The Mutiny at the Margins series takes a fresh look at the revolt of 1857 from original and unusual perspectives, focusing in particular on neglected socially marginal groups and geographic areas which have hitherto tended to be unrepresented in studies of this cataclysmic event in British imperial and Indian historiography.
Chapter 8: The Execution of the 26th Native Infantry
The Execution of the 26th Native Infantry
FREDERICK Cooper's The Crisis in the Punjab (1858) is a graphic, deeply disturbing, self-congratulatory account that describes how 282 soldiers of the 26th Native Infantry, who mutinied but otherwise took no part in the rebellion, surrendered to him in the belief that they were to receive a court martial. They were crammed into a police station and an old bastion at Ajnala, in scenes reminiscent of the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ (1757). Forty-five men died from exhaustion, heat, fatigue and partial suffocation. Those who survived were shot the next morning in batches of ten. This act of summary execution was one of many at the time. General Neill and Major Renaud ...