They attacked a party of sepoys within the frontier, and seized and carried off British subjects, while at all points their troops, moving in large bodies, assumed the most menacing positions.
Arrah is famous for an incident in the Mutiny, when a dozen Englishmen, with 50 Sikhs, defended an ordinary house against 2000 Sepoys and a multitude of armed insurgents, perhaps four times that number.
Besides the gunboat in the river, he has a guard of sepoys, and there is an Indian post-office in the residency.
He is said to have induced his brother to employ a Parsee to purchase artillery and small arms from the Bombay government, and to enrol some thirty sailors of different European nations as gunners, and is thus credited with having been "the first Indian who formed a corps of sepoys armed with firelocks and bayonets, and who had a train of artillery served by Europeans."
At this period a band of Sikh fanatics called "akalis," attacked Sir Charles Metcalfe's escort, and the steadiness with which the disciplined sepoys repulsed them, so impressed the maharaja that he decided to change the strength of his army from cavalry to infantry.
At first all seemed to go badly, as the British officers despised the enemy, and the sepoys were unaccustomed to mountain warfare, and thus alternate extremes of rashness and despondency were exhibited.
Undaunted, he marched out to the battlefield of Plassey (Palasi), at the head of about 900 Europeans and 2000 sepoys, with 8 pieces of artillery.
Moreover the spirit of the sepoys during the Sikh wars was unsatisfactory, and led to excessive casualties amongst the British officers and soldiers.
The lowcaste natives employed in the arsenals knew what grease was actually being employed, and taunted the Brahman sepoys with the loss of caste that would follow their use of the new cartridges.
The Bengal sepoys, especially, thought that they could see into the future farther than the rest of their countrymen.
As early as 1764 it was necessary to stamp out mutiny by blowing thirty sepoys away from guns.
At the same time, there were deeper reasons for discontent with British rule, which specially affected the classes from which the Bengal sepoys were drawn.
The introduction The of the Minie rifle, with its greased cartridges, was accompanied by no consideration of the religious prejudices of the Bengal sepoys, to whom, whether Hindus or Mahommedans, the fat of cows and pigs was anathema.
It was easy for agitators to persuade the sepoys that the new cartridges were greased with the fat of animals sacred to one creed or forbidden to another, and that the British government was thus engaged in a deep-laid plot for forcing them to become Christians by first making them outcasts from their own religions.
Forrest in the Indian government records have shown that the sepoys' fears of defilement by biting the new cartridges had a considerable foundation in fact.
It was then thought that, if the sepoys mutinied, they would march off to Delhi, and Wheeler contented himself by throwing up a rude entrenchment round the hospital barracks, where he thought that the Europeans would be safe during the first tumult of a rising.
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.
His company consisted of thirteen sepoys, ten Johanna men, nine African boys from Nasik school, Bombay, and four boys from the Shire region, besides camels, buffaloes, mules and donkeys.
The enemy received their final blow at Palap, but not before three officers were killed, three wounded, and 102 sepoys and followers killed and wounded.
In the following year the sepoys of the Bengal War army mutinied, and all the valley of the Ganges from Patna to Delhi rose in open rebellion.
Forrest's researches in the Government of India records that the sepoys' belief that their cartridges were greased with the fat of cows and pigs had some foundation in fact.
Some military police sepoys were murdered in British territory, and a force of 600 troops was sent, who traversed the Abor country, and destroyed the villages concerned in the murder and all other villages that opposed the expedition.
The mediate cause of the Mutiny was the great disproportion between the numbers of British and native troops in India, which gave the sepoys an exaggerated notion of their power; its immediate causes were a series of circumstances which promoted active discontent with British rule.
Owing to the silladar system, under which the Indian sowar provided his own horse and provender in return for a monthly wage, the Indian cavalry were almost to a man in debt, and therefore favoured any attempt to upset the existing regime, and with it to wipe out the moneylender and his books; and the general enlistment order passed in July 1856, for the purposes of the war in Persia, made the Hindu sepoys afraid of losing caste by crossing the sea.
The Sepoys again had an ineradicable dislike to serve beyond the sea, and the invasion of Pegu necessitated their transport by water to the seat of war.
The Sepoys thought that their caste would be destroyed if they touched the fat of the sacred cow or unclean pig; they were even persuaded that the British government wished to destroy their caste in order to facilitate their conversion to Christianity.
Almost the same plot was enacted at Nagpur, where the honour of the British name was saved by the sepoys who defended the hill of Sitabaldi against enormous odds.
One expedition with gunboats proceeded up the Brahmaputra into Assam; another marched by land through Chittagong into Arakan, for the Bengal sepoys refused to go by sea; a third, and the strongest, sailed from Madras direct to the mouth of the Irrawaddy.
But Clive in person marched to the rescue, with an army of only 450 Europeans and 2500 sepoys, and the Mogul army dispersed without striking a blow.
A force of 2000 sepoys was cut to pieces at Patna, and about 200 Englishmen in various parts of the province fell into the hands of the Mahommedans, and were subsequently massacred.
During his administration also occurred the mutiny of the Madras sepoys at Vellore, which, though promptly suppressed, sent a shock of insecurity through the empire.
After overcoming the natural difficulties of a malarious climate and precipitous hills, the sepoys were on several occasions fairly worsted by the unexpected bravery of the little Gurkhas, whose heavy knives or kukris dealt terrible execution.