The Afghan War of 1879-80


Howard Hensman

Series: Politics and Economics of the Middle East, Political Science and History
BISAC: HIS026000

This book, originally published in 1882, is comprised of a series of letters written from the field of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The author was a correspondent of the Pioneer (the second oldest English language newspaper in India) and the only journalist to accompany the Anglo-Indian field forces on their march through Afghanistan. The letters offer a firsthand account of the war from a British perspective.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Massacre of Cavagnari – The Kurram Field Force moves upon Cabul

Chapter 2. Yakub Khan in the British Camp

Chapter 3. The Advance to Charasia and the Battle of that Name, etc.

Chapter 4. Capture of Sherpur Cantonments – The Affair of the Asmai Heights

Chapter 5. Cabul Occupied by General Roberts

Chapter 6. The Stores in Bala Hissar Arsenal – Disastrous Explosions, etc.

Chapter 7. Execution of Prominent Afghans: the Case of the Kotwal of Cabul, etc.

Chapter 8. Fighting in the Shutargardan Pass, etc.

Chapter 9. Abdication of Yakub Khan; his Arrest, etc.

Chapter 10. The British Army moves into Sherpur; opening Communication with the Khyber Force, etc.

Chapter 11. The Bala Hissar Dismantled—Raiding for the Murderers of Cavagnari – Execution of numerous

Chapter 12. Approach of Winter – Operations against the Safis, etc.

Chapter 13. Difficulties as to Supplies – Bahadur Khan’s Contumacy; his Villages Destroyed, etc.

Chapter 14. Yakub Khan Deported to India – Affairs in Afghan Turkistan – Tribal Uneasiness about Cabul, etc.

Chapter 15. The December Troubles – Formidable Strength of Mahomed Jan – Repulse of General Dunham Massy – The Afghan Army before Cabul

Chapter 16. The Fighting around Cabul – General Roberts withdraws within Sherpur, etc.

Chapter 17. The Siege of Sherpur – Musa Jan proclaimed Amir by the Afghan Leader, etc.

Chapter 18. The Siege of Sherpur (continued) Mahomed Jan delivers his Attack – Its Failure – Reinforcements from the Khyber Line, etc.

Chapter 19. Dispersion of Afghan Army – General Roberts Re-occupies Cabul – Universality of the late Jehad – A Looted City

Chapter 20. Punishment of Mir Butcha and his Kohistanis – Asmatullah Khan’s Operations about
Jugdulluck – Deportation of Daoud Shah

Chapter 21. General Roberts Proclaims an Amnesty – Afghan Chiefs at Cabul—Message from Mahomed Jan – News of Abdur Rahman Khan, etc.

Chapter 22. The British Hospital in Cabul – “How We Live in Sherpur” – “How they Live in Cabul”

Chapter 23. Shere Ali’s Efforts to raise an Army – Gun-making, etc. in Cabul – The Ghazi and his Mode of Warfare

Chapter 24. The Early Life of Abdur Rahman Khan – Prominent Afghan Characters, etc.

Chapter 25. Mr. Lepel Griffin arrives at Sherpur to investigate the Political Situation – The Malcontent Chiefs in Durbar – Explanation of British Policy

Chapter 26. General Ross goes out to meet General Stewart – A Second Successful Battle at Charasia

Chapter 27. General Stewart at Cabul – His March from Candahar – The Battle of Ahmed Khel – Capture of Ghazni, Action at Urzoo, etc.

Chapter 28. “The Divine Figure from the North” – A Period of Calm – The Kizilbashes, etc.

Chapter 29. The Amirship offered to Abdur Rahman – Cavalry Action at Padkhao Shana

Chapter 30. Formal Recognition of Abdur Rahman by the British – His Interviews with Mr. Griffin – A Settlement arrived at

Chapter 31. News of Maiwand – General Roberts marches to relieve Candahar—Cabul evacuated by General Stewart – The Settlement with Abdur Rahman


Chapter 32. The March to Candahar – Arrival at Shashgao

Chapter 33. The March (continued) – Relief of Khelat-i-Ghilzai – Arrival at Robat – End of the March, etc.

Chapter 34. General Roberts in Candahar – Reconnaissance on the Herat Road – Battle of Candahar and Defeat of Ayub Khan, etc.

Chapter 35. The Siege of Candahar – Sortie by the Garrison, etc.

Chapter 36. The Operations on the Helmund – The Disaster at Maiwand



List of Maps Illustrating Engagements

To Face Page
1. Engagement on Heights near Cabul, October 6, 1879

2. Actions around Cabul, December 11 to 14, 1879

3. Operations near Cabul, December 13 and 14, 1879

4. The Siege of Sherpur—Plan of the Defences

5. The Battle of Ahmed Khel, April 19, 1880

6. The Action at Urzoo, April 23, 1880

7. The Battle of Candahar, September 1, 1880

8. The Siege of Candahar—Plan of the Defences

9. The Operations on the Helmund, July, 1880

10. The Battle of Maiwand, July 27, 1880

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