The Indian Mutiny medal was sanctioned by general order number 365 dated 18th August 1858, and order number 733 of 1859, to troops engaged against the mutineers. General order number 771 of 1868 extended the award to all persons who had borne arms or had been under fire.
The medal was initially sanctioned for award to those troops who had been engaged in action against the mutineers. However in 1868 the award was extended to all those who had borne arms or who had been under fire, including such people as members of the Indian judiciary and the Indian civil service, who were caught up in the fighting.
The obverse of the medal depicts the head of a young Queen Victoria and bears the inscription Victoria Regina. The reverse shows a helmeted Britannia holding a wreath in her right hand and a union shield on her left arm. She is standing in front of a lion. The words "India 1857-1858" are inscribed on the reverse of the medal. The ribbon is white with two scarlet stripes.
Five clasps were authorised, though the maximum awarded to any one man was four. The clasps were:
"Delhi" (30th May - 14th Sept. 1857) Awarded to troops participating in the recapture of Delhi.
"Defence of Lucknow" (29th Jun. - 22nd Nov. 1857) Awarded to original defenders and to the relief force.
"Relief of Lucknow" (Nov. 1857) Awarded to the relief force under the command of Sir Colin Campbell.
"Lucknow" (Nov. 1857 - Mar. 1858) Awarded to troops under command of Sir Colin Campbell who were engaged in final operations leading to the surrender of Lucknow and the clearing of the surrounding areas.
"Central India" (Jan. - Jun. 1858) Awarded to all those who served under Major-General Sir Hugh Rose.
The medal was issued without a clasp to those who served but were not eligible for a clasp. The vast majority of these awards were made to those who became entitled to the medal as a result of the 1868 extensions of eligibility.