When the news of the outbreak at Meerut reached Lucknow, Sir Henry Lawrence recognized the gravity of the crisis and summoned from their homes two bodies of pensioners, one of sepoys and one of artillerymen, to whose loyalty, and to that of the Sikh sepoys, the successful defence of the residency was largely due.
On the 30th of June Sir Henry Lawrence ordered a reconnaissance in force from Lucknow, which met the enemy at Chinhat; but the native sepoys and artillerymen turned traitors, and Sir Henry was forced to retreat to the residency, where the siege now began.
The Mahratta force consisted of 50,000 men, supported by loo pieces of cannon served by French artillerymen, and entrenched in a strong position.
Look at the smoke, the smoke! exclaimed the artillerymen, brightening up.
Tushin's companion officer had been killed at the beginning of the engagement and within an hour seventeen of the forty men of the guns' crews had been disabled, but the artillerymen were still as merry and lively as ever.
They all rushed out of the village again, but Tushin's guns could not move, and the artillerymen, Tushin, and the cadet exchanged silent glances as they awaited their fate.
Then a thin, pale soldier, his neck bandaged with a bloodstained leg band, came up and in angry tones asked the artillerymen for water.
In front he saw our artillerymen, some of whom were fighting, while others, having abandoned their guns, were running toward him.
The guns were advanced, the artillerymen blew the ash off their linstocks, and an officer gave the word "Fire!"