Archive / Papers / Kenyon, W.P. Papers


Lent by Lt. Colonel W.P. Kenyon

Delhi, Madras, Mysore, United Provinces, Bihar and Orissa, Rajputana, Bengal, Hyderabad, Bombay. 1857-1900


  1. Letters from Captain Jonathan Fowler 8th Cavalry Cantonment Adjutant at Arcot to his cousin, Eliza Kenyon (nee Hawkins) grandmother of Lt. Colonel W.P. Kenyon:
    • Madras, July 19 1857. Madras army still firm. Bad news of Cawnpore. On way to Bangalore. Madras army safe, as the troops have their families with them in Cantonments. Difference in Bengal, families in the villages.
    • Bangalore, July 30 1857.Leaving for Madras, thence to Calcutta, as Governor General has accepted the offer of a Force from Madras Residency ? Leaves his wife Henrietta in perfect safety. Conduct. of troops in Hyderabad, Nagpur and Madras leaves him quite confident. Loss of Sir Henry Lawrence felt badly. Massacre of Cawnpore known, Nana Sahib defeated.
    • Arcot, August 26 1857. Regiment refused to proceed on the pay. Returned to dismount duty in Arcot.
    • Arcot, September 9 1857. Going to Vellore next day, on pleasure to join Managing Engineer who is taking ‘a run down the line from Madras’ by train, and asks Fowler to join him at Arcot. Muslim letters intercepted urging army to make a disturbance. The Colonel written to H.Q. asking for European reinforcements – Mahurram passed off quietly. More about safety – Last page missing.
    • Fort St. George, July 10-11 1857. Fall of Delhi believed to have taken place.- Atrocities. Madras and Bombay calm, though denuded of troops. Precautions in Madras. Fears for Cawnpore – High regard for Madras Fusiliers. Lord Canning’s part. Report that detachments in readiness to march to the relief of Cawnpore were detained by the order of the Commander in Chief; certain news had arrived of fall of Delhi; the King to be hanged.
    • (Arcot, see previous letter) September 11 (1857). Went to Vellore day before. The rest purely personal.
    • Arcot, September 25 1857. Troops pass through, thought to be sent to quell a disturbance at Vaniyambadi -Affair blew over. Description and comment on requisition dismissing naive troops. Numbers come to Fowler begging him to do what he could for them. The Colonel (Arbuthnot) writes privately to Adjutant General of the Army suggesting a small pension for loyal native officers. The 8th Light Cavalry cannot remain as a corps. Rumour that they will be gazetted into other regiments. Hear nothing from Bengal – censorship. Government news only looked on with suspicion. China troops landed in Calcutta and small numbers from Mauritius and the Cape. No progress. Madras fusiliers at Cawnpore awaiting for General Outram’s force before moving on to Lucknow. England is told it is a purely military revolt. Feels great shame that his regiment only has defaulted.
    • Arcot, October 11 1857. Removal of an objectionable officer by the Company. Fowler gets majority. Report that Delhi has fallen, and Lucknow returned. Amusing report by Muslim population that Lord Elphinstone is to be King of Delhi. Colonel Arbuthnot’s report gone in officially, and would be laid before Government Reports of the differences between Sir Colin Campbell and Lord Canning. Fowler wants a fearful punishment on rebels.
    • Arcot, November 11 1857. Henrietta his wife with him from Bangalore. Matters in Bengal very bad though Delhi taken – Havelock and Tottenham hemmed in. Attack on Neemuch bad. Madras province kept in order by one native regiment ? no European regiment. Rebellion among Nagphur Irregular troops quelled by the Kemptee Force, all natives of Madras Army. Attempts to bribe Hyderabad contingent failed. His Regiment alone did not do its duty but mutinied. Reason: Lord William Bentinck’s interference with pay and pension. All trouble in Cavalry due to that order.
    • Arcot, November 26 1857. 8th Light Cavalry disbanded – Fowler’s great distress. Men and officers dispersed among other Regiments. Men get same rates, officers do not. Can only hope for staff appointment. Asks Eliza to write to Mr. Lushington about appointment to staff. Very busy, Commander in Chief coming, 1st Kings Dragoon Guards being equipped for Bangalore. Captain Tottenham has been killed. Madras troops behaving very well.
    • Arcot, December 11 1857. General Havelock’s death confirmed. Does not know what is to become of him. Other officers have got staff appointments.
    • Arcot, June 21 1858. Off to command 4th Light Cavalry at Futtepore (sic) in place of Col. Cumberledge ? Regrets the disbanding of his own regiment. Note added by Henrietta Fowler.
    • Gazeepore on the Ganges, August 18 1858. Took 18 days from Calcutta. Calcutta fine, but very hot and smelly. At Gazeepore the country in the hands of the rebels. The post (tappal) repeatedly looted.
    • Gazeepore, September 2 1858. Troops out against rebel forces ? but do not succeed as the rebels have whole country with them. Mr. Bax the collector of the District says the countryside has never been so unsafe as now – worse than height of rebellion. ‘Guerilla’ tactics make round up of rebels difficult. Description of the way in which the natives surrender. Future of 8th Light Cavalry not known. Note on Lord Harris – Cliques and accuses him of sycophancy.
    • Gazeepore, September 13 1858. Very hot. Awaiting Lord Canning’s proclamation. Two disarmed regiments and a Company of Native Artillery have mutinied in the Punjab. Details of his pay as a major on Full Batta. September 16. Letter from Neemuch which has only one house standing. 17 Brigadier Douglas leaving Sasseram to attack Jugdespore.
    • Kountadee opposite Buxhar on the Ganges, October 2 1858. Marching on Jugdespore, but prevented by torrential rain. No tents taken although monsoon not over. Diverted to other posts about 5 miles round Jugdespore. Total mismanagement by Brigadier Douglas.
    • Buxhar, October 9 1858. To march on the 13 to attack Jugdespore and prevent rebels escaping. Describes deployment of troops and his own command and the manoeuvres in detail. Horses of the 4th Cavalry taken from the disbanded 8th.
    • Jugdespore, October 20 1858. Description of attack on rebels at Berampore, Colonel Dudsford commanding. Fowler congratulated. In a ruined palace filled with bottles of champagne, moselle etc left by Europeans. Great drunkeness resulting.
    • Jugdespore, November 15-16 1858. Remaining since the amnesty proclaimed, rebels coming in slowly. Opinion of European footing in India. Movement of officers of old 8th Light Cavalry. His horse has arrived and the band of the 35th. Wild bulls in jungle which the soldiers shoot for extra rations. He has no loot except cup and saucer.
    • Jugdespore, Shahabad, November 30 1858. Majority of rebels not coming in, disbelief in amnesty. Story of a European lady captured by the rebels. Fowler offered amnesty to Heer Hissim Sing (sic). Arrival of Mr. Money a magistrate who refuses complete amnesty and consequently hostilities recommence. Incomplete.
    • Buxhar on the Ganges, December 19 1858. Left Judgespore on the 11 en route for Gazeepore, told not to cross the Ganges. Shahabad quiet, disarming continuing. Brigadier Douglas approved of Fowler’s action with Heer Kissim Sing, and Mr. Money apologises. Refers to the confiscation of Oude which Fowler thought very doubtful in point of justice. Not true the Nana Sahib has crossed the Grand trunk Road. Still in the North of Oude and Tanta Tope, and making for Goozerat (sic).
  2. Letters from E.A. Kenyon, Indian Telegraph Service, 1881-1900, to relations at home:
    • 6 March 1881. Government Telegraph Office, Calcutta, to his sister Mary. Has received and unpacked his ornaments for walls from home. Describes a storm.
    • 29 March 1885. Sinbyoodine (sic) Sinbyubyin (Burma). Has been surveying. Brief visit to Amya by boat, meets an Assistant Superintendent and much pleasure in being able to talk to him about work etc. Elephant stolen. Some work nearly stopped because of sickness. Making path between Sinbyubyin and Amya – very slow. Flood time approaching. Comments on P.W.D. policy of road making and on the Afghan situation.
    • 6 June 1886. Ajmere (Rajputana) (sic). Personal.
    • 14 August 1886. Jeypoore (sic). Describes Salt pans at Sambhar Lake. Personal.
    • 22 May 1887. Ajmere. Heat. No wind so tatties do not work. Has inspected office. Discovery of P.O. clerk stealing stamps and destroying letters . Personal.
    • 25 June 1887. Nana. Coming on leave between August and. Christmas. Will be posted elsewhere. Does not like Europeans in Ajmere. Hopes for construction work.
    • 15 January 1889. Mokameh (Bihar and Orissa). Has been inspecting offices. Returning to working party. Hail-storm.
    • 9 March 1891. Ellore (Madras). Waiting to go to Calcutta. Describes unsociable engineer – has not dined once with him though in the same bungalow.
    • 23 October 1891. Vizagapatan. Great deal of work, 3 more European subordinate officers and several native officers being sent. Has been arranging for stores distribution from the Telegraph Office.
    • 19 April 1893. Calcutta Describes visit to Lucknow – remarks on the place where “‘we slaughtered such a ghastly number of sepoys”.
    • 8 January 1894. Calcutta. Gives list of social occasions. Has been to Old Wykhamist dinner and special meeting of the Club.
    • 21 March 1900. Secunderabad. (Hyderabad). Account of who he meets during inspection of the line (along the railway). Hyderabad very scattered. Was hoping to get away, but Nizam has reserved the whole train for a shooting party. Remarks on the use of railways in the famine.
    • 13 April 1900. Matteran (Bombay Pres.) With his wife and children who are in hotel. Descries incidents and characters.
    • 26 April 1900. Matteran. Describes life on leave. Mentions Boer War.
    • 22 December 1900. Bombay. Trying to clear up office work. Been to a levee (Lord Northcote’s). Plans for Christmas.
    • 26 December 1900. Bombay. Describes Christmas Day.