The Siege of Lucknow: A brief history with some reflections and family connections by Joanna van der Lande

Lucknow and Oudh State

 

 

Lucknow is today capital of the Northern Indian State of Utter Pradesh. A tributary of the Ganges, The Gomti river runs through the city which is interwoven by canals. At the time of the Indian Rebellion, a conflict with many names, it was the capital of Oudh (now Awadh State) in the North of India. In the mid 16th Century it became part of the Mughal Empire which was run by a Nawab appointed by the Emperor. The Nawabs of Oudh were from a dynasty of Persian origin and Lucknow became Oudh’s capital. The Honorable East India Trading Company (HEIC) had a Government Colonial agent based at Lucknow from 1773; the Residency was constructed between 1780 and 1800.

Lucknow became the cultural capital and the jewel of India, while its Nawabs became known for their extravagant way of living as well as for their patronage of the arts and the construction of beautiful buildings.

When war correspondent for the The Times, the Irishman William Howard Russell went straight there from reporting the Crimean War, he was overwhelmed by what he found, even though he saw the city after its damage. He wrote of Lucknow that it was,

“A vision of  palaces, domes of azure and golden, cupolas, colonnades, long facades of fair perspective in pillar and column, terraced roofs – all rising up amid a calm still ocean of brightest verdure……..There is a city more vast than Paris, as it seems, and more brilliant.”[1]

Major General William H. Sleeman wrote “Not Rome, not Athens, not Constantinople; not any city I have seen appears to me so striking and so beautiful as this…”[2]

As Mughal power declined, Oudh became more independent and the fourth Nawab embarked on an extensive building programme whereas the fifth alienated his people as well as the British. He abdicated, providing an excuse for the British to gain a stronger foothold in Oudh by placing Saadat Ali Khan, a puppet, on the throne. By 1801 half of Oudh came under the control of the HEIC. Indian troops were disbanded and replaced by a British-run army. On 1st May 1816 a British Protectorate was agreed and while Oudh nominally continued as part of the Mughal Empire until 1819, it effectively became a vassal to the HEIC which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown.

A critical date in the history of Lucknow and ultimately the Rebellion was 7th February 1856, when the last Nawab of Oudh, Wajid Ali Shah, was deposed. It appears Lucknow and the region had become hard to govern and in spite of opposition to the annexation it was nevertheless sanctioned under Lord Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse. The Nawab was pensioned off and sent to Calcutta but it led to simmering resentments and much anguish in the local population, accentuated by insensitive acts of overlordship, such as auctioning the Nawab’s personal possessions.

[1] William Howard Russell, My My Diary in India in the year 1858-9, 2vols (London 1860).

[2] William H. Sleeman,  A Journey through the Kingdom of Oude in 1849-40, 2vols (London 1858).

In 1854, Lt Col. James Outram[1] was appointed Chief Commissioner of Lucknow, a man with a considerable reputation of many heroic military feats.

The Calcutta Englishman (December 1854) describes his arrival:

“A guard of honour with the regimental colours, and accompanied by the splendid band of the 19th Regiment, were drawn up at an early hour in the Dilkusha Park, to do honour to Colonel Outram…”

His wife, Margaret Clementina Outram (née Anderson), noted the procession had;

“more than three hundred elephants and camels…all the princes and nobles in the kingdom blazing with jewels, sparkling with gems, and gorgeous in apparel, with footmen and horsemen swarming round on all sides….”[2]

Sita Ram, Lord Hastings and Nawab Ghazi al-Din enter Lucknow in state. 1814-15 (British Library, Add.Or.4749)

 

Outram had been ordered to annex Oudh for the British in 1856, and became Oudh’s first Chief Commissioner before he had to return to England owing to ill health. He was then sent to command an expedition to Persia in 1857 with the rank of Lieutenant General but was recalled to India later that year when it was realised that experienced military leaders were needed in India.

A close relative of Outram’s, Lieutenant John Cumming Anderson arrived in Lucknow around the time of the annexation in February 1856, an Engineer in the Oudh Irregular Force. Although

J.C. Anderson was a Madras Engineer, his duties were not confined to the Madras army. On 29th May 1856, Anderson was appointed Superintendent of Irrigation in Oudh, responsible for the canals. Outram’s arrival in Lucknow started a re-organisation of the administration and public services along European lines which brought with it an influx of Europeans to the city.

J.C. Anderson must have been satisfied with his posting. Margaret Clementina Outram was his sister and there was a double bond because James Outram was their first cousin.

Lt. John Cumming Anderson pre-1857, family archive

 

Anderson’s work and living quarters lay outside the Residency and the military cantonment. The Residency was the headquarters of the Chief Commissioner and the compound comprised several substantial buildings including those for the administrative, financial and judicial departments, as well as a hospital and jail. The officers resided in other areas of the city either in separate houses or apartments.

                                          

The Residency

 

Leading up to the Rebellion

Many have written extensively about the causes of the Rebellion, of which the annexation of Oudh is cited as but one. The final spark which lit the bonfire appears to have been the introduction of the new Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-musket which required pre-greased cartridges. To load it, sepoys (Indian infantryman) had to bite cartridges to release the powder. But rumours circulated that the grease included tallow derived from beef which was offensive to Hindus; or lard derived from pork, offensive to Muslims. Whether the rumour had any grounding had became irrelevant, Indians felt that religious customs were being disregarded.

The HEIC had many roles, initially it acted as a trading company but it soon needed a military arm as well as administrators to protect its interests. The three Presidencies into which India was divided each maintained a separate army; the Bengal Army, the Madras Army and the Bombay Army, of which the Bengal army was the largest. Their sepoys were as well trained as any European soldiers and were under the command of European officers.

The caste system played a significant role, with the Bengal Army recruiting largely from high caste Hindus and Muslims who were sensitive to the possibility of caste contamination. The 1856 New Enlistment Act, which obliged new recruits to serve overseas, caused rumours that this would apply to those currently serving which would also create difficulties in the preparation of their food. There were many other factors real or imagined creating tensions.

The Rebellion begins

The flame was finally lit at the Barrackpore parade ground, near Calcutta when 29-year-old Mangal Pandey, a 34th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) sepoy, began inciting rebellion and creating unrest, later admitting he was high on opium and bhang (an edible form of cannabis). He was threatening to kill the first European officer he saw and hit Sergeant-Major Hewson who raised the alarm shooting at his adjutant Lt. Henry Baugh, hitting his horse. Other sepoys looked on but did nothing; save for a remarkably brave sepoy named Shaikh Paltu who put himself between Panday and the Europeans. He was later murdered by his own people. The 34th Bengal Native Infantry was disbanded in disgrace.

The following month unrest erupted at Meerut in April, which culminated in the shooting of British officers on 10th May.  The unrest spread to Delhi when the sepoys arrived from Meerut the following day and persuaded 81 year old Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal Emperor, to become their nominal leader and “Emperor of Hindustan”. Under his watch the Europeans in his palace were murdered, probably not on his orders but he was implicated in these brutal actions by his public support of the Rebellion.

Map highlighting principal locations of disturbances in Northern India during the Rebellion

 

Lucknow: preparing for trouble

The Chief Commissioner, Colville Coverley Jackson, who was responsible for Oudh after Outram, had not got off to a good start and left considerable unrest in his wake. So it was fortuitous Sir Henry Lawrence, an experienced administrator, took over from him on 29th March only a few weeks before the Rebellion started. However he had been aware difficulties were arising in the sepoy armies and knew that local disturbances within their ranks could lead to wider civil unrest.

 

Lawrence was sensitive to the local population and won many over in the weeks following his arrival. As M.R. Gubbins[1] says, “he thought the Europeans too apt to overvalue themselves and their own Government and to undervalue the administration of the native Governments of the country. He thought that the people had many just causes for complaint….”

[1] The Gubbins referred to here is Martin Richard Gubbins (1812-1863), who at the time of the Siege was Financial Commissioner to Oudh but took over managing the Intelligence Department.  He was also the grandfather of Colin McVean Gubbins (1896-1976) of Special Operations Executive (SOE) fame in the 2nd World War. By a quirk of fate, a direct descendant of M.R. Gubbins is married to a direct descendant of J.C. Anderson.

On his arrival Lawrence, to his dismay, found the city poorly protected and “all scattered over several miles, the infantry in one direction, the cavalry another, the artillery in a third, the magazines in a fourth and almost unprotected,”[1] laying the blame at Outram’s door in a letter to his brother-in-law. He worked to repair relations but it did not prevent general restlessness. On 30th May the Bengal troops in the Mariaon cantonment outside Lucknow mutinied which was swiftly put down by Lawrence, with some mutinous sepoys returning to join the European troops at the Residency.

On 5th October 1857, Lt J.C. Anderson[2] wrote, “The outbreak at Meerut and Delhi, and reports of general disaffection amongst the sepoys, caused Sir Henry Lawrence to take immediate measures for the defence of the place.”

Lawrence selected the Machhi Bhawan for the magazine and stores and rapidly fortified the position starting on 17th May. After the events of 30th May, J.C. Anderson notes it became evident they would not be in a position to defend both sites, so from 11th June the defence of the Residency became the priority. The Chief Engineer, Major John Anderson, unrelated to Madras Engineer J.C. Anderson, ordered defensive works round the buildings. He wrote:

“The Residency compound was first protected by a line of parapet and ditch across it, a strong battery name “Redan” was constructed in a corner of the garden, which furnished a command over the iron bridge. A battery, called “Cawnpore”, was constructed at the opposite point, enfilading the Cawnpore road, and was then designed chiefly as a barrier to the approach of the mutineers from Cawnpore. Two other batteries were partially constructed – one between Gubbins’ and Ommanney’s compounds, the other between the slaughterhouse and sheep-pen – but neither was ready at the commencement of the siege……”

[1] John Lawrence, Lawrence of Lucknow A Biography, (Hodder & Stoughton 1990).

[2] The full report is published in the Annex of Virginia van der Lande, The Life and Times of John Cumming Anderson (1825-1870).

[1] Sir James Outram. GCB, KSCI, described as ‘The Bayard of India’ by Sir Charles Napier after defending his Residency in Hyderbad. He died in 1863 and is buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey which is marked by a memorial slab. Monuments were erected to honour him in London (by Matthew Noble) and Calcutta.

[2] Virginia van der Lande, The Life and Times of John Cumming Anderson (1825-1870), p.66. This is a private family publication authored by a great granddaughter of John Cumming Anderson on her maternal side.  I am very grateful to be able to draw on my aunt’s researches for this article. She has travelled and trekked in India over a dozen times throughout her life and has carried out extensive research on our family story.

Outside, many buildings were in very close proximity to the compound, so they began removing them as quickly as they could. Several mosques were left in place, although J.C. Anderson notes this was “much to their future injury” but they did not want their removal to precipitate an attack any sooner than could be avoided. This demolition process was far from complete at the onset of hostilities

The days before the Siege

News broke of rebels approaching Lucknow at the end of June, Lawrence led a force to meet them but they found themselves hopelessly outnumbered and beat a hasty retreat and were nearly cut off by the rebels. The Battle of Chinhut, eight miles from the Residency precipitated the siege of Lucknow. J.C. Anderson had taken part in Chinhut, though he sustained an injury to his back.

Earlier in the month Lawrence had ordered the women and children to be brought inside the compound for their safety. A poignant letter from Katherine Mary Bartrum, then based in Gonda, eighty miles from Lucknow, with her husband and baby, found themselves in circumstances which were becoming more alarming by the day.  It proved to be a frightening and long journey and one repeated by many others who were hoping to find safety in Lucknow:

“…. At 4 p.m. a messenger arrived from Secrora, saying that Sir Henry Lawrence had desired that the ladies and children from the out-stations should be sent into Lucknow immediately for better security. ………… This was a sudden blow to me. Often had I contemplated death with my husband, but not separation from him; and under such terrible circumstances too, when his cheerful spirit and loved companionship were more than ever needed to raise my drooping courage at the prospect of dangers and distresses little anticipated by anyone. Most earnestly did I plead that I might be allowed to remain with him; but he convinced me that were if only for my baby’s sake I ought to go into Lucknow, and we should then both of us have more chance of escaping with our lives than by remaining at Gonda…… At six in the evening, Mrs. Clark, myself, and our two children started on elephants; Mr. Clark and my husband accompanying us as far as Secrora, sixteen miles distant, where we were to join the other ladies, and proceed together to Lucknow.”

The Residency compound covered approximately 37 acres and provided refuge for British officers and soldiers, Indians, civilian volunteers, and non-combatants, including hundreds of women and children, all amounting to over a thousand souls. The siege of Lucknow commenced on 1st July 1857, by the time it ended only one third remained from these original refugees.

J.C. Anderson notes there was, “nothing in many places separating us from the besiegers but the width of a street. The houses that remained became nests of rebels, and, besides forming secure starting-points for their mines, enabled them, from under shelter, to keep a deadly fire of musketry upon us night and day.”

While much had been removed from the Machhi Bhawan, it was still garrisoned by troops and it was imperative they evacuated without loss of life. A message was communicated to Lieutenant Innes, the officer in charge and on the night of 1st July  the garrison succeeded in reaching the Residency without any loss of life after blowing up about 240 barrels of gun powder and other ammunition, this considerably frightened the women within the walls of the Residency who assumed they were under attack.

Machhi Bhawan

 

The Siege

The following day a shell hit part of the Residency and Lawrence was mortally wounded. It shattered one of his legs so badly that within a few days he was dead, having been taken to Dr Joseph Fayrer’s house to be cared for. Major John Banks was appointed the acting Civil Commissioner by Lawrence shortly before he died, though he was subsequently killed by a sniper. Command was then assumed by Brigadier John Inglis who remained in charge until the First Relief. No-one was safe in the compound, injured were killed while in the hospital and others from shelling and sniper fire from the 8,000 sepoys surrounding the Residency.

 

The room on the right is the room where Lawrence was shelled and sustained wounds

 

J.C. Anderson mentions that much effort was spent in sabotaging enemy attempts to enter the compound by mines…..”we had meanwhile commenced counter-mining, and on the 5th August foiled a mine of the enemy’s against the guardhouse at Cawnpore battery; and since then, up to the arriving of the relieving force, we have been incessantly employed in mining and countermining.” J.C. Anderson had designed the Cawnpore Battery, of which he was in charge; it was one of the batteries bearing the brunt of attacks.

Two of their more successful counter-mines led first to the rebel’s guard room resulting in 20-30 enemy fatalities, while the second was to the merchant Johanne’s house where they killed about 80 of the enemy.

The civilians, many of them women and children, hid inside the compound. They had been living in fear for weeks even before many of them made the treacherous journey to assumed safety in Lucknow. The moving diary entries of Katherine Mary Bartrum, chart the mis-fortunes of the women and children with whom she shared her quarters. Women were reduced to rags and to giving birth amidst shelling, with little food and devoid of sanitation, most had lost any hope of seeing their husbands alive. Small children and babies were orphaned; many wasted away and succumbed to cholera or dysentery and there were regular outbreaks of smallpox. The situation is summed up in this evocative excerpt from a diary entry dated (8th August):

“Another has been taken away: poor Mrs. K. has lost her child, such a sweet little thing that it was petted and loved by all in the room. I helped the poor mother to wash and dress it, and Captain Greydon sent us a little box, in which we laid it: there were now only three of us left, and we looked at each other, as much as to say: “Who will be the next to go?” I felt as if I should go out of my mind if we stayed in that room any longer…..”

The First Relief Attempt

On recapturing Cawnpore on the 17th July, Major General Henry Havelock heard news of the Siege at Lucknow and attempted to relieve it but returned to Cawnpore after sustaining heavy casualties to await reinforcements. James Outram, summoned back from Persia, arrived in Cawnpore on 15th September and was made commander of both Cawnpore and Dinapur Divisions. He joined Havelock and although senior in rank he temporarily deferred his command to Havelock who led the second relief attempt.  This was successful and on 23rd September, Havelock and his troops drove the rebels from the Alambagh, a walled park four miles south of the Residency.

Alambagh Park and Palace

 

Two days later they prepared for the final push but rebels had damned the canal between the Charbagh and Dilkusha Bridges, which made it too high to ford, troops had to cross the Charbagh Bridge with no protection from snipers. The only viable path was then enfiladed but they reached Machhi Bhawan making slow progress through the tightly packed streets with snipers in the buildings above, they suffered several hundred casualties.

There was jubilation within the Residency at their arrival, Lady Inglis later wrote in her diary:

“At 6 p.m. tremendous cheering was heard, and it was known our relief had reached us. I was standing outside our door when Ellicock rushed in for John’s sword; he had not worn it since Chinhut, and a few moments afterwards he came to us accompanied by a short, quiet-looking, gray-haired man, who I knew at once was General Havelock. He shook hands with me, and said he feared we had suffered a great deal……… It was a sight never to be forgotten to see the hand-shaking and welcomes between the relievers and the relieved. Hirsute Sikhs and brawny Highlanders were seen taking up the children in their arms and kissing them.”

The Relief of Lucknow by Sir Henry Havelock, engraving 1858

 

Outram then assumed command but with heavy losses and his troops in poor shape, the decision was made to remain. It had become less of a relief operation more one of reinforcement. With several thousand now at the garrison, it was fortuitous a store of grain was discovered in a plunge-bath underneath the banqueting hall which helped to sustain them. Lawrence and other senior officers had died before telling subordinates of these supplies but questions were subsequently raised about the inequalities in the distribution of food.

The garrison expanded their line of defence but had to endure several more weeks of bombardment, with further mining and counter-mining operations. With the Alambagh remaining in British hands, messages were passed to and from the Residency, via messenger, to Cawnpore. Thomas Henry Kavanagh, a civilian, earned himself a Victoria Cross disguised as a sepoy acting as messenger from the Residency to Alambagh, aided by a man named Kananji Lal. Later a semaphore system was used for communications which was considerably less dangerous.

Thomas Henry Kavanagh, a civilian in the Bengal Civil Service being disguised as a sepoy

 

Major-General James Outram wrote from Lucknow on 5th October:

“’Brigadier Inglis has borne generous testimony to the bravery, vigilance, and devotedness and good conduct of all ranks; and to all ranks as the real representative of the British Indian Government the major-general tenders his warmest acknowledgments. He would fain offer his special congratulations and thanks to the European and Eurasian portion of the garrison whom Brigadier Inglis has particularly noticed; but by doing so, he would forestall the governor-general in the exercise of what the major-general is assured will be one of the most pleasing acts of his official life……. Colonel Napier’s, engineers, when he went round the works, said that ours had been the most wonderful defence ever made, and that enough could not be done for the commander.”

The Chief Engineer, Major John Anderson (no relation to J.C. Anderson) died on 11th July after months of illness and was replaced by Captain George Fulton as Chief Engineer but he had been killed on 13th September, Captain Birch describes what happened:

“’The death of this brilliant officer was occasioned by one of the most curious of wounds. He had been inspecting a new battery in a red wall opposite Mr. Gubbins’ house. He was lying at full length in one of the embrasures, with a telescope in his hand. He turned his face with a smile on it and said, “They are just going to fire”; and sure enough they did. The shot took away the whole of the back of Captain Fulton’s head, leaving his face like a mask still on his neck. When he was laid out on his back on a bed we could not see how he had been killed. His was the most important loss we sustained after that of Sir Henry Lawrence. Anyone except the brigadier could have been better spared.”

On Fulton’s death, J.C Anderson became Chief Engineer until Col. Robert Napier arrived with Outram at the First Relief.

 

The  Relief of Lucknow

Sir Colin Campbell the Commander-in-Chief of India led the Second Relief. A different route was taken to avoid the dangers encountered on the first attempt. On reaching the Alambagh they planned to cross the canal as close to the River Gomti as possible near La Martiniere School. Progress was swift until they reached Dilkusha Park but by midday of 18th November they had taken both Dilkusha and La Martiniere. They waited for their supply caravans to arrive before proceeding. The following morning they crossed the canal, which was dry due to the damning between the bridges. Here they met with fierce resistance at the walled gardens of Secundra Bagh leaving many hundreds of rebels dead. The recent barbarities at Cawnpore stimulated the troops to push forward with shouts heard of “Remember Cawnpore!”[1]

The Battle of Secundra Bagh

 

Havelock and Outram blew-up the outer walls of the garden when they could see it was in Campbell’s hands. Outram and Havelock with others, including Napier who was badly injured as a result, ran across to meet Campbell. They had to deal with pockets of resistance pushing the rebels back toward the city before Campbell was finally able to reach the Residency on 19th November.

The Evacuation

With heavy resistance remaining Campbell decided to evacuate the Residency and compound. There were thousands, many in a dreadfully weakened state both physically and emotionally. On the night of 19th November, the women and children were evacuated, led by Lady Inglis. The garrison followed, they left all their possessions behind and many hundreds of their dead including Sir Henry Havelock who had succumbed to a virulent strain of dysentery while in Dilkusha Park.

Captain Birch, the last of the staff to leave the Bailie Guard gate wrote,

“Sir James Outram waved his hand to Brigadier Inglis to precede him in departure, but the brigadier stood firm, and claimed to be the last to leave the ground which he and his gallant regiment had so stoutly defended. Sir James Outram smiled, then, extending his hand, said, “Let us go out together;” so, shaking hands, these two heroic spirits, side by side, descended the declivity outside our battered gate…”

[1] While there had been rumours of the atrocities at Cawnpore reaching Lucknow, (the Satichaura Gat and Bibighar massacres), it was only when Campbell’s troops reached Lucknow that the full extent of the massacres and violent reprisals became known to them.

Katherine Mary Bartrum wrote on the 19th November:

“We are to leave Lucknow this evening, and each person is to be allowed a camel to carry their things. Dr. —, who came up with Sir Colin Campbell, has promised to obtain a dhoolie for me: this is very kind, for I think I could scarcely carry baby five miles; one does not feel over strong after a five months’ siege. And now we must bid farewell to our little room, the scene of so much suffering and sorrow; and before night I shall pass the spot where my husband was killed, and where, perhaps, he has found a grave. Yesterday all the sick and wounded were removed to Dil Koosha [Dilkusha Park], and Dr. Darby amongst them. How much I should like to see him again.”

Like so many, the young Katherine Bartrum had endured 148 days under siege. Katherine survived to tell the tale, though she had lost her husband. Their two year old son Bobbie had survived cholera while at Lucknow as well as the long march which eventually led them to Calcutta, but sadly he died the day before their boat was due to sail for England. The grief of these survivors, like so many since, is hard to fathom. Katherine Bartrum left behind in India all those she loved best and with the death of Bobbie she declared in a letter to her father, “I am stripped of all, I am empty & desolate and all is now gone”.  Dr Joseph Fayrer, the Residency Surgeon at Lucknow from 1853, was in Calcutta on 11th  February 1958, and Bartrum writes he fastened the lid on little Bobbie’s coffin which he helped carry to its grave.                                                                                                                               

The health of many others suffered long-term damage; Lt. John Cumming Anderson left India on three years sick leave (on half-pay) and with the other sick, the women and the children he journeyed overland to Allahabad via Cawnpore, then by riverboat to Calcutta, from where he sailed to England. Lady Canning who was at Calcutta wrote, “….They still have a gaunt, hungry look and anxious expressions.” Major General Outram wrote of his cousin in his dispatch of 16th January 1858 how, “Lt J Anderson, of the eng, comandg-eng of the Lucknow garrison, though confined to his couch by illness, never ceased to exert himself to supply the eng. department with materials.”

Photo courtesy of Virginia van der Lande

 

 

During J.C. Anderson’s leave he married Annie Flora Maclean in Florence in 1859. In 1861 they sailed back to India where he became a Royal (Madras) Engineer, R(M)E[1]. John Cumming Anderson met his untimely death in Simla in 1870 at the age of only 45, five months after the announcement of his award of ‘Companion of the Star of India’ (CSI) which was granted in recognition of his public works services. He left his wife and six young children, the youngest, my great grandfather Charles Macdonnell Anderson was born in Bangalore India in 1866. He became a doctor and knew Dr Fayrer.

The scale of human loss both for Indians and Europeans is hard to appreciate but the suffering of women and children was a particularly notable and regrettable feature of the Rebellion, with the events in Lucknow forming only one part of a bigger rather dark picture. While the destruction of such a jewel of a city as Lucknow must also remain a great regret to all lovers of beauty and history, the haunting ruins are left to hint at former architectural glories. Though ruins, however they came to be, hold beauty. The memory of conflict is deeply ingrained in the masonry as a memorial to those who once lived and died there but it leaves us to imagine what Lucknow could once have looked like and what it could have been.

[1] J.C. Anderson’s post-Lucknow career was short but illustrious. He was placed in charge of the Kristna canal works in Madras Presidency and later appointed Superintendent Engineer of the 1st Division. In 1865 he became Consulting Engineer for Railways and became a member of a committee convened by the Government of India to consider schemes for remodelling the Ganges canal, with a report presented to the Government of India in February 1865. On 15th October 1867 he was appointed the first ever Chief Engineer for Irrigation for the Government of India.  A Memorial Fountain was erected in his memory, in Madras, by his brother officers with the epithet, “To the memory of John Cumming Anderson, C.S.I., R.E. who died 1870, a modest and gallant soldier, an able Engineer, and a warm and true friend; erected by  brother officers.” It was situated at the south-west approach of Government House Bridge on the Mount Road, Seventh Division. It no longer stands.