Pettah of Ahmednagar

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In 1803 the Pettah of Ahmednagar,[a] had forty bastions, or round towers: eight of them were large, with two guns in each; the remainder had only loopholes. There were twelve gates, without any detached works for defence. The walls were of mud, about 10 feet (3.0 m) high without a ditch.[1]

A gunshot to the east of the pettah was the Fort of Ahmednagar. A small river came from the northward, round the west side of the pettah, and passed to the southward of the fort. A nullah also passed from the northward, between the fort and a town called Bhingar, about a gunshot to the eastward, and joined the river.[1]

Two nills or covered aqueducts came from the hills, a mile or more to the north, passed through and supplied the pettah and the town, and then went into the fort, either under or through the ditch, into which the waste water fell.[1]

Capture during Second Anglo-Maratha War[edit]

In 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, forces under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) stormed and captured the small town.

Wellesley sent forward his stormers against the pettah, having first pointed out to the leaders where they were to fix their ladders. The assault was gallantly led; but within ten minutes five of the officers leading the first attacking party were killed or wounded, the ladders were thrown down and broken; the attack had failed.[2]

Another attacking party had only two ladders; the rush of the stormers broke down one; but, on the other, the stormers, commanded by Captain Vesey and headed by Lieutenant Colin Campbell, forced their way up. About 150 men had gained the rampart when a cannon-shot smashed the ladder. The fate of the stormers, thus cut off, might have seemed hopeless; but they leaped down the inner side of the wall, forced their way through the streets to the central gate, against which another party of stormers was battering on the outside, opened it, let in their comrades, and the town was won. Wellesley then turned his attention to the nearby fort, which after a cannonade surrendered on terms and the garrison marched out with full military honours.[2][b] The successful assault carried out with such apparent ease made a strong impression on the Indians. Golka, a Mahratta chief, wrote to a friend shortly after the incident:[c]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Also spelt Pettah of Ahmednuggur in contemporary records (Duke of Wellington 1859)
  2. ^ Wellesley saw the attack and was impressed with Colin Campbell he later said:

    Having made the necessary arrangements beforehand, I let loose the storming party. As I was watching the progress of things, I saw an officer seize a ladder, plant it against the wall, and rush up alone. He was thrown down on reaching the summit, but jumped up at once, and re-ascended; he was again thrown down, and again re-ascended, followed on this occasion by the men. There was a scuffle on the top of the wall, in which the officer had to cut his way through the defenders, and presently a whole crowd of British troops poured after him into the town. As soon as I got in, I made inquiries about him, and found that his name was Colin Campbell, and that he was wounded. I sought him out, and said a few words to him, with which he seemed greatly delighted. I liked his blunt, manly manner, and never lost sight of him afterwards.

    —Arthur Wellesley.[4]
  3. ^ Golka is also spelt Gocklah and Gookiah in other sources.
  4. ^ A different sources state that Colonel Nicolls wrote: "Gookiah, a Mahratta chief, residing in our camp with a body of horse, wrote thus to his friends at Poonan— 'These English are a strange people, and their General a wonderful man. They came here in the morning, looked at the Pettah walls, walked over it, killed all the garrison, and returned to breakfast! What can withstand them?'" [5]
  1. ^ a b c Duke of Wellington 1859, p. 100
  2. ^ a b c Fitchett 1911, pp. 102–104.
  3. ^ Burton 2008, p. 56.
  4. ^ Fitchett 1911, p. 103.
  5. ^ Staff 1853, p. 7.

References[edit]

  • Burton, Reginald George (2008), Wellington's Campaigns in India (reprint ed.), Lancer Publishers, p. 56, ISBN 9780979617461 
  • Duke of Wellington (1859), "Memorandum of the Ahmednuggur Fort", in Wellesley, Arthur Richard (2nd Duke), Supplementary despatches and memoranda of field marshal Arthur duke of Wellington 1797-1819 with a map of India, J. Murray, p. 100 
  • Staff (1853), "Arthur Duke of Wellington: Invasion of the Mahratta country", The Working man's friend, and family instructor, New 3 (53), London: John Cassell, pp. 6–7 
Attribution

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Fitchett, William Henry (1911), Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of, 1769-1852, London: G. Bell, pp. 102–104 

Further reading[edit]

  • Forrest, George (1901), "The Duke of Wellington", Sepoy generals, Wellington to Roberts, Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood, pp. 67–70 
  • Welsh, James (1830), "Ahmednugger", Military Reminiscences, from a Journal of nearly forty years' Active Service in the East Indies 1 (First edition in two volumes ed.), London: Smith, Elder, and Company, pp. 155–165