Auction Date: 14/06/2018 at 10:30 am
Scarce Second Sikh War Account by Thackwell - A rare first edition of ‘Narrative of the Second Seikh War in 1848-49 - with a detailed account of the Battles of Ramnugger, the Passage of the Chenab, Chillianwallah, Goojerat’ by Edward Joseph Thackwell, London, 1851. Original red embossed boards with later red leather spine with gilt titles. Thackwell was in command of the cavalry in the first Sikh war at Sobraon. When the second Sikh war began he was appointed to the command of the third division of infantry; but on the death of Brigadier Cureton in the action at Ramnagar, he was transferred to the cavalry division. After Ramnagar the Sikhs crossed to the right bank of the Chinab. To enable his own army to follow them, Gough sent a force of about eight thousand men under Thackwell to pass the river higher up and help to dislodge the Sikhs from their position by moving on their left flank and rear. Thackwell found the nearer fords impracticable, but crossed at Vazirabad, and on the morning of 3 Dec. encamped near Sadulapur. He had orders not to attack till he was joined by an additional brigade; but he was himself attacked towards midday by about half the Sikh army. The Sikhs drove the British pickets out of three villages and some large plantations of sugar-cane, and so secured for themselves a strong position. They kept up a heavy fire of artillery until sunset and made some feeble attempts to turn the British flanks, but there was very little fighting at close quarters. In the course of the afternoon Thackwell received authority to attack if he thought proper; but as the enemy was strongly posted, he deemed it safer to wait till next morning. By morning the Sikhs had disappeared, and it is doubtful whether they had any other object in their attack than that of gaining time for a retreat. Gough expressed his ‘warm approval’ of Thackwell's conduct, Thackwell was in command of the cavalry at Chilianwala. At Gujrat he was also on the left and kept in check the enemy's cavalry when it tried to turn that flank. After the battle was won he led a vigorous pursuit till nightfall. In his despatch of 26 Feb. 1849 Gough said: ‘I am also greatly indebted to this tried and gallant officer for his valuable assistance and untiring exertions throughout the present and previous operations as second in command with this force.’ He received the thanks of parliament for the third time, and the G.C.B.