KPK History / Pakistan

Ambela Campaign (Buner), 1863, Part 6

Now that the enemy were on the run it was the time to press them, and this Turner did so effectually that the leading men of his column entered Lalu simultaneously with the last of the fugitives. The rapidity of this movement was so unexpected that it threw the enemy inside the walls into confusion; they made no stand, and were soon in full retreat towards Umbeyla and the passes leading into Buner.

While affairs were thus prospering on our right, the enemy, apparently imagining we were too busy to think of our left, came in large numbers from the village of Umbeyla, threatening the camp and the communications of the second column. Wilde, however, was prepared for them, and held his ground until reinforced by Turner, when he made a forward movement. The Guides, and detachments of the 5th Gurkhas and 3rd Sikhs, charged down one spur, and the 101st down another; the enemy were driven off with great slaughter, leaving a standard in the hands of the Gurkhas, and exposing themselves in their flight to Turner’s guns. During the day they returned, and, gathering on the heights, made several unsuccessful attacks upon our camp. At last, about 2 p.m., Brownlow, who was in command of the right defences, assumed the offensive, and, aided by Keyes, moved out of the breastworks and, by a succession of well-executed charges, completely cleared the whole front of the position, and drove the tribesmen with great loss into the plain below.

All opposition having now ceased, and the foe being in full retreat, the force bivouacked for the night. We had 16 killed and 67 wounded ; while our opponents admitted to 400 killed and wounded

The next morning we were joined by Probyn with 200 sabres of the 11th Bengal Lancers and the same number of the Guides ; and after a hasty breakfast the order was given to march into the Chamla valley. My duty was to accompany the Mountain batteries and show them the way. As we debouched into comparatively open country, the enemy appeared on a ridge which completely covered our approach to Umbeyla, and we could descry many standards flying on the most prominent points. The road was so extremely difficult that it was half past two o’clock before the whole force was clear of the hills.

General Garvock, having made a careful reconnaissance of the enemy’s position, which was of great strength and peculiarly capable of defence, had decided to turn their right, a movement which was to be entrusted to the second column, and I was told to inform Turner that he must try and cut them off from the Buner Pass as they retreated. I found Turner close to Umbeyla and delivered my message. He moved forward at once with the 23rd Pioneers and a wing of the 32nd Pioneers in line, supported by the second wing, having in reserve a wing of the 7th Royal Fusiliers.

Source of Information/Reference:

Fredrick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, Forty One Years In India: From Subalturn to Commander-In-Chief, Volume II, London, Richard Bentley and Sons, 1897,15-17.

The Chief Editor of the website (www.swatencyclopedia.com) is Jalal Uddin. He hails from Saidu Sharif, Swat. He is M.phil Scholar and his research field is Swat State. He regularly writes on Swat State and its various aspects.
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The Chief Editor of the website (www.swatencyclopedia.com) is Jalal Uddin. He hails from Saidu Sharif, Swat. He is M.phil Scholar and his research field is Swat State. He regularly writes on Swat State and its various aspects.
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