Archive / Papers / Christison Papers


Lent by General Sir Philip Christison, Bart., G.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., M.C.

Microfilm No. 36

Letters written during the 1857 Uprising by Alexander and Annie Christison:

  • 2, 6, 7, 9, 11 June from Hattrass. Alexander to his father, describing progre! and increase of the Mutiny; the fighting round Delhi; rumours and realities of killing; fears for his wife and child at Agra; descriptions of skirmishes wits mutineers.
  • 16 June, Hattrass, to his brother David. Containing news of massacre at Jhansi; rumours of mutiny at Cawnpore and Benares; the sepoys not the only enemies; removal of military power signal for anarchy among the people with village against village; accounts of the atrocities.
  • 17 June. News of mutiny at Gwalior–women and children (including his own) said to be safe at Dholepore–no news from Delhi.
  • 19 June, Agra. To Alec from Annie his wife, containing list of names of those saved and those killed at Gwalior; description of the night of the mutiny; gratitude to two faithful Indians; noble treatment by Maharajah (?) of Gwalior; journey to Agra.
  • 25 June, Hattrass. To Jack from Alec Christison, describing Annie’s escape; women and children were spared, men were butchered; the destitution of those left; description of the people who were murdered; the Maharajah said to be playing with mutineers until he hears about Delhi.
  • 29 June, Hattrass. Alec to his father describing Annie’s flight; hopes for safety of Agra; no European regiments available for North. Delhi not yet fall. en; hears every day from wife.
  • 29 June, Agra. Annie to Alec’s father, describing mutiny at Gwalior.
  • 30 June, Agra. Annie to Alec, describing rumours of attack on Agra; news of mutiny at Mynpoorie.
  • 1 July, Agra. Annie to Alec, written just before going into the Fort; she dreads the consequent lack of communication.
  • 16 July, Fort of Agra. Alec to his father, containing a brief resume of events up to final mutiny of Regiment at Hattrass and Sasnee and the extraordinary anticlimax when they were escorted to Agra; found Annie and May; had pursued Kotah Contingent which had been allowed to enter Agra Fort and mutinied; fighting round the Fort (shahgung) and retreat into it a great error; numbers in the Fort–5000; news of mutiny outside in Indore, Lucknow, Cawnpore.
  • 1 August, Agra. Alec to brother David, containing an account of mutiny at Hat—trass, and the failure of it; description of life in the Fort, and of the Fort itself; discussion of military position; Kotah Contingent.
  • 11 August, the same. Defence measures described, but no enemy yet; bitterness over mutiny of ‘our devoted sapoys’; discussion of mutiny, Sir Henry Lawrence and the Punjab–Christison approves strongly of the violent measures taken, so ‘different below Delhi’; account of massacre of Cawnpore, description of Havelock’s prowess, discussion of mutiny and home opinion; everything they possessed is lost; Annie to go to Calcutta; fears for future.
  • 12 August, the same. News of disbandment of Bengal Army.
  • 12 August, in continuation (by Annie). News of powder factory explosion at Delhi; Nicholson expected.
  • 13 August, in continuation (from Alec). Posts still running; discussion of progress of mutiny; need for European troops; Lucknow; Cawnpore.
  • 16 August, conclusion. Has been tending wounded.
  • 19 & 21 August, Agra Fort. Alec to his sister Maria, describing Annie’s ill—ness; much sickness in Fort; the constant noise; undecided whether to go to Calcutta; Maharajah of Gwalior standing firm against troops who want to attack Agra.
  • 25 August, Agra Fort. Alec to his father, concerning Annie’s illness; he looks after patients; punitive expeditions; Home Government not realizing magnitude of disaster.