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The Storming of Seringapatam
Transcript of The Storming of Seringapatam
Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
The Siege (or storming) of Seringapatam was the final confrontation of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, which was between the British East India Company and the Kingdom of Mysore.
Seringapatam was invaded by British forces April 5th, the day when the River Cauvery, the river that surrounded the city, was at its lowest level of the year and could aid the infantry, but only if an invasion occurred before the impending monsoon.
Richard Wellesley, the governor-general of India, planned the opening of the breach into the walls of Seringapatam. The location of the breach was 'in the west curtain, a little to the right of the flank of the north-west bastion'. This was reported to be the oldest and therefore weakest of the walls.
The assault was scheduled to begin at 1 PM, the hottest part of the day in hopes that the defenders would be taking a refreshment at the time. The attack actually began at 11 AM on May 4th, 1799 when the attack signal was given to the British troops. Seventy-six men led the charge across the four foot deep river and along the inside of the wall until they reached the far side of the city.
The siege occurred between April 5th and May 4th, 1799 and included 50,000 soldiers for the British East Company and 30,000 soldiers for the Kingdom of Mysore, which at the time was ruled by Tipu Sultan.
In letters that Tipu Sultan exchanged it seemed that he was buying for time because of the river by asking for negotiations and making excuses such as 'being preoccupied with hunting expeditions'.
In the end it is believed Tipu Sultan's prime minister and general, Mir Sadiq, was bought over by the British despite Tipu's letter exchanges.
On May 1st the British completed their southern batteries and successfully made their way up to the wall. Sunrise May 2nd, the batteries of the Nizam of Hyderabad succeeded in opening a breach in the outer wall. In addition, the mines that were laid under the breach were hit by artillery and blew up prematurely.
One group almost immediately became involved in a fight led by a rather fat officer who was passing out hunting weapons. Upon later inspection it was found the fat officer was in fact Tipu Sultan, who was found dead in a tunnel-like passage.
The Moonstone begins with the looting of the jewels that were removed from Seringapatam from the legendary treasure of Tipu Sultan.