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  3.34 The Last Effort and Fall of Tippoo Sultaun  

© Private Collection
The Last Effort and Fall of Tippoo Sultaun, in 1799; c1802

Vignette: Tippoo's Sons given to the English as Hostages

Line engraving
18 x 26.5 cm.


he troops who fought along the northern rampart under Col. Dunlop encountered fierce opposition since Tipu himself, unrecognised, was fighting there. Thomas Munro, writing in 1799 to his father in Scotland, records: 'When the assault commenced he (Tipu) repaired to the outer ramparts, but being driven from them, he fell as he was returning into the body of the palace, in a passage under the rampart called the Water Gate.' Forced to retreat along the Northern rampart, Tipu seems to have tried to reach the inner rampart, either to eliminate pockets of British troops there, or to reach his palace.

The gateway was a confused mass of people - British soldiers swarming into the fort and crowds from within now fleeing the city. In the melée, Tipu's horse was shot from under him, and Tipu was wounded by shots flying from the musquets of the 12th Light Infantry. With him fell Tipu's faithful servant, Rajah Khan, shot in the leg. Tipu's followers placed him upon his palanquin to rest, but here, his jewelled sword belt caught the attention of a passing soldier who snatched at it. Tipu rallied and struck out at his tormentors, but this last protest cost him his life. The unknown soldier shot his opponent in the temple, killing him instantly.

Meanwhile, the two British columns were converging on the palace. The companion engraving shows Tipu's sons surrendering to David Baird after the fall of Seringapatam. The vignette beneath 'The Last Effort' of Tipu shows the scene of Tipu's sons surrendering to Lord Cornwallis only seven years earlier, at the end of the Third Mysore War in 1792

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