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  3.33 Bastion of the Outer Rampart, Seringapatam  


©The British Library (OIOC), London
Bastion of the Outer Rampart of the Fortifications on the North West face of Seringapatam where Tipu Sultan had his Headquarters during the Attack by the British in May 1799

Watercolour
13.6 x 21.5 cm

Unknown Artist

hen General Harris encamped before Seringapatam, Tipu caused a small tent for his personal accommodation to be pitched on a large cavalier on the south face. However, as General Stuart and the Bombay army began closing in from the north, Tipu moved his tent from a large cavalier on the south face to the west angle of the fort. A contemporary report, from the Scotsman, Major Beatson, records that since this position was too exposed, Tipu moved again: 'During the last 14 days of the siege, Tippoo Sultaun took up his residence in the Cullaly Deedy, which was formerly a water-gate through the outer rampart of the north face of the fort……Tippoo closed up this gate on the side towards the river, about the year 1793. Here he occupied a small stone choultry within the gate, inclosed by curtains forming an appartment in which he ate and slept. Near to this choultry, four small tents were pitched, for his servants and baggage.'

Beatson notes that the Sultan seems to have planned to excavate a second ditch at this end of the island, but construction had progressed no further than the NorthWest angle bastion. Beatson also observed a good deal of water lying at the foot of the glacis, blocked in by accumulated rubbish and the masonry from the ruined Delhi bridge.

The NW bastion was the main objective of the British six-gun breaching battery, under Capt. Mackenzie. This opened fire on 30th April and by evening, the main rampart and the fausse braye wall were considerably shattered. That same evening, Capt. Norris of the Engineers and Lt. Farquahar of the Pioneers, were investigating the level of water in the river bed, and had nearly reached the city walls when they were discovered by Tipu's soldiers and obliged to retire hastily. The walls were measured a few days later, when Lt Lalor, of the 73rd Regiment, crossed the river on the night of 2nd May, and reported that the retaining wall ahead was 7 ft. high, with 12" of water at the foot. Beatson describes how, on 4th May, 'the troops ascended by the slope which terminates the glacis before the NorthWest bastion, to the top of the retaining wall which forms the outer part of the ditch. In the inner part of this wall are steps, made by single projecting stones, by which they could descend into the ditch without using scaling ladders; but these were employed by the right column, in getting over the retaining wall. The water in the ditch, directly opposite to the breach, was only about knee deep, although much deeper on the other side.'


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