At the tender age of 16 Thomas Seaton took up a cadestship in the East India Company in 1822, and waved farewell to his native London for a career of soldiering in India. He was to spend most of his life in the Indian sub-continent and its border regions, at the sharp end of the expansion of the British Empire.
Plunged into a new world of sights and scenes of India Lieutenant Seaton of the 35th Native Infantry had little time to adjust before beginning his first major campaign at the bloody siege of the siege of Bhurtpore. A few years later, he was part of the very unsuccessful British incursion into Afghanistan in 1842, his memoirs as one of the besieged in Jalalabad are among the best that have ever been written.
A decade later, as the first signs of Great Mutiny among were noticed among the native troops, Seaton’s superiors ordered him from his sick bed to take command of the 60th Native Infantry, a regiment that was known to be close to open revolt, despite Seaton's dest efforts the 60th mutinied and their British officers barely escaped with their lives.
Seaton served with distinction at the siege of Delhi and after the fall of the city was sent with reinforcements to the beleagured Fatehgarh. In command of the forces that would soon be outnumbered, Colonel Seaton determined on a brave course of action; a night march followed by a surprize attack on the rebels. Colonel Seaton smashed the rebel troops leaving the entire area free from their influence. In this brilliant action he and his men “had marched, out and home, forty-four miles, had fought an action, defeating the enemy with considerable loss, and capturing their guns, ammunition, tents, stores, and baggage, and they had returned home safely with the captured guns, without leaving behind a single straggler, and, in spite of the tremendous heat, doing all in a little over twenty-two hours.”.
A fine action packed memoir filled with vignettes and anecdotes of the British Raj.