Ferozeshah, Battle of


Ferozeshah, Battle of
(1845)
   A sequel engagement to Mudki in the First Sikh War. Less than two days after the battle at Mudki, the British army and the Sikh army met again, at Ferozeshah on December 21, 1845. About 13,000 Sikh troops under the command of Lal Singh were entrenched there, and General Sir Hugh Gough began the march toward the enemy at 4 A.M . Seven hours later, at 11 A.M. , Gough wanted to attack but was overruled by his second-in-command, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Hardinge, in his capacity as governor-general of India. Gough did not have all available troops with him, and Lord Hardinge made the decision to wait for the rest to arrive. Once they arrived, the attack commenced late in the afternoon. With the addition of Sir John Littler’s men, the British had about 18,000 troops. The attack began with an artillery duel. Then Littler’s infantry charged, but was repulsed.
   As at Mudki, nighttime came and confusion reigned. The British forces had taken the field, though, and camped in the former Sikh position. On the second day of the battle, December 22, a new Sikh army, led by Tej Singh, arrived. Gough ordered a cavalry charge, which was successful, but then the cavalry rode off, as ordered by their commander. This surprised many on both sides, and, fearing a trick, Singh withdrew and led his army back across the Sutlej into Sikh territory. It was a costly victory for the British: 700 killed out of a total of 2,415 casualties. The Sikhs had an estimated 3,000 casualties.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Bruce, George. Six Battles for India: The Anglo-Sikh Wars, 1845-6, 1848-9. London: Arthur Barker, 1969;
    Cook, Hugh. The Sikh Wars: The British Army in the Punjab, 1845-1849. London: Leo Cooper, 1975;
    Crawford, E. R. “The Sikh Wars, 1845–9.” In Brian Bond, ed. Victorian Military Campaigns. New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1967;
    Farwell, Byron. Queen Victorias Little Wars. New York: W. W. Norton, 1972.
   DAVID TURPIE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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