The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - Chapter II, 'Detailed Report on the Naga Hills Expedition of 1879-80', Capt. P.J. Maitland

caption: punitive expedition against Mozima, December 1877
medium: reports
person: Brydon/ Capt.Beresford /Capt.Carnegy/ Mr.Nation/ Brig. Gen.McGregor/ Lt.Williamson/ Capt.
ethnicgroup: Angami
location: Gumaijagu Mezema (Mozima) Khonoma (Konoma) Gauhati Samaguting Golaghat Wokha (Woka) Priphema (Piphima) Sachema (Sachima) Jotsoma
date: 1877
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: The habits of head-taking and raiding among themselves, however, remained in full force; and in 1877, as had often been anticipated, they went a step further, and plundered the British Naga village of Gumaijagu in North Cachar. The band who committed this outrage came from Mozima. "The Chief Commissioner was convinced that the exhibition of a firm policy was imperatively needed in rigourously prohibiting such outrages for the future, and in reducing to a submissive attitude the two most arrogant of the villages, Mozima and Konoma, who are in nearly all cases either the instigators or the perpetrators of these deeds of violence." The Government of India acknowledged the correctness of the views held by the Chief Commissioner; and on 19th November 1877 a detachment of 210 all native ranks of the 42nd Assam light Infantry, with 50 police, the whole under command of Captain Brydon, was directed from Gauhati through Samaguting on Mozima. The detachment at Golaghat of 50 rifles under Captain Beresford, 43rd Assam Light Infantry, was advanced to Woka, to cooperate with Captain Brydon, and, if necessary, to check any demonstration from the Naga tribes in that direction. Mr. Carnegy, who had succeeded Captain Butler as Political Officer of the district, accompanied the expedition. On the 5th of December the troops reached Samaguting; on the 6th, Piphima; and on the 7th Sachima. On the morning of the 8th the detachment moved on Mozima, but a few miles distant. Being fired at by the inhabitants, the village was attacked, carried by assault, and burnt to the ground. The burning was unintentional. The men of Mozima, however, joined apparently by warriors from Konoma and Jotsoma, took to the jungle and the hills, and continued hostilities. Captain Brydon's little detachment (owing to its weakness) could do no more, and was virtually placed on the defensive. This radical fault in the expedition, the smallness of its numbers, had been noticed by the Commander-in-Chief at the commencement of the operation; but as the political authorities were misinformed with regard to the attitude of the Nagas, and did not anticipate much resistance, it was allowed to proceed. In Naga warfare the enemy are always greatly favoured by the extreme difficulty of the country; and the Angamis well understand the importance to themselves of harassing and interrupting the communications of an invader. On this occasion they took full advantage of Captain Brydon's forced inactivity, cut him from his base, and repeatedly threatened Samaguting, which was, however, secured by a sufficient garrison. Captain Brydon, in view of his somewhat precarious position, wisely declined to hazard an attack on Konoma as desired by the political officers, and constructed a stockade at Mozima, which could be held by 100 rifles, while with the remainder he cleared the road to Samaguting. In the meantime, Brigadier General Nation, Commanding the Eastern Frontier District, hastily despatched from Shillong, on his own responsibility, a reinforcement of 100 men of the 43rd Assam Light Infantry under Lieutenant MacGregor, 44th Native Infantry. The action taken by the Brigadier General received the full approval of the Commander-in- Chief, who further authorised him to take any steps he might deem necessary for bringing the expedition to a successful termination. On the 9th January Lieutenant MacGregor with nineteen of the 43rd Native Infantry and twenty of the 44th Native Infantry, accompanied by Captain Williamson, Assistant Political Officer, reached Mozima. Shortly afterwards the Angamis, seeing reinforcements beginning to arrive, and threatened in rear by a force from Manipur, commenced to treat for peace. Up to this time their desultory attacks had been incessant. The picquets were fired at every night, and attempts had been made to poison the water. They were now probably getting somewhat tired of hostilities, which were certainly not profitable to them, if unsatisfactory for us; a great quantity of their grain had been captured or destroyed, and the men of Konoma and Jotsoma possibly reflected that, with the strengthening of the expedition, the same fate might overtake their own villages as had already befallen Mozima. Konoma was the first to submit, and the example was speedily followed by the rest.
text: It had most unfortunately happened that Mr. Carnegy, the Political Officer, incautiously venturing outside the camp at night, had been accidentally shot by a sentry, and the negotiations with the hostile clans were therefore conducted by Captain Williamson, who, unaware of the circumstances of the case, let off Konoma and Jotsoma scot free, and imposed very easy conditions on Mozima. As the latter village, however, had suffered severely by "the destruction (19) of their houses and food supply, and in privations they had undergone, " it would have been, in the opinion of the Chief Commissioner, "futile, as well as inexpedient, to impose on them a heavy fine, which, all their property having been destroyed, they would not have been able to pay."
text: On the 18th January, the terms imposed upon Mozima were complied with, and, peace being thus formally concluded, the expeditionary force fell back on Samaguting.