The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - Chapter III 'Detailed Report on the Naga Hills Expedition of 1878-80', Capt. P.J. Maitland

caption: firing of Sephima by Major Evans
medium: reports
person: Evans/ Maj.Maxwell/ Lt.
location: Sephima
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: Mayor Evans and his detachment, 43rd Assam Light Infantry, had been left by General Nation at Piphima, with orders to attack Sephima, a village of about a hundred and fifty houses, ten miles to the north-east. Taking a detachment of one hundred and three all native ranks, Major Evans marched on the afternoon of the 15th, and having reached a place about a mile from the village, halted there till dawn. Before sunrise, the troops were again advancing. It was still too dark to distinguish objects clearly, and suddenly the head of the column was fired at from a place on the left of the path which looked like a large rock, but which turned out to be the entrance to the village. Some six shots were fired, at a distance of not more than five or six yards. Lieutenant Maxwell, Political Officer, was wounded in the right arm and left leg, but not seriously, and one sepoy was shot through the lungs. The detachment fell back under cover until there was more light; and, as soon as they could see, charged up the steep ascent to the village; Lieutenant Maxwell leading, in spite of his wounds. Fire was again opened from the walls, but not a single Naga was visible. The troops pressed on into the village, found it deserted, and at once set it on fire. Occasional shots came from the jungle and were of course returned: but it was impossible to say is any of the enemy were hit, as they were absolutely unseen. Having set all the huts in Sephima alight and made a sling with puttees to carry the wounded men, ( Puttees are cloth leg bandages worn by native soldiers on service.) Major Evans withdrew his detachment. The troops were fired on as they left the village, and again along the road in front. This continued for some two miles, and two more men were wounded, one seriously in the thigh. The advance guard was now ordered to fire into every suspicious place, and this was kept up till the troops were clear of the village "jhums." After passing these the detachment was unmolested, and reached Piphima at noon. On the 17th Major Evans marched to Sachima, leaving a guard of fifty rifles in the Piphima stockade. ( Major Evans's report, dated Piphima, 17th November 1879.)