The Afghan War, 1838−1842, from the Journal and Correspondence of the Late Major-General Augustus Abbott


Augustus Abbott (1804−67) was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom distinguished themselves as British soldiers. He joined the army at age 15 and served until his retirement in 1859 with the rank of major-general. During the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838−42), Abbott saw much action as commander of an artillery battery. This book is an account of the war, based on Abbott’s journals and correspondence, published during the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878−80), when reader interest in Afghanistan was high. The book was edited, with an introduction, by Charles Rathbone Low, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the author of several books on India. The First Anglo-Afghan War began when the army of the British East India Company was ordered to move into Afghanistan with the object of occupying the capital of Kabul, deposing Amir Dōst Moḥammad Khān, and replacing him with the more malleable—from the British perspective—Shah Shujāʻ. The cities of Kandahar and Ghazni fell, and, as is stated in the introduction, “No further opposition was offered to the advance of the Army, which encamped before Cabul, and, on the 7th of August, our puppet king, Shah Shooja, resplendent in jewels, was conducted in pomp through the city, to the Bala Hissar, or citadel.” Abbott’s descriptions of the fighting provide tactical accounts by a soldier who saw action in most of the war’s important engagements. At the front of the volume is a sketch map of the alignment of forces at Jalalabad, a major city on the road from Kabul to the borders of India.

Last updated: September 30, 2016