The Siege of Seringapatam

’Twas on the evening of the 5th April 1799,
Which will be remembered for a very long time;
The ever memorable Siege of Seringapatam,
Where the British resolved to fight to a man.

The British Army was commanded by General Harris, which seemed very grand,
And Sir David Baird was second in command;
And prominent amongst the officers was Sir Arthur Wellesley,
Who at the siege behaved very heroically.

The British Army was about twenty thousand strong,
And fearlessly through Indian territory they marched along,
Determined to conquer Tippoo Sahib they were bent,
Or to die — rather than surrender — in the attempt.

Tippoo Sahib was a savage despot — a devotee to the Mohammedan faith,
And had tortured many of the English and put them to death;
But thanks be to God, that did send
The British to crush and bring him to an untimely end.

Then the trenches were opened without delay,
And each man was eager to join in the fray,
And drive the enemy from two strong points where they lay,
So they made a stealthy dash upon them without dismay.

But the enemy were on the look-out and burned red light,
Which lighted up the heavens and made a very weird sight;
And by the light the British were revealed,
But British hearts with courage against them were steeled.

Then the enemy assailed the British without dismay,
And the British ranks were thrown into disarray
Owing to the showers of rockets which moved them down,
But Major Shaw ordered the men to lay themselves on the ground.

Then the Sepoy Army closely upon the British did draw,
But “Up and at them, 12th,” shouted the gallant Major Shaw;
Then up sprang the soldiers, and Major Shaw rushed at the enemy,
And the enemy cried, “The English are upon us,” and did flee.

Then Colonel Wellesley and his men onward did press,
And on the following day orders were given to storm the fortress;
And the hour for the assault was one o’clock in the afternoon,
While from the fort occasionally the cannons did boom.

And after three days’ cannonade a breach was made in the walls,
And the sight thereof the hearts of the enemy appals;
Because the Highlanders were leaping from rock to rock,
And the foot of the breach was gained shortly after one o’clock.

Then the gallant Sergeant Graham planted the British Flag on the walls,
And loudly unto his men he calls,
“Come, men! let’s give three cheers without dread”;
But the words had barely escaped his lips when he fell dead,
Owing to a musket ball that passed through his head.

Then the defenders from the fort began to retreat,
Because the Highlanders at the bayonet charge drove them into the street;
Oh! the sight was inspiring and grand,
While Tippoo Sahib little thought his doom was near at hand.

But when he heard that the breach had been carried,
No longer in his beautiful palace he tarried;
And at the head of his men he rushed into the field,
But in a short time he was forced to yield.

Tippoo Sahib’s Army was more than a hundred thousand strong,
But although the British were less in number their courage it was strong;
And the British made a bold charge and made them retreat,
And Tippoo Sahib and his rebel army were fairly beat.

Then with a handful of followers Tippoo Sahib took to flight,
And spurred his horse to the palace with all his might;
But the British overtook him and shot him dead,
Therefore the tyrant was conquered, and his followers fled.

So thus fell Tippoo Sahib, a very cruel man,
And his great fortress of Seringapatam;
And the spoil that fell into the British hands was great,
Money, jewels, and arms, likewise costly silver plate.

Wikipedia Article

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