The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Mr. Hinde's march from Woka to Kohima
medium: reports
person: Hinde/ Mr.Johnstone/ Col.
date: 1.11.1879
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: From H.M.HINDE, Esq., Assistant Political Officer, Woka, to COLONEL J.JOHNSTONE, Political Agent of Manipur, in charge Naga Hills, dated Kohima, 1st November 1879.
text: In accordance with your request, I have the honor to submit the following report of my march from Woka to Kohima, with a detachment of the 43rd Assam Light Infantry.
text: 2. On the 16th October, I received a letter from Captain Reid, commanding at Kohima, requesting me to send news of the disaster at Khonoma to Golaghat, and to order the Subadar at Woka to march his detachment at once to Kohima.
text: 3. Messengers were sent off to Golaghat within half an hour of receipt of intelligence on the 16th October, and next morning two more were started, with a fuller narrative of what had occurred.
text: 4. I considered that without a European officer possessing some experience of the country and its inhabitants, it would be next to hopeless to look for the safe arrival of so small a body of men at Kohima. I therefore decided to accompany it myself, and accordingly moved all Government property into the stockade at Woka, also all the women, children and sick, and held the other buildings with small guards.
text: 5. I left behind 13 of the 43 sick, and with the consent of the Subadar commanding armed men of the police with their breechloaders. I took ten Goorkha coolies to carry wounded, but no baggage was allowed. Each man carried provisions for three days, his great-coat, and sixty rounds of ammunition.
text: 6. On the morning of the 17th I left Woka and marched to Themokedima. I had hoped to get on further that day, but the men were quite knocked up, and it would have been unwise to have brought them into the dangerous and hostile country between us and Kohima so unrefreshed and wearied. I halted for the night therefore at Themokedima.
text: 7. On the 18th we left that place and marched to the edge of the Nidzukru forest, on the borders of the Angami country. I there moved the men off the road into the forest, where we remained concealed till sunset.
text: 8. At sunset we started; the road was almost impassable for landslip and jungle, and the march in every way most arduous and difficult. We had to leave great-coats at Themokedima, and part of my baggage was left hidden in the Nidzukru jungle.
text: 9. An idea of the state of the road may be formed from the fact that it took us from sunset to sunrise to get from Nidzukru to the river Shanar, below Nerhama, a distance of about eight miles. The men were thoroughly exhausted, and it became necessary to allow them to lie down for a short sleep on the road once or twice during the night.
text: 10. We passed Chichama without being discovered: beneath the village we found a long fortified building, newly built, capable of holding 100 men, and commanding the road. This had evidently been built for a party despatched to oppose us, but the Nagas, not being prepared for a night march, had retired to the village to sleep. We passed under Chichama, but our road lay right through Nerhama, so that it was imperative that we should attempt it before dawn. Great delay was caused by the stupidity of a Naik of the 43rd who was ordered to lead the main body and keep touch with the advance guard. He lost the advance guard, and, instead of at once informing me of the fact, kept following any that appeared, and so we spent an hour or two wandering about the cattle tracks round Nerhama. I at last found out the real state of affairs just as day began to dawn. I at once pushed into the village by a dried up watercourse, and found as I had expected, the advance guard assembled at the Government godown in Nerhama. We resumed our march through the village with the utmost silence: the dogs discovered us, and barked loudly, and we were much amused to hear the Nagas, disturbed from their sleep, rating and beating their dogs, but making no attempt to discover the cause of alarm.
text: 11. Fifty guns had been sent to Nerhama, and a strong stone defence thrown up to stop our advance; but in this instance, as at Chichama, we passed under cover of night.
text: 12. Day had fully dawned as we reached the river below Nerhama, and here for half an hour we halted for refreshment, to prepare us for the final difficulty of getting through Kohima.
text: 13. At 10 A.M., we approached Kohima, and met the Government dobashias of the neutral Khels of that village, who gave me a letter from Mr. Cawley, informing me of the state of affairs in the stockade. The dobashias wanted me to skirt the village and pass through the jungle out on to the Samaguting road, but I heard that a stone defence had been thrown up on that road, and it seemed to me that the most unlikely route was the best to take, as I should thereby avoid the Nagas' arrangements to resist me. I accordingly said I would pass through the Heproma Khel of Kohima. I was surrounded on the road into the village by crowds of men with guns and spears, but the efforts of the dobashias and my own palaver got me through without firing a shot.
text: 14. I reached the stockade at 12-30 P.M.
text: 15. The men behaved fairly well or we should never have been able to make the march of 64 miles as we did. Of one thing I am certain, that had not the march been conducted as it was, not half the party would have reached Kohima; in all probability we should have been destroyed to a man.