By Archibald Forbes
Because it was once the British issues with Persia which in general supplied what pretext there has been for the invasion of Afghanistan via an Anglo-Indian military in 1839, a few short recital is critical of the family among nice Britain and Persia ahead of that aggression.
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Having harangued the throng without effect, he and his brother, along with William Broadfoot his secretary, prepared for defence. Broadfoot was soon killed, and a little later Burnes and his brother were hacked to pieces in the garden behind the house. The Treasury was sacked; the sepoys who had guarded it and Burnes' house were massacred, and both buildings were fired; the armed mob swelled in numbers, and soon the whole city was in a roar of tumult. Prompt and vigorous military action would no doubt have crushed the insurrection, at least for the time.
Those chiefs proved treacherous, slew Rattray, Pottinger's assistant, and besieged Pottinger in Lughmanee. Finding his position untenable, he withdrew to Charikar under cover of night. On the morning of the 5th the Afghans assailed the cantonments. Pottinger was wounded, Codrington was killed, and the Goorkhas were driven into the barracks. Haughton, who succeeded to the command of the regiment, made sortie on sortie, but was finally driven in, and the enemy renewed their assaults in augmented strength.
On the 9th, owing to the mental and physical weakness of poor General Elphinstone, Brigadier Shelton was summoned into cantonments from the Balla Hissar, bringing with him part of the garrison with which he had been holding the latter post. The hopes entertained that Shelton would display vigour, and restore the confidence of the troops, were not realised. He from the first had no belief in the ability of the occupants of the cantonment to maintain their position, and he never ceased to urge prompt retreat on Jellalabad.