Saturday, January 3, 2015

Doctor Brydon.

This is coolbert:

From a comment to a much prior blog entry:

"These are reverse engineered British Enfield rifles. They weren't used until the second Afghan-Anglo war. The 16,000 who were massacred were by sword and arrow. Get a damn education you moron."

Almost 173 years ago to the date the British having attempted their withdrawal from Kabul during the First Anglo-Afghan War, that column during the ninety mile [144 kilometer] march to safety obliterated, only one survivor. That report of Doctor Brydon almost in entirety with the very slightest of editing for your perusal:

"Deleted words are shown with a single line [dashed line?] drawn through them."

"Doctor Brydon having sufficiently recovered to give, to General Sale a written account, in a brief general statement of the disastrous Retreat of the Cabool Force, I shall record the same in this Book. ----

5 An account from memory of the March of the Troops
It was given out to the Troops, on the 5th Instant, that, the
 arrangements had been completed for our retreat to Hindustan. Such of
 the sick and wounded as were unable to march
 were left under the medical charge of Doctors Berwick

10 and Campbell, and Lieut.. Evans of HM.: 44th in Command.
 Capt. Drummond; Capt. Walsh; Lieut.. J. Conolly;
 Lt. Webb, Warburton and Airey, were placed, as Hostages,
 in the hands of Mohamed Zaman Khan The sick were
 lodged in Taimur Shah's fort; the Hostages with the new King.

15 We marched from Cantonments about 9 A.M. on the
 6th of January; The 5th NI. formed the Advanced Guard
 with a hundred Sappers and the Guns of the Mountain Train,
 under Brigadier Anquetil next came the main body, under
 Brigadier Shelton, followed by the Baggage, to rear of which

20 came the 6th. Regiment SSF. Lastly, the Rear Guard,
 composed of the 5th Light Cavalry and the 54th NI. with two
 H: A: Guns and the remainder of the Sappers all the
 Guns, excepting those of the HA: and MT: were left
 in the Cantonments, together with a large quantity of

25 Magazine Stores. The Rear Guard had no sooner
 marched out of the Cantonments (which they did not effect
 until dusk) than they were fired upon from the Ramparts; Lieut..
 Hardyman 5th L.C. was Killed at this time, and
 the place set on fire. A great quantity of property,

30 Public and private, was carried off between the Cantonments and
Seea Sung hill, at which place the two Guns-ef.
 with the Rear Guard were abandoned The Rear
 Guard arrived at its ground across the Loghar river
 about midnight Though this March was not more than

35 5. miles, a great number of women and children perished
 in the snow, which was about 6. Inches deep. -----------
 We marched, on the Morning of the 7th (Advance Guard
 the 54th NI. Rear Guard the 44th Foot and Mountain-Train)
 to Boot-Khak, a distance of about 5. Miles the whole

40 Road from Cabool, at this time, being one dense mass of
 people In this march, as in the former, the loss of
 property was immense and towards the end of it
 there was some sharp fighting, in which Lieut.. Shaw, of
 the 54th NI. had his thigh fractured by a shot The

45 Guns of the Mountain-Train were carried off by the
 Enemy, and either two or three of those of the Horse Artillery were
 spiked and abandoned. ----------------
 On the following Morning, the 8th, we moved through the Khoord
 Cabool Pass (our troops did not attempt to crown the

50 heights) with considerable loss of life and property the heights
 were in possession of the Enemy who poured down an incessant
upon our Column Lieut.. Sturt, of the Engineers, was
 Killed by a shot in the groin, and Captain Anderson's eldest
 child was missing when we arrived, at our ground, at Khoord

55 Cabool Captain Troup was also wounded. ------------
 The next day, the 9th all the Baggage which remained to us
 was loaded and off the ground by about 9. o'clock, when it was
 recalled and orders given for a halt which, owing to the intense
 cold at this elevated spot, proved exceedingly destructive of the

60 Sepoy's and Camp followers at this place the married officers,
 with their wives and families, and also the wounded officers,
 were delivered over to Mohamed Akbar for safe convoy to
 Jalalabad, much difficulty being expected on the road for the
 Troops. ----------------

65 On the Morning of the 10th we resumed our March
 over the Huft Kotal towards Tezeen So terrible had
 been the effects of the cold and exposure upon the
 Native Troops that they were unable to resist the
 attacks of the Enemy, who pressed on our flanks

70 and Rear and upon arriving at the Valley of Tezeen,
 towards Evening, a mere handful remained of the
 Native Regiments which had left Cabool. -------------
 We halted a few hours at Tezeen and found that five
 officers of the 5th NI.; one of the 37th NI.; one of the 54th, and

75 four Doctors, were Killed or missing and three European
 women, and one or two Soldiers of the 44th were carried
 off by the Enemy; after a rest of a few hours, and
 when it was quite dark, our diminished party again
 moved on leaving the last of the Horse Artillery Guns

80 on the ground: the Cavalry being the advanced Guard.
 We marched all night and arrived in the Morning at
 Kutta Sung [eight words deleted (see below)]
 having sustained some loss from the Enemy, who fired upon
from the heights during the whole time We remained

85 about an hour at Kutta Sung, where, from the nature
 of the ground, it was not deemed advisable to halt; ----
 We again pushed on towards Jigdalak, where we
 arrived about noon; still hard pressed by the
 enemy from the hills; Lieut.. Fortye of HM.: 44th

90 was killed close to our ground; shortly after arriving at
 which, General Elphinstone; Brigadier Shelton; and
 Captain Johnson, went over to Akbar Khan as Hostages
 for the March of the Troops from Jalalabad; Here
 we halted the next day, but were greatly annoyed

95 by the constant fire of the Enemy who had possession
 of all the surrounding hills many officers and men
 were wounded, and Captain Skinner, of the Commissariat,
 Killed by this fire; About an hour after dark an
 order was given to march, owing (I believe) to a note being received 

100 from General Elphinstone telling us to
 push on at all hazards, as treachery was suspected: ----owing to this
 unexpected move on our part, we found
 the abattis, and other impediments which had been
 thrown across the Jigdalak Pass, undefended by the Enemy, who, 

105 nevertheless, pressed upon our Rear, and
 cut up great numbers The confusion now was
 terrible all discipline was at an end, and the
 shouts of 'Halt,' and, 'Keep back the Cavalry' were
 incessant The only Cavalry were the officers who were

110 the officers who were mounted and a few Sowars (the
 Cavalry were at Jigdalak, but, I do not remember
 them afterwards) Just after getting clear of the
 Pass, I, with great difficulty, made my way to the front,
 where I found a large body of men and officers, who, 

115 finding it was perfectly hopeless to remain with men in such
 a state, had gone ahead to form a kind of advanced
 Guard But, as we moved steadily on, whilst the
 main body was halting every second, by the time that
 day dawned we had lost all traces of those in our Rear. ---

120 Our Party became broken up as we proceeded, till, on
 arriving at Fatehabad, it consisted of Captains Bellew,
and Hopkins, and Collyer; Lt. Bird, Steer, and Gray;
 Doctor Harper; Sergeant Freil, and about five other
 Europeans Captain Bellew & Lieut.. Bird were cut

125 down near Fatehabad, and also Lieut.. Gray and the
 Europeans --- Captains Hopkins and Collyer and Dr. Harper,
 being well mounted, soon left Lieut.. Steer and myself
 far behind About three miles from Jalalabad, Lieut..
 Steer told me he would hide till night, and left the
 road to do so I pushed on alone, and, with great
 difficulty reached this place about 1 P.M. on the 13th ----"

For clarification:

NI = Native infantry. A form of address describing those indigenous troops of the British Indian Army.

Sepoy = A troop of the British Indian Army.

Sowar = A cavalryman of the British Indian Army.

Cabool =  Kabul in the form of spelling as was in use at the time.

More on this topic later.


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