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A HORRID SPECTACLE.
discovered. One woman who had lost her leg was found and sent to hospital, where she recovered. A young child was picked up who had been shot by a musket-ball through both thighs, and who also perfectly recovered ; and there was also a fine boy of only three or four years old, whose father, a native officer, had been killed, and who was left in the fort when it was evacuated, he was unhurt and taken care of. The determined resolution of the little party that held this small post for more than a month against comparatively so large a force, must surely claim universal admiration, especially when the horrors of the latter portion of this time are considered.
The dismal spectacle of their slaughtered comrades, the sufferings of their women and children, thus immured with themselves, and the hopelessness of relief, which destroyed any other motive for the obstinate defence they made, than that resulting from a high sense of duty, supported by unsubdued courage. This and a generous spirit of courtesy towards the
enemy, certainly marked the garrison of Kalunga during the period of its siege; whatever the nature of the Goorkhas may have been found in other quarters, there was here no cruelty to wounded or prisoners—no poisoned arrows were used—no wells of water poisoned—no rancorous spirit of revenge seemed to animate them. They fought in fair conflict like men, and in the intervals of actual combat, shewed us a liberal courtesy worthy of a more enlightened people; so far from insulting the bodies of the dead and wounded, they permitted them to be untouched till carried away; and none were stripped as is too usually the case.
The confidence they exhibited in the British officers was certainly flattering. They solicited and obtained surgical aid, and on one occasion this gave rise to a singular and interesting scene. While the batteries were playing, a man was perceived on the beach advancing and waving his hand. The guns ceased, for a while, and a man came from the batteries ; he proved to be a Goorkha, whose lower jaw had been shattered by a round shot,
A WOUNDED GOORKHA.
and who came thus frankly to solicit assistance
from his enemy.
It is unnecessary to add that it was instantly afforded. He recovered, and when discharged from the hospital signified his desire to return to his corps to combat us again ; exhibiting thus through the whole a strong sense of the value of generosity and courtesy in warfare, and also of his duty to his country, separating completely in his own mind private and national feeling from each other. The remainder of the garrison of Kalunga with their commander Bhulbudder Sing, to the number of about seventy, retreated to a hill some miles off, where they were joined by three hundred men who had lingered in the neighbourhood for some days, endeavouring to throw themselves into the fort.
Major Ludlow with the force under his command, amounting to about four hundred men, moved on the afternoon of the 1st December to attack and dislodge them : he came up with them after a very fatiguing march, about one in
the morning of the 2nd, on very difficult ground on the hill where they had encamped for the night. They were on the alert, and the sentinel challenged our men, who rushed forward and fell on them, and dispersed them with much loss. They fled, pursued by our troops to the summit of the hill, where it was found necessary to desist and collect our men. Had they halted here, the end desired would have been obtained ; but flushed with success that had been so easy, the few leading troops, in spite of the exertions of the officers to restrain them, still dashed on to occupy a further and stronger stockade, known afterwards, during the siege, as the second stockade a very straggling line following them; the consequence was, as might be expected, that the enemy, alarmed by the first firing, had sent strong reinforcements towards the point attacked; and by the time the second stockade was endangered, these had nearly reached it.
Jespau Quarrè, the officer in command, see
ing the disordered state of our troops and how few of them were together, sallied out from the stockade with no great number of men, bore down the leading troops who were running up the hill, put the rest to flight, and pursued them along the ridge which they had before
Reinforced by fresh troops, the enemy followed up the charge, and our men, out of breath and panic-struck, could not be rallied. Major Ludlow and the other officers did all that was possible to make a stand; three times at rather favourable points, was it attempted to rally them, but as often, the Goorkhas coming up, they broke and fled ; and at last, at the point were the crest had first been gained, our men dispersed down the hill on both sides, the Goorkhas following and cutting them up. The Goorkhas were at this moment swarming round the hill. The night was darkening around. The men were weary with their long march and a six hours' combat, and were exhausted by a want of water which there had been no means of