The author was a voluminous writer, his first work to attract attention being the famous ‘Red Pamphlet’, published at Calcutta in 1857, when the Sepoy Mutiny was at its height. Among his other books, the most valuable are History of the French in India (2nd ed., 1893) and The Decisive Battles of India (3rd ed., 1888).
Each chapter covers a decisive battle from 1746 to 1849, which finally led to the gradual annexation of India to the British Empire. The Battle of St Thomé in 1746, between the French and the Nawab of the Carnatic, opened the infinite possibilities of trade and treasure in the Indian sub-continent to the Europeans. It also brought the military genius of Robert Clive of the British East India Company and Joseph-François Dupleix face to face, and from there followed over a decade of conflict between the French and the British, until Clive’s decisive victory over the French at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Also included, among others, is the Battle of Assaye in 1803 where Arthur Wellesley learnt his trade, the Battle of Bharatpur in 1805 between the British and the Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the Battle of Sobraon in 1846, the final battle of the First Anglo-Sikh War. This excellent Victorian history of these decisive battles describes the causes, the complicated political alliances behind each encounter, the main protagonists, the strategies and tactics, and the final consequences of each conflict.