The Siege of Lucknow 1857

Victorian Warfare in Defeat and Victory

Dr Ed Gosling

The Siege of Lucknow, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, seen from a military and civilian perspective.
Publication date:
September 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Warfare in the Age of Victoria
Illustration :
c 30-40 ills, mostly b/w, maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781911512905

Dimensions : 248 X 180 mm
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.


• A new study of this famous Indian Mutiny campaign, seen through the eyes of both soldiers and civilians caught up in it
• Provides crucial context both within the wider framework of the war, and Victorian warfare and society
• Well illustrated

The Victorian age saw the expansion and unparalleled success of the British Empire. For the British Army, however, the responsibility of defending and controlling such a vast domain was a heavy responsibility. The long nineteenth century saw Britain's military strength sorely and repeatedly tested, and although many victories were achieved, the road was tumultuous. The Siege of Lucknow, central to the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, stands as a stark and significant example of one of the key instances in history in which the British Army found itself on the back foot, facing swift, bloody and near defeat at the hands the native troops of India.

This study presents an examination of this remarkable period of British military history from both a military and civilian perspective, building on existing scholarship on the Siege of Lucknow and drawing on original research to shed new light on warfare in the Victorian Age. It provides a clear and concise overview of the siege, placing the fall of Lucknow within the wider context of the Sepoy rebellion in India, before examining the response of the British Army to that most difficult of military scenarios, the siege. It examines the condition of the garrison station at the Commissioner's Residency and the response of the British Army to the immediate challenges faced by a garrison which consisted not only of 855 British soldiers, but also 712 loyal sepoys and over one thousand civilians and its resistance to the worst horrors of siege warfare. Finally, the relief efforts led by General Sir Henry Havelock and later Sir Colin Campbell are explored, detailing the means by which the British Army regained the initiative and seized control from the rebel forces.

Delving beyond the immediate military implications of the battle, 'The Siege of Lucknow' also examines the reception of news of the events and their aftermath back in Britain as the relationship between the British public, the army and the empire is explored. The heroes of Lucknow, like the Sir Henry Havelock, became household names. The 32nd Regiment of Foot were promoted to Light Infantry status as the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry by Queen Victoria in recognition of its conduct and bravery during the siege. The public's imagination was captured and the British relationship with India was altered irrevocably as a result.