Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chapter 72: To The Entrenched Camp

Date: February 23, 1904 (2015)
Location: Tapi River Camp, Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh, India
Situation: Coup de Main Attempt
Sept. 25, 1900: Thugee armistice, recall from India and retirement.
April 30, 1903: Learns armistice broken by resurgent Thugee Army.
May 9, 1903: Recalled to duty in India to break the Thugees.
June 1903: Assumes command in Egypt as a ruse.
September 1903: Secretly departs Egypt for India.
Next four months: Assembles the Army.
Feb. 22, 1904 Gen. Pettygree Arrives at Tapi River Camp near Burhanpur.
Feb. 23, 1904: Battle of Burhanpur.
See Previous Chapter 71 here:
Clicking images enlarges them prodigiously.

February 22, 1904
General Pettygree arrived at the Burhanpur Tapi River Camp.

After disembarking, he was escorted to the military camp.

Moments later dispatch riders brought shocking news.
A staff meeting was called.

Gentlemen, the Thugee Army is force marching to pay us a visit and should be here tomorrow. They intend to knock us on the head and throw us into the river. Let's end this gentlemen -- once and for all!

A garrison will be left here in case of a reverse. The rest will march at four in the morning to the entrenched camp. Prepare each man with three days victuals, one hundred rounds and plenty of ammunition in regimental reserves.

FEBRUARY 23, 1904

The entrenched camp was still an hour away when firing was heard from its direction. The pace of the march was therefore quickened. Near ten of the clock, the advance guard arrived on a rise overlooking disagreeable scenes. A halt was called to assess the situation.

Sergeant Major Beverly, what do you make of the circumstances down there?

Well Colonel Blackeney, the Lincolns are a stout lot, but even Achilles fell at Troy.

Sir, some of them devils have breached the east wall. They don't appear too numerous though.

Quite so Sahmjr'. The Brigade will advance and deploy.

 Blackeney's 2/66 Regiment led the way bisected by woods. 

A column of companies hugged the road.

The Seaforth Highlanders brought up the rear as
the 1st. Mountain Battery peeled off to the left flank. Meanwhile....

There was tribulation in several places! At the wall, ....

Tower and....

 Inside the east compound though....

A company of the 29th Bombay Miners and Sappers supported by a Krupp gun....

Prepared to receive them.

Whilst the 66th hurried forward to their support. 

Soon the brigade shook out into line with the.... 

2/72nd Seaforth Highlanders adjacent to the 2/66th Foot in the distance. It was an overwhelming force. Yet something was very odd to....

Colonel Sinclair who silently wondered why the Tugs were not fleeing. Did they not know his greatly more numerous Highlanders would soon close a trap around them? Perhaps they did not care. It looked like they were about to fling themselves forward in a suicidal charge. There was no time to lose. Not a second! Sinclair....

Ordered the closest Seaforths to charge through the broken East Gate.
Only then did a more menacing problem come into view.

The hitherto unobserved Western Compound had fallen;
our men awaiting a new charge there.  

 Onward the enemy charged.

With disdain for death. Meanwhile,....

To the south large numbers of Tugs were newly arriving.

Including large smooth bore artillery and....

Waves of Thugee horsemen who quickly....

Maneuvered southeasterly to turn a vulnerable Imperial left flank.

Well now. That's a fine thing.
Where the deuce is Pettygree and the Cavalry Reserve?
Ah dinnae ken! (I don't know)


1) Where indeed is General Pettygree? Will he arrive in time or at all to protect the flank? Will it even matter with new Thugee hordes streaming onto the battlefield? Ach, their huge cannons...and...what else might the cunning Guru have up his sleeves? Come back in early May for ACT II and find out. It's all ready to publish.

2) Meanwhile, we are between acts and it is intermission. Please join us for chow, won't you?

Participants brought beverages, goodies and my wife brought a sandwich tray. Thank you everyone.

3) Your remarks are welcome at Comments --- just below here.