Online Encyclopedia

ELDRED POTTINGER (1811—1843)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 212 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ELDRED POTTINGER (1811—1843), Anglo-Indian soldier and diplomatist, entered the Bombay Artillery in 1827, and after some years of regimental duty was appointed to the political department under Colonel (afterwards Sir Henry) Pottinger. In 1837 he made a journey through Afghanistan in disguise. Arriving at Herat, he found it threatened by a Persian army (with which were some Russian officers) and immediately made himself known to the Afghan commander, offering his services. The attack which soon followed was conducted with the greatest vigour, but the defence, inspired by Pottinger, was invariably successful, and after a year the siege was raised. For this great service Pottinger was thanked by the governor-general, the earl of Auckland, made brevet-major, and also received the C.B. He was also appointed political officer at Herat. In 1841 he was political officer in Kohistan when the revolt against Shah Shuja broke out there. Taking refuge with the Gurkha garrison of Charikar, Major Pottinger stood a siege of fourteen days, and then made an. adventurous retreat to Kabul. Less than a fortnight after his arrival Sir William Macnaghten was murdered, and Pottinger succeeded to his position as envoy to the Afghan court. The apathy of the military leaders made resistance hopeless, and it only remained to negotiate for the withdrawal of the British mission. Pottinger himself was one of the hostages handed over to Akbar Khan, and thus escaped the massacre in the Khyber Pass. Released, after many months' captivity, by Sir George Pollock's army, he returned to India, and a year later died while visiting Hong-Kong.
End of Article: ELDRED POTTINGER (1811—1843)
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