Mudki, Battle of


Mudki, Battle of
(1845)
   The opening battle of the First Sikh War in the small village of Mudki in northwestern India. With war winds blowing, the Sikh army, the Khalsa , led by Lal Singh and Tej Singh, crossed the Sutlej River into British territory on December 11. The Sikhs did not go on the offensive immediately. Seven days after crossing the Sutlej, on December 18, the Sikh army advanced against British forces at Mudki, where Lieutenant General Sir Hugh Gough, commander-in-chief in India, had about 10,000 troops assembled.
   At about 4:00 P.M ., the Sikhs opened fire and an artillery duel ensued. Then, after the Sikh cavalry was repulsed, the British infantry, 12 battalions in all, went on the attack and pushed back the Sikh army. The battle continued into the night and confusion reigned. Death by friendly fire was not uncommon. The British had 870 casualties, 215 killed and 655 wounded; the Sikhs lost an estimated 300 killed. Although not a decisive win, the British considered Mudki a victory.
   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 Victoria ’ s Little Wars. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1972.
   DAVID TURPIE

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

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