Battle of Chilianwala, 13 January 1849

Charles Becher Young

Battle of Chilianwala, 13 January 1849
3 0 c m
40cm
actual image size: 32cm x 22cm

Battle of Chilianwala, 13 January 1849.

Oil on board by Lieutenant (later Colonel) Charles Becher Young (1816-1892), Bengal Engineers, 1849 (c).

On 13 January 1849, near the village of Chilianwala, north-west of Lahore, General (later Field Marshal ) Lord Hugh Gough, (1779-1869), Commander-in-Chief India, led his army into the first major battle of the 2nd Sikh War (1848-1849). The 24th (The 2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot and the 25th and 45th Regiments of [Bengal] Native Infantry advanced to attack the guns of the Sikh Army. Outstripping the native infantry, the 24th Regiment arrived upon the enemy prematurely but, under instructions not to fire, they fixed bayonets and charged the deadly artillery. In this gallant but foolhardy attack, the regiment suffered 515 casualties including 238 killed. 'Their conduct', wrote General Sir Charles Napier, 'has never been surpassed by British solders on a field of battle'. The enormous casualties which were inflicted on a larger and better-equipped force changed Indian perceptions of the invincibility of the British. However, the Sikh Army failed to drive home their advantage, so Gough claimed the battle as his victory.

Image Details

Negative No.
 
90763
Accession No.
 
NAM. 1967-02-46-1

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