Archive / Papers / Laughton, Major J.


Given by Captain C. Lorimer (grandnephew of Major William Wyld, to whom Maj. Laughton’s widow probably gave her husband’s papers.) Major Laughton was Chief Engineer at the siege of Delhi until 22 June 1857, when he was succeeded by Colonel R. Baird Smith.

Xerox copies.

  1. 1 June. Baird Smith at Roorkee, to Laughton at Delhi. Unable to send pontoons; Roorkee district not under martial law; been asked to collect revenue; has sent Laughton via Muzuffurnagar and Meerut; map of Delhi environs by Burgess; only twenty sappers left and garrison a motley crew; all perfectly quiet but the villagers just biding their time to see how things go at Delhi; believes the first outbreak among the sappers at Delhi was because the soldiers were full of anxieties and fears, and only a small number of blackguards accounted for mutiny; believes entirely connected with the removal of the magazine without explanation – Frazer was to blame – a cruel loss. Signature of Baird Smith on slip of paper.
  2. 5 June. Frank Turner to Laughton. Number of guns in the siege train. List of guns on slip of paper.
  3. ? June. General Sir Henry Barnard to Laughton. Awaiting report of reconnaissance.
  4. 11 June. Laughton to Lt. G.T. Chesney. About gathering brushwood; Lt. Chesney’s reply on reverse.
  5. 12 June. ? Major Martin to Laughton. About gathering wood.
  6. 12 June. Archdale Wilson to Laughton. Necessity of getting powder buried; the uselessness of the batteries he proposed.
  7. 12 June. Laughton to Lt. W.W. Greathed, with Greathed’s reply scribbled on reverse. About sending plans.
  8. No date. Greathed to Laughton. About buying Tat.
  9. 13 June. Report presented to General Barnard proposing ‘to establish a position at about a distance of 1,000 yards from the Fort ….’ Note at end: objected to by General Archdale Wilson …. 2 double sheets. (Report is a copy – original by Major Laughton.)
  10. ?16 June. Memo from the Chief Engineer (Laughton) to General Sir Henry Barnard. 1 double and 1 single sheet.
  11. 17 June. Archdale Wilson’s reply on the ineptitude of this report. 1 double sheet.
  12. Undated project: first for a movement upon the city of Delhi; secondly for the occupation of the fortified town; and thirdly of the walled palace and Fort of Selun Ghur, ? by Major Laughton, with pencilled comments by General Archdale Wilson. 2 double sheets.
  13. Undated memorandum about completing the works on the Metcalf estate. Single half sheet.
  14. Undated memorandum ? from Laughton about the completion of the battery in advance of Hindoo Raos’ house, and the examination of the ground in front of ‘Ludlow Castle’. 1 double quarto sheet.
  15. 16 June. Letter from Archdale Wilson. to Laughton repeating order for the erection of an embankment and other defence measures. (See page 67 of Delhi 1857: the siege, assault, and capture as given in the diary and correspondence of the Late Colonel Keith Young, C. B., Judge-Advocate General, Bengal. Edited by General Sir Henry Wylie Norman and Mrs. Keith Young. London, 1902.)
  16. 17 June. Report from Lt. Genesti to Captain Chesney on work done in laying out a battery of guns and building the embankment. 1 single sheet.
  17. >18 June. Note from Laughton to Lt. Salkeld, and Salkeld’s reply in pencil. About supplies. Single sheet.
  18. Undated. Letter from ? Laughton to Brigadier Wilson. Objecting to General Archdale Wilson’s demand to build an embankment for the battery on rocky ground. 1 double quarto sheet.
  19. Undated. Note to Laughton from ? Col. Congreve to share tent with Mr. Thomason. Single octavo sheet.
  20. Undated. Note (very small) from H. Bingham to Laughton about carpenters.
  21. Undated. Note from Chesney to Laughton about material being used up by ? Genesti without reference to Salkeld, and about Mr. Sub-Conductor Johnson being drunk on parade.
  22. Undated. Note from Chesney to Laughtor, asking for the tracing of Delhi to copy.
  23. Undated. Note from Chesney to Laughton about arrangements for continuous supply of labour for building embankments.
  24. 20 June. Note from Chesney to Laughton about arrangements for working parties as three of his officers are ill; orders to be given in time.
  25. Undated. Note from Chesney to Laughton about wood for splinter proof magazines, and alternative measures.
  26. 21 June. Chesney to Laughton announcing Salkeld’s return after having demolished the bridge over the Nujufghurgh branch canal (the Bussye bridge). (See page 115, ibid.)
  27. 17 June. Letter from C.F. Stewart to Laughton about a request from Mr. Plowden of the civil service on duty at ? to turn the waters passing down the canal into the Jamna so as to increase the supply in the river and render it more difficult to be forded; this is not recommended.
  28. 22 June. Order for picks, shovels and grindstones – urgent.
  29. 22 June. Order from General Archdale Wilson to Laughton to make the parapet of the new battery beyond Hindoo Rao’s house. (See page 67, ibid.)
  30. 22 June. Pencilled letter from Archdale Wilson to Laughton with urgent request to make a small battery and a road at the Mosque.
  31. 23 June. Letter to Laughton reporting that he had returned from blowing up two bridges: the Pool Chudder about three miles from the cemetery and the bridge on the Rohtak road. Pencil, single sheet.
  32. 24 June. Letter from Archdale Wilson to Laughton, directing him to erect a small battery in the position pointed out in Major Reid’s note.
  33. ? 24 June. Letter from Archdale Wilson to Laughton asking for the work to be hastened on the new battery.