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: surrender of Damant's head and afterthoughts on his action
medium: reports
person: Johnstone/ Col.Damant
person: Maitland/ Capt. P.J.
date: 1880
person: India Office Library, London
refnum: IOR L/MIL/17/18/24
text: On the 30th ultimo, I sent my Naga interpreter, who accompanied me from Manipur to Konoma, to induce the people to give up Mr. Damant's head and body; they gave up the former, but the latter had been destroyed; they also gave up his signet ring, and some of the sepoys' great coats. The head was buried yesterday.
text: I have for some days been in a position to assume the offensive, but have refrained from doing so, in obedience to orders received by telegram.
text: Yesterday, I sent to try and obtain the unconditional surrender of seven rifles taken by the Nagas of the Chetonoma Khel of Kohima and Merama, and they have now been given up. They are a valuable acquisition, as they might any day have been employed in picking off stragglers.
text: It is perhaps premature in this place to enter into a discussion as to the causes of the late outbreak. It is right, however, to say that Mr. Damant received full warning of what he had to expect, and that further by a strange fatality, he persisted in taking his party by the most inaccessible route, instead of by a comparatively easy one. The men with him seem to have behaved well, and to have retained their presence of mind to the last, though they had no chance, as they were overwhelmed.
text: (26) It is needless to add that this sad calamity will for some years increase the difficulty of managing the Naga Hills, and that nothing but a severe blow will restore our prestige.