The Murder of Cavagnari

From FIBIwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The Treaty of Gandamak signed by Mohammad Yaqub Khan, Emir of Afghanistan, provided for a British Mission to Kabul and Sir Pierre Cavagnari was appointed Resident. He arrived at the Bala Hissar fortress on 24 July 1879 with his secretary William Jenkins and an escort of 75 Guides Cavalry under the command of Lieutenant Walter Hamilton. The 23 year old Hamilton had recently won a VC at the Battle of Futtehabad though he was not destined to know about it.

Afghan Regiments from Herat with a bitter hatred of the British had recently arrived in Kabul. These were actively hostile to the Resident and his escort but Cavagnari disregarded warnings of trouble. On 3 September some Afghan troops assembled in the Bala Hissar to be paid and, when only part of their due was received, they rioted and marched to the Residency in the belief that they might get satisfaction there. The Residency gates were shut and, having looted the arsenal, the Afghan troops launched an attack which was joined by thousands of citizens. Cavagnari appealed to the Emir but no help was sent. The escort made several sallies against the besiegers but eventually the gates were forced and the garrison retreated to the roof. The building was set on fire and the occupants slaughtered.

This event led to General Roberts' March to Kabul and the second phase of the war.

External links

Biography of Cavagnari Google Books

Historical books on-line

The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 by Archibald Forbes 1892 Cavagnari's mission and death (