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MULTAN
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EXPLOTION OF THE FORT POWDER MAGAZINE, 1848
'On the 28th, and up to the 2nd January, 1849, when the town was stormed, the town and fort were shelled, and the breaching batteries were erected to batter the town wall. On the 30th December, about 9 a.m., the magazine of the fort blew up, being ignited by a shell from our battery. I happened to be on my way to the battery at the time, about a mile from the city, and saw the explosion just at the proper distance; and it was certainly the most awfully- sublime, or, rather, sublimely-awful, sight I ever saw. The whole earth shook for miles around the fort, and the atmosphere darkened for hours a ft~erwards by the dense cloud which hung like a ma~tie above the city. We have no exact account of th damage done by the accident, but the native report is that 600 lives were lost.' (Extract from Dr. Dunlop's letter dated 14 January 1849 from Camp Mouitan, quoted in The I/lust rated London News.)
Another eye-witness present at the action recalled:
'At first we felt a slight shock like that of an earthquake, and then, a second or two afterwards, such a tremendous and prolonged report, that it was like
an awful clap of thunder. I hardly know what to liken it to, it was so inconceivably grand; then a mass of dust rose to the very clouds, yet so perfectly distinct was its outline, and it was so dense and thick, that nobody at first could tell what it was. It looked like an immense, solid, brown tree suddenly grownup to the skies, and then it gradually expanded and slowly sailed away. The shock at four miles distance knocked bottles off the tables, so terrific was the report.'
The ammunition store had contained 16,000 lbs of gunpowder, accumulated by Dewan Mulraj over five years. On the following day another major conflagration occurred when the grain and stores within the fort were set ablaze, stoked by the oil and ghee; 'they burned all day and night so fiercely that they illumined the surrounding country, and completely obviated the use of nightballs, so that the besiegers carried out their murderous work by the light of the blazing citadel.'
Undaunted by these major set-backs, Dewan Mulraj maintained his posture of defiance and when approached with a formal summons to surrender, 'his reply was characheristic; he rammed the letter down his longest gun, and fired it back.
'
Explosion of the fort powder magazine, 1848
Breaching the Koonj Burj, Multan, 1849
BREACHING THE KOONJ BURJ, MULTAN,
1849
Engraving from a sketch by Dr. J. Dunlop done on 2
January 1849 and published in The Illustrated London
News, 10 March 1849.


The New Year of 1849 was spent in the open, waiting for the action of storming the fort. Dunlop described the discomfort he experienced: 'I spent the last night of the old, and the morning of the new year under the lee of a battery, nearly deafened by the constant roar of artillery, and shivering with cold, being unable to take exercise, as the balls fell thickly around us. As the hands of our watches pointed to the hour of 12, and as the distant gongs of the enemy in the two proclaimed that the new year was born, our eight large guns were fired off at once; then we shook each other by the hand, and, wrapping ourselves ourselves in our cloaks, lay down on the ground and tried to sleep.
On the following day, the attack commenced in earnest. 'After some delay, on 2nd January, the engineers having reported that the breaches in the city were practicable, a strong force of about 4000 infantry were ordered out to the attack. The whole of the 32nd, the 1st Bombay Fusiliers, and four native regiments, were formed into two columns, and to each was entrusted the storming of a breach. About 3 p.m. the word was given to advance, and silently our column filed through the narrow and deserted streets of the the suburbs; while, as the
head of the column emerged on the open space between the city wall and the suburbs, our Grenadier company gave three cheers, and rushed up to the breach. But, alas! it was found impracticable -high walls not before seen, prevented all ingress, and, amid a heavy fire from the enemy, our people were ordered to retire; but news having just arrived that the Bombay force had got in by their breach, our column was led round to the "Koonj Boorj" breach (a picture of which I have sent you), and the whole force swept through the town, which in two hours was ours

Stroming of the Koonj Burg, Multan, 1849
After the fall of Multan, 1849
After the fall of the Citadel of Multan, 1849
North-East side of the fort wall, Multan, 1848
North-East aspect of fort, Multan, 1849
Funeral of Vans Agnew and Anderson, Multan, 1849
North-West corner of fort, Multan, 1849
Siki gate of fort, Multan, 1849
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