After this, Brigadier Brooke pushed on his horse artillery, and while the cannonading was resumed on both sides, the infantry, under Major-Generals Sir Harry Smith, Gilbert, and Sir John McCaskill, attacked in echelon of lines the enemy's infantry, almost invisible among the jungle and the approaching darkness of night.
The hills on either side of the pass were rocky and precipitous, presenting great obstacles to troops, guarded as they were by numerous bodies of Afridis, long accustomed to warfare. The difficulties were great, but they were known, and General Pollock prepared to surmount them. Brigadier Wild was in command of the advance guard, and General McCaskill of the rear.
Before dawn on the 5th of April Pollock's force set out from Jumrood to the entrance of the Khyber Pass. It was formed of eight regiments of infantry, among whom were the 9th Queen's Regiment, three cavalry corps, including two squadrons of the 3rd Dragoons, artillery, and sappers, in all some 8000 men. Brigadier Wild was in command of the advance guard and General McCaskill of the rear.
Sir John McCaskill was shot through the chest, and killed on the field; the gallant Sir Robert Sale, the brave defender of Jellalabad, received so severe a wound in the leg that he shortly after died from its effects; many other officers and men were killed, making in all 215; and 657 were wounded. The enemy's sharpshooters had climbed into trees, and from thence killed and wounded many officers.
A second brigade commanded by Brigadier-General McCaskill, had accompanied Pollock, the sepoys of which promptly fell under the evil influence of Wild's dispirited and disaffected regiments.