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After these barbarous murders, which evinced too plainly the savage resolution taken by the Afghans to avenge themselves upon the British, the situation of our troops in cantonments became desperate, and Major General Elphinstone thought that it was necessary to provide for their safety by attempting again to negotiate with the enemy rather than risk all in a decisive contest. We will not criticise harshly this resolution, for it is perhaps impossible to estimate exactly the difficulties of General Elphinstone's position— and hs may have thought the contest hopeless against a furious population in arms on every side around him. But considering the result, we can hardly help regreting that he did not choose the bolder expedient, and instead of trusting to the good faith of the Afghan chiefs, resolve to emulate the example of former British officers in India, who have gained, with inconsiderable forces, signal victories against overwhelming odds. He might have succeeded in making himself master of the city of Cabul by a bold and desperate sortie, and the worst that could have happened would not have exceeded in amount of disaster the lamentable events that followed, while the attempt would have redounded to British honour, even although it had failed. But General Elphinstone thought,even after the proof of Afghan treachery exhibited in the bloody scene before his eyes, that he might trust to the professions of Akhbar Khan, and secure the safety of the forces under his command by entering into a convention with the Afghan chiefs. Accordingly, after the murder of Sir William Macnaghten, nego
tiations between General Elphinstone and Akbar Khan were carried on by Major Pottinger, and after some delay, it was proposed that the former treaty should remain in force with the following additional terms:-lst. That we should leave behind all our guns excepting six; — 2nd. That we should immediately give up all our treasures; — and 3rd. That the hostages should be exchanged for married men, with their wives and families. The British married of. ficers, however, refused to accede to this last stipulation, and it was abandoned. In pursuance of this convention, the British troops quitted their cantonments, and commenced their march on the 6th of January. They consisted of 4,500 fighting men, and about 12,000 camp followers besides women and children. What followed baffles description. The march became almost immediately a continued massacre. The rear-guard had hardly quitted the camp before it was attacked by the perfidious enemy. The snow lay deep upon the ground, and the troops had to force their way sword in hand. On the 7th they reached Bareekhur, having lost their guns, captured by the Afghans. On the next morning the camp of the retreating British, was entirely surrounded by the infuriated enemy. The accounts which have been given of what had occurred on the line of march hitherto, if not exaggerated, prove how desperate had been the attacks upon our troops. The whole way is said to have been strewed with the dead and dying, who were immediately stripped and left naked by the Afghans, the corpses were hacked to pieces by the long knives of merciless Ghazees.
A communication was now opened with Akbar Khan, who appears to have acted throughout with the deepest treachery, for while he pretended friendship, he was in reality directing the movements of the enemy: at least, such is the conclusion we arrive at from what followed ; for, we cannot doubt, that had he been sincere in his professions, he would have been able to protect our troops. He blamed the British officers for having commenced the march from the camp at Cabul, before he had provided a sufficient escort to defend them from attack, and offered to restrain the Afghans from further outrage, provided hostages were delivered to him as a security that the British would not march beyond Tezeen, until General Sale had evacuated Jellalabad. This proposal was accepted, and Major Pottinger, with Captains Lawrence and Mackenzie became hostages, and the troops proceeded on their march to the Khoord Cabul Pass. But Akbar Khan's promise of protection was utterly futile. Throughout the whole of this day the attacks of the Affghans, especially the Ghilzie tribe, were incessant; and the British had to force the difficult Pass with considerable loss. The next morning Akbar Khan sent to the encampment, and professed his concern at his inability to restrain the Ghilzies, who had been most active in the attacks of the preceding day. But he offered to protect the ladies who were with the retreating force, provided they would put themselves under his charge. It was thought right to take advantage of this offer; and eight ladies, including Lady Sale and Lady Macnaghten, went over to put themselves under the pro
tection of Akbar Khan. General Elphinstone, at the same time, ordered that those of them who had husbands, should be accompanied by the latter. The British troops halted here for a day, encamped in the snow. The cold was so intense, that the Sepoys became benumbed, and wholly useless. In resuming the march, the contest commenced afresh ; and at the Huft Kothul Pass (or Pass of Seven Ascents), which is between Khoord Cabul and Tezeen, the whole of the native troops, paralysed with cold, were cut to pieces. The Europeans, however, held together in tolerable order, and reached Tezeen on the evening of the 10th, where they halted two hours in the snow, and then resuming their march, pushed on to Jugdulluck, where they arrived in a miserable plight. Of the whole force which had left Cabul, amounting to nearly 16,500 persons, not more than 300 are said to have reachedJugdulluck, which is thirtyfive miles distant. Here a halt was ordered, and throughout the day, the enemy galled them with their fire, until Akbar Khan effectually interfered, and the unfortunate British were allowed to occupy, without molestation, a ruined enclosure, where they lay down, worn out by fatigue, and helpless, in the snow. General Elphinstone, however, was detained prisoner by Akbar Khan, who sent for him, under pretence of wishing to treat personally with him. From the small fort where he was imprisoned he despatched a note to Brigadier Anquetil, telling him to march that night, as there was treachery afoot. The wearied band acccordingly moved on in the darkness, but as they advanced up the Pass, an attack was made upon their rear by the Affghans, and all discipline was lost. The soldiers of the 44th Regiment threatened to shoot their officers, and broke up into detached parties: they were cut down almost to a man by the enemy, in this Jugdulluck Pass. Of the officers, a considerable number escaped on horseback, and reached Gundamuck in the morning; here they began to separate, taking different roads. The villagers attacked them as they passed, and only one individual of the whole British force was able to reach Jellalabad. This was Dr. Brydon, who arrived there wounded and faint, on the 13th of January. For some time he was supposed to be the sole survivor of the whole British force, with the exception of those who remained in the hands of Akbar Khan as hostages and prisoners; but afterwards it was discovered, that a few officers and soldiers had escaped death, but were detained in captivity in various places by the enemy. Such was the result of this most lamentable march, which was from first to last a series of humiliations to the British standard, and seemed likely to do irreparable injury to our military reputation in Affghanistan. Nothing is of more importance to British interests in India, than that the prestige of our name should not be diminished by any reverse happening to our arms; and this triumph of the Affghans under Akbar Khan was to be deplored for this reason, as well as the melancholy loss of life occasioned by the disaster. The enemy now approached Jellalabad, which was occupied by the British garrison under General Sir Vol. LXXXIV.
Robert Sale, who had maintained his position there since the day on which he reached it, after forcing the Khoord Cabul, and other Passes, as we have previously narrated. Here he was besieged by the insurgent tribes, theVoloos, the Ghilzies, and the Shinwaries, who occupied several old forts about three miles from the town, from which they from time to time kept up a fire upon the defences. Previously to the arrival of Akbar Khan and the forces with him, General Sale had been engaged in several encounters with the enemy, in which he was uniformly successful, and more than once severely punished them. An account of what occurred at Jellalabad, written by this gallant officer, will be found in a subsequent part of our narrative. We mentioned that it was stipulated on the part of General Elphinstone, in the Convention with the Afghan chiefs, that the whole of the British forces in Affghanistan should evacuate that country. In compliance with this agreement, he had despatched an order to General Sale to march away from Jellalabad; but the latter officer, on receiving it from the hands of an Affghan chief, at the latter end of January, refused to abandon his post. It is said that Lady Sale, then a prisoner in the hands of the Affghans, wrote to her husband, urging him to defend Jellalabad, saying, that she preferred death to dishonour. In the meantime, vigorous efforts were being made to assist the besieged garrison, by sending a body of troops to its relief through the Khyber Pass. Lord Auckland was about to retire from the government of India, and a new Governor-General, Lord Ellenborough,
had been appointed, who arrived at Calcutta on the 28th of February. But in the meantine, Lord Auckland exerted himself to the utmost to send re-inforcements to the frontier, and facilitate the operations of his successor for retrieving, as far as possible, the late terrible disaster. Sir Jasper Nicholls was the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in India, and reiterated orders were sent to him to push on to Peshawur as many troops as he could spare. Four regiments, the 30th, 53d, 60th, and 64th N. I., crossed the Punjab, and reached the left bank of the Indus on the 20th of December. Other forces followed ; and Brigadier Wild, who took the command, arrived at Peshawur on the 27th. He afterwards advanced to Jumrood, near the entrance of the Khyber Pass, and there encamped his troops, intending to march to the relief of Jellalabad as soon as he was reinforced by European infantry and artillery. Akbar Khan had used his utmost efforts to induce the Khyberries (who seem to consist of
different tribes, of whom the principal are the Afreedees and Mingalees) to close the formidable defiles against us, and in this he was successful ; or, perhaps, we should rather say, their national feeling of hostility towards us, induced the Khyberries to oppose our entrance into Afghanistan, through the Pass. On the 15th of January, Brigadier Wild having resolved to make the attempt to march forward to Jellalabad, entered the Khyber Pass, and attempted to take possession of the small Fort of Ali Musjid, which is situated in a difficult part of the defile, and the occupation of which is absolutely necessary to enable troops to traverse the Pass. But owing to a want of a proper disposition of the forces, the attack failed; and although the fort was actually carried, and for some time occupied by a body of troops, yet being unsupported by the rest of the army, which had recoiled from the Pass, they were compelled to abandon it, having no water or provisions so as to enable them to garrison it.
Affgh ANISTAN continued.— General Pollock takes the command and determines to force the Khyber Pass—Description of the Defile— The Fort Ali Musjid taken by the British Troops—March of the Army through the Khyber Pass—Arrival at Jellalabad—Account of the Operations there previously—Important Victory of the Garrison over, the Affghans s. y Akbar Khan—Death of General Elphinstone–Occurrences at Čabul—Murder of Shah Soojah—His Son Futteh Jung proclaimed King–Long Detention of the British Troops at Jellalabad–Akbar Khan treats for the Surrender of his Prisoners—Situation of the Prisoners—State of Affairs at Cabul— General Pollock advances from Jellalabad–Futteh Jung joins the British Camp—Conflict at Jugdulluk—Description of the different Passes and Defiles—Final Defeat of Akbar Khan in the Tezeen Valley–The British Army reaches Cabul—Release of the Prisoners - Proclamation by the Governor-general for the Evacuation of Affghanistan—General McCaskill sent into Kohistan—Defeat of the Affghans at Islaliff—Destruction of the Grand Bazaar at Cabul -The British Forces evacuate Cabul–March to Peshanur—Jellalabad destroyed—Arrival at Peshanur—Evacuation of Quelta by General England–March through the Bolan Pass–Proclamations by the Governor-general.—CANDAHAR and GhuzNEE.—The Insurrection spreads to the Candahar District—Colonel Maclean fails in attempting to reach Cabul–Candahar invested by the Insurgents— Wictory gained by General Nott—Failure of the Affghans in a nocturnal Attack on Candahar–General England altempts to reinjorce General Nott—Ill-success of this Enterprise—State of Garrison at Ghuznee—Treachery of the Inhabitants—Surrender of Ghuznee by Colonel Palmer—His Reasons for evacuating the Fortress—Treachery of the Ghazees—Attack upon the British Troops—Destruction of the Sepoys and Captivity of the Officers— Prisoners sent to Cabul–General Nott advances from Candahar to join General Pollock at Cabul–Description of his Line of MarchGeneral England advances to Quetta—Victory by General Nott over the Affghans at Gonine—Ghuznee abandoned by the Affghans and destroyed by General Noll—Another Victory gained by General Noti—He effects a Junction nith General Pollock at Cabul.
HE number of troops un- adier Wild amounted to 3,500 der the command of Brig- men. After his unfortunate at