In the beginning of March alarming reports of the state of affairs in Chitral began to reach Gilgit, the headquarters of the British Political Agent and the force of some 3,000 men stationed on this frontier for its supervision and protection. The whole of Lower Chitral was rumoured to be up in arms against the British, and communication with Mr. Robertson and the officers who had two months previously marched from Gilgit to Chitral was now •entirely cut off. The flame of rebellion seemed to be spreading, and the gravest anxiety was felt for the safety of the detachments of troops at the various posts on the road and of the several parties which were marching towards Chitral. Mr. Robertson was the British Agent, deputed by the Government of India for the conduct of political affairs on this frontier ; but he was now shut up in Chitral, and the control of our relations with the various states round Gilgit and Chitral now, at this critical juncture, devolved upon Captain W. H. Stewart, and it may well be imagined that his task in keeping the various peoples on this frontier quiet and orderly, with the catching influence of the troubles in Chitral, was no easy one. These excitable and impressionable people of the Hindu Kush spring to arms under little provocation when once the spirit of fighting is abroad. News of what was occurring in Chitral would rapidly reach them, and in every house and hamlet little else would be spoken of Unless,, therefore, the British officers in contact with them could steady them by their influence, there would be a great risk that thoughtlessly, and rashly, they might rise against us as the Chitralis had done. It hung in a balance whether they would go with us or against us, and it is satisfactory to find that British influence was still so secure even in states like Hunza and Nagar, which had been subdued only three years previously, that when in this crisis Captain Stewart inquired through the political officer in Hunza and Nagar if any more men were willing ta enlist temporarily as levies in addition to the ninety men already furnished and now stationed in Ghizr on the way to Chitral, the chiefs of these two states showed the utmost feeling of loyalty, and immediately responded by arriving in Gilgit with some 900 men of all ranks ready to serve Government in any way required. Each man brought a fortnight's supply in order to avoid giving trouble, and the most enthusiastic spirit was displayed by all. A certain number of these men were sent on to Chitral, while others were employed in guarding passes near Gilgit, and as will be seen later on, these men who three short years before were fighting desperately against us, now stood by us in the time of need and rendered to Colonel Kelly in his march to Chitral such service as he repeatedly acknowledged in the terms of the highest praise.

Colonel Kelly was the officer in command of the troops on the Gilgit frontier. He was the colonel of the 32nd Pioneers, a regiment which had a few months previously arrived upon this frontier partly for the purpose of constructing roads and fortified posts, and partly to give a backbone to the force of Kashmir troops who composed the principal part of the garrison.

The total strength of 3,000 men on this frontier was made up of the regiment of Pioneers of the regular army of India ; 200 men of the 14th Sikhs, also of the Indian army ; and three battalions of Kashmir Infantry of 600 men each, and a battery of Kashmir Mountain Artillery. This force in the beginning of March was distributed in the following manner : At Chitral Fort 100 of the 14th Sikhs and 300 Kashmir Infantry; at Mastuj, 100 Sikhs and 150 Kashmir Infantry; at Ghizr, 100 Kashmir Infantry ; at Gupis, 140 Kashmir Infantry ; at Gilgit a Kashmir regiment complete. On the Hunza and on the line between Hunza and Gilgit, 200 Kashmir Infantry, and in Chilas 400. A Pioneer regiment 800 strong was located at Bunji, and on the line between there and Chilas. When it became apparent how critical the state of affairs were, the Government of India saw that it was necessary to move up as many troops as could be spared from Gilgit to afford some relief to the Chitral garrison till the large force under General Low, which was to march from the Peshawur direction, could reach Chitral ; but it was not possible to send any large force from Gilgit, for in the neighbourhood of that place there are several small states who had but very recently given trouble, and would now have to be watched, however much loyalty they might show. Hunza had only been subdued at the end of 1891, and Chilas had been brought under submission a year later. There was no sign of disturbance in either of these states, and Hunza especially seemed quiet and contented ; but it and the neighbouring state of Nagar had to be guarded, and in Chilas, which is in contact with fanatical and turbulent tribes of the Indus valley, there is always constant risk of insurrection. Under these circumstances, and as it was not known how Yasin and the states to the south of it might act, with Chitral in a state of rebellion close by, it would have been unwise to send away from the Gilgit district any larger force than the 400 Pioneers and two guns which it was now decided Colonel Kelly should take with him to march towards Chitral in order to aid the garrison to prolong their defence till relief could be sent from the Peshawur. direction.

Chitral is 220 miles from Gilgit, and the road between the two places runs through mountainous difficult country, and crosses a pass 12,400 feet high. The valleys through which the road passes are all very narrow, in just a few places opening out to a width of a mile perhaps but for the greater part of the distance only a few hundred yards broad, and in many cases mere defiles with the mountains thousands of feet high on either side running down in rocky precipices to the stream at the bottom.

The Shandur Pass is about ninety miles from Chitral and 130 miles from Gilgit. On the west side of this pass, as has been already mentioned, the whole country was up in arms against the British, and news now reached Gilgit, that besides the garrison of Chitral being shut up, the post of Mastuj was besieged, and, finally, that the detachment of troops under Captain Ross had been annihilated, and that officer killed, and that a second detachment under Lieutenant Edwardes and Fowler had been attacked on the way to Chitral. On the east side of the Shandur pass is the province of Yasin, formerly independent, but during recent years an integral part of the Chitral state. This province had so far remained quiet, but it could not of course be known whether Colonel Kelly in marching through it would encounter opposition, and even if he did not meet with hostility, if the people were only passively obstructive, his task of reaching Chitral would be an almost hopeless one, for both in the matter of supplies and of transport he must necessarily largely depend upon the people of the country through which he passed.

On March 23rd and 24th Colonel Kelly's force set out from Gilgit, the news having just previously- reached them of the annihilation of Captain Ross's party. The first detachment which Colonel Kelly himself accompanied was composed of 200 men of the 32nd Pioneers under Captain Borrodaile, with Lieutenants Bethune (Adjt.) and Cobbe, and Surgeon-Captain Browning Smith ; and the second detachment of 200 Pioneers under Lieutenants Petersen and Cooke. Two guns of the Kashmir Mountain Battery also accompanied the latter detachment.

It was with this little force that Colonel Kelly started on his venturesome journey to succour the Chitral garrison, to restore British prestige, to steady the frontier, to keep those who were wavering from flooding over to the opposite side, and to give heart to those who still trusted and looked to the British. And it may be well here to explain, for the benefit of those not acquainted with our Indian army, who the men were whom Colonel Kelly was now taking with him on this march. The Pioneer regiment, of which he was taking a wing, is composed of Sikhs from the Punjab. The regiment is organised and equipped for the special purpose of making roads and doing light pioneer work in advance of the army. It is drilled, and on service fights as an ordinary infantry battalion, but it can be used as well for the important work of road-making and construction of outposts as for ordinary fighting pur- poses. The men are armed with Martini-Henry rifles, and carry in addition, each man, a pickaxe,, shovel, or some other tool required for pioneer purposes. Colonel Kelly's force, to save transport,, which was very difficult to obtain, travelled without tents. Each sepoy was allowed fifteen pounds of baggage and he carried a greatcoat and eighty rounds of ammunition, and wore a short " poshtin “ (sheepskin coat). The guns of the Kashmir Mountain Battery were 7-pounders of a rather antiquated pattern. The officers and men of the battery belonged to the army of the Maharaja of Kashmir, and for the last few years had been drilled under the supervision of British officers.

At Gupis (sixty-five miles from Gilgit), where there is a small masonry fort, built last year by Kashmir troops under the supervision of Captain Townshend as an advanced post in the direction of Chitral, Lieutenant Stewart, Royal Artillery, joined Colonel Kelly, to be with the two guns brought from Gilgit.

Five marches further on at Ghizr a small detachment of sixty Kashmir infantry under Lieutenant Gough, forty Kashmir Sappers and Miners under the supervision of Lieutenant Oldham, R.E., and 100 levies from Hunza Nagar^ were stationed.

Ghizr is 10,000 feet above sea level, and is a small village occupied by a hardy and somewhat independent set of people. Here it was that Colonel Kelly's chief difficulties were likely to commence. He had been able to get so far without encountering any serious obstacle. The people of Yasin had shown no hostility, and Ghizr had been reached without mishap ; but here at Ghizr snow lay deep on the ground, and at the time of Colonel Kelly's arrival snow had fallen steadily for five days previously. The Shandur Pass (two marches ahead) had to be crossed, and the British officers had to bear in mind that if the pass could not be crossed, or if any sort of disaster befell them on the opposite side, there was the almost certainty that the loyalty of the people of Yasin in their rear would not stand the test of further trial, and that the Yasinis, believing that the Chitralis in rebellion on the western side of the pass must be in the ascendant, would begin to trim their sails to join them so as to save their own necks.

On the 31st of March both detachments of Colonel Kelly's force had reached Ghizr, and in spite of the heavy snowfall and of the unpromising look of matters, it was decided to push on the next day towards Chitral, for the British officers in the fort there had now been shut up for four weeks,, and it was urgently necessary to press forward as rapidly as possible to their aid.

On April 1st, Colonel Kelly left Ghizr with the whole force, but difficulties commenced at once. The start, which was to have been made at 7 a.m., did not take place for three hours later on account of the coolies required for the carriage of the supplies in crossing the; pass having absconded. For some hours the force plodded resolutely through the snow, but at about 2 p.m. it became apparent that, eager as they were to push on to the relief of their comrades in Chitral, it would be impossible to do so with the means at their disposal. What was most necessary was to take on the guns ; for the mere rumour that Colonel Kelly was bringing guns with him had been sufficient to produce the strongest moral effect upon the Chitralis, unaccustomed as they were to these weapons. The Chitralis might formerly have dreaded the regular troops of the Indian Army, but they had already annihilated two detachments of these troops, and were now engaged in besieging others, and Colonel Kelly's Pioneers alone might not have been able to produce that strong moral effect which was so necessary ; but if guns could be brought over, the Chitralis would certainly be terrified at these, and Colonel Kelly was above every- thing anxious that the two guns he had brought from Gilgit should accompany him over the pass. Here, however, just at the critical time, there seemed no possibility of his being able to carry out his object. The gun carriages and the ammunition boxes, &c., are carried on mules, and now, on this march from Ghizr towards the pass, it was found that these mules could scarcely move through the snow ; they were floundering about with the snow up to their bellies, and in the afternoon it became apparent that it was no longer possible to take them any further, much less to bring them over the pass. This was the state of affairs on April ist, as Colonel Kelly was marching out from the last village towards the pass. Colonel Kelly had now, therefore, to decide whether the enterprise should be abandoned for the present and a more favourable season .awaited, or whether a part of his force should be sent to cross the pass while the remainder returned to quarters at Ghizr. He elected the latter arrangement, and while the guns and 200 of the Pioneers, with 50 Nagar levies, returned with him to Ghizr, 200 of the Pioneers, with Captain Borrodaile, Lieutenant Cobbe, and Surgeon-Captain Browning Smith, and 40 Kashmir Sappers and Miners under Lieutenant Oldham, R.E., with 50 Hunza levies, remained at Teeru, a small hamlet about seven miles beyond Ghizr in the direction of the pass.

On April 2nd snow fell the whole day, and Cap- tain Borrodaile, with the detachment which was to make the first attempt to cross the pass, had to remain patiently at Teeru. In the afternoon Lieutenant Stewart, R.A., arrived from Ghizr again with the two guns. It was impossible to carry these guns over on mules, but the Pioneers, unwilling to leave them behind, had themselves volunteered to carry them over on their backs. They had gone to their officers and said, that in addition to their own rifles and ammunition, pioneer equipment, and kit, they would guarantee themselves to transport the guns with the gun-carriages, ammunition, &c., over the pass. A detachment of the 4th Kashmir Rifles, under Lieutenant Gough, had also volunteered to assist in this work, and they, too, now arrived in Teeru.

This splendid offer, which showed so clearly the noble spirit which animated the troops, was eagerly accepted by the British officer, and on April 3rd Captain Borrodaile set out from Teeru to cross the pass with his spirited little body of native troops. The snow was very deep and the work of marching through it excessively heavy. One of the officers with the force writes : “A more arduous task than the men had voluntarily set themselves to do, it would be hard to imagine ; but hard though it was, to their everlasting credit, be it said, the feat was successfully accomplished." Sledges were at first tried, but they had to be given up as useless, as, after 100 or 200 yards, narrow as these sledges were, a single man track was narrower and extremely uneven with great holes every few steps, so the sledges were abandoned and all day long the men struggled through the snow with the guns, till be- tween nine and ten o'clock in the evening it was so dark that the track could scarcely be seen, and it was then decided that if the men were to get in at all, all those behind would have to drop their loads. This was accordingly done, ammunition boxes, &c. were stacked in the snow, and the troops marched on to Langar, the camping spot at the foot of the pass. Here at Langar there was only one small hut in which the more exhausted men were placed, and the remainder being without tents had to re- main in the open for the whole night. The men with Captain Borrodaile were Sikhs from the plains of the Punjab, brought up for generations in one of the hottest climates in the world, and they were now called upon, after the severe struggles of this and previous days, to spend a night on the snow at nearly 12,000 feet above sea-level, and with the thermometer somewhere about zero (Fahrenheit). Sleep for most of them was out of the question ; the men as far as possible gathered round small fires which had been made up from the brushwood to be obtained near the camping spot, and wearily awaited the dawn and final struggle of the coming day.

On the following morning Captain Borrodaile set off for the pass ; but as it had now become clear to him that if his men were to attempt to carry over the guns as well as their own kit, they would inevitably break down altogether, he decided to leave Lieutenants Stewart and Gough behind, and directed these two officers to employ that day in bringing the remaining loads into camp and storing them there till either Captain Borrodaile could send back assistance from the oppositie side of the pass, or until aid could come from Ghizr. Captain Borrodaile s men found the task of crossing the pass just heart-breaking ; every few steps they would sink in through the snow, although some sort of a track had been beaten out by the levies going on in front. At times they would fall in almost up to their armpits, so that they had to be pulled out by their comrades. This was fearfully trying to men loaded as they were, to men too who had passed an almost sleepless night and started for this, the crisis of the enterprise, thoroughly exhausted.

By the time the party had reached the middle of the pass men were falling out in twos and threes, sitting down in the snow as if they were on the point of giving up the struggle. The heavy loads which they had to carry, rifles, ammunition, haver- sacks, greatcoats, &c., were weighing them down and utterly exhausting them. The snow was from three to five feet deep and quite eighteen inches of it was soft and fresh, at the same time the sun was pouring down upon the men, and adding to their discomfort by the glare which it produced from the white surface of the snow, and, although all the men were provided with blue spectacles, many cases of snow-blindness occurred. The absence of water too caused the men additional suffering. Little relief was afforded them from sucking snow, and many were afraid to do that, thinking that there must be some bad influence from it. So exhausted were the men that it seemed at one time to .the British officers that it would be necessary to spend another night on the snow, but at about 5.30 the advance guard came to the end of the flat part of the top of the pass, and the descent was at last commenced. News was at once passed along the line and fresh spirit came into the men. They pulled themselves together for a final effort, and when a little further on some water was obtained, they began to step out quite briskly. A critical time had now been reached ; the party were descending the western side of the pass into the part of the country which had for a month now been up in open arms against the British. It was known that there was a village at the foot of the pass, and it was quite possible that Captain Borrodailes exhausted troops might find resistance offered them here at the very culminating point of their troubles. Captain Borrodaile had therefore to send on his few levies to scout and discover if the enemy were in any force in the village of Laspur, at the foot of the pass, and to report on the state of affairs there. Fortunately no opposition was met with, for the Chitralis had scarcely expected that the troops would be able to cross the pass in its then condition, and at about 7.30, nearly twelve hours after the first start had been made from Langar, Laspur was reached.

In this straggling village a few inhabitants were found, who immediately came in to pay their respects, as, 200 men in their midst, even though they were SO exhausted, were to be propitiated. Captain Borrodaile's party then made themselves snug for the night in the various buildings and outhouses, and they made a few rough temporary defences against a night attack, and then prayed that for this night at least after all their terrible exertions they might be left in peace.

On the next morning (April 5th) Captain Borrodaile, having seized a number of inhabitants of the village, sent them back over the pass to Langar to help Lieutenant Stewart and Lieutenant Gough to carry over the guns and the remaining loads, which had been left on the near side of the pass. These two officers, with the small detachment of Kashmir infantry, succeeded in bringing the guns over, and to them is due the credit of performing this splendid feat of carrying guns over a high pass in, perhaps, its worst condition, and bringing them down into Chitral territory to give so important a help to Colonel Kelly's force. On the 4th, Surgeon- Captain Browning Smith made an examination of the men who had crossed the pass, and found twenty- five cases of frost-bite and thirty of snow-blindness. These were fortunately not severe, but it was evident that even one more day's work such as these troops had had to undergo would have quite incapacitated the force.

We must now try and realise what was the position of this small detachment which Captain Borrodaile had with such resolution brought over the Shandur Pass. They were now in the presence of an enemy elated with success, and behind them this terrible pass, practically cutting off their retreat. The village of Laspur had to a certain extent been surprised, though two spies stationed on the pass had been observed by Captain Borrodaile's party, but a considerable number of Chitralis was known to be in the valley lower down, and an attack on Captain Borrodaile might be made at any moment. Colonel Kelly s instructions to Captain Borrodaile were to entrench himself on arrival, return his coolies, and endeavour to open up communication with the garrison of Mastuj, two marches below Laspur, who were besieged by the Chitralis.

On the evening of April 5th a short recon- naissance was made below the camp, as the levies had brought back information that a small body of the enemy had been seen.

On April 6th a reconnaissance in force was made by Captain Borrodaile to Gasht, twelve miles distant ; the two guns and one hundred and twenty of the pioneers taking part in the movement. Gasht was reached without opposition, and the villages on the route were found almost deserted, but Captain Borrodaile s troops were able to seize some thirty inhabitants and twelve ponies to serve for transport purposes. Captain Borrodaile returned to Laspur the same night, and he then found Colonel Kelly with Lieutenant Beynon, his staff-officer, and about fifty levies had crossed the pass and arrived in Laspur. On the 7 th the troops rested and prepared for an advance on the following day.

On the 8th the force reached Gasht unopposed, and a small reconnaissance in the evening showed that the enemy were occupying a strong position across the valley at a place called Chokalwat, a few miles below. This position Colonel Kelly decided to attack the next morning. The Chokalwat position is one of great natural strength, and of that order which is generally described as impregnable. Any one looking at it would say that here a hundred men could keep a whole army at bay. On each side of the valley mountains tower up thousands of feet in rugged precipices. A river flows along the valley bottom, and the only road down the valley leads either along the bottom of a stone-shoot, down which the enemy stationed at the top could hurl rocks to prevent any force passing beneath ; or else over the river and by a zig-zag path up some cliffs, the edges of which the enemy had lined with sangars or stone breastworks. At accessible points on the mountain sides the enemy had also constructed these breastworks, and if the Chitralis were determined to offer Colonel Kelly at all a resolute opposition, he might have been brought to a standstill here at his first contact with the enemy, and his main object of affording speedy relief to the garrison in Chitral would be frustrated. In the Hunza campaign of 1891, our troops had been kept at bay for nearly a fortnight in just such another position. The Hunza men were few of them armed with rifles, while the Chitralis had numbers of breech- loaders, and it was not difficult to imagine that a check might here be offered to the relief force, and a check, anything else indeed but complete success, would have involved the British in most serious trouble, and might have caused the people all along the lengthy line of communications to show hostility. On the morning of April 9th, at 10.30 a.m.. Colonel Kelly advanced to the attack of this position. In the early morning Lieutenant Beynon with the Hunza levies were sent to ascend the high hills on the left bank of the river, so as to turn the right of the enemy's position and attack in rear. The Punyalis were sent up the hills oh the right bank to turn out the men above the stone-shoots on that side. The enemy's position consisted of a line of sangars blocking the roads from the river up to the alluvial fan on which they were placed. The right of the enemy's position was protected by a snow glacier which descended into the river bed, and also by san- gars which were built as far up as the snow line on the hill side. The road down the valley led on to the alluvial fan, the ascent to which was short and steep — it was covered with boulders, and intersected with nullahs. The road led across this fan and then along the foot of the steep, shaly slopes and shoots within 500 yards of the line of sangars crowning the opposite side of the river bank, and totally devoid of any sort or description of cover for some two miles. It could also be swept by avalanches of stones set in motion by a few men placed on the heights for that purpose.

The force with which Colonel Kelly advanced to the attack of this position consisted of 190 men of the 32nd Pioneers, two guns of the Kashmir Mountain Battery, 40 Kashmir Sappers and Miners, and 50 levies — in all, 280 men. Colonel Kelly considered that any delay to wait for the second detachment of his troops, who were on their way over the Shandur Pass, would only give the enemy an opportunity for collecting in greater strength, and for improving the fortification of their position, and he decided therefore to attack at once, and advanced in the following order: — A half company of 32nd Pioneers formed the advance guard, and these were followed by the forty Kashmir Sappers and Miners, a half company of the 32nd Pioneers, the two guns which were carried by coolies, and the other company of the 32nd Pioneers completed the main body. The baggage, under escort of the rear guard, remained at Gasht till ordered forward to the action. The advance was made up to the river where the bridge had been broken by the enemy, but was now sufficiently repaired by the Sappers and Miners for the passage of the infantry. The guns forded the river, and the force ascended to the fan facing the right sangar of the enemy s position. Colonel Kelly s plan was for the advance guard to leave the road and form up on the highest part of the fan facing A sangar (see sketch), which w^as to be silenced by volley firing and the guns. He also proposed to adopt the same course with regard to B sangar, when an opportunity should offer for the infantry to descend into the river bed and ascend the left bank to enfilade the enemy in the remaining san- gars, which it was expected would be vacated as soon as Lieutenant Beynon s flank attack with the levies had developed. The advance guard of the Pioneers formed up at about 800 yards from the position, while the main body followed in rear. The Pioneers then advanced to the attack — one section of C company extended, another section of the same company in support ; two sections of C company and the whole of A company in reserve. The guns then took up a position on the right and opened on A sangar at a range of 825 yards. As the action progressed the supporting section of C company advanced and reinforced the remaining half of C company, which also advanced, and leaving sufficient space for the guns, took up their position in the firing line on the extreme right. Volley firing was first opened at 800 yards, but the firing line advanced 1 50 to 200 yards as the action progressed. At a later stage one section of A company was pushed up to fill a gap on the right of the guns in action in the centre of the line. A few well-directed volleys and accurately-aimed shells soon caused the enemy to vacate A sangar in twos and threes, till it was finally emptied. Meanwhile Lieutenant Beynon with his levies had found his way up the hillsides on the left bank of the river, and as the Pioneers advanced across the fan Lieutenant Beynon drove the enemy from their sangars on the hillsides. As soon as the enemy had been cleared from A san- gar, Colonel Kelly directed his attention to B sangar, and attacked it in a similar manner, and just as the enemy had fled from the first, they now vacated B sangar also. At the same time those of the enemy who had been driven from the positions on the hill- side came streaming down into the plain, and a general flight ensued. A general advance of Colonel Kelly's force was then made down the precipitous banks to the bed of the river. This advance was covered by the fire of the reserves ; the river was forded, and Sangars A and B occupied. The guns were then carried across, and the whole line of san- gars having been vacated, the column was re-formed in the fan, and the advance was continued to a vil- lage one and a half miles further along the bed of the river, and there a halt was made.

So terminated the first successful action with the enemy. It was carried out, says Colonel Kelly, with the extreme steadiness of an ordinary morning parade ; the volleys being well directed and properly controlled. The action lasted but one hour, and the casualties on the side of the British were only one man of the 32 nd Pioneers severely wounded, and three Kashmir Sappers slightly wounded. The strength of the enemy was computed at from 400 to 500 men, and they were armed with Martini- Henry and Snider rifles. Several dead were found in the sangars, and the loss of the enemy was estimated to have been from fifty to sixty men.

After a short halt the troops continued the advance by the left bank of the river till within three miles of Mastuj, where the river was forded. Here, drawn up on the crest of an alluvial fan above the river, were seen the British garrison of Mastuj, who had been shut up in the fort for eighteen days, but who had, on hearing the firing of Colonel Kelly's troops, and seeing the enemy gradually vacating their position round the fort, now come out to join hands with the relieving force.

At 5 p.m. Colonel Kelly's force reached Mastuj itself, and so in a single day a successful action had been fought, the beleaguered garrison of Mastuj re- lieved, and another march made in the direction of Chitral. Lieutenant Moberly, who was in command at Mastuj, was now able to relate the story of his adventures since his investment by the Chitralis. In a previous chapter the story of the disasters to the parties under Captain Ross and Lieutenant Edwardes has been told. These detachments had in the beginning of March set out from Mastuj for Chitral, but no news of what had happened to them, or of what was occurring in Chitral reached Lieutenant Moberly. He had sent messengers down to Buni three times, but each time they were cut off. On March loth Captain Bretherton, the Deputy- Assistant Commissary-General for the Gilgit force, arrived in Mastuj with a detachment of lOO Kashmir Sepoys from Ghizr, and so brought up the Mastuj garrison to a total strength of 1 70 men. Sixty more men arrived from Ghizr on the 13th, and on the i6th Lieutenant Moberly, who had been trying for some days to obtain coolies to enable him to march down to Buni to ascertain the fate of Captain Ross s party, set out from Mastuj with 150 Kashmir Infantry. No coolies had been obtained, and each man had to carry his poshtin (sheepskin coat), two blankets, 1 20 rounds of ammunition, and three days' cooked rations. Sanoghar, a village eight miles below Mastuj, was reached that day, but no longer march could be made, as a bridge over the river had to be repaired. Fifty Punyali levies had joined Lieutenant Moberly, and on the next morning he left for Buni. This he reached at 5 p.m., and found there Lieutenant Jones and the seventeen survivors of Captain Ross's party, and thirty-three men who had been left in Buni by Captain Ross before his march to Koragh. Lieu- tenant Jones had been unable to proceed towards Mastuj for fear of attack on the difficult road there, and had remained on in Buni trying to communicate with Lieutenant Moberly, and hoping that relief might be sent him. This relief Lieutenant Moberly at no small risk, for there are many points on the eighteen miles of road between Mastuj and Buni where his retreat might have been cut off, had now gallantly brought. But Buni was no place in which to stay longer than was absolutely necessary. It is an open village ; there is no defensible post in it, and above everything there were not supplies sufficient to last any length of time. The enemy were already in strength at Drasan, a few miles distant on the oppo- site bank of the river, and Lieutenant Moberly heard that they intended to cut off his retreat that very night at the Nisa Gol, a strong position on the way between Buni and Mastuj. Lieutenant Moberly heard also that the enemy were collecting on the road between Mastuj and Gilgit, and that no more of our own troops had yet started from Gilgit. He had therefore no choice left but to return to Mastuj immediately. So after remaining there only two hours he set out at 7 p.m. on the 17th on his return journey. A party had been previously despatched to seize the bridge over the river and the difficult piece of cliff along which the road passes, and the Punyali levies had been sent forward to if possible prevent the enemy from occupying the Nisa Gol position. These precautionary measures were successfully carried out ; the enemy did nothing more than follow the party along the path, and Lieutenant Moberly after marching steadily all night halted for a few hours at dawn, and proceeded on to Mastuj, which he reached in safety about 10 a.m. on the 18th, having thus by a bold, and carefully-planned march rescued Lieutenant Jones's party from prob- ably the same fate that befel Lieutenant Edwardes s party. He did this, too, just in the nick of time, for only a few hours after he had left Buni, the enemy arrived there in force, and afterwards occupied the Nisa Gol position.

On the three days following his return to Mastuj, Lieutenant Moberly and Captain Bretherton were busily occupied in cutting down trees, from them making up fence-work round the fort, and completing defensive arrangements generally. The Hunza- Nagar levies, to the number of one hundred, were sent back to Ghizr on the other side of the Shandur to reinforce that post and be in communication with Gilgit. On the 25th news reached Mastuj that Lieutenants Fowler and Edwardes had been captured by the Chitralis. The enemy were now closing round the fort. A reconnaissance which Lieutenant Moberly had taken out on the 22nd showed that about six hundred of them were building and holding sangars at Chokalwat position, a few miles above Mastuj on the way to Gilgit, and a regular blockade of the fort now commenced.

Mastuj fort is about ninety yards square, and is built of masonry and woodwork, in the same manner as are all the forts in these parts. The walls are about twenty-five feet high, but at the time of the siege were in a dilapidated condition, for the place had only been temporarily occupied by the British as a residence for the political agent and his escort pending the decision of the Government as regards our permanent policy towards Chitral And unfortunately a very severe earthquake in the previous year had shaken the walls very nearly to pieces. At that time I was the political agent there, and a little incident which occurred while the earthquake was taking place is worth recording as an instance of the steadiness of the native troops. Lieutenant Gordon, the officer in command of the escort of Sikhs, and myself were seated in a room of the fort when we suddenly felt the whole place shaking. But earthquakes are common in Chitral and we did not at first move, till we heard stones crashing down outside and the whole room tossing about like a cabin on board ship. Then we dashed out of the door to the courtyard, and as we did so passed a sentry, who quietly proceeded to present arms in salute as if nothing was happening. The mountains round were in a cloud of dust from the avalanches of rock set rolling down their sides by the earthquake and the rickety walls of the fort tumbling on all sides ; but all this did not disturb the Sikh sentry from his sense of discipline, and he saluted as he was accustomed to do.

This fort is situated on the edge of a sloping plain running down from the hillside which at one point approach to within about 400 yards of the fort. The enemy occupied a row of houses some 300 yards from the fort ; these they loopholed, and from the walls commenced firing upon the fort They also built sangars at a distance of 800 yards, but the garrison succeeded in silencing the fire from these by aiming volleys into them ; and on one occasion Punyali levies were sent out at night to whitewash the loopholes of sangars out of which the enemy had been driven during the day, so that it would be possible for the garrison to aim correctly at them if the enemy attempted to reoccupy them. The enemy did subsequently come back to the sangars, but only to be driven out again by the carefully aimed fire from the garrison.

On another occasion the Chitralis had built a sangar on the hillside and from it wounded two ponies in the inside of the fort. The enemy were armed with Martini-Henry and Snider rifles and could fire from long ranges into the fort. It was necessary therefore to dislodge them from the sangar, and the Punyali levies were sent early one morning before it had been occupied for the day by the enemy to destroy it. Some days afterwards a sangar was built about 300 yards below the fort, but Lieutenant Moberly moved out with a party of eighty sepoys and rushed it. The enemy only fired a few shots, and then retired into some houses from which they harassed the return of the party. The sangar, which was found to be strongly built of fascines and stones, was destroyed.

All this time the Chitralis had been trying to induce Lieutenant Moberly to come out under the promise of a safe conduct to Gilgit, and he was assured that Sher Afzul, the pretender to the throne of Chitral, had no wish to fight the British. Had Lieutenant Moberly listened to these insinuating advances he would undoubtedly have been captured as soon as he came outside, and he acted wisely to wait for the relief which, though he was not aware of it, was now near at hand. On the 9th of April large numbers of the enemy were observed to be moving ofif, Lieutenant Moberly took out his men to follow them up, and then it was that he met Colonel Kelly s force marching in to the relief of the garrison. The siege was now at an end ; the tables were turned, and relieving and relieved forces now marched down to succour Chitral.

From the loth to the 12th of April Colonel Kelly halted in Mastuj to allow of arrangements for sup- plies and transport for the further march to Chitral to be made, and to await the arrival of a second detachment of the troops catching up from the Shandur Pass. On the i ith of April this detachment arrived accompanied by Surgeon-Captain Luard with the Field Hospital, which was now established at Mastuj ; and on the same day a reconnaissance was made by the levies in the direction of Chitral, as the enemy were reported to be holding a strong position a few miles below Mastuj. On the 12th of April a further reconnaissance was made by Lieutenant Beynon, the staff officer, and an accurate sketch of the enemy s position brought back by him, which enabled Colonel Kelly to settle the course of his action. This sketch is reproduced on the opposite page, and it gives a very clear idea of the position which the enemy had now occupied, and which was known as the Nisa Gol. It is generally considered to be impregnable, and the late Mehtar of Chitral had, standing on the very spot, himself explained to me its natural strength, and affirmed that it was one of the strongest positions in his country. In Chitral all the positions in the mountain valleys are well known and are regularly occupied in each successive invasion which occurs, and this position, Nisa Gol, is the one which has been selected from time imme- morial by the Chitralis in the defence of their valley. The valley of the Chitral river at the Nisa Gol position is about a mile wide, and is bounded on either hand by steep rocky mountains, rising for several thousand feet above the river. On the left bank especially the mountain sides are very pre- cipitous, and up against these the Chitral river runs. On first looking down the valley it appears as if, in between the mountains, there was nothing but a smooth plain running down from the right-hand side, and it is not till one is actually on it that it is dis- covered that the seemingly open plain is cleft by a nullah between 200 and 300 feet deep, and with absolutely perpendicular sides. This nullah is the Nisa Gol, and only one path leads across it, that of the road to Chitral, and this path the enemy had now cut away. There had been a small goat-track across this nullah at another point, but the enemy had now entirely obliterated it. Sangars had also been erected at the head of these paths and along the right bank of the nullah. These sangars were sunk into the ground and head-cover was provided by a covering of timber and stones. On the left of their position they had sangars on the spur of the hill in a general line with the sangars on the plain, and on the hill parties of men were stationed to throw down stones. On the right of their position across the Chitral river, and slightly in advance of the general line, they had another line of sangars on a spur stretching away high up into the snow-line.

Such was the position which Colonel Kelly had now to attack, and here the Chitralis had collected to the number of about 1,5CX) men under their chief leader, Mohamed Isa, to make their principal stand, so as to prevent Colonel Kelly joining hands with the British garrison in Chitral.

Colonel Kelly, reinforced by the garrison of Mastuj, now had with him 382 Pioneers under Captain Borrodaile, two guns under Lieutenant Stewart, 100 Kashmir Infantry under Lieutenant Moberly, 34 Kashmir Sappers and Miners under Lieutenant Oldham, R.E., and 100 Hunza and Punyal levies. With this force he advanced from Mastuj at 7 a.m. on the 13th April. His plan was to send on an advance guard, which, on gaining the plain which the enemy's position bisected, would make its way well up to the right where the ground favoured an advance under cover to within 500 yards of the ravine, whose further bank was occupied by the enemy. This advance guard was ordered to direct its attack on the sangar on the right with well directed volleys till the guns and the remainder of the force could come into position. As soon as the advance guard could silence the fire in this sangar, which commanded the advance across the plain, the main sangars along the banks of the ravine were to be fired upon. At the same time levies were to make their way high up in the ravine nearer its source in the mountains on Colonel Kelly's right, to find some path by which the enemy's left could be turned.

The advance guard, composed of A company, at about 10.30 A.M. deployed into line and advanced in extended order when with 900 yards of the position, the C company following soon after prolonging the line to the right. Each of these two formed their own supports, E and G companies were in reserve, marching in column of half companies forming single rank, and opening out into one pace as they advanced. Reinforcements being called for, E company advanced and prolonged the line to the right, G company being called up similarly later on, formed the extreme right of the firing line. The levies were well on the right, high up towards the head of the ravine. While these movements were being executed, the guns came into action at a range of 500 yards, firing common shell, and knocking down the wall of the sangar to a height of about three feet, and so, for a short time, silencing the fire from it. The guns were afterwards advanced to a distance of 275 yards from the enemy's main sangar. The infantry having deployed A and C companies kept the enemy engaged directly in front along the main line of sangars, the latter company occasionally directing its fire half right against the sangars on the hills in that flank. The fire of E and G companies was almost entirely directed against the hill sangars — occasional volleys being directed on small parties of the enemy occupying hill tops from 800 to 900 yards distance. The general average distance at which firing was opened to the front was from 250 to 300 yards. As soon as the guns had silenced the fire from the sangars on the hill sides to the right, they shelled at ranges from 875 yards to 1,200 yards the sangars along the edge of the ravine. The existence of the goat-path across the ravine already referred to was now reported to Colonel Kelly by his staff-officer Lieutenant Beynon, and Colonel Kelly accordingly directed that an attempt should be made to make it practicable so that the force might cross by it. Some ladders had been brought with the force for the special purpose of crossing the ravine, and the Kashmir Sappers under Lieutenant Moberly were now sent forward with Lieutenant Beynon to carry out the work. The scaling ladders were lowered down the sides of the ravine by means; of ropes, and after half an hour's work a track was made by which the bottom of the nullah could be reached and an ascent by the goat-track on the further side assured. The troops then descended into the nullah, and eventually a party of about fifteen succeeded in climbing the opposite bank, which they reached almost simultaneously with the levies, who had now worked their way round by the right, turned the enemy's left and reached the sangars on the hill side. The appearance of these bodies on the enemy's left caused a general flight, and they streamed out of their sangars in a long line, with the guns firing at ranges from 950 to 1,400 yards and under volleys of rifle fire from the infantry. Colonel Kelly then ordered a general advance across the nullah by the road leading to Chitral. A company, as soon as it could be mustered, was sent in pursuit, but the enemy's flight was extremely rapid, and they succeeded in effecting a retreat towards Drasan and over the hill sides on the right bank of the river.

Colonel Kelly in reporting this action says that he cannot speak too highly of the extreme steadiness and bravery of the troops during the course of the action, which lasted two hours, and during which they were subjected to a very heavy and trying fire from the front and left bank. The fire discipline he also says was excellent, and contributed materially to keeping down the fire from the enemy's sangars.

The enemy's casualties were estimated at some sixty killed and one hundred wounded. Amongst the enemy were some forty of Umra Khan's men, and the fire which Colonel Kelly's force had to face was entirely from Martini- Henri and Snider rifles. This second success was even greater than the first' All the principal men of the country not employed before the fort of Chitral, were present in the action, and the utmost reliance was placed in the strength of the position. It was therefore a serious blow to the Chitralis when they found that the principal position on the road to Chitral had been summarily captured.

Colonel Kelly halted that night opposite the village of Sanoghar, and on the following day, the 14th April, marched to Drasan to ascertain the strength of the enemy and his whereabouts, as it was reported that Mohamed Isa had fled in that direction. The road had been broken, and a long detour had to be made up the spur some 2,000 ft. high above the road, necessitating a march of some twenty miles.

The fort at Drasan was found to be unoccupied, and in it were large quantities of grain, which would have been very acceptable to Colonel Kelly had he been able to carry it away, but no transport was available for the purpose as no men could be captured from the neighbouring villages.

The usual road to Chitral runs down the opposite side of the valley to that on which Drasan is situated. It was by this road on the left bank of the river that Captain Ross and Lieutenants Edwardes and Fowler had advanced, and along it the parties under them had been annihilated. The enemy had intended to have arrested Colonel Kelly's progress at or near the spot where Captain Ross's party had suffered so severely, but Colonel Kelly outwitted them by avoiding the terrible defiles on that road, and by marching from Drasan high up along the hill sides on the right bank of the river till he had passed these difficult positions.

In the midst of heavy rain he marched on the 15th of April to Khusht, and on the i6th to Loon ; and then on the 17th, being well behind the worst defiles, he descended to the river bed again and crossed the Chitral River to Barnas, though the river at this point is not generally considered fordable, for it is breast-high and runs with rapid current. It was of course with only great risk that men could be taken across, but by linking them together in bands of ten or twelve, and by stationing levies in the stream to help men who might be washed off their legs, and to save kits which might be carried away. Colonel Kelly s force was able to effect the passage of this deep and rapid mountain river. A strategical move of the highest importance had thus been effected and an almost impregnable position turned without the firing of a single shot.

All this time Colonel Kelly had not been able to hear a single word from the garrison in Chitral, nor had he been able to pass a message in to them to give warning of his approach. He was now only two marches distant from Chitral, and the crisis of his arduous march was approaching. This date was indeed the turning-point of the whole campaign. Colonel Kelly had turned the enemy's last position ; it was on this day that Lieutenant Harley made his brilliant sortie, and it was on this day Umra Khan was making his last futile effort against General Low's force. The high-water mark of the rebellion had been reached, and from now the tide began to turn rapidly.

On the 1 8th Colonel Kelly made a short march to Moroi and on the 19th arrived at Koghazi, only one march from Chitral. Here he received his first letter from the beleaguered garrison, and obtained the welcome news that the siege had just been raised and that the enemy had finally fled.

In the afternoon of April 20th the force marched into Chitral and joined hands with their comrades, who had for forty-seven days been invested within the fort.

This famous march, which, carried out by a handful of British officers with not a single British soldier by them, but with native troops from the plains of India, over a snow-clad range and through the heart of a mountainous country in the flush of successful rebellion, will ever be remembered as a unique exploit of the Indian Army, was now at an end. The news of the success of the little force was soon spread throughout the empire. Everywhere the highest admiration was excited, and critics in the great armies of the Continent joined with ourselves in the praises of the high military qualities which its accomplishment showed that our officers and men possessed. Her Majesty the Queen immediately telegraphed to India her gracious approbation of this remarkable exploit, and the Commander-in- Chief in India, Sir George White, expressed his warm appreciation of the manner in which, in the face of extraordinary difficulties, the advance and operations of the force were conducted, and of the indomitable energy displayed by Colonel Kelly and the officers and troops under his command in overcoming them. The Commander-in-Chief considered the arrangements made for the crossing of the Shandur Pass, the perseverance and skill displayed by the officers, and the excellent behaviour of the troops worthy of the highest praise, and while commending all wished to record the important part taken by Captain Borradaile and his detachment, who were the first over the pass.

A week after Colonel Kelly had reached Chitral Major “ Roddy " Owen and myself, riding on ahead of the advanced parties of General Low's force arrived in Chitral. It was a bright sunny day, the country was clothed in all the fulness of spring, the young corn waving in the field, the blossoms forming on the trees and all nature smiling as we rode through the forty miles of country which separated Chitral from the advance guard which General Gatacre had just led over the Lowarai Pass. But the looks of the people were in striking contrast. Worn, trembling and utterly cowed the Chitralis shrank from even the British officers riding without an escort through the country. It was pitiable to see them. Men, whom a few months before I had seen gay as few but Chitralis in their contented moments can be, were now moving about with careworn faces thin and exhausted. The people of Chitral had flamed up into rebellion, and were now lying burnt out like the charred remains of a firework. When I asked them why they had been so foolish as to fight us, they wrung their hands and said, "Why were we ? We hate these Pathans ; they have plundered our houses and carried off our women, but they were strong and close while you were far away, and we never knew you were so powerful as you are. We did not want to fight you, but we were led away."

It was only very few people, however, that we met as we rode through the villages, for most had fled to the hills, believing that General Gatacre s brigade, now just over the Lowarai Pass, was to advance upon them and exact a terrible retribution by massacring them for the space of three days. Late in the evening of the 27th of April, we rode into Chitral, and had the honour to be the first to congratulate the famous garrison and the officers of Colonel Kelly s force upon their splendid achievements. We found the officers just sitting down to dinner in the very house in which I had lived for many months, and in which Mr. Curzon and I on the previous October had entertained the late Mehtar at dinner. This house was situated half-a-mile from the fort, and here we found Sir George Robert- son and the other officers, recovered somewhat in- deed from what Colonel Kelly's officers had found them, but still looking pale and worn, thin, and with the set anxious look which had not yet left their faces. They were cheery indeed ; they brought out a long treasured bottle of brandy from the reserve for hospital purposes, and they produced a Christmas plum-pudding which had only that day arrived, and insisted upon our sharing these luxuries with them ; but even now they hardly realised that the struggle was yet over, and one or other of them would from time to time go round the sentries posted everywhere round the house.

One of the first subjects on which they spoke to us was about poor Baird. Few officers have ever attached their comrades more sincerely to them than did this brave officer, and he was one of the best and keenest soldiers in the service. He was noted for his tact and for the amiability of his character, and he studied his profession with the spirit of an enthusiast. His coolness was as remarkable as his zeal, and suffering though he was and knowing that he must die, he remained cheerful and collected to the last. He said that he would not have wished to die any other death than the soldier's death which he was now to meet ; he had done his duty and led his men as a soldier should do, and he never regretted his fate. He gave a few last messages to those at home and then with a smile on his face and, thinking of his profession to the very end, wished his comrades success in their plans and bade them good-bye.

He died on the morning of March 4th, and was buried in the dead of night outside the main gate of the fort while the enemy were firing all round. A little over two months later, when the advance brigade of the Relieving Force arrived in Chitral, General Gatacre read a funeral service over his grave, and Major Aylmer, R.E., who had served together with Baird in the Hunza Campaign three years before and won his Victoria Cross there, erected a tomb-stone to his memory and with his own hands carved an inscription upon it. His comrades and fellow-countrymen will know then that far away though he now lies his grave has not been neglected, but will ever be cared for by the soldiers who follow after him.

After poor Baird I think the subject on which the officers of the garrison spoke most feelingly was the devotion and noble spirit of discipline and determination shown by the Sikhs. There were but a hundred of them in a garrison of nearly four hundred, but the officers said that without them they could never have held out, and that but for these Sikhs not one of them would have been there now. These Sikh soldiers only grew more enthusiastic as the siege became closer and times seemed harder. With calm self-reliance they stood proudly at bay like a rock with the waves beating against it. And so great was the sense of discipline which their stern old native officer Gurmurkh Singh instilled into them, that when during an attack the sick struggled out of hospital to join in the fight he would not excuse even their impulsive bravery, but told them that a soldier's first duty was to obey, that they had been ordered to hospital and there they must stay. It was the discipline ingrained into these men that saved the garrison. As long as a Sikh was on sentry, while Sikhs were holding a threatened point. Captain Townshend had nothing to fear. The enemy would never catch a Sikh off his guard and could never force their way through a post of Sikhs while one remained alive. They saved the garrison, and the officers gratefully acknowledged their service.

The skill of the enemy was, too, a subject on which the officers specially dwelt. The Chitralis had not previously been considered of much account as a fighting race ; but even they, once their blood was up, fought hard and well, and their Pathan allies were as skilful and brave as troops of a regularly trained army. These men of Umra Khans were born warriors ; unlike the Chitralis who by nature prefer polo and sport and dancing to fighting, the Pathans from their childhood upwards think of little else than warfare. They are for ever raiding upon one another, attacking each others villages, and besieging and defending the forts scattered over their country nearly as thickly as public-houses in England. They therefore showed every ingenuity in the siege of Chitral. To make the most of their ammunition they never fired a shot without clearly making out an object to aim at, and usually with the rifle resting on a stone so as to enable them to aim correctly. The skill which they displayed in the construction of trenches and breastworks to approach the walls ; the sagacity they showed in repeatedly attacking the waterway and in setting fire to the towers and walls of the fort ; and the courage and determination they showed in their attempts to carry out these objects, excited the highest admiration of the besieged.

No less remarkable was their well-directed effort to undermine the walls ; and at the close of the siege the defenders found a huge pent roof, which was to have been borne along and placed against the walls of the fort so as to cover the assailants, and huge scaling ladders, capable of carrying three men abreast, had also been constructed. With the aid of these contrivances the enemy had hoped, when the mine had been successfully blown up, to have made one last desperate assault upon the devoted garrison before the relieving force could arrive. They calculated that the defenders must be getting very short of supplies, for Mr. Robertson in his negotiations with them had always been careful to lead them into this belief. They thought, too, that the native troops must be low at heart, and ready to throw up the sponge at any day. They considered, therefore, that if one great effort could be made they would be able to first crush the Chitral garrison, and then annihilate Colonel Kelly, who they knew had with him only a handful of men with no supplies and no transport to speak of, and who was now in the middle of the worst defile of the country. But the carefully-planned and brilliantly-executed sortie under Harley had effectually frustrated this last supreme effort of the besiegers, and Colonel Kelly's force had, by their skilful tactics and bravery in action, thwarted the enemy s most cherished plans. Just on the brink of a disaster the British forces came out triumphant ; and once again in our fair island s story it was shown that British officers, even though they had not a single British soldier by them, and had only to trust to their own stout hearts and strong right arms, and to the influence they could exercise over men of subject races, and to the feeling of loyalty they could evoke from them, had been able to uphold the honour of the race ; and the story of the defence and relief of Chitral will be handed down to posterity as one of the most brilliant chapters in the annals of Indian military history.