The sepoy mutiny at Vellore in 1807 led to his recall.
British dash and sepoy fidelity, however, prevailed, first in the battle of Chengam (September 3rd, 1767), and again still more remarkably in that of Tiruvannamalai (Trinomalai).
A more formidable danger appeared in the British camp, in the form of the first sepoy mutiny.
During the Sepoy war of 1857-1858 the whole of the Bara Banki talukdars joined the mutineers, but offered no serious resistance after the capture of Lucknow.
It had long been a fundamental principle of Indian government that the sepoy would always be true to his salt - knowing, as Macaulay wrote in 1840, that there was not another state in India which would not, in spite of the most solemn promises, leave him to die of hunger in a ditch as soon as he had ceased to be useful.
The causes which, in the middle of the 19th century, were thus tending to sap the long-tried fidelity of the sepoy army were partly military and partly racial.
The pay and privileges of the sepoy were steadily being diminished, and the increased demands made on the army by the great extension of the company's territory were by no means grateful to the average Bengal sepoy.
On the 29th of March, two days before its arrival, a sepoy named Manghal Pandi, from whom the mutineers afterwards came to be spoken of as "Pandies," drunk with bhang and enthusiasm, attempted to provoke a mutiny in the 34th Bengal infantry, and shot the adjutant, but Hearsey's personal courage suppressed the danger.
Lawrence saw that the surest way to prevent the Mutiny from spreading from the sepoy army of Bengal to the recently conquered fighting races of the Punjab was to hurl the Sikh at the Hindu; instead of taking measures for the defence of the Punjab, he acted on the old principle that the best defence is attack, and promptly organized a force for the reduction of Delhi, with the ardent co-operation of born leaders like John Nicholson, Neville Chamberlain and Herbert Edwardes.
Barrackpur played an important part in the two Sepoy mutinies of 1824 and 1857, but the details of these belong to the general history of British rule in India.
The warlike Hindu and Mahomedan races supplied excellent fighting material, when led by British officers, and the sepoy army took a distinguished part in every Indian battle, from Assaye to Gujarat.
But the history of the sepoy army might have shown that this was an over-estimate of its loyalty.
During the Sepoy mutiny a hill chief of the district gave some trouble, but he was speedily captured and executed.
The country suddenly found itself involved in war with China, and face to face with one of the greatest dangers which it has ever encounteredthe mutiny of the sepoy army in India.
The loyalty of the independent Sikh chiefs, headed by Patiala, and the stern measures which had been taken with the sepoy regiments enabled Lawrence to reinforce this little army with every available man and gun from the Punjab, in addition to Sikh and Pathan levies.