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: Col. Johnstone's description of the relief of Kohima
caption: march to Khazama
medium: reports
person: Johnstone/ Col.
date: Khazama
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: I started on the morning of the 23rd ultimo, having stayed behind to make arrangements for supplies being forwarded, &c., and caught up the troops who had been despatched the previous day, before they reached Mayangkhang, 40 miles from Manipur, where we halted, the men's food being left far behind.
text: My rear guard did not reach till early next morning, but I managed to push on the party of 34th Native Infantry and Police, feeding the coolies with pigs purchased in Naga villages, to keep up their strength and spirits. At 8-15 P.M. we arrived at Mythephum, having made a double march; the Manipuris having to carry their own food, were far behind, but my rear guard again arrived early in the morning, 25th.
text: At Mythephum I heard the worst rumours: they were to the effect that the party in Kohima was hard pressed, and 10,000 Nagas in arms. There were signs, too of the Manipur Nagas being infected, as the Muran people were very independent and passively hostile. Worse, however, than the news, which was vague, was the fact that my men were completely knocked up by the two preceding days' hard work, and the Manipuris still behind, so that, sorely against my will, I was constrained to halt, as I reflected that the lives of the garrison depended on my circumspection, and that were I to push on with my little party in spite of their fatigue, without being supported by at least a few Manipuris, we might be overwhelmed, and a reserve would seal the fate of Kohima.
text: I therefore determined to halt for the day, and I employed the long weary hours of waiting in looking after the comfort of my sepoys and coolies, and reconnoitring the surrounding country, also in cheering the spirits of the Manipuris, who, only 300 ( these arrived at 2 P.M. ) in number, did not seen to like the idea of advancing into the midst of the host said to be assembled against us.
text: By the evening I had convinced the heir-apparent and Kotwal Kaireng, his younger brother, and the fine old Major Tangal who accompanied me, that we must advance at all hazards, sacrificing everything to the cause in hand. I begged the young princes to stay behind and not expose themselves to the danger of accompanying a small party, but they gallantly declared their intention of following me.
text: I scarcely slept at night, and by daybreak we marched, and after a most fatiguing day over a difficult hill country arrived at the village of Khoijami, marked in the map Khazama, and near to the powerful village Viswema, one of the confederate villages; there we bivouacked for the night on an open space, taking such few snatches of sleep as we got, fully accoutred, and sleeping on our arms.