Night bivouac of the British Army at Ferozeshah, 21 December 1845
Coloured aquatint by J Harris after H Martens from a sketch by Maj G F White, 31st Regiment, published by Rudolph Ackermann, 1 December 1848.
During the First Sikh War (1845-1846) on 21 December 1845, a British Indian force commanded by General Sir Hugh Gough encountered a Sikh army of around 40,000 troops led by General Lal Singh in an entrenched position at Ferozeshah. Gough's 18,000 strong force attacked the defences and by evening only part of them had been taken. A renewed assault the following morning forced the Sikhs out, but at heavy cost to the British.
A new Sikh army then arrived and Gough withdrew his weakened force to the entrenchments to await an attack, but the Sikhs withdrew, possible believing that they would not be able to eject the British and over estimating their strength and supplies. Whatever, the reason for the retirement, it was a lucky escape for Gough.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection