By Simon Millar
Wellington stated that of all his battles Assaye, fought throughout the moment Mahratta conflict (1803-05) in relevant India, used to be 'the bloodiest for the numbers that I ever saw'. A small British strength, less than Major-General the Honourable Arthur Wellesley (as Wellington used to be then known), crossed into Mahratta territory in March 1803 to revive the Peshwa to his throne - via strength if precious. On September 23, 1803, Wellesley encountered what became out to be the whole Mahratta military in a robust place at the banks of the Kailna River. The conflict, which lasted 4 hours, witnessed expensive infantry and cavalry attacks, yet used to be received via the stability of Wellesley's troops and his inspiring leadership.
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Additional resources for Assaye 1803: Wellington's first and ‘bloodiest’ victory (Campaign, Volume 166)
These words become all the more poignant when contrasted with his earlier jaunty remark: "I am as healthy as a man can possibly be . . " Upon John Westervelt's discharge in June of 1865 he is thirty-seven-years old. His weight has gone from 150 to 130, and though he struggles to keep his confidence alive, his once vibrant health has been broken. In sum, his journal tells the story of his evolution, and, by inference, the story of thousands who, no matter which side they fought for, no matter their beliefs, were never again who they were at the onset of the war.
The entry indicated these items were in the holdings of the Library of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Initial contact with West Point could not provide any details and until the sketches were located in Special Collections archives it seemed doubtful that they could have any connection to the same John H. Westervelt. Once located and studied, however, it was obvious that they were indeed done by the same man; their captions and references matched the diary perfectly, leaving only the intriguing question of how they were separated from the journal and came to West Point.
We had 2 infantry besides our Co which numbers 75 men. It was moonlight and we proceeded on our expedition halting every ten minutes for our scouts who was scouting the woods in every direction fearing there might be a rebel force on the island. M. We halted for breakfast after we made 3 miles. After eating some salt horse and hard tack,1 a young man by the name of Benson2 and myself crawled under the bushes and slept till 12 Noon. I'll tell you more about Benson some other time, suffice it for the present he has taken a fancy to me, and as I like him he generally makes one of our group.
Assaye 1803: Wellington's first and ‘bloodiest’ victory (Campaign, Volume 166) by Simon Millar