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LALABAD HOLDS OUT, AND GENERAL POLLOCK ADVANCES UPON CAUBUL.
AFTER the breaking up of the army of the Indus, Sir John Keane proceeded down the Indus, and shortly afterwards embarked for England, where those honours, titles, and pecuniary rewards awaited him, which would have entitled him to the appellation of one of the most fortunate soldiers who ever acquired laurels in India-had he survived long to enjoy the distinction.
Fortunate, indeed, may Sir John Keane be termed, in having brought to an apparently suc
cessful conclusion a campaign which was founded in error and injustice, and placed in the hands of the commander-in-chief with the fullest assurance of the directing arm of Providence leading the small band through a country of which the little that was known should have induced a supposition that an army provided with an insufficient amount of supplies must meet with enormous difficulties. By some unaccountable fatality, the Afghans neglected the advantages thus afforded them, and thereby induced a supposition that the warlike spirit of the tribes who had overrun and conquered Hindostan had departed for ever; and that a handful of British soldiers would be sufficient to maintain possession of a country inhabited by a nation whose hands were fitted at their birth to the cimeter, and whose eyes, when capable of distinguishing objects with accuracy, were directed along the barrel of a rifle.
Trusting, doubtless, in the resources of their monarch to repel the British invasion, no coalition was formed amongst the mountain tribes; but when the abhorred Feringhee had seized their king and established himself in the land of their
fathers, and when, moreover, they beheld him, lulled into security, break up his forces and march the greater portion of his army homewards through the jaws of the tremendous portals of Afghanistan, the lighted torch flew with resolute speed from the valley of Quetta to the mountains of Kohistan. The Ghilzie, whose heel had been bruised, but whose arm was not unnerved, roused his brethren to vengeance, and the eloquence of Akbar, pleading for the diadem which had been snatched from his ambitious hopes, found a responsive echo in the heart of every true Barukzye.
A tribe of insolent plunderers had established themselves in the Khoord Caubul, and had the audacity to interfere with the letter - carriers. The gallant Sale, with his brigade, hastened to brush these intruders from the surface of the mountains, but the band of robbers had swollen to an army; and though, by desperate valour and unwearied exertion, a passage was forced through every obstacle, yet the passes closed upon the isolated brigade, and the communication with the ill-fated garrison of Caubul was cut off for ever.
Red with the slaughter of their enemies, and
faint from their own wounds, the wearied band of soldiers, under Sale, threw themselves into Jellalabad. Then burst the startling intelligence over the plains of India that an insurrection had broken out amongst the far-distant mountains of Afghanistan, and that our fellow-soldiers were ill provided with sustenance, short of ammunition, and enveloped amongst countless swarms of enemies. I will not enter minutely on the details of that insurrection, which shook the fabric of our Eastern power to its centre, brought unmerited obloquy on the British name, and entailed the most harrowing series of disasters on the hapless army in Afghanistan that England's history can record in her military annals.
The task of recapitulating the succession of horrors which took place in Caubul has been undertaken by eye-witnesses and sufferers from the small remnant of the Caubul garrison who escaped.
Amongst that catalogue of miseries and massacre we have the consolatory reflection that the Afghans found no grounds to assert that the British, though worn with toil, and pierced by