The camp of our regiment on the extreme left of the line having become a mere swamp and mud hole from the long-continued rain, and also being at too great a distance from the main body of the army, we were directed to change to a position close to the banks of the canal, near the General's headquarters, and on the left of the 8th Regiment. The move was made, I think, on July 11; and here we remained till the end of the siege.
At about this period, too, I was most agreeably surprised by a visit from an old school-fellow named C - - d. He had entered the Bengal Civil Service a few years before, and, at the breaking out of the disturbances, was Assistant Collector at Goorgaon, seventeen miles from Delhi. On the death of their mother in Ireland, an only sister, a young girl of eighteen years of age, came out to India to take up her residence with him. C - - d escorted his sister to Delhi on May 10, she having received an invitation to stay with the chaplain and his wife, who had quarters in the Palace. He returned to Goorgaon, little thinking he would never see her again.
The next morning, on the arrival of the insurgent cavalry from Meerut, and the subsequent mutiny of the native infantry regiments and artillery in the cantonments, the massacre of the Europeans in Delhi began.
I forbear entering into all the details of this dreadful butchery; suffice it to say that the chaplain, Mr. Jennings, his wife, Miss C - - d, and nearly all the white people, both in the Palace and the city, were murdered. The editor of the Delhi Gazette and his family were tortured to death by having their throats cut with pieces of broken bottles, but there were conflicting accounts as to how the Jenningses and Miss C - - d met their end. From what I gathered after the siege from some Delhi natives, it was reported that the ladies were stripped naked at the Palace, tied in that condition to the wheels of gun-carriages, dragged up the "Chandni Chauk," or silver street of Delhi, and there, in the presence of the King's sons, cut to pieces.
It was not till the following evening, May 12, that C - - d heard of the Mutiny, and, fearing death from the populace of Goorgaon, who had also risen in revolt, he disguised himself as best he could and rode off into the country. After enduring great privations, and the danger of being taken by predatory bands, he at last reached Meerut, and thence accompanied the force to Delhi.
From what he hinted, I feel sure he had it on his mind that his sister, before being murdered, was outraged by the rebels. However this may be, my old school-fellow had become a changed being. All his passions were aroused to their fullest extent, and he thought of nothing but revenge. Armed with sword, revolver, and rifle, he had been present at almost every engagement with the mutineers since leaving Meerut. He was known to most of the regiments in camp, and would attach himself to one or the other on the occasion of a fight, dealing death with his rifle and giving no quarter. Caring nothing for his own life, so long as he succeeded in glutting his vengeance on the murderers of his sister, he exposed himself most recklessly throughout the siege, and never received a wound.
On the day of the final assault I met him in one of the streets after we had gained entrance into the city. He shook my hands, saying that he had put to death all he had come across, not excepting women and children, and from his excited manner and the appearance of his dress - which was covered with blood-stains - I quite believe he told me the truth. One would imagine he must have tired of slaughter during those six days' fighting in the city, but it was not so. I dined with him at the Palace the night Delhi was taken, when he told me he intended accompanying a small force the next morning to attack a village close by. All my remonstrances at this were of no avail; he vowed to me he would never stay his hand while he had an opportunity of wreaking his vengeance. Poor fellow! that was his last fight; advancing in front of the soldiers, he met his death from a bullet in the heart when assaulting the village.
There were other officers of the army in camp who had lost wives and relations at Delhi and Meerut, and who behaved in the same manner as C - - d. One in particular, whose wife I had known well, was an object of pity to the whole camp. She was the first woman who was murdered during the outrage at Meerut, and her death took place under circumstances of such shocking barbarity that they cannot be recorded in these pages.
Truly these were fearful times, when Christian men and gallant soldiers, maddened by the foul murder of those nearest and dearest to them, steeled their hearts to pity and swore vengeance against the murderers. And much the same feelings, though not to such an extent, pervaded the breasts of all who were engaged in the suppression of the Mutiny. Every soldier fighting in our ranks knew that a day of reckoning would come for the atrocities which had been committed, and with unrelenting spirit dedicated himself to the accomplishment of that purpose. Moreover, it was on our part a fight for existence, a war of extermination, in which no prisoners were taken and no mercy shown - in short, one of the most cruel and vindictive wars that the world has seen.
From July 10 to 14 there was comparative quiet in the camp; the cannonade continued on each side, but no sorties were made by the enemy.