Benares Mutiny – Benares is situated on the river Ganges, about 420 miles above Calcutta and eighty miles below Allahabad.
It had a population of 300,000, mostly Hindus.
The British established the cantonment two or three miles from the city.
A regiment of Bengal infantry occupied it, one of irregular cavalry, and a Sikh regiment.
Thirty British gunners keep the city and cantonment under control.
This number would have been sufficient if greased cartridges created anger against British.
British feel no danger from the civil population of Benares.
The British consider Sepoy regiments only source of mutiny at Benares
Mutiny at Benares: Disasters
Colonel Neill arrived at Benares on the 4th June 1857.
A detachment of Europeans had been obtained from Her Majesty’s 10th Foot, which British posted at Dinapore.
They made preparations for disarming the Bengal sepoys.
Neill joined in the work, but soon it created untoward incidents. The Europeans came out and loaded three guns.
The British ordered Bengal sepoys to lay down their arms, and some of the sepoy obeyed the order.
Suddenly, however, the whole regiment of sepoys took alarm and fired at the Europeans. The gunners opened fire on the mutineers.
The irregular cavalry joined in the outbreak. They shot dead British officer in command of the Sikh regiment.
Soon Sikhs panicked and fired on the Europeans. The gunners then discharged a volley of grape at the Sikhs; and sepoys, irregular horse.
Later Sikhs fled in hot haste from the cantonment, and dispersed in all directions over the surrounding country.
Loyalty of Sikhs and Hindus
This disaster might have sealed the fate of the Europeans at the treasury.
Later, British discharge the grape which scattered the Sikh regiment at the cantonment.
The Sikh guards might have fired at the Europeans on the roof to avenge the slaughter.
Fortunately, Mr. Gubbins soon arrived on the spot. Also an old Sikh general, who had fought against the British in the Sikh wars arrived with Gubbins.
He was residing at Benares under surveillance, but had become reconciled to British supremacy.
Both Gubbins and the Sikh exile pointed out to the guards, that cannonading the Sikhs at the cantonment must have been unpremeditated.
The whole incident was probably a misunderstanding or an accident.
Had it been otherwise, the Europeans at the treasury would never have placed themselves under the protection of Sikh guards.
This explanation satisfied the Sikh guards, and this saved the station.
Raja of Benares and another Hindu gentleman of high rank and influence supported the British authority.