This Day in History: 1857-05-13

Indian Mutiny. Alerted by telegraph to insurrections elsewhere, in a decisive hour’s work at dawn (and after a military ball the night before!), the 81st Foot (later 2nd Loyals) and two HEIC artillery batteries, parade, disarm and detain 2,700 unsuspecting Indian soldiers from four reputedly mutinous regiments, then garrison Lahore Fort. Historians credit this vital action as preventing the Punjab from joining the Mutiny, which was thus condemned to ultimate failure. In the words of one expert: “The lightning fast action in Lahore secured India. The rest was merely critical sacrifice and action”.