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Blowing of Kashmir gate (Siege of Delhi in 1857)

January 1, 1857
Mirza Firuz Shah
Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857

Blowing of Kashmir gate (Siege of Delhi in 1857)



Blowing of Kashmir gate by Sergeant Carmichael The first three columns, under Nicholson's overall command, gathered in and behind a building known as the Khudsia Bagh, a former summer residence of the Mughal Kings, about a quarter of a mile from the north walls. The fourth column was intended to attack only when the Kabul Gate on the west of the city walls was opened from behind by the other columns. The fifth column and the cavalry were in reserve. The attack was supposed to be launched at dawn, but the defenders had repaired some of the breaches overnight with sandbags, and further bombardment was required. Eventually, Nicholson gave the signal and the attackers charged.

The first column stormed through the breach in the Kashmir Bastion and the second through that in the Water Bastion, by the Jumna River, but this was not without difficulty as most of the scaling ladders were broken before they could be emplaced.[10]:481 The third column attacked the Kashmiri Gate on the north wall. Two sapper officers, Lieutenants Home and Salkeld (both of whom subsequently won the Victoria Cross), led a suicidal mission, a small party of British and Indian sappers which placed four gunpowder charges and sandbags against the gate, under fire from just 10 feet (3.0 m) away. Several of them were wounded and killed trying to light the fuse. The explosion demolished part of the gate, a bugler with the party signalled success and the third column charged in.[10]:480 Meanwhile, the fourth column encountered a rebel force in the suburb of Kishangunj outside the Kabul Gate before the other columns attacked, and was thrown into disorder. Major Reid, its commander, was seriously injured and the column retired. The rebels followed up, capturing four guns from the Kashmiri troops, and threatened to attack the British camp, which had been emptied of its guards to form the assault force. The artillery batteries at Hindu Rao's House (directed by Chamberlain from a doolie) stopped them until Hope Grant's cavalry and horse artillery could move up to replace Reid's column. The cavalry remained in position under fire from guns on the Kabul Gate and suffered heavy casualties, until relieved by infantry. In spite of this reverse, Nicholson was keen to press on into the city. He led a detachment down a narrow lane to try to capture the Burn Bastion, on the walls north of the Kabul Gate. Rebel soldiers held most of the flat rooftops and walled compounds, and guns mounted on the bastion fired grapeshot down the lanes between the houses. After two rushes were stopped with heavy casualties, Nicholson led a third charge and was mortally wounded. Temporarily repulsed, the British now withdrew to the Church of Saint James, just inside the walls of the Kashmir Bastion. They had suffered 1,170 casualties in the attack. Archdale Wilson moved to the Church, and faced with the setback, he wished to order a withdrawal. When he heard of Wilson's indecision, the dying Nicholson threatened to shoot him. Eventually, Baird Smith, Chamberlain and other officers persuaded Wilson to hold on to the British gains.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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