Battle of Buxar
Part of the Bengal War
Sir Hector Munro by David Martin.jpg

A portrait of Hector Munro with the battle in the background
Date22 October 1764 (Monday)
Location
Result British victory
Belligerents
East India Company

Flag of the Mughal Empire.png
Mughal Empire[1]

Commanders and leaders
Sir Hector Munro
Flag of the Mughal Empire.png
Shah Alam II Surrendered[1]
Flag of the Mughal Empire.png
Najaf Khan
Mir Qasim
Shuja-ud-Daulah
Strength
17,072 40,112
Casualties and losses
2,000 killed
4,000 wounded[2]

The Battle of Buxar was fought between 22 and 23 October 1764, between the forces under the command of the British East India Company, led by Hector Munro, and the combined armies of Mir Qasim, Nawab of Bengal till 1764; the Nawab of Awadh, Shuja-ud-Daula; and the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II.[3] The battle was fought at Buxar, a "strong fortified town" within the territory of Bihar, located on the banks of the Ganga river about 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Patna; it was a challenging victory for the British East India Company. The war was brought to an end by the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765.

Battle

The British army engaged in the fighting numbered 17,072[4] comprising 1,859 British regulars, 5,297 Indian sepoys and 9,189 Indian cavalry. The alliance army's numbers were estimated to be over 40,000. According to other sources, the combined army of the Mughals, Awadh and Mir Qasim consisting of 10 ,000 men[5] was defeated by a British army comprising 10,000 men. The Nawabs had gained their military power after the battle of Buxar.

The lack of basic co-ordination among the major three disparate allies was responsible for their decisive defeat.

Mirza Najaf Khan commanded the right flank of the Mughal imperial army and was the first to advance his forces against Major Hector Munro at daybreak; the British lines formed within twenty minutes and reversed the advance of the Mughals. According to the British, Durrani and Rohilla cavalry were also present and fought during the battle in various skirmishes. But by midday, the battle was over and Shuja-ud-Daula blew up large tumbrils and three massive magazines of gunpowder.

Munro divided his army into various columns and particularly pursued the Mughal Grand Vizier Shuja-ud-Daula the Nawab of Awadh who responded by blowing up his boat-bridge after crossing the river, thus abandoning the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and members of his own regiment. Mir Qasim also fled with his 3 million rupees worth of gemstones and later died in poverty in 1777. Mirza Najaf Khan reorganised formations around Shah Alam II, who retreated and then chose to negotiate with the victorious British.

Historian John William Fortescue claimed that the British casualties totalled 847: 39 killed and 64 wounded from the European regiments and 250 killed, 435 wounded and 85 missing from the East India Company's sepoys.[2] He also claimed that the three Indian allies suffered 2,000 dead and that many more were wounded.[2] Another source says that there were 69 European and 664 sepoy casualties on the British side and 6,000 casualties on the Mughal side.[6] The victors captured 133 pieces of artillery and over 1 million rupees of cash. Immediately after the battle, Munro decided to assist the Marathas, who were described as a "warlike race", well known for their relentless and unwavering hatred towards the Mughal Empire and its Nawabs and Mysore.

Aftermath

The British victory at Buxar had "at one fell swoop", disposed of the three main scions of Mughal power in Upper India. Mir Qasim disappeared into impoverished obscurity. Shah Alam II surrendered himself to the British, and Shah Shuja[Shuja-ud-Daula] fled west hotly pursued by the victors. The whole Ganges valley lay at the company's mercy; Shah Shuja eventually surrendered; By 1765, the British had become the virtual rulers of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Robert Clive became the first governor of Bengal.[7]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Sen, Sailendra Nath (2009). History Of The Freedom Movement In India (1857–1947). New Age International. p. 2. ISBN 9788122425765.
  2. ^ a b c John William (29 February 2004). Fortescue's History of the British Army -. Vol. 2. Naval & Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-715-5.
  3. ^ Parshotam Mehra (1985). A Dictionary of Modern History (1707–1947). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-561552-2.
  4. ^ Cust, Edward (1858). Annals of the Wars of the Eighteenth Century: 1760–1783. Vol. III. London: Mitchell's Militiry Library. p. 113.
  5. ^ Cadell, P. R. (1941). "560. The Battle of Buxar, 1764". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 20 (78): 113. JSTOR 44228260.
  6. ^ Black, Jeremy (28 March 1996). Wyse, Liz (ed.). The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: Renaissance to Revolution, 1492-1792. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-521-47033-9.
  7. ^ Keay, John (8 July 2010). The Honourable Company (Paperback ed.). London: HarperCollins UK. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-00-739554-5.