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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Chillanwallah Drawing

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Description: An original pencil sketch by Captain James Harris. The sketch depicts an obelisk/monument, surrounded by a fence. There is a tent set-up in one corner, with camels and a man. The background is a barren landscape, with few trees and mountains. The sketch is framed by a pencil border. It was probably at one time in a frame. The back of the sketch has neat but small handwriting in black ink that reads: The Battlefield of Chillianwallah - and Monument raised to the memory of those who fell there. Battle fought January 13th, 1849.

History:Captain James Harris drew this sketch of the monument in Chillianwallah in commemoration of his brother, Major Henry William Harris (c.1804-1849), who on 13 January 1849 was part of the Infantry force ordered to attack Sikh guns at Chillianwallah. With the outbreak of the Second Sikh War in 1848, Henry had joined the Punjab Army and commanded the Regiment at the Battle of Sadullapur on 3 December 1848. In Chillianwallah on January 13, the Infantry force was ordered not to fire their muskets but to charge the enemy with only bayonets fixed. Henry was one of 515 fatal casualties suffered by the Regiment. He was first wounded and then cut down and killed by a Sikh horseman as he tried to make his way to the rear. Henry's nephew, Charles Robinson, was also killed. They are buried in the same grave (#752) at Chillianwallah. A stone Obelisk records names of all who fell at Chillianwallah and the tattered Regimental colours carried into that battle hang in Brecon Cathedral.

No records remain of Henry William's personality. He married Eliza Walker in 1832 in Montreal, Quebec. His early death left Eliza a widow with two young children, John Charles Fitz Lock and Henry William Hall Harris. Both sons also had military careers.

Captain James Beveridge Harris (1797-1884), born in Plumstead, England, was one of six children of Major General John Harris and Margaret Marshall. He was stationed in Canada in 1829 with the 24th Regiment of Foot but was sent back to Ireland within the same year. The regiment returned to Canada in 1836 in preparation for the possible Rebellion of 1837-38. While stationed at Ile-aux-Noix, Québec, he requested permission to sell his commission for 1,800 pounds and purchased Benares. The following year he brought his wife, Elizabeth Molony (1806-1884), with him to live at Benares. Elizabeth and James had eight children, four boys and four girls. Their youngest son, Arthur, inherited Benares after James and Elizabeth both died in 1884. Throughout his life in Upper Canada, Captain Harris worked his land, became Justice of the Peace, and contributed to the development of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Erindale.