Murray, Miss [Louisa]. “How They Died at Thansi.” Selections from Canadian Poets: With Occasional Critical and Biographical Notes, and an Introductory Essay on Canadian Poetry. Ed. Edward Hartley Dewart. [Montreal], 1864. 167-70.

In the First Indian War of Independence (or the Sepoy Rebellion, or The Mutiny, depending upon whom you ask and when), Captain Alexander Skene, British superintendent at Jhansi, and his wife Margaret, did in fact take refuge with 54 other British citizens in the fort. History (rather than Murray’s poetry) has it, though, that on 7 June 1857, when they were offered their lives for surrendering the fort, the British were massacred as they left the gates. Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry on Jhansi elides any mention of its prominent place in the conflict. The Rani of Jhansi, who ruled at the time, was heralded as a folk hero in the drive for Indian independence in the mid-1900s.

Murray L - Thansi 1 Murray L - Thansi 2 Murray L - Thansi 3 Murray L - Thansi 4


The Tower of Jhansi, like the Well at Cawnpore and the Residency at Lucknow, became an iconic image, represented in art (literary and visual) even before the conflict was fully over. This engraving by E. Walker of Captain and Mrs. Skene was published within six months of the massacre.

Thansi engraving

Walker, E. “The Tower at Jhansi.” Incidents in the Indian War (London: Ackermann, 1857). Courtesy of the National Army Museum, London, UK, NAM. 1983-08-126-1.