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The Bengal Presidency at its greatest extent in 1858

The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three presidencies of British India. Although based in Bengal in north-eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North-West Frontier Province. The Bengal Army included some of the most famous units in India: Skinner's Horse from Bengal, the Gurkhas from the Himalayas and the Corps of Guides on the North-West Frontier.

The presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Indian Rebellion of 1857, when the British Crown took over all three presidencies. Of the 67,000 Hindus in the Bengal Army in 1842, 28,000 were identified as Rajputs and 25,000 as Brahmins, a category that included Bhumihar Brahmins.[1] The Brahmin presence in the Bengal Army was reduced in the late nineteenth century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the Indian Mutiny[1], led by Mangal Pandey.

In 1903 all three presidency armies were merged into the Indian Army.

Contents

Units (pre-Mutiny)

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Cavalry

  • Governor General's Bodyguard
  • 1st to 5th Bengal European Light Cavalry Regiments. Created hastily in November 1857 to replace the (Indian) Bengal Light Cavalry, only three of these short-lived units were actually established. In 1861 they were transferred to the British Army.
  • 1st to 10th Bengal Light Cavalry Regiments. Seven of these regular regiments mutinied and two were disbanded during 1857-58. None were carried over into the post-Mutiny army[2].
  • 1st Irregular Cavalry (Skinner's Horse)
  • 2nd to 18th Irregular Cavalry Regiments
  • Jodhpore Legion Cavalry
  • Bundelkhand Legion Cavalry
  • Gwalior Contingent Cavalry
  • Kotah Contingent Cavalry
  • Bhopal Contingent Cavalry
  • United Malwa Contingent Cavalry
  • Ramgarh Irregular Cavalry
  • Nagpore Irregular Cavalry
  • 1st to 3rd Oudh Irregular Cavalry Regiments
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments of Hodson's Horse
  • 1st to 4th Sikh Irregular Cavalry Regiments
  • The Jat Horse Yeomanry
  • Rohilkhand Horse
  • The Muttra Horse
  • Alexander's Horse
  • Barrow's Volunteers
  • Behar Irregular Cavalry
  • Belooch Horse
  • Benares Horse
  • Bengal Yeomanry Cavalry
  • Calcutta Volunteer Guards
  • De Kantzow's Irregular Cavalry
  • Graham's Horse
  • 2nd Gwalior Cavalry
  • 2nd Gwalior Mahratta Horse
  • H.H. The Guicowar's Horse
  • Jackson's Volunteer Horse
  • Jellandhar Cavalry
  • Lahore Light Horse
  • 1st Mahratta Horse
  • Meerut Light Horse
  • Peshawar Light Horse
  • Rajghazi Volunteer Cavalry
  • The Volunteer Cavalry
  • Lind's and Cureton's Risalahs of Pathan Horse
  • 2nd Mahratta Horse
  • Fane's Horse
  • The Corps of Guides, Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1st to 5th Regiments of Cavalry of the Punjab Irregular Force

Artillery

  • Bengal Horse Artillery
  • Bengal European Foot Artillery
  • Bengal Native Foot Artillery
  • Punjab Horse Artillery, Punjab Irregular Force

Engineering

Infantry

  • 1st Bengal (European) Fusiliers
  • 2nd Bengal (European) Fusiliers
  • 3rd Bengal (European) Light Infantry
  • 4th to 6th Bengal European Regiments
  • 1st Regiment of Punjab Bengal Native Infantry
  • 2nd to 74th Regiments of Bengal Native Infantry (including Goorkha 66th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry). Of these regular regiments only twelve (the 21st, 31st, 32nd 33rd, 42nd, 43rd, 47th 59th, 63rd, 65th, 66th and 70th BNI) escaped mutiny or disbandment to survive into the post-Mutiny army[3].
  • The Alipore Regiment The Ramgarh Light Infantry
  • 3rd Local Battalion
  • The Sirmoor Rifle Regiment
  • The Kamaoon Battalion
  • 1st Assam Light Infantry
  • 11th Sylhet Local Light Infantry
  • The Mhairwara Battalion
  • 2nd Assam Light Infantry
  • Joudpore Legion
  • Oudh Irregular Force
  • Narbudda Sebundy Corps
  • Shekhawati Battalion
  • Harianna Light Infantry
  • Regiment of Khelat-i-Gilzie
  • Malwa Bheel Corps
  • Kotah Contingent
  • Mehidpore Contingent
  • Gwalior Contingent
  • Malwa Contingent
  • Bhopal Contingent
  • Regiment of Ferozepore
  • Regiment of Ludhiana
  • Camel Corps
  • Nusseree Battalion
  • Nagpore Irregular Force
  • Deoli Irregular Force
  • Regiment of Lucknow
  • Mhair Regiment
  • Kamroop Regiment
  • Landhoor Rangers
  • Kuppurthala Contingent
  • 1st and 2nd Gwalior Regiments
  • Allahabad Levy
  • Shahjehanpur Levy
  • Cawnpore Levy
  • Fatehgarh Levy
  • Moradabad Levy
  • Mynpoorie Levy
  • Sealkote Infantry Levy
  • Bareilly Levy
  • Goojramwallah Levy
  • Meerut Levy
  • Kumaon Levy
  • Agra Levy
  • Cole and Sonthal Levy
  • Rajpoot Levy
  • Loyal Purbeah Regiment
  • Corps of Guides, Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1st to 4th Sikh Infantry Regiments of the Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1st to 6th Infantry Regiments of the Punjab Irregular Force
  • 7th to 24th Regiments of Punjab Infantry, of which the 15th and 24th were pioneer regiments

Other

  • 1st Bengal Military Police Battalion

Further reading

  • Cardew, F. G., Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Native Army: To the Year 1895 (Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1903, reprinted by Naval and Military Press Ltd., 2005, ISBN 1845741862) Contents: Chapter I: 1599–1767; II. 1767–1796; III. 1797–1814; IV. 1814–1824; V. 1824–1838; VI. 1838–1845; VII. 1845–1857; VIII. 1857–1861; IX. 1862–1979; X. 1878–1881; XI. 1882–1890; XII. 1891–1895; Appendix: I. A Chronological List of the Corps of the Bengal Army, Showing particulars of their origin and their subsequent history; II. Existing Corps of the Bengal Army, Showing Dates of Raising and Changes in their Titles; III. Commanders-in-chief of the Bengal Army; IV. Chronology list of the Services of the Bengal Native Army; Index.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b The Boxers, China, and the World. Rowman & Littlefield. 2007. p. 231 (at p 63). ISBN 978-0742553958. 
  2. ^ Boris Mollo, page 93, The Indian Army, ISBN 0 7137 1074 8
  3. ^ W. Y. Carmen, page 107 Indian Army Uniforms, Morgan-Grampian: London 1969

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