Cawnpore. I. A district of British India, in the Northwest Provinces, bounded N. E. by the Ganges, which separates it from Oude, and S. W. by the Jumna, which divides it from Bundelcund; area, 2,348 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 1,152,628, mostly Hindoos. The chief productions are cotton, sugar, indigo, opium, safflower, wheat, barley, maize, pulse, tobacco, oil seeds, and potatoes. Schools are numerous. Good roads traverse the whole district* and the Ganges canal and great East Indian railway pass through it. It was ceded to the East India company in 1801 by the nawaub of Oude. II. The principal town of the district, situated on the right bank of the Ganges, here about a mile wide, near the junction with the Ganges canal, and on the East Indian railway, 120 m. N. W. of Allahabad, 220 m. S. E. of Delhi, and 1,000 m. from Calcutta by river; pop. about 100,000, of whom half are distributed among the cantonments. It is poorly built, and has but one mosque of any pretension to elegance; but since its selection as a station for troops in 1777 it has acquired great commercial as well as military importance. The lines have accommodations for about 7,000 troops. The civilians, whose offices are in the native town, usually reside in the suburbs.
There is here a Protestant church, and a free school, partly supported by a grant from the government, and attended bv Hindoos, Mohammedans, and Europeans. - While the rebellion was raging throughout Bengal in 1857, the military force at Cawnpore, commanded by Sir Hugh Wheeler, consisted of 3,800 men, of whom about 200 were Europeans. In June, apprehending a revolt, he threw up an intrenchment on the parade ground, enclosing two barrack hospitals and a few other buildings, into which he withdrew with about 900 Europeans, of whom two thirds were women, children, and other non-combatants. On the 5th the rising took place. The native regiments marched off, taking with them horses, arms, and ammunition, and setting fire to the bungalows on their way. They placed themselves under the leadership of the rajah of Bittoor, commonly known as the Nena Sahib, seized 35 boat loads of shot and shell on the canal, and the next day appeared before the intrenchment. The siege lasted until the 27th, when the Europeans, now reduced to less than half their original number, surrendered on promise of a safe passage to Allahabad. But no sooner had they embarked on the Ganges than they were fired upon from a masked battery.
Many were killed in the boats, three or four made their escape, and the rest were captured and brought to land. The men were put to death; the women and children were kept alive till July 15, when the Nena, hearing of Gen. Havelock's advance toward Cawnpore, caused them to be massacred, and had their bodies thrown into a well. After defeating in three battles a strong native force sent out to oppose his march, Havelock entered the city July 18, while the Nena retreated to Bittoor. Memorial gardens have been laid out around the scene of the massacre, and a church erected; also, a fine octagon building around the well, without a roof, enclosing an elaborate tomb.
Memorial Building on the Scene of the Massacre.