These web pages present contemporary sources in an attempt to sort out the confused story of the massacre of British army officers near the village of Mahua Dabar, south of Basti in northern India, in June 1857, and the subsequent reprisals by the British. Please note that I have not (except for the substitution [N-word]) changed the quoted texts, which very often display 19th-century attitudes and terminology, plus a wide variety of attempts to transliterate local names and other words. However, I have sometimes added my own comments and clarifications [in italics in square brackets].
This page describes the experiences of William Peppé of Birdpore, U.P., during the war of 1857-9. The story of the massacre can be found here.
Mr Peppé's background and family life is described on a separate page.
For more on the wider story of the war in the Basti area, see this page.
[Two claims for reward from European agriculturalists in the North West Provinces who aided the military and police efforts are detailed in this letter, the first from Mr M.P. Dunne, an Irishman who had settled near Ghazipur as an indigo planter. Mr Peppé's case was presented at the Home Department's Public Consultation of 16 Sep 1859:]
From W. PEPPE, Esquire, to His Excellency the Right Hon'ble GEORGE [sic in manuscript copy, for CHARLES] LORD CANNING, Governor General and Viceroy of India ... Goruckpore, the 22nd June 1859.
I humbly and respectfully beg leave to place the following representation before you, and crave your favorable consideration to my petition:
On the 5th of June, 1857, I received a letter from Mr. W.S. Paterson [in manuscript copy as Patterson], Magistrate and Collector of Goruckpore [in manuscript copy as Goruckpoor], informing me that the troops at Azimgurh had mutinied and taken the station, requesting me therefore to come in with whatever assistance I could bring. I got together about 200 men, and marched that evening for Goruckpore, reaching the station next day (a distance of 50 miles); about two hours previous to this, the prisoners in the Jail attempted to break out, I therefore accompanied Mr. Wynyard, then Judge of Goruckpore, down to the Jail, and all over the station. The prisioners were driven back, and next morning we had comparative quiet.
During the day, the Detachment of the 17th Native Infantry [in manuscript copy as N.I.] left their lines, and came up armed to the Treasury. I joined the rest of the European inhabitants of the station in Mr. Paterson's house, when the troopers of 12th Irregular Cavalry and my men came up to the house. The Sepoys seeing we had still some support with us, returned to their lines.
Some days after, when matters assumed a calmer aspect, I asked Mr. Paterson to allow my men to return to their home; he requested me to detain them, as their presence in the station had a beneficial effect.
On the 15th June, I volunteered to go with 20 troopers of the 12th Irregular Cavalry as a Deputy Magistrate to Bustee [i.e. Basti; in manuscript copy as Bustie] (42 miles from the station of Goruckpore), where numbers of the Zemindars were plundering and burning the villages; my own men had then returned to their homes; all the time they remained at the station to support authority, of my own means I supplied them with money and rations.
Letter from W.S. Paterson, Magistrate, Gorakhpur, to W. Wynyard, officiating Commissioner, Gorakhpur, dated 2nd July 1857. [This letter supplies a detailed chronology of the first stage of the rebellion in Gorakhpur District, beginning with the Government proclamation concerning mutinous sepoys at Delhi etc. on 25 May]
... 15th June /57- Mr. Peppe, a grantee of Government forest lands offered his services and was appointed by the acting Commissioner to proceed to Bustee with powers of Magistrate accompanied by a party of the Irregular Cavalry, for the purpose of putting down disorder and plunder in the Nuggur and Amorha pergunnahs.
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to Wm. Peppe Esquire, Goruckpoor ... Zillah [usually transcribed as Tillah in copy manuscript, but normalised by me] Goruckpoor, 15th June 1857 (no. 215)
I have the honor to offer my thanks and the thanks of Government for the offer you this morning made, volunteering to go in command of a party of sowars to the west end of the District where there are some disturbances among the zumeendars, and where I understand that plundering and quarrelling exists among these classes.
2nd. You are hereby invested with powers of a Magistrate in this District till further notice, subordinate to Mr. Patterson the Magistrate of the District.- I have requested Captain Steel to put under your command or [marked as query in the copy manuscript] the party of the 12th Irregular Cavalry noted in the margin:
1 Jemadar, 2 Duffadars, 18 Sowars
and you will find the party at your house at 8 p.m. this evening.
3rd. I request that you will proceed to Bustee and halt there tomorrow.- The Thanadar there will acquaint you with the state of the country.- The principal object of your going is to put a stop to the plundering that I hear is going on in that part of the District, and to strengthen by your presence with the Cavalry, the hands of the Government officials.
4th. From Bustee I wish you to proceed to Mhoueadabur [NB: Transcripts from Mr. Wynyard's letters make the b of dabur look more like an h, but I have ignored this], taking with you all the available force from the Thana of Bustee, and the Theseelee Thana and Moonsiffee of Captaingunge together with a party of Bayldars and some gunpowder and utterly to burn and destroy that village.-
5th. I hear [writing unclear] in that Village that 5 of our countrymen were cruelly butchered in cold blood, and I shall be glad to hear that not one stone of it is left upon another. Of course you will be careful not to hurt anybody in the village, unless you are opposed.
6th. I hereby attach the village to Government and request that you will put the Tehseeldar in charge of it, the cattle and crops, and direct him to await orders from the Collector as to the future management of the village
7th. This work done, I should like you to go to Gaighat and from thence go to Amorha, unless you may --- [unclear] of any thing on the spot which makes you think your presence would be more desirable elsewhere [unclear].
8th. From Amorha you can, if all is quiet, return quietly by easy marches to Goruckpoor, unless you see reason for making a longer stay in that neighbourhood.
9th. I request that in the event of your finding any parties in the act of plundering you will direct the Cavalry to cut them up at once and to take no prisoners. Any opposition to your orders to be treated in the same way.
10th. You will no doubt get valuable information from Messrs. Cookae and Osborne as to where your presence with the Sowars is most required.
11st. It is possible you may find Mr. Paterson at Bustee tomorrow, if so, show him this, and if he sees fit from what he has heard there to make any alterations in the orders I have given you, he is at liberty to do so, and I will thank you to consider those orders to be the order you are to act upon, and not these.
12th. Any expense you may incur for establishment, paper, &c. will be entered in the Magistrate's Contingent Bill.
13th. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Magistrate and Collector for his information.
14th. I shall be glad to have a daily report of your proceedings.
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to Wm. Peppe Esquire, Goruckpoor ... Zillah Goruckpoor, 17th June 1857 (no. 32)
If any of the Pleaders of the Moonsiffe's Cutchery are the least disobedient to his orders have the goodness to direct the Sowars to shoot them.
On the 17th June, I reached Bustee, and learned from Messrs. Cooke and Osborne [in manuscript copy as Osburne] that the whole country round about was disaffected; that a number of European officers had been murdered within 12 miles of Bustee, retreating from Fyzabad towards Goruckpore; that one of their party, Serjeant Busher, had escaped with his life, but was then a prisoner with a Zemindar, by name Bully Sing. I likewise heard that Colonel Lennox, with his family, wife, and daughter, and a Mr. Haulton were concealed in the house of Mahomed Hussun [in manuscript copy as Hoossein] and another party. I at once sent out a party of troopers to bring in Colonel Lennox's party, and went myself with the rest of the troopers to bring in Colonel Lennox's party, and went myself with the rest of the troopers to the relief of Serjeant Busher, whom I released from imprisonment after much difficulty; that evening I went to Captaingunge, where I met Colonel Lennox and party [in manuscript copy as Lennox's party], and arranged for their removal to Bustee the following morning.
On the 20th June I marched on the village of Guneshpore [in manuscript copy as the village Gunneshpoor = presumably Ganeshpur, northwest of Basti], and dispersed a large number of rebels, who were collected there and threatened to murder the Zemindar who was faithful to Government; towards evening I was obliged to leave this village, the rebels having received considerable reinforcements from the Raja of Nugger [i.e. Nagar], and were collecting in great numbers all round us. My troopers refused to remain and fight such numbers, I was therefore obliged to fall back on Bustee;
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to Wm. Peppe Esquire, care of W. Cooke Esq., Bustee ... Zillah Goruckpoor, 20th June 1857 (no. 61)
I have the honor to inform you that I shall send a further force of 20 Sowars with the usual native officers to aid your operations. The party will be at Bustee on the morning of the Tuesday 23rd June, when I request you will have orders to meet them. I was glad to see from your letter to Mr. Cooke that you were about to burn down Mhouea Dabur and shall be more glad to learn that it is an accomplished fact.
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to Wm. Peppe Esquire, Goruckpoor ... Zillah Goruckpoor, 21st June 1857 (no. 69)
I have the honor to request that you will not attempt to burn down Mhouea Dabur, unless you feel quite strong enough to do it, with complete success, which from your letters to Mr. Patterson and Mr. Cooke, I imagine is not the case.
2nd. Twenty more Sowars leave this for you tonight. I am sorry to hear you have so many sick with you- until you are reinforced and the men with you have recovered, I would not work them too hard.
3rd. Mr. Patterson suggests that your presence at Gunneshpoor for one night with a force of Sowars would place Umanoolla Pindoora in a position of security. You will act in this matter as Mr. Patterson may direct, as I know nothing about that matter.
4th. I will send some footmen to strengthen you if I possibly can.
5th. Your presence with the Sowars has had the desired effect of releasing Col'l. and Mrs. Lennox and family and Sergeant Busher, and the Government will be most grateful to you for your exertions in this good cause.
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to Wm. Peppe Esquire, Goruckpoor ... Zillah Goruckpoor, 23rd June 1857 (no. 84)
I have the honor to inform you that Mr. Patterson has sent me for perusal the summary of your proceedings since you left with a party of Sowars on the 16th of this month.
2nd. Your presence with the Sowars has had the desired effect, enabling Col'l., Mrs. and Misses Lennox, Mr. Haulton the Patrol to come forth from their places of refuge, where they have been so well taken care of.
3rd. Your successful arrangements for the rescue of Sergeant Busher have my warmest thanks.
4th. I am sorry to find that your efforts have not been successful in preventing the plunder of Pindaras village of Gunneshpoor, but it is quite clear that with the force you had, you could not have prevented it.
5th. You will not fail to let Mr. Patterson know the names of the other Villages who joined in the attack on Guneshpoor.
6th. I am quite satisfied that you exercised a sound discretion in not attempting to burn down Mhouea, which probably would have been followed by serious disaster.
7th. No reward for Bully Sing's head was ever issued, but that sum was offered for his apprehension. This has also now been cancelled, and he may be assured of his safety.
8th. In conclusion I beg to offer you my cordial thanks for the service you have performed and shall have much pelasure in bringing them to the notice of Government.
9th. You are now reinforced by 20 Sowars and I shall be glad if you will remain at Bustee and await further instructions from Mr. Patterson or myself.
10th. It would probably have a good effect if you moved about to Captaingunge, Amorha and Gaighat, or if you sent half your Sowars to move about, and let the people see that there is a force in the neighbourhood.
11th. Mr. Patterson however will furnish you with such instructions on this point as he may deem most desirable.
a few days after this, Mrs. Major Mill and three children, Mr. and Mrs. Gartry, and three Serjeants' wives with five children were enabled to come in from Fyzabad, where they had protection from Man Sing.
On the 26th June, I attacked the village of Sauseepore [in manuscript copy as Sonsarpoor; either the village of Sansarpur, at the junction of roads into Basti from west, via Captaingunge, and south, via Nagar, or the similarly-named place north-west of Basti], and destroyed it by fire, the Zemindars having been plundering the neighbouring country all around, and who refused to come in when called on.
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to W. Peppe Esquire, Assistant Magistrate Goruckpoor ... Zillah Goruckpoor, 29th June 1857 (no. 104)
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to Mr. Patterson dated 27th June informing him of your having the assistance of 300 men, supplied by Sturdial [unclear] Misr, the Karinda [local representative] of the Bustee Raj, burnt down the houses of Bhyoroo, Ban Sing and Dabeedyal Sing of the village of Sonsarpoor, whom you had summoned, but who had refused to come to you, or to reply to your letter.
2nd. The Khuticks and Bhurs [two castes of rural labourers] supplied by the Misr, appear to have done you good service, and the conduct of Ramdyal Lall Bhuggun, Sirdar and Rajivunt Sing, who pointed out the road, led the attack, seems to have been capital. I send you Perwanas to them, thanking them for their good service, and if you think a reward should be given to them, I shall be very happy to sanction it.
3rd. When the village began to burn, it was plundered- I am very glad of it- I hope that Byru Bux [sic] Sing and Dabeedyal Sing will come in to you when sent for next time.
4th. I am glad to hear that what has been done has diminished, if not stopped the amount of night plunder about you, if the crime continues another example must be made.
5th. I am very much obliged to Messrs. Cooke and Osburn for the assistance they have given you, and for their determination in staying at Bustee in these troubled times. Their presence there has no doubt contributed greatly to your success in your proceedings, and I have written to them to express my thanks.
6th. Again returning you on my own behalf, and on the part of Government, my thanks for the good service you have performed.
On the 3rd July, I destroyed the large village of Mowah Dabur, where the Officers of the 22nd Native Infantry had been murdered, coming from Fyzabad, and recovered from the Raja of Nugger their property taken from them after being murdered;
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to W. Peppe Esquire, Goruckpoor ... Zillah Goruckpoor, 4th July 1857 (no. 118)
I have the pleasure of perusing your letter of yesterday's date to Mr. Patterson, informing him that the destruction of the village of Mahooa Dabur, was progressing satisfactorily, but that it would take several days before all the houses are levelled to the ground.
2nd. I am rejoiced to hear of the progress which has been made in the destruction of this village. I am much obliged to you for the steps you have taken to accomplish it, and I shall be glad to be informed when it is complete.
Letter No. 196 of 1858 from C. Wingfield, Commissioner of Goruckpore, to William Muir, Secretary to Government, North-Western Provinces, dated the 5th July 1858
... compiled from an official Narrative, or rather Journal by the former Magistrate, Mr. Paterson ... much abridged by me; for many circumstances which had importance at the time, possess too little interest now to deserve to be placed on record.
... On the 10th [of June] six European officers, who had escaped from Fyzabad, were inhumanly murdered by the Mahomedan population of Mahooa Daber, a village in the Nuggur pergunnah: the village was subsequently burnt to the ground by Mr. Peppe, Deputy Magistrate, and a party of the 13th [sic] Irregular Cavalry; at the same time Colonel Lennox and family, fugitives from the same place, were sheltered, and probably saved from destruction, by Mahomed Hussun, the same who afterwards set himself up as ruler of this district. Two patrols near Amorha were also saved by Mirza Ali Hussun, who has since gone into open rebellion against us.
From W. Wynyard, Officiating Commissioner, to W. Peppe Esquire, Deputy Magistrate- Bustee ... Zillah Goruckpoor, undated and unnumbered in copy manuscript
I have the honor to inform you that I have this day requested the Commissioner's permission to relieve you of the duties of Deputy Magistrate, and to transfer them to Mr. Cooke.
2nd. On the occasion of your approaching return to your Grant, I beg to return you my most hearty thanks for the services so cheerfully and efficiently rendered by you in exercise of a sound judgment, and with the aid of the Irregular Cavalry, and of the Gentlemen residing at Bustee- You have quelled a very general spirit of insurrection around Bustee and have established a due respect for Government in the minds of the people.
a few days after this I went and burned down the village of Tiljah, where I was fired upon and had two men wounded. That part of the district assuming some appearance of quietude, I was allowed to return to my own property, which I did on the 29th July, 1857.
[My summary of this article detailing a story very similar to that of Mahua Dabar] The article describes the British reaction to the killing of the tehsildar of Basti by Sheikh Wali Mohammad, of Tilja in tappa Ujiyar [about 19km east-north-east of Basti] as told by modern village official Inamullah.
The freedom struggle against the British in the area was led by Rani Tahori Kunwari of Amodha [i.e. Amorha], Raja Uday Pratap of Nagar, and Shivgulam Singh of Athdama. They were opposed by the tehsildar of Basti, who warned that the lands of rebels would be confiscated; he was consequently killed by Sheikh Wali Mohammad.
Wali Mohammad and two other local zamindars, Sheikh Sultan and Sheikh Talib, with two guards, Abdul Wahab and Bujharat, were arrested and publicly hanged in the Wali Bagh at Basti. The village itself was looted (apart from weapons, which were hidden in a well) and burned to the ground by British and Nepalese soldiers, while the villagers hid in the fields. The lands of the rebel zamindars were later awarded to Britishers who settled the area with Sikh migrants.
[As usual in this analysis, we can see some elements in this modern article which agree with the 19th-century documents (the retaliatory burning of the village by the British) and some which disagree (Nepalese troops did not arrive in the Basti area until 1858)]
p683: [numbers of villages forfeited by landlords who joined the 1857 rebellion] "Wali Muhammad Chaudhari of Tilja 40 or 50"
p75: "Of the other religions, the Sikhs are the most important, but they mainly consist of persons in Government service ... the only landowner of this creed is Babu Dalip Singh of Tilja in Maghar East."
p230: [details of Maghar East Pargana] "The majority of the villages are held by Brahman and Rajput communities, though the number of Muhammadan zamindars is greater than in any other pargana of the district. There are no large proprietors, excepting perhaps the Agarwal Banias of Gorakhpur, who own the Barauncha Lal estate of 5,189 acres. Others who hold small estates are the Pathans of Nandaar, the Sheikhs of Qazipur, the Sikhs of Tilja, the Brahmans of Magna, and the Rajputs of Naharpur."
On the 12th August, I received another letter from the then Magistrate, Mr. Paterson, to inform me that the authorities had decided on leaving the station; at that time I had three refugees from Oude [in manuscript copy as Oudh] living at my house, they had escaped through Nepal, and joined me a few days before.
We had to leave that evening, and got into Goruckpore on the day it was being evacuated by the Government Officials. I accompanied them to Azimgurh, and was at the battle of Gugha [in manuscript copy as Jugha], fought by the rebels on our party evacuating the district. I then went to Calcutta, where my family had been sent to at my own expense. I remained there till the end of November [in manuscript copy as of the November], 1857, in great distress, being out of funds, not having received any relief or assistance from any Relief Fund or from Government, having been obliged to leave all my property behind me.
Having heard that Goruckpore was to be re-occupied [in manuscript copy as to be occupied], I came up to Azimgurh and got into Goruckpore only on the 12th January, 1858, when it was re-occupied.
As soon as I arrived, I was re-appointed a Deputy Magistrate (Honorary), and I left for the district. I succeeded in capturing a number of rebel leaders, two of whom were hanged. I likewise caught five of the Dacca mutineers, who were also hanged. I remained out at my house (50 miles from the Station of Goruckpore) for six months, when the whole district was over-run by rebels.
I collected for Government 25,000 Rupees worth of Rice for supplies for the Goorkha [in manuscript copy as Gourka] Army when it was not otherwise to be had; it was collected at my own risk, and I only received payment for the same, two months after delivery.
On the 1st May, 1858, I received information that I was to be attacked by the rebels. I wrote to the Commissioner for some assistance, but received a reply that it was impossible for him to send me any at that time. At 9 a.m. of the 21st May [in manuscript copy as of 21st May], I was attacked by a body of rebels [in manuscript copy as of the rebels], 1,000 strong. I had about the same number of my own tenantry, and fought them for upwards of half an hour; my people (having but a very limited quantity of ammunition) gave way, and I had to retire with only the clothes on my back. I lost five men killed, and wounded there were several. A few days before this, my own spies brought me word that the Sepoys would give up Mahomed Hussun [in manuscript copy this time as Hussein] to me if I would promise them forgiveness. I informed the Commissioner of this, and he telegraphed up to Allahabad, but before the answer arrived, I was driven out, as also the Bansee Rajah, and the rebels were then in full possession of Bansee.
Foreign Department, North-Western Provinces, Narrative (Abstract Proceedings). Narrative of events for Gorakhpur for the week ending 23rd May 1858.
... On the 21st Mr. Peppe the Deputy Magistrate (Honorary) was attacked in his factory at Birdpore 13 miles N.E. of Bansee by a band of about 1,000 armed men headed by the Nichloul Rajah and the Mahomedan talooqdar of the Ootrowla in Oudh. His men after a brief resistance deserted him, and he was compelled to fly with two other Europeans into Goruckpore.
p380: "Goruckpore District ... may be said to be- at least the North West portion of it- once more in the hands of the rebels. Mahomed Hossain is lord paramount in that direction, and swelled as his forces have been by fugitives from Fyzabad and other parts of Oude will doubtless give some trouble ...
[extract from the previous Saturday's "Bengal Catholic Herald":] Goruckpore, 27th May 1858
Last Thursday evening the Magistrate, Mr. Bird, went with a small force to Doomree, where as mentioned in my last, Hurkaru had been murdered and a Chuprassee had his nose cut off. The village has been utterly destroyed and the miscreant Baboos have no shelter now from the coming rainy weather
On Saturday morning came into the station Messrs. Peppe, Gibbon, Bozman and Palmer. Mr. Peppe, manager of the Birdpore Grant, and an Honorary Magistrate, and the other assistants of Mr. Bridgman, the indigo planter. It appears that a party of rebels under Baboo Surdown Singh of Dohum, in the Bansee Pergunna, numbering about 1,000 according to the official account, attacked Mr. Peppe at Birdpore. He sustained a fight for about half an hour and would have beat them off, but his men gave leg bail, and escaping very narrowly with his life, he was obliged to fly, leaving every thing behind him. Besides Surdown Singh, the party was accompanied by the Rajas of Nuggur, Burheaper, Nichlunul, and it is said of Nurhurpore also with their adherents. It is not known if they had any sepoys with them. The casualties were, on the side of the rebels none. Of Mr. Peppe's party 5 killed 4 missing,probably carried off by the rebels. It is beyond doubt that some of Mr. Peppe's theckadars of villages and some of his own servants were implicated, as it is remarkable that they (the rebels) took care to distinguish Mr. Peppe's property from that of Mr. Palmer's, destroying only the former. After setting fire to the Birdpore house the insurgents returned to Mahomed Hussein at Kumsar. Plunder does not seem to have been their object, for they took away nothing except a maund or two of rice for their breakfast."
Foreign Department, North-Western Provinces, Narrative (Abstract Proceedings). Narrative of events for Gorakhpur for the week ending 18th July 1858.
... After the failure of the attack on the Domree Baboos mentioned in the last Narrative, it was determined to post a party of Seikhs, so as to cut off the communication betwen their haunts, and the part of the country reported to afford them supplies. This measure proved at once effectual; they have retired northward towards Bansee, and are said to have joined themselves to the Nichloul Raja. A re-inforcement under Lieutenant Pullan [see note below] (150 strong) has been sent in that direction accompanied by Mr. Peppe, Honorary Deputy Magistrate, and the Commissioner hopes that part of the country will soon be cleared.
p277: "Ayrton Pullan, Esquire, first son of the Rev. Benjamin William Pullan by his second wife Catherine, b. 31 March, bap. at Staveley 16 Aug., 1834. He entered Cheltenham College in 1844 and left it in 1854. He was Ensign in the 36th Bengal Native Infantry in 1856, Lieutenant in 1856; he joined the Bengal Staff Corps in 1861, was Captain in 1868, Major in 1876, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1882, Colonel in 1886.
He served with the 4th Sikh Infantry in the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1857-58, and was present at the siege of Delhi, where he was wounded, the investment of Calpee,the defence of Bansee, the assault and capture of Paina, actions near Toolseepore, the Raptee and Bulrampore; he was twice wounded and his horse wounded, he was mentioned frequently in dispatches, and received the medal with clasp. He subsequently joined the Survey of India, and was actively connected with the preparation of the Survey maps of the Himalayas and the Bombay Presidency.
He was a vigorous artist, painting in bold colours well adapted to Oriental scenery. He five times gained the prize given by the Governor-General of India for water colour painting, and in 1882 exhibited a picture in the Royal Scottish Academy."
On the 19th July, I accompanied Lieutenant Pullan with a party of Seikhs to Bansee. From information we received there, [in manuscript copy as received, then] we marched to Allidapore [in manuscript copy as Allidapoor], within a few miles of my house, where the rebels were encamped. We came on them about 9 a.m., but as the Seikhs had a long march, they were not able to follow up the enemy, who had retreated on seeing us. By this time I had collected a number of my own tenants, armed with sticks; I followed the rebels and came up to them some thousands [in manuscript copy as thousand] of yards ahead of the Seikhs. I shot one man; on attempting to shoot another, my pistol missed fire, when I was attacked and knocked off my horse; when on the ground, I had a piece cut off my left hand when guarding my head from a cut made at it. I however got on my legs and shot the rebel who had wounded me. My tenants had now turned out and killed 17 out of the 28 that were killed that day. Although wounded, I remained out with Lieutenant Pullan, and had several other skirmishes with the rebels until the 2nd September, when I was relieved by Mr. Wilson, the Assistant Magistrate.
p796: "A GALLANT AFFAIR.- On the 24th July, Mr. Peppe, with the Sikhs stationed at Bansee under the command of Lieut. Pullan, attacked a small body of insurgents at Aludapore, about 14 miles distant; 12 or 13 of these were killed, and the rest escaped; the Sikhs being too exhausted to pursue. Mr Peppe, who led in advance, is reported to have disposed of two or three of them before the force came up; he has received a slight sword cut in his hand."
Foreign Department, North-Western Provinces, Narrative (Abstract Proceedings). Narrative of events for Gorakhpur for the week ending 25th July 1858.
... Two small parties of rebels, one which was hanging on the frontier of the Amorha pergunnah and another which was plundering near Bansee, have both been routed and driven away. In the former affair which took place on the 23rd ... a good many of the enemy were killed, in the later only 12, as Lieutenant Pullan's detachment of Sikhs, by whom they were routed, had made a long march and was too fatigued to follow them. Mr Peppe, the Honorary Deputy Magistrate continuing the pursuit almost alone, was slightly wounded in the hand. The most noticeable feature of the affair however was the aid received by the troops from the village population, who pursued and captured several of the rebels. This encounter took place on the 24th ...
[extract from the Bengal Catholic Herald:] "Gorruckpore ... 8th August 1858
The Raja of Nichloul with the chalabs [? possibly chalahs] of the Goshain [Shiva-worshipping holy man] I have just mentioned were at Doolha and Nethwur Kotes, but abandoned them, and Lieut. Pullan and Mr. Peppe have had them levelled to the ground."
Letter No. 5 of 1859 from C.J. Wingfield, Commissioner of Gorakhpur, to R. Simson, Under Secretary to the Government of India, dated Commissioner's Office, the 1st February 1859.
... I beg to bring to the notice of the Government of India that two papers, bearing the undoubted seal of Mahomed Hussun, have been found among the effects of the noted rebel Mehndoo Khan, who committed such ravages in the Bansee pergunnah, during the months of August and September last, and was subsequently killed in an engagement with the Government troops.
... One is a sunnud appointing him Tuhseldar of the country east of Bansee, and ordering him to kill the 'Kaffer Feringhees' dated 30th August. The other bearing date 5th September, is the letter transmitting the sunnud, and enjoins Mehndoo Khan to clear Bansee, and inflict punishment (Tudarook) on Mr. Peppee, a grantee and Deputy Magistrate.
On hearing that Mr. Wingfield, the Commissioner, was likely to leave for Lucknow, I applied to him for a lease of some of the confiscated villages, and on the 4th January, 1859 [in manuscript copy, absurdly, as 4th July 1857], I received an answer, asking me to inform him if I would take a lease [in manuscript copy as take lease] of the confiscated villages of Tegra. I thankfully accepted the offer, and I have since heard from him that he had sent up my case to the Board, and that I was soon [in manuscript copy as sure] to get the villages. I have been patiently waiting for this to be confirmed, when the other day I was informed that these villages were to be sold by auction. I have now no hopes of getting them.
On the 20th March, I joined Colonel Kelly's [see note below] force, and gave him all the assistance in my power, supplying him with spies and guides; and as I had been in that part of Nepal before, and well acquainted with numbers of the villagers, I was enabled to give him good information about the rebels, (Colonel Kelly in his despatch has noticed my assistance). I remained with the force till the 4th April, when I was obliged to return to Goruckpore, my wife and family having received peremptory orders to quit the house we had occupied for the last twelve months; it was, unfortunately for me, within military cantonments.
p232: "KELLY, SIR RICHARD DENIS (1815-1897)
Entered the Army, 1834 ... servce in the Crimea: taken prisoner when wounded: in the mutiny commanded the 34th regt. in the actions at Cawnpur, capture of Lucknow and relief of Azimghar: commanded a column in Oudh in 1858-9, and a Field Force in 1859, and on the Nipal frontier: C.B., 1858: K.C.B., 1860: retired, 1864: Maj-General, 1868: General, 1880: died July 2, 1897."
During the evacuation of Goruckpore, my tenantry protected my property for upwards of three months, and twice drove back a number of rebels headed by the Nick Lawll [i.e. Nichlaul; in manuscript copy as Naik Lowll] Rajah. The Bansee Rajah then sent a force, as he said, to protect my property; but who assuredly plundered and destroyed it to the amount of Rupees 9,000.
In May 1858, when I was attacked, I lost 1,000 Rupees worth of private property. The estates of which I am manager have lost in property and reduction of rents Rupees 35,000.
My Lord, I am a private and humble individual; when called on by Government to aid and assist it by Government servants, I readily came forward with men to keep order in 1857. I then assisted laying in Commissariat matters to keep the Goorkha Army when no Civilian knowing the district could get the articles of food required by that Army.
I have served Government as an Honorary Magistrate, receiving no emoluments. I have fought the rebels with my own tenantry, when I was refused assistance with Government troops. I have exposed my person to danger, neglected the calls of a wife and family when Government called on me. I have been knocked off my horse by rebels, and very nearly lost my life, having been wounded, though happily slightly (it might have turned out otherwise). My house has been burned and plundered several times. Again, on the 12th June, 1859, I was attacked by 50 Sepoys, and had to escape with nothing but my life, my property in horses and money having been lost to me.
My time too has been given over to Government, and my own work neglected. I had some hope that these services would have met with some acknowledgment by Government had they been fairly represented, but as time has passed on, my patience has passed with it. I have made bold to address your Excellency direct. I do so the more especially when I hear of the honors and rewards heaped on Natives who have turned at the eleventh hour, and called themselves faithful to Government. I was here at the commencement of the rebellion, and came into it again on re-occupation. I have served Government faithfully without wages, and exposed myself on Government account to the risk of my life, unaided by Government troops. I feel the neglect I suffer under the more when I have seen others coming into the district, and only [in manuscript copy as district only] the other day receiving full emoluments, and when they did go before the enemy were always sheltered by Europeans [in manuscript copy as European] troops- such men have received Jagheers, swords of honor, khilluts, &c. My Lord, I have served your Government, I have served my country, and my Queen.
I may have equally deserved honors and rewards with those who have received them. If I deserve them, I may safely trust my claim with your Lordship.
I have laid my simple story before you, hoping for your consideration to it. My worldly means, my Lord, are not such as to make me dispose [in manuscript copy as despise] anything like what many others have received from the hands of Government in this [in manuscript copy as the] district. All I ask is to place my services and their's comparatively in juxta position, and if I deserve a reward, I ask it from you [in manuscript copy as your] Excellency. I beg to forward several documents proving my services.
Dunne and Peppé's were the only reward claims from European landholders in Goruckpore District, but there were two major complicating factors in making awards. First, there were inevitably appeals from former holders of confiscated estates, which had to go through the courts. Second, Peppé in particular could be said to be a victim of his own success: the effectiveness of improvement and settlement schemes like that at Birdpore had rapidly increased the overall value of land throughout northern Goruckpore, hence valuations tended to be out-of-date. To award him an estate worth 5,000 Rupees per year, a new valuation of a confiscated estate near Birdpore had to be made, so that he could be awarded a portion with the right annual Jumma rent.
PS: Even as Mr Peppé was applying for his award, it seems the rebellion continued:
[Probably reporting events of several weeks earlier] REBEL ATROCITIES IN INDIA.- The last new torture invented by these miscreants, with a view to make their wretched victims confess, is to bind their fingers in rags, steeped in oil, to which fire is applied. Fifteen unfortunates were thus treated lately, at Goruckpore, having been kidnapped from within the Sikh pickets at Mr. Pepp's [sic].
For the story of Mahua Dabar after its destruction, see here