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An Account of His Majesty’s De Meuron Regiment Chapter 6: The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War 1799

An Account of His Majesty’s De Meuron Regiment Chapter 6: The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War 1799

An Account of His Majesty’s De Meuron Regiment 1795-1816

Chapter 6: The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War 1799

Tippoo Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, had inherited not only the State from his father but his joint hatred of the British and East India Company. Fighting from the age of 15 years in the three earlier wars of 1767-69, 1780-84, 1790-92, against the British and the Company, attempting to reclaim territory that had been ceded after those wars and seeking aid, unsuccessfully from France, Afghanistan and Turkey. He referred to himself as ‘Padshah’ an ancient Mogul term for King or Emperor, and enjoyed his soubriquet, ‘The Tiger of Mysore’, although there is considerable speculation as to how the name arose. The British recognised Tippoo as a formidable opponent and military leader, who had scant regard for agreements or treaties with the British or the Company, whom he regarded as hostile and alien invaders. He flatly refused to accept subsidiary alliances, but worse, sought aid from revolutionary France which inflamed tension with the British to such a degree that neither side could retract from their position. Letters from the Governor General, Lord Mornington and Lord Harris, Commander in Chief Madras, pointed out the consequences of his continued flirtations with France, but were of no avail as Tippoo’s responses were regarded as dilatory and evasive.

The arrival in Mauritius (Ile de France) on 19th January 1798, of two Mysore envoys, sent by Tippoo Sultan and taken to the island by a French privateer, encouraged the French Governor, Compte de Malartic to put up a public proclamation on 29th January 1798, calling for volunteers to join an expedition to Mysore and assist Tippoo Sultan in his resistance to the British. Malartic, had promised Tippoo the French expedition, yet another incendiary move, the consequences for Tippoo of which would be profound and would provide Mornington with the justification for an invasion of Mysore.[1]

Approximately 100 volunteers were recruited, and they left for India on the French frigate La Preneuse on 7th March 1798, under the command of Louis Auguste Chapuis.[2] When pressed by Mornington about the expedition, Tippoo responded that they, ‘were forty persons French and of a dark colour….in search of employment’. Mornington and Harris took an altogether different view, with Mornington stating, ‘that the succour [they] received was inconsiderable’ but nevertheless the expedition had to be regarded as ‘a public, unqualified and unambiguous declaration or act of war’.[3]

At the commencement of the Anglo-Mysore War 1799, three companies of the De Meuron Regiment under Major H. D. de Meuron-Motier were stationed at Tripassore, a small station and missionary settlement, three companies at Poonamallee under Captain Pierre Lardy and where Lieutenant Louis Fabert died on 28th May 1796.[4]

The four remaining companies were at Vellore, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Frederic de Meuron, although he was temporarily incapacitated through sickness and despite his previous requests took no part in forthcoming operations.

The De Meuron companies from Tripassore and Vellore joined the Wallajabad Division, commanded by General John Floyd in December 1798, joining up with the Grand Army at Vellore in January 1799, under General George Harris. A return by Major A. Beatson of troops for February 1799, shows the De Meuron Regiment at 715 strong, comprising non-commissioned officers, drums, rank and file at Seringapatam and Captain Pierre Lardy was present at the storming of Seringapatam in April that year.[5]

The Grand Army, Company and Kings Forces;

European Infantry: 12th, 33rd,73rd, 74th 75th 77th Regiments, the Scotch Brigade and De Meuron Regiment: 4,381
Native Infantry: 1st and 2nd, Madras Native Regiments, 1st and 2nd Native Bengal Regiments: 10,695
European Cavalry: HM’s 19th, 25th Dragoons: 884
Native Cavalry: 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Madras Native Cavalry: 1,751
Madras Army: Pioneers & Gun Lascars: 2,483
Madras and Bengal Artillery: 608
Bombay Army: 6,500
Nizam’s Subsidiary Forces, including regular and irregular cavalry: 10,157
Coimbatore Army; 4,800   Baramahahal Army; 5,107
Total 49,180
Ordnance: 40 Siege Battery Guns, 57 Field Ordnance, 7 Howitzers.

 

On 1st January 1799, the effective strength of the De Meuron Regiment is recorded as 1,287 including officers.[6]

The Grand Army artillery park of six Brigades was one of the most formidable gathered in the East, comprising of two European brigades and four of Native troops.

The De Meuron Regiment was deployed with HM’s 33rd and 73rd Regiments in the 2nd Brigade, commanded by Colonel Arthur Wellesley, who had originally been appointed as Advisor to the Nizam of Hyderabad.[7] The appointment caused some resentment and been cancelled and by February the Nizam’s infantry troops were commanded by two East India Company officers, Lieutenant Colonel James Dalrymple,  a former prisoner of Tippoo Sultan in 1780, and Major John Shee.[8] The Nizam’s Cavalry, was commanded by his first minister, Meer Alam supported by Captain John Malcom as Political Officer.[9] Although stated by Beatson to be just over 10,000, it is unclear exactly how many troops belonged to the Nizam’s Army, estimates vary up to 21,000.

The Grand Army left Vellore on 11th February, and was joined en-route to Seringapatam by the Bombay Army under General James Stuart, together with a combined detachment of Native Infantry from Madras and Bengal under Colonel George Roberts and the Coimbatore Army under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Brown.[10]

The Baramahal Army (the grain and bullock train) under Lieutenant  Colonel Alexander Read  remained available for deployment.[11]

The Grand Army could muster close to 50,000 troops against the 36,000 of Tippoo Sultan’s army thought to be present within or in close proximity to his fort.[12] Some believed that his military organisation had signs of weakness, huge arrears of pay over 14 months, a neglect of his cavalry, his army was overstaffed with 150 Generals, in comparison to his father Hyder, whose albeit smaller army had only ten generals.[13]

Accompanying the British troops were the camp followers, wives, families and servants, in vast numbers, a huge population crossing India at a snail’s pace. One De Meuron Regiment officer’s English wife Mme. Mary Meuron-Bayard, together with her three daughters, travelled on an elephant howdah the whole journey.[14]

The journey of the Grand Army from Vellore through Mysore to Seringapatam, involved crossing the Western Ghauts, a mountain range rising to nearly 3,000 metres in places and stretching 1,600 kilometres south to north and parallel to the western coastline. Crossing over the ghauts, was a laborious task, where occasionally elephants or men had to replace bullocks, who died in their hundreds, to haul cannon or baggage. An officer in the De Meuron Regiment, Captain-Lieutenant F. Meuron-Bayard, kept a diary in which he describes his regiment, posted on the left flank with the baggage, ‘suffering from painful heat, lack of food, water and the deaths of cattle’.[15] All these difficulties were exacerbated by Tippoo’s ‘scorched earth’ policy, despoiling or burning crops used for fodder or food, and his Mysore cavalry harrying the flanks, baggage train and stragglers, but who were usually ‘put to rout.’[16] The army was not to arrive outside Seringapatam until almost seven weeks had passed, a marching speed of little over an average of 5 miles per day.

On the 6th March, Tippoo Sultan attacked the advance guard of the Bombay Army comprised of three battalions of Sepoys commanded by Colonel John Montresor at Sedaseer. This could have gone badly for Montresor had not a British ally, the Rajah of Coorg, watching the Sultan’s army, saw that an attack was imminent and informed General Stuart commanding the main Bombay army at Karrydygood. Montresor, who was well thought of by Arthur Wellesley, had sufficient time to make proper defence arrangements and put up a stiff resistance until supported by two regiments sent by Stuart. About 1,000 of Tippoo’s cavalry unsuccessfully attacked the Grand Army’s baggage train at 4pm on 10th March at Calacondapilly, then made a further attack that night against the artillery park where they thought the treasury was held, but were easily repelled by the guard of Bengal Infantry and 21 men of the De Meuron Regiment.

On the 25th March, Captain-Lieutenant Francois de Meuron-Bayard, whilst carrying orders to Captain Pierre Renaud, stationed in the rear guard, found himself pursued by three Mysore cavalrymen, took a wrong turn and ended up in a burning village, supposedly the birthplace of Hyder Ali, and where only the stamina of his horse kept him from capture. De Meuron-Bayard, had been commissioned into the Regiment in 1789.[17]

The Mysore Horse was described by Lieutenant Patrick Brown in a letter to his father, in which he reflected the European view of native troops;

Tippoo’s Horse are the same as the Nizam’s, without any discipline or uniform. Everyone arms himself and dresses as he chooses. They are generally armed with a sword and target, some have spears and others carbines, few have pistols, but are well mounted and are excellent horseman, but the most part are great cowards, and in short are only formidable by their numbers. There are other horsemen called Looties,[18] who never give quarter but hover round the army on the march, kill all stragglers they fall in with and plunder any baggage which they see unprotected.[19]

On 27th March Lieutenant General Harris ordered the cavalry and picquets to advance on the village of Malavelly, where they halted on discovering enemy cavalry on their right flank and the enemy infantry with artillery on the hills behind the village. While Tippoo was ordering his artillery to move, the British cavalry attacked the enemy right flank, and when two thousand enemy infantry moved forward, they were disrupted by heavy musket fire from the British ranks supported by guns commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver, forced the enemy from the heights and what started as a retreat turned into a rout, with European and Native cavalry punishing the now broken enemy. Tippoo had miscalculated over what he had considered a superior tactical position, selected against the advice of Chapuis, his most senior French mercenary officer.

During the battle HM’s De Meuron Regiment fought for three hours, losing seven men killed and a similar number wounded, the total British casualties were 66 killed, wounded or missing. After suffering 1,000 casualties, Tippoo Sultan’s army, retreated to his capital at Seringapatam, the island fortress, one mile broad and three miles in length lying in an east – west direction, in the river Cauvery, and roughly eleven miles from the city of Mysore.

Meuron-Bayard, included in his diary ‘a glowing description of the luxury‘ in the British army and camp. He wrote that the British soldier in India apparently did nothing but fight, did not cook food, carry his own kit or groom his horse. Everything was done for him by a plethora of cooks, bearers, tent pitchers, syces or grooms. Officers travelled with number of servants in ratio to their rank.[20]

Lieutenant Richard Bayly, 12th Regiment, gave a description of his ‘luxury’ travelling accessories, servants and baggage;

I had two bullocks laden with biscuits, two with wine and brandy, two with my trunks and four for the marquee in addition to which a Dubash, maty boy and six coolies to transport my couch, chairs and various other little appendages. Thus, was accompanied by ten bullocks and eight servants the majority of whom were followed by every individual of their family, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces with whole generations of children.[21]

Even with the way now open to Seringapatam, the Grand army proceeded carefully, finally arriving outside the enemy city walls at the beginning of April 1799 and took up a position to the southwest of the Seringapatam fort; the Bombay army placed on the opposite side of the river Cauvery, slightly to the north and all deployed with the intention of an attack on the western angle across the river.

A list of De Meuron Regiment Officers known to have been at Seringapatam, with date of commission or promotion into the rank;[22]

Lieutenant Colonel
Henry-David (de) Meuron-Motiers 25 Sept. 1798
Major Francois Piachaud 25 Sept. 1798

Captain
Georges-Louis/ Louis-George Bernard 24 Nov. 1789
Pierre-Joseph Donzel 25 Sept. 1798
Pierre Lardy (Snr.) 11 Nov. 1787
Jean-Francois Mayer 25 May 1797
Isaac-Henri (de) Meuron-du Rochat 1 Mar. 1792
Pierre Renaud 1 June 1781 (Retired 1800)
Francois-Louis Senn 25 Sept. 1798
Anton-Conradin/Antoine-Cesar Zweifel 19 Sept. 1796

Captain-Lieutenant
Jean-Thomas Bar/Baer 25 Sept. 1798
Perre-Francois Filsjean 1 June 1790
Jean-Georges Gradmann (Jnr.) 28 Dec. 1793

Lieutenant
Nicholas-Julien/Nicholas-Francois-Jules de Bergeon 12 Mar. 1791
Charles Bugnon 5 Dec. 1798
Henry Droz 12 Dec. 1791
Jean-Baptiste Gaechter 25 Sept. 1798
Pierre-David Guisan/Guisant 19 Sept. 1796
Henry-Louis de La Harpe 4 Feb. 1793
Frederic/Jacques-Frederic Matthey 25 Sept. 1797
Elias Merckel 25 May 1797
Charles (de) Meuron-Tribolet 22 Jan. 1797
Francois-Henry (de) Meuron-Bayard 12 Dec. 1791
Pierre-Henry-Emmanuel/Henry (de) Meuron-d’Orbe 28 Dec. 1793
Jean-Frederic de Montmollin 28 May 1796
Joseph Muller, Baron de Friedberg 25 Sept. 1798
Abram-Louis Peter 25 Sept. 1798
Elie-Frederic/Elias-Friedrich Wolff 4 Feb. 1793

Second Lieutenant
Alphonse Matthey 28 Sept. 1795
Louis de Pury 28 Dec. 1793

Lieutenant & Adjutant
Francois-Henry (de) Meuron-Bayard 19 Sept. 1797
Pierre-Henry-Emmanuel/Henry (de) Meuron-d’Orbe 25 Oct. 1797

Lieutenant, Paymaster & Quartermaster
Louis de Pury 26 Apr. 1799

Paymaster
Isaac-Henri (de) Meuron-du Rochat 25 Oct. 1795

Quartermaster
Laurent Boyer 30 Jan. 1797

Surgeon
Charles-Philippe/Jacques-Philippe Caudemont/Caudmont 1 Nov. 1795

Assistant Surgeon
John Franck 1 Jan. 1799
George-Paulus/Paulus Glesser 14 Oct. 1795

Lord Harris wrote in his journal 4th April;

Commissioned General Baird to form a party of not less than the flank companies of the Brigade, supported by the picquets, to beat up a Tope in front of the ground the picquet was upon, and said to have parties of men with arms assembling on it. It appears to me from the report, they are only intended for rocketing, but at any rate, our beating them up instead of their attempting us, will have the best effect. If our intelligence is true, Tippoo’s whole army are in a complete state of terror. Of course, we should keep it so.[23]

A village, Sultanpettah, described as a ruin, was to the southwest of Seringapatam, alongside which was the Tope a plantation or orchard  mentioned by Harris, a couple of miles to the front of the Grand Army main camp. Though a night attack, no reconnaissance appears to have been carried out during daylight and General Baird proceeded to move on the Tope with the flank companies of HM’s 12th, the battalion companies 74th, and the Scotch Brigade; advanced picquets were also directed to be in readiness should they be required. This party left the camp at ten o’clock at night, and arrived at the Tope about an hour later. They crossed the whole of the Tope without discovering a single person, the enemy had quitted, and no one was either heard or seen. As dawn was approaching, the great part of the night having elapsed, Baird decided not to remain in possession of the Tope, but to return to the camp. In doing so he lost his way, and was marching towards the Fort, when Lieutenant William Lambton convinced the General, that he was going north instead of south, and that he needed to about turn in order to regain the camp. The party were accordingly halted, faced about, and in returning fell in with a small detachment of Tippoo’s soldiers, some of whom they took prisoner. As the day dawned, a great number of the enemy were again seen returning into the Tope, and had soon regained a position between the camp and the Fort. Harris decided that he would need to launch a second attack and take possession of it before any siege operations could commence.

An interesting skirmish then occurred the following night 5th–6th April, when the De Meuron Regiment and HM’s 33rd Regiment under the command of Colonel Arthur Wellesley, were ordered by Lord Harris to first dislodge ‘two strong parties,’ of the enemy, attack Sultanpettah village and the Tope, and to establish a post to be occupied by Bombay troops, which would extend farther to the westward and nearer to the Fort. [24]

The whole terrain was of broken ground, bamboo and occasional dwellings, a few hundred yards from the fort, which the enemy had occupied and fired rockets into the British camp. The area had been deserted once by the enemy and now re-occupied, but critically a survey or reconnaissance had still not been carried out for this second attempt to occupy the village and tope.

Mysore soldier armed with a rocket (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

Mysore Rocket Man (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

 

The 12th Regiment, two battalions of Native Sepoys with light cannon under Colonel Shawe, together with a party of men from the De Meuron Regiment, 33rd Regiment and a third Native battalion were to be in readiness for the evening of 5th April. [25]

Wellesley appears to have been confused by his orders and wrote to Harris on 5th of April,

I do not know where you mean the post to be established and I shall therefore be obliged to you if you will do me the favour to meet me this afternoon in front of the lines and show it to me. In the meantime, I will order my battalion to be ready. Upon looking at the Tope as I came in just now, it appeared to me that when you get possession of the bank of the nullah, you have the Tope as a matter of course as the latter is on the rear of the former. However, you are the best judge, and I shall be ready. [26]

According to Captain John Chetwode, 33rd Regiment, the night attack went wrong;

At about seven we again stood to arms and proceeded with Colonel Wellesley to the wood (tope) in the utmost silence. Wellesley called his officers together and informed them of his intention to attack with five companies and leave five outside the tope to sustain the attack should their support be required.

Our little party proceeded very quietly along the bank of a deep and dry ditch (nullah) which bounded the wood on our side, not imagining that the enemy was drawn up in great force on the opposite side, waiting our arrival and screened from our view by a very thick aloe hedge. There was also a body of the enemy posted in our front, behind some houses, and we got into the midst of them without knowing it, and exposed to their cross fire, which commenced by signal as we perceived a light held up high; upon which signal 2,000 of Tippoo’s best troops received us with a warm but an ill directed fire of musketry. A momentary confusion arose, but the officers encouraged the men by word and action for with three hurrahs we leaped into the ditch, got through the hedge, and drove the enemy before us.

At this time, we lost our commander, Colonel Wellesley, who with many others, missed their way in the extreme darkness of the night, owing in a great measure to the necessity of dividing our force as much as possible in order the more effectually to clear the wood of the enemy.[27]

Shawe’s troops of the 12th Regiment were engaged and secured their objective position, but Wellesley had decided to move back to where he had left the reserve. The events of the previous night now repeated themselves as once among the trees any sense of direction faltered and Wellesley with a few followers including Captain Colin Mackenzie, a Madras Army Engineer, became separated from the main party.

The troops became lost in bamboo groves and irrigation channels, and a mortified Wellesley, struck on the knee by a spent ball, managed to return to camp, in the company of Mackenzie who left his own account of events:

….about 7pm moved straight forward on the road leading towards Sultanpett. No knowledge of the ground appears to have been communicated, nor was any one of us acquainted of the windings of the nullah….one of the men said he observed a light in front. Another said it was a glow worm: and immediately after, while we were speaking, a discharge of musquetry from the tope threw the party into confusion….

I was among others thrown down…the greater part of the party disappeared …I returned to Colonel Wellesley, whom I found encouraging a very small party to fire upon the enemy. [28]

The loss on this occasion was significant. Two officers and 60 men killed, 10 officers and 216 men wounded; 19 men also missing, 307 officers and men killed, wounded, and missing.[29]

Harris, commented in his diary 6th April;

Remained under great anxiety till near 12 at night, from the fear our troops had fired on each other. Lieutenant Colonel Shawe very soon reported himself in possession of the post …. Near 12, Colonel Wellesley came to my tent in a good deal of agitation, to say he had not carried the Tope.[30]

He also noted, ‘….no wonder night attacks so often fail‘.[31]

It appeared the 33rd during the attack had got into confusion and could not be formed. A second-hand account of Wellesley’s conduct provides a less than favourable account of the future Duke. Lieutenant Richard Bayly recorded in his diary that Colonel Wellesley, ‘had been seen making off in great agitation in the rear towards the encampment.’ Where he supposedly threw himself onto a table and ‘burst into a violent passion exclaiming, “Oh I am ruined, ruined for ever …..’. Bayly states he had this as a ‘faithful description’ from an officer who was present and he goes on to record further conversation and events that night in Harris’s HQ, but we only have his word and it is not confirmed by other accounts.[32]

Ensign Rowley commented,

…Wellesley has failed, the party having lost each other in the obscurity of the night. Wellesley is mad at this ill success, having left Lieutenant Fitzgerald with twenty-five men of his corps (33rd) either killed or in the hands of the enemy.[33]

Captain George Elers, HM’s 12th Regiment, wrote about Wellesley,

that had he been an obscure soldier of fortune, he would have been brought to court martial……but fortunately for himself and his country was brother to the Governor General and that was enough to wipe away any neglect or bad management if any existed.

Nor did Elers believe any neglect existed as it, ‘might have happened to any man however experienced and vigilant‘. [34] George Elers suffered recurring bouts of illness and dysentery, missed the storming of the city, as he was laid up in the Lal Bagh palace, Seringapatam, where he spent a mournful time watching a number of his colleagues die, from what he says was ‘the pestiferous air’. His remedy was regularly drinking two bottles of port wine.

The De Meuron Regiment had sustained casualties but had acquitted themselves well up to this point.[35]

There had been determined enemy resistance at Sultanpett Tope, causing casualties and a number of 33rd Regiment captured.[36] It was a reverse for Wellesley, but had no effect on his career, though no doubt enjoyed by those who were jealous of his position and influence. Wellesley realised he had made a mistake, the failure he significantly marked as a lack of reconnaissance and acknowledged, ‘never to suffer an attack to be made by night upon an enemy who is prepared and strongly posted, and those posts have not been reconnoitred by daylight.’ [37]

Colonel R. Phillimore commented, ‘This affair was greatly exaggerated to the discredit of Wellesley’ and reminds us that Colonel Colin Mackenzie’s account was written by one of the few eye witnesses.[38]

The attack was renewed by Wellesley the following day, with his ‘former force’ and the ground taken with little opposition.[39]

Map of Seringapatam 1799 (courtesy of Macquarie University, Australia)

 

The siege of Seringapatam, as it had now become, was not unlike the previous British campaign siege of 1792. The British were reasonably well prepared, the weather was thought to be set fair, depots established, convoys and reinforcements available if necessary. The early period had advanced well while the trenches and artillery emplacements were constructed, an artillery bombardment to reduce walls and create a breach, sorties conducted and sallies from the fort repelled, the defenders were now besieged, with the almost certain prospect of a storm against the fort. The only problem appeared to be  a commissariat bombshell over food supplies and provisions which they stated may not last past 9th May, although to everyone’s relief, supplies did arrive which would last beyond 20th May.

An early De Meuron casualty was Fusilier Jean Gaspard Dubois, 41 years old, who had joined the regiment at The Cape of Good Hope, re-engaged in 1791 but, ‘died of wounds received in the trenches before Seringapatam’ on 18th April 1799. In the same month, Fusilier Jean Martin, who had joined the regiment in 1786, deserted from the trenches 11th April 1799.[40]

On 20th April, De Meuron Regiment Grenadiers and Chasseurs, supported by units of Sepoys succeeded in taking at bayonet point further ground between the Grand Army camp and the fort. This captured ground was needed for trenches, and became an important feature named, ‘Shawes Post.’ [41] A second small post close to an enemy entrenchment on the bank of the River Cauvery, overlooking a Powder Mill, towards the western end of the fort was also established and called ‘McDonalds Post‘ to provide cover for troops launching an attack on the enemy Powder Mill entrenchment.

That same day, the Meuron Regiment in conjunction with four companies HM’s 73rd, four companies Bengal Europeans and Madras Native Infantry, later advanced in three columns upon the enemy entrenchment at the Powder Mill, which had been under thirty minutes of heavy bombardment from 18 guns. The attack was successful with only one casualty sustained and 250 enemy killed. [42]

Captain Meuron-Bayard recorded in his diary the following account of the attack:

….our Chasseurs and Grenadiers rushed at the enemy, hurling their grenades and at times getting in with the bayonet. They were however seriously incommoded in their attack by the dense smoke from fires which the Hindus had lighted in order to blind and confuse them. [43]

The British could now move their siege ordnance to bombard the northern ramparts and gun emplacements of Tippoo’s fort, whilst other cannon attacked the south western ramparts. By the 26th April siege works and trenches were being advanced rapidly. On the night of the 26th-27th April, enemy fire from a circular work about 400 yards to the right of the British position became so effective it was decided to make an attack and clear the enemy post away.

The order for the attack was written by Colonel Arthur Wellesley who commanded in the trenches and had direction of the attack on 26th:

The troops to move out in two divisions, one to the right from the four-gun battery, comprising of four companies of the 73rd Regiment, supported by four companies from the 2nd Battalion Bengal Volunteers, and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Moneypenny; the left division to comprised of four companies of the Scotch Brigade, supported by four companies of the 2nd Battalion Bengal Volunteers, under the command of Major Skelly.[44]

The artillery bombarded the enemy but even once the majority of the enemy guns were silenced, the British were still subjected to enemy musketry from a circular work on their right where the enemy were collected in great numbers. Major Coleman with a light company from 74th Regiment, Lieutenant Jean Baer’s company of De Meuron’s Regiment, led by Meuron-Bayard and comprising of no more than 120 men attacked the circular work and entrenchment, dislodging the enemy at bayonet point. Lieutenant Jean Baer was not deployed with his company and missed the skirmish, as he was organising men and guns across the Cauvery River to continue the bombardment on the fort. British casualties were described as ‘considerable‘, but the attack was of ‘the utmost importance‘ and achieved its objective. The attack was so successful that Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Campbell of 74th, without orders to do so, took some of his own regiment and most of the De Meuron company on a foray up to the Fort’s Mysore Gate and main defences.[45] A couple of guns were spiked and Campbell lost his shoes, injuring his feet.

The circular work was quickly retaken by the enemy and Colonel William Wallace, replacing Campbell, attacked it with three companies of the 74th dislodging the enemy for the second time and ‘Wallace’s post’ established.. The enemy defenders amounted to about 1,500 and lost 150 men.[46]

The following is a summary of the events on 26th by Lieutenant General Lord Harris:

The guns from batteries commenced a heavy fire of grape, which was the signal for the attack and the Europeans, moved out, followed by the Native troops. The enemy, saw the movement, and began an active fire from behind a breastwork; guns from almost every part of the Fort opened with great effect, and by the time the troops had left the trenches, the fire of cannon and small arms was general. The companies from the 73rd Regiment and Scotch Brigade pushed on rapidly towards the enemy who fled from their posts in confusion, many being killed by the bayonet while endeavouring to escape.

The relief from the trenches, commanded by Colonel Sherbrooke, arrived and sections of the 74th Regiment, and Regiment De Meuron, were ordered immediately to advance in support. A heavy fire was continued from the ramparts, and the enemy who had fled from the part of the intrenchments when first attacked, had taken post behind traverses to the right, made a desperate stand, but were killed by the bayonet; the Europeans went in, forcing the traverses in succession, until they had extended as far as the turn of the nullah towards a stone bridge. At this turn there is a redoubt, open to the south- east angle of the Fort, but which flanked a water course running parallel and close to the intrenchment that was carried. This redoubt was stormed by the 74th Regiment, and left in their possession, while Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, with a small party of that corps, and a few men from the Regiment De Meuron, pushed forward along the entrenchments and the road, till he came to the bridge leading over the great river. Lieutenant- Colonel William Wallace at the same time advancing considerably more to the right, till fearful of risking too many lives while acting in the dark, he fell back, and took possession of the enemy’s post at the stone bridge, close to Shawe’s post; but this post being too far from the main body of the troops, they were withdrawn.

Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell had crossed the bridge, and went some distance on the Island but found it necessary to make an immediate retreat from a dangerous situation, and the cover of night and the consternation of the enemy allowed the party to escape. They returned under a heavy fire from all sides, and made their way back to the redoubt, where Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace had taken post with the few of the 74th Regiment who had remained with him, and the rest of the troops whom he had placed to the left along the watercourse, which runs close to the intrenchment. They remained there all night, exposed to grape from the Fort, and galled by the fire from the ground on the right flank, and from the post at the stone bridge, which was to their rear. The enemy continued firing grape and musquetry at intervals the whole night; at length the daylight appeared, their critical state exposed. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell had been crippled the preceding night by being barefooted during his excursion across the bridge, and was obliged to return to camp.  Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace being next in command, sent to Colonel Sherbrooke their situation, and requested further support, as the enemy were collecting in great force on the right flank, and at the post they occupied near the stone bridge, from which they fired constantly at troops. Colonel Sherbrooke, on receiving the request, ordered all the Europeans who remained in the trenches to advance to Lieutenant Colonel Wallace’s post, and each man to take with him a pickaxe, or momitie (shovel). Lieutenant Colonel Wallace, in the meantime, seeing the necessity of dislodging the enemy from the bridge, ordered Major Skelly, with a few men of the Scotch Brigade, to move down and attack that post. He was followed by a company from that regiment, and soon took possession.

The Europeans had by this time arrived from the trenches, and with the assistance of the pioneers, an entrenchment was thrown up and completed by ten o’clock; efforts were made by the garrison to regain what had been lost, but were in vain, the determined bravery of the troops had baffled the enemy. The post gained at the bridge secured the rear of the other, and presented a new front to the enemy; it was strengthened by another company from the 74th Regiment and two companies of Sepoys, and in a short time all of them were under cover. [47]

The De Meuron Regiment sustained casualties during the attacks on 6th and 26th, Captain Francois Piachaud[48] was wounded in the arm by a ball. Lieutenant Pierre David Guisant, wounded; Sergeant Major Charles Zehnpfennig, distinguished himself by his gallantry with 8th company. The Regiment lost Assistant Surgeon Georges Paulus Glesser, decapitated by a cannon ball whilst in the trenches on the night 26th-27th April 1799.[49] He had entered service with the regiment on 14th October 1795.

Fusiliers Franz Joseph Hoeffley, a German, and Lucas Vanderheyden, 35 years, a Dutchman were both shot dead in the trenches before Seringapatam on 27th April 1799.[50]

On the night of 2nd May, Lieutenant John Lalor, 73rd Regiment, forded the river alone and reported that a retaining wall of the glacis between the river and the fortress was 7 feet high, the water was only 12 inches deep and a breach was practicable.

That night also provided a ‘superb firework display’ when a magazine of rockets exploded in Seringapatam, witnessed by Meuron-Bayard and Lieutenant Meuron Tribolet recorded the explosions as causing a ‘great crash and collapsed several houses that we distinctly saw fall.’[51] This misfortune for Tippoo, was a cause for pleasure in the British camp as his rocket troop had been particularly efficient in causing damage and had mortally wounded Colonel Edward Montague, Bengal Artillery.[52]

The rockets fired consists of a tube of iron, about eight inches long and an inch and a half in diameter, closed at one end. It is filled in as an ordinary sky rocket, and fixed to a piece of stout bamboo from 3-5 feet long, the head of which is armed with a heavy iron spike…at that extremity of the tube which points towards the shaft of the weapon, is the match, and the man who uses it, placing the butt end of the bamboo upon his foot, points the spike in the direction to which he means to throw it, and setting fire to the fuze, pitches it from him. When it flies with great velocity and on striking the ground, by a bounding motion, acts with a certain effect in fracturing and breaking the legs of the enemy.[53]

Tippoo’s Army is credited with deploying between 3,200-5,400 Rocketeers,[54] however the rockets that were deployed are described as ‘erratic and only effective on account of their barrage effect.’[55] After Seringapatam the use of rockets as military weapons raised interest in both the Ordnance Office at Woolwich Arsenal, London, and the East India Company, Calcutta. Rockets were first used by the British against the French at Boulogne in October 1806. Rockets did not feature in the East India Company Army ordnance until after 1815.[56]

At sunset on the 3rd May the British were ready to attack the fort, the Bombay army ‘crossed the river and formed a junction with the main body of troops, all placing themselves, as much out of sight and under cover as the nature of the ground would admit in order that no extraordinary movement, would lead the enemy to expect and prepare for the assault’.[57]

Lieutenant General Harris had decided to storm the fort across the river, attacking the weakest western angle and enfilading the north and south western faces.

The Adjutant General, Lieutenant Colonel Barry Close, wrote the following order for the assault:

Disposition of the Troops ordered for the Assault of the Fort of Seringapatam, on the 4th May, 1799, under the command of Major-General Baird.

Left attack, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlop, to consist of six companies of European flankers from the Bombay army.

His Majesty’s 12th Regiment.

His Majesty’s 33rd do.

Ten companies of Bengal Sepoy flankers, under Lieutenant- Colonel Gardiner.

Fifty artillerymen, with a proportion of Gun Lascars, under Captain Prescott.

To move in column, left in front.

To take possession of the cavalier, close to the breach, and move along the north rampart of the Fort; to proceed till they join the right attack, leaving a battalion company of the 33rd Regiment in charge of the cavalier already mentioned, close to the breach, and occupying such other parts on the ramparts, by detachments from the 12th and 33rd Regiments, as shall be thought necessary by Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlop.

Right attack under Colonel Sherbrooke, to consist of four companies of European flankers, from the Scotch Brigade and Regiment de Meuron.

His Majesty’s 73rd Regiment.

His Majesty’s 74th do.

Eight companies of the Coast Sepoy flankers, under Lieutenant-Colonel James Dalrymple.

Six companies of Bombay Sepoy flankers, under Lieutenant-Colonel George Mignan.

Fifty artillerymen, with a proportion of Gun Lascars, under Major Bell.

To move in column, right in front.

To move along the south rampart of the Fort, leaving such parties as may be thought necessary by Colonel Sherbrooke, from the 73rd or 74th Regiments in charge of such parts of the ramparts as he may deem it essentially necessary to occupy.

Half of the European and half of the Native pioneers to accompany each attack with hatchets: the European pioneers to carry the scaling ladders, assisted by forty men from the battalion companies of each of the leading regiments; the Native pioneers to carry a proportion of fascines.

If the road across the river and the breach shall be deemed sufficiently broad, the two attacks to move out to the assault at the same moment; on coming to the top of the breach, they are to wheel to the right and left, so as to get on the face they are ordered to move on; but if the road and breach are too narrow, the left attack is to move out first. The leading companies of each attack to use the bayonet principally, and not to fire but in cases of absolute necessity.

Each attack to be preceded by a serjeant and twelve volunteers, supported by a subaltern officer and twenty-five men.

The leading flank companies of each attack to be provided with hand-hatchets.

Barry Close, Adj. Gen.

Headquarters

Camp before Seringapatam,

3rd May 1795

The 4,376 troops led by General David Baird,[58] was comprised of 1,882 Sepoys and 2,494 European troops, including the Grenadier and Chasseur companies from HM’s De Meuron Regiment. Captain Francois Henri Meuron- Bayard, commanded the Chasseurs, Major Pierre Lardy, commanded the Grenadiers, other officers accompanying them were, Lieutenant’s Jean Frederic de Montmollin, Elie Frederic Wolff, and Alphonse Matthey. The remainder of the De Meuron Regiment, eight companies, stood by in the trenches under Colonel Wellesley.[59] Major General Thomas Bridges commanded the camp and Major General William Popham had charge of the trenches.[60] A brigade of engineers under Captain James Lilleyman Caldwell, Madras Engineers[61] accompanied the storming party, Lieutenant James Farquhar 74th Regiment, commanded the European Pioneers and Lieutenant John Lalor 73rd Regiment, guided the columns.[62]

Tippoo Sultan had ignored his advisers about British intentions. Sayyid Gaffur had apparently warned Tippoo of unusual activity in the British trenches before the city, but Tippoo had convinced himself that the attack would follow the previous course and direction of the successful attack by General Cornwallis, during the 3rd Anglo-Mysore War, seven years previously in 1792.[63]

Supposedly a prey to despair, Tippoo had ordered his French scouts under arrest for reporting the entrenchments to be full of armed men. His Brahmin astrologers, prophesied that he would be in grave danger at midday and the presentiment that an evil star was in the ascendant seems to have paralysed his energy at the time of his greatest need. Tippoo remained in his palace till a servant informed him that the enemy were at the gates.

The Forlorn Hope, (or ‘les enfants perdus,’) that comprised of 14 men led by Sergeant Graham, a Scotsman of the Bengal European Regiment, had to cover the 600 yards to where the breach was practicable, and Graham had been promised a Lieutenant’s commission if he was successful in reaching it.[64] The Forlorn Hope was followed by two subaltern’s parties, that of the right column led by Lieutenant Vesey Hill, 74th Regiment and the left, led by Lieutenant Alexander Lawrence, 77th Regiment. Upon reaching the breach but meeting with some resistance, Sergeant Graham shouted, “Lieutenant Graham!” but was shot dead almost immediately. It is alleged that Lieutenant Charles Meuron-Tribolet had joined the De Meuron troops at the breach, and was now waving his hat which was seen from the trenches by Wellesley, who asked a Swiss Officer at his side, Lieutenant Pierre Meuron D’Orbe,[65]Who of your regiment is upon the breach?[66]

An immediate De Meuron casualty was Lieutenant Alphonse Matthey, shot in the head, he fell mortally wounded upon Lieutenant Meuron -Tribolet, and died two days later, the only officer to die from injuries sustained at the breach.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Assault on Seringapatam (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

 

 

 

Lieutenant Charles Meuron-Tribolet, wrote his view of the action in the third person:

The fortifications of Seringapatam were imposing and solid. The enceinte wall was formed of granite blocks firmly cemented to a height of 20-25 feet in front of which flowed the Cauvery River whose banks made an escarpment of 20 feet. Between these there was a deep ditch, separated from the river by a solid thick glacis.

Shortly before 1pm General Baird launched the ‘forlorn hope,’ against the breach and during the assault, Lieutenant de Meuron Tribolet, threw his hat in the air as a signal of success. In six minutes, we managed to plant the English flag in the breach, Sergeant Graham the carrier thereof being then killed. One section of the Pioneers quickly made an opening at the breach wide enough for 12 men to pass abreast. From the trenches, General Baird dashed forward, sword in hand, shouting to the De Meuron companies, “Allons mes braves camaradies suivez moi et prouvez vous etes dignes du nom de soldats anglaise.” (Let us go my brave comrades, follow me and prove you are worthy of the name of British Soldiers.)

The chasseur and grenadier companies of the regiment then rushed forward under a hail of musketry, grenades and grapeshot from a ‘canon mitraille.’ The crossing of the river was lengthy and difficult, but we succeeded in setting up the ladders at the spot at the breach and mounted the breach pele mele.  But we could only use the bayonet as our cartridge cases had been soaked in crossing the river. The besieged defended themselves with great bravery, disputing every inch of ground….  [67]

Once the storming columns reached the breach they turned respectively left and right. Quickly widened out to 100 feet by the Pioneers, the breach was gained by the storming columns, and the troops either turned left or to the right. Baird went with Colonel John C. Sherbrooke, 33rd Regiment, to the right, onto the southern rampart, accompanied by the De Meuron Chasseurs, the 73rd, 74th, the flank companies of the Scotch Brigade Grenadiers under Captain Moll, 14 companies of sepoys and fifty artillerymen.

Colonel James Dunlop went to the left with six companies of Bombay Europeans, the 12th and 33rd Regiments, ten companies of sepoys, and fifty artillerymen. There is some difficulty about exactly who the De Meuron flank companies were with, the author G. de Meuron states that the De Meuron Grenadiers accompanied Dunlop to carry the ground ahead with the bayonet.[68] Other sources simply refer to ‘flank companies of the De Meuron Regiment’ accompanying Colonel Sherbrooke.[69]

During the initial engagement once past the breach, Colonel Dunlop suffered a severe sword wound to his right hand, which ‘was nearly cut through’ in hand to hand fighting and he was escorted to the rear.[70]

The storming of Seringapatam showing Captain P. Lardy (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

 

The De Meuron Chasseurs under De Meuron-Bayard, and the Grenadiers, under Major Lardy, had to negotiate a second rampart and fosse before responding to fire that came from nearby houses.  Any enemy guns were quickly spiked, with a Union Jack placed on all outworks captured, including one containing a large magazine of enemy ammunition. The De Meuron flankers then hastened to assist at a courtyard of the Palace held by HM’s 74th Regiment, who were engaged with a number of Tippoo’s mercenary French troops.

One company of soldiers standing by in the trenches had a lucky escape with one exception;

…whilst standing in the trenches, a thirteen and a half inch shell fell in the centre of my company. We were so closely crowded together it was impossible either to get out of the way or to lay down; I ordered the men to squat as close as possible which we all did: the shell burst and covered us with a cloud of muddy earth. I got up, expecting to see one half of my company killed or maimed, but was astonished to find that only one poor fellow had suffered, who was so dreadfully mangled that he died the following night. [71]

Although his family, sons, wives and servants were present in the palace, Tippoo Sultan, on realising his mistakes in both the timing and direction of the British attack, had armed himself and left his family to go to the ramparts where he is thought to have accounted for several British troops in the attacking column. Seeing the British gaining ground, he moved to a northern section of the fort to rally support, but was wounded three times and helped by his servants into a gateway that led into a garden.[72] About this time British troops arrived and an unidentified grenadier made a grab for a gold buckle belt worn by Tippoo, who struck the grenadier weakly with his sword above the knee. Tippoo was then shot dead, allegedly by a De Meuron soldier, and bayoneted four times by others. A number of Tippoo’s servants, including women, were shot dead at his side and his body covered by their corpses.

Resistance to the attack continued, especially by French mercenary officers in Tippoo’s army, more than once trying to rally their men.[73] Troops of HM’s 12th Regiment with the left column had deviated from their orders, pressing into the town where they were able to secure themselves in a ‘sally port‘ and caught the enemy in a devastating cross fire together with units on the northern ramparts. House to house fighting carried on for a brief while but by 4pm most resistance was at an end and the Union Jack flew from the walls of Seringapatam.

Orders were issued by beat of drum allowing the fort, palace and dwellings to be given over for ‘sack,’ until 12 noon next day.

It was customary and within the recognised but unwritten ‘laws of war’ that after a siege, should a garrison have declined the terms of surrender, in the event of a successful storm they could be ‘put to the sword’ and the victorious troops allowed to plunder and loot for a set amount of time.[74]

The French officers, including Louis Chapuis, survived the attack, were taken prisoners of war and all accorded a subsistence allowance corresponding to that of their equivalent British military rank.[75]

At the Mysore Gate bastion, De Meuron-Bayard divided his company into three parties, one of which was sent out to plunder, whilst the other two remained on guard. Prize Agents, invariably officers, were appointed to receive and arrange for certain items of seized property to be valued and the value in cash distributed later according to rank. Lieutenant Richard Bayly 12th Regiment, who had fought at Mallavelley, the Sultanpettah Tope and the storming of Seringapatam, received £400 as his share of the prize money.[76] Apart from what was plundered by troops the value of the stores, bullion, Tippoo’s jewellery, seized at Seringapatam was estimated at £2,000,000. Half this sum was for prize money of which Lord Harris received £143,000 and Arthur Wellesley’s share, it is suggested, was between £4000-£10,000. His brother the Governor General was offered £100,000 but declined his share.

The British government eventually approved all payments relating to the Seringapatam prize on 10th June 1801 but on occasions prize distribution issues took many years to resolve. [77]

Lord Harris wrote to the Governor General;

On the 4th instant, I had the honour to address to your Lordship a hasty note, containing in a few words the sum of our success, which I have now to report more in detail.

The fire of our batteries, which had begun to batter the breach on the 30th of April, had on the 3rd instant so much destroyed the walls against which it was directed, that the arrangement was then made for assaulting the place on the following day, when the breach was reported practicable.

The troops intended to be employed, were stationed in the trenches early in the morning of the 4th, so that no extraordinary movement might lead the enemy to expect the assault; which I had determined to make in the heat of the day, the time best calculated to ensure success, as their troops would then be least prepared to oppose us.

Colonel Sherbrooke, and Lieutenant-Colonels Dunlop, Dalrymple, Gardner, and Mignan, [78]command the several flank corps; and Major- General Baird was entrusted with the direction of this important service.

The flank companies of Europeans taken from those regiments necessarily left to guard our camps and out-posts, followed by the 12th, 33rd, 73rd, and 74th Regiments, and three corps of Sepoy grenadiers, taken from the troops of the three Presidencies, with 200 of his Highness the Nizam’s infantry, formed the party for the assault, accompanied by 100 artillery and the corps of pioneers, and supported in the trenches by the battalion companies of the regiment De Meuron, and four battalions of Madras Sepoys.

At one o’clock the troops moved from the trenches, crossed the rocky bed of the Cauvery under an extremely heavy fire, passed the glacis and ditch, and ascended the breaches in the fausse braye and ramparts of the Fort; surmounting in the most gallant manner every obstacle which the difficulty of the passage and resistance of the enemy presented to oppose their progress. Major-General Baird had divided his force for the purpose of clearing the ramparts to the right and left. One division was commanded by Colonel Sherbrooke, the other by Lieutenant- Colonel Dunlop: the latter was disabled, in the breach, but both corps, although strongly opposed, were completely successful. Resistance continued to be made from the palace of Tippoo, for some time after all firing had ceased from the works. Two of his sons were there, who, on assurance of safety, surrendered to the troops surrounding them, and guards were placed for the protection of the family, most of whom were in the palace. It was soon after reported that Tippoo Sultan had fallen. Syed Saheb, Meer Sadeck, Syed Goffar, and many others of his chiefs, were also slain. Measures were immediately adopted to stop the confusion, at first unavoidable, in a city strongly garrisoned, crowded with inhabitants, and their property in ruins from the fire of a numerous artillery, and taken by assault. The princes were removed to camp. It appeared to Major-General Baird so important to ascertain the fate of the Sultan, that he caused immediate search to be made for his body, which, after much difficulty, was found late in the evening in one of the gates, under a heap of slain, and placed in the palace; the corpse was, the next day, recognised by many of his family, and interred with the honours due to his rank, in the mausoleum of his father.[79]

De Meuron-Bayard noted that, ‘women were mainly respected and protected as well as the rest of the inhabitants who did not have weapons in their hands.’[80] Unfortunately such comments did not always hold true as women, more often the innocent victims in war, were frequently raped and mistreated. The cessation of looting was announced by three cannon shots and the retreat beaten through the city by drums. De Meuron-Bayard recorded that two soldiers discovered looting after the prescribed time had expired were immediately hanged. Nine hundred and thirty cannon, howitzers, mortars, 100,000 guns, munitions and several thousand horses were also seized by the British, in addition to the gold, silver, jewellery, pearls and general treasure.  The captured standard of Tippoo and flags of the French Republic were sent to Madras for presentation to the Governor General, Lord Mornington.

The Surrender of Tippoo Sultan’s Sons, 4th May 1799 (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

 

The body of Tippoo Sultan was not found until after nightfall on 4th and identified by his sons. Negotiations with the family about the terms of their surrender had been conducted by the Adjutant General, Lieutenant Colonel Barry Close and his deputy, Major Alexander Allan. Baird had apparently given Allan specific instructions to impress upon the family that their lives would be forfeit if they failed to surrender and continued to resist the conquest. In the first instance, the proud family made the terms difficult, and  Close rose to leave but was persuaded by Major Allan to stay. Baird however, upon learning that Tippoo Sultan was dead, behaved with the utmost courtesy towards the family, who were to be accommodated at Vellore as State prisoners.[81]

Major Alexander Allan:

A short time after the troops were in possession of the works, Major Beatson and I observed, from the south rampart, several persons assembled in the palace; many of whom, from their dress and appearance, we judged to be of distinction. I particularly remarked, that one person prostrated himself before he sat down; from which circumstance I was led to conclude, that Tippoo, with such of his officers who had escaped from the assault, had taken shelter in the palace.

Before any attempt could be made to secure the palace (where it was thought the enemy, in defence of their sovereign and his family, would make a serious resistance) it became necessary to refresh the troops, who were greatly exhausted by the heat of the day, and the fatigue which they had already undergone. In the meantime, Major Beatson and I hastened to apprise General Baird of the circumstances we had seen: on our way, we passed Major Craigie and Captain Whitlie, with the grenadiers, and some battalion companies of the 12th regiment. As soon as we reached General Baird, we proposed to him to bring these troops to him, to which he assented. On my return, General Baird directed me to proceed to the palace with the detachment of the 12th, and part of Major Gibbings’s battalion of sepoys, he directed me to inform the enemy that their lives should be shared, on condition of their immediate surrender, but that the least resistance would prove fatal to every person within the palace walls. 

Having fastened a white cloth on a serjeant’s pike, I proceeded to the palace, where I found Major Shee, and part of the 33d regiment, drawn up opposite the gate: several of Tippoo’s people were in a balcony, apparently in great consternation. I informed them that I was deputed by the General, who commanded the troops in the fort, to offer them their lives, provided they did not make resistance; of which I desired them to give immediate intimation to their Sultan. In a short time the killedar, another officer of consequence, and a confidential servant, came over the terrace of the front building, and descended by an unfinished part of the wall. They were greatly embarrassed, and appeared inclined to create delays; probably with a view of effecting their escape as soon as the darkness of the night should afford them an opportunity. I pointed out the danger of their situation, and the necessity of coming to an immediate determination, pledging myself for their protection, and proposing that they should allow me to go into the palace, that I might in person give these assurances to Tippoo. They were very averse to this proposal, but I positively insisted on returning with them. I desired Captain Scohey, who speaks the native languages with great fluency, to accompany me and Captain Hastings Fraser. We ascended by the broken wall, and lowered ourselves down on a terrace, where a large body of armed men were assembled. I explained to them, that the flag which I held in my hand was a pledge of security, provided no resistance was made; and the stronger to impress them with this belief, I took off my sword, which I insisted upon their receiving. The killedar, and many others affirmed, that the princes and the family of Tippoo were in the palace, but not the Sultan. They appeared greatly alarmed, and averse to coming to any decision. I told them, that delay might be attended with fatal consequences; and that I could not answer for the conduct of our troops, by whom they were surrounded, and whose fury was with difficulty restrained. They then left me, and shortly I observed people moving hastily backwards and forwards in the interior of the palace; and, as there were many hundreds of Tippoo’s troops within the walls, I began to think our situation rather critical. I was advised to take back my sword; but such an act, on my part, might, by exciting their distrust, have kindled a flame, which, in the present temper of the troops, might have been attended with the most dreadful consequences; probably the massacre of every soul within the palace walls. The people on the terrace begged me to hold the flag in a conspicuous position, in order to give confidence to those in the palace, and prevent our troops from forcing the gates. Growing impatient at these delays, I sent another message to the princes, warning them of their critical situation, and that my time was limited. They answered, they would receive me as soon as a carpet could be spread for the purpose; and soon after the killedar came to conduct me.

I found two of the princes seated on the carpet, surrounded by a great many attendants. They desired me to sit down, which I did in front of them. The recollection of Moiza-deen, who, on a former occasion, I had seen delivered up with his brother, hostages to Marquis Cornwallis, the sad reverse of their fortunes, their fear, which, notwithstanding their struggles to conceal, was but too evident, excited the strongest emotions of compassion in my mind. I took Moiza-deen (to whom the killedar, &c. principally directed their attention) by the hand, and endeavoured, by every mode in my power, to remove his fears, and to persuade him that no violence should be offered to him or his brother, nor to any person in the palace. I then intreated him, as the only means to preserve his father’s life, whose escape was impracticable, to inform me of the spot where he was concealed. Moiza-deen, after some conversation apart with his attendants, assured me that the Padshaw was not in the palace. I requested him to allow the gates to be opened. All were alarmed at this proposal; and the princes were reluctant to take such a step but by the authority of their father, to whom they desired to send. At length, however, having promised that that I would post a guard of their own sepoys within, and a party of Europeans on the outside, and having given them the strongest assurances that no person should enter the palace but by my authority, and that I would return, and remain with them until General Baird arrived, I convinced them of the necessity of compliance; and I was happy to observe that the princes, as well as their attendants, appeared to rely with confidence on the assurances I had given them.

On opening the gate, I found General Baird and several officers, with a large body of troops assembled. I returned with Lieutenant-colonel Close into the palace, for the purpose of bringing the princes to the General. We had some difficulty in conquering the alarm and the objections which they raised to quitting the palace; but they at length permitted us to conduct them to the gate. The indignation of General Baird was justly excited by a report, which had reached him soon after he had sent me to the palace, that Tippoo had inhumanely murdered all the Europeans who had fallen into his hands during the siege; this was heightened probably by a momentary recollection of his own sufferings, during more than three years imprisonment in that very place; he was, nevertheless, sensibly affected by the sight of the princes; and his gallantry, on the assault, was not more conspicuous, than the moderation and humanity which he displayed on this occasion. He received the princes with every mark of regard, repeatedly assured them that no violence or insult should be offered to them, and he gave them in charge to Lieutenant-colonel Agnew and Captain Marriott, by whom they were conducted to head-quarters in camp, escorted by the light company of the 33d regiment. As they passed the troops were ordered to pay them the compliment of presented arms.

General Baird now determined to search the most retired parts of the palace, in the hope of finding Tippoo. He ordered the light company of the 74th regiment, followed by others, to enter the palace-yard. Tippoo’s troops were immediately disarmed, and we proceeded to make the search through many of the apartments. Having entreated the killedar, if he had any regard for his own life, or that of his Sultan, to inform us where he was concealed, he put his hands upon the hilt of my sword, and, in the most solemn manner, protested that the Sultan was not in the palace, but that he had been wounded during the storm and lay in a gateway on the north face of the fort, whither he offered to conduct us; and if it was found that he deceived us, said, the General might inflict on him what punishment he pleased. General Baird, on hearing the report of the killedar, proceeded to the gateway, which was covered with many hundreds of slain. The number of dead, and the darkness of the place, made it difficult to distinguish one person from another, and the scene was altogether shocking; but, aware of the great political importance of ascertaining beyond the possibility of doubt, the death of Tippoo, the bodies were ordered to be dragged out, and the killedar, and the other two persons, were desired to examine them one after another. This, however, appeared endless; and, as it now was becoming dark, a light was procured, and I accompanied the killedar into the gateway. During the search we discovered a wounded person laying under the Sultan’s palankeen: this man was afterwards ascertained to be Rajah Cawn, one of Tippoo’s most confidential servants; he had attended his master during the whole of the day, and, on being made acquainted with the object of our search, he pointed out the spot where the Sultan had fallen. By a faint glimmering light it was difficult for the killedar to recognise the features; but the body being brought out, and satisfactorily proved to be that of the Sultan, was conveyed in a palankeen to the palace, where it was again recognised by the eunuchs and other servants of the family.

When Tippoo was brought from under the gateway, his eyes were open, and the body was so warm, that for a few moments Colonel Wellesley and myself were doubtful whether he was not alive: on feeling his pulse and heart, that doubt was removed. He had four wounds, three in the body, and one in the temple; the ball having entered a little above the right ear, and lodged in the cheek. His dress consisted of a jacket of fine white linen, loose drawers of flowered chintz, with a crimson cloth of silk and cotton, round his waist: a handsome pouch with a red and green silk belt, hung across his shoulder: his head was uncovered, his turban being lost in the confusion of his fall: he had an amulet on his arm, but no ornament whatever.

Tippoo was of low stature, corpulent, with high shoulders, and a short thick neck, but his feet were remarkably small; his complexion was rather dark; his eyes large and prominent, with small arched eyebrows, and his nose aquiline: he had an appearance of dignity, or perhaps sternness, in his countenance, which distinguished him above the common order people.[82]

The Death of Tippoo Sultan – Is this the Brunswicker? (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

The Surrender of Tippoo Sultan’s Sons, 4th May 1799 (Anne Brown Digital Repository & Collection)

 

Major Alexander Allan, was an experienced officer, fluent in Persian and an accomplished artist who utilised his skill during extensive surveys in South India and on the borders of Mysore during the period 1789-1798. Commissioned into the Madras Army as a Cadet 1779; Ensign 27th August 1780; Lieutenant 17th April 1786; Captain 1st June 1796, who also served in the Madras Guides 1792-1798. He was appointed the Town Major of Madras in 1797; formally gazetted Major in August 1803; disappointed at not being made Adjutant General, he resigned 14th November 1804; In Britain he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and created a Baronet 18th September 1819. A Director of the East India Company 1814-1820; M.P. for Berwick-upon-Tweed 1803-1806, and 1807-1820. He died 14th September 1820.[83]

The scenes that took place on 4th May, in Seringapatam must have been disturbing if not harrowing, as Lieutenant Patrick Brown, with less than four years of service in the Madras Army, portrayed when writing to his father;

Seringapatam presented a shocking sight, scattered all over with dead black bodies cut and mangled in a dreadful manner and here and there lay an unfortunate European….

We stayed in the Fort all night under arms where there was a terrible confusion, several houses were on fire, and the soldiers running through the streets with drawn sabres and lighted torches, dressed in silken clothes which they had plundered and compelled the poor inhabitants to show them where their treasure was concealed…..[84]

Arthur Wellesley wrote to his mother:

Nothing therefore can have exceeded what has been done on the night of 4th. Scarcely a house in the town was left unplundered, and I understand that in camp, jewels of the greatest value, bars of gold etc.etc. have been offered for sale in the bazaars of the army by our soldiers, sepoys and followers. I came in to take command on the morning of the 5th and by the greatest exertion by hanging flogging etc in the course of the day restored order…..the property of everyone has gone.[85]

On the evening of the 4th May a huge tropical storm lashed Seringapatam, causing flooding, damage and more deaths. ‘So fatal was the effect of the lightning, that numbers of lives were lost in our camp and outposts. Ensign James Grant, of the 77th regiment, was unfortunately killed; all the servants’ horses, and even dogs’,[86] including the favourite pet of Lieutenant George Bellasis, were struck dead. Bellasis, was a Brevet Captain in the Bombay Artillery and had procured loot of a gold ring from Tippoo’s throne, ‘together with a lock of the Sultan’s hair and a richly embroidered shawl’. He was also reported as injured during a second storm on 6th May. He enjoyed, if that is the appropriate word, a very chequered military career.[87]

Bad as the weather was, the military commanders had reason to be thankful it had occurred after the attack and not before, as the River Cauvery became impassable and the trenches completely flooded.

During the 5th May, the bodies of those killed including Lieutenant Lalor, and Lieutenant Alphonse Matthey, De Meuron Regiment were buried, Matthey interred at the breach where he fell. Charles Caudemont, the De Meuron Chief Surgeon had attempted to remove splinters from Matthey’s head injury but the wound was too severe. Notwithstanding, he was astonished that Matthey had his eyes open and carried on a conversation as though nothing had happened to him. Caudemont, had advised him, ‘that only a Swiss head could have withstood such an injury, to which Matthey is alleged to have laughed, but died to the regret of all that knew him’.[88]

Later, on the 5th May at 4pm, the funeral of Tippoo Sultan was held, buried with full military honours, alongside his parents. The identity of the soldier who killed Tippoo Sultan is uncertain. A private in the De Meuron Regiment, called Christenau, known as ‘The Brunswicker,’ is said to be the soldier who shot Tippoo Sultan dead, and he later became ‘Chef de Fanfare’ (Leading Bandsman) at Fort St. George, Madras. The story is disputed and when Lord Valentia visited Seringapatam and dined with the officers of the De Meuron Regiment in 1804, it remained unverified. [89]

On 6th May David Baird sent a letter to Lord Harris, which included the resources Baird deployed during the attack.

Sir, having, in obedience to your orders, taken the command of the troops ordered for the assault of the fort of Seringapatam, consisting of a corps of the six companies of European flankers from the Bombay army under Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlop, a corps of four companies of European flankers from the Scotch Brigade, and the Regiment de Meuron under Colonel Sherbrooke.

His Majesty’s 12th, 33d, and 74th Regiments, ten companies of Bengal Sepoy flankers under Lieutenant-Colonel Gardiner, eight companies of Coast Sepoy flankers under Lieutenant-Colonel  Mignan,[90] one hundred Madras artillery-men, with a proportion of gun-Lascars, under Major Robert Bell, the European and native pioneers, under Captain William Dowse,[91] amounting, as per enclosed return of men actually under arms at the assault,

Firelocks
European = 2494
Natives = 1882
Total = 4376

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,

D. BAIRD

Camp, Seringapatam, 6th May 1799.[92]

Though not mentioned in any contemporary British accounts, a suggestion was made that treachery by one of his chief ministers, Mir Sadiq, led to the defeat of Tippoo Sultan. Mir Sadiq, was allegedly killed by Tippoo’s troops immediately following the storm, as he attempted to go over to the British. On a mural painting depicting the battle of Pollilur in 1781, on the outer wall of the Daria Daulat building at Seringapatam, the face of Mir Sadiq (Meer Sadeck) has been erased, apparently in reprisal for his treachery.[93]

Two Native regimental officers, Subedars Cawdor Beg and Shaik Tippoo, 4th Madras Native Cavalry, were both rewarded with additional payments for gallantry during the siege, although it is not clear whether these were the only two cases.[94]

On 8th May, Lieutenant General Lord Harris ‘took particular pleasure in publishing to the army the following extract of a report, transmitted to him yesterday by Major General Baird…..If, where all behaved nobly it is proper to mention individual merit, I know no man so justly entitled to praise as Colonel Sherbrooke….[95]

The Return of the Corps and Regiments which assisted in the Siege and Assault of Seringapatam.

European Native
Corps of Madras Engineers under Col., William Gent[96] 1st & 2nd Batt. 10th Bengal Infantry
1st batt Bengal Artillery 1st, 2nd & 3rd Batt. Bengal Volunteers
2nd batt Madras Artillery 1st & 2nd batt 2nd Bombay Infantry
Detachment Bombay Artillery 1st & 2nd Batt. 3rd Bombay ditto
HM’s 12th Regiment 1st Batt. 4th Bombay ditto
HM’s 33rd       ditto 1st Batt. 5th Bombay ditto
HM’s 73rd          ditto Madras Pioneers under Capt., William Dowse.[97]
HM’s 74th      ditto 1st batt 1st Madras Infantry
HM’s 75th      ditto 2nd Batt 2nd Madras    ditto
HM’s 77th         ditto 2nd Batt. 3rd Madras    ditto
Scotch Brigade 2nd Batt. 5th Madras    ditto
Regiment De Meuron 1st Batt. 6th Madras      ditto
Bombay European Regiment 1st Batt. 7th Madras      ditto
Bombay Pioneers 1st Batt. 8th Madras      ditto
2nd Batt. Madras 9th Infantry 1st & 2nd Batt. 11th Madras ditto
1st & 2nd Batt. 12th Madras ditto

The numbers of soldiers present in the Army commanded by Lord Harris during the conquest of Mysore and Seringapatam, vary from Major Alexander Beatson’s estimate of 27,222 including Stuart’s Bombay army and 2,483 Lascars, [98] or 45,142 including the Bombay army and the Lascars under Stuart,[99] or 57,000 including the Coimbatore army of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Brown, the Baramahal Army under Read, and the Army of the Nizam. [100]

British casualties from 4th April to 4th May 1799, were; 1,509 killed, wounded or missing including, 67 Officers killed or wounded. The abstract shows the estimated strength of Tippoo’s Army at 48,000 and some 22,000 of whom were either in the fort or the dependent trenches and who suffered heavily with casualties of between 8,000-10,000 casualties.

During the Seringapatam campaign from 4th April – 4th May 1799, the De Meuron Regiment lost two officers, Matthey and Glesser killed, and three, Piachaud, Lardy and Guisant, were wounded, 14  other ranks killed; Sergeant Louis Ciess, Grenadier Corporal Arnold Bode, Corporal Frederic Eppen, Drummer Cornelius Christians, Musician Charles Buchard, Grenadier G. Schuster. Fusiliers; Maurice Dekoch, Isaac Erikson, Jacob Gerson, Georg Mayer, Anthony Motter, Henri Nicholass, J. H. Reezer, Ch. Rischbush and a further man missing. [101]

The death toll probably increased as wounded men died later as a result of their injuries, while others succumbed to disease or fever; in total the De Meuron Regiment had lost 68 soldiers since leaving Vellore on 11th February.[102]

The spread of sickness and disease prompted the 2nd Brigade, including the De Meuron Regiment, to move to a supposedly healthier site at French Rocks some 15 miles away. Another storm struck here on 6th May causing further damage, and the death of Plessang, de Meuron-Bayard’s soldier orderly.

Lieutenant Louis de Pury, the Paymaster and Quartermaster, later recorded that he had received his share of prize money, (a value of 9,540 French livre or pounds) as his first instalment and with a third more to come. The deceased Lieutenant Matthey’s share of the prize, 1,080 pagodas was distributed amongst his comrades.[103]  Lieutenant Patrick Brown, Madras Army, lamented his lack of knowledge and inexperience in plundering and prize, where he believed veterans made fortunes, but only managed to procure for himself a horse and a few silver dishes.[104]

Division of Seringapatam Prize Money:[105]

Privates of European Corps 1 share = 18 pagodas
Sergeants, 2 shares = 36 pagodas
Sgt Majors, Sub-Conductor, Sub- assistant Surgeon 3 shares = 54 pagodas
Quarter master of Dragoons, Conductors of Stores and Provost Marshal 15 shares = 270 pagodas
Subalterns, Assistant Surgeons 60 shares = 1,080 pagodas
Captains and Surgeons 120 shares = 2,160 pagodas
Majors 240 shares = 4,320 pagodas
Lieutenant Colonels 360 shares = 10,800 pagodas
General Officers 1500 shares = 27,000 pagodas
Commander in Chief One eighth of total prize

There are a number of paintings depicting the assault on Seringapatam but one in particular is of more interest in relation to the De Meuron Regiment. Robert Ker Porter’s, enormous panoramic triptych of the assault, shows on the extreme left of the first image Major Pierre Lardy, De Meuron Regiment, seated upon a low wall, sword in his right hand, his wounded left arm being dressed by an artilleryman, before he re-joined his regiment in the city.[106] [107]

The British soldiers are depicted wearing the infantry hard felt covered helmet-hat with a chenille style crest running front to back.

On 9th June 1799, the regiment was at Milgottah, when it received orders to move to Mysore, together with HM’s 12th Regiment and 1st battalion Madras Artillery,[108] to be present for the ceremony of placing the 6 years old child and heir apparent, Maharajah Krishnaraja Wadiyar III of Mysore, on the Musnud or throne cushion, where he reigned for almost 70 years, dying in 1868.[109] After his death Mysore was fully taken under British rule.

The older sons of Tippoo together with their families were exiled to Vellore, the younger members remaining at Seringapatam under the stewardship of Colonel Wellesley, who had been appointed Governor of the city.

There was considerable controversy about the decision to appoint Wellesley, focusing over whether David Baird had been given an expectation that he would receive the appointment.[110]

A memorial of four panels in granite was erected in 1907, by the Government of Mysore to commemorate all Company and King’s regiments which participated in the siege of Seringapatam 1799, and the officers who were killed during the siege and storm between April 5th and May 4th 1799. Unfortunately, although Asst. Surgeon Glesser, De Meuron Regiment, is recorded, Lieutenant Alphonse Matthey, shot at the breach and later died of wounds, was omitted.

There is a further memorial at Bangalore Fort, with the inscription, ‘In Memory of Those who Fell in the Campaign of 1799.’ The memorial does record both officer names, Matthey and Glesser, though mistakenly spells Asst., Surgeon Glesser as Glasser and that he fell at the Battle of Malavelly, rather than before Seringapatam.[111]

In a museum at Neuchatel, is a De Meuron Regiment banner standard with metal ovate shaped spear point inscribed;

4 MAI 1799 ASSAUT de SERINGAPATAM.’

The regiment now moved to Arnee, where Captain-Lieutenant Louis Renaud, died and was buried on 29th June 1799.[112]

A General Return of the regiment 1st December 1799, shows 707 men present, the different nationalities, ‘Swiss, German and Other Foreigners,’ aged from 20 -55 years, the height ranges of troops from 5 feet 1 inch to 6 feet, dates of service from 1 year upwards, dates of officer’s commission and the latest appointments, replacing those who recently retired and other promotions.[113]

While his regiment were in action, Major General Pierre F. de Meuron commanded at Vellore, and entered into extensive correspondence with various officers of the general staff about the interpretation of the terms of the 13 articles in capitulation documents and particularly over the imposition the date of 25th September 1798 for service and dates of commission. He had recently received a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Meuron-Bullot, on 17th September 1799, outlining the Lieutenant Colonel’s personal losses arising from the regiment’s transfer of allegiance; these amounted to the value of 741 Rix Dollars for slaves and 1,800 Rix Dollars for furniture. The Rix Dollar was a coin peculiar to Ceylon and with a value of approximately one shilling and sixpence imperial.[114]

Lieutenant General Alured Clarke Commander-in-Chief India, clearly irritated by the constant barrage of letters regarding the issue of De Meuron officer’s dates of commission in the British army, wrote to Pierre de Meuron. He indicated that if the 25th September 1798, was a problem, the 6th July 1799, the date the capitulation document arrived on his desk in India, would be his preferred alternative choice. Pierre de Meuron, saw the implied threat and accepted the former date, but expressed his distress in a response.[115]

On 1st January 1800, a General Order was promulgated from Army Headquarters, Choultry Plain, (Calcutta.)

The King’s pleasure having been signified by His Royal Highness the Duke of York, to the Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Land Forces in the East Indies, for carrying into effect, as far as it rests with him, the Terms of a Capitulation, concluded at London on 25th September 1798 between the British Government on the one party and the Count Charles de Meuron for himself and the Regiment on the other and it having been agreed by the said capitulation that the Regiment de Meuron is to be engaged in His Majesty’s Service and regarded in all respects as an English regiment, for the term of ten years from 1st January 1799 and to be formed as soon as possible after the arrival of the capitulation in India, upon a new establishment….And the necessary communications thereupon having been made to the Rt. Honourable The Governor General, the Government of Madras, and Brigadier General Pierre de Meuron, Colonel Commandant of the regiment…..[116]

Fifteen months after the final capitulation agreement imposed in London, and almost five years since the regiment had been transferred to British service and stationed in India, the details and arguments over dates and money appeared to be resolved. Captain Keith Young, Assistant Deputy Adjutant General,[117] published the full details of the General Order. Eighteen of the 35 officers of the regiment are shown as having retained their original dates of commission, there are seven vacant posts for Ensigns: [118]

1 – Colonel and Captain 1 – Chaplain
1 – Lieutenant Colonel and Captain 1 – Surgeon
1 – Lieutenant Col. without company 2 – Surgeons Mates
1 – Major and Captain 1 – Clerk
1 – Major without Company 1 – Sergeant Major
7 – Captains with Companies 1 – Sergeant Quartermaster
1 – Captain Lieutenant 1 – Sergeant Paymaster
21 – Lieutenants 50 – Sergeants
8 – Ensigns (seven vacant) 50 – Corporals
1 – Paymaster 20 – Drummers
1 – Adjutant 2 – Fifers
1 – Quartermaster 950 – Privates

Seven officers in the General Order were permitted to retire on ‘account of their infirm ill health at not less than British half pay for their rank.’ No awards were made to any next of kin.

Rank/Name Date of Commission
Captain Pierre Renaud[119] 01/06/1781
Captain Lieutenant Rene des Bordes de Jouy 01/06/1781
Captain Lieutenant Charles Groener 01/05/1782
Captain Lieutenant Pierre Filsjean (Fitzjean) 30/04/1786
Captain Lieutenant Albert Fivaz 01/06/1790
Brevet Captain Lieutenant Laurent Boyer Entered as Capt., Lieut. 20/06/1794
Lieutenant Henry Droz 18/01/1788
Captain Louis Renaud died at Arnee 29/06/1799 01/05/1787
Lieutenant Louis Bove, died at sea 25/04/1799 21/03/1791

Despite the imposition of the capitulation on 25th September 1798, and the De Meuron Regiment being declared a regiment in the King’s army, the half pay costs of the De Meuron officers who remained in India were to be defrayed by the East India Company, together with the cost of travel expenses for the regiment’s officers returning to Europe.[120]

Brigadier General Pierre de Meuron, also had occasion to write an intriguing letter to Lieutenant General Lord Harris, over the conduct of a Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple, regarding an incident which had occurred in Ceylon:

 

Private                                              Arnee 19th January 1800

Dear General

Since your return from your brilliant campaign of Mysore, I have not had the opportunity of stating to you a circumstance that happened at Ceylon and which was very disagreeable and painful to me. I am referring to the Court Martial that was held on Lieutenant Thomas Stewart, put under arrest by Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple. In reading over the proceedings of the Court you will have observed in the course of evidence given by Mr. Robert Alexander, that Lieut. Colonel D…. after giving a toast, made use of words that were abrupt and rough.

Had I ordered a revision for the purposes of calling upon Mr. Alexander to explain the nature of the gross expressions made use of by Lieut. Colonel D…. and had I determined to send you the proceedings, I doubt whether you would have saved the Guilty.

But rather than go to that extremity which must have proved as disagreeable to you as fatal to him, I took the measures which are known to you.

I have, in duty to myself considered it incumbent on me to give you this information so that in case of necessity you may be enabled to explain the motive by which I was guided.

I had an opportunity of imposing a punishment that was of a nature more sensible than severe, whereby the Lieutenant Colonel has had an opportunity of reflecting and I have no doubt but one day he may be sensible that he is under an obligation to me. I must also say that I have already remarked that this correction has rendered him more cautious and I am persuaded that the circumstance will soften his disposition and enable him to apply his talents to useful purpose.

I have the Honour with great consideration & esteem your most humble and faithful servant

P. F. de Meuron.[121]

Since leaving Ceylon in February 1799, De Meuron had been stationed at Arnee or Vellore, both garrison cantonments, whereas the Court Martial had been held in Ceylon, where Robert Alexander was a Civil Servant. The 19th Regiment of Foot (Yorkshire North Riding Regiment) appears to have been the only King’s Infantry Regiment stationed in Ceylon immediately prior to 1800, having landed at Madras in 1796, and moving to Ceylon in December that year. George Dalrymple (1757-1804) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 19th Regiment and is most likely to be the officer mentioned. [122]  The other possible candidates both of whom were named Dalrymple were Madras Army officers. Lieutenant Colonel Simon Dalrymple, who had been deployed in the conquest of Ceylon in 1795 but returned to India in 1796, and Lieutenant Colonel James Dalrymple, who had fought at Seringapatam April 1799 and died at Hyderabad December 1800. I have been unable to discover any record in the National Archive Court Martial records between the range of years 1700 -1802, indicating either of the names of the court president Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple or the defendant, Lieutenant Thomas Stewart.[123]

Nor is it revealed what is alleged to have been said that so upset the Brigadier, though from his words it can be assumed or is likely to have been personal and distressed the Brigadier sufficiently to believe it merited punishment.

Another remarkable letter written by Pierre de Meuron was sent to Lord Harris on 23rd January 1800. The first paragraph contains de Meuron’s best wishes for Harris’s journey to Europe with felicitations to his wife and then continues;

….I beg leave to send you a letter herewith, which I have deemed it incumbent on me to write to you and a memorandum on the regiment which I beg you to peruse when at sea, and if in want of it reading this may procure you sleep. I have not said anything about the officers as you know them all and have had an opportunity to judge of their merits – as to the first Lieutenant Colonel his weaknesses in the head increase apace. (Authors emphasis.)

The comment appears to be levelled at Lieutenant Colonel Jean Pierre Meuron-Bullot, whose promotion dates from 9th November 1785, preceding by 5 years that of the other Lieutenant Colonel H. D. de Meuron-Motiers, promoted into that rank on 1st January 1800, under the terms of the new capitulation.

There is no other correspondence and De Meuron’s mention to a document which ‘may procure you sleep,’ is probably a reference to his thirteen pages memorandum on the history of the De Meuron Regiment up to the regiment’s transfer to British Service in India.[124] The letter continues with a repetition of his wishes for the speedy resolution of the officer’s commission dates, because at that time the General Order of 1st January 1800, had not yet reached him.

The ‘present state’ of the De Meuron Regiment in January 1800, was signed off by Captain Keith Young, Acting Deputy Adjutant General. [125]

On March 17th 1800, Wellesley wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Barry Close from Seringapatam, regarding riots and disturbances in the city over a civil matter but which required suppression by a ‘small party of Europeans, Sepoys and cavalry from the British garrison’. Four people were killed and another four sentenced to death, although the sentences were later commuted. It is unclear who the ‘Europeans’ referred to might be. The 33rd Regiment, or the De Meuron Regiment which had been in Mysore only 18 miles away. The Madras European Regiment was not present.[126]

During May 1800, the regiment’s Captain and Paymaster, Isaac de Meuron Rochat died at Madras and was buried in the churchyard at St. Mary’s, Fort George.[127] His career stemmed from the founding of the regiment 1781, had been in the campaign in Kandy, at Trincomallee and Seringapatam.

By 1800 the question of whether sufficient European troops were established in India was again exercising the minds of the Governor General Richard Colley Wellesley, earl of Mornington, and Henry Dundas.

The size, establishment and costs of both the King’s regiments and Company Armies in the sub-Continent had been and would continue to be a recurring theme between the Government and Company until the India Act 1858. An abstract shows the forces of both the East India Company and European forces, dated May 1798 on the Coast of Coromandel; [128]

European Native Total
Centre Division 4,330 17,840
Northern Division 702 6706
Southern Division 1,443 6,782 37,803
Ceylon 2,144 4,330
Malacca 472 317
Amboyna 384 713
Banda 264 198 8,822
46,625
Madras Army furnished in the Field for Siege of Seringapatam 23,978
In Garrison 13,825

The cost of all ‘Foreign Corps in the Service of Great Britain and Ireland’ and by 28th April 1804 stood at just over £582,000 a year. Though not shown the figure for India would have been significant.[129]

On 13th July 1800, Mornington had written a lengthy letter to Henry Dundas, regarding information from Fort St. George Madras, over the reduced state of His Majesty’s regiments of infantry serving in that Presidency;

My judgement is that the augmentation of our European forces should always bear a due proportion to the increased value and extent of our possessions in India. …. I desire to call your particular observation to the alarming diminution of our European force in India. The number of His Majesty’s regiments of infantry in India continues indeed to be the same; but, instead of consisting of 1200 rank and file, according to the establishment, those employed under the Presidency of Fort St. George are stated to be reduced to an average of about 500 rank and file fit for duty. The regiments belonging to the establishment of Bombay and those on the island of Ceylon are also very incomplete. His Majesty’s three regiments of infantry at this Presidency do not exceed 2400 rank and file; or about 800 men each….. From a statement which I have received from the Commander-in-Chief, it appears, that the sixteen King’s regiments of infantry, now in India, consisted, on 1st May 1800, of about 11,000 rank and file; the deficiencies amounting to about 8,000 men. The Company’s four European regiments may be reckoned at 2,500 rank and file, the Swiss regiment De Meuron about 600, making the total European infantry in India, King’s and Company’s, about 14,000 rank and file. But as these numbers include the sick from this amount must be deducted at one-fourth in calculating the numbers now ready for service; which would leave the total number of Europeans actually able to take the field in the British Empire in India about 10,500 men. [130]

Mornington, an Empire builder of epic and enthusiastic proportions, believed that the presence of European troops in India, needed to be fixed for both King and Company European infantry at twenty-five regiments or 30,000 European rank and file in addition to the 200,000 Company Native troops already deployed.

Dundas still held the reins of power in the parliamentary body with oversight of affairs in India, as President of the Board of Control, from 1793-1801, and Secretary of State for War from 1794-1801. Dundas had quibbled about the cost of the transfer of the De Meuron Regiment and unsurprisingly his reply on 30th December 1800, held out little prospect of any such changes; ‘For my part, I consider the overgrown and unwieldy load of Indian debt as our only mortal foe,’ and professed himself ‘truly alarmed’ by the proposal for him to adopt  an extension of the establishment.[131]

His concern about money and the Indian debt, was driving Dundas to think that any improvement to the general stability of India by the recent eradication of Tippoo Sultan, would enable the British to secure their possessions without the need for a large military establishment and at least three of the King’s regiments currently in India should be brought home, whilst the Company’s European infantry needed to be reduced.[132]

De Meuron Officer c.1799 (courtesy of britishbattles.com)

 

[1]  M. Howard, Wellington and the British Army’s Campaigns in India, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2020) pp.43-45

[2] M. Wilks, A History of Mysoor (Mysore: Government Press, 1932) Reprint 2 Vols. Vol. II pp.646-738

[3] R. Majumdar (Ed.) The History and Culture of the Indian People, (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1977) 11 Vols. Vol. VIII. pp.452-466

[4] G. De Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, Fabert had joined the regiment in 1788 as 2nd Lieutenant and Adjutant, a Lieutenant by 1791.

[5] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W. Bulmer 1800) app. XVIII, pp. LXXX. Beatson has omitted from this table the presence of 74th 75th and 77th Kings regiments.

[6] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p165

[7] R. Holmes, Wellington, The Iron Duke, (London: Harper Collins, 2002) p.49; A. Beatson A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W. Bulmer 1800) pp.54-55

[8] E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List of the Officers of the Indian Army, 1760-1837, (London: Longman Browne Orme & Co.,1838.) James Dalrymple: Madras Army pp.46-47. John Shee: Bengal Army pp.232-233.

[9] Indicus, (a pseudonym for Evans Bell 1825-1887) The Rajah and Principality of Mysore, with a Letter to Lord Stanley, (London: Thos. Richards, 1865) p.11 ff. Evans Bell was a Madras Army Officer critical of the East India Company.

[10]  E. Thornton, A Gazetteer of the Territories under the Government of the East India Company, (London, Allen & Co, 1854) 4 Vols. Vol. II unpaginated. The district of Coimbatore had been ceded to the Madras Presidency after the 3rd Anglo Mysore War and the British maintained a garrison at the principal town.

[11] E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List of the Officers of the Indian Army, 1760-1837, (London: Longman Browne Orme & Co.,1838.) George Roberts: Madras Army pp.146-147. Alexander Read: Madras Army pp.144-145. E. Thornton, A Gazetteer of the Territories under the Government of the East India Company, (London, Allen & Co, 1854) 4 Vols, Vol. I unpaginated. Baramahal was a district of Mysore held by the British since 1792, after the 3rd Anglo-Mysore War and one of the districts first administrators was Captain Alexander Read.

[12] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W. Bulmer 1800) app. XXX. Tippoo had other troops scattered in Mysore which could have raised his strength to 48,000.

[13] R. Majumdar (Ed.) The History and Culture of the Indian People, (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1977) 11 vols. Vol. VIII. pp.468-470.

[14] Asia and Africa Collection, British Library General Reference 12275.aa.19. Calcutta Review 1903, p.25

[15] F. H. Meuron Bayard, Mon Journal de la Campagne du Mysore depuis le 31 Decembre 1798 jusqu’en Novembre 1799. The diary reference in Neuchatel Museum Neuechatel AEN. Arch. Fam.M. (Fds.Rgt.M) Dossier 35 et 50 BPVN: Ms 2108.

[16] British Library Africa and Asia Collection MSS EUR F370/1619; F. H. Meuron Bayard, Mon Journal de la Campagne du Mysore depuis le 31 Decembre 1798 jusqu’en Novembre 1799. The diary reference in Neuchatel Museum Neuechatel AEN. Arch. Fam.M. (Fds.Rgt.M) Dossier 35 et 50 BPVN: Ms 2108.

[17] National Archive WO/25/755/192. 14 11 1789 an Ensign, Second Lieutenant 27th July 1789, promoted Lieutenant 12th December 1791, Adjutant 19th September 1796, Paymaster 23rd September 1802, Captain, 2nd November 1802, Major, 11th June 1807, Lieutenant Col. 1st June 1813. Retired on half pay 24/09/1816, to the City of Brunswick.

[18] H. Burnell & A Yule, Hobson Jobson. A Glossary of Anglo-Indian Words, (London: J Murray 1903) ‘Looty or Lootiewallahs’, first recorded in 1757, basically blackguards or plunderers armed with clubs. Anglicised from the Hindi word Lut.

[19] R. Muir, Wellington the Path to Victory 1769-1814, (London: Yale University Press, 2015) p.76

[20] Luxury might be an exaggeration. It is a fact that camp followers provided most of the services described. Notwithstanding, marching in high temperatures in British army uniform, many were struck down by sunstroke and the heat. Malarial fevers and dysentery took their toll in camps where hygiene standards were less than basic.

[21] Diary of Colonel Richard Bayly, 12th Regiment 1796-1830. Fighting the Tigers of Mysore, (London: Leonaur Publishing, 2013). p.66 Unfortunately Bayly, fails to identify or record the presence of the De Meuron Regiment in any of the skirmishes or battles set down in his diary but resorts to the phrase, European Corps. Beatson A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W. Bulmer 1800) The De Meuron Regiment were the sole ‘Foreign’ Regiment present. App. XVIII pp.lxx

[22] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron 1781-1816. Lausanne: Le Forum Historique, c.1982 [Annexe VI] pp.299-332; [Annexe VII] pp.333-335.

[23] S. Lushington, The Life and Services of General Lord Harris GCB. (London: J. Parker 1840) pp.289-290.

[24] Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) pp.42-43

[25] A. Beatson A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W. Bulmer 1800) the dates for the attack on Sultanpett Tope, vary. Beatson records the skirmish occurring on 6th and 7th April.

[26] Ed. Col. Gurwood, The Dispatches of Field Marshal, the Duke of Wellington during his Various Campaigns, India (London: J. Murray, 1837) 3 Vols. Vol. I p.23

[27] A. Lee, History of the 33rd Foot, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. (Norwich: printed by Jarrold and Sons Ltd. 1922) pp.168-169

[28] W. Mackenzie, Colonel Colin Mackenzie, First Surveyor General of India (London: W Chambers & Co.1952.) pp. 68-69.

[29] S. Lushington, The Life and Services of General Lord Harris GCB, (London: J. Parker 1840) pp.319-323

[30]  S. Lushington, The Life and Services of General Lord Harris GCB, (London: J. Parker 1840) p.294

[31] M. Howard Wellington and the British Army’s Indian Campaigns (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2020, pp.58-59

[32] Diary of Colonel Richard Bayly, 12th Regiment 1796-1830. Fighting the Tigers of Mysore, (London: Leonaur Publishing, 2013) p.81-83

[33] W. Mackenzie, Colonel Colin Mackenzie, First Surveyor General of India, (London: W Chambers, 1952) p.68; Macquarie University Library, https://www.mq.edu.au/macquarie-archive/seringapatam/grand.html#f Robert Fitzgerald, commissioned 29/07/1796 is listed as killed. Accessed 20/2/2023.

[34]Lord Monson & G. Leveson Gower, Memoirs of George Elers, (London: Wm. Heinemann 1903) pp. 101-2. The Army List 1801 still only shows Elers as a Lieutenant; Weller, Wellington in India (London: Greenhill Books 1993) takes a less harsh view.

[35] Julian James Cotton, British Library, His Majesty’s Regiment De Meuron, General Reference Mss 12275/aa/19, refers to 12 men killed and 25 casualties, p.26.

[36]  T. Hook, The Life of General Sir David Baird, (London: R. Bentley 1831) 2 vols Vol. I pp.209-14; Hibbert, Wellington, A Personal History (Harper Collins 1988 softback ed.) p.27 .

These men were allegedly executed on the orders of Tippoo Sultan. The killing of the 33rd soldiers by alleged strangulation or having nails driven into their skulls caused later reprisals.

[37] A. Lee, History of the 33rd Foot, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. (Norwich: printed by Jarrold and Sons Ltd. 1922) p.167

[38] W. Mackenzie, Colonel Colin Mackenzie, First Surveyor General of India, (London: W Chambers, 1952) p.69

[39] J. Gurwood, The Dispatches of Field Marshal, the Duke of Wellington during his Various Campaigns, India (London: J. Murray, 1837) 3 Vols. Vol. I p.26

[40] TNA WO 25/677

[41] Lord Monson & L. Leveson Gower, Memoirs of George Elers. (London: Wm. Heinemann 1903) Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shawe, known by the sobriquet of ‘Old Sour Crout.’ p.94;

[42] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan 1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800) pp.103-104

[43] British Library Asia and Africa Collection MSS EUR F370/1619. Meuron Bayard seems unaware that Tippoo Sultan was a Muslim, together with the majority of his troops, though whether from birth or later conversion is not known; Grenades were likely to have been made from iron, glass or ceramic material filled with compressed gunpowder. The fuses were problematic and often unreliable.

[44] S. Lushington, The Life and Services of General Lord Harris, (London: J. Parker, 1840) pp.318-323

[45] Alexander Campbell Born 1760; India 1793 to 1799; Major in 74th Foot 1795; Lieutenant-Colonel 4 December 1796; commanded 74th Foot 1796 to 1809; brevet Colonel 25 December 1803; Adjutant-General in Ireland 1809; commanded a brigade in Peninsula April to June 1809;, wounded at Talavera; commanded a brigade in 4th Division February to October 1810; Major-General 25 July 1810; commanded 6th Division October 1810 to November 1811; Lieutenant-General in East Indies March 1812; Commander-in-Chief Mauritius 1813 to 1816; Lieutenant-General 4 June 1814; created Baronet.

[46] J. Weller, Wellington in India, (London Greenhill Books 1983) pp.71-72

[47] S. Lushington, The Life and Services of General Lord Harris, (London: J. Parker, 1840) pp.318-323

[48] Piachaud entered the regiment as a Lieutenant 1781, promoted Captain 1788, Brevet Major 1800, died at Seringapatam 1802;  Guisant entered as a Quartermaster Sergeant and appointed a 2nd Lieutenant 1791, Ensign 1794, Lieutenant 1796, Captain 1803, retired 1810 on half pay until 1835; Zehnpfennig, joined the regiment as Sergeant Major in 1793, appointed Quartermaster1802, Ensign 1808, Lieutenant 1810 and retired on half pay 1816 until 1855.

[49] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p.309; Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800) App. XXXIX pp.cxxii-cxxiii, records Glesser’s death on the 19th April.

[50] TNA WO 25/677-I, ‘Description of the Soldiers of the Late Regiment Meuron 14 October 1795-24 September 1816.’ Parts I & II.  Part I, p.10. ‘Mort de blessure la tranchee´ devant Seringapatam.’

[51] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p.175

[52] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan 1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800) p.123, gives a slightly different version. Soon after, ‘the batteries opened, a shot having struck a magazine of rockets in the fort, occasioned a dreadful explosion’ but states that Montague was at the time hit by a cannon shot whilst watching the batteries.

[53] Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) pp. 49-50.

[54] F. Winter, The First Golden Age of Rocketry, (London: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1990) pp.5-11

[55] W. Y. Carman, A History of Firearms from the Earliest Times to 1914. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1955) pp.192. Chapter XI, pp.189-197. Y. Carman, A History of Firearms from the Earliest Times to 1914. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1955) p.193.

[56] D. Howell, A Degree of Ferocity, the Anglo Maratha Wars 1774-1819, (Leicester: The Tichborne Press 2022) pp.395-398.

[57] Anon, Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) p.63

[58] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan 1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800). p.127

[59] London Gazette 14 September 1799. p.921

[60] David C J Howell, A Degree of Ferocity, An Account of the Services of the British Army during the Anglo Maratha Wars 1774-1819. Captain William Popham 1740-1821, during the 1st Anglo-Maratha War on 3rd August 1780, seized the huge Fort at Gwalior by stealth.

[61] E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List, Madras Army J. L. Caldwell KCB., Cadet 1788, Lieutenant 1792, Capt., 1802, Major 1806, Lieutenant Col 1811, Colonel 1824 Maj. Gen., 1835.

[62] A. Beatson ibid. pp.126-127.

[63] E Thompson, The Last Siege of Sriranga Patnam (Mysore: Wesleyan Missionary Press, 1923) Gaffur was described as a former HEIC cavalryman taken prisoner by Tippoo, who accepted a commission in his army. pp.49-53

[64] Merriam Webster Dictionary, ‘Forlorn Hope,’ a number of men told off or volunteering for a perilous task, ‘soldiers on a dangerous mission.’ ‘Les enfants perdue – the lost children,’

[65] National Archive, WO/25/755/192 Henri de Meuron D’Orbe. Lieutenant 30/03/1795, Capt. Lieutenant 30/12/1802 Captain 25/11/1803 Retired on half pay 14/05/1814.

[66] British Library, Asia and Africa Collection, British Library General Reference 12275.aa.19. Calcutta Review 1903.

[67]   British Library Africa & Asia Collection Mss Eur F370/1619. The writer has naturally used his native language to write what Baird is alleged to have said.  The time Baird moved out is usually acknowledged to be 1pm. De Meuron Tribolet states 1.30pm;

[68] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p.181

[69] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan 1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800) pp.126-128; Hook, The Life of Sir David Baird, (London: R Bentley, 1832)2 volumes, Vol. I. pp.202-204

[70] Anon, Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) pp.68-70

[71] Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) p.62, described as ‘an extract from a letter by an (unidentified) officer who was of the storming party waiting in the trenches.’

[72] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan 1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800) Beatson records that he spoke with a Rajah Cawn, a servant of Tippoo ‘the only person now living’ and gained a first hand account. pp.164-165. The gateway mentioned no longer exists. W. Lawrence, Captives of Tipu, Survivors Narratives, (London: J. Cape, 1929) pp.10-11. A tablet has been placed, at the Water Gate, erroneously marking that as the spot where Tipu met his death.

[73] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan 1799, (London: W Bulmer, 1800) there were 120 French incl. 20 officers under M. Chapuis, Chef de Brigade, who surrendered when the southern rampart was taken. p. 133

[74] A. Gillespie, A History of the Customs and Laws of War, (London: Hart Publishing, 2011) 3 Volumes.

[75] Africa & Asia Collection IOR/F/4/78 9th October 1800.

[76] Diary of Colonel Richard Bayly, 12th Regiment 1796-1830. Fighting the Tigers of Mysore, (London: Leonaur Publishing, 2013) p.93

[77] Africa & Asia Collection, IOR/Z/E/38/7/808 p.61

[78] A Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W.Bulmer 1800) pp.54-55, Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple was serving in the Nizam’s Detachment. George Mignan was an officer in Bombay Army.

[79] London Gazette 14 September 1799 pp.921-923

[80] British Library General Reference 12275.aa.19. Calcutta Review 1903.

[81] A. Allen, An Account of The Campaign in Mysore 1799 Ed. (Calcutta: University Printing and Publishing c.1900); Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W.Bulmer, 1800) appendix xiii. pp. cxxvii; Moon, The British Conquest and Dominion of India (London: Duckworth 1989.) p.350-51 The family of Tippoo Sultanwere incarcerated here after 1799. A mutiny by Sepoys on 10 July 1806 resulted in the deaths of 113 British soldiers. The mutiny was suppressed by Colonel Rollo Gillespie 19th Regiment. Two of Tippoo’s sons were implicated or at least had ‘fanned the flames of discontent’ of the sepoy troops and were moved to Bengal.

[82] A. Allan, An Account of the Campaign in Mysore (1799) Edited by N C Sinha, (Calcutta: University Publishing Co., ND c. 20th century) pp.77-81; https://www.mq.edu.au/macquarie-archive/seringapatam/other/allan.html.

[83] historyofparliamentonline.org accessed 15/2/22

[84] National Army Museum, Ms. 6810-46, a typescript letter dated Hyderabad 20th February 1800; Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List, Patrick Brown MadrasArmy: pp.12-13

[85] P. Moon, The British Conquest and Dominion of India (London: Duckworth 1989.) p.288

[86] Anon, Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by the British Troops and Their Allies, in the Capture of Seringapatam and the Death of Tippoo Sultan May 4, 1799. With Notes Descriptive and Explanatory. (London: 1800) pp.92-93.

[87] M. Bellasis, Honourable Company (London Hollis & Carter 1952) pp. 116-131. He was sentenced to 14 years and transported to Australia for killing Arthur Andrew Forbes in 1801 during a duel. Granted a Conditional Pardon by Governor King on arrival in Sydney in January 1802, subject to the restriction that he should remain in the territory of NSW during the period of his sentence. On 14 October 1802 he was appointed commandant of the Governor’s bodyguard of cavalry and granted a colonial commission as a lieutenant of artillery of the Colonial Forces. He was pardoned in June 1803 and sailed for England on 10 August 1803, and later reinstated in his original place in the Bombay Artillery in July 1806. Promoted Captain 10 December 1807, Major (Brevet) 14 June 1814, Major 22 June 1814, Lieutenant-Colonel 1 September 1818, Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant 1 May 1824. Died at Poona, 29 September 1825.

[88] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p.181

[89] Lord Valentia, Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Egypt, in the years 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806, (London: W. Miller 1809, 3 volumes). Vol. I pp. 358-378.

[90] E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List, Bombay Army; George William Mignan, pp. 52-53.

[91] E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List, Madras Army, William Dowse, pp.46-47; R. Hennel, A Famous Indian Regiment The Kali Panchwin, (London: J. Murray, 1927) p.55

[92] https://www.mq.edu.au/macquarie-archive/seringapatam/other/baird.html accessed 9/1/22

[93] http://www.lib.mq.edu.au/digital/seringapatam/mysoreans.html#m Accessed 06/12/21; Howard Wellington and the British Army’s Indian Campaigns (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2020) p.64

[94] Africa & Asia Collection, IOR/F/4/78/9th Oct 1800.

[95]  T. Hook, The Life of General, the Right Honourable Sir David Baird, Bart. G.C.B. K.C. &c. (London: Richard Bentley, 1832 Vol. I pp.228-233

[96] E. Dodswell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List, William Gent; Madras Army, pp.68-69

[97] E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List, William Dowse, Madras Army pp.46-47

[98] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W.Bulmer, 1800) App. XVII – XVIII. pp. lxix – lxxi

[99] Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) pp.124-128

[100] J. Weller, Wellington in India, (London Greenhill Books 1983) App. III pp.303-310.

[101] A. Beatson, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W.Bulmer, 1800), records only Lieutenant Matthey, as died of wounds. Does not record Georges Glesser KIA 26-27 April 1799. Lushington, The Life and Services of General Lord Harris, (London: J. Parker, 1840) Return of the Casualties during the Siege and Assault on Seringapatam1799. Appendix XIX, p.551

[102] G. de Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p.184; A Beatson A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultan, (London: W.Bulmer 1800) App. XXXIX, p.cxxi.

[103] The French livre was in circulation until 1794, yet the name persisted long after and is difficult to assess in terms of Rupees. The Pagoda, a S. Indian gold coin, equivalent at the time to three and a half Rupees.

[104] National Army Museum, Ms. 6810-46, a typescript letter dated Hyderabad 20th February 1800

[105] Madras Artillery Records, Volume 2, 1753-1838, pp.119-123

[106] J. Moore Public Characters. Dublin, 1801 pp.140-141.Extract from the original review: ‘Mr. Robert Ker Porter’ Assault on Seringapatam. Ker Porter painted the 120 feet panorama in 1800; Anon Narrative Sketches of the Conquest of the Mysore, Effected by British Troops and their Allies. (London: W. Justins, 1800) Final 2 pages of advertisements, DESCRIPTIVE SKETCH of the STORMING of SERINGAPATAM, as exhibited in the GREAT HISTORICAL PICTURE painted by ROBERT KER PORTER. (Naming Captain Lardy para. 13.)

[107] Lardy had been commissioned into the regiment a Captain-Lieutenant 1st June 1781, and promoted Captain 11th November 1787, Major (Brevet) 1st January 1800 (possibly retrospective to 25th September 1798) Lieutenant-Colonel 21st October 1803, and brevet Major General in 1802. Lardy sold his commission in 1812, to Lieutenant Colonel G. Wyndham and retired to Egham in Surrey, dying in 1827.

[108] Madras Artillery Records Vol. 2 pp.113-114

[109] The Rajah and Principality of Mysore, With a Letter to Lord Stanley, (London: Thos. Richards, 1865) p.9.

[110] P. Moon, British Conquest and Dominion of India (London: Duckworth 1989) pp. 350-51; Lushington, (The Life and Services of General Lord HarrisLondon: J. Parker 1840) pp.410-439. Lushington is scathing about Theodore Hook’s biography of Baird, which he alleges contains unfounded censures against the C-in-C Lord Harris. pp.410-492

[111] J. Cotton, List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monuments in Madras, (Madras: Government Press, 1945) 2 vols Revised. p.188; De Meuron, Le Regiment Meuron, p.287

[112] Renaud had joined the regiment as a Cadet in 1787, Ensign November 1787 and Captain-Lieutenant in 1790.

[113] Kent County Council, Lord Harris Archive, U 624/0646A De Meuron.

[114] Kent County Council, Lord Harris Archive U624/0614/2/1 &2

[115] Kent County Council, Lord Harris Archive U624/0614/8-3 & U624/0614/9-4

[116] Kent County Council, Lord Harris Archive U624/0614/11; London Gazette confirmed in Brevet rank as Major General 16 March 1802. P.284

[117] Army List 1801, War Office Dublin Castle, Keith Young listed as Major, Ramsay’s Regiment of Foot. He and Colonel William Ramsay are the only two shown present in the regiment. pp.41 & 347; British Library Africa and Asia Collection IOR/Z/E/4/38/Y9, Young appointed Aide de Camp 2nd Lord Clive, Governor of Madras 1801-1806

[118] Kent County Council, Lord Harris Archive U624/0614/9-11(2)

[119] All seven officers retired on half pay pensions from Arnee, India, 1/1/1800.

[120] Africa & Asia Collection IOR/F/4/ 78, 22nd November 1800.

[121] Kent County Council Lord Harris Archive, U624/0614/14/3

[122] Army List 1800 & 1801, (London & Dublin: The War Office, 1800 & 1801

[123] Army List 1800 & 1801, (London & Dublin: The War Office, 1800 & 1801); E. Dodwell & J. Miles, An Alphabetical List of Officers of the Indian Army 1760-1834. (London: Longman Orme & Co. 1838). Lieutenant Thomas Stewart is not listed as serving in a Kings regiment 1800-1801, though there are four listed on half pay, and one Lieutenant Thomas Stewart serving in the Madras army.

[124] Kent County Council, Lord Harris Archive U624/0614/13/1-8

[125] Kent County Council Lord Harris Archives U624/614/12.

[126] J. Gurwood, Wellington’s Despatches, (London: J. Murray, 1837) 3 Vols. Vol. I pp.89-90. See previous fn.

[127] TNA PROB 11/1369/169.

[128] Africa & Asia Collection IOR/F/4/53/1149

[129] The Annual Register for the Year 1804, (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1806) App. to the Chronicle, pp. 179-189.

[130] E. Ingram, Two Views of British India, the Correspondence of Mr. Dundas and Lord Wellesley, (London: Adams & Dart, 1969) pp.273-276

[131] E. Ingram, Two Views of British India, the Correspondence of Mr. Dundas and Lord Wellesley, (London: Adams & Dart, 1969) pp.313-322

[132] E. Ingram, Two Views of British India, the Correspondence of Mr. Dundas and Lord Wellesley, (London: Adams & Dart, 1969) pp.313-322; C. Welsch, The Company’s Sword (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022, p.102, describes the 4th Anglo-Mysore War 1799 as ‘little more than a land grab, vindicated by the spectre of a Franco Mysore conspiracy.’