Akberpore [Akbarpur]: 24 March 1858. Small Octavo bifoium ca. 18x11 cm (7 x 4 ¼ in). 4 pp. Brown ink on laid paper. Fold marks, paper slightly age-toned, but otherwise a very good letter.
Interesting historically significant letter written in the midst of the suppression of the Indian Mutiny (1857-58). The author, British military officer E.A. Perceval served in the 88th Regiment of Foot and took part in Sir Hugh Rose’s march across Central India in January-June 1858. The letter is addressed to Perceval’s friend, who was one of the brothers of Captain William Frederick Thynne (1834-1858) of the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade. Perceval sadly informs his addressee of Captain Thunne's death in action during the capture of Lucknow (March 11, 1858). The letter also talks about the movement of Perceval’s company to Akbarpur and their assistance to the “Calpee force,” the arrival of the hot season, Perceval’s plans to rest, hunt and take part in a steeplechase in a few days. Overall a lively letter giving a first-hand account of the events during the latter half of the Indian Mutiny.
Ernest Augustus Perceval was educated at the Radley College and served in the British Army’s 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers), promoted to Captain in 1860 and retired in 1864. He took an active part in the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War (1854-56), and was awarded the Crimean Medal with a clasp, Turkish Crimean War Medal, Ottoman Medjidie Order of the 5th class, and Legion d’Honneur. In January-June 1858, Perceval took part in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny (Sir Hugh Rose’s campaign in Central India) and received the Indian Mutiny Medal with a clasp (https://radleyarchive.blog/new-boys-1849/).
Captain William Frederick Thynne was a son of Reverend Lord John Thynne (1798-1881)who was buried in the Westminster Abbey. “Lord John erected a stained-glass window to him [Captain William Thunne] in the north transept of the Abbey, but this was destroyed by blast during the second world war. His name and those of others who fell are inscribed on a stone just inside the entrance doors” (https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-commemorations/commemorations/lord-john-thynne-family).
The text of the letter:
“My dear Thynne,
You will no doubt have received the sad news of your brother's death at Lucknow before you read this and pray accept my sincere condolences for yours & your family's loss. It was not a fortnight before that I met him on his way to Lucknow in great spirits and he talked of exchanging into the home battalion, Poor fellow! He breakfasted with our Colonel that day. I am sorry I can give you no particulars, which of course you would much value, for at the time I heard of his death I was at Lucknow. We were ordered up there and reached it one morning and left again the same afternoon, which as you may suppose was a great disappointment. <…>
We are at Akberpore, about 14 miles from Calpee with 6 guns, Cavalry (native) and a native infantry regt. My company with three other have just come to a halt after 14 days marching, getting up at 1 o'clock, marching from 15 to 27 mile a day, so tired that we nearly fell off our ponies from drowsiness. Lucknow is by this time ours, and we shall I suppose soon have our summer quarter told off. The hot weather is just commencing, and in a tent one is nearly roasted. News is very scarce, as we are isolated from the principal line of communication. We are 27 miles from Cawnpore, and are supposed to keep the Calpee force in check who have had their numbers increased from 5 to 800 by Lucknow refugees. They have also got a number of guns and stores. We have been amusing ourselves with a little lazing lately, and are to have some steeple chase in a few days. The country about here abounds with game, peacocks, deer, grouse, &c., &c. Things are dearer here than they were in the Crimea, indeed it is difficult to get anything at all and as I lost some of my luggage on the 27th and the remainder is at Calcutta, you may imagine I am rather pushed”.
Price: $850.00 USD