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Afghanistan 1878-1880: Sources in the India Office Records

The Khan of Lalpura and followers with political officer

The Khan of Lalpura and followers with political officer. J.Burke, 1878-9. ©The British Library Board [Photo 487(55)]



Sources in the India Office Records for the study of the second Anglo-Afghan War, 1878-1880.

[IOR:C] Council of India

C/137-142 Printed memoranda prepared by Members, 1874-1879.

[IOR:L/MIL] Military Department

L/MIL/2 Home Correspondence, 1830-81
L/MIL/3 Correspondence with India, 1803-1937
L/ MIL/5 Military Miscellaneous: 110-24 Medal Rolls; 677-89 miscellaneous papers
L/MIL/7 Departmental Collections: 5675-688 (Coils 129, 129A); 9268-269 (Coll 207)
L/MIL/17/14 Military Library: Afghanistan

[IOR:L/PARL] Parliamentary Branch

L/PARL/1 /88-9 Parliamentary papers on Afghanistan, 1846-79

[IOR:L/PS] Political and Secret department

L/PS/3 Home Correspondence, 1807-1911
L/PS/7 Correspondence with India, 1875-1911
L/PS/8 Demi-Official Correspondence, 1862-19 12
L/PS/18 Memoranda: Series A
L/PS/20 Library: 'B' books

[IOR:P] Proceedings

India Foreign (Political) (see under Cabul/ Kabul) Military
Punjab Foreign

NB: As in the period of the First Anglo-Afghan War(1838-42), Political records are more informative, even on military topics.

[MSS EUR] Private Papers

Earl of Lytton

Earl of Lytton. Viceroy of India 1876-1880. Photo 2/1 (12) © The British Library Board


Mss Eur B340

CAVAGNARI (Pierre Louis Napoleon), Lt-Col Sir
Letter, dated 11 Dec 1877, from Capt (later Lt-Col Sir) Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari (1841-79), Bengal Army 1858-79, Deputy Commissioner, Peshawar 1877-78, to Col George Pomeroy Colley, Military Secretary to the Viceroy, discussing the Afridi expedition of 1875-77.
4 folios, 1877 - 1877

Mss Eur A153

LYALL (Alfred Comyn), Sir
Two letters from Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1835-1911), Bengal Civil Service 1856-87, Foreign Secretary, Government of India 1878-81, Lieutenant-Governor of North-Western Provinces 1882-87, to Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff (1829-1906), Under-Secretary of State for India 1868-74, Governor of Madras 1881-86; on relations with Afghanistan and Russia, and the failure of Indian Civilians in careers outside India.
9 folios, 1878 - 1887

Mss Eur C212

Three Albums of newspaper cuttings on Afghanistan, Persia and Sind.
3 volumes, 1877 - 1881

Mss Eur C651

ROBERTS (Frederick Sleigh), Field Marshal 1st Earl Roberts
Letter, dated 3 Jul 1885, from Field Marshal Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar (1832-1914), C-in-C, Madras 1881-85, C-in-C, India 1885-93, discussing the Russian threat to Afghanistan and the northern frontier of India.
4 folios, 1885 - 1885

Mss Eur D610

Miscellaneous typescript and manuscript extracts and printed pamphlets, chiefly relating to the part played by Sir Theophilus John Metcalfe, 5th Bart (1828-83), and George Henry Mildmay Ricketts (1827-1914), in the Indian Mutiny; also letters from Earl Roberts about Afghanistan (1888), and the Earl of Minto about Kitchener's military reorganisation (1906).
9 items, 1847 - 1906

Mss Eur D604

CAVENDISH (Spencer Compton), Marquess of Hartington
Hartington Collection: papers of Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquis of Hartington (later 8th Duke of Devonshire) (1833- 1908), Under-Secretary, War Office 1863-66, Chief Secretary for Ireland 1870-74; Secretary of State for India 1880-82, Secretary of State for War 1882-85, comprising six volumes of telegraphic correspondence with India, and Cabinet and other papers on British Domestic and Foreign Affairs.
64 items, 1863 - 1903

Mss Eur D625

MEREWETHER (William Lockyer), Col Sir
Letters and papers of Col Sir William Lockyer Merewether (1825-80), Bombay Army 1841, Member of Council of India 1877-80, chiefly relating to the Indian Army and to the 2nd Afghan War.
18 items, 1861 - 1880

Mss Eur D938

MELSOM (Thomas Hill), Pte
Diary, dated 11 Oct-20 Nov 1880, by Private Thomas Hill Melsom (b 1852), British Army 1874, describing the punitive expedition by the Marri Field Force under Maj-Gen Sir Charles Metcalfe MacGregor (1840-87), with list of stages on the march from Kabul to Kandahar Aug 1880; copy of the `Kandahar News', 14 Aug 1879.
1 volume; 1 folio, 1879 - 1880

Mss Eur D951

BURNE (Owen Tudor), Maj-Gen Sir
Burne Collection: correspondence and papers of Maj-Gen Sir Owen Tudor Burne (1837-1909), British Army 1855, Private Secretary to Viceroy 1869-72 and 1876-78, Secretary, Political and Secret Dept, India Office 1874-76 and 1878-80, Member of Council of India 1887-96.
32 items, 1858 - 1907

Mss Eur D1045

CAMPBELL (Charles Walter), Lt-Col
Papers of Maj (later Lt-Col) Charles Walter Campbell (1836-1920), Bengal Cavalry 1859-84, including family correspondence, and military documents, letters and diaries concerning Campbell's service with the Kurram Valley Field Force in Afghanistan 1879-80.
1 box, 1873 - 1881

Mss Eur D1227

ELLIOT-MURRAY-KYNYNMOUND (Gilbert John), 4th Earl of Minto
Miscellaneous printed papers of Gilbert John Elliot-Murray- Kynynmound, Viscount Melgund; 4th Earl of Minto (1845-1914), Viceroy of India 1905-10; also typescript extracts of his letters and journal written while serving as a staff officer in India and Afghanistan 1879-81.
45 items, 1879 - 1920

Mss Eur E193

PITMAN (Charles Edward)
`Kandahar News', nos 1-227, dated 9 Apr-31 Dec 1879: manuscript garrison newspaper edited by Charles Edward Pitman, Telegraph Dept, Government of India 1868-1900, on special telegraph duties with Afghanistan Field Force 1878-79.
1 volume, 1879 - 1879

Mss Eur E218

BULWER-LYTTON (Edward Robert Lytton), 1st Earl of Lytton
Lytton Collection: papers of Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer- Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton (1831-1891) as Viceroy of India 1876-80.
177 items, 1876 - 1880

Mss Eur F127

STRACHEY (Richard ), Lt-Gen Sir
Strachey Collection: papers of Lt-Gen Sir Richard Strachey (1817-1908), Bengal Engineers 1836-75; Member, Council of India 1875-78 and 1879-89; Chairman, East India Railway Company from 1889; of his wife Jane Maria; and of his father-in-law Sir John Peter Grant (1807-93), Bengal Civil Service 1828-62, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal 1859-62, Governor of Jamaica 1866-73.
485 items, 1781 - 1927

Mss Eur F132

LYALL (Alfred Comyn), Sir
Lyall Collection: correspondence and papers of Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1835-1911), Bengal Civil Service 1856-87; Foreign Secretary, Government of India 1878-81; Lieutenant-Governor of North-Western Provinces 1882-87; Member, Council of India 1888-1903; and of Sir James Broadwood Lyall (1838-1915), Indian Civil Service, Punjab 1858-92; Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab 1887-92.
173 items, 1842 - 1911

Mss Eur F354

MASON (Charles A J)
Miscellaneous official papers collected by Charles A J Mason, Assistant, Military Dept, India Office, includes casualty list of the Second Afghan War.
7 items, 1709 - 1880

Mss Eur F383

Printed genealogies of Afghan Barakzai tribe, apparently compiled, c1880, by an officer during second Afhan War.
4 rolls, 1880 - 1880

Mss Eur F426

EUAN-SMITH (Charles Bean), Col Sir
Papers of Maj (later Col Sir) Charles Bean Euan-Smith (1842-1910), Madras Army 1859, Indian Political Dept, mostly as Chief Political Officer on staff of General Sir Donald Stewart, C-in-C South Afghanistan 1879-80 and in North Afghanistan May-Aug 1880, mainly relating to Stewart's march from Kandahar to Ghazni and thence to Kabul Apr-May 1880.
26 items, 1880 - 1880

Mss Eur Photo Eur 028

File of papers, dated Apr 1885, apparently kept by Lord Hartington (later 8th Duke of Devonshire) as Secretary of State for War, containing correspondence and draft memoranda on Afghanistan, with particular reference to the Russian attack on Panjdeh.
58 folios, 1885 - 1885

Chronology 1878-1880

Sher Ali Khan with Cd Charles Chamberlain and Sir Richard F.Pollock

Sher Ali Khan with Cd Charles Chamberlain and Sir Richard F.Pollock, 1869. ©The British Library Board [Photo 752/12 (2)]



JulRussian mission under General Stolietev reaches Kabul
AugThe Viceroy of India, Lord Lytton demands that Sher Ali receive a British mission. Death of the heir apparent, Abdullah Jan. British mission to Kabul under Sir Neville Chamberlain turned back at the frontier
NovThree British columns enter Afghanistan, bound for Kandahar, Jalalabad and Kabul. Sher Ali concludes a treaty with Russia; he takes his son Muhammad Yakub Khan out of prison, appoints him Regent, and then flees to Russia, where he is refused permission to cross the border
JanBritish occupy Kandahar
FebSher Ali dies at Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghan Turkistan
26 MayYakub Khan signs the Treaty of Gandamak with the British
JulSir Louis Cavagnari, the new British Resident, arrives in Kabul
3 SepResidency besieged by mutinous Afghan troops; the Resident, his staff and escort all killed
OctColumn under General Roberts takes Kabul, occupies Bala Hissar: Yakub Khan abdicates
DecOutbreak of tribal rebellion. Roberts and his troops besieged in cantonments at Sherpur near Kabul; siege raised; relief column arrives from Jalalabad. Muhammad Ayub Khan takes Herat
FebAbdur Rahman Khan crosses the Oxus and rallies support
MayGeneral Sir Donald Stewart assumes command in Kabul
JunFollowing a change of government in London, from Conservative to Liberal, Lord Rippon replaces Lord Lytton as Viceroy.
Muhammad Ayub Khan moves towards Kandahar
JulMuhammad Ayub Khan defeats the British at Battle of Maiwand; besieges Kandahar
AugRoberts leads column on forced march to Kandahar.  Stewart proclaims Abdur Rahman Khan Amir of Kabul.
1 SepRoberts defeats Muhammad Ayub Khan and supporters at Kandahar.  British withdraw from Afghanistan (except Kandahar)