'The Siege of Mooltan', 1849
Coloured steel engraving by J Rogers after H Warren. Published by the London Printing and Publishing Company, 1860 (c).
The Sikh city of Multan had fallen under British rule in 1846 after the 1st Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846). In 1848 a dispute over taxation made the British replace the Diwan (governor) of Multan, Mul Raj, with Sirdar Khan Singh, and a British political agent, Lieutenant Patrick Vans Agnew. However, when Agnew arrived at Multan he and his associate, Lieutenant William Anderson, were murdered by an angry mob. Although it is unlikely that Mul Raj ordered the murders, because of them he was forced into open rebellion, so beginning the 2nd Sikh War (1848-1849).
In late November 1848 a British force under General Whish subsequently marched on Multan. His army was accompanied by 150 artillery pieces, many of which were heavy guns or mortars. These were used to create breaches in the city walls. On 27 December the British attacked and after heavy fighting Multan was finally secured by 22 January 1849. Mul Raj was captured and although spared execution was sentenced to life imprisonment.
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