The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: renewed offensives; punishment of villages which aided Kohima
medium: reports
person: Robertson/ Col.Abbott/ Capt.Barrett/ Lt.Himachand/ Sub.Mansel/ Lt.Chitonoma khel/ Kohima
location: Cheswezumi (Cheswejuma) Viswema (Viswima) Zhakhama (Jakoma) Kigwema Thenizumi (Thenejuma) Kekrima Kidima Dzulu R. (Zullo R.) Sidzu R. (Sijjo R.)
date: 1.1.1880-7.1.1880
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: From the fall of Kohima up to this time the Field Force had been unable to effect any thing of importance. But with the arrival of Captain Abbott's detachment operations may be said to have entered on a more active phase, and the General considered himself able to reassume the offensive. He was not yet strong enough, he believed, to attempt a blockade of the Chaka position, much less to storm those formidable intrenchments, but it was now in his power to punish the numerous villages that had supported and assisted the men of Konoma, Jotsoma and Kohima in their rebellion, and this work was commenced without delay.
text: (47) On the 1st January 1880 Colonel Robertson, 44th Sylhet Light Infantry, at the head of a detachment ( 42nd Assam Light Infantry ... 74 all ranks (Captain Abbott), 43rd Assam Light Infantry ... 85 all ranks (Lieutenant Barrett), 44th Sylhet Light Infantry ... 53 all ranks (Subadar Himachand), one 7- pounder M.L.R. gun (Lieutenant Mansel).) of 212 rifles and one mountain gun, left Kohima for a march through the eastern Angami country. Lieutenant Macgregor, Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General, accompanied the expedition. The objects to be attained were-
text: 1 The punishment of the important village of Cheswejuma for harbouring the Chitonoma Khel of Kohima, which had from the first taken a conspicuous part in the outbreak.
text: 2 The collection of supplies and settlement of the country.
text: 3 The punishment of Viswima, Jakoma and Kigwima for complicity in the attack on Kohima.
text: A newspaper correspondent, evidently an officer who accompanied the detachment, thus describes ( The correspondent's narrative has been taken, as it is well written and interesting. It has been verified by comparison with official reports.) its start and progress:-
text: " As we were almost entirely dependent on local carriage, and transport is anything but a labour of love with the Nagas, it was not till nearly midday that the rear guard left Kohima. We halted the first night on the left bank of the river Zullo, at an elevation of about 2,600 feet ( Kohima station is 5,000); the next morning we found it had been freezing hard during the night and the ice in our basins was nearly half an inch thick, and the kahars and camp followers, whose warm clothing had not yet arrived at the front, were found shivering round a few logs the poor fellows had managed to set alight. Next day, the 2nd, the force marched from the Zullo to Thenejuma, a village within easy striking distance of Cheswejuma, being only three miles distant. Our route lay at first up a rather steep hill on which was situated a small Naga village. The inhabitants were nearly all suffering from large ulcers on the legs. There is no doubt many Nagas die from them. Our sepoys also suffer; in the case of the latter, they may be due to leech bites and the bad state of the men's blood. Very little green food is obtained in this country, and but little fresh meat, as the Nagas eat beef, and that of course is forbidden to the sepoy. After leaving the village we descended to the Sijjo, and crossing it arrived, after a steep climb of 3,000 feet, at Thenejuma. Our camp was pitched near the village ( pitching a camp in the Naga Hills does not mean that either officers or men move about with tents; they have to content themselves with a waterproof sheet, or hut made of leaves and boughs of trees. The waterproof sheets for the sepoys have not yet arrived at the front. ( Five hundred waterproof sheets left Calcutta on the 30th October.)) On that afternoon the intended object of attack next day was reconnoitred, and all dispositions made. On the 3rd January, leaving a party to protect the camp and baggage, about 200 men ( Apparently includes the gun detachment of 28 men 44th Sylhet Light Infantry.) were marched to Cheswejuma. We found the village deserted; but the Nagas who were lurking in the adjacent jungles, soon made us aware of their proximity by firing occasional shots. A couple of rockets and a shell dislodged them, and parties were sent in all directions to pursue, and find the stores of grain which they had secreted. A detachment of the 44th encoutered a large body of enemy, killed five, and captured a quantity of grain and live stock. Meantime the village ( of about 400 houses) was being destroyed, and when that was accomplished, the troops were reassembled and returned to Thenejuma, which was reached without a single casualty having occurred, although the Nagas kept up a desultory fire on the rear guard. Next day a halt was made, and a party of 80 men, under Lieutenant Macgregor, Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General, returned to Cheswejuma, to hunt up the Nagas. a quantity of rice, about two hundred maunds, was captured, and a lot of live stock. On the 5th December the detachment marched to Kekrima, a powerful village. The march was a very difficult one, especially for the gun team, which consisted (48) of kahars. Steep ascents and descents of 3,000 feet are trying even without a heavy load to carry." ( Correspondent of Civil and Military Gazette.) Next morning this village showed contumacy by not furnishing the coolies required. A few rockets and a shell were accordingly fired by Lieutenant Mansel, at the request of the political officer, over, and a little bellow, the village. This had the desired effect, and the coolies were speedily produced. The column then marched to Kidima, where it halted for the night, and on the 7th started for Viswima. During the march the Kekrima coolies, though previously warned, threw down their loads and bolted. Some fifty actually got away, and the remainder were only stopped by being fired on. The other Naga coolies behaved well. Viswima is a large village of 600 houses on the borders of Manipur territory; it stands in a commanding position nearly 6,000 feet above sea level. The detachment bivouacked about two miles to the north west, midway between Viswima and Jakoma, and remained there two days to enforce payment of a fine levied on the village for complicity in the attack on Kohima. The amount of fine was six hundred maunds of rice and dhan; a hundred and twenty of the former, and three hundred of the latter, were collected, and the balance was ordered to be paid in ten days. The village also furnished coolies to replace those of Kidima, and a contingent of fifty men to work on the road between Piphima and Kohima. Jakoma and Kigwima, both implicated in the rising, were also fined; the first named three hundred maunds of rice to be paid by instalments, and a coolie contingent of fifty men; the latter four hundred maunds of rice, on the same terms, and to furnish a coolie contingent. (Lieutenant Colonel Robertson's report, No. 156, Field Operations, dated 12th January 1880.)
text: The village of Cheduma, which had been destroyed by Lieutenant McGregor in 1878 ( soon after the first occupation of Kohima), for refusing to give up a murderer, and which is only about four miles south of Thenejuma, was so alarmed at the idea of being again visited, that the people deserted the place, and dismantled their houses, thereby doing themselves a great amount of damage. The headmen also "came in" and made the usual promises. This village was not punished.
text: On the 10th January Lieutenant Colonel Robertson marched from his bivouac near Viswima into Kohima, a distance of about fourteen miles. The detachment had thus made an almost complete circuit of the Eastern Angami country, and had attained its objects without a single casualty. The moral effect of the expedition was considered to have been very satisfactory.
text: The marches made by the column, and their distances, as given by Lieutenant Mansel, R.A., are appended, it being considered that the record might be useful at some future time:-
text: Kohima to-