cannot conclude the Narrative of this Campaign without
calling your particular attention to one of the most remarkable
features by which it is distinguished. The extent of an
equipment which, in addition to numerous Artillery and Stores
requisite for a siege of such importance, could convey provisions
to support our vast amount of Troops and Followers without
any intermediate supply from 9th March to 4th May to a distance
of one Hundred and thirty Miles from the Frontier of the
Carnatic and three Hundred and fifty from Madras …. Must
excite astonishment in those who are aware of the difficulties
attendant on the Movement of Armies in India,' wrote Lord
Harris to Sir Henry Dundas on 6th May 1799.
The General Order, issued by the Commander in Chief,(Harris), from
Camp at Seringapatam on 5th May 1799, acknowledged the contribution
of the corps of engineers; the 'essential assistance' given by Major
Beatson ; the merits of the artillery corps and the corps of
pioneers; and the 'humane measures which (Major General Baird) subsequently
adopted for preserving order and regularity in the place.'
It was a Scotsman, Major General Sir Archibald Campbell,
whom Dundas had installed as
Commander in Chief (1782) and later Governor of Madras (March
1785) to begin the process of amalgamating the forces of
King and Company. Campbell's proposals, which would eventually
lead to the surrender of Company control over the Company's
armies, were embodied in a Memorandum 'Ideas respecting
the Indian Army by General Campbell (for the use of Mr Dundas)'
in 1788. The document includes an inventory
, listing the number of draught bullocks
required to move some 96 brass and iron guns,
plus the carts and tumbrils which carried the vast 'equipment'
of battle. Applying these figures to Tipu's ordnance of
920 brass and iron guns, found at Seringapatam eleven years
later in 1799, gives some indication of the vast scale of
an 18 century army on the move in India. Beatson records
that 4-5,000 draught and carriage bullocks, with their attendant
choudries, duffadas and drivers were congregated at Seringapatam
to support Tipu's military campaigns.
A great number of the iron guns, and nearly all the brass six-pounders,
amounting to fifty-one, which were found at Seringapatam were recognised
as being of English manufacture. The others were generally from
Tipu's own foundries, 'where a degree of perfection has been attained
in every stage of the process truly astonishing to those of our
officers who visited the different workshops: he had even got the
late European invention of boring guns perpendicularly, and also
had his machinery kept in motion by water.' Two of these weapons
from Seringapatam, a gun and a sword, were displayed in Edinburgh
on 18th June 1889, at the Naval and Military Exhibition, held to
mark the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and the final defeat
of Napoleon. Also included in the 1889 exhibition, which was held
in the Royal Scottish Academy Galleries - today the National
Gallery of Scotland - was one of the 'original sketches' in
oil of Robert Ker Porter's great 'Storming of Seringapatam' panorama.
The painting returned to Edinburgh again, over one hundred years
later, when it was displayed at the National Gallery in 'The Tiger
and the Thistle' bi-centennary exhibition in 1999.