Lt. Col. Alexander Bagot
Bengal Staff Corps and 38th BNI

(Late 15th BNI and Nusseree Battalion)
______________________________________________________________________________
Alexander Bagot was the son of the Right Honourable Sir Charles
Bagot, G.C.B. and Lady Mary Charlotte Anne Wellesley, the eldest
daughter of William, 4th Earl of Mornington.

He was born 10 June 1822, and attended Westminster School from
1834 to 1837, thereafter attending Charterhouse School.  He entered E.
I.C.S. (Bengal) as a Cadet in 1840.  Commissioned as an Ensign on the
Bengal Unattached List 18 September 1840, and posted to the 15th
Bengal Native Infantry on 9 January 1841.  He received promotions as
follows:

  • Lieut. 16 July 1842
  • Captain 23 July 1854
  • Brevet Major 24 July 1854
  • Brevet Lieut.-Col. 14 April 1862
  • Lieut-Col. Commandant 38th Bengal Native Infantry from 20
    June 1865
  • Lieut-Col. Bengal Staff Corps 18 September 1866
  • Brevet Colonel 18 September 1871

Alexander Bagot married Gertrude Letitia Halifax, daughter of Brig.
General Robert Dampier Halifax, on 28 October 1852.  They had two
sons, Charles Fitzroy Alexander Halifax Bagot, born 20 October 1853
(died 1901) and Francis Robert William Bagot, born 15 November
1858 (died 11 March 1861).
Alexander Bagot, while a member of the 15th Bengal Native Infantry, served in the Gwalior campaign and was
present at the battle of Maharapore on 29 December 1843 as
Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief, Lord
Gough (Bronze Star).  He served throughout the Sutlej campaign of 1845-46, including the battles of Moodkee,
Ferozeshah and Sobraon (Medal and two clasps).   Served throughout the Punjab campaign including the passage of
the Chenab, and battles of Chillianwalla and Goojerat  (Medal and two clasps, twice mentioned in dispatches and
Brevet of Major).  

The “New” Nusseree (Rifle) Battalion (Nusseree being a transliteration of the Sanscript word meaning “Friendly”)
was a local corps of Goorkas (or Gurkhas) raised at Juttogh, near Simla, by GOCC 27 February 1850, to replace
the original Nusseree Battalion when the later unit transferred to become a regular regiment of the Bengal Line as
the 66th, or Goorka Light Infantry Regiment (later to become the 1st Gurkha Rifles).  The Nusseree Battalion
served during the Indian Mutiny, regimentally qualifying the officers and men for the Indian Mutiny medal without
clasp.  Alexander Bagot, while still on the roll of the 15th Bengal Native Infantry, commanded the Battalion
throughout the entire period of the Indian Mutiny.  (The unit on his officially impressed Indian Mutiny medal is
the “Musseree Battalion”, a simple misspelling.)  In his own words his service consisted of:


“Commanding in the districts of Mozuffurnugur and Sharumpoor-  

Among the duties I had to perform were:

The disarming of 2 Native Infantry regiments, which was done with my own regiment of Goorka’s ;

The pursuit of the Jullundur mutineers under my personal command:

The suppression of constant risings of large bodies of rebels throughout the districts, and the disarming
of the detachments of the 29th and 5th Native Infantry which mutinied and fired upon the officers at
Sharumpoor.”

Six Indian Orders of Merit were awarded to men of the Nusseree Battalion for services during the Mutiny.

Alexander Bagot is shown in the 1859 Bengal Army List as a Captain in the 15th Bengal Native Infantry and as
the Commandant of the Nusseree Battalion.  The Nusseree Battalion was disbanded in May of 1861.  As a result,
Bagot’s Indian Mutiny medal is one of only a very small number medals ever issued to a European for service in the
Nusseree Battalion.  

Following the disbanding of the Nusseree Battalion, Bagot was appointed Commandant of the 38th Bengal Native
Infantry on 20 June 1865, the position he held until his death.  He was admitted to the Bengal Staff Corps on 18
September 1866.
Alexander Bagot was well known in India as one of the best shots and keenest shirkarees (big game hunters) of his day.  
He apparently liked other “sports” as well, as the Times of 6 June 1848, reported the arrest of Captain Alexander
Bagot,
Aide de Camp to Lord Gough, along with several other military officers, at the Cocoa Tree Club, No. 64, St.
James, an alleged “common gambling house”.  The case was dismissed for lack of evidence as there was no proof that
the defendants were actually in the house for the purposes of gambling.

Col. Bagot was a prominent member of British society in India and several photographs of him are known to exist, in
addition to the one shown here.  He was a Mason and a member of the Masonic Lodge “Himalayan Brotherhood” No.
459.

Col. Alexander Bagot died at Bholan, India on 20 October 1874.  He was found dead in his quarters, having been
accidentally poisoned by his native cook’s use of arsenic, instead of baking powder, in preparing the chupatties for
his breakfast.


Sources:

The Quarterly Army List of Her Majesty’s British Forces on the Bengal Establishment

Ubique: War Services of All the Officers of H.M.’s Bengal Army

L/MIL/5/88 folio 43-44, Roll of an Officer Claiming the Indian Mutiny Medal Under Provisions of GOCC Dated 13
May 1857.

Hart’s Army List, 1873.

The Times,
6 June 1848; Pg. 7; Issue 19882; col. D

Frederic Brose
, Modern English Biography.

_____________________________________________________________
Shown below are three pictures of Lt. Col. Bagot. All copyright British Library:


The first one is titled" Group portrait of European Officers including those of the 38th Bengal Native Infantry
and the 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot."  Late 1860.  Photographer unknown.  "Note- Col. Alexander
Bagot sits second from right."
The third one is titled "A tea-party with Indian and British officers and their wives. 1860" with
the notation "Col. Bagot of the 38th N.I. is seated second from left." and "Proof print for the
approval of Col. Bagot, Nagode.
There is nothing noted for the second photo, but it was obviously taken at the same time.