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  5.14 The Breach At Seringapatam: Seen From The South West, Across The River Cauvery  


©Anne Buddle
The Breach At Seringapatam: Seen From The South West, Across The River Cauvery

Modern photograph, 1985.

ajor Dirom gives a detailed account of the tri-partite attack on Seringapatam from the North on 6th February 1792, during the Third Mysore War:

Right Division : Major General
Medows
36th and 76th Regts
3d Brigade
22d Native Battn

Centre Lord Cornwallis 52nd, 71st, 74th Regts
4th Brigade
2d & 21st Native Battn

Left Division Lt Col Maxwell 72d Regt
5th Brigade, both led by
Lt Col Baird

The first body of the Centre division to reach the river included Capt Lindsay, Capt. Allen and Lieut Macleod, who arrived between the Fort and the Darya Daulat virtually unchallenged. The Left Division was less fortunate. Dirom continues: 'An attempt was now made to pass the north branch of the Cavery: the depth of the water, the rocky bottom, and a heavy fire from the lines and batteries on the island, rendered the event doubtful. The 71st and 72d regiments lost many men in the river. At last, Lieut. Colonel Baird reached the opposite bank, with Lieut Sutherland, the adjutant of the 72d regiment, and about twenty men, followed by another party commanded by Major Petrie. The ammunition, unavoidably damaged in the river, which at that place was neck deep, left the troops without a cartridge fit for service; the desperate decision of the bayonet was rendered unnecessary, as the fire suddenly ceased….'

Seven years later, as Major General, Baird led the final attack on Seringapatam, and it is this campaign in 1799 which is commemorated by the modern obelisk (erected 1909) standing at the breach. Across the river, two cannon used to mark the place where Baird stepped out of the trenches to signal the start of the attack. For the rank and file soldier, crossing the Cauvery in 1799 was as 'tedious and difficult' it had been in 1792.


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