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: Colonel Johnstone's march from Manipur to Kohima
medium: reports
person: Johnstone/ Col. J.
date: 22.10.1879
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: From LIEUTENANT COLONEL J.JOHNSTONE, Political Agent, Manipur, to Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Assam,- No. 168, dated Manipur, the 22nd October 1879.
text: With reference to my telegram of today's date, it is with deep regret that I report that information has been received by me that Mr. Damant, Political Officer, Naga Hills, has been killed by the Nagas of Khonoma, and that the small party remaining in Kohima is besieged and sorely pressed by the Nagas of Khonoma, Jotsoma, three Khels of Kohima, Kigwema, and Viswema; a force I should estimate at not less than 2,000 men.
text: Yesterday morning I received a report from the Manipur thannah on the frontier, to the effect that the Mozema men had attacked Kohima and killed 100 men, and deeming it authentic, I at once made arrangements to leave for the Naga Hills, taking with me the detachment 34th Native Infantry which had been relieved, and which was marching that morning for Cachar, also my police escort, making a total of 84 of all ranks, together with a body of 900 Manipuris, which I asked the Maharaja for, and which he at once placed at my disposal. The troops were to march today, and I sent on a letter to Mr. Damant telling him that I was coming. This morning I received a letter from Mr. Cawley, Assistant Political Officer, Naga Hills, asking for assistance, and giving the information already recorded. The Maharaja at once came over to see me, and we arranged to take 2,000 Manipur troops, so as to overcome all resistance. The troops leave today and I follow tomorrow, catching them up at the second march, and hope to relieve Kohima on the 26th. I cannot name an earlier date, as we may have to fight our way and capture two villages en route. I have made arrangements for supplying Kohima with provisions for the present, and have also sent off trusty emissaries to try and sow dissensions in Kohima, and induce the Nagas to supply the beleaguered garrison with food before I arrive. As I hear, too, that Mozema has not joined, I have sent to two influential men there whom I know, to try and win them over.
text: While the main force marches on Kohima, I am making a diversion to the rear by sending a force of 200 Manipuris to Paplongmai, marked Kenoma in the maps, as this will have the effect of drawing off the Nagas from Kohima to defend their own villages. Once arrived at Kohima, I shall act as circumstances dictate, first of all securing the post and my communications, and then capturing all the rebellious villages in detail, and exacting a heavy vengeance. I have every hope that I may in a few weeks report all as being quiet. I have sent to request the Officer Commanding 34th Native Infantry, Cachar, to send up all available men with at least two European officers, and to send on the European Medical Officer attached to his regiment at once, as there is no efficient Medical Officer at Kohima, and I go to the front without medical aid. I have also in my telegram suggested the advisability of sending up a force of 1,000 men, and, if possible, two mountains guns, as, though I will do all that is possible with the means at my disposal, the insurrection may ere this have spread, and the enemy be strengthened by the plunder of the Kohima magazine. I think, as a measure of precaution, the troops should, if available, be put in motion, and brought up to Golaghat, and if not wanted they can return. If not available the Government may rely on my doing all that is possible without them. It will be necessary, however, for the future to maintain a strong garrison at Kohima.
text: As far as I can gather from Naga reports, Mr. Damant had gone to Khonoma to procure coolies. The villagers promised them, and asked him to come on in a friendly manner, and while passing down a hollow way, he and his party of 85 were speared from above, and Mr. Damant and 50 policemen killed.
text: The force in Kohima consisted, on the 16th instant, when Mr. Cawley wrote, of 66 of the 43rd Native Infantry and 35 police, together with Nepaulese coolies and recruits; only the former had provisions, and the Nagas of Kohima had ceased to bring in supplies.