Britannic Magazine 1799:
The Taking of Seringapatam
"We arrived here on the 4th of April, 1799, since which time, the siege has
continued with uninterrupted success on our part, although not without the loss
of blood. The few first days after we came we were employed in collecting the
necessary materials, and after that, there were daily skirmishes, taking his
outposts, &c. so that our breaching batteries did not open till near the latter
end of the month. The breach being at length practicable, on the 4th of May,
being exactly one month from the day of our arrival, it was determined to storm;
and at three o'clock in the morning, the flank companies of every corps in the
field, besides two or three European regiments, complete, moved down to the
trenches, where we sat in anxious expectation of the signal to begin, till near
one o'clock, during which time our batteries kept up an incessant firing. About
that time, the storming party, under the command of General Baird, began to move
on, covered by the constant fire from our batteries, and suffering a very galling
one of grape from the fort. The enemy soon abandoned the ramparts after our brave
countrymen reached them; in about half an hour, the fire from the fort had ceased
entirely, and the British flag was displayed in various parts of it.
Soon after the storm 300 grenadiers rushed into the place, and were about to
plunder it, when they were called off. Those inside immediately shut the gates,
and the 33rd Regiment and a Native Corps drew up in front; we then learnt that
the Sultan with his wives, sons, treasure, &c., were all in the palace. Soon
after Major Allan came up with a flag of truce from General Baird, and after
explaining to those who were in the balcony, that no violence should be offered,
desired them to call the Sultan; they replied that he was wounded; that they did
not know whether he was in the palace or not, but they would go and look for him.
After much delay it was suspected that this was only a pretence to give him time
to make his escape; upon which the General ordered a 6-pounder to be brought in
front of the gate, and told them, that, if the Sultan did not immediately make
his appearance, he would burst it open. They then said that he was not in the
palace, but that his sons would come out immediately; we waited some time longer,
but as they did not come Major Allan, carrying the flag of truce, and accompanied
by two other officers, went in. They returned in about half an hour with the two
young princes, who, though they did not seem depressed by their situation, yet
appeared at the same time to feel it. Being asked what servants should attend
them to the camp, they replied, that they had no right to order; and when the
General, told them they had only to name the people who should accompany them,
they said, that in the morning they could have called for many, but now, they
feared, there were very few remaining! General Baird gave them in charge to Major
Agnew, who conveyed them in palanquins, to head-quarters.
As it was now near sun-set, everyone was anxious to secure the Sultan, if
possible. After much inquiry, they found a person who seemed to be a man of
consequence; he said that Tippoo had been killed in endeavouring to escape; he
was immediately seized, and told that his life would answer for it if he did not
immediately shew the place.
He accordingly led the way, and we followed, to a kind of gateway leading to a
bridge across the ditch--there, in a place about 4 feet wide and 12 feet
long,were upwards of 70 dead bodies lying, and in the midst of them appeared the
Sultan's palanquin; immediate search was made for his body, but it was upwards of
an hour before he was discovered. He had received a shot in his arm at the time
of the storm, for he was himself on the ramparts; after this, in endeavouring to
make his escape, he was met by a party of Europeans, who wounded him in the side
with a bayonet; he had also received a shot through the temple, which put an end
to his existence.
The body was recognised by some of his palanquin boys, who were but slightly
wounded; it was still warm when we discovered it.
He appeared to be rather above the middle size, stout and well made; his head
was shaved close; he seemed to be between 40 and 50, and rather corpulent. His
dress was very plain. The Sultan was next day interred in the Lal Bag, on the
left of his father, (his mother being on the right) with the compliments due to
his exalted rank."
Extract from The Britannic Magazine, 1799.
[The Britannic Magazine; or entertaining repository of heroic adventures. London, 1793-1807. 12 vols].