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: message from Mr. Hinde describing Kohima's plight; relief of Kohima
medium: reports
person: Johnstone/ Col.Hinde/ Mr.Cawley/ Mr.
location: Viswema
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: On the morning of the 27th I received a miniature letter from Mr. Hinde, which had been brought in a man's ear; it represented the situation of the garrison as desperate, and stated that being cut off from water, relief, if not immediate, would be useless. I immediately made my own men, now reduced by fatigue to 66, fall in, and taking all the ammunition pushed on at once, 50 Manipuris accompanying us,- the remaining 250 following to escort the coolies and high officials.
text: Viswema, true to promise, gave us a free passage, and I there met two dobashias from Kohima with another letter from Mr. Hinde, written in English and Bengali, but bearing no address, begging for immediate relief. This, it may be imagined, would have supplied an additional stimulus if it had been wanted, which I need hardly say was not the case. We pushed on with all speed, though not neglecting the rules of warfare, which probably saved us from a party sent to waylay us, and from Kigwema had the pleasure of seeing the Kohima stockade still standing. We stopped for nothing and when on the opposite ridge, hoisted our flag and sounded our bugles to announce our approach. These were answered by the bugles of the garrison, and in another hour I had the inexpressible pleasure of grasping the hands of the ( 25) noble defenders, Messrs. Hinde and Cawley, who came out to meet me, and we marched in in triumph. Kohima was at last relieved after a siege of thirteen days, sustained by a weak and dispirited garrison, against overwhelming numbers under the most adverse circumstances. Had I waited to receive a letter from Mr. Cawley before making preparations for marching to his assistance, I fear that nothing could have saved the party.
text: Before proceeding further in my narrative, I must here express my admiration of the conduct of Mr. Hinde, whose account I attach.
text: A civilian, and without any regular military training or obligation to proceed on a dangerous duty, he acted like a highminded gentleman, and deeming rightly that a weak detachment under a native officer would have no chance of reaching Kohima in safety, he hesitated not a moment to assume command, and by his spirit and determination; accomplished a rapid and difficult march which few knowing the danger would have dared to attempt, still fewer would have had the skill to accomplish. The greatest credit, too, in my opinion, is due to Mr. Cawley ( whose account I have already forwarded) for the promptitude with which he at once realised the danger, and hastened to evacuate one stockade, and put the other miserable one in a defensible condition, before the arrival of the enemy, a precaution which saved the whole party under his charge from inevitable destruction.