Siege of Bangalore
The Siege of Bangalore was a siege of the town and fortifications of Bangalore during the Third Anglo-Mysore War by forces of the British East India Company, led by Charles, Earl Cornwallis against a Mysorean garrison, while Tipu Sultan, Mysore's ruler, harried the camps and positions of the besiegers. Arriving before the town on 5 February 1791, Cornwallis captured the town by assault on 7 February, and after six weeks of siege, stormed the fortress on 21 March.
The Bangalore fort, ca. 1791, was described as follows:
Bangalore, like Madras, had a fort, with a pettah, or fortified town, outside it. This lay-out was a feature of almost all the cities or settlements in India, the fort providing a place of refuge for most of the inhabitants if the pettah was in danger of capture. The fort at Bangalore had a perimeter of about one mile; it was of solid masonry, surrounded by a wide ditch which was commanded from 26 towers placed at intervals along the ramparts. To its north lay the pettah, several miles in circumference and protected by an indifferent rampart, a deep belt of thorn and cactus, and a small ditch. Altogether Bangalore was not a place which invited attack.—Sandes, Lt Col E.W.C. (1933) The Military Engineer In India, Vol 1
Tipu Sultan followed Cornwallis' army, placing him in the awkward position of having an undefeated enemy army at his back while besieging the a strong fortification. Tipu kept away hoping to take assault when underway in flank. Over the next twelve days, two companies of the Madras Pioneers provided sappes for eight batteries, dug several parallels and a trench up to the fort ditch. Cornwallis attacked secretly on the night of March 21st, 1791. The Madras Pioneers, led by Lt Colin Mackenzie, crossed the ditch with scaling ladders, mounted the breach and entered the fort, while the artillery engaged the fort with blank ammunition. With a breach made, the main stormers rushed in and the fort was captured after a hand-to hand fight in which a thousand defenders were killed. Cornwallis captured the fort and secured the force against Tipu.
The Madras Pioneers, went on to make Bangalore their permanent home.
- Sandes, Lt Col E.W.C. (1933). The Military Engineer in India, Vol I. Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers. pp. 163–165.
- Mill, James. A history of British India, Volume 5
- Miles, W (translator). The history of the Reign of Tipu Sultan