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SIR ROBERT HENRY SALE (1782—1845)

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 61 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR ROBERT HENRY SALE (1782—1845), British soldier, entered the 36th Foot in 1795, and went to India in 1798, as a lieutenant of the 12th Foot. His regiment formed part of Baird's brigade of Harris's army operating against Tippoo Sahib, and Sale was present at Mallavelly (Mallawalli) and Seringapatam, subsequently serving under Colonel Arthur Wellesley in the campaign against Dhundia. A little later the 12th was employed in the difficult and laborious attack on Paichi Raja. Promoted captain in 1806, Sale was engaged in 1808—1809 against the Raja of Travancore, and was at the two actions of Quilon, the storm of Travancore lines and the battle of Killianore. In 1810 he accompanied the expedition to Mauritius, and in 1813 obtained his majority. After some years he became major in the 13th, with which regiment he was for the rest of his life associated. In the Burmese War he led the 13th in all the actions up to the capture of Rangoon, in one of which he killed the enemy's leader in single combat. In the concluding operations of the war, being now lieutenant-colonel, he commanded a brigade, and at 1blalown (1826) he was severely wounded. For these services he received the C.B. In 1838, on the outbreak of the Afghan War, Brevet-Colonel Sale was assigned to the command of the 1st Bengal brigade of the army assembling on the Indus. His column arrived at Kandahar in April 1839, and in May it occupied the Herat plain. The Kandahar force next set out on its march to Kabul, and a month later Ghazni was stormed, Sale in person leading the storming column and distinguishing himself in single combat. The place was well provisioned, and on its supplies the army finished its march to Kabul easily. For his services Sale was made K.C.B. and received the local rank of major-general, as well as the Shah's order of the Duranee Empire. He was left, as second-in-command, with the army of occupation, and in the interval between the two wars conducted several small campaigns ending with the action of Parwan which led directly to the surrender of Dost Mahommed. By this time the army had settled down to the quiet life of cantonments, and Lady Sale and her daughter came to Kabul. But the policy of the Indian government in stopping the subsidy to the frontier tribes roused them into hostility, and Sale's brigade received orders to clear the line of communication to Peshawar. After severe fighting Sale entered Jalalabad on the 12th of November 1841. Ten days previously he had received news of the murder of Sir Alexander Burnes, along with orders to return with all speed to Kabul. These orders he, for various reasons, decided to ignore; suppressing his personal desire to return to protect his wife and family, he gave orders to push on, and on occupying Jalalabad at once set about making the old and half-ruined fortress fit to stand a siege. There followed a close and severe investment rather than a siege, and the garrison's sorties were made usually with the object of obtaining supplies. At last Pollock and the relieving army appeared, only to find that the garrison had on the 7th of April 1842 relieved itself by a brilliant and completely successful attack on Akbar's lines. Sir Robert Sale received the G.C.B.; a medal was struck for all ranks of defenders, and salutes fired at every large cantonment in India. Pollock and Sale after a time took the offensive, and after the victory of Haft Kotal, Sale's division encamped at Kabul again. At the end of the war Sale received the thanks of parliament. In 1845, as quartermaster-general to Sir H. Gough's army, Sale again took the field. At Moodkee (Mudki) he was mortally wounded, and he died on the 21st of December 1845. His wife, who shared with him the dangers and hardships of the Afghan war, was amongst Akbar's captives. Amongst the few possessions she was able to keep from Afghan plunderers was her diary (Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan, London, 1843). See Gleig, Sale's Brigade in Afghanistan (London, 1846) ; Kaye, Lives of Indian Officers(London, 1867) ; W. Sale, Defence of Jellalabad (London, 1846); Regimental History of the 13th Light Infantry.
End of Article: SIR ROBERT HENRY SALE (1782—1845)
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