‘The action of Shahjui. Afghanistan’, 1879

John Frederick Irwin

‘The action of Shahjui. Afghanistan’, 1879
3 1 c m
40cm
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm

‘The action of Shahjui. Afghanistan’, 1879.

Watercolour sketch by Lieutenant John Frederick Irwin, 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment.

The fight at Shajui occurred on 24 October 1879 after Brigadier-General R. J. Hughes’ 2nd Infantry Brigade advanced from Kandahar to Ab-i-Tazi, a distance of around 120 miles. This was undertaken in order to threaten the Afghans in Kabul and thus draw away resistance from Major-General Frederick Roberts’ advance on the capital from the Kurram Valley. Hughes halted at Ab-i-Tizi for a few days and was about to retire when news reached him of a force of Ghilzais assembling at nearby Shajui village to attack his force. He took the initiative and sent a force under Colonel Kennedy, consisting of two squadrons of the 2nd Punjab Cavalry, two mountain guns and two companies of the 59th Foot and 29th Bombay Native Infantry, ahead in a surprise assault. After a fierce hand-to-hand fight, the Ghilzais were dispersed in all directions. Over 50 of them, including their leader, Sahib Jan, were killed. Kennedy lost two men killed and 30 wounded. His men then rejoined Hughes’ force and all returned to Kandahar.

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