabul,
where he should be honourably received.

Surwar returned to Cabul on 21st April, bringing a reply from Abdurrahman
to Mr Griffin's letter. The tone of the reply was friendly enough, but
somewhat indefinite. In conversation with Surwar as reported by the
latter, Abdurrahman was perfectly frank as to his relations with the
Russians, and his sentiments in regard to them. It had been reported that
he had made his escape clandestinely from Tashkend. Had he cared to stand
well with us at the expense of truth, it would have been his cue to
disclaim all authority or assistance from the Russian Government, to
confirm the current story of his escape, and to profess his anxiety to
cultivate friendly relations with the British in a spirit of opposition
to the power in whose territory he had lived so long virtually as a
prisoner. But neither in writing nor in conversation did he make any
concealment of his friendliness toward the Russians, a feeling which he
clearly regarded as nowise incompatible with friendly relations with the
British Government. 'If,' said he to Surwar, 'the English will in
sincerity befriend me, I have no wish to hide anything from them'; and he
went on to tell how the Russians had forbidden him for years to make any
effort to interfere in Afghan affairs. This prohibition stood until
information reached Tashkend of the deportation of Yakoub Khan to India.
Then it was that General Kaufmann's representative said to him: 'You have
always been anxious to return to your country; the English have removed
Yakoub Khan; the opportunity is favourable; if you wish you are at
liberty to go.' The Russians, continued Abdurrahman, pressed him most
strongly to set out on the enterprise which lay before him. They lent him
33,000 rupees, and arms, ammunition, and supplies; he was bound to the
Russians by no path or promise, but simply by feelings of gratitude. 'I
should never like,' said he, 'to be obliged to fight them. I have eaten
their salt, and was for twelve years dependent on their hospitality.'

Surwar reported Abdurrahman as in fine health and possessed of great
energy. He had with him a force of about 3000 men, consisting of four
infantry and two cavalry regiments, with twelve guns and some irregulars.
He professed his readiness, in preference to conducting negotiations
through agents, to go himself to Charikar in the Kohistan with an escort,
and there discuss matters with the English officers in person. Surwar
testified that the Sirdar had with him in Turkestan no Russian or Russian
agent, and this was confirmed through other sources. He had sent forward
to ascertain which was the easiest pass across the Hindoo Koosh, but
meanwhile he was to remain at Kondooz until he should hear again from Mr

While the wary Sirdar waited on events beyond the Hindoo Koosh he was
sending letters to the leading chiefs of the Kohistan and the Cabul
province, desiring them to be ready to support his cause. That he had an
influential party was made clear at a durbar held by Mr Griffin on April
21st, when a considerable gathering of important chiefs united in the
request that Abdurrahman's claim to the Ameership should be favourably
regarded by the British authorities. In pursuance of the negotiations a
mission consisting of three Afghan gentlemen, two of whom belonged to Mr
Griffin's political staff, left Cabul on May 2nd carrying to Abdurrahman
a letter from Mr Griffin intimating that it had been decided to withdraw
the British army from Afghanistan in the course of a few months, and that
the British authorities desired to leave the rulership in capable and
friendly hands; that they were therefore willing to transfer the
Government to him, recognise him as the head of the State, and afford him
facilities and even support in reorganising the Government and
establishing himself in the sovereignty. The mission found the attitude
of Abdurrahman scarcely so satisfactory as had been reported by Surwar,
and its members were virtual prisoners, their tents surrounded by
sentries. Abdurrahman's explanation of this rigour of isolation was that
he could not otherwise ensure the safety of the envoys; but another
construction conveyed to them was that they were kept prisoners that they
might not, by mixing with the people, learn of the presence on the right
bank of the Oxus of a Russian officer with whom Abdurrahman was said to
be in constant communication and on whose advice he acted. Their belief
was that Abdurrahman was entirely under Russian influence; that Mr
Griffin's letter after it had been read in Durbar in the camp was
immediately despatched across the Oxus by means of mounted relays; and
that Russian instructions as to a reply had not been received when they
left Turkestan to return to Cabul. They expressed their belief that the
Sirdar would not accept from British hands Cabul shorn of Candahar. They
had urged him to repeat in the letter they were to carry back to Cabul
the expression of his willingness to meet the British representative at
Charikar which had been contained in his letter sent by Surwar; but he
demurred to committing himself even to this slight extent. The letter
which he sent by way of reply to the weighty communication Mr Griffin had
addressed to him on the part of the Government of India that official
characterised as 'frivolous and empty, and only saved by its special
courtesy of tone from being an impertinence.'

An Afghan who had sat at Kaufmann's feet, Abdurrahman was not wholly a
guileless man; and the truth probably was that he mistrusted the Greeks
of Simla and the gifts they tendered him with so lavish protestation that
they were entirely for his own interest. There was very little finesse
about the importunity of the British that he should constitute himself
their bridge of extrication, so that they might get out of Afghanistan
without the dangers and discredit of leaving chaos behind them. But
Abdurrahman had come to know himself strong enough to reduce to order
that legacy of chaos if it should be left; and in view of his future
relations with his fellow Afghans he was not solicitous to be beholden to
the foreigners to any embarrassing extent. He knew, too, the wisdom of
'masterly inactivity' in delicate conditions. And, again, he had no
confidence in our pledges. On the 4th of August, the day after the
meeting between him and Mr Griffin at Zimma, the latter wrote: 'They
(Abdurrahman and his advisers) feared greatly our intention was to rid
ourselves of a formidable opponent, and dreaded that if he had come
straight into Cabul he would have been arrested, and deported to India.'

A Liberal Government was now in office in England, and was urgent for the
speedy evacuation of Afghanistan. Lord Lytton had resigned and had been
succeeded as Viceroy by the Marquis of Ripon. Lieutenant-General Sir
Donald Stewart was in chief command at Cabul. A great number of letters
from Abdurrahman to chiefs and influential persons throughout Afghanistan
were being intercepted, the tone of which was considered objectionable.
He was reported to be in close correspondence with Mahomed Jan, who had
never ceased to be our bitter enemy. The fact that negotiations were in
progress between the British Government and Abdurrahman had become matter
of general knowledge throughout the country, and was occasioning
disquietude and excitement. So clear were held the evidences of what was
termed Abdurrahman's bad faith, but was probably a combination of genuine
mistrust, astute passivity, and shrewd playing for his own hand, that it
became a serious question with the Indian Government on the arrival of
the new Viceroy, whether it was good policy to have anything more to do
with him. It was resolved that before breaking off intercourse the
suggestion of Sir Donald Stewart and Mr Griffin should be adopted, that a
peremptory although still friendly letter, demanding a definite
acceptance or refusal of the proffers made, within four days after the
receipt, should be sent to Abdurrahman, with a detailed explanation of
the arrangements into which we were prepared to enter with regard to him
and the future of Afghanistan. A letter was forwarded from Cabul on 14th
June, in which Mr Griffin informed the Sirdar that since the British
Government admitted no right of interference by foreign powers in
Afghanistan, it was plain that the Cabul ruler could have no political
relations with any foreign power except the English; and if any foreign
power should attempt to interfere in Afghanistan, and if such
interference should lead to unprovoked aggression on the Cabul ruler,
then the British Government would be prepared to aid him, if necessary,
to repel it. As regarded limits of the territory, the latter stated that
the whole province of Candahar had been placed under a separate ruler,
except Sibi and Pisheen, which were retained in British possession.
Consequently the British Government was unable to enter into any
negotiations on those points, or in respect to arrangements in regard to
the north-western frontier which were settled by the treaty of Gundamuk.
Subject to those reservations, the British Government was willing that
Abdurrahman should establish over Afghanistan--including Herat when he
should have conquered it--as complete and extensive authority as was
swayed by any previous Ameer. The British Government would exercise no
interference in the internal government of those territories nor would it
demand the acceptance of an English Resident anywhere within Afghanistan,
although for convenience of ordinary friendly intercourse it might be
agreed upon that a Mahommedan Agent of the British Government should be
stationed at Cabul.

Abdurrahman's reply to this communication was vague and evasive, and was
regarded by Sir Donald Stewart and Mr Griffin as so unsatisfactory that
they represented to the Government of India, not for the first time,
their conviction of the danger of trusting Abdurrahman, the imprudence of
delaying immediate action, and the necessity of breaking off with him and
adopting other means of establishing a government in Cabul before the
impending evacuation. Lord Ripon, however, considered that 'as matters
stood an arrangement with Abdurrahman offered the most advisable
solution, while he doubted whether it would not be found very difficult
to enter into any alternative arrangement.' His Excellency's decision was
justified by the event. Meanwhile, indeed, Abdurrahman had started on
June 28th for the Kohistan. He crossed the Hindoo Koosh and arrived on
July 20th at Charikar, where he was welcomed by a deputation of leading
chiefs, while the old Mushk-i-Alum, who for some time, thanks to Mr
Griffin's influence, had been working in the interests of peace,
intimated on behalf of a number of chiefs assembled in Maidan that they
were ready to accept as Ameer the nominee of the British Government.

So propitious seemed the situation that it was considered the time had
come for formally acknowledging Abdurrahman as the new Ameer, and also
for fixing approximately the date of the evacuation of Cabul by the
British troops. The ceremony of recognition was enacted in a great durbar
tent within the Sherpur cantonment on the afternoon of July 22d. The
absence of Abdurrahman, and the notorious cause of that absence,
detracted from the intrinsic dignity of the occasion so far as concerned
the British participation in it; nor was the balance restored by the
presence of three members of his suite whom he had delegated to represent
him. A large number of sirdars, chiefs, and maliks were present, some of
whom had fought stoutly against us in December. Sir Donald Stewart, who
presided, explained to the assembled Afghans that their presence and that
of the officers of the British force had been called for in order that
the public recognition by the British Government of the Sirdar
Abdurrahman Khan as Ameer of Cabul should be made known with as much
honour as possible. Then Mr Griffin addressed in Persian a short speech
to the 'sirdars, chiefs, and gentlemen' who constituted his audience.
Having announced the recognition of Abdurrahman by 'the Viceroy of India
and the Government of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen Empress,' he
proceeded: 'It is to the Government a source of satisfaction that the
tribes and chiefs have preferred as Ameer a distinguished member of the
Barakzai family, who is a renowned soldier, wise, and experienced. His
sentiments towards the British Government are most friendly; and so long
as his rule shows that he is animated by these sentiments, he cannot fail
to receive the support of the British Government.' Mr Griffin then
intimated that the British armies would shortly withdraw from
Afghanistan; and in his formal farewell there was a certain appropriate
dignity, and a well-earned tribute to the conduct of our soldiers during
their service within the Afghan borders. 'We trust and firmly believe,'
said Mr Griffin, 'that your remembrance of the English will not be
unkindly. We have fought you in the field whenever you have opposed us;
but your religion has in no way been interfered with; the honour of your
women has been respected, and every one has been secure in possession of
his property. Whatever has been necessary for the support of the army has
been liberally paid for. Since I came to Cabul I have been in daily
intercourse with you, but I have never heard an Afghan make a complaint
of the conduct of any soldier, English or native, belonging to Her
Majesty's army.' The durbar was closed by an earnest appeal by Sir Donald
Stewart to all the sirdars and chiefs that they should put aside their
private feuds and unite to support the new Ameer.

On August 3d Abdurrahman and Mr Griffin at length met, about sixteen
miles north of Cabul. His adherents were still full of excitement and
suspicion; but the Ameer himself was calm, cheerful, and dignified. The
conference between him and Mr Griffin lasted for three hours and was
renewed on the following day. 'He appeared,' wrote Mr Griffin, 'animated
by a sincere desire to be on cordial terms with the British Government,
and although his expectations were larger than the Government was
prepared to satisfy, yet he did not press them with any discourteous
insistence, and the result of the interview may be considered on the
whole to be highly satisfactory.' The tidings of the Maiwand disaster had
reached Sherpur by telegraph, and the Ameer was informed that a necessity
might occur for marching a force from Cabul to Candahar. His reply was
that the tribes might be hostile, but that if no long halts were made by
the way he would have no objections to such a march. In this he showed
his astuteness, since the defeat of Ayoub Khan by a British army would
obviously save him a contest. So willing to be of service on this matter
was he that when the march was decided on he sent influential persons of
his party in advance to arrange with the local maliks to have supplies
collected for the column. The arrangements made with him were that he was
to fall heir to the thirty guns of Shere Ali's manufacture which the
out-marching army was to leave in Sherpur, and was to receive 19-1/2
lakhs of rupees (L190,500); ten lakhs of which were given as an earnest
of British friendship, and the balance was money belonging to the Afghan
State, which had gone into the commissariat chest and was now restored.
At the Ameer's earnest and repeated request the forts which had been
built around Cabul by the British army, were not destroyed as had been
intended, but were handed over intact to the new Ameer.

It seemed that Sir Donald Stewart, who was to evacuate Sherpur on the
11th August, would leave Cabul without seeing Abdurrahman. But at the
last moment Mr Griffin succeeded in arranging an interview. It was held
early in the morning of the evacuation, in a tent just outside the
Sherpur cantonment, was quite public, and lasted only for quarter of an
hour. Abdurrahman was frank and cordial. He said that his heart was full
of gratitude to the British, and desired that his best thanks should be
communicated to the Viceroy. At the close of the interview he shook hands
with all 'who cared to wish him good-bye and good luck,' and sent his
principal officer to accompany the General on his first day's march,
which began immediately after the parting with Abdurrahman. Sir Donald
Stewart's march down the passes was accomplished without incident, quite
unmolested by the tribes. Small garrisons were temporarily left in the
Khyber posts, and the war-worn regiments were dispersed through the
stations of North-Western India.


When in the early spring of 1880 Sir Donald Stewart quitted Candahar with
the Bengal division of his force, he left there the Bombay division, to
the command of which General Primrose acceded, General Phayre assuming
charge of the communications. The province during the early summer was
fairly quiet, but it was known that Ayoub Khan was making hostile
preparations at Herat, although the reports as to his intentions and
movements were long uncertain and conflicting. Shere Ali Khan, who had
been Governor of Candahar during Stewart's residence there, had been
nominated hereditary ruler of the province with the title of 'Wali,' when
it was determined to separate Candahar from North-Eastern Afghanistan. On
June 21st the Wali, who had some days earlier crossed the Helmund and
occupied Girishk with his troops, reported that Ayoub was actually on the
march toward the Candahar frontier, and asked for the support of a
British brigade to enable him to cope with the hostile advance. There was
reason to believe that the Wali's troops were disaffected, and that he
was in no condition to meet Ayoub's army with any likelihood of success.
After Stewart's departure the strength of the British forces at Candahar
was dangerously low--only 4700 of all ranks; but it was important to
thwart Ayoub's offensive movement, and a brigade consisting of a troop of
horse-artillery, six companies of the 66th, two Bombay native infantry
regiments, and 500 native troopers, in all about 2300 strong, under the
command of Brigadier-General Burrows, reached the left bank of the
Helmund on July 11th. On the 13th the Wali's infantry, 2000 strong,
mutinied _en masse_ and marched away up the right bank of the river,
taking with them a battery of smooth bore guns, a present to Shere Ali
Khan from the British Government. His cavalry did not behave quite so
badly, but, not to go into detail, his army no longer existed, and
Burrows' brigade was the only force in the field to resist the advance of
Ayoub Khan, whose regular troops were reported to number 4000 cavalry,
and from 4000 to 5000 infantry exclusive of the 2000 deserters from the
Wali, with thirty guns and an irregular force of uncertain strength.

[Illustration: ACTION AT MAIWAND. 27th. July 1880.]

Burrows promptly recaptured from the Wali's infantry the battery they
were carrying off, and punished them severely. The mutineers had removed
or destroyed the supplies which the Wali had accumulated for the use of
the brigade, and General Burrows therefore could no longer remain in the
vicinity of Girishk. The Helmund owing to the dry season was passable
everywhere, so that nothing was to be gained by watching the fords. It
was determined to fall back to Khushk-i-Nakhud, a point distant thirty
miles from Girishk and forty-five from Candahar, where several roads from
the Helmund converged and where supplies were plentiful. At and near
Khushk-i-Nakhud the brigade remained from the 16th until the morning of
the 27th July. While waiting and watching there a despatch from army
headquarters at Simla was communicated to General Burrows from Candahar,
authorising him to attack Ayoub if he thought himself strong enough to
beat him, and informing him that it was considered of the greatest
political importance that the force from Herat should be dispersed and
prevented from moving on toward Ghuznee. Spies brought in news that Ayoub
had reached Girishk, and was distributing his force along the right bank
between that place and Hydrabad. Cavalry patrols failed to find the enemy
until the 21st, when a detachment was encountered in the village of
Sangbur on the northern road about midway between the Helmund and
Khushk-i-Nakhud. Next day that village was found more strongly occupied,
and on the 23d a reconnaissance in force came upon a body of Ayoub's
horsemen in the plain below the Garmao hills, about midway between
Sangbur and Maiwand.

Those discoveries were tolerably clear indications of Ayoub's intention
to turn Burrows' position by moving along the northern road to Maiwand
and thence pressing on through the Maiwand pass, until at Singiri Ayoub's
army should have interposed itself between the brigade and Candahar.
There was certainly nothing impossible in such an endeavour, since
Maiwand is nearer Candahar than is Khushk-i-Nakhud. Why, in the face of
the information at his disposal and of the precautions enjoined on him to
hinder Ayoub from slipping by him toward Ghuznee through Maiwand and up
the Khakrez valley, General Burrows should have remained so long at
Khushk-i-Nakhud, is not intelligible. He was stirred at length on the
afternoon of the 26th, by the report that 2000 of Yakoub's cavalry and a
large body of his ghazees were in possession of Garmao and Maiwand, and
were to be promptly followed by Ayoub himself with the main body of his
army, his reported intention being to push on through the Maiwand pass
and reach the Urgundab valley in rear of the British brigade. Later in
the day Colonel St John, the political officer, reported to General
Burrows the intelligence which had reached him that the whole of Ayoub's
army was at Sangbur; but credence was not given to the information.

The somewhat tardy resolution was taken to march to Maiwand on the
morning of the 27th. There was the expectation that the brigade would
arrive at that place before the enemy should have occupied it in force,
and this point made good there might be the opportunity to drive out of
Garmao the body of Yakoub's cavalry reported in possession there. There
was a further reason why Maiwand should be promptly occupied; the brigade
had been obtaining its supplies from that village, and there was still a
quantity of grain in its vicinity to lose which would be unfortunate. The
brigade, now 2600 strong, struck camp on the morning of the 27th. The
march to Maiwand was twelve miles long, and an earlier start than 6.30
would have been judicious. The soldiers marched fast, but halts from time
to time were necessary to allow the baggage to come up; the hostile state
of the country did not admit of anything being left behind and the column
was encumbered by a great quantity of stores and baggage. At Karezah,
eight miles from Khushk-i-Nakhud and four miles south-west of Maiwand,
information was brought in that the whole of Yakoub's army was close by
on the left front of the brigade, and marching toward Maiwand. The spies
had previously proved themselves so untrustworthy that small heed was
taken of this report; but a little later a cavalry reconnaissance found
large bodies of cavalry moving in the direction indicated and inclining
away toward Garmao as the brigade advanced. A thick haze made it
impossible to discern what force, if any, was being covered by the
cavalry. About ten A.M. the advance guard occupied the village of
Mundabad, about three miles south-west of Maiwand. West of Mundabad,
close to the village, was a broad and deep ravine running north and
south. Beyond this ravine was a wide expanse of level and partially
cultivated plain across which, almost entirely concealed by the haze,
Ayoub's army was marching eastward toward Maiwand village, which covers
the western entrance to the pass of the same name. If General Burrows'
eye could have penetrated that haze, probably he would have considered it
prudent to take up a defensive position, for which Mundabad presented
many advantages. But he was firm in the conviction that the enemy's guns
were not up, notwithstanding the reports of spies to the contrary; he
believed that a favourable opportunity presented itself for taking the
initiative, and he resolved to attack with all possible speed.

Lieutenant Maclaine of the Horse-Artillery, a gallant young officer who
was soon to meet a melancholy fate, precipitated events in a somewhat
reckless fashion. With the two guns he commanded he crossed the ravine,
galloped across the plain, and opened fire on a body of Afghan cavalry
which had just come within view. General Nuttall, commanding the cavalry
and horse-artillery, failing to recall Maclaine, sent forward in support
of him the four remaining guns of the battery. Those approached to within
800 yards of the two advanced pieces, and Maclaine was directed to fall
back upon the battery pending the arrival of the brigade, which General
Burrows was now sending forward. It crossed the ravine near Mundabad,
advanced on the plain about a mile in a north-westerly direction, and
then formed up. There were several changes in the dispositions; when the
engagement became warm about noon the formation was as follows:--The 66th
foot was on the right, its right flank thrown back to check an attempt
made to turn it by a rush of ghazees springing out of the ravine in the
British front; on the left of the 66th were four companies of Jacob's
Rifles (30th Native Infantry) and a company of sappers, the centre was
occupied by the horse-artillery and smooth bore guns, of which latter,
however, two had been moved to the right flank; on the left of the guns
were the its Grenadiers somewhat refused, and on the extreme left two
companies of Jacob's Rifles. The cavalry was in the rear, engaged in
efforts to prevent the Afghans from taking the British infantry in
reverse. The position was radically faulty, and indeed invited disaster.
Both flanks were _en l'air_ in face of an enemy of greatly superior
strength; almost from the first every rifle was in the fighting line, and
the sole reserve consisted of the two cavalry regiments. The baggage had
followed the brigade across the ravine and was halted about 1000 yards in
rear of the right, inadequately guarded by cavalry detachments.

For half-an-hour no reply was made to the British shell fire, and an
offensive movement at this time might have resulted in success. But
presently battery after battery was brought into action by the Afghans,
until half-an-hour after noon the fire of thirty guns was concentrated on
the brigade. Under cover of this artillery fire the ghazees from the
ravine charged forward to within 500 yards of the 66th, but the rifle
fire of the British regiment drove them back with heavy loss, and they
recoiled as far as the ravine, whence they maintained a desultory fire.
The enemy's artillery fire was well sustained and effective; the infantry
found some protection from it in lying down, but the artillery and
cavalry remained exposed and suffered severely. An artillery duel was
maintained for two hours, greatly to the disadvantage of the brigade,
which had but twelve guns in action against thirty well-served Afghan
pieces. The prostrate infantry had escaped serious punishment, but by two
P.M. the cavalry had lost fourteen per cent, of the men in the front
line, and 149 horses; the Afghan horsemen had turned both flanks and the
brigade was all but surrounded, while a separate attack was being made on
the baggage. Heat and want of water were telling heavily on the sepoys,
who were further demoralised by the Afghan artillery fire.

A little later the smooth bore guns had to be withdrawn for want of
ammunition. This was the signal for a general advance of the Afghans.
Their guns were pushed forward with great boldness; their cavalry
streamed round the British left; in the right rear were masses of mounted
and dismounted irregulars who had seized the villages on the British line
of retreat. Swarms of ghazees soon showed themselves threatening the
centre and left; those in front of the 66th were still held in check by
the steady volleys fired by that regiment. At sight of the ghazees, and
cowed by the heavy artillery fire and the loss of their officers, the two
companies of Jacob's Rifles on the left suddenly fell into confusion, and
broke into the ranks of the Grenadiers. That regiment had behaved well
but it caught the infection of demoralisation, the whole left collapsed,
and the sepoys in utter panic, surrounded by and intermingled with the
ghazees, rolled in a great wave upon the right. The artillerymen and
sappers made a gallant stand, fighting the ghazees hand-to-hand with
handspikes and rammers, while the guns poured canister into the advancing
masses. Slade reluctantly limbered up and took his four guns out of
action; Maclaine remained in action until the ghazees were at the muzzles
of his two guns, which fell into the enemy's hands. The torrent of
mingled sepoys and ghazees broke in upon the 66th, and overwhelmed that
regiment. The slaughter of the sepoys was appalling--so utterly cowed
were they that they scarcely attempted to defend themselves, and allowed
themselves without resistance to be dragged out of the ranks and killed.
A cavalry charge was ordered in the direction of the captured guns, but
it failed and the troopers retired in disorder. The infantry, assailed by
hordes of fierce and triumphant ghazees, staggered away to the right, the
66th alone maintaining any show of formation, until the ravine was
crossed, when the broken remnants of the sepoy regiments took to flight
toward the east and the General's efforts to rally them were wholly
unavailing. The 66th with some of the sappers and grenadiers, made a
gallant stand round its colours in an enclosure near the village of Khig.
There Colonel Galbraith and several of his officers were killed, and the
little body of brave men becoming outflanked, continued its retreat,
making stand after stand until most were slain. The Afghans pursued for
about four miles, but were checked by a detachment of rallied cavalry,
and desisted. The fugitives, forming with wounded and baggage a
straggling column upwards of six miles long, crossed the waterless desert
sixteen miles wide, to Hanz-i-Madat, which was reached about midnight and
where water was found. From Asu Khan, where cultivation began, to Kokoran
near Candahar, the retreat was harassed by armed villagers and the troops
had to fight more or less all the way. Officers and men were killed,
Lieutenant Maclaine was taken prisoner, and five of the smooth bore guns
had to be abandoned because of the exhaustion of the teams. About midday
of the 28th the broken remnants of the brigade reached Candahar. When the
casualties were ascertained it became evident how disastrous to the
British arms had been the combat of Maiwand. Out of a total of 2476
engaged no fewer than 964 were killed. The wounded numbered 167; 331
followers and 201 horses were killed and seven followers and sixty-eight
horses wounded. Since Chillianwallah the British arms in Asia had not
suffered loss so severe.

The spirit of the Candahar force suffered materially from the Maiwand
disaster, and it was held that there was no alternative but to accept the
humiliation of a siege within the fortified city. The cantonments were
abandoned, the whole force was withdrawn into Candahar, and was detailed
for duty on the city walls. The effective garrison on the night of the
28th numbered 4360, including the survivors of the Maiwand brigade. So
alert were the Afghans that a cavalry reconnaissance made on the morning
of the 29th, found the cantonments plundered and partly burned and the
vicinity of Candahar swarming with armed men. The whole Afghan population
amounting to about 12,000 persons, were compelled to leave the city, and
then the work of placing it in a state of defence was energetically
undertaken. Buildings and enclosures affording cover too close to the
enciente were razed, communication along the walls was opened up, and gun
platforms were constructed in the more commanding positions. The walls
were both high and thick, but they were considerably dilapidated and
there were gaps and breaks in the bastions and parapet. The weak places
as well as the gates were fronted with abattis, the defects were made
good with sandbags, and wire entanglements and other obstructions were
laid down outside the walls. While this work was in progress the covering
parties were in daily collision with the enemy, and occasional sharp
skirmishes occurred.

On the 8th August Ayoub opened fire on the citadel from Picquet hill, an
elevation north-westward of the city, and a few days later he brought
guns into action from the villages of Deh Khoja and Deh Khati on the east
and south. This fire, steadily maintained though it was day after day,
had little effect, and the return fire gave good results. It was not easy
to invest the city since on the west and north there was no cover for the
besiegers, but in Deh Khoja on the east there was ample protection for
batteries, and the ground on the south-west was very favourable. Its
advantages were improved so skilfully that it was at one time believed
there was a European engineer in Ayoub's camp. Deh Khoja was
inconveniently near the Cabul gate, and was always full of men. So
menacing was the attitude of the Afghans that a sortie was resolved on
against the village, which was conducted with resolution but resulted in
utter failure. The attempt was made on the morning of the 16th. The
cavalry went out to hinder reinforcements from entering the village from
the eastward. An infantry force 800 strong commanded by Brigadier-General
Brooke and divided into three parties, moved out later covered by a heavy
artillery fire from the city walls. The village was reached, but was so
full of enemies in occupation of the fortress-like houses that it was
found untenable, and the three detachments extricated themselves
separately. In the course of the retirement General Brooke and Captain
Cruickshank were killed. The casualties were very heavy; 106 were killed
and 117 were wounded.

The tidings of the Maiwand disaster reached Cabul on the 29th July by
telegram from Simla. The intention of the military authorities had
already been intimated that the Cabul force should evacuate Afghanistan
in two separate bodies and by two distinct routes. Sir Donald Stewart was
to march one portion by the Khyber route; the other under Sir Frederick
Roberts was to retire by the Kuram valley, which Watson's division had
been garrisoning since Roberts had crossed the Shutargurdan in September
1879. But the Maiwand news interfered with those arrangements. Stewart
and Roberts concurred in the necessity of retrieving the Maiwand disaster
by the despatch of a division from Cabul. Roberts promptly offered to
lead that division, and as promptly the offer was accepted by Stewart. By
arrangement with the latter Roberts telegraphed to Simla urging that a
force should be despatched from Cabul without delay; and recognising that
the authorities might hesitate to send on this errand troops already
under orders to return to India, he took it on himself to guarantee that
none of the soldiers would demur, providing he was authorised to give the
assurance that after the work in the field was over they would not be
detained in garrison at Candahar. The Viceroy's sanction came on the 3d
August. The constitution and equipment of the force were entrusted to the
two generals; and in reply to questions His Excellency was informed that
Roberts would march on the 8th and expected to reach Candahar on 2d
September. Sir Donald Stewart gave his junior full freedom to select the
troops to accompany him, and placed at his disposal the entire resources
of the army in transport and equipment. It cannot truly be said that it
was the _elite_ of the Cabul field force which constituted the column led
by Roberts in his famous march to Candahar. Of the native infantry
regiments of his own original force which he had mustered eleven months
previously in the Kuram only two followed him to Candahar, the 5th
Goorkhas and 23d Pioneers, and the second mountain battery adhered to him
staunchly, Of his original white troops the 9th Lancers, as ever, were
ready for the march. His senior infantry regiment, the 67th, would fain
have gone, but the good old corps was weak from casualties and sickness,
and the gallant Knowles denied himself in the interests of his men. The
two Highland regiments, the 72d and 92d, had done an infinity of fighting
and marching, but both had received strong drafts, were in fine
condition, and were not to be hindered from following the chief whom,
though not of their northern blood, the stalwart sons of the mist swore
by as one man.

Sir Frederick Roberts had already represented that it would be impolitic
to require the native regiments to remain absent from India and their
homes for a longer period than two years. In the case of many of the
regiments that term was closely approached, and the men after prolonged
absence and arduous toil needed rest and were longing to rejoin their
families. 'It was not,' in the words of General Chapman, 'with eager
desire that the honour of marching to Candahar was sought for, and some
commanding officers of experience judged rightly the tempers of their men
when they represented for the General's consideration the claims of the
regiments they commanded to be relieved as soon as possible from field
service.... The enthusiasm which carried Sir Frederick Roberts' force
with exceptional rapidity to Candahar was an after-growth evolved by the
enterprise itself, and came as a response to the unfailing spirit which
animated the leader himself.' The constitution of the force was made
known by the general orders published on 3d August. It consisted of three
batteries of artillery commanded by Colonel Alured Johnson; of a cavalry
brigade of four regiments commanded by Brigadier-General Hugh Gough; and
of an infantry division of three brigades commanded by Major-General John
Ross. The first brigade was commanded by Brigadier-General Herbert
Macpherson, the second by Brigadier-General T. D. Baker, and the third by
Brigadier-General Charles Macgregor. Colonel Chapman, R.A., who had
served in the same capacity with Sir Donald Stewart, was now Roberts'
chief of staff. The marching out strength of the column was about 10,000
men, of whom 2835 were Europeans. Speed being an object and since the
column might have to traverse rough ground, no wheeled artillery or
transport accompanied it; the guns were carried on mules, the baggage was
severely cut down, the supplies carried were reduced to a minimum, and
the transport animals, numbering 8590, consisted of mules, ponies, and
donkeys. It was known that the country could supply flour, sheep, and

The time specified for the departure of the force from Sherpur was kept
to the day. On the 8th the brigades moved out a short distance into camp,
and on the following morning the march begun in earnest. The distance
from Cabul to Candahar is about 320 miles, and the march naturally
divides itself into three parts; from Cabul to Ghuznee, ninety-eight
miles; from Ghuznee to Khelat-i-Ghilzai, one hundred and thirty-four
miles; and from Khelat-i-Ghilzai to Candahar, eighty-eight miles, Ghuznee
was reached on the seventh day, the daily average being fourteen
miles--excellent work for troops unseasoned to long continuous travel,
tramping steadily in a temperature of from 84 deg. to 92 deg. in the shade. When
possible the force moved on a broad front, the brigades and regiments
leading by rotation, and halts were made at specified intervals. The
'rouse' sounded at 2.45 A.M. and the march began at four; the troops were
generally in camp by two P.M. and the baggage was usually reported all in
by five; but the rearguard had both hard work and long hours. There was
no sign of opposition anywhere, not a single load of baggage was left
behind, comparatively few men fell out foot-sore, and the troops were
steadily increasing in endurance and capacity of rapid and continuous

At Ghuznee there was no rest day, and the steadfast dogged march was
resumed on the morning of the 16th. The strain of this day's long tramp
of twenty miles to Yergati was severe, but the men rallied gamely, and
the General by dint of care and expedient was able to keep up the high
pressure. 'The method,' writes General Chapman, 'of such marching as was
now put in practice is not easy to describe; it combined the extreme of
freedom in movement with carefully regulated halts, and the closest
control in every portion of the column; it employed the individual
intelligence of each man composing the masses in motion, and called on
all for exertion in overcoming the difficulties of the march, in bearing
its extraordinary toil, and in aiding the accomplishment of the object in
view.' On the 20th a distance of twenty-one miles was covered--the
longest day's march made; the effort was distressing owing to the heat
and the lack of shade, but it was enforced by the absence of water. There
was no relaxation in the rate of marching, and Khelat-i-Ghilzai was
reached on the eighth day from Ghuznee, showing a daily average of nearly
seventeen miles.

The 24th was a halt day at Khelat-i-Ghilzai, where Sir Frederick Roberts
received a letter from General Primrose in Candahar, describing the
sortie made on the village of Deh Khoja and giving details of his
situation. It was resolved to evacuate Khelat-i-Ghilzai and take on its
garrison with the column, which on the 25th resumed its march to
Candahar. On his arrival at Tir Andaz on the following day the General
found a letter from Candahar, informing him that at the news of the
approach of the Cabul force Ayoub Khan had withdrawn from his investment
of Candahar, and had shifted his camp to the village of Mazra in the
Urgundab valley, nearly due north of Candahar. On the morning of the 27th
General Hugh Gough was sent forward with two cavalry regiments a distance
of thirty-four miles to Robat, the main column moving on to Khel Akhund,
half way to the former place. Gough was accompanied by Captain Straton
the principal signalling officer of the force, who was successful in
communicating with Candahar, and in the afternoon Colonel St John, Major
Leach, and Major Adam rode out to Robat, bringing the information that
Ayoub Khan was engaged in strengthening his position in the Urgundab
valley, and apparently had the intention to risk the issue of a battle.
On the 28th the whole force was concentrated at Robat; and as it was
desirable that the troops should reach Candahar fresh and ready for
prompt action, the General decided to make the 20th a rest day and divide
the nineteen miles from Robat to Candahar into two short marches.

The long forced march from Cabul may be regarded as having ended at
Robat. The distance between those two places, 303 miles, had been covered
in twenty days. It is customary in a long march to allow two rest days in
each week, but Roberts had granted his force but a single rest day in the
twenty days of its strenuous march. Including this rest day, the average
daily march was a fraction over fifteen miles. As a feat of marching by a
regular force of 10,000 men encumbered with baggage and followers, this
achievement is unique, and it could have been accomplished only by
thorough organisation and steady vigorous energy. Sir Frederick Roberts
was so fortunate as to encounter no opposition. For this immunity he was
indebted mainly to the stern lessons given to the tribesmen by Sir Donald
Stewart at Ahmed Khel and Urzoo while that resolute soldier was marching
from Candahar to Cabul, and in a measure also to the good offices of the
new Ameer. But it must be remembered that Roberts had no assurance of
exemption from hostile efforts to block his path, and that he marched
ever ready to fight. It will long be remembered how when Roberts had
started on the long swift march, the suspense as to its issue grew and
swelled until the strain became intense. The safety of the garrison of
Candahar was in grave hazard; the British prestige, impaired by the
disaster of Maiwand, was trembling in the balance. The days passed, and
there came no news of Roberts and of the 10,000 men with whom the wise,
daring little chief had cut loose from any base and struck for his goal
through a region of ill repute for fanaticism and bitter hostility. The
pessimists among us held him to be rushing on his ruin. But Roberts
marched light; he lived on what the country supplied; he gave the
tribesmen no time to concentrate against him; and two days in advance of
the time he had set himself he reached Candahar at the head of a force in
full freshness of vigour and burning with zeal for immediate battle.

While halted at Robat on the 29th Sir Frederick heard from General Phayre
that his division had been retarded in its march by lack of transport,
but that he hoped to have it assembled at Killa Abdoolla on the 28th, and
would be able to move toward Candahar on the 30th. But as Killa Abdoolla
is distant some eight marches from Candahar, it was obvious that General
Phayre could not arrive in time to share in the impending battle. On the
morning of the 31st the Cabul force reached Candahar. Sir Frederick
Roberts, who had been suffering from fever for some days, was able to
leave his dhooly and mount his horse in time to meet General Primrose and
his officers to the east of Deh Khoja. The troops halted and breakfasted
outside the Shikapore gate, while General Roberts entered the city and
paid a visit to the Wali Shere Ali Khan. On his arrival he assumed
command of the troops in Southern Afghanistan; and he remained resting in
the city while the Cabul force marched to its selected camping ground
near the destroyed cantonments on the north-west of Candahar. A few shots
were fired, but the ground was occupied without opposition. Baker's
brigade was on the right, camped in rear of Picquet hill, in the centre
was Macpherson's brigade sheltered in its front by Karez hill, and on the
left among orchards and enclosures was Macgregor's brigade, in rear of
which was the cavalry.


Although Yakoub Khan had ceased to beleaguer Candahar, he had withdrawn
from that fortress but a very short distance, and the position he had
taken up was of considerable strength. The Urgundab valley is separated
on the north-west from the Candahar plain by a long precipitous spur
trending south-west from the mountainous mass forming the eastern
boundary of the valley further north. Where the spur quits the main
range, due north of the city, the Murcha Pass affords communication
between the Candahar plain and the Urgundab valley. The spur, its summit
serrated by alternate heights and depressions, is again crossed lower
down by an easy pass known as the Babawali Kotul. It is continued beyond
this saddle for about a mile, still maintaining its south-westerly trend,
never losing its precipitous character, and steeply scarped on its
eastern face; and it finally ends in the plain in a steep descent of
several hundred feet. The section of it from the Babawali Kotul to its
south-western termination is known as the Pir Paimal hill, from a village
of that name in the valley near its extremity. Ayoub Khan had made his
camp near the village of Mazra, behind the curtain formed by the spur
described, and about a mile higher up in the valley than the point at
which the spur is crossed by the road over the Babawali Kotul. He was
thus, with that point artificially strengthened and defended by
artillery, well protected against a direct attack from the direction of
Candahar, and was exposed only to the risk of a turning movement round
the extremity of the Pir Paimal hill. Such a movement might be made the
reverse of easy. A force advancing to attempt it must do so exposed to
fire from the commanding summit of the Pir Paimal; around the base of
that elevation there were several plain villages, and an expanse of
enclosed orchards and gardens which strongly held were capable of
stubborn defence. In the valley behind the Pir Paimal hill there was the
lofty detached Kharoti hill, the fire from which would meet in the teeth
a force essaying the turning movement; and the interval between the two
hills, through which was the access to the Mazra camps, was obstructed by
deep irrigation channels whose banks afforded cover for defensive fire,
and could be swept by a cross fire from the hills on either flank.

[Illustration: Kandahar.]

Sir Frederick Roberts at a glance had perceived that a direct attack by
the Babawali Kotul must involve very heavy loss, and he resolved on the
alternative of turning the Afghan position. A reconnaissance was made on
the afternoon of the 31st by General Gough, accompanied by Colonel
Chapman. He penetrated to within a short distance of the village of Pir
Paimal, where it was ascertained that the enemy were strongly entrenched,
and where several guns were unmasked. A great deal of valuable
information was obtained before the enemy began to interfere with the
leisurely withdrawal. The cavalry suffered little, but the Sikh infantry
covering the retirement of the reconnaissance were hard pressed by great
masses of Afghan regulars and irregulars. So boldly did the enemy come on
that the third and part of the first brigade came into action, and the
firing did not cease until the evening. The enemy were clearly in the
belief that the reconnaissance was an advance in force which they had
been able to check and indeed drive in, and they were opportunely
audacious in the misapprehension that they had gained a success. The
information brought in decided the General to attack on the following
morning; and having matured his dispositions, he explained them
personally to the commanding officers in the early morning of September
1st. The plan of attack was perfectly simple. The Babawali Kotul was to
be plied with a brisk cannonade and threatened by demonstrations both of
cavalry and infantry; while the first and second brigades, with the third
in reserve, were to turn the extremity of the Pir Paimal hill, force the
enemy's right in the interval between that hill and the Kharoti eminence,
take in reverse the Babawali Kotul, and pressing on up the Urgundab
valley, carry Ayoub Khan's principal camp at Mazra. The Bombay cavalry
brigade was to watch the roads over the Murcha and Babawali Kotuls,
supported by infantry and artillery belonging to General Primrose's
command, part of which was also detailed for the protection of the city;
and to hold the ground from which the Cabul brigades were to advance.
General Gough was to take the cavalry of the Cabul column across the
Urgundab, so as to reach by a wide circuit the anticipated line of the
Afghan retreat.

Soon after nine A.M. the forty-pounders on the right of Picquet hill
began a vigorous cannonade of the Babawali Kotul, which was sturdily
replied to by the three field-guns the enemy had in battery on that
elevation. It had been early apparent that the Ayoub's army was in great
heart, and apparently meditating an offensive movement had moved out so
far into the plain as to occupy the villages of Mulla Sahibdad opposite
the British right, and Gundigan on the left front of the British left.
Both villages were right in the fair way of Roberts' intended line of
advance; they, the adjacent enclosures, and the interval between the
villages were strongly held, and manifestly the first thing to be done
was to force the enemy back from those advanced positions. Two batteries
opened a heavy shell fire on the Sahibdad village, under cover of which
Macpherson advanced his brigade against it, the 2d Goorkhas and 92d
Highlanders in his first line. Simultaneously Baker moved out to the
assault of Gundigan, clearing the gardens and orchards between him and
that village, and keeping touch as he advanced with the first brigade.

The shell fire compelled the Afghan occupants of Sahibdad to lie close,
and it was not until they were near the village that Macpherson's two
leading regiments encountered much opposition. It was carried at the
bayonet point after a very stubborn resistance; the place was full of
ghazees who threw their lives away recklessly, and continued to fire on
the British soldiers from houses and cellars after the streets had been
cleared. The 92d lost several men, but the Afghans were severely
punished; it was reported that 200 were killed in this village alone.
While a detachment remained to clear out the village, the brigade under a
heavy fire from the slopes and crest of the Fir Paimal hill moved on in
the direction of that hill's south-western extremity, the progress of the
troops impeded by obstacles in the shape of dry water-cuts, orchards, and
walled enclosures, every yard of which was infested by enemies and had to
be made good by steady fighting.

While Macpherson was advancing on Sahibdad, Baker's brigade had been
pushing on through complicated lanes and walled enclosures toward the
village of Gundigan. The opposition experienced was very resolute. The
Afghans held their ground behind loopholed walls which had to be carried
by storm, and they did not hesitate to take the offensive by making
vigorous counter-rushes. Baker's two leading regiments were the 72d and
the 2d Sikhs. The left wing of the former supported by the 5th Goorkhas,
the old and tried comrades of the 72d, assailed and took the village. Its
right wing fought its way through the orchards between it and Sahibdad,
in the course of which work it came under a severe enfilading fire from a
loopholed wall which the Sikhs on the right were attempting to turn.
Captain Frome and several men had been struck down and the hot fire had
staggered the Highlanders, when their chief, Colonel Brownlow, came up on
foot. That gallant soldier gave the word for a rush, but immediately fell
mortally wounded. After much hard fighting Baker's brigade got forward
into opener country, but was then exposed to the fire of an Afghan
battery near the extremity of the Pir Paimal spur, and to the attacks of
great bodies of ghazees, which were withstood stoutly by the Sikhs and
driven off by a bayonet attack delivered by the Highlanders.

The two brigades had accomplished the first part of their task. They were
now in alignment with each other; and the work before them was to
accomplish the turning movement round the steep extremity of the Pir
Paimal ridge. Macpherson's brigade, hugging the face of the elevation,
brought up the left shoulder and having accomplished the turning
movement, swept up the valley and carried the village of Pir Paimal by a
series of rushes. Here, however, Major White commanding the advance of
the 92d, found himself confronted by great masses of the enemy, who
appeared determined to make a resolute stand about their guns which were
in position south-west of the Babawali Kotul. Reinforcements were
observed hurrying up from Ayoub's standing camp at Mazra, and the Afghan
guns on the Kotul had been reversed so that their fire should enfilade
the British advance. Discerning that in such circumstances prompt action
was imperative, Macpherson determined to storm the position without
waiting for reinforcements. The 92d under Major White led the way,
covered by the fire of a field battery and supported by the 5th Goorkhas
and the 23d Pioneers. Springing out of a watercourse at the challenge of
their leader, the Highlanders rushed across the open ground. The Afghans,
sheltered by high banks, fired steadily and well; their riflemen from the
Pir Paimal slopes poured in a sharp cross fire; their guns were well
served. But the Scottish soldiers were not to be denied. Their losses
were severe, but they took the guns at the point of the bayonet, and
valiantly supported by the Goorkhas and pioneers, shattered and dispersed
the mass of Afghans, which was reckoned to have numbered some 8000 men.
No chance was given the enemy to rally. They were headed off from the Pir
Paimal slopes by Macpherson. Baker hustled them out of cover in the
watercourses in the basin on the left, and while one stream of fugitives
poured away across the river, another rolled backward into and through
Ayoub's camp at Mazra.

While Macpherson had effected his turning movement close under the ridge,
Baker's troops on the left had to make a wider sweep before bringing up
the left shoulder and wheeling into the hollow between the Pir Paimal and
the Kharoti hill. They swept out of their path what opposition they
encountered, and moved up the centre of the hollow, where their commander
halted them until Macpherson's brigade on the right, having accomplished
its more arduous work, should come up and restore the alignment. Baker
had sent Colonel Money with a half battalion away to the left to take
possession of the Kharoti hill, where he found and captured three Afghan
guns. Pressing toward the northern end of the hill, Money to his surprise
found himself in full view of Ayoub's camp, which was then full of men
and in rear of which a line of cavalry was drawn up. Money was too weak
to attack alone and sent to General Baker for reinforcements which,
however, could not be spared him, and the gallant Money had perforce to
remain looking on while the advance of Macpherson and Baker caused the
evacuation of Ayoub's camp and the flight of his cavalry and infantry
toward the Urgundab. But the discovery and capture of five more Afghan
cannon near Babawali village was some consolation for the enforced

Considerable numbers of Ayoub's troops had earlier pushed through the
Babawali Pass, and moved down toward the right front of General Burrows'
Bombay brigade in position about Picquet hill. Having assured himself
that Burrows was able to hold his own, Sir Frederick Roberts ordered
Macgregor to move the third brigade forward toward Pir Paimal village,
whither he himself rode. On his arrival there he found that the first and
second brigades were already quite a mile in advance. The battle really
had already been won but there being no open view to the front General
Ross, who commanded the whole infantry division, had no means of
discerning this result; and anticipating the likelihood that Ayoub's camp
at Mazra would have to be taken by storm, he halted the brigades to
replenish ammunition. This delay gave opportunity for the entire
evacuation of the Afghan camp, which when reached without any further
opposition and entered at one P.M. was found to be deserted. The tents
had been left standing; 'all the rude equipage of a half barbarous army
had been abandoned--the meat in the cooking pots, the bread half kneaded
in the earthen vessels, the bazaar with its _ghee_ pots, dried fruits,
flour, and corn.' Ayoub's great marquee had been precipitately abandoned,
and the fine carpets covering its floor were left. But in the hurry of
their flight the Afghans had found time to illustrate their barbarity by
murdering their prisoner Lieutenant Maclaine, whose body was found near
Ayoub's tent with the throat cut. To this deed Ayoub does not seem to
have been privy. The sepoys who were prisoners with Maclaine testified
that Ayoub fled about eleven o'clock, leaving the prisoners in charge of
the guard with no instructions beyond a verbal order that they were not
to be killed. It was more than an hour later when the guard ordered the
unfortunate officer out of his tent and took his life.

The victory was complete and Ayoub's army was in full rout. Unfortunately
no cavalry were in hand for a pursuit from the Mazra camp. The scheme for
intercepting the fugitive Afghans by sending the cavalry brigade on a
wide movement across the Urgundab, and striking the line of their
probable retreat toward the Khakrez valley, may have been ingenious in
conception, but in practice did not have the desired effect. But Ayoub
had been decisively beaten. He had lost the whole of his artillery
numbering thirty-two pieces, his camp, an immense quantity of ammunition,
about 1000 men killed; his army was dispersed, and he himself was a
fugitive with a mere handful along with him of the army of 12,000 men
whom he had commanded in the morning.

The battle of Candahar was an effective finale to the latest of our
Afghan wars, and it is in this sense that it is chiefly memorable. The
gallant men who participated in the winning of it must have been the
first to smile at the epithets of 'glorious' and 'brilliant' which were
lavished on the victory. In truth, if it had not been a victory our arms
would have sustained a grave discredit. The soldiers of Roberts and
Stewart had been accustomed to fight and to conquer against heavy
numerical odds, which were fairly balanced by their discipline and the
superiority of their armament. But in the battle of Candahar the
numerical disparity was non-existent, and Ayoub had immensely the
disadvantage as regarded trained strength. His force according to the
reckoning ascertained by the British general, amounted all told to 12,800
men. The strength of the British force, not including the detail of
Bombay troops garrisoning Candahar, was over 12,000. But this army 12,000
strong, consisted entirely of disciplined soldiers of whom over one-fifth
were Europeans. The accepted analysis of Ayoub's army shows it to have
consisted of 4000 regular infantry, 800 regular cavalry, 5000 tribal
irregular infantry of whom an indefinite proportion was no doubt ghazees,
and 3000 irregular horsemen. In artillery strength the two forces were
nearly equal. When it is remembered that Charasiah was won by some 2500
soldiers of whom only about 800 were Europeans, contending against 10,000
Afghans in an exceptionally strong position and well provided with
artillery, Sir Frederick Roberts' wise decision to make assurance doubly
sure in dealing with Ayoub at Candahar stands out very strikingly.
Perforce in his battles around Cabul he had taken risks, but because
those adventures had for the most part been successful he was not the man
to weaken the certainty of an all-important issue by refraining from
putting into the field every soldier at his disposal. And he was wisely
cautious in his tactics. That he was strong enough to make a direct
attack by storming the Babawali Kotul and the Pir Paimal hill was clear
in the light of previous experience. But if there was more 'brilliancy'
in a direct attack, there was certain to be heavier loss than would be
incurred in the less dashing turning movement, and Sir Frederick with the
true spirit of a commander chose the more artistic and less bloody method
of earning his victory. It did not cost him dear. His casualties of the
day were thirty-six killed including three officers, and 218 wounded
among whom were nine officers.

The battle of Candahar brought to a close the latest of our Afghan wars.
Sir Frederick Roberts quitted Candahar on the 9th September, and marched
to Quetta with part of his division. On the 15th October, at Sibi, he
resigned his command, and taking sick leave to England sailed from Bombay
on the 30th October. His year of hard and successful service in
Afghanistan greatly enhanced his reputation as a prompt, skilful, and
enterprising soldier.

* * * * *

The Pisheen and Sibi valleys are the sole tangible results remaining to
us of the two campaigns in Afghanistan sketched in the second part of
this volume--campaigns which cost the lives of many gallant men slain in
action or dead of disease, and involved the expenditure of about twenty
millions sterling. Lord Beaconsfield's vaunted 'scientific frontier,'
condemned by a consensus of the best military opinions, was rejected by
the Liberal Government which had recently acceded to power, whose
decision was that both the Khyber Pass and the Kuram valley should be
abandoned. On this subject Sir Frederick Roberts wrote with great
shrewdness: 'We have nothing to fear from Afghanistan, and the best thing
to do is to leave it as much as possible to itself. It may not be very
flattering to our _amour propre_, but I feel sure I am right when I say
that the less the Afghans see of us the less they will dislike us. Should
Russia in future years attempt to conquer Afghanistan, or invade India
through it, we should have a better chance of attaching the Afghans to
our interest if we avoid all interference with them in the meantime.'
During the winter of 1880-1 the Khyber and the Kuram were evacuated by
the British troops, the charge of keeping open and quiet the former being
entrusted to tribal levies paid by the Indian Government.

So far, then, as regarded the north-western frontier, the _status quo
ante_ had been fallen back upon. But there was a keen difference of
opinion in regard to the disposition of the salient angle furnished by
Candahar. Throughout the British occupation and the negotiations with
Abdurrahman, the annexation of Candahar had been consistently repudiated.
The intention on our part announced was to separate it from Cabul, and to
place it under the independent rule of a Barakzai prince. Such a prince
had actually been appointed in Shere Ali Khan, and although that
incompetent Sirdar was wise enough to abdicate a position for which he
was not strong enough, this action did not relieve us from our pledges
against annexation. Nevertheless many distinguished men whose opinions
were abstractly entitled to weight, were strongly in favour of our
retention of Candahar. Among those were the late Lord Napier of Magdala,
Sir Henry Rawlinson, Sir Edward Hamley, Sir Donald Stewart, and Sir
Frederick Roberts. Among the authorities opposed to the occupation of
Candahar were such men as the late Lord Lawrence and General Charles
Gordon, Sir Robert Montgomery, Lord Wolseley, Sir Henry Norman, Sir John
Adye, and Sir Archibald Alison.

While the professional experts differed and while the 'Candahar debates'
in Parliament were vehement and prolonged, the issue, assuming that
fidelity to pledges was still regarded as a national virtue, was
perfectly clear and simple. In the frank words of Sir Lepel Griffin: 'We
could not have remained in Candahar without a breach of faith.' And he
added with unanswerable force: 'Our withdrawal was in direct accordance
with the reiterated and solemn professions which I had been instructed to
make, and the assurances of the Government of India to the chiefs and
people of Cabul.... The wisdom of the policy of retiring from Candahar
may be a fair matter for argument, but it was one on which both
Governments were agreed. I am convinced that withdrawal, after our public
assurances, was the only practicable policy.'

Lord Ripon acted on his instructions 'to keep in view the paramount
importance of effecting a withdrawal from Candahar on the earliest
suitable occasion.' The abdication of the Wali Shere Ali Khan cleared the
air to some extent. A British garrison under the command of General Hume
wintered in Candahar. Ayoub Khan was a competitor for the rulership of
the southern province, but he received no encouragement, and after some
negotiation the Ameer Abdurrahman was informed that Candahar was
reincorporated with the kingdom of Afghanistan, and it was intimated to
him that the capital would be given over to the Governor, accompanied by
a suitable military force, whom he should send. On the 1st of April an
Afghan force entered Candahar, followed presently by Mahomed Hassan Khan,
the Governor nominated by the Ameer. General Hume soon after marched out,
and after halting for a time in the Pisheen valley to watch the course of
events in Candahar, he continued his march toward India. The restless
Ayoub did not tamely submit to the arrangement which gave Candahar to
Abdurrahman. Spite of many arduous difficulties, spite of lack of money
and of mutinous troops, he set out toward Candahar in July 1881. Mahomed
Hassan marched against him from Candahar, and a battle was fought at
Maiwand on the anniversary of the defeat of General Burrows on the same
field. Ayoub was the conqueror, and he straightway took possession of the
capital and was for the time ruler of the province. But Abdurrahman,
subsidised with English money and English arms, hurried from Cabul,
encountered Ayoub outside the walls of Candahar, and inflicted on him a
decisive defeat. His flight to Herat was followed up, he sustained a
second reverse there, and took refuge in Persia. Abdurrahman's tenure of
the Cabul sovereignty had been at first extremely precarious; but he
proved a man at once strong, resolute, and politic. In little more than a
year after his accession he was ruler of Shere Ali's Afghanistan;
Candahar and Herat had both come to him, and that without very serious
exertion. He continues to reign quietly, steadfastly, and firmly; and
there never has been any serious friction between him and the Government
of India, whose wise policy is a studied abstinence from interference in
the internal affairs of the Afghan kingdom.

* * * * *



ABDOOLAH JAN, to be Shere Ali's successor.

ABDURRAHMAN, the Ameer, son of Afzul Khan, the eldest son of Dost
Mahomed, his early career; his connection with Russia; sounded by the
British Government; Sir Lepel Griffin's mission to; enters Afghanistan;
recognised as Ameer; defeats Ayoub Khan; his subsequent reign.

ADAM, Major.

ADVE, Sir John, against keeping Candahar.

AFGHANISTAN, events in, previous to the first Afghan war; 'a bundle of
provinces;' its condition under Abdurrahman.

AFGHAN WAR, FIRST, the responsibility for; objects of and preparations

AFGHAN WAR, SECOND, the policy of England leading to; the force employed
in; tangible results to England.

AFREEDI HILLMEN oppose Pollock.

AFZUL KHAN, the Ameer, eldest son of Dost Mahomed, and father of

ARMED KHEL, battle of.

AIREY, Captain, a hostage.

AKBAR KHAN, son of Dost Mahomed, joins his father with a force; covers
his father's retreat; in Khooloom; among the Ghilzais; in Cabul;
negotiations with Macnaghten; interview with and murder of Macnaghten;
forecast of his intentions; meets the retreating British army at
Bootkhak, his demands; conduct to the fugitives; offers to treat; invests
Jellalabad; resistance to Pollock; treatment of his captives; sends the
body of Elphinstone to Jellalabad.

AKRAM KHAN put to death by Timour.


ALI MUSJID FORT, the, key of the Khyber pass; partially destroyed; Sir
Sam Browne's attack upon.

ALISON, Sir Archibald, against keeping Candahar.

AMEENOOLLA KHAN, an Afghan chief.


ANDERSON, Captain, skirmish with the Ghilzais.

ANDERSON, Mrs, her child.

ANQUETIL, Brigadier, in command of Shah Soojah's contingent; exertions
during the retreat; replaces Shelton in command.

APPLEYARD, at Sir S. Browne's attack upon Ali Musjid.

ASMAI HEIGHTS, the, Afghans driven from; reoccupied; beacon on; fortified
by Sir F. Roberts.


ATTA MAHOMED KHAN, overcome by General Nott.


AUCKLAND, Lord; becomes Governor-General of India 1836, his undecided
policy; treatment of Dost Mahomed's appeal; his policy becomes warlike;
treaty with Runjeet Singh and Shah Soojah; determines to support Shah
Soojah with an army; objects of the expedition; the Simla manifesto;
disagreement with Macnaghten; forbids an expedition against Herat; the
Home Government presses the reconsideration of the Afghan questions;
after the disasters; has the credit of Pollock's appointment.

AUSHAR; Massy at.

AYOUB KHAN, brother of Yakoub, in command of Herat regiments; in
possession of Herat; his victory at Maiwand; besieges Cabul; shifts to
Mazra; defeated by Sir F. Roberts; drives Mahomed Hassan out of Candahar,
defeated by Abdurrahman.


BABA WALI KOTUL, pass of the; cannonaded; village of.

BACKHOUSE, Captain, on the council of war at Jellalabad; his diary.


BADIABAD, the fort of, the captives at the.

BAGHWANA, guns abandoned at; recovered.

BAHADUR KHAN refuses to furnish forage.


BAKER, Brigadier-General; battle of Charasiah; pursues the mutinous
sepoys; in the Maidan valley; marches to Sherpur; takes the Takht-i-Shah;
in the attack on the cantonments; takes the Meer Akhor fort; in the Great
March; his position at Candahar, the battle.


BALLA HISSAR, the; evacuated; Cavagnari at; Sir F. Roberts at; explosions
in, evacuated; road cut through.

BAMIAN, hill country of; Abdurrahman defeated by Yakoub Khan at.


BARTER, Brigadier-General, commands the infantry at Ahmed Khel.

BEACONSFIELD, Lord, 'scientific frontier'.

BEHMAROO RIDGE; village of.

BELLEW, Captain, at the storming of the Rikabashee fort.


BENI BADAM, Baker treacherously attacked at.


BENTINCK, Lord William; his opinion of the first Afghan expedition.

BERLIN, Treaty of.



BIDDULPH, General, in command of the Quetta force.

BIRD, Lieutenant, at the storming of the Rikabashee fort.




BOYD, Mrs, in the retreat.

BROADFOOT, Captain George, his sappers; in the Gundamuk council of war;
garrison engineer at Jellalabad; urges Sale to hold the place; his
account of the council of war.

BROADFOOT, with Fraser's Bengal Cavalry, killed at Purwan Durrah.

BROADFOOT, William, Secretary to Sir A. Burnes, murdered with him.

BROOKE, Brigadier-General, killed in attack on Deh Khoja.

BROWNE, Sir Sam, in command of the Khyber column; attack on the Ali
Musjid; reports the death of Shere Ali; receives Yakoub Khan; commands in
'the Death March'.

BROWNLOW, Colonel, of the 72d Highlanders, in the attack on the
cantonments; killed in the battle of Candahar.


BRYDON, Dr, sole survivor of the Khyber disaster.

BURNES, Sir Alexander, sent by Lord Auckland to Cabul; favourable to Dost
Mahomed, reprimanded by his superiors, leaves Cabul; re-enters with Shah
Soojah; his opinion of Shah Soojah's ministers; advice to Macnaghten; his
character; murdered; revenged.

BURROWS, Brigadier-General, in the Maiwand disaster; in the battle of

BUTLER'S, Lady, picture.

BUTSON, Captain, killed at Sherpur.


CABUL, PASS OF KHOORD; description of, slaughter in; Pollock's army
marches up.

CABUL, Shah Soojah ousted from the throne of; Shah Soojah re-enters;
British troops in; Dost Mahomed surrenders at; murder of Burnes at; Shah
Soojah murdered at; Nott arrives at; punished; Cavagnari at; the Sherpur
cantonments, north of; Roberts near; Mahomed Jan plans to take; hostility
of villages round; Mushk-i-Alum governor of; re-occupied by Roberts;
fortifications and communications improved; Sir Lepel Griffin arrives at;
holds a durbar at.

CAMPBELL, sent by Shah Soojah to assist Burnes, fails.

CANDAHAR, siege of, by Shah Soojah, relieved by Dost Mahomed; entered by
Shah Soojah and Keane; occupied by British troops; independent province
of; Timour, Shah Soojah's viceroy at; British troops to leave; Nott in;
Afghans beaten off; General Stuart's march on; evacuated; to be separated
from Cabul; Shere Ali Khan governor of; Burrow's army withdrawn into; Sir
F. Roberts marches on; arrives at; battle of; question of retention of;
battle between Abdurrahman and Ayoub Khan at.

CAVAGNARI, Sir Louis; ineffectual attempt to enter Cabul; correspondence
with Yakoub Khan; at Cabul, his character; the massacre.

CHAMBERLAIN, Sir Neville, abortive attempt to enter Afghanistan as Envoy.

CHAMBERS, Colonel, defeats the Ghilzais.

CHAPMAN, Colonel (now Major-General) E. F., chief of the staff; in the
Great March; reconnaissance before the battle of Candahar.

CHARASIAH, battle of.


CHARIKAR, capital of the Kohistan, troops quartered in; disaster of;
punishment of; Abdurrahman arrives at.

CHISHOLM, Captain, wounded at the Seah Sung ridge.

CLARK, Lieutenant-Colonel.

CLELAND, gallant conduct of.

CLERK, Mr, demands right of way through the Punjaub.

CLIBBORN, Colonel, defeated by Beloochees.

COBBE, leads the attack of the Peiwar Kotul.

CODRINGTON, commandant of Charikar; killed; revenged.


CONOLLY, Lieutenant John; a hostage.

COOK, Major, V.C., of the Goorkha regiment, killed at the Takht-i-Shah.

COTTON, Sir Willoughby, commands first infantry division; on the march to
Cabul; in chief command in Afghanistan; a respectable nonentity.'.

CRAIGIE, defence of Khelat-i-Ghilzai.

CRISPIN, with Eraser's Bengal Cavalry, killed at Purwan Durrah.

CRUICKSHANK, Captain, killed at the attack on Deh Khoja.

CUNYNGHAM, Lieutenant Dick, V.C., gallant conduct at the Takht-i-Shah.



DADUR, in.


DAOUD SHAH, Yakoub Khan's general; accompanies the Ameer to Roberts'

DEH-I-AFGHAN, a suburb of Cabul.






DENNIE, Colonel, of the 13th, at the taking of Ghuznee; in command at

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