The British response to the mutiny led to fundamental changes in the manner of their rule over the next century. But in several respects, the battles waged in course of the mutiny of 1857 were radically different from those fought before. As this article argues, it marked the advent of "people's war" as opposed to the "limited war" of the past. Not only were militia and local levies raised from among the citizenry but the deliberate savagery inflicted on the defeated civilian populace was a conscious policy of demoralising the enemy. Other effective strategies that were developed to draw civilians into the war effort involved the use of religion and the deliberate use of rumour.