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Wip - Women In Peril

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cruxlover

Tribune
Indian-mutiny-Wheeler-3000-gty-56a487125f9b58b7d0d76c2a.jpg
Just one problem for this lady, looks like a single-shot pistol (muzzle loaded) she has here, she wou't have time to reload before the guy with the sword slashes her. (He looks a tad too dark-skinned to be a British officer).
Note: Sam Colt's "Navy" revolver came out in 1851, was used at time of Indian mutiny 1857 - 1858. However not many revolvers to hand in India at that time I guess, many troops had single shot muskets.
One of the grievances of the Indian troops was that they had to bite the end off the paper cartridges and hold the ball in their mouth whilst priming the pan and loading the powder.
Rumour was the cartridges were greased with cow and pig fat, offending both Hindus and Muslims.
 
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phlebas

PRIMUS POENUS
Staff member
View attachment 510540
Just one problem for this lady, looks like a single-shot pistol (muzzle loaded) she has here, she wou't have time to reload before the guy with the sword slashes her. (He looks a tad too dark-skinned to be a British officer).
Note: Sam Colt patented his revolver in 1835, Indian mutiny 1837 - 1838. Not many revolvers to hand in India at that time I guess.
Sorry cruxlover the Mutiny was in 1857 not 1837. Revolvers did exist, although they were not widely used. You are right that the lady appears to have a muzzle loader, unfortunately for her.

http://warisboring.com/robert-adams-designed-a-revolver-to-outshoot-the-famous-colt/

While some elements of the British military were skeptical of the advantages of the revolver, experience during the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny of 1857 began to change opinion. Captain Joshua Crosse of the 88th Regiment of Foot — the Connaught Rangers — wrote to Adams after the 1854 Battle of Inkerman, describing how his Adams Revolver saved his life.

“I then found the advantages of your pistol over that of Colonel Colt’s, for had I to cock before each shot I should have lost my life; but with yours, having only to pull the trigger, I was able to shoot four Russians, and therefore save my life,” Crosse wrote. “I should not have had time to cock, for they were too close to me, being only a few yards from me, so close that I was bayoneted through the thigh immediately after shooting the fourth man.”

Crosse was not alone. During the Indian Mutiny, many officers regretted their lack of a revolver. A Lieutenant Kutznow mourned that he “had not had a couple of revolvers.” Instead, officers and cavalry relied upon the standard issue muzzle-loading percussion pistols.
 

bleumune

Assistant executioner
Sorry cruxlover the Mutiny was in 1857 not 1837. Revolvers did exist, although they were not widely used. You are right that the lady appears to have a muzzle loader, unfortunately for her.
All might not be lost for the lady. Looking closely, it appears that the pistol has two barrels in an over-under design. She might have a second shot for the soldier behind her, if she knows he's there.
 

Primus pilus

Magister Australis

Just one problem for this lady, looks like a single-shot pistol (muzzle loaded) she has here, she wou't have time to reload before the guy with the sword slashes her.
As Siss and bluemuene point out she might yet have one more shot to fire as that muzzle loader could have superimposed barrels. Multiple barreled muzzle loaders were not uncommon. Pp has, somewhere, a photograph of an Irish-made handgun with six hand-rotated barrels from the early 1800's
IMG_6599.JPG but here is a pair of four-barreled beauties by Bunney of London made around 1780.
Sadly though, with more attackers in the wings, her salvation should, we hope, be a short one.
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
found this on the net: http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/margaret-frances-wheeler-b-1837-and.html

MARGARET FRANCES WHEELER (b. 1837) AND THE SOWAR OF THE SATICHAURA GHAT

wheeler ulrica.jpg

Miss Wheeler Defending Herself Against The Sepoys At Cawnpore

(a contemporary engraving from The History of the Indian Mutiny by Charles Ball)

In 1907, an elderly Muslim woman in northern India made a deathbed confession to a Roman Catholic priest. She was, she claimed, Ulrica, daughter of General Hugh Massy Wheeler, commander of the garrison of Cawnpore.

In 1857 all but four of the 900-strong European population of the Cawnpore garrison in northern India were killed in one of the early atrocities of the Indian Mutiny.

General Wheeler’s wife Frances was also killed, and Eliza one of his daughters, and a son Godfrey who was serving in the Bengal Army alongside him. Another daughter, Margaret, was with the family as her father led the garrison to the Satichaura Ghat, the steps at the edge of the river Ganges from which they had been promised safe conduct.

As the mutineers began instead to slaughter those whose safety they had guaranteed, Margaret was grabbed by a sowar, one of the rebellious Indian soldiers. It was assumed that she too died in the ensuing slaughter (by local butchers using meat cleavers) of the women and children of the garrison. Her name still appears on the memorial to these victims.

Soon after the event the story began to circulate that she had defended herself fiercely with sabre and pistol, killing four of her captors before throwing herself down a well to preserve her honour from violation. It was a gruesome end, but a satisfyingly heroic one, which upheld the high moral principles of the British imperial elite.

In fact, Margaret Wheeler, also known as Ulrica, survived. Whether the sowar rescued or simply captured for himself the twenty-year old Ulrica is not clear. She was seen, claimed Edward Leckey writing only the year after the massacre, riding side-saddle in the English fashion and wearing a veil. By 1865 it was known that she was not only still alive but had married the man who saved her life, Ali Khan.

This news was greeted not with joy but with a shocking display of imperial racism. Lady Wheeler, Ulrica’s mother who died at Cawnpore, was of mixed race; this was not uncommon in Indian colonial society. Having celebrated the manner of her honourable English death, Ulrica’s survival now was because she was “by no means of pure English blood,” according to historian G.O. Trevelyan writing in 1865. The implication was that a proper pure-bred Englishwoman would have behaved as Margaret was supposed to have – either dying to protect her honour or, having lost it, committed suicide.

Ulrica became a Muslim and with looks inherited from her mother she disappeared into Cawnpore’s Indian community. Was it an early case of Stockholm Syndrome? Or did she just want no further part of an imperial power which could be so two-faced about one person in death and in life?

For more on Ulrica Wheeler, her treatment and colonial life in general, Clare Anderson's book Subaltern Lives: Biographies of Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World 1790-1920 is detailed, readable and insightful.
 
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