The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

part of original tour diary of Lt. R.G. Woodthorpe 1876

caption: Hostile encounter with Nagas resulting in some shooting and punitive burning
medium: tours
person: Tulloch/ ColOgle
location: Shichemi (Chichimi) Aochagalimi (Chakalami) Lakhuti
date: 24.2.1876
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Thursday 24th.
text: (Heavy thunder storm in early morning. Cloudy and a few drops of rain till about 11.30. After that clear and fine till evening. Cloudy and distant thunder heard and rain at night. Height of camp at 9 p.m. 6410/6200 = 6205. Min = 38o. Max = 62o. Height of camp at 6 a.m. 6410/6200 M = 6305.)
text: Up early and sent off men to go on with the clearing. The Colonel and I were about to start for the village with 20 men and 35 coolies for supplies when some coolies going for wood just beyond the sentries spied some Nagas concealed in the forest jungle not far off. They at once came forward saying they had brought rice, fowls, beer etc. but nothing was forthcoming, so telling them I was going to their village and would receive anything they had to give me there I went down, the Colonel deciding to remain and look after the fellows here, a course I heartily approved of. Reaching the village I found the approach carefully closed and only a small number inside running about with shields and spears. I made them open the way and went in and calling for the Gaonbura who appeared presently. I showed him a red cloth promising it for a good supply of rice and he said he would bring it. I also showed him a blue light and a rocket. The fellows standing about promised rice but made no movement to get it, so I shot a fowl to show them that we should have to help ourselves if they would not help us (45) and then went out and plane tabled on a bare knob just beyond leaving the subadar with the coolies and a guard in the village. While at work large numbers of Nagas were seen coming up the paths from Chichimi and the other side and hiding in the jungle just below the village. I returned, but no one appeared with rice. The fellow who came in to camp yesterday morning and who met us today with a little rice, said he had told them to bring all that we wanted but they would not, so I gave the order to the coolies to collect dhan and some pounding instruments. Hearing that the Nagas were creeping about close to the village, I went down to one of the outlets. I saw an arrow in the ground which though it did not strike me at the time must have been shot at us. I saw a fellow who at once danced and levelled his spear at me. I turned for my rifle but before I could get it he was skedaddling and some trees being in my way I missed him. Then they gave a war cry and were fired on in all directions. They came out at intervals and fired arrows at us in the village. Soon after Col. Tulloch came up and I chivied a party down the hill side and shot a cow at a distance. On the spur leading from the camp to the village of Chakalami were assembled a large number about 200 men who set up a long rolling war cry which they kept up for some time. I returned then to the village thinking that perhaps this party intended attacking our camp, but they did not stir. So collecting dhan pounding materials etc. I set the village on fire and we returned unmolested to camp about 1 p.m. Breakfast and I went up to the mark where I heard that a large body of Nagas had been up fully armed but taking a couple of fowls with (46) them. I think all this shows that the Nagas had hoped to find us off our guard at our various occupations, and had presents with them to account for their appearance in case we were prepared. I don't suppose they were at all prepared for my going down to their village. The clearing had progressed well and I was able to take some angles and do some plane tabling from the tall maichan which had been built between 3 trees. Signalled to Lakhuti and got a flash from Ogle. Got back to camp 6.30. No disturbance during the night. Had to cease writing this on account of rain and hail coming through mess roof.