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Peshawur between 1851 and 1857. He was appointed civil engineer for all the roads in the Peshawur valley from 1853 to 1858. A most determined attack was made on Lieutenant Hamilton's camp in 1855, when but for his ready resource and invincible pluck he must have been massacred. The following graphic account is taken from the Lahore Chronicle of 12th February 1855.
Daring Outrage near Peshawur.
" A most determined and successful attack was made last night by a party of the Busee Khel Afridis on the camp of Lieutenant W. Hamilton of the artillery, assistant civil engineer at Budebeer, on the high road from Peshawur to ' Fort Mackeson, ' near Bazud Khel.
"About eleven o'clock, some two hundred out of six hundred Afridis surrounded the camp with unlighted torches, and commenced an attack, throwing stones in place of firing their matchlocks to guard against warning, then falling upon the sleeping inmates slashed about them right and left with their long and deadly knives. Sixteen unfortunate wretches, principally a small burkunday treasure guard armed with swords and Lieutenant Hamilton's private servants, were killed upon the spot, and thirty others were wounded, out of a total of sixty, a very large proportion of these mortally so. Among the victims were two Baboos and a native treasurer. The whole was over in seven or eight minutes, the rascals concluding their bloody work by firing the tents and throwing the mutilated dead and dying into the blazing tents. They succeeded in carrying off some seven or eight thousand rupees in cash, six horses, and everything portable they could lay their hands upon. Lieutenant Hamilton saved his life by the most determined and dauntless courage. He was roused from his sleep by a volley of stones directed at his tent, and rushed out in his nightshirt; finding himself struck by several stones, he ran back into his tent, and fortunately, in place of the sword he always used, brought out a recently purchased revolver, only returned that afternoon with three barrels not fired off, with which he defended himself from seven or eight assailants at once. He killed one Afridi, whose body was buried, but exhumed and carried off by the tribe the following night. He mortally wounded two others, whom they took with them to die the following day. Keeping the pistol pointed at them, he kept them at bay until he
could effect his escape towards the Tana. He received a cut on the left hand and five other slight wounds, but happily has escaped any serious injury. The Tana police never emerged from their fortlet until all was over, though there were five-and-twenty well-armed men within it. It need hardly be added that none of the police received the slightest injury, a fact highly creditable to their zeal and sagacity. Lieutenant Hamilton's work-people, chiefly Afridis, living in the surrounding villages did nothing to stop the massacre or drive off the assailants.
" Mr Christie and Captain James were early at the scene of action, and Dr Cox was on the spot soon after 2 A. M., giving every aid in his power to the sufferers. Brigadier Halifax and Captain Dale, his major of brigade, reached Bude-beer soon after sunrise. But of course the Afridis did not wait to greet them. The cause of this bold attack remains to be stated. The Kohat Pass has recently been closed until satisfaction should be given for a murder lately committed near Akhor. To clear themselves, the Akhor Afridis aroused the Busee-Khel Afridis, and Captain Coke insisted, contrary to Captain James's opinion, that they should be blockaded, i. e., prevented from coming into the Peshawur Valley, and their cattle and flocks seized. This was done, and some of their cattle were sold a few days since by auction at the deputy commissioner's Keetcheree.
" By way of reprisal, the foray of last night was determined upon by the Busee-Khel (who had all along protested their innocence), and carried out as described above. Bude-beer is only seven miles from cantonments and fourteen miles on this side of our posts at Fort Mackeson, and at Mutimee. Should anything further transpire of interest, it shall be communicated to you. 'V
During the Indian Mutiny, Sir William was ordered to the siege of Delhi, organising and commanding the 1st Company of the Sikh Artillery throughout the siege. He succeeded in breaking the water bastion preparatory to the assault, led the gallant and successful attack on the magazine after having effected his entry into the city, and this with a loss of only six men. At the close of the siege he proceeded with General Showell's column, in command of his Sikh company.
Sir William was in the Royal Horse Artillery for over sixteen years, and commanded a battery for over eight years, both in India and at home. He was Brigade Major to the Inspector General in India for over five years.
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