Lumsden. Letter about his mission to the Pamirs & Yarkand, 1864


Lumsden & Caravan Routes through the Pamirs to Yarkand. A manuscript letter written on two sides of a folded sheet of 9 x 7½ ins paper pasted by the blank to an old thin card album leaf. It is addressed to Captain Lumsden, Assistant Quartermaster General of the Army dated Murree, 6th August 1862 and signed E. H Davies, Secretary to Government Punjab. It states that Having laid before the Hon’ble the Lieutenant Governor the Sketch of Caravan routes through the Pamir Steppes and Yarkand, executed by you from oral information furnished by Mahomed Amin, I am instructed to convey to you the thanks of the Punjab Government for the ability and care with which you have performed the task. His Honor has much pleasure in acknowledging also the zeal for the public service with which you entered upon work additional to yoour immediate duties and involving considerable labour but which your familiarity with the Persian language and with the Geography of Central Asia peculiarly qualified you to accomplish. An unusually glowing approval of Lumsden’s work/ The Lieutenant Governor at the time was Sir Robert Montgomery. This surveying work was carried out at a time when the British Government was increasingly concerned with threats to its north western borders from external powers, especially Russia.  The verso has some newspaper cuttings, one of which notes that in 1857 the services of the undermentioned Officers are placed at the disposal of the Foreign Department: Brevet Major H.B. Lumsden of 59th Regiment Native Infantry commanding the Corps of Guides, Lieutenant P.S. Lumsden of the 60th Native Infantry, Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General of teh Army 1st Class, Surgeon C.L. Cox, A.B. Medical Department. This is the appointment that led to a secret mission to the borders in 1857-8.      SOLD 18th March 2023


Provenance: From a large archive of the General’s papers passed down through descendants of his brother, General Sir Harry Lumsden. Lumsden himself had no children.

General Sir Peter Stark Lumsden, G.C.B., C.S.I.. A.D.C. [1829-1918] had a very distinguished career in India, China, and Afghanistan and was the author of the standard work on his brother’s regiment Lumsden of the Guides. He joined the Bengal Army in 1847 and first saw action on the N.W.F. in 1851. In 1857 he was on a special mission to Kandahar and served in the China War with Napier., Bhutan War 1854, QMG India 1868-72, acting Resident Hyderabad 1873, Chief of the Staff in India in 1879 and headed the British Commission for the Demarcation of the N. W. Boundary of Afghanistan 1884-5.  He was made G.C.B. and an ADC to Queen Victoria.