Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: Death of Tipu Sultan

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: Death of Tipu Sultan

In 1798–99, the Kingdom of Mysore fought the British East India Company and the Hyderabad Deccan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in South India.

The fourth and final Anglo-Mysore War took place in this battle. Mysore's capital was taken by the British. In the battle, the king, Tipu Sultan, was killed. Britain acquired control of Mysore in an indirect manner, returning the Wadiyar family to the throne (with a British commissioner to advise him on all issues). Fateh Ali, Tipu Sultan's young heir, was deported. In a secondary alliance with British India, the Kingdom of Mysore became a princely state covering sections of present-day Kerala–Karnataka and ceded Coimbatore, Dakshina Kannada, and Uttara Kannada to the British.

Background

Napoleon Bonaparte's landing in Ottoman Egypt in 1798 was intended to advance the capture of British possessions in India, and the Kingdom of Mysore was a key to that next step, as Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, sought France as an ally in a letter to Napoleon, which received the following response: "You have already been informed of my arrival on the borders of the Red Sea, with an innumerable and invincible army, full of the desire to In addition, the Malartic Proclamation was issued by General Malartic, the French Governor of Mauritius, requesting volunteers to aid Tipu. After the Battle of the Nile, Horatio Nelson put an end to any chance of Napoleon assisting him. Lord Wellesley, on the other hand, had already begun planning a counter-offensive to prevent Tipu Sultan and France from forming an alliance.

Course of Events

After various engagements with Tipu, three armies marched into Mysore in 1799, one from Bombay and two from the United Kingdom (one of which featured a division headed by Colonel Arthur Wellesley, the future 1st Duke of Wellington). At the Battle of Seedaseer on March 8, a forward force managed to stave off Tipu's advance. In the Battle of Seringapatam on 4 May, they burst through the opposing defenses. Tipu Sultan was shot and killed while racing to the breach.

The Archaeological Survey of India has walled off the site where Tipu's body was discovered under the eastern gate and installed a memorial. During the nineteenth century, the gate was removed to make way for a wide road.

The deployment of mass attacks with iron-cased rocket battalions in the army was one major military accomplishment championed by Tipu Sultan. The impact of the Mysorean rockets on the British during the Third and Fourth Mysore Wars was so stunning that William Congreve was inspired to design the Congreve rockets for Napoleonic Wars. Many of Tipu's loyal and trustworthy officers were killed when Dewan Mir Sadiq breached the fort from within, trapping the army behind barred doors. "Now India is ours," British General Harris said after Tipu Sultan's death.

Many East India Company members felt that Umdat ul-Umara, the Nawab of Carnatic, had secretly assisted Tipu Sultan during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, and sought his removal shortly after the war ended.

Nawab of Savanur

Territory of the Nawab of Savanur were split among the English and Maratha forces.

Mysorean Rockets

Several times during the battle, rockets were utilized again. Colonel Arthur Wellesley, later known as the First Duke of Wellington, was involved in one of them. At the Battle of Sultanpet Tope, Tipu's Diwan, Purnaiah, beat Wellesley. In the words of Forrest,

At this point (near the village of Sultanpet) there was a large tope, or grove, which gave shelter to Tipu's rocketmen and had obviously to be cleaned out before the siege could be pressed closer to Srirangapattana island. The commander chosen for this operation was Col. Wellesley, but advancing towards the tope after dark on the 5 April 1799, he was set upon with rockets and musket-fires, lost his way and, as Beatson politely puts it, had to "postpone the attack" until a more favourable opportunity should offer.

Wellesley mounted a new attack the next day with a stronger force, capturing the entire position without losing a single man. Rocketeers worked their way around to the back of the British encampment on April 22, 1799, twelve days before the main battle, and then "threw a great number of rockets at the same instant" to signal the start of an assault by 6,000 Indian infantry and a corps of Frenchmen, all directed by Mir Golam Hussain and Mohomed Hulleen Mir Miran. The rockets had about a 1,000-yard range. Some exploded like shells in the air. Others, known as ground rockets, would rise from the earth and move in a serpentine fashion until their energy was depleted. "We were so pestered with the rocket guys that there was no moving without danger from the damaging missiles...", according to one British observer, a young English lieutenant named Bayly. He went on to say:

The rockets and musketry from 20,000 of the enemy were incessant. No hail could be thicker. Every illumination of blue lights was accompanied by a shower of rockets, some of which entered the head of the column, passing through to the rear, causing death, wounds, and dreadful lacerations from the long bamboos of twenty or thirty feet, which are invariably attached to them.

A British shot struck a magazine of rockets within Tipu Sultan's fort during the decisive British onslaught on Seringapatam on 2 May 1799, causing it to explode and produce a towering cloud of black smoke with cascades of exploding white light billowing up from the battlements. When Baird led the final attack on the fort on the afternoon of 4 May, he was met with "furious musket and rocket fire," but it didn't help much; the fort was taken in about an hour; perhaps another hour later, Tipu was shot (the precise time of his death is unknown), and the war was effectively over.

Consequences

The war was fought between the British and Mysore in 1799, in which Seringapatam was taken, and Tipu Sultan was killed in its defense. The victors, rather than partitioning the country, forced Tipu's family into exile and restored control of Mysore to the Wadiyars.

Last updated: 2022-April-24
Tags: History India Tipu Sultan East India Company War
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