Monday, July 5, 2010

Lord Wellesley's monument at Bombay--Artist: Simpson, William (1823-1899) Medium: Chromolithograph Date: 1867

Lord Wellesley's monument at Bombay

his chromolithograph is taken from plate 48 of William Simpson's 'India: Ancient and Modern'. Lord Wellesley was Governor-General of Bengal during the period 1797 to 1805. Committed to extending British rule in India, he at least consolidated it by means of the Anglo-Mysore and Anglo-Maratha wars. To some observers, this period was one of the most eventful and 'glorious' times of British rule in India. In spite of this, this statue ordered for Mumbai (Bombay) lay neglected in a warehouse and would not have been erected but for the efforts of Sir Charles Forbes. It was put up in Elphinstone (later Horniman) Circle, outside the town hall.
Field Marshal His Grace The Duke of Wellington [

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington



In India:-Arriving in Calcutta in February 1797 he spent several months there, before being sent on a brief expedition to the Philippines, where he established a list of new hygiene precautions for his men to deal with the unfamiliar climate. Returning in November to India, he learnt that his elder brother Richard, now known as Lord Mornington, had been appointed as the new Governor-General of India. As part of the campaign to extend the rule of the British East India Company, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out in 1798 against the Sultan of Mysore, Tippoo Sultan.]Arthur's brother Richard ordered that an armed force be sent to capture Seringapatam and defeat Tippoo. Under the command of General Harris, some 24,000 troops were dispatched to Madras (to join an equal force being sent from Bombay in the west). Arthur and the 33rd sailed to join them in August.

In 1798 he changed the spelling of his surname to "Wellesley" - up to this time he was still known as Wesley - which his oldest brother considered the ancient and proper spelling.
After extensive and careful logistic preparation (that would become one of Wellesley's main attributes) the 33rd left with the main force in December and travelled across 250 miles (400 km) of jungle from Madras to Mysore. On account of his brother, during the journey, Wellesley was given an additional command, that of chief advisor to the Nizam of Hyderabad's army (sent to accompany the British force). This position was to cause friction amongst many of the senior officers (some of whom were senior to Wellesley). Much of this friction was put to rest after the battle of Malavelly, some 20 miles (32 km) from Seringapatam, in which Harris's army attacked a large part of the sultan's army. During the battle, Wellesley led his men, in a line of battle of two ranks, against the enemy to a gentle ridge and gave the order to fire. After an extensive repetition of volleys, followed by a bayonet charge, the 33rd, in conjunction with the rest of Harris's force, forced Tippoo's infantry to retreat.

Srirangapatna and Mysore

Tippu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore fought the British during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War and was killed in battle. Wellesley was the first officer on the scene and confirmed his death by checking his pulse. Wellesley subsequently ruled Mysore as British governor.
Immediately after their arrival at Seringapatam on 5 April, the Battle of Srirangapatna began and Wellesley was ordered to lead a night attack on the village of Sultanpettah, adjacent to the fortress to clear the way for the artillery. Because of the enemy's strong defensive preparations, and the darkness, with the resulting confusion, the attack failed with 25 casualties. Wellesley suffered a minor injury to his knee from a spent musket-ball. Although they would reattack successfully the next day, after time to scout ahead the enemy's positions, the affair had an impact on Wellesley. He resolved "never to attack an enemy who is preparing and strongly posted, and whose posts have not been reconnoitred by daylight".
A few weeks later, after extensive artillery bombardment, a breach was opened in the main walls of the fortress of Seringapatam. An attack led by Major-General Baird secured the fortress. Wellesley secured the rear of the advance, posting guards at the breach and then stationed his regiment at the main palace. After hearing news of the death of the Tippoo Sultan, Wellesley was the first at the scene to confirm his death, checking his pulse Over the coming day, Wellesley grew increasingly concerned over the lack of discipline amongst his men, who drank and pillaged the fortress and city. To restore order, several soldiers were flogged and four hanged.
After battle and the resulting end of the war, the main force under General Harris left Seringapatam and Wellesley, aged 30, stayed behind to command the area as the new Governor of Seringapatam and Mysore. He took residence within the sultan's summer palace and reformed the tax and justice systems in his province to maintain order and prevent bribery. He also hunted down the mercenary 'King' Dhoondiah Waugh, who had escaped from prison in Seringapatam during the battle. Wellesley, with command of four regiments, defeated Dhoondiah's larger rebel force, along with Dhoondiah himself who was killed in the battle. He paid for the future upkeep of Dhoondia's orphaned son.
Whilst in India, Wellesley was ill for a considerable time, first with severe diarrhea from the water and then with fever, followed by a serious skin infection caused by trichophyton. He received good news when in September 1802 he learnt that he had been promoted to the rank of Major-General. Wellesley had been gazetted Major-General on 29 April, but the news took several months to reach him by sea. He remained at Mysore until November when he was sent to command an army in the Second Anglo-Maratha War.

Second Anglo-Maratha War

Wellesley decided that he must act boldly to defeat the numerically larger force of the Maratha Empire (as he concluded a long defensive war would ruin his army). With the logistic assembly of his army complete (24,000 men in total) he gave the order to break camp and attack the nearest Maratha fort on 8 August 1803. The fort surrendered on 12 August after an infantry attack had exploited an artillery-made breach in the wall. With the fort now in British control Wellesley was able to extend control southwards to the river Godavari.

Arthur Wellesley at the Battle of Assayein a painting by J.C.Stadler. The battle was an important victory for Wellesley in his career and he later remarked that it was the greatest of his victories.[49]
Splitting his army into two forces, to pursue and locate the main Marathas army, (the second force, commanded by Colonel Stevenson was far smaller) Wellesley was preparing to rejoin his forces on 24 September. His intelligence, however, reported the location of the Marathas' main army, between two rivers near Assaye. If he waited for the arrival of his second force, the Marathas would be able to mount a retreat, so Wellesley decided to launch an attack immediately. On 23 September, Wellesley led his forces over a ford in the river Kaitna and the Battle of Assaye commenced. After crossing the ford the infantry was reorganised into several lines and advanced against the Maratha infantry. Wellesley ordered his cavalry to exploit the flank of the Maratha army just near the village. During the battle Wellesley himself was under fire; two of his horses were shot from under him and he had to mount a third. At a crucial moment, Wellesley regrouped his forces and ordered Colonel Maxwell (later killed in the attack) to attack the eastern end of the Maratha position while Wellesley himself directed a renewed infantry attack against the centre. An officer in the attack wrote of the importance of Wellesley's personal leadership: "The general was in the thick of the action the whole time.... Until our troops got the order to readvance, the fate of the day seemed doubtful."With some 6,000 Marathas killed or wounded, the enemy was routed (though Wellesley's force was in no condition to pursue), at a cost of 1,584 British killed or wounded. Wellesley was troubled by the loss of men and remarked that he hoped "I should not like to see again such loss as I sustained on the 23 September, even if attended by such gain".Years later, however, he remarked that Assaye was the best battle he ever fought.
Despite the damage done to the Maratha army, the battle did not end the war. A few months later in November, Wellesley attacked a larger force near Argaum, leading his army to victory again, with an astonishing 5,000 enemy dead at the cost of only 361 British casualties.A further successful attack at the fortress at Gawilghur, combined with the victory of General Lake a tDelhi forced the Maratha to a peace settlement (not concluded until a year later). His biographer Richard Holmes remarked that his experiences in India had an important influence on his personality and military tactics, teaching him much about military matters that would prove vital to his success in the Peninsular War. These included a strong sense of discipline through drill and order, the use of diplomacy to gain allies, and the vital necessity for a secure supply line. He also established a high regard for the acquisition of intelligence through scouts and spies. His personal tastes also developed, including dressing himself in white trousers, a dark tunic, with Hessian boots and black cocked hat (that would later become synonymous as his sty Return to Britain     

 Whilst in India, Wellesley had amassed a fortune of £42,000 (considerable at the time), consisting mainly of prize money from his campaign


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