Sailing the British Empire : The Voyages of The Clarence, 1858-73

Post-Mutiny Changes

      The mutineers had come very close to holding out over the British. The British were shocked by the turn of events, and were afraid of the possibility of another mutiny. To insure against one, they made some changes. First, they dissolved the East India Company and brought the colonial administration of India under the government’s India Office. They subsequently enlisted the EIC’s soldiers into the British army. Some trouble was made there, as the soldiers claimed that their contracts were with the EIC, not the British government, which offered fewer privileges than the EIC. A possible mutiny of these European soldiers was avoided by granting them some of the privileges that they would have had under the EIC. Next, the ratio of European to Indian soldiers was altered, with a significant amount of additional European soldiers being brought in. A commission headed by the Secretary of State of War, Major-General Peel, made recommendations as to the composition of the British Army in post-Mutiny India.

While these exact specifications were not followed, similar ones were implemented.

       These additional European reinforcements included the 18th Hussars. In addition, most of the sepoys that had been in the British army before the Mutiny-even the ones that had stuck with the British-were removed. For example, only 8,000 of the the Bengal Army's original 120,000 sepoys were retained. To counter this, new Indian soldiers were raised into the British Army. The objectives of the army changed, as European soldiers were used to watch the Indian soldiers to guard against future rebellion. Many units were moved into the frontiers of the north-west and north-east to protect against tribal raiders and suspected Russian intrigue into India via Afghanistan (this worry had very little grounds, and never came close to fruition).


1. Heathcote, T. A. The Military in British India: The Development of British Forces in South Asia, 1600-1947. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1995. Print.
Arnold, David. Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-century India. Berkeley: U of California, 1993. Print.

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