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ATTOCK
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ASPECT OF ATTOCK FORT, 1849
Engraving published in The Illustrated London News,
10 March 1849.


In this sketch provided to The Illustrated London News by an 'obliging correspondent', the inherent dramatic location of the Attock fort, poised on the banks of the river Indus south of the point where it receives the river Kabul, has been further accentuated.
Ranjit Singh took the fort in 1812-13 by stratagem from the Wazir of Kabul and from then onwards until 1849, when the Sikhs themselves were defeated, the fort remained under their control.

Aspect of Attock Fort, 1849
ATTOCK FORT, 1849
Engraving published in The Illustrated London News,
10 March 1849.


In 1831, William Moorcroft was given express permission by Ranjit Singh to tour the fort and noted this informative description of its interior: 'Proceeding from the serai to the gateway on the north, along aperfectly good road, unprovided with any defences, we entered into a small projecting court, about twenty yards long, in which Shuja-al-mulk was confined by Jehandad Khan, after he was driven from Afghanistan. From hence we passed through another gate into the bazar, a narrow lane of shops, chiefly for the sale of provisions, and along this we conducted to the opposite or southern gateway, which opened upon the side of the hill immediately above the ferry over the Indus. The gates of the fort are lofty and
large, and the walls are of the same description as those of Rotas, thick, crenated, and pierced with loopholes: the direction of the bazar is parallel with the river, and the bazar is four hundred paces long:
between it and the river front are houses, and at the south-west angle a bastion projects into the stream:
on the side of the bazar, farthest from the river, the fort contracts and extends in the form of an irregular parallelogram, about five hundred yards to the east. The interior is discernible from the right bank of the river, and the eastern end is commanded by hills of greater elevation than that on which it stands. Opposite to its southern face, and divided from it by a ravine which descends to the bank of the river, stands a petty village, on a level with the gateway. On the right bank of the river, and within musketshot of the southern postern of the fort is the village of Khairabad, defended on the west by a mud re doubt, and by several small stone buildings, intended as stations for infantry, erected on different points of a ridge of row hills, about a hundred yards to the westward; the most remote is within range of artillery from the fort, and perfectly commands the latter. This is the case, however, with even the road to Peshawar, on the Khairabad side, and it would not be necessary to erect batteries on the hills. The fort of Attok, however impregnable it may be to Sikhs or Afghans, could oppose no resistance whatever to European engineers.' (Moorcroft (1841; 1979 edition), II, 323-5.)
In the event, on the very day after this particular illustration was published in London, over 6000 miles away at a spot near Rawalpindi, the Sikhs formally surrendered their weapons to Major-General Gilbert on 11 March 1849, and the fort was yielded without a skirmish to the British
.

The Indus at Attock, 1839
Attock Fort, 1849
The Fortress of Attock, 1868
Attock Fort seen from Khairabad, 1860
Bridge of boats at Attock, 1878
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